Trips Travel Agency

Trips Travel Agency is a Luxury Travel Concierge company that specializes in international travel for the discerning client. Whatever you need we can make it happen!

Filtering by Category: all-inclusive

Safari- SkySafari Edition

If you’ve been following our social media this week, you know that we are on a safari in Kenya, the home of the original safari.

But we are not on just any safari we are on a SkySafari visitng several Elewana Collection properties including Elsa’s Kopje, Elephant Pepper Camp and Loisaba.

What makes this safari different?

When you book this safari Elewana flies you to each property in their own plane. This is a game changer in the fact that you don’t have land and take off several times as you drop other passengers off at their various safari destinations. This also means that you get to your game drives faster.

Our first stop on the trip is Elsa’s Kopje in Meru National Park. I liked this property because its rooms looked like we were in treetops and were very spacious. My room had a great view of the national park and was great to catch the morning sun.

I also liked the fact that many of the Elewana properties were one in nature with their locations. For instance Elsa’s Kopje takes advantage its mountinous location and carves its rooms around the rock formation. You’ll be able to catch a glimpse of the rocks everywhere you turn.

Additionally if you’re addicted to the Gram, Pinterest, Snap and Facebook or any new social media like I am, this property is outfitted with Wi-Fi throughout the property. However, keep in mind that it works well in the common areas not so much in your room depending on the location of your room.

Lastly if you can in between game drives grab a massage. You won’t regret the view.

Need more information on Elsa’s Kopje check out our video below.

Ready to book your Skysafari, email us to get started

Happy Travels!

KJ

Hotel Review: El Dorado Seaside Suites

Every so often I find a new gem of a hotel to love and this is it in the all inclusive category.

One thing to note is that while on this trip, all the beaches were filled with a quite invasive weed called Sargassum; read all about it here.

Needless to say all the hotels in the area tried to keep up with it but it seemed determined to take over all the beaches. This did not dampen the fun at the resort as there was the pool and of course my favorite hide out space on my balcony pool. I still had a fabulous time!

Hotel: El Dorado Seaside Suites by Karisma

Location: Riviera Maya, Mexico

Time of Visit: July 2018

Overview: Having visited the Cancun hotel zone many years ago  I much prefer the Rivieria Maya and Playa del Carmen area. It's more of a peaceful zone with lots of upscale all inclusive properties such as the Grand Velas, Banyan Tree Mayakoba and more. Additionally many of the attractions such as Tulum, Xcaret and Dolphinaris are all nearby. 

What I Loved: The swimout pools on your balcony were the best. They offer a peaceful oasis for swimming and a great  to view watch the morning sun. If you want something a bit more lively choose a room that has a swimup pool on the main level in the Infinity section. These pools are attached to the main activity pool, placing you right in the center of the action.  

You won't find the balcony swim out pools in the Palms section but many do offer the swim up pool attached to a lazy river. The Palms section is also just as nice and has the walkable and more swimable beach. 

Thinking about spending the day at the beach? Be sure to grab yourself a Bali bed and reserve it before breakfast. Don't forget to bring an empty beach bag to hold your bed so no one thinks it's empty. 

Accommodations: Very spacious rooms indeed. You won't feel cramped if you have 3 people in the room. Each room  comes with a whirlpool bathtub in the bathroom. 

 In room whirlpool

In room whirlpool

Food: The buffets better known as the Gourmet Inclusive Experience were worth it. There was a variety of options everyday. If you want something other than the buffet try one of their a la carte restaurants. Although get there before 7pm as it can be a wait of 40 minutes or more for one of those restaurants. If you are looking to dine at 8pm or later choose one of the  buffets instead. 

Fun Fact: The produce is fresh because it's grown in the company's greenhouse year round. 

 Appetizer from Mia Casa- an Italian a la carte restaurant

Appetizer from Mia Casa- an Italian a la carte restaurant

Spa: The resort has a very relaxing spa called the Naay Spa where you can go through the water theraphy. This was a series of body mud, followed by hot and cold steams before reaching the main pool and lastly the hot, warm and cold baths. Your spa butler will explain the purpose of each station and guide you along in the session. You should factor in an hour before your massage in order to enjoy the water theraphy.

Note: There are 2 spas one in Infinity section with no water therapy and one at the main building with the water therapy  

Things to Know: Leave the AC on in your room, no matter how cold it is especially  if you're in the Infinity section. If you don't the humidity will build up and cause you to have a very slippery floor.  Secondly, this hotel is an all-inclusvie adults only hotel, making it great for hotel for couples looking to rekindle their romance.  Lastly the walls are thin, I could the conversations in the next room. 

Sister Resorts: This resort is part of the overall Karisma Hotel brand with several locations around the world including Croatia, Jamaica and Dominican Republic just to name a few. I visited its other Mexico resorts such as the Casitas Royale, the Eldorado Maroma Suites and the Azul Properties in the surrounding area. The one thing that each property had in common was their proximity to the beach. Unlike the behomth properties you don't have to walk far to get to the beach from your room.

Still each had their own nuances. For instance, the Maroma Suites has the Palofitos, which are the overwater bungalows. I orignally thought the water below them was deep but it isn't and allows for a soak in the crystal blue waters and to view the small fish that wade in the water. Meanwhile a stay at the Casitas will allow you access to 3 resorts, Generations Riviera Maya and El Dorado Royale and so on. 

There's so much more to say about these resorts but it's  best  to experience them yourself.

Looking for more of our first hand reviews check out the following posts!

Ready to go? Ask us how we can get you there by dropping us an email at info@tripstravelagency.com

Until next time, keep traveling!

KJ

Guest Blogger Series: Creating Great Vacation Photos

This guest post was written by the talented Laurelle Farrell of AR Images

We can all travel and take a few snapshots, but what if you want to come home with artwork that stands the test of time? Here are my tips and tricks to capture images that will find a home among your walls and photo albums. Travel photography is a very deliberate art, so don’t forget to plan ahead of time.

Make the Time:

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Scheduling your day too tightly will lead to rushed photographs. If there is an area where you know you will want to stop, make sure your have time in between excursions or tours.

While planning landscape photos try to arrive early in the day or close to dusk. This will allow for the best lighting.

Communicate:

Your spouse or travel companions may not want to wait as you create artwork. Make sure they are aware of any time when you may be absorbed in your camera for a while. They just may choose to find a local coffee shop while you create your art.

Pack with Care:

You may have a whole arsenal of lenses and flashes at home, but do you want to carry it all? Pick one or two lenses to bring with you that will cover your bases. A wider pick such as a 17mm -55mm will have you covered for landscapes and cityscapes. A standard 80mm fixed lens will give you some zoom without being bulky. A 50mm 1.8 will give you speed and versatility within an extremely lightweight lens. Get to know your location. If you feel a longer zoom is needed a 70mm-200mm is a great versatile choice.

 Murano Italy, Nikon D3S Nikon Zoom Nikor 177-55mm 2.8

Murano Italy, Nikon D3S Nikon Zoom Nikor 177-55mm 2.8

Keep it Safe:

Packing light will help you to not be overloaded as you may want to keep your gear on your person at all times. If you do leave gear behind be sure to lock it in your hotel room safe. Call ahead of your travel date to ensure that any items you wish to bring will fit in this space.

Mix it Up:

We are lucky enough to not be held back by fear of wasting film. Change your angle. Get higher and lower. Play with your focus points and depth of field. You won’t ever regret having too many photos, but you may regret wishing your composition was just slightly different.

Know your surroundings:

Headed to the beach? You won't want to take your removable lens off in any location with sand or high winds as you will risk damaging your camera’s sensor. Either stick to one lens or travel with a smaller point and shoot for days when a DSLR isn’t practical.

 San Juan Puerto Rico Nikon D3S Nikon Nikor 50mm 1.8

San Juan Puerto Rico Nikon D3S Nikon Nikor 50mm 1.8

Break up with Auto Mode:

 Burano Italy, Nikon D3S Nikon Zoom Nikor 17-55mm 2.8

Burano Italy, Nikon D3S Nikon Zoom Nikor 17-55mm 2.8

If you’re still using your camera's fully automatic functions you may want to consider a class as you prepare for your trip. Learning how to creatively control your aperture and shutter speed will give you the ability to create the images your desire.

Your camera’s auto mode is only looking to absorb the proper amount of light. Often times this leads to slower shutter speeds that you will not be able to hand hold. Not knowing how to control this could lead to blurred images that could otherwise have been avoided.

 Best of luck with your travel photography!


About Laurelle

Laurelle Farrell is owner and principal photographer at AR Images where she specializes in wedding and lifestyle portraiture with a strong emphasis on custom album design. In addtion to her photography work, Laurelle is co-owner and executive director of Timeless Bridal Creations, an alternative bouquet company offering individually handcrafted alternative bouquets. She teaches several photography courses throughout the Boston area and earned her certificate in professional photography from Boston University’s Center for Digital Imaging Arts

Where to Stay: Club Med Sandpiper Bay

Just like that the summer is done!

August is here and now is the time to pack in as much sun, surf and family time as you can. A great way to get in the last summer fun is to spend some time at the only all-inclusive resort in the US. Yes, there really is an all-inclusive located where else but Florida. This is where you can find Club Med's Sandpiper Bay Resort located in Port St. Lucie, about an hour or 2 south of Orlando. 

I got to take in the resort this summer and quite enjoyed my stay there. Not only was it a great way to unwind but it was also a great way to discover my new love for tennis. The resort is world renowned for its sports program that trains the best athletes worldwide. While there I was able to see some of the worlds future sports stars practice their skills

The resort also has intensive lessons on golfing, volleyball and more. For those wanting to do something a little more light hearted you can partake in acrobat lessons which seemed very fun. Now it wasn't all work and no play. I did spend much time at their adults only pool. I loved this section as it was quieter than the other pools and faced the lake for a serene environment. 

Now this isn't the most glamorous of the Club Med's and the drinks are not top shelf but it's a great quick getaway. If you can try to get one of the updated rooms as those were nicer. 

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The food was delicious, plentiful and included a daily variety of dishes. Now their chocolate bread was hands down the best breakfast food. We really loved their chocolate bread, it was gooey, soft and filled with a lot of chocolate chips for this chocolate lover. 

While it was a short vacation; just 3 days but I would go back again. It's a good idea to book early though as you're able to get good prices and space as they tend to sell out during the summer season.