Shermanstravel Blog

Las Vegas

baseball - flickr - tulanesally - 620America’s pastime is in full swing this spring as baseball fans head south to Florida’s Grapefruit League and west to greater Phoenix’s Cactus League to catch Major League Baseball in preseason action. Training stadiums offer closer access to your favorite players, often with designated areas to snag an autograph. You’ll also find yourself merely a fly ball away from the action. Compare the new Cubs Park in Mesa, Arizona, which has 15,000 seats, to Dodgers Stadium in Los Angeles, which has a whopping 54,000.

If you’re traveling this spring, here are a host of baseball-related activities that are tailor-made for travelers, and you don’t even have to go all the way to Florida or Arizona to experience them… Read more

Rarotonga, The Cook IslandsAt the end of 2013, we chose the best budget destinations for 2014. Now, while everyone’s starting to make plans for the spring and beyond, we wanted to serve up some deals that make good on those predictions. Ready to jet? Read more

Crested ButteIt’s the first day of the rest of the year, and for us, that means only one thing: time to start making new travel plans! We’ve got about a million and one ideas cooking, but to narrow the playing field a bit, we’re taking a closer look at where we can go on the cheap. Here, a sampling of the best deals to be had to kick off 2014 – better hurry, though, some of these expire in just a few days! Read more

Last-MinuteThe twelve days of Christmas have come and gone, but that doesn’t mean there’s no more excitement to be had in December. In fact, for travelers, end-of-year sales and promotions can yield some of the best finds of the whole season. The tricky part? Finding them. But luckily for you, we’ve gone and done all the hard work to bring you the best last-minute travel deals available this week. Consider it our Christmas present to you… Read more

Virgin AtlanticWe have always loved Virgin Atlantic for their non-conformist leanings, great customer service, and sweet amenities, so they were perhaps the last airline we’d have predicted to join the annoying “Additional Fee Club.” Read more

CharlestonIf you, perhaps wisely, chose to refrain from the pandemonium of holiday travel, a new 48-hour JetBlue promotion could have you back in the sky sooner than you thought. The appropriately titled, if slightly laborious, FLY LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA sale went up this morning, covering 49 departure cities scattered all over the map – Albuquerque, Long Beach, St. Thomas, Charleston, San Juan, Las Vegas, to name a few. Even for January, a notoriously dead travel season, we found some pretty decent rates like New York to Oakland for $317 roundtrip, or Boston to St. Thomas for $330 roundtrip.

All flights must be booked by 11:59 p.m. EST on Wednesday December 18th, with a travel window spanning from January 7 – February 12 (individual blackout dates apply for specific routes).

So, what’s on offer? Let’s take a look:

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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. SingaporeSingapore 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)

AMEX Centurion Lounge at LASFrom small mechanical issues to ill-timed blizzards, few of us have traveled in the past few years without running into some sort of mishap at the airport. Granted, running an airline is no easy chore, but the frustration felt when flights don’t take off as planned can seem all too real. During such moments, a sleek airport lounge can provide an oasis of luxury and calm in which to bide your time. But what about when things don’t go awry? How often do you need to visit an airport lounge to justify the cost of membership? And what tricks are there – if any – to gaining access without paying? Read more

It’s easy to forget, in the rush of shopping, cooking, and traveling, that the holidays are meant to be relaxing. So, if you are dreading chore of cooking and cleaning up after your Thanksgiving Day meal, why not leave the dirty work to someone else by making a reservation at a hotel restaurant.

New York City

InterContinental, hotelThe Thanksgiving feast at the InterContinental Barclay offers a tasty buffet of local, natural and organic food with a turkey and ham carving station, seafood, smoked meats, soups, salads, hot entrèe selections that include Amish free-range organic roasted chicken breast with morel sauce, and pistachio-crusted organic farm-raised bronzini with lemon and pink peppercorn sauce. Dessert offerings include pumpkin pie, and chocolate and pecan tart. You may also like to partake of the Barclay Bar’s collection of 92 different Calvados labels or the collection of more than 100 martinis and cocktails. Thanksgiving seatings are from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. and the price is $75 per adult, $30 for children ages 4 through 12. You can make reservations through OpenTable.

Rates start at $329 on Thanksgiving night.

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Flickr_taxi_twicepix_sizedForget about the subway – with all the new innovations showing up in taxis lately, we’re sticking with getting around cities the old-fashioned, four-wheel way. And we’re not talking about things like e-hailing taxi apps, which we covered already in a post last month. No, this time we’re looking at new ways to pay fares, cabs with free Wifi, and eco-friendly electric taxis. Find out which cities are ahead of the pack, below! Read more

Las Vegas - Westin Lake Las Vegas Resort“Relaxing” and “romantic” are two words rarely used to describe a Las Vegas vacation. This deal from the 4-star Westin Lake Las Vegas Resort and Spa, situated on a scenic slice of desert 30 minutes from the Strip, may change that. On weekends from November 1 – December 22, the resort is offering a $199 per night package for couples, a savings of 45 percent on current rates. Or, make it a group outing. Each additional traveler pays just $99.

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The summer of 1947, a ranch foreman in New Mexico discovered some peculiar wreckage in a field. The Airforce initially reported the existence of a “flying disk”. Extraterrestrial “experts” claim that aliens and UFOs from this crash and others have been housed in Area 51, a military base in Nevada. The military quickly changed its story and said the wreckage was a weather balloon. It also denied the existence of Area 51, but just this year the CIA admitted that Area 51 really exists. If you’re not a believer, all the more reason to visit the many extraterrestrial sites in the regions to see if you can be convinced – or, at least, take some campy pictures with aliens to show your friends. Read on for some great (and cheap) roadside attractions for your next long drive through the desert.

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Ah, those pesky resort fees. We’ve all encountered them in our travels, lurking on our hotel bills.

They’ve been around since the 1990s when they were generally utilized to pay for the upkeep of high-end facilities at upscale resorts; the beach clubs and tennis courts, for example. However, in the last five years or so, more and more hotels have been tacking on these annoying – and often spendy – extra charges for considerably lower-end facilities. For example, almost every explanation of these fees we’ve encountered includes such uninspiring “perks” as a newspaper and local phone calls.

According to research by Bjorn Hanson, divisional dean of the Preston Robert Tisch Center for Hospitality, Tourism, and Sports Management at New York University, the U.S. hotel industry collected approximately $1.55 billion in fees and surcharges in 2009. Not all of which were resort fees, but you can see how fees and extras add up. Here’s a breakdown of these fees, how they work, when they’re charged, and how you can avoid them. Read more

Las Vegas Mandarin Oriental

It’s Vegas, baby. And if that calls to mind the flashing marquee signs, smoke-filled hotel lobbies, and sequin-clad showgirls so often portrayed in the movies, well… that’s about right. As recently as last week, the city announced a two-year residency by the pop princess herself, Britney Spears – yet another vice just waiting to tempt travelers into this unadulterated, high-spectacle city.

But for those needing a break from all the sin, there are options.

This month, MGM Grand, quadruples the number of its “Stay Well” rooms, essentially taking over the entire 14th floor of the main tower with a special tier of health-focused rooms. There are 17 amenities in total, including HEPA-standard air purification to remove allergens and toxins from the air; light therapy to help you fall asleep and wake up according to your body’s internal clock; vitamin C-infused shower water to give you healthier hair and skin; and even an educational welcome video from Deepak Chopra. The cost for all this wellness? A $30 per night upgrade on your basic rate.

We had to wonder, what are some other sin-free indulgences travelers can make during a stay in Las Vegas? Read more

US Hotel Facts You Didn't KnowWant to know the scope of the hotel industry in the U.S.? Try these stats on for size: Of the $2 trillion generated by the travel and tourism industry in the U.S., $158.4 billion of that comes from lodging, and $2.1 billion of that will be generated from hotel fees and surcharges alone. In fact, one in eight U.S. jobs is in the travel industry. According to the U.S. Travel Association, “Each U.S. household would pay $1,060 more in taxes without the tax revenue generated by travel and tourism.” Here are some other interesting facts we uncovered about hotels in America: Read more

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