Bargain Travel Cruises offers the best advice on traveling; from the most popular travel destinations to money saving tips!

Top Five Off-Peak Destinations For Winter 2013/2014

Before you grumble at the arrival of frigid winter weather, remember that the upcoming season heralds untold affordable off-peak travel opportunities. Here are five awesome destinations where the colder part of the year bears off-peak affordability:

  • Nashville, TN – With a packed schedule of swoon-worthy musical performances year around, Nashville doesn’t have the most distinct high and low seasons of all the destinations on this list. But overall, hotels and flights tend to get a little less expensive during the winter, making a trip to this vibrant American city a bit more affordable during the colder months.
  • Rome, Italy – Thanks to Pope Francis I, tourism is up in Rome. Rome can get pretty packed as it is, but you can beat the crowds in this already popular travel destination by going in the off-season.
  • United Kingdom – The U.K. is a burgeoning cruise market. And cruising is, for the most part, a very economical way to explore international lands, especially for American travelers visiting destinations with unfavorable exchange rates.
  • Russia – Admittedly, venturing to Russia in the winter may seem like a daunting endeavor. But for hardly, well-prepared travelers who appreciate a hot bowl of borscht on a blustery, dark evening or find the idea of domed cathedrals covered in snow appealing, a winter itinerary yields benefite aplenty, one of which is that prices for airfare are wonderfully low.
  • Kyoto, Japan – Unlike ultramodern Tokyo, Kyoto is an old soul, with abundant World Heritage sites (17 in total), an authentic geisha district, ancient temples, and peaceful Zen rock gardens. If the historical city’s are on your must-see list (as it well should be), you’ll want to head there soon.

Let Bargain Travel plan your next off-peak winter destination vacation. Please contact Bargain Travel at 1-800-820-4567 or send us a land quote request  or cruise quote request so that we can begin planning you next affordable off-peak winter getaway.

World’s 12 Best Shopping Cities

From the Orient, to South America to right here in the United States, if shopping is your pleasure, then may we suggest one of these world’s 12 best cities to satify your shopping cravings (based on getting around, variety, value & experience):

  • #12 – Seoul, South Korea
  • #11 – Milan, Italy
  • #10 – Madrid, Spain
  • #9 – Dubai, United Arab Emirates
  • #8 – Vienna, Austria
  • #7 – Buenos Aires, Argentina
  • #6 – Hong Kong, China
  • #5 – Paris, France
  • #4 – Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
  • #3 – London, United Kingdom
  • #2 – Tokyo, Japan
  • #1 – New York City, USA

If your dream is to travel to one of these wonderful shopping destinations, please contact Bargain Travel at 1-800-820-4567 or send us a land request quote and we will be more than happy to fulfill your ultimate shopping vacation experience!!

Tips For Stress-Free Holiday Travel

Along with seeing friends & family, the holidays mean crowded airports and packed roads. The American Automobile Association (AAA) predicts that 43.4 million Americans will travel 50 miles or more from their homes to celebrate this Thanksgiving. Millions more will be flying and driving over the Christmas break. Lessen the aggrevation by maintaining your sense of humor, allowing extra time for everything, and by following these stress-busting strategies.

Strategic Planning:

  • Travel On Less Busy Days
  • Consider A Smaller (Regional) Airport
  • Lighten Your Load (Luggage)
  • Bring The Correct Travel Documents (Especially When Traveling Abroad)
  • Pack Insurance Cards & Insurance Forms
  • Battle Germs (Bring Sanitized Wipes)
  • Make “What If” Plans When Meeting Up With Family/Friends (Just In Case Your Cell Phone Battery Dies or When Cell Service Is Not Available)
  • Keep The Essentials Handy (Extra Battery Packs for Phones & Video Games, Diapers & Bottles for Babies)

At The Destination:

  • Do a Safety Check (Escpecially When Traveling With Children)
  • Know The House Rules
  • Bring Or Buy Special Needs Foods (Especially If Some Family Members Are On A Specific Diet or Only Eat Certain Foods)

Packing Must-Haves: What To Bring On A Cruise

The key to packing for a cruise is bringing a variety of comfortable, casual clothes you can mix and match and a few items that you can dress up more at night. Shorts or even a bathing suit and cover-up will do during the day, but on most ships you’ll need to put on long pants for dinner. If you’re a gym rat, you’ll want to bring workout clothes. If you’re a nature lover, don’t forget your binoculars and/or a camera with a good lens. Readers will want to bring books or an e-reader (don’t count on the ship’s library having much of a selectiosn). Whether going tropical, arctic or somewhere in between, you won’t want to leave home without these other items:

  • A Lightweight Rain Jacket and/or Umbrella
  • Shampoo, Conditioner & Soap
  • A Power Strip
  • A Spare Pair Of Glasses/Contacts
  • Gallon-Size Sealable Plastic Bags
  • Dramamine, Acupunture Wristbands, Ginger Tablets and/or Meclizine
  • Hangers
  • Sun & Bug Protection
  • Comfortable Shoes

Be sure to to call Bargain Travel at 1-800-820-4567 or send us a cruise quote request so we can begin planning your next well-deserved cruise vacation!!

10 Incredible World Landmarks You Haven’t Seen — Yet.

These instant classics — including record-breaking towers, 35-story-tall sculptures and external building climbs — are worth traveling to see.

  • SkyPoint Climb & Observatory Deck – Gold Coast, Australia
  • LeMay America’s Car Museum – Tacoma, WA
  • ArcelorMittal Orbit – London, United Kingdom
  • Sea Life Aquarium – Kansas City, MO
  • Kamppi Chapel Of Silence – Helsinki, Finland
  • National Museum Of Organized Crime & Law Enforcement – Las Vegas, NV
  • Tokyo Sky Tree – Tokyo, Japan
  • Brooklyn Bridge Park Pool – Brooklyn, NY
  • The Arch Cultural Center – Mandal, Norway
  • Aizhai Suspension Bridge – Hunan Province, China

For more information on visiting any of these incredible landmarks, please contact Bargain Travel at 1-800-820-4567 or send us a land quote request and we will be more than happy to help you plan your next adventurous vacation!!

Seven Travel Rules To Live By

Apply these traveler’s mantras to the ordinary life beyond your trip, and watch every day become a freeing vacation of its own.

  • Pack Light – When traveling, you want your suitcase to be small so you’ll have freedom to be active and explore. Same with your house — clear it of all that excess clutter for a freer, more active mind.
  • Savor The Moment – Travel is about enjoying this instant and not worrying about the problems that lie beyond it. Imagine what would happen if you did the same in your workplace or home.
  • Try New Things – Trips are full of precious memories because they force you to do or see or try something you haven’t before. Make similar memories in your hometown every day by braving an art class or making an ethnic dinner you’ve never tried.
  • Focus On Those Around You – On an open beach or in an airplane seat, you’ve got no choice but to engage in quality conversation with your sidekick. Take time every day to drop distractions and talk like you’re the only two people in the world.
  • Don’t Stop Dreaming – During those blissful moments of your vacation, you can’t help but start planning the next one. Don’t lose the momentum at home — make a pin board, start saving, and get your next vacation on the calendar.
  • Stay Curious – At a foreign museum or an historic walking tour, you’re deeply interested in learning from other people…probably because you paid to be there with them. Bring that curious, open, willing nature to your relationships at home.
  • Smile Big – Life is beautiful on vacation. You’re on a break from the “real world” in a gorgeous place, and your amped-up attitude makes it feel like nothing on the planet could ruffle your happiness. Make that optimistic outlook part of your every-day demeanor.

The Best Way To Carry Money Overseas

Before you leave for your next trip abroad, take a moment to think dollars and cents — or should we say pounds and pesos? Get the most for your money when traveling internationally by doing a little homework first. The most important step is to know your options. In days of yore, traveler’s checks were the most popular way to carry money overseas — but today’s travelers are much more likely to rely on credit cards, and ATM withdrawals, which usually offer better exchange rates and lower fees. What’s the best option for you? And how can you avoid those pesky currency conversion fees when making purchases abroad? Here are some tips.

  • Credit Cards – The first thing you should do if you are traveling abroad with a credit card, even if you only plan to use it in case of an emergency, is to call the issuer and ask which fees will apply to your purchases, both in local currency and in dollars. We recommend calling before each trip, as these policies may change without notice.
  • Debit & ATM Cards – If the ATM card from your home bank isn’t connected to the worldwide Cirrus or PLUS networks, you may want to look into getting a MasterCard or Visa debit card. While they look and can be used like regular charge cards, they actually debit your checking account the same way your ATM card does.
  • Cash – The first 24 hours of your trip — to tide you over until you can find the nearest ATM.
  • Traveler’s Checks and Check Cards – Emergency backup if you can’t find a functioning ATM (checks) or a secure alternative to cash (checks and check cards).
  • Sending Money Abroad Best For: Emergencies when you need money sent overseas in a hurry. Pros: If you find yourself stranded overseas without cash, someone at home can wire money to you and you’ll have it within a day — or even a few minutes. Cons: Fees for sending money abroad can run anywhere from 1 ot 10 percent or more; the faster you need the money, the more expensive it will be. What You Need To Know: The best-known companies for sending money are Western Union and Moneygram. Both charge variable fees depending on how much money you’re sending and where you’re sending it. The slower the service you choose, the more economical he price. Other Choices: Bank wire transfers or international postal money orders from the post office. While less expensive, these methods may take more time.

The 10 best things to do In a Caribbean Port.

A cruise to the Caribbean gives you the chance to partake in many fun and diverse shore excursions. Whether you want something action-packed or laidback, you can find your ideal activities ashore. Consider these:

  • Ziplining – While in port in St. Martin/St. Maarten, visit Loterie Farm at Pic Paradis, where you’ll find not only ziplining but also an obstacle course high up above the trees.
  • Rainforest Hike – Lush & green St. Lucia is a prime Caribbean port for this activity. See the island’s  exotic flora and fauna, and learn about the rainforest’s history and ecology — and its effects on the island — from your tour guide.
  • City Tours – A city tour through San Juan, Puerto Rico is ideal due to the many historic places located right in the city center.
  • Shopping – In St. Thomas, an island especially known for its duty-free shopping, partake in an excursion that takes you to some of the best shopping spots on the island.
  • Snorkeling – The Antilla Shipwreck in Aruba is a favorite spot, as it’s shallow enough for snorkelers (not just scuba divers) to get a good look at the wreck.
  • Waterfalls & Swimming Holes – In Jamaica, visit Dunn’s River Falls and swim in the water at its base. In Aruba, visit the Natural Pool, which is formed in the middle of large rocks in a scenic location by the island’s coastline.
  • Play With Animal/Sea Life – If you’re an animal lover, the Caribbean is going to make love them even more, with the opportunity to see dolphins, monkeys, lizards and ride horses along the beach. At Stingray City in Grand Cayman, you can swim with hundreds of stingrays, who make their home in the bay and are used to human touch.
  • White Water Rafting – A popular place to do this is in Jamaica, down the Rio Bueno River, which takes you through fast rapids and tropical scenery.
  • Local Drinks – A distillery or brewery tour is a tasty way to get in touch with the local side of an island. In the Dominican Republic, try some sips of its famous rum while visiting a local distillery. While in San Juan, you can take a tour and sample many versions of rum from their famous Bacardi Rum Factory.
  • Ancient Sites – Many Caribbean cruises make stops along the eastern coast of Mexico near Cancun. While there, visit the ruins of Tulum to see remnants of the way ancient Mayan civilizations lived.

Bargain Travel specializes in cruise packages to the Caribbean with all the major cruise lines. Please contact us at 1-800-820-4567 or send us a cruise quote request so we can plan and book your next exotic cruise vacation!

America’s Amazing Luxury Malls

A shopper used to have to travel overseas to purchase the finest in French and Italian designer shoes, handbags and clothing. Now, the best luxury malls in America rival world-class shopping avenues in Paris and Milan. No passports are required and there’s plenty of valet parking. So start experiencing shopping like a VIP at one of these “luxury” malls!!

  • The Beverly Center, Los Angeles – Situated in star-studded Los Angeles, expect some Hollywood glamour, diva-type amenities and lots of celebrity-hosted events. Shops Include: Saint Laurent, Burberry, Jimmy Choo, Prada, Fendi, Dolce and Gabbana, Versace Collection, Halston Heritage & Salvatore Ferragamo.
  • The Shops At Crystals At Citycenter, Las Vegas – Expect over-the-top style with your shopping in Las Vegas. This luxurious mall looks like a 21st century park with a flower carpet, ice sculptures, a multi-faceted glass canopy and a three-story sculptural Tree House. Everytime you visit, it is a new, interactive experience. Shops Include: Louis Vuitton (the largest one in North America), Van Cleef & Arpels, Harry Winston, H. Stern, Bulgari, Cartier, Tom Ford, Emillo Pucci, Marni & Lanvin and Tourbillon.
  • South Coast Plaza, Orange County, California – Located in upscale Orange County, this mall beckons you to relax and shop in style in their Access Lounge. Their elegantly decorated VIP shopping suite — with a Zen room for her and a flat screen TV for him — features complimentary champagne and refreshments. Their dedicated concierge can also make reservations at local restaurants and theaters as well. Shops Include: Calypso St. Barth, Balenciaga, Chanel, Dior, Giorgio Armani, Christian Louboutin, La Perla, Roger Viver, Patek Philippe & Valentino.
  • The Shops At Bravern, Bellevue, Washington – A jewel nestled in Seattle’s wealthy Bellevue section, The Shops at Bravern is the destination for the young, entrepreneurial tech community. Shops Include: Jimmy Choo, Hermes, Neiman Marcus, Wolford, Louis Vuitton & The David Lawrence Botique (who carries labels Viktor & Rolf and Herve Leger).
  • Americana Manhasset, Long Island, New York – This luxurious shopper’s paradise is located in the tony North Shore of Long Island, only 20 minutes east of New York City. The modern glass buildings in the open air are surrounded by seasonally landscaped gardens. Shops Include (with an Italian flair): Brunello Cucinelli, Etro, Bottega Veneta, Ermenegildo Zegna, Gucci, Loro Plana & Prada.
  • Bal Harbour Shops, Bal Harbour, Florida – The exclusive shops in Florida’s sunny Bal Harbour are famous for their concept stores, one-of-a-kind merchandise and limited edition items. Shops Include: Moncler, Alexander McQueen, Piaget, de Grisogono, Graff, Versace, Miu Miu, Carolina Herrara, Escada, Roberto Cavalli & the new Chanel Botique.
  • Santa Monica Place, Santa Monica, California – If you like to shop inhaling fresh sea air, two blocks from the Pacific Ocean, Santa Monica Place is perfect. The third floor open-air rooftop deck features “The Market” a gourmet, artisanal delight of local and organic food offerings. Shops Include: Louis Vuitton, Kitson, Burberry, Ted Baker London, Tiffany and Company, Barney’s CO-OP & All Saints Spitalfields.

The Best Caribbean Islands for Beach Lovers

On virtually every island in the Caribbean, you will find a great beach. However, the beaches located on the following islands, are their biggest selling point.

  • Anguilla 
  • Aruba
  • The Bahamas
  • Barbados
  • Grand Cayman
  • Providenciales (Turks & Caicos)
  • St. Barths
  • St. John (US Virgin Islands)
  • Spanish Virgin Islands of Culebra & Vieques (just off Puerto Rico)

Bargain Travel offers packages to these and many other Caribbean islands. Please contact us at 1-800-820-4567 or send us a land quote request so that we can fulfill your dream Caribbean vacation!!