To Deal-Travel or Not? That is the Question

January 13, 2012 by  
Filed under Travel Deals

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As the popularity of group buying grows, so do the number of industries participating.

A significant player in the industry is travel.  Following in the footsteps of sites like Expedia, Travelocity, major daily deals players have teamed up with such sites, or stated travel deals of their own.

A few that come to mind: LivingSocial Escapes, Group Getaways (Groupon + Expedia = love), Travelzoo, TripAlertz, the list goes on.

Some of these sites put their own little spin on travel deals.

TripAlertz sets its prices to the number of bookings, and SniqueAway caters to those who are looking for luxury travel, and is available by invitation only.

Most deals are available for the same time as other daily deals, but you can book up to a year.

Aggregators are getting in on the deals too. Travel packages can be found on Yipit and Dealery (who consolidate them from other sites), but I personally, am a little wary.

Now, this is what puzzles me. In order to purchase a travel daily deal, would one already have to be looking for a trip? Or is it one of those spontaneous things? How many details are included in the deal description? Is there are a specific hotel that you have to stay in? Are there restrictions on airlines and flight times?  As a travel snob (and crazy-planner-girl), I need to know these things!

I’m the kind of person who researches hotels, looks at reviews, location, whether I’ll need a rental car; there are so many things that go into travelling. Would daily travel deals work for me? Maybe?

Another factor that goes into the travel deals, is the essences of the group buy in general. There’s always a “tipping” point. A required number of people must buy the deal. So, if you decide you want this deal, you get all hyped up for it, make sure you have enough money on the credit card, and no one else buys your deal, you’re stuck at home, potentially never going on a discounted vacation.

My favorite vacation spot!Travel deals seem to work best for people who are spur of the moment and on a budget, but not stuck on a specific location. Before you buy a travel deal, check the hotel’s prices to make sure you’re really getting a deal. When it comes to travel, I find planning works best, but even I would be tempted by a trip to the Big Easy in the cold bitter days of February.

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Travel deals: Los Angeles, San Francisco, Hyatt Hotels

January 13, 2012 by  
Filed under Travel Deals

Los Angeles: Restaurant week

Sample some of the city’s finer restaurants during DineLA January 2012 Restaurant Week. It’s actually more than a week, running Sunday, Jan. 22, through Friday, Jan. 27, and Sunday, Jan. 29, through Friday, Feb. 3. More than 300 restaurants are participating. There are three pricing tiers for lunch and dinner depending on the restaurant. Three-course lunches cost $16, $22 and $28. Dinner prices are $26, $34 and $44. Restaurants at the high end include Bouchon and Mr. Chow Beverly Hills, both in Beverly Hills. Choices at the low end of the price spectrum include Duke’s Malibu and Border Grill, with locations in Santa Monica and downtown Los Angeles.


Hyatt hotels: Discount, credit for AARP members

Hyatt Hotels Resorts is offering AARP members 10 percent off the daily rate plus a $25-per-night credit to be used during their stay. The offer, good at select properties in the U.S., Canada and the Caribbean, is good through Wednesday, Feb. 29. The credit can be used at hotel restaurants, spas and golf courses.

Details: 800-352-0066,, click on Special Offers. The offer code is AARP.

San Francisco: Hotel discounts and a gift card

The holidays are over, but holiday hotel packages are still available in San Francisco. More than 20 hotels are offering discounts, perks and, when you pay with an American Express card, a $50 gift card to the upscale Westfield San Francisco Centre. Reservations for the 49 Hours of SF package must be booked by Tuesday, Jan. 31, for stays through Wednesday, Feb. 29. Blackout dates apply. Participating hotels include the Best Western Plus Tuscan Inn at Fisherman’s Wharf and the Westin San Francisco Market Street.

Details: 888-795-3718, Online, look for hotels with a Holiday Promo offer.

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MLK Weekend: March in Santa Barbara, free concert in San Diego

January 13, 2012 by  
Filed under Travel Deals

The day set aside to honor Martin Luther King Jr. has become a day dedicated to community activism nationwide. Tree-plantings, school cleanups, food bank organizing and other events planned for Monday underscore one of King’s most thoughtful quotes: “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is: ‘What are you doing for others?’ ” To find projects and events happening Monday, go to the Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service website.

For those who plan to hit the road, here are two MLK events within a couple hours of Los Angeles.

Santa Barbara: The city marks the holiday with a program that starts 9 a.m. Monday with dance and gospel music in De la Guerra Plaza and a march up State Street to the Arlington Theatre. Wallace Shepherd, pastor of the Second Baptist Church of Santa Barbara since 2006, marched with King in 1963 and will share his memories of the movement in “Retelling the Story–The Civil Rights Years” at 11 a.m. at the theater. All events are free and sponsored by the Martin Luther King Committee of Santa Barbara.

The WorldBeat Cultural Center in Balboa Park will host an ongoing free concert noon-7 p.m. Monday featuring live reggae bands and other musical performances as well as drumming and dancing. The afternoon event is free and billed as a family event. Check out; (619) 230-1190.

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2012 Air Travel Forecast Predicts Increases in Travel and Airfares

January 13, 2012 by  
Filed under Travel Deals predicts travelers will fly even more in the new year, despite rising prices.

Suffield, CT (PRWEB) January 13, 2012

Airport Parking aggregator believes that a new year means new opportunities to travel, and expects U.S. travelers to take to the skies more frequently — for business and leisure — than they did in 2011. U.S. air travel increased by approximately 6 percent in 2011, and that trend is likely to continue into 2012 as Americans schedule more trips and increase their travel budgets., which offers an off-airport parking comparison shopping service, saw an upturn in reservations at many markets. Owners believe the trend will be supported by increased enplanement figures at many major airports when they are released later by the Department of Transportation later this year.

According to TripAdvisor’s annual travel trends survey, 79% of respondents said they will spend a minimum of $3,000 on travel in 2012 and 57 percent will spend $5,000. These bigger travel budgets will be necessary since airfares are predicted to continue on their ascent now that there are fewer airlines in the market.

The trend toward higher prices was already evident in second quarter of 2011 when the average domestic fare rose to $370, an 8.5 percent increase from the previous year, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics. American Airlines’ recent bankruptcy announcement illustrates the industry’s financial woes, which will continue to be passed on to travelers in the form of steeper fares in the coming year.

New mileage-based reservation fees will also take effect this year, adding to the price tag of air travel. Fortunately, the Department of Transportation’s new rules on disclosing all airline fees up front are scheduled to begin the first few months of this year.

Domestic travel probably won’t be too hampered by the fees and fare increases, as the U.S. Travel Association is expecting a moderate increase of about 1.5 percent in domestic travel this year. Rather than canceling trips, more travelers may be on the hunt for deals on travel and airfare. The good news is that there are still numerous ways travelers can balance out the increases and save money on air travel in 2012, including booking trips as early as possible (the best airfares are usually available three weeks or more in advance), using online travel comparison sites for booking reservations; and traveling during off-peak days and times.

Those driving to the airport can also get a deal on their parking by using saves travelers time and money by providing guaranteed parking at an affordable price. Travelers can also save money by joining’s Airport Parking Rewards program, which allows members to earn Parking Points redeemable for credits toward future reservations.

With more than 2 million reservations made and 200,000 user reviews, provides exclusive off-site parking deals that customers won’t find anywhere else!

For more information on, please contact Andy Maclean at andy(at)airportparkingreservations(dot)com.


For the original version on PRWeb visit:

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8 ways to snag a deal when booking a cruise

January 13, 2012 by  
Filed under Travel Deals

1. Book early . Many cruises can be booked as far as two or even three years in advance, and it generally pays to be one of the first to lock in a cabin, particularly if you want a specific type of room such as a suite or a specific location on the ship. As sailings start to book up, lines usually raise rates on remaining cabins, and some cabin categories become unavailable entirely.

“Rates on specific categories are cheapest in advance, (and) the top categories are usually first to sell out,” notes industry watcher Stewart Chiron of At a minimum, you should have your fare locked in at least six months before sailing, he says. “If the price drops before your final payment is due, they’ll adjust it.”

2. Book late . While as a rule, fares rise as a sailing date approaches, there are times when cruise lines unexpectedly find themselves with a handful of unfilled cabins just before a departure, and in that case, the opposite happens: Fares come down. It’s hit or miss, but if you’re super flexible and can take off at the last minute, you’ll sometimes find top ships included in the last-minute deals that lines such as Royal Caribbean send to travel agents every week, notes Chuck Flagg of The Flagg Agency, a Cruise Holidays franchise in Canton, Ga.

A last-minute Royal Caribbean offer sent to travel agents in recent days included balcony cabins on a Liberty of the Seas sailing that begins Jan. 30 for $479 per person, based on double occupancy. That’s less than what the cabin was going for several months ago, says Flagg. Rates for a third or fourth person in a cabin also were reduced to $199.

“Your stateroom selection is not going to be as great as if you had purchased your cruise months ahead of time,” Flagg notes.

3. Be flexible on your sailing dates . Cruises are in hot demand during holiday periods, such as Christmas and New Year‘s weeks, when kids are out of school, as well as during spring-break weeks and summer. You’ll pay top dollar during those periods, says Simon Duvall of Expedia CruiseShipCenters in Plantation, Fla.

“For the best deals, you have to look at off-peak dates,” Duvall says, noting that May and September are usually the most affordable months to book a sailing in the Caribbean. Just keep in mind that even during off-peak times, top ships such as Royal Caribbean’s Allure of the Seas still will be pricey as compared with other vessels. “You’re still going to pay a premium to sail on the biggest and the best.”

4. Consider a “repositioning” cruise . Cruise lines sometimes will move a ship from one popular cruising area to another — say, from the Caribbean to Europe — and when they do, it results in a one-of-a-kind “repositioning” cruise between the two destinations that often sells for far less on a per-day basis than the vessel’s traditional itineraries. They’re not for everyone, as they’re often longer than the typical voyage and feature odd itineraries with lots of sea days and few port calls. But the prices can be stunningly low — sometimes less then $50 per person, per day.

Norwegian Cruise Line, for example, currently is offering an 11-night, trans-Atlantic repositioning cruise on its newest ship, the Norwegian Epic, in April starting at $499 per person — just $45 a day. The voyage begins in Miami, the ship’s winter home, and ends in Barcelona, with just a single port call in Ponta Delgada, Azores.

5. Consider stepping up to a premium line . It may seem counterintuitive, but these days, some of the best deals are available at the “premium” lines, including Celebrity Cruises and Holland America, which are marketed as a step up from mass-market lines such as Carnival, says Flagg.

In a last-minute deal offered Tuesday, for instance, Celebrity promoted a soon-to-depart, five-night Western Caribbean sailing on the Celebrity Millennium for just $249 per person, based on double occupancy — or about $100 a day for a couple.

“My wife and I would be hard-pressed to eat three meals out and about in Atlanta for $100 a day,” notes Georgia-based agent Flagg. “You couldn’t find lodging at a comparable Atlanta hotel for that price, either.”

6. Take advantage of Wave Season incentives . Cruise lines often roll out short-term booking incentives during the first few months of the year to lock in business, everything from onboard credits to spa treatments to a free dinner for two in a specialty restaurant.

Norwegian Cruise Line, for instance, is offering a free cabin upgrade to those who book a trip by March 31 as part of its “Norwegians Take It to the Next Level” promotion for Wave Season, and those who book by Jan. 22 can get an even better upgrade. The line also has reduced the amount of deposit it takes to hold a cruise by 50%.

7. Go Western . Assuming you want to visit the Caribbean (still the region most visited by cruise ships), you’ll often get a better price if you opt for an itinerary in the Western Caribbean as opposed to the Eastern Caribbean. It’s a quirk of supply and demand, as cruisers today favor Eastern Caribbean trips.

The typical Western Caribbean itinerary includes stops in such places as Jamaica; the Caymans Islands; Roatan, Honduras; Belize; and Cozumel, Mexico. The typical Eastern Caribbean itinerary includes stops in St. Maarten, St. Thomas and Nassau in the Bahamas.

8. Look for low-priced group space . Some travel agents will block group space on ships more than a year in advance, when prices are low. As the vessels fill and prices increase, the agents are then able to offer a (sometimes substantially) lower fare to the consumer because they have a guaranteed number of cabins at a locked-in lower rate.

“When you see a travel agency promoting a cruise fare that’s several hundred dollars per person less than the cruise line is charging at the moment, chances are they have group space blocked,” says Duvall.

In addition to fare savings, extras such as a shipboard credit or prepaid gratuities often are included, notes Duvall. The only catch: Unsold group space is taken back by the cruise line about four to six months before a sailing, so hunting for group space isn’t a way to snag a last-minute deal. The strategy works best when booking a cruise 120 to 180 days in advance, Duvall says.

Finally, don’t be put off by the term “group.” You’re not sailing with an alumni club or the local Kiwanis chapter. “You’ll just be booking with other travelers who like a good value,” Duvall says. “Chances are you’ll never meet or even know any of the other people.”

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Cypress Mountain: A Huffington Post Travel Ski Resort Guide

January 13, 2012 by  
Filed under Travel Deals

Cypress Mountain in British Columbia is a popular destination for skiers and snowboarders. As part of a series on ski resorts, Huffington Post Travel offers our guide to Cypress Mountain, featuring all the key information snow lovers need to know before they hit the slopes.

The Basics

Located just 30 minutes from downtown Vancouver, Canada, Cypress Mountain is a major draw for hardcore skiers and snowboarders as well as casual winter sports enthusiasts simply seeking the total Vancouver experience. With 600 acres of skiable land and trails covering all levels of difficulty, Cypress can accommodate many skill levels and is quite popular despite its close proximity to nearby competitors. The resort also offers an express bus to help visitors reach the slopes without the hassle of driving.

The Mountain

Annual snowfall at Cypress averages 415 inches, and the resort employs snowmaking machines to ensure adequate levels of powder. With a vertical rise of 2,010 feet, Cypress is the tallest of the North Shore Mountains, and the longest run at the resort is 2 1/2 miles. In addition to skiing, Cypress Mountain resort offers snowshoeing, tubing, cross-country skiing and snowboarding options. The mountain’s schedule depends on conditions, but opening day typically falls in the first week of December. Cypress is usually open until mid-April.

Trails And Lifts

Cypress Mountain has 53 runs, four of which are double black diamond (experts only) and seven are appropriate for beginners. Most of the runs — 19 — are black diamond for advanced skiers, while 18 are rated blue, for intermediate skiers. Cypress Mountain has four freestyle terrain areas. The resort has a jib park and offers nighttime skiing until 10 p.m. every night. A total of nine lifts — six chair and three surface — accommodate 9,000 skiers per hour. Snowboarders enjoy Bell Power Park, which offers jumps, rails, boxes and stalls as well as an area just for novice freestylers called Lili’s Garden.

In The News

As one of the most prominent resorts on the west coast of North America, Cypress Mountain is a logical choice for professional events. In 2009, Cypress Mountain hosted six World Cup events, and the following year, Cypress Mountain was the official snowboard and freestyle skiing venue for the 2010 Winter Olympic Games. The latter event proved to be a historic one, as Team Canada won 14 gold medals — the world record for golds attained by a host country.


The best deals at Cypress Mountain are accessible with the purchase of a Gold Medal Card since this membership card reduces prices by 20 percent. Otherwise, a day pass for skiing and snowboarding costs $59 for adults, $45 for youths 13 to 18 years old, $25 for children 6 to 12 years old, $8 for children ages 5 and younger and $39 for seniors. Reduced prices are available from 2 p.m. to close and 5 p.m. to close. Tickets for snowshoeing are $10 for adults. Tubing tickets are $10, sold separately. Equipment can be rented by the day or seasonally; costs for daily equipment rentals range from $8 for a helmet to $48 for a full set of ski or snowboard gear. Alpine group lessons start at $50. The resort offers a variety of lesson packages, including multiday packages.


Cypress Mountain offers a variety of dining options — including the Nordic Base Cafe and the Crazy Raven Bar Grill — for guests looking for warmth and fuel after a full day of action. The resort also has a corporate meeting space and the Big Bear Sports Retail Store. For those wishing to combine eating and entertainment, Cypress Mountain offers a chocolate fondue tour and a cheese and chocolate fondue tour, both of which involve snowshoeing and a warm menu of delicious food.

WATCH: Cypress Mountain

Cross-country skiing is just one of many attractions at Cypress Mountain.

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Travel deals this week

January 13, 2012 by  
Filed under Travel Deals

Published: January 12, 2012 4:56 PM

By The Washington Post

Some travel deals this week:


Nine Marriott and Renaissance resorts in the Caribbean and Mexico are offering discounts of up to 25 percent, plus $50 daily resort credits, for stays March 1 through May 31. Rates and minimum-stay requirements vary by property. At the JW Marriott Cancun Resort Spa, for example, rooms start at $224 (plus $32 taxes) a night, with no minimum stay; regular rate starts at $300. Book the All Frills, No Chills deal by Jan. 31. Use promotion code LLF.

INFO 888-727-2347,


Princess Cruises is offering savings of up to $1,000 a stateroom, plus free balcony upgrades, on select Europe and Alaska cruises. Savings with the Balcony Bonus Sale vary by destination and departure date. For example, on the seven-day Norwegian Fjords Interlude departing England on Aug. 10, pay $1,549 a person double for an ocean-view cabin on the Ocean Princess and receive a balcony upgrade (one category higher) for the same rate. Not included: taxes and port charges. The cruise sails round-trip from England and stops in Bergen, Olden, Hellesylt, Geiranger and Stavanger, Norway. Book by Jan. 31.

INFO 800-774-6237,


Gate 1 Travel is offering discounts on its 13-day Turkish Treasures tour. The April 9 and 12 departures now start at $1,629 a person double (plus $72.90 airport taxes and fees); other departures are available at the same or slightly higher rates. Tour includes round-trip airfare from New York to Istanbul; 11 nights’ lodging in Istanbul, Canakkale, Izmir, Antalya, Cappadocia and Ankara; motor coaches between cities;guide; six tours with entrance fees; 19 meals; airport transfers. Priced separately, air and hotels alone would cost about $1,550 a person.

INFO 800-682-3333,

Embrace the cold with Anderson Vacations’ Banff Winter Escape package, from about $313 a person double. The deal includes two nights at the Ptarmigan Inn (normally from $261), and choice of two activities on the list: one-day Ski Banff Tri-Area lift pass (value about $79 for one resort pass), guided wildlife tour of Banff National Park, guided Johnston Canyon ice walk (about $61) or guided snowshoe to the Paint Pots ($61). Book by March 24 for travel by March 31. Five percent tax additional.

INFO 866-814-7378,

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Travel Deals: Historic Trips and Military Discounts

January 13, 2012 by  
Filed under Travel Deals

Budget Travel, Travel Deals, Travel Deals, Travel News — <!–By –> on January 12, 2012 11:13 am

Think of this week’s travel deals as inspiration for some great trips. Write your own history with a stay at a turn-of-the-century mansion, take to the sea with cruise deals, thank your military servicemen with special hotel deals, or jetset to the continent on a whim.

Life imitates art, when art is highbrow period drama. For fans of the TV hit Downtown Abbey, Oheka Castle in Cold Spring Harbor on Long Island offers an Edwardian-style aristocratic getaway. The turn-of-the century estate invites Lords and Ladies to enjoy overnight accommodations in a chateau room, a 3-course dinner for two and a bottle of wine, afternoon tea, champagne and chocolate-covered strawberries, a copy of Downtown Abbey Season 1 DVD Collection, and breakfast. Rates start at $595 for 2 guests. Click here to book the package.

While some history buffs are seeking re-enactments of the Titanic, savvy travelers know this is the time to take advantage of cruise deals to the Bahamas, where there’s no chance of icebergs ahead. Royal Caribbean, Norweigan Cruise Line, and Carnival are all offering four-night cruises at less than $50 a night with added bonuses including spa treatments, free upgrades, and special discounts. Available for a limited time through JetBlue cruise deals.

If you want to immerse yourself in history, Windstar Cruises’ “Greek Isles and Turkish Delights” trips set sail from Athens. The trip sails from Minoan ruins on Santorini to the Celsus Library at Ephesus, and the 7-day sailings from Athens to Istanbul departing throughout the summer and fall. Two-for-one cruise fares on select sailings starting from $2,499 per person, double occupancy, plus two free hotel nights. Click here to book your trip.

For those of you making modern history, Red Roof Inn is welcoming U.S. military troops home and showing their appreciation with a “Welcome Home Vets” promotion through March 31, 2012. Red Roof is giving veterans, active or retired military and their families 15 percent off their entire stay at participating locations. Book using VP+ code 608084. Veterans must have a valid military ID and family members of veterans will be required to name their veteran’s unit. Visit their website  for more information on the promotion.

Want a few days of down time just to catch your breath? Between February 1 and March 31, 2012,  Allison Inn and Spa in Oregon is offering a spa getaway package, ideal for a girlfriend getaway or romantic escape. The Grape Escape package includes a 2-night retreat with wine-themed spa treatments, daily vintner breakfasts, chef-catered guided tastings, and special events that  honor local women winemakers. Click here for more information.

What better way to experience the Rocky Mountains then with a luxury train ride? With Rocky Mountaineer‘s Stay and Play package, guests who book by March 31, 2012 receive a free Vancouver hotel night and activities valued up to $600 (choice of either free dinner or sightseeing tour). This offer is valid on bookings of 6 nights or more throughout 2012. Wine and dining while observing breathtaking wildlife never sounded better! Click here for more information.

By Lauren Herstik and Tara Ekmekci for

For more travel deals, check out:

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Airlines had fewer long flight delays in November (AP)

January 13, 2012 by  
Filed under Travel News

WASHINGTON – The government says flights were on-time more often in November than a year earlier, and only one U.S. passenger plane was stuck on the ground for more than three hours.

The Transportation Department said Thursday that 85.3 percent of flights landed within 15 minutes of scheduled arrival times, which is the government’s definition of being on time.

That’s better than the airlines’ 83.2 percent performance in November 2010 but slightly worse than October’s 85.5 percent rating.

Hawaiian Airlines, Delta and Southwest had the best on-time ratings. ExpressJet, SkyWest and American Airlines had the worst ratings. ExpressJet and SkyWest operate regional feeder flights for bigger airlines.

A Nov. 30 American Airlines flight from New York to Los Angeles was stuck on the ground in Ontario, Calif., for more than three hours, in violation of a 2010 regulation under which airlines could face hefty fines for long delays. In October, there were 33 such delays, all of them caused by an early snow storm in the Northeast.

A China Airlines jet going from Taiwan to Los Angeles on Nov. 30 was stuck more than four hours after it — like the American flight the same day — was diverted to Ontario, Calif. The delay exceeded the government’s longer time limit for international flights.

Fewer than 1 percent of all flights were canceled in November, matching the rate of November 2010 and slightly below the October 2011 rate.

Consumer complaints against airlines were higher in November than a year ago but still rare — one for every 100,000 passengers. Mesa Airlines and Southwest had the lowest complaint rates, while United Airlines and US Airways were the worst with nearly double the average number.

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Gila Cliff Dwellings reopen after flood damage (AP)

January 13, 2012 by  
Filed under Travel News

SILVER CITY, N.M. – The Gila Cliff Dwellings has reopened to the public.

The park announced Wednesday that it was reopening after workers finished repairs to the West Fork Bridge, which was damaged in a flood. The reopening, which was originally planned for December, was delayed because of inclement weather conditions.

Roof repairs to the Gila Visitor Center, which began in December and will replace several portions of the center’s roof as well as remove asbestos-containing materials in the ceiling texture, will continue.

A temporary visitor center, which is located in front of the permanent center, will remain open from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. every day until repairs are complete.

The Cliff Dwellings will remain open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

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