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How To Plan A Romantic Mountain Town Vacation In 7 Easy Steps

How To Plan A Romantic Mountain Town Vacation In 7 Easy StepsIf you have been thinking about planning a romantic getaway lately, you likely have a good motivation. Perhaps you are planning to propose over a long weekend or are searching for that perfect honeymoon spot. Whatever the reason, it is reasonable to expect that you want to make sure everything goes well and turns out as great as possible. What better way to be romantic than in the natural beauty of the mountains. If you’ve been thinking of planning a romantic mountain town vacation but have no idea where to start, you are in luck. Here are 7 easy steps to help you plan the romantic vacation you have been daydreaming about.

Step 1. Plan ahead

Nothing is a mood killer more than stress. Take some time to think about what you want to get out of your romantic get-away and do a bit a research before hand. These days there are many travel forums and helpful blogs dedicated to helping customers find exactly what they are looking for.

Step 2. Pick a great mountain town location

Great locations will not only have beautiful naturalistic settings, but they will provide all the essential necessities to make your vacation especially romantic. Smaller quaint mountain towns are great for more relaxation and charming experiences.

Step 3. Skiing and snowboarding

Skiing and snowboarding are great ways to take in nature and see the sights while participating in a fun activity. Riding on the lifts can give you amazing panoramic views of the mountainous horizon as well. The best mountain town will have great ski resorts with access to private lessons and courses suitable for beginners and professionals alike.

Step 4. Reserve great lodging

Make sure the town you pick has great lodging options with luxurious amenities, a décor that matches the mountainous terrain, and easy access to natural escapes. Your condominium is where you will return to at the end of a perfect day or night, make sure it is the icing on the cake.

Step 5. Learn about your fine dining options

No romantic get away is complete without fine dining. Do some research on the types of restaurants available and make sure to plan ahead and reserve your table before hand.

Step 6. Escape to the mountains and camp

Nothing is more whimsical than escaping from it all. The perfect mountain town will have access to trails, hiking, and most of all camping. Plan a private romantic camping trip to bond with nature and each other.

Step 7. Meet the locals and join in on local events

Become one with the town! Make new friends and memories by meeting the locals and experiencing the life outside of the tourist paths. Join in on the local events and become one with your new mountainous home away from home.

With these 7 easy steps you are sure to have the groundwork for an amazing and wonderful vacation experience.

Tips for Planning Holiday Travel and Flights

Tips for Planning Holiday Travel and FlightsFlying for a holiday or for your vacation? Make sure that you’re planning your travel the right way. Not only do you need to shop around (and shop smart) for your plane tickets, but you need to make sure that you’re planning your travel within the area the right way. Yes, there’s a robust public transport system. Yes, you can also rent a car. However, it might be better to actually work with a taxi service. Of course, there are many other things that you’ll need to know, as well.

Know How to Pack

It seems like the airlines are constantly finding new ways to charge their customers. Once, pillows, blankets and even snacks were all part of the price you paid for your ticket. Today, they’re expensive extras. Many airlines have also started charging for extra bags. Pack smart. Bring only the necessities, and avoid checking extra bags to cut down on costs.

Avoid Heavy Travel Dates

A little known secret to air travel is that some dates are much more expensive to book your flight than are others. The closer to a peak travel holiday you book, the more you’re going to pay. Rather than flying out on Christmas Eve, consider booking your flight several days ahead. Rather than flying the day after Thanksgiving, stay with your family for a few extra days to save some cash. Apply that rule to all of your travel and always research flight prices to get the best possible deal.

Check Your Flight Status Religiously

Flights can be cancelled by almost anything. Snow and other adverse weather are just the tip of the iceberg. Don’t be caught unaware here. Check your flight status constantly. This is particularly important the day of your departure. Working with the right cab company can also help ensure that you’re on time for your flight, even if it’s delayed by weather or other events.

Plan Your Travel

It’s important that you plan your travel ahead of time. Working with the cheapest airport taxi service helps ensure that you get the professional travel assistance you need, without the headaches and hassles that come from trying to rent a car, or dealing with the public transportation system. Of course, finding the right taxi service can be daunting, so spend some time researching the different companies to find one that can offer affordable rates, professional drivers, and the right type of vehicle.

You’ll want to consider the rates being charged, as well as the capacity of the different types of cabs on offer. If you’re traveling alone, a smaller vehicle will work. However, if you’re traveling with a group, you can save money by reserving a van or bus rather than using two or three sedans to get you all to your destination.

Follow these tips and you’ll find that planning for your holiday travel and flights will be simpler than you ever suspected.

 

How to Plan and Enjoy A Trip With Friends

How to Plan and Enjoy A Trip With FriendsA trip with friends can be great fun and full of fantastic memories. But, a trip with friends is not that easy as it may seem. Trips can get complicated when they are not organized properly. Planning the trip will allows you for more ideas; more research and you are more likely to have that incredible vacation you are hoping for.

Plan your trip:

Call your recent friends and the old one, ask how many of them are ready to go. Make sure you and your friends have similar budget and interest. It is totally up to you to plan your trip with a small number of people or with a big group. Handling a big group is more difficult, but more fun as well.

Meet with your friends:

Meet with your friends and plan with them because even among groups of like-minded people, there are going to be some differences in travel preference. So choose destination together. Everyone will have their own ideas of what they want their trip to be like. So you will end up with some great ideas for your trip. Write it down, it will help you in organizing the trip.

Budget:

Once everyone has agreed, discuss the nitty-gritty details. You may feel a bit awkward, but encourage your friends to be open about their budgets so the group can set realistic expectations for the trip. With friends, it is not about luxury. Even a mini budget plan can make great memories. So, keep things simple and within your budget. Search for cheap flights to your destination.

Share the responsibility:

Let each person in your group take charge of a different travel duty to make sure everyone has a say in the particulars of the trip. For instance, one friend can check on flights while another can research hotels. Others can look up for fun things to do; one can be a travel photographer and one can be a group leader.

Pack as a group:

work on the supplies your whole group will need, list it down. Chances are that you will already have most of the things, if you ask everyone. It will save your time and money as well.

Understand the situation and help:

Travelling can be stressful, and everyone has different ways of reacting to any situation, so if you notice a friend in stress, help him. Prepare yourself for these types of situation. And handle them calmly. Try to spread positivity as much as you can.

Avoid controversial discussions:

While with friends avoid the controversial discussions like; religion, politics and anything like that, which can be a reason for conflict.

Keep track of spending:

Always try to pay things on your own. There will be times when they will cover something or you will cover something. But, try to quickly pay the other back or write it down so you will not get confused in the future. This may seem a little thing, but, can create a big mess.

Play games and enjoy:

I know the excitement is at its peak when you are with your friends. Make sure you are trying out some new and exciting games with your friends. Make every moment a memorable one.

 

What Makes for an Unforgettable Trip to France

Unforgettable Trip to France“The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.” Augustine of Hippo

Are you eager to travel abroad independently, but overwhelmed by the encyclopedia of possibilities? You need to know more than what is possible; you need a plan. And you would prefer to know in advance precisely what you will be doing, and how, for a number of reasons. First you may want to know what your trip will be like so that you can look forward to it–anticipation is always a large part of the enjoyment. Also you want to know exactly how much your trip will cost, and what trade-offs and choices you will need to make to get the most out of your travel budget.

The Kind of Travel You Don’t Want

But, although you need and want to have a plan, you may have outgrown constrained and scripted bus tour travel, or you may never have liked it in the first place. You may have been abroad before, but on a group tour that ended up in a disappointing blur by the time it was over. Or perhaps you opted to strike out on your own, but became frustrated that you were missing out for lack of a clear idea of what you were doing.

These less than optimum experiences even may have discouraged you from future traveling. Still, at some point, you may hope to discover a different style of travel that is more immersive and engaging. Even though you know what type of travel does not meet your expectations and ideals, the vision and possibility of what travel can be may still intrigue you.

What Makes for a Trip That is Unforgettable?

For a trip to be unforgettable, first and foremost it is essential that you travel independently, but with a well-designed trip plan, preferably one that has been personally carried out and perfected by actual experienced travelers who can point your way. Second you need the freedom to adapt the trip plan to your likings, your schedule, your physical stamina, your special interests.

Third, it is key that your movements from place to place be manageable and comfortable. In France, Italy, and elsewhere in Europe, this means traveling by train. In the USA and Canada, you will need the right mix of cars, trains, trams, trolleys and boats to keep your trip relaxing and fun. Fourth, you will need to have enough time in each place to actually “be there” and make yourself at home-to locate your favorite bakery, outdoor market, wine shop, cheese shop, deli and cafés.

Fifth, your trip will be made more unforgettable when you connect with the locals and experience their country, city or village through their eyes. Sixth, you will benefit from some pre-planning about how to balance your budget, alternating between splurges and economies (like picnics, which can be delightful in themselves). And seventh, your memories will be preserved even longer when you bring home treasures that will call to mind your experiences and encounters every time you use them or look at them.

Silent Guides to Support Your Travels

Join us on a series of remarkable and memorable 2-week Great Trips (with 1-week versions also available) to France, to Italy, elsewhere in Europe, and in the USA and Canada. Your trips will be rich in experiences you will remember forever… experiences that will have an impact on you and your approach to life. Each of these will be a “trip of a lifetime.”

History to walk around in. Phenomenal food. Parks and cafés. People-watching opportunities. Eating outdoors, with views of cathedrals, or rivers, or châteaux, or the tides coming in. Villages and old towns, some walled, some tiny, some medieval, some situated within a larger city, some perched on hilltops. Children in the squares, laughing as they ride the town Merry-go-Round. Fountains and gardens, with benches for pausing. Outdoor markets. Charming shops. Unexpected encounters. Vivid memories.

With a Great Trip book as your guide-on-the-side and companion, prepare yourself for a new experience in international travel, with no “get back to the bus”! You will not be traveling in a group. But you will not be alone out there on your own either. And so the quality of your experience will significantly surpass that of any group or ad hoc trip you’ve taken in the past.

You will know exactly what to do, why you want to do it, and how to do it, every step of the way. As you read a Great Trip book, you will begin to envision your trip in vivid detail and anticipate being there. You will be guided through the process of making the optimum arrangements without breaking the bank, then preparing yourself well for a successful journey, with clear information about needs you will encounter during your trip and options to address those needs.

Then you will be ready to embark on a kind of travel that will immerse and absorb you so completely, you will return home already planning where you want to travel next. You will feel well-prepared, well-guided, safe, confident, empowered and inspired to set off on your own travel odyssey.

 

Why You Should Travel With Your Family

Travel With Your FamilyFamilies are so important because they are the best companion in the moments of happiness. And when it comes to traveling with the family, the moments of happiness gets doubled. To many people, traveling in a group stands to be more enjoyable than traveling alone. For them, it is always fun-filled to travel with their near or dear ones. Ideally stated, this can turn out to be exceptionally helpful because collective decisions made on vacation can turn out to be more enjoyable. Moreover, it is always good to be traveling with them as everyone can help each other in times of trouble and handle tough situations together. Indeed, the person traveling with family might not be able to get trapped by the strangers on the way.

The more the people; the more one enjoys. Planning a trip on this concept is surely making its way to a memorable journey. It is rightly said that a group of people travel singing and dancing, which may be useful to pass the time easily. This is the reason that one should try traveling with the family more. As known, family comprises of kids and elders likely that give way to varied choices. And exploring the sites as per everyone’s choice allows them to view more things in a journey. In this way, every member of the family will be happy and much satisfied to see their favorite areas of a particular city or town. Traveling with family makes a person elated as in today’s world; one hardly gets time to sit with each other in the family.

An essential thing to consider when traveling with family is that the holiday package needs to be selected on discussing with everyone. By this, it means that the package needs to have every single thing or option that allows every member to enjoy the vacation completely. By taking care of everyone’s need, the traveler can make a journey with his family successful. And most importantly, getting a travel insurance plan is always like playing the safe side. It is because one might not be aware of the fact that what kind of trouble or health issue might knock the door of happiness. For this reason, hard cash might not be sufficient or unnecessary expense might spoil the entire vacation. For this purpose, taking travel insurance is always a good option.

Though, every member of the family is important to be take care of in the traveling time; but, the kids have to be managed most significantly. So, it is essential to schedule the travel time in such a manner that they happen to get enough time to rest. And if they had their part of rest, traveling with them becomes easier because of the cheerful mood as well as they would not feel tired much. Talking about kids, there is a need to have separate small bag always to be taken along that has an extra dress and other essentialities of the kids plus the wet tissues. Keeping them clean on the way makes the kids feel fresh to travel more than it is expected from them.

Packing efficiently and ensuring in a better manner that the traveler needs to carry always a handy bag with items that are immediately required. Wet wipes, snacks and drinks are highly recommended to accompany on every journey, which should be ready all the time. The traveler would also require extra things such as bottles, clothes and diapers. It is always good to possess anything and everything a tourist could perhaps need to manage those unanticipated surprises. Surely, making the trip stress free will necessitates for working on the minutest of essential requirements. The traveler knows best what keeps their children occupied and contented, so use that acquaintance to plan a trip consequently. One thing is sure that the trip can be made successful if the traveler is well-organized and ready to face any challenge on the way.

Another important thing to consider on traveling with family is that one should have enough hard cash with them; besides the credit or debit card because some places accept the cards and others might not. At this point of time, running to an ATM is merely going to waste the time as efforts may go futile on not finding the ATM nearby. Moreover, it could spoil the mood also as the person would not be able to buy the favored things of their family members. This makes it necessary to have enough cash in hand to pay immediately for the products that do not accept credit or debit cards. In this manner, things will remain under control for the travelers and their family.

 

Top Tips for Tropical Climate Holidays

Tropical Climate HolidaysLooking to go on holiday to somewhere with a tropical or sub-tropical climate?

If so, following some of the following tips might be useful and help you to enjoy yourself even more.

  1. Don’t over-economise on your luxury accommodation at the resort. Tropical can mean high humidity at some times of the year and however much you love sun and warmth, you’ll want great pool and air conditioning facilities to allow you to sometimes escape and freshen up. Some ‘bargain-basement’ holiday accommodation might be disappointing in those respects.
  1. Take it easy for a day or two after arrival. Allow your body to acclimatise to its surroundings rather than rushing off to try and climb that hill in the distance right after your hotel check-in
  1. Keep yourself hydrated by drinking plenty of water. Keep alcohol to very sensible/modest levels due to its natural de-hydrating effects, as they’ll be exacerbated by the heat.
  1. Avoid very demanding swimming objectives unless you’re fit. Heat can be exhausting and even strong swimmers can sometimes find themselves in trouble if they’ve pushed themselves a little too far in hot conditions. That can be an even more significant risk if your fitness isn’t perhaps what it should be.
  1. Comply with those now very (or should be very) familiar medical tips relating to barrier creams and protecting yourself from over-exposure to the sun. Remember that a hat is often almost essential – even if you’re not usually someone that wears one.
  1. Think about that siesta. Many peoples around the world who live and work in hot and tropical climates will take it easy for 2-3 hours during the early to mid-afternoon when the temperature is at its highest. Find a tree by the pool or on the beach then park yourself with a book or have a gentle snooze – rather than trying to start playing football.
  1. Take local expert advice on insect protection. Actually, the risks here in many tropical areas are often hugely exaggerated by urban myth and very poor scaremongering advice from people who might never even have visited the destination! Even so, think about repellents etc. Sometimes ordinary common-sense is far more important that repellent compounds.
  1. Obey local safety instructions. This, of course, applies even in your local park back home! Nevertheless, tropical holiday destinations often incorporate beautiful nature and local wildlife. Local specialists will have provided safety advice when touring and sightseeing and that needs to be obeyed. Those who don’t because they ‘think they know better’ are often a danger to themselves and others around them.
  1. Research the local weather patterns. Some times in the year are a little hotter, cooler or wetter/dryer than others on average. You can select average conditions that are most suited to your requirements and preferences etc.
  1. Avoid heavy meals. Packing away big plates of carbohydrates in tropical conditions is likely to leave you feeling very uncomfortable and lethargic. Most local people tend to incline towards lighter meals taken in the evenings when it’s cool although very light snacking during the day is more commonplace (and sometimes necessary for an energy boost) and particularly so if you’ve only eaten a light lunch.

 

Benefits of Booking Tour Packages

Benefits of Booking Tour PackagesAll people need a break to get away from stress at work, home or school. Taking vacations is the best way to relax, unwind and spend time alone or with family in order to keep motivated and get that groove going.

Taking vacations requires planning and planning requires time – time for booking the preferred airline, finding the perfect location, researching for the cheapest hotels and scheduling the activities for the inclusive dates. That alone can also be stressful especially when it’s fast approaching with no preparations been made. As tourists, the experience should have to be stress-free, worry-free and relaxing.

In this regard, consider the benefits of booking tour packages. Not only can it save a lot of time but it’s also popular these days when people can’t seem to find that luxury of organising trips and vacations themselves. Other benefits of availing packaged tours are mentioned below:

• Convenience, completeness and quickness all rolled into one. This is the main reason why people avail of these packages. Searching for tourist attractions is easy over the internet. Then, what comes after is a lot more convenient.

Tour packages usually have detailed information on the trip. From the booking details, itineraries, tour guides, food trips, dinner and hotel accommodations, tour companies will take care of all these for their clients.

Pro tip: Before booking, make sure to discuss what’s included in the package. Sometimes, companies provide minimal package inclusions and require tourists to pay additional fees for all other activities that are advertised on their website.

• Perfect for large groups. Booking packaged trips in groups is more fun than travelling alone. It’s easy to make friends especially with people who also share the same interest – travelling!

Pro tip: Check out attractions where all friends can enjoy their stay. If possible, take a picture of every activity that everyone participated in.

• It offers quality service. Tour companies spent several years in developing business relationships with their suppliers to ensure that tourists receive the kind of service they need.

It’s like a win-win situation for their businesses. Why? It’s because tour companies are constantly able to bring in groups of people via their package tour that’s why, vendors have to take extra care of these tourists. This include front line access, upgrade in services, inclusion of tour guides, ensuring food for breakfast, lunch or dinner, occasional freebies and a lot more. Basically, they treat their guests as stars.

Pro tip: Do research on your preferred tour company before booking them. Read reviews and Facebook comments on their site with regards to the overall quality of service people have experienced starting from how their flight details were booked up to the point of their actual stay.

• It’s fun and educational at the same time. Enjoy the view but listen to tour guides whenever they provide information on every itinerary. Although they may not be residents of that place, they surely have accurate knowledge about the important information based from their study and personal experiences.

Pro tip: Since the tour is definitely fun and educational, it’s recommended to explore and experience everything in groups. Taking pictures of various attractions and eating dinner with friends all result to fond memories.

And those are the benefits of availing tour packages. With the right combination of season and destination, everything is going to be a rewarding experience.

 

Easy Travel Tips to Save Time and Money for Tourists

Easy Travel Tips to Save Time and Money for TouristsPeople all over the world take an opportunity to go on vacations during summer. For them, it’s the best time to spend time with their families and enjoy themselves before the start of schooling season and return of cold weather. Taking a break doesn’t require too much money. In fact, there are a lot of ways where tourists can enjoy their vacations and save time and money at the same time.

• When going to the airport, fall in line behind business travellers and avoid falling in line behind families that carry a lot of stuff to put into the x-ray machine tray. This is because frequent travellers already know how to move quickly through that line than the others.

• When taking a flight, choose the type of plane to ride on. Not all airplanes are made equal so it’s recommended to check out the ones that offer nice seats and amenities. Some airlines have inline Wi-Fi onboard while some do not. Newer airlines have the comfort of nicer seats and more leg room. Furthermore, not all planes also have personal television screens for passengers either. Sometimes, trips also require airport transfers.

To ensure comfort and to avoid inconvenient trips and airport transfers, always check out the airlines’ quality and their amenities on various sites online.

• During room accommodations, deals processed last minute on sites such as Hotwire and Priceline can give tourists a discount of over 60% on the normal rates. They can also use the site Better Bidding to bid on their preferred rooms. Once the bid becomes successful, then it’s considered to be a steal if they will able to get a cheaper room rate during peak season. Looking at other people’s bids doesn’t require forum memberships; however, membership is required in order to place a bid.

• Ask for a hotel upgrade when checking in. Other than advance booking online, it’s also recommended to ask for free upgrades and goodies on the actual day of check in. Some hotels recommend free upgrade on certain rooms if there a lot of guests checking in to keep their customers happy. Guests should use that as an advantage especially when they came from long trips and airport transfers.

• When travelling with a group of people, getting suite rooms is much cheaper. Some king suite rooms have couches that can be folded out into beds. Ask friends to chip in to make the room rates more affordable and enjoy the comfort of staying in that place for a number of nights.

• When spending more than a week in the city, renting furnished apartments is much cheaper checking in hotels. Tourists can choose from a lot of good apartments on websites such as 9Flats, AirBnB, Home Away and Wimbu.

Apart from saving money on room rates, travellers can also save money on food expenses because apartments have kitchens where they can cook good food.

• Consider visiting sites like Hospitality Club and Couchsurfing to enjoy a free stay with the locals. These sites are perfect for finding inexpensive places to stay in the city and learn more about it while hanging out with the locals. These locals act more than guidebooks in providing information on what the tourists want to know.

In planning the next vacations, remember to keep these things in mind because travelling should not have to be an expensive and time consuming process. Instead, it should have to be convenient, affordable and fun.

The Top 5 Crucial European Trips to Take WELL Before You Die

European TripsYou may as well admit it. You’ve always wanted to travel in Europe, whether or not you’ve already done so. And even if you’ve traveled there many times, you yearn to go back—-again and again. For as long as there’s been an America, Americans have been drawn back to Europe.

Whether this yearning to return is because many of our ancestors came from Europe… Or because Europe has such a deep, rich and long-ranging history, much of it still there to wander around in… Or because it has amazing food and wine, to be experienced at charming restaurants, sitting at tables canopied by colorful umbrellas, and surrounded by flowers… Or because it has brought together awe-inspiring art and music and culture, and made it readily accessible for all to experience… Or because it is traversed by marvelous networks of transportation – trains and boats, trams and gondolas – making it possible to go virtually anywhere at any time from anywhere else, and to enjoy the going as much as the arriving… For all these reasons, the urge to “cross the pond” is strong. And the possibilities once you get there are extensive. Travel to Europe provides experiences and memories to last a lifetime.

The temptation, given the immense number of possibilities, is to make a whirlwind tour, jumping from country to country and place to place. Or, even worse, to hand over the reins of your trip and sign up for a group trip, either at whirlwind speed, or at a more modest pace, but in either case letting someone else be the decider about where you will go, what you will see, when and how. Avoid these styles of travel. Instead plan to travel independently, but with a well-designed plan, using a Great Trip guidebook to know exactly how to plan, arrange, prepare for and make your trip.

At a bare minimum, give yourself these five crucial, rejuvenating independent trips abroad, one each year.

Crucial Trip #1: Fabled France–Loire Châteaux, Mont St Michel, the Normandy Coast & Paris, City of Lights

On this unforgettable trip, you will fly into Paris and journey immediately by train to the charming medieval village of Amboise in the Eastern Loire Valley, your first home base, and your jumping off point for visiting five Châteaux, including the final home of Leonardo da Vinci. From there, you will travel, again by train, to Mont St. Michel, where you will stay out on the Mont like the monks of old, with the water surrounding you at high tide, then receding entirely at low tide — racing in and out at the speed of a galloping horse.

Next, you will take another train to the small town of Bayeux, your home-base for exploring the tales and memories of the conquests and liberations that have taken place from and to this precipitous coastline… from William the Conqueror in the 11th century to the Allied troops in the 20th. Then on to Paris for four glorious days (and nights!) on the left bank, where you will travel the Seine by Batobus (“Boat Bus”) to visit the art and architecture, cathedrals and gardens, markets and cafés.

Crucial Trip #2: Luminous Northern Italy–Cinque Terre, Florence, Hill Towns of Tuscany & Venice

After flying into Florence, you will travel by train to the coast for four days in Monterosso, clinging to the rocks along the Ligurian Sea, one of five gloriously lovely towns of Cinque Terre. Here you will take up lodging near the water, and travel about among the villages by boat.

Then on to Florence, where you will take up residence on the left bank of the Arno River, near the Ponte Vecchio and learn “your neighborhood” for the next eight days. Prepare to be awed. There is nothing you have experienced so far in your life like standing before the Duomo for the first time, or gazing in wonder at Michelangelo’s David.

While in Florence, you will have time to devote to art and cathedrals, sculpture and science, as well as markets and shops, outdoor dining and evening music on the squares… and gelato. From Florence, you will venture out on day trips to Cortona and San Gimignano, captivating hill towns of Tuscany that date back to the Etruscans.

Then on by train to Venice for three days, and exiting the train station to the cacophony of vaporetti and water taxis queued up to transport you along the canals to the stop closest to your hotel. This entirely unique city is another incomparable destination that will etch itself in your memory forever.

Crucial Trip #3: Stunning Vistas–Swiss & Italian Lakes & Alps

In anticipation of traveling to the Alps, and their lakes, picture the breathtaking scenes from Sound of Music. After flying into Geneva, you will board one of the impeccable trains of the Swiss rail system and travel to Lausanne on the far side of Lake Geneva, home to the International Olympic Committee, where you will be staying for three days. The funicular next to the train station will carry you up to the old town or down to the lakefront, where you will be staying while you explore the charms of this Swiss town. From Lausanne you will venture out by boat on day trips to the nearby town of Montreux, known for its Jazz Festival, and the legendary Castle of Chillon.

After Lausanne you will take a train to Lucerne, another storybook lakeside town, and your home for the next two days. Here you will be able to walk across the lake using a flower-bedecked covered bridge dating back to the 14th century, and walk the stone streets of old town, with brightly colored timber-framed buildings and little squares with fountains at their centers.

From Lucerne, you will be back on the train, changing to a different gauge train for the climb up to rustic Zermatt for two days, at the foot of the Matterhorn. Here you will be transported about town by small electric vehicles, or by foot, and carried high up into the mountains using a far-ranging network of gondolas. One of these gondolas will take you up over the Alps and into Italy for lunch with a stunning view.

From Zermatt you will travel via the famed Glacier Express to St. Moritz for three days, a beautiful and hospitable showplace that has its own lovely lake, with its own towering Alps in the background, and all the “ooh and aah” views that go with them. Continuing from St. Moritz by train, you will take the Bernina Express through the breathtaking Bernina Pass, traveling south across the Alps, then shifting from high Alpine scenery to palm trees. Next it will be on to Varenna, Italy where you will delight in five matchless days living along the breathtaking shores of Lake Como, traveling about by boat from one lake-side village to another. This is another entirely exceptional haven that you will love immediately and want to return to again.

Crucial Trip #4: Incomparable Capitals–London, Paris & Amsterdam

On this trip, you will divide your time, with five days each in three of the most extraordinary cities in the world, London, Paris and Amsterdam, each entirely distinct from the others. In London you will stay in a flat or hotel near Covent Garden, and learn “your neighborhood.” This will put you within a short walk of the Theater District (and the discount ticket booth at Leicester Square). So you will be able to take in two (or, better yet, three) superb London theater performances, with at least one of them performed at the rebuilt Globe Theater that harkens back to bawdiness of Shakespeare’s days.

At Covent Garden, you will delight in the ongoing troops of open-air performers–mimes and musicians, acrobats and jugglers–as well as the shops and stalls with every conceivable offering of craft and art, adornment and style. There will be time to explore the priceless collections of art in the museums, some of it created by British artists, but much of it appropriated from countries and cultures around the world. You will stand in awe before the magnificent Cathedrals of Westminster and St. Paul’s, then sit inside to soak in the peace, and possibly take in an organ performance. And you will travel the Thames, taking the London River Bus south to Greenwich, then north to Hampton Court Palace.

From London, you will travel by Eurostar to Paris, where you will immerse yourself for five days in the delights and senses, art and architecture, gardens and music of this remarkable city. Last you will move on to Amsterdam for five days, a feast of canals and canal houses, art and history, museums and music, outdoor cafés and markets. From Amsterdam, you will venture out to small neighboring towns with familiar names like Delft and Gouda. Your time in Amsterdam will fly by in a mirage of sights and sounds, stories and experiences, and priceless encounters with the affable Dutch.

Crucial Trip #5: The Dazzling South of France–Cote d’Azur, Provence & the French Alps

After landing in Paris, you will hop aboard the TGV (“Train a Grande Vitesse”—“train of great speed”), where you will doze away your jetlag in comfort while you traverse France at 200 mph in a little over three hours. But then, when the sparkling azure waters of the Mediterranean first burst into sight, you will snap into focus, and your train will slow to hug the coastline on its way to Nice for three nights. After Nice, you will move on by train to spend three nights in the enchanting small coastal town of Cassis, with its immaculate white stone market square, and its boat rides out to see the Calanques-towering limestone cliffs, rising straight up out of the Mediterranean Sea to heights approaching 2,000 feet.

Leaving Cassis, you will make your way back along the coast to Provence for three nights in the walled city of Avignon. Once the second city of the Popes, Avignon has its own “Pope’s Palace” and Cathedral, as well as its bridge of childhood song, pedestrian streets, and vast open squares, surrounded by cafés and restaurants and lined with trees.

Then you will travel north until you reach the French Alps, where you will spend three nights in lovely Chamonix-Mont-Blanc, site of the first Winter Olympics in 1924 (elevation 3,320 – 15,780 feet). From high up in Chamonix, you will descend to Annecy for three nights, sometimes called the “Venice of the Alps” for its two canals and the Thiou river flowing through the old city. In this enticing town beside a stunning glacial lake, with its glorious backdrop of mountains, you will walk the narrow cobbled streets of Old Town and travel by boat or by bicycle to other small towns bordering the lake.

And So, Where to Begin

Where will you begin? When? Could you manage to take them independently? Should you? Can you afford to go? Can you afford not to?

Taking these questions in order… Where will you begin? Start with Trip #1: Fabled France. When? Plan to take this trip next year at the latest. Then take another trip each year from that point on (or, at the very least, one every two years).

Could you take these trips independently? And should you? Yes, you most definitely could manage to take them independently, and, yes, you should. Use a Great Trip to France guidebook to know exactly how to plan, arrange, prepare for and make each trip. Each book in the Great Trips series carries you fully through every stage and detail of the trip, from planning and preparing, to making arrangements and booking planes, trains and drivers, to budgets and packing, to arrival and orientation, to day-by-day guidance of what to do and when and how to do it, and how to have the full experience. You will have everything you need to make your own great trip, yet you will keep your freedom too.

Yes, you can afford to take the first of these trips, through some combination of saving and priority shifting. If taking the entire 15-day version of the trip is beyond reach, timewise and otherwise, then find a way to take half the trip in 8 days and save the other half for later.

And, no, you cannot “afford not to.” These are the trips of a lifetime that will become part of you and will change forever how you see life and the world. By making these trips, you will bring home stories and treasures, as well as changes in how you live your life from day to day.

Take it from a pair of habitual travelers… From Tremezzo on Lake Como, we brought home from market day the tablecloth we now use when we eat lunch in the little Italian Trattoria we have set up on our front porch. Many days we enjoy sea bass in a lemon butter sauce, with fresh spinach lightly sautéed in olive oil, just the way we liked it when we were sitting at a lake-side restaurant in Bellagio. We take time out from our busy work days to sit outside talking and laughing together, looking out across our front gardens, in the contented style we brought home with us from Italy and from France. And we turn on music first thing every morning, another habit change we adopted from our travels.

Once your perspectives and views have been broadened by travel, your eyes will be opened, and there will be no going back… nor would you want to. “As you grow older, you’ll find the only things you regret are the things you didn’t do” (Zachary Scott).

 

How To Have A Budget Friendly And Enjoyable Spain Vacation

Spain VacationPrepare Your Checklist

Are you planning for a Spain vacation? Spain is a fabulous country to explore for a holiday. You can never have enough splendid vacation destinations in Spain. How do you plan for your Spain vacation?

First thing you can do is search online for destination websites. Check out websites about “vacation in Spain”. Take note of what fantastic places to visit there are in Spain. What vacation packages in Spain are available? You can contact the site about it or your local travel agency.

There are many vacation packages for Spain to choose from. You can choose according to what will suit your budget and preferences. In your checklist, note how many days you’re going for a vacation in Spain. Most tourists go on a 1 or 2 weeks holiday there. That time frame would typically suffice for a fantastic vacation that’ll have you exploring all that Spain has to offer. Next item to check is what hotel you’re going to stay in. You have many options for comfortable hotels to stay in, along with bed and breakfast and other lodging options. Then check what airline you’re going to choose for your flight.

Call your preferred travel agent to make arrangements for you for your Spain vacation. The travel agent should be able to arrange the most suitable Spain vacation package for you.

Beautiful Places To Visit In Spain

What beautiful places can you visit in Spain? If it’s the bustling cities of Spain that you want to enjoy, try visiting Barcelona, Madrid, Seville or Bilbao. You’ll surely have a good time exploring these fun and energetic places. Otherwise, if you want to have fun under the sun, try going on a Mediterranean cruise that berths in the different ports of Spain. Another favorite vacation destination is La Manga. It is located in the middle of Costa Blanca and Costa Almeria. La Manga has 3 extravagant golf courses where you can play golf according to your pleasure. Here, you’ll also find a stunning 5-star hotel. The architecturally fabulous hotel overlooks the magnificent golf course, and it is indeed a spectacular view. The Montecastillo Hotel is an absolutely amazing treat. It offers an extraordinary mix of 5-star luxury and world-class golf. You’ll enjoy a feel of the mixed cultural heritage in Southern Spain when you take a trip to La Manga where the architecture is stunning, integrated with a perfect landscape.

Plan For Your Vacation Well

You’re off to have a wonderful time having a vacation in Spain if you plan for it well. It also matters what season you’re going on a holiday there. Take time to read and be well-informed about Spain and the places you’ll visit for your vacation. Carefully ask the travel agent about your concerns. You can choose from different types of Spain vacation packages.

Have a good time and avoid glitches and inconveniences when travelling in Spain. Have everything in check and make sure everything is in place. Contact a qualified travel agent to assist you so you can relish a budget friendly and the most enjoyable Spain vacation.

 

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