Tuesday, August 15, 2017

The Secrets of the Travel Blogging Industry and the Myths Revolving Around It

(Photo by Ruthie on Unsplash)

The Misconceptions

I think it is important to address the "Travel Bloggers" misconception that some people have about the travel blogger industry and that every individual involved in it gets everything for free. In some cases, this is very true and some travelers get hotel stays, flights, and products for free. In other situations and more often the case, it's kind of an illusion that is being portrayed. I want to share some information I've gathered over the past few months on this exact topic of "how can you travel and not work a real job?" travel bloggers myth. (Because this is not about the travel bloggers I specifically spoke with, I am just going to give you an overview of my research from speaking with various individuals who are part of the travel and blogging industry.)

(Photo by rawpixel.com on Unsplash)

Career Travelers

First, let's start off with the individuals who travel as part of their career and therefore are able to take photos in magnificent luxurious places around the globe while conducting business. I've dubbed this group the "Career Travelers" because they travel as a need for their job and to sustain an income. They do the job they are hired to do, travel to where their career takes them, and then snap gorgeous photos in the personal downtime they have. Thus, "Career Traveler" social media influencer pages like Instagram or Pinterest and at times company sponsoring and collaborations unfold and take shape. This group isn't the most photo editor savvy, do not have the greatest websites, or even take the most professional photos. However, they manage to make it work and do a good job at learning quickly and making moves to create possible new revenue streams. 

                                                         (Photo by Olu Eletu on Unsplash)

Travel Bloggers

Then, we have the "Travel Bloggers" who spend every waking moment they have gaining financial momentum utilizing their travel website/blog and social media pages (Instagram, Twitter, Facebook) to reach major brands that may consider sponsoring, collaborate, and/ or work with them when they travel and wanderlust. This means they dedicate all the time they have to write, live, and breath the globetrotting and social media life.  Content produced from their personal experiences and the breath taking photos taken are to make a living and continue on to the next adventure. From purchasing the correct photography equipment, the right luggage to travel, backpacks for wild adventures, clothing, and accessories, building a website, SEO for the best optimization, to everything in between for creating an income opportunity. Everything is strategic and well thought out for travel bloggers and every post must be successful is they want any sort of monetary gain. 

(Photo by Andrew Neel on Unsplash)

(Photo by Alexandre Chambon on Unsplash)

(Photo by Dariusz Sankowski on Unsplash)

Press Trip Travelers

Next, are the "Press Trip Travelers" (FAM Trip) who have the ability to travel as part of being social media influencers. Press Trip Travelers get swept away to some of the most beautiful, exotic, hidden and magical destinations one could ever imagine. Media relations, public relations and/or tourism boards set up these specific type of expeditions. These trips are intended to gain new visitors and awareness to the areas being traveled to, while the overall focus and goal are to generate income to some places that don't get a lot of visitors normally. These trips are filled with very specific attractions and destinations with a "to-do" list that keeps them busy from the moment they arrive, until the moment they leave. (Not to mention all the work that comes after taking a press or FAM trip.) They are obligated and need to create content for their website/blog, go through hundreds of photos for the "winning" Instagram photo(s), and then they must share the finished product to their social media following to gain momentum on audience eyes to the area just traveled to. Press trips are fun filled, adventurous, and yet very tedious adventures to do work for at the same time.

(Photo by Denys Nevozhai on Unsplash)

(Photo by Mark Solarski on Unsplash)

Hobby Travelers

"Hobby Travelers" are the next group I identified. Hobby travelers work very hard every day with what we consider the "normal" day to day jobs to survive. Saving money earned for year-around travel and enjoyment of global exploration when they want, how long they want, and to destinations of their choosing is why some hobby travel. It is not about wanting to gain fame, money, or get free hotel stays and food along the way. They just love to travel and genuinely want to share their journeys and experiences with interested viewers. They have websites, social media sites, and even belong to blogging communities so they can share their adventures with the world. However, they aren't focused on how to make money off the photos and content they have created. 

(Photo by Himesh Kumar Behera on Unsplash)

Family Money Travelers

Lastly, we have the "Family Money Travelers" who are able to travel the world using the family money. They are able to have the best of the best and explore without many restrictions such as where to go because of finances. They are able to travel without having to work, can globetrot without being sponsored by a brand or company, and are able to take life by the horns and run with it for as long as they wish. Some of these social media stars have been to the most exotic faraway oasis's, create the best websites, the best SEO and marketing, and are able to pay someone else to post finished products online to gain attention. Some of these stars edit, write, and not quite as transparent as some of the other groups when it comes to exactly how they get to some of these destinations, but that really isn't important at the end of the day. Sharing the beauty found on this earth while we still have it around is the important thing to me. 

(Photo by Jakob Owens on Unsplash)

(Photo by William Iven on Unsplash)

Final Thoughts

Some of the most influential and watched travel bloggers today that have skyrocketed to fame originate from one of these 5 travel blogger groups. It seems like everyone wants to judge and ask the question "How is it you can travel as much as you do and actually make a living?" and the answer is not simple. The truth is that some will make it, some will not. Some will get noticed and travel the globe for money, some will not. Some photos may get published and shared with millions of viewers, and some will just not. Yes, when you have a lot of money it does make it easier, but at the end of the day, hard work and dedication also pay off! 

(Photo by Leio McLaren on Unsplash)

What do you think about my research on this topic? Leave me comments to discuss your views on things. 

Thank you for taking the time to read my article.

Amanda Monique
Green Travel Girl

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Tumwater Vineyard and Wine Tasting in the Willamette Valley of Oregon

Tumwater Vineyard and the Barrel House tasting room. 

Green Travel Girl adventures in the Pacific Northwest vineyards of Oregon.

Tumwater Vineyards and Barrel House
    I received a personal invitation by Tumwater Vineyard (through my Instagram amandamonique1_wanderlust) to come and experience their beautiful vineyard and wine tasting  room, the Barrel House. I was beyond delighted to accept the offer and had such a wonderful time spending the afternoon there adventuring around and sampling the wines. 

I was more than excited to come out and experience what Tumwater Vineyard had to offer with its wines, vineyard, and of course its amazing location in West Linn. I relished in some wine tasting of the '16 Willamette Valley Rosé, '16 Willamette Valley Chardonnay, '14 Eola-Amity Hills Pinot Noir, and the '15 Yamhill-Carlton Pinot NoirI must say that all four of the wines I was able to sip on were beyond delectable. The Chardonnay and red wines fragrant and had overall great flavors. I would say that my favorite was the '16 Willamette Valley Roséas it was so fruity, savory, and smooth. I truly loved it! I also walked around the entire vineyard taking some gorgeous photos and taking in the breathtaking scenic views in all directions around me. 

If you take a look a little closer, you can see the view of Mt.Hood located in the far background of the vineyard and myself. Truly is magical to be surrounded by so much beauty. 

The very front of the Barrel House tasting room and the trout pond stocked with live trout fish.

With over 3,500 square feet, the Barrel House has lots of indoor and outdoor venue space for parties, meetings, events, and wine tasting. Indoor space can seat and fully cater up to 85 guests, and the outdoor veranda has room for seating 25 additional guests as well as outdoor power for band and DJ set up.

Nestled on 23-acres of land, Tumwater Vineyard offers wine tasting out of Barrel House, also has a fully stocked trout pond, but also has one amazing view of Mt.Hood. I loved everything about the Tumwater Vineyard that is located in the beautiful, lush, and magically green Willamette Valley. 

The Willamette Valley is home to more than 500 wineries and vineyards to choose from, you wont find a shortage of places to get some great wine tasting in, and some magnificent photos.

My view from the front of the Barrel House.

Thank you Tumwater Vineyard and Barrel House for the remarkable wine tasting experience and hospitality! 

Hope you enjoyed reading my article.

Leave a comment for me with YOUR favorite vineyard around the globe!

Instagram: @amandamonique1_wanderlust
Twitter: @greentravelgurl
Pinterest: @amandamonique1

Green Travel Girl

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Kite Surfing in the Dominican Republic

(@amandamonique1_wanderlust owns all photo rights)

(@amandamonique1_wanderlust owns all photo rights)

I recently wrote an article that was featured on Radseason.com about the kite surfing  and fun that can be had while visiting eXtreme Hotel in Dominican Republic.

Have YOU ever wanted to be adventurous and try out kite surfing?? Check out my article and see all about eXtreme Hotel and kite surfing the Caribbean.


(@amandamonique1_wanderlust owns all photo rights)

Amanda Monique
Green Travel Girl
Twitter: @GrenTravelGurl
Facebook: @Greentravelgirlwanders

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Reserva Conchal Beach Resort to Host PGA Tour in Luxurious Costa Rica

"(PLAYA CONCHAL, Costa Rica) – Reserva Conchal Beach Resort, Golf & Spa – the luxury resort on Costa Rica’s scenic northwestern Pacific coast – will host the PGA TOUR Latinoamerica Essential Costa Rica Classic May 1-7 on its Robert Trent Jones II golf course.

The inaugural tournament – sponsored by the Costa Rica Tourism Institute – is the first-ever PGA TOUR event in Costa Rica. The Essential Costa Rica Classic boasts 144 professional golfers from more than 25 countries. Customary for PGA TOUR Latinoamerica events, the host country can invite up to 30 of its own golfers.

“We are honored the PGA TOUR Latinoamerica and the Costa Rica Tourism Institute chose our golf course as the site of this historic tournament,” says Carlos Rojas Soto, Director of Golf of Reserva Conchal. “The tournament will not only showcase our beautiful, championship layout, but also highlight Reserva Conchal as a premier destination for discerning golf travelers.”

The sporty, par-71 will be set up to play at 7,021 yards, its longest configuration from the back tees. Jones II’s brilliant routing meanders between the azure Pacific Ocean waters and lush greens of the neighboring “dry” tropical forest, exposing players to myriad elements. The returning nines feature breathtaking ocean vistas with unforgettable holes winding through lakes, rugged ravines and rolling hills.

Consistently ranked among the top-30 best in the Caribbean and Mexico, Reserva Conchal was the first course in Costa Rica bestowed certification by Audubon International. It boasts a world-class practice facility and learning center with four green complexes, bunkers, chipping and approach areas and an expansive practice tee. Single- and multi-day golf clinics are offered, including the PGA TOUR Academy featuring certified instructors from famed TPC Sawgrass.

Golfers have access to a wide spectrum of premium vacation residences at Reserva Conchal, with a variety of floorplans, bedrooms, amenities and settings. The luxurious, all-inclusive Westin Golf Resort & Spa Playa Conchal is nestled along a pristine stretch of white sand beach. The ultimate in elegance, the Westin features numerous restaurants, pools, fitness center and personal concierge services at the Royal Beach Club.

For more information: www.reservaconchal.com855.851.5000.

About Reserva Conchal Beach Resort Golf & Spa

Perched on the edge of Costa Rica’s northern Pacific Coast on the brilliant white sands of Playa Conchal, Reserva Conchal Beach Resort Golf & Spa is the jewel of the Guanacaste region. Spanning 2,300 acres, it is home to the all-inclusive Westin Golf Resort & Spa Play Conchal, luxurious vacation residences and Costa Rica’s most renown golf course designed by Robert Trent Jones II. Property owners enjoy access to the 60,000 square-foot Reserva Conchal Beach Club featuring an extensive swimming pavilion, modern workout facilities, fine dining and world-class spa."

Senior Associate

Amanda Monique 
Green Travel Girl

Friday, April 14, 2017

Enjoying Wooden Shoe Tulip Festival in the Pacific Northwest

The Wooden Shoe Tulip Festival is an amazing sight to see, and is beyond fun filled for everyone in the family. Experience the vast green landscape of beautiful and majestic tulips, surrounded by the rolling hills of the Willamette Valley and the mountains in the distance. Over 40 acres of tulips in a variety of vibrant colors can surely be captured through your camera lens, your phone, or just your eyes.

You can find the Wooden Shoe Tulip Festival located in Woodburn, Oregon. That is about 45 minutes away from Portland, and about 30 minutes away from Salem. Bring your own picnic, or enjoy the onsite food vendors for some sustenance. You can purchase little souvenirs in the gift shops as well if wanting to bring a little piece of the Wooden Shoe Tulip Festival home with you.

I had a blast wander lusting around this beautiful landscape and acreage of flowers. I was able to take some gorgeous photos without having much a crowd mid-week. I used my Canon PowerShot to capture these stunning images. My little girl had a blast, and had no problem posing for the camera. 

Amanda Monique
Green Travel Girl 

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Luxurious Bucuti & Tara Beach Resort in Aruba

                                                           (photo source Bucuti website)
Aruba is home to some magnificent ecotourism and sustainable resorts. With an island that only has 75 square miles of land, and a coastline of 42.6 miles, Aruba has a lot to offer on this small yet beautiful location. One of which being, sustainable eco-friendly resorts.
One of the ecotourism resorts that caught my attention is the Bucuti & Tara Beach Resort. Nestled in a secluded area along Eagle Beach, Bucuti & Tara Beach Resort resides on a 14-acre stretch of white sandy beach. Overlooking the turquoise Caribbean waters with the warm tropical breeze running through your hair, lands the luxurious Bucuti & Tara Beach Resort on my top ecotourism resort list.
                                                         (photo source Bucuti website)
Bucuti & Tara Beach Resort take sustainable, eco-friendly, and ecotourism extremely serious and to another level. One of Aruba’s greenest hotels since it was built in 1987, and has maintained being one of the Caribbean’s greenest resorts. They have 21 Green Globe certifications, and the first resort in the Americas to be certified ISO 14001. (The ISO 14001 standard is the most important standard within the ISO 14000 series. ISO 14001 specifies the requirements of an environmental management system (EMS) for small to large organizations. An EMS is a systemic approach to handling environmental issues within an organization.)
While staying with Bucuti & Tara Beach Resort, you can ask the concierge service to assist in setting up diving and sailing excursions, horseback riding, golf, Jeep safari tours, and more. This resort is adjacent to the Alhambra Casino if you are up for some adult entertainment, or you can go visit the local restaurants and shops to indulge in some souvenirs for loved ones.
Whether you are wanting to just sit beach side and relax, or go and explore the beautiful island of Aruba, Bucuti & Tara Beach Resort is one destination you want to make sure and visit. Ecotourism is a trend that is here to stay, so you might as well get in on all the fun.

                                                          (photo source google website)

If you are interested in learning more, visit https://www.bucuti.com/ to find out more information and book your stay today.

Amanda Monique

Green Travel Girl

Friday, April 7, 2017

Top 6 Tips for Surviving the Spring

Spring time is a rough time of year for many, including myself when it comes to allergy suffering. Here are some helpful tips and useful ways that I survive the beautiful, lush, and green Oregon spring time.

#1. Umbrella – Always be prepared with something that has a hood on it, or better yet an umbrella. It might be sunny one minute, and raining the next. The sky water turns on as it would like over the Pacific Northwest and being ready is never a bad thing.

#2. Rain boots – Keep a pair of rain boots in your car. Spring time means water showers that will cause deep puddles and clog storm drains quickly.  Protecting your nice work, date, or expensive shoes is important. Who wants to keep buying new shoes because they were ruined by the rain? Rain boots are a great solution for this problem.

#3. Local honey – Consuming local honey made by bees that are utilizing pollen from plants and flowers in the local Oregon area, create what is called "local honey."  Over time, this will help build up your immune system to the local pollen's that cause some sinus problems. Eating a spoonful of honey in the morning and at night is best advised. This is not a fast process, or cure to the Oregon allergy season. However, for some it has been a huge reducer of the nasty allergy symptoms that are so awful at times.

(photo source: google) 

#4. Antihistamine – Even if you are not one who is allergic to must. Carrying something that has antihistamine in it is a good idea. Oregon has a large amount of insects and bugs, plants, and seafood. You or someone you know may end up with some kind of allergic reaction or hive and it is important to act quickly when bringing down swelling. 

(Photo source: google)

#5. Camera – Bring your camera and have that battery charged all the way up. Oregon has so much to offer visually from wine and farm country, forests, beaches, mountains, deserts, and cities. Having your camera to capture the beauty is a must! Especially if you want to share the beauty that can be found all around the state with your followers and readers.

#6. Window rain repellent- The rain can come quick, heavy, and for a long period of time without any warning at times. When the monsoon type rain hits, having a windshield wiper going a million miles a minute just will not work. If you have ever experienced this type of excessive quick rain fall, you know what I am talking about.
Rain-X and RainBrella are my two top favorite window rain repellents. Make sure to follow close application directions for best results.

( Photo source: google)

These are just my own personal tips about how to survive the spring in Oregon. I’m a native Oregonian, and know a thing or two about allergy season here.

Leave me a comment if you have a great tip to surviving the spring.

Amanda Monique

Green Travel Girl

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Hawaii Island Eco-Tourism Adventures

While Hawaii Island is a remote location, the model for sustainability has been in place and practiced for more than 1000 years here. Now with over seven million visitors annually, Hawaii Island is a destination that exemplifies eco-tourism with endless learning opportunities available for visitors. 

Family-owned and operated, Fair Wind Cruises takes lead when it comes to ocean sustainability and education. Cultural education and an awareness of sense of place are key elements of a Fair Wind Cruises adventure. Guests learn about the history of the area including the fall of Captain Cook in 1779, how native Hawaiians cared for the land, and how collectively we can reduce the impact of the reefs.

Since 1971, Fair Wind Cruises has been the best choice to snorkel and explore the South Kona coast. The family-owned business is seen as unofficial stewards to Kealakekua Bay. Snorkeling, manta ray encounters, and water excursions are Fair Wind Cruises specialties.

Fair Wind Cruises and its stakeholders commit to minimizing the impact of its activities on the environment by bridging the divide between host culture and the tourism industry. They do this by having all Fair Wind Cruises staff participate in Native Hawaiian Hospitality Association training. 

Fair Wind Cruises is Sustainable Tourism Certified and has won the following awards for its commitment to sustainable tourism: 

·  Certificate of Merit Award for Environmental Preservation 
·  State of Hawaii Governor's Kilohana Award for Outstanding Volunteerism 
·  Richard Smart Big Island Community Achievement Awards Distinguished Business Award for Environmental Protection 
·  United States Congress / Hawaii Convention and Visitors Bureau "Keep it Hawaii"  

Fair Wind Cruises uses only recycled plates and utensils for their locally-sourced BBQ's, offering Hawaii Island grown fare. Eco-tourism is creating a way for travelers and adventure takers to an entire new level. Experiencing the same luxury, adventures, and services is key when wanting live the eco-tourism lifestyle while wanderlusting the globe.

Take a look at https://www.fair-wind.com for booking your sustainable Fair Wind Cruise adventure today and learn more about the services provided.

I have not had the pleasure of experiencing the Fair Wind Cruises first hand, but look forward to doing so in the  near future and sharing my adventures with you.

Amanda Monique
Green Travel Girl

(Not all content is my own in this story. I edited and added some content of my own. Content sent from lily@oi-agency.com and Oi Agency. Photo source Fair Wind Cruises website)         

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Luxury Beach Resort Sublime Samaná

This was my very first time experiencing the Dominican Republic. Greeted by the wonderful courteous staff of Sublime Samaná, holding fresh passion juice in carved out fruit was more than welcoming and inviting.

Sublime Samaná is a luxury resort located in the Dominican Republic. Surrounded by lavish greenery that extends as far as the eyes can see, this beautiful luxury 7-acre resort has variety of different 26 private suites and casitas to offer. One, two, three, bedroom suites, rooftop views, beach views, or cabana pool side views. There are two on-site restaurants, a spa, gym, tennis and basketball courts, and even a playground to entertain the kiddos.

Sublime Samaná is among some of the few resort/hotel/establishments utilizing the locally grown foods trend and trying to become more eco-friendly and sustainable. Alongside the sandy tropical beaches, lies the Atlantic Ocean. The Atlantic is abundant in fish and other wild life that is caught and served in the restaurants. Also prepared, are the local fresh fruits that are used and cooked in with the meals, served fresh sliced up, or just mixed and made into some tasty adult beverages.

If you are looking for something more entertaining to do and want to travel outside of the Sublime Samaná luxury resort, you can ask the staff to assist in arranging a variety of different excursions for you to enjoy. Activities such as horseback riding, hiking, beach walking, whale watching, scuba diving, snorkeling, paddle boarding, and so much more. Just ask! Of course, there is always enjoying a nice spa day and getting a relaxing massage at the Coconut Whispers Spa located directly in the resort.

I had the pleasure of staying in one of their two-bedroom suites that came with some fantastic accommodations. My roommate and I had full kitchen, two full bathrooms in each room, a large living room with a television, and a nice size patio that had an outdoor Jacuzzi. Our suite also was fully air conditioned, came with fresh fruit and beverages, and had a top deck view overlooking the courtyard of the resort. Can I just say how comfortable and relaxing my king size bed was also? The sheets were beyond super soft, and I had more than enough pillows to tuck me in to sleep like a baby while so far from my own bed.

I enjoyed some fine cuisines prepared both in the breakfast bistro, and the beach side restaurant that have left me craving and drooling for more. There is something so savory about fresh fruits that are sweet as sugar, and freshly caught tuna served over delicious Dominican style rice that just leaves a person addicted and yearning for more. And yes, now I crave the foods and fruits and look forward to visiting again soon.

While enjoying my massage, I was able to take in the exotic smells and vibes of my surroundings and let me just say that it was out of this world relaxing. The massage therapist was amazing and I nearly fell asleep. With more time, I would have I'm sure. 

I would recommend staying at the luxury resort Sublime Samaná next time you find yourself in the Domincian Republic. To find more about Sublime Samaná and what they have to offer, visit http://www.sublimesamana.com/, info@sublimesamana.com,  and @SublimeSamana twitter and Instagram accounts.

Amanda Monique,  
Green Travel Girl 
Green Travel Girl Social Media:
Twitter: @GreenTravelGurl

@GoDomRep #spons #NaturallyDR

(Press Trip Sponsored and hosted by BVK and the Dominican Republic Ministry of Tourism.)

You Should Experience Kitesurfing at Least Once in Your Lifetime and Now is Your Chance

Kitesurfing Adventure in the Dominican Republic    May 3-10, 2018    SIGN UP HERE Hosted by Green Travel Girl and eXtrem...