Monday, December 21, 2009

Top Snowboarding resorts in the USA

A Guide To Snowboarding The USA

In America you can find a large range of snowboarding resorts across the country which spread out over the northern eastern states, the central Rockies and the north-western states. Beware, many of the resorts are low quality and are simply operated to earn quick money. The usual snowboarding season lasts from November until mid-April, but a few resorts in the north stay open until mid-May. The country's resorts are generally smaller than their European cousins. However, the Rockies do have summits that rise up to 3,000 metres.

Jackson Hole

The combination of the terrain and snowfall is second to none as Jackson's slopes rise up out of the Snake River valley in what seems like a sheer wall. It is also home to North America's highest continuous vertical drop (over 4,000ft), a stunning variety of terrain - including couloirs, cliff-bands, open bowls and trees - and a snowfall average of 369 inches during an average winter. Perhaps the best thing about Jackson is its ski and snowboard school. The instructors here do seem to have an extra spark which makes learning for beginners much more enjoyable.
To get the best of them, sign up for one of the Steep and Deep camps.


Famous the world over for its skiing, the snowboarding is pretty good here too. The only problem is the lack of wide, high, open bowls for free-riding - and the comparably small snowfall for the Rockies. It is still comparable to the best in the Alps, but 256 inches isn't much compared with Snowbird's 466 inches. To give yourself the highest possible chance of scoring perfect powder, heading to Utah or Wyoming could be the best bet.

Getting there

Flights to US cities are frequent, with many having transfers to resorts. Some airports atollow you reach the resorts by bus (occaisionally a free shuttle service), or by hire car. Travel to a resort by train is limited in terms of direct routes and in most cases you will need to take a train to the nearest city and then transfer by bus. Resorts on the East coast are most accessable by rail from the airports and a 30-day rail pass for unlimited travel costs can be bought for $400. Greyhound Buses operate the largest cross-country network of routes, with dozens of options.

Nights out

You will need to carry ID everywhere in the US. Photo I.D. is constantly required when buying alcohol to confirm age, it would be advised that baby-faced boarders should stick to soft drinks.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Best World Skiing Destinations

Top 5 luxury ski resorts in the worldCopyright © 2009

Skiing has increased in popularity over the years and it has become apparent that some people are willing to spend a small fortune to get as much out their experience as possible. Listed below are the top 5 skiing resorts in the world which all promised to offer a top class, luxury holiday.

1. Badrutt's Palace Hotel, St. Moritz, Switzerland

If you are in search of the most luxurious ski resort in the world, pay a visit to Badrutt's Palace Hotel. Baddrutt's is world renowned as being the premier hotel for a ski break. Located in the Swiss Alps It boasts some of the best views money can buy and is internationally renowned for its involvement in making skiing and winter sports as popular as they've become. This Hotel has accommodated Royalty and the rich and famous. Having been open for more than a century, Badrutt's Palace Hotel has set the benchmark for other ski resorts. If you want a piece of the
luxury lifestyle you should expect to pay a minimum of £300 per night.

2. The Game Creek Chalet - Colorado

The Game Creek Chalet is located in the popular skiing resort called Game Creek Bowl. These privately owned chalets 10,500 feet above sea level and compromise of four bedrooms and 4 bathrooms. With these chalets you don't just get the stunning views, the ski in 'ski out resort offers your own Jacuzzi, personal tour guides and you very own gourmet chef to cook you top class food at the end of the day. All these luxuries are yours if you happen to have a spare £1700
to spend per night!

3. Chalet du Mont d'Arbois, Megève,France

Nestled in to the alpine trees above Megève, this Swiss style hotel can be found. Guests at Chalet du Mont d'Arbois can expect Bordeaux's fine Wines in constant supply and Savoyard cuisine. This hotel is compact with only 37 rooms, however, what it lacks in size it makes up for in luxuriousness. Nowhere else on the French Alps will you find such a peaceful and exclusive atmosphere. The Chalet offers free-standing apartments from £1300 per night to individual rooms from £270 per night.

4. Fairmont Chateau, Whistler, British Columbia

Sitting at the bottom of Whistler Blackcomb in the Canadian Rockies, Fairmont Chateau offers one of the most luxurious skiing resorts in the world. Not only does the hotel offer top class amenities and top class service but it's also home to the exquisite restaurant, Wildflower. Wildflower relies on locally sourced organic foods to offer world class dining. For a room in this 12 storey chateaux style hotel you should expect to pay a minimum of £180 per night.

5. Capella Niseko Hotel in Niseko, Japan

Although not open yet, Japan have built one of the most luxurious skiing hotels in the world on the open mountains of Japan. The 32 acre resort will feature 80 rooms and has been designed by Japanese architect Tadao Ando. Each room will house its own fireplace and onsen (natural hot spring bath). The hotel will also offer a range of other luxury amenities such as top class restaurants, a spa, tennis courts and high-end retail stores. If this new build attracts you, be ready to fork out several hundred pounds a night

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Things to do on a city break in Rome

Rome is a fascinating blend of old and new traditions, many hotels and shopping sites, delicious dishes and classical culture. With a history of over two thousand years, legend says that the city was founded by the twins Romulus and Remus on April 21st, 753 BC. As you would expect with a bustling European capital city, there is plenty to do here.

The Criminal Museum in Rome

The Criminal Museum, run by the Ministry of Justice, is housed in what used to be a prison so its authenticity is not in question! Built in the early 1800s for Pope Leo XIII, several offices of Rome's police departments call it home. The museum has three sections: one dedicated to the main categories of crimes; one that deals with investigation techniques and police search methods; and one that covers what is involved in serving a criminal sentence. 'Punishment and Crimes' - gory and gruesome - attracts the most visitors. Life-sized models illustrate how criminals were dealt with for centuries the world over, including the infamous Iron Maiden.


No trip to Rome is complete without a visit to the iconic structure. This was the biggest venue built during the Roman Empire and took ten years to finish. Standing 160-feet tall with a seating capacity of up to 50,000, the stadium hosted infamous gladiatorial contests, public spectacles and it was also the place Romans fed Christians to the lions.

Circus Maximus

This place makes Wembley Stadium seem woefully inadequate. The Circus Maximus was one of the largest sports arenas ever built with an apparent capacity of several hundred thousand. It is famous for the 64 AD fire that left masses of casualties, and the city in ruins.

Vatican City

Home of the Pope, Vatican City is one of the holiest places in the world and the only place on earth where people speak Latin. It is an independent state right in the middle of Rome. Just 108.7 acres, with an estimated population of 800, the Vatican has its own broadcasting facility, flag, postage stamps, currency, citizenship, newspaper and station. The must-see sites are St. Peter's Basilica and the Sistine Chapel.

Stay on your feet

The best way to see Rome is on foot. At street level is also where you will discover those unexpected gems; the warm aroma of a bakery, the handmade leather of a local craftsman or perhaps the tucked-away piazza that seems stuck a world long since past.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

A guide to snowboarding in Italy

Italy is a great place to snowboard and one of the cheapest European countries to visit. Resorts stretch across the northern part of the country, with many linking with neighbouring countries and if you're planning to drive in Italy, remember: they can't drive. The term 'giving way' doesn't really exist!
The most popular destinations
The majority of Italy's resorts are situated in the north of the country, in the Alps. The ten most popular are; Cervinia, Livigno, Alba, Passo Tonale, Prali Sestriere, Sauze d'Oulx, Val Gardena, Courmayeur and Madonna di Campiglio.
Getting around
Due to the fact that Italy has loads of small, remote resorts tucked away off normal public transport routes, driving is the best way to reach them. Italian resorts are not always well located for airports as most places require an average of three hours transfer. Train services are not too convenient - but are cheap - and you can get fairly close to many places. Bus fares are also inexpensive but services are not very reliable.
Madonna di Campiglio
Madonna di Campiglio is generally considered to be one of the best resorts in Italy for snowboarders. The Ursus terrain park here is a rallying point for boarders across the surrounding region of Trentino and set at 2,400m, on rolling ex-glacial terrain, it is home to good-quality snow for most of the season, and features a wide range of kickers, rails and other features. Boarders will be pleased to know that snowfall here is higher than in the Dolomite resorts further east, and the climate is colder than in the Italian resorts to the west. The resort sits in something of a snow pocket.
Superb off-piste boarding. But remember, this is the sunny - and therefore less snowy - side of Mont Blanc. There are some fantastic off-piste routes in the area. This is a place for more accomplished riders so bear in mind that there is often a lot less snow on this side of Mont Blanc than there is in Chamonix. Intermediates should only consider Courmayeur for a weekend, while beginners should go to more snowboard-friendly resort.
Where to stay
On the whole, accommodation is basic and cheap. It is fair to say that around resorts facilities are not as full-on as in France but the hedonistic aprés ski is still the same. For a great snowboarding holiday, Italy is well worth a visit.

Copyright © 2009

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Looking for Cheap Key West Hotels?

Looking for Cheap Key West Hotels?Copyright © 2009 Craig Grant Hollenback
Key West boasts the highest cost of living in the State of Florida, but it won't break your budget to stay there. With over 35 Resorts and Hotels, 104 Bed & Breakfasts and Inns, 15 Specialty Lodgings and 505 Vacation Rentals, Key West has a wide variety of Accommodations to choose from. There are no Key West camp grounds or trailer parks.

So how do you find the cheapest place to stay?

First, it's important to understand the layout of America's Southernmost, drive to tropical island. The Island of Key West is divided into two distinct parts. Old Town (referred to as Downtown) and New Town. Each area has its own advantages to the vacation visitor.

Staying in Old Town provides the advantage of walking accessibility to most Key West restaurants, attractions and bars. If you're flying into the Key West International airport, you can take a taxi to your hotel and there's no need for a car rental. There are plenty of inexpensive bike and scooter rentals as well as comfortable electric cars to choose from. There are also numerous pedicabs that will be happy to take you and a guest around town.

Old Town Key West features the more elegant Hotels as well as many privately owned Bed and Breakfasts, Inns, and Guest Houses. Those looking for a true Key West experience will find that these Accommodations have easier access to the Old Town region and provide the intimate feeling of being right in the center of Key West.

The architecture of Old Town Key West is historically reflected in these older structures. But don't let their quaint exteriors fool you. Most, if not all, have meticulously renovated interiors complete with internet connections, spas and all the other amenities you'd expect to find in a five star luxury hotel. It does come however with a price and may exceed those budget travelers pocketbooks.

If you decide to stay out in New Town then you will be about 1-3 miles away from Downtown. You can either drive into town in your rental car or take one of the many Key West taxis. Most inexpensive Hotels and Motels in New Town offer shuttle service to the Old Town area.
New Town is where you'll find many popular chain operated Key West hotels. Many of these hotels feature suites with small kitchens along with large pools, on-site restaurants and banquet facilities. Another advantage of New Town is its proximity to several large super markets. Cooking-in can greatly keep your family vacation costs down but don't miss out on the many affordable ethnic and casual restaurants that Key West has to offer. From coffee cafes to waterfront dining, Key West has it all.

So how else can I save money?

The first thing to consider when planning a trip to Key West is time of year. Off Season and High Season. High season runs from December through April and off season runs May through November. Generally, high season cost more than off season so you may choose to base your Key West travel plans accordingly. Keep in mind however, even in off season there are short spikes in prices based on the many annual Key West Events.Also, hurricane season runs June through October, but most hotels eliminate worry and provide a hurricane refund policy should your travel plans get disrupted by an unlikely storm.

For a short stay (under one week) the many Key West Hotels and Bed and Breakfasts are the way to go. Should you choose to stay longer, then look into the hundreds of Vacation Rentals that are available throughout the city of Key West. Often times you'll be able to enjoy a long term rental for the cost of one week at a conventional hotel! Many come with parking for your car, which can otherwise be difficult as well as full kitchens plus 2, 3 and even 4 bedrooms! These weekly rentals are often popular with couples who are getting married in Key West and have large families or wedding parties.

Many of the large Old Town Key West Hotels are located directly on the water and most rooms have a water view from their balcony. In addition to being situated in the center of things, these hotels almost always feature an on-site gourmet restaurants. Many hotels also have in-house water sports facilities that provide scuba, snorkel and para-sailing excursions plus fishing charters.

All of these hotels are located within walking distance to the world famous Duval Street which features dozens of Restaurants, Bars, Attractions and Key West Nightlife.
Some of the medium size Key West Hotels have recently undergone condo conversions which means that they now have full kitchens. A Key West Condo is a perfect choice for a budget vacation and has the convenience of being located in Old Town!
The choice is up to you.

Most times, the least expensive room will be located out in New Town and can range from under one hundred dollars a night an up.(based on double occupancy) Great for families as well as those who make the drive down the Overseas Highway to the bottom of the Florida Keys and arrive in Key West. Large pools, family oriented restaurants, ample parking are just some of the features these chain run hotels have to offer.

For middle range priced rooms are the charming Bed and Breakfasts as well as the numerous Key West Guest Houses. These historic accommodations are marketed more toward couples without children and some are targeted toward the gay and lesbian community. Generally these establishments run around two hundred dollars a night and up. Because they are privately owned the price can often be negotiated a little.

The highest in price are the many large, traditional Key West Hotels. These resort rooms generally begin at three hundred dollars and up peaking out around eight hundred dollars a night. Often times because of the resort size, it's possible to pick up last minute vacancies for half the original price, depending on season.

For the long term vacationer there is no doubt that a vacation rental is the right choice. These range from around five hundred to five thousand dollars a week depending on the amount of rooms, location and amenities available. Many vacation rentals feature a private pool.
So it really comes down to what you want your Key West vacation experience to be. If it's means staying right in the center of it all then Old Town is the place for you. If you're looking for a family style experience then a modern hotel or motel in New Town might be a better choice with just occasional trip into town.

If you're looking to live like a local, then pack your bags and move in to a short term rental somewhere in the city and you may never leave!

The lyrics from a song written by local Key West singer songwriter Michael McCloud says it best. "Just came down for the weekend, but that was 35 year ago."
See you in Key West, the Southernmost City in the continental United States!

Craig Grant Hollenback is Director of Photography, Vice President and co-founder of The Conch Republic Media Group in Key West, Florida. The company specializes in high definition, travel video production, website design, hosting & site maintenance, digital photography and internet marketing. Informative, entertaining video episodes, provide the latest tourist information about The Florida Keys and Key West. Visit today.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Top 10 Winter Cruise Destinations

Summer is over and its nearly that time for the winter wollies. But the good news is here we have the Top 10 winter holiday Cruise destinations for you to check out. Find out where you should go and why this winter and you can leave your hat, scarf and gloves behind:
Caribbean - Cruise the beautiful islands of the Caribbean for a totally tropical experience. Head for the Domincan Republic, Jamaica, or many many more. All islands offering clear waters, hot sunshine and a relaxed atmosphere.
Barbados - Barbados offers everything you need with unspoiled charm and sophistication. There is hot sun, warm sand, blue waters and friendly people. There is also some historic sites in Bridgetown; the island's port. Beaches are aplenty and the sun will be shining.
U.S. Virgin Islands - This popular set of islands is a hotspot for holiday cruise ship tourism. St Thomas is the port of choice for shoppers. There are many other attractions and beautiful beaches, as well. A lot of holiday cruise ships focus their trip on St .Thomas alone, and the passengers are not disappointed.
Egypt - Is a great destination for winter sun as even in December as temperatures rarely drop below 25 °C. The Red Sea Riviera is a popular choice for many holiday makers. You can go scuba-diving and snorkelling, or why not make time for a relaxing game of golf in guaranteed sunshine.
Dubai - Go to stylish Dubai for its famous beaches. You can shop till you drop in the amazing shopping malls or hang out the beautiful beaches. An exotic taste of the Middle East combined with the best of the West.
Australia / New Zealand - New Zealand had little to offer as a cruise destination, until recently. Rapidly, this area has risen in popularity contests, as its breathtaking natural jewels are second to none with its glaciers and hidden beaches.
Hong Kong - Hong Kong offers visitors some great amenities and an opportunity to understand the results of capitalism blending with communism.
Mexico - Acapulco, Puerto Vallarta and other west coast ports of call along the Mexican Riviera come alive with strong margaritas and lively bands. Those who come to relax may find the scene really energetic. November to April is the drier, less humid and not quite as hot as the summer period.
Panama Canal - The Panama Canal is perhaps the world's most amazing engineering project. This destination shows man's fingerprints on nature as the canal links two oceans and separates continents. It's pretty impressive despite the heat and humidity, but cruising the Panama Canal means you can cool off in the sea.
Northern Lights cruises - Discover Norway in the winter on an Arctic adventure in search of the Northern Lights. Sail inside massive, narrow, steep-cliffed fjords. These natural wonders are incredibly beautiful and well worth visiting.

Monday, August 31, 2009

New Attractions in Orlando Florida

The theme parks and other tourist attractions are constantly working to change, upgrade and improve their facilities in order to keep up with their competitors. The ordinary tourist is the beneficiary of this fierce competition, and this year is no exception with many parks adding new sections and rides. Here is a brief guide to some of the changes you can expect to find in the Orlando area this year. Cypress Gardens Adventure Park underwent significant renovations and now features a new water park as well a special exhibition highlighting the history of the gardens and adventure park. The animal and ride areas of the park have been closed however. You can get more information about this attraction by calling them at 863-324-2111.

A new attraction opened on the International Drive. It is the International Heli-Tours. They offer aerial tours of the entire area including Orlando, Kissimmee, the Disney Resort and the Universal Resort. They also make specialty tours which include celebrity house sightings, fireworks viewing and alligator searches. Their tours are priced at $25 and up. Call them at 407-239-8687 for more details.

WonderWorks opened a new exhibit which is designed to "challenge your mind." "Mindball" is a table top game that puts a new twist to competition, because it measures a participant's success by his or her calmness. You can win this game if you are more relaxed than your opponents.
Players and audience can watch the mental process of the games players because their brain wave activity is measured electronically and then presented on a large 53 inch monitor. Call them at 707-351-8800 for more information.

SeaWorld is one of the big attractions of Orlando and they opened a new roller coaster that takes the rider from the heights of the sky right to the surface of the sea and below. You can see underwater habitats and soar with your face down at speeds of about 60 mph and come to within inches of the water. If you don't want to ride on the roller coaster you can still enjoy this attraction by viewing the 300 rays visible in a floor to ceiling window. For more information about this ride or other sections of Seaworld call them at 407-351-3600.

Not to be outdone by SeaWorld, Universal Studios has also opened a new high-tech roller coaster. Each rider has an on-board LED screen and can choose which songs he or she wants to accompany them on the ride. On top of that, when the ride is finished you get to take home a musical video of the ride. The name of this new roller coaster is Hollywood Rip, Ride, Rockit, so if you are at Universal Studios, make sure you check out this new roller coaster.

Soaring in the air is always a lot of fun, and Walt Disney World has opened an attraction that is sure to appeal to everyone who has wanted to view the word from the vantage point of a high flying bird. This attraction is called Characters in Flight and it consists of a giant tethered helium balloon which carries up to 30 guests to an altitude of 400 feet. It is a six minute flight giving the visitor a panoramic view of Disney World and beyond and costs $16 for adults and $10 for children aged 3-9. So try out some of the new attractions if you are here for your second or third time. If you are a newcomer to Orlando, then just visit the attractions that suit your fancy.

Mark Whichard is a frequent writer on Orlando area tourism.
He is the proprietor of Orlando's Finest vacation homes and you can get great deals on Orlando Vacation Homes by visiting his website at

Monday, August 24, 2009

Why Travel Insurance is priceless?

Cost of travel insurance = Priceless

You have finally booked your holiday and here comes the obligatory question: 'Would you like to add your travel insurance?' Many of us just tend to unclick or dismiss the 'boring' bit thinking to ourselves 'It is holiday time and I'm going to just sit on the beach and have some fun. I'm healthy and whenever I've travelled before, nothing went wrong... so what could possibly go wrong now?'

In the effort to overcome ten common objections to buy travel insurance, I could mention at least twenty things that could go wrong on your summer or winter holiday! Ever heard of lost or delayed baggage or suddenly falling ill? Have any of your friends or relatives ever had to cancel their trip because of an unexpected event back at home?

Stolen cameras, passports or valuables are also quite frequent incidents whilst on your holiday.
Whether you are staying in Britain or travelling abroad, a good insurance cover is essential not just to give you peace of mind, but to financially protect you from a massive hospital bill, unexpected medical expenses or repatriation costs that could often go into sky high amounts. Adding the extra cost of travel insurance to your holiday bill has nowadays become an inevitable and educated choice.

With so many insurance products on the market we might sometimes struggle with the right choices of suitable insurance cover. This depends on many factors. First of all, it is the type of holiday and the activities you will be doing. Standard insurance policy will cover you for any typical activities like swimming, cycling and various light sports. However, if you are thinking to scuba dive or ski or do any adventure sports that bring higher risk of accident and injury, you need to declare this to your insurer. Your insurance premium will increase, but you will be covered and reimbursed for any medical associated costs should an accident occur.

The other thing to bear in mind is your age and any pre-existing medical conditions. The travel insurance policy could be more expensive for the over 65's and extra premium may be loaded if you have any pre-existing medical condition e.g. you have just recovered from a heart attack, injury or suffer from asthma. Medical screening is something that your travel agent or insurer will take care of once you have decided to purchase their policy.

What are we supposed to look for in travel insurance? A good travel insurance policy will cover you for medical expenses, public liability, lost, stolen, delayed luggage or flights, stolen valuables, cancellation and curtailment of your trip. It may also include some standard adventure sports and sports equipment cover as well as special cover for business travellers.

Some of us may think that our bank accounts, credit cards or airlines have automatically included travel insurance when we purchase our trip. This may well be the case, however it is always imperative to check what your existing policy is exactly covering you for. The former E111 or what is nowadays EHIC (European Health Insurance Card) is also a great way to access health care abroad. Medical treatment at no or reduced cost can be obtained in continental Europe, but it is only limited to certain countries and you won't be covered for any other possible incidentals.

Cheap travel insurance can always mean reduced overall cost of your holiday, however it may sometimes mean restricted or very basic cover. When purchasing your travel insurance, ask your travel agent for any recommendations of suitable policy and detailed explanation of your cover and insurance excesses. Sometimes the value of your claim may actually be smaller than the excess itself! Get a few quotes and compare the suitability of your cover to your trip and any possible exclusions. Check who the underwriters are in case you need to make a claim. Are they a reputable company?

Suitable travel insurance policy is an inseparable part of any modern traveller's trip, whether it's business or leisure, home or abroad. Often the cost of your travel insurance is negligible compared to the overall cost of your holiday and the expenses you could incur should any medical emergency occur. In this respect, purchasing a good travel insurance policy and the peace of mind it will give you, is certainly priceless.


Mark Kempster

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Booking All Inclusive Holidays Can Save You Money

Everyone deserves a nice holiday - that is no lie. However, we all know that the hassle of booking flights, hotels, taxis to and from airports, and restaurants can be a bit of an annoyance when the main purpose of a holiday is to find relaxation and peace. Fortunately, there is a way that you can avoid all of that stress by booking an all inclusive holiday, which leaves you more free time to plan your daily activities and budget whilst on holiday.

No matter what holiday destination you choose or what you plan to do there, you always have the option to save a little money by choosing an all inclusive package. Basically, an all inclusive holiday is a package deal that lumps the cost of flights, hotel, transfers, and board into one price - a price that is usually considerably lower than it would be if you chose to pay for all of these things separately. These holidays provide accommodation at resorts and hotels that offer luxurious amenities at competitive prices.

When booking an all inclusive holiday, there are three main options to choose from. Your first choice in booking is to visit a high street travel agency in your home town. A travel agent will have the ability to show you a wide variety of destinations if you are unsure of the perfect holiday destination, but they will also have a plethora of all inclusive holiday packages that meet your wants and needs. Once your decision has been made, the travel agent handles all of the booking and simply forwards the travel information on to you before you set off. Be aware that travel agents have to make money somehow, and their fees are usually hidden in the cost of booking. With that being said, you might save more by making your holiday plans online yourself. By going online and searching for all inclusive holidays, you will find many websites that give you more than enough information to choose your holiday package. All bookings can be made online, which means the entire holiday can be planned from the comforts of your own home. Finally, if you have a particular resort or hotel in mind, you can simply telephone their front desk and ask if they offer all inclusive deals. If so, you can then request information to be sent to your home. Any of these options are a fool proof way to obtain the necessary information required to book your perfect all inclusive holiday.

What are the pros and cons of all inclusive holidays? To begin with, an all inclusive holiday implies that meals and drinks including alcohol are provided by the hotel or resort in which you are staying. For a restaurant lover, this might not be the best idea and perhaps a drinks inclusive holiday would be a better choice. That means that the flights, accommodation and drinks only are covered in the same price, but meals are not. However, for a family holiday, all inclusive takes the stress and expense out of finding a restaurant two or three times a day.

Meals are not the only way that money is saved by booking an all inclusive holiday. Flights and hotels can be very expensive when booked separately, but by choosing all inclusive, you are sure to get the biggest discount by sacrificing a few minor details. For example, if everything were booked separately, this would provide more options for flight times and dates but would definitely end up costing more. This issue comes into great consideration during peak travel times, such as the summer tourist season and winter holidays. At this time, flight prices go up considerably but that is also the best time to find package holiday deals all around the world.

In short, choosing this type of holiday is a great way to remove some of the stress from your travels. All inclusive holiday packages are very common, and you will find that it is extremely simple to select a package that matches up to your travel dates and financial limitations. After all, the point of a holiday is to relax and not have to worry! By choosing a package of this nature, you will have more time and money to spend really enjoying yourself.

Author: Casper da silva

Monday, July 20, 2009

Tips on Traveling with Children

Family vacations can create long-lasting memories and fun learning experiences for parents and children alike. But traveling with children can sometimes be a test of preparedness -- and of patience. The American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA) has created a list of suggestions to help make the sometimes daunting task of preparing for a trip with the kids manageable and fun for the entire family.

BEFORE LEAVING: Create anticipation for the family trip by starting a countdown calendar with perhaps a photo or illustration of the destination. Let kids pack their own bags. Decide what type of clothing (preferably loose and comfortable), but allow them to choose their favorites and to pack a special toy. In a carry-on bag, pack some hard candies and gum, hand wipes, tissues, books, paper, markers in a small, tightly sealed plastic bag and perhaps a surprise toy for each child.

Update immunizations for the entire family. If traveling abroad, check with public health authorities for advisable additional vaccines. Depending on the destination and duration of stay, the following immunizations may be recommended (although some cannot be given to infants and young children):

Hepatitis B vaccine
Typhoid vaccine
Hepatitis A vaccine
Immune globulin
Yellow Fever vaccine
Japanese B Encephalitis vaccine
Meningococcal vaccine
Rabies vaccine

AT THE AIRPORTAllow plenty of time for check-in and also between connecting flights. Arriving early to board together prevents last minute delays and confusion, especially with the new security regulations. Be sure to have a safety plan in case anyone gets separated at the airport. Discuss where to meet and what to do.


1. Disney* - 100%2. Cruises - 41%3. Orlando - 28.2%4. Hawaii - 23.7%5. Cancun - 18.1%* includes all Disney parks and Disney Cruises Source: ASTA-member travel agents survey

Review screening procedures with children before entering security checkpoints so they will not be frightened by the process. Every person, including children and babies, must undergo screening at security checkpoints. Also, all child-related equipment must go through the X-ray machine. To speed the process along, remove children from their strollers/infant carriers and collapse/fold the equipment so it may be examined or put through the machine. When going through metal detectors, with an infant, have one parent hold the baby and walk through the machine. Do not hand off the baby under the detector, or hand the baby to the screener to hold. Children who can walk should go through the metal detector independently. For older children, it is important to stress that the process should be taken seriously and that threats made even as a joke could result in law enforcement being summoned.

ON THE FLIGHT: Bring a child/infant seat on board that meets current safety standards and is not more than 16 inches wide. The Federal Aviation Administration recommends that children weighing less than 40 pounds be placed in child/infant seats.
The best coach seats to have when flying with small children are the first row in economy class. There's a lot of legroom, and you'll be removed from most of the plane when the kids get cranky from the long flight. If the front row seats are not available, place children away from the aisle, preferably between responsible adults. Also, remember to get up, stretch and walk around with kids often during the flight, but do not allow children to walk around unsupervised.


1. Disney* - 57.4%2. Cruises - 48%3. Cancun - 36.7%4. Hawaii - 27.2%5. Orlando - 22.9%* includes all Disney parks and Disney Cruises Source: 2003 Survey of ASTA-member travel agents

Getting your seat assignment in advance can help ensure families are seated together and that children and adults will be seated next to each other. If a flight is full and obtaining seat assignments in advance is not a possibility, advise the airline personnel at the airport. The airline may need to ask other passengers to change seats so children are not seated apart from parents.
Bring bottled water to drink and lotion to apply to skin to rehydrate during the dry flight; gum, pacifiers and bottles to reduce air pressure on the children's ears; and a variety of toys in carry-on bags to keep the child's interest from waning.

IF TRAVELING BY CAR: Make it comfortable by bringing pillows and blankets. Stop frequently at rest stops to stretch and make use of restrooms. Play games like "I Spy." Make sure the car is stocked with paper, pencils, plenty of engaging toys and tapes or CDs of their favorite songs or books. Most importantly, keep children involved in the vacation process. Save everything collected on vacation - brochures, napkins, ticket stubs - and have children paste them into a scrapbook.

Plan ahead with the rental company to make sure they offer car seats and installation. If not, you'll have to bring your own in addition to a collapsible stroller. If nothing else, a simple call to the rental car company may save you the hassle of bringing along one extra piece of equipment.

ONCE THERE: Have a daily schedule planned with some flexible, free time for each family member. Provide friends or relatives with phone numbers and addresses of hotels where the family will stay, transportation information and emergency contact information. If possible, each member of the family should have a cell phone or walkie-talkie to keep in touch at all times. Coming up with an emergency plan or meeting point is also a good idea in case family members become separated.

AT THE HOTEL: Put safety first by avoiding a myriad of possible accidents. Bring outlet protectors and make a sweep of balconies and bathrooms for any potential dangers. Hide away small objects, accessible medications and cleaners children could get their hands on. Familiarize yourself with the hotel's fire and emergency evacuation routes and procedures.

SOME EXTRA PRECAUTIONS: If your vacation includes a trip to a pool, ocean, water park or any other place involving water, the number one rule is to never let children venture off alone. Even if they know how to swim, children should wear a life jacket at all times. Also, it is important to know what is in the water, such as chemicals or jellyfish. Very cold temperatures, currents, and sudden drop-offs are all things to avoid, especially with children.
Always bring a hat with a wide brim and sunscreen of at least 30 SPF to shield children's skin from the sun's harmful rays. Sun poisoning can ruin any vacation.

It is important to bring along needed medications. Diarrhea treatments (although these should not be given to very young children), pain relievers, insect repellants, antihistamines and adhesive bandages are good staples. Consult your doctor about “over the counter" remedies before using them. Bringing a doctor's number, even if traveling to a foreign country, is a good idea, as well.

To prevent diseases spread by drinking contaminated water, use only bottled or boiled water to mix formula and juices, or simply go with pre-mixed liquid formula whenever possible, if an infant is not being nursed.

MOST IMPORTANTLY...Maintain a good sense of humor while traveling to give your children a vacation to remember in spite of any unforeseen obstacles. Remember that problems do arise and accidents do happen, but being prepared and keeping ASTA's Travel Tips in mind may help avoid hassles and undue stress.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Disney Travel Tips

Taking A Family Trip To Disney World

Taking the family to Disney can be one of the happiest times you spend with your children but it can also be the hardest. The same fun which creates smiles also provokes over stimulation, exhaustion and general crankiness in both child and parent. And as with many things, big fun can also mean a big price tag. Admission into the Magic Kingdom for a family of four costs almost $200 for one day without any discounts or special rates. Add on sodas, snacks, souvenirs, hotel and travel to and from Orlando and your Disney World vacation can leave you wishing upon a star.

Seasoned parents will tell you that there are secrets to maximizing the magic of your Disney World vacation. Here are just a few:

Stay at one of the Disney hotels located on the Monorail Although the transportation system within Disney is easy to navigate, accommodations located on the monorail system allow you to get back to your room quickly and with few stops. Nap time is easy to fit into the schedule when you are only one monorail stop away. For family with older children, the close proximity of your room provides a level of comfort when the family decides to split up or when a teenager wants to stay in the park long after you've gone back to shower. Disney offers three properties with direct access to the monorail: Contemporary Hotels, The Polynesian Hotel and The Floridian.

Gain early access to the park by staying at a Disney hotel Staying at a Disney hotel comes with Guest privileges. Each day, Disney offers early admission into Guests who stay at a Disney property. This privilege allows you to get the most popular rides out of the way prior to the park opening to the public. For early risers, try booking a breakfast with the Characters in the park at The Crystal Palace or Cinderella's Castle.

Begin at the back of the park It's a known fact that people will stop at the first attraction they reach so start at the back and work forward. For parents with young children it's wise to ride Dumbo's ride as early as possible. The line is always long later in the day. Leave the shows and indoor attractions for the hottest part of the day when you'll appreciate the cool air conditioning.
Discover Disney fun outside of the park This is easiest to do with younger children. There are plenty of fun things to do outside of the parks. Take the bus over to Fort Wilderness Campground for some free fun. There is a general store, over-sized petting zoo and several well designed playgrounds. In the evening, try the Mickey character dinner at the Contemporary hotel. Book your reservations so that dinner will be over at 8:45pm and then take a walk outside to the parking lot. From the Valet stand you will have the best and least crowded view of the Magic Kingdom's Fireworks. (Make sure to confirm the days and times of fireworks.)

Take a break A full day at Epcot, The Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom or MGM Studios can take a great deal of energy. You'll find that the day will be more enjoyable if you leave the park at midday to recharge your batteries with a short nap or dip in the hotel pool. Re-enter the park late afternoon when others are leaving or having dinner. You'll find the lines will be shorter and you'll be more tolerant too.

Purchase multiple day passes Disney admission passes never expire and it's always cheaper to purchase multiple day park passes. Use what you need on this visit and save the card for future trips. Florida residents have the opportunity to save on tickets in the off-seasons. Visit for complete pricing on admissions and vacation packages.

Buy your Disney t-shirts prior to arriving at the park Visit your local Wal-Mart, Target or K-Mart prior to leaving for the land of Mickey. You are certain to find a t-shirt of your child's favorite character on a sale rack. Surprise your kids with a new shirt while unpacking. They'll feel like they've received a souvenir and you'll be pleased with your frugal accomplishment

Friday, June 26, 2009

Passport Confusion

Passport Confusion:

On June 1 requirements for travel- US returning home from Canda, Mexico, the Caribbean or Bermuda, by land or sea, will be required to present one of the travel documents listed below:

Passport Book : This is an internationally recognized travel document that verifies a
person’s identity and nationality. It is accepted for travel by air, land
and sea.

US Passport Card: This is a new, limited-use travel document that fits in your wallet and
costs less than a U.S. Passport. It is only valid for travel by land and sea.

Children: Beginning June 1, 2009, U.S. and Canadian citizen children under age 16 arriving by land or sea from contiguous territory may also present an original or copy of his or her birth certificate, a Consular Report of Birth Abroad, a Naturalization Certificate, or a Canadian Citizenship Card.


Thursday, June 11, 2009

New Identification needed for Travel

Secure Flight and You Beginning in mid-2009, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) will require you to provide your: full name; date of birth; and, gender as shown on the identification document that you plan to present at airport security check-points. Providing this information is not optional and should be presented at the time of booking.

The purpose of collecting this information is to allow TSA to perform terrorist watch list matching that is currently being done by each airline. Failure to provide the required elements in advance could: (1) inhibit your ability to get a boarding pass either at home or at the airport until the information has been provided; and, (2) require you to undergo additional airport security screening.

If you have a name similar to, or the same as, a name on the current terrorist watch list, and have experienced secondary screening at airports, you will have the option of providing your Redress Number at the time of booking to prevent secondary security screening. A Redress Number is a unique number that helps TSA eliminate watch list misidentification. If you encounter watch list misidentifications, you can go to to apply for a Redress Number.

Contact your travel agent to update your profile with your full name, date of birth and gender. Also provide your Redress Number if you have one.
You should begin making reservations using your full name and, when applicable, provide your date of birth and gender. All data elements should match exactly the ID you plan to present at the airport. For example, if your state-issued drivers license lists your name as Anthony Q Public, then your reservation must be booked as Anthony Q Public, not Tony Q Public or A. Quinn Public. If your full middle name is on the ID, you must include your full middle name in the reservation.

Verify your name on your frequent traveler profiles. If you signed up for frequent traveler programs using a nick name or a name other than your name as shown on your identification, you should contact each frequent traveler program to update your name to match Secure Flight's full name requirement. For example, frequent traveler program participant Tony Q Public should update his frequent flyer profiles to Anthony Q Public so that he does not jeopardize receiving credit when traveling under his full name as required by Secure Flight.

If you use your state-issued ID card for some trips and your passport for other trips, check to see if the names match exactly, as passports often include full middle names and a state issued ID cards may only include a middle initial. If the names do not match exactly, for each trip you must remember to use the name format of the identifying document that you plan to use.

Be sure to bring your valid government-issued documentation when flying.

Visit for updates on Secure Flight.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009


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Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Disney Cruises

Disney Cruises - Not Just For Families

Living in a frozen wonderland gets tired in the months of February and March. So, we plan a winter "getaway" every year. It also gives me an excellent opportunity to test sunscreens that I'll recommend to my patients this year.
"Where do you want to go this year, dear," I asked my wife.
"I don't know. What about you?" she replied "Disneyworld,"
I said, not waiting a second. "We've been there. Let's go on a cruise," she retorted "O.K. Let's do a Disney cruise,"
I replied "Are you sure? There's lots of kids on that boat." "No, a Disney cruise is for everyone." "O.K. Just get me away from the cold." Then I asked my 17 year old daughter, "What do you think about a Disney Cruise?" She said, "Any cruise is good. Can I bring a friend?" "OF course" So it was set. I phoned the Disney help desk, booked two balcony suites for a western Caribbean cruise about the Disney Wonder' one for my wife and I, and one for our 17 year old daughter andher friend, Christine.

Getting There
Disney cruises leave from Cape Canaveral - 50 minutes from Orlando. Conveniently, Disney arranges bus transportation from the airport to the cruise ship. So they have most things well in hand.

The Embarkment Procedure
When we arrived at the embarkment center, we were issued into a line. The line moved quickly - ten minutes tops.
They checked our identification papers, then sent us to the line to get our "key to the world cards." Then we were off to the ship. The girls went on to explore. My wife and I waited for the luggage to arrive, which didn't take long, and when it did, we unpacked. This is one of the best features of cruising - you only unpack once, regardless of the number of destinations you go to.

The Ship
The ship that does the longer cruises is the Disney Magic. It's sister ship, the Disney Wonder does the shorter 3 and 4 day cruises.
The moment you cross the gangway, you are welcomed and over the public address system. Each is equipped to provide its 2700 passengers with a full range of services - from bingo to classic Disney Broadway style shows.
And all of the service is provided by thousands of cast members from dozens of countries around the world. For example, our dinner server, Jacob was from the Czech republic and Assistant waiter was Esther from Hungary.
Disney makes a point to everyone - its 877 rooms have 25% more space than the industry average.
And the ship is designed to lure adults, teenagers, children and young adults to their areas and activities. My teenage daughter and her friend loved the area reserved for teenagers. It's called the stack and provided a great area for them to hang out in.
But other activities include a Wide World of Sports Deck (deck 10), a 10,700 foot spa, a children's club, dining and dancing areas, a movie theatre and a grand stage. But don't bother to look for a casino - you won't find one on a Disney ship.
You can never be bored - I dare you.
But there are more activities - for each and every age group

Bars and Lounges
From stylish spots with live piano requests to bars where you can watch your favorite sports event, Disney has a number of options for you.


Character Breakfast
A not to be missed special event, where you can meet the characters up close. Always held in Parrots Cay, Be sure to bring your camera. Although other options exist to get photos with Mickey, Donald, Goofy and Minny, this is often your best opportunity. Warning - the noise level is high, the atmosphere exuberant. Captains Gala Dress up in your finery to enjoy this event. It's a great night to get a photo with the Captain, or the first mate.

Information Provided by:
Dr Barry Lycka

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

New York City Travel

Your New York City travel adventure will be quite a walk on the wild side. You'll be able to indulge your adventurous side as you make your way through the historical neighborhoods and chic local spots including Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens, New York. No matter what you envisioned after seeing it in your favorite movies and shows, New York is the destination you must experience yourself before deciding.