Hertz and Mantra Group Form Partnership

November 23, 2014 on 4:39 pm | In Australia, Beachbooker, New South Wales, Northern, Queensland, Road Trips, South Australia, Sydney, Tasmania, Victoria, Western | Comments Off



Hertz, the world’s leading general use car rental brand, has teamed with leading Australian accommodation provider, Mantra Group, in a three-year partnership to service guests staying at Peppers, Mantra and BreakFree hotels and resorts across Australia and New Zealand.

“Our partnership with Mantra Group was a natural affiliation as they are the largest Australian-based accommodation operator and we are a global leader in car rental,” said Chris Rusden, Vice President, Hertz Australia and New Zealand.

“Mantra Group has properties located in all major capital cities and key holiday destinations across Australia and New Zealand, so this partnership allows Hertz to service both leisure and business travellers with a vehicle to suit the needs of their trip.”

As part of the partnership, both business and leisure guests of Mantra Group will be able to take advantage of discounts in car rental when they book their vehicle via the Peppers, Mantra and BreakFree websites or at individual property locations. Dedicated links on each of the three brand websites will facilitate seamless vehicle hire booking, ensuring the “Best Rate of the Day” is applied.

“With our growing network of hotels across Australia and New Zealand, it was important that we work with an established company like Hertz which could implement the benefits we wanted to provide to our customers in an easy and seamless way. Our guests will certainly benefit from this added service to further enhance their booking experience with Mantra Group,” said Mantra Group Director of Operations, Mark Hodge.

The Hertz fleet in Australia and New Zealand includes a range of economy, intermediate and full-size cars. The Australian fleet includes the Prestige, Fun, Adrenaline and Outback. The Prestige Collection is also avaliable in New Zealand, as well as a wide selection of 4WDs and minivans.

Picture caption: Mantra Group Procurement Officer Michael Freeman with Hertz Area Sales Manager QLD/NSW/ACT Belinda Smart at Mantra Legends Hotel on the Gold Coast.

About Hertz Australia (www.hertz.com.au)
Hertz is the largest worldwide airport general use car rental brand, operating from approximately 10,090 corporate and licence locations in approximately 145 countries. In Australia, Hertz has approximately 220 locations including all major airports, cities and a large number of regional towns. The fleet includes a range of well-maintained vehicles encompassing economy, intermediate and full-size cars as well as the Prestige, Fun, Adrenaline, Outback and Green Collections. In addition, minivans, 4WDs, trucks, mining and commercial vehicles are available to hire. As a global leader in its field, Hertz offers a range of innovative products and services including Hertz Gold Plus Rewards, the specially designed NeverLost® satellite navigation system in a range of languages, Mobile Wi-Fi and Premium Roadside Assistance.

About Mantra Group
Mantra Group is a leading manager and marketer of hotels and resorts in Australia, New Zealand and Indonesia and operates three well-known and trusted brands – Peppers, Mantra and BreakFree. With 114 properties and over 11,400 rooms under management, Mantra Group is the second largest accommodation operator in Australia. The Group is positioned to offer both leisure and business style accommodation ranging from full service city hotels and self-contained apartments to luxury resorts and retreats: www.mantragroup.com.au ; www.peppers.com .au; www.mantra.com.au ; www.breakfree.com.au

Book Your Beach Resort at a Discount

Motorcycle tour – South Africa March 2015‏

November 18, 2014 on 10:02 am | In Adventure Travel, Africa, Road Trips, South Africa | Comments Off




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The South African Saunter
Kicking off the 2015 touring season in the Southern Hemisphere

In 1985 Beach’s pioneered the South African Safari, running two fantastic tours between Cape Town and Johannesburg.

We have – very much – wanted to get back to South Africa, but conversations with a variety of South African tour operators lead us to people with whom we had little interest in working or riding with.

That changed this summer when I met a German fellow in Munich. Oscar had just completed a three month course to become a certified South African tour guide. Yes, it is necessary to be accredited to operate a tour business in South Africa!

Oscar and I have had extensive discussions, and found great similarities in our respective concepts of how a tour should run.

Those of you who have been with us know that freedom to do as you please tops the list. Oscar believes in this same freedom. And so, we are once again on our way south.

In March, 2015 Beach’s Motorcycle Adventures is conducting the first South African Saunter – a brilliant ride along South Africa’s Garden Route. If you are ready to try something exotic, this is it! Get away from the uncertain March weather and take off on a great ride through stunning countryside.

Details are online at: http://bmca.com/south-african-saunter-2015.html



SCHUSS DOWN THE SLOPES ON THE I LOVE NEW YORK SKI BUS

November 12, 2014 on 5:18 pm | In East Coast, New York City, Road Trips, Skiing Snowboarding | Comments Off



Backcountry.com Winter ClearanceNew Ski Bus Program Kicks Off December 13 with Transportation from Manhattan
and Long Island with Lift Tickets, Lessons and an I LOVE NEW YORK Gift

ALBANY, NY  – Visiting New York’s ski resorts will be easier and more accessible this year, thanks to the I LOVE NEW YORK Bus, a new, year-round tourism program initiated by Governor Andrew M. Cuomo this past October. Winter departures offering ski-for-the-day and ski-and-stay packages from New York City and Long Island to ski areas across the state will be kicking off on Saturday, December 13. The trips, which run from December through March, will be priced starting from $89 and up. Packages include transportation and lift tickets with options for rentals and lessons; trip components also can be booked a la carte. In addition, the multi-day trips may include area tours and experiences in the region they visit.

I LOVE NEW YORK Bus trips will be available to many of New York’s most popular ski mountains in the Catskills, Adirondacks and Finger Lakes. Initially, the Bus will serve Hunter, Windham, Belleayre, Plattekill, Catamount, West, Whiteface, Gore and Greek Peak Mountains, with additional mountains and trips to be added based on demand. The first ski trip departures will begin on Saturday, December 13 to Windham Mountain and on Sunday, December 14 to Hunter Mountain which are ready to book now at iloveny.com/bus. The full winter schedule and booking details will be posted on December 1. Riders during the inaugural bus trips will also receive I LOVE NEW YORK earbands and more.

Free Shipping Over $50* at Altrec.com!The I LOVE NEW YORK Bus trips will be escorted by a host/attendant who will offer refreshments and snacks, reading material and tend to travelers needs. Reservations can be made HERE.

The I LOVE NEW YORK Bus grew out of feedback received during the Governor’s second Tourism Summit to increase transportation access to tourism opportunities in New York State, and connects riders to some of the state’s most popular getaway experiences, from skiing to wine, beer and cider trails and seasonal festivals. The program is curated by Hampton Jitney, a Southampton-based company known for its on-time service and modern, comfortable wide-body coaches, complete with Wi-Fi, electrical outlets, lavatory, individual reading lights and adjustable seats.

The pick-up and drop-off location for the I LOVE NEW YORK Bus is at the corner of 44th Street and Third Avenue in Manhattan near Grand Central Station with two locations in Long Island. The departure and return times will vary by itinerary. Walk on ticket sales are available if space permits, but advanced reservations are highly recommended. Among the exciting multi-day ski packages being offered this winter is a ski trip to the Adirondacks that includes skiing at Gore and West Mountains, the popular Lake George Winter Carnival and a visit to a local Adirondack brewery tastings and a meal.

100% Guarantee“Many people are not aware that New York State has more ski slopes than any other state in the nation and the greatest vertical drop east of the Rocky Mountains,” said Gavin Landry executive director, Empire State Development Corporation, Tourism Department. “The I LOVE NEW YORK Bus is an easy way for New Yorkers and visitors to hit the slopes, especially for those who don’t have cars, and what could be better after an adrenaline-filled day on the slopes then enjoying a little après ski and hopping on a luxurious jitney to chat with friends, check your email or simply sit back and relax.”

“Our ski areas are thrilled because the program makes our ski areas more accessible to tourists in Manhattan as well as all the residents of New York City and Long Island,” said Scott Brandi, president of the Ski Areas of New York (SANY). “We have a thrilling diversity of terrains including cruisers, steeps and glades and our ski cater to an amazing range of skiers from beginners to Olympic-class skiers. The I LOVE NEW YORK Bus ski program is helping make everyone more aware of the wonderful ski opportunities that New York State has to offer.”

“Hampton Jitney is excited to be offering both one-day and multi-day getaway ski trips as part of the I Love NEW YORK Bus Tours Program,” said Geoffrey Lynch, president of Hampton Jitney Inc. “We are looking forward to working with New York’s ski resorts to create transportation and ski packages from Metro New York that showcase the fantastic skiing we have in our state.”

For more details and reservations for I LOVE NEW YORK Bus ski trips, visit www.iloveny.com/bus/ . Snow reports and other information on New York ski areas can be found at www.iskiny.com.

 The Ultimate Online Ski Shop With 100% Satisfaction Guaranteed! Skis.com | Shop Now >About New York State

New York State features 11 beautiful vacation regions. New York’s attractions span from landmarks such as Niagara Falls to the wine trails of Hudson Valley and treasures like the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown. Whether it’s wide-ranging outdoor activities for the whole family like snowmobiling, skiing and snowboarding, hiking, culinary wonders and farm-to-table fresh foods, or the rich history and culture of one of the 13 original colonies, New York State offers diverse activities for all travelers. For more information, visit http://www.iloveny.com

Follow the I LOVE NY social media channels for news on tourism in New York State. From NYC to Niagara Falls and all points in between, there’s so much to love to LOVE in NY! Check out I LOVE NEW YORK on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for great ideas for your next getaway. Post your visit to #ISpyNY.

Follow I LOVE NEW YORK on social media:
Facebook: Facebook.com/ILOVENY
Twitter: @I_LOVE_NY
Instagram: ILOVENY
YouTube: YouTube.com/OfficialILoveNY
Pinterest: Pinterest.com/ILOVENY
Flickr: Flickr.com/OfficialILoveNY

About Ski Areas of New York

Ski Areas of New York, Inc. (SANY) is a trade organization that serves its members by acting as a facilitator, negotiator, educator, marketer, business analyst, legal advisor, information collector and distributor. By operating as a support organization for the industry, SANY’s products and programs help to foster new and continued business for members. SANY continually stays abreast of the latest technology and opportunities in the industry and aspires to grow the sport for generations to come. www.iskiny.com is the go-to site for happenings in the New York Ski Industry.

Oakley - Free Shipping - Shop OnlineDaily conditions reports are listed by resort, a weekly video is posted by Skiing Weatherman Herb Stevens, updated press releases are posted from member resorts, and information on skiing and snowboarding programs and promotions including 44 Free, Learn to Ski and Snowboard Month, Ski and Stay, lift ticket sales and 10-10-10 can all be found on the website. Additionally, there is an interactive map that provides all the vital stats for our member resorts. www.iskiny.com is the source for everything skiing in New York.

About Hampton Jitney

Hampton Jitney is a pioneer in the transportation field. In 1974, Hampton Jitney started with one van and a commitment to providing the finest personalized transportation service between Eastern Long Island and metropolitan New York. Building on that simple premise, Hampton Jitney now operates a fleet of luxury motor coaches and limousines. Hundreds of thousands of people now travel each year in style and comfort, safely and on time via Hampton Jitney. Hampton Jitney operates 365 days a year between Eastern Long Island and Metro New York, including the airports. In addition, Hampton Jitney limousines, charters and tour coaches operate regularly throughout the northeastern U.S. and Canada. More information is available at www.hamptonjitney.com.

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Auto Europe Releases Its Top Christmas Market Recommendations

November 11, 2014 on 10:27 am | In London, Road Trips, Scotland, Shopping, United Kingdom, Wales | Comments Off



Argos Travel Insurance 100x50Auto Europe, a leader in European car rental services for over 60 years, would like to recommend the top Christmas Markets in Europe and offer holiday savings on travel to these events.

The United Kingdom is renown for their markets with Manchester attracting shoppers from all over the world. The markets run from Nov. 14 through Dec. 21, 2014 and are located throughout the city with an array of over 300 stalls. Choices include gifts, crafts, jewelry, clothing, food and drink plus entertainment daily throughout the celebrations.

Belgium is holding their annual Brussels Winter Wonders Nov. 28, 2014 through Jan. 4, 2015 and features a vast number of stalls in a true holiday atmosphere. Additional attractions include an ice rink for skating, fairground attractions and multiple light shows. The unique event boasts a perfect blend of tradition and modernity.

Copenhagen’s most famous celebration of the season of Jul (Yuletide) and is featured in the Tivoli Gardens with four miles of lights arranged by Tiffany’s head designer. This Danish tradition begins on Nov. 15, 2014 and runs through Jan. 4, 2015 and some of the features include over 50 market stalls selling gifts, daily showings of The Nutcracker Ballet and fireworks.

One of the oldest markets in Austria is Salzburg’s Christkindlemarkt dating back to the 15th century. Featuring over 85 stalls in downtown Salzburg offering pewter crafts, slippers, loden coats plus a multitude of holiday snacks such as gingerbread, roasted chestnuts and mulled wines. In addition, the 17th century old palace Schloss Hellbrunn, features 24 windows and is decorated perfectly as an Advent calendar. This market runs from Nov. 20 through Dec. 26, 2014.

The Lille Christmas Market in France opens Nov. 19 through Dec. 30, 2014. This month long celebration is extremely popular and in addition to stalls selling arts, crafts and local cuisine, there are many events for children.

The Christmas Market in Bremen is considered one of the most attractive in Germany. Featuring over 170 decorated stalls for browsing for gifts, the historical setting creates a festive Christmas atmosphere. Don’t miss the Schlachte Magic, each day featuring a live Advent calendar event on the river Weser’s promenade.

The Italians celebrate the Mercatino di Natale. Trentino-Alto Adige region in the city of Trento, holds their celebrations from Nov. 22, 2014 through Jan. 6, 2015. This is one of the best markets in Italy and includes more than 60 traditional stalls with crafts, foods and decorations.

Basel, considered to be the largest and most popular Christmas market in Switzerland, celebrates from Nov. 27 through Dec. 23, 2014. The fairy-tale atmosphere markets specialize in Christmas shops such as the Johann Wanner Christmas House and also features numerous concerts and guided Christmas tours.

This year, Dublin is holding it’s first traditional Christmas market in Ireland. There will be more than 60 stalls featuring a unique selection of Irish made handcrafts, seasonal food and drinks and entertainment from local choirs and carolers. “Dublin at Christmas” will run from November 13 through December 23, 2014.

Don’t miss Holland’s Magical Maastricht Christmas market running Nov. 29 through Dec. 20, 2014. The festivities are located all over the city, with a huge ice skating rink, a carousal and market stalls featured in Vrijthof square. In addition to shopping stalls, the Magical Culture Festival also provides festival entertainment in the theaters, cultural institutes as well as in the streets.

Auto Europe offers tremendous savings on car rental, airfare and hotel services for you to enjoy these events. Don’t forget to request snow tires or chains on your car rental if you expect to explore the regions outside the markets.

Read more travel news at www.travelpulse.com


Overlanding’s Most Popular Gap Year Routes. New Trends, New Trips

November 9, 2014 on 10:32 am | In Adventure Travel, Africa, Botswana, Ethiopia, Kenya, Morocco, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Road Trips, Rwanda, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Tunisia, Uganda, Zaire, Zambia, Zanzibar, Zimbabwe | Comments Off



It’s official: ‘Snap Gaps’ have overtaken the traditional, longer, transcontinental break of between 6 – 9 months with gap year travellers.

During Dragoman’s 33 years in operation, the overland specialist has taken hundreds of travellers on gap year adventures, offering over 300 trips between 2 weeks and 9 months in length to 55 countries worldwide.

However, whilst the numbers of young people aged between 18 -21 has actually increased by 40% over the past decade, 17% year on year, the trips they have booked for the past three years are now more condensed, abbreviated versions of the epic , months long adventures that used to typify a ‘Gap Year’.

“Financial strain and anecdotal evidence suggests that extended trips are out of the budgetary reach of most young people, particularly after the sharp rise in University fees. Young people still want to boost their CV with long-haul travel experiences, but are limiting the time they do it in,” says Charlie Hopkinson, Managing Director.

The destinations that gap year travellers are choosing have also changed. Ten years ago, Africa dominated the Gap Year travel market. Now, South America is by far the most popular destination, with almost 2/3rds of young Dragoman travellers booking it as their primary travel choice, followed by South East Asia. Africa, although still on the Gap Map, seems to have fallen out of favour in comparison.

Overlanding is still a rite of passage experience for the gap year traveller, though; it’s budget-friendly, organised nature giving confidence and ‘more bang for your buck’ for first time travellers and parents alike.

“Travelling overland negates the need for costly internal flights, whilst organised trips, which come with a group of ready-made, like minded travel companions, save time and hassle on accommodation as well as transport,” says Charlie Hopkinson, Dragoman Managing Director.

Charlie also cites Dragoman’s product knowledge, experience and staff training (Dragoman’s staff are the most intensively trained in the overland travel market) , as reasons for overlanding’s enduring popularity amongst gappers.

Overlanding also provides a ‘launching pad’ to independent travel.

“Gap year students, often first time travellers, prefer to cut their teeth and gain confidence by participating in an organised trip before travelling independently,” he says.

Here’s Dragoman’s most popular Gap Year routes for 2014 / 2015

South America

THE most popular destination for gap year travellers, with nearly 2/3rds of young people taking their first trip away here. The World Cup has only increased the popularity of South America, whilst a strong pound make it more affordable than it’s been for years. It’s size and sheer diversity are sure fire gap – year winners.

Snap Gap: Lima and La Paz, 22 days taking in all Peru’s must-do’s, Colca Canyon, Nazca Lines, Ballesteros Islands and Machu Picchu plus traversing the Altiplano, the highest plateau outside of Tibet, to Bolivia’s Lake Titicaca. Earlier this year, Dragoman launched a new route to Machu Picchu, visiting the local Anchascocha community. Now, 70% of Gap Year travellers choose this Inca Trek rather than the traditional, overcrowded one. Price from £909 per person plus kitty of US$1,140 / £698. Total land price: £1,607.

Old School Gap: Cartagena to Ushuaia 101 days, traversing South America’s popular western flank from top to bottom, Colombia to the Tierra del Fuego and the ‘ends of the Earth’. Price from £3,429 per person plus kitty of US$3,480 / £2,132. Total land price from £5,561.

South East Asia

Last year, Thailand was the most popular Gap Year destination according to ABTA. This year, it’s Burma extensions (Burma with surrounding countries Laos, Cambodia and Thailand) with Dragoman experiencing a 170 % increase in young travellers going there. “Burma has been our biggest selling South East Asian destination for the past two years, but if you’re going to travel that far, travelling to the emerging destinations of Laos and Cambodia area no-brainer. Thailand, though, has such a well developed tourist infrastructure that many people feel they can do it alone,” says Charlie.

Snap Gap: Kunming to Yangon, 22 days travelling through south west China and Burma. Sample South East Asia as it was 20 years ago! Trek through tribal villages in Burma’s Shan state, explore Pagan, Inle Lake, Mandalay and Yangon. Price from £1,629 per person plus kitty of US$600 / £368. Total price £1,997.

Old School Gap: Bangkok to Bangkok (via Burma), 53 day circular route around South East Asia, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, China, Burma. Price from £2,988 per person plus kitty of US$1,220 / £749. Total price £3,737.

India and Nepal

An enduring Gap Year favourite, young people have been travelling through India, one dubbed the ‘hippy trail’, for decades. It’s diverse, it’s intense and, because of the comparatively low cost of living there, offers gap year travellers’ real value for money. Neighbouring Nepal, though, is just as budget-friendly, easier to travel in and closing the gap (no pun intended) on sub-continental gap year travel.

Snap Gap: Kathmandu and Delhi 14 days travelling from Nepal and northern India. It may be short, but it’s a fabulous way to compare and contrast laid back Nepal with full-on Northern India. Watch the sun rise at Varanasi, go in search of tigers at Bandhavgarh, see the Taj Mahal. Price from £567 per person plus kitty of US$450 / £276. Total land price from £843.

Old School Gap: Dragoman are the only large commercial overland operator to offer a trip which circuits the whole of the sub-continent, 82 days between Kathmandu and Kathmandu from £2695 per person, kitty from US$2210 (£1,365). Total land price from £4,430.

Africa

Although Africa is a perennial favourite with gappers, travelling solo can be daunting, especially if its your first time there. These two trips encompass the best of the best, safari adventure with beach adventure and down time, too. Nights spent around the campfire in some of Africa’s National Parks are often the highlight of the trip.

Snap Gap: Nairobi to Dar Es Salaam, 14 days taking in the Maasai Mara and 3 day jeep safari, Serengeti and Ngorongoro Crater in Tanzania, explore local village of Mto wa Mbu, end the trip with 5 days on the beach, first on the white beaches south of Dar and then on the spice island of Zanzibar. Price from £600 per person plus kitty of US$1,270 / £780. Total land price from £1,380.

Old School Gap: Nairobi to Cape Town 51 days encompassing safari and the Big 5 in the Masai Mara, Serengeti and Ngorongoro Crater, beaches and down time in the Spice island of Zanzibar, Malawi, Zimbabwe and Vic Falls, Botswana and the Okavango Delta and Makgadkgadi Salt pans, Namibia and Etosha National Park, Swakopmund and the Namib Desert with the world’s highest sand dune, Cape Town. Price from £2,034 plus kitty of US$2,880 / £1,767. Total land price from £3,801.

The longest trips in the world

The option for gap year students with time on their hands – and a big budget. For extended, trans-continental trips, Dragoman is the only overland operator to offer trips that cover the entire Silk Route, some 7,000 kilometres between Istanbul to Beijing or vice versa (96 days from £4,940 per person, kitty of US$3280 / £2038). Or, at just short of 10,000 miles, possibly the longest trip available on the travel market, Anchorage to Ushuaia or vice versa (207 days from £8,118 per person, kitty from US$6,200 / £3,852).

For bookings, Dragoman can be contacted on 01728 861133 or by visiting the website at www.dragoman.com


Hertz and Mantra Group Form Partnership

November 9, 2014 on 10:30 am | In Australia, New South Wales, Northern, Queensland, Road Trips, South Australia, Sydney, Tasmania, Victoria, Western | Comments Off



Hertz, the world’s leading general use car rental brand, has teamed with leading Australian accommodation provider, Mantra Group, in a three-year partnership to service guests staying at Peppers, Mantra and BreakFree hotels and resorts across Australia and New Zealand.

“Our partnership with Mantra Group was a natural affiliation as they are the largest Australian-based accommodation operator and we are a global leader in car rental,” said Chris Rusden, Vice President, Hertz Australia and New Zealand.

“Mantra Group has properties located in all major capital cities and key holiday destinations across Australia and New Zealand, so this partnership allows Hertz to service both leisure and business travellers with a vehicle to suit the needs of their trip.”

As part of the partnership, both business and leisure guests of Mantra Group will be able to take advantage of discounts in car rental when they book their vehicle via the Peppers, Mantra and BreakFree websites or at individual property locations. Dedicated links on each of the three brand websites will facilitate seamless vehicle hire booking, ensuring the “Best Rate of the Day” is applied.

“With our growing network of hotels across Australia and New Zealand, it was important that we work with an established company like Hertz which could implement the benefits we wanted to provide to our customers in an easy and seamless way. Our guests will certainly benefit from this added service to further enhance their booking experience with Mantra Group,” said Mantra Group Director of Operations, Mark Hodge.

The Hertz fleet in Australia and New Zealand includes a range of economy, intermediate and full-size cars. The Australian fleet includes the Prestige, Fun, Adrenaline and Outback. The Prestige Collection is also avaliable in New Zealand, as well as a wide selection of 4WDs and minivans.

Picture caption: Mantra Group Procurement Officer Michael Freeman with Hertz Area Sales Manager QLD/NSW/ACT Belinda Smart at Mantra Legends Hotel on the Gold Coast.

About Hertz Australia (www.hertz.com.au)
Hertz is the largest worldwide airport general use car rental brand, operating from approximately 10,090 corporate and licence locations in approximately 145 countries. In Australia, Hertz has approximately 220 locations including all major airports, cities and a large number of regional towns. The fleet includes a range of well-maintained vehicles encompassing economy, intermediate and full-size cars as well as the Prestige, Fun, Adrenaline, Outback and Green Collections. In addition, minivans, 4WDs, trucks, mining and commercial vehicles are available to hire. As a global leader in its field, Hertz offers a range of innovative products and services including Hertz Gold Plus Rewards, the specially designed NeverLost® satellite navigation system in a range of languages, Mobile Wi-Fi and Premium Roadside Assistance.

About Mantra Group
Mantra Group is a leading manager and marketer of hotels and resorts in Australia, New Zealand and Indonesia and operates three well-known and trusted brands – Peppers, Mantra and BreakFree. With 114 properties and over 11,400 rooms under management, Mantra Group is the second largest accommodation operator in Australia. The Group is positioned to offer both leisure and business style accommodation ranging from full service city hotels and self-contained apartments to luxury resorts and retreats: www.mantragroup.com.au; www.peppers.com.au; www.mantra.com.au; www.breakfree.com.au


Pleasant Holidays Announces Free Hertz Car Rental for Florida Vacations

November 3, 2014 on 1:11 pm | In Florida, Miami, Orlando, Road Trips | Comments Off



Goddess Swimwear from Today ShowThere are offers and there are offers, an unending stream of them in the packaged travel industry as a matter of fact, but some are more substantial than others. This offer of a free rental car from Pleasant Holidays on Florida vacation packages is no flash in the pan. This offer is posted for 2014 and 2015. And a free rental car in a place such as Florida where you really need a car to get around is nothing to sneeze at. – David Cogswell, TravelPulse tour operators editor

Pleasant Holidays today announced it is offering a complimentary Hertz car rental for vacations to all destinations offered in Florida. The offer, which includes a minivan or lower category, is valid for new bookings made by December 21, 2014 for travel through March 31, 2015 on hotel stays of three nights or longer. The free car rental offer is valid for up to seven days for travel during the remainder of 2014 and through March 31, 2015. There are no holiday blackouts on this promotion.

“The Sunshine State is an ideal choice for a winter getaway,” said Jack E. Richards, President and CEO. “Pleasant Holidays’ free car offer makes it easy and affordable for travelers to escape the winter chill and enjoy Florida’s beaches, theme parks, golf courses and more for a couple’s romantic getaway or a family vacation.”

Pleasant Holidays offers Florida vacations with reduced rates and exceptional value to the state’s most popular destinations, including Captiva Island, St. Petersburg/Clearwater, Fort Lauderdale, Fort Myers, Marco Island, Miami, Naples, Orlando, Palm Beach, Sanibel Island and Tampa. Travelers can choose from more than 50 hotels and resorts, including family-friendly condos, and luxurious spa resorts that are perfect for romance vacations.

Agents can increase their commission income by pre-booking exciting activities for their clients, including passes to a variety of popular theme parks and city tours. Agents also earn points toward personal travel with Pleasant Holidays Travel Reward Incentive Program (TRIP).

For more information or to make a booking, travel agents can visit PleasantAgent.com or call 1-800-448-3333.

Read more Travel News at www.travelpulse.com


First Car Rental Expands African Operations Into Tanzania

November 3, 2014 on 9:23 am | In Africa, Road Trips, South Africa, Tanzania | Comments Off



First Car Rental is excited to announce that it has expanded its African operations by opening three new business units in Tanzania’s largest city, Dar es Salaam, as well as an operational presence in Arusha, the Mwanza Region and Zanzibar.

The new business unit forms part of First Car Rental’s car hire partnership with Moustafa H. Khataw, the CEO of Uniglobe Skylink Travel, previously a network partner to Avis and now the brand new but still the market leader: First Car Rental Tanzania.

Says Khataw, “We are witnessing an increase in flight frequency, new airlines and more hotels opening up in many parts of the country, which is a good indicator of economic growth, therefore it makes sense to partner with a well-managed and growing car rental enterprise such as First Car Rental.

“Their systems expertise and functionality and operational efficiencies are better suited to our fast-paced and growing industry.

“Their managing team are all decision-makers within their departments so there is no lag. It is fantastic and I look forward to a long beneficial relationship.”

First Car Rental Tanzania has a good selection of 4×4 vehicles, which are popular in the country, plus a handful of budget and passenger vans. They also offer full range of car hire services, including short and long-term car rental, direct transfers, and chauffeur drive packages.

One of the new Tanzania business units is located within the five-star Hyatt Regency Hotel building in the heart of Dar es Salaam with superb views of the city’s harbour and Indian Ocean. There is also a branch presence at Dar es Salaam’s Julius Nyerere International Airport ensuring visitors to Tanzania have easy access to First Car Rental.

The latest expansion into Africa adds to First Car Rental’s existing business units, namely Mauritius, Malta and Turkey.

Bruce Barritt, Managing Director at First Car Rental, comments – “We are very excited to be adding a First Car Rental business unit in Tanzania, which is a growing East African country in the African Great Lakes region. This addition to our international family is a much needed expansion based on demand from South Africa to Tanzania and vice versa.”

Says Melissa Storey, Executive Head: Strategy, Development & Marketing at First Car Rental, “First Car Rental will provide First Car Rental Tanzania with various system tools within the next few months, allowing our customers a seamless process irrespective of international borders. It has been a pleasure setting up the unit and working alongside Mr Khataw and his team who are market leaders within the Tanzanian travel-industry. I believe that their move from a red: “we try harder” to a passionate purple: “first in car hire, first in service” will be a great one.”

To find out more about First Car Rental Tanzania and to hire a car today, visit the website at www.firstcarrental.co.tz,  email info@firstcarrental.co.tz  or phone +255 756 885 588.

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First Car Rental’s Top 10 Summer Trips in Africa

November 1, 2014 on 11:17 am | In Africa, Road Trips, South Africa | Comments Off



Outdoorplay.com - Free Kayak ShippingGet ready to pack a pair of sunglasses, sunscreen and comfortable shoes! Summer is just around the corner and we know that travel buffs want to start planning their summer vacations well in advance. So, here is First Car Rental’s list of Top 10 Summer weekends you should plan for!

1. Conquer the Wonderwall

Get your muscles working and your adrenaline pumping at the Wonderwall Indoor Climbing Gym in Gauteng. The Wonderwall is a great place for beginners to enjoy a safe rock climbing experience and is the perfect destination for seasoned climbers to enjoy consistent practice. With a 500m2 climbing space and routes ranging from 13 until 27, this venue guarantees a comprehensive climbing experience. First Car Rental has 13 car rental branches in Gauteng to make travel to Wonderwall easy.

2. Take on the Wild Coast

The unspoiled wilderness, the gorgeous beaches and the rugged natural beauty make the Wild Coast a popular spot for vacationers. Serious adventure seekers are spoilt for choice here. The Wild Coast offers exciting activities like canoeing and boating along the many lagoons, rivers and estuaries, bird watching, hiking, surfing and mountain biking to name a few. Laid back holiday makers can simply enjoy the incredible views of the dramatic coastline and the wind-swept sand dune.

3. Camp out

Pitch your tent and enjoy the gorgeous South African summer at the Glen Reenen camping site. Nestled in the foothills of the Maluti Mountains and just 22km east of Clarens in the Free State, the campsite is the perfect place to enjoy the natural splendour of the Golden Gate National Park. The brilliant shades of gold that are cast by the sun on the sandstone cliffs of the park certainly make it a place worth camping at. The Glen Reenen Camping site allows you the chance to be enthralled by the gorgeous views and admire local birdlife and game. Check out our list of top 10 camping sites in South Africa to find the best campsite close to you.

4. Channel your Zen

When you think KZN, you think Durban beaches and a vibrant nightlife, both of which are lots of fun. But if you want to channel your inner Zen this summer, the Japanese Garden in Durban North is the place to be. The soothing oriental landscape, bamboo, reeds and Japanese blossoms, and the gorgeous Koi ponds give the garden an authentic Eastern feel. This oriental garden is the perfect escape from the city where you can enjoy family picnics or a braai.

5. Get Cultural

Dance to the rhythm of the drums and get a feel of authentic African life at Roots of Rhythm Cultural experience. Located in Hoedspruit, Limpopo, the cultural village teaches visitors about the history and culture of African tribes. Visitors can enjoy a one hour show that uses song and dance to express the area’s rich and diverse past and its mix of languages, cultures and identities.

6. Stargaze

Stargazing can be a really fun way to beat the summer heat and enjoy an ‘out of this world’ experience and Sutherland is the perfect place to do this. The South African Astronomical Observatory (SAAO) has set up several telescopes in the Karoo hamlet in Sutherland. The elevation, clear skies and absence of pollution make this place the ideal spot for stargazing. The Visitor Centre conducts night tours where visitors can view stars and celestial bodies through two dedicated visitor telescopes. Prior booking is essential.

7. Ride the waves

For a fun summer weekend families must definitely pay a visit to the Valley of Waves at Sun City in North West province. The Valley of Waves is a spectacular water theme park designed to look like an ancient lost city. The park offers visitors of all ages an enormous range of leisure activities. Visitors can surf, swim and ride water chutes in the midst of the African bushveld. There is a designated children’s area to keep parents’ minds at ease and lifeguards are on duty daily. First Car Rental has car rental branches in North West province to make your car rental easier.

8. Chill out at the beach

No summer weekend would be complete without a day at the beach! From Boulders Beach to Camps Bay, to the gorgeous Hout Bay, visitors are spoilt for choice when it comes to beaches in the Western Cape. However, these beaches can get quite busy during summer. If you are looking for a special beach experience, head to the Preekstoel Beach in the West Coast National Park. Located near Still Bay, the beach derived its name from the rock formation that looks like a pulpit (preeskotel in Afrikaans). The quiet isolation and gorgeous natural beauty of this provisional blue flag beach makes it a must-visit this summer.

9. Visit the Berlin Falls

Located just outside the Blyde River Canyon Nature Reserve in Mpumalanga is the gorgeous Berlin Falls, situated north of Graskop and just 70 kilometers from Kruger National Park. In case you are wondering how an African waterfall got the name ‘Berlin’, it’s because during the gold rush European miners came here to try their luck and named the water falls after their hometowns. The Berlin Falls are among a cluster of Sabie waterfalls comprising the Horseshoe, Lone Creek and Bridal Veil Falls, the Mac Mac Falls and the Lisbon Falls. Self-drive is highly recommended as you will pass the gorgeous attractions on the Panorama Route that include God’s Window, the Blyde River Canyon and Bourke’s Luck Potholes.

10. Drive down the Swartberg Pass

A drive down the Swartberg Pass in summer can be quite refreshing. At an elevation of 1,583 meters above sea level, this 27-km mountain pass is one of the steepest in South Africa and is considered one of the finest mountain passes in the world. The pass connects Prince Albert in the north and Oudtshoorn in the south and offers spectacular views over the Little and Great Karoo. The pass was built by Thomas Bain and took three years, from 1883 to 1886, to complete. The skilful road building technique used to build this steep pass is the stuff of legend. There are four viewpoints/picnic sites on the southern ascent of this pass and there is plenty see, from flora to fauna, and some amazing geology too.

Book a car with First Car Rental and get set for an amazing summer! First Car Rental has 49 branches nationwide, making summer trips easy.


Toy Hauler, Motor Home, Camping Trailers and RV Campgrounds of Moab

October 29, 2014 on 9:18 am | In Adventure Travel, Outdoors, Road Trips, Southwest | Comments Off



Backcountry.com Winter ClearanceRVing with toys in tow or hooking up for creature comforts of home, Moab satisfies a wilderness experience with an amazing diversity of camping conditions. Moab’s Motorized visitors often request assistance for camping close to ATV or 4×4 trails to forego hauling a trailer to trailheads. Preferring to travel lighter, Moab has ample outfitters to take you or lead you or rent to you the equipment needed to explore an enormous inventory of public lands and trails.

Not to be overlooked are photography tours, golf, leisurely auto tours of three National Scenic Byways, self-guided Rock Art auto tours and visits to Dead Horse Point State Park and Arches and Canyonlands National Parks. Granted the changing light on red rock landscapes is astounding in this region, getting tips from local photographers will help turn those memories into indelible snippets of your visit or use the results of National Park shots to enter a contest. Share the Experience, www.sharetheexperience.org, is accepting national park images until December 31st for the 2014 Photo Contest and have added a new category this year for Night Skies. Among our tour companies is Red Rock Astronomy for gazing into the night sky with a telescope.

Tips for Camping:

Dead Horse Point State Park and Arches National Park provide websites on which to reserve camping in the park. Go online to reserve as soon as travel dates are determined. These campgrounds fill four months in advance. Three yurts have been added to Dead Horse Point State Park’s inventory and are available starting with October.


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Camping is a primary activity for Moab. Surrounding wildlands are fragile and unable to recover from any amount of cat holes a visitor might imagine are practical. Human waste and toilet paper are required to be packed out to aid in abiding to the Leave No Trace principles. Tag-A-Long Expeditions, Canyon Voyages and Moab River Rentals have toilets to rent to visitors using public lands overnight. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) sites equipped with pit toilets are an alternative source for primitive camping and especially beneficial to those camping with tents. BLM sites are based on the first come, first served use system.

Of course, camping at any of the commercial campgrounds in Moab will have flushing toilets and showers, often refreshing swimming pools. Commercial campgrounds will accept advance reservations to insure a base camp for exploring Moab’s more wild places beyond the hem of town.

To ride an ATV out of camp aim to camp in Horsethief Camp off of Hwy 313, Ledge Camps out Kane Creek Road, or in the Sand Flats Recreation area on BLM land. Or reserve a campsite with Archview Resort or Kane Springs Campground. If the OHV is street legal, OK RV Park, Spanish Valley Trail RV Park and Ron’s Pack Creek Campground will have some trails accessible from those business locations.

Camping with kids? Select the BLM campground at Ken’s Lake because kids’ love water. A short trail links the reservoir to the campground and two additional trails are close by for more activity from camp. Or peruse the commercial list of campground for those with playgrounds, arcades, pools and other kid notable activities. Two commercial campgrounds are situated along a creek.


Consider carrying Wag Bags, personal refuse systems, on day trips to keep the backcountry healthy and clean. These are labeled landfill safe waste bags, treated with chemicals. The bags are NOT poured into flush toilets nor disposed of in vault toilets. The EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) approved systems can be purchased locally at Canyon Voyages and GearHead shops along Main Street in Moab or from the store REI. Human waste in the backcountry is a concern for resource protection and human health with Moab’s popularity and the volume of visitation in the backcountry.

Some of the Off Highway machines are loud. Be considerate of driving during ‘quiet’ hours which is generally 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. in campgrounds. Adhere to quiet hours in the rural places of Moab as well for the sake of the residents.

Moab Area Travel Council has pages of campground listings for Moab in three categories. Those first come first served Bureau of Land Management sites with pit toilets, picnic tables and fire pits; commercial campgrounds providing flushing toilets and showers, and the sites operated by Dead Horse Point (Utah) State Park, Forest Service and Arches or Canyonlands National Parks. http://www.discovermoab.com/campgrounds.htm.

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