Travel

Emerald Isle Beauty and History

Business Aviation Takes Flight Vacation Rentals Valley Forge Recreation Student Travel Avoid Luggage Fees Texas Recreation Driving Safety

In Praise of the Emerald Isle

(NAPSI)—It's not unusual for people to recommend a vacation destination, but when Queen Elizabeth II and President Barack Obama honored Ireland with their presence, travelers took note.

Visits by these dignitaries helped boost the number of tourists visiting Ireland by 15 percent, according to a recent Reuters article. Both visits took place within a matter of days, with the U.S. president commenting on his distant Irish ancestry and the queen being the first British regent to visit in a century.

Tourists figured these world travelers must know just how much Ireland has to offer.

There is so much to see on the Emerald Isle that many visitors prefer taking a coach tour so they won't miss any of Ireland 's wild natural beauty, quaint villages or rich historical legacy.

CIE Tours International will feature three of more than 40 tours in 2012: the seven-day Southern Gems, the eight- or nine-day Irish Gold, and the 12- or 13-day Irish Classic, which all include a horse-drawn car ride through Killarney's National Park; a traditional Irish evening of song, dance and perhaps a pint of Guinness; as well as breathtaking views from the top of the Cliffs of Moher.

Additionally, the Southern Gems tour includes a visit to the National Stud, where you will see prizewinning racehorses. The Irish Gold includes a dinner at the renowned Killeen House Restaurant in Killarney, and the Irish Classic tour includes a visit to Giant's Causeway, with its astounding 60 million-year-old volcanic formed columns.

Several events on the calendar for 2012 will also draw visitors to Ireland .

• Lovers of nautical history and movie trivia may set a course for the "Remembering the Titanic" event in Belfast.

• Runners may want to participate in The Great Ireland Run, Ireland 's fastest-growing 10-km running event, in Phoenix Park, Dublin.

• Those who appreciate fine stitching may want to attend the first annual International Quilt Festival of Ireland, located in a special Quilter's Village on the banks of the River Corrib.

When deciding on a tour, consider the benefits of all-inclusive travel. Read the fine print to see what is included in the tour price so you don't face daily sales pitches for meals and special events or attractions. CIE Tours' $550+ Advantage means everything is included, so you will not encounter unexpected costs for "extras."

For more information, visit www.cietours.com/emeraldisle or call (800) 243-8687.

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Now With More Options, Business Aviation Takes Flight

(NAPSI)—Increasingly, travelers are discovering that business aviation can take them where they want to go.

One of the biggest advantages of flying privately is more access. Commercial airlines serve just 450 airports in the U.S. , while business jets can fly to more than 5,000. What's more, private jets are able to reach any of the more than 100 cities that have lost airline service since the economic downturn.

Private aviation can not only reach more destinations, but it can get travelers there even more quickly. Business jets are certified to fly higher than commercial planes, enabling them to fly faster and arrive at destinations more quickly than even direct flights.

In addition to shorter travel, time can more efficiently be used on a private jet, as important meetings can be held or travelers can focus on key projects and make important phone calls from the air. Travelers also benefit from customizing their trips. "With one phone call, travelers can visit up to three cities, pitch five proposals and return home in time for dinner," adds Fred Reid, president of Flexjet, the sales and marketing agent for Jet Solutions in connection with the Flexjet 25 Jet Card program, as Flexjet is not an air carrier.

Many companies are finding that these advantages are good for business.

According to a report by NEXA Advisors, companies that use business aircraft outperform non-aviation users in several important financial measures, including annual earnings growth, stock and dividend growth, total share price, market capitalization and other financial yardsticks.

To provide its customers with even more ways to personalize their private jet travel options, the Flexjet 25 Jet Card program—operated by U.S. air carrier Jet Solutions—recently unveiled a new debit card product. Created for those with varied travel requirements, the debit card gives customers access to as many private flight hours as they need-along with an unlimited travel calendar—aboard high-performance Learjet or Challenger aircraft.

Following an initial deposit, debit card customers benefit from 24-hour call-out times, competitive pricing and flat hourly rates with no long-term commitment, management fees or up-front capital costs.

The program also guarantees 365-day availability on the Learjet 40 XR, Learjet 45 XR, Learjet 60 XR and Challenger 300 aircraft, with advance reservations and no blackout dates; access to the program's Challenger 604 aircraft is provided on an as-available basis.

The program's customer account managers are available around the clock to assist with all travel arrangements, from scheduling the aircraft to catering and ground transportation. The flight cost is then deducted from the debit card balance, which can be replenished via an automatic or manual recharge option. With new options such as this new debit card, it's never been easier to take to the skies.

For more information, visit www.flexjet25.com or call (866) 473-0025.

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Vacation Rentals On The Rise—Book Smart

(NAPSI)—Vacation rentals are gaining in popularity among Americans looking to spend quality time with family and friends. That popularity is due in part to the growing number of properties available online, as well as the many advantages this type of lodging offers.

From abundant space and privacy to convenient home amenities such as a washer/dryer and fully equipped kitchens, vacation rentals appeal to the practical-minded traveler. Vacation rentals also offer a more authentic way to experience a destination, and some include such extras as cleaning services and golf course access. Reaching beyond the traditional home or condo offerings, a number of vacation rental companies even feature castles, houseboats and cottages.

For budget-conscious travelers, vacation rentals also provide excellent value, with pricing often lower than other lodging options. But it is important to ask yourself a few questions before booking a vacation rental online:

1. Who do I book with? Book a vacation rental directly with the owner through a listing service site or by opting for a professionally managed rental service that acts on behalf of a rental's owner. For added security, use a professionally managed rental service that's backed by a global hospitality brand like Wyndham Vacation Rentals, which owns trusted brands such as ResortQuest, Hoseasons and The Resort Company. With these businesses, you get globally recognized customer service, clearly outlined quality and safety standards applied to each rental, and a local presence well acquainted with the area.

2. Who do you call if there's a problem? There should be customer service representatives who speak your native language and can dispatch a local team for on-site repair assistance in a timely manner if needed. Look for the terms "professionally managed" or "full-service" when doing your search.

3. Is what I see what I get? Professionally managed vacation rental companies consistently provide updated and accurate rental pictures and descriptions, which is not always the case with listing services. If you decide to book with an individual property owner through a listing service, be sure to check recent feedback from previous guests.

4. Can you book in real time? Booking with a renowned hospitality brand allows you to enjoy secure booking along with competitive, real-time rates within the destination, which avoids haggling with the owner.

Now that you have a better idea of what to look for—and how to safeguard your peace of mind—enjoy your vacation rental booking experience. For more information, visit www.wyndhamrentals.com.

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A Wintry Mix Of Recreation

(NAPSI)—Don't be discouraged by wintry weather if you're looking for outdoor fun. Some locations have a lot to offer during the colder months.

For example, the Valley Forge area of Pennsylvania, 18 miles outside Philadelphia, offers plenty of outdoor thrills when the weather chills.

From Spring Mountain Adventures in Schwenksville to the trails at Valley Forge National Historical Park, the destination offers a wintry mix of outdoor recreation.

Ski Slopes

Eight ski slopes at Spring Mountain Adventures traverse Montgomery County's highest peak and two separate runs are exclusive to downhill snowtubing. This intimate mountain, complete with canopy tours and more, is the perfect place to learn to ski and snowboard, and its conditions are always just right, thanks to state-of-the-art snowmaking.

Sledding

When Mother Nature provides the precipitation, sleds and toboggans are welcome at the popular 400-foot slope, near lot five in the Militia Hill Day Use area at Fort Washington State Park. The park, located in Springfield and Whitemarsh Townships, offers daily updates on the hill's conditions via www.dcnr.state.pa.us.

Ice Fishing

To the north, at Green Lane Park, hiking the many county trails is common and ice-skaters take to the lake when the conditions are just right. Anxious anglers, impatient for spring's thaw, even try their luck ice fishing for rainbow trout. All that's needed is resolve and a Pennsylvania fishing license.

Cross-Country

Calm and relaxed or vigorous and energetic, cross-country skiing is a breathtaking escape. Whether gliding through freshly fallen snow along the rolling countryside of Valley Forge National Historical Park, the multipurpose trails of Lower Perkiomen Valley Park in Oaks or the 1.7-mile loop at Fort Washington State Park, it's a great way to enjoy the crisp cool air and the area's amazing scenery.

So instead of hibernating this winter, brave the cold and come out to Valley Forge and Montgomery County. For suggestions on all there is to do, indoors and out, visit www.valleyforge.org.

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One Secret To Success May Be Travel

(NAPSI)—Travel can improve a student's odds of success, says a recent report.

The online poll has linked student travel to gaining a competitive edge in business. According to the Brightspark Edu-Travel Report, 94 percent of respondents said being well traveled translates into a competitive advantage in the workplace.

The survey discovered that eight in 10 respondents felt school student travel provided key leadership traits such as confidence. Forty-six percent also said it fosters ambition. Five of every 10 said they learned to appreciate different cultural perspectives through their school travels. Finally, 35 percent felt student travel taught them to take risks and feel comfortable with the unknown.

Today's class trips can include performing in front of Broadway producers or exploring the Great Wall of China.

"Travel lets people connect with peers easily through shared frames of reference," said Matt Wilson, co-founder of Under30CEO.com. "My class trips taught me pivotal social and cultural skills, and these turned into key business-building skills that I rely on every day."

The survey also found that catching the travel bug early on could have positive long-term effects on women's lives, often relating to increased success later in life.

The report found that women who took a school trip as students were significantly more likely than their nontraveling counterparts to report being happier and having greater success with their family, investments and social connections.

The majority of women who traveled as youngsters (43 percent) gave themselves a five out of five on family and on overall happiness. In contrast, the majority of those who hadn't traveled (42 percent) scored lower, with a four out of five in both categories. Similar patterns appeared in relation to success with investments and social connections.

Student travel opens up new horizons for children, which in turn fosters confidence. In women's lives, this can carry through into adulthood.

For complete survey findings, call (877) 545-0070 or visit www.brightsparktravel.com.

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Traveling Light

(NAPSI)—If you would rather avoid long airport lines and checked-luggage fees, there is an economical travel option. Consider shipping gifts, clothing and other belongings to your destination.

Here are a few tips from FedEx:

• Before shipping luggage, contact your destination to ensure that someone can accept and securely store your luggage.

• Visit a FedEx office location or one of its shipping centers to obtain sturdy boxes, tie-on tags and a luggage-shipping bag.

• Ensure that your shipping label is securely attached. Place additional address labels on and in luggage.

• For shipping regulations, to calculate shipping rates and to create and print shipping labels, visit www.fedex.com.

• Shipping luggage outside the U.S. ? Call 1-800-GO-FedEx to ask about regulations and duties.

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A Destination That's Big On Family Fun

(NAPSI)—It's not always easy to find a vacation destination that has something for everyone in the family. There is, however, a city in Texas that offers just that.

Whether you're looking for family fun at world-class theme parks or the thrills of NFL or MLB teams, Arlington, Texas, has it—and more.

The city is home to both the Dallas Cowboys football team—and the world-class Cowboys stadium—and the MLB Texas Rangers baseball team.

For those seeking active family fun, there's the Six Flags Over Texas theme park—with the largest roller coaster in Texas—and Six Flags Hurricane Harbor water park.

Located between Fort Worth and Dallas, it's at the crossroads of seven major highways, several Amtrak train routes and two major airports.

To get the latest on events and special deals, visit www.arlington.org.

 

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Make Sure Your Lights Shine Bright

(NAPSI)—Making sure your headlights are in proper working order should be a top priority before any road trip—whether you are going on an afternoon drive or heading off for vacation.

"Lights play a major role in safe driving, as the chance of an accident increases if you can't see or be seen," said Rich White, executive director, Car Care Council.

Lights are normal-wear items that require periodic inspection and replacement. The lighting system provides nighttime visibility, signals and alerts other drivers, and supplies light for viewing instruments and the vehicle's interior. From the driver's seat, you may not notice a light that isn't working, so be sure to inspect your car's lights at every oil change. At the same time, inspect and replace wiper blades so you can see clearly when driving during rain showers.

In addition to replacing dimming, rapidly blinking and non-functioning lights, the following tips can help keep you safe:

• Keep headlights, taillights and signal lights clean. External dirt and debris can dim operational lights from being seen by others.

• Make sure that your headlights are properly aimed. Mis-aimed headlights blind other drivers and reduce your ability to see the road.

• Don't overdrive your headlights. You should be able to stop inside the illuminated area; otherwise, you are creating a blind crash area in front of your vehicle.

• If there is any doubt about whether or not your headlights should be on, turn them on. Lights not only help you see better in early twilight, they also make it easier for other drivers to see you.

About the Car Care Council

The Car Care Council is the source of information for the "Be Car Care Aware" consumer education campaign, promoting the benefits of regular vehicle care, maintenance and repair to consumers. For a copy of the council's "Car Care Guide" or for more information, visit www.carcare.org.

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