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Travel Savings Alerts Newsletter, November 2005 Issue

Travel Savings Alerts
P.O. Box 91033
Columbus OH 43209
ISSN: 1542-801X, Copyright © 2005 
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In This Issue:
Segway Tour, Amelia Island Plantation

Segway Tour

  • Grand Opening Riu Hotels
  • Italiarail.com Reduced Winter Pricing
  • Picasso Wonderbar Packages to Germany
  • Holiday Rates at Oakwood Apartments
  • British Airways Offers London, Paris Sale
  • 2-for-1 Galapagos Cruises
  • Hotel Discounts & Fr.ee AMTRAK Ticket
  • Pittsburgh Fall Getaways
  • TourCrafters “Sunny Break” in Sicily $635
  • Weekend Getaway Copenhagen, Helsinki
  • Le Meridien 50% Off
  • Sunscape Puerto Aventuras Reopens
  • Mumps and International Travel
  • Chicago's Hotel Extravaganza
  • Aloha Air $33.80 Deal
  • Panama City Beach Deals
  • Exploring Amelia Island Plantation
  • Malaysia Airlines Extends Specials
  • A Profusion of Pearls
    It's not too early to think holidays or treat yourself to this cultured stunner. Cultured black freshwater pearls interspersed with sterling silver lend a lovely luster to this spectacular necklace. The perfect accessory, the extender chain with matching pearl adjusts the necklace length from 15 to 18 inches. Unbelievably priced at $129.

    A matching 8 inch long bracelet for a mere $109 completes the set. Click here to order.

    Grand Opening Riu Hotels, Jamaica

    The 856-room Riu Ocho Rios, in Ocho Rios, Jamaica, opens its doors Nov. 1, 2005. The third Riu resort in Jamaica, the Riu Hotels & Resorts chain offers a Grand Opening All Inclusive Special from $94 per person, per night for stays through Dec. 22, 2005.

    Jamaica's newest all-inclusive resort is located on the beach, surrounded by rainforests and waterfalls. The beachfront resort features two swimming pools, lush gardens, six restaurants, seven bars, a lounge, and a disco. Guests have fr.ee access to the gym, sauna, Jacuzzi and terrace-solarium.

    The grand opening special features: a standard ocean view room for $94 per person, per night; a standard oceanfront room from $119 per person, per night; a junior suite from $130 per person, per night; an oceanview suite from $190 per person, per night; and a Jacuzzi suite from $213 per person, per night. All suites have hydro-massage tubs and exclusive access to the Japanese restaurant.

    More specials and discount offers are listed on the chain’s web page.

    RIU Hotels & Resorts or 888/666-8816.

    Italiarail.com Reduced Winter Pricing

    ItaliaRail.com, the only North American website dedicated to Italian rail travel, offers new Trenitalia Winter Promo pricing and the new three-day rail pass for North Americans traveling to Italy for business, pleasure or the Winter 2006 Olympics. The promotion applies to Trenitalia Passes booked through Feb. 28, 2006, for travel through Mar. 31, 2006. To add to the savings, ItaliaRail.com is also giving away a fr.ee Italy guidebook with every Trenitalia Pass purchased.

    You can save more than 20 percent on Trenitalia Passes with the Winter Promo. A four-day pass starts at $132 and 10-day pass starts at $222. The Trenitalia Winter Promo is seasonal discounted pricing for the Trenitalia Pass, good only for travelers who are not residents of Italy. It allows first or second class travel on Trenitalia trains in Italy, for three to 10 consecutive or non-consecutive days within a span of two months.

    A new three-day pass starting at $117 is added.

    While supplies last, ItaliaRail.com will send you a fr.ee guidebook (limited three per customer) for every Trenitalia rail pass purchased. The guidebooks are published by DK and include Eyewitness Top 10 Travel Guide to Tuscany, Eyewitness Top 10 Travel Guide to Venice and Eyewitness Top 10 Travel Guide to Rome.

    ItaliaRail.com or 888/538-7245.

    NEW ACCENT LAMPS from KICHLER Lighting! Say hello to Gwyneth, Marilyn, Ruby, and others - they're fresh, fun, & attractive.

    Click here
    to view our whimsical assortment of accent lamps that use jewelry as shade embellishments to complement the design of the lamps. Then, click the What's New link to view!.

    Give a Jaguar -- An Amber Jaguar -- The remarkable face of a jaguar is hand-carved onto a lovely piece of cherry amber that's 33x20 mm in size. The dramatic pendent hangs on an ultra-chic 18" natural-colored leather necklace cord with a sterling silver clasp. Boy will this turn heads.

    High-style boutiques and jewelers charge $500 or more for this glam piece. It's yours for only $125 plus shipping & insurance. Click here to order.
    At the home page, click on the amber category.

    Picasso Wonderbar Packages to Germany

    Picasso Tours offers packages to Germany in time for the Christmas markets season. All four-night packages include three nights in Nuremberg, Regensburg or Frien and the last night in Munich.

    Packages begin at $499 per person, double occupancy, for departures through Dec. 15, 2005 and Jan. 3, through Mar. 23, 2006.

    Packages include roundtrip airfare from New York to Munich (departures available from other cities), four nights’ accommodations at three star hotels, breakfast and all local taxes and service charges. You can tailor a package to your needs by selecting options such as additional nights, hotel upgrades, car rentals or rail passes.

    Picasso also offers a seven-night package from $719 so you can stay at all four German cities.

    Picasso Tours or 800/995-7997.

    Holiday Rates at Oakwood Apartments

    Why spend another holiday on Uncle Harry's air mattress when you can stay in a fully appointed apartment. Oakwood Worldwide, a provider of furnished serviced apartments, offers short-term stays through Jan. 15, 2006, at participating Oakwoods across the U.S. and Asia.

    Sample prices include from $178 per day in New York and $94 per day in Los Angeles.

    Traditionally an extended-stay accommodation, Oakwood's short-term stays holiday promotion is the perfect way to have the comfort and space of an apartment yet be near family and friends. Every unit is furnished with a T.V. in every room; a new pillow-top bed with four pillows, down-like comforter with duvet and high thread-count sheets. The apartment also features a living room and fully equipped kitchen.

    Oakwood's holiday discounts are available in California, Illinois, Maryland, Minnesota, New York, Washington D.C. metro area, Bangkok, Thailand and Seoul, Korea. A minimum stay of two to five days apply.

    Oakwood Worldwide or 866/404-3237.

    British Airways Offers London, Paris Sale

    HURRY! BOOK BY NOV. 11 -- The two most popular cities in Europe, London and Paris, are on sale in a combined package starting at $598 from JFK, New York.

    The London/Paris package, valid for travel through Jan. 31, 2006, is on sale through Nov. 11, 2005, and includes roundtrip economy airfare between the U.S., London and Paris, two nights at the three-star Royal National hotel in London, two nights at the two-star Kyriad La Villette hotel in Paris and daily Continental breakfast.

    The two-city package is available from BA U.S. gateways at comparable prices: Newark $604; Boston $614; Philadelphia $625; Washington, D.C./Baltimore $635; Atlanta $651; Detroit/Houston $672; Chicago $693; Dallas/Fort Worth $730; Miami/Tampa/Orlando $735; Seattle, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Phoenix, Denver $767.

    An "exclusively Paris" option, from $539 from New York, also is available with sale prices from U.S. gateways. Sample Paris-only roundtrip fares, which include three nights’ hotel accommodations are $545 from Newark, $555 from Boston, $566 from Philadelphia, $576 from Baltimore/Washington, D.C., $634 from Chicago, $671 from Dallas/Fort Worth, $676 from Miami, and $708 from Los Angeles/Seattle/San Francisco/Denver/Phoenix.

    Additional nights, other hotels and room types are available, subject to space, at other participating hotels in London and Paris during the travel period. Rates vary depending on hotel selected, room type and time of travel.

    British Airways Holidays 877/428-2228. /

    Fun, Fr-ee Things, San Diego
    This savings-packed FR.EE brochure features almost 40 Fun, Fr-ee Things to do in San Diego. Attend concerts or visit a State Historic Park and keep that cash in your pocket by knowing what you can see and do for fr-ee.

    To get your Fr-ee Fun San Diego brochure, for a $1 handling fee, click here to send us an email Order Fr-ee Fun San Diego in the subject line.

    2-for-1 Galapagos Cruises

    The Eclipse, an expedition vessel that travels to the Galapagos Islands, offers a two-for-one special on all remaining space on seven-night departures from Nov. 19 to Dec. 10, 2005. Book one regular fare in a deluxe category cabin, normally priced at $3,100 per person, and a second person travels in the same cabin at no additional cost.

    This price includes all shore excursions, all onboard meals and soft drinks, VIP lounge on outbound flight from the Galapagos and snorkeling equipment. The rate does not include: mainland Ecuador services, airfare to Quito and Baltra (Galapagos Islands), National Park fees ($100 for adults) and onboard alcoholic beverages and gratuities.

    Operated by Ocean Adventures of Ecuador, the 210-foot Eclipse accommodates up to 48 passengers in 26 air-conditioned cabins with sea views. The Eclipse is large enough to travel in the Pacific in comfort and safety, yet small enough to dock at remote ports.

    Seven-night voyages depart each Saturday from Baltra, with stops at Santiago Island, Genovesa, Fernandina Island, Isabella Island, Santa Cruz Island and Espanola. Naturalist guides onboard lead daily land excursions in groups of no more than 12 people.

    Ocean Adventures or 877/262-3496.

    Hotel Discounts and Fr.ee AMTRAK Ticket

    Book your next getaway online at Your Great Escape and save up to 50 percent on accommodations in Snohomish County, minutes north of downtown Seattle, WA. The Snohomish County Tourism Bureau and more than a dozen area hotels from Arlington, Bothell, Edmonds, Everett, Lynnwood, Marysville, and Snohomish are offering big savings on lodging through May 26, 2006.

    Plus, as an added bonus, purchase one AMTRAK ticket and your companion rides fr.ee on the Cascade route between Eugene, OR and Vancouver, BC. Participating hotels offer fr.ee or discounted transportation to and from AMTRAK stations, area malls, and attractions.

    Your Great Escape or 888/557-2889.

    Pittsburgh Fall Getaways

    The hillsides are brilliant, the air is crisp and the deals are hot. The Greater Pittsburgh Convention & Visitors Bureau makes it easy to visit with getaway packages that won't break your budget.

    The Breakaway to Pittsburgh hockey package starts at $254. You get two seats at Mellon Arena for an NHL game, tickets to the new Western Pennsylvania Sports Museum and an overnight stay at your choice of more than 30 hotels.

    The college football package, from $114, comes with tickets for two to a University of Pittsburgh Panthers game at Heinz Field, admission to the Western Pennsylvania Sports Museum and an overnight stay.

    The Radio City Christmas Spectacular, $354 for a family of four, includes overnight accommodations, tickets to the Radio City Christmas Spectacular show, a gift from the show and tickets to the Children's Museum of Pittsburgh. The package is for Saturday evening performances Nov 12, 19, 26 and Dec 3, 2005.

    A Night at the Opera package includes two tickets to the Pittsburgh Opera, the Frick Art Museum and the home of Henry Clay Frick, and overnight at your choice of more than 30 hotels. The price per couple starts at $216.

    The Feathers, Flowers and Fur package, from $138 per family of four, includes overnight accommodations plus four tickets to the National Aviary, Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens and Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium.

    Kidventure combines popular attractions into one complete package. From $172 for a family of four, you receive overnight accommodations plus four tickets to the Carnegie Science Center, UPMC SportsWorks, a real WWII submarine, the Omnimax film currently offered; the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium; and the Duquesne Incline.

    Pittsburgh CVB or 877/LOVE-PGH.

    Face-It Luggage Tags -- Your Face on Your Luggage
    There's no mistaking your luggage with the Face-It Luggage Tag. The durable, laminated tag displays your face and the phrase "This Face Belongs With This Luggage."

    A Face-It Luggage tag makes it less likely for a stranger or thief to walk off with your luggage and helps you recognize your luggage at a glance in hotels or airports. Face-It Tags are also available for briefcases, portfolio books, backpacks, sporting equipment, musical instruments, bicycles and more. Face-It Luggage Tags

    TourCrafters “Sunny Break” in Sicily $635

    Winter in Sicily is sunny and mild. When northern cities are blanketed with snow, Sicily’s landscape is covered with white almond blossoms. That makes TourCrafters’ winter “Sunny Break” in the resort town of Taormina appealing.

    TourCrafters’ four-night package costs $635 and includes roundtrip air fare from New York to Catania, accommodations at the hillside Bay Palace Hotel, daily breakfast and hotel service charges and taxes. The package is valid to Dec. 15, 2005 and again Jan. 6 to Mar. 15, 2006. Roundtrip airfare to Sicily normally costs $629.

    A room at the centrally-located Isabella Hotel, on Taormina’s main shopping, street costs $84 more. Add-on airfares are $40 from Boston and Washington, $70 from Chicago and $85 from Miami. All prices are per person, double occupancy, subject to availability and do not include airport taxes or fuel surcharges. Reservations must be paid for within 72 hours.

    TourCrafters or 800/482-5995.

    Weekend Getaway Copenhagen, Helsinki

    Continental Journeys offers winter weekend getaways to two Europeans cities where there is much to see and do year-round.

    The three-night independent getaway to Copenhagen starts at $559 per person, based on double occupancy, and is available through Mar. 6, 2006. The package includes roundtrip airfare on SAS, three nights’ accommodation, daily breakfast, taxes and fees.

    The independent three-night weekend package to Helsinki starts from $499 per person. Available through Mar. 31, 2006, the package includes roundtrip economy airfare from New York on Finnair; three nights at the Hotel Presidentti with private facilities, daily breakfast, hotel taxes and service charges.

    There are holiday supplements for departures Dec. 15, 2005 to Jan. 1, 2006. Both packages offer the option of purchasing additional nights and airfare supplements for departures from other cities.

    Continental Journeys or 800/601-4343.

    Le Meridien 50% Off

    Le Meridien Hotels & Resorts worldwide offer an exclusive money saving offer for American Express card members. Card members will receive up to 50 percent off published room rates and 25 percent off in-hotel food and beverage expenses, including room service, at participating Le Meridien properties worldwide through Feb. 28, 2006.

    To get these savings, American Express Card members must book and pay for their Le Meridien stays with an American Express Card.

    To take advantage of the offer, make online reservations here or 800/543-4300. Reference offer code AMX DINE. Reservations must be confirmed with an American Express Card.

    Protect Luggage with Baggage Guard Seals

    The pre-numbered, one-time use plastic padlocks are the perfect way to protect your luggage since they cannot be reinstalled once removed. That feature lets you instantly know if someone tampered with your luggage. Yet when TSAs at airports need to inspect your luggage, Baggage Guard Seals can be easily removed. A package of 10 Baggage Guard Seals is still only $9.95.

    Click Here to Order from On The Go Publishing.

    Sunscape Puerto Aventuras Reopens

    Sunscape Resorts & Spas reopened its Sunscape Puerto Aventuras property in Riviera Maya, Mexico, and celebrates the improvements with a promotional rate through Dec. 2005.

    The special rate of $78 per person, per night, based on double occupancy, is valid through Dec. 22, 2005. The rate reflects a savings of 40 percent off regular rates. In addition, children under the age of 12 stay fr.ee when sharing a room with two paying adults. Rates include accommodations, all meals and beverages, resort activities and water sports, entertainment, taxes and tips.

    The renewal project included refurnishing 88 of 305 rooms and re-conceptualizing a new swimming pool with swim-up pool bar, a large Jacuzzi, additional restaurants and bars, sports, entertainment and activities venues, the kids' Explorer's Club, a wedding gazebo and a completely renovated spa and fitness center.

    Sunscape Resorts & Spas or 866/SUNSCAPE.

    Mumps and International Travel

    Mumps remains a common disease in many parts of the world, including developed countries in Europe and Asia. However, many U.S. physicians have never seen or diagnosed a case. Recent outbreaks have been reported among adolescents and young adults in the United Kingdom. Because only 53 percent of countries use vaccine containing mumps and vaccination programs differ, the risk of exposure to the disease outside the U.S. could be high. Residents traveling outside the U.S. should be aware of the exposure possibility.

    In the U.S., a dose of measles, mumps and rubella vaccine (MMR) is recommended at 12 to 15 months of age and a second dose at age four to six years. Be sure your and your children are fully immunized with MMR vaccine before departure.

    Children who travel or live abroad should be vaccinated at an earlier age than children remaining in the U.S. Consider yourself immune to mumps if you:

    • a) have documentation of one or more doses of mumps-containing vaccine on or after your first birthday
    • b) had physician- diagnosed mumps
    • c) have laboratory evidence of mumps immunity
    • d) were born before 1957.

    Mumps vaccine or MMR may be administered to any person if there is reason to believe they may be susceptible.

    Mumps is an infection of the salivary glands caused by a virus. Transmission occurs by airborne particles from coughing and sneezing or direct contact with nasopharyngeal secretions of an infected person, such as saliva. Early symptoms include fever, headache and muscle ache. Less than half of infected people experience swelling of the glands close to the jaw. Mumps infection can lead to meningitis, inflammation of the testicles or ovaries, inflammation of the pancreas and deafness (usually permanent).

    Center for Disease Control.
    Information about mumps outbreaks in the U.K.

    Chicago's Hotel Extravaganza

    Chicago celebrates Midwestern hospitality with its Great Hotel Extravaganza. From Jan. 2 through Feb. 28, 2006, more than 25 hotels offer culturally-themed packages starting at $295, which include entertainment, VIP access to events, backstage tours and conversations with arts experts. Special hotel rates start at $69 for those who want to plan their own Chicago getaway.

    Among the more than two-dozen experiences available are:

    Holiday Inn Hotel hosts Family Circus weekend. Whether escorted by a clown-nosed staff member or waking up to jugglers in the lobby, families are immersed in the circus arts and shows by the Kapoot clowns and the Bumblini Brothers, and lessons in stilt walking, ball walking and the flying trapeze.

    The Best Western River North Hotel sets the pace for the Family Auto Show weekend. This package includes tickets to the Chicago Auto Show, an exclusive look at the #99 NASCAR Busch Series show car and a special NASCAR gift.

    The Peninsula Chicago’s Winter Jazz Delight includes an evening performance of The Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis, a meet and greet with a band member backstage and a decadent chocolate dessert from the chocolate buffet. A live jazz trio entertains at Jazz at The Pen.

    The Drake Hotel presents dancing to a live orchestra with ballroom dancing lessons and a dinner buffet.

    Chicago’s Great Hotel Extravaganza packages or 877/244-2246.

    Cheap Tix Chart
    Buy Tickets at a Discount -- Special ticket outlets sell discounted day-of-performance tickets to theater productions, films, and sporting events. Discounts can be 50 percent or more. On The Go Publishing’s Cheap Tix Chart, still only $14, lists outlets in the U.S. and eight foreign cities that sell discounted, day-of-performance tickets. Click here to order the Cheap Tix Chart from On The Go Publishing.

    Aloha Air $33.80 Deal

    As we enter the quieter period for inter-island travel, Aloha Airlines offers fares from $33.80 or fr.ee return trips for AlohaPass members.

    The offer is good through 2005, with blackout dates around Thanksgiving and Christmas.

    Travel on the first scheduled nonstop departure of the day from Honolulu to Kona, Hilo, Kahului or Lihue and the last scheduled nonstop return from those locations. Or the other way around.

    The offer is available online and phone reservations incur a $10 fee. Ticketing is required at time of reservation and you must pay the applicable taxes and fees. Tickets are non-refundable, non-switchable and the limited number of seats may not be available on all flights. Changes to sale fare segments incur a fee of up to $75.

    Aloha Air or 800/367-5250.

    Panama City Beach Deals

    Panama City Beach, FL offers deals for fall travel where you can enjoy 27 miles of white sand and emerald-green waters for less. With an average water temperature in the 70s and an average air temperature of 74 degrees, you can visit year-round.

    Through Dec. 30, 2005, By the Sea Resorts offer savings of 50 to 70 percent at its three gulf-front resorts. All rates are based on double occupancy.

    At Beachbreak by the Sea, rates drop from their summer high of $159 to $49 per person, per night, a 70 percent savings. At Beachcomber by the Sea, rates drop from $189 to $89 per person per night, 50 percent off. Legacy by the Sea rates go from $199 to $99 per person per night, also a 50 percent savings.

    Rooms at all three hotels have two double beds. At the Legacy and Beachcomber, each room also features a full kitchen and queen-size sleeper sofa.

    Other opportunities to save at By the Sea Resorts include: Passport To Play where your card key or parking pass earn discounts at area attractions; the Mid-Week Meal Deal offers fr.ee continental breakfast and one fr.ee meal plus 15 percent off regular rates. Valid for Sun. through Tues. arrivals with a three-night minimum stay.

    By the Sea Resorts or 888/627-0625.

    Majestic Beach Towers, the newest upscale condominium resort in Panama City Beach, opened the first of two towers. Rates start at $94 per night, per suite, based on double occupancy, through Dec. 30, 2005. Advanced reservations are required and the rate is based on availability.

    Majestic Beach Towers feature access to a half-mile of private beach. There are four pools including a heated indoor pool, wading pool with waterfall, an outdoor lagoon pool with pool-side snack bar and baby pool. Residents can soak in two hot tubs.

    Majestic Beach Towers or 866/216-0940.

    Loosen Up at Amelia Island Plantation by Nicki Chodnoff

    Segway Tour"You'll love Amelia Island Plantation," said Jack the shuttle driver, as I started the 45-minute drive to the southern end of Amelia Island from the Jacksonville, Florida airport. "It's plush and natural."

    Jack was right. As I found during my stay, plush barely scratches the surface when describing Amelia Island Plantation. The privately-owned resort has a long standing reputation as a luxurious sanctuary and an athlete's paradise. It's well-known for tennis with 23 clay tennis courts, a tennis school and home to the annual Bausch and Lomb Tennis Championships.

    Beach Golf CourseThree championship golf courses offer 54 holes of play with seven holes on the ocean. The newest venture is a state-of-the-art spa.

    On a stretch of quiet Atlantic beachfront, the 1,350-acre resort, 29 miles northeast of Jacksonville, is far from the frenzied pace of Orlando and the glam gold coast of South Florida. It's been a quiet getaway for winter-weary northerners for years.

    Natural and lush didn't need an explanation, just a view. Pine trees line many of the streets and highways and century-old live oaks draped with Spanish moss form a dense canopy. Discretely scattered among the trees, many built in an "old Florida" architectural style, are vacation homes and apartments where guests stay. The other option is in hotel rooms at the Amelia Inn Beach Club where here too earth-tone exterior colors blend with the surroundings. Public areas offer floor-to-ceiling windows with sweeping view of lagoons, moss-draped oaks, or the ocean.

    Between the blue Atlantic Ocean on the east and green marshes and the Intracoastal Waterway on the west, the resort is dotted with low-lying creeks and estuaries. Seven miles of nature trails, including boardwalks, extend right into the marsh. Clear, sparkling water plays significantly in the landscape of the resort and its spiffy13,200 square-foot spa.

    The resort was built with the mission of integrating animal life and plant ecology with the natural environment. The master plan protects tidal marshes, oceanfront dunes, grassland and savannahs. A 40-foot wide strip of natural vegetation buffers all waterways allowing them to remain a wildlife refuge. The resort prides itself on being "Florida's greenest."

    The green is evident nearly everywhere. What you don't see are many parking lots. Even near the Old Florida-style cluster of shops and galleries, parking spaces are discreetly screened with casually landscaped greenery. The Amelia Island Inn, rental villas and private homes are linked with walking/bike paths that wander under a tall, thick canopy of the original island trees.

    Watsu PoolJack's last piece of advise was to watsu. After inquiring about the strange term, I came to learn watsu is a combination of the words water and shiatsu and refers to a floating massage that's the spa's much-touted signature treatment.

    Being curious, I attended a watsu demonstration. The treatment in the special three-and-a-half- foot deep, mineral-infused watsu pool, begins with floatation wraps placed around calves. Then, as you float, the therapist cradles your neck in the crook of his or her arm and slowly, ballet-like, moves around the pool. For 45 minutes, the therapist glided round and round, stretching and massaging spine, arms and legs. The 45 minutes cost about $110.

    More traditional treatments include Swedish, sports and aromatherapy massages, detoxifying and herbal wraps, mud baths and a smorgasbord of facials that pamper all skin types. Twenty-five treatment rooms are open to the public as well as plantation guests and residents.

    Jack failed to mention Segways, machines resembling scooters with two oversized wheels, one on either side of the standing platform. Amelia's Wheels at Amelia Island Plantation Resort is one of a handful of resorts in the U.S. that offer Segway tours.

    At the beginning of the tour, our coach and guide, Deby Walker, gave basic instructions for the device's use. Practicing her suggestions, I teeter forward and backward, trying to find the balance point. "It's a movement that seems odd to people over 30, but something the kids pick up immediately," said Walker. We take a few laps around the parking lot in front of Amelia's Wheels, mastering starting, stopping and weaving through sets of orange cones. The more forward you lean, the faster you travel. A Segway balances and travels by sensing your center of gravity 100 times per second through gyroscopes in the riding platform. It is electrically powered by rechargeable nickel metal hydride batteries which means it's a zero emissions form of transportation.

    Marsh at Amelia Island PlantationAfter you master basic Segway maneuvers, you begin the tour around the resort. Walker, along with naturalist Christina Doherty, led us on a winding asphalt bike path surrounded by ferns, trees and other greenery or along some of the less traveled residential streets. Our pack of Segway riders snaked around curves, over footbridges and up a few hills. We glided past golf courses, island homes and a landmark oak tree. The tour takes you to places often not visited on foot. At one point we left the path, parked our Segways and took a trail to the wooden marsh boardwalk and an inland pond. "This is a favorite spot to watch birds bathe" said Doherty. There weren't many birds bathing around 4 p.m., only a few statuesque herons. But the pond buzzed with insects and a few sunning turtles and frogs. It offered an idyllic, serene setting that's a sure stress buster.

    I'm not a golfer nor a tennis player and yet I found plenty to do during my three-day stay. Bicycles and golf carts are a favorite way to explore the island. Armed with a resort street map and a golf cart, I explored nearly every nook and cranny Few cars are on the roads, allowing you to explore in a carefree and relaxed way. If you don't want to get around on a bicycles or golf cart, you still can be car-free at the resort. A free shuttle service throughout the resort provides easy access to restaurants, shops, the spa and recreational activities.

    Beach at Amelia Island PlantationHappily, you don't need motorized equipment to get around. There were lazy walks along the nearly deserted beach looking for shells and dancing between the waves. A stop to the nature center, with fish and wildlife exhibits, clued me to another approach: organized programs and tours including the Beach Bounty tour. Guided by the nature center's staff, you learn the secrets to finding the best shells, shark's teeth and other beach items. The nature center's naturalists also lead a morning or an afternoon kayaking tour along the marshy inlet to the Intracoastal Waterway. It starts with a short lesson in paddling and then to the salt marsh, where guides point out nature's bounty along the way.

    Luxury doesn’t have to break your vacation bank. Amelia Island Plantation offers a number of packages year-round that are posted on their web site. You can select packages to include the activities you like most. You’ll find the most reasonable prices during shoulder season, which is offered midweek mid-November through February.

    All in all, Amelia Island Plantation provides a place to unwind, relax and loosen up, which should be the goal of every beach resort vacation.

    Amelia Island Plantation or 888/261-6161.

    Silky Travel Jewelry Roll
    A must have for travelers. Our silky travel jewelry roll comes in a random assortment of single-color jacquards, solid colors and two-color brocades. This handy travel jewelry roll measures 8 1/2 x 11 inches when open and closes to a compact 8 1/2 x 4 inches. Our exclusive design offers a place for everything with one deep pocket, a ring bar and three zippered compartments. Price $40. Click here to order from On The Go Publishing.

    Malaysia Airlines Extends Specials

    HURRY! BOOK BY NOV. 15 -- Malaysia Airlines offers several specials and extends the booking window until Nov. 15, 2005. Fares do not include taxes, fees and surcharges, which are can add about $100 per ticket.

    The Los Angeles to Taipei special starts from $499 roundtrip. The fares are valid through Nov. 30, 2005 and Jan. 16 to Mar. 31, 2006. Tickets must be purchased by Nov. 15, 2005. What makes this an unusually good deal is that there is no minimum stay and the maximum stay is 30 days. Travel must originate from Los Angeles International Airport.

    The New York to Stockholm-Arlanda special starts from $269 roundtrip in economy class. There are also special fares in first- and business-class travel. Fares valid through Mar. 27, 2006, and tickets must be purchased by Nov. 15, 2005 online only. Travel must originate from Newark Liberty International Airport and the maximum stay is 30 days. This fare is not commissionable to travel agents.

    If you’re traveling to Southeast Asia, Malaysia Airlines offers attractive companion fares from Los Angeles and Newark. Think quick as outbound travel is good through Nov. 30, 2005 and tickets must be purchased by Nov. 15, 2005. Only one companion passenger per ticket purchase is allowed and travel must be reserved and ticketed for the same flights throughout the entire itinerary. Both passengers must travel together throughout the trip. Standby travel is not permitted. Neither passenger of this promotion is eligible for frequent flyer miles.

    To Kuala Lumpur: first class – first passenger $9,788, companion $99; business class – first passenger $4,988; companion $99; economy class – first passenger: $899, companion $449.

    To Bali/Bangkok/Saigon: economy class only – first passenger $943, companion $472.

    To Singapore: economy class only – first passenger: $899, companion $449.

    Malaysia Airlines 800/552-9264

    Newark to Stockholm.

    Los Angeles to Taipei

    Companion promotion.

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