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How to Choose an Alaska Cruise Last week I spoke to somebody who was trying to figure out the best way to have his family see Alaska. He was trying to decide between a Disney Cruise and a cruise on the Wilderness Discoverer. Made me think about the difference between large ship vs. small ship cruising. In many travel circles cruising in general has a bad rap. “It’s all about the boat, not where you’re going!” and with the larger ships for the most part that’s true. But it’s not true on a small ship. Here are some differences between our Alaska cruises and a conventional cruise: Our Alaska cruise itineraries do not call on ports, but rather spend time in wilderness areas. Other than the starting and ending point, you will see no recognizable town names on one of our itineraries. There are no “days at sea”. That means that on an 8 day voyage you...
How to handle a travel emergency in your sleep We have guests who are sleeping in a tent on Kilimanjaro right now and we just received a call from Isaac Hilpman at Exito Travel that Air Uganda went out of business yesterday. So the flight they booked before they departed  from Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania, to Entebbe, Uganda 10 days from now no longer exists! Now it’s 12pm in Seattle, 11pm on the mountain, and they’re in the middle of climbing Kilimanjaro--all 19,000 feet of it, to the roof of Africa. They started their climb yesterday, and will return to Arusha, Tanzania on Sunday. Although there is emergency communication by radio with park rangers, they are otherwise out of touch until then.   So, while they were asleep on the mountain our team immediately went into action. With the assistance of Exito Travel we booked a new flight for them before everyone else on that Air Uganda flight made their alternate arrangements, arriving only 30...

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Travel Gear for Kids: Travel Games Since kids are so immersed in electronics, I try to find things for them to do that are engaging but do not include electricity on our family adventures. My current favorites are made by SmartGames and the kids are excited to try out their Noah’s Ark Travel Game. Pros: It’s about the size of a CD case and folds out to lap size, which means our two kids won’t get in each other’s way.  Each game comes with about 48 levels beginning with “starter” and working up to “master”. Although these games are usually designed for ages 5 and up the master levels are really hard, I have trouble with them and I like logic puzzles! Though designed for one player, the harder levels can be solved more easily if the kids work as a team. So they can take turns for awhile, and then when they get tired of...

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Since our children have been born, we’ve traveled. It’s been mostly small things – trips to visit my parents in Lake Tahoe, lots of camping, a road trip from Seattle to Yosemite last summer. We’ve taken them to Hawaii as well, but I’ve been waiting to take them on their first international vacation. I want them to experience somewhere different, but not out of their comfort zone. Somewhere not too far away, but with a good mixture of culture and wildlife.  Now that they’re 6 and 3.5 I think it’s about time. Why now? Honestly, because my youngest is potty trained. Seriously. Also, because I think they’ll remember it now. Cassie, our 6 year old, went to Puerto Rico when she was 14 months old and she remembers none of it. I want their first trip to be something that they remember with their own heads rather than through the...

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My five year old says that the letter of the day is ‘L’! And we’re talking about leopards.  Over the years at Wildland I’ve had many people say to me “What I’d really like to see is a leopard”. Though one of the Big 5, leopards are often tough to spot. In East Africa you usually see one on a trip, but you’re lucky if you see more than one and you may see no leopards. In Southern Africa it can be much the same, depending on where you are. Leopards are masters of stealth and spend a lot of time in trees, either resting or dragging a kill up there to enjoy at their leisure. With their spots they’re extremely well-camouflaged when the leaves of the branches rustle in the breeze. So where to go if you want to see leopard? The South Luangwa National Park in Zambia. The Luangwa...
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