Lovely welcome amenity from the Ritz Carlton Cancun

I love receiving welcome amenities (and love sending them to my clients too)! Check out this amazing amenity I received upon arrival at the Ritz Carlton Cancun yesterday.

Lovely welcome amenity from the sales team at the Ritz Carlton Cancun. Thank you! #Cancun #travelbetter

A photo posted by Kevin Dern (@kevin.dern) on

Interview: Kelly Weber

Interview: Kelly Weber

I recently had the pleasure of working with Kelly Weber and her cousins Sue and Maureen to help plan and book their trip to Ireland. I really enjoyed working with them to find out what their priorities were and put together an plan that they were excited about... their final itinerary included four nights in Dublin, three nights in Killarney, and two nights in Doolin. 

Read More

Interview: Ronit Sherwin and David Komerofsky

Interview: Ronit Sherwin and David Komerofsky

Ronit has been a friend for years, so I was flattered when she and her fiancé David asked me to be their wedding photographer. I was even more flattered when she asked me to help them plan their honeymoon! They both have two kids (two sets of twins!) and busy careers so they wanted to start off their trip with 24-30 hours on a train ride, departing from their home in San Antonio. Their other goals were that they wanted a destination that was beautiful, warm, and that they hadn't been to before. We discussed a few options and Laguna Beach, CA turned out to be a perfect fit. I'm so glad they enjoyed their trip and it was a pleasure working with them. 

Read More

My interview about Phoenix / Scottsdale hotels

I was happy to be interviewed recently for an article about taking groups to Phoenix and Scottsdale for Insurance and Financial Meetings Management Magazine. Read my portion after the jump, or the whole article here

Read More

Interview: Susan Werremeyer

Interview: Susan Werremeyer

Today's interview is with Susan Werremeyer, the founder of Carlton Werremeyer and one of the top event planners in St. Louis. I've known Susan for a few years and was thrilled when she asked me to plan her family's trip to Germany. They traveled to Munich, Bavaria (Füssen), and the Swiss Alps (Grindelwald). We also included a day trip to Salzburg and a half day in Zurich the night before flying home.

Read More

Partnership with Passport Luggage

Partnership with Passport Luggage

I'm happy to announce a partnership with Passport Luggage here in St. Louis. The company has selected me as their preferred travel professional and will be referring customers to me if someone is looking for assistance planning a trip. I consider them a Preferred Supplier... if you need assistance choosing the perfect luggage or travel accessories, I recommend a visit to one of their stores.

Passport will be giving my customers 10% off all purchases (exceptions include Tumi, Rimowa, Briggs and Riley, and items that have already been marked down). To take advantage of this, just mention my name in either store. 

Read More

Interview: Monique Allan

Interview: Monique Allan

Today's interview is with Monique Allan, an insurance agent and financial advisor that I got to know while handling her company's incentive travel programs. I helped Monique plan her recent trip to Paris, including a three-day excursion to London and a day trip to a town called Voiron, south of Paris. Monique travelled with her partner Lonnie and two daughters.

Read More

I'm honored!

I'm honored!

I am so excited to have won first prize in a travel photography contest hosted by Virtuoso Luxury Travel. The prize is a free cruise for two on Azamara - a luxury cruise line that sails in Europe, South America, Asia, and Australia. The photo below is my image posted at the Virtuoso convention taking place in Las Vegas this week. Now to decide where to go!

Read More

Interview: Lindsey Gift from Peninsula Hotels

Interview: Lindsey Gift from Peninsula Hotels

Today's interview is with Lindsey Gift, Regional Director of Sales for Peninsula Hotels. I met Lindsey on a recent visit to their Chicago hotel and after hearing that she has visited every Peninsula hotel around the world I knew she would be a great person to interview. Lindsay lives in Chicago and has been in the travel industry for five years.

Read More

Interview: Amy Cohen

Interview: Amy Cohen

This is the first in a series of interviews with travelers and travel professionals. I'm thrilled to launch the series with Amy Cohen, an old friend and probably one of the most well traveled people I've ever met. Amy is a high school teacher in St. Louis, MO and has been pretty much everywhere! I recently had the opportunity to work with Amy on a trip to Madagascar, so I asked her about her experience there, as well as highlights of her many trips over the years. 

Read More

How to apply for TSA Pre✓

How to apply for TSA Pre✓

TSA Pre✓ (pronounced "TSA Pre-Check") is a relatively new program from the TSA that allows enrolled passengers to go through airport security quickly and easily.

The enrollment application consists of a background check, in-person interview (including fingerprinting), and a one-time fee of $85. Once you are approved you are able to go through a dedicated TSA Pre✓ security line (separate from the regular line) at more than 110 airports around the U.S. Aside from the line being much shorter (or completely empty), there are other benefits as well: passengers can keep their belt and shoes on and do not need to remove liquids or laptops from carry-on bags.

As a frequent traveler, I've been waiting for the opportunity to enroll in this program. TSA Pre✓ is expanding and now open to all U.S. citizens. I recently applied for my TSA Pre✓ membership and am waiting for approval. I can't wait to speed through those security lines!

Details on how you can apply for TSA Pre✓ after the jump!

Read More

Travel Tips for Laguna Beach, CA

Travel Tips for Laguna Beach, CA

Laguna Beach, CA is located about an hour south of Los Angeles and an hour north of San Diego. My wife and I spent some time there recently and really enjoyed it. We both thought it would be a good substitute for Hawaii due to the beautiful beaches and views. 

The town of Laguna Beach has a downtown arts district with a few streets of galleries, boutiques, and cute shops. There are lots of restaurants and cafes to choose from. There's also the town of Laguna Niguel, but there's no "downtown" area - just a variety of strip malls.

Below I've listed what I learned from our visit. If you'd like to plan a trip to Laguna Beach, I would love to work with you... I have great relationships with the top hotels there. My clients are considered VIPs and are offered free upgrades, breakfasts, spa certificates, etc.

Read More

Cruising 101

Cameron Hewitt from Rick Steves Travel presented a fantastic one hour lecture titled "European Cruising 101" as part of a Rick Steves education day in March 2014. The lecture was the best overview of the cruise industry I've ever seen, covering the difference between cruise lines, choosing an itinerary, money saving tips and tricks, behind the scenes details, an industry overview, and much, much more. Highly recommended for anyone even remotely interested in cruising. The talk is focused on European cruises but 95% of it is applicable for the industry in general.

An unexpected travel day - eight hours on the highway

An unexpected travel day - eight hours on the highway

My wife and I had an interesting experience a few weeks ago... we were in Columbia, MO for the True/False Film Festival. There was a storm heading our way with 6-11" of snow expected on Sunday, so after our last movie on Saturday night we decided to drive back to St. Louis so we'd be home before the full storm hit. 

About 90 minutes into our trip we were stopped in a traffic jam and ended up sitting there, without moving an inch, for eight and half hours. From Twitter and news websites we learned there was a big accident a couple miles down the highway involving a couple tractor trailers and an overturned fire truck. They estimated it would take 4 hours to clear, but the time kept getting pushed later and later.

Read More

True/False Documentary Film Festival

True/False Documentary Film Festival

My wife and I recently visited Columbia, MO for their annual True/False Documentary Film Festival. We both love documentaries and have wanted to go to this for several years, but our schedules never worked out. This year we were able to go for a portion of the festival and were not disappointed. 

Read More

My interview with an industry travel magazine

My interview with an industry travel magazine

I was recently interviewed by Insurance & Financial Meetings Management Magazine about handling large groups in the Bahamas. You can read my section of the article below, or the whole article here in the January 2014 issue.

The Bahamas

Kevin Dern, operations manager for Lexington Group, is planning a springtime incentive trip to The Bahamas for a large insurance and investment company. He cites “easy airlift” and “great weather” as two of the factors that make this island nation a great incentive destination.

Read More

A few photos from San Diego

A few photos from San Diego

I spent a week in San Diego recently running a program for 100 people. It was a great trip - dinners at Cafe Coyote (a Mexican restaurant in historic Old Town), a day in Temecula (San Diego's Wine Country) and an afternoon and dinner at the San Diego Zoo, including an exotic animal presentation. 

Read More