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Tuesday, January 29, 2019

A Perfect Base for Exploring: A Review of the Park Plaza Waterloo Hotel London, England

LTD highly recommends the Park Plaza Waterloo Hotel in London England if you plan a sightseeing visit to London, need a convenient base of operation, and don't wish to make your hotel your principal destination!

A Perfect Base for Exploring: A Review of the Park Plaza Waterloo Hotel London, England

Bottom line: 

At about $200, this is an outstanding option for a brief stay in London when you plan to visit the typical sites, such as Big Ben, Westminster Abbey, Churchill War rooms, London Eye, Buckingham Palace, The Tower of London and even Hampton Court Palace.

Our stay was included as part of a precruise package, so This hotel was chosen for us. Normally we would either use Airbnb or choose an American Express Fine Hotel, but it is always great to see other options! Before this trip LTD needed one additional night at this hotel before our package began and the reservation was easily accomplished online. When our driver pulled up to the hotel, the surrounding area seemed a bit unsavory but quickly we realized the this location if excellent for touring the sites of London. Big Ben (unfortunately under renovation at the time of this article) is less than a mile away. Waterloo train station is about 1/4 mile away and the Westminster tube stop is very nearly as well. Take the Waterloo train to see Hampton Court Palace and have dinner at the Muted Swan to step back in time and get out of the city.

To get to the Tower of London, you will need to take a boat which can be fun, the tube or just walk.  Look at our visit to the Tower of London in this Video:

To make a reservation at the Park Plaza Waterloo or just check their prices click here or look for this link again at the end of this post!

Review of Loews Coronado Bay Resort, San Diego, California

LTD had the opportunity for a meaningful weekend in San Diego for the USS Michael Monsoor Ship Commissioning, so we decided to have a healthy weekend too by staying at the Loews Coronado Bay Resort!

Review of Loews Coronado Bay Resort, San Diego, California

Bottom Line:  

Check out reviews of the Loews Coronado, rates and book at TripAdvisor by CLICKING HERE!

The Loews Coronado Bay Resort is good for anyone looking for a relaxing getaway, visiting San Diego, or a healthy vacation spot.  The hotel is 4 miles away from the village of Coronado but has a shuttle if you desire a full array of restaurants or shops.  Dining options at the resort could be more extensive but are adequate if you don’t feel like going into the village. Fitness classes and proximity to a secluded area of beach on the strand and long running or cycling trails make it an easy base for your healthy getaway.  LTD always tries to combine meaningful and healthy vacations and this was the perfect weekend to do that!

Today is National Plan Your Vacation Day

Individuals who plan are more likely to use all of their time off, take more vacation days at once, and report greater levels of happiness in every category measured. 

Over 50% of Americans skip planning vacations and either find themselves losing time off at work or sitting around on vacation staring at social media.  Have you ever said: "I just don't have the time to take a vacation?"

It is easy to plan a vacation.  Project Time Off  is a coalition of organizations devoted to helping you plan your time off.  Their website has multiple tools available to help you plan taking your vacation, even if you want to sit at home.  The number of days that Americans take for vacation has decreased significantly over the last decade and over 600,000,000 vacation days go unused every year.  

LTD has asked themselves many times:  would we rather have "stuff" or "experiences"?  LTD chose experiences every time! It's beneficial for your relationships and family! 

How do you plan for a vacation?

1.  Ask a friend (Like LTD!)
2.  Join a travel group 
3.  Use a travel agent
4.  Research online

Get yourself a great pair of travel shoes from Spain to inspire your next adventure!  Click the photo to learn more! 

Stay Happy and Travel On!!!!

Monday, January 28, 2019

Save Big by Using Costcotravel and now $20 rebate on your Membership!

There are great deals at Costcotravel and If you are not a member already you can get $20 back for new members. With certain membership levels and the Costco Visa credit card you can get put to 4% back when you book travel, on top of the usual great price!

LTD uses Costcotravel to book cruises, rental cars, vacation packages and hotels. They are especially good forncruises and rental cars.

Click Here for this offer!

Make Meaningful and Healthy Travel Happen!

Monday, January 21, 2019

Luxury Travel Docs Honors Keko Adventure Tours with the HEAT Award for Epitomizing Healthy Excursions And Travel

Luxury Travel Docs awards the HEAT award to Keko Adventure Tours on Kauai Island, Hawaii! The HEAT award is given to those individuals or companies that demonstrate excellence in Healthy Excursions And Travel!

The one thing we have always believed is that Hawaii has some of the friendliest and kindest people anywhere. LTD spent the day with Eben Manini and Ernesto Guerra of Keko Adventure Tours on Kauai island, Hawaii. Spending time with Eben and Ernesto clearly shows what healthy adventures are all about, but you probably wouldn't realize how meaningful their adventures have been.

Ernesto Guerra and Eben Manini of Keko Adventure Tours in front of Heiaus at Lydgate Park

Ernesto Guerra has a very meaningful story about how he founded Keko Adventure Tours that we would like to share with you.  Five years before we met him, he was a sales manager for one of the most successful car dealerships in the US. One day he opened one of those suspect emails from a cousin with a story about a boy who raised funds for others, he decided to follow the link and found out about Watercan Canada now called Wateraid. At the time they were looking for volunteers who wanted to raise funds and climb Mountain Kilimanjaro.  He sent his application, received a call back and started raising funds while promoting clean water and hygiene. When he talked to the director and owner of the car dealership about taking his 2 week vacation plus another 7 days, upper management said it was impossible and not to mention it again. This experience was unsettling because Ernesto was very moved by this cause and felt that he was not being afforded the same ability to fundraise and pursue his passions as others in the organization.  Of course this made him feel that he was only a number, and after 13 years as part of the organization, he quit his job to pursue his own passions and help those less fortunate than him. After climbing Mount Kilimanjaro, he continued to travel the world doing social development work with other organizations such as “TECHO,” building emergency homes for people leaving in squalid environments and “CEDO,” working with students at a school in Cambodia.  These travels were very meaningful to Ernesto and he decided that his future would involve giving back to others.

Sunday, January 20, 2019

Book a Romantic Getaway from Costco to London and Paris at a GREAT RATE

Save with this romantic Valentine’s Day travel deal from Costco!  Book by by February 3 and travel before December 31, 2019!

If you are a Costco member and you’re looking for a deal on a romantic European getaway, you might want to check out this bundle deal on a France and England getaway!

We searched an 8 day trip March 20-28 from Charlotte to London and Paris, with 4 nights in each city and the result from a Wednesday to Wednesday were best!  The rate for two including everything below was $2,638.40!  That is just around $1300 per person.  WOW!

This London & Paris Limited Time Offer includes:

  • Round-trip economy airfare from Charlotte to London and from Paris (based on March departure) on American Airlines
  • Daily breakfast
  • A $400 London Golden Tours* credit (per booking based on double occupancy)
  • Private ground transportation from airport to hotel and return
  • Four nights in a London hotel: The Gore
  • First-class train from London to Paris
  • Four nights in a Paris hotel: Les Jardins du Marais
  • Hotel taxes
  • Rail transportation From London to Paris with spacious reclining seats, a cold meal, beverage, newspaper.

* The $400 credit can be applied to Golden Tours – from Hop-On, Hop-Off Bus Tour to the world-famous Tower of London and tours outside of London such as Bath, Stonehenge, Leeds, Windsor and much more (each tour averages $75-$175 per person)

We could NOT beat this price by booking separately on our own, and if you are a Costco Executive member, you will get 4% back!

Hotels with higher or lower ratings are available and the price may be affected by choosing one, but not my much!!!!

Purchase by February 3. Refer to package ID: EURLONPAR2017100OFF

Click Here to book this trip!

Pay attention to Costco Travel cancellations policies. If you booked this London & Paris trip today, only 60% of the total price would be refunded if canceled before February 10. Cancellation made on February 11 refunds 55% of the total paid and zero refunded day before departure.

Make Meaningful and Healthy Travel Happen!

Thursday, January 17, 2019

Review of the Embassy Suites Old Town Alexandria for The Marine Corps Marathon

It would be hard to find a better location to stay for the Marine Corps Marathon!  LTD has stayed here for years and since last year the Old Town Alexandria Embassy Suites had a facelift.

Luxury Travel can be both Healthy and Meaningful at the same time!  Never forget our Marines by running the MCM, ending at the Iwo Jima Memorial!

The lobby is unchanged and still resembles the typical Embassy Suites with an atrium. This area could use a facelift as well and maybe it is in the plans.

Happy hour was also expanded to include call brands of mixed drinks which is a welcome change from beer and bad wine. Snacks are provided which generally include vegetables and dip, pretzels, cheese cubes, chips and salsa. Happy hour is two hours long and well attended.

Monday, January 14, 2019

New Technology at 2019 CES Las Vegas May Get You Sleeping Better and Help You Avoid Jet Lag

LTD gave some basics in dealing with Jet Lag last year, but today we will go into more detail about the science behind jet lag and what new technological innovations may help you sleep better and avoid jet lag!

Remember, if you have questions related to your health, always consult your doctor or medical professional. The information presented here is informative only and is not medical advice.

CES Las Vegas is the world's gathering place for all those who thrive on the business of consumer technologies. It has served as the proving ground for innovators and breakthrough technologies for 50 years — the global stage where next-generation innovations are introduced to the marketplace.

Owned and produced by the Consumer Technology Association, it attracts the world's business leaders and pioneering thinkers.  One of the latest areas of innovation and very visible at 2019 CES was health related concepts.  With sleep being one of the greatest concerns of travelers, it is no surprise that we saw many new exhibitors with sleep enhancing products.

Jet lag, also known as circadian desynchrony, is a sleep disorder in which there is a mismatch with the body’s natural circadian rhythm and the external environment as a result of rapid travel across multiple time zones. This common problem affects all age groups but may have more pronounced effects on the elderly, whose recovery rate is slower than that in young adults.

Many factors, such as the number of time zones crossed and the direction and timing of flights, play a role in the severity of jet lag

Circadian rhythms are biological rhythms that drive changes within humans. For example, we have circadian rhythms of alertness and body temperature. Usually these rhythms align with the environment’s natural light and dark cycle: peak drowsiness occurs around 5:00 AM, when it is often dark out. Jet lag occurs when our rhythms no longer align with the environment. Flying from Vancouver to Moscow — 12 hours ahead — means that peak drowsiness occurs at 5:00 PM, when one would usually want to be alert.

Our internal clocks are regulated by "Zeitgebers" which are rhythmic cues in the environment that synchronize the internal body clock to the earth’s 24-hour light–dark cycle. Light is the strongest Zeitgeber; other non-photic Zeitgebers include temperature, social interaction, pharmacological manipulation, exercise, and meal timing.

Friday, January 11, 2019

Spend $60 on Amazon and Receive a $30 Credit if you use American Express Membership Reward Points!

American Express has a new deal available in association with Amazon.  If you have an American Express Credit Card, you are a member of Membership Reward Points.  

There’s a new offer where you can use just one American Express Membership Reward point at Amazon and receive $30 off your order, which can be used toward nearly anything at Amazon, including many third party gift cards.  You only need to pay for a portion of your order with Membership Reward Points and it can be as few as ONE Membership Reward Point if you want! , This deal is MORE than worth your time and gives ONE Membership Reward point an insane value of $30.

Unfortunately, Amazon and VISA gift cards aren't eligible for this deal, and it won’t work with third-party sellers, only items shipped and sold by

The offer is targeted, so click below to see if you can take advantage of this deal.  We were able to and are using it for the backpack below.  Follow these two steps:

  1. First Link your Membership Rewards Points to Amazon
  2. Once you are linked click here to see if you are eligible! 

Our Suggestion?  Get yourself a great travel back pack and save $30!  This is sold and shipped by Amazon and is highly rated:

Monday, January 7, 2019

INCREDIBLE PORTUGUESE Hospitality ON THIS TINY ISLAND of Sao Miguel in the Azores.

When it comes to under-rated destinations, the Azores are somewhere right near the top of the list. LTD knew little about this group of nine volcanic islands midway between North America and Europe, until it became a stop on a transatlantic cruise.

The archipelago is officially part of Portugal, and has incredible food, lush landscapes, great beaches and hiking, and spectacular viewpoints over lagoons, valleys, and endless ocean. 

Ponta Delgada is the largest City of Sao Miguel

We docked at the largest island of São Miguel which happens to be the perfect spot for touring, meeting the friendly locals and tasing the local food and wine.  We headed for the hills to enjoy beautiful scenery and to get a feel for the island from above, enabling us to see changing landscape as we climbed!  This was a very special day for us, not only because of this beautiful and unique area of the world, but because we were able to enjoy the day with very dear family members!  Look at the bottom of this post to see the best website for special prices to this amazing island!

Caldeira das Sete Cidades 

About 17 km northwest of Ponta Delgada lies one of the major nature attractions of the island of São Miguel, the paradisiacal landscape of Caldeira das Sete Cidades (Caldera of the seven towns), where – according to the legend – seven towns, founded by expelled Spanish bishops, sank. With a perimeter of 12 km and a diameter of 7 km, this caldera formed from a crater that collapsed during a gigantic prehistoric eruption, its present shape having been created during a tremendous eruption in 1445.


One of the 7 Natural Wonders of Portugal

One of the 7 Natural Wonders of Portugal, it showcases the Green and Blue Lakes, which according to legend, were formed from the tears of a shepherd and a princess who shared a forbidden love. These lakes can be seen from the Vista do Rei (King’s View) Lookout, named after King D. Carlos and Queen D. Amélia to celebrate their visit to the island in 1901.

There are lakes everywhere, but these two lakes are separated only by a narrow land bridge. The steep, up to 300 m high crater walls, overgrown with lush vegetation, make a fascinating contrast to the tranquil waters and the soft colors, a picturesque and truly unforgettable sight!

Also within the crater, you will find the charming little hamlet of Sete Cidades with its curious houses, a small neo-Gothic church at the end of a cedar-lined road, a picturesque park with magnificent old trees and, besides pretty azaleas in abundance (especially in season), attractive specimens of endemic flora.  After understanding the location, formation and history of the Islands, maybe they are the lost civilization of Atlantis???  Watch our video to understand this further...

Starting at the viewpoint ‘Vista do Rei’, which provides superb views over the lakes, the hamlet of Sete Cidades and tranquil green expanses, one of the most scenic walks of the island leads around the lakes along the crater crest, which is bordered by beautiful hydrangeas galore.

Sunday, January 6, 2019

Active or Retired Members of the U.S. Military: Enjoy Specially Priced Walt Disney World Tickets in 2019

More and more travel deals are appearing for US Military Members!  Yes this is Meaningful!  Now Disney is offering their best tickets starting at $50-60 per day!

Who is Eligible?  

"Eligible Service Members" are active or retired members of the U.S. military, including the National Guard, Reservists, the U.S. Coast Guard, the Commissioned Corps of the Public Health Service (PHS), and the Commissioned Corps of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Valid military identification required for purchase. Spouses of Eligible Service Members also qualify if they are able to present valid and active U.S. Military IDs in the absence of active or retired Military Personnel or Commissioned Corps members.

These are some great prices and include the park hopper option which the lowest price Disney tickets do not include!

The promotional tickets below are available for purchase:

  • 4-Day Military Promotional Ticket with the Park Hopper Option for $241 plus tax
  • 5-Day Military Promotional Ticket with the Park Hopper Option $257 plus tax
  • 4-Day Military Promotional Ticket with the Park Hopper Plus Option $291 plus tax
  • 5-Day Military Promotional Ticket with the Park Hopper Plus Option $307 plus tax

Purchase 5-Day Military Promotional Tickets now through December 15, 2019 and 4-Day Military Promotional Tickets now through December 16, 2019. Receive admission for 5 days or 4 days when you visit during the period from January 1, 2019 through December 19, 2019.

These can be purchased at official Disney military outlets and can be used by family or friends.  Check the small print at Disney's website before you purchase.  

Did you know that Disney offers lodging discounts to Military members as well?  Click Here to see the offers you may qualify for!  

Find out more about this fantastic offer by clicking below:

Make Meaningful and Healthy Travel Happen!

Saturday, January 5, 2019

Under the Tuscan Sun with LTD

When you hear "Tuscany" what do you think about? The movie "Eat, Love, Pray," with Julia Roberts, or "Under the Tuscan Sun," with Diane Lane? Do you think about Chianti? Do you dream about Florence and its art or grand dome?

But maybe you should think about the people, the landscape and the tranquility!

LTD visited the Tuscan countryside to encounter the local people. Our recommendation: Please plan a visit to Tuscany!

On this occasion we planned a day in and around San Gimignano for a more in depth visit to the Tuscany countryside.  Our drive to San Gimignano showed us some of the most beautiful vistas in Italy with rolling hills, fall colors and patchwork landscape that screams agriculture. Everywhere along the road were locals enjoying hiking, hunting, cycling and running. The leaves and grapevines were displaying their fall colors, but these were mixed with green Italian cypress and olive trees. We passed many villas, some five star hotels, and the exquisite golf course and resort of Toscana Resort Castelfalfi, our choice of lodging for our next visit to Tuscany.

Every summer Andrea Bocelli gives a very special performance in his hometown of Lajatico, Tuscany at the Teatro del Silenzio, an amphitheater built especially for his concerts which we saw along our route.  The setting of the open air theatre against the backdrop of the Tuscan hills makes the experience all the more unique and would be a great opportunity for any music and travel aficionado!

The theme of the show changes every year, some years it might be a full opera, others Bocelli performs his favorite arias as well as some of his greatest hits accompanied by some very special guests, but it is always the Maestro himself that decides. Two-thousand people attend for charity. He performs with other performers much like "friends with Pavarotti".

The locals are the salt of the earth, many families having lived and worked the land for hundreds of years. Take Tenuta Torciano Winery where the Giachi Family has produced Tuscan wines since 1700s. We enjoyed one of the most plentiful tastings ever including Chianti, Brunello, super Tuscans, the local white and desert wines and since the area is also known for its olive oil, and truffles, we indulged!  What a nice change from the standard wine tasting!

Enjoy Wine and Delicacies tasting at Tenuta Torciano Winery

Enjoy our video of the area and excuse our videography after a long day of wine tasting!!!

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Save Big During January When Special Beginner Programs are Offered by Resorts Across the USA

The 11th Annual Learn to Ski & Snowboard Month Kicks off on January 1, 2019

There is a Special Celebration Set for 1/11/19.

Luxury Travel Docs wrote about the benefit of traveling with Children and Healthy and Activity were two of them!  Give the Gift of Skiing or Snowboarding This Holiday Season to your children or your favorite adult!

Take Advantage of January "Deals" & State-Wide Discounted Learning Programs


Here are some examples of place we have been to and the prices are pretty good:

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

FREE Mobile Passport, TSA Pre-Check and Global Entry Make Cruising and Traveling Easier

Save Time Going Through Customs When Traveling for Your Next Cruise (and many flights!)

Mobile Passport app is authorized by Customs and Border Protection for US citizens and Canadian visitors to expedite their entry into the USA

April 2019 Update!!  

MOBILE PASSPORT UPDATE! There are two versions of this app. If you want to store your passport information and have it be ad free, you will need to pay $15 per year. If you want the free version of the app, you will need to enter your passport information every time you use it and of course will have to endure some advertisements!

If you read our blog, you know that LuxuryTravelDocs love to cruise!  We have used our American Express Platinum to sign up for GlobalEntry, which allows us to enter the US when flying and at some cruise ports at lightning speeds compared to most travelers.  Recently, we were delayed at Port Everglades after arriving from a 15 day transatlantic cruise.  The immigration computer system crashed and luckily rather than standing in line for the two hours it took to recover, we were allowed to wait on the ship).  But once the system was functioning, we disembarked to encounter a line of hundreds of persons waiting to be cleared by immigration.  Fortunately, we buzzed through immigration and customs using our Global Entry Cards making a few jokes that the computer crash was from the election vote recount! (TIP:  always make sure you have the physical identification Global Entry Card at Port Everglades because the staff will not let you in line without it! Even though the Global Entry Clearance is embedded in your passport, the staff need to see the physical card.  Frustrating but true! There were probably too many passengers sneaking into the line!)  The other passengers that were able to disembark as quickly as us used the Mobile Passport App.  There were even some Canadian residents who used it.  Obviously we asked our fellow passengers many questions while waiting!

Here is a description of the Mobile Passport App:  

Club1 Hotels – Free Membership for a year!

Access wholesale hotel rates and other services with a free one-year membership to Club1 Hotels

LuxuryTravelDocs joined Club1 Hotels, which is a luxury travel booking site for members only and Club1 Hotels are inviting you to join free too!  Club1 Hotels is a membership service which has been around for a few years and is continuing its free membership that has been offered in 2016, 2017, and 2018. Normally this membership costs $99.  It offers access to discount and wholesale rates at hotels globally.  LuxuryTravelDocs (LTD) has used this service in the past and saved money on hotels, especially at the last minute.  Club1 is trying to expand to other services and seems to be evolving what is offered but we still find the hotel options to be the best part of this membership.  

Why don’t you join too?  We gain nothing from you joining, our purpose is only to provide you with information!  It is free for a year, you don’t need a credit card to join and can leave at any time.  There really is nothing to lose and everything to gain!  There is usually a fee of at least $99 for the membership, so sign up and enjoy this FREE One Year Membership deal.

We signed up last month and accessed the Members only site right away.  Last month for a trip to Austin, TX we were able to save over $50 per night for the JW Marriott, 1 month before traveling.  Regular LTD readers know that we love a luxury bargain.  Club1 Hotels offer real hotel deals with guaranteed savings.  Their search engine finds the deals with different promo codes.  It's pretty interesting how it works.

Club1 Hotels offer real hotel deals with guaranteed savings