New Solo Travel Holiday Ideas

Looking for an alternative to “Home Alone for the Holidays”, I began checking out river cruises. My prior cruise on the Nile had worked well for me. As a solo traveler, I liked the fact that meals, transportation and sightseeing were taken care of while the small ship offered travel companions but with the privacy of my own cabin.

To narrow it down, I scanned my bucket list and immediately chose an Amazon River cruise. That left India and SE Asia as next on my list but too far roundtrip for Christmas week. I selected Brazil since most of the Amazon rainforest is located there although other options were via Peru and Colombia. (At least five other countries claim at least a piece of the Amazon.)

Although there were no non-stop flights available, Miami and Houston are gateway cities for frequent flights from the US to the capital of the Amazon, Manaus, bypassing both Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paolo. An intriguing option, in my view, was the opportunity to connect through Panama. The flight’s layover of 17 hours gives ample time to check into a Panama City hotel for a good night’s sleep with time left over in the morning for a walking tour.

Having traveled five times to Spanish-speaking Latin America, in researching this trip, I discovered how little I knew about Brazil and specifically about the Amazon.

My first misimpression was of Manaus. I had envisioned the Amazon’s starting point as a quaint village with small planes landing on short runways as I had found in African game reserves. In reality, the metropolitan Manaus area, with its own Belle Epoque opera house, has over 2 million inhabitants, a choice of 5-star hotels and frequent air buses arriving from abroad.

Secondly, I had always thought of the Amazon as home to just one river, famous as second in length only to the Nile. In fact, there are three others in the Brazilian Amazon: the Rio Negro, Rio Solimões and the Río Jauaperi, each with their own characteristics.

A third surprise was that the Amazon Basin, deep in the rain forest, is not uninhabited. It includes villages of up to 15,000 inhabitants. Novo Airão, for example, on the Rio Negro, is an active boat-building center.

The Amazon Basin is a leading ecotourism destination for the rainforest itself and the array of wildlife, including one-third of the world’s birds. Species range from the more welcome sights, butterflies, iguanas, monkeys, manatees, to snakes, the latter not always a crowd-pleaser. Rarer sights are the pink dolphins and the capybara, a 150-pound rodent, which fortunately looks like a giant guinea pig rather than an oversized rat. Leaving behind honking horns, the greatest “noise pollution” appears to be from howler monkeys, hopefully reserved primarily for the daytime. Foliage in the Amazon is supersized looking like a set made for a science fiction film. The kapok tree can grow to 200 feet in height, and water lilies can reach 7 feet in diameter.

Night time exploration does allow for a change of pace and a view of nocturnal animals. However, you wouldn’t want to take a break under a tree without keeping a vigilant eye out for low-hanging squirrel monkeys or other tree-dwelling mammals. A swim is not recommended either unless you want to get up close and personal with a hungry caiman floating through the river looking for prey.

If time permits, Manaus is also well-positioned to connect afterwards with Brazil’s beaches or an island holiday returning via Aruba before facing the bleak winter weather above the Equator. For western bound travelers, history or archeology buffs, a connection via Machu Picchu may hold more allure.

An alternative to competing with large holiday groups for a table for one? The answer: a river cruise through the Amazon, the world’s largest rainforest. You will be surrounded by unique species accepting you as guests in their natural habitat.

With a river cruise you have the added benefit that:

1. Planning is taken care of by the tour operator so that you will not have to organize sightseeing, find a hotel, and coordinate local transportation..

2. Pricing is close to all-inclusive, except for airfare, tips and transfers.

3. River cruises provide you with both a ready-made group but also the ability to have private time in your cabin.

4. Safety issues are unlikely on a river cruise, especially since you avoid foraging alone for dinner at night in unfamiliar territory.

If not for the holidays, themselves, the Amazon Basin is also the perfect antidote for winter north of the Equator!

Budget Travel Holidays Three Quick and Easy Tips to Plan Budget Travel Holidays

We all want fabulous budget travel holidays without breaking the bank. Here are three tips that will help you plan your next great holiday while staying on a budget. We’ll go over the months you should target to travel that will give you the greatest travel savings, which type of airports to fly out of, and more general tips to give you the greatest bang for you buck. Let’s get started:

1. Try to travel during “Shoulder Season”, a term coined by the travel industry. This is a great time to travel because it’s not High Season, which is when it’s most expensive to travel and most crowded, and it’s not Low Season, when the crowds are not there but the weather is the worst. You can generally save hundreds of dollars, if not thousands, on your vacation just by targeting Shoulder Season because airfare and hotels are cheaper. For example, go to Hawaii in March or September, Tahiti in November, Costa Rica in December, or Baja California in June.

2. Use the internet to your advantage. Many airlines, resorts, cruise companies, and hotel websites offer rewards to people who subscribe to their e-mails lists. Usually all it takes is for you to visit their website and find the place where you can enter your e-mail in exchange for discounts, rewards, etc. These e-mail lists are often one of the first or only places to get major, unadvertised discounts. Social marketing is on the upswing and you can follow the airlines, etc. on Twitter to get similar savings also.

3. Be flexible with your travel planning. By being open to flying out of a less commercial airport, or staying in a neighboring city that borders the touristy city, you will save money. Many people want to go to San Francisco but cannot afford the pricey hotel rooms in the city. Consider staying in neighboring Berkely and taking public transportation into San Francisco. Neighboring cities often have the same “feel” as the touristy cities, yet the local businesses are more accommodating and even grateful for your business. You are more apt to be treated like royalty because the locals like you being there, rather than being an annoyance, aka “just another tourist”. Minor travel adjustments such as this can save you hundreds on your trip, while still being able to vacation in the city of your choice.

I hope this helps you see that the possibility of budget travel holidays can be a reality with a little planning and ingenuity. Flexibility in travel planning goes a long way to huge savings. Be a smart shopper and use the internet. It’s a great resource for budget travel. By following these simple tips, you will be able to have your budget travel holiday.

Things You Need to Know Before You Book a Travel Holiday Online

Vacation deals are usually available and sold anywhere from a few hours to twelve hours prior to departure of your trip. If you thought that getting a travel deal at the tail end was foolish, you need to think again.

Some things you need to know prior to booking your travel deal at the last minute:

1) The more money you save, the better chance you have of having a nice surplus. When you make reservations for hotels, car rentals, airfare and other related items, make sure to look for the best discounts. That way, you will have more money to spend on other things.

2) Avoid mistakes that cost you money. Spend your money wisely. Get travel insurance in the event of an emergency. Read every part of any document that you have to provide your John Hancock for. Also, read the fine print. That is where you will find the stipulations and any fees. It is your responsibility to read everything before you sign.

3) Confirm all details. In regard to your trip, go over every detail to make sure it is correct. This includes the costs of the trip, additional fees, travel insurance and medical insurance. Again, read the fine print and ask questions if you don’t understand something.

4) Make sure that you are empowered and informed. There’s nothing worse than not knowing everything you need to know before you embark on this trip. With last minute travel, you need to make wise choices. It’s important that if you’re looking to save money, you must be frugal. Make sure that you are getting the best deal for your money

World Travel Holiday Gone Bad

There are a lot of reported cases of tempting holidays gone really, really bad. People, who got to the destination and found out that the hotels were miserable or that there simply were no hotels where they should have been, people who had to pay a lot of extra money for things they already paid for and so on.

So in order to prevent these unfortunate happenings you’d better start looking for a travel agent who will help you to make the best decision that meets your desires when it comes to traveling somewhere. Find an agent who has a lot of experience and can determine scams in time. He should be a person you fully trust as in his hands lies your long wanted holiday.

Before deciding for one, ask about his reputation. If possible, contact some of his former clients and check if they had things going for them as they wanted or who knows, even better. Choose and agent who can meet all your conditions, involving destination, hotel, family accommodation, prices for your budget and any special needs. Think outside the box: bigger aren’t necessarily better. You can get really good service from smaller agencies as well.

Check if the agent is available anytime in case of an emergency. You have to rely on him that he will solve any issues that might occur. Look for someone with whom you’ll be able to establish a long time relationship, someone nice who isn’t interested just to take your money but who is committed to his job and tries as hard as he can to make you happy. He has to be up to date with the best offers and prices.

Having a good agent means that you will be able to save some money, time and you’ll get to your wanted destination having your mind relaxed.

Discount Travel Holidays Easy Tips For Your Happy Tour

Whether you earn a big sum of money or low, you may have a keep desire to enjoy holidays within your pouch! The discount travel holidays will be the right ways to quench your thirst in this manner because they take care of everyone and people can avail them with ease. When you are going to avail a discount travel holiday package, you can keep some tips in your mind that will help you gain more and more benefits through one package.

Discount travel holidays can be availed for every place that too during every season and thus, you don’t need to wait for a holiday or off season. However, it is suggested to you to plan holidays during the off season because this time, you can book a cheap holiday package through any online agent. There is no need to spend thousands of dollars in order to book your holidays because you have various chances to plan a cheap holiday.

In order to book the discount travel holidays, you should use the online method that is easy and convenient and offers you many more chances to plan a satisfactory holiday tour. See that your package includes all the compulsory facilities that can bring true fun in your life. Well, there is no need to waste time at all and wait for any other time to plan a tour.

It is the good way to enjoy holidays in your own way because there is no need to break your expectations because of the lack of money because the discount travel holidays are always ready to help you out. Well, if you want to save some money and have a desire to enjoy some happy days, the discount travel holidays will help you out.

South Africa Car Hire and Travel Holidays

South Africa car rental is relatively inexpensive and it is probably the best option when it comes to safety and reliability. The roads are mostly well maintained when compared to other African countries and although a 4×4 vehicle is not required you may want to get one from your car rental company anyway because there are some amazing 4×4 trails within the country and its game reserves.

Car hire companies are represented within most major towns and they supply a diverse range of cars from vintage cars to caravans. You can travel from one side of South Africa to the other and just leave your rental car at a S.A car rental branch within the town where you depart. If you are planning to rent a car to drive around you will want to insure your car rental company has an option for unlimited kilometers and if you are visiting in summer you will definitely want a car with air-conditioning.

If you have 3 to 4 days you can visit Cape Town and the surrounding wine-lands in your hired vehicle or drive from Johannesburg to the nearby Kruger National Park – a 4×4 vehicle is best for this trip but any vehicle can be used. If you have a week and a half to two weeks consider traveling in your car hire around Cape Town’s Garden route and stopping at the quaint seaside towns along the way or visit Durban, the Drakensberg mountain range and the Transkei with its breath-taking beaches and rich culture.

S.A is a place of rich beauty and diverse cultures. Nestled within S.A you can stop at the independent countries of Swaziland and Lesotho or even take a trip in your hired car outside of the country to the picturesque Mozambique, arid Namibia or wild Botswana. If you love camping South Africa is the place to be, take your car rental to a South African game reserve or seaside town and enjoy nature at its best. S.A has a laid back and friendly attitude in which tourists are welcomed with open arms – do some research before you visit but come with an open mind and you’re bound to have the best holiday of your life with your South African car hire.