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Scandinavia sure is pretty, but she ain’t cheap. After doing a little deal-hunting detective work in the region’s dynamic capitals, however, I’ve happily determined that it’s entirely possible to set out for a budget break here, without breaking the bank. Whether you’ve set your budget-savvy sights on Oslo, Stockholm, or Helsinki (tip: though the latter gets a bad rap on value, it’s actually considerably cheaper than its Swedish and Norwegian neighbors), herewith some finds on fun free things to do, public transport “tours” to check out, and money-saving travel cards to help take the expensive edge off your outings. Read more
We here at ShermansTravel hope you’re spending the long Labor Day weekend somewhere fabulous. But if you want to score the best deals and rewards perks for busy travel times in 2013, here’s a heads-up: Factor in some time over this holiday to start planning your next trip, especially if it falls during peak travel times like Spring Break and Thanksgiving.
If planning (or booking) so far ahead seems a little extreme, consider that scoring affordable airline seats – whether through rewards programs or good deals themselves – will require even more energy, savvy, and patience than ever before. Recent airline mergers have cut capacity and reduced routes; adding to the problem is the explosion of credit-card rewards programs. The bottom line is that there are more travelers scrambling for fewer seats these days.
Fortunately, there are some ways to help travelers score the seats and travel times they want. Here, a few tips that will have you headed for takeoff in 2013, without losing your sanity (or a chunk of your life savings) in the process. Read more
You’re going to spend money on your vacation. It’s unavoidable and, quite frankly, necessary. However, that doesn’t mean that you have to just throw it away. There are bad deals, inflated prices, and unnecessary splurges lurking everywhere you travel. When you’re away from home and out of your element, it can be difficult to avoid these all-too-common money traps. The more you know, the better equipped you are to keep your vacation on track and your bank account full.
1. Distance Keeps Your Wallet Fatter
There’s nothing wrong with checking out the tourist hotspots. However, business owners know how close they are to those landmarks and look to cheat visitors. After a morning at the museum or day spent exploring ruins, put some distance between you and the crowds before stopping for a meal, drink or souvenirs. Even the gift shops charge a premium and you can often find the same products elsewhere at discounted prices. Read more
Aloft London Excel
Aloft’s first property in the United Kingdom has opened with time to spare before the 2012 Olympics. Located close to Olympic Park in East London, the 252-room Aloft comes with the brand’s namesake loft-like guest rooms, signature grab-and-go food pantry, free Wi-Fi, and, best of all, affordable nightly rates averaging around $200.
One of my favorite spots in Panama is Bocas del Toro and on our last trip we stayed in these perfectly placed over-the-water villas surrounded by nothing but the Caribbean Sea and the lush mangroves that protect the coast. Eco-friendly Bocas Villas (bocasvillas.com) is comprised of a set of four one-bedroom villa rentals (owner/manager Philip Albrecht is currently residing in one of the units) that stretch out over the sea, anchored by a string of boardwalks and a dock. If you want to totally relax and unplug, this is the place. We rented two side-by-side villas and some of our best days (and nights) were spent just hanging out on our patios, swimming and snorkeling right off our own dock, and attempting to catch dinner via a speargun and the sea’s natural bounty (note: we were never successful). While we were there, my cousin shot this video. It does the best job of summing up our experience at Bocas Villas.
For general trip-planning information, see our Panama Travel Guide.
Looking for a warm-weather getaway that won’t break the bank? With just a two-hour flight from the East Coast, Bermuda is perfect for a quick jaunt to warmer climes. And the tourism department’s “Compliments of Bermuda” promotion – pay two nights and get the third night free, at some of the island’s best hotels – makes the idea even sweeter.
Rates for this deal start at just $125/night. To take advantage of the offer, book now through March 12, 2011 for travel from November 15 through March 15, 2011. Though winter is off season in Bermuda, you’ll still be treated to mild weather perfect for golfing or spa-going.
Here are just a few of the hotels offering the promotion:
Click here for a full list of participating properties. Check with the hotels for any restrictions or blackout dates.
Soak in the secluded tropics of a Costa Rican paradise, lit up by the embers of Arenal Volcano in the distance. Surrounded by gurgling waterfalls and rejuvenating hot springs, the 120-acre Lost Iguana Resort and Spa offers the Two for Two promotion, featuring four nights for the price of two, with daily breakfast. Rates start from an affordable $93 per person, per night, in standard deluxe rooms with views of the lush rainforest and the fabled, active volcano. A four-night stay clocks in at just $370 (only $185 per person) – a savings of 50 percent!
THE VALUE: Receive a complimentary couples’ massage when you mention ShermansTravel at booking.
THE CATCH: May through November is Costa Rica’s rainy season.
THE DETAILS: Travel through November 15. Visit www.lostiguanaresort.com or email email@example.com. Don’t forget to mention where you read about it to get the free massage!
WE’VE GOT MORE: For budget-friendly vacations, check out our 40 Sweet Spots for Fall Value.
Use our Travel Search price comparison tool to find great rates on airfare.
Shelling out for kid care at a hotel is one of those inevitable costs that can add a significant chunk to your vacation bill and there’s nothing you can really do about it. Especially in a city like London, where grown-up fun (happening restaurants, brilliant theater) comes at a high cost anyway, paying for several nights of nanny care can really take its toll. Unless…you check into The Athenaeum
For a limited time, the luxe hotel in London’s Mayfair district is offering complimentary nanny service. And these aren’t just any nannies… Read more
Have you been brainstorming ways to extend your summer? You can put your mind at ease because the Loews Miami Beach Hotel Summerfest package is available through September. With this package, when travelers book four nights in a luxury category room and above (rates start at $229/night), the fourth night is free! Additionally, guests will receive $100 in food and beverage credit, which can be used at one of seven restaurants and bars on the property. This deal also works in conjunction with Loews Miami Beach Hotel’s self-improvement month, in which guests can take advantage of complimentary beach yoga, “the art of sushi” classes, free sunscreen and smoothies at the pool, and 10 percent off all apparel at Splash retail store.
THE VALUE: Travelers can save up to $350 on a four-night stay.
THE CATCH: The free night is only valid on four-night stays.
THE DETAILS: To book your stay, visit www.loewshotels.com.
WE’VE GOT MORE: Find low fares on flights to Miami using our Travel Search price comparison tool.
Read our Miami Travel Guide and know where to go!
Find a great deal on a cruise out of Miami before or after your stay with the help of our Cruise Deals Page.
For the quintessential Las Vegas experience, book your stay at Mandalay Bay. The party-driven hotel has scored high marks for its 11-acre lagoon, which includes a wave pool and sand beach, a topless lounging area, and a river ride. Standout dining options include Charlie Palmer’s Aureole, Alain Ducasse’s Mix, and Wolfgang Puck’s Lupo. Recently redone rooms (goodbye, tropical motif; hello, earthy elegance) have large bathrooms with sunken tubs. Through December 30, a room could be yours for as low as $66/night. Read more
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