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Sam Ion

Sam Ion is the single best resource tool you can find on All Inclusives. She knows more about them than pretty well anyone on this planet. She is well known, well respected, and writes informatively, interestingly and irreverently. She keeps readers up-to-date on specific resorts and on all inclusives in general. She knows what to look for, and tells you how to best keep your clients informed.

And, as for resort weddings –  she's got first hand experience. Sam recently swapped vows with her first husband for the second time at Sandals in Jamaica.

Her column Ion: Not Just All Inclusives runs on alternate Wednesdays.

RECENT ARTICLES


A FAVOURITE AMONG FAVOURITES

17 APR 2019: I get asked a lot what my favourite resort is, and my favourite destination. I’ll bet you do, too.I have lots, but one of my very favourites is Pineapple Beach Club Antigua. It is a very special resort of 180 rooms tucked away just 30 minutes from the airport on the north east coast. It is roomy on 30 acres, but the way it is built it feels intimate with the buildings clustered together. And you won’t have the urge to call a cab to get to the beach, because it is right there.


GETTING TO KNOW YOU

06 MAR 2019: The best part of writing a column is getting to know many of you. I’ve travelled with you, become FB friends, asked for advice, learned about your kids, and my favourite story is Jackson, a 10-year-old, opening a savings account and then encouraging his class mates to do the same. I do of course run on about my children. It’s been special. Some of you I met years ago on FAM trips, and when you meet me again, you remind me that we were together in Panama, or Mexico, or Margarita Island. I love being invited to agent’s fam trips and spending time with you.

 


THE OTHER CANCUNS

20 FEB 2019: My first visit to Mexico was in 1993. Signature Vacations had sent me on a week-long fam to discover Cancun, and the Riviera Maya. I fell in love, and am still in love, in spite of occasional  reports regarding local crime.


TOURING ENGLAND
As you like it

06 FEB 2019: The English countryside is just how you and your clients imagine it, right out of Downton Abbey, the movies, and books. The visitor falls over history at every opportunity. But how to access it? In England, they drive on a different side of the road, the roundabouts are scarier than a roller coaster, the roads don't look big enough for any car, let alone one going each way. Divorces have resulted in driving through the countryside.


THIRD TIME IS A CHARM

23 JAN 2019: Honeymoons are supposed to be the trip of a life time, creating warm, happy memories that last forever. But all too often they there can be disasters that most of us will confess after a glass or more often a bottle of wine. I’m pretty good at planning honeymoons, I’ve had three.


WOMEN TALKING TRAVEL

09 JAN 2019: Women in business have come a long way in the last 50 years. I remember way back when my daughter announced in ‘show and tell’ that Mummy worked, Mummy went on airplanes, travelled with men and wore a long gown. My parent interview was immediate!


FALLING FOR NIAGARA
Once is not enough

27 DEC 2018: We spent our first honeymoon in Niagara Falls. This honeymoon capital of the world welcomes eight million people every year. They come to ooh and ahh over what should be a wonder of the world. This time we’re here because we belong to Trustedhousesitters and came across a request for a couple to care for two cockapoos in a lovely home that has a hot tub and it was just a few blocks from the falls. It seemed a perfect way to spend Christmas. The appeal was not only the dogs, but also the destination.

 


REVISITING PUNTA CANA

11 DEC 2018: Punta Cana’s beaches are among the most glorious I’ve seen - mostly calm water and hard packed sand lined with palm trees that beckon you to sun, swim or walk for hours. This area of the Dominican Republic, often called the Coconut Coast has been developed for tourism over the last 38 years from a mostly deserted stretch of empty beaches lined with coconut palms.

 


THE WAY TO GO
Coach tours have something for everybody

28 NOV 2018: Are you selling lots of coach tours these days? If not, why not? There’s a tour for every taste, age and budget. One of my beloved nieces had the time of her life on a Contiki tour, several of my cousins still years later talk about their Insight trips.


THINK PORTUGAL

14 NOV 2018: Most of us see summer as the time to visit Europe but some parts of the Old World are wonderful places to spend the colder months of the year. More and more of us, for example are discovering that Portugal, which dates back to the Romans and the Moors, is hard to beat if your clients are looking for a value-for-dollar vacation.

 


ALL IN THE FAMILY
Tips for travelling with tots

31 OCT 2018: When you fly a lot, you get to hear and see a lot of babies, most of whom seem to be objecting to going on holidays. It brings back memories. Once on a flight, when the babies cried in shifts and the Club Transat-class passengers all asked for ear plugs, one parent said loudly. “Why aren’t they more understanding?”


HOUSESITTING IN THE EASTERN TOWNSHIPS

17 OCT 2018: It was so quiet we could hear the leaves falling. Where were we? In Knowlton, a little town in the Eastern Townships of Quebec. We belong to Trusted Housesitters International who connect people who need their pets cared for with people who want to see the world and are happy to take care of their animals, in return for free accommodation.


THE CHARMS OF MERRICKVILLE

03 OCT 2018: That horrible moment when you realize you have the code to the house, but not the address is a lasting one. We drove to the little town of Merrickville, Ontario and were charmed. A pretty artist's community we were told. Well we see a lot of those "too-too cute" towns and villages, and often they aren't what they're touted to be, often finding over- priced antiques, fridge magnets and done up bistros with so-so food. But this was not the case in Merrickville.  Go see, have a bite and stay over-night. Who knows? You may be tempted to pick up and move there. We were.


BONAIRE
Just what the doctor ordered

05 SEP 2018: Bonaire just might be the perfect destination for clients who want to brag they've found a little known quiet sun get-away. Once after a car accident, I was advised to lie in the ocean to help heal my neck injury. At the time, a clever agent taught me about the single supplement, and that I didn't need a long transfer on bad roads. She suggested I pay a little more and be in a better resort, and visit a quieter destination. That trip sent me to Bonaire, and it was exactly what I needed.


WHAT ABOUT THE DOG
Vacation options for the furry family members

22 AUG 2018: It is hard to leave our best friend behind when the family takes a vacation and more and more of your clients want to take their fur baby along. The good news is that it is getting easier and easier to do just that. Type in ‘travelling with a dog’ on the internet and you'll see what I mean.


CHECK OUT HAMILTON
Not just a drive by on the way to Niagara Falls

09 AUG 2018: Book your clients into Hamilton, when they're coming to Ontario. It's a great place to start any holiday to the Niagara Peninsula. Back in 2004, the Ontario government put out a report that said Hamilton would become a key centre of a huge growth area on the Niagara Peninsula. And that has certainly come true.


NICE AND SLOW
St. Kitts and Nevis are very special

25 JUN 2018: St. Kitts and Nevis are special islands. Very special. They are just waiting to be explored by those travellers who long for the Caribbean of novels, movies and history. If your clients talk of wanting to see swaying palm trees, glorious vistas of dramatic mountain peaks, fields of sugar cane, brilliant flowers, verandas and a slow and easy pace, St. Kitts and Nevis are the islands for them.


UNWIND AND RELAX

11 JUL 2018: Some clients want a beach, a pool, a great bed, and a drink. For them, the vacation is a chance to unwind, and get reacquainted with their loved ones. They do not want to run around and see things.

 


SOMETHING OLD.SOMETHING NEW.
The perfect winter alternative

27 JUN 2018: When your clients say they would prefer something different in a long stay sun destination this winter, suggest Spain as an alternative. Tourists are nothing new along Spain’s Costa del Sol - in a way they’ve been coming to this part of Andalucia since ancient times. Phoenicians, Greeks and Carthaginians were early visitors.


EASILY ACCESSIBLE
North Carolina has a lot to discover

13 JUN 2018: The question I get asked the most is probably the one you get asked often too. What is your favourite destination? I have lots of favourites, but one I’m particularly fond of is the beaches of North Carolina and a trip I once took with a pal who is in a wheelchair. North Carolina has built ramps and provides free wheelchairs with fat tires so they roll easily on soft sand.

 


SUNSHINE SAVINGS

30 MAY 2018: When your client winces about the cost of a trip, tell them some painless ways they can save money in order to spend a little more on destination. You'd be amazed on how much can be saved on money, yes, money. Avoid currency exchanges in tourist places like airports, train stations and hotels The cheapest is to make a withdrawal from a local ATM when you get there. They'll give a lower rate.


PLAYING FAVOURITES
Cuba is the place to be

16 MAY 2018: I’m back! Back from my favourite conference of the year - FITCuba 2018, the 38th edition which took place in the Cayos of Villa Clara, Cuba’s newest tourist destination. Where is it? 300 hundred kilometres east of Havana, and just as this area was a refuge for pirates in the 16th Century - today it is a refuse for tourists, who, like Ernest Hemingway in the 50’s find it a perfect place to unwind. This is the beach your clients dream about in February.


LOVING IT DOWN UNDER

02 MAY 2018: No, you won’t find kangaroos in the streets of Sydney, but you will find them in the Taronga zoo, just take the very pleasant ferry from Circular Quay. No other city in the world boasts a harbor quite like Sydney’s. It is, if that is possible, more beautiful than it seems in pictures. With a shoreline of 240 kilometers, there’s no better place to start to discover this city.


BLOODY TOURISTS
Hanging in Oz

18 APR 2018: We flew to Sydney Australia, in February, for a two month visit with our children. We heard about a great return price, months ago, so got our agent to book it, and didn’t expect much for the price. Usually we stop and stay a couple of days somewhere to break up the trip.


NO SECRET
Hooked on Secrets Akumal

21 MAR 2018: It is no Secret that I love love love the Riviera Maya. It is also no secret that I think Secrets Resorts do a fabulous job. The best yet for us has been Secrets Akumal. Secrets Resorts are not cookie cutter properties, and they each seem to have their own distinct cliental.

 

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