Shermanstravel Blog

Spa

Grenada

Last week we gave you the low-down on the new Sandals LaSource, the all-inclusive brand’s first venture into Grenada. While it may be tempting to while away all your time on the resort, and on Pink Gin beach, you shouldn’t miss getting off the property for a day of exploring. Here are a few highlights of this manageable and easygoing “spice island”:

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SandalsExterior

One of our favorite off-the-beaten-path Caribbean islands just got a lot more accessible, thanks to the recent opening of Sandals LaSource Grenada. The brand’s first outpost on Grenada, the resort brings 225 guestrooms to the island; not to mention increased, and more competitive, flight options which are highly likely to follow.  Read more

RouletteWhile Pennsylvania awaits a verdict on the state’s proposed second casino, a recently-added feature at the ever-popular Valley Forge Casino (about 30 minutes northwest of Philadelphia) is making poker chip-wielding travelers around the country take note. Announced early last month, a new “Points for Miles” program offers gamers the chance to redeem casino player points for – get this – airline miles with US Airways.

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Reykjavik, IcelandDespite Iceland’s famous bankruptcy and ensuing currency devaluation, it’s still a very expensive place for Americans to visit. For example, a private, ensuite room in a hostel can cost $150 (with rooms in more luxurious hotels going for double or triple that price). Restaurant entrées typically cost $30-$40, and a cocktail that costs less than $12-$15 is rare.

The good news is that most of what makes Reykjavik so appealing is the free stuff: the quirky culture and friendly locals, the wild nightlife scene, and the amazing landscape that surrounds the city.  For everything else, there are ways to save without sacrificing the experience.

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Intercontinental ThalassoMake no mistake, collecting points to use for travel is a hassle. With black out dates and restrictions, actually using them for travel can be an even bigger hassle. That’s why loyalty programs are often overlooked as too conflated or difficult to actually enjoy, but those who put in the effort can be rewarded handsomely. Case in point: I recently used a combination of points to fund a visit to a remote island paradise in the southern Maldives. It wasn’t easy, nor was it straightforward, but it enabled me to travel to a place I could never afford otherwise. Here are five astonishing properties around the globe that may not be so far out of reach after all… Read more

Parmarth NiketanKnown commonly as the “yoga capital of the world,” Rishikesh sits on the banks of the Ganges river surrounded by forested hills that lead up to the snow-shrouded Himalayas. Considering that it’s a quick flight from New Delhi, any spiritual seeker or outdoor adventurer should consider adding the town to their broader India itinerary. Here’s why: Read more

Grand Bahama - Gold Rock Beach at Low Tide - 620x400The Bahamas is often synonymous with Nassau’s bustling casinos and the sprawling Atlantis resort – a great vacation for those looking for a mix of partying, gambling, and sun. However, if you’re opting for a crowd-free beach retreat and outdoor activities, look 55 miles east of Florida to Grand Bahama Island. I discovered this tranquil paradise first-hand on a recent trip courtesy of the Grand Lucayan Resort. Here are seven ways for you to do the same.

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SanJuanMarriottWhether you’re a family of four, a group of girlfriends, or a young couple on a tight budget, you know that tropical travel can come with a high price. Sure, all-inclusives offer the bang-for-the-buck factor, but what they provide in savings they often lack in culture and distinctiveness.

For all of the above travelers (and anyone in between), the San Juan Marriott Resort & Stellaris Casino offers the best of both worlds: comfort and culture at reasonable rates. Rooms start as low as $185 per night in low season; about $200-$220 in high season. (Note: there is an 18% resort fee per room, per night.) Read more

OjaiOften lost in the shadow of coastal spots like Santa Barbara, Paso Robles, and Los Angeles, the inland orchard town of Ojai is a remote hideaway popular with spa-happy travelers with their hearts set on real R&R. The name means “Valley of the Moon” in the Ventureno Native American language, and the land is considered by many to have powerful healing properties. Despite the small-town feel, the experience of staying there doesn’t necessarily come at a discount, partially because it’s become a favorite among Hollywood stars. Here are a few ways to experience Ojai without breaking the bank:

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Wild DunesYou put in an order weeks ago to make sure mom gets flowers on Mother’s Day.  We even did a roundup of great travel deals, so you can whisk her away on vacation. But what about Dad? The latter holiday, which falls on June 15, tends to get lost in the shuffle between graduation season and the beginning of summer. This year, take advantage of off-season travel deals to take Dad on a trip he’ll never forget. From a beachside resort in the Caribbean, to a golf-themed southern getaway, here are five affordable itineraries you can book right now:

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AkkoWith its small land mass and relatively easy public transportation system, Israel lends itself to quick, mad-dash side-trips for those intent on seeing as much of the country as possible in a short amount of time. Of course, you could easily spend weeks leisurely making your way up and down the Mediterranean coast, stopping in at desert-surrounded kibbutz-style hotels and remote mountain towns along the way. Or book a vacation package, like the one featured in our Top 25 this week, which takes you all over the country. But for those who find themselves in Tel Aviv, here are three easy day trips reachable in 45 minutes, 1 hour, or 1.5 hours from the bustling capital:

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Koh LantaWhether it’s a packed cruise ship unloading throngs of boisterous passengers, or a mob of thirty college students tearing through town, an excess of tourists can make a destination go from in-demand to insufferable, just like that. Consider avoiding these played-out locales and shift your attention to nearby spots that are lesser-known, and more worthy of the term “vacation.”

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(See the full slideshow: Hadahaa, Maldives)

Traveling to the Maldives from the U.S. is a serious endeavor, no matter how you plan it. The entire trip takes about two days each way, and it’s certainly not a budget vacation. But that shouldn’t dissuade you from a trip to Hadahaa, a tiny island in the southern Maldives that requires a 55-minute flight from the nation’s capital of Male, followed by a 35-minute speedboat ride from the isle of Kooddoo. It’s a lot of effort, but this is the ultimate destination for peace and serenity.

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Grand Canyon RailThere are plenty of ways to experience the natural beauty of the Southwest, though none will be as memorable (or as delightfully old-fashioned) as a two-night rail trip through northern central Arizona. There’s a little place there called the Grand Canyon. Perhaps you’ve heard of it?

For most of the year, Canyon-bound travelers can choose from five other classes (Coach, First, Observation Dome, Luxury, and Luxury Parlor) aboard the Grand Canyon Railway, but it’s the Pullman class that offers something extra special: a fully-refurbished 1923 Harriman-style coach car with its original flip-seats, working windows, and even live musicians to provide a soundtrack to all the scenery. The only catch is that the Pullman is only available seasonally, from March through October 1. Read more

Chesapeake Bay

Depending on the size (or existence) of the check coming your way post taxes, you could be looking at extra vacation money. And if you’re anything like us, money like that burns a deep, deep hole in your pocket. We thought you’d appreciate a few tips on ways to blow your tax refund on a trip in late April/May. Consider it a reward for getting them done in the first place. Read more

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