Great spots for seniors

February 20, 2012 by  
Filed under Travel Deals

Travel is great when you’re young. You’ve got years to spread yourself across hostels around the world before having to buckle down and focus on career or family. But we’re living longer these days, and the other end of the age spectrum potentially offers decades of travel possibilities. And Europe’s a great place to start, especially today when it’s only about $1.30 to buy one euro, and a low $1.60 for a pound Sterling.

London: Yes, the city is sprawling. But there are a million squares and gardens to relax in, the Tube offers cheap transportation and most museums are free.

Prague: Main sights not too far apart, and there’s tons of great street life and lots of cafés to enjoy the passing parade.

Geneva: The city of watches is connected by those efficient, cheap Swiss trains to the wine region and to Montreux and Lausanne, home of the Olympics, in an hour or less.

Amsterdam: The area around the canals is charming and easy to navigate, and there are plenty of warm pubs to enjoy. Rijksmuseum and Van Gogh museums are awesome for art lovers.

Amalfi Coast, Italy: Let someone else do the driving or the boating and enjoy the stunning scenery. Don’t pass on the local limoncello.

Paris: Romantic strolls abound, no matter your age. The Metro is outstanding for longer jaunts. And waiters no longer seem to care if you don’t speak French.

Barcelona: Yes, young folks flock here. But the architecture delights folks of all ages, as do the luscious food and the tapas bars.

Baden Baden, Germany: A spa city for centuries. This southern German city’s sophisticated bakeries, gorgeous boutiques and historical sites are linked by red-carpeted streets in a pedestrianized centre.

Dublin: A great walking city, with plenty of pubs where you can soak up the history. Or a Guinness. Or both.

Copenhagen: Scandinavia is too expensive for most students, as are the city’s top-rated restaurants. There are tons of bike lanes and paths scattered around this lovely, seaside city. And some lovely parks.

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Hugely Popular Orbitz 50 Faves Facebook Game Is Ready for Take-Off

February 20, 2012 by  
Filed under Travel Deals

CHICAGO, Feb. 20, 2012 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ –
Travel fans are being given another chance to win 50 fabulous vacations at destinations around the world with the latest version of’s Facebook sweepstakes Orbitz 50 Faves(1), a fun and free Facebook game.

To play Orbitz 50 Faves, Facebook users simply “Like” Orbitz on Facebook, invite friends to play, and begin bidding. To start, each new player will receive five bids. Every bid placed represents one entry to win. Players can check out the trips, look at what friends that accepted their invitation to play have bid on, and then place bids on their favorite trips. Each day, players get an additional bid for every friend that accepts their invitation to play the game. The more friends that accept the players invitation, the more bids the player gets and the greater their chances of winning. To further encourage players to invite more friends to play, six trips have been ‘locked’ and can only be ‘unlocked’ if at least 10 of a player’s Facebook friends are playing the game.

New to the game this year, each day one player will be randomly selected to win two airline tickets. But, players have to log in to win. Orbitz will announce a new winner daily on Orbitz 50 Faves.

“When we launched Orbitz 50 Faves last August it instantly became a fan favorite with players placing over 3.5 million bids by the end of the game. 90% of our fans surveyed said they would play this game again. We listened to our fans and Orbitz 50 Faves is back with another 50 once-in-a-lifetime vacations,” said Chris Orton, president of “Players who work their social networks the best can end up with enough bids to place on all 50 trips, or increase their odds of winning a particular trip by placing more and more bids on it. And this year, players have even more incentive to play every day because one player will be selected daily to win two airline tickets.”

Orbitz 50 Faves is the ultimate game of adventure. Players stand to win luxurious trips to destinations around the world. Some trips offer spending cash, plus activities and amenities such as relaxing spa treatments, show tickets and rounds of golf. Vacations range from lounging in Mauritius to trekking the jungles of Tokyo. Orbitz 50 Faves runs through March 25. Some of the 50 incredible trips include:

Mauritius: You’ve been to one beach, and you’ve been to them all. Until you get to Mauritius, where the sky and the water are the perfect complements in lagoon blue, and swaying palms and coconut trees woo jetsetters and honeymooners alike. Prize includes: round-trip airfare for two, a 7-night stay at the LUX Grand Gaube, $1,920 in spending cash.

Bermuda: Live large at Newstead Belmont Hills, a colonial retreat blessed with vistas of Bermuda’s Hamilton Harbor. Put a perfect game on the 18-hole course or laze at the spa – both accessible to the blissful beach. Prize includes: round-trip airfare for two, a 7-night stay at the Newstead Belmont Hills Golf Resort Spa, daily golf for two, massages for two and $2,106 in spending cash.

Tokyo: Tokyo sends the senses into a tailspin with its trend-obsessed Harajuku girls, electric jungles Shinjuku and Shibuya and unparalleled nightlife. Prize includes: round-trip airfare for two on Asiana, $750 towards the hotel of your choice on and $1,860 in spending cash.

London: With a certain duchess shining brighter than the Crown Jewels and as host to the Olympics, London is certainly having its moment. Prize includes: round-trip airfare for two and a 5-night stay at The Savoy.

Maui: Catch some waves, climb a volcano or snorkel with brilliant marine life, the choice is yours on this Hawaiian escape. Prize includes: round-trip airfare for two and a 6-night stay at the Sheraton Maui Resort Spa.

Las Vegas: Get the VIP treatment at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas. From glittery views, the chance to win big and a pool for every mood, this trip has it all! Prize includes: round-trip airfare for two, a 4-night stay at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, $100 dining credit and $100 spa credit.

“How great of Orbitz to allow someone like me, from South Dakota – where the temperature is hovering about 6 degrees – to win the opportunity to visit the tropics,” commented Janet Lyda on winning a trip to Punta Cana in last year’s Orbitz 50 Faves Facebook game. “Because of the Orbitz 50 Faves game my boyfriend will have his first passport stamp. Thank you for helping expand his, and my travel dreams!”

To play Orbitz 50 Faves for a chance to make your travel dreams come true – like former Orbitz 50 Faves winner Janet Lyda – and for complete game rules, visit . Play now and start earning bids before the game ends on March 25. A random drawing will be held at the end of the game for each trip to determine the 50 lucky winners.

Terms Conditions

(1) No purchase necessary. A purchase will not increase your chances to win. Legal residents of the 50 United States (D.C.) 18 years and older (or 21 for some prizes). Void where prohibited. Sweepstakes ends 3/25/12. For Official Rules, prize descriptions and odds disclosure, visit . Sponsor: Orbitz, LLC, 500 West Madison Street, Suite 1000, Chicago, IL 60661.

About is a leading online travel company that enables travelers to search for and book an array of travel products and services, including flights, hotels, car rentals, cruises, and vacation packages. Since launching its website in June 2001, has become one of the largest online travel sites in the world and has led the industry with innovations including the Orbitz Matrix Display and Orbitz Price Assurance. The Matrix Display revolutionized the way the travel industry displayed fares and makes it quick and easy for consumers to compare flights, rental cars and vacation packages. The Price Assurance program gives travelers confidence that they have the lowest Orbitz price on their flight or hotel. With Price Assurance, if another Orbitz customer books the same flight or prepaid hotel for less, we’ll send you a check for the difference — automatically. also offers “Insider Steals” a weekly, members-only flash sale that provides exclusive deals of 50% or more off of handpicked hotels in top destinations around the world. On consumers can search a broad range of suppliers worldwide. is owned by Orbitz Worldwide. Stay connected to with sale alerts, exclusive promotions and engaging conversations by following Orbitz on Facebook, Twitter and the Orbitz Travel Blog.

About Orbitz Worldwide

Orbitz Worldwide is a leading global online travel company that uses innovative technology to enable leisure and business travelers to research, plan and book a broad range of travel products. Orbitz Worldwide owns a portfolio of consumer brands that includes Orbitz, CheapTickets, ebookers, HotelClub, RatesToGo and the Away Network. Also within the Orbitz Worldwide family, Orbitz Worldwide Distribution delivers private label travel solutions to a broad range of partners including many of the world’s largest airlines, and Orbitz for Business delivers managed corporate travel solutions for corporations. Orbitz Worldwide uses its Investor Relations website to make information available to its investors and the public at . You can sign up to receive email alerts whenever the company posts new information to the website.


Copyright (C) 2012 PR Newswire. All rights reserved


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Presidents Day: 50 presidential must-sees, from Lonely Planet

February 20, 2012 by  
Filed under Travel Deals

Presidents Day is a good time to mull what presidential places in America are worth a look-see. Lonely Planet gathered 50 — one from each state — that provide good vacation ideas, whether for the long weekend or summer vacation.

Here are five destinations in the West that made the grade.

Arizona-Nevada: Hoover Dam plays the name game, from Hoover Dam (current name) to Boulder Dam (preferred by President Franklin Roosevelt, as a dis of his predecessor). No matter, here’s the real news you can use: “[T]he Arizona side has free parking, but Nevada’s has the ‘Dam T-shirt’ shop, tours and bad coffee.” It’s 30 miles southeast of Las Vegas and costs $11 for adults and $9 for kids 4 to 16 to tour the power plant, and $30 for adults and kids for a jumbo tour that includes the dam’s pasageways. Buy tickets from the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation.

Hawaii: This has to be the coolest presidential stop. Get an ice cream cone at the Baskin Robbins at 1618 King St. in Honolulu. Why? Because that’s where Barack Obama scooped out the cold stuff as a teen. Lonely Planet declares it “a bona fide presidential historic site.”

Colorado: Who knew? The third-floor rotunda at the state Capitol contains portraits of every U.S. president. The paintings were all done by artist Lawrence Williams, according to the state’s website. (The Mohave Museum in Kingman, Ariz., also has paintings of the presidents and first ladies by Williams.)

Alaska: Little Nenana, 65 miles southwest of Fairbanks, is the site of the final golden spike to complete the Alaska Railroad. Warren Harding arrived in 1923 to do the honors. Lonely Planet offers this historic tidbit: “[S]ome say he missed the spike on his first two tries. Two weeks later Harding died.”

Utah: The pick here is the Beehive House in Salt Lake City, the one-time home of Brigham Young built between 1853 and 1855. The presidential tie-in is Teddy Roosevelt, who apparently once slept here.




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Presidents’ Day: Meet the Mt. Rushmore four at the Nixon Library

February 20, 2012 by  
Filed under Travel Deals

Presidents’ Day used to celebrate the birthdays of Washington and Lincoln, but now all former leaders get a hail to the chief. The Nixon Presidential Library Museum in Yorba Linda marks the day by inviting the public to a free meet-up with America’s early presidents.

The Nixon Library: Admission is free today (Monday) from 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; tickets usually cost $11.95 for adults and $4.75 for children 7-11.

George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Jefferson and Teddy Roosevelt — the Mt. Rushmore Four — will be on hand (well, actors playing them) to chat with guests throughout the day. There’s also a  presentation on America’s presidents in the library’s East Room at 1:30 p.m. and free cherry pie for the first 100 guests.

Contact: Nixon Presidential Library Museum, 1801 Yorba Linda Blvd., Yorba Linda; (714) 983-9120.

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EU’s Fancy Flight Emissions

February 20, 2012 by  
Filed under Travel Deals

Twenty-six countries, including India, are meeting in Moscow tomorrow to discuss the EU’s unilateral action to control greenhouse gas emissions from aeroplanes flying over European airspace. Under the scheme that came into effect in January 2012, airlines flying to the EU will have to buy tradable carbon credits as part of the EU’s broader emissions trading system (ETS). Worse, they will have to pay even for air-miles clocked outside European airspace. The outcome of the meet will determine whether the EU’s action will lead to retaliatory moves that hurt everybody or whether the EU will read the writing on the wall and withdraw. As of now, a confrontation looms. (China has already debarred its airlines from participating without government approval). Ironically, the issue — airline emissions — has no great immediacy.


In global terms, airline emissions are relatively small, accounting for only about 3% of total emissions. The move has been on the anvil for some years now, but the EU’s action needlessly queers the pitch when the need is for global cooperation rather than confrontation. What is surprising is that the EU should have chosen to go ahead when it needs the rest of the world to lend it a helping hand.


At the Air Show in Singapore earlier this month, the European Commission’s vice-president for transport, Siim Kallas, was emphatic the EU would not suspend the legislation, saying it is a ‘very high-profile environmental issue’ . The EU’s action has riled other countries. Airline companies and aircraft manufacturers have also joined forces as they fear the move will result in higher air fares and impact air travel adversely. Estimates of the additional cost on airlines vary.


An analysis by Thomson Reuters Point Carbon estimates airlines face a carbon pollution bill of €505 million for 2012 under the ETS. The China Air Transport Association estimates the scheme would cost Chinese airlines 800 million yuan ($127 million) this year, and more than three times as much by 2020. But EU officials say the costs of the scheme, if passed on to passengers, would add no more than around €2.50 ($3.30) to the price of a oneway ticket between Europe and China.


By slapping an ETS surcharge on tickets, airlines , it is argued, could even profit from the scheme, as Ryan Air hopes to do. So, the battle lines are drawn ; a legal challenge mounted by a group of American airlines was dismissed by the European Court of Justice in December. But that is unlikely to be the end of the matter. The only way non-EU governments can come to the aid of their airlines, many of which are state-owned , is to stop them from flying into the EU, or to introduce an equivalent mitigation regime of their own. Neither is feasible.


At the just-concluded 10th ministerial meeting on Climate Change of the Brics — Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa — in New Delhi, minister for environment and forests, Jayanthi Natarajan , made no bones about the opposition of the Brics to what she called a ‘unilateral trade action disguised as a climate change action’ . She is spot on.


The EU’s scheme goes completely against the principle of ‘common but differentiated responsibilities’ under which mitigation costs of reducing greenhouse gas emissions are less onerous for developing countries than for rich ones. This has been a key principle underpinning previous UN climate change agreements including the Kyoto Protocol. But there is time to resolve the issue before it goes out of hand. Airlines are not due to be billed until April 2013. Even then, they will have to pay for only 15% of their emissions since the scheme envisages their buying tradable permits for a gradually rising portion of their emissions. This year, the EU will give airlines permits to cover 85% of their emissions. The best way out would be to get the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) into the picture.


There is no disputing that between unilateral or bilateral actions and multilateral actions, the latter are bound to be much more acceptable. There is also no disputing that though airline emissions are low at present, they are rising fast: between 2005 and 2010, they grew 11.2%. But as with trade negotiations, where the multilateral deals via the WTO, despite its bumbling pace of progress, are widely accepted as superior to bilateral trade deals, so too with environment negotiations. The multilateral route (read: ICAO) is the way to go.


True, the ICAO has been a rather ineffective body. So much so that in 2004, it ruled out negotiating a global deal to curb the emissions of all airlines, instead recommending that countries include their airlines in whatever national mitigation scheme they had in place. In November last, however, it changed tack and resolved to accelerate steps to introduce its own mitigation efforts. Hopefully, the stand-off between the EU and the rest of the world will compel it to play its rightful, more activist role.

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Deals: weekend in Dublin

February 20, 2012 by  
Filed under Travel Deals

Direct Flight

Climb aboard for a trip around the world of travel

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MAS offers attractive business-class travel deals

February 20, 2012 by  
Filed under Travel Deals


KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia Airlines (MAS) is offering attractive business-class travel promotional deals for both domestic and international flights effective today till Feb 27.

The offers for domestic sectors and to Asean destinations are valid for travel with immediate effect till Aug 31, while the deals for the US, North Asia, Europe, South Asia, China/Hong Kong and Australia are valid until June 30.

For customers’ convenience, fares offered are inclusive of airfares, fuel surcharges and airport taxes, said MAS Regional Senior Vice-President for Malaysia and Asean Muzammil Mohamad.

He said: “At Malaysia Airlines, we are continuously upgrading our products and services for customers to enjoy more at value deals.

“The deals are made possible due to the new fuel-efficient aircraft that are regularly joining our fleet. These aircraft also have improved inflight facilities that also allow us to enhance our service offerings to customers.”

“In addition, we have re-strategised to increase our frequencies to regional routes and matching customers’ expectations who prefer premium full service and direct connectivity for their journeys at value deals.

“We invite customers to enjoy these all-inclusive value deals and delight with our award-winning Malaysian Hospitality during their travels,” he added.

The promotions for domestic travel have been common rated where all-inclusive fares for travel between KLIA and any city in Peninsular Malaysia.

It starts at RM399 one way and RM798 for return whilst the airfare between KLIA and any city in Sabah and Sarawak is from RM799 one way and RM1,598 return.

For travel between KLIA and any Asean city, the all-inclusive one-way fare starts from as low as RM399 one way for Medan, RM599 for Phuket and RM899 for the remaining Asean destinations.

The all-inclusive rates for destinations in China start from RM1,356 one way to Guangzhou, Xiamen and Kunming, whilst similar rates to South Asian cities start at RM1,164 to Hyderabad, RM1,179 to Dhaka, RM1,189 to Bangalore, RM1,211 to Colombo and RM1,222 to Chennai.

Travellers planning for premium travel experience to Australia, the United States and Europe till June 30 can grab deals starting at RM2,894 one way to Perth, RM3,456 to Sydney, RM4,972 to Los Angeles, RM5,123 to London and RM5,358 to Paris.

Children, aged below two and 12, enjoy a further 35 per cent discount for domestic travel business-class fares and 25 per cent off on fares for international business-class travel.

The above offers are available through various MAS’ distribution channels like its ticket offices throughout Malaysia, 24-hour toll-free call centre at 1300 88 3000, and its appointed agents. – Bernama

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Debate continues on taxes online travel companies pay

February 20, 2012 by  
Filed under Travel Deals


Are online travel companies paying enough in taxes?

It’s a conflict that continues to cause intense debate in Tallahassee.

Right now, the online travel agencies pay taxes on the wholesale price they paid for the room, instead of what they charge the customer.

Almost 86 million visitors came to Florida in 2011, according to the group Visit Florida, and many of them stayed in hotels.

Thousands used online travel agencies to make reservations, but some people don’t think those online groups are paying enough in taxes.

For example, a hotel could have a room for $100. They can sell that room to one of the online travel agencies groups for $80. The online travel agency is only required to pay taxes on the wholesale price that they paid for the room, as opposed to the price they charge the consumer.

Cocoa Beach Area Hotel and Lodging Association President Tom Williamson said he does not think it is fair.

“The tax should be based on the retail amount that any consumer is paying for that room,” said Williamson.

Others disagree. State Representative John Tobia, R-District 31, said what the online agencies provide is a service and in the state of Florida services are not taxed, in most cases.

“If we were to go about services, it would be an exemption from the norm, so I think it is very important that we treat them the same way we treat attorneys, any other type of business that provides a service. We tax earnings, but we don’t tax the service itself,” said Tobia.

Hotels have the option to sell their unbooked hotel rooms.

“If those Travelocity or Expedia or third party groups don’t have any hotel rooms there whole business model is out,” said Tobia.

He said the hotels do not have to sell the unbooked rooms if they don’t want to.

Williamson said hotels need to use the online travel agencies to stay competitive. He said hotels use them more than others.

Tobia supports legislation that would allow online travel agencies to only pay taxes on the wholesale price they bought the hotel room for and said the legislation “clears up a number of lawsuits, and keeps hotel prices down for people can come and spend a lot of money here in Brevard County and the State of Florida.”

He said these online groups bring people and tourism dollars into the state.

But Williamson believes Brevard County is missing out on hundreds of thousands of dollars and said the state is also taking an unfair hit.

“Statewide, we are talking hundreds of millions of dollars the state is losing because of this arrangement,” said Wiliamson.

“These companies are capturing these funds, they are just not doing their duty and paying it back to the locality or state.”

Lawmakers continue to debate the issue.

Several counties across the state settled lawsuits with the online companies in recent years.

This has also been an issue in other states.

Williamson is hoping to speak in Tallahassee this week when the House of Representatives Finance and Taxes Committee revisits the issue. 

“How could any of our state legislators just allow this money to escape out of our state when it’s already being paid, it’s already being collected, it’s just not being remitted to the locality or the state,” said Williamson.

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MAS Offers Attractive Business-class Travel Promotional Deals

February 20, 2012 by  
Filed under Travel Deals

February 20, 2012 10:49 AM

MAS Offers Attractive Business-class Travel Promotional Deals


By: Ramjit


KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 20 (Bernama) — Malaysia Airlines (MAS) is offering attractive business-class travel promotional deals for both domestic and international flights effective today till Feb 27.

The offers for domestic sectors and to Asean destinations are valid for travel with immediate effect till Aug 31, while the deals for the US, North Asia, Europe, South Asia, China/Hong Kong and Australia are valid until June 30.

For customers’ convenience, fares offered are inclusive of airfares, fuel surcharges and airport taxes, said MAS Regional Senior Vice-President for Malaysia and Asean Muzammil Mohamad.

He said: “At Malaysia Airlines, we are continuously upgrading our products and services for customers to enjoy more at value deals.

“The deals are made possible due to the new fuel-efficient aircraft that are regularly joining our fleet. These aircraft also have improved inflight facilities that also allow us to enhance our service offerings to customers.”


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