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Announcements

Monday, January 09, 2017

Our Picks for The Top Hotel Openings, Events, and Cruises in 2017

The January newsletter of ActiveTravels is always a fun issue to research, scouring the top travel trade and consumer publications for the most exciting news on resort openings and events. We go through at least 20 different publications and more than 1,000 press releases to find our Top 10 New Hotel Picks, 2017 Happenings Not to Miss, and What’s New in Cruising. We hope you enjoy our selections as much as we do. 

We’re off to Arizona today for a much-needed vacation with our son, Jake, back on January 18th. Wishing You a Happy, Healthy, and Active 2017.
 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 01/09/17 at 06:00 AM
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Friday, December 23, 2016

Sailing Vacations, Luxury South Africa, and Wellness Retreats in Our December Newsletter

To all our loyal members, we drink a toast to you this New Year! What a privilege to be trusted and allowed into your lives to help make memories for you and your loved ones. We do not take this lightly and we are so very thankful that you have signed up as ActiveTravels members. This month we are so excited as our valued clients travel to all these diverse locales: South Africa, Hawaii, Dominican Republic, Italy, Florida, California, Switzerland, Belize and France. More clients' travels for the coming year include Cuba, Iceland, Tanzania, Colombia, Costa Rica, India, Israel, Spain and much, much more. Our December newsletter awaits. We are reporting this month about the beauty and ease of sailing vacations, locales to witness the Northern Lights (2017 is reportedly the best year in a decade), the Royal Portfolio's exclusive South African circuit, and where to go if you need to recharge your body and mind during the coming year. 

Lisa and I wish you a Happy, Healthy and Prosperous New Year! See you in 2017! 


Posted by Steve Jermanok on 12/23/16 at 06:00 AM
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Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Give the Gift of Travel This Holiday Season and We’ll Donate to Ryan’s Well Foundation

On the last day of our recent safari in Botswana and Zambia, we visited the community of Nakatindi, not far from where we stayed in Livingstone, Zambia. We would learn that the villagers here once had to walk through a national park to get their water from the Zambezi River and were frequently attacked by wildlife. Thankfully a water pump was donated to the community and people can now get fresh water piped to their village directly. This was the impetus behind this year’s charity donation. 
 
If you purchase a membership to ActiveTravels, whether for yourself or someone else, we will donate half of the proceeds to Ryan’s Well Foundation. This charity brings clean water and supports sustainable water and sanitation projects to 16 countries around the globe. It was started by a first grader in 1997, named Ryan, who learned that people across the globe were getting sick or dying because they didn't have access to clean water. He and his parents decided to change that as best they could.
 
As an added gift to the buyer of the membership, we will be sending a children's book called The Water Princess written by Susan Verde and illustrated by one of my favorite illustrators, Dedham’s own Peter Reynolds, that tells the real-life story of an African girl’s quest for clean drinking water.
 
Have a Happy Thanksgiving and keep active! 
 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 11/23/16 at 06:00 AM
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Thursday, November 10, 2016

Cape Town, Hotels in Martinique, and The White Barn Inn in Our November Newsletter

As soon as you touch down in Cape Town and peer up at Table Mountain, more than likely shrouded in clouds, you know you're in for a treat. But it wasn't until we spent our first full day in the city that I truly felt fortunate to be in this thriving cultural mecca at the southernmost point of the African continent. Lisa and I took the sage advice of one of our clients, a South African art collector, and hired Stephen Long as our guide for the day. Stephen is well known in the Cape Town arts community (and to the shaman of the Eastern Cape) as one of the most renowned bead dealers in the region. He took us on a tour to see some of his favorite artisans in the city.

 
To read more about our recent trip to Cape Town, hotels we pick for our clients in Martinique, a Quick Escape to Kennebunkport, Maine, a good deal with Austin Adventures, and a tip on what to do with your extra foreign currency, please check out the November issue of the ActiveTravels newsletter. As always, we’re here to offer expert advice for all travel plans
 
We’re off to St. Lucia next week to check out two properties, BodyHoliday and Rendezvous, back November 21st. In the meantime, get outside and keep active! 
 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 11/10/16 at 05:30 PM
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Thursday, November 03, 2016

Montreal Celebrates 375th Anniversary With 175 Events in 2017

Canada will celebrate the 150th anniversary of the Confederation in 2017 so I’m sure to post many more blogs on the yearlong festivities. First up is Montreal, which is also celebrating its 375th anniversary next year. To commemorate the occasion, they are hosting over 175 events, including a nightly multi-media show set on the St. Lawrence this summer. If it’s anything like the multi-media event I witnessed in Quebec City to celebrate their 400th birthday, it will be one of the best events you’ll see in 2017. Other highlights include the mesmerizing “Walk of the Giants” from France’s Royal de Luxe street theater company, the premiere of a new opera based on Pink Floyd’s The Wall, and an exhibition at Montreal’s Museum of Contemporary Art inspired by the songwriting of Leonard Cohen. If you need a place to hang your hat, consider Hotel William Gray, a new luxury hotel that opened in July overlooking the Place Jacques-Cartier. 

 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 11/03/16 at 06:00 AM
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Friday, October 28, 2016

Botswana, Villas in Europe, and Family Trips to New York in October ActiveTravels Newsletter

There was a moment on our second day of safari in Botswana where our guide, Kebby, spotted a leopard. We drove up to a leafless tree where this exquisite animal was perched on a branch, looking intently at the impalas nibbling on grass in the distance. We all grabbed our cameras and binoculars to take in the spectacular sight. After 15 minutes, I was ready to move on, but our guide stayed put. Giraffes passed by, an elephant came close to the land cruiser, startled to find us there, and the leopard moved to another branch. At last, the leopard jumped off the tree and sauntered away in the tall grass.

 
We must have looked at him for at least an hour, a ridiculous amount of time for some one as impatient as me, always thinking of my next activity, deadline, or goal to achieve. But to truly be in the present, clearing your mind of all extraneous thought and worries and simply stare at a leopard, that is really a moment to savor. In fact, it's the essence of authentic travel. A chance to share a precious moment with loved ones far away from the seemingly endless responsibilities of modern-day lives. Afterwards, I thanked Kebby for staying with the leopard. He noted that it's often the time he’ll see a kill, when he stays with one predator like a leopard or lion for a long period of time.
 
Take time to pause in your travels this upcoming year, whether it's over a glass of wine at a vineyard, at the beach with a good thick book, in front of a wonderful work of art, or staring at a leopard in the bush. Be sure to build downtime into your itinerary and not just check off sight after sight. Travel is not a contest but necessary time to nurture an often weary body and soul. The vast wilderness of Botswana's Okavango Delta, our main feature in this month’s ActiveTravels newsletter, is the perfect place to replenish the well. We also discuss some alternatives to hotels in US and European cities as well as the Caribbean; an outfitter who specializes in grandparent's trips to New York; a Quick Escape to the home of Halloween, Salem; and a reminder to always check in before your next flight.
 
Enjoy reading and, as always, happy travels!
 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 10/28/16 at 06:00 AM
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Tuesday, October 25, 2016

ActiveTravels Featured in Sunday’s Boston Globe

Sunday was already a celebratory day for my family as we gathered in New York for our niece, Sarah Schechter’s first art opening. The exhibition is on view at the Greenpoint Reformed Church in Brooklyn, 136 Milton Street, through December. So if you’re in New York, please have a look at these skillfully rendered, vibrant and often whimsical sketches and paintings from her life. Adding to the excitement on Sunday was a Boston Globe story about the rise of the travel agent that included quotes from Lisa and me. We were interviewed for the story several months ago, before our trip to southern Africa, and forgot about it until seeing it on Sunday. It was a nice surprise. Paired with the wonderful story from Moira McCarthy on ActiveTravels in the Boston Herald earlier this summer, we feel incredibly fortunate to be recognized. It only helps to legitimize the company when people search for a travel agent in that great big space called Google. 

 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 10/25/16 at 06:00 AM
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Sunday, June 12, 2016

ActiveTravels Joins Forces with Northern Outdoors and Maine Huts & Trails

Those of you who have followed my travel writing career know that I return to Maine's North Woods as often as possible. All it takes is a 4-hour drive from Boston and I'm lost in a land of seemingly endless forest filled with mile-high mountains, immense lakes and too many ponds to count. The large swath of wilderness feels like a chunk of Alaska remarkably placed in our congested Northeast. I have paddled down the Allagash River, my tent almost trampled by moose in heat; white water rafted down the Class V rapid known as Cribworks on the Penboscot River; watched as a bear swam across remote Chesuncook Lake; relaxed under a waterfall on that signature canyon hike along the 100-Mile Wilderness Trail, Gulf Hagas; and mountain biked with Lisa last summer to all four newly built huts on the spectacular Maine Huts & Trails circuit. It has led to some of my favorite articles like this one for Sierra Magazine
 
Now I’m happy to report that ActiveTravels has joined forces with Northern Outdoors and Maine Huts & Trails to spread the word and encourage more people to follow in Thoreau’s footsteps. We have designed two itineraries, one for families, one for a guys or girls getaway to a sampling of the most stunning spots in Maine's North Woods. Price starts at an affordable $403 per person for a 4-night stay. Do yourself a favor this summer and sample this special slice of adventure in your own backyard!
 
Also in our June/July newsletter is a tour to savor the wines and food of Portugal, excellent resorts of St John in the US Virgin Islands, and great new inns to check out in Martha’s Vineyard. I’m currently on vacation in Jamaica to celebrate my daughter’s graduation from high school, then off to Indiana University for orientation. I’ll be back on June 27th, live on location from Cape Breton, Nova Scotia. In the meantime, happy travels and stay active! 
 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 06/12/16 at 06:00 AM
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Friday, June 03, 2016

Shameless Self-Promotion

If you follow us on Facebook or Twitter, I apologize in advance for tooting our horn yet again. Last week, the Boston Herald published a 2-page spread on the work we do at ActiveTravels. Yesterday, the interview I had with Onward Nation on the joys and struggles of owning a travel business went live on a podcast. Of course, I talked about shameless self-promotion. Please have a look and listen and tell us what you think. 
 
Enjoy the weekend! I’ll be back on Monday with Travel Outside the Box Week, 5 blogs on destinations you should put on your wish list. 
 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 06/03/16 at 06:00 AM
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Friday, May 27, 2016

Celebrating Our 4th Anniversary at ActiveTravels Thanks to You!

In 1990, I left my job as an insurance broker in Manhattan, booked an open-ended ticket to the South Pacific, New Zealand, and Australia, and wrote my first travel story, “Dining with the Descendants of Cannibals on a Fijian Island” for the Miami Herald. It would prove to be start of a career where I would write more than 1500 stories (over 300 articles for the Boston Globe alone) and visit over 90 countries. Then the recession hit. I lost more than half my editors in 2008-2009 as magazines folded and newspapers either eliminated or greatly reduced their travel sections. Wanting to utilize my travel expertise, I convinced Lisa to join me in a business venture and become an accredited travel agent. 

 
Close family and friends scoffed at the idea, as if I just announced that I was becoming a blacksmith. After all, wasn’t it President Obama who suggested in a town hall meeting that travel agents were becoming obsolete? How could they possibly prosper against big-pocket online travel agencies (OTAs) like Expedia, Priceline, Travelocity, and Orbitz? There was just no need for them anymore, or was there? Since we opened ActiveTravels 4 years ago this month, without benefit of advertising dollars or a marketing department, there has been a steady stream of traffic. In fact, we just hired another assistant, Jainy, so you might be hearing from her. 
 
We want to sincerely thank you for trusting us with your travels! Enjoy the long weekend! While relaxing on your chaise lounge chair, please check out our latest newsletter. We cover Alaskan cruises, divulge our favorite resorts in the Turks & Caicos, and introduce you to one of our beloved Italian outfitters. 
 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 05/27/16 at 06:00 AM
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about us
photo of Steve Jermanok
Longtime Boston Globe travel writer, Steve Jermanok, dishes out his favorite travel locales and provides topical travel information that comes across his desk.

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