Friday Finds

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I recently had the opportunity to speak on a Podcast for travel agents regarding social media and must have gadgets for travelers. I figured I would share with you all some of my picks for anyone whether you are a travel professional, travel for work or just love to travel. Let’s dive right in for the must have gadgets of 2016.

  • Smart Watch
    • Smart watches are an amazing travel accessory. I know for people traveling for business having your emails/texts right on your wrist is a handy accessory. Plus sometimes it’s nice to be able to flip on your internet once the plane lands without having to try to reach for your phone.
  • Go Pro
    • What a fun way to relive vacation memories. Whether you are hiking a volcano in Hawaii or zipping through the jungle in Mexico this is a cool way to show off your fun filled vacation. Plus you can upload it to all your social media platforms and share it with friends and family! Make sure to send us a copy here at Ambassador so we can relive your trip with you!
  • Backup Charger
    • These little puppies will charge your phone without having to plug it in the wall, so great while you’re on the go. I know for me when traveling I love to take pictures, snapchats, and videos and my phone can never stay charged during a full day of activates. Having a backup charger is the perfect way to never miss that perfect snap shot again!
  • Personal wifi:
    • Having your own hotspot, especially when you’re traveling for work is a must. Never try to track down an internet cafe or McDonalds ever again. These can be purchased generally through your cell phone provider and through stores like Walmart/Target.
  • Smart Converters
    • Smart converters are the wave of the future. You do not need to go buy all those little attachments with specific country/continent plugs on them now, they are all in one “smart charger”. These are great when traveling because the less clutter the better. They plug into the wall and into car outlet so they are really very versatile.

Now I want to hear from you! What are some must have tech items that have made travel so much easier/more enjoyable for you? Let me know here in the comment section or by sending me an email amber@ambassadortravelltd.com

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It’s worth a shot

bourbon-month-ftr.jpgNow generally on our Thirsty Thursday blog feature I like to take you all over the world to find out where some of our favorite or future favorite drinks are created and served, but today we are staying right here in the good old U.S. of A. This patriotic beverage comes straight from the south and is a favorite of many domestic and international spirit lovers–Bourbon.

Bourbon is an American whiskey, which has been distilled in this country since the 18th century. Although when we think of Bourbon we often think of the south, specifically Kentucky, it can be distilled anywhere in the U.S. With that being said 95% of production does take place in Kentucky alone. The history of this grain beverage is, like most alcohol histories, disputed. The most accepted story country wide is that Kentucky Baptist Minister Elijah Craig first aged whiskey in charred oak casks, which inevitably gave the beverage it’s reddish color and unique flavor profile.

More debates lay in where the name Bourbon actually comes from. The word itself is from the French Royal dynasty. Thomas Jefferson named Bourbon County, Kentucky after the family because of the French help during the Revolutionary war. So the real back and forth is whether Bourbon is named after Bourbon county in Kentucky or after Bourbon Street in New Orleans. To me it seems like it would be the former, but hey, who am I to decide history.

According to the Federal Standards of Identity for Distilled Spirits, Bourbon made for U.S. consumption must follow the following guidelines. First it must be produced in the United States. Like I said above it does not have to be made in Kentucky or the South, but it must be in the U.S. Second it must be made from a grain mixture of at leases 51% corn. It cannot be distilled to more than 160 proof or 80% alcohol by volume. It must enter the barrel for aging at no more that 125 proof or 62.5% alcohol by volume. And finally it must be bottled at 80 proof or 40% alcohol by volume.

When it comes to Bourbon there is no set time table for how long it must be aged, UNLESS it is being labeled as Straight Bourbon. If it is labeled as Straight Bourbon it must follow the guidelines from above as well as be aged for a minimum of 2 years, and have no added color, flavor or other spirits.

Now  you don’t need to travel necessarily to drink Bourbon, but let’s be honest the real culture of the drink was established in Kentucky, so to be a true connoisseur of the beverage it’s time to make your way to the Bluegrass State. For more information on traveling to Kentucky or the American South, please give us a call 920.236.7777 or visit our website ambassadortravelltd.com to schedule an appointment today!

Where in the World: Saint Martin

198212_10150182971036833_3359957_n.jpgNow we’ve all heard of extreme sports, but what about extreme airports? Yup thats right there are some airports around the globe who have been given the title of extreme due to their locations. Today I am going to talk about an airport so close to the beach that watching planes take off and land has become a spectator sport–talk about extreme.

Princess Juliana International airport located next to Maho beach on the Dutch side of Saint Martin is a must see spectacle for travel, aviation and excitement lovers alike. This is the sight of landings and take offs so close to the popular tourist beach that their are warnings for spectators. Because the beach lies directly in the flight path you are able to experience landings and takeoffs only 100 feet above the ground. Check out the image i’ve provided to see just how close to the people these planes are landing.

Runway 10 at Princess Juliana International Airport is known to draw some extreme crowds. This departure strip has become popularized for people hoping to experience jet blasts that have been known to blow viewers off into the water. Precautions have been made and a set a new set of fences have been added for extra safety due to this being a bit dangerous.

But don’t worry you don’t have to get blown into the water to experience this cool site! Many restaurants and bars around have popularized the area by having viewing decks as well as posting flight departure and arrival times so you can check out this cool sight while safety sipping on a cocktail. Hang out at Sunset bar and grill, Bamboo Bernie’s or Bliss for the best view!

Want to see this extreme travel sight yourself? Call us today at 920.236.7777

Travel Trivia: Yuan

Chinese-yuan-set-to-be-admitte.jpgLast week I asked “Which county uses the Yuan as currency?” If you guessed China then you are right on that Yuan (see what I did there). Although when referring directly to their money it is called Yuan there is a bit of confusion surrounding the term. Let’s learn more about China’s currency and the history of it.

The official currency of China is known as the Renminbi, which translates to “People’s currency”. The Yuan is the base unit of the Renminbi, this confuses economist, and countries around the world, but the best comparison I can give is the Renminbi is similar to the Federal Reserve Note and the Yuan is like the U.S. dollar. So when referring to money you would never call a dollar a Federal Reserve note so all currency is counted in Yuan.

The bank notes come in 1 Yuan, 2 Yuan, 5 Yuan, 10 Yuan, 20 Yuan, 50 Yuan and 100 Yuan. 1 Yuan makes up 10 Jiao (similar to our dime) and 1 Jiao equals 10 Fen (similar to our penny). Yuan in Chinese is used to describe there country’s currencies as well. The U.S. dollar is called the Meiyuan, which translates to “American Yuan” and the Euro is called Ouyuan, which means “European Yuan.”

Historically speaking the Chinese were the first to invent paper money, but kept their currency centered around their bronze coins until December of 1948 when the Renminbi was first issued. Most of the paper money in China has the image of Chairman and Communist leader Mao Zedong, but other famous Communist Chinese leaders can be found on some of their currency.

Today the exchange rate between the U.S. dollar and the Chinese Yuan is 10 Yuan equals 1.54 U.S. dollars.

Would you like to try your hand at conversions and basic understanding of Chinese currency? Then it is time to call Ambassador Travel to start learning how you can travel to China!

Secrets Huatulco Reviews

12484587_10201445970746530_8217045952676692310_o.jpgLately we have been sharing more and more of our testimonials, because what better way to find out how a vacation went, then from the vacationer! Another one of our successful group trips returned about a month ago and the reviews are in! Here is what Jayne had to say about the breathtaking Secrets Huatulco:

“Thank you Ambassador travel for the amazing vacation to Huatulco!!!! The weather was amazing with being a sunny  88-90 degrees each day and the scenery was breath taking. The Secrets resort was beautiful and relaxing. Travel agent Connie Ruedinger did an amazing job putting the trip together and made sure it was smooth travel throughout the trip! Connie is definitely  the Guru of travel and I will be booking my next adventure with Connie from Ambassador Travel!!! -Jayne

Thank you Jayne for sharing your review with us and for letting us all know what a great time you had on our group trip to Huatulco! We love getting reviews from our clients and are happy to have you send us them after all of our trips! For anyone looking to write a testimonial, please visit our website or click HERE!

Want to experience Secrets Huatulco for yourself? Or maybe you’re interested in traveling with one of our groups? Either way it is time to call us at 920.236.7777 or visit our website ambassadortravelltd.com to schedule an appointment today!

 

 

 

Earth Day

Earth Day - No Year.pngIn honor of Earth Day I wanted to share with you an article on America’s Greenest Cities. For the eco-conscious traveler these should be the next must visit items on your travel bucket list. Now let me first preface this article by saying some of the cities on this list surprised me, while other seems quite obvious. And great news a few Midwest cities made the list so if you are looking to go green close to home these are your best options .

http://www.travelandleisure.com/slideshows/americas-greenest-cities-2012?iid=sr-link5

Looking to travel to one of the U.S.’s greenest cities? Well then it is time to give us call 920.236.7777 or visit our website ambassadortravelltd.com to schedule your appointment today!

Argentina Wine

Screen-Shot-2013-11-16-at-4.45.18-PM.pngWine production was brought to Argentina during the Spanish colonization to Santiago del Estero in 1557. It has it’s vine cutting and production techniques with roots in Spanish style. Today Argentina is the 5th largest producer of wine in the world.

As wine production spread throughout the country the people focused more on quantity over quality initially. That is because for centuries 90% of Argentina’s wine was consumed by the Argentinians. Throughout history Argentina has produced more wine than any other country outside of Europe. With most being consumed internally rather than being exported. When exporting was introduced the quality of the wine being produced increased significantly.

The 1990s brought real change to the entirety of how wine is made throughout Argentina. Today they are the largest wine exporter in South America. The major wine regions in Argentina are Mendoza, San Juan, and La Rioja. Mendoza produces more than 60% of all wine for the entire country. Because of the low humidity of the region the grapes don’t require nearly any pesticides because the grapes rarely have problems with insects, mold, and other grape diseases.

The Malbec grape was introduced to Argentina by the French. Today it makes the most of Argentina’s wines. This is a red wine, while other famous grapes for the area are Torrontes which is grown in La Rioja, San Juan and Salta. This is aromatic white wine. Argentina is so serious about it’s wines that in November 2010 the Argentinian government declared wine as Argentina’s national liquor.

Looking to travel to Argentina and sample these world class wines yourself? Then it is time to call Ambassador Travel at 920.236.7777.

 

Cuba–What’s New

street-trinidad-cuba-caribbean_main.jpgIt’s Where in the World Wednesday and if you frequent this blog then you know we have done features on Cuba before. With that being said there have been new travel guidelines set in place and I wanted to go over them and explain them for anyone interested in making the historic journey to the Caribbean island.

If you have done any research on traveling to Cuba or if you caught our last blog feature on it you know that you can’t just up and travel to Cuba like you can other islands in the Caribbean or even Mexico. Yes you will need a passport, but there is a bit more planning the needs to take place. So lets learn a little bit more about the new rules.

As of March 16, 2016 the Office of Foreign Asset Control released it’s newest set of regulations for American’s traveling to Cuba. The rules before basically stated that when American’s travel to Cuba they need to be part of a touring group with a full time schedule of educational and learning experiences. Many tour companies offer these tours, and still do, one great one is Apple Vacations. Now though, American’s can receive a “people-to-people” license for individual travel. This means that the individual must have a full time schedule of educational exchange activities that are intended to enhance contact with the Cuban people, support civil society in Cuba, promote the Cuban people’s independence from Cuban authorities, and that will result in the meaningful interactions between the travel and individuals of Cuba. All educational activities must be document and records must be filed to ensure that the traveler is there doing full time education and learning. If you decide to take a group tour these records are handled by the tour company.

So basically the structure of the trip must remain the same, but the changes allow individuals to take on this journey on their own. For more information on traveling to Cuba please call Ambassador Travel at 920.236.7777 or visit ambassdortravelltd.com to schedule an appointment today!

Travel Trivia Tuesday

Last week I asked, “The world’s tallest waterslide is known as Verruckt, what does this Kansas City attraction’s name mean?” For those of you who don’t know verruckt is a german word for insane. And for anyone who has ever seen or ridden this ride then you know why!

This crazy slide was given the Guinness World Record for tallest waterslide in the world. It is located at the Schlitterbahn waterpark in Kansas City, Missouri. This crazy water coaster sits at 168 ft 7 in tall. It is so popular that you must make reservations for a set time to ride the ride or hope for an opening by hanging out in the stand by section. Once you do manage to climb to the top of those 264 steps you will be strapped into a 3 person raft where you will be higher than Niagara Falls and the Statue of Liberty. Once ready you will immediately drop 17 stories at 60 degrees, which is steeper than the steepest ski slope, then before the ride ends you hit a hill where you drop another 60 feet. All in 10 seconds. And at the speed of 65 miles per hour you will be traveling about high way car speeds, so hold on tight!

Check out this video to see all the insane excitement that Verruckt has to offer!

30 SEC Verrückt R U Insane? from Schlitterbahn Waterparks on Vimeo.

Want to ride Verruckt yourself? It’s time to call Ambassador Travel at 920.236.7777 or visit our website ambassasdortravelltd.com

Ambassador Happenings

12002298_10201681756321022_4181832796856991192_n.jpgFor anyone who reads our blog you know group travel is something we offer and specialize in. Each year we do a spring break family vacation group. This year’s trip was spent in exciting Cozumel, Mexico at the El Cozumeleno Beach resort. With something to do for the whole family our trip was another success! Here to tell us about her experience both as a travel professional and as a guest is owner Susie Leib who took her family on this fun filled week long vacay:

Trip to the El Coz was excellent.  Just like all the destination in Mexico, Cozumel is unique in character and what it has to offer.  It is a perfect place for those that are looking to take a step back from the hustle and bustle of our daily technology filled lives.  With half of the island electricity free it is definitely a place to disappear.
 
The El Cozumeleno has a great pool and swim up bar.  The 24/7 ice cream machine was a big hit with the kids.  The beach isn’t big, but the snorkeling that the resort offers far outweighs what the beach may lack.  It can be rocky in some areas getting into the water so water shoes or snorkeling fins are highly recommended.  Great snorkeling for the beginner, intermediate, and even experienced person.  Lots of variety of fish to view and if you bring some bread or a hot dog from the buffet you’ll be surrounded by many finned friends.
 
For those that prefer to look at the fish rather than swim with the fish the pier offers great views of the fish.  It is like looking into an aquarium – the water is breathtakingly clear.
 
The resort offers one buffet and one a la carte restaurant.  In the seven nights we stayed we did not eat at the a la carte restaurant, the buffet served our needs well.  The buffet is hosted in an open air restaurant with great views of the water.  They have different theme nights so there is a wide variety of food served.  The resort hosted a beach party night and hired a live band – that was very fun!  Lots of dancing and laughter.  The resort also hosted a Mexican fiesta night with a great spread of Mexican food.  We sat at tables in sand and watched the sunset – it was really nice.
 
Rooms are basic and not the Ritz Carlton, but for the price they are a great value.  Ocean view rooms are the only way to go when you stay here.  Staff is extremely friendly and always working hard to make your stay excellent.
 
Recommend taking a tour to “the other side” – the official name of the other side of the island.  We went to a beach club and enjoyed lunch and a day at the beach.  The waves are quite strong so swimming is at your own discretion.  We were no more than 10 feet into the water and had a ball getting blasted by waves.  Also enjoyed watching the waves crash into the large rock formations.
 
We also did a horseback tour through the jungle. Enjoyed the ride and some Mayan ruins and history.
 
Stopped at Chankanaab to do a dolphin and manatee swim.
 
The main square looks modern and is kept clean and up to date.  Huge cruise port, busiest cruise port in Mexico and the Caribbean.  Local shopping recommended at Playa Sol – all items made in MexicoJ
 
Cozumel is for those that appreciate a great value and have simple expectations but want a great experience.  It is a charming island that still remains one of my favorite places to visit.

 

One great thing about getting a recommendation from Susie is that she is always honest about how she feels about a resort. She likes to set travelers up with what to expect and for anyone interested in traveling to the El Coz she has done just that. Ready to take the family away for your own trip or want to learn more about our group travel? Give us a call 920.236.7777 or visit our website ambassadortravelltd.com to schedule an appointment.