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Archive for June, 2013

Patriotic Destinations: Top Places for 4th of July Fireworks Displays

June 20th, 2013

Boom! Bang! Summertime excitement. Do these phrases encapsulate the feeling you experience as you turn your head to the sky and watch fireworks explode?

As the 4th of July holiday nears and you begin to think of cookouts and gatherings, your thoughts may wander to determining the most important detail of the day: where will we see the best fireworks?

With so many places to choose from, we’ve outlined a few top destinations for some of the best 4th of July fireworks displays in the nation: Washington, D.C., New York City, New Orleans, and Boston.

Fireworks Over the Capital: Washington, D.C.

You can’t get much more patriotic than spending the 4th of July in Washington, D.C.

Start your day with a visit to the city’s National Independence Day Parade, featuring bands of all kinds, including traditional marching bands, fife & drum bands, and bagpipes.

Follow-up parade watching with “A Capitol Fourth,” a celebratory concert on the U.S. Capitol West Lawn featuring the National Symphony Orchestra.

Plan a picnic on the National Mall, visit the historical monuments, and finish the day watching the fireworks.

Bright Lights in New York City, NY

When you think of big American cities, New York’s New York City most likely comes to mind almost immediately. Spend the day exploring the city, and then find perfect spot to watch the celebration.

Released from the Hudson River, this year’s Macy’s fireworks spectacular will include 40,000 fireworks, live performances from artists Mariah Carey, Tim McGraw, and Nick Cannon, and a 25-minute soundtrack of music from a variety of genres compiled by Usher to play in the background as the fireworks explode.

New Orleans, LA

Are you familiar with barge battles? No, we’re not referring to any form of warfare, but a battle of light and color as two barges in New Orleans celebrate the Fourth in style.

Watch the two barges battle for your attention, after a fun-filled day along Mississippi River. Traditional performances by the U.S. Navy Band and other musical performances are common at this annual event.

Consider a trip by riverboat to get even closer to the action!

Boston, MA

An annual event, Boston Harborfest is a week-long Independence Day celebration. The festivities kick off on Tuesday, July 2 this year.

July 3rd will bring Boston’s 19th Annual Children’s Day, complete with attractions perfect for the whole family, such as face painting, a bubble machine, paper lantern crafting, and more!

Stick around for fireworks and main day festivities, then join in post-Fourth celebrations with a party on the plaza, and Chowderfest, a day to join in celebrating local restaurant businesses’ clam chowder. There’s sure to be nothing else like it!

Where will you spend the 4th of July? Let us know your plans within the comments below.

Are you a member of the LMTClub? Get members only travel rates and insider deals and specials when you join! For a limited time, we’re offering FREE membership (a $50 value) with the code 4JULYFREE. Sign up today!


Here are some hotels to stay in while you travel:

Astor On The Park, New York,

Washington Marriott , Washington DC

Boston Park Plaza Hotel & Towers, Boston



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Summer in the Sunshine State: Florida Family Vacations

June 13th, 2013

Warm weather, sand and sun—some of the best that summer has to offer. For those looking to get away, Florida offers a variety of options, with cities that are the perfect vacation spots for any family’s interests.

Below, we outline three destinations with hotel discounts perfect for a Florida summer getaway budget: Orlando, Key West and Miami.

Orlando, Florida

For those with small children, or young-at-heart big kids and adults, you probably know Orlando, Florida as the home of Walt Disney World. This attraction hot spot features four theme parks, 24 resorts, two water parks and more—just waiting for your exploration!

If theme parks are not your idea of fun, consider a trip to the beach, hot air balloon ride, airboat safari or deep-sea fishing trip.

When you’re ready for a memorable meal, Orlando offers dinner shows that bring treasure-hunting pirates, murder mysteries and Arabian nights to life.

Orlando special promotions include discounts on the following:

· Orlando Metropolitan Resort

· 4-star hotel in Downtown Disney

· Quality Inn Universal Studios

Miami, Florida

Whether you’re looking for sand and sea or a vibrant cityscape, Miami is a great city for you to explore.

Take an adventure boat tour of Biscayne Bay, or cruise through Millionaires Row and Fisher Island, all while taking in views of the downtown Miami skyline. To see the city from all angles and elevations, consider a bike, kayak or helicopter ride.

Are you feeling adventurous? The Everglades in Miami provide opportunities to travel on an airboat safari through the tropical wetlands. Take a short drive out of the city and visit Everglades National Park.

Miami special promotions include discounts on the following:

· B2 Miami Downtown Hotel

· Hollywood Beach Resort Cruise Port

Key West, Florida

Want a getaway to a place where life seems to move more slowly? Key West may be the place for you. Travel to the southernmost point of the continental United States and experience lighthouses, botanical gardens, museums, nightlife, beaches and more.

Consider an all day boat trip to Dry Tortugas National Park, or visit the Key West Butterfly and Nature Conservatory for one-of a-kind experiences.

Are you a certified scuba diver? Take a dive into the Key West waters and visit the Vandenberg Wreck, a former military transporter and missile-tracking ship.

Key West special promotions include discounts on the following:

· 3-star hotel in Key West

So which city will you choose? Share your summer vacation plans in the comment section below.

Book a summer trip for you and your family using Last Minute Travel, and save! Use the promo code “SUMMERG20” and get $20 off a hotel room purchase of $400 or more.

Not sure if Florida is where you want to go? Give us a call at 1-888-591-2799 for information on more great travel deals!

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The Hyde Park Hotel: What To See and Do During Your Stay

June 9th, 2013

Hyde Park Hotel

The Hyde Park Hotel, located in London’s West End, is a moderately-priced hotel offering high-quality service and standard-fare amenities. The hotel’s main draw – and the reason that it’s such a bargain – is its fantastic location amongst a trove of restaurants, museums, monuments, and other destinations.

The hotel’s rooms were completely refurbished in 2007, and each offers a refrigerator, flat-screen TV, and free internet access. Amply sized with high ceilings, the accommodations are high-quality and comfortable, but not lavish.

Getting around is generally quite easy from the hotel. Guests have an easy walk to both Bayswater and Queensway tube stations, providing access to a number of destinations in the city. For those with their own transportation, a private car park facilitates easy vehicle storage. The area is easily walkable as well with a number of restaurants nearby.

Culinary options near Hyde Park Hotel include a number of world-class eateries. Inside the hotel, patrons can try out the Mandarin Bar, which contains three sections – a French-style bistro called Bar Boulud, a historic-inspired British restaurant known as Dinner by Heston Blumenthal, and a traditional bar. Down the street, the highly-rated Al Waha restaurant serves Lebanese fare, regularly receiving accolades as a top Middle Eastern restaurant in London. For Indian food, Khan’s serves traditional dishes and is a local favorite. Feeling French? Try Chabrot Bistrot d’Amis, a hole-in-the-wall Parisian eatery. Just around the corner, world-class contemporary Japanese dishes are served up at Zuma – a favorite of such celebs as Coldplay’s Chris Martin.

For visitors interested in finding treasures to take home, numerous shopping malls and plazas are located nearby in Knightsbridge or Notting Hill. Centers include Selfridges, Harrods, Whiteleys, Oxford Street, and Westfield Shepherds Bush.

The hotel’s namesake, nearby Hyde Park, is one of London’s eight Royal Parks and is definitely worth a visit. A number of famous landmarks are housed within the park, including the Serpentine Lake, Speakers’ Corner and the Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fountain. Visitors can partake in a number of recreational activities, including boating, swimming, tennis, and cycling.

For sports fans, a number of monolithic stadiums surround the hotel within a ten-mile radius. These include Wembley, Chelsea Stadium, Arsenal Stadium, and Wimbledon. Even if you happen to miss the big matches, the stadiums are worth checking out on their own merit.

Other destinations – all a stone’s throw from the hotel – include the London Eye, Buckingham Palace, Tower of London, National Gallery, Natural History Museum and Victoria & Albert Museum. Boredom certainly will never be an issue in the area, and with such a luxurious launch-pad, you’ll certainly look forward every evening to returning to the Hyde Park Hotel.

Angie Picardo is a staff writer at NerdWallet, a personal finance site that helps travelers achieve retirement success and explore the world.

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Father’s Day 2013

June 6th, 2013

Fathers_Day

Father’s Day is fast approaching. Have you considered the gift of travel? Whether you’ll be planning a trip to visit Dad or plan to use the holiday as an excuse to get away, these last minute deals are sure to please the entire family (and your bank account).

Below, we outline three destinations with hotel discounts perfect for your Father’s Day weekend getaway budget: Miami, New York City and Las Vegas.

Miami, Florida

Palm trees, sand and sea, Miami, Florida is the perfect spot for your Father’s Day weekend trip to the beach.

Set in Southeastern Florida, Miami’s Port of Miami has been known as the “Cruise Capital of the World” and the “Cargo Gateway to the Americas.” While in Miami, be sure to set sail.

Miami special promotions include discounts on the following:

· 4.5 star hotel in Miami Beach

· 4 star hotel in Coconut Grove

· 5 star hotel in downtown Miami

New York City, New York

The concrete jungle where dreams are built and realized, New York City has much to explore. From landmarks and tourist attractions to small, family-run restaurants and street corner markets, there is something every member of your family will want to see.

Up for exploring a hidden gem? Take a walk on the city’s High Line for unique views of the city, seen from between skyscrapers and city streets.

New York special promotions include discounts on the following:

· 4 star hotel in Manhattan

· 4 star hotel in Manhattan-Midtown

Las Vegas, Nevada

Nothing says a party like Vegas. The glitz, the glam, the gambling—celebrate luxuriously with a trip to the city of sin.

Dad’s not much of a gambler? Enjoy a show or take him out to dinner at some of the nation’s best restaurants, all found readily along the famous Las Vegas Strip.

Las Vegas special promotions include discounts on the following:

· 5 star hotel in The Strip

· 5 star hotel in The Strip

So where will you go? Will you take a trip to celebrate Father’s Day this year? Share your plans in the comment section below.

Book a Father’s Day trip for you and your family using Last Minute Travel, and save! View our full list of Father’s Day travel promotions or use the promo code “FATHER12” to get $20 off on a hotel room purchase of $300 or more.

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5 Top Destinations for Your Next Golf Trip

June 2nd, 2013


As the weather welcomes more spring-like conditions, many have begun to think about “all things golf.” This year’s golf season is upon us, as players hit driving ranges to bring back their swings, assemble foursomes and search for the perfect greens.

While great courses abound, below we offer some of the most picturesque and thrilling in the United States—sure to provide a memorable experience for your next round.

1. Las Vegas, Nevada

Known for its casinos, nightclubs, shopping and flashing lights, Las Vegas is the city that never sleeps. Yet, if you’re looking for some time away from The Strip, it also is home to a great golf scene. Courses provide spectacular views of the skyline, mountains and canyons for which the area is known.

Courses to experience:

• Reflection Bay at Lake Las Vegas
• Royal Links
• TPC Las Vegas

2. Maui, Hawaii

As you plot your snorkeling, surfing and Luau plans, be sure to save some time for a few rounds of golf in Maui. The island is home to 14 courses; some of which are world-renowned. Take in the pristine views of the beaches, palm trees and wondrous beauty that Hawaii has to offer on the course.

Courses to experience:

• The Dunes at Maui Lani
• Kapalua Golf Resort
• Royal Ka’anapali Golf Course

3. Orlando, Florida

Orlando is a theme park lovers dream. Home to Disney World, Universal Studios, Wet n’ Wild Water Park, Sea World and more, there’s no shortage of attractions and rides to fill your time in between rounds. Our tip: Split your time between the greens and Mickey Mouse for a diversified experience.

Courses to experience:

• Bay Hill Club and Lodge
• Disney’s Magnolia Golf Course
• Orange County National

4. Phoenix, Arizona

Phoenix is located in the northern section of the Sonoran Desert, surrounded by majestic mountain ranges. Its hot temperatures draw golf fanatics year-round to enjoy the sun and sights of Arizona.

Courses to experience:

• Southern Dunes Golf Club
• TPC Scottsdale
• Gold Canyon

5. San Diego, California

With a 75-degree temperature average year-round, San Diego makes a perfect golf stop for any month of the year. In between rounds, check out the area’s beautiful beaches and waterfronts. Visit in mid-January, and you may even catch a glimpse of a gray whale, as San Diego lies in their migration path.

Courses to experience:

• Torrey Pines
• La Costa

Tee Time Quick Tip

Assess the temperature (including any instances of dry heat!) and altitude prior to meeting at the course. Adjust your tee time, and how much water to bring, based on these conditions for the best experience possible.

Here are couple of recommended hotels to stay in while visiting these locations:

Las Vegas:

The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas

The Palms Casino & Resort

Orlando

Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress

Quality Inn Universal Studios

Phoenix:

The Clarendon Phoenix Downtown-Midtown

Scottsdale Cottonwoods Resort & Suites

San Diego

Embassy Suites San Diego La Jolla

Crowne Plaza San Diego

Maui

Maui Coast Hotel

Royal Lahaina Resort

Share your golf travel experiences in the comments below. Where is your favorite course located?

Book your next golf trip using Last Minute Travel, and save!

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