Book Your Reservation Today For Caribbean Holidays Hello From Orlando Golf In Orlando The Links Style International Course At Championsgate No Need To Buy An Rv When Hiring One Is Possible Victorian Luggage Packs Vegas Vacation Tips 5 Tips For First Timers

For many people, the Caribbean is one of the first countries they think of when they consider going on a summer vacation. Split up into small islands, the Caribbean boasts fantastic clean, white sandy beaches and crystal clear waters as well as a climate to die for. There is an atmosphere like no other in the Caribbean too and that is what draws thousands of people there each and every single year.

Choosing a Caribbean Destination

It can be extremely difficult figuring out where it is that you want to go within the Caribbean. Each island is similar to the next and they are all naturally beautiful making it a really tough decision. It might be a good idea to look at the destinations which are particularly popular such as St. Johns, Canouan Island and The Turks and Caicos Island.

The two islands Turks and Caicos are found close to the Bahamas. They provide you with plenty of underwater activities and snorkeling is an experience that should not be missed. There are large coral reefs to be explored and you can also take part in fishing and diving. They both host brilliantly white sands and they would make an ideal romantic getaway.

The Canouan Island is situated in the Grenadines and it is an extremely popular place for lovers of the beach. Again, it offers snorkeling and other underwater activities and you can even take part in sailing as well as wind surfing. This is another romantic location as it seems to be really private and it is more of an undiscovered Island.

Trunk Bay in St John is by far one of the most popular beaches in the Caribbean. It is protected by the United States National Park service and it offers visitors snorkeling tours. If you are interested in snorkeling then you should find this to be one of the best underwater adventures in the world.

Other popular Caribbean destinations include Jamaica and the Cayman Islands. Now Jamaica is a little more crowded, but it does offer some amazingly beautiful beaches. It is the atmosphere in Jamaica that keeps visitors going back for more year after year. Packed full of fun and music, it is definitely a place where you can take the whole family. The Cayman Islands on the other hand are also extremely popular. They offer a wide range of activities for your enjoyment and the setting is truly breathtaking on all three of the Islands.

Overall the Caribbean is one of the best countries in the world for stunning beaches and breathtaking scenery. So if you are considering taking a summer vacation, it would definitely be worth checking out the most popular Caribbean destinations.

Several days after attending the Father-Son-Challenge at ChampionsGate we actually got out and played the International Course ourselves. It was an exciting experience to play a championship golf course just shortly after a major tournament, when it was still in tournament condition with just a few extra degrees of difficulty. The open wind-swept design features a multitude of bunkers and a variety of water hazards, and with a difficulty rating of 76.3, one of the highest ratings in the state, we were duly humbled by the challenges that this course threw at us.

ChampionsGate is an impressive facility with 36 holes designed by famous golf legend Greg Norman. What sets ChampionsGate apart is that its International layout and the National course have totally different designs. The hard, fast fairways of the International course are reminiscent of the great old Scottish and Irish links, while the more modern American-style National course winds through citrus groves and stands of pines, emphasizing challenging shot-making choices and a range of memorable par-3s.

Golfers who want to improve their game can do so at the world-famous David Leadbetter Golf Academy which offers two or three-day mini-schools or retreats, private sessions or David’s “Beginner to Winner” program. David Leadbetter even offers video lessons via the Internet, providing access to his teaching expertise to golf students all over the world. The Callaway practice facility consists of an expansive practice area, putting green and short game area and is always complimentary with a round of golf.

As you come off exit 58 on the I-4, ChampionsGate greets you right away with imposing gates. The road takes you past the luxurious Omni Orlando Resort and Spa which has been welcoming resort golfers since 2004 in 730 premier rooms, including 25 guest suites. In conjunction with the Omni Resort, ChampionsGate now offers an upscale resort golf experience, complete with a European-style spa, state-of-the-art conference facilities and a 15-acre tropically landscaped recreational area featuring an 850 ft “lazy river”. The Champions 9 Golf Experience, the resort’s lighted 9-hole, par 3 golf course, adds to the recreational opportunities.

The resort will be complemented by a master-planned community including villas and condominiums. The 59-unit phase 1 of the Villas is set to open in the summer of 2006, which will be followed by groundbreaking for the 110 units of Phase 2.

The 30,000 square foot clubhouse at ChampionsGate with its enormous wrap-around veranda features a panoramic view of both golf courses and a unique menu that is split right down the middle, featuring international cuisine on the left, and American fare on the right. ChampionsGate specializes in hospitality and customer service, and last year the club hosted more than 340 business or charity outings. After our challenging round we enjoyed a tasty lunch and were joined by Alan Findley, the General Manager of ChampionsGate, who gave us a better overview of this facility.

Alan is particularly proud of hosting the Father-Son-Challenge, a nationally televised golf event that features many present and past legends of golf, including Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer and Vijay Singh, to mention just a few. The Father-Son-Challenge is a veritable “Walking Hall of Fame”. What makes this tournament really special is its relaxed family atmosphere and the opportunity to see different generations of golf icons playing with their sons, daughters and even grandchildren. It’s an opportunity to see these famous golf legends from a human side and we indeed enjoyed watching Vijay Singh relax with a cup of coffee on the 18th hole, awaiting the arrival of his son Qass, hoping for a great final score.

In our conversation Alan also indicated that at the David Leadbetter Academy you never know what golf celebrity you are going to run into. Michelle Wie is a famous Leadbetter student, Charles Howell III was practicing while we were there, and Greg Norman helicoptered in for a lesson last week. Alan also pointed out Michelle Wie’s favourite spot in the clubhouse: the table right in front of the big screen TV.

Alan also made us aware of the unique wildlife inhabiting this golf course: two American bald eagles have made the course their permanent home, and on any given day you could see whooping cranes, gannets, alligators or armadillos. For a special glimpse of ChampionsGate’s atmosphere come here at the end of the day, when you could see bald eagles perched on a tree in the sunset right in front of the clubhouse, while listening to a Scottish bagpiper, a feature Allen himself has introduced to the club.

Driving Directions:

ChampionsGate is located 10 Minutes from Disney World at Exit 58 on Interstate 4, just minutes away from International Drive and area attractions.

Statistics for ChampionsGate International

Par 72 Yards Rating Slope

Black 7363 76.8 143

Blue 6792 74.1 137

White (M) 6239 71.5 132

White (L) 6239 75.7 134

Statistics for ChampionsGate National

Par 72 Yards Rating Slope

Black 7128 75.2 138

Blue 6427 71.9 133

White (M) 5937 69.1 124

White (L) 5937 74.7 125

For more information please visit the ChampionsGate website or call them at (407) 787-GOLF (4653) or toll free at 1-888-558-9301.

Say you want to tour the country, see the highways and byways and small towns and rural roads of America. A great way to do it is in an RV, or motorhome. But buying a recreational vehicle is a huge commitment, and they don’t come cheap. So don’t buy an RV: hire one instead.

Many companies specialize in RV hires, renting out recreational vehicles by the day or week so that people can enjoy the amenities without having to buy one. Some firms even operate worldwide, allowing travelers the opportunity to experience foreign lands on a budget. This is especially useful for Americans, who, even if they own an RV, wouldn’t be able to use it to tour a foreign country without undergoing a lot of hassle in transporting it abroad.

Renting an RV means you don’t have to pay for hotels. You sleep in the comfort of the hired recreational vehicle instead, thus saving hundreds of dollars over the course of a vacation. You also save on transportation costs such as train tickets. RVs often get poor gas mileage, but the savings can still be considerable when compared to other travel methods.

An RV hire also grants you the freedom to see your chosen destination at your own pace, rather than being at the mercy of group tours. You can choose your own places of interest, map your own itinerary, and function on your own schedule. Bus and train schedules mean nothing to do when you’re at the wheel of an RV. Want to spend a few extra hours at a location you hadn’t expected to find interesting? No problem. Your vehicle and mobile hotel room are ready to go when you are.

So if you’re thinking of taking a scenic road trip, consider using an RV. Hire one for this vacation and you might find yourself buying one in the future.

Victorians traveled extensively, more and more with each generation. Those Victorians who could afford to travel lived a lifestyle of comfort and glamour. They packed their items heavily and were usually away from home for longer periods of time. Sturdy luggage that could handle all of the many personal items Victorians brought along on their trips was needed to support the desire of Victorian people to “travel in style”, as they felt was befitting of their stature in the community.

Victorians were known for taking their comfort and enjoyment very seriously whenever they traveled, whether long or short-distance. Often accompanied by many, many pieces of luggage, even for weekend trips into the country, the number of pieces of heavy luggage and hand baggage would astound baggage carriers today. Farther trips meant even more luggage was needed to carry clothes, fancy gowns, and many personal items required for a superior Victorian vacation.

It was the custom of the day to travel by ship and by train. Just like women of today carry tote bags filled with personal items, reading materials and so forth on to airplanes, Victorian women did the same when traveling. Therefore, Victorian travel required two types of luggage; hand baggage and heavy luggage.

Heavy luggage was made up of chests, trunks and portmanteaux, or what we might today call small portable closets. Trunks date back to the Middle Ages, when leather covered wooden trunks made an appearance in the 17th century. Trunks were essential for Victorians touring Europe. No matter what the Victorian elite chose to bring on a trip, there was luggage designed to hold it.

Hand baggage, what we might think of as vintage carry-on luggage, included expensive and beautiful silver-topped toiletries, brushes, combs and, in the days before electricity, a candlestick to light up the tiny hand mirror so the lady could gaze upon her face. These handbags could be made from leather or a number of other suitable fabrics.

Another popular piece of luggage was the French carpet bag, made with soft outer fabric sewn over a metal frame. Carpet bags were light and roomy, so they were popular among Victorian ladies and it was common to see Victorian ladies strolling with their carpet bags.

The materials used in making Victorian luggage were considered rare even then. Crocodile, Moroccan leather and various fabrics and laces make these items extremely collectable in today’s antique market.

First time in Las Vegas? Vegas is the entertainment capital of the world – there’s no other place like it. But if you’ve never been there before, you could end up missing the best Vegas has to offer or worse – spending more money than you’d planned.

If you’re booking your first Las Vegas vacation, the following tips will save you time, money and frustration.

Vacation Tip #1: Book Your Vegas Package Early

Try to make your reservations and ticket purchases at least 21 days before your trip. Some fares require an advance purchase of 3, 7, 14, or 21 days, while others may require no advance purchase at all.

Also, many Las Vegas hotels give you a discount incentive for booking your vacation early. As more people book the hotel rooms, there are less spots available and prices can rise.

Vacation Tip #2: Bring High Quality Running Shoes

If you’re going to be exploring the gorgeous hotels and various attractions on the Las Vegas strip – make sure you take high quality, well-fitting running shoes. Most of the surfaces you’ll be walking on are either concrete or stone.

While it’s lovely to stroll along the cobblestone streets of the Venetian or the Paris hotels – if you’re in shoes that don’t give you adequate cushioning you’ll be in pain by the end of the day. And after 3 days, forget about it.

Vacation Tip #3: If It’s Your First Time In Vegas Try To Stay On Or Near The Las Vegas Strip

The Las Vegas strip is the best place to be – especially if it’s your first time in Las Vegas. Enjoy the fountains of the Bellagio, see the lion habitat at the MGM Grande, watch the pirate show at the Treasure Island, view the white tigers at the Mirage.

When you’re on the Las Vegas strip most of the attractions and hotels are within walking distance so you don’t need to rent a car. Staying at one of the hotels on the strip will ensure you see most of the main attractions in Vegas.

Some hotels on the Las Vegas strip are the Bellagio, MGM Grande, Mirage, Ceasar’s Palace, Aladdin, Circus Circus, Treasure Island, Imperial Palace, Flamingo, New York New York, Bally’s and the Paris Hotel.

Vacation Tip #4: Bring Your Appetite & Forego Your Diet

Las Vegas offers some of the BEST buffets and restaurants in the world. Two of the most popular buffets in Las Vegas are the Buffet at the Bellagio and the Spice Market Buffet at the Aladdin. They are a must try!

The buffets offer a huge selection (so everyone in the family is happy)at mid-priced rates (depending on where you go). The food quality is extremely high so forego your diet and enjoy! After all, you’re on vacation.

Vacation Tip #5: You Don’t Have To Spend A Bundle On Entertainment

While some of the shows in Las Vegas can be expensive, there are lots of things to do (especially with your family) that are low cost or absolutely free. Some freebies include:

Lion habitat at the MGM Grande

White tigers at the Mirage

Fountain display in front of the Bellagio

M&M’s Store near New York, New York hotel (free M&M’s movie)

Pirate Show at Treasure Island

Rain Storm at the Dessert Passage next to the Aladdin

Circus Acts at Circus Circus

Human Statues at the Venetian

Various specialty displays and gardens inside different hotels – depending on the time of year

And they’re always adding more!

So those are 5 general tips for Vegas first-time vacationers. The can save you time, money and frustration (and hopefully sore feet). There’s no other place like Las Vegas – it’s like a giant playground for adults and kids. Regardless of what you choose to do, you’ll never forget your first time in Vegas!

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