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Go here not there - Spring break 2011

by Rosanne Coloccia, TravelationOnline.com; Posted by Catherine Holland

azfamily.com

Posted on January 19, 2011 at 3:25 AM

Updated Tuesday, Jan 18 at 8:46 PM

You may still be saying Happy New Year to your nearest and dearest, but believe me, spring is right around the corner - spring break that is - and if you've been entertaining thoughts of fun in the sun, the time to book is now.
 
"Spring break week" is a term I hear all the time but in truth, it's a bit of a misnomer. With the wide variety of school calendars all over Arizona - traditional versus year-around schools, high schools versus colleges - "Spring break" is more like a month. And that month would be March.
 
Although Spring break may conjure up visions of partying college students, there are plenty of great destinations where families and couples won't feel out of place. The trick is knowing where the party folks will be - so you're not!
 
Cancun - This is a gorgeous and fun destination, but stay far away from the "Hotel Zone" during the month of March. Check out some of the resorts on the Riviera Maya. Most of the "adults only" properties don't allow Spring breakers and many of the resorts are too far away from a large town to attract any attention from the pub-crawling crowd. Check out Puerto Morelos, Puerto Aventuras or even Tulum.
 
Hawaii - Because of the inexpensive prices, Waikiki can be party central. This would be a great time to check out some of the other islands. For example, over on the Big Island, the town of Kona has lots of kids, but in the Keauhou Beach area, just a few miles away from town, you're much less likely to find them. On Maui, you'll find Spring Breakers in the condos of Kihei, so try Kahana or Napili instead. They're both beautiful and still close to Lahaina, but far enough away to be peaceful.
 
Jamaica - Thanks to the Hip Strip, the kids are primarily in Montego Bay, but the beauties of Negril's Seven Mile Beach draw them as well. Why not check out Runaway Bay or some of the gorgeous "couples only" or family-oriented resorts in and around Ocho Rios?
 
Los Cabos - The sister towns of San Jose del Cabo and Cabo San Lucas are a quick flight from Phoenix, making the area ever more popular as a Spring Break destination. With the "party hearty" crowd staying in and around the nightlife of Cabo San Lucas, check out the pretty and peaceful resorts of the Corridor, the 20 mile stretch of coast between the two towns. You'll also find some lovely resorts near the low-key town of San Jose.
 
Flexibility is also a key part of planning your Spring Break getaway. Many of the inexpensive weekend flights for March are getting hard to find. If you can work it into your schedule, traveling Friday to Friday or Monday to Monday may offer much better options. If you can travel in early March or earlier in April, before Easter, you'll find better rates as well.
 
And believe it or not, the Summer "high season" is just around the corner. I'm already booking Hawaii and Mexico packages, as well as Alaska cruises, for June and July. If you're working around school holidays or have a very specific time window in which to travel, you'll want to start making plans now.
 
And now for the fun stuff!
 
Italy's Great Cities Plus London
March 11 - March 22
$2599.00 per person, double occupancy
 
We've had some last-minute cancellations - which means this formerly sold out trip is available again!
 
I'll need to know if you can come with us by Friday, January 21.
 
As a refresher, here's the outstanding itinerary for this incredible travel value:
 
This fantastic package includes round trip air from Phoenix, a fully escorted tour of Italy, with a total of four nights in Rome, two nights in Florence and two nights in Venice. Add in two nights in London as we make our way back home and you have four amazing cities in one fantastic trip!
 
Lots of wonderful sightseeing is included: the fabulous Vatican Museums, Sistine Chapel, Colosseum, Leaning Tower of Pisa, Michelangelo’s David, Romeo & Juliet’s Verona, a private transfer boat in Venice and Chianti country. You'll also have a full day in London to do as you please! Air taxes are additional - currently running $185.00 per person.
 
Check out the itinerary below:
Day 1 Board your overnight British Airways transatlantic flights
Day 2 Arrival in Rome, Italy
Relax in your comfortable hotel after your evening arrival in this lovely city.
Day 3 At leisure in Rome
Time to start exploring the Eternal City with your entire day free! At 6 p.m. meet your Tour Director and traveling companions for a special Welcome Dinner with wine in one of Rome’s lively restaurants. (BB,D)
Day 4 Rome
Sightseeing starts with a visit to the Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel (arranged next morning if closed today), world famous for Michelangelo’s ceiling paintings and The Last Judgment. Continue to monumental St. Peter’s Square and Basilica. Cross the Tiber and visit the Colosseum and the Roman Forum. Then there is plenty of time for independent activities and exciting optional excursion possibilities. (BB)
Day 5 Rome / Pisa / Florence
Follow the Aurelian Way along the Tyrrhenian coast to Pisa. Here take your pictures of the amazing Leaning Tower, 180 feet high and no less than 12 feet out of the perpendicular. Then on to Florence, the splendid capital of Tuscany. (BB,D)
Day 6 Florence
Guided sightseeing includes the magnificent Cathedral, Giotto's Bell Tower, the Baptistery's heavy bronze "Gate of Paradise," and sculpture-studded Signoria Square. To top it off, admire Michelangelo’s celebrated David in the Academy of the Fine Arts. The afternoon is free for independent sightseeing and browsing through the shops in Piazza Santa Croce. (BB)
Day 7 Florence/Verona/Venice
Journey north through the fertile Lombardian plains to Verona, medieval setting of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. See Juliet’s Balcony and stroll around the picturesque market square before continuing to Venice in the afternoon. (BB)
Day 8 Venice
Start morning sightseeing in style as you glide by private boat along the Giudecca Canal to meet your resident expert. Highlights of your walking tour are St. Mark’s Square and the Byzantine Basilica, lavish Doges’ Palace and the Bridge of Sighs. Also watch Venetian glass blowers fashion their delicate objects in an age-old traditional manner. Afterwards enjoy Venice at your own pace or join an optional gondola ride. (BB)
Day 9 Venice / Rome
A kaleidoscope of Italian landscapes parades past the coach windows on the way through the lush plains of the mighty River Po and across the wooded Etruscan Apennine mountain range. An exciting detour then takes you off the highway into the vine- and olive-clad Tuscan Hills which are the home of the popular Chianti wines. Tonight in Rome, an optional festive dinner may be just the way to celebrate the success of your leisurely Italian vacation. (BB)
Day 10 Depart Rome/Arrive London
After a leisurely breakfast, we transfer to the airport for our afternoon flight to London. Transfer from Heathrow to our Chelsea-area hotel. Evening at leisure to enjoy this amazing city! (BB)
Day 11 At leisure in London
A full day to enjoy London! Stroll around London's beautiful parks or take the London Underground to the Tower of London to see the crown jewels! You might consider one of London's famous double-decker bus "Hop On, Hop Off" tours, which lets you explore London at your own pace. Westminster Abbey, St. Paul's Cathedral, the National Gallery, Buckingham Palace - your list of places to explore is endless!
Day 12 Depart London
Our nonstop flight departs Heathrow Airport this afternoon for our early evening arrival in Phoenix.
 
These dates are over Spring Break for many school districts, so make it a family affair! The weather in Italy will be very mild and the crowds should be low since it's not a peak travel season.
 
For more information on what's included in the trip, please go to my agency site at www.travelationonline.com. Give me a call or send me an e-mail to hold your space. I hope you come with us!
 
Hula in Hawaii
There are some nice rates for a beach break in Honolulu in February, March and April!
 
The rates below include round trip air from Phoenix, seven nights accommodation as noted and airport transfers.
 
Sheraton Princess Kaiulani
$889.00 per person, double occupancy!
Across the street from gorgeous sister property, the Westin Moana Surfrider, this comfortable hotel is right in the middle of everything!
 
Aston Waikiki Beach Hotel
Ocean View Room with daily breakfast
$979.00 per person, double occupancy!
Across the street from a great stretch of beach, this popular property is walking distance to everything you want to see in Waikiki!
 
And finally…
 
Ireland with Friends
A Custom Tour by Brendan Worldwide Vacations exclusively for Travelation!
 
September 1 - September 10, 2011
$2299.00 per person, double occupancy
Air taxes are additional - currently $165.00 per person
 
Join us for this unique travel experience combining lively cities, charming towns, historic sites and so much more!
 
Your rate includes round trip air from Phoenix, all hotels, fantastic sightseeing and so much more! Check out this terrific itinerary:
 
September 1 - Depart Phoenix 
We depart Phoenix on our overnight Trans-Atlantic flight on Continental Airlines.
 
September 2 - Arrive Dublin
Welcome to Dublin! Upon arrival we are met and transferred to our centrally located hotel. On our way to the hotel, we'll see Georgian Squares and Christ Church Cathedral as we begin our exploration of this beautiful city, including visits to the Trinity College Library (and the famous 8th century Book of Kells) and lovely St. Patrick's Cathedral. The rest of the day and evening are at leisure.
 
September 3 - Wicklow Excursion
Beautiful day! We'll travel into the Wicklow Mountains for a visit to the lovely Powerscourt Gardens, then we're off to the picturesque monastic site of Glendalough. St. Kevin's Kitchen, celtic crosses and one of Ireland's classic towers dot the landscape here. It's a special place! Then we're off to the sea town of Howth for dinner and an evening of entertainment at The Abbey Tavern. (IB, D)
 
September 4 - Dublin to Waterford
We depart Dublin and travel to medieval Kilkenny. Kilkenny is truly one of Ireland's loveliest cities, rising to prominence in the 13th century when the Irish Parliament met at Kilkenny Castle. We enjoy a tour of this beautiful city and then a guided tour of the Castle. Then we're off to charming Waterford, stopping at the new Waterford Crystal Visitors Centre before checking into our hotel in the heart of town. (IB, D)
 
 
September 5 - Waterford to Killarney
We depart Waterford for our jaunt to Killarney, one of my favorite towns in Ireland! Along the way, we'll visit the world-famous Blarney Castle. Kiss the stone to gain the Gift of Eloquence or just blow it a kiss and visit the Blarney Woollen Mills, home to some of the best shopping in Ireland! Our hotel for this evening is right in the heart of charming Killarney, gateway to the incomparable Ring of Kerry. (IB)
 
September 6 - Ring of Kerry  
The road that winds around the beautiful Iveragh Peninsula, better known as the Ring of Kerry, is one of the most magical places in Ireland. Mountains, valleys, lakes and sea blend into a breathtaking landscape. Even the names of the towns seem to whisper their beauty: Cahirciveen, Glenbeigh, Killorglin and Sneem. Stroll through Killarney Town where you'll find lively pubs and music. (IB)
 
September 7 - Killarney to Galway
A scenic day! This morning, we'll take a ferry across the Shannon estuary and enter County Clare to walk along the Cliffs of Moher, rising approximately 700 feet above the pounding Atlantic. We travel on through the starkly beautiful Burren, to lovely Galway, City of Tribes. We continue along the coast before we arrive at our hotel in time to "watch the sun go down on Galway Bay." (IB, D)
 
September 8 - Connemara Excursion
Today we tour Connemara, a wild land of rocky mountains, sparkling lakes and rushing rivers. We'll stop at Kylemore Abbey, a castellated neo-Gothic mansion, occupied today by the Irish Benedictine community of nuns who came from Ypres, Belgium after World War I. Travel on to the Connemara Marble Factory and learn of the origins and uses of "the gem of Ireland." Enjoy a relaxing dinner at our hotel. (IB, D)
 
September 9 - Galway to Bunratty
We depart for a scenic tour of Galway City, including the beautiful Galway Cathedral. Then we're off to Ardrahan for a visit to Rathbaun Farm. We meet an Irish farming family as they carry out their everyday chores, including herding sheep, before we head on to Bunratty. Our hotel is in the shadow of Bunratty Castle, where we'll have time to relax or do some last-minute shopping on our last day in Ireland. (IB)
 
September 10 - Depart Ireland   
We have an early morning transfer to the Shannon Airport for our morning flight back to Arizona. (IB)
 
Join us for a journey through many of my very favorite places in all of Ireland!
 
From Los Cabos to the Caribbean, and all beaches in between, we've got great ideas for your next vacation at Travelation! Give us a call at 602-252-1140, or, if you're outside the Metro Phoenix area, call toll-free at 888-751-2032. You can also reach me directly via e-mail at rosanne@travelationonline.com. I look forward to hearing from you!
 

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