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Why I love CIE Tours

For tours of Ireland and the United Kingdom, I love to recommend CIE Tours. I’ve personally toured with CIE on itineraries covering Ireland, Northern Ireland, England, Wales and Scotland.

CIE

An escorted coach tour with CIE Tours can be a great way to cover a lot of ground and see the main sites people crave. Great drivers, guides, food, coaches, hotels make it all seamless.

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For people that like to see a lot on a vacation, this is the way to do it. You will see and do a lot. If you are looking for a relaxing vacation with no schedule…this may not be for you. But, CIE does offer SELF DRIVE tours where you can do the driving and set your own schedule.

Many options and choices to be had. The beauty of these countries is amazing. The history of these countries is incredible. An unforgetable experience awaits you. All you need is someone to set you up with the itinerary that fits your travel style. That’s where we come in. We are trained and experienced in these tours and our assistance comes to you for FREE!

Contact us today to get started on your long awaited trip to Ireland and the U.K. We help you every step of the way. We are certified Ireland and Scotland Experts!

Pete Larson, CTC, DS, LS

Owner, Jolly Mon Vacations & River Cruise Guru

pete@jollymonvacations.com

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8 Tips on How to Go Through Customs & Immigration

customsWhen you arrive at your island destination you will need to clear immigration & customs. Each country is a little different, but the process is very similar. You can expedite this process by being properly prepared.
Preparation begins when you pack for your trip and if you plan to purchase any duty-free items in the U.S airport. Every island has different restrictions on what you can bring in “duty-free”. Each island also has “prohibited items”.

Depending on the airport and/or airline you depart from you may need to pick up your own immigration and customs forms at the gate prior to boarding. Other times they are distributed by flight attendants once you are in the air. Don’t forget to bring an ink pen to fill out the forms!

You will need to fill out an immigration form for each passenger. Go slow to avoid mistakes. Date format is often different from what you may be used to. Be sure to sign form. Some countries, like Jamaica, have a separate immigration card attached to form. You need to fill it out as well or you will be delayed at immigration. For most countries you will also need to fill out customs form. These are generally per family, but if you passports have different surnames you may want to fill one out for each different name. You most likely will have nothing to declare.

When you arrive at destination, proceed to immigration. Cell phones and cameras may not be used in immigration and customs areas. Please stay behind line and wait for next available immigration agent. You will need to present you passport and forms. Be polite and answer any questions asked. Once through immigration you can put your passports away in safe place. Keep customs forms handy.

Proceed to the baggage claim area. Make sure you get all your bags and that they are YOUR bags. You can grab a cart to make it easier. Check to see if customs exit has “Nothing to Declare” lines and get in line. Depending on county, the customs official will review your customs form and/or interview you. On occasion the customs agents may want to perform a physical inspection of you luggage.

8 Tips on How to Go Through US Customs & Immigration

1
Onboard your flight, you will be given customs and immigration documents. If you are not a U.S. Citizen, then you will need to fill out an I-94 form. If you are a U.S. Citizen, then you do not need this form. All passengers must also complete a customs declaration form. This form is required for both U.S. and Foreign citizens. Make sure to have the required documents completed before you enter the customs and immigration facilities.

2
When you deplane, follow the signs directing you to international arrivals, immigration and customs. Most often, you will walk through a hallway or go down an escalator to the customs and immigration facilities. In rare circumstances (mostly at smaller, more poorly run airports), you will need to ride a bus.

3
The first stop is at Passport Control/Immigration. If you are a U.S. Citizen, go to the lanes marked United States Citizens. If you are non-U.S. Citizen, go to the lanes marked Foreign Citizens. If you have another flight to connect with, there are sometimes special lanes for Connecting Passengers.

4
Give your passport and immigration/customs forms to the officer. He/she will look at your passport, scan it, and possibly validate it. He/she will also retain any I-94 forms, and validate and return the customs forms.

5
After you clear Passport Control, follow the signs to Baggage Claim. Here, you will claim your checked baggage, even if you have another flight to connect with. Check the screens for the carousel number that your flight has been assigned to and wait for your bags to appear.

6
Once you have claimed your bags, your next stop is at Customs. If you do not have any items to declare, proceed to the green lanes marked “Nothing to Declare”. If you do have items to declare, proceed to the red lanes marked “Goods to Declare”. Here, you will turn in your customs form and if you do not have anything to declare, you will be waved through to the exit.

7
If you have another flight to connect with, follow the signs marked “Connecting Flights/Connecting Baggage Drop-off” as you leave the customs area. If you are already at your final destination, skip straight to step 8. When you get to the connecting baggage carousel, be sure to place any liquids, gels, and aerosols that are over 3 oz, or any other items that are not allowed through TSA security checkpoints in your checked luggage. Check that your baggage tags match your final destination. Place your luggage on the conveyor belt, wheels or handles facing up (the bag itself should be upside down).

Continue following the signs marked Connecting Flights, and proceed through security to the departures area.

8
If you are already at your final destination, follow the exit and ground transportation signs. Once you exit the customs and immigration facilities you will be in the International Arrivals area. Here you will meet up with friends and family, or proceed to courtesy shuttles, taxis, rental cars, or other ground transportation.

For more information and FREE ASSISTANCE with your travel plans, please contact a professional travel consultant at Jolly Mon Vacations today!
No charges, no fees…just expert advice and assistance! No strings attached.

218-779-3050
pete@jollymonvacations.com
www.JollyMonVacations.com
www.RiverCruiseGuru.com

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Deceptive Travel Pricing: 15 Ways They Deceive You!

Deceptive Travel Pricing: 15 Ways They Deceive You!

By:  Pete Larson, Owner of Jolly Mon Vacations & River Cruise Guru

Deceptive Marketing and false advertising is all around us. It’s on billboards, your hometown newspaper, on TV and the
internet. When a company intentionally leads you to believe something that is false,  is over-promising something, or burying
things deep within the ‘fine print’ so that you don’t understand what is occurring is being deceptive.

Travel is a business where this type of deception runs amok. They bait your interest with the promise of these incredible deals and low prices. They add all sorts of restrictions, cut away the value and confuse you with endless fine print. You end up with a hollow shell of what was promised, and your hard earned vacation ends in disappointment.

Lets look at some common marketing ‘tricks’ companies like to use to keep you confused:

Specific Gateway – Only valid from a certain airport.

Booking window – Only valid if you book before a certain time period. (act now! Limited time only!) Only valid when a certain
deposit amount is laid before a certain date.

Travel window – Only valid when you travel between certain limited dates. (usually their slow season)

Specific Accommodation– only valid when you book a certain room level. (higher category or they quote the lowest category
room where there is a very limited supply that may be sold out forcing you to book a higher category than advertised)

Specific Itinerary – Only valid when you book a certain itinerary. (in cruising or tours, it’s usually an itinerary that is not
popular)

Exclusions – Many things are excluded making the price lower. (taxes, port fees, fuel surcharges, transfers, obc, airfare) Offer valid only to individual bookings, not groups.

New Bookings Only – A discounted rate you can only get if you don’t already have a reservation. Cruise lines are notorious for doing this when they have trouble selling out a ship. Usually offered close to sail date, but only on unpopular ships, dates,  itineraries, or departure ports.

Early Saver Rates /Advanced Purchase – This is popular with Carnival Cruise Lines and many hotels. It basically means you pay
the entire cruise or hotel stay at the time of booking and your money is NON-REFUNDABLE.

Combining discounts– Offer may not be combined with any other discount. (Military, AAA, Govt, Club, coupons, shareholder
benefits, promos)

Limitations – Offer only good when a certain number of persons are booked. (quad occupancy, double occupancy) Offer only
valid when booking a certain number of days. (7 days)

Booking Limitations – Offer only valid in the USA, or only when booked online. Offer not transferrable. Offer expires if not
applied by certain date.

Residential Limitations – Offer only valid to persons living in a certain area, city, state or region. (California, etc.)

Availability – Offer only valid to a limited number of customers. (creating the need for speed booking) Offer subject to
change at any time.

Deceptive ‘Sales’-

-The ‘percentage discount’ deception:

The claim:   Save up to 40%- The ‘up to’ means the figure taken is the rack rate that almost no one pays in the first place, and on a higher category room making the discounted price no different than the regular price. This may seem like a deal, but its not.

-The ‘FREE!’ deception:

The catch is…it’s not really free. You must meet all the requirements first. Free, LOADED with conditions like:

  • Free,  only under a certain age restriction
  • Free, only when parents purchase something specific, or stay in a certain category room.
  • Free,  but you pay the taxes, port fees, surcharges, transportation, etc.
  • Free, while supplies last. (and the supply is so limited its near impossible to obtain)

How do you protect yourself?

You could study all this stuff day and night like I do, or simply engage in a trustworthy source to begin with:
A good Travel Agent. Let the buyer beware! A good travel agent is worth their weight in gold. Remember, if you see a vacation priced at some
unbelievable price…you aren’t getting the entire  story. This should be a red flag that the company is using some sort of deceptive pricing.

Let me answer some questions about Travel Agents, and how they can save you time and money while protecting you from bad travel choices:

Travel Agent, Travel Counselor and  Travel Consultants are mostly the same thing. They act on your behalf as an independent agent to shop
many different sources to find you a good price with good value ensuring it’s exactly what you desire. They bring the right vacation product to clients and book it for them. They answer questions you have, assist with insurance, get your travel documents in order, and assist you along the way.

Not well traveled?
Perfect! Travel Agents will help you become familiar with what to expect and assist you with activities at your destination. They can also monitor prices after the booking and go to the vendor to obtain discounts for you.  Using an agent can protect you from a bad vacation experience, keep you safe by advising you of where NOT to go, and make sure you arrive and depart with ease.

Q:  What can a travel agent do for me?

A:  A good travel agent will bring the desired vacation experience to meet the clients needs at the best value possible. We act as your ‘vacation broker’ so to speak. Jolly Mon Vacations always starts with a good client interview to find the needs and desires of the client. We match our clients using our expansive knowledge on travel, destinations, resorts, hotels, cruise lines, ships and other things. We have special relationships with vacation vendors that will package up your vacation needs at special prices. Often times our buying power can help us obtain a better price, amenities, upgrades or a host of other promotional benefits. The travel agent saves you both time and money!

Go ahead, type “cruise” into Google…228 MILLION links! Do you have time to sift through that to find a trustworthy source for a good price with great value?

Q:  How much will using a travel agent cost me?

A:  In most cases….NOTHING!

Jolly Mon Vacations doesn’t charge fees to do your vacation planning or booking. Free help, advice and assistance for you…and money stays in your wallet! We are paid by the vendor we use for each sale, and they add nothing to your price for our service either.
You pay the same whether or not a travel agent books your trip, so you win by getting free professional assistance! Many vendors will match any price as well, ensuring you get the lowest price for your trip.

Q:  How do I know I can trust them to find me what I need?

A:  Travel Agents are educated and certified in specific destinations, cruise lines, resorts, vendors and travel. Experience is also a
great teacher and yet another way we can assist you. Our knowledge is backed by actual hotel, resort, destination and ship inspections. We travel to these destinations and tour them ourselves to assist in placing our clients. Nothing backs up a good education like a real life experience! A legitimate Travel Agent will be accredited by a major agency such as the IATA, IATAN, ARC, TRUE, CLIA or a host agency. You can check their credentials to ensure they are valid agents in good standing that hold proper accreditation.  Don’t hesitate to ask about accreditation to protect yourself.

Q:  I don’t need an agent, I can just book it direct with the cruise line or resort.

A:  Not so fast! Did you know each ship, cruise line, itinerary, port, resort can be COMPLETELY different from one another? You
may be climbing on a ‘floating old folks home’ when you are looking for a party. You could be getting on a ship or a cruise line that totally misses the reasons you need a vacation. A good Travel Agent knows the ships, the ports, resorts and the overall ‘vibe’ of where it is you are going and how you are getting there. A Travel Agent works for YOU, and looks out for YOUR best interest. The people at the other end of the direct booking look out for THEMSELVES and their company.

When it comes to planning and booking your next vacation, hotel, or any travel:  see a professional Trave Agent!

Jolly Mon Vacations would love to help you with your vacation. When we give a price quote, you can bet that it includes all taxes, fees and outlines exactly what is extra. We hide nothing, and do our best to promote THE REAL price.  We are an IATAN accredited agency and we’ll
do our best to make it your best vacation ever! The honest way.

Pete Larson,

Travel Agent & River Cruise Specialist

Jolly Mon Vacations  …destination anywhere.

President and Owner

www.JollyMonVacations.com

www.RiverCruiseGuru.com

Phone or text:  218-779-3050

pete@jollymonvacations.com

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Island Routes Caribbean Adventure Tours Wins Six Star Diamond Award

Island Routes is a major supplier of shore excursions in the islands. They can be pre-booked prior to your vacation to simplify the process, and give you more time to have fun!

Island Routes Caribbean Adventure Tours received its second straight International Six Star Diamond Award from the American Academy of Hospitality Sciences (AAHS), which rewards excellence in the global travel and luxury services industries.

“We are the first and only adventure tour company to ever be honored with this prestigious award, and it is a tribute to our Island Routes team to continue to garner recognition from our distinguished industry colleagues,” said David L. Shields, general manager. “We are dedicated to delivering exceptional customer service standards and guarantees, and we strive to showcase each of our destinations with diverse tours that have high appeal for the experiential traveler. It is gratifying to know that these efforts resonate with our travel partners.”

Island Routes offers more than 200 tours in Jamaica, St. Lucia, Antigua, Great Exuma, the Bahamas and the Turks & Caicos. Tours include kayaking expeditions and river explorations, catamaran rides, swimming with sharks, zip-line tours, and ATV, Segway, horse and camel excursions. Island Routes tours are fully commissionable. For more information contact pete@jollymonvacations.com or 218-779-3050.

Jolly Mon Vacations is a full-service travel agency and travel adviser specializing in river cruising and the Caribbean.

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Jamaica Resort Review

Jolly is in Jamaica Mon!

I was invited by The Jamaica Tourist Board to come down to Jamaica and see the country and it’s resorts and beaches for myself. This way I can better place clients at the right resort. You’ve got to get to know the product, and this is a great way…to see and experience it for myself.

I flew into Sangster Airport in Montego Bay this afternoon. Landing here was incredible. The plane flies in low over the ocean, and just when it looks as if you are going to touch down in the ocean…there’s the runway. WOW! That view of the turquoise colored Caribbean waters! We even spotted a giant sea turtle from the plane as we descended.

After processing through Customs and Immigration, we met up with resort reps. I am staying at the beautiful Half Moon Resort, Rose Hall, Jamaica. We were taken by bus right to the property. The resort is HUGE! Over 400 acres in all. http://www.halfmoon.com/

About 38 other travel agents are staying here, and we are in The Villas. They are multiple bedroom villas that share a common area. It comes complete with it’s own pool, golf cart, butler, chef, and maid. They cook your meals right in your villa. It’s very open and airy. The bedrooms are air conditioned but the common areas are not…making it quite sticky this time of year.

We had a late lunch at The Pub, which consisted of Smoked Marlin Salad, Jerk BBQ Breast of Chicken served with a garlic and scallion mash and fresh vegys. It was topped off with their award winning Pina Colada Cake and homemade ice cream. (and Jamaica has some great ice cream!) Needless to say, I washed it all back with a Red Stripe Beer on draught. Delicious.

We unpacked, and headed to a Cocktail party for the agents. Free cocktails, canapes, and live music sponsored by the JTB. After this, we went to the Beach BBQ Party. A festive line up of Jamaica specialties like Curried Goat, Suckling roasted pig, garlic steamed crab legs, mahi mahi, jerk chicken, bbq ribs, mussels, and a whole lot of other stuff. An awesome display of tasty food to enjoy on the beach. We ate on linen lined picnic tables by candlelight with the stars shining over our heads. The steel drum band was knocking out some Jimmy Buffett tunes, and the waves were lapping the shore behind us. The perfect setting.

There were also quite a few stage shows to watch there, everything from reggae music, limbo dancers, and fire dancers. It was a great time.

I’m back in our Villa, ready for a new day tomorrow. Frogs are croaking, the pool is lit up, and I’m ready for bed. I’ve been awake for 20 hours and I need some shut eye! Stay tuned for part II.

www.jollymonvacations.com

Find out more about Jamaica or Half Moon Resort from:  pete@jollymonvacations.com

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Top 10 Family Vacation Destinations

Looking for a great place to take the family?

Here are some suggestions from AAA on the Top 10 USA family-friendly hotspots:

Crowne Plaza at Historic Union Station, Indianapolis

A former railroad, the Crowne Plaza at Historic Union Station is located in downtown Indianapolis. Stay in one of the 26 rooms converted from a Pullman Train car. In town, take your kids to White River State Park, the Indianapolis Zoo and the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis.

Visit www.indianapolis.com/crowne-plaza.

Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge, Lake Buena Vista, Florida

From the balcony rooms, get an around-the-clock view of animals in the savannahs in the 43-acre wildlife preserve. African architecture decorates the lodge, and interactive exhibits and kids’ programs are catered to younger guests.

 

 

Gaylord Texan Resort & Convention Center on Lake Grapevine, Grapevine, Texas

Through Labor Day, you can attend the sixth annual SummerFest featuring four and a half acres of indoor gardens transformed into Alice’s Wonderland Adventure. Wander through Wonderland through the giant art, and meet Alice, The Queen of Hearts and The Hatter. Extras include pool parties, family dine-in movies, dessert dine-arounds, fireworks and Sunday tea.

www.gaylordhotels.com/gaylord-texan.

Great Wolf Lodge, Sandusky, Ohio

Dive into the water at Fort Mackenzie, a four-story, interactive water fort at the indoor water park. Every evening at 8:15, kids can go to the lobby Clock Tower in pajamas and slippers for story time, while older kids can visit the Northern Lights Arcade.

Visit www.greatwolf.com/sandusky/waterpark.

Hyatt Regency Chesapeake Bay Golf Resort, Spa and Marina, Cambridge, Maryland

On the Eastern Shore, the resort includes its 18-hole championship golf course and a spa where you can get a massage. Kids can visit Camp Hyatt and watch poolside movies, and the whole family can play miniature golf and beach volleyball and meander through the hotel’s 18-acre Blue Heron Rookery nature preserve.

Visit http://chesapeakebay.hyatt.com.

Hyatt Regency Tamaya Resort & Spa, Bernalillo, New Mexico

Adorned in Southwestern decor, featuring Native American artwork, the resort has multiple swimming pools for children, as well as walking trails, horseback riding and a camp program. Take the Rail Runner train in nearby Bernalillo, and check out the New Mexico History Museum  in Santa Fe and the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta.

Visit www.tamaya.hyatt.com.

Lost Valley Ranch, Deckers, Colorado

Families are welcomed with Western-themed cabin in Deckers, Colorado. Ranch counselors host programs and activities for kids from infants to teens and adults, including horseback riding, hiking, swimming, tubing, fishing and rafting.

Visit www.lostvalleyranch.com.

Moody Garden Hotel, Spa and Convention Center, Galveston, Texas

The resort in Galveston, Texas, offers a variety of activities, including an aquarium, rainforest, golf course, swimming pool, beach, an IMAX theater and 4-D theater. During the summer weekends, kids can try their hands at arts and crafts and go on scavenger hunts and pool coin dives. Then, they can visit the bounce house, go kite flying and karaoking, and participate in clown face painting and Wii competitions.

Visit www.moodygardenshotel.com.

Nickelodeon Suites Resort, Lake Buena Vista, Florida

At Nickelodeon Suites Resorts in Florida, kids activities include water parks, interactive pools, poolside shows, a kid’s spa and slime. Also, kids can take advantage of the resort’s games, character breakfast and nightly Nickelodeon shows.

Visit www.nickhotel.com.

Wequassett Resort and Golf Club, East Harwich, Massachusetts

Kids can an outdoors experience at this resort’s  pirate-themed interactive water playground with treasure chests, fountains and a pirate ship with slides and swimming ropes. Afterwards, they can go to the outdoor amphitheater, visit the high-tech children’s center that has a 135-inch HD screen for Wii, PlayStation and Xbox 360 gaming. Resort activities include dive-in-movies, teen gaming nights and lessons in swimming, sailing and tennis.

Visit www.wequassett.com.

Contact:  pete@jollymonvacations.com for more information or booking these great destinations!

Pete Larson:  218-779-3050

www.jollymonvacations.com

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Cruising: The Benefits

If  you’ve never taken a cruise before, consider the benefits of taking a cruise vacation:

  • Getting there is have the fun! Cruising allows you to enjoy the ride to the destination! Nonstop deck activities, lounging by the pool, dancing the night away, hitting the SPA or a quiet spot with a book. You choose!
  • Cruises are all-inclusive! (or nearly) The price of your cruise covers your lodging, transportation to the destinations, all your food, non-alcoholic beverages and even your activities and entertainment. Some luxury lines include even more, such as alcoholic beverages.
  • On a Cruise You Unpack Once! If you want to visit more than one place, but you can’t imagine lugging around your bags,  packing and unpacking everywhere you go then a cruise is for you. Your stateroom is your floating hotel. You unpack and then you can leave everything on the ship while you explore the latest port of call and then come back on board for dinner, a show, or to rest and relax. Hit the casino, go to a movie under the stars, take in the sunset with your significant other. It’s all about choice…YOUR choice.
  • A cruise gives you a sample of multiple destinations! A cruise is a great option if you are not sure where you want to go. You can choose a region and then narrow it down to one that stops at a few places you may be curious about and have a small taste of the region as a whole instead of being confined only to one country. Get a variety of cultures and scenery all in the same trip.

A vacation is a great way to relax, get away from your stresses, have fun, bond with family and friends, pamper yourself, learn new things, and explore cultures while seeing the world. Whether you spend it on land, or on the sea…it’s all about getting away. A cruise vacation can be a great way to do it.

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Take a Trafalgar Tour

Leave the planning and driving to Trafalgar Tours…and enjoy the journey. Guided tours can be taken in locations all around the world.  Learn more about taking a Trafalgar Tour by watching the video. For more info on tours, contact[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=24dlJsr44-w] Jolly Mon Vacations. pete@jollymonvacations.com