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Seems like more and more families are pre-planning every minute of their vacation time nowadays. I feel old in stating this but I can remember when people went on vacation to RELAX. Now we plan every minute of each day so that we can maximize our vacation. That is good for our agency as people seem to need a vacation to recover from their vacation they just completed.

We just met with our Disney Travel sales rep so he could give us some training on their "Disney Bands" or MyMagic+ program. In a nutshell, the bands are actual bracelets that you wear for your Disney World vacation and it serves as your airport transfers, room key, park ticket, dining plan, FastPass+ schedule, etc. Once you book your vacation with Palmer Vacations, we give you a step-by-step guide so you can register your vacation online, link your vacation confirmation number, customize your wristband colors and begin the process of selecting your dining reservations and FastPass+ ticket options.

You pre-plan your vacation so you can maximize your time at Disney World. A great piece of technology that allows you to make plans in advance. There is a ton to see and do at Disney World so this helps to get you to more things and experience more of the magic.

I guess the days are gone where you just showing up at the park, grabbing a map and scout out your day as you went. Once you get hungry, you find the closest restaurants and draw straws to see which one you eat at this time. Now it is all pre-planned and coded into a wristband that you scan at the park or restaurant. Guess cruise lines are becoming more leisurely and Mickey Mouse is becoming more scheduled. Who would have seen that coming a few years ago?

Next time you fly, be mindful or your suitcase may arrive at your final destination but it may have less contents than when you started.

Last week at the Los Angeles Airport (LAX), a police raid lead to arrests in a luggage contents theft ring. Baggage handlers at LAX, employed by Menzies Aviation, had been quickly sifting through checked luggage and removing items such as electronics, jewelry and even clothing. The burglars would then turn around and sell the items on websites such as Craigslist.

Investigations began in earnest once Menzies Aviation received an unusual amount of theft claims. Police began to investigate and eventually arrested 6 people and say as many as 25 may have been involved.

Unfortunately, there is not much that you can do to completely stop this but there are things that you can do to lessen the chances.

1) Travel light and carry-on your bag. This way no one touches your possessions except you and it is in your sight the whole time. Just keep in mind the size and weight restrictions; generally 45 inches (including wheels and handles) and 40 pounds.

2) If you do check bags, don't pack valuables such as electronics or jewelry. Try to avoid bringing too many expensive toys and flashy gems. This just brings attention to you as a tourist for pick pockets as well.

3) The more expensive and flashy of suitcases you use may be a sign that you have nice goodies hiding inside. We are not suggesting to use an old beat up suitcase that is held together with duct tape but use a nice bag but not a top of the line designer bag.

4) Buy one of the TSA approved locks to use. This allows TSA agents to open your bag in case they need to inspect and still protects your bag from would be baggage handling thieves. Most can be purchased from everyday stores but here is more information about the locks: http://www.tsa.gov/traveler-information/baggage-locks

We could give you a few more tips but let's save some material for another day. ;)
Hopefully the above will give you some confidence when traveling that your possessions will have as much fun on your vacation as you did.

Happy Travels!

Some cruise passengers really love to cruise but get tired of visiting the same old ports over and over again. Nassau, St. Thomas, Cozumel, Grand Cayman, etc. A lot of veteran cruisers will either simply stay on the ship at the ports they have visited previously or perhaps get off, look around the shops and get back on the ship.

Some of the cruisers will seek out unique itineraries or ships such as Royal Caribbean's Allure or Oasis of the Seas that are destinations themselves. This will give them some variety on the cruise to offset seeing the same ports again.

Well, those cruisers will soon have new destinations to visit in the Caribbean. Tortola is expanding their pier to handle some of the larger ships thus giving more ships an opportunity to visit instead of only the smaller size vessels. St. Kitts is adding a new mega pier for much the same reasons as Tortola.

How about a new destination in the Banana Coast of Honduras? This beautiful port is located on the north coast of Honduras (approximately 32 miles north of the island of Roatan, Bay Islands, Honduras). Site of the first mainland landing spot of Christopher Columbus way back in 1502, Banana Coast has many natural sites to take in. Such as tropical rainforests, waterfalls, mountains, beaches, reefs and of course crystal clear waters. A two ship cruise dock along with a retail shopping plaza are under development and NCL has already scheduled 16 calls to Banana Coast.

Royal Caribbean is involved with a waterfront development in Barbados. Carnival is backing the new Amber Cove in the Dominican Republic north coast. New ports in Belize as well; Belize City and one in the southern coast. NCL will also be calling on the new additions in Belize beginning in 2015 with 3 of their ships, Dawn, Star and Jade.

Beginning in 2015, the Caribbean will be starting to reshape and let visitors see more and more of it's beauty with all of these expanded ports and new destinations. A very exciting time for the cruise industry.