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For travelers looking for great travel deals, the summer months offer lots of discounts in the Caribbean and Mexico, because summer generally means hurricanes and risky weather. But the Weather Channel has just issued its forecast for the 2012 hurricane season, and the weather looks promising for those tropical Atlantic travelers.
The experts predict 11 named storms, six hurricanes, and two major hurricanes (Category 3 or higher) for the 2012 season. The prediction is for storms in the Atlantic Ocean, not necessarily storms that make landfall. These numbers are well below the averages for 1995-2011, which had, on average, 15 named storms, eight hurricanes, and four major hurricanes. However, it should be noted that these are just predictions: in 1992 only six named storms were predicted, one of which was Hurricane Andrew, one of the most devastating hurricanes in recent history.
Be sure to check out our Top 10 Travel Emergency Tips for advice on how to handle hurricanes and other disasters.
Use our Travel Search price comparison tool to find the lowest rates on flights.
With summer — and school break — just around the corner, it’s time to start planning a great getaway for the whole family. These money-saving deals are suitable for a group, whether you’re taking the kids to Orlando for some theme park hopping, planning your next family reunion on a cruise, or hiding out at a Caribbean resort where little ones stay free. We found those deals and more, good for travel throughout summer and fall, starting from just $87. Book soon to lock in the best savings.
I’m getting married in less than three weeks [hold for applause]. It’s a destination wedding, which probably merits its own blog post at some point. However, since wedding planning has rendered me unable to put together a string of coherent thoughts, it’s best if I focus on the honeymoon in this post since, well, that’s way less stressful.
Selecting a honeymoon destination requires looking at the trip from several different angles. As you begin to discuss where to decompress after months spent selecting tablecloths and entrée choices, you want to make sure you reach the decision that makes both of you happy. Ultimately, there are only three types of honeymoons. Once you pick which is right for you, the decisions get a lot easier. Read more
Explore the lesser-known Southern Caribbean island of Bonaire, home to world-class scuba diving, sailing, and snorkeling. Stay at the Divi Flamingo Beach Resort & Casino from now through December 21 from just $129 per night — a savings of 30% on this hotel’s seasonal rates.
Situated on the Caribbean, the Divi Flamingo Resort serves as the perfect base for both an exciting scuba trip or a relaxing beach vacation. The Divi Dive Bonaire, a PADI five-star dive resort, is located directly on the property, and guests can book dive excursions 24 hours a day through the Flamingo front desk. Further excursions like guided snorkeling, kayaking, and sunset sails are also available.
For those more interested in kicking back, the Divi Flamingo features beach access, two freshwater swimming pools, a casino, and a spa and salon. Rooms offer garden or oceanfront views and private balconies.
Book online at the Divi Flamingo Beach Resort & Casino website or call 800-367-3484. This offer ends May 31.
While local economies in our favorite travel destinations may still be feeling the pinch of the global recession – especially in international locales – the hotel industry continues to bounce back (though prices have yet to reach pre-recession levels). According to the annual hotels.com Hotel Price Index the cost to book a room increased by 4 percent worldwide from 2010 to 2011, with the biggest jumps in the Pacific (8 percent) and North America (5 percent).
What really struck us about this year’s survey, however, was the comparison of what different nationalities tend to pay for a hotel room in their own countries versus what they shell out while abroad. Turns out Americans are the second thriftiest when it comes to what they’ll plunk down for a hotel in the U.S. – paying an average of $120/night – while at the same time splurging when traveling outside the country, where they pay around $171/night. (Only Australians, the Japanese, and the Swiss pay more.)
With a year-round average temperature of 89 degrees and water so turquoise it looks fake, there are few better places than Aruba for a relaxing, sun-soaked vacation. But stray from your resort and you’ll find an island that also caters to environmentalists, adventurers, and animal lovers. Aruba’s off-roading tours are a fantastic way to discover the unique terrain and natural wonders of this fascinating island.
It’s easy to book an off-roading tour through the concierge at your hotel; popular companies include De Palm Tours and ABC Aruba Tours. Both companies pick you up from the main entrance of your hotel and cost around $100 for a full-day tour (between six to eight hours).
Our tour guide, Rocky Junior, arrived in a bright yellow Jeep at nine in the morning. He suggested we finish our cups of coffee quickly; things could get messy otherwise. Sure enough, after the first ten minutes, we had crossed over from Palm Beach, the flat resort stretch of Aruba, to Arikok National Park, which covers about a fifth of the island. There are no roads, per se, throughout Arikok, which indeed meant a winding, bumpy ride over dormant volcanoes, with gorgeous views of the Caribbean below. Rocky Junior explained to us that Aruba emerged from the water as an active volcano some 95 million years ago. It’s also only 12 miles from the equator, creating an arid terrain of endless cacti.
Appealing to today’s more value-conscious upscale traveler, luxury line Crystal Cruises has added all-inclusive amenities to their standard pricing. These new benefits began with Crystal Symphony‘s first transatlantic voyage from Miami to Lisbon on March 19 (the next all-inclusive sailing will be the Crystal Serenity‘s trip from New York to London on May 8).
The new all-inclusive pricing includes prepaid gratuities for housekeeping, butler, and dining staff, an impressive selection of fine wine and premium spirits in the restaurants, open-bar service throughout the ship, 24-hour room service, and more.
As repeat passengers, my husband and I anticipated exceptional cuisine and a world of imaginative itineraries when we had the pleasure of taking an 11-day cruise through the Panama Canal in January. It was the perfect time of the year to sail from Costa Rica into the turquoise waters of the Caribbean Sea, stopping at the colorful ports of Curacao, St. Maarten and St. Thomas before arriving in Miami.
Unfortunately, it was too soon in the year for us to take advantage of Crystal’s all-inclusive pricing – but there’s always a next time. Read more
As the Caribbean heads into its shoulder (April-June) and low (July-November) seasons, the region’s resorts are offering up some romance packages that are a great value and full of fun extras. So if you’re planning a just-the-two-of-you escape over the next few months, here are four options worth considering:
Curacao Couples Getaway Package: If you’re looking to try a new island, I can recommend colorful, cultural Curacao, where this five-night package from the Lodge Kura Hulanda Spa and Casino (shown above at left) is a great value. It includes five nights’ accommodation in an Oceanfront Studio or Oceanfront One-Bedroom Suite, a three-hour romantic snorkel trip to a nearby reef, a poolside cabana couples massage, buffet breakfast daily, complimentary transport to sister property Hotel Kura Hulanda Spa and Casino (in photogenic Willemstad), and taxes and service charges, from $1,450 per couple. Valid April 8 to October 31, 2012.
Booking a summer vacation is so satisfying. Even more satisfying? Saving hundreds of dollars on it. Our deals experts have been scouring the internet in search of the hottest summer deals to help you save. Here’s what they came up with, from an incredible suite in Vegas to a cool Bahamas getaway to a 5-star Spain package. For even more deals, check out our weekly Top 25.
Family-friendly cruising is nothing new to Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL), which was the first line to introduce a kids program in 1999. What is new are NCL’s “Splash Academy” youth program and “Entourage” teen zone, which have been introduced on the Norwegian Gem and eventually will be offered fleet-wide.
What’s newer still is that when she sets sail from New York City to Bermuda during her inaugural summer season next year, the Norwegian Breakaway (a 4,000-passenger ship that will also sail from NYC to ports of call in Florida, the Bahamas, and the Caribbean) will be equipped with the largest dedicated kid zones in the fleet.
How decked out are we talking about? Well, Splash Academy will span two decks (12 and 13, if you want to start mastering the ship’s layout) that will be adjacent to the Breakaway’s “family-friendly staterooms.”
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