Category Archives: Blog

International Biodiversity Day May 22, 2017

Monday, May 22nd will be proclaimed the International Day for Biodiversity (IDB)  by the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) at the United Nations.

We are excited to be helping our friends at the UN get the word out on this vital global event! Won’t you join us on this mission!
If yes, JOIN THE THUNDERCLAP!idb-2017-logo

In just under a week from today, the United Nations and its many global supporters, including thousands of bloggers such as ourselves will be celebrating the International Day for Biodiversity (IDB).

Inspired by the world community’s growing commitment to
sustainable development, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) established the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) in 1993 to support three main objectives:
1. The conservation of biological diversity|
2. The sustainable use of the components of biological diversity
3. The fair and equitable sharing of the benefits arising out of the utilization of genetic resources


Aruba has consistently done its part to further the global initiative to protect fragile ecosystems along with spear-heading many successful programs to increase sustainable tourism.arubaaward
As of March 2015, Aruba has been awarded the National Geographic World Legacy Award for “Destination Leadership”
by:
–making tourism more sustainable
–keeping the island environmentally friendly for local populations

Destination Leadership is defined as – Travel destinations that are exhibiting and excelling by instituting programs to assist the local environment, preserving the natural and cultural identity of the locale, making sure the domestic communities protected by these programs and allowing visitors to participate in local activities to enhance and educate increasing the understanding of the need for sustainability.

WINNER: Aruba, Caribbean

Destination Leadership is defined as – Travel destinations that are exhibiting and excelling by instituting programs to assist the local environment, preserving the natural and cultural identity of the locale, making sure the domestic communities protected by these programs and allowing visitors to participate in local activities to enhance and educate increasing the understanding of the need for sustainability.

Read About Aruba’s award-winning efforts:
http://www.arubatriptips.com/aruba-leader-in-green-tourism-sustainability/


From: Convention of Biological Diversity (IDB2017)
Press Brief: Travel Responsibly

Sustainable travel is about making simple choices to lessen your negative impact on a given destination. Individually, each one of these choices makes only a small difference. But collectively, these little things can have a huge impact. How we travel, what we carry, what we eat and drink, what we do at our destination, what we buy, and what we leave behind, can all change the impact we have. Respecting our world and all that makes us different and unique will enhance your travel experience.

To highlight what we all can do as individual travelers to preserve the integrity of our environment, the following list has been compiled from a range of sources, including the United Nations World Tourism Organization’s Global Code of Ethics for Tourism and is intended for use by the general public:

Respect wildlife and their natural habitats
12Observe wildlife quietly and from a distance so they are not scared or forced to flee. Do not disturb wildlife or plants for a “better look”. Never feed wildlife. Feeding animals makes them habituated to and reliant on humans, and often leads to attacks and possible death for the animal.

Respect indigenous peoples and local communities
Opening your mind to other cultures and traditions, and being respectful of diversity, can transform your travel experience. Learn as much as possible about your destination before you arrive even, and take time to understand the customs, norms and traditions. Remember to always be tolerant and respectful of local social and cultural traditions and practices. Avoid behaviour that could offend the local population. Any tourism activities should be conducted in harmony with the attributes and traditions of the host regions and countries and in respect for their laws, practices and customs.

Prevent the spread of disease
Before departure, check with health professionals about any vaccinations you may need in the country or countries you are visiting. Ensure that your vaccinations are up to date to prevent the risk of introducing new diseases to your destinations. Take precautions commensurate with the risks involved and consult medical advice as necessary.

Prevent spread of invasive alien species
As a traveler, whether you know it or not, you pick up a lot of “hitchhikers” along the way. These hitchhikers can come in many forms. Seeds, insect egg, and other living material can hitchhike on your shoes to new locations (both your destination and your home on your way back), where they might become invasive alien species. Invasive alien species often lead to the elimination of local species and is one of the most significant drivers of biodiversity loss. When natural habitats for wildlife are degraded and biodiversity is lost, crucial ecosystem services are compromised also for humans, most often affecting first the poor and the most vulnerable, women and children.

Be vigilant when making purchases
The purchases we make can have a profound impact on wildlife. Think twice before buying or consuming something made out of an exotic tree, plant or wild animal or rare rock or fossil. Some species, and products made with them, are because of their endangered nature, banned or restricted from being traded or imported/exported. Therefore travellers would be contributing to the demise of the species and breaking the law to buy them or travel with them. Other products and the materials they’re made with might also be using biodiversity/species in a non-sustainable manner (even if not endangered at the present) and travellers should encourage the sustainable use of biodiversity. If in doubt, consult credible sources like CITES (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) and WWF. WWF_25mm_no_tabGenerally refrain from buying products such as bags made from wild leather, carvings made from ivory, or mounted insects, shells or animals. Often sound alternatives are available, such as purchasing handicrafts made by local artisans where the profits go directly to local communities rather than poachers or unscrupulous traders. Safeguarding a country’s wildlife is the most sustainable way of securing the future for the people who depend on it for survival.

Bargaining and haggling: Colourful markets and bazaars are among the highlights of every journey. Haggling has to be learned, though. Do only haggle if you are really interested in buying something: Haggling is communication as well as game. Be fair. The more you smile while haggling, the more fun it will be. If you accept the first-mentioned price with a grim face, you will lose money and not be a partner for a fair and good trade. At oriental bazaars, a glass of tea is part of the ritual. Accepting it won’t oblige you to buy anything. If you don’t like haggling, you better buy in shops where there are fixed prices

Street hawkers: Tourism does not benefit everyone to the same degree. Locals who don’t have formal jobs in tourism might try to make a living by selling self-made jewellery or food. If a street hawker approaches you at the beach, bear in mind that he or she also tries to earn a living from tourism. Be respectful towards street hawkers at the beach. They try to earn a living for themselves and their families. Don’t react in an annoyed manner if their approach initially seems obtrusive. Many street hawkers are extremely poor. They often have clear minimum prices. Don’t haggle mercilessly for every cent!

Water is a precious resource. It is very scarce in many tourist destinations and should not be wasted mindlessly. Inquire about the water conditions in your destination and choose hotels, which adapt their water use to the environment. Spacious hotel complexes with park-like pastures that need constant watering have tremendous water consumption. Only take short showers when water is scarce. Turn the tap off while brushing your teeth and report dripping taps. Refuse to have towels and bed linen changed every day in order to save water and chemicals.

Energy: Use energy economically, especially in countries of the timthumb maxresdefaultGlobal South. Do you really need air conditioning? If not, leave this power-guzzler turned off – additionally, you will avoid catching a cold. This also applies to heating: Reducing the room temperature from for example 20 to 18 degrees Celsius helps to economise 3 to 5 percent energy. If wood is scarce in the region you visit, you should refrain from a campfire, even if you really love it. Leave this precious resource to the locals who often don’t have alternatives. Make sure that kerosine and not wood is used for cooking on mountain hikes.

Sports and other activities: Many adventure sports damage the environment. Climbing, mountainbiking, rafting and others sports should only be practised in areas designated for this purpose. Don’t leave any garbage behind and refrain from explorations with motorised means of transport – nature is best experienced on foot or by bicycle! Stay on marked trails, refrain from illegal camping and don’t lit a fire. Take particular care when smoking.

Crime: All around the globe – and especially in tourist destinations – there is criminality. The lack of prospect for many young people and malfunctioning legal systems are reasons for criminality. Be attentive and watchful. Keep your money and documents close to your body and put valuables in various pockets. You should not be afraid, as fear won’t help in any situation. Look up emergency numbers and English-speaking doctors before you start your journey.
In protected areas, access only the places open to visitors
The world’s national parks and nature reserves receive around eight billion visits every year, according to a recent study1. Increasing the number of visitors to protected areas can be an effective tool for conservation and community development, provided well-functioning management systems are in place. When travelling on foot, stay on established tracks whenever possible to minimise disturbance or damage to the soil and vegetated surfaces. Where a track does not exist, take the most direct route and avoid vegetation, fragile terrain and wildlife. Never touch or harass wild animals. Refrain from illegal camping and don’t light fires.

Be careful when diving near coral reefs
Coral reefs are very delicate and biodiverse ecosystems, and extremely endangered globally. Never touch them, step on them, or damage them by snorkeling or diving too close. Avoid using sunscreen if possible when diving near them. If you must use sunscreen, avoid sunscreens that contain oxybenzone, a common UV-filtering compound. Many commonly used sunscreens can both kill and cause DNA damage in coral. The best way to protect coral reefs when diving is to cover your skin with a long-sleeve shirt, rash guard and wet suit.

Sustainable travel tips

Do like the locals
If possible, choose locally owned lodges and hotels. Use local buses, car rental companies and airlines. Buy locally made handcrafts and products. Respect livelihoods of local vendors and artisans by paying a fair price (i.e. do not try to haggle prices down below a reasonable level). Eat in local restaurants, shop in local markets, and attend local festivals and events. If you have the means, hire local guides with in-depth knowledge of the area.

Choose nature-friendly accommodation
Ask hotels/lodges about their environmental policies. Do they have an environmental policy? Have they implemented energy and water saving measures – for example, spacious hotel complexes with park-like pastures that need constant watering have tremendous water consumption. Do they contribute to local conservation efforts and support local communities? Do they compost? Recycle? Reuse towels and bed linens for multiple days. Avoid using the hotel laundry if possible, as they typically wash each guest’s clothes separately

20140929_093859Conserve water and power
Take short showers (the average hotel guest uses over 300 litres of water per night/in a luxury hotel it is approximately 1800 litres). Globally, tourists consume three times the amount of freshwater contained in Lake Superior per year in freshwater, and use 80% of Japan’s primary energy supply. Therefore, turn off the taps while shaving and brushing your teeth, report dripping taps and turn off lights and heating or air conditioning when not in use. Reuse towels for multiple days.

Eat wisely
Choose wisely what you put on your plate. Try to choose locally sourced produce that is in season. Be aware that certain endangered species may be on the menu without your knowledge. Ask local conservation organizations for a list of what to look out for.

Avoid plastic
Reduce the use of single-use plastics at the individual level by using reusable shopping bags and water bottles. Do not use straws to drink. Buy sodas in glass bottles that can be recycled. Choose cosmetic and personal care products that don’t contain microplastics – as microplastics tend not to be filtered out during sewage treatment and are released directly into rivers, lakes and the ocean.

Don’t litter
Dispose waste responsibly. Carry back all non-biodegradable litter. If you’re camping, leave campsites litter-free before departing.

Slow travel
If you have the time, take the bus, train, or ship where you can. It is more environmentally friendly. Try to fly less frequently and stay in one place for a longer time. When you do need to fly, opt for non-stop flights rather than connections. Fewer flights mean fewer emissions.

Stay informed
Be informed as to what you as a traveler can do to ensure the best experience possible, for both you and for the environment:

UN World Tourism Organization – Global Code of Ethics for Tourism: http://ethics.unwto.org/en/content/global-code-ethics-tourism
UN World Tourism Organization – The Responsible Tourist and Traveler, a practical guide for travelers: http://ethics.unwto.org/sites/all/files/docpdf/responsibletouristbrochureen.pdf
UN World Tourism Organization – Tips for a responsible traveler: http://cf.cdn.unwto.org/sites/all/files/docpdf/tipsforresponsibletraveller25-01.pdf
Green Passport – UN Environment initiative helps travelers make tourism a sustainable activity: www.unep.fr/greenpassport/
Buyer Beware – Guide to souvenirs to avoid while traveling: http://assets.worldwildlife.org/publications/315/files/original/Buyer-Beware.pdf?1345686864&_ga=1.226170202.1531626328.1402066044
Tourism Review – News portal targeted at travel and tourism professionals:
www.tourism-review.com/
The International Ecotourism Society – Non-profit organization dedicated to promoting ecotourism: www.ecotourism.org/
The World Travel and Tourism Council – Brings together major players in the travel and tourism sector, enabling them to speak with one voice to governments and international bodies: www.wttc.org/tourism-for-tomorrow-awards/winners-and-finalists-2017/
Sustainable Travel International – Helps governments, companies, NGOs and local communities to use tourism to achieve the right balance between economic development, green growth, and protection of their natural and cultural assets: http://sustainabletravel.org/

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Honoring Aruba’s Women Entrepreneurs! Happy Business Women’s Day 2016

chryslerAs we find ourselves entertaining the real possibility of the U.S. electing its first woman President it is clear that women’s roles in business have finally reached a point very close to our dreams of equality. Women’s contributions in science, business, space exploration, and government , are undeniable with prominent roles open to women, in all aspects of our business lives. As my partner, also a woman business-owner, and I walked briskly down NYC streets yesterday on our way to a networking event I was struck by a thought. Aruba Trip Tips has had the good fortune to work with many talented female entrepreneurs and many businesses in Aruba are woman-owned.
This is clearly a trend in Aruba we’ve been observing more and more each year.
The women business owners in Aruba that we have met, share qualities evident in their success–having a vision, defining a need and having the courage to solve that need. At Aruba Trip Tips, our mutual goal has been to enhance the experience of travelers to the island through information and services that save time and increase your relaxation at the destination. This has been a joy and a journey and through this, we have found ourselves growing as well.
So, therefore….on today, September 22nd , we celebrate Business Women’s Day !

We can’t help but ackbusinesswoman-453487_640nowledge the wonderful, female entrepreneurs in Aruba whose contributions to the travel industry are undeniable. Their entrepreneurial spirit should be commended along with their commitment, professionalism, and sincere desire to help people. It has not only caught our attention but has allowed us to see that extra puzzle piece which lends to the Aruba Success story.

Aruba Trip Tips has been honored to work with two professional women in Aruba who while having very different businesses, offer valuable and well-needed services to vacationers. In the case of these business owners, they have made it their mission to the elevate your travel experience through their own global stories.
We wanted to learn more about these remarkable women and thought that it would be interesting to get insight into their backgrounds. As travelers, we interact with many different people often never really knowing who they are but are always grateful for their care and kindness.
That is why it gives us great pleasure to introduce to you:barbulet-concierge-logo

Freya Kraag,
from 
Barbulet Concierge
http://www.barbuletconcierge.com

and

lock-and-roll-aruba-logoLiliana Gracia,
from 
Lock n Roll Timeshare Storage http://www.locknrolltimesharestorage.com/site/

They were kind enough to generously share some of their story of inspiration with us.
Today, September 22nd , Business Woman’s Day, is the calendar date which Honors women in Business and allows us to share with the world the recognition they deserve.

Freya Kraag, Managing Director,
Barbulet Concierge

freya-barbulet-concierge1. Are you originally from Aruba? If not, where were you born and what motivated you to come to Aruba?

I’m originally born and raised in The Netherlands, but both of my parents were born in Indonesia. So I’m not the typical blonde Dutch girl;) I came to Aruba 10 years ago after I finished the Hotel Management School in Maastricht.  During my studies, I did an internship at the Westin Resort (currently Riu Antillas) on Aruba.
I had an amazing time and learned a lot about the Hospitality Industry. I never been to the Caribbean before and I fell in love with Aruba during my internship because of the weather, the people, the ambiance and all the other reasons why people come back to Aruba. Since I did the Hotel Management School there were also a lot of job opportunities for me on  Aruba. When I came back from my traineeship I said immediately ‘when I graduate I will come back to work and live on Aruba’. Soon after I was graduated there was a job market from Marriott Aruba in Amsterdam where I got hired as a Vacation Planner. I packed my suitcase and went December 2015 to Aruba and never left.

2. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

I explained already a bit how I ended up in Aruba, but I will tell you a bit more about my myself. I have an adorable son Xennon of almost 10 years old and live happily together for more than 5 years with my boyfriend. I love to play beach tennis, go out for dinner, watching movies and the beach. Furthermore, I’m a person that is very social, enthusiastic, organized, focused on her goals and always looking for new challenges.

I’m in the hospitality industry for approximately 10 years. After working for a year as a Vacation Planner at the Marriott I was promoted to Executive Admin Assistant of the Marriott Aruba Surf Club and after 4 years I became a Front Desk Manager. I also worked for a year as Front Office Manager at an upscale boutique hotel, the Bucuti & Tara Beach Resort and currently I work full-time as a Quality Assurance Manager at the Manchebo Beach Resort & Spa, one of the most popular low-rise hotels on the island.

3. Was it your intention to ultimately to go into business for yourself in Aruba? What inspired you?

It was not my intention to go into business for myself in Aruba.

I enjoyed working in the hospitality industry and it was in my first job as Concierge Agent that I realized how passionate I was about vacation planning and assisting guests making their vacation an unforgettable one. I turned my passion into a business and today assist visitors around the world with planning memorable vacation experiences in Aruba.

Personalized service and responsiveness are really important for me and those two things will differentiate Barbulet Concierge from other businesses.

4. As a woman business owner can you share with us some of the challenges you have faced? And what would be your recommendation for others who might be inspired by you and want to pursue a business in Aruba?

To be honest I didn’t encounter many challenges being a woman as a business owner. All my clients and partners do take my business seriously and treat me with respect.

I recommend for other women to just being yourself and don’t become the person other people would want you to be. Be confident in yourself and your business, don’t listen to other people’s opinions. In the end, it’s YOUR business and you make the decisions.

It’s also very important to start a business because you love what you do or have a passion for it and not just for the money or status.

If you still have a full-time job and your dream is to have your own business one day. Work on your plan in your free time, read articles, books and educate yourself. Take baby steps and set-up your company while having your job to have financial security until your business is making enough money to stop working.

Dream It, Wish it, Do it!!!

5. Would you say that your efforts as an entrepreneur have opened the door for other females in business in Aruba? And do you consider yourself a pioneer?

I do believe the doors were already open in Aruba. However, another female entrepreneur is always an extra stimulation for the community. Aruba is doing well with their successful female entrepreneur’s for example in Real Estate, Sales & Marketing Businesses, Event Planning, Magazines, and Clothing Stores etc. I also recently went to a ‘Woman in Leadership Conference’ which motivated female entrepreneurs and leaders.

I do consider myself a bit of a pioneer since Aruba didn’t have a professional Personal Concierge business. It’s kind of new here in Aruba and I see some similar businesses coming up, but no real competitors as yet. There is a great market for this type of business especially because staying at secondary accommodations (vacation homes, apartment complexes, Airbnb) is getting more popular.

6. What life lessons have you learned as an entrepreneur?

I have learned a lot as an entrepreneur since there are coming so many new things on your pad.
For example, you need to have a plan to start a business, but your plan doesn’t need to be perfect in order to start. Your plan will never be perfect, just start with the basics and along the way you can fine tune it. This is exactly what I did by starting with offering the basic services on my website and bit by bit I added new services. This worked out for me.
I had difficulties to ask for money or to put a price tag on some of my services, I needed to do some more research or ask other business owners for advice. I was not used to asking money in return for my services so this was really new for me. Sometimes my prices were too low or too high but along the way you will find a balance and you can see what you are worth.
You also need to have a lot of patience since your customers need to grow with time. Don’t give up to soon. If something is not working be creative to find other ways that will work.

7. The name of your company is called Barbulet Concierge. Does Barbulet mean something in another language and why did you name your company that?

Barbulet’ means, butterfly in Papiamento, which is the main language spoken on Aruba. Papiamento was recognized as an official language in May 2003 and is derived originally from Portuguese and African and has influences of Dutch, English, Spanish and Indian. The business name Barbulet Concierge Aruba came from my love for butterflies and their symbolism, I also have a tattoo of a butterfly. They are deep and powerful representations of life.

8. What are some of your services that you believe that your customers seem to enjoy the most and why?

We offer a wide variety of Concierge services; however, our most popular services are hiring a Personal Chef and the Grocery Delivery Service.
Customers like the idea of having dinner in the comfort of their rental villa with family and/or friends instead of going out for dinner; it’s a different and unique experience.
The grocery delivery service is used a lot as well. Customers are saving their precious vacation time on doing groceries. They rather go to the beach and enjoy the sun instead of going to the Supermarket.

9. Do you have any long term goals with Barbulet on the horizon or additional services you plan on offering in the near future?

Currently I still have a full-time job as Quality Assurance Manager at Manchebo Beach Resort & Spa, however, my goal is to focus full-time on Barbulet Concierge and having my own office where I can receive clients. I would like the company to grow and hire staff, being able to accept credit cards and that everybody on Aruba is familiar with Barbulet Concierge. I also would like to be more involved with large groups/events.
I’m always looking for new services that I can offer to Aruba visitors and keep my eyes open for the needs of clients.
I recently started to work with a proposal planner and a photographer which are also services I’m offering but are not listed on the website as yet.

10. What is one thing you would like to share with our audience that many people may not know that you feel that you would like to communicate to new time vacationers or return visitors?

I would like to share that we have now Live Chat on the website. Please feel free to contact me about your questions about Aruba. We are looking forward to assist you!

Liliana Gracia, Owner and Founder,
Lock N Roll Timeshare Storage

liliana-gracia3501. Are you originally from Aruba? If not, where were you born and what motivated you to come to Aruba?

No, I am not I was born in Colombia, we moved to Aruba back in 1983, my mother, my brother and me.

2. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

> Since I came very young to Aruba I went to Brown School, then to University from Aruba, I have two kids a boy and a girl, and I am a proud grandmother of also a boy and a girl. I live with my daughter and granddaughter, we love to eat out, I love to dance.

3. Was it your intention to ultimately to go into business for your self in Aruba? What inspired you?

Well it is not a secret that I was in the hotel industry for more than 30 years, 23 of them at Renaissance, I didn’t imagine waiting there for a pension plan or getting older doing the same, I always said 25 will be the max, I was thinking about this challenge for a while, and I also think that is never late to start a new adventure, after all, this is a great and new service for Aruba.

4. As a woman business owner can you share with us some of the challenges you have faced? And what would be your recommendation for others who might be inspired by you and want to pursue a business in Aruba?

Well at first people said, people as a tendency to be pessimistic and say that Aruba is not going through the best financial stage, stores closing, higher rents, low occupancy etc…. I recommend all women out there to go for your dream, don’t let anybody tell you that you can’t, is always worth it to give it a try, there is nothing to loose, is better than having the regret of what could a happen if.

5. Would you say that your efforts as an entrepreneur have opened the door for other females in business in Aruba? And do you consider yourself a pioneer?

Jajajaja no I don’t consider myself a pioneer, I think my girlfriends do admire my courage, I hope they see my success and they’ll be inspired by me, I know many women with great ideas, they just need to start and make it happen !!

6. What life lessons have you learned as an entrepreneur?
A lot omg, working for yourself can be even harder at times, you are always busy thinking and planning , it’s responsibility , but all at your own time!

7. The name of your company is called Lock N Roll Timeshare Storage. Why did you specifically name your company that name?

I think it’s catchy, it’s like we lock your items and you roll safely home! Something like that, also that’s why the Aruba lock.

8. What are some of your services that you believe that your customers seem to enjoy the most and why?

The bin definitely, the facility of not having to take back all their stuff and the peace of mind that their things are safe and well stored. I am also starting with beach gear rental, chairs, umbrellas, ice jugs based on my own customer’s requests actually–they seem to like the freedom of borrowing/renting  and not buying.

9. Do you have any long-term goals on the horizon for Lock N Roll Timeshare Storage or additional services you plan on offering in the near future?

Well only God knows perhaps other islands, we can always change the Aruba flag lock to Curaçao or Bonaire flag!  For now, I will keep it to bins storage and the beach gear rental, but we are thinking about some others ideas but nothing concrete yet.

10. What is one thing you would like to share with our audience that many people may not know that you feel that you would like to communicate to new time vacationers or return visitors?

I wish everybody to know that I am here ! That Aruba has this service,that you don’t need to feel away from home while vacationing , that you can bring all those special items and make yourself as comfortable as you can be, that you can also explore our island taking our items around for your comfort and enjoyment.
organizer-791939_640

In celebration of this day, both Aruba Trip Tips is honored to share with our readers a unique interview with both these courageous ladies. I would encourage everyone to click on their links above to learn more about who they are and the services they provide…that one click may be your one step to planning your next trip to paradise.

Concept/Writing/Research: Bill M. and Christina C.



Labor Day Travel Gear Picks 2016

Greetings to all our readers and yes the flight of time, our most valuable asset, has brought us to the Second Annual Travel Product Review for 2016! We generally choose to release our review just before Labor Day—why? We don’t know why!….well maybe it ‘s that with Summer winding down in the Northeast U.S. where we live, we are searching for a reason the get psyched about the next 7-8 months of cold temps on their way…..”Winter Is Coming”… Fly South my friends, Fly South! My more pragmatic partner would say it’s the Travel Gear primer to the high season in the Caribbean which is just around the corner. Either way, we hope you find it helpful—we’ve put these products through their paces and want to share with you what we’ve found. And with Hurricane Hermine looming on our doorsteps hence we unveil our “Second Annual Travel Gear Picks for 2016”.

travel-gear-picks-2016

1)  Vizers $19.99
How do you improve on the most basic of sun products—THE VISOR? Well the guys at “Vizers” have figured it out…one of the things fairly evident when using a cloth visor at the beach is that after a few uses it starts to grow a coral reef…lol! Seriously it gets damp and stained with salt & sweat & sea water and starts to loose some of its freshness and shape. The designers at Vizers have taken all that into consideration and created a lightweight foam visor that is comfortable, colorful, durable….it FLOATS! And best of all is easily washed with a bit of soap & water. What’s also exciting they’ve created a line of Vizers specifically being sold with Aruba emblems at all the “I Love Aruba” Stores.  Josh sent us his “ARUBA” designed Vizers and we’re sure you’ll agree they are adorable and practical, great for the Aruban “outback”!
One more sweet feature is you can customize your Vizers with “TOUTS” which are charms to embellish and represent your favorite sport from dive flag to Martini glass…
http://vizers.com/touts/
We feel it a great upgrade on a beach essential. Pack wells too! Adjustable for sizes from kids to XXL guys—hubby loves it!

Available on Vizers.com

2) Boyd’s Cosmetic Brush Travel Set $30.00
You’re going on vacation and while you can’t bring all your worldly possessions you don’t have deny yourself the basics if you have the right compact gear. From our friends at Boyd’s on Fifth Avenue in NYC we were able to test out their Renoir brand signature 7Pc. Sable makeup Brush set. The set is built for travel in a black PVC pouch with snap and holds 7 mini makeup brushes of the highest quality. Packs nice & flat with an extra pocket. What we like best is the fact that the sable brushes are luxuriously soft and do not loose bristles when used. A real winner from Renior by Boyd’s–a signature line from an NYC Cosmetic company for nearly 60 years.

Available at Boyds.com

3) Dynotag® Web/GPS Enabled QR charm Bracelet $24.95
My partner and I were having a conversation and he wondered if the QR code technology could be used in some way to store personal or medical information in a bracelet when you travel. Lo! and behold we found the DYNOTAG QR Smart Tag bracelets. They are called “passive response” and the way they work is you create a profile at their website adding medical info or ID info and just wear the bracelet. Should first responders need to assist you they scan the tag with the many scanner apps that are out there and pull up your profile on their phone.
Really cool is that they make the bracelet in a waterproof model with really cute tropical beach charms—so you disguise the ID bracelet as regular costume jewelry. Ingenious, my dear Watson!
Also shown is the orange web bracelet if charm bracelets are not for you. Dynotags are available for luggage, pets….and even kids! Cool uses for technology in travel.

Available at Amazon.com

4) SQUEEZE POD! – on-the-go natural toiletries $19.99
We love the name for this simple but handy little product that has so many applications—literally & figuratively…SQUEEZE POD! It’s a very neat, pre-loaded toiletry bag so it’s perfect for grab-n-go last minute travel. The clear toiletry bag comes pre-filled with individual, leak-proof, single-use toiletry pods which are both hassle-free and TSA compliant. Included are 2each: shampoo, conditioner, and body wash. Also 3 of each: facial cleanser, shave cream, moisturizing lotion, hand purifier, hair gel, & odor eliminator.
No time to fill up little travel bottles before the flight? Not prob just “SNAP. SQUEEZE.GO”
While I’m a bit of a tyrant with only using my hair products I would gladly use the body wash, hand purifier, and moisturizing lotion. Hubby will use the rest which includes shave cream.
Great item for camping, caravans and boats where storage space is at a premium! We like!
Available at 
Amazon.com

5) Mosquito Repellents – the new necessity in travel!
Not gonna sugar-coat this but not an expert  on mosquito vectors either. As a kid, I remember spending late summer evenings playing Frisbee on the streets until midnight and realizing when I got home I had been a bug feast—bit up in 10-12 spots. Besides the endless itching & basting in calamine lotion, it was a harmless rite of summer and nothing to worry about.
This year things are more real and precaution isn’t a bad idea—this opine from the Frisbee free-spirit…we had some criteria in our search for the best organic mosquito products on the market!
1) the product must be organic and deet-free 2) travel well in a small bottle meeting TSA regs. And lastly 3) smell great!
We found two lovely products that make us feel good about applying essential oils to our skin and not harsh chemicals…..We liked Amrita Aromatherapy Lemon Eucalyptus Bugs Be Gone as it is safe for children & babies and field-tested in 4 oz. bottle. It repels mosquitoes, fleas, ticks & chiggers. Available on Amazon.com for $10.13

Whole Clarity states their mission is to “Raise the Vibration of the Planet through excellent health and wellness and mindful living.” such a beautiful idea, in its simplicity. The packaging is a clean design and states it repels mosquitoes, flies, gnats, and ticks. The bottle is 3.3 oz and we can’t stop enjoying the scent.
Available on Amazon.com for $14.97 or at wholeclarity.com (love their website!)
Better to be prepared from home as you may find repellent quite expensive to purchase when traveling. As a final thought…oils of lemon/eucalyptus are recommended as a repellent by the CDC http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/page/avoid-bug-bites

6) Bags for Travel Storage Within Luggage

Alku Travel Genuine Nylon Shoe Bags –$14.99
I’ve put them in supermarket bags, pillowcases and purses always wishing someone would design the right bag to store shoes in my luggage. The nylon shoe bags from Alku Travel are sturdy and elegant with space for up to 3 pairs of shoes in each bag. The floral logo adds an air of richness and flair to the bags. The product come with 3 drawstring stopper bags and I can think of many additional travel uses—laundry, toys , souvenirs…..basically, anything you’d like to separate and protect in your luggage.

Available at Amazon.com

UU Family Toiletry Bag Makeup Pouch – $6.50
This toiletry/cosmetic bag has 3 fab qualities!
1) It’s clear, so it’s TSA friendly….no unpacking, just pull out from your luggage 2) Cute, shiny patent blue leather-like trim is very stylish and VEGAN! and 3) It has a nice larger capacity, more than your average makeup case as we were able to fit quite a few extra items in the bag. It’s a great little bag! and also available on Amazon Prime. Lastly, we spoke with the owners who are the sweetest folks!

Available at Amazon.com

Disclosure: Some of these products were received as samples in exchange for an honest, unbiased, review. The reviews and or opinions on this blog are 100% my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commissions 16 CFR Part 255: Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsement and Testimonials in Advertising.

Product Reviews by Christina Canzoneri



Island Report: News, events, and happenings around Aruba…

Island Report: News, events, and happenings around Aruba…
By Sue Campbell for Nights Publications

Beach tennis at Red Sail Sports

Beach Tennis at Red Sail Sports
Courtesy of Red Sail Sports

This island is burning up with beach tennis fever and now you, too, can learn to play Aruba’s most unique game at Red Sail Sports Beach Tennis Club.They have their own courts and you can either just come out to play, take private lessons, or join or organize group clinics with professional instructors. They even have a beach tennis shop where you’ll find the best gear and sportswear. Look for them on Palm Beach between the Marriott Surf Club and the Holiday Inn. www.aruba-redsail.com

A jolly way to protect the reefs

Marine Park Foundation Bracelets Aruba
100% of the proceeds go to the Aruba Marine Park Foundation – Photo Courtesy of Jolly Pirates

Jolly Pirates, one of the island’s premier sail and snorkel operators, has implemented a unique program to help preserve Aruba’s marine treasures. When you buy a cheery trio of bracelets at their souvenir shop on MooMba Beach, 100% of the proceeds go to the Aruba Marine Park Foundation, which is charged with heading up the island’s im­portant reef protection and preservations programs. The bracelets make great keep­sakes of this happy island and are a great way for you to give back while enjoying Aruba’s pristine waters. For more details visit www.facebook.com/ArubaMarinePark.

Adopt an island pet

Animal Rights Aruba (ARA) online at www.animalrightsaruba.org and the Animal Relief Foundation Aruba (ARF) at www.arf-aruba.com
Animal rights foundations and
shelters in Aruba.

The island’s animal rights foundations and shelters are always seeking homes for their charges, and they make it easier than you think to take a furry new friend home with you. Another helpful option is to act as a chaperone for a dog or cat heading to a new stateside home. To view the hundreds of heartwarming success stories about island pet adoption and find out more, visit Animal Rights Aruba (ARA) online at www.animalrightsaruba.org and the Animal Relief Foundation Aruba (ARF) at www.arf-aruba.com.

Local dance troupe delights

Dance Troupe - Popcorn Club Aruba
Courtesy of Popcorn Club Aruba

Seek out the dynamite dance troupe Popcorn Club Aruba as they entertain with explosive dance shows featuring local, international folklore, street, carnival, Latin, and contemporary styles. Tyrone Olainka Chirino’s Michael Jackson-style solo is unreal! The troupe really is “a pleasure for your eyes, ears, heart & soul.” Established in 1989, they have always strongly encouraged Aruba’s youth to express themselves through creative pastimes. Catch them at their regular shows at Tamarijn Aruba on Monday night on the pool deck. Visit the Popcorn Club & Dancers Aruba on Facebook.

San Nicolas news

Carubbian Festival - San Nicolas
Photo Courtesy of Luis Mejia.

The “Sunrise City” has been getting all kinds of upgrades this past year: the new Carnival Village is now open and the new Carnival & Festival Museum and its workshop are well underway. Baby Beach has also been given a facelift with beautiful landscaping and new food and beverage services. The brand-new Joe Laveist Sport Park is another beauty and the perfect spot to catch the local talent. And don’t forget to head out to San Nicolas on Thursday nights for carnival in the streets with the Carubbian Festival.

Eco-chic for a cause

Eco-chic Jewelry by Enamora Treasures
Photo courtesy of Enamora

Enamora supports families in Ecuador in economic difficulty by helping talented local crafters to sell their beautiful handmade eco-chic jewelry and accessories to the world through their online portal. The artisans are especially grateful that Aruba has shown such support for this worthwhile cottage industry, and you can help, too. Some of their unique treasures can be seen at The Dutch Pancakehouse showcase, or you can make an appointment to see them. You can also order online anytime by visiting their website at www.enamoratreasures.com.

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Aruba Trip Tips 2nd Anniversary Giveaway

We can hardly believe it! Aruba Trip Tips is turning two years old on June 25th.
In celebration of this special milestone we are having an Anniversary Giveaway.
Some cute Aruba/Beach prizes to thank you, our friends!

Here are our Anniversary Giveaway Contest Winners!

aruba-triptips-second-anniversary250winners

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Aruba: Leader in Green Tourism & Sustainability

Is it enough to just be a tourist when you’re on vacation?

Of course you work tirelessly and finally you’ll be going on that hard won and much deserved break.
Should you be concerned with what’s being done to sustain the natural environment at the destination you’ll be visiting?

If that destination is Aruba, you’ll be impressed how seriously its stewards are taking the idea of sustainability in the Caribbean and protecting the fragile ecosystem. They are clearly leaders in the region, envisioning an island paradise protected in our lifetime and many decades to come.

As of March 2015, Aruba has been awarded the National Geographic World Legacy Award for “Destination Leadership”arubaaward
by:
–making tourism more sustainable
–keeping the island environmentally friendly for local populations

Destination Leadership is defined as – Travel destinations that are exhibiting and excelling by instituting programs to assist the local environment, preserving the natural and cultural identity of the locale, making sure the domestic communities protected by these programs and allowing visitors to participate in local activities to enhance and educate increasing the understanding of the need for sustainability.

WINNER: Aruba, Caribbean

What does this actually mean?…Aruba’s government has added wind farms on the island utilizing those friendly tradewinds to their advantage.

The Queen Beatrix Airport has added a solar park to it’s property providing energy for up to 1500 homes. This is the largest solar park in all of the Caribbean with over 14,000 panels. Also a waste-to-energy plant has been implemented which turns rubbish into power.

See more at: http://www.traveldailynews.com/news/article/65047/national-geographic-and-itb-berlin#sthash.eut4vWLF.dpuf

Much of the groundwork for today’s success was laid in 2012 when Virgin CEO, Richard Branson & the government of Aruba in the partnership with the Carbon War Room (CWR) created an initiative to move the island to a state of 100% renewable energy by 2020.

Some of the latest steps taken to reach this goal are seen in the new Trolley System introduced to Oranjestad in 2014. Powered by the world’s first public hydrogen fuel cell system and even more impressive it’s free and fast arriving every 12 minutes.

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#TRAVEX Chat

foodhotspots
May 6, 2015: Great topic to speak on. We were all so animated and fun. Who doesn’t love food ?! Pizza came up more than a few times…
voluntourism
April 29,2015: What can you do as a responsible traveler to reduce your impact on the residents of your destination and on the planet as a whole? Let’s think about it together.
picnic
April 22,2015: Hooray! Picnic weather is here again. What’s your fav part –the food planning, the alfresco dining, the scenic location? We love it all!
fancations
Part 2 of 2
fancations2
April 8, 2015: Pilgramage!…..what would go to the ends of the Earth to see? Your favorite sports team, film festival buff or Otaku anime con-goers? Let’s talk!
travelcamera
April 1, 2015: April Fools Day! Travel without photography is like it never happened.
musicfestivals
March 25,2015: Festivus for the rest of us! Bring out the primitive, undulating beats, undulating bodies in the heat….. so many festivals, so little time.
adventuretravel
March 18, 2015: Ziplining over the Yucatan jungle. Fly like an eagle!
weekendtravel
March 11,2015: Cut loose, Hit the highway, Runaway for the weekend. Did you know doctors say we need 6 mini-vacays a year to stay healthy!
solotravel
March 4,2015: Solo travel can challenge us and bring out the best side of ourselves. At least once you should travel solo, you may surprise yourself!
layover
February 24,2015: Ugh! The Layover…..nuff said
exoticbeaches
February 18,2015: Beaches! We got this…..Aruba, host to some of the most beautiful beaches in the world. Baby Beach voted Top 10 by USA Today.
travex_skiing_21115
February 11,2015: So excited to speak about my skiing adventures from seeing God on Trifji in Zermatt, Switzerland. And running into Richard Branson the whole trip—we are convinced he was stalking us…of course my computer froze—fitting 🙁
marathons
February 4,2015: Fitness–so important for a quality life. We all have different ways to get fit. I’m not a runner but can admire dedication & discipline. Some of our chatters run Marathons–impressed!
forbiddentravel
January 28,2015: Captain’s Log…..no seriously. We spoke about extreme travel today. War zones, inaccessible locales and everyone had some incredible tales to tell.
travex_traveltechnology
January 21, 2015: We had a lot of fun today talking about our favorite travel apps and devices. We even enjoyed daydreaming about what travel will be like in 100 Years. My guess is by then we will have created a civilian colony on Mars and it will be 2115’s Hot Destinations. Now about that transporter….
TravexHotDestinations
January 15, 2015: We continued to enjoy discussions about all that might be popular and possible in the new year. 2015 promises many new horizons.
nyrez
January 6, 2015: Our first #TRAVEX chat as co-hosts in2015! We decided to add the visual in hopes to get everyone excited about #TRAVEX.

December 17, 2014: Our first #TRAVEX chat as co-hosts. We we’re thrilled at the opportunity and a bit nervous too…..but it rocked!