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Thursday, February 17, 2011

Baby It's Cold Outside 2.17.11

So, I woke up this morning to snow. SNOW! Can you believe it? I live in Oregon and it’s halfway through February. So much for that groundhog predicting an early Spring, unless the weather does a 180 in the coming weeks. I’m ready to put away my boots, scarves and coats and break out the short sleeves. On my drive to work, seeing those big white flakes falling down, it got me thinking about how nice it would be if I were somewhere that was considerably warmer. It might have also been brought on by the toasty warmth of my car’s heater, but the point is, I’m ready for Winter to be over and I can bet that a lot of you are, too (unless you live in the Southern Hemisphere and your summer is coming to an end).

With Summer approaching and known for being the most expensive time to travel, you might instead look toward Spring travel. While you might have to pack a light jacket for early mornings or evening, the weather should still be perfect in a lot of destinations for the beach and other outdoor activities. It won’t be super hot, either, which can be optimal for those that love sunny weather, but hate the heat (like me!). It’s also a great time to go and save quite a lot on those locations that get a load of Summer foot traffic. Don’t be swept up in the crowds. Instead, take this less touristy time to enjoy your vacation and actually be able to relax. There’s nothing worse than getting away from the hoards of city people, just to go somewhere else where there are hoards of travelers.

Are you a Shereen Travels Cheap Subscriber yet? If not, please take a moment to do so by entering your email over on the right. (Please tell your friends where they can find me, too.)

Are you a social butterfly? If you belong to social networks like Facebook or Twitter, follow travel sites, like American Airlines, Hotwire and JetBlue. Often they will post exclusive savings or let their online friends know of them before they “officially” hit their main website. You can get special promo codes, travel news and great destination tips. Be ahead of the game by getting these posts and tweets sent right to your cell phone or set yourself up with a Nutshell Mail account, which will send you a customized-by-you newsletter with your social network posts and tweets as many times a day, week or month you’d like.  Social networking is only growing more popular, which means these kinds of travel sales are going to become more and more likely to pop up. Make sure you keep up, too.
Speaking of following your favorite sites on Facebook and Twitter, you can find Shereen Travels Cheap in both locations. Please join me for even more deals, suggestions, travel tips, etc.

You’re all geared up to find some fantastic Spring hotel rates and airfare sales, now what? There are other ways to find deals than Facebook and Twitter.

First of all, sign up for those travel alerts. They are your best friend in travel (aside from your carry-on bag, good walking shoes and travel companion). It’s these that can get you out of the house and on your vacation! If you don’t care which airline you travel on, go ahead and sign up for email alerts for any airline that originates from your home airport…and don’t forget about the travel aggregators, like Hotwire, Orbitz, Travelocity, etc. If you have a certain destination in mind, plug that in and you’ll get the best deals they can find to that location. 

Look for airfare rates on Tuesday, Wednesday and Saturday. New rates are published on these days and can result in a boatload of savings. A lot of people don’t take the time to research their vacations during the week, which is when the best sales come out. If you wait until Friday, it’s likely the best deals have been booked already. Saturday is a longshot, but every blue moon, if you check the deals bright and early; you’ll come across a big typo in the form of a rock-bottom price. If you do, snag it! It’s likely they will find their mistake quickly and change that price to something much higher. If you’ve already booked and paid, there’s nothing they can do about it besides congratulate you on a great find and welcome you aboard.

Try to avoid Spring Break week. Not only will most beach destinations be ultra-crowded (probably more so than any one day in Summer), but the prices will likely be very affordable, making it seem like a fantastic deal, which it is – to college students – but you’ll be kept awake all night by drunken partiers.

Want to take Shereen Travels Cheap everywhere you travel? You can! Join other subscribers on Amazon and read me on your Kindle? Don’t have a Kindle? That’s okay, too. Download the FREE Kindle Reading App for your web enabled device (i.e. iPhone, iPad, blackberry, android…) and get instant updates as soon as new posts are published. Easy!

Now, for some great deals that I found in my quest to bring you the best current warm-weather travel sales:

A cruise is one of the best ways to take advantage of warm weather, all-inclusive prices and amazing destinations. Save up to 75% off 3-7 day west coast originating cruises from Travelocity and top cruise lines. With exclusive discounts, upgrades and onboard credits, you can’t go wrong. There’s really something for everyone, but you have to book soon, since even the sale extension won’t last forever. Book by March 10.

American Airlines has you covered wherever you want to go in the world! With great everyday deals on national travel and then worldwide sales: a Latin American sale for flights to Central and South America, this deal covers quite a few destinations that have beaches and beautiful weather. Purchase your Latin American tickets by February 25th and fly from $200 each way to amazing destinations like Quito, Belize City and San Salvador between April 10th and July 10th. There is also a European fare sale that covers those wanting to fly farther. Fares as low as $212 each way to destinations like Madrid, Frankfurt and London. Purchase by March 3rd and travel by April 17th. (Remember, you won’t find AA fares on Expedia or Orbitz, so it’s always a good idea to check AA.com.)

Fly Air New Zealand round-trip to Polynesia and the Cook Islands from the super low price of $735 per person. Book by March 7th and travel between April 3rd and Nov 27th. If you love the quiet peace of the sand and ocean and want to get away from city life and high-rise buildings, this is the trip for you!
Meet Larry the Travel Guy - bringing the destination closer.
Watch a video of Larry the Travel Guy as he travels to the Cook Islands and snorkels in some of the most remote and interesting waters in the South Pacific. (video courtesy of Air New Zealand)

Visit tropical Panama City Beach, Florida and soak up some sun at a ridulously affordable rate. Stay at the 3-Diamond Boardwalk Beach Resort Central Condominiums from $79/night. It’s over 50% regular rates if you book by March 4th. With a booking of 3+ nights, receive a $50 reward debit cards, two free welcome drinks, a dining card up to $150 in value and more.  Travel Spring thru early Fall. Save  triple on dining with your dining card, debit rewards card and kitchen facilities in every condo. Condos are located right on the beach, are family-friendly and have a restaurant and bar on-site. What more could you ask for?

This seems to be the month for travel giveaways and, since free travel is the ultimate budget-travel, you might as well enter and cross your fingers. Good luck!

Enter to win an incredibly romantic trip for two to Paris, and see this view in person! Good Luck!

Enter to win a 5-night trip to London for 2 with a stay in a 5-star hotel. This is an amazing once-in-a-lifetime trip. Enter before the end of March. Good luck!

Register to win one of the 21 vacations that American Airlines will be giving away over the next 3 weeks.

And, of course, don’t forget our Travelon/iGo giveaway on Facebook. We have reached our goal of 500 fans, but have extended the drawing until the end of February, so you have a little over a week to still join and get your friends to join Shereen Travels Cheap. It’s super easy, just click the “Like” button at the top of the page and you’re entered! Any friend you suggest who joins and wins will win YOU an iGo multi-charger just for referring them. The more friends you refer, the more chances you have to win. Don’t worry if you don’t win, though, since this will not be our last giveaway.

Don’t you wish you could take your GPS all over the world or that the world maps were better and didn’t cost a fortune? Now, Tom Tom has come out with the World Traveler GPS navigator that has built in world maps (not just U.S, Mexico and Canada) with lifetime map updates! You can use it everywhere Regular price is $299, so put it on your wish list!
TomTom XXL 540TM World Traveler 5-Inch Portable GPS Navigator with Lifetime Traffic & Maps and World Maps

This is the spot to look for new, cool stuff in the Shereen Travels Cheap world. In case you’ve missed the last couple of weeks, links to older guest posts have been moved to the sidebar on the right and there is also a nice list of links to my favorite sites that are super useful to travelers and money-savers. Makes it much easier to find what you may have read about in a previous blog post, but can’t quite remember the name. I hope this is more user-friendly for you.  

Next week, Ebates will be kicking off Travel Week and they asked me to help start it with a blog post on budget travel. Who am I to say “no” to such an attractive offer? Stay tuned for a link to my guest post and in the meantime, you can check out their other awesome money-saving suggestions on their blog.
THIS week, I was given the honor of working with Independent Traveler and sharing with their readers my tips on how to beat the a la carte fees that are now the norm when it comes to air travel. I’ve given my most handy tips on saving on baggage fees, airplane food and more! Independent Traveler is a super great resource for people who book all their travel on their own and can help you find excellent deals on all your trips.

If you have a travel or money-saving blog/website that you would like me to write a post for, I am always happy to do so. Contact me HERE with details.

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