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Saturday, January 15, 2011

We’re Gonna Party Like It’s 4709! 1.15.11

Or it could be 4708 or 4648, depending on which starting date you use. No, we haven’t figured out that time machine yet, but it’s almost Chinese New Year. This year marks the Year of the Rabbit, which starts on February 3rd and lasts for 15 days, ending with Lantern Festival. It’s the time for new beginnings, which can include a thorough house-cleaning to forgiving grudges. Children also get generous gifts of money in red paper envelopes for luck in the new year.  Do you have a desire to celebrate in Asia where all the festivities happen? You might be looking at higher airfare prices and hotel rates if you do. Save your pennies for a trip during a less busy time of year and check out one of your local Chinatown celebrations next month instead.

No matter where you live, if there’s a large Chinese population, you’ll find festivities happening. The following countries still declare Chinese New Year a national holiday: Mainland China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Macau, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan and Vietnam. While not a holiday in Australia, Canada or the U.S. there are still huge celebrations. One of the best places to find where you can enjoy such parties is on What’s On When.  Search for Chinese New Year and your city and What’s On When will find everything in your area that matches. Then you can put on your red party dress and join in the fun! If you’ll be traveling during this time, don’t worry! I see dates for celebrations in Paris, Melbourne, Washington, D.C., London and more!  

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Maybe hitting up your favorite Chinese restaurant for some good fortune would be a fun idea. Check out OpenTable or TopTable (for those in the UK and Europe) for a list of popular dining venues where you can make reservations that will get you points toward a free dining certificate. Perhaps you’ll get a prosperous saying in your fortune cookie!

Ever witnessed the San Francisco Chinatown area? I have. It’s crazy! One thing you can count on is that celebrations will be phenomenal in a place like that.  Think that the Bay Area is way too expensive? You’re in luck! Priceline has a great package deal for you. From just $84 per night per person, you get RT airfare and your choice of hotel for 3 nights! Book by January 16 and travel through February 13.  Walk to Fisherman’s Wharf to visit Pier 39, drive down Lombard, take a ferry to Alcatraz, check out Ghirardelli Square during the day and then party all night…or until the celebration is over.

New York is known for it’s big Chinatown. Would you like to combine your New Year celebration with a trip to the Big Apple? Priceline is more than happy to make that wish come true with their 3-night vacation package. Book by Jan 16 to get rates as low as $114 per night per person, including airfare. Travel through February 13 and be able to pack more things into less time since the excitement of the holidays is over and tourists have gone back home. Choose from a list of comfortable and conveniently-located hotels to stay in and then just pick your travel dates!

Speaking of New York…Have you ever been to a temporary restaurant? Do you want to? This following article, from Concierge.com tells of a 9-month temporary restaurant installation in New York that opens on January 25:

A new restaurant in NYC's Soho hasn't even opened its doors, and already its days are numbered. But that's just the way the chef wants it. Dovetail's John Fraser (pictured, looking for serving pieces at a warehouse) came up with the idea, and the name, for his temporary restaurant when he was bemoaning all the hoopla of the New York food scene with some friends. He mused, "What would happen if…"

Diners will find out the answer on January 25, when Fraser throws open the doors of
What Happens When. Each month, for nine months, there will be a new menu, design, and soundtrack based on a different theme. The back-to-basics restaurant will have no-frills service (diners will set their own cutlery), a simple bar cart, and a lot of surprises (we've heard tell of a marching band).

Want in on the foodie action? Donate at
Kickstarter—which helped fund the project—and you can propose suggestions for the following month's theme. But act now. By September, the space will be empty and you'll be left wondering, "What happened?"

What Happens When

25 Cleveland Place
New York CityNew York
Tel: 212 925 8310 

Pretty interesting, huh? If you make reservations and eat here, please come back and tell me how it was…and take some pictures of the ever-changing design and entertainment.

While not known for its Chinese population, Orlando is a good place to visit right now. The temperatures are mild and you can take in Disney’s EPCOT and see what celebrations they have in “China”. Watch Reflections of China on CircleVision, get a bite to eat and watch the different talented performers throughout the day. From just $208 per person, fly RT to Orlando and stay for 4 nights. Book by February 28 and travel through the end of March for these low rates. If you book with your MasterCard, you are eligible for a prepaid debit card up to $100 in value, too! Book more activities through Expedia to save even more on your trip.

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When you finally do get to Asia, save money on accommodations by renting a house or apartment. Hotels can be really expensive there (in the big cities in Japan and China). You may also consider staying in a hotel on the outskirts of the city to save. You will still have access to public transportation, but the lodgings are usually cheaper and quieter.

Worried about getting around in Asia where you don’t speak the language? Try one of these great translation apps from iTunes or get yourself a Point It book. Don’t know the word in Mandarin or Cantonese? Find the picture in the book and show it to the person you’re trying to communicate with. Super easy and portable. Pull it out in language emergencies!

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I know you’re always bummed when a blog post is over, especially a short one like this one. Well, if you haven’t had a chance to check out some of my other online articles, please do. The following websites have been awesome enough to let me fill up their sites with my words of budget travel wisdom. Make sure to check them out once you get there, as they are super helpful in both saving money and traveling. You won’t be disappointed.

My Itchy Travel Feet

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