Archive for February, 2011

On average, most of the Disney hotels are more expensive than the budget options located just off the Walt Disney World property. Why pay the extra price? First of all, each resort is heavily themed and super kid-friendly. They feature dining on site, elaborate swimming pools and familiar characters.

With the deluge of snow we’ve had in Philadelphia and elsewhere on the East Coast, it’s only natural to dream of roses, tulips and exotic plants. Even if we’re still battling ice and powder in March, at least we have this to look forward to: the 2011 Philadelphia Flower Show ($25 for adults, $20 for students and $15 for children), a tradition in the city since 1829. The annual event — the largest indoor flower show in the country with 10 acres of floral designs and lush plants — is held at the Pennsylvania Convention Center from March 6 to 13. Consider it an excuse for an early spring break vacation to a Philadelphia hotel.

By Valerie Moloney Don’t be fooled by my Irish last name. In another life, I could have been Hawaiian. Chalk it up to my love for SPAM and eggs (Did I just say that out loud?), and the carbtastic plate lunch, two ice cream-shaped scoops of white rice, creamy macaroni salad and flaky chicken katsu. [read more…]

Not all travelers set out with specific beach vacations in mind. Some arrive at their choices through a carefully considered process of elimination, while others just throw a dart in a map. But if you ask any seasoned traveler they’ll tell you that sometimes, the best way to pick a vacation destination is by seeing what’s on special and going there. If you’re a first timer and are looking for a list of great Cancun hotels to call home while you’re in town, you could do a lot worse than making your selection from any of the Cancun vacation packages on offer. After all, this is Cancun you’re talking about—it’s pretty tough to go wrong here.

One day very soon, you will be able to say that you survived the whole ordeal of dress shopping, invitation ordering, menu planning, relative entertaining and all the other heavy lifting that needs to be done before walking down the aisle. Until then, enjoy the best part: planning your honeymoon. With its year-round balmy weather, pristine beaches and idyllic island local, Cozumel is a breathtaking place to start the next era as Mr. and Mrs. Whichever one you choose, many Cozumel hotels sit on precious real estate by private, untouched beaches, secret lagoons and hidden jungle-like forests–all perfect scenes for romance.

Southwest Airlines, which launches flights from Newark Airport in March, has filled out its schedule with ten more flights.

By Elina Fuhrman In Park City, it’s all about Sundance and snow.  This pristine enclave nestled in the valley between Mount Alta and the Wasatch National Forest is a skier’s paradise and a filmmaker’s dream-come-true. I should know: My daughter’s film “Salvation Boulevard” debuted there recently. While we spent plenty of time on the red [read more…]

By Vince Font With all the attention on gambling and booze, it would be all too easy to box your Las Vegas vacation into an itinerary of Blackjack and gin. Certainly, food doesn’t come to mind as a first priority, but that’s a rookie mistake. The locals know that when it comes to fine dining [read more…]

Now may not be the time most people are planning their summer beach vacations. The winter’s still got a long way to go, and when it comes right down to the way that Mother Nature conducts her business, it’s usually best not to argue — she’s going to have her way whether we like it or not. But if you’re feeling particularly pent up this winter and sense the end of your proverbial rope approaching far too soon, setting the plans in motion for an all-inclusive vacation or spring break vacation can’t happen fast enough. Leave it to to the Occidental Grand in Oranjestad, the capital city of Aruba, to take the frostbite away.

As traveler confidence returns, so do rising travel prices. And while average daily hotel rates continue to stay below pre-2008 levels, as we head into 2011 rates are up year-over-year in many popular vacation destinations. With the busy spring break travel season upon us, here’s some advice on how to stay within your budget and still get a great hotel room.

The end of the season is a special time in ski towns. On mountain, the freeze-melt cycle of cold nights and warm days creates corn snow that skis almost as well as powder. Gone are those frenetic mid-season days that start at dawn and end at the closing bell are no more. Springtime skiing has a cooler, more relaxed pace, letting you wake up late, ski a few runs and then head to the sundeck for an IPA. Before it’s too late to savor a ski vacation, head to these three resorts for end-of-year parties that capture the spirit of spring, and still have plenty of terrain open in April as well.

If your attitude toward family vacations is like mine, taking a trip to another country is a win-win: You get to expose your kids to new cultures, tastes and traditions and diminish the possibility of hearing these words, “Mom, I’m bored.” To test this theory, I took my brood on a Mexico vacation to Puerto Vallarta, a city rich in nature-inspired activities and adrenaline-fueled opportunities.

For those of us stuck in a deep freeze, it’s hard not to long for palm trees, neon lights and driving with the top down. Love it or hate it, Los Angeles has all that and more, plus the very high probability of running into a celebrity – or five – even if you aren’t on the red carpet. Your winter blues couldn’t come at a better time: February is ripe for people-watching opportunities at Los Angeles hotels. We focus on the two marquis events in Hollywood this month, and where to stay, say, if you’re hoping to bump into Leonardo DiCaprio.

The iconic, pocket-sized Airport Transit Guide has dumped its print edition and is now available as an iPhone app.

In the quest for spring break vacation bookings and beyond, Riviera Maya hotels often play second fiddle to the staple Mexican vacation spot: Cancun. But this diamond on the coast of Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula, like its sister just 40 miles north, has been an unfortunate target of a few silly myths that have given some people cause to second guess their vacation plans. Here’s where we dispel the rumors once and for all.

Aruba has a reputation for being a nightlife destination, but savvy travelers on the lookout for a Caribbean vacation know that luxury resorts like the Radisson Aruba Resort, Casino and Spa are on par with all-inclusive hotels with their treasure trove of upscale amenities. The highly rated AAA4-Diamond resort — a jewel among Caribbean hotels — is expansive without being overwhelmingly large. With 354 guest rooms, it feels like an oasis on the pristine island of Aruba and tempts with reasonable prices to boot. At $300 a night, it’s luxury that won’t break the bank.

As an Orlando-area resident, I’m lucky to live only have an hour from Walt Disney World. But here’s a little secret: When I take my family on vacation, we don’t always visit the Magic Kingdom. Florida vacation spots like Orlando and Kissimmee have dozens of other attractions, whether you’re in the mood to torpedo down a water slide or catch a sea lion show. Here are our three of my brood’s favorites and Orlando hotels convenient to each attraction.

Punxsutawney Phil — bless him so — might have forecast six more weeks of cold, but for some of us, the prediction is no sentence to stay indoors. With the right gear and attitude, February is the perfect time for a ski vacation to Denver hotels. Because Denver is a convenient airport hub, it’s reasonable to stay before and after flights instead of rushing right out to the mountains. Easy on the budget without sacrificing quality, Denver hotels lure travelers who don’t mind taking a nice leisurely drive to one of the big resort areas.

This may come as news, but Las Vegas vacations can offer just as much romance as a trip to Venice or Cancun — without the added hassle of passports and translation books. If you’re looking for a list of all-inclusive romantic weekend trips, let me sell you on something a lot of Sin City veterans already know: When it comes to planning romantic Las Vegas vacations, it’s actually the sum of the parts that’s greater than the whole.

Looking for something original to give your sweetheart this Valentine’s Day? According to a recent survey of 538 Orbitz users, nearly half of the respondents said a travel retreat would be their favorite way to celebrate the holiday, but 85 percent have never actually given or received a trip for Valentine’s Day. It’s never too late to change that. Whether you’re on the prowl for a Valentine’s weekend retreat or planning ahead for a spring break vacation, here are five destinations offering great winter deals that will trump even the best box of Belgian chocolates.