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Deal Alert: Summer Promotions at The Westin Grand Cayman

The Westin Grand Cayman Seven Mile Beach Resort and Spa

There’s a reason we look south for great value for summer travel — all the warm-weather deals. The Westin Grand Cayman Seven Mile Beach Resort and Spa is just one example, with a fun special offer on tap.

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By Sid Lipsey for Yahoo! Travel

game of thrones - danerys
Face it. You want to travel like Daenerys. (Photo: AP)

When we last saw Game of Thrones two of its most interesting characters were traveling, and not for pleasure: The too-smart-for-his-own-good Tyrion had to go on the run after murdering his vengeful ex and complete jerk of a father, and teenage badass Arya hit the road because … well, because she really had nothing else to do.

Fortunately, we Game of Thrones fans can travel just like our favorite characters from the show — and, unlike them, have fun doing it. Fans have begun taking pilgrimages to the international locations where the show is shot. And places where the Game of Thrones cast and crew spent last year filming Season 5 (which debuts on HBO on April 12) are expected to see massive increases in tourism.

Related: You Can Take a Cruise Based on ‘Game of Thrones’?

Various touring companies are offering special Game of Thrones-themed vacations to Season 5 filming locations (luxury travel referral service Zicasso is offering GoT tours of Season 5 filming locations in Spain and Croatia).

Here are the spots you’ll want to see after you’ve watched the new season. Just don’t be too disappointed if you don’t see any dragons.

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8 Canadian Parks (4 That You've Never Heard Of)

Flickr/Sheila Sund — Banff National Park

National Park season is about to kick off, and with gas prices low across the country, a road trip to your closest wilderness area is certainly in order. But don’t forget about our neighbors to the north, who also boast a wild range of national park adventures, from mingling with polar bears in Manitoba to island hopping in Ontario. Here, four Canadian parks many know and love — and four of the country’s more underrated, best-kept secrets.

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Deal Alert: Summer Rates from $159 at Newly Renovated Florida Resort

Naples Grande Beach Resort

Not even a month into spring and we’re already daydreaming about slipping off our rain boots to wiggle our toes in the sand. With April showers on the horizon, there’s no better time to start thinking about a beach vacation, even if we don’t get to travel until summer. And the newly renovated Naples Grande Beach Resort on Florida’s coast is certainly one to pine after — especially with a great reopening rate from $159 this June through August.

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Viking Fontane longship Elbe River

Viking River Cruises

Which cruise lines are making headlines this week? Travel journalist Donna Tunney — ShermansTravel’s cruise expert — has all the latest news. Check back every Tuesday for trends, new amenities, and money-saving ideas that help you plan a perfect vacation at sea.

When Viking River Cruises christened a dozen new river ships on Tuesday, it brought its river cruise fleet to a whopping 60 ships — maintaining the cruise line’s reign as the largest river cruise line in the world. The 12 new vessels will be sailing along the Rhine, Danube, and Elbe Rivers this year, including a 14-night Grand European Tour from Amsterdam to Budapest. Haven’t sailed with Viking yet? No fear. Six more ships are planned for next year, meaning no want of options for cruising.
July rates for the Grand European Tour start from $4,362 per person, based on double occupancy.

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8 Disney Cruise Line Freebies to Snap Up

Christine Dayao

We’d be lying if we said we didn’t keep an eye out for freebies on a Disney vacation. They just make the whole trip a lot more, well, magical. We already gathered some tips for what you can nab gratis, like pins, birthday cards, and more. But when we recently sailed aboard Disney Cruise Line, we discovered even more opportunities for more free goodies on the ships. Here’s what you can find and where:

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The History of Vacation Home Rentals

HomeAway

These days, most of us are pretty familiar with the value-packed perks of a vacation rental: immersion in local residential neighborhoods, the conveniences of home like kitchens and more living space, and general lower cost. And it’s becoming easier than ever to find the perfect option for your trip, too. Type in a query online, browse photos, perhaps message a homeowner if you have any questions, and then book the rental, all from your keyboard and at your own convenience.

But it wasn’t all this easy. The internet gives us near-instant verification these days — but imagine life in the 1800s, when sending out queries via horse-and-carriage mail carts took weeks on end. And after your letter arrives, there’s another long stretch before receiving a reply. How did we get from that to a booming industry worth $85 billion, with dozens of websites like Airbnb, VacationHomeRentals, and FlipKey?

To find out, we partnered with HomeAway, which is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year. We were surprised to find that the beginnings of the vacation home began a whopping 400 years ago, with not-so-humble beginnings at one of France’s most storied properties. Here’s how the story goes:

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Newcastle

Tommy Burson

First stop London. Second stop Edinburgh. Is there even a third stop on a typical UK vacation?

Of course there is, even if London and Edinburgh tend to get the most attention. London alone attracts about 15 million more visitors than the second closest English city. But the next time you’re there, we suggest getting out of the city and spending the weekend in Newcastle, northern England’s capital. Much discovery awaits there, considering its struggle for visitor numbers to approach anything near the one-million mark — somewhat surprising, considering that the readers of The Guardian consider it the UK’s best city. Here’s how to join the cool kids club and experience this Geordie center for yourself.

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620_Terranea Resort - Aerial

Terranea Resort

Soaked in sunshine with a calm and relaxing vibe, Terranea Resort on the Palos Verdes Peninsula doesn’t feel like a movie set, despite serving as the backdrop for several popular films. Pirates of the CaribbeanPearl Harbor, and Charlie’s Angels are just a few box office hits that have utilized the property. No shock though — especially on the latter. After spending a few nights at the resort, we definitely felt like we were in heaven. Here’s what you need to know.

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city view of itajuba in minas gerais, brazil

Pixabay/ckirner

Most fliers pay for coach seats (read: least expensive option) on airlines and use the rest of their travel budget towards a hip hotel or a nice meal out. But what if you paid just a little bit more – to settle into a plush seat in premium business class? That’s the idea of a flash sale hosted by TAM Airlines and happening right now. Book fares through midnight on April 6 — from New York City, Orlando, and Miami, to Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo in Brazil — and nab huge savings.

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view of glasgow in scotland (uk)

Tommy Burson

Not long ago, Glasgow resembled Detroit — once proud city in the midst of a depression that was characterized by liquor, drugs, and crime. Today, Glasgow is possibly the trendiest city in the UK, catering a booming arts scene and a musical surge reminiscent of Motown in Detroit. Despite the Scottish hotspot’s growing popularity (and the all-mighty pound), there are still lots of free or nearly free ways to enjoy all the culture to be found here. These are some of our favorites.

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By Sophie Forbes for Yahoo! Travel

Ben Ostrowsky

Flickr/Ben Ostrowsky

One of the main problems travelers face is communicating with the locals. Even if you never leave home without your trusty phrase book, communication is as much about nonverbal cues as it is about talking.

In fact, people rely more heavily on hand gestures and body language when in situations where they are unable to verbally interact with someone.

But did you know that not all hand gestures mean the same thing in every country? In some places, gestures that we use on a daily basis in the U.S. to portray positive emotion or agreement, for example, might mean something highly offensive in a foreign land.

Take the OK sign — the simple hand signal where you put your thumb and first finger together to create a circular shape. In the U.S. we use it to convey agreement and compliance. Yet it is seen as offensive in Greece, Spain, and Brazil. In those countries it means that you are calling someone an a**hole. In Turkey, that sign is also an insult toward gay people.

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Win a Four-Night Trip to St. Kitts with Airfare Credit Included

St. Kitts Marriott & The Royal Beach Casino

When it comes to jetting off to the Caribbean, we don’t need much persuading. We’re sure you won’t either — especially since our latest giveaway involves a free trip for two to beautiful St. Kitts.

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Bosnia Above

Tommy Burson

We know Croatia’s beautiful. Who finds sunny beaches or marble, Roman towns perched above the Adriatic Sea hideous? Not many. And that’s why the destination has become so loaded with toursits over the past year.

For those who want to avoid the crowds, we have a suggestion that might surprise travelers: Bosnia. Yes, this country — just a bit smaller than West Virginia in size — had once witnessed one of the worst forms of genocide in the past twenty years. But, these days, there’s a ton of beauty hiding there too. Here’s what we love:

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new cruises ship MSC Seaside

MSC Seaside

Which cruise lines are making headlines this week? Travel journalist Donna Tunney — ShermansTravel’s cruise expert — has all the latest news. Check back every Tuesday for trends, new amenities, and money-saving ideas that help you plan a perfect vacation at sea.

MSC Cruises‘ newest and biggest ship doesn’t set sail from Miami until 2017, but we’re already getting excited. The 4,140-guest MSC Seaside is being designed as an “ultra-modern” ship with plenty of outdoor bells and whistles, including a two-deck interactive waterslide, a high-speed Aqua Tubes water ride, and a ropes course. On this new class of ships, you can also expect panoramic oceanview elevators, a waterfront “promenade,” and more.

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