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No matter where you’re traveling, there’s nothing like a long line to put a damper on your vacation. Which is why we were happy to learn about SecurXpress, a reservation system for security lines that’s being tested at Montréal, Canada’s international airport. After passengers submit their flight and contact info online, they receive a text with an arrival time. Then, when they get to the airport, they can head straight to security and skip the line. Not bad. This free service is available for all domestic and select international routes, and each reservation covers up to five travelers.
While it’ll take some time for other airports to adopt the system – clearance rules make it especially tricky for flights in and out of the U.S. – ticketed reservations aimed at slashing wait times aren’t new. Here’s a quick look at similar systems that are helping travelers avoid the wait…
In a city that claims to be the most European city in North America, I was expecting a restaurant scene with white table cloths and extravagant prices to match. But Montréal surprised me. From no-frills lunch spots, to after-work happy hour bars, and high-end dinner options, this island city in the province of Quebec has plenty to offer, all at a reasonable price. Here are some of my favorite restaurants in Montréal: Read more
Grab a friend and board Amtrak’s Adirondack Line for a long weekend getaway in Montreal, Canada’s capital of culture. Buy two round-trip tickets from New York City starting at $189 – 25 percent off seasonal rates. This discounted rate is available for travel in September.
The Adirondack Line provides service between New York City’s Penn Station and Montreal’s Central Station. This scenic ride glides along the Hudson River, making stops at some of Upstate New York’s most charming riverside towns. After a stop in Albany, the train continues on through the stunning Adirondack Mountains before crossing the Canadian border into Quebec.
September serves as an ideal time to visit Montreal with average temperatures hovering around a comfortable 70 degrees. The end of September also marks the beginning of Canada’s fall foliage.
This summer, fly to Canada on Porter Airlines with one-way flights starting from just $67. These rates slash up to half on current airline pricing and include all taxes and fees. Enjoy ideal summer temperatures in Toronto, along with restaurants, art, and nightlife in one of the most culturally diverse cities in the world. Or, fly to Montreal, where you can experience the unique French-Canadian heritage along with the famous Montreal International Jazz Festival from June 28-July 7.
Sample one-way fares from the U.S. to Canada:
- New York City (Newark)–Toronto: $67
- Boston–Toronto: $73
- Chicago–Toronto: $89
- Washington, D.C.–Toronto: $89
- New York City (Newark)–Montreal: $125
- Boston–Montreal: $162
Book fast, because this sale ends Friday, June 1. Travel is valid from June 14-September 3. Book online at the Porter Airlines website and enter the promo code AIR.
See our Canada destination guide for more trip-planning information.
Romance is revving up all over the place during the month of February, from sun-kissed beaches to sophisticated big cities. Here are 25 deals and packages – from Fort Lauderdale to Fiji, Maine to Madrid, and St. Kitts to Sedona – that you can still book to make this Valentine’s Day the most memorable ever:
IN THE U.S. & CANADA
The Grand Del Mar: Unplug and relax with the “Disconnect Package” at the luxurious The Grand Del Mar near San Diego (shown above at left) and you’ll get one night’s accommodations (with the room TV unplugged and upgrade upon booking if available), berry-infused champagne cocktail upon arrival, choice of a 60-minute couples massage, or a 2-hour horseback ride for two, breakfast in bed for two, and late checkout, from $795/night. Read more
As the New Year approaches, one resolution prevails: It’s time to jump-start a wellness campaign and get fit! Here are three delightful, family-founded destinations where you can spa like a pro at a guilt-free price-tag.
Adler Thermae Spa & Wellness Resort
Adler Thermae sits atop a verdant hillside in picturesque olive grove and vineyard studded Tuscany just a five-minute walk from the medieval town of Bagno Vignoni. Located two hours north of Rome and an hour south of Siena, the Val d’Orcia region is famous for Vino Nobile di Montepulciano and Brunello di Montalcino, which are produced nearby. Starting on Sundays through March 2012, the “Tuscan Nature” package ($1,300 per person) features four-night superior accommodations (with views from a balcony or terrace), breakfast and dinner in a glass-roofed dining room, afternoon snack, unlimited access to the indoor/outdoor pools, a grotto, a heated Watsu pool, fitness facility, and the serene relaxation room, even mountain bikes. Included in the price are a facial, a wine wrap, a milk and honey body treatment, and two massages: an olive and a grape! www.adler-thermae.com
Everyone loves to travel during the summer – including families with cranky babies, manic preschoolers, and brooding teens. And when it’s just the two of you on a relaxing and romantic getaway, the last thing you want is to choose two chaises on the beach or near the pool and have the moment ruined when a family straight out of National Lampoon’s Vacation plops down right next to you.
So, here are some tips for how to out-maneuver those omnipresent family groups – and with multi-generational travel all the rage, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins are all too often along for the ride, too – and truly enjoy some adult time (such as the daybeds at the adult-only pool area at the Four Seasons Resort Hualalai on Hawaii’s Big Island, shown at left).
If you are getting married soon and plan to take off for just a few days after your wedding on a “mini-moon,” you are not alone. An estimated 30 percent of couples getting married in the next 12 months who know their honeymoon plans say they plan to take a honeymoon lasting just a few days right after the wedding, rather than a traditional week-long or longer one, according to a recent survey by BedandBreakfast.com.
Both budget and time constraints among just-married couples are contributing to the “mini-moon” trend. “The survey confirmed that most newlyweds will take a several day mini-moon rather than not taking a honeymoon at all,” says Martin Slagter, vice president of HomeAway, Inc., which owns BedandBreakfast.com, a website showcasing 11,000 B&Bs and inns worldwide.
Sure, many cruise ships have a spa. But in the case of Montreal’s Bota Bota, which opened in December, the boat is the spa. The converted 1950s industrial vessel, permanently docked in the St. Lawrence River, represents a noteworthy foray into architecture by advertising firm Sid Lee, which is otherwise known for developing brands like Adidas and Red Bull.
Circular staircases connect the spa’s upper decks, while 12 cocoonlike treatment rooms (some with baths) hover just above the water’s surface. In the changing areas below deck, giant numerals point to different locker banks and some 680 portholes dot the ship’s sides. The result may just be the world’s first venture into submarine chic.
Spring is a great time for a romantic getaway – either to Europe, the Caribbean, Mexico, Canada, or the West Coast – so here are four tips to help you maximize your enjoyment of the destination, and each other, while away à deux:
Avoid kids and conferences: Nothing wrecks a romantic mood more than screaming kids – but loud, badge-wearing conference-goers are a close second. The best way to avoid both is to book a smaller resort, preferably one where children under 16 are either not allowed or discouraged.
With Mother’s Day just around the corner (May 8), we suggest you start planning something special for mom. You’re thinking flowers? Boring. We’re thinking “girls getaway.” Awesome. Really up the ante this year and treat your mom to a fabulous weekend away. These four deals, fit for any budget, make it easy.
The chic One Bal Harbour Resort & Spa in southern Florida has a perfect “Sun, Stay, and Shop” deal for Mother’s Day. The package includes $100 resort credit (perhaps for an in-room massage), daily continental breakfast, and complimentary car service to the Bal Harbour shops—home to over 100 luxury boutiques, such as Cartier and Valentino, and gourmet restaurants. Rates start at $395/night for two. www.balharbourflorida.com Read more
The clock is quickly ticking, but all you lovebird procrastinators (or maybe you’re just spontaneous) still have 19 days to book a last-minute Valentine’s Day getaway. The big day falls on a Monday this year, making it perfect for a long weekend. My inbox has been flooded with possibilities – from great deals to extravagant splurges. Here are 14 packages worth perusing:
1. Cities Across North America: The “Magnifique Romance” package at Sofitel (www.sofitel.com) – which includes accommodations, chocolates, flowers, champagne, and room-service breakfast – is available throughout North America (Montreal, New York, Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, Miami, Chicago-Water Tower, San Francisco, Minneapolis, and Los Angeles) with rates starting at $140/night if booked by February 13.
2. Riviera Maya: Ceiba Del Mar Beach Spa and Resort, located on Mexico’s Caribbean coast just south of Cancun (shown above at left; courtesy of Ceiba Del Mar Beach Spa and Resort), has a four-night “Romance Experience” package that includes accommodation in an oceanview suite, a champagne cocktail welcome, a private candlelight dinner for two with a bottle of wine, and a 50-minute couples massage, from $1,440 for four nights.
Air France has announced that starting June 6, Washington, D.C., will serve as the second U.S. gateway for its A380 jumbo jets, with daily service to Paris’s Charles de Gaulle Airport. The U.S. capital is one of only three North American destinations for the A380, which also operates to New York’s JFK and Montreal (as well as to Johannesburg and Tokyo, worldwide). The double-decker jumbo jet can tout as many as 538 passengers, and is one of the world’s most energy-efficient aircrafts – as well as the quietest in its class. High-season summer rates will begin at $1,550 round-trip, including taxes.
I enjoy visiting Montreal because it feels like a little enclave of Europe here in North America. Montreal, part of the French-speaking province Quebec, is one of my favorite destinations for its mix of city sights, top-notch cuisine, and cosmopolitan nightlife. Go for a spring, summer, or fall visit; winters can be pretty harsh.
Montreal resembles San Francisco with its slightly cool temperatures (even in summer), calm city ambience, rolling hills, and friendly inhabitants. The city, dotted with French bistros and cute boutiques, presents a lovely mélange of Anglo and French cultures. Don’t be surprised if you trot out your high school French and get a reply in flawless English: People here move effortlessly between the two languages.
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