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Travel Savings Alerts Newsletter, April 2007 Issue



Travel Savings Alerts
P.O. Box 91033
Columbus OH 43209
http://tsalerts.freespaces.com
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ISSN: 1542-801X, Copyright © 2007 
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In This Issue:

Dumbarton Oaks, North Vista

  • Special Fares on Iberia Boston to Madrid
  • Liability Limits on Luggage
  • Save at Attractions with Go Cards
  • Up to 50% Off at Desert Rose Estate
  • Fly NY to London, Then Fly Fr.ee
  • 2-for-1 with the Seattle TourSaver
  • Avis One-Way Deals from Florida $12.95
  • Beware Air Ambulance Services
  • Anguilla Summer Rates
  • Megabus $1 Fares
  • BA Summertime Business-Class Deals
  • Budget One-Way Rates from Florida
  • Spirit Membership Club
  • Intro Prices on Flight Passes to Canada
  • Predict Turbulent Flights
  • Floridian Airline Customers Could Get Rebate
  • flyglobespan Flights
  • D.C. Parks & Gardens by Nicki Chodnoff
  • Savings on Select Summer Crystal Cruises

  • Special Fares on Iberia Boston to Madrid

    Iberia will start flights from Boston to Madrid on May 6, 2007, flying five times a week with non-stop flights.

    To mark the occasion, special launching roundtrip fares are offered from Boston to Spain from $549 and to the rest of Europe from $569. Fares are valid for a maximum of 30 days for travel May 6, 2007, until June 15, 2007.

    Fares do not include government, airport and security fees of up to $150. The fuel surcharge of up to $90 per one way is included in this price.

    The Iberia flight, on an Airbus A340-300 aircraft with a capacity of 260 passengers, departs Boston on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays.

    Boston will be Iberia's fourth destination in the United States. Other non- stop flights to Madrid, originate in Chicago, Miami, and New York.

    Iberia Airlines of Spain or 800/772-4642.


    Liability Limits on Delayed, Lost or Damaged Luggage

    On Feb. 28, 2007, the lost luggage limit for domestic travelers increased to $3,000 in the USA. San Francisco travel attorney Alexander Anolik warns passengers that although the limit increased, the amount of items the carriers will not pay for has been expanding over the years.

    Most carriers’ contracts of carriage exclude heirlooms, cash, electronic equipment, any work-related samples or items, antiques, computer equipment and related items, documents, film, fragile items, irreplaceable items, jewelry, keys, manuscripts, medication, paintings or one of a kind works of art, perishable items, pets/animals, photographs, photographic equipment, securities, silverware and watches. Due to carrier bankruptcies, which limit litigation against them, and anti-consumer policies compared to their get tough on cost issues, settling disputes is more difficult for passengers.

    On international trips that originate in countries that have not ratified the Montreal Convention, passengers remain under the rules of the Warsaw Convention and are limited to $9.07 per pound. Countries that signed Montreal Convention can get up to 1,000 SDRs per passenger. An SDR is an international currency equivalent set by the International Monetary Fund and is approximately $1.50 U.S. The SDR limit is expected to be reviewed every five years.


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


    Save at Attractions with Go Cards

    Go Card attraction passes for Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, Miami, Oahu, Orlando, San Diego, San Francisco, and Seattle offer pre-paid admission to attractions at a discount.

    For a flat fee, you have fr.ee access to participating attractions in specific metro areas for one, two, three, five, or seven days. Cards are the best buy if you visit multiple attractions each day. The more attractions you visit, the more you save.

    Your card is activated the first time you use it and is valid for the number of days purchased. Cards are nontransferable and non-refundable.

    One-day GoCard USA costs $59 for adults and $49 for kids ages three to 12. This card may be used at participating attractions in the nine GoCards cities. You can use the multi-day pass in multiple cities on whatever days you choose up to a year after the first day you use the card.

    A one-day Powder Passport costs $59 for adults, $49 for kids ages 13 to 17, $45 for kids ages five to 12 . This card may be used for unrestricted skiing and riding (no blackout dates) at 18 ski resorts in the Northeast including Water Valley, Bretton Woods Mountain Resort, Jay Peak Resort, and Attitash.

    One-day cards start at $39 for adults and $29 for kids ages three to 12. Here are a few one-day sample rates:

    Boston - $49 for adults, $29 for kids ages three to 12. Attractions include the Museum of Fine Arts, the Museum of Science, Boston Duck Tours, Mass Bay Lines Whale Watch, and the Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket ferries.

    Chicago - $55 for adults and $39 for kids ages three to 12 . Attractions include the Field Museum, the Shedd Aquarium, the Art Institute of Chicago, the John Hancock Observatory, and the Shoreline Sightseeing Architectural River Cruise.

    Los Angeles - $49 for adults and $39 for kids ages three to 12. Attractions include the Kodak Theatre Guided Tours, Aquarium of the Pacific, the California Science Center IMAX theater, and Hollywood Trolley Tours.

    Miami - $59 for adults and $49 for kids ages three to 12. Attractions include the Miami MetroZoo, Island Queen Cruises, Miami Art Museum, Miami Duck Tours, and Island Queen Cruises.

    Oahu - $59 for adults and $49 for kids ages three to 12. Attractions include the Honolulu Academy of the Arts, USS Arizona Audio Tour, Japanese Cultural Center, Sea Life Park by Dolphin Discovery Center, and Hanauma Bay Snorkeling Adventures.

    Cards can be purchased online or at select visitor centers in each city. A $5 shipping fee applies if you don’t pick up your card at a visitor center.

    Go Cards.


    Up to 50% Off at Desert Rose Estate

    Since its debut in Nov. 2006, to celebrate it's first spring/summer/ fall season, Desert Rose Estate, in Anguilla, British West Indies, offers savings up to 50 percent for rentals Apr. 14 through Dec. 17, 2007. The daily per couple rate for one bedroom, with exclusive use of the estate that costs $2,000 during the winter, is $1,000; two bedrooms that cost $2,300 in the winter are $1,300; and all three bedrooms, with a winter rate of $2,500, are $1,500.

    Overlooking the sea on Anguilla's northeastern shore, the 11,000 square foot oceanfront villa with 86 glass windows and doors is like a luxury home, with a family room, three-and-a-half bathrooms, living room, gourmet kitchen and dining room. The décor is fresh and contemporary.

    Bedrooms feature king size beds and bathrooms with plush towels, bathrobes, hair dryers, make-up mirrors and fine toiletries. Virtually every room opens onto a 140-foot seaside veranda. There is an infinity edge pool and a tennis court on the Estate's four acres.

    Rates include your own deserted island for a day at Scilly Cay and fr.ee lunch there one of the three days a week it is open. Also included is daily housekeeping; continental breakfast and fr.ee phone service to the US and Canada. Children must be ten years or older. 10% government tax and 10% service charge are extra.

    You can arrange for stocking of provisions and services of a butler and/or chef. A concierge service assists with island tours, car rental, restaurant reservations and deep-sea fishing excursions, and suggestions for the best snorkeling, scuba and sailing spots.

    Desert Rose Estate or 239/352-9235.



    Fly NY to London, Then Fly Fr.ee

    When you fly round trip in first or business class on American Airlines from New York (JFK) to London Heathrow, you can earn up to three fr.ee trips anywhere the airline flies in the U.S. (including Hawaii or Alaska), Canada, Mexico or the Caribbean.

    To participate in this offer, book your qualifying ticket by May 31, 2007 in booking classes F, J, A, D or I. Register before your trip using promotion code AAJFK. This offer is not retroactive for travel taken prior to registration. Travel is valid through May 31, 2007. You can take your fr.ee trip(s) through May 2008.

    The fr.ee roundtrip award ticket is for travel in economy class on American Airlines, American Eagle or AmericanConnection. No stopovers or circle trips allowed on award tickets. The award certificate will be mailed to the AAdvantage member's address on file with AAdvantage Marketing Programs six to eight weeks after qualifying travel is completed.

    You are responsible for all taxes and fees for the award ticket. For international, Puerto Rico and USVI destinations, additional taxes and fees up to $180 may apply. All award travel for this promotion must be booked through AAdvantage Reservations and requires a $15 award ticketing fee. Seats for award travel are subject to capacity controls and may not be available on all flights.

    AAdvantage Reservations or 800/882-8880.

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

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


    2-for-1 with Seattle TourSaver

    Plan your Seattle getaway with the all-new Seattle TourSaver. Everything is two-for-one or fr.ee in this handy booklet.

    With more than $2,500 in savings, the book costs $79.95 and features flightseeing, cruises, Seattle hotels and adventures in Seattle, Tacoma and the San Juan Islands. The Seattle TourSaver is produced by the same company that produces the Great Alaskan TourSaver in Anchorage.

    A few of the two-for-one offers include Argosy Cruises Harbor and Lake tours, Kenmore Air seaplane flightseeing, the Victoria Clipper catamaran to Victoria, BC, a ghost tour of Pike Place Market, two-for-one suite accommodations downtown at Pike Street Suites.

    The Seattle TourSaver available online.

    Seattle TourSaver.



    Avis One-Way Deals from Florida $12.95

    Avis Rent A Car offers low one-way rates for Florida customers traveling to select destinations in the United States. This special limited-time offer allows you to rent a car in one place, return it in another, all with unlimited mileage and no drop fees. The daily rate for a car rented from select Florida airport locations starts from $12.95 a day for a sub- compact, $13.95 a day for a compact, $14.95 a day for a intermediate, $16.95 a day for a standard, and $18.95 a day for a full-size. Minivans are available for $19.95 a day. Promotional rates are valid while supplies last on rentals beginning Apr. 9, 2007 for travel through June 15, 2007.

    Airport pickup locations in Florida include: Daytona Beach, Fort Lauderdale, Jacksonville, Melbourne, Miami International, Orlando, Pensacola, St. Petersburg/Clearwater, Sarasota, Tampa, West Palm Beach, Tallahassee and Southwest Florida International.

    Vehicles may be returned to locations throughout the Northeast, such as, Boston, New York, Philadelphia and Albany; in the Midwest at Chicago, St. Louis, Cleveland and Kansas City; and in the Southeast at Atlanta, Raleigh, Charlotte, Charleston, Nashville, and New Orleans. Check Avis online for information on all available drop-off cities.

    Vehicles must be rented from select Florida airport locations only and dropped off outside of the state of Florida. Rates are subject to availability and blackout dates may apply.

    Avis Rent A Car or 888/777-AVIS, mention AWD# G017900.



    Beware Air Ambulance Services

    Emergency medical air transport is not always a matter of an exotic trip gone awry. Many families want to move a relative from a distant hospital or facility to one closer to where they live. For these and other reasons, the demand for air ambulance service is growing fast reports the Harvard Health Letter. The newsletter offers tips on finding a reliable company.

    Some commercial airlines reserve space for a stretcher and medical personnel in the back of the cabin, but many no longer provide that service. With an air ambulance, the patient is flown on a small jet outfitted with some of the equipment you’d find on a ground ambulance, with medical personnel onboard. The expense is enormous. Companies usually charge a base fee, a separate fee for medical personnel, and then mileage. A trip from Florida to Boston will cost at least $10,000; from Africa, at least $50,000.

    You can buy travel insurance that will cover air evacuation services, although the coverage may be limited to transportation to the “nearest appropriate facility.” An alternative to travel insurers are membership organizations such as Global Rescue and MedJet Assist. With these you aren’t restricted to the “nearest appropriate facility,” but there are other limitations.

    The Harvard Health Letter suggests that if you’re hiring an air ambulance directly, the best place to start looking for a reliable company is the Commission on Accreditation of Medical Transport Systems. Ask the following questions:

    • Does the operator have valid certification and current insurance?
    • Is the medical equipment suitable?
    • How experienced are the pilots and medical personnel?
    • Can you provide references from previous customers?


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    Face-It Luggage Tags -- Your Face on Your Luggage
    There's no mistaking your luggage with the Face-It Luggage Tag. The durable, laminated tag displays your face and the phrase "This Face Belongs With This Luggage."

    A Face-It Luggage tag makes it less likely for a stranger or thief to walk off with your luggage and helps you recognize your luggage at a glance in hotels or airports. Face-It Tags are also available for briefcases, portfolio books, backpacks, sporting equipment, musical instruments, bicycles and more. Face-It Luggage Tags.



    Anguilla Summer Rates

    The Bird of Paradise, in Anguilla, is the newest villa in Anguilla’s offerings of destination villas.

    After traveling the world for 20-some years for an arm of the State Department, Jon and Melody Dill of Wisconsin, decided on Anguilla to build their second home. They designed the villa in an Asian tropical style with tropical hardwoods, hard-carved stone reliefs, hand carved-stone walls, and other architectural and decorating details.

    The Bird of Paradise also provides a lagoon-style pool and showcases the owners’ Oceanic art collection. Special amenities include: each suite has a private verandah and panoramic view, its own refrigerator and coffee service, Frette linens, bathrobes and slippers, Voss water, Kona coffee and full-sized Bvlgaria amenities. Maid and concierge service is included..

    At Christmas, the Bird of Paradise costs $5200 per night. The special summer rate starts at $2200 per night which includes 12 percent government tax and fees and 10 percent service charge.

    Bird of Paradise villa.



    Megabus $1 Fares

    Megabus.com, a subsidiary of Chicago-based Coach USA, begins service in early April with with trips to Chicago, Pittsburgh, Columbus, Toledo, Cleveland and other Midwest cities from $1. Buying any ticket or set of tickets triggers a reservation fee of 50 cents.

    Coach has a terminal in Chicago, but Megabus does not use terminals in the other cities it serves. Instead, it receives and discharges passengers at streetside locations in front of hotels, convention centers and the like.

    Ticket purchases are all online. Fares start at $1 but vary according to the availability of seats. For travel on short notice, the fares rise. For instance, a ticket from Chicago to Minneapolis/St. Paul with less than 24 hours' notice will cost about $25. Megabus claims their highest fare is lower than other modes of travel, including car, because of the price of gasoline, tolls and parking.

    Megabus was born in Scotland, home of Coach USA's corporate parent, Stagecoach Group plc. Beginning in late 2003, it ferried commuters to and from towns surrounding Stagecoach's home city of Perth. The discounted express service was so well received, Megabus expanded across the United Kingdom and then into the United States.

    Megabus.


    Advertisement
    Protect Luggage with Baggage Guard Seals

    The pre-numbered, one-time use plastic padlocks are the perfect way to protect your luggage since they cannot be reinstalled once removed. That feature lets you instantly know if someone tampered with your luggage. Yet when TSAs at airports need to inspect your luggage, Baggage Guard Seals can be easily removed. A package of 10 Baggage Guard Seals is still only $9.95.

    Click Here to Order from On The Go Publishing.


    BA Summertime Business-Class Deals

    British Airways offers discounts on premium transatlantic flights to London in high season. British Airways is selling roundtrip seats in Club World, the carrier's business-class cabin, from $2,232 from New York. Flights are either to London Heathrow (LHR) or London Gatwick (LGW).

    This discount airfare carries some restrictions, First, you must book and buy no later than Apr. 26, 2007, and travel July 1 through Sep. 2, 2007. You must fly on Mondays, Tuesdays or Wednesdays, and stay over at least one Saturday night.

    If you travel Thursday through Sunday, there’s a $30 surcharge in each direction. You must purchase your ticket 21 days in advance. Neither taxes nor fees are included.

    Other sample roundtrip rates: from Boston or Philadelphia $2,498; Washington Dulles or Baltimore/Washington $2,888; Atlanta $2,335; Orlando or Tampa $3,168; Chicago, Detroit or Dallas $3,168; Denver or Phoenix $3,600; and San Francisco or Los Angeles $2,865.

    When you get to London, these British Airways deals allow you to buy a room for three nights at a quartet of four- or five-star hotels in London and get a fourth night fr.ee. Included are the Copthorne Tara, the Kensington House, The Ritz, or the Grosvenor House.

    British Airways.



    Budget One-Way Rates From Florida

    It's that time of year when Budget moves its fleet north for the summer. Budget Rent A Car offers special one-way rates from Florida to select locations in the continental United States. This limited-time offer allows you to rent a car in one place and return it in another, with unlimited mileage and no drop fees.

    One-way rates start at $19.95 per day for a minivan; one-way from the Sunshine State costs $12.95 per day for an economy car; $13.95 per day for a compact; $14.95 per day for an intermediate; $16.95 per day for a standard; or $18.95 per day for a full-size car.

    The offer is available for pickup at: Daytona Beach, Fort Lauderdale, Jacksonville, Melbourne, Miami International, Orlando, Pensacola, St. Petersburg/Clearwater, Sarasota, Tallahassee, Tampa, West Palm Beach and Southwest Florida International.

    Vehicles must be returned to select locations in the continental United States. In the Northeast, locations include Baltimore, Boston, New York and Philadelphia; in the Midwest, at Chicago, Cleveland, Detroit and St. Louis; and in the Southeast locations include Charlotte, Nashville, New Orleans, Raleigh and Savannah. Check online for information on all available drop-off cities.

    The one-way offer is valid for pick up Apr. 9, 2007 through June 15, 2007. There is limited availability at these rates and you must mention Budget Customer Discount (BCD) Number U094700 at the time of reservation.

    Budget Rent A Car or 800/BUDGET-7.



    Spirit Membership Club

    Spirit Airlines created a "$9 Fare Club" where you pay a fee for exclusive access to extremely low sale fares.

    Recently, Spirit launched fare sales as low as $8, $5 and $1. According to Spirit’s marketing department, the new club offers members private access to low, member-only fares, some $9 or lower. Spirit will still run public fare sales, but the company is moving towards exclusive sales for their members.

    Spirit promises club members the low fares will be offered at least once every six weeks. It is offering a three-month trial membership in the club for $9, but said after the trial period, the membership will cost $29.95 for a full year. Spirit also offers a f.ree membership to customers who get the Spirit MasterCard credit card and use it at least once a month.

    Spirit, is positioning itself as an "ultra low-cost carrier," and lowered fares by as much as 40 percent the first three months of 2007. As of June 20, the airline starts charging up to $10 apiece for the first two checked bags and $1 for juice, soda, coffee and tea. In early June 2007, Spirit will offer you the option to pay ahead of time, through its web site, and charge only $5 per bag.

    The new checked bag fee applies to any customers who booked their flight after Mar. 5, 2007. The fee for a third checked bag will be $100. Checked bag fees are separate from excess weight fees for checked bags weighing more than 50 pounds.

    Spirit is doing away with its Spirit Plus class, with dedicated check-in, priority boarding and fr.ee snacks and drinks. It’s keeping the roomier seats and selling them at a premium as "Big Front Seats" without the Spirit Plus extras. Those extras go away June 20.

    Spirit Airlines.



    Advertisement
    Cheap Tix Chart
    Buy Tickets at a Discount -- Special ticket outlets sell discounted day-of-performance tickets to theater productions, films, and sporting events. Discounts can be 50 percent or more. On The Go Publishing’s Cheap Tix Chart, still only $14, lists outlets in the U.S. and eight foreign cities that sell discounted, day-of-performance tickets. Click here to order the Cheap Tix Chart from On The Go Publishing.

    Intro Prices on Flight Passes to Canada

    For the first time in the United States, Air Canada offers subscription flight passes with unlimited travel for a flat monthly rate.

    To celebrate the introduction of 'Flight Pass to Canada,' Air Canada offers a special introductory price until May 7, 2007. The flight pass starts from $1,657 per month to fly as much as you want for a three or six month period. In addition, Air Canada offers automatic top tier Elite frequent flyer status when you purchase a six-month Unlimited 'Flight Pass to Canada' at the Latitude fare level from $2,360 per month. Air Canada flies to 53 U.S. airports.

    By pre-purchasing air travel, Flight Pass holders benefit from predictable fixed monthly payments as pass prices include airport fees, charges and taxes.

    Flight Passes are available at two fare levels: Tango Plus, Air Canada's everyday value fare, or Latitude, with flexibility to make reservation changes fr.ee of charge and fr.ee upgrades to Executive Class online.

    To promote the everyday low Tango Plus price, Air Canada offers an introductory price until May 7, 2007 for its 10-trip Tango Plus 'Flight Pass to Canada' from $2,100 or $210 per trip. The pass is valid for a 12-month period, including all fees, charges and taxes.

    For U.S. registered businesses, Air Canada's 'Flight Pass to Canada' is available in a multi-user 'Small Business Pass' version valid for six months that provides 30 flight credits for up to eight different travelers from one company.

    Air Canada.


    Predict Turbulent Flights

    Flight Explorer, the provider of real-time global flight tracking and airport information tools, offers a new suite of advanced pre-travel tools designed to help frequent travelers better prepare for their air travel. The new tools include:

    Flight Plan and Exact Route Flown -- For scheduled, planned and en-route flights, view a flight's filed flight plan versus the actual route flown (in-flight) with multiple geographical overlays

    Forecasted Turbulence and Current Weather Overlay -- Prior to leaving for the airport, view your planned flight's filed flight plan in relation to the forecasted turbulence and current weather situation

    Zoomable Display -- Track and view flights and overlays at multiple zoom levels

    Flight On-Time Performance History -- Better anticipate delays by viewing a 15-day graphical and textual history of a flight's on-time performance

    New Turbulence Snapshots -- View a snapshot of the day's forecasted turbulence at take-off, descent and cruising altitudes

    Enhanced 3D Flight Tracking -- View plane tail numbers and other enhancements now included in Flight Explorer's 3D Flight Tracking tool

    Airport Parking Reservations -- Reserve your airport parking spot in advance and online

    Flight Explorer.


    Floridian Airline Customers Could Get Rebate

    Floridians inconvenienced or delayed by the airlines could be reimbursed under a bill that flew through its first committee.

    The bill (SB 316) would require airlines to compensate passengers when a flight is canceled or delayed by more than an hour. A passenger would be entitled to use the ticket at a later date, or to get full reimbursement plus whatever the airline normally charges as a penalty for changing a ticket.

    They would pay you the same amount of money that they would charge you if you had to change your flight, said the measure’s sponsor, Sen. Mike Bennett, R-Bradenton. It’s really an issue of fairness.

    The bill was unanimously approved by the Senate Commerce Committee. It has to stop in two more committees before it lands on the Senate floor. Airlines have blocked attempts nationwide to set minimum legal standards for customer service by agreeing to a voluntary code of conduct, but they haven’t always followed it. Bennett noted it may be questionable whether a state can dictate pricing rules to an airline, but asked the committee to send a message to the airlines by approving the bill anyway. A similar bill (HB 305), sponsored by Rep. Yolly Roberson, D-Miami, is filed in the House.



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

    flyglobespan Flights

    flyglobespan, a low-cost Scottish carrier, offers discount flights and vacations from the United States to the UK and Ireland. Flights and vacations originate in Boston, New York (JFK) and Orlando Sanford Airport to England, Scotland and Ireland.

    Sample one-way fares, without taxes included, are listed below.

    Orlando Sanford Airport to Glasgow from: $198 in Apr., $232 in May, $243 in June, $321 in July, $314 in Aug., $284 in Sep., and $298 in Oct.

    Orlando Sanford to Belfast from: $149 in Apr., $261 in May, $244 in June, $360.50 in July, $587 in Aug., $312 in Sep., and $321 in Oct.

    Boston to Glasgow from: $239 in June, $305 in July, $253 in Aug., $226 in Sep., and $235 in Oct.

    Boston to Ireland West Knock from: $218 in June, $202 in July, $238 in Aug., $186 in Sep., and $155 in Oct.

    New York (JFK) to Liverpool from: $194 in June, $236 in July, $204 in Aug., $198 in Oct., $225.50 in Nov., $244.50 in Dec., and $310.50 in Jan. 2008.

    New York (JFK) to Ireland West Knock from: $180 in June, $246 in July, $102 in Aug., $182 in Sep., and $177 in Oct.

    flyglobespan.


    Washington, D.C.’s Parks and Gardens by Nicki Chodnoff

    Dumbarton Oaks North VistaOur capital’s European design includes many parks and gardens, making the Washington, D.C. inviting in the spring and summer when cherry blossoms give way to azaleas, water lilies and other floral displays.

    Here are a few of Washington D.C.’s off-the-beat-path gardens. And yes, enjoy the gardens for f.ree.

    Dumbarton Oaks Gardens 202/339-6400 - - in the heart of Georgetown, the Dumbarton Oaks estate offers 10 acres of formal gardens in a charming Georgetown setting. Oak trees, a rose garden, a towering bamboo stand and an English country garden surround the mansion. The grounds of the mansion consist of several terraces devoted to herbs, cherry trees and forsythias. The Pebble Garden is framed by rococo borders of moss and is paved with a mosaic of Mexican stones arranged to represent a wheat sheaf. Couples can enjoy the garden’s tranquility by relaxing at Lovers Lane Pool.

    Hillwood Museum and Gardens 202/686-8500 - - Designed for cereal heiress Marjorie Merriweather Post and located at one of her former homes, the gardens at Hillwood contain more than 3,500 varieties of plants and trees. Wooded paths connect the gardens and encircle the lawn on the mansion’s south side. Azaleas, violets, rhododendrons and dogwoods add to the garden’s beauty. Among Hillwood’s delights: a recently restored Japanese garden featuring a waterfall and bridge, a rose garden, ivy clipped from Buckingham Palace and greenhouses containing more than 5,000 orchids.

    Hillwood Japanese GardenFranciscan Monastery Garden 202/526-6800 - - Flowers, trees and shrubs grow lavishly on the 40-acre grounds of the Franciscan Monastery. Daffodils, flowering dogwood, cherry and tulip trees add to the garden’s splendor. The garden includes pathways and authentic replicas of Holy Land shrines. Tropical treasures cultivated in the monastery’s greenhouse include hibiscus, lantana, tiger lilies, giant caladiums and palm and banana trees.

    Kenilworth Aquatic GardensKenilworth Aquatic Gardens 202/426-6905 - - This is the only National Park Service site devoted to the propagation and display of aquatic plants. Kenilworth is tucked away in southeast Washington, D.C. along the east bank of the Anacostia River, the city’s last tidal marsh. The gardens span 14 acres, with 45 ponds that sustain more than 100,000 exotic water lilies, ferns and lotuses, the East Coast’s foremost collection. The aquatic environment also serves as a habitat for a number of small animals, including various frogs, toads, turtles, birds and insects. Each July, the park’s Water Lily Festival attracts crowds from around the United States.

    National Arboretum Herb GardenNational Arboretum 202/245-2726 - - Perched on one of Washington, D.C.’s highest points, the National Arboretum rambles over 444 acres. Ten miles of hard surface roads wind through the scenic grounds, making it ideal for exploration by bicycle, on foot, or by car. The arboretum includes several major plant collections, including azaleas, cherries, hollies, rhododendrons, ferns and wild flowers. Hundreds of acres of natural forest complement more than a dozen special gardens. The National Bonsai and Penjing Museum, located on the arboretum grounds, showcase the delicate Asian art form. The ornamental trees on display range from 15 to more than 350 years of age. Across the road from the bonsai collection, the National Herb Garden features an extensive spread of antique roses and 10 specialty herb gardens.

    Boulder Bridge, Rock Creek ParkRock Creek Park 202/282-1063 - - Named after the Potomac River tributary that snakes through northwest Washington, D.C., the 2800-acre park is one of the nation’s finest and largest city parks. Designated a National Park in 1890, Rock Creek Park was the first urban natural area set aside by Congress as “a pleasuring place for the enjoyment of the people of the United States.” The park serves as an escape for biking, hiking, playing golf, riding horses, picnics, live performances and historic sites. Within the Washington, D.C. city limits, Rock Creek Park includes 29 miles of foot trails and 13 miles of bridle paths. You can get an orientation to the park at the nature center. Children can explore the hands-on Discovery Room or visit the planetarium, the only planetarium operated by the National Park Service. The golf course is located near the Maryland border and during the summer, the Carter Barron Amphitheater presents a series of outdoor performances.

    Washington National Cathedral Gardens 202/537-6247 - - The cathedral’s 57-acre tract provides a perfect view of the city, from atop the highest point in the city. The cathedral grounds include a variety of gardens. The small herb garden features rosemary, thyme and mint, while the herb garden and Herb Cottage is where you can buy herbs and herb-flavored vinegar. The bishop’s garden is the setting for magnolias, orchids and exquisite flowers. The little garden is designed to look like a medieval herb garden surrounded by boxwood hedges. The cathedral is home to the mysterious Glastonbury thorn tree. This English tree, according to legend, blooms only on Christmas Day and when royalty visits. The tree has lived up to the legend so far. It has bloomed only on Christmas Day and the other four times when Queen Elizabeth visited in 1951 and 1957 and Prince Charles visited in 1981 and 2005. The cathedral gardens are the site of the annual flower mart held yearly in early May.



    Savings on Select Summer Crystal Cruises

    If you have not booked your summer getaway, you can save 10 percent on select summer voyages aboard Crystal Cruises' Crystal Serenity. Two August Mediterranean departures feature overnight calls in Monte Carlo and Venice. If you book by Apr. 30, 2007, you can save 10 percent per person -- a saving of $1,036 to $1,590 per couple, depending on the stateroom and itinerary selected.

    This 10 percent savings applies to new reservations for staterooms (categories C-AA) aboard the 12-day Aug. 19 and Aug. 31 cruises.

    The Canals to Casinos voyage on Aug. 19 features calls in Dubrovnik, Croatia; Taormina (Sicily), Sorrento, Rome/Civitavecchia, and Florence/Livorno, Italy; concluding with an overnight call in Monte Carlo, Monaco. With the new savings, fares start at $4,945 per person, double occupancy.

    The Classic Mediterranean Odyssey on Aug. 31 features calls in Rome/Civitavecchia and Sorrento, Italy; Santorini/Thira, Navplion, and Corfu, Greece; Dubrovnik, Croatia; and concluding with an overnight call in Venice, Italy. With the new savings, fares start at $4,662 per person, double occupancy.

    Crystal Cruises offers special fares on cruises throughout the Mediterranean from April through November. The weak U.S. dollar against the Euro and the resulting high rates of Europe's top luxury hotels make cruise travel an exceptional value.

    Crystal Cruises or 888/799-4625.


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    Information & Credits

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

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