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Archive for May, 2012

Grannies on Safari make their Friendly Planet Travel debut in Cuba

GRANNIES GO TO CUBA: Watch their adventures
in Havana and beyond

When we met the Grannies on Safari at The Philadelphia Inquirer Travel Show, we hit it off immediately. So even after the camera stopped rolling, the conversation kept going.

If you didn’t see our original post, Regina Fraser and Pat Johnson are two friends who travel the world together and film it for their PBS television series “Grannies on Safari.” They’ve turned their love of people, art, and travel into an Emmy® award winning TV series, sponsored by AARP.

In their interview with Friendly Planet Travel blogger Caitlin, Regina and Pat said that Cuba was on their short list for destinations to visit next. Well, it looks like the stars have aligned!

If you’ve been following the blog, you know that we’re one of seven tour operators nationwide offering ‘People-to-People’ tours to Cuba. Cuba was my #1 destination to visit in 2012, and I can’t say enough about this amazing destination.

It was perfect timing to learn that the Grannies wanted to go on a trip that only a few, including us, offered. So we’re sending the Grannies to see the culture and diversity of Cuba, all courtesy of Friendly Planet Travel.

The Grannies will be packing their bags and jet setting to Cuba on June 16. From there, they’ll be spending eight days getting to know the places and faces of Cuba. The People-to-People license that allows travel to Cuba requires that travelers partake in educational exchange activities. That means that Regina and Pat will spend time with local Cubans, learning all about their lives and sharing their experiences as devotees to culture.

They’ll be traveling on our Colors of Cuba tour, where they’ll see local Cuban schools, neighborhoods, and even visit an organic farm to lunch with local Cubans who benefit from the food grown there. We’ll be posting the details of their trip as the departure draws near!

The Grannies on Safari will be updating us on their experiences while in Cuba, so bookmark the ‘Grannies on Safari go to Cuba’ tag for the latest updates and keep your eyes on our blog to hear more about the wonderful destination of Cuba!

Grannies on Safari are traveling to Cuba on a trip sponsored by Friendly Planet Travel. The opinions expressed about their experience on the trip are their own. Friendly Planet Travel will publish their content unedited and in its entirety.

Friday’s Friendly Funny: The best travel T-shirt

Friday’s Friendly Funny by Dave Blazek is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 United States License.
Based on a work at blog.friendlyplanet.com.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at https://blog.friendlyplanet.com.

4 destinations to visit in summer 2012

It’s hard to believe that summer is right around the corner. With Memorial Day weekend fast approaching, I started thinking about the best summer destinations to visit in 2012. Here are my thoughts:

Kenya: See the abundance of spectacular wildlife and lavishly gorgeous, incredibly photogenic landscapesKenya. Although June through September is the rainy season, the great migration of animals that cross the Serengeti occurs during this time, making it well worth the trip. Travelers will be amazed to see the plethora of wildlife as the animals take part in their annual search for water and a mate. Think of it as the best safari ever, unfolding right before your eyes.


Ireland: Enjoy the emerald green countrysideIreland. Pleasant weather during the summer allows travelers to enjoy the lush, green scenery that this country is known for. The friendly, outgoing Irish people will make you feel right at home, and travelers will have more chances to take in all of the attractions, as they have the longest operating hours during the summer.


Greece: Explore the ancient secrets of the Greek islands and bask on the sun-splashed Mediterranean beachesGreek Islands. This summer is a great time to visit, as travelers can take advantage of the many bargains being offered to attract tourists. Although Greece is experiencing unrest and a problematic economy, the exquisiteness and charm of the most beautiful islands that exist anywhere in the world remains unchanged.


Italy: Experience the art, fashion, and music that flourish in the citiesItaly. Though a great year-round destination, some places are better visited in the summer. Tuscany is lavishly fertile, with vineyards and olive groves as far as the eye can see, delectably fresh food, and magnificently endless panoramas and rolling hills. Venice and Florence are also great to visit in the summer, thanks to many outdoor performances and festivals. The Amalfi Coast and Sorrento, aka the Sunbelt of Italy, is home to some of the most beautiful towns, dramatic coastlines, and stunning panoramas in Europe, and should not be missed. There’s also nothing like enjoying a summer evening outside at one of the countless restaurants with a delicious Italian meal, glass of wine, and good friends.


If you’re interested in booking a trip to one of these destinations, or would like to speak with a member of our reservations team about other fantastic summer getaways, you can reach us at 800-555-5765.

Where are you traveling this summer? Let me know your top choices in a comment!

Friday’s Friendly Funny: Lesser-known travel destinations

Friday’s Friendly Funny by Dave Blazek is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 United States License.
Based on a work at blog.friendlyplanet.com.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at https://blog.friendlyplanet.com.

Friday’s Friendly Funny: A dangerous photo opp

Friday’s Friendly Funny by Dave Blazek is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 United States License.
Based on a work at blog.friendlyplanet.com.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at https://blog.friendlyplanet.com.

Famous Philadelphia places and faces

Friendly Planet Travel blogger Caitlin previously quizzed Philadelphia Inquirer Travel Show attendees on their Philadelphia knowledge. I thought everyone did a really good job, but we decided to take it one step further.

It’s one thing to ask a question, but can travelers recognize the people and places that make Philadelphia famous just based on a photo? Could you tell the difference between Benjamin Franklin and William Penn? How about Harry Kalas and Bradley Cooper? We put attendees to the test, with the help of a trusty iPad, of course.

I even got in on the action and took the quiz myself. Check it out for yourself to see what picture everyone had the hardest time identifying!

Did you pass the test?

Friday’s Friendly Funny: A sign that it’s time to book another trip

Friday’s Friendly Funny by Dave Blazek is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 United States License.
Based on a work at blog.friendlyplanet.com.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at https://blog.friendlyplanet.com.

Aung San Suu Kyi makes change in Myanmar a reality

AUNG SAN SUU KYI: Making change
in Myanmar

I wrote about Aung San Suu Kyi and the progressive changes she’s making in Myanmar (also known as Burma) a little over two and a half months ago. During this time, considerable strides have been made towards democracy after decades of military rule.

This includes the election of Aung San Suu Kyi, the leader of the National League for Democracy opposition party in Myanmar, to parliament on April 1. While her party’s swearing in was delayed because of a dispute over the wording of the oath of office, a compromise was agreed to yesterday, and Aung San Suu Kyi was sworn in to Myanmar’s parliament today!

Aung San Suu Kyi has already been invited to Europe to attend meetings with high-ranking officials. She also plans to visit Norway to show her gratitude for being awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1991 for her peaceful struggle while on house arrest as a political prisoner for almost two decades.

It seems very fitting that this woman, who has been a symbol of freedom for so many people, will now have a chance to accept the Peace Prize in person! This will be the first time in 24 years that Suu Kyi will travel outside Myanmar, as she had previously feared that the military junta would refuse her entry back into the country.

I have been personally fascinated by this woman, who has been revered as a worldwide symbol of peace, along with such figures as Nelson Mandela and even Mahatma Gandhi. When Suu Kyi announced that tourism to Myanmar only supported the military junta — not the people — and therefore should not be encouraged, I listened. This was in spite of many requests from our clients who wanted to go there.

So you can imagine our excitement when Suu Kyi, in clear recognition of the loosening of the generals’ iron grip on the country, announced that the time was right to come and visit. We went right to work on our long-anticipated program. (more…)