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Archive for January, 2014

Celebrate and Save at Mardi Gras 2014

January 26th, 2014

Mardi Gras 2014

by Last Minute Travel and LMT Club Guest Blogger Daniel Fuller

Everybody loves a good party, especially when we’re talking about Mardi Gras in New Orleans. The famed multi-week carnival culminates this year on March 4 - also known as “Fat Tuesday” - and promises to end your winter blues with its unique brand of devil-may-care hospitality. Internally renowned for its one-of-a-kind parades, colorful costumes and beads, jazz rhythms, historical landmarks, and Cajun cuisine, Mardi Gras is the celebration to end all celebrations.

What’s the big deal about partying in the “Big Easy” during Mardi Gras? Plenty. You can bar-hop down the famed Bourbon Street. Dance to Zydeco at an out-of-the-way blues club. Sample jambalaya in the French Quarter. Shop on the eclectic Magazine Street. Or catch your favorite krewe marching in one of the numerous parades.

But one thing - you have to start planning today. Like now. New Orleans. is filling up fast for Mardi Gras. And that’s where we come in. Last Minute Travel and LMT Club can help you save during your stay with some pretty sweet deals on these New Orleans hotels through March 31, 2014.

Check out the Hilton New Orleans Riverside, which overlooks the Mississippi River and is only three blocks from the French Quarter. The hotel includes multiple on-site restaurants, and is also across the street from Harrah’s New Orleans casino. While the Intercontinental New Orleans offers a centralized location in the business district that is just minutes from the action. And don’t forget about the Hilton Garden Inn New Orleans French Quarter, which features a rooftop pool.

To fully experience Mardi Gras, your best bet is to arrive a few days early or stay a few days late. Once you get to know this beloved U.S. city, you may not want to leave. Book at these select New Orleans hotels, and you’ll save $35 on your hotel room (subject to availability, limitations apply). Reserve your room today, and then get ready for the party of your life!

OmerG Travel Guide , , , ,

Love, as a journey

January 8th, 2014

Teresa Fritschi, Last Minute Travel and LMT Club Guest Blogger
Read more of Teresa’s posts on her blog at: http://teresafritschi.wordpress.com

I recently received an email from my friend Ken at Last Minute Travel and LMT Club – “Would you like to be our #TravelTweetChat guest for this week, the topic is travel and romance…” to which I replied, “Yes, I’d love to!”

11 months of meeting (all kinds of) men through OKCupid, years of thinking (and writing) about ‘happy endings’ as well as the promise of new beginnings, passion, intimacy, tenderness, romance, words to convey longing, reuniting, and love, exploring the world (largely alone) – maybe he wasn’t so far off with his subsequent words of “We need an expert on love and travel, that’s you!”

So to help you plan your Valentine’s Day travels, it’s time to roll up my sleeves!

Chansonnier de Jean de Montchenu, made in France, c.1475. This is an example of a cordiform (heart-shaped) manuscript. It contains 44 love songs by composers such as Dufay, Ockeghem, Binchois, and Busnois.

The romantic love (rather than relationships for political expedience or strategic alliance) as most of Western society understands it can be directly traced to the courtly love of 12th century France. The troubadours and their lyrical love poetry sung to the accompaniment of a lyre or lute, in nearly every instance this courtly love was directed toward a presumed married, virtuous and unattainable woman (an aristocrat surely and written of as a goddess on earth). The words were always of her being pined for by a younger man.  If he was sufficiently eloquent (and physically compelling) she might deign to take him as her lover – a grand passion, erotic love, in French called fin’amour (discreetly conducted, even if everyone knew) and, you should know, it was always HER CHOICE to call him to court or to her bedroom. So let our journey of love begin in France – but fast forward to Paris in the 20th Century and the scandalous affair that would be publicly condemned by the Vatican, result in two marriages but also two divorces of Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton.

I have loved every experience I have have ever had in Paris – every single drop of the joie de vivre, the taste of Bellini’s and (multiple bottles of) Veuve Clicquot in Harry’s (American) Bar as well as the the Bar at the Hôtel Lancaster, where Liz and Dick would take over two of the eight floors of the hotel when they were in town, the exquisitely appreciative men whose words tried to seduce me into their arms whilst I simply climbed the stairs of Sacré-Cœur, the forgiving effect which my décolletage ensconced in a black lace bra made by Lise-Charmel peeking out from a Chanel jacket had while breathlessly repeating “Je me regrette, Je M’excuse, Je vous prie de bien vouloir m’excuser” in arriving to Palais Garnier et de l’Opéra bastille , alors!, late.  I have never stayed at the exquisite Shangri-La Paris mais oui, j’ai eu le coup a foudre!

The journey of love doesn’t require grandiosity – I know, I know, it’s lovely but romance can mean just as much when traveling in a late model van.  Skating on the Fond Pond in Boston Common? Followed by a dinner of lobster fra diavolo at The Daily Catch in the North End and cannoli at Caffe Paradiso is perfect in a settled-into-our-relationship-let’s-just-be-kind-of-way. And if you aren’t “in love” or not in a romantic relationship

is there a better city in America for sharing with a best friend of either sex? I  think not! I mean, Ray Kinsella and Terence Mann sitting in Fenway Park? Are you really going to tell me that their ‘bro-mance’ didn’t make you want to plan your own road trip to Kenmore Square to find your own Field of Dreams?

The Blue Cave (Modra špilja) is located at the Balun Cove on the eastern side of the island Biševo

I am falling utterly, ridiculously, in love with the people and country of Croatia. Like two of the other countries of the former Austro-Hungarian Empire I have visited (Austria and Hungary) this horseshoe shaped country is a compelling mix of people who truly appreciate living, who are, as the French would say, bien dans sa peau (comfortable in one’s own skin), an epicurean and oenophile dreamscape made real – found in Istria (adjoins Italy’s Province of Trieste) where Roman emperors regarded the wines amongst the best their empire had to offer, running south and east along the clear beautiful waters of the Adriatic with its 1,000-plus islands of the Dalmatian Coast and onto the music festivals and lifestyles of the rich and famous of Dubrovnik in high season and back to Zagreb – the land and the descendants of Bronze Age inhabitants are proving worthy of my heart.  If you can handle the F-bombs of Anthony Bourdain, see his reaction to the food, the wine and his experience from a year ago which aired in March 2013 and I hope you will take up my challenge to see world class musicians Luka Sulic and Stjepan Hauser as 2Cellos (oh gawd, you have to hear them play!) - just a sampling, to whet your wanderlust.


Helene Berman straw hat


There is, of course, a short, definitive list of romantic things that should accompany you as journey toward love (even if you decide to stay-cation)  - Neuhaus chocolates, J & E Atkinson I Coloniali hand cream, (as previously mentioned) Veuve Clicquot, a gorgeous straw hat (protection from peering eyes and the sun, a little mysterious and a bit of serious attitude to carry off), a white dress – not a wedding gown – that manages to convey ‘woman’ at the same time it is visually soft, massages, manicures and pedicures for two to make hand holding, kissing, spooning and love-making more tactically voluptuous (and yes, guys you can do

this without getting all metro-sexual), a bouquet of unusual flowers (oh, plueze not roses) such as mixed bunch featuring white peonies and stock; if you are reading this in NYC try my girlfriend Hannah Ling’s Gardenia Organic or if in Stockholm try Jemima’ Nylund’s Norr Mälarstrand Blommor (order REALLY early).

In closing, whether your version of love is Muse or Il DivoNi vous sans moi, ni moi sans vous,(Neither you without me, neither I without you) – Happy Valentine’s Day wishes no matter where you travel with your sweetheart!

Want to be a guest blogger? Email us on ken.herron [at] touricoholidays.com!

OmerG Featured, Travel , ,

4 Travel Tips to Snag the Best Hotel Price

January 5th, 2014

Finding the best hotel price is on so many travelers’ minds these days.

According to the Tourico Holidays and Last Minute Travel Club Global Travel Trends Report, price (39%) is the most important decision factor when booking a hotel, followed by promotions (18%) and location (18%).

travel survey pie chart

The report also found that 57% of people book their hotels based on a price-related factor, and 75% have a hotel budget of $150 or less per night.

Are you one of these budget-conscious travelers? Knowing where and how to look online can greatly improve the odds of finding the best hotel rates available. Follow the below tips to find the best hotel bargains:

1. Be Flexible with Travel Dates

Hotel rates can vary based on time of year, day of the week and vacancy. If your calendar permits a bit of flexibility, try looking for hotels during slower, less popular seasons. Keep in mind that weekdays like Mondays and Tuesdays tend to be available more often at cheaper rates than Fridays or Saturdays. Note: This is not a hard-and-fast rule, but it seems to be the trend with most hotels.

2. Book by Price, Not Brand

The hotel brand no longer seems to matter to travelers. Only 4% cited it as the most important decision factor when booking a hotel.

If you are like the 75% of respondents who said price, promotions and location are the three most important deciding factors to booking, then you may want to consider shopping for an opaque hotel deal. While you won’t know what specific hotel you are staying in until it’s booked and paid for, you will get a lower price, and can compare locations and star-ratings.

3. Sign Up for Club Memberships

Travel club memberships, such as Last Minute Travel’s LMT Club, can save you a considerable amount of money. Most club memberships offer exclusive hotel rates and a discounted percentage off the original cost.

Just be cautious of travel clubs that are not attached to a reputable travel company. Do your homework, and research all club membership offers before signing up.

(Want to give it a try? Use the promo code TRAVELTRENDS for a free year’s membership to LMT Club (a $49 value), and start saving! Register here.)

4. Consider Package Deals

Even if you originally did not consider pairing a hotel with a flight or a rental car, some package deals offer better discounts than what you would get by booking them separately. Shop around and keep a calculated tab of what each option would cost.

Once you’ve compiled information from a few different package deals, compare and contrast. You may just find that you can save some money and not compromise quality.

To read the full Global Travel Trends Report that provides insights from more than 2,600 survey respondents on preferred vacation types, booking preferences, hotel selection criteria and more, click here.

OmerG Tips, Travel