Bali and Borneo: Temples, markets and orangutans gone wild

January 4, 2012 by  
Filed under Travel Deals

Researchers have been studying orangutans, proboscis monkeys, gibbons and other Indonesian wildlife for more than four decades at Camp Leakey in the Tanjung Puting National Park in Borneo. Now an eight-day trip combines a luxury stay in Bali with wildlife viewing and a visit to the camp.

The trip starts with three nights in Bali at the Pita Maha Resort and Spa in Ubud and then takes off to Yogyakarta on the island of Java for two nights at the Rimba Lodge inside the national park. Highights include the provincial capital at Denpasar, architectural sites in Klungkung, art galleries and markets in Ubud, the “monkey forest” and nutmeg trees of Alas Kedaton, the Mother Temple of Bali at the Mt. Agung volcano and more.

Wildlife viewing at Tanjung Puting might turn up macaques, leopards, sun bears, crocodiles and exotic birds as well as the protected orangutans and monkeys. The itinerary features half a day of trekking and exploring on trails around Camp Leaky before returning to Bali by way of Surabaya.

Date: This is a customized tour offered year-round.

Price: Starting at $3,150 a person, double occupancy. It includes lodge and hotel accommodations for seven nights, a round-trip flight from Bali to Yogyakarta, daily private tours, many meals, airport transfers and more. Prices vary by time of year. International airfare to and from Bali is extra.

Contact: Kensington Tours, (888) 903-2001.

Article source: http://www.latimes.com/travel/deals/la-trb-tc-bali-borneo-orangutans-20120102,0,5004992.story

19 Web Sites for Travel Savings in 2012

January 4, 2012 by  
Filed under Travel Deals

FLIGHTS

Looking for sales on a specific route, or just want to go somewhere cheap? AirfareWatchdog.com hunts down deals computers tend to miss, like promo codes airlines include in e-mail newsletters. It also finds sales from Allegiant and Southwest, which typically aren’t listed on major airfare search engines. You can sign up for specific fare alerts or a list of all the cheap round-trip fares from your local airport.

Where can you go for $500 or less? Kayak.com/explore will show you where you can vacation for a particular price and display the results on a map. You can narrow your search by month, region, flight length, weather or activity. Clicking on a price reveals dates the fare is available.

If you already know where you want to go, use Itasoftware.com to find the cheapest dates to fly. Click on “airfare search” in the middle of the home page, then enter your departure date and destination and select “see calendar of lowest fares.” To purchase, you must go to the airline’s Web site or online agencies like Travelocity.

To figure out whether to buy that plane ticket now or wait, go to Bing.com/travel. Its Price Predictor can determine how likely a fare is to rise or fall during the next seven days from more than 250 cities in the United States to top domestic destinations and major hubs in Europe. The site claims that its predictions are about 75 percent accurate and save customers more than $50 on average for a round trip.

After you’ve booked your tickets at an airline site, enter your flight information at Yapta.com to track the price so you don’t miss out on savings if the price drops. If the difference in price exceeds the rebooking fee (typically $75 to $150), Yapta will send you, without charge, an e-mail or tweet so you can call the airline to claim the credit.

HOTELS

To get the best deal on Priceline.com, where travelers name their own price and pay before learning the hotel’s name, sites like Biddingfortravel.com and Betterbidding.com have long offered strategic advice on how to game the system. Now, a new site, Biddingtraveler.com, goes a step further. Enter the city, dates, neighborhood and star ratings for the hotel you want. Then, after reviewing the site’s recommendations, enter a “lowball” bid and “final offer.” The Bidding Traveler then calculates and helps you execute the optimal bidding strategy on Priceline.

Not willing to gamble? Hotels.com offers nearly 145,000 properties in more than 60 countries from national chain hotels and all-inclusive resorts to bed-and-breakfasts. You can find particularly good last-minute deals on Tuesdays and Thursdays. And the site has a loyalty program through which members earn a free-night voucher after they book 10 nights.

 For hotel fanciers, Luxurylink.com, offers discounts on high-end hotels and villas through online auctions and deals. Just last month the site was auctioning off a five-night package at La Samanna on St. Martin in the Caribbean that included a deluxe ocean-view room with a private terrace, airport transfers, a bottle of rum upon arrival, two 45-minute massages and a one-day car rental with a minimum starting bid of $2,475. The package normally costs $6,171.

VACATION RENTALS

As hotel prices rise, vacation rentals can be the better deal. HomeAway.com offers more than 290,000 listings in 145 countries, including rentals by owners that cut out the middleman.

Airbnb.com connects travelers with locals who are offering a place to stay, whether it is a couch, a private apartment or a castle. It currently has about 100,000 listings in 19,000 cities and towns in 192 countries, and charges booking fees from 6 to 12 percent. Wimdu.com offers a similar service focused mostly on places in Europe with 35,000 listings across 100 countries. Do as much due diligence as you can when using such sites; some hosts have been known to cancel confirmed reservations at the last minute.

For luxury seekers, Jetsetter.com/homes, a members-only site, offers discounts of up to 50 percent on 5 to 10 carefully selected vacation rentals. Membership is free and by invitation only. You can also request a free membership on Jetsetter.com.  

EVERYTHING ELSE

Tired of sifting through daily-deal or group-shopping sites like Groupon and LivingSocial for local bargains? YipIt.com, collects those deals from 787 services in 118 North American cities. Travelers who sign up with an e-mail can filter results by checking categories like wine tasting, museum, golf or other activities. A recent search for restaurant and spa deals in New York turned up a $60 three-course dinner for two with wine (worth $136) at Tenpenny, the Gotham Hotel’s restaurant, and a $199 Moroccan Spa treatment at the Trump SoHo, worth $339. Pay close attention to expiration dates to be sure the deals will be good for your travel plans.

Autoslash.com searches the Web for discount coupons on car rentals and applies them after you book. It then continually checks for lower rates and coupons until your trip date and automatically applies any discounts it finds.

Cayole.com lets you search cruises by price, destination, room type or cruise line, then offers price predictions to give cruisers an idea of whether they should buy now or wait for a possible price drop. For example, by clicking “get more details” for a five-night Western Mediterranean cruise in September, the site recommended that travelers booking balcony cabins buy “as soon as possible, because prices are likely to increase.” For interior ocean-view rooms or suites it suggested waiting.

If you’re willing to swap places with a stranger, list your home and find travelers willing to trade on Homeexchange.com, which facilitates about 60,000 swaps a year. Recent listings included a two-bedroom apartment on Lake Como in Italy and a six-bedroom oceanfront lodge in Cape Town with a resident game ranger. Members pay $119.40 to list their home for a year or $47.85 for three months.

Article source: http://travel.nytimes.com/2012/01/08/travel/19-web-sites-for-travel-savings-in-2012.html

London: Winter getaway for $1200 includes hotel and airfare

January 4, 2012 by  
Filed under Travel Deals

London will be ground zero for some heady celebrating this year, starting with Queen Elizabeth’s Diamond Jubilee in June and followed by the 2012 Summer Olympic Games in July and August. Get a preview of the city before the crowds arrive with a five-day Valentine’s Day getaway that costs about $1,200 per person.

The deal: CheapOAir‘s deal includes a five-night stay at KWest Hotel Spa and round-trip airfare from L.A. to London. This is a winter deal whose price includes a $35 cash rebate and an additional $20 discount by using the code “PK60.” Prices are based on double occupancy and vary by date and hotel-flight selection. Also, you can add lots of tours and events for more money.

When: The package must be reserved by Jan. 22 for travel through Feb. 15.

Tested: In an online check, I found availability for the package leaving L.A. on Feb. 9 and returning Feb. 15. It includes nonstrop flights on Air New Zealand and a standard double room at K West. The price, with tax and fees, rebates and promo code discount, came to $1,194 per person or about $199 per person per day. Not a bad price considering Kayak.com currently shows round-trip Air New Zealand airfare at $830 per person.

Contact: CheapOAir, (800) 566-2345

Article source: http://www.latimes.com/travel/deals/la-trb-cheapoair-london-20120102,1,5753416.story

Skiers take to tubing over lack of snow (AP)

January 4, 2012 by  
Filed under Travel News

WINTER PARK, Colo. – Skiers are taking out their inner tubes because of a lack of snow in the Colorado mountains.

Tubing park marketing director Lisa Boyes says her facility near the Winter Park ski resort is getting a lot of people who are not skiing and snowboarding this year.

Boyes tells the Denver Post ( http://bit.ly/ymOB7I) the park’s snowmobile rides are also busy.

The snowpack statewide was 73 percent of the long-term average at the beginning of the year.

Article source: http://us.rd.yahoo.com/dailynews/rss/aptrne/*http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap_travel/20120104/ap_tr_ge/us_travel_brief_colorado_snow

Big Sky offers free skiing to Epic Pass holders (AP)

January 4, 2012 by  
Filed under Travel News

BIG SKY, Mont. – With less-than-epic snow in parts of Colorado so far this season, Montana’s Big Sky Resort is offering some Colorado and California season pass holders free skiing and snowboarding through January.

Big Sky says it will honor Epic Passes sold by Vail Resorts Inc., as long as holders book lodging with Big Sky Central Reservations.

Big Sky spokesman Chad Jones says the resort has about twice the open acreage that Vail and Breckenridge in Colorado do right now, and other Epic Pass resorts like Heavenly near Lake Tahoe have fewer than 200 acres open. He says “no one should miss out on good snow just because they live in Colorado or California.”

Vail Resorts Inc. CEO Rob Katz tweeted that the deal is an “awesome opportunity” for Epic Pass holders.

Article source: http://us.rd.yahoo.com/dailynews/rss/aptrne/*http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap_travel/20120104/ap_tr_ge/us_travel_brief_big_sky_ski_offer

Canadian man uses iPad to enter US (AP)

January 4, 2012 by  
Filed under Travel News

TORONTO – A Canadian man who realized he forgot his passport as he approached the U.S. border found a new way to gain entry — his iPad.

Martin Reisch said Tuesday a slightly annoyed U.S. border officer let him cross into the United States from Quebec after he presented a scanned copy of his passport on his Apple iPad. Reisch was a half hour from the border when he decided to try to gain entry rather than turn back and make a two-hour trek back home to Montreal to fetch his passport.

He told the officer he was heading to the U.S. to drop off Christmas gifts for his friend’s kids. He said that true story, the scanned passport and his driver’s license helped him get through last week.

He said the officer seemed mildly annoyed when he handed him the iPad.

“I thought I’d at least give it a try,” Reisch said. “He took the iPad into the little border hut. He was in there a good five, six minutes. It seemed like an eternity. When he came back he took a good long pause before wishing me a Merry Christmas.”

Reisch said the officer made an exception.

Canadians began needing more than a driver’s license for identification for U.S. land border crossings in 2009. U.S. Customs and Border Protection says it only accepts a passport, an enhanced driver’s license or a Nexus pass from Canadian citizens entering at land crossings. The list doesn’t mention facsimiles, like scans and photocopies.

A spokesman for the department did not immediately respond to questions on whether scanned passports are also commonly accepted at U.S. points of entry.

Reisch, 33, said he took a scanned photo of his passport years ago in case it was over lost or stolen while traveling. He said he also successfully used the passport on his iPad to get through Canadian Customs on the way home later that day.

He said he doubts he’d get away with it again and will bring his passport next time. But he hopes border officials will eventually make digital identification an official form of travel document. He noted that many airlines now accept digital boarding passes stored on smartphones.

“I see the future as 100 percent being able to cross with your identity on a digital device — it’s just a matter of time,” he said.

Article source: http://us.rd.yahoo.com/dailynews/rss/aptrne/*http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap_travel/20120104/ap_tr_ge/cn_travel_brief_canada_us_border_ipad

Expect more airfare hikes

January 4, 2012 by  
Filed under Travel Deals

Airlines were walloped by rising oil prices in 2011 and flyers were forced to fork out more for airfares.

Experts say 2012 could hold much of the same.

“We’re going to see higher airfares,” said Anne Banas, executive editor of the website SmarterTravel.

But how much higher is a matter of debate.

“Fares are probably going to inch up,” said George Hobica, founder of travel website AirfareWatchdog.com. He said airlines are cutting the number of seats they fly and mergers in the U.S. may eliminate competition.

Carlson Wagonlit Travel is forecasting a 3.5-to 4.1-percent jump in North American airfares. Other experts say fares could climb higher, partly because of more regulation.

One key may be the cost of fuel. An increase in oil prices early in 2011 helped push fares up 8.5 per cent in the second quarter of last year, the latest figure available from the U.S. Department of Transportation.

An airline tried to raise fares 22 times last year. The first six came when fuel costs were rising and were adopted industry-wide. Of the next 18, only three succeeded, according to travel website Fare-Compare.com.

Oil is now about $100 a barrel, compared with $113 a barrel at its 2011 peak in April.

Here’s a look at what else consumers can expect from air travel in 2012:

Consolidation: Besides fewer plane seats, there also could be fewer airlines flying if a merger of American Airlines, which recently entered Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, takes place.

Deals: Even if there’s a general increase in prices, good deals still will be available, especially during off-peak hours or mid-week periods, Rick Seaney, chief executive officer of FareCompare, said recently.

As it becomes harder to shave costs off air travel, people will change their planning process, Banas predicted. “Cheap deals and what’s available will dictate where they travel.”

Internet flash sales or limited-run discounts that help airlines and hotels to fill empty seats and beds, and “surprise” travel deals will be increasingly popular, she added.

Charge for extras: Comfort, perks and new ways to upgrade will be much discussed in 2012, according to Cheap-flights.com.

With more airlines now charging for extra legroom seats or for advance seat selections, the cost of air travel will creep up. Still, mini-upgrades like these may appeal to economy flyers seeking premium-class indulgences at minimal costs.

Delta Air Lines plans to add economy comfort seats that offer four more inches of legroom and more reclining capacity fleetwide by this summer 2012.

The premium economy seat category launched on international flights last year priced from $80 to $160 extra each way.

Fees: Led by Miramar, Fla.-

based Spirit Airlines, carriers have increasingly used fees to raise revenue even if they hold the line on fares. In 2012, “airlines will think of new ways to raise revenue,” Hobica said.

Some already have.

Beginning Jan. 24, Spirit will begin charging customers $5 if they have their boarding pass printed by an airport agent. It will charge $2 for kiosk-printed boarding passes starting June 30.

Article source: http://www.montrealgazette.com/news/todays-paper/Expect+more+airfare+hikes/5942993/story.html

Travel-Ticker.com Announces Top Five Dream Destinations For 2012, As Chosen By …

January 4, 2012 by  
Filed under Travel Deals

SAN FRANCISCO, Jan. 4, 2012 /PRNewswire/ — If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go? According to Travel-Ticker.com’s recent 2012 Traveler Intentions survey*, 43 percent selected Italy as their top dream vacation destination, followed by Australia (38 percent) and England (27 percent).  However, travelers are savvier than ever and knowing where they want to go is only part of their dream travel equation.

Although travelers have their top destination in mind, with over 50 percent of respondents wanting to go somewhere in Europe, the survey also revealed that most are willing to trade off their dream destination in order to save money. Seventy percent of respondents stated that they are open to various destinations for their next trip, and would let deals and discounts drive their final travel decision. This suggests that people have a list of several places they’d like to visit, and are willing to put off their number one choice until the price and timing is right. This money-saving strategy is one Travel-Ticker has always recommended, and it appears that travelers adopting it for the New Year.

“Travel-Ticker.com always aims to provide the best deals and experiences for travelers, and the first place we start is by asking our consumers directly where they want to go,” said L. Jasmine Kim, general manager of Travel-Ticker.com. “Staying on the cutting edge of hot destinations helps us to craft deals that turn travel dreams into travel reality. However, if you’re like many of us and have a big list of places you’d love to go, we also recommend letting the deal be the inspiration in order to save the most on your next getaway. It’s clear from our 2012 Traveler Intentions Survey that folks are catching on to the benefit of that mindset.”

Below are the top five dream destinations as voted in the 2012 Traveler Intentions Survey and deal examples from Travel-Ticker.com that will inspire travelers to get up and go this year:

1.  Italy

2.  Australia

3.  England

4.  Bahamas

5.  France

To stay in-the-know on the latest travel deals, be sure to sign-up for Travel-Ticker’s weekly newsletter which highlights the top 20 deals each week: http://www.travel-ticker.com/signin

*The Travel-Ticker Traveler Intentions Survey was conducted from November 14 through November 22, 2011, online among Travel-Ticker users, with 2,301 completed responses. More information on the survey is available upon request.

Prices are per person or per night, based on availability, and do not include additional taxes and fees. Other restrictions may apply. Please see website for more details.

About Travel-Ticker.com

Travel-Ticker is an online inspirational travel website that is home to some of the best handpicked, insider deals at many of the world’s favorite destinations. With an ear to the ground and an eye for the unique, Travel-Ticker’s experts provide users with a geo-targeted platform and a weekly newsletter to browse for researched travel bargains, the latest travel trends, and editorial insight. Travel-Ticker is an independent business unit of The Hotwire Group. For more information, visit us at www.travel-ticker.com and join us on Twitter (@travel_ticker) and Facebook. In addition to Travel-Ticker, The Hotwire Group of websites includes: www.hotwire.com, www.travel-ticker.com and www.carrentals.com.

Travel Ticker and the Travel-Ticker logo are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Hotwire, Inc. in the U.S. and/or other countries. All other trademarks are property of their respective owners. © 2011 Hotwire, Inc. All rights reserved. CST# 2053390-40

Contact:Jina MichaelAtomic PR(323) 648-5428jina@atomicpr.com

SOURCE Travel-Ticker.com

Article source: http://www.sacbee.com/2012/01/04/4161435/travel-tickercom-announces-top.html

Experts see air fares gaining altitude in 2012

January 4, 2012 by  
Filed under Travel Deals

Sun Sentinel

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — Airlines were walloped by rising oil prices in 2011 and fliers were forced to fork out more for airfares.

Experts say 2012 could hold much of the same.

“We’re going to see higher airfares,” said Anne Banas, executive editor of SmarterTravel, a website for travelers.

But how much higher is a matter of debate.

“Fares are probably going to inch up,” said George Hobica, founder of travel website AirfareWatchdog.com. He said airlines are cutting the number of seats they fly and mergers may eliminate competition.

Carlson Wagonlit Travel is forecasting a 3.5 to 4.1 percent jump in North American airfares. Other experts say fares could climb higher, partly because of more regulation.

One key may be the cost of fuel. An increase in oil prices early in 2011 helped push fares up 8.5 percent in the second quarter of last year, the latest figure available from the U.S. Department of Transportation.

An airline tried to raise fares 22 times last year. The first six came when fuel costs were rising and were adopted industry-wide. Of the next 18, only three succeeded, according to travel website FareCompare.com.

Oil is now about $99 a barrel, compared with $113 a barrel at its 2011 peak in April.

Here’s a look at what else consumers can expect from air travel in 2012:

CONSOLIDATION: Besides fewer plane seats, there also could be fewer airlines flying if a merger of American Airlines, which recently entered Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, takes place.

Industry instability has Meg Cohn of Delray Beach, Fla., concerned about her stash of airline points, which she plans to use for trips to Connecticut or Washington, D.C. this year.

“What worries me? Having all my points canceled by an executive decision or Chapter 11 or not being able to use points because few seats are available for point assignment,” Cohn said.

DEALS: Even if there’s a general increase in prices, good deals still will be available, especially during off-peak hours or midweek periods, Rick Seaney, chief executive officer of FareCompare, said recently.

As it becomes harder to shave costs off air travel, people will change their planning process, Banas predicted. “Cheap deals and what’s available will dictate where they travel.”

Internet flash sales or limited-run discounts that help airlines and hotels to fill empty seats and beds, and “surprise” travel deals will be increasingly popular, she added.

CHARGE FOR EXTRAS: Comfort, perks and new ways to upgrade will be much discussed in 2012, according to Cheapflights.com.

With more airlines now charging for extra legroom seats or for advance seat selections, the cost of air travel will creep up. Still, mini-upgrades like these may appeal to economy fliers seeking premium-class indulgences at minimal costs.

Delta Air Lines plans to add Economy Comfort seats that offer four more inches of legroom and more reclining capacity fleetwide by this summer 2012.

The premium economy seat category launched on international flights last year priced from $80 to $160 extra each way.

FEES: Led by Miramar, Fla.-based Spirit Airlines, carriers have increasingly used fees to raise revenue even if they hold the line on fares. In 2012, “airlines will think of new ways to raise revenue,” Hobica said.

Some already have.

Beginning Jan. 24, Spirit will begin charging customers $5 if they have their boarding pass printed by an airport agent. It will charge $2 for kiosk-printed boarding passes starting June 30.

Spirit’s cornucopia of fees has irked some fliers.

Pam Finkelstein complained that her daughter had to pay extra for an overweight checked bag on a Spirit flight from Boston over the Christmas holidays. “The extra charges were more than the cost of her plane ticket. Ridiculous!” said Finkelstein, of Boca Raton, Fla.

A fee to speak to a real person at airport check-in could be another reality facing travelers soon, Hobica added.

REGULATION: New U.S Department of Transportation regulations that offer travelers more protections become effective Jan. 24.

Among them are rules that will ban post-purchase price increases; require airlines to disclose baggage fees at point of purchasing a flight; require the same baggage allowances and fees throughout a passenger’s journey, and require airlines to give prompt notification of delays of more than 30 minutes.

Another rule that will require airlines to include all taxes and fees in the advertised fares will take effect Jan. 26.

———

©2012 the Sun Sentinel (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.)

Visit the Sun Sentinel (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) at www.sun-sentinel.com

Distributed by MCT Information Services

KeyWords:: BC-AIRFARES:FL BC AIRFARES FL AMX-2012-01-03T14:52:00-05:00

Article source: http://www.miamiherald.com/2012/01/03/2571908/experts-see-air-fares-gaining.html

The real deal on great airfares

January 4, 2012 by  
Filed under Travel Deals


If you’re thinking about taking a trip, maybe you’ve seen some offers that sound great.

Not so fast. When you try to snag a great airfare online, sometimes it can vanish into thin air. That’s what Consumer Reports’ shopping expert, Tod Marks, found when he investigated how to cut the cost of flying.

Tod says, “You see a lot of airfare deals out there that sound great. But hidden fees, fine print, and blackout dates can make locking in a great deal as tricky as a soft landing in turbulence.”

For example, Travelocity had a “deal” on a roundtrip flight from Philadelphia to London for $277. Once you book, it actually costs almost $666!

Spirit Airlines promotes flights that cost as a little as $9! But to qualify you have to join its $9 club, which costs around $60, and you also may be subject to a lot of additional fees, including up to $45 for each piece of checked luggage, up to $40 dollars per carry- on, and $1 to $199 dollars for a reserved a seat.

There are ways to get a good great deal on a flight. Tod says, “Ideally, you want to book in advance, and never within two weeks of travel. For domestic flights, start looking three and a half months before you fly out.”

And take advantage of alerts that many airlines and travel sites let you set up to track fares. And time your purchase! Experts tell Tod that there is a best time to book, 3 PM Eastern Standard Time on a Tuesday. Believe it or not, that’s when the greatest number of discount seats hit the market.

Other money-saving moves, Consumer Reports says don’t skip looking at airline sites, in addition to third-party ones like Expedia, Kayak, and Priceline. And don’t assume discount carriers are the cheapest. Major carriers can’t afford to be more expensive than low-price operators because that lands them a lower listing in search engine results.


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