Travel trends 2011

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It's that time of year again! The time when I pull out my crystal ball to see what the coming year holds for travelers.

I'll be honest - I'm not sorry to see this year coming to a close. It's been another very tough year for my industry. But, I do see some positive signs for 2011, and they may help you get a great rate for your next vacation!

Security is still Topic #1
The "Opt Out" controversy over the pat downs has died down, but the stepped up security procedures at our nation's airports are still a hot topic.

A couple of things you can do to smooth your way through security:

Wear as little jewelry as possible, and remember to completely empty your pockets of all change, cell phones, keys, etc. when going through the machine. Your belt, too.

And plan on paring down your carry on luggage, if at all possible. I know I'm guilty of bringing five books when two will do, and do I really need all those snacks? Make your carry on as small as possible and as easy for the TSA folks to examine as you can.

And as always - be flexible. You never know when you'll be chosen for an "expanded search," so be ready and most importantly, be patient. They're trying to keep us all safe.

Cruises are still a vacation value
Last year, the best values were in Alaska. This year? The Caribbean.

Cruise rates have fallen over the past two years and I'm glad to say they haven't gone up dramatically for the coming year. A cruise is always an excellent travel value, as they include your meals and accommodation in one price. And with the newer and larger ships that have come on line recently, there are lots of beds for the cruise lines to fill.

The newest ships will have higher rates, but the other ships offering the same itineraries are still gorgeous and if you can be flexible - there's that word again - you'll get an excellent rate for your next vacation.

And don't be afraid to book early. Cruises offer their very best rates to the folks who book the earliest, and if the rates do happen to fall before you sail, they are very willing to modify your booking to get you a better price.

Thanks, Euro!
Due to the economic turmoil in the Euro Zone, travel to Europe looks to be a good value for 2011.

Hotel rates, cruise rates, tour rates - you'll see very reasonable prices for the coming year. Airfare is still a bit of a mystery, sometimes fluctuating by hundreds of dollars from day to day, but if you keep your eyes open, you'll find a good fare.

The Pound has stabilized too, so if you've been wanting to see London, one of my favorite cities in the world, this year will be the time to do it. Maybe for the royal wedding!

And Italy remains one of the most popular destinations in the world, so if you've been wanting to throw coins in the Trevi Fountain, do it in 2011!

Don't forget Mexico
From swine flu to border instability, wave after wave of bad publicity put Mexico's tourism industry in a world of hurt over the past few years. But 2010 was a rebound year for our neighbor to the south and 2011 looks to be even better.

With daily nonstop flights from Phoenix to a variety of popular resort destinations, Mexico offers easy access to the sandy beaches of both the Pacific and the Caribbean. It also offers a wide variety of resort options, from comfortable to beyond 5-star fabulous.

You'll typically find the best rates in late summer and fall, during the storm season, but I've been seeing some wonderful rates for winter and late spring, too. Grab your passport and go!

And from all of us at TravelationOnline, here's hoping 2011 brings all good things for you and your families!

We've got a few nice specials on the horizon for 2011…

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 Custom Travel Value Includes:

• Round trip air from Phoenix on Continental Airlines
• 8 nights accommodation at First Class and Superior First Class hotels as noted (or similar) in twin-bedded rooms
• Full Irish breakfast daily, four dinners - including an evening of Irish entertainment and dinner at the Abbey Tavern - and morning coffee at Rathbaun Farm
• Deluxe motorcoach for touring, transfers and excursions
• Services of professional driver/guide, local guides and assistants as per itinerary
• Complete sightseeing program as detailed in the itinerary, including: St. Patrick's Cathedral, Trinity College, Powerscourt Gardens, Glendalough, Kilkenny Castle, the new Waterford Crystal Visitors Centre, Blarney Castle, Ring of Kerry, Connemara, Kylemore Abbey, Cliffs of Moher and much more!
• Porterage for 1 piece of luggage per person


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!

Cancun on sale!
If you've been dreaming about white sand beaches, you'll love the rates for these Cancun all-inclusive resorts!

The rates below include round trip air from Phoenix, six nights all-inclusive accommodations (all meals and beverages, including alcohol, along with gratuities) and airport transfers:

Royal Solaris Cancun
Standard Room
$829.00 per person, double occupancy

Ocean View Room
$869.00 per person, double occupancy
On a beautiful stretch of beach in Cancun's Hotel Zone!

Gran Caribe Real
Run of House Room
$989.00 per person, double occupancy
Right at the top of Cancun's Hotel Zone - and an easy walk to lots of nightlife!

Midweek travel offers the best rates, but weekends aren't much more. Air taxes are additional, currently running around $85.00-$90.00 per person. I found these rates for travel in January and February, but March and April aren't much more.

Give me a call to take advantage of these great rates for this beautiful destination!

By air, land or sea, we're planning your next vacation at TravelationOnline! Give us a call at 602-252-1140, or if you're outside the Metro Phoenix area codes of 602, 480 and 623, call toll-free at 888-751-2032. You can also reach me directly via e-mail: I look forward to hearing from you!