Monday, December 15, 2014

Get Ready for Disney's Polynesian Villas and Bungalows!

Artist's rendering of the new Bungalow accommodations. 
Disney Vacation Club has quite the reputation in the realm of timeshares - and for good reason! These resorts are beloved by millions of vacationers and consistently rank among RedWeek members' favorite timeshare resorts. So, when Disney Vacation Club announces a new resort, it's big news! While rumored for a few months prior to official announcement, the notion of a new DVC resort in Walt Disney World had vacationers chomping at the bit - what would follow up the success of Disney's Bay Lake Tower in 2009?

The official announcement in September of 2013 had DVC owners elated. A portion of the ever-popular Polynesian Resort would be receiving a DVC renovation with an unannounced opening. Little else was known, but speculation was rampart nonetheless. Fast forward more than a year later, and just now most of the details have come to light, and the newly titled Disney's Polynesian Villas and Bungalows seeks to stand out.

In addition to the batch of existing Polynesian rooms that are being converted into DVC units, Disney is also testing the new Disney Vacation Club Bungalows. This concept borrows a page from the vacation home concept and allows travelers the full "home-away-from-home" - their own private bungalow instead of a sectioned-off room. These bungalows can sleep up to eight individuals, and sound undeniably lavish. The Polynesian's famed South Seas vibe resonates loud and clear, and touches like the private plunge pools and Seven Seas Lagoon view seek to elevate the experience. While only twenty bungalows are planned for opening, it's certainly possible that Disney will integrate the concept into future DVC developments if it proves to be a hit.

The bungalows aren't the only interesting concept to be we'll see upon opening. New Deluxe Studios will also make their debut. These units can connect to another Deluxe Studio and sleep five each, making it an affordable alternative to multiple bedroom units for large groups. The addition of a kitchenette and expanded storage help alleviate the crowded feeling that studios can run the risk of.

With the DVC developments also come a refreshment of the Polynesian's Great Ceremonial House, where guests will first experience the resort. We'll see updated and expanded pools on property, as well as new dining options. Pineapple Lanai will provide guests with the much-beloved Dole Whip treat, and Trader Sam's Grog Grotto will offer plenty of cocktails and Polynesian-themed appetizers and small plates.

There's still a bit of unclarity regarding the opening or sale of Disney's Polynesian Villas and Bungalows. All we know is that the doors are scheduled to open at some time during 2015, with many predicting spring. However, this is just speculation, and it's best to hear from Disney first. We recommend keeping an eye on the Disney Parks Blog for more information as it's released. Disney's Polynesian Villas and Bungalows is sure to delight both DVC owners and family vacationers come its much anticipated debut!


Photo Credit:  http://disneyparks.disney.go.com/blog/2014/12/new-details-announced-for-disneys-polynesian-villas-and-bungalows/

Monday, December 08, 2014

New Year's Weeks Are Going Quickly!

Westin Princeville Ocean Resort Villas
New Year's week is an ever-popular time to travel and for good reason - there's something exciting about ringing in the year somewhere out of the ordinary. Unfortunately, the popularity comes with some downsides. Resort rates soar in response to the demand, and many travelers are left out of options unless their trip was planned months - or sometimes years! - in advance.

Timeshare rentals to the rescue! Many travelers don't consider the option of renting, and so there are still savvy owners with these coveted weeks on the market and eager to rent. Better yet, prices run for only a fraction of the resort's direct rate. This January, celebrate somewhere extra-special and check out our secret stash of New Year's weeks!

(prices listed in $USD for a full week unless otherwise noted)


Florida


Arizona


Hawaii

California


Colorado


Nevada


Mexico


The Caribbean



Please be aware: all availability and prices were verified on December 7th, 2014. These weeks are bound to go quickly, so be sure to contact the owner as soon as possible to lock in the week!


Have you decided on your perfect New Year's destination yet? Or perhaps you snagged a week at an amazing price with just as amazing plans in the works! Let us know in the comments, or share your experience on our Facebook page!

Monday, December 01, 2014

Seven Gift Ideas for the Travelers in Your Life

Every year, it feels like the holiday season creeps a bit closer without us even realizing it! For most of us, there's still plenty of gift shopping to get squared away. If you're on the hunt for the perfect present for the travelers in your life, let us recommend these seven ideas...

1. Noise-canceling headphones
The noises of travel can get pretty stressful very quickly. Between roaring engines, bumpy roads and - of course - noisy seatmates. On trips like these, the absolute silence granted by noise-canceling headphones can be a blissful reprieve, and zoning out to their favorite music can make the long trip a bit more bearable.

2. Headrest Pillow
Be it by plane, train or car, traveling isn't always the most comfortable endeavor. A simple headrest pillow can help its recipient stay a little more comfortable. There's a handful of options out there - inflatable headrests that can easily be deflated and stored away to take up very little room or fully plush pillows that encircle the back of the neck and provide ultimate comfort. 

3. E-reader or tablet
While not just intended for traveling, the benefits of e-readers and tablets for those always on the go cannot be overstated. E-readers are slim and low-profile, and much easier to pack than bulky, heavy books. Tablets are also remarkably easy to take on the go and can oftentimes altogether replace a laptop or computer for most individuals.

4. Dining gift card
Most of us finding ourselves eating out quite a bit more than normal when on vacation or traveling. Help pare down the a bill a bit with a gift card to their favorite restaurant. Many gift cards to chain restaurants can be purchased in major stores like Target or Walmart. If your recipient prefers to explore local fare on their own when traveling, consider giving a Restaurant.com gift card.

5. International plug converter
While the United States and Canada use 110 volt electricity, most countries beyond North America use 220 volt electricity. If your recipient is traveling abroad, a plug converter is perhaps one of the most practical and useful gifts you can give - it's a necessity to use any electronics or electrical appliances from home!

6. Self-filtering water bottle
Quickly becoming more mainstream, these standard reusable water bottles are also outfitted with a filter that processes and cleans the water before it goes into your mouth. Whether they prefer the crisper taste of filtered water or are concerned about health risks with international, unfiltered tap water, a filtered water bottle is convenient and more affordable than buying bottled water at every turn.

7. A timeshare rental
Travel can be a great gift in and of itself! Since many timeshare rentals are just a fraction of the cost compared against direct resort rates, they're often more affordable than you'd think. When working with the owner, just mention that you're purchasing the rental as a gift - most owners are more than willing to go ahead and accommodate the request and put the reservation in the recipient's name. 

Monday, November 24, 2014

November Resort Spotlight - Hyatt Main Street Statio

For many of us, November begins to feel like the onset of winter. Some will dread the chillier temperatures, but others embrace the freshly fallen snow and instead take to the slopes - ski season is upon us! If you find yourself bundling up and braving the cold for the promise of thrill, November's resort spotlight is for you! Hyatt Main Street Station is located in the heart of Breckenridge, Colorado  and is perfectly positioned so guests have easy access to the area's best slopes as well as the shopping, dining and entertainment to found on Main Street.

Hyatt Main Street Station embodies the spirit of the town of Breckenridge - full of alpine charm, cozy and quaint but with plenty of opportunities for adventure. The property's central location only adds to its versatility. Main Street - Breck's eight-block mecca of dining and shopping - is just a few minutes' walk away. Just beyond Main Street lie the peaks overlooking this mountain town, an easy trip by car.

A central location provides quick access to all of Breckenridge.
Hyatt's Breckenridge property feels like a mountain lodge as soon as you walk in the door. The lobby is decked out in warm redwoods and rustic touches, including a stone fireplace. The studio units as well as the two and three bedroom suites are built to match with overwhelming cozy and warm decor.  Rooms are outfitted with all the necessities for your Breckenridge location including a gas fireplace, jetted spa bathtub, television, DVD player and high speed internet access Studio units include a kitchenette and small dining area, while the two and three bedroom units hold a full kitchen, separate seating area and in-suite washer and dryer.

Warm and cozy - your suite feels just like home!
The main allure of Breckenridge will always be skiing, but there's plenty of other outdoor fun to be had in the area. Dog sledding, sleigh rides, snowmobiling and snowboarding are all possible in Breckenridge and sure to get you into that wintery, holiday spirit. If you're looking for a more low key stay, don't rule out Breckenridge yet! The town is host to several spas and has a wealth of art, museum and theater experiences, as well as casino and ample nightlife.

Main Street against the mountains is a sight to behold.
As a Hyatt resort, Hyatt Main Street Station enjoys moderate activity on RedWeek, boasting about an equal number of rentals and resales. There's still a handful of November and December weeks available, and even more in January, when Colorado's winter is in full swing. For your winter escape, retreat into the heart of the Rocky Mountains at Hyatt Main Street Station!

Monday, November 17, 2014

Travel Apps You Never Knew You Needed

Whether we like it or not, many of us tend to rely on our smartphones for day to day use. Travel is no exception, and our phones see a lot of use when we're far from home. Flight times, maps, packing lists... Smartphones make everything a bit more streamlined, and there's quite a number of apps out there targeted towards individuals who travel. Which ones should you download before your next vacation?

Orbitz Flights, Hotels, Cars

Orbitz's app compiles the best travels and makes it easy to book them. Even if most us prefer timeshare accommodations to standard "hotel" lodging, the option to look into affordable hotel availability can be a lifesaver in some cases. And of course, a reliable source of comparing flight and car rentals is always appreciated! Best of all, Orbitz offers a price guarantee if another user books the same as you for a lower price. 
Available for: iOS, Android, Kindle Fire

GateGuru

How often have you been stuck in an airport reading the same old newspaper or wandering the gate aimlessly? GateGuru helps find better ways to occupy you, and clues you into the secrets of whichever airport you're in. Did you know the San Francisco International Airport houses a yoga room where you can stretch and unwind? GateGuru is packed with plenty of secrets just like this!
Available for: iOS, Android, Windows Phone

City Guides, Offline Maps

Sure the name might be a little jarring, but this app created by those at Stay.com offers two distinct functions. First, there's plenty of plenty of maps built into the app, all of them offline which is perfect for those moments you find yourself without cell coverage or wifi. You can also create loose itineraries of what you want to do, where you want to eat and what you want to see. If you already use Stay.com, you can import your itineraries right over to your phone as well.
Available for: iOS, Android

Gogobot

Gogobot is one of the best ways to pull up things to do while on the go. Whether you consider yourself an outdoorsy type or a shopping addict, Gogobot recommends activities suited to what "type" of traveller you are. These activities can be then be collected into an itinerary to save for later. If you're already out and about, Gogobot can locate nearby points of interest in the area for new opportunities to experience.
Available for: iOS, Android

Viator

Most of us are looking to save money, and Viator is perfectly designed to help out. The app pulls up discounts and deals either nearby or in your destination of choice. The amount of discounts as well as the quality varies quite a bit, but it's still definitely worth checking out before setting off and committing to standard prices.
Available for: iOS, Android

Packing Pro

If you ever find yourself double and triple-checking to make sure everything you need is packed, Packing Pro is the app for you. You can create your own lists of things to pack, or use one of Packing Pro's built-in list options to guide you. If that wasn't enough, Packing Pro also has some general reminders that are easy to overlook set up - water the plants and double-check your reservations!
Available for: iOS

TripIt

TripIt is an incredibly handy app for travelers. Instead of frantically combing through your email for whichever reservation you might need, let TripIt take care of it! The app searches your email automatically and pulls out travel information, including confirmations numbers for flights, hotel bookings, rental car confirmations and even restaurant reservations. If you ever find yourself the slightest bit disorganized, TripIt deserves a download!
Available for: iOS, Android


As smartphones continue to grow and evolve as integral parts of our life, no doubt we'll see more travel-oriented apps pop up. What apps are you "go-to" when hitting the road?



Monday, November 10, 2014

Capture Your Trip's Every Moment With These Ten Photography Tips!

When we travel, our cameras are invariably at our sides. Whether we're rocking the newest DSLR camera or just a smartphone camera, we all want to capture every memorable moment of our vacation. These ten photography tips will help you manage your equipment, setting and subjects in pursuit of that perfect shot!


  1. No matter where you're traveling, cameras - especially the more technical, expensive models - and their owners are prime targets for thieves. If you're traveling with a pricy camera model or accessories (think lenses, tripods and battery packs), consider packing your gear in a plain or even ratty-looking backpack as opposed to a fancier camera bag - you're far less likely to catch the eye of thieves!
  2. It's very easy to underestimate just how photos many you'll return home with. If you're guilty of going a little overboard snapping pictures, travel with a portable hard drive and card adapter.  You don't want to get stuck with a full memory card and no way to preserve all the photos you've taken!
  3. When photographing family and friends, you'll want to strike a good balance between the subject and environment (unless you're specifically aiming for portraits!). You want your subject to be clear and recognizable, but you also want to show off the background or landscape.
  4. Shoot candids when you can! Posed pictures can look nice, but they rarely show off the true spirit of your vacation - shoot when no one is aware to capture emotion.
  5. If you're flying to your destination, transfer any essentials to your camera bag and bring that along as your carry-on. Baggage handlers can be notoriously rough, which doesn't bode well for the delicate structure of cameras and lenses. If possible, you'll also want to tuck your camera bag safely under the seat instead of sliding freely around in the overhead compartments.
  6. If you haven't already, invest in a lightweight, sturdy and foldable tripod. You don't need to lug it around all the time, but it will make landing those stable shots in low-light or difficult conditions much easier!
  7. Deviate from eye-level shots and try photographing your subjects from different angles. Shooting a bit above or below eye level will lend an all-new attitude to your shot.
  8. We all love sunset photos, but for a truly striking shot, shoot with trees, buildings or a person in silhouette - the contrast creates for a much more intense picture!
  9. Try photographing in the rule of thirds, setting your subject along imaginary lines dividing the image into vertical and horizontal thirds. This creates a naturally pleasing and dynamic image and, best of all, most cameras have an overlay function that allows these third lines to be superimposed over your composition when looking through the lens. 
  10. Use your flash carefully. Flash can be great for capturing a brief moment in low light, but it does produce very "flat" or washed-out photos. As an alternative, try increasing ambient lighting, opening your lens aperture or reducing shutter speed. These techniques will create a more full and "natural" image.
Do you have any tried and true photography tricks that you employ on vacation? Let us know below!

Monday, November 03, 2014

RedWeek's Casting Calls Are a Success!

This past July, RedWeek debuted The Great Family Vacation Casting Call to undisputed success! The casting call offered vacationing families the chance to enjoy professional photography and RedWeek fame.

Colleen, Shane and their two two teenagers were our first applicants to be selected. Hailing from Arizona, the family chose Marriott's Ko Olina Beach Club in Oahu for their summer vacation. Long-time RedWeek members, Colleen and Shane use RedWeek to book their annual vacations and have made some fantastic memories. Their gorgeous photography was the work of Oahu-based photographer Kim Ebert.

Colleen and Shane's summer Oahu vacation!

RedWeek's second casting call featured Mark and Vickie from Portland, Oregon. RedWeek members and owners at Marriott's Maui Ocean Club, the couple visited the resort to celebrate a family wedding and added on a second week for themselves at the end once the rest of family had gone home. Wendy Laurel captured Mark, Vickie and the family enjoying the Maui sun.

Mark and Vickie's Maui vacation!

There's one more casting call underway - and we want you to be a part of it! If your family has vacation plans at timeshare resort in the US, you can apply here to receive a free professional photo shoot, all digital copies of the photos, a $50.00 photo printing certificate and your face on RedWeek! Ideal applicants are RedWeek members who have booked their trip through RedWeek, and a photo and testimonial about your RedWeek experience will improve your chances of being selected. 

Be sure to check out our Facebook page for more updates on our casting calls!