Discover Aulani Disney Resort & Spa

The new luxury Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa, is located on the island of Oahu approximately 20 minutes from the Honolulu International Airport.

This stunning resort sits on 21 acres of white sand beachfront framed by tall palms swaying in the gentle trade winds. The Aulani (the place that speaks for the great ones) is a combination resort hotel featuring rooms (359) and suites (16) plus it also offers villas (460) that are part of the Disney Vacation Club program.

The Aulani offers guests a complete vacation experience with activities and amenities like:
  • Disney character meet and greet
  • their spacious 8,200 square foot Waikolohe pool
  • Wailana infinity pool plus 4 whirlpool spas
  • Waikolohe Stream for tubing
  • Menehune Bridge & Trail for exploring
  • Rainbow Reef for snorkeling
  • up close and personal encounters at the Conservation Pool
  • storytelling fire pit
  • spa and state of the art fitness center
Discovery Experiences offer guests of the Aulani the chance to learn about Hawaiian culture and natural beauty of Oahu through learning about legends of the island, farming, underwater sea life, and wildlife.

The Olelo Room offers guests a daily continental breakfast along with afternoon tea service while fine dining during the evening can be found at the AMA AMA Beach Restaurant located, where else but, beach side.

The Makahiki Buffet offers a selection of cuisines from around the world at its open air restaurant while quick meals and snacks like yogurt bars and shave ice can be found at the Lava Shack and One Paddle, Two Paddle. For an intimate evening, in-room dining can also be arranged.

Aunty's Beach House is home to their specially designed children's programs that includes games, arts and crafts, plus Disney movie showings. Aulani also offers excursions which include activities and adventures like hiking, kayaking, or sailing on a catamaran, to taking Hawaiian cooking classes or visiting a museum. Photo Credit:
Disney Aulani resort - 2010-07-22 update pictures
by Coconut Wireless

Travel Writer: On Sale This Week!

Exclusive Offer from Sandals Royal Plantation

Fall Savings at Sandals Resorts

Great Cities for Foodies!

If you love food and cooking, why not incorporate this aspect into your vacation? The excitement of seeking and enjoying new foods can definitely be part of the fun especially if you visit one of the Great Cities for Foodies!

New Orleans, LA
Home of French Cajun and Creole cooking, New Orleans will offer a feast for the eyes as well as the palate. Some of the scrumptious culinary delights you can try in New Orleans include: seafood, gumbo, pecan pie, pralines, beignets, jambalaya, muffuletta sandwich, etouffee, along with the staple red beans and rice.

Check out the Funky Fall Rate travel specials and don't forget to order your FREE New Orleans Travel Planner.

Quebec City, QC
Another city proud of it's French heritage is Quebec City. Must-try cuisine for visitors include poutine (french fries/cheese/gravy), cheese, pate, smoke meat sandwich, chien chaud (hot dog!), tourtiere (meat pie), maple syrup, and dulce de leche (caramel).

Order your FREE Quebec Travel Planner and view a selection of available Quebec City Travel Packages. Plus enter to Win a Getaway to Quebec City!

Seattle, WA
The Emerald City offers unique cuisine as special as the Pacific Northwest area itself. Must-tries include salmon, seafood, huckleberries (or any fruit in season), jam, cheese, and pine mushrooms.

Order your FREE Seattle Visitor Information Packet and check out this list of accommodations in Seattle.

For more information, visit:
New Orleans Tourism
Quebec City Tourism
Visit Seattle Photo Credit:

Quebec City - Chateau Frontenac Hotel from the Monte-Carlo Restaurant
- by David Paul Ohmer

First Time to Mexico? Take a Cruise!

If you've never thought about it before, sailing on a Mexican Riviera Cruise is the perfect way to explore Mexico for the first time as a family or as a romantic couples getaway.

A Cruise is the Best Vacation Value for Your Dollar
With so many cruise lines and so many ships competing for your dollar, the cost of going on a cruise is still at the lowest it's ever been. And what do you get for your cruising vacation dollar?
  • accommodation in a floating hotel
  • the luxury of visiting different destinations/ports
  • an endless variety of scrumptious meals
  • entertainment of all kinds
Family Advantages on a Cruise
Onboard a cruise, your family is ensured to never be bored or to never be hungry. There are so many fun activities to enjoy including planned activities for children aged 2 to 17 which can also include overnight babysitting.

And just think if you had to leave the children at home - how much would childcare cost? In contrast, cruise fares for 3rd and 4th passengers can be found for as little as $99 per person; it's barely possible to feed a child at home for this price plus you've still got to keep them entertained!

Taking a family cruise to a foreign country is the perfect opportunity to spend quality time together, learn about a new culture, and create special memories that can be cherished for years to come.

Why Mexico?

Because it's in our own backyard. The nearness to the U.S. along with a unique cultural experience makes Mexico an attractive destination for travelers. Let's take a look at the ports of call on a Mexican Riviera cruise:
  • Mazatlan - the 'Pearl of the Pacific' is a popular seaside vacation destination; explore the beaches, bargain for souvenirs, take a tour of the Sierra Madre Mountains, visit Deer Island Nature Reserve, or enjoy an ATV experience or go horseback riding at an authentic Mexican ranch
  • Puerto Vallarta - this historical city offers stunning architecture including a visit to San Sebastian, strolling along the Malecon, beautiful beaches, shopping, and outdoor adventures like scuba diving, zip lines, tropical jungle tour, dolphin encounter, sunset sail, hiking, and horseback riding
  • Cabo San Lucas - this beautiful desert location offers an array of activities for visitors like golfing, riding in a semi-submersible, parasailing, taking a jeep adventure, kayaking, snorkeling, and whale watching
Of course, if you'd like to cruise on a budget, you can simple disembark at any one of these ports and wander to your heart's content; or for a few dollars, hire a taxi to take you any of the ports gorgeous beaches where you can laze away the afternoon.

Why a Cruise to Mexico?
If you've never visited Mexico before, a cruise will give you a chance to see three different destinations during a seven day itinerary. You can get a feel for each place and decide which one you'd like to visit during an extended vacation. For example, Puerto Vallarta is rich in history with a somewhat more laid back nightlife than Cabo or Mazatlan.

Bon Voyage! Photo Credit:
Carnival 4 Day Baja Mexico Cruise - Day 2
by Jecu Arce

Royal Caribbean International Offers Onboard Cooking Classes

Vacationing foodies can now choose from a range of culinary experiences aboard a Royal Caribbean cruise. Royal Caribbean International is partnering with renowned Chefmakers Cooking Academy, a cooking school dedicated to aspiring home cooks of all ages, to bring unique cooking programs to guests, who can share in fond family vacation memories and learn practical skills that can be applied day-to-day. Available now aboard Liberty of the Seas and beginning in the fall aboard Freedom of the Seas, guests, at an additional cost, can choose from over a dozen Chefmakers at Sea classes that are taught in the actual galleys of the ship.

"Royal Caribbean continues to be at the forefront of onboard food and beverage offerings, tempting guests with a diverse and exciting lineup of enriching and delectable programs,” said Frank Weber, vice president of Food and Beverage Operations, Royal Caribbean International. “The Chefmakers at Sea cooking experience engages guests of all ages by teaching and honing their skills.”

Chefmakers at Sea’s hands-on classes range from $40 to $125 and are ideal for both kitchen newbies and the experienced home cook alike. With several essential programs like Knife Skills, Quick & Easy Fish, and All About Chicken, to highly social and interactive cooking parties like Asian Persuasion, New American Cuisine, and Surf & Turf, there is an appetizing class for every palate. Successfully piloted aboard Mariner of the Seas, the three-hour programs are open to guests 18 and over, who can try their hand at a series of exciting recipes and new skills under the careful guidance of the Chefmakers culinary team.

“At Chefmakers, we teach Royal Caribbean guests the tricks of the trade, in turn providing a feeling of mastery and confidence that will last long after their cruise,” said Richard H. Klein, founder and CEO of Chefmakers Cooking Academy, LLC.

Other classes include: Small Bites; Quick & Easy Pasta; Tamales; Lazy Day Brunch; California Cuisine; and Cooking Around the World. In addition, Chefmakers at Sea offers a series of festive holiday classes, such as: Pumpkin Carving; Gingerbread House Decorating; Ultimate Thanksgiving; and Entertaining for New Years. Participants will receive their very own Chefmakers apron and recipe cards for all menu items prepared, as well as complimentary wine based on class selection. Guests will also have the opportunity to purchase the high quality kitchenware and utensils that they learn to use in the classes.

Little ones, from four to 11 years of age, can kick-start their culinary careers with a one-hour “Kids with Kids Baking” class. The future chefs will have fun preparing homemade sweet treats, like mini-puff pastry turnovers, learning lessons in chemistry and kitchen hygiene along the way.

Guests may register and learn about the specific classes being offered online using the Chefmakers pre-board reservation system. Private Chefmakers at Sea programs also will soon be available for various corporate groups that offer a very unique team building experience as well as for families looking for another memorable way to enjoy their cruise vacation.

Royal Caribbean International is a global cruise brand with 21 ships currently in service and one under construction. The line also offers unique cruisetour land packages in Alaska, Dubai, Europe, Australia and New Zealand, and South America.

For additional information or to make reservations, visit Royal Caribbean.

Press Release: Royal Caribbean Photo Credit: Cruise Food Part III

Virginia Small Towns Win Hearts in Fall

Take time this fall to relax and reconnect in the warm hospitality of Virginia's small towns and historic downtowns. Small town Americana charms visitors looking for authentic experiences in historic settings. Old-fashioned country stores, local farmers markets and historic inns are cherished sites in towns across the Commonwealth. These experiences and more are the heart of a romantic fall getaway in Virginia. Find inspiration for trip ideas below or visit Virginia Tourism for more.

Historic DowntownsVirginia's rich history creates a special backdrop for fall getaways. Small, historic downtowns are walkable destinations with shops, restaurants and galleries for exploring. Great examples include Middleburg, in the heart of horse country in Loudoun County, once favored by Jacquelyn Kennedy Onassis. Stroll the downtown for high-end goods at Market Salamander before enjoying a delicious meal and stay at the Red Fox Inn.

Lexington showcases the beauty of the Shenandoah Valley. Local shops and restaurants, such as the Red Hen, attract visitors from Washington, D.C. and other big cities looking for a quiet place to get away.

The history of Fredericksburg dates back hundreds of years, and it shows in the numerous antique shops in town. Walk from store to store to work up an appetite for cuisine at Poppy Hill or La Petit Auberge to name a few. New lodging options right downtown including Courtyard by Marriott and the 1890 Caroline House make the need for a car obsolete on this getaway.

Ham, history, hospitality and heart is the motto of Smithfield. The town wins hearts with Victorian mansions, boutique pet shops and arts. Historic Smithfield is a delightful shopping area with antique and specialty stores. Visitors will enjoy the bronze statues placed throughout the town square.

Charming Main Streets
Virginia's commitment to historic preservation is highlighted in the Virginia Main Street program, with 21 official Main Street communities across the state. One of Virginia's furthest southwest Main Street communities is Marion, home of the Lincoln Theater. Built in 1929, the Lincoln Theater is one of three existing Art Deco Mayan Revival-style theaters in America. Regular shows and performances take visitors back to a bygone era.

South Boston has a wonderful balance of both rural and urban benefits with distinctive traditions and the lilting rhythm of Southern charm. Visitors will find one of the richest collections of original Victorian architecture in the country, along with signature attractions like Berry Hill Resort and the Prizery, a fine arts and performance destination.

A winner of the Great American Main Street Award, Staunton continues to win rave reviews. This historic downtown is alive with more than 100 unique shops, art galleries and restaurants and the recently-restored Stonewall Jackson Hotel. Staunton also offers nine B&Bs housed within beautifully restored buildings. Catch a play at the Blackfriars Playhouse or tour the Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library and Museum at his Birthplace.

These and more fine Main Streets are detailed on

Romantic B&Bs and Historic Inns
Historic inns and B&Bs are ideal for a romantic fall getaway to Virginia. These beautiful respites include The Inn at Onancock, a gourmet B&B on Virginia's Eastern Shore, featuring five guest suites, each with an individual theme and flair. Guests love the tranquil breezes that blow in off the bay and "wine down" hour that happens every evening with local wines and foods on the patio.

Thyme Inn in Culpeper is a lovely three-suite boutique hotel in the middle of the historic downtown. Curl up in bed with a good book and glass of wine from Thyme Market. Wake to the smells of coffee brewing and fresh baked croissants. Dine al fresco on a private balcony or in the comfort of the room with a soft fire burning.

The Martha Washington Inn, a charming historic hotel, dates to 1832 and offers fifty-one elegant rooms and eleven suites, each one a little different in decor and furnishings. Located in the heart of Abingdon, the Martha Washington is directly across the street from the Barter Theater, the state theater of Virginia. These two destinations are worth the trip on their own, but add in the arts and crafts boutiques downtown for a remarkable trip.

Tides Inn is located in the quaint, picture perfect small community of Irvington and is nestled on its own peninsula overlooking picturesque Carter's Creek with a view to the Rappahannock River. Visitors come here for beautiful vistas, pampering spa treatments, top-notch dining and unique culture and heritage of the Bay region.

Love is at the heart of every Virginia vacation. Visit for more information or order your FREE Virginia is for Lovers travel guide.

Press Release: Virginia Tourism Corporation Photo Credit: Shenandoah Valley
by JCurtis4082

Travel Writer: On Sale This Week!

Southwest Airlines Fall Travel from $49!!
Book by September 27, 1010

Fall Fares from $59 one way!

Fall Fares with Frontier Airlines from $39!
Sale ends September 27, 2010

Holiday Caribbean Cruises from only $599!

Air Pacific Fiji Flight Specials!

British Midland International Worldwide Seat Sale!
Book by September 27, 2010
(Washington, DC to Cairo from $300 one way!!)

Discover Roatan

Roatan seems to be another one of those destinations that everyone has heard of but no one seems to know exactly where it is. As the largest of the Bay Islands of Honduras, Roatan is located off the northern Honduran coast.

Known for it's stunning natural beauty and world famous scuba diving, Roatan is situated near the second largest barrier reef in the world - the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef. Visitors to this long narrow island will enjoy the uncrowded pristine white sand beaches and amazing turquoise waters filled with an abundance of brightly colored tropical fish.

West Bay Beach is known for its beauty as well as its great snorkeling just offshore while West End is known for its fantastic scuba diving. Here in the touristy West End, visitors will find an assortment of t-shirt shops, delicious seafood restaurants, as well as beach side bars.

Coxen Hole, the largest town on Roatan (population 5,100), is home to the cruise ship dock which is best to avoid when any cruise ships are around. Prices tend to become inflated plus the area becomes too crowded with visitors and those trying to hock their wares. It's also best to avoid Coxen Hole at night due to tourist crimes although the police force has increased along popular tourist streets.

French Harbor is home to Roatan's newest shopping center which features shops, businesses, and restaurants including Wendy's and Applebees. Punta Gorda is home to the native Garafuna people where visitors can experience their unique language and culture.

Roatan is also known for its abundance of flora and fauna (including a butterfly garden), adventure tourism (zip lines, scuba, kayaking, and endless watersports), and overall laid back Caribbean lifestyle. The best time of year to visit Roatan is during their non-rainy season - March to May, and August to September.

Visitors can fly on major flights (Delta, United, Taca, Continental) into Tegucialpa, San Pedro Sula, or La Ceiba, and then take a smaller connecting aircraft onto Roatan with carriers like Islena or Sosa. Photo Credit: Roatan by Perry McKenna

Princess Family Cruises Offers Camping in Alaska

After a popular debut last year, Princess Cruises is once again offering special Alaska cruisetours designed just for families. These unique tours incorporate a variety of features not usually included in a cruisetour package, such as the opportunity to learn about dog mushing at the Iditarod Headquarters, pan for gold, take an interactive tour of Denali National Park, and enjoy a fun campfire experience.

The 12-night family cruisetours include a seven-night Voyage of the Glaciers cruise plus a five-night land tour. The land segment also features such family-friendly extras as daily breakfasts, a visit to the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center, and a dinner theater performance. At sea, families can also take advantage of Princess' many onboard programs especially for children, including a special Junior Ranger program in Glacier Bay National Park.

"Alaska is the perfect place for a family vacation," said Jan Swartz, Princess Cruises executive vice president. "There are amazing wildlife viewing opportunities, awesome scenery and lots of active adventures. With this in mind, we wanted to make it easier for family groups to plan the perfect Alaska experience with activities that will appeal to many ages and interests."

Passengers can choose to sail aboard Diamond Princess or Coral Princess, and the cruisetour land itinerary includes stays at three of Princess' own wilderness lodges -- one night at Mt. McKinley Princess Wilderness Lodge, two nights at Denali Princess Wilderness Lodge and two nights at Fairbanks Princess Riverside Lodge. The tours are offered on 34 departures with both northbound (#FUN) and southbound (#WOW) itinerary options.

The following special extras are included in the 2011 season tours:

Daily Breakfast
-- Everyone in the family can start their morning off with the most important meal of the day.

Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center
-- Wildlife appeals to all ages, and families will be able to see a variety of animals such as bears, elk, bison, moose, caribou, musk ox, coyotes and eagles with a visit to the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center. This non-profit organization takes in injured and orphaned animals and gives a permanent home to those that can't be returned to the wild.

Iditarod Headquarters with Dog Sled Ride
-- En route to Mt. McKinley Princess Wilderness Lodge, family members will enjoy a stop at the Iditarod Headquarters in Wasilla. Here travelers can learn about mushing and its importance in Alaskan culture. The center offers the opportunity to meet sled dogs and see them at work with wheeled cart rides.

Evening Campfire Experience (Mt. McKinley)
-- An evening campfire near the Mt. McKinley Princess Wilderness Lodge is the perfect way for families to end the day, complete with treats such as s'mores and hot chocolate, plus unique Alaska stories and songs. Music of Denali Dinner Theater (Denali) -- This rollicking musical comedy tells the legend of the first expedition to the summit of Mt. McKinley, accompanied by a hearty, family-style meal featuring smokehouse ribs and Alaska salmon.

Experience Denali with Alaska Geographic Tour (Denali)
-- A more intimate tour of Denali National Park, this special excursion includes a variety of interactive experiences, including an enhanced view of the Denali ecosystem and current research taking place. The narrated bus tour takes guests 15 miles into the park to a beautiful river valley where they embark on a short walk to the historic Savage River Camp, where they can participate in a number of hands-on activities.

Sourdough Expedition Breakfast (Denali)
-- While fueling up for the day with an Alaskan roadhouse-style breakfast, guests experience an unforgettable journey up Denali through breathtaking images in Laurent Dick's Climb Denali. Participants have the opportunity to meet this real mountain climber and ask questions about mountain climbing.

Riverboat Cruise and El Dorado Goldmine Tour (Fairbanks) -- Families can enjoy traveling on an authentic sternwheeler for a fully-narrated cruise along the Chena River and try their hands at gold panning at the El Dorado Gold Mine, where they will learn about Alaska's gold mining history.

Fares for the Alaska Family Cruisetours start at $1,648 per person for the first and second berths, and $1,246 per person for the third and fourth berth passengers.

For more information, visit Princess Cruises.

Press Release & Photo Courtesy of Princess Cruises

The Future of Bus Travel Has Arrived

Have you thought about taking a trip lately? Have you even considered taking a Greyhound Bus? With these latest innovations, maybe it's time you should.

Greyhound has recently introduced their brand new completely redesigned bus that features many upgrades including:
  • complimentary WI-FI access
  • electrical outlets to keep your personal electronics charged
  • expanded leg room of 14"
  • three-point safety harness at all seats
  • fuel efficient engine that releases less CO2 than a hybrid vehicle
These new state-of-the-art buses are available on major routes in the US including:
  • New York to Montreal, Toronto, and Boston
  • Washington, DC, to Boston, New York, and Montreal
The routing will soon be expanded to include more cities in the Northeast.

For more information, visit Greyhound Lines.

Image Courtesy of Greyhound Lines

September Getaways with Unique Inns

Wondering where to go for the best vacation experience this September? On the pacific coast, as summer turns to fall, foliage emerges and trees transform hills into a patchwork of colors. Crisp fall days are perfect for getting out and taking in the landscape’s festive hues of yellow, orange and red with these great vacation destinations!

Fall is a great time to plan your next escape and Unique Inns offers the best deals on special packages and last minute getaways. Check out room discounts of up to 50% off, free additional nights, room upgrades and complimentary perks including champagne, wine and chocolate upon arrival!

Just Ask Special

Just Ask and learn more about Catalina's rich cultural history during your next vacation on Catalina. Just Ask and experience Avalon's role as a muse to generations of artists. Just Ask and get free tickets to the Catalina Island Museum. When making your reservations or when you check-in at The Avalon Hotel, Just Ask and we'll give you vouchers for free admission to the museum for everyone in your party.

Black Walnut Inn's Fall Special

Stay three or more nights at the Black Walnut Inn & Vineyard in Dundee, OR, and receive a $20 gift certificate for Fire Thorne Farms, a farm shop featuring fresh harvested nuts and homemade preserves from the valley. This is a great stop to take home a bit of Oregon.

2 Night Gourmet Lovers Bed & Breakfast Getaway

Two nights at the Brentwood Bay Resort in Victoria, BC, in a luxurious OceanSuite, gourmet breakfast for two every morning and a $ 100 certificate for an incredible dining experience in the Brentwood SeaGrille. Enjoy the Chef's seasonally inspired menus with ingredients harvested from the sea, foraged from the wild and grown fresh on Vancouver Island all artfully paired with the region's finest wines.

Serenity Package
The 4 and 5 day Serenity Packages at the River Dance Lodge is Kooskia, ID, allows you to come and relax with no other plans. The comfortable log cabins surrounded by the restorative qualities of nature provide the perfect tonic for your soul. You might want to add a welcome basket of chocolate and champagne. It’s also possible to schedule a massage in your cabin. Many fishermen choose this great package option as it leaves them free to head upriver to fish the Lochsa River. Breakfast and dinner are included during your stay.

Sunshine State Specials!
Featuring: Carter House in Eureka, CA
Luxury lodging at its finest. Carter House Inns unite contemporary good taste with the gracious elegance of a bygone era, achieving a synthesis of styles which is absolutely unique. Large windows invite glorious streams of sunlight into the mansions, where rich fabrics, original local art and fresh flowers splash vibrant color in every room.

To make your stay the Carter House extra special, add one of these packages to your reservation:
  • Romance in the Redwoods: Plan a romantic getaway for two! Our special internet-only package includes a really nice room, a five course dinner at Restaurant 301, in-room massage for two, a bottle of champagne and a dozen red roses. This also includes a two-course breakfast, wine and hors d’oeuvres before dinner, cookies and tea before bedtime as well as a turndown with chocolate truffles.
  • Wine Lovers' Package: This oenophile package includes a really nice room, a one month Wine Club membership (2 bottles of wine), one bottle of Champagne, and the Discovery Wine Tasting dinner for two at Restaurant 301 (Seven course meal and wine tasting with each course)
Press Release Courtesy of Unique Inns Photo Credit: Avalon Harbor
by CJ Sorg

Travel Writer: On Sale This Week!

U.S. Travel Savings
as low as $59
with American Airlines!

Book by September 16, 2010

Happy Times in Orlando with packages from only $225
with jetBlue!

Gold Coast Savings of up to $150 to Riviera Nayarit packages
with Delta Airlines!

Low Fares to Latin America with Continental Airlines!

Southwest Airlines Sale from $49
ends on September 16, 2010!

Images/Logos: American Airlines, jetBlue, Delta Airlines,
and Continental Airlines

TripAdvisor's Top 10 Wackiest US Attractions

It's great that our friends at TripAdvisor always supply us with interesting travel ideas like their latest "Top 10 Wackiest Attractions in the US."

So, if you're looking to take a staycation, you may or may not want to consider these Top 10 Wackiest US Attractions:
  1. Leaning Tower of Niles - Niles, IL
  2. Toilet Seat Museum - Alamo Heights, TX
  3. National Museum of Funeral History - Houston, TX
  4. Enchanted Highway - Regent, ND
  5. Tinkertown Museum - Sandia Park, NM
  6. Foamhenge - Natural Bridge, VA
  7. House on the Rock - Spring Green, WI
  8. Forbidden Gardens - Katy, TX
  9. Paris Texas Eiffel Tower - Paris, TX
  10. Mermaid Show - Weeki Wachee, FL
With any of these picks, you'll be sure to have a great weekend getaway with your family or friends while all will provide great photo ops and unique memories for years to come. Photo Credit: Weeki Wachee Mermaids
by Rusty Boxcars

Family Fun at Renaissance Orlando at Seaworld

If you're looking for some family fun this fall, look no further than the Renaissance Orlando at SeaWorld in Florida.

Offering a Family Escape Package with up to 69% savings, room rates start at only USD$99 per night and include a number of family orientated amenities:
  • free kids meals for those under 12 years of age
  • in-room movie night which includes movie rental, large pizza, and two beverages
  • a glass of champagne or sparkling cider for parents upon arrival
  • 10% off at the Neu Lotus Spa
  • plus 'make your own pancakes' and 'breakfast with Shamu' at their Tradewinds Restaurant
Located directly across from SeaWorld, the Family Escape Package at Renaissance Orlando at SeaWorld is available until December 15, 2010.

For more information or to make reservations, visit Renaissance Orlando at SeaWorld.

Image: Renaissance Orlando at SeaWorld

New UNESCO World Heritage Sites for France

The World Heritage Committee held their 34th session in Brasilia from July 25th to August 3rd. The two sites proposed by France were accepted by the committee. The pitons, cirques and remparts of Reunion Island, as well as the episcopal city of Albi are now part of the prestigious list. France now totals 35 World Heritage sites.

Reunion Island

Reunion island sector featuring pitons, cirques and remparts coincides with the core zone of Reunion National Park. The property covers more than 100,000 ha or 40 % of Reunion, an island comprising two adjoining volcanic massifs located in the south-west of the Indian Ocean.

Dominated by two towering volcanic peaks, massive walls and three cliff-rimmed cirques, the property includes a great variety of rugged terrain and impressive escarpments, forested gorges and basins creating a visually striking landscape.

It is the natural habitat for a wide diversity of plants, presenting a high level of endemism. There are subtropical rainforests, cloud forests and heaths creating a remarkable and visually appealing mosaic of ecosystems and landscape features.

“Reunion Island is the second site listed for overseas France, after the lagoon and coral reefs of New Caledonia. This international recognition shows the essential part played by Overseas in the natural beauties of France.” Says Minister Jean Louis Borloo.

Episcopal city of Albi

On the banks of the Tarn river in southwest France, the old city of Albi reflects the culmination of a medieval architectural and urban ensemble. Today, the Old Bridge (Pont-Vieux), the Saint-Salvi quarter and its church are testimony to its initial development (10th -11th centuries).

Following the Albigensian Crusade against the Cathar heretics (13th century) it became a powerful episcopal city. Built in a unique southern French Gothic style from local brick in characteristic red and orange colours, the lofty fortified Cathedral (late 13th century) dominates the city, demonstrating the power regained by the Roman Catholic clergy.

Alongside the Cathedral is the vast bishop’s Palais de la Berbie, overlooking the river and surrounded by residential quarters that date back to the Middle Ages. The Episcopal City of Albi forms a coherent and homogeneous ensemble of monuments and quarters that has remained largely unchanged over the centuries.

For more information, visit France Guide.

Courtesy of France Guide/French Government Tourism Office Photo Credit: Albi
by Zak MC

Discover: Mysterious Turkey

Turkey seems to be one of those countries that we all know where it is but we don't know anything about it. If you've always wanted to explore mysterious Turkey, Friendly Planet Travel is offering a 14-day tour at a very friendly price.

Rich in world history, you'll discover the many sides of Turkey like the amazing landscape including
stunning Mediterranean beaches found along the Turkish Riviera, seaside towns, big cities, and those famous shopping bazaars.

The Best of Turkey tour starts in Instanbul where you'll visit the imposing Hagia Sofia, the Grand Bazaar (which opened in 1461), plus there's an optional tour to Topkapi Palace. From Instanbul, you'll go on to visit the wonders in Ankara, the underground city at Derinkuyu, and the UNESCO World Heritage Site at Cappadocia. You'll even have the opportunity to see whirling dervishes perform an almost hypnotic dance.

The most amazing thing about the Best of Turkey tour is the low, low price from only USD $1,699 if you book by September 22, 2010. The cost includes return airfare (including fuel charges), hotels, many meals, transfers, plus the transportation and touring itself.

For more information, visit Friendly Planet Travel. Photo Credit: Whirling Dervishes
by Shioshvili

Travel Writer: On Sale This Week!

Southwest Airlines on Sale
until September 9, 2010!

British Airways on Sale
until September 14, 2010!

Frontier Airlines on Sale
until September 10, 2010!

AirTran Airways on Sale
until September 16, 2010!

JetBlue Airways on Sale

until September 9, 2010!

Follow the Mary Queen of Scots Trail

A famous figure in Scottish history who has been depicted on film and in books is Mary Stewart, more affectionately known as Mary, Queen of Scots.

Born in 1542, Mary experienced a turmoiled life of passion, love, and betrayal, which sadly ended with her murder in 1567 as directed by Queen Elizabeth I of England.

Those interested in Scottish history can follow the Mary Queen of Scots Trail that will take visitors to the castles and palaces where Mary once lived. This self-driving tour includes visits to:
  • Dumbarton Castle
  • Inchmahome Priory
  • Stirling Castle
  • Callendar House
  • Linlithgow Palace
  • Lock Leven Castle
  • Falkland Palace
  • Scottish National Portrait Gallery
  • Edinburgh Castle
  • Palace of Holyroodhouse
  • Craigmillar Castle
  • Newbattle Abbey
  • Borthwick Castle
  • Crichton Castle
  • Lennoxlove House
  • Hailes Castle
  • Tantallon Castle
  • Dunbar Castle
Once you've chosen from a selection of hotels in Edinburgh city centre with parking, jump in your rental car and enjoy the many suggested cafe stops along the Mary Queen of Scots Trail. These planned breaks allow visitors to enjoy the unique foods of Scotland (and whisky) along the way - but no drinking and driving!

If you're part of the famous clan Stewart, you can even follow a clan themed tour itinerary which highlights some of the places and stories where the Stewarts made their marks in Scottish history.

For more information on the Mary Queen of Scots Trail, visit Edinburgh Tourism. Photo Credit: Linlithgow Palace by RobLisaMeehan

Happy Labor Day!!

Labor Day is here!

There's still time for one last dive in the pool,
one more family barbecue,

and maybe even one last weekend getaway!

Time to say goodbye to summer -

Happy Labor Day!

Storm Watching at Black Rock Oceanfront Resort

In the world of destination resorts, new properties come and go, and then there are those rare, exceptional few that change the rules entirely.
Black Rock Oceanfront Resort, on the rocky west coast of Vancouver Island redefines West Coast luxury.

Set amongst the natural tranquility and beauty of Ucluelet, BC, Blackrock rises off the black rocky shore, combining a contemporary modern luxury, with energy of the BC’s breathtaking coastline.

Escape to the natural tranquility, beauty, and luxury of Black Rock Oceanfront Resort - an extraordinary retreat on Vancouver Island’s rugged west coast. Our magnificent oceanfront resort in Ucluelet, British Columbia, combines modern luxury with the organic energy of the Canada’s western frontier for an enchanting vacation experience.

Designed with a deep respect for the land and sea, Black Rock’s innovative architecture - of rock, water, glass, steel, and wood - enhances and contrasts the Wild Pacific landscape. Expansive spaces, natural light and breathtaking seaward vistas create a passionate connection to the freedom and serenity of the Vancouver Island’s magical coast and experience true luxury with spectacular accommodations and awe-inspiring views. Black Rock is one of the most stunning new outposts on Canada’s wild Pacific coast.

For more information, visit Black Rock Oceanfront Resort. Photo Credit: Black Rock Resort in Tofino by RetinaFunk.

Black Rock Resort Press Release

How to Become a Travel Agent

As a former Certified Travel Consultant (CTC) for 14 years, I know how glamorous the job can sound. But, in most cases, it's truly hard work for little pay...let's take a look.

How to Become a Travel Agent

Do you have thoughts about traveling the world? Do you enjoy selling products and working with other people? Do you like to use computers and conduct research? Do you enjoy solving problems and working in an office setting? Are you organized, have a keen attention to detail, and are able to multi-task? These are just some of the qualities and skills needed in order to become a Certified Travel Agent.

What do Travel Agents do?

Travel agents sell travel. Above all, becoming a travel agent means becoming a sales person. The number one problem that occurs within a travel agency is that the travel agents do not understand fundamentally that a travel agent is a sales person.

Qualities of a Travel Agent

A travel agent should have the desire to travel, the ability to sell to customers, and the knowledge to be able to do so.

The desire to succeed as a travel agent goes hand in hand with a commitment to continuous learning. This includes asking questions, reading about destinations, watching travel television shows, and traveling as much as possible.

Once you’re trained as a travel agent, you’ll be able to attend local travel seminars and trade shows. This will give you the opportunity to achieve additional destination certifications and specializations; finding your niche to concentrate on is the key to becoming a successful travel agent.

Read “Becoming a Travel Agent” and more on the American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA) website.

What are the Educational Requirements to Become a Travel Agent?

In order to become a travel agent, you must first graduate from high school. Then, along with having a general aptitude for travel, you will need to attend post-secondary school to achieve certification as a Certified Travel Agent.

Visit the ASTA Travel School Directory and keep in mind that there are very few schools offering legitimate travel agent study courses.

Don’t Fall for ‘Become a Travel Agent’ Scams

When looking to become a travel agent, don’t fall for internet scams such as becoming a travel agent by paying a fee, traveling for free, or watching YouTube videos so you can sell to your family & friends.

Becoming a travel agent takes time and requires legitimate training. Discount travel is earned through sales and industry relationships, not because you have a card saying you’re a 'travel agent'.

The only legitimate travel agent identification card accepted by airlines & tour operators worldwide is the International Air Transport Association (IATA) card. The travel agency itself is first an accredited member and then the travel agent applies for an official IATA card through the agency once all of the requirements, including minimum sales and experience, are met.

How Much Does a Travel Agent Get Paid?

According to ASTA and calculated by using the ASTA Salary Tool, for a starting travel agent with limited experience working for a company with only location but more than one employee, the median salary is $20,436 USD per year.

Adding a year’s experience, the median salary is $29,268; with a few year’s experience and performing management duties as well as sales duties, the median salary is $39,927.
(2012 addition: the median salary for a self-employed home based agent is $22,625)

For more travel agent job information, check out the ASTA Travel Industry Job Board.

Travel Writer: On Sale This Week!

3 Day Fall Sale with AirTran - includes the Caribbean!

HURRY! Sale Ends September 2, 2010!

Last Minute Labor Day Deals with Southwest Airlines
HURRY! Sale Ends September 2, 2010!

Cinco de Flyo Labor Day Holiday Sale with Frontier Airlines
HURRY! Sale ends September 3, 2010!!

Beaches WonderFall Savings!

Beacehs Summer Sale

Sandals is offering the best rates of the year

including up to 65% off select resorts!
(Minimum stay of 3 nights is required)
Additionally, guests staying for 7 nights or longer can get
Up to 2 nights free at select locations!

Hurry - this sale ends September 20, 2010!

Air France Back to School Promotion!
Whether you live in Buffalo, NY, or Toronto, ON,
be sure to take advantage of the
Air France Back to School Sale!

Fares, in Canadian dollars, including all taxes
start as low as
$829 to Paris and Brussels
$859 to Rome and Geneva
$929 to Lisbon
$1,065 to Athens
$1,139 to Cairo
$1,305 to Dubai
$1,320 to Nairobi
$1,395 to Delhi

Hurry - this sale also ends September 20, 2010! Photo Credits: Southwest Airlines (LAX) by SkilliShots