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As reports come in that the political situation in Bangkok is steadily relaxing after days of major anti-government protests, thee are still questions about the safety of tourists who find themselves in the Thai capital. On Tuesday, the BBC reported that concrete barriers and razor wire placed outside police headquarters had been removed, a sign of tension cooling between the government and protestors. The U.S. government, meanwhile, has not issued an official travel warning, though a “security message” was posted on December 1, alerting travelers of the demonstrations.
For those who have booked flights and hotels in the region, should you be worried? Here’s what we’ve learned… Read more
You may have heard about the political storm brewing over the Japanese-controlled Senkaku Islands in the South China Sea. China has recently declared the airspace above these islands as part of the East China Sea Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ), meaning that they effectively control the airspace over this Japanese territory. If you’re planning a trip to China, you’re probably wondering what this means for your flight, which will likely pass through the disputed air space. The good news, if you are flying on a U.S. carrier at least, is not much. Read more
Many of us passionate travelers value our independence so fiercely that we can be loathe to hand over our travel plans to an guide, or an organized tour. There are, however, some situations where a guide can enrich the experience or even save you some money. Here are five situations where you should consider booking a tour, rather than going it on your own.. Read more
Most travelers to Philly know that they can experience lots of the city’s history and the arts for free or on the cheap, but what else is there to do in the City of Brotherly Love without burning up your budget? On a recent visit, we came across a wide-variety of inexpensive activities that will help you spice up your next trip: Read more
Italy wasn’t created for one-stop shopping – in fact, it’s not even that well suited to single-destination trips. Rome? Venice? Florence? How to choose? Well, you might not have to. The Italy deal in this week’s Top 25 newsletter offers a six-night train ride including a two-night stop in at each of those iconic cities. Since you won’t be spending the entire trip watching the scenery go by (at least, we hope not), here’s a look at the best shops to visit to take home a one-of-a-kind, easy-to-pack souvenir. Read more
We may be in the thick of winter and holiday chaos, but it’s not too early to start planning a sunny escape. Marriott is running a “Holiday Getaway Event” promotion that offers discounted rates plus resort credit to use toward dining, the spa, on-property retail stores, golf, and more. So give yourself a well-earned holiday after the holidays and unwind in the spa or on the golf course at these warm weather destination resorts.
For reservations, visit www.marriott.com/resortholidaygetaway and enter the promotional code P91. A minimum two-night stay is required, and the offer is valid for up to $200 in resort credit. Per-night and per-person rates of resort credit can vary, so check the individual property for details. The promotion is available at 14 different properties across Florida and South Carolina. It’s available through December 26 for travel until January 31, 2014.
Here are seven of the best deals that are part of this offer… Read more
Who needs five star resorts, marble bathtubs, and caviar dinners? Sure, those perks are nice, but for travelers seeking a quick, easy getaway that won’t leave them in the financial lurch, there are better ways to go about it. Rather than overindulge, focus instead on fun, practical activities that are unique to the destination, whether that means hiking in a state park or snagging $9 seats to a symphony orchestra. To get you started, here are ten US cities perfect for budget travelers, plus tips on what to do when you get there: Read more
The Mexican Riviera port of Mazatlan is again welcoming cruise ships. It’s a turnaround for the destination, which three years ago fell victim to a public relations disaster following a spate of robberies and one highly publicized shooting. Even though the shooting did not involve any tourists, the incident scared off every single cruise line that had previously included the port in its West Coast itineraries. Since then, passenger safety concerns have been substantially alleviated.
Tourism officials have invested some $2.8 million in security cameras throughout the city, new lighting at the port, and better coordination of police forces. Another $3 million was also invested in a “tourism corridor” – a cobblestone promenade – between the port and city center. Holland America Line was the first cruise operator to return to the port earlier this month, when the 1,350-passenger Veendam left San Diego on a seven-day Mexican Riviera Holiday cruise that also calls at Puerto Vallarta and Cabo San Lucas. Read more
These days, cost-conscious travelers have more options than ever. The question is no longer “Where will we go?” but “How cheap can we get there?” Rest assured, we’re here to tell you the answer: pretty cheap! As evidence, we’ve compiled a list of the ten most budget-friendly travel destinations to watch out for in 2014. These places show it’s totally possible to plan an unforgettable trip to a unique, accessible, and culturally interesting destination, and still feel like you’re getting a deal. Trying to fit all these fabulous trips into a single year? Well, that’s another question…
1. Singapore It’s telling that Singapore Airlines spent the better part of this fall introducing over two dozen brand new 777-300ER planes into its fleet. The national carrier, consistently recognized as one of the top airlines in the world, is simply catering to demand as more and more visitors flock to this verdant Southeast Asian hub. Scores of new hotels are opening all over the city – many of them artfully designed and, best of all, reasonably priced. But it’s not just affordable lodging that keep travelers coming back. The city’s treasure trove of cheap hawker centers (food stalls), diverse ethnic neighborhoods, and abundant green spaces (Gardens by the Bay, for one) show why it’s becoming one of the region’s most accessible, yet endlessly entertaining modern metropolises. (See also: Off The Beaten Path In Singapore)
Coffee, one of the world’s most universally beloved drinks, offers a taste of local culture with every sip, in whatever form it’s served (small but strong, organic and Fair Trade Certified, topped with whipped cream, or spiked with whiskey). Inspired by cool fall temperatures and a recent #TTOT (that’s Travel Talk on Twitter, a hashtag travelers should definitely check out if they’re not familiar with it), here we spill the beans on five destinations where caffeine-craving travelers can get their fix.
Vienna: The coffeehouse, or Kaffeehaus, is as much a staple of Viennese culture as the waltz and opera. In recent years, the number of traditional coffeehouses has dwindled as owners face competition from modern chains (yes, Starbucks has several locations here) and increasing real estate costs, but enjoying a cup is still a must-do during a visit. From decades-old institutions with soaring ceilings and immaculately dressed waiters to boho-hip joints that draw a young crowd, you can find the perfect spot for any sipping style.
Can’t-miss spots include Café Sperl, a gorgeous architectural gem that has been around since 1880; Café Sacher, known for its decadent Sacher-Torte; and Café Landtmann, with live music, a celebrity clientele, and live music.
Driving is never easy on your wallet. Whether you’ve taken a long road trip, or you’ve found yourself driving a bit too speedily in a bid to make your flight, your wallet has likely felt the effects of all that time on the road. But let’s face it: Most drivers don’t spend a lot of time worrying about fuel efficiency when they’re traveling, or when they need to get somewhere fast.
Thankfully, a new piece of technology is stepping in to take care of that. Automatic Link is a small, user-friendly dongle ($99.95) that works in practically every gasoline-powered automobile produced since 1996. If you own an iPhone, it’ll help you to drive more sanely, save fuel by tweaking your driving habits, and even alert your loved ones if you’re in a crash. Here’s how you can benefit from it: Read more
Looking for an easy budget getaway? Tennessee’s Smoky Mountains offer a mix of inexpensive activities and attractions that work for all kinds of travelers, from thrill-seekers and hiking nuts to kids and foodies. Here’s just a sampling of our favorites, broken down by the type of traveler… Read more
The one holiday you associate with New Orleans is probably Mardi Gras, for obvious reasons. But three months prior, just as winter is making the rest of the country reach for their snow shovels, another important holiday makes this balmy southern city shine: Christmas. In typical New Orleans fashion, the end-of-year holiday is turned into a month-long series of street festivals, light displays, and live concerts. Ready to take part? We’ll show you how. Read more
Charming Charleston, South Carolina, has received lots of accolades, including “Top U.S. City” in Condé Nast Traveler’s Readers’ Choice Awards for the past three years, but this southern belle hasn’t traditionally been known as a low-cost destination.
All that changed when budget carrier JetBlue started offering twice-daily nonstop service from New York City and daily flights from Boston earlier this year. And with a new limited-time getaway package, which includes half-priced airfare for travelers booking an air-and-hotel combo package, visiting Charleston has become even more affordable. Read more
If you’re looking for an excuse to book a vacation to Spain, we have a good one for you this week: This 6-night trip to Madrid and Barcelona for $1009, including flights from New York City. (Other departure cities are available, too. Check the web site for pricing.)
Madrid in particular has caught our fancy lately. Once considered a dirtier, more hectic cousin to refined, seaside Barcelona, we’ve learned to appreciate this city’s bustle, and its incredibly varied offerings for visitors, from stately museums to sleek dance clubs. And with amazing tapas and wine to be had for just a few Euros, it’s a city that can be easy on your wallet. Here are just a couple of Madrid’s charms we’ve learned about recently:
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