New York vacation rentals - the actual life experience

09.08.2010 In: World travel news

Hotels in New York charge more and give less than their counterparts in other U.S. cities. So look instead to private apartments, which go for far less and offer much more.

In New York, a whole world of alternative lodgings is based upon what one critic called "the dirty little secret of American life, that no one has enough money." More supposedly well-off New Yorkers than you'd ever imagine are supplementing their incomes and balancing their budgets by inviting visitors into their well-appointed apartments, converting their homes into mini-hotels. There are also those New Yorkers who simply rent out a room within their apartments, often with a private bathroom attached. Though the privacy for the visitor isn't as complete, the prices are even lower.

And in that kind of "hosted" situation, visitors get a rare glimpse of actual life in Manhattan. They set up house in a real neighborhood, get to know the deli guy, the locals-only restaurant, and the bar around the corner.

In the world of New York apartment rentals there are basically two types of accommodations:

Unhosted apartments: Full apartments that the renters have entirely to themselves for the course of their stay. (Many agencies will not allow visitors to rent an apartment for fewer than 5 nights, though with certain units and at slower times of the year, a 3-night minimum might apply.)

Hosted apartments: Apartments that the guest shares with a New Yorker who lives on premises. Usually the host rents just one room and sleeps in another bedroom. Only a 3-night minimum stay is required for a hosted arrangement.
There are pluses and minuses to each type of lodging. At unhosted apartments, guests have total privacy. You can come and go at will without worrying about disturbing anyone, buy your own food, cook meals, and live essentially as you would in your own home. The downside can be the lack of any kind of guidance: If you need advice, there's no one on premises that you can turn to, and you're also alone if the toilet won't flush or the key jams in the lock (the rental agency or owner will fix the problem, but it will probably take a bit of time). Also, these types of rentals are usually a good 25% to 50% more expensive than hosted rentals.

At hosted rentals, you may feel constrained by the presence of the host and in some, but not all cases, may have to share a bathroom. That's usually the worst it gets. In the best-case scenarios, your host will act as an affable advisor, helping to pave your way in the big city, and perhaps forming a friendship that lasts beyond the visit. In fact, one unsung perk of doing a hosted rental is that you meet unusually gracious, resourceful, quirky New Yorkers. "Most hosts are off the corporate grid," explains Margaret Borden of City Sonnet. "We get a lot of artists, actors, musicians, chefs, and other creative types because these sorts of people have the time to do a second job and often need the extra income. Most are extremely well traveled and all really enjoy meeting travelers." In hosted situations, breakfast is usually included in the cost of the stay and, as I said before, guests typically pay less for this type of lodging.

Two very nice standard perks offered in both hosted and unhosted rentals are free local calls and Internet access. As with hotels, 99% of all apartments provide cable TV in the bedrooms.

How to use a credit card wisely on your vacation

09.08.2010 In: Travel tips

Back in the good old days, you could find airfares for flights leaving the country for less than $200. Everyone paid by check or cash at the travel agency or airport ticket counter. You never saw a credit card, although some executives would occasionally flash their corporate American Express credit cards. That's all changed. Today's travelers gobble up frequent-use bonuses or air-mile perks like candy. But, you'll have to travel smart lest your margin for savings fly away quicker than a jumbo jet.

Here are key tips for the informed globetrotter:

Be Prepared

Not every credit card you carry today comes with the famous American Express promise of a one-day turnaround for stolen or lost cards. Therefore:

Use a different card on your trip than the one you use to pay your routine...

The solitude of small Australian islands - one step from heaven!

09.08.2010 In: Vacation rental news

Did you ever wish you could just escape to an island for a while? Have you ever craved the peace and serenity of being castaway on a desert island in the middle of the vast Pacific Ocean ? Well, if these situations sound like paradise for you and you are heading to the Tropical North Queensland region of Australia, then you really should give some thought to looking into some of the more isolated accommodations positioned on the islands just off the Great Barrier Reef.
If you happen to be looking for an island that’s about as close to desolate as they come, then look at a stay on the wonderful Bedarra Island. Located approximately 2 hours by boat or about a half hour by helicopter off mainland Australia you can find that this spot features a mere 16 isolated villas. Privacy is...

The best places of Florida for your vacation

02.08.2010 In: Travel tips

The 'Sunshine State', Florida has endless attractions with innumerable beaches, theme parks, state parks, museums and aquarium. A good transport and communication system connects the areas across the state; therefore, it is not difficult to go from one place to another. Florida experiences warm and moderate climate throughout the year, since no part of the state is too far from the coastline.

During your vacation in Florida, you can enjoy wonderful water sports. A passionate swimmer can experience thrill and adventure by swimming with the dolphins at the Dolphin World at Florida Keys. While at the Cocoa beach, do not miss out on the pleasure of surfing in the sea. Canoeing down the tranquil lake at Grayton beach State park can be a wonderful romantic getaway with your partner....

New World Heritage locations - this time China, Mexico and Pacific

02.08.2010 In: Travel destinations

Six sites located in Brazil, China, Mexico, France's Reunion Island and the South Pacific nation of Kiribati won World Heritage status from a UNESCO panel meeting in Brazil.
Four existing World Heritage sites were also expanded to include nearby natural or cultural treasures in Austria, Bulgaria, Romania and Spain, the UN cultural agency said in a statement.
The UNESCO World Heritage Committee, in a 10-day meeting in Brasilia that will wrap up Tuesday, has already added or extended 17 other sites to its list, bringing the total number of sites around the world with the prestigious stamp to 910.
The latest additions comprised three culturally important sites and three environmentally unique ones.
Sao Francisco Square in the northeastern town of Sao Cristovao was designated a World...

Hawaii vacation rentals - a paradise on the beach

26.07.2010 In: World travel news

Hawaii vacation rentals are a favorite way to enjoy the islands without being amongst a throng of tourists typical of hotels and resorts. Hawaii's rentals are diverse and all you need to do is go online and punch it into a search engine, and you'll be flooded with rentals and package discounts and deals. These are complete with information about what they have to offer and phone numbers if you would like to make a reservation.
Take the example of Hanalei Bay on the island of Kauai. This beautiful beach stretches for three miles with a backdrop of waterfalls and tropical mountains, with only eight vacation homes on the stretch of beach. You have the choice of a lovely four-bedroom holiday home, or a smaller cottage by the ocean beautifully designed for couples. They are ideal for Hawaiian...

Destin, Florida - have a great vacation!

26.07.2010 In: Travel destinations

Situated along the region known as the Emerald Coast, Destin is the perfect place for a relaxing getaway filled to the brim with sun, sand, and plenty of stunning water. Whether you simply want to kick back on a sugar white beach or get out on the water for an exciting excursion, a vacation to Destin is always miles beyond the ordinary.
The ideal location for a relaxing afternoon or a bustling morning, Henderson Beach State Park has everything you could imagine from a pristine Panhandle beach. With 6,000 feet of soft white sand that reaches out towards the Gulf of Mexico, visitors flock here in droves to swim, sunbathe, and fish under the warm Florida sun. And when you want a little more action during your day at the beach, natural trails await to give visitors a glimpse of the abundant...

New tourist attractions in Egypt - don't miss it!

26.07.2010 In: Travel destinations

King Tut is certainly more famous now than in his own time. The boy king died suddenly at the age of 19, before he could make a monument, or even a name, for himself. But just look at him now. He, or at least his stuff—the gilded masks, the lapis lazuli necklaces, the ornate thrones—is on a second blockbuster tour, traveling the world displayed safely behind glass in grand museums. Meanwhile, the pharaoh himself lies mummified in a decidedly unroyal-looking tomb in Egypt’s Valley of the Kings.
You could line up with the throngs and plunk down about $28 to see a few of Tut’s treasures, or you can hop a plane and see the royal mummy—and thousands of other ancient artifacts—on their home turf, where they have context, relevance, and meaning. There’s never been a better time to...

Foreign etiquette tips - be prepared!

19.07.2010 In: Travel tips

IF you kiss in public, forget to flush the toilet or wear a mask you may be surprised to find yourself in hot water in some countries.
Here are 15 lesser-known acts that may breach the etiquette rules of some of the most popular tourist destinations around the world.

St. Louis, Missouri, US
Propriety is important in any city, and St Louis in no exception. But girls, don't get caught out without proper clothes on in a fire - it is actually illegal for firemen to rescue women who are still in their nightdresses or other various underwear attire. Interestingly, it's also illegal to sit on the curb of any city street and drink beer from a bucket - so no drunken tourist antics here, please.

United Arab Emirates
As the two Britons who were convicted for having sex on the beach near...

Vacation rentals in Florida - come see Disneyland!

19.07.2010 In: World travel news

You have decided to bring your family to Disneyland in Orlando for a family holiday vacation. You do know that getting a comfortable hotel room for a family of 4 or more is usually a hassle because there is only one television set and your children will fight over which program to watch.
What is more, with only one bathroom, cleaning up and dressed is like waiting in a long queue for a thrill ride in, well, Disneyland. Your family will feel cramped, stifled and tempers can flare up easily unless you book two hotel rooms and that may be expensive in Orlando especially in hotels nearer Disney World.
Is this really a holiday vacation hotel room or a prison cell? Is there any better way to enjoy your Disney holiday?
Well, you certainly have other accommodation options such as staying in...

Indian weddings in Thailand: the real deal

19.07.2010 In: Travel destinations

The Tourism Authority of Thailand or TAT Mumbai office together with Indian wedding organizer, Red Events India Pvt Ltd, have undertaken the mammoth task of arranging for over 400 Indian couples to get married in Thailand during the current Green Season.
The first group of weddings took place at the JW Marriott Phuket during June 21 – 25 (& July 1st – 4th), while the second group will take place at the Shangri-La hotel in Bangkok during July 15 – 20, 2010. The weddings are expected to generate more than Bt1 billion in earnings for the local economy.
Weddings and honeymoons are part of the TAT’s global marketing campaign to stress niche market tourism. In recent years, Thailand is becoming increasingly popular among Indian wedding couples and honeymooners as well as for the...

Australia and Canada - countries the Chinese would like to visit the most

13.07.2010 In: Travel destinations

Only a few weeks after finalizing its Approved Destination Status (ADS), Canada has already ranked the third most popular tourist destination among Chinese looking to travel abroad, according to a survey released Monday.

In a telephone poll of 1,080 people living in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou, the "Research Report on China's Outbound Tourism Market" found Australia the most desired destination of prospective Chinese travelers, followed by Singapore and Canada.

The report was conducted jointly by the Vancouver-based SUCCESS Foundation, EMR International and the Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada.

Japan ranked fourth, just ahead of the United States, South Korea and New Zealand. Europe (16 percent), currently the most popular Western destination with Chinese travelers after...

Medical tourism around the world

13.07.2010 In: Travel destinations

Medical tourism is the latest buzz in healthcare industry around the world. Over a period of twenty years an array of hospitals and health care centres has developed, providing affordable medical facilities to patients, in accordance to United States, Canada and Europe.

No more patients have to wait in long queues for treatment or for getting best health care services at cheap prices. With the opening of state of art medical facilities in developing and developed countries, a patient is secured of getting assured medical treatment at a reasonable price.

United States and Europe considered as “Mecca for medical treatments” are no longer looked as high as they were earlier. The recently opened health care centres around the globe have procured the best of doctors and...

Vacation rental owners may get compensation for lost revenue

13.07.2010 In: Vacation rental news

The administrator of the $20-billion fund to compensate victims of the BP oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico says owners of rental properties along the Gulf Coast should apply for lost vacation rental revenue.

Kenneth Feinberg, appointed by President Barack Obama as the pay czar after performing the same job for family victims in the 9/11 attack in New York City, says owners of vacation rental properties losing income as a result of the disaster could be compensated — although he acknowledged that determining whether to pay those that didn't suffer direct damage is among the most difficult issues he faces.

An estimated 3 million vacation rental condominiums, homes and other residential dwellings fall within the guidelines set out by Feinberg in the four states affected by the...

Top 10 Sensational Lakes

04.06.2010 In: Travel destinations

As far as bodies of water go, lakes are like poor, neglected stepchildren. People acknowledge their presence but don’t necessarily go out of their way to spend time with them.

Oceans, seas and rivers are usually where the tourist action is at. But no longer, we say! Just have a gander at these ten terrific and unusual lakes around the world. They’re truly some of the most sensational natural wonders on Earth.

10. Taal Lake – Luzon, Philippines

This freshwater lake in the beautiful province of Batangas in the Philippines may not be the largest in the country (it’s in second place), but it certainly is the most stunning. Visitors can cross the lake and ride on horseback to the top of Volcano Island for unforgettable views.

9. Crater Lake – Oregon, U.S.A.