Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Five Tiny House Vacations You May Want to Try

Have you seen and heard all of the 'hub bub' about tiny house living and wondered if it’s right for you? An easy way to dip a toe in the water and see how you like it is to take a tiny house vacation. Here are five recommended tiny houses you can visit and see if you can go tiny. 

Tiny House
Fireside Resort in Jackson Hole, Wyo offers 20 Wheelhaus (http://wheelhaus.com/) tiny house cabins
for rent only minutes away from downtown Jackson and Grand Teton National Park. These 400 square foot cabins offer a bedroom with king bed, a living room with a hide-a-bed, a bathroom and a kitchen with additional covered deck space. The beauty of this tiny house vacation is you can truly purchase a Wheelhaus cabin for yourself and have it delivered to you. So, this tiny house vacation literally allows you to test drive a tiny house before buying one. http://www.firesidejacksonhole.com/

Tree House
Out'n'About Treesort in Cave Junction, Oregon offers treehouse living on 36 acres next to the Siskiyou National Forest. Activities at the resort include ziplines and Tarzan swings as well as horseback rides and river rafting. http://treehouses.com/joomla/index.php/treesort

Moab Under Canvas offers a range of accommodations in Moab, Utah including Tipi tent rentals. Tipi tents come equipped with camp cots, mattress padding, sleeping bags, pillows, blankets, towels, safari chairs, a small table and a lantern. With tipi bathrooms close at hand, all you need to do is bring your toothbrush.http://www.moabundercanvas.com/glamping.html

TreeBones Resort offers unique lodging and dining on California’s Big Sur Coast with expansive views in all directions. The 16 yurts have queen sized beds, small table and chairs, reading lights and plenty of hooks for hanging your gear. There is a sink vanity with hot and cold running water in each yurt. Resort amenities include a restaurant and spa with ocean kayaking and hiking available in the area. http://www.treebonesresort.com/yurts/

Wall Tent
The Resort at Paws Up sits on a ranch along the Blackfoot River in Western Montana. Paws Up offers
six different ‘tent cities’ each offering four, two-bedroom tents and two, one-bedroom tents. All tents have ensuite bathrooms and each ‘tent city’ has a dining pavilion.

Downsizing and “Living Large with Less” as the Wheelhuas slogan says has captured the attention of many and these five tiny house vacations offer the perfect way to see if it’s right for you.

Friday, July 10, 2015

Fantastic Fall Travel Deals

Fall is a great time to travel, and in the travel biz, we call it “shoulder season” as it comes between
the popular summer vacation time and the holiday travel season. Whether you are looking for colored leaves, one last beach getaway, beer galore or an outdoor adventure, here are a few suggestions on great places to go this fall.

Portland, OR
Fall is amazing time to visit Portland. They have their lush evergreens trees, as well as the maples, elms and other deciduous trees that change colors in the fall, so you can enjoy the color and greenery that is visually stunning. Although known to be rainy, fall in Portland is the perfect time to visit. The Portland restaurant scene is big on using locally-grown, seasonal food, so you will find lots of menu offerings that feature pumpkins and butternut squash, along with other gourds. You will also find fresh, wild salmon and albacore tuna on the menus. It’s also harvest time for the wineries. Not many people know that Oregon is home to the nation’s 4th largest wine producing region with more than 400 wineries; some that are just a 20-minute drive from Portland. It’s a very outdoorsy city and known for its high population of bicyclists. The residents love to share Portland with visitors, so you can always find a helpful local to point you in the right direction.

This fall, the Portland Perks Package is being offered via Travel Portland. Thirty-five hotels offer their best rates and free breakfast on the Travel Portland website(www.TravelPortland.com). Plus, travelers can get extra values like 2 for 1 dinners at Portland’s best restaurants, 2 for 1 tickets at theater, free admission to art and cultural attractions. Plus, Oregon has no sales tax, so you automatically save about up to 10% on hotel stays and shopping (great place to start holiday shopping).

Seaside, FL
Just because summer is coming to a close doesn’t mean you have to give up the beach. Seaside, Florida, which is located along Northwest Florida’s Emerald Coast, was named one of the top destinations in the world by Frommer’s and listed by Travel & Leisure Magazine as one of 100 Greatest Trips in the world. If it looks familiar, that’s because it served as the location for the movie The Truman Show starring Jim Carey. With the new Panama City airport, it is easy to get to Seaside. Just fly into Panama City and enjoy the easy, 45-minute drive. As you enter Seaside along Highway 30A, you will feel as if you stepped back in time as a real sense of community is fostered here among visitors and residents alike.

And this fall is a particularly great time to visit Seaside as the Cottage Rental Agency (www.CottageRentalAgency.com) is offering a “250 Reasons” promotion: book a new 3 night reservation (or longer) for a stay completed by September 30, 2010 and receive a $250 gift card good for future travel on Southwest Airlines! Cottages range from studios to 6 bedroom houses; the more people in your group, the more savings.

Seaside has a lot to offer...there are cute Airstream trailers that sell everything from cupcakes to cocktails, boutique shopping, beach dining, white sandy beaches and a friendly atmosphere that make this the perfect destination anytime of year.

Munich, Germany
When you hear Oktoberfest, you automatically think Germany. This year, Munich’s Oktoberfest runs Sept. 18 - Oct. 4 where you can find all the German food and beer that you could ever imagine. Oktoberfest in Munich, Germany is also Europe's largest beer-drinking festival drawing six to seven million visitors a year and the Largest People’s Fair in the World! The participants consume more than six million liters of beer (you can only order beer by the liter)! Plus, Munich is one of the easiest European city cities for Americans to travel as signs are often in English and most people speak fluent English. Direct flights from the US to Munich are available and start around $600.

Ludus Tours (www.LudusTours.com) is offering their Oktoberfest package, which starts at about $1,000 and includes:
3 nights in a hotel category of your choice (3 or 4 star)
Reservation in a Oktoberfest beer tent w/food & beer
Welcome Bavarian group dinner
City bike tour
Excursion to Neuschwantein Castle
Personal guide assistance through out the client's stay in Munich

Costa Rica
For a different kind of fall “leaf peeping, a hike through Costa Rica’s rainforest jungle is sure to be a fabulous fall vacation. Other Costa Rica activities include: surfing, river rafting, diving, fishing, beautiful beaches and horse back riding. Now is a great time to visit as the Marriott Costa Rica Collection is offering 50% savings on rooms + daily included spa treatments and adventure tours during Green Season. (Green Season runs May - November, and is marked by sunny mornings and rainy afternoons that leave the landscape beautifully green.)

In its new "Green Season Package" the resorts are including:
- Daily adventure tours like rainforest hikes and zip lining (perfect for sunny mornings)
- Daily spa treatments in its brand new luxury spas (perfect for rainy afternoons)
- Daily breakfast
- Accommodations
Rates start at only $276 per night. Valid through October 31st.

PHOTO: Oktoberfest in Munich, Germany.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Pools to Plunge This Summer

You cannot think of summer and not think of pool time.  And with that, we found a few of the best pools to plunge this summer.  From Florida to Puerto Rico to Mexico, don't miss these incredible pools. 

Casa Marina, A Waldorf Astoria Resort (Key West, FL)
Elegantly located on 1,100 feet of private beachfront near the southernmost point of the U.S., Casa Marina, A Waldorf
 Astoria Resort in the Florida Keys, has everything guests need for a relaxing day in the sun. Whether lounging at either outdoor tropical pool – one reserved for adults only and one for families – guests are treated to the resort’s pool and beach concierge pampering services with chaises, umbrellas and towels. Additional perks include fresh fruit at 10 a.m., drink of the day samples at 12 p.m., popsicles at 2 p.m., and chilled eucalyptus towels at 4 p.m. Food and drinks are also served poolside from the resort’s Sun Sun Bar & Grill including the resort’s signature cocktail, the Casa Key Lime Coolada.      

Las Casitas Village, A Waldorf Astoria Resort (Fajardo, Puerto Rico)
Guests in the secluded accommodations of Las Casitas Village, A Waldorf Astoria Resort in Puerto Rico, enjoy
exclusive access to three private pools including the magnificent Bahia Azul Infinity Pool perched 300 feet over the Atlantic Ocean. Set on a stunning cliff-top, the luxurious pool is complimented by swaying palms, the sound of surf rolling ashore and a gentle breeze flowing through lush gardens. In addition, guests here enjoy 24-hour resort butler service. Complimentary towel service is also offered. Start the day overlooking the tranquil Las Casitas Village infinity edge pool with a delicious al fresco breakfast at Casitas Café. Las Casitas Village is a private luxury resort that shares the grounds of El Conquistador Resort, A Waldorf Astoria Resort. 

Grand Velas Riviera Maya (Riviera Maya, Mexico)
Set on 205 acres of pristine jungle and mangroves and with the finest white sand beach in the Riviera Maya, the all-
inclusive AAA Five Diamond Grand Velas Riviera Maya exudes luxury beyond all compare. Surrounded by lush vegetation and the crashing waves of the Gulf of Mexico, the three-tiered free form infinity pool in the Ambassador section of the resort features Aqua Bar, its own swim-up bar with a fully-stocked bar and lite bites, dozens of cushioned lounge chairs for soaking in the Mexican sun, private cabanas and more. In addition, guests are able to order and enjoy gourmet cuisine and handcrafted cocktails delivered directly to their poolside lounger. Adjacent to both the Gulf of Mexico and the Ambassador Class pool, the Grand Class pool is reserved for adults-only. The Grand Class pool also features its own swim up bar, cushioned loungers and poolside service. 

Monday, June 29, 2015

Happy World Camera Day!

Happy World Camera Day everyone!  People are taking more pictures than ever before. It’s been estimated that in the past
five years, more photos have been taken than all the prior years combined, but …….do you know what the symbols on your camera actually mean?

Since taking photos is such an important part of any vacation or travel experience, I thought you’d be interested in the Camera Infographic that our friends at Teletext Holidays put together.

The infographic walks through all the different modes you find on a digital camera, and explains in simple terms what each one does - as digital camera's these days are super-complex.  To check it out, visit http://www.teletextholidays.co.uk/blog/do-you-know-your-camera-modes/ 

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Time to break out the Red, White & Blue – start planning for Memorial Day Weekend!

Memorial Day weekend is approaching.  And our friends at the Wyndham Hotel Group, the world’s largest hotel company, with 15 brands across the nation, has the perfect properties to help you relax with family and friends all weekend long.
 With 7,500 hotels and over 645,000 rooms in 70 countries, the possibilities are endless! Be sure to check out a few Wyndham Hotel properties great for enjoying Memorial Day Weekend below.

Austin, TX – If you’re in the mood for great music and a little R&R, then grab your hats and head
down to Austin for The 2015 Austin Jazz Festival. Guests of the Wyndham Garden Austin hotel are bound to experience Central Texas at its best. This property is just three miles from downtown Austin and even features original art of the city’s most famous musicians in the lobby.

Savannah, GA – Slow things down this Memorial Day Weekend and head south to Savannah to the Days Hotel Savannah at Ellis Square. Check out the four-block area of shops and restaurants of City Market where you can stroll among galleries, horse-drawn carriages and outdoor cafes. Take advantage of the sunshine and enjoy an unforgettable tour of the city on a Savannah Riverboat Cruise!

Destin, FL – Memorial Day and the beach go hand-in-hand, which is why Florida is a top MDW spot. Stay at the Wingate by Wyndham Destin, minutes from the scenic shores of the Gulf of Mexico, this Destin hotel near Henderson Beach State Park is perfect for a beach getaway in Florida’s beautiful Emerald Coast region.

Las Vegas, NV – Go big and go Vegas for the ultimate Memorial Day extravaganza full of dancing,
pool parties and sun.
 Super 8 Las Vegas Strip Area at Ellis Island is located just one block from the famous Las Vegas Strip and offers guests the convenience, amenities, and services of an expensive Las Vegas hotel at a more affordable price.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

5 Safety Tips For Women Traveling Alone

5 Safety Tips For Women Traveling Alone
Perhaps more than ever, women are willing to ditch their traveling companions and go solo
when it comes time to hit the road and see the world.
A survey by Small Luxury Hotels of the World revealed that between 2011 and 2012 there was a 53 percent increase in the demand for rooms by women traveling alone.
The London Daily Mail also reports that some hotels have taken steps to make their accommodations more appealing to women traveling on their own, with such features as women-only floors. 

Still, despite the trend, many women may worry that such solitary excursions carry too many risks, making them a target for thieves, kidnappers and other criminals.

“There is no reason to let your fears keep you from the adventures you can experience,” says Barbara Foster, a veteran globetrotter and author of the book “The Confessions of a Librarian: A Memoir of Loves.” (www.threelovestory.com)

“Sure, there are risky places and bad types out there. But with the right precautions, women can travel solo with confidence, visiting the places and meeting the people they always dreamed of and returning home with wonderful stories and memories.”

Foster, who says solo trips can be deeply rewarding for women, offers five tips for traveling boldly while staying safe.
•  Steer clear of the most dangerous locales. Simply put, some places just aren’t worth the risk, so avoid “no go” neighborhoods, cities and countries. For example, if you feel compelled to go to the Middle East, visit Israel, which is the safest Middle Eastern country. Still, if the destination is truly important to you, go ahead and take the risk. India can be dangerous and Foster says she was nearly kidnapped there, saved only by the intervention of a librarian friend. At the same time, she says, the country offers a once in a lifetime experience.
•  Connect with friendly contacts. Make yourself known not only to the U.S. embassy or consul, but also to people in your field, Foster says. During her travels, Foster wrote articles about libraries she visited. Her fellow librarians were a protective group.
•  Learn the language or at least useful phrases. Even if it’s just a few key words, speaking the language can come in handy if you need to seek assistance. Understanding what others are saying also can alert you to potential dangers.
•  Dress wisely, pay attention to manners and spend money in moderation. Essentially, don’t draw unnecessary attention to yourself. In her book, Foster recounts a visit to Istanbul where she watched horror-struck as two Turkish men slapped a young British woman for wearing a miniskirt on the street. For added protection against thieves, Foster recommends carrying money and identification in a pouch under your shirt.
•  Travel in the USA. You will miss many of the world’s must-see places, but if the thought of traveling abroad holds too much stress for you, it might be better to stick closer to home. Foster says two of her favorite U.S. cities are New York and New Orleans, both great places to explore.
About Barbara Foster
Barbara Foster has worked as a college librarian and as an associate professor specializing in Women’s Studies at the City University of New York. She has published numerous articles on education and travel, as well as more than 200 poems in literary journals under the name Belladonna. Her latest book is “The Confessions of a Librarian: A Memoir of Loves.” (www.threelovestory.com)

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Spring Break Travel Deals

Looking for some great Spring Break Travel Deals?  From tropical to exotic, here is a list of recommendations you will want to check out before your Spring Break booking!  

Fourth Night Free, South Seas Island Resort (Captiva Island, FL)
Located directly on the tranquil Gulf of Mexico waters in Southwest Florida, spring travelers can escape to South Seas Island Resort on Captiva Island to receive their fourth night free with the resort’s new “Spring Getaway” package. When booking the package, guests receive their fourth night free when staying consecutive nights at regular rates. Also included in the package is the resort’s coupon booklet with over $250 in savings at resort outlets such as on cabana rentals, rounds of seaside golf, water sports, island cruises, spa services, dining, shopping and more. As a 330-acre resort village and wildlife sanctuary, South Seas boasts boundless opportunity for adventure and relaxation from guided kayak tours, interactive children’s programs, new painting classes and photography tours, to daily tennis clinics, bicycle rentals and relaxing spa services. The "Spring Getaway" package is available for travel from April 5 through June 30, 2015. Rates start from $339 per night, based on a four-night minimum. Blackout dates may apply. For more information on South Seas, visit www.southseas.com. For reservations, please visit the booking link at https://bookings.ihotelier.com/South-Seas-Island-Resort/bookings.jsp?LanguageID=1&HotelID=13121&killcookie=1&ProdID=598631.

20% Off Special Re-Opening Promotion, Smuggler’s Cove Resort and Marina (Islamorada, FL)
After a three-month long $500,000 renovation, Smuggler’s Cove Resort and Marina, a 12-room waterfront boutique hotel and full-service marina in the Florida Keys, is now accepting guests to enjoy its fully revamped guestrooms and new food and beverage offerings including its new unique ‘Hook N’ Cook’ experience. In celebration of the renovation, the hotel is offering a special re-opening promotion for travel through the end of March with rates starting at $135 per night – a savings of 20 percent. Open to the public, Honey Hole is a new contained area of the hotel’s marina fully stocked regularly with more than 300 fish available for catch. Fresh local seafood can be caught for immediate dining preparation or filleted to take home. The Wheel House offers new food and drink menus, at the heart of which is the freshest local seafood such as Honey Jalapeño Yellowtail Snapper and Tequila Lime Fish Tacos. For promotion reservations or more information, please call 305-664-5564.

$100 Resort Credit and Daily Breakfast, Hilton Hotels in Puerto Rico
With stunning picturesque beaches, breathtaking views and natural surroundings, El San Juan Resort & Casino and The Condado Plaza Hilton are the ideal spots to unwind this spring with their vacation escape packages. Guests who book a stay now through April 5th, 2015, for travel through April 30th, 2015, enjoy a $100 resort credit per stay to be applied toward anything from resort dining outlets to exciting beach excursions. In addition, guests receive daily American breakfast each morning of their stay. Rates start from $264 per night at El San Juan Resort, and $249 per night at Condado Plaza Hilton. A four-night minimum stay is required. For reservations or more information on El San Juan Resort, please visit www.elsanjuanhotel.com. For reservations or more information on Condado Plaza Hilton, please visit www.condadoplaza.com.

All-Inclusive Family Vacation Package, Mexico’s Velas Resorts (Vallarta-Nayarit and Riviera Maya, Mexico)
Fronting the glorious beaches along Mexico’s stunning coastlines, the “Beyond All-Inclusive, Beyond All-Compare” Velas Resorts in Puerto Vallarta, Riviera Maya and Riviera Nayarit in Mexico are ideal for a fun-filled family vacation this spring. With unparalleled all-inclusive family vacation packages, families enjoy beach adventures from swimming with dolphins to complimentary tickets to local area attractions. At the AAA Five Diamond Grand Velas Resorts in Riviera Maya and Riviera Nayarit, children are never bored with everything from scuba diving lessons and kite flying to eco-friendly shows, a teen’s lounge, dedicated Baby Concierge and kids’ spa treatments. At Puerto Vallarta’s Velas Vallarta, the extensive Kids’ Club program now features a newly designed brightly painted area with cozy spots for reading and games, and scheduled activities such as crafting with beads, sand castle making and Mexican bingo. Each evening brings quality entertainment with special shows including a Mexican folkloric night with live music and native arts and crafts. Rates start from $220 per person per night. Children ages 5 to 16 years old start with rates from $75 per child per night. For reservations or more information, please visit  www.velasresorts.com or email reservations@velasresorts.com.

Four-Course Dinner, Suite Upgrade, Daily Breakfast & More, Tower Club at lebua (Bangkok, Thailand)
For a distinctive fine dining experience, The Tower Club at lebua, a five-star luxury hotel in the heart of Bangkok, welcomes guests to indulge in a culinary-focused escape with its “Back to Bangkok with Breeze” package. Included in the package, diners indulge in a four-course meal at Breeze, an award-winning restaurant where Chef Sam Pang artfully presents innovative Asian cuisine. Accommodations are upgraded from a one-bedroom City View Suite to a one-bedroom River View Suite providing a spacious balcony with breathtaking panoramic views of Bangkok’s River of Kings. Also included in the package are daily buffet breakfast; access to the Tower Club Lounge which includes continental breakfast, light lunch, afternoon high tea, canapés, drinks and more; a complimentary in-suite mini-bar; complimentary Wi-Fi; one-way airport limousine transfer; and late check-out. Available now through April 30, 2015, the “Back to Bangkok with Breeze” package starts at $269++ USD per night. A two night minimum stay is required. For reservations or more information, please visit www.lebua.com/tower-club.