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Saturday, September 25, 2010

One Hit Wonder Vacations? 9.25.10

It’s a celebration of One-Hit Wonders today, which means you can break out your Tommy Tutone cassette and sing the praises of Jenny (867-5309) while you search for a once in a lifetime vacation, which I am calling One Hit Wonders, because if you make it there once, it is exciting. If you are lucky, you’ll make a comeback and do it again. Sure, these vacations take a bit of planning and saving, but they’re worth it in the end, so Don’t Worry, Be Happy (Bobby McFerrin) and read on to find out how you can still save money while taking one of these amazing trips. 

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Vote for the Frequent Traveler Awards. Voting is open until October 15th.

Obviously, you aren’t going to find some Hot Hot Hot (Buster Poindexter) $200 airfare to fly to the other side of the world, unless you have tons of frequent flyer miles, and if you do, I say now is the time to use them. There are so many ways to earn FF miles now, it’s almost impossible to NOT accrue any through everyday purchases and You Gotta Be (Des’ree) crazy to not have at least one membership with an airline. It’s FREE to join, so if you never use it, it doesn’t hurt anyone.
  • If you know where you want to travel, look to The Spirit in the Sky (Norman Greenbaum), also known as the Internet, and sign up for specialty airlines and any major airlines that fly there. For example, if you know you are dying to go to Iceland, sign up for emails and the frequent flyer program for Iceland Air. If they don’t fly out of your home airport, look for any other airline that makes frequent trips there and sign up there.
  • If you are really serious about earning those miles, sign up for a credit card that gets you miles on an airline that flies to convenient locations, like American. Many banks let you accrue miles for using your debit card. There is usually a yearly fee, but even at $25, that’s a bargain, unless you forget and never use it for a non-PIN transaction. How Bazaar(OMC) that would be, since you can do it automatically just by getting gas.
  • Use FareCompare Deal Finder to get the best airfare on flights to destinations from Chicago to Greece to Prague. I found an amazing deal to fly from Portland to Moscow at just over $1,000 pp.
  • Spend 5 awesome nights in Tahiti from $1599 per person, with included round-trip airfare on Air France, accommodations in Papeete and all transfers, taxes and fuel surcharges. Must book at least 30 days in advance for select dates in November and December. Add day trips, dining or tours for an additional cost.

I know you’ve been saving up and you don’t necessarily want to spend half your hard-earned money that you purposely didn’t spend on shoes and video games to pay for a room. Look on sites like VRBO.com to rent an apartment, condo or house. The price is sometimes much cheaper than traditional hotel rooms Makin' It (David Naughton) easier to spend more time In a Big Country (Big Country) or a small one, because you don't pay for maid service and you have your own kitchen and can prepare your own meals.
  • You probably won't see any Kung Fu Fighting (Carl Douglas) in Thailand, but you'll see a whole lot more on this Taste of Thailand 9-day tour. If you book by October 6th, you save $300 off per person. For $999 per person your tour includes round trip airfare from LAX, transportation, tours, accommodations, many meals and more. You even have the option of extending your tour to 12 days with trips to Angkor Wat and Phuket Island.
  • Pray for No Rain (Blind Melon) and spend 8 glorious days in Mykonos and Athens from $809 per person. Enjoy 5 days and nights in Mykonos and enjoy soaking in some rays on the beach or shopping or sightseeing. In Athens, take a day cruise around the islands or a tour of the Acropolis and other sites, such as the Panathinaiko Stadium or The Temple of Poseidon in Sounio. Your trip includes airfare and ferry between Mykonos and Athens, transfers, 4 or 5 star accommodations, daily breakfast, welcome dinner in San Marco, hotel taxes and baggage handling. You even have the option of adding interntational airfare to this package.

Most of us go on vacation to Relax (Frankie Goes to Hollywood) or see something Unbelievable (EMF) and that’s exactly what you want out of a one-hit wonder vacation, because you want to remember it as being an Epic (Faith No More) trip. Sign up for travel emails that include cruises. Often you will find great prices for cruises if you book far in advance. So, even if you are looking to take an unusually expensive cruise, you may get hundreds of dollars off per person. One of the best travel e-newsletters to sign up with is Sherman's Travel. Their emails are packed with great trips, tips and deals. 
  • Take your significant other or Just a Friend (Biz Markie) with you on the Road to Mandalay cruise for the 7-night Ayeyarwady Adventure starting at $2900. Use the code provided in the link to get one free night at the 5 star Governor's Residence Hotel in Yangon before or after your cruise. Begin in Mandalay and then cruise on to visit a Burmese Village, Bagan, Mount Popa, Sagaing and Maymyo. Price includes all meals, economy-class flight, transfers and sightseeing.
  • Sail through the Amazon in style. Take a 10-day Amazon Voyage on a 28-guest riverboat from $3298 per person. Begin in Lima, Peru where you will have flown and spent the night in the Swissotel to refresh yourself and get ready for adventure. Aside from round trip airfare and first night hotel, you receive guided tours and lectures, 8 nights accommodation, 23 meals, wildlife excursions on land and by skiff, village visits, piranha fishing and more.

Many of us aren't into taking tours when it comes to vacation, because it's like you aren't experiencing the destination as it was meant to be. Crammed in an air-conditioned bus with a bunch of other tourists, but many times tours are more interesting and get you out of the bus to spend time on your own exploring. You Got To Be Real (Cheryl Lynn) when it comes to your dream vacation, so if you can save money by planning your own tours, by all means, do it. If you want to experience as much as possible and have an expert show you around, a tour might be where it's at. Don't automatically assume it's going to be you and a bunch of 80 year old ladies.
  • Spend 21 Happy Days (Pratt & McClain) on a South African overland tour. In 3 weeks, you'll see all the different landscapes Africa has to offer, starting in Cape Town and ending at Victoria Falls. You'll visit South Africa, Namibia, Botswana and Zimbabwe. Included in your trip for $1810 per person is a fully escorted tour, all activities and sightseeing, transportation, entrance fees, most meals, national parks fees, tolls and taxes. Read about the wonders of Africa in Venture Magazine here.

  • If you have time to spare at the end of your Australia trip and are faced with going back to the real world you can say We're Not Gonna Take It (Twisted Sister) and add on this 3 day Cape Leveque ExperienceThis coastal getaway takes you from Broome to Cape Leveque and back again. You will learn to rustle up bush tucker (wilderness food), have a beachside BBQ, enjoy a snorkeling trip and more. 
  • Presenting Cairo is a 5 night tour of Egypt that includes round-trip airfare, accommodations, daily brakfast, transfers and taxes from only $1799 per person. Make your own schedule exploring this fabulous land of the pharoahs.
  • If you have plans to try to find yourself an African Safari, I am jealous, but aside from that, here's a great resource for you from Sherman's Travel.

  • Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm (Crash Test Dummies) do I love food on vacation. I love food anyway, but it's really exciting on vacation to me. While it's not always part of your budget to eat at some fancy restaurant every night, it doesn't mean you can't eat at any ever. If you heard of a great restaurant, but its got a famous chef and an even more famous menu, as in sky-high prices, go for lunch instead of dinner, the portions are normally smaller, the prices can be half as much and the food is still Michelin-star quality.
  • Another way to save money on vacation is to eat at street vendors and delis. My new favorite newsletter is called Found It. Ate It. by Divine Caroline. Reviews of inexpensive food around the world are featured, with a new newsletter showing up in your email every 2 to 5 days. While you're there, enter to win a $200 Dean & Deluca gift card.

  • Don't Want to Fall in Love (Jane Child) with airline fees? Travel with only a carry-on and save money on checked baggage fees. Many international airlines have stricter policies for weights and dimensions for travel bags going in the cabin. Invest in a great bag and a luggage scale. Plus, you can see how I pack for a trip to get the most out of my carry-on space by rolling clothes in my Facebook photo album.
  • Safaris are amazing, but they can also be amazingly hot. Don't be a Hot Child in the City (Nick Gilder) and be prepared with ExOfficio's safari-ready clothing for both men and women. They are lightweight, rugged, moisture-wicking, quick-drying, stylish and contain UVA & UVB protection. Check out their selection, including the Women's Insect Shield® Ambush Pant below.
  • Purchase Dansko footwear in new, comfortable styles. You won't be Stumblin' In (Suzi Quatro) them, because they are known to promote good foot, leg and back health. Get free overnight shipping on new styles and free two-day shipping on all others from Endless.com
Dansko Women's Becca Pump,Black,37 EU (US Women's 6.5-7 M)

Are you Too Shy (Kajagoogoo) to ask people to take your picture or find you are often somewhere where there are few people or everyone speaks a foreign language? Here are 2 great gadgets that will eliminate the problem of needing another person to take your picture or never getting shots with your travel companion. Don’t be a Maniac (Michael Sembello) like me and prop your camera on random objects to hope you get a shot. I finally got these for travel and now I never need anyone else to help get a great picture…and my camera isn’t liable to fall into my soda glass. 
  • Gorilla Pod: If there’s a fence or a door knob or ground near you, you can adjust this thing any way you need to to take the perfect picture. Use the timer on your camera, set up the gorilla pod, hit the picture button and go pose for the flash.
  • Monopod: If you have an arm, you can use this cool thing. It’s True (Spandau Ballet)! How many times have you tried to take a picture of you and someone else and tried to hold the camera at the right angle, smile and try not to take a picture of your thumb, the ground or just your right eye? Right? Attach your camera to the end of this telescopic stick, unsheathe it and use your self-timer to take a great picture. You’ll probably even get some background in, so people don’t think you were just sitting in your backyard instead of in front of the Great Pyramids.
  • What is Love? (Haddaway) Amazing pictures of your amazing adventures! Chances are, you’re going to want evidence of your once in a lifetime vacation and all that you experienced. While you can go on a shopping spree, you can also take lots of pictures. I put this Fujifilm FinePix waterproof digital camera on my birthday list last year and I love it! It takes 12MP pictures and all the instructions for each setting is right on the screen, so you never have to carry around your instruction manual to figure out which setting is best for each particular occasion.  I specifically wanted it because it is waterproof. I’ll be taking it to both the beach and on water rides in Orlando in a few weeks, so I hope to get great pictures of us swimming with the sting rays and on JurassicPark: The Ride!

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