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How to: Save During Oktoberfest in Munich

September 30, 2014 by

oktoberfest

Oktoberfest – officially kicking off in Munich today for a week — is expensive. From the €10 euro beers to three-foot pretzels to $100+ costumes, if you’re going to do it right, the celebration isn’t anywhere near cheap. So why would any thrifty traveler include this Germany pitstop on their itinerary?

In short, it’s an unbeatably festive, uniquely preserved Bavarian tradition. When else do you get to join thousands dressed in traditional garb clanking steins and singing to the accordion tunes of a live Lederhosen-clad band? And it’s much more than just guzzling beer. These tents are surrounded by an incredible array of amusement park rides, food vendors, and grassy knolls for breaks (or naps).

The better question, we think, is: How to experience this be on a budget?

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Cruise Tracker: Sweet Deals, Pro Poker, Culinary Sailings, and More

September 30, 2014 by

oceania cruises - deborah jones studio

Which cruise lines are making headlines this week? We’ve got the latest on new deals, onboard programming, and special itineraries in this week’s weekly cruise news column. 

The cruise industry is gearing up for its annual CLIA Cruise Week on October 6 through 13, when members of the Cruise Lines International Association will roll out a slew of incentives for booking a vacation at sea — so if you’ve been considering a cruise, this is the time to do your homework. Twenty six cruise lines, both ocean and river, are participating this year with special promotions like cabin upgrades, onboard spending credits, airfare deals, discounted shore excursions, and more. Sample savings include up to $300 in onboard credits with Holland America Line. (CLIA estimates that 21.7 million people will cruise worldwide this year!)

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Amazing Art Museum Hotels Around the World

September 29, 2014 by

Casa Pueblo, Punta del Este, Uruguay, architecture

Lots of hotels have impressive art collections, but these ones go a step further and function as stand-alone museums as well as accommodations.

Benesse House, Japan
The Tadao Ando-designed Benesse House is located on the tiny Japanese island of Naoshima, a fishing community turned “art island” that hosts the Setouchi Art Triennal and is home to several permanent art installations and excellent museums. Guests of the Benesse House are granted access to the museum even after typical hours and have exclusive access to a six-seat monorail that runs up to the hotel’s Oval annex. Guest rooms in the museum are available in four styles and are decorated with drawings, paintings, and prints from the artists on exhibit. Rates start at $330.

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Deal Alert: 25 Percent Off Luxury in Verona

September 29, 2014 by

PalazzoVictoria

Salviatino Collection’s five-star resort, Palazzo Victoria, invites guests to check into its chic Verona accommodations by offering a 25 percent discount off the best available rates, now through March 31, 2015.

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4 Ways to Save in Uluru, Australia’s Most Expensive Destination

September 29, 2014 by

uluru - northern territory - australia - flickr-nosha - 620

You won’t find too many Americans in Australia’s Northern Territory, and there’s a good reasons for it. Considering the high cost of air travel and the time that it takes to get there, most travelers are content on staying in Sydney or one of the country’s other southern cities. If they do venture out, it’s typically up the east coast to Queensland, one of the most popular launching pads for the Great Barrier Reef.

But the draw is that the area is very remote, putting visitors in the prime position to see the stunning formations of Ayers Rock and Kata Tjuta — known collectively as Uluru. Australia is 70 percent desert, after all, with Central Australia and the southern half of the Northern Territory receiving less than 10 inches of rain per year.

Unfortunately, Uluru’s remoteness and adventure-oriented atmosphere don’t make for the cheapest trip. In fact, it’s the most expensive destination in Australia and the third-most expensive in the world. The reason for this is largely due to the fact that the Ayers Rock Resort — which really consists of four hotels — has a monopoly on all the rooms, restaurants, and shops in the area. As a result, rates start at 340 AUD (297 USD) a night even at the cheapest property, the Outback Pioneer. Yikes.

So what to do? Here are a few tips to make the trip more affordable.

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This Is Real: Company Offers Home Airline Food Delivery

September 29, 2014 by

AllYouNeed.com Air Food One

Have a hankering for airline food? Apparently some people do.

German online grocer AllYouNeed.com and Lufthansa are in the testing phase of a new service called Air Food One that makes deliveries of airline-style food once a week in the cities of Dusseldorf and Cologne.

The meals are inspired by the airline’s business class menus and include steak filets, chicken in pepper sauce, and cod. Entrees go for about $13 a pop, according to CNN. They don’t come precooked like traditional airborne meals, so customers have to heat them up themselves.

Deliveries do not come with folding tray table or flight attendant, so suffice to say, you won’t get the full airplane experience.

Would you order airline food at home?

Quiz: Which Caribbean Island Is for You?

September 26, 2014 by

caribbean quiz - ted murphy

It’s a problem nobody really minds having, but picking a Caribbean island for your vacation can be tough. The dozens scattered throughout the Caribbean Sea offer diverse experiences, from diving to fine dining to just lying on the beach all day. Take our quiz and find your perfect match.

6 Prime Whale Watching Destinations in North America

September 26, 2014 by

National Park Service

When you think of whale watching, you might imagine sitting on a boat with a pair of binoculars, waiting for the world’s biggest creatures to appear before your eyes amidst the waves. But this isn’t the only way to see whales up close and in their natural habitat — without having to see them in a tank.

Typically known as a winter pastime, you can go whale watching almost any time of the year in places like California and Oregon’s Depoe Bay. Specific regions of the Golden State, including San Diego, Monterey Bay, and San Francisco experience larger numbers of whales mid-December and January to mid-March and April.

If you can’t wait that long, you can spot whales in Maui and Vancouver in the fall. Sightings in Maui start as early as October, running to March or April. There’s still time left to find them in Vancouver, where the season starts in March and ends in late October.

Here’s where and how you can see whales, on boats and from shore, both with and without a tour package.

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Should You Recline Your Seat on a Plane?

September 26, 2014 by

airplane seat 1It’s been a few weeks since several inflight fights over reclining have erupted in quick succession. While travelers have indignantly called out airlines for creating more and more miserable experiences, it’ become clear from airlines’ lack of response that airplane seats aren’t getting any roomier any time soon. Which has us wondering: What “rights” does a ticket-holder have on an airplane when it comes to the space in front of and behind you? It doesn’t seem as clear-cut as the fact that everyone should have the right to an armrest, the storage space in the bin above your seat, and a month-old copy of the inflight magazine (“should” being the operative word here).

Legroom, you could argue, is one of the biggest factors that determine your comfort level during the flight. Tom, weighing in on the anti-reclining side today, puts it this way: ”Stretching on a long-haul gives you the same pleasurable feeling as the moment your tongue touches an ice cream cone on the hottest day of the year.” Here, he and a pro-reclining editor hash it out:

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8 Daredevil Bridges with Amazing Views

September 25, 2014 by

Peak Walk

Some of the world’s best views come from the middle of the world’s scariest bridges. That’s not to mention the adventure you’ll get from crossing these sometimes rickety but always thrilling expanses. Here are our picks for the world’s 10 scariest bridges with amazing views, sure to get your heart pounding.

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Cape Cod Weekend: Food, Views, and Culture for Less than $30

September 25, 2014 by

falmouth - cape cod - the knob - christine wei

Just a 90-minute drive from Boston, Falmouth and its neighbor Wood’s Hole are two of the most accessible destinations on Cape Cod. While Wood’s Hole is largely characterized by its ferry to Martha’s Vineyard and the academic presence of the Marine Biological Laboratory, Falmouth boasts a historic downtown area that’s laid-back but not boring. Between these towns, and the endless stretches of beach and ocean — plus the possibility of day trips — you’ll have plenty to do, whether you’re staying for a day, or a week.

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5 Affordable Beach Retreats in California

September 25, 2014 by

Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park

Finding an affordable place to stay on or near a California beach isn’t easy. When you think you’ve identified the spot, it’s often pricey–or you’ll find Highway 1 noise blaring right behind your room. But don’t give up, because affordable and peaceful beach retreats are out there, whether your preference is camping, hostel, or hotel. Follow along with us and make your coastal escape list.

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Where Travelers Can Celebrate National Coffee Day

September 25, 2014 by

coffeecupFor some of us, every day is unofficially Coffee Day, but the official National Coffee Day is just around the corner: September 29. Celebrate by pouring yourself another cup of your best brew and by planning a visit to these coffee-centric destinations. Read more

Seeing Red: Where to Stay and What to See in St. George, Utah

September 24, 2014 by

Red Mountain Resort Utah

They say idleness is the mother of all vices – so it’s a good thing we had so much to keep us busy during a recent jaunt through rural southern Utah. Heading for St. George, a small, oft-overlooked town in the state’s bottom-left quarter that’s just under two hours from Vegas, we packed in a full three days of hiking, kayaking, outdoor yoga, and even a little art gallery browsing. And the best part: We even had time left over for some poolside lounging. Here’s how you can do it, too:

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Seriously? Spirit Airlines Raises Bag Fees For Holiday Travelers

September 24, 2014 by

By Jo Piazza for Yahoo! Travel

Seriously? Spirit Airlines Raises Bag Fees For Holiday Travelers

Spirit raises fees yet again. (Photo: Thinkstock)

The budget airline Spirit already gets plenty of grief from passengers about their carry-on bag fees.

And yet, they are hiking up the fares yet again. The airline is raising their checked bag fees by $2 for flights in between Dec. 18 and Jan. 5 in an effort to encourage customers to “pack a bit lighter.”

image

Don’t even think about packing the presents. (Image: Spirit.com)

Spirit’s bag fees currently range from $20 to as much as $100 depending on when you book.

The Spirit business model is a bare-bones one. They start with an incredibly cheap fare and then charge customers for carry-ons, checked bags and in-flight snacks and drinks.

Related: Airfare Report—The Person Next to Me is Paying What?

The airline calls it the “bare fare.”

“Our fares are fully unbundled. No ‘free’ bag. No ‘free’ drink. Other airlines bake those options right into their ticket price. We don’t. A ticket with us gets you and a personal item from A to B,” they explain on their website.

If you’re flying Spirit this year you might want to think about shipping those holiday presents sooner rather than later.

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