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Travel Savings Alerts Newsletter, December 2012 Issue



Travel Savings Alerts
P.O. Box 91033
Columbus OH 43209
http://www.onthegopublishing.com/currentissue.html
travelnewsletter@aim.com
ISSN: 1542-801X, Copyright  2012 
All Rights Reserved.
Editor: Nicki Chodnoff


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Vegas Tickets


In This Issue:
Coliseum, Rome, Italy

Roman Coliseum

  • Free Skiing with Badrutt’s Palace Hotel Stay
  • AdventureSmith Explorations Mid-Winter Specials
  • Website Reunites Travelers with Lost Items
  • Lake Tahoe Ski Resorts Early Season Deals
  • Club Med Semi-Annual Sale Event
  • Oxford Summer School
  • Eight Places for Stargazing in Colorado
  • Winter Getaways to New Orleans Downtown Marriott
  • Jekyll Island Club Hotel's Celebration Continues
  • Free Tours of Santa Cruz Wharf
  • Cool Jams Review by Nicki Chodnoff
  • Low Solo Fares on 2013 Crystal Cruises
  • Barceló Bávaro Beach Resort $3,000 Resort Credit
  • Richard Burton Diaries Sweepstakes
  • Marina del Rey Winter Sale
  • 15-Day China Cruise & Tour from $2,499
  • Free Global Phone Calls from Denver Airport
  • Discount Rate at 7 NYC Hilton Worldwide Hotels
  • Fun on LAX Layover
  • Book by Dec. 22 for Discounts on Caribbean Travel


    Free Skiing with Badrutt’s Palace Hotel Stay

    Badrutt’s Palace Hotel in St Moritz, Switzerland, provides guests who stay more than one night free skiing this winter. When staying at the Palace, you will receive a free ticket, for all mountain railways, cable cars and public transport in St Moritz for the duration of your stay, valid through Apr.1, 2013.

    More than 100 hotels in the region are part of the Ski Pass program and offer a ticket for mountain railways and lifts for 25.00 CHF (approx. $26 US) per person, per day, for stays of two or more nights. Free use of the regional public transport in the Upper Engadin is also included in the price. Badrutt’s Palace Hotel is the only five-star hotel in St Moritz that offers this ticket for free. Sweetening the deal, Badrutt’s Palace offers free transfers to and from the Corviglia mountain railway station.

    In the Upper Engadin there are more than 215 miles (375 km) of groomed ski runs, three snow parks and 57 cable car and ski-lift rides, and access to 34 mountain restaurants with sun terraces. Free use of public transport in the entire Upper Engadin area is included in the offer.

    If you want more than lift passes, the All About Ski package includes a double room for seven nights (from CHF 6,720 in medium season and from CHF 7,420 in high season, approx. $7,185 US and $7,933 US respectively), ski equipment for six days, a private ski instructor for a two-hour introduction to the region’s slopes, seven evening meals (not including drinks), the ski pass for the region and transfer to and from the ski lift for the length of your stay.

    Badrutt’s Palace Hotel offers 157 rooms and 37 suites with views of the Swiss Alps. Badrutt’s Palace Hotel opens Dec. 1, 2012 to Apr. 2013.

    Badrutt’s Palace Hotel.


    AdventureSmith Explorations Mid-Winter Specials

    AdventureSmith Explorations offers savings on some close-to-home cruises in Hawaii, Baja and Belize.

    Two mid-winter departures of an eight-day Costa Rica and Panama Canal cruise aboard the 62-passenger Sea Lion come with a free pre- or post-cruise extension to the Monteverde Cloud Forest or $500 off the expedition cost that starts at $4,980 per person, double occupancy. The dates for this promotion are Dec. 15 to 22 and Jan. 5 to 12, 2013.

    Bookings made on the Belize - Ancient Sites, Rain Forests & Coral Reefs cruise before Dec. 31, 2012, come with a waiver on single supplements on some cabins and free roundtrip economy air to Belize City (or up to a $500 air credit) from Atlanta, Dallas, Houston and Miami. The eight-day cruise aboard the 138-passenger Yorktown departs weekly Jan. 12 through Feb. 15, 2013. Valid from the US only, air travel from other gateways is available for an add-on cost. The cruise is priced from $3,795 per person double occupancy.

    A Mar. 9 or 30, 2013 departure on the 86-passenger Safari Endeavor comes with 25 percent savings for ages 12 and under. The eight-day cruise traverses the Sea of Cortez. The per person, double occupancy rate begins at $2,995.

    More family savings on the Mar. 9 and 30, 2013, departures of Hawaiian Seascapes with 25 percent discounts for ages 12 and under aboard the 39-passenger small yacht, Safari Explorer. Rates are from $4,995 per person double occupancy. The five-island cruise offers opportunities for whale watching and exploring local culture.

    AdventureSmith Explorations or 800/728-2875.

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    Website Reunites Travelers with Lost Items

    Airport Lost and Found offers a solution to the problem of lost item recovery. Airport Lost and Found has a 78 percent success rate in returning valuables to their rightful owners.

    Airport Lost and Found connects the lost and found divisions of more than 9,000 airports and 900 airlines, including eateries, shopping outlets and other commercial spaces inside airport terminals. When you realize that you misplaced something of value, you can go to the Airport Lost and Found website and make a claim. Filing a claim costs $29.95. You can include as much detail as you can provide. Generally, more information raises the odds of quick recovery. Once a claim is submitted, the process of matching that claim against the database begins.

    The Lost and Found database system brings together the knowledge of every airport and airline in the system. Today, lost and found departments at airports photograph and catalog every lost item that enters their system. These items are then entered into a digital, searchable database. Airport Lost and Found uses these databases to match a user's claim against the inventory of photos and descriptions.

    Specific location data serves as the starting point for the search. Losing something on a plane or in a busy airport terminal is discouraging as many miles may separate the item from its owner before the item is even known to be missing. So when you are unable to retrieve an item in person, Airport Lost and Found can arrange for a courier service to complete the delivery.

    While success is not guaranteed, Airport Lost and Found promises to search until the item is discovered. Sometimes there is a delay between an item being lost and the item entering the database, or, an item might be returned to an unexpected location, slowing the search process.

    Airport Lost and Found was developed to meet an unfulfilled need: reuniting travelers with their lost property at affordable prices.

    Airport Lost and Found or 877/475-7126.


    Lake Tahoe Ski Resorts Early Season Deals

    Skiers and snowboarders can lock in savings by booking their winter vacation in Lake Tahoe prior to the start of the ski season.

    Ski Lake Tahoe resorts offer storm sales and other time-sensitive offers promoting discounts on advanced bookings. You can take advantage of pricing offered on stay-and-ski packages during December.

    Getting to Lake Tahoe will be much easier this season thanks to renovations to the Reno-Tahoe International Airport. Additional flights have been added for the winter season such as the nonstop service from the Ontario International Airport. The opening of Interstate 580 freeway will shave more than 10 minutes off the drive time to the slopes.

    Here are some early season deals offered by the Ski Lake Tahoe resorts.

    Alpine Meadows/Squaw Valley - Stay at Alpine Meadows and Squaw Valley early this winter season and get the fourth night free at the Village at Squaw Valley. One, two and three bedroom condominiums include fireplace, kitchen and private balcony. Rates start at $73 per person, per night based on double occupancy, with a four night minimum. Offer Valid through Dec. 20, 2012.

    Heavenly Mountain Resort,,800/HEAVENLY, Ski Free, Stay Free. Book from four to 10 nights and get one night of lodging and one day skiing/riding free. Valid through Apr. 14, 2013. Blackout dates apply; restrictions vary based on length of stay and dates.

    Kirkwood Mountain Resort - The early bird gets the worm, a $45 discounted lesson. Kirkwood's LTS/LTR Early Bird package lets you have the morning for instruction then have the rest of the day to ski. Packages include a beginner lesson, rentals and limited lift ticket. You must pre-register 24 hours in advance and arrive no later than 8:45am the day of your lesson. Early bird packages are available Saturday and Sunday for ages 13 and older.

    Mt. Rose-Ski Tahoe - Mt. Rose-Ski Tahoe partners with Reno casino properties to offer stay-and-ski packages from $79 per person for lift ticket and lodging. Free shuttle options are available. Weekly specials can be found online.

    Northstar California - Receive three nights lodging and two days of skiing/riding per person when you book the "3-2-1 Countdown to December" lodging, lift ticket and gift card package. You receive one $50 Resort Gift Card with each package booked. Some restrictions may apply.

    Sierra-at-Tahoe Resort - Stay, Ski and Soar. The package starts at $265 per person and includes a two night stay, two lift tickets to Sierra-at-Tahoe Resort and two 20-minute helicopter rides.

    Ski Lake Tahoe - The Ski Lake Tahoe Six-Pack Lift Ticket includes six days of skiing or riding at all seven Lake Tahoe resorts for $299. Lift tickets are transferrable and do not have to be used on consecutive days. Limited quantities available.

    Ski Lake Tahoe.


    Club Med Semi-Annual Sale Event

    Club Med, the all-inclusive resort company, offers seven-night all-inclusive vacations from $749 per person for families and $999 per person for couples with the Club Med Semi-Annual Sale Event. The $749 price is per person based on a family of four traveling to Sandpiper Bay for a seven-night stay while the $999 price is per person based on two guests traveling to Sandpiper Bay for a seven-night stay. Neither offer includes airfare.

    You must be booked in the same Club room for a three-night minimum stay to qualify, seven nights minimum if traveling to Columbus Isle. The sale is valid for new individual bookings for select travel dates through June 28, 2013. Holiday restrictions and other blackout dates apply. Club Med membership fees of $60 per adult and $30 per child are additional.

    You can purchase an all-inclusive vacation to more than 60 Club Med sun and ski resorts worldwide including properties in the Caribbean, Mexico, France, Switzerland, Greece, Brazil, Malaysia and Thailand. For these rates, you must book by Jan. 9, 2013 for travel through June 28, 2013.

    Club Med caters to families with family rooms and family-friendly amenities and activities. The children's programs are designed for specific age groups. Activities include junior tennis, golf, sailing, circus school, Le Petit Chef cooking lessons and Zumbatomic.

    Club Med makes it easy when traveling with a baby with the Baby Welcome Program. Highchairs, cribs, strollers, bottle warmers and bathtubs are available upon arrival.

    A Club Med all-inclusive vacation includes everything in one price. You get gourmet dining throughout the day and a full open bar with premium alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages. There are activities throughout the day and entertainment every evening.

    Club Med or 800/ClubMed.


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    Oxford Summer School

    The one-week learning vacation at Oxford University in England is open to everyone and has no requirements, no exams and no papers. You live and study at Christ Church, one of the Oxford colleges, and dine in the Hall made famous by the Harry Potter films. Though the college was founded by Cardinal Wolsey almost five centuries ago, the dorms are considerably younger and a new elevator to the Hall makes life easy for people with mobility problems.

    The six-week program takes place June 30 to Aug. 10, 2013, with each week starting on a Sunday and finishing the following Saturday. Small classes of 12 are taught by tutors and the more than 60 courses offer a variety of subjects: Charles Dickens, From Rasputin to Putin, Introduction to Particle Physics, Alice’s Adventures in Oxford, and Spies in British Fiction.

    The residential program includes accommodations and three daily meals: a full English breakfast, a buffet lunch and a served three-course dinner. On the final night everyone gathers for champagne in the Cathedral Garden and a farewell dinner in the Hall. Throughout the week there are excursions to stately homes, cathedrals, museums, tours of Oxford, pub walks, whisky tastings, lectures, wine and croquet in the Master’s Garden and Evensong in the college chapel, which is also the Oxford Cathedral.

    Participants range in age from 25 to 85, though the average is about 60, and the mix is Europeans, Australians, New Zealanders, South Africans, an occasional Asian and lots of Americans and Canadians.

    The one-week course, including tuition, accommodations and all meals (except those on excursions) is £1,180 or approximately $1,885. There are charges for most excursions ($80 and up) and for rooms with private bath (about $289). The registration deadline is May 1, 2013, and early application is recommended as courses fill quickly.

    Information and a registration form are online. Or write to: The Oxford Experience, OUDCE, 1 Wellington Square, Oxford, OX1 2JA, U.K.


    Eight Places for Stargazing in Colorado

    The Colorado Tourism Office highlights eight of the best spots for stargazing in the state. Click here for a free copy of the 2012 Official State Visitors Guide.

    Chimney Rock National Monument is the country's newest National Monument and one of the best stargazing destinations in the west, with 5,000-plus acres of high desert terrain. The U.S. Forest Service offers free Night-Sky Archaeo-Astronomy programs.

    Red Rocks Park & Amphitheater is used to seeing stars: U2, Dave Matthews Band, Coldplay are a few of the acts who performed at this natural, open-air amphitheater. The wide, terraced stairs of the amphitheater makes it an ideal location to spend an evening stargazing.

    Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park in southwest Colorado offers numerous opportunities to turn one's eyes heavenward. Ranger-guided stargazing programs are offered throughout the year.

    The UFO Watchtower in Alamosa has miniscule light pollution. Local legend has it that the San Luis Valley is an extraterrestrial hotbed, with dozens of UFO sightings rumored to have occurred in the area.

    The OPUS Hut, surrounded by 13,000-foot mountain peaks, is a backcountry respite. At an altitude of 11,800 feet, you feel as though you can reach out and touch the stars. Rates, which include dinner and breakfast, are $70 per night.

    Rocky Mountain National Park and Estes Park offer several stargazing areas. The Rocky Mountain Nature Association (www.rmna.org) offers Trek Adventures at Dusk, a custom educational experience for children that are led by a local naturalist. The trek is available by snowshoe or bus tour.

    Horsetooth Reservoir near Fort Collins, named for a bizarre rock formation that resembles a horse's tooth, offers an uninterrupted view of the night skies. A short hike to Horsetooth Rock offers a view of Fort Collins on one side and rugged mountains framed by Horsetooth Reservoir and the night sky on the other.

    Gunnison Valley Observatory is the largest public telescope in Colorado. At an elevation of 7,703 feet and with virtually non-existent air and light pollution, Gunnison boasts near-perfect stargazing conditions.

    Colorado Tourism Office.


    Winter Getaways to New Orleans Downtown Marriott

    Book a standard room before Dec. 28, 2012, for stays through Jan. 23, 2013, at rates beginning at $99 per night at the New Orleans Downtown Marriott at the Convention Center.

    Located in the city's Arts District, this hotel is near the Warehouse District’s dining and entertainment options.

    Housed in a renovated 19th-century cotton mill, the hotel’s amenities include a fitness center, Starbucks, business center and swimming pool.

    To make a reservation online, use the promotional code WBZ in the corporate/promotional code box. Advanced reservations are required.

    New Orleans Downtown Marriott or 800/228-9290.

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    Jekyll Island Club Hotel's Anniversary Celebration Continues

    The Jekyll Island Club Hotel on Jekyll Island, GA, will continue celebrating its anniversary in December 2012 and extend savings into January 2013. The Jekyll Island Club Hotel was built in 1886 as a hunting retreat for America's wealthy elite including J.P. Morgan, William Rockefeller, the Vanderbilts, Goulds and Astors. Restored to its original splendor in 1986 and opened in 1987, it is now a National Historic Landmark and a member of Historic Hotels of America.

    Visit in December and enjoy a clubhouse or traditional room for $125 as the 125th anniversary ends. The celebration continues into 2013 with a $126 per night rate in January. The $125 or $126 rate is plus tax and resort fee. You can also receive 25 percent off deluxe rooms and suites during these months. Rates are based on availability.

    Amenities at the Jekyll Island resort include concierge services, a heated swimming pool, hotel tours Monday through Thursday, free intra-island transportation and free wireless internet.

    Jekyll Island Club Hotel or 800/535-9547.


    Free Tours of Santa Cruz Wharf

    What does a sea lion eat? How cold is the water? These and other questions can be answered on a free tour of the Santa Cruz Municipal Wharf in Santa Cruz, CA.

    UCSC’s Seymour Marine Discovery Center, together with the City of Santa Cruz, offers free guided 30-minute tours of the wharf every Saturday and Sunday, year round. The Seymour Center's marine science interpreters are also available between tours to answer questions about the variety of wildlife visible at the wharf. In addition to the docent-led tours, blue-and-green signs at several locations on the wharf and elsewhere along the coast of Santa Cruz provide information accessible with a smart phone as part of a self-guided "ecotour" program sponsored by the City of Santa Cruz and UC Santa Cruz.

    Santa Cruz County Conference and Visitors Council or 800/833-3494.

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    Cool Jams Review by Nicki Chodnoff

    Cool-Jams sleepwear claims that its wicking fabric helps regulate your body temperature while you sleep.

    The fabric, a microfiber polyester, feels soft and smooth, like a cross between silk and bamboo. For travel, its benefit is the pajamas are light as a feather and if have to hand wash them, the wicking feature helps dry the pajamas quickly. Cool-Jams fabric also resists odors and bacteria and come with a free washing bag to prolong the life of your pajamas.

    I tested a medium three-piece pajama set with a sleeveless top on a hot summer night. The fine-gauge knit fabric feels similar to bamboo or raw silk and was cool to the touch. The neckline, arm openings and trim are banded in white and topstitched to prevent rolling. Despite the heat, the Cool-Jams fabric pulled away sweat from my skin, so I didn’t get that clammy, sticky feeling in the morning. After wearing the pajamas several nights, I could not detect perspiration or other odors in the fabric. That’s a virtue for travelers.

    The Cool-Jams pajamas delivered on its claims, they were soft, light, and kept me cool. It wicks away moisture so your skin feels dry. The three-piece Jillian pajama set lists for $109. When I checked the price in mid-November 2012, it was on sale for $99 with free shipping. There are lower price sets and you can buy tops or bottoms individually. Although not inexpensive, Cool-Jams can be a good investment for a cool night's sleep.

    Cool-Jams or 888/849-0013.


    Low Solo Fares on 2013 Crystal Cruises

    Crystal Cruises offers low single occupancy fares on an increased number of cruises to more destinations in 2013. Single occupancy fares start at $2,865. Solo travelers can choose a cruise in almost every month from April to November.
      With single supplements of 10 percent, you can save up to $1,000 for a private, outside stateroom on 10 cruises of seven to 18 days, including:
    • April 12 Kobe to Vancouver – 18 days for $6,030;
    • May 9 Rome to Istanbul – 9 days for $3,670;
    • May 23 New York to Reykjavik – 12 days for $4,265;
    • June 25 Stockholm to Copenhagen – 10 days for $5,485;
    • July 6 Istanbul to Rome – 7 days for $2,865;
    • July 20 Stockholm to Copenhagen – 10 days for $5,485;
    • July 30 Copenhagen to Stockholm – 10 days for 5,485;
    • September 2 London to Barcelona – 9 days for $4,375;
    • November 2 Rome to Lisbon – 13 days for $4,805; and
    • November 23 Miami to Rio de Janeiro – 16 days for $5,260.

    For solo travelers, Crystal provides Ambassador Hosts on every sailing for those needing a dance partner, assigned seating for dinner in the Crystal Dining Room, and "Table for 8," which brings individuals together for friendly shared dining in the specialty restaurants at night.

    Crystal Cruises' include fine wines, premium spirits, gratuities and other free amenities including enrichment speakers, fitness classes, a pillow menu and specialty restaurant dining.

    Crystal Cruises.


    Barceló Bávaro Beach Resort $3000 Resort Credit

    Escape to the Caribbean by booking a stay at the all-inclusive Barceló Bávaro Beach Resort in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic. You can experience the resort’s amenities with an added-value $3,000 resort credit through December 2013.

    n addition to an all-inclusive getaway, you will receive up to $3,000 in resort credits per room that can be used for activities such as shopping at the on-site 16-store shopping promenade, trying your luck at the Casino Bávaro or dancing at Disco Bávaro. Golfers can practice at the new golf complex. Kids can splash at the Pirate’s Island water park. Adults spend the day at the spa or experience a private beach dinner. Resort credits are good for off-site excursions from a daytrip to the nation’s capital or a jeep safari. Credits are valid for room upgrades, laundry services and access to the business and Internet center.

      The value of the resort credit is based on the length of your reservation.
    • Stay: Up to four nights and receive $1,200 in resort credit
    • five to 11 nights – $2,000 in resort credit
    • 12 or more nights – $3,000 resort credit.

    Barceló Hotels & Resorts or 800/BARCELO.


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    Richard Burton Diaries Sweepstakes

    Actor Richard Burton would have been 87 on Nov. 10, 2012. This Welsh native is in the spotlight with the first complete collection of his diaries. To celebrate, Visit Wales launched The Richard Burton Diaries Sweepstakes, where one winner and a guest get an exclusive glimpse into the places, passion and the people that shaped the actor. You may enter through Feb. 27, 2013. No purchase or payment is necessary to enter or win.

    The five- night prize trip includes a chance to meet the book's editor, Chris Williams and view Burton's original diaries at Swansea University. The winner will also tour the new Richard Burton Trail in Wales, visit his home village Pontrhydyfen, and travel to the seaside town of Tenby where Burton and Elizabeth Taylor vacationed together.

    The winner must book their travel by Dec. 31, 2013 and travel must be completed by Mar. 1, 2014. A random drawing on or about Mar. 1, 2013, will select one potential Grand Prize and four potential First Prize winners.

    • The Richard Burton Diaries Sweepstakes Grand Prize is provided by Visit Wales and Lynott Tours and includes:
    • Roundtrip coach air transportation to Britain.
    • Five nights' accommodation in Wales with stops in the capital, Cardiff, Dylan Thomas's home, Swansea and Burton and Taylor's seaside getaway, Tenby.
    • Ground transfers and rail transportation in Wales.
    • A visit to Richard Burton's hometown of Pontrhydyfen and the Richard Burton Trail.
    • A private driver-guide excursion to Tenby.
    • A chance to meet Chris Williams, editor of The Richard Burton Diaries, tour the Richard Burton Centre at Swansea University, view Burton's original diaries (subject to scheduling availability).

    Four runners-up will receive The Richard Burton Diaries, courtesy of Yale University Press.

    Richard Burton Diaries Sweepstakes.


    Marina del Rey Winter Sale

    Marina del Rey, CA invites LA-Bound visitors to enjoy waterfront accommodations with its "Warmest Welcome Winter Sale." Valid through Jan. 31, 2013, this community-wide initiative offers competitive rates from $139 per night.

    Four miles from Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), Marina del Rey is the center of on-the-water activities with public transportation to the surrounding neighborhoods of Venice Beach, Santa Monica, Beverly Hills and Hollywood. All Marina del Rey hotels are within walking distance from the beach, leisure activities and restaurants with year-round outdoor dining.

    You can book online. Each hotel lists its promotion code and contact details.

      "Warmest Welcome Winter Sale" rates include:
    • Foghorn Harbor Inn, 800/423-4940, Promotion Code: WINTER Rate: $139 Reservations by telephone only. Hotel rooms with patios or balconies, most with marina views. Free continental breakfast and LAX shuttle is included.
    • Jamaica Bay Inn Promotion Code: WINTER Rate: $159 city view; $179 marina view; $299 family friendly suite. Reservations online or by telephone.
    • Marina del Rey Hotel Promotion Code: WINTER Rate: 20 percent off best rate. Reservations online or by telephone. Free parking and internet.
    • Marina del Rey Marriott Promotion Code: LPR Rate: $155. Reservations online or by telephone.
    • The Ritz-Carlton, Marina del Rey Promotion Code: BED Rate: From at $319. Reservations online or by telephone. Includes room, one breakfast for two and valet parking.

    Rates are based on availability for single or double occupancy rooms. Blackout dates include Dec. 30-31, 2012 and Jan. 1, 2013.

    Marina del Rey Convention & Visitors Bureau.


    15-Day China Cruise & Tour from $2,499

    Forget expensive air fares to Europe and pricey Caribbean hotels. China Spree’s 15-day Mighty Yangtze tour/cruise vacation includes trans-Pacific airfare and a tour of Beijing, Xian, Chengdu, Chongqing, Suzhou, Tongli and Shanghai plus a three-night Yangtze River cruise aboard the Victoria Katarina. China Spree offers this special for $2,499 in March and November, 2013. The price rises for spring and summer departures, and it is $60 higher from Los Angeles and $100 from New York.

    All shore excursions are included in the three-night downstream Yangtze River cruise, which provides outside cabins with private balconies on Victoria Cruises’ Katarina.

    The cruise is only part of the story. In Imperial Beijing the tour visits the Great Wall of China, the 9,999-room palace called the Forbidden City and the Summer Palace gardens. In Xian, the attraction is the buried army of Terracotta Warriors and Horses. In Chengdu, you can hug a baby panda at the Giant Panda Breeding Center, and Chongqing is China’s WWII capital and home of the Flying Tigers.

    Sightseeing in Suzhou includes canals, a classic garden and a silk mill. In Tongli you can ride on a gondola and pass picturesque Ming houses, cobbled streets and bridges. The tour ends in Shanghai, China’s most sophisticated and cosmopolitan city.

    The program provides sightseeing tours with entrance fees, guides, four-star hotel accommodations with buffet breakfasts, 22 other meals including a Peking duck dinner and dim sum banquet, a hutong tour, a home-hosted lunch, afternoon tea in a neighborhood teahouse, the Sichuan Opera, a Tang Dynasty Show and the Shanghai Acrobats.

    The prices quoted are the cash discount rate, are per person double occupancy and are subject to availability. The airfare add-ons from Washington, D.C. and Chicago are $190, from Boston $220, from St. Louis $240, from Minneapolis $300 and from Houston $310.

    China Spree or 855/556-6868.


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    Free Global Phone Calls from Denver International Airport

    If you are at the Denver International Airport, you now can make domestic and international phone calls free of charge. The free, ad-supported calling service, called RMT Free Phone, is accessible at more than 200 landline phones throughout Jeppesen Terminal and all three concourses. The airport's advertising concessionaire, Clear Channel Airports, partnered with RMES Communications to launch this customer amenity. Denver International Airport is the first airport to offer free global calling.

    Unlimited local and national calls are free of any charges. All international calls are free of any charges for the first 10 minutes; calls lasting longer than 10 minutes will be charged at the rate of $0.25 per minute and 15 percent tax.

    To support this free telecommunication service, the phones are equipped with true high definition 17-inch LCD screens that are used for digital advertising and run over Voice over IP. This new technology allows advertisers to promote their products airport-wide with 15-second digital advertisements, and offers customers digital coupons via QR codes and opt-in SMS-advertising.


    Discount Rate at 7 NYC Hilton Worldwide Hotels

    Seven Hilton Worldwide hotels in New York City offer a New York Winter Sale promotion. This package is available through Feb. 28, 2013, and includes discounted room plus coupon valid for buy one, get one free admission to Ripley's Believe It or Not! Times Square.

    You can book the offer through the end of the year. The discount ranges from five to 20 percent off the best available rate, depending on the hotel and which dates are selected. A four night minimum stay is required.

    This offer can be booked online or by phone. Request plan code KX or KX1 for the participating hotel of your choice.

    7 NYC Hilton Worldwide Hotels Reservations 800/HILTONS.


    Fun on LAX Layover

    Los Angeles conjures up images of movie stars, sunny beaches, museums and theme parks. If you just have some lag time between flights at LAX, you can step outside the airport and get a little bit of Los Angeles.

    For a Two- to Three-Hour Layover

  • Head to the Encounter Restaurant outside Terminal 2. It's easy to spot. Look for the spider-shaped building that is synonymous with Los Angeles International Airport. The observation deck and restaurant/bar were recently renovated. Good place to watch the planes take off and land.
  • For Four- to Six-Hour Layovers

  • About 10 minutes from the airport by cab is Manhattan Beach. Explore the shops at Manhattan Village, or visit the beach. Another 10 minutes away is Venice Beach were you can have cocktails and munchies at the High Rooftop Lounge at the Hotel Erwin while watching the ocean waves. Then join people on the Venice Beach Boardwalk, which sports quirky souvenirs, street performers, roller skaters and muscle men working out.


  • About nine miles from LAX is Santa Monica. On the Santa Monica Pier, you can ride the 90-year-old carousel, get great views of the beach from the Ferris wheel, or walk on the pier and watch the fishermen angling their catch of the day. As you walk out from the pier, to your right is the original location of Muscle Beach, the birthplace of the physical fitness movement in the U.S. This beach is also where "Baywatch" was often filmed. For upscale shopping, the Third Street Promenade is a pedestrian-only collection of stores, movie theaters and cafes, stretching several blocks.


  • Another nearby waterside community (30 minutes by car) is Marina del Rey, one of the largest constructed small boat harbors in the world. Start at Fisherman's Village on Fiji Way. On Friday or Saturday night, Hornblower Cruises offers two-and-a-half-hour dinner cruises.
  • For Eight-Hour-Plus Layovers

  • Take the LAX FlyAway bus service to Downtown LA. At LAX, the bus is on the Lower/Arrival Level underneath the green "FlyAway, Buses and Long Distance Vans" signs. The FlyAway will take you to Union Station in about 45 minutes (longer in rush hour traffic). From, there you can take Metro buses and trains to points throughout the City. The Metro has a free iPhone app, and you can find route maps at the airport. If you arrive in the morning, try breakfast or lunch at the Cielito Lindo, a Mexican restaurant on historic Olvera Street. Downtown sights include the MOCA (Museum of Contemporary Art), Walt Disney Concert Hall, the Music Center, Olvera Street, Chinatown, and shopping districts, including the California Market Center, LA Fashion District, and the LA Flower District.


  • From Downtown, it's a 20-minute Metro Red Line ride from Union Station to Hollywood. Get off the train at Hollywood and Highland and walk over to Grauman's Chinese Theatre. You can get your picture taken with Johnny Depp in pirate garb or Darth Vader. (They are look-a-likes, of course.) Then, explore the courtyard with its famous cement footprints and handprints of Hollywood's favorite celebrities. Around the corner is the Kodak Theatre at Hollywood and Highland, which is the home of the Oscars and Cirque du Soleil's "Iris" show. You can take pictures of the Hollywood sign and then walk over to Madame Tussaud's wax showcase of celebrities. Look down at the stars on the sidewalk on Hollywood's Walk of Fame. If you get hungry, try Yamashiro Japanese restaurant on Sycamore Avenue. It's a Hollywood institution located on a hill overlooking the city.


  • Universal City Metro station is 25 minutes away from Union Station. Experience how movies are made on the Universal Studios Hollywood tour and see the backlot of movie sets, not to mention cool attractions such as the new "Transformers™: The Ride 3D."
  • If you'd prefer to leave the driving to others, take a shuttle or a tour. At LAX, follow signs to the free hotel shuttles and take the Radisson Hotel at Los Angeles Airport shuttle. Amazing LA Tours picks up passengers there or at any of the other LAX airport hotels. Amazing LA Tours picks up passengers at 8 a.m. or 12:30 p.m.at the Radisson. Tours include Beverly Hills/Hollywood, Celebrity Homes, Full Day Tour of Los Angeles, and Universal Studios Hollywood with a Front-of-the-Line Pass.

    With any of these suggestions, leave yourself enough time to go back through security.

    Los Angeles Tourism & Convention Board.


    Book by Dec. 22 for Discounts on Caribbean Travel

    Early booking discounts let you save on your next Caribbean escape. Divi Resorts offers 20 to 30 percent off rates at seven of its Caribbean properties for reservations made by Dec. 22, 2012. The savings are good for travel from Dec. 23, 2012 through Dec. 20, 2013. Take the kids, as children under 12 stay free, one per paying adult. There is no minimum or maximum stay except Dec. 23, 2012 through Jan. 5, 2013, when a five-night stay is required.

    The seven Divi Resorts offering the early booking discount include hotels in Aruba, Barbados, Bonaire and St. Maarten. Many of the Divi properties participating in the Early Booking Discount promotion offer studio, one and two-bedroom suites, which include full kitchens and dining area. Children eat free from Apr. 1 until Dec. 22, 2013.

    A deal is available at Divi's St. Croix property, Carina Bay Beach Resort, during April's St. Croix Food and Wine Experience if booked by Jan. 31, 2013. The Early Bird Taste package, available Apr. 13 to 20, 2013, includes a discounted rate on an oceanfront room, all meals and beverages, plus a ticket to the Taste of St. Croix sampling and sipping event (value $95), held at the hotel Apr. 18, 2013. The Early Bird Taste package is $224 per person, per night; based on double occupancy, with a three-night stay required. Reservations 877/773-9700.

    Divi Resorts or 800/367-3484.


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

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