Thursday, January 25, 2007

Best Valentines deals according to Shermans Travel

ValentinesThe editors at have sorted through the ever-increasing number of Valentine’s Day travel promotions and picked their five best Valentine’s getaway deals…  including one for singles!

  • Celebrate Love in the City of Lights for $569

  • La Dolce Vita in Venice this Valentine’s from $439

  • Valentine’s Sojourn on the Snow for $595

  • Romantic Beach Escape to Bermuda from $740

  • Singles Cruise this Valentine’s from just $699

For further details on the packages, see their romantic deals page.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

St. Kitts Vacation Club from Marriott

Marriott St. KittsA new vacation club from Marriott, which shares its facilities with the St. Kitt’s Resort and the Royal Beach Casino, has opened in the West Indies with one quarter of its proposed 88 villas. The villas have either 2 or 3 bedrooms, king beds and oversized soaking tub, full kitchens, and separate living and dining areas. Prices starts at $17,500 per deeded week.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006


Canada is located in North America and stretches all the way from the Atlantic
to the Pacific, being made up of ten Provinces and three Territories. To the
North is the Artic ocean; Davis Strait on the North East separates it from
Greenland, to the East is the Atlantic Ocean; the South is bordered by the
United States of America and the West by the Pacific Ocean and Alaska.

A country of outstanding natural beauty, Canada has a wide variety of landscapes;
the mountains, the prairies, lakes and rivers with many national and provincial
parks to protect the habitats. With a total land mass of 9,984,670 sq km
(3,855,103 sq mi), Canada is the second largest country in the world. There are
more lakes and inland waters in Canada than any other country, in fact 7.6% or
755,180 sq km (291,577 sq) is made up of fresh water.

Most images of Canada refer to the Mounties, bears, snow or the Rocky Mountains
with the amazing turquoise lakes though there is truly more to this vast
landscape. Tourism is a large part of the economy with the abundant natural
resources quickly turning Canada into a rich and vibrant country that is a
permanent listing at the top of the best places to live. With distinct seasons –
the winters are cold with plentiful snow and then warm summers, the best way to
survive is to make the most of natures offerings. Skiing, snowboarding and
snowmobiling are popular pastimes and great exercise and fun. In the summer,
hiking, camping and exploring the great outdoors are fantastic ways to spend
your free time. This is especially true when you are amongst the most
breathtaking and fabulous scenery the world has to offer!

The monetary unit is the Canadian Dollar. It is made up of cents with 100 cents
making 1 Canadian dollar. There are 1 cent coins usually called a penny, 5 cent
coins usually called a nickel, 10 cent coins called a dime, 25 cent coins called
a quarter, 1 dollar coins called a loonie and two dollar coins called a twoonie.
The notes or bills are in 5 dollar, 10 dollar, 20 dollar, 50 dollar and 100
dollar denominations. The Canadian dollar traditionally trades at a lower value
than its American counterpart but is now coming closer to parity.

All motor vehicles are driven on the right hand side of the road and are left
hand drive. Each Province or Territory is responsible for its own driving laws
and regulations so each has a different system.


Canada has a population of 30,007,094 (2001 Census), compared with 28,846,761
(1996 Census) which shows a 4% increase. Most of the population lives in the
cities and most of these are located in the South of the country; about three
quarters of the population live within about 300 kms of the U.S border. The most
populated Provinces are Ontario and Quebec with Toronto (in Ontario) being the
most populated city.

There are two official languages - English and French - and Montreal in Quebec
is the world's largest French-speaking city outside of France. All of the
services offered by the Federal Government are in English and French. Almost
every product you buy has English and French on the labels and most public
services are available in both languages. Outside of Quebec the majority of
people speak English; about 18 percent of Canadians are fluently bilingual.

The First Nations or Indian people were the original inhabitants of Canada and
the name comes from their language and means "Village" or "Community". The
Vikings, who arrived in the 11th century and didn't stay for long, were the
first Europeans to land in Canada.

More Europeans arrived in the 16th century bringing with them manufactured goods
which they traded for furs and native products - because of this they were made
welcome by the indigenous people. The two main groups of European settlers were
the French, who came first, and then the English. Despite France losing its part
of the territory to Britain in a war in 1760, many of the French speaking people
stayed. In 1867, three colonies of Britain merged in an event called
Confederation; this created a partially independent state of four Provinces. Six
more Provinces and three Territories have since been added and in 1931 full
independence was achieved. Canada still belongs to the Commonwealth of Nations.

Canada is a Democratic Federation and has both a Federal and Provincial
Governments. The responsibilities and powers are divided between the Federal and
Provincial Governments which make for a complex political system (see for more


Public education is the responsibility of each Provincial Government (please
refer to our Provincial pages for more information) and is paid for through
taxes. Public education is free and all children are required by law to attend
school from the age of 6 years until they are 15 or 16, the majority of students
continue until they are 18 and graduate high school with a high school diploma.

The main languages of instruction are English and French.


Canada has a public health care system; essential medical treatment is available
to all Canadian citizens and permanent residents. Although the health care
systems are run by the Provincial ministries of health, the Federal Government
sets the standards for health care across the country.

There are three Provinces that charge healthcare premiums (BC, Alberta &
Ontario). In the other Provinces and Territories healthcare is paid for through
taxes. In some Provinces there is a three month waiting period before you
qualify for healthcare, (refer to for more information)
so you should make sure that you have insurance to cover any medical expenses
for this period.

In essence such an article can never describe such a vast and beautiful country
in adequate detail so if you are planning a visit or move go to for detailed information.

About the author:
The author immigrated to Canada in 2003 and has constructed a free information
website about Canada and Canadian
Immigration based on his family’s experiences.

Barcelona…and Beyond

Barcelona…and BeyondOne of the most popular tourist destinations in Europe, Barcelona has something to offer even the most discerning tourist. From beautiful beaches to the vibrant street life of the Ramblas, from architecture to football, Barcelona truly is a city for everyone. But what if the unthinkable happens, and you get bored of Barcelona? What if Gaudi’s masterpieces hold no interest for you? What if the thought of going to the Nou Camp makes your heart sink? What if you just can’t deal with one more piece of street theatre, or one more smiling face trying to sell you beer as you walk down the street? The answer is simple. Set on the beautiful east coast of Spain, Barcelona sits in the middle of stunning country, within easy reach of some of Spain’s hidden treasures.
Hire a car (try, and set about exploring the depths of Catalonia. There are many different self drive routes to make the most of your time in Spain. But to make the most of your time, try leaving Barcelona and driving up the Costa Brava to La Gavina (available at, one of Spain’s most beautiful hotels and the only Five-Star Grand Luxe resort hotel in Catalonia, just 120km northeast of Barcelona.
Even if La Gavina is somewhat outside your price range, S’Agaro itself has a huge amount to offer, with beautiful beaches, tranquillity and a relaxed pace of life that is almost impossible to find in bustling Barcelona.
From S’Agaro, carry on north to Figueres, the home town of Salvador Dali. Figueres houses the famous Teatre Museu Dali (Dali Museum), a true spectacle which contains not only the largest single collection of the Dali’s work, but maybe even the spirit of the surrealist himself, as he is buried within his Museum.
A short drive from Figueres lies Girona, an ancient walled city with a wealth of history and culture. Alternatively, drive inland towards Cardona, set deep in the mountains. Cardona is a beautiful town, a real ‘find’ off the beaten track, sitting on a hill almost surrounded by the river Cardoner and boasting an imposing citadel set high on a hill – the Parador, which is now a hotel with luxury accommodation and unbelievable views.
Tired yet? For the hardcore tourist, why not make one final stop on the way back, with a day trip to the monastery at Montserrat – destination of thousands of pilgrims every year, hoping to touch the famous black Virgin Mary (La Maroneta).
After all this excitement, you may well be ready to head back to Barcelona for a couple of days recuperation (and souvenir shopping!) before returning your hire car and heading home, with a wealth of experiences and memories that could never have been accumulated in one place. Barcelona is a fantastic city – but the rest of Spain’s pretty lovely too, and definitely worth setting out to explore.

About the author:Rebecca is a freelance travel writer, writing articles for a range of online and offline resources. Although travel is her first love, she occasionally gets distracted by exciting ideas and theories, which more often than not lead to new writing outside the travel sector.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Hello from New York City (1) - First Impressions of the Big Apple

So yesterday morning our American Airways flight (booked for free with my Airmiles) left at 7:13 am to bring us to the Big Apple, a place I had always had a fascination with, but only had visited twice very briefly in my life,and that more than 10 years ago.
Just flying in over NYC was an experience itself, seeing all the skyscrapers of Manhattan, the various bridges linking the mainland with the island, and shortly after flying over the Rykers Island prison we landed at La Guardia Airport, a rather small airport actually, when compared to Toronto.
Our luggage was out in no time and we grabbed a couple of week long transit passes (a pretty good deal at US$24 for unlimited travel for a whole week) and we started our trip to Brooklyn. One bus (through a mostly Latin area in Queens) and one subway ride (through Manhattan) later, we ended up in our lovely bed and breakfast in a gorgeous neighbourhood, just south of Prospect Park in Brooklyn.
Since we didn't know the area and the website of our B&B had provided just a tiny little map, we had chosen the wrong subway line to get off from and we had to walk about 1/2 hour to find the B&B, but it gave us a good first look at this part of Brooklyn.
It is an area with stately homes and houses that are about a century old. Magnolia and cherry trees are blooming everywhere and gardens are meticulously kept around here. Our Brookly neighbourhood feels very safe and we got to meet our bed and breakfast hosts: a very hospitable and outgoing couple in their 40s by the name of Harry and Bibi. They showed us to our room, a nice room on the third floor of this spacious house, with a shared bathroom.
Actually the whole house has been turned into a B&B and there are 8 bedrooms, the 2nd and 3rd floor of the house each have their own kitchen and bedroom areas and it actually makes for a really comfortable stay since it feels more like having your own apartment, rather than just renting a room.
Before leaving I thoroughly researched accommodation options in New York City, and after looking at all the options (hotels, hostels, B&Bs), I decided the B&B option would be the most comfortable route to go. And at US$90.00 a night it's definitely turned out to be one of the most affordable options and a great base to start exploring New York City...

Susanne Pacher is the publisher of a website called Travel and Transitions ( Travel and Transitions deals with unconventional travel and is chock full of advice, tips, real life travel experiences, interviews with travellers and travel experts, insights and reflections, cross-cultural issues, contests and many other features. You will also find stories about life and the t-ransitions that we face as we go through our own personal life-long journeys.

Preparing for the Rio Carnival

So, this is the Brazil. This is what Rio de Janeiro is really all about. When the Carnival arrives, companies close down, shops shut their doors early, and streets are closed off to make way for dancing, parties and parades. This awe inspiring festivity not only provides entertainment for the thousands of people attending the Carnival, but also for the millions watching it on their televisions, giving them a chance to learn about the true culture of Brazil.
The next Carnival starts on Saturday 25th February 2006, and ends on Fat Tuesday leading up to Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent in the Roman Catholic calendar. This happens to be during the hottest time of the year in the Southern Hemisphere, when summer is at its peak. When that Saturday arrives then it’s Carnival all over the place, in the streets and squares, bars, clubs and other venues, taking over the whole city of Rio and culminating in the Rio Carnival Parade also known as the Samba Parade.
The Rio Carnival is an event of mere days, but the result of months of preparation. The most giving and hardworking hands during the months before are often the ones most overlooked by outside eyes. These are the people who make the Carnival what it is, they add an ingredient that couldn’t possibly be replicated by the largest tourist operator, most experienced guide or multi million dollar sponsor. They are the people from Rio de Janeiro’s poorest neighbourhoods, the so called favelas or shanty towns.
So where did you think all the magic and thrill Carnival is famous for started? From the production of the elaborate costumes to the performance and choreography of the costume bearers, residents of the favelas are deeply involved with every aspect of the Carnival. More often than not, this is done through their participation and membership to a local samba school.
The samba schools, with members reaching the thousands, will get together on a regular basis throughout the year for rehearsals and samba nights. All the samba schools have rehearsal spaces, called samba courts, or locally known as quadras de samba. They open, in most cases, at weekends for anyone, including tourists like you and me, as long as you pay the small fee at the door. To anyone who’s not been to one of these places they can only be described as nightclubs with samba.
This is the best way to make contact with the real samba and people of Rio de Janeiro. The nights are totally informal, and members of all ages including many old people can go to the party of any school. Most are quite far out of from the main parts of Rio de Janeiro and some of the areas they are situated in can be rough. To this end I would recommend going with a group in a package including a local escort, and round-trip transportation. Once you're inside, it's very safe. I would recommend not going flashy or having anything valuable with you except of course your camera. This is only due to the high density and energetic atmosphere of these events and you are more likely to lose or damage such items rather than have them stolen.
So maybe you are planning to come to the Rio carnival, or maybe not and you just want to sample some of the rich carnival energy that lasts all year round in this city. Either way, visiting a Samba school is a great pre-Carnival excursion.
If you are coming for the main event then remember it also means a bit of preparation on your part too. You should not only get your flight, but do a bit of research on your Carnival tickets in advance. Try to plan your Carnival activities ahead to sample the immense variety on offer. Include in your must-do's the Samba Parade, street parties, and balls. You should also really organize your accommodation for the carnival well in advance. The best hotels, especially around Copacabana and Ipanema, are booked up early, so it’s advisable to make your hotel reservations as soon as you have decided to attend this spectacular event.

Ally Colquhoun has travelled extensively throughout South America, particularly in Brazil and visits Rio de Janeiro on a regular basis. He runs a website at where tourists can find more information and resources about Rio de Janeiro.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

The Real Australia

Australian vacations are great for extended holidays and summer fun particularly if you like the warmer weather. In fact, since Australia is located in the Southern Hemisphere a hot summer in the United States will be a nice winter in the land down under. You might even think about taking an Australia cruise during this time of year. Take your swim suit, your sun cream and your spending money and you will bve all set for the trip of a lifetime.
When you first decide on taking an Australian holiday you will probably run into a challenge trying to decide where to go because the options are simply endless. There are so many great places to visit such as Sydney - the home of the Harbour Bridge, Melbourne - the home of AFL, Adelaide - teh City of Fine Wine and Alice Springs - the home of Ayers Rock. Don't get discouraged because you might be able to do more than you think since you will certainly be able to book cheap airline flights within Australia to get around the country while you are there.
Australian vacations offer something for everyone no matter where you end up traveling in the country. Sydney will enhance your sense of culture. Be sure and visit the Opera House. Melbourne is an extremely cosmopolitan city full of jumping clubs and great restaurants.
Other Australian vacations can take you into the outback where you can see the real Australia that you have only seen on television. The Aborigines live throughout the country too and have a culture well worth discovering. If you can take as much as a month in Australia then you will have the chance to really enjoy the experience. Nothing less than two weeks will do for your first trip to this diverse country.

About The Author
Cusion Delause is the owner of Australia DEX which is a premier resource for Australia information. for more information, go to