July 31, 2009

Hotel Occupancy Rates in Hawaii Keep Going Down

Filed under: Uncategorized — cristina @ 1:00 am

news hawaii photoWe keep hearing that the economy is starting to get a little better but the numbers don’t seem to agree with that. Hawaii’s been struck pretty hard by the crisis and May’s occupancy rates prove exactly that. While the US state is an important hub for sugar and pineapple industries, it is actually economically dependent on the tourism. The islands have something to offer for every type of traveler. Oahu is excellent for those who want to experience the islands but keep all the facilities of a large city, while those who are searching for adventure usually choose the Big Island.

Star Bulletin recently published an interesting analysis of the hotel occupancy rates in Hawaii and things are not looking promising. Statewide the occupancy rate in May this year dropped to 61.9% compared to the 68.4% registered for the same period last year. The figure is also the lowest ever since data has been recorded starting with 1987.

May, however, is off season in Hawaii, but the first cases of swine flu emerging at the beginning of the month didn’t help with the bookings. And those who came to the islands decided to rent apartments rather than stay in a hotel. Even the number of those staying in shared apartments dropped by 4.8% compared to May 2008.

The average price per room dropped as well. Not only less visitors came to Hawaii in May this year – a 6.9% drop since last year – but they also spent less.

Oahu seems to be less affected reporting the smallest decrease but the Big Island suffered from the highest decease (8.2%). The Big Island is home to some spectacular scenery: from the world’s largest volcano, to the world’s most active volcano, superb beaches, interesting caves and green valleys. Oahu is by far the most popular destination in Hawaii, offering over 30 beaches, interesting hiking trails, green parks and super snorkeling spots.

The luxury hotel market in Hawaii is doing just as worse with occupancy rates in luxury hotels dropping to little over 50% in May.

Restaurants started closing their doors because of slow economy a while ago all over the Hawaiian Islands. There is some hope that the tourism market will recover a little over the summer but no one expects any major changes this year.

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July 30, 2009

Koala, Kangaroos and Incredible Australia Deals

Filed under: Uncategorized — cristina @ 1:00 am

australia mainThere’s one thing everyone can figure out about Australia easily: it’s huge! So it doesn’t exactly work to search blindly for Australia hotels or deals. Firstly, you need to narrow down the research and decide what exactly you want to do.

Many travelers prefer the cosmopolite East Coast cities, while others only have in mind the sandy beaches. And of course there are the adventurers who want to see the Great Barrier Reef. Plus let’s not forget those who want to cuddle a koala.

Vacation packages are excellent for first time visitors

Even if you are not a major fan of vacation packages when it comes to such large countries, it’s often a good idea to look for deals before you plan something else. No matter what you plan to do, you still need to get to Australia, right? And that means you need a cheap ticket to Australia . Then you will also need a place to stay which means you’ll be look for Australia hotels as well. Of course you can book them separately but you can also look for Australia vacation packages which combine both of them and offer some discounts as well. Plus, depending on where you are heading to, there might be some extras added to the package as well.

In general, the lowest airfare to Australia can be found between mid-April and mid-August, when it’s winter in the Southern Hemisphere. But these are also the perfect months to visit the Great Barrier Reef.

High season in Australia really depends on where you want to go. If you want to visit the northern part it’s best to plan your vacation between April and September, while if you head to the southern part of the country plan your vacation during summer. In general, you shouldn’t go wrong with September or October.

What to do

australia floriadeDuring the last two weeks of August, head to Darwin for the Darwin Festival, an arts and cultural event celebrating the city’s multicultural feel. You can enjoy music, theatre, dance and films as well as participate in various free community events.

Between September 7 and 15, you can attend the Royal Adelaide Show, South Australia’s biggest annual event, complete with carnival rides, good food, crafts and award-winning livestock.

Later in the year (mid-September to mid-October), don’t miss the Canberra Floriade, an annual flower festival excellent to please your eyes and smell. This is spring in Canberra and you’ll be delighted to see the numerous flowers. The festival also includes entertainment, workshops and different activities.

Where to stay

No matter where you are heading to and what your vacation plans include, you must find a place to stay. Here are some ideas to choose from if you are heading to one of the events mentioned above or in case you plan to stay in Sydney or Melbourne.

Darwin: Value Inn Darwin is a 3-star hotel located in the city center, close to restaurants, clubs, cafes and public transportation. The hotel features and outdoor pool. All rooms are equipped with AC, fridge, color TV and private bathroom. Rooms cost AUD$138 per night regardless of the type of room chosen.

Adelaide: Country Comfort Adelaide is a 3-star motel located on South Terrace, overlooking the beautiful hills and parks. It’s also close to the popular shopping and dining areas. Rooms cost AUD$95 per night regardless of the type of room you choose. Children under 11 years old stay for free.

Canberra: Capital Executive Apartment Hotel is a 4-star hotel located close to the city center. It offers a gym, spa and sauna, as well as a restaurant. Prices start at AUD$145 per night for a studio apartment.

Sydney : City Resort Hostel is a 2-star hotel few minutes away from the city center and an excellent choice for those on a budget. They offer 40 rooms with modern facilities. Standard double or twin rooms cost AUD$72 per night while if you want to stay in a 4-bed dorm the price is AUD$25 per person per night.

Melbourne: Albert Park Manor Boutique Hotel is a 3-star hotel located in the heart of the business district, close to the city center and St Kilda beach. There’s no restaurant within the hotel, but there are plenty to choose from within walking distance. The budget double room costs AUD$91 per night while the standard single or double room costs AUD$116 per night.

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July 29, 2009

Incredible Vacations Under the Mediterranean Sun

Filed under: Uncategorized — cristina @ 1:00 am

mediterranean deal beach photo mainI have been in love with the Mediterranean cuisine as soon as I discovered how healthy it is. But although I learned to cook and I’ve tasted some dishes in other European countries, I know nothing compares to experiencing the Mediterranean cuisine on the Mediterranean Sea coast. Since the summer has just begun and you are looking at gorgeous weather on the coast at least until end of September, you may be looking at one of the best vacations you have ever taken. Mediterranean Holidays. Book and SAVE up to £100 .

I’ve always declared my love for Greece and Italy so I might be biased when I recommend either one (or why not both!) of the countries for your next vacation at the beach. And you don’t even need to believe me. Times OnLine has an interesting article about great Mediterranean hotels under £100 .

If you think that you cannot afford a vacation in Italy just because country is popular among holiday makers, the current world economy might just bring the perfect deals for you. These vacation packages in Italy will most likely make sure pack your bags and head to the airport. If you are not sure you want a package deal, then you can always book a cheap flight to Europe and one of the cheap hotels in Italy .

Cinque Terre is one of the most picturesque areas on the Mediterranean coast. The five beautiful coastal towns are dotted with spectacular yet easily accessible hiking trails. The trailed called “Via Dell’Amore” (literally “walk of love”) goes along the shoreline and offers some stunning views of the Mediterranean. The cities also boast some incredible sandy beaches: two large ones in Monterosso and a small one in Vernazza. If you are looking for secluded beaches, you should know that most of them are pebbled.

Greece, Turkey and France are affordable too

Then there’s Greece, a cheaper destination than Italy, although the very popular islands of Santorini, Mykonos, Rhodes and Corfu are known for the rather high prices. So this is way these rooms at prices starting from £200 per night on Corfu are a great choice.

If neither destination attracts you, then you need to know that the Mediterranean Sea also offers stunning beaches in Spain, France and even Turkey. With the closest beach located just a 20-min walk from the end of Las Ramblas, Barcelona is one of the most interesting beach destinations along the Mediterranean coast. After all, where else can you see incredible architecture, stroll on a popular street dotted with stores, cafes and restaurants and relax on the beach, without having to leave the city.

Then there’s the charismatic Nice, by far one of the most charming cities on the French Riviera. The Colline du Chateau offers some of the best views of the city. Or you can view the scenery from Mont Boron. While the public beaches can give you some stony experiences, the private beaches have some sand on them, so you can enjoy lying under the Mediterranean sun.

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July 28, 2009

Anaheim Hotel Deals are Hot and Even Mickey Mouse Says So

Filed under: Uncategorized — cristina @ 1:00 am

anaheim mainFor most travelers Anaheim is synonymous with Disneyland and their only reason to travel here is to spend time in the theme parks. Nothing wrong with but Anaheim offers plenty more reasons to visit. Although we can almost bet that you will be going to the theme parks at least once during your stay here.

You will probably want to start with exploring the beaches. If you fancy some beach activities head to Newport Beach while if you plan to surf Huntington Beach is the perfect choice. Then there are the numerous shopping opportunities and you can choose from cheap clothing stores to luxury brands (just make sure your credit card can take it!). During evenings you can relax listening to live bands or checking out some interesting shows.

How about vacation packages?

If your vacation plans include spending a lot of time at Disneyland, than looking for Disneyland vacation packages is the best way to start your search. The trick to finding the best deal though is to stay informed and keep searching for prices all the time. Then you’ll know how to spot a good deal when you see one. Such vacation packages include the round trip flight, accommodation and some Theme Parks tickets, as well.

If you don’t plan to spend your vacation at Disneyland or just prefer to create your own travel package, there are numerous flights to California to choose from. For example you can catch a flight to LAX and then travel to Anaheim by rental car, bus or train.

Once you find a cheap flight it’s time to look for hotels in Anaheim . You’ll probably want to stay as far away from Disneyland Resort as possible, especially if you plan to visit the city rather than spend time in the theme parks.

Between cars and food you are not going to get bored in Anaheim

anaheim Huntington BeachEvery Saturday during the month of August there’s a colorful and interesting event going on at Huntington Beach . Officially called “Saturday Car Cruisers”, it’s also known as the Best Free Car Show in the World. Drop by on Saturday from 6 a.m. to 9 a.m. if you want to see beautiful classic and hot rods collection cars.

In mid-August, all those who enjoy live music, good food and dancing salsa gather at San Clemente for the Fiesta Street Fair. It is definitely family oriented fun and a good chance to change the rhythm of your vacation for a while.

Where to stay

Whether you plan to spend time in the theme parks or not, it’s always a good idea to choose hotels away from the Disneyland Resort and there are plenty of lovely hotels located very close to Disneyland and which offer very good value for money.

Here are some choices to consider:

Anaheim Islander Inn & Suites is located in downtown Anaheim and very close to Disneyland as well. Shops, restaurants and beaches are all located close as well. You can get discounted theme park tickets in the lobby and there are also special Internet promotions available. All rooms offer AC, coffee maker, microwave, fridge, phone and safe. Room prices range between $75 and $135 per night depending on what type of room you prefer.

America’s Best Inn Anaheim is a great choice for the budget traveler. While the rooms offer some excellent views of the fireworks at Disneyland Resort, you are also close to the beaches and other attractions. Every morning you get free coffee and pastries to jump start your day. All rooms are equipped with fridges and microwaves.

Anabella Hotel is a lovely boutique hotel located opposite Disneyland. It is a convenient location for both families on vacation and business travelers (it’s located on Anaheim Convention Center Campus). Prices range between $110 and $150 per room per night depending on what type of accommodation you prefer. Packages and promotions are available and they usually require a minimum 3-night stay.

Alpine Inn is actually very close to the Disneyland south entrances and offer free breakfast and free parking. All suites are equipped with minifridges, coffee makers, phones, hair dryers and microwaves. Packages are available. Double rooms cost $60 per night while family rooms cost little under $100 per night.

Candy Cane Inn is also close to the Disneyland theme parks. All rooms are equipped with coffee makers, fridges and ironing boards and also include complimentary breakfast. Premium rooms include microwaves. Standard room rates range from $99 to $139 per night depending on the season.

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July 27, 2009

Hot Deals are Easy to Find on Amsterdam Hotels

Filed under: Uncategorized — cristina @ 1:00 am

amsterdam mainFor any English speaker a vacation in Amsterdam is such an easy thing to tackle. Amsterdam is one of the main getaways to Europe so finding a flight into the city is always easy. And thanks to a very well developed travel industry, there are a lot of places to stay which cater for any budget and style.

Not to mention that the language barrier is non-existent as pretty much everyone speaks English well – so no, you won’t need to try to figure out what they mean (like you would in Greece) – and the signs are also in English. So you feel pretty much at home, except for the European feeling, infamous cafes and Red Light District , of course.

Vacation packages. Really?

When it comes to finding a place to stay in Amsterdam, it’s always a good idea to start with browsing through the hot deals available. Even if you are not a major fan of vacation packages in Europe ,you may never know what you can find. Many hotels include the last minute offers in such packages so you might be lucky enough to pay about €300 for 4 nights while the regular price would have been over €1000. Even if you are not opting for last minute deals, the hotels included in such packages offer the 4th night free, for example, so you are still saving a lot.

The vacation packages which include the round trip flight, hotel and often a car/bike rental allows any traveler to choose a hotel which otherwise would have been too expensive.

If, on the other hand, you are the kind who prefers to plan the vacation independently you can always “mix and match” your options. Thankfully, there are a variety of cheap flights to Amsterdam and budget Amsterdam hotels to choose from. Ironically, the only good part of the economical slow-down is that both airlines and hotels slash prices every single week. So what last year looked like an impossible hotel to book during the high season, this summer you might be staying at a 4-star hotel and not break your budget (or a bank) for that.

It pays to do some research in advance although last minute travel is definitely encouraged. Try to fly midweek if you want to save on the airfare. And make sure to choose the appropriate hotel for you. It’s not fun to stay in a noisy neighborhood when your plans include sleeping during the night. Likewise, if you like to party all night, it’s best to stay close to the hot areas.

What do to: De Parade

amsterdam de paradeThe biggest event during summer in Amsterdam is De Parade . Inspired by traditional circuses which used to travel from city to city, The Parade is a theatre festival with a unique flavor. The parade actually visits three cities including Amsterdam and lasts for a total of about 6 weeks.

In Amsterdam, all events take place in Martin Luther Kingpark and at any given moment you can choose among different things to watch. Although many of the shows are free, there are also fees for watching some the performances though (€3 to €7.50 depending on what you choose).

An interesting part of the fair is the food both. You can travel the world just by tasting the dishes from popular cuisines. And yes, you can find some oddities as well.

Where to stay

Whether you are heading to Amsterdam for De Parade or to explore the city, it’s a good idea to look for a place to stay close to the city center. The hotels located close to the attractions are, obviously, not the cheapest options. However, it’s not hard to look for some hidden gems among all the available places to stay.

City Garden Hotel is located near Vondel Park, close to absolutely everything. The 3-star hotel offers 70 rooms, with facilities such as Internet access, ensuite bathroom, TV, phone and ironing board. Double rooms cost little over €100 per night (high season, discounted rates).

ACH Leidse Square Hotel is located on a quiet street, close to Leidse Square and Rijksmuseum . The 3-star hotel offers facilities suitable for both leisure and business travelers. Room facilities include AC, TV, phone and safe. Double rooms cost about €100 per night (high season, discounted rates).

Trianon Hotel is a 2-star hotel located within walking distance of all the city center attractions. It’s a good choice is your budget is limited. The standard room facilities include TV and phone while the hotel offers a bar and Internet access. A twin double room costs little under €70 but they also offer rooms with shared bathroom at €25.

Cordial Hotel is another 2-star hotel in a good location: between Dam and Munt Squares. Standard room facilities include: ensuite bathroom, phone, TV and hairdryer. There’s a bar and a dinning room within the hotel. A double twin room costs about €80.

Linda Hotel is located close to the Heineken brewery and within walking distance of the important museums. The 2-star hotel offers the following standard facilities: TV, hairdryer, phone, radio and Internet access. Only breakfast can be served within the hotel but with the restaurants close by that’s not an issue at all. Double rooms cost about €90-100 (high season, discounted rates).

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