You Can’t Afford Not to Take a Vacation

As reported on, if this economy has you feeling stressed, financially strained or in need of a break, it’s not that you just want a vacation, you really need one! Giving your mind a body a time to rest and re-charge does wonders not only for your physical well being, it also helps you perform daily routines and jobs better once you return.

Patricia Gerbarg, M.D. and assistant clinical professor of psychiatry at New York Medical College says, "Vacations are important. People are constantly surrounded by demands, constantly adding stress, so our stress response is overactive." Gerbarg, who also co-authored the book "How to Use Herbs, Nutrients and Yoga in Mental Health Care", is referring to the balance in our body between the sympathetic part of the nervous systems, which give us those fight-or-flight responses and keep us alert, and the parasympathetic, which allow us to rest. By changing your environment or routine, the latter can be restored.

Unfortunately Expedia reports that about one-third of employed adults (34 percent) usually do not take all of the vacation days they receive each year. And, interestingly, another statistic shows that 34 percent of adults who do take a vacation claim they feel better about their job and are more productive when they return.

So, how can you make sure a vacation is part of your future? You don’t have to plan something elaborate to get the rest and relaxation you need. Think about a vacation in your own town, or a destination that’s just a few hour drive so you are out of your normal routine, but, not paying too much for gas to get there. Maybe you have some previous frequent flyer miles built up for a longer distance adventure? In this economy, it pays to be creative. It’s doesn’t have to be the vacation of your dreams to be relaxing and restorative. The most important thing is that it reduces your stress, not adds to it.

And, for those who are budget conscious, and who isn’t these days, take a look at timeshare rentals. Renting directly from a timeshare owner can really save you money when you travel, and with resorts available worldwide, you’re sure to find just what you are looking for. With your health and well being as stake, you can’t afford not to take a vacation.

Disney Vacation Club Points Change

For the first time in 18 years Disney Vacation Club has made changes to its points program. In an effort to get more of their vacationers to spend weekend nights in their resorts, DVC has reallocated the number of timeshare points required to stay on their properties.

Before this change, weekend stays required almost twice the amount of points as weekday stays. What you will notice as a DVC member is that you will now need more points than was previously required for weekday accommodations than for weekend dates at the Disney Resorts. But, because the points were redistributed more evenly across the week, and not really increased, the total number of points for a 1 week stay remains very close the same.

The DVC reports that the goal is to spread the demand more evenly throughout the week instead of having higher occupancy during the week and having the weekends more empty. Weekend nights are still more expensive than weekdays, but the disparity is less.

The Orlando Sentinel, who originally reported this news goes on to say that “State law allows time-share operators to reallocate points through the year, so long as the total number of points remains the same.”

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August Kicks Off State Fair Month

August officially kicks off State Fair season! Why not plan a vacation around visiting one of the many State fair across the United States. Visit to see if there’s one near your next travel destination, or, take a look at our suggestions below for a fun day filled with rides, 4-H and FFA competitions, petting zoos, livestock, agriculture, woodworking, artwork, food and music! Every fair has something that makes it unique and stand out from all the others, so, get out there and explore a State Fair near you.

Tennessee State Fair
Even if you’ve been before, there’s lots of new things to see at the Tennessee State Fair in Nashville, September 11 - 20, 2009. They’ve added “Kids Country”, a play zone designed for kids ages 3 to 8. Follow the “new mascot's” footprints all over the fairgrounds to family-friendly, educational opportunities sure to please all ages. (The mascot is a surprise, so, you’ll find out when you get there.) And, don't miss being a part of the never before seen Greenway Energy Expo featuring the latest in renewable energy and the technology that makes it all possible.
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Arizona Exposition and State Fair
You can visit the Arizona Exposition and State Fair in Phoenix from October 16 - November 8, 2009. There’s something for everyone at the fair with great attractions like: The Great American Petting Zoo where animal lovers can pet, feed, and learn about different kinds of animals. Or, watch the Native Spirit Dancers perform an exciting native American dance. Mad Science presents, "Funky Farmworks," a live stage show that explores the fun side of science. Using interactive experiments and hilarious antics, the Mad Scientists will get everyone excited about farming! And, don’t forget the pig races.
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Fun Facts About Hawaii

Did you know that fifty years ago this month, Hawaii became the 50th state admitted to the union? So, why not celebrate the tropical paradise with a Hawaii vacation? Here’s five fun facts you may, or may not, know about Hawaii:

  1. Hawaii is the only state that grows coffee.

  2. More than one-third of the world's commercial supply of pineapples comes from Hawaii.

  3. Hawaii has its own time zone, Hawaiian Standard Time (HST). They do not recognize daylight savings time. HST is two hours behind Pacific Standard Time and five hours behind Eastern Standard Time.

  4. The islands of Hawaii were formed by under-sea volcanoes that erupted thousands of years ago.

  5. Each island of Hawaii has its own flowers and colors used to represent it.

    • Niihau - Pupu Shell – White

    • Kauai - Mokihana (Green Berry) - Purple

    • Oahu - Ilima -Yellow

    • Maui - Lokelani (Pink Cottage Rose) - Pink

    • Molokai - White Kukui Blossom - Green

    • Lanai - Kaunaoa (Yellow and Orange Air Plant) - Orange

    • Kahoolawe - Hinahina (Beach Heliotrope) - Grey

    • Big Island of Hawaii - Lehua Ohia – Red
The coffee, the pineapples, the flowers… doesn’t it all make you ready for that tropical vacation getaway? For more details on the islands, see our previous post: A Timeshare In Hawaii Makes a Great Summer Vacation. For ideas on where to stay in Hawaii, see these Hawaii Timeshare rentals, or read our previous post: Need a Hawaii Vacation? Hilton’s Grand Vacation Club Has Seven Choices.

Plan a Historic Vacation in Virginia

Alexandria is recognized around the nation as one of America's most historic sites, dating back to the Colonial period. Feast your eyes on the beautiful 18th- and 19th-century architecture as you stroll around the quaint town. Alexandria played a vital role in the history of America, so you’ll want to visit many of the amazing and historic sites located throughout the city. The Old Town district alone includes more than 4,000 historic buildings. Getting around Alexandria is simple with plenty of transportation options like metro and trolleys, so you won’t need a rental car.

Alexandria was the home to George Washington. Visit his beautiful riverside estate at Mount Vernon and see the: mansion, outbuildings, tomb, working farm, and new visitor facilities with 25 galleries and theaters. Gadsby's Tavern was frequented by both Thomas Jefferson and George Washington. The museum consists of two buildings, the 1785 Georgian tavern and the 1792 City Hotel, and has been authentically restored to its 18th-century appearance.

Alexandria is so convenient because it’s just a short walk away from the Washington D.C. transit system where you can visit the White House, Smithsonian, Pentagon, Arlington National Cemetery, and many other D.C. attractions. You’ll want to stay at least a week in Alexandria to visit all the historic sites both Virginia and Washington D.C. have to offer.

Stay at the Wyndham Old Town Alexandria, located in the heart of Old Town Alexandria, to be at the center of the cities activity. Guests will enjoy how each room is decorated with a Mount Vernon theme, which is quite appropriate since that attraction is only 5 miles away. Wyndham Old Town Alexandria has indoor pool and exercise room, and a guest dining area on-site, though with all the great restaurants on King Street, you will most likely be exploring a new one each night! Be sure to take a stroll down to the waterfront afterward for the perfect end to your evening.
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Visit Big Sky in Montana for an Outdoor Vacation

Big Sky, Montana offers an unforgettable vacation experience where the beauty of nature will overwhelm you. No matter what time of year you visit, you will be awed and impressed by what you see. There’s great skiing in the winter and spring and beautiful scenery and wildlife in the summer and fall. Outdoor activities include: white-water rafting, mountain bicycling, horseback riding, fly-fishing, tennis, golfing, skiing and gondola rides. Visit the Gallatin National Forest and Yellowstone National Park for breathtaking views. If you’re looking for a day trip, visit the Museum of the Rockies in Bozeman where you’ll find one of the finest paleontology collections in North America and 500,000,000 years of history. Or travel along the Gallatin River where Robert Redford filmed the movie "A River Runs Through It".

While you are enjoying the peacefulness of the country, you may see a variety of wildlife: buffalo, elk, moose, deer, big-horn sheep, coyote and beavers. Grab your camera and enjoy their natural beauty and you might even find yourself side by side next to professional wildlife photographers snapping their own pictures.

Excellent fly fishing and beautiful scenery makes a fishing trip to Montana like no other. Montana has excellent opportunities to catch trout, whitefish, pike and bass with over 40 rivers to choose from. Fish the lakes, rivers or mountains. Lake fishing can reward the angler with monstrous sized fish that cannot be found in the many rivers of Montana. Mountain fishing has very low fishing pressure due to the difficulty of access and exertion needed to reach the lakes and rivers. Montana fishing can’t be beat.

Big Sky Ski Resort combined with the adjacent Moonlight Basin, makes this Montana Ski Area terrain one of the largest areas in the United States. Skiers’ will love the 400 inches of powder snowfall every season. With a variety of experience levels offering easy, moderate, and expert runs, the whole family can enjoy this resort. The wait in the lift lines is almost non-existent, a huge plus for the avid skier. Cross country skiing options are also available. When you think powder, think Big Sky!

Lake Condominiums at Big Sky is a resort located at the base of the 11,166 foot Lone Mountain on the shore of Lake Levinski. Lake Condominiums offer two bedroom units, or two bedroom units with a loft. Each unit has spacious living areas, fireplaces, fully equipped kitchens and laundry facilities. The condominiums are within walking distance of the lifts of the Big Sky Ski and Summer resort. After a day of outdoor adventure, grill a steak on your deck's gas BBQ, or relax in the heated whirlpool spa. This is the vacation you’ve been waiting for.
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Visit Tahiti Village in Las Vegas for a Polynesian Themed Vacation

Tahiti Village will give you and your family a great vacation with a Polynesian feeling, without the price tag of flying to the South Pacific. Located on the famous Las Vegas Strip, this resort is a wonderful tropical inspired oasis in the middle of the Nevada dessert. This Tahitian themed, 27 acre, resort includes 5 residential towers surrounding a lushly landscaped courtyard. Sand awaits you at the volleyball courts and entry to the main pool, where you might even find kids building a few sand castles. The Lazy River offers fun for all ages as you float around a winding lagoon style path in a giant inner tube. Be sure to splash under the waterfall as you pass around. Other amenities include: hot tubs, whirlpools, a golf putting green, a reflecting pool with shaded cabanas and an activity center. You can workout in the fully equipped fitness center, enjoy the sauna, or relax with a massage at Mahana Spa.

Try Tahiti Joe's Restaurant for a themed, family dining and experience some authentic Tahitian cuisine. The menu includes mouthwatering appetizers, satisfying salads and sandwiches, a build-your-own pizza option, and Polynesian-inspired entrees and decadent desserts. Even the kids will find some menu items sure to please. The Tiki Lounge is right next door and offers with limited gaming for adults. From the massive carved Tiki gods to the bamboo accents and Tiki lights you’ll feel transported to the tropics.

This brand new resort offers modern furnishings designed for your comfort and convenience. Enjoy fully equipped kitchens with cooking utensils and a complete supply of all bedding and linens on hand -- everything you need to make for a relaxed and enjoyable vacation with all the comforts of home you expect in a timeshare.

View timeshare rentals available at Tahiti Village.
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For what to do when you get there, see our previous post Las Vegas is a Great Year Round Travel Destination.

Disney Backs up Timeshare Bank Deal

In an article reported by the Orlando Sentinel, the Walt Disney Company has recently assumed more than $200 million in additional liability due to the fact that more and more timeshare owners have defaulted on their loans. WDC has taken on this financial responsibility in an attempt to preserve a credit agreement between Citigroup bank and its timeshare subsidiary company, Disney Vacation Club.

It all stems back to a 1999 agreement where the Disney Vacation Club was selling the timeshare mortgages it had issued to individuals, to Citigroup. But, with the economic slump and changes in the credit market, Citigroup stopped buying the mortgages last December, 2008, as Citi and Disney were unable to agree to new terms.

In June 2009, new terms were reached and Disney agreed to back up losses of as much as 70 percent of the outstanding principal on the loans. (In the previous terms Disney was only covering 18 percent.) Under this new deal, that equates to $219 million in extra liability. The bank still owns $422 million of Disney Vacation Club loans.

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Where to Stay in Las Vegas?

Do you know where to stay in Las Vegas on your next family vacation? With so much to do for kids and adults in Las Vegas, planning an itinerary will be the least of your worries, but, you do need a great place to stay. Why not choose a timeshare rental and enjoy all the luxuries of home, like: more space and separate rooms (for when the kids go to bed early), in unit kitchens to cook your own healthy meals, plus there are fun amenities for kids (like activity zones, water parks and movies by the pool) to fill your itinerary even more! Here’s our top three picks for timeshares available for rent in Las Vegas:

Marriott's Grand Chateau

At the center of the legendary Las Vegas Strip, you’ll find Marriott's Grand Chateau, evoking casual elegance reminiscent of mansions you’d find in Southern France. Each one-, two-, and three-bedroom timeshare villa offers a fully equipped kitchen, separate living and dining areas, 42-inch Sony plasma TV, DVD and stereo, deep tub for soaking and an oversized shower, washer/dryer, and Wi-Fi accessibility. Activities and amenities include a rooftop pool and bar, fitness center, Marriott's Activity Zone Experience, and valet parking.

The Villas at Polo Towers

Giving new meaning to the term "casual elegance", The Villas at Polo Towers are reminiscent of Tuscany with rich, elegant, Italian fabrics, inlaid marble and granite countertops. Luxurious one- and two-bedroom timeshare accommodations offer king beds in the master bedroom. Two-bedroom units feature a Murphy bed and sleeper sofa and can accommodate up to six people. One-bedroom units offer a sleeper sofa in the living area with enough room for four people. All units are fully equipped with a kitchen, TV in the bedrooms, and a private balcony. Guests can enjoy the state-of-the-art fitness center, tanning beds, steam rooms and massages. There’s also a roof-top pool, family water park and play area.

Wyndham Grand Desert

Set away from the noise of the Strip, but still close enough to experience all the action, the Wyndham Grand Desert is a perfect for family vacations. This timeshare resort offers one- and two-bedroom accommodations complete with a full kitchen, washer/dryer, air conditioning, and wireless Internet access. One-bedroom units feature a king-size bed in the bedroom and a full-size sleeper sofa in the living area. Two-bedroom units offer a king-size bed in the master and a queen (or two twin beds) in the guest room, plus a full-size sleeper sofa in the living area. Guests will enjoy the three outdoor swimming pools, one of which is just for kids and another exclusively for adults. Family activities include: dive-in movies by the pool, poolside bingo, magic shows, and kid's camp. For the adults there’s: a black jack tournament, gaming lessons, and discounts on the Callaway golf driving range. Plus there are also four outdoor hot tubs, a game room, masseuse, and an exercise facility. With all they offer, you may need a vacation from your vacation!

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For activities, see our previous post: Las Vegas is a Great Year Round Travel Destination

What’s New at Theme Parks for Your Family Getaway

Theme parks across the United States are adding great attractions to their parks that are already jam packed full of family fun. From extreme rides, to Sesame Street, or American Idol, there’s something new to please everyone in the family. Some parks are even offering discounted tickets online, so, check the Web site before you go. Here’s a list of just a few of the new shows and thrills you can experience on your next family vacation.

Manta at Sea World

In Orlando, Florida, Sea World recently opened a new roller coaster called Manta. As you walk towards the ride in anticipation, you pass through an aquarium filled with rays. The ride is thrilling with spins and twists and turns that give you the feeling that you are a giant ray, swimming the ocean deep. It’s the only flying roller coaster of its kind in the world. Height requirements: 54 inches. “Dive deep and fly high!”
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Sesame Street Forest of Fun at Busch Gardens
Elmo, Big Bird, Abby Cadabby and other Sesame Street characters are now at Busch Gardens, Virginia. Sesame Street Forest of Fun is the newest attraction and just for children and their families. The area includes four rides such as Grover’s Alpine Express roller coaster, and Bert and Ernie’s Loch Adventure water flume ride. There are wet and dry playgrounds and a 4-D Sesame Street movie. Kids can also meet their favorite Sesame Street characters and get their picture taken with them for a great souvenir.
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The American Idol Experience at Walt Disney World
At The American Idol Experience at Walt Disney World, Orlando, you decide who has what it takes as you watch and vote for your favorite performer. Contestants sing their hearts out on a replica stage, just like you see on the hit TV show. Audience members vote via touch pads as actors who play Randy, Paula and Simon make their comments. The winners compete against other winners throughout day for a chance to audition for the real show!
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