Travel Savings Alerts Newsletter, August 2012 Issue
P.O. Box 91033
Columbus OH 43209
ISSN: 1542-801X, Copyright 2012
All Rights Reserved.
Editor: Nicki Chodnoff
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Romantic Country Inns Packages & Specials
|Six country inns offer more than 20 romantic vacation packages in Ohio, Kentucky, Virginia and Michigan. The inns are members of the Time Honored Inns Nationally Known (THINK) association. They include the Beaumont Inn in Harrodsburg, KY; Castle in the Country in Allegan, MI; Inn at Gristmill Square in Warm Springs, VA; Inn & Spa at Cedar Falls in Logan, OH; National House Inn in Marshall, MI; and Murphin Ridge Inn in West Union, OH.
The newest special is the AAA package with a welcome gift, one night's lodging, breakfast and $50 gift card toward dinner for $199 for two people. Another special offer, through Dec. 31, 2012, includes a "Stay at three different inns and get $50 off."
Time Honored Inns Nationally Known.
1,000,000 Sweepstakes Miles from Red Lion Hotels
|Red Lion Hotels’ Take Off with Millions Sweepstakes will award one winner one million air miles on Alaska Airlines and three more winners will earn one million Red Lion R&R Club points.
Qualifying potential sweepstakes winners will be entered into random drawings for the following prizes:
- Three Winners: One million Red Lion R&R Club points from Red Lion Hotels. Drawings for Red Lion R&R Club points occur in August, September and October 2012. Red Lion R&R Club points are redeemable with any Red Lion R&R Club partner.
- One Grand Prize Winner: One million Alaska Airlines miles. The grand prize winner will be announced in October 2012. This prize is worth as many as 40 roundtrip flights on Alaska Airlines.
Reserve and check into any Red Lion Hotel, arriving Sunday through Thursday through Sep. 30, 2012, and you will be automatically entered into the four drawings. If you arrive on Friday and Saturday nights, you will not automatically qualify. Entries can also be submitted once a day online or by mailing the required contact information to Red Lion Hotels Take Off with Millions Sweepstakes.
No purchase or payment of any kind is necessary to enter or win. You may enter one time per day and the contest is open to legal residents of the 48 contiguous United States, District of Columbia and Canada; 18 years and older, excluding residents of New York, Rhode Island, Florida, Hawaii, Alaska, Puerto Rico and the Canadian Province of Quebec. The sweepstakes end Sep. 30, 2012.
Complete sweepstakes information available here.
Kids Fly, Stay & Eat Free in Costa Rica
|Costa Rica has what it takes to cater to multi-generational families. During the Green Season (May to December) kids 12 years and under fly free on any of Nature Air’s 74 daily flights to 15 destinations across the country, and stay and eat free at some of the top eco-luxury accommodations in Central America.
Partnering with Cayuga Sustainable Hospitality, Nature Air allows families to combine city stays with rainforest adventures, mountain and beach getaways.
Costa Rica’s shoulder season offers value. Called the “Green Season” due to an increase in rain and green growth (showers fall for a few hours), prices are reduced and crowds are gone; the mountain slopes become greener, and sunny days at the beach are a regular occurrence. The green season kids fly, stay and eat for free promotion is available at most destinations until Dec. 14, 2012, with additional room night promotions and some date restrictions at certain properties.
Kids fly, stay and eat for free promotions include:
Capital city experience: Hotel Grano de Oro, San Jose. Stay five nights and pay for four.
Central Valley: Finca Rosa Blanca Coffee Plantation and Inn. Stay three nights and pay for two.
Rainforests: Lapa Rios Rainforest Ecolodge. Stay four nights and receive one night free.
Mountains: Hacienda Tayutic. Stay three nights and pay for two. Located in the adventure capital of Turrialba, a car rental is necessary.
Beaches & Rainforests: Arenas Del Mar Beach & Nature Resort. Stay five nights and pay for four.
Latitude 10 Resort. Stay five nights and pay for four.
Harmony Hotel. Stay five nights and pay for four.
Green Season Values.
Early-Bird Deals on 2013 River Cruises
|Scenic Cruises released its 2013 Europe River Cruise brochure, detailing its 25 cruise and cruise-tour offerings in Europe and Russia. Scenic Tours offers savings if you book by Nov. 30, 2012; possibilities include free air to Europe and Russia, and cabin savings of $400 to $2,000 per couple. Fares range from $2,460 to $15,535 per person, double occupancy, before savings; higher prices are for suites.
An all-inclusive policy is applicable to all cruises except Russia. 2013 adds unlimited beverages including the cabin mini-bars, private butler service, free Wi-Fi, themed dinners with entertainment, new dining venues on board and Scenic Riverview, a personal onboard GPS guided tour system device. The GPS guided tour system lets you choose from independent walks or cycling tours to explore interest areas such as food, wine or history while full commentary is heard over the headset and live mapping is viewable so you won’t go off course. New dining venues and the GPS tour device are not available on the Scenic Emerald or Scenic Tsar.
This is in addition to the larger staterooms and suites, more than 80 percent with full balconies, private concerts, exclusive performances, onboard entertainment, tour leaders, free electric-assist bicycles, escorted airport transfers, gratuities and baggage handling.
All of the company’s ships except the Scenic Emerald in France and the Scenic Tsar in Russia have ‘Sun-Lounges’, allowing you to convert your private balcony into an indoor lounge with a push of a button.
Itineraries include the 15-day "Jewels of Europe River Cruise" from Budapest to Amsterdam; and the new eight-day Amsterdam to Basel River Cruise, taking in Cologne, Rüdesheim and Mannheim.
There are three new French river cruises to the Saône and Rhône rivers.
All excursion programs, private concerts and exclusive performances are included in the price.
Scenic Cruises or 866/689-8611.
Win Free Fuel for A Year
|The road trip has been overlooked as a vacation option, in part due to the cost of filling up at the pump. To celebrate and protect this American tradition, Shell is giving away a year's worth of Shell nitrogen enriched gasoline to eight winners through its Favorite Road Trip Sweepstakes. A year's worth of gas is calculated as the average consumer's yearly gasoline consumption of 636 gallons.
Share your favorite road trip memory or route online Facebook.com/Shell through Aug. 15, 2012 for your chance to win. One winner will be randomly selected weekly. No purchase is necessary to enter.
Shell "Favorite Road Trip" Sweepstakes and official rules.
Ibuprofen to Prevent Altitude Sickness
|People who took ibuprofen before, during and after ascending to a high altitude had significantly lower odds of developing acute mountain, or high altitude sickness (AMS. Those who did develop AMS had less severe symptoms. The results of a clinical trial are published in the Annals of Emergency Medicine ("Ibuprofen Prevents Altitude Illness: A Randomized Control Trial for Prevention of Altitude Illness with Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatories (PAINS)"). This is a simple and inexpensive solution for an illness that ruins a lot of vacations."
Researchers randomized 89 participants to two groups: 44 received ibuprofen and 42 received placebo. Participants not given placebos were given 600 milligrams of ibuprofen when they were at 4,100 feet above sea level. After being driven to an altitude of 11,700 feet, participants took another dose of ibuprofen. They hiked approximately 2.7 miles to an altitude of 12,570 feet, after which the third dose of ibuprofen was administered. After spending the night at that altitude, participants took a final dose of ibuprofen in the morning.
The odds of developing AMS were three times greater in those taking placebo than in those taking ibuprofen. Overall, 26 percent fewer people developed AMS in the ibuprofen group than in the placebo group. Symptoms of AMS were less severe in people in the ibuprofen group who did develop AMS.
Acute mountain sickness describes a group of symptoms including headache, sleep disturbance, fatigue, dizziness, nausea, vomiting or lack of appetite that commonly occurs in travelers ascending to altitudes above 8,250 feet.
Other preventive medications for acute mountain sickness are prescription-only and carry more potential complications than ibuprofen. This is important news for tourists and recreational mountaineers, military operations and search and rescue missions. If you are heading to the mountains, take some ibuprofen the day you go.
American College of Emergency Physicians.
Summer Luxury Family Getaway Package
|Your family can frolic in a 1,500-acre nature preserve and stay in a villa at Las Alamandas in Costalegre, Mexico with a package that includes many extras.
The Summer Luxury Family Getaway is an all-inclusive package starting from $3,085 with up to two children under 12 staying free. The package is available through Oct. 15, 2012.
- Suite accommodations for five nights
- Margaritas on arrival and in-room tropical fruit platter
- Three meals daily with non-alcoholic beverages
- Family picnic on a private beach
- Free kayaks and one-hour of horseback riding per guest
- Roundtrip transfers from Puerto Vallarta or Manzanillo airport
- Use of all recreational and leisure facilities
Families may dine in suite, al fresco at the Oasis Restaurant or oceanside at La Palapa Beach Club. The cuisine is prepared with seafood freshly caught by local fisherman, meats and free-range eggs and chicken raised by local farmers, and vegetables, lettuces, herbs and fruits grown in the resort's organic gardens.
Activities for every member of the family include: lighted tennis court, beach volleyball, half basketball court, croquet, lawn chess, mountain bikes, 60-foot swimming pool, air-conditioned gym, ping-pong, horseback riding, bird watching, kayaks (doubles and singles), hiking, surfing and boogie boarding. A Kids Club offers games, arts and crafts, and activities. A lounge with a big-screen TV is a family gathering spot to watch movies together.
Las Alamandas is an all-suite boutique resort accommodating up to 42 guests on 1,500 acres midway between Puerto Vallarta and Manzanillo along the Costalegre region of Mexico. The 16 suites are located within seven villas and are designed for casual indoor-outdoor living with terraces and patios, panoramic views, and most with a private Jacuzzi.
Las Alamandas has its own private white-sand beach with a rocky cape at both ends, amid verdant gardens including the resort's namesake yellow La Alamandas, also known as the Copa de Oro. All around are beaches where sea turtles lay their eggs, lagoons and streams, jungle terrain traversed by trails for biking and hiking, and lookout points with panoramas of the coast.
Las Alamandas or 888/882-9616.
Taj Boston Summer Offers
|Taj Boston, the hotel overlooking the Public Garden, has two offers for two-night (or more) summer getaways.
The offers continue on most dates through Sep. 6, 2012, subject to availability. You are responsible for applicable taxes and cancellations received within 48 hours (after 1500 hours US EDT) will be charged for a one-night stay.
Taj Boston Flexi Credit Offer is available when you stay two nights.
You receive a flexible $100 credit that you can use for hotel dining and select services.
Flexi Credit Conditions:
- A $25 credit is provided for each additional night (third, fourth, etc...)
- Credit may be used for food & beverage charges in a variety of hotel venues, room mini-bar, WiFi, telephone charges and one roll away bed.
- Credit is per room and does not apply for multiple consecutive two night stays.
- May not be utilized in combination with any other offers or to adjust applicable room rate.
- Subject to availability at time of booking and not applicable for groups of five or more rooms.
Taj Boston Suite Celebrations Offer
- Reserve two consecutive nights in a suite and receive 50 percent off your second night. The offer is subject to availability at time of booking.
- Suites include a parlor; a marble bath with soaking tub; two 42-inch flat screen TVs; high speed WiFi; daily Continental breakfast and free pressing of two garments daily.
- Suite Celebration is not applicable for group bookings of five or more suites and cannot be combined with other offers.
Taj Boston or 877/482-5267.
Club Med WOW Sale From $899
|Club Med, the original all-inclusive resort company, brings back its WOW Sale, featuring seven night all-inclusive getaways in a minimum category room from $899 per person, based on double occupancy. The offer does not include airfare.
The sale is good at more than 60 Club Med locations worldwide including the Caribbean, Mexico, Florida, France, Greece, Brazil, Indonesia and Thailand. The offer is capacity controlled and you must book by Aug. 27, 2012, for travel by Feb. 15, 2013. Holiday blackouts apply.
For Turkoise all guests must be 18 and older. Club Med Membership fees of $60 per adult and $30 per child are additional. Other restrictions apply including brochure terms and cancellation/change fees.
A Club Med all-inclusive has everything included in one price. Dining throughout the day and a full open bar with premium alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages. Activities such as a game of tennis or yoga at sunset, and nightly entertainment every evening.
Club Med caters to families with family rooms and children-friendly activities including petit tennis, golf, sailing, circus school and Zumbatomic. Children can participate in creative art programs or discover how to cook with Le Petit Chef cooking lessons and try a rock-climbing wall.
The Baby Welcome program provides highchairs, cribs, strollers, bottle warmers and bathtubs that are available upon arrival.
Club Med or 800/ClubMed.
Escape to Puerto Rico where select Hilton Worldwide hotels offer the “Puerto Rico Getaways” promotion. Extended through Dec. 20, 2012, this offer includes discounted nightly rates, welcome drinks and match bet coupons. With no U.S. passport required for travel to Puerto Rico, this Caribbean escape is in every traveler’s reach.
The summer “Puerto Rico Getaways” promotion features 20 percent off the best available room rate, welcome drinks upon arrival and a $25 casino match bet coupon – giving you the chance to return home with extra cash in your pocket. The offer is valid on all bookings made online through Dec. 20, 2012, for travel during the same period. Mention booking code “P2” for all of the hotels.
The promotion requires a minimum stay of three consecutive nights. Blackout dates, deposit and cancellation restrictions may apply and vary by hotel. The offer does not apply to existing reservations or group bookings, and may not be combined with other promotions, discounts, or offers. For specific restrictions contact the participating property or visit their website.
With “Puerto Rico Getaways” rates from $143, El Conquistador Resort, offers private 100-acre Palomino Island, white sand beaches and recreational activities; the Golden Door Spa; an Arthur Hills 18-hole golf course with a driving range, putting green and golf demonstration clinics for the entire family; the Coquí Water Park; seven tennis courts; a casino; a 35-slip private marina; and an array of dining options. Las Casitas Village, the sister property of El Conquistador, has ocean view villa accommodations, 24-hour butler service and all the amenities of El Conquistador. Rates at Las Casitas Village start at $207.
Located five minutes from the airport, El San Juan Resort & Casino offers “Puerto Rico Getaways” rates from $144. There are a selection of dining and entertainment venues; a European-style walking village of boutiques; a 16,500-square-foot casino; a spa and a beach club.
Conrad San Juan Condado Plaza, on a downtown beach, has “Puerto Rico Getaways” rates from $135. The hotel has a 24-hour casino; water sports; tennis courts; three outdoor pools; an outdoor massage area; and a self-serve laundry facility.
“Puerto Rico Getaways” rates at Caribe Hilton start at $143. Minutes from historic Old San Juan, the beachfront hotel sits on a 17 acre peninsula. The birthplace of the piña colada, this is San Juan’s largest hotel with 910 rooms, including suites and the Condado Lagoon Villas. The hotel features a beach, oceanfront swimming pools, a children’s club, a full-service spa, and a variety of dining options. “Puerto Rico Getaways” is available at Condado Lagoon Villas, with rates from $151 and the same values as Caribe Hilton.
The “Puerto Rico Getaways” promotion at Hilton Ponce Golf & Casino Resort offers rates from $127. The beachfront resort is few miles from historic downtown Ponce. The resort offers a beautiful free-form pool, Jacuzzi®, fitness room, tennis courts, sauna and spa, casino and golf country club with a 27-hole golf course designed by Bruce Besse Jr.
“Puerto Rico Getaways” promotion or 888/564-1307.
Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort, in Destin, FL, offers “Fore Fall Golf Getaway,” a package including accommodations at LeCiel, the Gulf Coast’s newest boutique hotel, and two rounds on the Links course starting at $89 per person, per night.
As part of this promotion, a golf cart, unlimited use of Sandestin's practice facility and range balls are included. Free replay rounds booked at the course the day of play are offered based on availability.
As a bonus, the package also features a $10 beverage cart credit per person.
Opened in May, LeCiel is on the banks of the Choctawhatchee Bay. All rooms have wireless internet, terry robes, gourmet coffee, iPhone docking stations, flat screen televisions, and spa-quality toiletries. LeCiel is steps from the Sandestin Spa and the Sandestin Fitness Center, which is free for resort guests.
The package is valid for stays between Sep. 8 and Oct. 31, 2012. Rates are based on double occupancy and a two-night stay. Fees and taxes are not included. Mention promo code FORE12 when booking.
Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort or 888/801-4388.
The United States Mint at Philadelphia re-opened its doors for public tours. The facility has undergone a major set of renovations with new displays, exhibits and artifacts on display.
The project showcases the production processes and gives a more modern, interactive experience. The new tour route and exhibits tell about the role the United States Mint plays in the financial fabric of our nation. The new displays include numerous artifacts; tell the story about the history and current structure of the United States Mint; and explain the evolution of coin minting processes and operations.
- All tours are self-guided; no reservations are necessary.
- Tour Hours: Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
- Summer Tour Hours (June – August): Monday through Saturday, 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Open Memorial Day, July 4th and Labor Day.
- Adults, 18 years and older, need government issued photo IDs to enter. All visitors are required to enter through a metal detector.
- Photography is prohibited.
- Tours are free.
Approximately 250,000 people visit the United States Mint at Philadelphia each year. The last time the public tour exhibits were upgraded was more than 40 years ago.
The United States Mint was created by Congress in 1792. 2012 marks the bureau's 220th anniversary. The United States Mint is the Nation's sole manufacturer of legal tender coinage and is responsible for producing circulating coinage for the Nation to conduct its trade and commerce. The United States Mint also produces proof, uncirculated and commemorative coins; Congressional Gold Medals; and silver, gold and platinum bullion coins.
The United States Mint at Philadelphia is located at 5th and Arch Streets, Philadelphia, PA 19106-1886. Call 215/408-0112 for additional summer tour hours.
Solo travelers save when booking an adventure experience with Sea Voyager Expeditions, paying the same per person price for those booking as a couple.
The company offers this no supplement program for travelers booking any 2012 or 2013 sailing by Oct. 31, 2012. The relaxed and informal nature of the ship make it easy for singles to meet other guests, share meals and get to know each other on excursions and activities. Special single fares for the seven- to 12-night sailings range from $3,950 to $7,450 (vs. the singles brochure rate of $6,350 to $8,950). Offers are capacity controlled and based on stateroom availability.
The new cruise line focuses on four of the world's most fauna- and wildlife-rich countries - Colombia, Panama, Costa Rica and Ecuador - visiting secluded bays, untouched wilderness, rarely visited small villages and Indigenous peoples. Nearly all of the itineraries transit the Panama Canal. Rounding out the exploration opportunities is the onboard and shore-based education provided by expedition guides and naturalists aboard every voyage. These experts offer insight into local culture, history, wildlife, geology and climate.
Included are all meals, pre and post hotels, shore tours, admission to museums and parks, tax and port fees, and transfers when the SVE air program is used.
Itineraries choices include:
- Eight-night Caribbean Parks & Islands of Colombia & Panama which focuses on the San Blas Islands, and the rainforests and wildlife of Columbia's rarely visited coast;
- 12-night "Pacific Wilds of Ecuador, Colombia & Panama" and its reverse sailing, "Last Frontier of Panama Colombia & Ecuador " visiting Colombia's Malaga Bay and Gorgona Island NP;
- Eight-night "Unspoiled Pacific of Panama & Costa Rica" include Las Perlas Islands, Coiba Island and Osa Peninsula;
- Eight-night "Treasures of Costa Rica & Panama," explore the Secas Islands with hikes, by Zodiac and kayak, and snorkel, Marenco Biological Reserve, and Panama's Darien Jungle.
The line's flexible and low-key approach allows you to participate as much or as little as you want, hiking trails one day, relaxing on a secluded beach, kayaking the next or going for a swim off the back platform of the ship.
The M/V Sea Voyager is designed for the tropics. Its 60-passenger capacity allows for easy on/off access, a more personal experience, and close to nature feel. All staterooms are air-conditioned with panoramic windows and private bath. The ship has a roomy lounge with large windows, bar, fitness room, library with WiFi, massage room, dining room with two to 12 people per table, buffet, deck space, fore, aft and covered decks, and a platform for getting on/off Zodiacs, kayaks, swimming and snorkeling.
Sea Voyager Expeditions or 888/912-2572.
Lion World Tours introduces a deal for U.S. Military personnel to travel with a spouse, partner or family member at savings of $600 per person off the regular retail price. This nine-day "South Africa on Sale" vacation and safari package is $2,299 per person including airfare and all taxes. This package is valid for travel September through November and Dec. 1 to 9, 2012.
"South Africa on Sale" includes four nights at the Commodore Hotel at the Victoria and Alfred Waterfront in Cape Town; a full day Cape Peninsula tour; a half day Winelands tour and a cable car ride to the top of Table Mountain. Most rooms at the Commodore Hotel have views of Table Mountain, Table Bay and Signal Hill.
While on safari you spend two nights at Bakubung Bush Lodge or Kwa Maritane. In Pilanesberg National Park, these lodges combine a peaceful bush environment with comfort. Virtually all the animal species of southern Africa exist here including lions, black and white rhino, elephant, buffalo and leopard.
Lion World Tours or 800/387-2706.
Voyages to Antiquity provides free airfare, including all government taxes, fees and fuel surcharges, for Grand Voyages to the Far East, transition Grand Voyages from the Far East to the Mediterranean and the first three Mediterranean Grand Voyage itineraries.
Traditionally, airfare to the Far East ranges from $995 to $1,195 and $595 to the Mediterranean.
Grand Voyages for the Far East program include:
Singapore to Bangkok – 32 days, Dec. 5, 2012
Bangkok to Singapore – 30 days, Feb. 1, 2013
Grand Voyage Transition Cruises include:
Singapore to Cairo – 33 days, Mar. 6, 2013
Singapore to Istanbul – 43 days, Mar. 6, 2013
Delhi to Istanbul – 32 days, Mar. 17, 2013
Grand Voyages in the Mediterranean include:
Cairo to Athens – 27 days – March 30, 2013
Istanbul to Venice – 26 days – April 12, 2013
Venice to Cannes – 24 days – May 6, 2013
Grand Voyage cruise fares start from $6,650, including pre- and/or post-cruise hotel stays; shore excursions with free bottled water; gratuities to shipboard staff; and wine, beer and soft drinks at dinner. For single travelers, Voyages to Antiquity increases the number of single cabins to 26 to complement single supplements in double occupancy cabins, which start from 25 percent.
Book by Sep. 30, 2012, and save up to $1,000 on these Grand Voyages and individual departures from Mar. 30 through July 3, 2013.
Voyages to Antiquity or 877/398-1460.
Book your fall vacation early and save with Aston Hotels & Resorts’ “50 Days of Aloha.” These rates offer the lowest prices for 2012 at participating Aston hotels and condominium resorts on Oahu, Maui, Kauai and the Big Island. This offer is available for new bookings through Sep. 4, 2012 for travel Aug. 21 through Dec. 19, 2012.
Nightly rates for “50 Days of Aloha” start from:
- Oahu: Rates from $94 per night (Aston Waikiki Joy Hotel, Hotel Room Standard)
- Maui: Rates from $79 per night (Aston Maui Lu, Hotel Room Standard)
- Big Island: Rates from $149 per night (Aston Kona by the Sea, One Bedroom Partial Ocean View Suite)
- Kauai: Rates from $70 per night (Aston Aloha Beach Hotel, Hotel Room Garden View)
“50 Days of Aloha” may not be combined with other programs, specials or discounts. Prices do not include tax and fees and are subject to change without notice. Travel period dates may vary by property. Blackout dates and additional restrictions may apply. Rates are subject to availability and are non-refundable. Full payment is due at the time of booking.
As part of your Ashton Hawaii trip, you receive discounts and savings from the Aston Aloha Book provided free at check-in. The Aloha Book contains offers worth more than $2,500 in savings on dining, shopping, activities and attractions.
Aston’s year-round “Kids Stay, Play & Eat Free” program means children 17 years and younger stay free when using existing bedding and children 12 years and younger receive free admission at island attractions and free meals at family-friendly restaurants when accompanied by a paying adult through the Aston Aloha Book. Unlike other hotel promotions that encourage kids to play and eat free within the resort, this program allows families to experience a variety of the island’s activities and dining options.
Aston Hotels & Resorts or 866/774-2924.
AAA Travel experts advise that traveling without the proper documentation for children can complicate or ruin travel plans
Options for family travel are varied and may include children traveling alone to visit geographically separated family members, travel with a solo parent or kids leaving parents behind to cruise the world with grandparents. Some family travel options may require additional and perhaps unexpected travel documentation when both parents are not accompanying the child, the child is traveling with adults other than parents or the child's last name differs from the parent's name.
"Family travel plans could be interrupted or even ruined if necessary documentation requirements for children catch adults by surprise," said Bill Sutherland, vice president, AAA Travel Services. "It is critical that parents identify and obtain the required documents for their specific family or child's travel."
AAA Travel experts offer these children's travel tips:
Passports for Children - All U.S. citizens including infants and children must have a valid passport to travel internationally by air. A passport card can be used for automobile and cruise ship travel to Canada and Mexico from the United States. Both parents must provide consent authorizing passport issuance for a minor under age 16. AAA Travel recommends that citizens of all ages use a passport for all international travel, including auto and cruise travel to Canada and Mexico, in the event an emergency requires reentry to the United States by air.
Current passport holders should examine the passport expiration date, and if the document is due to expire within six months of travel, renew it prior to travel. While adult passports are valid for ten years, passports for children under age 16 are valid for five years. Parents should carefully examine all passport and child travel documentation requirements at travel.state.gov, or seek the assistance of a knowledgeable travel agent.
Cruising with Children - Cruise lines generally require at least one legal adult (age 21 or older) to occupy every stateroom to eliminate children cruising alone. This person also needs to be a legal parent or guardian. Cruise lines also require a notarized letter of authorization to travel if a child is sailing with only one parent, other non-custodial adults, or has a different last name than the responsible legal adult. For more information visit the applicable cruise line website or a knowledgeable travel agent.
International Solo Parent Travel - When visiting a foreign country, including Mexico and Canada, as a lone adult with a minor child under age 18, additional travel documentation is required. To help prevent cases of parental abduction and international child trafficking, many countries now require proof of the lone adult's relationship to the child and the legal right to travel in and out of the country with that child. In addition to the child's valid United States passport, and entry visa where required, a letter of permission from the absent parent(s) signed before a notary public is needed.
The letter should include a statement of authorization for the child to travel, details of the trip and legal names and contact information for the child and accompanying adult. Single parents, grandparents, stepparents, guardians and any adult with a last name different from the child need to be prepared with the additional documentation to present at border crossings, airport immigration check points and cruise line check-in desks. A travel agent can assist in securing the appropriate documents.
Children Flying Solo - Most airlines offer fee-based Unaccompanied Minor programs that facilitate air travel for children without an accompanying adult. These programs provide an affordable travel option to link geographically separated family members with the children they treasure. Airline Unaccompanied Minor programs, policies and procedures vary. Most require that an authorized adult escort the child to the departure gate and an authorized adult take custody of the minor child at the arrival gate. In flight, unaccompanied minors are under the care of the cabin crew.
If planning an itinerary for a child traveling by air solo, be sure to carefully check the specific requirements for each airline you are considering. Check age requirements, fees and all details which can vary greatly. For example some airlines require travel must be on a nonstop flight, while others might allow one or more stops if a plane change does not occur. Specific details of each airline's program can be found on the airline website.
Child Medical Care Authorization - When a child is traveling without a parent, receiving emergency medical care could be complicated or refused by the medical facility, unless the emergency is deemed life-threatening. The adult accompanying the child should carry a medical proxy, an original notarized letter from the non-traveling parent(s) granting permission to authorize emergency medical care for the child. The letter should include the permission statement, child's health insurance information, social security number and full legal names of the child and accompanying adults. If the child remains at home while a parent travels, this important medical authorization documentation should be supplied to the child's caregiver.
Holland America Line offers Early Advantage savings on 2013 cruises and CruiseTours if you book well in advance of departure.
The promotion features free upgrades on select sailings and savings of up to 50 percent by combining two cruise itineraries on select Collectors' Voyages in Europe. Also on some sailings, free and reduced cruise fares are available for third or fourth guests who share the same stateroom.
With savings of up to 50 percent off per person, the Early Advantage promotion makes it possible to take a longer Collectors' Voyage in Europe at a more affordable rate. These longer cruises combine back-to-back itineraries, enabling you to visit more ports and spend extra time exploring the region.
With Early Advantage savings, you can book a 14-day Collectors' Voyage from $1,799 per person, double occupancy, for an inside stateroom, and receive a free upgrade to an ocean-view while staterooms are available.
Free upgrades and free or reduced third and fourth guest Early Advantage savings are available on cruises to more than 415 ports of call in: Alaska, Asia, Australia/New Zealand, Canada/New England, Caribbean, Europe, Hawaii, Mexico, Panama Canal and South America/Antarctica.
A family of four can receive free or reduced fares for third and fourth guests in the Caribbean, with fares from $699 for the first two guests, and the third and fourth sailing free. You may book an ocean-view category for $999 and receive a free verandah upgrade.
A 14-day Australia/New Zealand cruise starts at $1,699 for an inside stateroom and $1,999 for an ocean-view stateroom for the first and second guests, with reduced fares for the third and fourth from $1,049. Aboard an Australia/New Zealand cruise you can receive a free upgrade from an ocean-view stateroom to a verandah category while staterooms are available.
Seven-day Alaska Inside Passage cruises from Seattle or Vancouver start at $699 for inside staterooms or $999 for verandahs, with free upgrades available. Another option is Holland America Line's Alaska CruiseTours, from 10 to 20 days, starting at $999 for inside staterooms and ocean-view staterooms.
Holland America Line's Early Advantage savings or 877/724-5425.
For the month of August, the Philly Overnight Hotel package goes mega. Book the Mega Philly Overnight Hotel package for a stay in August and get accommodations for two nights and free hotel parking, along with a voucher for two roundtrip megabus.com tickets for a return trip to Philadelphia. The package is available at more than 45 hotels in the city and region.
The package includes
- Two roundtrip ticket vouchers on megabus.com
- Two nights accommodations
- Free hotel parking for both nights (a $75+ value at most Center City hotels)
- With Love, Philadelphia XOXO teddy bear
The package is available seven days a week, which means you can book it for any two consecutive days.
Ticket vouchers are redeemable online at megabus.com. The free megabus.com tickets to and from Philadelphia are valid through Mar. 15, 2013 from Boston, MA; Buffalo or the Buffalo Airport, NY; New York, NY; Syracuse, NY; Harrisburg, PA; Pittsburgh, PA; State College, PA; Secaucus, NJ; Baltimore, MD; Washington DC; Hampton, VA; Richmond, VA; and Toronto, Canada. Some restrictions apply.
Philly Overnight Hotel Package or 800/ 537-7676.
Eco-tourism opportunities and close encounters with nature are available at CasaMagna Marriott Puerto Vallarta Resort’s 10th turtle hatching season.
The oceanfront resort receives about 30 percent of the turtles that nest in Puerto Vallarta and you can take part in an educational vacation with its “Secretos del Mar” Sea Turtle Rescue program. You take part by combing the beach and gathering the turtle eggs. When the eggs are ready to hatch, you may name a baby turtle, wish it luck and send it to its natural habitat in the ocean. The resort has a biologist on staff to educate you about the endangered species.
Carried out according to the procedures established by the National Institute of Fisheries and the Fishing & Marine Biology Station of the University of Guadalajara, sea turtle season continues through December as sea turtles come ashore and lay their eggs. Under the supervision of biologist Catharine Hart, the resort staff patrols the beaches to gather turtle eggs. The eggs are transported to the Marriott CasaMagna sea turtle nursery for incubation, the largest in Puerto Vallarta with a capacity of 500 nests hatching simultaneously.
The “Secretos del Mar” program is available with the Escape! Family package which includes free breakfast daily for two adults and two children 12 and under, pizza and movie for one night, free entrance to the Kid's Club for children four to 12 years old, and a milk and cookies nightly turndown service. Rates start at $189 per night and are valid through Dec. 8, 2012. Mention promotional code MAJ.
About 45 days after sea turtles lay eggs, hatchlings emerge and are released on the beach, with the aid of the recreational staff and the public. Tradition holds that each child names their baby sea turtle, wishes them luck and sets them free to find their way to the water. Since baby turtles face threats from land predators, they are released at night, 7:30 pm every evening at the CasaMagna Marriott beach.
Sea turtles return to the same beach where they are born to lay their own eggs. The beach of CasaMagna Marriott Puerto Vallarta will prove a safe haven for these hatchlings to lay future eggs and ensuring generations to come.
CasaMagna Marriott Puerto Vallarta or 800/228-9290.
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-- 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 Publishings
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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
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