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5 Fall Jackets for Travel

August 29, 2014 by

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Waiting in line at the TSA checkpoint is about as much fun as paying baggage fees, but it helps when you wear clothing that’s versatile enough to do all sorts of things,  including saving you some money while you’re on the go.

Here are five fall jackets that will make travel a lot more practical and stylish. Read more

Checking In: Europe’s Only Hotel on Stilts

August 29, 2014 by

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Switzerland’s Hotel Palafitte lays claim to an unusual distinction: it is the only hotel in Europe built on stilits — an architectural detail more commonly associated with the Indian and Pacific oceans. More than mere novelty, the stilts are an architectural design meant to enhance the surrounding views. The luxury boutique property, a member of Preferred Hotel Group, was built as part of Switzerland’s 2002 National Exposition and consists of 40 spacious private bungalows, twenty-six of which are called “Lake Pavilions” and situated lakeside and built directly over Lake Neuchâtel in Romandie, the French-speaking area in western Switzerland. Read more

Book Now: Where to Go for Thanksgiving 2014

August 29, 2014 by

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If there’s one responsible thing you do over Labor Day weekend, let it be solidifying your Thanksgiving plans. We know it’s difficult to think ahead to the next big holiday while you’re still working on taking advantage of the current one, but we hear from our friends at Hipmunk that airfare is expected to rise significantly after the holiday. If you don’t already have a destination in mind, consider some of our favorites for Thanksgiving.

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6 Unmissable Disney World Special Events

August 29, 2014 by

Flickr/Anna Fox - Epcot Flower Festival

Any trip to Disney World usually feels like a special event, but did you know that the resort hosts unique parties and festivals all year long? Here’s what you can expect from six of the most popular celebrations.

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Checking In: The Palomar Philadelphia, a Kimpton Hotel

August 28, 2014 by

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The Kimpton Hotel Group pioneered the boutique hotel concept in the U.S. when it opened its first property in San Francisco in 1981. Since then, its stylish hotels have popped up in 29 cities across the country. And there’s more on the way: Properties will open in Pittsburgh, Austin, Chicago, and even the Cayman Islands, to name a few, within the next two years.

With two hotels welcoming visitors in the “City of Brotherly Love,” we took the opportunity to check in at the Palomar, Kimpton’s first Philadelphia hotel, which which debuted in the Rittenhouse Square area in 2009.

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It’s Possible: Staying Fit on a Cruise

August 28, 2014 by

royal caribbean oasis of the sea climbing wall

Being healthy during a cruise vacation is typically a foregone conclusion. Cruise lines make food almost constantly available to their guests, making it as easy as pie to lay on a few extra pounds between the gourmet meals, overflowing buffets, and tasty midnight snacks. And guests certainly take advantage, considering the treats are mostly already covered in their cruise fare.

But for a growing number of cruisers, staying fit has become a significant part of their vacation plans. The good news is that in recent years, cruise lines have created innovative ways to help their passengers both have their midnight feasts and keep their waistlines, too.

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Nation’s Best: 8 State Fairs that Deserve a Blue Ribbon

August 28, 2014 by

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It’s fair time! As we mourn the end of summer, the nation’s great state fairs give us something to look forward to in the fall. And we suggest getting out your calendars, because some of the best fairs are either under way right now or coming up soon. Here are the eight we feel deserve blue ribbons.

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Where to Find the Cheapest Flights on Every Continent

August 27, 2014 by

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Outside of the U.S., there are literally thousands of airlines, some catering to multi-million dollar business travelers, others just to families, and some target the ultimate budget traveler. It’s the last one that we’re more interested in, especially for short international flights and travel during holidays and peak seasons, when airfares on traditional airlines tend to soar. Low-budget carriers usually take a no-frills approach, but then, who really needs frills on a short flight?

You probably already look to the likes of Southwest, JetBlue, and maybe even Spirit here in the States — but if you ever find yourself in need of a cheap flight anywhere else in the world, these are the names you want to know.

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iPrefer: a Loyalty Program for the Brand Disloyal

August 27, 2014 by

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As much as we appreciate hotel loyalty programs, accumulating points from just one hotel brand can feel like quite a slog, and a little uninspiring — who, besides the very frequent business traveler, wants the same brand experience each and every time they check in?

Just over a year ago, Preferred Hotel Group introduced a loyalty program, iPrefer, that honors stays at the more custom, bespoke hotels over the big box brands; it’s the world’s only loyalty program available at a global collection of truly independent hotels. Here’s how it works, and how you can join.

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New York’s Finger Lakes: Natural Beauty, Warm Hospitality, and Lots of Vino

August 27, 2014 by

dr franks vinifera wine cellars - christine wei - 620In upstate New York, there’s a 2.6 million-acre region characterized by rolling green valleys and sprawling open space, and it’s just four hours from Manhattan. Yet, Finger Lakes wine country doesn’t receive nearly the attention it deserves as a breezy summer escape or a fall foliage getaway — or an excellent anytime jaunt for wine lovers.

While sweet Rieslings and Cabernet Francs are the hallmarks of the region — the climate is nearly identical to that of Germany’s Mosel region — more refined reds are also starting to take hold. This quirky destination draws a savvy crowd of visitors with an appreciation for natural beauty and laid-back hospitality. Those who prefer a more personal experience, and a slower pace, will find few highly commercialized experiences in its 11,000 acres of vineyards. Instead, small estates, run by multi-generational families, each boast their own flair and character. A wealth of independent museums, state parks, and other attractions round out any trip.

Wine country is divided into three distinct trails, along Keuka, Seneca, and Cayuga Lakes. Like the individual wineries, each of these lakes have a vibe and history of their own. Here’s a guide to finding your ideal trail, plus some of our favorite spots along each lake.

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Deal Alert: Curaçao Hotels & Packages for Fall

August 27, 2014 by

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Autumn is an underrated time to be in the Caribbean, including Curaçao. During this shoulder season, the Dutch island’s 35 beaches are rarely crowded, hotel rates are unbeatably low and, most importantly, the weather is divine. Whether you’re strolling cobblestone streets in the capital city, admiring an ancient fort, or diving in one of the world’s best spots, there’s an activity for every interest.

Even better news: As part of a Dare to Explore promotion, a curated collection of hotels are slashing their rates this fall, by as much as 50 percent. To be booked through various vendors like Costco Travel and Funjet Vacations, are good for travel between September 15 and December 15 — and need to be booked by September 15.

Here’s a sampling:

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Slideshow: 48 Hours in St. Kitts

August 26, 2014 by

Nevis 620x400Located in the Caribbean’s Leeward Islands, St. Kitts and its sister island Nevis are relatively new to the tourism circuit. We put together a slideshow of activities — whether it’s on the beach, or in the rainforest, or at a great restaurant — that we hope will inspire you. Check out our slideshow here.

Found a Hot Airfare? Here’s How to “Hold” It Before You Book

August 26, 2014 by

britishairwaysMany of us have had this experience: You see a good fare for a flight you want to book, but first, you need to talk to friends or family, or maybe book the days off work. A day or two later, when you return to the booking site to complete your reservation, the flight has jumped in price and you are left kicking yourself for not having just booked when you first saw it.

Last week, a new holding fee service was announced by British Airways that should help avoid this very situation. The new fee allows customers up to 72 hours of consideration time before deciding whether or not to go ahead to book a flight. You pay $5 per person to put a hold on a short-haul flight or $10 for long-haul, then, if you do go ahead and book, the fee is refunded. Read more

7 Best Spots for Beginners to Learn Stand-Up Paddling

August 26, 2014 by

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The fastest-growing water sport in the world, stand-up paddling (also known as SUP) is an easy sport to learn, despite looking like you need to be a master of balance to even think about it. Sure, balance is an important element, but if you can walk down the street without falling over, you’ll usually be fine. Want to learn the basics on your next vacation? Here are the best places to try it out:

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5 Ways to Explore Bergen (on the Cheap)

August 26, 2014 by

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Ever since Bergen was the inspiration for the kingdom of Arendelle in the hit Disney film Frozen, this Norwegian town has been getting a lot of attention from travelers. But the city is more than a fairytale setting — although the vibrant colors on the historic buildings in Bryggen wharf may seem straight out of a storybook. Teeming with culture, nature, and adventure alike, some of Bergen’s other proud badges include Norway’s second largest city, the Gateway to the Fjords, and a European City of Culture. Here are five ways to experience the best of all that on a budget:

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