Shermanstravel Blog

Orlando

BahamasBelieve it or not, summer is right around the corner. You may be sniffling from spring allergies now, but Memorial Day will be here before you know it, bringing warm temperatures, shortened work days, and summer vacations. Don’t let the season sneak up on you; take advantage of the many early bird specials out there and book your summer travel now. Read more

Top 10 Family HotelsIf you haven’t heard, TripAdvisor came out with it’s top 10 list of family-friendly hotels! Voted on by you, the website reports on some of the year’s best hotels for various things like romance, beaches, and families. See the results below. Read more

Spring Travel DealsWith spring breaks and warmer temperatures ahead (we hope), April and May make perfect months for quick weekend jaunts. Whether you live on the East Coast, the West Coast, or somewhere in between, we’ve rounded up a number of great hotel deals – from New England to California – that make it easy for you to escape and relax, even for just a few days. Read more

With spring break right around the corner, now is the perfect time to plan your next adventure. Even upscale hotels are offering great rates for March and April travel, so you can stay at those luxe hotels you used to think you couldn’t afford, even during this prime travel period. From a boutique hotel in Denver to a brand-new 5-star resort in Goa, you can treat yourself to a spring break without breaking the bank. Read more

Amtrak trainWinter time can prove to be an even bigger headache than usual for air travel. Blustering winds and pesky snowstorms regularly clog major air-hubs from New York City to Chicago (and everywhere in between), causing frustrating flight delays and cancellations. Spare yourself the stress of lengthy, invasive security procedures, and unreliable service by taking the train for your next getaway.

Fares for many of North America’s regional train lines are available for less this season. Here’s some of our favorite deals on rails.

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After the holidays, we tend to get stuck in winter slumps. For many of us, as the temperatures drop and the sun goes down earlier, we’re left counting down the days until spring. But instead of hiding inside all winter, use the post-holiday months as a time to travel somewhere new, whether it’s to a relaxing beach, a ski resort out West, or Walt Disney World. All of the deals below are valid for travel throughout January – just in time to nip those winter blues in the bud.

January is one of the best months to visit Orlando, especially later in the month, when crowds at the theme parks are down after the holidays, and temperatures are in the perfect mid-70s. Hotels follow suit and dip down in pricing, like the 4-star Melia Orlando Suite Hotel, which starts at just $125 per night in January – a 45 percent savings on high season rates. The Melia is the closest all-suite hotel to the Disney Parks, and includes a full kitchen in each unit, plus a 360 -egree infinity pool, a state-of-the-art fitness center, and complimentary breakfast. Dozens more 4-star Orlando hotels are available for low rates in January, like the Holiday Inn Club Vacations at Orlando – Orange Lake Resort from $80 per night, the Westgate Lakes Resort and Spa from $97 per night, and the Mystic Dunes Resort and Golf Club from $105 per night. Read more

There’s rarely a time when Orlando isn’t buzzing with people that don’t call themselves citizens of Florida, but the winter months can make the roadways particularly zany. If you’re in the region as a proud member of the Snow Bird contingent, an avid follower of all things Disney, or just flying down to one of the most widely used convention centers in the world, we’ve got some advice for you. In an effort to get you outside of the boardroom and into the wilds of Orlando, we’re offering up two restaurants, two attractions, and one bar that you can hit with just a few extra hours between meetings.

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DisneyA number of viral videos depict a similar theme. On the morning of a big day – sometimes Christmas, sometimes a birthday – parents will train cameras on their children as they tell them the family is going to Disney World … and they’re leaving today. The kids, overwhelmed with the prospect of meeting Mickey in person, burst into tears.

This strategy may be adorable (or traumatizing, depending on how you look at it), but the premise neglects a lot of nagging questions. How do you discretely pack for a week away without giving away the scheme? Will holiday travel slow down the festivities? Is there a way to chaotically dart through an airport and reach your destination while avoiding the dreaded Home Alone scenario?
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Key West SunsetAs temperatures drop and skies darken earlier each night, it’s easy to fantasize of warm nights on a secluded beach with a Technicolor sunset on the horizon, a fruity drink beading condensation close by. But an aspect that doesn’t typically make it into the reverie is the joy of flying to your destination in one shot, without layovers or transfers. For fliers of Southwest Airlines, the trip from fantasy to reality has become a bit more streamlined.

The airline has begun offering nonstop flights to Key West, Fla., the southernmost stop on the continental U.S. route. The news is welcome for passengers who prefer spending the entirety of their expedition in one seat. Fliers to the Keys typically touch down in South Florida to switch to a smaller plane for the journey’s final push. These “puddle jumper” flights are provided by most major airlines, with only a handful giving direct flights.

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You’ve heard Black Friday horror stories: the fist-fights, the pepper-spraying, the lines outside of Best Buy at two in the morning. If a sleepless night or black eye isn’t the way you like to get your shopping done, consider Cyber Monday, the Monday after Thanksgiving devoted to thousands of online shopping deals. Over the past few years, hotels have caught on to the Cyber Monday trend and started promoting their own flash sales. The steep discounts below are only offered when booked on Monday, November 26, so pick your favorite destination, bookmark this post, and mark your calendars.

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Disney WorldFinally, you can stop asking your teapot to pass the wine.

For the first time in 41 years, Disney World’s Magic Kingdom will serve alcohol to park goers. Be Our Guest, the park’s “Beauty and the Beast” themed restaurant opening next month, has announced they will serve wine and beer during the spot’s dinner hour. The eatery is located in the park’s Fantasyland Forest, which features a castle modeled after the one where the Beast resides.

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scariest Halloween attractionsToday’s breed of Halloween-themed attractions grows more terrifying every year, making the haunted hayrides of bygone eras look like tea parties in comparison. This year is no exception, as many venues have upped the fright factor with freaky new themes (bloodthirsty humanoid centipedes, anyone?), mazes designed for solo exploration, and more serial killer clowns than you can shake a scythe at.

Nobody seems scared off; in fact, brave souls are flocking to these Halloween attractions in such high numbers that many parks have added a fast-pass ticketing option that allows visitors to bypass the lines. Here are our picks for the scariest Halloween attractions in 2012. Check them out – if you dare. Read more

Explore Orlando’s theme parks for less this summer with a stay at the Wyndham Grand Orlando Resort Bonnet Creek. The new 4-star resort is slashing seasonal rates by 40 percent so you can enjoy your stay for as little as $125 a night. Travel July 29 through August 30 to take advantage of this great deal.

In addition, the resort’s award-winning signature restaurant, deep blu seafood grille, is offering a $40 three-course tasting menu for the month of August. Advanced reservations are required to enjoy the restaurant’s contemporary fusion fare, which focuses on fresh seafood dishes.

The family-friendly Wyndham Grand Orlando Resort Bonnet Creek is located in picturesque Bonnet Creek inside the Walt Disney World complex and offers a complimentary shuttle service to the Disney parks.  When you’re not discovering the parks, relax at the resort’s lagoon pool (complete with a lazy river), try one of the five dining outlets, or splurge with a treatment at Blue Harmony Spa.

To book this deal, visit www.wyndhamgrandorlando.com or call 407-390-2300 and ask for the 40 percent off customer appreciation advanced purchase deal.

See our Orlando destination guide for more trip-planning information, then use our Travel Search price comparison tool to find the lowest rates on flights.

Get away from the chaotic crowds at Disney World while still basking in the Florida sun with a stay at the Omni Orlando Resort at ChampionsGate. The upscale resort’s 3-day sale through July 14 offers up to 30 percent savings – with rates starting at $102 a night. The resort boasts that the Disney parks are both “easy to get to and easy to escape,” and they are right. This Mediterranean-style paradise comprises 1,200 acres of natural wetlands, an undoubted reason for its claim as the lure of the ChampionsGate community.

The resort’s numerous amenities and seven on-site meal options (including Asian and Italian cuisine) give visitors no reason to ever want to leave. From two championship golf courses, a lazy river, meditation garden, cozy cabanas surrounding the adult pool, and daily activities around the family pool, guests will never have a dull moment.  And if they do – which is doubtful with this kind of an escape – Disney, Universal, and Sea World are all within a sixteen-mile radius of the resort. The featured deluxe room includes a king or two double beds, oversized modern furnishing, a complete workstation including high-speed wireless Internet and voicemail, and a luxurious bathroom complete with plush bathrobes and expansive marble vanity.  Some of the deluxe rooms even have balconies with golf views.

This three-day sale is good for travel completed by September 8, 2012.  The promotion includes deluxe accommodations and a ready-made S’mores kit.  To book or for more information, visit the Omni Orlando Resort at ChampionsGate website or call 800-843-6664.

See our Orlando destination guide for more trip-planning information, then use our Travel Search price comparison tool to find the lowest rates on flights.

summer-basics-to-packWater, a wallet, and wipes are somewhat obvious things to pack in a carry-on bag, especially if you’re a parent with more than 25 minutes of experience. But summer, being as it’s conducive to heat, splashing, grime, and a desire to pack and travel light, should inspire all summer travelers – families, beach goers, and all-around outdoorsy types – to put a smart twist on these three basic items.

Here are my picks, each coming in comfortably under twenty bucks.

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