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We’ve got something to lift your spirits today: As we move into spring break season, resorts throughout the Caribbean and eastern Mexico are likely to be either booked solid, or selling at a premium. Come April and early May, however, we’ll start to see those prices go down. For an early spring getaway, plan on kicking back on a remote island in South Carolina, St. Croix, or enjoying a stay at one of New Orleans’ most historic hotels. Read more
Does the thought of taking a cruise conjure up images of endless buffet lines, water slides and sequined dresses? I’ve been there, done that. Way back in 2001, my then-boyfriend and I embarked on one of those notoriously inexpensive cruises that sail around the Caribbean. After going broke on booze, busting a zipper at the buffet, and being forced to participate in a limbo, we vowed never to sail the seas again.
If there’s one thing we know at ShermansTravel, it’s deals. In this new series, “Where To Go Now?”, we help steer you towards the best money-saving offers to book right now. For our first edition, we’re focusing on short, cheap, warm-weather getaways. Got some extra cash and want to splash away a weekend in the Caribbean? You’ve come to the right place. Without further ado, here are five easy, value-packed deals you can book right now… Read more
Heading south-of-the-border is a popular option for budget-friendly getaways, especially to Mexico’s Cancún and Riviera Maya. However, some think the region only caters to the college crowd. Not so. A sophisticated, low-key time can be had for those who are savvy. Below, four myth-busters to prepare you for the sun-and-sea-filled escape you’ve been dreaming about…
If taking a romantic getaway was your 2014 resolution, then you have lots to look forward to next month. Hotels far and wide are putting together some nifty Valentine’s Day packages to help lovebirds get the most out of the holiday. From free spa treatments, to add-ons like champagne and rose petals, there’s a trip here to suit every taste, and save you some money.
For laid-back lovers…
In Curaçao, the Santa Barbara Beach & Golf Resort is making itself extra-accessible to lovers on a budget with their “Love In the Caribbean” package, which is available even after Valentine’s Day. Starting at $379 per night with a 3-night minimum, this deal packs in a couple’s massage, daily breakfast for two, a complimentary dinner at Shore, welcome cocktails, and (why not?) a two-day car rental. Valid for stays through the end of 2014.
It’s the first day of the rest of the year, and for us, that means only one thing: time to start making new travel plans! We’ve got about a million and one ideas cooking, but to narrow the playing field a bit, we’re taking a closer look at where we can go on the cheap. Here, a sampling of the best deals to be had to kick off 2014 – better hurry, though, some of these expire in just a few days! Read more
It was only a few years ago that frequent news of violence on Mexico’s Pacific coast threatened to scare away tourists for good. Recently, however, a light has emerged out of that dark period. The 190-mile coastal development known as the Riviera Nayarit, north of Puerto Vallarta, has seen significant expansion since 2007. In January, Aeroméxico will begin a new non-stop route between New York City and Puerto Vallarta, with fares for less than $500, while Virgin America’s route from San Francisco, which launched in 2011, costs less than $400 round-trip. Add in the current exchange rate between the USD and the MXN, and you’ll find the beaches and resorts of Riviera Nayarit make for a very affordable winter getaway. Read more
If you’re reading this site, chances are you love travel. And along with the obvious perks of roaming the globe (experiencing other cultures, trying new foods, scouting awesome souvenirs to bring home) there is the inevitable wear and tear on the body that comes from being on the road. To that end, we wondered: what steps can be taken to ensure optimum health during travel?
A few days ago, we shared advice on how to avoid catching your seatmate’s germs on a long-haul flight. Here, we chat with Dr. Manoj Kutteri, Wellness Center Director at The BodyHoliday, a health and wellness resort in St Lucia, about the benefits of travel, the “right” way to drink, and other useful travel health tips. Read more
Taking your time. Delving deep. Enjoying scenery. Making new friends.
If this sounds like your kind of travel, you’re certainly not alone – which is a large part of why river cruises, popularized in the 1990s, have been making a remarkable comeback in the past two years. More than two dozen new ships will be sailing in Europe alone in the upcoming year, and entire cruise lines are debuting, too. More notably, though, river cruises might seem expensive at first glance, but their all-inclusive nature can make them a great deal.
Things change. Those words are particularly apt when talking about the current hotel expansion happening in the Caribbean. On Wednesday, we showed you photos of the still-in-construction 1,000-acre mega resort Baha Mar, set to open on New Paradise Island in the Bahamas in late 2014/early 2015. Of the resort’s four hotels (totaling 2,200 rooms), one will be flagged as a Mondrian, the design-forward brand normally associated with urban destinations like New York and Miami.
With its trendy cocktail bars, pool cabanas, and “Sunset Strip vibe,” the Mondrian will be specifically targeting fashion and nightlife crowds. This signals a 180-degree shift from the Caribbean’s usual family-oriented, mid-range hotel offerings. But this could be just the tip of the iceberg. Read more
At an all-inclusive resort, we often resign ourselves to an acceptance that what we gain in dollars saved, we lose in memorable dining experiences. When all of our meals are included in the room rate, we often don’t hope for anything better than standard food court or buffet fare.
The Spanish hotel chain Iberostar wants to turn that perception on its head, and so they have launched a new initiative, named Iberostar Chef, that focuses on elevating awareness of the brand’s culinary offerings through special events, training courses for guests, and a cookbook.
Ah, those pesky resort fees. We’ve all encountered them in our travels, lurking on our hotel bills.
They’ve been around since the 1990s when they were generally utilized to pay for the upkeep of high-end facilities at upscale resorts; the beach clubs and tennis courts, for example. However, in the last five years or so, more and more hotels have been tacking on these annoying – and often spendy – extra charges for considerably lower-end facilities. For example, almost every explanation of these fees we’ve encountered includes such uninspiring “perks” as a newspaper and local phone calls.
According to research by Bjorn Hanson, divisional dean of the Preston Robert Tisch Center for Hospitality, Tourism, and Sports Management at New York University, the U.S. hotel industry collected approximately $1.55 billion in fees and surcharges in 2009. Not all of which were resort fees, but you can see how fees and extras add up. Here’s a breakdown of these fees, how they work, when they’re charged, and how you can avoid them. Read more
There is generally one main factor at play when it comes to cruise prices during the holiday season: the strength of the cruise industry. If it’s been a gangbuster year, don’t expect the cruise lines to wave you aboard for a pittance. Conversely, if sales have been lagging over the past ten months, they’re more likely to roll out holiday deals in a bid to shore up fourth quarter revenues. Value offers will vary by line, so consumers will benefit from some comparison shopping.
Though 2013 brought some challenges to the cruise market – remember the Carnival Triumph power loss in February? – deals seem to be on the scarce side this season. Nevertheless, we found a few decent ones floating around: Read more
Carnival Cruise Lines endured a negative media frenzy earlier this year when its Carnival Triumph lost power due to an engine room fire and became stranded in the Gulf of Mexico. Shortly after, propulsion and power problems affected two other Carnival ships, causing the suspension of a cruise and missed port calls.
In order to convince potentially weary consumers to book a cruise, the line has launched the “Great Vacation Guarantee,” a policy that enables dissatisfied passengers to disembark the ship and end their voyage early. They’ll also receive a 110 percent refund, free transportation home, and a $100 credit for a future sailing – that is, if they weren’t sufficiently spooked to never book again.
Taking a closer look at the new “guarantee” policy, a few things jump out: Read more
Booking a room in a brand new hotel can be a nerve-wracking experience – you’re just not sure what you’re going to get. Moreover, that brand new hotel might not even really be open yet. Often in the hotel world, prior to the grand opening, there is what’s called a “soft opening.” This refers to a period of time – weeks or months – when the hotel is not fully open but is renting rooms anyway. Soft openings are rarely announced, and sometimes not all of the facilities (such as the spa, the pool, or the restaurant) are up and running. The soft opening (and also sometimes the very early period after an official opening) is the time in which staff and management can work through the kinks before formally inviting the world inside. So should you take a chance and book a room in a brand new hotel? We say yes, definitely. Here’s why… Read more
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