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Vacation rentals are quickly growing in popularity. The savviest travelers have been booking them for years, but everyone else is starting to take notice – and for a good reason: they’re a great way to save money and help you be more independent on your trips. Many travelers who are booking vacation rental properties for the first time, however, may have questions about what to expect when they book – especially if they’re used to hotels.
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
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)
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
One fun thing about the holidays? There’s always something to do. Whether you’re waving to Santa from the front row of a crowded parade, or ice skating around a 50 foot tall Christmas tree, the list of seasonal traditions is endless. For those looking to get away this year, here are a few traditions worth getting acquainted with; and, naturally, a hotel deal to make the magic happen.
Time to dust off the skis and snowboards: the 2013-14 ski season is already underway, with several resorts already open and plenty more set to do so in coming weeks – which is a promising sign for the season to come. This year, some enticing deals and passes, as well as more direct flights to resort destinations, are a great excuse for a winter weekend getaway. Here are some of the best (and budget-friendly) offers.
Alta and Snowbird, Utah: Known for epic powder and deliciously long runs, these Utah resorts are also offering out-of-state visitors a killer deal this year: half off lift tickets within 24 hours of arrival at Salt Lake City International Airport. The offer is good throughout the 2013-14 ski season, Monday through Friday, and saves $39.50. Read more
What could be more fun than a daytrip through Area 51? Or a road trip through Dracula’s hometown? On the eve of the season’s spookiest holiday, we’re looking back on our recent travel stories that made us go “Aah!” (or, at the very least, contained awesome photos of electric guitar-playing skeletons and UFOs). Now, grab your passport – and a flashlight – and read on! Read more
Travelers across the US are starting to dust off their ski poles and practice their knee bends, as resorts in the northeast, midwest, southwest – anywhere, really, where there’s fresh powder to be had – prepare to open for the season. But for most of us, skiing is only half the fun. The rest of the trip (finding cozy lodges to sip hot chocolate, visiting local shops and galleries, or maybe even stopping in at a ‘cowboy bar’) should be every bit as memorable as the time you spend on the trails. Below, a few recommendations for towns that provide a quiet setting for your alpine getaway, and with lower prices to boot, could be a better deal than larger resorts in better-known areas.
Hanover, New Hampshire (above)
On your way to or from the Dartmouth Skiway, set aside some time to enjoy the cultural offerings of the college town of Hanover, 20 minutes to the south. Visit the Hood Museum contemporary art center where interning Dartmouth students help to curate the frequently changing exhibits – current exhibits feature Picasso and Fan Tchunpi. The Hanover Inn, which occupies a building dating from 1780 and overlooks Dartmouth Green, is connected to the Hood Museum via a passageway and is home to a farm-to-table restaurant named PINE, created by celebrity Boston chef, (and James Beard award winner) Michael Schlow.
Across the green, in the college’s Baker library, is the Epic of American Civilization, one Mexican muralist José Clemente Orozco’s three grand frescoes in the United States (the others are in California and New York City.) Read more
Every year, the hype surrounding Halloween seems to get bigger and bigger, but in many Mexican cultures, one of the season’s liveliest celebrations falls on November 1 and 2. Día de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead, blends indigenous and Catholic influences, with the most traditional celebrations taking place in cemeteries in central Mexico. There, families gather at gravestones to honor deceased loved ones, but the tradition has become more popular in the U.S. as well, especially in places with thriving Latin American populations.
At the heart of the celebrations are ofrendas – altars or offerings of food, drink, and alcohol – which are believed to guide the spirits of the deceased back to Earth to spend time with their family and loved ones. Día de Los Muertos celebrations also include processions, musical performances, and tons of great, skeleton- and skull-inspired art – and, a refreshing break from the over-the-top commercialism of Halloween. What’s more, they’re almost always free, too. Here, five great places to get into the spirit of the Day of the Dead.
Whether you’re coming to see the Rockettes, or gaze at the decked-out store windows along Fifth Avenue, New York makes for an incredible holiday vacation destination. Weeks before Thanksgiving, though, the city is already starting to prep for winter, beginning with the opening of its iconic ice rinks. Here’s a guide to what’s open, how much it costs, and what you can expect before and after you strap on your skates. The best news? There’s a lot more ice in New York City than just Rockefeller Center.
San Francisco is arguably one of the world’s most enchanting cities – but it’s also one of the most expensive, too (weekend rates for a mid-range hotel will set you back around $250 a night, on average). But a trip to the City by the Bay doesn’t have to be a budget-buster. Here, five ways for visitors to get an affordable, yet authentic SF experience – in other words, while you’re saving money, you’ll be mingling with the locals too. Need further incentive? October is a beautiful month to visit, with fewer crowds than summer and still-warm days. Read more
We’re loving JetBlue’s new initiatives lately. Just a couple of weeks ago, they launched their premium service “Mint” class, which offers passengers flat-bed seating, upscale dining, and gift boxes at an affordable price. Now, just in time for peak family travel season, they have launched Family Pooling, the latest addition to their TrueBlue loyalty program.
The new program comes from what Director of Loyalty Marketing, David Cantyl, describes as the airline’s guiding principle: bringing humanity back to air travel. Rather than having to save for years, Canty said at the new program’s launch, “We want customers to actually be able to use their points.” The Family Pooling program will achieve this by allowing families (the word “family” has a broad meaning here, too – a nice perk) to pool their points so that they can earn free travel much faster. Here’s how it works… Read more
Fall in New York City is one of the best times of year. The weather is incredible, fall foliage is at its best in Central Park, and there’s plenty to celebrate. If you’re planning a trip to the city in November, consider coming for the famous Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Watch as floats, bands, and dancers pass by; after, stroll through the park for some leaf peeping.
While normally you’d have to fight your way through the crowds to get a good spot to watch, you can stop stressing this year. Four-star Affinia Manhattan is offering a special “Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade” package with lots of great add-ons including four sought-after Grandstand tickets. The coveted VIP-only seats (usually only offered to Macy’s employees, charities, and other organizations, though we found them being auctioned online for $700 each) provide guests with the best view in town. Here’s what you’ll get with the Affinia deal:
While October might not scream “beach season,” many parts of the U.S. are still enjoying weather that calls for shorts and a lounge chair. Sure, you can go to Florida or Southern California pretty much year-round for sun and sand, but what about beach destinations that get cooler as fall sets in? For now, many of them are still prime for a late-season visit, with great deals, fewer crowds, and comfortable temperatures. Okay, so you might not get a sunburn (Who wants that, anyway?), but you’ll still find plenty to do in these seven locales: Read more
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