ATS is a 2019 Golden Apple Vacations Agency

We did it again for 2019! Apple Vacations honored their top agencies on April 23, 2019, at their annual awards banquet at Baltimore’s Fogo de Chão Brazilian restaurant. Antietam Travel Service received Apple Vacations’ Golden Apple Award, which are presented to the top agencies in our region of Maryland, Virginia, District of Columbia, and southern Delaware. Shown in the photo are ATS agents Alexandra Bohn and Julie Shanholtz, flanked by Bruce Wilson, Apple Vacations’ District Sales Manager and Jennifer Palka, our Business Development Manager. It’s great to have Julie back at work!

We are very proud to have won this award, and we want to thank all of our clients who have chosen an Apple Vacation from ATS. We send hundreds of passengers on Apple Vacations each year to Mexico, the Caribbean, and Hawaii. We really know the Apple Vacations destinations! As Frederick’s largest travel agency, we have the expertise and first-hand knowledge to help you plan your destination wedding, honeymoon, or dream vacation at any of Apple Vacations’ destinations in the Caribbean, Mexico, Bahamas, Bermuda, Hawaii, Costa Rica, and Europe.

Apple Vacations is one of our top suppliers, and you can search their vacation packages from our home page (look for Apple Vacations under Experiences or click here). The next time you want to vacation in one of Apple Vacations’ destinations, please call the travel professionals at Antietam Travel Service. We know the resorts because we’ve seen many of them. Give us just a little of your time, and we’ll help you make memories to last a lifetime with Apple Vacations.

 

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Multi-Generational Vacation in Punta Cana

Now Onyx aerial view

Now Onyx and Breathless Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic

You have probably heard a lot about multi-generational travel lately. It’s a great way to travel! I guess it could also be called family travel in most cases. Linda and I travel often with our daughter Lori and granddaughter Brooke. We have all been to Kenya (African safari), Machu Picchu (Peru), Europe, Galapagos Islands, and Antarctica, just to name a few. On “bucket list” trips like these, we very often see families travelling together.

In late February we went to Now Onyx in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic. Punta Cana, which is located at the eastern tip of the Dominican Republic, is known for its 40 miles of spectacular sugar white beaches, modern and luxurious resorts and spas, golf courses, water sports, and warm climate. In the photo above Now Onyx is on the left and Breathless Punta Cana is on the right. Since both resorts are part of the AMResorts brand, they have sharing privileges with one another.

Now Onyx is an all-inclusive resort, and our trip was through Apple Vacations. (ATS is a Golden Apple supplier for Apple Vacations.) The weather is perfect this time of year with temperatures of 80-82 degrees all week and just a few short showers, more like 10-minute spritzes, on 2 days. We enjoyed the beach and the sun. On this trip, we did not do any excursions off the property, but there are numerous options for those who so desire.

I will leave you with a few photos to pique your interest.

Now Onyx Junior Suite

The beach at Now Onyx

Another view of the beach at Now Onyx

My view of the beach

The family in the Breathless Punta Cana lobby

The pool area at Now Onyx

Another view of the pool area at Now Onyx

Wedding Gazebo at Now Onyx

Wedding Gazebo at night

We were in the Dominican Republic on its 175th anniversary of independence on February 27, and the Dominican people really like to celebrate!

Independence Day celebration at Now Onyx

Aerial and room photos © AMResorts

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Posted in All-Inclusive, Apple Vacations, Beach, Punta Cana, Vacation

Linda Cleveland Featured in Frederick News-Post Front Page Article

Antietam Travel Service Manager Linda Cleveland was featured in a front-page article of the Frederick News-Post on November 26, 2018. The full article can be found here.

Linda Cleveland

Linda Cleveland inside the Antietam Travel Service office

From the article by CJ Fairfield, © 2018 The Frederick News-Post:

Linda Cleveland, manager of Antietam Travel in Frederick, agreed with AAA’s survey [stating that “roughly 75 percent of Americans would consider working with a travel agent to plan their vacation and about 27 million plan to do so within the next year. About half of Americans also said that working with a travel agency would ensure a smooth experience for a more complicated trip that includes different tours and activities.”] and said more people utilizing travel agencies is due to certain downfalls with the internet.

“The internet is so confusing and [people are] not sure what they’re dealing with,” she said. “They want, with us, the personal service and the experience and [they want to] know who they’re turning their business over to. I think that’s the most important part right now, is to know who you’re dealing with for that trip that they’re planning.”

She, too, found that millennials are turning to Antietam Travel.

“Millennials are planning more short trips,” she said. “And they want to do lots of trips along the way. But if they want to do anything extensive, or particularly international, they’re using travel agents.”

Although travelers can book easy trips and airline flights online, anything with cruises, tours and flying in and out of multiple cities can get very complicated and stressful when done over the internet.

“When you’re piecing everything together bit-by-bit, hotel-by-hotel, air-by-air, city-by-city, that is when you need the experience of a travel agent,” she said. “It’s not so easy to do on your own.”

And she said with millennials, they want experiences that offer different tours and trips that cater to their interest.

Staff photo by Dan Gross, © 2018 The Frederick News-Post

Read more ›

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Antietam Travel Service is Now the Frederick Office of WorldTravelService

Antietam Travel Service (ATS) has merged with WorldTravelService®, a corporate and leisure travel agency with branch offices in DC, Maryland, and Virginia, and serving the Mid-Atlantic region. The merger was effective December 11, 2017. The entire staff stayed with the new company with Linda A. Cleveland as Manager. “We want all of our clients and friends to know that we will continue to provide the excellent service that they have come to expect over the last 33-plus years,” said Linda.

As a member of Virtuoso, a network of the best luxury travel agencies, with more than 17,500 advisors worldwide, ATS is now part of an elite organization representing the top 1% of the global travel agency community. We can offer you many value-added benefits as a result of our association with Virtuoso.

ATS_WTS_logo_large

We invite you to call us at 301-662-8080, email us at info@antietamtravel.com , or visit our Frederick location at 2190 Old Farm Drive. Spend a little of your time with our experienced travel advisors, and we’ll help you make memories to last a lifetime! We have been providing “Personal Service Since 1984.” We look forward to serving you soon.

ATS-Staff-28Feb2018-final

Left to right: Carmen Burdette, Colleen McLister, Pat O’Beirne, Bill Cleveland,
Linda Cleveland, Alexandra Bohn, Anita Staley, and Anna Lipka

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Happy Holidays!

All of us at Antietam Travel Service, Inc. wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy, Healthy, and Prosperous New Year! We will be closed on December 25, 26 and January 1, so that we can enjoy the holidays with our families.

Merry Christmas

Holiday Travel Gift Certificates

Surveys have shown that most people would rather receive an experience than a traditional gift during the Holiday Season. A day at the spa, a special dining experience, entertainment, and vacations top the list. Do you need the perfect gift this Holiday Season? Why not give the Gift of Travel? Make dreams come true… Europe, Alaska, Hawaii, the Caribbean, a Cruise. You can give a travel gift certificate from ATS in any amount.

Christmas Travel Gift Certificate

So go ahead… With your siblings, contribute to your parents’ cruise or the Las Vegas trip they always wanted to take. Purchase the airfare for your kids to come visit. Or thrill your spouse with a second honeymoon!

Whatever you decide, we have the travel professionals to help. We will provide quick turnaround on gift certificates. And remember, ATS Travel Gift Certificates never expire!

Please give us a call today at 301-662-8080.

Happy Holidays!

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Happy Thanksgiving

Thank you for your business! Antietam Travel Service, Inc. will be closed on November 23 and 24 so that our entire staff can celebrate Thanksgiving with their families. We will re-open at 9:00am on Monday, November 27. As always, we will monitor voice messages for travel emergencies.

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Press Release – Colleen McLister Joins Antietam Travel Service, Inc.

Frederick, Maryland, October 6, 2017 – Antietam Travel Service, Inc. is pleased to announce that Colleen McLister has joined our team of travel consultants.


Colleen McLister

Says McLister about travel, “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” – Mark Twain.

Colleen McLister graduated from Radford University in 2014. She became an Au Pair in Berlin, Germany from 2014-2015 where her passion for travel began. She has traveled to 23 countries so far and doesn’t plan to stop anytime soon! She has visited Costa Rica, Cuba, Iceland, Israel, and most of Central Europe.

McLister previously worked in Boston, Massachusetts, as a Travel Consultant for Grand Circle Travel. “I am very excited about the opportunity to work in my hometown for Antietam Travel Service, Inc.”

With the owners and seven full-time travel consultants Antietam Travel Service, Inc. is Frederick’s largest travel agency and has provided expert travel service to both leisure and corporate clients since 1984. For more information about Antietam Travel Service, Inc., please call 301-662-8080 or visit http://www.antietamtravel.com.

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Top 10 Mistakes at Walt Disney World

Guest Post: Anita Staley, ATS Disney Expert


Disney’s Animal Kingdom

1. Sleeping In
With the exception of a break day, Disney World is not a “sleeping in” kind of vacation. The first two hours will have some of the shortest lines of the day. In fact, parks will often open before the scheduled time giving you an additional advantage. Magic Kingdom has a nice opening show that is more accessible to guests who arrive early.

If using Disney bus transportation, leave plenty of time to walk to the bus stop from your room and wait for the next bus. It can be extremely frustrating to wake up early and still not arrive to a park until a half hour past opening.

Some families will plan to eat a quick breakfast in the room, so that some can be getting ready while others are eating. Eating breakfast in your room (and avoiding the busy food court) can facilitate getting out of the room early.

2. Not Planning Breaks and Down Time
You are spending a lot of money to have a good time. Trying to see everything does not usually equal a great vacation. It is impossible to experience everything at Disney World in one trip, and trying to see everything will often ruin your vacation. In addition to park tickets, you are paying to enjoy your Disney resort, including the pool. Kids will often have some of their favorite moments in the wonderfully themed pools at your Disney resort. All of the resorts schedule kids’ activities during the day and at night. If you feel tired during the day, go back and swim or take a nap.

If your trip is longer than 4 days, consider scheduling an entire day to relax at the resort. In the evening, you can travel to a different resort for dinner (don’t forget to make reservations well in advance). Having time to eat dinner in another resort allows you to experience the beauty and themes at other locations. The lobbies at Wilderness Lodge and Animal Kingdom Lodge are amazing and both resorts have great restaurants.

Another alternative is to play all day at your resort and travel to a park for dinner and fireworks.

3. Not Planning Which Days to Be in Certain Parks
Crowd levels can vary greatly at each Disney park. Extra Magic Hours, holidays, and entertainment schedules can greatly affect crowd levels even in lower seasons. Spending the same day at Magic Kingdom as the bulk of other guests can make a day unnecessarily frustrating. For instance, a morning Extra Magic Hour can be extremely popular, attracting enough resort guests to make that particular park very crowded later in the day. A Travel Consultant experienced in planning Disney World trips can offer advice on which parks to choose during your vacation.

4. Not Making Advanced Reservations
Disney World allows guests to make dining reservations starting at 6 a.m. 180 days before the first day of your resort reservation. Some of the more popular restaurants will book up within that first hour. There are some days where every table service restaurant in some of the parks will be completely booked several weeks before your trip. If you have your heart set on certain types of dining experiences, it is crucial to plan ahead and be ready to make those reservations!

5. Not Making Fastpass Reservations
You will be able to make Fastpass reservations for your entire trip starting at 7 a.m. exactly 60 days prior to the first day of your trip. A few selections will potentially book up within minutes of 7 a.m. If it is important to you to obtain a Fastpass for certain attractions, you should be ready for that moment when you need to make those Fastpass selections.


Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort

6. Forgetting to Be Spontaneous and Missing the Little Things
It is hard to believe that after all this planning, you can be spontaneous, but the little moments will be the ones you most remember. If your child wants to play hop scotch in the England pavilion in Epcot, let her. If a cast member wants to talk with your son about his pin collection, let it happen. One of my favorite family Disney moments is the hot summer day that my boys begged us to let them “just put our feet in” the kids splash area at Epcot. Against my better judgment, we agreed. Within 5 minutes, both boys were soaked and laughing and having the time of their lives. Hundreds of kids passed by gazing longingly at the two boys having more fun than any other person at Epcot that day. We would have missed out on one of the happiest moments of the trip if we had “tried to stay on track” and hurried them along into World Showcase to get to the “next thing.”

The little details at Disney World are what set it apart from a typical theme park. Look for Hidden Mickeys. Count the lanterns in the Liberty Tree at Magic Kingdom. Search the train garden in Germany for little gems that most people miss. Take note of the music played in various areas of the parks and resorts. Walk a trail in Animal Kingdom and spend some time watching the animals. Disney Imagineers are masters at delighting guests with hidden details.

7. Not Using Snack Credits
If you have purchased the Disney Dining Plan, you will receive one snack credit per person per night of your trip. If you forget to use them, you will end up with a lot of unused snack credits at the end of your vacation!

Use your credits for Mickey bars, breakfast pastries, dole whips, Starbucks, egg rolls, etc. Almost anything with a cost of $5 or less is considered a snack. At Starbucks, any size drink is a snack.

8. Not Using your My Disney Experience Account
Download the app to your Smart Phone. Learn how to use your account and your app before your trip. If you need to make a change to a dining reservation or a Fastpass, it is generally easy to change it right on your app. Making a fourth Fastpass selection from your phone is much easier than finding a kiosk and waiting in line!

9. Not Using a Travel Agent
A knowledgeable Travel Consultant can advise you on dining options that fit your tastes, resorts that will meet your family’s needs, best touring itineraries, best use of snack credits, strategies for Fastpass selections, and much more! Even an experienced Disney traveler can benefit from having a partner to help with the intense planning. Having somebody in your corner who can watch for discounts, provide regular updates, give assistance with hard to get dining reservations, and generally “look out for you” is a nice way to plan your next trip.

10. Not Being Involved in the Planning
Even with the help of a great travel agent, it is crucial to look at a few things before you travel. View a few photos of your resort to make sure it matches your expectations. Read an article about a new attraction. Make sure you understand how to get to your dinner reservation venue. Become familiar with the basic layout of the parks. Your trip will go so much more smoothly with a little preparation!

I hope you enjoy your Walt Disney World vacation!


Adventureland


Monorail

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Save Time at Immigration and Customs with Global Entry – It Includes TSA Precheck

Last time, we explained how TSA Precheck works and how to sign up. For international travelers, another program, Global Entry, allows you to go through Immigration and Customs more quickly when entering the United States from overseas. Global Entry also includes TSA Precheck. This blog article explains how Global Entry works and how you can sign up.

Global Entry is an expedited clearance program from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agency for pre-approved, low-risk travelers arriving in the United States. Members enter the United States through automatic kiosks at select major airports. Your time is valuable. As a pre-screened Global Entry member, you arrive in the United States, check-in at the Global Entry kiosk and you’re on your way. You also have access to expedited entry benefits in other countries, and TSA Precheck is included.

Travelers must be pre-approved for the Global Entry program. U.S. citizens, U.S. lawful permanent residents, and citizens of a few other countries are eligible for Global Entry. All applicants undergo a rigorous background check and in-person interview before enrollment. While Global Entry’s goal is to speed travelers through the process, members may still be selected for further examination when entering the United States.

To apply for Global Entry, you must create a Global Online Enrollment System (GOES) account. Regardless of your age, you must have your own GOES account. Then log in to your GOES account and complete the application. A $100 non-refundable fee – good for five years – is required with each completed application. After accepting your completed application and fee, CBP will review your application. If your application is conditionally approved, then your GOES account will instruct you to schedule an interview at a Global Entry Enrollment Center. Each applicant must schedule a separate interview. Both Dulles and BWI airports have enrollment centers. You will need to bring your valid passport(s) and one other form of identification, such as a driver’s license or ID card to the interview. If you are a lawful permanent resident, you must present your permanent resident card.

If you wish to learn more about Global Entry, please visit https://www.cbp.gov/travel/trusted-traveler-programs/global-entry or call ATS at 301-662-8080. Remember, Global Entry is only $15 more for five years than TSA Precheck.

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Save Time at the Airport with TSA Precheck

Most of us have seen recent news accounts of people waiting in long lines to pass through airport security. Many times, the news anchor then mentioned how TSA Precheck can save passengers time as they pass through the security lines. This blog article explains how TSA Precheck works and how you can sign up.TSA Precheck is an expedited security screening program from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Transportation Security Administration (TSA). Passengers considered low-risk who qualify for the program may receive expedited screening at one of the more than 160 nationwide airports that participate in the program. Sixteen airlines participate in the program: Aeromexico, Air Canada, Alaska Airlines, Allegiant Airlines, American Airlines, Cape Air, Delta Air Lines, Etihad Airways, Hawaiian Airlines, JetBlue Airways, Seaborne Airlines, Southwest Airlines, Sun Country, United Airlines, Virgin America, and WestJet.

The TSA Precheck application program is open to U.S. citizens, U.S. nationals, and lawful permanent residents. You may apply online at https://www.tsa.gov/tsa-precheck/apply or you may complete the entire process in person at an application center. You may schedule an appointment online or by calling (855) 347-8371 weekdays, 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. ET. When you visit an application center, you must provide required documentation, be fingerprinted, and pay a non-refundable $85 fee valid for five years with a credit card, money order, company check or certified/cashier’s check. Bring your current U.S. passport or a driver’s license and birth certificate as documentation. You can check your status online at any time.

Once you are approved for the TSA Precheck program, you will be given a known traveler number (KTN) to use when making flight reservations. Participating airlines will print an indicator on your boarding pass that allows you to use the Precheck lane at the airport. When you arrive at the airport and check your bags, if any, look for signs for the Precheck lane. There is no need to remove shoes, belts, light jackets, laptops, and your 3-1-1 liquids, so the line moves more quickly.

If you wish to learn more about TSA Precheck, please visit https://www.tsa.gov/tsa-precheck or call ATS at 301-662-8080.

Next time: Global Entry for only $15 more for five years.

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