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New Zealand – A Great Vacation Destination

The winter holidays are a good time to pull out the passport and take a trip to an exciting destination. But where is a question that many people struggle with. If you want to go someplace different and exciting, then New Zealand is your kind of land. Of all of the stamps that are in my passport (and I’m proud to say that there are quite a few), the one that I’m most proud of is New Zealand. If there is one country that you have to see and visit at least one time in your life, it’s the land of the Kiwis.

New Zealand is that wonderful island nation that everyone seems to forget, only to be remembered occasionally whenever The Lord of the Rings movies are brought up. And there is a reason why that country was chosen as the filming location for the films: New Zealand is a land of geographical diversities. It’s mind boggling to see how many different climates and terrains can be packed into a country that is smaller than the state of Utah! There are topical jungles, dramatic mountains, bustling cities, quaint villages, picturesque countryside, everything. And since New Zealand is so small, in a relatively short amount of time you can switch from one terrain, like a sweet tropical beach, to another, like rolling hills and pastures! You have to see it to believe it, and even then it’s so incredible it’s hard to believe your eyes.

If that doesn’t convince you that New Zealand is the place to spend your vacation, especially during the winter holidays (those cold winter holidays, I might add), then how about this: since New Zealand is south of the equator, late November through early March is its summer season. While it’s snowing at home, they’re wearing tank tops and shorts in New Zealand!

Once you get to New Zealand there are endless things to do and see. Enjoy the fun metropolis cities of Wellington and Auckland, with a similar vibe to London or New York. But don’t spend all of your time there; make sure that you get out of the cities and see the land. If you have an interest in peoples and cultures, then visit native Maori villages and historical centers. One of the best things about the Maori cultural center is that they put on native dances and the men perform their famous Haka, the ceremonial war dance that is performed before the Maoris go to battle. If you’ve never seen a Haka, you are missing something amazing!

Another opportunity to see the Haka being performed is at the All Blacks ruby matches. New Zealand boasts one of the world’s greatest ruby teams. If you like ruby, football, soccer, or sports in general, then do yourself a favor and watch the All Blacks play.

If you’re interested in agriculture and farming, then visit the sheep herding and shearing competitions in South Island (remember the movie Babe? That’s what this is) Even if you’re not completely interested in that sort of thing, as I’m not, you’ll still find it very interesting and entertaining, as I did.

And finally, if you’re going to New Zealand, and I hope that you do, you have to go to a place called Rotorua. What makes this town so great is the fact that it is a geothermal hot spot, with amazing natural hot spring baths. But besides the hot springs, there’s a little thing called Zorbing. If you don’t know what Zorbing is, then I’d have to describe it as the most fun activity you’ll ever experience in your life. Zorbing is entering a giant clear inflatable ball and rolling down a huge hill. Inside you’ll either be strapped in or the ball will be partially filled with water so that you are rolling and splashing around free inside (this is the method I most recommend). It’s like a slip-n-slide and carnival ride all “rolled” into one.

For such a small country New Zealand is full to the brim with diverse landscapes and diverse activities to do. Like I said before, if there’s one place to that you have to see and visit at least once in your life, make it New Zealand.

Current Best Beaches of 2011

Everyone loves a vacation filled with sand and sun.  The best beaches for 2011 are located all over the world and travelers that do some research and some advance planning can find the beach that perfectly suits their vacation needs.

Sanur Beach, Bali

Made popular recently by the film Eat, Pray, Love, Bali is often called the Island of the Gods.  Bali’s Sanur Beach offers calm water and warm ocean waves, which routinely reach above eighty degrees, making it a fantastic beach for families.  Sanur Beach is one of the best beaches of 2011 and includes the culture of a traditional village along with all the conveniences of a tourist locale.  Museums, galleries and a few ancient temples surrounded by pristine greenery that is virtually unspoiled create an atmosphere perfect for learning about the culture.

Cas Abao Beach, Curacao

The northwest coast of the small Caribbean island of Curacao is home to Cas Abao Beach, which is quickly gaining recognition as a great place for those who want to bathe in the sun and swim in the sea.  The pristine water provides the perfect environment for water activities like kayaking, diving, snorkeling and even a water trampoline.  Travelers who need a break from the water activities can visit the daiquiri bar for a cool drink, learn to salsa dance for free or relax on the beach while enjoying a massage.

Coronado Beach, California

Travelers looking for more than sand and surf will find Coronado Beach in San Diego, California to be a luxurious vacation spot.  Boasting a climate similar to the Mediterranean, it’s one of the current best beaches for 2011 and a great place for families who want to experience snorkeling and ocean fishing and maybe spot a celebrity or two.  Coronado’s most known landmark is the century old Hotel del Coronado, which hosted many well known guests and is now a prime spot for celebrity sightings.

Monterrico, Guatemala

For those with a more adventurous spirit, Monterrico, Guatemala fits the bill nicely.  The black volcanic sands off the Pacific coast of Guatemala stretch for miles and are a nesting ground for endangered leatherback and ridley sea turtles.  Swimming in Monterrico is limited to advanced swimmers because of the powerful surf, but the mangrove swamps along the coast and two nature preserves teeming with birds and aquatic life, make it a great getaway for bird and nature enthusiasts.

Florida Beaches

Captiva and Sanibel Islands off the southwest coast of Florida are home to award winning beaches that offer wonderful spots for shell collecting, island cruises, and dolphin watching.  Not to be outdone, the northwest coast of Florida offers the beautiful white sand of Panama City beach which calls to travelers of all ages and is home to the Shipwreck Island water park.  Clearwater beach is rated the number one beach in the Gulf region and is perfect for romantic getaways.  Florida also offers Crescent beach which is a popular beach for weddings located near Siesta Key Village.

Whether you are looking for a beach vacation in the United States or a more culturally rich locale, the options abound.  A little advance planning and some research will help to ensure that your vacation at one of the current best beaches of 2011 is one that everyone will remember.

The Top 10 Safest Vacation Destinations

In addition to weather related dangers, theft crimes, identity theft, and even violence can be a very real threat when traveling to an unknown destination.  Choosing to travel to one of the top 10 safest vacation destinations will help your vacation to go more smoothly.


The six Islands of Hawaii offer a choice of white, black, red, and green sand beaches.  On the island of Oahu tourists can visit Pearl Harbor or the legendary winter waves of the North Shore.  Opportunities for outdoor adventures abound on the island of Kauai and the waters of Maui are great for whale watching.  Not to be outdone, everything from beaches to snow capped mountains waits on Hawaii’s main island.


Although most travelers may not think of Iceland when planning a vacation, it is one of the top 10 safest vacation destinations.  Northern Iceland boasts bird watching, whale watching and the most powerful European waterfall.  Southern Iceland offers the icy wonders of Vatnojakull and the Strokkur geyser.  Hikers will enjoy East Iceland while the wooded areas, lava formations and fishing opportunities of West Iceland appeal to nature enthusiasts. Also consider a trip to the legendary blue lagoon spring spa.


Those who can appreciate classical music will certainly want to consider Austria when planning a vacation.  It makes the list as one of the top 10 safest vacation destinations and offers concerts and operas as well as ornate palaces and breathtaking landscape.  Wine and fresh produce abound and tourists can choose biking, hiking through the mountains, or go off the beaten path to explore underground salt caves, ice caves or mystical Swarovski Crystal Worlds.


Germany also makes the list as one of the top 10 safest vacation destinations and is home to castles, churches, the Berlin Wall and the popular Black Forest Mountains.  Munich, one of the most popular tourist locations in Germany, offers tourists an inside look into the BMW museum, Olympic Park, and Neuschwanstein Castle.  And of course no vacation to Germany is complete without Oktoberfest, an annual celebration of Bavarian beer held in the fall.


Switzerland offers hang gliding in Interlaken for the more adventurous at heart, but a leisurely ride on one of the many trains like the Bernina Express is a more common activity.  Riders on the Bernina Express can come in from Italy and travel the rails to the top of the Bernina Pass.  For those who are tired of walking over other parts of Europe, a relaxing train ride will be just the ticket to help you rejuvenate.

Czech Republic

Those looking to step back in time will want to visit Spilberk Castle and Fortress and the medieval town of Brno, Czech Republic.  The capital city of Prague is well known for its Gothic castles and is truly one of the most beautiful of the European cities.  Travelers who are ready to relax and relieve a little stress should take advantage of one of the spas located throughout the country as these luxurious services are much less expensive than in the United States.


Sweden also ranks as one of the top 10 safest vacation destinations and offers pristine forests, a beautiful coastline and glass factories.  Castle lovers will enjoy the Royal Castle in Stockholm, a visit to the ruins of old Helsingborg Castle and perhaps a tour of the Kingdom of Crystal in Kalmar.  Sweden is great for backpackers and travelers on a budget due to right of public access.


Ireland is well known for its breathtaking landscapes, offers something for everyone and also makes the list as one of the top 10 safest vacation destinations.  The relaxed pace of the Southern Coast will appeal to some travelers and families may prefer the plentiful attractions of Northern Ireland.  The thriving city life and exciting sporting events of the East Coast call to the sports minded while the canal walks and canoeing of West Ireland will appease the boating enthusiasts.

New Zealand

Travelers looking for adventure will want to check out Queenstown, New Zealand to experience bungee jumping, paragliding, and rafting.  In addition to the adventure of Queenstown, the rock formations, labyrinth of caves, geysers and fishing opportunities throughout New Zealand call to the historians, nature enthusiasts and those with an adventurous spirit.


Swimming with the manta rays and sharks in Western Australia is a great experience, however, if the land of the outback calls, a visit to the Northern territory of Australia is the answer.  From the great barrier reef of Queensland to the historic sites and green gardens of Adelaide, or the glacial mountains and dense forests of Tasmania, the continent of Australia safely offers activities and sightseeing for everyone.

Regardless of where you travel for your vacation, it’s important to follow standard safety precautions to safeguard yourself and your valuables. However, planning a vacation to the areas that are on the list of top 10 safest vacation destinations will help to ensure that your vacation is a memorable one for all the right reasons.

Recent Catastrophic Storms in Vacation Destinations

Even the best planned vacation can go awry with the arrival of bad weather.  Recent catastrophic storms in vacation destinations not only ruined vacations but caused devastating loss of life and property damage.

Hurricane Earl 2010

The duration of Hurricane Earl officially lasted from August 25th through September 4th, 2010, but it managed to impact several popular vacation destinations during its course.  Earl battered the island of Puerto Rico with tropical winds and brought heavy rains and oversized waves to Cape Hatteras before changing direction to travel along the New England coastline.  Cape Cod, another popular vacation destination experienced minor flooding and beach erosion.  The major impact of Hurricane Earl was the two deaths and over 100 million dollars in damage caused throughout the Caribbean.

Hurricane Tomas 2010

The reigning period of Hurricane Tomas was from October 29th through November 7th 2010 and it struck the Windward Islands.  The resulting mud and landslides resulted in eight deaths in St. Lucia before Tomas moved on and passed near Haiti where heavy rains again caused mudslides that resulted in thirty five deaths.  One drowning death was reported in Curacao and the nearby islands of St. Vincent, Grenadines and Barbados experienced millions of dollars in property damages, but luckily, no human casualties.

Catastrophic Storm, Brazil 2011

A catastrophic storm and resulting landslides caused widespread devastation throughout several towns near the top ranked city of Rio de Janero, Brazil in January 2011.  Rio de Janero is a long favored vacation destination for its popular beaches, music and Brazilian festivals and was devastated by the storm which resulted in the loss of over seven hundred lives and 20,000 homeless.  Cleanup from the catastrophic storm involved over fifteen hundred personnel.

Cyclone Yasi 2011 (Australia)

Cyclone Yasi hit Australia in the spring of 2011.  Residents were warned of the coming category 5 storm which was predicted to be one of the largest in Australian history.  Airline flights chock full of fleeing tourists and residents left Townsville the morning before the cyclone hit and thousands more people fled their homes and crammed into shelters.  Raging winds of 185 mph hit Sydney, Australia in pre-dawn hours and much of the resulting damage was in Cairn, Townsville and the already storm battered Queensland and its coastline which is a popular vacation destination.

Hurricane Karl 2011 (Mexico)

The historically popular vacation destinations of Cozumel, Cancun and the Yucatan Peninsula along with Veracruz, Mexico were devastated by Hurricane Karl in September 2010.  Over 20,000 homes were flooded and resulted in an estimated but unconfirmed 40,000 homeless.  Families had to be rescued from rooftops in San Pancho and Cotaxtla, damages to property were over 200 million total and recovery crews hauled away approximately 18,000 tons of debris.  The majority of the twenty two reported deaths were in Veracruz although four people died in nearby Nexticapan when a house was buried by a mudslide.

It’s important to plan ahead for your vacation and monitor changing weather patterns, especially if your vacation destinations are in an area well known for hurricanes and other deadly storms.  Researching your destination in advance can help you plan your vacation for a time when catastrophic storms are less likely to hit.

Top Travel News Stories

Monitoring the top travel news stories can often help save you considerable time and money and help you stay safe on your next vacation.  Travel news reporters make it their business to know and share the most current information about anything that could impact your travel plans.

Endangered Natural Wonders

If your bucket list includes any of the world’s natural wonders, make plans to get there sooner rather than later because many of these fragile wonderlands are in danger of disappearing.  The decline of the Belize Barrier Reef continues due to global warming of the seas, pollution and the invasion of cruise ships; and the Congo Basin, the world’s second largest rainforest, is predicted to be eradicated by 2040 if not protected.  Florida’s Everglades, the Maldives, and the Poles are also being threatened by global warming and encroaching development.

Over the Water Bungalows

Just in case you are searching for something more than a hotel room with a view of the ocean, resorts in several locations throughout the world offer accommodations that are even closer than ocean side.  Approximately ninety bungalow type resorts that are built right over top of the water are available throughout the world with the majority of them in the Maldives.  These exotic villas allow an optimal view of sea life through glass panels in the floor, snorkeling off the deck of your room, and maximum privacy for romantic getaways.

Animals found in Suitcases

In an attempt to replicate Noah’s Ark on a smaller scale in his suitcase one passenger was arrested at Thailand’s International Airport in Bangkok.  Officers trained in anti trafficking were monitoring the man from the time he purchased animals on the black market and caught him red-handed with two baby leopards, two panthers, two monkeys and a baby bear in his suitcases.  All the animals were endangered species, about the size of puppies, and appeared to have been drugged.  Officials believe the man is part of a larger sophisticated animal smuggling network.

Eastern Mediterranean Cruises Cancelled

Norwegian, one of the big name cruise lines, has pulled the Norwegian Jade ship from its Eastern Mediterranean destinations, blaming political unrest in that area for making travelers skittish about cruises with port calls in the area.  Several countries including Egypt, Libya and Tunisia are experiencing incidences that could make travel risky.  Travelers with cruises already booked are able to alter plans and transfer the booking to another cruise.  Norwegian’s announcement came on the heels of a similar action that cancelled winter cruises to the same area by Royal Caribbean.

Diamond Rock in Martinique

Forget just swimming under the sea because those with a more adventurous spirit can have the opportunity to swim under an entire island at Martinique’s Diamond Rock located in the Caribbean.  This unique vacation trip is reserved for the most advanced divers as the cavern beneath Diamond Rock includes strong currents. However, for divers that are up to the challenge, there are plenty of corals, marine life, and sea fans to explore beneath the island.  This undersea wonderland is virtually unknown to the U.S. and is an experience of a lifetime for diver enthusiasts.

Monitoring top travel news stories will help you stay informed about changes to vacation destinations that are included on your next vacation itinerary.  Always double check any information or news that you read with a travel agent who can also advise you about recent changes in popular tourist locations.

20 Must Have Travel Essentials

It is difficult to choose twenty travel essentials that are right for all types of trips. Travel essentials for tropical climates are different than those for ski vacations and traveling domestically is quite different from traveling overseas. Some items should be packed for all travel regardless of the mode (car, plane) or the destination, while others are specific to certain destinations or areas of the world.

Prescription Medications

Prescription medications are a necessity. Remember to pack them and to make sure there are enough doses to last for the entire trip. It can be difficult to refill prescriptions out of town and nearly impossible to refill them overseas. Include a cold pack for prescriptions that need refrigeration

First Aid Kit

A first aid kit is always a good idea especially if traveling in an area where you do not speak the language. It may be difficult to decipher the labels on over the counter antibiotic creams in a different language.

Hand Sanitizer

Hand sanitizer is a great way to keep hand clean and germ free when traveling in areas where clean water may not always be available. It is especially handy when camping or backpacking.

Moist Towelettes

Moist towelettes are also great for traveling and can be used to clean the hands and face when water is not easily available. On warm days, they can remove perspiration from the skin and the evaporation of the cleansers can be refreshing.

Sink Stopper

Sometimes hotel sinks and tubs do not have stoppers so pack a small rubber ball with toiletries. The ball can be used as a stopper should the sink or tub not have a stopper. For some foreign destinations, toilet paper may be another necessity.

Sun Screen and Sub Block

Sun screen and sun block are necessary when traveling to areas where the sun is strong. This doesn’t mean just the tropics. The sun on ski slopes is just as strong and damaging to skin as the sun on a beach.

Extra Swim Suit

Vacationers who plan on swimming should pack an extra swim suit and one of the new travel towels which dry over night and are imbued with anti microbials so they don’t have to be laundered after each use.


Sunglasses are important especially if they are prescription sunglasses. Unless a traveler wears special glasses which darken and protect the eyes from UV light, sunglasses are a necessity on a trip.

Plastic Bags

Plastic bags provide a way to keep dirty or wet laundry separate from clean clothes while traveling. If you decide to take a last swim before boarding your flight home, that plastic bag will provide a handy place for a wet swim suit.

Ziplock Bags

Ziplock bags are great for packing toiletries which might leak in a suitcase. The seal on the bag will keep most liquids inside even if the bottle leaks. It’s always a good idea to pack some extras just in case.

Document Photocopies

Photocopies of important documents like passports, drivers licenses and even credit cards should be packed in a ziplock bag in your suitcase. If a wallet or purse is stolen, the copies make it easier to replace the documents.

Travel Maps

Travel maps of the area make finding your way in a strange place easier. Members of auto clubs can usually get maps of most cities at no charge. Obtain maps before leaving on a trip to make sight seeing easier.

Small Locks

Although people traveling by air cannot lock their suitcases for the flight, small locks should be packed so that suitcases can be locked when they are left unattended in hotel rooms. While these locks may not deter determined thieves, they usually will discourage staff with sticky fingers.

Insect Repellant

Insect repellant is a necessity for many destinations. Biting insects are found in most countries and they often carry diseases so it is best to avoid being bitten. Remedies for bug bites are also a good idea and will soothe the itch if you should be bitten.

OTC Medications

Since unfamiliar foods and water can cause digestive upsets, most travelers should pack over the counter medications for diarrhea, constipation and nausea. It is a good idea to be prepared for every contingency when traveling.

Malaria Prophylactic Treatment

Travelers to areas where malaria is common are required to take a prophylactic treatment beginning two weeks before their departure and continuing for the duration of the trip. Make sure to pack enough of the prophylaxis to last for the entire stay.


Security precautions have made air travel an exercise in patience so pack a book, crossword puzzles or even a pack of cards to alleviate boredom before and during a flight. Since airlines believe that the shortest distance between two points is a triangle, most people will have layovers.

Chewing Gum

When traveling by air, pack some chewing gum in a purse or pocket as it can relieve ear pressure during takeoff. Those who are subject to motion sickness should pack Dramamine tablets or get a prescription patch to ease nausea.

Inflatable Pillows

Inflatable pillows take up very little room in carryon luggage and can provide extra comfort for the trip whether it is by air or by train. Airline pillows are usually rather thin and provide little support for the neck.

Packing List

Pack your original packing list since it will make repacking at the end of a trip simpler and will mean less likelihood of leaving items behind. Making a list of things you will need makes both packing and repacking easier.

Travel necessities may vary depending on the location and the individual, but most travelers will not regret bringing any of these items and some will be grateful they packed them. Although some of the items may be easily picked up during domestic travel, they may not be available overseas. The last thing to remember is to leave enough room in the suitcase for souvenirs or you’ll have to ship them home.

7 Important Travel Safety Tips

A vacation that involves traveling abroad can sometimes be one of the most memorable experiences of a lifetime.  The one thing that can ruin your dream vacation is falling victim to theft or some other crisis while traveling.  These 7 important travel tips will help ensure that you travel safely and without incident.

In Case of Emergency

Leave a detail itinerary with a friend or family member in case you need to be reached in an emergency, and notify consulate authorities of your travel destination as well.  Always carry your ID and information about any allergy or health concerns that medical personnel would need to know to treat you properly in the event of an accident.

Plan Well Ahead

Passports are the standard identification required if you intend to leave your home country and the process of obtaining one can take several weeks.  One reason to follow this important travel tip is that planning ahead may not only save you some money but can prevent your trip from being delayed or cancelled because you do not have a passport.

Know the Area

Tourists can sometimes be targeted for theft and other scams in vacation destinations, and someone who is constantly checking a map for directions can become a target for crime.  It’s crucial to know as much as possible about the areas that you will be visiting, including the layout of public places like airports, so that you are more confident of which direction to go when you arrive.  If you need to consult maps, do so in your hotel room before you head out for the day.

Keep Valuables Safe

A traveler who pulls a large sum of cash from their wallet or purse while they try to figure out how to convert currency will stand out in any country.  One important travel tip is to leave your cash and credit cards in the hotel and only carry currency you might need for the day’s activities.  If using a safe accessible to housekeeping staff, wipe the keypad down before and after entering your code as a precaution against theft.

Follow Safety Precautions

Researching your travel destinations will help you to know when you might be in a less than savory environment, but in most locations following standard safety tips for walking alone or after dark will be enough to make your trip go smoothly.  It’s also a good practice to avoid accepting beverages from anyone that you do not know and to stick to group activities that are organized by the hotel or another established organization.

Take Caution When Meeting New People

Although being in an unfamiliar place can be a little disorienting and it can be tempting to accept help if offered, try to refrain from accepting travel tips, rides or tours from people who approach you on the street as you cannot be sure of their trustworthiness and motives.  If you need assistance or a guide for a certain area, ask your hotel concierge or another hotel staff member for assistance.

Safeguard your Children

When traveling with children, it’s important to take precautions in case the unthinkable happens and you are separated somehow.  Give your child a card or piece of paper with important contact information for your trip such as the name of the hotel and your cell number.  Sometimes your hometown hospital will agree to create a plastic hospital bracelet for each child and you can insert a slip with current contact details in multiple languages into the bracelet to help facilitate them being returned to you.

Regardless of where in the world you decide to travel, planning your itinerary ahead and knowing the area along with standard safety procedures and precautions when meeting new people can be the difference between a good vacation and a horrible one.

10 Ways to Have a Cheap Vacation

No matter where you plan to vacation, there are multiple ways to have a cheap vacation. However, it will take a little planning in most cases, and a some sacrifice in others.

Flexible Travel

One important tip to remember is that airline fares can vary depending on which day of the week you travel.  If you do choose to travel by plane, book your flight in advance to obtain cheaper fares.  Use an online service or talk to your travel agent and be prepared to flex your departure and arrival dates to get the best rates for lodging costs as well.

Lodging Costs

If you have friends or family in the area where you are vacationing, consider staying with them to save on hotel costs.  Take advantage of online discount services like to ensure you get the lowest hotel rate possible.  Staying in a two or three star hotel and doing without all those “free” services like breakfast may save you $40 or more per night.

Food on a Budget

Stay at a less expensive hotel that does not provide breakfast and stock up on breakfast items like cereal, granola bars and pop tarts, and then buy milk and orange juice at a nearby store once you arrive.  Save even more on food by packing a cooler with lunch and reusable water bottles to avoid overpaying at attractions and only pay to eat out for dinner.

Coupons and Discounts

It’s important to know what attractions are in your vacation destination area and to find packages that offer admission tickets for several local attractions for one discounted rate.  When planning your trip, take advantage of off season rates and search the Internet for printable coupons that can save you even more on things like lodging costs and dining out.

Share Expenses

Many couples and families team up with others to share vacation expenses.  This could consist of splitting the cost of renting a vacation house for a period of time or even swapping houses with another individual or family.  Consider sharing the same vacation spot with close friends and split the costs of gas, lodging and food expenses to save money.

Rewards Clubs

Some hotels and airlines offer redeemable frequent flyer miles or loyalty rewards points if you use their card for purchases and services throughout the year. If you currently receive cash back for purchases on a Discover or Visa card, make a commitment to use your card for daily purchases and then use the cash back towards your vacation costs.

Choose Destinations with Cheap Currencies

Choose a destination country with a cheaper currency such as Argentina or Hungary which will help you stretch your money.  Consider going off the beaten path a little for your vacation to such places as Cambodia or Vietnam where lodging can be less than $5 per night which makes it easy to see the sights for around $30-$40 dollars per day.

Create a Daily Budget

Create a daily budget for your vacation based on the total amount you have to spend on a vacation.  If you splurge one day to visit an unexpected attraction, plan to spend a day at the beach relaxing the next to balance things out.  When traveling with kids of any age, consider taking along some card games or board games to play as a family during down time.

Sign up for Alerts

Once you identify the vacation destination that you want to visit, notify your travel agent to alert you of any deals or packages that become available.  Another great way to find up to the minute vacation packages and deals is to sign up online with your favorite hotel, special attraction or travel sites so that you are alerted to upcoming deals as they become available.

Rough It

Anyone who has been on vacation knows that in most cases you return to the hotel only to sleep off the exhaustion from a full day of seeing the sites.  One way to stretch your budget is to choose a resort that has camping facilities or cabins available at a fraction of the cost of hotel prices.  In most cases people are too tired to miss the luxury of a hotel bed anyhow, but can still access typical hotel conveniences such as shuttles to attractions and concierge services.

Regardless of your vacation destination, take advantage of the Internet and work with your local travel agent or AAA office to make sure you know about and can take advantage of everything available so you can have a cheap vacation that will create priceless memories.

Best Vacation Destinations for Cheap Currencies

One way to vacation on a tight budget is to choose a destination country that has cheap currency at the time of your trip. Some of the best vacation destinations for cheap currencies are listed here, however currencies fluctuate frequently and you will need to monitor currency changes prior to your trip to ensure there are no surprises.


History buffs and nature enthusiasts will both find interesting activities when vacationing in the country of Vietnam. Cuo Phuong National Park founded in 1962 is located south of Hanoi and is a great place for botanists to do research or for those who just love being surrounded by nature. On the North bank of the Thu Bon River sits the ancient town of Hoi An, one of the few intact Southeast Asian trading ports and no trip to Vietnam would be complete without a visit to Ho Chi Minh City, formerly known as Saigon on the banks of the Sai Gon River in South Vietnam.


One of the Seven Wonders of the World is the lost city of Angkor Wat located in Cambodia, an extremely inexpensive country that prefers the dollar as the currency of choice.  Those with an interest in history and archeology will enjoy visiting the magnificent temples in the area surrounding Siem Reap and a boat tour on the world’s largest inland lake, Tonle Sap, points out the beautiful scenery.  For those looking for one of the best vacation destinations for cheap currencies, Cambodia is a safe and friendly destination with lodging at less than five U.S. dollars a night.

Buenos Aires, Argentina

Considered the “Pearl” of South America, the lively cultural atmosphere of Buenos Aires is filled with history, nature and polo.  This cosmopolitan city is well known for steak and wine and boasts plenty of coffee shops, museums and historical sites perfect for walking tours.  There are several places of interest within twenty to fifty miles of Buenos Aires including a casino, an amusement park and the impressive temple Basilica de La Virgen de Lujan.  On a budget of approximately $40 U.S. dollars a day or less, Argentina is definitely one of the best vacation destinations for cheap currencies.

Budapest, Hungary (Eastern Europe)

Many places in Eastern Europe are great vacation destinations for cheap currencies.  One of them is the capital city of Budapest Hungary, where one U.S. dollar converts to approximately 200 Hungarian Forint which means a hotel stay will cost approximately $20 U.S. dollars.  Budapest has constantly changing weather so the best time to enjoy experience the rich history of this old European city is late April and May when the temperatures hover around a comfortable seventy degrees.

Regardless of the type of vacation you’d like to take and the kind of activities you enjoy, a little research can help you to ferret out the best vacation destinations for cheap currencies.  Some of the best places may be a little off the beaten trail, but can make great a great vacation as are less crowded and offer more opportunities to interact with the locals.


What to Look For in Travel Insurance

Different types of travel need different features in travel insurance, so travelers need to consider whether their trip is a short vacation or an extended stay, and compare the needs of traveling with a family with needs of traveling alone. The type of transportation can also be important when choosing travel insurance, since those traveling by air, car, train and cruise liner all face different risks and have different needs.

Vacation Insurance

When planning a vacation of under 30 days, travel insurance that covers trip interruption or cancellation can protect the vacation investment. Medical coverage can make emergency medical services easier to obtain and baggage coverage can prevent vacations from being ruined by the loss of clothing and other possessions. Evacuation coverage can help defray unexpected costs created by acts of war or natural disasters.

Family Travel

Traveling with minor children can present extra difficulties and additional insurance coverages can offer peace of mind. In many cases it is free to add children to travel insurance and the medical coverage can be a great advantage. In addition to trip cancellation and interruption insurance, repatriation coverage can help return children home if a parent is hospitalized or unable to accompany them.

Senior Travelers

While seniors should have the same coverages as vacation travelers, they should also consider purchasing a waiver for pre existing conditions on their medical travel coverage since seniors are more likely to have them. If traveling to remote areas, emergency medical transportation coverage is also important. Travel assistance can help keep a trip running smoothly and provide peace of mind.

Cruise Liner Vacations

Travel insurance can reimburse the cost of a cruise vacation if the traveler misses the boat for any reason. It also provides coverage for stolen wallets or purses and lost or damaged baggage. Perhaps the most important coverage on a cruise is for medical transportation since cruise liners may not have full medical staff capable of handling medical emergencies and evacuation can be expensive. Travel insurance can cover the cost of removing a passenger to the nearest medical facility.

Other Coverages Under Travel Insurance

Some individuals travel either for business or on a pilgrimage to areas of the world that are not always safe. Some travel insurance provides coverage for terrorism which may interrupt a trip or require evacuation from the area. Many insurers provide travel assistance by telephone 24 hours a day so travelers can get help in the event they need to make a claim, or just receive assistance in arranging for tours or side trips.

Travel insurance can help travelers avoid monetary loss when a trip has to be cancelled, provide cash to restore lost property, assist in replacing a stolen passport, provide medical insurance to cover expenses anywhere in the world, and protect the traveler’s investment in a vacation or business trip. It is easy to compare the features and prices of different travel insurance carriers by requesting free online quotes from travel or insurance websites.