Stowe, Vermont 1983

We have been RCI subscribing members for 30 years, and have enjoyed many fabulous vacations that we would have not taken on our own. One of the best trips was to Stowe, Vermont. It was summer, and we rode the tram to the top of the mountain just to look around. We were not at all prepared to mountain climb. We followed a trail just for fun, and somehow ended up on the top of the mountain with no idea how to get back down. We happened upon a very kind family of hikers who offered us some lunch, we were so hungry and lost! They guided us off the mountain. We became good friends with this family and continue to correspond with them today. They have actually traveled to our home for a visit!

- Jean W. from Canton, OH
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A few years ago, we stayed at a resort in the Poconos during the week that included Father's Day. My husband had always wanted to go to a NASCAR race and we happened to be near a NASCAR track. So, for Father's Day, I had pre-ordered tickets for us to go to a race nearby. That was probably the best Father's Day present he ever received. During the same week, I realized that we were only about 2 hours from New York City, a place my daughter had always wanted to visit. So, on our way home, we added 2 days to our trip and made another dream come true, for her. All in all, we got more out of that vacation than we originally anticipated.

- Ursula B. from Crown Point, IN
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Fishing in Aruba

Bob E. - RCI Associate Travel StoriesMy family and I have been haven’t missed our annual trip to Aruba for the past 12 years.  Aruba has everything you can ask for in a vacation destination: perfect weather, endless beaches, tubing, windsurfing, horseback riding and so much more. But have you ever thought about going fishing in Aruba?! We have made an annual tradition to go deep sea fishing together, along with friends we have made in Aruba over the years.

Early in the week we pick a day, no worries about weather because, well, it’s Aruba. We take a drive into Oranjestad to find an available boat and meet the captain. On the morning of our trip, we depart our resort at 8:00 am, and when we get there, the boat is ready and waiting.  The mates have the lines set up and ready to go. After only a half hour, the mates rig up the bait and set out the lines. Then it’s a waiting game…

The captain will troll until a fish hits. Be sure to set the line-up of who will land the fish before the first one is hooked. We typically use the timeless classic method of rock/ paper/scissors.

Over the years, we’ve landed everything from mahi mahi, barracuda and yellowfin tuna to sailfish, wahoo and blue marlin. After a long 4 hours at sea, we head back inland.  The mates clean and filet the fish while we sit back and relax.

Once on dry land, we divvy up the day’s catch and only take what we can eat. The rest we leave with the captain and mates to take home to their families or sell to the local restaurants.  We take our share back to our resort, have the chef cook it up and then enjoy our day’s bounty on the beach…

This week on the RCI Blog, we will be sharing stories from RCI subscribing members who have gone on fishing and camping trips. Be sure to check back and read what they had to say!

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Thinking of visiting the Dominican Republic? Try Punta Cana!

German R. - RCI and Caribbean NewsIf you are looking for a great Caribbean destination that has a lot to offer, Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic is the place to be! Tourists from all over the world – including US, Canada, France, Chile, Spain, Germany, Italy and China – visit this amazing hot spot every year. And I can assure you that once your plane lands in Punta Cana, you will immediately start to feel the vibe of this Caribbean paradise. There is even a local band playing live music in the airport!

When you start planning your vacation to Punta Cana, think about the type of resort you would like to stay in. Personally, I like resorts that offer an all inclusive (AI) plan. It’s convenient and I don’t have to worry about continually spending money while I’m there since everything is paid for upfront. Usually the AI plans include: meals, snacks, drinks, activities such as exercise classes, access to tennis courts and/or golf courses and guided hikes, and entertainment like shows, dancing and live music.

If you do go outside an AI plan, Punta Cana offers a wide selection of nice restaurants and dining options that range from local food to high international cuisine.

And I can’t forget to tell you about the beaches! Punta Cana is home to beautiful white sand beaches with blue turquoise water. It’s breathtaking. Beaches I suggest to visit are: Uvero Alto, Arena Gorda, Macao, Cabeza de Toro and El Cortecito. You won’t be disappointed!

One last thing…if you are a golfer, you’ll be happy to know that Punta Cana is considered one of the hottest golf destinations in the Caribbean. There are more than 12 golf courses. I’d recommend Punta Espada, Las Iguanas, La Cana and Punta Blanca.

If you visit Punta Cana, I hope you enjoy it as much as I do. Make sure to come back to the RCI Blog this week to read about how much RCI subscribing members have enjoyed Punta Cana as well.

Depending on resort and season, all-inclusive fees may cover meals, drinks, tours, transportation, resort activities, resort amenities, services and facilities. Resorts with mandatory all-inclusive fees require the fees to be prepaid at or before check-in. A Member may not be able to purchase food or drink at a resort if he or she chooses not to pay an optional all-inclusive fee. Fees, terms and conditions of packages covered by an all-inclusive fee are determined solely by the resort and are subject to change at any time.

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Vacation from a Vacation

Last year we went on a great Royal Caribbean cruise to the Bahamas. Needless to say this was our first cruise and let's just say we enjoyed it to the fullest. Upon return to the mainland, we couldn't believe how exhausted we were. We had so much fun and met so many great people that all of time was spent just living life to the fullest. Luckily, our schedule was pretty casual for another week. We had a hard time trying to figure out what to do being tired and so far from home. We then remembered to check for any Last CallSM vacations and low and behold there was a Ron Jon vacation villa right nearby with availability. We booked and checked in for an amazing relaxing week lying poolside and floating in the lazy river. There is nothing like taking a vacation from your vacation and we left the resort feeling totally recharged. Thanks!

- Jason R. from Davenport, IA
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Puerto Peñasco…one of Mexico’s Oldest Tourist Destinations!

Roberto L. - Latin America Vacation StoriesHome to the largest sand dunes in the western hemisphere and once a host for NASA lunar excursion trainings, the Piñacate Peaks have welcomed travelers to Puerto Peñasco, Sonora for the past 90 years, making this world class tourist destination one of Mexico’s oldest. Just a 4 hour drive south from Phoenix Arizona, Puerto Peñasco has something to offer for just about every traveler.

Since the 1920s, North Americans have been vacationing here and since then many have made it their home. Today, Sandy Beach boasts of modern vacation condominiums, luxurious resorts, and championship golf.  I have been traveling here frequently since 2006, and being the small community it is, have found it easy to call this my second home, of which I will share with you travelers a quick tour of the “house”:

“The Kitchen” – Whether its pizza at Capone’s, breakfast at the legendary Coffee’s Haus or fine international dinning at the 4 diamond awarded La Maria Bistro at Las Palomas resort, you are guaranteed authentic atmospheres, Mexican hospitality and happy taste buds.

“The Living Room” – Take a load off and relax on a 40 ft. fishing boat while cruising off the archipelago of San Jorge Island (Bird Island) and wait for the sawfish, grouper and horse mackerel to bite. Or, live the experience at Mayan Palace’s Peninsula de Cortez Golf Club, home to the Uniting Nations Cup and its nine ocean front holes that are up to par with its northern counterpart, Pebble Beach.

“The Back Yard” – A day trip to the Piñacate volcanic crater will provide incredible images for your photo album, as will the vast desert that surrounds with its 553 species of plants, 237 species of birds (the red-tailed falcon being my favorite to spot!). This nationally protected biosphere is a must for all travelers. ATV rides along miles of sand dunes are also highly recommended, and with a coastline of over 100 kilometers, long walks along the Sea of Cortez are very enjoyable.

Whether you enjoyed a delicious meal, took a relaxing boat ride or collected sea shells on the beaches of El Mirador, La Cholla or Las Conchas, you will have many memories to share with family and friends. But one will stand out…and that is the plan to return and continue living the experience.

Mi casa es tu casa.

This week on the RCI Blog, we will show you stories and photos from other RCI subscribing members who have visited Puerto Peñasco. Be sure to check back!

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Alaskan Cruise 2008

Our seven night, northbound Alaskan Cruise on the Celebrity Millennium Jun. 27 - July 4, 2008 was a highlight of our lives. We both are in our seventies and our daughter and son-in-law wanted to accompany us on this once in a lifetime trip while we both are still in good health. The weather was wonderful, our ship was beautiful, the food delicious, and the sights were all spectacular. Our ports of call at Ketchikan, Juneau, and Skagway were so enjoyable. The glacier was unbelievable...our Captain took us up so close it was breathtaking! We caught a train in Seward to Anchorage where we flew back to our homes. We would highly recommend this cruise. RCI Vacation Guides were wonderful in helping us plan this trip, our connecting sightseeing tours, and express check-ins. We appreciated the savings on our fares. Thank you, RCI!

- Jim B. from Port Charlotte, FL
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O Canada!

Carol I. - RCI Subscribing Member NewsEach year, my family and I return to Western Canada to visit family and friends and give our son an opportunity to connect to his Canadian roots.  We typically find ourselves in one of the national parks in Alberta.

It is hard to think of anything more awe-inspiring than the Canadian Rockies.  It is great to go for a nice long hike or bike ride, check out the abundant wildlife and then find your way to a place like the Banff Hot Springs for a long soak or back home for a nice dinner.  While we love the towns of Banff and Jasper and the infamous Lake Louise, I must say my personal favorite is the town of Canmore. With Canmore being only 15 minutes from Banff, it is still full of beautiful scenery, but it has a more laid-back vibe. There seems to be no end to the recreational activities you can participate in (specifically because of the Nordic Center), and the locals there, even if they aren’t family, sure treat you like it!

Canada is a big, beautiful country with an even bigger heart.  I encourage everyone to grab their toque (Canadian for “hat”) and visit the land of the Maple Leaf.  You’ll have a great vacation, eh?

This week on the RCI blog we’ll be sharing stories and photos from RCI subscribing members who have visited Canada. Be sure to check back!

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Food and traveling – tips from a “Food Connoisseur”

Dan C. - Food and Travel Tips and InfoMy name is Dan and I work at RCI. I also happen to be a lover of all things travel and food related. I invite you to join me in my travels, as I share with you some of my favorite eats!

In my opinion, the best part of traveling is the opportunity to sample the local cuisine. A culinary experience truly enhances your perception of a vacation and I’m here to highlight some must-try items in popular destinations.

I have three golden rules when it comes to dining out:
1. Avoid all chain restaurants.
2. Eat where the locals eat.
3. Try something new!

Your favorite pizzeria, sandwich shop, and Chinese takeout will still be there when you get home. You’re on vacation right? Let’s try something new together!

I’ll be blogging a few times a month and I encourage you to comment below or upload photos of you and your vacation cuisine!

Come and Eat With Dan! You can follow my personal Twitter and Facebook accounts (please note that the views expressed on those sites are my personal views and not those of RCI).

Twitter: (@EatWithDan)

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Australia’s Gold Coast from the Eyes of an RCI Employee

Cassie J. - Destination and Travel Information from AustraliaI might be slightly biased, but I think Australia’s Gold Coast is the best place on Earth.

Don’t get me wrong, we live in an amazing world filled with exotic destinations, enriching experiences, and unique cultures. But every time I return from an international jaunt or interstate getaway, I’m happy to be back home in Australia (which is where I work as a Communications Officer for RCI).

Bordered by a 70-kilometer ribbon of soft sandy coastline snaking its way along the east and a lush green veil of world heritage-listed rainforest to the west, topped off with 300+ days of sunshine, it’s not hard to see why 10.5 million people make their way to the Gold Coast every year for a wonderful vacation.

And I’m lucky enough to live here.

My weekends usually consist of scanning the beach for the perfect spot to drop my towel before splashing in the turquoise water. As the sand squelches between my toes, I always feel warm and fuzzy inside as I look around at all the smiling faces of tourists on vacation and locals alike enjoying another perfect day in paradise.

Then it’s usually off to a restaurant or café where my friends and I spend the afternoon with a gourmet treat and a glass of chilled wine. Even though we do have our favourite places to dine, we like to mix it up, be it the view, the menu, the atmosphere, or the price. So it’s lucky the Gold Coast has more restaurants per square kilometer than anywhere else in Australia!

It’s not all about the beach and dining out, there’s always a walking trail, broadwater cruise, winery tour, mountain drive, theme park, or shopping expedition to keep everyone entertained. If you ever thought about a vacation in the Gold Coast, we have a lot of vacation rentals and timeshares available through RCI.

Have you ever been to Australia’s Gold Coast? If so, let us know what your favourite part was by commenting below.

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Cape Cod Memories 2009!

Gary S. - Travel Tips and InformationWe drove from our PA home to check out Cape Cod for the first time and were not disappointed. The fresh seafood and beautiful coastal scenery experienced on that late August drive, was just a small indication of the wonderful time in store for us! We stayed at the Harbor Hill resort at the very tip of the cape in Provincetown. Entering our timeshare unit was like walking into a palace in terms of luxury and size! The resort was surrounded by water on three sides with magnificent views of the town and the beaches from nearly every vantage point.

There were many activities to keep us busy: whale watching, swimming at the one of the many beaches and exploring the unique culture of Provincetown. The weather was picture perfect every day of our stay.

A most memorable day was our trip to Martha’s Vineyard. We parked and rode the ferry; had a great lobster for lunch at Coop de Ville, and after an informative bus tour of the island, we browsed through the shops on Circuit Avenue while scoping out a dinner spot.  Outside one of the restaurants we had earlier considered, a motorcade pulled up, and from beyond the gathering crowd, we made out President Obama and family entering the restaurant. We barely missed having dinner with the President!

After checking out, we drove to Boston, explored Faneuil Hall, the New England Aquarium and then dinner at La Famiglia Giorgio’s, with ample portions of expertly prepared Italian food “where everyone is treated like family”. A perfect way to end a perfect vacation experience!

Check back on the RCI blog this week when we share photos and stories about Cape Cod from RCI subscribing members.

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Amazing Orlando Vacation

WOW! That's what our entire family said when we walked into our first RCI exchange unit at Kissimmee Florida. We had seen photos of Orange Lake Country Club online, but it didn't compare to the beautiful grounds, fountains, unit, and facilities where we were granted access. We had anticipated spending all of our time at Walt Disney World, but with all of the extra ammenities and activities available, we stayed at the resort most evenings and afternoons. Our individual unit also was nicer than anything we could have imagined. It was really a home away from home.

- Linda S. from Melrose, MN
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Canyon Lake Texas

We just returned from a wonderful stay at Silverleaf Hill Country Resort in Canyon Lake, Texas.

We just returned from a wonderful stay at Silverleaf Hill Country Resort in Canyon Lake, Texas. There were wild deer (or not so wild) near our building every day. I put in a request early with the resort to be placed on the same side of the FM hwy 306 as the amenities since we had children with us. Not only did they follow thru with the request but they put us in the Presidentials nearest to the lake with beautiful views. We also had our own pool there so we did not have to go up to the main area every time for the kids to swim. Staff was very friendly & helpful. Condos very clean & modern. Beds were 'very' comfortable & I have a Select Comfort bed at home. We rented a ski boat & Jet ski one day at the Marina...very nice on the water. Had 2 road trips to San Antonio & it wasn't too bad a drive. Overall this was a GREAT vacation spot!!

- Jennie G. from Rayne, LA
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Deschutes River Ranch, OR

Several years ago, we had a fantastic vacation at the Deschutes River Ranch in Central Oregon. We had a beautiful two bedroom unit on the Deschutes River. We walked along the shore, took a hand cable car to the other side, went horseback riding, canoeing, hiking, biking, etc. It was a real outdoor paradise. We loved it so much that we decided this is where we want to live when we retire. A year later, we bought property in the area and twelve years later, built our home. Thanks, RCI, for the experience and expanding our horizons to this beautiful part of the country!

- Mark B. from Sisters, OR
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Honeymoon at Greece

For my honeymoon, my husband and I traveled to Rhodes, Greece for the first time. We stayed at the beautiful Sun Beach Holiday Club at Ialyssos Beach. The resort was amazing and the customer service outstanding. We never felt so welcome away from home. Although I thought a week would be too much, it actually wasn't enough time! The resort provided for many wonderful activities, both day activities and evening parties/events. We had the choice of either going to the private pool or, about two steps away, laying by the beach. The resort was surrounded with all types of activities. We had several romantic walks around the resort. Besides the array of restaurants we went to, there were several markets located conveniently close-by. Every once in awhile, it was nice to prepare our own breakfast or dinner. We brought several items at the shops that we shared with your family back home. Most fun of all, we went on at least 4 different tours that included everything from touring the entire Island, to spending an evening partying at Old Town. The vacation is definitely one I will never forget -- can't wait for the next one!

- Rita R. from Mission Viejo, CA
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RCI PlatinumSM membership – enjoy it on vacation, or at home!

Paul M. - RCI Points Product NewsGreat news in the RCI Weeks world…RCI Weeks subscribing members can now upgrade to RCI Platinum membership!  This upgraded tier of membership was made available to RCI Points® members last year, and they’ve enjoyed the many benefits of being an RCI Platinum member both at home and while on vacation.

Need an excuse to check out some new or different local eateries?  Look no further!  RCI Platinum dining discounts range from buy-one-get-one deals on everyday purchases like coffee and donuts, to big discounts at great restaurants.   And, if spring has you thinking about a “tee party :)”, check out the amazing RCI Platinum golf discounts.  The list goes on…think big city tour discounts, major metropolitan attraction discounts and more.

(We hope) It goes without saying that our goal is to help to enhance your vacation ownership, and there’s no better way to do that than every day while you’re at home.   And, when you’re ready to get away, the Priority Access feature gives you access to exchange vacations in awesome locations where exchange availability may otherwise be scarce.  Locations vary, but we’re talking about places like Chicago, Boston, New York City, San Diego and Seattle – all undeniably great cities! The Unit Upgrade feature is really cool too – as an RCI Platinum member, if a larger unit is available two weeks before your vacation’s check-in date, you have the opportunity to be automatically upgraded.  Who couldn’t use a bit more space to relax?!

And don’t forget, with Platinum Rebates on RCI transactions like Guest Certificates toward accommodations, Extra VacationsSM getaways, and Combined Deposits (for RCI Weeks members), it only takes a couple of transactions and you’ve almost covered the $55 USD annual RCI Platinum fee!  I’m not a fan of the phrase “no-brainer”, but…

To upgrade to the RCI Platinum membership, please call an RCI Vacation Guide today.

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Sedona 2009

Our trip to Sedona, Arizona was one of the most fun and most relaxing vacations we have taken in the 20+ years we have been members of RCI. Stayed at Sedona Summit, a great place. Each day we explored the area seeing some of the most beautiful scenery, Indian ruins, red rocks, beautiful homes, interesting rock formations, and talking to the locals about the area. The entire trip was one of awe. Fortunately, we had fantastic weather for August. We had the time of our lives.

- Robert E. from Galt, CA
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Branson, MO 2009

We would never have spent an entire week in Branson, MO without a week through RCI. We would have missed out on some wonderful experiences with shows, beautiful scenery and that wonderful Ozark hospitality. An exciting and truly fun experience was our first sightings of "fireflies" at night. Sitting on the lovely patios, we enjoyed a sight we would never have in our home state of Washington. RCI vacations allow you to "stretch your horizons" just within the boundaries of our own United States. Thanks...RCI.

- Carl S. from Richland, WA
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Ireland 2009

While vacationing in Connemarra, Ireland we stayed at a lovely Irish cottage with a thatched roof. To get "home" in the evening we would drive over the bridge which was made for the film, The Quiet Man. We also enjoyed Irish coffee at Pat Cohan's Bar, in the town of Cong where John Wayne had his famous fight in the movie The Quiet Man. Cong originally was called Inisfree. If you visit Ireland this is a must see.

- K. L. from Incline Village, NV
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Myrtle Beach 2009

Thank you RCI for making it possible to take a great family vacation to Myrtle beach during our Spring break this past April. We had three different units booked at the Wyndham Ocean Boulevard. My parents and in-laws each had their own. The place was awesome and my three kids (two boys 6 and 4 and daughter 1) loved it.

Highlights were the aquarium, the amusement park and taking in a Myrtle Beach Pelicans home game. We live in a very sparsely populated rural area and our local hometown hero Jeff Locke pitched for the Pelicans that night. We purchased front row tickets, made signs and Jeff came out after the game ended to talk to us and sign autographs for our sons. They were thrilled and still talk about it.

This is the second big group trip we have taken through RCI and can't wait for the next. Thanks for the help.

- Terry G. from Fryeburg, ME
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