Travel Savings Alerts Newsletter, December 2016 Issue
Travel Savings Alerts
P.O. Box 877
Logan OH 43138
All Rights Reserved.
ISSN: 1542-801X, Copyright 2016
Editor: Nicki Chodnoff
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|In This Issue:
Golden Gate Bridge from Baker Beach, San Francisco, CA
WOW air Flights From West Coast To Europe
|Iceland's WOW air offers daily low-cost transatlantic flights from Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) and San Francisco International Airport (SFO) to Reykjavik’s Keflavik International Airport (KEF), making it easy to travel to Europe from the West Coast.
Fares from Los Angeles and San Francisco to Reykjavik begin from $99 including taxes. You can purchase tickets with a one hour stopover in Iceland and continue to one of WOW air´s 31 European destinations.
The $99 fare is based on the lowest one-way fare from Los Angeles or San Francisco to Reykjavik (KEF), including taxes and charges, booked online. Fares from LAX are available Jan. 17, 2017 through Apr. 4, 2017 and Apr. 25, 2017 through May 30, 2017. San Francisco fares are for travel Jan. 13, 2017 through Apr. 7, 2017 and Apr. 28, 2017 through May 26, 2017. Restrictions and baggage fees may apply.
Prices from Los Angeles and San Francisco to Amsterdam, Paris and London are from $179 one way including taxes.
California routes are serviced by Airbus A330-300 aircraft which carry 350 passengers in a single-class configuration. Seat pitch will vary from 30 inches as standard to 34 inches at an additional charge.
Launched in November 2011, WOW air now connects 31 destinations across the U.S. and Europe with the Icelandic capital.
PGA National Resort & Spa Fall Packages
|PGA National Resort & Spa in Palm Beach Gardens, FL, has vacation packages for fall getaways.
Starting at $279 (per person, per night), the Fall Escape and Unlimited Play package includes accommodations with a balcony or terrace, unlimited daily play on the Palmer, Fazio, Squire or Estates courses with cart on first round, and full daily breakfast in the Palm Terrace.
The Leadbetter Golf Academy package starts at $579 (per person, per night, double occupancy), and features three hours of Leadbetter Mini School instruction per day, overnight accommodations, breakfast in the Palm Terrace and one round of golf per day on one of the resort’s five layouts. There is a surcharge for the Champion course.
The Gold Golf package features accommodations with private balcony or terrace, full breakfast daily, one round of golf per day on the Palmer, Fazio, Squire or Estates courses (play on the Champion course incurs a surcharge), and unlimited range balls. Rates start at $279 per person (per night, double occupancy).
In addition to golf, PGA National’s Tennis package starts at $229 (per person based on double occupancy) or $349 (per single) and includes nightly accommodations, daily breakfast buffet, one-hour tennis lesson per day from a Certified Staff professional and unlimited court time from 11:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Guests have access to the resort’s Sports & Racquet Club with exercise equipment, indoor racquet ball court, three aerobics studios, five-lane saltwater lap pool, spin room with video road mapping, indoor volleyball court, two lighted pickle / paddle ball courts, 18 tennis courts (11 lighted for night play) and one lighted hard court with a hitting wall.
Resort fees and taxes are additional on all packages.
PGA National Resort & Spa or 561/627-2000.
Save Up to 20% on Orlando Weekend Room Rates
|A collection of Orlando hotels and resorts offer a limited-time promotion for stays through Mar. 31, 2017.
You can stay at the Ritz Carlton Orlando, JW Marriott Orlando, Grande Lakes, Renaissance Orlando at SeaWorld, Orlando Airport Marriott Lakeside, Orlando World Center Marriott, or Gaylord Palms Resort & Convention Center, but must book by Dec. 30, 2016 for the Seek the Weekend package. The deal is good for stays over a Friday or Saturday night and includes savings of 20 percent on room rates plus a $25 daily credit to use toward dining, spa services or golf outings.
Promotional rates are valid for reservations made by Dec. 30, 2016 for stays through Mar. 31, 2017 at participating Orlando hotels. A Friday or Saturday night stay is required. Rates are subject to change and blackout dates may apply. Taxes are not included. The hotel credit is per room, per night; has no cash value; cannot be applied to room rate or resort fees; and is not redeemable for cash. The promotion cannot be combined with any other offer, sale promotion or prior reservation.
To take advantage of the Seek the Weekend offer, book online using promotional code P91
Seek the Weekend offer or 800/834-7015.
11-Day Bali Package $1,899
|Tour operator World Spree offers an 11-day Exotic Bali package for $1,899 from New York or San Francisco ($200 more from Los Angeles) that includes roundtrip air on China Airlines, taxes, fuel surcharges, hotels, daily breakfast, five other meals, all ground transportation, sightseeing tours and a professional English-speaking guide.
Bali is a chance to experience a different culture and a beach vacation. The trip starts with five nights in Bali’s cultural capital, Ubud, where you stay in the resort Alaya Ubud, surrounded by rice paddies and within walking distance of downtown. Its Balinese-style rooms are complemented by a spa, swimming pool and restaurant.
You visit a temple and take part in a traditional purification ceremony and visit a Monkey Forest that’s home to three holy monkey temples. Other excursions include a coffee plantation, the Mother Temple, lunch on the edge of a volcano caldera with a view of Lake Batur and a day in a village.
Then stay four nights at beachfront Melia Bali Resort in Nusa Dua overlooking a reef-fringed lagoon. Tropical gardens and a swimming pool wind through the grounds.
Two post-trip options are a four-day stopover in Singapore at $599 per person or a three-day stopover in Taiwan, for $220 per person.
All prices are per person, double occupancy, and are subject to availability. There is no additional charge for credit cards.
World Spree Exotic Bali package or 866/652-5656.
M.A.X. Pass Adds 6 Resorts
|M.A.X. Pass created by Intrawest, Powdr and Boyne Resorts has six new partner resorts joining for the 2016-2017 ski and snowboard season, in addition to the 10 announced in August. These six resorts offer more than 9,000 acres of skiable terrain and are part of the largest privately owned ski resort company, Resorts of the Canadian Rockies. The resorts span Canada’s major ski regions and are accessible from Calgary or Montreal, with Fernie Alpine Resort, Kicking Horse Mountain Resort and Kimberley Alpine Resort in British Columbia; Nakiska in Alberta; and Mont-Sainte-Anne and Stoneham in Quebec.
Now, the total offering of the M.A.X. Pass includes 38 resorts across North America. Resorts are located in the Northeast and East, the Rockies, the Midwest and the West.
The “Multi-Alpine Experience” pass offers five days at each of the 38 participating resorts with a total of 190 days on the slopes and no blackout dates, meaning all holidays are included. Days do not need to be used consecutively and days are not transferrable from one mountain to another. The M.A.X. Pass allows you the flexibility to travel to mountains that you never skied or snowboarded on before.
The M.A.X. Pass is available for sale online for $699 for adults, $499 for teens ages 13 to 17, $399 for youth ages six to 12 and $39 for children five and under.
Skiers that purchase a qualifying season pass at their favorite participating resort are eligible to purchase the M.A.X. Pass Add-on for $349 for adults, $299 for teens (ages 13–17), $249 for youth (ages 6-12), and $39 for children (5 and under). The M.A.X. Pass Add-on provides five days of skiing/riding at each participating resort, except those accessible with the qualifying season pass.
CarHopper Car Renting
|Headquartered in Miami, FL, CarHopper provides car renters with web and app platforms to connect independently owned local car rental companies with people looking to rent a car. For many years, large car rental companies dominated the market, providing limited options for car renters. CarHopper renters are able to choose the make, model, year, and even color of the car they want to book and view its unique car profile with the click of a button.
CarHopper has no initiation fees for car rental companies and their team handpicks their affiliates based on their customer service standards and their eagerness to adapt to the CarHopper technology. CarHopper runs MVR background checks on all customers looking to rent a vehicle to ensure renter’s driving records meet the high standards of the CarHopper community.
If you want to rent a car through CarHopper use your Facebook account to register. Then enter your travel dates and location to browse Carhopper’s list of locally owned cars. At this point, most rental options are around South Florida. Once you find a car, request it. The owner will respond to your request. When your request is accepted and your driving record approved, you will receive a confirmation email.
You then meet the car owner to pick up the car. Some owners offer a delivery option and bring the car to you. Go to your "Upcoming Reservations" and initiate the walk around: when you see the car on your screen, tap once for scratches and twice for dents. As soon as the car owner confirms your walk around, the car rental is yours. Owner and renter receive a rental summary by email. When it's time to return the car, fill up the gas you used and meet the owner to drop off the car. Initiate a walk around in your "Reservations" page, note if there's any damage and let the owner confirm your walk around from his phone. Hand over the keys, and rate and review your experience.
The companies CarHopper works with are looking for alternative ways to increase fleet utilization by attracting new customers. CarHopper is a option for them as CarHopper targets a younger and mobile generation while offering a streamlined process with little to no paperwork. CarHopper vehicles cover the spectrum, from moderately priced Hyundai Elantras to higher end vehicles such as Ferraris and Lamborghinis.
Savings at Orlando Hotels near WDW
|Through Dec. 30, 2016, receive a $10 per night hotel credit and 10 percent off of stays through Apr. 30, 2017, that include a Thursday or Sunday night at participating Walt Disney World Good Neighbor hotels in Orlando: SpringHill Suites Orlando Lake Buena Vista in the Marriott Village, Courtyard Orlando Lake Buena Vista in the Marriott Village or Fairfield Inn & Suites Orlando Lake Buena Vista in the Marriott Village.
With three hotels inside one village, the Lake Buena Vista accommodations offer free shuttle service to Walt Disney World Resort Theme Parks. You can stay connect with free wireless internet access in each of the hotels.
In the mornings, SpringHill Suites and Fairfield Inn & Suites provide a free breakfast buffet, while Courtyard has an on-site restaurant.
The complex includes 1,100 rooms and suites, eight meeting rooms, three pools and three fitness centers. With dining options, the Village Marketplace offers ice cream, pizza and sandwiches, Courtyard’s The Bistro — Eat. Drink. Connect serves breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Use promotional code FLP when booking online or when calling.
Marriott Village or 800/834-7015.
Placepass Travel Experiences
|PlacePass launched their online tour and activity portal, allowing you to find and compare thousands of things to do in more than 180 destinations. PlacePass enables you to explore and book the best options for your destination by aggregating local experiences from other travel websites.
Established in 2016, PlacePass is led by co-founders Ethan Hawkes and Emily Bernard, who built a business after decades of traveling and working in the hospitality business. Their most memorable trips included activities and excursions with local guides. Finding those experiences was time-consuming and required significant research online. There was no single aggregator keeping everything organized. So PlacePass was born.
More travelers want unique experiences to enhance vacations. Whether it’s a wine tasting tour or a bicycle excursion with the family, activities are an ideal way to learn about a destination and build lasting memories. But it may be difficult and time-consuming to find fun, quality things to do.
With more than 100,000 activities, PlacePass is an online platform that aggregates activities into one convenient place, saving hours of research previously needed to find and compare travel experiences.
PlacePass makes it easy to plan by offering fast search and filtering capabilities, including price, duration, and activity type. Those looking for inspiration can also browse destinations or choose top activities hand-selected by the PlacePass team.
Stay for Less at Courtyard Scottsdale Old Town
|Courtyard Scottsdale Old Town, in Scottsdale, AZ, offers Marriott Rewards members the lowest rate on weekend getaways through Jan. 16, 2017.
Marriott Rewards members can reserve rooms or suites at the downtown Scottsdale hotel until Jan. 16, 2017. If you do not belong to the exclusive program can sign up to take advantage of additional perks.
Visitors to the Courtyard in Old Town find accommodations with amenities such as free high-speed Wi-Fi, flat-panel TV, mini-refrigerators, coffee makers and pull-out sofas.
The hotel features five floors with 175 rooms, five suites, The Bistro, a 24-hour Market, indoor whirlpool spa, outdoor pool and fitness center.
Reservations for accommodations must be booked online.
Courtyard Scottsdale Old Town or 480/429-7785.
Zion Winter Bed & Breakfast Package
|Zion National Park Lodge in Springdale, UT, offers a wintertime bed and breakfast package.
Unlike many National Parks, Zion is open year-round letting you see the park in the peaceful months of winter. Take advantage of the low rates and a breakfast with the Winter Bed & Breakfast package.
The Bed and Breakfast package includes:
- Hotel, suite, or cabin accommodations.
- Buffet breakfast for two at the Red Rock Grill for each night’s stay.
The package must be booked through Zion National Park Lodge website. The offer is valid for stays to Mar. 3, 2017. Rates are higher on weekends and holiday periods. Room rates are based on double occupancy and do not include tax. You cannot combine this offer with any other offer plus blackout dates and minimum stay restrictions apply.
Use Promo Code WNTR to check availability, view current rates and make a reservation. The Lodge also offers a New Year’s Eve and Spring Breakaway package.
Zion National Park Lodge or 888/297-2757.
40% off Amilla Beach, Maldives
|Amilla Beach Villa Residences, in Maldives' Baa Atoll, are a half an hour flight from Male International Airport. The residences are for family vacations and celebrations. Special introductory rates apply. Stay through Mar. 31, 2017 and receive a 40 percent discount. The discount does not apply to the Christmas and New Year season, Dec. 20, 2016 to Jan. 10, 2017.
Eight residences - six four-bedroom (villa residences), one six-bedroom (the Amilla villa estate) and one eight-bedroom (the Great Beach villa residence) - make up this private beachfront enclave.
The Amilla Villa estate and the villa residences each have an 11 meter pool on the beach and the Great Beach villa residence has a 20 meter lagoon-style swimming pool. There is also a beachside hammock.
Each villa comes with private butlers, gourmet chef and a katheeb, house master. Your katheeb will arrange breakfast, get snorkel masks, arrange fishing trips or a bath for your return.
Your residence kitchen will be stocked according to your taste. Order from the Providor (grocery) and Providore Gourmet lists; one is free, the other list is for premium meats, cheeses and other luxury items. You also receive free daily afternoon tea pastries and pre-dinner cocktail snacks.
Facilities include PlayStation 4 (plus games) in the kids' media and game rooms; books, DVDs and board games; gym, massage room and sauna.
You have a Rolls beach buggy and bicycles to explore Amilla Fushi's facilities: world-class restaurants; diving, water and land-based activities; kids club; beach club; and a spa, gym and well-being center.
Amilla Beach Villa Residences.
ACE Adventure Drops Cabin Rental 50%
|While the world grows quiet in winter, ACE Adventure Resort, in New River Gorge, WV, provides active, restful, year-round getaways. Plus you get an incentive to stay for a few nights at half the usual cost.
Through Apr. 30, 2017, the resort drops its nightly accommodation rates 50 percent. This means a large family or group of friends can enjoy lodging in the 1,200-square-foot Black Bear log home from $250 a night for up to six people (add $10/night per person for additional people up to ten). Three bedrooms with queen beds, two full baths, equipped kitchen, sleeper sofa and cots, hot tub, campfire area, picnic table and charcoal grill come with this deal. Bunk houses and smaller cabins are also available, all at a 50 percent discount.
For hikers and mountain bikers the resort offers 25 miles of wilderness trails on property, including single- and double-track and gravel roads for all skill levels. The trails provide access to Concho Overlook, in the New River Gorge. The resort is a 20-minute drive from the Arrowhead trails, the New River Gorge's single-track trail system.
In April 2017, river rafters can buy early season 2017 discounts with the Whitewater Rafting package and Half-day Whitewater Rafting deal.
ACE Adventure Resort winter into spring accommodations or 800/787-3982.
North Holland Adventure
|Save $500 on a biking and sailing adventure through Holland with VBT Bicycling and Walking Vacations. The up to $500 savings on the North Holland and Firesland Bike & Sail adventure are on the May 4 and 11, 2017 departures, if booked by Dec. 15, 2016. Use code VBT1505 when booking.
Home for the duration of the trip is the Mare Fan Fryslan, a former freight ship that was renovated and transformed into a three-masted schooner. The easy activity level for the small group tour of up to 24 people has you biking 14 to 30 miles per day for two to five hours.
The 11-day package that includes roundtrip international airfare starts from $4,145 per person, based on double occupancy.
The package includes:
- Seven nights aboard a three-masted schooner and two nights in an Amsterdam hotel
- 17 meals with nine breakfasts, three lunches, and five dinners
- Roundtrip international airfare
- The option to add trip extensions
- One free glass of wine with all dinners aboard ship
- Free use of custom VBT bicycle and helmet
- Service of two bilingual VBT Trip Leaders
- Five days of cycling with van support during cruise portion of trip
- Daily route directions and maps
- Welcome reception
- Sightseeing and cultural activities
- 5% Frequent Traveler Credit to use on your next VBT vacation.
You moor in various Frisian ports by night, to explore historic villages at leisure, while only unpacking once the entire trip. On board, amenities such as a dining area, wheelhouse bar and top-deck Jacuzzi will make your stay comfortable.
All cabins have a private bathroom, two single beds and small portholes that open.
VBT Bicycling and Walking Vacations or 800/245-3868.
Explore Peru Special
|Wildland Adventures offers 15 percent off its Inca Trail Trek & Amazon Adventure. The price is $3,530 per person, based on double occupancy with departures through Dec. 24, 2017. To receive the discount, you must book by Dec. 18, 2016, and the offer is valid only on new bookings.
The tour includes three meals most days, guided tours, flights within Peru and hotel transfers. Some of the tour hikes can last five to eight hours (with rest breaks) and are in high elevations up to altitudes of 12,000 feet.
The active, 13-day Peru adventure journeys from the Andes to the Amazon. You discover native Quechua Andean life in Cusco and the Sacred Valley before going to Machu Picchu along the Inca trail where you explore Quechua villages, markets, and sacred Inca sites in the Urubamba Valley. You descend from the Andes to the Amazon rain forest to stay at jungle lodges in the Tambopata-Candamo, a region known for its biodiversity. You hike, kayak, canoe and photograph wildlife in the Tambopata Rainforest Reserve and look for monkeys, giant river otters and macaws from aerial platforms in the forest canopy.
Wildland Adventures or 800/345-4453.
|The Barcelona Pass sightseeing city card gives you free entry to more than 15 attractions, museums and monuments in the Catalan capital, including a free hop-on, hop-off bus tour and a free 80-page guidebook. You can only visit each attraction included on the Barcelona Pass once.
Available as a two-day or three-day option, the pass is designed as an all-in-one ticket which helps you make the most of your time in Barcelona. The Fast Track Entry feature gives you skip-the-line privileges to save time while sightseeing. Just show your Barcelona Pass at the attraction entrance and walk through without having to stand in line.
The Barcelona Pass works through a scan and barcode system and will activate after your first use at an attraction. The pass, in two or three day options, works on a calendar day basis after first activation, so it’s best to start using your pass first thing in the morning to make full use of each day.
Adult passes are for anyone over the age of 12 and child passes are for four to 12 year olds. Each child pass holder must be accompanied by an adult pass holder at all times.
The cost of a the pass is 99 euro for a two-day adult pass or 59 euro for a two day child pass.
The three-day adult pass costs 119 euro while the three-day child pass costs 69 euro.
The pass is subject to a “purse value” of maximum gate prices related to the number of days. For a two-day adult pass you can visit up to 180 euro worth of attractions. Once you reach your “purse value” for the total duration of your pass, the pass will expire.
You can buy the Barcelona Pass online and have it shipped to you before you travel (9.95 euro worldwide shipping cost which takes 15 working days to arrive), or pick it up for free in Barcelona when you arrive.
MSC Cruises 2-for-1 Deal
|You can save 50 percent on a MSC Cruise with two-for-one cruise deals based on brochure rates. Caribbean cruises start from $399.50 per person based on double occupancy, Mediterranean cruises from $409.50 and Northern Europe cruises from $599.50. Airfare is additional and on select sailings kids cruise free.
One of the following discounts may be applied per stateroom: MSC Voyagers Club Discount, military discount, or interline discount. The discount is applicable to active and retired U.S. and Canadian military, civil service and interline personnel and their spouses, dependent children, parents, and parents-in-law. You must present an I.D. badge from your respective organization at time of booking.
The offers are subject to stateroom availability at time of booking and are capacity-controlled. Fuel surcharge may be passed on without prior notice.
Caribbean Cruises - The $399.50 rate for a Caribbean cruise is for a Category I1 sailing aboard MSC Divina Apr. 1 or 15; Sep. 23; Oct. 7, 14, 21, or 28; Nov. 4, 11, or 25; and Dec 2, 9, or 16, 2017 sailings. Government fees and taxes (GFT) are additional for each guest.
Kids sale free on select Caribbean sailings in summer 2017 and winter 2017/2018. Kids must be 11 and under at time of sailing and share a cabin with two adults.
Mediterranean Cruises - The $409.50 rate is per person based on double occupancy for Category I1. Government fees and taxes are additional for each guest. Kids sail free through April 2017 on MSC Magnifica and MSC Splendida. Kids must be 12 and under at the time of sailing and share a stateroom with two adults. On sailings from April to November 2017, kids 11 and under at time of sailing sail free when sharing a stateroom with two adults.
Northern Europe - The $599.50 rate is per person rate based on double occupancy for Category I1 cabins. Government taxes and fees are additional for each guest. Kids 11 and under at time of sailing sail free when sharing a stateroom with two adults.
Ask for "2 for 1 Promo" when booking. The offer expires Mar. 31, 2017. .
MSC Cruises or 877/665-4655.
Kiawah Island Golf Resort Fall/Winter Savings
|Kiawah Island Golf Resort, in Kiawah Island, SC, has a fall and winter “stay-and-play” or “stay-and-dine” offers. Kiawah’s “Golf or Gourmet Escape” offer provides deals for staying at the resort and playing golf or dining with up to a 45 percent savings over peak season rates.
Through Mar. 2, 2017, when booking the “Golf or Gourmet Escape” you have a choice of accommodations at the Sanctuary Hotel garden view room or a one-bedroom villa, plus either two rounds of golf or two dinners, or one of each. You have the option of the “Champions Choice” or “Players Choice” packages depending on your taste in restaurants or courses. The Champions Choice gourmet option includes dinner for two up to $200 (or $100 for the single dinner option).
Blackout dates include Dec 9, 10, 30 and 31. Not valid for groups or special events and cannot be combined with any other offer or discount.
To make this deal sweeter, when you stay in the Sanctuary, you will receive resort credits, room category upgrades, late checkouts and arrival amenities for three or four night stays.
Champions Choice - Sanctuary $400 per night, Villa $300 per night
- Nightly accommodations and your choice of:
- Two rounds of golf at any golf course
- Or dinner for two at any restaurant
- Or one round of golf and one dinner.
Players Choice - Sanctuary $300 per night, Villa $200 per night
- Nightly accommodations and your choice of:
- Two rounds of golf at Turtle Point, Osprey Point, Cougar Point or Oak Point
- Or dinner for two at Jasmine Porch, Tomasso or Cherrywood BBQ
- Or one round of golf (Turtle/Osprey/Cougar/Oak) and one dinner (Jasmine/Tomasso/Cherrywood).
Extend your stay to three nights and receive a one-time $100 resort credit. Extend your stay to four or more nights and receive a one-time $200 resort credit, a two room category upgrade based on availability, a 3 p.m. checkout and an arrival amenity. Extend Your Stay rewards are only valid for Sanctuary reservations (not villa) and nights must be consecutive.
Kiawah Island Golf Resort’s Golf or Gourmet Escape Packages or 800/654-2924.
Asiana Sells Unlimited First Class Upgrades
|South Korean airline Asiana sells passes that give you unlimited free upgrades to first class. Called Asiana First Membership, this pass is valid on select business-class tickets between Seoul and Frankfurt, Los Angeles and New York.
Choose between a one-time pass (good for one roundtrip flight) or an annual membership, which gets you an unlimited number of upgrades on eligible flights during your membership year. In addition to getting a seat at the very front of the plane, both membership options entitle you to priority check-in and first-class lounge access.
The one-time pass costs 700,000 Korean Won or about $611, while the annual membership goes for 1,300,000 Korean Won or about $1,136. As a one-time pass costs a little more than half the price for a one-year membership, if you fly on an eligible ticket more than once, the year-long membership is the better value.
The Asiana First Membership is only valid on select international routes, from Seoul Incheon to Los Angeles, New York, and Frankfurt. They only work on business-class fares booked in J, C or D class. Cheaper business fares are excluded and business-class award bookings won’t be eligible for upgrades to first, either. The terms and condition also state that you accrue miles based on the originally purchased fare class (so 125% to 135%).
If you frequently travel on one of the eligible routes to/from Seoul on a full-fare business ticket, the upgrade membership could represent a decent savings.
Asiana First Membership.
SF's Golden Gate Bridge: 6 Things to Do
|San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge is one of the most famous and photographed landmarks in the world. There are several things that most people don't know about the graceful span and the ways to experience it.
- A bridge across the Golden Gate Strait was first proposed in 1872 and championed by railroad mogul Charles Crocker but the idea didn't catch on.
- Chief engineer Joseph Strauss' first design, in 1921, was rejected as too ugly.
- Nature photographer Ansel Adams worried that building a bridge across the Golden Gate would ruin the beauty of the place. When Adams saw the finished Golden Gate Bridge, he changed his mind.
- Eleven men died in accidents during construction, 10 of them on the same day. Another 19 workers caught by a safety net below the bridge were dubbed members of the “Halfway to Hell Club.”
- The Navy suggested that the bridge be painted in black and yellow stripes. The Army Air Corps wanted candy cane red and white stripes. The signature International Orange hue was the color of the primer. Consulting architect Irving Morrow lobbied for the bridge to be permanently painted International Orange.
- According to urban legend, the Golden Gate Bridge is painted continuously, end-to-end. Not so. The bridge is painted and touched up according to need.
- Fifty thousand people walked across the new bridge on May 26, 1937. It was opened to motor vehicles the next day. On May 24, 1987, some 300,000 people squeezed onto the bridge for a 50th birthday party. The weight of bridge walkers that day caused the roadway to sag in the middle by seven feet, but bridge engineers said the structure always remained safe.
- The six-lane bridge is 1.7 miles long, linking San Francisco on the south with Marin County on the north.
- Total cost of construction was $35 million.
- The bridge weighs 887,700 tons, after shedding 12,300 tons when the roadway was replaced in the 1980s.
- The two main suspension cables use a combined 80,000 miles of wire. Looped around the Earth's equator in a single strand, it would circle the planet three times.
- The Golden Gate Bridge was the longest suspension bridge in the world until 1964. It is now the ninth-longest.
- More than 2 billion motor vehicles have passed over the Golden Gate Bridge
Visiting the Golden Gate Bridge is a great experience but needn't end with the bridge itself. There's a range of things to do within walking distance of the bridge.
The Golden Gate Bridge Strauss Plaza - Approaching from San Francisco heading north, visitors come to the Golden Gate Bridge Strauss Plaza, a gateway named for the bridge's first chief engineer, Joseph Strauss. The plaza, opened in 2012 southeast of the bridge toll stations, includes the Bridge Pavilion, the Round House Café and a small parking lot. Approaching from Marin County heading south, the parking lot is accessed from the bridge's far-right lane via the Merchant Road exit.
The Bridge Pavilion, a glassy modern building in International Orange, is the place for branded Golden Gate Bridge merchandise. This visitors' center highlights orientation and interpretive information about the bridge and its construction from 1933 to 1937 and offers views of the bridge and the Pacific Ocean.
The neighboring Round House Café, a circular 1938 Art Deco building, was reopened in 2015 as a contemporary eatery. The café offers barista service behind large, view-friendly windows and a classic roadside menu. Food is sourced from Bay Area companies.
The Walt Disney Family Museum in the Presidio, located inland and south of the bridge in a repurposed heritage building on the former Army base, offers a variety of changing, interactive exhibits about the movie studio and its founder, appealing to children and adults.
Waterside Crissy Field, the Presidio's transformed former airfield, located downhill and to the east of the bridge includes a flat pathway. It winds past beaches and sand dunes with native plants and takes you to Fort Point with views of the bridge from the water's edge.
On the Marin side, Vista Point overlooks the bay, the bridge and the city skyline from off the bridge's east sidewalk. From the west, head up Cozelman Road to Battery Spencer, a reinforced concrete battery that was a part of the Harbor Defense of San Francisco.
A mile below the cliffs on the Presidio's western shoreline, Baker Beach's views of the bridge and the Marin Headlands are unsurpassed. The public beach lies on the Pacific Ocean northwest of the city.
See It From Every Angle:
Go Over the Bridge
- The bridge gets 10 million visitors a year. Most drive across on U.S. Highway 101. A $7.25 toll for 2-axle vehicles is paid electronically at the San Francisco end. Limited paid parking is available in the compact lot southeast of the San Francisco toll plaza. In the northeast lot at Vista Point on the Marin County side, parking is free for up to four hours. (Both lots may be closed at major holidays.)
- Bridge crossings can be made by tour bus, taxi, ride-sharing services Uber and Lyft and public transit. The hop-on/hop-off, open-top Big Bus includes a Sausalito and bridge tour with a Dynamite ticket. City Sightseeing San Francisco's Sausalito Loop crosses the bridge in both directions. Gray Line's Sausalito Loop includes a bridge crossing. Golden Gate Transit buses and San Francisco Muni buses stop at the San Francisco toll plaza, where you can get off to walk or cycle the bridge, toll-free.
- Walkers and bicyclists share the east sidewalk overlooking San Francisco Bay and bicyclists also use the west sidewalk on the ocean side. San Francisco City Guides lead informative and free bridge walks. DYI walking and cycling give easy access to nearby attractions such as the California Coastal Trail, the Marin Headlands and Fort Baker in Marin County.
- Leading bike rental companies, some of which organize bridge rides include: Blazing Saddles, Bay City Bikes, Bike and Roll San Francisco, Bike and View, Golden Gate Park – Bike & Skate, Park Wide Bike Rentals & Tours, Spinlister and Sports Basement – Gear, Apparel and Bike Rental. Some bicycle tours end in Sausalito and offer the option of returning to San Francisco by ferry.
Go Above the Bridge - San Francisco Helicopters offers view-friendly flights above the bridge on their Vista Grande option.
Go Under the Bridge - Going under the bridge allows you to appreciate its immensity and architecture. Walkers can pause under the span at Fort Point. Blue & Gold Fleet's San Francisco Cruise Adventure sails under the bridge from Fisherman's Wharf, as does Red and White Fleet's Bridge2Bridge Cruise. City Kayak has a Golden Gate Bridge Trip from Crissy Field for advanced sea kayakers. Hornblower Cruises & Events showcases views of the bridge. Adventure Cat takes sailing catamarans under the bridge and around the bay. Check the Events calendar on Tideline Water Taxi's website for their Golden Gate Bridge Float Cruise which departs from Sam's Anchor Cafe in Tiburon.
San Francisco Travel Association or 800/637-5196.
Philly Winter Getaway
|Visit Philadelphia, the region’s official tourism marketing agency, offers a version of its Visit Philly Overnight Hotel package for winter. Redeemable through Mar. 19, 2017, the Visit Philly Overnight Hotel package Winter Getaway is bookable online and starts at $99 per night.
The package, offered at 38 Center City hotels, is valued at up to $228 and includes:
- Free hotel parking
- Two untimed tickets to Jurassic World: The Exhibition, making its North American debut at The Franklin Institute
- Admission and ice skate rentals for two at Blue Cross RiverRink Winterfest
- One $20 gift card for use at any of chef Jose Garces’ restaurants in Philadelphia
- A code from Uber good for one free ride valued up to $10 for new and existing customers.
Bookable seven days a week, the getaway is good for one- and two-night stays this winter only.
Free Parking: Thirty-eight participating hotels offer free parking for one car for up to two nights—that’s as much as $100 in value at Center City hotels.
Philly Hotel Package Winter Getaway
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-- 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 Publishings
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.
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