Plenty of Fun – On and Off the Slopes – in Austria’s Ski Regions

71056856What constitutes the ideal ski trip? Is it the number of runs available? Is it a crackerjack lift system that helps you avoid the crowds? Maybe it’s an abundance of off-piste skiing or perhaps lots of open space for cross country fun. For some, a great ski vacation also has to include plenty of things to do at the end of the day, off the slopes, or lots of activities for friends and family members that don’t ski.

If some or all of those parameters are included in your idea of the perfect ski holiday, consider Austria for your next snow-based vacation. Austria boasts several regions where the skiing is top notch and where things like the après ski scene are important, too. In the Austrian Alps, there are a number of resort areas that fit the bill for great vacation spots, from the slopes near beautiful Innsbruck to much more remote areas where the abundant beauty will take your breath away – with a little help from the awesome skiing.

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The Perfect Luxury Honeymoon is More than Just a “Click” Away

95407528In the age of technology, planning a honeymoon is easier than ever. Where we used to rely on travel tools that seem almost obsolete now – like road maps – today we can just log onto the World Wide Web and locate information on just about any destination we’re considering for that special post-wedding trip. Furthermore, we don’t need to call an airline to book our plane tickets and don’t have to locate a travel professional to set up hotels, tours, and other particulars. Right?

But while many internet sites are extremely helpful to those planning a honeymoon trip – like Tripadvisor with its many traveler-written reviews – are we cheating ourselves by planning our honeymoon by just clicking a few buttons here and there? Most avid travelers would respond to that question with a hearty “yes”. If we’re depending on a computer for most of our travel plans, we’re missing out on the expertise of those who have truly immersed themselves in the destinations we’re considered. Using an experienced travel agent can mean the difference between an unforgettable honeymoon and one that you’d prefer to forget. (more…)

How about an Australian Honeymoon?

144800008So, you’ve gotten engaged and you’ve begun to plan the festivities for your “Big Day”. The church or temple, reception venue, dresses, tuxes…they’re all important things that will no doubt top your to-do list. And then, of course, there’s the honeymoon, that wonderful trip that allows you the opportunity to get away and enjoy some down time after months of planning and preparation.

If you’ve saved for the ultimate honeymoon, why not consider Australia for your post-wedding trip? More and more Americans are discovering the joys of visiting the “Land Down Under” and because of its wonderful weather, it’s a continent that’s wonderful to visit at just about any time of year, including when it’s the dead of winter in the U.S.

There are many spots in Australia that are super destinations for honeymooning couples, and you can choose the ones that are ideal for you, depending on your likes and interests. Here’s a list of some great Aussie spots for your consideration.

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Europe’s Best Luxury Ski Hotels Indulge All Your Senses

144803060Ski holidays can be better than ever when you take great powder and add to it accommodations that’ll knock your socks off. Truly, a ski vacation is made countless times better when you find just the right luxury lodging spot where you and your traveling companions can enjoy comfortable sleeping arrangements, delicious food, wonderful amenities, and more, all wrapped up in a package that’s convenient to the slopes.

In Europe, there are a number of fine luxury ski resorts that fit that description. They range from homey chalet-like accommodations, where you’ll feel warm and cozy, to sleek, modern hotels with contemporary furnishings and the latest in amenities. Choose one of our favorites listed below and you’ll be treated to a vacation that’ll take your breath away, whether you’re soaring down the slopes, basking in the sauna, or partaking of a particularly scrumptious meal.

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Break Out the Board and Head to Europe’s Best Snowboarding Spots

177495561For many snow lovers, wintertime is all about skiing and finding a new and challenging place to practice the sport. But if someone in your traveling party fits this demographic – 15 to 30, energetic, a bit of a daredevil, and into extreme winter sports – chances are that when you travel you’re also on the lookout for a great place for your snowboarding friends or family members to hone their skills and simply have a good time.

Demographics show that the average serious snowboarder is now somewhere around 27 years old, a little older than 10 years ago, when that number was closer to 23 or 24. That’s not to say, of course, that you won’t find plenty of teenagers on the slopes. As a matter of fact, many resorts – including those in Europe – are reaching out to younger visitors, attempting to entice them to try snowboarding, primarily because the “original” crew of snowboarders has matured now and has stopped participating in the sport, impacting the income that used to come in from avid boarders.

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Ooh La La: Christmas in Paris!

176769019The City of Lights sparkles all year long but at Christmastime Paris is truly one of Europe’s most festive locales. France’s capital city is a lovely, warm, and welcoming spot to spend the holidays, and visitors of all ages will be thrilled with the lights and sounds of the season as they peruse the city’s various arrondissements.

Truly, there’s so much to do in Paris before, during, and after the Christmas holidays, including visiting popular tourist sites that are decked out for the holidays, listening to concerts, watching light shows, scoping out Nativity scenes, and shopping at the city’s many Christmas markets. And you’ll love the food, too, especially the traditional holiday goodies.

Family Fun

For many, the December holidays are all about family…and your family will certainly have a wonderful time spending Christmas together in Paris. There are loads of activities available for kids young and old, and plenty that the whole family can do together. We promise no one will be bored, even those sometimes hard-to-please adults.

For example, ice skating on the rink outside Paris’ City Hall (l’Hotel de Ville) is a spectacular experience, simply because the city scenery around you while you’re soaring across the ice is so stunning. Actually, there are two ice rinks at City Hall, one meant for younger children and new skaters, which makes it an ideal skating location for those with little ones. Skates can be rented at the site.

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Experience a Thrilling Trip on Switzerland’s Glacier Express Train

177358583If you’ve traveled by train in the U.S., you’re likely to have had a variety of experiences…some good, some not-so-good. But train travel in Europe is often much more thrilling and certainly more elegant, in many cases.

During the winter, a trip on the Glacier Express Train – which travels from Zermatt to Davos or Saint Moritz (or vice versa), is one of those unforgettable railroad journeys on the planet and one that will surely leave a lasting impression on your memory. It’s an excursion that will take your breath away as you climb incredible terrain, viewing some of Europe’s most majestic winter scenery including soaring mountains, tiny villages, and much more.  (more…)

Skiing in Sweden: A Different Kind of Snow Experience

186325535Every year, millions of visitors flock to Europe for an exemplary winter skiing experience, flooding spots like Zermatt, Courchevel, St. Moritz, and other extremely popular ski destinations. These are, no doubt, some of the best places on the planet to enjoy a ski vacation, but if you’ve “been there-done that” and are looking for something new this year, how about taking a wintertime trip to beautiful Scandinavia to check out the ski resorts of Sweden?

“Sweden?” you ask. “Isn’t it cold there in the winter?” Of course it is, but it’s also a winter wonderland of fun, offering not only a wide variety of places to ski but also resorts that provide a host of other snow and non-snow activities, from sledding, snowmobiling, and ice skating to strolling through charming villages and basking in the warmth of an opulent spa.

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Queensland’s Top 10 Adrenaline-Pumping Adventures

152495975When it comes to locating adventure vacation destinations for travelers seeking a thrill or two, there are many that provide plenty of nail-biting experiences, but one of the best in the world is – undoubtedly – Australia’s second-largest state – beautiful Queensland. Known as the “Sunshine State” and home to fabulous Brisbane, Queensland was named for Queen Victoria and it has long been among the country’s top vacation destinations, thanks to its beautiful Gold Coast beaches, vibrant cities, theme parks, and more.

But hundreds of thousands of visitors flock to Queensland each year to get their adrenaline pumping with activities that range from mildly thrilling to all-out daredevil craziness. So, if you’re up for some adventure, check out what Queensland, Australia has to offer.

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Tips for Taking Your Tween to Europe

87820534If you’re the parent of one or more middle-schoolers, you know the drill. They hate you. They love you. Their friends are the best ever. They hate their friends. They never want to go to school again. They can’t live without school. Most of all, they can’t stand to be seen with you! Well…most of the time, anyway. So, if you’re planning a family vacation, how do you deal with the crazy personality of your tween?

Every year, plenty of parents drag their middle schoolers on vaction, including to  Europe, some of them kicking and screaming. But if you know how just where to go, how to organize your itinerary, and when to give in a little, your family can have a pleasant trip that’s not just one big screaming match. You’ll just need to follow some helpful tips.

Choosing a Suitable Destination

When looking for a place to spend their vacation money, most families try to consider a destination that will be enjoyed by the entire family, but problems sometimes arise when parents still look at their tweens as kids rather than burgeoning adults. The likes and dislikes of 11-13 year-olds are largely different from those of a 7-9 year-old but not quite equivalent with older teens, so parents should plan accordingly when looking for a good vacation spot in Europe. Most of all, you should let them have a little input.

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