October 31, 2010

Holiday Travel: More Options, More Value

Written by Joy Thrun.

This article was featured in Greater Lansing Business Monthly (October 2010).

If you have not done so already, it’s time to begin planning and start booking holiday and spring break travel. There are more options than ever and great deals to be had on both land and sea. For those of us fortunate enough to live in the Greater Lansing area, we are now home to Michigan’s most convenient international gateway.

Lansing’s Capital Region International Airport (LAN) is making more of the world just a simple nonstop flight away. On the heels of last year’s successful Cancun charter comes nonstop service to Montego Bay, Orlando, Ft. Myers, and Las Vegas. Flights begin December 22, 2010 and are scheduled to run through May 1, 2011. I love Detroit Metro Airport but any time I can fly Lansing, sign me up! The more we support our airport, the more our travel habit will be supported.

All-inclusive resorts have become increasingly popular, and there are a multitude of variations on the theme. From small and upscale adults-only properties to gigantic themed resorts, there is something for everyone. Jamaica, Mexico and Dominican Republic are considered the Big Three when it comes to all inclusive. Having recently visited both Punta Cana and Jamaica, I can attest to the dizzying pace of development in both these destinations.

New, modern resorts are popping up all along the beautiful white sand beaches. In Punta Cana I experienced two brand-new resorts with completely different atmospheres—the luxurious Iberostar Grand was intimate with fine dining and butler service, and the hip new Hard Rock Hotel offered 14 restaurants with a casino that rivals Las Vegas. New golf courses designed by heavyweights such as Dye, Nicklaus, Fazio and Faldo dot the coast from Macau Beach to Cape Cana. Punta Cana has it all! Mexico is also on the rebound after recent problems. There are beautiful hotels all over the country, enticing travellers with world-class service and bargains like never before. From coast to coast, Mexico offers diverse destinations for every taste.

Again this season, cruising is high on most people’s list as a winter vacation. Even if you have cruised before, there is a new era on the high seas. Ultra-modern mega ships and ultra-luxurious sailing yachts are taking passengers to magical new ports of call. I was one of the lucky 6,000 people to sail on the inaugural voyage of Royal Caribbean’s Oasis of the Seas. I have been on many large cruise ships in my day from the Queen Elizabeth II to the Queen Mary, but this wasn’t a ship, it was a destination. When you are on a vessel like this one, that has neighbourhoods, you need a GPS to locate your restaurant for the evening—a unique travel experience to say the least. This year the Oasis will be joined by her sister, the Allure of the Seas, another 6,000-passenger behemoth. Basically, cruising will be a fantastic value this year.

With a multitude of brand-new resorts and cruise ships, this winter season promises to be more exciting than ever. Some 2011 spring break destinations are already sold out, so don’t get left out in the cold. And for a worry-free vacation, work with a local travel professional to help you sort things out. Happy travels!

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