Friday, October 31, 2008

Breaking News! Travel Can Be Affordable For The Entire Family With Vacation Home Rentals!

My wife and I are travel nuts. We would travel for a living if we could. A few years ago while vacationing in Hawaii, we decided on staying 2 weeks rather than our usual one week spree. Somehow thinking or perhaps subconsciously wishing that there would be some economies of scale, I was more than sticker shocked when we checked out of our hotel- I was mortified.

Vacation rental homes are the answer!

A week later, while back at home I decided to seriously look at how we could maintain our lifestyle and love for travel without paying literally a small fortune for a one to two week vacation. We were contemplating a trip for our family of five to London and europe in a few years and with the currency exchange rate literally doubling the price of everything I searched for a solution.

I found the answer to my cost saving quest, vacation rental homes.

In a lot of circumstances vacationing is a time to get pampered with massages, room service, valet service etc. When I was single and later married without children yet, the pamper factor was critical to our hotel and vacation decision process. Discounting our new family structure with three offspring, a larger mortgage, and escalating costs all around, we have found that when we really want to immerse ourselves in a new culture and location, renting a vacation home can give us everything we want in a travel experience and not break the bank to have a fabulous time. This is true not only for our Hawaii trips, but now for most of our european trips as well.

Some of the vacation home rentals are pretty close to a hotel experience and still give you the feeling that you are a local and not a vacationer. We have experienced fabulous restaurants and activities that were outside of the tourist spots that we would surely have missed if we stayed at a hotel.

If you stay in the UK for example, there are many self-contained rentals for your stay, all fully supported by a service company staff. The London vacation rentals are the London apartments and houses of residents temporarily away from the city. You have the informality, warmth and convenience of a real home in a London property, at prices to suit most pockets. The city self-catering rentals were ideal for vacation or corporate rentals.

A summary of the alternatives we saw in a nutshell are as follows:

*Hotels- Perhaps a little too formal, especially for a long stay. Expensive!
*Bed and Breakfasts- Often just a cheap (and sometimes rather unpleasant) down-market hotel, you may have to lodge uncomfortably close to the owners of a private house and other guests
*Short let commercial apartments- Cold and impersonal and the minimum stay of one week - no good if you want to stay less

We found the vacation rentals to be a great choice for the following reasons:

*Our short stay central London vacation rentals were at London apartments and houses of residents temporarily away from the city

*The apartments were thoroughly screened for location and hand picked, they were places were places where we would be happy to live ourselves

*We found a location with a 3 day minimum, minimum length of stay in most of the London vacation rentals is 5 nights; all other places we saw had a 7 night minimum

*Most of our London short stay, self-contained holiday rentals are no more than 10 minutes from a tube station, often less

*Our rental had a car to meet us at the airport and took us to our London self-catering apartment, it was by far the easiest way to get into town with lots of bags

*We were met by one of our representatives who let us in and gave us tips about the local area and answer questions. Our rental came with its own mini guide covering the neighborhood shops, local transport, pubs, restaurants and cafes

*Our beds were made up and towels put out, a weekly clean and change of towels and bed linen was included as is the end of stay cleaning and laundry; additional cleaning and servicing can be arranged on request
*We were also provided a starter pack of breakfast provisions to cover the first day or two of our stay

I just elaborated on this one example we found of at a very popular travel destination- London. Although for most all of our travels to rural, third- world destination we continue to stay at the highest star rated hotels we can afford. But given all of the above benefits I just described, we found that with most metropolitan cities, culturally rich locations, and tropical vacation destinations, vacation home rentals are an economical way to really experience a culture and new city.

Rich Sootkoos is a world traveler and truly a jack of all trades. The world is your oyster. Find the best travel information and rental deals at his website

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Discovering London Through Its Historic Houses and Palaces

By: Clink Hostel

When you speak of historic houses, images of ghosts, dark and large portraits, creaking doors and other eerie things are what come to our imagination. What we need to realize is that behind the walls of these historic houses and palaces is a rich history centuries in the making. A visit to historic houses and palaces is a travel in time. You will get to know the history behind the houses and palaces, as well as the people who once lived there.

In London, tourists can relive history by visiting London's famous historic houses and palaces. There is a rich and colourful history waiting to be explored and reminisced. If you are thinking about discovering London's history, consider visiting these historic houses and palaces:

Buckingham Palace the Buckingham Palace has a rich history that dates back to 1703. It was originally the palace of the Duke of Buckingham but it was made the royal family residence in 1837. Tourists can visit the State Rooms in the palace. It is also a tourist thing to watch the changing of the guards outside the Buckingham Palace.

Leighton House This is the historical house of Lord Leighton. He was one of the most revered Victorian artists. Visitors can have a look at some of the paintings of Leighton and other artists.

Spencer House This is one of London's historic 18th century houses. Its history dates back as early as 1756. Its resident is 1st Earl Spencer. The house boasts of its collection of paintings and furniture. This is the house to visit for an 18th century feel.

Syon House This is the historic home of the Duke of Northumberland. The name of the house is derived from Mount Zion. The Syon House is open for visit generally from 11.00 to 17.00 hours. The Syon Park can also be visited.

Clarence House This house was standing since the early 19th century. Its exquisite design is the product of John Nash. It is the official London residence of the The Prince Of Wales. The collection of art and furniture is impressive.

Apsley House This is the residence of the Dukes of Wellington. This house is referred by locals as the Number One, London. Tourists can visit the house. It serves as a museum and art gallery. To be seen at the Apsley House are the excellent collections of paintings, sculptures, furniture and other historic pieces.

Kensington Palace, State Apartments & Royal Ceremonial Dress Collection Tourists can visit this birthplace and childhood home of Queen Victoria. This historic palace is perfect for girls. It holds a display of fashionable and formal dresses.

London is home to a large number of historic houses and palaces. A good start in discovering London is to visit the historic houses and palaces mentioned here.

Author Resource: Clink Hostel is a fully reinvented historical courthouse in London. Today, it serves as a cheap yet comfortable backpackers' hostel in London. Located close to the city's major attractions, Clink Hostel is a popular choice among London tourists. See London Hostels for Clink Hostel booking and reservation as well as valuable tourist information about London.

Article From Lydia's Articles

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Dinner Cruises in Toronto

By Amy Nutt

Whether setting out from Queens Quay West or heading towards the Toronto Islands, fantabulous Toronto dinner cruises can be great places to hold any event. Waterfront based Toronto boat cruises can also offer wonderful picturesque peeks of famed harbor views that are unparalleled and second to none.

If you or someone you know is interested in embarking on a Toronto cruise, then you can look into the various types of yachts and the themes available for your special event.

Types of Toronto dinner cruises

Boat cruises are generally seasonal, but you can rent a yacht of any size during this time. Some of the main type of Toronto cruise include but are not limited to:

1. Holiday cruises

Holiday parties and events can be held on Toronto based yachts. While public cruises are cheaper, a private holiday cruise will cater to the needs of you and your guests. Check with the charter company to see what date is available and what you need to secure the yacht for the holiday in question. Some yachts require a hefty deposit before making any firm plans.

2. Themes cruises

A water front venue is made even better when accompanied by a specified theme. Fun ideas like Grecian Gods and Goddesses, Eighteenth Century Lords and Ladies or vintage sock hops can be actualized on Toronto Cruises.

Event planners will work hard to realize your theme and bring it to life. Corresponding decorations and entertainment can be arranged and handled for you as well, making the planning aspect a virtual breeze.

3. Wedding cruises

Weddings are romantic occasions and nothing can make it more wondrous than a aquatic setting along the Toronto Harbor waterfront. This is perhaps why wedding themed cruises have begun to grow in popularity. Many Toronto cruises offer special package deals for betrothed couples that can include entertainment, food and limo rides to the docks. Wedding receptions can also be held on ceremonial dinner cruises at special rates. Even the honeymoon can be celebrated aboard a beautiful yacht, delighting newlyweds as it glides upon the crystalline waters of the Toronto harbor.

3. Private cruises

Public cruises, while fun for a day or evening excursion, are not as structured or as customized as a private cruise. Another obvious advantage of private Toronto cruises is that the boat won't be crowded. Also, when you have the run of the ship, you and your guest will feel free to mingle. Renting a boat for one day may not be as expensive as one would think, an some basic rental packages can start as $3,000 (of course, the price goes up with the size of the group and things like entertainment and food costs factored in).

4. Discount cruises

Discount cruises are available for people who desire to experience a nice relaxing dinner cruise but can't pay for a customized theme cruise. This usually means however, that the person has a few limitations, which may or may not include times when they can board the ship, or duration of stay. Still, some discounts offer the opportunity to take in the opulence and splendor of a noteworthy Toronto harbour cruise, which can be worth any purchase price.

Indeed, there are many different cruises available to fit any budget. The type of cruise you choose depends on what your individual or corporate needs are at the time.

Prices can vary depending on the size of the group, the theme and live entertainment. Extra cost may be incurred for the use of specific caterers and gratuities will be including in the price as well. With the aid of a seasoned event planner, a themed dinner cruise can be just the thing to make a lasting impression on the people you want to celebrate your special occasion with.

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Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Cayman Islands: A Paradise on Earth for Honeymooners

By: Lesley Lyon

Cayman Islands are one of the most romantic honeymoon locations in the world. The Cayman Islands are located in the western Caribbean, 150 miles south of Cuba, 480 miles south of Miami and 180 miles northwest of Jamaica. These islands are very appealing to tourists and they provide all the specialties for the honeymoon couples that choose to spend their time here.

The Cayman Islands located in the pleasant and picturesque Caribbean, are a paradise spot for vacation travelers, honeymooners and even celebrities across the world. Little Cayman, Cayman Brac and Grand Cayman and its sister islands are three English- speaking islands that are tiny communities on the south of Miami, isolated in the unspoiled Caribbean Sea. You can find the local weather as tropical; with rainy and warm summers and dry, cool winters. Cayman Islands provide the warmth, cool comfort and absolute serenity for a romantic honeymoon get-away.

The sister islands are famous for their snorkeling and diving and are rated as one of the five popular destinations in the world. The islands are host to coral reefs with beautiful aqua life and hence are a favorite location for underwater photographers.

The unspoiled waters and isolated locale leave your body and mind refreshed and rejuvenated. You can find a year-round recreation from a range of boats for Island water sports offering plenty of entertainment.

You can relax in a luxurious sea-facing hotel, condo or private villa. The Cayman Islands also have rich and exciting attractions and have a pleasant climate for golf, bicycling, cricket, running and horseback riding enjoyable. The nightlife becomes alive with glittering Caribbean color when the sun sets. The Cayman Islands are host to events and hot spots like nightclubs, gritty jazz sessions, Pirates Week festivals, local theater, steel band concerts, refined cultural events and fine dining.

The following information will help you to know more about Cayman Islands before you plan for a honeymoon vacation.

Accommodation:You have a choice of hotels, villas and apartments from budget ones to ultra-deluxe.

Telephone Calling: Area code is 345, beginning with 94 and followed by 7 digits. International direct dialing is available and by dialing 976-4638, you can access the Internet. You don’t require log on or password.

Credit Cards: Travelers’ checks and all major credit cards are widely accepted (except the Discover Card)

Currency: The CI dollar is the currency of the Cayman Islands and has a fixed US dollar exchange rate.

Drinking Water: All Hotels and resorts provide adequate supplies of fresh water for showers and potable drinking water, which is supplied from desalination plants.

Electricity: As in the United States, the current supply is of 110 volts, 60 cycles AC power.

Time: The Cayman Islands maintain Eastern Standard Time all round the year and do not shift to Daylight Savings Time during April.

Dress Code: Casual, Neat and tropical dress is appropriate for the day and some good dress for the night to dine out is suggested. Beachwear and Bathing suits are to be used only on the beach or aboard a cruise line. You should remember that topless sunbathing and nudity are prohibited by law and hence should cover up in public areas.

Some Popular Cayman Island Resorts are The Reef Resort, Grand Cayman, The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman, The Westin Casuarinas Resort and Spa.

Author Resource:-> discusses the most popular honeymoon destinations in detail.

Article From High Profile Articles

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Formal Night on a Cruise: What to Wear

By Amy Nutt

Cruises are typically a laid back affair, but despite being a way to relax and take a vacation, it's fun to dress up nicely from time to time. If you've never been on a dinner cruise before, you'll probably want to ensure that you know what to wear for formal attire.

Formal Night on a Cruise: What to Wear

Cruises are typically a laid back affair, but despite being a way to relax and take a vacation, it's fun to dress up nicely from time to time. Formal nights allow just that. If you've never been on a dinner cruise ship before, you'll probably want to ensure that you know what to bring for formal night.

Dressing Up on a Dinner Cruise

It's normal to dress semi-formally for dinner on a cruise, particularly if you are eating in the nicer dining room, as opposed to ordering in or eating at a more informal area. A nice dress or slacks and a blouse for women are appropriate for these dinners, a suit or slacks and a tucked in button-down shirt work well for men.

Another opportunity to dress up a bit would be when you hit the dance floor on the cruise ship. Many people prefer to wear nice clothes and shorts are generally frowned upon in this case. These are the normal situations that you would find yourself dressing up for on a cruise. Nothing terribly formal and the atmosphere is still relatively casual. Not so on Formal Night.

What to Pack for Formal Night on a Cruise

The formal night on a cruise is meant to be one of a kind and it shows. While a nice suit can be acceptable for a man, tuxedos are now the norm on many cruises. Just think of what you would wear to a nice wedding . . . if it would pass there, then you're probably good to go.

Women have far more choice in what to wear. Formal ballgowns are definitely an option, but your most elegant "little black dress" can also be very appropriate. Again, imagine wearing it to a wedding and you'll know if it's formal enough. Women may choose to wear brighter colors, like red or emerald green, but when in doubt, stick to black or white to be sure you'll fit in.

For women, matching shoes and jewelry is a must. If you have an elegant gold chain or something more formal such as a string of pearls, that will dress up any outfit. Matching earrings add an extra touch of elegance to the outfit, too. Add a touch of more formal makeup and do your hair up for the ultimate in elegant looks.

Can You Rent?

Often cruise ships will have a tuxedo and dress rental where you can pick up something for the evening that will be appropriate. However, these rentals are usually booked very early, so make sure to book as soon as you board, or even earlier, if possible. This requires that you be aware of the option, of course, so you'll need to talk to your cruise ship representative about the Formal Night.

If you find that you are just really stressing out about the dinner cruise event, just make it easy on yourself. Call up the cruise line ahead of time to find out just what is required. Are they offering rentals? Will there be a theme to the Formal Night? Preparing yourself for this event will keep the stress levels to a minimum and allow you to truly enjoy the Toronto Harbour cruise.

Formal Night is a night meant to be super romantic and beautiful. While not everyone enjoys dressing up, it is still a wonderful occasion to enjoy your partner and have fun in a more upscale environment where you can be the belle of the ball or the prince of the hour for a short while. Just be prepared and arrange everything ahead of time to make sure you won't be thinking about the event the whole time.

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