Trips Travel Agency

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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!


Russia- World Cup 2018

              As summer quickly approaches, our dreams of vacation become stronger and stronger. This summer is special due to a tournament that is only played every four years: The World Cup. Not only is this a historical and thrilling tournament, but it is hosted by Russia, a country steeped in history and culture. The World Cup the legendary soccer tournament will feature some of the best of the best in this sport, such a Lionel Messi, Christiano Ronaldo, and Luis Suarez. This tournament will be buzzing around cities all over Russia giving you the opportunity to enjoy this country in its pure fullness. 

                    If you visit this city during the tournament, you will witness a city alive with color and spirit, but as it comes to be, getting tickets to these matches is extremely difficult. Even though you may not be able to go to the matches themselves, it does not mean there isn’t a lot still to do and see. Three of the cities we are excited most for are Moscow, Ekaterinburg and St Petersburg. All these cities are filled with beautiful architecture, delicious food, and vibrancy that only comes with a city alive with summer weather and national pride.


              Moscow is the nation’s cosmopolitan capital and is filled with adventure and intrigue. At the very core of this city is the Kremlin, a building that is home to the president and is the historic center for this city and its past. What separates the Kremlin from the outside is the Red Square, which gives light to the vibrant architectural past of this city.

                  Visit the beautiful St. Basil’s Cathedral and make sure to take a guided tour of these historical landmarks that express so much of Russia’s historical and cultural past. Even as you are getting around Moscow, you are exposed to its iconic architectural influences within the Russian metro. Not only is this metro clean and efficient, but the stations themselves are works of art. To make your stay in Moscow even more enjoyable, stay at the Hotel Baltschug Kempinski Moscow. Not only is this a five- star hotel, but it also offers a fantastic view of the Kremlin and St Basil’s Cathedral. The building itself dates back to 1898, but their contemporary décor makes these 227 elegant rooms a must stay. When out on the town, some delicious eats includes Vai Me!, a charming Georgian restaurant with great food and music or Lepim i Varim, a great local find with delicious pelmeni. 

                 Ekaterinburg is another piece of Moscow’s diverse tapestry and worth a visit when you can’t go to the matches lined up for this summer. For a luxurious experience, make sure to the stay at the Hyatt Regency Ekaterinburg, that totes its five-star rating and is located on the bank of Iset River. This luxury hotel is also a short distance from city hall, Cathedral-on-the-Blood (or the Church of All Saints), and the Opera Ballet House.


While there, also be sure to visit the Visotsky Business Center Lookout for the most beautiful view of the city from the observation deck and the Yekaterinburg War Memorial, which honors the soldiers who died in Russia's Afghan War. The highlight of Ekaterinburg is the Sevastyanov’s House, which is a beautiful example of the neo-gothic style present throughout the city. While perusing through the city, make sure to visit Moi Drug Olive and Pashtet for delicious Russian food and insanely tasty borsch.

                  St. Petersburg is one  of Russia’s most notable cities with food and culture to spare. Not only should you visit the Hermitage Museum, one of the most famous art museum’s in the world, founded in 1764, but also feel like a royal as you explore the Winter Palace and Peterhof Palace.

St. Petersburg

This city by the sea is filled with art and history and taking the time to explore the past is well worth your time. Further enjoy your visit by staying at the Hotel Asotria, which itself is a St. Petersburg landmark. This beautiful hotel sits directly across from St. Isaac’s Cathedral and its rooms are luxurious and tranquil amidst the bustling city streets. For a unique experience, visit the Mazzaro’sI Italian Market to get a little taste of Italy while walking through the beautiful streets of St. Petersburg. Overall, make this trip more than just about soccer, but about a complete cultural immersion.

For the schedule and more information on the World Cup visit:  

Need help planning your trip to Russia, send us an email at

Happy Travels! 



Where to Go to Next: Panama!!

It's been a while everyone and we are now back!

Next stop on our Latin America tour is Panama.  I've traveled through Panama City via it's Tocumen International aiport for a layover mulitple times. This was the first time I got to visit the city!

As soon as I stepped off the plane the humidity smacked me in the face. Trust me It was a far cry from the rainy days in Bogota! Panama is known for its tropical weather, which apparently can be stifling. Thankfully I arrived on May Day, where many Panamanians are on holiday and out of the city which made driving into town very easy. 

The city is quite beautiful with it's tall skyscrapers against the skyline, even though the grey cloudy skies showed an imminent threat of rain. Thankfully the next day they went away and I was able to meander through the Historic District.

The historic district was very dreamy and romantic, filled with old colonial architecture quiet streets and palm trees. Not to mention all roads take you to the ocean where you can view the skyscrapers dotting the city skyline from afar. 

Park in Historic District

Park in Historic District

There's also a beautiful park along the ocean at the end. The waters did not look swimmable as it was really rough but there were some stairs nearby where one could walk down to the beach. 

When in the area take some time to visit the shops. We found that souvenir shopping was easy, of course it always is where there are not a lot of tourists around!

Things to Know if You Go:

Panama's bordering countries are Costa Rica to the north and Colombia to the south. Water is ever present as you can visit both the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. 

If you're just stopping through the airport  know that it is undergoing construction and upgrades, so you might find some good shopping or you might not. Although when I go through the gates for the flights going to the US I do find good shopping, duty free and good restaurants.  When I fly to other parts of Latin America, the options are very limited. 

If you have a hard time figuring out the currency exchange when you travel, you're in luck. Panama's official  currency (the Balboa) is on par with the US dollar. You will have a hard time finding Balboa bills as most ATM's just dispense US dollars. Your US dollars will go farther than in the US which explains why lot's of Americans tend to live in Panama.  

How to get there: Fly Copa Airlines. They have direct flights from Boston and Washington DC ( Dulles)  straight into Tocumen Airport (PTY).

Additionally Copa flies to many other South & Central American cities at a more economical price with a layover in Panama City. One thing to note though, if you're looking to get some work done using the in-flight wifi; it doesn't exist on Copa, most likely due to their fleet consisting of older planes. 

Our Stay:

We stayed at the Hotel Bristol. The hotel is centrally located, making it easy to get around the city. Our lovely room was located in the newest  tower where the rooms a slightly larger, newer and extremely beautiful. 

Tower Executive Room courtesy of Bristol Hotel 

Tower Executive Room courtesy of Bristol Hotel 

Lobby courtesy of Bristol Hotel

Lobby courtesy of Bristol Hotel

Lastly did you know Panama is the newest up and coming destination?  Well it is! What are you waiting for? Get going now! Need help planning a trip to Panama, shoot us an email at and we'll help out

Happy Travels!!

Departures: Getting to Cuba

In our new series Departures, were talking about exciting destinations and how to get there. First up in the series is Cuba!!

For over a year I've been fielding calls and questions on trips to Cuba.

If you haven't heard but getting to Cuba is the newest trend in travel for U. S travelers. Everyone wants to get there before things "change", "before it becomes overrun with tourists" or too "touristy" . All this makes getting to Cuba big business.

There are eager travelers ready to explore a destination that was relatively off limits for them in the past. While getting to Cuba is certainly now more accessible to Americans these days, getting there is not without its challenges. 

First comes the rules for traveling there. 

Once you attempt to purchase a ticket on JetBlue  (using them as an example because they happen to be my favorite airline) they will ask you to select the category under which you are allowed to travel to Cuba.  

1) I am a Cuban National and resident of Cuba
2) Educational activities, including people-to-people exchanges open to everyone
3) Professional research and professional meetings
4) Public performances, clinics, workshops, athletic and other competitions and exhibitions
5) Religious activities
6) Humanitarian projects
7) Journalistic activities
8) Family visits
9) Activities in Cuba by private foundations, or research or educational institutes
10) Support for the Cuban people
11) Exportation, importation, or transmission of information technologies or materials
12) Certain authorized export transactions including agricultural and medical products, and tools, equipment and construction supplies for private use
13) Official business of the US government, foreign governments and certain intergovernmental organizations
14) Specific license

(For more information:

If you dig a little further and go to the U.S. Treasury's page you'll find the following question:

Is travel to Cuba for tourist activities permitted?
No. Consistent with the Trade Sanctions Reform and Export Enhancement Act of 2000 (TSRA), travel-related transactions involving Cuba are only permitted for the 12 categories of activities identified in the CACR. Travel-related transactions for other purposes remain prohibited. 

( For more information:

Hey if you want to get to Cuba it's best to follow the rules.

This may all seem daunting but it's not! There are many ways to experience Cuba and meet the requirements of the U.S. Treasury. Currently the best way to do this is to go on a certified tour. Certified tours have already been through the vetting process of having their programs qualify usually under the people to people exemption. 

This means that your trip to Cuba will usually have an educational or cultural exchange aspect to it. 

Some tour options include jumping on a Fathom cruise.

Fathom is Carnival's newest cruise line sailing from Miami to either Cuba or Dominican Republic. These cruises allow you to take part in service projects, connect with the locals on a deeper level than you might on a regular 7 day cruise to the Caribbean. 

Additionally the cruise moves along to various ports within the country so you're not docked in one area for the entire trip. Your group tours are also small and intimate as opposed to the big bus tours that you would normally take on a cruise. Overall it's an intimate experience, even the ship they use, the  Adonia is a smaller ship making it much more of an intimate experience than your mega ships.  I wouldn't be surprised if you left making some lasting connections with the people on and off the ship.  

Another great way to experience Cuba is through Smithsonian Journeys. Smithsonian Journeys has in-depth tours on many countries. Additionally your hosts are usually experts on that particular country. You can also see their biography online so you can see their background before booking the trip. 

G Adventures is another great tour operator! They usually focus on small intimate groups and is best for the adventurous traveler. Try their Cycle Cuba or their Classic Cuba tour.

Things to Remember:

  • In the past many of the tour operators took care of processing the U.S. Treasury documents for you. Today some still do and some do not so it's always a good idea to ask. 
  • Cash is king here! You're US debit or credit card is not going to work in Cuba, so bring cash instead 
  • Don't forget to get the health insurance. Again some operators will do it for you or it's added onto their pricing others do not so check on it. If you purchase your flight separately ask if they also include it. 
  • Read the fine print! Operators will tell you whether or not this tour is suitable for US citizens.
  • Keep good records of your Cuba related  transactions for 5 years

Who Should Go:

This isn't your typical beach vacation with friends and family.  This is truly an educational experience. Do not expect all inclusive packages with unlimited beverages and all you can eat buffets or just buying a  $99 flight and winging it when you get there.  Costs and tours can vary so take a look around and see what fits your schedule and budget. 

Happy Travels!


    Additional Resources:

    US Embassy in Havana: