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 Vacations are precious investments of time with your loved ones.  

Trust ActiveTravels to provide:
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personally-tested travel itineraries customized just for you 

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there for you 
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Editor's Letter,
September 2019

Dear ActiveTravels Members,

The picture of me here is one of the happiest moments I had this summer. Drinking a cup of coffee at the Art Institute of Chicago with one of my very favorite people in the whole world, my mom. The perfect elements for great travel: people you love, glorious places and a drink in hand Okay, maybe yours is alcoholic!

Where did you go this summer? Did you have a perfect moment of contentment where you were enjoying your companions and your destination? That's really all you need to replenish the well and help you to get back to the September routines of work, school and the responsibilities that come alongside them.

Thankfully, our members send us photos of their happy moments and we have a wonderful running list of destinations we have sent them all summer long from Alaska, Ireland, Portugal, Croatia, Italy, Canada, New England, Tanzania and Belize. Definitely Like our ActiveTravels Facebook page to see these happy moments and get inspiration for your next trip.

Where else did members go this summer? A dizzying array of places! Here's the list: Turkey, Spain, Norway, Baltics, Poland, Russia, South Africa, Rwanda, Madagascar, UK, France, Greece, Austria, Iceland, Costa Rica, Bermuda, Thailand, Hawaii and Peru.

And, September will be busy here at ActiveTravels with people traveling to France, Spain, Greece, Morocco, Yosemite, Denmark and Sweden, Vietnam, Quebec, a Danube river cruise, Portugal, Croatia and Austria, London and New England for some early leaf peeping.

The more time you give us to plan your upcoming adventures, the better. So, give us a call or shoot us an email and we'll get started!

Wish Steve a fantastic time in Peru as he's off today to see Lima, Machu Picchu and more. Check out his Facebook posts and his Instagram to follow along. Once he's home you'll hear all about it in his blog and in our next newsletter.

Happy Travels!

Lisa & Steve
Five Trips to Try....Winter Escapes 
Our Members Love

On average, our ActiveTravels members take over 250 trips a year. Span that over 7 years since we started in 2012, and the number of trips taken is close to 2,000. That's a lot of valuable information to work with. First and foremost, which properties, outfitters, and destinations never disappoint. Here's our list of go-to destinations for you to consider for this coming winter:
With its mix of Mayan ruins, white sand beach, clarity of water, and Mexican food and margaritas, Playa del Carmen makes for an ideal international trip. Especially if you only have 3 or 4 nights, since there are many direct flights to Cancun from North America. Grand Velas is best known for their exemplary dining, especially when compared to other all-inclusive properties. But this beachfront property also gets high grades for its spacious rooms, modern architecture, and service. Grand Velas also has other excellent resorts in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, and Puerto Vallarta.

This is your best bang-for-your-buck property in pricey Providenciales and smack dab on glorious Grace Bay, one of the finest beaches in the Caribbean. The resort is condo-style, which families love since you can book a 2-bedroom apartment with full kitchen. There are also two pools on property, wide patio with grills and tables, well-manicured grounds with expansive lawns and tropical flowers, casual poolside bar and grill and an upscale restaurant, large gym with modern Cybex equipment, access to amenities at their sister property, Ocean Club West, free loaner bikes and use of tennis courts, mini-market, free Wi-Fi throughout, and weekly rum punch parties.  

People often look to Backroads for summer or fall travel, but the company is offering more and more winter escapes. We tend to book many family trips to The Big Island and Kauai over December break (which is even easier now from Boston thanks to Hawaiian Air's direct flight). But further afield, you can visit Thailand, Vietnam, Bali, New Zealand, Tanzania, and South Africa. Or how about a winter weather getaway, like heading to Yellowstone to see the bison in the snow or viewing the northern lights in Iceland? The one commonality-we've never received one complaint about Backroads, only praise.

Sanibel and Captiva Islands, Florida
Located on the shores of the Gulf of Mexico, just an hour from Fort Myers, Sanibel and Captiva Islands are the Florida of yesteryear, pre-Disney. Considered one of the three best shelling beaches in the world, Sanibel contains some 400 species of seashells on its 20 miles of shoreline. Once you've collected your bag of shells, head inland to the tropical paradise known as the "Ding" Darling National Wildlife Refuge. This 5,000-acre wetland, home to alligators and numerous shorebirds, including herons, storks, pelicans, ibises, and egrets, is best viewed by bike. 

Perfectly placed
on the beach of Captiva is the premi er family destination on the island, the South Seas Resort. Amy returns to South Seas every year with her extended family and can easily help with all requests. The former 330-acre copra plantation is now a mix of lodging choices. Choose between harborside hotel rooms, one or two bedroom condos, even your own private house on the shores. Swimming pools at each condo add to the pleasure. There are also 18 tennis courts with requisite Pro and a 9-hole seaside golf course on site.


Summer in Morocco is sweltering hot, the reason why more and more travelers are visiting in the fall, winter, and spring. With direct flights from most major cities, including Boston, there's even more incentive to visit. We work with a wonderful tour operator in the country who packages together all logistics, including lodging (often in charming riads), guides, driving, and all activities like a possible camel trek at a Bedouin outpost in the Sahara. Itineraries typically include the souks of Fez, the seaside village of Essaouira, the sand dunes of Merzouga, and the medinas of Marrakech. 

The above are just a handful of our ideas. Let ActiveTravels know your dates and budget and we'll brainstorm ideas just right for you and take care of all the details. Make plans now to create awesome winter memories for you and your loved ones!

Deal of the Month:
Cruise Savings to Consider Now!
This is the last year we will not attend the fabulous Virtuoso Travel Week in Las Vegas. We've missed it the last few years as it overlaps with the precious week when we pack up our daughter for college and help her move in.  Now she's a senior in college so next year we'll go to the Fashion Week of Travel, as it's now dubbed, and spend a steamy week in August in Las Vegas meeting, greeting and wining and dining with travel suppliers from all around the world. 

Even though we didn't attend this past month's Virtuoso Travel Week, we're still in the know about the latest deals and promotions for cruise lines, resorts and tours. 

These deals offered by a few of our favorite cruise lines caught our eye if you're considering a last-minute fall booking or early-bird booking for summer 2020:

AmaWaterways, one of our favorite river cruise operators, is offering a 2-for-1 private sale on many cruises this fall, including the Rhine and Danube. They're also dropping their single supplement charge down to 10%, a nice savings for solo travelers. 

UnCruise is offering a $1200 savings on select sailings, including their debut in Hawaii November through March (with stops at The Big Island and Molokai).

Celebrity Cruises is also featuring a double savings on all 2020 Alaska cruises. If you're considering a cruise for this fall or next summer, now would be a good time to book. 

Contact ActiveTravels and we'll check rates, availability, and all Virtuoso savings and be able to offer you the Virtuoso complimentary amenities.

Tried and True Travel Tips:

Everyone hates the DMV right? It just means long lines, cranky people, and trying to wait patiently until they call the number on that little slip of paper grasped in your hand. Finally, you get called and there is something you've forgotten or they've taken a crappy picture you hate or you fail your eye test. Not fun! Well, unfortunately, we have another reason for you to visit the DMV, sooner rather than later!

It's the Real ID. Have you heard of it yet? Have you been one of those responsible people who has already gotten theirs? Well, people, get in line! 

The deadline for US residents to get their REAL ID to travel on domestic flights is on October 1st, 2020. Please, I'm telling you, don't wait until September 2020 to get one. Get yours now. You will be able to fly after October 1st, 2020, with your regular old license, as long as it's valid, but you'll need a valid passport with you as well or you'll be turned away at the gate for your domestic flights.

The REAL ID is a federally mandated ID that each US citizen will need if he or she wants to fly domestically. The ID has an extra layer of security intended to prevent terrorism and it also contains new technology making the IDs harder to forge.

To obtain your REAL ID, you must visit your DMV and bring the following:
  • a proof of your identity (certified copy of a US birth certificate, US Passport, etc.)
  • a proof of your social security number (social security card, W-2 or paystub with a full social security number
  • a proof of residency (rental or lease agreement, mortgage bill, utility bill, employment, medical or school document
You'll need to pay a fee and they'll likely take a picture of you on the spot (needs a blue background). Waiting times to get the REAL ID differs from state to state. Check out your state's RMV to see if you can fill out an application online prior to your arrival.

Interesting fact: kids under the age of 18 do not need a REAL ID if they are traveling with an adult who has one.

Interesting fact #2: check out your local AAA stores as some of them are now offering DMV services and lines can be substantially shorter.

For more detailed information, also check out this link: https://upgradedpoints.com/real-id-act

We're happy to answer any questions you may have regarding the REAL ID. Just let us know.
Quick Escape:
Reykjavik, Iceland
Now that the summer solstice crowds are long gone, it's time to visit Reykjavik with the locals. A mere 5-hour flight from the East Coast and you arrive in Iceland, ready and rearing to view the fantastic landscape. 

A good introduction to this city of 330,000 is on a guided half-day bike ride with Reykjavik Bike. You'll ride past one of Reykjavik's signature buildings, Harpa Concert Hall, a gleaming glass building that reflects both sky and water. Then venture into the heart of the city on cobblestone streets to one of the most historic neighborhoods, simply called 101. You'll also visit one of the 120 outdoor pools in the city, open year-round, and heated by the abundant thermal energy. 

The next day, take the requisite Golden Circle tour with the highly reputable Reykjavik Excursions. First stop is Thingvellir National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, where the tectonic plates of Europe and North America meet. You walk on a narrow trail dwarfed by the rocky walls. Next stop is the surging waters of the Gulfoss Waterfalls, cascading down the tiers of rock. You take a short hike to the lip of waterfalls, sprayed by the cool water. Last stop is Geysir, Iceland's version of Yellowstone, where hot pools churn and bubble and the Strokkur geyser erupts every 4 to 5 minutes. 

Coupled with a trip to the world's largest hot tub, the Blue Lagoon, a whale watching and puffin tour, even the opportunity to hike on a glacier, you can get a good taste of Iceland while spending your nights in Reykjavik.

Contact ActiveTravels to get started planning your Icelandic getaway!
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