Discount Travel Packages: How to Save Your Money

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Discount Travel Packages: How to Save Your Money

Looking for ways to save money on your next vacation? Want to keep some money in your wallet for extra spending? With a few rules of thumb and the right guidelines, you can save your money and choose to spend on your terms. In today’s grueling, fast pace working environment, quality time with family and friends is essential. A reload of batteries is needed occasionally.  The three keys to saving money on a vacation will be discussed in this article.

Discount Travel Packages: Set a Budget

The first rule of planning your vacation is setting a budget. Make sure that your budget fits your vacation destination, as different cities vary significantly in expenses. Be extra cautious and add a couple hundred dollars per person when you set a target. On top of that, leave about $500 dollars to spare for any unexpected costs. Who knows, you might even be fortunate enough not to spend it. It’s a great feeling to come back from a rewarding vacation with the pocket full of cash. Oddly enough, it feels as if you actually made money on your vacation…

Discount Travel Packages: The Secret of Saving

Vacations tend to be full of fees and expenses to different suppliers. Somehow it seems less complicated to pay for every expense separately: tickets to the flight provider, rooms to the hotel, rental car expense, boat cruise etc. What we fail to consider is that each service provider collects a profit margin from each sale, and probably a service commission as well. These charges accumulate to thousands of dollars, which could otherwise be spent in a wiser fashion.  The simple solution is to look for discount travel packages and pay one commission to one supplier. The more service providers included in the deal, the more you relatively save.  According to the research that I have made, “LastMinuteTravel.com” travel packages include flights and hotels starting from $160.  I definitely recommend this website for extra saving.

Discount Travel Packages: The Added Value

There is a very smart way to save more money on discount travel packages. There is an industry term called “opaque hotels”, otherwise known as “off the record” hotels. Some tourist websites offer bargain prices on major hotels without disclosing the name of the hotel. This way the tourist website attracts customers without actually distorting the playing field. The hotels don’t expose their names, the tourist website has bargain prices, and the competition stays fair for all. You can ultimately get great prices on first class hotels when you book opaque hotels.

In summary, when planning a vacation you should set a budget, and find valuable discount travel packages that include top notch off the record hotels. If you follow these simple guidelines, you will save a great deal of money and hopefully have a more joyful vacation.

Welcome Turtle Season

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Welcome Turtle Season!

It’s that time of year again on Sanibel! Yes, it’s turtle season! During the season, which runs roughly from the first of May through the end of October, there is likely to be hundreds of turtle nests on Sanibel and Captiva; which means it is important to find out a little bit more about these charming visitors to the local area.

While it may be somewhat difficult to actually spot loggerhead turtles, you can usually see their tracks well enough, especially in the early morning on the beaches, so do take care if you are headed out for morning run or walk along the beach. Once the little turtles have hatched they will hustle for the water, using the light of the horizon to guide their path. Considering the many hazards they can encounter along the way and the fact that only about one in one hundred eggs will eventually mature into an adult turtle, they can certainly use all of the help they can receive.

Loggerheads are actually the most common type of sea turtle to be found in the state. The adults can grow to more than three feet in length and can weigh as much as 350 pounds when fully grown. These amazing creatures can easily travel thousands of miles from their feeding grounds to the local beaches where they nest during the current season. Interestingly, females will always nest on the very same beaches where they were actually born; meaning the visitors to be seen in the coming weeks and months are actually original residents! These females can nest as many as seven times during the season.

Incubation for the baby turtles takes between 55 and 65 days. During this time, it is actually the temperature of the nest that will determine the gender of the turtles. Warmer sand will primarily produce females while cooler sand will result in primarily male turtles. The baby hatchlings are initially only about two inches in length.

During the season it is important to be aware of some of the laws that govern the hatchlings. Due to the fact that the hatchlings will emerge at night and then be guided to the water by the horizon, it is imperative that interior and exterior lines not shine on the beach. Also, there must be nothing left on the beach that would cause interference with nesting. These rules are effective from 9pm until 7am during turtle season.

All about Eco accommodation

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All about Eco accommodation

Eco tourism has helped in places like Brazil and Costa Rica where the main aim is to educate people about living in harmony with nature and conversing resources. It is a new way of living and even holidaying! A lot of research and development has gone into eco tourism and it is being adopted by countries the world over.

It compels you to think and be more responsible towards Mother Nature. With Eco tourism we have eco hotels, eco lodges and many other types of eco accommodation.Eco Accommodation is used to describe any hotel or eco lodge that helps the environment by making significant structural changes in its day- to- day working. Here you live off the earth, for the earth. You will find many eco accommodations in Australia that are certified by The International Ecotourism Society. An eco accommodation must be able to sustain in ordinance with eth the environment and be dependent of its natural environs. It has to be able to walk the talk and prove that is can make or will make significant efforts for natural conservation. Educating staff and even tourists becomes a very important part of eco tourism; you have to spread the word. The locales have to be involved and there should be a stipulation for economic return.

There are basic ground rules for eco hotels or lodges; they are:

• No smoking is allowed on the premises

• Use of solar or wind energy for generation of power

• Encouraging recycling by placing recycling bins in the rooms and the main lobby

• Using totally organic soaps, detergents and other cleaning agents

• Only cotton, and non-synthetic material is allowed for linen; that includes sheets, beds and towels

• Provisions have to be made to reduce waste, like encouraging common amenities

• Using energy saving lighting all over the premises

• Making amenities for natural light as far as possible

• Using only hybrids for airport pick up and drop off

• Serve food that is organic and locally grown

• Curbing or negating the use of plastic

• Reusing kitchen and bathroom water of on the garden

Opt for eco accommodation while visiting Daintree National Park.For more information on eco lodges and other accommodation options, you can visit http://www.daintreewildernesslodge.com.au/.

Christmas

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5 tips for hassle-free air travel this Christmas

The Christmas getaway can often be manic. There are just so many people taking advantage of the extended break to visit family and friends, or just go off in search of some winter sunshine, that the airports can get very busy.
Traditionally, the busiest days are just before Christmas and immediately afterwards, usually 27 and 28 December. To make travelling through the airport easier to deal with this Christmas, travellers need to accept that it is going to be busy, expect crowds and plan accordingly.
To help you be as organised as possible this Christmas check out the following tips, which should assist your preparation, save you time and reduce airport hassle:
1.Use online check-in
This is such a great invention, so if your airline permits it, check-in online and print off your own boarding passes. This saves you the hassle of queuing at the airport – you’ll just need to drop off your baggage when you arrive at the airport and go straight to security.
2.Arrive early
Accept that there is going to be a significant increase in passenger numbers and possibly long queues, so plan to arrive well in advance of your departure time allowing plenty of time to pass through security.
3.Getting to the airport
The number of people on the roads increases at this time of year, not all of them going to the airport, but it is going to be busy on the roads, so allow plenty of extra time for your journey.
If you are travelling by public transport check the Christmas and New Year timetables for your chosen method of transport. Most services operate a limited service over the seasonal period so check and book your tickets in advance to ensure your seat.
If you are driving, plan your route in advance – there are several online journey planners to choose from. Check for advanced notification of planned road works, which may affect your journey. Give yourself plenty of time to get to the airport allowing extra time for heavy traffic and possibly poor weather conditions.
4.Book your airport parking in advance
If you are driving to the airport, make sure you book your airport parking in advance. This not only saves you time and stress, it guarantees your space and can save you up to 60% on the gate fees.
5.Christmas presents
Make sure you are up-to-date on the hand and checked-in baggage rules so that you don’t waste time, or have expensive items confiscated, when you pass through security.
Don’t wrap any Christmas presents that you plan to carry in your hand luggage as these need to be available for security checks and may need to be unwrapped.
Remember liquids in hand luggage restrictions apply to presents carried in your hand luggage too, so pack any liquids of more than 100ml in your checked-in luggage.
If you are planning to carry Christmas crackers, check with your airline and airport first as many airports will not permit the carriage of crackers, and where permitted will only allow factory-produced crackers in sealed boxes to be carried in the hold only.
Don’t carry party poppers – these are explosive items and are banned from aircraft.
To avoid hassles at security, it is advisable to pack as much as possible in your checked-in baggage, and if you have any doubts over what you can and cannot carry check with your airline.

Tips for Travelling in Big Groups

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Tips for Travelling in Big Groups

Travelling in big groups has both its advantages and disadvantages but the most compelling tip for an intrepid group traveller is to be as flexible as possible, or an authentic African safari could very well turn into an authentic safari nightmare.


Reduced cost versus reduced freedom

The obvious advantage to travelling in a group is the cost factor. Most reputable tour companies, accommodation establishments, bus companies and airlines offer lucrative group discounts. It is important to bear in mind, however, that although you will cut the cost of your African safari dramatically when travelling in a group, you will also be expected to give up your personal freedom.

It is important to weigh this up before you agree to a group vacation as there is nothing worse than committing to a holiday that is not suitable for you or your partner.

If you are travelling with a large group of family and friends then the pros of group travel will far outweigh the cons. Here are a couple of pointers that may very well add to the enjoyment of a group holiday:

  • Delegate the responsibility of the final itinerary design to one person in the group who will also act as the go-between for the tour operator, travel agent and the group. This will allow for better group co-ordination and possibly a far better relationship with the travel agent or tour operator.
  • Elect a leader of the group who will be responsible for any trouble shooting and who is well equipped to deal with an emergency, should it arise. The leader should also be someone who can iron out any personality clashes.
  • Be willing to compromise at all times. In a group the majority rules, so it is important to follow the crowd without sulking, even if you have to give up on a personal highlight.
  • Set the ground rules of the holiday before you even leave. How are you going to settle any group costs for instance?
  • Be totally honest with the other group members as to your expectations of the holiday. If you are looking for the financial benefits of group travel but plan to spend the bulk of the time exploring on your own, then it is only fair to tell your friends or family before you leave – they may have a completely different idea of what a group holiday should entail.
  • Be totally flexible. If you are a control freak it is probably wiser for you to go off on your own and send your family and friends a postcard instead!
  • Don’t have any expectations of the other members in the group and you may well be delighted instead of being disappointed.

The pitfalls of group travel

Here are a couple of pitfalls of group travel that you should be aware of:

  • Bus tours can sometimes be overcrowded and rather uncomfortable and can affect your game or landscape viewing experience .
  • Drivers/guides of group tours are generally not as attentive or as informed as private tour guides.
  • There is always the risk of ending up with undesirable travel companions who can’t stop nattering or arguing, or who are just plain irritating.
  • You may well end up in a group of people who do not share your interests and are more keen on finding the big five than concentrating on all the minor miracles of the bush – or vice versa.

Ripley's Aquarium Myrtle Beach — A Day in Ray Bay

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Ripley's Aquarium Myrtle Beach — A Day in Ray Bay

Grab your trunks, scoop up your family, and head to Ripley’s Aquarium Myrtle Beach for a chance to swim alongside some of nature’s most exotic undersea fauna!
Stingray aficionados and brave young marine explorers alike have discovered a sweet spot in their quest for an up close and personal experience at Ripley’s Aquarium Myrtle Beach in South Carolina.  At Ripley’s Aquarium (yes, that’s the same Ripley’s that does Believe It Or Not), a beautiful stingray environment hosts southern rays, spotted eagle rays, and guitarfish in a child-friendly setup that lets all comers swim with the rays.  
Stingrays, despite the dangerous sounding name, are generally docile and prefer to flee from a disturbance rather than attack it — making them excellent first companions for young swimmers.  Even better, because rays in the wild have a startling ability to hide themselves under sand and silt, environments like the one in Ripley’s Aquarium Myrtle Beach offer a rare opportunity to watch these unique creatures undulate through the waters.
The controlled environment also prevents swimmers from accidentally stepping on a stingray — the number one cause of stingray attacks.  While even the rays at Ripley’s have venomous stingers, the safety of the habitat combined with the socialization of the rays (they’re accustomed to human company) makes for a completely safe experience.  No swimmer has ever been stung in the Myrtle Beach aquarium’s Ray Bay.  
Some rays have powerful jaws meant to crack open shellfish, and because stingrays have eyes on the topsides of their flat bodies, but mouths on the bottom, they don’t always know what they’re munching on.  The danger of being bitten is minimal as long as you obey the cardinal rule of ray-petting: keep your hands on the top side of the ray.  That way, the rays know what is touching them, and you keep your hand away from the dangerous parts.
Of course, all of these rules are covered and enforced by the Ripley’s Aquarium Myrtle Beach staff, who are intimately familiar with the animals and their tendencies.  With the well-trained and observant guides on duty, the humans are kept safe from the animals and vice versa.  
Ray Bay is available as a walk-around exhibit for aquarium-goers, and the chance to pet a ray is granted to standard customers as well, but the true Ray Bay experience can only be obtained via a special pass.  Explorers who invest in a Ray Bay pass will get a behind-the-scenes tour of Ray Bay and the rest of the aquarium, a once-in-a-lifetime chance to swim with and feed the rays, plus some special souvenirs.  And stingray fans that have their dive certification can participate in a special dive into the ray’s special sanctum — the depths of the Myrtle Beach aquarium’s Ray Bay.
The next time you’re wondering what to do on a rainy day, or your junior aquanauts are seeking something exciting to occupy an afternoon, give them an experience that they’ll never forget: send them to the rays.  Ripley’s Aquarium Myrtle Beach will make them feel like the bravest explorers in the seas.