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Travel Savings Alerts Newsletter, January 2008 Issue

Travel Savings Alerts
P.O. Box 91033
Columbus OH 43209
ISSN: 1542-801X, Copyright © 2008 
All Rights Reserved.

May the best day of last year be the worst day of this year. As 2008 arrives, live, love, laugh and travel. May the year 2008 offer the best of times - - - The Travel Savings Alerts Staff

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Mystery Gift BagMystery Earring Grab Bag!

At AAA Jewelry Outlet, we’re cleaning house and selling overstock, over-run and sample earrings from our warehouses. Here's your opportunity to buy a small grab bag with two pairs of sterling silver earrings for $25, while the larger grab bag with four pairs of sterling silver earrings is $45. The retail value of the earrings in the small bag is at least $70 and $140 for the larger grab bag.

Our grab bag offer is based on Fukubukuro, a time-honored tradition in Japan that allows shoppers to purchase grab bags with mystery merchandise that’s sold at way less than the retail value of the contents inside.

So order immediately to get your grab bag from AAA Jewelry Outlet as quantities are limited! Click here to order.

In This Issue:
Beat Hidden Costs at Sea

cruise ship

  • Getting Around Scottsdale
  • Crystal’s Mediterranean Sale
  • $99 Air, Fr.ee Excursions on MS Deutschland
  • Hit the Slopes in Bulgaria
  • Airlines Can't Snow Flying Public in NY
  • Winter Bargains
  • "Frosty Fridays" at the Colonnade
  • El Al 50% Discount for Honeymooners
  • Big Apple Package
  • Free Weekend Site Inspection
  • New Transportation on Vegas Strip
  • Silverado Resort Drops Rates
  • Beat Hidden Costs at Sea
  • TourCrafters’ $595 Barcelona Deal
  • Malaysia Airlines First Class Upgrade
  • 50% off Rio Mar Beach Resort & Spa
  • American Fares for Military Personnel
  • Outer Banks Guide & Getaway Card
  • Stay Longer, Save More at Intrawest Resorts

  • Getting Around Scottsdale

    There are several cost effective ways to get around Scottsdale, AZ. Next time you want to venture around the city, hop on a trolley and save gas.

    Scottsdale Trolley, 480/421-1004 - the free downtown shuttle for tourists and shoppers, operates every 10 minutes, seven days a week, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., year-round. The trolley uses bio-diesel fuel and stops at nearly 30 downtown spots such as Scottsdale Fashion Square, Fifth Avenue Shops, Marshall Way Arts District, Main Street Arts District, Old Town Scottsdale and the Scottsdale Convention & Visitors Bureau. The trolley does not operate on New Years Day, Memorial Day, Fourth of July, Labor Day, Thanksgiving or Christmas.

    Scottsdale Resort Trolley, 800/782-1117 - runs Jan. 10 to Apr. 27, 2008 and is available Tuesday through Sunday. Its route takes you to and from select resorts and to the Scottsdale Fashion Square. Once at the shopping mall, you can connect to the Scottsdale Trolley. More than 10 resorts participate in the resort trolley.

    Crystal’s Mediterranean Sale

    Crystal Cruises offers savings on its 2008 Mediterranean cruises. For new bookings made by Feb. 29, 2008, the cruise line offers 10 percent off all verandah and non-verandah staterooms and five percent off penthouse accommodations for virtually all of Crystal Serenity's European cruises departing May 19 through Sep. 5, 2008.

    The promotion offers savings up to $1,650 per couple on 10 cruises leaving from Rome, Venice, Athens, Barcelona and Monte Carlo.

    Crystal Serenity's Mediterranean voyages are priced from $2,995 per person, double occupancy.

    Crystal Cruises or 888/799-4625.

    Give a Jaguar -- An Amber Jaguar -- The remarkable face of a jaguar is hand-carved onto a lovely piece of cherry amber that's 33x20 mm in size. The dramatic pendent hangs on an ultra-chic 18" natural-colored leather necklace cord with a sterling silver clasp. Boy will this turn heads.

    High-style boutiques and jewelers charge $500 or more for this glam piece. It's yours for only $125 plus shipping & insurance. Click here to order.
    At the home page, click on the amber category.

    $99 Air, Fr.ee Excursions on MS Deutschland

    Peter Deilmann Cruises’ MS Deutschland 12- and 13-night Baltic itineraries offer $99 roundtrip airfare from 69 U.S. gateways and pre-arranged shore excursions and transfers, valued at $700.

    Sailing roundtrip from Germany on June 5, 17 and Aug. 12, 2008, the 520-passenger ship will call on the former Soviet Republics, Russia, Sweden, Finland, Germany and Denmark.

    Prices for the 12-night cruise start from $5,240 per person, based on double occupancy while prices for the 13-night cruise start from $5,490 per person. If you provide your own airfare, $750 will be deducted from your cruise fare. Business class airfares are offered for an additional supplement.

    Statistics provided by Peter Deilmann Cruises or 800/348-8287.

    Hit the Slopes in Bulgaria

    When thinking of that ski vacation, Bulgaria may not come to mind. But the buzz is building for Bulgaria as a ski destination since the country recently joined the European Union. Bulgaria is still a reasonably-priced destination. As the Euro climbs, Bulgaria will become more expensive, a good reason to visit now.

    Vitosha is one of the country’s major ski resorts, along with Bansko and Pamporovo. As Vitosha overlooks the capital city of Sofia, it’s a nearby getaway filled with locals. Prices are still reasonable as a two-bedroom apartment that sleeps four costs 70 € per night or 469 € per week. The five-star Silver House Hotel, at the foot of Vitosha Mountain and near the Sofia Zoo, is 58 € per night. Click here to check accommodations in the Sofia area.

    Pamporovo is an older resort so facilities are lower quality here, but prices, too, are lower. Hotel Orlovetz is the newest five-star hotel in Pamporovo, completed in 2005. The hotel’s amenities include a sports center with swimming pool and gym. Depending on the date of your stay, rates are 90 € per room, per night, with breakfast and dinner included. Considered the best hotel in Pamporovo. A stay at Orlovetz costs 40 € per person, per night, with breakfast and dinner included. Another option is the four-star Finlandia Hotel, located 800 meters away from the lifts and ski runs and in walking distance from the resort center. Rates are 40 € per person, per night for a deluxe room that includes breakfast and dinner. http://www.bulgariaski.com/pamporovo/finlandia.shtml

    Considered Bulgaria's foremost ski resort, Bansko is the best and most modern ski center out of all Bulgarian ski resorts, having had millions invested in new hotels. Yet Bansko’s luxury is still reasonable. The new five-star Guinness Hotel, at the foot of the Pirin Mountains, offers an apartment for two people at 85 € per night including breakfast.

    Bansko is popular with British tourists, so some restaurants, hotels and street signs are in English.

    Airlines Can't Snow Flying Public in NY

    Judge Kahn, a federal judge upholds New York passengers’ rights law so airline passengers traveling through New York airports are entitled to fresh air, water, sanitation and food according to federal district court.

    The major U.S. airlines attempted to overturn New York's Passenger Bill of Rights in U.S. District Court stating that the law was unconstitutional. Judge Kahn disagreed writing, "It threatens the public health to contain people on grounded airplanes for hours without these necessities." Kate Hanni, who attended the court hearing in Albany on behalf of the Coalition for an Airline Passengers Bill of Rights (CAPBOR) said, "Clearly the airlines have a callous disregard for the needs of airline passengers during long tarmac delays. It's incredible that we need a federal court to ensure that their essential needs are met."

    The law was sponsored by State Senator Charles J. Fuschillo and Assemblyman Michael Gianaris who applauded the decision. "Thanks to the leadership of Senator Fuschillo and Assemblyman Gianaris, airline passengers can now claim their first victory for basic human rights when trapped on an aircraft," said Mrs. Hanni.

    CAPBOR filed an amicus brief to intervene in the lawsuit on behalf of consumers. "We are especially gratified that the Court accepted the CAPBOR position that 'the provision of fresh air, water, food and bathroom access to passengers who have spent three hours confined on the runway' is not within the definition of airline services," CAPBOR Special Counsel Burt Rubin said. "This represents a major victory and positions us to move forward with similar measures in other states."

    The Coalition urges other states to adopt similar health and safety measures.

    The Coalition for an Airline Passengers Bill of Rights or 877/FLYERS6.

    Fr-ee Fun San Diego
    This savings-packed FR.EE brochure features almost 40 Fun, Fr-ee Things to do in San Diego. When heading to Southern California, attend concerts or visit a State Historic Park and keep that cash in your pocket.

    To get your Fr-ee Fun San Diego brochure, for a $1 handling fee, click here to send us an email.

    Winter Bargains

    No need to trek to Switzerland to visit Zermatt. It’s closer than you think, the Zermatt Resort & Spa, 435/657-0180, in Midway, Utah. This Zermatt is less than an hour’s drive from the Salt Lake City airport, although you won’t find the Matterhorn here,

    The resort offers a free shuttle to Park City ski slopes for its guests. The Zermatt Resort’s "Mountain Winter Getaway" combines three nights' lodging with a $100 resort credit, from $599 per room. The package is valid until Apr. 30, 2008. Tax and a resort fee of $15 per room, per night, are additional. To find the special, click on Mountain Winter Getaway under Current Specials.

    Wisconsin's Whitecap Mountains Ski Resort, 800/933-SNOW, offers 43 downhill runs on three mountains. Valid Sunday through Thursday nights all season, "Family “ packages at the resort's Whitecap Lodge include lodging, breakfast and lift tickets for two adults and up to four children under 12. The cost: $258 for two nights, $343 for three nights, $435 for four nights and $490 for five nights. Each child over 12 adds $25 per night. Tax is additional. Just south of Ironwood, MI, the area receives about 200 inches of snow annually, with a ski season that extends to mid-March.

    Hotel Teatro, 888/727-1200, in downtown Denver, makes it easy for you to enjoy the great outdoors with their "Get Out Colorado" or "Snowshoe” package. The packages combine one night's accommodations with a day of guided snowshoeing in Rocky Mountain National Park. Also included are transportation between Hotel Teatro and the park, snowshoe rental, lunch and a fleece jacket. The package, at $502 for two, is snow-dependent but valid through Apr. 15, 2008. Tax and parking are additional and no snowshoeing experience is required.

    "Frosty Fridays" at the Colonnade

    With winter here, the Colonnade Hotel, in the heart of Boston’s historic Back Bay, brings back their Frosty Fridays weekend package.

    Through Mar. 31, 2008, if you reserve the two-night Frosty Fridays weekend package, for your room you only pay the outside temperature on Friday night, based on the 5 p.m. reading by the National Weather Service. If the temperature is 19 degrees on Friday night, you pay $19 for your Friday night stay and a special rate of $349 for Saturday night.

    The Frosty Fridays package includes a double occupancy room, and a choice of two tickets to the Old Town Trolley Tour or admission and skating rentals at The Boston Common Frog Pond Skating Rink; hot chocolate for two at Brasserie JO and overnight parking. This package is subject to taxes and availability.

    The newly renovated Colonnade Hotel is within walking distance of Newbury Street and many of Boston’s finest cultural venues, upscale shopping, restaurants, colleges and universities, and the Hynes Convention Center.

    The Colonnade or 800/962-3030.

    El Al 50% Discount for Honeymooners

    El Al gives honeymooners a 50 percent discount on airfare for one of a couples’ El AL tickets from New York to Tel Aviv, a savings of about $493. The discount continues with a 50 percent discount on a second night stay at Sheraton chain hotels in Israel, as part of the wedding package. The discount is good for travel through Mar. 31, 2008.

    To qualify, couples must book a five-night package at one of several participating Sheraton hotels. Packages, including airfare ,start at $1,352 per person, based on double occupancy. The hotel promotion is valid only for direct reservations made through the chain’s reservations center at 972-3-6213333.

    Prior to purchasing the honeymoon package, couples must present a photocopy of a state certificate of marriage, ketuba or confirmation of registration at the Rabbinate. The proof of marriage must be dated between Sep. 1, 2007, and Mar. 31, 2008.

    Additionally, EL AL allows you to fly overseas with your bicycle at no extra charge, adding 20 extra kilos (above the permitted weight according to the terms of your ticket) with no extra payment.

    The offer is on flights from North America and bicycles will be considered an additional suitcase. It must be a one-seat bicycle with pedals, not motorized. The bicycle must be incased and the handlebar, front wheel and pedals must be disassembled. Inform your travel agent when making your reservation.

    EL AL or 800/352-5786.

    Face-It Luggage Tags -- Your Face on Your Luggage
    There's no mistaking your luggage with the 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.

    Big Apple Package

    Apple Core’s five centrally located midtown Manhattan hotels offer an opportunity to design and create your own furry friend at Toys "R" Us Times Square in New York.

    Apple Core Hotels’ properties include the La Quinta Inn Manhattan (17 West 32nd Street), Red Roof Inn Manhattan (6 West 32nd Street), the Comfort Inn Midtown (129 West 46th Street), Super 8 Hotel Times Square (59 West 46th Street), and the Ramada Inn East Side (161 Lexington Avenue).

    Available through Feb. 14, 2008, for $149.99, not including tax, this promotion includes one night’s accommodations, free continental breakfast, and one free stuffed animal from Toys "R" Us Times Square. The package s based on availability. The promotion is limit to one stuffed animal per room and stuffed animal clothing and accessories are not included. Children under 13 year’s of age stay fre.e when sharing their parents' room.

    When booking mention the “Filled-With-Love” package.

    Apple Core Hotels or 800/567-7720.

    Free Weekend Site Inspection

    Livtopia, the U.S. based, international real estate company selling retirement and vacation homes to Americans and Canadians, expands their fr.ee "On-the-Ground" house-shopping weekends to 13 cities in Mexico, Costa Rica, Panama, and Dominican Republic.

    With more U.S. based real estate agents referring more travelers and house-hunters, Livtopia's 2008 schedule includes seven locations in Mexico: Puerto Vallarta, Campeche, Mazatlan, Mayan Riviera consisting of Cancun, Cozumel, Play del Carmen, Isla Mujeres and Merida, Baja California Sur: La Paz/Los Cabos, Puerto Penasco and San Miguel de Allende.

    The company puts up people for a weekend and it doesn’t cost a penny. You can sign-up with no obligation, and stay two, three and sometimes four days free. Every trip includes your hotel; meals; walking, driving and boat tours; and questions answered.

    In addition to time at the beach or touring local attractions, weekend attendees learn about: specifics on legal/financial options for buying; title insurance, property rights, local regulations; medical coverage, insurance and area healthcare facilities; the cultural environment; and overcoming language barriers.

    Trips are being organized for 2008. Fill in the form on their web site to set up a free trip.


    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.

    New Transportation on Vegas Strip

    VEGAS.com launched the VEGAS.com Arrow, a transportation option that gives you another way to get around Las Vegas. Instead of long walks, minutes or miles away from a destination, the Arrow fleet of buses and trolleys pulls right up to hotels, city landmarks and local attractions.

    Easily accessible and recognizable, the vehicles feature 10-foot-long, light-up arrow logos on the side. The fleet of Arrows are outfitted with video screens featuring city updates based on where you are physically. High-tech touch screens allow for on-the-go purchases of show tickets, front-of-line club passes and tours.

    VEGAS.com introduces a new $10 combination ticket that provides unlimited daily rides on the Arrow and on the Las Vegas Monorail. The Arrow follows routes through downtown Las Vegas and Fremont Street, the Las Vegas Convention Center and the north, center and southern parts of the Las Vegas Strip. The Las Vegas Monorail has seven stops running from the Sahara Hotel-Casino at the north end of the Las Vegas Strip to the MGM Grand at the south end. Single ride tickets for the Arrow cost $2.50.

    Tickets can be purchased online at vegas.com and concierge locations at Bally’s Excalibur, Flamingo, Harrah’s, Imperial Palace, Luxor, Mandalay Bay, THEhotel at Mandalay Bay, Monte Carlo, New York-New York, Palace Station, Palms, Paris Las Vegas, and the Rio.

    Vegas.com Arrow.

    Silverado Resort Drops Rates

    The 1,200 acre Silverado Resort in Napa Valley drops the price of two of its popular packages for golfers and spa aficionados.

    The Golfer’s Dream package includes accommodations in a one bedroom suite and golf for two, including cart, for 18 holes per night’s stay. Through Feb. 29, 2008, the Golfer’s Dream package is priced at $199 per room - Sunday through Thursday nights, and $289 per room - Friday and Saturday, which represents a savings of more than 50 percent off regular prices of the package components.

    Through Mar. 31, 2008, the resort’s Spa Girl package is priced at $230 per person, per night -Sunday through Thursday based on double occupancy in a one-bedroom suite or triple occupancy in a two-bedroom suite. The cost is $250 per person, per night on Friday and Saturday. All taxes and gratuities are included. The package includes suite accommodations, a 50-minute spa treatment, breakfast and use of spa facilities and tennis courts. You also receive a wine-tasting at the William Hill Estate and a Silverado canvas tote.

    Silverado Resort or 800/532-0500.

    Beat Hidden Costs at Sea by Nicki Chodnoff

    Think your cruise price is all-inclusive? Well you might be in for a surprise. On a cruise ship, incidentals have a nasty way and fast way of adding hundreds of dollars to your overall cruise cost. So before you get hit with $4 lattes, the $10 yoga classes and the $6 souvenir photos, read the fine print of your contract.

    Once you book your cruise, sit down with your family and discuss what is included in the fare. Most cruise lines include accommodations, meals in dining rooms and cafes, and activities in the kids’ clubs. Come up with a policy about what everyone is allowed to do and buy, and what is forbidden. You might even decide on a cash-only rule for incidentals to keep from racking up costs.

    Here are some strategies to tame those hidden costs.

    Beverages. Here’s a wake-up call for many first-time cruisers: The drinks ain’t free. You pay for alcoholic beverages, bottled water, soda, and espresso. Plus each time you order one of these beverages, there’s an automatic gratuity (about 18 percent) added to your bar bill. That’s not to say you can’t enjoy a cocktail or two. The way to save here is to check out which bars offer specials and when. Order the “drink of the day” or house special instead of that name brand. This will add up to big savings over the course of your cruise. Gravitate to cruise line parties where free drinks are served.

    Even if you don’t drink alcohol, you can easily spend $100 for bottled water or soda on a six-day cruise. One way to tame this cost is the all-you-can-drink fountain soda card. Good for the duration of the cruise, these pay-up-front cards make sense when your family will drink more than four or five sodas or bottles of water, per person, per day. Most cruise lines offer a form of the fountain soda card for about $15 per kid and $35 per adult for a six-day cruise. Disney ships still offer free, unlimited fountain sodas.

    Childcare. Consider putting off a cruise until your kids are old enough for the kids’ clubs. Many cruise lines start their kids’ clubs for children three years and older. Dropping you child at the kids’ club on days the ship is at sea is free. This gives adults some much needed alone time. Hiring an in-cabin sitter, or dropping your little one in the nursery or nighttime group babysitting room isn’t. Count on $5 to $10 per hour for the first child.

    Spa Strategy. As most other things in life, supply-and-demand determines price. First off, understand that your massage won’t be cheap. But that doesn’t mean you have to pay top dollar. Since most people leave the ship when it is in port, spa visits are cheaper on port days. To get those coveted less-expensive spa treatments, book them immediately after you board the ship. Amazingly, spa and salon appointment times for the entire cruise will be booked solid before that first night is over. You’re expected to tip the beautician or masseuse who treats you, either in cash or by adding it to your shipboard account.

    Bring Your Own. Most cruise ships don’t let you bring alcohol on board and many no longer allow you to bring soft drinks and bottled water. However, bring along a crushable, insulated cooler; some sports bottles and one-gallon Ziploc storage bags. Refill your sports bottles at the breakfast buffet’s beverage counter. And pack a picnic lunch from the ship. First thing in the morning, order sandwiches from room service, get some fruit and rolls from the breakfast buffet, and you have free lunch to go. It beats the over-priced, mediocre food most families wind up eating in ports-of-call.

    Activities. Cruises line offers a plethora of free entertainment, games, and activities. Some activities come with a price tag - about $10 for a yoga class or $40 for a cooking class. To spend no extra money, limit your entertainment and activities to the free ones. Or limit your spending by mixing free and fee daily activities. Beware of the casino, it may be your most expensive indulgence. To control costs, set a daily budget for the casino or stay away completely if you can’t afford to lose.

    Excursions. After reading about swimming with dolphins or snorkeling in azure blue water in your cruise brochure, chances are you’ll spend your biggest chunk of change on excursions. Cruise sponsored tours can cost as much as $350 per person, depending on the destination and activity. When you do the math, it may cost a family of four around $400 per port day. Plus, the shore guide will expect a tip too.

    Since the cruise line contracts with independent tour operators at each port, they mark up each excursion they sell to passengers like you. You can pocket that mark up, which can range from 10 to 25 percent, by setting up your own excursion with an independent tour operator. This is particularly easy in destinations where English is spoken. ShoreTrips and Port Promotions offer off-ship excursions in many places around the world. The sites tell you the price of the tour (the more people in your group, the less the excursion), the day and time when the tour leaves, how long the tour lasts and where you meet your guide. You buy the tour online, but it’s up to you to figure out if tour times coincide with the time your ship is in port.

    If your cruise is headed for beach destinations, that can be your cheapest option. Check out the beaches at those ports before you board the ship. Once you get off the ship you explore on your own for free. If beaches aren’t within walking distance of the dock, catch a cab to the nearest beach. Or use public transportation where a good and inexpensive system exists, such as in Bermuda.

    Shut Down Your Cell. Chances are your cell phone won’t work once the ship sails. So figures out how important is it to call home when you’re away. If you cell carrier provides services, you will pay international roaming charges for calls from ship or port. Ship-to-shore telephone calls are cheaper now that most ships have cell phone coverage, but they are still expensive costing about $5 to $10 per minute. Wi-Fi makes sending emails cheaper, but they are still not free. Warn your kids before you sail that the ship’s pricey Internet café is off limits during your cruise.

    Curb indulgences. Those lattes and Dove bars can really add up. Give yourself a daily limit for non-inclusive treats, and stick to it. Souvenir photos of the kids in the pool are enticing, especially when they are prominently displayed in the photo gallery. Those photos can be $6 a pop and family portraits can cost five times more. Obviously, tee-shirts, toys, and other gift-shop items cost extra.

    Stay healthy. Bring the hand sanitizer. The ship’s doctor charges for an office visit and you pay for any medication the doctor may prescribe. Plus your insurance card may not be accepted. Ask your health insurer before you go if you’re covered outside the U.S. Even if your insurance covers the doctor’s visit, you may have to pay up front and be reimbursed later.

    Budget for Tips. Tips are the unbudgeted expense many forget to calculate when planning a cruise. Other than the ship’s officers who are salaried, the rest of the crew will be angling for tips. All the cruise lines state that tips aren’t “mandatory” but on many ships there is a big push to get your tip at cruise end. The cruise lines even suggest a rate of $10 per person, per day of the cruise to take care of most of the restaurant and cabin staff. In fact, the cruise line will automatically add a gratuity charge to your shipboard account. On more upscale cruises, the daily tipping rate is higher and may include the maitre d’ and butler plus the rest of the restaurant and cabin staff. Although the cruise lines won’t mention it, it’s okay to tip half the suggested amount for each child under 12 sharing the same cabin. Add it up, and a family of four on a seven-night cruise can hand out gratuities of at least $210.

    Cheap Tix Chart
    Buy Tickets at a Discount -- Special ticket outlets sell discounted day-of-performance tickets to theater productions, films, and sporting events. Discounts can be 50 percent or more. On The Go Publishing’s 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.

    TourCrafters’ $595 Barcelona Deal

    Restaurants, nightlife, architecture and temperatures that hover in the 50s, is what winter offers in Barcelona, Spain. Tourcrafters offers a five-day package to the Catalan capital for $595 that includes roundtrip air fare from New York, accommodations, daily breakfast, hotel service and taxes. The package is valid through March 2008.

    Prices are per person, based on double occupancy, are subject to availability and do not include airport taxes of $100 or fuel surcharges of $210. Reservations must be paid for within 72 hours of booking.

    The package offers a choice of hotels, from the three-star Hotel Covadonga at $595, to four- and five-star options. Those who want to see celebs and like five-star luxury can stay at the Melia Barcelona for$745 in January, a bit more in February.

    There are departures from other cities. The air fare add-on from Miami is $15; Chicago, $20; Philadelphia, $35; Boston, $40; Orlando, $45; Washington, $65; Tampa, $85; Atlanta, $110; Seattle, $145; and Los Angeles and San Francisco, $155.

    TourCrafters or 800/482-5995.

    Malaysia Airlines First Class Upgrade

    Malaysia Airlines offers a free first-class upgrade to business-class travelers flying to Taiwan, Malaysia, Singapore and other destinations in Southeast and South Asia. Full-fare business passengers may upgrade to first-class, subject to seat availability, on flights originating in Los Angeles and can be used for one-way or roundtrip journeys. Tickets are valid for one year from date of outbound travel.

    The offer is valid only on flights where there are first and business class cabins (long-haul sectors). Unlimited stopovers are allowed en route. Children and infant discounts apply.

    Newly designed first-class cabins feature high tech seats with a massage feature and convert to flat-bed sleeping pods. A large wooden dining table and buddy seat allows passengers to dine together. Dining is á la carte and served whenever the passenger desires. Ethnic and continental menu items are available including the airline’s signature dish, grilled satay with a spicy peanut sauce. In-flight entertainment features audio and video on demand, with 350 options viewed on a 15-inch LCD touch screen. Mood lighting in the cabin, automatic window shades and an extra large lavatory with full-length mirror are some of the features.

    Sample roundtrip business-class fares from Los Angeles: $4,730 to Taipei; $6,800 to Kuala Lumpur or Singapore.

    Malaysia Airlines or 888/627-8477.

    50% off Rio Mar Beach Resort and Spa

    BOOK BY JAN. 15 - - The Rio Mar Beach Resort and Spa in Puerto Rico offers 50 percent off its published room rates through 2008. Rooms must be booked by Jan. 15, 2008.

    Situated on 500 acres of beachfront property, Rio Mar Beach Resort and Spa, a Wyndham Grand Resort, is close to the El Yunque Caribbean National Forest and Old San Juan.

    Through May 31, 2008, the discounted rates are $284 per night for resort view rooms and $334 per night for ocean view. June 1 to Aug. 9, 2008, rates are $229 per night for resort view and $279 per night for ocean view. Aug. 10 to Nov. 1, 2008, rooms are $184 per night resort view and $224 per night ocean view. Nov 2. Dec. 20, 2008, rooms are $229 per night resort view and $279 per night ocean view. Taxes, gratuities and resort fees are not included in the rates.

    The offer is based on availability as some black out dates apply, and there are no refunds on unused features. The offer may not be combined with other promotion or special and does not apply to prior reservations, groups or conventions. You must request this offer when booking. Children under 17 stay free in the same room as their parents. Additional person charge of $40.

    Rio Mar Beach Resort and Spa reservations 877/999-3223.

    Silky Travel Jewelry Roll
    A must have for travelers. Our silky travel jewelry roll comes in a random assortment of single-color jacquards, solid colors and two-color brocades. This handy travel jewelry roll measures 8 1/2 x 11 inches when open and closes to a compact 8 1/2 x 4 inches. Our exclusive design offers a place for everything with one deep pocket, a ring bar and three zippered compartments. Price $40. Click here to order from On The Go Publishing.

    Outer Banks Guide & Getaway Card

    The Outer Banks Visitors Bureau in North Carolina released its free official travel guide. The guide can serve as a resource tool for a visit by listing accommodations, historic sites, restaurants, beach access, public boat ramps, fishing, lifeguard locations and ferry service.

    With the visitors guide comes the Outer Banks Getaway Card that offers reduced rates and discounts at more than 100 businesses on accommodations, food and recreation. It’s valid through May 15, 2008 and Sep. 15 to Dec. 31, 2008. When making reservations, you must request the getaway card rate and the card must be presented when making a purchase.

    The free travel guide is available at the Visitors Bureau’s web site or by calling the bureau.

    Outer Banks Visitors Bureau or 877/629-4386.

    Stay Longer, Save More at Intrawest Resorts

    BOOK BY JAN. 15 - - Intrawest offers accommodation deals and airfare specials as part of its "Destination: Snow" vacation packages for the 2007-2008 winter season. The savings are available at Blue Mountain, Mont Tremblant, Panorama Mountain Village and Whistler Blackcomb .

    Book your winter vacation at either of the four resorts by Jan. 15, 2008, and receive the fifth night free. In Ontario, you can book two nights at Blue Mountain and get a third night at 50 percent off the regular price.

    Intrawest has special pricing with major airlines to make travel more affordable. Exclusive airfare deals for customers traveling within Canada include: Toronto to Mont Tremblant from $99, Toronto to Vancouver from $194, Toronto to Calgary from $179 and Ottawa to Vancouver from $139. Airline fares are each way, per person and exclude taxes and fees.

    Package rates are subject to availability, blackout dates, and are based on minimum night stays.

    Intrawest Central Reservations http://www.intrawest.com or 866/787-1977.

    24-hour Fall Foliage Hotline or 570/421-5565.

    Had a good experience on a plane recently? Stumbled across the perfect place to stay, eat or drink? Tell us about it, email us here.

    PLEASE NOTE: All links are sent as clickable links. Some email programs such as AOL, Yahoo, & Hotmail change the links so that they are not clickable. If you have problems clicking on a link, just copy and paste the link into your browser.

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    Information & Credits

    The Travel Savings Alerts Newsletter, P.O. Box 91033, Columbus OH 43209, edited by Nicki Chodnoff, is published monthly.

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