Friday, April 25, 2008
Most popular spots, hot trends in travel
12:00 AM CST on Sunday, January 20, 2008
From Wire Reports Beth J. Harpaz, The Associated Press
Here are some of the hot spots, trends and statistics for travel in the new year.
U.S. Tour Operators Association: For the fifth straight year, Italy placed first as the most popular international destination for vacation packages and tours, according to an annual informal poll of tour-operators association member companies.
Croatia, followed by China, were the hottest up-and-coming countries for tours and packages.
Yahoo Travel: Yahoo Travel's destinations that got the biggest increase in page views in Yahoo Travel Guides were Lancaster, Pa.; Ocean City, N.J.; South Lake Tahoe, Calif.; Wildwood, N.J.; Helen, Ga.; and Pigeon Forge, Tenn.
Lonely Planet: Top 10 destinations for 2008, according to a survey of the guidebook publisher's U.S. staffers, are the U.S., with an emphasis on national parks and Hawaii; Mexico, with an emphasis on Mexico City and the Pacific Coast; Argentina; Japan; India and Canada (tied); Australia and China (tied); Spain and France.
JWT top travel trends: Top trends identified by JWT, the largest ad agency in the U.S.: "Staycations," where travelers stay close to home and take long weekends instead of weeks away; cruising; volunteer vacations; climate sightseeing; and couch-surfing (using the Internet to find strangers who will put you up in their home when you travel).
Also: medical tourism; babymoons (couples take a vacation before their first baby arrives); and "trans-entertainment" (Wi-Fi transportation making it easier to watch videos or surf the Web while traveling).
Outbound travel statistics: According to the U.S. Commerce Department's Office of Travel & Tourism Industries, air travel by U.S. citizens January to September 2007 was up 2 percent to Europe, down 3.1 percent to the Caribbean, up 8.6 percent to Asia, up 7.6 percent to South America, up 8 percent to Central America, and down 3.4 percent to Canada. (Source: http://tinet.ita.doc.gov/view/m-2007-O-001/index .html.)
Friday, April 18, 2008
Everyone will have a different opinion of things that you must see or do before you die. What you love most in the world and the sights that most impress can vary widely depending on your different tastes and preferences.
For some people, the most incredible sight in the world might be the city of Petra, Jordan, which is an ancient city carved out of rock swirled red and blue. For others, this man-made legend pales beside the fierce power of the Niagara Falls, and there is nothing, really, to compare with the breathtaking view from the top of Mount Everest. Nonetheless, here are some of our favorites.
The Great Pyramids of Egyptt
One of the eight wonders of the world, and an incredible sight to behold, the pyramids certainly make our top 10 list.
The Coliseum in Rome
Another incredible sight from the ancient world, bringing home the power and might of ancient Rome.
An incredible city with immense amounts of history attached to it. Yes, we know that there are plenty of other cities in the world with a lot of history, but this is one of our favorites. There is a lot of incredible history, beautiful art, easy transportation, good food, theater, and so much more to do that you will never, never get bored.
For many of the same reasons and more reasons unique to each of them, you might also wish to visit New York City, which was the point at which most immigrants to the United States arrived. Specifically, check out Ellis Island if you have family in the U.S.
Paris, France is another city worth seeing if you love exploring incredible cities, with strolls along the Seine, the Louvre, and the Eiffel Tower, of course.
A popular location for honeymoons & holidays, an incredible place to visit, but don't wait for your honeymoon to check it out. With beaches, coral reefs, rain forests and more, there is a lot to see and a lot to enjoy. Many travel agents now offer packages to Fiji , so getting there s becoming increasingly easier.
Taj Mahal, India
An incredible architectural wonder of our more modern world, and one of the most beautiful buildings in the world. A building of full of love and romanticism.
Your tastes might vary, and heaven knows that each list of "10 places" is different; however we hope that this list is helpful in planning your future adventures.
http://www.directline-holidays.co.uk provides you with the latest holiday offers, cheap flights, essential information & reviews on destinations worldwide
Wednesday, April 9, 2008
German phrase: ach der lieber
English translation: Oh, heavens!
Everyone knows about the famous Bier Gartens and Oktoberfest festivals in Germany... where Germans and tourists drink huge steins of beer and large pretzels. It's pretty standard fare, when in Germany, drink beer, eat weiner snitzel and spaetzle and pretzels. There are also castles to visit and if you go during Christmastime, the Christmas markets, similar to our flea markets but so much more fun.
Why not do something different on your next trip and stalk the wild white asparagus? You could also include a visit to a spa as part of your vacation experience and a trip to the winery. Springtime is a great time to visit Germany, flowers are blooming and the weather is warm and sunny.
In Baden-Württemberg, Mother Nature nurtures feelings of well-being by providing beneficial climatic conditions, thermal waters, hay, aromatic herbs and fresh produce for use in vitality-enhancing cuisine plus beautiful scenery.
Baden-Wuerttemberg is Germany’s third largest state and home to the famed Black Forest. It also features premier spas such as Baden-Baden, Cuckoo Clocks and has one of the most productive asparagus regions in Germany. Located in southern Germany and west of Bavaria, Baden-Wuerttemberg also borders France in the west and Switzerland and the Alps in the south. So it is a great jumping off point in Europe to start your journey...
In Germany, the arrival of asparagus, or Spargel, is an eagerly anticipated sign of spring. During the season, which lasts from April until mid-June, almost every eatery in Germany, from the tiniest Brauhaus to the most elegant restaurant offers a Spargelkarte, a special asparagus menu, in addition to their regular menu. Although there are variations depending on the region, most have the same staples: asparagus with butter or hollandais sauce with cooked potatoes, and asparagus with salmon or ham. You can also choose between a serving of one pound or a half pound of asparagus, some restaurants even offer an all-you-can-eat feast. In Baden-Wuerttemberg a regional speciality awaits the hungry guest: Black Forest ham, a spiced and smoked version of ham.
In Germany, they feed good... in plain English... and seem to feed more than three times a day between breakfast, lunch, dinner and in between teas... morning, afternoon and evening.
Baden-Wuerttemberg has established an "Asparagus Road" which winds through some of the most famous asparagus producing towns in the region, including Schwetzingen, Reilingen, Karlsruhe, and Rastatt. Along with asparagus farms, you can enjoy various asparagus festivals and local asparagus dishes found along this scenic route. In fact, the sandy soil around Schwetzingen in Baden-Wuertemberg is ideal for growing asparagus.
Once a year during the asparagus season, Schwetzingen devotes an entire day to the "royal vegetable." On "Asparagus Saturday" (May 3) a plethora of food stalls tempt visitors with asparagus-based delicacies, while dancing and music keep you entertained. There is an asparagus peeling competition, and every year the program includes the crowning of the asparagus king. www.schwetzingen.de (German only)
The Pfaelzer Forest in Baden-Wuerttemberg's northwest corner is famous for its asparagus production and the spring festival celebrating this. In Buechenau the asparagus season is celebrated with creative and traditional asparagus treats, presented by local and international exhibitors from May 31 to June 2. www.harmonie-buechenau.de (German only)
Europe's largest asparagus festival however is held in Bruchsal, near Stuttgart, which lies on the Upper Rhine plain. Local and international vendors offer visitors a tasty delight from May 16 - 18. Visitors can also admire the baroque palace of Bruchsal with its magnificent Balthasar Neumann staircase. www.germany-tourism.de
Along with the delicious asparagus dishes goes another specialty of Baden-Wuerttemberg: the famous wines of the region. Mostly known for its famous red wines, such as "Trollinger" and "Spätburgunder," the region also offers white wines such as "Riesling". The main production area is along the Neckar river between Stuttgart and Heilbronn. More wine is consumed in this region than anywhere else in Germany - actually twice as much! The grape varieties of the red wine Trollinger, Schwarzriesling and Lemberger are well-known even beyond Baden-Wuerttemberg's borders and have received various international awards. www.tourismus-bw.co.uk
For more information about this region, visit www.tourism-bw.com.
Thursday, April 3, 2008
Everyone goes to Las Vegas to gamble... or to say that they've been to Vegas, baby....
You could be different... especially in these recession days... you could actually make money and profit while in Vegas... especially important when you're laid off from your job or if you've been laid off from your job... The average visitor loses $559 in gambling in Las Vegas... so you may want to hedge your bets... heh heh heh...
here are a few money-saving tips when going to Las Vegas...
l. Stay in a casino hotel off the Strip... 20 minutes south of Vegas, you could stay in Jean or Primm and pay a lot less... or you could go to Boulder Highway and pay less... Or you could stay at your timeshare...
2. Visit the casino buffets to save on food... Of course, if you do gamble, you may get a bunch of comps including food. Pig out at the Rio, Caesar's Palace, Harrah's, Monte Carlo, and others...
3. Spend the day a couple of hours away from Vegas... There are busses that go from the Strip every day to either Laughlin or Mesquite, for free... plus you get coupons and free food.
4. Visit the Fremont Street experience downtown, every night there are fireworks, entertainment, free shows. (800) 249-3559. Plus, the Golden Nugget downtown has a huge real gold nugget. You could get lucky and win a prize.
5. Enjoy the pirate show in front of Treasure Island. Watch the dancing fountains in front of the Belaggio. (888-987-6667)... See the Masquerade Show in the Sky at the Rio. Every two hours starting at 6 p.m. at the entrance to the Mirage, the white tigers are on display. Some of the other casinos that are worlds unto themselves are New York, New York, Luxor, Venetian, Paris, the Stratosphere Tower, Mandalay Bay. Lion Habitat at the MGM Grand. And be sure to shop at the Forum Shoppes at Caesar's Palace and the Fashion Show Mall. Or you could go to the gift shops that abound near Sahara and Las Vegas Boulevard and pick up a t-shirt and mugs.
6. If you must gamble, take a free class from any of the casinos and learn how to play poker. And don't forget the free drinks when you play the slots.
7. If you enjoy scenery and nature's wonders, yes, even in Vegas, go to Red Rock Canyon, Mt. Charleston, Valley of Fire (NOT in summer) or Lake Mead (okay, it's a fake lake)... Or take a day trip to the Grand Canyon ...
8. You can always get half price tickets for attractions such as Siegfried & Roy's Secret Garden and Dolphin Habitat, Hoover Dam Tour, Madame Tussaud's Interactive Wax Experience and Star Trek: The Experience.
9. Drive out to the Extraterrestrial Highway...Rachel, Nevada is home to the Area 51 Research Center and a fun little cafe called the Little Ale Inn... an alien experience of the desert kind.
10. Get married, re-married or divorced... Cost of Nevada marriage license, $35; Average cost of filing for divorce in Nevada, $450...
11. Eat chocolate or visit a factory and get free samples... M&M's World, Ethel M's, Vosges Haut-Chocolat. at the Forum Shoppes, and of course, the Bellagio's Jean-Philippe Patisserie chocolate fountain, a glass-encased 27 foot high chocolate fountain with 2,100 pounds of melted flowing chocolate. The Chocolate Swan, a bakery, chocolatier, café, located in the Mandalay Place shopping gallery between Mandalay Bay and Luxor...
12. Fun with the kids can be found at Floyd Lamb State Park, Gondola at the Venetian, Las Vegas Mini Gran Prix, Lied Discovery Children's Museum, Planetarium, and Observatory, Zoological - Botanical Park and Circus Circus' Adventuredome...
13. Traveling with a dog? Sure, there is Big Dog's, Nathan's Hot Dogs, and even some pet friendly places in Sin City... dog parks abound... and there are a bunch of hikes where you and your dog can go...