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TRAVEL BLOG

Discover the World Through Abercrombie & Kent

We love working with companies that make travel elegant, seamless, and awe-inspiring.  Abercrombie & Kent delivers incredible experiences, every time, in the world’s greatest destinations. Every review from our clients has been raving! We highly recommend them for family trips. Whatever sparks your sense of adventure, with Abercrombie & Kent you are in good hands. Below are some highlights from trips all around the world.
A&K Australia Collage

Australia

Funlom Falls Water Hole, Kakadu National Park

Funlom Falls waterhole, Kakadu National Park

paddleboarding lizard island

Paddle Boarding Lizard Island, Australia

whale shark ningaloo reef

Swim with Whale Sharks on Ningaloo Reef, Australia

Chile

Torres del Paine National Park, Chile

Torres del Paine National Park, Chile

Atacamba Desert, Chile

Atacamba Desert, Chile

Chile houses on water

Houses on the Water, Chile

Thailand

thailand beach

Boat Ride to Beach in Thailand

Thailand Maeklong railway market

Maeklong Railway Market, Thailand

Puripunn Chiang Mai, Thailand

Puripunn Chiang Mai, Thailand

To learn more about Abercrombie & Kent, join us at our event on Wednesday, April 27th!

You may also email Erin at ezetter@sbtravel.com or call 805.969.7746 to discuss the possibilities!

Find daily travel tips & ideas on our Facebook Page

Why You Need a Travel Advisor Now More Than Ever

Having a good relationship with your personal travel advisor is much like having one with your family doctor. Except with us, your “checkup” results in a weekend getaway, your questions are about travel destinations and dream-fulfilling itineraries, and in case of emergency, we provide 24/7 advisor access to assist you with your travel needs. All joking aside, using a travel advisor is more beneficial than ever. 


Save Valuable Time

We know your time is precious, so why waste it sorting through the clutter of information offered online? Whether it’s an extensive international trip, a cruise, or weekend getaway, we can take care of all the details so that you can relax and enjoy the moment.

Personalized Itinerary

Your itinerary is more than just making the connections, it is connecting with the neighborhoods you stay in, restaurants that make you fall in love, and special off-the-beaten-pathexperiences that are waiting for you. Whether you love to do-it-yourself or are looking for someone to take the reins, when you collaborate with your travel advisor, your trips will be tailored to your needs, interests, and budget.

Value Added Travel – Get More Than You Pay For

When you book online, you get what you get. When you book with a travel advisor affiliated with the leading luxury network, Virtuoso, you receive more. Connections like ours create opportunities that make a trip truly extraordinary, and often result in value-added perks—like bonus cruise amenities, spa credit, room upgrades, and private tours. We have been arranging the “above an beyond” part of experiences for a long time.

Why Take the Chance?

No one likes (bad) surprises when they arrive, and there is no guarantee when you make a reservation online. Contact Santa Barbara Travel and you tap into a wealth of travel knowledge. When you contact one of our advisors, they have probably been to the destination you want to travel to and have a relationship with the hotel or travel company you want to book. They also know what questions to ask. Like your beds soft? We will make sure you sleep well at night.

We Are In Your Corner 

Santa Barbara Travel is committed to excellent customer service. When something unexpected happens in travel, such as a canceled or delayed flight, we have a vested interest.  Have you ever tried calling your online travel company for a refund or alternate route?  With Santa Barbara Travel Bureau you’ll never end up 10th in line on the phone or waiting on hours end at the airlines’ customer service counter. We have you covered, and are available to assist you to get you to where you need to be… no matter where in the world!

A Modern Solution

While travel advisors are by no means new to the industry, the last 15 years threatened their existence. Santa Barbara Travel Bureau not only adapted to and evolved with the unprecedented challenges in the industry, but also thrived with the opportunity. Whether it’s a vacation or a business trip, a sports team, or a multi-generational family reunion, we offer a personalized, professional solution to your unique travel equation. The landscape may be ‘ever changing in the travel industry, but our dedication and commitment to our clients is not.

 

Do you have a favorite experience made possible by your Santa Barbara Travel Advisor? Please share your comments, testimonials, and travel photos by emailing info@sbtravel.com

Romance on the Rivers of Europe

When it comes to an extraordinary river cruise in Europe, Uniworld is one of our top choices for Romance All Year. This global company brings over 50 years of experience owning and operating luxury boutique hotels worldwide, but their European packages are all-inclusive, from airfare (details below), to daily on-shore excursions, to butler service, food, and gratuity. The intimate size of these ships brings them closer to a boutique hotel than a cruise ship.

tulips and windmills

You will find something to suit your travel passion, from trips themed around Holland’s Tulips and Windmills, the Castles along the Rhine, a wine-voyage through France, or the newest trip added for off-the-beaten-path travel through Eastern Europe. With over twenty options to take you and your partner down the Rhine, Moselle, Main, and Danube Rivers, or France’s Seine, Rhone, Dordogne Rivers, or Italy’s Po River, there won’t be a challenge finding the perfect itinerary, especially not with our expertise.

castles along the rhine

The beauty of a river cruise (versus an ocean cruise) is the intimacy and comfort of the setting. Consider your trip a voyage down one of Europe’s picturesque rivers in a “luxury boutique hotel” that takes you from place to place, allowing you and your travel partner to explore a new town every day without the typical exhaustion or hassle of getting there. When the day is done, step aboard.

interior

Aboard the ship, you’ll be treated like Royalty, seriously! We are happy to report that all guests in suites onboard the European fleet (except Russia and Portugal) will have their own butler trained to the same exacting standards required by the Buckingham Palace, starting this year…You wanted to travel in style?

dining room

If you are thinking about “cruise ship food” with a cringe, don’t worry– the “Foodie” in you will rejoice. Uniworld is dedicated to farm-to-table culinary experiences, which means fresh, seasonal, locally sourced ingredients are used to plan meals that truly embody the unique character of each region along the way.

bedroom 2

So, what do you think? Can you see yourself on the deck, cruising down the Rhine at sunset… waking up to the best riverside view you’ve ever seen?

Make your reservation by February 29th, and your Economy Air ticket to Europe will be FREE on most itineraries.

Contact Nancy Herrmann in the Santa Barbara Office to discuss the details of your Romantic European River Cruise by calling 805.869.1100 or emailing nherrmann@sbtravel.com.

Charlie’s Bucket List Destination: The Wickaninnish Inn

Wick-a-nin-nish Inn

Usually we don’t consider the hotel the “destination” but in the case of the Wickaninnish Inn, it’s worth the trip. Known to friends (which all guests become) as the “Wick Inn,” this family-owned and operated lodge will speak to the part of you looking for a nice, quiet place to take your time and relax. Enjoy a nice stroll through the old-growth forest behind you, or walk the Pacific coastline in front of you. Have no commitment except to the warmth of the fireplace.

Wick Inn canopy suite view

Ocean View from the Canopy Suite

Located on the West Coast of Vancouver, this rustic last-frontier-style lodge is the perfect place to be on the edge of wilderness while still experiencing top luxury. Each season varies quite greatly, so you will want to know what kind of experience you are craving. No matter when you travel, enjoy the hand-carved artwork and furniture made by Henry Nolla over his 25 years at the Wick Inn, including the beautiful fireplace mantles in each room.

Henry Nolla in the Wood Carving Shed

Henry Nolla in the Wood Carving Shed

This lodge first came on our radar through Charles de L’Arbre, owner and CEO of Santa Barbara Travel Bureau, when we asked him what his dream destinations were. A trip to the Wick Inn was top on his travel list. It turns out that Charles has a soft spot for extreme weather, and watching trans-pacific waves crash outside while sitting by the warmth of a private fireplace is right up his alley. The best season for this kind of experience is the Winter Season (November to February). Living in the dry hills of Santa Barbara doesn’t quite offer the same… weather.

wick inn storm watch 2

Winter Storm Watching Season (November to February)

The peak season, however, is in the Summer. The Wick Inn is a beautiful beach resort, hosting weddings, proposals, vow renewals, birthdays, family reunions and more. You can easily explore the surrounding area, or enjoy the rustic luxury of the Inn. If you are looking for romance– this is your spot. Save with the “All You Need is Love” package or take a healthy, spa- and yoga-based approach with the “Ancient Cedars Active Health” package, which includes massages, yoga classes, and gourmet meals for two.

Beautiful ceremonies available at the Wickaninnish Inn to celebrate the occasion

Beautiful ceremonies available at the Wickaninnish Inn to celebrate the occasion

If you love adventuring, we suggest the “Wilderness to Wickaninnish Package.” The Wick Inn and the new Clayoquot Wilderness Resort have partnered to offer the most incredible experience to those who want to explore Vancouver Island. Stay in a luxurious tent (no, we are not kidding), and during the day explore by hiking, kayaking, horseback riding and wildlife viewing amidst the spectacular wilderness, followed with massages and gourmet meals for two. After a few days in the wilderness, relax at the Wick Inn.

Walk amongst the Old Grown Rainforest

Walk amongst the Old Grown Rainforest

With only 75 rooms, each with an ocean-view balcony, fireplace, and giant soaking hot tub, you will feel the excitement of a new frontier amidst a rustic backdrop and modern luxury.

Call Charles de L’Arbre at 805.969.7746, or email him at charlesd@sbtravel.com to talk about this beautiful property.
Thank you to the Wickaninnish Inn for providing these beautiful photos.

Tropical Romance for Love All Year: Kauai

Kaua’i, United States

Recommended Travel Season: September & November or April to June

Best time to make your reservations: Winter and Spring.

Call Your Santa Barbara Travel Advisor or Tina at 806.966.3116 for details

The beautiful island of Kaua’i, nicknamed the “Garden Isle,” is on the top of our list for romantic vacation destinations. Take a hike along the dramatic cliffs of the Na Pali Coast, pick your own guavas hiking through tropical jungles with a waterfall as your destination, swim in the warm ocean waters, and enjoy the amenities at your resort for luxurious relaxation.

Kauai-1

Welcome to Kaua’i! Extreme landscapes, luscious terrain, and beautiful culture

When considering Kauai, we recommend visiting between September and November or from April to June, when the climate is mellow and the prices are reasonable. If you can’t travel during that time, you’ll still enjoy Hawaii, just expect more heat or rain.

str189ex-179238-Porte Cochere

St. Regis Princeville

The St. Regis Princeville is one of our favorite properties on Kaua’i, introducing an “unparalleled level of sophistication and serene luxury.” We love the location overlooking Hanalei Bay, and the spacious 9,000 acre resort community offers all of the best amenities you would want in reach. Together you two can ride horses along the Na Molokama mountain range, kayak the Hanalei River, go snorkeling in the pristine Hawaiian waters, visit tropical botanical gardens, Kayak, and surf. If you are bringing the kids, look forward to Ukelele lessons, Hanalei Stargazing, Lei Making, snorkeling, jungle adventures, and beachside bonfires. Or, just hang with your Pina Colada at the poolside.

str189po-153705-Pool

Give yourself more than a long weekend– that fourth night will be free when you make your St. Regis Princeville reservation through Santa Barbara Travel Bureau by December 22, 2016. You will also receive the following exclusive amenities:

  • Upgrade at time of check-in (based on availability)
  • $100.00 Resort Credit to be used during your stay
  • Complimentary breakfast for 2 at Makana Terrace

str189po-149073-Pool

Call your Santa Barbara Travel Advisor or Tina for details:

805-966-3116

tnordholm@sbtravel.com

Travel Advisor Trip Review– 7 Nights Aboard the AmaBella with AmaWaterways

Santa Barbara Travel Bureau Advisor, Nancy Herrmann, recently visited the Czech Republic, Germany, Austria and Hungary through a 7-Night voyage aboard the AmaBella. Beginning with three days in Prague, ending with three days in Budapest, with 7 days of stops along the Danube River on a river cruise by AmaWaterways. Below, Nancy shares her highlights of the trip, favorite cities, and tips to get the most out of cruise trips.

Three Days in Prague, the “City of Spires”

Prague

The AmaWaterways cruise started on the Danube River in Germany, but we chose to fly into Prague, Czech Republic to spend a few days in “The City of 100 Spires.” Any time you travel for a cruise, I highly recommend choosing a few destinations to explore at the beginning and/or end. If you are making the trip, make it a journey!

The historic center of Prague, a UNESCO World Heritage site, dates back well over 1000 years. In the 14th century it was the capital of the Holy Roman Empire and since has seen many upswings and falls of power throughout history. The most recent notable rise was in 1989 with the end of forty-one years of communist rule, yet the beauty and charm of the Old Town remains.

Nancy room

Accommodation: We stayed at the Pachtuv Palace for our three nights in Prague. Although our room showed definite signs of wear and tear, this hotel offers impeccable service, very large rooms and is walking distance to the Charles Bridge and Old Town Square.

 

Regensburg, Germany

From Prague, we boarded a bus for the transfer to our awaiting longship. After about two hours on the road, we stopped in Regensburg, Germany for a quick tour of the city and a lunch break. Beautiful, quiet town with an incredible waterway.

regensberg collage

 

The Cruise with AmaWaterways

Did You Know?  The word ‘Ama’ stems from the Latin “Amare,” meaning “to love.” In other words, AmaWaterways means “to love waterways” (not A.M.A. which could be confused..). That is what this river cruise line is all about: ensuring their customers love to travel on water as much as they do.

Cruise Theme: This particular cruise was a Wine Themed sailing with Aver Vineyards from Gilroy, CA on board and it required attendance at a special one hour Seminar on the River.

Service: The level of hospitality and attention to detail was remarkable. The crew was professional, attentive and charming, with a perpetual sense of good humor! Each day began with a genuine smile and cheery “good morning” from the housekeeper. Each stateroom was neat and clean, all day, every day. The bartenders and wait staff did everything they could to make us feel comfortable and well fed. We even struck up a rapport with a waiter on the first day who, much to his dismay I’m sure, ended up with us at his dinner table the entire cruise! Our table guests changed, but clearly, Aleksander enjoyed us as much as we did him.

Accommodations: For the next seven nights, we were housed in a Twin Balcony Stateroom that features both a French Balcony and a separate outside balcony, allowing incredible views right from our room throughout the journey. Talk about being on the water!

On Board Travel Tips: All inclusive pricing really helps you relax on vacation, and quite a few of your usual necessities are provided. All staterooms are equipped with a hairdryer, bathrobes, slippers and a safe. Your bathroom offers a magnifying mirror and spa-quality toiletries including soaps, body wash, shampoo, conditioner and body lotion that are replenished as needed. On European ships, a computer is provided in each stateroom that has high-speed Internet access and complimentary WiFi is available throughout the ship, albeit somewhat slow most of the time due to the fact that everyone uses it at the same time.

Meal Time: Meals are served in the main dining room three times a day, and as in usual cruising fashion, there are snacks available in the lounge throughout the day and late into the evenings. All drinks, including premium wines, beer and spirits are included with your meals. Coffees and hot chocolate from a dispenser, teas and water are available all day. Additional drinks can be bought in the lounge at very affordable prices; about $6 for a glass of wine and from $4-$15 for premium drinks.

Map of the 7-Night Cruise along the Danube River

Map of the 7-Night Cruise along the Danube River

First Highlight: Passau, Germany A typically quaint city on the Danube with some dubious history that includes tales about Hitler and Napoleon. The city floods often, most recently in 2013, where the water was so high, the town had to shut down!

Second Highlight: Salzburg, Austria Music fans ourselves, we chose to visit Salzburg, home of Mozart, ‘The Sound of Music’ and visited our first Christmas Market. The city has changed a bit since my last visit almost 30 years ago, but it is still charming.  If you aren’t as enthralled with Mozart as we were, we recommend the day trip to the picturesque Cesky Kymlov in the Czech Republic.

abby

Third Stop: Melk, Hungary Melk was one of our favorite stops, with its historic Abbey and fairytale town and began our favorite day.

wachau valley

Sailing the Wachau Valley: After a morning in Melk, the afternoon was spent sailing through the beautiful Wachau Valley, with incredible views past rolling hills, beautiful baroque churches, vineyards and ancient castles. Ruins of the 12th Century Durnstein Castle, atop the highest hill, was a great photo-op before floating into the striking town of Durnstein. History has it that King Richard the Lion-Hearted was imprisoned in the castle by Leopold V, the Duke of Austria, in 1192. That same evening, we did a special wine tasting at Castle Gobelsburg, then we set sail overnight to Vienna.

castle bodelsburg

The Journey Continued in Budapest

The last day and night of the cruise was spent in Budapest. This beautiful city was indeed at the top of our list! Thankfully, we planned to spend an extra few nights here after the cruise, so we didn’t have to extend the trip– We loved it so much we would have!

Highlights of Budapest

  1. Cruising the river at night
  2. Hungarian goulash soup making at the Sofitel (we have the aprons and hats to prove it!)
  3. Strolling through the Christmas markets
  4. Best dinner of our entire vacation (during our own 2 night extension)!
  5. Lights, sights, bridges and so much more!

budapest

All in all, this was a fantastic trip! In my opinion, AmaWaterways is great for travelers who want to take it easy, have some good food and sit back and relax, with the average age for a European river cruise at 55+. Although there are some things for the younger set to do while off the ship, because these longships have limited public space, there is not much to do while on board. If that is not a concern, it’s a great way to discover some great places in Europe!

If you have any questions about the trip, please call Nancy Herrmann at 805.966.3116 or email her at nherrmann@sbtravel.com or see her trip details on her Facebook page