Hump Day Savings with Southwest Vacations!

It's Hump Day, take heart, your work week is almost over!
It's the perfect day to treat yourself by taking advantage of these great new sales recently announced by
Southwest Vacations!

Royal Caribbean: The Oasis of the Seas

Cited as 'the largest and most revolutionary cruise ship in the world,' the Oasis of the Seas is an amazing five-star floating resort that manages to cater to the individual whims of 5,400 passengers every week. But truly, you'd never know it.

Five times larger than the Titanic and costing USD $1.4 billion to launch, Royal Caribbean's Oasis of the Seas is nothing less than spectacular. Sailing from Ft. Lauderdale, FL, the Oasis of the Seas offers two 7-night itineraries to choose from:
  • Eastern Caribbean visiting Nassau, Bahamas; Charlotte, Amalie, St. Thomas; and Philipsburg, St. Maarten
  • Western Caribbean visiting Labadee, Haiti; Falmouth, Jamaica; and Cozumel, Mexico
Featuring the first garden at sea, Central Park is a landscaped neighborhood with walkways throughout which is overlooked by the interior balcony staterooms. In contrast, the outdoor Boardwalk is reminiscent of Coney Island with it's carnival games and carousel. In total, there are seven themed neighborhoods throughout the Oasis of the Seas.

The Pool and Sports Zone offers an entire deck's worth of fun with swimming pools (21 in total), a zip line, rock climbing walls, basketball court, 9-hole mini golf, volleyball, and the Flow Rider wave ride. The 28,000 square foot Youth Zone offers worry-free fun for both kids and parents; complete with a nursery for infants (starting at 6 months) and toddlers, to a science lab for teens (up to age 17), the Youth Zone is one of the coolest places at sea where kids can hang out and just be themselves. There's also a Vitality at Sea Spa and a fully-equipped fitness center.

Another spectacular feature of the Oasis of the Seas are the funky modern two-level loft suites. At a generous 545 square feet, the lofts feature spectacular floor to ceiling windows for optimal ocean viewing even from the top level bedroom. The suite features contemporary decor with a Caribbean touch and offers a guest bathroom downstairs with an attached master bathroom upstairs.

The Oasis of the Seas has two main entertainment venues for her passengers, the Opal Theater, and the Aqua Theater, the first of it's kind to be built on a ship. Three times larger than any other pool at sea, the Aqua Theater is an amphitheater-style outdoor venue where a theatrical and diving show is performed nightly.

With 24 distinct restaurants to choose from, you'll never go hungry onboard the Oasis of the Seas; and don't miss taking a ride on the Rising Tide elevator bar. 150 Central Park is an exclusive five-star restaurant catering to those looking for the utmost in cuisine and in a fine dining experience for a fee of $75 per person.

Linked to Central Park is the Royal Promenade, an open-air shopping ‘oasis’ with designers never carried before by any Royal Caribbean International ship including: Roberto Coin, Eileen Fischer, Charriol, Yvel, Chanel, Christian Dior, Shiseido, Coach, Lucky Brand, Breitling, Pianegonda, Betsey Johnson, Forest & Fauna, Kenneth Cole, Ed Hardy, Marc Jacobs, and Ben Sherman.

Star Pier offers DC Apparel, Roxy and Quicksilver for the teenage set complete with a Nintendo Wii gaming area and a live DJ. Junior cruisers will love Pinwheels with its Crayola fun, plus the yummy vintage candy treats from Candy Beach are nearby.

Royal Caribbean has just recently announced the addition of the Dreamworks Experience which will begin on the Oasis of the Seas February 26, 2011. There will be a 3-D theater, interaction with all your favorite characters, and more!

For more information on the Oasis of the Seas, visit Royal Caribbean.

Fast Facts about the Oasis of the Seas:
  • 2,200 crew members take care of 5,400 passengers; a 3:1 ratio
  • for each cruise, 47,000 bottles of wine, beer, and spirits are loaded onto the ship
  • 44 tons of meat and seafood are consumed by passengers weekly
  • 42,000 bed linens will be changed and 10,000 rolls of toilet paper are needed (!)
All Images Courtesy of Royal Caribbean
  • Images

Travel Writer Review: Pheasant Hill Inn and Suites

For years we Canadians have been flocking to the likes of Spokane, WA, to take advantage of the great shopping available in the U.S. Now the place to shop is Spokane Valley with the great selection of stores available at the Spokane Valley Mall.

Offering great value and service, the perfect place to stay in Spokane Valley is the Pheasant Hill Inn and Suites (12415 East Mission St., Spokane Valley, WA, 99216; Tel: (509) 926-7432 or toll Free: 1-800-269-0061). With Deluxe King Room rates starting at USD $89.99 and packages from only $109, it’s hard to beat both the great location and price.

From the moment you hear the classical musical playing as you near the front door, to the inviting open lobby and welcoming staff, you’ll be sure to feel at home at this multiple award-winning hotel known for its ‘affordable luxury and legendary service.’

The pleasing decor of the lobby is rich with dark woods, floor to ceiling windows, comfortable leather sofas and armchairs, accented by fresh flower arrangements and a beautiful Grandfather clock.

Opposite the sitting area and overlooking the pool area is the cozy breakfast area where complimentary breakfast is served daily from 6:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. And don’t think this is a breakfast with minimal offerings, quite the contrary. The fresh hot breakfast bar offers up a selection of items including ham, eggs, fresh fruits, cereal, bakery goods, yogurt, juice, plus the coolest pancake making machine ever.

Deluxe Jacuzzi Spa King Suite

Our exotically decorated two-room suite at the Pheasant Hill Inn and Suites included:
  • A large spacious living room with pull out sofa double bed sofa offering views from multiple directions
  • Dark woods with accents of red, burgundy, and amber with tropical inspired artwork
  • Desk with ergonomically designed chair, telephone, and internet connection (their business center is open 24/7; meeting space is also available)
  • A television tucked away in an armoire, pay-per-view movies, Nintendo
  • A bar area complete with sink, mini-fridge, microwave, coffee maker & Starbucks coffee
  • More than ample closet space throughout the suite, with an iron/ironing board (plus on-site laundry and valet service)
  • Separate marble vanity in the bedroom with botanical Lord & Mayfair amenities
  • Generous sized bathroom with hairdryer
  • Comfortable king size bed and in-room Jacuzzi
  • A second closet, television, table & chairs
There were so many little details that we loved about the Pheasant Hill Inn and Suites: the automatic accordion entrance door, availability of luggage carts, the classical music, and especially the manicured green space surrounding the hotel filled with a variety of foliage and beautifully kept rose bushes. It was also nice to have the current time and weather forecast displayed on the hotel’s website.

Another enjoyable aspect of the Pheasant Hill Inn and Suites is the daily Evening Reception, from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. Starbucks coffee is served along with an assortment of goodies like freshly baked brownies and cookies. If you’re looking for a full meal, it’s an easy walk to Applebee's restaurant only a ½ block away; or approximately 5 minutes driving to Krispy Kreme (another Canadian favorite) and the many restaurants located within the Spokane Valley Mall complex.

Specials & Packages available at the Pheasant Hill Inn and Suites
  • Shop, Stay, and Play: one night’s Deluxe accommodation, bottle of wine and keepsake glasses, delectable Spokandy chocolates, complimentary breakfast and a $50 gift certificate for Applebee’s Restaurant; rates start at $169.99 double occupancy
  • Golf Getaway Package: one night’s Deluxe accommodation, two rounds of 18-hole golf, golf balls, tees, snack, and complimentary breakfast; rates start at $145 weekday to $155 weekend
  • Wine and Roses Package: one night’s stay in a Deluxe King Room or a Deluxe Jacuzzi Spa King Suite, Spokandy chocolates, a bottle of wine, evening turn down service with silk rose petals; rates start at $109.99 (Deluxe King) and $199.99 (Jacuzzi King)
  • Silverwood Stay and Play: one night’s stay, Silverwood theme park admission tickets, and complimentary breakfast; room rates start at $109 with Silverwood tickets available for $40 per adult; $20 per youth/senior
Travel Writer Approved!
We loved it! Our stay at the Pheasant Hill Inn and Suites was wonderful & very relaxing. We spent time near the pool in the evening (we had it all to ourselves plus it’s open 24/7), enjoyed our in-room Jacuzzi, and took advantage of the yummy breakfast. T
hough the Pheasant Hill Inn and Suites is perched on a hill overlooking the I-90, we did not experience any traffic noise whatsoever.

For more information or to make a reservation, visit Pheasant Hill Inn and Suites.

Images courtesy of Pheasant Hill Inn and Suites

Visit Camp Vegas for Grownups!!

Las Vegas tourism is right, why should kids have all the summer fun? With that thought in mind, visit Vegas this summer to enjoy summer concerts, pool parties, and more!

Camp Vegas invites you to have fun at these adult orientated events:
  • June 24 - Moorea Beach Pool Party at Mandalay Bay
  • July 3 - Summerlin Patriotic Parade at Summerlin
  • July 4 - BBQ & Fireworks Show at the Sapphire Pool at the Rio
  • July 4 - Fireworks at all Station Casinos
  • July 4 - Fireworks & Concert at Lake Las Vegas
  • Aug 23 - Miss Universe at Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino
  • Sep 23 - Annual Barrett-Jackson Event at Mandalay Bay Events Center
The 2010 summer concert & entertainment scene in Vegas has tons of must-see events including:
  • Erykah Badu
  • Wayne Brady
  • Brad Garrett
  • Carlos Mencia
  • Garth Brooks
  • Everclear
  • Joe Nichols
  • Puddle of Mudd
  • Kenny Chesney
  • Larry Gatlin & Bros.
  • Sugar Ray
  • Lamb of God
  • David Cassidy
  • Kathy Griffin
  • The Wailers
  • BB King
  • Tom Jones
  • Charo
to only name a few - the list truly goes on and on and on.......

Camp Vegas also offers their picks of over 40 Ultimate Pools where you can swim, dive, and laze away the summer days. And better yet, each Ultimate Pool offers up a Camp Vegas Tip with great savings ideas and upgrades.

For more information, visit Camp Vegas.

Celebrating 39 Years with $39 Southwest Airlines Sale!

In celebration of their 39th anniversary, Southwest Airlines is giving their customers "the gift of low fares" by offering tickets for as low as USD $39, $79, and $119 one-way.

Valid for 72 hours only, all tickets must be booked by June 24, 2010. During these three days, Southwest Airlines is going to 'party like it's their birthday' by offering great savings to their customers.

Samples fares for the 'Celerating 39 Years with $39 Sale' with Southwest Airlines sale include:
  • Boston to Ft. Lauderdale, $119
  • Los Angeles to Las Vegas, $39
  • Minneapolis/St. Paul to Nashville, $79
  • Houston to New Orleans, $39
  • New York to Jacksonville, $79
  • Orlando to San Antonio, $119
  • Phoenix to San Diego, $39
  • Portland to Sacramento, $79
  • Salt Lake City to Reno, $39
  • Spokane to Denver, $79
Travel is valid from September 8th until November 17th; other restrictions apply.

For more information or to book, visit Southwest Airlines.

Image: Southwest Airlines

Baby Belgua Nala Dies at Vancouver Aquarium

Taking visitors and officials by surprise, the Vancouver Aquarium announced earlier this morning that Nala, their one-year-old baby Beluga whale, died late last night due to an infection.

Nala, the third calf born to Aurora, had been diagnosed with an infection just last week and was undergoing treatment. She was displaying normal behavior with her mother but died suddenly last evening.

Nala celebrated her first birthday on June 7; Vancouver Aquarium staff is deeply saddened by this unexpected loss. Photo Credit: Vancouver Aquarium by Abdallahh

Hotel Steals Around the World for Under $19USD!!

Well, this is definitely one worth repeating, and yes, it’s even true! According to the readers/participants of TripAdvisor, here are the Hotel Steals Around the World for Under $19 USD (average price). No kidding!

Reader comments include "customer service, above and beyond," and "great hotel...biggest room we had on our trip," to "fantastic little place," and "quiet piece of paradise." Photo Credits:
Derek's Place, Little Corn
by Dan..
Red Lantern House by Booizzy

Pacific Northwest Summer Concert Series!

Ahhh, what could be better than summer time in the Pacific Northwest? Fresh air, sunshine, a cool breeze from the water - and summer concerts. Perfect!

The 28th annual Festival at Sandpoint, ID, August 5 to 15, 2010, offers eight nights of concerts performed under the skies on the shores of beautiful Lake Pend Oreille. This year's headlining acts including the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Natalie MacMaster, Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, Keb' Mo', Michael Frantie & Spearhead, plus Brandi Carlile.

Spread out your blanket and low-back beach chairs because the Festival at Sandpoint allows you to bring your own food & alcohol into the concert site; but if you choose to enjoy the cuisine from the many on-site vendors, a sure bet is the barbecued rib plate along with a humongous rich chocolate brownie for dessert.

The 41st Oregon Country Fair held near Eugene, OR, takes place this year July 9 to 11 and offers an array of entertainment, crafts, food vendors, and even educational displays. With 17 stages set up for entertainment, this years lineup includes Great American Taxi, The Gourds, Jerry Joseph & the Jackmorons, Hot Buttered Rum, Zili Misik, the Flying Karamosov Brothers, The Chris Berry Trio, and Russell Batiste.

Well known for its funky flavor, the Oregon Country Fair offers up "events and experiences that nourish the spirit, explore living artfully and authentically on earth, and transform culture in magical, joyous and healthy ways."

Just north of Seattle in Woodinville, WA, the Summer Concert Series at Chateau Ste. Michelle winery is held in their outdoor amphitheater. While Crosby, Stills & Nash, and Steve Martin & The Steep Canyon Rangers have already played, still to come are the Steve Miller Band, Lyle Lovett and His Large Band, Martina McBride, Jackson Browne with David Lindley, and Ringo Starr & His All Starr Band.

This all star event (no pun intended) goes on to include The B52's, Blondie, Chris Isaak, Earth, Wind, & Fire, plus Harry Connick, Jr. While Washington states laws won't allow alcohol to be brought inside the venue, concert goers are welcomed to bring their own low-back chairs and picnic items.

Beaches Resorts Waives the Single Supplement Fee!

Single Parent Fun at Beaches Resorts!

Beaches Resorts is waiving the
Single Supplement fee
(up to $190 per night)
at all locations!!

Single Parents who book 3 nights or more at any Beaches Resort will enjoy:

  • the Single Parent Welcome Receptions
  • Single Parent Social Cocktail Receptions
  • Kids Movie Night and more!
This offer must be booked by July 31st, 2010.

This latest offer from Beaches is combinable with

Warm up with Beaches Resorts

making for even greater savings!!

The Best of Las Vegas with FREE Cirque tickets!

FREE Tickets to Cirque du Soliel with this great offer from Southwest Vacations!

Las Vegas Show Ticket Sale!

  • SAVE $50 per reservation!
  • SAVE an additional 30% off your hotel room if you book by June 24, 2010
  • Receive up to 2 Show Tickets, your choice of:
  • Viva ELVIS™ by Cirque du Soleil® at ARIA
  • KÀ™ by Cirque du Soleil® at MGM Grand
  • Disney's THE LION KING at Mandalay Bay
  • The Beatles™ LOVE™ by Cirque du Soleil® at The Mirage
  • Terry Fator and His Cast of Thousands at The Mirage
  • Lance Burton: Master Magician at Monte Carlo
  • Frank Caliendo: The New Faces of Las Vegas Comedy at Monte Carlo
  • Zumanity™, The Sensual Side of Cirque du Soleil™ at New York - New York
  • CRISS ANGEL® Believe™ from Cirque du Soleil® at Luxor
  • Tournament of Kings at Excalibur

Receive up to 2 Show Tickets on The Best of Las Vegas Packages.
Plus, save $50 when you use promo code: MGMSAVE50.
Book now until July 1, 2010.

The Art of Europe

It would almost be impossible to think of Europe without thinking of art. In turn, art in Europe conjures up thoughts of France with a fabulous selection of museums including the Louvre, D’Orsay, National Picasso, and Matisse, to only name a few.

Art History students at the University of Redlands, a top Southern California university, are exposed to the classics through studying paintings, sculptures, and architecture. Visitors to France can see all three by visiting the many spectacular chateaus located throughout the country like Versailles, Château de Fontainebleau or Château de Vaux-le-Vicomte in Maincy, just outside of Paris. Here you can discover exquisite works of art ranging from Baroque period furniture to paintings by Charles Le Brun.

But a visit to France would not be complete without visiting the masters. Only fifty miles from Paris are the home and gardens of Claude Monet located in Giverny where visitors can explore his house, gardens, and take their own photos of the famous lily ponds. Vincent Van Gogh’s final home in Auvers-sur-Oise is a simple upstairs room in the former Ravoux Inn; from here you can walk to view several sites that Van Gogh depicted in his paintings.

If you’d like to create your own art while in France, consider enrolling in a continued education art course for a day or a week-long program where meals and accommodations are included. The length, prices, and instructor credentials can vary widely so ensure you do your homework before committing. If you’re interested in pursuing a career in the art field, consider taking the Art History Program offered through the College of Arts & Sciences at the University of Redlands.

Through hands-on experience, students at this Los Angeles University will be immersed in art history while establishing their visual competency and knowledge. Completion of the program allows you to get a bachelors degree in Art History; graduates may wish to work as curator or archivist at a museum or gallery, in advertising or design, or even as an artist themselves.

In fact, artist Douglas C. Bowman, a Professor Emeritus at Redlands University has paintings displayed at La Caleta Palace in Dinard, France. Photo Credits:
Versailles Palace Interior by Albany_Tim
Monet's Garden - Water Lilies, Pond, and Bridge by Ell Brown

Having a Crappy Day? Check out the National Toilet Map.

Okay, so you’re travelling and you gotta go. So you whip out your Blackberry or your cell phone, access your mobile browser and voila, you’re on your way to relief courtesy of who provides information on public toilet locations across the U.S., Canada, and Europe.

Or, if you're visiting Australia, check out their National Public Toilet Map - an impressive list of over 14,000 toilets with details as to the facilities offered and the hours they're open - so you'll never have to go outback in the Outback.

Public provides a world wide gathering of public toilets and information as to the quality of each facility. Countries in this extensive listing include:
  • Australia
  • Austria
  • Belgium
  • Canada
  • Denmark
  • Finland
  • France
  • Germany
  • Greece
  • Ireland
  • Italy
  • Netherlands
  • New Zealand
  • Norway
  • Spain
  • Sweden
  • Switzerland
  • United Kingdom
  • U.S.
The Bathroom Diaries claims to be the 'world's largest guide to public toilets, restrooms, bathrooms, and loos,' in over 120 countries including over 9,000 entries for the U.S. alone.

Past winners of their Golden Plunger award include:
  • Kawakawa, Bay of Islands, New Zealand
  • Shoji Tabuchi Theater, Branson, MI
  • John Michael Kohler Arts Center, Sheboygan, WI
  • Bar 89, New York
So, try not to have a crappy day - Happy Travelling!

Rooms for Less in Ireland

When it comes to value accommodation in Ireland, the bed and breakfast really comes into its own, but don’t forget a host of top class hostels, caravan and camping sites in beautiful locations and some fascinating self-catering options.

Bed and Breakfast

There are lots of advantages to enjoying one of Ireland’s famously friendly B&Bs. Prices starting from €30 per night will get you get top quality accommodation and inside knowledge of the local area from your hosts, along with a hearty Irish breakfast (sausages, bacon, black pudding and eggs) to set you up for the day. You’ll find this kind of accommodation in the city and country alike, in farmhouse, cottage, and townhouse, and some that might surprise you.

Eco Tourism Award

There’s a huge range of B&Bs and guesthouses to choose from with many earning awards for different aspects of their offering. One of the first in Ireland to receive the EU flower award for Eco tourism, for instance, is Ard na Breátha guesthouse in Donegal, situated in a quiet corner of a working farm, where you can enjoy a great atmosphere, open fire and panoramic views of the Bluestack Mountains. Grab a Dublin car rental, your camera, and enjoy the scenic 3-hour drive to Donegal.

Hostel Heaven
Budgeting doesn’t mean an end to fun. You’ll make a stack of friends and stay in some of the country’s most beautiful locations touring Ireland by hostel. Hostels, often in remote and idyllic places, offer high standard accommodation and increasingly provide family and double rooms. Some hostel chains like Paddy's Palace, with outlets in Derry, Belfast, Dublin, Cork and Killarney, also offer great budget tours, too.

Stay in a Castle

And why let a budget stop you staying somewhere exotic? At non-profit The Irish Landmark Trust you can find beautifully restored lighthouses, tower lodges, gatehouses, schoolhouses and more, offering unforgettable self-catering at reasonable prices. If you’re in a group or large family you can even rent a castle from them, with an atmospheric medieval double bedroom in the tower. Clomantagh Castle, in County Kilkenny, also has a farmhouse built in the 1800s.

Go Green

For something truly different take time out from the rat race at the amazing Gyreum Ecolodge overlooking Lough Arrow in Sligo, part of the Greenbox eco tourism group and offering very reasonable rates.

Camping and Caravanning

With its thousands of miles of beautiful coastline, Ireland is packed with caravan and camping sites with stunning views like the amazing Eagle Point camping site, which takes over an entire peninsula overlooking Bantry Bay in West Cork.

Press Release:
Discover Ireland

Photo: Clomantagh Castle at

Five Facts About Father's Day - One Solution

With Father's Day only a few days away, let's get this show on the road with a great travel gift idea for Dad with these Five facts about Father's Day:

1) No one knows what to get Dad
2) Pretty much everyone, including Dad, has TRAVEL on their "bucket list"
3) Most kids can't afford to give Dad a trip
4) Most kids CAN download a song or movie to a cell phone or mp3 player
5) Most Dads haven't tried a download yet - maybe they'd appreciate some help,
even if they don't ask.

Here's the solution! Do a Download for Dad: a guided tour for his mobile device from (VTT), the largest supplier of tours of the world for any mobile.

Is he really going to Barcelona? Rio? Singapore? Great! Then a VTT guide will show him around. Or, if he's into armchair travel, this is the best way to see more than 150 destinations.

And better yet, VTT is offering a 20% discount for tours purchased before Father's Day, June 20th, using promo code DADGIFT on the checkout page.

Press Release: Visual Travel Tours


Book by June 24th for these Travel Writer

Last Minute Deals!

Minimize Your Packing with Minimus

With today's Transportation Security Administration (TSA) liquid carry-on restrictions still in place, it can sometimes be hard to find personal care products to fit the bill size wise. Minimus does just that.

Offering a selection of over 2,000 items including gift sets and kits, all travel-sized liquids and gels are sized at 3.4 ounces or less. Brand name products are available for travelling, for your car, or even your office desk in the following categories:
  • personal care
  • food & specialty food
  • beverages
  • pharmacy
  • household
  • baby/toddler
  • cosmetics
  • travel accessories
  • survival
With many prices under the USD $2.00 range, Minimus also offers luxury items through their Minimus Boutique such as the Voyage de Luxe for Her which includes 42 travel-size items packaged in a gorgeous cream Brics Bojola Tuscan Train Case retailing for $895. Or for the man in your life, try a Brics Life Pelle Necessaire Tri-fold Traveller in a deep tobacco.

For more information, visit Minimus.

Take a Visit to Africa Without Leaving Home

If you’ve ever longed to visit the exotic land of Africa and go on a safari, then this is the pseudo vacation for you. You won’t have to leave the comfort of your own home and you won’t have to spend a dime.

Imagine seeing, up close and personal, the natural habitats of African animals including:
  • The Elephant Plains – you may get a glimpse of the Big 5 – elephant, rhino, lion, leopard, and buffalo
  • Mount Kilamanjaro – showing current conditions on the mountain
  • Nkorho Pan – view an elephant, wildebeest, lion, leopard, hippo, impala, waterbuck, zebra, and giraffe
  • Tembe Elephant Park – the biggest elephant park in Africa along with black and white rhino, hyena, jackal, kudu, warthog, and over 340 species of birds
  • Bald Eagles, Black Eagles, & Osprey
Africam allows you to do just that. You don’t need to register in order to watch the live streaming or refreshing videos; you only need to register if you want to post to their website. If you’d rather, you can always get a sneak peak of Africa by viewing the:
  • Top 10
  • Most Viewed
  • Most Recent
If you have any trouble viewing the live cams, you can also view Africam videos on Youtube. The Africam website also includes discussion forums, blogs, and links to other informational websites; you can also follow Africam on Twitter or join their Facebook page.

To view this exciting venture in armchair travel, visit Africam. Photo Credits:
Elephant Plains
by Quinn.Anya
Cheetah 0333910-R1E016
by World Resources Institute Staff's Photostream

The Great Getaway with Homewood Suites

Let's admit, planning a family vacation can be hectic. But if you choose a comfortable hotel room that everyone can enjoy, you're already half way to creating family vacation memories that will last a lifetime.

And that means a room where Dad can nap on the sofa, a pool for the kids, internet access for Mom to send photos home, and a hot full breakfast daily for everyone to enjoy.

A great example of this family style hotel concept are the Homewood Suites by Hilton. With great location choices including Los Angeles, Orlando, and Honolulu, a great family vacation is only a reservation away.

Here's a quick look at what every Homewood Suites includes:
  • spacious Studio, One-bedroom, and Two-bedroom suites
  • fully equipped kitchens (with a dishwasher!!) and a dining area
  • comfortable beds & bedding
  • complimentary high-speed internet
  • complimentary Suite Start hot full breakfast daily
  • complimentary Welcome Home Reception each evening consisting of a light meal and beverages (Monday through Thursday)
With 275 Homewood Suites locations available in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico, there's sure to be one at your vacation destination. Check their website for the latest Specials & Packages, such as the:
  • Great Getaway where you can save 20% by booking 7-days in advance (now through June 15, 2010) for stays until September 6th; a 3-night minimum stay is required for Tuesday arrivals and a 2-night minimum stay for Wednesday arrivals.
For more information or to make reservations, visit Homewood Suites by Hilton.

New Orleans Essence Music Festival

Hailed as "the entertainment and cultural event of the year," the New Orleans Essence Music Festival is offering an amazing line-up of performers during this year's event, July 2 - 4, 2010.

The three-day event will take place at the New Orleans Superdome, home to the New Orleans Saints and the Tulane Green Wave. Performing on the mainstage will be:
  • Janet Jackson
  • Mary J Blige
  • Alicia Keyes
  • Earth, Wind & Fire
  • LL Cool J
  • Gladys Knight
  • Charlie Wilson
  • Jill Scott
  • Keri Hilson
  • Monica
  • Try Songz
Presented by Coca Cola, the amazing performers are only part of the New Orleans Essence Music Festival - the Seminars are the other exciting events of the weekend with speakers like:
  • Bill Cosby
  • Rodney & Holly Robinson Peete
  • Dr. Steve Perry
  • Sherri Shepherd
  • Steve Harvey
  • Hill Harper
The mission of Essence magazine is to "inspire Black women of all shades and shapes to lead bold, fulfilling lives. We encourage their passions and dreams and celebrate their community. As a trusted friend, we reflect their best selves and motivate them to live without limits."

For more information or to buy tickets, visit the New Orleans Essence Music Festival and New Orleans Online.

24-Hour Rooms in Seattle? It’s not what you think.

The five-star Pan Pacific Hotel in Seattle recently announced their new concept in hotel stays by introducing 24-hour guest room access.

In a nutshell, the Pan Pacific is allowing guests full 24-hour access to their room from the time they check in. Instead of checking in at 5:00 p.m. and being required to leave at 11:00 a.m., the new idea allows guests to stay 24-hours, in this case, until 5:00 p.m.

This new hotel industry concept is being beta tested until June 30th, when the Pan Pacific will access the success of the innovative program. The Pan Pacific Seattle was recently ranked as #13 in the 'Top 25 Hotels in the U.S.," according to TripAdvisor's 2010 Traveler's Choice Awards.

Press Release:

As Seattle’s premiere urban destination, Pan Pacific Hotel Seattle features 160 superbly appointed guest rooms and suites with views of the city, Lake Union and Space Needle; plasma HDTVs; Internet radio; complimentary wireless Internet access; and accommodating working spaces. The AAA Four Diamond property also offers a full service fitness center, over 5,000 square feet of luxurious meeting and event space, 24-hour private dining and a sleek library lounge serving cocktails, meals and light snacks.

Pan Pacific Hotel Seattle is part of the exclusive 2200 complex, featuring Vida Spa, John Howie's Seastar Restaurant & Raw Bar, Whole Foods Market®, Starbucks and many more retail outlets. The hotel is within walking distance of Seattle’s Central Business District, Nordstrom’s flagship retail store, upscale Pacific Place and scenic Lake Union and is now conveniently connected, by the Seattle Streetcar, to nearby Westlake Center and South Lake Union Park.

For more information or to make reservations, visit
Pan Pacific Hotel Seattle. Photo Credit: Seattle Center - Space Needle - EMP - SciFi Museum by Smart Destinations

Top 10 Medical Tips for Travelling to the 2010 World Cup

The South African Government has assured the millions of fans who will be coming to watch the 2010 FIFA World Cup that they will be safe in South Africa where a dedicated force of 41,000 police and security officers will be deployed.

But before travelers go to the World Cup, there are some medical tips they should pay attention to:

1.Visit your doctor
Visit your local doctor one month prior to your intended trip departure date. To discuss your travel plans, accommodation and potential health concerns or risks at your destination country

2. Get your immunizations up to date
Discuss with your doctor or a Travellers Medical and Vaccination Centre (TMVC) about the current immunisation recommendations for South Africa. Currently these include consideration for immunisation against the following diseases Measles/Mumps/Rubella (MMR Vaccine), Diphtheria/Pertussis/Tetanus (DPT, Bostrix), Polio, Hepatitis A & B and Typhoid may be advisable.

If you intend to travel and a lot of your time will be in rural South Africa involving camping or hiking then you should discuss the option of a rabies immunization with your health care professional.

Malaria is also present in Mpumalanga Province, Limpopo (Northern) Province, and northeastern KwaZulu-Natal as far south as the Tugela River and is present in Kruger National Park; if you are traveling to these areas you may which to consider obtaining anti-malarial medication from your doctor or International Travel Vaccination Centre.

3. Consider a Flu Vaccination
Consider having your seasonal flu & H1N1 immunization prior to your travel. Discuss this with your Healthcare provider. There will be people coming from around the world to South Africa, it may no longer be the flu season in your home country but other travellers could carry the flu virus. Take a small bottle of an alcohol based hand rub or hand hygiene on the go and regularly wash your hands with soap and fresh water. Remember cough etiquette, use a tissue and dispose of it appropriately.

4. Pack insect repellent
Take DEET insect repellent to keep away the flying insects which may carry dengue fever and malaria. Ensure you wear long sleeved shirts and pants. Avoid being outside at dusk and dawn which is the time most flying insects are out and about.

5. Pack a first aid kit
Pack a first aid kit or Travel Emergency Medical Kit which includes sterile dressings, gloves and with medication for diarrhea (Over the counter) which you can obtain at your local pharmacy.

6. Carry your medications in your hand luggage
Carry enough of your medications for the duration of your trip and another two weeks supply in case of unexpected circumstances. Keep your medication in the original packaging. Be sure to follow security guidelines at all airports. Always take a letter from your local doctor listing the medication you are carrying and that they have been prescribed for your use. Some medications may be prohibited in some countries so it is recommended that you contact the South African consulate or embassy for further information.

Carry your medication in your carry on board bag. Do not place it in your suit case in the hold of the aircraft. Suitcases’ frequently go missing and your medication may not be available at your destination which can cause you a lot of undue stress and concern.

7. If you get sick, see a health care professional

If you develop a fever and diarrhoea you should see a health care professional as soon as possible, and call your World Nomads Emergency Assistance Phone number for advice. Cholera does occur in South Africa, usually in rural areas, however there have been periodical outbreaks in other locations.

8. Drink bottled water
Take care with your food and water; always wash your hands before eating. Drink only bottled or boiled water. Don’t drink from fountains or tap water and avoid ice cubes. Remember it is safe to eat if you can cook it, peel it or boil the food before you eat it.

9. If it's not on it's not on!

Always observe safe sex practices, this means always use a condom and/or dental dam. HIV infection rates are known to be very high in South Africa, not to mention other sexually transmitted diseases. You don’t want to bring home an unwanted surprise disease.

10. Take out travel insurance
Don’t forget to take out Travel insurance before you go as you never know when you may need it and medical costs overseas can be expensive. If you feel unwell contact your travel insurance medical assistance company as soon as possible. Make sure you keep a copy of your policy on you at all times. World Nomads Travel Insurance medical assistance companies have a toll free number and can also receive collect call. Remember they are open 24-hours a day. They can provide you with emergency information and help in obtaining emergency medical assistance.

Important Phone Numbers for South Africa
Contact details for emergencies:
Emergency telephone numbers are for exactly that - emergencies - so don't clog up these vital lines with general or non-emergency calls.

10111 - Nationwide Emergency Response

* Dial the telephone number 10111 from anywhere in South Africa.
* A call centre operator will answer the incoming call, take all necessary particulars and assign the complaint to a Flying Squad patrol vehicle, or the local police station, to attend the incident.

011 37 55 911 - City of Johannesburg Emergency Connect

* 24-hour emergency services relating to all-life threatening situations, including ambulances, fire engines and metro police.
* Appropriately qualified

Government numbers:
086001-0111 - Report a crime
080011-2040 - Report unfair conduct by a government official
080060-0933 - Report corruption in or out of government
(012) 320-0431 - Report unfair conduct by police
080001-2322 - HIV/AIDS support
0800 002587 (toll free) - Joburg Anti-Corruption Unit

Press Release: Courtesy of World Nomads