It is estimated that more than two-thirds of Americans 147 million people will receive tax refunds this year. Most consumers have gotten a head start on their tax returns, many having already received refunds. Furthermore, as the average tax refund has gone up over 6 percent this year to over $2,200, more families are willing to indulge in exciting vacations. In fact, early estimates show that nearly 20 percent of all consumers (nearly 20 million adults) will devote some or all of their tax refund towards a vacation. While paying down debt and devoting money to savings are also popular uses for tax refunds, nothing can match the thrill of an exotic vacation.Even if you dont receive over $2,200 on your tax return, it is still possible to plan an exotic family vacation. There are plenty of destinations throughout the Caribbean and Mexico known for providing action-packed family vacations and incredibly affordable weekend getaways for couples. Furthermore, as those receiving tax refunds will be planning summer family vacations, the Caribbean and Mexico boast some of the best travel deals around for upcoming months.If you are considering an international destination for your family vacation, you cant beat the Caribbean or Mexico. Your family will be greeted by an inviting atmosphere and friendly locals wherever you go.Most Caribbean and Latin American resorts also recognize families as their primary interest, so you will also find plenty of activities for all ages. For the sake of tax refunds, it should also be noted that the Caribbean and Latin America are among the most affordable international destinations for American families and couples alike. Regardless of how sizable your tax refund might be, you can get the most fun for your money south of the border.To cater to those spending their tax refunds on family vacations, Marriott has developed a unique discount program for its Mexican and Caribbean resorts. The 1040 Family Travel package offers extra incentives for millions of American families looking to use some of their tax returns for luxury getaways. With overall savings approaching 40 percent, the 1040 Travel Package helps your family get the most out of your tax refunds.With the incentive program, five-night stays at a selection of Caribbean and Mexican resorts start under $800 for families. The packages are also designed to offer considerable savings on meals, with complementary breakfast for both parents and children. Your kids can also take advantage of unique childrens programs and activities from educational workshops to in-room pizza parties, movies and nightly milk and cookie turndown service.With the money you save on accommodations, your family can participate in plenty of activities wherever you go. In Cancun alone your family can scuba dive, take tours of ancient Mayan ruins, ride jet-skis, visit some of the best restaurants in the region or swim with the dolphins. Most of these activities can also be arranged directly through your resort, so your family doesnt have to worry about finding shuttles or waiting in lines.The Marriott 1040 Family Travel Package is being offered at nine different beachfront resorts throughout the Caribbean and Mexico. Along with the luxurious rooms you expect, many of these resorts also feature top-notch spas, championship golf courses, exciting casinos and much more. The resorts available for the 1040 Family TravelPackage include: JW Marriott Cancun Resort & Spa CasaMagna Marriott Cancun Resort Aruba Marriott Resort & Stellaris Casino Renaissance Aruba Resort & Casino Frenchmans Reef & Morning Star Marriott Beach Resort, St. Thomas CasaMagna Marriott Puerto Vallarta Resort & Spa Curaao Marriott Beach Resort & Emerald Casino St. Kitts Marriott Resort & The Royal Beach Casino Grand Cayman Marriott Beach ResortThere has never been a better time to travel with your family to the Caribbean or Mexico. To coincide with the tax refund season, the booking window for this special travel program lasts until May 31. Your family can then visit any of these exotic locations until August 31.
How Can You Pay for A Cruise?Its one thing to say that you are going to take a cruise, choose the perfect package, and even get prices for your dream vacation, but it is a whole different thing to actually save up the money to pay for it and hand it over to your booking agent. Its during this part of the vacation planning process that most people give up on taking a sea voyage and end up taking a short excursion inland.When asked, many people admit that taking a cruise has always been their dream vacation, but they have not been able to quite pull it off. Why? While some simply just cant get the time away from work and responsibilities, most people are locked out of taking a sea vacation because they cannot afford to pay for it.If this sounds like you, dont worry. Cruises are more affordable than you think, and there are ways that you can pay for the vacation of your dreams without maxing out your credit cards or taking out a second mortgage.The first thing to consider when trying figuring out how to pay for a cruise is the actual cost for the cruise. Many people take one look at the fare pricing and view it the same way that they would hotel pricing. (I write about this in a previous article: "Are You Saying You Can't Afford A Cruise? Think Again!") In their mind they are visualizing this as the base cost of the vacation with extras like food, entertainment, and other expenses added on. But the truth of the matter is that cruise packages include all of these costs. This means that the vacation that you have always wanted could be just as affordable as or even more affordable than the land-based vacation that you have always taken.And if thats not enough, you can cut the cost of your cruise vacation even further by cashing in on special promotions, booking and paying for your trip well in advance, and taking your cruise during the off-season. Booking passage on a smaller ship rather than the largest, most luxurious ship will also save you a great deal of money. You can even cut costs by choosing a smaller stateroom located on the inside of the ship over a room that faces outward and has a terrace or other amenities.Even after you take off all of the possible savings, you will still have to come up with something to pay for your cruise. And just how will you do that? Well the key to saving for anything is early planning. If you save throughout the year rather than just for a few weeks or months before your trip, you will be better able to put something away toward your trip without having to let other financial obligations slide.You should never finance a holiday with credit. No matter whether or not you get a great interest rate, funding vacations with credit is never a good idea. This is because you will end up paying much more for your vacation over a longer period of time than you would have if you would have saved for your trip before hand. Financing a vacation often makes it impossible to take future vacations until the financed holiday is paid for, and it may even create financial hardships. This can lead to resentment and hard feelings over a time that was supposed to only generate happy memories.So unless you have a very generous aunt, paying for your cruise is going to be all up to you. Dont worry, though. Paying for a vacation is possible even on the stingiest income if you know how to save.The key to saving up for anything is consistency. You cant simply say Im going to put back any extra money that I have until I have enough saved up to take a cruise. If you go about it in this way, you will never save anything. Whens the last time you had extra money? And if you did have it, how long did it stay in your pocket? To save you need a plan, and you need discipline to stick to that plan.The first step to making a savings plan is to decide when you will be taking your vacation and how much it will cost. Divide the amount of the vacation by the number of weeks you have until you have to have your cruise passage paid in full. This will tell you how much money you will have to put back each week in order to pay for the holiday. If you cannot possibly afford the amount that you need to tuck away each week, you may have to postpone the date of your vacation or make some adjustments to your living expenses.Next, look at your budget. If you dont have one, make one. Include everything that you spend money on each week. Dont leave out extras. You would be surprised by how much income slips through your fingers only to be spent on frivolous purchases. Look for areas where you can cut expenses to free up some income to put toward your trip. Do you stop for a latte every morning or eat out frequently? By simply cutting out these extras, you could free up enough income to pay for your trip and then some.Now that you have figured out where the money is going to come from, you will need to decide on a safe place to put it. This should be a place that you cannot raid if you feel the need to splurge. A savings account is a great idea if you can deposit money into it and forget about it. You and your significant other can check up on each other. If you think that you may be tempted to make withdraws from the account, you may want to have a trusted friend or relative open an account for you with the stipulations that they are not to withdraw any money for you for any reason. If your vacation is going to be well into the future, savings bonds are also a great idea.Here's a simple saving tip: At the end of every day any change PLUS any one dollar bills you have go into a jar for the cruise fund. That's it, just be disciplined about it. $3 dollars a day for a year is more than $1,000. Don't buy something everyday? Then step it up a notch? Never pay for anything with dollar bills so you will accumulate them throughout the day. If something is $2.50, than you have to pay with a $5 or $10 and get $2.50 in coin change and one dollar bill change that you will save. So now every single purchase will contribute to your cruise fund!But no matter where you decide to keep your holiday savings, be sure that you make weekly deposits and stick to your savings plan. Dont give up. The vacation of a lifetime is within your grasp. It's up to you. Make the dream a reality.
If you are planning a vacation in the wonderful Spanish city of Malaga, you will find that there is plenty to entertain you throughout your time in this area. This Malaga city overview will provide you with an array of information relating to the history, culture, sights, attractions, and entertainment on offer in this destination, as well as some more general information about Malaga. Popular with tourists from Europe, this city is located in a popular part of Spain, and is the ideal place for a holiday if you enjoy great weather, natural beauty, a vibrant atmosphere, and plenty to see and do. You will find it easy to travel around this city, which means that you can make the most of your time here, and you can look forward to enjoying all that beautiful Malaga has to offer. The capital city of the Costa Del Sol, Malaga has plenty to offer to its visitors, and when you come to this destination you can look forward to an enriching and exciting vacation experience in a destination that is rich in history and culture as well as adorned with natural beauty and fabulous scenery.Malaga city guide what to see and doWhen you visit Malaga you will find so much to see and do that you will never be bored or short on entertainment. You will find everything you need within easy reach, from recreational facilities and wonderful places to relax to historical sites, cultural events and festivities, natural beauty, vibrant nightlife, excellent shopping facilities, and more. The birthplace of the famous artist, Pablo Picasso, visitors can enjoy exploring his old house, which has become a very popular attraction amongst tourists. You can also enjoy delving into the past and learning more about the areas roots and origins with a visit to the historic quarter. The city is host to a range of events and festivities over the course of the year, and this includes Holy Week and the Summer Fair. Pay a visit to the famous but incomplete cathedral, the Moorish castle, and the fortress, and take in the beautiful gardens in the area. Malaga city guide a city for old and young alikeIn addition to the historical sites and attractions, the natural wonders and recreational areas, and the cultural events and festivities that take place in Malaga, you will find some fabulous nightlife on offer, from bars and clubs to restaurants, live entertainment, and more. Whether you want to relax and enjoy a drink and a tasty meal or whether you want to dance into the early hours you can continue to enjoy this city even when the sun goes down. If you are something of a die-hard shopper you will be thrilled with the great range of shopping opportunities available here, from world class shopping facilities to unique shops and boutiques selling an array of unusual and unique gifts and souvenirs. No matter what your age, Malaga is a city that has something to suit everyone when it comes to fun, adventure, entertainment, and sights, so you can look forward to a really wonderful and memorable vacation experience.
When you think of Cyprus, usually one of the first places that pops into your head is Paphos. It is by far Cyprus's most popular tourist destination and looking back on its history it is not hard to see why. This article is about Paphos and in particular the culture and history surrounding Paphos.One of the main reasons Paphos is so popular is because it was once home to the mythical Goddess Aphrodite. When the Goddess mystically appeared out of the sea it obviously caused a lot of interest and thousands of tourists started flocking to the island. It became the Capital of Cyprus but today it is better known as a small harbour town.Why Visit Paphos Today?These days nobody really knows if the myth regarding the Goddess Aphrodite are actually true, but because of what she actually represented, some people still like to visit the area. This is especially true with couples as Aphrodite was the Goddess of love and it is thought if you get married in Paphos then you will have a long and happy marriage.However, the goddess of love is not the only reason why people love to visit the town. There is quite a lot to experience in Paphos including:- Mosaics- Churches- Monastery's- Tombs- BathsIt is by far one of the most cultural towns within Cyprus and if you are looking to explore a little history of Cyprus then it is definitely the place for you. The Mosaics of Paphos are said to depict images of Greek mythology. They can be found in noblemen's villas on the floors and they are the finest mosaics within the Eastern Mediterranean. They are certainly worth a look if you are in the area and they are roughly from the 3rd-5th AD.There are also a number of churches situated within the town and they each offer something slightly different. The Theoskepasti Church is a particularly interesting one as its name means "Veiled by God". It has been given that name as according to local tradition, there was a fog which was sent by God which was sent to protect the church from Arab raids. The church has since been redeveloped and it was rebuilt in 1923. Another interesting church is the Ayia Paraskevi Church. It comes from the Byzantine period and it boasts some beautiful mural paintings.The Baths of Aphrodite are also extremely beautiful. They are said to be where the Goddess Aphrodite used to take her beauty baths and they are shaded by a picturesque fig tree. There are nature trails that are run in the area so if you are a lover of nature then it would definitely be worth taking part in them.Overall Paphos town is so much more than a small harbour town to many. It boasts some fantastic scenery and it also has plenty of culture too. It's definitely worth taking time to learn more about Paphos before you visit Cyprus in order to make your stay more enjoyable.
With around 250 Grand Cayman diving sites to choose from, picking a couple of sites for a one-week vacation can be confusing. With the diverse array of fishes and corals found in every dive site, it's very difficult to resist viewing the features of each. For fish lovers, a diverse array of fishes and corals await them underwater. The wreck divers, on the other hand, can choose from a variety of wreckages with an eerie atmosphere that will definitely send chills down a person's spine.Stingray CityLocated in the northwest corner of the Grand Cayman's North Sound is one of the best Grand Cayman scuba diving sites. Inside a natural channel which goes through the barrier reef is Stingray City, a dive site that has been shown in cruise ship commercials and featured in dive magazines. In this world-famous shallow dive, one can kneel on the sand and feed or pet the stingrays. Even better, these graceful creatures swirl around divers, giving them a fantastic show. This is definitely a wonderful place for taking underwater pictures.Wreck DivingWrecks can be viewed in some "Grand Cayman scuba diving" sites. One of the famous wrecks in Grand Cayman is the Oro Verde, an 84-foot steel freighter which was scuttled and sunk by the Caymanian government in May 31, 1980. Since then, this ship has been inhabited by a lot of extraordinary characters like a 300-lb jew fish named George, a six-foot green moray named Kermit and four-foot barracuda named Puff. In this area, some yellow tail snappers and angel fish may also swim by for a bite.Big TunnelsAnother must-see Grand Cayman scuba diving site is the big tunnels. The coral formations in the drop off are quite unique. It looks like Neptune himself scratched the area with his trident. With networks of canyons and crevasses, it is a home to the barrel sponge, the black coral, gray angels and eagle rays. The trinity caves are also located in this area. Here, one can see a system of four coral canyons that converge on the surface of a vertical wall.Eagle Ray PassLocated in the North Wall, this is another Grand Canyon diving site that one should not miss. Formed by towering coral heads, coral archways and narrow crevices, this pass is a home to a lot of sponges, gorgonian fans and black corals. A lot of Spotted Eagle Rays also swim along the surface of the wall.The West WallThis is the most popular Grand Cayman diving site. It has a large variety of fish and other marine life. Here, divers can enjoy looking at schools of grunts, snappers and angelfish. Another wonderful feature of this site is that the creatures here are quite friendly. Because most of them are not camera-shy, many divers enjoy taking pictures of the fish in this area. Close to this area, a site called Orange Canyon is a great place to visit. Here, one can see tons of orange elephant ear sponges.Being a place with warm and clear waters that have a visibility of 100 feet above, going to these diving sites would definitely be a great experience.