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Travel

Tips & Recommendations

Fear no more to flying with the help of some canines.

Luckily I have never been afraid of flying but I do realize that it is not the same for everyone. I have a friend who after getting married and has two daughters gets very nervous when flying. My boss had never been to Europe until recently because only the thought of being in a plane for 4+ hours terrified her. And just today, a colleague of mine confessed that she had never been a a plan because she is afraid of heights.

 

There are several ways to overcome the fear of flying. You can drink medicine, you can meditate, go to therapy, pray, enjoy a glass (or two) of wine, listen to music. etc. But very few people know what there are over 50 airports in the USA and Canada that offer volunteer Dog Therapy programs  that allows trained canines to wonder around (with their owners) through the airport to play, entertain and be pet by anyone who approaches them. According to several studies, playing an petting a dog can reduce high blood pressure and anxiety.

Last week I got to meet the “Miami Hound Machine” at the Miami International Airport. This program launched a couple of weeks ago with five dogs: Abbey, Pico, Donovan, Belle, y Dash- all certified dogs that are extremely playful, liked to be pet and know many tricks that will make you forget any fear of flights…and even your departure time (if you get too carried away)!

Here is a list of other airports in the USA and Canada that offer similar Dog Therapy Programs:

  • “PUP- Pets Unstressing Passengers” – Los Angeles Airport
  • “AmbassaDogs” –  Ft. Lauderdale Airport
  • “Paws for Love” – Buffalo/Niagara Airport
  • “Pet Therapy at EIA”-  Edmonton, Canada Airport
  • “Boarding Area Relaxation Corp (BARC)- Sacramento Airport
  • “Canine Airport Therapy Squad (CATS)- Denver Airport
  • “Paws for Passengers”– Asheville Airport
  • “Pups and Planes”- San Antonio Airport
  • “The Less Airport Stress Initiative (LASI)– Vancouver Airport
  • “Navigator Buddies” – Phoenix Airport
  • “Traveler’s Tails”- Burbank Airport
  • “Caring Tails”-  Rochester Airport
  • “Animal Ambassadors”- St. Paul/Minneapolis Airport
  • “CLT Canine Crew”-  Charlotte/Douglas Airport
  • “Wag Brigade”- San Francisco Airport
  • “Gentle Fur in Action”- Michigan Airport
  • “Bright Spot Therapy Dogs” – Connecticut Airport
  • “Runway Rovers”- Northeast Arkansas Airport
  •  San Jose, California Airport
  • Punta Gorda, Florida Airport

Travelers on the Go

Exploring Quito, Ecuador with Róndine Alcalá

Greeting from La Mitad del Mundo.

Where was your vacation or trip?  Quito, Ecuador for three days.

I went to Quito in 2005, but I was for there for work so I had no recollection of actually getting to know the city. So it felt like the first time and I was truly inspired by its beauty. My friend and I arrived without plans other than seeing the wonderful and talented Pablo Alboran in concert. Little did we know that Quito had many surprises.

Pablo Alboran Concert in Quito, Ecuador.

Basilica Del Voto Nacional with my friend Alejandra Garcia

Centro Histórico

For two days, we walked more than 7 miles and visited the iconic Centro Histórico, ate local food (loved the Locro Soup) and also visited La Mitad del Mundo town, which was gilled with interesting museums, folkloric dances, delicious cacao milkshakes and lots of history. 

Sunset from el Centro Histórico

Basílica Del Voto Nacional

Favorite food. 

Locro Soup was so delicious. The coffee was off the charts, and please don’t laugh, but we tried this Spanish Tortilla de patatas that was so good, we had it more than once.

 

Locro de Papas

Ecuadorian Coffee ?

Where did you stay? Dann Carlton Hotel 

¿Would you go back? Yes, it was beautiful, the staff super kind, it was clean and very confortable. Great location and in the lobby they have a little coffee shop, Europa Cafe, that I highly recommend. 

Infused water at Europa Cafe in Dann Carlton Hotel. 

Tips and recommendations for someone traveling for the first time:

  • Pack confortable shoes. You will be walking a lot, your feet will talk you. Trust me.
  • Regardless how many days you visit, you have to go to La Mitad del Mundo, El Centro Historico and visit as many churches as possible.
  • Special visas or vaccines: NO

La Mitad del Mundo

La Mitad Del Mundo

Iglesia de San Agustín en el Centro Histórico

Inside la Basílica del Voto Nacional

El Palacio de Carondelet, where the Presidente lives.

Iglesia de Compañia Centro Histórico

Iglesia San Francisco en el Centro Histórico

Los Colores del Centro Histórico son para no olvidarse.

¿Next trip? ¿Where and when? Baton Rouge, Louisiana to visit my parents.

¿How can we keep up with your travels?  @RondenePR 

 

 

Tips & Recommendations

The best places and advantages of traveling alone

“People do not make trips — trips make people.” -John Steinbeck, American writer

Every day, more people dare to take flight, take off their wings and explore this beautiful world in which we live. Fortunately, I have been able to be one of these people and on several occasions, I have traveled alone, and I am completely grateful for each of these opportunities.

There are risks of traveling alone – of course there are. Is it better to travel with a group of friends? Undoubtedly! But traveling alone is the perfect opportunity to get out of your comfort zone, engage in conversation with other people, be the absolute owner of your time and eat everything you want.

The first time I visited Barcelona, I went for a walk in the Guell Park. Recommended.

So for all those who in this 2018 are already planning in their #MaityconmiGOPlanner to give themselves the opportunity to travel, here the advantages and some tips to enjoy to the fullest.

✈️ It has been discovered that traveling alone helps reduce stress levels and improves the connection with oneself. You have the opportunity to do what YOU want to do, control your schedule and you can visit all the places you like.

✈️ Traveling alone offers the lone traveler to reflect, relax and rest. Although you can get more expensive accommodation, rest better and recover sleep.

✈️Traveling alone can be an advantage when buying tickets. Many times it is easier to find a ticket or ticket office that two or three and almost always, are in a better location.

✈️ Traveling alone forces you to leave your comfort zone, meet new friends and talk with new people, try new food and participate in new activities, traditions and foreign customs. Be very careful about revealing personal information. I confess that more than once I have said a little white lie as my friends arrive in a few hours, or they are waiting for me in another place, when I do not feel comfortable saying that I am alone.

In Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Do not be afraid to ask someone to take your picture, or practice your selfies technique.

✈️ You can travel and move easily. If you are late to the train station or the airport, it is easier to run alone than to be waiting for a group. Also, if you have to change your reservation or ask for a seat or change of seat, you are more likely to do so for one person than for a group.

✈️ Always note the address where you are staying. Even if you know the way, it never hurts to have this information. And although the idea of traveling alone is often disconnected from the world, at least tell a person you trust your plans and location.

✈️ Leave your valuables at home (do not travel with them) or in the safe in the room.

Puerta de Alcalá in Madrid, España.

✈️ Plan your route and study your map before going out into the street. You do not want to attract attention with a map in the middle of the street.

✈️ Take photos but wait to be back in the hotel or room to share them on social networks. So you make sure you are enjoying the moment and also avoid revealing to strangers your exact location. Making a #latergram always works and has many “likes”.

✈️ Download the translator to your mobile phone or learn the basic words to be able to communicate with locals.

Touring the streets of Copenhagen, the cleanest and safest cities. It is said that this is where the happiest people live.

 “I think it’s very healthy to spend time alone. You need to know how to be alone and not be defined by another person. ” -Oscar Wilde

Believe me that when you travel alone, you will never feel alone. Like you, there are many people who are pursuing their dreams of exploring and knowing. One ends up meeting people who travel alone with the sole purpose of discovering, learning and enjoying their time in that country.

Dining alone in front of the Roman Colosseum.

Here is a list of safe and easy to travel cities only:

? Barcelona, España

? Seattle, Washington EEUU

? Austin Texas, EEUU

? Salzburg, Austria

? Copenhagen, Denmark

? Melbourne, Australia

? London, Reino Unido

Tips & Recommendations

#TiempoparaMi in Playa del Carmen, Mexico

I did not want more time to pass bye before telling you about my escape to Playa del Carmen, Mexico a few days ago. My friends of Aveeno & Neutrogena organized a girls trip where various friends of Miami and NewYork went and we disconnected from our daily routines to enjoy a real “#TiempoParaMi “.

Upon arriving at Playa del Carmen, our first activity was an all white dinner.

The Aztec gods where there to receive us.

Aboard a ship they took us to the secret place where the welcome dinner was hosted.

Our  fresh flower crowns matched perfectly with the event “feeling” & our white clothing.

At the sea’s shore and beneath hundredths of lights we enjoyed an exquisite dinner. Without doubt this was only the beginning to what was awaiting for all of us.

Next morning, very early we had an appointment to pamper ourselves. The indications where the following: be punctual, no makeup except Aveeno’s new face cream  (btw it is AMAZING)  and confortable clothes.

I had just woken up yet I was ready to enjoy “#TiempoparaMi “

Dear, Dr. Berthe Baum, presented all the new 2018  products for our skin care.

Aveeno Positively Radiant & Aveeno Absolutely Ageless are some of my favorites.

All ready for a massage with the new products of Aveeno & Neutrogena.

On my way to receive one of the best massages of my life… thanks to Patty at Banyan Mayakoba

Take a look at the room where the massages where done.

Every single detail was well thought in order to make us feel like queens. THANK YOU!

I literally felt I was floating after the tremendously needed massage. As if that wasn’t enough, they later took us to the Rainforest part of the spa where we enjoyed pools with different waters and temperatures, saunas, jacuzzis, and everything you can imagine.

Once we were very relax, we went on bike rides around all the Banyan Mayakoba property.

On your marks, get set, GO!

 

I was HAPPY with my bike with basket and everything. It brought me back to the good years, where I rode a bike to school with my brothers.

As we finished… time to celebrate with tequila. Cheers!

 

With the ladies responsible for organizing this unforgettable trip to Mexico.

 

The amazing CCom Group Team doing the #SaltodeMaity

 

THANKS Aveeno for reminding me of how important it is to make time for myself #TiempoparaMi.

Travelers on the Go

UTILA: My little piece of heaven on earth! Juan Miguel Diban

Where was your vacation? Utila, my little piece of heaven on earth, also the smallest of the three major Bay Islands, located off Honduras’ north coast in the Caribbean Sea. I´ve been visiting the island almost every year since the first time I went in 2005, it was love at first sight. Last time I stayed for 6 days, and trust me, it’s never enough!

Little Key beach.

I love Utila; its beaches, its good vibes, the beautiful keys, and its laid-back atmosphere definitely make it my favorite spot in Honduras. The main activity and biggest attraction on the island is scuba diving; its considered one the best and cheapest destinations on earth to get your PADI license. 

Atardecer desde el muelle municipal.

During the day, you can rent a bike and stroll down through its narrow streets, which are full of dive centers, coffee shops, resto-bars and funky places. Nightlife is also one of its highlights, offering fun nights of “anything goes” spirit, full of people from all around the world, cheap drinks and good music.

Vista desde Mango Tango Cafe.

How to get there? You can get to La Ceiba by land, and then take a ferry to Utila. Or you can fly from Tegucigalpa, San Pedro Sula or La Ceiba, with a local airline like Aerolíneas Sosa.

Sunrise and La Ceiba photobombing, seen from the Utila Dream Ferry, around 6:00 a.m.

Your favorite thing to do and eat there. My absolute favorite thing to do once in Utila is visit the stunning keys around the island. Their white sandy beaches invite you to enjoy the landscape, swim in its turquoise water and snorkel. I also enjoy riding a bike to discover new places and to work out a little. To move around the island you can rent bikes, scooters, golf karts or four wheelers.

Another favorite spot on the island is Neptunes at Coral Beach Village, a beautiful beach club and resort located a 15 minutes boat ride away from the main town; the ride is totally worth it. Its location is amazing and the food is really good.

My favorite season to visit the island is for New Year´s Eve, not that empty, not that full, with great parties and the weather during this time is perfect.

Chepe’s Beach

There are also two nice beaches on the island: Bando Beachand Chepe’s Beach.Bando Beach and Chepe´s Beach. Bando is kind of a private beach club, with a volleyball court, water sports and a bar. The place is clean and has huts and beach chairs for you to enjoy the view. The salty water is cool, but not cold. Cover is around $4. Chepe´s the public beach, at the other end of the main road in town. In high season, it gets crowded and it’s the place to be and party early at noon.

RESTAURANTS & BARS
Munchies: One of the oldest in the island, recently renovated, serving delicious breakfast, healthy bowls, american snacks, paninis, great coffee and pastries.

Fruit bowl at  Munchies


Mario’s Place: Mario is  a really nice guy, who likes to surprise you with the best seafood dishes on the island, Honduran style.

Ceviche and traditional honduran fried fish with plantain chips and salad, at Mario´s Place.

Che Pancho:  A small place runned by an Argentinian family, offering you many Argentinian casual dishes, like the famous choripanes, milanesas, sandwiches, salads and smoothies.

Mango Tango Café: Salads and pasta are their specialty, with a beautiful view of the bay. Don´t forget to ask for their Lion fish carpaccio, it´s delicious!

Mango Tango Café

Neptunes:   I’ve tried many dishes and they are all really good, specially the tuna tartare, quesadillas, fish fingers, and of course their cocktails and signature drinks.

The famous tuna tartare at Neptunes

La Piccola: Delicious Italian food, prepared with fresh and local products. Best of all, they bake their own bread!

Tranquila Bar: You’ll pass it several times a day you’ll be lured for a drink, or four. It’s the main place to party on the island with drink specials every day, like its famous ¨Tequila Tuesday¨.

Bar Skid Row: Ask for the Guiffity Challenge and come back home with a funny tank top.

Where did you stay? I usually stay in a cozy apartment up the hill near the airport. But the island has really good places to stay like: Mango Inn, Utila Lodge, Trudy´s, Coral Beach Village, Utopia Village, Laguna Beach, among others. It all depends on the location, the distance and your favorite activities. Don´t forget to check out Air BnB.


On duty for Abordo Magazine at Jade Seahorse. This hotel is one of the coolest places on the island, made out of recycled materials.

I’ve also have stayed a couple of nights in Little Key, one of the beautiful keys of Utila. It has a spacious house with room for 18 people, two docks, and an amazing crystal-clear beach. You can also request for a private chef for your stay (Chef Mario, from Mario´s Place!). It´s located 20 minutes boat ride away from the main town, so make sure to take everything you need. Once there, the view is incredible and makes it the perfect place to relax away from home. For more info go to  www.utilacaysrentals.com

Arriving at Little Key, a beautiful private key.

Would you go back? Of course, I could live there, it´s my happy place!

Neptunes en Coral Beach Village

Tips for someone planning to visit that place for the first time.

  • Expectations: if you are really laid back and easy going, but also like to party, this is the place for you. Don´t expect luxurious places.
  • High seasons: Easter week, July (Utila´s Carnaval), first week in October, and New Year´s Eve.
  • Hotel recommendations: Utila Lodge, Trudy´s, Coral Beach Village, Utopía Village. You can also find great places and good deals on Air BnB.
  • Excursions, tours and activities: day trips to the keys, scuba diving and snorkel, swimming with whale sharks (yes, big whale sharks!), and biking.
  • Dive centers: Underwater Vision, Utila Dive Center, Parrots Dive Center, and Alton´s Dive Center.

Snorkeling at the keys.

  • Overall heads up: Don’t forget to take plenty of insect repellent; mosquitos and sand flies are insane. Also, enough cash (US$ dollars or Lempiras (Honduran currency), because not all places take credit or debit cards.

    Sunset at Neptunes.

Were can we keep up with your adventures? You can follow my trips and adventures on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook, as @juanmigueldiban. Don´t hesitate to ask for tips and travel advice. Thanks for reading!

Tips & Recommendations

10 tips to travel for the Holidays

Many people take advantage of the Holidays to travel, to visit family, celebrate with friends, or simply escape from the daily routine. Wednesday before Thanksgiving begins the most congested time in airports and roads and that’s why I decided to share with you these tips that will help you to have a more pleasant experience, zero stress and above all, save some money during this holiday season.

Here are my 10 recommendations for a trip … on the GO!

1. If you already have fixed dates to travel make sure you buy your travel ticket in advance. Since the beginning of the year you know that Thanksgiving is the fourth Thursday of November, that Christmas is December 25 and New Year on January 1 so plan and buy the ticket ahead of time. This way you can save money since airline tickets are usually cheaper and you can have better options of schedules and seats.

2. To avoid airport chaos and going bankrupt during the Holidays, the best days to travel during this time are Thursday of Thanksgiving and Christmas Day, December 25th. Usually the rates are much cheaper and less popular since many people do not like to wake up at 3 A.M. and take a night flight better known as the “red eye”.

3. Identify which airline is best for you to travel and subscribe to their “newsletter” or weekly email. Also monitor the website of the airline since it often has “flash sales.” These last minute deals that are usually offered during an entire day. Usually, companies make these offers around the same time each year. So choose your favorite airlines, find out when was the last “flash sale” they had and take advantage of the deals!

4. Before buying airline tickets invest a little time finding out how much it would cost you to buy one way tickets. Many times buying portions of the flights separately can be cheaper.. Personally, I like to use Google flights to compare tickets on different airlines.

5. Minimize stress and waiting time at airports by registering to the “TSA PreCheck” program. This helps speed up the pre-screening process, reduces waiting time, eliminates the inconvenience of removing shoes, liquids, computers, etc. “TSA PreCheck” requires you to fill out an application, an in person appointment which is usually at the airport. The program costs  $ 85 for 5 years. In case you have any questions, watch the video going through security with  TSA PreCheck. If you travel outside of the United States, I recommend the Global Entry program that facilitates and ensures less time in line for immigration.

6. If you are traveling to visit family and friends, consider sending gifts by mail. Nowadays, many of us buy “online” so make sure you send your purchases or gifts to the final destination. That way you save space and money for excess baggage and make sure everything arrives on time. If you decide to take gifts in your luggage, avoid wrapping or packing them as TSA has the right to open any packaging if deemed necessary or suspicious.

7. Regardless of the means of transport, pack snacks. The food on the airplanes is not the best and it is not the cheapest, so if you can, get to the airport well eaten.  In road trips you do not want to waste time stopping to eat at all times so plan and take snacks for the road. Very soon we will have a list of the meals you should pack for those long trips.

9. For those traveling by road, these are the best trips if everything goes well … and you plan ahead. If you are traveling by car, make sure that your vehicle has all the updated maintenance, incorporate fun activities during the trip, plan to stop at different places and enjoy the food and local areas. You can also download the GasBuddy application that informs you of gas stations that have the best bathrooms and best gas prices.

10. Be patient and watch your surroundings. It is impossible to predict a natural disaster, illness, terrorist attack, or any situation that may affect your vacation, but you can be prepared for any eventuality. Many people who travel internationally buy insurance for their trips using   World Nomads. This covers you in case you have to cancel the trip at the last moment and any emergency. There is also the free program, Smart Traveler Enrollment Program, which lets you know which embassies and consular offices are closest to you.

Don’t forget to share your tips and aventures tagging  @MaityontheGO and using #TravelersontheGO

Happy Holidays!

Destinations

Flying over the Grand Canyon, Arizona

One of the places I had in my “bucket list” was the Grand Canyon. So during my recent trip to Las Vegas, I made sure to take a day off to get to know this impressive canyon measuring 277 miles (446km) long, up to 18 miles (29km) wide and one mile (1.6km) ) of depth.

My sidekicks for this adventure: Sharmil y Dani.

There are several ways to get to the Grand Canyon, but we decided to do this adventure aboard a helicopter. If you are in Las Vegas, I think the road trip takes between 3-4 hours and by helicopter, 40 minutes. There are several hotels around the canyon where you can spend the night and if you are a little more adventurous, you can even take your tent and camp.

For the most part, each helicopter carries between 6-7 passengers. You can ask to go in front but in reality the seat arrangement is determined determined by how they want to distribute the weight of the passengers.

There are several companies that offer this service that includes pick up at the hotel, taking you to the airport, transporting you to the Canyon by helicopter and a picnic with champagne once you land. On this occasion we used the company Papillon and the tour cost us $320.

Here with Capital Steve. Good guide and has a good selection of music to listen to during the ride.

Many of the companies offer a tours in the morning and in the afternoon. I recommend the afternoon tour so you can enjoy the sunset from above.

The Colorado River crosses the entire Canyon.

 

Before reaching the canyon you fly over the Hoover Dam, built on the border of the states of Nevada and Arizona.

 

 

I was very impressed to see all the different kinds of rocks, the different colors of the soil and see how the erosion of the river has created the canyon.

 

Wherever you want to see, you are in awe with nature.

Would I go back again? YES! Only next time I’ll spend the night in the Canyon and go hiking. Anyone interested?

Have you visited the Grand Canyon, what was your experience? Share your photos by tagging @MaityontheGO and using #TravelersontheGO.

 

Food

Rose Sundays in the heart of Miami Beach

If you are one of those that waits all week for Sunday to come around to indulge in a good brunch with unlimited drinks, good music and even better company, this post is for you.

Nautilus South Beach in Miami Beach offers one of my favorite Rose Sundays brunch.  For $55 per person you can enjoy an all-you-can-eat feast that includes everything you can think of thanks to its executive chef Richard Fuentes.

Some of my favorite that you can’t miss: truffle gnocchi, seafood paella and quinoa salad. Click here to check out the full menu.

Don’t be fooled, this was only my first plate…and first glass of Rose. ?

Be sure to get there on time so you can really enjoy the bottomless Rose until 4pm and pack your bathing suit so you can hang out at the  Nautilus Cabanas or the beautiful Miami Beaches for sunset.

Make sure to ask for Chef Fuentes and when you meet him, tell him #MaityontheGo recommended his food. ?

Enjoy your Sunday, don’t forget to tag #MaityontheGo, and share any other cool Brunch places you know of.

Nautilus a SIXTY Hotel

1825 COLLINS AVENUE, MIAMI BEACH, FL

+1.305.503.5700

Tips & Recommendations

Travel Pillow Talk. A good investment or a waste of money?

I used to think that travel pillows were a waste of money and, instead of bringing comfort during your trip, they looked undesirable, uncomfortable and uncool. But think again! There is more to love in these silly-looking-donut-shaped pillows and here are some reasons why:

#5 – Airplane seats are getting more and more uncomfortable every day, so why not bring your own pillow to rest your head. Keep in mind that only a few airlines are still proving pillows and who knows where the pillows have been before they get to you.

#4 – Travel pillows actually give you support! Surprised? Even if you are watching a movie, they serve as a nice cushion and balance
for your head and neck.

#3 – Pillows keep your back and neck straight helping avoid stiff neck and back ache during long flights.

#2 – They help you stabilize your body while seated and if you doze off and fall asleep, it prevents you from tilting your body, falling on your neighbor or putting your face against the window.

#1 – They are cheap!

During my last visit to Marshalls, while I was waiting in line, decided to “test” some of the pillows and here’s what I found:

Cool gel and bamboo microbead – $12.99

Designer Isaac Mizrahi travel pillow- $11.99

Wrap around-your-neck in 3 different ways- $9.99

What something more fashionable: BEBE therapeutic travel pillow- $9.99

???- $7.99

Soft velvet travel pillow- $12.99

So if you don’t want to lay your head on your neighbor or walk off the plane with a stiff neck, consider packing a travel pillow for your next trip!

What has been your experience with travel pillows? Do you have a favorite? Share your comments and suggestions with other #TravelersontheGO. ✈️

Maity on the Go!
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