Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Celebrate Leap Day by Leaping with Disney!

Leap Day 2012 just happens to fall on Disney’s Wildlife Wednesday, so it’s the perfect opportunity to learn more about frogs, toads and other amphibians along with the guests of Disney’s Animal Kingdom.

The Disney Blog posted an article by Kathy Lehnhardt, Curator of Education, Disney’s Animal Programs about “Leap to Help Frogs on Leap Day.”

Here are some reasons Lehnhardt lists why you might want to care about leaping frogs and their friends:

Did you know that, according to some estimates, as many as one-third of the known amphibian species are threatened by extinction because of loss of habitat, climate change, pollution and disease? The good news is that every one of us can help amphibians leap ahead of extinction.

Here’s how:
• Invite a bug-zapping amphibian into your backyard by placing an overturned pot (toad abode) as a home
• Use fewer chemical pesticides on your lawn to keep amphibians healthy
• Build a pond, plant native shrubs, and leave leaf litter and logs in your yard to create a habitat for frogs
• Plan a family outing to a local pond to hear different species of frogs sing their love songs to one another
• Find natural alternatives to household chemicals so these toxins don’t end up in amphibian habitats
• Take part in a local pond or stream clean-up to ensure that native amphibians will have a clean home
• Find books on frogs to discover why they sing loudly, hear well and stay up late
Beyond their beautiful chorus, frogs also provide a free pest-control service. Frogs eat billions of harmful insects annually, including mosquitoes and their larvae.

Frogs also provide valuable scientific and medical benefits to humans. The skin of amphibians contains substances that can protect them from some microbes and viruses, which can offer possible medical cures for a variety of human diseases, including AIDS

As usual, Disney makes learning fun. The next time your family finds itself in Orlando on a timeshare vacation, head to Disney’s Animal Kingdom. and join the fun at Rafiki’s Planet Watch, where you and the kids can make toad abodes (special homes for frogs and toads) for your backyards, try leaping like a frog, listen to frog calls, examine amphibian adaptations, and meet some cool amphibians and their keepers on the Conservation Station stage.

Check out Orlando timeshare rentals and Disney timeshare rentals. Your vacation will not only be “toads of leaping fun!" but budget-friendly, too!

Photo Credit: http://disneyparks.disney.go.com

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Timeshare Travel #TravelTuesday – Oahu



King Kamehameha Statue in front of the Iolani Palace in Honolulu. Submitted by Mariah L of Chandler, AZ.

Submit your photo to #TravelTuesday! Just send it via email to us at: learnmore (at) redweek (dot) com. Let us know your name, where you are from, and where the photo was taken.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Staying Fit with a Timeshare Winter Vacation

Getting cabin fever? Stuck indoors and can’t get the exercise you’re used to because of the snow, ice, and cold winds of winter? The RedWeek February newsletter offers 3 suggestions for winter timeshare vacations where finding great ways to exercise is easy and fun. Travel to destinations with lots of outdoor activities: skiing in Colorado, hiking in Arizona, or kayaking in Hawaii

1. Breckenridge, CO. Bite the winter bullet by meeting the snow and cold head-on. Breckenridge has world-class skiing and snowboarding, along with other activities such as ice skating and snowshoeing. All guaranteed to get your blood pumping. And did you know that you’ll burn 400 calories an hour in downhill skiing?

Timeshare rentals at the Hyatt Main Street Station (see photo) start at just $75/night, resales begin at $25,000. This resort is centrally located at the base of the slopes on the Blue River, and is within a convenient walking distance to the shopping and dining of Breckenridge’s historic Main Street.

2. Peoria, AZ. There’s nothing like the warm desert air to thaw out your bones. In the metro area of Greater Phoenix, Peoria is a gateway to South Mountain Park - the largest municipal park in the U.S. Its 16,000 acres offer 58 miles of trails for cycling, hiking, and even horseback riding.

After all of that exercise you can take a break and watch some other guys run around. Peoria is the spring training home to both the Mariners and the Padres.

The Cibola Vista Resort and Spa (see photo) has timeshare rentals starting at just $71/night, and resales starting at $1000. Staying here also gives you exercise opportunities of water skiing on Lake Pleasant, and golfing to your heart’s content.

3. Princeville, Kauai. What better place to shake winter’s chill than Hawaii? Princeville, on the “Garden Island” of Kauai, is central to some of the best kayaking in the world. Are you up for a 5-hour guided tour of the Hanalei River, Bay and estuary? This kind of kayaking is sure to get those biceps burning.
You can also enjoy outdoor activities such as canoeing and rafting on the Hanalei River.

At the Hanalei Bay Resort (see photo) you can find timeshare rentals starting at $125/night, and resales starting at just $400.

You might be enjoying lots of outdoor activities to keep fit on your timeshare winter vacation, but since traveling and eating go hand-in-hand, and are also tough on the waistline, there are ways to travel and keep this in check at the the same time, too.

A 30 minute walk on the treadmill in your resort fitness center balances out the cheeseburger you had for lunch, and a meal made in your timeshare kitchen is a healthier alternative to eating out.

So use a timeshare vacation to keep in shape this winter, with lots of fun activities on mountain slopes, the warm desert, and even water sports.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Marriott Vacation Club Owners Featured as February ARDA “Timeshare Fans of the Month”

Tom and Mindi Davis of San Diego took time during a recent vacation at their Marriott Vacation Club timeshare in Panama City Beach, Florida to share the reasons they bought and vacation with timeshare.

Their video and blog is the fourth in a series by the American Resort Development Association (ARDA), showcasing the passion of owners about why vacationing with timeshare is simply a better way to vacation.

The Davis’ decided to purchase their Marriott Vacation Club timeshare after taking a three-night mini vacation at Marriott’s Newport Coast Villas in 2010 with their two children.

“From the minute we arrived, it was so relaxing and beautiful,” explains Mindi. “We decided that this would provide a real vacation, giving us the fabulous locations, accommodations and experiences along with the value we couldn’t get with hotel vacations.”

“We aren’t limited to going to the same specific resort each time,” remarks Tom. “We’ve already used our Marriott Vacation Club points for a cruise and intend to travel internationally as well. It gives us the option of doing something completely different each year and it will never get boring!”



With more than 8 million owners, a satisfaction rate of 85 percent and an occupancy rate that has outpaced hotel occupancy by more than 20 percent, it is clear that this segment of the travel industry is faring well. Take the time to find out why.
Visit Vacation Better for more information.

Timeshare and vacation ownership are often used as interchangeable terms. Timeshare may be purchased through deeded property ownership, right-to-use or a points-based program. Owners purchase a villa, usually in one-week increments, within a fixed (same week each year) or “floating” system. Floating time allows the owner to schedule each year’s vacation for the desired week within a specified season.

The American Resort Development Association (ARDA) is the Washington D.C.-based professional association representing the vacation ownership and resort development industries. The membership also includes timeshare owner associations (HOAs), resort management companies, and owners through the ARDA Resort Owners Coalition (ARDA-ROC).

Next month, look for happy owners from Bluegreen Resorts who are passionate about their timeshare. All timeshare fans are invited to tell their story to ARDA here.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Happy Birthday Mr. Washington!

Did you know that February 22 isn’t really George Washington’s birthday? The man who would become the father of our country was actually born on February 11 in 1731, based on the Julian calendar that was in use at that time. In 1752 when Britain and its colonies adopted the Gregorian calendar that we all use today, everyone’s birthday was moved eleven days ahead.

Regardless of when George Washington was born, his life is one to be celebrated all year long. One of the best ways to do that is to plan a timeshare rental vacation to visit his remarkable estate at Mount Vernon, VA.

When planning your visit you should expect to spend several hours at Mount Vernon, and it’s easy to even spend an entire day there, with so much to see and experience as you immerse yourself in George and Martha Washington’s life on the Potomac River.

You’ll be able to visit the Mansion, out-buildings, and nearly 50 acres of the extensive plantation, which include beautiful gardens and restored landscapes, and the George Washington: Pioneer Farmer site, a 4-acre demonstration farm with a reconstructed slave cabin and 16-sided treading barn.

Exploring the dozen or so structures on the estate will give you a good idea of every day life at Mount Vernon, including the laundry, the kitchen, and a working blacksmith shop.

In the Mansion you’ll see the parlor where George and Martha greeted friends and distinguished visitors, and the dining room where they held everything from lavish dinners to simple family breakfasts. You’ll also get a peek into the couple’s bedroom, where George Washington succumbed in 1799.

It’s awe-inspiring and somewhat humbling to visit the Tomb in which lay both George and Martha Washington. You’ll also see the slave cemetery overlooking the Potomac River. Although the graves are unmarked, William Lee, George Washington’s personal servant during the Revolutionary War, is known to be buried at the site. The slave burial ground is marked by a memorial to honor the slaves who lived and worked at Mount Vernon.

When planning your visit be sure to consider the informative guided tours and engaging events that are offered at various times of the year. For a unique experience, the Mount Vernon by Bike and Boat package includes a bike rental, admission to the Estate and a sightseeing cruise on the Potomac River.

Mount Vernon is just 9 miles from Washington, D.C., where you’ll find great timeshare rental accommodations. Wyndham’s Old Town Alexandria has timeshare rentals starting at just $68/night, and its sister resort, Wyndham Vacation Resorts at National Harbor has timeshare rentals starting at $125/night.

Photo Credit: vintagetravelpostcard.blogspot.com

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Timeshare Travel #TravelTuesday – California


Rancho Bernardo Winery near San Diego, California, submitted by Sue G, British Columbia

Submit your photo to #TravelTuesday! Just send it via email to us at: learnmore (at) redweek (dot) com. Let us know your name, where you are from, and where the photo was taken.

Monday, February 20, 2012

RedWeek Members Travel Lighter with VIP Luggage Delivery


RedWeek has expanded its list of member benefits with the addition of VIP Luggage Delivery, Powered By Bags. VIP Luggage Delivery saves you the hassle of airport baggage claim, and is offering RedWeek members 15% off its standard service rate.

VIP Luggage Delivery eliminates the need to wait for luggage at the airport carousel. Instead, your luggage is delivered to you, safe, fast and easy. VIP Luggage Delivery is a national service provider that operates daily, and includes delivery to hotels, businesses, and residential addresses.

VIP currently manages more than ten million deliveries annually at more than 250 domestic airports, including all gateways and hubs for the major carriers.

The process to use VIP Luggage Delivery is simple and seamless. The first step is to place an order at vipluggagedelivery.com/redweek. Once an order is received, VIP mails reusable luggage tag(s) to the you up to 24 hours before flight time. On the day of travel, the VIP system dispatches the vendor to retrieve the luggage and deliver it to its final destination.

“We are thrilled to be partnering with RedWeek.com to provide VIP Luggage Delivery to their members. Our goal is always to make travel easier,” said Dennis Garrow, senior vice president, VIP Luggage Delivery.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Timeshare Scammers Impersonating RCI – Warning from The Timeshare Crusader

From RedWeek’s February Newsletter - February's "Ask The Timeshare Crusader" question comes from Odin:

I recently received a letter from the president of RCI warning me against attending an "RCI Update" meeting in my area. Apparently these meetings are not sanctioned by RCI, but are a scam. Have you heard about this?

Lisa Ann Schreier's Answer:

This issue was brought to my attention last week by the Florida Timeshare Owners Group, and is quite scary in my opinion.

For those of you who have not heard of this most recent scam, a third-party company contacted RCI members in Bradenton, Florida, inviting them to area to an 'RCI update' meeting at a local Perkins restaurant. Of course, the company is NOT RCI and the "update" is a sales pitch. A similar scam in 2009 netted a similar company more than a million, and none of that benefitted a single timeshare owner.

So what's a timeshare owner to do?

Don't take phone, e-mail, or postcard solicitations at face value. Research, research, research. We are in the Information Age, people! There is a plethora of information out there, and it only takes a few keystrokes to find it. If you're not computer savvy, pick up the phone. In this case, I would have called RCI directly and asked if there is an update meeting scheduled for my area.

Get mad and go viral! If you are contacted by one of these companies, let other timeshare owners know through the various timeshare forums pages, blog sites, and timeshare-related Facebook and Twitter pages. Then, go a step further and let your home resort, your primary exchange company, and American Resort Development Association Resort Owners' Coalition know about it.

In closing, I ask that you use common sense. Don't be a victim of timeshare fraud. Be smart and be alert.

Read more advice and tips about timeshares by The Timeshare Crusader here.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

4 Items to Help Speed Up the TSA Security Screening Process

TSA security screening at American airports is never fun. Long lines, surly agents, invasive procedures, and fumbling to get all our possessions through the x-ray machine can make for a stressful experience. After many early morning runs through the TSA security screening checkpoints, I have learned what works well in order to get me through security as fast and hassle-free as possible.

Here are the four items I always bring through security that help make the process a breeze.

1. Slip on Shoes. When moving through security, untying and retying laces takes time and can hold up the line behind you. When rushing to make a flight, being able to slip your shoes off and on can be the difference between making and missing your flight.

2. Jacket. Except for in the heat of the summer, I almost always travel with a light jacket. Aside from keeping me warm on cold airplanes or functioning as a makeshift pillow on early morning flights, it is also the perfect carry-all device for everything in my pockets that needs to be removed before going through security. My cellphone, keys, wallet, change, and everything else goes into the pocket of my jacket before it comes off and goes through the x-ray machine.

No messing with little plastic buckets or losing anything important – it’s all right there in the jacket on the other side. A jacket with a couple of pockets generally works fine, or you can opt for the ingenious carry-all in the photo.

3. TSA Approved Laptop Case. A few years ago, the TSA approved a select number of laptop cases that were allowed to pass through security without the user having to take the laptop out. These are great, cheap little cases that not only protect your laptop as it goes through security screening but also reduce the inconvenience of having to take it out on its own every time. Having one of these on hand eliminates one more hassle from the TSA security dance.

4. Security Friendly Belt. There seems to be a threshold for the amount of metal that can pass through a security screening device without setting it off. Find a belt that is below this threshold. I experimented with the different belts I own, subjecting myself to setting off the security screening on multiple occasions until I found a belt that did not set it off. I now wear this belt every time I fly. Being able to keep my belt on saves precious seconds and the awkward dance of trying to put my belt on as I rush to my flight.

Use these tips when you head out on your timeshare rental vacation to keep your trip running smoothly.

Our guest author, John, is a perpetual traveler for both business and leisure who has been on the road constantly for the last year. In his spare time he writes about his life on the road at Travel Rinse Repeat where he hopes to show others how to make the most of every travel opportunity

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Top American Cities for a Warm Timeshare Winter Vacation Part 5

Travel and Leisure has released its list of the top American Cities to escape winter’s chill and enjoy sunshine and warmth, as voted on by their readers. In a 5-Part series we’ll look at 5 of the top American cities on the list that also make great timeshare rental winter vacation destinations.

5. San Juan. Travel and Leisure readers were happy to include San Juan in the top American winter getaway cities list, seeing as how it is the capital of American territory Puerto Rico. And being in one of the world’s iconic winter getaway spots – the Caribbean – made its inclusion a no-brainer. San Juan was also voted near the top for Cultural Getaways, and was tops for foodies, winning Best Ethnic Fare, and Best Street Food.

Besides its beautiful city beaches alongside turquoise waters, San Juan offers numerous activities that range from historical sight-seeing to an adventure park.

Historic Old San Juan, elegant and charming, is one of the most popular attractions for visitors. The streets are covered by adoquine, a blue stone that was brought over as ballast on the Spanish ships.

The old city’s ancient defensive wall and forts, El Morro and the Castle of San Cristobal, were both designated as part of this World Heritage Site. Old San Juan is also a U.S. National Historic Site and is administered by the U.S. National Park Service.

The Lelolai Festival is presented every Tuesday evening at the Castle San Cristobal’s main plaza. The festival has been hosted by the Puerto Rican Tourism Company, as part of its entertainment and cultural program, for almost 30 years. It was created to promote the Puerto Rican culture through music, rhythm and dances that highlight the island's Native, Spanish and African heritage.

Puerto Rico is known for its myriad offerings of adventure sports, and San Juan’s is Campo Rico Zip Lining Adventure. This half-day experience includes hiking, kayaking, crossing canopy bridges, and one of the longest zip lines on the island which ends at the unique hilltop Mojito Bar for lunch.

San Juan has a world-wide reputation for its nightlife, owing much to the fact that even here there is something for everyone. You can chose from wild clubs to hopping bars to chic and intimate lounges. One of the top favorites with tourists is Club Brava, where there is an energetic crowd and where you can mingle with celebrities and the city’s “pretty people.”

San Juan’s beachfront ESJ Towers Resort has timeshare rentals that start at just $80/night.

Photo Credit: huffingtonpost.com

Top American Cities for a Warm Timeshare Winter Vacation Part 1 (Miami)
Top American Cities for a Warm Timeshare Winter Vacation Part 2 (Honolulu)
Top American Cities for a Warm Timeshare Winter Vacation Part 3 (Phoenix)
Top American Cities for a Warm Timeshare Winter Vacation Part 4 (San Diego)
Read Travel and Leisure's entire list.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Timeshare Travel #TravelTuesday – Cabo San Lucas


Just in time for a winter timeshare rental getaway - Beach in Cabo San Lucas. Submitted by Paula L of Reno, NV.

Submit your photo to #TravelTuesday! Just send it via email to us at: learnmore (at) redweek (dot) com. Let us know your name, where you are from, and where the photo was taken.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Top American Cities for a Warm Timeshare Winter Vacation Part 4

Travel and Leisure has released its list of the top American Cities to escape winter’s chill and enjoy sunshine and warmth, as voted on by their readers. In a 5-Part series we’ll look at 5 of the top American cities on the list that also make great timeshare rental winter vacation destinations.

4. San Diego. Travel and Leisure’s readers voted San Diego the “Weather Champion” for a perfect winter getaway, with its average temperature of 70 – not too hot, not too cold…just right. San Diego was also voted the safest, and the cleanest, city in the country.

San Diego County has just about everything every member of the family would ever need for a memorable vacation of a lifetime.

1. Beaches. San Diego County has a whopping 22 great beaches. While a few are state beaches that require a minimal fee, generally around $6-$10, most of the beaches are open to the public for free. While the Pacific Ocean is a little chilly at this latitude in the winter, and you might want to wear a wetsuit when you dive or surf, the warm air temps make lazing on the beach a great way to soak up the sun.

2. Theme Parks. San Diego is where the original Sea World was built in 1964, by four UCLA college buddies. Located along the shores of beautiful Mission Bay, SeaWorld San Diego is a great place to spend a day enjoying the antics of trained sea lions, the breathtaking gymnastics of Shamu and his orca friends, fun and friendly dolphins, and even getting up close and personal (sort of) to sharks.

Located in the coastal town of Carlsbad, less than half an hour from downtown San Diego, is the first Legoland to be built outside of Europe. Each of the nine areas not only offers fun and exciting rides, but attractions made completely out of Legos.

3. Zoos. The San Diego Zoo, in beautiful Balboa Park, is world-famous, and for good reason, being the pioneer in building cageless habitats for zoo animals.A real treat at this zoo are three Giant Pandas, on loan from China.

The San Diego Zoo Safari Park (formally known as San Diego Wild Animal Park), located near the north county town of Escondido, has 1800 acres of free-range enclosures.

As you can see, San Diego is truly an incredible family vacation destination. It can be budget-friendly, too, as there are numerous timeshare rentals available throughout the county. Rent a timeshare at Capri by the Sea for just $86/night, and at thef Gaslamp Plaza Suites in the heart of downtown San Diego for just $93/night.

Photo Credit: huffingtonpost.com

Top American Cities for a Warm Timeshare Winter Vacation Part 1 (Miami)
Top American Cities for a Warm Timeshare Winter Vacation Part 2 (Honolulu)
Top American Cities for a Warm Timeshare Winter Vacation Part 3 (Phoenix)

Friday, February 10, 2012

Top American Cities for a Warm Timeshare Winter Vacation - Part 3

Travel and Leisure has released its list of the top American Cities to escape winter’s chill and enjoy sunshine and warmth, as voted on by their readers. In a 5-Part series we’ll look at 5 of the top American cities on the list that also make great timeshare rental winter vacation destinations.

3. Phoenix. This American city destination also includes other popular towns in Greater Phoenix such as Mesa, Tempe, and Scottsdale. If you’re looking for a place to really thaw out on a winter timeshare rental getaway, the greater Phoenix area of Arizona can’t be beat, with its warm dry air, balmy evenings, and multitude of outdoor activities.

Greater Phoenix offers over 200 golf courses of every shape, size, price, and for every ability. And although the area is in the heart of the Sonoran Desert, there are six lakes within a 75-mile drive, where you can choose to water ski, sail, or fish. There are also some great places for tubing on the area’s rivers.

South Mountain Park is the largest municipal park in the U.S. It’s 16,000 acres offer 58 miles of trails for cycling, hiking and horseback riding The park's lookout point rises over 1000 feet above the desert floor.

Explore the Superstition Mountains by horseback, jeep, or Hummer. Or you can soar above the desert plateau in a glider, sailplane or hot-air balloon.

The Phoenix International Raceway hosts NASCAR® events in February and March. If these spectacles don’t get your pulse racing, you can head over to the Bondurant School of High Performance Driving and get a taste of what it’s like to drive like the pros.

The temperate temperatures in March are perfect for spring training, and the Cactus League, sister to Florida’s Grapefruit League, attracts more than 1 million major league baseball fans to Greater Phoenix annually. The Cactus League consists of 15 major league teams, 12 of which practice within Greater Phoenix, while the other 3 are just 2 hours away in Tucson.

Phoenix hosts such teams as the Milwaukee Brewers and the Oakland As. In Mesa you can watch the Chicago Cubs; Tempe supports the Los Angeles Angels; and Scottsdale is where the San Francisco Giants practice.

From desert hiking to water fun to major sports, Greater Phoenix will keep you so busy that you’ll forget all about the cold weather back home.

Greater Phoenix offers numerous timeshare rentals that will make your winter getaway comfortable and relaxing. Marriott's Canyon Villas at Desert Ridge in Phoenix has rentals starting at just $129/night. Timeshare rentals at the Painted Mountain Golf Resort in Mesa start at just $114/night. And you can find a timeshare rental for just $121/night in Scottsdale at the Sheraton Desert Oasis.

Photo Credit: wikepedia.com

Top American Cities for a Warm Timeshare Winter Vacation Part 1 (Miami)
Top American Cities for a Warm Timeshare Winter Vacation Part 2 (Honolulu)

Thursday, February 09, 2012

4 Tips for Adventurous Eating While on Your Timeshare Vacation

Going on vacation means new sights to see and things to experience. However, it can also mean a serious decline in healthy eating. The hustle and bustle of a trip often leaves us reaching for a hamburger instead of taking the time to eat right. This doesn’t have to be the case! The next time you travel, take time to consider some healthy alternatives.

1. Experience New Foods:
Every place has its own culinary specialty. Do some research before you leave home to find out what your destination does best. If you’re traveling to a warmer area than what you’re used to, you may be able to treat yourselves to fresh fruits and vegetables that you wouldn’t be able to get at home. Trips to the coast aren’t complete without freshly caught seafood.

If you’re visiting a foreign country, take a chance on the local cuisine. Just because the golden arches are everywhere doesn’t mean they’re your only option – there are healthy alternatives out there that you can only get while traveling.

2. Check out Farmer’s Markets:
There’s no better way to get a feel for the area you’re visiting than by shopping at farmer’s markets. People from all walks of life will be there, allowing for some interesting conversations and the chance to make new friends. Oh, and don’t forget the food! Meat, cheese, baked goods, produce… there’s no end to the things you can find at a farmer’s market. You may be able to pick up gifts for people back home (local coffees or beer, for example), or find something perfect for your dinner that night. Keep your eyes open and don’t be afraid to explore.

3. Take Advantage of Your Kitchen:
If you’re looking for healthy choices, the kitchen amenities at your timeshare rental is a great place to start. Take this time away from the craziness of day to day life to really enjoy cooking. Get fresh ingredients from a farmer’s market or pick up some spices that you wouldn’t find at home. Try new recipes and share it with your family. Chances are good that the memories you’ll make over this kind of dinner are the ones that will last.

4. Ask Around: It’s easy to be shy when traveling, but if you talk to the people you meet you’ll get inside information on some of the best places to get food. It’s likely that the best restaurants around will be the ones offering a healthy alternative to greasy fast food. However, these smaller eateries can be difficult to find without some guidance. Don’t be afraid to ask for opinions – no one knows your location better than the people who live there.

From farmer’s markets to timeshare kitchens, there’s no excuse not to eat well while traveling. Take a chance and explore something new!

About our guest author: Jeremiah S. is a certified personal trainer and exercise fanatic. When he is not training he writes for fitness-health-wellness.com - a leading online hub for the most informative and life changing tools, tips, and resources for all things fitness and wellness.

Photo Credit: soniatasteshawaii.com

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Top American Cities for a Warm Timeshare Winter Vacation - Part 2

Travel and Leisure has released its list of the top American Cities to escape winter’s chill as voted on by their readers. Part 2 of our 5-Part series continues our look at the top American cities on the list that also make great timeshare rental winter vacation destinations

2. Honolulu. The best time to visit the Hawaiian islands is in the winter, when the temperatures are moderate, the trade winds soft, and winter’s chill is just a back home memory. And while the reasons to have a beach vacation on any of the islands is obvious, Honolulu, the state's capital, is a great city to explore.

A guided walking tour of Honolulu will give you the opportunity to learn about several of Honolulu's premier landmarks and attractions.

For example you'll discover the 1842 Kawaiahao Church, called the "Westminster of the Pacific," built from coral reef rocks that were hand carried from the ocean. The Mission House is a National Historic Landmark and has been turned into an interpretive museum. And no Honolulu tour would be complete without a visit to Iolani Palance, another National Historic Landmark, from which two monarchs, King Kalakaua and Queen Lili'uokalani, governed.

You’ll want to stop by Hawaii’s state capitol building that replaced the Iolani Palace as the seat of government in 1969. The building is popularly regarded for its symbolic design: The conic shape of the legislative chambers represents volcanoes, the 40 pillars encircling the building are a nod to native royal palm trees, and the water surrounding the structure is symbolic of the Pacific.

“The great central court lies open to the sun, rain, moon and stars, rising to the heavens much like one of Madame Pele's volcanic craters opens its throat to the sky. There are no doors to the grand entryways, only open spaces that welcome the wind and bids it aloha as it makes its way from the mountains toward the sea.”

The daytime business and financial districts of busy Honolulu transform after dark into what is officially known as Hawaii's Arts District. On the first Friday of each month this downtown area becomes one big block party. The spirited social scene overflows into the art galleries, shops, and fabulous eateries that all stay open late.

Downtown Honolulu is easy to get to from just about anywhere on Oahu where you might be renting your timeshare - just hop aboard the island's award-winning public transportation system, The Bus.

There are many budget-friendly timeshare rentals in Honolulu, including the Hilton Hawaiian Village where timeshare rentals start at just $99/night, and the Grand Hawaii Vacation Club where you can rent a timeshare for just $89/night.

Your timeshare kitchen, combined with the great fruits and produce you can get at the local Hawaiian farmer’s markets, along with fresh fish and seafood from the fish markets, will not only provide you with money-saving meals, but delicious homemade Polynesian dishes as well.

Photo Credit: huffingtonpost.com

Top American Cities for a Warm Timeshare Winter Vacation-
Part 1

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Timeshare Travel #TravelTuesday – Helsinki


Snow in the woods on the outskirts of Helsinki, captured in wintery Finland's late morning sunrise. Submitted by Agnes D of New York City.

Submit your photo to #TravelTuesday! Just send it via email to us at: learnmore (at) redweek (dot) com. Let us know your name, where you are from, and where the photo was taken.

Monday, February 06, 2012

Top American Cities for a Warm Timeshare Winter Vacation - Part 1


Travel and Leisure has released its list of the top American Cities to escape winter’s chill and thaw out in warm sunshine, as voted on by their readers. In a 5-Part series we’ll look at 5 of the top American cities on the list that also make great timeshare rental winter vacation destinations.

1. Miami. The forefather of American snowbird vacations, the greater Miami area, which also includes Miami Beach, Sunny Isles, and Surfside, epitomizes the winter getaway. What better place to vacation in February than somewhere that is warm (average February temperature is mid-70's) and has 15 miles of beaches?!

Sun, sand and surf are only part of enjoying the beaches of Miami. Two Key Biscayne parks offer something different. Visit Bill Bagg's Cape Florida State Park where you can climb the 109 steps up to the top of the lighthouse that was built in 1825 - the oldest standing structure in Miami-Dade County.

Or enjoy the sparkling white sands of Crandon Park Beach and picnic in the Crandon Gardens where native birds, turtles and reptiles run freely.

Stroll outdoors through the balmy breezes of South Beach and take a guided walking tour of Miami’s renowned Art Deco District. This fun area of colorful buildings is a National Historic District.

And, of course, when you're in Miami you must plan at least a day to experience the incomparable Everglades National Park, just 20 miles from the city. The 1.5 million acre wilderness reserve has been designated a World Heritage Site, an International Biosphere Reserve, and Wetland of International Importance.

Enjoy over 150 miles of canoe, kayaking and walking trails that allow you to get close to the mangrove swamps, water channels through sawgrass prairies, and see the many kinds of land and marine animals that call this special place home.

Many people think of Miami as an expensive city in which to vacation. Since you already know the secret of a budget-friendly timeshare rental, you’ll be able to have a winter vacation in Miami in style, and still stay in budget.

For example, timeshare rentals at Marriott’s Villas at Doral start at just $120/night to sleep six,at the Westgate Miami Beach a timeshare rental starts at just $128/night to sleep six, and at the Solara Surfside you can rent a timeshare for $89/night to sleep four.

Remember also that your timeshare rental will come with a full-sized, fully-equipped kitchen for more savings – no need to eat out three times a day at expensive Miami restaurants. Save that for special occasions, and prepare most of your meals “at home,” and make your own mojitos!

Photo Credit: huffingtonpost.com

Friday, February 03, 2012

It’s “Caribbean Season!” – Time for a Timeshare Winter Getaway


The “Caribbean Season” is in full swing. If you’re looking for the perfect winter getaway for a timeshare rental vacation you can’t beat the white sand beaches, glittering turquoise waters, swaying palm trees, and overall tropical paradise of the Caribbean.

While you’ll find all that on any of the islands, each island also offers its own unique version of a great vacation. Here are three different examples:

1. Barbados. This is considered one of the top Kid-Friendly islands in the Caribbean. If you’re vacationing with the entire family, Barbados offers a great deal to keep the little ones busy and happy.

The southern and western coasts of Barbados are popular with families due to the calm Caribbean Sea, and the kids delight in the pinkish sandy beaches. Your teens will enjoy the island's east coast which faces the Atlantic, so there are tumbling waves perfect for light surfing.

Better than a glass-bottom boat, the kids will have fun watching Barbados’ undersea world of exotic fish and colorful marine life aboard an Atlantic Adventure submarine (see photo), with its large “picture window” portholes for great viewing

The entire family will have fun exploring Harrison's Cave, a unique phenomenon in the tropics. You’ll ride a tram down through the extensive system of rooms with amazing stalagmites and stalactites, and at the lowest point you’ll have the chance to get out and walk alongside a spectacular waterfall which plunges into a deep pool below.

Barbados also offers a number of waterparks and amusement parks to thrill the kids.

An advantage to a timeshare vacation on Barbados is that it lies basically outside the hurricane belt – as does Aruba.

Check out Barbados timeshare rentals.

2. St. John Island, USVI. If you’re looking for a truly eco-friendly vacation, rent a timeshare on St. John Island. The forward-thinking Laurance Rockefeller donated 5,000 acres in 1956 to establish the Virgin Islands National Park (see photo) for the purpose of protecting St. John from industrial development.

The Park covers two-thirds of the island, and more than one-third of the 11,500 acres that now make up the Park are underwater. Due to Rockefeller’s foresight, St. John can boast of having the most pristine coral reefs and beaches in the Caribbean.

Check out St. John Island timeshare rentals.

3. Turks and Caicos Islands. This group of islands is where you’ll want to go if you’re looking for a quiet, out-of-the-way Caribbean destination. Not as well known to the public as many of the other islands, this is where many world celebrities come to vacation away from crowds.

However, there is still plenty to do here, such as an annual series of concerts called The Turks & Caicos Music and Cultural Festival. Held in a temporary bandshell at The Turtle Cove Marina on Providenciales, this week-long summer festival has featured such notable international recording artists such as LL Cool J, Billy Ocean, Chaka Khan, and Boyz II Men.

Check out Turks and Caicos Islands timeshare rentals.

While vacationing in the Caribbean, you might want to consider using your timeshare rental as a hub, and venturing out to explore some of the other islands. Local airline Red Jet offers flights from Barbados to Jamaica, Antique, and Trinidad, while the carrier LIAT operates a comprehensive route network around the Caribbean.

You can also enjoy exploring via the “scenic route” by choosing one of the several ferry companies that criss-cross the islands.

The best way to deal with the dark and cold of winter is to not have to deal with it. Head to splashing sunshine, warm days, and balmy evenings – rent a Caribbean timeshare and get through winter by ignoring it.

Photo Credit (Barbados): atlanticadventures.com
Photo Credit (St. John Island): azamaraclubcruises.com
Photo Credit (Turks and Caicos Islands): inclusiveideas.com

Thursday, February 02, 2012

3 Places to Visit in Australia’s Neighborhood

If you're going to be spending some time on your timeshare vacation Downunder, you don't want to go back home without visiting a few places in the neighbourhood. Since you’ve already come all the way to the South Pacific, you owe it to yourself to visit some places that aren't Australia.

1. Fiji.
Fiji consists of over 300 beautiful islands that are scattered over 20, 000 square miles of our lovely planet. A Fijian holiday is most appropriate for those who like island activities such as scuba diving, surfing, bush walking in rainforests, and of course, relaxing and soaking up the sun.

If you are fond of diving, make sure you pay a visit to Koro Sun Dive on the island of Vanua Levu, the home of Savusavu which is known as "The Hidden Paradise", one of the best scuba diving destinations in Fiji.

A must-see place is the Mariamma Temple in Suva (Fiji’s capital city), on the island Viti Levu, where the extraordinary Fiji cultural ritual, the South Indian fire-walking festival (see photo), is held each year during either July or August.

2. New Zealand.
A holiday in New Zealand can really overwhelm you due to the sheer number of tourist activities that you must take part in for a complete “New Zealand holiday experience.”

Starting in the North Island, Auckland is an absolutely must-visit. Auckland offers activities like the Waitomo Glow Worm Caves (see photo) - a must see for any traveller. Enjoy the world famous boat ride under thousands of magical glow worms and become a part of over 120 years of cultural and natural history. The actual glow worms - Arachnocampa luminosa – are unique to New Zealand.

Lake Taupo is one of New Zealand’s most popular vacation destinations. Covering a surface area of 238 square miles, Lake Taupo is New Zealand's largest lake. However, it actually is a volcanic caldera, created by a super volcano that erupted more than 26,000 years ago.

If you get a chance to visit the South Island as well, try to see Akaroa, Blenheim, Christchurch (so pretty!), Dunedin, Fox Glacier, Franz Josef Glacier and Picton.

3. Singapore.

There is a heck of a lot you can do in Singapore and there is a very little chance that you would get bored.

The famous Orchard Road is perhaps the first tourist destination that attracts most of the travellers. Here you will find all kinds of couture labels such as Chanel, Louis Vuitton and Gucci.

If you’re a real fashionista you also won’t want to miss Haji Lane. Hidden away in the heart of the Muslim quarter, this tiny lane of used-to-be shop houses has been redesigned into a stretch of hip retail clothing stores.

A must-see attraction is The Singapore Flyer (see photo) - the world’s largest observation wheel. Standing at nearly 500 feet from the ground, the Flyer offers you breathtaking, panoramic views of the city of Singapore and Marina Bay.

Make sure you've got your travel insurance for all of the countries you are planning to visit, just in case, and hit the road! You may not be able to visit all of these places, but get to where you can - and take pictures!

Our guest author is Geoff Gerard who is the director of travel content for CoverMore. He has traveled ever since he graduated from high school and probably won't return to Australia to settle down until social pressures build up to a point where he can no longer not have a family and a desk job. He is a lucky and happy man.

Photo Credit (Fire Festival): amusingplanet.com
Photo Credit (Waitomo): http://www.waitomo.com
Photo Credit (Singapore Flyer): goseasia.about.com

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Timeshare Spotlight: 4 Seasons at Desert Breezes Resort, Palm Desert CA

The 4 Seasons at Desert Breezes Resort in Palm Desert, CA, has earned the RCI Gold Crown Resort Property Designation, it has been announced by Trading Places International (TPI), the resort’s managing company.

Only a select number of RCI affiliated resorts meet RCI’s requirements for recognition and have earned the RCI Gold Crown Resort award. These resorts have attained high levels of excellence in resort accommodations, hospitality and member experience as measured by RCI.

“4 Seasons at Desert Breezes Resort is honored to have achieved this prestigious RCI designation,” said Tom Newman, director of Resort Operations at TPI.

“The association’s board of directors, through diligent planning and oversight and working with its managing agent, Trading Places International, plan to maintain this Gold Crown status by providing owners and guests the quality accommodations and services we are known for.”

“Trading Places International is honored to work with the many 4 Seasons owners who have continually supported the efforts to achieve excellence over these past years that have resulted in the Gold Crown designation,” said a TPI spokesperson.

Situated at the base of the Santa Rosa Mountains, this luxury resort greets you with beautiful grounds, swaying palm trees, and a reflective lake. Ten buildings feature studio, one-, and two-bedroom timeshare accommodations. Each Mediterranean style villa has a fully equipped kitchen and cozy furnishings.

Activities abound, including 5 tennis courts (three are lighted for night-time play), three pools, eleven Jacuzzis, as well as a game room, a putting green, and an exercise room. The resort also features gas barbecues for your own personal evening cookout.

A must-see nearby attraction is Living Desert Zoo an Gardens State Park, and indoor/outdoor living museum with entertaining and educational exhibits and presentations such as Grecko Gulch, Wildlife Wonders, and Village Wa TuTu.

Reviews include:

Many upgrades and improvement have recently been made at this complex, making it very desirable. It has a little of everything you want and need. Greenbelts, pools and spas, BBQ areas, tennis. Wifi, and golf privileges at Woodhaven near by. Try it you'll like it.

Fabulous new Kitchens and New Bathrooms...With New Granite Counter-tops and Stainless Steel appliances. This Remodeling Project made all the units very appealing and we greatly enjoyed our time in Palm Desert.

RCI’s Resort Recognition Program helps ensure that our RCI affiliated resorts adhere to RCI’s standards for accommodations, hospitality and member experience,” said Gordon Gurnik, president of RCI. “We are thrilled to recognize those who have attained this designation and continue to work to offer top vacation destinations to our 3.7 million members worldwide.”

Palm Desert timeshare rentals are the perfect getaway for a warm, sun splashed winter vacation. The 4 Seasons at Desert Breezes Resort has timeshare rentals that start at just $100/night, and resales starting at $8000.