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Saturday, December 11, 2010

Around the World in Foodie Days (Part 2) 12.11.10

Continued from 12.8.10...

Food for thought: Travel and food go hand in hand. Do you often think about food when you think about travel and vacation? I know I do. We will try our darndest to find the cheapest flight available and hope that it has a layover in Dallas at the DFW airport. If we didn’t have real travel plans, we have talked about vacationing IN that airport. Unfortunately, it could only be a 2 day trip, but it would be 2 days full of shopping and eating! Since we do make real travel plans, we settle for a long layover (3 hours is good), so we can look at some shops, ride the Skylink, eat at Chilis Too and grab an order of Popeyes Chicken to go. Yeah, I know we’re the weird couple who actually enjoys being at the airport, but it also affords us to take our time, stretch our legs, maybe grab a way-too-many-calorie Ben & Jerry waffle cone ice cream sundae and do a solid bit of people-watching. It is fact that we have more food packed from DFW to our destination than when we started our journey out of PortlandOre.

Shereen Travels Cheap is featured on Ebates! This is really exciting, since Ebates has a huge audience, but I guess all my posts are exciting to me. If you or someone you know is interested in taking a destination holiday this year (or any other year) please take a look and pass it on via Facebook, Twitter or email. Thanks for the support!

So, why travel to other destinations if I could just go to DFW and get my fix and come home? There are so many reasons why.

New cuisines. I may love Chilis and am still hurt by their multiple-restaurant closure in Oregon (why?!), but I’m aware it’s not “cuisine”. I can get the same thing anywhere else in the country, probably closer to home, but it’s one of my favorite restaurants, so eating there on vacation makes it special. Aside from that one thing, I am excited to try new foods that are local to where I’m visiting. I could probably eat at Tigin Irish Pub & Restaurant in D Terminal, but I would much rather eat at a real Irish bar in Ireland.

Meet the locals. I’m sure most of the people that work in DFW are local to the area and there are probably more nationalities in that airport at any given time than most other places I would go, but they are all busy and going one place or another. I want to immerse myself in a culture when I travel. The destination is the goal, I just happen to also enjoy the journey there.
Carry-on free. I like running around the airport with all my worldly (travel) possessions in my wheelie bag, but this doesn’t really help you browse stores or look at things. At least at your destination you have a home base for your things and can leave them without worrying about airport security blowing them because unattended luggage might be a bomb.
Kodak moments. I suppose I could take a bunch of pictures of myself and Eric in the airport doing random things, like buying bagels, and say we had a wonderful trip, but people are going to ask me why it looks like we’re in a mall in each picture. Get out, see the (real) sights and take pictures of scenery, buildings, people, animals and whatever else looks like it would make a good statement hanging on your wall at home (or in your photo album).

Don’t forget to “like” Shereen Travels Cheap if you’re on Facebook. There is a giveaway in progress right now and more will follow. Because they are based on member numbers, suggest Shereen Travels Cheap to all your friends, too!
Are you on Twitter? Me, too! Follow me @Shereentrvlschp and get daily tweets with awesome travel deals and budget travel tips and suggestions.

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When you think of places that are famous for food, do you long to go there like I do? Which food is calling your name? Is it sushi or pasta or kangaroo burgers? (Don’t blame me that that’s a real thing.) Well, let’s see what other fun places you can visit that is a foodie destination.

Ever been to a luau? If roast pig, poi, pineapples and coconuts sound like your kind of culinary adventure, Hawaii is on sale for you through Monday December 13. Rates from west coast cities are at some of the lowest prices I’ve seen for Hawaiian airlines (or any other carrier), starting at $333 to Maui and Honolulu. Ask for a new bathing suit and sunscreen for Christmas so you can start packing for your trip. Travel between January 11 and June 9. You don’t even have to pack snacks on your flight, because Hawaiian still feeds you for free! Travel ticker can even help you find an affordable hotel if you need one.

I guess it depends on your food preferences on whether or not you go to Ireland for the cuisine, but many people do and proclaim its deliciousness (unless that’s the Guinness talking). If boiled bacon and cabbage or Irish stew don’t really sound all that yummy to you, what about Boxty (a traditional potato pancake), Dublin Bay prawns or even Dublin Lawyer (lobster cooked in whiskey and cream)? Even have to add those to my list of something to try when I make it over there. Get myself a nice Irish coffee to go with my dessert and I’ll be good to go…to sleep that is.  After a meal like that, I’ll need a good night of rest so I can get up the next day and do some sightseeing that doesn’t involve the local pub.
  • Right now, Priceline is offering a great deal to those who want to kiss the Blarney Stone. (Seriously, don’t do that. It’s covered in germs.) 4 nights at the 5-star Adare Village Resort and 2 nights at the 4-star Croke Park Hotel in Dublin, with RT airfare on Aer Lingus  and car rental for the week from the low, low price of $499 per person. (This price is based on 4 travelers in a party, but deals also available for 2-6 travelers if you have less or more!) Book by midnight December 14 for travel dates in 2011.

I love to hear about food the world over even if I can’t travel there…yet. Sign up for the Found It. Ate It. blog on Divine Caroline and get 3-4 yumtastic listings every few days sent to your email inbox. Each one is different and may focus on a topic (like fries) or a place (such as San Francisco), but all have great suggestions that make you hungry. I print out listings I find particularly tempting and put it in my “future travel” folder for when I plan a trip. Then I will have some ideas of shops, food carts or restaurants I want to visit when I get there. And if the words don’t getcha, the mouthwatering pictures surely will.
When you go out for your birthday and get to pick the restaurant, do you immediately think of inari, California roll, unagi, tako and some wasabi? If you have no idea what these are, then you probably are not a sushi lover. For those of you that are, you are a lover of the lunchtime sushi-go-round and anywhere else that serves the tasty rolled up ocean-dwellers. While I’m not a fan myself (the rice wine vinegar is not my friend) I can appreciate the art of the sushi roll and wouldn’t mind a trip to the founding nation of the bite-size nibbles. I’m talking, of course, of Japan. Known for more than just sushi, you can go skiing, visit the beach and much more (one of those being Tokyo Disney). 
  • Priceline has teamed up with Japan Airlines (JAL) to bring you this flight deal that is almost half of the regular flight prices I’ve seen in the last 6 months! $796 RT will fly you to KyotoTokyoOkinawa or many other cities. You must book by December 23rd for flights through March 17. This is a great opportunity for you to fly around the globe for almost the cost of flying across the country.

Find your way to New Orleans in December and take in the city’s history, awesome hospitality, music and best of all, all the Cajun food you can eat! If a pot of boiling crawdads gets you salivating, then here’s a great deal for you and your tastebuds. Spend some time before, after or during Christmas at the Luxe New Orleans Marriott for just $109/night. It includes 20% off dining and free parking. Near the riverfront, Bourbon Street and the Museum of Art, you are surrounded by the best the city has to offer, and I’m sure étouffée, jambalaya, gumbo and beignets will be calling your name in no time. Maybe you can practice your French for when you make your trip to France to nosh on haute cuisine, such as bouillabaisse, cassoulet, beef bourguignon, frog legs and escargot. If that all sounds painfully foreign to you, maybe stick to the more conventional Cog au vin, beef Wellington and chocolate soufflé.

While not really a foodie destination, Las Vegas is full of buffets, which can have many different ethnic foods. One of my favorites is the Around The World Buffet at Rio. You can get almost anything you want there and if you aren’t sure, it gives you the ability to sample something from different parts of the globe. 
  • Right now, you can spend more on buffets and less on lodging by booking a room at the Polo Towers Suites on The Strip. For just $49/night (weekend rates add $20) you can stay in a suite with a kitchenette and balcony.  Book by December 15 for stays through March 31. This is a heck of a deal. Regular rates can be well over $200/night at this hotel. Located next toMGM and New York New York, you can visit the lions for free, walk the streets of New York, take in a Cirque du Soliel show, take a roller coaster ride and try your luck at the slots. When you want to get away from the action of the casinos, go back to Polo Towers and use the rooftop pool and jacuzzi.

To Be Continued…

Still need a holiday gift for someone that loves to travel? Here are some of my new brilliant ideas that haven’t already been given out in the previous posts over the past month.

Culinary Travel Journal

Good food, journal writing and European travel combine to form an enticing new package designed for gourmands venturing to European shores. We've included the ever-popular handy travel tips and information sections, as well as ample writing space to record every delectable moment of your trip. Special to this volume are entirely new sections on cooking schools, established European restaurants, farmers' and outdoor food markets, wine regions, food and specialty shops and more. With this journal in hand, you can fulfill all your foodie fantasies and have the pages in which to record every last sweet and savory detail.

Abroad: A Travel Journal and Organize

Going somewhere? Wish you were? There's no time like the present for planning that dream trip. Both travel guide and travel journal, this is the place to plan, dream, document experiences, and keep track of important details. Abroad is packed with inspiring tips and travel information, and features two pockets for storing tickets and maps, an elastic band, and enough amusing asides from fellow travelers to keep you smiling through most train and bus rides. With Abroad in hand, the trip never has to end.

Violight VIO200 Travel Toothbrush Sanitizer

For the traveling germaphobe in your life. The Violight is able to kill 99.9-percent of the bacteria living on your toothbrush with its UV light. Runs on AA batteries. You brush your teeth, put your toothbrush in the Violight, close the lid and let it do its job. It automatically turns off when sanitation is complete.

Can’t afford a trip this holiday? Make a trip to your nearest Cost Plus World Market store and pick up a box of Beers of The World (or buy online). Get 10 bottles from a variety of nations. It’s like international bar-hopping, but without having to pack or leave your house (except to buy it).

Wish there were even more deals in this blog? Well, you can subscribe to The #traveldeals Daily, too, and get a newspaper page full of travel deals from Tweeters like me.

Don’t forget to watch this space for new posts and updates on featured posts by ME! Yeah, yeah, I’m all about myself sometimes…but still, don’t forget to check out these great posts I did for the following websites (which you should also take a look at, because they were awesome enough to let me post for them and because they are totally useful).

And next week (tentatively), Shereen Travels Cheap will be featured on My Itchy Travel Feet, a great blog for baby boomers, but really informative no matter what your age is.

Anything I haven’t covered that you’re longing to see? Well, don’t be shy! Take the anonymous poll and let me know where it is you want to go or learn more about! If you don’t care about being invisible, you can take it anyway, or you can come post on my Facebook wall and ask me questions. I LOVE feedback of any kind.

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