Deal Alert: Buy A Package of 3 R/T Virgin America Tickets from Gilt City

4 Aug

Gilt City has a great promotion going on right now with Virgin America. If you’ve flown the airline before, then you already know it’s clean, has great snacks and great entertainment options. If they had more options for short or medium-haul flights from NYC, I’d scoop one of these bad boys up right away.

 

Starting today, if you visit Gilt City (www.GiltCity.com– note: membership required), you can purchase a bulk package of 3, 5 or 10 Virgin America flights.

 

 

Here are the options (*note: prices are for coach seats only):

Package of three roundtrip flights:

- 3 short-haul (ex: SFO to SEA): $427

- 3 medium-haul (ex: DFW to LAS): $964

- 3 long-haul (ex: JFK to LAX): $1,205

 

Package of five roundtrip flights:

- 5 short-haul: $673

- 5 medium-haul: $1,521

- 5 long-haul: $1,900

 

Package of 10 roundtrip flights:

- 10 short-haul: $1,270

- 10 medium-haul: $2,870

- 10 long-haul: $3,585

 

If you’re a business traveler or someone constantly on the go, definitely pounce on one of these packages– they are going FAST!

Water Parks in the Summer = A Beautiful Thing

3 Aug

I love summer. No, really… LOVE! Give me sweltering heat over turtle necks and snow boots any day.

 

One of my favorite pasttimes when I was younger was visiting Splish Splash Water Park on Long Island in New York. I haven’t been there in ages, so I’m sure it’s a bit dated but man, what a good time we had whenever we went.

 

There’s nothing like packing up a picnic lunch and spending an afternoon on water rides during the summer.Visiting the top amusement parks of the U.S. is a bucket list trip for me but if you’re a big water park fan, I’d suggest you pull together a fun road trip before summer leaves us!

 

The folks at TripAdvisor, a favorite resource of mine- I might add, pulled together a list of the top-rated water parks in the country. I’m a big fan of TripAdvisor because it provides real feedback from real people in real time so you know these water parks have to be good!

 

Take a look. Been to any this summer?

 

TripAdvisor’s Top 10 Water Parks:

1. Sensational Soaking: Holiday World & Splashin’ Safari, Santa Claus, Indiana
Admission, which includes complimentary soft drinks and sunscreen, costs $42.95 for adults, and $32.95 for guests under 54” and seniors.

 

2. Wondrous Waves: Typhoon Lagoon, Orlando, Florida
Admission costs $52.29 for adults, and $43.67 for children aged three – nine.

 

3. Splashy Scene: Noah’s Ark Water Park, Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin
Admission costs $35.99 for adults, and $28.79 for children and seniors.

 

4. Beachfront Bonanza: Morey’s Piers, Wildwood, New Jersey
Admission to the water parks costs $36, $28 for guests under 5’4” and is free of charge for seniors.

 

5. Dunking Delight: Kahuna Laguna, North Conway, New Hampshire
Admission costs $40 for adults and children alike.

 

6. Thrills and Spills: Water Country USA, Williamsburg, Virginia
Admission is $46.99 for guests aged 10 and up, $39.99 for ages three – nine, and is free of charge for children under three.

 

7. Spectacular Slides: NRH20 Waterpark, North Richland Hills, Texas
Admission is $23.99 for guests measuring 4’8” and over, $19.99 for those under 4’8”, and is free of charge for children under two.

 

8. Divine Dip: Adventureland, Des Moines, Iowa
Admission costs $35 for guests aged 10 and up, and $30 for ages four – nine and seniors.

9. Watery Wonderland: Aquatica (SeaWorld’s Waterpark), Orlando, Florida
Admission costs $47.99 for adults, and $41.99 for children aged three – nine.

 

10. Poolside Pleasures: Wild Water & Wheels, Surfside Beach, South Carolina
Admission is $29.25 for guests measuring 4’8” and over, $18.40 for those under 4’8” or over 55, and is free of charge for children under two.

 

 

To read more about these parks, check out the full article on TripAdvisor.

 

 

Quick Travel Wishlist

23 Jun

I’ve been back from Thailand for almost a full month now and the “itch” is back in full swing… You know, the itch… the one that gets your leg shaking, heart racing, and your eyes moving across a map for the next new and exciting location to explore. For those who aren’t following, I of course mean the travel itch.

My fiance (oh, I didn’t mention? I got engaged in Thailand :)) told me “NO VACATIONS UNTIL OUR HONEYMOON” (yes, in that stern tone of voice) and put me on strict “saving mode.” Now, we aren’t planning on getting married for two years so for me to not take a vacation for TWO WHOLE YEARS, is absolutely ludicrous– right? right??? Okay… so maybe it isn’t such a bad idea to be practical and actually save for the amazing honeymoon I am envisioning (screw the actual wedding– I care more about an exotic honeymoon!– Sri Lanka/India/Maldives or Seychelles/Kenya anyone?) but it does pain me a bit to not have ANYTHING in the travel queue…

So I’m not *technically* allowed to plan any trips, but that doesn’t mean I’m not necessarily prohibited from day-dreaming about one. To feed into my wanderlust, I’ve been thinking about the following destinations. If you know of any good deals for a quick 4 or 5-day jaunt, let me know!!! I think I can justify a getaway if it is reasonably priced… right?

My Current Travel Wishlist

1. Copenhagen, Denmark– I’ve heard nothing but good things about this place and it seems totally doable in just a few days!

2. Dublin/Galway, Ireland– totally doable in 5 days but airfare has been rising lately. I shoulda taken advantage of those $600 for 5 night deals when I saw them! hmph.

3. Florence, Italy– Okay, so I lived there for 4 months and was there two years ago… who cares? I love this damn place!

4. Palm Springs/Joshua Tree, CA– I am a horrible domestic traveler but this has been on my list for a while.

5. Ft. Meyers, FL– Florida has some incredible beaches and I’ve heard great things about this little town.

6. Antigua, Guatemala– I REALLY want to get to Guatemala before the end of the Mayan calendar. I think it would be so fascinating to learn more about the Mayan culture. I got a taste in Mexico last year, but Guatemala is where it’s at! A visit to Tikal is a must too…

7. Reykjavik, Iceland– you knowwww I’m dying to go to Iceland.

8. Glasgow, Scotland

9. Dublin, Germany

10. Prague, Czech Republic

11. Budapest, Hungary

12. Interlaken, Switzerland– snow tubing and sky diving, please!

13. Vienna, Austria

12. Krakow, Poland

13. Hawaii

14. Brussels, Belgium

15. Nice, France

16. Montreal– my brother is moving so now have an excuse to go!

17. Las Vegas– meh, but I gotta get there some day

18. Portland, Oregon– would love to do some wine tasting here!

19. Napa Valley, CA– same for here!

20. Asheville, NC

Am I missing any? Remember– these are suggestions just for places that are doable in 5 days or less!

No Summer Plans? Try attending one of these wacky summer festivals!

22 Jun

Summer planning is always a good time but it can often be exhausting, or even frustrating. If you haven’t lock yourself into a Hamptons share house and are looking for an out-of-the-box summer activity, check out the below list, pulled together by the folks at TripAdvisor.

Ever heard of a duct tape festival? No? Then head to Avon, OH– the “Duct Tape Capital of the World!”

 

Mashed Potato Wrestling

Mashed potato wrestling in Barnesville, Minnesota

TripAdvisor’s Top Ten Wackiest Summer Events in the U.S.

1. Funky Fungus: Humungus Fungus Festival — August 5 – 7, 2011, Crystal Falls, Michigan
Fungus fanatics will be in their earthy element at this celebration of the world’s largest mushroom, which weighs 11 tons, covers 37 acres and lives just below the ground near this northern Michigan town. Travelers can work up an appetite in the strong man contest as they watch contenders compete in events including a keg toss, tire flop, and a metal pole lift – and then devour some mouth-watering mold, by indulging in a slice of the world’s largest mushroom pizza. General admission is free of charge although some events do have a fee.

2. Rowdy Ruckus: National Hollerin’ Contest — June 18, 2011, Spivey’s Corner, North Carolina
Travelers should leave their indoor voices at home at this cacophonous celebration, which draws in over 10,000 attendees. The hollering contest is not the only pursuit for travelers to enjoy at this gathering; conch shell blowing, a greasy poll climb, and the classic game of corn hole are also integral to the hollerin’ hoopla. Those with a firm grip can even compete to hold on to a greased watermelon, while local firemen try to knock it from contestants’ hands using a fire hose. General admission is $5, and free for children 12 and under.

3. Creamy Chaos: Cream Cheese Festival — September 17, 2011, Lowville, New York
Travelers in search of some cheesy fun and tub-loads of excitement will be delighted by this event, which is now in its seventh year. Cream cheese connoisseurs can finger paint a mural with the yummy spread, fill a friend’s face in an all-you-can-eat contest, or have a taste of the world’s largest cheesecake, which measures 20 feet in diameter. Athletic attendees can even test their pitching prowess in the “Flinging Cream Cheese Toss.” General admission is free of charge.

4. Seedy Celebration: Watermelon Thump — June 23 – 26, 2011, Luling, Texas
Now in its 58th year, this juicy four-day celebration is ripe with fun and anything but melon-choly! Attendees can attempt to break the Guinness World record of nearly 69-feet in a seed spitting contest, while watermelon-lovers can even participate in a melon eating match to see who can demolish a slice the fastest. A variety of tasty summer treats can also be enjoyed at the festival, along with live music and a car show. General admission is free of charge Thursday and Sunday, and is $8 Friday, and $10 Saturday.

5. Georgia Jubilation: Summer Redneck Games — July 9, 2011, East Dublin, Georgia
Travelers can get down and dirty in Dublin for this one-day event, which draws crowds of over 5,000 attendees each year. For those that don’t find bobbin’ for pig’s feet appetizing, visitors can also participate in the hubcap hurl, mud-pit belly flop contest, or even test their talent for tossing toilet seats in a round of “Redneck Horseshoes”. Winners in each event will receive a glistening, half-crushed, mounted beer can. Admission is $5 and free for children under seven.

6. Pungent Party: Gilroy Garlic Festival — July 29 – 31, 2011, Gilroy, California
Celebrating its 33rd year, this fragrant festival is a garlic lovers’ dream – and a vampire’s worst nightmare! Tantalizing delights from more than 65 food vendors include garlic chocolate, garlic-flavored ice cream cones and garlic watermelon, to name a few. On the final day of the festival, travelers can attend the “Great Garlic Showdown”, hosted by renowned chef Angelo Sosa, as four bay area chefs participate in an “Iron Chef” competition for a grand prize of $5,000. General admission is $17, $8 for children and seniors.

7. Tater-Tastic: Barnesville Potato Days — August 26 – 27, 2011, Barnesville, Minnesota
Over 17,000 spud-lovers gather annually at this two-day event to participate in some groundbreaking entertainment. Travelers can immerse themselves in a round of mashed potato wrestling, or stuff their faces with the savory starch in the “French Fry Feed”. Those with an artistic eye can design a sculpture using mashed potatoes, and fashionistas can even design some one-of-a-kind clothing from a potato sack. General admission is free of charge.

8. A Chipper Celebration: Wisconsin State Cow Chip Throw — September 2 – 3, 2011, Prairie du Sac, Wisconsin
Once used by early settlers as fuel for cooking and heating the home, cow chips serve a loftier purpose in this two-day event, which attracts over 40,000 people annually. Travelers can try their hand at breaking the 248-foot long record in the legendary adult chip throw, while youngsters can also have a shot in the “Children’s Chip Chuckin’ Competition”. Those who wish to keep their hands clean can compete in a five or ten kilometer road race, or boogie down Wisconsin-style with some live music. General admission is free of charge, with a $3 fee to enter the Cow Chip Throw ($1 for children).

9. Mushy Madness: National Baby Food Festival — July 20 – 23, 2011, Fremont, Michigan
Home to one of the largest baby food factories in the U.S., this city’s annual celebration is crawling with fun for all ages. Adults who are young at heart can turn back the clock in a baby food eating contest, while those that prefer solid foods can test their skills with a bubble gum blowing contest, a pop ring toss, or fill their faces in a pie eating challenge. General admission is free of charge, yet various individual events do have fees.

10. A Tacky Time: Avon Heritage Duct Tape Festival — June 17 – 19, 2011, Avon, Ohio
This sticky celebration, now in its eighth year, takes places in the “Duct Tape Capital of the World.” Duct tape enthusiasts will see dozens of displays made from this household staple, including fashion-forward clothing and sports memorabilia. On the last day of the festival, Miss America will marshal a parade from the top of a float made from the grey tape. General admission is free of charge.

 

 

 

Happy Planning!

Friday Link Love

3 Jun

In honor of the week coming to an end, I’ve pulled together some of this week’s stories from other great websites I think you should give a read.

Check them out and let me know if I’ve missed anything!

Friday Link Love:

  • USA Today: Delta-US Airways slot swap could have a big impact on small cities
  • The Christian Science Monitor: The Eat, Pray, Love effect: How families finance adventure travel
  • USA Today: Tips for avoiding hidden travel fees this summer
  • Jaunted: Hangin’ with The Hipmunk: What’s Next for the Internet’s Hot New Travel Booking Site?
  • New York Times: Groupon and Expedia to Offer Travel Deals
  • CNN: Five can’t-miss summer festivals

Have a great weekend!

Newsflash: Groupon and Expedia to Launch New Travel Flashsale Website

2 Jun

As you may have already heard, there’s another travel flash sale website about to hit the market, this time from flash sale experts Groupon and travel booker Expedia.com called Groupon Getaways, to be launched in late June.

 

Similar to competitors like SniqueAway.com, LivingSocial, Jetsetter, etc., Groupon Getaways will offer discounts for hotel rooms for a limited amount of time, giving you the option to stay at high-end luxury hotels, not typically in consideration for your vacation.

 

The website is currently taking subscribers, so be sure to visit Groupon Getaways, and we’ll report back with what we think once the site launches later this month!

 

 

Read more here: New York Times

 

 

Guest Post: Chad’s Guide to Barcelona

2 Jun

My very dear friend Chad was one of the few lucky ones to scoop up one of those outrageous airfare deals to Europe a few months ago. He somehow managed to get a ticket to Barcelona from NYC for less than $250 (yes, r/t!) and carry out his dream of visiting the bustling Spanish city.

Check out his Barcelona tips below!!

 

Chad’s Guide to Barcelona


I was inspired to travel to Barcelona after seeing the movie Vicky Christina Barcelona a few years ago. From the amazing Gaudi architecture, wonderful nightlife, and friendly locals, I knew this city on the Mediterrian coast was the perfect travel destination for me. Luck stroke earlier this year when Delta slashed their fares to Europe and the price for a roundtrip ticket to Barcelona from NYC dropped to $236 w/ tax!   I booked right away, and was able to spend 5 amazing days in the city!

 

Resources

I’m not a big fan of carrying around a lot of bags when Im walking around a new city as It can weigh you down. For most of the trip I used my iPhone to navigate me through the city!

 

  • TimeOut Barcelona App (http://itunes.apple.com/gb/app/barcelona-travel-guide-time/id404444687?mt=8)- Perfect app to use explore the city. The app has everything you need to get you by in Barcelona from attractions to restaurants to nightlife, museums and tours. The best thing about this app, is that it works offline. There is no need for a wifi connection, which is a life saver on the go. I was able to pull up a map and locate my location and all attractions nearby in seconds!

 


Attractions

There is a lot of see in Barcelona. Tons of museums, parks and amazing works of Spanish Catalan architect Gaudi.

 

  • Sagrada Familia- A must see attraction when you’re in Barcelona.This beautiful church designed by Gaudi has been under construction for xx years and still isn’t complete.  The design is unreal.


  • Museu Picasso- I wasn’t lucky enough to get a chance to experience this museum while I was there (late planning), but locals recommended it the next time I was in town. This museum houses one of the most extensive collections of artworks from Pablo Picasso.

 

  • Parc Guell- Park designed by Gaudi is the perfect afternoon trip. Beautiful views of the entire city.

 

  • Las Ramblas- Another must see attraction while in Barcelona. This is Barcelona’s version of Times Square. Vendors, street performers, and tourists from around the world line this block almost mile long street.

 


Eating

The best part of vacation to me is being able to enjoy foods from different cultures. Barcelona is known for their Paella, wonderful seafood, Sangria and Hot Chocolate (that surprised me too!)

 

  • La Paradeta- This in-expensive seafood restaurant was amazing. Walk in and choose from a wide selection of raw seafood (shrimp, crab, lobster, calamari), grab a bottle of wine and wait for your number to be called. When your food is cooked they’ll call your number and you can start enjoying the yummy food. Be alert though because not all your food is ready on once, so listen for your number to be called more than once.

 

  • Can Majo- The go-to place for the best seafood paella and Sangria! Amazing views of the sea outside on the terrace. Be sure to make a reservation, they rarely accept walk-ins.

 

  • La Boqueria-  This is Europe’s biggest food market. Tons of fresh seafood, cheese, and produce.  There are several tapas bar inside the market that serve food. I picked up a few snacks and headed up to Parc Guell for a nice afternoon picnic.

 

  • El Fornet- One of my favorite Bakeries in Barcelona. The breads are baked fresh and just smell alone will make any passerby stop in. I visited here at least 3 times on my visit to Barcelona for their amazing Bocadillos (sandwiches with meat and cheese)!

 

 

Nightlife

The city has a plethora of nightlife options because the Catalans know how to party. Be warned though, most of the action doesn’t get going until after 2AM. I spent most nights in the “Gayxample” a nickname for the gay area of the Example district. This area holds most of the gay nightlife in Barcelona.

 

  • Punto BCN- Great place to start your night out! This bar is always packed and attracts locals and tourists. Tip: Free passes to other Arena bars are available from the bar!

 

  • DBoy- Dance your Saturday night away! This huge space has great music, nice décor, two dance rooms and good looking boys!

 

 

2011′s Best Beaches!

31 May

I am a total beach girl. In my opinion, no vacation is complete without some time spent on the beach, even if it means one day.

 

Each  year, Stephen Leatherman aka “Dr. Beach,” director of Florida International University’s Laboratory for Coastal Research in Miami, puts out his annual U.S. Best Beaches list. This year is the 21st year of Dr. Beach’s annual beach report. Check out the top 10 beaches below and let me know if any are in your local area. If so, send some photos!

 

St. George Island State Park

St. George Island State Park (Getty Images)

 

Here are the Top 10 Beaches for 2011 from Dr. Beach:

  1. Siesta Beach, Sarasota, Fla.
  2. Coronado Beach, San Diego, Calif.
  3. Kahanamoku Beach, Waikiki, Hawaii
  4. Main Beach, East Hampton, N.Y.
  5. Cape Hatteras, Outer Banks, N.C.
  6. St. George Island State Park, Fla.
  7. Beachwalker Park, Kiawah Island, S.C.
  8. Coast Guard Beach, Cape Cod, Mass.
  9. Waimanalo Bay State Park, Oahu, Hawaii
  10. Cape Florida State Park, Key Biscayne, Fla.

 

Oddly enough, last year’s top beach, Cooper’s Beach in Southampton, N.Y., didn’t even get a spot in the top 10 this year.

 
I am dying to go to Kahanamoku Beach in Waikiki and St. George Island State Park. Are any on the top of your “must visit beaches” lists?

 

Check out photos of the top beaches here: See Photos of the Top Beaches

 

Happy beach daydreaming!

 

 

Hi!

27 May

Hey all-

I’m back from my amazing trip to Thailand and boy, do I have some awesome stories. I will be back writing next week, after enjoying the beautiful Memorial Day weekend weather.

And for those who can’t wait, here is a taste of some of the amazing photos from Thailand to come:

Wherever you are celebrating the long weekend, I hope you have a fabulous time!

Speak to ya next week!

Bon Voyage!

10 May

Tomorrow I leave for my first visit to Thailand (!!) so this will be the last post you see from me until I return in two weeks. That’s right, I am powering doowwnnn.

Grand Palace and Wat Phra Kaew at dusk (Getty)

I can hardly contain my excitement! I welcome any last tips or advice for my vacation. Otherwise, be prepared to see some nice photos and a full re-cap of our trip.

Bon Voyage!!

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