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Ask an Advisor - When should you visit Easter Island?

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When should you visit Easter Island?

Easter Island is semi-tropical and year round temperatures are generally pleasant year round. High season on Rapa Nui is the Southern Hemisphere summer – January to March. Winter can get a bit chilly, but average maximum temps are still around 72ºF (22ºC), minimum temps are 57ºF (14ºC).

How do you get to Easter Island?

Easter Island is one of the most remote islands in the world. US clients typically fly from the US to Santiago (8-9 hours from Miami), and then Santiago to Easter Island (4-5 hours). While it does take time to get to Easter Island, for US clients there is virtually no jet lag. The time difference is only 1-2 hours behind Eastern Standard Time, depending on the time of year. We recommend a stay in Santiago on the way to Easter Island – it’s a wonderful introduction to Chilean culture and history.

Who should go to Easter Island?

Easter Island is for the traveler who is looking for the undiscovered, off-the-beaten path destination. For the optimal outdoor experience, clients should be in good physical health. Children over the age of 8 are best suited for the outdoor experiences, but most lodges will work with families of all ages and physical levels.

Why go to Easter Island?

While most famously known for the Moai statues and its fascinating history, Easter Island also a natural wonderland with incredible outdoor experiences – snorkeling and diving among rich ocean life, hiking extinct volcanoes and remote areas of the island, and biking and horseback riding among rich flora and fauna. Easter Island is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and much of the island is protected under the Rapa Nui National Park.



Where is Easter Island?

Easter Island, known as Rapa Nui to the locals, is part of the country of Chile. It is located over 2,000 miles off the coast of Chile in the southeastern Pacific Ocean.

Is Mongolia safe?

Just like any country, travelers should use caution. Be aware of your surroundings and keep an eye out for pickpockets, especially in the city. Our travel partners in the country help us ensure that travelers are safe. Refer to the State Department website for further information on safety in Mongolia.

What is the Naadam Festival?

The Naadam Festival takes place in Mongolia in July and celebrates traditional Mongolian sports. The games include archery, horse racing, and Mongolian wrestling. Believed to have existed for centuries, the Naadam Festival is a great way to experience Mongolian culture.

When should I travel to Mongolia?

Travelers should travel to Mongolia during the summer months in order to comfortably experience the country. June through September is the best time to travel to Mongolia. Ulaanbaatar is one of the world’s coldest capital cities, so winter not an ideal time to visit.

Do you need a visa to travel to Mongolia?

Travelers do not need a tourist visa to travel to Mongolia if the stay is under 90 days. Your passport needs one blank page for entry and should be valid for six months beyond the date of arrival.

Are the taxis safe and do they require a tip?

The taxi system in China is safe. Taxis are available in all major Chinese cities, and can also be hired at hotels, train stations, and airports. They are relatively inexpensive and the drivers are generally courteous. Brownell advises that you have your guide or hotel concierge write out your destination (in Chinese and English) and any other instructions for your driver. We also recommend that you carry a hotel name card (in Chinese and English) with you at all times when using a taxi. Gratuities are not necessary for Chinese taxi drivers.

China is such a large country, does the climate vary from place to place?

Absolutely! In fact, your packing list can vary depending on what part of the country you are visiting. Northern China typically experiences hot summers and cold winters and the East Coast experiences a more humid climate. The Southeast is also humid, but a bit more subtropical. The Southwest has mild temperatures and does not have significant seasonal variations. The Northwest is the largest climatic zone within China and has extreme continental weather. Dressing in layers is always a good idea. Also, the country typical entails a great deal of walking, so be sure to pack comfortable walking shoes.

Is Hong Kong just a big, crowded city?

No way! Green space in Hong Kong accounts for roughly 70% of the country, with 40% under protection. This means there are ample beaches, parks, hiking trails, and other outdoor activities throughout the city. Your Brownell advisor can tailor your experience to fit activities in which you are interested!

Should I stay in Kowloon or Hong Kong?

It depends on what you are looking to do. You will see more “local city-life” in Kowloon with most of the street-markets on this side of the country. Also, the Hong Kong skyline is absolutely gorgeous and is best seen from Kowloon. However, most of the “action” like night-life and restaurants will be on the Hong Kong side. You can’t make a bad choice though as the two are connected by fast and inexpensive taxis, one stop on the clean and efficient subway, and the iconic 37-cent Star Ferry ride.

What should I wear in Hong Kong?

Hong Kong is such a melting pot of the old and the new, the flashy and the laid back. During the day when sightseeing, feel free to dress casual. Wear whatever is comfortable for the potentially hot and humid days. At night, if you are going to one of the clubs or fancy restaurants, be sure to dress up.

How widely is English spoken?

Hong Kong is a very English-friendly area. All of the street signs are written in English and Chinese, and the subway stops are written and spoken in many different languages, including English. Most of the locals will have an elementary understanding of English to point you in the right direction. If you are looking to go somewhere by taxi, ask the hotel concierge to write down the name of the destination in Chinese.

Is the water off Mozambique safe for swimming?

Absolutely. However, high tide and low tide make drastically different changes to the beaches around Benguerra Island. When the water is at high tide, you can wade for nearly half a mile before the water ever gets above waistline. During low tide, the ocean seems miles away. This can be a little disconcerting the first time you see it, but this drastic coastline change is the reason for some of the region’s unique customs, like the local tradition of fishing with spears in the shallow water or the way women carry their belongings on their heads and their babies on their backs.

Can I go on safari in Mozambique?

We do not recommend Mozambique for game-viewing and safari. The quality of game viewing there is no match to neighboring Zimbabwe and South Africa. Mozambique is best paired with either of those destinations as a relaxing beach escape at the end of a safari. The beaches make it perfect for couples seeking a romantic getaway, and the sand dunes and sea life make it a unique option for families looking for something off the beaten path.

There are a lot of UNESCO sites around the world. What are some of the best ones to visit?

With 802 cultural sites, 197 natural sites, and 32 mixed sites (as of July 2015), the list of UNESCO sites can be very overwhelming. However, your Brownell advisor has preferred suppliers that partner with UNESCO for special visits and exclusive access. Brownell’s list of UNESCO experts can also tell you about new entries to the list, restoration projects, which sites may not be safe to visit, and some of the best kept hidden gems. Brownell will work with each client to tailor a trip based on their specific interests to find the perfect UNESCO site to visit.

What does the acronym UNESCO stand for?

UNESCO stands for United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization. Their mission statement is: “UNESCO seeks to encourage the identification, protection, and preservation of cultural and natural heritage around the world considered to be of outstanding universal value to humanity.”

Can you have a private guide at UNESCO sites?

Of course! Brownell partners with some of the most knowledgeable and conscientious destination specialists around the world to make this possible. A privately-guided experience ensures a valuable understanding of the cultural and natural significance of these sites in a respectful, responsible manner.

Can I use U.S. dollars in Cuba?

No. Upon arrival in Cuba, travelers need to convert all U.S. currency to CUC (the Cuban convertible peso). U.S. dollars are not accepted anywhere and cannot be used for purchases. The CUC is subject to a 10% Cuban tax, but it is equal to the U.S. dollar at a 1:1 ratio. It is not a good idea to give USD to Cubans since the locals live on the local currency, and they are not supposed to be in possession of U.S. currency, per government regulations.

What is there to do?

There are a plethora of activities in Nicaragua. Hiking, climbing, and camping on the volcanoes are popular as well as visiting the beaches and lakes.

Do people speak English in Jordan?

The official language of Jordan is Arabic, although many Jordanians with whom you will come into contact speak and understand English, as well as many other European languages.

What do I need to pack when traveling to Jordan?

Bring materials that breathe, and wear layers that can be taken off during the heat of the day and put back on for cool evenings. Conservative clothing such as lightweight pants, loose shorts, long skirts or trousers and at least short-sleeved shirts are recommended for both sexes when sightseeing in towns.  Long, loose Bermuda-style shorts are acceptable for both sexes, but women may feel more comfortable in a skirt or long trousers. Somewhat smarter, but still casual, clothing is appropriate for evening dining in city restaurants. Formal clothing is not necessary. Both males and females should cover their arms, legs, and shoulders when visiting temples and mosques, so we recommend that ladies pack a scarf large enough to cover bare shoulders and neck, and that you wear (or carry) socks since shoes must be removed when entering religious buildings.

Do I need a tourist visa to visit Jordan?

Tourist visas for Jordan are available in advance or on arrival. For those planning on obtaining their visa upon arrival, be aware that long lines are common.  Also, be aware that you need a valid visa for each entry into Jordan.  Therefore, if your itinerary has you entering/leaving/re-entering Jordan, you will need to obtain a multiple entry visa. US citizens traveling to Jordan from Israel via the Arava and Sheik Hussein crossing points need not obtain a Jordan visa in advance.  However, a Jordan visas MUST be obtained in advance for US citizens traveling to Jordan via the Allenby-King Hussein Bridge near Jerusalem (not to be confused with the ‘Sheikh Hussein Bridge’ near the Sea of Galilee).

What is there to do in Colombia?

Colombia is a diverse country ranging from stunning beaches to lush rain forests. You can enjoy a relaxing beach getaway on the San Andres beaches or if adventure is more your style, explore the jungle of Santa Marta. Bogota is Colombia’s largest city and boasts a historical district teeming with culture and museums. (and remember—Bogota tends to be a bit cooler than the rest of the country because of its high elevation so pack accordingly!)

Is Colombia safe to visit?

Many people are under the impression that Colombia is not safe, but it is actually a very safe and stable country after a new political regime came into power in 2006. They implemented new security policies and worked hard to clean up the problems that plagued the country and gave it a bad reputation.

Is Colombia easy to get to?

Colombia is surprisingly a very easy destination to get to from the U.S. In fact, it is even in the Central Time Zone from March-November which means no jet-lag! (From November to March they operate under Eastern Time). Colombia is only a 2.5-3 hour flight from Miami.

What is the local currency, and will my credit card work?

The local currency is the birr, and notes are issued in denominations of 1,5,10,50, and 100 birr. The most widely accepted credit card in Ethiopia is American Express. Primarily, the only places that will accept credit cards are major hotels and a few big restaurants.

What wildlife can I expect to see in Ethiopia?

In the southern portion of the country, the more typical animals usually associated with Africa can be found. This includes mammals such as lions, elephants, antelope, and buffalo. However, Brownell recommends using an expert guide, as the wildlife is not easily found and tends to be really wild. Because of the scarcity of these animals, the real takeaway from the south is the culture. Your Brownell advisor can arrange for total cultural immersion tour to meet some locals and tour their awe-inspiring villages and artwork. In the north, birding is king. With a plethora of species, this area is a birder’s paradise. Many species found are endemic and totally unique to this diverse land. Other land animals such as zebra, baboon, and gazelle can also be found here.

What is the weather like in Ethiopia?

The country’s climate can be divided into two major sections. Northern Ethiopia boasts a temperate and generally moist climate, mostly due to the Simien mountains in this area. The southern portion of the country is must drier and much more rugged. With little rain and natural waterways, Southern Ethiopia tends to be very arid and features sub-tropical temperatures.

What is the best way to see the national parks in Utah?

It can be quite difficult to navigate the rugged terrain found in many of the Utah national parks. Your Brownell advisor can arrange a custom tour with a knowledgeable guide who will know which vehicle is appropriate to the terrain. Your guide can show you the history, geology, and wildlife common to the region. Canyonlands, Bryce Canyon National Park, Zion National Park, and Monument Valley are all great options for creating a national parks trip in Utah.

Besides the Grand Canyon, what other national parks do you recommend seeing?

While the Grand Canyon is probably the most well-known of the National Parks, there are still plenty of other sights and activities to enjoy while in the area that are just as beautiful and memorable. We recommend combining a trip to Sedona when visiting the Grand Canyon. Your Brownell advisor can help you plan a jeep tour of the red rocks around Sedona, and also plan visits to nearby national parks such as Monument Valley and the Petrified Forest National Park.

What outdoor activities can you help me plan in the Santa Fe area?

Santa Fe is teeming with culture and activities for the adventure and outdoor enthusiast. Your Brownell advisor can help you plan tours to natural mineral springs, arrange a spa appointment at one of the many luxury spas in the area, or arrange for a hot air balloon ride. Horseback riding through the mountains, mountain biking, fly-fishing, and hiking are also popular outdoor activities in the area. The Santa Fe basin is also home to the world’ most diverse golf courses.

What are the tipping guidelines for Tahiti?

You did not need to tip while on the island of Tahiti. Tipping is not customary in any Polynesian culture, and is certainly not expected. However, if you receive superior service, you are welcome to add a gratuity.

When is the best time to visit Moorea?

We recommend going mid-week because all of the locals tend to travel back and forth for the weekend. Hotels and Resorts will increase their rates on the weekends because of this. Also, ferry and plane traffic tends to be busier on the weekends.

Do I have to take a red-eye flight to reach Tahiti?

While many people think a red-eye is the best option, we actually recommend an afternoon flight. This way, you arrive at dinner time and can enjoy your evening meal and then retire to bed. You’re rested and refreshed and ready to go in the morning.

Are there wineries on the East Coast?

While the better known vineyards in the U.S. are on the West Coast, the Eastern U.S. has some lovely vineyards, easily accessible from several major cities. The Virginia Wine Trail Tour is a great place to start. The best time to visit is September. There are also a handful of wonderful wineries in Rhode Island and Pennsylvania that your Brownell advisor can help you book.

Are there any unique activities for children in Washington, DC?

Yes! Despite being a large business and corporate destination, Washington DC actually has a lot of fun activities geared towards children and families. One of Brownell’s preferred hotel partners even has a special children’s package where the kids receive a fun-filled backpack featuring a book to tour the sights, museums, etc. We also highly recommend visiting the Spy Museum—a must for any child or teen visiting DC!

Are there any luxury accommodations in Maine?

Yes! Maine is often forgotten as a great destination in the U.S., but it actually boasts some of the prettiest scenery in the Northeast. Brownell works with several boutique properties for preferred rates and amenities. Enjoy an easy flight into Portland, and then a quick transfer and you’re in the heart of Kennebunkport or Cape Elizabeth.

What are a few family-friendly activities in the Boston area?

Boston is a great city for families, with a multitude of museums and sights to see.  Among the highlights is the Boston’s Children Museum, located in Southie next to the Boston Tea Party Museum. For art-lovers, Mucky Kids is a mecca for little artists (up to age 7 or 8) with children’s art classes.

How are the ski chalets in Switzerland different from other European countries?

In Switzerland you can heli-sky, which is not allowed in France. The mountains tend to be in better, more pristine condition as well. Brownell works with locals on the ground to personally vet and evaluate each villa and ski chalet. From Verbier to Interlaken, your Brownell advisor can help you select the right ski resort for your personal preference and taste.

What are the highlights of the Lake District?

Interlaken and Lucerne are two of the major sights in the Lake District. With stunning views and gorgeous scenery, these two areas really capture the essence the Swiss Lake District. There is also great rail service in and out of Lucerne.

Can you book Russian ballet tickets in advance?

We certainly can. We work with our local partners on the ground in Russia for preferred pricing and seating. But, the original Bolshoi Theater in Moscow can be difficult to pre-plan as the Bolshoi and Mariinsky Companies do not announce their programs until 6-8 weeks in advance.

What activities and sights in Russia do you recommend for families?

Both Moscow and St. Petersburg have museums galore, and the entire country is immersed with history and culture. A few highlights that are perfect for families travelling together include: the KGB Museum in St. Petersburg—it is very hands on and guests can meet with actual KGB Colonels. Your Brownell advisor can also set up horseback riding, canal boat tours, or even visit a local Russian family in their Datcha. If visiting in the summer, we recommend a bike tour through the Palace Gardens and villages. In Moscow, we recommend the Museum of Cosmonautics—it is newly renovated and brings to life the history of the Soviet and Russian Space Exploration.

How do I begin to plan an itinerary to such an expansive geographic destination like Russia?

Your Brownell advisor can certainly help you decide when and where to go within Russia. It is best to arrive in Moscow on the weekends, with Thursday being the optimum arrival day. This is because hotel rates tend to be much lower on the weekends. Monday is a good day to depart Moscow and head to St. Petersburg by train because many of the museums are closed. This train ride is approximately 4 hours in length.

Is there good golf in Portugal?

Yes! In fact, most people do not realize that Portugal is the home to the 2nd oldest golf course in Europe. The Algrave region in the south boasts world-renowned golf. This region has more than 30 golf courses, many with sweeping views of the Atlantic Ocean. The areas surround the capital of Lisbon also feature fabulous golf courses.

What are the general tipping guidelines in Portugal?

Generally, porters and bellmen should be tipped around 2 euro per bag and maids should be tipped 1 euro per night. Restaurants are a bit different, as it depends on how upscale the venue is. For expensive restaurants, tipping is expected and is about 10-15% of the total bill. However, in more casual dining venues, tipping is totally optional. 10% is a good rule of thumb, although many people simply round up to the next euro.

When is the best time to visit Portugal?

The climate is very similar to the state of California. It is fairly dry and mild throughout the year. It tends to be breezier and cooler near the coast and dryer and warmer the more inland you travel. Autumn and spring are the best times to visit, as they experience the mildest temperatures. Summer can be quite hot in Portugal, and it also the busiest tourist season so many areas can become quite crowded.  We also recommend visiting in the winter, during the holidays or in January or February.  Temperatures are still fairly mild, and they rarely experience snow.

What type of clothing is appropriate for Eastern Europe?

Smart casual is recommended for evenings—dresses pant suites, and jackets are all suitable for nighttime. During the day, skirts and slacks are always appropriate. We do not recommend wearing shorts during the day. Comfortable walking shoes for the day are also important. For the spring and autumn, lightweight wool sweater or jacket recommended. It can be extremely cold in the winter with snow, and the summers are very warm.

What are the customary tipping guidelines in Eastern Europe?

The average tip per person for housekeeping, bellman, and other hotel employees should be around $1 per day. In restaurants, a 10-15% service charge is usually automatically applied to the final bill. However, we recommend asking to make sure this has already been included, as it can vary from restaurant to restaurant.

Can you help me arrange a pre or post cruise trip in Amsterdam?

Absolutely! A few days in Amsterdam either before or after your cruise is a great way to explore the city and really see everything Amsterdam has to offer. Your Brownell advisor can work with local guides on the ground to create a tailor-made experience for you. Because of its easily accessible cruise port, it is a common city to start or end a cruise. It is also home to a major international airport hub, which means there are a plethora of non-stop flights from the U.S. daily.

When is the best time to see the tulips?

While the blooming timeline is ultimately up to Mother Nature, the optimum time to see the tulips is Mid-April. If the Netherlands has experienced a mild winter, the tulips may bloom as early as March. If a severe winter has occurred, the flowers may not bloom until early May. But, generally speaking, April is the best month to visit.

What is the Israeli currency and where can I exchange U.S. dollars?

The Shekel is Israel’s official currency. All major credit cards are generally accepted in shops, restaurants, and hotels. The U.S. dollar is also widely accepted. Exchange your currency only in authorized locations such as banks and hotels and only exchange what you think you’ll actually spend whilst in-country. Re-conversion upon departure may be difficult. Coins cannot be re-converted.

What cuisine can I expect in Israel?

Israeli food is mainly a blend of the Mediterranean and Middle East. “Kosher” refers to food that Is eaten and prepared according to Jewish dietary law. Pork, which is prohibited under both Jewish and Muslim law, is generally not available in Israel. Most Israelies eat a large breakfast, a main meal with meat at midday, and a lighter meal in the evening. Jewish law states that meat and dairy foods should never be served together at the same meal. While restaurants generally cater to these preferences, the vast majority are prepared to offer alternatives, especially to overseas visitors.

Is English widely spoken in Iceland?

All Icelanders are required to speak Icelandic, Danish, English, and one other choice of a language. Iceland even boasts a 99.9% literacy rate and university education is free except for books. Because of their supreme focus on education and literacy, English is extremely widely spoken in this country.

What is Reykjavík like?

Over half of Iceland’s population lives in its capital city of Reykjavík. The city is modern, clean, friendly, and easy to walk. Despite being the capital of Iceland, there are no skyscrapers in the city. The weekend boasts a plethora of nighttime activities, but the week is generally quiet.

What is there to do outside of the city of Reykjavík?

The southern coast of Iceland is very sunny and breezy, making it the ideal spot for outdoor activities and adventures. Fly fishing, rafting, and glacier hiking are all possible. You can take a 4-wheeling Jeep over lava fields or horseback ride on the special-gated little Icelandic horse as well.

Are there any must-see islands in Croatia?

While they are all charming in their own unique way, Hvar is among the most popular. Hvar is known for its olive groves and extremely fertile coast. Brac is also a great island to stop at along your journey. Brac has stunning and pristine beaches, and has the atmosphere of a sleepy fishing village.

What do I need to know if I plan to self-drive in Belgium?

A U.S. driver’s license is accepted in Belgium if you are staying less than 90 days in the country. Driving is done on the right-hand side of the road. Speed limits are approximately 30 mph in the cities and 75 mph on the 4-lane highways. There are no tolls on Belgian high ways, and front and rear seat belts must be worn at all times. Children under 12 years of age are not allowed to sit in the front seat.

What is there to do in Brussels?

Brussels has a small-town charm, but with a plethora of sights and activities. Enjoy numerous museums and art galleries, fantastic shopping, and restaurants galore. Brussels’ shopping district continues to grow in size and attract international fashion houses from all over. Enjoy gourmet cuisine, chocolatier shops, and some of the world’s most rare and coveted beer collection.

Is Austria easily combinable with other European countries?

Absolutely. Because of its central location within Europe, Austria is very easily combined with its neighboring countries. Travel by rail to Prague or Budapest or continue ton to discover the breathtaking Swiss Alps. Austria is also very close to Italy, and your Brownell advisor can help you figure out the best routes and modes of transportation to make the most of your European getaway.

What should I do in Salzburg?

Mozart’s hometown, Salzburg is known as the “city of music” and the nickname is well-deserved. Your Brownell advisor can work with local guides on the ground to design custom tours to explore Mozart’s life. The Old Town is so well-preserved, that it was named a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1996. The stunning Lake District is also just outside of town. Mirabell Castle is also not to miss for any history lovers.

Should I rent a car in Vienna?

We do not typically recommend renting a car in Vienna. The city is extremely walk able and has charming cobblestone streets perfect for exploring. Enjoy leisurely strolls to explore local pastry shops and cafes that are scattered throughout the city center.

Is Brazil a good beach destination?

Absolutely! With an extremely extensive coastline, Brazil’s beaches offer a wide range of activities to meet any traveler’s needs. Work with your Brownell advisor to help select the right beach destination for you.

How do you get to the Copper Canyon?

This region is easily accessed via a scenic rail trip called the Ferrocarril Chihuahua al Pacifico. It takes you from Mexico’s interior to the Pacific Coast and is considered one of the world’s most scenic rail journeys.

What is the hiking like in the Copper Canyon region?

Many people do not realize that Copper Canyon is almost four times the size of the Grand Canyon. Hiking in this region can vary in levels of difficulty. Your Brownell advisor can help create a custom experience, tailored to your needs and preferences.

When is the best time to see the Monarch Butterfly Migration?

This amazing natural phenomenon is a must-see when traveling to Colonial Mexico. Monarch butterflies living in the Rocky Mountain range of the U.S. migrate every winter to Mexico and its warmer temperatures. This migration begins in October, but can start earlier if the cooler weather starts earlier in the U.S.

Many of the towns in Colonial Mexico are so rural, is there a way to get cash?

Yes! The best way to get cash is using an ATM card at one of the thousands of bank machines found even the most rural towns. If you wish to convert money once you’re already in Colonial Mexico, the best place to do so is at a Casa de Cambio. American dollars are widely accepted, although the further you get from accessible changing locations, the worse the exchange rate.

What is the local currency in Guatemala? What are the standard tipping guidelines?

The local currency is the Quetzal, named after the national bird. U.S. dollars are accepted and changed in all banks. Most major credit cards are accepted by hotels and in some shops (although a surcharge of up to 7% can often be added). Visa is more widely accepted than MasterCard. A 10% tip is customary in restaurants and bars, but only when a service charge is not already included in the bill. For exceptional service, an additional 5% may be added even when service is included. Hotel tips are generally only expected at the more upscale hotels and go as follows: $1 per day for the cleaning staff, 50 cents-$1 per bag for porters, 10% for room service. Taxi drivers generally do not expect a tip unless they carry your bags for you, wherein $1 per person should be sufficient. Private drivers can get $5-$10 per person per day, depending upon service, the length of the journey, and the number of passengers. For Tour Guides, $8-$15 per person for a day of guiding, depending upon length of tour, type of guiding, etc. For longer trips, we recommend $50-$100 per person per week.

What clothing should I pack when traveling to Guatemala?

Comfortable walking shoes are a must! At archaeological sites, beaches, and rainforest areas, light-colored, lightweight, all cotton clothing, sunglasses, and a hat are all recommended. Guatemala is a very Catholic, rather conservative country, so women should lean on the side of conservative and avoid anything too provocative. Men should never go shirtless, as this is rarely seen in Guatemala. We also suggest that you do not wear any expensive jewelry in case of loss or theft. Most people in Guatemala earn around $150/month, so it is advisable to not openly display signs of wealth.

When is the best time to visit Guatemala?

May and June are the hottest months, and also experience high volume of mosquitos in the Peten Rainforest area. November through January are typically the best months to visit as it is cooler with less mosquitos.

Is there a difference between St. Martin and St. Maarten?

Both are the same island, despite the two different spellings. The difference really only refers to location. French is the official language of St. Martin and Dutch is the official language of St. Maarten. However, English is widely spoken on both sides of the island. Driving from one side to the other is generally quick and easy.

What is the diving like on St. Kitts?

It is absolutely fabulous. The best part is that the water is deepest closer to the shore, so you won’t have to go far. Unparalleled fishing and diving is available for beginners all the way up to the more experienced. Charter services can be arranged, just check with your Brownell advisor. Any gear can be rented at a local dive shop, but there is no decompression chamber available.

Can I have a legal wedding in St. Kitts?

Yes. In fact, it is quite easy to obtain a marriage license in St. Kitts compared to many other Caribbean Islands. No residency is required. The license fee for getting married is $200 and the ceremony can take place in a church, amongst historical ruins, gardens, or on the beach! Couples are only required to obtain a marriage license on the island and have the following documents:

A valid passport or photo ID

Original or certified copy of Birth Certificate

If not previously married, an Affidavit confirming single status

If divorced, a decree absolute (an original or certified copy showing court’s stamp or seal) must be presented

If widowed, a copy of the death certificate of the deceased spouse

Is St. Kitts good for adventurists?

Definitely. St. Kitts actually has a rain forest that is expanding—not shrinking! From untouched dive sites with huge coral reefs to a zip line through the rain forest, St. Kitts is the perfect destination for those seeking adventure and outdoors.

What is there to do on St. Bart’s?

From couture designer shops to tennis and snorkeling, St. Bart’s has a wide array of activities for travelers of all ages and interests. If shopping does not interest you, your Brownell advisor can arrange for a day trip to many of the surrounding islands such as St. Martin or Antigua. St. Bart’s is also home to world-renowned scuba diving since the island is just off the coast of a Marine Park and protected waterways. St. Bart’s also has prestigious sailing regattas, and hosts a calendar full of events surrounding various sailing tournaments and events.

What is the best way to get to St. Bart’s?

The island can be reached by regular charters through St. Martin, San Juan, and Antigua. Private charters are also available, leaving from mostly all Caribbean islands. You Brownell advisor can arrange all of these transfers and flights on your behalf prior to your tip.

Does Nevis have a lot of shopping on the island?

There is not a lot of shopping on the island; however, there is a small pottery shop called “Bocane”. Its pieces are sold in many of the hotel gift shops, but Brownell recommends going to the actual factory to see how the ceramics are made. Your Brownell advisor can arrange for an exclusive tour where you can purchase the ceramics straight from the factory, where pricing is significantly lower.

Should I rent a car for my stay on Nevis?

The roads are excellent and easily navigable. Daily car rentals cost about $50. The island is only 36 square miles, and features magnificent vistas from several of the roads. If you do rent a car, a $20 driver’s license is necessary and the car can be delivered to your hotel. Brownell can also connect you with a fabulous local guide if you would prefer to have a local expert show you around.

What is there to do on the island of Nevis?

Aside from all of the delicious local restaurants, the island also has wonderful hiking and a rain forest. Hikes can be arranged through your Brownell advisor and the hotel concierge for all points around the island. There is horseback riding that goes both on the beach and up into the rainforest.

Is Mustique suitable for a destination wedding?

Absolutely! Local laws require a 2-night minimum in the region to obtain a marriage license. With gorgeous beaches, gardens, and a bamboo church, your options are abound for wedding venue. With multiple villas to choose from, your Brownell advisor can find the one that is the perfect size for you and your wedding party.

Is there anything to do on the island of Mustique?

Despite being extremely private and secluded, there is plenty to do on the island. If you enjoy birding, Mustique is a must—the island even has its own guidebook because the bird life is so prolific. Tennis, snorkeling, and horseback riding are all fabulous on the island, making it a perfect getaway for honeymooners and families alike.

Is Aruba a good island for honeymooners?

Absolutely! There is plenty of nightlife, as well as many casinos. Aruba also has a multitude of all-inclusive options. The scuba diving is one of their most well-known activities.

What is the island of Aruba’s landscape like?

While the overall landscape can be quite dry and desert-like, there are hotel options located on the water with vast sandy white beaches. Be sure to ask your Brownell advisor about the beach where you’re staying, as it can vary greatly throughout the island.

Are the taxis safe in Aruba?

Yes. In Aruba, the taxi system is highly regulated and very reliable. In fact, taxis are the primary source of transportation for tourists, as there are no private transfer companies on the island. Taxi drivers are required to give passengers a rate card and cannot charge over the amount specified.

What is there to do in Laos?

Your Brownell advisor can arrange for some highly experiential activities in Laos! For example, enjoy an elephant trek, a private monastery blessing, and a hike and picnic to Wat Phou Si all in one day.

What other countries do you recommend tying in to a Laos trip?

Cambodia, Thailand, and Vietnam are all great add-ons to a Laos itinerary. Depending on trip duration, budget, and interests, we recommend adding one or all of these countries to your Laos trip to fully experience all that Southeast Asia has to offer in terms of culture and history.

Do you offer any unique experiences to Halong Bay?

While the typical visitor usually visits this UNESCO World Heritage Site by boat, your Brownell advisor can arrange for you to visit via helicopter or even kayak! With our trusted tour operators on the ground in Vietnam, we can set up these unique experiences for you. Explore all of the hidden caves via kayak, visit fishing villages, and enjoy a beach dinner.

Is there anything suitable for children in Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon)?

Absolutely! The city has wide streets, green spaces, and is quite walkable. We highly recommend using a local guide for a ½ day or full day tour. There is so much history from the Vietnam War and interesting architecture. We also recommend venturing outside the city-center to the Cuchi Tunnels. They are a great history lesson and are very interactive. We highly recommend this excursion for families. It is about an hour ride each way from Saigon.

What is there to do in Japan?

Japan is extremely diverse, and is suitable for multiple types of travel. Explore the bustling city of Tokyo with fine dining and hotels. Then, head off to Kyoto and/or Osaka for a more “off-the-beaten-path” experience.

What is the local cuisine like in Cambodia?

Cambodian cuisine can be very similar to Thai food, minus the spiciness. Chili is usually served on the side, rather than as a part of the dish. A typical meal will consist of rice, a fish dish, occasionally a meat will be served, a sour soup, and fresh veggies. Baguette served with pate is a popular snack in Cambodia, a testament to the French colonization. French fusion, traditional Cambodian, Vietnamese, and Thai food are all readily available throughout the country.

What should I pack for travel to Cambodia?

Cambodia is a very conservative country. Travelers should wear clothing that covers shoulders and wear knee-length skirts and shorts. Any attire that bares shoulders or knees may be deemed inappropriate, especially when visiting temples. Light casual wear is usually best, as weather is generally warm and humid. A light sweater will come in handy during the cooler months, and for use inside hotels. There is no need to bring formal wear as hotels and restaurants tend to be very casual.

What is the climate like in Bhutan?

There is a common misconception about Bhutan’s weather and that is it bitterly cold year round. Bhutan actually has four seasons—and the winters can be as bearable as something in the Northeast U.S.

What is the local cuisine like in Bhutan?

We recommend trying momos. This is a local delicacy and can be found at many restaurants. Momos are steamed dumplings stuffed with cottage cheese. Bhutan is also known for a variety of chili dishes and local red rice. Fermented rice drinks are also very popular—the adventurous visitor should try Ara—aka firewater!

Why do you recommend visiting Bhutan over other countries?

Bhutan is a very unique country! In fact, it is the last practicing Buddhist kingdom in the world. With pristine nature, age-old traditions, and culture abound, Bhutan is a fabulous destination for something truly authentic. It is even in the country’s Constitution that 60% of the land will remain unspoiled forever.

What is there to do on the island of Bali?

Bali is known for its lush landscapes and relaxed atmosphere. It is very romantic, and a perfect honeymoon getaway in Indonesia. They have a huge focus on artistic traditions—and Brownell can help set up private excursions and activities so you feel totally immersed in the local culture. Since most everyone is Hindu, the island boasts nearly 20,000 temples!

How do I get to Bali?

While every trip is different, most travellers must connect in Singapore to reach the island of Bali.

What is a typical safari like in Zimbabwe?

Zimbabwe’s parks and reserves are very well taken care of and are in excellent condition. They even boast the greatest variety for game-viewing. Enjoy your standard open vehicle during the day and night, or do things a bit differently and walk with a licensed guide in all the game parks! You can even take non-motorized boats out to view game. White-water rafting down the Zambezi River is also an option.

Is there anything to do in Zimbabwe besides view the Falls?

Aside from a safari, the area in and around Victoria Falls actually have several activities—all very family friendly. We can arrange with our partners on the ground for a private beading class with women in the surrounding villages. If music is your interest, we can arrange for you to meet with local drummers and learn how to play their instruments. These are a bit further out of town, away from the more touristy destinations, but allow for a truly unique experience.

Can combine Victoria Falls with a safari?

Yes! Our African experts actually recommend this. This is a great add-on post-safari. The hotels are typically in walking distance to the falls. We recommend a 2-night stay in Victoria Falls.

Can I visit Victoria Falls in Zambia?

Yes. But, be sure to check with your Brownell advisor for the best time to go. While the falls are year round in Zimbabwe, they dry up completely during a portion of the year in Zambia!

Do I need a visa to visit Zambia?

Yes! We recommend obtaining a visa before you go. This costs $135USD. It is also a requirement that you have 6 months validity on your passport at the time of travel and at least 3 blank pages in order to gain entry into Zambia.

Can I climb Mount Kilimanjaro?

Yes! We work with a local ground operator to help ensure our clients receive the best and safest guides to accomplish this feat. The guides are all trained in first aid, mountain craft, natural history, and ecological awareness. Our ground operator is also one of few operators to carry oxygen bottles, portable altitude chambers, and multiple communication methods to ensure client safety. The mountain is best climbed in September and October and January or February. Our ground operator’s success rate with summiting is 95%. We recommend adding an extra day to your route to improve your chance of summiting. It is also important to remember that good preparation is essential.

Do you recommend going on safari in Tanzania?

Absolutely. In fact, some of the best game viewing is in Tanzania. It is one of Africa’s most scenically beautiful countries, and is home to the famed Serengeti National Park. View game from the traditional safari-style vehicle, or even arrange to see the vast lands via hot air balloon!

What is there to do in the Seychelles?

Since the Seychelles are comprised of 115 tiny islands (only 20 of which are inhabited), there is a plethora of unspoiled and pristine beaches. Snorkeling and kayaking are two Brownell favorite past times in this remote region of the world. There are also a few world-renowned spas on the island, as well as two UNESCO World Heritage Sites on the main island.

When is the best time to visit the Seychelles?

We recommend going between April and November for optimum weather and climate. Located in the Indian Ocean, just off the coast of Eastern Africa, the Seychelles are a great relaxation oasis after experiencing a Southern or Eastern Africa safari. We recommend adding the Seychelles to the end of a safari.

How many nights should I stay in Rwanda?

Brownell recommends roughly four nights in Rwanda. One night in Ugali and three nights in Volcano region is ample time to soak in the local culture and go gorilla trekking.

What is there to do in Namibia—it seems like just a desert?

Besides the wildlife, Namibia is famous for its stark beauty! It has some of the most beautiful and interesting desert landscapes on Earth. Despite its seemingly barren landscape, a large number of wildlife exists in Namibia. Brownell specializes in flying safaris to remote areas. Visits to tribal villages, boating, and viewing rock painting are other popular activities.

If this is my first time to Africa, should I visit Namibia?

We actually do not typically recommend Namibia for first timers going to Africa. It is more of an “advanced” destination, and is perfect for those that have already been to Africa and want to return for their second, third, or even fourth visit!

What is the standard tipping and gratuity in Morocco?

Taxi drivers do not expect tips, but it is polite to round up the fare. It is also a good idea to carry the business card from the hotel you are staying at and show it to the taxi driver. Set a price and have exact change. But, do expect the price to change! It is often best to ask the hotel concierge to have their preferred taxi take you where you want to go and arrange the rate. Some taxi drivers will stay with you for the whole day for a great rate. A charge for service is often added to restaurant checks, but if it is not, a typical gratuity would be equal to 10% of the total.

What is the local currency in Morocco and do they accept the dollar?

The local currency is the Dirham, and roughly 7.4 Dirhams equal $1USD. It can sometimes be a hassle trying to locate an ATM that accepts your card outside of the big cities. It is also illegal to import or export Moroccan currency, so we recommend using ATMs when possible. You can also switch to the local currency at any bank, hotel, airport, or change bureau.

When is the best time to visit Morocco?

March, April, May, part of June, September, and October are the best months to visit because of the perfect warm temperatures in the south, with very little chance of rain and warmer evenings. In March and early April, the evenings and mornings can be a bit cooler.

Do I need a visa to enter Madagascar?

Yes, you do. Your Brownell advisor can help you get this process taken care of. You’ll also need a valid U.S. passport that is good for 6 months after you return. You’ll need at least one blank visa page in your passport as well.

What sort of wildlife will I see?

31 varieties of lemurs (found only in the wild in Madagascar), many species of exotic birds (256 types to be exact!), and rare plants such as 1,000 different species of orchids!

What is the food like in Madagascar?

Rice is the staple ingredient for many dishes. Zebu (a local beef), pork, chicken, crab, fish, corn, peanuts, and potatoes are all served with rice. Fresh fruits and vegetables are also plentiful. Spicy curries and exquisite French dishes can be found at some of the island’s top restaurants and hotels. The island is also known for its extremely fresh and delicious seafood salad.

Do they speak English in Egypt?

The official language of Egypt is Arabic, although many Egyptians (especially younger people) speak and understand English, as well as many other European languages.

What should I pack when visiting Egypt?

When visiting Egypt, comfortable, casual clothing in natural breathable fabrics is best. Pack pieces that are good for layering as well. If dining at a nice restaurant for dinner, a jacket and tie is recommended for men and “smart casual” wear for women. Formal clothing is not necessary. Both males and females should cover their arms, legs, and shoulders when visiting temples and mosques in Egypt, so we recommend that ladies pack a scarf large enough to cover bare shoulders and neck, and that you wear (or carry) socks since shoes must be removed when entering religious buildings.

Do I need to obtain a visa to visit Botswana?

Unlike many other African countries, you do not need a visa to enter Botswana. You will need a passport valid for at least six months beyond your date of country exit, and with one blank visa page.

Do they speak English in Botswana?

This may come as a surprise to many, but the official language of Botswana is actually English! The spoken language is Setswana, and nearly 80% of the adult population is considered literate.

When is the best time to go to Botswana?

For the best game-viewing and optimum weather, the best months to visit are June-October. However, if you are interested in visiting the Central Kalahari region, then your best bet is December-April.

Would you recommend Australia for a family vacation?

Absolutely! Because Australia’s weather is on the exact opposite timetable as the U.S., Australia makes a fabulous family vacation over Christmas while school is out. The wildlife is abundant—imagine having a photo taken of your child holding and snuggling with a koala bear! There are also wonderful lodges for those that want to experience an active vacation. Tasmania, Hobart, and Kangaroo Island are all at the top of our list for the perfect active family vacation to Australia.

What are the top activities to do while in Australia?

Because of our preferred partner status with a few local guides and tour operators, we can offer our clients totally unique and new experiences while visiting the Land Down Under. Things such as meeting an Aboriginal elder, swimming with whale sharks, cycling around Sydney Harbour, and surf lessons with the Bondi Rescue Squad are all options when booking with Brownell.

Can you help me book activities and excursions if I’m cruising to Australia?

Absolutely! In fact, we highly recommend booking a private tour or excursion for at least one day while you’re in port. Your fellow passengers will be looking on with envy as you depart with your local guide in a private car while they are boarding a 48+ passenger bus. From wildlife and nature to food and wine, we can create a custom experience for you, depending on your interests.

Where can I depart on a Disney cruise?

From North America, you can leave from Los Angeles, Galveston, TX, Miami, or Vancouver. If you’re interested in Europe, one of the Disney ships is in Europe during the summer months. These departures have been extremely popular in recent years, so the earlier you plan this, the better, as demand is very high.

Can I pre-book a meal plan?

Absolutely. Your Brownell advisor will be able to simplify this otherwise very confusing menu of options. We can show you break down, specific inclusions and exclusions, and help you decide which specific package will be best for you and your family.

Can you drink alcohol in any of the parks?

It is currently in the pipe line! Disney is in the process of building “Fantasy Land” with a Beauty and the Beast theme. The two new restaurants in this area will serve alcohol—the first of their kind in Disney! “Be our Guest” and “Gaston’s Tavern” will both serve beer and wine. These will be located in the area previously known as “Toon Town”.

Can you help me plan my bachelor party to Las Vegas?

Absolutely! We work with a handful of local hotels to make each and every bachelor (or bachelorette) weekend unforgettable. We can help you arrange for private pool-side cabanas, at many hard-to-book hotels. We can also arrange for private limo transfers from the airport, or out any night to one of the many nightclubs. We can also fill you in on those famed pool parties, and when the best time to go is.

Are there any activities appropriate for children and teenagers in Las Vegas?

While many of the shows, activities, and casinos in Las Vegas are geared towards adults, your Brownell advisor can help you create a custom itinerary that children of all ages will enjoy. We work with one hotel that has its own lazy river, wave pool, and sandy beach. There are also a few crazy rollercoaster rides on the top of the Stratosphere. We can also assist you in determining which shows or concerts would be the best fit for your family, if you’re interested in booking one!

What is there to do in Las Vegas besides gamble?

Depending on your specific interests, Brownell can arrange for a multitude of excursions and activities in Las Vegas—all outside of the casino walls! Everything from a helicopter ride over the Grand Canyon to touring the desert on a dune buggy can be arranged with your Brownell advisor. The shopping in Las Vegas is also fabulous. We can also reserve you tickets to some of the most popular shows in town! We also work with a few hotels and resorts that do not even have casinos, but are still easily accessible to the famed strip if you are really looking for a break from all of the gambling.

Where is the best spot to stay in Miami if I’m looking to avoid the hustle and bustle of South Beach?

There are a lot of great options for South Florida that do not involve staying in the ever-wild South Beach. Brownell works with a few local partners and can arrange for a fabulous getaway in Key Biscayne—a tiny island just off the coast of downtown Miami. Fort Lauderdale and Bal Harbour also have gorgeous beaches, and are within driving distance of South Beach if you are interested in seeing a taste of what this area is all about.

What are the main differences between all of the towns along 30A?

This can be quite confusing and overwhelming, as there are a plethora of options for staying along this beautiful stretch of beach in Florida. There tends to be a lot more action in Seaside. It is a little easier to drive into Sandestin or Destin proper for dinner from Seaside as well. Watercolor is immediately adjacent to Seaside, and Rosemary Beach is at the east end of the highway and more remote, though beautiful. It is definitely quieter at Rosemary, but still a lot of great family activities can be found! More of the rental properties tend to be on the beach side of the road in Rosemary. Seaside and Watercolor have very few rental options on the actual beach. The dining and shopping options are much more abundant in Seaside, Watercolor, and Destin.

Are there any kid-friendly cities in California?

Yes! While Northern California and wine country is definitely more of an adult-destination, Laguna Beach is perfect for families! There is great surfing, lots of good shopping for teenagers, delicious and fun restaurants, and all the people-watching and sight-seeing that the boardwalk has to offer. The main beach in Laguna always has a lot of children at the beach volleyball nets. This quintessential California beach town is perfect for a family getaway or Spring Break trip.

Where is the best shopping in Beverly Hills?

While Rodeo Drive is often the first street that comes to mind, Brownell actually recommends visiting Robertson Street too. The stores are a bit more realistic (think contemporary designers sold at Saks), and are perfect for a girls trip. Brownell can also help you arrange private shopping appointments at many of these stores and boutiques.

Can you arrange private wine-tasting tours?

Absolutely. We recommend spending a night or two in San Francisco, and then heading north through the beautiful Sonoma Valley Wine Country. Your Brownell advisor can arrange for tours of some vineyards that are totally closed to the public.

When is the best time to visit for skiing?

Most people do not realize how late into the spring that snow is still on the ground in many parts of the West. We recommend going anytime between Christmas and mid-March.

What is “glamping”?

“Glamping” is a term used to describe a luxury (or glamorous) camping experience! For those that enjoy being in the great outdoors, but don’t want to totally “rough it”, then glamping is perfect for you! Enjoy tents with heating and A/C as well as full bathrooms with heated floors and marble countertops. You’re still in the middle of the woods, and can have true Western activities like a cattle drive, mountain biking, white-water rafting, and hiking at your fingertips!

Is there anything to do in Aspen during the summer months?

Absolutely! Aspen is not just a ski destination, but makes for a marvelous trip in the summer months too. Aspen is a fabulous walking town, so visiting during the summer months allows travelers to really soak in the sun while exploring the entire town as to offer. The shopping, art galleries, and restaurants are all incredible. Your Brownell advisor can even arrange for you to pick up a rental bike while you’re in town.

Are there any family-friendly attractions that would be a good Spring Break or summer vacation spot?

Absolutely! From family-friendly resorts in the Florida Panhandle and Alabama Gulf Coast to the beautiful Atlantic coast in the Carolinas, your Brownell advisor can help you select the best spot for your family vacation. Many cities and towns in the Southeast are extremely family friendly and boast a multitude of activities (both indoor and outdoor) that family members of all ages are sure to enjoy.

Is the Atlanta airport really as daunting as it seems?

While it is the busiest airport in the world, Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport can be made much more manageable with a few tips. The good news is that arriving at the airport has recently become a lot easier with the new MARTA rail line. There is now a station right in the domestic terminal side of the airport. Since there is a tremendous amount of business travel, the airport tends to be busiest on Monday mornings and Friday afternoons, so try to avoid scheduling your flight during this time. It is important to wear shoes that are easy to take off (i.e. flip flops or slip-ons) and pants that don’t require a belt to avoid delays at TSA checkpoints. Lastly, since opening its brand-new international terminal last year, there are several perks for those travelers arriving back into the states after a trip abroad. They have eliminated the baggage re-check process for Atlanta-bound international travelers, increased parking (now more than 3,500 parking spaces), and built additional TSA security checkpoints to cut back on long lines.

Where should I go for a girl’s getaway weekend?

There are many options in the SE United States. Depending on the time of year, Florida is great for some sun and sand. If shopping is more your thing, Charleston, Savannah, and Atlanta are all great options! If good food and music is more your thing, we recommend heading down to the Big Easy for some fun.

What is there to do in Vancouver?

As a coastal town in British Columbia, Vancouver is teeming with activities for travelers of all ages. The sightseeing around town is incredible. Enjoy fascinating museums and gardens; just be sure to check with your Brownell advisor for specific hours and schedules, as they do vary! Vancouver is also home to North America’s second largest Chinatown (after San Francisco). The area is a shopper’s paradise with lots of interesting markets and shops. After that, head on over to Kitsilano’s West 4th Avenue for some one-of-a kind niche boutiques and local designers. There is also a plethora of dining options in Vancouver, especially featuring delicious fresh seafood

Can I see polar bears?

Yes! In fact, one of Brownell preferred partner’s in Canada has exclusive access outside of Winnipeg to some of the best polar bear tours and viewing. Early November is the best time to go! Chances are you might even have a rare sighting of artic foxes too!

Do I need a passport?

Even though Canada is our neighbor to the North, a U.S. citizen does, in fact, need a valid passport to enter Canada.

What excursions do you recommend in Istanbul?

The most well-known (and sometimes touristy) landmarks are the Blue Mosque, The Grand Bazaar, the Spice Market, Tokpaki Palace, Dommo Bache, and Haggia Sophia. But, Brownell works with our Istanbul partners to recommend to our clients some lesser-known sites and experiences such as a private tour of one of the city’s oldest underground cisterns, or a visit to a reputable rug shop for a weaving demonstration and private shopping experience. We recommend you spend some time on the Internet reading about the attractions and options to find out what you most hope to experience. Providing this information to your Brownell advisor will ensure a custom and unforgettable trip!

What should I pack?

Dress smartly, but comfortably. You won’t see any white sneakers on locals or other visitors, but do select comfortable walking shoes as you’ll be on cobblestones and marble for most of your days. Cotton clothing is also a good idea. It is also smart to pack a lightweight jacket or sweater, as it can get cool in the evenings. In Istanbul and the western region of Turkey, it is appropriate to wear long shorts, knee-length skirts, cotton trousers, T-shirts and polos, short-sleeved blouses, and sundresses during the day. For evening meals, jacket and tie is not required, and an open collared shirt with trousers is suitable for men. At the beach resorts, feel free to dress as you would at home

There is so much to see in Istanbul, should I rent a car?

Brownell recommends you book a local guide to help you navigate this sprawling city. The city is so big that is spans both the European and Asian continents! Traffic can be a major issue—it is best to sit back, enjoy the gorgeous scenery, and treat the traffic as part of the adventure! We work with our preferred partners in Istanbul to map out the best routes and agendas to maximize your time. You could easily waste 80% of your time in Istanbul driving across the city to and from the major sites at the wrong time of day. A local guide will know the best times and the best routes to visit the key landmarks.

Does Spain have any beach communities?

Yes! One of our favorites is San Sebastian—located on the NE coast of Spain. This quaint beach town is only a 6-hour (and very scenic) train ride from Paris. San Sebastian also boasts some of the best surfing in Europe, and even draws a huge international surfing competition each year. Many locals venture to San Sebastian for their summer vacation spot too—even the Queen of England summered here in the late 19th century!

Can you book tee-times in advance?

Absolutely! In fact, at some of the more prestigious and famed courses, we recommend booking tee-times as soon as possible. Because of Brownell’s preferred partner status with several on-site companies in Scotland, we can even arrange tee-times and jump the wait list at some of the most exclusive courses like St. Andrews and Carnoustie.

What is there to do besides golf?

While it is known for its world-renowned golf courses, there are actually lots of things to do in Scotland! Enjoy hiking, birding, fishing, horseback riding, hunting, and whiskey tours to name a few! A Few castles and hotels even have riflery and archery available to guests.

Can I stay in an ice hotel?

Yes! These hotels really do exist, and are actually quite prevalent in Scandinavia. We can arrange reservations in ice hotels in Copenhagen, Kiruna, Stockholm, and many other Scandinavian cities!

When is the best time to see the Northern Lights?

This natural phenomenon actually occurs year-round, but it is brightest and most visible from September through April. The optimum viewing time is from 11pm-2am. Keep in mind that the further south you go in Scandinavia, the shorter the Northern Lights season will be.

What is the best way to see the entire Baltic region?

We recommend taking a cruise! If you’re on the right cruise line, it can be the best way to see this beautiful region. You only have to unpack your bag once, and you get access to multiple countries and ports-of-call. Because of our preferred partner status with a few cruise lines, we can even offer all-inclusive pricing, which is important in this region, as prices have gone up in the recent months for shore excursions and activities.

What is there to do in Athens?

Athens is teeming with history, so there is so much to do and see in the capital! Brownell can arrange for a tour of the Acropolis and the brand new Acropolis museum, arrange lunch reservations on a rooftop patio with stunning views of the city, and help you gain access to the National Museum. A visit to Lycabettus Hill is also a must!

What is best way to see the Greek Isles?

Most of the Greek islands are well connected by a high-speed ferry system. Because there is no sole place to obtain a ferry schedule, your Brownell advisor will work with local contacts in the country, as they often have access to the most recent and up to date schedules.

Is it safe to visit?

Absolutely. Our contacts in Greece have assured us that the media’s interpretation of the events is often exaggerated. There has been zero violence towards tourists in the country. In fact, because of the bad press, Greece can often be less expensive (NOT CHEAP) than many other European cities.

How do I get from one region to another?

In-country flights are quite common. To get from Lima to Cusco and Machu Picchu, you’ll need to take a short one hour flight. We recommend taking the earliest flights in the day as possible. Because the weather can sometimes get worse as the day progresses, flight delays are much more common in the afternoon.

What is there to do in Lima?

Many tourists can get turned off of Lima because at first glance it looks like your typical Latin America big city with traffic, congestion, and pollution. But, the real gem in Lima is the Rafael Larco Herrera Museum. It is a must-see for first time visitors! It provides a wonderful education in all of the Inka cultures. Their art and artifact collection is world-renowned. They also have a truly authentic café at the museum that serves lunch and dinner. The garden setting and genuine local menu make it a delightful entrance for yoru first day in Peru.

Is altitude sickness common?

It can be for some travelers. If you are traveling to Machu Picchu (elevation of 11,000+ feet), we recommend heading straight to the Sacred Valley (9,000 ft) and spending a few nights there to get acclimated. From there, ascend into Machu Picchu and Cusco.

Is Chile appropriate for honeymoons?

Absolutely! Brownell has contacts on the ground in Chile to help make any honeymoon totally customized and memorable. Enjoy wine country, gourmet meals in Santiago, and the majestic views in Patagonia. With horseback riding tours and heli-skiing also available, Chile has a little bit of adventure, but also has an abundance of romantic and luxurious hotels too.