We Create Dream Vacations
"With so many travel options out there, it can be overwhelming. As your travel agency we will work as your 'value interpreter'. Using our expertise, we will find amazing experiences that exceed your every desire, but not your budget. With our services, you will be confident that your Dream Vacation will be perfectly planned, hassle-free, and filled with monents you'll never forget."
5 Reasons to choose Smoky Mountain Cabin Rentals Instead of a Hotel
Are you trying to decide between renting a cabin or staying in a hotel for your next vacation in the Smoky Mountains? We can help! Read below to find all of the reasons why we know you and your family or group will be more comfortable staying in a Smoky Mountain cabin rental during your next getaway.
1. Added Privacy
The biggest appeal of staying in Great Smoky Mountain log cabin rentals is the added level of privacy these rentals offer. Not only do you not have to worry about sharing a thin wall with another family or group, but you also don’t have to worry about strangers walking past your door at all hours of the night because you get to stay in your own private vacation home during your stay.
That’s right! Just as if you were in your own home, area cabins give you and your loved one's complete privacy throughout your vacation. The only people you have to share this space with are the ones you invited to enjoy a getaway with.
2. Space to Relax
Another benefit that comes with staying in Smoky Mountain cabin rentals instead of a hotel during your vacation is the extra space you and your family or group will have to stretch out and relax. Unlike cramped hotel rooms, cabins give you more than just a single room with a couple of beds and an attached bathroom. Instead, you have the option to choose a cabin with as many private bedrooms as you need to feel comfortable.
The space is even more impressive when you factor in the extra sleeping capacity that the sleeper sofas and loft bedrooms give you. It is easy for your family or group to stay together inside these cabins without having to divide up into separate rooms during your stay.
3. Pet-Friendly Options
As you know, a family vacation isn’t a true family vacation unless you get to bring all your loved ones with you to share in the experience, including your dog. That is why we are pleased to say another perk you get with renting cabins over hotel rooms is you can easily bring your pet to join you for your trip. No longer do you have to scramble to find a kennel or a dog sitter before you can enjoy your vacation. Instead, you can simply load everyone into the car and head to the mountains!
Even though many hotels offer pet friendly accommodations, you and your pet will be much more comfortable with the extra space and comforts of a pet friendly cabin.
4. Fully-Equipped Kitchen
Even though vacations are meant to be a time for you and your family to relax and unwind, there is just something about a delicious home-cooked dinner when you are away that makes the meal even more enjoyable. Maybe is is the scenic views surrounding you or maybe it is having access to a fully-equipped kitchen during your vacation makes this experience memorable. Either way, we promise you will not be disappointed in having the ability to prepare meals for your family when you choose to stay in a cabin.
Now, instead of having to eat out every meal or confine your food choices to only things you can fit in a mini-fridge, you can choose to stay in comfortably and save money!
5. Extra Comforts and Amenities
The kitchen is not the only added comfort you and your family or group will enjoy when you stay in Smoky Mountain cabin rentals during your vacation. In fact, you may be amazed by just how many extra luxuries you and your loved ones will be able to enjoy when you are here. From an outdoor hot tub to a cozy fireplace to a home theater room, these cabins have everything you need for a fun and memorable vacation experience.
Call Tyus Tours and Travel at 866-547-5362 to start planning your Smoky Mountain vacation today.
How Just Planning A Vacation Can Help You Mentally
With the country reopening, travel industry experts say people are planning short trips to destinations relatively close to home. By driving they can control the number of people they interact with, how many stops they make on the way and whether to take a detour or not — all things they can’t control on a plane.
Now, more than ever, when we are allowed to travel again, we expect to see families, friends, and couples jumping into their cars and hitting the open road.
But, did you know looking ahead to your next adventure could benefit your mental health. Even if you’re not sure when that adventure will be.
Planning and anticipating a trip can be almost as enjoyable as going on the trip itself. Studies show the anticipation of an experience (like a trip) can increase a person’s happiness substantially—much more so than the anticipation of buying material goods. Travelers will talk more about their experiences than talking to people about material purchases. Experiences make for better story material.
One of the many challenges of the pandemic is that quarantine measures greatly reduce our ability to create new experiences and connect with other people and today we need those connections and their social benefits more than ever.
While we may not be as physically close to others as usual, we’re still able to interact with each other socially through voice and video chats. But you still need something to talk about—and plans for the future can serve as the perfect talking points for enhancing social relationships.
Trip-planning encourages an optimistic outlook. We spend a lot of our time dreaming about the future. Our dreams can be a source of joy if we know good things are coming, and travel is an especially good thing to have to look forward to.”
The post-pandemic future of travel is still unmapped. But try planning a vague itinerary (where to go, what to do)—without getting attached to taking the trip at any specific time. Then, start booking flights and hotels once experts say it’s safe to travel again. If the experience becomes more stressful or depressing than fun, file it away for another time.
Learn about a new destination like Gatlinburg Tennessee. You may learn enough about the trip to imagine it and look forward to it-but there will be enough novelty and uncertainty to keep your mind interested.
The pandemic can stop our travel plans, but it cannot stop our travel dreams. Planning for travel—thinking about it, talking about it, imagining it—may in fact be the best thing you can do to stay optimistic and, when this is all behind us, be ready to embark on your trip of a lifetime.
Ready. Set. Let’s Go!
As of Monday, June 15, Jamaica has reopened its borders to international travelers. The past few months have been hard on all of us and we must now find ways of “living with COVID-19” which will allow us to remain safe and responsible. Jamaica is ready! Their phased reopening plan, Ready. Set. Let’s Go!, will kick into gear immediately. In Phase 1, which runs from June 15 – 30, all travelers should be aware of changes in the entry requirements.
All persons intending to travel to Jamaica will now be required to secure a Travel Authorization online at www.visitjamaica.com. Additionally, as part of Jamaica risk management measures, and to ensure that residents and visitors stay safe, Jamaica will require all high-risk passengers, upon arrival, to submit to a mandatory PCR/swab-test.
For more information visit http://bit.ly/2FQXvO5.
HOW TO TRAVEL WITH A THEME
I think I’ve become a “typical tourist.” Ya know, the kind that hits the major tourist sites and a few off-the-path attractions, Yelps a few local restaurants, and moves on. I get my basic overview, learn how to save some money, and continue to the next destination.
And that’s left me feeling that my travels have become too vanilla lately. There’s a spark missing. I mean, I don’t think I go to boring places, but there’s just a part of me that feels there’s been less adventure and pizzazz in my travels, that I haven’t done anything really cool, interesting, or off-beat for a long time.
So, I had an idea:
What if I traveled with a theme?
Instead of just trying to see the usual well-known sites, what if I went with a specific focus in mind? What if I went to see only the jazz clubs of a city or the modern art museums? Or only hiked trails that begin with the letter M? Or went to learn about a destination’s wine industry? Or decided I’d only eat at Japanese restaurants with a local food expert?
Really, it could be anything, as long as it hyper-focused my travels around one idea that forced me to look at a destination in a different light.
(I’m sure I’m not the first person to think about this, but it’s something I’ve never done before.)
For example, I’ve been to Paris countless times. I’ve hit all the big sites multiple times over. When I returned to Paris recently, I wanted something different and new. I wanted a purpose. So I decided to experience Jazz Age Paris. I wanted my own private Midnight in Paris. I wanted the spirit of the 1920s: jazz, cocktails, and literature.
As a result, I spent time in Montmartre, ate at Les Deux Magots, enjoyed jazz in the Latin Quarter, drank in speakeasies and wine caves, wandered the bookshelves of Shakespeare and Company, and got lost in the streets of the Left Bank. It might not have been the ’20s exactly, but I ate at restaurants I’d never been to, went to music venues I’d never heard of, and saw parts of Paris I didn’t know existed (including a wonderful cobblestone street filled with tiny cafés in a 1900s covered market).
It was the most fun I had had in the City of Lights in a long time… because it was different. Designing my travels around one theme forced me to plan differently.
And it’s something I plan to continue. After being consistently on the road for a decade, I need to spice things up a little bit.
You develop a routine after traveling for a long time. Like everything else, you fall into a certain complacency. Sure, you’re in cool destinations doing cool things — but it’s often the same type of things.
So from now on, instead of just going to places, I’m going with purpose.
(Besides traveling with a theme, I’ve also decided to use only the sharing economy for transportation (when I can), as well for meals on EatWith as a way to have more unique and interesting experiences and meet more locals.)
If you’re in a destination for the first time, of course by all means see all the main sites and attractions — but try to add a little theme to your trip that forces you off the beaten path toward some different or unusual attractions, sights, and events.
How to Travel with a Theme (in Five Easy Steps)
So how do you do this? It requires a bit more research than opening up a guidebook! Here’s how I planned my trip :
Step 1 – Pick a Theme
This is an obvious first step. You can’t do any of the other steps without it. For me, I had 1920s Paris on my mind, so I decided I’d try to relive that era. But it could be anything: learning about cheese or wine production, the vegan food scene, jazz culture, the modern art scene — whatever suits your fancy! And, if you’re not sure what theme to pick, think of things that interest you the most and see that destination has stuff related to it or just Google “What is (x) famous for?” and see what comes out!
Step 2 – Research Online (use multiple keywords)
After picking your theme, go more in depth on your search. Local blogs, general travel blogs, our forums, Lonely Planet, Time Out, Yelp — these are all websites I use in my research. Then I go to Google and type in a number of keywords to cover all my bases. For my ’20s trip, for example, I typed in “books on 1920s Paris,” “how to see 1920s Paris,” “1920s Paris sights,” “Paris speakeasies,” and “best jazz clubs in Paris” and found a number of references to consult and various places where I could experience that ’20s vibe. This allowed me to compile a list of potential places to visit.
Step 3 – Plan Your Itinerary
While I didn’t want to overplan any trip, I kind of wanted a plan of attack. There was a lot to see in Paris and I didn’t have much time, so I prioritized what appealed the most. First came the food, then the bars, then the sights. This allowed me to come up with a general framework for my trip. Tagging sites on a Google Map can help you see how far apart things are and then plan your optimal route!
Step 4 – Contact Locals and Experts
Couchsurfing groups and Meetup.com are incredible places to find locals who share your interest. They are going to know the ins and outs of the city and probably have lots of suggestions. Additionally, the group meetups are a fun way to meet locals who share a similar passion, making conversation easier and breaking down that awkward language barrier.
Step 5 – Read a Book (or Three)
To get context, read a book on the subject. While I already knew a lot about the ’20s Jazz Age, I ended up picking a few more books on the subject :
• When Paris Sizzled by Mary McAuliffe
• Everybody Was So Young by Amanda Vaill
• Shakespeare and Company by Sylvia Beach
• The Crazy Years: Paris in the Twenties by William Wiser
Books also might clue you in to some other attractions too!
When you do something for a long time, it can become sort of stale. It can lose its luster. When it comes to travel, sometimes that just means sitting down, relaxing, and watching Netflix until you gain your mojo back. Other times, it means bringing back the spice and excitement of those first moments, trying to get that first high back.
I know travel so well that it’s become too easy. I’ll be traveling with a theme much more often, so more of my upcoming posts will be like this Paris post, trying to hunt down cool and unique things about destinations. I already have two new themes in mind for my return to NYC: the best swing dance clubs and the best Japanese izakaya bars. And, for my return to Portland this summer, I’m thinking food trucks only (there’s even a food truck tour!).
Because, as much as I love the popular things (they are popular for a reason), I want to add something a little different and unique into my trips that spices them up in a way I never would have thought about before.
Walt Disney World Is Planning To Reopen July 11, 2020
We’re pleased to share the plans for the phased reopening of Walt Disney World Resort Theme Parks, Resort Hotels and Disney Stores.
Walt Disney World® Resort plans to welcome Guests back to the theme parks as part of a phased reopening beginning July 11, pending state approval.
When Walt Disney World® theme parks reopen, they will manage attendance through a new theme park reservation system on DisneyWorld.com that will require all Guests to make a reservation in advance for theme park entry. Over the coming weeks, Walt Disney World® will be making some necessary updates to prepare for the launch of this park reservation system. Here’s some important information to help you plan ahead:
• New Ticket Sales and Hotel Reservations: At this time, Walt Disney World® are temporarily pausing new ticket sales and Disney Resort hotel reservations so we can focus on Guests with existing tickets and reservations. Existing ticket holders and Annual Passholders will be able to make a theme park reservation before new tickets are sold; Walt Disney World® will be reaching out to those Guests soon to provide additional details. Walt Disney World® will resume new sales of tickets and Disney Resort hotel reservations after that period of time. Theme park reservations will be limited due to attendance limitations and will be subject to availability.
• Dining and Experiences: In order to foster physical distancing during this time, upon reopening, Walt Disney World® offerings, restaurants and other experiences such as behind-the-scenes tours will be limited in capacity, and other experiences may remain closed. As a result of limited capacity, Walt Disney World® have made the difficult decision to cancel all existing dining reservations and experience bookings, including Disney dining plans included in packages. Walt Disney World® will reopen dining and experience bookings with more limited numbers closer to when the parks reopen. Walt Disney World® will also shift from a 180-day booking window to a 60-day booking window for dining and experience bookings going forward to allow Guests to make their plans closer to their visits.
• FastPass+ and Extra Magic Hours: As a result of the COVID-19 impact, the FastPass+ service will be suspended for the time being as Walt Disney World® plan to use additional queue space to manage capacity at our attractions and maintain physical distancing. Walt Disney World® will automatically cancel existing FastPass+ selections and share any future updates on the service at a later date. Also, please note that upon reopening, Extra Magic Hours will be temporarily suspended.
Walt Disney World® will be reaching out to Guests affected by these updates with additional information and details on options, including refunds. We understand how much excitement, thought and time goes into planning a Disney vacation and realize some of these changes may be disappointing. Please know we will be here to help you, as we remain focused on delivering a wonderful experience for everyone who visits.
You can visit a new “Know Before You Go” hub at DisneyWorld.com/Updates, where you can find the latest updates on our operations and offerings, including details on how to modify your plans. If you booked through a third party, we recommend you reach out directly to your travel professional or ticket seller.
We appreciate your ongoing patience and understanding as we continue to keep the wellbeing of Guests and Cast Members in mind. Stay tuned for more information over the next few weeks on how to use the theme park reservation system and other tips to be aware of prior to your visit.
How-to Pass-Through (TSA) Security During the COVID-19 Pandemic
TSA has implemented changes to the security screening process that reduce the potential for cross-contamination at the security checkpoint in an effort to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. TSA has already begun implementing these changes. with more changes to come at airport checkpoints nationwide by mid-June.
1. Keep possession of your boarding passes : Instead of handing their boarding pass to a TSA officer at the travel document podium, travelers should now place their boarding pass (paper or electronic) on the boarding pass reader themselves. After scanning, travelers should hold their boarding pass toward the TSA officer to allow the officer to visually inspect it. This change reduces the TSA officer’s need to touch a passenger’s boarding pass thus reducing potential for cross-contamination.
2. Separate food for X-ray screening : Passengers should place their carry-on food items into a clear plastic bag and place that bag into a bin. Food items often trigger an alarm during the screening process. Separating the food from the carry-on bag lessens the likelihood that a TSA officer will need to open the carry-on bag and remove the food items for a closer inspection. This requirement allows social distancing, reduces the TSA officer’s need to touch a person’s container of food and reduces potential for cross-contamination. TSA Pre-Check members do not need to remove items from their bags.
3. Pack Smart : Passengers should take extra care to ensure that they do not have any prohibited items, such as liquids, gels or aerosols in quantities greater than 3.4 ounces in their carry-on bags (water bottles, shampoo). In response to COVID-19, TSA is allowing one liquid hand sanitizer container, up to 12 ounces per passenger, in carry-on bags. Passengers are required to remove the hand sanitizer from the carry-on bag before being submitted for X-ray screening. If a bag is found to contain a prohibited item, passengers may be directed to return to the divestiture table outside of security with their carry-on bags to remove the item and dispose of the item. The passenger may also be directed back outside of security to remove items that should have originally been divested (such as laptops, liquids, gels, and aerosols, and large electronics) and resubmit their property for X-ray screening.
4. By resolving alarms in this manner, TSA officers will need to touch the contents inside a carry-on bag much less frequently, reducing the potential for cross-contamination.
5. Practice social distancing : Passengers should allow for social distancing to reduce direct contact between TSA employees and travelers whenever possible without compromising security. Noticeable adjustments leading up to the security checkpoint include increasing the distance between individuals as they enter the security checkpoint, placing visual reminders of appropriate spacing on checkpoint floors and staggering the use of lanes where feasible. No two airports are alike, so this could look a little different at each airport.
6. Wear facial protection : TSA officers at checkpoints are now using facial protection. Travelers are encouraged to wear face masks to the checkpoint as well. But passengers may need to adjust their face mask during the screening process so they can be recognized. Travelers also are encouraged to remove items such as belts, wallets, keys and phones and put them directly into their carry-on bags instead of into the bins to reduce touch-points during the screening process.
7. Travelers who have not flown since the pandemic are also likely to notice some other changes. They include: Reduced security lane usage due to the reduction in passenger volume; all TSA officers at checkpoints wearing masks and gloves; TSA officers optionally wearing eye protection and clear plastic face shields at some locations; TSA officers will continue the practice of changing gloves after each pat-down; plastic shielding installed at many travel document checking podiums, divest, bag search and drop off locations’ TSA officers practicing social distancing; routine cleaning and disinfecting of frequently touched surfaces in the screening checkpoint area.
8. Many airlines and airports also are providing specific COVID-19 related guidance to travelers. Travelers should check with their airline prior to their trip (though there has been no unified COVID-19 guidance released by the U.S. Department of Transportation). Travelers are encouraged to arrive at the airport early as COVID-19 has affected staffing and operations across the airport environment. This will allow adequate time for checking bags, completing security screening and getting to the departure gate.
9. Individuals who were traveling in the early months of the pandemic became accustomed to arriving at the security checkpoint shortly before their flight departure time. TSA recommends that travelers no longer do so (or arrive well in advance of their flight) since more people are flying and new procedures such as social distancing have been implemented in airports, potentially adding time to the pre-flight experience. For more information on the TSA security screening process during the pandemic, visit www.tsa.gov/coronavirus.
Madagascar - A Cornucopia of Beauty
Situated some 250 miles off the coast of southeast Africa, Madagascar — the fourth largest island on Earth — is a world of its own.
Sometimes referred to as the eighth continent, Madagascar split from the Indian subcontinent 88 million years ago and the African mainland some 47 million years before that, so it is perhaps not surprising that about 90 percent of its fauna and flora is found nowhere else on earth.
Much of the island’s megafauna (including nearly 10-foot-tall elephant birds and lemurs the size of gorillas) has been driven to extinction. And some 90 percent of the original forest habitat here has been lost since humans first arrived some 2,000 years ago — first from the Malay Archipelago and, much later, from mainland Africa, Arabia, India and Europe.
But Madagascar still boasts a panoply of unique plants and animals, from numerous species of baobab trees and endemic orchids to chameleons, giraffe-necked weevils and the bizarre-looking aye-aye. For the complete story on Madagascar click here.
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