World Travel – Holiday Gone Bad

[ad_1] There are a lot of reported cases of tempting holidays gone really, really bad. People, who got to the destination and found out that the hotels were miserable or that there simply were no hotels where they should have been, people who had to pay a lot of extra money for things they already … Continue reading “World Travel – Holiday Gone Bad”

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There are a lot of reported cases of tempting holidays gone really, really bad. People, who got to the destination and found out that the hotels were miserable or that there simply were no hotels where they should have been, people who had to pay a lot of extra money for things they already paid for and so on.

So in order to prevent these unfortunate happenings you’d better start looking for a travel agent who will help you to make the best decision that meets your desires when it comes to traveling somewhere. Find an agent who has a lot of experience and can determine scams in time. He should be a person you fully trust as in his hands lies your long wanted holiday.

Before deciding for one, ask about his reputation. If possible, contact some of his former clients and check if they had things going for them as they wanted or who knows, even better. Choose and agent who can meet all your conditions, involving destination, hotel, family accommodation, prices for your budget and any special needs. Think outside the box: bigger aren’t necessarily better. You can get really good service from smaller agencies as well.

Check if the agent is available anytime in case of an emergency. You have to rely on him that he will solve any issues that might occur. Look for someone with whom you’ll be able to establish a long time relationship, someone nice who isn’t interested just to take your money but who is committed to his job and tries as hard as he can to make you happy. He has to be up to date with the best offers and prices.

Having a good agent means that you will be able to save some money, time and you’ll get to your wanted destination having your mind relaxed.

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Christmas Is an American Holiday

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In colonial times Christmas was frowned upon in New England and observed mostly as a private feast in mid-Atlantic and Southern colonies. The strait-laced New England Puritans, partially motivated by anti-Catholic sentiment, banned Christmas in 1659 under the guise that the holiday was pagan and that it encouraged decadence. Colonial Americans celebrated a Christmas that contained both religious and secular elements thus establishing a uniquely balanced American approach to faith. Christmas harkens back to the ancient Roman celebration of the Saturnalia, a day in which all Romans, Emperor and slave, addressed each other on a first name basis.

Christmas was not celebrated by colonial Puritans, Presbyterians, Baptists and Quakers but it was observed by Anglicans, Dutch Reformed, Lutherans and Catholics. Drawing from various old world traditions, Christmas in colonial America included bells, mistletoe, yule logs, wreaths, eggnog, gingerbread, and various Christmas foods. The Dutch settlers of New York contributed Sinter Klass and baked deserts. Christmas was a time for charity and for giving gifts to the poor. George Washington and other southern plantation owners were known to host lavish Christmas parties. Southerners of all economic levels celebrated raucous Christmas parties that included firing muskets into the air, banging pots, drinking, feasting, playing games, and generally taking time off from work. Bands of mummers, or folk-singers, dressed in costume, would roam Colonial towns on Christmas Eve caroling, acting in skits, and making revelry.

Christmas was proclaimed a federal holiday by an executive order that was signed into law by President Ulysses S. Grant, June 26, 1870. Since that time, Christmas has been confirmed into law by various acts of Congress and by the States. The legality of Christmas as a federal holiday has never been challenged in any American court. The American tradition has been to observe the religious aspects of Christmas in church or in the home and the secular aspects in various public forms.

There should, therefore, be no controversy around the celebration of Christmas. Indeed wishing someone a Merry Christmas should be viewed as American as wishing someone a happy Fourth of July. The general theme of Christmas as it has come to be defined, “Peace on earth, good-will toward men” is a universal theme at ought to be embraced. But what about the undeniable Christian nature of Christmas? Is it appropriate for our secular government to officially recognize what is essentially a religious holiday? The answer, to a degree, is yes.

It is an undeniable fact of history that America has been and largely remains a Christian nation. Indeed, by not establishing Christianity as a state religion, and by establishing a system of government and a society that respects religious differences and that considers all citizens to be equal under the law, America is, by its nature, a Christian nation. Christianity, unlike Islam and certain other religions, and unlike the secular political faiths of Nazism and Communism, involves a personal relationship between the believer and Jesus.

While historically Christianity has been used from time to time by secular political leaders and movements as a vehicle to obtain and enhance state power, Christianity, per se, rejects this notion. Indeed, Jesus established in his ministry the separation of church and state. Carrying forth the moral and ethical precepts of the Torah, Jesus recognized that rights emanate from the creator and not from the state.

It is indeed our Christian heritage that has made us the most successful and prosperous society ever established in human history. It is, therefore, entirely appropriate and fitting that we, as Americans, celebrate Christmas and by doing so honor and reflect upon our Christian heritage.

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Luxury Holidays – Travel Agents, Timeshare Or Vacation Clubs

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The travel industry is a now a $7 trillion global annual market, one of the biggest and most important markets available. Everybody loves  holidays  and as more money is generated in the emerging markets then the  travel  industry is going to grow and grow. How do you best take advantage of this burgeoning holiday market? Well, there are a number of options available including using travel agents, buying a timeshare or joining a vacations club and in this article I will try and explain the differences and compare the three modes.

Travel Agents:

 Travel  agents have been around a long time and can look after your  holiday  requirements from flight only, hotel / condominiums, package holidays, car rentals in fact just about any holiday requirement you may have.  Travel  agents are commission based so they make their profit from the difference between the cost of the  holiday  to them and what they sell the holiday on to you for.  Travel  agents offer a one stop option for all your  holiday  requirements, however many of them are tied to large  travel  organisations who will try to push their own offerings and through this increase their profitability which may mean increased costs for the travelling public.

Timeshare:

Timeshare goes back many years where companies bought or built high quality  holiday  complexes and then sold weeks to the  travelling  public. These companies mushroomed and timeshare became a major force in the industry. Their appeal increased as timeshare owners were able to join timeshare exchange clubs and swap their weeks at a complex in one country to a complex in anther country. Timeshare developed a number of drawbacks. Firstly they were expensive to join however the value of your timeshare dropped dramatically after your purchase making it difficult to sell your timeshare if you wanted to. In addition with timeshare you bought weeks at different levels, red usually being the most expensive as this was for a week in peak season. When you swapped your timeshare in one of the exchange clubs you could only swap for weeks at a similar season or lower. The other major drawback that came with timeshare is the weekly maintenance costs. Whether you use the timeshare week or not you are still liable for the weekly maintenance cost.

Vacation Clubs

Vacation clubs were brought into being to give their members access to  travel  and  holidays  without the drawbacks of timeshare and without the high profits required by the  Travel  Agents. Vacation clubs buy holidays at heavily discounted prices and then sell these to their members, usually with last minute deals where the greatest discounts are found. There are no ongoing costs with vacation clubs however there can be a high initial one off cost to join, although new entrants are tending to drive this one off cost down the way. Vacation Clubs do not have seasons, once you are a member you can purchase holidays anywhere and at any time and if you do not use the club there are no ongoing charges. One of the benefits of vacation clubs is the opportunity to sell club memberships to others which effectively means that by selling a few memberships you can recoup your initial investment. Again you have to be sure in joining a club that they can offer you the locations and resorts that you will want to holiday in and that you can take advantage of the Club multiple times a year.

In conclusion, there are benefits and drawbacks to all three options.  Travel  agents are a good one stop shop for either multiple or one off  holidays  but you do pick up the cost of the profits for the  travel  company. Timeshares are a good option if you like to holiday at specific times of the year and you enjoy the complex and location where you have bought your weeks. You do need to take into account ongoing maintenance costs and your ability to easily swap your weeks for stays in different locations. Vacation Clubs can be great value but you do need to realise that you are picking up the upfront cost to join. If you like to take multiple holidays a year to different locations then a Vacation Club could be the option for you. In addition if you like the idea of using this as a home business and get the value of low cost holidays then this may be another attraction for you. You do need to do your research and ensure that your Vacation Club has the variety to look after all your holiday requirements and not just one niche.

The internet has obviously had a dramatic affect on the travel industry. This has given the general public the opportunity to easily buy flights, rental cars and hotels over the internet and has certainly brought prices down. There are drawbacks in that if you are trying buy a complete holiday you can be jumping form site to site and try and pull the whole package together. You also have to be careful with buying directly over the Internet as your legal rights are different from other purchase options. Certainly, for flights only, it is very hard to see past the internet but you need to be aware what travel protection you are covered by.

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Top Highlights to Take in on Route 66 Holidays

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Driving along what remains of the famous Route 66 is one of the most popular American road trip holidays among travellers – so what are the main things to see and do on this epic journey?

The highway was originally constructed in the 1920s and runs for over 2,400 miles between Illinois and California – passing through six other states with a host of attractions to choose from on its way from the heart of the USA towards the sun-drenched west coast.

If you opt for a fly drive USA holiday – where you hop on a plane to the country before taking to the roads in a hired car – you can easily begin your journey in Chicago. The city is renowned for sights such as the Willis Tower, which is a dizzying 1,450 feet high and is the western hemisphere’s tallest building.

You might also want to explore the fun-filled Navy Pier and its various rides and cruises across Lake Michigan before relaxing in one of Chicago’s many jazz clubs in the evening.

Next, begin your Route 66 journey proper by heading to Grant Park, which is where the road officially begins. The park is an attraction in itself and the area harbours several museums that are worth a visit before you drive off towards Springfield, the state capital of Illinois.

The city is best known for being Abraham Lincoln’s birthplace and has plenty of related sights to take in as a result. Just a few of these include the Lincoln Tomb and the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum and Library, along with other sites of interest such as the Old State Capitol.

Drive on along Route 66 and you’ll eventually enter Missouri, which is home to another city called Springfield. The destination is a great base from which to see the beautiful Missouri Ozark Mountains and find out more about Route 66’s history through the old shop fronts that have been preserved from the road’s golden era.

When you get to Oklahoma City, you’ll have the chance to delve into the USA’s Native American and cowboy culture, as well as local history. Top places to visit include the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum and the Oklahoma City Museum of Art, along with quirkier attractions such as the American Banjo Museum.

As you head towards Texas, you’ll be able to see more of the Old West. Stop off in Amarillo and visit a working ranch, or perhaps take in the amazing spectacle of a rodeo in full swing. You should also seize the opportunity to see the Palo Duro Canyon State Park, which harbours one of America’s largest canyons and spans almost 30,000 acres of land.

For more spectacular scenery, make Tucumcari in New Mexico your next Route 66 stop. You can see some gorgeous sunsets here, as well as various monuments, murals and grand mesas. Don’t forget to head to the Tucumcari Convention Center, outside which you can find a huge sculpture designed by Tom Coffin to honour Route 66.

Pass through Santa Fe – the second oldest city in the US – and Albuquerque before driving into Arizona, where top sights include the eerie Petrified Forest National Park and the world-famous Grand Canyon.

The canyon’s huge scale means it encompasses a wide variety of wildlife and scenery, as well offering plenty of activities. If you’re feeling adventurous, why not go whitewater rafting for a few days, or perhaps take things slightly easier with some backcountry hiking?

After you’ve seen the Grand Canyon, your next stop is likely to be Nevada. Spend a couple of days in Las Vegas and get a taste of the glamorous lifestyle that you usually only see in films. While gambling is the main attraction of the city, you can have just as good a time watching musicals and concerts or simply admiring the surrounding desert scenery.

The final stretch of your road trip will take you into California. Don’t pass up the chance to spend some time in exciting Los Angeles before reaching the very end of Route 66. Once you’ve parked up in Santa Monica, take some time to relax and thoroughly enjoy the last day of your Route 66 holiday by visiting its 3.5 miles of beaches, going shopping and seeing attractions such as the city’s various farmers’ markets and Santa Monica Pier.

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Traveling America Cruises Style

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Looking for a cruise that won’t break the bank and will ensure that you enjoy the best of travel? You don’t have to look very far as you can take advantage of the America Cruises experience that waits for you. America Cruises is a small ship cruise line that has you covered for over 9 destinations around the country like Florida, Maine, and Chesapeake Bay. And you don’t even have to suffer traveling with too many people which make the trip all that more personalized for you.

When it comes to travelers, America Cruises knows how to treat them best. It may be that you are only going around to places within the country, but the services, amenities, activities, and entertainment programs with America Cruises will have you believing that you are actually on an international cruise. This is the kind of experience that waits for you. An all-American crew just makes the trip even more worthwhile as you will not bump into any communication barriers.

Step on board and you will see what it means to truly enjoy an American Cruises holiday. You will get your hands on some of the best facilities that rival those of huge luxury liners. Their activities will also keep you wanting for more as you have fun learning about the different destinations that you are bound for. And if you just want to kill time and relax, then do it while watching life go by on the open deck or glass-closed lounge. You can even enjoy a dining experience that you would expect at a five-star restaurant as their well-trained chefs serve you up a menu that will keep your mouth watering for more.

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Go America Discounts

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Taking an annual holiday is seen as being absolutely vital by many people and it can certainly provide us with the chance to relax. This can be really important, particularly if you work in a job where you face a lot of daily pressure.

Some people overlook the importance of taking time away from our working lives. That’s a shame, because a holiday can be a great way to unwind and also to prepare yourself for future weeks and months. It’s strange to think that a break could actually make you more productive at work but there can be no doubt that it has the potential to do so.

One of the hardest tasks facing you may be deciding on where to visit. This used to be a much easier decision, partly because we once had much less choice.

The arrival of cheap flights and the ease with which we can now book holidays online has meant that more and more of us look to travel to destinations that once would have simply been too costly. These price reductions in recent years have certainly been welcomed.

Prices have tended to fall fastest in the case of destinations where there are numerous travel companies competing with each other. Trips between the UK and the United States are a good example of this.

There have always been plenty of people looking to cross the Atlantic, meaning that operators have been forced to keep prices low in order to stay in business. This is great news for those of us looking to fly to the US and maybe stay there for a few weeks.

When you come to make a holiday booking there are various approaches that you might take. Some people like to book their flights, accommodations and transfers independently. Others prefer to book a package holiday, feeling that these offer the best deals.

Online companies like Go America now offer some really significant discounts on all elements of such holiday bookings. Use the internet to research your holiday destinations and to find the best deals that are currently available.

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Holiday & Travel Guide For Naxos, Greece

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Sightseeing

You will find most of the ancient sites of Naxos on the north side of the town and they are well worth a visit. With quite a few places of interest on the island you will be kept busy if you haven’t come to just soak up the sun. Naxos museum is a good place to start as it is full of archaeological relics dating back to 5300 BC. Then there is Glezos tower, the fortress has an enormous tower and the building has recently been restored rather impressively. You also have Iria Temple that is found just outside the town. It was used as a place of worship and is believed to date back as far as 1300 BC. Most of the sites are close by to the main town, but if you want to go off the beaten track and explore the island, hiring a car would be ideal. Naxos has many villages to explore and they are so pretty and photogenic, with many old stone buildings. If you have had enough of ancient sites and poetic villages there is always the water park to spend the day in. It’s absolutely fabulous fun, for young and old, with loud music playing and loads of sun loungers all over the park to relax in. There are also a few restaurants in the park where the prices are a little elevated but if you need a snack you don’t have a lot of choice unless you have taken a picnic with you. Just outside of Naxos there is a terrific go- cart track that is open each day from 10am which is really great fun for all of the family.

Nightlife

Take in a movie at the open air cinema, where you can catch up with some of the latest releases while having a snack and a beer. You could even do some horse riding along the beach at sunset. If you want something more lively then there are some loud and lively clubs in the town, mainly around the waterfront area and believe me it gets packed. The town does have some nice bars towards the back of the town to relax in away from the latest music throbbing into your ears until the early morning.

Shopping

Shopping is a little on the weak side in Naxos. There are shops and markets but it is just full of the usual tourist gift items, marble ornaments, beaded jewellery and lace and leather goods. There is a fine art gallery where you can purchase some modern art, but otherwise you won’t be breaking the bank on shopping.

Beaches

Naxos does have some of the loveliest beaches with beautiful sand and warm turquoise waters. I believe there are around 14 of them dotted around the coastline from small coves to mile long beaches of pure white or golden sand. Many if not all of the beaches provide some water sports like sailing, snorkelling, windsurfing, kite surfing and not forgetting the popular jet skis. No matter what sort of beach you’re looking for you will find it around this island, so if you just want to soak up the sun and play with the kids without there being crowds of people then you will find one. There are beaches with lush vegetated backdrops or ones with wonderful sand dunes and then there are the ones with fabulous views, you will be spoilt for choice.

Happy Holidays

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Florida Holidays Universal Studios

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The chances are that if you are holidaying in Orlando you are likely to visit Universal Studios, and if this is your first trip, you will be hooked after just a day around this magnificent adventurous theme park.

Universal Orlando not only produces and directs movies and shows that we are all familiar with but it also houses three spectacular adventurous Islands namely Universal Studios, Universal Islands of Adventure and City Walk.

Upon entering the park the first thing that hits you is the loud inviting hip music that blares out as you pass into the gates from the escalators, there is also a lift for those who need wheelchair access.

Moving through you can either venture onto Universal Studios or Islands of Adventure where your first contact with park staff is at the gates where you will have to produce a ticket purchased previously or buy one at the kiosk for $55.33 for adults and $45.75 for children aged between 3 -9 years, under 3’s are free.

If you are planning more than one trip to Universal Orlando with the family it might be a cheaper option to buy a five day hopper pass, if you are hoping to visit Walt Disney World Resort, Sea World and Wet ‘n ‘ Wild on International Drive.

The Park is open from 9am until late at night, opening hours vary depending on season.

Once in the park you are stamped (on your hand) which means you can leave any of the different Islands within the park and return throughout the day without the need to queue up each time.

Once in the park you can explore at your leisure all the different rides, studios and districts that are based on famous movie scenes and streets in Hollywood, San Francisco and New York.

Located throughout the Parks are many restaurants which literally serve all different foods from around the globe including, Italian, Latin and American are to name just a few.

Located throughout are memorabilia themed stores including a twister department store which is entirely based on the hit movie Twister, there is also a Back to the Future Store and many others throughout the Park.

Traveling to and from Universal Orlando is easy with the help of multi storey parking for those who have cars, there is also a bus terminal located just outside the main entrance to the park which serves most of Orlando and a taxi rank which never seems to be that busy next door.

Taxi’s are real cheap, a short drive from Universal to International Drive will cost around $4, however if you want to be even cheaper you can take the I-ride trolley for under $1.00, or if you love Universal Studios so much and have plenty of cash to spare you could reside in once of their three rather nice, but pricey hotels all located within the grounds of Universal.

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Holiday Travel Trends for 2013/2014

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If you’ve been lucky enough to get away on a foreign holiday this year, perhaps you’re already thinking how you’ll afford it next year?

Earlier this month tour operators released their 2014 holidays, amongst a wealth of promotional offers such as individual discounts and ‘children go free’ places, strategically released when those of us that have got away are suffering from post-holiday blues.

However, for the most part these are difficult to actually take advantage of for a number of reasons. Firstly, many of us have only just returned from a summer holiday and the expense of laying down a deposit for next year’s can prove tight and the commitment of a holiday costing thousands a little overwhelming.

What’s more, ‘children go free’ places are available but often not on your hotel of choice.

According to the National Office of Statistics, 2013 saw fewer UK travellers jetting off – the recession is still hitting UK households hard. But it’s not all doom and gloom, as many people view a holiday as something that can’t be given up.

This year, long haul  travel , in particular, to North  America , saw a decline. Yet, short haul travel across Europe increased, with around 44.4 million of us getting away. European destinations such as Malaga continue to top the polls as the most popular get-away destination from most UK airports, whereby the weather is good, prices are reasonable and individual or tour operator travel has been affordable.

As a result,  travel  trends for 2014 are expected to mirror activity in 2013 – holidaymakers will avoid expensive long haul options and instead  holiday  in Europe. A few years ago, Mintel predicted that  holiday   travel  wouldn’t return to pre-recession levels until 2014/15. However, since that prediction, British summers have been wet and cold. As a result, whilst  travel  has been limited around Europe,  holiday  bookings have seen a surge. Even this year, when the UK basked in a heat wave, bookings were still high during the summer months, even late availability, and in particular around Easter and May time when the weather was exceptionally bad.

So looking to the year ahead, where do travel companies believe will be the most popular in 2014? Well, despite the political unrest, Egypt has already been taking bookings. Turkey remains popular, as it boast great value for money prices on outstanding hotels; plus with the guarantee of glorious weather. Tenerife remains a popular choice both for families and couples; making it the most popular of all the Canary Isles. And value for money Bulgaria is enjoying a surge in popularity as every penny counts with UK tourists and amazing deals on 5* hotels are currently available.

Malaga and Spain’s Costas remain popular, with sunshine and short flight times making it great for long weekend breaks and weeks away.

Despite Greece’s economic hardships two years ago, UK travellers have not been put off. Equally, Cyprus, which experienced money worries earlier this year, remains hugely popular.

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