A taste of far away, but near the USA

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Old world charm

Picture this if you will: double-decker buses rumble past as you frame up your picture of the beautiful Parliament Building. Or how about this scenario - you grab your steaming cup of coffee and munch on a buttery croissant at a charming sidewalk café.

Charming scenes straight from London and Paris, right? Wrong!

Those familiar red buses roam the streets of Victoria, British Columbia while sidewalk cafes are part of the appeal of lovely Montreal, Quebec. You don't have to fly 10 to 12 hours for European flair - you just have to go to Canada!

Vancouver and Victoria are three to four hours away, while Montreal is right around six. Adding to the allure of our neighbor to the north is the relative equality of the US dollar against its Canadian counterpart, so in addition to being closer than Europe, it's cheaper than a Euro conversion, too!

Wine country

You've dreamed of rolling hillsides filled with vines and wineries but don't want to pull out your passport? Why not check out California and Washington!

California's Napa and Sonoma Valleys are famous for their world-class wineries, but don't forget about the high quality vineyards in Washington. I can highly recommend the tour and wine tasting at the charming Chateau Ste. Michelle winery in Woodinville, just outside Seattle. Combine it with some fantastic antiquing in Snohomish and the cosmopolitan wonders of Seattle and you have a dream getaway!

California's wine country is easily accessible from Bay Area airports - especially Oakland - and is chock-full of charming inns and lovely small hotels. Take a ride on the Napa Valley Wine Train or spend your time sampling world-famous and world-class wines.

You won't miss that Customs line at all!

Mountain views

Majestic, dramatic mountains reflected in a crystal clear lake - are we in Switzerland? Nope. Try Wyoming!

I'll never forget the first time I saw Teton National Park. Looking at those lovely peaks from the shores of Jenny Lake truly took my breath away. Throw in a stay at the fun town of Jackson and you've got a terrific vacation at a fraction of the price.

Looking for another "fabulous mountain views" option? Try the Canadian Rockies. Banff and Lake Louise rank way up there on my list of the prettiest places on earth, and they're easy to get to as well!

I recommend traveling in and out of Calgary, or take one of the fantastic Rocky Mountaineer rail tours, beginning in Vancouver and ending in Banff - it's a beautiful and relaxing way to travel!

Specials

It's not often you find great specials over a holiday weekend, but this year there are several!

New Orleans flair

It's a sultry time of year to be in this beautiful city, but the rates make it hard to resist!

The package includes round trip air from Phoenix, five nights accommodation and a Jazz/Creole dinner river cruise! There are lots of hotels on the sale, ranging from comfortable to deluxe, with the packages beginning at just $579.00 per person, based on double occupancy.

These rates are valid for travel July through September, so check your calendar and reserve your space. Air taxes are additional, currently running right around $40.00 per person.

Cancun all-inclusives

Some wonderful rates for all-inclusive resorts in this popular vacation destination!

Packages with 4- and 5-star properties for six nights, round trip air from Phoenix and airport transfers begin at $879.00 per person, double occupancy! Considering this rate includes all your meals and beverages, including alcohol, along with non-motorized waters sports and all tips, you're looking at a wonderful vacation value!

These rates are valid for travel beginning after Labor Day and through November. July and August rates are also available, but may be slightly higher. Air taxes are additional - currently right around $95.00 per person - and you'll need a valid passport to fly to Mexico.

Maui wow

I also found a terrific rate for one of my favorite condo properties on Maui, which happens to be my favorite island. Nice how that works, isn't it?

Outrigger Royal Kahana

Studio Garden View

from $839.00 per person, double occupancy

Valid for travel August through October

This rate includes round trip air from Phoenix, six nights accommodation as noted and a rental car for the length of your stay. The rates are best for midweek travel. Weekend rates are also available, but may be higher.

There are some terrific resort hotels on the sale as well, in case you don't even want to think about cooking on your vacation. Take a look at your schedule and give me a call!

And for my azfamily.com blog buddies, I'm looking for some opinions. I'm considering adding another trip before the end of this year:

Option A: Mediterranean cruise out of Rome, with stops in Crete, Athens, Messina (Sicily) and Kusadasi, the port nearest to Ephesus. It would be in mid to late October, with rates for Inside Staterooms, transfers and air starting right around $1599.00 per person. The cruise rates right now are just amazing.

Option B: A Christmas Market land tour to some of the most beautiful cities in Europe - Vienna, Budapest and Prague. For this trip, we'd be two nights in each city, sightseeing and shopping in their famous Markets along the way. With round trip air from Phoenix, plus all hotels, transportation between the cities, along with terrific sightseeing, the rate will be around $2339.00 per person, based on double occupancy.

Send me an e-mail to let me know what think - rosanne@travelationonline.com.

By air, land and sea, we're planning your next vacation at TravelationOnline! Give us a call at 602-252-1140, or if you're outside the Phoenix metro area codes of 602, 480 and 623, 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!