On Your Disneyland Vacation, Timing is Everything!

The second in our series on Tips for Visiting Disneyland is "Timing is Everything." Remember to book your budget-friendly, family-friendly, relaxation-friendly Anaheim timeshare after reading these tips:
  1. Visit During Off-Season…Believe it or not, Disneyland does have an "off-season" - several, in fact. If you can, plan your Disneyland vacation between the first week in January and President's Day, or between the day after Easter to Memorial Day, or between Labor Day and the end of September.

    And remember that anytime during the year the weekdays are less busy than the weekends, especially Wednesdays and Thursdays. Sundays are quieter than Saturdays.

  2. Busiest Times Advantages…Disneyland's busiest times are the summer months, and the Thanksgiving and Christmas holiday season. An advantage of visiting during the summer is that the Park stays open later, often until after midnight. Disneyland is a spectacular place at night, lit from top to bottom with millions of lights. Disneyland's late hours also give you time to go back to your air-conditioned timeshare in the heat of the afternoon for a break, and the kids can enjoy a swim in the pool.

    Another busy season advantage is the extra shows and parades that are staged when the Park is open late, and the many special activities and events that happen only during the holiday season.

  3. Purchase tickets online…You don't want to waste time standing in line at the ticket booth, and pre-purchased multiple-day tickets allow you to enter the Park up to an hour ahead of other folks on some days.

  4. Entering the Park…If you won't have the multiple-day ticket "early bird" advantage, plan to get to the main gate at least 30 minutes before it opens to be some of the first to enter. You might manage to get on a couple of rides before the great thrust of visitors arrive for the day. This is also the perfect time to shop along Main Street. The stores open before the Park does and are much less busy at this time. The store clerk can give you instructions on how to store your purchases at the package claim spot near the entrance.

  5. Know when these rides are closed…The Haunted Mansion is always closed in late September for its transformation into Haunted Mansion Holiday that begins on Halloween. By the same token it is closed again right after New Year's Day for its change back. It's a Small World closes in early November to get dressed up for its Christmas holiday look, and again closed right after New Year's Day so the decorations can be taken down. Fantasmic! is only open during the summer season, although it may perform on some off-season weekends.
And, when you rent a timeshare for your Disneyland vacation, you know you’ll have 7 fun filled days at the “Happiest Place on Earth”, so, you will have time to see and experience all the fun Disney has to offer the whole family. For more tips, read our previous article: 4 Tips to Know Before You Travel to Disneyland.
And, Where to go if you Need Help While Visiting Disneyland

4 Tips to Know Before you Travel to Disneyland

There is absolutely nothing better than a family fun vacation visiting Disneyland. When you rent an Anaheim timeshare in California, you are assured of comfortable, convenient lodgings at a budget price, and of a magical experience at the "Happiest Place on Earth."

Many families head to Disneyland "on a wing and a prayer," hoping that all will go well. But it's a big, busy, bustling place full of activities, rides, restaurants, sights, sounds, events - an entire whirling world all its own. Although Walt Disney famously stated, "Disneyland is going to be a place where you can't get lost or tired unless you want to," you'll need a good plan to make sure he was right about your family's Disneyland experience. This is the first in our series on Tips for Visiting Disneyland.

Before You Leave Home...
  1. Visit Disneyland.com... at least a month prior to your trip to Disneyland, and purchase your tickets online. Waiting in line to buy tickets when you get there is time wasted when you could be in the park! Also make reservations at this time if you plan to eat at the Blue Bayou restaurant, attend a character meal, or take the Tour.

    A warning: Disneyland does Not refund or replace lost tickets! Be sure that your tickets are kept safe both at home and while traveling. Always know where they are!

  2. When packing…Check Anaheim weather. Be prepared for cool evenings during the winter even if the day is warm. Unless it is a thunder storm with lightening, Disneyland remains open when it's raining. Umbrellas are far too cumbersome. Instead, easy to pack-and-carry cheap, disposable rain ponchos are the best bet.

    Usually it will be sunny, and often quite hot. Pack plenty of waterproof sunscreen, hats with strings or tie-ons (you don't want them flying off during a ride), and UV protective sunglasses for the entire family.

  3. Making your plan…Print off a Park map and study it. A good strategy of how to get through the Park will optimize your chances of enjoying the rides and events that you're interested in. Also having some idea of how to navigate around Disneyland will prevent wasted time. Circle food vendors on the map. When your kids have reached their limit and need re-fueling, it'll be handy to see at a glance what's close by.

  4. A family conference…Sit down with all members of your travel group and discuss the rides. If you have younger children it's a good idea to measure their height at home then check out the list of rides online to see which ones they will be allowed to go on.

    Nobody likes to stand in long lines, but the fact is that Disneyland sees over 14 million visitors a year. Disneyland's "FastPass" does shorten your wait a bit. This system will "save" your place in line while you go do something else. Also download and use the easy and inexpensive software "Ridemax," which can shorten your total wait time significantly. Also, consider visiting off season and even mid-week is best for shorter lines.
You’ll be happy to unwind at your timeshare at the end of a busy day! And, since it has all the comforts of home, you can save even more money by cooking a few meals there since eating at the “house of mouse” can cost a pretty penny!

See our next article: On Your Disneyland Vacation, Timing is Everything!
And, Where to go if you Need Help while Visiting Disneyland

Traveling with Kids this Summer? Visit the Zoo!

When you are planning your family's summer vacation and will be traveling with kids, remember - the Zoo's the thing. What better kid-friendly vacation activity is there than a zoo? Rent a timeshare and give yourself the gift of spending time in these amazing "theme parks." We'll tell you about three of the country's best kid-friendly zoos.

Rent a San Diego timeshare and head to the world-famous San Diego Zoo. Its remarkable Children's Zoo has 30 exhibits that range from nurseries for sick or weak baby animals, to a "Petting Paddock" where kids can touch goats and sheep and even miniature horses. "Zany Science Shows" are hosted by Dr. Zoolittle, and at "Bugtown: The Itty Bitty City" your kids can watch waterbugs, diving beetles and katydids in their own natural habitats.

Added fun for the kids in San Diego are interactive boards around the zoo with buttons they can push to hear various sounds the animals make when communicating. If they practice, your kids can be talking just like tigers by the time they're headed home!

There are many wonderful Phoenix timeshares available for rent in Arizona. And the Phoenix Zoo (see photo) is made to order for kids, and the entire family for that matter. For starters check out its Wilderness Experience Night Camp. Jeff Williamson, the zoo's executive director, explains that this is a great family activity. "We invite families to stay lakeside in a private tent, enjoy a grilled dinner with s'mores, learn about nocturnal animals, take a guided hike, and receive advice on how to navigate using the stars."

The Enchanted Forest is a magical exhibit created for kids 5 and younger, and the older kids will have fun exploring the "Forest of Uco," an exhibit designed to replicate a Colombian rainforest.

A New York City timeshare rental will set you up in good shape for a visit to the Bronx Zoo. One of the oldest zoos in the country, the Bronx Zoo was the first to teach students, and today has educational activities for kids from preschoolers to high school seniors. Its teaching materials have been translated into Chinese, Spanish, and African languages, and its curriculum is used in every state in the union and 15 foreign countries. "Our zoo is a living classroom," says Richard Lattis, general director. "Children are constant fountains of knowledge who are going to keep adults headed toward saving wildlife." The zoo's programs are divided into children's group visits, summer camps, and family outings.

To paraphrase Dr. Seuss - when you travel with kids, oh the places you'll go and the fun you'll have! And, there’s always fun at the zoo.

Keep Your Kids Learning this Summer with a Science Vacation

Kids love learning - really they do. And you can continue their learning when school is out and you're on your summer family vacation, by planning the vacation around places where kids can get elbow-deep in great science. When you travel with kids, you might even learn something, too!

It's easy to find a New York City timeshare rental that is budget-friendly. Then head to the New York Hall of Science. Chocked full of kid-friendly activities, your youngsters will love seeing their shadow frozen on a wall, and have fun making their very own kaleidoscope. It all starts by the Magic School Bus. Outside is a huge "science playground" that is open from April through December. Here your excited kids can run all over, finding the obstacle climbs and the mirror paths and the whisper dishes. They can even power a windmill by playing on the swings. And all of the kids will enjoy making their own cheese in a test tube!

When you rent a timeshare in Boston, not only will you have this historic town to explore, but you'll want to take the kids to the Museum of Science. A special program in Discovery Center (see photo) is for kids 8 and younger and offers tot-sized science tools to use, a "geology field station," and they even get to make Slime! All of the kids will enjoy the wonderful butterfly garden, and who wouldn't love a dinosaur dig? They'll see a hatchery where the various stages of chicks, from embryo to pecking out of the shell, are showcased, and a terrific planetarium show geared just for kids will show them starry night skies. A must-see is the Lightening Show, which gets rave reviews even from the staffs of other science centers!

Considered the number one science center for kids in the country is the Exploratorium in San Francisco, California. A timeshare rental here will not only give your kids the chance to ride cable cars and walk along the Golden Gate Bridge, but also to absolutely immerse themselves in over 450 interactive exhibits at the Exploratorium, in a space the size of two football fields. It's a good thing you'll have a timeshare for a week because you're kids will want to keep going back to this amazing place. They'll learn how to make soap bubbles big enough to encase their parents, and have great fun with the "antigravity" mirror that makes them appear to fly. Youngsters 7 and under get to try out the Tactile Dome - in total darkness the kids have to use their hands to "see." At this fun place, even you adults will find exhibits that will make you scratch your head and say, "Huh?" See all San Francisco timeshares.

Family Fun When You Travel to the Caribbean

You've been dreaming of a vacation in the Caribbean - beautiful sunsets, romantic walks along the beach - but you have a family and right now your vacation plans are focused on traveling with kids. Well, guess what? The Caribbean is full of family fun!

Rent a timeshare in kid-friendly Jamaica and discover fun from reggae music dancing to splashing in the crystal waters that surround this lush island. Your kids will delight in a ride with the Chukka Caribbean Adventures' Horseback Ride 'n Swim Tour, near Montego Bay. Led by a guide, the kids will ride through rainforests and end up on a beach with a ride through the surf! Taking kids ages 7 and up, the Blue Mountain Bicycle Tours have downhill routes past waterfalls and with spectacular views of Jamaica's coastline.

We've mentioned in a couple of other articles about Jamaica's "Meet the People" program, and this is a perfect way to introduce your kids to the island's rich culture. Sign up and you'll be invited into the home of a volunteer family where you'll share a meal. Choose a family with kids the same age as yours, and life-long friendships could be in the making.

A timeshare rental vacation on the Caribbean's lush green island of St. Lucia offers the kids a chance to journey into a Tarzan-like jungle. Your teens will especially enjoy a jungle trek with the Jeep Safari adventures. Take the kids to the Fond Latisab Creaole Park where there are hands-on activities just for kids to teach them about the exciting St. Lucian culture. And don't miss Mount Soufriere. Billed as the world's only "drive in" volcano, you can actually drive the kids up to the rim, and even walk among its bubbling sulphur pools.

You won't need to get passports for your family members when you vacation in a Puerto Rican timeshare rental. As a commonwealth of the U.S., Puerto Rico also uses American currency, and most of its citizens speak English. The family-oriented culture of Puerto Rico ensures that there will be lots of kid-friendly things to do. For example, follow the locals to family-fun Luquillo Beach, that has reef-protected water perfect for even the little tykes.

For some great exploring, take the kids hiking through part of the El Yunque rainforest (see photo) where they'll see such wonders as endangered green parrots and pretty little tree frogs. More great exploring can be found underground when you take the kids on a guided tour through the Rio Camuy Caves. And what kid wouldn't love exploring the tunnels and turrets of the six-level 16th century El Morro fortress?

When you travel with kids you'll discover what a kid-friendly vacation destination the Caribbean can be! See all Caribbean timeshares.

Earth Day and Timeshares – Who’s Going Green?

The 40th Anniversary of Earth Day (can you believe it?) is April 22, 2010. Founded in 1970 by U.S. Senator Gaylord Nelson as an environmental teach-in, it is now celebrated annually through-out the world as a way to inspire awareness and appreciation for the Earth's environment. Nearly 20 million Americans participated in the first Earth Day celebration and in the decades since, Earth Day has spread across the globe with thousands of events in more than 180 countries.

Of course, Earth Day is just the event that triggers the awareness that "earth day" should be celebrated 365 days a year. With that in mind, when you plan your next family timeshare vacation, know that there are a number of timeshare resorts that are "going green." In fact, the state of Florida has created the Florida Green Lodging program under the auspices of its Department of Environmental Protection.

Launched in 2004, this program establishes environmental guidelines for hotels to conserve natural resources and prevent pollution. "To become a designated member of the voluntary program, lodging facilities adopt cost-saving green practices to conserve energy, reduce water consumption, protect air quality and reduce waste," explains Florida's DEP director, DeDeas Bohn.

You and your family can support the messages of Earth Day by choosing Florida timeshares at the resorts that have been certified by the Florida Green Lodging Program. In Panama City you can enjoy "The Most Beautiful Beach in the World" and rent a timeshare at Marriott's Legends Edge at Bay Point resort. The powdery sand beaches and NASCAR can all be enjoyed in Daytona Beach, and you can "go green" by staying at the Daytona Beach SeaBreeze Resort.

In Key West rent a timeshare at either the Banyan Resort or the Coconut Beach Resort, both voluntary members of Florida's program. And on beautiful Marco Island it's Marriott's Crystal Shores.

Orlando timeshare resorts are definitely in the swing of "going green." Two Orlando resorts that are certified by the program are the luxury Wyndham Bonnet Creek Resort, and the family-friendly Sheraton Vistana Resort.

Of course you'd have to know that Disney would be involved with the Florida Green Lodging Program, cheering all the way. Every one of the Disney timeshares in Florida is certified. Whether you rent a timeshare at Disney's Animal Kingdom, Disney's Boardwalk, or any of the other themed resorts at Walt Disney World, you'll know that you are supporting a company that supports the worth and beauty of our planet, Earth.

Summer Family Fun and Kids Travel Tips

Summer family vacation time will soon be upon us. And yes, even in our current economic atmosphere you can still find ways to have a wonderful time on vacation with your kids, bonding and creating memories together.

The trick is to find budget-friendly vacation destinations. One of the most inexpensive ways for a family to vacation is by renting a timeshare. The cost per person is usually much lower than hotel rooms - often you can sleep a group for what would be the price of one or two in other types of lodgings. Along with bedrooms a timeshare also gives you living space, and best of all, a kitchen. You'll find huge vacation savings when you don't have to eat out for every meal with your children.

Finding fun vacation activities for the entire family is also easy to do. Check on the internet for sites that offer suggestions for kid-friendly timeshares where the resorts offer kids clubs, pools and family oriented activities right on their property. Sites such as trekaroo.com also give invaluable reviews of resorts, museums, theme parks, and all kinds of activities and events that would be things you might want to incorporate into your family vacation planning.

The reviews on Trekaroo are by parents who have "been there, done that" with their kids, and want to help you in being able to do the same with your kids. When you travel with kids there are pitfalls that you'll want to avoid, and great kid-friendly "must-do" activities you'll want to experience. Those who have gone before you can offer suggestions, ideas and tips on how to avoid the one and embrace the other.

After your terrific family vacation this summer why not consider adding your two cents worth to the kid-friendly vacation community? Go online and let other parents know what you thought about your timeshare, the resort, and the activities and events that your family spent time together doing. Kids travel is an incredible experience everyone can enjoy over and over again.

(Photo compliments of Trekaroo.com)

Where to Travel for a Fun Mothers Day Brunch

Mother's Day is coming up, and it's time for you to start planning where you'll take Mom for Mother's Day brunch. Rent an Orlando timeshare, or plan a Disney timeshare rental "Mother's Day vacation" and head to this delectable selection of Mother's Day brunches offered at Walt Disney World.

Victoria and Albert's
Mother's Day at Victoria and Albert's (see photo) is a way to give Mom a truly elegant feast, and all she has to do is sit and enjoy it. This is a European-inspired gourmet restaurant, located in the posh Grand Floridian hotel. Mom will enjoy a large selection of specialty dishes including everything from succulent lamb to prime Angus beef, not to mention the many decadent desserts created just for her. She'll love trying the Grand Marnier soufflé, the signature dessert. If you book early enough at Albert and Victoria's, Mom could have a chance to be seated at the Chef's table, a more private dinning experience where she'll be able to interact with the chef and staff for a fun and educational experience. What a great Mother's Day gift that would be!

Flying Fish Café
For more casual fun, take Mom to Mother's Day brunch at the Flying Fish Café located in Disney's Boardwalk. This theme area of Walt Disney World is a colorful and relaxing place designed after famous boardwalks such as New York's Coney Island, and New Jersey's Atlantic City. The sherbet-colored building facades and striped awnings along the waterfront will carry Mom back to the amusement icons of the turn of the century. The semi-upscale atmosphere and open kitchen at the Flying Fish is perfect as Mom enjoys a large selection of seafood dishes with a New American "twist," like the signature specialties of potato-wrapped snapper and crisp peekytoe crab cakes. In the evening Mom can kick her shoes off and let her hair down as the nightlife heats up on the Boardwalk, and the entire family will enjoy the street entertainers and midway games.

Epcot – Paris
In Epcot Mom will find many fun, and unique, places to enjoy her special Mother's Day brunch. Here you can take Mom to brunch in Paris where she can dine at the Chefs de France, beginning with Soupe a l' oignon gratinee (delicious onion soup topped with Gruyere cheese) and end with Profiteroles au Chocolate (puff choux with French vanilla ice cream and rich dark chocolate sauce).

Epcot – Morroco
Or surprise mom with a Mother's Day trip to Morroco. Epcot's Marrakech Restaurant offers the Marrakech Royal Feast, fit for your Queen. From the Harira soup to the Roasted Lamb Meshoui with Couscous, Mom will enjoy this exotic twist on her special day.

Enjoy the History of Charleston on a Family Vacation

Charleston, South Carolina, is considered one of the most beautiful cities in North America. Its rich history and culture go back to 1670 when a small settlement was established in the name of King Charles II of England, and named Charles Towne.

Plan a family vacation with a timeshare rental, and immerse yourself in the history, mystique and beauty of this wonderfully preserved city, where you can experience tours through historic landmarks and stately antebellum homes. Located on a lovely setting along the shores of the Atlantic Ocean, at the confluence of the two rivers, the Historic Downtown District has proudly stood throughout Charleston's history as the cultural capital of the South, and is considered by many to be a living museum.

Take a walking tour through the Historic District, either self-guided or following a knowledgeable tour guide. The kids might especially enjoy a beautiful horse-drawn carriage ride tour (see photo provided by Classic Carriage Works).

You'll explore such remarkable historic sites as the Exchange and Provost, built in 1767. Declared a National Historic Landmark in 1973, this building has a dungeon. It also served as a customhouse, and hosted an event for President George Washington in 1891. It was badly damaged by artillery fire during the Civil War.

The Powder Magazine, built in 1713, is the oldest surviving public building in South Carolina, and was involved in the 1780 American Revolutionary War siege on Charleston.

A fun tour for the entire family is the Charleston Ghost and Graveyard Walking Tour. Here you'll get information that the average visitor would never know about certain aspects of history in Charleston.

A not-to-be missed event is the world-famous Spoleto Festival USA, May 28 - June 13, 2010. Charleston's many historic theaters, churches and outdoor spaces are filled with over 120 performances by both renowned artists and emerging performers in disciplines ranging from opera, theater, music theater, dance, and chamber, symphonic, choral, and jazz music, as well as the visual arts.

While staying here you'll enjoy Charleston's dialect, unique even for the south. The features of Charleston's speech are attributed to its early settlement by French Huguenots and Sephardic Jews, and to the influence of a high concentration of African-Americans who spoke the Gullah language. Odds are that after spending a wonderful week in your Charleston timeshare, you kids will be sounding like natives.

See all Charleston timeshares.
See all South Carolina timeshares.

See China through Timeshare Exchange

Isn't the world a great place to visit? Many of us still find it absolutely amazing the world is becoming so easy to travel around. Take China, for instance. Who would have thought, just a couple of decades ago, that vacationing in China would actually become common place. There are so many great timeshare exchanges available in this interesting land that it's almost sacrilegious for any vacationer to pass up the chance to visit.

Ten years ago Beijing Capital International Airport didn't even appear on a list of the top 30 airports in the world. But now unbelievably the numbers Beijing posted for the first quarter of 2010 jumps this once obscure airport ahead of London's busy Heathrow. Beijing's airport benefited from a huge new terminal, which opened just before the Beijing Olympic Games in 2008. Terminal 3 was designed by famed architect Norman Foster and is reputed to be the world’s third-largest building.

All of this is good news for those of you who can see China in your next timeshare vacation plans. Check out exchanges available with a Huangshan City timeshare, centered in the Huangshan Mountains in China's southern Anhui province (see photo). This popular area is known for its spectacular scenery, sunsets, and peculiarly-shaped granite peaks. One of China's top tourist destinations, Huangshan, has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Huangshan Mountains are easily recognized by most people as they are frequently depicted in Chinese tourist information and are often the subject of Chinese paintings and literature.

Or consider a vacation on China's Hainan Island with an exchange for a Haiku City timeshare on the island's northern shore. You'll enjoy exploring Old Haiku, a historic district of the oldest buildings on the island that are a beautiful mixture of Portuguese, French and Southeast Asian styles. This is an area where the streets were specific to a product, such as a street for silk, a street for fresh fish, a street for incense and candles, etc. Known as the "Coconut City," many of the Haiku's streets are lined with the feathery palms. Haiku City is also surrounded on three sides by the sea, enjoying a long coastline where beautiful beaches are plentiful.

If you are a timeshare rental vacationer, keep an eye out for China timeshare rentals that can become available, such as the one at Absolute Private Residence Club at Jinqiao in the heart of Beijing, and close to both The Forbidden City and Beijing's Temple of Heaven. What an exciting vacation to give your entire family!

Plan a Family Timeshare Rental Vacation and Enjoy the Arts

Plan a family timeshare rental vacation and enjoy the arts. Even if you just appreciate seeing something beautiful, whimsical, or comical, you truly can have a fun family adventure exploring art museums around the country.

When you rent a timeshare in the Washington, D.C. area (Alexandria, VA, and Fort Washington, MD) you are giving your family the opportunity to experience several different kinds of art museums. The National Portrait Gallery on the Smithsonian Mall will delight everyone in the family with the chance to see some of the most famous paintings in American history - which all school children past and present have seen in textbooks.

In less than an hour's drive from your timeshare you can visit the popular art museums along Historic Charles Street in Baltimore, MD. The Baltimore Museum of Art has a Family FunStop in the lobby where you can pick up family-friendly tips for exploring the museum, as well as self-guided sketching and costume kits for the kids.

A beautiful scenic day trip from your Pennsylvania timeshare hub is a drive to the Brandywine River Museum in Chad's Ford, Pennsylvania. This museum houses the main collection by America's famous Wyeth family. The kids will delight in N.C. Wyeth's dramatic illustrations from "Treasure Island," and the life-size painting of a pink pig by Jamie. In June and September you can sign the children up for Read-Aloud Tours for youngsters 3 - 6, which include story time and art-making activities.

Out west rent a timeshare in Santa Fe, New Mexico, and in an hour you can be exploring amazing Tinkertown, outside Albuquerque. Tinkertown Museum is an art museum like you've never seen before. Forty years in the making, one man built this 22 room museum, the outside walls of which are made from 50,000 glass bottles.

A Laguna Beach timeshare rental vacation in California, will allow your family to explore the premier art festival in the country. The Laguna Beach Arts Festival, scheduled for July 7 - August 31, 2010, turns this art community into one big art museum. Be sure to get tickets early for the astounding Pageant of the Masters show put on each evening.

Even in Las Vegas you can see art. Rent a budget Las Vegas timeshare and head to the Las Vegas Art District, which spans 18 blocks and includes art galleries, antique stores, small boutiques, and cafés. The entire family will enjoy visiting on First Friday when the Art District transforms into a carnival street fair. And then be sure to check out the Las Vegas Neon Museum and Boneyard. Showcasing the city's "shining glory" of art, this museum has over 150 retired neon signs, each with a fascinating history.

(Photo of Pocahontas from the National Portrait Gallery)

3 Mother’s Day Vacation Destination Ideas

Your mom celebrates Mother's Day because she's a mom. That sounds obvious, but what that really means is that the most important thing for her is her family - her children, and even grandchildren. Giving Mom a special "family vacation" as a Mother's Day gift is easy to do by renting a timeshare at a family-friendly resort, with the bonus that it can be budget-friendly as well. Here are three ideas for great Mother’s Day vacation destinations:

Sheraton Vistana
The Sheraton Vistana Resort in Orlando, Florida, is one of Orlando's top-rated family resorts, and timeshare rentals here start at just $71/night. With 135 acres, the entire family will find more to do than time or energy will allow. Start with an unbelievable number of swimming pools - seven in all - and eight outdoor whirlpool hot tubs, to say nothing of the numerous water parks, game rooms, and children's playgrounds - and you can easily see how this resort lives up to its reputation for fabulous family fun!

Villa Roma
A timeshare rental at the Villa Roma Resort in New York's Catskill Mountains will give Mom and the entire family a year's worth of fun packed into a week's time. Considered one of the best family resorts in the country, the Villa Roma literally offers activities for family members of every age. The Children's Camp program begins with child care for infants, has storytelling for toddlers, and advances through hiking for youngsters, ice cream socials for tweens, there's dancing and bonfires for teen-agers, and all of this is just for starters. For Mom and Dad? Mom will love the line dancing lessons, the cooking classes, and karaoke, and Dad can join the bocce ball tournaments and play the on-site 18-hole golf course. What a terrific Mother's Day celebration for the entire family.

Hilton Hawaiian Village
Starting at an unbelievably low $85/night, a Hawaii timeshare rental on Waikiki at the Hilton Hawaiian Village resort is another great way for Mom to enjoy a Mother's Day vacation with her entire family. With a beautiful, uncrowded beach that is wide and the surf is just enough for playing in the waves, and a private lagoon for the kids and any novice swimmers in your family, this resort starts at the basics for family fun. There are even water slides, tunnels and waterfalls for climbing and sliding about. And don't miss the free hula show, complete with fire dancers and fireworks. A Mother's Day vacation here is a wonderful way to tell Mom "Mahalo" (Thank You) for the special person she is.

Plan Your Next Vacation Around Gourmet Food!

Forget burgers and fries. This is a special timeshare vacation you're planning. Need some ideas for a destination? How about planning your vacation around gourmet food? We have a list of the top "Gourmet Cities" in the world - find a timeshare rental or a timeshare exchange in these cities, and become a gourmet Foodie!
  1. Paris, France
    The Parisian passion for food makes French cuisine one of the best in the world. Stay in a Paris timeshare and discover traditional French dishes from regions around the country as they all converge in Paris. French gourmet food can range from elegant Haute Cuisine to the simplicity of Cuisine Nouvelle. The food in Paris has evolved from the Middle Ages and heavily features cream, wine and cheeses.

  2. New York City, NY
    With its undeniable ability to attract immigrants from around the world, NYC can offer food from many different cultures. The city itself has also created its own signature dishes, including Manhattan clam chowder, New York cheesecake, and the elegant Waldorf salad. Stay in a NYC timeshare and check out such special eating establishments as The Carnegie Deli, Lombardi’s (the first pizzeria in America), and the fine dining of Le Cirque. See New York City timeshares.

  3. London, England
    A timeshare vacation in this multicultural metropolis will give you the opportunity to try food from countries such as India and Pakistan, as well as traditional British fare like fish and chips, and bangers and mash. Enjoy gourmet dining at The Ivy, Notting Grill, and Marcus Wareing at the Savoy. See England timeshares.

  4. Napa Valley, California
    A timeshare vacation in California's spectacular Wine Country can be a gourmand's delight. Here you'll experience first hand how great food follows great wine. Napa cuisine is influenced by the Italians who first established the vineyards, and thus has a Tuscan flare. Due to the popular use of local fresh ingredients, Napa menus change with the seasons. See California timeshares.

  5. Bangkok, Thailand
    A timeshare exchange vacation in this exotic Asian city will give you many exciting experiences, not the least of which will be sampling gourmet dishes. Try Chu Chi Pla (a spicy papaya salad) and Som Tam Thai (deep-fried chicken wings flavored with aromatic spices). Some of the best restaurants in the Thai capital are Lemongrass, Sala Rin Naam at The Oriental Bangkok, and Maha Naga. See Thailand timeshares.

  6. Honolulu, HI
    There are all types of Hawaii timeshare rentals available and the incredible food is one of the reasons to vacation in the Islands. Hawaiian Cuisine is made up of a combination of Asian and many different Pacific island cultures all creating the remarkable Polynesian food experience. One of the ways to take in these gourmet delights is to take a Honolulu restaurant tour by Hawaii Food Tours, created by executive chef and food critic Mathew Gray.

Vacation Ideas: 4 Must See Iconic Structures

Here is yet another idea for how to decide on a timeshare vacation destination - iconic structures. In other words, you've seen pictures of these in magazines such as the National Geographic and The Smithsonian, heard about them on television's History Channel, and most likely have seen movies that featured them. How about a vacation to get up close and personal? Consider these:

  1. The Eiffel Tower, Paris, FrancePhotobucket
    Vacation with a Paris timeshare rental, and take the time to get to know this icon of Paris in all of its many moods. Surrounded by daffodils and tulips in the spring, orange and red chestnut trees in the fall and the splendor of lights at night, this graceful, lacey ironwork will tug at your heart at any time. The Eiffel Tower was built to mark the centennial of the French Revolution. It will always tower above Paris as the city has a building height limit of seven stories. Ride the cable cars up to the top observation deck for a breathtaking view of the City of Lights. On the way up, stop at the café for a special Parisian pastry.

  2. The Louvre
    While staying at your Paris timeshare rental, a must-see is the world-famous Louvre. One of the most easily recognized museums in the world, the Louvre has the distinction of being originally built as a museum in the 12th century, then being converted into a Royal Palace in the 14th century. It didn't come full circle until being turned into a public museum after the French Revolution. The structure itself is a beautiful as the 35,000 pieces of art it exhibits.

  3. Empire State Building, NYC
    This is as iconic as you get. Once the tallest building in the world, this Art Deco style structure can be seen in just about every movie ever filmed in New York City. Rent a New York City timeshare and enjoy this New York monument by taking the elevator to the 102nd Floor Observatory. From here on a clear day you can see 80 miles. For an additional $15 ticket you can go 16 floors higher. Even when you're not actually on site, you can enjoy this grand skyscraper as it lights up each night, the colors and designs often changing to match holidays and special observances.

  4. Big Ben, London, England
    An England timeshare rental or exchange will get you to the world's most famous clock. And here is a piece of trivia to know before you go - "Big Ben" is actually the name of one of the bells in the clock tower. But over the years that name has become synonymous with the huge structure. The massive bell itself is 7 1/2 feet tall and weighs over 13 tons. The clock tower is part of the Houses of Parliament, and a special light above the clock indicates when Parliament is in session. And another piece of trivia: Big Ben's timekeeping is strictly regulated by a stack of coins placed on the huge pendulum.

What Inspires You to Travel?

What inspires you to travel? If you're going someplace you've never been before perhaps you've heard just enough about the place to wet your appetite, or maybe the place was described to you in such magnificent detail that you simply must experience it yourself.

Renting a timeshare, purchasing a timeshare resale, and engaging in timeshare exchange are all easy, wonderful, and most advantageous was of traveling almost anywhere in the world. We know that. But the world is a mighty big place - how do you decide where in the world to go?

As Laura Townsend Elion, contributor to "Consumer Traveler," suggests, the idea could come from movies we see. Ms. Elion maintains, however, that one of the most influential contributions to our travel itch is literature. And it can start with the books we read as children. Books that vividly transported us to experience the heavy fragrance of lemon blossoms on the Mediterranean island of Crete (Mary Stewart's "The Moonspinners") or to feel the exotic dampness of Paris by walking under chestnut trees dripping with rain (the "Madeline" series). How about a timeshare vacation to Virginia to smell the same salt air and watch the wild ponies race as you did when you read Marguerite Henry's immortal story "Misty of Chincoteague."

With more and more timeshare exchanges opening up in China, one of Ms. Elion's favorite novels, "“Spring Moon,” by Betty Bao Lord, might just be what sends you to that fascinating country. This book, she says, is about two Chinas - the one of the past and the one we see emerging now. Besides its stunning descriptions of geography, Ms. Elion states that the book "helped me understand the nuances of pre-Mao culture, one that is just as beautiful, hierarchal, complex, and often times self-destructive as that in monarchial Europe."

Even Robert Louis Stevenson's timeless "Treasure Island" can spark the idea of a vacation to Pacific islands, as can the vivid descriptions by James Michener in his two novels "Hawaii," and "Tales of the South Pacific." There are a multitude of Hawaii timeshare rentals available, as well as exchanges in Tahiti, Fiji and even New Zealand, all destinations where you and your family can get a taste of the exotic south seas for yourselves.

Do you remember how you wanted to travel to Australia and experience Christmas with roses blooming on a hot summer's day after reading Colleen McCullough's "The Thorn Birds"? Think about the books you've read or heard about that intrigued you so much that a nibbling little thought of "maybe…just maybe" started to grow - then check out the many timeshares available the world over. Your dream vacation is waiting for you.

Fed up With Airlines Extra Fees? Take a Driving Vacation

The airlines continue to astound air travelers. Many of you leave us comments bemoaning the current tactics of the airlines in piling extra fee on top of extra fee in attempts to recoup losses. As one of you commented to our article "Summer Airfare Wars Begin," "I am so fed up with the airlines that I am only taking vacations that I can drive to this year." And another of you pointed out, "We still support Southwest since they're trying to hang in there with no extra fees."

But the airlines continue to get bolder in their use of extra fees. Today comes the word that Ryanair is doubling its checked baggage fee. A Ryanair spokesperson tried to soften the blow by stating that this increased fee is for the peak travel summer months only. But airline travelers all know that once a fee is put in place it seldom disappears. Ryanair also claims that this increased fee will encourage flyers to carry on baggage only, but they are imposing a weight limit of 22 pounds.

Although this article "6 Tips for Packing Light on your Timeshare Vacation" will help you get on board with just a carry-on, that won't do you much good when other airlines follow Spirit Airways. This Miami-based carrier, which offers flights out of Boston's Logan Airport, has just announced that it will begin charging for carry-on baggage as well. Can you believe it? This fee will be up to $45. (They aren't, however, charging yet to bring your purse onboard with you.) It's just a matter of time before the other airline companies follow suit.

It is no wonder that you vacationers are becoming irritated with the airlines. So, maybe now is the time to actually think about taking vacations this year where you can drive. The wonderful thing is that our United States is crammed full of exciting and fun places to vacation. And the best news is that, except for just a handful, every state has timeshares for rent, resale or exchange.

There’s sure to be a timeshare in the state in which you live, or, if your state doesn't have timeshares available check out surrounding states. The odds are that you'll find a timeshare resort in easy driving distance of your home and a driving vacation will still provide all the rest and relaxation you need to de-stress and unwind from your busy lifestyle. And the money you’ll save by not having to pay airlines their extra fees can make you happier still!

(Photo of Cascade Lakes, OR, provided by byways.org)

iPad: An Ingenious Device for Timeshare Resorts

Whether you are a true technophile or are computer-challenged, you've undoubtedly heard of Apple's newest product, the iPad. On April 3, 2010, the much heralded iPad went on sale to the public. Well, it's more like the iPad "came roaring out of the gate," as one reviewer put it. Apple had boasted that initial sales would be between 200 - 300 thousand units, but in actuality sales topped out on the first day at over 700 thousand.

Many computer-industry watchdogs are claiming that the iPad is as revolutionary as the personal computer once was. You'll be seeing the iPad used in multitudes of different ways, and not just for entertainment and the fun of downloading applications (apps). This means that even when you go on your timeshare vacation the resort will most likely in the future be using the iPad. In fact, InterContinental Hotels Group has announced that very fact just this week.

Actually the iPad is an ingenious device for use by timeshare resorts. Described as being in a category between a smartphone and a laptop computer, the iPad runs software that is downloaded from Apple's "App Store." This can include an office suite application that does everything from word processing to spreadsheets, and video applications and maps, and the list goes on.

What this means to you, the timeshare vacationer, is that soon you might find yourself being checked in with the use of an iPad, and no use for the reception desk. Other functions that are sure to improve guest relations include concierge services. Ask directions to a hidden bistro you've heard about, and voila - up on the iPad screen pops directions, reviews, the menu - anything else you want to know about the little place? You'll even be able to see a high-resolution satellite view of it. And how about the concierge assisting you in purchasing tickets to the hottest show with the flick of a finger, or do you need to know the hours an obscure little museum is open?

An InterContinental Hotels spokesperson states that the possibilities of the iPad for the resort industry is "endless." The more they use it the more they'll find things to use it for. And Apple is encouraging everyone from major corporations to normal folk to design apps for the iPad, opening the door for applications software that can be truly dedicated to making the vacation experience of timeshare vacationers the best yet.

(Photo provided by apple.com/ipad)

Family Vacation to Silver Dollar City

Plan a timeshare rental vacation for the entire family in Missouri's entertainment mecca, Branson, and head to Silver Dollar City. This exciting theme park actually had its beginnings when the Herschend family leased Marvel Cave in 1950, modernized it with electricity and cement staircases, and began holding square dances in it.

In 1960 the Herschends looked for a way to bring more visitors to Marvel Cave. They opened Silver Dollar City, an authentically recreated Ozark frontier town of five shops and a church. It featured a log cabin with actors playing out the feud between the Hatfields and the McCoys.

In its first year Silver Dollar City drew more than 125,000 people, four times more visitors than the number that toured Marvel Cave. "We discovered we were in the theme park business," Pete Herschend said.

Today Silver Dollar City is called "The Friendliest Theme Park in the U.S.A." "The park's 1880s-themed experience," as Pete Herschend explains, "fits Branson's vision as a family-friendly vacation destination with down-home charm."

The "down home charm" claim might be a little deceiving as Silver Dollar City is a world-class caliber theme park with over 30 rides and attractions. Take the American Plunge which drops 50 feet at speeds up to 35mph. Or Fire in the Hole, an indoors in-the-dark roller coaster ride featuring strobe lights, water and other special effects. Lost River of the Ozarks will take you on a wild raft ride, some of it in the dark, with numerous twists, turns and sudden drops. And then there's Powder Keg (the name says it all), Thunderation, and the list goes on and on. In fact, in 2009 the American Coaster Enthusiasts organization (A.C.E.), held its national summer convention at Silver Dollar City.

And never fear, there is something for every member of the family. The little tykes will enjoy the Animal Barnyard petting zoo, getting wet in Geyser Gulch, and riding the Frisco Silver Dollar Line steam train. Silver Dollar City's operating season runs from mid-March until late-December. See all Branson timeshares.

How to Prepare for Travel Disaster

The world has always had its security challenges for vacationers, and now in the wake of the two metro bombings in Moscow, Russia, this fact is again brought home to us. These events, along with the State Department's warnings to Spring Break travelers to Mexico, and the recent earthquakes in Haiti and Chili, prompted travel editor Jeff Greenburg to offer tips on what to do should you encounter a problem, or as he called it, a "travel disaster."

Since so many of you are timeshare owners in foreign countries, and many more of you enjoy timeshare exchanges around the globe, we would like to pass along some of Jeff Greenburg's suggestions. The problems of the world will always be with us, and instead of canceling travel plans, the best advice is to go on your planned vacations but be armed with knowledge that will help you if you do encounter problems.

When you travel you hope for a relatively peaceful trip, but as everyone knows, anything can happen from losing your travel documents to encountering weather problems and natural disasters to the scare of a terrorist attack.

Greenburg's first suggestion is to make copies of important documentation and contact information. Give copies of your itinerary, along with contact names and telephone numbers, to friends, family and even co-workers. Make sure that everyone in your traveling party also carries the same information. And be sure to copy the front page of your passport that contains the critical documentation the U.S. Embassy will need to replace your passport if it is lost or stolen.

Bring extra batteries for your electronic devices, including your cell phone, blackberry and laptop. And remember to pack universal plug adaptors so your chargers can be plugged in.

Greenburg suggests checking travel warnings and advisories but states that you'll get more comprehensive information by going beyond the U.S. State Department bulletins. His advice is to also check with the foreign countries themselves as they often send out more detailed alerts to their own citizens.

In the wake of vacationers' experiences with the massive earthquakes in Haiti and Peru, Greenburg states that medical evacuation and repatriation insurance is a must. In the case of no commercial air service, a medical evacuation company can schedule dedicated air ambulance service to get you out.

Always know where the embassies of Canada, Great Britain and Australia are located. Often, in response to certain types of disasters, the U.S. embassy has to close. Greenburg has found these three countries to always be helpful and accommodating.

Oh, and Greenburg's final tips: "Pack a small flashlight. And I always pack duct tape. It's amazing when this will come in handy, even if there is no disaster!"

Traveler Beware: Hotels Charging Extra Fees

Have you noticed that in life if it isn't one thing it's sure to be another? Or as comedienne Gilda Radner famously noted "It's Always Something." Airline travelers are being hit right and left with one extra fee after another these days. Nobody likes it, but we're all getting used to it.

Now comes the word that many hotels are jumping on the same bandwagon. With occupancy at all time lows, hotels are attempting to make up lost revenue by adding extra charges, some up front and some hidden.

As you read through this partial list, keep in mind that if instead of staying in a hotel you purchase a timeshare resale, or vacation in a timeshare rental, most if not all of these extra fees will mean absolutely nothing to you.
  1. Charged for telephone calls you don't make, for smoking in a non-smoking room when you didn't, for unordered movies, etc.

  2. Extra charge for a towel by the pool, and you're not allowed to bring one from your room. If you take the pool towel back to your room, you're charged again.

  3. Business Center - even if you don't use it, by staying in the hotel that has it you are charged a Business Center fee.

  4. Fitness Center - same here - if you never set foot in the fitness center or gym you can still be charged a fee just for it being on the premises.

  5. Safe. Even if you don't use it, you can be charged a fee to cover the cost of providing a safe and the insurance policy that covers the contents.

  6. Water. The special "gift" of a bottle of water left in your room can cost you up to $6.

  7. The "complimentary" newspaper left outside your door, whether you want it or not, can cost you another fee for the "convenience."

  8. Housekeeping and bellman gratuities. Even if you are a considerate guest and always plan on appropriate tipping, many hotels automatically tack on $30 to $50 to cover the gratuities anyway.

  9. Energy surcharge. Intended to recover the rising costs of providing electrical power, this charge can add $3-$6 dollars a day to your bill. Can you believe it?

  10. And watch out for this one! Mini bar - no not the insane charges for each thing you actually consume. We're talking about an "unstocking charge" for each item that you move to find a place for your own things, or even if you pick something up just to look at it. Sensors in the bar record your action and add the product's fee to your room bill.
Vacationing with a timeshare starting to look pretty good? You Bet!

Travel Tip: Meet the People

PhotobucketWhy do you take a vacation? Have you ever really thought about it? Of course one reason is relaxation. A chance to unwind, to get away from the daily grind. But if that were the only reason, why travel? You could just chill out in your own backyard, at least if you unplugged your computer, hid your laptop in your neighbor's garage, and buried your cell phone out by the dahlias.

Of course we travel for a lot of reasons: To experience new sights and smells and sounds; to breathe exotic air. And probably one of the most popular reasons is to meet new people. This is especially true if you like to vacation in foreign destinations, either by purchasing a timeshare in a foreign country, or by the wonderful advantage of timeshare exchange.

A "Meet the People" movement is beginning to take hold around the globe. Some places, such as Hawaii and Jamaica, already have programs in place which allow visitors to spend a day with a local family. Other countries such as those in the European Union, and even Egypt, Thailand, Mexico and South Africa are looking at putting such programs into place.

Findings just released by a German study show that a good percentage of those questioned stated they "would make use of personal meetings with local persons, with the express aim of gaining a better insight into the country and people through personal contact." Two thirds of those questioned would prefer to be accompanied, either by a tour guide or other guests when meeting local inhabitants, while a final third would prefer individual face-to-face meetings.

"The opportunity for the experience of local people while off the tourist trail would be valued by many," the German study concluded. "To those interested in an opportunity to gain a better understanding of everyday life in the destination country and of its people, culture, living conditions and problems, the opportunity cannot be rated highly enough."

By vacationing in a timeshare you have time to integrate into a community, to explore streets off the beaten path, and even prepare meals in your timeshare kitchen from fresh fish and delicious vegetables and fresh baked bead bought from the local people. You never know what friendships you can strike up over a fresh red snapper.