Travel Savings Alerts Newsletter, August 2008 Issue
Travel Savings Alerts
P.O. Box 91033
Columbus OH 43209
ISSN: 1542-801X, Copyright © 2008
All Rights Reserved.
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A Profusion of Pearls |
Black Freshwater Pearls -- Treat yourself to this cultured stunner. Cultured black freshwater pearls dangle from a sterling silver chain and lend a lovely luster to this spectacular necklace. To make this the perfect accessory for day or night, the extender chain, with a matching pearl drop at its end, adjusts the necklace length from a 15 inch choker to a full 18 inches.
Expect to pay $300 to $500 at upscale stores and jewelry boutiques. Our price for this 15" to 18" Black Freshwater Pearl Necklace is only $139.
Order immediately to get your necklace from AAA Jewelry Outlet. Quantities are limited. Click here to order.
|In This Issue: |
Veleki Slap, Plitvice Jezera, Croatia
Weekend Getaways at Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort
Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort, on the Northwest Florida Gulf Coast in Destin, offers booking incentives and summer specials.
Sandestin's newest incentive is a $50 gas credit for select rooms, including two-bedroom, Dockside accommodation from $179 per night with a minimum stay of four nights. One bedroom accommodations at the Village of Baytowne Wharf are from $169 per night.
Book online and you receive additional savings, including the waiver of reservation and damage fees ($70 value) and a coupon book for savings at resort shops and eateries.
Sandestin offers several Florida vacation packages.
The Florida golf trip includes two nights' accommodations and a daily round of golf at Raven Golf Club from $203 per person, per night. The Florida beach vacation trip includes accommodations at Beachside Towers and daily breakfast for two, from $321 per night.
Fr,ee amenities include using the property-wide tram service, or the fr.ee bicycle, canoe and kayak rentals, tennis court time and children's activities,.
Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort or 888/305-0712.
Slot Machine Strategy by Nicki Chodnoff
According to the 2006 Harrah's Survey of Casino Entertainment, a quarter of Americans age 21 and older, or 52.8 million, gambled at a casino in 2005. On average, gamblers visited a casino about six times during the year or 322 million trips to casinos in 2005 for gaming entertainment.
Odds are many of those people tried their luck at a slot machine.
As gambling is legalized on river boats and Native American reservations, slot machines are cropping up all over the United States. They're now also found in nearly all parts of the world : Europe, Africa, South America and Asia.
We have mechanic Charles Fey to thank for inventing the slot machine. In 1887, he placed his first "nickel-in-the-slot" machine in San Francisco's gambling palaces. They were an instant hit and Fey couldn't manufacture the machines fast enough
Slot machines are known as "one-arm bandits" because undoubtedly, they are gambling's most consistent money maker.
The slot machine is basically cylindrical drums marked with symbols. In older machines, when a lever on the side of the machine was pulled, it turned the cylindrical drums. Then or now, when symbols align horizontally, the machines pay off. In modern slots, the cylindrical drums display is controlled by computer software.
Glowing neon, flashing lights and clanking bells make the slot machine one of the most hypnotic types of gambling. And winners seem to get more excited when they hit a jackpot then do players winning the big money at Black Jack or Craps.
Competition generally determines the payout percentage on most slot machines. In gambling meccas where casinos sit cheek to jowl, the slots in each casino will pay off from 70 to 95 percent. That means the casino owner keeps 5 to 30 percent of every coin you feed into the machine. It may not sound like much but multiple millions of dollars are pumped into slot machines each year. So much so that about 40 percent of a casino's revenue come from slot machines. The payout percentage varies among jurisdictions and is typically established by law or regulation. For example, the minimum payout in Nevada is 75 percent and 78 percent in New Jersey.
In Las Vegas or Reno you'll see big billboards advertising casino payout rates. Those advertisements don't mean that each machine will pay out as much as 95 percent. Only a few slots will pay back 95 percent and they are usually located in a conspicuous part of the casino. So if you're thinking of giving it a whirl, pick a machine by the front door, close to a major aisle or a bank of very visible machines in the center of the casino where the frequent lights, bells and commotion will entice others to gamble. Observe the machines for a while and see which one will steadily pay out. That's the machine you want and you may have to wait a while to get to it (no one wants to give up a winning machine).
Industry insiders reveal that slot machines in private clubs, airports, drugstores and other non-gambling venues typically pay out a sparse 50 percent. Unless you've got the gambling bug, skip those machines and move on to greener pastures.
|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.
New Las Vegas Explorer Pass
Smart Destinations Inc., the provider of unlimited admission attraction passes in major U.S. travel destinations, now offers the Las Vegas Explorer Pass. The pass lets you enjoy Vegas with a convenient, pre-loaded, flexible-savings pass that offers admission to attractions, shows and nightlife options where you save 30 to 50 percent on Las Vegas entertainment.
With the Las Vegas Explorer Pass, you can choose from Premium and Signature attractions based on the card you purchase. The pass includes admission to Las Vegas shows; the area’s top nightclubs, tours and attractions including the Hoover Dam tour. For a $35 upgrade fee, you can take the Grand Canyon tour, a $149 value. The Las Vegas Explorer Pass includes a guidebook with details on Las Vegas deals such as shopping and dining discounts.
Premium attractions include: The Gordie Brown Show plus dinner, V: The Ultimate Variety Show plus dinner, Toxic Audio – A Vocal Comedy Show plus dinner, Gregory Popovich Comedy Pet Theater plus dinner, Las Vegas Mob tour, Haunted Vegas tour, Platters, Cornell Gunters Coasters and the Marvelettes show, Roseanne Barr: Domestic Goddess Live, Vegas Passport Nightclub Sampler (VIP admission to some top Las Vegas nightclubs), Star Trek: The Experience and the Hoover Dam tour.
Signature attractions include: Stratosphere Tower, Atomic Testing Museum, Springs Preserve, Fashion Outlets Shopping Shuttle, Bellagio Gallery of Fine Art, Madame Tussaud’s House of Wax, Siegfried and Roy's Secret Garden Dolphin Habitat, a $20 food voucher for La Salsa Cantina and a $20 food voucher for Planet Hollywood.
Pricing for the Las Vegas Explorer Pass starts at $69.99 for adults and $64.99 for children. You have up to 30 days to use your pass after visiting your first attraction.
Las Vegas Explorer Pass.
When you fly l’Espace Première (first class) or l’Espace Affaires (business class) on Air France, you receive fr=ee chauffeur service to and from New York-JFK, London-Heathrow or London-Gatwick airports, and London-Heathrow arriving from Los Angeles.
To be eligible, you must purchase an Air France ticket in first class (P or F class )or business class (J, C, or D class) for travel on nonstop flights between: Los Angeles to London-Heathrow, or New York-JFK to London-Heathrow or London-Gatwick. Your travel must be on a direct flight and must originate and terminate from one of the above airports to qualify. Connecting flights do not qualify and Air France US fare code ZUP is not eligible.
Fre-e chauffeur services are provided with a pick-up and/or drop-off range, depending on the class of service. From New York’s JFK Airprot, L’Espace Première passengers may be driven 70 miles to and from London Heathrow, and l’Espace Affaires customers may be driven 50 miles to and from London Heathrow or Gatwick airports. If your drive to the airport is further than the f*ree mileage to the respective airport, you will be charged for the additional miles at the time of booking. The f^ree chauffeur service is not available for tickets purchased with frequent flyer miles, SME or similar programs benefits or awards.
To take advantage of this fr,ee offer with Tristar Worldwide Chauffeur Services, call the Air France Chauffeur Service Desk 800/268-0555 in the U.S. or + 44 (0) 1895 432170 in the U.K. Ticketed passengers can modify or cancel their reservation by calling the Air France Chauffeur Service Desk.
VIA Rail Canada Summer Deals
VIA Rail Canada offers deep discounts system-wide for the summer travel season. VIA Rail's services are an easy way to see multiple Canadian destinations in one vacation experience. Fre.e tickets for children, special savings for seniors and their travel companions are a few of the ways to help make the most of this year's family vacation.
Here are some summer deals from VIA Rail Canada.
Kids Travel Fr.ee - Through Sep. 15, 2008, people 18 years and older purchasing a senior, student (18+), youth (18 to 25), or adult-fare ticket in VIA's Comfort Class (economy) can bring a child ages two to 11 for free. Children under two always travel fr=ee as long as they do not occupy a seat. The program is available on every VIA train system-wide.
Seniors - Bring a friend fr-ee - VIA's Senior's Companion Fares allow passengers age 60 and older traveling in economy to bring along a companion for free. During August in VIA 1 Class on the Ontario-Quebec corridor trains, and in sleepers year-round, seniors' travel companions receive a 75 percent discount off the regular adult fare. Tickets must be booked three or more days before departure and are subject to limited availability. There are no restrictions on the age of the companion.
VIA 1 Promotional Fare - VIA 1 Class is the premier-level service on Ontario to Québec Corridor trains. VIA extends promotional fares between several cities. Travel between Toronto-Montréal or Toronto-Ottawa is $149. VIA 1 includes access to the Panorama Lounge, pre-boarding privileges, at-your-seat meal and beverage service and pay per use Wi-Fi access. Other special VIA 1 fares are available on the Québec City-Windsor Corridor.
Half-Price Saturday Travel - Each Saturday until Sep. 27, 2008, you can "half it both ways" when traveling within the Ontario-Quebec Corridor. This special fare is valid on trips worth CAD $80 or less at the regular adult fare (before taxes). When visiting destinations within the Corridor - including Windsor, Toronto, Niagara, Kingston, London, Ottawa, Montréal and Québec City - you can take day trips on Saturdays and receive the half-off discount in both directions. Travel times between these destinations are generally less than three hours in each direction. No advance purchase is required, but the number of seats offered on this discount is limited.
The 2008 Canrailpass provides access to the entire VIA system. The pass Includes 12 days of unlimited travel during a 30-day period. This allows you to make as many stops as you like during your journey. Passes start at $879 CAD for an adult. Children, students and seniors are $791/CAD. Pass prices are reduced for travel after Oct. 16, 2008.
VIA's Corridorpass allows 10-days of travel in the Windsor to Québec City Corridor. Passes are available in comfort or VIA 1 seating. Prices start at $314 CAD for adults or $283 CAD for children seniors and students in Comfort Class.
VIA Rail Canada or 888/842-7245.
Fr-ee Fun San Diego|
This savings-packed FR.EE brochure features almost 40 Fun, Fr-ee Things to do in San Diego. When heading to Southern California, attend concerts or visit a State Historic Park and keep that cash in your pocket.
To get your Fr-ee Fun San Diego brochure, for a $1 handling fee, click here to send us an email.
Baltimore Buy 2, Get One Fr^ee
This summer, the Baltimore Area Convention and Visitors Association makes planning a trip to Baltimore more affordable with fr*ee hotel nights, savings on Amtrak trains, a new and extended Harbor Pass and online coupons worth more than $1,000 in savings.
For the first time, Baltimore offers a city-wide hotel promotion with one night fr,ee with the purchase of two nights. The new "Buy Two Nights, Get One Night Fr.ee" hotel specials are available for stays until Sep. 1, 2008. The web site has booking information for the more than 40 participating hotels.
When traveling to Baltimore by train, you can save 50 percent off the best available rail fare for one adult companion traveling coach with a paid regular adult, senior citizen or disabled discount ticket for travel to Baltimore. When you visit the Amtrak web site use code V828 to receive this special deal. Plus, Baltimore is a walkable city. Once you arrive, you can walk to most attractions, saving money on additional transportation costs.
Baltimore’s special "Harbor Pass," includes admission to four attractions -- the Maryland Science Center, the National Aquarium, Top of the World Observation Level and a choice of the Port Discovery Children's Museum or the American Visionary Art Museum. The pass is good for four days from the date of purchase, and offers a savings of 20 percent if booked online. Plus, for the first time, Baltimore offers the new "Harbor Pass+" which can be used for an extra day. “Harbor Pass+” includes admission to three additional attractions, the Babe Ruth Birthplace, Geppi's Entertainment Museum and the Sports Legends at Camden Yards, and offers 25 percent off single price tickets when purchased online.
Baltimore Area Convention and Visitors Association or Amtrak.
“Pack Your Bags” for Amelia Island
As airlines charge for checked baggage, Amelia Island offers some welcome relief. Located off the northeastern-most coast of Florida, their "Pack Your Bags for Amelia Island" program includes a room credit up to $80 for checked baggage fees charged by the airlines.
The "Pack Your Bags" program is offered at several island hotels, resorts and bed-and-breakfast inns, and is available through Sep. 30, 2008, on stays of three or more nights at participating hotels. When you check-in, you must present an original receipt showing checked baggage fees from the airline. Room credit will not exceed $80 and applies to checked baggage fees only; charges for oversize or overweight baggage do not apply.
The offer cannot be combined with other promotions or special convention/meeting rates and is only valid for new reservations. Contact the individual hotels for more information or to book a room.
Accommodations providers participating in the "Pack Your Bags" program include:
1875 Florida House Inn or 800/258-3301
Addison on Amelia or 800/943-1604
Ash Street Inn or 800/277-6660
Amelia Island Williams House or 800/414-9258
The Fairbanks House 888/891-9881
Hampton Inn & Suites or 904/491-4911
Summer Beach Resort or 800/862-9297.
Langham Place Escape Packages
Langham Place Eco Resort and Spa, on Koh Lanta, Krabi, Thailand, launched its “All About Me” packages.
The Buy Me, Place Me, Indulge Me and Surprise Me packages offer discounts to meet your lifestyle at prices 50 to 60 percent off high season prices.
Each package starts from $200 for two people sharing a room and includes three-nights’ accommodation, daily breakfast and fresh fruit basket, fre,e use of the private movie house and music rooms, tennis court, fully-equipped gym, water sports equipment, and late check-out at 4 pm. All packages are valid until Oct. 31, 2008.
Buy Me is $200 per room for three nights and includes roundtrip transfers to/from Krabi Airport
Place Me is $315 for two for three nights and includes one Thai style dinner for two plus roundtrip airport transfers.
Indulge Me is $450 for two for three nights and includes a one Thai style dinner, roundtrip transfer to/from Krabi Airport and 60-minute spa massage
Surprise Me is $590 for two for three nights and includes one Thai or Western dinner, 60-minute spa massage, full-day sightseeing around Koh Lanta, all you can drink mini bar and roundtrip transfers to/from Krabi Airport.
Langham Place Eco Resort and Spa; or email reservations.
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.
Double, Triple AA Miles NY to Paris
BOOK BY AUG. 25 - - American Airlines offers double or triple Aadvantage frequent flyer miles if you purchase qualifying business class or economy fares between New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport and Paris' Charles De Gaulle Airport .
This offer applies to AAdvantage members in the United States, Canada, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands or the Caribbean for trips booked through Aug. 25, 2008. Travel must be completed by Sep. 1, 2008. Double miles are earned for full-fare economy tickets booked in fare code Y or B, while triple miles are earned for business class tickets booked in fare code J, D or I.
Bonus miles do not count toward elite status and flights operated by codeshare partners are not eligible for this promotion. Double miles will be calculated at 100 percent of the base miles flown; triple miles will be calculated at 200 percent of the base miles flown.
To participate in this offer, you must register prior to travel using promotion code CDG3X. Complete details about this offer are offered online.
American Airlines Double, Triple Mile Offer.
Harbor Magic Hotels Inner Harbor Experience
HURRY, TRAVEL BY SEP. 1 - - Harbor Magic Hotels in Baltimore offer the "Ultimate Inner Harbor Experience" where you can save on hotels, sites, and shopping and get a third night free.
The Ultimate Inner Harbor Experience gives you the chance to see and experience Baltimore's landmark at a 20 percent savings. The package includes overnight accommodations at Pier 5 Hotel on the waterfront, the historic Admiral Fell Inn in Fell's Point, or the contemporary Brookshire Suites.
You receive two Adult Harbor Passes, a four-day pass with one-time admission to Baltimore's attractions, including the National Aquarium, the Maryland Science Center, Top of the World Observation level and the American Visionary Art Museum. The package includes the Harbor Magic Passport, with savings, discounts and special offers at retail shops and restaurants around the city.
Rates start at $350 for double occupancy and are based on availability through Sep. 1, 2008. The fr.ee night can not be used on a future stay. This promotion is for new reservations only and is not valid with other promotions or discounts.
Ultimate Inner Harbor Experience.
Protect Your 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.
MSC Cruises $200 Shipboard Credits
BOOK BY AUG. 31 - - Book a stateroom on select MSC Cruises' 2009 Caribbean sailings by Aug. 31, 2008, and you are eligible for a shipboard credit of up to $200 per stateroom.
The amount of the shipboard credit will be determined by the type of stateroom:
- Interior stateroom -- $25 shipboard credit per person (maximum $50 per stateroom)
- Oceanview -- $50 shipboard credit per person (maximum $100 per stateroom)
- Balcony or Suite -- $100 shipboard credit per person (maximum $200 per stateroom)
The shipboard credit offer is valid on the following sailings from Fort Lauderdale:
- MSC Lirica's 10-night Deep Caribbean itineraries Mar. 4, 24 and Apr. 13, 2009. Rates begin at $899 per person.
- MSC Orchestra's 7-night Western Caribbean itinerary Mar. 7, 2009. Rates begin at $549 per person.
Cruise-only rates are per person, based on double occupancy. Children under the age of 17 sail fr.ee on all sailings when sharing a stateroom with two full-fare-paying adults.
Pyramid Hotel Group Military Discount
Pyramid Hotel Group invites current and former members of the U.S. Armed Forces to stay in any of its 35 premier hotels across the country. The hotel group honors these patriotic men and women and their families by offering a special internet rate for summer travel with its Summer Service Salute promotion. Hotels are located in California, Colorado, Chicago, Indianapolis, Detroit, Atlanta, Boston, Houston, New Orleans, Miami and Washington, DC
The Summer Service Salute internet rate is available on weekends through Aug. 31, 2008. The rate for active, reserve, or retired military personnel and their families is 20 percent off the published government rate. To qualify for the discounted rate, military personnel need to present a valid and current government identification card at the time of booking. A "dependent" identification card is required for family members traveling separately from the military card holder.
Reservations should be made online at the selected hotel's website.
Pyramid Hotel Group.
BOOK BY AUG. 15 - - When you book an all-inclusive Caribbean escape by Aug.15, 2008, you can save up to 50 percent with Elite Island Resorts' new "$299 Island Sale."
The all-inclusive $299 nightly rate is valid for two adults per room ($60 per child sharing the same room up to two children per room). The sale is valid for travel through Dec. 21, 2008, and requires a three night minimum stay. Rates are subject to availability.
The all-inclusive rate includes accommodations, three meals a day, all beverages, land and water sports, hotel taxes and service charges, except at Long Bay and Windjammer Landing where breakfast and dinner are offered.
The $299 Island Sale is available at the following six Caribbean resorts:
Windjammer Landing Villa Beach Resort and Village Inn & Spa on St. Lucia; the Verandah Resort & Spa and St. James's Club & Villas on Antigua; Long Bay Beach Resort & Villas on Tortola; and Palm Island in The Grenadines.
Elite Island Resorts or 800/345-0356.
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.
Maybe you’ll find the luck of the Irish on a new web site catering to affordable, customized trips to Ireland. The web site is a one-stop source for planning and booking trips to the Emerald Isle.
IrishGetaways.com offers reservations and information on air fare, hotel, car rental, railway, attractions, general and escorted tours, golf vacations, historical destinations, self-catering holiday homes, activities, and bed & breakfast inns. While Irishgetaways.com helps self-sufficient travelers with its comprehensive planning resources, the site also provides package deals.
To celebrate the web site launch, IrishGetaways.com kicks off with several grand-opening specials:
$699 per person, based on double occupancy, for a 10-night "Best Sights of Ireland" self-drive tour, including nine nights at B&Bs throughout Ireland (hotel upgrades available), one night at the Park Inn Shannon Airport, and an 11-day car rental.
$549 per person, based on quad occupancy, for a seven-night stay in a two-bedroom lodge at the Sheraton Fota Island Resort, with two greens fees and two spa treatments and an eight-day car rental.
$349 per person, based on double occupancy, for a four-night "Ireland in 5 Days" self-drive tour, including four nights at B&Bs throughout Ireland (hotel upgrades available) and a five-day car rental.
Hot Rates at Ritz-Carlton New Orleans - - The Ritz-Carlton in New Orleans offers “Hot Rates” of $169 through September 2008. October through December 2008, the rates rise to $209. The starting rates are for city view accommodations and do not include tax. “Hot Rates” are subject to availability.
Here are a few of the room packages offered by the hotel:
- The Paris Without the Jetlag Room package includes accommodations and two tickets to the Treasures of Napoléon exhibit at the U.S. Mint in the French Quarter. $199.
- The Road Warrior Room package includes accommodations, breakfast for two, half-priced parking and fr,ee high-speed internet. $209.
- The Non-Stop Luxury Room package - New Orleans is just a non-stop flight away and you’ll find the luxury on the hotel's exclusive Club Level, formerly a fr.ee-standing boutique hotel. $229.
- Bachelor & Bachelorette Room package - Start your stay with champagne or martinis, VIP lounge passes and breakfast for two. $229.
- Two-day Crescent City Comeback Room package involves one day of relief work with Habitat for Humanity or Rebuilding Together followed by a day in the spa. $1,100.
- Help plant trees throughout the city with the Bring Back the Big Easy Room package which donates a percentage to Operation Sudden Impact and their efforts to impact the environment. $259.
- Through Aug. 31, 2008, you can stretch your dining dollar with COOLinary New Orleans, where a three course lunch is $20 and dinner is $30. Http://www.neworleanscvb.com.
- At Tipsy Tini Thursdays, you get two for one: either organic vodka martinis, organic wine and f,ree sushi Nyotaimori style.
Ritz-Carlton, New Orleans or 800/241-3333.
LaSource all-inclusive spa resort on Pink Gin Beach in Grenada, West Indies, extends its summer rates through Dec. 18, 2008. During this time, you can save more than 25 percent.
Per person, per night rates begin at $225 (regularly $315) and are based on double occupancy. These special rates cannot be combined with any other offer and must be booked by Oct. 31, 2008.
The minimum age for guests at LaSource is 16 years old, except through Sep. 8, 2008, when the minimum age is 10 years old.
Rates at LaSource include airport transfers, all food and beverage, a spa treatment each day following the day of arrival, a dive a day for certified divers and a variety of land, water and holistic activities.
With 100 guest rooms, LaSource offers a personalized all-inclusive experience that combines the best of an active beach holiday with a relaxed spa retreat, designed to provide complete body and mind rejuvenation.
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.
The Mission Inn Resort & Club offers a “no limit” golf package with overnight accommodations, unlimited same-day greens fees, all-day shared cart rental and driving range privileges for $99 per person, per night, based on double occupancy. The resort, located 45 minutes northwest of Orlando, is home to two award-winning, 18-hole courses.
Non-golfers can enjoy savings with the resort’s “Cool Rate” promotion at $119 per room, per night, single or double occupancy. Both packages are based on availability and valid through Sep. 30, 2008.
In the rolling hills of Lake County, an area noted for its scenic beauty, mild climate and 1,400 lakes, the 1,000-acre property features 190 guestrooms, suites and villas; three restaurants, two lounges and a poolside bar. The boutiques and antique shops of historic Mount Dora, central Florida’s antiques capital, are a short drive from the resort.
In addition to golf, recreational amenities include eight tennis courts, jogging and bicycling trails, volleyball courts, an outdoor pool and hydro-spa, fitness center, trap and skeet shooting range and a nautical center, where you can fish, sail, powerboat and go eco-touring.
Mission Inn Resort & Club or 800/874-9053.
Red Lion Hotels welcomes you this summer by offering a fr-ee night's stay.
When you book and stay two or more consecutive nights at any Red Lion Hotel in the United States, through Sep. 30, 2008, you earn a fr-ee one-night future stay. Your stay must be booked through Red Lion’s website or their toll-fr=ee phone number using promo code S2FREE. The fr.ee night must be redeemed before Mar. 31, 2009, and is subject to availability.
Red Lion Hotels operate 53 upscale and mid-scale hotels in nine states and one Canadian province.
Red Lion Hotels or 800/Red-Lion.
Croatia’s Realm of Falling Waters: Plitvice Jezera - - photos and article by Kay Douglas
One of central Europe’s most exceptional natural treasures is Plitvice Lakes National Park, located roughly midway between Croatia’s capital, Zagreb, and the coastal city of Zadar. Famed for its abundance of waterfalls cascading from 16 interconnected lakes, Plitvice (pronounced PLIT-veetz-a) Jezera (lakes) (pronounced YE-ze-rah) became Yugoslavia’s first national park in 1949 and was declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1979. Today the lakes are one of Croatia’s most popular tourist destinations, drawing visitors throughout the year but especially during the peak months of July and August.
Although not a large area, about 300 square kilometers or 115 square miles, compared to some of the vast national parks of the U.S. and Canada (Yellowstone, by contrast, is more than 3,000 square miles), Plitvice Jezera packs a remarkable number of diverse ecosystems into a compact area, with pristine forests and wetlands providing sanctuary for rare European species such as the lynx, brown bear, wild boar, otter, and pine marten. There are an astonishing number of bird species present as well, with approximately 140 species making their home in or migrating through the area. In the spring and summer, the woodlands are dotted with wildflowers, while clumps of water-loving plants such as ligularia cluster around the park’s innumerable rivulets and cataracts.
Plitvice Jezera’s biggest attraction, however, is the series of falls cascading from 12 upper to four lower lakes, descending gradually from 636 meters (about 2,086 feet) to 503 meters (about 1,650 feet) over the course of eight kilometers (nearly five miles). Not only are there an impressive number of falls, but the water in the 16 lakes is a striking turquoise to emerald green, varying with the season and climate. The water is remarkably clear, too, with native trout congregating along the shoreline and near fallen logs. The combination of bright blue water, thundering falls, and lush greenery provide an unforgettable outdoor experience. It’s all accessible via a network of some 18 kilometers (a little more than 11 miles) of footpaths and boardwalks as well as a system of clean-running electric trams and boats which shuttle visitors to major areas.
A key word that a visitor may first hear when visiting Plitvice Jezera is “travertine,” which is the substance that gives the lakes their most distinctive feature – natural dams built up by deposits of travertine. Briefly, travertine is formed when calcium carbonate, which the lakes are rich in, is deposited on mosses and water plants, effectively turning them to stone. More plants and mosses grow from the travertine base and are then subject to calcification, ultimately creating the many barriers which separate the lakes and form small cascades. This ongoing process makes Plitvice Jezera a dynamic, ever-changing scene as new barriers and waterfalls are perpetually eroded and created.
One of the recommended touring routes in the park goes from the lower to the upper lakes, providing head-on views of each successive array of falls, but visitors can strike out to explore this compact wonderland as time and fancy permit. Wooden walkways weave alongside the lakes and across some of the smaller pools and narrower points, providing up-close views of the travertine formations. Paths along the rim of the largest lakes are pleasantly shaded and level, while those who want a bit more of a challenge, a hike up to the top of the largest waterfall, Veliki Slap, provides a stunning vista. (Those with less time or stamina, however, can achieve a similar view from the opposite side near the Information Center.)
There are essentially three options for getting to Plitvice Jezera: by escorted tour, intercity bus, or rental car. Package tours to Croatia often include Plitvice Jezera on the itinerary, but independent travelers need to make a basic choice: whether to go by bus or by car. There are definite advantages to going by car, which provides -- at not a trivial expense -- the greatest flexibility, but once at Plitvice Jezera a car isn’t at all necessary to tour the park – in fact, there are few places inside the park where cars are permitted. Instead, visitors get around by electric tram and boat (these forms of transportation are included in the entry fee). The advantage of going by car is that it opens up a greater number of options for sleeping and eating. Many affordable private rooms and apartments, not to mention a wider variety of restaurants, are found several kilometers north of Plitvice in villages such as Rastovaca.
In contrast, those who travel by bus are more or less obliged to tour the park as a day trip from Zagreb or Zadar (a hectic proposition) or to stay in one of the park’s three on-site hotels such as Hotel Plitvice. While the hotels are pleasant enough and provide basic accommodation, they are almost twice as expensive as staying in private sobe (rooms) or apartments in the outlying villages. However, factoring in the cost of a rental car if staying in cheaper accommodations versus the less expensive route of taking the bus and staying in a more expensive hotel, the two options end up about equal. Many buses originating in Zagreb, Split, and Zadar stop at Plitvice Jezera as they go north or south. (If staying at a hotel at the park, it’s important to exit at the second or southernmost entrance, which is where all the hotels are located.) However, it can be sometimes be difficult to get a bus leaving from Plitvice, especially on the weekend. The ranger at the information desk advised not trying to depart on Friday night or Sunday, as buses tend to be full during those times and thus will not make a stop at Plitvice to pick up additional passengers.
A full day will suffice to tour most of the park, with several hours being the minimum time needed to see its highlights. Staying one or two nights gives visitors a chance to fully take in the beauty of the area as well as an opportunity to dine at a traditional Croatian restaurant such the one across from Ulaz 1 (entrance 1), Licka Kuca, In this large, rustic log-beam building, tables are ranged around a central cooking area where cooks prepare hearty Croatian dishes such as lamb soup and fresh local trout.
Entrance fees to the park vary depending the season. From November through March, tickets are 70 kuna for adults, while from April through October the cost is 110 kuna. (There are roughly 4.5 kuna per dollar as of this writing.)
Plitvice Lakes National Park, click on English language option.
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