Travel Contest Roundup!

9 May

Who doesn’t love winning something? And better yet, who doesn’t love fantasizing about winning? The lotto, a vacation, a free meal, etc… I’ll take any of them, thank you!

If you’re feeling a little sluggish this Monday and looking for a pep in your step, check out these contests and fantasize about what it would be like to win. You never know, you might luck out!

  • Win a Mexican Getaway from Caribbean Magazine

Enter here by May 31, 2011; rules

Win: 4- night all-inclusive stay at Hacienda Tres Rios in a Ceiba Jr Suite, Mangrove View, for 2 people. Includes all meals and taxes, and all well-drinks during stay.

 

 

  • Win 4 Nights in Belize from Caribbean Magazine

Enter here by June 30, 2011; rules

Win: Four (4) Nights Double Premier Room with a King Bed and Jacuzzi Bath Accommodations at SunBreeze Hotel.

 

 

  • Win a Canadian Railroad Adventure from Woolrich Adventures

Enter here by August 8, 2011; rules

Win: Six day/five night prize package for the winner and one travel companion that includes roundtrip airfare for two to Vancouver, BC, Canada, returning via Calgary, AB, Canada. Plus one night accommodation for two at the Fairmont Pacific Rim Hotel Vancouver, Gold Leaf service for two on the Rocky Mountaineer east bound “First Passage to the West” trip from Vancouver, BC to Banff, AB, Canada. Also one night in Kamploops, BC, Canada; two nights accommodation for two at the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise, one night at the Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel. And all ground transportation while in Canada.

 

 

  • Montego Bay Romantic Getaway from Sandals

Enter here by May 14, 2011; rules

Win: Two round-trip coach airline tickets from any major gateway closest to prize winner’s home to Montego Bay, Jamaica, eight-day/7-night all-inclusive vacation for two at Sandals Montego Bay, couples massage at Red Lane Spa, catamaran cruise, and private airport transfers.

Fingers crossed for you to win!

Hotel Flash Sales Roundup!

7 May

I don’t know about you, but the weekend is when I do most of my vacation planning (or wanderlust researching). If you are currently scoping out various locations for inspiration, or looking for a good deal, check out the various flash sale websites that are around.

Here are some of my go-to flash sale websites:

  • Jetsetter
  • Vacationist
  • SniqueAway
  • Ideeli
  • RueLaLa
  • Living Social Escapes

There are tons of great sales out there this week but I’ve highlighted some of my favorites below. Check them out and be sure to join these websites. You never know, you might find a great price at an ultra-luxe hotel for your next trip!

Banyan Tree Mayakoba

Banyan Tree Mayakoba

Playa del Carmen, Mexico: Banyan Tree Mayakoba

Flash Rates: from $365/nt

Travel Dates: May-December

Book by: Thursday, May 12

Book with: Jetsetter.com


Teton Village, WY: Snake River Lodge & Spa

Flash Rates: from $175/nt

Travel Dates: May-February, 2012

Book by: Wednesday, May 11

Book with: Jetsetter.com


Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates: Anantara Qasr Al Sarab

Flash Rates: from $100/nt

Travel Dates: May-Feb 2012

Book by: Wednesday, May 11

Book with: Jetsetter.com


Charleston, SC: Harbourview Inn

Flash Rates: from $225/nt

Travel Dates: May-September

Book by: Thursday, May 12

Book with: SniqueAway.com

Asclepios Wellness & Healing Retreat

Asclepios Wellness & Healing Retreat

Costa Rica: Asclepios Wellness & Healing Retreat

Flash Rates: from $125/nt

Travel Dates: May-December

Book by: Thursday, May 12

Book with: SniqueAway.com


Whistler, Canada: Nita Lake Lodge

Flash Rates: from $139/nt

Travel Dates: May-September

Book by: Thursday, May 12

Book with: SniqueAway.com


Soufriere, Saint Lucia: Anse Chastanet

Flash Rates: from $348/nt

Travel Dates: May-October

Book by: Wednesday, May 11

Book with: Vacationist.com

Palazzo Manfredi

Palazzo Manfredi

Rome, Italy: Palazzo Manfredi

Flash Rates: from $280/nt

Travel Dates: May-September

Book by: Wednesday, May 11

Book with: Vacationist.com


Santa Cruz, Costa Rica: Bahia Del Sol Beach Front Hotel & Suites

Flash Rates: from $195/nt

Travel Dates: May-August

Book by: Wednesday, May 11

Book with: Vacationist.com

Hard Rock Hotel & Casino

Hard Rock Hotel & Casino

Las Vegas, NV: Hard Rock Hotel & Casino

Flash Rates: from $60/nt

Travel Dates: June-September

Book by: Tuesday, May 10

Book with: Ideeli.com


Florence, Italy: Hotel Helvetia & Bristol

Flash Rates: from $369/nt

Travel Dates: July-Aug and Nov-Dec

Book by: Tuesday, May 10

Book with: Ideeli.com


Intervale, NH: Glen Oaks Inn

Flash Rates: $244 for two nights

Travel Dates: throughout the year

Book by: Tuesday, May 10

Book with: LivingSocial Escapes

Vail Cascade Resort

Vail Cascade Resort

Vail, CO: Cascade Crown Jewel

Flash Rates: $75/nt

Travel Dates: May-June

Book by: Tuesday, May 10

Book with: LivingSocial Escapes

Happy Planning!

Friday Question: If you could spend this weekend anywhere in the world…

6 May

Happy Friday All!

Let’s celebrate with some wanderlust, shall we? If you could spend this weekend anywhere in the world, where would you go and what would you do?

With all the should you/should you not visit Mexico news lately, I am really craving a visit back to the Yucatan peninsula (I guess you can figure what side of the argument I’m on).

So, if I could spend this weekend anywhere in the world,  I would choose… Tulum, Mexico.

Tulum is absolutely beautiful

I’ve heard nothing but good things about this hippie/ex-pat little town. I unfortunately was only in Tulum for just a few hours during my vacation last year and that was spent solely at the ruins. The water was so beautiful and the people were so nice, I defintiely have to go back!

What destination are you dreaming of this Friday afternoon?

Friday Link Love

6 May

In honor of the week coming to an end, I’ve pulled together some of this week’s stories from other great websites I think you should give a read.

Check them out and let me know if I’ve missed anything!

Friday Link Love:

  • CNN: Why you should go to Mexico
  • Lonely Planet: Top 8 places to (safely) visit in Mexico
  • Jaunted: You Bring the iPad and American Airlines Will Bring the Movies and In-Flight WiFi
  • Gadling: Five hot travel sites
  • New York Times: How to save on group travel
  • LA Times: Mother’s Day travel getaways
  • USA Today: Some hotels don’t live up to online hype, disappointed guests say


Travel Beauty Tips from Women’s Health Magazine

5 May

This month, Women’s Health magazine features some great survival beauty tips for those on the road traveling. See below for some tips from the article in their current issue and check out more at WomensHealthMag.com!

Nobody wants an out-of-town mishap to derail their vacation. These quick fixes from the editors will prevent any unexpected health hang-up from ruining your getaway.

1.         Treat a scorching sunburn

Thin skinned and easily forgotten spots like the ears and the tops of the feet often suffer the worst sunburn.  First take an ibuprofen to help curb any inflammation.  Next, hit the grocery store for some white vinegar; dilute one teaspoon of it into a pint of cold water and every few hours cover the burn for 10 minutes.

2.         Manage motion sickness

It’s hard to enjoy sailing when your heads hanging over the side of the boat.  Taking slow deep breaths of fresh air and focusing on the horizon should help. So can nibbling on some ginger candy or placing a drop of peppermint oil under your tongue.

3.         Fix a chipped tooth

For a small chip, use an emery board to file down sharp edges, just as you do to fingernail. Since cracked tooth enamel can leave nerves exposed, if you feel pain you can temporarily seal the area with Krazy Glue. For bigger chips, put broken tooth pieces in a container filled with cold milk; the sugar compounds can keep tooth cells alive for 72 hours.

Vacation Travel Deals Roundup!

4 May

Here are some great travel vacation deals that will spark your wanderlust and have you planning for trips you likely didn’t even have on your radar (the beauty of a sale… makes us do crazy things!).

Check it out and be sure to drop a note if you end up booking anything!

  • 4-Night Moscow Getaway/$749: Includes r/t air from NYC to Moscow; 4 nights in a 4-star hotel; daily breakfast; airline fuel surcharges; travel select dates in September or October; more at ShermansTravel
  • 6-Night Ireland Vacation/$899: Includes r/t air from NYC to Dublin; 6 nights’ accommodation (3 in Dublin at the Ashling Hotel and your choice of 3 nights in Galway at the Imperial Hotel or 3 nights in Killarney at the Scotts Hotel); r/t domestic rail between cities; daily breakfast; travel select dates October-December; book by May 13; more at ShermansTravel  
  • 5-Night Tahiti Island Tour/$1459: Includes r/t air from LA to Papeete; 5 nights at the Radisson Plaza Resort; Half Day Circle Island Tour in Tahiti; all transfers and baggage handling; travel until May 31 or November-December; book by May 20; more at ShermansTravel
  • 6-Night Paris Vacation/$999: Includes r/t air from NYC to Paris; 6 nights in the Montmartre Hill area of central Paris; daily breakfast; hotel taxes and service charges; travel Nov. 21-23; more at ShermansTravel
  • 6 Nights in Madrid and Barcelona/$1119: Includes r/t air from NYC to/from Madrid/Barcelona; domestic flights; 3 nights’ accommodation in Madrid; 3 nights’ accommodation in Barcelona; all hotel and air taxes; travel November 25; book by May 18; more at ShermansTravel
  • 8-Night Great Britain Tour/$1999: Includes r/t air from NYC to London; 8 nights’ accommodation (3 nights in London; 1 in Bristol; 1 in Liverpool; 2 in Edinburgh; 1 in Leeds); 9 meals (8 breakfasts; 1 dinner); all airport transfers; sightseeing and English-speaking tour manager; travel select dates July-October; more at ShermansTravel
  • Barcelona Vacation/$999: Includes r/t air from NYC; four nights at a 4-star hotel; daily breakfast; hotel taxes and airline fuel surcharges; travel select dates September-October; book by May 10; more at TravelZoo
  • All-Inclusive Bahamas Getaway/$299: Includes r/t air from Ft. Lauderdale; four nights at the all-inclusive Viva Wyndham Fortuna Beach; all hotel fees; travel May-June; book by May 9; more at Travelzoo
  • 10-Night, 3 City Italy Vacation/$1299: Includes r/t NYC or Boston to Rome, from Venice; accommodations in 4-star hotels (3 nights in Rome at the Park Hotel Villa Grazioli; 5 nights at Fattoria degli Usignoli in Tuscany; 2 nights in Venice at Villa Pace Hotel Bolognese); manual car rental; travel November-February, 2012; book by May 13; more at Travelzoo
  • 11-Night Thailand Vacation/$1499: Includes r/t air from LA to Bangkok; intra-Thailand flight and ground transportation to Ayutthaya, Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai among other cities; accommodations for 11 nights at upscale, centrally located hotels; daily breakfast and welcome dinner; sightseeing tours and transfers with English-speaking tour manager; travel October 4 or April 3 or 17, 2012; book by May 26; more at TravelZoo
  • Riviera Maya, Mexico/$439: Includes r/t air from Ft. Lauderdale; 5-night all-inclusive stay at the Blue Bay Grand Esmerelda; travel select dates in May-August; book by May 13; more at TravelZoo
  • 9-Nights in Croatia and Slovenia/$1399: Includes r/t air from NY to Venice; r/t ground transfer to Opatija; Nine nights accommodations (three in Dubrovnik, two in Bled, two in Opatija, one in Split and one in Zagreb); all transfers and entrance fees per itinerary; English-speaking guide;  11 meals (daily breakfast, two dinners); travel select dates November- February, 2012; book by May 18; more at TravelZoo

Happy Planning!

TripAdvisor’s 2011 Travelers’ Choice Awards

4 May

I am a huge fan of TripAdvisor and other forums like it. It think it provides a great opportunity for travelers and vacation planners to connect and get real-time advice. In fact, I never plan a trip without checking in with the folks on the local forums at lease 5-10 times!

Yesterday, TripAdvisor announced its 2011 Travelers’ Choice Destinations winners, which honors travelers’ favorite places to visit around the world. If you’re looking to take a trip this summer, check out the list to get some inspiration!

The winning destinations include 337 vacation hot spots from around the world, including lists in the United States, Europe, the Caribbean & Mexico, Central & South America, Asia, India, South Pacific, Canada, Africa, United Kingdom, France, Italy, Germany and Spain. The list is pulled together by millions of real, unbiased opinions from TripAdvisor users.

Some highlights from the list include:

2011 Travelers’ Choice World Destinations:
1. Cape Town, South Africa
2. Sydney, Australia
3. Machu Picchu, Peru

2011 Travelers’ Choice U.S. Destinations:

1. New York City, New York

2. Honolulu, Hawaii

3. San Francisco, California

Check out the full list of winners here and be sure to let me know if this list was helpful in choosing your next vacation destination.

Happy Planning!

Newsflash: New Travel Flash Sale Website

3 May

I’m still a little torn on the whole travel flash sale website craze. I am a huge fan of a deal, especially when it gets me into a luxury hotel for 1/3 the price, but seeing the weekly sales often sparks a severe case of wanderlust, resulting in resentment that I can’t take advantage of the awesome deals available!

Okay, so maybe I’m just a little bitter that I can’t travel nearly as much as I want to. Maybe travel flash sale sites are okay after all…

Which brings me to a bit of news. I received some intel about a new site called TrippoDeals.com launching soon and thought I’d spread the word!

TrippoDeals specializes in weekend package getaways. So, want to getaway for a ski weekend but don’t have time to price out the cost of the lift tickets, ski rentals, etc? That’s where TrippoDeals comes in. They would offer a 1-2 night stay at a ski resort, with the rental and lift tickets included for 50% off the published rate. A website that does the itinerary research AND bargaining for you? Sounds pretty great to me! Like most flash sale website, all deals are available for 7 days only.

If you have a second, check it out! Here is a bit of news about the website as well: http://www.tnooz.com/2011/03/09/tlabs/tlabs-showcase-trippo/

Happy Planning!

Countdown to Thailand!

3 May

I am just one week and one day away from my very first visit to Thailand and I can hardly contain my excitement! Being this close to a trip is certainly exciting but it can also be just as stressful. Are my hotels all booked? Do I know where to go once I land? What do I do about currency? etc. etc.

I am not one to take the laid back approach when it comes to trip planning. I like to be very thorough with everything I do to ensure a relaxed, stress-free vacation.

Below are some of the things I am doing, just one week out, to eliminate some of that unnecessary, and unwanted, stress. If you are approaching a vacation and haven’t done these things already, be sure to get on it!

  1. Re-confirm all hotels, domestic and international flights
  2. Research airport transfers; will it be easy to get a taxi to your hotel? If not, arrange for a car to pick you up at the airport, prior to your departure
  3. Re-confirm all tours/activities, if pre-booked. If not, research to make sure you won’t be shut out upon arrival due to crowds
  4. Print all confirmation emails, receipts, etc. or keep them accessible on your iPad, cell phone, etc. to make sure you have proof of your purchase
  5. Call your cell phone carrier to ask them about roaming charges. If you need cell phone access, consider adding on an international plan to avoid sky-high charges. Otherwise, be sure to purchase a calling card so you can let your loved ones know when you’ve arrived safely
  6. Change some of your currency to get small bills in the local currency. This will be helpful for tips, transportation, etc. Choose whether you’d like to rely on traveler’s checks, cash or your atm card. A mix of each is usually a good balance- you never want to be 100% reliant on your atm card and then run into lack of access to machines!
  7. Call your banks (checking and credit cards) and let them know you are traveling so they don’t freeze your account once they see foreign transactions
  8. Make two copies of your passport. Keep one in your wallet (for when the original is locked in a safe) and another one at home
  9. Make copies of your credit cards, atm card and traveler’s checks to leave at home, just in case you lose your wallet and need those details
  10. Purchase TSA-friendly locks and toilet trees (if you are going with carry-on only)
  11. If bringing prescription medications, make sure you have a doctor’s note so you don’t encounter any trouble at security
  12. Type up an itinerary that includes details about where you are staying, what you are doing and how you are getting there to help keep you organized and your family informed of your travels
Keep this checklist handy and hopefully it will help you on your next vacation!

Travel Contest Roundup

2 May

Who doesn’t love winning something? And better yet, who doesn’t love fantasizing about winning? The lotto, a vacation, a free meal, etc… I’ll take any of them, thank you!

If you’re feeling a little sluggish this Monday morning and looking for a pep in your step, check out these contests and fantasize about what it would be like to win. You never know, you might luck out!

Win a Trip to Hawaii, New Zealand, Thailand or Brazile from Febreze

Enter here by May 2; rules

Win: A 7-day trip for 2 to winner’s choice of one of the locations that inspired the Febreze Destinations Collection: Maui, Hawaii OR Bangkok, Thailand OR Auckland, New Zealand OR Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The trip includes airfare, hotel, and $5,000 spending money.

Win a Culinary Tour of Italy from Olive Garden

Enter here by May 9; rules

Win: An 8-day trip for 2 to Italy. Trip includes airfare, hotel, guided tours, 2 meals per day, ground transportation, and excursions to the following cities: Florence, Rome, San Gimignano, and Riserva di Fizzano, near Castellina in Chianti to visit Olive Garden’s Culinary Institute of Tuscany.

Win a Trip to Paris for Two from Lucky Magazine

Enter here by May 30; rules

Win: A trip for two Paris, France including airfare, four nights in an Executive Room at the Hotel Fouquet’s Barriere, a $500 Fifi Chachnil lingerie shopping spree, and a $1,000 Agnes B. shopping spree.

 

 

Win One Million Hawaiian Air Miles from Aston Hotels

Enter here by May 31; rules

Win: 1,000,000 HawaiianMiles, the frequent flyer program of Hawaiian Airlines.

Win a Hawaiian Getaway for Two from CBS

Enter here by May 23; rules

Win: 5-day trip for 2 to Honolulu, Hawaii, including a visit to the set of the CBS Broadcasting Inc. TV show “Hawaii Five-0.” Prize also includes airfare, hotel, ground transportation, and $500 spending cash

Win a trip to a “Full Moon Party” in Thailand from Mekhong

Enter here by August 31; rules

Win: 2-night trip for four to Thailand to experience a “Full Moon Party”

Fingers crossed for you to win!

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