Shermanstravel Blog

Amenity Watch

Wild DunesYou put in an order weeks ago to make sure mom gets flowers on Mother’s Day.  We even did a roundup of great travel deals, so you can whisk her away on vacation. But what about Dad? The latter holiday, which falls on June 15, tends to get lost in the shuffle between graduation season and the beginning of summer. This year, take advantage of off-season travel deals to take Dad on a trip he’ll never forget. From a beachside resort in the Caribbean, to a golf-themed southern getaway, here are five affordable itineraries you can book right now:

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Public ChicagoFor last-minute travelers needing an urban retreat this month, the always-lovable Public Chicago has a “Spring Into Public” deal, making the Midwest seem suddenly very appealing. The promotion offers complimentary room upgrades to anyone who stays at the hotel between April 14 and 21. Not bad, considering that even at the standard room level, you’re still getting tons of space, cool art on the walls, and quality amenities (Frette linens, custom desks, and 42″ flat screen TVs). Plus, rates start at $125 per night – a steal for this beautiful property, especially in spring.

So, what does an upgrade actually get you? Read more

Kierland_westinkierland_dusk-620While most of the country is craving warmer weather after a particularly rough winter, triple-digit summer heat waves in Phoenix are the other extreme. Of course, that means big savings at the area’s many resorts. Considering the area boasts more than 300 days of sunshine per year and 40 luxury properties, you may never want to leave. And, with these deep discounts, you may never have to… at least until fall.

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river cruise - jim thorne - 620

Deciding whether to book a river cruise? If you’ve already read our primer on what it’s all about and why we love it from a value standpoint, these tips and tidbits that we’ve gleaned firsthand give you a deeper glimpse into the experience:

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New York PalaceLarge families certainly have their work cut out for them when planning a trip to, well… anywhere. But that’s especially true in the Big Apple, where locals are known to pay $1,000 per month to live in apartments that could easily be mistaken for walk-in closets. Add to that, the cost of getting around, finding affordable restaurants, and visiting all the family-friendly sights on your to-do list, and you might soon ditch your NYC plans altogether in favor of a less complicated destination (Maui, anyone?)

Enter the New York Palace, the acclaimed four-star property built inside a 19th century mansion on Madison Avenue. This spring and summer, the hotel is giving families a break with its “Family Values Promotion,” the latest offer to benefit group travelers. Starting now, families who book a room on any weekend between Easter and Labor Day can book a second room at the New York Palace for 50 percent off. That’s half off for an elegant, freshly-renovated hotel right in the heart of midtown.

Let’s take a look at how this offer stacks up with other hotel rates in the area. Read more

amsterdam schiphol airport park - 620No joke. When I recently stopped over at Amsterdam Airport Schiphol on the way to France, I was disappointed to only spend an hour there. Happily, I got a good three hours to scamper around on the return trip, and now I want to share the love. Here are nine reasons why this Dutch playground is our new favorite airport for a layover:

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Mexico Riviera MayaAll-inclusive resorts are great at keeping their guests busy. Included yoga classes and dance lessons are a fun way to spend a less-than-sunny day, and free-to-use kayaks and snorkeling gear can get you away from the pool and into the ocean. But many resorts also offer additional activities and day-trips that aren’t covered by the basic all-inclusive rate. (Usually the division between included and not lies with the type of activity. If the activity is “non-motorized,” it’s probably included. If it requires a ride off the property or a heavy piece of equipment, it probably requires an additional fee.) The good news? In many cases, that additional fee is worth it.

The eight itineraries listed below will give you a sense of what’s available, and how much these day-trips cost. And keep in mind that these are just examples to show you the breadth of resort offerings. There are many other resorts that offer similar excursions.

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El Ganzo

To make the most of Cabo’s newest boutique hotel, El Ganzo, we suggest a minimum four-night stay, for purely practical reasons. To start with, the list of on-site activities is too long to be adequately covered in just one or two nights. From free bike rentals to kayaking in the Sea of Cortez to the full-service spa, the site is equipped with dozens of ways to keep guests entertained without ever having to leave the premises.

Second, the hotel is currently offering a round of value-loaded deals – exclusively for ShermansTravel readers – that each requires a four-night minimum stay. So why short-change yourself? Read more

SONY DSCWhether you’re splurging or saving on your hotel, there’s a way to get more out of your stay. A property that offers free, outdoorsy perks is perfect for guests who favor an active getaway for spring. From complimentary rounds of golf at a lakeside resort in Wisconsin to paddleboarding classes at a Chesapeake Bay retreat, here are our favorite hotel freebies this season: Read more

CaboAh, Mexico. In a country known for beautiful beaches, delicious food, and lively street festivals, it can be hard figuring out just where you’d like to spend your time. Perhaps a villa in Riviera Maya? Or a walkabout through historic Mexico City? Or maybe it’s a week hiding out in enchanting San Jose del Cabo, the “gateway to the Los Cabos Corridor,” as well as the town nearest to Los Cabos International Airport. Though lesser-known than its nonstop-partying neighbor to the west, Cabo San Lucas, it turns out the scenic coastal stretch of San Jose del Cabo is ideal for leisurely bike rides, seafood feasts, and carefree drives up the coast. All on a budget, of course. Here’s how to do it… Read more

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We’re all huge fans of turning to social media for savvy travel tips, and Twitter is the first place we go for breaking news or obscure knowledge. But who knew that Quora is also rife with brilliant travel hacks? When this social media network first launched in 2009, it was poised to be the anti-Facebook. Today, it’s not so much that as it is an intellectual, knowledge-focused forum, and one apparently filled with wanderlusters. This past week, we discovered this thread with creative tips that will save time, save money, and even help you figure out where the locals go, nestled in Quora’s travel section. Below, some of the true gems from the conversation – no “bring an empty water bottle to the airport” here.

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Hotel Healsburg SpaWhile the rest of us are busy planning our sun-filled spring break, a few travelers – perhaps wisely – are weighing their options and thinking of ways to save on a quick, rejuvenating getaway that won’t involve too much hassle. For west coasters, this is as easy as getting into your car. San Francisco in particular has a wealth of easy-to-get-to, ideal-for-a-quick-weekend wellness hotspots. Here are three places to consider if you happen to find yourself in the Bay, in need of some quality hot tub soaking, massaging, and yoga-induced bliss. Read more

Boston Hotel WeekIf you made travel plans to the northeast last month, you may have come across something called Hotel Week, a neat little promotion that happens each January in New York offering rooms at desirable hotels for as low as $100. Now, its success means that a variation of the program has migrated north, as Boston is set to launch its first-ever Hotel Week this month, from February 16-23. Appealing to families traveling during mid-winter school break, Hotel Week Boston is also throwing in add-ons like two-for-one tickets to the zoo, or discounted seats at Disney On Ice. Read more

VeniceWhen it comes to traveling on a budget, you can’t really get more affordable – or more basic – than sleeping dorm-style in a bunk bed with a free breakfast. We’re talking, of course, about hostels – the cheap, stripped-down alternatives to hotels that are popular with backpackers and college students. But it’s not just young people who are welcome, says Generator Hostels chariman Carl Michel. Below, we’ve listed some reasons why travelers in their thirties, forties, and beyond might consider this ultra-budget-friendly way to stay: Read more

CancunHeading south-of-the-border is a popular option for budget-friendly getaways, especially to Mexico’s Cancún and Riviera Maya. However, some think the region only caters to the college crowd. Not so. A sophisticated, low-key time can be had for those who are savvy. Below, four myth-busters to prepare you for the sun-and-sea-filled escape you’ve been dreaming about…

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