What You Need to Know about Vacation Rentals before You Go

That time of the year is finally here. You know what I’m talking about, the one or two weeks you get every year to escape from “real life” and just be you. Relax, eat and drink well, enjoy your family, catch up on some much needed sleep. But, before you pack up and head out, rethink the all-too-normal hotel stay. Believe it or not, you have options, one of which is the vacation rental.

Wouldn’t it be nice to leave your own home, arrive in your destination city and settle into a “home away from home” for your next vacation? That’s what vacation rentals are all about. These are homes waiting to be rented out by people on vacation. Each vacation rental owner will have different criteria in what type of renter they are looking for, each vacation rental house will vary in amenities, and each price will be dependent on the time of year and the length of stay. So, it sounds like a great idea, but how do you figure out how to make it all happen? Not a problem. Below you will find answers to frequently asked questions regarding vacation rentals. Read on, my friend, your next “home away from home” vacation rental is right around the corner.

Frequently Asked Questions on Vacation Rentals

What are the advantages of a vacation rental?

Do you ever wish your hotel room had just a little more personality? Yeah, I thought so. Well, renting someone else’s home for your vacation might just be the thing you’re looking for. Usually offering larger living spaces than hotel rooms, these vacation rentals are all about living like you were in your own home. They offer greater privacy than hotel rooms and most rentals have a kitchen area for cooking, which in the end will save you money if you prepare some of your own meals.

You’ll enjoy several rooms, and maybe even different levels, instead of one big room where the whole family sleeps. Many owners will leave information on things to do and see in the local area. Vacation rental homes are clean, friendly, comfortable and inviting. This is because many of them aren’t just rental homes, but also function as the owner’s own residence for part of the year.

A majority of vacation rentals tend to be cheaper on a per night basis than their hotel counterpart. By renting directly from the owner you will avoid taxes, tips and other extraneous charges. However, there is a wide variation among costs based on a number of factors (see How Much Should I Expect to Pay below)

What are the drawbacks of a vacation rental?

Of course, there’s always the other side of the coin. As vacation rentals are not usually monitored by a central managing company, you’ll only know what you’re getting yourself into when you actually arrive to your rental. Many owners require pre-payment, or at least a large deposit fee, before arriving. Therefore, if things aren’t the way you anticipated after arriving, or if you find your dwelling unacceptable and decide to head to a local hotel, you may lose any money you prepaid. This is also true for last minute cancellations. There isn’t usually a refund. You always run the risk of getting less than you expected, but, it’s rare.

Most times, vacation rentals tend to be cheaper than an average hotel room per night. But, not always, so make sure you are comfortable with the price you will be asked to pay.

Another disadvantage to vacation rentals is the lack of a managing member on site to deal with any problems that you may encounter with the home or during your stay in general. Most owners get around this by having a list of emergency numbers, utility companies and other such items available to the renter should they need anything.

What amenities are included in a vacation rental?

Since every rental is owned by a different owner, each will include different amenities. Some come with swimming pools, hot tubs, others with golf packages, and horse stable privileges. In cities with tourist attractions, some owners include tickets to local attractions.

Most vacation rentals come with the essentials: TV, equipped kitchen, towels, linen, and everyday appliances, but it never hurts to ask these questions when searching for the perfect place. Be sure to understand exactly what you are paying for before sending in the payment.

What types of rentals are available?

Pretty much any type of dwelling that you would want to live in during your vacation is available somewhere. From studios in downtown Manhattan to a villa in the south of Spain, you’ll be able to find what you’re looking for. The range of available options is mind boggling. Additionally, each week, month and year there are new possibilities as owners put their homes up for only certain weeks or months of the year, the choices are constantly changing.

Are vacation rentals only available in the US?

Vacation rentals are available worldwide. They can be found in every state of the US and almost every country in the world. Don’t be fooled by their different names, though. Vacation rentals are also known as holiday cottages, tourist rentals and holiday rentals. If you are looking for one in Europe, the Italians call them agriturismi, while the French say gites. If you are in Germany you will be looking for ferienwohnungen (yep, try to say that three times fast with a bratwurst in your mouth!)

Regardless of what you call it, though, a vacation rental is a great option for those getting ready to take a few weeks off from reality and enjoy the good life a bit.

How do I find a property?

There are several ways to go about finding the perfect vacation rental for your next trip. Check with your local travel agent to find someone in your area that specializes in finding owners and renters and getting them together. Another option is the yellow pages. Finally, there is a wealth of information on the Internet. Type in a search for “vacation rentals” and over 13,300,000 websites can be found just on http://www.google.com alone. Some websites only list vacation rentals in the United States while others specialize in vacation rentals worldwide. There are some sites that will allow the potential renter to look for a residence by specific search criteria such as a particular destination, certain number of bedrooms and types of amenities that are included in the property.

Most of the vacation rental services on the internet are only the “go-between” or the “classified” section of the newspaper. They take no responsibility for the truth or correctness of the ads that are listed on their sites. So, do your homework by making phone calls, speaking with the owner and asking specific questions. Make sure you feel comfortable with the answers, if not, move on to the next rental, there are plenty.

If you’re not comfortable with the whole renter/owner thing, there is another way to rent a vacation home. Some companies exist that strictly buy and rent out homes to vacationers. They offer a bit more security so that you feel you are truly getting what you bargained for (although nothing is ever 100% fool proof). Additionally, sometimes these agencies will give you cancellation insurance. In other words, if you cancel before arriving, they may be able to refund a portion of your deposit or payment instead of keeping it as most owners do if a cancellation occurs. With some agencies you’ll find that you pay a higher price than going directly to an owner. This is how the agencies make their profits. There are always pros and cons to each scenario. Ensure you know which one works best for you.

How much should I expect to pay?

This is a tough question to answer. The amount you pay will depend on what country or state you are visiting, number of days you are staying, and type of house you are renting. Some owners offer package deals including tickets or sightseeing events along with the rental, others include bonus days if you stay for a certain length of time. There are other owners who may offer free or add-on house cleaning service with your stay while some go to great efforts to ensure you have everything you need, even additional items such as a crib, highchair or wheelchair. Each vacation rental will be entirely different than the next. Your best bet after deciding on your destination is to review multiple rentals to determine which is better suited to your needs and overall budget.

Are there any hidden fees?

Hidden fees usually only emerge after you have arrived. These may include extra for phone calls, house cleaning service, extra person fees, excess heat and air-conditioning bills, pet deposit, computer access… etc. Again, be extremely thorough when interviewing the owner of your prospective vacation rental. Ask about any “extra” fees, or if the house is “all-inclusive”. Do you have free access to all the pantry and food items? How about the laundry supplies? All utilities? It never hurts to ask!

Vacation Rentals

In summary, cover all bases by asking lots of questions. Getting your agreement in writing is also a very smart idea. After these basics are out of the way you will be ready to take off for your home-away-from-home vacation rental. Try one this year and see for yourself that vacation rentals can be a fantastic means to really getting the full enjoyment out of your next vacation.

Source by Barbara Pfieffer

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Travel Tips – Packing Light For A Carefree Trip

Travel tips in travel books and on travel websites often advise travelers to “pack light.” In my experience, these sources of travel information don’t go far enough. If you’re a budget traveler you’re unlikely to be relying on hotel porters, taxi drivers, or other people paid to drag your luggage around. You’re more likely to be dragging it yourself – through airports, through subway systems, on and off of buses and airport shuttles, and through city streets.

It cannot be overstated that carrying too much weight around can be the difference between a fantastic, exhilarating travel experience and an exhausting one that you can’t wait to end. If your luggage is heavy, you’re mind will be more on the thought that you can’t bear to drag your luggage down one more street, than it will be on the sights and sounds of that exotic locale. My years of traveling around Europe, primarily by plane, train, bus, subway system and on foot, have taught me several things. The lighter your luggage, the lighter your heart.

Traveling light does not mean hoisting traditional suitcases. The suitcases themselves add extra weight, and suitcases are difficult to carry. I find that holding a large object by its handle, its weight hanging down off the end of my arm is the fastest route to a shoulder and backache. Traveling light also does not mean pulling a suitcase that has tiny wheels on the bottom. Spend a few minutes watching tourists attempting to keep control of that type of unstable suitcase, as they wobble and tip to one side, and you’ll see what I mean.

Traveling light does not mean carrying an over sized, bursting-at-the-seams backpack, either. Unless you plan to do some serious wilderness hiking and camping in the rough, where you’ll have zero access to shops, forget the overloaded backpack. Why lug a heavy backpack through the wilds of London when there are shops on every corner, where you can forage for everything you need?

So, what should savvy budget travelers carry, and how should they carry it? My advice is that you carry one small day-pack style backpack. It can be done, if you think before you pack, and if you make logical decisions as to what you truly can and can’t live without, and what you absolutely must transport to your destination versus what you can easily pick up once you arrive.

For example, if you regularly use a prescription medication, obviously you’ll need to carry an adequate supply with you. Carry a spare as well, and keep it on you, so that you needn’t panic if your pack gets nabbed by a thief. Be sure to also carry the prescription itself, so that you can prove that you’re really transporting a prescription medicine, if you’re stopped by customs or security personnel. It’s even better if you have a prescription that carries not only the commercial name of the medicine, but also its chemical name, in case you need to show it to a pharmacist, doctor, or customs authority, in a country where your own language isn’t spoken.

If you’re traveling to a hot, tropical location, by all means carry a bottle of sunscreen – but buy a bottle that contains the amount you expect to need for the duration of the trip. Don’t burden yourself with a jumbo size container, two thirds of which will be still be with you on the return trip. As a rule of thumb for any type of toiletries, carry (or buy upon arrival) small tubes, bottles and boxes containing just enough for the trip. Don’t drag around weight that you’ll ultimately drag back home with you, or you’ll only end up with a bottle of sunscreen that can boast to its neighbors on the medicine cabinet shelf that it’s been to Tahiti.

If two people are traveling together, whether they’re part of one family or they’re friends sharing the adventure of a lifetime, take only one set of toiletries between you. Carry separate toothbrushes, of course, but pack just one of items such as deodorant and soap and then share them. Half of your toiletry weight will have been eliminated simply by not both carrying duplicate types of items and, believe me, objects like these really contribute to the bulk and weight of your luggage.

Ask yourself if you can live without extras such as cosmetics, perfume and jewelry. Their combined mass and weight can quickly add up. Try a more natural look during your trip. It will save you daily time, as well as saving you daily strain on your arm and back muscles. As an added bonus, the less stylish and flashy you look, the less likely you’ll be to be the target of a mugger.

Forget about electrical appliances and electronic gadgets. You can live without a hairdryer or electric shaver and save not only the weight of these appliances, but also the additional burden of adapters to suit overseas outlets and electrical currents. Carry, instead, a lightweight compact plastic razor, or just let your beard grow. You may later decide that it suits you and decide to keep it ! If you plan to fly, don’t bother packing razor blades or manicure scissors. They are not allowed on planes anymore, anyway, so should be bought locally, if needed, and then properly disposed of before you fly home. I always find it practical to carry a little sewing kit for emergency repairs, but that doesn’t mean an entire kit full of colored spools of thread. It means a single needle plus one little spool of pale thread and one of dark thread together in a little bag.

Keep clothing to an absolute minimum. Stick to one basic outfit that’s comfortable, casual, and not easily wrinkled. Supplement it with a couple of extra lightweight tops and a couple of pairs of socks and underwear that can be repeatedly washed out in hotel rooms. A single sweater or sweatshirt for cool evenings and a thin plastic rain poncho and you should be set.

By sticking to one small backpack per person there are additional advantages that you’ll soon appreciate. You need never check bags at the airport and risk having them lost, you don’t need to endlessly load and unload airport or train station trolleys and count your bags to be sure that none have gone astray, plus everything is close at hand and easily accessible. By carrying just one backpack each, you’ll also look less like affluent tourists, and thus you’ll be less likely to be targeted by a pickpocket or purse snatcher as you move about city streets and in subway systems. Travel light and you can put less of a burden on your muscles, leaving you with more energy and a bigger appetite to truly experience the marvelous places that you are visiting. Travel light and you’ll be more likely to travel happy.

Source by Barbara Freedman-De Vito

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The 5 Main Reasons for Choosing a Travel Agent

It is now possible to almost arrange any travel itineraries independently online. There are pros and cons to all things. Here we look at 5 reasons to consult with a travel consultant for your plans.

1. The Complete Picture

Prudent travelers understand that it is not simply the original tour price that determines the total price of any package. The selection of dates, locations, airlines, quality of accommodation, booking policies, available facilities and other things make up the complete package. Not all the items are fully included in all packages. Every person or group has unique needs and the good consultants listen to the individual needs and tailor a package accordingly.

2. Best Price

Best prices means saving money, but it is more about value. The right flights, times, accommodation, cruised etc. are important to travelers. Good travel consultants create a package based on individual needs rather than what might be advertised as "the best price". Sometimes "best price" and individual travel needs meet creating the best value travel option.

3. Save Time and Energy

Time is a valuable resource for all of us. Most people will say that there is not enough time for traveling. Good travel consultants aim to provide the right travel experience at the expected quality at the best price, saving time and energy for the traveler. It may be possible to save time by booking directly online, but the travel agent will find the right travel arrangements often at a better price.

4. Understand the Risks

We all have a good idea about the risks in our home country. However, every country has its own risks. Travel consultants know or have access to information that will increase the chance of safe and secure travel in countries that they work with. Understand how to choose food, how to travel safely, what the weather is like and how to enjoy the sights and your travel will be much more enjoyable.

5, Product Knowledge

Many travelers want to discover new things. Travel consultants have at their disposal thousands of proven travel options. Their knowledge may very well help you find a better travel experience than what is available online. (Please note: not all travel options are available online)

Travel can be a risky business, getting the right package, getting there, touring in a strange land, meeting different people and trying new foods. Your travel agent is there to help you enjoy the best of what there is to offer and help to keep you safe.

Source by David Nivala

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How to Get Cheap International Airfare

Airfare can be a stranglehold whether it is domestic or international. More often than not, international airfare costs a great deal more than domestic airfare. There are several ways that you can fly out of the country without griping too much about the state of your wallet.

The following are such ways;

o Loyalty: Loyalty always pays off whether you are being loyal to your friend or to an organization. Being a frequent flyer on a particular airline can get you a discount on airfare. Some airliners give you discounts on airfare depending on the number of points that you have managed to accumulate by traveling a particular set of miles. Being consistent with one airline can get you cheap airfare, so avoid jumping from one airliner to the next.

o Travel agencies and tour agencies: You can obtain cheap airfare from tour or travel agencies that offer subsidized international airfare in package deals. Package deals are deals that are offered to a group of international air travelers that include cheap international airfare usually bought in bulk. As an international air traveler, looking out for package deals from these sources can save you extra cash.

o Consolidators: Consolidators are bodies that purchase airline tickets in bulk and sell it off at a cheaper rate. You can book your ticket through a consolidator and get cheap airfare.

o Advance booking: Booking your ticket in advance can save you a lot of trouble. Advance ticket bookings fetch less charges on international airfare than last minute bookings.

o Routes: Check up the route your flight will be taking. If it is less busy, you are bound to get a discount on your international airfare. Busy routes usually attract a higher charge for international flights so watch out!

o Peak seasons: Peak seasons tend to attract a higher charge for international airfare than off peak seasons. As an international air traveler, you stand to benefit more when you travel during off peak seasons than during peak seasons.

These tips should help you get cheap international airfare without too much worries.

Source by Burt Lang

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Cheap Backpacker Insurance Is Now Available

The economy lately has not been that good that travel agencies have started to offer travel plans at affordable rates. While these travel costs are experiencing some slash to the prices, insurance is also trying to go with the flow so to speak. At the moment, a traveler can choose the best insurance at reasonable prices and a traveler can still go away with getting the best value for money cheap backpacker insurance.

Although locating the right company that provides cheap insurance can become a lengthy process, still a traveler should never disregard the importance of purchasing such insurance because nobody can tell when accidents or emergency situations will arise especially during travels. Moreover, travelers just have to find these companies or ask his insurance company whether they have available cheap packages that cover backpacking.

Adventures should be about fun and excitement, but unforeseeable accidents, injuries, medical emergencies or even illnesses can happen while on a trip to another country. Therefore, a traveler should always make sure that he gets insurance. However, cheap backpacker insurance can sometimes cut off certain inclusions in its policy. This is the reason why a traveler should make sure that when purchasing a cheap insurance, minimum insurance plan must include coverage for medical emergencies, accidents, injuries, and illnesses so that even at the bare minimum the traveler’s cheap backpacker insurance will still give peace of mind.

In addition, cheap insurance should also provide for repatriation inclusions to its policy in cases of emergency situations that a traveler has no control of. Of course, there are other companies that offer travelers with a plan that includes coverage for holiday cancellations, lost or stolen baggage, flight delays and personal liability claims. The traveler only has to inquire into these inclusions and the insurance company providing cheap insurance can assist the traveler in choosing the best option at a reasonable rate.

Source by Michael Harrah

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Travel and Leisure Jobs

Travel and leisure industry is one the most favored industry sector for job seekers worldwide. It offers you the wonderful opportunity of seeing new places, getting acquainted with new cultures and helps in developing a more comprehensive viewpoint about world affairs. So if you are one of those persons who are passionate about travel, and like to meet new people a variety of job opportunities are available in various segments of travel and leisure industry.

Here are few of travel and leisure industry which provide extremely good job opportunities, if you possess requisite skills for the job.

Online Travel – With the advent of internet, travel industry went online. Now you can book flight tickets, hotel rooms and buying tickets for the venue. These ventures require computer programmer, web designer, customer support and sales team.

Event management – This industry specializes in the creation of festivals and events which vary in scale from Olympics to the neighborhood Birthday party. Event managers are in great demand by companies.

Cruise ships – Cruise ships are a classy mode of travel which is popular amongst a section of tourists. These massive structures require hospitality professionals, maritime professionals, entertainers and security personnel.

Tour operators – They come in handy for those people who travel internationally and don’t have time for a “do it yourself” holiday. They take care of all the details of the tour saving their clients from the intricacies.

Airlines – Air travel is the most popular means of travel for tourist especially international tourists. Pilots, air hostess and flight crew are some of the most desired career. However an airline employs more people as ground staff in the form of air traffic controller, ticket checker, baggage checker and personal service assistant.

Travel websites, magazines and guides – These guide people on popular tourist spots, the best route to take, best time to visit and must see places amongst others. Here contractual or freelance writers can work as travel writers. Also photographers are hired to shoot photos documenting the journey.

Animation – Animation industry makes animated films some of which are hugely popular like Ice Age. Also they design and execute computer games. Animators, illustrators and designers are widely in demand here.

Cosmetics Industry – The desire to look beautiful is innate in every woman and man. This industry “claims” to make people beautiful. Cosmetics and the beauty industry require hair stylist, beauty therapist, manicurist and shampoo technician.

Games and toys industry – This sector produces games and toys for people of all ages and groups. It requires creative professionals and game designers.

Fitness sector – This sector works on making people fit through exercise and alternatives like yoga. It requires certified fitness trainers and yoga teachers.

Hotels and resort industry – When you travel anywhere you stay in one of these hotels and resorts. Hence this industry plays a very important role in the overall travel and leisure industry so much that hotel occupancy rates are an important indicator of the state of the industry. It requires waiting staff, interior decorators, management professionals and catering services personnel.

The travel and leisure industry is very often the dream job of many people. But many people are unaware of the tremendous job potential of this industry.

Source by Rob Colbourne

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Bahamas Family Vacation – Can You Take a Vacation to the Bahamas Without Spending a Fortune?

So you want to take a Bahamas family vacation but you are wondering if you will have to take out a personal loan just to afford it. Tired of hearing your friends talking about their exotic trip to the Bahamas while you visit the relatives every year?

There is no need to borrow from your 401 (k) in order to take your family on a great vacation to the Bahamas. This beautiful island paradise offers something for every budget.

You'll find Grand Bahama Islands in the Bahamas just about 50 miles south of Miami. With its gorgeous clear blue-green water, interesting ocean life, and quaint fishing villages, not to mention just tons and tons of practically endless stretches of white sandy beaches, it's a perfect vacation getaway without the hefty price tag you might spend to go to someplace like Hawaii. Yet you will probably have just as much fun!

First you should take a look at Grand Bahamas vacation packages because this is going to most likely be the best bet to save you a bundle. Whether you take a cruise or just fly there straightaway, start by comparing package prices at the online travel agencies and also the offline travel agents as well. These are the places where you are very likely to find the best all-inclusive prices on your vacation.

Only consider a cruise if you are not the type of person who will get seasick. But if you do love cruising, you can definitely find some amazingly low prices on a cruise to the Bahamas. The great thing about a cruise is everything is included like the entertainment, meals, and so forth. Depending on how long the cruise is, you could see quite a few of the islands for one bargain price. However, the bad thing is you will be limited in the amount of time you can spend in the Bahamas and also limited of course in where you can go. Still, the prices of cruises are so great it's worth it to many people.

There are many inexpensive hotels to choose from once you reach the Bahamas. Since this is such a well-loved tourist destination you will find very competitive prices on the hotels like Quality Inn on Nassau or one of its sister hotels, and you should be able to easily find one to fit your budget with a bit of research beforehand . Ask about "frequent sleeper" programs too which are similar to frequent flyer programs. You can get great discounts at hotels with these programs.

By far the main attraction in this vacation paradise is the great beaches. Many people travel to the Bahamas year after year simply to enjoy these fantastic beaches. The almost seemingly unending stretches of white sand are very peaceful and relaxing, and spending the day lounging on the beach does not cost a penny. This is one of the things that makes a Bahamas family vacation very easy to afford. Families may also enjoy such activities as snorkeling, fishing, and diving which are also very low-cost activities, helping you stick to your budget. To save even more money you can choose to have a picnic on the beach and bring your own food rather than eating in a restaurant for all of your meals.

Another tip to save on meals – once you get to the Bahamas, ask the locals about great restaurants that they endorse rather than eating at the touristy areas. You'll find yourself paying less for better quality food.

Source by Terrie Bryan

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Traveling With Kids in Buenos Aires

Argentina is known for its spectular architecture and culture. Aside for being the capital city of Tango, it has dazzling sites for travelers; in business and families.

Buenos Aires is a wonderful place to visit and just by walking is the best way to explore the city. Various tourists' destinations in the place are within easy access. The city offers dazzling and splendid views that the family can enjoy including as much as the kids. Find out the best of the cities brightly colored barrios with the help of the cities most prominent landmarks. Either you travel for the purpose of discovering the history, culture, food and dances in city, rest assured you will love the place and will have a fun-filled experience even the kid at the heart of Buenos Aires. The rich city is blessed with luxury and cheap hotels that offer best accommodations giving you comfort while in the city. The city is safe and friendly for children with wide variety of delicacies they may delight with.

Here are simple things you can enjoy in traveling with your kids in Buenos Aires:

Palermo Parks

Enjoy walking around Palermo Parks, which is filled with families during weekends. You can enjoy while having a picnic in the park and in playing some sports. The children can also enjoy the zoo right located in Palermo with over 350 species including elephants and tigers. Rest assured all family members will have a pleasant experience while having a rest in this wonderful and splendid Palermo Park.

Restaurants

You do not have to worry where to eat while exploring the city, in itself has a variety of vendors in the street and trendy restaurants. Best delicacies local and international were offered for you to complete your day. Barbecue meat "Asado" is served in various restaurants as a mark for their national tradition. Reward your kids with the best ice cream served in the city invidious chains. You just taste the life living in Buenos Aires while having a meal at the heart of the city.

Rides

Roller coaster rides at Parque de la Costa is made to perfection for kids to enjoy. It's a fun filled experience that keep visitors to come back for more.

Amusements

Enjoy the show held in various streets of Buenos Aires. There are lots of street performers on squares, pedestrian malls and around markets. You will mostly enjoy watching magnificent Latin dances, and puppet shows on this streets. Sometimes you do not need to spend for an expensive show to entertain. At Buenos Aires, everywhere is an entertainment.

Hotel

The city of Buenos Aires offers various great hotels for you to stay with your kids. Most of the hotels are embellishable with spectacular arts and designs of local artist and other influences like European style decors. After a tiring experience of exploring the city, it's the best way to relax in the hotel and enjoy the best offers and accommodations made for guests convenience and comfort. Some hotel offers a meal in a restaurant near a pool. There are also hotel that has terraces and balconies overlooking the city.

Source by David N Scott

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Booking Your Hotel Accommodation at the Last Minute Can Save You Money

Many accommodation providers such as hotels, motels and serviced apartments often have a percentage of their rooms remain unsold in the normal course of business. They sometimes refer to these rooms as “distressed inventory” available at a discounted price. This allows them to realize revenue that would not normally be received. Rooms made available on websites could be discounted by as much as 60%. The term generally used to describe the discounted room rates is last minute accommodation rates or short rates.

You may ask what’s in it for the hotel?

Discounting is not a new concept in this industry, though it has normally been promoted via corporate rates or bulk purchases. This new online delivery of room rates allows the accommodation providers to offer specials to the larger public. Like yesterday’s paper, the supplier would still rather have some revenue for the room than none at all.

A great tip for finding special rate deals is by typing “last minute accommodation rates” and the name of the city into your web search. Although there are many websites promoting these offers, a quick scan of the result pages will reveal those websites that display multiple offers on a single page. This makes for easy comparison between various suppliers. The full or rack rate together with the discount rate could be displayed and the magnitude of the saving becomes apparent.

Tips on booking your stay:

Last minute booking services are almost exclusively advertised online. This is because of the instant confirmations, live updates on availability and the huge audience that now exists online.

But when anyone provides credit card details online, they need to be as vigilant as if they were handing some cash on the street :

– Make sure that the payment pages are secured with HTTPS, as opposed to the regular HTTP address.

– Make sure the website has acceptable terms and conditions, you don’t want to be left empty handed because of the small print.

– The uncertainty of online transactions has led many suppliers to ask for a deposit, instead of full payment up front. This is a reasonable approach, as you would not normally pay for your stay until departure.

– Lastly, make sure the website offering the discount is providing confirmation of your payment and reservation.

Some services offer to “register your interest” and only when you have paid, will they check availability with the hotel or Motel. You may as well just call the provider yourself, if this is the case.

Though it should not need to be said, remember to take receipt of your online booking for check-in. Or if necessary you can call prior to confirm your booking and maybe also advise of check-in times, special needs or requests etc.

When booking your stay for transit over early morning departures, most providers have dedicated sections for accommodation listings close to the airport and also offer a free service or parking for up to a week. Alternatively you want to make sure a shuttle service is available from the motel or that they can organize such a service.

Typically last minute accommodation rates generally apply to the next 4 weeks or 28 days only. So for those spur of the moment spontaneous decisions it is ideal. Remember last minute rates are generally for two people only and you need to inquire if additional people can be accommodated and if so what the charge will be, check for any inclusions or extras on offer too. Inclusions can prove to be of excellent value and include such offerings as free breakfast, a bottle of champagne or drink voucher or perhaps a free shuttle service to and from the airport.

Source by Patrick Dyzell

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Cheap Car Insurance for the Young Female

Car insurance companies are notorious for offering cheap car insurance policies to females. This doesn’t mean the car insurance companies are sexist, but it does mean the car insurance companies take into account the statistics that show that female drivers are usually safer drivers. Female drivers make fewer claims, drive safer vehicles, and get fewer traffic tickets than male drivers – statistically speaking, of course. Therefore, car insurance companies see female drivers as a lesser risk than male drivers.

Yet, despite the gender of the driver, car insurance companies always look at the age of the driver, too. Older drivers are viewed as less of a risk because they are thought to have more driving experience. Younger drivers are viewed as more of a risk because they are thought to have less driving experience.

So, how can you find cheap car insurance for the young females?

Use all resources. This means, your good driving record, any driving classes you’ve successfully completed, your safe car, and your safe neighborhood. Point these facts out to the car insurance agent, and you may get a cheaper car insurance quote. You may even discover discounts you weren’t aware of.

Stay on, or “spin off” of, your parents’ car insurance policy. If you stay on your parents’ insurance policy, they will most likely get a discount for having multiple cars on their policy. You can “spin off” of their car insurance policy if you have already been on their insurance policy, and have now decided to get your own car insurance policy from the same car insurance company. By “spinning off” of their car insurance policy, you will get a cheaper car insurance policy than if you purchased your own from another company, or without ever having been on their policy.

By taking either, or both, of these steps you’ll find cheap car insurance for the young female; at least, until you get a bit older!

Source by Elizabeth Newberry

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Best Vacation Destination in South America

Looking for an exciting new vacation destination? Look no further than Florianopolis, Brazil.

Florianopolis is a charming island located two hours south of the famous Rio de Janeiro. Florianopolis is blessed with 42 beautiful beaches, one more eye pleasing than the next, and with styles and atmospheres to fit every taste imaginable. In addition, the island is blessed with soft white sand dunes, rolling green hills and crystalline lagoons. Truly a nature lover’s paradise, one can continually find new treasures on the island.

Out of island’s many beaches, there are over 20 high quality surf breaks, providing nearly unlimited choices and variety for visiting surfers, and as such is known as the surf capital of Brazil. The WCT Pro Tour (the highest level surf competition in the world) has only 12 stops around the globe, and the only one in all of South America is in Florianopolis. So if the waves are good enough for Slater, Irons & co., then that is already a pretty good sign!

In addition to the island’s stunning natural beauty, visitors will also be astounded by the amazing dining and nightlife options on the island, some of South America’s best, as well as the broad array of outdoor activities available for sporting enthusiasts and fine shopping for the shop-a-holics. Completely safe (unlike Brazil’s largest urban mega-centers such as Sao Paulo and Rio), Florianopolis has retained the feel of a sleepy beach town despite being a state capital and having grown quite a bit in its own right after landing on the international radar screen just a few short years ago.

The “magic island” as many refer to it has an uncanny effect of enchanting visitors from around the globe, many of whom leave with dreams of coming back – not just to visit, but to live!

Recently named by Newsweek international as one of the world’s “top 10 most dynamic cities”, Florianopolis truly has something to offer for anyone. So if you’re looking for travel ideas, mark this one on the top of the list!

As far as the best ways to see Florianopolis if you’re coming from the United States or Europe, consider these two options:

For those interested in full service surf/adventure tours which also include guided nightlife access, the best choice is Nexus Surf. Visit http://www.nexussurf.com.

For those looking for deluxe to high-end accommodations in the best location on the island (remember, there are 42 beaches to choose from, so choose wisely!), Floripa Vacation Homes offers an excellent selection of well-maintained private residences and also provides a number of auxiliary services to complete your stay on the island, including concierge services to help you find exactly what you’re looking for in terms of activities, services, dining and nightlife!

For more information, visit http://www.floripavacationhomes.com

Source by Tatiana Marques

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Hawaii Vacation Packages: How To Find The Best Deals

Would you like to take a vacation to Hawaii? If so, have you already made your reservations? If not, you may want to look into Hawaii vacation packages, if you have not already done so. It is no secret that a Hawaiian vacation can get quiet costly. Hawaii vacation packages are a great way to save money. Therefore, whenever you are traveling with your friends, your family, or your romantic partner, you are prompted to examine Hawaii vacation packages. After all, who does not want to save money?

When it comes to finding Hawaii vacation packages, you will find that these vacation packages come in a number of different formats. For instance, it is not uncommon to find vacation packages that include airfare, car rentals, and hotel accommodations. While these types of Hawaii vacation packages are quiet common, it is also common to find smaller, less exclusive Hawaii vacation packages. For instance, there are some vacation packages that just include overnight accommodations and a car rental. Before you start searching for a Hawaii vacation package, you are prompted to determine what type of travel arrangements and accommodations you would like to make or need to make. Knowing what to look for will help save you time, as it will automatically eliminate vacation packages that you are not interested in purchasing.

Once you know what type of Hawaii vacation packages to look for, you can begin to focus on other important factors, such as cost. When it comes to all vacation packages, including Hawaii vacation packages, it is important that you thoroughly examine a vacation package before purchasing it. While most vacation packages will save you money, there are a select number of them that will actually end up costing you money. To ensure that you are really getting the best deal, you will need to do a little bit of research. That research involves determining how much money your Hawaii vacation would cost if you chose not to purchase a vacation package. Once you have this estimated, you will want to compare it to the cost of your first choice vacation package. To save money, you will not want to purchase a Hawaii vacation package that costs more than making each of your reservations individually.

Another way to find the best Hawaii vacation packages is to broaden your horizons. When searching for a vacation package, there are many individuals who mistakenly believe that they are only available through online travel websites, sometimes discount travel websites. This is not true. There are companies out there that specialize in certain types of vacation packages, vacation packages for a certain vacation destination, such as Hawaii. You are prompted to examine these companies as well. You may also want to look for vacation resorts or vacation hotels. It is not uncommon for some of these establishments to also offer vacation packages to their guests.

The above mentioned points are just a few of the many that you will want to keep in mind, when searching for Hawaii vacation packages. Keeping all of your options open is the best way to go about finding the best vacation package deals.

Source by Sandra L. Carter

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It's Still Safe To Vacation In The Caribbean

Following the recent killing of the British honeymoon couple on the Caribbean island of Antigua many are now asking how safe these idyllic paradise-like islands are for the millions of visitors who choose to holiday there each year. With many newspapers reporting on this horrific event it is no surprise that many subsequent articles have chosen not only to concentrate on the facts surrounding the case, but also to focus on the "perceived problem" of crime permeating not just Antigua but other islands through the Caribbean. But is this popular region of the world really as unsafe as recent media reports have indicated?

The simple answer is "no". Of course the Caribbean is not a crime free destination. Like anywhere else in the world all the islands of the Caribbean experience varying degrees of mainly petty crime, such as theft. Whilst some of the larger islands such as Jamaica and Trinidad might also experience more serious and violent crime such as rape or murder, these crimes are almost always perpetrated by locals against locals and hardly ever visitors, and these crimes are still reliably rare in comparison to many of the countries where tourists to these islands actually come from. This is why the recent murder of the honeymoon couple in Antigua made such major headlines, as it really was a rare and isolated incident. In fact the last tourist homicide on Antigua took place over ten years ago.

Nearly 97,000 tourists from the UK alone visited the island of Antigua in 2007 and most of these visitors will no doubt confirm that during their stay they experienced nothing but a warm climate, beautiful beaches and friendly hospitality from the majority of local people. The island has so much to offer visitors and is one of the Caribbean's most popular tourist islands. For the last two years Antigua has also won awards as best wedding and honeymoon destination because of its appeal to couples looking for an exotic and beautiful destination for their wedding or honeymoon.

It is also a much cheaper holiday destination now due to the strength of the pound against the US dollar in comparison to the Euro. Many hotels and resorts also offer free weddings for couples staying for a limited minimum duration or for couples who wish to book additional rooms for their guests. One of the best destination for Caribbean holiday is The Inn at English Harbor.

Getting married on the island of Antigua could not be easier. Couples are able to get married on the same day they arrive on the island if they wish once they purchase a local license from the correct Government office. All weddings conducted at local hotels, resorts or other not religious venues such as on one of the island's 365 beautiful beaches, are civil ceremonies conducted by a marriage officer. Couples can also get married in one of the island's many churches. Weddings conducted on Antigua, as well as all the other islands of the Caribbean are legally recognized in the UK.

Couples who had previously considered or even planned to visit the Caribbean and particularly the island of Antigua for an annual holiday or for their wedding or honeymoon should not be put off by recent events. Compared to many destinations in Europe, the Mediterranean and other parts of the world which are popular holiday spots for the Brits, the Caribbean is still a much safer destination. and Jolly Beach Resort is an example of hotels which offer this.

Source by Stephanie Culsen

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How To Decide Which Beach Vacation Rental Is Right For You

Depending on your beach holiday destination, there is likely to be a range of options to choose from including hotels, villas, condos, apartments and more. These can be located anywhere from the beach itself, to further into the town or city.

But booking somewhere to stay doesn’t have to be a stressful endeavor. If you can find an experienced holiday agent to advise you, it can actually be a relatively simple decision to make. You will just need to narrow down your requirements in order to find the best option for you.

Firstly, you’ll need to consider what you are looking for in a holiday – are you hoping for a relaxing seaside retreat, or more of a fun-filled party holiday? It’s best to sit down with your fellow travelers and make a decision based on the kind of experience each of you is looking to have.

If you’re going away for a hen or stag party, for example, you’ll probably want to be close to local nightclubs and restaurants. Whereas if your plan is to enjoy a relaxing couple’s retreat, you might prefer somewhere more secluded.

If your fellow holidaymakers have any special requirements – wheelchair access or particular dietary needs for instance – you will need to factor this into your decision, too. If in doubt, it’s best to discuss your requirements with a travel advisor who specialise in the area in which you’re travelling.

Vacation rental companies will have years of experience behind them finding unique and beautiful properties for each of their clients. Options might include beachfront villas, family vacation homes, condos and private apartments.

But not only can one of these companies assist you in making your choice about where to stay, they will likely offer a range of other services too – including car rentals, wedding arrangements, tours and restaurant recommendations.

Try to find a vacation rental agency that operates more like a holiday management team, as they will generally be dedicated to helping you with every aspect of your experience. The ethos behind these companies is to make your trip as stress-free and effortless as possible – something we could all do with when planning a holiday.

Not only will your on-location agency be ready to welcome you at the airport (should you choose this service), they will also be able to assist you with day-to-day services, such as cooking, cleaning and laundry.

If you’d rather leave the daily grind behind, it is possible to enlist a full property management team to assist you with your domestic responsibilities. Just ask your rental agent for a fully managed experience and they should be happy to oblige.

The company may even offer to book tours, spa sessions and other activities for your party, making the whole experience more enjoyable. This way, you won’t get bogged down with planning your itinerary, as all the hard work will be taken care of for you.

Another thing you will need to consider when thinking about your accommodation is how close you need to be to local amenities and shops.

If some of your party have limited mobility, or if you just want your holiday to be as hassle-free as possible, you may be able to arrange to have your shopping delivered through your rental agency.

Alternatively, you can seek accommodation that is located close to nearby shops and restaurants so you never have to travel too far from where you’re staying.

So, whatever your situation or requirements, with the help of an experienced travel agent you will be able to enjoy a luxury beach vacation – wherever you are in the world.

Source by Kent J Thompson

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Flightseeing Tour – Grand Canyon Vacation Packages

Grand Canyon is huge, so it is a good way to see this area by a helicopter. I luckily had a chance to have such an exciting tour. I began my tour at the Grand Canyon National Airport, which is located in Tusayan.

When I get into my helicopter, I was given a safety briefing, and got a small life vest pack and headset. And then I sat on my seat and the helicopter was ready to fly. As this was my first time flying on a helicopter, I was a little bit worried. But when it took off, I realized it was very safe and felt relaxed.

My helicopter was ECO-star. Because of its wraparound glass, tourist can have full vision of the whole area. I sat in a leather seat, and I had to say that it was really comfortable. The helicopter flew quietly and it didn’t have any shaking, so I can concentrate on the dramatic beauty. It seemed that I was taking a bird’s-eye view from a bubble above the canyon.

There were two kinds of tours, one is Canyon Dancer tour takes and another one is The Canyon Spirit trip. The former one will take you flying over Kalibab National Forest, the Colorado River and the North Rim. But I think the later one is more interesting. Tourist can experience the formations and the depth of the Canyon. I finally knew how deep the Canyon is. I spent 45 minutes to finish this great trip.

Our pilot was also our tour guide, and he was informative. He answered our questions and guide us to see formations. I was surprised to see that some trees were turning golden under the sunlight, and the red earth made the Canyon an amazing place. I kept on taking photos, and I want to memorize the beautiful scenery forever.

After I landed, I bought the DVD of our flight and a photo of our group. They witnessed my whole tour. Furthermore, there were many souvenirs with Grand Canyon Logo, such as sweatshirts, hats and t-shirts. I bought a hat and intended to send it to my father. This short trip was very great.

Source by Marcia Brown

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Cheap Airline Travel

Many of us may be getting ready to go on a travel vacation, within the next few months. This maybe on a vacation to visit relatives for Thanksgiving or possibly over Winter Break. Many of us may even already be looking at taking a vacation during Spring Break and planning accordingly. Let’s that you have never purchased any plane tickets online, you have always relied on a toll free number or someone else did the purchasing for you, and now it is your turn to do the purchases. Well, first off it is always important to decide on accommodations before you purchase a plane ticket, but many people would disagree with this idea. You can always cancel lodging, but it is much more difficult to cancel an airline ticket. Let’s say that you are just planning on finding a place to stay when you get down to your destination.

If you are only planning on finding a place, when you get down to your destination then it would make it much easier to get cheaper plane tickets. Let’s say for example that you have dates picked out for your vacation, if you are planning on getting accommodations when you get down there, you could very easily go down there a few days earlier or later and come back the same way. This is a new option that is easily accessible by many of the online airline retailers. They allow you to check a box after you put in your dates, that usually says something like “It’s okay to look for fairs a few days before and/or after the dates that you selected.

Another good option, if you live close to multiple airports, is to check the box that says something like “compare surrounding airports.” By clicking these two options you have given yourself many more opportunities and this will allow you to find a cheaper flight. It is always best to search multiple online airfare retailers, some good ones that come to mind are: Priceline, Orbitz, and Travelocity. It is always best to go to all three of these places and try and find the cheapest airfare. Also, once you have decided on dates, you might be able to find a cheaper fare on the exact airlines website. So, if you find a good deal on Priceline for Southwest airlines, it is worth a shot to go to Southwest airlines website and see if you can find an even better deal.

Source by Andrew John Thompson

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Do Your Trip With American Airlines

Setting The Stage

Let's set the stage for your trip with American Airlines. You are just recently entering the job world and your new boss wants you to schedule a meeting with one of your clients to discuss them buying into a new product that your company just introduced that they think would really help your clients be more efficient.

Bullet List For Preview

Now there are a lot of things that you have to do in this situation so let's just give a bullet list of them:

Set a date and time that the meeting will be held.
Scheduling a time that you would like to be arriving into the area that your client is at.
Buying a ticket and getting everything set up correctly so you do not have any problems at the airport.
Packing your baggage in a manner that will be most constructive and beneficial to you.
Getting to the airport and actually flying to your client.
Doing great at meeting with your clients and getting that successful transaction for your client and you.
And finally flying back to your home.

Setting A Date And Time With Client

Now with all these variables it is always best to stop at the top of the list because it is easier to complete. Setting a date and time with your client is crucial for an actual meeting to happen so you can actually have something to fly to and be there for. Where as if you just showed up that might be just a little weird for you and your client because they have no idea what you are showing up there for. So set a date and time that is good for your client and good for you as well.

Schedule Your Arrival Time

The second thing that you want to do is to schedule a time that you would like to be there so you feel comfortable and prepared for your meeting. Let's just say that your client does not have much free time so they would like to have the meeting at 8'o clock in the morning. So once you look and you thought there was a flight from ORD, Chicago, to BOS, Boston, that would leave ORD and get you to BOS before 8am, but unfortunately there is no such flight in your case. But in your luck there is a flight that leaves the night before at 6pm from ORD and gets you into BOS at 10pm. You feel good because that flight will get you there the night before and you can have some time to relax and make sure everything is working and correct for your meeting the next day. So you decide to take that flight and then begins the next step in ticketing and reserving your flight to BOS.

Buy Those Tickets

Now that you are in the step of ticketing and reserving your seats roundtrip to and from BOS one thing that you want to make sure that you do is correctly put in your information so you do not have any problems in the airport when you get there . The best way to do this is to use the put in the exact same information that is on your drivers license or passport, which you want to fly with is perfect for domestic travel, because this is what they will use at security and in the check in process at the airport. If your name is misspelled there might be a problem and will incur you spending more of your time getting stressed about something that you could have just easily done when you were booking the flight. Now that you successfully booked your flights on aa.com, American Airlines, you are ready to get packing your bags and ready to fly out for that important meeting.

Pack That Bag

Since you are ready to pack your bags and get this show on the road one thing that is best to do is to correctly pack on what you would like to bring with you on your trip. There is always a lot that you think you should bring with you so in order to complete know what you should bring with you to initially take out everything that you think you could possibly need, then reduce the things that you would not really need because you do not want to take too much with you if it is going to be a short trip with only one or two meetings. You are not packing to travel the world for a year long journey.

Petal To The Metal To The Airport

Now that you have efficiently and effectively packaged your bag for your trip to your meeting with your client you now need to get to the airport to actually fly to your meeting. Now a lot of people do really well until they get to this step and this is the point where they break down and start the meltdown of what is going to happen on the plane, the nervousness of missing a flight, and every other fear that you could imagine. The best thing to plan for traveling with American Airlines is to go online the night before your flight and just simply check in to your flight. Once you do this it will usually allow you to get your seats and boarding pass. One other thing that might make your life a little bit easier is to print these boarding passes or to download the American Airlines app and get the boarding passes on your phone. This will allow for relaxation knowing that you do not have to go to a busy counter or agent to get boarding passes, unless you have a checked bag. Now the next best thing to do is to usually show up about 1.5hr-2hr before your flight if it is at a big airport or 1hr at a small airport. This will allow enough time to go through security, get to the gate, go to the restroom, and any other needs you would need to address before you get on the plane.

If you have done all these steps you sure most likely to have a high success rate of getting to your gate with as little stress as possible. You will surely be on the road to success and you will get to your meeting and win those clients over with the new product that you want them to buy. You got this!

Source by Louis Olson

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