Shermanstravel Blog

Flights

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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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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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curacao - curacao tourist board

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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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

spirit airlines - spirit airlines

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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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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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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Last week, I flew 30 hours halfway around the world and back, just to spend 61 hours in Asia. Considering that I had to report back to the office the morning after the trip, it seemed like a great time to cash in all of my EVA Air miles and upgrade myself to business class from premium economy.

It was glorious.

I know I probably won’t be experiencing business class again anytime soon, but there’s no harm in dreaming. Whether you’re already scrounging together your points or just like to fantasize, here are five things I really loved:

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Switzerland, ZurichSwiss Air Lines is offering some good fares to a number of European cities for the fall and winter, but you will have to make your mind up quickly as the sale ends at midnight tonight. If you’re wondering whether you’re ready to make a spontaneous booking, take a look at our handy checklist. Otherwise, you can book through our Travel Search tool, or visit the airline’s web site directly.

CuracaoWillemstedThe latest news from budget-friendly airline JetBlue is that they are beginning service to a new destination this winter. Starting December 2, the airline will fly from New York City to the Caribbean island of Curaçao twice a week, operating one round-trip flight each Tuesday and Saturday, making it the only airline to offer a direct service between New York and Curaçao. This opens up more appealing flight options, flights with Avianca take over 10 hours and require a stop in Bogota, while flights with American Airlines take more than seven hours with a layover in Miami, as well as more attractive fares, December flights with Avianca and American cost $653 and $689, respectively, while you can fly round-trip with JetBlue for less than $400. Read more

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You may have already figured out that flying in and out of smaller airports is often more affordable than traveling between major city airports, but have you ever looked for a clearer picture of how local airports stack up? Read more

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SATA Airlines and its parent group have been bringing travelers to the volcanic Azorean Islands, just off of Portugal, for nearly 70 years. Looking ahead to winter, the airline is now offering a special rate for round-trip flights between Boston and Sao Miguel — where travelers can enjoy thermal baths, pineapple greenhouse visits, whale watching, and a spectacular New Year’s Eve celebration with live music and fireworks by the harbor. Now through this Thursday, July 31, travelers can nab tickets for as low as $499 round-trip, for the itinerary departing December 30 and returning January 6, 2015*.

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Blue Airline Seats

For as much as the Internet empowers, there’s a dark side to your Web browser — namely in it’s ability to identify you as you. While it’s mighty convenient to allow your computer to remember your password, recall your username for login fields, and even save your address for online shopping, doing so may come back to bite you when you’re purchasing travel (and other goods and services). This phenomenon has become known as “dynamic pricing,” where online retailers adjust pricing for different shoppers based on factors like where they live and even what computers they use. It’s been around for a while, but the issue recently made its way into the limelight again thanks to Resolution 787 — a controversial proposal that could potentially further enable “customized” pricing.

So what’s a consumer to do? In general, the less the companies about you, the more likely you are to get a fair price. Here are a few tips on maintaining a higher level of secrecy, which could very well save you a few dollars on your next ticket purchase: Read more

MoltonBrown

Regardless of length, flights can wreak havoc on your beauty routine. With inflight humidity levels as low as 10-20 percent (compared to outdoor air which is over 35 percent), the airplane environment can cause lips to chap and skin to dehydrate.

There are several TSA-friendly beauty kits that contain several skincare and beauty solutions, at prices that won’t make you wince. Here are our favorites:

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620x400_iStock_000028914764SuitCaseApplesThe carry-on bag: It’s oh-so-small, but crucial to comfortable air travel.

Make yours count by filling it with goodies that will ensure a happy and healthy flight. Whether it’s a stuffed-to-the-brim roller bag or a lightweight backpack, here are five healthy essentials to pack.

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