Posts Tagged ‘affordable travel’

GAL Travel – Mayan Calendar Draws Budget Tourists to Mexico in 2012

With the end of the 5,126 year-long Mayan calendar in December, tourists are flocking to the Riviera Maya region of Mexico! 2012 is definitely the time to travel to the Yucatán Peninsula, especially if you’re looking for an out of this world experience in one of the most beautiful locations on the planet.

riviera maya beach1

The Riviera Maya is just south of Cancun and offers affordable but luxurious amenities, tranquil beaches, and rich cultural significance, making it a desired destination for travelers of all ages.


If you plan well enough in advance, there’s still time to find airfare deals online. On Travelocity.com, flying from Tuesday to Tuesday in mid-May (from Los Angeles) will cost either $459 (Aeromexico) or $510 (American Airlines) for a roundtrip ticket. That’s hundreds of dollars cheaper than buying an airplane ticket to other popular destinations such as Hawaii or Europe.

htr aerea 01

Hotels in the Riviera Maya have also decreased their rates dramatically, with hopes that tourists will return to the region despite the negative press the country has experienced in recent years. One of my favorite hotels is Hacienda Tres Rios, an eco-friendly resort set amongst a 326 acre nature park. For a limited time, this lavish resort is offering their lowest rate ever to families of 4 (with 2 children under 12). For just $135 per adult per night, a family can indulge with the Endless Luxury plan, including the suite, an all inclusive meal plan for all plus unlimited alcoholic beverages for the adults, and infinite access to the many tours and activities available on the property. This is truly an incredible bargain!

ecopark kantu n chi

Fun and adventure for those that love the outdoors is endless in this area of Mexico. Crystal clear blue waters are perfect for scuba diving and snorkeling, while the many underground caves and cenotes make for a unique day of hiking, swimming and exploring. The Riviera Maya is also known for zip line tours, the perfect option for thrill seeking travelers!


By far, the most enticing tourist attractions in the region are the remains of the Mayan culture. There is nothing like soaking in the rich history and magnitude of the Mayan ruins, up close and in person. The seaside Mayan city of Tulum is said to be one of the most well preserved ancient relics, with the cooling waters of the Caribbean Sea just steps away to keep you refreshed after a long day of walking. The ruins of Chichen Itza and Ek-Balam are also just a few hours away, and make for an ideal day trip.

Take my word for it that the Riviera Maya is a must visit destination, no matter if you go in 2012 or in the years to come. Whether you’re traveling solo or with you family, this tropical paradise has a little something for everyone. And the best part is, you won’t break the bank!

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GAL Travel – Santa Ynez Valley Wine Country (CA)

Located in the heart of Santa Barbara’s world renowned vineyards is the Santa Ynez Valley Wine Country. Just 125 miles from Los Angeles, Santa Ynez features breathtaking views, intimate wineries, and charming inns, the perfect destination for wine lovers and foodies alike. In 2004, Santa Ynez Wine Country gained celebrity status when it was featured in the hit film, Sideways. Whether you’re a movie buff, a wine connoisseur, or simply looking to experience a beautiful part of Southern California, Santa Ynez is a must see! For a Glam, Affordable, and Luxurious take on the Santa Ynez Wine Country, here are my GAL Travel recommendations for your next trip!

Gainey Sunstone Winery

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GAL Travel Tips Summer 2011

Summer travel season is officially here! If you’re looking to find a great deal but don’t know where to start, read on to discover a fantastic new site that will certainly make searching for flights easier! And after you’ve saved so much money on airfare, discover which must have fashion and beauty items you’ll need to make your trip complete!

Travel Deals Made Easy


With all of the new travel search engines and websites available, it’s difficult to know which ones to trust. One of the most innovative to hit the web lately is Bing Travel, a portal dedicated to locating the best deals in travel. Not only can you search for flights, hotels, and packages, but you can compare hundreds of search engines at one time, eliminating the need to jump from site to site. But by far the coolest feature of Bing Travel is their Price Predictor tool, which tells you if you should buy now or wait, depending on whether the fares will increase, stay the same, or decrease. According to research, Bing’s Price Predictor tool is about 75% accurate, saving customers an average of $50 per transaction. Other nifty features of Bing Travel? Their Rate Indicator tool tells you if hotel rates are a good deal by comparing current and past rates. There’s also a fantastic travel blog, feature articles and photo gallery, definitely worth checking out!

Bing Travel

Functional Fashion

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Deciding what to pack for vacation is never easy. How many outfits will I need and for what occasions? For those that want to keep it light, opt for a convertible dress, many of which can be worn 8 ways or more. These brilliant designs are versatile, comfortable, fashionable, and the perfect neutral palette to accessorize with shoes and jewelry. Wear a convertible dress like this GAL find by Mossimo (Target, $23.99), as a cover up when you’re lounging poolside and then as a sexy halter dress for night. Some styles can even be worn as skirts like this GAL find by Elan (Amazon, $32.99), which would look great paired with a basic or embellished tank. The possibilities are truly endless! Not only are these dresses fashionable, but they’re practical as they take up little space and can be worn so many different ways. Once you have your convertible dress, all that’s left to pack are a couple pairs of shoes, jewelry, a few other basics, and you’re good to go! This is one fashion item that every savvy traveler should own!

Elan Conv Dress Elan Conv Dress2

Travel Sized Beauty


If you can’t live without your daily moisturizer or luxury shampoo while on vacation, but don’t want to lug around a full size version of your favorite product, then 3floz.com is for you! This genius website offers more than 50 well known companies’ hair, skin, and body products in TSA approved 3 oz. packages, the perfect size for your carry-on luggage! From Alterna to Ole Henriksen, you’ll find all your favorites in one convenient place. Select as many travel sized items as you want for your customized carry-on, or purchase a kit from some of the most coveted beauty brands in the business. With products from women, men, and baby starting at $5, the whole family can stock up on essential beauty items without breaking the bank!


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Winter Travel 2011 – Tropical Getaways For Less

There’s no better way to escape the winter blues than a tropical vacation! Whether you want to stay in the US or travel to exotic lands, with a little research, there are always great travel deals to be found. Here are a few incredible tropical getaways from California to Costa Rica, sure to get you in the mood for some fun in the sun!

Catalina Island (Avalon, California)

To escape the hustle and bustle of Los Angeles, get away to the beautiful island of Catalina, just off the coast of Southern California. Available Sunday through Thursday (through April 14th), the “Free Boat, Free Zip, and Free Tours” package combines all the highlights of this quaint island for an amazing price. For just $102 per person/per night, guests will enjoy accommodations at the newly remodeled Pavilion Hotel, which includes a deluxe continental breakfast and afternoon wine and cheese reception. Enjoy the breathtaking ocean views from the hotel’s gardens and relax beside the large open air fire pit. Once rejuvenated, head out to experience all that Catalina has to offer. This limited time promotion includes a free zip line tour so you can view the wonder of the island from a whole new perspective! If you’re still craving more outdoor fun, the offer also includes unlimited access to the island’s Discovery Tours and Activities, including the Undersea Tour, the Behind the Scenes Casino Tour, Miniature Golf and Tennis Court rentals, to name a few. Finally, round trip transportation to/from Long Beach Harbor is also included, topping off this incredible money saving deal! For reservations, visit www.VisitCatalinaIsland.com or call 800-626-1496.

catalina at night

Los Cabos (Mexico)

Overlooking the crystal blue waters of the Sea of Cortez, the Sheraton Hacienda del Mar Golf & Spa Resort in Los Cabos, Mexico, is an idyllic tropical getaway for those that really want to soak up the sun! Their “Sunsational Savings” promotion offers rooms starting at just $169/night (based on double occupancy), with each deluxe room featuring the Sheraton Sweet Sleeper Bed and Jacuzzi tub. As an added bonus, guests are eligible for a complimentary upgrade at check in, based upon availability. When guests stay for two nights under the limited time promotion, they will receive the third night free, as well as a $200 food and beverage credit redeemable at any of the resorts five restaurants and bars. From traditional Mexican and Mediterranean to Steak and Seafood, guests will surely enjoy a delicious tour of world cuisines. With four infinity and cascading swimming pools, an acclaimed Spa and Fitness Center, and access to a wide selection of outdoor activities, the Sheraton Hacienda del Mar is the perfect place to escape the winter blues for a “sunsational” price! To make a reservation, visit www.sheratonloscabos.com (promotion code ZS3).

Sheraton Hacienda Del Mar Los Cabos

Arenal (Costa Rica)

Couples that are looking for a tropical respite this winter will love the peace and quiet of Lost Iguana Resort & Spa in Arenal, Costa Rica. Located amongst 120 acres of pure rainforest, the romantic resort’s new “Love Birds Getaway” package features daily breakfast, an in-room welcome flower arrangement and wine basket, and a cozy candlelit dinner. “Love birds” will also receive a sensual couples massage in an open-air bungalow at Lost Iguana’s full-service Balinese-themed Golden Gecko Spa. The minimum two night package in a standard deluxe room is just $420 per couple, with additional nights at $120 each. Every guest room at Lost Iguana features spectacular views of Arenal Volcano, one of the 10 most active in the world. Balconies overlook the natural beauty of the jungle, with luxury suites also featuring private outdoor Jacuzzi tubs. For those who wish to further explore the lush jungle, the resort has exclusive walking paths lined with waterfalls and exotic birds, in addition to an onsite wildlife guide that is available to answer questions and lead individualized tours. The “Love Birds Getaway” package is available through 2011 and can be booked online by visiting www.lostiguanaresort.com.

arenal volcano

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