Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Explore an Enchanted Land- New Mexico


When we travel, we are seeking to experience something new, something different. There are many ways to describe the affect travel can have on a person. Travel transforms, it creates life long memories, which make your life richer than was before. Travel transcends, it creates opportunities for different cultures and people to meet, gather and share. Travel expands, horizons, viewpoints, and mindsets. You needn’t journey to the far ends of the earth to experience travel which will change your life for the better. Unique destinations worth exploring range all across North America too. One place brings together a variety of cultures, history and natural beauty like no other, New Mexico, the Land of Enchantment.

New Mexico has a long and varied history, with strong cultural traditions from Native American, Spanish and Mexican communities, which are still thriving in amazing ways. The drier, mild climate of the region makes this an ideal location for anyone seeking the sun’s warmth during the winter. Many big festivals and events occur beginning in the fall, on into the cooler months as well. Deep canyons and high mountains traversed by rivers provide excellent river rafting escapes and recreational adventures throughout the spring and summer.

The major cities of the state, Albuquerque and Santa Fe are world-renown for their heritage museums and art galleries, award winning restaurants and golf clubs, and rejuvenating spa resorts. But if you want to experience the real New Mexico, the enchanted land which residents and visitors alike have come to love, you need to step off the paved road as you travel.

Several communities around the state offer a truly rare and unique opportunity to experience a piece of “living history”. While the Spanish brought their Roman Catholic influences to the region, one aspect has shifted to become an ongoing, annual practice embraced by Native American Tribes. PuebloFeast Days celebrate native ancestral traditions. Originally established to commemorate and honor Catholic Saints, in New Mexico, feast days are occasions for tribes to come together as a community, connecting with their culture, religion and ancestral languages. These tribes have managed to hold onto their traditions, and they are open to sharing them with visitors, a life-changing event to be sure.

These feast days occur throughout the year and are open to the public. Each one includes ceremonial dances, songs and storytelling, alongside traditional foods. Many family Pueblos are opened to welcome visitors and share in their celebrations. There are special etiquette guidelines to follow, showing proper respect for these amazing people who continue to strive to keep their culture alive. VisitAlbuquerque offers a detailed resource to educate visitors prior to attending.

Another amazing cultural experience not to be missed in New Mexico is Dia de los Muertos, or the Day of the Dead.  This is another Roman Catholic carryover from Spanish influences, in part. You may know how significant this festival is in Mexico, where communities everywhere gather at family gravesites to feast with their deceased loved ones. In New Mexico its import is just as big. There are towns and cities across the state which celebrate this annual remembrance of ancestors, an integral aspect to many cultures worldwide.

You will find parades, carnival festivities, community and family altars, dances and more. The
official date of Dia de los Muertos is November 2nd, a date which can be traced back to the Catholic Church of the 11th Century. The traditions of honoring the dead in the Americas however, are much older. Many aspects of these celebrations date back to the Aztecs. Over time the influence of the Catholic Church increased across Mexico and the South West, leading to what is now a three-day celebration of ancestors and loved ones, beginning with All Hallows Eve (Hallowe’en) on October 31st and ending with Dia de los Muertos on November 2nd.

New Mexico is not called “The Enchanted Land” without reason. Serenity is easily achieved when you explore the natural side of this state. Filled with breathtaking wonders, if you enjoy outdoor recreation, soft or high adventure, or are just seeking a new way to connect with Mother Nature, a trip to New Mexico is a must. Red River in Taos County offers an excellent getaway to the mountains where you can explore rugged vistas in an off-road jeep, camera and sunscreen are advised. The La Luz Trail takes hikers from base to peak at the north end of the Sandias Mountains. It is said to be an athlete’s paradise for training; the ever-changing scenery and panoramic views will awe and inspire.

For a unique stay in the wilds of New Mexico, with the comforts of home, check out the KokopelliCave Bed & Breakfast. Yes, it really is in a cave, on a cliff-side, where nature is right out your window, and the past comes alive in a grotto of stone thought to be 70 million years old. Another special place in New Mexico is best seen by moonlight. Hike or bike under the bright full moon as you explore the White Sands National Monument on a special Park RangerProgram tour. The stunning white gypsum sand dunes will glow under the light of the full moon, offering an ideal time to view the wildlife of the region in a exceptional way, a memorable experience to be sure.

Anyone who loves a photographic spectacle, or festive atmosphere, should plan to attend the Albuquerque InternationalBalloon Fiesta. Each year in early October hundreds of hot air balloons fill the expansive sky with thousands of spectators experiencing a site not to be missed. The best time to witness this festival of balloons is at dawn. For 8 days, each rising of the sun sees a mass ascension of colorful hot air balloons as they lift off.

This has become one of the most exciting aviation festivals in the world. It is the very location which has allowed for this festival to literally take off. Balloon Fiesta Park has what is known locally as the Albuquerque Box. This is where October weather patterns coupled with the geography of the park,
provides an ideal place for hot air ballooners to navigate their inflatable rides.


There are many ways to experience the Balloon Fiesta. C.P. Trips is excited to offer a special Classy Ladies (& Couples Too!) journey incorporating the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta. Not only will we be exhilarated by the experience of this visual wonder, we will also enjoy culinary delights Santa Fe style, be immersed in the cultural heritage and art of the region, and connect with our past on the Turquoise Trail, Route 66 and the Santa Fe Trail.


To find out more about this exciting, hosted itinerary, or any of the exciting experience to be found in New Mexico, contact me, Cindy Passannante, at cptrips@aol.com or by phone, 503-658-5646. Details including air fare, package rates, and excursion options will soon be posted on our Classy Ladies (& Couples Too!) web page as well. No matter how or when you are ready to experience the Enchanted Land of New Mexico, the agents of C.P. Trips are here to help you plan a vacation full of transformative memories. Enjoy a worry-free journey with the support and care of a local Travel Professional. Call or email us today!

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Holidays around the World

What better time to learn about different destinations, than during the holiday season? All over the world people take some time as winter begins and the year ends, to celebrate love, life, peace and joy. Some festivities are spiritual and sacred, while others are simply about community connections and family. A sense of liveliness and fun can also be experienced when celebrating the spirit of the season. May You and your family have a blessed and bright holiday season. Merry Christmas, Happy Yule, Hanukkah Sameach, Habari Gani, Happy Dhanu Sankranti, and a Merry Winter Solstice to all!

One of my personal favorite destinations for the holidays is the Bavarian region of eastern Europe. Here you will find the Holiday Christmas markets of yester-year. Much of what the Victorian era brought us in the way of Christmas traditions comes from this part of Europe, where Prince Albert was from. You can find old-fashioned, hand crafted toys, decorations and gifts at world famous markets in Germany and Austria. River Cruise up the Danube to visit all the world's greatest Christkindlesmarkts with Collette Tours, perfect for anyone who wants to step back in time for the holidays.

Across the globe, the winter holidays are centered around the Winter Solstice. Long
celebrated by various people from different countries world wide, the winter solstice is an important time of year for many cultures. Celebrating the power of yin-yang energy within the cosmos, which ebbs and flows, and balances throughout the year at the solstices and equinoxes, the Dongzhi Festival is a popular holiday celebration you can find in many countries around East Asia, including China and Taiwan. One popular tradition is time spent with family making sweet treats of tangyuan rice balls or dumplings together. 

There are also Winter Solstice celebrations and observances at some unique sites. Stonehenge brings people by the thousands to witness the rising of the winter solstice sun. A little lesser known, but just a dramatic is a local celebration in Lokken, Denmark. A celebration is held at Solhvervssøjlen a piece of modern art which marks where the sun sets over the North Sea at the winter and summer Solstice. 

If you are thinking a holiday season spent in warmer weather is not a bad idea after all, south of the border, Mexico has an amazing 9 day celebration, Las Posadas, this festive celebrations takes Christmas Caroling to a whole new level, with community processionals lead by candle light, and ending with a family fun, feasting and of course pinatas. If you want to get into the heat of one of the world's largest, and best New Year's Eve parties, plan a trip to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Here the fireworks will astound and the dancing in the street will seem to never end. Wear white to Copacabana Beach, for good luck in the coming year. Being in the Southern Hemisphere, the new year begins at the height of summer, add in incredible Brazilian festivities, food and culture, and you are sure to chase away any winter blues. One of our preferred travel vendors, Avanti Destinations has incredible vacation packages and deals centered around Rio for New Year's, this is one experience which is sure to transform you.


Whether you stay close to home or travel the globe for the holiday season, there is always something exciting to do and new to discover each year. Travel makes a wonderful gift, helping you and your loved ones create life long memories together. The agents of C.P. Trips are ready to help you plan your next holiday adventure, where ever you want to go, within your budget and with all ages in mind. Call us at 503-658-5646 or email cptrips@aol.com to book your next holiday.

Friday, November 18, 2016

Tipping Your Servers- Cruise Style

Many people love to travel the world by cruise. From small luxury yachts to large mega boats which are destinations in themselves, a cruise is a great way to unpack once and visit many destinations with unique experiences available. If you are new to cruising or it has been a while since your last one, there are aspects about life on a cruise ship which can be confusing. One such daunting subject is tipping protocol. America is a land of hard workers, whom we as a society, reward through monetary tips for good services rendered.  Below is a summary of what you can expect when it comes to tipping while on a cruise vacation.

While many amenities on cruise ships are included in the cost of your stateroom, there are often specific restaurants, excursions or services which cost extra. Most cruise companies offer an on-board account to cover these incidental purchases. You add funds from your personal banking account, and then sign off on charges to your stateroom throughout your cruise. These accounts are a hassle free way to cover these charges. Shipboard accounts often include an automatic charge to cover a "tip fund" for the cruise personnel who see to your customer service needs and requests. Typically this includes restaurant workers, cabin stewards and other personnel who serve passengers. The tips are split among these personnel as a group, with around $10-$15 per day, per passenger being the standard charge. Some cruise lines allow for guests to adjust this amount based on their experience with the service received.

Examples of cruise companies which include an automatic tip charge to on-board accounts:

Carnival
Celebrity Cruises
Cunard Line
Disney Cruise Line
Fathom Impact Cruises
Holland America Line
MSC Cruises
Norwegian Cruise Line
Oceania Cruises
Princess Cruises
Royal Caribbean Cruise Line
Windstar Cruises

There are some cruise companies which have kept the "old tradition" of accepting gratuities from passengers in the form of cash tips on the last day of the trip. Some cruise companies also accept credit card payments for these tips as well.  It is up to you as the guest to determine how much you want to tip your servers for each day of your cruise. The typical recommendation for discretionary tipping ranges from $8- $15 per passenger, per day. Whatever you tip, the monies received are divided among the crew as a whole.

Examples of cruise companies which request cash tipping at the end of a cruise :

Ama Waterways
Star Clippers
Viking Cruises
Un-Cruise Adventures

If you are wanting to leave the worry of tipping behind, there are a few cruise lines which offer truly all-inclusive pricing, and yes, this includes tipping. There will be gratuity charge included in the final price of your cruise, this is just one way some luxury cruise lines differentiate themselves. When travelers are seeking true luxury and pampering, there is sure to be a ship with your name on it. Examples include:

Azamara Club Cruises
Emerald Waterways
Seabourn
Scenic Cruises

Of special note to keep in mind, on most cruises, bartenders, wine stewards and spa attendants typically receive tips in the standard fashion, with 15% being the standard for these services. Some
cruise lines will automatically include the gratuity charge on your bill, covering those services not paid for through an on-board account.

When you are ready to plan a cruise, working with a travel professional who understands the fine print and details of cruising, can make a big difference. For a small feel, C.P, Trips is here to help you enjoy the vacation of your dreams. Call or email us today at 503-658-5646 or cptrips@aol.com.

Monday, November 7, 2016

Classy Ladies Getaways (& Couples Too!)- Travel Made Easy

I am excited to announce the re-launch of a travel program dear to my heart. C.P. Trips' Classy Ladies Getaways (& Couples Too!) is a series of hosted vacations ranging from around the state, to around the world. Classy Ladies Getaways provides a fun way for solo traveling women to join up with others who are ready to explore a destination or enjoy a specific experience.

We say couples too as my husband Tony and I host some of these trips ourselves.
We truly love to travel, and enjoy being able to share our experiences with others. These small-group vacation packages are geared toward independent women who love to travel, or are ready to begin a new adventure, yet friends or partners are always welcome along.  We are working up 2017 and 2018 itineraries over the coming weeks. Check back here often as I post details of what you can expect on the various Classy Ladies Getaways (& Couples Too!) packages.

You may wonder if one of our getaways will be right for you. Ask yourself a few questions to get an idea. Do you often travel solo but don’t want to go it truly alone? Do you have a group of friends ready to travel somewhere together, but have not decided where? Are you looking for a unique way to celebrate a special occasion? If you answered yes to any of these questions, or simply have your curiosity peaked, a Classy Ladies Getaway is worth checking out. Let us take care of all the details while you enjoy a vacation like no other. Some itineraries in the works include:

o   Exploring Cuban culture
o   The Yukon by Sea & Land
o   Whale Watching & Gardens in Victoria B.C.
o   Fiesta Siesta & Balloons in Santa Fe
o   New York: Broadway & Fall Foliage
o   Southern Hospitality in Savannah
o   Shakespeare & River Rafting in Ashland
o   San Francisco Long Weekend
o   Cook Island Tropical Retreat
o   Tahitian Paradise Getaway


Classy Ladies Getaways (& Couples Too!) offers concierge services with your travel plans, to ensure all your needs are met and you have a memorable vacation. Physical Limitations are not a restriction or disability when it comes to travel, and Classy Ladies Getaways are all about helping you have a wonderful and memorable experience. Whether you have dietary needs, or accessibility concerns, or room & board specifics,  I will work directly with you to ensure your travel on  a Classy Ladies Getaway is worry free. I have set up this unique travel program of specific destination itineraries to help make travel easier for you. I am passionate about travel, and my clients too, both of which are the inspiration behind Classy Ladies Getaways (& Couples Too!). Call or email C.P. Trips today to learn more: 503-658-5646/ cptrips@aol.com. You can also check out more travel ideas, including Classy Ladies Getaways (& Couples Too!) itineraries, at our website.



Friday, July 29, 2016

Impact Travel- What is it and What Does it Mean to You?

https://www.flickr.com/photos/frontierofficial/15081626288
Travel has changed a lot over the years. Gone are the days of tourist traps and big sight seeing tours. Travelers are looking to experience a destination, not just visit a place. Through travel, lifetime memories and connections are made. Our global world can become smaller when we can immerse ourselves in a culture or location other than our own.

Travel has the power to transform the soul, and Impact Travel is one way to experience transformation with a purpose. Destination tourism boards, travel companies and tour operators have heard the call of people wanting to get more from their vacations. More and more there are opportunities to get off the beaten path, to enjoy one on one, face to face and in-depth interactions with the people, history and culture of a place.

You can now travel with intention, planning a vacation that goes beyond an excursion at a port of call or taking in the major sights of destination. Impact travel offers you a chance to make a positive difference in your own journey, as well as in the places you go to. Impact travel allows more people to make a difference on a global level which is then experienced and shared on a personal level.

C.P. Trips has recently reserved space on board a Fathom Impact Travel cruise around Cuba. Fathom cruises are designed to give their guests cultural immersion both on board and on shore. With their cruise around Cuba, you can engage in lively exchanges with Cuban artists, musicians, local businesses and families. Your interaction with the people of Cuba will be part of an ongoing exchange of cultural awareness.

Another type of impact travel are volunteer vacations. There are a wide variety of destination itineraries designed to give you a chance to make a direct difference in a short amount of time. Biologists need help releasing animals back to the wild, archaeologists need help digging into our past. From clearing hiking trails across America, to helping restore habitat in Costa Rica or Peru, if you want to help the environment, there is a volunteer vacation for you. These types of journeys also provide opportunities to help those in need, such as helping to dig a well in a village, or trekking in needed medical supplies in the depths of the jungle. The world is a big place with plenty of ways you can make a positive impact when you travel.

We all have charitable organizations we like to support, some of us even volunteer or help out specific groups. Did you know that travel packages make a great charitable auction item? I have worked first hand with several charities in helping plan a vacation as an auction item for a fundraiser.

When it comes making a donation that makes a difference, with a reward that can include a villa vacation in Italy or Bali, these auction items can make a big impact on fundraising. The next time your favorite charity is looking for auction items, perhaps a villa vacation will be just the thing. With my extensive experience in this type of travel planning, I would be happy to help you and your organization create an vacation package for auction.

Travel transforms the soul, now you can hep transform the world through Impact Travel. Call or email C.P. Trips today to begin planning your next vacation: 503-658-5646/ cptrips@aol.com. Check out more travel ideas and options at our website: www.cptrips.com

Friday, July 22, 2016

Summer Vacation Ideas for Kids & Teens

Summer has arrived and with it the ever pressing question- “What are we going to do while school is out?” If you have kids and teenagers in your life you know it can be challenging to plan a vacation for the whole family. Summer is also the time for great vacation deals. Whether you are looking for a last minute vacation in the coming weeks or beginning to plan a big trip for next year, there are some great deals around that also cater to families providing memorable experiences for everyone.

Part of planning a family vacation is the budget. If you are ready to take a family cruise and want to maximize your dollars for activities and excursions, cruise companies such as MSCCruises have several sailings where kids aged 11 and under cruise free. Norwegian Cruise Line also offers free cruising for a 3rd or 4th passenger in a stateroom, making it easier to cruise with the whole family. Both of these cruise lines offer a variety of age appropriate programs and activities sure to keep a smile on everyone. Cruises offer a lot of
activities for every age group, making this option and ideal choice when it comes to multi-generational travel. Most cruise companies have special programs and events just for kids and teens. Princess Cruises offer their Youth Centers and Teen Lounges, and Holland America Line has Club HAL, the Teen Loft and even specialized culinary experiences for kids ages 3-18. Royal Caribbean Cruise Line has an award winning Ocean Adventure Youth Program and age appropriate activities on board. Cruise companies understand the value of vacationing with your family, and the benefit of providing activities and experiences geared towards different ages and tastes, making traveling with your kids and teens relaxing and fun.


Many travel and tour companies have realized the value of creating unique experiences when it comes to travel. This includes kids and teens. When you travel with your family you are creating life long memories. For many today this includes personal travel opportunities where the world is brought alive through up-close interactions.

Tauk Tours, an award winning luxury tour company, has created TaukBridges, travel with the whole family in mind. They offer a variety of adventurous vacations from African safaris to Costa Rica zip lining and river rafting, and the Galapagos Islands as destinations. Special Tauk Bridges tours even include on-tour film vignettes with BBC Earth natural history experts. If you have a film buff or naturally history scientist in the making, the jungle rafting trip along Costa Rica could be just the ticket with hands on field equipment and experiences.  


If you and your kids love Disney, take your next family vacation a step further with Adventures by Disney. These specially catered travel excursions bring destinations around the world to life like only Disney can. From movie themed trips, such as a Frozen® tour of Norway, to personal Adventure Guides and activities for kids of all ages and adults too, Adventures by Disney brings families together as they travel. 


Both Tauk Bridges and Adventures by Disney have expanded their family vacation offerings to 
include river cruises. Tauk Bridges’ all-inclusive family only river cruises brings families together from around the world, giving kids the chance to make new friends and enjoy age appropriate amenities together. There are shore excursions planned with the family in mind, from bike riding to culinary classes, or exploring the catacomb mazes of medieval Devin Palace on the Rhone River. There is always something to do and exciting places to explore.  


Adventures by Disney has ventured into to River Cruising in partnership with Ama Cruises. With cruises along the Rhine and Danube rivers, these make for a great way to experience northern Europe. Toboggan or zip line your way through the Black Forest on one of their newest river cruises, along the Rhine river. Have chocolate lovers in the family? On the Adventures by Disney Rhine river cruise there is a special stop in Cologne Germany where you can learn to make chocolate from the masters.


Traveling with your family can be a rewarding experience full of great memories and lasting connections. When you are ready to take the kids and teens on an adventure they are sure to remember, contact C.P, Trips and we can help you plan the perfect family vacation. 



Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Hello From Hawaii

2016 marks a very special occasion for my family, this past June, my husband Tony and I celebrated 50 years of wedded bliss.  Well, being realistic it is not always so blissful, but we have had a long and strong marriage full of love and laughter, and much of it has been experienced through our travels. To celebrate our 50th anniversary we decided to make a special trip to one of our favorite places in the world, the Big Island of Hawaii. We love to spend as much time on the island as we can, and have been known to spend many a week or long weekend in Kona where there is incredible diving, fishing, lovely museums and unique cultural experiences to be found. 

We were also lucky enough to have several family members join us for part of our time on Hawaii and treasure the time we get to spend with loved ones. We enjoyed some time at the Ocean Rider Seahorse Research Center where conservation of these delicate and endangered species is their top goal. The flowers were fragrant, the wildlife vibrant and the atmosphere relaxing, what more could you want from paradise?  Below are just a few photos from some of our time spent in Hawaii.  If you have not been to the Big Island yet, perhaps its your turn to go.....

One of the many species of Seahorses being cared for at Ocean Rider

These little guys are quite social

To feel the tail of a seahorse around your finger... Priceless

The air was fragrant with Plumeria

Rainbow Eucalyptus found at the World Botanical Garden near Hilo- so lovely

A Hawaii Waterfall

One of our Geko housemates in Hawaii
From left to right, my Granddaughter, my Daughter and Myself