Shana Dattilio, Author at Starr Tours & Charters - Page 2 of 5
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Give the Gift of Travel – Vacation Gift Guide

Why worry about the perfect color, fit, or style this year? Give something that will always be in season, never goes out of style, and keeps on giving for years to come – give the gift of travel! We’ve already covered how travel experiences enrich life, here are a few suggestions for the perfect vacation, no matter your price range.

For Day Trips by bus under $100:

Atlantic City Air Show – for just under $55 you can send your loved one on a comfortable bus to the Jersey shore for the high-flying excitement of the Atlantic City Air Show and even a little casino fun! They’ll be treated to a casino package with $25 Slot Play and a $10 Food Voucher, along with the intense thrill of the famed military and civilian pilots flying acrobatic maneuvers above their heads!

Coney Island
Credit Daniel Fleming

Coney Island Express – Brooklyn’s famed boardwalk destination is less than $55. Imagine giving them a day at the beach with all of the history and unique flair of Coney Island. They can try one of Nathan’s Famous Hotdogs, explore the New York Aquarium, ride the Wonder Wheel, catch a thrill on the Cyclone, relax on the beach, and more! It’s a perfect day away from the daily grind.

National Zoo, Washington, DC – for just under $70, your loved one can enjoy a day at one of the oldest zoos in the nation! Over 2000 animals call this 163-acre park home including Giant Pandas from China, exotic birds, reptiles, rain forest creatures, and more.

Cars, Collectibles, and Yuengling – new for 2018 is a tour just under $100 that offers an afternoon of history and nostalgia as they visit America’s first brewery and revisit the ’50s! At Jerry’s Classic Cars & Collectibles Museum, they will take a journey back in time to the 1950s and leave with an unforgettable experience.

 

For Broadway Show Packages by bus under $200:

The Lion King – Disney’s classic movie takes center stage in an amazing production of artful puppetry and incredible music.

Carousel – “One of the most hallowed works of the American stage” (The New York Times) returns to Broadway for the first time in more than two decades. Rodgers & Hammerstein’s timeless musical Carousel comes to life in a new production. Elevated to an epic scale with a sweeping musical score and incandescent ballet sequences, this story of passion, loss and redemption introduced Broadway to a new manner of musical drama – one that “set the standard for the 20th century musical” (Time Magazine) and would captivate theatergoers for generations to come.

The Phantom of the Opera – this timeless tale of seduction and despair is Andrew Lloyd Webber’s masterwork and has been running on Broadway for 30 years. The unforgettable score, heart wrenching story, and captivating set make this a must-see show.

Hello, Dolly! – Bernadette Peters takes center stage in one of the most cherished musicals in theater history. Featuring music and lyrics by Jerry Herman and a book by Michael Stewart, “Hello, Dolly!” tells the story of an outspoken matchmaker and her attempts to marry “half-a-millionaire” Horace Vandergelder.

 

Multi-Day Vacations by bus under $500:

Boston, Massachusetts – The famed and bustling New England city has never been so easy to visit! Your loved one will be treated to a comprehensive city tour by one of Boston’s most knowledgeable guides and enjoy plenty of free time to experience all of the wonders of “Beantown.”

Cooperstown: National Baseball Hall of Fame – perfect for the baseball fanatic in your life. This tour includes a one year membership to the National Baseball Hall of Fame including a subscription to Memories and Dreams magazine, Hall of Fame Yearbook, complimentary admission to the Hall of Fame for one year, and other perks. Combine this with the fun shopping and dining found in Cooperstown and your gift will hit a home run!

Niagara Falls, USA – No passport required! Our newest option for a Niagara vacation makes this wonder of the natural world even more accessible! They’ll enjoy a boat ride into the horseshoe of the falls on Maid of the Mist as well as a tour of the area and accommodations in Seneca Niagara Resort & Casino. What a lucky gift!

Pittsburgh
Credit Derek Cashman

Pittsburgh, PA: The Golden Triangle – the intriguing “Steel City” awaits on this tour to western Pennsylvania. Truly a unique destination, Pittsburgh is home to a fascinating mix of historical landmarks, captivating architecture, compelling characters, and more! They’ll tour the Nationality Rooms in the Cathedral of Learning, be treated to an in-depth tour of the city, and more!

Foxwoods & Mohegan Sun Casinos – this tour is every casino lovers dream! Featuring two of Connecticut’s greatest casinos this tour includes a casino package at each and ample time to try their luck at a plethora of table games, slot machines, Poker rooms, and more! They’ll be saying “Jackpot!” when they open this present!

 

One size rarely fits all and with Starr, you don’t have to settle for the generic! In addition to our immense lineup of incredible bus tours, we also offer gift cards. Our gift cards come in any denomination, and never expire! Whether you purchase a gift card so they can choose their own adventure or surprise them with a vacation you know they’ll love, you can rest assured that when you give the gift of travel, you’re giving a gift that will keep on giving for many years to come!

 

The Season of Giving – How Travel Experiences Enrich Lives

Research shows that travel/experiential gifts create more lasting memories than material gifts. Take, for example, the last holiday season – can you remember every gift you received? Now, think about your last vacation, or a vacation you took in your 40s, or 30s – that’s easier, isn’t it? No matter how much time has passed, we recall fond and challenging memories more easily. Plus, the experience begins before the trip even departs. The planning and the anticipation of the upcoming adventure create joy before the trip begins and the memories from the vacation last a lifetime. So, why worry about the perfect fit, color, brand, style, etc. this year? Give the gift of travel!

Check out these four reasons why a travel gift card or vacation is the best gift your money can buy:

  • Travel lowers stress and enhances creativity. We’ve already covered how travel can lower stress, even for retirees, but did you know that travel enhances creativity as well? Immersing oneself in the different traditions and way of life of a group of people increases cognitive flexibility and the ability to adapt to changes. Trying new things, working through new challenges, meeting new people and getting away from daily routine change a person for the better. You’ll be giving the gift of happiness and health!
  • According to a Cornell University study, experiences make us happier than material goods do. It turns out, doing things rather than having things brings more lasting joy.
  • Experiential gifts and the memories they create last longer than the book that will be read in a month, the clothing that will be out of style next year, the object that will eventually break, and the electronic that will be obsolete by the next holiday season. Plus, they require less wrapping and the recipient doesn’t have to figure out where to put it!
  • You’re giving the gift of friendship. Spending a few days on a bus with a group of people is a surefire way to come home with a few new friends! We have many stories of solo travelers and couples teaming up with other passengers while on vacation and continuing the friendship after they return home. Many regularly meet for dinner or plan to take their next Starr vacation together. There’s also been quite a few matches made on a Starr motorcoach!

 

Don’t take our word for it, click here to see why Travel is the Secret to Happiness!  Then, head over to our website to purchase your gift cards! And don’t forget to bring your kids on your next vacation!

Starr gift cards for bus trips come in any denomination, and they never expire! Your loved one can choose from over a hundred destinations for a day trip, multi-day domestic or international vacation or an all-inclusive cruise! Browse our bus tours, then call or stop by our office to pick up a Starr gift card for everyone on your list!

Stay tuned next week for our Vacation Gift Giving Guide with suggestions for trips you can gift to that special someone!

Not Your Parent’s Motorcoach

Bus travel has changed a lot in the past few years. Long gone are the days of cramped quarters, stuffy interiors, and endless hours with nothing to do. Modern motorcoaches now come with a host of amenities, unheard of several years ago, to make your ride smooth, easy, and comfortable. As we add new coaches to our fleet, we are making conscious decisions about what to change and improve upon to make your ride even better.

 

Here are modern improvements that we are currently adding across our fleet:

 

Wi-Fi Access:
Did you know? All of our motorcoaches now come with wifi so that you can leave home, but stay connected to family and friends. Share pictures and notes to social media, play a game, listen to music, read the news – the world is at your fingertips with your ipad or smartphone connected. We’re a mobile hotspot of connectivity!

Speaking of being connected, when you’re on the road (or at home) be sure to check out Starr’s Facebook page, Twitter account, or Pinterest boards and share your pictures and comments with us!

 

Onboard Entertainment:
Today’s buses now feature state-of-the-art entertainment systems with a PA System for important announcements and fascinating information to accompany your journey as well as DVD players and TV monitors to make the time pass a bit more quickly.

 

 

Comfortable Seating:
Long gone are the days of stiff backed, hard seats. As we add new coaches to our fleet, we consider ways to improve your ride all the way down to what type of upholstery works best. The seats in today’s motorcoaches are more ergonomic with foot rests, arm rests, and reclining options.

 

 

Power Outlets:
Stay connected, and stay charged! Our newer buses come with power outlets so that you never have to worry about losing battery power while on vacation.

 

 

 

Safety:
Starr stays on the cutting edge of all safety regulations, trainings, and practices to ensure that we are prepared for anything. Our drivers undergo rigorous training before being hired. We have some of the strictest regulations in the industry to ensure the well-being of our drivers and passengers, and we are constantly making improvements to stay on top. We take your safety very seriously, find out more here.

 

Clean buses and cleaner energy:
Our staff is committed to giving you a clean and comfortable ride all the way so that you can relax and enjoy your trip. And while you are relaxing, you can also rest assured that you are doing something great for the environment while you do something good for yourself! Did you know? A couple traveling by motorcoach while on vacation cuts their carbon footprint nearly in half, even when compared to driving a hybrid vehicle. Click here to check out all of the ways that motorcoach travel is greener!

 

So, the next time you are planning your family’s vacation, be sure to check out Starr’s lineup of fabulous tours! Great memories are made on motorcoaches and now they are better than ever!

Creative Ways to Save Money for Your Next Vacation

You need a vacation now more than ever, even if you are retired and no longer have to worry about the stresses of the daily grind. But vacations cost money and everyone is on a budget these days, so how do you find the extra money to fund your vacation? Start saving now! Even if you are living on a very limited budget, it’s not impossible, you just have to get creative. By adopting a few new creative practices to start saving, over time you can afford a vacation to your dream location. Plus, the reward will be even sweeter knowing all of the work you put into earning it!

First things first, decide where you want to go and calculate how much you’ll need to save to get there! Then, keep your dream vacation at the forefront of your mind. Label your change jar with the destination. Print out and post pictures of the sights you want to see all around your house. Read travel magazines, start doing your research and planning for it. By keeping your vacation at the forefront of your mind, it will be easier to make small sacrifices along the way to make your dream a reality. Oh, and be sure to designate a separate account just for your vacation savings!

Here are a few suggestions for creative ways to save money for your next trip!

Purge and then say “No” to more stuff:
Stop collecting and start selling! Purge your closets and shelves to clear out the clutter and then sell them at a consignment store, a yard sale, Craigslist, ebay, Facebook, or Amazon (be sure to go with the “Sell as an Individual” option). You’ll be surprised at how much money you can raise when someone finds a treasure in your “trash.” Then, once those shelves are cleared off, don’t fill them up with more things! Before purchasing an item, ask yourself, “do I really need this?” Even more fun, “what creative solution can I come up with from things I already have to create what I need?” Prioritize your spending on experiences and memories over things.

Turn your extra savings into actual savings, and round your expenses to the nearest dollar:
– Most stores these days have a line at the bottom of the receipt that tells you how much you saved on your shopping trip for that day. Challenge yourself to find extra coupons and sales to see how high you make your savings. Then take that amount at the bottom of your receipt and immediately transfer it into your vacation account. Money saved is money earned.
– Many banks now offer the opportunity to round all of your purchases to the nearest dollar by placing the “spare change” into a separate savings account. Say you spent $47.23 at the grocery store – your bank would round your charge up to $48 and place the spare 77 cents change into a separate savings account. It’s like a virtual spare change jar, and just like the real life counterpart, a little bit can add up to a lot over time.
– Don’t forget the timeless spare change jar. Label it with your dream vacation and empty your pockets every evening!

Small sacrifices can add up to big savings:
– Time yourself and see if you can gradually decrease your shower time.
– If you’re in the habit of falling asleep with the TV on, set a timer on your TV so that it shuts off shortly after you shut your eyes.
– Avoid phantom energy loss by unplugging items when not in use. Even a charging cable that isn’t connected to your device drains a small amount of energy while it is plugged in; use a power strip with an on/off switch to make turning off these items even easier.
– Cancel unused subscriptions. That magazine you never seem to get around to reading, the club membership you never actually advantage of,  it’s time to get rid of them. Those monthly membership fees can add up, as you’ll soon find out as soon as you start channeling the subscription fee you would have spent on them into your vacation savings account. You can always resubscribe after you get back!
– Switch to generic and store brand items of your favorite products. They’re always cheaper and if you don’t like them, you can always switch back next time you need to restock.
– Downgrade your cable, phone, and internet. Cancel that premium channel subscription that you only seem to watch once a month. Visit your local library to rent movies and TV shows.

Put your money where your mouth is:
– Eat in more and get creative with your meal planning. How many meals can you plan that do not include meat? What is the cheapest meal you can create? What can you put together using only the foods currently found in your pantry?
– Invite friends over for a potluck instead of going out to dinner.
– Plan your meals around your grocery store’s sale flyer and base your recipes only on what you can purchase on sale and what is already in your pantry.
– Take a list with you to the grocery store and stick to it. No extra purchases because something caught your eye.
– Brown bag your meals and take full advantage of leftovers.

Get creative:
– Sell what you’re good at. If you have a crafty hobby that you love to do, consider making it work for you by selling your items to friends or online.
– Cut back on gift spending by giving homemade items such as that crafty item we just mentioned, or something you cooked. Gifts made by your hands, from your heart, are better than anything you could possibly find in a store.

 

 

Try keeping track of all of your spending for a month to see where you can cut back. You may think that your trips to Starbucks are just an occasional treat until you look at your monthly record and realize you go there three times a week! Budget your spending and keep your eye on the prize!

Packaged group travel such as Starr’s bus trip offers can save you a lot of money in the long run! We shop around for the best deals on hotels and get discounts only accessible to groups and tour providers. Take a look at what Starr has to offer!

 

What ideas do you have for saving money for your next vacation?

The Importance of Travel – For Retirees!

There have been countless articles written on the benefits of using your paid vacation time and numerous commentary about how little vacation time is actually put to use in America, but did you know that taking a vacation is just as important for retirees? Retirement, often touted as the vacation that never ends, is not immune to the human desire for daily routine. For those that get involved in volunteering, community events, and part-time jobs, retirement can just be a transition from one 9-5 work routine to another of a different color. Whether your day consists of mundane daily chores, errands, and TV shows, or a myriad of social activities and hobbies, breaking away from your daily routine is just as important now as it was when you were working.

Here are three reasons to keep enjoying vacation time long into your retirement years:

  1. For your Mind:
    Beyond the well known stress relief that getting away on vacation provides, taking a break from your daily routine can also promote mental stimulation in the form of challenges, learning, and new experiences. When we travel outside of our comfort zone, we’re more likely to embrace new experiences, try new foods, learn first-hand about new people, cultures, and histories. We expand our mind by expanding our view of the world to encompass that which can not be found in our own backyard or community clubhouse.
  2. For your Body:
    Travel is an investment in yourself and healthy aging. Stress reduction from taking a vacation results in lower risks of heart disease and high blood pressure, and a decrease in adrenal dysfunction that can alter your immune system. The lure of the next adventure creates an incentive for staying healthy and the excitement of new experiences inspires us to be more active in our exploration of a new or favored landscape.
  3. For your Spirit:
    Overcome loneliness, strengthen your relationships, enhance your sense of self, and fulfill your dreams – all of these can be attained through travel. Break out of your habit of isolating yourself at home by stepping into a new adventure with a group. Build stronger relationships with friends and loved ones through shared experiences and memories made. Redefine yourself from “senior retiree” to “traveler” and discover just what you are capable of achieving. Fulfill your lifelong dreams of rafting down a river, flying across the ocean to experience a foreign country, or finally getting to see our nation’s great landmarks and national parks.

Taking a vacation has the power to make us feel more alive and enhance our feelings of accomplishment. Revitalize your mind, body, and spirit with new experiences that bring you out of the comfort zone of your daily routine to challenge you to move, and stretch your mind. The entire world is out there waiting for you to discover it. Where will you begin?

Starr makes it easy to travel and experience new places by providing quality packaged tours – Starr takes care of all of the details so that you can sit back, relax, and enjoy your vacation! Travel Cross Country with us by bus! Fly off to Ireland and explore the Emerald Isle! Cruise the Panama Canal! Visit five national parks out west! Experience the Kentucky Derby, and so much more! And when traveling by bus, we encourage you to make new friends and learn about other destinations that may tempt you. Take a look at our website to see all that we have to offer!

Stay tuned next week for creative ways to save money for your next vacation!