Good Winter Travel Season Deals Still Available

Winter Travel Season

Before, during or after winter travel season, the nation’s regions offering ski adventure travel options have something for everyone. The idea of climbing, hiking, camping or trekking through diverse areas had many travelers planning a 2013 winter vacation about this time last year. But those with no plans have options too.

“Put in now for end-of-January trips, but don’t expect deals around Presidents’ Day weekend,” says travel expert Pauline Frommer in a Reuters article.

President’s Day, like many other holidays, is a popular time for leisure travel and a peak booking of snow and cold-related adventures. The best hotel and resort rooms and money-saving packages, offered far in advance to jump-start bookings, are gone. Other discounted promotions will be few but some suggested sources can help.

“Check ski package deals from Southwest Airlines and Alaska Airlines,” says Frommer. “They both offer good lift ticket and lodging deals – especially if you’re willing to go mid-week instead of weekend.”

Looking to go away from the snow and cold? Land-based resorts, some all-inclusive, are a possible choice along with cruise vacations where unpacking once, we see several destinations on our floating hotel. The winter season brings cruise ships from Europe and around the world to luxuriate in the Caribbean sun. Still, the Caribbean is not the only warm place open for business over the next few months.

“I’ve found some of the best values to be in Central America,” suggests Frommer. “There are fairly decent air fares there. They’ve risen less than other parts of the world. Guatemala and Belize have some good hotel deals and there are some great adventures to be had there.”

Want to find specific ski adventure locations? This video may help:


12 12 12 Is Coming, Like It Or Not

12 12 12

12 12 12 is more than just next Wednesday and an unusual calendar date. The Mayan calendar has it as a time of transformation and evolution. Basically the end of time as we know it, Mayan’s believed 12/12/12 was also the beginning of a new cycle of evolution for planet earth, humanity and the cosmos. With a focus on the planet surviving, a number of events and promotions are planned by organizations and travel service providers.

12/12/12, The Concert For Sandy Relief
An all-star roster of who’s who in music will be on hand for The Concert For Sandy Relief.

Appearing via free simulcast in hurricane-affected area theaters will be Bon Jovi, Bruce Springsteen, Alicia Keys, Eric Clapton, Paul McCartney and others. An estimated 1 billion others worldwide will view the Madison Square Garden concert via television and live streaming video.

A variety of corporate sponsors are hosting the event to raise money for the Robin Hood Relief Fund, providing financial assistance, material and know-how to organizations helping victims of Hurricane Sandy throughout the affected area.

$12 Hotel Stay
At the B Ocean Hotel in Fort Lauderdale, 12/12/12 is a time to take advantage of exclusive $12 promotions, from room rates to food and beverage offerings. Travelers making reservations on December 12, 2012, for stays through September 30, 2013, will receive a third night at $12* (with the purchase of two nights at the best available rate), daily breakfast buffet for $12 per person and two signature cocktails for $12 when using the promotional code 121212.

They have the right attitude too. “Offering an added perk surrounding this fun, highly anticipated, one-time event is the perfect way to cap off an exciting year filled with accolades, new opportunities and optimism,” said B Ocean General Manager Eduardo Fernandez in a statement.Marry Me at 12 Event
Chicago’s Blackstone Hotel lets couples ready to take the plunge or those renewing their vows do so in a very special way. Called the Marry Me At 12 event, the landmark hotel will be setting up a wedding chapel in the historic Barbershop on December 12 at 12 p.m., complete with an officiate to marry couples or renew vows.

Celebrating couples will get flowers, Champagne toasts, and upgraded wedding night accommodations for $99 a night.

$12 On Board Credit Per Day, Per Stateroom
Royal Caribbean International has a special offer for those who book a cruise vacation on 12/12/12, Book any cruise in 2013 on any ship, to any destination and they will give you $12 on board credit per day, per stateroom. Book a suite and they double the offer to $24 on board credit per day per stateroom.

Third Annual Spirit Channeler’s World Peace Cruise
Speaking of cruises, the Third Annual Spirit Channeler’s World Peace Cruise, named the
12:12:12 Gateway to Ascension Cruise sets sail from Fort Lauderdale’s Port Everglades on December 8 on a seven-day Caribbean sailing aboard Holland America’s Eurodam visiting San Juan, St. Thomas, Grand Turk and the Bahamas

Interdimensional channelers, spiritual teachers and healing practitioners will celebrate the new age of peace with a World Peace Ceremony on the beach in St. Thomas on 12/12/12
at 12:12 p.m. as they join “millions praying for peace around the globe!” says promoter AlistCalendar on its web site.

Before we proceed, let’s review some wiki on things Mayan-related:

Channelerinspiration from extra-dimensional beings or spirits, whereby one is a medium or channel for such an entity.

Skulls– claimed to exhibit paranormal phenomena by some members of the New Age movement, and have often been portrayed as such in fiction.

Crystals– act as transducers, transforming and transmuting energy from one form to another. Quartz crystals in particular behave as capacitors, storing energy in a form, which can later be discharged.

2012 Mayan Marriage of Many
Admittedly, having an anniversary date of 12/12/12 would be a great idea for memory-challenged couples afraid of forgetting the important day. That won’t be a problem with the celebration of love with a marriage en mass for 12 couples in Belize at the Maya ruins of Cahal Pech on 12-12-12.

The Mayan Marriage of Many
has prices starting at $7,530 per couple including transportation,
accommodations, meals, a cocktail and dinner reception, orientation breakfast, adventure tours and more.

Crystal Skull Event
Oracle Stone Productions produces international events that bring together ancient crystal skulls, Mayan elders and people in the metaphysical community “to create a synergy for peace, a higher vibration and consciousness shift for our planet,” says the organization’s website. Hosting events for 09/09/09, 10/10/10 and 11/11/11, Oracle has a 12/12/12 event too.

During the 12/12/12 Extravaganza, vendors will be selling crystals, crystal skulls, crystal bowls, jewelry, self-help books, healing modalities, healing sessions, aura readings and more.




Not only the last of the alliteration dates for 100 years, but also a significant number to the Maya as well, the number 12 is believed to be the number of strength, conviction, absoluteness and finality.

[Image Credit- Flickr User elycefeliz]

South America Captured Beautifully In Video

Watching this journey through South America will fill you with wanderlust unparalleled. The composition of this video is amazing. It captures the beauty of the region, from the people to the cities to the landscapes, and the score is subtle and moving. Cheers to Vimeo user Vincent Urban for a job well done. We’re amazingly jealous.

Mental Math: Easy Rules Of Thumb For Converting Currency

Being in a new country is full of enough culture shock – trying to remember how many dollars to the krona doesn’t need to be part of it.

After all, constantly whipping out a calculator (well, a cellphone) and spending five minutes trying to figure out if that sandwich is really a good price is a waste of your valuable vacation time.

To make things easier on you, here are some basic rules of thumb to help you guesstimate the exchange rates in a sampling of different countries.

It’s important to note that currencies fluctuate all the time, so these rules of thumb should not be used as actual foundations for financial transactions. They were based off the most recent exchange rates as of midweek on the week of November 5, 2012. If you actually want to know what the exchange rate is for a given country, look it up. And if you want to know again a week later, look it up again.

These rules of thumb are intended to help you quickly do the mental math required to figure out if, yes, that sandwich is a good deal. Or, when you withdraw 400 pesos from the ATM, roughly how much you’re taking out in US dollars.

Disclaimer: this post is admittedly America-centric, but the reality is that’s my perspective as a traveler. I hope this will help others as it’s helped me.

Asia
China: Divide all prices quoted in yuan by about 6 for a dollar estimate.

Japan: Divide all prices quoted in yen by 100 and then tack on about 25% for a dollar estimate.

India: It’s slightly more than 50 rupees to the dollar.

Thailand
: Roughly, divide the prices you see in bahts by about 30 and you’ll get the dollar value.

South Korea: Divide Korean prices by about 1,000 for the USD estimate.

Europe
Eurozone: Add a 25% premium to all the prices you see.

UK: Multiply pound prices by 1.5 and then round up to guesstimate the dollar amount.

Switzerland: Roughly 1-to-1 with the US dollar.

Russia: Divide prices by about 30.

South and Central America
Mexico: Divide the prices you see by 13 for a sense of the USD price.

Guatemala: Divide prices by 8.

Belize: Cut the prices you see in half.

Colombia: This one’s a little tricky. First, divide the Colombian price you see by half. Then divide by 1,000. If you’re lazy and on the go, that’s very rough. For a slightly cleaner conversion, do that and then add back 20%.

Argentina: Divide Argentine prices by about 5.

Ecuador: Trick question. Ecuador uses the USD as its currency, so no conversion needed.

Dominican Republic: Divide prices in the D.R. by 40 for a sense of US equivalents.

Jamaica: Divide prices by 100 and then add back about 10%.

Africa & Mideast
South Africa: Divide prices by a little less than 9 for the US equivalent.

Kenya: Divide by 100, and then add back about 15%.

Morocco: Like for South Africa, divide by a little less than 9.

Israel: Divide by about 4 to estimate the US price.

Turkey: Divide by 2 and then add back 25%.

Egypt: Divide by about 6.

Oceania
Australia: For estimating purposes, roughly 1-to-1.

New Zealand: Take a 20% discount on the prices you see.

[Image credit: Flickr user Images_of_Money]

Correction: A previous version of this article mistakenly said to “divide by half” rather than the correct “divide in half” or “cut in half,” and has been amended.

Doomsday Bicycle Tour Lets You Ride To The End Of The World

Tour d'Afrique's Doomsday Tour of La Ruta Maya What do you want to be doing when the world ends in December? If your answer is exploring Mayan temples ruins, gazing upon volcanoes and waterfalls, and basking in Central America‘s warm autumn sun all from the seat of your mountain bike, then Tour d’Afrique has a pretty epic tour for you to consider.

Tour d’Afrique’s Doomsday Ride is a 2,300-kilometer (1,429-mile) transcontinental bike expedition along the “Ruta Maya” timed to coincide with the end of the world according to the Mayan Calendar. The trek begins in San Jose, Costa Rica, on November 17, 2012, and follows a winding, but well-scouted, route through Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Honduras, Guatemala and Belize. It concludes at the Lamani Mayan Temple outside of Belize City, Belize, on December 21, 2012 – the supposed date of the apocalypse.

Along the way, participants will get to check out Mayan ruins at Tikal and Copan; the great colonial architecture in the city of Granada, Nicaragua’s erstwhile capital; and villages, markets, rainforests, volcanoes, crater lakes and many other slices of life and nature off of the tourist track. If you can’t take off for the full five weeks of the expedition, Tour d’Afrique offers three shorter sections that average between 10 days and two weeks.

To learn more about the tour, the route, rates and schedules, check out Tour d’Afrique’s La Ruta Maya – the Doomsday Ride Blog.