Author: christinescornerTHL

My name is Christine and I'm the travel advocate for THL Vacations. Have you been to any of the destinations I just spoke about? If so tell me what you liked most about it. Leave a comment!

Vacations… The Best Way to Enjoy Your Time Off

vacation | thl vacations

A vacation is getting time off to rest from work, school, or simply from our daily life activity. The best way to spend this time is with loved ones in a fun and or relaxing environment. It could be by traveling to the exotic Hawaii with its beautiful beaches and amazing tropical weather or to Orlando with its exciting attractions such as Seaworld, Islands of Adventure and Walt Disney World. Going on a vacation is a great way to explore other countries and to learn from different cultures. A vacation can be taking a flight to a far away destination or it can be a road trip to a different city within close proximity.

 

Going on a cruise is a great option for a vacation as well. Cruising gives one the opportunity to travel around the world while enjoying the magnificent views of the ocean throughout your trip. On a cruise you have the opportunity to enjoy the amenities at all times of the day such as: parties, drinks, exquisite food and around the clock service.

 

budget travel | thl vacations

 

The concept of vacationing has developed over the past two centuries. Before having a vacation, either flying or cruising was a luxury that only wealthy people were able to take advantage of but vacations are becoming more affordable every year. There are a few things that one should do when planning a vacation. First set a budget, that way you don’t spend more than you can afford. Second do research before hand, that way you will know where to go according to your budget so you don’t waste time looking for things to do when you get there. Last but not least make a schedule; creating a schedule will give you enough time to do everything you want to do.

 

All-inclusive vacations are a great way to vacation. All-inclusive vacations are when one pays upfront for their accommodations as well as food, drinks and amenities. There are several resorts and cruises that offer all-inclusive packages so you won’t have to worry about where to eat, drink, explore or party. All-inclusive packages are great for vacationers on a strict budget because they know how much they will be spending on everything upfront.

 

resale | thl vacations

 

Buying into a timeshare resale is another great way to vacation. Buying a timeshare resale is less expensive that buying a timeshare from the developer. Owning a timeshare week is great because you have a set place to go to every year and you still have the option to use it in other parts of the world if you want to have a new experience. Having a timeshare is a great way to vacation for families because they offer all of the comforts of home such as a fully furnished living room and kitchen. Owning a timeshare is almost like having your own condo in the destination of your choice at a fraction of the cost. Talk to one of our travel agents today to see if owning or renting a timeshare is right for you.

Advertisements

Perusing Cruise Options

cruise Main | thl vacations

 With WAVE season around the corner, cruise lines are gearing up to feature their best offers. To prepare for the wave of deals you’re about to see, here are some tips on benefits and features of cruising.

A cruise is a pleasurable way to travel as you sail to your destination or destinations. Taking a cruise is one of the most exciting ways to vacation, traveling around the world and having everything at your fingertips. Ask for it, and it will be there! Clubs, retail stores, beauty salon, spa, different restaurants, movie theaters, bars, pool, luxurious bedrooms and the best part is that it’s all inclusive (except alcoholic beverage). Some cruises do include alcoholic beverages for an additional fee but most of them do not and others, depending on the type of cruise, will charge you fee for an all you can drink package.

There are many cruise lines that offer a variety of different cruises, from one day cruising in the surrounding area up to months of traveling around the world. You can take a cruise from almost anywhere in the world. Each cruise line has different activities and amenities and all the cruises are different, but one thing that they have in common is their great customer service. Each employee makes a promise to give the best customer service in the world, making you feel like a superstar. Since there are so many cruise lines the best way to choose a cruise that will fulfill your dream vacation is by doing some research and working with a travel agent. They have a lot of activities and excursions to offer on and off of the cruise. If you like to explore they can take you hiking, snorkeling, swimming with the dolphins, etc. Otherwise you can just stay on the cruise ship and enjoy the various activities on board like contests, spa, gallery, shopping, shows, or just relax at the pool.

cruise activities | Thl vacations

One of the most important things that travelers should know is that they must have the proper travel documents. Most cruises require a passport, and depending on the places you are traveling to or your nationality you can travel with your birth certificate and state id. It’s important to talk to a travel agent before booking your cruise to be sure that you have the proper documentation to travel.

When preparing for a cruise you should pack carefully and bring appropriate outfits for each occasion, that’s the beauty of a cruise you can do everything while you are sailing. Bring a bathing suit for the beach and the pool; formal attire for dinner, sport clothes if you decide to go to the gym or play tennis or basketball. There is a bit of everything on a cruise for your enjoyment.

packing for a cruise | thl vacations

At moments you’ll forget that you’re on a ship until you leave your room and see that you’re surrounded by water. Before cruising was a luxury that not everyone could afford just wealthy people, but nowadays it has become very affordable and convenient to almost everyone. Imagine being on a ship that has everything you need as if it was a mini city. You can go to different restaurants, engage in exciting activities, and lodge in a comfortable environment all in the same place.

The Details on Travel Deals

amazing travel deals on the beach

amazing travel deals on the beach

Travel Deals offer package promotions for vacations that can make traveling easier, more convenient, save on budget and make luxury traveling more affordable.  Not all travel deals are about luxury travel but many are and they provide discounts that will save travelers money even with a higher end vacation. Many travel agencies also offer travel deals. The down side of some travel deals is that you don’t always get to choose the exact details- you may not get to choose which 5-seat car you rent or which hotel room you stay in.

Travel deal packages include discounts on a variety of traveling components such as airfare, car rental, hotel rooms for a certain number of nights, and sometimes dining, park and attraction tickets, cruises, entertainment and activities. Travel deals offer buying all of these at once at a discount. Some deals offer cheap car rental for booking a flight or flight and hotel.  Some deals offer free nights at a hotel for booking a certain number of nights.

family dining packages on vacation

Travel deals are packages that change with each offer and each company.   Some companies such as Hotwire.com, Orbitz.com, Expedia.com, Cheaptickets.com, Travelocity.com, Priceline.com and Tripadvisor.com have a variety ways of searching and buying travel package deals.  Most of these companies are online and the reservations are made online. Some companies can be done over the phone or in person. Check out travel deals for both your own local city and for extended vacations at AAA, ASTA Liberty Travel or if you are a student look at STA and Student Universe.  All inclusive hotels and resorts also offer their own package deals.  Other less known but extremely helpful deal search sites are Hipmunk.com, Pinnr.com, AutoSlash.com. Bing.com/travel

Easy popular travel deals are often found with the following companies including Disney, AAA and Club Med. Disneyworld and Disney World Resorts offer package vacations including hotels, parks, dining options and cruises. Certain Hilton hotels offer nights free when a certain number of nights are booked.  All-inclusive companies such as family oriented Club Med and romantic getaways Sandals have resort, dining and activity packages. Many hotels offer nights free after booking a certain number like The Chase Park Plaza Hotel in St. Louis, Missouri offers a free third night.  AAA offers discounts on local activities for example in Atlanta, Georgia AAA sells Georgia Aquarium tickets at a great discount from their original price.

all inclusive | thl vacationsThe final best travel deal is not made in the discounts or reservations but from your actual traveling. Many airline, travel companies and major credit card companies offer travel reward cards and loyalty programs.  Delta Airlines and AirTran Airways offer frequent flyer mile systems; the more flights you take with these companies the more your mile points add up to earning you free airline tickets. These programs just require registering.  These two airline companies and others offer their own travel credit cards that give flyer mile points, and discounts at hotels, car rental companies and restaurants. These discounts can be used locally and during vacations to build up your rewards.   Use programs like Award Wallet to collect and keep count of all yours and your families points, travels, rewards, credits and expiration dates.  Most importantly have fun!

Destination Spotlight: Modesto, CA

Modesto, ca THL VacationsModesto, originating as a stop on the railroad connecting Sacramento to Los Angeles, was founded in 1870. Since then it has grown into so much more:  Modesto ranks as the 18th largest city in the state of California. According to legend, the city was to be named after William C. Ralston, an early California financier. However, he declined the honor, and a Spanish-speaking railroad worker said that Ralston was “Muy modesto,” or very modest. Thus, the town was named Modesto.

Nevertheless, while modest is in the name, Modesto is not modest about its attractions, as it is home to the critically-acclaimed Gallo Center for the Arts, the Prospect Theater Project, the Modesto Symphony Orchestra, the State Theater, the Modesto Nuts, a Colorado Rockies Minor League Baseball affiliate, and the Amgen Tour of California. The Xclamation Festival, also known as X-Fest, has become the city’s largest entertainment and cultural gathering. It is an annual festival that takes place on the streets of downtown Modesto, usually on the first Saturday in August. Founded in 2000 and organized by Chris Ricci Presents, the day is known for its Mardi Gras party atmosphere, concert performances that go all night, and a motto of “Good Times, Downtown.” It features 50 bands on eight stages in eight hours. It is 21 and over only, and has bragged of crowds that average 15,000 people, the capacity limit set by the city of Modesto. In 2009, however,  X-Fest had an estimated 16,000 attendees enjoying music and food on the streets of downtown.

modesto x fest thl vacationsDowntown Modesto is known for having a variety of great restaurants and fun night life attractions. It also hosts a multi-venue Art Walk year around on the third Thursday of every month. This walk is free to take, and maps for it are available. Modesto has hosted many music festivals, such as SummerFest, a downtown summer concert series.

Another Modesto attraction is the McHenry Mansion, built by hand in the early 1880s by Robert McHenry, a local rancher and banker. The mansion is included on the National Register of Historic Places, and tours of it are available. Then there is the State Theatre, dating back to the 1920s. It was renovated in recent years, and serves as a local performance arts center and as a movie theater specializing in independent and foreign films. Sports fans will love to know that the Modesto Nuts MLB team is the main attraction for locals between Easter and Labor Day.

McHenry Mansion thl vacationsIn 1973, Modesto was immortalized by George Lucas in the film American Graffiti, in which Ron Howard, Harrison Ford and Richard Dreyfuss starred. Lucas’ film paid homage to teenage life in Modesto in 1962 based on his own experiences growing up there. Ironically, most of the movie was filmed elsewhere, because the Modesto city council refused to let Lucas film Graffiti in Modesto. Since then, the city of Modesto has realized the strength of its connection to the award-winning film, and is now planning and preparing new tourist attractions and events for American Graffiti tourists. An annual festival paying homage to the movie, Graffiti Summer, is held in Modesto and lasts the entire month of June, when it draws thousands of visitors and car enthusiasts, along with hundreds of classic and antique cars.

Destination Spotlight: Colorado Springs

main-lodge-lake-horiz-edit-med

Nestled at the foot of Pikes Peak, Colorado Springs has come a long way from its mining town days. With a population of 416,427 as of the 2010 Census, it is the second most populous city in the state of Colorado, behind Denver, and the 41st most populous city in the United States. The city covers 194.7 square miles, making it Colorado’s largest city in area. With the city’s location close to the Rocky Mountains, it is a popular destination for visitors, offering a multitude of trails, parks, and open spaces. They include Pikes Peak, Seven Falls, and Cave of the Winds, to name a few.

Colorado Springs has more than 55 attractions and activities to offer visitors. They include the ProRodeo Hall of Fame & Museum of the American Cowboy, Rock Ledge Ranch Historic Site, the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center, the Colorado Springs Pioneers Museum, the American Numismatic Association Money Museum, Peterson Air and Space Museum, and the Cheyenne Mountain Heritage Center.

The city thrives on culture, with the Colorado Springs Philharmonic and Pikes Peak Center for performing arts. But there’s even more to attract and hold visitors’ attention. One of the nation’s three U.S. Olympic Training Centers is located here, where visitors can watch top athletes in action. Another world-class attraction is the U.S. Air Force Academy, an elite military training academy located just north of the city. You can visit several areas of the academy, including the Cadet Chapel and the Honor Court.

One of the nation’s most beautiful city parks, Garden of the Gods, is nestled in the foothills of Pikes Peak. The stunning red rock formations draw tourists to try and capture their beauty.

If you want to take a break from the outdoors, then check out Colorado Springs Downtown, the oldest part of the original city, which has many shops and interesting buildings, including the city’s oldest high rises. The Lon Chaney Theater, housed in the Colorado Springs City Auditorium, is another must-see on the National Register of Historic Places. The Pioneers Museum, originally the county courthouse, offers an extensive collection of early city history. Giuseppe’s Depot Restaurant is an eatery located in the historic downtown 1880s railroad depot. The Pikes Peak Center houses traveling and local musical and theatrical performances. Just south of downtown is the Bristol Brewing Company, a prized microbrewery that offers tours and tastings.

Then there is Old Colorado City, a National Historic District with many art galleries and boutiques. It is home to the Michael Garman Museum, which housed Magic Town, a 3,000-square-foot sculptural theater paying homage to Garman since 1975. One of the country’s many Carnegie Libraries is located here as well. Tourist attractions north of Old Colorado City include Flying W Ranch, a cowboy ranch. The Old North End of the city is home to the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center, the American Numismatic Association, and Colorado College. The Van Briggle Pottery kiln works, founded in 1899 and specializing in art nouveau vases and decorative tiles, was originally housed here in a building now owned by Colorado College.

Visiting New York for the winter holidays

The state of New York offers so much to do. With its great cities such as New York City, Buffalo and Rochester and its man outdoor opportunities New York is a vacationers playground.

through-winter-trees-central-park-new-york-city-vivienne-gucwa

New York has many state parks and preserves including the Adirondack Park, the Catskill Park and the Montauk Point State Park with the Montauk Lighthouse. During the summer the weather is mild and the winter is very cold. These areas have surrounding camping, hiking, wildlife resorts, lodges and accommodations. The Hudson River runs through New York, and has many landmarks including West Point, Home of Franklin D Roosevelt National Historic Site, Bard College, Thayer Hotel, Bannerman’s Castle, the Hudson River Islands State Park, and home of the Hudson River School art movement. The Hudson River School painters captured the natural beauty of this area. Houses of the painters can be visited as well. Travel in this area can be done by car or boat through the New York State Canal System. New York also offers several beaches near New York City and along the Lake Ontario and Lake Erie.  The popular beach areas like the Hamptons, Oyster Beach, Rochester, Buffalo and Irving have many restaurants, bars and beach resort, beach club accommodations.

p142458-New_York-New_York_in_Winter

New York is the 3rd most populated state in the US. New York City megalopolis is a world-class city. New York City has many famous attractions such as The Statue of Liberty, the Ne York Stock Exchange, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Museum of Modern Art, Central Park, Empire State Building, Ground Zero, Times Square, Grand Central Terminal, Broadway, as well as, endless shopping, art galleries, restaurants, people watching and many unique neighborhoods like Chinatown and West Village. New York City is home to the New York Mets, New York Yankees, New York Knicks, Brooklyn Nets and more sports teams.  Buffalo in upstate NEW York is another popular city- it is near Niagra Falls, has great buffalo wings, great hotels and shopping and during the winter seasons becomes a winter wonderland of sledding and snow activities.

New York has man large chain hotels and resorts especially in the metro areas. In the country are many remote lodges. Upstate Lake Pleasant areas offer several lodges and resorts such as Lake Placid Lodge.  This area also has ski areas such as Whiteface Mountain.

New York State has a lot of locally grown organic foods such as blueberries, apples, beans, greens and wine.  Butcher shops still exist commonly in New York with fresh local meat.  Western New York makes Buffalo wings and Weck Sandwiches. New York city is a mecca of fine dining, diners, bakeries, bagels & coffee chops, new york pizza and hot dogs and street food vendors- when deciding where to eat in the city it is best to keep your budget in mind.

Travelling in New York can be done by air, car, bus or train. In state travel is best by train if you don’t want to take on the weather. Major New York airports include John F Kennedy International Airport, LaGuardia Airport, Greater Rochester International, Syracuse Hancock International Airport, Plattsburg International Airport, Stewart International Airport, Albany International Airport and Buffalo Niagra International Airport.

Our Top 5 Golf Destinations

If you love playing golf, then there’s no better thing to do than to gather your buddies and hit the road to look for the best golf courses in the U.S., and it is vital to find the ones that offers value. THL Vacations offer packages that are both affordable and luxurious.

Fort Lauderdale

florida-fort-lauderdale

Famous for its beaches, events and culture, Fort Lauderdale offers endless recreational activities for everybody. Situated on Florida’s southeast coast, between Miami and Palm Beach, Fort Lauderdale is a magnificent place to enjoy the sun, engage in water sports and play golf.

Scottsdale

Scottsdale-Troon-golf-course

Situated in the scenic Sonoran Desert, Scottsdale is enclosed by the McDowell Mountains to the east and Phoenix to the west. This magnificent city exudes a vibrant energy as it hosts high quality resorts, galleries, and golf courses. Visit Scottsdale and enjoy a one of a kind experience!

Orlando

xphoto

Overflowing with Florida’s tourist attraction, Orlando is located at the central part of Florida where it hosts numerous theme parks, dinner attractions, museum and golf courses. Dubbed as the “The City Beautiful”, the dynamic city of Orlando offers fun and entertainment to everyone that makes you want to come back for more. Orlando is a premiere golf destination for the entire family with the Brian Roddy Golf Academy near by offering lessons that the kids will enjoy.

Miami

TIR_Golf_Courses__Misc_035617855

Situated on the Atlantic Coast in South Eastern Florida, Miami is considered as an Alpha-World City for being a leader and a major center in commerce, finance, media, entertainment and the arts. Known as a stylish playground for party-goers, Miami also offers a number of the best beaches for families and people who longs for a quiet serenity. Flock to Miami and experience a world class travel experience.

Palm Beach

getImage

Located on the east coast of Florida, adjacent to the Atlantic Ocean, Palm Beach is a vibrant city of the rich and famous. Apart from the sun that one can enjoy in this scenic place, Atlantic City is a home to boutiques, museums, tennis courts and golf courses. Truly a piece of heaven on earth, with a kick of Mediterranean flair.

Destination Spotlight: San Francisco, California

thl vacations

                  Visiting the city of San Francisco is truly a treat, from the moment it welcomes you as you drive over the iconic Golden Gate bridge. San Francisco, which is Spanish for Saint Francis, is the leading financial and cultural center of Northern California and the San Francisco Bay Area. It was founded on June 29, 1776, when Spanish colonists established a fort and a mission named after St. Francis of Assisi. The California Gold Rush of 1849, from which the city’s football team gets its name, pushed the city into a period of rapid growth, making it into one of the largest cities on the West Coast. During the 1960s it became ground zero for the Summer of Love and the gay rights movement, marking San Francisco as a center of liberal activism.

The city still has a tremendous homosexual population, making it a great place to stay if you’re gay. You can take a trip back in gay history at the Castro Theatre, an iconic movie palace dating back to the 1920s that houses small, independent films. There’s also the San Francisco LGBT Pride Celebration, the largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender gathering in the nation, centered at the foot of San Francisco’s historic city hall, where Harvey Milk, the first openly gay man to be elected to public office in California, once stood and addressed the gay community over thirty years ago. It’s a gathering of exhibitors, artists, and performers that could only happen in San Francisco.

To learn about San Francisco’s gay history and culture, take a two-hour tour that winds through one of the city’s most famous districts. Or come out to Dolores Park, nicknamed the gay beach and one of the most popular parks in San Francisco. It is located at the intersection the Castro, Mission District and Noe Valley, and is known for its spectacular views of the city.

And one can’t forget the gay club scene, with nightclubs in every genre to suit a variety of tastes. They include The Lookout, Yoshi’s Jazz Club & Japanese Restaurant, the California Academy of Sciences Nightlife, the Badlands, The Rrazz Room at Hotel Nikko, and Harry Denton’s Starlight Room.

If you’re straight, San Francisco has lots to see and do as well. You can enjoy some of the finest cuisine and wine in this epicenter of epicurean delights, and check out some culture at Palace of Fine Arts. There are diverse neighborhood festivals to enjoy, featuring live music and fun. You can see San Francisco from a seat on a double-decker bus tour, or ride a cable car for fun. You can visit the largest Chinatown outside of Asia for some cheap souvenirs and great food. Or you can take a ferry ride to The Rock, also known as Alcatraz Island, which once housed a lighthouse, a military fortification, a military prison in 1868, and a federal prison from 1933 until 1963. During that time, it held some of the most dangerous and infamous criminals in the U.S., including Al Capone. In 1972 Alcatraz became a national recreation area, and it became a National Historic Landmark in 1986.

And there is a straight nightlife too, with live music, bars and lounges for every taste, huge dance clubs and stand-up comedy venues.

Destination Spotlight – Arizona

thl vacations
You can discover all the Grand Canyon State’s unique destinations when you
plan a trip to Arizona. Besides the Grand Canyon itself, top places to see include
No trip to Arizona would be complete without a stop at the Grand Canyon,
easily Arizona’s most distinguishable landmark. Stretching 277 miles, the Grand
Canyon’s steep, rocky walls descend more than a mile to its floor, where the
Colorado River runs a swift southwestern course. Visitors can enter the park from
either the north or south rim, or stop at its western edge to check out the
breathtaking Havasupai Falls and the town of Supai, which are also accessible
through the Hualapai Indian Reservation.
In Flagstaff, one can take a tour of Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park, a
sprawling, sandy preserve that borders Arizona and Utah. Located inside the Navajo
Nation, ancestral home to the Navajo, one of the largest Native American tribes in
the United States, Monument Valley is near the Four Corners area, another must-see
spot. Once a flat basin, Monument Valley is now part of the Colorado Plateau, a
region characterized by a cluster of vast sandstone buttes, the tallest reaching
1,000 feet above the valley floor, which is made up largely of Cutler siltstone, a rock
formation found only in the Southwest. As such, it serves as a symbol of the Old
West, and a favorite shooting location for Hollywood films, starting with the John
Wayne flick Stagecoach.
While in the Four Corners area, you’ll want to stop by the Painted Desert, an
area of the badlands stretching from the Grand Canyon National Park into the
Petrified Forest National Park. Much of the Painted Desert’s gray and red banded
cliffs are within the Navajo Nation. But those aren’t the only colors you’ll see, as the
desert’s 93,500 acres contain every color you can imagine, from deep purples to
fiery oranges and coral pinks. Afterwards, you’ll want to stop by the Petrified Forest,
one of the world’s largest and most colorful collections of petrified wood. The area is
especially known for its fossils, some of which date over 225 million years ago.
Another symbol of the West, in the form of western technological progress, is
the Hoover Dam. Built during the depths of the Great Depression, the Hoover Dam
project offered hope to thousands of desperate people looking for work, as well as
promising to transform the Colorado River into a hydroelectric power source, which
it did, in addition to turning arid Southern California into the nation’s produce
basket. The Hoover Dam is located in Black Canyon, between Arizona and Nevada
on U.S. 93, about a half-hour from Las Vegas, at the bottom of Lake Mead. It offers
breathtaking and spectacular views that will leave you in marvel at what a
mankind can accomplish. A tour is the best way to see how the dam operates
firsthand. Another must-see destination is Lake Powell, a 186-mile-long body of water
offering spectacular views of the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area. With a
surface area of 162,700 acres and 1,960 miles of shore, Lake Powell is highly sought
out for fishing, boating, and water sports.

Luxury Vacation Destinations

Los Cabos, Baja California Sur, Mexico 38749_RoyalSolaris_product(redesign)01

Los Cabos is located at the southern tip of Mexico‘s Baja California Peninsula. The area started off as a fishing town but has now developed into a tourism mecca. The beautiful weather, luxurious resorts, sport fishing, golf courses and convenient location attract many celebrities. Los Cabos is a magnificent place to enjoy whale watching. Whales visit the area in winter due to the warm waters. 

 

Steamboat Springs CO steamboat-springs

 Steamboat Springs, CO is internationally known as a famous winter ski resort destination.  It is located in the upper valley of the Yampa River, along U.S. Highway 40 just west of the Continental Divide and Rabbit Ears Pass.  The area is home to natural hot springs that are located throughout the area making it extremely popular among tourists. Steamboat Springs offers a variety of winter activities such as dog sledding, skiing and snow boarding.

Scottsdale AZ

 westin-kierland-resort-villas-scottsdale-arizona-912081_3

 Scottsdale, AZ has grown to be a more popular destination among tourists with deep pockets. Downtown Scottsdale has even been described as “a desert version of Miami’s South Beach” by The New York Times and as having “plenty of late night partying and a buzzing hotel scene”.

St. Maarten

 a-main2-780

Saint Maarten is an island in the northeast Caribbean, located east of Puerto Rico.  The island is one of the Caribbean’s most exciting vacation destinations! Tourists flock to this exotic luxury destination because of the gourmet food, world class duty free shopping, vibrant nightlife, exotic beaches, year-round warm climate and the cosmopolitan atmosphere with a Caribbean twist.