Makes Wrapping Up Holiday Shopping Easy With Gift Ideas for …

November 16, 2011 by  
Filed under Travel Deals

LONDON, Nov 16, 2011 (MARKETWIRE via COMTEX) –
As holiday shopping kicks off along with the upcoming Black Friday
and Cyber Monday sales,, the UK’s leading website
for travel deals comparison, has scoured the travel-sphere for the
world’s Top 10 Perfect Travel Gifts this Christmas.

With everything from the latest gadgets to entertainment luggage for
the kids, there’s sure to be a stocking stuffer or a box to put under
the tree for all.

“Eliminate the stress of holiday shopping by hitting the high street
or even the cyber world for a spot of shopping, list in hand,” says
Nadine Hallak, Travel Expert for

“Travel related gifts are fun to open as they carry the joy of the
moment as well as the promise of future adventure. Our choices are
also useful, practical, long lasting and inspiring. Most importantly,
most of them won’t break the bank!” adds Hallak.

Here we explore five of the world’s ten very best travel gifts to
give this holiday season along with who they would suit.

For the junior traveller — Trunki

This is the one that the cash-rich investors in Dragon’s Den let get
away. Flying during the peak Christmas travel season pretty much
guarantees long lines and frazzled families at the airport. A relief
for parents is the Trunki, a baggage-scooter hybrid that has changed
the way kids navigate airports. The four-wheeled suitcase offers tots
a chance to pack their favourite Peppa Pig pyjamas and then ride
around the airport and their destination. New this year is
SnooziHedz, a three-in-one blanket, pillow and travel buddy –
perfect for the colder cabin environment.

For the jet setter — Tumi Scale

Passengers are all too familiar with rising baggage fees as airlines
continue to struggle to offset rising fuel costs. And even worse than
paying to check luggage are additional fees for overweight bags.
Tumi’s new Scale is a handy solution, and a sophisticated gadget for
your nearest and dearest jet setter this festive season. The handheld
device tells travellers in one grab — before heading to the airport
– exactly what a bag weighs. Disclaimer: It utterly spoils the fun
of repacking at the check-in counter or investing in a second
suitcase at Duty-Free.

For the aspiring bilingual — My French/Spanish Coach

UBI, makers of the popular Just Dance games for Wii devices, has
created a game for Nintendo DS that combines fun with language
learning for players of all ages. My French Coach — also available
in Spanish — claims that dedicated linguists who practice just 20
minutes each day can become fluent in whatever language they’re
learning, simply by playing the mini-games and tracking their
progress. Want to get beyond the “dos cervezas, por favor” standard
of Spanish? Now’s your chance.

For the photographer — Canon point-and-shoot

DSLR cameras are gaining popularity among travellers, but they come
with a hefty price tag. Luckily, Canon is making user-friendly
point-and-shoots that capture exquisite photographs at a fraction of
the cost. The new PowerShot ELPH features a 28mm wide-angle lens, 8x
optical zoom and an optical image stabiliser — all within a super
slim frame. The hardest part: choosing from the ultra-hip color
options like electric blue and hot pink.

For the environmentalist — Sustainable Cork Sleeve

As personal electronics become more and more sophisticated, so should
their protective covers. Taking a laptop or tablet on holiday is
risky business, especially for those whose price tags are high. Enter
Ryan Frank, an eco-friendly furniture designer from South Africa, to
the rescue. The sustainably minded craftsman has created Sustainable
Cork Sleeves to protect cameras, iPods and e-readers — you name it
– in naturally harvested, biodegradable cork leather. The result:
wonderful carriers for your favourite nomad’s most expensive travel

For the full list of the world’s Top 10 Travel Gifts, visit

To search and compare flight prices, visit

About Cheapflights Media

Cheapflights Media is an international media network helping over 11
million visitors a month find top travel deals. Our Cheapflights
brand was launched in 1996 and pioneered the online comparison of
flight deals for users. Today, users compare a wide range of deals
from hundreds of partners including online travel agents,
consolidators and airlines to find the very best flight deals. With a
mission to be the starting point for travel, Cheapflights works to
deliver the industry’s best airfare bargains, expert tips and
inspiration. There are currently Cheapflights sites in the U.K.,
U.S., Canada, Germany, Australia New Zealand, France, Italy and
Spain. For more information, visit . Our newest
brand, Momondo, is a leading travel search engine for finding
comprehensive worldwide pricing and availability on airfares. Winner
of several awards, the site is ideal for users on specific travel
schedules. For more information, visit .

        For further information please contact:
        Rooster PR:
        Maitha Ahmed
        tel: +44 (0) 20 7953 8781



Copyright 2011 Marketwire, Inc., All rights reserved.

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Holiday travel: Tips for online bidding

November 16, 2011 by  
Filed under Travel Deals

ATLANTA (CNN) – Travel bidding sites such as Priceline and Hotwire offer great hotel deals, but you don’t find out where you’re staying until after you pay. So how do you make sure the price is right?

“What I do with Hotwire and Priceline is I go to Hotwire and see what they’re offering a four-star hotel at, and I go to Priceline and I start my baseline bidding 30% below that,” said money coach Clark Howard.

Hotels use deep discounts to attract last-minute travelers, so wait it out if you can.

“I get my best deals on Priceline and on Hotwire when I’m looking less than 20 days out. The closer you get to your arrival date, the better the deal you’re going to be offered, if they’ve got vacancies,” added Howard.

And if you’re worried about getting stuck with a less-than-desirable room, Howard offers this tip. “I limit my bidding almost always to four-star hotels or higher. Even if it’s not truly a four-star, I’m never unhappy.”

While bidding can be a hassle, the extra work may equal big savings for your holiday travel budgets.

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Pasadena: Langham Huntington cuts room rates up to 15%

November 16, 2011 by  
Filed under Travel Deals

The Langham Huntington in Pasadena is offering discounted room rates based on length of stay. Two nights means 10% off, three nights or more means 15% off plus extras such as breakfast and free Internet.

The deal: The Linger Longer for Less offer at the Pasadena hotel takes 10% off the best available rate for a two-night stay, continental breakfast and 15% off for a three-night stay and breakfast, free Internet and the 15% discount for a four-night stay. The deal carries different discounts and terms at hotels in Boston, New Zealand, China and other locations.

When: The offer is good for stays through Feb. 29.

Tested: I checked online and found availability Dec. 27-30 at the Langham Huntington for a deluxe king room at the discounted rate of $194 plus tax. (I selected late December dates that coincide with the run-up to the Rose Parade on Jan. 1.) To double-check the savings, I found the same room on the same night without the deal costs $229 a night plus tax.

Contact: Langham hotels, (800) 588-9141

Article source:,0,7074351.story

12th Tennessee tourism trail announced (AP)

November 16, 2011 by  
Filed under Travel News

CLEVELAND, Tenn. – Officials have announced the 12th of 16 self-guided driving trails in the Discover Tennessee Trails Byways program.

It is the Tanasi Trail featuring 125 tourism sites in Bradley, Hamilton, Loudon, McMinn, Meigs, Monroe and Polk counties.

State tourism officials said the location includes rails, trails and roads, including early Native American footpaths. Picturesque panoramas include the Blue Ridge Mountains and five of the state’s most scenic rivers: Ocoee, Hiwassee, Tellico, Tennessee and Little Tennessee.

The trail will be officially introduced Thursday in Cleveland. It was announced earlier this week.

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How Jetsetter’s CEO Keeps the Travel Conversation Flowing With Social Media

November 16, 2011 by  
Filed under Travel Deals

The Social CEO Series is supported by MessageMaker Social, the social media management system (SMMS) that lets you publish and manage targeted content across a large number of social interaction points while generating actionable intelligence. Visit and follow us @MsgMkrSocial on Twitter.

Drew Patterson is the CEO of Jetsetter, a two-year-old travel startup and member of the Gilt Groupe luxury flash deal family. The site offers 20 to 40 sales each week on “Jetsetter-verified” hotels, villas and adventures all around the world to its two million members.

Patterson founded Jetsetter after a stint at Starwood Hotels and serving as VP of marketing at travel deals site Kayak. His experience in the travel industry has helped the company create a seamless user experience. Jetsetter’s members have booked more than 500,000 room nights at 1,000 travel partners in 90 countries. The site has accrued 127,000 Likes on Facebook and 26,000 Twitter followers and works off of a referral basis — recommend friends to the website and get $25 when they book their first vacation. Jetsetter members use social media to learn about new destinations and hotels, to plan their trips, to ask questions and to speak with customer service.

Mashable spoke with Patterson about how he uses social media as a CEO and how his company benefits from being able to maintain a constant dialogue with its travel-hungry members.

QA with Drew Patterson, CEO of Jetsetter

How important is social media to you as an individual? As a business?

It’s hugely important. It provides a means of communication with our consumers, with our audience that’s really unparalleled. I got my first Facebook account in 2004 or 2005, but I wasn’t as early to Twitter. It’s been fascinating to watch the technology and consumer behavior and medium evolve.

I don’t tweet a ton, but [I’ll tweet about] random events in my life or things that I though are worthy of sharing. My girlfriend and I were talking about putting together our bucket list — we’re getting married in February, and we’re planning our honeymoon. So I tweeted for suggestions ans got a few responses from members with some pretty cool ideas. It’s a nice way to engage with folks who may have different points of view.

For us as a business, it’s a powerful tool that helps us stay engaged with our members. We can have a dialogue on an ongoing basis with our consumers about travel. Part of our business model is helping consumers relate travel to any part of their lives, so whether it’s a post on Facebook asking them for their feedback or a post on Twitter that’s similarly open-ended, or conversely, a customer support related issue — all those things are filtered through social media.

It’s great because it’s immediate, it’s lightweight, it’s really targeted and it’s personal. One of the things that’s exciting about social media is that consumers are looking for more person-to-person interaction with companies. And with social media, you can see all the history of me as an individual, things I’ve thought about, things I’ve said — and that’s not just the case for me, it’s all our customer support folks. There are different people and personalities that represent the brand, and they can be themselves.

Social media is great for customer service, especially in the hospitality sector. Since Jetsetter is the vehicle for planning an entire vacation, how do you build the trust that’s needed for such an undertaking?

Trust and confidence is at the heart of travel and travel purchase decisions. You buy your trip to Turks Caicos, and you probably haven’t been there before, but maybe you’ve talked to your friends about it. But you didn’t have any direct experience, and odds are you’re not going to go again because people don’t travel that frequently. So you have this tremendous information asymmetry. One of things that’s possible with social media is that it’s a way to start to shrink that gap. You can talk to others who have direct firsthand experience with the destination and the hotel, which is very important. Part of what people use us for is information that makes for a memorable trip. And a lot of that has to do with general insights and ideas for what I can do on the road beyond where I might be staying. And if we have a lot of recommendations from our members, it means we can begin to shorten the gap through communication with them.

How is your social media team organized?

We’ve got one person in marketing who manages social media and helps drive social media practices across the company. We also have a team of 12 editors, who write about different destinations, write our reviews and post about their own experiences that might be useful for travelers. The editors all have followings and are engaged in social media. And our customer support team does the same [outreach]. So there are a couple different touchpoints in the company where social media comes into play through different lenses. Social media is not only good for one thing; there are a variety of ways it can get play.

Is Passport an indication that you’re developing the content side of the business more?

Content always plays a huge role on the site — we [attest to] the quality of the partners that we feature. We verify every one of the properties that shows up on Jetsetter. Passport has been a great testament to figuring out how content and ideas around travel can be a bigger part of the relationship that we have with the consumer. I don’t think we’ve cracked the code on it yet, but we’re learning what stories catch interest. One of the things you’ll see more from us is how these ideas about travel can be a bigger part of the experience for the consumer.

Photography tends to do well on social media – do you think that’s been an advantage for you, since Jetsetter is known for great imagery?

I think so. There’s work for us still to do around that. Pictures are very effective communication tools, especially in a format where you don’t have much space and there’s a lot of competition for mindshare.

What is success to you, when it comes to social media?

Success comes in a couple different ways. One part is around building our audience, building our membership, building our following. And that happens because our members are sharing Jetsetter with friends. Social media is a great way for them to publicize positive experiences they have on Jetsetter.

The other part is engaging with our audience and making sure that we’re delivering a great service. Part of our proposition is that you have better travel experiences working with Jetsetter — we want to hear from members about what happened when they were traveling with us. We send reviews to members after they travel with us, and about half of them fill it out. There are three questions we ask: Did you get what expected? Are you still a fan of Jetsetter? Would you recommend the hotel? If it’s negative, we reach out to find out what happened.

How has your marketing and social strategy developed as the company has grown?

One thing that we’re spending a lot of time thinking about is how mobile and social come together. I think we’ve got a couple things we’re still in the process of working through, but we see that combination as an incredibly powerful formula, where you have real world experiences and social experiences brought to you at your mobile device. I wouldn’t have thought that would be the case six months ago.

What are your favorite Twitter accounts to follow?

I follow a lot of people in consumer tech, so Fred Wilson, Mark Suster, Paul Kedrosky, Richard Branson…. And [others, like] Mike Birbiglia. I like Mike Birbiglia.

Any advice for other CEOs?

The thing that I try to stay focused on is what is it that’s resonating with the community. Don’t get distracted. There’s so much activity going on in the market, the challenge for us is to pay attention to our relationship with the consumer and stay focused on that.

Series Supported by MessageMaker Social

The Social CEO Series is supported by MessageMaker Social, the social media management system (SMMS) that lets you publish and manage targeted content across a large number of social interaction points while generating actionable intelligence. This smart, simple SaaS solution elevates your company’s social presence among thousands of social Pages and accounts, helping you meet compliance regulations, maintain brand consistency, maximize engagement and generate actionable intelligence — without adding additional human resource costs. Visit and follow us @MsgMkrSocial on Twitter.

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Yuupon’s "Not A Typo" Black Friday/Cyber Monday Sale

November 16, 2011 by  
Filed under Travel Deals

/PRNewswire/ — founder Mary Song knows to expect some oohs and raised eyebrows at the announcement of Yuupon’s Black Friday/Cyber Monday sale with 90% to 99% off, so she named the sale “Not a Typo” to reinforce that the deals are real.

This Black Friday from 9am to 9pm (EST) Yuupon is offering hourly, travel-related deals up to 99% off. Shoppers get an advance look at the secret sale schedule on Thanksgiving when they sign up and register for Yuupon’s newsletter at

Sale items include: 90% off airline gift cards, $17/night for a 3-star hotel in Orlando FL, $1 for $10 restaurant gift cards, 90% off Vegas shows, $2.50 for $25 gas cards, $1 movie tickets, 90% off Florida tours, and $2 for $20 Yuupon credit.

Shoppers can bookmark to make sure they don’t miss a deal.

The deals continue on Yuupon every hour from 9am to 9pm EST on Cyber Monday with an added bonus: the Guess It And Get It Giveaway on Facebook and Twitter. Shoppers can ‘like’ Yuupon on Facebook at and guess the locations of secret hotel photos, or follow Yuupon on Twitter at!/yuupondeals and tweet replies with the hashtag #HowIWillSpendTheMoneyISavedOnYuupon for a chance to win great prizes. Complete details are at

Making its holiday sale debut, Yuupon goes for an over the top sale to make its presence known in the world of daily deal sites and hyperlocal coupons. Having launched in March of 2011, Yuupon has innovated the daily deal model by making flexibility, cancellations, and refunds part of their no-pressure cycle of deals.

“We know that great deals don’t have to come with pressure or group minimums, which is how we’ve made the flash sale model for travel more appealing to new users,” says Song.

For additional information go to

About Yuupon

Get more Zen about travel deals with less pressure from the flexible flash sale travel site, Yuupon. Sign up for Yuupon’s weekly discounted accommodations and get refundable vouchers for flexible travel dates and snag the deals without the requirement of group minimums, harried schedule matching, and travel companion scheduling.

Media Contact:Pamela Johnston, PresidentCloud12 PR(646)


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Man Says He Was Victimized In Groupon Deal Gone Bad

November 16, 2011 by  
Filed under Travel Deals


Leonard Miranda Claims Deal Purchased From Groupon Turned Into Fraud

SAN DIEGO — Millions of people around the country receive emails from advertising daily deals.

However, 10News learned one of the company’s deals this past summer did not deliver as promised. 10News discovered more than 2,000 people from Los Angeles to San Diego may have given their credit card information to an ex-convict and did not even realize it.

When Groupon offered a daily deal with Lux Travel Group for a $55 round-trip luxury bus ride to Las Vegas — a package that included champagne service, cocktails, WiFi and a movie screening during the chocolate mint-drizzled dessert — Leonard Miranda bought tickets for two.

“It was described as a luxurious trip,” said Miranda.

Two days before the trip, Groupon canceled the deal. When Miranda called Groupon to ask why, he was told there were simply too many people wanting reservations and Lux could not accommodate them for months, which caused a problem.

“They described that it was strictly a capacity issue,” Miranda said.

When Lux offered to make good on the reservation with Miranda that Saturday he felt comfortable booking directly with them.

It turns out Lux contacted many of the 2,228 people who booked the deal and told them the same thing. The company promised to honor it and told San Diegans to meet the bus in front of the Marriott Marina on Harbor Drive.

After hours of waiting, the wheels were about to come off of the alleged travel group scam.

According to Miranda, Lux started making excuses.

“‘Hey, we’re sorry but our bus broke down and we’re working on trying to get another bus from our sister company in LA,’” Miranda said Lux told him.

After hours of waiting, Miranda drove himself to Las Vegas.

Others in the same situation the following week were eventually picked up by a white sport utility vehicle with no front or back license plates. The “courteous attendants” referenced in the Groupon ad and pictured on the Lux Travel Group website were not what was promised.

“Someone left a message from Southwest Airlines’ fraud department. She just wanted to verify that I had made two plane ticket purchases from Las Vegas to San Diego,” said Miranda.

Police questioned the couple who traveled with those tickets and they explained Lux Travel Group purchased the tickets to get the couple back home to San Diego after the Lux bus never arrived, leaving them stranded in Las Vegas.

“The problem is they were using my credit card to make that charge,” Miranda said.

Miranda contacted Groupon with the information he obtained, but he said he soon found out even more.

“Not only is this a poor business, but more than likely this is a complete fraud and a scam, and people need to be alerted,” said Miranda.

Miranda did an Internet search to find the information that Groupon had all along — the name of Lux Travel Group’s owner, Shaun Michael LeClerc.

“If they would have run his name they would have saw that he’s been involved in fraud. It’s open source information on the Internet that said he was a parolee,” said Miranda.

Miranda’s search, which the I-Team verified with the Department of Corrections, showed LeClerc is an ex-convict who served time in prison for scams, thefts and financial frauds.

How did Groupon not know they were going into business with a felon? When asked about their vetting process, they told 10News:

Groupon LA featured Lux in July 2011. At the time of our partnership agreement, Lux was screened via Groupon’s extensive vetting process that includes but is not limited to BBB and credit checks, both of which they passed within our high quality standards.

Groupon has known since late August that Miranda was the victim of credit card fraud, but it has not notified the other people who also dealt with Lux Travel Group.

In an email to Miranda, Groupon said it needs to “discuss this with the ownership (of Lux) to access the situation before making any public statements.”

“Now it’s a parolee with 2,228 credit cards with all this cock-and-bull story and nobody’s doing anything; very disheartening,” Miranda said.

10News learned Lux Travel Group never had a business license.

LeClerc has been arrested for violating his parole by operating in another alleged business scam. He is currently in Chino State Prison.

10News wants to point out there are several legitimate businesses with similar names, such as Luxe Travel and Lux Bus America.

Experts said the key to participating in a daily deal is to deal solely with Groupon.

All of the people who purchased the bus ride to Las Vegas were refunded by Groupon.

Copyright 2011 by All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Gate 1 Travel Announces Second Annual Black Friday Sale

November 16, 2011 by  
Filed under Travel Deals

FORT WASHINGTON, Pa.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–To kick off the holiday shopping season, Gate 1 Travel, a leader in
international escorted and independent travel packages, is offering an
exclusive, one-day sale on Black Friday 2011. Every package will be on
sale and available for purchase through the company’s website or by
calling 1-800-682-3333.

“We are thrilled to be able to offer our biggest deal of the year on the
biggest shopping day of the year”

Here is the breakdown of the Black Friday Deals:

  • Spend $500 or more and receive $50 off with the promo code BLKFR50
  • Spend $1,000 or more and receive $100 off with the promo code BLKFR100
  • Spend $2,000 or more and receive $250 off with the promo code BLKFR250
  • Spend $4,000 or more and receive $500 off with the promo code BLKFR500

“We are thrilled to be able to offer our biggest deal of the year on the
biggest shopping day of the year,” said Marty Seslow, Vice President of
Marketing and Sales for Gate 1 Travel. “We pride ourselves on providing
competitive prices for all our vacations, and our exclusive Black Friday
promotion is no exception. Last year we received great feedback from our
customers about the promotion, so we knew immediately that we had to do
it again in 2011. Deals of this magnitude are rarely offered in our
industry, so we’re excited to offer our customers a little something
extra this holiday season. We are also excited about the offerings this
year because they include our new packages with Royal Caribbean
International® and Holland America Line®.”

To see the many vacation packages Gate 1 Travel has to offer, visit

Gate 1 Travel was founded in 1981 to deliver More of the World for
Less — offering fully escorted land tours; sea cruises; independent rail
packages; river cruises; independent fly and drive vacations; and
customized international vacation packages. Discount travel packages and
tour packages are offered throughout Europe, Asia, Africa, Australia,
and North and South. For information and reservations call:
1-800-682-3333 or 215-572-7676; fax: 215-886-2228; e-mail:;
or visit the Website:

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Travelocity Offers Holiday Travel Tips

November 16, 2011 by  
Filed under Travel Deals

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‘Hunger Games’ post-apocalyptic world looks mighty familiar

November 16, 2011 by  
Filed under Travel Deals

“The Hunger Games” movie trailer released Monday to hungry fans presents a leafy, green, post-apocalpytic nation in which children in a dystopian society are commanded to fight to the death. The chilling fantasy is set in the ruins of the United States in a country called Panem that looks a lot like … North Carolina.

Indeed, “Games,” which opens March 23, 2012, and is based on the 2008 book by Suzanne Collins, was filmed over the summer in Asheville, Barnardsville, Black Mountain, Cedar Mountain, Charlotte, Concord, Hildebran and Shelby, N.C., the Charlotte Observer reports.

Anyone who has hiked in the national forests around Asheville and points south might recognize the lush woods and low-slung mountains — or maybe not.

Noelene Clark writes on the L.A. Times’ Hero Complex blog that the trailer presents a “world that’s both gritty and surreal.”

“…[I]t provides a glimpse of Panem that is far less shiny and clean than posters promoting it. The trailer is culled from footage of the first half of the film alone, providing only a few seconds from the battle arena.”

Article source:,0,885416.story

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