Thursday, April 28, 2011

Giving Back While You Travel

I wanted to share various ways you can incorporate your travels with giving back. Many consider this concept the ultimate win-win as you get to give while you learn, or give while simply taking a vacation. This article will touch upon Volunteer Travel, Fundraising Cruises and share where 3D Cruise and Travel gives back. If you have had a successful experience with Volunteer Travel or a Fundraising Cruise, I would love to hear about it.

Volunteer Travel is an amazing way to see a place, get to know a culture, and leave a positive footprint. This can be done locally or abroad. You don’t have to travel far to find a place to volunteer. The trick is finding a place you want to visit that also has a volunteer opportunity. Generally, there are two ways to search for a volunteer travel program: by place or by opportunity. Locally, farms, food pantries and a host of non-profits need help. Volunteer a day and spend another day exploring that part of the Austin metro area that you have never experienced. If there is a particular area you have always wanted to venture to abroad, online searches for volunteer opportunities will prove very helpful. Above all, your reasons should be:
*Help Others
*Get Up Close and Personal With a Culture
*Have Fun
While planning your summer vacation see if you can find a volunteer opportunity as part of your travel. If you have a heart to serve, you will be hooked.

Fundraising Cruises are a unique opportunity for Nonprofit Organizations. Many major cruise lines support nonprofit organizations locally and nationally. Because they understand the importance and challenges of fundraising, they have developed a program that allows the organization to raise much-needed funds and at the same time, give supporters all the fun of a cruise vacation. Ideal groups that have benefited from the program are: Civic, Medical Research, Arts, and Churches/Ministries. Basically, the organization marks up the cost of the cruise and that amount becomes a donation. The cruise line matches a particular amount to donate as well. In addition, free staterooms can be earned and the cash value can either be given to the organization OR it can be used to raise additional funds through raffles and the winners will sail free. 3D Cruise and Travel assists with all the details as well as donates. Please call or email for more information.

Lastly, 3D Cruise and Travel is over the top excited to give back to organizations in the community, both in volunteering and donations. 10%+ of all earnings goes back into the community and here are just a few we have been blessed to bless: Faith in Action Caregivers, Summit Christian Academy, Red Cross, Hospice, Round Rock Area Serving Center, Celebration Church, Hope Alliance, Upside of Down, Texas Baptist Children’s Home, Mobile Loaves and Fishes, Angel Food Ministries, Habitat for Humanity, Round Rock Sertoma and Young Women/Men of Destiny. Get out there and give out there.

Debby Stevens

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

10 Top Honeymoon Hotspots

Where do newlyweds want to go? Wedding site gives us the inside scoop on the most frequented romantic destinations.


There are many reasons Hawaii continues to be the most popular spot for honeymooners: the beautiful beaches, active volcanoes, rushing waterfalls, luaus in the sand and warm water.

For West Coasters, a Hawaiian getaway is relatively easy and affordable, particularly during the shoulder season in April and May. But prices jump in the summer months.

Once there, it's easy to book inter-island flights on Hawaiian Air, which is a great way to mix it up, advises Jeanenne Tornatore, a senior travel editor for

"Each island has its own atmosphere and level of activity or serenity to fit individual tastes," she said.
By Jessica Dickler


Although Jamaica is the stomping ground for college kids and families, it has a lot to offer couples, too. There's a slew of world-class, all-inclusive resorts and a wide range of things to do, including horse back riding, exploring dolphin coves and listening to live reggae music.
The off-season is just getting started, making it an inexpensive and convenient option for those looking for a low-key getaway during the spring or summer.


The Bahamas is a quick trip for those on the East Coast, but it still feels a world away. With plenty of sun, sand and water sport, as well as five-star hotels like the One & Only Ocean Club on Paradise Island, the Bahamas is perfectly suited for honeymooners.
There are plenty of deals to be had, particularly during the summer months, but travelers should be wary of going during hurricane season.

St. Lucia

A little more off the beaten path, St. Lucia is gaining in popularity as a destination for honeymoons because of its breathtaking beauty and air of exclusivity.
Against the dramatic backdrop of the Piton Mountains, there are rain forests, sulfur springs, botanical gardens and a drive-in volcano.
With limited flights, travel arrangements could "boost the total vacation price upward," cautioned Jeanenne Tornatore, a senior travel editor for
But St. Lucia is off-season in the summer months, which makes snagging a deal possible.


For honeymoons, this Mexican city offers a lot more than Jell-O shots at Sr. Frogs, although "I would not go during the month of March," noted Jeanenne Tornatore, a senior travel editor for
Beyond the Spring Break business, there a plenty of first-class resorts geared towards couples, with oceanfront beach beds in lieu of lounge chairs and champagne on arrival.
There's also snorkeling or hiking through the ancient Mayan Ruins on the Yucatan Peninsula, not to mention the nightlife that put Cancun on the map.


The city of lights is home to the world's most famous masterpieces, high-end stores, restaurants, cafes and exceptional views along the river Sienne. And no trip is complete without a stop at Notre Dame or the Eiffel Tower.
In the summer, paring this trip with a stop over in Nice or Cannes in the South of France ensures some beach time at one of the world's greatest hotspots.


The Knot's Kristin Koch calls a honeymoon to Greece one of those "once in a lifetime vacations." She suggests flying into Athens and spending a day exploring the city and its 2,500-year-old architecture and then hopping over to one of the small, beautiful islands outside the capital city. Like Santorini.
With whitewashed houses set on a cliff against a dark blue sea, Santorini is remarkably beautiful and exceptionally unique. Although the summer is the most popular time to go, Erik Halvorson, air inventory manager at Expedia recommends booking a flight and hotel together to shave a few hundred dollars off the cost of the trip.

Las Vegas

Vegas may be seen as more of a destination for bachelor and bachelorette parties, but this city has a lot to offer couples, too. There are incredible shows, shopping, fine dining and, of course, the casinos and nightlife.
With about 750 flights a day right to McCarran International Airport and thousands of room options, it's also easy to score a deal.
Koch recommends picking a hotel with a luxe pool and spa, like Canyon Ranch at the Venetian, and then spending a few days at the Grand Canyon or Yellow Stone National Park for a well-rounded experience.

Costa Rica

This Central America hotspot offers a lot in the way of rest and relaxation as well as exploration. There are white and black sand beaches, tropical rainforests and adventure trails through the jungle.
Tourists come for the zip line and canopy tours but honeymooners may enjoy packages that include cutting edge spa treatments like massages with volcanic mud or a post-wedding detoxifying bath at one of the luxury hotels on the coast.
There are plenty of promotional deals during the summer and fall, but it's also particularly rainy during this time.


Spain's second largest city is The Knot's Kristen Koch's top pick for honeymooners. Sightseers will want to take in the Gaudi architecture (above), Romanesque art, live music and fine Spanish cuisine, where dinner starts well after 10p.m. and is often followed by dancing into the late hours of the night.
Those looking for a little more tranquility may want to hit one of the beaches on the city's coast line or head to one of the nearby island enclaves like Ibiza or Majorca.
Summer is the high season though, so a trip to Spain with multiple stops can get pricey. For trips like this, Erik Halvorson, air inventory manager at Expedia, recommends booking at least 60 days in advance.