Travel:

Hawaii Vacation Ownership Great Get Away Vacation Rentals Keep Kids Busy Keep Kids Comfortable College Visits Cruise Deals

Condos In Hawaii: Affordable And Luxurious

(NAPSI)-A great way to make your travel dollar go farther may be to take a luxurious vacation with spacious accommodations in the beautiful Hawaiian Islands.

How? By staying in a condominium. That can not only mean more room (and more rooms) than at a hotel, but condominiums often offer such economical conveniences as your own kitchen, so you can save on food, and a washer and dryer, so you can pack lighter and check fewer suitcases.

Condo living also provides deluxe resort accommodations- with generously sized private rooms, living areas and plenty of outdoor space to unwind for your comfort, convenience and flexibility.

At the same time, you get the customer service and hospitality of a traditional hotel including a knowledgeable staff that will help you with whatever you need.

Most of the resorts in the Outrigger Condominium Collection are set on beautiful spacious grounds with lots of room to roam, and perfect for home-style barbecues, picnics, family activities and even time alone. Close, convenient and complimentary parking at most of the properties means easy in-and-out access without waiting for a valet to retrieve your car.

Many travelers consider it the best of both worlds and a more independent way to visit the islands.

Learn More

Your travel professional can give you more information or you can call Outrigger at (800) 688-7444 or go to www.outriggeragent.com/outriggercondotips.

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Need A New Year's Resolution? Think Vacation

(NAPSI)-Every year, Americans make the same resolutions--lose weight, start exercising regularly and quit smoking--all in an effort to lead healthier, more fulfilling lives. But inevitably, many resolutions fall by the wayside.

What many Americans don't realize is that there is an easier, more enjoyable way to stay healthy: Take regular vacations. And vacation ownership offers that perfect opportunity to vacation how Americans want to vacation--any way they like.

Studies have shown the far-reaching health benefits of taking regular vacations and yet, according to an Expedia.com International Vacation Deprivation Survey, about one-third of employed U.S. adults do not take all of the vacation days they receive each year.

Wyndham Vacation Ownership offers two flexible timeshare programs, CLUB WYNDHAM® Plus and WorldMark, The Club, which provide owners with an annual points or credits-based currency to select when and where they want to vacation.

"Becoming an owner made sense to me because those credits are mine," said Regina Rollis, a longtime WorldMark, The Club owner. "I can use them this year, next year, in 20 years. I'll be taking vacations for the rest of my life with WorldMark."

It's really simple. Owners choose where they want to go, what type of condominium-style unit they want to stay in and how long they want to vacation. There are approximately 150 resorts to choose from. So whether it's a weekend in San Francisco or Washington, D.C., or a weeklong adventure to Orlando, it's easy to get right to the point and keep that New Year's resolution.

For more information about Wyndham Vacation Ownership, please visit WyndhamVacationResorts.com or WorldMarkbyWyndham.com.

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Making The Case For Getting Away

(NAPSI)-When it comes to cutting stress and leading a healthier, more balanced life, it seems it could pay to get away.

"A crucial element to maintaining life balance is taking breaks and vacations," says stress expert and founder of The Stress Institute Dr. Kathleen Hall. "Research shows it's important to allow yourself time to get away. It can rejuvenate you and leave you ready to deal with challenges head-on."

Unfortunately, it seems many Americans aren't getting their travel tickets punched. In fact, a national survey found that one in four people are not planning on taking all their vacation days this year, with 40 percent of those respondents citing work-related reasons. Yet 72 percent of Americans feel they don't have balance in their lives, and that vacations could help change that.

So which Americans may be most in need of a vacation? The Life Balance Barometer, which was conducted for Princess Cruises by Harris Interactive, found that residents of Chicago say they have the least amount of balance in their lives, followed by those living in Houston, Boston, Los Angeles and San Diego. People in Miami seem to have the most balance, along with residents of Minneapolis, Cincinnati, Las Vegas and Dallas/Fort Worth.

Finding Balance

According to the poll, the top things Americans feel will help them achieve better life balance include realizing financial success, getting organized and taking more breaks and vacations.

Improving physical fitness also ranked high on the list, but in what seems like a clear disconnect, when asked what they do to destress when they get home from work, only 17 percent of Americans cited exercise.

Dr. Hall says that regardless of the approach you take to balance your life, cutting stress is key. "When people are stressed out, it can be hard for them to focus on the priorities that will help get them back in balance," she explains. "Taking just a few minutes to do something for yourself each day can make a big difference. However, the poll showed us that nearly a third of people who focus on themselves--even rarely--feel guilty about it."

Getting Away From Stress

According to the study, the top-five things Americans do to de-stress at the end of the day are changing their clothes, laying down, kissing their spouse/partner, playing with their pet and reading a book or a magazine.

Additionally, 64 percent of people who say they have attained life balance have taken a vacation in the last year. If you're considering a getaway, Dr. Hall has this bit of advice: "Keep it simple." That could mean opting for an all-inclusive trip, such as a cruise. "They require minimal planning and provide a completely different environment than what most people are used to. That's key to removing yourself from the stressors of everyday life," she says.

Looking Ahead

More than 53 percent of respondents polled said they believe they will achieve life balance in the next five years, yet 15 percent said they will not have balance until they retire--possibly leaving them at a loss, says Hall.

"You don't have to wait years to find balance. Do something for yourself today and you'll start to reap the benefits," she explains.

For more information on the poll or on planning a vacation, visit www.princess.com.

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Vacation Rentals: An Ideal Option For Budget Travel

(NAPSI)-Planning your next vacation but not sure where to stay? One appealing alternative to a hotel stay is renting a vacation home; over 21 million Americans over the past two years have discovered that vacation rentals combine popular destinations with serious savings on lodging and dining.

Ditch The High-Priced Hotel, Keep Valued Amenities

Vacation rentals are properties offered by individual homeowners or property managers that offer the privacy and amenities of home, often with up to 40 percent savings compared to staying in a hotel. Vacation rentals give travelers the ability to cook meals, much as they would at home, eliminating large restaurant bills. Additionally, vacation homes often offer other valued amenities, such as living rooms, pools and hot tubs, multiple bedrooms (without connecting doors, for large groups or families with children), backyards and other individually unique property attributes. Some properties even allow you to bring the family pet.

Finding Your Dream Destination

So how do you find the vacation home that fits your needs? There are a handful of Web sites that offer travelers listings of vacation rentals with photos and detailed information on amenities, allowing you to search and sort listings according to your unique specifications.

FlipKey (www.flipkey.com), a leading vacation rental Web site, offers more than 100,000 properties to choose from. Properties on the site are reviewed by past guests to help you find the ideal vacation home. And with properties around the world--from ski chalets to beach bungalows--travelers can find vacation homes in their favorite destination.

Own A Second Home? You Could Be Earning $27,000 Annually

While many second homes sit empty for the bulk of the year, more and more owners are opting to turn that vacant home into serious money. FlipKey found that the average homeowner will make $27,000 a year in additional income by renting out his or her second home. With the Internet being the first place travelers turn to to start planning their travels, it makes perfect sense to advertise your home online. It's also much easier and more cost effective to manage than a print ad.

Whether you're looking to plan a vacation or put your second home to work, check out the online world of vacation rentals and see what the buzz is all about.

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Keep The Family Busy And Bonding On A Road Trip

by Emily Kaufman

(NAPSI)-If you find yourself saying "Are we there yet?" as often as your kids on road trips, you may be on the wrong route for family travel.

Today, with both high-tech and low-tech ways to keep the family entertained, kids can have as much fun in the car as when they arrive.

Here are some tips on how families can make the most of every minute and every dollar on the road this year:

  1. Avoid high-tech disconnect--A number of cars today, including the Volkswagen Routan, have lots of great high-tech features such as DVD players and Wi-Fi. Instead of having everyone plug in and tune out, use this technology to bond. Have the kids research and learn more about where you're visiting and what fun things the family can do there together. You can watch an educational DVD about your destination. On the way back, use your technology to make a slide show of your trip pictures and send it to friends and families.
  2. Embrace some low-tech time--While technology can be a great travel tool for part of the trip, families should take advantage of the time in the car together to reconnect. Play card games, sing songs together, tell stories about when you were kids and create new vacation memories. Another low-tech fun thing to do is to listen to stories on tape--it's a great way for the whole family, including the driver, to do something together. The Routan has a USB port, allowing you to download your favorite books and songs.
  3. Plan ahead to avoid splurging on the road--There are two major ways to waste money on a road trip--on food and drinks and on your gas. Make sure you get your oil changed and tires pumped up to avoid potential unnecessary stops along the way and increasing your gas mileage. Because Carefree Maintenance is standard on all current Routans, it makes preparation easier so you can drive more and worry less. As for food, there's something about a road trip that gives families the munchies. Prep healthy meals and snacks ahead of time, such as sandwiches and sliced fruits and vegetables. And don't forget to bring water and avoid sugary drinks. Some say sugar highs and lows make both kids and parents cranky. Don't forget to take a cookie sheet along and use it as a tabletop for eating or even as a desk for drawing.
  4. Create a boredom bag--Get a few inexpensive toys, games and crafts and use them as prizes for car games or to reward good behavior. The new toys will be such a great surprise to the kids and yet make a small dent to the road-trip budget.

For more information on the Routan or other VW products, visit www.vw.com.

  • Emily Kaufman, known as America's Travel Mom, is a proud mother of two and a nationally recognized travel expert. She's regularly featured on TV and radio, in publications and online, offering her practical pointers for family travel with children of all ages. Kaufman believes travel can be a wonderful way for families to share time together.

Emily Kaufman

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Are We There Yet? Keep Kids Happy On A Road Trip With Fun And Affordable Travel Gear

(NAPSI)-When traveling with children--even just around town--a little planning can go a long way. It's key to bring along plenty of distractions. Here are six hints that can help:

1. Get Ready:

Get the kids properly prepped for the trip by enlisting them in active play just prior to drive time. This will allow them to burn off excess energy so they can relax in the car.

For long trips, try to leave just after lunchtime (so the kids aren't hungry) and before afternoon nap time (so they can sleep in the car).

2. Make the Car Comfortable:

Install sunshades in the backseat so naps last longer and there are no tears shed over bright sunlight in the kiddies' eyes. The Fisher-Price Color Changing Sunshade is a great buy at Target.com.

Pack a pillow, blanket, favorite toy and sippy cup. DwellStudio for Target and Circo both offer a variety of wallet-friendly fleece and plush blankets. Also pack a goody bag with favorite books and interactive toys.

3. Stick to Routines:

Maintain your child's routine as much as possible and take sufficient breaks for naps and meals.

Packing plenty of fun and healthy food can save time and money spent at fast-food restaurants. Smart snacks from Archer Farms at Target include 100-calorie organic cookie snack packs and fruit strips.

Save money and ensure roadside fun by planning a picnic for lunch or dinner. This will provide all family members with a little time to stretch their legs.

4. Maximize Out-of-Car Time:

A good rule of thumb is to take a 10-minute break every two hours. Make rest stops fun by using a GPS system or Google Maps to locate schools and parks that have playgrounds.

5. Create a Mobile Cinema:

If your car doesn't already have a DVD player, bring along a laptop computer or portable DVD player to play your child's favorite movie. Make road-trip movie time special with popcorn and drinks.

6. Avoid Mishaps:

To alleviate accidents and the search for a clean bathroom, bring along a potty chair, such as the BabyBjorn Potty Chair, available at Target. Don't forget plenty of disposable baby wipes and disinfecting hand wipes. Target's owned brand of everyday essentials, up & up, offers affordable options to keep your kids and car clean while on the go.

Practice patience in the car with short, pleasant trips when your child is in a happy mood. A few good experiences will help set a positive travel pattern.

Learn More

For more information on all these budget-friendly travel products, visit a Target store or go online to www.target.com.

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Tips For Cutting Down On Costly College Visits

(NAPSI)-If your college-bound high school junior is interested in multiple universities, it may be tempting to just yell "road trip!" But campus tours can mean thousands of dollars in travel costs.

Fortunately, there are ways to visit colleges and universities without breaking the bank. Here are a few tips to save money on college tours:

  • Work with your teenager to do as much research as possible from home. Read college viewbooks, catalogs, Web sites, newspapers and activity calendars, and have him or her talk to currently enrolled students or alumni about their alma mater to get a feel for the school before visiting. After research, you may find that there are fewer colleges on the list.
  • Even if they're not interested in them, have your student check out colleges close to home to compare large schools to small schools. This could help them discover what they don't want and help narrow the list even further.
  • Once the school list is finalized, map them out into regions and try to combine a number of college tours into one road trip.
  • Before making travel plans, check with college admissions offices for any travel deals or other added incentives at local hotels. For example, now through Dec. 7, 2009, by booking a room at a Hampton hotel at Hampton.com and entering the promotional code "CAMPUS," you will be entered to win a drawing for $5,000, which could go toward your student's tuition. If you book far enough ahead, you can take advantage of the hotel's Advance Purchase Promotion to receive 15 percent off your stay.
  • Take advantage of airline and hotel loyalty programs, such as Hilton HHonors, to use points instead of cash for your accommodations.
  • Ask friends if their children are looking into visiting any of the same schools. Coordinate simultaneous trips with them to split the cost of gas and lodging.
  • Turn your family vacation into a college visit trip, tacking on an extra vacation day to visit a school or bringing your student on a business trip if there are colleges nearby.
  • Look into your student's high school to see if they organize college tours, which may be more affordable, or search online for "college tours" to find a company that provides campus tours, which can save you time organizing trips.

By planning ahead, not only will you save some cash, but your teen will get more out of the trip, allowing him or her to determine which school is a good match.

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Best Cruise Ship Deals

(NAPSI)-The best way to navigate a one-of-a-kind trip is to set course for a cruise ship vacation-but how do you find the right one?

With cruise fares at their best levels in a very long time, consider these tips:

  • Choose a cruise that departs from a nearby location. That can really help you get more value for your money. For example, Royal Caribbean International has cruises leaving from New York metro area; Baltimore; Norfolk, Va.; the Space Coast, Fort Lauderdale and Miami in Florida--to the Caribbean; and from Los Angeles to the Mexican Riviera.
  • Find out what they have to offer. For example, Royal Caribbean exclusively offers onboard surfing, kids' water park, ice-skating, inline skating, rock-climbing walls, cantilevered whirlpools and an interior boulevard that runs nearly the length of the ship, lined with boutiques, restaurants and lounges and bars.

There's Vegas-style gambling for adults and complimentary children and teen programs from morning to night.

For more information, visit www.royalcaribbean.com or call (800) ROYAL-CARIBBEAN.

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