Monday, March 27, 2006

If you've seen one dramatic coastline, you've seen them all – NOT!

Book on Leprosy Settlement Draws Fire
New York Times
March 27, 2006

HONOLULU, March 23 — A new book about a dark chapter in Hawaiian history, when thousands of people with leprosy were forced to live on a remote outcropping of the island of Molokai, has upset some former patients of the settlement and raised delicate questions about how much deference should be paid to them.

Emilia came upon this article in today's New York Times. We both found it curious that the cover of John Tayman's The Colony doesn't even have a picture from Hawai'i on it. Rather, it " depicts a section of the Amalfi Coast in Italy." According to Tayman, "There were various covers that were under consideration ... Some of them were illustrations and paintings, some were photographs. This is a representative cliff. I think it's an arresting and beautiful image."

We see this (mis?)representative cover as a missed opportunity to capture the evocative and unique essence of Kalaupapa. The imposing sea cliffs of Moloka'i's north shore (where Kalaupapa is located) are the tallest in the world. In fact, that was the very reason for the establishment of this settlement – its remote inaccessibility. With its choppy and shark-infested waters providing no safe landing, Kalaupapa is a far cry from the serene Mediterranean Amalfi coast.

Perhaps, a more suitable photograph for the cover of Tayman's book might have been this one, taken by Emilia on our 2004 trip to Kalaupapa:

Interested in finding out how to get to Kalaupapa or anywhere else off Hawai'i's beaten track? Let WePlanYourTrip help with the details. Simply contact us. We will be more than happy to assist with your trip planning and travel research.

Friday, March 24, 2006

FT's “The art of business travel” Sponsored Report

Featuring in-depth articles, case studies and practical guidance, the Art of Business Travel will look at key issues, and offer tips on how to make the most of working on the move.

This report, sponsored by
Marriott Hotels & Resorts, consists of an introduction by Roger Bray and the following five articles:

More than a bed for the night
By Matthew Garrahan
From more comfortable beds and free technology to improved fitness facilities and better design, hotels are upping their services to their corporate clients

Better service at 10,000 feet
For many airlines, business travellers represent the key sector in an increasingly competitive market

Beating jet lag begins before take-off
A range of solutions hold out the hope of beating jet lag. But different solutions work for different travelers

Healthy body, healthy mind
Maintaining your fitness while on the road helps to improve business performance. From hotel spas to better food, staying healthy is easier than ever

Running on company time
A frequent traveller and runner offers some tips on where to pound the pavement when away from home – and how to get the most out of it

Access the report here:

Need help planning your business trip? Let WePlanYourTrip help with the details. Simply contact us. We will be more than happy to assist with your trip planning and travel research.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

The Perfect Hawaiian Honeymoon!
Here's a testimonial from Mindy and Mike - a newlywed couple whose honeymoon we had the great pleasure of planning for them:

WePlanYourTrip gave us the greatest wedding gift of all- the Perfect Honeymoon!
Not having to research and deal with all the hassle of planning a honeymoon after planning a wedding was a real relief. The very thorough and well thought out itinerary gave us just what we were looking for, a balanced trip of romance, excitement, and relaxation. All the great tips and interesting bits of history and facts about sites we saw along our way was a real treat. As we read the itinerary along our travels we felt like we had a personal tour guide with us the whole time. We really felt we were able to experience much more of the Hawaiian Islands than if we would have planned the trip on our own. Thank you so much for providing us with a wonderful honeymoon.

Mindy & Michael
Overwhelmed and swamped with planning your wedding? Give yourself a well deserved break and let WePlanYourTrip plan your perfect honeymoon. Simply contact us. We will be more than happy to assist with your trip planning and travel research.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

The Best Independently Published Handmade Comic Book Series Happen on the Road

Stuck at home with no plans to travel anytime soon and eager for an escapist fix?
About to embark upon a long haul flight and desperate for reading material?

Check out True Travel Tales.

TTT is an independently published handmade comic book series of "real-life travel adventures, with stories of Mexican lizard gods, sex in ancient temples, punk rockers on fire, accidental cliff-diving, and more." I discovered True Travel Tales while exhibiting at SPX for my own self-published work. Since then, I've seen TTT available at a few spots, such as Jim Hanley's Universe in Manhattan.

The most recent issue (of which I'm aware) is titled "TSUNAMI!" and recounts author/illustrator Justin Hall's journeys through Myanmar, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, and Vietnam from November 2004 to February 2005.

I've only read this tsunami issue of the series, and I really enjoyed it. It was a quick, light read but thoughtfully executed. I found the unique perspective of Hall's honest, firsthand accounts to be refreshing. His simple black ink panel artwork adequately transported me to the scenes of his stories and triggered memories of my own backpacker adventures.

To learn more about True Travel Tales - and to see sample pages from the series, visit

Happy reading!

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Why Dubai?

Now that we've got your attention ...

We're not going anywhere near the hot button issue of whether Dubai Ports World should acquire five U.S. container terminals. However, since this tiny emirate is receiving so much attention, we thought now would be an interesting time to highlight just a little of what Dubai offers as a tourist destination:
  • The world's only 7 star hotel
    Burj Al Arab is the world's only 7 Star Hotel ... and probably the only one purposely designed to look like a billowing sail. You're free to take photos, from a distance of one kilometer, but access to the hotel is only granted to guests or those seeking lunch, dinner, or high tea.
  • Fantastic man-made island resorts
    The World is a man-made archipeligo resort of more than 250 artificial islands in the shape of a map of the earth. Nearby are the Palm Islands, three more resorts built upon large artificial islands, each in the shape of a palm tree topped with a crescent.
  • Shopping
    From traditional souqs to the most modern of western-style malls, Dubai is world renown as a shopping destination (tax free retail probably has something to do with this distinction). Most years, there's even a Shopping Festival.
  • More
    For your consideration is this Financial Times article:
    Dubai sees future as ally, entrepĂ´t and playground
    By William Wallis
    March 7 2006

    Here's an excerpt from the article: "In four decades it has gone from being a pearl fishing and trading outpost to a regional centre for commerce, transport, tourism - and increasingly finance. City officials like to compare Dubai today to New York a century ago - a melting pot of creative endeavour."

Planning to visit Dubai? Let WePlanYourTrip help with the details. Simply contact us. We will be more than happy to assist with your trip planning and travel research.

Unseen Hotel Workers Highlighted in New York Times

On the Road: Tipping Is Part of Travel, So What About the Maid?
New York Times
March 7, 2006

"Perhaps because they were unseen, hotel maids were generally overlooked by many travelers until fairly recently."

This article discusses the practice of tipping hotel maids and includes a "Travel Business Minute" video on tipping etiquette.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

A Challenge to VisitLondon

Drive to put London back on map
By Matthew Garrahan
Financial Times, March 6 2006

VisitLondon (formerly known as the London Tourist Board) combines marketing, advertising and public relations inititatives to attract more visitors to "the greatest city in the world," but faces a clear challenge.
According to Matthew Garrahan, " ... September 11 2001, the outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome in Asia and the Iraq war hit international visitor numbers and knocked confidence in London as a destination. Factor in the adverse impact of last summer's bombings on the London Underground and it becomes clear that VisitLondon has a challenge on its hands."

Our First Testimonial - London!

Here's the first testimonial from our first client who utilized our services for a family trip to London:

I want to thank you so very much for having made my family's visit to London so special. Your "Must List" was our MUST HAVE guide of things to do and see! We left the hotel every morning with it in our back pockets and just checked things off of it as we went along. What I appreciate the most was how the list seemed to be tailored to our interests! I'm not sure how you did that, but everyone from my 16-year-old niece to my older sister seemed to love every minute of every experience you suggested for us. Our trip couldn't have been better!!

Thanks a bunch!!

P.S. Here's a picture of us in front of Buckingham Palace waiting for the "Changing of the Guard." As you can see by the lack of folks around us, we got there early, as instructed!

Visiting the Jersey Shore? Get One of the Best Massages of Your Life!

Visiting the Jersey Shore? Get One of the Best Massages of Your Life!

If you’re planning to visit the beaches at or near Ocean Township, New Jersey this summer, strongly consider booking an appointment at TaoMassage, a therapeutic massage office located in Ocean Township, which is proud to be the only therapeutic office in the Jersey Shore area to offer Ashiatsu Oriental Bar Therapy (AOBT).

AOBT is an adaptation of an ancient form of barefoot massage using deep compression gliding strokes over the body with the therapist’s feet. Gravitational force is combined with centrifugal and centripetal (transmitting nerve impulses toward the central nervous system) movements to bring about a structural change in chronic soft tissue damage. This application provides deep relaxation and stimulates the lymphatic system of the body. Bars are used over the head for balance and cream is used to glide over the body.

What the above text means is that AOBT feels real good! I have had the good fortune to receive a few of these recuperative massages from Vivian at TaoMassage. They are the most relaxing massages I’ve ever had and their therapeutic effects last for days!

TaoMassage also offers:

Swedish massage
Active Isolated Stretching
Myofascial Release
Sports massage
Pregnancy massage
CranioSacral Therapy
Massage Instruction for couples
On-site massage
Residential in-home visits

Click here to visit TaoMassage online.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Lonely Planet in Chinese

Lonely Planet on the Front Page of the Financial Times
(or China, yet again, is on the front page for drastically changing the dynamics of an industry)

China moves into Lonely Planet's orbit
By Leora Moldofsky in Sydney and Justine Lau in Hong Kong
Financial Times, Jan 14, 2006

Here's an excerpt from the front page - first section article:

Lonely Planet guides, companions of English-speaking tourists the world over, are to be translated into Chinese in a sign of the importance of the country's outbound tourism industry. About 17m Chinese travel abroad each year, a figure expected to soar to 100m by 2020, according to the World Tourism Organisation.

Let WePlanYourTrip help: If you anticipate traveling in the near future and want to make the most of your time away, please contact us. We will be more than happy to assist with your trip planning and travel research.

Friday, March 03, 2006

About Us

WePlanYourTrip is owned and operated by my wife, Emilia, and me, Chris. Our love of travel is a key aspect of our relationship. Between the two of us, we have swum with sharks, rays and whales, have been struck at by a green mamba, have been trailed by a troop of hungry baboons, and nearly have been trampled by a stampede of wild horses! We have also dined at some of the best restaurants, have visited some of the most romantic and beautiful places on the planet, and have equally enjoyed budget and upscale travel. Through WePlanYourTrip, we have found a way to share our passion with you.

Basically, the idea for WePlanYourTrip came from years of providing travel advice to our friends and family and, in return, having them return from their trips only to rave about how our advice had made their trips that much better than they would have otherwise been. Eventually, sitting at the dinner table and enjoying a huge piece of chocolate that had actually been given to us by a friend whose trip we’d help to plan, the light bulb appeared above my head and WePlanYourTrip was born. A few weeks later, we posted our site and here we are today.

Already, we’ve had the pleasure of helping plan a honeymoon, a 40th wedding anniversary, and an overseas move, in addition to helping some very busy people plan some much needed rest and relaxation!

Let us help: If you anticipate traveling in the near future and want to make the most of your time away, please contact us. We will be more than happy to assist with your trip planning and travel research.