Monday, June 28, 2010
Do you remember riding a carousel when you were a kid? All those beautiful carved horses, and colors and lights, with the organ music grinding out its cacophonous tune? Well even if you are too young to remember, these whirling works of art haven't lost their ability to captivate people of all ages, even if they can't go 400 mph. But I wasn't sure if or where I might go about finding one these days. Turns out that the National Carousel Association (NCA) hosts an index of North American carousels. They've got classic wood and metal carousels, as well as newer ones, all listed by state. It so happens that many of the antique wooden models (my favorites), are located in great spots for timeshare rentals, like California, Florida, Massachusetts, New York, Tennessee, Virginia, Washington, and more.
For example, there's a circa 1896, all wooden carousel at Knott's Berry Farm in Buena Park, CA. It was built by the Detzel Carousel Company, a family of 19th Century German immigrants, and is one of only fourteen of their creations remaining in the world. Knott's Berry Farm is a great place to take the family and there's a little place called Disneyland ten minutes down the road that you might enjoy too. You can rent a two bedroom timeshare at the WorldMark Anaheim for as little as $143/night. It's ranked 5 stars by RedWeek.com members and puts you minutes from everything.
Then there's 1938 classic by Allan Herschell at the Aquatic Center, Lake Havasu City, AZ. The Herschell Company specialized in portable carousels that could be transported from one town to the next, like at a carnival or fair. And if you were not already aware, the London Bridge is located in Lake Havasu City. That's right, the one from the children's song that was "falling down, falling down." I guess it landed in AZ when it finally came to rest. You can see it all by renting a beachfront timeshare at the First Cabin Club for as little as $93/night.
Finally, I wanted to be sure to mention Playland in Rye, NY. It features not one, not two, but three antique carousels under one roof. One of them, a 1927 Prior & Church "derby racer," is one of only three left in the world. Playland is a National Historic Landmark, the only government owned and operated amusement park in the U.S. and the last of its kind in terms of early twentieth century, family-oriented fun. If you've ever seen the movie "Big" with Tom Hanks, you'll recognize it as the home of "Zoltar the Magnificent." You can rent a timeshare in Manhattan, about thirty five minutes away, at the West 57th Street by Hilton Club. Studios are about $138/night, with one bedroom units starting at $300/night.
Well thanks for letting me take you down memory lane, and I hope you'll get out and see some of these pieces of living U.S. history and help keep them alive for another generation.
Monday, June 21, 2010
Anyway, the assault on your wallet doesn't stop at the airport. Have you rented a car lately? I got a rental at $200 and $30 of my bill was a concession fee. I'm thinking, I didn't buy a hotdog (yet), how could they be slapping me with concession fees? Turns out the concession is the fee the rental car company pays to the airport. Can you imagine if your grocery store tacked on their rent to your tab right as you got to the register? And how about booking a hotel through one of these travel sites? You go on Expedia or Orbitz and click on the $99 Orlando offer and somewhere between there and the checkout it's $137 a night! How does that happen? Fees.
Well there is not much I can tell you about the airport or car rental fees, other than to drive everywhere in your own car, or walk. But I can offer this bit of advice when it comes to lodging: rent a timeshare from its owner. When you go on RedWeek.com and see an Orlando timeshare resort you like for $71/night, you work directly with the owner and settle on a price. Presumably, $71/night (or less). And that's it. Now once you get there and you decide you want to hit the mini-bar, valet park your call, make a bunch of phone call, etc., all bets are off. But that is your choice. Fees that you had no chance to waive -- or with cryptic sounding names -- are just not part of the equation. And no horrible William Shatner ads either, I might add.
Monday, June 14, 2010
But the part of the book that is the nearest and dearest to my heart is Chapter 13: Travel. Can you guess how these wise moms save a ton of money on family travel? That's right, they rent timeshares on by-owner marketplaces like RedWeek.com. They get the benefit of multiple bedrooms, full kitchens, and great family activities, all for prices comparable to regular hotel rooms. This is the message I have been spreading as the Timeshare Ambassador and I am happy to hear that more and more travelers are catching on.
I'll leave you with one last CentsAble tidbit, and that is to know how long various household products can be stored. If you are going to be making bulk purchases to get better price points, you have to know how long this stuff will stick around, right? So how long do you think an unopened jar of mustard will last? How about two years. Are you kidding me?! I'm pretty sure I've got a jar in my fridge that has been in there since the 90s. I guess I ought to pitch it when I get back.
About the Ambassador
Seymour O. DeSytes is a serial vacationer with over thirty years of timeshare experience and know-how. RedWeek.com has dispatched him to spread the word about the benefits of timeshare travel, sniff out the best deals on timeshare rentals, resales, and exchanges, and report back with some stories "from the road". Seymour's dispatches are typically filed on Mondays.
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