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Monday, March 12, 2012

Unique Travel Concepts Day at San Diego Harbor

Living in San Diego we rarely visit the places of interest.  I decided on Sunday to go down to San Diego Harbor and walk around. 

The Carnival Spirit was leaving for a 5 day cruise to Baja Mexico, I actually had clients on this ship.  Passengers waving with smiles and those on shore wishing them a wonderful Bon Voyage as the ship pulled out of the dock. 


There has been so much news about the Sailor kissing a Nurse Statue called "Unconditional Surrender"at the Harbor I decided to go over and check it out.  Life magazine made the picture famous right after World War II.  This statue has been on loan to San Diego. With San Diego County having the largest concentration of Military personnel than any other US port, many say the statue should stay!  The Union Tribune wrote a story about it:
SAN DIEGO — .
The statue named "Unconditional Surrender" was scheduled to be taken down at the end of February.

The statue by J. Seward Johnson depicts a famed 1945 Life magazine photo taken in Times Square in New York when the end of World War II was announced.
City News Service says the statue was first loaned to the port in 2007 for a one-year term. It had been extended several times and was due to expire at the end of the month
As supporters of the "Unconditional Surrender" statue await word on whether it will get a reprieve, the USS Midway Museum has stepped forward to help make it a permanent fixture on the waterfront.

The 25-foot statue of a World War II couple locked in an embrace is on loan to the San Diego Unified Port District, it now is extended until May.
This will allow time to raise nearly a million dollars to permanently preserve the statue in bronze to stay in San Diego harbor.  
Scott McGaugh, spokesman for the Midway, said Friday that the museum contacted local architect Donald Reeves, who originally pushed to bring the statue to San Diego, to help with fundraising over the next 90 days.
"The Midway is interested in helping Don and the community of San Diego to save the 'Kiss,'" McGaugh said. "We've seen firsthand how it's become a real icon and landmark."
The Associated Press


The 25 foot statue is impressive and stands right next to the Midway Aircraft Carrier Museum.... 

Touring the Midway Aircraft Museum is truly amazing if you are visiting or live here make it down and step back in history.  Here is the picture of the famed ship:


Right Next to the Statue is a "Thanks for the Memories" tribute to Bob Hope here are some pictures

You can hear some of the stand up jokes he used to entertain the troops....

If you live in San Diego make it down and enjoy our city, if you don't live here call us and we can put a truly amazing trip together for you...

UNIQUE TRAVEL CONCEPTS
800-879-8635

Friday, March 9, 2012

10 reasons to call Tokyo the greatest city to visit

Tokyo is a hard city to describe, but Steve Trautlein, Matt Alt, Hiroko Yoda, Melinda Joe, Andrew Szymanski and W. David Marx gave it a shot....  We liked their picks...

1. The world's most sophisticated railways

With 13 subway lines and more than 100 surface routes run by Japan Railways and other private companies, Tokyo's railway system seems like it was designed to win world records. It's rare to find a location in the metropolitan area that can’t be reached with a train ride and a short walk.


2. Sky-high one-upmanship

When officials in Tokyo learned that the new Guangzhou TV & Sightseeing Tower in China would be 610 meters tall -- the same height that was planned for Tokyo Sky Tree, then under construction -- they did what any rational person would do: They added 24 meters to the top of Sky Tree to preserve its claim as the world’s tallest tower. Now complete and scheduled to open in May, the Guinness-certified structure features shops, restaurants and an observation deck that lets you see almost all the way to Guangzhou.

3. Street crossings are like a battle scene from "Braveheart"

The scramble street crossing outside of Shibuya Station is easily the world's busiest, with a thousand people running into the middle of the street, weaving together in a huge organic mass. The scramble perfectly summarizes the essence of Tokyo's true tourist landmarks: not old buildings, but lots and lots of people coming together in celebration of culture.


4. The Emperor will see you now

Visit the Imperial Palace on December 23 or January 2, and you’ll see something impressive: Its owner. Emperor Akihito and family make a twice-yearly public appearance at the Inner Palace grounds for the monarch’s birthday and a New Year’s greeting. If you’re tall enough, you’ll be able to glimpse the man-god himself amid a sea of Rising Sun flag-wavers.

5. Youth fashion stores by the hundreds

Even with the arrival of Forever 21 and H&M, there are countless independent fashion boutiques in the Harajuku area -- all dedicated to generally insane forms of youth fashion. If you count adjacent Shibuya, Omotesando and Aoyama into the region, you have the world's largest fashion district: featuring basically every single major designer brand in the world.


 6. The electronics stores are like theme parks

The Japanese have taken their love of the latest electronic gadgets and modern appliances to a new level with Yodobashi Akiba, the largest electronics store in a section of Tokyo known for being the center of gadget, video game and anime culture in the city. Going into any electronics store in Akihabara is like stepping into a wonderland of flashing lights and monstrous screens, but Yodobashi ups the ante by offering six massive floors of televisions, stereos, appliances and game consoles, with three more floors dedicated to restaurants, juice bars, bookstores and music shops.

7. You can commute to the mountains

When the concrete Tokyo gets to be too much, just head out to the wonderful Mount Takao in West Tokyo. Accessible by a single train from Shinjuku, the mountain is particularly famous for its easy hike to the top, stunning autumn foliage and special soba-noodle culture.


8. Even the serious museums are weird

Edo-Tokyo Museum is the best place to relive the old traditional style of life in Tokyo, when it was called Edo in the 15th to 19th centuries. The building exterior, however, looks like a giant space cruiser on a "Buck Rogers" backlot, propped up on stilts. This is perhaps an attempt to fuse past, present and future Tokyo into one space.


 
9. Highway rest stops are destinations

Rest areas like Umi-hotaru almost make up for the ridiculous tolls and endless traffic jams of Japan's highways. Umi-hotaru (the "sea firefly") is a giant, island-like concrete construct floating smack in the middle of Tokyo Bay at the crossover point between the Aqua-Line bridge and tunnel. It offers a number of restaurants and shops for those who need to relax before braving the remaining drive.

10. The most absurdly priced retail establishments on one block

Chanel, Louis VuittonGinza is where to go to see and be seen and to spend more money than most salarymen ever dream of on fashion, handbags, and jewelry. Ginza used to be pithily described as Tokyo's 5th Avenue, but nowadays it's more accurate to call 5th Avenue New York's Ginza.


Call UNIQUE TRAVEL CONCEPTS TODAY TO EXPERIENCE THE GREATEST CITY TO VISIT TOKYO or the destination of your dreams!!!!
800-879-8635

Friday, February 24, 2012

UNIQUE TRIPS OF A LIFETIME

LIVING UP TO OUR NAME WE HAVE PUT TOGETHER A COLLECTION OF "UNIQUE" TRIPS FOR YOU.....

Galápagos and Peru



(7–14 days)


Why We Love It: This trip exceeds even our expectations. This tour dreamed up a Galápagos tour timed to commemorate Charles Darwin’s 200th birthday and the 150-year anniversary of The Origin of Species—and tapped his great-great-grandson, Randal Keynes, to lead the way. In Peru, your guides will include an expert investigating Incan environmental practices, and you’ll see art and textiles through the discerning eyes of locals who have amassed an impressive collection.


Where It Goes: After two days in Quito, you’ll board a 48-passenger cruise ship for seven days in the Galápagos. The Peru leg (seven more days) loops from Lima to Cuzco and the Sacred Valley, then back to Lima.




What You’ll Do: A tour of Quito’s colonial architecture zeroes in on Independence Square, the Archbishop’s Palace, and El Sagrario Church.
Galápagos island-hopping begins on Santa Cruz, where sea turtles nest, then continues on to the red volcanic Rábida Island and its sea lion colonies and Galápagos hawks; La Cumbre Volcano, home to rare island species like flightless cormorants and Galápagos snakes; Black Turtle Cove and its saltwater inlets and mangrove swamps, accessible only by panga (motorized fishing boat); Isabela Island, for blue-footed boobies and marine iguanas; and back to Santa Cruz for a private tour of the Charles Darwin Research Station and a seat at the inauguration festivities for its new Darwin Facility. Peru highlights: the famous weekly art and crafts market in the colonial village of Pisac, in the Sacred Valley; lunch with the Lambarri-Orihuela family at their Huayoccari Hacienda, where you’ll see their renowned colonial- and folk-art holdings; a tour of Machu Picchu with archaeologist Alfredo Mormontoy; and a last stop in the Incan capital of Cuzco, with a side trip to the nearby Sacsayhuaman ruins—a fortress built of massive stones weighing up to 125 tons and pieced seamlessly together.




Where You’ll Stay: The 210-foot-long eco-friendly Eclipse in the Galápagos; in Peru, at Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel in the forest below the citadel, and Cuzco’s La Casona Hotel, a restored colonial mansion.


New Zealand
(14 days)


Why We Love It: This adventure slips you into new destinations—in small groups led by local guides at out-of-the-ordinary sights. This itinerary steeped in the 1,000-year-old cultural traditions and folklore of New Zealand’s first inhabitants—the Maori tribe. Maori guides are called upon throughout the journey, whether you’re hiking the grassy battlegrounds of Ruapekapeka, scene of the last conflict between British and Maori forces in the 1846 Northern War, or group-paddling a war canoe down hidden tribal waterways.




Where It Goes: From ancient settlements at the tip of the volcanic North Island to beaches, rivers, and glaciers, then all the way down to the peak-rimmed tourist center of Queenstown, on the South Island’s Lake Wakatipu.


What You’ll Do: Sit on Tokerau Beach (North Island) to watch tribesman Hekeneukumai Ngaiwi Puhipi Busby Kaumatua demonstrate how to make a traditional ocean canoe; detour north to Cape Reinga, the last stop made by Maori spirits of the dead on their way to the afterlife; and hike nearby through the lush Waipoa Forest to see Tane Mahuta, one of the world’s largest remaining ancient kauri trees, whose girth rivals that of America’s sequoia (45 feet). On the South Island, you’ll sail with the Maori-owned Whale Watch Kaikoura to see sperm whales up close; hike alongside the Arahura River, where you can stop to search for greenstone, a jade, found only on the South Island, that is sacred to the tribe for its symbolic role in peace agreements; and trek across the Franz Josef glacier with an expert on global warming’s impact on the region.





Where You’ll Stay: Highlights include two hotels with extensive green practices: the Hapuku Lodge, whose recycled-timber tree houses are 30 feet aboveground in a grove of native manukas (valued by the Maori for their flowers’ medicinal properties), and the Wilderness Lodge Arthur’s Pass, a sheep farm with 20-plus miles of nature trails. Guided and self-guided hikes take you through beech forest and past cascading water, and may include sightings of bellbirds and rare orange-fronted parakeets.


Greater Yellowstone


(7–10 days)


Why We Love It: You’ll meet the best veteran tour guides in Yellowstone National Park, check in to the finest green hotels, and hook up with exclusive adventure operators. This tour’s guides will escort you to their secret stomping grounds for fishing, hiking, rafting, and more.


Where It Goes: This wilderness-and wildlife-focused trip begins in Bozeman, Montana; continues south to ranch land near tiny Cameron; leads you through the backcountry of Yellowstone National Park; and finishes up in Tetons-ringed Jackson Hole, Wyoming.


What You’ll Do: Take your pick of more activities than you can handle in three days at the sustainably managed Lodge at Sun Ranch, including horseback riding, bird-watching (look skyward for ferruginous hawks and long-billed curlews, two of 126 species on the property), and rafting or canoeing on nearby rivers. A hybrid car transports you to Yellowstone to explore the park with such expert naturalists as Mike Bryers, whose favorite spots after 27 years on the job are the thermal pools scattered throughout the 3,472 square miles of the park. (“They’re almost scenes from another planet,” he says.) You’ll also have the chance to ride the rapids down the Snake River; hike family-friendly trails in the foothills of Wyoming’s Gros Ventre Mountains; trek into Horseshoe Canyon and spend the night—or up the camping ante with a two-night kayaking, rafting, and fly-fishing trip on Jackson Lake. And come equipped for a safari-like trip to spy on the region’s impressive elk, grizzly, and wolf populations.


Where You’ll Stay: Options include the eco-sophisticated Lodge at Sun Ranch; one of Yellowstone’s historic park lodges (all of which are undergoing major greening by parent company Xanterra properties); J Bar L Ranch, in the sweeping Centennial Valley; and the LEED-certified Hotel Terra, in Jackson Hole. (Set aside time for a massage or a thermal soak with 100 percent organic products at the hotel’s Chill Spa.)




Southeast Asia


(16 days)


Why We Love It: For travelers who still associate Southeast Asia with the Vietnam War, this tour shows a rarely seen side of Thailand, Laos, and Cambodia, placing the conflict on the continuum of an ancient culture. The guiding notion of this trip is to mix and mingle tours of breathtaking temples, like Angkor Wat, with experiences of daily life in villages that keep such temples alive. Dominique Callimanopulos founded her three-year-old company after seeing the world as a student and young professional revealed a disconnect between travelers and the places they are inspired to go. A portion of the trip’s cost goes to on-the-ground projects.



Where It Goes: Thailand: from Bangkok to the temple cities of Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai; Laos: Luang Prabang, a UNESCO World Heritage site, and the village of Pak Beng; Cambodia: Siem Reap, site of Angkor Wat.


What You’ll Do: Learn traditional Thai dancing; visit a rarely mounted exhibit of indigenous crafts sponsored by Queen Sirikit’s foundation; take an ecotour of a “community forest” in Chiang Mai where tea and coffee crops have replaced illegal logging; and indulge in a traditional Thai massage. Cruise the Mekong River toward Luang Prabang, Laos, stopping to watch a hill tribe pickle rice into whiskey, and sample (or purchase) the results. Ride a tuk-tuk to Luang Prabang’s temples, including Wat Xieng Thong, known for its magnificent tree-of-life mosaic, and Wat Mai Suwannaphumaham, with its five-tier roof; stop for a quick dip below the Kuang Si waterfall on the way to the Language Project Library, and in a nearby village, receive a blessing from elders in a traditional Baci ceremony. In Cambodia, visit Angkor Wat, then watch local fishermen ply the waters of Tonle Sap, Southeast Asia’s largest freshwater lake. More highlights: a hike to Kbal Spean, where 900-year-old intricate carvings in and around the Kbal Spean river depict Hindu deities; and an on-site conversation with the founder of the Cambodia Land Mine Museum, which educates villagers on land mine awareness and accident prevention.


Where You’ll Stay: Our favorite stops include the colonial-era Mandarin Oriental Bangkok on the Chao Phraya river; the Luang Say Lodge, in Pak Beng, elevated on stilts for 180-degree views of the Mekong River Valley; and Maison Souvannaphoum, in Luang Prabang, once home to Laotian royalty.


Safari in Kenya
(11 days)


Why We Love It: This tour works closely with tribal communities makes travel rewarding for tourists and indigenous peoples alike—Masai and Samburu villages and guides are integral to this trip.


Where It Goes: From the border of Tanzania to the big-game–rich Great Rift Valley; north to the semi-arid Laikipia Plateau; and up to the Namunyak Wildlife Conservation Trust in the Matthews Range.


What You’ll Do: Three days in, you’ll be riding camelback and walking through vast plains and tribal villages. The eight remaining days are yours to fill as you’d like. Highlights: moonlit bush dinners timed to catch wildlife at a watering hole; a picnic on Ol Lolokwe Mountain, believed by the Masai to be the residence of the gods; a hike through the forested Matthews Range, where leopards and thousands of once-threatened elephants roam; and a visit to the “singing wells,” to see a human chain of Samburu warriors descend into wells as deep as 32 feet, chanting ancient songs as they hand up vessels of water for their cattle.
 Where You’ll Stay: In an open-air room with a private plunge pool at the eco-minded Shompole Lodge, a Masai-style room with stone walls and earthen ceilings at Tassia Lodge, and a luxury tent both en route to the Matthews Range and at the community-owned Sarara Tented Camp in the Namunyak Trust. Optional while there: a starry campout on wide sand luggas (dry riverbeds).




Biking in Burgundy


(6 days)


Why We Love It: This customized biking trip brings you close to a culture intimately tied to the land.


Where It Goes: From Dijon, on a custom-designed hybrid or racing bike adjusted for you, you’ll cycle to the village of Chambolle-Musigny and its 370 vineyard acres of Pinot Noir; then follow the Côte d’Or, a limestone escarpment stretching to the river Dheune, to the medieval city of Beaune; and head into the Ouche Valley—hilly enough to create thirst, and thick with wineries to slake it—before going back to Dijon.
 What You’ll Do: Covering 25 miles each day, this trip is doable at your own pace. Stops are mostly about wine: you’ll tour wine caves with Domaine des Epeneaux owner and biodynamic-viticulture advocate Benjamin Leroux; visit the Grand Cru vineyard Le Montrachet; ride to the 12th-century castle of Chateauneuf; and picnic at Les Jardins de Barbirey, a private garden laid out in the early 1800’s. A walk through Beaune’s Old Town with historian Chantal Leroux pauses at shops stocking local L’Époisses cheese and truffle of Burgundy. Final touch: a lunch at a biofarm, Ferme de la Ruchotte, for a meal featuring locally grown vegetables and organic cheeses.



Where You’ll Stay: At the 18th-century Château André Ziltener; the historic Hôtel Le Cep, with views of Beaune’s Old Town; and a 12th-century monastery turned luxe country hotel, the Abbaye de la Bussière.

OUR SPECIALTY IS TO CREATE UNIQUE, PERSONALIZED VACATIONS
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Thursday, January 19, 2012

ISLAND ESCAPES FORGET THE WINTER BLUES

You survived the post-holiday blues, but its still cold, wet and snowing outside.   These sunny island escapes should help you forget....  
 
Jost Van Dyke, British Virgin Islands





 

Soggy Dollar Bar


Cambodia


Opening in February, Song Saa, Cambodia’s first private island resort, is sustainable (built from local, natural materials), with a wellness bent and overwhelming opulence (the spa commands its own island).


Song Saa, Cambodia (Courtesy Song Saa)
Kadavu, Fiji
Kadavu, the smallest and least developed of Fiji’s “big” islands, is best known for scuba diving and bird watching. But if you’ve got to have your beach fading out of sight in both directions, this miles-long sandy stretch on the north side of the island is for you
Long Beach, Fiji (Digital Vision/Getty Images)

Taha'a Island, French Polynesia
If it weren’t for the fact that the water, over a bottom of hard white sand, is only about waist deep, you’d feel as if you were at sea in the bungalows at this away-from-the-tourists (but with Bora Bora still visible on the horizon) resort.











Tuesday, December 13, 2011

BEST PLACES TO SOAK IN THE WORLD

Nothing says "R&R" like a long, hot bath: That ahh feeling is the best cure for stress. Sure, you can find hot water and a tub just about anywhere (including your own home), but you can only extract so much ambience from bathroom tiles. To really kick back, leave your well-treaded bathmat behind and head to a soak-spot that both calms the nerves and soothes the senses. We've uncovered some spectacular bathing locales that drip with history, luxury and natural beauty.
Thermae Bath Spa, Bath, England


This beautiful town in southwest England has always been a heavyweight in the R&R sector. The city's original name, Aquae Sulis, honors the Celtic goddess of Sulis. Said to be a nurturing giver of life, Sulis presided over Bath's ancient hot springs and was worshipped by the pool's previous patrons, the Romans.






The Thermae Bath Spa's pools are fed by the same steamy springs that have long beckoned to bathers. Although the city's three springs -- the Cross Spring, the Hetling Spring and the King's Spring -- are located more than a mile underground, the best place to enjoy them is Thermae's rooftop pool. While you're simmering away, you can look out over the beautiful, Gothic-style Bath Abbey.


Molori Safari Lodge, Madikwe Game Reserve, South Africa








Just because you're in the wilderness doesn't mean you have to rough it: The Molori Safari Lodge's five bungalows bring chic to the Savanna. These unique accommodations seated within the Madikwe Game Reserve include floor-to-ceiling windows that allow visitors to wake up to stunning African vistas. But for the best views, grab your swimsuit and head to the main lodge's hot tub. This in-ground soaking spot looks out over an ever-busy watering hole, frequented by elephants, lions and zebras.


Chena Hot Springs, Fairbanks, Alaska


Simply thinking of Alaska may send a shiver down your spine, but the northernmost state holds the key to a warm, relaxing getaway:






The Chena Hot Springs. Located about 60 miles east of Fairbanks, these bubbling waters are at the heart of a 40-square-mile geothermal activity zone. The hot springs funnel mineral water at a whopping 165 degrees Fahrenheit into the massive pools at the Chena Hot Springs Resort. But don't worry about the heat: The water is cooled well before it makes its way to the pool. When you do settle in for a soak, you'll find that the region's alpine peaks and verdant evergreen forests make for a splendid backdrop.


Rome Cavalieri, Rome, Italy




Guests at the Rome Cavalieri have a one-up in avoiding Rome's massive crowds: This ornate Waldorf Astoria property in the heart of Rome boasts a bird's-eye view of the city. The scenery is particularly sweet if you're savoring it from the steamy waters of the Penthouse Suite's private rooftop whirlpool. Watch the city unfold beneath you as you soak; consider a nighttime dip to glimpse St. Peter's Basilica illuminating the skyline.




Hot Water Beach, Waikato, New Zealand


If you're a more active traveler, you might prefer the DIY spa experience at Hot Water Beach, located on the northeast shore of New Zealand. The two underground fissures leak gallons of water at 147 degrees Fahrenheit every minute; the water then bubbles its way up through the beach's golden sands to the surface. To make the most out of your visit, plan to arrive one to two hours before low tide (when more of the beach is exposed) with a bucket and shovel in hand -- you'll need them to dig your own hot tub.




Pamukkale,Denizli, Turkey






Located approximately 400 miles south of Istanbul in Denizli, Turkey, these hot springs are rumored to have both healing and beautifying powers. The site's own beauty is worth beholding. Formed by mineral deposits left behind by 17 flowing hot springs, these crystalline-white terraces collect shallow pools of steamy water ideal for a soothing soak. While visiting Pamukkale, your view will extend far over the city of Denizli.


Conrad Maldives, Rangali Island, The Maldives


Spread out across two remote islands, the Conrad Maldives' 150 villas offer spectacular panoramas of the Indian Ocean. And there is no better place to enjoy the landscape than from the soothing 104-degree waters of a private hot tub. Consider one of the villas on the Rangali Island section of the resort; the tubs in these Beach Villas are flanked by sugary-white sands and a vibrant coral reef. And if the scenery isn't enough, hotel staff members provide a few extra luxuries like cool glasses of fresh papaya juice.




Jigokudani Monkey Park, Yamanouchi, Japan







We're not the only ones who enjoy a hot bath from time to time -- our primate brethren do too. And nowhere are the R&R needs of monkeys catered to better than in Japan's Jigokudani Monkey Park. Sitting 158 miles northwest of Tokyo in Yamanouchi, this natural park sits atop bubbling hot springs that feed a man-made pool frequented by Japanese macaques (or snow monkeys). Although Homo sapiens are not welcome in these pools, followers of the old "monkey see, monkey

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

12 TRAVEL TRENDS & TIPS FOR 2012

With the end of 2011 fast approaching, Unique Travel Concepts thought we would present these insightful new trends and tips to guide you  in choosing your adventures for 2012


Many travelers are looking to voyage back through time to the golden age of travel. "Journeys reminiscent of the romantic adventure style of old are extremely popular," notes expert Brad Crockett. "Travelers are interested in the old world elegance of train journeys, classic desert camps & mobile safaris where they sleep under the stars."




"Colombia's back & ready to show the world what they've been missing," says Expert Noraly Barillas. This Latin American treasure is a museum of adventure with pirate legends, colonial ruins, the Amazon rainforest & the lost city of Ciudad Perdida. "With beaches that rival those in the Caribbean & charismatic cities like Bogota & Cartagena, this is one country that won't be denied its chance to shine."


Don't Be A "Would-Be Traveler"


Travelers who plan ahead win when it matters. "Every year we see disappointed would-be travelers who waited too long to book bucket-list experiences like a safari during the Great Migration, Galapagos at Christmas or Costa Rica during spring break," says Expert Brad Crockett. "Booking in advance is crucial. You get the best hotels, flights & connections to ensure your dream trip is just that, perfect.


Indonesia - Beyond Bali



" Bali may be on the top of every traveler`s list thanks to Eat, Pray Love, but once through with yoga & monkey dances, the rest of Indonesia awaits. Asia Expert Jacob Hason says, "adventurers in 2012 are going further afield to the exotic island of the legendary Komodo dragon, heading to Borneo to see the orangutans, climbing Mt. Bromo volcano & traveling to Sulawesi to witness the eerie funeral rites of the Toraja."

The Myanmar Road An Exotic Time Warp

Asia Expert Sarah Ferguson recommends Myanmar for those who yearn for exotic adventures more akin to the Angkor Wat & South East Asia of over a century ago. Largely off limits to tourists until recently, this time-locked land offers a mosaic of intriguing wonders with its hundreds of pagodas, leg-rowers, monastery of jumping cats, painted caves, golden Buddas, river cruises, floating gardens & tranquil beaches.


On Your Mark... Get Set London's Calling

"Hot on the heels of Will & Kate upping its hip factor, the UK is buzzing for 2012," says Expert Kerstin Sowden. Monarchists will be going for Queen Elizabeth's Jubilee in June & sports fans for the Summer Games. "For those not interested in taking part in either event, the secret to traveling smart is to go after the Games when the UK is still at its shiny best but the Olympic size crowds, lines & prices are gone."



Israel's Spiritual Sites Mixed With Adrenaline Adventures


With a record 3.45 million visitors to Israel last year & numbers predicted to rise, the Holy Land is attracting more visitors than it has in millenniums partially due to an assortment of new adrenaline adventures attracting far more than just pilgrims. "Visitors to Israel in 2012 will be hiking, biking, horseback riding, mountain climbing rappelling, scuba diving, going on archaeological digs & enjoying jeep safaris" according to Middle East Destination Expert Chris Bazos.


Personalized Cruising - Pre & Post Tours & Private Shore Excursions

For those who love to cruise, tailor-made pre & post tours with private shore excursions are transforming cruises into a rich cultural experience. "Cruisers are realizing the folly of just breezing through Europe's great stepping-off points," says Expert Dana Toma. "Instead, savvy travelers are booking 2-3 day customized land tours before & after their cruise. During the voyage, many are skipping the crowds on traditional group excursions & are opting to be met at each port by a private guide."

Customized Heritage Tours Getting To The Root of It



European bookings coming on strong for 2012 often focus on the traveler`s interest in their genealogical past, want to trace their individual family`s lineage & to explore their ancestral homelands. "Scotland, Ireland, Germany, Poland, France, Italy & Russia are all extremely popular due to emigration around World War II," says Europe Expert Eimear Duggan.


Intimate African Wilds Private Concession Style




Savvy safari goers looking for a more intimate African experience are opting for privately owned concessions. "South Africa has always been well known for this exclusive safari style," according to Expert Gabrielle Nijdam. "But now, conservancies are no longer just the well-kept secret of the jet-set & there are a growing number in Tanzania as well like Singita's Sabora Camp & the new Manyara Ranch Conservancy."

Short & Stylish North American Escapes

 "The focus of today's weekend escape is on quality & being experiential," explains Expert Olivia Paszkowski. "Travelers want culture, great food & new experiences even when it's just a quick four day getaway. I recommend Quebec City's Ice Hotel for a once-in-a-lifetime winter experience & the vineyards of Ontario's Niagara for a new spin on food & ice wine."

The 2012 Phenomenon The End Of The World


 Finally....a side note for superstitious travelers. This is the year to hit the road, as according to the ancient Mayan calendar the world will end on December 21st. So now's the time to hit up everything on your bucket list. For those who want to investigate doomsday for themselves, Expert Erika Linares suggests heading to Mexico to see the fabled Mayan ruins & calendars firsthand.


So what is your 2012 adventure going to be?

Unique Travel Concepts looks forward to assisting you in your travel plans to the above locations or wherever our dreams long for..... 

UNIQUE TRAVEL CONCEPTS - 1-800-879-8635 

Visit our website and tell us where you want to go at http://www.uniquetravelconcepts.com/