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Archive for March, 2010

Las Vegas Airport Expansion Proceeds

March 26th, 2010

Terminal 3 at McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas will add 14 gates to the popular facility. Five of which will be able to accommodate the new super sized airplanes used in international flights. The decision to go ahead and complete the project, even in the soft economy, has just been made.

“The conversation went something like this,” Walker said. “You have one of two risks. One risk is you could build the facility and we open up in 2012 and we don’t need it. The second risk is that you do not build the facility and in 2012, (convention authority President) Rossi (Ralenkotter) has been able to encourage all these additional people to come to the community and they can’t get here.

Las Vegas is a city built on risks, so of course they’re going ahead.

This is good news for travelers to Las Vegas as the city will be pulling out all the stops to entice you to come back in 2012. Don’t want to wait for 2012 for your next Las Vegas experience? LastMinuteTravel.com is running a whole grip of discounts on popular hotels all over town.

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Travel Blog Highlght - Walking Off The Big Apple

March 25th, 2010

Planning a trip to New York this year? Perhaps you’re in town on business and have a few extra hours to enjoy the town between conference session? Walking Off The Big Apple is the perfect companion for your needs. The blog is a compendium of things to do when you’re in New York City. It features many self-guided walks are broken down by area and interest. You’ll also discover very useful tips for getting around, museum openings, and by neighborhood.

This weeks stories include a trip to the Met for Dmitri Shostakovich’s The Nose, a stroll around the recently enlivened Petrosino Square, and a look at some of the city’s best spring time fun.

Walking Off The Big Apple is written by Teri Tynes, a freelance journalist. You can also find her on Twitter as @TeriTynes.

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Travel Craft

March 22nd, 2010

I spent much of this weekend trolling the world of hand made crafts on Etsy.com looking for a perfect gift for someone. Along the way I discovered these perfect travel related items I couldn’t wait to share with you here.

How cute are these Compass Cufflinks by westergard11. They actually work, so even if you’re dressed up for some fun in a strange town, you won’t get lost.

Etsy travel craft - compass cuffs

Cufflinks not your thing? birdzNbeez’s shop has a compass set in a ring or a pendant. They’re functional too.

Traveling with children? Then you know how important it is to keep them entertained during those long flights or rides. Stow away one of these Tri-Fold Crayon Wallet’s from GetSassed and you’ll be rewarded with hours of quiet from the little ones. Best thing of all, this is totally machine washable, unlike the back of your car seat, so choose your crayons carefully.

Etsy travel craft - toddler traveler crayon wallet

If your kid is more at home with chalk instead of crayon, the Travel Doodler ChalkMat is a thing of beauty. Your kid can draw and erase until their heart is content with this clever earth-friendly item.

Etsy travel craft - traveler chalk mat

Finally, I really liked this Passport Wallet from interrobang made out of recycled seatbelt webbing. It has no metal or magnets, so you can keep it in your pockets when passing through airport security. Perfect for those documents you want to protect.

Etsy travel craft - Passport Seatbelt Wallet

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Harry Potter’s Magic World Opening Soon in Orlando

March 15th, 2010

Hogwarts Express stands at the entrance to Hogsmeade
Hogwarts Express stands at the entrance to Hogsmeade

Inspired by J.K. Rowling’s compelling stories and characters, The Wizarding World of Harry Potter will provide visitors with a one-of-a-kind experience complete with multiple themed attractions, shops and a restaurant. Set to open this spring the immersive experience will wow guests with three major rides and a host of smaller shops, attractions, and dining locations that will put you right into the world of Harry Potter.

From the front archway of Hogsmeade to the immensity of Hogwarts castle, The Wizarding World of Harry Potter will feature the locations listed below:

  • At the entrance of Hogsmeade, billowing steam and an iconic whistle signal the arrival of the Hogwarts Express into Hogsmeade station
  • Across the way is Zonko’s, a joke shop with a collection of tricks and jokes, including Extendable Ears, Boxing Telescopes and Sneakoscopes
  • Honeydukes is next door and full of treats like Chocolate Frogs and Bertie Bott’s Every-Flavour Beans
  • The Three Broomsticks and adjacent Hog’s Head pub will feature traditional British fare and drinks including Butterbeer and pumpkin juice
  • Across from the Three Broomsticks is The Owlery, where owls roost and await their next delivery
  • The Owl Post sends letters with a certified Hogsmeade postmark and sells official stamps from The Wizarding World of Harry Potter
  • Ollivanders wand shop is an incredible interactive experience where the wand chooses the wizard
  • Completing Hogsmeade is Dervish and Banges, the magical instruments and equipment shop featuring Quidditch equipment, Triwizard apparel, Spectrespecs and Remembralls
  • The first attraction, Dragon Challenge, features a twin high-speed roller coaster with many iconic elements from the Triwizard Tournament
  • Next is Flight of the Hippogriff, a family coaster simulating a Hippogriff training flight over the grounds of Hogwarts castle
  • Located in Hogwarts castle, Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey is a thrilling new state-of-the-art attraction that uses entirely new technology to bring the magic, characters and stories of Harry Potter to life in ways never before experienced
  • Before exiting back into Hogsmeade, Filch’s Emporium of Confiscated Goods is full of Ministry of Magic and magical creatures merchandise, Omnioculars, and even remote control Golden Snitches

If you’re excited about booking your own journey to Orlando to explore the magical world of Harry Potter, you’ll be happy to hear that Universal Orlando has set a date for which you’ll be safe to book — May 28th. Technically Universal has announced that The Wizarding World of Harry Potter will open in Spring 2010, but enough of the world should be open by May 28th to let you explore. Specific opening information will come as soon as it is available.

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Paris Shopping by Neighborhood

March 12th, 2010

Shopping in Paris

Surprising a lot of people, Paris is a top destination for Spring Break this year. If you’re on your way for spring break or any other season, you may want to map out your shopping strategy in advance. Paris is broken into neighborhoods or as they call them arrondissements. Each has a unique character, special restaurants, and shopping. But there are a few that are clearly the best:

1st Arrondissement — Where the 1st arrondissements meets the 8th on Paris’s Right Bank is where you’ll find the best shopping strip. This fertile hunting ground includes the rue du Faubourg St-Honoré, home of the big designer houses, and the Champs-Elysées, which has seen changes over the years, but it still the place to be seen. If you are near the Palais Royal, you’ll find a jewel of a collection of boutique shops around the garden areas of the palace.

2nd Arrondissement — Located near the Palais Royal you can find the Garment District, which features amazing clothing bargains and some other unique shops. There is also a small collection of streets that are now closed to vehicle traffic and covered in glass. The Passage de Grand Cerf, between 145 rue St-Denis and 10 rue Dussoubs, is a place of amazement. From hipi retro stores to Asian-themed shops you’re bound to find something that pleases. Plus don’t pass up on the food stalls.

3rd Arrondissement — Home to the Musee Picasso this neighborhood is a great place to find street art, particularly stencil graffiti, sprinkled on building walls and inside doorways. The upper Marais area, down near the 4th arrondissement features a large number of men’s clothing stores. Also look for the rue des Francs-Bourgeois, which is open on Sundays, a rarity in Paris. It features trendy fashion boutiques and outdoor dining opportunities.

4th Arrondissement — This is the neighborhood for lovers of art and food. Both the Pompidou Centre and the Bastille district are settings for up-and-coming artists and galleries, not to mention street performers. You will also find the Marche aux Fleurs et Marche aux Oiseaux (the Flower and Bird markets) just on the north side of the Ile de la Cite.

Shakespeare and Co

5th Arrondissement — Part of the Latin Quarter, it’s also home to many of the cities educational and research establishments, like the Sorbonne. This means you’ll find plenty of budget shopping, apropos for someone living on a student’s budget. My favorite joint in the whole town is the eccentric and electric book store Shakespeare and Co., which you’ll find right down beside the Siene. For the young, and the young at heart, visit l’Epee de bois (the Wooden Sword) on the street of the same name.

9th Arrondissement — Home to many of the city’s big department stores, including Printemps flagship store. The 9th is defined by the Paris Opera house, railway stations, and luxury hotels, but don’t pass up the Passage du Havre. This old shopping arcade has its history in fish shops and transportation, but the modern incarnation is a beautiful mall. Enter on the Rue de Caumartin and experience the modern Paris shopping experience.

Photo Credits:

Haussman Boulevard & Printemps store / CC BY 2.0

Shakespeare and Co. / CC BY 2.0

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Disney Parks ends Successful Volunteer Promotion

March 10th, 2010

When Walt Disney World and Disneyland rolled out the “Give A Day, Get A Disney Day” promotion, they announced a cap of 1 million volunteers, but wondered if they would reach that goal by the end of 2010. It’s been just over two months and that goal has now been reached.

The promotion aimed to get people volunteering in their local communities in exchange for a free ticket to a Disney theme park. Alternatively you could donate that ticket to a non-profit organization.

Disney announced that the promotion has now come to a close but they hope that doesn’t end the desire to go volunteer in your community or as part of your vacation plans.

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Luxury Hotel Prices Slow to Recover

March 3rd, 2010

An interesting admission from Arne Sorenson president of Marriott Hotels, owner of the Ritz Carlton luxury resorts, the Luxury hotel market will be the slowest to recover, if it even recovers at all. The sort of excess spending that $1000 a night all inclusive resorts required, just won’t fly in today’s new economic reality.

Of all hotels, luxury properties were the hardest hit last year. While rates sank nearly 9 percent for the U.S. hotel industry, luxury hotels saw their rates tumble more than 16 percent, according to PricewaterhouseCoopers.

That’s great news for the traveler as it means you can now find amazing five star hotels at great prices, often under $100 a night. We also list some great 4-Star and 3-Star deals at our Star Bar.

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Carnival Glory returns from multi-million dollar upgrade

March 1st, 2010

Adults-only Serenity Deck on Carnival Glory
Adults-only Serenity Deck on Carnival Glory is one new feature.

One of the most popular cruises departing from Miami, FL just received a huge upgrade of modern luxury, internet availability, and calm serenity for Eastern and Western Caribbean fun. The Carnival Glory has resumed service following a multi-million-dollar renovation that added a host of new facilities and features, including a Serenity adults-only retreat, a 270-square-foot Seaside Theatre poolside LED screen, and a Circle “C” facility for 12- to 14- year olds.

Eighteen new balconies were also incorporated onto existing ocean view staterooms and a new Mongolian wok venue was added to the casual poolside restaurant. Bow-to-stern Wi-Fi access was added, as well.

From February to May, the 2,974-passenger Carnival Glory operates seasonal seven-day cruises from Miami, alternating weekly to the eastern and western Caribbean. Seven-day eastern Caribbean cruises visit Half Moon Cay, St. Thomas, San Juan and Grand Turk, while the western route features Grand Cayman, Isla Roatan, Belize and Cozumel.

The ship will then be deployed to New York where it will offer a series of four- and five-day Atlantic Canada voyages from June 6 – September 6, 2010, followed by a series of seven-day Canada/New England cruises, from September 11 – October 9.

“We are constantly looking for ways to improve and expand our product to deliver fun and memorable vacations to our guests while at the same time offering exceptional value,” said Gerry Cahill, Carnival’s president and CEO. “The new Seaside Theatre, adults-only area and Circle ‘C’ facility, which are all available to our guests on a complimentary basis, serve to enhance an already terrific, value-packed vacation choice,” he added.

Great details of the changes below the jump:

Read more…

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