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.

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Miami is the next Travel Temptation

November 29th, 2010

Get free hotel nights at popular locations across the country from Last Minute Travel. To qualify, just follow @LMTTweets on Twitter and RT (re-tweet) the contest Tweets as instructed. Then, those who follow and RT will be entered into a random drawing for those free hotel nights. We’ll have a new RT promo every few weeks, so check back for new hotel packages and additional chances to win.

The newest “Travel Temptation” is a 2-night stay at South Beach’s Hotel Ocean Miami: A four-star, beach front luxury hotel. Just minutes from the Art Deco district and near the shopping district, this boutique-style hotel is a refreshing change from the typical hotel. See it for yourself and say for two nights—on us!

Learn more about this sizzling city in our Miami destination guide.

See official sweepstakes rules for“Travel Temptations .

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Traveling to the airport with food and gifts

November 15th, 2010

Around this time of year my sister, niece, nephew and I bake an impressive medley of cookies to give as gifts. We drive to all our holiday parties so sharing treats is easy.  But if you’re one of the many travelers flying during the holidays, packing home-baked/homemade gifts to loved ones is a bit more challenging. Here’s the short and sweet list for traveling to the airport with food and gifts.

Food
Make life easy for you and everyone in line behind you: place any baked goods in your checked bags. Or better yet, ship them ahead.

You’re allowed to pack a variety of edibles including jam, cheese and wine, in your checked bags. Obviously, pack them well with lots of cushion. When I travel with anything liquid I like to wrap them in their own Ziploc bag, then around really bulky sweaters or tucked into shoes for extra protection.

You can, according to the TSA web site, bring wrapped pies and cakes through the security checkpoint. I’m a bit skeptical of this and think maybe that page just hasn’t been updated in awhile? The article does point out that these “carry-ons” are subject to additional screening. To be on the safe side I’d wait until reaching my destination….then whip up that famous pie or fruit cake.

Gifts
Do not wrap any gifts. Security officers may have to unwrap for security purposes. Again, the mantra here is a simple “ship ahead”. Or just wait until you arrive at your destination to wrap your gifts.

Read the full TSA article. Happy (and tasty) travels!

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What city do you (or would you) travel to holiday shop?

November 11th, 2010

Yes, I am already making my lists and have even purchased a few goodies for friends and family. I love this time of year and enjoy finding that perfect present.

I do plenty of online shopping but also peruse boutiques and local shops for unique gifts. One of the cities I enjoy for this is Vancouver, Canada. My husband and I live in Seattle and relish the 3-hour drive up north for Christmas shopping– so much so that it’s become an annual event for us. It’s as much about the weekend escape as it is about selecting gifts: I savor my first peppermint hot chocolate of the season, my husband happily snaps photos of the urban landscape, and Vancouver’s crisp air creates a lovely backdrop for the festive season.

Someday I’m going to hit New York for this annual “task”. Have you ever indulged in destination holiday shopping? Where are your favorite spots? Do tell!

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Tips for healthy air travel

November 5th, 2010

Quick and easy hints for healthy air travel: Take note and maybe next time you won’t have to take the tissue.

We all know washing hands for germ prevention is an important factor in avoiding any bug. But when you’re at 30,000-feet there are a few other contributing factors, including low cabin humidity. One way to combat this is by sipping plenty of H20. And how about a little germ-killing mouthwash? That too can help prevent the spread of germs.

A few minutes of reading now can make all the difference later. Read the complete article with explanations and tips by the Independent Traveler.

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Current airline fees: What to expect

November 1st, 2010

Before you change that flight, pack an extra bag, tote along Fido or ask for headphones, take a peek at the current costs for flying. Here’s a handy list of airline fees, compiled by USA Today. And with the holiday season fast approaching, it’s a great time to square away your budget.

Check out this updated, comprehensive list of airline fees.

Aimee Palacios Tips, Travel ,

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!

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Miami South Beach is the Travel Temptations Destination

October 27th, 2010

Last Minute Travel is giving away free hotel nights at popular locations across the country. To qualify, just follow @LMTTweets on Twitter and RT (re-tweet) the contest Tweets as instructed. Then, those who follow and RT will be entered into a random drawing for those free hotel nights. We’ll have a new RT promo about every two weeks, so be sure to check back for new hotel packages and additional chances to win.

Our next “Travel Temptation” is a 2 night stay at the South Beach Hotel located in the famed South Beach region of Miami? Do you still have that Don Johnson jacket in your closet, does reliving the movie Bird Cage rank high on your bucket list, or do you just like to sun in the day and party at night? Then you belong in South Beach.

While searching Last Minute Travel you’ll find that we also have a wide selection of Miami transportation and activities that you won’t find anywhere else.

Learn more about Miami and South Beach at our destination guide for the city.

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Travel Tips: Kids and Holidays

October 26th, 2010

Kids and holiday travel are a fact of life. Sure it can be one of the less pleasant aspects of a vacation, but with a little planning and some useful tips, it can help you make family memories that will last a life time. I found this great list of tips on the Delicious Baby blog for making Thanksgiving Travel hassle-free (or as hassle-free as possible):

  • Find a Pit Stop Playgrounds and public libraries (assuming you’re not driving on Thursday) always make great places to stop with kids. On Thanksgiving day, Barnes and Noble, many Starbucks locations, most zoos and many aquariums are open, and they also make great destinations for you and the kids to stretch your legs.
  • Pack the Pillows Having familiar sleeptime items from home will help your kids settle down to sleep both in the car and at your destination.

Find more of these excellent tips back at Delicious Baby.

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Air Passenger Wishlist

October 21st, 2010

The NY Times has an article up with what purports to be a true air passenger wish list. In it are things like clean restrooms, timely and correct flight arrival and departure information, and a safer better place to rest before or between flights. Those all seem like pretty good ideas. But here are a few of my suggestions for Airports that really want to make customers happy:

1) Redesign security check points so they are not a bottleneck. Frankly, I feel less secure waiting en mass to pass through a metal detector than I do on the otherside. So anything you can do to make that shorten that wait time and make it less like a group the better.

2) If you’re going to charge for parking how about offering proper lighting and regular patrols.

3) Vending machines at the Cell Phone waiting lots. I’m picking up someone whose flight is late, rather than running to Denny’s for a cup-o-joe, how about a vending machine or two and a restroom out at the cell phone waiting lot.

4) Better transportation options to and from your facility. I know the taxi lobby won’t want to read this, but Airports should be the champions for getting Light Rail stations right at the terminal with easy access from around the metropolitan area. No car, no fuss, makes for less stressed out passengers.

How about you, what should airports be doing better?

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