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Saturday, August 28, 2010

Great Deals For All Budgets 8.28.10

Do you love flying as much as I do? I know there are plenty of people out there that hate waiting at the airport and just want to get to their destination as quickly as possible. I, on the other hand, view the trip to and wait at the airport as part of the journey. I like wheeling my carry-on through the overpriced gift shops, watching other travelers come and the excitement of walking down the tunnel to get onto the plane. If you don't view any of these things as obstacles, it makes your trip start that much more fun.
  • Alaska/Horizon has pulled together some low, low deals for travel in the U.S. and Canada between September 8th and December 15th. Sample rates include Seattle to San Jose for $79 each way and Atlanta to Vancouver for $169 each way. Rates are available for travel on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Saturdays and you must purchase by August 31st.
  • What's better than going on a trip? How about a FREE trip? American Airlines wants you to win one from them that includes flying to New York, your accommodations, seeing John Legend and The Roots in concert and a ton of frequent flyer miles. Register before September 30th for a chance at this once-in-a-lifetime prize.

It's not hard to find great discounts on hotels right about now. There are sales for as early as Labor Day weekend and all the way through Christmas. If you want to go somewhere touristy, then it might be a bit more difficult to find prices within your budget, especially if you want to stay in more luxurious accommodations. Here are a few options for you.
  • Hotwire is offering 4-star hotels at 2-star pricing for a limited time. Locations offered across America.
  • Stay in brand-new hotels. Hotels that have been newly built or totally remodeled often have an introductory period right when they open that offers rock-bottom rates. HotelChatter is a website that not only shows reviews of hotels, but they also list the opening dates of new hotels and update them if they change. The list shows hotels worldwide, so you can search before you book your room.

There are so many cruises to choose from with all the different itineraries and ships. They offer a large selection in price ranges from budget all the way to ultra-plush. Even though you may wish to take a luxury cruise, your wallet may not agree. Sign up for e-mail deals and then you, too, can get the low-down on all the great sales without having to search for them or learn about them from someone else. Here are some wonderful sites that send regular newsletters that I find particularly useful.
  • BookIt -- BookIt will send you a weekly e-mail with their best deals, but you can also search and find amazing deals on your own through their site.
  • VacationsToGo -- Their weekly newsletter is pretty bare-bones with no images, but it's packed with information.
  • LastMinuteCruises -- Just like the name implies, if you can book a cruise on 3 week's notice, then you can get amazing deals on cabins that are still available on a variety of ships and itinerary.
  • From $399 pp, go on a 7-night cruise on Norwegian Cruise Lines to Bahamas or Florida.
  • From $379 pp, go on a 7-night Caribbean cruise on Carnival Cruise Lines.

I know that not everyone has the same taste in food and sometimes when you are on vacation, you just want something familiar. This is usually pretty easy to find if you have a hankering for a hamburger or pizza, but it's a lot harder when you have special food needs or allergies. I have several friends who are vegetarians and I have enough trouble thinking up food options for parties or dinner, sometimes. I always think, what do you do if you're in a foreign country and you don't know how to communicate your food needs. Here are a couple options, even if you're not vegetarian.
  • For those of you who are vegetarians/vegans or travel with someone who is, here's a great resource: HappyCow.net lists vegetarian/vegan restaurants the world over and also has listings for health food stores, markets, vegetarian-friendly lodgings and even a list of airlines that serve approved meals. For those with iPhones or iPod Touch, download their useful app called VegOut for only $2.99.
  • It's hard enough to communicate your meal preferences in English sometimes, but what about when you're in a foreign country? Now you can! With your iPhone or iPod, download the Veggie Passport app to be able to communicate to foreign waiters, hosts or travel companions in 33 languages. With the app, you choose one of many phrases, such as "I am a vegetarian," and it translates into the chosen language to show the person you need to convey your message to. The app got rave reviews and is downloaded for 99 cents. They also offer a similar application for those with food allergies called Allergy Passport. You can download it for $1.99, because nothing ruins a vacation like a trip to the emergency room.

When you find great travel basics, it's easy to stick with them, especially if those basics are also bestsellers for a company. You know they aren't likely to discontinue those items anytime in the near future, so you can always replenish your travel wardrobe if you need to. ExOfficio is one of my favorite travel clothing sites. though they have retail locations across America, the biggest selection of their clothing can be found at ExOfficio.com. Here are 2 of my favorite lines of theirs:
  • Dryflylite shirts: These come in a variety of colors and styles in both men's and women's lines. They often have sales on discontinued colors, too. This is one of their best selling shirts because they are rugged, stylish and keep you cool and dry. Long sleeve, short sleeve, sleeveless, they have a dryflylite shirt to suit everyone.
  • All their undergarments. Yeah, I love them all. They are odor-resistant, super comfortable and keep you dry and non-chafed. TravelSmith has all ExOfficio under things 25% off until September 22nd.

I love a deal, as I'm sure most of you do, too, otherwise you wouldn't be reading my blog. There are quite a few that I've come across this week that I would seriously consider myself if I didn't already have a vacation planned at the moment.
  • If I could have a second home, it would be in England. The country is beautiful, I can speak the language and it just feels like I belong there when I'm walking the streets. This would be a wonderful addition to a London vacation or even a weekend getaway for UK residents: Relax in the serenity of the English countryside with great deals from Barcelo Properties, like this one from the Barcelo Basingstoke Country Hotel in Southern England. Enjoy the comforts of your room, spend the day exploring or visit the spa. With its close proximity to tourist attractions like Windsor Castle, Legoland and Thorpe Amusement Park, there's always something to do. Prices from £42.00 per person and includes breakfast AND dinner.
  • Save 30% off a fabulous tour of India. Voyage Prive brings you a 10-day trip, including food, tour guide, accommodations, flights within India, entrance fees and much more for $2509. Travel the country and see more than you can imagine for way less than you could do it if booked separately. Book by September 2 for select dates through the end of the year.

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