Hot New Places to Keep an Eye on in 2018!!!

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With 2018 right around the corner, now is a great time to start planning your next vacation, getaway, or family adventure! See our list of top travel destinations to keep an eye on in 2018!

 

1.     Patagonia & Buenos Aires

Our first suggestion is in South America. Buenos Aires has been on the rise for the past few years, and this might be the year it becomes a really hot tourist spot! Well known for its nearly 110-year old opera house, presidential palace, and a unique nightlife filled with clubs, shows, and more. The trendy neighborhood of Palermo will also fulfill all of your cultural, adventurous, and ethnic desires, from local and designer stores to lively bars and gorgeous botanical gardens. Patagonia (no, it’s not the clothing company, although they do have a store in there) is a smaller region in Argentina, but what it lacks in size it makes up for with everything else. With beautiful mountain ranges and glaciers, hiking is a perfect outdoor activity to immerse yourself in the beauties of South America. Rich with unspoiled nature, Patagonia is literally the breath of fresh air you have been looking for.

      Patagonia and Buenos Aires combine the very best of history, culture, nature, and fun! You’ll have the opportunity to interact with locals, be blown away by natural wonders, and relish in downtown delights!  

2.     Tasmania

Tasmania has everything you would expect from Australia and more! The Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary is a great way to get close to and appreciate the sanctity of nature. You can also participate in historic walking tours along the Cape, as well as kayaking and white water rafting if you’re feeling adventurous.

      Venture on over to the Tasman National Park to see the famed blow hole and Tasman arch, two geologically fascinating formations for yourself. Plus, there’s the Salamanca Market, set among historic Georgian sandstone buildings, filled with nearly three hundred stalls of handmade jewelry, ceramics, glassware, and locally grown food, all accompanied by live music and performances.

3.     Greenland

There are so many reasons to visit Greenland, we won’t have enough space to list all of them here! One of the most obvious, yet still spectacular, reasons to visit is the Northern Lights. The most beautiful, breathtaking, and brilliant light show in the world, witnessing it is truly the chance of a lifetime.

      Yet there is so much more to Greenland; that’s why it’s one of 2018’s hot new places! Ilulissat Ice-fjord is more than just a glacier calve; it is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Whale watching and natural hot springs are also fun attractions to take advantage of. Two of the biggest attractions why Greenland is on the rise: Viking ruins and Eskimo settlements. Thousand-year old Norse communities, like the one Eric the Red lived in, still have standing ruins, and the ancient Sermermiut Eskimo village is a wonder in natural artifacts. Plus, don’t forget to take dog sled and snowmobile tours around Greenland’s rugged coastline.

4.     Malta

Well known for the Azure Window, a cliff-diving, lagoon, cave, and diving spot, Malta offers so much more too. Explore the ancient city of Mdina, dating back to the 8th century, with historic walking tours, or gamble at one of many casinos.

      One of the reasons Malta is on the rise is due to popular culture, mainly Game of Thrones. You can visit some of the actual filming locations for the hit HBO series, like King’s Landing and the Red Keep, and walk in the footsteps of Jon Snow and the Mother of Dragons herself. More than that, Malta is rich with cultural history just waiting to be discovered, and you can take any number of walking, bus, or private tours to explore gardens, palaces, museums, and coastlines.

 

And….

 

5.     SPACE!

That’s right. Space, the final frontier, is our final destination to look out for in 2018! Fans of both Star Wars and Star Trek can agree that they would both love to indulge in space travel. It is an ever-growing and continuously changing industry where anything goes. There are so many potentials, like traveling to the Moon, Mars, even through Jupiter’s rings! A lot still has to be figured out in terms of safety and money, but NASA and Elon Musk’s SpaceX program are constantly researching new avenues of space travel and exploration.

Space travel is all about technology, and in this day and age, technology is growing at an exponential rate…meaning it’s just a matter of time before we can travel to space for our next vacation! Just imagine the endless possibilities that space travel holds: a whole new branch of tourism, new scientific discoveries, and the chance of a lifetime to see the galaxy we live in, first-hand.

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Holiday Travel Tips

The holidays are a great time to travel! Fun, family, and holiday cheer all combine for a memorable holiday getaway. Check out our top ten holiday travel tips below to help you get started!

1.     Don’t procrastinate! This might seem obvious, but millions of other people are thinking just like you and want to travel around for the holidays. It’s important that you stay on top of things like flight changes, hotel reservations, and rental cars to make sure that the holiday rush isn’t affecting your travel plans.

2.     Know when to travel. Our experienced travel specialists at Fifth Meridian Travel can help with this! Since this is one of the busiest times of the year, it’s a good idea to travel on off-peak days. This is one of the many ways to avoid long lines, hassle, and stress.

3.     Be over-prepared. Not everyone likes to get to the airport hours before their flight (two for domestic, three for international), but at this time of year, you really should. It’s always better to be safe than sorry! Meaning plan for the unexpected. Expect longer security lines than normal, possible delays, and extreme weather conditions. Checking into your flight online beforehand is a great way to stay a step ahead of the game. You want to enjoy your holiday trip, not miss it.

4.     Pack smart. As always, try not to over-pack your bags and get charged extra fees. This may be harder to do depending where you’re traveling, but whenever you can, try to wear your heavier clothes and boots so they don’t take up valuable space in your luggage.

5.     Many of us do our holiday shopping when we’re holiday traveling, and that means we have to get those gifts back home with us! One way to do this is to ship them back instead of packing them. If it’s something small, then feel free to pack it in your checked bag, but make sure it’s packed well so that it doesn’t break. This is another reason for tip 4, packing smart!

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6.     Stay connected with travel apps. Most of us have smartphones nowadays, which means we can stay connected with everyone and everything at all times. Downloading travel apps will help your holiday travel go a lot smoother. Check-in on your phone, track weather patterns, get flight updates, and more. Plus, when you book with Fifth Meridian Travel, you get access to our exclusive travel app that has all of your travel documents and itineraries in one place! And you can stay in constant contact with your agent at all times.

7.     Entertain yourself at the airport. This goes beyond the obvious of playing Words with Friends on your phone. In case of flight delays, you’re going to want to save your precious battery since all the wall outlets might be taken. Consider bringing along a Kindle to read on, a crossword puzzle to do, or even a deck of cards to play with. Extra snacks can’t hurt either.

8.     Get your transportation details in check. If you’re driving yourself to the airport, be sure to reserve a parking spot early. Double check with your neighbor that they know what time they’re driving you so you don’t run late. And confirm with your car rental service as well.

9.     Don’t forget the little things. You’ll be so worried about making sure you have your passport, confirmation details, and luggage locks that you might forget something else! Remember your phone chargers, earplugs, travel pillow, hand sanitizer, and any other essentials you’re going to need.

10.     Relax and enjoy! This is a time to enjoy your holiday travel, and a chance to create beautiful new memories! Take a deep breath, because it will all work out. You deserve your vacation, so make sure you enjoy every moment of it!

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The Traveler’s Guide to Better Sleep

Frequent travelers, especially jetsetters, know just how difficult it can be to get a good night’s sleep in an unfamiliar place, even if you are booked in a luxurious hotel. The good news is that there are some adjustments that you can make in order to make it easier for you to get some rest. 

1. Invest in a travel kit.
If you’re a frequent traveler but have limited budget for your accommodation, it is likely that you may end up finding yourself lodged somewhere that is not too conducive for sleep at some point during your journey. TripIt advises investing in an eye mask and earplugs to drown out the lights and the noise. You can also use them while on the plane to help you fall asleep while flying. Try to invest in good quality pieces, as cheaper ones may be too flimsy and won't be up to the job.

2. Keep yourself hydrated.
Flying can make you prone to dehydration because the high altitudes can actually quickly dry out your body. This will not only dry your skin, it can also make you more prone to experiencing fatigue and suffering from headaches. To remedy this, Entrepreneur recommends drinking a lot of water even before and during your flight. 

2. Regulate what you drink.
As much as possible, try to avoid drinking alcohol within four hours of your bedtime. According to a sleep guide shared by Leesa, while drinking alcohol can help you fall asleep faster, it can also cause you to wake up multiple times throughout the night because you will become dehydrated. The guide also suggests minimizing your caffeine intake. Refrain from drinking beverages or eating food with caffeine at least four hours before your bedtime so you will be able to fall asleep faster. 

4. Take your vitamins.
Sometimes, a lack of vitamins in your body is the culprit behind your jetlag. Health Central advises taking supplements infused with Vitamins B6, B12, and C, and the minerals chromium, magnesium, phosphorus, and calcium to help stave off travel fatigue. These supplements can also help boost your immune system, which is quite handy since getting sick while on the road is probably one of the worst things that can happen to you while you’re traveling. 

5. Make sure you have everything set. 
In a previous post here on Fifth Meridian Travel, we talked about how a lack of preparation can make you highly stressed. Anxiety can affect the amount of sleep that you can get while you’re traveling. One way that you can keep yourself from becoming stressed out is to make sure that you have just about everything ready before you hit the road. For instance, you can book your accommodation ahead of time instead of waiting until you get to your destination before looking for a place to stay. You also need to make sure that all your documents are ready and secure.

At the same time, however, you also need to prepare yourself for all eventualities. While getting prepared is all well and good, you can’t always control everything going on around you. The key is to be flexible so you don’t end up worrying needlessly. Take things in your stride, and chalk up what you encounter as learning experiences. That way, you won’t end up losing sleep over the things that don’t go according to plan first time around. 

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Guest Blog Post: Incompatible Travel Styles? 5 Tips from a Couples Therapist for a Great Trip!

We are proud to feature a post from Diane Spear, LCSW, a Huffington Post quoted relationship expert who owns a private practice in the Union Square/East Village area of Manhattan, New York City. She specializes in anxiety, depression, couples, and parenting treatment, and has been helping people find the joy in everyday life since 1995. She is accepting new patients.

You’ve hired Fifth Meridian Travel to plan an unforgettable travel experience for you, but what do you do if you and your travel partner have incompatible travel styles and ideas for vacations? Does that mean a tension-filled travel experience is in your future? Or that you can’t possibly travel together? Or, if you’re a couple, that your relationship is doomed?
No!!! If you and your travel partner have compatible travel styles and ideas for vacations, you’re lucky! If not, keep reading. Union Square/East Village (NYC) couples therapist Diane Spear has five great tips that can improve your travel experience, whether you’re friends who travel together or a couple.

Dealing with Incompatible Travel Styles
Discuss your trip preferences and expectations ahead of time.
Is your goal to pack in as much activity as possible? Or the ultimate in relaxation? Would you rather go broad, or go deep (many cities for a day or two per, or one or two places in depth)?
Do you prefer organized tours, or seeing things on your own with a guidebook or app? Or wandering and discovering things by chance? Do you like to set an alarm and start the day early, with a quick shower and coffee and out the door? Or do you like to sleep in, followed by a leisurely start?
Do you like to drive places, take public transportation, or walk? Are you fit and looking for a physical challenge? Do you have physical limitations to consider in setting your activity level?
Do you like to go to museums? Or spend your time outside?
Do you like to splurge? Or do you value frugality? Or do you have certain things you’re willing to splurge on, and others where frugality reigns?
Do you like warm-weather getaways in winter, or do you love snow skiing vacations? Do you live for the beach or sailing vacations? Or do you want to explore the world’s great golf courses?
So many questions! But these and other differences, preferences, and expectations are all things to discuss long before you begin planning your trip, and perhaps even before deciding to travel together.

Remember, there’s no right or wrong, best or worst, just differences.
Your preference is not better than your partner’s, any more than your partner’s is better than yours. Assigning a different value to yours and your partner’s is a recipe for dissatisfaction. They are just differences.
This can be difficult for some people to remember. Of course, any reasonable person would see it my way, would want what I want, you may think. Problem is, your partner probably feels the same way about his or her preferences. They are just your preferences, nothing more.

Communicate directly and logically. Take breaks to “cool off” if the discussion becomes heated, and come back to it when you’re both calm.
There’s no point in continuing to discuss things once things become heated, because when someone is angry, you can think of that person (including yourself) as being temporarily insane.Nothing productive will come from trying to reason with someone who’s temporarily unable, by virtue of anger, to be reasonable.
Decide to come back to it later, when you’ve both returned to a logical, rational frame of mind. That may be in an hour or a couple of days.
Two friends who travel together frequently have made a deal when they get on each other’s nerves during a trip: when they have a disagreement, they look for a bar, have a drink and some laughs, and remind themselves of the importance of their friendship, which is much more valuable to them than whatever silly disagreement they’re having.

Compromise, compromise, compromise. Then compromise some more!
There are many ways to compromise. We’ll do things your way this time, and my way the next. If this is really important to you, and I really don’t care, we’ll do what you want, and you’ll do the same when something’s really important to me.
Let’s try to do some of what we both enjoy. We'll put things in rank order, and maybe the thing that we do together is a 4 for you and a 5 for me. And if the higher-ranked choices for each of us are things the other person really doesn’t want to do, we do those things separately, whether that’s separate trips or separate activities on a trip we take together.
One man is a talented skier who learned in the Alps starting at age two, and his wife didn’t ski till age 35 and doesn’t really enjoy it and the apres ski scene. They have learned over the years that when he wants to ski, he should do that vacation with skiing friends, and their vacations together are things that they both enjoy. This decision came after several trips together in which she went along with his wishes without stating that she didn’t enjoy the trip, but resented him. When they discussed it, they found the more enjoyable alternative, which involves the following point.

Keep in mind that, whatever your relationship, you aren’t joined at the hip.
That means that if you like to set an alarm and get out early, and your travel partner likes to sleep in and move slowly, you can do that and agree to meet up when your partner is ready for activity. If your partner likes to take cabs and you like to walk, you can each do your preference and meet at the destination, or decide to take turns.
You’re a museum bug, and your partner likes long bike rides? You spend a day touring museums, and your partner rents a bike to ride singly or with a group in the countryside. You meet up afterward and talk about your experiences of the day over drinks and dinner. Win-win!

Accepting your travel partner as he or she is leads to a much more satisfying experience than trying to force him or her to do things your way, to be a clone of you. Thoughtful communication and compromise from the beginning, focusing on the points of agreement, and working through the bumps and disagreements along the way can bypass your incompatible travel styles and lead to the wonderfully memorable travel experiences that define the Fifth Meridian travel experience.

Tips & Tricks to Better Enjoy the Beach

Here’s a list of twelve tips, tricks, things to do and bring to the beach this summer to help you have fun, keep the sun at bay, and most of all, relax and enjoy!

  1. Sunscreen. Plain and simple. No one wants to have his or her relaxing day at the beach ruined by massive sunburn. And make sure to reapply regularly, especially if you're going the water!
  2. A book to read. Crossword to ponder over. Sudoku puzzle to complete. A good way to unwind and enjoy the beach is to just sit back and do one of your favorite activities—reading or puzzles—whilst in a scenic area like the beach! This is great because you can lounge in your chair in the shade or lie on your stomach in the sun—tanning and reading at once!
  3. A spare towel or beach blanket. You’re going to want to dry off with something that isn’t covered in sand. And if you drove to the beach, you also might want something to sit on for that drive back.
  4. Snacks! Even if you’re not spending the whole day at the beach, you’re bound to get a little hungry! Make sure to pack a cooler full of snacks, and mix it up! A variety of chips, granola bars, and veggies make for a good beachside mix. And don’t forget to bring drinks too, if you know what I mean.
  5. Beach toys. If you have kids, these next couple might apply to you. When you pack your bag, it’s always a good idea to bring a Frisbee or a beach ball of some sort to keep the kids busy and for them to throw around while you do your own relaxation routine.
  6. Bags. A couple of spare Ziploc bags or jars can’t hurt, either. Surely your little ones will want to collect every seashell they see and it bring it home. They would literally bring the whole beach home with them if they could! Just don’t forget to rinse them off if you plan on keeping them, you don’t want that sea scent to linger.
  7. A spare pair of sunglasses might be a good thing to bring along too. You never know if a big wave will knock you over and if your precious shades will be lost in the ocean forever. And if you wear prescription glasses, try using a cheap pair of regular sunglasses in the water, if you can see, just in case.
  8. Headgear. Aside from the sunscreen, another cool way to beat the heat is to wear a hat or bandana. For the ladies, a sunhat is both stylish and provides you with a little bit of extra shade. For the men, you can’t go wrong with a ball cap, especially if it’s made of lightweight sport material.
  9. Phone case. Everyone takes pictures nowadays. For most of us, we don’t want the extra hassle of lugging a camera about. So if you plan on using your phone to capture all those wave-worthy moments, think about investing in a waterproof phone case. Seriously, two things that simply do not mix are smartphones and saltwater. Another important consideration is protecting your phone from the sun. A few hours of direct sunlight can deplete even the most robust battery, but there is a convenient and ingenious solution
  10. Potable water. Speaking of water…remember to drink lots of it! This can’t be stressed enough. Even if you hang out in the shade for the whole day, the heat will still take its toll on you. And if you decide to enjoy other drinks too, then really remember to stay hydrated.
  11. Chairs and umbrellas. Sure, towels are great to lie on, but if you want to sit in the shade and cool down a bit, definitely make sure you don't forget to pack these two essentials. If you really want to step up shade game, consider getting one of these. (Fun fact: The word "umbrella" is derived from the Latin words meaning "little shade". True story!) 
  12. Cash. Even though you’re at the beach to release some stress, calm down, and catch some rays it’s still a good idea to have some cash handy. Sure, you’ll bring your own cooler with food and drinks, but you may get hungry for some stuff you just don’t have. And if you have kids: ice cream. And even if there are no kids around, who says adults can’t enjoy a summer ice cream cone?
 A little bit bit of shade can provide a lot of relief from the mid-day sun. 

A little bit bit of shade can provide a lot of relief from the mid-day sun. 

Whether you prefer the East Coast or the West, a travel specialist at Fifth Meridian Travel will arrange a beachside getaway to suite your needs and budget. Here are two of our favorite summertime destinations!    


The Setai, Miami Beach
Luxurious rooms allow you to stay cool and comfortable for your time indoors, while your beach time can be enjoyed watching the sunset or lounging in a magnificent pool. From now through December 17, 2017, book with Fifth Meridian Travel to receive a complimentary fourth night, among many other amenities!


Ventana Inn & Spa
For something a little more relaxing, check out this hotel’s soothing spa that will surely enhance your stay. With world-famous Californian views, you don’t even need to leave your room in order to relax and enjoy the vacation you deserve.
Don’t forget to contact Fifth Meridian Travel for all of your travel and hotel needs! We offer unbeatable pricing, exclusive amenities, and hands on service you won’t get anywhere else!