- Mitch K. from Camarillo, CA
With ornate Art Nouveau buildings fronting tree-lined boulevards, elegant coffee houses and spas, Budapest makes for a very civilized and gentle fall break. Its interesting shops tucked away down its ancient cobbled streets also provide a great opportunity to pick up some early Christmas shopping. Váci Utca, the city’s main shopping street, houses Hotel Gellért where visitors will be able to relax in some of the most opulent thermal baths to be found anywhere in the world.
This historic city is just a two-hour train journey from RCI’s affiliated resorts in the country’s Lake Balaton region. Away from the buzz of Budapest, the lake is a relaxing retreat with sandy beaches and glistening waters surrounded by scenic wooded landscapes, while the many historic towns close by, with their castles and ancient ruins, remind the visitor of times gone by.
European members can find a whole host of activities and attractions that can be enjoyed in a day trip to Budapest in the September issue of Holiday, the RCI magazine.
Beautiful sandy beaches, warm ocean waves, incredible recreational activities, fresh seafood, great nightlife…Mazatlán has it all. And not only is it one of the least expensive destinations in México, but it has a long list of top rated resorts. Add to that great service and the warm hospitality of the locals, and you’ve got a vacation you'll never forget. Lucky for you, I’ve visited Mazatlán several times before so I have some great tips on what to do and where to eat (and what to order)!
Mazatlán's Malecón is considered one of the longest in the world (a “malecón” is a stone-built embankment). Stretching about 21 km (13 miles), here’s where you can find everything from cliffs, monuments and gazebos to old buildings, restaurants, bars and nightclubs.
For daytime fun, Mazatlán has plenty of beach areas: Zona Dorada in The Hotel Zone, Olas Altas, Sábalos, North Beach, Isla de la Piedra, Isla de los Pájaros, Cerritos and Nuevo Mazatlán. You can also visit the lighthouse (El Faro). And while you’re there, famous "divers" perform daring jumps off high rocks into the Pacific Ocean for tips from on-looking tourists.
For lunch or dinner, you can head over to Los Arcos, a restaurant with a wide seafood menu and affordable prices. Ask for the “Governor taco” & shrimp “agua chile”. Also, try The Panama, a cafeteria with excellent pastries and a huge menu for breakfast, lunch and dinner. It’s always crowded by locals so it has a great atmosphere.
If you are a night owl, head north along the Golden Zone (a section at the far north end of Mazatlán) and you'll find Señor Frog's between The Inn at Mazatlán and El Cid Moro Beach. There, you can enjoy a variety of cocktails served in yard long cups…personally I’d recommend the "Banana Mama".
But, if you want to take it easy, I absolutely recommend Old Mazatlán downtown area! It has been rediscovered and restored by newcomers and locals alike and is not far away from the Hotel Zone. Try Pedro & Lola restaurant and have a nice dinner while you listen to a jazz band or a guitar solo.
Mazatlan really does have it all. If you’ve been there and have more tips for other RCI subscribing members, please comment below. And if you haven’t been there, visit the RCI blog again this week when we share stories and photos from other members about their trips to this amazing destination.
If you really want to know about "the Eyes of Texas," look no further than its "Core Four" big cities. Yes, deep in the heart of Texas there are the four cosmopolitan cities of Houston, Dallas, Austin, and San Antonio.
First off, you have the "Space City" of Houston, which is probably the most diversified of the core four. You can blast off your vacation with a cosmic trip to NASA’s Johnson Space Center. And don’t forget to visit the flowing fountains of Williams Tower (formerly known as Transco Tower).
North of Houston is "Big D," that's Dallas, TX for those who don't follow the sports world. You can see Southfork Ranch, where the TV show Dallas was filmed or the Sixth Floor Museum…which is close to where President JFK was assassinated in 1963. And for those who really want get a true "Texas rodeo experience," drive west of Dallas to its sister city of Ft. Worth and ride a bull, purchase an authentic cowboy hat or get fitted with cowboy boots. And only about an hour east of Dallas, you can go to the world’s largest flea market in Canton, TX (check out our article from Endless Vacation® magazine for more details).
Next, you can head out to the "Hill Country" where you will run into another Texas hotspot – Austin (did you know it’s the “Live Music Capital of the World”, thanks to its original rockers like Stevie Ray Vaughan and The Fabulous Thunderbirds?). When you are there, be sure to head down 6th St. to catch a few live bands.
And about 80 miles south of Austin is one of the most ethnic Texas cities…San Antonio. There you will really feel the Tex-Mex culture alive and well. You can ride a water taxi down to the San Antonio River Walk. River Walk is the central city area where you will find everything from resort style hotels, cultural shopping, as well as the some of the best outdoor restaurants. From River Walk, you can visit the Alamo, where you will learn about the famed Battle during the Mexican-American War of Texas. You can even go to Sea World of San Antonio for a change of pace or visit some neat caverns outside of San Antonio.
Each of these cities (which, by the way, are all great day trips from many RCI affiliated resorts) has a unique culture and a different story to tell. This week on the RCI blog, we’ll be showing you stories and photos from RCI subscribing members who visited Texas. Don’t forget to come back!
Who hasn’t dreamed of visiting Italy, even if it's just for a short while? Picture it: lounging in the espresso shops, reading by one of the fountains, dining al fresco with friends, taking a break for gelato…
Some RCI subscribing members have already enjoyed a vacation rental or timeshare exchange vacation in Italy and everything the country has to offer. Since my position at RCI allows me to hear from members about their European vacations, I thought I’d share a few stories* with you:
Larry, Olympia, WA: Last May, when we arrived at Il Poggio, our first week’s stay, it was 9:50 p.m. The resort office closed at 10 p.m., and we were worried we wouldn’t make it. We had a stressful drive from the Rome airport, and were hungry and tired. Il Poggio is located in a small town in Tuscany, and by that time of night, the few stores and eateries were closed. The owner graciously sent a tray of salami, cheese, and bread to our room, and it was even enough for breakfast the next morning. We thoroughly enjoyed our week there, followed by a lovely week on Sardinia, and another week in northern Tuscany.
George, El Cajon, CA: Our trip to Italy was fantastic. We went from Assisi to Sicily. All four weeks were with our RCI weeks. Assisi and Tropea were our favorite. This was a chance for my wife to explore her roots in Sicily and we had a great time with long lost family. Thanks RCI.
Richard, Monroe Township, NJ: Just got back from a wonderful week in Montegrotto Terme. We were a 10-minute train ride from Padua and a 60-minute train ride from Venice. The property was wonderful and located near the train station. The hotel staff was great and the room was immaculate. The town’s shops were very good for browsing and shopping. The food on the half-board was very good and we would return to this property again.
Now it's your turn! Do you have any experiences from your trip to Italy you’d like to share? If so, comment below.
* Although we've corrected some spelling and technical errors, these vacation stories from RCI members are otherwise unchanged. They are not meant to inform you about resorts, destinations or about RCI® products and services. Some stories mention unusual exceptions made or circumstances that may not be typical for most vacationers. RCI always recommends that you do your own research when making travel plans.
Trading Power is very important for you when you are booking a timeshare exchange with RCI! This is how we determine what timeshare exchange offers to provide you.
The RCI Weeks program is based on a like-for-like principle. This means we will always work to provide you with a timeshare exchange similar to the deposit you provided us. That is, if you provide us with two weeks in a very popular destination, we will try to give you two weeks in another equally popular destination.
Most of the inventory in our timeshare exchange program is provided by members who deposit their ownership week with us. RCI members have up to 24 months before their start date to make a deposit. Within that two year window, other members may ask for that same start date for their vacation. So our job is to try and match everyone we can with all the deposits we get from other members.
Although all exchanges are made based on Trading Power, it takes higher Trading Power to travel to highly demanded areas with limited supply, or during highly demanded weeks of the year (like Christmas Week, 4th of July, etc.).
The Trading Power of your deposited week is based on a lot of factors, including how many members have historically asked for your type of deposit, how many deposits like yours we get, the quality of your resort, and the size and season of your deposit, just to mention a few. We compare all of these to the vacation that you request, and if the Trading Power is similar (or if your deposit has more Trading Power), then you will have a great chance of getting what you are asking for.
You probably have heard our Guides talk about depositing early. That's because you can usually help to maximize your Trading Power by depositing early. If you don’t deposit your week until 3 to 4 weeks before your vacation, we cannot give your week to someone else until then. And I'm sure most of you would want to know if you had an exchange long before that!
Also, other members are depositing into our timeshare exchange program all the time. So, if the vacation you want is not available right now, enter an ongoing search for your choice of destination or time of year! These searches get prioritized for matching new member deposits. So an ongoing search helps improve your chances of getting the timeshare exchange you want.
Finally, to maximize the number of people we can send on vacation, we are always acquiring inventory from our resorts and other sources like hotels, especially in big cities where there are not many timeshares.
Our goal is to use every unit we get and to get you on the best resort vacation we can. So deposit early, enter ongoing searches if a unit is not immediately available, and be as flexible as possible! Have a great vacation!