9 Great Gifts for Moms who Travel

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It’s that time of the year again, Mother’s Day! Looking for something special to give your travel-holic mother? These special gifts will either remind her of her adventures abroad, or inspire her book her flights!

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1. World Plates

We think these “World Plates” are just the most stylish way to showoff your hors d’oeuvres! Slice that French brie into the France plate, or some tasty Jamón ibérico onto the Spain plate. Corbe Company. 

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2. Diptyque Solid Perfume

Compacted perfume is the perfect way to travel with your scents. These TSA-approved fragrances will keep your mom smelling lovely even after a rough day of airports. Flavors include floral-inspired scents like Rose de Mai and L’Ombre dans L’Eau. Diptyque.

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3. Vintage Suitcase Luggage Tag

Nothing says personalization like a vintage luggage tag. This cute tag comes in tawny colors and in the shape of a suitcase. A lovely “travel charm” for your mom to take with her on her travels! Kate Aspen.

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4. Cute Compression Socks

Compression socks don’t have to be dull and lame! These fun therapeutic socks keep the blood pumping, while also being totally cute with stripes, polka dots and zigzags! Vim & Vigr.

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5. Cute Voyage Travel Wallet

No matter where she goes on her travels, your mom will need a place to keep her important papers! Why not make it as adorable as possible? Disaster Designs came out with a lovely faux-leather wallet that keeps credit cards, cash, coins, passport and even a pen. With soft hues, playful typography and delightful illustrations, what’s not to love? Disaster Designs.

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6. Travel Journal

Of course no self-respecting traveler can leave home without some sort of notebook or journal! Make her life easier with this inspiring gift, with a colorful world map and a quote from Jane Austen on the cover. BookishlyUK.

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7. Travel Bracelet

This beautiful bracelet is 925 sterling silver, with gold plating and a matte finish. Comes in yellow, white, black or pink, with one size fitting all. Bubblebox.

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8. St. Frank Notebook Set

More cute notebooks! St. Frank has a set of 3 notebooks, with colorful printed paper cover and blank pages inside. Prints are original Indian textile, washed indigo, and geometric Kuba from central Africa. St. Frank. 

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9. Tea From Around the World

A perfect virtual trip around the world for mom! This tea set is a collection of 10 loose-leaf teas from China to India to the shores of Sri Lanka. Uncommon Goods.

Have a perfect gift for your mom this Mother’s Day? Share with us in the comments! 🙂

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The Cook Islands: Hawaii’s Quieter, Overlooked Cousin

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Tropical Bliss…

The Cook Islands are a fantastic destination for travelers looking for a secluded tropical island experience.

Named after Captain Cook, the 15 islands boast stunning lagoons, moderate tropical weather, and a friendly “Ki Orana” spirit.

Most folks head to the Southern Cook Islands, especially Rarotonga and Aitutaki. The country is still undeveloped and the beaches uncrowded, even in peak season. They’ve have been compared to what Hawaii used to look and feel like 50 years ago.

At the Punanga Nui Cultural Market, sample the music, dance, cuisine and songs of the islands. Plus learn how to make local crafts like hat-weaving, lei-making, ukulele-carving and more. Open weekdays 8AM to 4PM, but the best events are on Saturday.

Cook Island Fun Facts

– It’s forbidden for any building to be higher than the tallest coconut palm!

– Local currency is the New Zealand dollar — great value for the cost

– Even though they’re technically part of New Zealand, the islands are self-governing

– Just 30 minutes from the plane to the beach

– Languages: English and Maori

– Only 20,000 inhabitants!

– A great alternative to the more expensive Tahiti

Willamette Intl Travel has sent clients on unforgettable holidays to the Cook Islands, and some even come back for their 2nd or 3rd time!

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Suggested Itineraries:

Plan your trip to the Cook Islands around a New Zealand and/or Australia getaway!

6 nights/7 days on the Cook Islands:

Spend a romantic vacation under palm trees, fishing, swimming and motorcycling — the ideal recipe for an idyllic getaway.

OR

12 nights Cook Islands + New Zealand:

Fly from Vancouver, San Francisco or Los Angeles into the Cook Islands for 4 nights. Get used to the jet lag and lie on a tropical beach; Soak your skin in the sun and your toes in the sand! Then hop on a plane over to Auckland for a trip in Kiwi central.

OR

16+ nights Cook Islands + Australia:

Spend the 4 nights / 5 full days then fly on to Sydney on the nonstop Air New Zealand flight. Spend as many nights exploring the Land Downunder, then fly over to New Zealand in a spectacular Pacific Adventure.

When to Go?

The Cook Islands are gorgeous year-round, but the shoulder months of April, May, September and October are optimal.

Before you Go: An Adorable Video

We absolutely adore this 12-minute video from Tourism Cook Islands! It will tell you everything you need to know about why you should visit the Cook Islands soon!

Read More:

Our Overview of the Cook Islands

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Travel News:

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Club Med reopens Cote d’Azur resort…will now teach Circus Skills!

Club Med has relaunched its Opio en Provence resort on France’s Cote d’Azur, aimed at families and couples. The four-Trident resort has been fully refurbished and offers 437 rooms, built in traditional Provencal-style bungalows. Included are four new suites. The resort will feature Club Med’s first CREATIVE playground in Europe, which is a dedicated area where children and adults can learn circus skills.

Possible new airport for Sydney

The Australian government said it will fund construction of a new $3.76 billion international airport for Sydney. The decision came after Sydney Airport Holdings declined to exercise its right to build the airport itself, deeming it a risky project. The site at Badgery’s Creek s about 25 miles from the city, much further away than the existing airport which is operated by Sydney Airport Holdings. Opposition transport spokesman Anthony Albanese said it was ‘essential’ for a rail line to be built and operational before the new airport opens due to the distance. Qantas CEO Alan Joyce hopes the new airport will serve as a low-cost hub alternative such as London’s Stansted Airport.

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Venice begins effort to limit tourist count for popular attractions

Venice, long struggling under the strain of massive tourist numbers has just 55,000 residents live in Venice’s historic center, a number that is rapidly dwindling, as the 60,000 tourists a day drive up the cost of living. A fact-finding mission to Venice by Unesco officials in October 2015 found that “the capacity of the city, the number of its inhabitants and the number of tourists is out of balance and causing significant damage”. It led Unesco to warn in 2016 that it would place the city on its endangered list unless preventative action was taken. Venice and its lagoon are one of 51 Italian sites on Unesco’s world heritage list. Venice city council is also considering limiting tourist accommodation in the same way that authorities in Barcelona have. After local outcry that included English-language signs reading, “Tourists Go Away!!! You Are Destroying This Area,” the local government has responded with new measures meant to limit tourist numbers at popular attractions, and to encourage visitors to explore the less crowded parts of the Floating City. The city’s mayor, Luigi Brugnaro, who made cracking down on tourist numbers a priority when he was elected in 2015, and its tourism councilor, Paola Mar, are putting into place a slew of regulations on a trial basis as the city braces itself for the flood of summer visitors. It begins with automated “people-counters” at the most heavily trafficked areas, like the historic bridges that span the canals and the Rio Novo. Unlike in Dubrovnik, where visitors will be turned away when a cap is reached, in Venice, the numbers will be shared in real time on the city’s website and social media feeds to discourage people from going to places already blocked up with foot traffic. Venice plans are afoot to introduce a ticketing system to regulate the size of the crowds in St Mark’s Square, according to the local press. The city council has grown tired of the throngs of people brandishing selfie sticks among the pigeons. The payment of an entrance ticket to St Mark’s Square “is an eventuality that exists, though not immediately” Paola Mar, a city councillor for tourism told Il Gazzettino.

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New USA riverboat company in September

Travel Weekly reports that the newly formed Grand Majestic River Company will launch an overnight passenger paddlewheeler in September. Owner of the Kentucky-based company bought the former casino boat Diamond Lady last year, and it will become the 70-passenger Grand Majestic. The boat will be able to sail along shorter inland waterways off of the Ohio and Mississippi rivers, due to its shorter height and lower draft. The company plans to do cruises up to Omaha, Sioux City, Charleston (WV) and the Chicago outskirts. “The ship’s interiors are being outfitted to make passengers feel that they are stepping back in time,” says cruise line owner Captain Joseph Baer, “but not so overdone antique-wise that you feel like you’re staying at a B&B.”  Excursions will be included, along with one pre-cruise hotel night. 

Visa reciprocity for five European countries and the USA resolved for now

The European Union and the United States have resolved issues of visa reciprocity pertaining to citizens of five EU nations that are not part of the Visa Waiver Program. Earlier this year, the European Parliament asked that visa requirements be reinstated for U.S. citizens traveling to Europe as early as this summer, but that will not be the case anymore.  The European Commission says it has reached an agreement with the U.S. and will not begin making Americans obtain visas when traveling to Europe. The commission reached this decision after engaging in talks with U.S. officials and a process was put into place through which EU member countries–including Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Poland and Romania-could be brought into the Visa Waiver Program.

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Hydrogen-powered trains?

Plans for the Coradia iLint, a hydrogen-powered, zero-emission train in Germany could revolutionize rail travel. Alstom, the company behind the new trains, says the iLint is the world’s first low-floor passenger train that uses a hydrogen fuel cell to create its electricity. The trains – which are described as 60 percent less noisy than diesel trains and can travel up to 500 miles per day – successfully completed test runs back in March.

Many Americans do not protect against malaria when they travel

Nearly 1,500 Americans continue to be hospitalized for malaria annually. According to a new study released by the American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, nearly all malaria patients in the U.S. are travelers that brought the disease home with them from affected countries. What’s more, the disease could have easily been prevented had travelers taken the proper precautions before their trip. “It appears more and more Americans are traveling to areas where malaria is common and many of them are not taking preventive measures, such as using anti-malarial preventive medications and mosquito repellents, even though they are very effective at preventing infections,” said Diana Khuu, PhD, MPH, a scientist at the University of California, Los Angeles, who co-authored the study. As more travelers return with the disease, there is a greater “risk of malaria re-establishing itself in the U.S.,” according to Dr. Khuu.

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Conscientious Traveler: Lindblad Expeditions

Welcome back to Conscientious Traveler–our monthly series in which we showcase a fantastic travel organization that supports humanitarian and/or environmental work. This month May is all about Lindblad Expeditions!

Lindblad Expeditions offers cruises emphasizing eco-tourism, adventure and conservation efforts around the globe. Travelers choose the cruise line for their on-ship education and intimate experiences with amazing wildlife and environments. They’ve partnered up with National Geographic to showcase earth-friendly destinations and projects around the globe.

Lindblad has raised more than $12 million to conversation initiatives worldwide. Projects cover everything from community development to ecological programs in Antarctica, Baja, Galapagos, Patagonia, Amazon and other areas around the globe.

Click here to read in-depth of all the donated programs!

Willamette Intl Travel has sent clients on Lindblad Expeditions for years now. Call now for an appointment to find out more! 503-224-0180 or email info@wittravel.com. 

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Where in the World is the WIT Agent? — The Western Mediterranean!

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That’s right! This week, Nancy is aboard a Windstar Cruise from Barcelona to Rome!

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Glitter & Glam of the Rivieras

The “Glitter & Glam of the Rivieras” itinerary will take her on a voyage from Barcelona, Spain, past the exotic coast of France and Monaco, to Rome, Italy. She’ll visit the prestigious Banyuls vineyards of Port Vendres, sail in the artisan harbor of Sanary-sur-Mer, and soak in the glamor of Monte Carlo and Cannes. Her ship, the Star Pride, will then sail into the charmingly chic Portofino, before heading to Portoferraio, on the tranquil island of Elba. The ship bears 106 suites, all outside with ocean views, and some with private verandas or French balconies. With 6 guest decks and a cruising speed of 15 knots, Nancy’s guaranteed a magical week exploring the West Mediterranean.

Highlights: 

  • Barcelona’s Festive Las Ramblas Quarter
  • Monte Carlo’s Royal Palace & Grand Casino
  • Portoferraio’s UNESCO Archipelago
  • Scenic hike to Santa Margherita in Portofino
  • Rome’s Trevi Fountain and Piazza Venezia

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Check back soon to see her report on the blog and in our seasonal newsletter!

Afterwards, Nancy will be heading to the Amalfi Coast, so stay tuned!

Why Windstar?

Windstar Cruises is a luxury fleet of six small ships. Each yacht carries just 148 to 310 guests, and the line is known for its intimate voyages to smaller ports in Tahiti, Panama Canal, Iceland and more.

Complimentary services include: all meals, non-alcoholic beverages, plush bathrobes and slippers, flat-screen TV, onboard entertainment, watersports platform, deck barbecue and a champagne welcome reception.

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In the News

In 2017, Windstar Cruises and the James Beard Foundation have partnered up to celebrate food- and wine-themed cruises! Windstar will offer 8 sailings with award-winning chefs from all over the world. Each sailing in the James Beard Culinary Cruise Collection, as it’s called, will feature a demonstration of a signature recipe, special menu items, culinary shore excursions and market tours. 

Scheduled Sailings: 

  • May 6 Islands of the West Med
  • June 16 Cuisines & Cultures of Spain
  • August 4 Lands of the Midnight Sun
  • September 2 Gaelic Explorers
  • October 18 Islands of the West Med
  • November 10 Jewels of the Windward Islands
  • December 9 San Juan & The Virgin Islands
  • January 20 (2018) Icons of Southeast Asia

Find Out More

Call your Willamette Intl Travel to book your Windstar Cruise today! Or come in for a chat, we’ll be happy to discuss with you the details and options of Mediterranean cruises. Call for an appointment: 503-224-0180 or email info@wittravel.com.

Photos courtesy of Windstar Cruises and license free imaging.

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Travel News of the Week: The Country that Ranks #1 in Safety

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Finland ranked as safest country in the world for travel

The World Economic Forum releases the Travel & Tour Tourism Competitiveness Index, which is an in-depth analysis of tourism in countries around the world. One of its most important rankings is the safety of the countries, and Finland has topped the list this year. “[Finland] remains the safest destination globally, despite rising concerns in most [of] Europe, including Finland, regarding terrorism,” the report reads. The report collected data from a total of 136 countries.

Mexico rapidly rising in list of world’s top tourism destinations

A recent report released by the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) revealed that Mexico has surpassed Turkey as the eighth most popular tourist destination in the world. According to MexicoNewsDaily.com, Mexico welcomed 35 million visitors last year, including a nine percent increase in foreign tourists arriving in the country. Due to political unrest and security concerns, Turkey only boasted 28.3 million visitors last year. Mexico had dropped in the UNWTO rankings to 15th in 2013 but had climbed all the way back to ninth during 2015 thanks to improved security and a steadily recovering tourism industry. While the country finished eighth for last year, it boasted only 600,000 fewer visitors than the seventh-place United Kingdom. Tourism officials in Mexico believe the country will enter the top five in the UNWTO rankings soon due to the 50 percent increase in visitor numbers since 2012. 

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Tanzania was born 53 years ago yesterday Thursday

Britain and Germany had long been the colonial powers in eastern Africa, and the nation of Tanganyika was no exception. But when British rule came to an end in 1961, Tanganyika peacefully moved into independence with Julius Nyerere as its President. Just offshore on the small island nation of Zanzibar, however, a long-standing Arab dynasty remained in place even after the British gave the country its independence in 1963. Only a month later, the bloody Zanzibar Revolution was underway, and thousands of Arabs and people of Indian descent were either killed or expelled. On April 26th, 1964, the two nations merged to form Tanzania, of which Zanzibar remains a semi-autonomous region.

New light show at Disney World

Summer visitors to Orlando’s Disney World will be in for an extra treat this year: a new and improved evening light show at the Magic Kingdom Park, unveiled this week and set for a May 12 debut, just in time for Mother’s Day. “The show will take guests on an emotional journey as favorite Disney characters set out to pursue their dreams, encounter obstacles (and villains!) to ultimately prevail and find their ‘happily ever afters,'” Disney explained. But the most intriguing part of the new show – titled, aptly, “Happily Ever After” – is the advanced use of projection mapping technology, in which the Disney designers craft elaborate lighting schemes projected onto the famous castle’s exterior surfaces, effectively transforming the whole castle’s architecture into a dynamic, multidimensional screen.

Disney World has large gondola system planned

A gondola lift system is in the works for Disney World, with six stations and three lines. The lines will link Hollywood Studios, Epcot, the Caribbean Beach Resort and a lakeside area between the Pop Century and Art of Animation resorts. The system is being developed by a European company, with gondola cabs to hold 10 passengers. This will be an improved version of the Disney Skyway ride that closed in 1999 after an employee was killed in an accident involving a gondola. Disney is releasing very little information about the new operation as yet.

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Dale Chihuly exhibit at NYC Botanical Garden through late October 2017

For those of you who love the works of Dale Chihuly, see

Dale Chihuly exhibit at NY Botanical Garden

Windstar Cruises and James Beard Foundation ‘special chef’ cruises

As part of their partnership, Windstar Cruises and the James Beard Foundation will offer eight sailings this year featuring award-winning chefs from around the country. The announcement was made at a lunch at New York’s Beard House, the Foundation’s headquarters. Windstar’s new corporate executive chef Graeme Cockburn came up with the menu, which included foie gras croquettes, marinated cucumber and burrata and goat cheese truffle lollipops. Serving a meal at the famed Beard House is a milestone for a chef. Each of the sailings in the James Beard Culinary Cruise Collection will feature a demonstration of a signature recipe. There will also be special menu items, culinary shore excursions and market tours. “Other cruise lines have one celebrity chef, but thanks to our partnership with the James Beard Foundation, we have an array of incredible culinary superstars in our ranks,” said John Delaney, president of Windstar Cruises.

Important TSA information regarding transgender passengers

For transgender passengers, this TSA link will take you to important information. www.tsa.gov/transgender-passengers 

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Big new eco theme park in the works for Costa Rica

Discovery Communications, the parent of the Discovery Channel and Animal Planet, will be loaning its name to a new eco theme park in Costa Rica. The park, which is anticipated to open in 2020 in the province of Guanacaste near Liberia will be owned by Sun Latin America and will license the Discovery name. It is expected to cost $1 billion to develop. Although the park may feature such attractions as Shark Week: The 4D Adventure and Myth Busters: The Hall of Mirrors, according to the Costa Rican Times, the park will focus on biodiversity and conservation and include such activities as scuba diving and rock climbing. Additionally, it will offer a water park, Discovery-branded hotels and a number of eateries. Although details have not yet been released by Discovery Communications, Costa Rica president Luis Guillermo Solis confirmed through his Facebook page that this will be one of Costa Rica’s “largest investments in the last 10 years.”

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Client Trip Report: Why Antarctica continues to be the most Awe-Inspiring Destination

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Willamette Intl Travel booked an amazing trip for our long-time clients Doug and Diane. They sailed on an unforgettable voyage to Antarctica last December. So in the interest of sharing it with our readers, we’ve made up a presentation that we think you’ll love—chock-full of firsthand feedback, quotes, tips, and gorgeous photos. We hope you enjoy it!

Take Me on a Virtual Voyage to Antarctica!

 

Thinking about a once-in-a-lifetime trip to Antarctica?

Let us advise you!

We’ve sent dozens of clients to explore the lonely continent. Nothing prepares you for the sheer beauty of its nature. Call us for a consultation now: 503-224-0180 or email info@wittravel.com.

I had no idea that ice, mountains, icebergs, clouds, flat water, sky, and sun could work together to make such beautiful scenes.  I was in awe the whole trip.

–Doug D.

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