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7 Hard Truths About Spirit Airlines, from Its CEO Ben Baldanza

August 20, 2014 by

spirit airlines 1

We’ve written extensively about Spirit Airlines, the no-frills carrier known for rock-bottom base fares and hefty fees for pretty much anything beyond one’s airplane seat. It’s most loved by those who travel simply and look for the cheapest way to get from point A to point B — and loathed by those who expect a certain standard of services.

To help travelers better understand the brand and why it operates the way it does, Spirit Airlines CEO Ben Baldanza recently took on the harsh critics of Reddit in an Ask Me Anything online interview, in which the website’s users asked the CEO questions about the airline, the travel industry, and more. Here are what we think are some of the most important takeaways you should know:

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How to: Rent a Private Yacht for (Relatively) Cheap

August 20, 2014 by

sunreef catamaran 62

There’s a running joke among boat owners that riffs on the steep costs associated with such a high maintenance toy: BOAT, they say, stands for “bring out another thousand.” For those who yearn for the boating lifestyle but can’t stomach the expense or commitment, there are a number of Airbnb-style platforms that offer yacht-sharing as a cheaper alternative to ownership. Here’s the scoop on three different sites, with examples of where you’ll be able to sail and how much it’ll cost you.

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Deal Alert: $99+ at Omni Hotels & Resorts

August 19, 2014 by

omniamelia

The Omni Hotels and Resorts brand launched a 72-hour sale this morning, which means the clock is ticking if you want to take advantage it. Until midnight on Thursday, August 21, the brand’s Labor Day Special is offering rooms for $99, $119, $139, $169, $199, and $229 in select cities for stays from August 24 through September 7. Just in time for a last-minute Labor Day weekend getaway.

Sample rates include $199 at Omni Amelia Island Plantation Resort, which, with its paddle boarding, golfing, island hoppers, and Segways, makes for a great family getaway;  $119 at Omni Rancho Palmas in Palm Springs, and $159 at Omni New Haven at Yale – handy for parents dropping their children off for the start of the school year. To get that attractive $99 rate, you can head south to steamy Texas where, at Omni Fort Worth Hotel, you can cool off in their rooftop pool.

A $60 Hotel in Crete and 6 Other Hotels So Remote You Can Only Get There By Boat

August 19, 2014 by

By Claudine Zap

Really want to get away from it all? Consider a hotel that’s so remote, you can get there only by boat (or seaplane if you’re a tycoon). Think Robinson Crusoe without the shipwreck. Here, some of the standouts.

A $60 Hotel in Crete and 6 Other Hotels So Remote You Can Only Get There By Boat

The dock leading to paradise — Ilet Oscar Guest House (Photo: Ilet Oscar Guest House)

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Deal Alert: Soho House Chicago

August 19, 2014 by

Soho House Chicago tiny and small rooms

Autumn in Chicago is heavenly — and the city’s newest boutique hotel is just as sweet. Earlier this month, Soho House opened a Chicago outpost of its luxe collection, a mix of hotels and member clubs in cities like New York City, West Hollywood, and, of course, London (home to the brand’s flagship).

Now through August 31, special introductory rates at Soho House Chicago begin at $240 a night. This is for a “tiny” and “small” room category between 200 and 350 square feet. Come September, per-night costs will spike up to $320, although some select weekdays in September and October will dip down to $260-$300.

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For Your Bucket List: 7 Luxe, Once-in-a-Lifetime Travel Experiences from Four Seasons

August 19, 2014 by

FPO_BUE_403It’s not uncommon for upscale hotels and resorts to offer guests extraordinary excursions and activities, but Four Seasons takes it to a whole new level. From dining center stage at a historic opera house to designing a custom pair of Lucchese boots, here are a few exclusive Four Seasons that we love dreaming about.

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Want to Get Upgraded to Business Class? On airberlin, You Can Bid for It

August 19, 2014 by

airberlin_business_classLast week, airberlin began offering an auction for business class upgrades on long-haul flights. The feature is being dubbed “airberlin exquisite,” and it’ll allow those who already have a confirmed economy seat to bid on a business class upgrade up until 72 hours prior to takeoff. At this point, the notion of bidding for an unsold business class seat isn’t new. Here’s how this budget airline is handling it…

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For Your Fall To-Do List: A Luxe Yoga Retreat That Saves You Money

August 18, 2014 by

Jamaica InnTaking a vacation in Jamaica doesn’t necessarily mean napping in the sun for a week. Lately, we’ve been seeing more and more vacations that include fitness classes, adventure treks, dance lessons, and other kinds of physical activity. For a week of soothing, and highly focused fitness, check out this beautiful yoga retreat that we recently discovered.

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This Flight Charges How Much for Wifi?

August 18, 2014 by

lufthansa wifiWe recently raved about our first (and probably last) experience flying business class on EVA Air, when we cashed in all of our points for a 15-hour-flight. Between the lie-flat beds and the lobster meals, there was lots to love on their Boeing 777-300ER planes. But the one thing that absolutely made us cringe? The wifi charges.

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Hotels Offering Free Car Rentals to Guests

August 18, 2014 by

Ocean House

These days, hotels are offering more extra perks than ever to tempt potential guests. Some go with a bottle of water, others throw in breakfast, and free WiFi is becoming more common than ever. Brands like Andaz and Kimpton also grant free minibar access (for reward program members). But when it comes to over-the-top treats, three properties have gone above and beyond in the generosity factor in lending luxury cars to their guests — allowing visitors to save while exploring their surroundings in comfort and style.

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What’s New In Inflight Entertainment (A Lot!)

August 18, 2014 by

delta studio

Are the days of being subjected to pre-selected movies in those tiny overhead screens on airplanes truly coming to an end? Within the past few months, several airlines have rolled out a bevy of new inflight-entertainment options. Many of these options are low-cost or completely free, leaving room in your budget to spring for an inflight beer.

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Q&A: Ted Allen from Chopped Talks In-Flight Magazines, Mexico, and Airport Food

August 15, 2014 by

620x400_TedAllenAs the star of Food Network’s Chopped, and former judge on Bravo’s Top Chef, Ted Allen can eat.

And eat. And eat.

But when he’s not eating, or jamming out to David Bowie, he’s traveling — and currently looking for some vacation suggestions. That said, when he does take off, Ted has reading requirements for boarding a plane and refuses to purchase products from those in-flight magazines. We recently caught up with Ted while eating Thai food, as he, Pepcid, and Eater.com, hosted dinner at Pok Pok NY at its new Brooklyn location.

Read on for our exclusive interview…

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Jim’s Journal: A Walk Around Vienna

August 15, 2014 by

Vienna Austria ParliamentI traveled to Vienna this year to attend the Life Ball, the largest fundraiser for AIDS research in the world. The event is televised on Austrian TV and is notable for the procession of elaborately costumed partygoers walking the red carpet to the ornate City Hall. This year’s event included President Clinton, Ricky Martin, and Conchita Wurst, the Austrian drag queen who won this year’s Eurovision song contest.

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5 Time-Saving Things to Do Before Going to Disney World

August 15, 2014 by

Disney World ClockVacation time is precious, and that’s especially true if you’re going to Walt Disney World — a destination that guarantees you’ll spend a lot of time waiting in line.

Here are five things that you can do before you leave home to save time on your Disney vacation.

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Celebrate the National Park Service’s Birthday with Free Admission

August 15, 2014 by

glacier national park - dhinal chheda - 620 - 2

The National Park Service, which turns 98 this August 25, will be celebrating by waiving admission to its parks across the country on its birthday. Tagged as “America’s Best Idea” in a PBS series for its part in preserving our natural landscape, the NPS now protects 84 million acres in all 50 states as well as the District of Columbia, American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands.

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