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Ker & Downey: Plan Your 2019 Christmas Vacation

Plan your family Christmas vacation 2019 before it’s too late, since the holidays are fast approaching. Ditch the usual presents and give the gift of travel this year instead. With options fit for the whole family, designing your journey with us will open a magical world of travel to your loved ones. Get inspired to make this a holiday your family will cherish forever. Private Colorado Ranch Say howdy to the holidays at a cozy ranch in Colorado. This is a Rocky Mountain wilderness experience that amps up the luxury. Picture this: 10,000 acres of pure nature and pristine trails for you to explore. Bring the whole gang; there’s plenty of space for up to 20 with 11 rooms and nine bathrooms. The home embraces a cabin-chic design with views of the snow-dusted landscape. Your kids will keep their eyes fixed to the starry sky looking out for Santa’s sleigh. A private chef takes care of your meals, leaving you to kick back and relax in front of a crackling fire. Beyond the ranch, Colorado’s winter wonderland awaits. Go with

Russia: A Visitor’s Dive into Cultural Dynamics

From the grandeur of imperial Russia to the stark soviet era, Russia has a rich mix of heritage and culture to explore. We had the opportunity to visit Russia a couple years ago, spending four nights in Moscow, two nights in a small town named Suzdal, and another four nights in St. Petersburg.  Our trip was arranged through Exeter International which, in my opinion, is the best way to travel to Russia if you are seeking private or small group tours. The special touches added by Exeter throughout the trip illustrates their existing relationships and experience in this part of the world. Red Square After settling into our lovely hotel, the St. Regis, which is literally a couple NYC blocks from Krispy Kreme …  and, oh yeah, the Kremlin … we met the first of our two extraordinary guides, a gentleman named Genaddy, a history professor and former member of the military.  A fabulous guide adds so much to a trip and we were incredibly fortunate to have been accompanied by two special professionals throughout our trip. Unforgettable Moscow Our stay

10 Travel Essentials: Top Travel Gear for Your Next Trip

We’ve listed 10 convenient accessories to make your travel less stressful and more enjoyable. Oh, the joy of travel! We’ve listed some of this year’s top travel accessories that are truly useful, convenient, compact, and lightweight. We’ve picked travel accessories that have high customer ratings and they’re all available on Amazon. No bulky, too technical, or silly travel “must-haves” here, just functional gear you can really use. Tile Pro with Replaceable Battery No more lost luggage! Place this little device on your luggage, keys, wallet, camera, handbag, and they’ll be quickly located using Bluetooth-enabled tracking. Easy peasy! Use your smartphone to ring your Tile Pro to locate items within 300 ft. Can’t find your phone? Double click the tile to make your phone ring. You can even tap into the world’s largest lost and found community to help you locate your lost stuff. The long-life battery is guaranteed for one year and you can replace the battery yourself. Rugged and stylish, this little tracker will give you peace of mind. Check out the details on the Tile website or Amazon.

Journey Through Ireland by Train

A journey through Ireland by train on the Belmond Grand Hibernian reveals the history and legends of Ireland through her rolling countrysides and port towns. See off-the-beaten-path sites, explore the famous places, and meet local people who will bring this region of northern Europe to life through storytelling and tours. Suggested journey at a glance: 9 days/8 nights including four nights aboard the Belmond Grand Hibernian, and overnights in Dublin and Belfast This suggested itinerary is just one of many ways to see Ireland on your own customized Ker & Downey journey. Our designers are at their best when crafting a journey unique to you; contact us to get started planning, and read on to see one example of what’s possible on our Ireland by Train journey. Dublin Begin in Dublin, Ireland’s capital city and one of the world’s top cities as listed by the Globalization and World Cities Research Network. It’s at the center of Irish culture past and present, and a historical and contemporary center for education, the arts, and industry. Its history is told in the architecture

Visit Europe in 2020 – Our Top Picks

With 44 countries in Europe, travelers have plenty of choices. You want mountains? Check. Chic beaches that meet sparkling seas? Check. Delicious food? Check. Vast varieties of culture and history? Check. Since there’s so much to see, we are helping you visit Europe in 2020 with confidence. Keep reading to narrow in on where to go in Europe 2020. Greenland Iceland’s much bigger neighbor is having a moment in the well-deserved spotlight. Go in search of polar bears and the vivid Northern Lights as you circumnavigate the large island. Discover old settlements dating back more than 4,500 years as you hike through the UNESCO-listed Sermermiut Valley. Glide through the ice fjords by kayak or take flight above the Isua Glacier, spotting whales down below. And when your weary feet need a break, settle in for an Arctic sauna experience or chit chat with locals over coffee and cakes in their home. Albania Long left under the radar and in the shadows of Greece, many travelers are surprised to learn of Albania’s equally beautiful beaches. But what makes Albania different is

Where to Go on Safari To See the Big 5

If it’s your first time to go on safari, your list of wildlife to see probably includes the “Big 5.” The term, originally coined by the big game hunters of the early safari days, refers to the five most difficult animals to see while on foot: lion, leopard, rhinoceros, elephant, and Cape buffalo. Spotting them on the safaris of today can still be challenging… unless you know where to look. The Big 5 are present in several countries across Africa. South Africa South Africa is one of the best countries to visit for first-time safari-goers and families traveling together. The country offers a lot of diversity with its cities, beaches, culture, and of course safaris. If it’s a Big 5 safari you’re after, the Sabi Sand Game Reserve is the place to go. Of the Big 5, the leopard is the most elusive of all. However, they are frequently spotted on game drives in the Sabi Sand. There are a number of excellent lodges to choose from, but a few of our favorite go-to places that provide unparalleled luxury and

Journey to the Islands of the Mediterranean

Ker & Downey’s Journey to the Islands of the Mediterranean is the perfect way to experience the beauty of island-hopping. Over the course of 12 nights, uncover the cultural treasures and natural wonders of three of the Mediterranean’s most enigmatic islands: Sardinia, Sicily, and Malta. Suggested journey at a glance: 13 days/12 nights in Sardinia, Sicily, and Malta This suggestion is just one of many ways to see the Islands of the Mediterranean on your own customized Ker & Downey itinerary. Our designers are at their best when crafting a journey unique to you; contact us to get started planning, and read on to see one example of what’s possible. Sardinia Your exploration of the Islands of the Mediterranean begins first in Sardinia, the second largest island in the Mediterranean and a haven with some of the most beautiful turquoise waters in the world. You will have every opportunity to explore these waters from your sun-soaked and celebrity-studded hideaway at Cala di Volpe. Your four days on the island are highlighted by a private sailing expedition through the secluded paradises of

5 THINGS TO DO IN SIEM REAP, CAMBODIA

“Go to Cambodia for a day or two to see Angkor Wat…you won’t need more time than that!” If you’ve received this travel advice, ignore it immediately. And never trust your sources again. Siem Reap is misguidedly viewed as just the gateway to Angkor Wat, but there’s much more to it – hundreds of temples that date as far back as 900 AD still stand, and a gut-wrenching, yet fascinating more-recent history has left its mark. Plus, Siem Reap boasts a vibrant (borderline wild) nightlife, lively markets, fantastic Khmer cuisine, and the friendliest, most welcoming locals we’ve ever encountered abroad. Do not treat this leg of your trip as an afterthought to fill the gaps in your itinerary; Siem Reap must be part of the plan! And, for multiple days – not including any time you choose to spend in Pnom Penh (we unfortunately didn’t visit). Bottom line: Certainly go for Angkor Wat, but stay for Siem Reap. If we’ve managed to convince you, here are our top five things to do. 1) CATCH SUNRISE AT ANGKOR WAT Ok, so

India and Her Incredible Hotels

Experience the enchanting sights and sounds of India and then luxuriate in her world-class grand hotels. Traveling to India is an absolutely amazing experience.  While many people are intimidated by the poverty, the crowds, the noise, the dirt, the smell, and so on, I am here to let you know that India is a fascinating place to visit.  If you enjoy sightseeing, there is an endless number of museums, palaces, religious shrines, temples, etc. throughout the country, amazing cities, unique events, and great shopping. Now, before I go any further, please understand that I spent my first time in India staying in great hotels, eating at the best restaurants, avoiding street food, and spending time on the streets only as part of our guided, sightseeing ventures.  Perhaps I will feel more comfortable in the future to spend more time living like the locals, but I had long decided that my introductory trip would be spent living the high life. Hustle and Bustle of India I’ve been asked on many occasions to describe our visit to India a couple years ago. 

Aglamesis: Cincinnati’s Ice Cream Delight

On National Ice Cream Day, July 21, I was passing through Cincinnati, and I had to stop at a little soda fountain and candy store called Aglamesis Brothers. My sister and brother-in-law, who live in Dayton, introduced me to it about a year ago. I was completely charmed, and I want to share this quaint place with folks who may not know about it. The shop is located on Madison Road there in Cincinnati (or “Cincin-daddy” as my nephew Emory says it). The building is painted pink, and has a white and pink awning—the colors of candy and sweetness. There is an ice cream place in south Florida named Sloan’s that also uses the pink motif effectively; perhaps the owners learned this trick from Aglamesis Brothers. Certainly the color scheme is redolent of sugary cotton candy twirled in wispy skeins to form a fluff of pleasure. The name of the business too carries a suggestive power, painted in gold on the large front window. “Aglamesis” can be a little hard to get your tongue around, but once you do its combination