Travel Picks: Top 10 destinations for spring

March 9, 2012 by  
Filed under Travel Deals


SAN FRANCISCO |
Fri Mar 9, 2012 10:23am EST

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – Spring is just around the corner for the northern hemisphere and as the winter weather lifts, northerners might consider getting a jump on the summer holiday crush by taking a trip to the more popular places well before the heavy June-September tourist season. Online travel adviser Travel Ticker (www.travel-ticker.com) offers its top 10 spring destinations. Reuters has not endorsed this list: 1. China

Average temperatures during spring vary depending on the region, but from a purely weather standpoint, this is one of the best times of the year to visit China. Add on the fact that there are fewer crowds and stellar deals to be found during spring, and a visit to the Far East sounds even better. Business and leisure travel picks up in April, so consumers should try to visit in March for the lowest prices and shorter lines. 2. Ecuador

Travelers wanting a more exotic trip should head south to Ecuador. All of the many regions in this South American country boast savings during this time of the year, and this is truly a part of the world that has something for everyone. Travelers can visit the famous Galapagos Islands, relax on pristine beaches, explore the wonders of the Amazonian rain forest or take in views of the majestic Andes mountain range. Rain may linger in some areas, but that helps keep both tourist levels and prices low. Consumers can beat the peak season rates that start in May by visiting just a month or so early. 3. Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico is one of the easiest island paradises to get to from the U.S., so travelers should take advantage this spring. In one small chunk of land, travelers can experience an active city life, pristine beaches, rainforests, art, history, and nightlife galore. Since Puerto Rico hasn’t yet become top-of-mind for sun seekers, prices continue to remain low and all-inclusive deals are abundant. 4. Barcelona

Spring is the perfect time to visit Barcelona, when the beautiful weather enhances the experience at historic buildings, cobblestone roads, seaside vistas and vibrant cultural centerpoints. The current economic situation in Spain is helping to drive prices down, so the country is offering some amazing deals to attract more travel business. 2012 is a great year to enjoy traditional Spanish Tapas, visit the fantasy-like structures designed by Gaudí and lounge on beautiful beaches, all at an affordable price. 5. Argentina

Anyone who is looking for a coastal European experience should consider Argentina as a great alternative because it has an incredibly rich history and many ties to Spain. From its stunning scenery, vibrant cities, and exciting culture to world-renowned wineries, it’s a destination that always pleases. It’s also a pretty great value as over the past couple years LAN Airlines has steadily increased flights to the area, resulting in some fantastic air sales. Prices to Argentina tend to soar around the holidays, so travelers should plan a trip to Argentina in May or June to miss the crowds. 6. Nassau, Bahamas

Nassau is ideal for some springtime fun-in-the-sun. Travelers generally can’t go wrong with the many islands that sprinkle this amazing region, but the Bahamas is a sure bet, where turquoise waters and white sand beaches await. With its many all-inclusive resorts competing for tourism appeal, the Bahamas tends be a deal destination year-around. 7. Riviera Maya, Mexico

Even though spring time tends to be a peak season for the Riviera Maya, travelers should still think of it as a value destination. Known for its luxe all-inclusive resorts, this tropical paradise is a place where it’s easy to get your meals, drinks, entertainment and activities all included in one price. This Mexican destination is home to several miles of serene beaches with crystal clear waters. To avoid the spring break crowds, consumers should travel mid-April and into May for great deals without sacrificing the beautiful weather during this season. 8. Italy

Italy’s sweet spot is April and May, which makes it a must-consider destination during the spring. Italy’s weather is best during these months and since it’s just before the summer peak season, travelers can find great values on airfare and hotels. Additionally, the crowds (which some cities like Venice are infamous for) are much smaller. Easy access means that a true local experience, whether you’re sitting at a café with a cappuccino or strolling the tiny streets window shopping, is easily accessible. 9. England

With the Olympics around the corner, April and May are ideal to visit England – especially London – right before the crowds and prices spike. With the abundance of new hotel rooms opening in England’s top destination, deals should be easy to find right before and after the games. The weather is also best during spring, which is particularly good if you’re looking to visit England’s world-famous countryside. Although rainfall happens all year long in this area of the world, it tends to drop during this season, giving tourists a fantastic opportunity to view England in all its glory. 10. France

France is another country that has something for every kind of traveler, blending rich history with delicious food and breathtaking scenery. Following the same trends as Italy and England, deals tend to be pretty good during spring because it’s just before the peak season. When visiting the capital city of Paris during this time of year, travelers will not only be mesmerized by walks along the Seine River, or by taking in views of the city from the top of the Eiffel Tower, but they will also get to enjoy the city with plenty of sun and perfect temperatures. But travelers shouldn’t stop there, the picturesque Loire Valley or the ritzy South of France are just a quick train ride away and are truly stunning during the months of April and May.

(Editing by Paul Casciato)

Article source: http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/03/09/us-travel-picks-spring-idUSBRE8280WL20120309

Travel deals: San Diego, Carlsbad, Las Vegas

March 9, 2012 by  
Filed under Travel Deals

San Diego: Glorietta Bay Inn discount

Glorietta Bay Inn in Coronado, Calif., is offering an extra 10 percent off its Internet specials when you mention its e-mail newsletter. The hotel, across from the Hotel del Coronado, offers free continental breakfast and afternoon snacks. Internet specials vary by date and start at $159 a night for a standard room on select March dates. The extra 10 percent off, available only by phone, is good through Monday, April 30.

Details: 800-283-9383, www.gloriettabayinn.com.

Las Vegas: Tropicana holiday rates

March Madness hasn’t begun and summer is still months away, but Tropicana Las Vegas wants travelers to start thinking about November and December getaways. The Holiday Kickstart sale is a good one: three nights for two people for $99. Taxes and resort fee ($14.99 per night) are additional. Available dates: Sunday-Thursday, Nov. 4-8; Sunday-Thursday, Nov. 18-29; and Monday-Monday, Dec. 10-24. Reservations must be made by Saturday, March 31, and require prepayment. I found availability for a three-night stay over Thanksgiving.

Details: 888-826-8767, troplv.com. The offer code is R3NTS99.

Carlsbad, Calif.: Golf lovers’ luxury package

The Park Hyatt Aviara in Carlsbad, Calif., has the perfect Father’s Day splurge for golf lovers. The luxury resort, formerly the Four Seasons Aviara, is offering a Callaway Golf Experience package. Prices start at $800 a night for the first night ($345 for additional nights) but include lots of extras, including transportation to and from Callaway’s headquarters, a 90-minute custom fitting session, a new Callaway driver (valued at $300), daily breakfast and unlimited golf at Aviara Golf Club. The package is available throughout the year.

Details: 760-448-1234, golfaviara.com/newsspecials. The offer code is CALLWY.

Article source: http://www.azcentral.com/travel/features/articles/2012/03/08/20120308travel-deals-san-diego-las-vegas-carlsbad-california.html

Searching for online travel deals leave many frustrated

March 9, 2012 by  
Filed under Travel Deals




Dubai UAE consumers today are increasingly using the internet to shop for the best deals, but when it comes to buying travel online, they are often dissatisfied.

Industry analysts said there is much to be done to improve the internet experiences of UAE residents who search for travel destinations and book flights online.

Several websites are difficult to navigate and are cluttered with too much information, much of which is not even up to date and accurate. Online sellers are also popping up like mushrooms and people have developed a lack of confidence that there’s a good deal to be had.

“The UAE consumer is very well connected and a major part of the population is tech savvy. However, the onset of mass tourism and the availability of multiple options to purchase travel have seen many frustrations confront travellers across the globe when buying tickets online,” Antoine Medawar, Amadeus vice-president for the Middle East and North Africa, told Gulf News.

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“One of the main issues while planning travel is perceived to be information overload. Very often it is the navigability of content coupled with large doses of irrelevant information that typically discourages consumers. Moreover, access to a plethora of websites had developed a lack of confidence that they are striking a good deal,” he said.

Over the last few years, the Middle East has seen steady growth in e-commerce with an increasing number of consumers using the internet to buy products and services. One of the fastest growing categories for e-commerce across the globe is travel, as customers are increasingly choosing the internet to shop.

Statistics by Euromonitor International showed that online retail business in the UAE grew 14 per cent last year to $226.8 million (Dh833 million), compared with $198.2 million in 2010, as the financial crisis drove shoppers to surf the internet for bargains.

But as e-commerce grows, so does the dissatisfaction of shoppers not just in the UAE, but across the globe. A study commissioned by Amadeus that surveyed more than 4,000 travellers in the US, Germany, India, Russia and Brazil showed that more consumers in the emerging markets are frustrated by the shopping and booking process: about 47 per cent of US travellers compared with over 78 per cent of Russian travellers.

According to the report, about half of the discretionary travellers in developed markets and nearly two-thirds in the emerging markets do not have a specific destination in mind when they start their travel planning process. However, they find it difficult to browse destinations on most travel websites.

Outside the box

In today’s competitive market, Medawar said it is imperative that travel providers are smart in adopting technologies that provide a plethora of benefits to increase their customer base.

To improve the experience of UAE consumers who are making travel plans or searching for destinations, Medawar suggested better roll-ups and condensed snapshots of information such as seasonal temperature or precipitation and price ranges. “Providing summarised and concise information will help reduce the clutter, making searching for travel deals more efficient and less confusing for consumers.”

For consumers who want to shop around for fear of making a hasty, potentially regrettable purchase, Medawar suggested tools that support price benchmarking.

He said providers and agents should also think outside the box and make use of tools that help determine the destinations and travel dates that offer the lowest price, to ensure widespread appeal.

“A substantial portion of travellers is eager for new ways to determine where to go and what to buy. Now that internet search engines have thrown their hats into the flight search ring, it is more essential than ever for online travel agencies and meta-search players to continue innovating and keep pace with new ways of searching,” said Medawar.

“Further, search across multiple destinations will help many shoppers, but can easily yield an unwieldy volume of results.”

Dubai The average tourist from the UAE spends a great deal of money on travel and prefers to buy tickets via mobile phone.

According to the United Nations World Tourism Organisation, a traveller from the UAE spends about $22,000 (Dh80,808) a year on flights and accommodation alone, totalling $6.6 billion annually on outbound travel.

Another study by Amadeus, which surveyed key markets including the UAE, Brazil, China, Russia, Spain, the UK and the US, showed that travellers from the UAE prefer making payments via mobile phone rather than using cash or credit card.

In the survey, 32 per cent of the UAE respondents found it “extremely appealing” to use their mobiles for such transactions against 24 per cent globally.

Furthermore, 92 per cent of the UAE respondents found mobile payments “somewhat appealing” as opposed to 78 per cent of the respondents in the six countries surveyed.

Article source: http://gulfnews.com/business/technology/searching-for-online-travel-deals-leave-many-frustrated-1.992267

Greece travel today: hotel deals, strike delays

March 9, 2012 by  
Filed under Travel Deals

By Marty Orgel

SAN FRANCISCO (MarketWatch) — As headlines flow about the precarious economic situation in Greece, business people and tourists need to know how strikes and the possibility of civil unrest affect their travel plans in the region.

Experts say travelers should expect delays and disruptions — but on the upside, it may be easier to get a taxi in big cities and hotel rates might be cheaper.


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“I travel twice a year to Greece and have family there,” said Roger Ellman, who ran a travel company in Greece for 11 years and sold it last year. Ellman, now based in Bath, England, said the biggest problems for tourists and business people are rolling strikes that can occur without warning. Strikes can effect taxis, impact airlines and ferries. Strikes can even make it harder to get a prescription filled.

“It’s always a risk,” Ellman said. But travelers shouldn’t put off a vacation or business trip, he said. “You just have to be prepared for delays.”

It’s a European problem, for now

Wojtek Zarzycki is chief investment officer and managing director of Optimal Investing, a boutique investment firm with offices in the U.S., Canada, and Europe. He said that however this week’s economic events play out in Greece, it will be European travelers who are impacted the most.

Zarzycki said “an astounding 93% of tourists to Greece come from within Europe.” Traditionally, it is the British and Germans who make up the largest number of tourists visiting Greece. Numbers from 2007 show 2.6 and 2.3 million people from both of these countries traveled to Greece. Italy and Bulgaria round out the top five nations, with each having just over a million tourists visiting Greece each year. Only 380,000 come from the United States.

Economic chaos, Zarzycki said, creates social unrest. “Travelers’ safety will become a greater concern,” he said. “I think if you travel to Athens you will need to watch out for social unrest and your safety. I think you will find a lot of unfinished construction, poorly maintained infrastructure and a lack of repair throughout Athens and possibly the mainland. But I also think the islands will be in the safest and cleanest places in Greece.”

Your safety on the trip

By and large, people are genial, Ellman, the former travel agency owner, said “and still offer that splendid warm Greek hospitality wherever you go.”

He said although Greece has generally had minimal problems with thefts or mugging, it is sensible to be as cautious as you would be in other countries — especially now, when Greek citizens are struggling under painful austerity measures. “Some people are desperate in a way they never imagined they could be, mostly due to a lack of money for essentials,” Ellman said.

While the U.S. State Department has stopped short of issuing travel restrictions or warnings about Greece, the State Department and other global governments have published travel advice their web sites. The State Department has this message online: “The U.S. Government remains deeply concerned about the heightened threat of terrorist attacks against U.S. citizens and interests abroad…”

The British government has this message on its web site: “Visitors should expect regular strikes and demonstrations. These are sometimes called at short notice and can cause disruption to public transport in and out of Greece (including air travel and ports).”


For the latest international travel information on Greece, including security and health risks, and general information, see this website.

Greece’s shaky economy

The Global Business Travel Association Foundation has created three possible economic forecasts for Greece and said if the European debt crisis grows significantly worse, “it could wreak havoc on U.S. business travel.”

Article source: http://www.marketwatch.com/story/greece-travel-today-hotel-deals-strike-delays-2012-03-09

ACCC accuses Flight Centre of price-fixing deals

March 9, 2012 by  
Filed under Travel Deals

Updated March 09, 2012 18:43:16


Flight Centre

The ACCC has launched proceedings against the travel agency in the Federal Court.

The competition watchdog has accused Flight Centre of trying to enter into price-fixing deals with its competitors.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has launched proceedings against the travel agency at the Federal Court in Brisbane.

It alleges that on six separate occasions between 2005 and 2009 Flight Centre tried to induce Singapore Airlines, Malaysia Airlines and Emirates to stop offering international airfares lower than those it offered.

“The ACCC alleges that Flight Centre provided booking services to the public and distribution services to the international airlines in competition with the airlines’ internal sales divisions,” the ACCC said in a statement.

“It is alleged that the purpose and likely effect of the arrangements sought by Flight Centre was to maintain the level of Flight Centre’s commissions.”

In a statement, Flight Centre managing director Graham Turner expressed surprise at the action and said the company would vigorously defend its position.

Mr Turner said the action related to “legitimate discussions” between the travel agency and airlines to ensure it had access to all fares released to the market.

“It is not in the business of making airfares more expensive and does not ask suppliers to raise prices or to withdraw fares, ” Mr Turner said in a statement to the Australian Securities Exchange.

“This is a logical and natural business request for an agent to make to ensure the customers it serves are not disadvantaged.

“Given that travel agents book up to 80 per cent of international flights in Australia, it also benefits consumers because it means special offers are not solely available from supplier websites.

“It appears from the documents that the ACCC has issued that it considers FLT (Flight Centre) to somehow be a competitor of the airlines whose products it sells, rather than an agent for those airlines.”

The ACCC is seeking financial penalties for the company.

A directions hearing has been set for April 13.

Tags:

business-economics-and-finance,
company-news,
consumer-protection,
price-fixing,
australia,
brisbane-4000

First posted March 09, 2012 16:46:18

Article source: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2012-03-09/accc-takes-action-on-flight-centre-on-price-fixing-moves/3880382/?site=melbourne

Seeking a summer travel deal? Plan now

March 9, 2012 by  
Filed under Travel Deals

NEW YORK — Hoping to get a good deal on summer travel? Start planning now.

The official start to spring is still two weeks away, but airfares for summer are rising fast. Many fare-watchers think summer prices will be significantly higher than last year.

In past years, some savvy travelers who held out on buying tickets reaped the reward when prices fell. But fleet and route cutbacks have given airlines more of an upper hand than at any time since before the recession. Hotels and rental car companies are also raising prices.

Large U.S. airlines have collectively tried to raise prices four times this year and succeeded twice. Those price hikes, as little as $5 apiece, are expected to accelerate in April and May as many vacationers lock in their plans.

How much ticket prices go up will depend largely on the price of fuel, often an airline’s biggest expense. The average fare was 9 percent higher in January than a year earlier, according to the trade group Airlines for America.

So what’s a would-be traveler to do?

Study early: Start looking for a summer airfare about three months ahead of time (That’s right around … now.) If the fares seem too rich for your blood, don’t panic. Just because fares are higher than last year doesn’t mean they won’t fall between now and your summer vacation.

If you’re worried about waiting, use this trick: Select the flight you want and start booking it online. When you hit the point where you select a seat, look at the seat map. If it’s still fairly empty, wait. It’s likely the airline will lower prices to fill those seats.

Another trick: If you search repeatedly for the same flight over a couple of days, clear the “cookies” from your web browser. They’re small data files that let a website remember things about you the next time you visit. If you don’t clear them, you might see higher airfares than someone searching that fare for the first time.

The option to clear cookies is often found in your browser’s “Tools” menu. Or check here for a more in-depth guide: http://bit.ly/A7jqNq.

Shop around: All travel booking websites are not created equal. Some may offer lower prices than others. There are also benefits to visiting different types of sites. Expedia and Orbitz offer package deals that can save you hundreds of dollars if you’re booking a hotel or rental car together with airfare.

Those with fare predictor technology, like Bing.com, let travelers know if it’s a good time to book. And Southwest advertises fares only on its own site, so it’s important to check there if the airline flies to your area.

And to ensure you’re getting the best deal, don’t forget fare alerts. You can set up alerts for specific destinations, or general ones for your departure city, at airfarewatchdog.com or farecompare.com. Twitter is also a great place to find deals.

Follow the deals: Not sure where you want to go this summer? Orlando, Fla. — home to Disney World and most recently the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal— is topping fare-watcher lists for value this year. Both Orbitz and Hotwire ranked it the top destination for deals and entertainment. The average airfare there is about $306, according to Orbitz, while the average hotel room rate is just $104.

Other destinations in Florida like Tampa and Miami are also considered good values. Several airlines, including Spirit and JetBlue, have added flights to the Sunshine state over the last year, bringing down fares. Hotel rates in all three of those cities are under $150 a night.

Besides Florida, Hotwire ranks cities like Atlanta, Dallas and Houston as good value vacation spots because of the wide range of discounts. Orbitz says Las Vegas will also hold some of the best deals this year, due to some of the lowest airfares in the country and average hotel room rates under $100.

Be flexible: Don’t just compare airlines. It’s important to compare airports, too. A longer drive might be worth it for a cheaper fare.

And don’t assume that bigger airports offer cheaper fares. While it’s usually true, airlines sometimes put less popular fares to smaller cities on sale to fill seats, said FareCompare’s Rick Seaney.

Another big mistake, Seaney said, is assuming so-called discount airlines always offer the cheapest fares. Airlines like Southwest and JetBlue, just like their competitors, tend to offer higher fares on routes where they have less competition.

Article source: http://www.timesunion.com/business/article/Seeking-a-summer-travel-deal-Plan-now-3393417.php

Research and Markets: Monthly Travel and Tourism Deals Roundup – Issue 1 2012

March 9, 2012 by  
Filed under Travel Deals

Using this report, dealmakers will effectively and efficiently gain an insight into deal activity throughout the month. The report provides an overview of all the partnering, alliances and MA deals announced worldwide.

Synopsis

  • The report gives a snapshot of the deal activity trends in the travel
    and tourism industry in January 2012.
  • The report provides an overview of the deal activity across various
    deal types in January 2012 in terms of deal type, segment and region.
  • The report provides data on deal activity across various segments in
    the travel and tourism industry in January 2012, in terms of deal size.
  • The report gives an insight into the rationale for deal making during
    January 2012.
  • The report details the main deals reported in January 2012.

Companies Mentioned:

  • Venue Italia dmc
  • Sun International Limited
  • Tatts Group Limited
  • Island Hotels Resorts Inc
  • Vacation.com Inc.
  • Clarke Inc.
  • TA Global Berhad
  • Starwood Hotels Resorts Worldwide Inc.
  • Koltsovo-Invest OAO
  • Celebi Hava Servisi A.S.
  • MMG Worldwide Inc.
  • NexTag Inc.
  • Albert Ballin consortium
  • Ace Ticket Worldwide Inc.
  • IBEROSTAR HOTELES Y APARTAMENTOS SL
  • Selwyns Travel Ltd.
  • Echo Global Logistics Inc.
  • Hainan Airlines Co. Ltd.
  • KAMAZ OAO
  • Hitachi Transport System Ltd.
  • Playtech Ltd.
  • Egencia LLC
  • Amaya Gaming Group Inc.
  • Accor SA
  • Etihad Airways P.J.S.C.
  • Starr International Company Inc.
  • IGB Corporation Berhad
  • Merlin Entertainments Group Ltd.
  • Kinepolis Group NV
  • Westminster Travel Limited
  • And many more…

For more information visit http://www.researchandmarkets.com/research/c5853d/monthly_travel_and

Article source: http://www.sunherald.com/2012/03/08/3804255/research-and-markets-monthly-travel.html

Want to get a good deal on summer travel? As fuel and airfares rise, now is …

March 9, 2012 by  
Filed under Travel Deals

In past years, some savvy travelers who held out on buying tickets reaped the reward when prices fell. But fleet and route cutbacks have given airlines more of an upper hand than at any time since before the recession. Hotels and rental car companies are also raising prices.

Large U.S. airlines have collectively tried to raise prices four times this year and succeeded twice. Those price hikes, as little as $5 apiece, are expected to accelerate in April and May as many vacationers lock in their plans.

How much ticket prices go up will depend largely on the price of fuel, often an airline’s biggest expense. The average fare was 9 percent higher in January than a year earlier, according to the trade group Airlines for America.

So what’s a would-be traveler to do?

— STUDY EARLY: Start looking for a summer airfare about three months ahead of time (That’s right around … now.) If the fares seem too rich for your blood, don’t panic. Just because fares are higher than last year doesn’t mean they won’t fall between now and your summer vacation.

If you’re worried about waiting, use this trick: Select the flight you want and start booking it online. When you hit the point where you select a seat, look at the seat map. If it’s still fairly empty, wait. It’s likely the airline will lower prices to fill those seats.

Another trick: If you search repeatedly for the same flight over a couple of days, clear the “cookies” from your web browser. They’re small data files that let a website remember things about you the next time you visit. If you don’t clear them, you might see higher airfares than someone searching that fare for the first time.

The option to clear cookies is often found in your browser’s “Tools” menu. Or check here for a more in-depth guide: http://bit.ly/A7jqNq.

SHOP AROUND: All travel booking websites are not created equal. Some may offer lower prices than others. There are also benefits to visiting different types of sites. Expedia and Orbitz offer package deals that can save you hundreds of dollars if you’re booking a hotel or rental car together with airfare.

Those with fare predictor technology, like Bing.com, let travelers know if it’s a good time to book. And Southwest advertises fares only on its own site, so it’s important to check there if the airline flies to your area. More airlines are also offering sales on their own websites to draw traffic there.

And to ensure you’re getting the best deal, don’t forget fare alerts. You can set up alerts for specific destinations, or general ones for your departure city, at airfarewatchdog.com or farecompare.com. Twitter is also a great place to find deals. Follow airlines that fly from your home airport as well as a handful of travel sites to cover all your bases.

FOLLOW THE DEALS: Not sure where you want to go this summer? Orlando, Fla. — home to Disney World and most recently the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal— is topping fare-watcher lists for value this year. Both Orbitz and Hotwire ranked it the top destination for deals and entertainment. The average airfare there is about $306, according to Orbitz, while the average hotel room rate is just $104.

Other destinations in Florida like Tampa and Miami are also considered good values. Several airlines, including Spirit and JetBlue, have added flights to the Sunshine state over the last year, heating up competition and bringing down fares. Hotel rates in all three of those cities are under $150 a night.

Besides Florida, Hotwire ranks cities like Atlanta, Dallas and Houston as good value vacation spots because of the wide range of discounts. Orbitz says Las Vegas will also hold some of the best deals this year, due to some of the lowest airfares in the country and average hotel room rates under $100.

BE FLEXIBLE: Don’t just compare airlines. It’s important to compare airports, too. A longer drive might be worth it for a cheaper fare.

And don’t assume that bigger airports offer cheaper fares. While it’s usually true, airlines sometimes put less popular fares to smaller cities on sale to fill seats, said FareCompare’s Rick Seaney.

Another big mistake, Seaney said, is assuming so-called discount airlines always offer the cheapest fares. Airlines like Southwest and JetBlue, just like their competitors, tend to offer higher fares on routes where they have less competition.

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Article source: http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/want-to-get-a-good-deal-on-summer-travel-as-fuel-and-airfares-rise-now-is-the-time-to-jump/2012/03/08/gIQAHq0LzR_story.html

Solar storm’s upside: Best places to see intense northern lights

March 9, 2012 by  
Filed under Travel Deals

Travelers in Alaska, Canada, the northern Plains, parts of the Midwest and much of the West tonight (Thursday) may be treated to a northern lights display more intense than usual because of the powerful solar storm hitting the Earth’s surface, according to science and weather reports.

The geomagnetic storm reached Earth about 5:45 a.m. EST Thursday. Scientists say the initial storm has been weaker than expected but may intensify later today.

Northern lights trackers say tonight could bring a spectacular show to mid- and high latitudes in the Northern Hemisphere. AccuWeather.com says bright streaks were seen over the Great Lakes region Wednesday night.

And here’s the forecast for Alaska from the Geophysical Institute at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks: “Auroral activity will be high. Weather permitting, highly active auroral displays will be visible overhead from Barrow to Bethel, Dillingham and Ketchikan, and visible low on the horizon from King Salmon.”

The Weather Channel says about the aurora forecast: “There is near certainty that this solar storm will produce aurora across the northern latitudes and could produce them as far south as the mid-latitudes,” particularly on Thursday night-Friday morning.

Outside the U.S., Spaceweather.com shows spectacular northern lights photographs taken Wednesday night from northern parts of Russia, the Sky Station at Abisko National Park in Sweden and parts of Finland.

For those who might be in the northern lights belt, here are some viewing tips from the Geophysical Institute:

“[A]void city lights, and acquire a clear view of the northern horizon. Dress warmly, and plan to watch the sky between 10 p.m. and 2 a.m. local time, although an active period can occur anytime during the dark hours. Active periods are about 30 minutes long, occurring every 2 hours.”

Article source: http://www.latimes.com/travel/deals/la-trb-northern-lights-20120308,0,3275794.story

Travel Deals: Two for One Spring Savings & More

March 9, 2012 by  
Filed under Travel Deals

Budget Travel, Featured Posts, Travel Deals, Travel Deals, Travel Planning — <!–By –> on March 8, 2012 1:50 pm

Spring savings are in the air! Flowers are blooming, temperatures are rising and we have six different ways to save on your next trip.

Swiss Savings

It’s not yet high season in Europe. Get a jump start on the summer crowds with Rail Europe is Twice as Nice: 2 for 1 Pass Special. Between now and May 25, if you book a four-day Swiss Saver Pass or Swiss Saver Flexi Pass for two, you only pay for the cost of one traveler. Rates for the Swiss Saver pass begin at $404 for two in first class seating and $254 for two in second class seating. Rates for the Swiss Saver Flexi Passes begin at $470 for two in first class seating and $294  for two in second class seating. Travel is valid from April 1st through May 31, 2012. Book on Rail Europe, or by calling Rail Europe’s Contact Center. calling 1-888-382-7245 (U.S.).

Four for Three at Sofitel

Between now and May 20, Sofitel Luxury Hotel’s Spring Collection Offers travelers four nights for the price of 3 at select Sofitel properties worldwide. With nights starting at $251 in Los Angeles and $279 in Buenos Aires, guests can enjoy a four-night spring break with relaxing customized beds and various spa and wellness packages available the hotel. Click here for reservations.

Romantic Rainforest

Ever wondered what it’d be like to escape the smog and traffic of the city for tropical gardens with birds flying over head? If you book before May 1, you not only get the opportunity to experience 400 acres of pristine Honduran rainforest, but also save $1,000 while you’re at it.

The Lodge at Pico Bonito is nestled in Central America’s largest rainforest, surrounded by rivers, beautiful waterfalls, breathtaking views, and over 420 species of birds. Regular rates going for $1,899 and up, the “Lovebirds in the Rainforest” spring saver cuts your costs nearly in half and offers a romantic candlelit dinner for two, a guided trek to a double drop waterfall, boating through the lagoon, and a relaxing couples massage and cooking class. Reservations must be made before May 1st for this four-day, three-night package. For more information, visit their website or call 888.428.0221.

Single Parent Savings

Let’s be realistic, not all family getaways include the comfort of having both mom and dad on the trip, and that is why Beaches is offering their Single Parent Fun spring special for single-parent families! This great offers takes the burden off of solo travelers by waiving the dreaded single supplement fee of up to $220 per night! You get to choose between four Beaches Resorts properties in Jamaica and Turks Caicos with special programming geared towards family including, Kinect for Xbox 360R Family Game Night and Dive-In Movie Night.

Beaches special SPF promotion is from May1 through 24 and September 4 to October 31 with a minimum stay of 3 nights and must book your stay between February 6 and October 26. For more information, visit them online.

Paradise Island Savings

Nassau Paradise Island’s Instant Savings deal is waiting for you to pack your bikini and join them at any of the destination’s properties, including Atlantis Paradise Island, One Only Ocean Club, and Sheraton Nassau Beach Resort.

Book before May 14 and you’ll receive instant savings of $250 when booking a 4-5 night stay or $400 when booking a 6+ night stay for stays between April 15 and October 31.  Visit their website to book your spring getaway.

A Maui Must

Ka’anapali Beach Hotel in Maui is offering the perfect spring getaway for guests wanting to escape the cold back home. Ka’anapali Beach Hotel’s Best of the Beach package gives you 4 nights in an ocean-view room, a rental car with complimentary valet parking, 1 lunch for 2 at the poolside Tiki Grill, daily buffet breakfast for 2, and a choice of either snorkeling gear rental or the use of an umbrella at two chaise lounges. The $1, 349 package saves guests $400 and is valid for travel January 4, 2012- January 4, 2013.
For reservations, visit them online.

Where are you traveling this Spring? Share your favorite deals in the comments below.

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By Tatiana Rodriguez for PeterGreenberg.com

Article source: http://www.petergreenberg.com/2012/03/08/travel-deals-two-for-one-spring-savings-more/