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Travel News

By Judy Newell

Mexico Travel News

Destiladeras, a beach to get away from it all

Destiladeras is one of those beaches that may be popular, but it’s still a place where you can truly get away from the wandering musicians, the itinerant vendors and even the restaurants, since there are only two palapas serving fresh seafood, cold beverages, plus lounge chair and umbrella rentals.

In order to get to Destiladeras take Federal Highway 200; it’s just five minutes from La Cruz de Huanacaxtle or 20 minutes from Nuevo Vallarta. You have to walk down the mountain on a little trail to reach the beach. Before you walk down, take a minute to drink in the view. The cliff is a fantastic vantage point for panoramic vistas of the ocean and breathtaking shots of sunset.

International News

Tour operator stops services to Qatar

Ya’lla Tours USA has discontinued travel services to Qatar. The decision to stop working with Qatar is based on that country’s increasingly hardline political stance, specifically its support of Hamas and the Islamic State (ISIS) terrorist organizations.

“We will not support in any way a government that provides financial and political support to these organizations that kill Americans and terrorize many other innocent people,” says Ya’lla Tours president Ronen Paldi.

Ya’lla Tours USA remains committed to selling other destinations in the Arabian Peninsula: Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Oman and Bahrain.

Cruise News

Norwegian to buy Oceania, Regent

It’s official: Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. is buying Prestige Cruises International, parent company of Oceania Cruises and Regent Seven Seas Cruises, for US$3.025 billion. The deal is expected to close in the fourth quarter.

Norwegian is a contemporary cruise line aimed at multi-generational families, while Oceania is an upper-premium product and Regent a luxury, all-inclusive vacation. The combined company will offer a “portfolio of products that appeals to guests at every stage of their life cycle,” Norwegian CEO Kevin Sheehan said.

He emphasized that the three cruise brands will remain distinct from each other, but synergies could save up to US$25 million.

Air News

It’s time to book your Thanksgiving and Christmas flights

I know—you don’t even want to think about the holidays while your summer tan is still lingering. Unfortunately, now is exactly when you need to start figuring out your plans for Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s, unless you want to be left out in the cold when it comes to the best flights at the cheapest prices. Here’s what you need to know about booking holiday travel this year.

Book your flight now

Book your Thanksgiving tickets as close to Labor Day as possible if you want to get the best fare. According to Hipmunk, flyers who booked Thanksgiving flights the week before Labor Day last year spent an average of US$424 on airfare, and those who booked during the week of Thanksgiving spent US$561.

But wait on hotels

Data shows that while waiting is detrimental for flights, it pays off for hotel reservations. Travelers who booked their hotels in November last year saved an average of US$50 more than those who reserved earlier.

Cheapest days to fly

Flights are generally more expensive on Fridays and Sundays and this is exacerbated over Thanksgiving, when everyone wants to fly back on the Sunday after the holiday. Expect prices to be shockingly high on the days right around Thanksgiving.

Try to space out your travel and fly on the Monday or Tuesday before and after the holiday. The same applies for Christmas and New Year’s Day—the further away from the actual holiday you can travel, the better.

Or, try traveling on the day of the holiday itself. According to a report last year by Orbitz, the average airfare on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving was US$499, whereas flying on the actual holiday was only US$406. Likewise, the Saturday before Christmas averaged a fare of US$591, whereas flying on Christmas Eve averaged US$408. The Saturday after Christmas was the most expensive departure date of the holiday week.

Consider your connections

The holidays bring bad weather and lots of extra travelers to airports, so plan carefully. When at all possible, opt for a nonstop flight—every connection increases the chances that your flight will be delayed or canceled. If you do have a connection, make sure to leave plenty of extra time for those holiday delays, and try to fly through warm-weather airports instead of cold ones to avoid weather-related cancellations.

Deal of the Week

A safari in Africa for just US$299!

Guests aboard Oceania who sail on three different voyages this winter can take advantage of a three-night, pre- or post-cruise ‘Winelands & Wildlife’ program for only US$299 per person (retail value US$1,500 per guest), based on double occupancy.

Guests will explore Cape Town and journey to the famous Cape Winelands, home of some of the world’s finest wines and Stellenbosch, the second oldest town in South Africa. They will experience a hosted game drive through one of Africa’s pristine wildlife reserves, where they will see some of Africa’s most iconic animals, including the “Big Five” in their natural habitat.

This specially priced program is available on the following cruises:

Nautica, December 22, 2014, South African Holiday, pre-cruise

Insignia, January 20, 2015, Atlantic Ocean Odyssey, post-cruise

Insignia, February 15, 2015, Indian Ocean Exploration, pre-cruise

At a retail value of US$1,500 per person, it’s an extraordinary value for an adventure on the bucket list of many travelers.

Judy Newell heads the travel company Perfect Journeys, which specializes in designing tours, cruises and independent travel for discerning travelers. Please contact Judy for reservations or further information on any of the Travel News topics; cell phone at 415-111-8765, email, or view the latest travel specials on the website where you can book your hotels, tours and cruises online.

Sources: Convention and Visitors Bureau Riviera Nayarit, Travel Pulse, Smarter Travel,, Oceania


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