Ready or not, fall is here!


Emily S.That’s right! Yesterday was officially the first day of autumn (in the northern hemisphere)! And while I am having some difficulty putting away my bathing suits and sun dresses, I have to admit that I am excited about what fall will bring – crisp weather, light sweaters, apple picking, the changing colors of the leaves….

Even though the summer is now behind us, it doesn’t mean that vacationing has to stop. In fact, fall is one of the best times to travel…the weather can still be beautiful and there could be fewer crowds in many places. Many RCI subscribing members have enjoyed taking trips throughout the fall season and have shared pictures and stories with us. Between Vermont, Virginia, even Arizona, and more, it seems like these members have had some great trips! Come back to the RCI blog this week to read and see more about these vacations!

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Nothing better than Branson in the fall


Emily SYes, the lazy days of summer are coming to an end. But what better way to close out the summer than to plan a trip for the fall? And Branson, Missouri could be your ticket to curing those end-of-the-summer blues!

During the fall, it’s all about taking in the gorgeous views of Branson. And luckily, there are many ways to do this! One of the best ways is a trip to Dogwood Canyon Nature Park, a 2,200-acre preserve that you can check out on foot, by bike, on an ATV, on horseback or even in an open-air tram. No matter what method of exploration you choose, you are sure to see stunning views.

Another way to check out the beauty of Branson is by taking a trip on the Branson Scenic Railway. This two-hour round-trip ride will take you through some of the region’s most majestic and rugged terrain. Just be sure to get there early to secure your seat!

Do you want to hear more about Branson? Come back to the RCI Blog this week and we’ll be sharing photos and stories from RCI subscribing members who have taken a trip there. I hope this will help give you some ideas as you plan your own trip to Branson!

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Relaxation or Adventure? Key West is great for both!


Emily SA few months ago, my boyfriend Blake and I planned a trip down to Key West. After a lot of research (on my part!), we arranged for our accommodations, booked our flights, and began our trip.

We flew into Miami and, at the urging of many articles and reviews, we opted to rent a car to drive to our resort in Key West instead of hopping on another plane – wow, were those authors and reviewers right! The 3+ hour drive on Highway 1 from the Florida mainland to Key West, while lengthy, was incredible! The views of the water were incredible, especially when we went over the Seven Mile Bridge.

After arriving at our resort in Key West, we headed over to a restaurant for dinner and then over to Mallory Square – an open area on the water with all kinds of street performers and vendors – to see an amazing sunset. If you want a front row view, get there early because it gets very crowded!

Our next few days were filled with catching some sun at the resort’s pool, seeing the action on Duval Street and exploring the town. We rented bicycles on two of the days to help us get around quickly to all of the Key West must-do’s: Southernmost Point, the Ernest Hemingway Home, the Key West Lighthouse and Keeper’s Quarters Museum. Another Key West must-do, in my book, is breakfast at Blue Heaven on Thomas Street – great setting and even better food.

Key West is a wonderful vacation destination. Whether you want to just relax by a pool and watch beautiful sunsets or take small adventures exploring the town – or a combination of both – Key West has it all! Come back to the RCI Blog this week to read stories and see photos from RCI Subscribing members who vacationed in the Florida Keys.

 

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Summertime, summertime…


Emily S.Well, it’s finally here! The first official day of summer is this Friday, June 21 (here in the Northern Hemisphere)! To celebrate the start of the summer season – and to help give you some ideas for a summer vacation of your own if you haven’t booked or exchanged yet – we’ll be sharing summertime photos from RCI subscribing members on the RCI Blog all week!

Whether you like your summer vacations filled with relaxation, adventure, or a little bit of both, these pictures can help to give you the inspiration you need to determine where you want to go and what you want to do!

Have you already planned your summer vacation? If so, comment below and let us know where you are going!

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The rain in Maine…


Emily SLast fall, after attending the wedding of a friend in New Hampshire, my boyfriend Blake and I decided to extend the weekend and head over to Maine for a couple of nights. Having both never been, we made a short list of must-do’s before we went, which included shopping, sightseeing, and, yep, lobster.

From New Hampshire, we decided to drive over to Route 1 in Maine to start our journey – a bit of a longer way to get there, but it allowed us to stop at a few antique stores along the way. An added bonus, we were able to stop by Kennebunkport, a great little town on a river, to walk around and grab lunch. After checking out a few of the stores, we wandered into a small shop called The Old Salt’s Pantry for our first – and what would be our best – lobster roll of the trip…and, believe me, we tried countless other delicious lobster rolls! We even had somewhat of a strategy when it came to trying them: we’d only order one lobster roll at each place and each have half so that we could try them at a few different places in one day (without feeling too guilty!).

Next up was Portland. And while it rained most of our time there, we still made the best of it. We walked around Commercial Street where there’s a bunch of restaurants, coffee shops, and stores of all kind – clothing, jewelry, accessories, kitchenware. After that, we drove over to the Portland Head Light lighthouse and snapped some photos of the beautiful, yet stormy, views.

Finally, what trip to Maine wouldn’t be complete without a visit to L.L. Bean’s flagship store? Blake is an outdoor nut, so seeing this was at the top of his list. It’s located in Freeport, a short drive from Portland. And – it’s open 24 hours a day, so of course we went at midnight…and we spent about 2-3 hours there! We even took a picture with the gigantic L.L. Bean boot, which is located right outside the front of the store.

Whether your Maine vacation is filled with sunshine or rain (like ours), you can still have a lot of fun. This week on the RCI Blog, we’ll be sharing photos from RCI subscribing members who have traveled to Maine. Be sure to come back to take a look at their fantastic pictures! And check out a couple photos from my trip below…

Lobster roll at The Old Salt’s Pantry

Lobster roll at The Old Salt’s Pantry

Portland Head Light Lighthouse

Portland Head Light Lighthouse

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Spring has sprung!


Emily S

Okay, so maybe spring hasn’t really sprung just yet. Even though the first official day of spring was last Wednesday, many of us in the United States were still seeing snow last week and will be seeing it again today. While it’s evident that Mother Nature disagrees with the calendar, it still shouldn’t stop us from enjoying our springtime vacations! After all, vacations aren’t just about the weather – but also about relaxing, exploring, eating, shopping, trying new things, and bonding with family and friends.

We have received some great photos over the years from our RCI subscribing members –  many of which you have seen right here on the RCI Blog. So, as a way to usher in spring (and maybe hurry it along a little!), we are devoting this week on the RCI Blog to sharing pictures all related to spring! Whether you are the type of traveler who likes to squeeze out that last bit of winter, or the type who can’t wait to see the flowers blooming and the mercury rising a little, I hope you’ll get some vacation inspiration from the photos we will be sharing. So come back to the RCI Blog this week to take a look.

What are your springtime vacation plans? Comment below and let us know!

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How active are you on vacation?


Emily S. - EndlessVacation.com and Destination InfoHappy New Year and welcome to 2013! It’s that time of year to start putting your New Year’s resolutions into action. Some of the top resolutions, year after year, center on staying healthy, being more active, eating better, and losing weight. So why should vacationing stop you from achieving these goals and staying on track?

This week on the RCI Blog, we’ll share stories and photos from RCI subscribing members who told us about their hiking and biking adventures, the great fitness amenities available at the resorts they stayed at, and aerobic activities they participated in. How do you stay active while on vacation? Let us know your tips and we’ll share them with other members!

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Wonderful Winter Photos!


Emily S. - EndlessVacation.com and Destination InfoAs you can tell from reading the RCI Blog, we have received many, many fantastic photos from RCI subscribing members. These photos really help to paint the picture of what vacationing is all about – spending time with family and friends or even some time by yourself, visiting new places, recharging your batteries, and more.

With the first official day of winter approaching here on the eastern US coast (this Friday, December 21!), I wanted to take this week to share some great photos we’ve received that are all about the winter and snow. From California to Massachusetts, RCI members enjoyed traveling during the winter season and experienced some pretty incredible scenes. Come back to the RCI blog this week to take a look!

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Aloha, Hawaii!


Emily S. - EndlessVacation.com and Destination Info

I’ve always dreamed of going to Hawaii, and last month my wish finally came true when I vacationed in Hawaii on the island of Oahu. I stayed in Waikiki at Lifetime in Hawaii in the Royal Kuhio building, and I couldn’t have been happier. I was in walking distance to everything Waikiki had to offer – the beach, restaurants, shops, and the International Market Place.

 

As a first-timer to Hawaii I wanted to make sure I did everything the tour books said to try. Naturally, one of our first stops was to tour the USS Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor. We didn’t reserve tickets online ahead of time, so we got there early, about 8:30 or 9am, to secure walk-in tickets. We had about an hour to wait before our tour time began, so we were able to walk through the various museums on-site.

 

Another day, we climbed the trail up Diamond Head to see amazing views of Hawaii. The hike can be tough at times (be sure to wear sneakers!), but what you see at the top is well worth the trip!

 

Another can’t-miss activity while in Hawaii is attending a luau. We chose the Waikiki Starlight Luau at Hilton Hawaiian Village since it was in walking distance from our unit. We enjoyed a wonderful buffet followed by a performance of several different dances, each with an interesting history.

 

Between Pearl Harbor, Diamond Head and the luau, I still was able to relax on the beach, which is definitely one of my favorite pastimes! I think that is what made Oahu so appealing to me – it’s a great island with many places and attractions to explore, yet there’s always a beach nearby to catch some sun.

 

This week on the RCI blog, we’ll be sharing stories and photos from RCI subscribing members who have also visited the island of Oahu in Hawaii. Be sure to come back! Have you been to Oahu and have a story of photo of your own to share? If so, submit it here and maybe we’ll feature yours at the end of the week.

 

View from Diamond Head

View from Diamond Head

 

View of a beach walk at Waikiki

View of a beach walk at Waikiki

 

Sunset on a beach in Waikiki

Sunset on a beach in Waikiki

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Great tips for a beach vacation


Emily S. - EndlessVacation.com and Destination Info

As I confessed in my last blog about West Palm Beach, it’s true, I’m a beach bum. For me, there’s nothing more relaxing than sitting on the beach – whether it’s with a good book, good music, or good company – and feeling the sun shining down while listening to the gentle lap of the waves.

 

And since it is now April, and summer is just around the corner (thank goodness!), I thought I would share a few helpful beach vacation tips with you:

 

1. The early bird catches the worm – depending on the resort you are staying at, beach chairs can fill up quickly. Get there early to secure your desired spot in the sun or the shade and enjoy some downtime before the “rush hour” starts.

 

2. Go frozen – stock up on bottles of water from a store close to your resort, throw them in your kitchen freezer, and take one before you hit the sand. It will melt throughout the day, but should stay cool enough to quench your thirst.

 

3. Paper or plastic? – Bring along a zipped sandwich bag to keep your mobile phone and/or digital music player safe from water and sand while they are in your beach bag.

 

Need more tips? Check out these two articles from the North American version of Endless Vacation® magazine: Heading to the Beach in Style and Travel Gear: Beach-Proof Yourself. With all these ideas, you should be set for your next beach vacation!

 

Be sure to come back to the RCI Blog this month, where we’ll be sharing stories and photos from RCI subscribing members who have been on amazing beach vacations. And if you have any helpful hints to share, please comment below!

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A Week in West Palm Beach, FL


Emily S. - EndlessVacation.com and Destination InfoIn March of 2002, two friends and I flew down to Florida for a relaxing week in West Palm Beach. Having been to other places in Florida (Orlando, Marco Island), I was excited to see what this city had to offer. The weather wasn’t as warm as we had hoped it would be, so we couldn’t lay on the beach all day. While this may seem like a bad thing (I have been known to be quite the beach bum!), it really gave us a chance to explore the city and surrounding areas!

One of our first stops was at The Breakers, a historic resort on the shores of Palm Beach. We met up with a family friend who was a guest at the hotel and enjoyed a delicious lunch at one of the restaurants. We then walked the grounds to see the magnificent pools and landscaping.

Another day, we walked Worth Avenue – a street with high-end shops like Chanel, Cartier, Salvatore Ferragamo and Louis Vuitton. Here you’ll find everything from clothes and jewelry to shoes and antiques. Even though I didn’t buy anything, it was fun to window shop and browse (and get some good exercise in too!).

On our last night in Florida, we headed over to Sunrise – a city about an hour away – to see Billy Joel and Elton John in their Face 2 Face Tour. It was a great way to end a low-key week with friends.

This week on the RCI Blog, we’ll share stories and photos from RCI subscribing members who have been to Palm Beach. Be sure to check back!

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Spring Ahead!


Emily S. - EndlessVacation.com and Destination InfoI hope you enjoyed the stories and photos submitted by members about Williamsburg, VA that we shared with you last week! If you are looking for more info about the area, check out the article “Past Meets Present in Colonial Williamsburg” from our Spring issue of Endless Vacation® magazine or on EndlessVacation.com – we’ve shared tips on what to do and where to eat.

This latest issue of Endless Vacation magazine is filled with even more great ideas for Spring, including trips to the Dominican Republic, Ibiza and Mazatlan. Can’t travel this Spring? There’s also a recipe that includes morels (Minnesota’s state mushroom, which pops up in the springtime).

We’ve heard from a lot of members who have traveled during the Spring season – both to warm destinations and cold ones. This week on the RCI blog, we’ll be sharing stories and photos from those members. Come back to visit to see what they had to stay!

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Winter Getaways in Lake Tahoe


Emily S. - EndlessVacation.com and Destination InfoWhen you think of Tahoe in the winter, I’m sure one word comes to mind: SNOW! Even though Tahoe is a great destination all year round (I was there in August last year and it was unlike anything I have ever seen before), many RCI® subscribing members have traveled to Tahoe in the winter months to enjoy skiing, the falling snow, soaking in the hot tub, and much more.

Check back here this week to read stories from our members about their Tahoe trips. And if you want to read up on what this area has to offer, be sure to check out this article that appeared in the winter issue of Endless Vacation® magazine.

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Fall is in the Air…


Emily S. - EndlessVacation.com and Destination InfoI can’t help but notice the scenery when the leaves are changing colors. There’s just something about the fall that puts me in a great mood – maybe it’s that I can start wearing my favorite pair of Uggs, or that the Holidays are right around the corner…or maybe it’s that I can finally start using the seat warmers in my car.

This week, we’ll be sharing a bunch of stories from RCI subscribing members who visited resorts during the fall. Between trips to Virginia, Vermont, Montana and more, it seems like these members have great stories that involve seeing family, relaxing, and visiting some great festivals. Be sure to check back. And remember, it’s not too late to plan a fall trip of your own…there are plenty of leaves still changing color in the southern part of the United States.

If you have a story about visiting an RCI affiliated resort in the fall, please be sure to share it here.

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How EndlessVacation.com Can Fit Into Your Vacation Planning


Emily S. - EndlessVacation.com and Destination InfoA couple months ago, I traveled to Mexico for the first time and visited a timeshare rental in Cabo San Lucas. The views of the sea were amazing, the days were filled with sun, and I had a chance to travel around the town to check out the beaches, restaurants (try The Office!), and shops. Now that I’m back and the summer is over, I’m already thinking of where in Mexico I’ll want to visit next.

Since a lot of my job at RCI consists of working on www.EndlessVacation.com, it only made sense for me to turn to the website for information on some of the most popular Mexico timeshare rental destinations. I found so many useful tips, I thought I’d share some of them with you:

While researching things to do if I stayed in Cancun or Riviera Maya, I found this article, Away for the day in Mexico, extremely helpful. It shows you three day trips you can take: Chichén Itzá, Valladolid or Isla Mujeres. Even better, these trips are so different from each other, you are sure to find one that you’d like! Just set up your timeshare rental as your home base, and then visit any of the other three areas during your stay.

I also came across an article on the relaxing island of Cozumel. Not only does it tell you about the cultural and shopping hotspots, but it gives you a great inside scoop on where to go to snag a hammock, where the beaches are the least crowded, and how to best experience viewing the sea life.

Finally, this article outlines the popular beach destinations in Mexico (like Acapulco, Puerto Vallarta, and Playa del Carmen), so you can pick the one that’s right for you. Whether you are heading to Mexico for sailing, beaches, shopping, the nightlife, or the food (or any combination of those), this article will set you in the right direction.

If you have visited a Mexican timeshare rental, what suggestions can you provide help to others who are also planning a vacation to a Mexico destination? Also, how do you use EndlessVacation.com? What do you like best about the website?

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EndlessVacation.com – a Great Online Resource for Traveling!


Emily S. -  Great Online Resource for TravelingLooking for a new place to vacation and want to read up on the destination before you book a vacation? Or maybe you want to research activities you can do while you are on vacation? As someone who spends a considerable amount of time working on www.endlessvacation.com, I want to make sure you know about all the great things you can read about on the website for the North American version of Endless Vacation® magazine!

When you are searching for a specific location, you can check out the “Destinations” tab which has an alphabetical index of both U.S. and international destinations that click through to articles previously featured in Endless Vacation magazine. Or, you can head over to the “On Location” tab which houses web-exclusive content that isn’t found in our print magazine. Like the “Destinations” tab, this is also organized with an alphabetical index of destinations.

One of my favorite parts of the website is the information found in the “Travel Tactics” tab. Here, you can get advice for all things travel-related, such as how to best pack for a cruise or what apps you can download onto your smart phone to help make your travels easier.

Which is your favorite part of EndlessVacation.com? Which articles have you found most helpful? What do you think we should add next on the web site? Please let us know by commenting below!

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