Category Archives: Travel Deals

JetBlue weekend getaways from Long Beach

Sometimes, you just want to get out of town for a couple of days.  And with JetBlue’s affordable, nonstop flights from Long Beach, you can jump on a plane after work on Friday and be sipping a cold drink in another state by the time the summer sun sets.  Here are a few ideas to get you started.

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Airplane by Tracy Hunter is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Long Beach to Seattle: 2h 38m

Escape the heat and jet off to the beautiful Emerald City, surrounded by mountains and resting on the shores of Puget Sound.  Summers here are known to be sunny and pleasantly warm, usually in the 70s and 80s during the day.  Start by exploring Seattle’s fun and unique neighborhoods, each one with a different feel.  Wander through the Fremont market, roast marshmallows over a sunset campfire on the beach at Golden Gardens Park, or sip a cold beer at one of the dozens of craft breweries.

Long Beach to Vegas: 1h 8m

Skip the long desert drive and jump on a short flight to Sin City for a weekend away. Though the nightclub and live music scene is world-famous, you might not know that Las Vegas is also an extremely popular destination for sports competitions and conferences.  For those who can manage a weekday getaway, many hotels are half price, and you can find nonstop JetBlue flights for as low as $49.   

Long Beach to Portland: 2h 11m

If you’re looking for some great outdoor concert series, but would rather not spend hours sweating under the blazing sun, try Portland.  The cooler climate is the perfect host for dozens of concerts and festivals in and around the city.  As a bonus, most have an abundance of craft brews available, which the city is famous for.  If that’s not your scene, take a stroll around the famous Pearl District, or rent a bike to explore the Rose City’s beautiful neighborhoods.   

Long Beach to Austin: 2h 52m

If you’re a museum or music buff, Austin is a fun weekend destination.  People flock from all over the world for the famous Austin City Limits and SXSW music festivals here, as well as the nightly live music scene up and down 6th avenue.  History lovers will want to spend hours exploring Austin’s museums, including the Mexican American Cultural Center, the Mexic-Arte Museum, and the Bullock Texas State History Museum, among others.  Not sure where to start?  See what the locals recommend in Austin.

Martha Burwell

Hola, Bonjour, Sabaidee! Having traveled the world, Martha Burwell is a writer and consultant based in Seattle who loves sharing stories about places she’s been. But her heart will always be in the Pacific Northwest, where she explores the nearby mountains on foot, by mountain bike, and by snowboard. Martha regularly writes for www.StreetAdvisor.com, and also consults on gender equity via www.MarthaBurwell.com and blogs about intersectional gender equity at www.EqualiSea.org.

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How to Buy More than Flights with Your Frequent Flyer Miles

Just like any other type of rewards program, frequent flyer miles are what you make of them. Many people hoard their points in order to purchase flights, and we’re big proponents of that. After all, getting to fly more often means getting to travel more often, and that means opening yourself up to all the unique experiences and lessons that travel affords.

But redeeming miles for flights isn’t the only way to take advantage of frequent flyer rewards programs. Regardless of whether you fly every week or once a year, here are some surprising ways to get the most out of those points beyond the sky.

The Low-Down on Frequent Flyer Miles

Also called airline miles or travel points, frequent flyer miles are earned by participating in loyalty programs offered by airlines or credit card companies (which may or may not limit participants to earning points on a specific airline).

When it comes to airline loyalty programs, miles can be earned by flying or making purchases at certain stores or restaurants specified by the airline. For credit card programs, miles are earned by making purchases with the participating credit card. These miles can then be redeemed toward flights or commercial goods.

Ready to put those miles to good use? Here’s a run-down of the wide array of options available to points holders.

  • Book a hotel or rent a car. This can be a good option for people who have earned a ton of miles and can’t redeem them for the flights they want. While miles might not be worth quite as much as if you redeemed them for a flight, applying them toward hotels or car rentals can be a great way to plan a vacation without letting points go to waste.
  • Join the club. Some airlines allow travelers to apply miles to an annual club membership. Members enjoy access to airport lounges that typically offer complimentary snacks, beverages, and Wi-Fi in a quiet setting away from the hustle and bustle of the rest of the airport. While your miles may have more value when applied directly to flights, no one can deny the allure of a comfortable chair and some peace and quiet.
  • Buy a gift voucher or gift card. These can be exchanged for goods or services at a specific store. By purchasing a voucher instead of a commercial product, you’ll be able to wait to buy the item until it goes on sale, thereby saving some extra cash.
  • Buy merchandise. Most points experts advise against applying miles to merchandise, because it’s rarely the best way to squeeze value out of those points. However, anyone looking to offload extra points (or simply feel like you’ve gotten a new iPhone for “free”), can apply miles to any number of items, from sunglasses, to books, juicers, e-readers, smartphones, laptops, espresso machines, exercise systems, watches, and even furniture.
  • Share the love. Tired of traveling solo? Offer to let friends or family redeem your miles for their own flights. Occasionally it might even make sense to transfer your miles into the other person’s account so they can redeem points for flights on their own. However, most often you’re better off simply making the purchase from your own account on their behalf.

When it comes down to it, how you use frequent flyer miles is up to you. While you’re likely to get the most value by booking flights, you earned those points and they’re yours to dispose of—so if an espresso machine is calling, we promise we won’t judge.

 

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Hacking The Budget Airline

Buying tickets on a budget airline can be a great way to save, literally, hundreds of dollars on airplane tickets. However, while most people will be dazzled by the low, low ticket prices, they’ll fail to notice the dozens of quirks that can make budget airline travel challenging.

For starters, travelers will encounter hefty baggage fees. Most budget airlines allow only one (very small) carry on bag with no complimentary checked bag. Fees vary from airline to airline, but are often upwards of $50 for each checked piece of luggage! Plus, many budget airlines charge by weight, so going over the allotted limit will result in extra fees as well. Curtail this problem by packing everything into your carry on. It’ll be tight, but if you minimize clothing to essentials and opt to buy toiletries at your destination, you’ll be able to make it work.

Another annoying surprise that many travelers discover on budget airlines is that there generally aren’t any complimentary food or drinks, which means that packing your own will be essential. It’s especially important to bring water, which most likely won’t be provided on the flight (or will cost you a few dollars.) Other creature comforts that definitely won’t be provided: pillows or blankets. Thankfully there are a plethora of compact blankets and pillows available that roll up tightly and pack well in carry ons.

Don’t expect TVs or in-flight movies, either. While this may not be a problem if you’re taking a quick local flight, it can make for some serious boredom if you’re going to be traveling for three or more hours. Make sure to download a movie on your smartphone and take a look at how to fashion a first-class entertainment experience with nothing more than a phone and a ziploc bag.

But while you’re enjoying your state of the art entertainment center, do be mindful of your seatmates as space is limited. Space is tight on budget airlines because they’re attempting to fill the plane with as many seats as possible in order to reduce costs, which is also why there are no upgrades available and why most customers will be assigned seating once they arrive at the gate. To give yourself a sense of privacy amongst all the other passengers, plug in some noise-cancelling earbuds and throw on an eye mask. You’ll still be surrounded by a lot of people, but it’ll help you to relax and feel more centered.

Once you arrive at your destination, you may find that the airport is located miles from the city center, often in a small rural community. Though airlines will provide transportation to and from the city, the added time can be a big detractor for some customers. Check to see if this will negatively affect travel before booking because most budget airlines do not allow customers to change flights.

At the end of the day, though the inconveniences of the budget flight can add up to some real frustration, careful planning can help to ensure that your travel experience will be a pleasant, peaceful, and affordable one!

 

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8 Hotels That Are Excellent for Last Minute Booking

Sometimes, it’s not the early bird that catches the worm–it’s the late one! The days of super advanced booking are over, which is great for travelers who prefer spontaneity over early planning. Many hotels offer generous deals for day before or same day reservations; check out our list below to see some of the great hotels that are excellent for last minute booking!

1. Hotel Nikko  — San Francisco, CA

Just steps from Union Square in San Francisco sits Hotel Nikko, a sleek and cutting-edge hotel that offers 532 spacious rooms, a 10,000 square foot health club, and a top-tier nightclub theater, Feinstein’s at the Nikko. Though a night at the Hotel Nikko is certainly not cheap, they’ve got great last minute deals where upwards of $100 can be slashed from the normal price.

2. Aloft — Brooklyn, NY

Located in the heart of downtown Brooklyn, Aloft Hotel is a cool spot for vacationers looking for a twist on the typical New York holiday. Offering premium loft spaces, an amazing rooftop bar, and easy access to the best offerings in Brooklyn, the Aloft is also great for last minute booking because of it’s removed location from the over-packed touristy areas of Manhattan.

3. Casulo Hotel — Austin, TX

Known for its effortless blend of urban chic and zen simplicity, the Casulo Hotel is a popular spot for Austin-bound vacationers. Situated between downtown and the Austin airport, the Casulo is not only hip and trendy, but also conveniently-located. Plus, last minute bookings here are easy to finagle and can often be cheaper than an advanced booking.

4. Hotel Lincoln — Chicago, IL

Set on a gorgeous tree-lined street near Lake Michigan, the Hotel Lincoln offers its patrons a hotel that is in parts hip, trendy, vintage and wholly Chicagoan. With great amenities and a large rooftop bar with a view of the leafy Lincoln Park, it’s no wonder this hotel is a dream for tourists, whether booking in advance or snagging a last minute deal the day before.

5. Motif Seattle — Seattle, WA

Located just minutes away from some of Seattle’s best tourist sites, the Motif Hotel embodies the spirit of the Emerald City. Offering a plethora of packages to its guests, such as a Romantic Getaway Package and a Style Package, the Motif is also great at offering last minute deals for travelers who can sometimes save up to $75 on day-before bookings.

6. Portofino Hotel & Marina — Los Angeles, CA

With a laid back SoCal vibe and a nautical aesthetic sure to please sea-lovers as well as land-lovers, the Portofino Hotel & Marina in Los Angeles is the perfect spot for a relaxing beach vacation. Known for its breathtaking sunset views over the sea and the dolphins that dip in and out of the marina, the Portofino is also known to leave rooms vacant for same-day booking.

7. Hudson Hotel — New York, NY

Energetic, dynamic, and unconventional are a few words vacationers use to describe the Hudson Hotel, a new hotel that has sprung up near Central Park in New York City. Complete with a lounge, rooftop garden, and some seriously spacious rooms, the Hudson is a great place to stay while taking a bite out of the Big Apple. It’s also great with last minute deals, where quick travelers can save up to $50 on same day booking.

8. Le Pavillon Hotel — New Orleans, LA

Sitting adjacent to the French Quarter in the heart of New Orleans, Le Pavillon Hotel is a classy, historic landmark in the city. Grand in scale and refreshingly un-modern, the Pavillon provides its guests with a traditional stay with all the trappings of an old world Parisian hotel. Plus, they accept last minute booking and even sometimes offer reduced prices on their otherwise expensive rooms.

Travel Deal: Chang Mai to Beijing to Athens

There are some crazy airline deals out there right now. As I try to plan out my spring traveling itinerary, I was just searching some random flights on Expedia and found Chang Mai to Beijing (March 7th) to Athens (April 11th) for $955. Is it just me, or is that crazy cheap?

Drew Meyers

Drew Meyers is the co-founder of Horizon & Oh Hey World. He worked for Zillow from September of 2005 to January of 2010 on the marketing team managing Zillow’s API program and various online partnerships. Founder of Geek Estate Blog, a multi-author blog focused on real estate technology for real estate professionals, and myKRO.org, a blog devoted to exploring the world of microfinance. As passionate as you get about travel.

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Cheap Flights from Miami/New York to Sao Paulo, Brazil

Really — is there anyone who doesn’t want to go to Brazil? Well, for those of you in either Miami or NYC – there’s no better time than now to buy a plane ticket. As part of their Labor Day specials, LAN.com is offering roundtrip tickets from New York or Miami to Sao Paulo starting at just $749 if you complete your travels by December 30th and buy your ticket by Sept 6 at 11:59pm (EST).

As always, restrictions apply:

  • Flights operated by: LAN.
  • Fare aplicable to fly Economy.
  • Required booking class Q.
  • Minimum stay at the destination: Saturday night.
  • Maximum stay at the destination: 3 months.
  • Travel must begin on or AFTER September 09, 2011.
  • Travel must begin on or BEFORE November 30, 2011.
  • Travel restriction: Valid for travel commencing on/after September 09, 2011.
  • Travel restriction: Travel must be finished by December 31, 2011.
  • Sales restrictions: Ticket must be purchased on or before September 06, 2011.
  • Travel permitted for flight departure the day(s) Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday.
  • Travel permitted for flight return the day(s) Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday.
  • Prohibited flight numbers: 4M6300, 4M6301, 4M6302, 4M6303, 4M6304, 4M6305, 4M6306, 4M6307, 4M6308, 4M6309, 4M6310, 4M6311, 4M6312, 4M6313, 4M6314, 4M6315, 4M6316, 4M6317, 4M6318, 4M6319, 4M6320, 4M6321, 4M6322, 4M6323, 4M6324, 4M6325, 4M6326, 4M6327, 4M6328, 4M6329, 4M6330, 4M6331, 4M6332, 4M6333, 4M6334, 4M6335, 4M6.
  • Advance purchase: Ticket must be purchased at least 7 days before departure.
  • Child fare (2-11 years): Accompanied 75% of an adult fare.
  • Infant fare (0-2 years): Without a seat 10% of an adult fare.
  • Changes are permitted with a penalty of US$ 100 on or before date of flight departure.
  • Changes are not permitted after date of flight departure.
  • Refunds: On or before flight departure day refund is not permitted
  • Refunds are not permitted after date of flight departure.
  • To Miami Travel is not permitted in the following dates: From 02/JAN/12 Through 10/JAN/12.
  • Government taxes and fees of up to USD 95 , varying by destination, are not included and may vary slightly depending on currency exchange rates at the time of purchase.
  • Fares subject to change without previous notice. Seats are limited.
  • A September 11th Security Fee of $2.50 USD per flight segment that originates at a U.S. point is not included in the fare.
  • Flights may be operated by LAN Airlines S.A., LAN Peru S.A., LAN Argentina S.A. y Aerolane, Lineas Aereas Nacionales del Ecuador S.A.
  • Other restrictions may apply.

Seems like a great deal to me, though I admit I don’t know how much tickets normally run. Now, if only I could get to Miami or NYC extremely cheaply.

More details here.

Drew Meyers

Drew Meyers is the co-founder of Horizon & Oh Hey World. He worked for Zillow from September of 2005 to January of 2010 on the marketing team managing Zillow’s API program and various online partnerships. Founder of Geek Estate Blog, a multi-author blog focused on real estate technology for real estate professionals, and myKRO.org, a blog devoted to exploring the world of microfinance. As passionate as you get about travel.

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Cheap Flights from Miami to Quito

There are some crazy Labor Day specials from the US to South America at LAN.com this weekend. One of the cheapest fares is from Miami to Quito starting at only $390! You must purchase a roundtrip ticket by September 6, 2011 11:59pm (EST) and complete your travels by December 30th to take advantage of the special pricing.

Of course, with any airfare special, restrictions apply

  • Flights operated by: LAN ECUADOR.
  • Fare aplicable to fly Economy.
  • Required booking class Q.
  • Minimum stay at the destination: Saturday night.
  • Maximum stay at the destination: 3 months.
  • Travel must begin on or AFTER September 09, 2011.
  • Travel must begin on or BEFORE November 30, 2011.
  • Travel restriction: Valid for travel commencing on/after September 09, 2011.
  • Travel restriction: Travel must be finished by December 31, 2011.
  • Sales restrictions: Ticket must be purchased on or before September 06, 2011.
  • Travel permitted for flight departure the day(s) Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday.
  • Travel permitted for flight return the day(s) Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday.
  • Prohibited flight numbers: 4M6300, 4M6301, 4M6302, 4M6303, 4M6304, 4M6305, 4M6306, 4M6307, 4M6308, 4M6309, 4M6310, 4M6311, 4M6312, 4M6313, 4M6314, 4M6315, 4M6316, 4M6317, 4M6318, 4M6319, 4M6320, 4M6321, 4M6322, 4M6323, 4M6324, 4M6325, 4M6326, 4M6327, 4M6328, 4M6329, 4M6330, 4M6331, 4M6332, 4M6333, 4M6334, 4M6335, 4M6.
  • Advance purchase: Ticket must be purchased at least 7 days before departure.
  • Child fare (2-11 years): Accompanied 75% of an adult fare.
  • Infant fare (0-2 years): Without a seat 10% of an adult fare.
  • Changes are permitted with a penalty of US$ 50 on or before date of flight departure.
  • Changes are not permitted after date of flight departure.
  • Refunds: On or before flight departure day refund is not permitted
  • Refunds are not permitted after date of flight departure.
  • From Miami fare allows travel in the following dates: From 01/SEP/11 Through 12/DEC/11
  • From Miami Travel is not permitted in the following dates: From 15/DEC/11 Through 23/DEC/11.To Miami Travel is not permitted in the following dates: From 01/JAN/12 Through 12/JAN/12.
  • Government taxes and fees of up to USD 105 , varying by destination, are not included and may vary slightly depending on currency exchange rates at the time of purchase.
  • Fares subject to change without previous notice. Seats are limited.
  • A September 11th Security Fee of $2.50 USD per flight segment that originates at a U.S. point is not included in the fare.
  • Flights may be operated by LAN Airlines S.A., LAN Peru S.A., LAN Argentina S.A. y Aerolane, Lineas Aereas Nacionales del Ecuador S.A.
  • Other restrictions may apply.

More details here.

Drew Meyers

Drew Meyers is the co-founder of Horizon & Oh Hey World. He worked for Zillow from September of 2005 to January of 2010 on the marketing team managing Zillow’s API program and various online partnerships. Founder of Geek Estate Blog, a multi-author blog focused on real estate technology for real estate professionals, and myKRO.org, a blog devoted to exploring the world of microfinance. As passionate as you get about travel.

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Cheap Flight from Seattle to Bangkok – Sept 12-19

Want to head off to Bangkok from Seattle for a week in September? If so, Cheapair.com has a great deal on a roundtrip ticket — just $968 for a rountrip if you leave the 12th and return on the 19th.

More details here.

Drew Meyers

Drew Meyers is the co-founder of Horizon & Oh Hey World. He worked for Zillow from September of 2005 to January of 2010 on the marketing team managing Zillow’s API program and various online partnerships. Founder of Geek Estate Blog, a multi-author blog focused on real estate technology for real estate professionals, and myKRO.org, a blog devoted to exploring the world of microfinance. As passionate as you get about travel.

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Cheap Flights from New York City to Athens Available Until August 22, 2011

Wow, Delta is running a crazy special until August 22nd — a one way ticket from New York City to Athens for $499 (based on purchase of a roundtrip ticket).

PURCHASE BY: August 22, 2011
TRAVEL PERIOD: Travel may begin August 29-October 28, 2011 and must be completed on or before November 28, 2011.
ADVANCE PURCHASE & MINIMUM STAY: 14 days; Saturday night
BLACKOUT DATES: From Athens: August 29-September 8, 2011
OTHER RULES: Tickets may be purchased at delta.com.

Now, if only I were in New York City right now to take advantage of the offer and fly off to my favorite place in the worldSantorini (a short flight or ferry from Athens). Oh yea, I forgot about that thing they call work.

More information here.

Drew Meyers

Drew Meyers is the co-founder of Horizon & Oh Hey World. He worked for Zillow from September of 2005 to January of 2010 on the marketing team managing Zillow’s API program and various online partnerships. Founder of Geek Estate Blog, a multi-author blog focused on real estate technology for real estate professionals, and myKRO.org, a blog devoted to exploring the world of microfinance. As passionate as you get about travel.

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Cheap Flights from Detroit to Miami

Delta is currently running a special right now for flights from Detroit to Miami — only $99 one way with the purchase of a round trip ticket.

PURCHASE BY: August 13, 2011
TRAVEL PERIOD: Outbound travel is permitted on Saturday August 13, 2011 only. Inbound travel is permitted on Monday August 15, 2011 and Tuesday August 16, 2011 only.
ADVANCE PURCHASE & MINIMUM/MAXIMUM STAY: None; Minimum stay is return on the first Monday after departure; maximum stay is return on the first Tuesday after departure
BLACKOUT DATES: None
OTHER RULES: Tickets are available for purchase at delta.com. Fares are valid in the Economy cabin on Delta/Delta Connection carrier and certain codeshare partner flights only.
More information on fares and restrictions.

Drew Meyers

Drew Meyers is the co-founder of Horizon & Oh Hey World. He worked for Zillow from September of 2005 to January of 2010 on the marketing team managing Zillow’s API program and various online partnerships. Founder of Geek Estate Blog, a multi-author blog focused on real estate technology for real estate professionals, and myKRO.org, a blog devoted to exploring the world of microfinance. As passionate as you get about travel.

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