Pennsylvania Governor Edward G. Rendell announced that nearly 200 hotels, motels, inns, bed and breakfasts, and cabins throughout the state are offering two-for-one lodging deals in January 2005 through a new Pennsylvania Tourism Office promotion dubbed "Cabin Fever Month." The promotion is designed to boost the demand for rooms in January, when hotel occupancy is typically at its lowest.
A list of participating hotels and details on how to book a "Cabin Fever" getaway are available online. Rooms must be booked through online booking partner Events Hero, a new feature to the state tourism Web site. Under the deal, if you book a room for two consecutive nights, the second night is fr.ee. If a stay is longer than two nights, only one night of the entire stay will be fr,ee. Rooms start at $69 per night.
Book and get information on Cabin Fever Month here.
Face-It Luggage Tags -- Your Face on Your Luggage|
There's no mistaking your luggage with the NEW Face-It Luggage Tag. The durable, laminated tag displays your face and the phrase "This Face Belongs With This Luggage."
A Face-It Luggage tag makes it less likely for a stranger or thief to walk off with your luggage and helps you recognize your luggage at a glance in hotels or airports. Face-It tags are also available for briefcases, portfolio books, backpacks, sporting equipment, musical instruments, bicycles and more.
Face-It Luggage Tags.
Law Extends Protection for Air Travelers
The U.S. Congress extended a law to make healthier airlines pick up the slack should bankrupt carriers that fail stick travelers with worthless tickets.
The measure, included in the intelligence reform bill that received final congressional approval in the Senate, extends the protection through Nov. 19, 2005.
The provision was initially included in the 2001 airline bailout law when there was serious concern several carriers might fail as finances worsened in the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001 hijack attacks.
The ticket provision requires stronger carriers, within reason, to accommodate passengers whose travel plans are disrupted by another airline that goes out of business. The safety net only applies when seats are available and only on overlapping routes. Fees are limited to $50 per round trip and travelers have 60 days after an airline ends service to make alternative plans or complete their travel.
Recently, Florida-based Southeast Airlines went belly up. Bankrupt US Airways threatens to liquidate in mid-January if it cannot cut costs deeply enough. United Airlines and ATA Airlines are also operating in Chapter 11.
The law is not supported by the healthier airlines because of the fee limit and because it permits struggling carriers to keep customers even though they cannot guarantee all service.
Royal Caribbean Family Sweepstakes
Royal Caribbean International kicks off the season with a family sweepstakes giving nine winning families a chance to ship out and share experiences.
Through Feb. 28, 2005, would-be cruisers can enter to win one of three, seven-night Grand Prize cruises for 12 to their destination of choice -- Alaska, the Caribbean, or Europe. Or one of three, seven-night First Prize cruises for four to the Caribbean through the line’s web sites.
Once visitors complete their online sweepstakes entry, they can involve families and friends to increase their chance of winning by sending an animated, talking e-card. Entrants choose a character or upload their own photo messenger and write a personal message for their animated spokesperson to deliver in the voice of their choice.
Royal Caribbean International or 800/327-6700.
Win an Island Gourmet Getaway
Enter the Village Inn & Pub's "Party at the Plantation" recipe contest and win a one-week island adventure for two to St. Simons Island, Georgia. Whether your favorite recipe is Tidewater shrimp, grilled salmon with Creole sauce, or chocolate pecan crepes, your simplest dish with a smart flourish could be the Grand Prize Winner.
To enter the contest, submit a one page recipe with a brief 30-word description of its origin. The Village Inn & Pub will create a cookbook with the submitted recipes that will benefit the Southeast Coastal Georgia American Heart Association. Deadline for recipes is May 31, 2005. The winner will be announced July 4, 2005.
The recipe categories are: antebellum appetizers, delta desserts, jovial juleps, sassy soups and gumbos, bayou BBQ to catfish row, Dixie biscuits and Johnny cakes. Submit Recipes to Pat Stockdale, Innkeeper, Village Inn and Pub, 500 Mallory Street, St. Simons Island, Ga 31522.
The prize is a six-night vacation with accommodations at the Village Inn & Pub, dinner nightly at a fashionable restaurant, St. Simons Island Trolley Tour, bicycles to explore the tropical barrier island, an afternoon or sunset cruise and a kayak adventure.
In the center of the historic village and Lighthouse District, the Village Inn & Pub combines the history of a 1930 beach cottage with the ambience of a 28-room inn. The property's trees were untouched during its construction in 2002, preserving the towering live oaks and native vegetation.
Village Inn & Pub or 888/635-6111.
Club Cuts Cost Of Travel in Japan
There is something new and long overdue in the travel industry in Japan: a membership club that dramatically reduces the cost of overnight accommodations and bypasses the hefty charges of domestic airlines and long-distance trains. In 1998, entrepreneur Keiji Nishimura thought he had a good idea, and he was right. His Club Tocoo! Discount Travel Service now has more than half a million dues paying members, a network of some 2,700 hotels and inns nationwide, 630 cooperating rental car outlets and 1,000 vacation packages.
An Internet-based travel agency, Club Tocoo! owes its success to offering hotel and inn discounts of up to 72 percent off listed prices and rental cars for as little as $12 a day. The key to this discount rate is last-minute booking of vacant rooms.
Another way the club saves on hotel and inn fees is by giving travelers a choice of outside dining, where prices are significantly lower. All reservations are fully confirmed.
Rental cars at major discounts are the latest attraction of the Club Tocoo! Shu Ono, in charge of the club's English Language Site Division, says that Japan has been an undiscovered
country as far as touring by car is concerned, but that more and more travelers are finding that, as in the U.S. and Europe, to really see and experience a country nothing beats the freedom and convenience of driving yourself.
To accommodate the growing number of travelers who prefer to drive themselves, Club Tocoo! offers special services, including GPS navigation equipment. Ono points out that airline, rail and bus transportation systems cover
only a tiny percentage of the most beautiful and intriguing travel sites in the country. "With a car, you just toss your baggage into the truck and go where and when you please," Ono said. Most highway signs in Japan are in Romanized
Japanese as well as ideogarms, so foreigners can read them. Ono added that details of using the club are explained in full on its website.
Nishimura said he intends to expand the club's network of hotels, inns and rental car agencies overseas, and is looking for partners.
Kutztown Festival -- July 2 - 10, 2005|
America's Premier Folklife Festival features 200 juried craftspeople, 2,000 locally made quilts for sale or auction,
antiques and collectibles, folklife demonstrations, entertainment on 6 stages, children's entertainment and scrumptious food
including Pennsylvania Dutch dinners, an ox roast and farmers' market. Be sure to visit.
Kutztown Festival or 888/674-6136.
Helsinki for a Song
October through April is the Lively Season in Finland when history, music, art and fine dining attract sophisticated travelers.
To pack a lot of excitement and fun in just a few days for a great price, take
a long weekend package to Helsinki priced from$499 per person, based on double occupancy, with Continental Journeys. Their four-day Helsinki weekend package for $499 includes roundtrip air on Finnair and SAS, and three weekend nights in Helsinki at the centrally located Sokos Helsinki Hotel with a buffet breakfast included. Depart on Thursday and return on Monday. The $499 rate is valid on Finnair until Mar. 31, 2005 and Mar. 24, 2005 on SAS.
Continental Journeys or 800/601-4343.
Warm Up, Chill Out Package
The Rancho Bernardo Inn wants you to flee the frost and bask in the warm San Diego sun with its “Warm Up and Chill Out” package, offered through Mar. 31, 2005. For $229, the package is available all week at a savings of up to 40 percent.
The package includes accommodations for one night, based on double occupancy, the choice of dinner for two, two 18-hole rounds of golf or two one-hour Swedish massages. Tax and gratuity is not included.
All rooms feature one king bed or two queen beds and a patio or balcony. The rooms are custom-furnished with antiques, original artwork and other amenities.
Rancho Bernard Inn or 800/770-7329
Funjet, Sandals and Beaches Offer Savings
Funjet Vacations, Sandals and Beaches Resorts
offer various specials for travelers getting away in 2005.
For a winter escape, Sandals offers 40 percent off at Sandals Grande Ocho Rios Beach & Villa Resort in Jamaica in 2005. Or, you can take 40 percent off at Sandals Regency St. Lucia Golf Resort & Spa for bookings made until Jan. 20, 2005, with travel through Dec. 12,
To earn 25 percent off, visit Sandals Whitehouse European Village & Spa through Mar. 17, 2005 and Apr. 2 to 28, 2005.
You can receive 25 percent off at all other Sandals Resorts and 20 percent off at all Beaches Resorts. The offer for Sandals Resorts is valid through Dec. 26, 2005 while the discount at Beaches Resorts is valid for travel through Dec. 23, 2005.
All specials above may be combined with other select offers and require a minimum of a three-night stay.
Protect Luggage with Baggage Guard Seals |
The pre- numbered, one-time use plastic padlocks are the perfect way to protect your luggage since they cannot be reinstalled once removed. That feature lets you instantly know if someone tampered with your luggage. Yet when TSAs at airports need to inspect your luggage, Baggage Guard Seals can be easily removed. A package of 10 Baggage Guard Seals is still only $9.95.
Click Here to Order from On The Go Publishing.
Smile. Passport Photo may Come to Life
Next time you have your passport photo taken, make sure you've got on your best shirt, your hair and makeup look good and you smile.
Starting in mid-2005, new passports, called "biometric," will include an embedded microchip which stores a compressed image of your face. As you enter a country, your passport will be scanned and your face will pop up on the computer screen for instant verification. You may remember that under the U.S. Patriot Act, Congress is requiring biometric passports or visas from 27 nations previously waived from having visas -- mostly European countries, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore -- if they want to visit the U.S.
While the Act didn't require U.S. passports to be biometric, the State Department said "it is the most secure form of protecting identity. And if we're expecting our visa-waiver friends to do it, we should do it."
|Best Western IQ Challenge, Chance to Win $10,000|
Best Western International offers visitors to its website the chance to win $10,000 through a trivia contest where speed is the name of the game.
Through Mar. 1, 2005, you can take the High Speed IQ Challenge online. Each day, contestants will receive three new multiple-choice questions on a variety of speed-related topics, from automotive to entertainment, aircraft to animals. With each correct response, you earn a sweepstakes entry for the grand prize drawing of $10,000 cash.
You can earn additional entries through the game’s “tell-a-friend” feature, increasing your chances for the cash prize with every referral you make. After each day’s play, you will be given an update on your performance and on the number of entries earned.
|Odd, Amusing Valentine Venues by Nicki Chodnoff|
Roses. Chocolates. Candle-light dinners. Sure, you can celebrate Valentine’s Day with any of those tried-and-true activities and accouterments. Or, this lovers’ holiday forget the mediocre and mundane and think outside the chocolate box. Strike out on your own and start your own traditions. Here are few off-beat and unusual ways to celebrate Valentine’s Day.
Get Racey -- Want to get his or her heart racing on Valentine's Day? Consider a "Speed & Spa Getaway" at the ESPN Russell Racing School in Sonoma County, California. The three-day vacation combines the thrill of driving a formula racecar with pampering at a spa.
XXXXXXThe "speed" portion is learning real racing techniques with the Techniques Racing Course such as heel-and-toe shifting, skipping gears while downshifting and passing under high-speed racing conditions from professional instructors.
XXXXXXIn past years, the spa portion of the getaway included accommodations at an romantic inn, two spa treatments, one dinner for two and wine tasting at a Sonoma winery.
XXXXXXSpecific inn and spa information and rates aren’t available at press time. The rate for the Techniques of Racing Course is $2,895.
XXXXXXESPN Russell Racing Schools or 800/733-0345 Infineon Raceway, at Highways 37 and 121 in Sonoma, CA.
Adults Only -- San Francisco Zoo opens its doors to an adult-only audience with a new meaning to "monkey business" on Valentine's Day. The zoo tour examines the weird and wonderful world of animals' sexual rituals. Visitors hear descriptive narratives about mating and courtship rituals and up-close-and-personal presentation of live animals.
XXXXXXDesigned to be entertaining and informative, the tour does not feature actual mating, but aims to educate on how different animals choose their partners and raise their families. The information was gleaned by the zoo while improving their conservation and breeding of endangered species.
XXXXXXSome titillating tidbits: well-known for their appetite, lions may mate an astonishing 50 times in 24 hours. Rhinos spend up to a month mutual licking and stroking mates before their annual copulation.
XXXXXXThe program includes fr.ee entry to the zoo for the entire day. Advance ticket purchase required.
XXXXXXSan Francisco Zoo, 1 Zoo Rd, San Francisco, California 94132-1098 415/753-7165
Runaway Love -- Gretna Green is perhaps a testament to underage raging hormones and unrequited love. In 1754, England passed a law stating that anyone under 21 could not marry without parental consent. This did not apply to Scotland, where you could marry at 16 years old, without parental consent. For over two centuries, love-struck teens, desperate to tie the knot, headed for Gretna Green, the first village on the Scottish side of the border. One of the oldest Gretna marriage certificates dates from 1772.
XXXXXXA Valentine’s visit can add romance, tradition and history to your celebration. You can still marry at the best-known venue, the Blacksmith's Shop at the heart of the village. In earlier days, there was no need to be married by a clergyman or registrar. From this, grew up a thriving business of irregular marriage, carried on by villagers who supplemented their livelihood by 'officiating' at weddings. For many, it was the blacksmith who officiated. His anvil, where metal was shaped and melded, acted as the altar. One of the last of these so-called 'anvil priests' had married 5,147 couples by the time he retired in 1962. This symbol remains today and the old anvil remains the center of the action.
XXXXXXYou can still marry in Gretna Green in the Marriage Room of the Old Blacksmith's Shop, the original workshop where thousands were married over the anvil in days gone by, or in a private marriage room. There is a fee for the ceremony and an extra stipend if you want a piper. More than 4,000 couples get married in Gretna Green every year, about 13 percent of all weddings performed in Scotland. The Gretna Registration Office provides information on arranging your wedding in the town.
XXXXXXScottish Tourism Authority
Sky High Love -- Tie the knot on the most romantic day of the year. Exchange vows at what may feel like the top of the world during the annual Valentine’s Day weddings at the Empire State Building in New York City. Couples marry on the 80th floor of this most famous building and automatically become members of the Empire State Building Wedding Club.
XXXXXXNot everyone can join this “mile-high” club. To receive this honor, couples must prove their worth by writing to the building's supervisors and explaining why they want to get married there. Your essay is the key to these remarkable nuptials since couples are chosen on the strength of their story. Originality and style are essential. If chosen, you receive fre.e admission to the Observatories each year on your anniversary, Valentine's Day.
XXXXXXEmpire State Building, 350, 5th Ave (at 34th St), New York City, 10118
212/736-3100 ext. 377
Deep Down Love -- From ski high love to deep down love. In Koh Kradan Island, Trang Thailand, couples tie the knot on Valentine’s Day, but not in the usual way. During this annual event, about 40 couples will say “I DO” in 2005, under the emerald green waters of Trang in South Thailand.
XXXXXXWhether you’re planning a wedding in February or just want to renew your vows, you must be a qualified diver to participate. Relatives and guests taking part in the event are also required to be certified divers. All participants must be in Thailand February 12-15, 2005.
XXXXXXAll Thai and foreign couples are greeted at the Trang Airport and parade around Trang Municipality. Then the colorful "khan maak" procession takes the celebrants to Koh Kradan Island for the wedding. The convoy may feature as many as 500 speedboats decorated with colorful flags. A long drum troupe on board sets the party mood with rhythmic beats as the grooms’ entourage claps and breaks into song. As all the wedding parties arrives on Koh Kradan Island, a blessing ceremony takes place before the 40-feet-underwater ceremony.
XXXXXXKoh Kradan, known as the land of corals, lies within the boundaries of Hat Chao Mai National Park. Famous for its fine powdery sand, wide beaches and crystal-clear water -- so clear that you can see the underwater corals, about 20 percent of Ko Kradan is privately owned. The island is about one hour and 40 minutes by boat from Pakmeng Beach.
XXXXXXThailand Tourism Authority.
If you need more reasons to get away and celebrate, keep in mind that February is National Weddings Month. Weekly observances in February include Celebration of Love Week Feb. 13 to 19; International Flirting Week Feb. 14 to 20; National Condom Week Feb. 14 to 21; and Second Honeymoon Weekend Feb. 18 to 20. And when love goes wrong, note on your calendar that Dump your Significant Jerk Day is Feb. 8.
Cheap Tix Chart
Buy Tickets at a Discount -- Special ticket outlets
sell discounted day-of-performance tickets to theatrical productions, films, and
sporting events. Discounts can be 50 percent or more. On The Go
Publishing’s UPDATED Cheap Tix Chart, still only $14, lists outlets in the
U.S. and eight foreign cities that sell discounted, day-of-performance tickets.
Click here to order the Cheap Tix Chart from On The Go Publishing.
|Kids Fly Fr.ee to Disneyland|
Alaska Airlines offers a Southern California vacation package where "Kids Fly Fre.e" to Disneyland Resort. The promotion, where kids ages two to 11 fly fr.ee to Southern California, is on sale for travel Jan. 4 through June 29, 2005. Packages must be booked by Mar. 21, 2005.
For additional savings, Jan. 4 through Apr. 28, 2005, you can also get "Kids Play F.ree" or "Adults At Kids Prices." This means that kids ages three to nine can receive a three-days or-longer Disneyland Resort Park Hopper ticket with the purchase of an equivalent three-days or-longer accompanying Disneyland Resort Adult Park Hopper ticket. Or, adults can buy their multi-day Disneyland Resort Park Hopper Tickets at kids' prices.
Alaska's packages include roundtrip, off-peak fares available Tuesday, Wednesday, and Saturday; four nights’ hotel accommodations at the Holiday Inn Buena Park with the fourth night fre.e; Disneyland Resort five-day Park Hopper tickets with unlimited access to Disneyland Park and Disney's California Adventure Park; and airport transfers via Karmel Shuttle, where kids ride fr.ee. Blackout dates apply.
Sample package fares, for one adult and one child, to Southern California include: from Oakland $429, Seattle $499, Portland $523, Spokane or Boise $536, Medford or Eugene $562 and Anchorage $734.
Alaska Airlines or 800/468-2248.
|$899 to Australia on Malaysia Airlines|
HURRY! BOOK BY JAN. 16, 2005 -- While some airlines increase their fares for summer down under, it’s low season on Malaysia Airlines. If you don’t mind going through Kuala Lumpur, you can save hundreds of dollars on a trip to Sydney, Perth, Melbourne or Brisbane.
Airfares to Australia on Malaysia Airlines start at $899 roundtrip, departing Los Angeles (LAX) or Newark (EWR) from Jan. 16 through Mar. 31, 2005.
From: Los Angeles (LAX) or Newark the airfare to Sydney, Melbourne or Brisbane is $899 to $1,099 (H or L booking class, based on availability). To Perth, the airfare is $899 to $999 (H or L booking class, based on availability).
Fares do not include tax and are non-refundable. You must book flights by Jan. 16, 2005 for travel Jan. 16 through Mar. 31, 2005. The maximum stay is 30 days and these special fares do not earn frequent flyer miles.
Malaysia Airlines or 800/552-9264.
|Italy Opera Packages from $499|
TourCrafters new Opera in Italy packages to Rome, Florence, Naples and Venice start from $499 and include roundtrip airfare from New York, Chicago or Boston. Airfare from other cities is offered at an added cost. The Venice package includes a visit to the beautiful La Fenice theater in Venice that was destroyed by fire nine years ago and recently re-opened.
The three-night Venice package costs $559 with accommodations in three-star hotels; daily buffet breakfast; hotel service charges and taxes; and an opera ticket ($100 value) to La Fenice.
The three-night Florence package, where opera was “invented” in 1598, starts at $499 and includes a stay in the four-star Porta Faenza, a $53 opera ticket to the Comunale Theater or, during the May Music Festival, the 17th-century Teatro Della Pergola or the intimate Teatro Goldoni.
The four-night Rome package starts at $649 with a stay in the three-star Hotel Quattro Fontane or Hotel Paris, breakfasts, service and taxes, transfer from the airport to hotel and a $66 opera ticket for the Rome Opera House or Nazionale Theater.
The four-night Naples package starts at $669 and includes a choice of three-star hotels and a $105 opera ticket to the legendary San Carlo, the world’s oldest opera house, founded in 1737.
Opera in Italy packages are available until Dec. 2005, but the low prices are valid only Jan. 3 to Mar. 15, 2005. Prices are per person, based on double occupancy, and are subject to availability. All reservations must be paid for within 72 hours and prices do not include airport taxes.
TourCrafters or 800/482-5995.
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Celebrate the Story of American Food at the Smithsonian Folklife Festival, between the Washington Monument and the U.S. Capitol.
See acclaimed chefs and everyday cooks demonstrate techniques and recipes in 3 professional kitchens. Students can learn life
values at the Edible Schoolyard by growing and cooking fresh food in a communal garden.
June 23 to 27 and June 30 to July 4, 2005.
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Live Among the Locals Forget about staying in a boring hotel. Live among the locals in a house or flat.
Coach House London Vacation Rentals offers short term central London rentals
with more than 60 properties that sleep from 2 to 12 people.
Each rental comes with a neighborhood guide, breakfast provisions for the first day or two of your stay, a telephone help line, and what to do and see.
Coach House London Vacation Rentals.
|The Latest “Specials” at Connecticut hotels, charming B&B, historic inns and other attractions. A click of the mouse gets the hottest deals around the Constitution State, plus package dates and some direct links to each property. http://www. 52 Getaways or 800/282-6863.
|Gambler's General Store -- The world's largest gambling superstore with slots, video poker, dice, craps, roulette, books, software and more.
Gambler's General Store or 800/322-CHIP.
|Go Boston Card -- fre.e admission to 25 top attractions, 2-day hop-on, hop-off trolley pass, $700 in discounts at shops and restaurants, fre.e gifts, and a 132 page full-color pocket guidebook. www.GoBostonCard.com
|FR!EE PEARL Necklace & Bracelet
-- Direct from a famous jewelry workshop. Limit 4 necklaces and 4 bracelets per person. ACT RIGHT NOW. click here to order.
|DINNER AT 35,000 FEET What meals will you get on your flight?
See behind the scenes at airline catering. Preview first- and
business-class menus and pictures of actual airline meals, photographed and contributed by passengers.
More than 330 airlines represented.
Learn what your meals will probably be.
the online recreational vehicle publication features raw reviews of RV parks based on real RVers' experiences.
RVShark includes RV for sale listings and an RV parks for sale section. RVShark is fr.ee.
Herd ostrich, ride horses or gather eggs -- at a family farm in Pennsylvania, the relaxing alternative to a camping vacation. The 25 family farms roll out the red carpet for families and are found in all corners of the state.
Pennsylvania Farm Vacation Association or 888/856-6622.
The Travel Savings Alerts Newsletter, P.O. Box 91033, Columbus OH 43209, edited by Nicki Chodnoff, is published monthly.
Tell Travel Savings Alerts Newsletter readers about your products and services.
Click here for rates and information.
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