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Posts Tagged ‘Dazzling Dubai’

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Friendly Planet Travel Winner’s Circle: Dazzling Dubai

I’ve made seven different calls this year to a handful of lucky travelers to let them know they’ve won a free trip to a far-off destination, all because they “liked” and entered one of our sweepstakes on the Friendly Planet Travel Facebook page. But Elisa Kotin, our latest winner who will be going on a free trip for two to Dubai, might have been the most surprised of all! Listen to her reaction when I called her to let her know that she’d won on our previous post.

Once the dust settled and we let the reality of her win sink in, I asked Friendly Planet Travel blogger Caitlin to catch up with Elisa to find out a little bit more about her. As it turns out, Elisa has a true passion for traveling, and is extremely well traveled. She has been to 70 countries, and Dubai will be her 71st! Though she’s always wanted to go, Elisa has never been to Dubai — so this trip was a great match :-) .

Listen to the below podcast to get a snapshot of Elisa’s life, including how she felt when she won, why she’s grateful that she won the trip from us, her favorite places she’s been, what she enjoys most about travel, and more!

Elisa, I hope you have an amazing time in Dubai, and I look forward to hearing all about it when you return!

And the winner of our ‘Be Dazzled by Dubai’ sweepstakes is …

While we’re sad to see our “Be Dazzled by Dubai” Facebook contest come to an end, we’ve really enjoyed sharing advice and information about this magical city over the past six weeks.

Today, I walked into the office with a bit of a spring in my step, eager to pick a winner for the free trip for two! We chose one winner at random, and called to let this person know they’d won. So who was on the other end of the line when I made that call?

It was Elisa Kotin from Van Nuys, California! Elisa’s reaction when she found out she won was priceless. She couldn’t have been more excited, and her reaction truly made me smile. Hit play below to hear Elisa receive the big news.

Elisa even sent us a few pictures to show us how excited she was!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Congratulations again, Elisa! From all of us here at Friendly Planet, we’re so excited for you to embark on your journey to Dubai with us. We also want to thank everyone who entered. We look forward to doing more trip giveaways in the future, so keep your eyes peeled! You never know what destination we’ll be giving away next.

Getaway Dossier: Things to know before you travel to Dubai

We’re wrapping up our Dubai coverage with one of our favorite blog series – Getaway Dossier. We created this series to share with you everything we know about each destination we visit: the best food to eat, places to visit, and things to know to better prepare for your trip. We chose Dubai for the next dossier destination because we’ve been doing a lot of coverage around this city during our ‘Be Dazzled by Dubai’ Facebook sweepstakes, in which you could win a free trip for two to Dubai just by entering on our Facebook page!

Weather: A desert climate. Dubai is located in the Middle East, so it should come as no surprise that it’s hot pretty much all year round. In the summer, temperatures average around 104°F during the day, and overnight lows fall to around 86°F. Winters are cool and short, averaging 73°F during the day and 57°F at night.

Obviously, travelers should pack clothes to help them stay comfortable in the heat. But, because Dubai is located in a Muslim country, shorts, midriff baring shirts, and clothing that exposes too much skin shouldn’t make it into your suitcase when you pack. Think modest dress, and remember bathing suits are appropriate attire only on the beach and by the pool. If you’re sensitive to the heat, or need to avoid strong sunlight, stay inside or apply plenty of sunscreen during the afternoon hours. If you don’t, you’ll surely burn.

Food: Arabian delicacies. Dubai is a cultural crossroads, so food from almost every country and culture can be found there. There are some Arabian foods however that you shouldn’t miss. We’ve all heard of hummus, but there’s much more available to try.Description: http://blog.friendlyplanet.com/wp-includes/js/tinymce/plugins/wordpress/img/trans.gif

Shawarma, a dish made of chicken or lamb that’s mixed with tomatoes, fries, garlic sauce, and pickles then wrapped inside a small roti (a type of bread) is popular among travelers. It sounds pretty messy to eat, and it is, but it’s delicious — so be sure to give it a try. One of my personal favorites is falafel, which is a mixture of chickpeas and different spices. It’s then deep fried into a cutlet or ball (think meatball) — delicious! But Dubai offers a huge selection of culinary experiences, and I don’t think you can go wrong by trying a meal in a Moroccan, Lebanese, or Iranian restaurant.

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5 travelers tell us why our Dubai tour is truly dazzling

Testimonials from our travelers offer non-biased opinions and real experiences of our tours. Since we have been focusing on Dubai with our “Be Dazzled by Dubai” Facebook contest in full swing, I wanted to share a few testimonials from travelers who went on our Dazzling Dubai tour.

But before I get to their feedback, I want to remind everyone that this is the last week to enter our Facebook contest to win a free trip for two to Dubai! So, enter now!

“Flying with Emirates was an amazing experience. The airline was extremely professional and the staff on board made the trip as comfortable and enjoyable as it could have been. The food, amenities and extras were wonderful. I will always choose Emirates whenever possible. The overall trip was wonderful too. The staff in Dubai was very helpful, knowledgeable, and eager to assist in making the guests feel at home. The hotel was neat, perfectly located, and had great service.” -Andrea Orbe-Martinez

“Overall, the process of booking with Friendly Planet was great and very easy. The flights on Emirates were amazing – the airline is wonderful. I also thought the optional tours were excellent. The dinner cruise and the desert safari tour were great. Everything with this tour was absolutely excellent. The destinations were fabulous, and the price was amazing. I have compared tour companies and the Friendly Planet price and what is included cannot be beat.” -Yameci Maldonado

“We were very pleased with the promptness being met and escorted throughout our tour. The hotel and transportation provided were very nice. Our tour guides were also well versed on the culture and history of Dubai. Overall, we truly enjoyed our trip.” - Albert and Zell Verschaeve

“A good package deal. Our tour guide was professional, knowledgeable and well organized. Also, the tour bus driver was courteous and alert. The hotel was excellent, had great service, and friendly and helpful employees. All of our included breakfasts were excellent too.” – Koumba Noni

Thanks to Andrea, Yameci, Albert, Zell, and Koumba for sharing your experience about our Dazzling Dubai tour. Have you been to Dubai on one of our tours? We’d love to hear from you too – comment below.

The best things Dubai has to offer

As you might know, we recently announced that we’re giving away a free trip for two on our Dazzling Dubai tour through our latest Facebook sweepstakes: “Be Dazzled by Dubai.” If you’ve never been to the city of Dubai, it’s a wonderfully exotic and lavish place for shopping, dining, and to see some of the world’s most breathtaking sights.

To give you a better sense of what you have to look forward to should you be the lucky winner of our sweepstakes, I asked our Reservations Manager here at Friendly Planet, Katherine Howard, to share her personal account of a recent trip to Dubai. Here’s what she had to share with me, in her own words:

Flying to Dubai: The flight was incredible — the service was awesome, the food was great, and the flight attendants were helpful and friendly. There was a wide variety of movies to watch throughout the flight, and for anyone who has seen Sex and the City 2, the flight attendants are dressed exactly as in the movie when the ladies fly to Dubai.

I was fortunate enough to fly in business class and it was 100 percent worth the upgrade. The seats extend flat so you can sleep comfortably on the 13-hour flight from JFK. The flight attendants also pass out mini mattress toppers to make you even more comfortable.

Sightseeing – Burj Khalifa: One of my favorite things about the trip to Dubai was the view from the top of the Burj Khalifa, currently the tallest building in the world. Opened in January of 2010, this building has over 160 floors and is 2,717 feet high. The super-fast elevator ride to the observation deck was smooth, the lights were dimmed, and there was soft music playing. When the doors opened you could see the sky. The deck’s open air and floor-to-ceiling glass took my breath away, and I felt like you could see forever from up there. (more…)

Your free trip to Dubai is just two clicks away on Friendly Planet Travel’s Facebook page

WIN WITH FRIENDLY PLANET: A free trip to Dubai!You might be asking yourself: Is Friendly Planet really giving away another free trip? The answer is yes!

That’s right — we’re pleased to announce we’re giving away another tour to our loyal fans on our Facebook page to a destination that is bigger, grander, and more lavish than any other: Dazzling Dubai!

There is absolutely no place in the world quite like Dubai. Found in the middle of the desert at the crossroads of Europe, Asia, and Africa, Dubai is the world’s mecca of luxury. The city has every amenity possible and no expense is spared in showing it’s a city of unparalleled extravagance. But you don’t have to be rich and famous to enjoy this amazing destination for yourself. All you have to do is visit our Facebook page, Like us, and fill out the entry form.

In true Friendly Planet fashion, the “Be Dazzled by Dubai” giveaway includes round-trip airfare from New York (JFK) via Emirates, one of the world’s top airlines, as well as fuel surcharges, airline taxes, and fees. It also includes arrival and departure transfers; buffet breakfast daily; city tour, including the Burj Khalifa; professional, English-speaking tour director; and accommodations at the deluxe, centrally located Fairmont Hotel. Several optional tours are also available.

This VIP giveaway takes you and a friend to Dubai to explore the unparalleled luxury, superb cuisine, and outstanding architecture that define this city. For all the details on where you’ll go and what you’ll see while in Dubai, be sure to read the detailed itinerary of the trip on our website.

And for more chances to win, be sure to keep your eyes on our Facebook page. We’ll be offering additional entries for participating in surveys, answering questions, and sharing posts. Good luck to all!

The 10 biggest factors that make Dubai the city of luxury

DUBAI: Luxury in the middle of the desert.

There is no shortage of superlatives that describe Dubai’s opulance. I went in to some of these in my blog post earlier today. But now, I wanted to drill into what makes Dubai a city unmatched in amenities and indulgence. Here are 10 of the biggest, boldest luxuries that capture the quintessential Dubai.

1. Burj Khalifa — This building stands as the world’s tallest skyscraper. Opened in 2010, it is home to the fabulous Armani Hotel, as well as residential and corporate suites. An outdoor observation deck is available so travelers can gaze at the wonders of Dubai from the 124th floor and view the city from the third-highest observation deck in the world. Outside, the Dubai Fountain is illuminated by 6,600 lights and 50 colored projectors — a true sight to be seen.

GREAT HEIGHTS: Take in the city from the world’s tallest skyscraper.

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Dazzling Dubai: A city of superlatives

CITY OF LUXURY: Dubai, one of the world's most extravagant citiesFifty or so years ago, no one would have believed that the most lavish, luxurious, futuristic city in the world would be built, practically from scratch, surrounded by desert. Yet, that describes Dubai’s amazing metamorphosis into what is today the epitome of opulence among cities in the world.

There’s no shortage of amazing architecture, superb cuisine, hotels featuring every amenity imaginable, shopping galore, and creative diversions to amuse even the most bored billionaire.

The royal builders of Dubai have spared no expense in making sure this city is unmatched in extravagance. In short, it’s a city of superlatives. In Dubai, you’ll find the biggest, the tallest, the most expensive, the most daring, and so on. Don’t believe it? Here are seven fitting adjectives that provide a glimpse of what Dubai has to offer to lucky visitors.

Fastest. Dubai has been called the fastest-growing city in the world, and it’s no wonder why. Less than 50 years ago, Dubai was a sleepy trading port that sprang up out of the Middle East desert sands. Today, it is bigger, grander, and more lavish than any other city in the world. (more…)

What to do if you’re scheduled to travel to Egypt

I told you earlier this week that all Friendly Planet Travel tours to Egypt are temporarily suspended until the situation in Egypt has been resolved and it’s once again safe to travel.

We’ve been working hard to create a number of options for travelers scheduled to travel to Cairo as an extension of another tour or who have booked a tour to Egypt.

For travelers on the Dazzling Dubai tour who opted for the Cairo extension, we’ve been notified by Emirates Airlines of the following options:

1. Travelers on our Dazzling Dubai and Cairo tour can replace the Cairo extension with Kenya or any other extension we can offer without any change fees.

2. At present, we have not concluded other extension possibilities, but we are working on several and will have some great suggestions shortly. Be patient with us while we work on this.

3. Anyone who prefers to cancel the whole trip at this time can do so. Presently, Emirates is waiving cancellation fees through Feb. 28. If the situation continues, they might continue to waive fees beyond Feb. 28. Friendly Planet Travel will not charge any cancellation fees for those who simply wish to cancel. Refunds in full will be granted.

If you’ve booked the Pyramids and Nile Cruise or the Pyramids and Petra tour, please consider the following options below. Once you decide how you’d like to proceed, contact us via e-mail. We need the change in travel plans in writing from you.

1. If you are traveling in February, March, or April and want to move from your scheduled Egypt tour to any other Friendly Planet tour that is available, let us know which tour you want to take. We’ll rebook you. If the tour you want shows “sold out,” please call us at 1-800-555-5765. We’ll make every effort to try and accommodate you, even at the last moment.

2. The amount you paid toward your Egypt tour will be transferred to your new tour. If the cost of the new tour is less, you’ll receive a refund for the overpayment. If the new tour is more, we’ll bill you for the difference.

3. If you are traveling in June or later and you wish to wait and see how the situation in Egypt evolves, you can do so without risk of losing your deposit by cancelling or changing destinations at a later time. Furthermore, your travel insurance is fully transferable to another tour, so you can move the coverage you purchased for the present tour to a future tour without any penalty or disruption in coverage.

4. If you want to cancel your tour, let us know. We will refund your deposits and payments in full. We regret not having you with us at this time, and we hope that you will decide to join us in the future.

If you have any concerns, call 1-800-555-5765 and ask to speak to one of our reservationists. I understand how upsetting it can be to know that the vacation you’ve waited for might have to be rescheduled or relocated somewhere new. But I promise that we will work our hardest to find you something that will be an extraordinary experience.

Bookmark our “protests in Egypt” tag to stay up to date on the latest news coming out of Egypt. I’ll continue to post updates on the blog, Facebook, and Twitter.

Safari in Kenya: A roaring good deal at just $1,899

It might have taken me thirty years in tourism to do it, but I’m ecstatic to report that I’ve created my dream travel deal. I’m going to say it’s a miracle of tourism packaging. And that’s saying a lot considering I’ve been to the ends of the earth and back (yes, including Antarctica).

For the first time ever, Friendly Planet is offering the eight-day Kenya Safari Express for only $1,899. There has never been a safari tour with so many included excursions or such superior accommodations for a price like this.

Typically, an exotic African safari comes with a hefty price tag. We’re talking $3,000 to $5,000 and right on up. But this unbelievable deal opens the door for more travelers to see majestic Africa’s sweeping vistas, teeming cities, and magnificent wildlife. The experiences we’ve packed into this tour will leave your head spinning.

During a day in Nairobi, you’ll reach out and touch elephants at the Daphne Sheldrick Elephant Orphans’ Nursery and feed giraffes from the palm of your hand.

At Lake Naivasha, home to over 400 species of birds, you’ll tour by boat while hippo, giraffe, buffulo, zebra, and waterbuck watch curiously from the shore.

The photogenic plains of the Masai Mara game reserve are like something out of a movie. During two action-packed days of game drives you’ll see Africa’s big five game: lions, African elephants, cape buffaloes, leopards, and black and white rhinoceroses. They’ll be so close you can leave the zoom lense at home.

And in true Friendly Planet tradition, you’ll have the chance to mingle with the locals. Spend an afternoon with the friendly, indigenous people in a Misaim village, and get a feel for life on the plain.

As always, the hotel and lodge accommodations are top notch, bringing a touch of luxury to the region’s natural beauty. I can say from experience that there’s no better way to relax after a day bumping over the landscape than lounging poolside with a cold drink.

Didn’t cross enough things off your bucket list during eight days in Kenya? An optional three-day extension to Dubai will take care of a few more. Experience the intersection of traditional Islamic culture and contemporary luxury in one of the world’s most talked about tourist destinations.

Stroll through the narrow lanes of the Bastakiya District marketplace, a relic of 900-year-old Dubai. Ride one of Burj Khalifa’s 57 elevators, the tallest building in the world, at 2,625 feet. Dine on an Arabian dhow cruise down Dubai Creek, once the hub of bustling pearling and fishing industries, and today, the best way to take in the twinkling city lights. At night, wine and dine at the luxurious Fairmont Hotel.

We couldn’t be more excited about this one. This tour is the perfect example of what Friendly Planet is here to do: offer incredible experiences at incredible value. If I’ve whet your appetite enough, find the full itinerary and all the details on our Kenya Safari Express, plus optional Dubai extension page on the Friendly Planet Travel website.

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About Peggy

Peggy Goldman is a specialty tour operator and travel expert, who owns and operates Friendly Planet Travel, a full-service company that specializes in tour packages to exotic worldwide destinations at affordable prices.   More about Peggy

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