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Travel Savings Alerts Newsletter, March 2019 Issue

Travel Savings Alerts
P.O. Box 877
Logan OH 43138
ISSN: 1542-801X, Copyright  2019 
All Rights Reserved.
Editor: Nicki Chodnoff

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Thrifty Rent-A-Car System, Inc.

In This Issue:
Independence Hall, Philadelphia, PA

  • Miraval Austin 4th Night Free
  • Poseidon Arctic/Antarctic Discounts
  • 50% Off Sunday Nights at Select Hilton Hotels
  • Up to 20% Off Peregrine Antaractica Adventures
  • New Orlando CityPASS Program
  • Alternative to Air Travel for Pets
  • Le Blanc Spa Resort Los Cabos $500 Air Credit
  • Mid-Week Deals to Mt. Hood Territory
  • Mount Princeton Hot Springs Resort Specials
  • 'Beyond Ordinary' Windstar Savings
  • Up To $1,000 Off on Emerald Waterways
  • Free VPN Revealed
  • First Fridays Florence
  • National Park Fee Free Days
  • Pigeon Forge Savings
  • Hurtigruten Cruises Alaska Discounts
  • Philly Live Nation Hotel Package
  • Get Paid to Travel
  • Old City Philadelphia
  • Iceland on Sale

  • Miraval Austin 4th Night Free

    Visit Miraval Austin, in Texas Hill Country, for a wellness retreat and receive your four night free.

    The package requires a four night minimum stay for anyone 18 years of age or older. Package rates are per person, per night and do not apply to group reservations. Promotional packages cannot be applied to existing reservations. Starting rates are based upon availability.

    A 23 percent resort charge (on Resort Package Rates) is added daily to the package rate which includes access to free wellness classes and lectures weekly, access to resort and spa pools, fitness center and Wi-Fi.

      The fourth night free package includes:
    • Stay three nights, get the fourth night free
    • $100 nightly resort credit on paid nights to spend on spa and activities
    • Unlimited outback hiking, mountain biking, group fitness classes, group photography classes, challenge activities, and climbing wall
    • All meals, snacks, smoothies and non-alcoholic beverages
    • Free shared shuttle transfers from Austin-Bergstrom Airport
    • Free valet parking when driving in.

    Access to resort amenities include fitness center, spa, saunas, hot tubs and more than 100 treatments.

      All packages include:
    • Unlimited smoothies, tea, coffee, non-alcoholic healthy beverages
    • Grab ‘n go snacks served throughout the day
    • Hors d’oeuvres served every evening at bar and lounge
    • Miraval is a no-tipping resort.

    A deposit of 50 percent of the total package is required to guarantee reservations.

    Miraval Austin or 855/234-1672.

    Poseidon Arctic/Antarctic Discounts

    Expedition ship Sea Spirit will carry visitors for the sixth consecutive year to the Arctic and Antarctic in 2020 and 2021 under the auspices of Poseidon Expeditions.

    The cruise schedule for Sea Spirit’s 2020 Arctic and late 2020/early 2021 Antarctic departures offer early booking discounts of 10 to 15 percent, depending on cabin category aboard the 114-guest ship, if you make reservations by July 31, 2019.

    New destinations and additional departures will continue into 2020 and 2021 seasons. Rates are per person, double occupancy, and reflect early booking discounts. Even lower triple-share rates, for families or single travelers, are available on all departures.

      2020 Arctic
    • West Spitsbergen and the Polar Ice Edge – Five departures from nine to 12 days roundtrip from Longyearbyen, Svalbard, are offered between May 31 and June 30, 2020. Rates from $7,286.

    • Arctic Odyssey: Spitsbergen, Greenland and Iceland – Two-week cruise from Longyearbyen to Reykjavik, Iceland, Aug. 25 to Sep.7, 2020. Rates from $10,976.

    • Franz Josef Land Archipelago – 14-day Russian High Arctic cruise roundtrip from Longyearbyen. Departures July 20, Aug.1 and 13, 2020. Rates from $12,506.

    • East Greenland: Arctic Sights and Northern Lights – Two aurora borealis-focused, 11-day journeys roundtrip from Reykjavik, Iceland, departing Sep. 6 and 15, 2020. Rates from $7,826.
      2020-21 Antarctica
    • Six Antarctic Peninsula departures on Sea Spirit, either 11 or 12 days, roundtrip from Ushuaia: Nov. 29, Dec. 8, 18, 27, New Year’s cruise, Feb. 7 and 17, 2021. Rates from $8,906.

    • Four Antarctica, South Georgia and Falkland Islands/Malvinas cruises, from 21 to 24 days, offered Oct. through Feb. Rates from $15,476.

    • The Antarctic Circle: 15-day cruise from Ushuaia Jan. 25, 2021. Rates from $14,216.

    The Sea Spirit has 55 suites. Public areas include two multi-purpose lounges for educational programming and entertainment, a restaurant, library, and outdoor deck space. Activities directed by a team of polar guides and educators include Zodiac excursions, hiking and optional kayaking and camping.

    Poseidon Expeditions or 347/801-2610.


    50% Off Sunday Nights at Select Hilton Hotels

    Hilton offers weekend discounts in four northeast destinations. Explore Boston, New York City, Philadelphia or Washington D.C. like a local with Hilton’s Weekend Like a Local package. Choose from more than 140 properties and save up to 50 percent off Sunday night stays. There are also discounts to exclusive experiences to theatre and entertainment, sporting events, and dining.

    These limited time packages are subject to availability at participating hotels for stays booked and completed before Mar. 31, 2019. Offer requires a minimum stay of three nights which must include a Sunday night. Hilton Honors members qualify for 50 percent off Sunday nights and non-Honors members receive 40 percent off the Sunday rate.

    Boston - Stay at one of 26 participating properties. Savings include 15 percent off City Brew Tours, $20 gift card to Kings Bowling and 15 percent off Sunday meals at select Varano Group restaurants.

    New York City - Discounts include 30 percent off Broadway shows with the Roundabout Theatre Company, 10 percent off Brooklyn Nets and New York Islanders games at the Barclay Center, and 2-for-1 reserved VIP ice skating at The Bank of America Winter Village at Bryant Park.

    Philadelphia - The package includes $20 off Sunday performances at the Walnut Street Theatre, half price tours of the Battleship New Jersey.

    Washington, DC - The package includes a three-course prix fixe menu at Matchbox, free treats at Ambar, discounts at Neighborhood Restaurant Group concepts, and free tours and tastings at City Winery.

    Hilton Hotels or 800/774-1500.

    Up to 20% Off Peregrine Antaractica Adventures

    Peregrine Adventures offers up to 20 percent off trips to Antarctica on the company’s newly acquired ship, the Ocean Endeavour.

    To receive sale rates book through Mar. 31, 2019 for travel departures in 2020 and 2021.

      Example itineraries include:
    • Best of Antarctica - Islands around the Antarctic peninsula with orca and humpback whales, and glaciers
    • Antarctic Whale Journey – 10-days during the peak of the whale season. Wildlife encounters – Visit penguin rookeries, spot seals along the shores and see thousands of seabirds nesting
    • Falkland Islands Discovery - En route from Buenos Aires, see the Falklands wildlife and birdlife, rolling landscapes, naval history and local culture
    • Christmas in Antarctica - One of the most active times for wildlife with opportunities to see penguins, seals, whales and the midnight sun.

    Peregrine Adventure Antarctica cruises or 855/832-4859.

    New Orlando CityPASS Program

    The new Orlando CityPASS program, lets you build an individualized, easy-to-use ticket to Orlando's family-friendly theme parks: the Walt Disney World Resort, Universal Orlando Resort, SeaWorld Orlando and LEGOLAND Florida Resort.

    Designed by CityPASS, the Orlando CityPASS program allows you to create a custom vacation with the added benefit of savings. Among the options you can mix and match to fashion your ticket are:

      Walt Disney World Resort —
    • Choose 1 Park Per Day, Park Hopper or Park Hopper Plus tickets for entry to Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Disney's Hollywood Studios, Disney's Animal Kingdom Park, and Disney's Blizzard Beach and Typhoon Lagoon water parks. No matter which Disney ticket type you select, you receive MyMagic and FASTPASS+ service.
    • 1 Park Per Day — Admission to any one Disney theme park per day.
    • Park Hopper — Admission to multiple theme parks per day; water parks not included.
    • Park Hopper Plus — Admission to multiple theme parks per day, including Blizzard Beach and Typhoon Lagoon water parks.

    Universal Orlando Resort—Jump from park to park or visit one park per day with tickets that cover entry to Universal Studios Florida, Universal's Islands of Adventure and Universal's Volcano Bay.

    SeaWorld Orlando—Pick one, two or three parks for rides, animal encounters, water slides and wave pools. SeaWorld Orlando and Aquatica Orlando, SeaWorld's Waterpark, are the two local attractions. If you explore beyond Orlando, the three-park option allows you three visits to any combination of the following parks: SeaWorld Orlando, Aquatica Orlando, Busch Gardens Tampa Bay and Adventure Island Tampa Bay.

    LEGOLAND Florida Resort— One or two-day tickets for all rides, shows and attractions. The 150-acre theme park will add three attractions based on “The LEGO Movie” scheduled to open in spring 2019.

    Visit the Orlando page of the CityPASS website, and select the parks you want to include in your customized ticket and then choose the specific ticket and number of days. Once the selection process and payment is complete, the ticket is delivered in the language you select when first entering the CityPASS website. Language options include Chinese, English, French, German, Italian, Portuguese and Spanish.

    Orlando CityPASS ticket prices and savings vary, depending on which parks are chosen and for how many days. Multiple ticket types are offered for each park.

    Orlando CityPASS.

    HP Commission

    Alternative to Air Travel for Pets

    Airline travel for pets has taken a severe blow due to pet deaths where a pet died in the cabin and two pets were sent internationally in error.

    As a result of these errors, airlines implemented changes in their rules and regulations for pet travel. While the changes are in the best interests of pets and to hold airline employees to stricter standards, these changes may pose an inconvenience to pet owners who need to relocate their pets. Inconveniences include not being able to send your pet due to size and breed restrictions, expensive for pet owners, or pets not being adopted due to not finding a suitable method of transport.

    In addition to their airline pet transport service, Happy Tails Travel developed a pet ground transpsortation service to address these issues. As an alternative to air travel, Happy Tails Travel can relocate pets within the contiguous U.S. by ground with their "By Ground Safe and Sound" program. This service offers door-to-door transportation in a private vehicle with screened, pet-friendly drivers. Transportation includes communication throughout the day, comfort stops, and dogs have the option of riding in their crate or with a seatbelt and harness/loose. Cats must be sent with a kennel for their journey.

    To get an estimate for ground travel fill in the form on this web page.

    Happy Tails Travel or 520/850-0890.

    Le Blanc Spa Resort Los Cabos $500 Air Credit

    Le Blanc Spa Resort Los Cabos, in Los Cabos, Mexico, celebrates its one-year anniversary with a $500 air credit promotion to the adults-only property.

    The offer is valid until Apr. 27, 2019 and for new reservations only. A minimum four night stay is required and the air credit is applicable to wedding and leisure groups.

    Located on Mexico's Baja California Peninsula, the promotion is combinable with the $1,500 resort credit, which can be used for activities such as tours, spa treatments, and rounds of golf. Other add-ons include an upgrade up to a Royale Deluxe Honeymoon Suite and free transportation service to and from the airport.

    This beachfront property features a full-service spa, hydrotherapy facility, fitness center, wellness center, juice bars, four plunge pools, gourmet specialty cuisine, and butler service.

    As a guest you can enjoy nightly aromatherapy, free Wi-Fi, beach tote, a selection of goose down pillows from the pillow menu and cotton sheets. Each room is equipped with blow dryers, flatirons, and BVLGARI personal products. Suites are stocked with mini-bars, snacks, flat screen SMART TVs with Apple TV, and Lavazza coffee makers.

    Le Blanc Spa Resort.

    Mid-Week Deals to Mt. Hood Territory

    Mt. Hood, located 90 minutes east of Portland, OR, attracts tourists and locals looking for snow and terrain. Visitors can almost guarantee no lines and uncrowded activities during mid-week travel. It's also more affordable with mid-week ski and lodging deals in Oregon's Mt. Hood Territory.

    The Fusion Pass, through the Powder Alliance, allows you access to two resorts plus admission to 17 additional resorts for free.

    Tuesdays at Mt. Hood Skibowl is "Ladies Night" where ladies ski for $25, from 3 to 10 p.m. through April. That's $17 off a regular night ticket.

    At Timberline Lodge & Ski Area if you stay one night, any Sunday through Thursday (excluding holidays), then two people can ski or snowboard for free the following day. The offer is available through May 23, 2019.

    If you are a Timberline Ski Area Season Pass Holder, you receive 35 percent off mid-week overnight stays, through May 23, 2019, at Timberline Lodge (excluding holidays). Active military personnel receive a 25 percent discount, children six years or younger get a free ticket when purchased with an adult ticket, and seniors ages 71 and over are free with a legacy ticket.

    Collins Lake Resort, in downtown Government Camp and across the street from Mt. Hood Skibowl, has the largest night ski terrain in America. Stay Sunday through Thursday and receive two free lift tickets per day at Mt. Hood Skibowl and two free lift tickets per reservation at nearby Timberline Lodge & Ski Area.

    At Timberline Lodge, stay one night Sunday through Thursday and two people ski for free the following day. Timberline also offers a mid-week deal of a free dinner for two at the Cascade Dining Room.

    If you hit the slopes on Mt. Hood, present your lift ticket at Mt. Hood Oregon Resort and receive a special room rate from $109 on fireside studio rooms.

    There are mid-week deals for cabins and vacation rentals. At Summit Meadow Cabins, stay two nights at the regular rate and get the third night free, or add a Thursday or Sunday to a weekend stay for half off the regular mid-week night price. Whispering Woods Resort also offers a stay two nights and get the third night free offer and a stay two nights Sunday through Thursday and save up to 15 percent off standard room rate. Mt. Hood Vacation Rentals offers up to 20 percent off weekend rates to stay Sunday through Thursday.

    Beyond skiing and snowboarding Mt. Hood National Forest offers local trails by snowshoe or on cross-country skis. For a guided excursion, Mt. Hood Outfitters offers tours for both these activities, and snowmobiles.

    Mt. Hood Territory.

    Alternative Edge Ski Rental (Telluride)

    Mount Princeton Hot Springs Resort Specials

    Mount Princeton Hot Springs Resort in Nathrop, CO, offers lodging specials where your overnight stay includes access to the Spa & Club, all hot springs and fitness classes.

    The Slopes and Soaks special includes: One night stay and two adult one-day passes to Monarch Mountain. Additional lift tickets available for purchase at check-in. Free mountain bike and fat bike rentals on a first-come, first-serve basis. The offer is good until Apr. 15, 2019, with blackout dates Mar. 11 to 13, 2019. The offer is subject to availability and lodge rooms, creekside rooms and condos are excluded. Prices start at $250 per night for cliffside or hillside accommodation, $375 for full cabin and $475 for a large cabin. Use promo code: SKI.

    Bed and Breakfast for Two package includes a one-night, Sunday through Thursday stay, in-room delivery of bagels with cream cheese, fresh fruit, yogurt and coffee and juice for two. Free mountain bike and fat bike rentals on a first-come, first-serve basis. The offer is good until Apr. 15, 2019, with blackout dates Mar. 16 to 31, 2019. The offer is subject to availability and large cabins, creekside rooms and condos are excluded. Prices start at $215 per night for creekside suites, $215 for lodge rooms, hillside or creekside accommodation and $400 for full size cabin. Use promo code: BED.

    The Romance in the Rockies package includes champagne delivery to your room; one 60-minute couples' massage ($200 allowance- additional charge for other services); and one dinner at the Princeton Club Restaurant ($90 allowance does not include alcohol or gratuity). Free mountain bike and fat bike rentals on a first-come, first-serve basis. The two-night, Sunday to Thursday stay offer, is available through Apr. 30, 2019. Use promo code: ROMA.

    Mount Princeton Hot Springs Resort or 719/395-2447 EXT: 0.

    'Beyond Ordinary' Windstar Savings

    Windstar Cruises offers the "Beyond Ordinary" savings event plus Star Perks bonus offering the best fares and availability on 2019 and 2020 cruises.

    Additionally, up to 20 percent savings and free laundry service are included on all sailings 14 days and longer featured in the line's Star Collector series. The savings event includes an incentive while the cruise is underway — Star Perks bonus gives you up to $1,000 shipboard credit, free Wi-Fi, or free gratuities. Available on hundreds of Windstar sailings worldwide, savings and Star Perks vary by cruise and destination.

      "Beyond Ordinary" Savings Event Offers:
    • Best fares and availability of the year
    • Free laundry service on all voyages 14 days or longer
    • Savings of up to 20 percent on longer Star Collectors Voyages.
      Pick a 'Star Perk' allows you to pick one of the following:
    • Ship Board Credit: Up to $1,000 per premium suite on Alaska & Canada/New England cruises; up to $400 per suite on all other Windstar destinations worldwide.
    • Free Gratuities: Windstar covers gratuities charges of $13.50 per person, per day. The amount fluctuates based on cruise length with savings from $189 per stateroom for a seven-day cruise.
    • Free Wi-Fi Package: 500 MB Wi-Fi Package: $120 per person; $240 per stateroom/suite value.

    "Beyond Ordinary" savings are offered on hundreds of cruise departures through December 2020. Sample pricing on 2019 cruises start at $2,999 for 11- and 12-day Alaskan Splendors cruises with departure from Vancouver and Anchorage. Windstar's Signature Expeditions program is headlined by a biologist, glaciologist, and scientist expedition leaders with on-board lectures, plus expedition field trips launching Zodiacs and kayaks direct from the ship.

    Seven-day Dreams of Tahiti vacations aboard the 148-passenger Wind Spirit begin at $2,599, including an overnight and free beach party on Bora Bora with port calls at six islands including Tahiti, Moorea, Huahine, Raitea, and Taha'a.

    April through September 2019, Windstar has more than 40 sailings to Northern Europe including an April 26 Star Collector Iberian Peninsula cruise from Lisbon to Amsterdam that starts at $4,499 per person and visits eight countries in 18 days.

    Windstar shipboard credit can be spent on board on alcoholic beverages, spa treatments and shore excursions. Non-alcoholic beverages including soda and specialty coffees are free on Windstar.

    Windstar ships offer a free water sports program from the ship's aft marina, and an open bridge where cruisers can visit with the ship's officers. Windstar features culinary themed cruises, free culinary demonstrations and James Beard Chef-designed dishes plus "Shopping with the Chef" excursions to local markets in select ports.

    Windstar Cruisesor 877/958-7718.

    Sixt Car Rental

    Up To $1,000 Off on Emerald Waterways

    Emerald Waterways is accepting bookings for their 2020 river cruise season. Book any 2020 European sailing by Apr. 30, 2019 and receive $1,000 off per couple on sailings of 15-days or longer, and $500 per couple on sailings of eight to 14 days.

    New for the 2020 season, Emerald Waterways offers their Tulips & The Rhine itinerary, sailing between Amsterdam and Basel in the height of tulip season.

    Emerald Waterways’ fleet of river ships sails the Danube from Germany to Romania; the Main and Moselle rivers in Germany; the Rhône and Saône in Southern France; and the Douro in Portugal.

    River cruises fares include all transfers; all port charges; all onboard (and some on-shore) meals; unlimited specialty tea and coffee, wine, beer and soft drinks with lunch and dinner; bottled water in the cabins replenished daily; continental breakfast, pre-dinner canapés and after-dinner sweet treats served in the top suites; free Wi-Fi onboard the ship; most shore excursions and all onboard and excursion gratuities. On touring days, hotel accommodations, internal flights, and transfers are also included.

    Emerald Waterways or 844/428-8389.

    Free VPN Revealed

    Are you using a VPN (virtual private network) app on your mobile phone, with the understanding that it provides privacy and anonymity for your online activities? It may be having the opposite effect.

    Computer expert Bob Rankin reports on an investigation of free mobile VPN apps that reveals widespread potential privacy leaks, and even malware that can log users’ activity – the very thing a VPN is supposed to prevent.

    Click here to learn what problems were found and what VPN apps are free of them..

    First Fridays Florence

    Historic downtown Florence, AL is the place for fun the first Friday of each month from March to December. A free family-friendly event, First Fridays Downtown Florence returns in 2019 beginning Mar. 1, 2019. Each month, you are treated to an evening of local arts, crafts, shopping, and live music.

    In 2019, some favorites return including the pumpkin drop in the fall in the center of Court Street and Mobile Plaza and the antique and vintage car shows. This year will have special events and themes to correspond with Alabama’s Bicentennial Celebration.

    For First Friday events, expect vendors, including jewelry makers, woodcrafters and clothing designers, to line Court Street. Music fills the air from performers on the Big River Broadcasting Stage on Mobile Plaza. Downtown Florence is home to eclectic shops, restaurants, parks and entertainment venues all within a short walking distance of each other.

    First Friday hours are 5 to 8 p.m. and admission is free. The event takes place rain or shine. Parking is available on surrounding streets and in the City of Florence public parking garage (behind Ricatoni’s Restaurant).

    First Fridays Florence or 877/290-8880.


    Cancun - The Sunny Vacation Getaway

    National Park Fee Free Days

    The National Park Service will waive all entrance fees for a few days in 2019.
      The entrance fee-free days for 2019 will be:
    • Sat., Apr. 20 – First Day of National Park Week/National Junior Ranger Day
    • Sun., Aug. 25 – National Park Service Anniversary
    • Sat., Sep. 28 – National Public Lands Day
    • Mon., Nov. 11 – Veterans Day.

    “The entrance fee-free days hosted by the National Park Service are special opportunities to invite visitors, volunteers and veterans to celebrate some important moments for our parks and opportunities for service in those parks,” said National Park Service Deputy Director P. Daniel Smith.

    The National Park System includes more than 85 million acres and includes national parks, national historical parks, national monuments, national recreation areas, national battlefields, and national seashores. There is at least one national park site in every U.S. state.

    Only 115 of the 418 parks managed by the National Park Service charge entrance fees regularly, with fees ranging from $5 to $35. The other 303 national parks do not have entrance fees. The entrance fee waiver for the fee-free days does not cover amenity or user fees for activities such as camping, boat launches, transportation, or special tours.

    The annual $80 America the Beautiful National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Pass allows unlimited entrance to more than 2,000 federal recreation areas, including all national parks. There are also free or discounted passes available for senior citizens, current members of the U.S. military, families of fourth grade students, and disabled citizens.

    Other federal land management agencies offering their own fee-free days in 2019 include the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, Bureau of Land Management, Bureau of Reclamation, U.S. Forest Service, and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

    National Park Service.

    Pigeon Forge Savings

    Spend your money wisely and get the most for your hard-earned cash with a variety of ways to save on a Pigeon Forge, TN stay.
      Here are the suggestions:
    • Get a vacation package
    • Sign up for eNews for monthly offers
    • Visit the Welcome Center for additional coupons
    • Purchase a two-day Dollywoodpass and add an extra day for $20
    • Ride the Fun Time Trolley instead of using your car and using gas
    • Print and use Pigeon Forge coupons during your visit.
      Coupon savings, which expire July 31, 2019, include:
    • 10 percent off accommodations By Twin Mountain Inn & Suites
    • 10 percent off Aunt Bug’s Cabin Rentals
    • 15 percent off RiverStone Resort And Spa
    • 20 percent off Creekstone Inn Sunday to Thursday, 10 percent off Friday and Saturday.

    Pigeon Forge.

    Hurtigruten Cruises Alaska Discounts

    Hurtigruten Cruises will cruise Alaska in 2020. If interested in discovering the wildlife of the region, brown bears, caribou, and bald eagles, plus learning about the indigenous peoples, Hurtigruten has expeditions for you. Each journey is aboard MS Roald Amundsen, a hybrid electric-powered expedition ship, for sailing along the North Pacific Ocean along Alaska’s coastline. Book by Mar. 31, 2019, for early booking discounts and save up to 25 percent per person.
      Treasures of the Alaskan Coast Northbound – 14 days, two itineraries.
    • Northbound itinerary one begins in Vancouver, explores Ketchikan, Misty Fjords National Monument, Wrangell, the glaciers of the Tracy and Endicott Arm Fjords, and Prince William Sound.

    • Treasures of the Alaskan Coast Northbound itineary two begins in Vancouver and continues to Ketchikan, Misty Fjords National Monument, Wrangell, Sitka, Petersburg, Icy Strait Point, Haines, the glaciers of the Tracy and Endicott Arm Fjords, the Gulf of Alaska and Hubbard Glacier, College Fjord, Prince William Sound, Seward and end in Anchorage.

    Treasures of the Alaskan Coast itinerary one southbound journey starts in Anchorage and travels to Seward, Prince William Sound and College Fjord, Icy Strait Point, Sitka, the glaciers of the Tracy and Endicott Arm Fjords, Haines, Petersburg, Wrangell, Misty Fjords National Monument, Ketchikan and ends in Vancouver.

    There are two journeys for the Alaska & British Columbia Expedition through British Columbia’s portion of the Inside Passage. You see some of Prince Royal Island’s ghost towns and waterfalls from the ship, and search for wildlife in Alert Bay, learn about the Kwakwaka’wakw First Nations community and Icy Strait Point’s Tlingit settlement.

    The Alaskan Adventure with Aleutian Islands cruises through the Inside Passage of Alaska, visiting Katmai National Park. You explore Dutch Harbor, and St. Paul in the Aleutian Islands.

    Hurtigruten Cruises or 888/537-0552.

    Philly Live Nation Hotel Package

    Visit Philadelphia partners with Live Nation Philadelphia and six hotels on a Visit Philly Live Nation Hotel package, bookable here. Attend a Live Nation event at The Fillmore, The Met or Wells Fargo Center and purchase the hotel package, which includes an overnight hotel stay, hotel parking, venue parking, early venue access, food and beverage vouchers, commemorative VIP lanyards, show posters and late hotel check-out. The Visit Philly Live Nation Hotel package runs through Apr. 30, 2019.
      The Visit Philly Live Nation Hotel package is available at six participating hotels. The package includes the following:
    • Hotel parking for one vehicle, with in-and-out privileges
    • Venue parking for one vehicle at the Fillmore; the Met or Wells Fargo Center)
    • Early access to shop at The Fillmore, The Met or Wells Fargo Center
    • Two free food items at the venue (up to $20 each)
    • Two free beverages items, alcoholic beverages included, at the venue (up to $15 each)
    • Two commemorative lanyards holding the event badge
    • Two custom commemorative show posters
    • Late hotel check-out.

    Show tickets are not included in the package and must be purchased separately. Those who purchase tickets for any Live Nation show in Philadelphia through Apr. 30, 2019, will receive an email confirmation with an offer to purchase the hotel package. If you have tickets for a show you can purchase the package at visitphilly.com/livenationpackage.

      Participating Hotels:
    • Courtyard Philadelphia South at The Navy Yard, 215/644-9200
    • DoubleTree by Hilton Philadelphia Center City, 215/893-1600
    • Hilton Philadelphia at Penn’s Landing, 215/521-6500
    • The Inn at Penn, A Hilton Hotel, 215/222-0200
    • The Study at University City, 215/387-1400
    • The Wyndham Philadelphia Historic District Hotel, 215/923-8660.
      Upcoming Shows:
    • Madea’s Farewell Play Tour, The Met, Mar. 19 to 24, 2019;
    • Fleetwood Mac, Wells Fargo Center, Mar. 22 and Apr. 5, 2019
    • Gary Clark Jr., The Met, Mar. 29, 2019
    • Mariah Carey, The Met, Apr. 3, 2019
    • Amos Lee, The Met, Apr. 6, 2019
    • Ariana Grande, Wells Fargo Center, Mar. 26, 2019
    • Brian Regan, The Met, Apr. 27, 2019.

    Visit Philadelphia.

    Smarthome.com - shop now!

    Get Paid to Travel

    SkySurf.Travel will make one globetrotter's dream trip come true with its upcoming travel gig. Plan a multi-stop trip around the world, and share why you should be chosen in a short essay, for the opportunity to earn $2,000 in airline credits to put towards your trip.

    SkySurf.Travel is the flight booking site that helps price-conscious travelers find affordable flights to anywhere in the world. The site makes it easy to plan multiple stops and stay under budget using its search tool that provides destination options that are the most economical.

    To apply, go to SkySurf.Travel and plan a two-month itinerary with at least eight stops for under $2,000. In addition to the itinerary, submit a short essay (under 3,000 words), and a brief video submission (under one minute) detailing why you should be chosen. Any blogging, vlogging, or photography experience should be highlighted in the submission, and will be considered when choosing the right person for the job. The selected candidate will document their pilgrimage through blogs, vlogs, and Instagram.

    Due to the social sharing nature of the job, applicants must write using the English language, and must be over the age of 18. Qualified candidates will submit their application through Upwork via the freelancing website. The chosen applicant will be contracted and paid through eight milestones, one for each stop on the itinerary. In return, the chosen freelancer will share their adventure through (24) 800-word blog posts, vlogs, and Instagram stories about the local food, culture, nightlife, nature, transportation, and budgeting tips. The entire adventure will be featured on the SkySurf.Travel blog.

    Applications must be submitted before Mar. 31, 2019. Itineraries should begin with a departure date no later than May 24, 2019.

    A detailed job description and how to apply via Upwork is here.


    Old City Philadelphia by Nicki and Harold Chodnoff

    Philadelphia is one of the United State's most historic cities. William Penn landed in 1682 in what evolved to be Philadelphia, armed with a land charter from King Charles II in settlement of a debt. Penn was a British Quaker and his colony would be a "holy experiment," with the local liberal government respecting the religious freedom of the residents. Penn named the area Pennsylvania or Penn's Wood, in honor of William Penn senior, his father. William Penn's vision for religious tolerance in the new colonies of America thrived and the colony grew into the "Athens of the Americas." The predominance of Quakers and other residents of the city appreciated and encouraged tolerance. This Quaker heritage of tolerance persists to this day.

    In 1682, the Greek expression for brotherly love provided Philadelphia with its nickname. The city grew to become Pennsylvania’s capital and the second largest city in the British Empire (following London). It was the main center of the 13 colonies in the late 18th century and a bastion of opposition to the British Empire. Here, colony leaders planned a course of action that produced the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776, and in September 1787 the Constitution was drafted. In 1790, Philadelphia was pronounced the nation's capital and held that honor for 10 years.

    Since Philadelphia and the state of Pennsylvania were the sites of battles and the epicenter in the struggle for America's freedom and nationhood, there are many wonderful historical sights to visit in Philadelphia and the surrounding region. Taking it all in can take several weeks.

    If you want to hone in where our nationhood began, then hone in on Old City Philadelphia. Many of Philadelphia's historical spots relating to the founding of the United States are within walking distance of the three-square-block Independence National Historical Park.

    Growing up in Philadelphia, I wanted my grandchildren who live in Ohio to know about the deep history in Philadelphia and the pride and patriotic feeling I always felt visiting these historic sites. Growing up close by, my parents frequently took me to Independence Hall and the adjacent Washington Square Park. Then Independence Hall was more intimate and personal. No timed ticket tours. No crowds. Other than the morning school groups bused in from around the area to see the cradle of our independence, there weren’t many people at Independence Hall. I had the freedom to wander room by room and take it all in. Looking at the tables and chairs and knowing who sat in them long ago made me think about what was life like during those tumultous times when freedom from England was an idea, a goal, but not a reality. And defying the superpower British Empire was a noble if not fool hardy act.

    Independence Hall was constructed from 1732 to 1756, and was the State House of the Province of Pennsylvania. It was also the meeting place for the Second Continental Congress. In the Assembly Room, the Declaration of Independence was adopted. Both the interior and exterior of the Hall are restored to their original state, complete with period furniture.

    The Liberty Bell, as it is now called, was purchased for the steeple of the Pennsylvania State House, now called Independence Hall. During my Independence Hall visits as a child, the Liberty Bell, forged in England in 1751, sat in the main hall, not in its own pavillion. There were no barriers or barricades. You could easily walk up and touch the Liberty Bell. Many times I reached out and touched the bell. It was a moving personal experience. Running my index finger along the crack it seems like the emotions of the era transcended time and flooded into me.

    The bell first cracked when rung after its arrival in Philadelphia, and was twice recast by local workmen John Pass and John Stow, whose last names appear on the bell. Early on, the bell was used to summon lawmakers to legislative sessions and to alert citizens about public meetings and proclamations.

    Today Independence Hall can still trigger such raw emotions but the intimacy is no longer there as thousands of people visit these sites. We had to limit our Old City visit to one day. When time is of the essence, here are some hints to make the most of your time.

    This may be obvious but it is worth repeating, visit during off season if you can. There will be far few people. If you go during the peak summer season, be prepared for the people and weather. My memories of August in Philadelphia can be summed up in three words: hazy, hot and humid. By what I deem to be a miracle, we managed to pick the perfect August day, sunny with temperatures in the mid-70s and low humidity. Don’t count on that in the summer.

    Visiting Independence Hall is free of charge, but you can only visit on an accompanied tour with a park ranger. These tours run throughout the day, on a first-come, first-served basis. Park ranger tours fill up fast with the throngs of summer visitors. Luckily, you can order timed tickets for tours online at recreation.gov Reserved tickets are $1 per ticket for the reservation and can be purchased in advance online. Pick up your tickets at the visitor center at least 45 minutes before your timed tour and be sure to bring a print out of your reservation confirmation. If you don’t get reserved time tickets, you must still register for a timed tour at the visitor center.

    As mentioned, the Liberty Bell is no longer housed in Independence Hall but in its own pavillion about a block away. After our timed tour for Independence Hall, we wanted to watch a few films that run throughout the day at the visitor center. We should have stopped to see the Liberty Bell as the lines were short then and we had to pass by the bell to get to the visitor center. Big mistake. Instead we watched our films starting with the 30-minute John Huston film, Philadelphia, which sent shivers down my spine. We had lunch, visited Elfreth’s Alley, stopped by Christ Church and burial ground to see Ben Franklin’s and other patriot graves. By the time we looped back to the Liberty Bell pavillion, lines were more than a block long. It was 3 p.m. and we didn’t want to wait more than an hour to get into the Liberty Bell Pavilion because there was rush hour traffiic to fight. We called it a day and headed back as we had at least an hour’s ride to Newtown, a suburb of Philadelphia, where we were staying.

    Before we ventured back on I-95, we did visit the 32 historic houses that are still on Elfreth's Alley. The street dates back to 1702 and the houses were built between 1728 and 1836. The amazing thing is that people still live in the houses. Named for blacksmith and property-owner Jeremiah Elfreth, the street is now a National Historic Landmark. Alley residents included shipwrights, silver and pewter smiths, glassblowers, and furniture builders. In the 1770s, one-third of the households were headed by women. Elfreth's Alley Museum, at 124-126 Elfreth's Alley, preserves the 18th-century home of dress-makers thats restored to a Colonial-era appearance. Costumed tour guides and exhibits tell what life was like for residents of Elfreth’s Alley.

    You can visit the final resting place of important Colonial and Revolution-era people at the Christ Church Burial Ground. The graveyard has 1,400 markers on two acres in the heart of historic Philadelphia including the graves of Benjamin Franklin and four other signers of the Declaration of Independence. It’s easy to spot Franklin's grave. It’s the one sprinkled with pennies in homage to his famous saying, "A penny saved is a penny earned." Burial ground tours at $8 per adult are held March to November, weather permitting.

    We didn’t see all that we wanted to see. What we did see was inspirational and thought provoking. We had a great family outing, which several months later as I write this is already a cherished memory.

    Here are a few tips that will save you money and frustration. Parking is a bear in Old City and expensive. If you can stay in the downtown area or use public transportation, do so. If staying in Philadelphia for a few days and touring beyond Old City, the Philly Phlash is a good option. It runs daily May through December 29 and stops at designated locations every 15 minutes, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. It $2 per person per ride, $5 for an all-day pass or $7 for a two-day pass. Passes can only be purchased online. Children four and under and seniors are free and SEPTA pass and key card holders ride free.

    We stayed with relatives in a Northern Philadelphia suburb so the public transportation options were poor. We drove to Old City and allowed plenty of travel time for the inevitable tie-ups on I-95. Once you arrive in Old City, forget about finding street parking. Even if you find a spot, you have to keep feeding the meter. If you watched the TV series Parking Wars, you know your fate if your parking meter expires. Knowing this, a couple weeks prior to our visit we reserved a parking spot online through Spothero and locked in $12 for eight hours in Old City – an amazing price. Compare that to the Philadelphia Parking Authority garage at Independence Mall that charges $21 for up to 10 hours. We didn’t have in and out privileges but that worked for us. We chose this parking lot because it was close to the sites we were visiting and there was a lot attendent. Good thing we brought our printed parking receipt. The check out software wasn’t playing nice and didn’t recognize our reservation. We called the attendent and he straightened it all out.

    If you can, plan at least three to four days in Old City. We only had one day which limited what we could see. Here’s what we didn’t see: American Philosophical Society, Library and Museum, Arch Street Friends Meeting House , Betsy Ross House, Congregation Mikvah Israel, Carpenter’s Hall, Congress Hall, Elfreth’s Alley, Fireman’s Hall Museum, First African Baptist Church Cemetery, First Bank of the United States, Franklin Court, Free Quaker Meeting House Museum, Merchants Exchange Building, Museum of the American Revolution, National Constitution Center, National Liberty Museum, National Museum of American Jewish History, New Hall Military Museum, Old City Hall, Pennsylvania Abolition Society, Physick House, Polish American Center, Second Bank of the United States/ Portrait Gallery, Signers' Garden / Gilbert Stuart House, St. Thomas' African Episcopal Church, Surgeons Hall, Thaddeus Kosciuszko National Memorial, The Athenaeum of Philadelphia, The Federal Reserve Bank, U.S. Custom House, U.S. Treasury and Auditor Office Sites, and the United States Mint.

    If you have the time to wander around Old City, as we didn’t, you can hear what happened at the places they actually happened with Once Upon A Nation Storytelling Benches.

    Throughout Philadelphia’s Historic District, there 13 storyteller benches featuring free, three to five minute tales and secret stories told by uniformed, professional storytellers. For example, Independence Hall once had a museum on the second floor that housed a mastodon skeleton. Details are found at the Historic Philadelphia website http://historicphiladelphia.org/once-upon-a-nation/storytelling-benches/ Historic Philadelphia also offers historic reenactments during the summer months which include flag raising at the Betsy Ross House, a Military Muster of the Continental Army and readings from the Declaration of Independence.

    There are many great restaurants in the Old City area, about 100 at last count. We had many opinions on where we should eat. We compromised and had lunch at two places. My Philly food cravings had to be satisfied. We didn’t have time to get a Pat’s steak (I generally choose Pat’s over Gino’s) so I opted for a decent slice of pizza. A slice that has a wonderful bubbly crust and was soft and thick enough to fold over and eat. We ordered two huge pizzas at Big Ass Slices and although I was doubtful about a decent slice of pizza at a place with a gimmicky name, the pizza hit the spot.

    We stopped at Old City Tavern partly for the history and partly for the beer. In 1854, the original structure was razed due to a previous fire and the historically accurate replica of the original Tavern opened in 1976. All of us wanted to eat at the place that hosted a banquet for George Washington as he passed through Philadelphia on his way to New York for his inauguration. The atmosphere is part of the experience. You feel as if you were back in 1776 with the old-looking building and the small rooms dining rooms with period furniture and wait staff dressed in historical attire. The beer flights included beers made from Washington’s, Franklin’s and Jefferson’s original recipes.

    Visit Philadelphia.

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