Sunday, October 28, 2012

Hurricane Travel Tips

Hurricane Sandy, dubbed by the media as the “Frankenstorm” or “The Perfect Storm 2” is expected to be hitting the East Coast within the next few day. So what does this mean for your travel plans? Well, the one thing you can pretty much guarantee is that all travel into and out of the East Coast area will be affected.

The storm has already taken more than two dozen lives while moving through the Caribbean and its expected to hold its hurricane to tropical storm status as it moves through the Northeast.

If you plan on traveling in the expected impacted areas here are some helpful tips to make sure you are prepared for the “Frankenstorm”.

Flight Game Plan

If you are planning on flying in the areas that are expected to be hit by the storm, make sure you contact your airlines as soon as possible. Airlines usually update passengers when the storm gets closer. For you travelers that have flights with JetBlue, Spirit Airlines, or US Airways, consider yourselves lucky, the airlines are offering to $150 fee to reschedule a flight. Before you leave for the airport call your airlines and ask for the status of your flight by giving them your plane’s tail number. This way the airport can let you know exactly where your flight is and how long it is expected to take before it gets to it’s destination. If your flight is sitting on the runway in the middle of the storm, you can plan accordingly.

Hurricane Hotel Ideas

The storm is expected to hit the East Coast somewhere between the northern tip of South Carolina to southern Connecticut. Travelers with plans to stay within the expected storm area should try to get a head start on the rush for hotel reservations and plan to stay an extra night or two so you can avoid being caught without a place to stay.

Travel by Car or Public Transportation During the Storm

Travelers should also anticipate there will be delays with ground travel as well. Just like any other mode of transportation during the storm, it would be a good idea to book your rental car well in advance. Although the best idea, if possible would be to stay inside if at all possible and just wait the storm out for your safety and to avoid the hassle of closed roads, flooding and all the other obstacles a severe storm brings with it.

Cruise Itinerary During a Storm

When taking a cruise ship that is expected to dock in an area being hit by a hurricane make sure you stay up to date with your ship’s planned schedule. Cruise lines might have to change the scheduled port of call in the event of a hurricane, and there isn’t anything you can do about it. Every cruise lines itinerary change policy states that the cruise line can change its itinerary at any point at their discretion and won’t be liable for a refund if the need arises.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Fall is a great time of year to visit Rome

If you’ve always dreamed of visiting Rome, than there is no better time to make your dream come true than the fall.  Rome is one of the most beautiful cities in the world and every year millions of people visit from all over the world. Filled with wonderful treasures and masterpieces of Roman art and architecture, its no wonder why the Eternal City is such a popular tourist destination.

Traveling in the spring and fall are the optimal times of the year to visit Rome because of the unbearable heat in the summertime and August is usually when most of the city’s residents take their own vacations so most businesses are closed during the whole month. In the fall the days are still pleasantly warm and the nights are cool and comfortable.

When you visit Rome you need to make sure you have at least 4 days to see all of the sights, you won’t be doing your visit justice by running around and trying to cram all of your sightseeing into less than 4 days. As the saying goes “Rome wasn’t built in a day”, and you should try to cram all there is to see into a day either, you’ll wind up missing some spectacular sights.

“When in Rome do as the Romans do”, unless your are talking about driving. It is strongly suggested that when you are in Rome you take advantage of their public transportation or if you have extra money take a cab or hire a car, of course you can rent a car and drive yourself around if you have nerves of steel and the sills of a professional racecar driver.

When choosing where to stay in Rome it is a good idea to stay in a hotel that is in the heart of the city. You will be thankful you chose a hotel that lets you walk out the door and be within a short walk to the attractions you want to visit. A good rule of thumb is to stay east of the Tiber River and west of the Station Termini. Hotels in this area can be a little pricey but you can also find some great discounts on that will keep your stay within your budget.

You won’t go hungry in Rome.  The city is literally overrun with great places to eat.  Most restaurants in Rome will have outdoor dining and the meals usually consist of pasta, pizza, veal, chicken and some seafood, one thing you can count on is the food is fresh and plentiful.

Rome is the kind of city you want to take your time savoring. When you are planning your trip make sure you allow yourself enough time to take in all of the sights at a relaxed and enjoyable pace.

For great savings on your trip to beautiful Rome take a look at a couple of these great deals on

Happy Travels!!!

Destinations: Rome, Sorrento
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Thursday, October 18, 2012

Spooky Travel Destinations for Halloween

With Halloween right around the corner what better place to spend this spookiest of holidays but at one of Halloween’s most recognizable destinations in the world, Sleepy Hollow, New York.

Originally known as North Tarrytown and made famous by the Washington Irving story “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow”, the town officially changed it’s name to Sleepy Hollow in 1996 to honor the famous story of the Headless Horseman that chased people through the town donning a Jack-O-Lantern head and scaring the bejeebers out of all the timid townsfolk.

Sleepy Hollow’s history makes it a popular destination for Travelopers all over the world, and the town offers plenty of ghoulie and ghostly fun for the holiday.

The events run through the whole month of October and some of the festivities include:

The Great Jack O'Lantern Blaze which is the area’s biggest Halloween event, with over 4,000 creatively hand carved pumpkins that are set against the spooky backdrop of the 18th century buildings of Van Cortlandt Manor.

Horseman’s Hollow is the premier attraction of Sleepy Hollow which takes “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” to the extreme. The Historic Philipsburg Manor transforms itself into a live telling of the famous tale with ghost, ghouls, and witches and of course the town’s most famous celebrity, himself The Headless Horseman.

Washington Irving landmarks are a huge attraction and there are several of them. Even though its been 150 years since his death changed the small farming community into a busy modern suburb, there are several landmarks that are closely associated with the author. One of the most popular Irving landmarks is the Sleepy Hollow Cemetery where the author is laid to rest and which is also the cemetery identified in “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow”.

There are a bunch of festive things to see and do during October in the lovely and famous little town of Sleepy Hollow, New York, specifically during the Halloween holiday the town goes all out to welcome visitors.  Travelope offers several travel packages and separate deals to get you there and make your stay a memorable experience.

Happy Halloween Travels!!!

Thursday, September 27, 2012

New Deals from and

Travelope is now gettings deals from two additional sites: - experts in all inclusive vacations to beautiful Carribean - an excellent site with many eye-opening and money-saving articles on getting the most out of a travel budget

Both sites provide many great travel deals which are now also listed on Travelope.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Looking for best hotel deals in Manhattan

I am visitng New York in september and I was looking for a nice hotel to stay in for a couple of days.  Using Travelope and Email alerts has been a great time saver.  I have been getting new Hotel deals from Travelope almost daily for about a month.  But with so many deals to choose from, I still couldn't find THE ONE hotel that would make NYC even more special.

I went to Kayak, Orbitz and other sites directly, but in most cases either I already saw the deals through Travelope or the deals were not applicable for my travel dates.

At the end I stumbled upon a Hotel Price Comparison site called
What an awesome idea and site it is.   It collects/aggregates hotel pricing data from all the popular sites as well as smaller travel sites, so that you can run one availability search and get the best price from all the sites.

Using this site I was able to find a great hotel at an awesome price.  It was not even discounted, since it was on one of the smaller travel sites that I would never visit directly.

NOTE TO SELF:  See if they have an API, so we can integrate it within Travelope.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Flash ... ah aaaaah. Now best travel deals can find you even faster.

One issue that always comes up when building sites with high usage is speed.

In short time, number of active deals on Travelope has grown from 500 to 4500.  And it is growing every day.

As we add more and more deals we make sure that it doesn't slow down the site.  In a release last week we have made some major improvements in speed of the site, so travel deals can find you even faster then before...

Almost as fast as Tom Hanks in Flash Gordon outfit:

Enjoy and happy deal huntin!!!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Over 4K active travel deals now on Travelope

Over the last five month we have been adding new deal sources to Travelope almost every week.

This week we broke through 4K active deals.  Wooo hooo!!! Bring out champagne. It is time to celebrate.

We are currently aggregating 300 new travel deals a day.
Many popular destinations like New York, Orlando, San Francisco now have over 50 deals each, so there gotta be something for everyone.

Make sure you subscribe to email alerts to not miss out on any of the deals.


Monday, August 20, 2012

How to find Best Travel Deals online using Travelope

Here is how I usually plan vacation:

  1. Figure out where I want to go 
  2. Get my boss to agree to 1 week vacation when it is a slow time at work
  3. Look for airlines, hotels and car-rentals

I repeat step 3 every day for about a month.  Every day I go to popular sites like Kayak, Orbitz, TravelZoo.
Do a search for the location I want to go to and dates where available.  Then I skim through results looking for the wholy grail of the deal, that can never be bettered.
Then I go to Daily Deal sites like Groupon, Living Social, JetSetter and look through their deals.
Then I do a google search for "Best Travel Deals in Nepal" and see if I can find some small site with best offer.

At some point at the end of the day I do work for about an hour then I go home and continue looking for "that" deal.

Travelope will change all that. Well probably not all, but it will definitely help.  You can thank us later and your employer will too.

On Travelope we collect all the Travel Deals from the popular travel sites such as Travelocity, Smarter Travel, Expedia, Groupon and many others.  So that you can just come to Travelope instead of visiting all the other sites.

With Travelope, you can specify your destination using left sidebar and travel dates using drop down in top right corner.

After selecting it will look like this:

If you don't find the deal you like right away, you can click on "Add Alert" button which will subscribe you to daily email with new deals that match your criteria.

You can create as many alerts as you would like, if you plan to visit multiple destinations or would like to plan for several trips in the future.

Travelope does not replace Airfare or Hotel search engines like Kayak.  But when you look for the best travel deals for your upcoming trip, there is none better.

Travel Deals from everywhere

Here at Travelope we are always looking for new places where to get the best travel deals.

Currently we get deals from the following sources:

Travel Deal Aggregators
  • Travel Ticker
  • TravelZoo
  • Shermans Travel
  • ...

Hotel Chains
  • Marriott
  • Starwood Hotels
  • Accor Hotels
  • ...

Travel Sites
  • Travelocity
  • Expedia
  • FunJet Vacations
  • Smarter Travel
  • FareCompare
  • ...

Daily Deal Sites
  • Groupon
  • Living Social
  • Bloomspot
  • Jetsetter
  • Vacationist
  • Secret Escapes
  • SniqueAway
  • TripAlertz
  • ...

In the near future we plan to add:
  • Virgin Atlantic
  • Hilton Hotels
  • ClubMed
  • Google Offers
  • Cheap Carribean
  • And many others..

Each week you are sure to see more quality travel deals from more sites.  

If you would like us to add your favorite travel deals site to travelope, please contact

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Introducing our New City of Origin Search &Sorting

In the quest to find you the best deal possible on your travel, Travelope has added a new feature.  Now you can also search all of the travel options from the origin of your planned departure.  Customize your search with handy filters including:  Popularity, Price, Time Left, and Newest.  Travelope, your first stop for finding the best prices for all your travel needs, is always looking for ways to save you money and time on your dream vacation.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Use Deals Alerts to Stay Informed of Travelope’s Great Money Saving Discounts

Deals Alerts is just one more way that we here at Travelope are able to save you more on your travel needs.  Travel Alerts will send daily travel savings on hotels, vacations, cruises, air travel, and rental cars right to your inbox.  Search for your dream vacation, romantic weekend or that family reunion I’m sure you’ve been looking forward to all year.

When you find the destination that interests you, just click the blue “Add Email Alert” button on the upper right of the page, and it’s that easy, you’ll start receiving our great money saving deals on the travel destination of your choice.  You don’t even have to type in your destination, it's that simple!

If you want to change any of your alerts click the button at the top, top right of the page “My Alerts” and you can either view or delete your alerts.

At Travelope we receive new deep discount deals everyday, so you can lock in the cheapest price on all of your travel needs before your departure.

So, come on and join the other Travelopers and don’t ever pay full price for travel again!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Bermuda: A small slice of heaven right here on earth

“You go to heaven if you want, I’d rather stay here in Bermuda.”  Mark Twain stated this in the 19th century, and the statement is still true today because Bermuda’s magnificent sun and sea still lures vacationers from all over the world.  The island makes a wonderful vacation getaway for people of all tastes.  If you’re looking for peace and quiet, Bermuda has that will pamper you and a deep inner peace.  Romantics will rekindle their love with candlelight dining and strolls on the beach.  If you want to really let loose you can dance the night away in the seaside capital, the City of Hamilton.

The island is surrounded by a fantastic coral reef that has colorful exotic fish and shipwrecks for memorable diving and snorkelling at spots like Elbow Beach in Paget Parish.  The crystal clear waters of Southampton Parish provide conditions for kayaking and yachting

The island itself is just as magnificent.  You can play a round of golf on one of the world class golf courses, hike on peaceful trails and sunbathe on glorious pink sand beaches.  Walk down the crooked streets of the colonial settlement of the Town of St George, Britain’s oldest surviving town in the New World.

Bermuda boast a beautiful climate that is warm all year round and friendly people who are ready to strike up a conversation with strangers.  There’s plenty of distinctive color as well, from a landscape of tidy pastel houses to dapper businessmen dressed in Bermuda shorts.

Bermuda is truly everything you’ve heard and then some, it's worth the visit and there are plenty of travel packages and cruises that are set to any budget.

Happy Travels!!!

Safety: A few pointers on safely for Travelopers traveling abroad

While on your vacation abroad this summer, safety should be one of your main concerns.  Even though the odds are you will have a safe and enjoyable trip, it’s always a good idea to think of your safety first and practice a few good safety tips to keep that dream vacation from turning into a nightmare.

First and foremost, always know where your U.S. embassy or consular offices are and carry their contact information with you, no matter what country you visit.

Good Traveloper safety begins at home.  While packing avoid taking your best jewelry and don’t dress in a way that says “I’m a tourist with money to burn”.  Just use common sense when deciding what valuables you really need to take on your trip.  Don’t take anything you can’t afford to lose, just in case.

Make sure you leave your family or friends a copy of your itinerary in case they need to contact you in an emergency.  Make two photocopies of your passport identification page, airline tickets, driver’s license and credit cards you plan to bring with you.  Leave one set of copies with family or friends at home and pack the other set in a bag that is separate from the one you usually carry the originals.

When you are a guest in another country you are subject to the laws of that country.  Before you travel read up on the laws of the country you are visiting and make sure you understand them.  Good resources for this is a library, your travel agent, and the embassies, consulates or tourist bureaus of the countries you are visiting.

Plan to stay at larger hotels that have better security whenever possible.  When there is a choice of an airport or airline, look into the safety records of your choices before you fly.  

Use the same common sense when traveling overseas as you would at home.  Don’t use short cuts down dark, narrow, and scary alleys or streets.  Avoid public demonstrations and other civil disturbances.  Don’t discuss your travel plans or personal matters with strangers.  Wear the shoulder strap of your bag or purse across your chest so it's not easy for someone to run by and grab it.  These are all common sense safety measures, but when you are on vacation and interested and excited about your surroundings it’s very easy to forget or not pay attention to something that could be an invitation to thieves or criminals.

When staying at a hotel don’t leave your money or valuables in your room when you go out, put them in the hotel safe.  If you are planning on being out late, let someone know when you expect to return.  Read the fire safety instructions in your hotel room and know exactly where the fire exits are and the route for getting out of the hotel quickly and safely in case of a fire.

Use the same common sense safety ideas when using the public transportation in the country you are visiting as you would at home.  Only use taxis that are clearly identified with official markings, ask the staff at the hotel you are staying at what markings are on an official vehicle for hire and avoid entering a vehicle for hire even if they offer a discount, a lot of times in countries abroad there are unofficial vehicles for hire that rob you or worse once you are locked in the vehicle, so its better to turn down a cheap ride because you could lose a lot more than the cost of a fare in the long run.

Avoid carrying large amounts of cash on your trip.  Change your travelers checks only when you need money and keep that to what will get you through until you are able to cash more of them.  When cashing your travelers checks only use authorized agents.

If any of your possessions are lost or stolen, report the loss immediately to the local police.  Keep a copy of the police report for insurance claims and as an explanation of what happened.

Countries abroad do a very good job of hosting their guests.  They police popular tourist destinations and in most cases you are safe when traveling, but there is always that chance that something could happen no matter where you are and no matter what safety precautions you take, so make sure you minimize all risks and stick to commonsense safety and your trip will be a memorable experience for all the right reasons.

Happy Travels!!!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Costa Rica: Everything you could ask for in Paradice

Costa Rica is a very slow paced laid back and beautiful country.  The people are very welcoming to visitors in this peaceful democratic nation.  The natural beauty of the country is breathtaking.

All of this makes Costa Rica a wonderful destination for travelers from all over the world.  Active travelers can surf, hike, snorkel and watch wildlife.  The differences in the topography means you can relax on a hot sandy beach or visit an active volcano.

Thrill seekers can feed their need for adrenaline fueled adventure by zipping through canopy lines hundreds of meters long or ride the surf of the Pacific ocean.  Even Though Costa Rica has become a very popular travel destination for people all over the world and the large resorts have moved in staking their claim to the tourism boom of recent years, ecologists and proud locals have been very active in keeping most of the country in its natural beauty.

Arenal is a must see for first time visitors.  By day you may hear it rumbling and quaking and see the almost perfect conical shape.  But at night this volcano will put on a light show you won’t forget.  There are almost constant eruptions of red hot lava pouring flaming rock, displaying its true power and beauty.

Manuel Antonio, one of the country’s most famous national parks is the Costa Rica you’ve imagined.  You can watch all sorts of monkeys going about their normal routine, while you take a relaxing hike along the tree lined shore.

One of Costa Rica’s most beautiful wildlife adventure is Tortuguero, an intricate network of narrow canals that wind their way through the lush jungle and coastal wetlands.  You can canoe through these waterways looking for the untouched wildlife of the jungles.

If you are looking for a thrill, you can head to the tiny town of Turrialba in the Central Valley for some of the most intense whitewater rafting of the Central America.  If you want a day filled with some serious heart pumping adventure then this is the trip for you.

After your thrill seeking adventure you can relax on one of the most picturesque beaches in the world.  Samara is a beautiful strip of powder white sand that lies between the gently rolling turquoise seas.

Costa Rica offers something for every Traveloper, and you can find some excellent money saving vacation packages to Costa Rica by searching, where no destination is out of your budget.

Happy Travels!!!

Monday, July 2, 2012

An Olympic Sized Summer in London

London is gearing up for the 2012 Summer Olympics and you can see it wherever you go.  It’s no secret at this point that the Summer Olympics are being held in London this summer, I think the give away, was when they extended the Olympic rings from the iconic Tower Bridge, but thats just me.

The Olympics are a very proud event for any country to host.  In thought the Olympics represent the whole world coming together in friendly sport, not just to see who has the best athletes.  I like to think, that even if only in theory, the whole world is forgetting their differences and coming together to play a few games and what is better than being able to join someone you may not always get along with in a game?

The 2012 Olympic games in London aren’t just about sporting events, London is rolling out the red carpet and welcoming their neighbors in a grand fashion that is customary of England.  There are several activities that will be held and several already being held to make this summer’s Olympics a memorable and enjoyable event.

Festivals dedicated to literature, world music, and stand-up comedy, and Shakespeare are just a small portion of what you can expect to enjoy.  

While Central London is already in full swing leading up to the actual events, the Olympic Park in Stratford remains partially under construction.  However, what was just a marshy and forgotten east corner of London has already been transformed into a majestic venue to rival any other Olympic stadium.  The Orbit, which is a 115 meter metal statue, towers over the park, offering a view of the athlete’s village, and of Europe’s largest mall, which opened last year.  Just as spectacular are the views that can be seen from a ride across the Thames in the Emirates cable car, which opened in June.

The city is filled with beautiful and colorful banners and spectacular art is around every corner of the city.  Along with this festive celebration in the air, security and transportation in the city are bracing themselves for a flood of visitors and guarding against chaos to assure all runs smooth and everyone stays festive.

To help the 6.5 million expected visitors, the TFL (Transport for London) website now offers advice for navigating anticipated high-traffic areas.  Tables of predicted wait times and alternate route planning guides aim to help Londoners avoid the Central and Jubilee lines, which will be, “exceptionally busy throughout the games,” according to the TFL.

The outlook for air travel is a lot more positive.  Heathrow Airport has stated they will dedicate extra staff and, “an army of 8,000 brightly dressed, trilby hat-wearing volunteers, called Team London Ambassadors,”  according to the AP.

This isn’t London’s first time at hosting the Olympic games.  London has been the host to the Olympic games on two different occasions, first in 1908 and again in 1948, and even though those dates don’t even come close to comparing to 2012 in regards of transportation and crowd control alone, England looks like its doing everything is possibly can to make sure the 2012 Olympics will be a memorable, enjoyable and safe event for all those attending.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Key West is just a short drive from Miami, Florida on the US-1 highway.  The Florida Keys hold a lot of treasures for the summer vacationer.  The islands offer a tropical blend of azure waters, tropical foliage, fine dining with fresh seafood available daily, and lodging for any budget, some with a history of famous and notable figures.

Key West has a lot to offer travelers from all over the world.  Some visitors prefer a little bed and breakfast or guest house hidden away in Old Town.  While others may want to be pampered by one of the waterfront resorts and luxury hotels that are found throughout the island.

The Florida Keys offer visitors an endless supply of things to do.  World class fishing can be found both on the shallow water flats and in the deep blue sea beyond the barrier coral reef. The shallow flats offer tarpon, bonefish, permit and barracuda, not to mention several other species to shake a hook at.

Diving and snorkeling in the coral reefs and wrecks around Key West is fantastic.  If you are interested in wreck diving, there are a couple located around Key West that are available to visitors.  Tropical fish are in great supply on the reefs and there is snorkeling available on a sailing catamaran or schooner for a day of excitement and beauty.

Visitors to Key West are immediately drawn to the southern charm and Caribbean flavor of this laid-back island nation called the Conch Republic.  Since its founding in 1822, Key West has become the adopted homes to many.  From pirates to poets and political pundits.  Some of the former residents include, Ernest Hemingway, Tennessee Williams and past presidents.  You’ll discover why President Harry Truman once wrote:  “I’ve a notion to move the capital to Key West and just stay.”

Key West is a tropical paradise that is perfect for relaxation or excitement and fun.  Spend some time with a friendly Dolphin.  Throughout history people have always been fascinated by the intellect and playful attitude of the Dolphin.  There are a few great tours on the island where you can watch these wonderful creatures breaking the water, or even watch them as they swim underwater.

If you’re a golfer, you won’t be disappointed.  Visit the one and only U.S. golf course in the Caribbean.  Key West has a fantastic, professionally designed eighteen-hole golf course set in all of the beauty of the island.

No matter what you choose to do from the long list of activities that await you at Key West you won’t ever spend a day being bored.  Unless you choose to.

Happy Travels!!!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

A Romantic Vacation for Two in France

France is the land of love and romance, so whether you decide to stay in Paris or venture past the City of Lights to see the sites in the countryside, you can be sure that just being in France will be a romantic and unforgettable experience.  However, if you are the adventurous sort of person, here are a few things you might want to try on your vacation to France to add an extra bit of romance.

Experience the relaxed activity that many French people like to indulge in and spend the day tasting wine together.  There are wineries spread throughout the towns and countryside in France.  You could either walk or drive to a winery near where you’re staying, or you can join an organized tour that will take you to several wineries.  If you don’t have a tour guide just look for signs that advertise “degustation,” or tastings.  If you’d rather stay in the city, you could spend an afternoon going from one cafe to the next, sampling different types of wine together.  Maybe you’ll find a new favorite that you can look for back home that will remind you of your romantic vacation in France.

Even if you are on a limited budget, the both of you can have a romantic picnic anywhere in France.  Just pack simple foods you can eat with your hands or feed each other.  Pick up a freshly baked baguette, a couple of chunks of cheese, a few chocolate croissants, and a nice bottle of wine then find a nice quiet spot.  If you are in Paris, you can have a picnic at the base of the Eiffel Tower, on the edge of the Seine or on a simple park bench.  In the countryside, spread out a blanket in the grass on a rolling hill.

For a nice romantic trip, go to the Loire Valley.  This region in the northwest is known for its fairytale gardens, quaint towns and gourmet cuisine.  The Loire Valley is also home to more than 1,000 castles, with some that date back to the late 990s A.D.  Some of these chateaux are open for tours, while others have been converted into hotels.  Spend an entire week bonding in one of the beautiful towns or spend the time traveling from one to the next.

Several romantic movies have been filmed in France, because its just so darn romantic.  Do a little research before your trip and watch a movie or two that was filmed in France, find a particularly romantic scene (if you two don’t already have a favorite) find out where the scene was filmed and visit that spot with your love.  Maybe even act out the scene.  You can find information about filming locations online or at a tourism office.  But don’t let on that you heard that last idea from me, it will be our little secret and your brilliant romantic idea.

Happy Travels!!!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Hidden fees vacationers aren’t expecting

Discovering hidden fees you weren’t expecting while on vacation is one of the worst feelings and it can put a bit of a cloud over your otherwise sunny summer vacation.  Whether it's a fee for checking an overweight suitcase or having to pay for internet use at your hotel.

The most common hidden fees are ones that are common but unpredictable and difficult to budget for and record, making keeping track of these travel expenses much tougher to deal with than need be.

There can be quite a few hidden fees charged by the airlines.  Expenses will include things that usually go unnoticed in most circumstances.  Some of these expenses are ordering a soft drink, buying or renting a headset to watch a movie or other entertainment that is offered or of course buying food.

Luggage fees aren’t usually considered as hidden fees because you know what those are upfront, which doesn’t make them any easier to handle, it just makes them more noticeable.

When it comes to booking your hotel, you should ask about fees for internet use, parking your car and the use of the phone.  These fees are usually added on to your bill when you check out and can be a surprise if you aren’t expecting them.

Renting a car can also have some hidden fees attached.  Some of the more common hidden fees you might be charged when renting a car can be, tolls, late returns of the car, and dropping off a one-way rental.  Another rule of thumb for renting a car is to make sure you check the car for damage before you accept it.  If there is any damage at all bring it to someone’s attention and ask that it’s noted somewhere or ask for a different vehicle.  I’m not saying that this is a way for a rental agency to charge multiple customers for the same damage but it can sometimes be overlooked and why should a careful driver like yourself be charged for someone else's mishap.

One final hidden fee is fuel, all drivers should be aware of the fact that you need to return your rental car with a full tank of gas.  If you return the car with anything less than a 100 percent full tank of fuel, they will charge you to fill the tank and their charge for fuel will be a lot higher than what it would’ve cost you to fill the car yourself because they will charge you at a premium.

One of the main things to keep in mind when vacationing, is that there are usually no freebies.  Just about everything you take for granted will have some sort of cost added to it, and if you keep this in mind on your journey, you should make it without too many hidden fees.

Happy Travels!!!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Planning your first Caribbean Vacation

People planning their first Caribbean vacation will be amazed at how much there is to see and do.  The Caribbean Islands have a rich and long history of ancient Mayan ruins, pirates with buried treasures, and early explorers in search of the Lost City of Gold.  The beauty of the Caribbean is it’s own treasure and something everyone should see.

I have come up with a few helpful tips to help make sure you are getting the trip you’ve been dreaming about, one full of adventure, romance and relaxation.

The first step to any great vacation is to do all of the research you can ahead of time.  Plan your trip several months in advance so you can take advantage of great deals and all inclusive vacation packages available. has several great money saving deals running right now for a summer vacation to the Caribbean.

You can save a bundle by visiting the Caribbean during its long off-season which is mid-April to mid-December, so a summer vacation to the islands is the most affordable which makes the Caribbean a perfect destination for your summer vacation.  The downside to visiting the islands during this time is that a lot of the popular resorts close up for the off-season.  There is also the chance of dealing with muggy weather during this time frame due to the fact that the trade winds aren’t as prevalent in the summer.  But if you are mainly interested in the culture of the islands, this can be a great time to visit.

There is an endless amount of things to do on your Caribbean vacation.  Make a list of all the things you’d like to see and do based on the islands you will visit.  Here is also where the research comes in and researching the things you’d like to see and do should go hand in hand with researching your vacation package.  Several packages will help you with this by adding tours and activities to the package to either get you started or plan out your whole stay if you choose.  Some of the more popular activities are swimming, parasailing, scuba diving, and boating.

If you are in the Mexican Caribbean, you won’t want to miss seeing the Mayan ruins, such as Tulum or Chichen Itza which are pre-Columbian archaeological sites built by the Mayan civilization.

Dolphins are a big favorite with everyone and the experience of playing and interacting with dolphins can be a big hit with children and adults alike.  There are several well known and reputable places that specialize in dolphin encounters, look into them first to make sure you are getting the best experience possible.

Many of the leading hotels offer some serious full-service spas for their guests.  However, these spas do come at a price so make sure to check to see what is included in your stay and what is the cost of extras.

A Caribbean vacation can be expensive but this dream vacation doesn’t have to cost your life savings.  With the right amount of research and planning, you can have a vacation that you’ll remember for a lifetime in the Caribbean.

Happy Travels!!!

California: Vacation in the Golden State

California’s gorgeous weather, interesting culture and beautiful scenery make it a favorite vacation spot of people from all around the world.  The things to see are endless, from the glamour of Hollywood to the beautiful scenery of Yosemite National Park.  Vacationers can spend two weeks in this beautiful state and never come close to seeing all it has to offer.  However, here are few helpful tips that will make your vacation more enjoyable and save you a lot of time and grief.

California is a very large state of almost 800 miles from north to south, it is larger than some European countries.  Los Angeles to San Francisco takes 6 to 8 hours travel time by car, San Diego is about 2 hours by car and Yosemite is 3 to 4 hours from San Francisco.  Air travel of course would take less time but when you figure in the security delays, it pretty much works out to be the same.  Make sure you factor in the travel time to the sites you want to see so you can spend enough time sightseeing.

The San Francisco Bay area has an effective and reasonably priced public transit system, but California as a whole just doesn’t have the public transportation structure to make it a convenient form of travel.  Plan to rent a car when you arrive in California because too many of the vacation spots are spread out and not easily accessible by train or bus.  A rental car will save you a lot of trouble.

California’s freeways are every bit as bad as you have heard.  When you are traveling in a major city like LA or San Francisco, avoid the freeways during rush hour periods and plan an alternate route to your destination.  A navigation system in your car can be your best friend for maneuvering California’s traffic.

One great thing about California is, the weather is nice all year round.  With its great weather you can plan to visit during the off-seasons like spring or fall, it's not so crowded.  You also need to prepare for this great weather and sunshine.  Make sure you have sunscreen available wherever you go.  A hat and sunglasses are also standard equipment for sunny California.  If you plan on spending long periods in the sun, which I’m sure you will then you will be happy you're prepared.

California is a vacation spot you have to visit at least once in your life to see why it's so special.  But visiting California doesn’t have to break the bank.  There are plenty of very affordable travel packages listed on this site that can save you a lot of money and keep your stress level down while you enjoy your vacation.  You just need to do a little research and plan ahead.

Happy Travels!!!

Monday, June 25, 2012

Taj Mahal Majestic Beauty

The Taj Mahal or “crown of palaces”, located in Agra India, is a beauty to behold and a vacation tourism sight you won't ever forget.

Built by Mughal emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his third wife, Mumtaz Mahal.  The Taj Mahal is widely recognized as “the jewel of Muslim art in India and one of the universally admired masterpieces of the world's heritage”.  It covers area of about 552 acres, which includes the Taj Mahal and the Taj protected forest area.

Taj Mahal is the finest example of Mughal architecture, a style that combines elements from Persian, Turkish and Indian architecture styles.

In 1983, the Taj Mahal became a UNESCO World Heritage Site.  While the white domed marble mausoleum is the most familiar component of the Taj Mahal, it is actually an integrated complex of structures.  The construction began around 1632 and was completed around 1653, employing thousands of artisans and craftsmen.  The construction of the Taj Mahal was entrusted to a board of architects under imperial supervision, including abd ul-Karim Ma'mur Khan, Makramat Khan, and Ustad Ahmad Lahauri.  Lahauri is generally considered to be the designer.

The tomb is the central focus of the entire complex of the Taj Mahal.  This large, white structure stands on a square plinth and consists of a symmetrical building with an arched doorway topped by a large dome and finial.

The interior walls are about 82 feet high and are topped by a “false” interior dome decorated with a sun motif.  The chamber goes way beyond traditional decorative elements.  The inlay work is of precious and semi-precious gemstones.  The chamber is an octagon with the design allowing for entry from each face, although only the door facing the garden to the south is used.

The gardens are just as spectacular, using raised pathways that divide each of the four quarters of the garden into 16 sunken flowerbeds.  A raised marble water tank at the center of the garden, halfway between the tomb and gateway with a reflecting pool on a north-south axis, reflects the image of the mausoleum.  The garden is laid out with avenues of trees and fountains.

The Taj Mahal complex is surrounded on three sides by red stone walls, with the river facing side left open.  Outside the walls are several additional mausoleums, including those of Shah Jahan's other wives, and a larger tomb for Mumtaz's favorite servant.  These structures, composed primarily of red sandstone, are typical of the small Mughal tombs of the era.  The garden facing inner sides of the wall fronted by columned arcades, a feature typical of Hindu temples which was later incorporated into Mughal mosques.

There are several vacation packages that will let you see this magnificent structure and its surrounding gardens.  The Taj Mahal is only one of the beautiful sites to see in India.  India is filled with palaces and wonders of all kinds for an adventurer to discover and is a place you might want to consider for your next dream vacation.

Happy Travels!!!

The 4th of July in the Nation’s Capitol

The 4th of July is a favorite summer holiday that celebrates our independence, and cities big and small all across our country celebrate it.  While many places all over the country have great events with parades, activities, and fireworks, there really is only one place to be on our country's birthday.  Washington DC, the nation’s capital is one of , if not the best place to experience the celebration of our country's birthday.

While most cities around the country will hold their July 4th celebration on the weekend closest to the holiday, Washington DC celebrates on the actual day, regardless of the day of the week.

The Independence Day Parade kicks off the celebration at 11:45 a.m.  The parade follows a route along Constitution Avenue in the Capitol Hill area and includes everything from marching bands to floats and military units.  After the parade there are plenty more daytime activities to make the Washington DC 4th of July celebration special.

The Smithsonian Folklife Festival takes place on the National Mall from 11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and features music, dance, cooking demonstrations, and crafts.

The National Archives building puts on a special program about the signing of the Declaration of Independence, open from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.  The White House visitor center also offers entertainment from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. which includes games and crafts.

Starting at 6 p.m., there is a concert on the Washington Monument grounds featuring the U.S. Navy Band.  Located on the southwest corner of the monument, this concert goes on until 9 p.m.

The National Symphony Orchestra performs “A Capitol Fourth Concert” which is held on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol building.  This is a free concert and is open to the public and gets started at 8 p.m.  Several pop artists will also be there performing patriotic music as well.

After the concert finishes, the annual Fireworks Spectacular starts.  The Fireworks kick off around 9:15 p.m. at dark.  The Fireworks are launched from the reflecting pool in front of the Lincoln Memorial and light up the sky above the Washington Monument in spectacular fashion fitting for such a grand celebration.

The 4th of July is one of the most popular times of the year to visit Washington DC, which means that hotels will be cramped.  If you plan to celebrate America’s birthday in the nation's most iconic city, then you need to plan ahead and do your research.  Even with the time closing in you can still find a condo to rent.  

Renting a condo can take some of the hassle out of your vacation and save some money by giving you and your family enough room to stretch out and relax after a day of sightseeing.  Having a kitchen can keep your costs down by allowing you to cook some of your meals yourself rather than going to a restaurant for every meal.  What better way to spend a memorable 4th of July in the middle of all the history and pride.

Here are some travel deals in Washington DC 

$298 - Two- or Three-Night Stay at The Dupont at the Circle in Washington D.C.

$149+: Washington, D.C. Hotel near Smithsonian, Save 45%

Happy Travels!!!