Thursday, July 31, 2008

Vacation Rentals by Owner

When planning your next vacation, regardless of where you may be going, you may wish to consider leasing a private home or villa. Renting a vacation home may be a very cost effective means of taking your vacation. It is definitely an attractive alternative to a motel or hotel for an extended vacation. In addition, should you be traveling with several people in your party it is without a doubt the least expensive choice.

When comparing a private villa or home, the motel or hotel can appear impersonal and cold not nearly as inviting. Here are a few tips on leasing your first vacation rental home.

Start by determining the number of people who will be going on the trip. The number people and their ages help determin which house to rent. Many owners do not cherish the thought of renting their home to families with many young children or to a group of partying college students because of possible damage to their property.

Next get on your computer and search for "(the town you want to visit) house for rent". Do some serious search engine work involving the area in which you will be vacationing. Check on the various properties in the area. You will find an amazing array of choices! In many popular vacation sposts there are literally hundreds to choose among. On the web will be able to see pictures of the homes and villas as well as information about the surrounding vicinity. Or glance through the classified section of a newspaper in the area for information relating to the leasing of summer homes. These reviews will also provide you with a feel for what is available as well as the prices that prevail in the area.

You can also contact the homeowners association which governs any of the condos or rental homes which you may be considering renting. There is a good chance that they may be able to place you in contact with various homeowners who might have a vacancy in their rentals. You can also obtain a copy of the rules and regulations which governs that particular community.

You may want to keep in mind that many homeowners in order to protect their property from damages will require that you leave a security deposit when renting their home. Usually, once you have checked out and the owner or his agent has inspected the property and found it to be acceptable your deposit will be refunded.

The summer months are usually the busiest at beach, while the winter months are the busiest at tropical locations and ski resorts and the homes naturally will be more costly and scarce during this "high season" so you can expect to pay more and should make reservations early for accomodations in the peak seasons. Otherwise, you might have to rent a less desirable home instead of the one you want.

Once you rent a home or villa and experience the fun you can have with the whole group under one roof, you well may say "This was the best vacation we have ever taken!".

Visit our Travel and Vacation Directory at
This article is sponsored by

Friday, July 25, 2008

What to Look for in a Travel Agent

Most travel agents are in the business to not only make money but to also serve their fellow travelers. Many of the current travel agents are themselves a previous traveler who enjoyed the experiences and wanted to help make others trips just as or more enjoyable.

When you select a travel agent be sure that the person is truly interested in the travel industry and not just the money which they can make from it. According to the latest estimates provided the travel industry has become one of the world's largest growing occupations today.

Keep in mind that a well versed travel agent is worth their weight in gold. They should be intimate with subjects such as touring, hospitality services, lodging, air travel, airport operation, cruises and theme parks. A well rounded agent is a valuable asset to an organization. If you sense that your travel agent feels that he can make a difference in whether you have an enjoyable trip or not then you have found a jewel in the making. A good agent specially one specializing in leisure travel should want to help their clients to learn about various cultures and they should be willing to go to all lengths to achieve this result.

Ensure that the agent you select has the necessary talent to be in that positions, the energy to obtain the needed information for you should you require additional data and a good work ethics. Keep in mind that our current work at home society has enable tens of thousands of travel agents to literally work from their home. Don’t underestimate these work at home people for they put just as much effort into satisfying their customers as does one with a store front shop. In some cases since their overhead is lower you stand a good chance to gain from lower ticket prices. These agents are well worth checking out.

Often times a travel agent will specialize in a particular sort of travel such as singles travel reservations or elderly travel plans or perhaps their specialty is in a particular region or a lifestyle. Occasionally you may want to partake of some of these great savings that this type of agent can offer you. Get to know them as a professional acquaintance and you will be glad you did.

If you happen to be interested in taking a cruise with or without any specialized requirements your travel agent should be able to handle this request with no difficulty. Whether the cruise you are interested in is a luxury cruise, a barge cruise or a river cruise they can handle it all. Usually you can contact them by e-mail or by phone to learn more about the programs they are currently offering.

Perhaps you do not care so much for an ocean cruise but would rather prefer a land vacation. Possibly you have always dreamed of visiting Tahiti. If so then now is the time to sit down and discuss all your desires with your travel agent. They can make a difference in whether your trip is enjoyable or one that you can not wait to get home for.

Visit our Travel and Vacation Directory at
This article is sponsored by a house for rent in Akumal

Friday, July 18, 2008

Mexico's Day of the Dead

No discussion of Mexico can be accomplished without bringing up the acclaimed Day of the Dead. Most Americans are familiar with this holiday in Mexico as it is portrayed in the various cinema horror movies however nothing could be further from the truth.

The early Spanish Conquistadors that landed in Mexico were very amazed at a native practice which appeared to mock the concept of death. This was a practice that had been followed for at least 3000 years.

Although the Spanish attempted to eradicate this ancient custom they had no luck what-so-ever in doing away with it. This ritual is commonly known as the Día de los Muertos, or in English as the Day of the Dead.

This ritual has prompt celebrations all around the country of Mexico and is enjoyed by both the young and the old. Although the catholic theology has attempted to merge the ideas of the Dia de los Muertos with the mainstream religion it still maintains its basic principles of it’s Aztec roots with its use of skulls and associated paraphernalia.

A visit to Mexico during the month of November will reveal people donning various wooden skull masks commonly known as calacas and you can readily see these people dancing in honor of their relatives which have past on. Many homes have altars created within and these wooden skulls will ultimately end up being placed upon them as a dedication to these dead ancestors.

To watch these activities is truly an interesting experience. Sugar skulls inscribed with the names of the various dead relatives upon the forehead are literally eaten by one of the relatives.

The Aztecs kept human skulls as a sort of trophy and would display them during these rituals. These skulls symbolized both death and rebirth combined. The human skulls honored the dead which the Aztecs believed would come back during the month long celebration to visit the deceased family.

Interestingly, unlike the conquering Spanish who generally viewed death as life’s final end the Aztec natives viewed the situation as a continuation of our present life. Therefore, instead of developing a fear of death the natives embraced it to the fullest. Their philosophy was that our present life was merely a dream and only when we experience death did we become truly awake.

Needless to say the Spaniards considered this death ritual as sacrilegious and perceived the Aztecs as pagan and barbaric. During their attempts to convert the natives to their religion they made every effort they could to crush the beliefs in this ritual. However the Aztec belief simply refused to go away and continued to our present day.

Today this celebration is honored on the Christian day known as All Saints' Day or All Souls' Day which is the first of November. If you plan to visit Mexico during these days you owe it to yourself to view these interesting and colorful festivals.

If you would like more information and travel links, visit our Travel Directory at
This article brought to you by

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Travel - Add URL, Submit URL, Free Reciprocal Link

Add your link or URL to our Travel & Vacation Directory - Increase Traffic and get better search engine rankings

Why use a Travel Directory?

Our Travel Directory is a human edited SEO friendly Vacation Guide. It is not a dump from the Dmoz but is a group of quality links to Travel websites and travel articles arranged in a country by country manner. . We have included a few broader categories such as "Travel Guides" and "Travel Directories".

Our guide will help the travler in planning their next trip or vacation.

If you have a travel related site you can:

- Add your site to our Travel Directory. Click on the link and Fill out the form.
- Upon review and acceptance, we will email you.
- Non-travel related sites will not be approved.
We are your marketing partner. We promote our directory on a continuing basis to ensure the maximum number visitors. You benefit from our marketing efforts without having to spend any effort or money. With our Travel Directory you choose your own title and description.

If you would like more information visit our Travel & Vacation Directory at and add your travel site's link while you are there.

Passport Photos

US Passport Information

We can’t all be great photographers however when dealing with the State Department for US Passport Photos certain guidelines and requirements are necessary. These rules for passport photos must be followed or your customers request for a passport will be denied.

As with any field of endeavor today the field of the photographer has seen various advances and changes resulting from technological progression. These various advances have resulted in changes in the way that our current passport or visa photos are not only taken but also the way in which the United States Department of State now processes these photos. I have taken the liberty in this article to explain a few hints mainly for the photographer but they apply equally to the customer to ensure a speedy passport process.

It is important that when a photo is made that this photo be a true and accurately image of the passport applicant. The photo must be completely free of any sort of defect which would be cause for rejection and ultimately result in undo delays. Producing a good quality photo will result in the rapid processing of the documents and a very satisfied customer.

As with any subject of a technical nature taking a passport photo will require specific setup routines. A successfully produced photo begins with the application of proper lighting being cast upon the subject.

You should position the light sources onto both sides of your photographic subject in order to avoid the creation of shadows on the person’s face. I would recommend the use of a light source situation in such a manner as to illuminate the background directly behind the subject as well. This procedure will avoid the creation of shadows from developing within the background of the photo.

The next important item to cover would be the position of the camera in reference to the subject. You would be wise to place your camera approximately four feet in front of the subject you are photographing. The camera should be positioned at eye level with the subject and it goes without saying that the subject should be facing the camera directly. Do not ever consider a side view or a slightly angled view. We are dealing here with technical photographic content and not creative images.

When considering the print qualities of the photograph be sure you fully understand that each end product will be only 2 inches by 2 inches square. It used to be that passport photos needed to be in black and white, however they are usually accepted as color these days. They should be printed upon a thin photo paper.

Above all ensure that you produce a clear print with no blurring of any sort. Never retouch or enhance a photo. If necessary re-shoot the picture. As a photographer if you follow these simple steps you can ensure that your customer receives their passport without undo delays.

If you would like more information and travel links, visit our Travel Directory at and add your travel site's link while you are there.
This article sponsored by our home for rent in Akumal Mexico

Blog Widget by LinkWithin