Archive for July, 2009

Is Vacation Travel to Mexico Safe?

Wednesday, July 8th, 2009

Mexico Discount Travel

With all the recent bad press regarding drug traffic related gang crimes in Mexico, one has to wonder if that Mexico vacation is still safe. 


Peter Diaz, President of Online Travel, compares travel to Mexico with any travel within the United States.  Simply stated, “We all generally don’t take vacations to bad parts of Oakland California or South Central Los Angeles, yet we regularly hear about drug related crimes, gang violence and murders taking place right here in our own backyards.”  Yet we don’t question if travel in the United States is safe. 


The facts are that travel to such popular Mexican destinations as Puerto Vallarta, Cabo San Lucas, Cancun and other tourist spots in Mexico is generally safe.  Most of the Mexican crimes in the press have been in the border towns and some of the larger cities.  Victims are generally other gang members and authorities.  Statistically this is not unusual when compared to the United States.  The press has capitalized on these stories, as is expected.  The event becomes a story and every news network puts their own spin on it, for days, or weeks, or months.  


Several years ago a young woman named Natalee Holloway was murdered in Aruba and the press capitalized on it.  Diaz says “Aruba is one on the safest places to travel to in the Caribbean.  I would not think twice about vacationing in Aruba.”  The Natalee Holloway story was rare to Aruba, but travel to Aruba was affected.  The Natalle Holloway story still receives some press. 


Another recent story involved a young girl on a cruise ship that was sexually assaulted.  Unfortunately, the young girl was allowed to wander the ship alone, unsupervised, in this floating city of 3,000 people.  Something parents generally don’t allow back at home.  The event turned into stories about how United States laws don’t protect cruise ship passenger and how cruise lines will not properly investigate and report crimes.  The cruise industry was attacked by the press and the safety of all cruise ships was questioned.  Travelers were asking if cruise ships were safe.    


These stories should remind us as travelers that we should always be alert and stay out of risks way at home and abroad.   When traveling anywhere, using good common sense will keep you safe.  Always keep your children in your sight.  Stay in resort hotels and keep to the tourist areas.  Don’t walk alone at night (take a cab), don’t accept rides with questionable transportation, and always keep the alcohol consumption down and stay away from illegal drugs.  Going out drinking and clubbing at night always carries some risks.  Leave the Rolex watch and the flashy bling bling at home.


Mexico has some great travel destinations, excellent beaches, and the dollar is strong against the peso.  Travel to Mexico is down so the deals are really good.  We say, take that Mexico vacation and enjoy yourself.  Any of the destinations that have been developed as resort areas will be safe.  The local economies rely on the tourist dollar and drug trafficking is not a huge business in these areas.  Local law enforcement is making sure these areas stay safe for tourists.  If you’re still not sure, stay at home, lock your doors and just watch the travel channel.

Excellent Travel Deals in Today’s Economy

Wednesday, July 8th, 2009

Travel Deals

Hear what experts say about what a great time this is to benefit from the many travel bargains out there.


Like taking advantage of a beaten real estate market, if you have discretionary cash to spend on an exotic vacation, travel opportunities are everywhere.  Vendors are hurting and want your business.  If you have wanted to take that dream vacation now is the best time. 


The travel industry has been hurting for a while and prices are being slashed to attract travelers.  Places like Hawaii, Mexico and the Caribbean are offering heavily discounted travel packages and many new resorts have come on line.  New resorts have sprung up in Jamaica, Dominican Republic, Cancun and the Mayan Riviera.  Occupancy rates have been low with a large supply of hotel rooms. 


If these resorts can cover their cost of having a guest stay in an otherwise empty room, the resort will profit from the money you spend at the bar, the restaurants, the spa and other activities.  Last-minute travel deals are a win-win situation.  The resort fills an empty room and makes money, and you the traveler get a great deal. 


Peter B. Diaz, President and CEO of Online Travel says “Not only are we seeing deep discounted last-minute travel deals but longer term reservations booked well in advanced are seeing magnificent savings.  The cruise industry is offering some of the best value vacation bargains we have seen in a long time.  In recent years you have had many mega-cruise ships built.  The law of supply and demand coupled with the recent economy has forced the cruise lines to compete heavily on price.  It’s very easy in today’s market to cruise for under $100 per day per person.” 


Look at places like Maui Hawaii that rely heavily on tourism, occupancy rates have been low and their local economy has felt the pinch.  Not only are the Maui resorts offering great deals, but the local businesses are competing for your dollars with benefits such as two for one drinks, early bird dinner specials and dining coupons.  Starwood Resorts has regular specials on some of their Ka’anapali Maui properties which include The Westin Maui Resort & Spa, The Sheraton Resort at Black Rock and the Westin Ka’anapali Ocean Resort Villas.  These are all four star resorts of the beach offering luxury accommodations and plenty of amenities.


Cabo San Lucas Mexico is also seeing some deep discounted travel specials.  Suffering from bad press about Mexico drug gang crimes and the swine flu, Cabo is desperately trying to fill vacancies.  Remember that Cabo is very isolated from mainland Mexico and what goes on there.  Peak season luxury beach resort hotel rooms are easily available from between $100 to $200 per night.  There are regular daily flights to Cabo from many major US cities.  There have also been some heavily discounted travel deals to Cancun Mexico & the Mayan Riviera as well as many other Mexican resort destinations.  Bad media press about Mexico is often good news for the fearless traveler.


You may not see a better time to take a luxury vacation and go someplace special.  If you can afford it, make the commitment and take time off to travel like a king.  You may not see an opportunity like this in a long time.  It’s time to search your favorite travel website or call your travel agent.

Cruise Ship Travel, Your Best Value Vacation

Wednesday, July 8th, 2009

Cruise Vacation

There is no vacation available today that can compete with the value offered by the cruise lines.  Dollar for dollar you just can’t compare a cruise to a land vacation.


On your typical land vacation you will spend around $150 per night to $300 per night for a nice standard hotel room for two people.  A rental car will run you around $35 to $50 per day for a cheap car.  Breakfast will average you around $15 per person, Lunch will run you around $20 per person and dinner will run you around $30 per person after taxes and tips.  For a one week trip, two people will be spending somewhere between $2,200 and $3,400 before you factor in any airfare, entertainment or attractions.  These figures are conservative for a budget vacation.


If you look at some of the recent cruise deals, particularly some of the last-minute cruise deals available, you can cruise for as low as $50 per day per person.  Generally, that low price is going to offer you an inside cabin (no port windows).  However, if you upgrade and pay around $100 per person per day, you can get an outside stateroom and possibly a balcony if you shop around.  Peter B. Diaz, President and CEO of Online Travel says “I’ve recently seen 7-day Alaska and Caribbean cruises going for under $350 per person.  A value like that is hard to beat.  The ships simply can’t go out with empty cabins.  They must fill them in the last few weeks prior to sailing or they lose money.”


Your typical cruise price will include all of your meals and entertainment.  Your meals will generally consist of three daily sit down full course meals, three daily cafeteria style buffet meals and various other dining venues throughout the day including room service.  There is no shortage of good food.  Sit down dinners often include steak, lobster, prime rib as well as some ethnic theme nights.  You’ll also find late night buffets and 24-hour pizza and snacks on many ships. 


Your entertainment will generally consist of nightly Las Vegas style musical & dance shows, stand-up comedy, magic shows and various lounge & dance club performers.  Other ship amenities generally include swimming pools, Jacuzzis, fitness center & day spa and gambling casino complete with slot machines and gaming tables. Not included in the price of your cruise is cocktails, spa treatments, gambling, shopping and shore excursions.


The nice feature of a cruise is that you’ll get to see exotic ports of call along the way.  Most 7-day cruises will generally visit three or more ports.  Just hop off the ship at each port and enjoy the day.  It doesn’t cost you any money to leave the ship and walk around town.  Most ports of call are safe to venture on foot and sight see.  On your typical land vacation you will visit one destination and stay for the duration.  On a cruise you get multiple destinations without packing and unpacking between destinations.  There is also no need to worry about making dinner reservations.  Cruise life is easy.


Your time on the ship between ports is anything but boring.  Today’s ships are large floating resorts and entertainment facilities with plenty of elbow room.  Spend the day at the pool or spa, dance each night away or enjoy the evening stars on deck.  You’ll meet plenty of really nice interesting people from all over.  It’s hard to find such a great value vacation today.  But thanks to the cruise lines, it’s easy to get away and have an affordable trip and a great time.


Peter B. Diaz is President & CEO of Online Travel.  VoyageMonkey offers discount travel deals, cheap cruises, hotels, flights, vacation packages and more.






Wednesday, July 8th, 2009

Cabo San Lucas

MOST POPULAR VACATION SPOTS (By Peter B. Diaz, Travel Consultant at Online Travel



With so many travel choices and online travel websites promoting cheap travel, it’s often hard to decide where to take that much deserved vacation.  Whether it’s a romantic getaway or a trip for the entire family, planning where to go on vacation can be a real chore.  VoyageMonkey.Com Online Travel Booking suggests you look into these top-four popular travel destination ideas:


Maui, Hawaii – This is our favorite vacation spot.  Warm weather and warm water make this ideal for beach goers.  It has some of the best beaches in the world.  The swimming, surfing, diving and snorkeling are excellent.  It’s in the United States so there is a sense of safety and English is the language.  This is a golfer’s heaven with its many championship golf courses.  Some of the world’s best hotel resorts are located here.  The restaurants serve the best Pacific-Rim cuisine.  An excellent travel choice for that family vacation.


Cancun, Mexico – If you want south of the border sunshine and beaches, Cancun is Mexico’s top resort destination.  World-class all-inclusive hotel resorts line the sandy white coast side.  There is a great nightlife here with many top nightclubs.  You’ll find everything from pyramids, deep-sea sport fishing and several aquatic theme parks that children will enjoy.  You’ll find an endless supply of your favorite water sports activities.  Shopping is a favorite pastime.  Enjoy the hospitable Mexican fiesta atmosphere or just relax and unwind in the sun.


Cabo San Lucas, Mexico – This is a great place for couples and families.  Centered around its luxury marina the town is modern and looks more like California-South.  You’ll find an abundant amount of water sports activities to fill your days and excellent nightclubs and dining to fill your evenings.  Enjoy the Pacific Ocean or the Sea of Cortez.  The beaches are excellent and the water is warm.  Enjoy a peach sunset over the southern tip of Baja California while sipping a cold Margarita.  Cabo makes for a great relaxing getaway.


Cruise Vacation – Why not enjoy multiple destinations and check into your hotel room only once.  A family cruise is the best vacation value around.  All your food is included and the entertainment on the ships is endless.  You’ll find casinos, live music, pools, spa & fitness centers, dancing, shopping and more.  All you need is right there on the ship.  Childrens’ day camps are generally offered.  Visit destinations in Alaska, Mexico, the Caribbean or the Mediterranean.  When in port, enjoy your choice of many shore excursion activities or just relax at the beach.  A cruise is your best vacation value around.


Always remember, your vacation is your reward to yourself for your hard work.  Pick a vacation you deserve, where you can unwind and relax.  Read more about these vacation ideas at VoyageMonkey.Com.  Check out www.VoyageMonkey.Com for further travel suggestions and vacation travel deals.


Author Bio:  Peter B. Diaz is President & CEO of VoyageMonkey.Com Online Travel & Event Bookings.  www.VoyageMonkey.Com Online Travel & Event Bookings provides discounted online travel and vacation bargains as well as excellent travel articles and reviews.  Find hotels, flights, cruises, vacation packages and more at http://www.VoyageMonkey.Com

Best Family Resort: Atlantis Resort, The Bahamas

Wednesday, July 8th, 2009

Atlantis Resort

Probably the best family resort developed to date is the Atlantis Resort in the Bahamas.  The resort is located on Paradise Island, adjacent to the capital city of Nassau. 


The Bahamas are located off the east coast of Florida and are comprised of around 700 islands and cays extending over 500 miles.  The warm climate, crystal clear blue waters, tropical landscape, world class shopping and luxury hotels make the Bahamas one of the most popular tourist destinations.  There are plenty of sports and aquatic activities to enjoy including golf, diving, snorkeling, boating and fishing.  The capital city of Nassau has some of the best food, drinks, shopping and nightlife to make it an ultimate vacation destination. 


Nestled on the Caribbean Sea minutes from downtown Nassau is the majestic Atlantis Resort.  Atlantis is a water theme resort based on the mythical city that sank without a trace thousands of years ago.  This resort has endless activities for every family member.  Peter Diaz, President & CEO of Online Travel, says “The Atlantis Resort is a destination in itself.  Guests are provided with all they need to have a relaxing fun filled vacation without leaving the resort.  You don’t want to leave.  The resort is entertaining for children and adults.  There are not too many resorts that match the family amenities offered by Atlantis.”


The resort sits on one of the best beaches in the Bahamas, Cabbage Beach.  Along these 3 miles of pristine soft white sand, resort guests can soak up the sun, snorkel, parasail, jet-ski and participate in multitudes of water and beach activities.  For a more carefree beach experience, the 7-acre Paradise Lagoon offers swimming, sunbathing and a variety of water sports.  Continuing the water theme, guests can partake in the Leap of Faith: a 60-foot drop down a Mayan temple water slide.  This thrilling wet ride takes you through the resorts spectacular aquarium.  The magnificent aquarium is a center piece of the resort.  The resort has a total of 141 acres of waterslides, a quarter-mile lazy river ride and several pools.  You can even fulfill your dream of swimming with friendly playful Dolphins at Dolphin Cay. 


For your nightlife entertainment, the Atlantis boasts the largest casino in the Caribbean.  At the Atlantis you will find a world class gaming experience with 100 table games including Craps, Roulette, Blackjack, Baccarat, and Caribbean Stud Poker.  There is also a Race & Sports book.  The casino offers over 1,000 of the newest slot machines each equipped with state of the art player tracking system (with denominations from a penny to $100).  Enjoy the convenience of using your room key to play. 


Atlantis features 21 restaurants and 19 bars & lounges offering everything from fine dining to quick-and-easy favorites.  Two of the Bahamas best restaurants are located at the resort: the Bahamian Club and Villa d’Este.  The Bahamian Club serves international and French cuisine and is known for its fine cuts of meats.  Villa d’Este serves some of the best Italian cuisine in the Bahamas. 


If you do desire to leave the resort, downtown Nassau and its neighboring resort areas are just minutes away for your enjoyment.  The Bahamas proximity to the United States and its safe track record makes it attractive for U.S. tourists.  You just can’t go wrong with this family vacation choice.


Peter B. Diaz is President & CEO of Online Travel.  VoyageMonkey offers discount travel deals, cheap cruises, hotels, flights, vacation packages and more.