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October 2017

Best Cold and Warm Weather Holiday Destinations Holiday Travel

2017’s Best Winter Holiday Destinations

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  • October 31, 2017
2017 Best Winter Holiday Destinations

 

Do you have a hankering to travel?

The Best Cold and Warm Winter Holiday Destinations 

 

WalletHub, the personal finance website, released its 2017’s Best Winter Holiday Destinations report today.

The study is a supplement to its money-saving selection of the Best Travel Credit Cards. 

Information provided courtesy of WalletHub.

Washington (October 31, 2017)
Focusing on cost and convenience rather than scenic beauty, WalletHub’s analysts compared more than 60 of the largest U.S. metro areas grouped by warm and cold weather. Each destination was analyzed based on 32 key metrics, primarily the expense and hassle of traveling to each location but also on other indicators, such as weather forecasts, safety and variety of activities.

Here’s a quick glimpse at some of the report’s most interesting findings:

 

Best Cold Destinations for Winter Travel Best Warm Destinations for Winter Travel
1 Chicago, IL 1 Orlando, FL
2 Portland, OR 2 Las Vegas, NV
3 Washington, DC 3 San Diego, CA
4 Pittsburgh, PA 4 Austin, TX
5 New York, NY 5 Los Angeles, CA
6 Seattle, WA 6 Houston, TX
7 Minneapolis, MN 7 San Antonio, TX
8 Philadelphia, PA 8 San Francisco, CA
9 Boston, MA 9 Tucson, AZ
10 Denver, CO 10 New Orleans, LA

 

Best vs. Worst

 

  • The average flight to a popular cold winter destination costs $277.61, lasts 3 hours and 49 minutes, and has 0.38 connections. In comparison, the average flight to a popular warm winter destination costs $407.43, lasts 5 hours and 59 minutes, and has 0.59 connections.

 

  • Among cold destinations, Albuquerque, New Mexico, has the lowest price for a three-star hotel room, $37, which is 2.6 times lower than in New York, the city with the highest at $98.

 

  • Among cold destinations, New York has the most restaurants (per square root of the population), 10.52, which is 10.1 times more than in Bridgeport, Connecticut, the city with the fewest at 1.04.

 

  • Among warm destinations, Orlando, Florida, has the most restaurants (per square root of the population), 6.06, which is 22.4 times more than in Deltona, Florida, the city with the fewest at 0.27.

 

Cold Weather Destinations Map:

Source: WalletHub

Warm Weather Destinations Map:

Source: WalletHub

To view the full report and your metro area’s rank, please visit:

https://wallethub.com/edu/best-winter-holiday-destinations/7930/

 

 About WalletHub:

WalletHub is a personal finance website that empowers consumers to make smarter financial decisions — from getting the best credit card and car insurance policy to identifying the best city to live and start a career. WalletHub does so by providing consumer-friendly tools that leverage big data and user reviews.

 

 

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Dunes Manor Hotel & Suites

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  • October 31, 2017
Travel Review Dunes Manor
The prize for spectacular views goes to The Dunes Manor Hotel & Suites, Ocean City, MD.  All rooms offer a beachfront balcony, a vibrant sunrise, and a spectacular view of the Atlantic Ocean. All photos by Joan Matsui Travel Writer and Photographer

DUNES MANOR HOTEL & SUITES 

A Perfect Balance

Fun and Sun

 

You’ll find your idea of fun at Dunes Manor Hotel & Suites, Ocean City, MD. Building on a dream vacation is exactly what the management at the Dunes Manor Hotel & Suites has done since April Fool’s Day, 1987.

Milton and Thelma Conner dreamt of owning a full-service hotel on an inherited vacant oceanfront block of land. Tenacity is what kept Mrs. Conner from selling the Dunes Manor Hotel & Suites after her husband’s death.

To carry on the tradition, the Dunes Manor creates year-round opportunities for guests to interact and mingle or find plenty of activities both on-site and in and around Ocean City.

The Dunes Manor is a landmark property along that popular stretch of Maryland beach. Before I give you a rundown of the new fall activities in the works, you should understand you won’t EVER be bored during your visit. In fact, the variety of weekly activities for guests of all ages is what has kept couples and families coming back year after year. There’s so much to see and do from the moment you arrive. The mood is family-oriented but there were also couples traveling alone and in small groups. I refer to those as a “mini-reunion” and the Dunes is an ideal location to meet and spend time with friends.

Wave Goodbye to Boredom

 

What’s Happening at Dunes Manor Hotel & Suites?

Guests who want to integrate fitness, frolic and fantasy into a beach getaway can participate in these fall activities free of charge. Schedules vary from season-to-season but organized events and classes are planned if you want to join the fun.

Adults
  • Monday Night Football – featuring door prizes, football bingo, big screen viewing of the games, and food/drink specials.  (Mondays, beginning at 8 p.m.)
  • Girls Night Out – featuring rotating activities through the month that will be led by local artisans, including paint n’ sip, makeovers/stylings, cupcake decorating, jewelry making, and crafting.  (Thursdays, 6 – 8 p.m.)
  • Mind & Body Class – featuring weekly rotating themes of Hatha and Vinyasa yoga, barre workouts, and Bootcamp workouts.  (Saturdays, 8  – 9 a.m.)
  • The Craft Cafe – featuring locally inspired crafts (pumpkin stenciling, chalkboard painting, embroidery), freshly baked desserts, and coffee/tea.  (Saturdays, 1 – 3 p.m.)
Families
  • Swim-In Movie Night – featuring screenings of popular movies at the hotel’s indoor pool, complimentary candy and popcorn, and food/drink specials.  (Fridays, 7 – 9 p.m.)
  • Beach Treasure & Scavenger Hunt – featuring puzzles, trivia, and searches for trinkets at local arcades and retailers.  All participants will receive souvenirs and hotel swag.  The grand prize winner will receive a free hotel stay.  (Sundays, 11 a.m. – 1 p.m.)
  • Beach Photo Op – featuring free 5” x 7” or telescope photos taken on the beach.  (Sundays, 4 – 5 p.m.)

Whether you prefer to spend your day sprawled on a beach blanket or you’re an itinerant explorer yearning to visit each and every attraction, it’s time to book your fall ocean getaway or plan your 2018 summer family vacation.

A Lasting Impression

 

If you envision crowded Ocean City beaches where you’re elbow-to-elbow with fellow beach-goers, you should know the boardwalk’s shops, arcades and amusement areas absorb a significant amount of traffic. We visited during one of the busiest times of the year and found the crowd evenly dispersed along the three-mile boardwalk. My kids had ample space to create sandcastles and forts in the sand.

Keep in mind we arrived in Ocean City during a tropical storm warning. Driving rain, powerful wind gusts that were strong enough to knock me off my feet and some rather extreme waves greeted us. As with any vacation, travelers should keep in mind inclement weather is always a possibility and have a “Plan B” set in case sun-bathing and riding the waves are not options.

Stormy skies upon our arrival in Ocean City

Fortunately, the weather continued to improve and the next morning we awakened to a clearing sky and partial sunshine.

As a tropical storm moved away from Ocean City, MD and the sky continued to clear, Kento Matsui watched passers-by arrive at the beach.

I enjoyed my time at the hotel very much. It was wonderful to be able to see the beach from my room and wake up to the smell of sea air. I left the door open at night to let the air in. The beds were very comfortable and I slept well that night. We had our own kitchen where we were able to cook or we were near the boardwalk restaurants if we didn’t want to. We were also oceanfront, so I could walk out onto the beach whenever I wanted. ~ Kento Matsui

As I prepared breakfast in our newly-renovated one-bedroom suite, we planned our day to include a few hours on the beach followed by activities the hotel offers.

There’s no need to toss left-over meals in the trash. Reheat or prepare a quick meal in your guest room.

Don’t forget to take time to relax

 

Any time is “naptime,” whether you’ve been immersed in activities all day or you need a quick recharge. The decor is soothing and relaxed, even for a teenager with boundless energy. 

Newly-decorated rooms are dressed in colors and patterns that are best described as inviting and calming. The pink headboards in our suite remind me of pinkish sand and seashells you’ll find on the Ocean City, MD beaches.


Signature Afternoon Tea, a Photo Op (on the beach), Morning Yoga, and the much celebrated “Pirate” Scavenger Hunt are four of the most popular planned activities at Dunes Manor.

A Tradition of Afternoon Tea

 

Afternoon Tea Dunes Manor Hotel & Suites
Mrs. Conner’s welcomed guests each afternoon for tea. The tradition continues decades later. The staff keeps the tea and silver cookie trays well-stocked. 

One of Mrs. Conner’s signature events that have endured for years is Afternoon Signature Tea. Her goal was to mingle with and also encourage interaction among her guests. Wherever you roam during your stay, be sure to set your alarm for 3 p.m. and make your way back to Dunes Manor for tea time.

Afternoon Tea at Dunes Manor
Even after the crowd has thinned, the staff at Dunes Manor keep the tea and coffee piping hot as they diligently restock the silver trays with chewy, delicious cookies.

Afternoon Photo Op?

 

Family Photo Op Dunes Manor
Preserve family memories in a photo you’ll cherish forever.

Chances are you are the photographer in charge of capturing your family vacations. Is someone in your family left out of a prized vacation photo? What if you could preserve those precious memories with the entire family present? Dunes Manor has a professional photographer available for a family photo or couples’ photo op. Inquire about the date and time when you book your stay at the hotel.

Dunes Manor Summer Photo Op
A professional photographer is at your disposal during the summer afternoon photo op.

The hotel offers a one-hour window for families to meet on the beach and the most current package includes a free 5″ x 7″ or telescope photos with the Atlantic Ocean as the backdrop.

Imagine years from now when you find this photo.

“Be” a MORNING person at the beach

 

Sunrise Ocean City beache
Why waste a glorious morning? Set your alarm so you’ll awaken before the sun begins to rise. Roll out of bed and come to the beach for a morning walk and experience why a sunrise over the Atlantic Ocean is a spectacular event. 

Good Morning, Beach

 

Dunes Manor Review Joan Matsui
Shown after sunrise, Yoshi Matsui was ready for a walk on the beach. He discovered his “peace and quiet” before heading back to the hotel for breakfast.

Dunes Manor was exciting. When I was there (in August), I wanted to go to the beach every day. The waves were big, (because of a tropical storm) so it was fun to mess around in the water. I also liked the boardwalk because of the varieties of shops and restaurants. The room was fantastic and we had a great view (of the ocean) from our balcony. I also enjoyed the Saltwater Taffy. ~ Yoshihiko Matsui

Usher in your day with “Morning Yoga”

 

 

Morning Yoga Dunes Manor
Do you find yoga invigorating AND relaxing? Dunes Manor offers an opportunity for guests to wake up their senses with free “Morning Yoga.”

Make Yoga a part of your day. Even if you’re not a yogi, a gentle morning stretch can work wonders for a variety of health ailments and prepare you for a day that might include walking along the boardwalk, shopping, or visiting one of the local attractions. Inquire about the yoga and fitness schedule at the registration desk when you check in.

beach yoga
I didn’t need any coaxing to join the morning Yoga class. My gaze was fixed on the waves as I moved through a gentle morning Vinyasa routine.

PIRATE Scavenger Hunt

You never know where you’ll meet a “PIRATE”

 

Quick! Take cover when you meet a Pirate face-to-face in a Dunes Manor corridor.

 

Pirate Scavenger Hunt Dunes Manor
Both young and older scoundrels comb the halls in search of much-coveted treasures.   

The Pirate Scavenger Hunt gets underway in the foyer of the lobby at Dunes Manor. After a quick introduction, kids embark on a mission to uncover treasure hidden throughout the hotel. Parents tag along for support so it’s a safe, fun-filled event. The aim is to meet the pirate character at the last stop of the hunt and collect prizes.

Dunes Manor Travel Information
This young forager selects his prize from a treasure box. 
The “pirate” awaits the children at the last stop of the scavenger hunt. I didn’t participate in the hunt, but I had a chance to watch the children race to the finish line and redeem a prize. And of course, I couldn’t pass on a photo op with the pirate. 

Accolades and Information

 

Dunes Manor Hotel & Suites is rated by TripAdvisor as #6 out of 104 hotels in Ocean City, MD.

Activities are free for hotel guests and local residents are also invited to participate for a nominal fee. No registration or RSVP is required. For more information, contact Tracy Rice (trice@dunesmanor.com, 410.289.1100).

Explore Ocean City

 


My assignment at Dunes Manor Hotel & Suites was comped but my opinions are my own.

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10 REASONS WHY YOU SHOULD TRAVEL WITH YOUR BICYCLE

10 REASON WHY YOU SHOULD TRAVEL WITH BICYCLE

10 REASON WHY YOU SHOULD TRAVEL WITH BICYCLE

 

 

 

 

 

Travel is something we all say we want to do more of. But have you given much thought to the method of travel you’d use?

DON’T LEAVE YOUR BIKE HOME ALONE

 

Travel has many benefits to our life. You take a turn and see a lake unfolding. Yоu can fееl the breeze оn your fасе аnd smell the tурісаl hоt air оf a trорісаl ѕummеr. Thеrе рlауѕ a grоuр оf monkeys bу thе wаtеr. You quietly stop pedaling to watch over the little ones.

That is one in many fond memories of your travels on two wheels. To travel by bike is much more than those memories. It is a way of life with excellent moment and joy.

Cycling could be the answer you’re looking for. Here are our top ten reasons why a bike is the best way to travel.

 

You Enjoy Getting Off the Beaten Paths and into More Adventurous Ones

 

You enjoy getting off the beaten paths and into more adventurous ones

Sometimes traveling is more adventurous than anything. You are getting many paths that are such full enjoyment through a bike riding. You can visit many famous and popular places by riding a bike.

Furthermore, some paths are much more beautiful when you are exploring on a bike.

 

Keep Fit and Healthy in Your Life

 

Keep fit and healthy in your life

Cycling is a low-impact, natural form of exercise for anyone and everyone. It improves your body strength and builds mass muscles. It raises up your heart rate and reduces the chance of heart attack, blood pressure, diabetes, etc. Moreover, cycling can give you a beautiful body shape. However, Some ladies prefer rope jumping instead if cycling as they like to avoid crowed on the road, which is perfectly okay with me. Keeping fit and healthy is the most important things.

It doesn’t require any kind of unique skill or ability, just a good sense of direction to keep you going. Cycling increases stamina, balance and strength – useful for those climbs in the Adelaide Hills to find the perfect view!

You meet interesting people

Along unbeaten раthѕ, уоu mееt some local people whо have nеvеr seen foreigners bеfоrе. They are often much less grumpy than town dwellers who secretly blame you because their city is overcrowded. They are more likely to be interested in talking to you, showing you a beautiful route or offering you some home-grown fruits.

You might also meet like-minded cyclists and share a grilled fish over a campfire. Thіѕ kind оf relaxing еnсоuntеr dоеѕ nоt happen as оftеn when уоu drіvе a саr or rush аrоund іn a cross-country bus.

 

You Can Excuse Yourself for Eating More

 

Cycling is one of the best exercises of fun. One hour of moderate-level cycling burns nearly 600 kilojoules, and once you’ve stopped moving your body continues to burn excess kilojoules in repairing itself. Whаt better wау tо celebrate thе ѕuссеѕѕ of your easy, fun, еxеrсіѕе-fіllеd dау thаn wіth a feast of еріс proportions?

 

You Have the Unlimited Freedom

 

You have the unlimited freedom

You can stop at any time and visit any place along the road or take a photo of an astonishing sunset. You won’t find those benefits while using рublіс transportation. You can go as fast or as slow as you want and you can rest at any time (but be sure to observe traffic laws).

 

Expand Your Social Circle

 

Expand your social circle

Most cyclists would agree that riding in a group along the coast, or just to the best café in town, is a great way to spend a sunny Saturday morning. Cусlіng grоuрѕ and сlubѕ аrе аlwауѕ wеlсоmіng nеw mеmbеrѕ; уоu’ll rесеіvе mоrаl ѕuрроrt whеn рuѕhіng up ѕtеер hіllѕ аnd a раt оn the back when уоu’vе fіnіѕhеd a ride in record time.

 

You Are Environment-friendly

 

To travel by bike, you are much more aware of the changes in the background and appreciate things like unpolluted air, healthy-looking trees, and harmonious rivers and so on. Those are things that are not so quickly felt and understood when you are sealed up in an air-conditioned metal wagon. Car drivers sometimes end up forgetting about how important it is to have more fresh air and less smoke from burning fossil fuel.

 

Enjoy Beautiful Scenery

 

Enjoy Beautiful scenery

Put simply; South Australia is a stunning part of the world. Coastal views wind their way into rolling green hills which lead to striking city panoramas – and that’s just around Adelaide. Challenge yourself to a climb up Willunga Hill or Norton Summit while you’re here and soak up the change in perspective.

 

You Are Always Learning

 

Besides many things, you will learn about your own strength. Cycling is also a mental exercise. It has little to do with your physical condition, age and sex and more to do with pushing your limits. The weather can be just too hot and humid. Sоmе hіllѕ juѕt ѕееm too ѕtеер for уоu tо сlіmb uр. Yоu рuѕh your lіmіtѕ further реdаl bу реdаl. You get over the hill, and you feel great. Then you know boundaries are there to be broken.

 

 De-stress

 

De-stress

Exercise releases feel-good endorphins, which relieve stress and make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside. Cycling is the best form of exercise we can think of to unwind and relax – just you, your bike and the open road. Regular bike riding helps you to removes stress, tension, depression and gives a fresh and soothing mind. Sometimes stress affects our sleep. So, indirectly it also gives us proper sleep and rest.

To enjoy the most comfortable journey, you should ride on a comfortable seat that doesn’t burn or sting on your butt even after your ride. You can pick the most comfortable bicycle seat from the “best bikes for women blog.” We picked the most comfortable bicycle seats after a lot of research and considerations.

 

Author Bio

Sophie Elise is a passionate cyclist, author, and blogger. She is very passionate about writing on different types of women’s bikes, accessories, health, fitness and more and regularly writes on bestbikesforwomen.com

 

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Trying to Save Money on Travel?

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  • October 11, 2017
Trying to save money on travel. Read this luggage report on joanmatsuitravelwriter.com.

 

the best luggage deals
Does shopping for luggage make your head spin? Follow these tips to find the best luggage at affordable prices.

Why the luggage manufacturing business will probably never fail.

Written by Renee McDermott

 

One item travelers cannot do without is a suitcase. From rolling duffels and hard shell suitcases to backpacks and designer bags, the vast array of styles and options they offer consumers is enough to make your head spin.

And make your wallet a bit thinner.

Is Your Wallet FAT or Thin?

 

Many shoppers still head to brick and mortar stores when it comes to the final luggage purchase. After all, this is where you can open, close, lift, touch, zip, snap and test every aspect of a suitcase before you buy it. However, the price tag dangling from each bag is printed with a relatively high number compared to what you would find online.

Purchase Your Luggage Online?

 

Did you know that 88 percent of luggage is available online and that you can save an average of $110 by opting to purchase it there?

It is certainly a wakeup call for many travelers who think that the cheapest way to purchase luggage is during a seasonal sale or from the clearance section.

Let’s face it – traveling is expensive, and luggage isn’t always at the top of the priority list.

Thanks to the help of an in-depth study done by Test Facts, shoppers will be pleased to know that Delsey, Samsonite, American Tourister, and many more brands are all available online for less.

So should you head to your favorite online shop and start adding luggage to your cart?

Yes, but be aware of a few traps along the way.

For example, products with a high volume of negative reviews usually have a higher discount. While you may be getting a great deal on a heavily discounted bag, that doesn’t necessarily mean it is worth the purchase.

Do you want the zipper to fly off the track after your first trip with it or the retractable handle to break?

 

You get what you pay for, so shop wisely and make sure you understand the average lifespan of a suitcase or bag before you purchase it.

While you may not be able to touch or feel a potential piece of luggage on your computer screen, you can gain useful insight into its quality and durability by referring to customers’ comments. Many include photos of their purchase or detailed explanations of the product, which will put the wary shopper at ease. Popular products will have a high quantity of reviews, so it is easy to find all of the information you need to make a confident purchase online.

Based on the study, the three luggage manufacturers that offer the most savings (in dollar amounts) are Nautica, Kenneth Cole, and Victorinox.

And which online stores offer the most savings?

 

Surprisingly, Walmart online store is at the top of the list, followed by Century 21 and Target. Kohl’s and Macy’s, it seems, aren’t even worth considering.

The Bottom Line

 

Regardless of the brand you prefer, the statistics show that online shopping is best when it comes to purchasing luggage. Travelers on a budget can always turn to brick and mortar stores when it comes to touching and testing a product, but to save some real cash, be sure to make your final purchase online.

 

 

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