Totem Travel (425) 821-4100   (800) 321-7907

Honeymoon + family travel down + hurricanes = killer deals!


St Regis 9

It may be 90 degrees in Seattle, but summer is over for kids in school and most 2013 brides are posting their pictures on Facebook not planning a honeymoon. Add the threat of hurricanes and thunderstorms in some of the most popular vacation destinations and you have a very predictable slump in travel. But planes are still flying so airlines scramble to fill seats and fall is often the best time to buy an airline ticket and plan a vacation or destination wedding in the Caribbean, Mexico, Tahiti or Fiji.

Take as an example airfares to Jamaica and Punta Cana, both are about as low as they ever go and one airfare search site gives it a 70% probability that fares will rise in the next week. With all due respect, the experts at Totem Travel expect fares to stay low for about the next 60 days and can almost guarantee that if you book after Labor Day and travel by mid December avoiding the holidays you’ll get the lowest price of the year for an adult only all inclusive resort vacation, family getaway, Fiji island package or overwater bungalow on Bora Bora.

So think about your wishlist, check out some of our favorite deals then call or email us. We’ll make sure you get the best deal possible and come home smiling from the best vacation ever!

 

Totem Travel top agency in Seattle & best of best Sandals travel agency


Star Awards 2012

The last year has been a good one for Totem Travel awards and recognition. Some of the recognition came from the Seattle area business community where we were again named one the top travel agencies in the Pacific Northwest by The Puget Sound Business Journal.  Our travel agency has been located in Kirkland Washington since 1984 and we provide honeymoon and vacation planning services nationwide within our specific areas of expertise such as all inclusive resorts, tropical island destinations and Europe.

More awards came from Sandals Resorts where Totem Travel received yet another Best of the Best travel agency award and was selected as the top agency in Western Region for butler suites. Additionally, our three Preferred Sandals Specialists were reinstated as members in the prestigious Chairman’s Royal Club. Each award from Sandals Resorts recognizes specific areas of expertise and top performance as compared to travel agents and travel agencies located throughout the world.

Congratulations to all!

New all inclusive Couples Resort open on Dover Beach In Barbados


Couples Resorts which is a family owned chain that operates four “couples only” all inclusive resorts on the island of Jamaica has opened a Couples Resort on the island of Barbados. Couples is the first “adult only” all inclusive resort on the gorgeous island of Barbados. Couples Resorts International took over the Almond Casuarina Beach Resort located on 10 acres on the white sand Dover Beach late last year. The Almond Resort had been operating as a family all inclusive resort on the island of Barbados and now as of May 31, 2013, it officially COUPLES BARBADOS!

Couples Barbados spent quite a bit of money to transition the resort from kid friendly to “romance” friendly. Changes were made to the pools, rooms, dining areas and spa which combined with the stunning white beach and turquoise water should be a big hit with couples looking to getaway to another romantic destination. Like the Couples Resorts in Jamaica, water activities such as diving and snorkeling will be included and some fun tours like guided hike to see the green monkeys, swimming with sea turtles, a visit to Oisten’s Fish Fry etc. will be offered as well.

Couples Resorts is currently offering a fantastic promotion for those who are travelling between June 15, 2013 and January 1, 2014. If you stay 7 nights, you get an instant $1000 Air Credit which is a straight discount off your room. On this current promo, an oceanfront room during summer 2013 is only $2311 for 7 nights! Or if you can only stay 5 or 6 nights, you still get a $500 Air Credit.

Barbados has always been a hidden gem in the Caribbean and popular with beach and water lovers alike. Air service on American Airlines is fairly affordable from most U.S. cities. With Sandals “Couples Only” All Inclusive Resorts opening a new Sandals in Grenada and Couples Resorts in Barbados, I’m excited to have two new fun and romantic destinations to recommend.

We have three Caribbean, Couples and Sandals Specialists in the office and we are happy to help you choose the best destination for your special trip to a tropical destination. Give us a call at 1-800-321-7907 or you can request a quote form on our website at www.totemtravel.com and we will get in contact with you via email. Happy Travels

 

 

Best spot for a small destination wedding Victoria House Belize!


Victoria House Wedding (1)

Destination Weddings are growing in popularity and there are so many fantastic destinations to choose from. Some of the more popular destination wedding venues are Sandals Resorts in the Caribbean, Couples Resorts in Jamaica and various “adult only” properties in Mexico. But if you want a unique destination and are planning a smaller wedding (5-20 guests), then you might want to consider Belize and specifically Victoria House Resort on the island of Ambergris Caye.

Last year I sent clients of mine to check out Belize and Victoria House specifically, as a possible option for their destination. They came back so excited about the resort and the island, so we proceeded to get them booked. Victoria House offers a variety of accommodations for guests from basic hotel room type options, to casita suites and even several villas with multiple bedrooms with private plunge pools and kitchens. When you pick a smaller boutique resort like Victoria House, you get a very personal atmosphere where everyone knows your name on the first day. The service is amazing and my client’s wedding day and all the details were totally taken care of by the Victoria House staff. They were happy to be able to relax and be laid back on their big day, knowing everyone was taken care of just as they wanted. Here are their comments once back from Belize:

The wedding and accommodations at Victoria House exceeded our expectations. Victoria house was able to accommodate our every request, especially Tony’s mom who likes to cook her own food (even on vacation, so it was nice to have the kitchen). Javier was a great coordinator and made sure that everything we wanted or had requested was taken care of. The wedding was laid back and pretty much stress free. (Except for when it rained in the morning but it cleared up quick.) Two hours before the wedding and we were still lounging by the pool. =)

Everyone had a great time and we can’t thank you enough for helping us with all the arrangements! You are truly awesome! Melissa and Tony

Like most resorts in Belize, Victoria House is not an all inclusive resort so if you are looking for a resort that is not all inclusive, this destination is a great choice. The island has a tiny town called San Pedro which is home to many great local dining establishments. There are very few cars on the island so most people either walk or get around by golf carts!

A few other reasons to get married in Belize are:

  1. It is easy (no blood test required like Mexico)
  2. Documents are in English
  3. From an activity standpoint, Belize is home to some of the best snorkeling and diving in the world, as well as Mayan ruins, jungle caves etc. located in the interior of Belize.

We work with clients from all over the country with all kinds of budgets and wish lists for their dream destination wedding. Give us a call at 1-800-321-7907 or you can email us by filling out a Request A Quote form on our website www.totemtravel.com . We have destination specialists for many parts of the world and we are happy to use our expertise to help you get the experience you want and at the best price!

 

Summer specials at one of Fiji island’s best adult only resorts – Qamea


Wow! This doesn’t happen very often… Qamea Resort and Spa in Fiji is offering two free nights during the high season summer months. So you can stay 7 nights and pay for 5  through October when the weather is at it’s absolute best and couples need a way to stretch their budget for a last minute adult only inclusive honeymoon in the romantic and idyllic Fiji Islands.

In addition to free nights you can choose either a free scuba package or free massage package daily and the resort is picking up the tab for one of the interisland flights between from Nadi to Taveuni. Qamea offers room only rates and a meal inclusive  package which is the better value and honeymooners will receive a bottle  of French champagne and 30 minute massage with a one week package.

Air Pacific airfares are also lower than normal for summer travel because the airline is changing its name to Air Fiji and expanding service from 4 days a week to daily service with delivery of several brand new Boeing airplanes with in flight upgrades and amenities. Check out the current Qamea special and call or email me for  more South Pacific packages and suggestions. I visit Tahiti and Fiji regularly and am here to help!

Looking for last minute Christmas Vacation Options?


Just found out that you do have some extra time and money for Christmas? Want to take the family on a memorable holiday retreat? We may have the answer for you! Although there are many options that are sold out, and have been for months, there is still availability for some nice warm destinations. Honolulu, Puerto Vallarta, Disney World, to name a few.

As you might imagine, air travel just before Christmas, and just after Christmas, is very limited. So flexibility is the key word!!

Disney World and Disneyland are a kid’s dream come true! Both resorts really know how to do the holidays. The parks are decorated elaborately and beautifully. From the grounds to the attractions and the characters, everyone is filled with the Christmas spirit. If you would like to join in the fun at Disney World, there’s still time! A 5 night package, traveling December 23th- December 28th, with airfare from Seattle, a Disney hotel, airport/resort transfers, and 5 day park hopper tickets, is less than $5300 for a family of 4! Can you imagine your children’s faces when they find out Disney World is their Christmas Vacation?

Maybe Disney World is a little further than you would like to travel over the holidays. Disneyland is another great option. A 5 night package, with park hopper tickets, a Good-Neighbor Hotel, roundtrip airfare, and roundtrip airport transfers would be about $3900, for a family of 4. If you would rather stay at the newly renovated, Disneyland Hotel, the same package would be about $4900 for a family of 4.

If a Hawaiian Christmas is what you are dreaming of, your dreams can come true! Honolulu, for 6 nights, in a Waikiki Hotel, for a family of four would run about $5400. The package would include roundtrip airfare from Seattle, December 25th-December 31st, roundtrip airport transfers, 6 night’s accommodations and breakfast each morning!!

Mexico is a wonderful destination just about any time of year, but just think what your kids would gain by enjoying another culture’s Christmas traditions. A learning experience and a vacation…..a win win situation! Traveling on December 25th – January 1st, with roundtrip airfare from Seattle to Puerto Vallarta, roundtrip airport transfers and 7 night’s accommodations would be about $5000 for your family of 4.

One of the best values for Christmas is a cruise. There are so many fun activities for everyone that no one will be bored. From Los Angeles on the Carnival Splendor, departing December 23rd, returning December 30th. Of course, the cruise would include all of your meals, entertainment, and Camp Carnival for the kids! The cost for this cruise would be about $5000 for a family of 4. This rate includes airfare.

As you can see, traveling on or near Christmas Day is the key to grabbing a last minute Christmas Vacation opportunity. You will need to act quickly…..do not hesitate. He who snoozes, loses! Don’t lose out!!

Please feel free to email me at sandi@totemtravel.com or call us at (425) 821-4100 to see what options are available to you and your family. I’m sure there are more destinations available, we will just have to search a bit. And be prepared to purchase immediately.

Beware of Fiji groupon deal and Tahiti online pricing


Since returning from Fiji a few days ago I’ve been asked if I can beat a number of deals including Groupon, Expedia and Kayak and in each case Totem Travel’s normal package pricing was lower than the perceived deal. This was good news for my clients that were up front enough to ask, but I suspect many bargain hunters simply assume that Groupon deals and online travel agencies are offering deep discounts when in reality they are charging more.

The one that troubled me most was the Online Travel Agency that offered the St Regis Bora Bora for $850 night or $853 night “including tax”.  As a Tahiti honeymoon specialist I know the real tax rate is 14% and that’s before all the other “extras” collected at check out, long after the reservation is made and way too late to make a different purchase decision.  The bottom line for my particular customer was an undisclosed $1011 for a 7 night stay.  Yikes!  Another was the groupon deal that encouraged clients to buy a package at Toberua, a lovely little island resort in Fiji, for $2079.  That deal excluded the 20% VAT tax while my everday price for the same Toberua Resort package is $1810 including tax so almost $700 less.

So BUYER BEWARE and do yourself and your travel agent a favor and work together in good faith. A good travel agent guarantees the lowest price on their packages (we do) but  can only deliver on that promise if there is open, honest communication.  A professional travel agent is on your side with the goal of finding best possible vacation experience at the lowest possible price. So go team and thanks to all my wonderful clients that understand the value of collaboration!

Totem Travel now on Facebook!


As I’m sure many of you have noticed, Totem Travel launched a major redesign of our website this past October. Since then we have been working tirelessly to make it more interactive, more beautiful and more fun to browse! Aside from moving menus and reorganizing the information that was already there, we added some new features like the Testimonial widget that features the raves and reviews that our wonderful customers have sent in.

Now, to help you keep up with our stories, we have launched a new Facebook page which will feature all the blogs and photos you love on our Award Winning Travel Blog, in a format that you love! Now you have the option of browsing our blog on this site, subscribing to our RSS feed or Liking our page on Facebook to stay in touch! Feel free to comment on posts or share them with your friends on our site or on Facebook. Either way, you can find the latest expert travel reviews from your favorite world travelers!

-Nick
Totem Travel
Web Design & IT

Totem Travel is again named top travel agency in Puget Sound


The Puget Sound Business Journal once again named Totem Travel one of the top travel agencies in Washington. Under the same ownership and management since 1984, Totem Travel specializes in tropical destinations, honeymoons and Europe. Two of our specialty niches – Sandals Resorts and Fiji vacations have also earned our Seattle travel agency international recognition.

It is our pleasure to provide the Seattle area numerous vacation travel services including free travel seminars at Savvy Traveler in Edmonds, Fiji honeymoon planning advice at the Seattle wedding show and a wide range of services six days a week Monday through Saturday in our Kirkland travel agency.  So travelers in the Seattle area have the opportunity to receive service from nationally recognized travel experts and a top rated travel agency in their own backyard at no extra cost.

We hope you’ll call or email before you plan a family vacation in Europe, select an all inclusive resort or plan a tropical honeymoon.  That’s what we do best!

Totem Travel on SeattleMet.com


Our Seattle based travel agency has always focused on the importance of truly knowing a destination, rather than simply looking for the cheapest deal. We’ve heard horror stories from travelers who bought “5 Star Hotel” packages only to arrive in the city’s outskirts, found excellent deals on tours in areas with more mosquitoes than culture and shown up in their destination only to be swept away by hurricane winds. Just a few days ago, SeattleMet.com recognized our agency for its dedication to planning with a mention in its popular travel section. The article highlighted the importance of climate in planning a trip and our owner, Linda, was quoted saying “September is a delightful month to be in Fiji but it’s the monsoon season in Thailand.”

Weather is important, and I’m in the process of adding more weather information to our site such as our new Australia Weather Information page, but really there are so many more variables that come into play when planning a trip. The problem for travelers is that not all of them are identifiable through research alone and if you don’t know the right questions to ask, not even the best search engine will provide the answers.

Having planned nearly all of my trips with Totem Travel before coming to work here, I can attest to the service that they provided. Through my travels, I’ve come to realize that the true value of working with an experienced travel agent is not the simplification of the planning process, but the wealth of knowledge and wisdom that they bring to the table. Someone who has been there before you knows so much more than can be found through diligent research alone. They know the best places for food, the best tour guides to follow, the activities to avoid, and the ones that will be truly memorable. While every hotel, tour company and restaurant will tell you why you should travel with them, a good travel agent will work with you to find what best fits your needs and personality. Whether you’re going to Europe, Tahiti, Fiji, the Caribbean, Hawaii or elsewhere, chances are that we’ve been there too!

In short, check out our website, get excited about all the possibilities there are for your next trip, and when you are ready to plan it, consider talking to a Destination Specialist at Totem Travel. We’ll make sure that you get personalized help from a travel expert at no extra cost!

-Nick
Totem Travel
Web Developer

Totem Travel 12305 120th Ave NE Kirkland, WA 98034
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