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Travel Savings Alerts Newsletter, July 2016 Issue

Travel Savings Alerts
P.O. Box 877
Logan OH 43138
ISSN: 1542-801X, Copyright  2016 
All Rights Reserved.
Editor: Nicki Chodnoff

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In This Issue:
Lake Mascardi, Nahuel Huapi National Park, Argentina

 photo lake mascardi Nahuel Huapi National Park Argentina_zpsftfaksuv.jpg

  • Exotic Estates Hawaii Sweepstakes
  • 9 Tips for Saving Money on a Summer Vacation
  • Hilton Puts the World on Sale
  • Dubai City Card Discounts
  • World Spree $200 Savings on Vietnam Tour
  • Hotel Viking 90th Anniversary Discount
  • Stay Safe Using Public Wi-Fi
  • Summer Deals from Courtyard Boston
  • VIP Safari Deal "Platinum South Africa"
  • AmericInn Fill in the BLANK Contest
  • Caesars Palace Celebrates 50th Anniversary
  • 8 Insects Repellents that Work
  • Early Booking Savings at Be Live Hotels
  • Paul Gauguin Cruises Summer Offer
  • Catalina Express Lowers Fares
  • Openbay On-Demand Roadside Assistance
  • Pan for Gold to Pay for Stay
  • CIE Early Booking Discounts
  • 4 Steps to Flying Around the U.S. Almost Free
  • Egypt Deluxe Tour Special

  • Exotic Estates Hawaii Sweepstakes

    ENTER BY JULY 5 - - Exotic Estates, a boutique vacation rental agency specializing in villa rentals, gives you a chance to win a stay at Rainbow Falls Villa on the Big Island of Hawaii, a vacation worth $25,000.

    The winner will also receive four roundtrip economy class tickets on Alaska Airlines from any city in Alaska's U.S. Mainland network to Kailua-Kona on the Big Island. Once on the Big Island, the winner will check into Rainbow Falls Villa.

    Paradise Helicopters will pick up the winner from the villa's rooftop helipad for a tour of Kilauea Volcano, the Kona Coffee district, and the beauty of the Big Island.

    All legal U.S. residents over 21 can enter to win this trip by July 5 2016 at the Exotic Estates' website.

    Rainbow Falls Villa is a cliff-side mansion overlooking a double-waterfall that cascades down to the Pacific Ocean. The 10,000 square foot home has an Olympic-size swimming pool with a two-story waterslide and 21 ft. diving platform, tennis and basketball court, private golf course, elevator and a rooftop helipad. Its three levels are navigated by an in-house elevator.

    The winner will receive four roundtrip economy class tickets on Alaska Airlines from any city in Alaska's U.S. Mainland networked to Kailua-Kona on the Big Island of Hawaii.

    Exotic Estates or 888/628-4896.

    9 Tips for Saving Money on a Summer Vacation

    While summer is the most popular time to travel, few people abide by a budget and seek out money-saving options.

    “Summer is the time to relax and have fun, but it’s hard to enjoy yourself when money concerns are nagging you,” said Mike Sullivan, spokesperson for Take Charge America, a national nonprofit credit counseling and debt management agency. “Fortunately, there are countless ways to save money and still have the time of your life.”

    Sullivan offers nine tips for vacationing on a budget:

    Establish a vacation fund: Don’t rob your emergency savings for a trip. Consider setting up a separate savings account just for vacations if you have the budget to accommodate it.

    Sell your stuff: If you’ve been meaning to sell that barely used treadmill or guitar, now’s the time. Earmark that cash for your vacation fund.

    Pack two in one: If you’re unsure where you want to go, consider starting your vacation in a jump-off city with access to two destinations. For example, travel to San Francisco and take a day trip to wine country.

    Scour group deal sites: Once you’ve selected your destination, sign up for Groupon, Living Social, and other deal sites within that geography to save on meals and activities.

    Be flexible: Most people travel on Fridays and Saturdays, but you can snag cheaper flights and hotel rates on weekdays.

    Fly cheap: You can save money by choosing a regional airport. It may require extra time to drive to your final destination, but it could save significant dollars.

    Be smart with room and board: By-owner rentals and sites like Airbnb may offer cheaper rates than hotels. Moreover, renting a home gives you access to a kitchen where you can cook your meals and save money on dining. If you must stay in a hotel, pick one that offers free breakfast or includes a kitchenette for preparing meals.

    Skip the car rental: Unless you really need a car, use Uber or an hourly rental service to get around – especially if you’re staying in a hotel with a daily parking fee or are traveling to a city with a good mass transit system.

    Dine out for lunch: Even the most frugal vacationers like to eat out once in a while. Dine out for lunch instead of dinner to save money. You’re less likely to splurge on expensive cocktails and wine.

    Take Charge America, Inc. is a nonprofit agency offering financial education and counseling services, including credit counseling, debt management, student loan counseling, housing counseling and bankruptcy counseling.

    Take Charge America or 888/822-9193.


    Hilton Puts the World on Sale

    The Hilton World Sale, through Sep. 6, 2016, offers Hilton Honors members value with up to 30 percent off at participating hotels within the Hilton Portfolio of more than 4,660 hotels worldwide across 12 of its 13 brands.

    At Hilton, value is more than the best price – it’s also the benefits of Hilton HHonors membership, the free to join, guest loyalty program. Hilton ensures travelers know how to take advantage of every Point, benefit and experience possible.

    By booking the sale directly via the Hilton website, the Hilton HHonors mobile app, reservation call centers, or through preferred corporate travel partners and approved travel agents, Hilton HHonors members can take advantage of instant benefits such as an exclusive member rate, free standard Wi-Fi, digital check-in with room selection and Digital Key, and earning and redeeming Hilton HHonors Points for free nights. Booking direct also opens the door to unique events such as private concerts, exclusive dining and travel adventures.

    On top of the deals offered through the Hilton World Sale, Hilton HHonors members can earn Double Points for all stays through Aug. 31, 2016, any hotel, any time with no cap on Points when signing up for the Unlimited Bonus Promotion.

    Hilton World Sale details:

    For properties in North & South America receive up to 20 percent off best available rates. Hilton HHonors members can receive up to 25 percent off best available rates at select brands when booking directly with Hilton by Sep. 2, 2016. Sale applies for arriving Thursday through Sunday.

    For properties in Europe, Middle East & Africa, receive up to 25 percent off best available rates and Hilton HHonors members can receive up to 30 percent off best available rates at select brands when booking directly with Hilton by Sep. 4, 2016.

    Properties in Asia Pacific (excluding China), receive up to 20 percent off best available rates and Hilton HHonors members can receive up to 25 percent off best available rates at select brands when booking directly with Hilton by Sep. 5, 2016.

    Properties in China, receive up to 25 percent off best available rate when booking directly with Hilton through Aug. 23, 2016.

    Hilton Worldwide.

    Dubai City Card Discounts

    Dubai drew 14.2 million tourists last year. Now, Dubai City Card is helping draw more tourists by unlocking deals on attractions, activities and excursions.

    City Card Dubai is a personal guide plus money saver for visitors. The pocket-sized booklet includes 20 buy one get one free vouchers to Dubai's top attractions, including the Burj Khalifa, Big Bus Tours, desert safaris and a dhow cruise plus dinner.

    The City Card Dubai package comes with a free guidebook to help plan your trip and get the most out of your stay.

    To purchase the City Card Dubai, you can choose a delivery option during check-out. The City Card Dubai booklet can be shipped to your home or work address. Or it can be at your hotel once you arrive in the city.

    City Card Dubai

    World Spree $200 Savings on Vietnam Tour

    World Spree’s Amazing Vietnam tour has a new starting price: $1,599 for 10 nights. That includes roundtrip airfare on China Airlines from the U.S, all transportation in Vietnam, five-star hotels, daily American breakfasts, four other meals, sightseeing tours with entrance fees, an overnight cruise on Halong Bay, and professional English-speaking guides. That translates to $159 a night.

    The tour features the capital, Hanoi; an overnight cruise through the limestone islets of Halong Bay; the port town Hoi An, known for its 16th-century houses and temples; Hue, the ancient imperial capital; and Saigon (officially Ho Chi Minh City).

    In Saigon there are two optional excursions: the Cu Chi Tunnels, the underground system used by the Vietcong, and a cruise to the Mekong Delta, known as Vietnam’s “rice basket.”

    This budget-priced tour also includes hotels such as the Majestic in Saigon; the Sheraton Hanoi; and the beachfront Hoi An Sunrise Resort.

    Since China Airlines connects in Taipei, a two-night $220, pre-trip stopover program with room and daily breakfast is offered at a four-star Taipei hotel. There’s also a four-night $649, pre-trip extension, a guided tour to the Sapa Minority Village.

    All prices are per person, based on double occupancy, and are subject to availability.

    Amazing Vietnam tour or 866/652-5656.

    Check our our weekly featured last minute deals from BookVIP.com

    Hotel Viking 90th Anniversary Discount

    Hotel Viking, a member of the Historic Hotels of America located in Newport, RI, celebrates its 90th anniversary in 2016. The 208-room hotel offers an online "Share Your Story" contest, a 90th anniversary rate promotion and a Present & Past employee photo shoot.

    The "Share Your Story" promotion welcomes personal stories and photos of vacations, proms, weddings, dinners, dates, and other memorable events. Winning entries and entertaining ones will be shared on the hotel’s social media outlets. Submissions are accepted until July 29, 2016. Winning entries will be announced on Aug. 2, 2016. Prizes include a two-night stay, spa treatments and dinners. To enter, go to the Hotel Viking Facebook page or link here: http://tinyurl.com/ShareYourStoryHV.

    Hotel Viking, which opened on a Wednesday in May 1926, has a Wednesday special 90Years90%. Eat lunch or dinner at One Bellevue restaurant or One Bellevue lounge on any Wednesday and pay 90 percent of the bill (tax and gratuity excluded). The 90Years90% offer is valid on Wednesdays only, through Dec. 21, 2016. This offer is not combinable with any other offers or discounts.

    SpaFjör offers the same Wednesday special on all services.

    Hotel Viking or 401/847-3300.

    Stay Safe Using Public Wi-Fi

    Many travelers use their mobile devices during their trips and most take advantage of public Wi-Fi offered at hotels, airports, restaurants and city streets.

    While numbers of people using public Wi-Fi continue to climb, the amount of online scams and hackings increases at the same - if not faster - pace. Free wireless networks, found almost everywhere, provide easy access to now-essential Internet service, but are not able to offer security in most cases, since public Wi-Fi can be hacked into easily.

    As we are globally interconnected, no one is protected from breaches of privacy, unless we take steps to protect ourselves.

    For example, hackers use sniffers, software designed to intercept and decode data when it is transmitted over a network. Wireless sniffers are specifically created to capture data on wireless networks.

    If you are shopping online or doing online banking using a wireless network, you are vulnerable to hacking attacks by illegally used sniffers that can steal your credit card data or your identity.

    The best and most effective way for any traveler to protect their data is to use a VPN. A VPN service encrypts all the traffic flow between the Internet and a device and helps to hide an IP address.

    How to choose a VPN? Choose a VPN that is easy to use and user friendly. For example, NordVPN recently launched its first Mac and Android apps geared towards everyday Internet users who care about privacy and security online.

    How does it work? Log in (the first time only) and press the ON button. The app then chooses the fastest server to connect to, in a country of your choice. That’s all it takes to hide your IP address and to start safe browsing.

    Beware of free VPN service providers who do not necessarily provide quality security measures. A VPN service needs to pay for the server maintenance, staffing and operational costs and in itself cannot be free. Free VPNs typically rely on third party advertisers to cover the costs. Often they are free proxy services, marketed as a VPN service, when in fact proxies are not encrypted. They just change your IP address, but do not hide or encrypt it.

      The benefits of using a VPN when on the road:
    1. Protect your online activities when you are using public Wi-Fi. If you are shopping or banking online, you are vulnerable to hacking attacks.
    2. Access banned sites: Facebook in Vietnam, gaming sites in Morocco and multiple other blocked sites in various countries.
    3. Stream as if you were in USA or UK: With a VPN, you can access most streaming services. That includes Netflix, Spotify, Pandora, Hulu and YouTube with local restrictions.
    4. Save money on flights. To find cheaper airfare make it appear you’re accessing the booking website from another country, the one where you can buy the same tickets at a lower price. Airplane tickets are cheaper when purchased in the country of origin. For example, when buying local tickets in Latin America, you save money if you appear to be in Latin America, not in the U.S. You have to experiment by switching between different countries with a VPN to find lowest airfare.

    VPNs are becoming the future in the world of tightening online security, and soon using a VPN will be as common as going online. Besides using a VPN, travelers should use antivirus and anti-spyware and automatically update their software.


    Summer Deals from Courtyard Boston

    Courtyard Boston Foxborough/Mansfield wants to shake up your summer routines with savings.

    The hotel in Foxborough, MA offers two packages to help make memories while exploring the area's attractions.

    Football fans can take advantage of the Hall of Fame Museum package with accommodations and four tickets to the New England Patriots Hall of Fame Museum. Rates start at $154 a night.

    The Shop Til You Drop package includes a $25 gift card and VIP coupon book for Wrentham Village Premium Outlets plus accommodations starting at $149 a night.

    Use promotional code ZJL for Hall of Fame Museum Package and SHO for Shop Til You Drop package. Both offers are available seven days a week through Nov. 12, 2016.

    Located between downtown Boston and downtown Providence, Courtyard Boston Foxborough/Mansfield offers easy access to attractions such as the Roger Williams Park Zoo or summer concerts at Xfinity Center. Sightseeing tours include Boston Duck Tours, Captain John's Boat Cruises and Historic Tours of America.

    The hotel offers free Wi-Fi, ergonomic workspaces, flat-panel TVs and quality bedding.

    Courtyard Boston Foxborough/Mansfield or 800/228-9290.

    4 Star hotel Deals! Get $60 off with Coupon Code HWIZ60*

    VIP Safari Deal "Platinum South Africa"

    Lion World Travel celebrates Africa with a VIP safari deal, Platinum South Africa. This tour starts from $4,998 per person double occupancy, including roundtrip international economy airfare from 38 major U.S. cities, transfers and all taxes and surcharges.

    Platinum South Africa is valid for select departure dates from October to December 2016.

    • Trip Highlights
    • Domestic flights from 38 U.S. cities to New York or Washington, D.C. (Dulles)
    • Roundtrip international economy airfare on South African Airways
    • Five-star luxury tree house
    • Tea by the Sea at The Twelve Apostles Hotel and Spa
    • Visit to Henna Pre-School, a school sponsored by Lion World Travel
    • Aerial views of Cape Town on a helicopter flight
    • Twice daily safari game drives in open safari vehicles at Lion Sands Kruger National Park
    • Five nights at the Twelve Apostles Hotel and Spa in Cape Town
    • Three nights at Lion Sands Kruger National Park in luxury lodges at Tinga or Narina
    • Meals: eight breakfasts, three lunches, four dinners including one at Azure Restaurant at the Twelve Apostles Hotel and Spa.

    Lion World Travel or 800/387-2706.

    AmericInn Fill in the BLANK Contest

    AmericInn wants to hear about your summer vacation. In return, the hotel brand gives away prizes for the most unique, creative and often hilarious entries.

    AmericInn, a midscale hotel brand in the upper Midwest, invites you to enter its "Fill Inn to Win" contest. The contest web page guides you to fill in the blanks for things such as favorite summer activity, strange animal and weird food. The program then provides a personalized story about your vacation experience based on the key words you submit.

    Entries can be submitted online. Daily winners will be selected through Aug. 31, 2016. Each winning entrant will receive a free night's stay ($200 value) at any of more than 200 AmericInn locations in 24 states.

    Winners will be selected based on the uniqueness and creativity of the words they submit and the resulting story. Free stays must be taken by Dec. 31, 2016. State laws prohibit participation by residents of California, Florida and New York.

    AmericInn or 800/634-3444.

    Travel Deals to top Destinations. Get yours now

    Caesars Palace Celebrates 50th Anniversary

    Caesars Palace in Las Vegas marks its 50th anniversary with a Summer of Caesars celebration that extends throughout the year. The anniversary celebration will feature sweepstakes, giveaways, a self-guided historical walking tour and photo exhibit, an interactive social photo experience, special room packages, and 50th birthday offers.

    Caesars Palace marks its 50-year milestone with special anniversary events and promotions including:

    Turning 50? If you are celebrating your 50th birthday in 2016, receive a $50 food and beverage credit with your stay during the Summer of Caesars. You must be a Total Rewards® loyalty program member and additional terms and conditions apply.

    Walking Tour and Photo Exhibit – Take a self-guided, historical walking tour and view the photo exhibit to discover then-and-now images and displays and the "Five Lucky Spots." The walking tour is free and open to the public.

    Interactive Photo Experience – Take a nostalgic picture with a Roman chariot that has been refurbished from Caesars Palace historical archive.

    #IAmCaesar Sweepstakes – Enter to win prizes and experiential packages. Click here for details and official rules.. No purchase necessary. Must be 21 or older to enter.

    Special 50th Anniversary Room Packages –Caesars Palace offers four #IAmCaesar 50th Anniversary room packages through the end of the year. Choose from #IAmCaesar 50th, Culinary Empire, Nightlife Package or Indulgence Package. Click here to book.

    Commemorative Merchandise – Apparel, luggage tags, magnets, pins, key chains, money clips, glassware, and a collectible 50th anniversary snow globe will be available throughout Caesars Palace retail outlets.

    Surprise and Delights – Special surprises including spontaneous room upgrades, free show tickets, free meals and drinks, gift baskets, spa and salon services, Forum Shops gift cards and more will delight visitors.

    Caesars Palace 50th Anniversary.

    8 Insects Repellents that Work

    The Zika virus, borne by mosquitoes, has added more stress to summer travels. The Good Housekeeping Institute tried and tested products that will keep the mosquitoes at bay. Here are eight they found worthy. These products can protect you at home or while you are away.

    Controlled-Release Insect Repellent Lotion - This odorless, greaseless lotion has technology that slowly releases a 20 percent DEET formula, protecting you for up to 11 hours. ($6, amazon)

    Terminix Bait and Kill - Spray foliage with this sugar bait laced with garlic oil, which attracts mosquitoes, then makes them too sick to bite or breed (they die in a day or two). Two cans' worth lowers the mosquito population by 90 percent in a 5,000-square-foot area for up to a month (and won't attract bees). ($13, baitandkill.com)

    Insectshield Long-Sleeved Tee – To prevent insect bites, the CDC advises to wear long sleeves and pants. For more protection buy clothing treated
with insecticide such as the Insectshield long sleeve, machine-washable tee, with insect-repellent treatment woven into the fabric. ($50, craghoppers.com)

    Allethrin Lamps – The lamps, which look attractive, use a butane cartridge or flame to activate the chemical repellent. About 93 to 99 percent of mosquitoes and sand flies steer clear of a 15-foot area for up to four hours. Refills are costly, about $5 to $6. Be careful of the flame version around children and pets.

    ThermaCELL Mosquito Repellent Pest Control Outdoor Lantern amazon.com $26, Off! Powerpad Lamp amazon $25

    Geraniol Candles - Disperse a plant-derived repelling scent that works five times better than citronella. They can deter more than 80 percent of mosquitoes and 70 percent of sand flies for up to 10 feet. A one-pound candle lasts about 50 hours. Many people like the smell but some don’t. The open flame poses a risk. ($19, amazon)

    Metofluthrin Diffuser – You probably saw them in stores as Off! Clip-ons. The diffuser uses a fan to disperse a chemical that fends off mosquitoes — no flame needed. One disc gives 84 to 100 percent protection against mosquitoes for up to 12 hours. It doesn’t work against other biting insects. Refills cost another $5. ($7, amazon)

    Garlic Liquids and Granules – More than 90 percent of mosquitoes stay away for up to one month after apply this natural repellent to foliage. It may also work against ticks, black flies and fleas. The strong odor may be too much for some people. The even more pungent liquid formula requires dilution. Mosquito barrier liquid spray repellent. (amazon $23) Dr. T’s Mosquito Repelling Granules ($14 amazon)

    BTI Briquettes – Use a bacterium found in soil that kills mosquito larvae before they hatch. Adding them to standing water (a pond, unused pool or puddle) can cut the mosquito population by about 90 percent in 48 hours and up to 85 percent in 28 days. They significantly reduce mosquitoes before they hatch but can’t repel adults. ($21 for 20 amazon)

    Early Booking Savings at Be Live Hotels

    You can save up to 50 percent if you advance purchase your stay at Be Live Hotels.

    You can book until Nov. 30, 2016 for stays from Dec. 22, 2016 to Dec. 22, 2017.

    Save 35 percent for travel Dec. 22, 2016 to Mar. 31, 2017
    Save 50 percent for travel Apr. 1, 2017 to Dec. 21, 2017.

      With the discounts, here are some sample prices in the Dominican Republic:
    • Be Live Experience Hamaca Suites in Santo Domingo, from $204 per night.
    • Be Live Experience Hamaca Garden in Santo Domingo, from $114 per night.
    • Be Live Experience Hamaca Beach in Santo Domingo, from $151 per night.
    • Be Live Collection Marian in Puerto Plata, from $133 per night.
    • Be Live Collection Canoa in La Romana, from $164 per night.
    • Be Live Collection Punta Cana in Punta Cana, from $168 per night.

    Be Live Hotels.



    Paul Gauguin Cruises Summer Offer

    Paul Gauguin Cruises, operator of the m/s Paul Gauguin, offers a summer offer of $500 per-stateroom shipboard credit on any sailing through Apr. 15, 2017. The credit is good aboard the Gauguin in Tahiti, French Polynesia, and the South Pacific when booked through July 30, 2016. As an additional bonus, deposits have been reduced to $250 per person.

    This offer is for new bookings only and it may be combined with the free third person in a stateroom offer on 2016 sailings. Past passenger savings may not be combinable with other offers or Groups. Port, security, and handling charges of $119 to $245 are additional. $250 deposit is refundable, less a $100 administrative fee. Shipboard credits are per stateroom regardless of occupancy.

    The $500 per-stateroom shipboard credit can be used in the spa, the boutique, or for shore excursions.

    This bonus is in addition to the line's current offer of 50 percent savings off standard all-inclusive cruise fares on all voyages, plus included roundtrip airfare from Los Angeles.

    Paul Gauguin Cruises or 800/848-6172.

    Catalina Express Lowers Fares

    Catalina Express, ferry service to Catalina Island, California, departs from Long Beach, San Pedro and Dana Point to Avalon and Two Harbors. Catalina Express lowers its fares with the launch of a new departure schedule.
      Fares have decreased about four percent, or below 2012 fares, to the following roundtrip fares, taxes and fees:
    • Round trip Fares Including Taxes and Fees:
    • From Long Beach: Adults $72, Seniors $65, Children ages two to 11 $56.50, Infants $5, Bicycles/surfboard $7.
    • From Dana Point & San Pedro: Adults $74, Seniors $67, Children ages two to 11 $58.50, Infants $5, Bicycles/surfboard $7.

    More than 25 million passengers have ridden Catalina Express since it began service 35 years ago.

    Located 22 miles off the coast of Southern California, traveling to Catalina Island takes about an hour and Catalina Express offers up to 30 daily departures and year-round service to Avalon and Two Harbors.

    Catalina Express or 800/429-4601.

    Openbay On-Demand Roadside Assistance

    Openbay, the auto-repair marketplace, offers on-demand Roadside Assistance on its mobile platform. A nationwide network of roadside service operators can be dispatched at the touch of a button for common breakdowns due to a dead battery, flat tire, lockout, need for fuel or vehicles that need a tow due to inoperability or that were involved in a collision.

    Openbay Roadside Assistance operates on a pay-per-use basis delivering the nearest service vehicle and dispatches it to your location. You pay for the actual service delivered at the time of need; there’s no annual membership subscription or fee to add family members.

    Openbay users submit a request for service via the Openbay mobile app. Using GPS, your exact location is determined and validated. For tow requests, you enter the final destination of your vehicle, which generates a fixed price based on mileage.

    You then select and then enter your payment method; credit card, debit card or Apple Pay. Openbay provides a summary of the services requested prior to booking. Using a proximity-based dispatch system, the nearest service vehicle is notified with all the details on the service. Once the service vehicle is dispatched, you receive a confirmation text message with the estimated time of arrival and information on the provider. Upon service completion, Openbay processes payment.

    Flat-rate pricing for roadside assistance starts at $64.95 and towing services start at $79.95 for up to five miles, with tiered pricing for additional miles. Openbay Roadside Assistance is currently available within Openbay’s iOS mobile app.

    Enjoy 20$ off Bookings on Roomorama!

    Pan for Gold to Pay for Stay

    At the National Hotel in Jamestown, CA, you can pay for your stay in gold dust.

    In the early days of the Gold Rush, gold dust was widely accepted by taverns and boarding houses with a pinch buying a shot of whisky at most saloons. Stephen Willey, the owner of the National Hotel brings back the idea and will accept gold dust to purchases accommodations, meals and drinks.

    “We've got the scales, we're tracking daily prices, and if guests want to pay for their rooms, meals and drinks with a few pinches, we'll be ready,” Willey said. A pinch weighs about as much as a heavy paper clip, and prices as of May 2016 equaled about $60 a pinch.

    The offer is open only to overnight guests, who are free to pay for their rooms, meals and drinks with a precisely weighed and valued stash of gold dust. The scales and a daily notice of the price of gold are inside the hotel's Saloon, which uses the original back bar from 1859. A working cash register dating to 1881 is also in the bar, but handicapped by the fact that a maximum of $6.95 can be rung at any one time.

    The hotel has nine rooms appointed with antiques, brass beds, modern heat and air conditioning and bathrooms with tile showers and amenities. Guests have access to the Soaking Room, an antique claw-foot soaking tub built for two, or one strapping miner back in the day.

    The National Hotel or 800/894-3446.

    CIE Early Booking Discounts

    CIE Tours International offers early booking discounts on all 2017 tours.

    Save five percent on any Ireland, Scotland, England and Wales escorted tour departing in 2017. Book and pay a $500 non-refundable deposit per person by Sep. 30, 2016 and use code 2017EBDSEP05. The offer is valid on new bookings, is not valid for group travel, and not combinable with other CIE Tours promotions or discounts.

    CIE Tours does not charge for extras while on tour which may save you up to 15 percent. CIE Tours include daily sightseeing and most meals.

    Other discounts include:

    Military and Student Discount – Save five percent, up to $300 per person, on the land portion of any Ireland independent self-drive vacation or Ireland and Britain escorted coach tour. This offer applies to travelers between the ages of 18 to 25 years with a valid student ID, or any age military personnel with proper ID. To receive the discount email helpdesk@cietours.com referencing your reservation number along with a copy of your student or military id.

    Youth Travelers - Save 10 percent, up to $600 per person, on the land portion of any Ireland independent self-drive vacation or Ireland and Britain escorted coach tour. This offer is for travelers between eight and 18 years of age and travelling with at least one full paying passenger 21 years or older. Use Coupon Code YOUTH201610.

    2nd Tour Discount - Save 10 percent on your land portion when you purchase two coach tours. This discount applies to the tour of lesser value. To receive your discount email helpdesk@cietours.com referencing your reservation numbers for both purchased tours.

    Circle of Friends Discount - Save five percent on the land portion of any Ireland or Britain escorted coach tour when you book five to 15 people on the same tour.

    CIE Tours International or 800/243-8687.

    4 Steps to Flying Around the U.S. Almost Free By Lyn Mettler

    About a year ago, I was introduced to the concept of using frequent flier miles to book free flights around the world. While at first I found the concept overwhelming, as there are so many airlines with different programs and redemption rules, I quickly homed in on Southwest’s Companion Pass. This status level with Southwest allows one person to fly free with you for up to two years whether you book with points or with cash -- and it seemed relatively easy to achieve.

    Fast forward a year and after minimal effort on my part, my family of four and I will have flown to six destinations for less than $100 per trip over the course of a year by strategically using Southwest Rapid Rewards points along with the Companion Pass. As a longtime couponer, I found this took less effort and achieved a much bigger reward: free travel versus 10 tubes of free toothpaste. I’m going to share my secret with you.

    Step 1: Get Rapid Rewards - The first thing you need to do to begin your foray into free travel is to sign up for a Rapid Rewards, which is Southwest’s frequent flier program. You can then immediately begin earning Rapid Rewards for purchases that are initiated at the Rapid Rewards Shopping Portal that links to most major online retailers, and sign up for the Rapid Rewards Dining program for which you earn points when dining at select restaurants. You can even earn points for magazine subscriptions, switching cell phone providers and signing up for AT&T U-verse.

    Step 2: Earn the Southwest Companion Pass - The quickest and easiest way to earn a bunch of points, enough to score free travel and get you almost 95 percent of the way to earning the Southwest Companion Pass, is to sign up for two of Southwest’s Rapid Rewards credit cards when they are offering a 50,000-point sign-up bonus. These bonuses are usually offered multiples times per year and are added to your Rapid Rewards account when you spend a minimum of $2000 on each card within three months. These cards do carry $69 to $99 annual fees, which are billed on your first statement, so those are costs you will need to absorb into the cost of flying nearly free. The cards also earn you 1 point per dollar spent on everyday expenses, earning you additional points.

    To achieve Companion Pass status, you must accumulate 110,000 points. By meeting the minimum spending requirement on two of the cards (choose from two personal cards and one business card), you will have collected 104,000 points. This is made up of 50,000 bonus points on each card + 2000 points per card for your expenditures to meet the minimum required spend.

    To earn the remaining 4000 points, you can earn points through the Rapid Rewards shopping portal, dining program or continued everyday expenses on the credit cards. You’ll need to be responsible about what you charge, however. If you end up paying interest, which is typically very high on these cards, it fails to be a good deal. Get more help earning the Southwest Companion Pass in my ebook “The Step-by-Step Guide to Earning Your Southwest Companion Pass and Flying Free Around the U.S.”

    Step 3: Book Your Flights - Once you have earned your Southwest Companion Pass, not only will one person be able to fly free with you, but you will also have 110,000 Rapid Rewards points to spend on flights and 110,000 points goes pretty far. You can use these points to book travel for yourself and anyone else in your party and select one person who flies free -- no points, no cash required aside from a mandatory $5.60 government fee each way. You will also pay this fee for anyone who books a flight entirely on points.

    To maximize your points and help them last as long as possible, try to book only when Southwest is having a fare sale. I’ve found that while Southwest has sales quite a lot, the really good sales are those they advertise on television. I also pay attention to the destinations we enjoy traveling to such as Denver, California and Orlando. And I know what the lowest prices are to those destinations so I can wait and book our flights when they hit that price point. Southwest, however, does not charge a change fee if you need to cancel or change a flight, so it doesn’t hurt to go ahead and book a flight and then change it if you find a lower point rate or price later.

    Step 4: Continue to Earn Points - If you want to keep flying free beyond the 110,000 points, you’ll need to continue to stockpile Rapid Rewards points. The best and simplest way to do this is to use one of your Southwest Rapid Rewards credit cards or apply for a third card, Chase Sapphire Preferred, for continued everyday spending. This card earns Chase Ultimate Rewards points, which transfers 1:1 to Rapid Rewards Points; however, these points do not count toward Companion Pass status. I like this card, because it earns double points on dining, so every time I eat out, I earn double Rapid Rewards points good toward future Southwest flights. Plus, the points transfer to other airlines, as well. This card almost always has a 50,000 point bonus after spending $4000 in the first three months, earning you even more points for free travel.

    You can continue to earn points by using the card to pay for everyday purchases, which in addition to groceries and restaurants, can include summer camps, medical bills, utility bills, school athletic fees, child lunch money and even TSA Pre-Check, which is looking like a better and better investment every day to reduce long security line waits.

    With these four steps in your arsenal, you and your companions will be on your way to flying the skies free in no time! http://www.

    Lyn Mettler is a freelance travel writer, who blogs at GotoTravelGal.com. She is also author of “The Step-by-Step Guide to Earning Your Southwest Companion Pass and Flying Free Around the U.S.”

    Dollar Rent-a-Car, Inc.

    Egypt Deluxe Tour Special

    Exotic Journeys offers a tour special to Egypt. The tour starts and ends in Cairo with tours to Giza, the three Pyramids, the Great Sphinx, the Egyptian Museum and the Old Bazaars of Khan El Khalili. You spend the night on the train to Aswan where you tour the High Dam, the unfinished Obelisk and the Philae Temple. You spend three nights on a ship and sail to Kom Ombo and Edfu, visiting the temples of Kom Ombo and Edfu. There are tours of the Valley of the Kings, the Temple of Queen Hatshepsut, Colossi statue of Memnon, Luxor and Karnak temples. You have a day free at Luxor for independent activities.

    The land price through Sep. 30, 2016 is $695 per person based on double occupancy. The land price Oct. 1, 2016 through Mar. 1, 2017 is $700 per person based on double occupancy. The single supplement is $710 through Sep. 30 and $810 for departures after Oct. 1, 2016.

    The price includes accommodations for one night in a five or four star hotel in Cairo, accommodations for three nights with all meals on the motorship M/S Nile Premium and sleeper train tickets from Cairo to Aswan and Luxor to Cairo. The trip also includes hotel room taxes, all transfers for the itinerary, entrance fees to all monuments in the itinerary, private air conditioned vehicle for transportation and the services of a tour guide.

    The trip does not include Government Tourist Service Taxes (at present $25 per person), tips to guides, drivers, and personal expenses such as laundry, phone calls.

    Prices are based on the current rate of exchange and tariff and are guaranteed at the time of booking. Full payment protects against any increases. Trip insurance is mandatory. Restrictions apply. Photo copy of passport is required. Visa for Egypt can be obtained upon arrival for $25. Valid travel documents are the participants’ responsibility.

    Exotic Journeys or 800/554-6342.

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