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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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YOSEMITE NATIONAL PARK


Yosemite National Park is located in California’s Sierra Nevada mountains. It is best known for its waterfalls, but within its nearly 1,200 square miles, you can find deep valleys, grand meadows, ancient giant sequoias, a vast wilderness area, and much more. More than 5 million people visit Yosemite each year. Not just a great valley, but a shrine to human foresight, the strength of granite, the power of glaciers, the persistence of life, and the tranquility of the High Sierra.

Yosemite National Park is roughly the size of the U.S. state of Rhode Island and contains thousands of lakes and ponds, 1,600 miles of streams, 800 miles of hiking trails, and 350 miles of roads. Two federally designated Wild and Scenic Rivers, the Merced and the Tuolumne, begin within Yosemite's borders and flow westward through the Sierra foothills, into the Central Valley of California.

Yosemite National Park covers an area of 747,956 acres and was designated a World Heritage Site in 1984. Yosemite is recognized for its granite cliffs, waterfalls, clear streams, giant sequoia groves, lakes, mountains, meadows, glaciers, and biological diversity. Almost 95% of the park is designated wilderness.

Yosemite is one of the largest and least fragmented habitat blocks in the Sierra Nevada, and the park supports a diversity of plants and animals. The park has an elevation range from 2,127 to 13,114 feet (648 to 3,997 m) and contains five major vegetation zones: chaparral and oak woodland, lower montane forest, upper montane forest, subalpine zone, and alpine. Of California's 7,000 plant species, about 50% occur in the Sierra Nevada and more than 20% within Yosemite. There is suitable habitat for more than 160 rare plants in the park, with rare local geologic formations and unique soils characterizing the restricted ranges many of these plants occupy.

History of Yosemite: The name "Yosemite" (meaning "killer" in Miwok) originally referred to the name of a renegade tribe which was driven out of the area (and possibly annihilated) by the Mariposa Battalion. Before then the area was called "Ahwahnee" ("big mouth") by indigenous people. Yosemite Valley has been inhabited for nearly 3,000 years, though humans may have first visited the area as long as 8,000 to 10,000 years ago.

The indigenous natives called themselves the Ahwahnechee, meaning "dwellers in Ahwahnee." They are related to the Northern Paiute and Mono tribes. Many tribes visited the area to trade, including nearby Central Sierra Miwoks, who lived along the drainage area of the Tuolumne and Stanislaus Rivers.

Yosemite Valley is only about one percent of the park area, but this is where most visitors arrive and stay. The Tunnel View is the first view of the Valley for many visitors and is extensively photographed. El Capitan, a prominent granite cliff that looms over Yosemite Valley, is one of the most popular rock climbing destinations in the world because of its diverse range of climbing routes in addition to its year-round accessibility. Granite domes such as Sentinel Dome and Half Dome rise 3,000 and 4,800 feet respectively, above the valley floor.

The high country of Yosemite contains beautiful areas such as Tuolumne Meadows, Dana Meadows, the Clark Range, the Cathedral Range, and the Kuna Crest. The Sierra crest and the Pacific Crest Trail run through Yosemite, with peaks of red metamorphic rock, such as Mount Dana and Mount Gibbs, and granite peaks, such as Mount Conness. Mount Lyell is the highest point in the park, standing at 13,120 feet. The Lyell Glacier is the largest glacier in Yosemite National Park and is one of the few remaining in the Sierra Nevada today.

Yosemite is also very famous for its high concentration of waterfalls in a small area. Numerous sheer drops, glacial steps and hanging valleys in the park provide many places for waterfalls to exist, especially during April, May, and June (the snowmelt season). Located in Yosemite Valley, the Yosemite Falls is the highest in North America at 2,425 feet.

Also in Yosemite Valley is the much lower volume Ribbon Falls, which has the highest single vertical drop, 1,612 feet. Perhaps the most prominent of the Yosemite Valley waterfalls is Bridalveil Fall, which is the waterfall seen from the Tunnel View viewpoint at the east end of the Wawona Tunnel. Wapama Falls in Hetch Hetchy Valley is another notable waterfall. Hundreds of ephemeral waterfalls also exist in the park.

All glaciers in the park are relatively small glaciers that occupy areas that are in almost permanent shade, such as north- and northeast-facing cirques. Lyell Glacier is the largest glacier in Yosemite (the Palisades Glaciers are the largest in the Sierra Nevada) and covers 160 acres.

At a variety of elevations, meadows provide important, productive habitat for wildlife. Animals come to feed on the green grasses and use the flowing and standing water found in many meadows. Predators, in turn, are attracted to these areas. The interface between meadow and forest is also favored by many animal species because of the proximity of open areas for foraging and cover for protection. Species that are highly dependent upon meadow habitat include great grey owl, willow flycatcher, Yosemite toad, and mountain beaver. Let's not forget that black bears also roam throughout the park. Some 30 bears a year are captured by park rangers and tagged for monitoring.

Yosemite Valley is open year-round and numerous activities are available through the National Park Service, Yosemite Conservancy, and Aramark at Yosemite, including nature walks, photography and art classes, stargazing programs, tours, bike rentals, rafting, mule and horseback rides, and rock climbing classes. Water activities are plentiful during warmer months. Rafting can be done through the Yosemite Valley on the Merced River. There are also swimming pools available at Yosemite Lodge and Curry Village.

Many people enjoy short walks and longer hikes to waterfalls in Yosemite Valley, or walks among giant sequoias in the Mariposa, Tuolumne, or Merced Groves. Others like to drive or take a tour bus to Glacier Point (summer-fall) to see views of Yosemite Valley and the high country, or drive along the scenic Tioga Road to Tuolumne Meadows (May-October) and go for a walk or hike.

While some locations in Yosemite require hiking, other locations can be reached via automobile transportation. Driving locations also allow guests to observe the night sky in locations other than their campsite or lodge. All of the roads in Yosemite are scenic, but the most famous is the Tioga Road, typically open from late May or early June through November.

Rock climbing is an important part of Yosemite. Camp 4, a walk-in campground in Yosemite Valley, was instrumental in the development of rock climbing as a sport, and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Climbers can generally be spotted in the snow-free months on anything from ten-foot-high boulders to the 3,300-foot face of El Capitan. Classes on rock climbing are offered by numerous groups.

Yosemite Valley is open all year, although some roads within the park close in winter. Downhill skiing is available at the Badger Pass Ski Area-the oldest downhill skiing area in California, offering downhill skiing from mid-December through early April. Much of the park is open to cross-country skiing and snowshoeing, with several backcountry ski huts open for use. Wilderness permits are required for backcountry overnight ski trips.

Most park visitors stay just for the day, and visit only those locations within Yosemite Valley that are easily accessible by automobile. There is a $25-30 per automobile user fee to enter the park, depending on the season. Traffic congestion in the valley is a serious problem during peak season, in summer. A free shuttle bus system operates year-round in the valley, and park rangers encourage people to use this system since parking within the valley during the summer is often nearly impossible to find.

more on Yosemite National Park



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