Spring break fever -- Go here, not there

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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 even in April, well after 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 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!

Tahiti Getaway

Year after year, it's named one of the world's most romantic and beautiful destinations, so this year, why not give Tahiti a try? Especially at these rates!

For the island of Tahiti, there's a five night package out of Los Angeles for $1399.00 per person, double occupancy, which allows you to choose between several top-notch hotels, including the lovely Le Meridien Tahiti, the InterContinental Tahiti and the Hilton Hotel Tahiti.

The rate includes round trip air from Los Angeles, five nights hotel as noted, breakfast each day and all transfers. You can travel now through the end of May, but you have to book by February 5!

For Moorea, one of the most beautiful islands I've ever had the pleasure of visiting myself, the deals are great, too!

For $1799.00 per person, double occupancy, you'll get round trip air from Los Angeles, one night at the Hilton Hotel Tahiti and six nights at the gorgeous Hilton Moorea Lagoon Resort & Spa in a Garden Bungalow! The package also includes all transfers, including the inter-island ferry from Tahiti to Moorea, and daily breakfast. Like the Tahiti package, these rates are valid for travel now through the end of May, but this package must be booked by January 20!

These are great rates for beautiful destinations, so grab your passport and go!

April 18 - April 25

Are you ready for mystery and fun on the Mexican Riviera? Book yourself on an exciting Whodunit Mystery Cruise!

You'll have a blast on this 7-day cruise with exclusive mystery events each day and evening just for you and your fellow mystery lovers. You can have fun as yourself and as a character!

Inside Staterooms start at $585.00 per person, double occupancy, for the cruise and special events. An Ocean View Stateroom starts at $691.00 per person, double occupancy, while a Balcony Stateroom starts at $902.00 per person!

If the above dates don't work for you, there's another 7-day Mexican Riviera Mystery Cruise in October, so give me a call for more information.

And finally:

October 9 - October 18
From $1999.00 per person, double occupancy!
(Air and port taxes additional)

I'm so excited with the response to this trip! I still have a few Inside Staterooms available, plus lots of Balcony Staterooms.

Can you believe that price?? With cruises offering excellent value, we were able to put together this terrific air, cruise and post-cruise package!

The rate includes round trip air between Phoenix and Barcelona, your seven-day cruise on the Voyager of the Seas (an ice skating rink at sea??) in an Inside Cabin and an extra night in Barcelona to explore this gorgeous city! All your transfers are included, too!

If you'd like a mid-ship Ocean View Stateroom with a picture window, add $380.00 per person to the rate above, and if you'd like a balcony to enjoy your time sailing the Mediterranean, add $530.00 per person to the price above. I'm so pleased about the prices!!

The itinerary is terrific:

Oct. 10 -- Barcelona, Spain -- Depart: 7 p.m.

Oct. 11 -- Cruising

Oct. 12 -- Naples, Capri, Italy -- Arrive: 7 a.m.; Depart: 7 p.m. (Docked)

Oct. 13 -- Civitavecchia (Rome), Italy -- Arrive: 7 a.m.; Depart: 7 p.m. (Docked)

Oct. 14 -- Livorno (Florence/Pisa), Italy -- Arrive: 7 a.m.; Depart: 7 p.m. (Docked)

Oct. 15 -- Villefranche (Nice), France -- Arrive: 7 a.m.; Depart: 7 p.m. (Tendered)

Oct. 16 -- Provence (Toulon), France -- Arrive: 7 a.m.; Depart: 5 p.m. (Docked)

Oct. 17 -- Barcelona, Spain -- Arrive: 6 a.m.

I can't wait to explore Provence, and even if you've sailed in the Mediterranean before, you have so many options in each port - Italy in particular offers so many things to see and do - you never have to do the same excursion twice, unless you want to. For example - last time, I toured the spectacular Amalfi Coast during our stop in Naples. This time - it's Capri!

And on our port day for Florence - all those wonderful museums will be open! Michelangelo's David, here I come!

I'm holding Inside Cabins, Ocean View Staterooms and Balcony Staterooms for the group. I'll also be offering some nice amenities for those who sail with us.

October is a beautiful time to sail the Mediterranean! The crowds are gone and the weather is great. And so are the prices! Give me a call to reserve your space!

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!