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Travel Savings Alerts Newsletter, December 2013 Issue

Travel Savings Alerts
P.O. Box 91033
Columbus OH 43209
ISSN: 1542-801X, Copyright  2013 
All Rights Reserved.
Editor: Nicki Chodnoff

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Christmas Travel Discount

In This Issue:
Crystal Symphony in Hong Kong Harbor

Crystal Symphony in Hong Kong Harbor photo CrystalSymphonyAsiaHongKong_zps315f6613.jpg

  • Dunham's Pick Your Own Adventure Sweepstakes
  • Singapore Air Stopover Business Packages
  • Starwood Holiday Savings
  • TourCrafters for Handicapped Travelers
  • Early Booking Deals w/CIE Tours International
  • Enterprise $9.99 Per Day Weekend Special
  • Cooking Vacation in Italy Sweepstakes
  • Ohio State Park Lodges Specials
  • Early Booking Bonus from Vacations By Rail
  • Hurtigruten Special Prices on Voyage/Air Packages
  • China 15-Day Yangtze Tour from $2,339
  • SAA Vacations Winter Specials to Southern Africa
  • Zensational Air Allowance w/Crystal's Asia Cruises
  • Special Rate for Park, Sleep & Fly Package
  • Preview Rates to Cabana Bay Beach Resort
  • Up to 20% Off Chicago Area Marriott Stays
  • Win Month Stay in Slovenia and 100,000 Euros
  • What Pilots Don't Tell Passengers
  • 50% Off Nepal Trip
  • 50% off Tanzania Manyara Ranch Safari Package

  • Dunham's Sports Pick Your Own Adventure Sweepstakes

    Dunham's Sports launches its “Pick Your Own Adventure II' Sweepstakes.”

    The sweepstakes runs to Dec. 31, 2013. One entrant, selected at random from all eligible participants, will win his or her choice of six prize offerings listed below.

    Sign up for the sweepstakes is free and can be done online. You can enter once a day. When you tell friends and family about the sweepstakes, you can earn seven bonus entries, one for each friend you tell and one for tweeting.

    1. Sharp Shooter Trip Package: Trip for two to Seven Springs, PA. Includes roundtrip airfare for two to Pittsburgh, PA; three nights' accommodations at the Seven Springs Mountain Resort; daily breakfast; $400 allowance for rental car and parking fees; two days of skeet shooting including equipment rental for two; and travel agent services.

    2. Links Master Trip Package: Trip for two to San Diego, CA. Includes roundtrip airfare for two to San Diego, CA; two nights' accommodations at the Lodge at Torrey Pines; daily breakfast; $150 rental car allowance; two rounds of golf per person with golf club storage and cleaning at Torrey Pines Golf Course; green fees and golf cart rental; and travel agent services.

    3. Ski Bum Trip Package: Trip for two to Lake Tahoe, NV. Includes roundtrip airfare for two from a major airport near winner's home to Reno, NV; two nights' accommodations at The Inn By the Lake; $150 rental car allowance; two day lift tickets and ski rentals for two; and travel agent services.

    4. Deep Sea Fishing Trip Package: Trip for two to San Diego, CA. Includes roundtrip airfare for two to San Diego, CA; two nights' accommodations at the Double Tree San Diego; daily breakfast; $150 car rental allowance; guided fishing including fishing equipment, bait, boat, motor and gas for nine hours for two; and travel agent services.

    5. Fun in the Sun Trip Package: Trip for two to St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands. Trip package includes roundtrip, coach-class air transportation for two to St. Thomas; two nights' accommodations at The Secret Harbour; a $300 allowance for airport transfers or rental car; a $800 allowance for diving and water sports; and travel agent services.

    6. Fitness Fanatic Package: A Bowflex home gym system; a Schwinn elliptical machine; a yoga mat; a dumbbell set; $1,500 Visa card for a one year gym membership, personal trainers, and additional home gym accessories.

    Dunham's 'Pick Your Own Adventure' Sweepstakes is open to legal residents of the United States and the District of Columbia who are 18 years old at the time of entry. The sweepstakes is subject to applicable federal, state, and local laws and regulations and is void where prohibited. Participation constitutes your full and unconditional agreement to the Official Rules. The sweepstakes ends on Dec. 31, 2013 at 11:59 p.m. EST.

    Enter the sweepstakes.

    Singapore Air Stopover Business Packages

    Singapore Air offers a stopover package in Singapore to relax and refresh before the next leg of your journey. You must book the stopover package by Mar. 29, 2014 and travel by Mar. 29, 2014.

    Black-out dates apply for stays Dec. 24 and 25, 2013, Dec. 31, 2013 through Jan. 2, 2014, and Feb. 10 to 16, Feb 2014. Additional black-out dates for selected hotels may apply.

    Rates are per person and exclude airport transfers. Rates are subject to service charges and government taxes or currency fluctuations and may change without prior notice.

    Per person hotel rates for the first night, based on double occupancy, for hotel categories A through F are as follows:

    A. $98, B. $121, C. $129, D. $188, E. $209, F. $223

    Packages include: accommodation in a Club-floor room, priority check-in at some hotels, free breakfast and evening cocktails, free in-room Wi-Fi and free access to the hotel lounge.

    Optional add-ons services are discounted and not included in the package price. Optional services must be purchased prior to travel and are subject to availability. Optional services include a Meet and Greet with or without a buggy ride, airport/hotel transfer services, vehicle at your disposal and guide services.

    Singapore Air.

    focalprice thanksgiving day sale

    Starwood Holiday Savings

    Participating Starwood Caribbean Hotels & Resorts are dropping their holiday rates with up to 30 percent off and free nights in the U.S. Virgin Islands, the Bahamas, Puerto Rico, and Aruba.

    Rates do not include taxes and gratuities, are based on availability, and blackout dates apply.

    Sheraton Puerto Rico Hotel & Casino – 787/993-3500 - from $145, Sunsational Savings provide fourth night free and a $100 food and beverage credit for bookings made through December, 2013. Mention rate code ZS4. Book online or by phone.

    St. Regis Bahia Beach Resort, Puerto Rico – 877/782-0106 from $499, Sunsational Savings provide fourth night free and a $100 food and beverage credit for bookings made through Dec. 18, 2013. Mention rate code DAILYS4. Book online or by phone.

    The Westin Resort & Casino, Aruba – 877/782-0149 - from $229, Sunsational Savings provide fifth night free and a $150 food and beverage credit for bookings made through Dec. 31, 2013. Mention rate code ZS5. Book online or by phone.

    Sheraton Nassau Beach Resort & Casino, Bahamas – 866/716-8106 - from $269, Sunsational Savings provide fourth night free and a $100 food and beverage credit for bookings made through Dec. 23, 2013. Mention rate code DAILYS4. Book online or by phone.

    W Retreat & Spa - Vieques Island, Puerto Rico – 877/822-0000 - from $511, Sunsational Savings provide fourth night free, a $100 food and beverage credit and two welcome drinks for bookings through Dec. 18, 2013. Mention rate code DAILYS4. Book online or by phone.

    The Westin St. John Resort & Villas – U.S. Virgin Islands – 800/734-7345, from $345, Sunsational Savings provide fourth night free and a $100 food and beverage credit for bookings made through Dec 17, 2013. Mention rate code DAILYS4. Book online or by phone.

    Starwood Sunsational Savings.

    TourCrafters Vacations in France for Handicapped Travelers

    Tour operator, TourCrafters, published an Accessible Vacations in France brochure with five tours for disabled Francophiles.

    The land-only, five-night tour of Paris includes airport transfers and transportation in a specially-equipped Black Cab Taxi (with driver/guide) or rental car, accessible accommodations in a three-star hotel, daily breakfast, two dinners, and sightseeing in Paris and the Palace of Versailles.

    The off-season price starts at $1,345 per person, double occupancy, for a group of four people sharing a taxi or car equipped for one or two wheelchairs. The price per person, double occupancy, for two people sharing starts at $1,715.

    TourCrafters offers a five-night Unforgettable Normandy tour that starts and ends in Paris, and includes Normandy’s landscape, historic cities and towns of Rouen, Caen, Honfleur and Bayeux; and the D-Day landing beaches and American Cemetery. The price starts at $1,175 per person for a group of four people (one or two wheelchairs).

    A tour of Burgundy includes the 12th-century Abbey of Fontenay, Dijon, and the vineyards of the Côte d’Or and wine tastings. Wine tastings are also on the Loire Valley tour, which takes in Chenonceau, Chambord and Villandry. The 11-night Best of France journey, starts at $3,089 per person for a group of four people (one or two wheelchairs), covers Paris, the Loire, Bordeaux, Toulouse, Carcassonne, Arles, Nice and Monaco.

    TourCrafters’ hotels all have accessible rooms and restaurants. The rental cars, for those who prefer to travel independently, are equipped to handle one to three wheelchairs and the Black Cab Taxis are equipped to carry one wheelchair.

    The brochure is sponsored and certified by Tourism and Handicap, collaboration between the French Ministry of Tourism, industry professionals and associations for the disabled.

    TourCrafters or 800/482-5995.

    Early Booking Deals w/CIE Tours International

    Ireland and Britain will likely remain hot tourist spots through 2014. Limited-time discounts on 2014 Ireland or Britain coach tours, save you five percent on the land portion for any CIE Tours vacation, when booked by Dec. 31, 2013.

    Early booking means savings up to $500 per couple or $250 per person. To qualify, use promotional code 2014EARLY5. A $400 deposit per person is required. This offer applies to new bookings only and is not valid for group travel or combinable with other CIE Tours' promotions or discounts.

    The early booking discount is available on any of CIE Tours' vacation packages, including its 2014 Top 10 Hot Deals featuring several new tours. The 2014 new lineup includes the Celtic Sampler tour through Scotland with a stop at St. Andrews; the Highlands region; walking tours of Glasgow and Edinburgh; and roundtrip ferry transport from the Scottish mainland to the Isle of Bute.

    Among the 2014 Top 10 Hot Deals are the seven-day Irish Heritage and Dromoland Castle Tour, and the Taste of Scotland and Ireland Tour.

    CIE Tours' travel programs are protected by a $550+ Advantage, a no-fee benefit that ensures you are not charged for special features often considered optional, or extra, with other tour companies.

    CIE Tours or 800/243-8687.

    Dealfind.com Deals

    Enterprise $9.99 Per Day Weekend Special

    Enterprise Rent-A-Car starts the fall travel season with its annual $9.99 per day special weekend rate. The offer runs through May 21, 2014, at the majority of Enterprise's 5,500 neighborhood locations.

    You can get weekend rates of $9.99 per day on economy and compact cars when renting Friday through Monday. The rate includes 300 free miles per weekend. Similar savings are offered on larger vehicles, and unlimited mileage packages are also available at most locations. The program excludes airport locations.

    Enterprise Weekend Special.

    Cooking Vacation in Italy Sweepstakes

    One person will win a cooking adventure for two in Tuscany, Italy, as part of Stella cheeses' contest. The trip will include roundtrip airfare and participation in "A Classic Tuscan Table with Chef Claudio," a hands-on cooking course featuring Tuscan dishes. Free lodging at Chef Claudio's cottages, guided wine tastings and excursions to the surrounding area are also included in the prize package.

    Full contest details, including an entry form, are available on the brand's Facebook page. No purchase is necessary to enter or win nor will a purchase increase your chances of winning.

    The “Win a Cooking Vacation in Italy!” Sweepstakes ends at 11:59:59 PM Dec. 31, 2013.

    The sweepstakes is open to all legal U.S. residents who are 18 years of age or older. You are allowed one entry per person/e-mail address per day. Winning a prize is contingent on fulfilling all requirements set forth in the contest rules.

    To enter log on to the Stella Cheese website and click the “Enter the Contest” button which links to an online sweepstakes entry form. Fill in the entry form, click the submit button and receive a confirmation that your sweepstakes entry form was sent.

    One grand prize winner will receive for themselves and one guest a four-night cooking trip to attend “A Classic Table with Chef Claudio” hosted by the International Kitchen in Tuscany, Italy. Trip package includes roundtrip airfare to Florence; ground transportation between the airport and hotel; hotel accommodations for four nights; and $500 spending money. Grand prize winner must be able to travel on dates determined by the sponsor.

    One grand prize winner will be selected through random computer generation methodology around Jan. 15, 2014.

    To request a copy of the official rules, send a self-addressed, stamped business size envelope by Dec. 31, 2013, to: Stella “Win a Cooking Vacation in Italy!” Sweepstakes, Rules Request, Saputo Cheese USA Inc., 3018 Helsan Drive, Richfield, WI 53076. VT & WA residents may omit return postage.

    Ohio State Park Lodges Specials for Seniors and Families

    Ohio State Park Lodges offer three special promotions through the end of the year for older adults, families with kids and bargain-hunters.

    The five Ohio State Park Lodges operated by concessioner Xanterra Parks & Resorts are Salt Fork State Park Lodge in central Ohio near Cambridge, Mohican State Park Lodge in north central Ohio near Loudonville, Punderson Manor State Park Lodge in northeastern Ohio near Newbury, Maumee Bay State Park Lodge in northwestern Ohio near Toledo and Deer Creek State Park Lodge near Columbus.

      Three fall specials are:
    1. The bed and breakfast package for adults age 60 and older includes a free cooked-to-order breakfast. When you stay Sunday through Thursday nights, you receive an additional 30 percent off standard published rates. Restrictions and blackout dates apply. Promotional codes: BNBSENIOR for Friday or Saturday nights and BNBSR30 for weekday stays.

    2. At all five lodges, kids ages 12 and under eat free from the lodge restaurant children’s menu when they are with a paying adult. The program is for up to two children per family staying in a lodge room. Some blackout dates and restrictions apply. Promotional code: FAMILY.

    3. If you love a good deal, especially during the holidays, the lodges offer the three for two special. Stay three consecutive nights and you only pay for two nights. This special is available every day of the week with no blackout days through Dec. 30, 2013. When reserving the room online or by phone use promotional code 3FOR2. Some restrictions apply.

    Ohio State Park Lodges.


    Save BIG Bucks on Vacation Packages! Search & Compare with TripMama!

    Early Booking Bonus from Vacations By Rail

    BOOK BY DEC. 13 - - Specialty travel company Vacations By Rail gives you an early booking bonus on select 2014 North America train vacations. Book a qualifying 2014 USA or Canada train vacation by Dec. 13, 2013, and select a free travel add-on.
      Options include:
    • Pre- or post-night hotel stays
    • Sightseeing excursions
    • Shore excursions on select rail-cruise packages
    • Free upgrade on the Grand Canyon Railway for select Grand Canyon rail vacations
    • Connecting rail travel

    There are more than 40 qualifying vacations throughout North America and include trips to Glacier National Park and the Grand Canyon; escorted tours to U.S. national parks and monuments, Colorado Rockies, and New England’s fall foliage; rail-cruise combination packages; and Canada train holidays from the Rockies to Atlantic Canada.

    The complete list of qualifying vacations can be found online.

    Vacations By Rail or 877/929-7245.

    Hurtigruten Special Prices on "Voyage + Air" Packages

    Hurtigruten offers specially-priced "Voyage + Air" packages on their six- and seven-day Norwegian Coastal Voyage sailings. Hurtigruten's ships travel along Norway's fjord-indented west coast, stopping at 34 ports of call between Bergen and the Norway/Russia border town of Kirkenes.

    Select six- and seven-day departures combine voyage discounts with preferred rate air and hotel for nine-day southbound packages and ten-day northbound packages. Departing through May 2014, packages start from $2,499 per person, double occupancy with savings of $816 to $1,631, depending on ship category and departure date.

    These complete fares include the voyage with all meals on board; roundtrip airfare from Newark; one night hotel accommodations in Bergen and one night in Oslo; airport and ship transfers; and current air, voyage and hotel taxes and air fuel surcharges. Additional add-on gateways from 50 North America cities are offered at fares of $50 to $650 per person.

    This offer is for new bookings only. It is capacity-controlled, cannot be customized, and must be fully paid within 48 hours of booking. Air carriers and routing are at the discretion of Hurtigruten.

    Hurtigruten or 888/912-2571.

    $16.95 A Day Rental Cars from CarRentals.com

    China 15-Day Yangtze Tour from $2,339

    China Spree’s budget-priced Mighty Yangtze tour covers all the requisite sites in 15 days including a Yangtze River cruise and starts from $2,339 per person, based on double occupancy.

    This price includes roundtrip air fare from San Francisco or Los Angeles (New York is $60 more), accommodations in four- and five-star hotels, a three-night downstream Yangtze Cruise on the Victoria Katarina (with outside cabin and private balcony), shore excursions, sightseeing tours, 13 American breakfasts, 11 lunches, 11 dinners, special evening shows, professional guides, and baggage handling.

    Among the highlights are: the Great Wall of China, the Forbidden City, the Summer Palace with its Marble Boat; the ancient capital of Xian, home of the buried terracotta warriors; Chengdu with its Giant Panda Breeding Center; Chongqing, home of the Flying Tigers during WWII; a cruise through the Yangtze River’s three Gorges; Suzhou; Tongli; and Shanghai.

    The trip includes a Peking duck dinner, a rickshaw ride through Old Beijing’s maze-like alleys (hutongs) with lunch in a family’s courtyard, a 17-course dumpling dinner, a Tang Dynasty stage show, bullet train ride through the Sichuan Basin, a hugging-a-baby-panda photo op, a Shanghai Acrobats performance, and a ride to the airport on a magnetic levitation train.

    Prices are cash-only and are subject to availability.

    China Spree Mighty Yangtze tour or 866/652-5656.

    SAA Vacations Winter Specials to Southern Africa

    South African Airways Vacations (SAAV) offers free additional nights on its three most popular vacation packages to Southern Africa. The free nights are available on the nine-day Affordable South Africa package, priced from $2,999; the nine-day "Best of South Africa" from $3,550; and the 10-day South Africa & Beyond, from $5,890. All packages are subject to availability and currency exchange rate fluctuations. Prices are valid for new bookings only, are not retroactive and may change without notice. Baggage and optional service fees, cancellation charges and other restrictions may apply. The packages include all government and airline imposed taxes and fees.

    Packages must be booked by Jan. 1, 2014, for travel Jan. 10 through Mar. 31, 2014. Each package features additional perks to enhance the package.

    9-Day Affordable South Africa, $2,999, departures from New York or Washington, D.C. Jan. 10 to Feb. 1, Feb. 11 to May 31, and Aug. 11 to Nov. 30, 2014. The same itinerary is available at higher prices during other travel periods. Price for other departure cities and/or travel dates vary. Package includes three nights in Cape Town with a full-day Cape Peninsula Tour, and two nights on safari; one free extra night at the Protea Fire & Ice in Cape Town and a bonus bottle of South African wine at Shepherd's Tree Lodge.

    10-Day Best of South Africa, $3,550, departures from New York or Washington, D.C. Jan. 10 to Feb. 1, Feb. 11 to May 31, and Aug. 11 to Sep. 30, plus Nov. 30, 2014. The same itinerary is available at higher prices during other travel periods. Price for other departure cities and/or travel dates vary. Package includes four nights in Cape Town with full-day Cape Peninsula and wine region tours, three nights on safari, one free extra night at the Southern Sun Cullinan in Cape Town, a bonus bottle of South African wine at Southern Sun Cullinan and at Thornybush Private Game Reserve.

    10-day South Africa & Beyond, $5,890, departures from New York or Washington, D.C. Jan. 10 to Feb. 1, Feb. 11 to May 31, and Aug. 11 to Sep. 30, plus Nov. 30, 2014. The same itinerary is available at higher prices during other travel periods. Price for other departure cities and/or travel dates vary. Package includes four nights in Cape Town with full-day Cape Peninsula and wine region tours, two nights on safari in South Africa, one night in Johannesburg, and two nights at Victoria Falls in Zambia including Zambezi River sunset cruise, one extra night at the Table Bay Hotel in Cape Town, free dinner at Atlantic Grill at Table Bay, free village and museum Tour at Victoria Falls and a free dinner at Infinity Pool at Stanley Safari Lodge at Victoria Falls.

    South African Airways Vacations or 855/359-7228.

    "Zensational" Air Allowance w/Crystal's Asia Cruises

    Crystal Cruises offers airfare allowance of up to $800 on select Asia cruises, whether air is purchased through Crystal or independently.

    Available in with "Book Now" savings, the special offer expires Jan. 3, 2014. The air credit is available with eight 12- to 15-day Spring and Fall cruises that depart from Singapore, Hong Kong, Beijing, Tokyo, Sydney, Bali and Bangkok, several are new Crystal itineraries.

      Additional promotions are set for many of the Asia cruises. Depending on the sailing, these special offers include:
    • Reduced Single Supplements – Sole occupants of a cabin pay only a 10 percent single supplement surcharge.
    • Kids Sail Free – Children, ages 17 and under, sail free when sharing a third berth accommodation with two adults.
    • "Book Now" Fares – Offer savings up to $2,500 off the cruise fare for voyages booked by Jan. 3, 2014.
    • Free Hotel Programs – Three-day inclusive land programs in Beijing and Angkor Wat/Thailand.
    • Crystal Family Memories – Lets families or friends get perks and free berths for groups.

    Fourteen 12-22-day cruises aboard Crystal Symphony and Crystal Serenity are available in China, Japan, Thailand, Singapore, Vietnam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia and Brunei in early and late 2014. Cruise fares begin at $3,165 per person.

    Crystal Asia promotions or 888/799-4625.


    Free Shipping on Wheels at TireBuyer.com

    Special Rate for Park, Sleep & Fly Package

    Hyatt Regency O’Hare, in Chicago, features a Park, Sleep & Fly package for travelers with holiday plans. Through Jan. 31, 2014, you receive a one-night stay in a newly updated guestroom, free self-parking for up to 14 days, and free shuttle service to O’Hare International Airport. Minutes from the hotel, the shuttle eliminates pre-flight parking panic or traffic jams.

    The Park, Sleep & Fly package starts at $89 per night. This rate is subject to availability and may change at any time.

    To redeem, visit the Hyatt Regency O'Hare website and enter code: PARK1 in the “Special Offer Code” box.

    Hyatt Regency O'Hare or 847/696-1234.

    Preview Rates to Cabana Bay Beach Resort

    Universal’s Cabana Bay Beach Resort in Orlando celebrates its 2014 opening with a preview offer, allowing you to experience Universal Orlando’s new moderate-and value-priced property.

    For a limited time, Cabana Bay Beach Resort's new family suites start at $104 per night, per family, for a seven-night stay; $108 per night, per family for a five-night stay; and $134 per night, per family, for a three-night stay. Offering up to 47 percent savings off regular prices, this introductory offer is available for booking until Jan. 31, 2014, for stays Mar. 31 to June 14, 2014. Theme park tickets are not included and blockout dates apply.

    Family suites sleep up to six and feature a kitchenette with microwave, mini-refrigerator and sink. The hotel’s location is within walking distance of Universal Studios Florida and Universal’s Islands of Adventure. Plus, hotel guests enjoy Early Park Admission to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter one hour before the theme park opens.

    Cabana Bay Beach Resort is Universal Orlando Resort’s fourth on-site hotel with 1,800 rooms. The resort will include a 10-lane bowling alley, two large pools with sand beaches, a lazy river and waterslide.

    Cabana Bay Beach Resort or 888/273-1311.

    Up to 20% Off Chicago Area Marriott Stays

    Treat the entire family to a getaway in Chicagoland with room rates of up to 20 percent off. Choose from one of 10 participating Chicago area hotels and resorts by Marriott.
      Participating hotels include:
    • Chicago Marriott O'Hare – rates from $87 per night
    • Renaissance Chicago O'Hare Suites Hotel – rates from $79 per night
    • Renaissance Blackstone Chicago Hotel – rates from $129 per night
    • Chicago Marriott Suites Downers Grove – rates from $71 per night
    • Lincolnshire Marriott Resort – rates from $87 per night
    • Chicago Oak Brook Hills Marriott Resort – rates from $87 per night
    • Chicago Marriott Oak Brook – rates from $79 per night
    • Peoria Marriott Pere Marquette – rates from $71 per night
    • Chicago Marriott Suites O'Hare – rates from $87 per night
    • Renaissance Schaumburg Convention Center Hotel – rates from $95 per night

    Book advance reservations through Dec. 26, 2013 and save up to 20 percent off the best rates available. This offer is valid for stays until Jan. 13, 2014. Use promotional code HOL when making reservations online or over the phone.

    Marriott Hotels or 800/228-9290.

    Cellphone Shop

    Win Month Stay in Slovenia and 100,000 Euros

    Slovenian company Petsdialog and the Slovenia Ministry of Tourism started the Lord of the Castle contest with a prize of 100,000 euros.

    The contest winner will become the caretaker of the ancient castle on Lake Bled for one day. To win this prize, you must be at least 18 years old (or have written consent from your parents) and have a dog.

    To take part in this contest fill in the application form, upload photos of your dog at petsdialog.com and write a short story about your pet. Then get as many likes as possible in social networks. The 20 most popular contenders, gaged from their likes Mar. 10 to Dec. 25, 2014, will become semifinalists. Of the 20 semifinalists, five finalists will be chosen who will go to Slovenia. Four finalists will be chosen by online voting and the fifth will be chosen by the members of the jury consisting of five global celebrities.

    Winners of the online voting will go to Slovenia with their dog and one friend. They will tell their travel experiences in their blogs published on the official contest web page. The best blogger will be chosen by the internet audience. The best blogger will become the caretaker of the castle with a salary of 100,000 euros.


    What Pilots Don't Tell Passengers

    Reader’s Digest conducted a survey on issues pilots won't talk about.
      Here are the results:
    1. I’m constantly under pressure to carry less fuel than I’m comfortable with. Airlines always look at the bottom line, and you burn fuel carrying fuel. Sometimes if you carry just enough fuel and you hit thunderstorms or delays, then suddenly you’re running out of gas and you have to go to an alternate airport. -Captain at a major airline

    2. Sometimes the airline won’t give us lunch breaks or time to eat. We have to delay flights just so we can get food. - First officer on a regional carrier

    3. We tell passengers what they need to know. We don’t tell them things that will scare them. So you’ll never hear me say, “Ladies and gentlemen, we just had an engine failure,” even if that’s true. -Jim Tilmon, retired American Airlines pilot, Phoenix

    4. The Department of Transportation puts such an emphasis on on-time performance that we pretty much aren’t allowed to delay a flight anymore, even if there are 20 people on a connecting flight that’s coming in just a little late.” - Commercial pilot, Charlotte, N.C.

    5. The truth is, we’re exhausted. Our work rules allow us to be on duty 16 hours without a break. That’s many more hours than a truck driver. And unlike a truck driver, who can pull over at the next rest stop, we can’t pull over at the next cloud.” - Captain at a major airline
      What Pilots Want You to Know
    1. Some FAA rules don’t make sense to us either. Like the fact that when we’re at 39,000 feet going 400 miles an hour, in a plane that could hit turbulence at any minute, flight attendants can walk around and serve hot coffee and Chateaubriand. But when we’re on the ground on a flat piece of asphalt going five to ten miles an hour, they’ve got to be buckled in like they’re at NASCAR. - Jack Stephan, US Airways captain based in Annapolis, Md., flying since 1984

    2. The two worst airports for us: Reagan National in Washington, D.C., and John Wayne in Orange County, CA. You’re flying by the seat of your pants trying to get in and out of those airports. John Wayne is especially bad because the rich folks who live near the airport don’t like jet noise, so they have this noise abatement procedure where you basically have to turn the plane into a ballistic missile as soon as you’re airborne. - Pilot, South Carolina

    3. At some airports with really short runways, you’re not going to have a smooth landing no matter how good we are: John Wayne Airport; Jackson Hole, WY; Chicago Midway; and Reagan National. - Joe D’Eon, a pilot at a major airline who produces a podcast at flywithjoe.com

    4. I may be in uniform, but that doesn’t mean I’m the best person to ask for directions in the airport. We’re in so many airports that we usually have no idea. - Pilot for a regional carrier, Charlotte, N.C.

    5. This happens all the time: We’ll be in Pittsburgh going to Philly, and there will be a weather delay. The weather in Pittsburgh is beautiful. Then I’ll hear passengers saying, “You know, I just called my friend in Philly, and it’s beautiful there too,” like there’s some kind of conspiracy or something. But in the airspace between Pittsburgh and Philly there’s a huge thunderstorm. - Jack Stephan

    6. You may go to an airline website and buy a ticket, pull up to its desk at the curb, and get onto an airplane that has a similar name painted on it, but half the time, you’re really on a regional airline. The regionals aren’t held to the same safety standards as the majors: Their pilots aren’t required to have as much training and experience, and the public doesn’t know that. -Captain at a major airline

    7. Most of the time, how you land is a good indicator of a pilot’s skill. So if you want to say something nice to a pilot as you’re getting off the plane, say ‘Nice landing.’ We do appreciate that. -Joe D’Eon

    8. No, it’s not your imagination: Airlines really adjusted their flight arrival times so they can have a better record of on-time arrivals. So they might say a flight takes two hours when it really takes an hour and 45 minutes. - AirTran Airways captain, Atlanta

    50% Off Nepal Trip

    BOOK BY DEC. 9 - - Pacific Holidays, a tour and vacation company, offers a deal to Nepal. From $999, the land-only price is 50 percent off the original cost of $1,899. This trip must be booked by Dec. 9, 2013 for travel May 5, to Sep. 15, 2014. Airfare to Nepal is additional.

    The 11-night trip, which is a Groupon promotion, starts with two nights in Kathmandu. Then travel to Pokhara, a lakeside town with panoramic views of the Himalayas. A five-day trekking experience takes you to locations with breathtaking views: across suspension bridges and waterfalls, and trek among oak and rhododendron forests. Stop in Tikhedhunga, Ghorepani, Tadapani, and Ghandruk for lodging and meals. Continue to Chitwan National Park, home to rhinoceros and Bengal tigers, for a three-night stay that includes jungle activities with an elephant safari. You return to Kathmandu for one night on your way back home.

      Trip includes:
    • Round trip airport transfers in Kathmandu
    • Overland transfers as per itinerary
    • Three nights in Kathmandu
    • Two nights in Pokhara
    • Two nights in Chitwan
    • One night in lodge/bungalow accommodations in Tikhedhunga, Ghorepani, Tadapanim, and Ghandruk
    • Breakfast daily, seven lunches, seven dinners
    • Sightseeing tours with English-speaking guides and entrance fees
    • Yoga Class (x2) in Kathmandu
    • Trekking with guide
    • Tour of Chitwan National Park including elephant safari, ox-cart ride, canoe ride, Tharu dance performance
    • Gurung Museum entrance fee
    • TIMS (Trekkers Information Management System) fee - $20 per person
    • ACAP (Annapurna Conservation Area Project) fee - $24 per person

    Tickets must be issued and full payment received within seven days of reservations. Single supplement cost is $299. Air transfer upgrade from Chitwan to Kathmandu is $125 per person. Hotel upgrade in Kathmandu, Pokhara and Chitwan is $299 per person based on double occupancy and or $109 for a single supplement.

    Pacific Holidays or 800/355-8025.


    50% off Tanzania Manyara Ranch Safari Package

    The Manyara Ranch in Tanzania offers 50 percent off their safari package, which brings the cost to $1,283, or $428 per person, per night for a three night stay. You must book by Dec. 31, 2013 for travel Jan. 1 through Mar. 31, 2014. Mention code MRC10 when booking.

    The Manyara Ranch wildlife conservancy sits on 35,000-acres of a former cattle ranch within the wildlife corridor between Tarangire and Manyara National Parks in Tanzania.

    The six-tent Manyara began accepting guests in Fall 2012 and offers a wilderness area with a cultural mix for active travelers.

      Tanzania Ranch Safari package includes:
    • Three nights' accommodations and meals in a luxury tent
    • Visit to a Masai village that’s off-limits to tourists
    • Day and night off-road game drives for spotting striped hyenas, black-backed jackals, and bat-eared foxes
    • Bush walk and sundowners
    • One bush breakfast
    • Half-day horse ride
    • Return transfers from Arusha

    The Conservancy provides guided game walks, night game drives in 4x4 open safari vehicles. You can watch game from hides overlooking waterholes and horseback ride with big game. Bush breakfasts, bush lunches and sundowners (drinks at the end of the day), cultural visits to partner villages and the local school.

    Manyara Ranch.

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