Sunday, January 17, 2010
So, our meeting with Guisselle (of Mundi Travel) was great -- we left with smiles on our faces! (By the way, she also booked our first trip to Disneyland five years ago, where 3 months into our relationship, Fred said his first "I love you" to me. It was only natural we came back to her for our honeymoon.)
When I'm looking for price alone, I book on Expedia. But when it's something complicated -- something that includes airfare, hotel, car rental and excursions -- then I turn to the travel pros not only because they get the deep discounts, but also because they are like counselors who can make recommendations on activities or destinations that best fit your style. Guisselle did just that. (Not to mention, she and her team will personally handle our online honeyfund registry -- so if any of our guests have questions or need help selecting an excursion for our registry, they will handle the back office paperwork, not us.)
At the start of our meeting, Guisselle shared how excited she was that we were considering Hawaii in addition to Barcelona because of a special promotion a wholesale operator was offering. I thought the island she'd recommend would be Kauai, but it was Oahu. I was skeptical at first because I pictured Oahu teeming with hordes of Cancun-or-Daytona Beach springbreakers, Fisherman Wharf-like crowds and cheesy boutiques.
I'm outdoorsy and love hiking, eating good food, and exploring museums and culture. Fred enjoys touristy area (like Fisherman's Wharf of San Francisco), reading on the beach and also exploring history and culture, but he doesn't like hiking. Guisselle highlighted the styles of each island: Kauai for the outdoor adventurer and upscale R&R experience, Kona/Big Island for those who really want to see the live volcano, Maui for a scaled down Kauai experience, and Oahu as "Hawaii 101." Kauai was the most expensive for accommodations, followed by Kona, and Maui. Oahu was the best fit for our budget.
The more she showed how Oahu would satisfy all that we wanted out of our trip, the more we got excited. Oahu has a bit of the city life, history and culture (the Polynesian Cultural Center and Pearl Harbor), hiking (the Moana Falls), snorkeling, etc. She'd also found us a phenomenal deal at a 4-star hotel (with partial ocean view) for 7 nights, 8 days, with round-trip airfare and a full-sized car for less than $2,800 (prices subject to change and exclusive to Mundi Travel). The deposit for the trip was also affordable, so we're excited to have found a good fit.
All is not lost with Barcelona. Guisselle recommended we do a 9-day tour of Madrid, Seville and Barcelona as a 1-year anniversary instead. The round trip flights to and from San Francisco this year are easily over $1,000 and it's probably best we wait until we have more money in the bank. It's something to look forward to!
xoxo Vera D. at 11:34 AM