Saturday, November 5, 2011

Obtaining the Right Holiday Travel Package

Because traveling during the holidays is stressful since almost everyone else in the world is traveling, it is beneficial to plan and/or book ahead and get to your destination early to avoid all the hassle; however, if you’re one to book at the last minute or if you’re someone who can’t seem to avoid it, the following tips can help you for a better journey and possibly save on your stay.

Holiday travel packages are never made with only one person in mind because no two people are alike.  Keep this in mind because the travel agencies that packaged them keeps this in mind and uses this fact to negotiate your way into cheaper or sometimes better deals.  Even with ready-made packages, you can ask for additional bonuses if you plan to stay for a longer period. 

Be careful with travel agents.  Travel agents can give you the best deal for your package, which normally includes airfare, hotel stay, and transportation, but a really good agent can be flexible.  An example would be if you want a rental car for the first half of your trip but you don’t want it for the second half; in this case a good agent can arrange this for you, sometimes for a cheaper price.

Be sure that the package you want is available.  You don’t want to get pulled into something that ends up being sold out.  Some people offer too-good-to-be-true packages which end up being “sold out” in the end, so before you make a deal or put down a deposit, make sure that it is still available.

Be sure to know exactly what airline and route your taking.  You don’t want those unpleasant layovers which can be a real pain, not to mention delay your schedule.

An example of a good package is one that is very flexible.  As previously mentioned, no two people are alike, and a good package should reflect that.  It should allow you to choose between destinations, as well as brands and lodgings without changing the price.  The right to choose which rental car you want is also a sign of a good package.

Finally, it’s a good idea to request discounts that you could get for like staying at a certain hotel for a certain period of time or booking online instead of by phone.  Research before you make a down payment, and make sure you’ve explored all possible discounts before deciding on a package. 

These tips will help you choose the right holiday travel package and make your holiday travel more enjoyable.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Travel Tips to European Countries: Germany

Because it is October and Oktoberfest is in full swing, I feel it is appropriate to write about travel tips to Germany.

About Germany

The Federal Republic of Germany is the most influential country of Europe.  It has witnessed the most controversial events in history, such as Nazism, the Holy Roman Empire, and the building and demolition of the Berlin wall.  Art and culture is abundant with its many magnificent castles.  German is the widely spoken language in German; however, outsiders can find many English speaking locals, especially in common tourist destinations.


The weather in Germany is very unpredictable as rain is possible during many months of the year, so pack accordingly.  April and May is in full bloom of fruits and flowers, while the period from May to September has gorgeous weather with sunny skies and offers the best time for traveling and sightseeing.  People with a passion for swimming, hiking, and cycling can have the best time during these months.  Travelers can take pleasure in winter sports from November to early March.  During the winter months, from six to eight months, temperatures are below freezing and the days are too short.

Local Customs

Locals greet each other by a handshake and saying Guten Tag.  To say goodbye, people use Auf Wiedersehen.  Guests are expected to bring uncovered and an odd number of flowers, especially roses, when visiting someone’s home.  Guests are welcomed with either food or refreshments, and at the table, hosts say Guten Appetit to which the guests should reply with Ebenfalls.  Smoking should be avoided in public areas.  Locals dress informally, but certain occasions such as opera, theatre, certain restaurants, and social functions call for formal wear.


220 V, 50 Hz

Moving Around

The best way to get around is to purchase Welcome Cards or city passes, which allow customers to access unlimited bus facilities in many German cities.  These passes also give special offers on certain tourist attractions.  For flexibility one can rent a car or go for chauffer driven rides.  Along with rent, VAT of 16% is payable.  Car insurance should be available before hand in case of any accident, and the speed limit within the cities is mostly 50kph and 100kph on the highways.

Nine stars

The nine stars of Southwest Germany comprise of Baden-Baden, Freiburg, Heidelberg, Karlsruhe, Heilbronn, Mannheim, Pforzheim, Stuttgart, and Ulm.  They are considered to be some of the beautiful cities of Europe; each city playing a vital role in Germany’s culture.  For one, Baden-Baden has some of the finest resorts and also has Europe’s second largest opera and concert hall.  Secondly, Freiburg is known for its historic city center and is famous for cobblestone mosiacs, open streams, and ancient alleys.  Next, Heidelberg has world famous castles and Germany’s oldest university.  Also, Karlsruhe has the famous museum Center for Art and Media.  Look out for various amusements along the Nectar river of Heilbronn.  Furthermore, Pforzheim is the capital for watches and jewelry.  In addition, Stuttgart is famous for its theatres and opera.   Finally, Ulm is the birth place of Albert Einstein and is also house to the world’s tallest hurch spire.


Lufthansa is the national airline that serves Germany.  Berlin-Tegel airport is situated at 8 km from the city and it takes about 20 minutes to get there.  The airport includes duty free shops, banks, post office, eateries, conference hall, and car rental and tourist information for passengers.

Another busy airport is the Frankfurt airport which is located at 13km from that city.  Buses take about 20 minutes to get there, and taxis are available any time.  The Intercity Railway Network at the airport also provides international services to Hungary, Switzerland, and Austria.  The facilities include duty free shops, left luggage, restaurants, banks, conference halls, post office, car hire, and tourist information.  Departure tax is not levied on passengers.

Those wishing to travel by sea can access ferry connections to Finland, Lithuania, The Netherlands, Latvia, and Norway.

Eurostar provides railway service to and from Belgium, France, and the United Kingdom; you can book by telephone.  The Inter-Rail offers unlimited second class train travel within 29 European countries.  Also, the Eurailpass offers unlimited first class train travel within 17 European countries.

EuroCity and InterCity trains have a restaurant on board, providing food and drinks.  InterCity Express targets the business class and provides services such as fully equipped office, conference compartments, wifi, etc.  Tourists over 17 years of age can carry alcohol and tobacco within permissible limits.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Visiting Popular Summer Vacation Destinations On a Budget

If you are like most other individuals and families, your finances may be tight; many families are scraping by and others are on the verge of debt.  If this sounds familiar, a summer vacation may be the last thing on your mind, but if you and your family are interested in taking a summer vacation, you can, no matter your financial situation. 

When choosing a budget summer vacation destination, it is important that you do not limit yourself.  There are too many individuals searching for a vacation destination solely based on price.  Instead of searching for only low-cost vacations, you should search for the vacation destination of your dreams.  Once you carefully examine the hotels, restaurants, amusement parks, or beaches that your selected destination has to offer, you can easily figure how and where you can save money.    

If the beach sounds like the perfect summer vacation destination, you have options.  Popular beaches that are designed for those on a budget may include, but are not limited to, Virginia Beach, Pensacola Beach, and Long Beach.  You can plan a beach vacation in the Caribbean or overseas; however, the cost of travel will likely increase the cost of your vacation. 

Virginia Beach, Pensacola Beach, Daytona Beach, Myrtle Beach, Destin, and Long Beach are all known as vacation “hotspots”.  Many individuals assume that the most popular beach destinations are too expensive.  While some facilities and activities may be costly, there are ways to vacation there on a budget.  Instead of staying at an ocean-side resort, you could save by booking an inland hotel.  The same can be said for restaurants, bars, and event centers.  Almost everything costs more on the shore.   
If you are in golfing, you may want to examine the golf resorts in and around the Untied States.  Many popular golf courses are located in Myrtle Beach, Newport Beach, and Scottsdale.  If you are on a budget it would be beneficial to purchase a resort package.  Many popular golf resorts in the United States, Europe, and the Caribbean offer packages that include travel, hotel stays, golf course visits, and dining. 

Golf resorts are popular vacation destinations for many individuals, but many can be expensive.  If you are unable to obtain a discount vacation package but still want a golf vacation, you have options.  Many golf resorts allow vacationers to play on their courses, even if they are not staying at the resort.  It is also possible to golf at well-known courses that are not resorts.  As with a beach vacation, you may be able to save money by staying at a hotel or dinning away from a golf resort.

Theme parks and amusement parks are also popular vacation destinations, especially for those with children.  If you and your family are interested in vacationing at a theme park, again, you have options.  Theme park resorts are similar to golf resorts.  A large number of well-known theme parks, including Orlando Studios, Disneyland, and Disney World can be selected, even if you are on a budget.  Many of these resorts offer vacation packages that include hotel stays, theme park use, onsite dinning, and much more. 

Theme park resort packages are a great way to save money, but you could save even more by not paying for services you will not use.  If you choose not to fly to reach your destination you would not need travel accommodations included in your package.  You may also be able to find less expensive hotel accommodations that are just a short distance away from your chosen theme park.  In addition to theme park resorts, you can find days of fun at smaller parks, such as Six Flags, Sea World, and Bush Gardens.

You may recognize many of the above mentioned summer vacation destinations.  Popular vacation destinations do not have to be financially out of reach.  Simply by cutting a few corners, you could vacation along side the rest of America, even while on a budget. 

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Tuesday, June 7, 2011

On the Road

It the 1950s, when car travel was pretty much the norm, a real mystic developed about taking road trips.  It was during that time, when the interstate highway systems were being developed in America that the famous “Route 66” came into being.  Before too long “Route 66” became a metaphor for getting out and seeing America.  That is really when the idea of sightseeing and trying to take in the really great things this country has to offer became possible.

That popular mythology of getting out there and discovering the world of America surfaced in many popular ways.  The book “On the Road” by Jack Kerouac, while about more than just travel and sightseeing, spoke to an exploding need and desire in all Americans to better know their country face to face.  A little later that urge to travel that was bubbling to the surface in all kinds of ways became more popularized by a TV show “Route 66”.

That part of being American which comes out as the urge to travel and see everything there is to see is part of our patriotism, but it is also a big part of the American spirit of adventure that brought our ancestors over here from the home country.  The courage and desire to explore is just part of what makes Americans tick, and it is one of the many reasons we love to get out there and see everything we can.

That desire to get out there “on the road” is just as much part of how you and I as Americans tick today as it was when travel was new.  Even though we have ample travel options especially by air, there is something irreplaceable about driving across the country, discovering its amazing sights from the front seat of an automobile.

So if you think I am suggesting you actually plan a cross country car safari for nothing more than the sheer joy of being “on the road again”, you are exactly right!  When we talk about the great sightseeing high spots in America, it’s easy to talk about the big ones such as the Washington Monument or Niagara Falls, but there are hundreds of tucked away sights that are a sheer delight to “discover” when you just come across them in your cross country car trip. 

Small towns and out of the way highways and byways have some unique and unforgettable sights of their own.  Those still current and former U.S. Highways that are now bypassed by the interstates have a lot of history to them that you can discover as you drive down them.  Think of how you will wow your friends when you come back from your road trip adventure with pictures of...

*        The strange but oddly beautiful Cadillac Ranch of song fame.  As you drive along the badlands of Texas, don’t drive off the road when you look out and see a field full of Cadillacs buried upside down in the Texas soil back ends sticking up like some bizarre experiment in farming. 

*        An off the road spot where you can actually mine for gold in the black hills of South Dakota.

*        A desert in the middle of Oklahoma with sand dunes suitable for dune buggy rides.

*        A massive replica of the pyramids of Egypt, and you don’t need a turban to see it.  Just take a few minutes off from the Grand Ol' Opry and visit this sight in the heart of Nashville Tennessee.

The fun sights you can see on a road trip across the majestic expanse of America will be sights that will stand out in your mind as much as the great and very well known sights that everybody enjoys.  Also, don’t be surprised if you see a look of envy in your friend’s eyes when they realize you were the one who had the guts to get out there and put your tires to the road and discover America all over again.

Smart Picks of the Month: Road Trip Destinations!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Top Beach Vacation Spots

No matter the season, taking a beach vacation is both fun and relaxing.  There are many beaches all over the world to choose.  You can choose from a white sandy beach, a lava rock beach, a secluded beach, or a popular beach - the choice is entirely up to you.

To help you decide where you would like to take your beach vacation, here are a few of the top locales for beach vacations:

1.  Polo Beach - Hawaii

The Polo Beach of Hawaii is a sandy beach with clear water, making it ideal for swimming and snorkeling.  It is located in South Maui and fronted by the Fairmont Kea Lani Maui, a luxury beach vacation resort.

2.  Seven Mile Beach - Jamaica

The Seven Mile Beach of Negril is the longest stretch of white sand in Jamaica.  Located near Negril on the western tip of Jamaica, this beach is truly an awesome sight to behold.  Here, you can find your favorite stretch of beach and coconut palm trees and just relax near the ocean.  You can also stay at the Caves, which is located very close to the beach.

3.  Atlantis Paradise - Bahamas

Here, you can experience the white sandy beaches of the Caribbean.  Atlantis Paradise allows you long romantic walks on the beach or the chance to play in the water at the resort.  This paradise offers a tropical climate with your own personal slice of heaven - something every beach lover will truly appreciate.

4.  Heron Island - Australia

Located on the Great Barrier Reef, Heron Island offers excellent swimming and snorkeling with truly amazing marine life.  The tropical island of Heron offers scuba divers over 20 different diving sites.  You can forget the stress of everyday life here and just immerse yourself in wonder. 

5.  Madeira - Portugal

The beach here at Reid's Palace Hotel is quite the rocky beach, with sharp black rocks.  You can spend time lounging by the pool taking in the views, or swimming in the ocean.  The weather here is pleasant most of the year, making your beach vacation something you'll remember for a long time to come.

6.  Miami Beach

A great spot for movie stars and fashion models, Miami Beach offers plenty of sandy beaches, several restaurants, and night-long parties at one of the local nightclubs.  If you are looking for the ideal place to stay, The Tides is a luxurious hotel with many spectacular views.  Miami Beach is also popular in the United States - one of the best beach vacations out there.

These are just a few of the top beach destinations out there.  Do some research and learn about many more places you can take your beach vacation.
Smart Picks of the Month: Beach Destinations!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Tips on How to Get the Most off a Budget Car Rental

Budget car rentals are a traveler’s savior from being stranded in one place and also from expensive taxi rides, but with today’s competitive market, I wouldn’t be surprised that by trying to rent a car you end up renting a lawnmower instead.  Well maybe not a lawnmower, but sometimes, well most of the time, the people that assist you in car rentals just don’t have your best interest in mind.  This means you may end up paying a truckload of money for a pool of frustrations.  To avoid this here are a few tips to get the budget out of Budget car rental.

1. If you’re not choosy with a budget car rental, try to get a budget car rental through sites that let you rent cars at your own price.  These firms will try to get the best deal for the car that you can get and might just toss in unlimited mileage and upgrades, all of that without spending an extra dime over budget.

2. Look for package deals, fly-drive-stay, or fly-drive.  Most of these packages offer great discounts for rentals, but don’t do it with an airline because airlines, although convenient, aren’t really the more economic way to go.  Their budget car rental prices are hardly budget, and they tend to be higher than those of outside firms.

3. Use the internet to reserve a rental car.  Ah, the internet, what other good does it provide?  Yes there are budget car rentals on the internet that can give you a better bargain.  Some budget car rental sites even go as far as internet only discounts.  Aside from that you can easily get upgrades, and depending on the season, at least one rental company is bound to have a special offer that can help you save money.  In addition, you can rent a car in the comfort of your own home.  Beat that!

4. Ask for discounts that can be applicable to you.  Remember, even when you’ve scored the best deal, there is still that one last ditch of a possibility that one of your credit cards support the company and provide discounts or that your frequent flyer program or military service can put that budget in budget car rental.  It’s along shot but its worth a try.

5. Most budget car rentals are low on maintenance so when you rent a car, check all sides for damage, and I mean every side and every nook and cranny of that car.  Make sure to inform the renter of these so you won’t have to pay for damages once you return the car.  In addition, try to check out all the accessories, wipers, radio, brakes, seatbelts, etc. to familiarize yourself with them, and also to check to make sure they work.  Like the previous tip, you might be charged for this if you don’t inform them.

6. Now we pass the subject of insurance.  Sometimes your own car insurance covers car rentals, so take a look at your policy you buy insurance from the rental company.  Budget car rental insurance doesn’t cost much, but if you already have one why buy another?  Car rental insurance is always required when you rent a car.

7. Another money saving tip is to pick up your car early in the morning, at the time near when the location is just opening.  This is because at this time most of the budget car rentals haven’t been returned yet, and you may get an upgrade for a lower price.

These are valuable tips to keep in mind, especially with gas prices as high as they are because the price of car rentals can go up due to the high gas prices.  This means the car rental companies may increase the prices of options that may come with the rental.  Therefore, you should do your research before you make your car rental reservation.
Save up to 35% on Budget Car Rentals! - Expires 12/31/2011

Friday, April 22, 2011

Have Your Exhilarating Cruise Travel with Norwegian Cruise Lines

Are you becoming increasingly bored with work? Do you think that your life has suddenly turned quite dull and dim?

Well, if you have never been on a cruise before then this might just be the kind of adventure you are looking for. If you think your life is turning a little bit monotonous, then brighten it up by going on a cruise on one of the well-known cruise lines.

Are you curious yet? Then you are in for a treat! This is what you can do to add more spice and adventure to your life.

Going on a cruise is a totally big and unique experience. You should be aware of certain things though in order to get the most out of the experience.

Cruise lines enable you to travel on a cruise ship, which will run a specific course depending on the number of days or the package you have purchased. There are seasonally run cruises as well as year-round ones.

You will also need to decide what particular theme of cruise ship you wish to embark. Usually, your choice will depend on the cruise line’s offerings and packages. If your option is to go freestyle as a getaway from your job’s lackluster routine and the overall monotonous pattern of your life, then the Norwegian Cruise Lines may just be the cruise line to perk up your life like never before.

If you are not yet familiar with it, the Norwegian Cruise Line is a premier cruise line, with ten large and modern ships in its fleet. The Norwegian Star is its most luxurious ship that makes seasonal alternate trips to Alaska during the summer season and to the Mexican Riviera during winter season.

The Norwegian Cruise Line has recently introduced its cruise feature of free-style dining. Historically, from a cruise’s usual features, shipboard dining included structured affairs conducted by having meals served at preset hours. There is also assigned seating in the dining room with a dress code.

Norwegian Cruise Lines made the bold step of breaking free from this structured setting. Their free-style dining features match the contemporary American dining lifestyle.

The passengers can decide where they want to dine, and they can choose from eight to a dozen dining areas on board. They can also eat what they wish.

There are dining areas that serve cafeteria-style. As we all know cafeteria-style is when food is already prepared. Causally-dressed passengers can just take a tray, take the food items they desire, and sit down casually for the meal, or go elsewhere for it.

Meanwhile there are also main dining areas for people who would like restaurant style based meals with full table service. Jeans, shorts, and other casual attire are usually prohibited during the course of the evening meal.

Although you will take the option of whatever you like, you are assured of getting your money’s worth. The quality and presentation of all food items on the Norwegian Cruise Line Freestyle Dining tops even its own reputation for well-prepared meals and excellent service.

If you would like to stuff yourself full with sumptuous meals, then you will get what you hope for!

The Norwegian Cruise Line also has specialty restaurants on every ship they operate. The meals in these restaurants will not rip you off either. They offer quality meals at additional cost.

If you prefer Asian, French, Japanese, or Italian cuisine, you will be satisfied because even the furnishings of these restaurants are suitably decorated according to their theme.

Norwegian Cruise Lines food offerings in all their dining rooms and cafeteria are already included in the price of the cruise.

Although it is understood that the food service is one of the major attractions on any cruise travel, Norwegian Cruise Line also has very different cruise features for many adventurous cruise travelers.

They have a full range of on-board activities 24 hours a day. For those who are interested in staying in shape during their vacation cruise, there are fitness centers on board.

There is also the pool area, a source of live entertainment, bars, and lounge and disco areas. Even the cruise’s theater entertainment is also in the overall cruise price.

Every day of your cruise will be a revelation and a series of pleasure and excitement when you are on board the Norwegian Cruise Lines’ ship. You can check it out online for more information.

Norwegian Cruises up to 60% off PLUS up to $100 onboard credit! - Expires 4/30/2011