Sunday, October 14, 2007

Two Fantastic Ways To Experience The Great Barrier Reef By Robert Aconley

The Great Barrier Reef is a magnificent sight and you can experience it in numerous ways. Two fantastic ways to experience the Great Barrier Reef are to take a light aircraft flight over the reef and snorkeling from a platform in the Pacific Ocean.

It is easy to drive to Whitsunday Airport, Queensland from Airlie Beach to catch the one hour pleasure flight over the Whitsunday Islands and ‘Heart Shaped’ Reef. You will be given a safety briefing before the pilot leads you to the 4-seater plane on the grass field runway. You will probably get the best seats if you can sit in the front of the aircraft! The pilot heads out over the Airlie Beach area and the views are stunning. A few minutes later the aircraft takes you over the very popular Hayman and Daydream Islands. It takes almost half an hour before the Great Barrier Reef comes into view. What a view it is! This is definitely a fantastic way to experience the reef because you can see how vast it really is as it stretches out for miles into the distance.

The highlight of the trip is circling the famous ‘Heart Reef’. The pilot tilts the plane both ways so that everyone gets a good view of the 'heart shaped' reef so have your camera ready. After leaving the reef the pilot takes you towards Whitsunday Island and the famous Whitehaven Beach. The Whitehaven beach stretches out for almost 4 miles and is arguably one of the ten best beaches in the world. The Hill Inlet sand formation is a superb view from the air and is well worth seeing. The aircraft flies over the vacation friendly Hamilton Island and Shute Harbour before returning back to the airport. The Whitsunday Islands are a marvellous place for a vacation but don’t miss the chance to see them from the air.

Snorkeling has got to be one of the best ways to experience the Great Barrier Reef. Port Douglas, Queensland is a good base to catch the Catamaran that takes you out to the Barrier Reef. The Quicksilver Catamaran takes you to the Agincourt Reef in almost two hours and you can enjoy the magnificent views of the north Queensland coastline as you swiftly move through the water. The platform is a superb place to explore the reef because you can also take a submarine type boat in addition to snorkeling. If you do not want to get wet, but still want to enjoy the reef then this option is ideal.

All the equipment for snorkeling is available at the platform so take advantage of it. It is almost a fantasy world when you snorkel at the Great Barrier Reef. The colors of the tropical fish are amazing and you can see them so clearly because they swim so close to you. Watch out for the Clownfish and then you will be able to claim that you have 'found Nemo' at the Great Barrier Reef. Be careful not to touch the intricate coral reef because it is actually a living organism and easily damaged. My personal advice is to swim away from the immediate crowds and then you can have this world all to yourself.

Seeing the Great Barrier Reef is an experience that will never be forgotten so don't miss the chance to see the reef, from above and below, if you travel to Australia.

Robert Aconley runs the Million Dollar Lake & Million Pound Lake websites. You can find them at and

Photos coutesy of Wilkipedia,

Monday, October 8, 2007

Looking For Cheap Vacations? By Vince L. Paxton

Everybody loves a nice relaxing vacation but unfortunately not all of us can afford an expensive trip away. That is where budget holidays come in handy and if you look around you should be able to find some good deals which are ideal for you at a budget that you can afford. Here you will find some of the best holidays open to you for less than $1,000.

How to Save Money and Spend Less Than $1,000

So just how can you save money on your next vacation and still have a fantastic time? The good news is that there are a number of ways in which you can enjoy a holiday for less than $1,000 and the choices available allow you to do something different and fun at the same time.

The first option open to you is camping. Now when you think of camping, fun is not necessarily the first word that you think of. Rain, hard floors, wild animals and misery is often associated with camping out and so most of the time the family is hesitant to even attempt it even if it will save them money. However, camping really does not have to be that bad and if anything it can actually be quite fun. Try staying at a National Park for example and take along a small grill that will help you to cook nicer meals.

Another option open to you which the kids will love is Disney World. Yes it is completely possible to still go to Disney World and spend less than $1,000. This is because Disney offer value resorts and they have opted to make their parks more affordable for families which means that you get to enjoy all of the things that other families do just at a smaller price.

If you are looking to save money on travel then you can easily save money on flights. Flights tend to be one of the most expensive parts of a vacation and so if you can save money on them you will be able to spend more money on other things that you enjoy. Look for last minute deals as well as buying tickets from airlines such as Southwest Airlines or JetBlue Airlines.

Finally another way to have a fantastic vacation for under $1,000 is by going on a cruise. Now cruises used to be considered a luxury and you would not expect to find a cruise for less than $1,000 but it can be done. Some cruises from cruise liners such as Carnival Cruises, tend to have deals which vary in price from just $500. So shop around and see what you can find.

Overall it is easy to find cheap vacations to suit your needs; you just have to know where to look. Holiday deals are not always cheap and tacky, they can be really fun and if you go to somewhere like Disney you can really allow the whole family to have an excellent vacation. So when you are considering your next holiday, why not look out for cheap travel packages?

Vince Paxton wrote mainly for an internet site on the topic of Madrid , Alicante and other issues. Sharing his passion in detailed writings such as the writer demonstrated his deep knowledge on issues related to Murcia airport.

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Monday, October 1, 2007

Branson Vacations

Perfect for families, entertainment-lovers, and pleasure seekers in search of a laid-back, fuss-free vacation, Branson, Missouri has confidently taken center stage as one of the most popular tourist sites not just in the Midwest, but in the country. For an old-fashioned retreat styled with a few modern touches, check out this bustling beehive of boisterous fun located in southern Missouri.
A number of factors contributed to Branson’s evolution from sleepy town to happening tourist destination, including business development, nearby dam activity that led to lake formation, and a novel called Shepard of the Hills that celebrates the settlers and the landscape of long-ago Branson. All of this plus a little pluck led to the brightly-lit, ever-active city of today, where you are welcomed to take in a show or two, fill yourself full of delicious food, or head out to the lake for some quality time with Mother Nature.
The center of the city is hopping with music, dancing, and colorful lights. A more wholesome Las Vegas, Branson offers choices for all members of the family. Country Western is generally the name of the game, but comedy, variety, and magic shows can all be sampled if you have the time. The overall theme of Branson entertainment is timeless fun, so if you seek solace in a more innocent atmosphere than the world sometimes offers up, consider traveling to the Ozarks.
In addition to shows, you’ll also find many more diversions that will please everyone in your group. Water parks will cool things down during the steamy summers, the Titanic Museum will fill your brain with information, and Silver Dollar City amusement park will provide thrills all year long. Several more museums and parks will tempt you while you’re here, so take a family vote and then fill your days with plummets and perusals of the local fare.
Shopping is another can’t-miss activity. Outlet malls and specialty shops abound, so keep your eyes open for great bargains and one-of-a-kind souvenirs to take home to jealous friends who wish they could have gone to Branson, too. Don’t forget that this land was once dominated by rough explorers and hardy horseback riders, so if you need a new pair of boots or a flashy belt buckle you’ve come to the right place. The land is tamer and the people are a bit more civilized these days, but Bransonites are proud of their heritage as weathered travelers who could handle anything thrown their way.
The outlying areas reveal another side to Branson’s personality, one that you’ll definitely want to become acquainted with. As mentioned before, dam-building means that there are lakes to be enjoyed, so pack up the fishing poles and the swimming suits for a few days of respite from the hubbub of daily life. Nothing is better than setting out across the water in a speedboat or lazily floating down the stream in a canoe, as you’ll soon discover during your excursion to one of the nearby sparkling blue oases.
Table Rock Lake is just three miles southwest of the city, and has an astounding 745 miles of shoreline. It is fit for boating, swimming, excellent fishing, hiking, camping, and pretty much anything else you can think of that you’d like to do by the water. Keep it low-key by stretching out for a snooze or kick things up a notch by renting a jet ski, either way you’ll find Table Rock the perfect place to be.
Similarly, Lake Taneycomo has what it takes to delight you and your companions as well. It has characteristics of both a river and a lake, and its cold waters are perfect for trout fishing. Marinas and boat ramps make things convenient, you won’t be too far away from restaurants and lodging options, and the lake itself is sparkling and clean. All in all, Lake Taneycomo should receive a little attention from you if you do decide on a Branson vacation.
Speaking of lodging, a good way to go when visiting this area is in the direction of renting a vacation property. Lake front cabins would make for many fine memories, as would condos that are conveniently located to golf courses, amusement parks, or whatever else tops your list. Imagine having enough space for everyone to settle in, avoiding the usual confrontations over sleeping arrangements and drawer space. If this sounds too good to be true, look into acquiring a Branson Vacation Rental and see what develops.
If you have a certain taste that has yet to be satisfied by your previous vacations, Branson might be what you’re looking for. It is distinctive and crowd-pleasing, with a little bit of natural beauty thrown in for good measure. Follow the well-beaten path to this friendly city to discover for yourself what all the fuss is about. is a good resource for all your vacation rental needs.
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Saturday, September 15, 2007

Cruises-Great Vacation Value for Budget Conscious

The cruise line business began in the 19th century. Once reserved for the very wealthy, it has become the vacation package of choice for the budget conscious traveler.

Compared to the cost of reserving a hotel at a top tourist spot, finding transportation, eating meals in restaurants, and paying for top entertainment, a cruise can be much less expensive. Modern cruise ships are pleasure palaces featuring excellent food and accommodations, as well as top entertainment...all included in one price.

Cruises can be great romantic get-aways for couples. What could be better than basking in the sun on a gorgeous beach during the day, or watching the sun set on an exotic tropical island at night? Then take in a world class Las Vegas style show to compete the evening.

Cruises can also be great for families with kids. Our kids loved Carnival Cruise lines Camp Carnival. It's a program on board ship designed just for kids. Parents love it because it allows them time to do what they want to do. Pagers are provide in case your child needs you.

Carnival Cruises also provide some great excursions once the ship docks at the various ports of call. (For an extra fee.)
Some of our favorites have been the Atlantis Submarine, the Turtle Farm, Stingray City and Seven Mile Beach on Grand Cayman. Jamaica offers the Dunns River Falls in Ocho Rios which is a 900 foot climb to the top of the falls (in the water!). Don't worry, its easy enough that the kids can do it. Great fun on those hot tropical days! Not far from Dunns River Falls you can experience the Dolphin Encounter, in which you get into the water and actually pet and play with the dolphins under the supervision of trainers. Kids and adults will enjoy this one. If your interest is in history and ancient culture, the Mayan ruins can't be beat! There are two excursions available from Cozemel, Mexico: Tulum and Chichen Itza. Tulum is absolutely stunning in its setting on the beach. Although climbing of the pyramids is off limits here, the tour guides are excellent in presenting the Mayan culture and history. Chichen Itza is further inland and requires a bus ride to get there, making the entire excursion about 8 hours. It's worth it though. There are many more ruins to see and you can climb the pyramid there. An excellent Mexican buffet is provided by the local hotel there. Be careful, some of the food is HOT!

Looking for a great vacation value? Book a cruise!

David Doolin writes on travel and vacationing related issues.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Washington DC for Music Lovers - The Capital City Hits All of the Right Notes

Music may not be the first attraction most people associate with Washington, DC, but the nation’s capital hits all of the right notes for the music lover.
At the world-famous Kennedy Center, you can revel in performances that feature music luminaries like Renee Fleming, Midori, Yo-Yo Ma, Roberta Flack, and Wynonna. The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts (the official name) also features Jazz by performers such as Tigran Homosian (the 2006 winner of the Thelonius Monk International Jazz Piano Contest, the compelling Dianne Reeves, and Grammy winner John Patitucci. The center also offers a robust schedule of chamber music, as well as family- oriented performances, such as the NSO Family Concert: More Spooky Sounds and Scary Tales around Halloween.
If you don’t mind standing room only, the 9:30 Club (815 V St NW) is consistently voted the best music venue in the city by locals. The 9:30 Club features national and up-and-coming acts, with 300 shows annually, and past performers have included R.E.M., Beastie Boys, Radiohead, Nirvana, the Smashing Pumpkins and James Brown. Another great venue for up and comers is the Black Cat (1811 14th St NW), which locals know is the place to go for great indie acts, such as Ani DiFranco, Sleater-Kinney and Yo La Tengo as well as mainstreamers like Foo Fighters, Garbage and The Offspring. The Black Cat has a smoke-free cafe, called Food for Thought, which serves a vegetarian and vegan menu.
Jazz fans will also find avant-garde artists, minor legends and the best of the local scene at Twins Jazz (1344 U St NW). Ethiopian cuisine is available to complement the Jazz. Believe it or not, Blues Alley (1073 Wisconsin Ave) is a legendary DC venue for live jazz, in spite of its name. This Georgetown supper club is small, with only 40 tables, but the sound is big. Creole is the specialty on the menu at Blues Alley.
For a mixture of Blues, Folk, and Country acts, head to Birchmere (3701 Mount Vernon Ave, Alexandria), where headliners have included the Dave Matthews Band, Lyle Lovett, k.d. lang and Vince Gill. Birchmere is a music hall, with homespun d├ęcor and a seating capacity of 500. For Folk fans (with some jazz, blues and country thrown in), Jammin’ Java (227 Maple Avenue East, Vienna) is the place to be. The coffeehouse club remains a staple of the Washington, DC area music community, and is run by musicians. The club features live music seven nights a week and kids concerts in the mornings. As its name suggests, Jammin’ Java offers a variety of coffee drinks, as well as beer and wine.
If you are a headed to Washington DC, has the perfect hotel for you. Choose the Phoenix Park Hotel, the Capitol Hill Suites (see special deal below), the Best Western Capitol Skyline, the Four Points by Sheraton, the Lombardy Hotel, or the Georgetown Suites. Stay at the Henley Park Hotel, the State Plaza, the Georgetown Hill Inn, or. Enjoy the Washington Plaza Hotel, the Georgetown Inn, the Latham Hotel, or the historic Morrison Clark Inn.
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What A Difference Two Days Makes - Get Away From It All With A Short Break

Everybody loves Fridays. Even if your one of the less common breed who really enjoy their job, the building excitement of the clockwatchers and the general optimism that spreads through the workplace as 5pm draws closer is just infectious. It’s nearly the weekend, two whole days full of potential; anything could happen.
However, that timeless staple of office conversation, “Have a good weekend”, and its Monday morning counterpart “Did you get up to anything fun?” can become a bit depressing as you slowly realise that week after week, you always go to the same places with the same people. Or, worse still, decide to have a ‘quiet, relaxing weekend’ and end up catching up on some of those neglected chores around the house, alphabetising your DVD collection, thinking about new wallpaper and going back to work on Monday feeling more tired than you did last week.
Wouldn’t you rather have a really good reason for that Friday feeling: what if you knew that you’d be spending the weekend exploring a new city, hurtling along a rollercoaster, lying on a golden beach, seeing your favourite band in concert, being pampered in a steamy spa, or simply relaxing and enjoying the fresh air in some idyllic green countryside, without a wallpaper sample or hedge trimmer in sight?
A weekend break could be the perfect solution if you need to take a bit of time out, recharge your batteries or just try something new – as the old saying goes, ‘a change is as good as a rest’, and the possibilities are practically endless; so with a bit of planning you could end up somewhere very different every week!
Of course, you don’t want to spend half your weekend travelling, but luckily plenty of fantastic destinations are easily reachable by train or bus, either within the UK or via Eurostar.
Train travel is a great option as its fast, convenient, safe and green (it’s about ten times less polluting to the environment than flying). As you’ll only be staying for a night or two and don’t even need to take time off work, there’s nothing like the levels of financial worry that can be an unpleasant side-effect of planning longer holidays. Book early if possible to take advantage of any offers on train fares or accommodation to make weekend breaks even more affordable, so you can put some cash aside for your next trip!
No matter what you’re into – theatre, music, art, history, nature, sports, shopping, sun-worshipping, thrill-seeking, or if you just want to spend quality time with someone special – a weekend away is ideal for indulging your interests, and your tales of adventure may well make you the envy of the office on Monday morning! Or Tuesday morning, of course, in the fairly likely event that you decide your destination is just too good to leave...
Adam Singleton is an online freelance journalist from Scotland. His hobbies include travelling and hiking.
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Travel Smart By Finding The Best Hotel Deals Within Your Budget

The shrinking world has made traveling a necessity. Whether you are traveling for business or for leisure the first step that you have to take is to book a hotel. With hundreds and thousands of hotels in all major cities of the world, it becomes a difficult task for a traveler to intelligently find a hotel that is in the proximity of the city area that he or she is visiting, has appropriate facilities, and is also within the budget.
To ease this pain, a lot of travel websites with hotel reservation systems have popped-up for every nook and corner of the world, but the problem remains intact - which website to visit. There are over thousands of hotel search and reservation websites for each city or geographic area. For instance, if you are looking for accommodation in Paris, the first thing you would do is type - "Paris accommodation" in your favorite search engine - the result would bring over 3.5 million matches. Soon you will get tangled in millions of sites, offering different prices for thousands of hotels in Paris - each claiming to be the cheapest.
Fortunately, there's an easy way out. Recently, I was searching for hotels in Prague for one of my relatives and I wanted the best hotel prices. After some futile searching I landed on the Prague webpage of It had a list of all the hotels in Prague. I could sort the results based on consumer ratings, hotel prices, location, stars, etc. The website also has the option to select the currency in which you want to see the hotel prices. This feature is extremely convenient for international travelers, who don’t have to calculate the amount in their local currency for each hotel.
The best part is that this website brings the results from over 30 popular online hotel reservation systems to give the best of all worlds. It shows a comparison of hotel prices offered on each hotel reservation system of which that hotel is a part of. Once you click on the hotel, you will see the prices offered by sites like,,,,,,,,, and many more. Apart from the prices you can also see complete hotel details, pictures of rooms and the facilities, reviews by other members, and the map to the hotel - all at one place.
Once you select the hotel rate, from among the various prices offered by multiple reservation systems, and click "select", the website takes you to the booking page of the respective hotel reservation system. For instance, while searching for hotels in Paris, you liked the deal offered by over the other systems and you clicked on it, then you would be taken to the booking page of website, so that you can go through the payment gateway securely.
I travel a lot and have always hassled myself while searching for hotels, but is truly different. Try it yourself and enjoy!
This is an independent website review done by Anuja Aggarwal, a professional freelance writer. Visit to easily search for all types of hotels in any part of the world.
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