Regional News - Latin America / Caribbean.

 
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New York, Delray Beach (AirGuide - Regional News Latin America / Caribbean) Jan 22, 2012

Guide to booking a round-the-world trip It's the ultimate trip: circumnavigating the planet, and stopping off wherever takes your fancy. Great for travelers who want to see it all, or who are just plain indecisive. But booking a round-the-world (RTW) trip can be a complex business. Here's our guide to getting started. How to do it The most economical way to circumnavigate is to buy a round-the-world air ticket that uses one airline alliance. Theoretically, any routing is possible, but knowing how the RTW booking system works will make your trip cheaper. For example, the Star Alliance, a coalition of 27 airlines, offers a RTW ticket with a maximum of 15 stops. Its member airlines fly to 1185 airports in 185 countries. There are rules: you must follow one global direction (east or west -- no backtracking); you must start and finish in the same country; and you must book all your flights before departure, though you can change them later (which may incur extra charges). How long you need You could whip round the world in a weekend if you flew non-stop. However, the minimum duration of most RTW tickets is ten days -- still a breathless romp. Consider stock-piling annual leave, tagging on public holidays or even arranging a sabbatical in order to take off two months, ideally six to 12. The maximum duration of a RTW ticket is one year. When to go The weather will never be ideal in all your stops. So, focus on what you want to do most and research conditions there: if a Himalaya trek is your highlight, don't land in Nepal mid-monsoon; if you want to swim with whale sharks off Western Australia, be there April-July. Then accept you'll be in some regions at the "wrong" time -- though this might offer unexpected benefits (for example, Zambia in wet season means lush landscapes and cheaper prices). In general, city sightseeing can be done year-round (escape extreme heat/cold/rain in museums and cafs) but outdoor adventures are more reliant on -- and enjoyable in -- the right weather. Where to go The classic (and cheapest) RTW tickets flit between a few big cities, for example London -- Bangkok -- Singapore -- Sydney -- LA. If you want to link more offbeat hubs (Baku -- Kinshasa -- Paramaribo, anyone?), prices will climb considerably. The cost of the ticket is based on the total distance covered or the number of countries visited. Remember, you don't have to fly between each point: in Australia you could land in Perth, travel overland, and fly out of Cairns. Or fly into Moscow, board the Trans-Siberian train, and fly onwards from Beijing. Pick some personal highlights and string the rest of your itinerary around those. For instance, if you're a keen trekker, flesh out a Peru (Inca Trail), New Zealand (Milford Track) and Nepal (Everest Base Camp) itinerary with Brazil (Rio's a good access point for South America), Australia and North India. If budget's an issue, spend more time in less expensive countries. Your daily outgoings will be far higher in Western Europe and North America than South-East Asia; Indonesia, Bolivia and India are particularly cheap. Tips, tricks & pitfalls -- Talk to an expert before you book: you may have an itinerary in mind but an experienced RTW flight booker will know which routings work best and cost least -- a few tweaks could mean big savings. -- Be flexible: moving your departure date by a few days can save money; mid-week flights are generally cheaper, as are flights on Christmas Day. -- Think about internal travel: it CAN be cheaper to book internal flights at the same time as booking your RTW ticket -- but, with the global increase of low-cost airlines, you may find it better (and more flexible) to buy them separately as you go. -- Be warned: if you don't board one of your booked flights (say, on a whim, you decide to travel overland from Bangkok to Singapore rather than fly it) your airline is likely to cancel all subsequent flights. Jan 20, 2012

"Leap second" gets a reprieve, for now Diplomats from dozens of nations met this week to debate whether it still makes sense to occasionally add an extra second to the world's clocks to keep them in sync with the Earth's rotation. In the end, the delegates -- some of whom feared that abandoning the so-called "leap second" could disrupt financial markets -- postponed a decision for another three years. Jan 20, 2012

Hotels ramp up property improvements amid ballooning steel prices Brand demands and an improving economy allowed more hotel owners to renovate their properties last year, construction companies say. The lack of available lending also forced owners to settle for upgrades to drive business rather than launching new construction. However, the steadily increasing cost of steel -- now about USD980 per ton -- is complicating work for developers, they say. Jan 19, 2012

American Airlines American will offer free drinks in coach on international flights. American Airlines will begin offering free beer and wine to coach customers on international flights between the U.S. and Europe, Asia, Chile, Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay. The new policy takes effect Feb. 1. "Our customers asked for complimentary beer and wine, and we listened," said American's vice president of marketing, Rob Friedman. Jan 20, 2012

American Safari Cruises American Safari Offers Hotel Stay in San Jos del Cabo . American Safari Cruises is offering one complimentary hotel night in San Jos del Cabo, Mexico, on new bookings on Sea of Corts cruises departing until April 14. The 22-guest Safari Quest sails weeklong cruises from La Paz, Mexico. The offer is good only for guests flying into Cabo. The package includes transfers between airport, hotel and the yacht in La Paz, plus one complimentary night either pre- or post-cruise at the European-style Casa Natalia. Breakfast is included at the hotel. Transfer between Cabo and La Paz is via private shuttle. The package is valued at up to USD900 per couple. Cruise fares start at USD3,995 per person, double occupancy. Jan 18, 2012

Bahama Beach Club The Luxurious Bahama Beach Club Welcomes Families This Spring Break With Private Accommodations, World-Class Diving and Snorkeling and an Award-Winning Beach. This will get your kids excited about spring break: How about spending a vacation snorkeling alongside colorful tropical fish or diving through the Caribbean's majestic underwater caves? Top off the day with a bonfire and a Bahamas-style beach BBQ and your kids might say this is the best spring break they have ever had. The luxurious Bahama Beach Club is inviting families to celebrate their spring breaks with the club's special Warm Winter Savings that includes stay three nights and get the fourth night complimentary. Rates for a two-bedroom, two-bath villa start at USD300 and rates for a four-bedroom, four-bath villa start at USD700. Prices include daily housekeeping services, cable TV, air conditioning, and unlimited in-room long distance calling to the United States and Canada, and high-speed wireless Internet. Bahama Beach Club also offers all-inclusive meal plans. Parents can unwind with a couples massage done in the privacy of their own villa or on the beach while the kids enjoy swimming in the resort's pools. Parents can even organize a "family day" where they and the kids rent a boat and go deep-sea fishing getting up close and personal with big-game fish like tarpon, wahoo, sailfish and blue marlin. The Bahama Beach Club is an ideal location for families. Its beachfront local gives parents and kids easy proximity to National Geographic's "Top 10 Beaches in the World." Guests at the club can also enjoy access to Treasure Cay's 150-slip marina, championship 18-hole golf course, tennis courts, and the Tipsy Seagull Bar, open nightly. The club has several family-style activities such as fireworks, bonfires and island golf cart races, and has cars, golf carts and bicycles available for rental. Families can also rent their own boat or take a scheduled ferry boat to New Plymouth on Green Turtle Cay or to Hopetown on Elbow Cay. Jan 19, 2012

Barcel Bvaro Barcel Bvaro Beach Resort Completes USD330 Renovation. The Barcel Bvaro Beach Resort in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic, recently completed a USD330 million renovation featuring a new teen activity complex including a water park and nightclub, a Barcy Kids Club area, and golf-only accommodations with private clubhouse. The renovations also include a redesigned golf course, The Lakes, featuring a clubhouse equipped with a private concierge, plus new accommodations including a deluxe and family suite designed for players with convenient access to the course. The Maxi Club, is an adult-supervised entertainment district for teens ages 13 to 17, and features an interactive water park, a wave pool, a mini-golf range, a private bar, a game room and a disco. The resortOs Barcy Kids Club facility, designed for guests from 4 to 12, has been moved to a new building located next to the Maxi Club that's four times the size of the original location. Jan 19, 2012

Bolongo Bay Beach Resort U.S.V.I.Os Bolongo...

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