Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Newsletter Printing Opus

Creating A Great Print Newsletter

The traditional print media newsletter is still useful even in the rapidly changing age of the Internet and IT. Its uses are so multi-faceted that it can cover just about anything – from the company’s profile to promotions, home-order system and contests. Before the Internet homepage became so common, the newsletter was the main source of an organisation’s communication to its customers.

Even today, an organization should produce a good newsletter on paper before it starts to construct its homepage because it can learn about the impact and avoid similar mistakes being made on its web pages. Newsletters can also introduce customers and encourage them to enter its corporate website.

Here are some pointers to create a great newsletter:

Make it Accessible:

The newsletter can be strategically placed at the payment counter or the entrance of the shopping department. It should also be free to customers. Some departmental stores also include discount coupons that are attached to the newsletters.

Make it Personal:

A newsletter should be personal and convincing to the reader. It should include lots of writeups of model employees and how they have contributed to the organization. Employees should also be encouraged to contribute articles to it. Include a photograph of the contributor together with the article. This puts a face to the names and increases the organisation’s credibility. Encourage customers to vote for the best employee too.

Keep Readers Hooked:

A newsletter should include basic elements of “stickiness” such as contests and discount coupons, that keep readers coming back for more. Your readers will be less inclined to treat the newsletter as a “flyer” that they will quickly discard.

One easy idea is to create a large jigsaw of the company’s logo with separate parts found in different issues. Once completed, the customer can collect a prize.

You can also include interesting write-ups about your industry or expertise that suit your target customers. It is also good to encourage your alliance partners to co-produce the newsletter so that you can also use their distribution channels to give-away the newsletter.

Classifieds Area:

A newsletter can be a channel of communication and sales for the company’s customers. Creating a classifieds area will definitely generate more interest. The benefit to the organization too is enormous.

By analyzing the ads, the organization can learn a lot about the purchasing habits and other relevant demographics of its customers. This will be useful for the Sales and Marketing Department.

Introduce Your Website:

Once a newsletter reaches a certain level of readership, you can then promote your organisation’s newly created website. You can also create a contest for customers to design your company’s website.

This makes sense as they will be the ones whom your company is targeting in the first place. This will also ensure that your website will have some “hits” in its initial months.

Feedback Channel:

A newsletter can also be used to generate feedback about the company’s service and products. This will help the Personnel Dept. improve the customer service. The best letter received can also be awarded a prize.

This article is contributed by Colin Ong TS who is the Founder of 12n Online Community http://www.mrmc.com.sg/12n and MR=MC Consulting http://www.mrmc.com.sg.

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Honeymoon Travel Adventure Ode

Honeymoon Trends

While the traditional vows endure, the ways to celebrate a marriage have changed right along with the travel industry. Today's honeymooner may be looking for value, adventure, or variety and searching for a getaway that's as exotic as a stay in a private European castle or nearby as a local bed-and-breakfast inn.

One constant is that couples are willing to spend money on a honeymoon - an average of $1,402 per couple compared to $421 spent annually on regular trips according to the Travel Industry Association of America. Young couples, age 18 to 24 years, spend the most on honeymoons, averaging $1,873. And as many as one-third of all honeymooners spend over $2,500 for that once-in-a-lifetime trip.

And while the move is back toward the traditional wedding and honeymoon associated with earlier generations, today's newlyweds are a far cry from the travelers of earlier days. "They're looking more for luxurious and romantic places, like the little out-of-the-way small hotels and inns and private castles," points out Sylvie del Giudice, spokeswoman for Les Romantiques Hotels. "They're ready for a different experience. It's the experience of a lifetime. They are choosing to go further away on their honeymoon to a different environment and that includes everything: a different language, culture, and food."

Today's couples are finding new ways to celebrate their union, creating honeymoon trends that are being felt throughout the industry.


Started in Jamaica but spread throughout the Caribbean and Mexico and into some other regions as well, the all-inclusive vacation is becoming ever more popular with honeymooners - and their families. Their "one price pays all" policy makes the all-inclusive trip more and more convenient for parents purchasing a honeymoon package as a gift for newlyweds. Air, transfers, meals, drinks, watersports, and even tips are included in the tab at all-inclusive resorts.


Getting married on your honeymoon is also an increasingly popular concept in the Caribbean, where resort packages provide everything from wedding cake to music. At some properties like SuperClubs (http://www.superclubs.com), guests can enjoy a free wedding, including the minister's fee and marriage license.


The devaluation of Canada and Mexico's currencies mean an increase in honeymoon business for financial reasons. Canada is also gaining popularity as a honeymoon hotspot. Couples looking for a white honeymoon find it in ski areas such as Banff, Whistler, and Jasper, and those seeking big city culture seek out cities like Toronto, Montreal, and Vancouver. The current strength of the American dollar against the Canadian also makes our northern neighbor an attractive honeymoon destination. "Canada is extremely popular as a honeymoon destination," explains Judy Love Rondeau from the office of the Canadian Consulate General in Dallas. "Your money goes 40% further in Canada. Also, honeymooners like the cities of Montreal and Quebec City because they are like going to Paris without going so far and spending so much money."


For some couples, a chance to enjoy the romance of a big city and the elegance of fine dining makes major cities a honeymoon destination. A recent study by the American Society of Travel Agents showed that the most popular city was Las Vegas. Orlando, New York, San Francisco, and Los Angeles were other top choices.


While some couples choose to vacation close to home, conserving both time and money, others see a honeymoon as a chance for a once-in-a-lifetime trip. For these travelers, it's the time for a fantasy journey to destinations whose very names mean romance. For these lucky honeymooners, the American Society of Travel Agents has found that Great Britain is the top European destination, followed by France and Germany.

"We see more and more honeymooners going to Europe versus the Caribbean," says Les Romantiques Hotels' Sylvie del Giudice. "People are getting married older, and they're more interested in the culture and the experience and the discovery of Europe. Or they want to go back to Europe. I deal a lot with people who went to Paris once and now want to show it to their spouse.

"They usually combine romantic cities like Paris, Florence, or Rome with a resort escape like the Riviera or Normandy or the Amalfi coast of Italy so they have the best of both worlds," explains del Giudice. "We have also noticed that honeymooners are becoming more and more adventurous and discovering new areas."

Looking for new European experiences is also bringing more honeymooners to less traditional destinations. Destinations like Portugal, Malta, and Turkey are gaining popularity.


The current trend toward adventure and eco-tourism vacations hasn't overlooked the honeymoon industry. "We have seen a number of newlyweds go on dude ranch vacations as well as our other trips like the cattle drives," says Dave Wiggins, president of Boulder, Colorado-based American Wilderness Experience. "It's the kind of thing for couples who are looking for something inspiring, something they can come back and say 'guess what we did on our honeymoon.'"

Although Wiggins has sold many honeymooners rugged adventure packages, ranging from a 10-day safari in Alaska to sea kayaking in Baja Mexico to river rafting along Idaho's Salmon River, many honeymooners favor soft adventure. "The lodge-based vacations tend to be more popular with honeymooners because they have a bed and roof over their head and a hot shower," points out Wiggins.

"We're seeing more and more soft adventure travel so we have more deluxe lodge-based options," points out Wiggins. Whether honeymooners overnight in a mountain cabin or in a seaside tent, however, he explains the popularity of adventure travel with today's travelers. "At a resort there's a lot to pick and choose, but you can find yourself being a spectator and watching the action go around. On an adventure trip, you're smack dab in the action. There's no sitting back and watching the action go by in front of you - you are the action on an adventure tour."

Finding that special quality is up to the individual honeymooners themselves. With the myriad of choices and a selection of atmosphere that ranges from white-knuckle adventure to hedonistic laziness, there's something for everybody.

Authors, Husband and wife team Paris Permenter and John Bigley, edit the award-winning http://www.lovetripper.com, a romantic travel magazine and resource featuring honeymoons, destination weddings, and romantic getaways worldwide.

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Carnival Poem

Carnival Cruise - A Perfect Holiday, Rock And Rolling With Carnival Cruise

If you want to have fun for one low price, all you need is a Carnival cruise. A Carnival cruise is a perfect way to pamper yourself. You don't have to worry about paying extra for meals, entertainment and a range of activities. You just unpack once on the cruise ship. You are in the capable hands of fitness experts having massages, loofah treatments, hairstyles, saunas, pedicures, applying soothing masks and micro-facelifts, there is a complete relaxation schedule for you with nautical spas, and the exercise programs.

Carnival plays every song- from hard rock, musicals, country music or big band. There is a sing-along piano for you to hum along. Compare it to the land vacation where you are constantly involved with the buying theater tickets, reservations, valet parking and looking for other things to do.

Carnival cruise is the most popular cruise in the whole world. With carnival you dine, dream and dance as you sail from one foreign destination to the other. It's popular with first time cruisers, young singles, couples, old and young loving the party atmosphere. The Carnival cruise highlights include- casual dinner at Sea View Bistro, a convenient 24-hour pizzeria, captain's cocktail party and gala dinner, complimentary 24-hour room service, camp carnival for kids and teens. In addition to this get to see daily first run movies, dazzling Las Vegas style casino, fine dining with Gala midnight buffets, Nautical spa program, outdoor swimming pools and whirlpools, onboard duty-free shopping and singles cocktail party.

Carnival is an entertainment saga for singles, couples and families and it carries more passengers from all age group on board than any other cruise line. You can enjoy a lavish evening in the two levels Paris Lounge or you can rock and roll in the Rock and Roll dance club, the Cafe des Artistes and the Monte Carlo Casino. You have stepped into sheer luxury with spacious and comfortable accommodations. All the staterooms are fully carpeted with closet space, private facilities (toilet, basin and shower), and color television screening first-run films. All the staterooms on these super liners are above the ocean level for a better-relaxed cruise. Carnival staterooms are fifty percent larger on average than other cruise lines. You get one hundred percent personal care whether you choose interior or ocean view suite or penthouse suite.

You can give your kids a fun holiday with all kind of games, talent shows parties, movies, crafts, arts, and a world of fun under the supervision of camp carnival counselors. All the counselors are college educated having professional childcare experience and your kids are secure under their competent hands.

If for some reason you are not satisfied with the cruise experience you can notify carnival ahead of coming at the first port of call and you may well get down at first non-US port of call of your ship. Carnival cruise will reimbursement the unutilized part of your cruise charge and compensate for your return flight fare. You can look at carnival cruise vacation protection plans for a worry-free vacation.

Carnival serves buffet on the deck. There is teatime with your favorite beverage and pastries. Moreover, you can place order for complimentary stateroom service 24-hours a day. Your table is always reserved in the dining room. However, you may also eat dinner in the restaurant *Sea View Bistro* on Lido deck. The attire is informal and the meals are buffet style. The restaurant has an open seating and is rather laid back. Of course, if you are calorie conscious carnival has wide Nautical Spa selections with every meal. All the menus have been prepared with the consultation of dietitians. You can have the fresh oven pizzas at the 24-hour pizzeria. There is live music playing at the dazzling spirit lobby. You may like to enjoy your drinks with close friends at the bar.

Author, Colin Hartness. Looking for information about cruises? Go to http://www.whatcruises.com. *What Cruises* is published by Colin Hartness - An excellent resource for Cruises!

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Hawaiian Cruise Serenade

A Lifetime Cruise - Hawaiian Cruise - An Exotic Hawaiian Cruise Trip

Hawaiian Cruises are everyone's dream cruise to the Hawaiian Islands on an exquisite ocean liner. Being pampered from dawn to dusk with exemplary cuisine, entertainment and fun for all that too for a moderate sum on a Hawaiian Cruise is definitely something out of the world. An increasing number of cruisers and liners are now regularly calling on the Hawaiian ports as also at the neighboring islands of Kaua*i, Maui, Kona and Hilo.

Hawaiian Islands, a cluster of 137, provide adventure - sports, relaxation and a new insight to oneself. The islands make one wonder whether you are at land or at sea.

Hawaiian Cruises transport you to a heavenly state. Because of the tropical latitude, the weather remains the same through most of the year. The eastern side has more rainfall while the western part is the dry land. Locals enjoy skiing and snowboard in the snow-covered areas of the Big Island.

The Hawaiian culture is very diverse and almost every nation's culture is found here. Hence, any newcomer is automatically drawn into the Hawaiian culture, which is enjoyment and adventure. Honolulu is the capital city. It is believed that the first permanent inhabitants of this island had sailed in from the islands of Marquesas in the southern hemisphere between 300 and 800 A.D.

Hawaiian Cruises along the different yet distinct islands provide an insight into the uniqueness of each island. Hawaii Island is a big one with Kilauea crater, said to be the home of the fire Goddess, Pele. Maui, once the sole property of the royals, is famous for its exquisite swimming spots. The rainbows across the cliffs and waterfalls of Honolulu are nature's splendor. In spite of the diversity the common thing of these islands is *aloha*, the spirit of welcoming.

World know Hawaiian people for their hospitality and riendliness. They can mingle easily and in no time have others dancing to their music and enjoying themselves thoroughly with their cuisine. The Hawaiian Cruise enables the visitors to participate in the Hawaiian culture. The vacationing people get unlimited happiness aboard the floating cruise liners and fabulous treatment for little fare.

U.S and Canadian citizens need both proofs of citizenship and identity to board Hawaiian Cruise. Proof of identity could be driving license, Government's identification card and in case of children between ages 6 to 17, a school identity card is good enough. In addition to these, a valid passport to sail is also necessary. Permanent residents of the United States need to have on them their Alien Resident Card (ARC). In cases of children traveling without their parents, the legal guardian with them should possess the parent's consent letter authorizing the minor to travel with the guardian, which is also important in case of emergency of any kind.

Author, Colin Hartness. Looking for information about cruises? Go to http://www.whatcruises.com. *What Cruises* is published by Colin Hartness - An excellent resource for Cruises!

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Car Rent Mistake Verse

Do You Make These Car Rental Mistakes?

Cheap car rental deals are spread all over the web. But not all are good deals. There's a few thing you must look out for... or your cheap car rental deal might work out a lot more expensive than you planned !

Here's some things you mustn't do:

* Forget to check the car's condition

When you pickup the car, be sure to check it carefully. Some companies will blame pre-existing scratches & dents on you. They know it needs fixing, and wait for a sucker to pay for it. This is less likely with the big, reputable companies, but can be avoided with these tips.

Check it over with the delivery guy, or when you go to pick it up. If you have a digital camera or camcorder, which you probably do if you're going on vacation, then give them a quick run over the car. Then you can prove the exact condition of the car when you first took it.

* Don't use the Internet to check for best deals

Of course you'll check for deals on the Internet ! That's probably where you're reading this article. But there's still people who don't check, and just take the first offline offer they see. Check online, and use one of the search engines that scans lots of different car rental offers.

* Don't check Offline too

Even though the Internet is probably the best place for car rental deals, it's worth checking offline too. I found when searching for Hotel deals, I often get the best deals by calling ahead and negotiating with the receptionist (it's hard to negotiate with a web page). Yet, with Airline tickets the best deals are usually online, and the telephone/walk-in prices are higher and can't be negotiated.

But with car rentals, if you want to cover all your bases, be sure to check online and offline. Your local car rental dealer might have a special offer he's forgotten to update on the web site, or maybe someone's just cancelled a booking and you can take it cheap at short notice.

* Don't carefully check the terms of your car rental deal

Make sure you've got unlimited mileage if you want to drive a long way. Some deals have a mileage allowance, after which you get charged high dollar per extra mile. Unlimited works out best most times.

Check the terms to see if you need to return the car gas tank full or nearly empty. I once made the mistake of returning it full when I didn't need to - the car rental company refused to refund the cost.

* Fail to clean the car if you genuinely do get it dirty

It's okay to return it dusty from driving a couple hundred miles, but if your kid sicks inside, or someone spills coffee, or drops a burger & fries, then clean it up ! If you don't the car rental company will add an extra cleaning charge onto your credit card.

Follow these tips and you'll have a relaxed and stress free car rental experience, all ready to enjoy your vacation or business trip.

Discover some of the best cheap car rental deals on the internet. Go http://www.cheap--car-rentals.com.

Written by Neil Stelling B.Sc, MBA - Marketing Manager, DigiLectual Inc. ==> http://www.cheap--car-rentals.com. © DigiLectual Inc.

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Hotel Choosing Opus

Hotels Hotels Hotels... Which One Do I choose!

Hotels in Las Vegas furnish a guest with the excitement, amenities and appeal of this wonderful destination. Everyone has heard of Circus Circus. Its appealing restaurants, theme parks, shops, gaming and the world's greatest circus acts guarantees good fun for everyone. Best of all, it continues to be the value leader on the Las Vegas Strip. The possibilities are unlimited in where to stay, when you play in Las Vegas! Some things to consider when selecting a hotel are its amenities, restaurants, attractions and more. Check out the casinos for games, dining and entertainment.

Hotels like Hilton have the hottest entertainment acts performing nightly. From the nightclub center stage to the world famous theater, only the top acts in show business perform on stage at the Las Vegas Hilton. It has spacious accommodations, which provides you a homey atmosphere and makes you feel like a pampered guest. Heck, you can even enjoy yourself in cheap hotels or discount hotels.

Hotel Marriot - What I really liked about the room was the huge Jacuzzi tub that you could lay down in. That is ultimate pleasure! There are several restaurants presently at the JW Marriott. The pool is one of the best features at the JW Marriott. It offers a serene environment to host board meetings or romantic weddings, receptions and social affairs. Wedding parties have the opportunity to select a venue sited for rehearsal dinners, bridesmaid's brunches or evening parties when staying at the Marriott.

Author, Mike Yeager, Publisher: http://www.a1-vacations-4u.com.

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Car Rental Ode

How Car Rental Agencies Can Make Your Trip That Much Easier

Car rental agencies, along with many other factors, have played a vital role in increasing the easiness of travelling by providing a service through which travelers can easily rent a car of their choice. One can rent a car of any color, shape and model at reasonable prices from these car rental agencies. A rented car, which has been rented from an office sited in one city, can be easily dropped at another office situated in a different city. Besides manual reservations, most car rental companies have developed interactive websites to assist in making online reservations and helping travelers.

Being able to rent a car is a service as the number of companies providing car rental services has greatly increased in the last few years. National car rental, Enterprise car rental, Budget car rental, Thrifty car rental, Alamo car rental, Cheap car rental and many others are all recognized for providing admirable amenities and services to their customers. Initially, many of these intended to capture the American market only, but now almost all have open sub-offices in many different countries of the world.

It really doesn’t matter where in the world you’re traveling to or from. You can easily rent a car to take care of your transportation needs. People even rent cars from the local car rental agency in their home town. Why? Possibly because their car isn’t as late model as they would like, yet they still want to take some time and get away.

Be aware that some car rental companies have geographic restrictions on their cars. You’ll need to know where you intend to go and make sure that your rental agreement allows that. Once you’ve dotted all the I’s and crossed all the t’s you can hit the road and really enjoy yourself.

Author, Mike Yeager, Publisher: http://www.a1-vacations-4u.com.

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Resort Relaxing Poem

Why Not Stay At One Of The Top All Inclusive Resorts When You Need To Relaxe!

All inclusive resorts are the best getaways for people who want to relax and enjoy the serene nature. The destinations are spread out all over the world. A lot of those depend on the qualities, price and ultimate extravagant fun. Sandals resort which includes Jamaica, St. Lucia, Bahamas or Antigua that has been voted world’s Leading Honeymoon resort for six years in a row. Here you can engage in every land and water sport such as water skiing, scuba diving and an impressive fitness center. When comes to dining, there are extraordinary restaurants to choose from.

All inclusive resorts have a grand entrance; none can compare to the winding, palm-lined road that leads you to the beginning of your dream vacation. The playful dolphin fountain provides a dramatic sense of arrival to this gated Disney Area Resort. It is located just minutes from Walt Disney World in Kissimmee and can be perfect resort for a total vacation experience.

All inclusive resorts in Hawaii give you a great time to experience the scenic beauty and enjoy the great deal package indeed. The atmosphere at these resorts is laid-back, and the service is awesome. White beaches and sapphire lagoons at the Kauai are breathtaking. A line of chairs stretched across on grassy lawn. You can feel the crashing waves all day long. In all vacation resorts, guests can swim and snorkel and can be easily swept into the spirit of paradise.

Author, Mike Yeager, Publisher: http://www.a1-vacations-4u.com.

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Bed 'n' Breakfast Serenade

How to Choose a Bed and Breakfast

So you've decided to shun the neon-flashing motel chains and marble-foyered monsters and venture into the world of cozy, intimate bed and breakfasts? After all, you've heard how much more personal and romantic the b&b experience is, right? Well....usually that's the gospel truth. However, there are certain things to keep in mind and questions to ask yourself (and prospective innkeepers) before you make your final decision and turn over your credit card number.

The first thing to consider is the area of the country you will be visiting. Many towns across America offer the b&b experience but only have a handful of options for you to consider. On the other hand, if you visit our hometown of Fredericksburg, Texas (population 9,000) there are literally hundreds of b&b's, reportedly the largest number of b&b's per capita in the nation. Unfortunately for the unwary traveller, not all are created equal! When visiting such a popular bed and breakfast town, the research you do beforehand will greatly impact the quality of your stay.

These days it seems almost everyone makes their travel decisions and arrangements through the internet. In fact you are probably one of those individuals or you wouldn't be reading this article. You can always begin your search by typing in your destination city or town and "bed and breakfast" into your search engine to get an idea of the options you'll have. As you begin to view the properties, you should consider whether the b&b has the following amenities (assuming these are important to you): private bath, temperature control, full or continental breakfast, off-street parking, daily housekeeping and the ever-important factor....location.

Let's begin with location. Proximity to the "center of action" is often a plus for many travelers; however, it sometimes comes with a drawback...noise. In our town, many visitors want to be "on Main Street," and to be sure it is a boon at the end of the day when carrying heavy shopping bags back to your room. However, guests are sometimes surprised at the street noise which lasts throughout the night (Main Street is, after all, Highway 290)! Some visitors prefer to be a few blocks off Main with a bit more privacy yet good access to Main Street. Still others prefer a place in the country.

Making this first decision will cut the number of properties you consider by as much as 2/3. A note of caution however; if location is a prime concern of yours be very detailed in your quest. For example, many Fredericksburg bed and breakfasts advertise "Located on Main Street," but what they don't tell you is they are a mile and a half from the shopping district on the west end of town. In our town, the 100-300 blocks of East Main are considered the true shopping district. So if proximity to shopping is your goal, you would be better off with a cottage 3 blocks off of Main but within the 100-300 blocks than at the property a mile and a half from shopping that sounds so convenient. Remember the old addage, "Buyer Beware."

Question number two could be whether to stay at an Inn or an individual cottage. Fredericksburg is unique in offering literally hundreds of one-couple, individual Sunday Houses or cottages in addition to numberous true multi-unit inns. One big distinction here other than the obvious over-all privacy issue is usually breakfast. In a private cottage you almost always receive a continental breakfast, left before you arrive. At a traditional "Inn" or bed and breakfast, you are often served a full gourmet breakfast at a pre-arranged time...along with other guests. So for many guests the choice comes down to continental with privacy or full-breakast served in a dining room. Either option offers lots of possibilities. But with so many different properties, there are no set rules; so check their website or ask!

One more common pitfall is something that sounds so basic but can really impact your experience: decor. Word on the street in b&b circles is that guests are increasingly looking for a "magazine spread" when they walk in the door. Nothing pleases me more than to open our guestbook and read, "When we opened the door the beautiful room just took my breath away!" Few people go to a bed and breakfast looking for the type decor they have at home...or worse, their granny's decor! However, many b&b owners are under the false impression that they can take an empty rent-house and hang out their shingle. They may stumble upon a few unsuspecting guests...but you don't want it to be you. Be sure and check the pictures on the website. I would never book a room that didn't at least show photos of the exterior of the cottage or inn and the bed. Webmasters tell me that these are the two photo's potential guests are most interested in. I would be very wary of a facility that wasn't proud to show its exterior and at least one photo of the inside of each room. Jacuzzi tubs, hot tubs, gas fireplaces, it's all out there for the taking...for those who do their homework. Spend a little extra time asking the right questions and you can have the most wonderful, relaxing getaway experience yet.

Author, Tammy Jordan Sikes, is a former trial attorney-turned bed and breakfast owner with several b&b's in Fredericksburg, Texas in the beautiful Texas Hill Country. See http://www.absolutecharm.com and http://www.inn-on-the-creek.com.

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Jamaica Resort Verse

What To Expect Upon Arriving In Jamaica And At Your Sandals Resort

When your plane touches down at Sangster International Airport in Jamaica you will have to get your bags and then clear customs. Once through customs there will be many people wanting to help you with your bags etc. I'd suggest just getting your own stuff over to the Sandals Tour desk. Here you'll find a Sandals rep who will put stickers on your bags so they know which Sandals resort they should go to. A skycap in the red had will then load your bags and take them to the bus. Keep in mind these are not Sandals employees and they will expect a tip. I believe $2.00 USD per bag is customary. If you don't want to tip, I'd suggest being upfront that you'll take your own bags. Being that Jamaicans are very good hosts they will likely tell you to not worry and try and carry your stuff anyway. My advice is go with it and enjoy your vacation.

Once at your bus you will likely have to wait a bit for others to board etc. I'd suggest wandering down the parking lot and getting a couple Red Stripes. Whether headed to Negril or Ocho Rios you're in for a long ride and you'll feel better if your refreshed. You can even drink your strips on the bus.

If your headed to Negril expect a total trip time of 1.5 hours. You'll stop at the Apple bar for Red Stripes and a potty break. Again just go with it, don't be that guy on the bus complaining because we stopped.

If your headed to Dunn's River or Ocho Rios you have a longer ride. Because the road is still under construction expect a two hour ride with the customary stop for drinks and jerk chicken.

At the resort you'll be seated in the lobby. Men will be instructed to hang back to ensure all bags are accounted for. I'd suggest in advance making sure your man knows what your bags look like. (I didn't) I just expected my wife to watch hers and I'd watch mine. When all bags are accounted for your man will join you in the lobby. Sometimes you will receive a damp towel and most times a glass of champagne. In Negril I like to hit the bar and get a real drink as its just steps from the lobby. Soon after a host will collect your travel papers and return with a bag full of aloe lotion and suntan lotion as well as you room key. From here a bell hop will take your bags and you to the room. If you have any objections to your room now is the time to voice them. In our case our bell hop called the desk and we had a new room immediately.

From here, I'd suggest a drink and a walk around the resort. If your in time for the orientation get right in there it will help you get adjusted to what happens when. If not then try to hit that the next day. I know it sounds dumb but we would have been up to speed immediately had we gone our first visit.

Author, John Gall, is a full time IT Manager and IT Consultant in Minnesota. He runs several websites as a hobby featuring content similar to that in this article: http://www.gallconsulting.com, http://www.sandalspictures.com, http://www.napavalleypictures.com, http://www.winesilove.com, http://www.sturgistravels.com, http://www.hdsportsters.com.

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Hotel Opus

Hotel Rooms Are Nightmares

Ever since I began working for that Florida vacation rentals website, I have been plagued by recurring nightmares. I am haunted at night by the spirits of hotel rooms past.

There was a time when I traveled quite a bit on business. Thankfully, I don't hotels hop any more. But at night I float off to a hotel room far away in time...

The day's work done, I phoned home to check up on the kids. It seems there was a shouting match going on in my absence. It sounded like Pandemonium was winning, but Total Bedlam was making some noise, too.

"Can you just quiet down a bit," I said into the phone.

"YOU shut up," I heard the man in the next room growl.

I chose to ignore him. "Come on guys. Can't you just stop fighting for a minute?"

"I'll show you what fighting means" I heard through the wall.

"Geeze. I can't even here myself think," I complained into the phone.

"Hey! I've had just about enough of you," the guy on the other side of the wall screamed.

Suddenly I got very scared. I pictured a burly, six-foot-two weightlifter smashing his fist through the wall. I hung up the phone, wondering how thin the walls were.

Nothing happened. No fist. No smashed wall. No burly, six-foot-two weightlifter.

I decided to go downstairs for a stress-relief stroll. As I was closing my door, the man from the next room emerged.

Fortunately, he was no weightlifter.

I was about to ask him why he had shouted at me through the wall while I was trying to discipline my kids, when he called to me, "Hey you. I was on the phone with my wife. Why did you have to heckle me?"

All of a sudden, I knew how thin the walls were.

In fact, I discovered that hotel walls come in two thicknesses:

If you're lucky, you get "Turn down the volume on your TV!" walls. If you are less fortunate, you get "Turn down the brightness on your TV!" walls.

Fortunately, hotel rooms are immaculately clean. It's true. The sign says so. Just as long as you don't look under the mattress to find a 1976 copy of Businessweek Magazine and theatre tickets to a 1982 showing of The Music Man.

I don't know why hotels pretend to be so spotless. All that junk under the bed could be used as a marketing tool. "Stay at the Hilltop Hilton and join in our under-mattress-scavenger-hunt."

If the hotels don't catch on, sooner or later the motels will. They can turn anything into a sales pitch. Like, for example, "Color TV" (Ooooooohh.). And "Outdoor Pool" (I think the "outdoor" feature is a nice added touch, don't you?) And how about "Free Parking" (which is really a way of saying, "You don't have to park your car in your room.").

What worries me most about hotels is what they keep in the drawers. Did you ever notice there is always a bible in the drawer? Why?

When you buy a car, there is no bible in the glove compartment, although the road is where you need prayers the most.

When you dig for the prize at the bottom of the Cracker Jack box, it's never a bible.

Even in hospitals, where a prayer might be all you have left, there is no bible in the drawer.

Only in hotels and on death row do bibles come as standard equipment.

And why just the Bible? I have had plenty of spare time to search for Torahs and Korans in hotel rooms, and I have never found any. Do Jews and Muslims not stay in hotels? What do they know that I don't?

Fortunately, I don't have to stay in hotels anymore. I don't have to endure shadow-puppet shows from the guy on the other side of the wall. I don't have to keep from reading over his shoulder. I don't have worry about what he ate for dinner.

And I don't have to listen to his snoring. I can enjoy my own nightmares in peace.

Author, David Leonhardt, publishes The Happy Guy humor column: http://www.thehappyguy.com/positive-thinking-free-ezine.html.
And A Daily Dose of Happiness: http://www.thehappyguy.com/daily-happiness-free-ezine.html.
He also writes personal growth articles: http://www.thehappyguy.com/self-actualization-articles.html.
And sells liquid vitamins: http://www.vitamin-supplements-store.net.

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Alaska Cruises Ode

Alaska Cruises Offer Breathtaking Scenery For Your Vacations

Alaska cruises can offer some of the most pristine, natural beauty you'll ever see on your vacations. Beautiful crystal clear inlets of water found no where else in the world. Icebergs and sheer cliff walls rising thousands of feet into the air. Choosing from among the many Alaska cruises will be easy and fun; making your vacations an exciting and rewarding experience.

Deciding which of many Alaska cruises is right for your vacations.

One thing to decide is when you want to go. Many people favor the month of August because the weather and temperature are favorable to being outdoors. Another consideration to keep in mind for Alaska cruises and vacations is which direction on the ship you'd like your cabin to face. Inside cabins are less expensive while outside facing cabins offer the convenience of stepping onto your balcony and seeing the many splendid sights. Dressing warmly and comfortably is another consideration, especially if you're susceptible to being cold at night. Also, be sure and bring along a good pair of binoculars to see the sights. Many times your cruise ship will pass by a stunningly close to an immense block of ice; you'll want to see every detail that up close.

Author, Mike Yeager, Publisher: http://www.a1-travel-4u.com/productpage/cheapcruises.html.

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