Shermanstravel Blog

Puerto Rico

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

Hurricane Season Caribbean Travel DealsNine months out of the year, Caribbean islands are a postcard-ready panorama of blue skies, swaying palm trees, and cocktail-sipping, hammock-lounging bliss. But from September to November (as in, right now), they are associated with another thing: hurricanes. As we speak, reports are showing that the season’s first tropical storms are already forming.

But for those willing to roll the dice, hurricane season can also yield up some incredible bargains. Flights, cruises, and hotels often go for a fraction of their peak season rates, at a time when most travelers are too spooked by the thought of having their trip washed, blown, or flooded down the drain.

And if you’re worried about showing up to a ghost town, rest assured: of the 25 million tourists who visited the Caribbean in 2012, roughly a fifth of them were brave enough to travel between September and November, the peak of hurricane season.

To give you a head start, we logged onto Expedia and CheapCaribbean and chose some hotel-and-flight packages for a range of dates in late October and mid-November. All packages are priced per-person, based on double occupancy, with flights from Miami. Other departure cities are usually available for more.

Clearly, none of the following destinations can provide guarantees on anything weather-related (otherwise they wouldn’t be offering the deals in the first place!). But with prices this low, you can afford to have your trip cancelled and still have extra cash lying around to re-book the whole thing from scratch. Now, get out those bathing suits! Read more

JetBlue Fall Flight DealsWe know it’s hard to think about autumn travel as the summer winds down. But booking now will definitely pay off when you see the fare sale that JetBlue is advertising for their Leave-With-the-Changing-Leaves Sale. Travel is valid on one-way flights September 3 – December 18, and you must book by August 21 at midnight (blackout dates apply). Check out a selection of our favorite fares below. Read more

5 Fall Travel Deals

August 7th, 2013 by

Fall Travel DealsFall is a great time to take a trip: In many destinations, you’ll find lower rates and smaller crowds than in summer, making for a relaxing and easy-on-the-wallet travel experience. Our deals expert, Lisa Hubner, rounded up some of the best deals for fall travel to Europe, the U.S., and the Caribbean: Read more

CyberSummer Hotel DealsJust because you don’t yet have vacation plans as the first day of summer approaches doesn’t mean you’re out of luck. Get in on a hot hotel deal with CyberSummer, a one-day only sale that begins at midnight EDT on the summer solstice – this Friday, June 21! Travelers will be able to find exclusive online deals, including four-diamond resort stays from $99/night, five-star hotels offering 50 percent savings, free nights, and more. Want examples? Here are a few, just to whet your vacation appetite. Read more

Blue Flag: How Clean is That BeachYou’ve saved your money, packed your bags and are ready to embark on a new adventure. Through all the planning, the same image came to mind: the perfect beach. Whether rocky, sandy, tropical, or wild, beaches conjure up images of vacation and relaxation. But how do you know if your perfect beach is clean? Read more

Bioluminescent Bay

The Bioluminescent Bay (Biobay) of Vieques Island in Puerto Rico is a surreal paradise for lovers of everything that glows. A unique, awe-inspiring experience, Biobay, also known as Mosquito Bay, has become one of Puerto Rico’s top tourist highlights. Read more

Culebra, Puerto RicoThere are plenty of truths to travel, but today I’ll focus on just two. First, traveling to a warm, sand-fringed island can help a bad day, week, month, or even year seem inconsequential. Second, traveling anywhere that requires a passport undoubtedly causes headaches – just how big the headache varies widely on your destination. The good news for U.S. citizens, however, is that there are plenty of islands within reach that boast an international vibe, yet don’t require a passport. Below, I’ll share a few of my favorites for those itching to burn a few vacation days without dealing with immigration lines. Read more

Situated roughly halfway between St. Thomas and the main island of Puerto Rico is the picturesque island of Culebra. Even the most seasoned of Caribbean travelers shouldn’t be ashamed if they’ve never heard of it. It remains one of the best kept secrets in the region, and particularly for Americans who don’t want to fiddle with a passport in order to reach paradise, it’s a destination worth discovering.

Accessing Culebra isn’t exactly easy, per se, but it’s hardly complicated. If you’re on the main island of Puerto Rico (that’s the one with San Juan), you’ll need to point your rental car to Fajardo. That’s on the eastern edge of Puerto Rico, and it’s the primary ferry port on the island. For intrepid travelers, you can show up at the docks and buy yourself an inexpensive (under $10) ticket for the ride, which lasts right around an hour each way. If the ferry is sold out (which was the case when our editor, Mike Barish, visited the island), you can book a quick puddle jumper flight at the airport in Fajardo and land on Culebra in about 10 minutes – though a one-way flight can start at $35 per person, so consider taking the ferry back. To make life easy, however, I’d recommend reaching out to Kayaking Puerto Rico. Read more

After the holidays, we tend to get stuck in winter slumps. For many of us, as the temperatures drop and the sun goes down earlier, we’re left counting down the days until spring. But instead of hiding inside all winter, use the post-holiday months as a time to travel somewhere new, whether it’s to a relaxing beach, a ski resort out West, or Walt Disney World. All of the deals below are valid for travel throughout January – just in time to nip those winter blues in the bud.

January is one of the best months to visit Orlando, especially later in the month, when crowds at the theme parks are down after the holidays, and temperatures are in the perfect mid-70s. Hotels follow suit and dip down in pricing, like the 4-star Melia Orlando Suite Hotel, which starts at just $125 per night in January – a 45 percent savings on high season rates. The Melia is the closest all-suite hotel to the Disney Parks, and includes a full kitchen in each unit, plus a 360 -egree infinity pool, a state-of-the-art fitness center, and complimentary breakfast. Dozens more 4-star Orlando hotels are available for low rates in January, like the Holiday Inn Club Vacations at Orlando – Orange Lake Resort from $80 per night, the Westgate Lakes Resort and Spa from $97 per night, and the Mystic Dunes Resort and Golf Club from $105 per night. Read more

You’ve heard Black Friday horror stories: the fist-fights, the pepper-spraying, the lines outside of Best Buy at two in the morning. If a sleepless night or black eye isn’t the way you like to get your shopping done, consider Cyber Monday, the Monday after Thanksgiving devoted to thousands of online shopping deals. Over the past few years, hotels have caught on to the Cyber Monday trend and started promoting their own flash sales. The steep discounts below are only offered when booked on Monday, November 26, so pick your favorite destination, bookmark this post, and mark your calendars.

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Recently, my friend and I took a girls’ getaway to St. Lucia. We were both excited to get away from the office for a week;  we planned on unwinding at the beach on Sunday – the day we left New York – then spending six days swimming, sunning, and sleeping.

Then we looked at our plane tickets. Yes, we were leaving Sunday morning and returning Friday night, but we actually had just four full days in St. Lucia – and eight hours in the San Juan airport in both directions. While more and more direct routes to smaller Caribbean islands are becoming available, the cheapest flights still require layovers, and often long ones, in the Puerto Rican capital. Read more

Russell New Zealand beachAs you might have noticed, we’ve been a bit obsessed with the beach lately thanks to the East Coast heat wave. We’ve looked at the worst people at the beach, the crazy things that beachgoers do, and The Definitive Guide to Going to the Beach. This all started a few weeks ago when we asked you to share your favorite underrated beaches with us. We put the call out on Twitter and Facebook, as well. It’s clear that you all have firm opinions on the best beaches in the world that don’t get enough attention. With summer in full swing and everyone looking for ways to beat the heat without dealing with obnoxious crowds, traffic snarls, and boring routines, it’s time to take a look at some of your favorite underrated and lesser-known beaches. Read more

New United flights to CaribbeanWith temperatures soaring across most of the country, it’s hard for some of us to think about baking in the Caribbean sun. However, cold weather will be here before you know it, and with it a slew of new flights from the East Coast and Midwest to take advantage of tropical destinations.

Booking now for new JetBlue service from D.C. to San Juan (daily) and JFK to Samana, Dominican Republic (twice weekly) will score you big savings. Launching August 23, one-way fares on the San Juan route will be as low as $129 for travel through November 14 if you book by July 13; this will be the only non-stop flight between the U.S. capital and the Puerto Rican capital. Similarly, book by this Friday to secure one-way fares to Samana starting at $169 for flights from the November 14 launch date through February 9.

Read more

DeltaFor many Caribbean destinations, spring is the perfect time to visit – the high season crowds start to depart and hotel prices begin to dip, yet the weather remains balmy and hurricane season is still just a blip on the horizon. A boon of new routes this year from the East Coast will get you to that sunny vacation even faster.

Launched March 2, Delta now takes New Yorkers from Laguardia to Nassau, Bahamas. JetBlue has three new routes with deals to match:

  • Newark to San Juan, PR: starts April 25, from $163 one-way
  • Fort Lauderdale to Kingston, Jamaica: starts April 30, from $107 one-way
  • West Palm Beach to San Juan, PR: starts May 15, from $113 one-way

Use our Travel Search price comparison tool to find the lowest rates and travel deals on flights.

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