REPOST: Top 10 spring vineyards

National Geographic helps you greet the springtime air with its suggestions for a great wine-tasting holiday destination.

Inniskillin Wines, Canada

Canada is the epicenter of ice wine, which is made from grapes harvested in subfreezing temperatures, which concentrates their flavor, complexity, and sugars. Inniskillin helped pioneer the process in Canada, and its tastings show surprising range. Its on-site restaurant pairs food expertly.

Penner-Ash Wine Cellars, Oregon

Oregon’s Willamette Valley has become one of the world’s celebrated wine destinations. The reason: Pinot Noir. While you’ll find dozens of notable producers, Penner-Ash Wine Cellars may be one of the prettiest (and friendliest). With bands of windows and a floating roofline, the tasting room and its views are as memorable as the wines.

Justin Vineyards and Winery, California

Even beer drinkers know that Napa and Sonoma produce great wines, but recently attention has turned south. Paso Robles on California’s Central Coast produces rich reds, including Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah. At Justin Vineyards and Winery, you’ll find a striking Tuscan-style tasting room, restaurant, and B&B, along with its Cabernet-based Isosceles blend.

Pedernales Cellars, Texas

The Texas Hill Country, with its rolling countryside and spring-fed rivers, once evoked images of the Wild West. But now it has vineyards, too, and Pedernales Cellars offers one of the prettiest places to take it all in. Come at sunset to sip award-winning Viogniers and Tempranillos. John Wayne never had it this good.

Laura Hartwig, Chile

About two hours south of Santiago, vineyards crowd the compact Colchagua Valley between the Andes and the Pacific. By all means, taste the Carménère, Chile’s signature grape long misidentified as Merlot. At the boutique winery Laura Hartwig, visitors pass polo fields and tennis courts before arriving at a traditional-style bodega.

Cavas Recaredo, Spain

Spain calls its sparkling wine Cava because the French have claim to the more familiar name Champagne. But the bubbly produced in the Penedès region south of Barcelona is just as festive. Unlike the area’s industrial-scale wineries, Cavas Recaredo still produces by hand and uses Earth-friendly biodynamic methods.

Domaine du Daley, Switzerland

You’ll marvel at the Lake Geneva view, but don’t forget the vineyard. Swiss wines are often overlooked because the country keeps most to itself and exports very little. Domaine du Daley, which dates from 1392, grows 12 grape varieties. Make sure to sip the Chasselas, a dry, fruity wine perfect with raclette cheese.

Vecchie Terre di Montefili, Italy

“Super Tuscan” sounds like a comic book hero, but it’s a type of Italian wine that once flaunted the regulations governing blends and labeling. Sample some at family-run Vecchie Terre di Montefili, south of Florence. In addition to the super Tuscans, try the Chianti Classico—it’s a pure 100 percent Sangiovese, instead of a blend.

Cramele Recas, Romania

The Roman god Bacchus supposedly came from Romania, and even now Cramele Recas, among the hillside vineyards in the Transylvania region, produces surprisingly good but inexpensive Cabernet Sauvignons and white blends. And its vampire and werewolf labels are just fun.

Seresin Estate, New Zealand

Sauvignon Blanc put New Zealand on the wine map—and gave visitors another reason to visit the country’s scenic South Island. At Seresin, grapes grow without pesticides and are harvested by hand. The vineyard offers tastings at outdoor tables among the vines and a chance to sample the internationally trained winemaker’s olive oil as well.

Geoholiday has been offering vacation ownership packages and dream holidays to its valued members for over 25 years. Turn your vacation fantasies into reality by visiting its website.

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REPOST: 10 Quick Tips To Elevate Your Vacation

Once you’ve chosen where to go on your next vacation, you then get excited planning what to do when you get there.  Here is an article from the Huffington Post providing ten tips to take your vacation to the next level.

Going on a vacation? Use this guide to create a different kind of experience and make sure you have the best time of your life — after all, it’s your time and your money — don’t waste it making the same choices you would at home!

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1. Schedule nothing on arrival/departure days: Especially if you are traveling internationally, but even an hour time difference can cause symptoms of jet lag. Make sure you schedule rest. Note that traveling east to west causes the worst jet lag and often traveling west to east means you will have none (so arriving in Bali you will be raring to go, but coming back, you may be intermittently exhausted for a few days).

2. Suspend family arguments and control issues: This is everybody’s vacation, and for just these few days, let harmony reign. A good rule of thumb is unless it will cause an accident (will, not might — you can trip crossing the street) or screw up a whole day’s plans, maybe you can let it slide this time and allow the kids to set their own schedule or yourself not to plan things down to the minute.

3. Schedule downtime: Have you ever come home from a vacation so exhausted you needed a vacation? Here’s what we do for our tours: interweave full-day tours or activities with half-days and schedule nothing every 4th day. So your schedule in Morocco might be:

Day 1 – Full day tour of Casablanca
Day 2 – half-day camel ride out into the desert, dinner at Rick’s Café Americain
Day 3 – morning belly dance class, afternoon – transfer to Marakkesh
Day 4 – day off, dinner at Riad where we’re staying
Day 5 – full day tour of Marakkesh

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4. Stay flexible: It’s vacation, not work. It’s a new place. Things may not go according to plan; in fact, they rarely do, especially in places where the culture doesn’t run the same (like Hawaii or Bali, where they have “rubber time” — talk about needing to be flexible!) Does it really matter if you are on time, or if there’s a detour? As a wonderful exercise that will serve you well when you are back home, give yourself a day to explore where you make no advance plans and just ask locals for suggestions as you go – you never know when your waitress at breakfast or the cab driver will suggest something terrific!

Tiger’s Nest Monastery in Bhutan, experience something new on your trip, especially if it takes you outside your comfort zone. Who knows? Perhaps going to the trouble of taking your shoes and socks off to walk on the little strip of beach you stumbled on will turn out to be one of the highlights of your whole trip!

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6. Be open: Your own culture is wonderful, but they don’t do it that way where you’re vacationing, whether it’s Texas or Thailand. Don’t expect it to be the same and don’t mind when it isn’t. If you wanted it to mirror your past experience, you could have stayed home.

7. It doesn’t have to be perfect and neither do you: If you make a cultural mistake (like touching someone’s head in Indonesia) just apologize and move on through it. You’ll know for next time and you’ll probably never see these folks again. Don’t let something small blow up into something big that will ruin the trip or be all your family remembers.

8. Be mindful: Can you let it go before you complain or “fix” something? It’s vacation — the perfect time to relax moment to moment, not just for the few hours you’re lying on the beach. Perhaps it didn’t quite go as you planned — maybe you snapped at the security guard, or the bellman, or your husband. It’s never too late to take three deep breaths (which calms you instantly), smile, offer an apology (if it’s needed) and put it behind you. Holding onto your bad feelings can ruin a whole afternoon or a day of this precious time. What’s really more important?

9. Slow down for gratitude: This is a great exercise for yourself, and works as well when you are with family or a group, whether you are on a family road trip or a private tour of Stonehenge. Take the time to notice something you can be grateful for, or ten things! Everyone can turns telling each other gratitudes, and it’s a great opportunity be happy in the moment.

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10. Stay present — lose the technology: For heaven’s sake turn off your phone and leave your computer at home — did you really come all this way to be tied to devices… or your boss? If you’ve got a guide with you, ask him or her to take photos. If you’re the photographer, limit yourself to some pictures when you arrive at a new location and a few at a great “view spot.” Otherwise, you run the risk of seeing your whole trip from behind a camera, which is an arm’s length experience at best. When you get home and settled do take the time to upload your photos to an online service like Shutterfly or Snapfish. You can download them almost instantly (in chronological order) into a photo book that will make a wonderful gift for others on the trip or for your own memories.

11. Give back: Whether it’s volunteering for a half-day at a local charity, making a donation to the animal shelter down the road from your hotel, or acknowledging housekeeping with an extra-big tip, this is a small way of giving back to the place you’re visiting. Like adding an 11th tip on a list of 10, give more than you need to — it feel almost as wonderful as a vacation.

For more than 25 years, GeoHoliday has been serving over 25,000 Club Members to maximize their leisure travel experience and vacation ownership.  For more details, visit this website.

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REPOST: Sherlock Holmes London Itinerary

Fancy buttonholing modern Sherlock’s Belstaff coat or inspecting his (fictional) Baker street apartment?  The first step: book a trip to London.  Then follow the trail of the famous sleuth:

Grab your hat and magnifying glass and sleuth your way around Sherlock Holmes’ London with our itinerary dedicated to the famous detective.

Arthur Conan Doyle’s legendary novels featured many London locations.

And with the BBC’s Sherlock Holmes series and the 2009 and 2011 movies starring Robert Downey Jr and Jude Law, there’s never been a better time to investigate the world of Sherlock Holmes.

Created by Scottish author and physician Sir Arthur Conan Doyle in 1887, Sherlock Holmes has featured in more films than any other literary character.

Doyle’s famous detective has been played by 75 actors in more than 200 films, as well as appearing in four novels and 46 short stories.

Any Sherlock Holmes pilgrimage should start with a visit to Baker Street. Take the Marylebone exit to come face-to-face with a nine-foot bronze statue of the great detective. Keep an eye open for Sherlock Holmes look-a-likes near the station too!

It might take a bit of detective work to find the famous 221b Baker Street address where Sherlock Holmes lived and worked – it’s actually located between 237 and 241 Baker Street!

Here, you’ll find The Sherlock Holmes Museum, which has recreated his famous study as described in the books. You can also take a peek into Dr Watson’s bedroom and look at his belongings and handwritten notes from the great detective. Please note: You should buy tickets from the shop before joining the queue to get in, and at busy times, there can be a long wait.

Be sure to take a look at 2 Devonshire Place, where Sherlock Holmes author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s medical practice was located.

While you’re in the area, pay a visit to nearby Madame Tussauds, which is home to a realistic wax figure of Robert Downey Jr as Sherlock Holmes. As well as seeing the replica Robert Downey Jr in full Sherlock Holmes costume, you can play with the interactive exhibits in his study.

Hop back on the Tube to Charing Cross, and take a short walk to The Sherlock Holmes pub. This is the place where Holmes tracked down Francis Hay Moulton in The Noble Bachelors. Inside you’ll find another replica of Holmes’ study, as well as a huge amount of memorabilia, including Dr Watson’s old service revolver and a collection of television and film stills.

Tuck into a delicious detective-themed lunch in the restaurant at The Sherlock Holmes. How about A Case of Identity (chicken liver pate) followed by Dr Watson’s favourite, Cumberland sausages?

Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson travelled all over London as they pursued clues and criminals, and many of the capital’s famous locations feature in the novels.

Wander up The Strand to see the The Lyceum Theatre, where meetings took place in The Sign of Four, and take a look at the beautiful Royal Opera House, a favourite haunt of Sherlock Holmes.

Not far from the Royal Opera House is the Freemasons Hall, a Grade II listed building which is used in the new Sherlock Holmes film. Freemasons Hall is the home of Freemasonry, one of the world’s oldest secular fraternal societies.

You could also continue to Bloomsbury to see the spectacular British Museum, often visited by Holmes for his research – and an unmissable London icon.

From here, hop onto the Tube again and head to St Paul’s Cathedral, where key scenes were shot for the 2009 Sherlock Holmes movie.

Stroll back to The Strand for dinner at Sherlock Holmes’ favourite restaurant, Simpson’s-in-the-Strand. The restaurant serves traditional English food, including beef carved at your table, and you can really get a feel for Holmes’ London here.

If you fancy a drink or two, end the night at The Punch Bowl in Mayfair. Although not a Sherlock Holmes haunt, the cast of the Sherlock Holmes movie frequented this pub after filming, along with director Guy Ritchie (who also owns the pub). A great place for celebrity spotting!

More About Sherlock Holmes
Sherlock Holmes, assisted by Film London.

Read more about Sherlock Holmes in London from The Sherlock Holmes Society of London. Or get more inspiration with our London itineraries.

Geo Holidays is a vacation club that knows what its members want as far as getaways are concerned.  For those quirky travel dreams, check out this blog for recommended destinations.

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Holiday giving, holiday tripping: Christmas presents for travelers

Gifts for travelers do not necessarily entail a trip to the nearest mall. Sure, luggage and language guides are always appreciated, but those who want to make the thought count could do better with a unique approach. After all, most travelers have a soft spot for the unconventional.

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Travelers generally mind the most mundane things. By giving them gifts that are inexpensive yet very practical, their practical ruminations could be lightened:
Magazines – Unless a traveler is also an avid and patient reader, novels might not cut it these days. Magazines, in contrast, offer much easier reading and disposal. As an added bonus, almost every hobby nowadays, from sports to art and everything in between, will have several magazines dedicated to it.

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Pocket calculator – This simple device is invaluable to travelers who want to monitor their money in context. It is very useful when computing exchange rates and keeping track of one’s budget. Some people even use it in non-English speaking countries as a tool for haggling!

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Local currency – For overseas travelers, touchdown on a foreign country usually leads to waiting in line at a nearby currency exchange stall (pun intended). This doesn’t even have to be a large amount; in fact, small denominations of the local currency will prove to be of great help with the little things, such as bus and taxi fares, light snacks, etc.

GeoHoliday is a privately owned company with over 25 years of experience in the vacation ownership industry. It provides exclusive exchange, leisure travel, and reservation services for its more than 25,000 members. Visit the vacation club’s official website to learn more about traveling.

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REPOST: Top Ten Resorts For Globe Trotting Families In 2013

Many travel bloggers and trusted trip advisers list the best getaways for single travelers or honeymooning couples. For families, this Forbes slideshow presents the ten best resorts that cater to both adult and children’s holiday activities.

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Each year the World Travel Awards (WTA) nominates dozens of hotels to see which will be chosen by travel professionals and consumers as the top in its class. This year, the WTA nominated 16 hotels for the title of World’s Leading Family Resort. And the nominees are…

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Llao Llao Hotel & Resort, Argentina

Llao Llao looks like something out of Austria, but this is Argentina, in the southern part, not far from the snow and cold of Patagonia. This view is of the property along Perito Moreno lake. Golf season starts in October. Families go in the summer for outdoor activities that cannot be experienced anywhere else. There’s only one Patagonia. Standard rooms go for about $300 a night.

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Kemer Resort Hotel, Turkey

Kemer was awarded Europe’s Best Family Hotel this year. Located near the Taurus Mountains and the Mediterranean, the Kemer Resort has the usual fair for big resorts: clubs, parties for kids, live entertainment, and plenty of culture and nature. How many American families have been to Turkey, huh? What are you waiting for?

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Hayman Island Resort, Australia

Hayman Island Resort sits on the Great Barrier Reef in Australia and is the region’s number one family friendly resort two years running. Current rates are around $450 per night on the low end for a pool room and $2,290 per night for larger families who need two bedrooms.

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Sun City Resort, South Africa

The super famous Sun City Resort has what no other resort on earth has: size, wave pools, luxury and Africa safaris.  There are four hotels in the complex, with Cabanas being the most child friendly and costs about $250 a night.

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Lily Beach Resort, Maldives

An aerial view of the upscale, haute spa off the Seychelles coast known as the Lily Beach Resort.The resort won the Indian Ocean’s Best Family Resort Award in 2012.

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Forte Village Resort, Italy

On the island of Sardinia off the Italian coast is the beloved and semi-tropical Forte Village Resort. It won the World’s Leading Resort and Europe’s Leading Resort in 2012 and was nominated for best family friendly resort, but alas got beat out by a Middle Eastern hot spot. There are two properties under the Forte umbrella. This picture is from the Castello site, which is about $100 more expensive than Royal Pineta.  Castello rents for over $900 a night.

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Nexus Resort Karambunai, Maylasia

The Nexus Resort Karambunai won Asia’s Leading Family Resort in December 2012. It sits on over 3,000 acres of jungle, has 8 restaurants and bars, a championship golf course, and fun in the sun for the kiddies. Who said the dollar was weak? Thanks to a strong(er) dollar — at least compared to the Malaysian Ringgit, a night in the Borneo Garden View room will cost around $130 a night.

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Dusit Thani Laguna Beach Resort, Thailand

Dusit Thani Laguna Beach is the leading beach resort in Asia this year. Kids of all ages can hang with elephants at the Beachclub. They don’t give this type of world traveler experience away. A night at the Dusit will run around $1,000.

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Tivoli Praia do Forte, Brazil

Praia do Forte is a family friendly beachfront resort in Bahia, a large and cultural rich northeastern state in Brazil.  Sea life lovers will see plenty of rare sea turtles that call the beach home. Guests can hold baby sea turtles. A night at Tivoli’s Praia do Forte goes for around $300. Have a batidinha on Forbes. Ah, Bahia, “terra de felicidades…”

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And the winner is…

The Jebel Ali Beach Resort in the United Arab Emirates. The hotel was awarded the leading family resort in the world in 2012, Middle East’s Best Family Resort, Middle East’s Best Golf Resort and Dubai’s Best Golf Resort.  Whew… Jebel is one of the most exotic hotels in the world, and for around $370 a night, she is your family’s home away from home in the UAE.

GeoHoliday provides its 25,000 members with a lifetime of affordable access to exciting vacation experiences in some of the finest destinations around the globe. Follow this Twitter account to stay updated on their packages and promotions.


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REPOST: In San Francisco, 3 Days of Shopping for $106

For most vacationers, shopping is a must-do activity. After all, one can learn so much about a place’s culture by visiting the weekend market or those quaint boutiques lined up in the plaza. However, shopping can be expensive. In his quest to see “much-touristed cities from new angles,” Seth Kugel of The New York Times traveled to San Francisco for a shopping spree tour without breaking the bank.  Find out how he did it in the article below.

Part of the haul from the shopping spree.  (Image source:

Part of the haul from the shopping spree. (Image source:

San Francisco is not, generally speaking, known for its egg coddlers.

But now, whenever I break two eggs into a porcelain cup, screw on the metal lid and slip it into boiling water for six minutes, I’ll think of fog, cable cars, the Golden Gate Bridge — and three gorgeous September days I spent in San Francisco.

I’m always looking for ways to see much-touristed cities from new angles; in San Francisco, I decided to go with a shopping spree. It was a doubly unlikely concept for me. First, like clipping my nails or getting an oil change, shopping is an activity I undertake only when it can be put off no longer. Second, a spree implies unrestrained spending, the very opposite of frugality.

But I’ve almost always found that a dose of personal discomfort is often a sacrifice worth making in the search for good travel experiences. So for three consecutive afternoons, I shopped. From the Castro to the Mission to the Tenderloin to SoMa, sometimes hitting stores that were on a list I had compiled in advance, but often wandering in to places I just happened upon. And to keep things within a budget, I limited my spending to $100, to be spent on whatever I found appealing, whether I needed it or not.

The egg coddler fit into the “not” category. I bought it for $24 at Cookin’, a 35-year-old store in the Lower Haight neighborhood piled high with a dazzling array of used kitchenware stuffed into a narrow space that smelled just slightly of the owner’s 6-year-old Lhasa, Tank. My first instinct was to go for a vintage Theatre II hand-cranked popcorn maker ($20), until I spotted that porcelain cup, painted with a flower-and-peach design and made in England by Royal Worcester, the Cadillac of egg coddler manufacturers. My microwave has a popcorn button, I reasoned, but no coddle mode. Decision made.

One of the spots I happened upon was the Other Shop (, just a few doors down from Cookin’. It calls itself an “antiques and collectibles” shop, but I’d call it a “things I vaguely remember seeing in the 1970s” shop. (It actually includes plenty from the ’50s and ’60s.) I found Heller plates, the stackable, unbreakable dinnerware on which I enjoyed countless hard-shelled Old El Paso tacos back in the day. They also had a serving bowl made from a molded “Saturday Night Fever” LP, vintage Julia Child cookbooks, eight-track tape players and plenty of classier things I don’t have good enough taste to care about but others might, like chairs and lamps and coffee tables. I tried very hard to find something to buy, but failed. I’m making it sound chaotic, but the place — in fact, a collective of 15 local dealers — is well-curated, more museum than flea market.

No matter. I had more luck at the Alemany Flea Market, a relatively small-scale affair held every Sunday in a Bernal Heights parking lot. I was rummaging through coral jewelry and 1960s campaign pins and dental instruments that didn’t look very sterile when I came across an unopened 1970s version of Mille Bornes, the French card game produced (in those days) by Parker Brothers. On the same table was a 1950s Bradley “Genuine Leather Luminous Travel Alarm,” which unfolds from a leather case into a stand-up clock. It struck me as both a great item to travel with and a very likely way to miss a flight. I bought them for $2 each, which is less than it cost me to ship the Mille Bornes off to my nephews.

That package was also filled with other items obtained in the Mission, San Francisco’s traditionally Latino but much-gentrified district. After a fruitless but entertaining stop at the Community Thrift Store ( ($1 books, $2 canine Halloween costumes, $4 records), I made a find at Clothes Contact , where clothes are $10 a pound: a T-shirt perfectly suited for my brother, Jeremy. “McRib is back!” it read, featuring a cartoonish depiction of the on-again, off-again McDonalds sandwich that happens to be one of Jeremy’s favorite meals. (His palate is a slight genetic mystery to the rest of the Kugel family.) That added 0.434 pounds to the package and $4.34 to my tab.

Also in the Mission is 826 Valencia, better known as Dave Eggers’s Pirate Store (, which helps finance his neighborhood tutoring center. It is certainly wacky and worth a visit, if only to see glass jars of faux medicines like Scurvy Begone, which appeared to actually be lemon jelly beans (side effects include “sudden onset of fake English accent”). Not finding anything in my price range, I headed to nearby Paxton Gate’s Curiosities For Kids ( Though much of the selection was pricey, I found a bunch of $1 “twig pencils” — colored pencils made from actual tree branches, for my artistic nephew Grady.

I did actually come up with one much-needed, well-priced item for myself, at Jeremy’s Department Store ( off South Park on an upscale corner of the area known as SoMa (South of Market). Halfway between Marshall’s and pricey boutique, it sells discounted overstock clothing, including some from upscale designers. Alexander McQueen shirts, for example, went for $100 — outside my price range but a fraction of their usual cost; women’s clothing and shoes from similarly fancy brands were usually at least 75 percent off as well. (Some of the items are damaged or irregular.) My lone, long-abused brown belt had recently suffered a detached buckle, so I picked up a Hugo Boss distressed leather belt for the undistressing price of $24. (Searching later, online, I found similar Hugo Boss belts for $95 and up.)

For the rest of the article, click here.

Geoholiday’s resorts are conveniently located near shopping districts to the delight of its members. Learn more about the vacation club’s list of superb travel destinations from its official website.

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Taking concerts up a notch and out to sea

Themed cruises aren’t new; in fact, there is probably a cruise for every interest. Recently, a growing number of entertainers in the music industry have jumped on the ‘cruise concert’ bandwagon, selling out seats on the ship as they would in any city’s event halls.

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Some of the pioneers include ‘90s hit R&B group Boyz II Men, who commemorated their 20th anniversary in 2011 with a valentines “Love Cruise” to the Bahamas. Meanwhile, pop group New Kids on The Block also continued their comeback attempts with a Miami to Half Moon Cay tour last May.

Another ‘90s hit pop group, the Backstreet Boys launched their first cruise in 2010 and repeated it the year later. After taking a break in 2012, they are back with a third BSB cruise this year. The four-day three-night tour kicks off in Miami, as hundreds of fans will sail off to the Bahamas with the Boys. Not only will the guests be treated to seeing the group onboard, they will also have a “Fun Day at Sea,” where the Backstreet Boys will perform for the guests on a private island beach party.

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Rose Tours, the cruise company that hosts the events, seems determined to cover a range of genres with their cruise concerts. After the October BSB event, the company plans to launch a double-header in December featuring Matchbox Twenty and the Goo Goo Dolls in a cruise concert to Nassau.

With these cruises sold out, it seems that the trend to take musicians to the seas will continue. If Rose Tours is successful in capturing several markets, it wouldn’t be surprising to see a Justin Bieber cruise concert to Cabo San Lucas in a few years.

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Cruise concert goers looking to extend the party can keep the trip in top class with a GeoHoliday booking. Visit this website to view and avail of its luxury accommodations

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Malecón wall: Vacationing under historical parasol

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The five- kilometer Malecón—the hulking walkway and seawall that stretches along the vast shore of Havana, Cuba, not just protects the glitzy city from the qualms of the sea, but is also a monument to Cuba’s restless history. Strolling locals and tourists are easily schooled on its sentimental significance, as the seawall is also famed a lovers’ lane.
Today it is a famous tourist destination: hotels, restaurants, and museums rest beyond its protection. But for the past few years, it has been more a natural part of Cuban topography and identity than a mere landmark.

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Below the wall, just along where the sea slammed against the shelter, Cuban writers — Arenas, Carpentier, Lima, Marti, among others — had recited and composed their poems. Beyond the wall, the great uprisings had railed against the Batista dictatorship, which ended in guerrillas and activists swarming into Havana Hotel to celebrate the success of the would-be socialist leader Fidel Castro. Atop the wall, many artists, dissident musicians, and revolutionaries had borrowed strength and inspiration from the sea to stir both revolutionary and counterrevolutionary spirits. And if the sea could only utter words, she would definitely reel off the events that built the now magnificent Cuba—Malecón could therefore be considered the sea’s confidante about national memories.

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Malecón’s importance does not rest solely on history. Rather, its historical facet is a beacon of joy for those who are discovering the beauty of Havana, a city with a flamboyant past and present. And those who bask in the Cuban sun with at least a curiosity for the Malecón’s role in Cuban history could also feel that they are not just under a historical parasol—but, indeed, becoming a part of history.

Geo Holiday is zealous in its aim of bringing quality and unforgettable holiday getaways. Learn more about its travel expertise through this website.

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REPOST: Summer vacation: Tips to keep illnesses, mishaps at bay

Darla Carter of The (Louisville, Ky.) Courier-Journal notes that illnesses can certainly ruin a vacation. For a truly grand time, she suggests packing some travel essentials to ensure a fun, illness-free getaway.

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Few things can ruin a vacation like getting too sick to enjoy your time off. Here are some steps you can take to stay well, or at least to be better prepared in case you or your travel mates start feeling puny.

BE INFORMED: Research your destination. Learn about any health threats as well as other relevant issues, such as climate and vaccination requirements.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has a useful site at

FIRST AID: Pack your own first-aid kit, as Dr. Katherine Jett does.

“It seems like my kids never get sick when we’re home,” said Jett, a physician with Baptist Medical Associates in Campbellsburg, Ky. “They always get sick when we’re on vacation.”

Jett stocks the kit with remedies for congestion, fever, upset stomach, rashes and itching. She also brings antihistamines, bandages and antibiotic ointment.

“Sickness can happen anywhere,” she said. “You just have to be prepared.”

INSECT REPELLENT: If you’re going to a place where you might be bitten by mosquitoes or other pests, be sure to pack some bug repellent, and remember to wear proper clothing. For example, if you’re going to be in a wooded area, where there might be ticks, you might want to wear pants and long sleeves.

SUNSCREEN: Don’t forget to protect your skin from the sun as well by bringing along sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15 for outdoor excursions.

Kathleen Downey, an associate professor in the department of family and community medicine at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, suggested packing non-aerosol suntan lotion and bug repellent. “When you travel to resorts, sunscreen and bug spray are extraordinarily expensive in gift shops,” she said. So this step “may save them oodles of money.”

BRING YOUR MEDS: Carry vital medication, such as your blood pressure medicine, with you. “Especially for diabetics or if someone has seizures, they should have everything in their carry-on (bag), where it can be easily accessed,” Jett said.

Talk with your physician or pharmacist about any special handling instructions, Downey said. For example, a medication might need to be kept at a certain temperature. Also, ask about any special medications you might need, such as patches for sea sickness or a sedative if flying makes you anxious.

For air travelers, the Transportation Security Administration has a website and app with information about what’s allowed and what’s not. Learn more at

DON’T TAKE CHANCES: “If you have asthma, don’t leave your medications at home thinking, ‘I haven’t needed my inhaler in a while'” said Dr. Joseph Turbyville of Family Allergy and Asthma in Louisville. If you have a nebulizer, bring it with you, too.

ALLERGY ALERT: Turbyville notes, “Remember that geographic locations will vary with regard to pollen. … If you know what your allergic triggers are, consider checking the pollen count in your destination and plan accordingly.”

MEDICAL CARE: Know what medical resources are available in the location you’re visiting. People with chronic conditions who plan to be away from home for a substantial period of time — spending months in Florida, for example — should consider establishing a relationship with a health-care provider in the area where they’re vacationing, Downey said.

HAND WASHING: Don’t underestimate the value of washing your hands. Dirty hands can lead to ingesting germs that can make you sick. Keep hand sanitizer handy for those times you aren’t near a convenient source of water.

AVOID HEAT-RELATED ILLNESS: Don’t allow yourself to get overheated. Be sure to take water breaks and seek shade when possible. Learn the signs of heat-related illness.

KNOW YOUR LIMITS: “You have to have a realistic pace for your vacation,” Jett said.

EAR PAIN: Some people experience ear pain while flying. Jett suggests chewing gum during flights, which “can help your body equalize the pressure better.”

ACHY FEET: Make sure that you wear shoes that will accommodate slight swelling in your feet, Downey said, and take some adhesive bandages in case you get blisters.

SAFETY EQUIPMENT: Get access to safety equipment, such as bike helmets, if you plan to participate in activities that might lead to injury, or if you’re sending kids off to places where they could get hurt.

WATER SAFETY: Water-related tragedies can occur in natural settings, such as lakes, or at public or private pools. Make sure children are properly supervised in and near water and that everyone is wearing proper gear, such as life jackets. “Make sure no one is ever swimming alone,” Jett said. Avoid diving into shallow water.

POOL HYGIENE: Swallowing pool water can make you sick; so can coming in contact with contaminated water or breathing in mist or aerosols, according to the CDC. Make sure everyone showers before swimming and take kids on bathroom breaks. For more prevention tips, go to

INSURANCE: Check with your insurance company to see whether your insurance card will be accepted in the vacation town, Downey said.

FOOD SAFETY: Follow food-safety rules, such as avoiding perishable food that’s been left out at room temperature for too long or that hasn’t been cleaned or prepared properly. If you’re unsure about a food’s safety, “I would just not eat it,” Jett said. Also, if you’re unsure whether a water supply is clean, you should always drink bottled water, she said. Learn more at

FOOD ALLERGIES: Be cautious about eating out if you have a food allergy. “Fresh seafood is great, but if you even think you might be allergic to fish or shellfish, resist the temptation to partake on vacation,” Turbyville said. Also, don’t be a daredevil. “Don’t think you can take a Benadryl and eat your lobster tail, because it could be life-threatening. If you know you have a food allergy, make sure you pack your epinephrine,” Turbyville said.

SPEAK UP: Let airlines know about any issues that you might have related to health, Downey suggested. That includes letting them know you have a child with a mental or physical disability who might need special assistance or have issues that might make travel challenging for him, her or other people. If you have concerns about the security screening process at airports, you can read up on it at or call (855) 787-2227.

BLOOD CLOTS: If you’re going to be cooped up for several hours trying to reach your destination, take steps to prevent the development of blood clots, suggests the National Institutes of Health. For example, on long car rides, stop every couple of hours to walk around. On planes, walk up and down the aisle if possible or exercise your legs at your seat.

Families looking for a great  getaway this summer can check out Geoholiday’s website for a list of world-class resort destinations,

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REPOST: How to plan a round-the-world trip

To travel around the world is a dream that most people have.  However, the mere process of planning the trip can be challenging.  Sarah Baxter of Lonely Planet shares a guide on planning a trip around the world that will be worth your time and money.

Itʼs the ultimate trip: circumnavigating the planet, and stopping off wherever takes your fancy. Great for travellers who want to see it all, or who are just plain indecisive. But booking a round-the-world (RTW) trip can be a complex business. Hereʼs our guide to getting started.

How to do it

The most economical way to circumnavigate is to buy a round-the-world air ticket that uses one airline alliance. Theoretically, any routing is possible, but knowing how the RTW booking system works will make your trip cheaper. For example, the Star Alliance, a coalition of 27 airlines, offers a RTW ticket with a maximum of 15 stops. Its member airlines fly to 1185 airports in 185 countries.

There are rules: you must follow one global direction (east or west – no backtracking); you must start and finish in the same country; and you must book all your flights before departure, though you can change them later (which may incur extra charges).

How long you need

You could whip round the world in a weekend if you flew non-stop. However, the minimum duration of most RTW tickets is ten days – still a breathless romp. Consider stock-piling annual leave, tagging on public holidays or even arranging a sabbatical in order to take off two months, ideally six to 12. The maximum duration of a RTW ticket is one year.

When to go

The weather will never be ideal in all your stops. So, focus on what you want to do most and research conditions there: if a Himalaya trek is your highlight, donʼt land in Nepal mid-monsoon; if you want to swim with whale sharks off Western Australia, be there April-July. Then accept youʼll be in some regions at the ʻwrongʼ time – though this might offer unexpected benefits (for example, Zambia in wet season means lush landscapes and cheaper prices).


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In general, city sightseeing can be done year-round (escape extreme heat/cold/rain in museums and cafés) but outdoor adventures are more reliant on – and enjoyable in – the right weather.

Where to go

The classic (and cheapest) RTW tickets flit between a few big cities, for example London – Bangkok – Singapore – Sydney – LA. If you want to link more offbeat hubs (Baku – Kinshasa – Paramaribo, anyone?), prices will climb considerably. The cost of the ticket is based on the total distance covered or the number of countries visited.

Remember, you donʼt have to fly between each point: in Australia you could land in Perth, travel overland, and fly out of Cairns. Or fly into Moscow, board the Trans-Siberian train, and fly onwards from Beijing.

Pick some personal highlights and string the rest of your itinerary around those. For instance, if youʼre a keen trekker, flesh out a Peru (Inca Trail), New Zealand (Milford Track) and Nepal (Everest Base Camp) itinerary with Brazil (Rioʼs a good access point for South America), Australia and North India.

If budgetʼs an issue, spend more time in less expensive countries. Your daily outgoings will be far higher in Western Europe and North America than South-East Asia; Indonesia, Bolivia and India are particularly cheap.

Tips, tricks & pitfalls

  • Talk to an expert before you book: you may have an itinerary in mind but an experienced RTW flight booker will know which routings work best and cost least – a few tweaks could mean big savings.
  • Be flexible: moving your departure date by a few days can save money; mid-week flights are generally cheaper, as are flights on Christmas Day.
  • Think about internal travel: it CAN be cheaper to book internal flights at the same time as booking your RTW ticket – but, with the global increase of low-cost airlines, you may find it better (and more flexible) to buy them separately as you go.
  • Be warned: if you donʼt board one of your booked flights (say, on a whim, you decide to travel overland from Bangkok to Singapore rather than fly it) your airline is likely to cancel all subsequent flights.

GeoHoliday offers its members breathtaking destinations and luxury accommodations in 20 countries. Visit its website to learn more about its vacation offerings.

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