Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Top Five Reasons to take an Orlando Vacation in the Fall

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Labor Day has come and gone and that means summer is over, but that doesn’t mean plans for an Orlando vacation have to end too. In fact, fall is one of the best times of the year to plan your Orlando vacation, and here’s a few reasons why:

Reason #1 – Not so Hot
A summer Orlando vacation means blistering hot temperatures and super high humidity. Once the fall hits, the temps start to come down, making for a much more comfortable Orlando vacation.

Reason #2 – Not so Crowded
Another thing that comes along with a summer Orlando vacation is huge crowds at all of the Orlando theme parks. With the kids back in school, you can spend more quality time at your favorite Orlando theme parks.

Reason #3 – Super Special Events
Fall brings some world-famous special events to the Orlando theme parks, including:
  • Epcot International Food & Wine Festival

  • Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party

  • Halloween Horror Nights

Reason #4 – Cheap Hotels
Many Orlando hotels begin their value season at the end of the summer. Disney hotels have cheaper pricing in place through Oct. 1, and if you stay before then you can get rates as low as $89 per night on Disney property.

Reason #5 – Cheap Golf
Golfing in Orlando is also cheaper this time of year. Disney has their Price Slice in effect now until Oct. 2, with rates as low as $49 available at the Magnolia, Osprey Ridge, Lake Buena Vista and Palm Golf Courses.

Anytime of year is a great time for an Orlando vacation, but the milder temps and lower crowds make the fall an especially good time of year to plan your Orlando vacation.

Get Go Orlando Cards and Visit Many Attractions for free!


Thursday, September 25, 2008

How to Prevent or Survive Lost Luggage

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The number of bags lost or delayed by airlines is rising thanks to new carry-on rules that are forcing more passengers to check their bags.

There are steps you can take to help prevent your luggage from getting lost–or at least enable you to survive the ordeal with less difficulty.

Here are Foster's tips for smart packing:
  • Use a sturdy identification tag with a durable strap on each bag. The best tags have a cover hiding your name to protect your privacy; use your business address and phone whenever possible.

  • Include your identification information inside the bag, in case the outer tag is lost. Place a travel itinerary in an outside pocket or inside your bag on the top so airlines can easily track you down.

  • Tie a colored ribbon to your bag or mark your initials in big letters so no one else will take it from the luggage carousel. Take a digital photo of the bag to show to the baggage agent should it be misplaced.

  • Remove old baggage tags to avoid confusion among baggage-handlers.

  • Check your bags early. Airlines suggest 90 minutes in advance (two hours for international travel) but at daily high-traffic times, you should add 30 minutes. Last-minute checked bags may not make it onto your plane.

  • Make sure your bags are ticketed correctly before you leave the luggage check-in area.§ Complete the lost-luggage reports at the airport and don't leave without a claim number and contact information so you can check the status of your missing bags.

  • Create a packing list that includes every item in each bag and leave a copy at home in case you need to claim compensation.

  • If you can, carry with you on board whatever personal items you'll need to survive 24 hours in your destination without your suitcase. If you're heading to a beach, tuck a bathing suit in your carry-on; if you're headed to a meeting, carry with you a copy of that important speech or presentation, or better yet, fax it, FedEx it or email it ahead so that it's there when you arrive.

Get a free luggage set here


Tuesday, September 23, 2008

5 Tips for First-Time Cruisers

Here’s your primer before first setting foot on a cruise-ship deck. Here are five things first-time cruisers need to know.

1. Must I use a travel agent to book a cruise?
Every cruise line has a Web site. You can easily book your own trip. You can research and compare what each ship offers, or get advice from Web sites like CruiseCritic.com or TripAdvisor.com.

2. Do I have to eat in the formal dining room with strangers and dress for dinner?
Most ships have various dining options: buffets, cafes, specialty restaurants and formal dining rooms. Many ships offer "dress casual" nights in the formal dining rooms. But even formal dress nights don't necessarily mean tuxedos and gowns; a suit or dress will do.

3. What should I pack?
Bring flip-flops or other slip-on shoes, and a robe or cover-up for walking from the pool to your cabin. Some ships have self-serve washing machines and dryers, some don't. Sending dirty clothes out to the ship's laundry can be costly. So bring enough clothing for your trip, or find a coin-op laundry in port.

4. Does the price include everything?
Cruise prices include the room, food and some beverages. Free drinks might include coffee, tea, iced tea, lemonade, and with breakfast, juice. You could spend a lot on alcohol, casinos, spas, Internet access, video games and shopping.

5. How much and whom do I tip?
Some cruise lines offer prepaid gratuity options or levy a service charge for dining room staff and the person who cleans your room. A typical tip for stateroom attendants is $3.50 a day; dining room staff tips run $5-$10 per day, with that amount shared by your waiter, wine steward and maitre d'.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Top 10 Easy Fall Weekend Getaways

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Autumn’s crisp days and sunny skies make for fantastic travel opportunities and you'll be getting out of town in no time with our ten easy fall weekend getaways. Our list runs the gamut from crowd-free cities and autumn harvest bounties (think pumpkins and grape vines) to island beaches and theme-park thrills – and, of course, sublime seasonal scenery.

1. Aruba
Visitors to this 20-mile-long southern island can expect iridescent waters full of sunken wrecks and an unspoiled desert-like coast. Come nightfall, renowned casinos, bars, and clubs, spring to life, and can keep you out till dawn. Add on the frequent nonstop flights from the United States, and it's little wonder why Aruba reigns among the Caribbean’s most popular getaways.

2. Black Hills
Bursting with enough autumnal color to brighten up the four stone-faced presidents chiseled into Mount Rushmore, South Dakota’s heavily forested Black Hills region also entices fall visitors with plenty of family-friendly diversions, like its giant two-level wooden maze, and grown-up pastimes, like saloon-style gambling in Deadwood – the famously untamed Old West gold-mining town where Wild Bill Hickock and Calamity Jane once roamed.

3. Boston
The pride of New England, historic Boston really comes into its own in autumn, as students return to their university classrooms (and the local pubs), baseball fans head to Fenway for the last games of the season, and brilliant foliage frames the city’s historic buildings, parks, and gardens. Dubbed “the walking city,” much of Beantown’s rich colonial character is easily explored on foot, while the crisp fall air and picturesque Charles River encourage water-based outings.

4. Durango
Brimming with charming Victorian buildings, lodge-style bed-and-breakfasts, and sumptuous Southwestern eateries, this easy-going Colorado mountain town proposes the perfect autumnal escape. Nature enthusiasts can admire the distinctly seasonal sight of golden-leafed aspens while soaking in natural hot springs, cruising the scenic San Juan Skyway, or riding a steam locomotive through Cascade Canyon on special “Pumpkin Patch Express” trains.

5. Lancaster County
Old-fashioned activities like buggy rides and harvest festivals abound under the brilliant foliage of Lancaster County. Getting to know the resident Amish is a highlight of any visit here; you may well be invited to share in family-style meals finished off with shoofly pie (a local treat of sweet dough and molasses).

6. Monterey
The town of Monterey and its celebrated bay, part of the 5,322-square-mile Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary, shimmer most brilliantly, especially after summer’s cool fog rolls away and the peninsula’s sunny autumn weather takes hold. Enjoy kayaking alongside frisky seals, navigating the famously twisting “17-mile Drive” past cypress groves and the world-renowned Pebble Beach golf course, and marveling at over 345 species of fish at the town’s first-rate aquarium.

7. Orlando
Sure, the “happiest place on earth” is a kid magnet, but even grown ups know this Florida destination isn’t just for the little ones. And with fall ushering the younger set back into the classrooms, you won’t have to share the adrenaline-pumping rides at Walt Disney World, the marine life magic of SeaWorld, or special autumnal events like Universal Studios’ Halloween Horror Nights.

8. San Antonio
The "Fiesta City" of South Texas gets travelers fixin’ for a fall fling, thanks to its reputation for fun, festivals, and fantastic attractions like the Alamo, Franciscan and Spanish missions, and Mexican marketplaces. Enjoy the city's bustling shop-and-cafĂ©-lined River Walk, top-rated museums, and atmospheric historic districts with Native American, Spanish colonial, German, and Mexican influences.

9. Vancouver
British Columbia’s largest city is heralded for its culture, cuisine, and proximity to the region’s spectacular natural surroundings. Surrounded by water on three sides and boasting nearly 200 parks, fall is optimum time for nature lovers in Vancouver, when the great outdoors are met by lovely foliage and mild temperatures.

10. Walla Walla
Head to Washington’s Walla Walla region, where 1,200 acres of rolling vineyards host over 60 wineries replete with quality Syrahs, Merlots, Sauvignon Blancs, and Chardonnays. This happening viticultural area, with its tasting rooms, restaurants, boutiques, and deluxe inns, makes a great alternative to popular Napa, at a fraction of the cost, to boot.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

What are you doing for Halloween? Go to a Theme Park!

Remember when Halloween was a one-night affair? Now the spooky season stretches from mid-September through October, much to the delight of boos and ghouls of all ages. Throughout the lead-up to Halloween, theme parks are pulling out the stops with special evening events, from gentle hayrides to jump-out-of-your-skin scare zones. Keep in mind that everything seems scarier in the dark, so choose wisely with your children’s ages and sensibilities in mind. Here are some of the many Halloween events going on at theme parks around the country:

1. Count’s Spooktacular in Sesame Place (Langhorne, PA)
When: Weekends only, September 29 to October 27
What to expect: Little ones can go trick-or-treating in their costumes, take a hayride, walk through Count von Count’s castle, see the “Countdown to Halloween” musical show featuring their favorite characters, and more.
Best for: 2 to 10
Get Your Free Tickets Here!

2. HallowBoo! in Idlewild (Ligonier, PA)
When: Weekends only, September 27 to October 26
What to expect: This gentlest intro to Halloween includes trick-or-treating through Storybook Forest, meeting Ricky Raccoon and other characters, specially themed rides and attractions, games and a walk-through maze, favorite fall foods.
Best for: 2 to 8
Get Your Free Tickets Here!

3. Brick-or-Treat Trail in Legoland (Carlsbad, CA)
When: Weekends only, October 4-26
What to expect: Festivities include trick-or-treating on the kid-sized Brick-or-Treat Trail, entertainment from “the Boo Crew” and a LEGO candy corn scavenger hunt at the haunted hideaways. A free souvenir bag includes collectible commemorative LEGO bricks and other surprises.
Best for: 3 to 10
Get Your Free Tickets Here!

4. Hersheypark in the Dark in Hersheypark (Hershey, PA)
When: Weekends only, October 17 to November 2
What to expect: It’s off to Hersheypark for exciting rides, entertainment, favorite fall foods, and storytelling.
Best for: 4 to 12
Get Your Free Tickets Here!

5. Halloween Horror Nights in Universal (Orlando, FL)
When: Select dates, September 26 to November 1
What to expect: Now in its 17th year, Universal’s Halloween Horror Nights is promising to be the most frightening ever, with seven—count ’em, seven—chilling haunted houses, three scare zones with no escape, and a host of demented fiends such as The Storyteller, Jack the Clown, and The Caretaker.
Best for: 16 and up
Get Your Free Tickets Here!

6. Halloween Horror Nights in Universal Studios (Universal City, CA)
When: Select dates, October 3 to November 1
What to expect: Haunted walk-through attractions, roaming scare-actors, and nightmare-inducing rides, shows and attractions. Plus live music dance performances by “The Mutaytor.” Heed the warning: “No kids, no costumes, no wusses.”
Best for: 16 and up
Get Your Free Tickets Here!

7. Scary Farm Halloween in Knott’s Berry Farm (Buena Park, CA)
When: Select dates, September 25 to November 1
What to expect: Now in its 36th year, this 160-acre living horror movie is filled with 12 chilling mazes, six hair-raising shows, four horrific scare zones, and a cast of a thousand monsters roaming for their next victim. This one is for grown-ups, folks.
Best for: 16 and up
Get Your Free Tickets Here!

Source: Suzanne Rowan Kelleher

Friday, September 5, 2008

Help a Reader: Bus Tickets

A reader asked me to find an offer for bus tickets in the US. Here is what I sent him:

After completing all the necessary steps, the reader sent me his feedback:

I thought it was too good to be true. I figured there was nothing to lose, so I completed the offers. Sure enough, two Greyhound Discovery Passes showed up at my doorstep. Unbelievable! Thanks for the Greyhound tickets!

Get your free bus tickets too by visiting this site: http://www.see-it-free-travel.com/rd_p?p=150282&t=6742&gift=25079&a=25079-blog. And remember to send me any travel related questions. I can help you find plenty of online offers!

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Thanksgiving Travel Poll

I want to find out when do people start thinking about their Thanksgiving travel. I like to plan in advance but I know other people wait until the last minute. Share with me your experience.

When do you make your thanksgiving travel reservations?

View Results
Free web poll from Free Website Polls

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Can you visit Dorney Park for Free? You bet you can!

Go to see-it-free-travel.com/rd_p?p=150282&t=6742&gift=13320
and get free tickets to Halloween Haunt at Dorney Park.

I am planning to spend this halloween on Dorney Park and I am crunching some numbers to come up with the amount I needed for my costume, the park admission, parking, and extras. Well, it turns out that I might have to spend quite some money to see my halloween wishes come true.

I have heard of discounted tickets for amusement parks but I have never come across this offers. I decided to search on Google for "dorney park" and I found this site under the sponsored links: see-it-free-travel.com/rd_p?p=150282&t=6742&gift=13320
After I clicked on the link, I got to a site that gave away free tickets to the park! How could this be true? I had to find out! I entered my email address and then filled out a profile page with my personal information.

Then I answered some yes and no survey questions. I was directed to a series of pages that required me to sign up for stuff. Some of this offers required no money down (Netflix, Coffee samples, credit cards). I used the refer a friend option to avoid paying for stuff. It took me a while to figure out which ones did not ask for a purchase, but I finally finished. I used a safe Internet connection and about two hours of my time. After some research I found that the company behind this offer is called World Avenue Holdings.

Overall, I think this site is totally worth my time. After carefully selecting the no money required offers for about two hours, I get four admissions to Dorney Park. Not only can I go see the haunted houses, outdoor/indoor mazes, and other shows, but I can take my friends with me! It can't get any better than this!

If you want to go to the Halloween Haunt at Dorney Park, get your free tickets now: