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                 VACATION TIPS


Do you have some vacation time coming up? If you make a trip you will need to make some plans such as flight arrangements or hotel reservations. Whether you are going to visit family or you plan to take your family to a ski vacation or travel abroad.

No matter what you choose to do you can find great deals on your trip. You can shop around for the best airline deals or even hotel deals which can save you hundreds on your trip.

One way to limit the expense that all of this creates, is to book an all inclusive vacation. While this will not alleviate all of the things an individual has to think about, it will help to reduce the amount of planning that is needed.

All inclusive vacations usually include accommodations, meals, tips, and taxes are included in the package. Sometimes, they can also include attractions, airfare, and transportation as well. To find an all inclusive vacation that fits the needs of an individual, several things should be taken into consideration.

All inclusive vacations wrap the cost of all these expenses into one. That is not to say that an individual can not find great deals on these items individually. But, often an all inclusive vacation includes all of this at a discounted rate.

If considering an all inclusive vacation, one should check out the deals that are available. Individuals who are really looking for the best deal should take the time to find out if all inclusive vacations they have found are a better deal. But, in the end, they can find all this information and do so from their home.

The Internet is a great tool in planning a vacation, including an all inclusive vacation. Most big attractions have all inclusive vacations planned for them. To find the options available to anyone, it is as simple as finding the right Internet sites.

An all inclusive vacation may be just the thing to help make planning a vacation less of a struggle and more of an enjoyment. And, it may just save some money!

Often times we want to take our children to see the things we saw when we were younger. It would be nice to see some new destinations as well. Either way, we want to do a lot but don't always have the funds. So, we are always in search for a deal. There are many out there to be had. Here are some quick ideas.

Saving on airfare is all about shopping around. Compare the different offers each company has. Can you fly in mid week and avoid weekend charges and busy times? Flying at night or at odd times can also increase your changes of getting a deal.

Once you get to your destination, you'll need a place to stay and a car to drive. The best way to get deals on these is to plan ahead. Making reservations ahead of time can be the best way to lower your cost. Cutting out extra charges on things you don't need, or won't use, also helps. No need for that car to come with a DVD player if you only plan to drive short distances. Along the same lines, you probably won't have time to watch all those movies on cable either. Eliminating these extras can lead to extra cash in your pocket.

Saving money on travel doesn't need to stop there. You can save money on travel in just about every aspect by planning and research. Take the time to compare different companies, then choose the best option for you. Also, take a box of cereal and pick up a gallon of milk instead of spending a ton on breakfast.

Grab a local newspaper to see if there are deals in there for area restaurants. The local family diner may have some great food at reasonable prices but is overlooked because of all those glaring signs in tourist's face.

Being able to find a deal on travel is a great advantage. Saving some extra cash can truly make your vacation more worthwhile. Since so many people just don't get enough vacation time, getting the most out of what they do get is key. So, take some time and find the best travel deals out there for yourself. There are so many different ways you can find great deals but online appears to be the best way. Just do a quick search and you will find what you are looking for which will save you money!

          HOW TO MAKE
    HOTEL RESERVATIONS



When traveling for business or fun, there’s nothing worse than thinking you have a reservation and learning your hotel reservations been lost, your room has one bed and not two bedrooms, or you thought your check-in time was noon, only to find out it is really 3:00pm. To help avoid these things from happening, there are a few helpful hotel reservation tips seasoned travelers recommend:

Always use a credit card when making a hotel reservation. Using a credit card offers the guest some level of protection should the hotel stay go awry. Any disputes a guest may have with the hotel, or with the billing can more easily be rectified through the credit card company. The card company will act as a mediator once their client can show effort to resolve the dispute. Additionally, if a dispute cannot be resolved, the credit card company has the authority to remove the charge from a client’s bill. If cash were paid, a hotel guest would have no recourse.

Note: If you don’t use your own credit card to secure a reservation, be aware that the person whose name is on the card will be responsible for showing the card and signing at check in. If the card does not belong to the person staying at the hotel, notify the desk before leaving home (prior to arrival) and ask what their identification procedure is. They may accept a letter from the credit card holder authorizing use, and a copy of both the front and back of the card.

Ask for deals/discounts at each hotel. Many hotels offer corporate, AAA, senior, or even mid-week/off-season discounts. If one is not offered - ask about them. Many hotels now offer ‘rewards’ programs and some hotels reduce rates by $50 or more, for simply signing up for their program. If making reservations online, look for internet-only rates and shop various websites to find the best deals. Travel agents can often secure unadvertised specials or late check-in opportunities which can translate into huge savings.

When making reservations speak clearly and repeat spelling of all names. There have been many reservations lost because of inaccurate spelling and guests have been told they did not have rooms when a hotel or an entire city was booked to capacity. If any special requests are made, verify them and if possible get them in writing. Also make sure to get the name of the employee. Verify everything spell names and verify information/requests etc. Double check reservations prior to leaving for hotel and make sure names of all hotel employees you’ve spoken to are taken.

When reservations are made, changed and cancelled-confirmation numbers are given. Make sure all numbers are kept in a safe place until credit cards are billed and all charges are verified. Cancellation and confirmation numbers are often the difference between being charged for a hotel reservation that was cancelled, the possibility of a free upgrade when the hotel overbooks and you can prove when your reservation was made, and being stranded away from home without a room for the night.
Discuss hotel policies prior to making reservations, and verify them at check-in. Some hotels require credit cards at check in for any hotel charges, such as telephone usage, room service, meals in the hotel, or even take -out arranged through the hotel with area restaurants, etc. If a credit card is not available, a cash/check deposit maybe required for any services/fees that may accrue during the hotel stay. Determine when check-in/check-out times are, when cancellation policies go into affect and verify occupancy limits if staying in a room with multiple occupants.

Remember these hotel reservation tips when scheduling your travel plans. Whether by internet, through a travel agent, or by telephone, it pays to research the hotel and be meticulous when making arrangements. A little pre-planning when making reservations can save major headaches when traveling away from home.



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HISTORIC BERLIN
AND IT'S MANY MUSEUMS


Founded in the 13th century, Berlin has had an eventful history. Excavations from 2008 suggest that the city may be even older than was previously assumed: state archaeologists have discovered an oak beam that probably dates back to 1183.

Almost no other metropolis has experienced such frequent, radical change transforming the face of the city. Although Berlin saw steady growth in its importance, dazzling epochs alternated with darker eras. Nevertheless, the formerly divided city has succeeded in becoming a vibrant metropolis in the heart of Europe.

Berlin is best known for its historical associations as the German capital, internationalism and tolerance, lively nightlife, its many cafés, clubs, and bars, street art, and numerous museums, palaces, and other sites of historic interest. Berlin's architecture is quite varied. Although badly damaged in the final years of World War II and broken apart during the Cold War, Berlin has reconstructed itself greatly, especially with the reunification push after the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989.

It is now possible to see representatives of many different historic periods in a short time within the city centre, from a few surviving medieval buildings near Alexanderplatz, to the ultra modern glass and steel structures at Potsdamer Platz. Because of its tumultuous history, Berlin remains a city with many distinctive neighbourhoods.

You can explore Berlin on a traditional sightseeing tour in an open double-decker bus or in smaller buses or taxis. Less common means of transportation are also an option. S-Bahn Berlin GmbH offers special tours in panorama trains with a glass roof, as well as trips in historic S-Bahn trains. Velo-taxis are parked at central locations, ready to take customers on a rickshaw-like ride through Berlin.

Visitors can travel by boat along the 197 kilometers of Berlin’s navigable waterways. Guided tours can be taken on bicycles, on mopeds, and on foot - and the next innovative tour idea is no doubt just around the corner. You can also get to know special aspects of Berlin on tours of historic sites, “Jewish Berlin,” the former course of the Wall, architectural highlights, the homes and workplaces of famous people, and much more.

Berlin’s weekly markets and flea markets invite browsing, as do the Botanical Garden and the grounds of the horticultural exhibition Bundesgartenschau 2001 in nearby Potsdam. Recreation areas and sights in the city and in the surrounding state of Brandenburg are popular destinations for outings, while trade fairs, exhibitions, and congresses attract additional visitors. Berlin’s two zoos are unquestionably among the city’s special attractions: the Zoologischer Garten with the Aquarium and Tierpark Friedrichsfelde. The former is the world’s most diverse zoo, and the latter covers a larger area than any other zoo in Europe.

Berlin is a huge city. You can make use of the excellent bus, tram, train and underground services to get around. Taxi services are also easy to use and a bit less expensive than in many other big Central European cities. You can hail a cab (the yellow light on the top shows the cab is available), or find a taxi rank (Taxistand). Taxi drivers are in general able to speak English. If you ask for a short trip (Kurzstrecke), as long as it's under 2km and before the taxi driver starts the meter running, the trip normally is cheaper, €4. This only applies if you flag the taxi down on the street, not if you get in at a taxi rank.

The Berlin U-Bahn (subway/metro) is something to behold; it is so charmingly precise! There are no turnstiles to limit access, so it is technically possible to ride without a ticket, but if caught by a ticket checker you will be fined €40 so it is probably not worth the risk. All U-Bahn stations now have electronic signs that give the time of the next train, and its direction based on sensors along the lines.

Berlin has a vast array of museums. Most museums charge admission for people 18 years of age or older - usually €6 to €10 for the big museums. Discounts (usually 50%) are available for students and disabled people with identification. Children under 18 years free. A nice offer for museum addicts is the three day pass Museum Pass  for €24 which grants entrance to all the normal exhibitions of the approximately 55 state-run museums and public foundations.

Most museums are closed on Mondays; notable exceptions include the Neues Museum and the Deutsches Historisches Museum, which are open daily. Museumsportal Berlin, a collective web initiative, offers easy access to information on all museums, memorials, castles and collections and on current and upcoming exhibitions.

Other museums which belong to the Museum Island are the Altes Museum (with the Egyptian and the antique collection), the Alte Nationalgalerie (with mainly German paintings of the 19th century) and the reopened Bode-Museum with its fantastically presented sculpture collection and Byzantine art.

The recently reopened Neues Museum houses the Egyptian collection, Neanderthal and other prehistoric archaeological finds, and some of the treasures unearthed at Troy. This is the only museum on Museums Insel that requires a timed entry ticket. It's best to get a timed ticket online ahead of time as time slots fill up quickly.

Museen Charlottenburg - Schloss Charlottenburg (Charlottenburg Palace, Belvedere with Porcelain Manufactory (KPM), Mausoleum, New Pavilion), Museum Berggruen, Bröhan Museum, Museum Scharf-Gerstenberg

Museen Dahlem - in the district of Dahlem three museums are located: Museum of European Cultures  - the biggest of its sort in Europe. Ethnologisches Museum  - again one of the world's most comprehensive museums (Well worth a visit for its splendid collection of Pre-Columbian archeology!). Museum of Asian Art .

Deutsches Historisches Museum in the Zeughaus, Mitte, Unter den Linden 2, . German historical museum covering everything from prehistory right up to the present day. One can spend many, many hours here!

Museum für Naturkunde, Mitte, Invalidenstraße 43, . Near the main railway station. Natural science museum with a big collection of dinosaur skeletons, fossils and minerals. Reopened after restoration in late 2007.

Berlin Wall Memorial (Gedenkstätte Berliner Mauer), Gesundbrunnen/Mitte, Visitor Center: Bernauer Straße 119, Documentation Center: Bernauer Str. 111 - The central memorial site of German division, located in the middle of the capital. - Open-Air Exhibition and Memorial Grounds: All year round Mo. - Su. 8am - 10pm, Visitor Center and Documentation Center: April - Oct.: Tu. - Su. 9:30am - 7:00pm, Nov. - March: Tu. - Su. 9:30am - 6:00pm. The outdoor grounds are open 24 hours a day all year round. Admission free. - Nordbahnhof S-Bahn station S1, S2, S25, Tram M10 - Flyer

Mauermuseum at Checkpoint Charlie . This museum is situated at the most famous historical checkpoint between the two Berlins. Admission: 12,50 EUR.

Story of Berlin  Kurfürstendamm 207-208i, close to the Uhlandstraße metro, the last stop on the U1. Museum in the centre of a mall. In addition to the history (including the World Wars), culture, transportation, architecture and an exhibit of life in the city since medieval times, it is unique to feature an authentic cold-war era bunker. The 20 minute tour is included in the cost of the entrance ticket, and is at the top of each hour, alternating in German and English.

Stasi Museum  At the northeast corner of Frankfurter Allee and Ruschestraße is a complex of buildings housing hospitals and clinics. In the communist era, all these buildings belonged to the Stasi with their massive apparatus for spying on East German citizens, including opening tens of thousands of pieces of mail every day. Now just one of these buildings is used as museum of the Stasi. It is almost impossible to find from the street address since the number is out of sequence with the rest of the street.

Walk up Ruschestraße from Frankfurther Allee. On the right side of the street, there is a small sign for the Stasi Museum at the entrance to the clinic complex. Walk in and go straight ahead to the far end of the car park.


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