What’s an Apple Vacations “Exclusive Vacation Flight”?

Written by Liz Bondelid, Apple Vacations E-Commerce

So, whats an Exclusive Vacation Flight?

Exclusive Vacation Flights are designed solely for you, the traveler. One of the reasons why Apple Vacations is America’s favorite vacation company is that we leverage our buying power and strong relationships with many major air carriers to offer the best prices and flight times to many sunny destinations. In fact, most of our flights can have you on the beach by lunchtime!

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The Destination Wedding “To-Do’s” Before the “I-Do’s”

Destination Wedding To-Do's

As told by Apple Vacations Destination Wedding Expert, Ashley Surkin

There are many emotions during the wedding planning process but more often than not, what you’re feeling is stress!

Remind yourself that the most important part of this is that you come out married to the love of your life. Everything else is fluff in comparison to that main goal. Here is a helpful timeline for tackling the daunting list of to-do’s before the I-do’s.

9 Months-to-a-Year Out

Create a solid guest list. Don’t forget to collect everyone’s addresses!

Research marriage requirements in the destination you chose to marry. Some countries require that you be there 48-72 hours prior to nuptials.

 Contact your favorite travel agent or click here (http://applev.ac/10m5jrs) to secure your wedding date with the resort and set up a room block for guests.

AVDW Tip: Create an Excel spreadsheet in order to keep track of your growing guest list and mailing addresses. This will also come in handy when you’re collecting RSVPs or sending out thank you notes.

4-9 Months Out

If you haven’t already, send your Save-the-Dates! The sooner the better so your guests can make their travel arrangements.

Obtain passports. They take about 4-6 weeks to process/renew.

Find your perfect sand/travel-friendly gown!

2-4 Months Out

Confirm any offsite excursions you may have planned.

Make/order favors and put together welcome bags for all of your guests.

AVDW Tip: Consider shipping favors and welcome bag items to the resort and assembling them the day you arrive. It’ll save you a lot of hassle while traveling.

1-2 Months Out 

Send out formal invitations 6-8 weeks before the big day. Be sure to include a schedule of group events and any other important information you feel that your guests may need to be aware of.

Finalize wedding details with your on-site wedding coordinator.

2-Weeks Out

If you’re planning a symbolic ceremony now is the time to apply for a marriage license. Depending on where you live there is usually a waiting period which could take anywhere from 24 hours to several weeks to receive your license.

Check with the resort that there will be a gown steamer or somewhere nearby that offers this service.

AVDW Tip: During travel your gown should be with you at all times and in a protective garment bag that you can either stow overhead or in the first class closet.

Once you arrive at your destination be sure to touch base with your coordinator and deliver the welcome bags. If you’re having a legal ceremony, satisfy all necessary requirements before the big day. Other than that, take this time to relax (just don’t forget sunscreen!). You made it!

Top 5 Travel Tips for traveling to Panama

As told by Ruth Daniels

I would consider myself a little bit of a “seasoned” traveler. I’ve been throughout the Caribbean Islands, to several vacation spots in Mexico, and the all over the U.S. So when I was thinking about going away, I definitely wanted to go somewhere different, somewhere a little more adventurous. My friends and I decided to go to Panama! I found that this booming Central American hotspot has much more going on than its namesake canal.


Photo Credit: Apple Vacations – The Westin Playa Bonita Panama


Here are my top 5 travel tips for going to this destination:

1.      Fly Non-Stop!

We left from DC where we flew out on Copa Airlines. It was a non-stop flight, which was really nice. They even had blankets and pillows and served meals on the plane! I can’t remember the last time I was on a flight that did that. It definitely added an unexpected touch of luxury.

2.      Private Transfers

For the convenience of Apple Vacations customers, all hotel bookings have private transfers included. Whether you are arriving at the airport or transferring between different hotels in our program, our local ground handler, Gamboa Tours, will provide a private air-conditioned transfer at a time requested by you. This makes booking a double (City & Beach) or triple center vacation (City, Rainforest & Beach) simpler and will ensure you get the most out of your vacation experience in Panama. It’s a really nice added touch, and one less thing to worry about while traveling.


Photo Credit: Apple Vacations – Trump Ocean Club Panama

3.      See everything! – Beach & City

We had heard through various contacts that the best way to experience Panama was to stay for a couple nights in the city, and then, spend a few nights at a beach hotel. The first 2 nights we spent at the Riu Panama Plaza. It’s in the financial district close to a lot of boutiques and shopping malls. I definitely came back with my bags a few pounds heavier! Our rooms were on the 17th floor and we had a breathtaking view of the city. From our hotel in Panama City we were less than 20 minutes from the Panama Canal and the Old City ruins. We went to Miraflores Locks and actually got to see a huge boat go through! It was neat to see the water levels change in the locks to get the boat through. The ruins were great too, because we got to see another historic side to Panama. Our last 2 nights were spent at the Sheraton Bijao where we spent some time on the gorgeous white sand beach and enjoyed the spa, bars and sun!


Photo Credit: Apple Vacations – Capuchin Monkey, Monkey Island Boat Tour

 4.      Monkeys!  (Technically, it’s the Monkey Island Boat Tour)

You can take a boat tour through secret waterways to find hidden islands where Capuchin monkeys and Howler monkeys can be seen leaping in the trees above! Occasionally, they become curious of visitors and venture down to take a closer look. This tour is roughly a ½ day and includes transportation, English-speaking guide and boat ride around the Gatun Lake.

 Last but not least…

 5.      The Panama Canal Tour

This tour begins at the Flamenco Resort and Marina. After a 45 minute motor coach ride to Gamboa, you will board a boat and enter the canal at Gaillard Cut, where the Chagres River flows into the canal. While traveling the Cut’s 8.5 miles, you will view the new Centennial Bridge. Next, enter Pedro Miguel Locks and then Miraflores Lake. Once in the Pacific Ocean, sail to the Flamenco Marina and disembark. On the way, pass under the Bridge of the Americas. Admire the Bay of Panama and Panama City’s splendorous skyline. The ½ day tour includes round-trip transportation, bilingual guide, Panama Canal transit with all fees, lunch on board, soft drinks and water. The full day tour includes in addition to the partial transit, you will enjoy a trip through Gatun Lake, which was formed by erecting the Gatun Dam across the Chagres River.

Now you can see why Panama is a top destination for adventurists, eco-tourists, history buffs, beach lovers, families and romantics.  What are you waiting for?!? Go find your paradise in Panama!


*Apple Vacations Representatives are provided by Gamboa Tours DMC, an independent destination management company operating in Panama and providing services to Apple Vacationers. All prices are per person in U.S. dollars. Prices and excursions subject to change without notice. Excursions operated by local independent suppliers. Some require physical activity. Please consider the nature of the excursion to ensure it is appropriate for your age and physical condition.



Sandos Cancun Luxury Resort – Perfect for a Destination Wedding.

Photo Credit: Sandos Cancun Luxury Resort – Destination Wedding in Gazebo

Sandos Cancun is a boutique resort just 10 minutes from the Cancun airport. Read my review. When I visited I immediately thought this is a perfect location for a destination wedding.


Photo Credit: Sandos Cancun Luxury Resort – Gazebo for Destination Wedding

Cancun itself is a great place for a destination wedding not only because of the beauty, charm and history, but there are so many accessible flights in and out of the U.S.  It makes it easy for your guests to travel.  The resort is just 10 minutes from the airport, making it easy for guests to come in for a short stay if needed.




Photo Credit: Sandos Cancun Luxury Resort – Destination Wedding on Beach at Sunset

It is a smaller resort, just over 200 rooms. A destination wedding in a smaller resort makes the experience more intimate. Even if you book a small amount of rooms, you still have a large share of the hotel.  If you book just 20 rooms  – that’s 10% of the hotel.  If you have a really large wedding party and group, you can even do a take – over of the hotel (book in advance!) They day I was there they were working on details for a bride who was doing a take – over of the hotel for her wedding.



Photo Credit: Sandos Cancun Luxury Resort – Congratulations on your nuptials!

There is perfect spa, for a little bachelorette time pre – wedding, and also a beauty salon on property, to get ready for the wedding.

There is a perfect gazebo to get married, really a unique and exquisite location. I thought this is ideal because you can get married at the beach, in a stunning gazebo, with a beautiful Caribbean blue ocean or sunset in the background without being actually on the sand.  Spectacular beach options and terrace options are also available for wedding ceremonies and receptions.


Photo Credit: Eileen Herncane – Bali Bed’s on Cancun Beach

There are many romantic spots at this resort for you to start your married life. Perfect “table for 2” at Seasons restaurant overlooking the Caribbean sea and private dining on the beach.  The food at this hotel spectacular and will not disappoint your wedding guests.  There are bali beds for 2 and swinging lounge beds that add to the romantic charm of the resort.




If you are planning a destination wedding, make sure you add Sandos Cancun Luxury Resort to the list of hotel to consider.




Showing off the Best Apple Advantages

I have to get this off my chest…Tuesday after a long weekend always feels like Monday! Between the gloomy weather and coming to terms that summer’s over, all I want to think about is my next vacation.  And I’ve got an idea! I’ve been listening to my sisters ask me “When are we going to take a Girls trip?” for months now. It’s time to show them all the relaxing amenities of an All-Inclusive Apple Vacation. Keep in mind, neither of them has actually been on an Apple Vacation yet, so I’m extra excited to be a guide for them. With all of these Apple Advantages, they are going to be really impressed!

Sanctuary Cap Cana - Dominican Republic


The Best Apple Advantages

  • Preferred Perks Plus – makes flying actually comfortable and I really like the non-stop transfers to your resort once you arrive.
  • Flowered Shirts – “A friendly face in a faraway place” is an understatement. You just have to spot the flowered shirts, a.k.a. Apple Reps, when you arrive and you’re all set for an easy drive to your resort. Here’s another little extra bonus, there are non-stop transfers with Preferred Perks Plus. Apple Rep’s are in every resort, so if you have questions about your departure or looking for fun things to do outside the resort, they’re the people to ask.
  • All-Inclusive – the best 2 words on any vacation. It’s definitely more relaxing when you’re lounging around the pool or on the beach and you’re not worrying about how much cash you have with you. Or when you’re going to a restaurant and there’s not bill to take care of at the end of your meal. It’s like a vacation for your wallet, and who doesn’t mind that?
  • AV-OK – Total Vacation Security Package. It’s necessary if you ask me, and completely worth it. If there’s a price drop in your vacation, you can get refund. If you need to cancel, for whatever reason, you can get a refund. If something happens in resort, you’re covered. AV-OK = Peace of Mind.
  • Last but not least, you’re in tropical paradise! All of the details I mentioned previously are wrapped up in a bow call an All-Inclusive Apple Vacation.  I think it’s a big relief for vacationers to really unwind and relax and not have to worry about organizing the small details that Apple Vacations has to offer. Vacationers can enjoy what they came to do – VACATION.

I’m sure my sisters will love their first Apple Vacation, and I’ll keep you posted how the trip turns out. In the meantime, while I’m stuck in my cubicle today, I’ll daydream about the beautiful beaches of Punta Cana or Mexico.


West Coast Mexico, Secrets Marquis Los Cabos




My first flight on Frontier Airlines!

My recent trip to Cancun, Mexico started off amazing thanks to Frontier Airlines. It was my first flight on Frontier and I just can’t wait to fly again!  There are so many great things to tell you.

Preferred Perks Check-In Here

Upon arriving to the airport, exactly 2 hours before myflight, there was a short line forregular check-in. Then I saw the Preferred Perks Pluscheck-in sign…with no line!  WithPreferred Perks Plus we were checked in and thru security in a matter of minutes.

A fun thing to note, especially for kids, is that Frontier Airlines has what they call “Animal Tales”, they are the “spokes-animals” that represent Frontier’s character, commitment to service and humor. Each airplane carries a unique “spokes-animal”.  My son was excited to get to the gate to see what animal we would have. As soon as we got to the gate we saw that Ozzy the Orca was taking us to Cancun!


Apple Vacations is pleased to announce our exclusive nonstop charter flights will be operated this winter by Frontier Airlines on their new, state-of-the-art Airbus A320 fleet!


We sat in row 2 and had more than ample leg room, I was pleasantly surprised. There were TV’s in every seat back and they distributed headphones. This was great because our portable DVD player was suddenly MIA as we were packing. And, we could each watch whatever shows we wanted since we each had our own TV.  On our flight there was a nice selection of movies, TV shows and I even watched a live tennis match from The Olympics.

When food and beverage service came around we handed in our cards and received a nice breakfast and drinks – all included with Preferred Perks Plus! This alone was worth the cost of Preferred Perks Plus.

It was really a great experience. Between the comfortable flight, nice meal, and tennis match – we landed in Cancun in what seemed to be no time at all.


Frontier Airlines - Meeting Captain



Destination Wedding Trends

Check out the latest scoop on what’s “in” when tying the knot away from home

as told by Danielle Laverty, Apple Vacations Destination Wedding Specialist

Skip the Cake

Tickle your guests’ taste buds with a non-traditional dessert after you say “I do.”  Incorporate a taste of local cuisine like Mexican wedding cookies, Caribbean rum cake, or Hawaii’s famous coconut-based gelatin dessert, Haupia.  Other fun cake-free options include a color-themed candy “bar” or decorative cupcake displays.  Consider featuring your favorite childhood sweet like cotton candy or salt-water taffy.  Think creative, different, and fun!


Culture-Inspired Customs

Personalization and customization are big trends popping up anywhere and everywhere in today’s society.  To make the most of your destination wedding, make it special and unique by adding a touch of cultural flare to your destination ceremony or reception.

Whether the custom is rooted within your destination’s culture or your own heritage and background, little details like a henna tattoo station (India) or jumping the broom ritual (Africa & Bahamas) are memorable ways to connect tradition with a non-traditional destination wedding couple.

Group Adventures

A popular addition to destination itineraries before and after saying “I do,” is offering guests the opportunity to tag along on some pre-arranged group activities.  Ever think you’d see your future-father-in-law swaying his hips during a hula lesson in Hawaii?  Or maybe you want to try a variety of spirits at a tequila tasting in Los Cabos, Mexico.  If you’re tying the knot in Jamaica, consider touring Nine Mile, the rural village where Bob Marley was born and raised.   Whether you arrange a beautiful sunset dinner cruise, take your friends and family on a kayaking or biking tour, try out some flippers on a fun snorkeling trip, or even a challenge the group to beach volleyball tournament, no matter what kind of activity you arrange, your friends and family will be buzzing about having a great time getting to know each other. Whether you can cover the costs for one activity or several, your guests are sure to appreciate a bit of the local culture.

Enjoy a “Robinson Crusoe” type day with AmstarDMC! Great for beginners and veterans alike. You’ll jump into warm Caribbean waters and swim with colorful tropical fish and amazing diversity of marine life as you marvel at the coral formations on the Great Mayan Reef – the second largest reef system in the world. Small launches take you just a short distance from the beach out to the reefs and return the snorkeling session, so you’re not on the water the entire day. 

Themed Wedding Favors

Saying “thank you” to traveling guests is important.  Individual wedding favors that tie into the theme of your destination are a huge hit. Destination couples are finding more and more locally-inspired ways to show their guests gratitude.  Luggage tags with handwritten notes are a great travel-related favors.  Local delicacies like individual rum cakes in the Caribbean, a bottle of locally produced wine, beer, or spirits, or hand-painted wooden maracas in Mexico all add a great touch.  If your destination wedding is takes place on the beach, there are many seashore-related items to think about.  Flip-flop shaped bottle openers, starfish ornaments, and seashell shaped bottle stoppers are cute ways to tie the whole experience together.