Monthly Archives: July 2016
As we head into the month of April, we follow yet another turn of winter melting into spring. Whether you’re celebrating the return of the sun or just need a change of scenery, now is the perfect time to consider a Caribbean getaway. Now that the busy winter season is over, there are plenty of incredible spring, summer, and fall hotel deals to choose from.
EAGLE’S BEACH, ARUBA
I’m in love with Aruba. I’ve been here four times and I’m already plotting my next trip back. From lounging on the beach to spending the day with flamingos, there’s something for everyone.
Aruba’s Eagle Beach is one of the most beautiful stretches of white sand beach in the Caribbean, and Aruba’s widest. It’s a perfect place for windsurfing, swimming, and other aquatic sports, and also for viewing sea turtle hatching during parts of the year.La Cabana Beach Resort & Casino, an Ascend Hotel Collection® member, is located directly across from Eagle Beach, and boasts both an on-site casino and spa.
PARADISE ISLAND, BAHAMAS
Famous for being home to the sprawling Atlantis resort including a water park, casino, aquarium, and one of the world’s most expensive hotel rooms (the Bridge Suite costs ~$25k per night!), Paradise Island is a Bahaman resort island in the best way. But you don’t actually have to spend $25k per night to enjoy it; the Comfort Suites® Paradise Island located nearby offers spacious rooms with included access to the Atlantis’ amenities.
GRAND CAYMAN, THE CAYMAN ISLANDS
Explore Grand Cayman and you’ll have access not only to beautiful beaches and activities, but a large number of natural and historical attractions. Scuba diving offers views of large coral reefs and shipwrecks, including the USS Kittiwake, an artificial reef that you can explore inside. The Comfort Suites Seven Mile Beach puts you right on the waterfront and only a short distance from the Cayman Turtle Farm.
Make sure to bring your camera with you to Curacao! This Dutch Caribbean island offers both natural beauty and some amazing, colorful architectur Willemstad’s harbor, with its colonial architecture, has been designated a UNESCO heritage site. TheAcoya Hotel Suites & Villas, an Ascend Hotel Collection® member, offer a number of private family rooms and villas within a short distance to several beaches, as well as the Seaquarium.
If visiting Maui is your dream vacation, rest assured you don’t have to break the bank to enjoy a trip there. With these tips, you can stay within your budget even as you’re living it up on this fun, friendly island.
SAVE ON CAR RENTALS
It’s necessary to rent a car in Maui, but you don’t have to pay a fortune for it. Rent an economy car not only is the rental fee cheaper, you’ll get better gas mileage, too. You can search for the best prices at rentalcars.com, and some American Express cards offer further discounts on rental insurance. Also, be sure to check with your auto insurance carrier at home to see if it covers rental cars.
TRAVEL IN THE OFF SEASON
The off season and shoulder seasons in Maui are April to May and September to October. Airfare and hotels tend to be cheaper. And for an added perk, it won’t be as crowded. For the best rates on hotels, we always check Booking.com first.
RENT A PLACE WITH A KITCHEN
Renting a condo or apartment through Airbnb is a great way to save money on your Maui vacation. Often the rental price itself is very affordable. Beyond that, having your own kitchen means that you can save money by cooking your own food. If you are new to Airbnb, sign up through our link to get up to $35 off of your first booking!
BUY ALCOHOL AT THE LOCAL MARKET
We always head to the local market on our first day of arrival to Maui. We like to buy any snacks we didn’t bring with us and, most importantly, buy a few six packs to have on hand at our hotel or apartment. We often travel with this insulated tote bag that doubles as an ice chest for the beach or other outdoor activities.
PACK SOME SNACKS
Since it’s an island and 90% of the food has to be imported, packaged food tends to be pretty expensive on Maui. We like to have snacks like almonds and nature barson hand when traveling, so packing these items in our suitcase saves us a ton of money.
EAT AT FOOD TRUCKS
Food trucks are another great budget-friendly alternative. There’s such a variety that you don’t have to miss out on exotic local fare, and you’ll be getting fun, delicious meals for sometimes half the price of a restaurant. Here’s a list of the best food trucks on Mauiaccording to Yelp reviews.
One of the most amazing things about traveling in Europe is how incredibly easy it is to get around. That’s why the whirlwind European adventure is still such a classic for summer travel. With so much to see and do, a summer trip through top European destinations is a new experience every time you go.
Contiki has recently announced their “Bag Tag” contest, allowing U.S. residents the chance to win a bunch of really cool prizes including a Sony Alpha a6000, iPad Mini 3, GoPro Hero4, and even a free European vacation! All you have to do is guess on social media which fun-packed travel bag is going on which of their amazing European tour packages to be entered to win. Residents anyone outside of the US that clicks on the landing page will be sent to a “Bag Tag” quiz to find out which Contiki bag best identifies them.
After just returning from a trip to the Mediterranean and as a lover of sun-kissed beaches, I personally love Bag #6. What do you think: is it Croatian Island Escape Plus, the Best of the Balkans, or Balkans Discovery?
Head over to Contiki’s “Bag Tag” contest page to check out all six bags and guess the destinations! And to get you ready for a little summer fun in Europe, here is our list of the 10 best places to escape the crowds in Europe this summer.
Hidden in a ria canyon, this beautiful, secluded Mediterranian port is surrounded by history—literally! The Venetian fortifications are only part of its long history, written in the town’s unique blend of architecture. With its Medieval old town, WWII memorials, and Napoleonic gates, it’s a quiet town with a long history to explore.
One of the 10 most well-preserved Medieval cities in the world, Dubrovnik is more well known for its perfect seaside charm. You’ll definitely want to spend your time outside on its many beaches, in its botanical gardens, and in the Arboretum Trsteno, the world’s oldest arboretum! Bonus for Game of Thrones fans: the town is one of the filming sites for Kings Landing.
St. Moritz, Switzerland
St. Moritz is a big winter destination in Switzerland, but it’s much less crowded in the summer. With an elevation of 1,856 meters, it boasts plenty of sunny days yet it never gets too hot. Outdoor lovers can enjoy the many hiking trails in the area and those looking for a relaxing getaway have plenty of spa resorts to choose from.
Iceland’s capital is the perfect destination for travelers who are interested in wilderness adventuring but who want to be able to return to the comfort of civilization after a hard day’s hike. Day-trips let you explore the solitary beauty of Iceland’s landscape, and you can keep enjoying it after with a relaxing trip to any Reykjavik spa featuring one of its many hot springs!
Planning a successful trip can be time consuming; once you decide where you want to go there’s scheduling the time away, saving up, choosing your attractions, finding transportation, and booking a hotel. One of the most helpful planning tools many people have used for a long time, including myself,. It is a great resource for reading reviews and comparing prices and now booking!
In honor of this giveaway, we thought we would share ten of our favorite destinations just in case you’re not sure where you want to travel in 2016. Kauai is one destination our personal bucket list and now it looks like we have more incentive to book that ticket this March
The Nordic fjords are absolutely breathtaking monuments of nature, and offer numerous sightseeing and outdoor activities. Nearby villages like Bergen provide quaint regional food and lodging opportunities. We recommend visiting in the summer for the best hiking weather and visiting after September if you want to see the Northern Lights! Read about our best tips for traveling in Norway on a budget.
Jasper National Park, Canada
Our January trip to Jasper National Park was fantastic, including dog sledding, a winter walk of Maligne Canyon, and a cozy stay at The Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge, which you can book on TripAdvisor. Jasper is a perfect destination any time of year, but it’s especially magical in the winter. For more trip ideas, read my suggestions on the best winter activities in Jasper.