Science has shown that one’s environment has a direct impact on well-being, a fact that anyone who’s spent significant time in the mountains or by the sea can attest to. There’s just something about being by the ocean, hearing the crashing waves and feeling the sea breeze against your face; or being in the desert, hearing nothing but the chirp of an odd bird and seeing nothing but an endless landscape of majestic rock that makes you leave all your worries at home and let yourself breathe. The following locations will make even the most stressed-out individuals find their bliss.
A big part of resetting your mind is learning how to slow down, and the laid-back vibe of the Caribbean may be just the place for those needing a break from the fast-paced frenzy of their lives. Once you step off the plane and breathe in the ocean air, look out at the turquoise sea and walk barefoot through the smooth white sand with a cool daiquiri in hand, the bothers of daily life are all but forgotten. Choose from a multitude of swimming pools to wade in or sit under palm trees with a book in hand and ocean in view. Play a few rounds at a pro-level golf course, and wander to a conch shack for fresh delicacies prepared on the spot. And if shopping relieves stress for you, pop into the high-end boutiques for a little retail therapy.
It’s no surprise that some of the wealthiest people in the world, who could live anywhere they want, choose to settle down in towns like Santa Monica, California, or Palm Beach, Florida. These locales provide easy access to major cities in the U.S., so traveling to and from is not an issue. And once you’re there, the towns are bursting with modern luxuries and convenience, while remaining pristine in appearance. Manicured lawns rest in front of mammoth mansions, and five-star resorts with seaside spas and fine cuisine are plentiful. Walk straight from your oceanfront hotel to a secluded beach below for sunrise yoga, experience in-suite spa treatments, indulge in healthy Michelin-star meals and cycle to town on complimentary bicycles at the impressive resorts that make up America’s chic coastal getaways.
The beauty of the desert is endless, creating the perfect setting for days of quiet contemplation. What better way to treat yourself in this day and age of constant noise and endless obligation? In the desert, nobody cares if your inbox is packed with unopened emails. And in the desert, the mountains call for you to climb them, bringing an organic opportunity to focus on physical as well as mental health. Take a hike and feel the full-body relaxation and restful sleep that follows a day of exercise. Soothe your muscles in a private outdoor soaking tub at a desert resort, align your body at a top-ranked spa and dine on fresh seasonal cuisine while sitting on an outdoor dining deck facing the expansive mountains.
Spirituality seekers have been known to visit Hawaii for the healing properties that only a tropical paradise can bring. Whether or not you believe that the islands’ volcanic energies are operating at higher chakra frequencies, it can’t be denied that the unique beauty of its verdant jungles and rolling hills existing in the same space as the bluest ocean waters and clear skies possess a special soul-soothing quality. Make time to try a Lomi Lomi massage, take sail on the waters of the Pacific, enter an infinity pool that looks out on the ocean and commune with nature in a protected wildlife reserve, and you’ll return home invigorated.
Paris is one of the most romantic cities in the world. But amid all the love-struck couples, Paris also happens to be an idyllic destination for families. Filled with lush green parks and kid-friendly museums, glittering palaces and a seemingly endless supply of pastries, Paris offers families a fairytale-like magic all their own.
To give you an idea of how you can enjoy the City of Light with your little ones, here’s a sample three-day itinerary that hits all the right notes for families. Of course, you can contact our agency to plan this trip or personalize your Paris journey to fit your family best.
Treat the kids with breakfast at iconic Café de Flore, where they can revel in fresh-baked croissants and bowl-like cups of steaming chocolat chaud. Afterward, walk to Luxembourg Gardens and spend the morning sailing wooden sailboats in the famous Grand Bassin, taking in a marionette show and riding on the city’s oldest carousel. Then take a short ride to the banks of the Seine to board one of the glass-domed boats that depart every 30 minutes. Next stop: the Eiffel Tower, preferably in the early evening when the wait is shorter.
For the second day of you trip, embark on a private tour. The first could be a tour of the city in a classic Citroen, listening to your driver and guide entertain you with stories about the city during a 90-minute Paris Highlights itinerary. For art lovers, head to the Louvre for a private tour designed especially for families. The tour caters to the kids’ short attention span and allows you to skip the museum’s long admission line—a win-win for everyone.
On your last day in Paris, begin with a walk along the Champs Elysees. Starting at the Arc de Triomphe, where you can ride the elevator to the top to take in the panoramic views, head toward the famous patisserie Ladurée for pastel-colored macarons. Then jump on the Metro and travel to the picturesque Montmartre neighborhood. Lunch in the garden at Le Moulin de la Galette, a restaurant housed in one of the last remaining windmills in the neighborhood, before taking on the 300 steps of the Sacré-Coeur (the view at the top is totally worth it). Afterward, stop by Trocadéro Square and enjoy watching the street acrobats and skateboarders who take over the monumental plaza.
Matt outside Rudesheim, Germany before boarding his river cruise with AmaWaterways.
I'm traveling around Europe right now and wanted to take a moment to tell you what a wonderful time I'm having exploring Paris, Rome, Barcelona, and so many small picturesque towns around Europe. Click here to see some photos.
I wish more people took the time to travel internationally. Did you know that only 42% of Americans have a passport? I want to change that. From now until the end of January if you book a new international vacation package with me, I'll pay for your passport fees. Already have a passport? Then I'll pay for your Global entry which includes TSA pre-check! This means you'll get through TSA and customs lines in the US faster.
Not sure where to go? Join me on one of the below trips.
Playa del Carmen
Italy, Croatia & Montenegro Cruise
If those dates don't work for you, click here for more inspiration.
The holidays are coming up. Rather than spending money on material gifts, let me help you plan an unforgettable experience with memories that will last a lifetime.
Ask me for more details about how to get me to pay for your passport or Global Entry.
In a teenager’s mind, there’s nothing worse than spending a vacation with the family. To them, a trip with the ‘lame’ parents and ‘bratty’ little brother is filled with confined spaces, no personal freedom and limited interaction with other teens. Cruising just might change their minds.
Cruise lines have been working overtime to please teens, creating “cool” areas, shore excursions, spa programs and more geared especially for the teen set. Why go to such great lengths? Because one disgruntled teen can ruin the entire trip. And parents can’t relax unless they know everyone in their brood is in a good mood, which makes cruises the ideal choice.
Below you’ll find a list of cruise lines and what they offer for teens. Armed with this information, you’ll have the upper hand in convincing your teen that a week with the fam island-hopping in the Caribbean or cruising past glaciers in Alaska won’t be so bad. One word of warning: some of these cruise lines offer so many options for your kids, you may barely see them for the entire vacation. Sounds blissful, doesn’t it?
Royal Caribbean International
When you cruise with Royal Caribbean, you’re not just going on a vacation, you’re embarking on an adventure! Onboard the most innovative ships at sea, your entire family will love racing up the rock-climbing wall, catching a wave on the FlowRider® surf simulator or learn how to sky-dive on the RipCord® by iFLY®. Adventure Ocean groups give teens the freedom to come and go as they please for sports, themed parties, movie nights and more. Teens can also meet and relax in the laid-back lounges and dance late into the night at teen-only nightclubs.
Celebrity’s Camp at Sea is designed to make sure children of all ages enjoy the cruise as much as you do. The program is powered by partnerships with cool companies like Lonely Planet™, The Frost Science Museum and Xbox, resulting in hundreds of programs divided into four categories: Art, Recreation, Culinary and S.T.E.M. The cruise line also offers special teen-focused spa services, such as peroxide-free laser teeth whitening, mani-pedis and deep-cleansing facials and hair treatments.
Norwegian Cruise Line
Norwegian’s Freestyle Cruising is all about flexibility and freedom. Your teens can eat where they want (with 13+ restaurants to choose from), when they want, and with whom they want (hopefully that includes you). Other highlights for teens include Entourage, a special space for teens filled with video games, movies and music; and wild themed parties like College Night, White Hot Party and Glow.
From special onboard guests with cruise partner Animal Planet™—such as Puppies in the Piazza on Alaska cruises, and Parrots in the Piazza in the Caribbean—to being in the audience, or even on stage, during The Voice of the Ocean music competition, teens will find numerous Instagrammable moments on board. Plus, at the teens-only Beach House, they’ll enjoy late-night movies, hip hop dance classes and video game tournaments.
Ready to feast on the latest culinary delights? There’s no better place to taste delicious dishes, learn quick cooking tips from pros and rub elbows with celebrity chefs than at international food festivals. Here are the most exciting epicurean events that will allow you to eat your way around the world.
Melbourne Food and Wine Festival
In March, this festival unveils a mouth-watering program of more than 250 events bringing food and wine to the streets of Melbourne over a two-week period. One of its most iconic events is the ‘world’s longest lunch,’ where some 900 diners enjoy a three-course alfresco lunch seated at a snaking 1312-foot-long table, the location of which changes each year. While the cuisine is traditional Australian (think surf ‘n’ turf, not Vegemite), the festival has introduced a special focus on heritage and long-lost culinary skills such as preserving, pickling and smoking.
Montreal Beer Festival
The Montreal Beer Festival is the largest of its kind in Canada, attracting over 80,000 thirsty revelers every June for five days of brewery tastings, beer and cheese workshops, flavor contests, food-beer pairing seminars, musical entertainment and plenty more. Welcoming everyone from curious novices and self-confessed epicureans to the finest beer connoisseurs on the planet, the Mondial de la bière has long been championing the reinstatement of beer’s noble status. There are also food booths offering hearty fare such as boar, ostrich and smoked meats.
Taste of London
Held in Regents Park every June, the Taste of London is a four-day celebration of food and drink. This is where London’s top restaurants – such as Yauatcha, Theo Randall and The Modern Pantry – serve sample-sized dishes with award-winning chefs revealing their tricks of the trade. You can also take part in wine tutorials and cooking classes, and watch chefs wield their knives in the cookery theater. Expect an eclectic array of cuisines, which make this a diverse and multi-cultural event, representing foods from around the world.
Fete de la Crevette (Honfleur, France)
The largest seafood festival in France, the Fete de la Crevette is a two-day event with nautical-themed concerts and gatherings of historical old sea vessels near the mouth of the Seine. Indulge on shrimps, especially the little grey shrimp, or ‘petite grise’, a local specialty, plus a variety of seafood including all manner of unusual subterranean dwellers such as sea spiders. There’s even a shrimp-peeling competition for the nimble fingered.
Taste of Beverly Hills
A relative newcomer to the festival scene, Taste of Beverly Hills is nonetheless an epicurean spectacular worth celebrating. Set on the famous Wilshire Boulevard behind the Beverly Hilton, the five-day event includes cooking demos with world-famous chefs and wine seminars with some of the best vintners in the state. Previous festivals have provided a showcase for celebrity chefs and restaurateurs including Wolfgang Puck, Curtis Stone, Top Chef winner, Michael Voltaggio; French chef Ludo Lefebvre; and Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo of the trendy LA restaurant Animal.
Richard Branson is moving into the cruise space with the all new Virgin Voyages. The first ship (Scarlet Lady) will launch next year and will be notably different than your typical cruise line. It will also include some firsts at sea.
Firsts at Sea
I'm sure there will be more exciting changes along the way as Virgin tries to shake up the cruise industry. Reply to this email with your questions and to find out how to be one of the first to board Scarlet Lady.
Click here for a preview of Scarlet Lady.
Top 3 Reasons to Book a Fall Wine Cruise
1. See Europe’s breathtaking landscapes illuminated in vibrant autumn colors
2. Visit renowned sites and wineries as the locals do, amid less crowds
3. Save on airfare, as prices are typically reduced for fall
Journey through highly-acclaimed European wine regions, from Austria’s UNESCO-designated Wachau Valley to Germany’s Rheingau and Moselle regions to France’s celebrated Bordeaux region and beyond.
Expert Wine Hosts:
Be accompanied throughout your cruise by a dedicated Wine Host from a North American winery who leads tastings, visits to private cellars and historic vineyards, and a carefully-curated food and wine pairing dinner.
Click here to learn more about river cruising and contact me to help you find the perfect river cruise for you..
Along the River!
Join me this fall on an exciting European river cruise.
We'll visit France, Germany, Netherlands, and Switzerland all while traveling on the Rhine river. You'll visit castles, wineries, and explore small picturesque towns you never thought you'd experience.
Why River Cruise?
River cruising allows you to immerse yourself in the destination and culture on a comfortable floating hotel. No need to pack and un-pack to get to each destination. Let the destination come to you.
Top 3 Reasons to Book a Fall Cruise
Click here for more details.
Last month, I had the honor of leading 130 people on a Celebrity Cruise to Alaska. Alaska had been on my bucket list for several years and it did not disappoint. The incredible views from the cruise ship were worth it alone. From glaciers, to waterfalls, to wildlife; we saw it all. Then, we got off the ship and saw even more.
Click here for a taste of the experience we had. I have to say, pictures really don't do it justice. The enormous landscape that Alaska offers must be seen in person.
Sharing my travel experiences and insights