Kosher Safari – Redefining Jewish Travel

Travelers have their own definitions of a perfect vacation. One might consider a tropical vacation on a Hawaiian island, a calm Mediterranean cruise, a backpacking adventure in Eastern Europe, or a wild African Safari. These vacation options are some of the best ideas there are when it comes to travel. Incidentally, there are also the travel ideas that every vacation goer would want to experience in his or her lifetime. It is every human’s thirst for beauty and learning that makes people yearn to visit new places.

Today, there are many travel and tours companies that offer world-class travel experiences for people of different social status. There are even plenty of tours that are themed to cater to the specific interest of a particular traveler or group of travelers. For the members of the Jewish and Samaritan communities, for instance, no matter how inviting the vacation ideas mentioned above are, they would prefer a travel experience that is completely kosher. That way, they get to indulge in everything that their chosen vacation package offers without once having to compromise their faith.

Much to the joy of the Jewish and Samaritan communities, many travel and tours companies now have plenty of tours that are incorporated with kosher standards. Today, there are dozens of Jewish travel opportunities that Jews can choose from for the different Jewish holidays. These Jewish travel opportunities are highly popular (and fully booked) during Rosh Hashana and Passover. One of the most sought after Jewish vacations today is an ultimate kosher safari. Imagine being able to experience Africa at its finest while maintaining a completely Jewish lifestyle.

The word “safari” automatically sends images of Africa to people’s minds. Only in Africa does every traveler get to experience the luxurious comforts of modern life amidst the greatest natural wonders that the world has to offer. Kosher safaris grant travelers the chance to get acquainted with wildlife roaming free and undisturbed in their natural habitat. Kosher safari tour participants can treat Africa as their playground as they get involved in various ranger games against experienced gamers. Here are some of the things Jewish travelers should expect from a kosher safari in Africa:

1. Victoria Falls – Being able to witness one of the seven wonders of the world alone makes the trip to Africa worth it. The majestic Victoria Falls deafens its travelers with the powerful roar of its waters as well as mesmerizes them with the magical misty haze it emits. Local tribes surrounding the area aptly call it the Mosi-Oa-Tuny or the smoke that thunders. To top it off, this part of the African kosher safari offers an afternoon elephant back ride through the dense bushes for wildlife sightseeing.

2. Zambia – This part of the kosher safari adventure offers a full day of discovery at Botswana’s Chobe National Park. Kicking off with a morning cruise along the Chobe River, tour participants can expect to see elephants and other animals coming to the river to quench their thirst or take their morning baths. More wild animals such as zebras, lions, giraffes and buffalo await the Jewish travelers at the Chobe National Park.

3. Cape Town – Jewish travelers are definitely going to feel at home in Cape Town as they get to know and enjoy the company of Africa’s local Jewish community. Cape Town also offers a lot of attractions and activities that visitors should not miss. Some of them include a walk with baboons in their home territory, a full day tour of the wine lands with kosher wine tasting, sightseeing tour at Cape Point and more.

4. Sabi Sands Game Reserve – Kosher safari participants are accommodated in one of the best five-star lodging located in the Sabi Sands Game Reserve in Africa. This place lets travelers see the magnificence of nature at its finest. Here, there are even more opportunities for wildlife sighting. Some of the wild animals to watch out for are lions, leopards, cheetahs, elephants, antelope, zebras, buffaloes and many different species of birds. Tour participants must conjure all their courage and energy up as they ride in wide open land rovers as well as explore the entire surroundings on foot. There are also ranger games that the extremely adventurous can join. These ranger games are available day and night.

Pristine natural surroundings, wild animals, botanical gardens, genius architecture, historic sites, and a very happening night life. This is Africa. There is nowhere else in the world that can offer a kosher safari the way Africa does.

Golf Courses Around The World – Top Travel Spots for Golfers

While golf is not played everywhere (yet), there are many wonderful golf courses around the world to visit – many offering truly unique golfing experiences for the adventurous golfer as well as some breathtaking views for travelers. From America to Japan, there are thousands of great courses to please golf enthusiasts, but where better to start than the birthplace of golf – Scotland.

Seated in the Birthplace of Golf – Scotland Courses

Let us start with the what many would argue is the best golf course in the world – the game was invented and evolved at the Old Course at St. Andrews in Scotland. To get an idea of how amazing it is, listen to the experts – Jack Nicklaus said about St. Andrews, “I fell in love with it the first day I played it. There’s just no other golf course that is even remotely close.” And Tiger Woods lauded, “Without a doubt I like it the best of all the Open venues. It’s my favorite course in the world.” With opinions like these from two of the top golfers in history, you can see why this one is not to be missed.

It is no surprise that Scotland hosts some of the finest golf courses in the world. One of the finest of the finest is Cruden Bay. Some say that golf was played on Cruden Bay as early as 1791. Today the course offers many unique challenges to golfers and is set against a gorgeous panoramic view, it was even voted as number 52 in the world by “Golf Magazine.” The course is actually set over the North Sea pipeline – so while you play over their contoured greens, muck of the U.K.’s crude oil supply is running beneath you!

Another great course, especially for tourists, is the Stromness Golf Club located in Orkney. It is not as challenging as many other top golf courses, and it is not even as attractive as most, but is it located just minutes away from the 5,000 year old burial mound Maes Howe. You could make a day of historical sightseeing and a golfing all in the same area.

Longest (and Highest) Links

Golf courses seem to be popping up all the time these days, so the site that holds the honor of longest course is disputed and ever changing. But there are some very notable ones around the globe…

One such contender for the longest course is the International Golf Club in Bolton Massachusetts. While the regular tees already have an impressive length of 6,547 yards, the “tiger” tees boast a full 8,325 yards.

A course in Chine that sits near the Himalayas claims to have a longer course that runs the length of 8,548 yards, but it is hard to measure a course that is situated at an elevation of 10,000 feet in mountainous terrain. So it is still determine to which course really is the longest.

By the way, of you thought 10,000 feet was a high enough elevation for golfing, take a deep breath and try out the Tactu Golf Club in Morochocha, Peru. This course sits 14,335 feet about sea level – and that is at its lowest point!

The Satsuki Golf Club in Japan is said to have the longest single, stretching the length of 909 yards.

Gorgeous Greens

If you’re looking for a course with some great scenery, you don’t have to look outside of the U.S. Located in Idaho, Hidden Lakes Golf Resort has some of the loveliest scenery you could ask for in a course. Not only does it have bent grass greens and carefully manicured bluegrass fairways, but you can often spot some local wildlife on the course. It is not uncommon to spot a deer or moose grazing just yards away from the links. Hidden Lakes has a log cabin lodge for you to enjoy, and has a new clubhouse, lounge, restaurant, and golf shop. If you want to get away and experience the beauty of nature while enjoying some golf, this highly rated resort is the place for you.

Historical Holes

If you want a golf vacation that’s rich in history, you have a few great options. How about golfing with a view of the Great Wall of China? That’s just what you’ll get when you play at the Beijing Golf Club, located just 30 minutes away from the Beijing International Airport. While Scotland has the oldest courses, India has the second oldest. The Bombay Presidency Club was built in 1827, and the Bangalore Golf Club was founded in 1876.

And this is just the beginning! There are many other winning courses in America, including “Golf Magazine’s” top ten rated courses of 2004: Pebble Beach in California, Pacific Dunes in Oregon, Bethpage in New York, Pinehurst in North Carolina, and Whistling Straits in Wisconsin. Scotland also houses many other historical and lush courses. And while I would definitely recommend making a trip to St. Andrews in Scotland, since it is one of the best courses around as well as the oldest, there are also many other fine courses worldwide just waiting for some traveling golf enthusiasts!

Golden Ring of Russia – Travel Guide

WHAT IS IT: The so called “Golden Ring of Russia” is a symbolical ring connecting historical towns and cities to the North-West of Moscow. They represent 1,000 years of rich Russian history written in stone and wood, from a 850-year old church in Rostov to a 19th-century log house in the Suzdal’s open air museum. Each of the “golden” towns once played an important role in the history of Russia and was connected in one way or another with famous historical figures such as Alexander Nevsky, Ivan the Terrible, Peter the Great and many others.

WHAT TO SEE: The cities and towns of the Golden Ring are listed here in alphabetical order:

Aleksandrov (founded in 1530, population 68,000) – The town is situated 100 km from Moscow on the crossway of ancient roads from the largest historic centers of Russia – Vladimir and Suzdal, Rostov and Yaroslavl, Sergiev Posad and Pereyaslavl-Zalessky. In 1564- 1581 the town was the residence of Ivan the Terrible. The very first in Russia publishing house was established in Aleksandrov in 1576. One of the leading textile manufacturing centres in Russia in the 19th century.

Bogolubovo (founded in 990, population 4,000) – a tiny quiet town near the city of Vladimir. The town was named after the Russian prince Andrey Bogolubsky (God-loving) who built the first fortified settlement here in 1165. Tourists can see remains of the Andery Bogolubsky’s residence including some residential chambers of the 12th century and the beautiful Church of the Intercession of the Virgin on the Nerl (1165) which is considered to be one of the finest specimens of old Russian architecture.

Gorohovets (founded in 1239, population 30,000) – The town was founded under Vladimir prince Andrey Bogolubsky. The town is picturesquely settled on the high bank of the Klyazma River. Played role as a fortified forepost until 1600-s. Reached its developmental pick in the 17-th century as a local centre for blacksmithing, textile-making and making of leather and also as an agricultural trade centre for grains and flax.

Gus-Khrustalny (founded in 1756, population 80,000) – Over 200 years ago a merchant built here the first workshop of glass casting. Today the town is one of the district centers of Vladimir region, well-known in Russia and abroad as the national center of glassmaking. The name Gus-Krustalny can be literally translated as Chrystalline Goose. The old part of the town is a workmen’s settlement of 1900-s. with its own Church of St. Joachim of 1816.

Kholuy (founded 1650, population 1,000) – The village of Kholui did not begin producing lacquered miniatures until the 1930s, and though iconography had been an important trade in the region in previous centuries, Kholui was never bound to any particular artistic tradition. Rather, Kholui miniatures share some traits with both Palekh and Mstera art, yet maintain a distinctive lyrical quality of their own. Sometimes, as with Palekh miniatures, Kholui miniatures will include some fine gold and/or silver ornamentation within the painting, and Kholui artists can create fantastic border ornaments on par with those of Palekh.

Kostroma (founded in 1213, population 300,000) – In the past Kostroma was known as “the flax capital of the north”; it supplied Europe with the world’s finest sail-cloth. The city has been also called as the “cradle of the Romanov dynasty”. Mikhail Romanov, the first of the Romanov dynasty, left the Ipatievsky Monastery for Moscow in 1613 to become tsar of Russia. During the Polish intervention in the turbulent years of the early seventeenth century Kostroma was a significant stronghold for the resistance movement. Nowadays Kostroma is an important industrial center (textile, metal works), a capital city of the Kostroma province.

Mstera (founded in 1628, population 6,000) – the town takes its name from the little Msterka River, which flows through it merging with the Kliyazma. It is in Vladimir Region, but not far from the border with Ivanovo Region, south of Palekh and Kholui, in breathtakingly beautiful countryside – the one that forms the backdrop to its paintings. Mstera was a respected center of icon production until the trade was banned after the Revolution of 1917. Since then its artists has been creating world-famous masterpieces in the form of lacquered miniatures.

Murom (founded 862, population 145,000) – one of the oldest Russian cites stretched along the left bank of the Oka river. The town’s name originates from “muroma”, one of the Finno-Ugric tribes lived here 15 centuries ago. Every Russian knows the name Ilya Muromets. He was a mythical epic hero defending people of Russia and later became a synonym of superior physical and spiritual power and integrity, dedicated to the protection of the Homeland. The town survived three Mongol invasions. In the 17th century Murom became an important centre of various crafts – building, painting, sawing.

Palekh (founded 1600, population 6,000) – the village is situated about 400km (250 miles) from Moscow in the Ivanovo region. In the 15th century it was one of the first centers of icon drawing trade. After the 1917 communist coup, when the icon business went down, Palekh masters tried to decorate wooden toys, dishes, porcelain and glass. These days the name of Palekh is nearly synonymous with the art of Russian lacquer.

Pereslavl-Zalesskiy (founded in 1152, population 45,000) – one of the oldest Russian towns, the birthplace of the famous Russian prince Alexander Nevsky, who defeated an army of German knights in 1242. Zalessky means “behind the woods”. That is where, behind the dense forests, ancient Slavic tribes retreated seeking refuge from hostile nomads coming from the South-East.

Ples (founded in 1410, population 4,000) – this quet little historical town is located on the bank of the mighty and beautiful Volga river. During the reign of Ivan the Terrible Ples was one of the largest river firsh suppliers to the kings’ court. In the 18-19th centuries the town became known as a popular resort and was often called “Russian Switzerland” for the beauty of its scenery. Numerous Russian artists including the famous master of landscapes Levitan used to come here to work.

Rostov Veliky (Rostov the Great, founded in 862, population 40,000) – another pearl of ancient Russian culture. In old Russia only two towns were called veliky (great). One was Novgorod, the famous trade centre of the Russia’s north, the other Rostov. In the 12th century Rostov grew to equal Kiev and Novgorod in size and importance. Modern Rostov is a sleepy old town with some magnificent buildings next to the shallow Nero lake.

Sergiev Posad (founded in 1345, population 115,000) – the spiritual center of Russia, residence of the Patriarch of the Russian Orthodox Church, where the remains of the first national saint, Sergei Radonezh, rests. In the heart of Sergiev Posad is a well-preserved splendid architectural ensemble of over 50 historical buildings, as well as magnificent art collections including old Russian painting and the treasures in the vaults of the former Trinity Monastery.

Suzdal (founded in 1024, population 12,000) – this little quiet town is a real gem, one of the most beautiful in the Golden Ring collection of citeis and towns. In the 11th century Suzdal became the very first forepost of Christianity in the North-Eastern Russia and significantly affected the religious life in Russia until the end of 19 century. Here you can find over 100 church and secular buildings dating from the mid-12th to the mid-19th century crowded into a area of 9 square km.

Uglich (founded in 937, population 38,000) – the town was built on a major trade route. In its history Uglich has survived destruction by the Mongols and lived through the devastation of fires and plagues. Uglich is famous for Russia’s darkest secret – the death of young Prince Dimitri, son of Ivan the Terrible who is often called Tsarevich (a heir to the throne) Dmitry. The center of the town also is a historical and architectural landmark. The streets are wide, with various churches standing side by side along the road.

Vladimir (founded in 1108, population 400,000) – one of the oldest Russian cities, was founded by the Russian Prince Vladimir Monomakh on the banks of the Kliazma river. The city really blossomed in the 12th century during the reign of Prince Andrey Bogolubsky, who strengthened its defences, welcomed architects, icon-painters, jewellers from other countries, built new palaces and churches so magnificent that travelers compaired them with the ones in the “mother of all Russian cities”- Kiev. Until the middle of 14th century the city had been an administrative, cultural and religious center for North-Eastern Russia.

Yaroslavl (founded in 1010, population 600,000 ) – as the legend goes it was founded by the famous Russian prince Yaroslav the Wise as a fortified settlement on the Volga river. After a huge fire of 1658 that turned most of the city into ruins, Jaroslavl was rebuilt in stone and reached the peak of its architectural development with palaces and churches richly decorated with beautiful frescoes and ornaments thus earning the title “Florence of Russia”. Today it is a quiet metropolitan city, one of Russia’s largest regional centres, a capital of the Jaroslav province and one of the most beautiful cities of old Russia.

Yuriev-Polsky (founded in 1152, population 20,000) – was founded by the Prince Yury Dolgoruky (who also founded Moscow in 1147) and named after himself. The second word “Polsky” means “among the fields” as it is situated in the heart of fertile and flat Suzdal land. These beautiful landscapes inspired the great painters and writers such as Repin, Tyutchev, Odoevsky, Soloukhin. Local textile centre since the 18th century.

HOW TO GET THERE: By plane to Moscow. From Moscow you can travel the cities and towns of the Golden Ring either by a tour bus or by a river cruise ship. The last option limits the number of towns that you can visit as they have to be situated close to the Volga river. We recommend you to take a bus tour for 3 to 10 days depending on your stamina and level of interest in Russian history. A typical 3-4-day tour from Moscow covers up to 7 cities and towns of the Golden Ring. You travel during the day time in a comfortable bus with a well-trained English-speaking guide and spend nights at hotels with Western-class service (usually- 3 star). The Golden Ring tour can be perfectly combined with 2-3 day program in Moscow. Almost every major travel agency in Moscow sells Golden Ring tours and it is much cheaper to buy them on the spot in Russia then to purchase a tour included into a vacation package from Europe or overseas. Communication is not a problem, these days all personnel in respectable agencies in Russia speak English.

WHEN TO GO: The best season to travel to Russia is summer, from June to August, the warmest time of the year there. Rains are usual during summers, do not forget to pack your umbrella. Weather can be unpredictably cold, even in the European part of Russia, so take some warm clothing. You can check next week weather forecast for Moscow here.

TRAVEL TIPS: A passport and a Russian visa are required to travel in or transit through Russia. To learn more about how to obtain Russian visa please visit Russian Embassy website. Without a visa, travelers cannot register at hotels and may be required to leave the country immediately via the route by which they entered, at the cost of the traveler. Russian customs officers strictly follow document regulations so travelers are advised to have all papers in order. It is also recommended that additional copies of passport and visa be kept in a safe place in case of loss or theft. Elderly travelers and those with existing health problems may be at risk due to inadequate medical facilities. Doctors and hospitals often expect immediate cash/dollar payment for health services at Western rates so supplemental medical insurance with specific overseas coverage is very useful. Travelers should be certain that all immunizations are up-to-date, especially for diphtheria and typhoid. Quality of tap water varies from city to city but normally is quite poor. Only boiled or bottled water should be drunk throughout Russia. Crime against foreigners in Russia continues to be a problem, especially in major cities. Pick pocketing, assaults, and robberies occur. Foreigners who have been drinking alcohol are especially vulnerable to assault and robbery in or around night clubs or bars, or on their way home. Robberies may occur in taxis shared with strangers. Be aware that public washrooms are difficult to find, and usually you have to pay there. To use a public phone you will need a token or local card. International calls can not be made from street phones. Your mobile phone will work in Moscow and Saint Petersburg but seldom in regional cities. Taxi fee must be discussed with a driver before a journey.

In the major cities you can rent a car if you do not mind fairly rugged road conditions, a few hassles finding petrol, getting lost now and then and paying high rent price. Public transport in Russia is quite good, cheap and easy to use though sometimes overcrowded. Restaurants seldom have a menu in English. Tipping is expected but not mandatory. Signs in English are common on the streets of Moscow and other big cities. In large cities it is not hard to find a passerby who can answer your questions in Engish. Electricity throughout Russia is 220 volt/50 hz. The plug is the two-pin thin European standard.

Tips to Find the Finest Hotels in New Orleans

Most of the finest hotels with luxury facilities bear proximity to the favorite attractions, and are located in the areas bordered by N Rampant Street, Canal Street and Poydras Street in New Orleans. The area is particularly famous for venues and pubs that have hosted the best stars of traditional jazz and blues music. The Preservation Jazz Hall is a great place to catch a concert with the likes of BB King, John Mayer and others.

Hotels like Omni Royal New Orleans are great for families and old couples. They are lavish, never too expensive and offer facilities ranging from in-house dining to special packages for couples of all backgrounds and ages. Since expenses usually cross the 200 USD on romantic vacations, packages worth 193 USD including alcohol and breakfast can be one of the best preferences one can enjoy at the Omni Royal New Orleans. If you do not want alcohol as part of the package, package offers come at just above 150 USD.

Packages are always one of the best ways to enjoy luxury hotel services. Hotel Monteleone is a place where you can avail the classical charm reminding you of historic New Orleans. A classical architecture and vast spaces of gardens make way for tourist influx into this hotel. Although not very package friendly, the hotel manages to draw a great load of tourists owing to its luxury services and location near Bourbon Street.

Such hotels can be beneficial when you are looking to enjoy your vacation or honeymoon the conventional way. However, if you considered traveling in self-driven cars, you may also consider checking which of the hotels have reputable parking services in New Orleans. Some of the other luxury hotels in New Orleans are Maison Orleans, Melrose Mansion, Soniat House, and the Hotel de L’Eau Vive. Rooms for these hotels are priced $250 and upwards so you know what to expect.

Ten Finest Orlando Hotel Accommodations

Accommodation is of great importance when you are traveling especially during holidays and vacation. Thus, whenever you are in Orlando Florida, you need to have knowledge about the kinds of hotels which the place offers. If you are looking for a great place to stay disregarding the cost, then you should know the best hotels in town. I have here the list of the top ten finest hotels in Orlando.

1. Disney’s Bay Lake Tower — it is a brand-new tower in Orlando, situated nearby Disney’s Contemporary Resort. It is embedded with elegant suites and guest rooms and is attached by a sky bridge.

2. Ritz-Carlton Orlando Grande Lakes — considered an ultra-luxe resort, the Ritz-Carlton Orlando Grande Lakes allocates a forty-thousand-square foot spa and an eighteen-hole championship golf course, designed by Greg Norman.

3. Hilton Orlando — it is not just built for business purposes but also an ideal place for fun and relaxation. Being just right beside the Orange County Convention Center makes it to be one of the most famous hotels in the vicinity. It is even the favorite hotel for business travelers.

4. Waldorf Astoria Bonnet Creek Resort — originally built in New York City, the newly raised prolific Waldorf Astoria resort is also built in Orlando. This resort is rich with historical memories and heritage. It is even considered to be the most anticipated resort.

5. Gaylord Palms Resort and Spa — it is one of the largest hotels and convention facilities in the entire Florida, occupying sixty acres of the land and 2.1 million square feet of height. It is adjacent to I-4, about three minutes from the Disney World. It is embedded with a total of one-thousand and four hundred six rooms, good enough to accommodate numbers of visitors, especially family vacationers.

6. Disney’s Polynesian Resort — as one of the family- and child-friendly hotels in Florida, Disney’s Polynesian Resort offers every guest an opportunity to experience a perfect stay. The white sandy beaches, verdant tropical landscaping in and out, and other exciting places are just few features that make it a perfect getaway for every visiting family.

7. Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort — across the lake from the Magic Kingdom rise the Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort, also known as the flagship Disney World resort that holds a historical appeal. With its full-service spa, you will have the relaxation you need and with its distinct dress code, you will have a perfect and unique dining experience.

8. Marriott Orlando World Center Resort & Convention Center — equipped with lots of amenities as such with its two-thousand rooms, six swimming pools and a hundred and six feet waterslide, the Marriott Orlando World Center Resort & Convention Center is yet, the largest Marriott in the world. It is one of the ideal hotels for family vacationers.

9. Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress Resort — it belongs to the world-class hotel categories, which offers every guest with a perfect place to spend quality nighttime, at the same time have a trip to various places during daytime. There are so many exciting activities and features as well as programs to make everybody feel at home especially the kids.

10. Omni Orlando Resort at Champions Gate — it is a practical luxury hotels and the first actual target resorts in Orlando, Florida which illustrates a really neat and stylish lobby plus you have so many options of pastimes.

You may now consider one from the aforesaid hotel and resort accommodations in Orlando, Florida and have it indicated in your very own Florida vacation itinerary.

Maui Travel For Adventure, Fun & Food

I first traveled to Hawaii and the island of Maui in 2004. The U.S.’s 50th state was my own personal 50th state that I had visited. I stayed at the Aston Maui Hill in Kihei, a condo with plenty of room to stretch out. I loved the property’s lush landscaping as well as its peace and quiet. Kihei can be properly referred to as pedestrian, but I loved its proximity to fabulous Wailea. Wailea has some of Maui’s finest hotels, the Four Seasons, Fairmont Kea Lani and Grand Wailea Resort.

Maui is the Hawaiian island known for its sports activities–scuba diving, parasailing, fishing, golf, tennis, hiking, horseback riding–you name it. I am not known for my athletic ability but decided to make adventure my first Maui activity. I had made a reservation to see the sunrise from the top of Haleakala, the famed volcano, and then bicycle to Haleakala’s base.

I arrived at my accommodations around 8:30PM but was to be picked up by Maui Downhill at 1:30AM, a small inconvenience but worth it. The van transported the visitors staying in the neighborhood to Kahului, where we joined the other tour takers for a continental breakfast at an ungodly hour of the morning. Soon we were part of the caravan to the peak of the volcano. We arrived in the predawn darkness at about 4:30.

The Haleakala summit was as cold as advertised. We all stood there and froze, but the wait was worthwhile; we watched what Mark Twain described as “the sublimest spectacle” of his life. The ride down Haleakala was exhilarating and breathtaking but slightly scary. I consider myself a good biker, but many of the turns around the volcano were both very sharp and significantly down hill. At times, I had to quickly slow down and hold on tight. But it was a great ride.

We stopped for a picnic-style lunch at Sunrise Market & Protea Flower Farm in Kula toward the bottom of our journey. As instructed, I had dressed in layers, anticipating the Haleakala chill to evolve into uncomfortable heat as we traveled down. However, the air in Kula was nowhere near hot and humid on that morning. From Kula, we re-boarded the vans for the trip’s last leg.

My objective on this vacation was to see virtually all areas of Maui. In addition to Kahului, home to Maui’s airport, and Wailea, near where I stayed, I drove to Kapalua, a dreamy destination where the Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua Bay Hotel and possibly the island’s best beaches are situated. I also took a bus tour east to Hana, where the scenery is dramatically different from Kapalua and Wailea. And I spent my last day in Lahaina on Maui’s west coast, a modest town with lots of hustle and bustle.

In the mornings, I took the short drive to breakfast at Longhi’s in The Shops at Wailea, a tony little mall. Longhi’s is best known for their fresh baked cinnamon rolls, but they also do a great job with eggs Benedict and Florentine, and other breakfast specialties.

Speaking of food, Maui has some fabulous dining. My first Maui dinner was at a restaurant recommended by several friends, Mama’s Fish House on the North Shore. Another of my dining spots was Nick’s Fishmarket in the Fairmont Hotel, with its visual sizzle and memorable food. On another evening, my choice was The Waterfront at Maalaea. Located in a modest condo building, I would have to call this a hidden gem. The Waterfront offers excellently prepared Hawaiian fish, its signature lobster chowder and an excellent Caesar salad along with a great view of Maalaea Harbor.

For lunch, I visited another recommended spot right in the heart of Kihei, Alexander’s Fish & Chicken & Chips. Alexander’s serves fast food Hawaiian style, and you take your ono, mahi mahi, ahi, shrimp, chicken, oysters or ribs to the outside seating on the patio. I enjoyed another lunch at the Plantation House Restaurant on a golf course in Kapalua. The view from the Plantation House could be Maui’s best. The ocean, the rolling fairways and greens, and the West Maui Mountains are all within view. Another good feature of Maui is its relaxed dress code. While swimsuits, tank tops and cutoffs are not appropriate, shorts and a dressy casual shirt or top are perfectly acceptable for dinner in the finest restaurants.

Does any of this want to make you pack your bags? The best and easiest place to create your dream Maui vacation is where I book my vacations, []. We are a franchise of the number 25 seller of travel in North America.

I’ve found that the lowest prices can be found by clicking on “Flight + Hotel” or “Flight + Car + Hotel” under “Your Travel Search” on the homepage. However, if you prefer a complete vacation package that takes care of your every whim, visit [] and click on “Vacations” on the homepage. When the Vacation page comes up, click on the Pleasant Holidays or Apple Vacations icon, and you’ll be on your way!

Best Hotels For Your Dubai Travel

Dubai being a major tourist destination has become the home away from home for most of the travelers. For your Dubai travel, the city is ready to offer you with a handful of luxurious hotels. If you can spend little more, then do not miss to experience the extravagance services from these hotels.

Burj Al Arab

Burj Al Arab meaning Arabian Tower has been identified as one of the best landmarks of Dubai. The hotel is built in the shape of a sail, standing on the man-made island in the Arabian Gulf which is connected to the Jumeirah Beach by a private curving bridge. The illuminated building at night truly adds on to the night skyline of the city. With the incomparable service of the hotel, it has been recognized as the world’s only 7-star hotel. The hotel features several restaurants with world class cuisine, a magnificent reception area and a helipad. You will get to experience the finest personal service from highly trained customer service personals as soon as you step into the atrium. You can avail unique services like chauffer driven Rolls Royce, private reception desk on every floor, in-suite check-in and many more.

Emirates Towers Hotel

Your Dubai travel experience can also become exclusive, if you book your suite at Emirates Towers. This hotel is located in the heart of the city on Sheikh Zayed Road. With a short drive you can explore the pristine beaches or the fascinating rides of the Wild Wadi Water Park, as per your wish. The two towers of the building are another attraction of the city’s skyline. The hotel has a collection of 400 rooms and suites, 15 unparalleled restaurants serving delicious food and drinks, an open air swimming pool, health clubs, men’s spa, shopping boulevard and a floor, exclusively designed for women.

Al Maha Desert Resort & Spa

This is truly a unique lodging option located in the middle of the sand dunes at Al Maha Desert, which is a 45 minute drive from Dubai. Here you are going to experience the exotic beauty of the desert, which is a must for your Dubai travel. The resort is designed in a Bedouin-camp style, from where you can enjoy the panoramic view of the desert and the Hajar Mountains. Here you can experience the finest luxury with private pool, excellent dinning, rejuvenating spa and personalized service from best professionals.

Raffles Dubai

This is another iconic building in city skyline, developed with a form of a pyramid, inspired by traditional Egyptian architecture. The hotel is located near the Wafi City, which is just 15 minutes drive from the Dubai International Airport. Your Dubai travel will not be complete unless you go for some shopping experience at Wafi shopping complex. The hotel has 248 lavish rooms and suites, 10 exquisite outlets for food and beverages and the RafflesAmrita Spa offering unique treatments. To fascinate the guests, the hotel has a Botanical Sky Garden on the third floor, which is divided in 4 sections to depict 4 important elements like earth, water, fire and wind.

Orient Guest House

If you want to get a fill of the traditional Dubai style of living, then probably this is the best place. It is located in the Bastakiya Heritage area. Though it is comparatively small in size, but you are going to enjoy a unique experience with typical Arabian flavor of ambiance. The place has a courtyard café and many major tourist attractions are located within the walking distance.

During your Dubai travel, select any one of these and enjoy a fabulous experience.

Great Ways to Save Money on Travel to Europe

Europe can either be one of the most expensive destinations in the world, or one of the least costly, depending on what you do, where you eat, where you stay and how you get around. Europe is a hit with budget travelers and the well heeled alike, but this article focuses on helping the former get the very most from their travel dollar.

The goal of budget travel is not merely to spend as little as possible. The true goal of the budget traveler is to get the most value out of his or her travel budget, and to focus those limited funds on the things that mean the most to them. Often this means finding cheap lodging in order to enjoy a four star dinner at the finest restaurant in Paris. For others, it could mean buying food at the local grocery and cooking your own dinner, so that you can splurge on a night at the opera or the ballet.

Listed below are some of our all time favorite tips for saving money on a vacation in Europe (or anywhere else for that matter):

 Eat where the locals eat. Eating with the local people instead of the tourists is a great way to save money and enjoy some of the finest cuisine. The restaurants favored by local residents tend to be those that provide the best meals at the lowest prices.

 For a quick and economical breakfast, pick up a roll, some fresh cold cuts and a piece of fruit from the local market. Then enjoy a delicious sandwich and a cup of coffee in the local park.

 When eating out, choose the fixed price menu and the house wine for the best value. Most restaurants offer two or three choices on their fixed price menu, and these dishes are often a great way to sample the local cuisine.

 Sleep cheap on the train. Overnight trains are a great way to both get from place to place and sleep cheaply. Be sure to bring a meal, bottle of water and snack along with you. You will save money by not visiting the dining car, and you will enjoy some great food as well.

 Take lots of pictures and enjoy the people you meet on the road. Take pictures not only of local tourist attractions but of the friends you meet along the way. If using a film camera, it is best to bring the undeveloped rolls back with you and have them developed once you get back home, since film developing in tourist locations is usually quite costly. And of course a digital camera offers a great and cost effective alternative, and you can choose to print only the best shots.

 Try emailing your postcards. Find a website that offers some great photographs of local attractions, or upload your own from your digital camera. Use these shots to send some great personalized email postcards to family and friends back home.

 Try to learn at least a little bit of the local language. If you know the language, or at least the names of the currency, it will be easier, and often cheaper, to buy the things you need.

 When making large purchases, it is always best to use a credit card. Not only will your cash last longer, but credit cards provide the best exchange rates.

 Get cash through an ATM instead of at currency exchange kiosks and hotels. Like credit cards, ATM cash transactions provide the best exchange rates, and you will avoid the sometimes costly fees charged by hotels and currency services.

 Take advantage of all the discounts you are entitled to. Many locations provide student discounts, senior discounts, etc. If you are not sure about discounts, always be sure to ask.

 Plan your vacation budget wisely. There are some excellent, and very inexpensive mementos of your trip, such as stickers, patches or postcards. For more expensive purchases, remember that the further you venture from the tourist attraction, the less expensive the souvenirs will become.

 Tour the city with the locals. A bus pass or subway token is a great way to meet the local people and see the sights. The public transportation service of most European cites is remarkably efficient, clean, safe and easy to navigate. It is not necessary to speak the local language to navigate on the subway or the bus system of most cities.

Contact A Travel Agent To Help Plan Your Honeymoon Travel

It’s tough to comprehend spending another dime considering the exorbitant expenses incurred in planning the wedding of your dreams, but after months of vigorous planning, you will want to get away and spend some alone-time with your spouse. You can plan your honeymoon vacation by getting the help of a travel agent and let them do all the work so that you can relax and enjoy your honeymoon travel. There are several benefits in selecting a travel agent for planning your honeymoon travel. Some of them are stated below:

Finest days to take a trip – Travel agents book tons of vacations every year and they know what the finest days to travel are from the viewpoint of one’s budget as well as from the standpoint of time. If you are able to provide the agent with some flexibility in travel dates, they can get the least expensive and most stress-free choices for your honeymoon travel.

Save money on your honeymoon vacation – When you select a travel agent to book your honeymoon vacation they will get the best discounts on flights and hotels since travel agencies can buy tickets in bulk and pass these savings on to you.

Saves a ton of work when planning your honeymoon vacation – You can save hours of time since the agent will be the one to deal with the booking and preparations of your honeymoon vacation. You just need to tell them where, when and why.

A travel agency can provide answers to any questions about documents need for honeymoon vacation- An individual’s agent knows essential closing dates and necessities for passports, etc. They will help direct you through the process.

A travel agent can provide you with some insider perks for honeymoon vacation- Since travel agents are acquainted with the right questions to ask, they may be capable of coming up with offers that the common person would never come across on their own.

Travel agents know about desirable destinations – As agents usually travel a lot themselves, it is very possible that they have been to most of the typical honeymoon vacation destinations. If they haven’t themselves, probabilities are that someone in their office has. This will permit them to answer questions you may have about the best restaurants and public transit for your selected honeymoon vacation destination.

Travel agents help deal with any problems that arise if changes occur to your itinerary -If an individual changes their honeymoon vacation plans for any cause, they only need to make one phone call. A person will call their travel agent and then the travel agent will have to make the dozens of phone calls needed to recreate the honeymoon vacation plans.

Travel agents will give you one bill – When you decide to work with an agent, you will end up with one big bill to shell out and not a bunch of purchases with many receipts, confirmations, etc. Several travel agencies will offer a person with recompense plans. Selecting to work with a travel agent can not only lessen the constant worry when it comes to the planning of your honeymoon travel, but can also save you money as well as time.

Business and Travel Security

There are so many facets to contemplate when considering the subject of business and travel security. Every security expert worth his or her salt understands the different variations as almost stand alone security issues.

For example every single aspect of business and travel security presents its own unique problems. Airlines, flights, air travel, vacations, travel agents, travel tours, travel insurance, medical insurance, kidnap for ransom insurance, business insurance travel, holiday home security, backpacking, gap year travel all require some form of risk assessment and personal risk management to minimise security risks.

Business travel and business travel security encompasses everything designed to minimise the security risks to you, your family and/or your business associates. Threats are ever present and although every individual professional security expert operates in a permanent state of professional paranoia it is unrealistic to expect occasional travellers to act the same way. There are however many simple security strategies which every traveller can utilise to minimise the risks.

Once again the risks factors vary and are ever changing due to increased terrorist and organised criminal activities around the globe. When considering travel tours to politically hot spot destinations, the first priority has to be to purchase kidnap for ransom travel insurance from a security related brokerage. Most kidnap for ransom insurance or K&R insurance as it is known in security expert parlance is underwritten by Lloyds of London. It is a myth that kidnap for ransom insurance is only available for VIP’s and senior corporate executives. Due to the exponential increase in kidnap and the taking of hostages K&R insurance is available for everyday tourists and it is not as expensive as most people believe.

Your K&R insurance broker may stipulate certain security procedures must be undertaken to qualify you for cover. For example some insist on basic security awareness training. Depending on the country or countries you intend visiting they may insist that you participate in a 1 to 2 day close protection training programme run by professional bodyguard instructors. Elements of risk identification, risk assessment and risk management, advanced observation skills and counter kidnapping measures are taught. Security Expert Tip: Prior to the end of the last Millennium if we removed the obvious trouble zone of Lebanon, we found that six countries dominated two-thirds of the recent terrorist attacks, namely Columbia, Chile, Peru, Bolivia, Spain and Belgium. However fast forward to current day and the shift has moved to war zone areas like Iraq and Afghanistan. However terrorist attacks are increasing in many other global destinations. Security and close protection officers are advised to conduct rigorous threat assessments prior to close protection operation deployment to these areas.

Regarding business and travel security I advise all travel agents offering world travel tours to exotic locations to include a security update in their customers travel guide. I have delivered security training for business clients and close protection training for travellers and tourists. The benefits provide far more value than cost. If you think for a moment about the trauma of being a kidnap hostage then a 1 day security training programme is a positive investment.

Although every security expert will reinforce the fact that there is no such concept of 100% security, the knowledge you will gain from close protection training will seriously reduce your security risk. Don’t harbour any fears of joining a troop of muscle bound bodyguards fending off terrorists in a jungle fortification, because you can purchase a comprehensive home study security close protection training programme which requires no actual residential training. Many professional close protection officers purchase these training programmes to study when on operational bodyguard duties in the field.

Be under no illusion of all the international special forces, professional bodyguards or close protection officers are the finest security specialists to prevent attacks against individuals or the abduction by kidnap. Much of their close protection training curriculum consists of avoidance over confrontation. They place meticulous emphasis on the clients under their protection not being placed in an environment conducive to attacks or abduction. Forget Kevin Costner and Whitney Huston, and think more of The US Secret Service who provide presidential protective services.

The next security requirement is to book travel, luggage and medical insurance from your travel agent. Entering a hospital in an overseas destination can be very expensive. Ensure your medical policy covers you for return emergency flights back to your home country. It is also wise to ensure your insurance covers you for a daily cash payment in the event of your cash, cards and valuables being stolen. Insist on a maximum daily limit and ensure you have a cap on the amount of days you can receive cash. Kidnappers target hostages just to clean out their daily limit on a cash card ATM machine. Fortunately most of these kidnappings take place in Asia and once the money runs dry hostages are generally released. Not always, but frequently.

Another aspect worth considering for business and travel security is deciding which travel agent and travel agency to book your holiday or vacations with. Security is paramount. Travel agents hold much of your personal data. If this data was accessed by organised crime or a terrorist organisation then you may be targeted for kidnap for ransom. These criminal organisations are technology smart and in some cases victims are chosen before they have even left their country of origin. At the risk of sounding obvious your travel agent and/or travel agency should have the finest security data-safes installed in a very secure area of their business premises.

From a personal security perspective it is important to deal with a credible travel agent and/or travel agency. Home based criminals would welcome information which informs them when you and your family members or business associates are away from your home or office for a week or two.

No one escapes the business and travel security leprechaun. An innocent trip backpacking to Australia turned into a nightmare for British backpacker, Jamie Neale in July 2009. Playing a football match in Jakarta could have had serious consequences and resulted in large fatalities for the Manchester United football team, had they stayed in the Ritz-Carlton hotel a day earlier when it was blown up by suicide bombers.

Piracy and hostage taking is on the increase globally, suicide bombings, muggings, child abduction, violent assaults and theft is also increasing in many tourist destinations. I’ve heard more than one security expert attribute this growth to the current economic downturn.

Purchasing top quality security products and services falls under the tactical equipment section of most e-commerce web sites. It is advisable to visit Europe’s largest e-tailer of security products and services.

If this business and travel security seems like a doom and gloom article then please understand it is not. If you take one thing from this article then take this. Organised criminals, terrorists, pirates and kidnappers will always focus on soft targets. If you present as a hard target they will almost always leave you alone and focus on a softer target. They particularly welcome individual targets who live their life in what every security expert calls ‘Condition White.’ This is the concept of an individual not having any security awareness what so ever.

For any business employees or executives travelling overseas you should consider a visit with a security expert prior to booking your trip. The old saying of a little knowledge is dangerous, does not apply in the security industry. Being security aware will get you out of scrapes that softer targets are unable to avoid.