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Entries in Travel (22)

Monday
Apr272009

Go Cheap or Stay Home!

The Wendy Perrin Report

I snaked this info from Condé Nast Traveler Magazine and thought it was après peau since I’m blogging about Honeymoon travel. First, check out Wendy Perrin’s Daily Deals here. She’s got great posts on travel deals.



Airfares to Europe

Summer fares to Europe will be cheaper than in recent history. Good deals in coach, even better deals in business class!


England, specifically London

While London is expensive, folks are saying the weak dollar is creating a 1985-esque travel experience, approximately 35% cheaper than last year. Advice is to check for airfare-hotel packages and to check out VisitBritian.com offer’s for free museum entry.


Las Vegas, New York, San Francisco (as well as Arizona, Hawaii and Florida)

Convention business is at a fraction of what it once was. Big summer sales have already started!

Also, luxury hotels and resort-spa locations that draw corporate meetings are slashing prices – about 30% off.


On-line Auctions and Name-Your-Own-Price Sites

Savvy Priceline.com shoppers have reported winning bids of 50-60% off retail rates for 4-star hotels! Also, check out LuxuryLink.com for auctions on amazing vacations! Another travel search engine I like is kayak.com. It compares rates on multiple sites.

Photo courtesy Priceline.com

All-Inclusive Resorts

Not my favorite way to travel, but it fits the bill for some. Beaches and Sandals resorts have been slicing 55% off their rates.


Africa Safaris

Hippo Creek Safaris and Explore reported incredible rates at 30-40% off. While these are expensive trips, now is a good time to take a trip of a lifetime!


Australia and New Zealand

The dollar goes 30% farther now than it did before, but airfare to these countries are still high. Look for discounts as the US increases its airline services down under.


Last-Minute Deals

To get a sense of the options here, try a “dateless” search on Orbitz and you’ll get the best rates available in the next 30 days. If you fly by the seat of your pants and are open to locations, this might be the way to go.


Frequent Flier Redemption

Don’t waste these on cheap flights! Check to make sure paying for the flight is worth the miles needed to get it for free. Purchased flights create miles, so the value may not be there. Otherwise, fly free!


Other stuff to check out now!

Sofitel is offering three nights for the price of two in Chicago, LA, NYC and Washington DC.

Book by May 31 with 3-day advance booking.

Regent Seven Seas has an Alaskan cruise two-for-one package that includes airfare, and unlimited shore excursions on the Seven Seas Mariner. Book by May 31.

Crystal Cruises is offering $2000 in shipboard credits on European itineraries.


Photo courtesy of Regent Seven Seas



Saturday
Apr252009

How to Honeymoon - Part Numero Uno

I am going to write instructions on how to travel and therefore, how to Honeymoon. I think I've got enough Frequent Flier miles under my belt to be able to comfortably say, "I know how to freakin' travel." I swear, I could kick some serious ass on The Amazing Race.

How did I become so savvy, you ask? Well, when you travel overseas 3 times a year for a month at time, touching down in Europe, India, Vietnam, Thailand, China and The Philippines along the way, you sort of figure it out. I've been doing this kind of thing for the last 10 years, at different intervals, for different time periods and different companies. When I travel, I am lucky enough to go first/business class and to stay in 4 or 5 star international hotels. I eat at 4 and 5 star restaurants around the world. Most times, I am blown away by the life I lead. Some of the time, it's glamorous. Most of the time, it's not. There is nothing sexy about flying 28 hours to get to a final destination. Nothing is glamorous about peeing in the Jaipur, India, airport. And there is nothing funny about a 5'10" woman flying coach on China Southern Airlines. I might as well just eat my knees, the seats are so small.

What has this got to do with a honeymoon? I'll tell you. It has to do with what you want to do on your honeymoon. My main objective when I go on holiday is to make sure I have plenty of nothing planned. I might schedule a nap, if I feel like getting crazy. Happily, The Candyman is excellent at doing nothing and enjoys this as well. I want to be warm, I want to see a beach and I want to do nothing on that beach for a week. Now, I can pay thousands of dollars for that to happen. Or, I can pay less. Much less.

If you are the type of couple who want the all-inclusive, spa-type hotel honeymoon, you might want to stop reading (but please don't!). If you are the type of couple who wants to go zip-lining in Belize, this might not be your best read either. However, if you want a nice place to stay and to
relax, keep on!

I do not want a fancy hotel to vacation in. I stay in fancy hotels enough and they are totally overrated. I want to lounge in bed all day and not have a hotel maid disturb me even though I put the 'Do Not Disturb' sign out. I want to make peanut-butter toast and sit in bed with my new husband and chill and talk and drink coffee on the beach, on by the pool.

You can do this if you rent a house. This is not hard to do. Two of my most favorite websites in the entire Internet are Home Away and VRBO. These websites offer rentals in locations around the world. It really is amazing and the deals are out of this world.

The first time I used Home Away, I went on my first solo vacation in 2004. I had just run my first marathon and I wanted to reward myself for all the hard work.

I'm in the red shirt and green hat. Can you find me? Photo courtesy of my dad.

At the time, there was no way I could afford that kind of trip without my frequent flier miles. I did have that massive perk. Anyway, I lived in Hawaii when I was a kid and had always wanted to go back. I had looked into it, but had no desire to go stay in some cheap hotel in Waikiki. I wanted to stay in my town, where I lived and kick it on my beach. I wasn't a tourist so I felt I wanted to go local. After hitting the Internet hard, I found Home Away and also found my first Hawaiian get-away!

Through Chris and Rochelle, the owners of Beachwalk Cottage in Kailua, Hawaii, I found my own private paradise! Basically, it was a mother-in-law type house set away from a main house with private access. Their rates have gone up in the last few years but in 2004, I paid $95 a night. There were some cleaning fees and tax and that's it. It was an 8 minute walk to Kailua Beach, one of the world's best beaches. Here's the cottage I stayed in:

The bead was super comfy!

The living room area. The satellite TV had every single channel known to man. The one night I stayed in I nearly killed myself with movie-watching.
The gated entrance was just to the left. This was my little private yard.


The other side of the yard. There's a little waterfall in the corner you can turn on. Nice.

A little desk area looking out to the patio and the bathroom on the left.

Tiny kitchen that did the trick!

It was clean, quiet and had everything that I needed. Kailua is a sleepy little town with all the stuff you would need, plus some, to have a wonderful Hawaiian vacation. Minus airfaire, I paid about $1250 to stay in Hawaii for a week - including food, drink, entertainment, Jeep rental, gas and a suitcase full of Kona coffee, Li Hing Mui and Guava Jam to give as Chritmas gifts!

Coming up.....Home Away takes T30SB and The Candyman back to Hawaii in 2008. We've booked again for our honeymoon...but where?!? Check in later and find out!

Where are YOU going on your honeymoon? What is your dream vacation?

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