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June 2012

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I have never met someone who does not want to travel and explore new places that they could simply relax and enjoy the scenery.

Everybody I know really loves to take time out from their busy schedule and take their families to beautiful places. However, money can sometimes get in the way of their plans. There are some who only earn enough to provide for their family’s basic necessities. Hence, whatever dreams they have for their family in terms of traveling are sometimes postponed until they could afford to pay for the luxurious trip. What they do not know is that trips abroad can also be budget-friendly.

Since airfares tend to be the largest portion of any international travel budget we decided to take a look a some ways that you can reduce the cost of international flights. Most Airlines have promotions or sales on seats so finding out about these sales is the first step.

The first thing you have to do is to visit the websites of several airline companies and get on their mailing list so that you can be informed of the fantastic deals they have to offer every month or year. Specifically, you could get in the mailing list of the following airlines: Air Asia, Ryan Air, Easy Jet, Jetstar and Virgin. These airline companies mentioned above are the ones which usually offer ticket sales several times a year. Once you are on their mailing list you will be informed about their deals first. Alternatively check out some online deal aggregators to see what specials they have on international flights. 

Now, if you have a particular destination in mind, you just have to search for the flight details of the airline companies. To make it easier for you, you could also like their Facebook Fan Page because, more often than not, the admins of their fan pages always keep their aficionados posted by updating the status with relevant issues regarding the company and its flights before sending an email to their subscribers. The next thing you have to take into consideration is your capability to pay for the fares whenever they are at a discount. This means that you should either have some money allocated to the flights or be willing to use your credit card to pay for your tickets. Generally, the best tickets are sold six to twelve months before the departure date. This will give you enough time to save for the holiday.

Most airlines offer Flyday Fridays. If not, they also have a similar deal where once in every week they offer a last-minute discount on selected routes. So, if you need to book at the last minute, Friday’s are a perfect time. Nevertheless, if you are not always online, you could opt to look around. There are travel agencies that also offer discounts. The only downside of this is that they charge you with service fees. But, then again, it really doesn’t hurt to try. Who knows, you could probably get a huge discount.

Hong Kong is the gateway between two worlds. As such, it boasts a wide range of interesting and exotic activities and attracts discerning visitors from around the world. Hong Kong is also one of the wealthiest cities in the world and its visitors are used to the finest in accommodations and amenities at any of their five star hotels.

W Hotel Hong Kong

One of the finest of these hotels is the W Hotel Hong King. Located in Kowloon just north of Hong Kong Island, the W Hotel combines the best of modern comforts with an Oriental sensibility and just a dash of the old colonial atmosphere.

Guest Rooms

The W Hotel offers eight room types and suites ranging in size form 40 – 200 sq. ms. All are stylishly appointed and provide a peaceful respite from the hustle and bustle of Hong Kong and its environs. The smallest is still over 40 sq. metres and offers and is perfect for a couple a a single business traveller. It includes a king bed, 400 count sheets and goose down comforters as well as all the electronic amenities. In addition to the added room, the suites feature immense HDTV screens, bathing pools for two and panoramic views of the city proper and the harbour.

Hotel Amenities

As one would expect from any W Hotel, the Hong Kong version has all the amenities. A guest never need step outside into the west Kowloon crowds to sample the best that the city has to offer. Instead, sample an intimate dinner for two at our renowned bistro, enjoy a magnificent seven course, haute cuisine dinner at Kitchen or simply see and be seen at the in-house club, Living Room.

In the morning, enjoy our complimentary breakfasts or enjoy a soothing massage. The hotel hosts a fabulous spa and fitness centre. While enjoying these benefits, business can easily be conducted from any point in the hotel with our dedicated wireless service and our business services centre can meet all of your other business needs.

Luxury and Serenity in a Hong Kong Experience

The W Hotel in Hong Kong is an ideal venue for the most romantic of experiences, festive parties, magnificent banquets and spectacular business functions. In short, the dedicated staff and opulent facilities can meet the expectations of the most demanding guests.

Still, there may indeed come a time when you will want to quit the serene and pleasant atmosphere of The Hotel W Hong itself and venture forth into the maelstrom that is Hong Kong. Fortunately, the hotel sports one of the hottest addresses in West Kowloon. It is undeniably in the middle of everything when it comes to Hong Kong nightlife. Everyone should try it once.

 

Thomson Cruises is known for their exciting cruises to Mediterranean hotspots such as Turkey, Greece and Florida. But why let these destinations get all the glory, when the cruise ship Celebration deserves a bit of the spotlight? Here, discover why Thomson Cruises through Virgin Holidays Cruises, and their ship to Turkey and Greece, Celebration, is tops in the world of cruising, and let yourself be convinced to book your next holiday with Thomson Cruises.

Celebration

The Thomson Celebration is the cruise ship that Thomson Cruises uses for their 14 day cruises to Turkey and Greece. The ship can hold about 1,250 guests, so there are plenty of new people to meet, but you never need to worry about it being too crowded or too big.

Eating Onboard Celebration

Celebration offers fabulous Italian dining at Zilli’s Restaurant, inspired by celebrity chef Aldo Zilli. Also onboard, you’ll find upscale dining at restaurants like The Meridien Restaurant and Mistral’s Restaurant, or a more relaxed and casual atmosphere at Lido Restaurant, Terrace Grill, or Buffet Magnifique.

Your Entertainment Options on Celebration

You’ll never be bored or run out of things to do onboard Celebration. Choose from exciting West End-style revues and acts from the UK at the Broadway Show Lounge, see live music, participate in karaoke, take part in the late night disco, or watch live game shows at Liberties, do a little gaming at Hemingway’s Casino, or watch the latest releases or classic favourites at the onboard cinema.

Places to Grab a Drink Onboard

If you’re looking for a place to get a drink, look no further than Horizons, where the drinks are second only to the beautiful views. Two other great places to get your drink on are Hemingway’s Bar, right near the main restaurant and show lounge, and Explorers’ Lounge, a sophisticated, relaxed place that’s ideal for after-dinner coffee or liqueurs.

Get Active

For those of you who just can’t rest, try out Celebration’s sports deck, where you can start or join a game of badminton, table tennis, or basketball. Or, check out Oceans Health Club, where you can work off all the delicious food you’ve been eating. There are even personal trainers standing by to assist you in your fitness goals, both on the ship and off.

Kidzone

Let you and your partner take a much-deserved break and leave the kids at Celebration’s Kidzone. Kidzone offers fun and games for your kids in a supervised atmosphere. They’ll meet new friends and have a great time, while you get to rest, relax, dine, party, or whatever you want.

Bulgaria is one of the newer holiday destinations of recent years, mainly because of the cheapness of eating out. I’ve heard stories of three course meals for next to nothing; so of course, I had to look into this further! Low cost dining is great if you’re holidaying with the whole family, as so much of your spending money can disappear on hungry tummies, and leave little for adventurous explorations.

A large resort on the sunny Black Sea coast, Golden Sands is a haven for pretty much everyone, from those seeking party action, and, more significantly, families looking for affordable summer fun.

The flight lasts around three hours; great for little fidgets who don’t like to stay still for too long, and many low-cost airlines offer fantastic fares. A great way to cut costs when travelling as a group is to pre-book airport extras. I recently tried parking at Gatwick and was really impressed. By travelling up to the airport in your own car, rather than a taxi, you’re likely to save on fuel, and won’t be so worried about having to ask for yet another toilet stop!

But once you’re away from the travelling traumas (well, hopefully it’s not all that bad!) the resort itself is picturesque, set in woods and hills, steeping down to a wide, clean beach, and providing plenty of opportunity for everyone to let off steam! Happily, the transfer from the airport is only around half an hour – something I look for in a resort, especially in summer temperatures.

This is my kind of resort, because it’s a traditional summer holiday –based around the beach, with lots of water-sports, plenty of excursions and many bars and restaurants – my idea of a fun holiday that the whole family will enjoy.

Golden Sands literally has golden sands; ideal for sandcastles and burying Dad when he’s asleep! And the clear sea water makes the perfect backdrop for a day’s relaxation. If you’re feeling adventurous, why not give one of many water-sports a try, like parasailing! I tried this once and would love to do it again –the views are amazing.

Away from the beach, there’s plenty to see and do. Thankfully, the bus service is reliable, and many street vendors offer excursions. I’d recommend haggling, often if there’s a few of you, or you book more than one trip, as you may get a discount. Haggling doesn’t come easy, it certainly didn’t to me, but with a little practice it’s really quite fun.

So excursions –there’s the one that I always do – the boat-trip. A relaxing day floating around the coastline, taking in the sights, and topping up my tan –perfect!

I’d recommend visiting the city of Varna, and for the Indiana Jones of your brood, the Varna Museum of Archaeology is a fast-track way to learn about the city’s history. The Cathedral of the Assumption of the Virgin is a definite must-visit for awe-inspiring architecture.

Around the resort, there are plenty of energetic pursuits should the mood take you, but if all that sounds a little too much, there’s a huge water-park nearby, Aquapolis. I do enjoy a water-park, it’s a great day out for everyone, and you don’t need to be a child to enjoy it.

So what about night-time? Well I like variety, and Golden Sands caters for that. There are many bars, clubs and restaurants, all offering something different. I like to try traditional cuisine, and Bulgarian food is especially fresh and healthy, not to mention cheap. Entertainment-wise, hotels usually have traditional dance shows which are bound to inspire young dancers, or alternatively, the beachfront is where the action happens, with lively bars and clubs. Of course, I heard the rumour and it turns out to be true –drinks are cheap here, so nights out won’t break the bank.

When travelling with a family, it is important to consider budget, so check out Luton airport parking to save pennies and convenience. Alternatively, Stansted airport parking is equally as useful, both offering surprisingly low rates. I can’t rate airport parking highly enough; who really wants to load up luggage and children onto tightly-packed public transport? There’s really no hope of relaxation! Let the kids snooze in their back seats of the family car instead, so you can arrive at the airport relaxed and ready to holiday!

Bulgaria wasn’t one of the first places to spring to mind, however on looking into it, it’s certainly up there with the in-places to go for a family summer holiday. Try it for yourself.

Fiji is an island paradise, and a place that just about everyone dreams of going to. White sandy beaches, turquoise water so clear you can see the bottom of the ocean, leafy Palm trees, and fresh coconut. It’s the perfect island paradise.

Flights to Fiji are rarely cheap, especially since those flights are international flights, but don’t let that stop you from visiting. Fiji is bursting with stunning scenery, and fun activities for couples and kids. If you’re looking for an escape from the daily grind, or a break from your hectic family travel schedule, Fiji is a fabulous option, and one that you are not likely to regret (knock on wood).

There are hotels throughout the islands, but consider staying at a resort, and exploring the island from there. Many of the resorts offer kids programs, which can be a god send when you want a few hours off, or a little couple’s time -not guilt required!

  1. Scuba Diving

    Depending on the age of your children, scuba diving lessons are a must in Fiji. Kids love to explore and experience new things, and when they graduate from the training pool, to the ocean, they’ll relish in spotting Nemo or Dori, and seeing colorful coral. If they happen to encounter a dolphin, you may never get them out of the ocean!

  2. Hiking

    Believe it or not, there is more to this fabulous island than sandy beaches, and crystal clear water. Fiji is also home to hundreds (if not thousands) of hiking trails. Take time to explore away from the beach. Wander into small villages, discover waterfalls, and navigate peaks.

  3. Cooking Lessons

    Mom doesn’t have to be the only one who likes cooking, the kids can too! Anything creative can be fun for the kids, and learning to cook local cuisine can be a great family activity.

  4. Kula Eco Park

    A ‘center for captive breeding of endangered species’, Kula Eco Park is a must see for your family. Your kids (and probably yourself) will go gaga over birds like the Golden Dove, Orange Dove or Red Musk Parrot – there are reptiles and insects as well! This is a great place to spend a day, exploring, and learning about the flora and fauna of Fiji.

  5. Cruise

    Spend a day cruising from island to island, visiting remote villages, watching for dolphins, and soaking in the sun. A cruise through the clear turquoise waters of Fiji can be fun, and relaxing.

It’s so easy to arrive in Fiji, check into a resort, and forget about the world around you. It’s something that each of us dream about when we’re under stress, and there is nothing wrong with that! But there is more to Fiji than your resort. Take time to explore and experience the islands. Give your kids task lists that require them to collect things, take photographs, or draw. Turn your island getaway into an educational holiday that is fun for both parents, and kids.

When traveling with a family, you’re left with more things to consider. From prices to sleeping arrangements after following through on a very carefully constructed itinerary, it is a challenging, but deeply rewarding experience. Providing the opportunity for your children to see the world is something they will certainly thank you for later, but for now, it’s about finding that balance of practicality and the “wow” factor that will keep smiles on their faces. One such destination that has provided an answer to these questions for decades is beautiful Hawaii, which is where we’ll find ourselves for this set of family-friendly travel tips.

Accommodations They Can Call Home

The first step towards a successful stay is finding a suitable and affordable place to call home–someplace where you as adults know you’ll be able to relax that also provides ample amounts of activities close by for the kids. One thing that can turn a trip into a headache is long travel days, and choosing a central location can make a tremendous difference on the overall tone of your vacation. When visiting Oahu, Waikiki provides endless fun, and as such, should be the first place you look for a base. With the beach, nightlife, and cultural highlights all within walking distance, places like the Aqua Waikiki Pearl are sure to keep you and your family going for the long run.

Cultural Examples All Can Appreciate

Traveling is about kicking back and letting it all go, but depending on where you decide to spend your vacation, doing your due diligence and brushing up on the local culture will increase your satisfaction all the more. Every destination is going to have some form of cultural activity that is fun for the whole family; from the traditional dance and cuisine of Hawaii being put on display at a family luau, to going on a walk through the Bishop Museum, filled to the brim with exhibits that make history and science fun, with a little bit of research, you and your group will have plenty to discuss on the trip back home.

Give Them Schoolyard Fodder

If your kids are perhaps a bit too young to enjoy the prospect of learning more about the cultural relevancy and history of a destination, one way to really get them ready is to explain some of the unique, once-in-a-lifetime adventures they’ll be able to enjoy. In the case of Hawaii, going on a submarine tour of the bottom of the ocean may be one such activity, or perhaps heading to North Shore to watch some surfing will suit their fancies. This way, they can explain to their friends at school just how cool their summer vacation was, and how they can’t wait until the next one for more stories to pass on!