Thursday, October 22, 2015

Collect Memories, Not Things: Honeymoon Registries

Earlier today, I posted what has to be one of my favorite travel memes:

Obviously as a travel agent, one of the biggest priorities in my financial life is finding money for travel! ;) I don't usually go for gadgets (heck, I still use a Note 2 and they have already come out with a Note 5), and a couple of years ago my husband and I actually decided to downsize to try to live a more simple life.

While our lifestyle isn't for everyone, one thing that most people can agree on is that when it comes to wedding gifts, it's often the experiences that are treasured and not necessarily the toaster or wine glasses. I can't tell you what all I received from my guests at my reception, but I can tell you that I cherished the conversations and the gathering of so many people I loved - and I can tell you that without my loved ones, we would never have been able to take a honeymoon!! Back when we got married, there weren't really a lot of options to give the gift of travel without shelling out significant money, but we were blessed by an outpouring of gift cards and the donation of some hotel nights as we left our reception straight for our moving trailer and moved several states away!

Thankfully, giving the gift of travel is so much easier these days thanks to a genius idea called a honeymoon registry. Similar to a wedding registry you might find at a big box store, a honeymoon registry is a place where you can purchase different experiences for the bride and groom, picked out by the couple themselves! You can chip in toward airfare, resort fees, a romantic candlelight dinner on the beach, or even a couples massage.

At Operation Relax, we have partnered with Honeyfund to help couples create fantastic honeymoon registries, and help guests provide the perfect memories for their loved ones. The couple has total control over their registry and chooses what they add to the registry and how they want to handle payments. Honeyfund is a FREE platform, but it does offer some upgraded enhancements for a small fee. Couples can choose to book their travel prior to setting up the registry and then apply payments as they come in from guests, or can choose to wait to book their honeymoon until they see what kinds of funds they have been able to raise to cover some or all of the costs.

Overall, a honeymoon registry can be a wonderful experience for both the couple starting their new lives together and the guests who are celebrating their love! Feel free to contact Operation Relax to set up your honeymoon registry at any time.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Make your Technology Travel Savvy

Let's be real - most of us are unable to "unplug" from our technology these days, even while on vacation. Some people even get anxious about having less-than-stellar connections on their devices, to the extent that there are certain types of vacations and/or destinations that they refuse to even consider!

So, how can you make your technology less stressful while on vacation? Here's a few travel tips for your technology:

1)  Leave it at home!!
Yeah, ok, I probably wouldn't follow that one either. BUT, remind yourself that you do deserve to have some downtime, and make a rule that you can only use your technology devices for a certain amount of time per day. Then get out there and enjoy your vacation!

2) Know the costs involved.
Most of us don't have international plans, so before you leave check with your service providers to find out how much it might cost to check your email or send texts while overseas. Do a little research or ask your travel agent about wifi options at your resort or destination - many places these days realize how connected we are and are providing wifi at a cost or free.

3) Keep your devices safe.
When you aren't using your device, utilize your in-room safe if you have one. If not, or if you'd rather keep your device on you, make sure you pack clothing with big pockets! ;) Or you could purchase a HipKlip from me - it's a clippable pocket with enough room for your cellphone, ID, and keys. Just remember to always keep an eye on your device if you have it with you at the pool or other crowded place where it could be easily stolen.

4) Plug it in.
Don't forget your charger! But also, don't forget that not all countries have the same electrical outlets, so it's a good idea to invest in an adapter or converter if you like to travel frequently. Some rooms may not have a lot of outlet space, so if you have a little extra room in your luggage bring along a power strip too.

5) Get familiar with your device.
Devices can be a little complicated these days, so make sure you take the time to learn how to turn on the airplane mode, what it looks like when it's picking up a roaming signal, etc. It can help you to avoid unwanted charges.

6) Don't do data-heavy work.
Yes, sometimes emails are important to answer immediately. But you shouldn't plan on watching live-streaming services like Hulu or Netflix, or downloading huge files. While these may still work some places, most of the time international roaming or free wifi can lead to slower or lower quality connections that can make these things impossible.

As you can see, it is still possible to stay "plugged in" while on vacation if you choose - just plan ahead!

Thursday, October 1, 2015

It's National Plan a Cruise Vacation Month!

It's October, which means it's one of my favorite times of the year - Fall! :)

Ok, ok, it's not just fall that makes it my favorite (although it is my fave season), it's also National Plan a Cruise Vacation Month! One of my favorite types of vacations is a cruise vacation, and I love helping others discover how fun it can be. Using a travel agent to book a cruise continues to be the most popular way to book a cruise (which makes me happy)! In fact, go here to read 5 great reasons to book your cruise with a travel agent.

This is one of the BEST times of the year to book your cruise, because just about every cruise line out there has a special going on. Not only that, but you can also enter to win a FREE CRUISE by participating in the #CruiseSmile contest! All you have to do is go to and follow the instructions to be entered to win the daily cruise giveaway. You can get extra entries by posting your "Cruise Smile" photo on Twitter or Instragram using #cruisesmile and #sweepstakes (sadly, not on Facebook, for those of you like me who prefer that over the other two). And don't worry - you just have to upload a pic of you smiling, not necessarily one of you on a ship, so if you haven't cruised before you can still enter to win!! You can upload a new picture every day.

Even if you don't win one of the free daily cruise giveaways, you can still get some INCREDIBLE cruise deals! Here's a list of some of the deals that I can get you when you book with Operation Relax:

- Ama Waterways: $100 off per person ($200 off per stateroom) on ALL cruises - and when you book with me, you also get a $50 onboard credit! This offer DOES combine with all other current offers with this cruise line!

- American Cruise Lines: $1,000 off  their holiday river cruises on the Independence and American Eagle!

- Avalon Waterways: Save $1500 per couple on select 2016 river cruises!

- Azamara Club Cruises: Up to $500 onboard spending money on select 2016 sailings!

- Carnival: Special Early Saver rates plus a $50 per stateroom onboard credit for 2016 to April 2017 cruise bookings, PLUS a $100 per stateroom onboard credit for select Carnival Vista 2016 European sailings! Carnival is also offering a GROUP SPECIAL - you can earn one FREE berth for every 10 full fares paid, rather than the usual 15 full fares!

- Celebrity: 50% reduced deposits plus up to $300 onboard credit on select 4 night or longer 2016 cruises!

- Costa: Take a 7 Day Eastern or Western Mediterranean cruise starting from only $595 per person, and Balconies start at $995 per person, PLUS up to $400 onboard credit AND 50% reduced deposit!

- Cunard: $150 reduced deposit plus FREE upgrades on 2016 transatlantic and Mediterranean voyages!

- Holland America: Get the "Explore 4" offers with select January 2016 to April 2017 cruises! Explore 4 includes: a FREE Signature Beverage Package, FREE Pinnacle Grill dinner for two, reduced cruise fares for 3rd and 4th guests in cabin, and 50% reduced deposits!

- MSC Cruises: Book a Caribbean 2016 or 2017 cruise and receive up to $600 in shipboard credit PLUS a beverage package and dinner for 2 in a specialty restaurant! PLUS, you can combine this with Kids Sail Free for select dates, AND you get a free 5x7 onboard photo!

- Norwegian: Book any 2015 cruise and choose one of the following offers: FREE unlimited beverage package, FREE specialty dining, FREE WiFi, or FREE Shore Excursions! PLUS, book a suite or above category and get ALL FOUR OFFERS!

- Princess: 3 for FREE promotion on select 6 day cruises Summer 2016 to Spring 2017, where you can get the following: FREE stateroom location upgrade, FREE gratuities for the first 2 guests in a stateroom, and FREE specialty dining for 2! PLUS, book a Mini-Suite or Suite and get a FREE bottle of wine! PLUS, deposits have been lowered to only $100 per person!

- Royal Caribbean: Buy one guest, get the second 50% off PLUS FREE upgrades and FREE gratuities on select sailings!

- Windstar: Save up to 59% PLUS get 2 FREE hotel nights to use pre- or post-cruise PLUS get a $100 onboard credit PER PERSON on select sailings!

So what are you waiting for? If you love to cruise, or have always wanted to try one, NOW is definitely the time to get "onboard" and book a cruise with your travel agent! ;)