Wow, This trip was way better than expected. Really had not heard or thought much about Lisbon, Portugal, but it was an amazing Gem. Incredible city. I enjoy every second. The rest of the trip was great as well. We visited Gibraltar, Tangier, Morocco and several cities in the South Western part of Spain. Cordoba, Granada & Toledo were definite highlights. The Moorish architecture of the Alhambra was magnificent. If you haven't seen this region of the world, I would highly suggest it. One of my favorite locations ever.
We had a blast touring Guatemala, Honduras & Belize. Their every day way of life is much different than what we are use to. They stated that 60% of the people still cook over a wood fire. The ruins of Copan and Tikal are some of the best I have seen anywhere in the world. Tikal, should be on the wonders of the world list for sure, much better than Chichen Itza. The snorkeling and diving were great and Belize and swimming with the sharks was crazy.
The trip to South Africa was completely magical. I am not even sure how to put the experience into words. It far exceeded my expectations. We saw all of the big 5 (Rhino, Elephant, Lion, Leopard & Cape Buffalo). Not only did we see all 5, we were within about 5 feet of 4 out of the 5 and within about 50 feet of 4 lions. It was exhilarating and frightening all at the same time. To hear them, smell them and see these large animals so close was an overload to my brain. Kristi and I had to keep asking each other, if we had really experienced these things or if it were a dream. We saw an amazing range of animal life. The weather and the food were both spectacular and the fun group of people made this one of my best vacations ever.
The trip to the land down under was breath taking. The people were super friendly and there was a lot of great things to see and do. The Opera house, the Bridge and the harbor in Sydney were all spectacular. Cairns, is very diverse. Including rain forest, high plains, beaches and the Great Barrier reef. The great barrier reef was the bomb, everyone loved it. The giant clams were gigantic. This was one of our best trips ever!
The DR was the best beach vacation I have ever been on. The whole group was blown away by several of the activities. Have you ever stayed in a tree house in the middle of jungle, zip lined over a 450 foot deep canyon, stayed in a multi-million dollar villa or went water sliding and cliff jumping in a natural water slide park? We hadn't either until this trip. But now we have done all of these things and enjoyed every minute of it. Watch the video and look at the pictures below to see some of the fun.
Peru is one of the most amazing places I have ever visited. It impossible to describe in words or capture in pictures the awe inspiring view at Machu Picchu. There is no question why it is on the wonders of the world list. The people of Peru live a very humble and simple life, but are very friendly and kind. The Incan history, culture and ruins are extremely interesting. This is a trip that everyone needs to do.
Panama is a beautiful and surprisingly modern country. The Panama Canal is an engineering marvel that needs to be experienced to be truly appreciated. One of the funniest parts of the trip was riding four wheeler in Bocas Del Toro.through the jungle, on the beach, through rivers and lots and lots of mud.
When you land in Bangkok, you will definitely realize that you are no longer in the USA. It is a very unique and fascinating country. The Buddist temples and royal palaces are a site to be seen.
We just returned from an amazing tour of Italy. This country is so rich in history and culture. There were many things which were much better than we had anticipated. One big surprise was the leaning tower of Pisa. We have all seen tons of pictures of this structure. I thought it would be neat to see it but really didn't expect to be impressed. Wow, did I ever under estimate the impact of standing there in person would be. I was blown away. It was probably the single biggest surprise of the whole trip. Being from the US I don't think we really understand what old even means. In Rome the Pantheon was built prior to Christ and the Colosseum was built in 72 AD. Wow now that is old. We also toured several towns (Orvietto, Siena, San Gimignano and Asissi) which were built in the 12th century. It was very thought prevoking to sit in the central square and think what life was like their 800 years ago. Florence and Venice were amazing. We would highly recommend touring Italy to everyone we know.
Traveling can be less stressful, and more enjoyable if you know some of the secrets I will share with you in this section. ( I will periodically add more suggestions into this section)
1.) Travel with carry on only luggage.
This removes the opportunity for the airlines to lose your luggage, damage your suitcase and makes you manage
what you take with you. If you do not force yourself to go carry on only. Normally you will take much more
than you really need. At first I now this seems impossible to go on a 10-14 day trip with just carry on luggage.
But you can do it. Kristi and I haven't checked a bag for the last 10-12 years. You can do it! Give it a try you
will be gald you did.
2.) Take an empty water bottle with you.
You are not allowed to take a full water bottle with you. But security will not say anything about a empty water
bottle. Then just fill it up for free, once you are past security. This will save you from paying $2-$3 for a bottle
of water in the airport. (This only works in the US or foreign countries where it is safe to drink the water. I
wouldn't recommend this in Mexico, Asia or someplace the water is questionable)
3.) Book flights on Monday or Tuesday.
I have found that airfare is cheapest on Monday or Tuesday. The airlines seem to load up the lower priced
seats on either Sunday or Monday night. Once these are gone the tickets continue to get more expensive
until they reload the cheaper seats again.
4.) Book airfare 60-120 days in advance of travel for the best deal.
If you are scheduled for a big tour, this may not be possible because you need to be sure that you can travel
to the destination on the exact days needed. If you have a little flexibility in your schedule you can get
the best deals on flights that still have space 60-120 prior to travel. Once you are closer than 60 days, the
price normally continues to go up until day of departure.
5.) Bring a Jacket on International flights. Even if it is nice and warm when you are departing. Some long
international flights, get really chilli. You will grateful to have a jacket near by to grab if needed.
6.) Watch what you eat. Try new foods in modest quantities. You do not want to ruin a vacation by getting sick.
When traveling in a 3rd world country, I recommend not eating anything that isn't cooked or peeled. Yes lady's this
means no salad until you return home to our wonderful USA.
7.) More tips coming soon.
Please share with us your favorite travel destinations and why you loved this location so much. We are always looking for great travel destinations. With your help, we can help other LDS travelers enjoy your favorite spots.
Click on the word "Comments" to leave your reply.
Please respond to this thread by posting the top 3 places you want to travel to. We strive to offer the destination that you want to see. There is no better way to do that, than to collect feedback from our clients. We will compile a top ten list and then create trips to match those destinations.
Click on the word "Comments" to leave your reply.