The Surge of Bucket-List Travel
With promising news of a vaccine finally arriving and pent-up demand for travel, ActiveTravels clients have already begun to inquire about travels in the second half of 2021 and 2022. Of course, many of you have already rescheduled trips that were cancelled in 2020. We’re hoping those go smoothly after such a turbulent year. We’re also starting to receive new requests to what we consider bucket list destinations. Places like South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, and Thailand. After losing a year of travel due to the pandemic, it looks like people are going for the gusto when they travel again, hoping to visit a dream destination. Well, we’re happy to help make those dreams a reality!

We’ve been fortunate over the past 8 years to develop fantastic relationships with local suppliers. We’ve put them through the ringer and a few have succeeded with flying colors, receiving only rave reviews from clients for their authentic and inventive itineraries. They’ve gone overboard to arrange a private dinner atop the Eiffel Tower, visit the Sistine Chapel before it opens to the public, arrange a sunset sail out of Santorini, or champagne for two for a private marriage proposal in the Serengeti. Ask and we’ll do our best to turn your dreams into reality! Based on our solid relationships with suppliers, please read ahead to discover the bucket list destinations we’re really excited to send you to once we are given the green light!
African Safaris
For guided group African safaris, it’s hard to top Abercrombie & Kent. I’ve been fortunate to go on six safari trips to the continent, but the two A&K jaunts, first to Kenya and then Botswana with Lisa were the crème de la creme. They boast exceptional guides like our good friend Kebby in Botswana and small upscale lodges like Sanctuary Olonana on Kenya’s Mara River, where I would wake up each morning to have my poached eggs with the hippos. A&K trips, however, can be quite expensive, which is why we’ve developed wonderful relationships with local suppliers in South Africa, Tanzania, and Kenya who can design private personalized itineraries. We’ve really enjoyed working with African Scenic Safaris in Arusha, who designs driving tours of the Tanzania circuit for those with a more moderate budget. Stops include Ngorongoro Crater, private lodges in the Serengeti, and a beachfront stay in Zanzibar after safari. Some of the money you spend on the trip helps to run an orphanage just outside Arusha’s city limits. Personal Africa in South Africa can combine a week’s stay in Cape Town, visiting the Cape of the Good Hope, the wineries, and all the sites in the city, with 4 nights at Kruger National Park. Origins Safaris in Kenya have been in business since 1963, designing trips to the most distinctive lodges in the Masai Mara, before adding on a 2-night stay in Rwanda to see the gorillas. If you want to go on safari, we have you covered!
Galapagos Islands
While we’re on the subject of wildlife, let’s visit that mythical home of the blue-footed boobies and far too sociable sea lions. Lindblad Expeditions has paired up with National Geographic and have made the Galapagos their number one priority. It shows with their expert naturalists and new ships. But if you want to go smaller, you certainly can. We’ve put a number of you on Haugan yachts, housing 6 to 8 berths and more crew than passengers. They have wonderful naturalists and the ability to anchor in smaller harbors. We’ve also had families and couples go on guided sea kayaking jaunts with Row Adventures, a renowned sea kayaking and rafting outfitter. So, there are a number of ways to see the islands. We can also combine the Galapagos Islands with stops in Quito, Lima, and Machu Picchu.
Slice of Europe
First-time callers to ActiveTravels often ask us what’s our expertise? That’s not an easy question to answer, because we delight in sending you to the most remote corners of the globe, whether it’s the chance to see the orangutans of Sumatra or hiking the W Trek in Chilean Patagonia’s Torres del Paine National Park. Yes, we know New England like the back of our hand. But we also know Europe exceptionally well and wow, do we love our local suppliers, especially TFL Tours in Italy, Madrid and Beyond in Spain, Celebrated Experiences in Scotland, Ireland and the entire UK, and Original Senses in Greece. It’s easy for us to design itineraries in major cities like London, Paris, Amsterdam, Barcelona, and Rome on our own. Yet, if you want to get a real taste of Europe away from the masses, please give us the chance to show you Puglia, Provence, and Paros, where the Europeans go on vacation. Also consider slowing down on two wheels with Backroads, DuVine, VBT and Ciclismo Classico, biking and hiking/walking outfitters, who know how to get you off-the-beaten-track to more isolated and scenic locales.
Australia/New Zealand
Having traveled around Australia for 3 months, we feel comfortable designing our own Dream Day Itineraries to Australia. Depending on time and budget, we can send you to Sydney, Melbourne, Cairns/Port Douglas, and add in some special treats like Ayers Rock, biking or hiking in Tasmania, or scuba diving off a Great Barrier Reef island, like Heron. New Zealand, however, was meant for driving at a slow pace. That is, if you can handle driving on the left-hand side of the road. We’ve enjoyed working with a local outfitter, NZSidekick, who will rent you a car and then design an itinerary with suggested activities and stops at small inns they personally inspect and recommend. Pricing is affordable and it’s a fantastic way to see the country’s topography, from fjords to glaciers to massive lakes and long stretches of secluded coastline. "Wow" activities include cruising the majestic Milford Sound (pictured above), dinner at a Marlborough sauvignon blanc vineyard, and strolling along a beach dotted with hundreds of massive elephant seals.
Israel remains one of our most popular destinations and, no doubt, travel requests will come in again shortly. This is another country we know well (Lisa has relatives outside of Tel Aviv and Haifa) and feel comfortable booking our favorite hotels in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. For touring outside of the cities, whether it’s Jewish-based, Christian-based, or adventure-based, we’ve worked with Kenes Tours who consistently offer smooth and streamlined services and excellent guides and drivers for your group. We’ve worked with Kenes primarily on private trips, but they also offer guided group trips, and can include visits to Petra in neighboring Jordan. Expect to enjoy a life-affirming float in the Dead Sea, climb Masada, visit Jerusalem’s fantastic market, Mahane Yehuda, and sandboarding with your family in the Negev desert.
For your first taste of Islamic culture, it’s hard to top Morocco or Turkey. Both offer a great combination of historic cities, spectacular mosques, excellent dining, and breathtaking countryside like Cappadocia in central Turkey and the Sahara Desert in Morocco. Turkey remains one of our most memorable family trips, a destination I find both magical and mysterious, from visiting the exquisite Blue Mosque in Istanbul to hot air ballooning high above the lunar-like Cappadocia landscape as seen in my article in Global Traveler. As Lisa mentioned in her latest Tuesday Travel Dreaming piece, Experience Morocco does a wonderful job in Morocco, while we like to work with Kensington Tours in Turkey.
Whether you want to visit the elephant sanctuaries outside of Chiang Mai, the ancient ruins of Angkor Wat, or experience a beach vacation in Koh Samui with your honey (Koh Samui is pictured here), we’ll get you there with top-notch guides and service. Most of our Southeast Asian trips are planned with Trails of Indochina. We’ve used their guides in Bangkok for our own trip January 2019 and know from our clients that they excel in Thailand and Cambodia. They’ve also helped us in Laos, Malaysia, and Bali.
Nothing is ever easy about traveling to India and this is certainly true with finding an outfitter that consistently offers excellent service. Lisa must have went through at least 6 different suppliers before we felt comfortable with IndoAsia Tours. The owner is a former hiking guide for National Geographic Expeditions in Afghanistan, whom we’ve met over lattes on several occasions at the Waban Starbucks! He not only knows India exceptionally well, but has helped us in Sri Lanka and the Maldives. If you've always wanted to go on a safari in India to view their indigenous tigers in Rajasthan (see photo here) or spend the night in a houseboat in Kerala or view the Taj Mahal at sunrise, we can help get you there!
I was scheduled to travel with Wild China to see the Great Wall, the pandas in Chengdu, the terra cotta warriors of Xian, and restaurants only locals know in Beijing and Shanghai. That was pushed off until 2021. Owned by a Harvard business school grad, Wild China, excels at showing you all parts of the country, including hiking near the Tibetan border. So whether it’s your first trip or your 5th trip, they’ll peel off another intriguing layer of this massive country to show you the people, the scenery, the culture and culinary delights.
This is just the tip of the iceberg! Those of you who have traveled to Costa Rica with us know we love Aaron at Costa Rica Experts. Our Colombia go-to contact is always Nils at Latin Excursions. In Scandinavia and Eastern Europe, we usually work with the tried-and true Baltic Holidays. Let ActiveTravels know your Bucket List Destination and we’ll happily work with our incredible in-country contacts to ensure that your journey lives up to all your dreams and expectations!
Congratulations to our
ActiveTravels Holiday Giveaway

Carolynn Levy!!
Storm brewing over Strong Island, Chatham MA
Carolynn Levy, we are very happy to announce that you have won our Holiday Giveaway Photo Contest!!! Well-done!

We asked you, due to the ongoing restrictions in place for traveling, to find ways to enjoy the scenery around you and within driving distance and share photos from your journeys. Carolynn took this picture while on Cape Cod this year in one of our favorite areas, Chatham. It truly captures this moment of 2020 for me, black clouds over head but beautiful beams of sunlight ahead on the horizon.

Thank you, Carolynn, for encapsulating this year for us in such a vivid and beautiful way! We are happy to reward you with our Holiday Giveaway of a $150 gift certificate to the restaurant of your choice.

Our gratitude goes out to all of you who submitted their photos to us as part of our Holiday Giveaway campaign. Wishing all of us brighter days ahead!
Quick Escape:
Fondue Village Returns to Rhode Island’s Ocean House
If you want to dine outdoors in a unique cozy setting, it’s hard to top the Ocean House’s Fondue Village, which returns for its 3rd year. Fondue Village consists of several vintage ski gondolas, outfitted with warm wooden interiors, chandeliers, and imported Swiss and Austrian glassware and china. They offer lunch or dinner for up to 6 guests featuring fondue, crepes, and other Alpine delicacies, served alongside vintage selections of Veuve Clicquot champagnes. Afterwards, spend a night at this circa-1868 Victorian-style property which sits on 11 acres of land, including some prime coastline. In the winter, you can walk the secluded beach, do laps in their heated indoor pool, or get a massage or facial at their spa.

Reservations for the fondue dinners must be made in advance. A portion of the proceeds from Fondue Village will benefit the Ocean House Fund for Charitable Giving. Reservations are required and pre-payment must be made at time of booking. Each seating allows the choice of one gondola with a limit of four (4) guests or from two gondolas that can accommodate up to six (6) guests. The Fondue Village is open and they're taking reservations through March 31st, 2021. Here's their Breakfast and Afternoon Crepes Menu and here's their Après Ski Lunch & Dinner Menu just to tempt your tastebuds!

Let ActiveTravels know your available dates and we’ll check availability for both dinner and a room for that special occasion!
89 Roundwood Road,
Newton, MA 02464