Holiday Vacation Planning
Donna’s Info on New TSA Security Measures
A new security measure has been put in place that we all need to be aware of: Passengers using airports that offer direct flights to the U.S. may be forced to turn on their cellphone or other electronic device to show that the device is fully charged. The TSA will not allow devices without power onboard an aircraft. If a cellphone, or other device, is not fully charged, you will not be flying.
Donna’s Family Friendly Holiday Vacation DestinationsColonial Williamsburg, Virginia
A Colonial Christmas is a fun, unique, immersive, family friendly way to experience Christmas traditions from the past. From December 1-January 5, explore holiday traditions of 17th- and 18th-century Virginia through varying offerings at Jamestown Settlement and Yorktown Victory Center. Compare English Christmas customs with holidays experienced during the early years of Jamestown colony. (I can elaborate on the many offerings)
Christmas Town: A Busch Gardens Celebration: From November 21-December 31 enter Busch Garden’s Christmas Town winter wonderland and annual international fête. Sip decadent peppermint fudge hot chocolate, saunter under a canopy of twinkling lights, watch stunning Broadway-style shows, visit the new Holiday Hills for mid-20th-century nostalgia and get a glimpse of the park’s 50-foot-tall, light animated Christmas tree. Holiday Shopping in The Historic Triangle: Check off the holiday gift list at Williamsburg’s diverse shops. Visit Santa’s workshop at Yankee Candle Company’s flagship store to help the elves and to find unique collectables and international ornaments. Find one-of-a-kind jewelry at Riverwalk Landing’s York River waterfront shopping area. Discover authentic hand-crafted goods and art at Duke of Gloucester Street’s 18th-century shops.
Walt Disney World, Orlando Florida
The spirit of the holidays shines even brighter at WDW with something for everyone to see and do in all 4 Theme Parks, Downtown Disney and at the Resorts. Magic Kingdom – Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party • Snow flurries on Main Street, U.S.A
The Candlelight Processional - A breathtaking retelling of the story of Christmas by a celebrity narrator, accompanied by an orchestra and mass choir. (November-December) Holidays Around the World- International storytellers share traditions and tales from their homeland at select pavilions around World Showcase. (November-December) Disney’s Hollywood Studios – The Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights: (November-December) Disney’s Animal Kingdom: (November-December) Celebrate the holidays “safari style” with a festive atmosphere, decorations, and entertainment. Downtown Disney – Festival of the Seasons: (November-December) Explore a merry wonderland of entertainment, holiday shopping, and meet and greets with Santa at Downtown Disney area!
The magic carries over to all of our resorts which are transformed with charming holiday displays and celebrations that surely put our guests in the holiday spirit! Quebec, Canada
Quebec is considered to be the one of the most Christmassy places in the world. Starting in early December, Old Quebec is transformed into a real Christmas village.
Lights, decorations, and snow create an enchanting setting like no other. Christmas markets are set up in the heart of the historic district and in the surrounding villages. You can stroll around Old Québec, visit exhibitions, attend Christmas concerts, bring the kids outside to play, and enjoy many activities planned especially for families, not to mention the outdoor New Year’s Eve festivities on Grande Allée! No wonder CNN ranked Québec City among the world’s top 10 destinations for celebrating the Holidays.
What Should Parents Look For when planning a family vacation
When parents are searching for family vacations, they should start by looking for specific offerings to keep the kids entertained and active. From kid's clubs to kid/family friendly outings to meal choices. Make sure your child/family has choices on their vacation. Go to the website of the destination and/or hotel to search for early sign-ups for activities. Research in advance the activities you're interested in so you know if you need to pack any items specifically for the activity. How To Find Them On The Cheap A great way to get trips inexpensively is to join Orbitz's Instant Rewards. It's free! Orbitz Rewards is a simple, fast, flexible loyalty program that rewards travelers instantly for a variety of bookings. www.orbitz.com/andiamo.
Customers who join Orbitz Rewards can immediately earn Orbucks - the currency of Orbitz Rewards - when booking hotels, flights and vacation packages on the Orbitz.com mobile app for iOS and Android or website and then redeem them instantly on tens of thousands of hotels around the globe.
There are no complicated points to calculate, no blackout dates, no unrealistic earn and redeem hurdles and no restrictions on combining rewards with other offers. Orbitz Rewards members can earn up to 5 percent on transactions at participating hotels (5 percent when booking through the Orbitz apps for iPhone, iPad and Android or 3 percent earn on desktop or mobile web) and 1 percent on standalone flights and vacation packages. And if you stay 4 nights, you get Star Status and get even more perks. Start saving now so you can redeem the rewards for your holiday trip. Many times the websites of the destinations will have online deals if you purchase in advance. For instance, for one of the Colonial Williamsburg's Holiday admissions, the online price is almost $4.00 cheaper per person. Carolyn’s Top Cruise Vacation Destinations for the Holidays Disney Cruises - It’s the holidays and you can’t beat a holiday themed cruise by Disney! Great for families who want to get away from the cold but still want the feel of the holiday season, Disney is the perfect option. Sun, surf and Santa! Check out the Very Merry Time Cruises.
Royal Caribbean - Sick of cruising the Caribbean or Mexico? Head to the south to chase summer! While it’s winter in the states, its summer in the southern hemisphere and Royal Caribbean offers the cheapest cruises to the South Pacific.
SeaDream - More intimate yachts - romantic - SeaDream Yacht Club has achieved the industry’s highest accolades for its two twin, casually elegant mega-yachts, SeaDream I and SeaDream II. With a maximum of only 112 guests and a 95-person award-winning crew, “It’s yachting, not cruising,” defines not only the size of the vessels, but the onboard lifestyle. SeaDream Yacht Club provides a fully inclusive yachting experience visiting small harbors and ports around the world, many inaccessible by larger ships, on seven to 15-day voyages. The SeaDream Yacht Club crew is passionate about delivering highly personalized and anticipatory service.
What People Should Look for in a Good Cruise
Choose the right cruise line that caters to your needs - Seniors, families, fitness, foodies, nightlife, “edu-tainment”, etc.
Itinerary - depending on budget, you can find a cruise that will hit up a variety of dream destinations so choose where you want to visit and narrow down based on your criteria. Size matters - the larger the ship, the more amenities (and yes, the larger the cost). Look for ships that have what you want and you may find a smaller ship fits your needs and budget better than one with extra bells and whistles. Plus a larger ship means more people so if you aren’t a fan of crowds, go smaller. Don’t be afraid to ask and poll your community - if you have special needs such as dietary restrictions, wheelchair access, etc, looking for cruise lines that accommodate your needs best is a great way to go. Be sure to check user reviews on review sites to get a good glimpse of other cruisers’ experiences.
How to Find Them on the Cheap
• Book early for new ships, Europe and river cruises. • Book earlier than you think necessary. • Be flexible on dates - last minute deals are abundant. • You'll find the best deals in the Caribbean, on older ships and during shoulder season.
Benefit from value-adds.
• Cruise as close to home as possible to save on the “getting there” costs such as airfare, car rental, hotel, etc. • Go for value rather than price. • Book as a group - the more people in your travel party, the cheaper the cost. Look for group rates to help cut costs. • Repositioning cruises -- one-way, end-of-season sailings when cruise ships move from one cruising region to another -- can also be great bargains. They tend to have low nightly rates, more unusual itineraries and lots of sea days. • While travel agencies are under strict guidance from the cruise lines as to what kinds of deals and value-adds they can offer, a travel agent can still help you save on a cruise.
Tracy’s Top Destinations for Adventure Travel! New Zealand:
Why? What’s To Do?
Summer or Winter break is the time for Destination Travel = when we Americans get the most time off. My pick for an Adventure packed Holiday Destination: New Zealand! Our winter = their summer – so you can get outside and explore!
What to do? What not to do??
Here AJ Hackett invented and perfected Bungee jumping– so many opportunities to do it!! Other adventures include the Jet Boats, where you can zip up and down rivers and feel the G-force! Fun for the whole family…Queenstown on the South Island is known as the “Adventure Capital of the world.”
For those looking for less adrenalin?
Helicopter Line – offers magical rides through the Milford Sound – or land on a Glacier. Go “Tramping’ as they say… on one of the “9 Great Walks” – that are about evenly split from North Island to the South.
How To Save?
Want Excellent Value?: Try the Flying Kiwi Adventure Tours. Selected by National Geographic as one of the BEST Adventure Tour Companies on Earth! They take you all over the Islands and you’ll get off the ‘Tourist Track!’ and offer multi-sport adventures.
Why Go? What’s To Do?
Maui and Oahu are expensive, But the Big Island is the least trafficked and most affordable! Less shopping… but more free adventures in Nature! Hike the Waipi’o Valley – just gorgeous – taste the Strawberry Guavas…Snorkel the turquoise waters, run along beautiful black sand beaches and Whale Watch from the shore, Bike ride up Mauna Kea Volcano. Or my favorite: Trek through Hawaii Volcanoes National Park and see fiery lava flow – so stunning!
How To Save?If traveling there Holiday – Trick is to Go “Off Peak” when booking during Holiday. Check out Kayak.com’s Price Predictor to help you plan your trip – prices are estimated to fall traveling Dec. 31 and after…
Buy 87 days in advance – non-holiday time/in general = that was on average was the way to go for the best price according to studies done by Cheapair.com.
Bundle for Savings! Go with a company like Pleasant Vacations that customize/bundle packages for you or your family… passing on Big Savings to you!!
Lake Tahoe For A Ski Adventure!
Why It’s Great? There is North and South Lake Tahoe, the stunning lake - surroundings which offer so much adventure. More than 13 resorts. So much fun – casinos, sledding, slopes, great dining, concerts and so much more!
How To Save On A Ski Vacation?
In general… SHOP NOW for accessories like hats, gloves, etc. Look out for Ski and winter packages posted on the north and South Lake Tahoe Websites in September = good savings! KIRKWOOD Resort has one already!: Book before July 31, 2014, you’ll have a 35% savings!! Buy Season Passes if going to ski more than four days – and you’ll save! They are available now – but usually sell out quickly as there is a limited amount. Tracy’s Advice for Booking a Travel Adventure:
TRIPADVISOR.COM! Travelers give great tips for adventure and savings!!
DRESS ACCORDINGLY AND PACK APPROPRIATE GEAR! RESEARCH AND PLAN – BUT STAY *OPEN* – some of the most fun times I’ve had on adventures is when I threw the itinerary out the window!!
HOW TO GET A HOLIDAY/ADVENTURE DESTINATION ON THE CHEAP:
FOR HOLIDAY OR A POPULAR DESTINATION: Buy in advance and choose off peak Travel Days… I LOVE Kayak.com’s Price Predictor: Based on history and algorithms - It showed me that Holiday airfare prices to Kona Hawaii will likely start to fall Decemeber 31 – so buy now – but go at the end of the Vacation! TRAVELING LAST MINUTE? All-inclusive sites like Cheapcarribean.com offer great All-Inclusive deals that you can even score last minute!!
IMOOVA.COM = Almost pays you to Travel!! = Campervan relocation company with Deals starting at only $1 a day to rent the Campervan and take from one place to the next – Las Vegas to San Francisco, etc. All you really pay is for the petrol. FINAL TIP?!
THE RIGHT TRAVEL BAG WILL SAVE YOUR LIFE! It did mine: www.verabradley.com = lots of pockets, some plastic lined, external pockets for tickets and other travel documents – it’s not a bottomless pit, fits a lot, fun patterns that don’t show dirt, and can double as a beach bag during the day or shopping bag when on the town!