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Friday Question: If you could spend this weekend anywhere in the world…

6 May

Happy Friday All!

Let’s celebrate with some wanderlust, shall we? If you could spend this weekend anywhere in the world, where would you go and what would you do?

With all the should you/should you not visit Mexico news lately, I am really craving a visit back to the Yucatan peninsula (I guess you can figure what side of the argument I’m on).

So, if I could spend this weekend anywhere in the world,  I would choose… Tulum, Mexico.

Tulum is absolutely beautiful

I’ve heard nothing but good things about this hippie/ex-pat little town. I unfortunately was only in Tulum for just a few hours during my vacation last year and that was spent solely at the ruins. The water was so beautiful and the people were so nice, I defintiely have to go back!

What destination are you dreaming of this Friday afternoon?

Wednesday Travel Deal Round Up!

30 Mar

You’re trying to find a great hotel or vacation package deal but by the time you actually find a perfect fit, time has run out and rates are sky high again. Sound familiar? Or maybe you’ve spotted a great deal for a cool place but don’t know a thing about that destination. By the time you read up and find a travel buddy, the deal is gone! To prevent this from happening again, Eager For Travel has pulled together a one-stop-shop to help travel planners, like yourself, keep track of the latest flash sale deals, and make informed decisions about whether or not to book.

Every Saturday we will pull together the latest flash sale calendars and on Wednesdays, we will provide travel deal roundups! Be sure to return, as we will provide information for each of the destinations featured, helping you make the decision about whether or not to buy! Since it’s Wednesday, let’s get on with our Wednesday Travel Deal Round Up!

There are some AMAZING deals out there this week. We are itching to book a bunch of them but many coincide with our big spring trip to Thailand. If we could book any, we would definitely go with the Ireland, Australia, transatlantic cruise, or Hawaii. Oh, and the Italy deal—would love to go back to visit my favorite restaurant in Florence! Must… resist… urge… to… purchase!

Vacation Packages:

1. 6 Nights in Ireland/$899 (+ tax): Including air to/from NYC/Dublin, one night at Four Seasons Dublin, two nights at Glenlo Abbey in Galway, two nights at Adare Manor, one night at The Ritz-Carlton Powercourt, car rental with unlimited mileage; select dates Sep-Dec; book by April 8; More details at Travelzoo

2.       6 Night South African Tour/$1799 (+ tax): Including roundtrip airfare from NYC, stays at 4-star Protea hotels in Cape Town and near Kruger National Park, meals: six breakfasts/two dinners, Cape Town guided tour, domestic flights and transfers, full day guided safari in Kruger National Park; depart September 14 or December 7 (additional fee to leave on select dates in Aug-March, 2012); book by April 29; More details at Travelzoo

3.       7-night All-Inclusive Riviera Maya, Mexico Getaway/$799 (+ tax): Including roundtrip air from NY (additional departure airports available) to Cancun, seven nights at the 4-star Occidental Grand Xcaret in Playa del Carmen, first checked bag free per person, all meals and drinks (including premium alcohol), roundtrip airport transfers, resort taxes and gratuities; depart April 9; book by April 6; More details at Travelzoo

–      Check out our Flashback Trip Itinerary from our Playa del Carmen vacation: http://eagerfortravel.com/2011/03/30/in-the-name-of-a-good-deal-flashback-itinerary-riviera-maya-mexico/

4.       12-15-night Transatlantic Royal Caribbean Cruises/ $449-$499 (+air/taxes): Visit Spain, Italy, Portugal and the Caribbean for a mere fraction of the typical cost. Note: does not include airfare to/from the departure port. Select dates May-November; book by April 1st for an additional $100 onboard credit per cabin; More details at Travelzoo

5. 11-Nights in Thailand/$1499 (+ tax): Including r/t air from Bangkok to Los Angeles, domestic flights from Bangkok to Chiang Mai, 11 nights’ accommodations- four nights in Bangkok, three in Chiang Mai, two in Chiang Rai, one in Ayutthaya, one in Sukhothai, English-speaking tour guide throughout, breakfast daily; Select dates September- May,2012; book by April 13; More details at Travelzoo

–      Check out our itinerary for our upcoming (and 1st!) trip to Thailand: http://eagerfortravel.com/2011/03/29/in-the-queue-thailand/

6. 4 Nights in Jamaica/$679 (+tax): Including r/t air from Fort Lauderdale (additional departure airports available), four nights at the 4-Star all-inclusive Hilton Rose Hall Resort & Spa in Montego Bay, all meals & beverages (including alcohol); select dates May-June; book by April 5; more details at Travelzoo

7. 12 nights in Australia/$1899 (+tax): Including r/t air from Los Angeles to Melbourne, domestic flights, four nights in Melbourne at the 5-star The Blackman hotel, four nights in Cairns at the 5-star Sebel Cairns, four nights in Sydney at the 4-star Rydges World Square; depart May4 or July 29; book by April 7; More details at Travelzoo

8. 6 nights in Italy/$1199 (+ tax): Visit three of Italy’s most popular cities during the spring or fall! Deal includes r/t air from NYC (into Rome, out of Venice), two nights at Rome’s 4-star Eur Suite Hotel, two nights at Florence’s Toscana Hotel, two nights at Venice’s 4-star Russott Hotel, rail tickets from Rome to Florence and Florence to Venice, daily breakfast, hotel taxes/fees, airline fuel surcharges; select dates April-October; book by April 5; more details at Travelzoo

9. 5 nights in Hawaii/ from $575 (+tax): Various packages available from Pleasant Holidays including r/t air from San Francisco or Los Angeles and stays in Waikiki, Maui, Kuai, or the Big Island; select dates in May; book by April 5; more details at Travelzoo

10. 7 nights in Ecuador/$1299 (+ tax): Including r/t air from Miami to Quito, two nights at the Sheraton Quito Hotel, one night in Otavalo at Puerto Lago, one night in Papallacta at Termas de Papallacta,  two nights in Punta Ahuano at Casa del Suizo, one night in Patate at Hacienda Leito Los Llanganates, all tour guides and entrance fees, all meals, ground transportation, r/t airport transfers; depart Oct. 17, Nov. 14, or Nov 28; book by April 15; more details at Travelzoo

11. 4-night Western Caribbean Cruise/from $189: Visit ports in Florida and Mexico on this 4-night Carnival cruise; select dates June-October; book by March 31; more at Tripres Cruises

12. 6 nights in Ireland/$899: Including r/t air from NYC, six nights in a 3-bedroom cottage at Bunratty Castle Gardens, car rental; travel July-Aug; book by April 8; more at ShermansTravel

13. 6 nights in London, Paris & Barcelona/$1289: Including r/t air from NYC, two nights in London (hotel TBD), two nights in Paris (hotel TBD), two nights in Barcelona (hotel TBD), flights between each country; travel April 14; more at EuropeanDestinations.com

Hotel Deals:

1.       Colorado/$99: $100 off nightly rate at Four star Beaver Creek Lodge in Beaver Creek Village, Colorado; select dates April-Aug; book by April 8; More at Travelzoo

2.       Atlantic City/$45: More than $100 off nightly rate at Flagship Resort, right on the north end of the Atlantic City boardwalk; select dates April-May; book by April 5; more at Travelzoo

3.       Las Vegas/$99: Stay at the 5-star Vdara for $99 during the week or $110 on the weekends; stay April-July; book by April 8; more at Travelzoo

4.       Las Vegas/$99: Stay in a Solitaire suite at the Platinum Hotel & Spa for 25% off regular prices; stay April-Aug; book by April 29; more at ShermansTravel

5.       San Diego/$95: More than 50% off rates at The Dana, a waterfront hotel overlooking Mission Bay and right down the road from SeaWorld; stay April-June; book by April 6; more at Travelzoo

6.       Orlando/$129: Stay at Bohemian Hotel Celebration, a 4-star hotel near Disney; stay April-June; book by April 10; more at Travelzoo

7.       Virginia/$299 for 2 nights: Stay two nights at Lansdowne Resort and receive a $150 Spa or Golf credit; stay April-Aug; book by Aril 6; more at Travelzoo

8.       Connecticut/$139: Stay at Saybrook Point Inn & Spa for almost half the price of typical rates; select days April-May; book by April 6; more at Travelzoo

9.       Brooklyn/$299 for seven nights: Stay at this two bedroom Williamsburg condo for seven nights for 70% off typical spring hotel rates; select dates in April; book by April 6; more at Travelzoo

10.   New York City/$299: Stay at the new Distrikt Hotel for $100 off typical prices and receive a $30 credit; various dates; book by 12AM April 1st; more at ShermansTravel

11.   Maine/$99: Stay at York Harbor Inn this spring and save up to 70% off typical rates; stay April-May; book by April 13; more at ShermansTravel

12.   Vero Beach, FL/$139: Stay at 4-star Costa d’Este Beach Resort and save 45% off regular rates; stay March-October; book by April 30; more at ShermansTravel

Airfare Deals:

1.       London: Spring fares from NYC on British Airways starting at $214; book by Friday; more at Travelzoo

2.       Las Vegas: round trip air in May starting at $119 from top U.S. cities; more at ShermansTravel

3.       St. Petersburg and Warsaw: Spring fares start as low as $636 r/t (pre-tax, of course) from NYC on Finnair; travel May 1-13; book by April 13; more at ShermansTravel

4.       Mexico: Fares starting from $283 for travel in May; r/t from various cities; more at ShermansTravel

5.       Orlando: Fares starting from $125 for travel in May; r/t from various cities; more at ShermansTravel

Will you take advantage of any of these deals this week?

In the Name of a Good Deal! Flashback Itinerary: Riviera Maya, Mexico

30 Mar

I love Mexico. The food, the people, the beaches, the music, everything. I’ve only been twice, once was regrettably on a Carnival cruise (don’t get me started…), but I had an amazing time both visits.

Tulum, Mexico

Tulum

There’s something extremely exotic about Mexico. It is the closest gateway to Latin America, with Caribbean distance (for those on the east coast). It provides you with an adventurous-type of vacation without having to go very far. You can sunbathe on some of the world’s most beautiful beaches, snorkel in crystal blue waters, learn about Mayan culture, visit awe-inducing ruins, hike through the jungle, and more. I’ve yet to visit any of the larger cities but they open the doors to a whole new wealth of Mexican culture- art, culinary delight, etc.

I recently stumbled upon some hard-to-pass-up fares to Mexico ($308 r/t!) that got me thinking about returning for a short visit. The good thing about Mexico, and how close it is, is that you can visit a new part of the country for 5 days at a time (or even a long weekend), without having to use all your vacation days! I was just there in December and have my big trip to Thailand coming up, otherwise, I totally would have jumped on this offer to Cancun.

For those looking to take advantage of these great fares in the spring, below is my itinerary from my December trip. Our budget was $1500 per person (including flights) and we were well within it. Keep in mind, this was during peak holiday travel season (just before Christmas), so you will likely get even better deals now!

Flashback Itinerary: Riviera Maya, December 2010

Travel Dates: December 18-23

Number of Travelers: 2

Airline: American Airlines with a connection in Miami (only on the NY-> CUN leg)

Fusion Beach Hotel Bar & Grill

Fusion Beach Hotel Bar & Grill

Hotel: Fusion Hotel

Calle 6  entre 5 Av. y la playa.

Playa del Carmen, Quintana Roo

PH:  (+52) 984 873 0374

www.fusionhotelmexico.com

Total Cost: $540 for 5 nights

Hotel Notes:

–          This is a great hippy type of hotel, right on the beach in Playa del Carmen

–          They have live music on the beach every night: reggae, salsa, 80s, rock, etc. They sang it all!

–          Great food! People came to this hotel especially for their awesome burgers. We enjoyed lunch here twice and each time was delicious. The complimentary breakfast was less-than stellar (really, was just a basket of

Lounging at Fusion Hotel

mixed muffins and breads, all dry), but the actual breakfast menu was great- lots of fresh juice options! Best part about eating here? You get to sink your toes in the sand during any meal!

–          Good service (not the best, but not terrible either). One thing that did irk us was that the staff didn’t go out of their way to take care of hotel guests but instead those who gave them big tips to reserve lounge chairs on hotel property (even when they weren’t hotel guests).

–          Bare rooms: but what more do you need other than a bed, clean bathroom and a refrigerator? I guess a safe couldn’t hurt, although you could leave your belongings in the safe at the front desk (which we did).

Skeletons are all over Playa del Carmen

AIRPORT TRANSPORTATION: Universo Cancun

–          Cost: $100 r/t for two people

–          This was booked by the hotel concierge so we had to pay for the service in cash upon check-in

–          Note: we prefer to take care of our transportation needs prior to arrival (eliminate any headache, language issues, etc.), but you can EASILY find transportation right outside of the Cancun airport. There was literally a huge crowd of drivers waiting for tourists

–          We found this company to be great! They were on time, were perfectly pleasant (even after having to wait 2 hours at the airport as our flight was delayed)

Activities:

–          Spa Treatments (we opted for massages at our hotel on the beach but these two spas get great buzz!):

o   Visit one of Veronica’s Massage Gold locations: Calles 24 and 26 or 5th ave between 24 and 26 ($50 for a 1 hour couples massage)

o   Jungle Spa in Puerto Morelos: Calle Dos Puerto Morelos. Call owner Sandra Dayton at 998 208 9148 to make an appointment ($60 for a 1 ½ hour massage- cash only). Note: Puerto Morelos is about an 1 ½ hours or so away from Playa del Carmen.

–          Full Day Excursion with Edventure Tours: 8am-6pm ($92 per

Snorkeling in the cenotes

Snorkeling in the cenotes

person- advance deposit of $40 via PayPaal is required)

o   Tour includes: snorkeling in Dos Ojos Cenotes, swimming with sea turles in Akumal, a visit to the Ruins of Tulum, and additional snorkeling in a lagoon.

o   Note: the tour also included a visit to “pet a monkey” near the Cenotes. We found this a little upsetting as both monkeys were tied up and treated like circus animals. The people who own the monkey, make their money off of tips from tour groups, such as this one. This isn’t uncommon in foreign countries, by any means, but it is not something that we would encourage people to participate in.

Akumal

Snorkeling with the sea turtles in Akumal


–          Water Parks (great for families):

o   Xcaret: eco-park ($69admission)http://www.xcaret.com/attractions

o   Xel-Ha: eco-park; All-inclusive package: $71 http://www.xelha.com

Tulum, Mexico

The Ruins of Tulum

Tulum, Mexico

Beautiful Tulum

Noteworthy Restaurants:

–          Yaxche: calle 5th Avenue and 22nd avenue; delicious Mayan food! One of our best meals in Playa del Carmen

Yaxche Maya cuisine

Yaxche Maya Cuisine in Playa del Carmen

–          Wicky’s: 10th Street & The Beach; amazing burgers/sandwiches

–          Restaurant 100% Natural: Corner Quinta Av & Calle 10 Town Center; good for the diet-conscious

–          Carboncitos: 4th Street | Between 5th and 10th Avenues (great salsas!)

–          La Parilla. On 5th Ave. at Calle 10; typical Mexican tourist restaurant- equipped with a mariachi band, and all

Mariachi Band in Playa del Carmen

Mariachi Band in Playa del Carmen

Hope you get to experience the incredible Riviera Maya soon and if you do, tell us about it!

Newsflash: Great fares from NYC to Mexico

29 Mar

I just spotted a GREAT fare from NYC to Cancun in April and May for $308 r/t. This is an amazing time to go to Mexico– such great weather!

I went to Mexico in December and spent 5 days at a little hotel on the beach in Playa del Carmen. It was LOVELY. Away from the hustle and bustle of Cancun but definitely plenty of restaurants and nightlife to not have you bored in your room at night.

I will post some information from that trip soon but in the meantime, here are some helpful links for those interested in taking advantage of this awesome deal:

Lonely Planet Mexico Guide: http://www.lonelyplanet.com/mexico

Mexico Tourism Board: http://www.visitmexico.com/wb2/Visitmexico/Visi_Home

New York Times: http://travel.nytimes.com/travel/guides/north-america/mexico/overview.html?scp=10&sq=&st=tcse

Frommers’ Intro to Mexico: http://www.frommers.com/destinations/mexico/

Note: Flying into Cancun doesn’t mean you need to stay there. Check out Cozumel, Playa del Carmen or the incredible Tulum. Pretty much anywhere in the Riviera Maya is amazing and it gives you a great taste of Mayan culture.

 

Tulum is absolutely beautiful

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