Travel

Get Away and Save

Great American Road Trip Cancer Patients Free Lodging Golf in Jamaica Kennedy Space Center Yellowstone Park Visit Sarasota The Perfect Family Reunion

Get Away And Save

(NAPSI)--It’s not always where you’re going but who’s by your side that can create some of your best vacation memories. According to a recent PhoCusWright study, 70 percent of travelers said vacations are more about spending time with the people they care about rather than the destination.

That said, the place you stay at can make a difference in the quality of time you get to spend with friends and family. You can reconnect in spacious and comfortable accommodations with a vacation rental. Unlike hotels, these come in a variety of shapes and sizes, from beach homes to villas to houseboats. They can fit large groups opting to stay together and share vacation costs, and small parties looking for a more intimate vacation.

Vacation Rental Benefits

• Room for everyone to enjoy. Travelers can spread out, relax and cherish time together in roomy common living areas as well as retreat to private bedrooms, many of which have individual televisions. Plus, in a vacation rental, you’ll likely have more than one bathroom.

• Homelike amenities. Familiar conveniences such as in-unit washers and dryers can make packing for vacation easier, lighter and less time consuming. Simpler packing can translate to less stress throughout the vacation and the possibility of saving money on airline baggage charges.

• Fully equipped kitchens. These can also cut costs since you can prepare and enjoy a home-made meal together in the rental instead of dining out. Eating in can also be the healthier option, according to recent studies.

• More value for your money. With an average size of 1,850 square feet, vacation rentals are more than five times as large as the average hotel room, so you get more space for the money. What’s more, the average rental costs less: $68.51 per bedroom compared to the average hotel room price of $106.08.

Find Deals On Vacation Rentals

Right now, vacationers can take advantage of deals of up to 35 percent off a stay with Wyndham Vacation Rentals. Opting for professionally managed companies such as Wyndham Vacation Rentals, which is backed by a Vacation Rental Bill of Rights that ensures quality standards and service, can offer peace of mind throughout the vacation experience.

Learn More

For more information about the benefits of a vacation rental or to book your next stay, visit www.WyndhamVacationRentals.com.

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Take A Great American Road Trip

(NAPSI)—The American highway system is now over a century old: In 1913, the Lincoln Highway became the first hard-topped, graded road across the continent.

Ways To Go

Ever since, that road and its sister highways—from the one that’s perhaps the most famous, Route 66, traversing the American west; to the “Blues Highway” that connects New Orleans and Minnesota; and from U.S. 1 that goes from Maine to Key West; to the Scenic Route 100 Byway along the edge of Vermont’s Green Mountains—have been calling to travelers.

You Can Take It With You

If the lure of the road has you agreeing with Jack Kerouac in “On the Road” that “We gotta go and never stop going till we get there,” you may be glad to know that getting all your gear to go with you may be easier than you think. As people are trending to drive smaller cars these days, they are having a harder time figuring out how to bring all their gear with them on their road trip. We are big fans of using a roof box for getting our skis to the mountains in the winter and are even bigger fans of using them for road trips in the summer. Modern roof boxes are aerodynamic, install/remove in a matter of minutes and look great on cars. The experts on safe, secure and stylish transportation at Thule have come up with a wide range of cargo boxes that can make your American road trip great. These boxes come in a wide range of sizes, finishes and colors that complement the looks of just about any car on the road.

Learn More

For further facts and information on roof boxes and how to install them, go to www.thule.com.

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Program Offers Cancer Patients Free Lodging

(NAPSI)—For many cancer patients, getting the care they require can mean the financial hardship of traveling to a treatment facility far from home for weeks or months at a time. Fortunately, that’s where Extended Stay America’s “Keys to Hope” program steps in. Extended Stay America, the largest owner-operated hotel chain in the U.S., recently made an unprecedented donation to the American Cancer Society, providing 40,000 free and deeply discounted hotel stays to patients who have to travel to receive cancer treatment.

The program is already changing lives, like the Grady family, whose 31-year-old-son Mike was diagnosed with Stage 2 testicular cancer. “You never think cancer will touch your family,” said Jan Grady, Mike’s mother. “When it does, it’s like the rug is pulled out from under you.” Mike’s treatment at a facility in Boulder, Colo., about an hour away from his home, included five-hour chemotherapy sessions every day for the first week of three, three-week cycles.

“Knowing he couldn’t drive back and forth every day, I called the American Cancer Society for help and was told about the Extended Stay America program,” Jan said. For the first week of daily treatments, Mike’s father, Peter, traveled from North Carolina to be with him and the two stayed at the Extended Stay America hotel near the treatment center. “Without this, it would have been a tremendous financial hardship. This program lessened our burden by thousands of dollars.” Since completing his treatment, Jan reports, “Mike is doing wonderfully! He has a new job and has gradually resumed his training for trail running races.”

Patients and caregivers can take advantage of the donation at all the hotel chain’s 632 locations across 44 states, including hotels conveniently located near U.S. News and World Report top-ranked cancer hospitals such as University of Texas M.D. Anderson, Memorial Sloan Kettering, Johns Hopkins Hospital and many more.

“The American Cancer Society is dedicated to removing the barriers that cancer patients face when seeking treatment,” said Kristen Solt, vice president, Hope Lodge Network, American Cancer Society. “Traveling for treatment puts an additional burden on people who are already experiencing emotional and financial stress.

“We’re thrilled to have the Extended Stay America donation as every room we provide makes a huge impact. In Houston, for example, the demand for lodging well exceeds our resources, and now with Extended Stay America’s rooms, we are able to meet many more patients’ needs for lodging while in Houston.”

To request a room, patients and their caregivers should contact the American Cancer Society at 1-800-227-2345. To join in the fight against cancer, visit www.ExtendedStayAmerica.com or call 1-800-804-3724. For information about American Cancer Society programs and services, visit www.cancer.org or call 1-800-227-2345.

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Win A Game In Jamaica

(NAPSI)—One golfer, along with a buddy, and one golf blogger may soon be swept away to play the same courses as are in the Jamaica Invitational Pro-Am “Annie’s Revenge” in Montego Bay when they win a sweet sweepstakes.

Between June 18th and July 10th, golfers can submit their entries via a simple sign-up form on a Jamaica Tourist Board social page at http://www.visitjamaica.com/anniesrevenge. Bloggers can create a post and promote it on their social page with #anniesrevenge to qualify.

The golfing event is considered the best Pro-Am in the region. The sweepstakes winners will enjoy the same five-star Iberostar Grand Rose Hall in Montego Bay as the tournament players do. It offers a five-day, luxury all-inclusive experience including butler and concierge service, gourmet dining, full-service spa and nightly entertainment.

During their July 24 to 27 stay, they’ll also compete over 36 holes on two of Jamaica’s best championship golf courses, Cinnamon Hill and White Witch.

Learn More

Anyone interested in participating in the tournament or the sweepstakes can find out more and register online at http://www.visitjamaica.com/anniesrevenge.

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American Space Heroes Join Astronaut
Hall Of Fame At Kennedy Space Center

(NAPSI)—Space Shuttle astronauts and American heroes Shannon Lucid and Jerry Ross recently joined the ranks of legendary space pioneers Neil Armstrong, John Glenn, Alan Shepard, Jim Lovell, Sally Ride and John Young with their induction into the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame during a moving ceremony at Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex. Lucid is the only American woman to serve aboard the Russian Space Station Mir, and Ross is the first human to complete seven space shuttle missions. The setting for the induction, underneath the Atlantis orbiter in the new Space Shuttle AtlantisSM attraction at the Visitor Complex, was fitting because Atlantis carried Lucid to Mir for her historic 188 days on the space station in 1996, and five of Ross' seven flights were on Atlantis. The Astronaut Hall of Fame, part of the popular Visitor Complex, features fascinating and historic spacecraft from the U.S. Space Program and the world's largest collection of personal astronaut memorabilia.

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Helping Keep Yellowstone Green

(NAPSI)—When you get down to it, the pristine beauty and educational advantages of America’s national parks depend on a lot of vehicles and their tires. In fact, one such park runs some 466 vehicles, including 267 light trucks, 63 passenger cars, 75 heavy trucks, three agricultural vehicles and 58 earthmovers.

Fortunately for the park (and the taxpayers), Michelin North America, Inc. donates tires for the majority of its fleet. This also supports critical environmental goals and fiscal savings. The tire company is a corporate partner of the Yellowstone Park Foundation, the official and only fundraising organization for the park.

The tires help Yellowstone cut both costs and its use of raw materials and lower fuel consumption through industry-leading green tire technology. This is significant considering that, on average, Yellowstone vehicles travel 3.75 million miles per year on the park’s more than 420 miles of roadways.

In addition, the company regularly sends field engineers to help the park optimize tire use for better fuel economy and performance. The training it provides on handling specialized tires has led to improved performance, efficiency and safety, and a considerable reduction in maintenance costs.

“By saving Yellowstone over a quarter million dollars each year, Michelin’s exceptional generosity allows the park to divert the funds it saves to other important projects, and maximize its resources,” says Karen Bates Kress, Yellowstone Park Foundation president.

For example:

• A new tread design that gives the park year-round use of just one tire for snow, ice, mud and bare pavement. The reduction (estimated at 60 percent) in tires that need to be “chained up” in winter saves tire wear, labor and fleet downtime.

• In keeping with its 113-year history of creating maps and travel guides, the tire company publishes “The Yellowstone Park Foundation’s Official Guide to Yellowstone National Park.” This 106-page book represents one of the most in-depth guides to the park. It’s sold at Yellowstone and at Amazon.com and BarnesandNoble.com. Proceeds go to the Yellowstone Park Foundation.

All together, through its donations and work, the tire company helps Yellowstone save some $275,000 to $300,000 a year.

Learn More

You can find further facts at www.michelin-us.com and www.ypf.org.

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Wild About Wildlife

(NAPSI)—Ecotourism’s growing foothold in the tourism industry is driving travelers to seek out destinations for exploration rather than just escape.

One popular spot is Sarasota County on southwest Florida’s Gulf Coast. In addition to a vibrant arts, cultural and culinary scene and “best beaches” reputation (Dr. Beach, 2011), there are numerous ways to enjoy the area’s natural beauty and un_spoiled sites.

To help, an updated edition of the “Discover Natural Sarasota” guide provides facts and tips on this region’s natural paradise (home of Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus).

Developed with parks and nature groups, the booklet informs visitors about hiking, walking, running, paddle sports, cycling, wildlife viewing, birding, fishing, parks, preserves and other natural places. Each section has an over_view, top spots, frequently asked Q&A and an “Ask a Local” column.

To learn more, go to www.visitsarasota.org. The guides are located at the Official Visitor Information Center, 701 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota, FL 34236.

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Planning The Perfect Family Reunion

(NAPSI)—If you are like most people in America, you’ve probably been to a family reunion.

According to a recent survey by the global independent research company Ipsos, 63 percent of respondents have been to a family reunion, with 29 percent attending a reunion in the past two years.

How We Reunion

• The average length of a family reunion trip is five days and includes eight adults and four children.

• Families’ most cherished reunion memories are simply made of “spending time together” (81 percent), followed by group meals (60 percent). In fact, more than half of respondents also said “cooking great food” is the best way to impress the family.

• The top ways to offend family members are “drinking too much” (28 percent), followed closely by “paying too much attention to your phone or tablet” (26 percent) and “being a cheapskate” (15 percent).

One-third of travelers selected a vacation rental as the ideal accommodation for a family reunion. Vacation rentals are generally twice the space at half the cost of a hotel room, and offer vital amenities for families to spend time, cook, eat, play and make lasting memories together all under the same roof.

How To Plan a Reunion

The survey reveals more than half of reunion-goers begin to plan for their family’s event six to 12 months in advance. Therefore, Edith Wagner, editor of Reunions magazine and www.reunionsmag.com, says it’s never too soon to start organizing your family reunion and offers these five tips to get started:

1. Don’t do it alone. Survey the family’s skills and talents, and ask for volunteers. Recruit good cooks to cater a picnic, ask teens to set up and maintain web and Facebook pages and ask a financial whiz to be your treasurer.

2. Set a date and stick to it. Check with others to see if there are any calendar conflicts, such as weddings, graduations and trips. Send a save-the-date message as soon as it is set and do not change the date under any circumstances.

3. Location, location, location. Like all things in life, location can make or break a reunion. Any spot where families can go on vacation is also suitable for family reunions, as long as there is space to house the attendees. HomeAway.com offers a “sleeps” sort function where you can select the number of people to accommodate, which can help with trip planning.

4. Make it affordable. When it comes to family reunions, planners need to take into account the ages, abilities, resources and life stages of attendees. Make your choices with all income levels in mind so that the reunion is affordable for everyone.

5. Plan something for everyone ... but don’t overplan. Know your reunion members and their interests to plan activities that will involve all ages and passions. For example, if golf is important—as it is to 20 percent of reunions—make sure it is on the agenda. That said, remember to include time to just sit, talk, reminisce and be together.

Learn More

For more facts or to find your next family reunion rental, visit www.HomeAway.com.

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