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The adventures of Turk

November 27th, 2013

Since Thanksgiving and the end-of-year holiday season are here, we decided to send our traveling turkey, Turk (yes, just like Turk from the TV series "Scrubs"!) to check out hotels in some of the most popular destinations around the world to find the best holiday deals. Since Turk LOVES to eat, he also wanted an expense budget that would cover his sampling of the hotels’ special holiday menus. As we didn’t want Turk to get his feathers ruffled, we went ahead and approved his trip, as long as he prepared a trip report to share what he learned.

Starting right outside our front door

Turk started his "research" trip right here in suburban Orlando. His first destination was the luxurious Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress. The Hyatt is located next to the Orlando’s Lake Buena Vista theme parks. After unpacking his bag, Turk immediately went to test out his swing at the hotel’s Jack Nicklaus golf courses. Four hours later, and very much exhausted, Turk decided to treat himself to a spa treatment, which he then followed with an afternoon nap in his spacious suite overlooking gardens, waterfalls, and Lake Buena Vista. One of the perks of being a Last Minute Travel official hotel deal hunter, is that you get to sample hotels’ holiday menus well before the holidays! Turk’s restaurant of choice, one of several that operate at the Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress was Cascades American Bistro, which offers classics infused with new flavors. His favorite dish was the Grilled N.Y. Strip Steak, served with parmesan-glazed ricotta gnocchi; cilantro, thyme, and pine nut pesto; and Yukon Gold mashed potatoes with sweet peppers. For desert, Turk packed away the S’more Brownie Sundae topped with vanilla and chocolate ice cream, hand-made marshmallows, and graham cracker cookie sticks. After this turkeylicious meal, Turk crashed to rest up for his next city. A quick morning coffee, and Turk flew off to his next destination - Las Vegas!

Viva Las Vegas!

After arriving in Las Vegas, Turk headed to the next hotel deal on his list, the Venetian Resort-Hotel-Casino. Turk checked into his luxury suite, and took off to hit the casinos! Lady Luck was not with Turk tonight, despite trying all of the game tables, poker rooms, roulette wheels, and slot machines. Since Turk always keeps enough money aside for food, Turk set off for the best food the Venetian has to offer. The setting for his post-gaming dinner was AquaKnox, a newly opened seafood restaurant. For his main dish, Turk picked George’s Bank Scallops - black truffle creamed corn with apple wood smoked bacon polenta with a side of jumbo asparagus (Turk does love his corn!). After the night’s events, once again Turk retired to his comfy bed.

Rule Brittania

London for Thanksgiving?! Why not! Turk boarded the plane for his direct flight to Heathrow. Turk’s London hotel of choice is the Rosewood London. Even outside the U.S., Turk loves comfort and luxurious accommodations, so he booked himself the Premier Suite. After an extensive city tour that included some of London’s main attractions, including: Big Ben, London Dungeon, , the Houses of Parliament, and Westminster Abbey, Turk was hungry as a horse after a race at Ascot. So it was time to check out the Rosewood London’s dinner menu. Turk’s decided on the Holborn Dining room, and after finishing a massive steak and an entire Shepherd’s Pie, Turk concluded that the British food is quite tasty! It was now time for Turk to head back to Orlando, and submit his travel deals report.

Back in the States

After a discussion about winning gaming strategies in Las Vegas, Turk finally finished his travel report. After reviewing the report with his superiors, Turk was dumbstruck to learn that he had saved 55% on his hotels by simply booking his hotels on Last Minute Travel Club. And yes, Turk has already booked his next trip back to Las Vegas! Book YOUR next trip on Last Minute Travel Club and save big. Turk’s even giving away a free year’s membership to the Club when you register on http://lmtclub.com with the promo code TURKEYSENTME.

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Planning a trip to Europe this Summer?

August 4th, 2013

Seville

Are you thinking of taking a trip to Europe this summer? Need some extra info to help you reach a decision? If some of your possible destinations are Ireland or Spain, you would definitely want to read our articles about Seville & Belfast. In these articles you will get all the information you need - From fun activities & shopping centers to affordable hotels and restaurants.

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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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Paris Through Literary Eyes

May 26th, 2013

Looking for a new way to explore one of Europe’s most beloved cities? Why not discover the City of Lights by retracing the steps of literary greats who called Paris home? Paris’s literary history is so rich it rivals the city’s creamiest brie. But of course, you don’t have to sacrifice that, either. Here’s a list of must-see sights in this glorious city, as well as some options for literary exploration.

If you have an in-flight movie option on your way across the pond, you might consider watching Woody Allen’s film, Midnight in Paris. Loaded with references to America’s “Lost Generation” of expatriate writers and artists of the 1920s, it will whet your palate for the sights to come. F. Scott Fitzgerald, his wife Zelda, and his most admired friend, Ernest Hemingway, are all alluded to in the film, along with Pablo Picasso, T.S. Eliot, Gertrude Stein, Henri Matisse, Jack Kerouac, James Joyce, and more. Of course, you can also dive deeper into French culture by exploring some of France’s own literary greats, such as HonorE de Balzac, Victor Hugo, and Alexandre Dumas.

Literary Homes, Haunts, and Resting Spots

If you are interested in making the pilgrimage to some of these Paris homes, try a walking tour, or stop in for a visit at one of these museums.

Authors’ Former Homes

- F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald:

· 14 rue de Tilsitt, 8th arrondisement, right bank, near the Arc de Triomphe

· 58 rue Vaurigard, 6th arrondisement, on the corner of the Luxembourg gardens

- Edith Wharton:

· 58 rue de Varenne, 7th arrondisement, across the street from Hotel Matignon

(Prime Minister’s residence)

- Salon at 27 rue de Fleurus:

· near Luxembourg Gardens’ western side

· Gertrude Stein and life partner Alice B. Toklas’s salon, frequented by artists and writers alike

Cemetaries

- Pere Lachaise Cemetary:

· take an atmospheric walk and pay homage to Proust, Balzac, Oscar Wilde, Apollinaire, Moliere, and more

· location: 16 rue du Repos, 75020 Paris

· hours: 8:30am – 12:30pm, 2pm – 5pm daily

- Montparnasse Cemetary:

· pay tribute to Samuel Beckett, Simone de Beauvior, Jean-Paul Sartre, Charles Baudelaire, Marguerite Duras, Guy de Maupassant, and more in one of Paris’s favorite literary neighborhoods

· location: 3 Boulevard Edgar Quinet, 75014 Paris

- PanthEon:

· worth a visit for the architecture alone, you can also stop by the tombs of Voltaire, Rousseau, Emile Zola, Alexandre Dumas, Victor Hugo, and more

· location: Place du PanthEon, 75005 Paris

· website: http://www.pantheonParis.com/

Museums

- Maison de Victor Hugo

· address: 6, place des Vosges Hôtel de Rohan-GuEmEnEe, 75004 Paris

· website: www.musee-hugo.Paris.fr

· tel: 01 42 72 10 16

· hours: Tuesday through Sunday, 10am to 6pm

- Maison de Balzac: the home of HonorE de Balzac

· address: 47, rue Raynouard, 75016 Paris

· website: http://www.Paris.fr/pratique/musees-expos/maison-de-balzac/p6837 (in French)

· tel: +33 1 55 74 41 80

· hours: Tuesday through Sunday, 10am to 6pm

- Chateau de Monte Cristo: writer Alexandre Dumas’ country home outside the city

· address: Château de Monte-Cristo, 78560 le Port-Marly

· website: http://www.chateau-monte-cristo.com/en/index.html

· tel: +33 1 39 16 49 49

· hours: April 1st – November 1st: Tues – Fri 10am – 12:30pm, 2pm – 6pm; Sat/public holidays: 10am – 6pm; November 2nd – March 31st: Sundays only, 2pm – 5pm

- MusEe Carnavalet: covers the history of Paris, with great exhibits on Voltaire and Rousseau

· address: 23, rue de SEvingE, 75003 Paris

· website: http://www.carnavalet.Paris.fr/en/homepage

· tel: +33 01 44 59 58 58

· hours: 10am – 6pm Tuesday through Sunday

The Quintessential “Writer in Paris” Experience: CafE Life

If you are interested in viewing the world through these writers’ eyes, debating grand ideas with your own companions, or just nibbling on a croissant and sipping a cafE au lait, you might try one of the following places:

- The Polidor (Cremerie-Restaurant Polidor)

· go for: the history, tried and true Parisian food

· location: 41 rue Monsieur Le Prince, 75006 Paris, open 12 – 2:30pm, 7pm – 12:30am daily except Sundays

· famous guests: Paul Valery, Jack Kerouac, James Joyce, Ernest Hemingway, Paul Verlaine, Arthur Rimbaud, Victor Hugo

· website: http://www.polidor.com/index.html

- Maxim’s

· go for: an expensive meal and Art Deco furnishings

· location: 3, rue Royale, 75008 Paris

· famous guests: Marcel Proust, Brigitte Bardot, Jean Cocteau

· website: http://www.maxims-de-Paris.com/p2us.htm

· tel: +33 (0)1 42 65 27 94

- CafE Les Deux Magots

· go for: the literary history and a cafE au lait

· location: 6 Place Saint-Germain des PrEs, 75006 Paris

· famous guests: Jean-Paul Sartre, Simone de Beauvior, Albert Camus, StEphane MallarmE, Paul Verlaine, Arthur Rimbaud

· tel: +33 1 45 48 55 25

· website: http://www.lesdeuxmagots.fr/en/ambiances.php#/ambiances.php

- CafE de Flore

· go for: Art Deco interior, the history, and some delicious hot chocolate

· location: 172 Boulevard Saint-Germain, 75006 Paris

· famous guests: Ernest Hemingway, Truman Capote, and many more

· tel: +33 1 45 48 55 26

· website: http://www.cafedeflore.fr/accueil/

Tours

With so much vibrant history in this city, one great way to explore is to take a tour led by an experienced guide who can weave the threads of history together. Try Paris Walks’ Hemingway’s Paris tour (12 Euro/person) or for a slightly broader sweep, Localer’s Paris Literature tour (39 Euro/person), which includes a visit to Sylvia Beach’s famous English language bookstore, Shakespeare & Company.

http://www.Paris-walks.com/summer-walks.html

http://www.localers.com/day-tours/Paris-literature-tour

And Don’t Miss….

While you visit the City of Lights, take advantage of these great deals and must-sees.

City Sightseeing Paris / Les Car Rouges

Paris’ Flea Market - The Insider’s Tour

Seine River Sightseeing Cruise

Hotels:

We would like to recommend a couple of nice and affordable hotels to stay in while you’re visiting Paris:

Mercure Paris Centre Tour Eiffel

Comfort Hotel Bobigny Paris Est

Pavillon Villiers

Pavillon Italie

Angie Picardo is a writer at NerdWallet, a financial literacy site where you can find advice on marriage finances.

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Hawaii: A Tropical Land Where Deals Abound

May 19th, 2013

Check out sunny hotel deals with up to 40% discount

If you’ve ever wanted to visit America’s own island paradise, it might be more feasible than you initially thought. Though we often associate “luxury”, “vacation”, and “getaway” with Hawaii, the “off-season”, which paradoxically boasts Hawaii’s best weather of the year, has many good deals on flights, hotels, and more. Here’s a basic guide to kick-start your vacation planning.

When to Go

Although weather-wise, you can go anytime of year, what time you decide to visit Hawaii will depend on your budget and what you want to experience while there. Generally, the weather is cooler from December to March, and warmer and drier from April to November, which is technically Hawaii’s summer season. To get the best deals on just about everything, visit during the off-season periods between April and June, or September and November. There will be better weather and fewer crowds, anyway, and you’ll pay much more if you are traveling during the peak seasons of December to March or July to August.

Where to Go and What to See: A Basic Guide to the Islands

Made up of over one hundred small islands, there are six main ones to consider when planning your trip.

Oahu: “The Gathering Place”

Hawaii’s third largest island and its governmental and commercial center, Oahu boasts sites such as the famous Waikiki, Hawaii’s capital city of Honolulu, the historic Pearl Harbor, and Iolani Palace, the home of Hawaii’s last two monarchs. The majority of Hawaii’s population resides on Oahu, making it one of the more populous and developed islands (public transportation is widely available). Its North shore is a surf mecca, where high season is from November to February. It is easily accessible via Honolulu’s airport.

Check out sunny hotel deals with up to 40% discount

Hawaii Island: “The Big Island”

The youngest and largest of the State’s islands, Hawaii Island contains a huge variety of natural wonders, climactic zones, and environments. It is home to one of the world’s most active volcanoes, the most massive mountain in the world (Mauna Loa), and the world’s tallest sea mountain (Mauna Kea). It also boasts the largest state park out of all the islands. With two airports, the Big Island is accessible via direct flights, especially to Kona, or via Honolulu on Oahu.

Check out sunny hotel deals with up to 40% discount

Maui: “The Magic Isle”

Some say Maui is the “best island”; it has been rated by such as travel giants like Conde Nast. With a smaller population, Maui has many sophisticated resorts and diversions, as well as some of the best beaches in the world. Golfing and whale watching (from December to May) are especially popular activities. Though many luxury resorts fall on the high end of the price range, there are some hostels available for budget travelers. There are three airports on Maui, with non-stop flights available from major cities in the continental U.S. Once there, you can get around by shuttle, tour bus, taxi, public transportation, or rental car.

Check out sunny hotel deals with up to 40% discount

Kauai: “The Island of Discovery,” “The Garden Isle”

The fourth largest island, Kauai is the oldest and northernmost of Hawaii’s chain. Some parts of it are only accessible via sea or air and cannot be reached by land. Outdoor activities abound, with lots of opportunities for snorkeling, hiking, kayaking, and ziplining. Accommodations range from bed and breakfasts, to budget and luxury hotels. With its own airport, there are some non-stop flights available, but you can also reach Kauai via Honolulu. Think about renting a car if you plan to explore the island via land, as there is less in the way of public transportation here.

Check out sunny hotel deals with up to 40% discount

Molokai: “The Friendly Isle”

This is an island where you can get away from the stressful hustle and bustle of life – the least developed of all of Hawaii’s islands, there is no traffic, no lights, and no tall buildings to be found on Molokai. Here, you can live as locals do and discover the Hawaii of the past. As the fifth largest island, it is home to the highest sea cliffs in the world and the longest continuous fringing reef. Most people living on Molokai are of native Hawaiian ancestry, so the island is a place where Hawaiian culture thrives. A higher elevation gives Molokai a cooler climate, so be sure to pack appropriately. Molokai has its own airport, but there is no direct service from the continental U.S., so you’ll want to book a flight through Honolulu or another hub. Once there, a rental car is a must, as there is no public transportation.

Check out sunny hotel deals with up to 40% discount

Lanai: “The Pineapple Isle”

Known as the “Pineapple Island” because it was once entirely owned by Dole Foods and home to the largest pineapple plantation in the world, words often used to describe Lanai are “romantic,” “tranquil,” “serene,” and “intimate.” If you are looking for a honeymoon or couples getaway, this might be the island for you. Aside from its exclusive resorts, though, Lanai also has rugged back roads begging to be explored. There are no traffic lights on the island, and only about thirty miles of road are actually paved. It is the smallest of all Hawaii’s inhabited islands. Though there are no direct flights from the continental U.S., you can connect in Honolulu or Maui to local airlines that will bring you to Lanai’s airport. There is also ferry service from Maui available. The weather is drier and slightly cooler than the other islands, and a convenient island shuttle is available to take you to most frequented locations.

Check out sunny hotel deals with up to 40% discount

Travel Tips

Here are some quick tips to help you work out the details of your Hawaii vacation.

Flights

Most affordable flights to Hawaii are non-stop ones. Roundtrip fares from major cities in the continental U.S. usually start around $1000, but package flight-hotel deals are available. There are cheaper fares available during the spring or fall; they become more expensive during holidays and school vacations. If you can, book far in advance on EasyClickTravel, LastMinuteTravel or LMTClub. Also try to book flights mid-week rather than on the weekends for the cheapest fares.

Hotels

If you’re looking to splurge, there are plenty of luxury and mid-range hotels available all over Hawaii. For Honolulu, The Hyatt Regency on Waikiki Beach boasts stunning views, while the Hilton Hawaiian Village Resort and Spa features excellent amenities and beach access. Those both are tried-and-true options both worth booking.

Food

Hawaii’s cuisine is flavorful and diverse, but dining out can quickly become a big chunk of your budget if you aren’t careful. Avoid dining in major tourist locations, where prices are always higher. Also avoid chain restaurants and instead eat where the locals eat; don’t be afraid to ask around to find the best places! Look for hole-in-the-wall or mom-and-pop restaurants, which often source local produce, are cheaper, and have the most delicious offerings anyway. Take advantage of lunch specials and eat a hearty lunch and a light dinner. If you are staying in a private vacation rental and have the option to cook for yourself, consider purchasing produce at local farmers’ markets, which are generally cheaper than grocery stores. Finally, be sure to carry water and snacks with you when sightseeing.

Angie Picardo is a writer at TravelNerd, a blog dedicated to helping you save money traveling to the destination of your dreams by comparing airport taxi options at over 72 airports.

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Mothers Day 2013

May 13th, 2013

Being a mom is not always an easy job and we don’t say thank you nearly enough! That’s why again this year, in honor of Mother’s Day, we’re rewarding all the moms with a much deserved vacation getaway! Take a break and relax with family or just couple of friends in some of the most favored destinations. Choose from a great variety of hotels in either sunny beach destinations like NYC. or Miami, or take a fun city break to The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas with your girlfriends!

This year our lady travelers can enjoy a special treat - a $30 coupon! Enter coupon code MOTHER30 at checkout

Take a Break This Mother's Day

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Cinco De Mayo

May 2nd, 2013

Cinco de Mayo is a day to celebrate the culture, achievements and experiences of people with a Mexican background living in the United States. Take part in one of the largest Cinco de Mayo celebrations in Miami, Cancun, Orlando, Dallas, and in the USA’s south-western regions. Save big with LastMinuteTravel.com low hotel rates!

This year we’re throwing in a special spicy hot treat - a $20 coupon! Just enter promo code CDM20 at checkout.

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2010 Christmas Vacation Alternatives

December 1st, 2010

Change up your holiday destination this year. (…Or next year, and consider this just amazing pre-planning!)

The Global Grasshopper has some great suggestions for an alternative to your typical holiday destination. They include Edinburgh where lively Christmas celebrations continue through early January, Australia where December is the first month of summer, and more.

Take a peek at this fun and informative article for your own Christmas alternative trip ideas/inspiration or just a little old-fashioned day dreaming.

Aimee Palacios Destinations, Travel Guide , , , , ,

Fall Foliage Fun

October 28th, 2010

A trip through the trees

From the west coast to the east coast, take in the season with breathtaking fall foliage. Your neighborhood park makes a lovely backdrop for a brisk afternoon walk. Or how about make a weekend of it and visit somewhere further afield?

Here are just a few favorite leaf-peeping places:

  • Mt. Rainier National Park, WA: Most roads are open through October with a variety of hiking trails to take in the lively colors.
  • Yosemite National Park, CA: Even though it’s filled with many evergreens, this 1200-square-mile park boasts big-leaf maple, black oaks and other vibrantly hued deciduous trees.
  • Rocky Mountain National Park, CO: Well-planned park roads offer plenty of visitor access to scenic vistas and lowland meadows.
  • Acadia National Park, ME: Enjoy 47,000 stunning acres of wilderness — from shore to mountains.

And with our always low-priced last-minute deals, you can easily visit one of the above locales, or one discover of your own. Happy viewing!

Aimee Palacios Destinations , , , , ,

Las Vegas reporting uptick in Reservations (and rates)

September 14th, 2010

Las Vegas Strip

It is unlikely that any city in the US was hit as hard by the recession as Las Vegas. They experienced twin crashes in housing and tourism while still not being completely recovered from the downturn of the early 2000s. While housing may yet take a while to recover, signs of a recovery in the tourism industry are growing.

Numbers just released by the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority say the city attracted 3,330,658 visitors in July, an increase of 4.7 percent from the same month a year ago.

According to the Las Vegas Review Journal, that is the largest single-month percentage growth in visitors to Las Vegas in almost five years.

Much of the growth can be attributed to great deals, an increase in convention business, and visits from those within driving distance to Levas. Airline passenger counts have yet to see much improvement.

“We’re encouraged and happy to see the continued increases in visitation,” says Kevin Bagger, senior director of marketing for the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority. “But we still know that people are cautious in their spending habits.”

Room rates for July were up 4.8 percent to an average of $91. Additionally, even though there are some 7,000 more hotel rooms than a year ago, citywide occupancy remained at 84 percent, essentially unchanged from a year ago.

Alas, not all the news is good. The Plaza Hotel downtown recently closed. However, they say they’re doing renovations and plan to re-open the property in the future.

Find Las Vegas deals so amazing, we can’t tell you the hotel name until after you book!

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