From January 17-19, 2020, we hosted our 30th Annual Cruise Expo! What is Cruise Expo? It is an annual 3-day travel show hosted by Brentwood Travel at West County Center in St. Louis, Missouri. Representatives from cruise lines and land tour operators come to showcase their products and our team of travel consultants are available for people to book their dream vacations right at the show!
Representatives from the following 21 cruise lines and tour operators joined us to celebrate Cruise Expo:
American Queen Steamboat Company
Carnival Cruise Line
Holland America Line
Norwegian Cruise Line
Regent Seven Seas Cruises
Uniworld Boutique River Cruises
Victory Cruise Lines
The weekend was full of fun and excitement for travel! There were so many familiar faces as well as new connections made over the three-day show. The show was such a success and we cannot wait for next year! If you came out to Cruise Expo, THANK YOU for joining us and we hope you have an amazing upcoming travel plans. If you didn't make it to Cruise Expo this year, we would love to see you next year.
Check out some photos from Cruise Expo!
So what exactly is it?
The Three Pillars of Sustainability (via Landlopers)
Socio-cultural Sustainability: When an area starts being visited by tourists, there are bound to be some social and cultural impacts of those tourists on the host community. Locals may see increased congestion and overcrowding in towns and cities, perhaps an increase in crime, the introduction of new languages and values, and perhaps even an influx of migrant workers to be employed in the tourist industry. Socio-cultural sustainability, then, means minimizing these negative impacts and focusing on more positive ones, such as promoting cultural exchange and preserving local traditions. This can usually be achieved by getting the locals involved in the tourism industry. Having the community involved will not only offer visitors a more genuine experience, but the locals will be more likely to see tourism in a positive light because they will be proud of it.
Economic Sustainability: The last pillar of sustainability revolves around perhaps the most important part – the money. Many people don’t take into account economics when thinking about sustainability, but it’s really the key to making a tourism venture sustainable. Economic sustainability means building linkages and reducing leakages – essentially, keeping the money local. A hotel or company owned and operated by a foreigner is not likely to contribute much to the local economy – the money will likely leak overseas instead. This is not sustainable. Not only should the community be involved in tourism, but they should also all share in the financial benefits gleaned from it.
Ensemble's Sustainability Efforts
We are looking forward this partnership, as well as eagerly awaiting even more sustainable travel initiatives.
Things You Can Do to Become a More Sustainable Traveler
(via National Geographic)
Become part of the emerging “slow travel” trend by going to fewer places and spending more time in each. Train travel is a good way to do this. Not only will you experience a deeper sense of place, you’ll also decrease your carbon footprint. Some of my favorite travel-by-train destinations include India, Southeast Asia, East Africa, and China.
Give, the right way
Many well-intentioned travelers bring sweets, used clothing, books, and pencils to hand out to children and villagers in developing nations. Sadly, this kind giving often has unintended consequences—it can sow community conflict and encourage a culture of dependency and begging. I watched two Maasai women in Africa fight over a T-shirt that a smiling tourist had handed out; in some parts of Asia, the first English words children learn are “Give me sweet.” It is better to give—be it money or goods—to reputable local organizations that work on social welfare programs, or to international groups that partner with them. A good one is Pack for a Purpose.
Say no to plastic
The Great Pacific Garbage Patch, a swirling mass of human trash stretching across thousands of miles of the ocean, includes gazillions of throw-away plastic bottles and bags that will take hundreds of years, if ever, to break down—all the while wreaking havoc on marine ecosystems. Be a part of the solution by opting for locally purified water in recyclable glass bottles (in the tropics, I rely mainly on green coconuts to stay hydrated) and carrying tote bags in your luggage that you can use while perusing street markets and shops. Not only will this cut back on plastic waste, it will also reduce your carbon footprint–petroleum-based ingredients are a staple in manufacturing plastic bottles and bags.
Research your tour operators
I explore on my own most of the time when I travel, but when I do seek out the services of a tour outfitter, I always ask three questions before signing on: What are some of your tour company’s environmentally friendly practices? Can you give me an example of how your trips help to protect and support wildlife or cultural heritage? Do you employ local guides on your trips?
Support the real local economy
Locally made crafts and souvenirs are not always cheaper, but purchasing them ensures your contribution to the economy will have a more direct and positive impact. In Cancun, for example, some gift shops sell “traditional” Mexican sombreros that are imported from China because they cost less, while village artisans who make the hats by hand charge more. The difference is not just in the price. Buying the real sombreros supports authentic cultural heritage and provides needed jobs for the locals who make them.
Never buy wildlife products—period
On a trip to Vietnam’s Halong Bay, I watched a group of American tourists haggling with villagers who were selling some of the most beautiful sea shells I have come across in my travels. Similarly, in Mongolia, I witnessed a couple of backpackers haggling at an outdoor market to buy a hand-stitched eagle hunter’s hat made from plush wolf fur. These travelers were inadvertently helping to support a growing marketplace for trafficking rare and endangered wildlife products as souvenirs. Just say no.
This up-and-coming city is the perfect spot for your spring break. If you're lucky, your trip might line up with the city's iconic South by Southwest festival (March 13–22, 2020). Support local filmmakers, actors, musicians and comedians as you explore everything this festival has to offer. Austin is also a great spot for foodies with hundreds of amazing restaurants! If you want to explore the entire city, try a bike or segway tour to soak in all the sites. Make sure you get a picture at the "Greetings from Austin" mural while you're there!
Are you looking for a unique opportunity to volunteer for your spring break? Head down to the Florida Keys to help nesting sea turtles in the area. March is the beginning of Florida’s sea turtle nesting season, so spring break is a great time to help! There are many organizations in the area that can benefit from volunteers. You can learn about sea turtles or even participate in a local beach cleanup!
Calling all U.S. history buffs! Washington D.C. is the perfect destination for historical tours and museum visits. This city is great for all ages! There are so many free attractions and things to do in this city, such as museums and memorials, but the fun doesn't top there. If you are looking for an adventure, kayak or paddle board on the Potomac River. Soak in the history that surrounds you with a trolley or duck tour. See the latest World Series champions play at a Nationals baseball game. Or relax with cocktails during happy hour at a rooftop bar.
If you're looking to visit the west coast this spring, Seattle should be at the top of your list! You can get a big city experience and a relaxing getaway to connect with nature all in one. You should definitely go on a whale watching tour to see gray whales migrate into Possession Sound and Saratoga Passage. For wine connoisseurs, plan your trip around Taste Washington, a food and wine festival held each year in March. Taste some of the best food and wine Seattle has to offer!
New Orleans, LA
Springtime is the best time to head down to the Big Easy! Grab a hurricane and beignet as you stroll through the French Quarter. This spot is perfect for party animals or someone looking for a quick weekend getaway. There is so much to explore in this city! If you are looking for something out of the ordinary, take a haunted ghost tour to discover the mystery and history of the area. Many of our staff members love NOLA, check out our blog post about some of the best places to eat in New Orleans!
Maybe you aren't looking for a beach or a break from the cold this spring break. Spring is the best time to visit Breckenridge, Colorado, because the sun is shining and you still have the perfect snow for skiing and snowboarding. There are many festivals and events in Breckenridge throughout March, so there is always a reason to be celebrating. If skiing isn't your thing, head over to TenMile Flyer Zip Line for an adrenaline rush or to Breckenridge Brewery for a craft beer.
Call 314-439-5700 or email us today
This Mexican resort town is one of the best spots for your spring break getaway! Whether you want to spend your trip laying on the beach or experiencing a new adventure every day, Puerto Vallarta is the place for you. Make sure you take some time to discover the thriving downtown area and explore like a local. For a truly unique experience, visit Choco Museo. Take a free tour of this chocolate museum or enhance your time with a Bean to Bar or Truffle Workshop where you can learn about cacao and chocolate. You also get to make your own chocolate to take home!
Playa del Carmen
Spend your spring break in this top Mexican destination. If you plan on traveling with a group, many resorts in Playa del Carmen are very accommodating. We recommend booking your trip earlier to guarantee there will be enough space for your group at your desired hotel or resort. Spend a day relaxing on a catamaran or take a Chichen Itza tour to explore ancient Mayan ruins, which has recently been named one of the 7 New Wonders of the World. Unleash your inner foodie with a food and drink tour to discover the area's local delicacies. There is truly something for everyone!
Cabo san Lucas
Can you tell that Mexico is a great spring break spot? With the breathtaking sunsets, stunning beaches and fun atmosphere, a great time is in store for you! Cabo san Lucas is known for its beaches, water-based activities and nightlife. Make sure you stop and see the famous 'El Arco' rock formation, you may even see sea lions while you're there! Cabo is also perfect for golf lovers, as it is home to some of the top golf courses in Mexico.
If you are looking for an Instagram-worthy vacation, the Bahamas is the perfect destination for you! The top three things you MUST do in the Bahamas are (1) swim with the pigs at Big Major Cay, (2) walk the Pink Sands Beach on the eastern Atlantic Ocean side of Harbour Island and (3) explore Dean's Blue Hole. These spots will not only make for the perfect Instagram, but also will give you once-in-a-lifetime memories you will only be able to make in the Bahamas!
Punta Cana is a great destination for families! There are numerous kid-friendly resorts that give the kids an awesome adventure while still giving the parents a relaxing getaway. Many of these resorts have kids' and teens' clubs with activities and entertainment perfect for any age group. If your children are animal lovers, take a half-day excursion to Dolphin Island, an open-ocean dolphin habitat. Here you can swim with dolphins, manta rays and nurse sharks! Or hike and horseback ride through Fun Fun Cave, one of Punta Cana's largest natural caves. This is a great activity if you are traveling with teenagers looking for an adventure.
Looking for a romantic spring break getaway? Jamaica is the perfect backdrop for couples to enjoy some "us time" with numerous adults-only resorts and endless amounts of beautiful views. While you're there be sure to enjoy a couples massage or a candle-lit dinner on the beach at sunset. You can spend your stay relaxing, or channel your inner wild child with adventurous zip lining or rafting excursions. Jamaica is popular spot for destination weddings and honeymoons, so you can expect to find yourself in company with other couples just like you!
SPRING BREAK TRAVEL TIPS
- Stay hydrated
- Protect yourself from the sun with sunscreen, hats and sunglasses
- Try something new
- Attempt to not over pack (we're guilty of this one sometimes!)
- Use a Travel Consultant to plan your trip
Call 314.439.5700 or email us!
Ashley Curry- Dallas, TX
Brenna Shea- Seattle & Las Vegas “I’m taking a trip to Seattle in April and will hopefully be taking a girls’ trip to Vegas this summer!”
Carla Delanoix- Panama Canal & Costa Rica “I am planning to take a Princess cruise to the Panama Canal & Costa Rica!”
Carrie Fry- Egypt & New Orleans “We’ll be in Egypt in February and New Orleans in March.”
Cathy Robinson- France, Costa Rica, Spain, or Portugal "I don't have any firm travel plans for 2020 yet, but I'm hoping to either take a river cruise in France or take a trip to Costa Rica, Spain, or Portugal!"
Christine Hakenjos- Ireland, Destin, AmaWaterways River Cruise "The places I am going in 2020 are my 2-week Ireland honeymoon, Destin, and an AmaWaterways river cruise in April to visit Prague, Germany, Austria, and Budapest!"
Dagmar Morrison- Puerto Vallarta, Mexico
Diana Lerman- Mexico
Dianna Paridon- Paris
Leigh Cardwell- Italy "I want to take my sister to Italy for her 60th birthday in June!"
Lynne Meyer- Mexico & Disney "We're going back to Cancun and might try to go to Disney this year."
Maggie Groene- Ireland & London “In 2020, I’m looking forward to visiting Ireland and watching the Cardinals play the Cubs in London!”
Missi Wilson- Costa Rica
Stacey Hoehne- Europe “For 2020 I’m hoping to make it back to Europe and check a new country off of my bucket list!”
Stacey Acree- Sailing on the new Celebrity Apex
Stephanie Turner- Mediterranean Cruise
Brentwood Travel Vacation Experts
In the 64 years since Brentwood Travel was founded in 1957, we've grown into the largest, full-service travel agency in the Greater St. Louis area. No matter what your travel needs may be, our consultants will be able to assist you.
Dreaming About Travel
Just For Fun