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Archive for February, 2010

Free Performances at Lincoln Center

February 22nd, 2010

Lincoln Center

New Yorkers in the know take advantage of many great free cultural offerings around town when they want a low cost night of fun. Budget conscious travelers may want to check out what these great cultural institutions have to offer as well.

Every Thursday of the year you can find free performances at the Lincoln Center. Target® Free Thursdays at the Lincoln Center’s new David Rubenstein Atrium will feature national and international tourist artists as well as local featured artists from groups like The Juilliard School. Seating is limited and available on a first-come, first-served basis. Check out the calendar of free performances.

In the summer there is often a free performance in Central Park no matter what day you’re in town. SummerStage and the city parks foundation website will shortly have their summer schedules up.

Groups with young children, or the young at heart, may enjoy the The Forbes Galleries located in the heart of Greenwich Village. The Galleries feature unique collections of toys and trophies. The exhibits includes a rare look at the evolution of the Monopoly board game. Open free to the public 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. on Tuesdays through Saturdays. Please note that Thursdays are reserved for group tours and advance reservations are required.

Last Minute Travel has just refreshed its list of New York hotels and has lowered its prices on 15 of our best value properties. That makes now the perfect time to make plans for your vacation to the Big Apple.

Photo Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/listenmissy / CC BY-ND 2.0

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Travel Savings abound when planning Last Minute Travel

February 15th, 2010

Jason Rich of the New York Daily News writes about how you can still save big on your vacation even if you’re making last minute travel plans. He advises you to be flexible on your dates and airport. Often a change to a nearby airport or a departure a few hours earlier or later will save you big bucks.

If you can be flexible on your accommodation you can find big savings as well:

“By keeping the name of the hotel, for example, quiet until after you book, we are able to offer incredible discounts,” said Lauren Volcheff, vice president of marketing at LastMinuteTravel.com. “We do, however, provide everything else you need to know before booking, including available dates, a detailed description of the hotel, price, a star-rating and its location. All that’s missing is the actual name of the hotel or resort.”

I would also add to be sure to keep an eye out for specials. For instance, extending your stay by just one more night may save you a lot on travel. Of course, we’re happy that Jason thought of LastMinuteTravel.com when considering price savings for travel.

JFrost Tips, Travel ,

Photo Friday: Air & Space Museum

February 12th, 2010


(click for larger image)

The majesty and awe of the Smithsonian Air & Space Museum in Washington, D.C. is captured remarkably in this photo by Bob Jagendorf. The museum did suffer a collapsed roof in the recent snow that blanketed the city. But none of the exhibits were damaged.

Photo Credit: bobjagendorf on Flickr via a CC BY 2.0 license.

Previously: Cherry Blossom Festival, Washington D.C.’s soft side

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Wave Hello to Cruise Deals

February 10th, 2010

Looking for a bargain cruise? The New York Times sounds the alarm that cruise lines are drawing the line in 2010. While deep discounts, free upgrades, and other perks helped fill berths in 2009, ship operators hope they can lure passengers back in 2010 without so many bargains. What does that mean for the Cruise adventurer? Book early to get the best deals.

Is it too late to book a great spring break cruise or something on the Atlantic coast this fall? Of course not. In fact, we’re still in the middle of what the industry calls “Wave Season” when great deals for trips throughout 2010 are available. But those bargains will be vanishing soon as staterooms fill up.

You might be surprised at what cruises are leaving from a port near you.

Thinking of taking that Canada-New England cruise on the Norwegian Jewel. Here’s a video that will give you some idea of what to expect. Video was taken last June on a cruise of the Baltics.

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Foreign Travelers Flood Orlando Airport

February 9th, 2010

There has been much worrying going on in the tourism industry that new visa regulations and TSA checkpoints would dampen the spirit of international travelers resulting in fewer visits to the United States. But at least at the Orlando International Airport that hasn’t been the case. In fact, OIA reported a record year for international passengers in 2009. It seems the pull of Orlando’s attractions and resorts is too great.

Visitors from the United Kingdom accounted for the largest group with over 567,000 flying into the airport, Canadians were a respectible second with 384,000 passengers. The total number was over 2.97 million which broke the record set in 1993. In fact, the British, Canadian, and other nationalities accounted for a 10.8 percent increase from 2008.

“With new and expanded international service that created a double-digit increase in international passengers, and the completion of the major components of the refurbishment and expansion of the two original airside buildings, 2009 was a significant year in our operations” Executive Director Steve Gardner said.

With more airlines adding more flights to Orlando, 2010 is shaping up to be another record year. How about you? Do your plans bring you to Orlando anytime soon?

Photo Credit: Flickr user Hyku via CC 2.0

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Photo of the Day: Drew Brees at the Magic Kingdom

February 8th, 2010

Our photo of the day features New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees as he takes his victory parade through The Magic Kingdom. Sunday night he was crowned Super Bowl MVP by marching the Saints to a 31-17 victory over the Indianapolis Colts in Super Bowl XLIV in South Florida.

(photo courtesy Disney. Kent Phillips photographer)

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The James Chicago - Best Value

February 8th, 2010

I noticed this morning that one of those ‘Private Sale’ websites is having a flash sale for The James in Chicago. A beautiful luxury boutique with an apartment living feel right off the Magnificent Mile, The James provides the personalized feel that’s perfect for a getaway or a business trip. When I did a quick price comparison with our rates, I noticed that if you book with us you can still save 20% off the price offered to their invite only members. (Valid February 2010 and most nights in March 2010)

There are two ways to book, you can visit LastMinuteTravel.com and search our “Undercover Hotels” for 5 star Chicago Luxury hotels. We have a couple with very good rates. Or you can join the Last Minute Travel Club where we have private sale prices all the time and you see all the details up front before you book. If you spend two nights at The James, you’ll save more than the club membership, plus you’ll get 5,000 TripleDip loyalty points when you become a member and access to all the great discount travel prices on the club.

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jetBlue comes to LastMinuteTravel.com

February 5th, 2010

jetBlue logo
Fans of jetBlue Airways will be pleased to know they can now book their electronic tickets right on LastMinuteTravel.com. We now provide real time access to jetBlue’s last minute seat availability and fares. Since there is never a fee to book flights on LastMinuteTravel.com, you can save big by combining your flight and hotel into a custom package. Now that’s happy traveling.

If you haven’t visited our flight page recently, then you’ve also missed out on our new easy to use tools that will help you slide into exactly the right flight at exactly the right price for your travel needs.

air booking tool

Need to travel at a specific time or want to avoid those long layovers? You can now set the parameters. You’re also able to set how many stops you want, search only specific airlines, or set the price range. If your travel dates are flexible we have a new tool that makes it easy to find the best available fares. These are just a few of the tools you’ll find on LastMinuteTravel.com that make your travel planning as simple as 1-2-3.

JFrost Technology , , ,

Orlando - Travel Like A Local

February 2nd, 2010

Websites where most of the content is user generated, like Yelp.com, Citysearch.com, Chowhound.com, are all good for getting several opinions about a restaurant, nightlife, shopping, etc., but these sites don’t ensure a local experience. As an Orlando local, I use sites like those to plan vacations – not to plan my Saturday in Orlando. Instead, if you want to paint your next trip to Orlando with a non-touristy brush, head to sites that locals actually use.

Here are a few of my suggestions:

  • Metromix: This site covers multiple cities with the claim, “Your one-stop local entertainment guide on where to go and what to do, from the hottest restaurants and bars, to the latest in music, movies, and entertainment.”
  • Convention & Visitors Bureau Websites: This seems like the ultimate “Don’t” when you are trying to have a local experience, but when I want to mix things up, I head to my Orlando CVB’s site- they usually feature activities that I wouldn’t immediately think of and feature events in areas of the city I don’t frequent. Bottom line – the people maintaining and updating these sites live in that city – they are locals.
  • Restaurant.com: Here you can get “gift certificates” (more like coupons) worth $10, $25, $50 for a fraction of the price. Be sure to read the restrictions of each coupon. Sign up for their emails and you will never pay over $2. This won’t tell you which restaurants are local favorites, but it will save you some money.

Orlando specifically
It’s easy to tell you where the locals hang out, but I prefer to share local resources– you know the “teach a man to fish” saying. You can either check out their websites, or follow them on Facebook in the weeks leading up to your trip – you can always de-friend when you get back

ScottJosephOrlando.com: a guide to Orlando restaurants from someone who is paid to know. Scott Joseph is the former restaurant critic for the Orlando Sentinel. He’s since hung out his own shingle and hosts an active forum with news you can use about the Orlando dining scene.

Guyswithties.org: This philanthropic organization has chapters in 3 cities: Jacksonville, Orlando and Charlotte. They run everything from happy hours to full out parties. Most events require a donation, cash or toy, etc to enter. Some highlights include The Disco Ball, Annual White Party, Costumes for a Cause.

OrlandoEventSeries.com: This site host events around Orlando most of which raise money for charity. They have run everything from Wine-Walks, to Casino Nights, to an annual Bachelorette/Bachelor Action auction – all for charity. Typically these events have an upfront cost, $20 gets you a free drink and raffle ticket.

OTownHappyHour.com: Promotes special events in conjunction with local bars and restaurants. Typically, there is no cover or cost for OTown events – instead each event offers discounted drinks and food. Most recently the site is promoting a happy hour with a free buffet and drink specials.

I hope next time you’re in Orlando you take some time to escape the theme parks and see The City Beautiful like a local does. I’ll see you there.

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