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Winter Getaways for the Spending Savvy Literary Traveler

February 8, 2012 in Travel, travel deals, Winter Travel

There is nothing that does the trick quite like experiencing the chill of January in New England to inspire the desire to travel someplace sunny and inviting. For the budget conscious literary traveler, however, a tropical vacation isn’t always a viable option.  Internet savvy travelers are no doubt familiar with websites like Expedia and Travelocity, which have long been vital resources in trip planning.  Now, with the rapid rise of flash sale websites there are even more options for affordable travel.  For those not yet familiar with the ingenious phenomenon of flash sale websites, such as Groupon and LivingSocial, among many others, there is no better way to get acquainted than to jump right in with their websites or iPhone applications.  Once on the site you can choose your location and are immediately offered a plethora of discounts on everything from dinners at local restaurants to services provided by nearby spas.  The only catch being that the deals are only available for a limited time and in limited quantities.

While Groupon has been around in its current form since 2008, it wasn’t until this past summer that the sight known for its huge discounts teamed up with Expedia to provide affordable travel options in the form of travel experiences pre-packaged and available for a limited time at a discounted price. With Groupon’s “Getaways with Expedia” and LivingSocial’s “Escapes” there is no excuse not to break the monotony of the winter months with a new experience and possibly a warmer climate.

The mission statement of Living Social is one any literary traveler can relate to.  According to the website, “our mission is to add surprise to every calendar. So we dig deep, pursuing both the things that define a place and the undiscovered jewels.”  As someone who caught the travel bug long ago, there is nothing better than perusing vacation possibilities as easily as browsing titles at a book store. With Groupon and Living Social you can explore affordable options handpicked by the websites with the budget conscious consumer in mind.  As an additional bonus, most packages come with added perks.  Purchase Groupon’s “Castle & Manor Tour” and not only will you spend six nights in Ireland, but the trip is prearranged to give you two nights in an authentic castle and four nights in a boutique hotel, allowing for a variety of new experiences.

Not looking to leave the country, or even perhaps the state?  There are always options for weekend jaunts to nearby accommodations you may not have ever known existed.  After entering “Boston” as my location on LivingSocial, I am offered a remarkable amount of cozy two night stays at a variety of bed and breakfasts in Massachusetts and surrounding states.  From an outing in the White Mountains of New Hampshire, complete with a voucher for dinner and a complimentary bottle of wine, to a weekend at a quaint Cape Cod inn including a discount on spa services and daily breakfast, the options are vast and each uniquely appealing.

One can also appreciate their homage to the literary traveler in particular.  Describing a picturesque cottage, LivingSocial whimsically digresses that “Henry David Thoreau may have never found a companion that was as… companionable as solitude, but we’ve uncovered an Escape with which you’re sure to get along famously in a setting just as intimate.”  Ultimately, even if you are unable to travel further than your living room couch, perusing the various trips is its own little escape, allowing a break from the dropping temperature with the possibility of exploring an idyllic locale without breaking the bank.

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Travel Deals to Satisfy your Wandering Mind

January 3, 2011 in Hiking, Mount Washington, New Hampshire Travel, Stephen King, travel deals

As I read our recent article The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon, I daydreamed about vast plains and endless trails. They led me to euphoric moments where I breathed in the pure air of the New England mountains. As my heart raced, I listened to the soundtrack of distant running water and chirping birds. These images were vibrant, as if I was right there, hiking on Mount Washington.

Located in New Hampshire, Mt. Washington is one of the highest peaks in the northeast. It reaches approximately 6288 feet, making it one of my hiking goals to conquer. I have always wanted to take on this rewarding challenge.

I found a great travel deal that offers a challenging hike, comfortable bed, amazing breakfast, and packed lunch for the journey. The Mt. Washington B & B is offering a fantastic two-night hiking package. In addition to a hearty breakfast and comfortable place to rest your head after a grueling hike, The Mt. Washington B & B also offers a guidebook to the mountain and the comforts of home.

Although Mt. Washington’s weather is erratic, it continues to remain a popular hiking destination. The most popular trail is the Tuckerman Ravine. It is approximately an 8-mile climb.

For the New Year, will you take on the challenge of hiking Mt. Washington’s vast plains and endless trails?  I certainly can’t wait to breathe in that pure New England air.

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Travel Deals to Satisfy your Wandering Mind

October 13, 2010 in budget travel, Classic Writers, Helen Hunt Jackson, Travel, travel deals

Photo via Ashley BoydI often sit on the San Francisco transportation and allow myself to be carried to a new destination. I find myself daydreaming of my recent adventure across this beautiful country.

My mind retraces all the amazing and memorable moments and I wish that sometime soon I will again be on the road. Traveling is not only an adventure for me—it is a time to be free of the daily stress and daily uncertainty of what am I going to do with life? I feel that more often than not I am ‘boogled down’ by uncertainty; I am driven by the need to endlessly search for a tangible answer. However, traveling makes me feel as though this answer is right in front of me, as if this answer is unimportant, a mere speck of what is truly out there. When I travel, this mere speck is just a weightless distraction left behind.

As I was nearing the end of my trip across the country, I found myself at Seven Falls in Colorado Springs, Colorado. It was enchanting. The color of the mountainside against the beautiful blue sky and forest green trees on my way towards the entrance, promised an unforgettable afternoon.

Entrance fee was $9.25, but well worth the hike and afternoon out of the car.

Seven Falls is located in the South Cheyenne Canyon. It received its title based upon the water that cascades from 181 feet in seven distinct steps. The water falls from the southern edge of Pikes Peak and allows for a picturesque, tranquil sight.

In addition to the waterfalls, Seven Falls has 2 hiking trails: Trail to Inspiration Point and Trail to Midnight Fall. The Trail to Inspiration Point is a mile long, intermediate hike that is the location of the original gravesite of Helen Hunt Jackson. Helen Hunt Jackson was a writer of the 1800s. She is best known for her interest in the mistreatment of American Indians by government agents. This hike was a great way to stretch my legs and breathe heavy as the hill sat in front of me. The sun was beautiful as it set upon the mountainside and the clouds swiftly moved across the evening sky.

Seven Falls is a gem of this country. It is a secluded area, with rushing water as its soundtrack. It is a great place to become in touch with nature and breathe in the amazing fresh air that this earth has to offer.

It makes my list for the top 10 places to visit in America. What’s on your list?

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Travel Deals to Satisfy your Wandering Mind

October 7, 2010 in budget travel, Economy, Employment Rate, Singapore, travel deals


Forgive me for the brief hiatus in your Travel Deal posts.  Though great bargains are all around us, adventures of my own—traveling across the country and building a new foundation to call home—have prevented me from posting.  But now I am back, situated securely on the West Coast, where I continue to dream about future travel plans and the beautiful wonders that sit under the same moon as I do each night.

One of my close friends has the habit of announcing his ideas for new and strange places to live. Tonight he threw out the idea of Singapore. I contemplated his suggestion for a moment, and finally thought, what do I really know about what Singapore has to offer?

Singapore is an island between Malaysia and Indonesia in Southeastern Asia. Singapore plays an important role in the finance and trade development of the world and relies heavily on their exporting process.  The nation houses a diverse population, with English as most common language. Their unemployment rate is 3%, they predict their economy to grow of 3-5% in 2010. Their climate is generally tropical, all things that Americans highly consider in today’s world.

Expedia is offering an amazing deal to Singapore: with 10 nights in the Orchard Parade-A Far East Hotel and including a flight from the states, you can be exploring the depths of Singapore for just over $2000.

So what does Singapore have to offer the frequent traveler or an every-so-often tourist? Well, first of all you are on an island.  There is something incredibly romantic, and even slightly fantastic, about island-living.  Even the word island calls up an enchanting image in my mind.

In Singapore, you can spend your days on Orchard Road, indulging in the extravagant tastes of Louis Vuitton and Chanel. Or you can take a ride on The Singapore Flyer and pinpoint the locations you want to travel to. Take a walk through the beautiful botanical gardens in the early morning when the dew is just rising or spend your evenings indulging in some of the wide varieties of ethnic food that Singapore has to offer.

Singapore was founded in 1819 and since then has made remarkable improvements towards the betterment of their country. It is a continuously developing territory that holds a promising future of greatness and success.

Happy travels.

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Travel Deals to Satisfy your Wandering Mind

August 1, 2010 in budget travel, disney world travel deals, mexico travel deals, travel deals

August 1st, a marker in the year that could represent summer concluding, back to school shopping for the kids, classes reconvening, or summer excursions approaching. Whatever this date may represent to you, it is always beneficial to have a vacation lined up, it creates excitement and anticipation.

Do you have children and feel like you have been bombarded with play dates, pool parties, floaties and pigtails all summer? Do you need an adult vacation away from the kids to reconfirm your adulthood and step away from the apple juice? I have found an all-inclusive 4-night excursion to Riviera Maya, Mexico.

All your meals and drinks are included in the price, as well as snorkeling, windsurfing and kayaking. Enjoy a few blissful nights on the white sand and playing in the baby blue water to replenish your energy.

If you are opposed to leaving the children with the grandparents, or if you happen to feel that they should be rewarded for their angelic behavior, I have found a 7-day pass for Disney World in Orlando, Florida. This pass will grant you entry into all the parks including Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Disney’s Animal Kingdom for a week. The Disney pass is $234 per adult and $201 per child. Spend the last few weeks of summer together as a family visiting with Mickey Mouse and all his friends.

I came across another great site, the Suite 101 Budget Travel section.  It provides informative articles on how to budget for Disney World and beyond.  Check out this article on 5 Cheap Places to Eat at Disney, written by feature writer Michelle Snow.

Whatever this date represents to you, whether it be about celebrating your adulthood or spending some time with the children before they go back to school, there is no better time than now to take a moment to breathe in the fresh summer air.  I am sure the memory will be much appreciated when winter hits and the atmosphere turns cold enough to burn your lungs.

Enjoy the rest of the summer months and breathe deep.

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Travel Deals to Satisfy your Wandering Mind

July 11, 2010 in Uncategorized

As I drove to work the other day, I was attracted to a story on National Public Radio (NPR) about a man who runs with bulls.

I listened to this story and pondered, does this man actually run with bulls? Who would do such a thing? After my shift ended and I found myself still contemplating the insanity of this concept, I Googled ‘running with bulls’. To my surprise I came across an array of Google results, and more specifically, came across the location where this story was set.

Running with the bulls in Pamplona, Spain is a highly popular event that is part of the San Fermin festival, the most renowned festival in Spain, which honors Saint Fermin, the co-patron of Navarre. This festival occurs every year beginning July 7th – 14th.

In this event, players run with 6 bulls and 9 steer. The bovine competitors run from their “off-site corrals” to the bullring where they will be slaughtered. Side streets are blocked off and barricades are used to make a direct route for the bulls. Many injuries occur but from the description I heard on NPR,  the event can also be euphoric, exciting – a real once-in-a-lifetime experience.

With this being said, I thought what an interesting idea for this week’s travel blog. Do you need a little, or a lot of excitement in your life? Do you do outlandish and outrageous events similar to this one and feel like this would be an amazing experience? If so, I have found a reasonably priced ticket to Spain through Expedia, this flight is around $1600, but please hurry because the festival ends on the 14th and you may miss your chance to run with the bulls in Pamplona.

If you are looking for a hotel deal, I found a great deal at a beautiful, modern facility: Suites Mirasierra Pamplona. This hotel looks beautiful and clean and offers is close to the city’s center. I found the deal through hotelscombined.com for about $116/night.

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Travel Deals to Satisfy your Wandering Mind

June 27, 2010 in Uncategorized

Photo via TripAdvisor.comFor me, Italy is a familiar country that has a strong hold on my heart.  After living in Rome for 4 months, I quickly became addicted to the atmosphere, the speed, the rich history and the overwhelming sense of a beautiful ancestry.

I was fortunate enough to be able to travel to Venice, Florence, and the Island of Capri.  I knew that Italy would be a place I would return to again and again.  When I came across a 6-day package with visits to Rome, Florence and Venice, I knew I would have to focus this week’s edition of Travel Deals on my favorite destination.

This package includes 2 nights in Venice, 2 nights in Florence and 2 nights in Rome.  You will stay in first-class hotels located in the city’s center.  You will be provided with 6 breakfasts and 3 dinners, which include wine (and you have to try the wine!).  The package also includes guided tours and free admission to sights.  Each of these cities is rich with history and historic sites – so much so that I recommend narrowing your focus according to field of interest.  Interested in architecture?  Then I suggest you try to visit the churches and cathedrals.  If you’re more of an art-nerd, you might want to spend an afternoon in one of the many beautiful museums.  Foodies could spend years in all of these cities and still leave without tasting every delicious morsel they have to offer, so I suggest you choose a place to start.  How about a pastry shop?   Maybe you’re more of a shopper – there’s a place for that, too!  The sheer amount of options can be overwhelming, so I suggest you try to make a schedule around the guided tours so you can prioritize and manage your time.

From my own experience, I highly recommend taking a gondola ride through the canals of Venice.  This ride offers a great way to see the city while floating through the water (plus, they can be extremely romantic).  Prices range from $65- $123.  Gondolas hold up to 6 people and rides will last at least 50 minutes.

While in Rome, please go to the Colosseum; it is bursting with history and makes the past really come alive.  I remember seeing a portion of it as I was exploring one of my first days in Rome.  I literally got goose bumps and felt flooded with awe.  I also recommend walking over any bridge that crosses over the Tiber River in the evening after the sun has just set; the lights from the city are magnificent.

I spent my time in Florence alone, my focus was to see the churches, they all held their own antiquity and were independently engaging.  I picked up treats and snacks at many of the random markets along my way.  I recommend seeing the Duomo, Florence’s cathedral church.  Also, I walked through many piazzas, but I particularly recommend the Piazza Della Signora, where you can see “The Rape of Polyxena,” a structure constructed by Pio Fedi.  I stood in front of this piece for over an hour amazed by the details and the passion pulsing from this lifeless formation.

This package is a total of $1799. The flight goes from New York to Venice, but like any deal, you can alter the city from which you depart.