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Fly non-stop to Istanbul October through March and save hundreds with this round-trip air deal starting at just $505, including tax. Spend Thanksgiving, Christmas, or New Year’s in Turkey, for an unforgettable Eastern vacation. Warm up with Turkish coffee while completing your holiday shopping in bazaars, relax in the famous Turkish baths, or soak in thousands of years of history in museums and mosques.
THE VALUE: Non-stop flights from Chicago to Istanbul typically cost over $1,000, so this deal saves over $500 on normal non-stop fares.
THE CATCH: These flights will get snapped up fast, so book now for the widest selection of dates. Lowest prices were found for weekday travel.
THE DETAILS: Click here to book your flight online with our Travel Search price comparison tool.
Travel as a vehicle for spiritual transformation is hardly a new notion – seekers have practiced the act of pilgrimage for as long as they’ve looked up to the skies and attempted communion with a higher power. Even in today’s short-attention-span society, setting out to honor the divine or ponder the mysterious is a time-honored tradition that refuses to wane with the changing tides of our technologically driven lives. This list of 10 sacred places (and the accompanying slideshow) showcases points of perceived power and peace around the globe, where the physical appears to meld seamlessly with the metaphysical whether due to awe-inspiring natural settings, reported ties to great gods or holy humans, or long-standing consecration as sites of worship and ritual.
Our list isn’t meant to be comprehensive. Sacred places mean many things to different people – zipping along an open highway, sailing a calm sea, or even hibernating inside on a cold winter’s morning can all bring about their own sort of peace. Where do you go to retreat from the world?
Use our Travel Search price comparison tool to find the lowest rates on flights, hotels, packages, and more travel deals.
The hidden costs of most all-inclusive tours can quickly add up once you factor in gratuities, shore excursions, and single supplements. Not so with Smithsonian Journeys, which has just announced three new all-inclusive Mediterranean cruise deals that include: international airfare, shore excursions in each port, on-board lectures, gratuities to shipboard staff, and more. Unlike most cruises (where you won’t need any brainpower beyond what’s required for reading the latest trashy magazines poolside), be prepared to learn on these cruises, as they are run by the world-famous Smithsonian Institution’s travel branch.
The cruises offered are fairly lengthy, in order to allow cruisers to have ample time to explore the amazing cultural sites throughout the Mediterranean. Choose from:
“The Wonders of Turkey and the Greek Isles” (June 23-July 6) or “The Glories of Greece and Turkey” (July 1-14), which both stop in the Greek Islands of Crete, Delos, Mykonos and Samos; the historic Turkish cities of Ephesus and Aprodisias; and World Heritage sites in Athens and Istanbul. Land stops in Istanbul and Athens are also included. Book either one of these cruises by March 31st, and pay only $3,195 (which includes international airfare from select East Coast cities).
Or pay a little bit more ($3,750) and try the “Splendors of Italy and the Dalmatian Coast” (May 31-June 15), featuring the Italian cities of Rome, Corsica, Sardinia, Venice and Sicily; the tiny country of Malta; and Croatia’s Dubrovnik and Split.
All three cruises will take place on-board the 350-passenger Aegean Odyssey, which features a spa, pool, library, lecture theater, and a variety of dining options. Be sure to take advantage of Smithsonian Journeys’ unique lecture programs with on-board experts, to help you learn about what you’ll be seeing off the boat. Or, just hang out at one of the Odyssey’s three bars – your call.
Always dreamed of being a travel writer? Here’s your chance to get a jump-start in the coveted and competitive industry, with a 22-day adventure/assignment in Turkey, mentoring from a pro and your foot in the door with a well-known travel guide as the grand prize for a travel writing scholarship.
What you’ll have to do: Submit a 500-word essay (roughly the length of most posts you see on this blog), plus another 200 words on why you should be the winner. In addition, you’ll need a passport with at least six months’ validity, to be at least 18 years old (by June 7) and be available to travel from June 7-28, 2011. You also should have strong writing skills in English. Finally, entrants cannot be travel or professional writers (*&^! And I already had some great ideas in mind for my essay!).
The scholarship is sponsored by travel insurance provider and expert World Nomads, based in Australia, as well as adventure outfitter BikeHike Adventures and travel guidebook Rough Guides. The experience kicks off with BikeHike’s Turkish Delight tour, whose 12-day itinerary is an unforgettable trip in itself. Highlights include exploring the enchanting landscape of Cappadocia (its fairytale-esque mountains are in the photo above) by foot, mountain bike and horseback, sea kayaking on the Mediterranean and discovering the cultural gems of Istanbul. Read more
I am surprised by how many well-traveled Americans have yet to visit Turkey. This is one place to put on your list. I spent a good deal of time researching the perfect trip there, and I believe I succeeded in mapping out an ideal itinerary. My first stop was Turkbuku. This seaside town in the south is about a 45-minute drive from the airport in Bodrum (fly there via Istanbul). Our taxi van passed through a number of sleepy villages that dot the coastline and then, all of a sudden, came upon this hidden gem of a town.
I stayed at the Maca Kizi hotel (from $285/night), a smart splurge given its luxe, chic boutique qualities. The rooms were spacious, and most had terrific views of the crystal blue waters and yachts along the inlet. By day, guests lounge on the hotel’s jetties, enjoying seaside lunches and bar service. I couldn’t help but notice the plethora of waif supermodels, Chanel sundresses, and Prada sunglasses.
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