Are you thinking of visiting Spain but are put off by what youve heard from your friends about the expense of a holiday there? Its true that often people think of a holiday to a Mediterranean country such as Spain as a very expensive and difficult trip to plan. This is simply not true. There is a good selection of cheap holidays to Spain that include airfare, hotels and even car rentals or tours once you arrive. Looking for one of the many cheap holidays to Spain is simple if you have access to a computer and the internet. Many of the online booking companies offer discount packages if you travel slightly off season, which may mean planning your vacation either just in front or just behind the peak tourist season.In Spain the peak vacation times are the summer months of June to September, but the warm weather often extends well past September and even in April and May. In fact, you may find that a holiday outside the peak periods is in fact much more enjoyable and bearable. After all, its no fun at all walking around cities like Seville, Cordoba or Granada in the boiling heat of a July or August midday. Planning your vacation just off the main tourist times will usually give you cheaper flights, cheaper hotels and a lot less people around. Another option is to take last minute flights that have not sold, often these flights are a fraction of the price but do require a lot of flexibility.Staying in hostels is a great way to have cheap holidays to Spain but many hostels have requirements on age and time that you can stay. Sticking to independent hotels rather than the larger chain hotels can also provide slightly decreased costs, plus it allows you to really experience the culture of the area. Another option is to stay in one place that has a good low daily rate and simply travel using rental cars, buses or even the train on day trips to see the surrounding areas.One of the best ways to decrease the costs of a trip to Spain is to stay just slightly off the beaten path. Many of the smaller towns around the larger cities have wonderful accommodations at a fraction of the price. Meals, food and drink are often much more reasonable in smaller areas than in the big cities. A rail pass is a relatively inexpensive way to get around the country and saves the traveler from having to navigate the roads and deal with a rental car. Rail or train travel is popular and inexpensive throughout Europe and the rail passes can be used outside of Spain, making them a good cost saving idea for cheap holidays in Spain.As you can see, there are many ways you can look into to reduce the price of your holidays in Spain. The main thing is to actually get there and soak in the sun, the joie de vivre of the people, the delicious food or whatever else attracts you!
Hello From Orlando - A Walk Through St. Augustine - The Oldest Continuously Inhabited City In The United States
On our way home from Orlando, a little more than an hour into our 20+ hour road trip back to Toronto, we stopped in St. Augustine, "the nation's oldest city", just north of Jacksonville - indeed the oldest continuously occupied European settlement in the United States, having been founded by the Spanish in 1565.St. Augustin's founder, Don Pedro Menendez, came ashore on September 8, 1565, and chose to name the settlement after the patron saint whose feast day coincided with the day of landing. Of course, before the Spanish ever set foot on Florida soil, the Timacuan Indians had already been here and they watched Menendez and the roughly 1500 colonists and soldiers settle here. Over the last few centuries the city experienced governments from different countries, including Spain, Britain, and since 1821, the United States.The real rise of this community came in the late 1800s when Henry Flagler (1830 to 1913) built two hotels and took over a third as part of the Flagler hotel chain. Flagler was the co-founder of Standard Oil, and although not as well known as some of the other early magnates of capitalism, he was one of the wealthiest individuals of his time. Flagler had a major impact on Florida: he founded the Florida East Coast Railway as a means of transporting guests to and from the north to his hotels in St. Augustine, Palm Beach, and Miami. A honeymoon visit to St. Augustine in 1881 with his second wife inspired Flagler's vision to transform this sleepy town into a winter playground for the rich.Three of Flagler's former St. Augustine hotels are still in use today: Flagler College (the former Hotel Ponce de Leon), the Lightner Building - St. Augustine's City Hall (the former Alcazar) and Casa Monica, redone as a county courthouse in the 1960s, and reopened in 1990 as the restored Casa Monica Hotel. During the late 19th and early 20th century Flagler also developed a residential neighbourhood called the Model Land Company tract.Within a few short years Flagler's dream of a resort town for northerners faded and he, and the wealthy northern visitors, moved further south. He continued to develop the Florida East Coast Railroad down the peninsula, into and across the Florida Keys, creating hotels and communities along the way.St. Augustine is centered around the Plaza de la Constitucion, which anchors the Lightner Museum / City Hall, Casa Monica and Flagler College, three stunningly beautiful structures. Located in the former Alcazar Hotel, the Lightner Museum houses collections of legendary hobbyist and antiques collector Otis Lightner.St. Augustine has a wealth of other historic and architecturally interesting structures. The most historically significant structure in St. Augustine is the Castillo de San Marcos, built by the Spanish between 1672 and 1695. The 19th century Lighthouse Museum is located in the St. Augustine Lighthouse on Anastasia Island east of town across the Bridge of Lions. St. Augustine also houses the oldest store in town dating to the turn of the last century. Talking about old buildings, St. Augustine is home to the Gonzalez-Alvarez House, dating back to 1727, known as the "Oldest House Complex", a National Historic Landmark.The Mission of Nombre de Dios is located on the west bank of Matanzas Bay, and it is said to have been the site of the first Catholic Mass in what is today the United States. The Spanish Quarter Village is a living history museum composed of a collection of colonial period houses where guides recreate the dress and lifestyle as seen in 1740.Ponce de Leon's Fountain of Youth National Archaeological Park exhibits foundations and artifacts of the first St. Augustine mission and colony. It also houses the Landmark Spring, Explorers Globe and Navigators' Planetarium. St. Augustine also houses the Oldest Drug Store and the nation's Oldest Wooden Schoolhouse, built more than 200 years ago while Florida was under Spain's rule.Unfortunately we did not have a chance to explore St. Augustine in detail, but our brief excursion into this historic city quickly proved what a unique destination St. Augustine really is. As a matter of fact, the city welcomes around 2 million visitors every year who come to discover a unique historic part of America. A settlement with authentic Spanish roots, complete with Castillo and all, is a truly unique sight in the U.S. and it was definitely worth the detour.Here is a collection of websites for further information on St. Augustine:- the City of St. Augustine,- the St. Augustine Visitor Guide- Visit Florida's information page about St. Augustine- the St. Augustine Historical Society- the City of St. Augustine's Department of Heritage TourismThis entire article including photos is located at http://www.travelandtransitions.com/stories_photos/orlando_st_augustine.htm
It is really an exciting and a bit challenging experience in your life as you board a cruise that you had not done before. You get ample scope to relish a stress-free lifestyle with fun and laughter and travel may be in the midst of your family. However, if it is your first such experience better restrain yourself from moving in hurried steps. Your cabin or sleeping quarter location contributes heavily in gifting you a quality stay. If your cabin is at a lower level under a verandah or walkway you will feel disturbed at the steps of people walking above your head every now and then. Again, a sea level cabin for you will mean your viewing co-passengers all along the night in front of your door. Of course from monetary point of view a cabin or state room under sea level is better choice, still you need to consider what a great gain you can expect at your journey if you choose the better alternative by spending a little more.You should better opt for the cabins at the rear part of cruise ships, if however you have full confidence in your stomach strength, for extracting maximum enjoyment from the ship journey. Though the rooms in this part are costlier than standard cabins, they are the most luxurious ones on the ship. The aft or rear cabins as they are called, appear in a porch or balcony form normally. All the time you can get there from a stupefying view of the ocean that appears sometimes as a smooth unending surface shining with sunlight, while at some other moments its ash-colored large waves are on constant move. Actually due to these giant waves you feel the necessity of strong stomach because these cabins often find it not that easy to adjust smoothly with water turbulence. The bow cabins are located at the other extreme of the ship. Due to the fact that the cabins are much above sea level, probability of seasickness is greater for passengers there. However those with a little bit of sailor like attitude will feel comfortable there absolutely. Higher deck cabins are more plush cabins as compared to the typical lower level cabins. But those are not advisable for seasickness prone passengers. Due to their position they offer many advantages-the sun decks, the pool, and other charms of the deck including dance floors are within a few steps precisely. But these higher-deck cabins have some disadvantages too like the noise created by passengers' steps and more of sway factor. Those who are worried of seasickness and are prepared therefore to pay a little more for a centrally located cabin should better choose a mid-ship cabin. These cabins equipped with the furnishings are just like standard rooms though due to their advantageous position you need not walk much to reach your cabin or the elevator as well. Occasionally they will have the provision of window or pothole through which the ocean comes within your view.
Orlando is world-famous for its huge theme parks and water parks, but they can get very crowded, so its best to get there before 8.30am, or go after 4.00pm in the afternoon. Youll still have plenty of time if you go late afternoon, since most are open until 10pm or later, depending on the season. Be sure to plan your day at the park ahead of time, and take plenty of water and sunscreen.Sea WorldAt this popular theme park you can feed dolphins, seals and sea lions; visit a man-made Arctic ocean, with seals, polar bears, beluga whales and walruses, and take a moving walkway through a naturalistic snowy Antarctic habitat, with more than 200 penguins. You can also get close to sharks, eels, and barracuda; and visit new dolphin mothers and their calves in the popular Dolphin Nursery.Wet N WildWet N Wilds new water ride, Brain Wash, has a 53-foot vertical drop into a 65-foot domed funnel, where you are bombarded with light, sound and video, as you swirl around the funnel before you finally make your escape. And an exciting new raft adventure joins the popular Surge, Bubba Tub, Black Hole and The Blast. Children love the Kids Park, featuring smaller versions of the adult rides.Discovery CoveHere the focus is on interacting with dolphins, birds, and marine life, and the big attraction is a swim with a bottlenose dolphin. You will have to make a reservation to visit this popular park, since attendance is limited to 1,000 guests per day. Go for a snorkel among thousands of rays and tropical fish, then visit the huge, free-flight aviaries, where you can feed and touch hundreds of tropical birds.Islands of Adventure Universal StudiosInnovative rides and attractions are scattered throughout this Universal theme park: Marvel Super Hero Island where Super Heroes battle diabolical Super Villains; Suess Landing with its Dr Suess characters; Lost Continent, a land of heart-stopping adventure; Jurassic Park where dinosaurs co-exist with humans; and Toon Lagoon where everyone gets soaked on wild water rides.Magic Kingdom Disney WorldThere are seven lands here, surrounding the Cinderella Castle, where you and the kids can visit imaginary lands of adventure take ride on a magic carpet, plunge down waterfalls, hurtle through space or visit the all-time classics Its a Small World, The Haunted Mansion, and the Pirates of the Caribbean.Universal StudiosThis huge entertainment park has over 40 computer animated rides, and the worlds largest movie studio outside of Hollywood. Dont miss the popular Nickelodeon studios and the movie sets. At the CityWalk theres lots of entertainment, top restaurants, nightclubs and shops, in fact something for everyone.Typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard BeachBoth of these water parks have big water slides, a pool at the centre, a huge play area, and a lazy river, where you can take a relaxing tube ride around the park. Typhoon Lagoon is the worlds largest wave pool, where waves can reach six feet tall and you can surf here after hours. At Shark Reef you can snorkel with sharks, rays and tropical fishes.Kennedy Space Centre Visitor ComplexA visit to Florida wouldnt be complete without taking a daytrip to NASAs launch headquarters, just 45 minutes from Orlando. Here you can tour launch and landing facilities, take a close-up look at huge rockets, train in interactive simulators, and even meet an astronaut. Try to time your visit to coincide with a launch or landing.Busch Gardens AfricaThis theme park, about an hour from Orlando, has more than 2,700 animals and is one of Americans largest zoos. There are also many exciting rides and attractions: SheiKra, the worlds highest vertical dive coaster; Gwazi, the southeasts fastest double wooden roller coaster; Rhino Rally, Scorpion, and Edge of Africa.Hot air balloon rideThe perfect ending to your exciting Orlando holiday would be an unforgettable early morning hot air balloon ride, with one of Orlandos many ballooning companies. These fantastic tours usually finish with a delicious champagne breakfast and certificates and photos for all.
Summer is usually the ideal time to take a vacation since the weather is warm and the kids are out of school. The lure of a cruise can be hard to pass up especially since Caribbean cruises can be deeply discounted in summer. The Caribbean has a hurricane season from about early June to late November so before you purchase your dream holiday it is important to keep some things in mind. Cruise ships are very safe but they arent indestructible. There have been a few tragedies involving cruise ships in the last decade. This isnt meant to scare you but make you aware that Mother Nature dictates your holiday especially in the hurricane season. Cruise ships are equipped with technology that can forecast weather conditions so dont be unduly concerned. Cruise lines will always but the safety of its passengers first and will never intentionally go through a storm. Cruise lines can skip or change a port of call with little or no compensation. If the weather is severe they may cancel a cruise all together in which case they will give you a voucher for another cruise at a future date. While understandable, a canceled trip can mean a missed vacation especially if your familys vacation time is limited and not flexible.Check with the cruise line company or your travel agent for information on changes due to weather. You can also purchase travel insurance but make sure you read the fine print and understand what is covered; some cover none or very little in the case of acts of God.A storm may not be enough to cancel a cruise and you can still have an enjoyable time. There are activities on the ship that are indoors including exercise classes and shows. Make sure you bring some books and consider bringing a portable DVD player and movies to keep the family occupied. Make sure you bring sea sick pills. Even if the weather is nice, the waters are sure to be rough. If you get sea sick, head to the center of the ship where swaying is at a minimum. So your holiday plans are not totally spoiled, have a backup plan in case the cruise is cancelled. Plan your embarkation port as a fun city such as Orlando. If your cruise is cancelled then you can still head to Orlando and your family can enjoy Disneyworld. Also consider some enjoyable road trip options if the airport at your port city is closed. Lastly, if you travel in the hurricane season plan for inclement weather and dont get upset if it rains the entire time. Consider nice weather a bonus in the off season.