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Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Go Where The Papayas Are 9.15.10

With the papaya being special enough to have a month of its very own, I say it deserves it's moment by having an all-tropical blog entry in honor of it. Right about now, with summer coming to an end and cooler weather right around the corner, travelers are longing to stretch the bathing suit season just a little more. While this isn't always possible to do where we live, it's always possible to travel somewhere on the globe where the sun is shining, the beaches inviting and breezes don't require you to put on a jacket.
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Useful article of the day: Don't be the Ugly American. Frommer's tells you the 5 Ways Travelers Have Lost Their Manners.

Sure, you can get Hawaiian papayas shipped straight to your front door by companies like Hawaiian Kine Stuff, but wouldn't you rather just go to Hawaii and get them straight from the source? I mean, while you're eating one beach-side, you can also sip on a tropical drink and work on your tan. It's totally not as fun opening the box and figuring out how you'll eat 8-10 of them before they go bad, although, it's a viable alternative if you have $79 and not the hundreds it will cost to fly and stay there. 
  • If you DO have more than $80 to your name, you can spend your papaya money on several nights in a top-rated hotel in Hawaii. DealBase has great rates starting at $69 per night. The stay-by dates vary from end of September to end of December, but all the rates are fantastic and are for hotels scattered throughout the islands.
  • Did you know that papayas promote male virility? It's true! That's great if you're looking to share some with your sweetie on a romantic getaway. Right now, you can also get amazing rates on hotels in the Caribbean. Destinations like Jamaica, the Dominican Republic, Barbados and Aruba for as little as $68 per night. Stay-by dates vary,but these rates won't last for long either.

Imagine enjoying private beaches in both Bora Bora and Montu Mahana, well you can just that with this luxurious 9-day in Tahitian cruise that travels the islands. For $3,035 per person, you get RT airfare from LAX, all meals, beverages, on-board gratuities and 24-hour room service. The ship is intimate and offers 3 restaurants, a newly refurbished gym, spa and more. Departure dates are Dec 18 or 27. Book by Sept 20. You save 40% off the regular price and even more if you elect to stay in a higher level of cabin. 

One of the biggest obstacles in going somewhere new is figuring out how to get from your hotel to other places and then back again. Well, most cities have excellent public transportation which is both convenient and inexpensive. Check out Lonely Planet for your destination to find out transportation options and pricing. Maybe you'll take a jitney or a bus or the subway around town. Their tour guides are some of the best I've found. You may also want to invest in a Pop-out Map. These great little guides have useful information and small, but significant maps for the most visited areas in the city.
Venice, Italy PopOut Map

Papayas are awesome for digestive issues, so even if you ate everything at the buffet, bring some papaya enzyme tablets with you and pop 3 or 4 and you won't feel like you're dying. Aside from being amazingly useful in preventing heartburn and ouchy tummy they also taste good. We keep a bottle on hand at home at all times. You can pick them up at any health food or vitamin store, like GNC.
  • Another good tip, but does NOT involve papaya, is to bring charcoal tablets with you when going to a country where the water or food quality may be questionable. Take them before you eat and they are known to attract any bacteria or other toxins and act as a filter. People swear by them and claim they have never gotten sick from foreign food or water because of taking them before eating.
  • How does papaya wine sound? Well, if you like papayas and you like wine, it probably sounds pretty good. Where can you find such a thing? Australia, of course. There are many deals going on for travel Down Under, including this great 11-day Royal Caribbean Cruise of Australia and New Zealand. Starting and ending in Sydney, there are rates of only $898pp for the October 16th sailing. Only 4 days at sea and many sightseeing opportunities. Maybe find some papaya wine that you can bring back home with you and feel like you've extended your vacation.

Wherever you go on vacation, you're probably not going to get there and have nothing planned or just wander the streets and then come back to your hotel and sit and stare at the walls or watch TV. If you do, I'm sad for you. Even if you're on a budget, you can still do more than visit public parks and free museums.

  • National Geographic has a feature called "Free City" that gives you a list of all the free and nearly free things to do in your destination city.
  • Another great site, which you may have seen me mention before, either on Facebook or my regular website, or seen an ad for on this blog site, is Groupon. Now, it's not just for the U.S. and Canada like it used to be. Nope! Groupon has expanded worldwide and now has daily deal listings for cities in Argentina, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Chile, Columbia, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey and UK. Sign up for emails of the daily deals in your destination city to catch anything cool that you might want to do, see or eat at a fraction of the price. Getting a discounted massage or mani/pedi on vacation is never a bad thing either.

There are many multi-purpose things that I have for both home and travel. Sometimes, you find something that works and it's so good that you get another one as a back-up that might also live in your travel bag. I've told you of a couple already, including the Belkin Mini-Surge Protector. This one, while not necessarily something you can't do without, is a wonderful thing to have if you find you absolutely need it: Earplugs. You never know what sort of annoying thing will happen that will make you SO happy to have these with you, whether at a hotel or on the airplane. Maybe you have noisy neighbors or there is unexpected street construction or a screaming baby two rows away. They can be a lifesaver. If you're like me and are cranky if you don't get enough sleep, spend a few bucks on a pack and keep them in your toiletry bag for emergencies. I am partial to Hearos (below), because they are squishy and conform to the shape of your ears. They also don't fall out after being asleep for 10 minutes or rolling over. While they won't totally eliminate all sounds, they will seriously muffle it.

  • Since you'll be heading to somewhere sunny, you'll probably be investing in sunscreen. Isn't a bother to remember to reapply? I tend to forget and then look like a lobster. Sexy! These bracelets are fantastic for helping you remember. You put one one, apply your sunscreen on your body and on the bracelet, the bracelet will turn colors when it is activated by the sun and then again when it is time for you to reapply or get out of the sun. Easy!

  • 5 days/4 nights at the 4-Star Menzies Sydney in Australia, including airfare from $1,369 per person. The Menzies is near Pitt Street Mall, Sydney Aquarium & the Sydney Opera House. Everything you could possibly want on-site, including 2 restaurants, 2 cafes, 4 bars, indoor pool, gym, newsstand and  spa. Save 25% off hotels rates when you stay 4+ nights. Sample rate is for departures from LAX. Travel by June 30th.
  • Make summer last longer with a visit to the Dominican Republic. Stay at the all-inclusive Viva Wyndham Domincus Palace Resort for only $55pp/pn. The resort has 5 restaurants, 3 bars, a disco, a spa, a tour desk, kids' club and more. All meals are included: Buffet breakfast and lunch. Dinner can be buffet style or you may make reservations to eat in one of the formal restaurants. Also included: all snacks, beverages, entertainment and activities. Travel good through December 16.

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