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Top 5 Bargain Destinations for Fall 2014

Posted by Christine Sarkis on Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Twelve Apostles, Australia (Photo: Thinkstock/iStock)

Each year as fall approaches, we remember that it's our favorite time to travel. The season beckons with beautiful weather, fewer crowds, and better prices. So grab your suitcase and put on your traveling shoes: These five destinations offering great deals this fall deliver everything from cozy getaways to adventures of a lifetime.

How did we choose these destinations? By monitoring trends, industry news, and sale patterns to point you in the direction of places that offer the best bargain values for the coming season. Read on for examples of deals currently available for autumn trips. Like all deals, these are sure to expire; however, a little hunting on your part can yield similar results whenever you're ready to book.

 

(Photo: Thinkstock/iStock)

St. Lucia

St. Lucia is always among the Caribbean's most beautiful islands, and it's usually among its priciest as well. But this fall, we're seeing a nice window of affordability, new low-cost air service, and a whole theme month that includes some solid discounts, even on the island's pricier pursuits.

JetBlue kicks off new service between Boston and St. Lucia on November 1. JetBlue's fares are already among the lowest to the island—good news for travelers and a competitive-fare challenge for the other airlines serving St. Lucia. Hotel deals also abound this fall, with rates starting as low as $78 per night.

November is St. Lucia's annual Health & Wellness Month, which brings discounted rates and value-added packages. For instance, at the Coconut Bay Resort & Spa, the SpaCation package offers a daily spa treatment per person (for two people), all meals, and a premium ocean-view room for $199 per person, per night, discounted from the usual rate of $449 per person, per night.

 

(Photo: Thinkstock/iStock)

Australia

Fall just might be the best time to embark on a major trip, even if it's a trip to a hemisphere where they call this time of year spring. This coming season, Australia beckons with airfare sales and packages that soften the usually pricy cost of flying there from the U.S. And new air service puts easy access to the country closer to home for more U.S. residents.

On September 29, Qantas kicks off new service between Dallas/Ft. Worth and Sydney. And when you book by October 3, Qantas Vacations offers a 10-day, two-city package that includes round-trip airfare from Los Angeles, stays in both Sydney and Melbourne, and a sightseeing pass; packages start at $1,999 for travel between November 2 and 26.

Air New Zealand has had recent premium-economy sales (now expired, but keep your eyes peeled for similar offers) for November travel as well—and with pod seating, ample legroom, and premium meals, their premium economy looks a lot like business class on other airlines. We saw sale prices starting at around $2,800. That's about double what you might pay for standard economy, but for a flight that long, it may be just the motivator for bucket-list travelers looking for a splurge that's still relatively attainable. (For comparison's sake, a business-class seat on a United flight between Los Angeles and Sydney in November is $10,000.)

 

(Photo: Thinkstock/iStock)

Hawaii

Hawaii is a great place to visit year-round, which unfortunately tends to mean prices stay relatively high throughout the year as well. But the aloha stars have aligned this fall to deliver a pleasing number of hotel discounts across the islands. And new air service puts the islands within reach of more sun-starved mainlanders.

On November 20, Hawaiian Airlines will launch daily nonstop service connecting San Francisco and Maui, a move that will add more than 200,000 seats to the route annually and add an element of competition to pricing on the route.

What Hawaii lacks in fall foliage it makes up for in discounts on accommodations and vacation packages. Through December 19, Aston Hotels & Resorts is offering 15 percent off nightly rates, with per-night prices starting at $81 on Kauai, $110 on Oahu, $124 on Maui, and $170 on the Big Island. Traveling families can save more with Aston's Kids Stay, Play, and Eat Free in Hawaii deal. And Pleasant Holidays' Hot Deals include three-night stays on Oahu with round-trip airfare starting at $569 per person.

 

(Photo: Thinkstock/iStock)

Ohio

It may not cost a thing to stand in a forest and marvel at the vivid oranges, reds, and yellows of the leaves as they change, but leaf-peeping getaways tend to be surprisingly expensive. That's why Ohio is a standout this fall. Not only does the Buckeye State offer a user-friendly and comprehensive guide to fall-foliage long weekends (including itineraries with tips on what else to get up to while you're there), but it's generally more affordable than New England leaf-peeping hot spots and there are additional discounts to take advantage of this year.

For fall stays, you can find discounts and deals at Ohio's five state park lodges. For instance, its 10/20/30 Deal offers 10 percent off one night, 20 percent off two nights, and 30 percent off three-night stays. The state tourism board has dozens more discounts and value-added packages around Ohio for visits this fall.

 

(Photo: Thinkstock/iStock)

Copenhagen

Head to Copenhagen in early fall and you'll enjoy the lingering effects of summer (including more daylight). Prefer something cozier? Wait until late fall and head there when the city hunkers down for winter. Whichever part of autumn you choose, you should be able to find surprisingly affordable airfare this season.

Both Air Berlin and Icelandair, for example, have recently run sales (Air Berlin's just expired, but we predict another similar offer will come along soon) with fares—including taxes, fees, and so on—starting at around $700 from New York. Compared to the advertised low price from cities such as Berlin ($899 on Air Berlin) or Glasgow ($896 from Icelandair) for similar fall dates, the value of Copenhagen shines.

And while Copenhagen is generally regarded as an expensive city, there are plenty of ways to visit on any budget. VisitCopenhagen.com has lists of free and cheap things to do, inexpensive restaurants, and other money-saving tips.

You Might Also Like:

 

 Top 5 Off-Peak Destinations for Fall 2014

 

 

 

 10 Charming Inn-to-Inn Trips

 

 

 

 Why Locals (and You) Will Love Copenhagen This Year

 

 

This article was originally published by SmarterTravel under the title Top Five Bargain Destinations for Fall 2014.

Follow Christine Sarkis on Google+ or email her at editor@smartertravel.com.

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Domestic Fare of the Day: Oakland to New York $288 round-trip, nonstop

Posted by Tracy Stewart on Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Fly nonstop from Oakland to New York for $288 round-trip, including all taxes.

We found seats departing OAK on Monday, October 27, returning from JFK on Friday, October 31.

Other dates are also available for travel throughout October.

For booking info, see our Fare Details.

To learn more, visit Tracy Stewart's profile on Google+

From JetBlue: 2-Day Sale for Fall Travel

Posted by Tracy Stewart on Tuesday, September 30, 2014

The latest sale from JetBlue is valid for travel on Mondays through Thursdays, as well as Saturdays, from October 14 through December 18.

Rules and restrictions may vary by route, so please read our Fare Details for more info.

Tickets must be booked by 11:59pm, October 1.

Fares include:

New York to Raleigh-Durham $208 round-trip, nonstop, including all taxes

New York to Oakland $288 round-trip, nonstop, including all taxes

New York to Punta Cana, DR $476 round-trip, nonstop, including all taxes

New York to Bridgetown, Barbados $436 round-trip, nonstop, including all taxes

New York to Kingston, Jamaica $442 round-trip, nonstop, including all taxes

New York to St Maarten $377 round-trip, nonstop, including all taxes

New York to Ponce, PR $290 round-trip, nonstop, including all taxes

Boston to Phoenix $288 round-trip, nonstop, including all taxes

Boston to Baltimore $138 round-trip, nonstop, including all taxes

Boston to Detroit $138 round-trip, nonstop, including all taxes

Boston to Savannah $198 round-trip, nonstop, including all taxes

Orlando to Nassau, Bahamas $251 round-trip, nonstop, including all taxes

Washington DC to Charleston $98 round-trip, nonstop, including all taxes

Ft Lauderdale to Punta Cana, DR $286 round-trip, nonstop, including all taxes

Ft Lauderdale to Montego Bay, Jamaica $261 round-trip, nonstop, including all taxes

Long Beach to Las Vegas $88 round-trip, nonstop, including all taxes

JetBlue image via Shutterstock

To learn more, visit Tracy Stewart's profile on Google+

Domestic Fare of the Day: Philadelphia to Miami $30 round-trip, nonstop

Posted by Tracy Stewart on Tuesday, September 30, 2014

As part of the current sale from Frontier, fly nonstop from Philadelphia to Miami for $30 round-trip, including all taxes.

We found seats departing PHL on Tuesday, January 6, returning from MIA on the following Tuesday, January 13.

Seats are very limited (very!) at this price and may not last through the hour, so pounce now.

Visit our Miami MIA fare listings for a complete look at current deals from all over the US and Canada.

To learn more, visit Tracy Stewart's profile on Google+

Domestic Fare of the Day: New York to Las Vegas $280 round-trip, incl. taxes

Posted by Tracy Stewart on Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Fly from New York to Las Vegas for $280 round-trip, including all taxes, on US Airways.

We found seats departing LGA on Friday, October 31, returning from LAS the following Tuesday, November 4. Flights connect via Charlotte.

Other dates are also available for travel through early November, with slightly higher fares ($284) for travel through late February.

For booking info, see our Fare Details.

To learn more, visit Tracy Stewart's profile on Google+

7 Shameless Ways to Get an Upgrade

Posted by Caroline Costello on Tuesday, September 30, 2014

(Photo: Izabela Habur/Getty Images)

Want an upgrade? The key is availability: All upgrades are based on it. They're also, largely, based on loyalty status. But even if you do belong to your airline's or hotel's loyalty program, you're still competing with countless other travelers for the same upgrade. To rise above the pack, it'll take smarts, a strategy, and (dare we say it) shamelessness. Here are seven brazen ways to angle for an upgrade from an airline or a hotel.

 

(Photo: Thinkstock/iStock)

Give Your Airline Crew a Little Treat

Do: Gift something small and inexpensive to the gate agents or flight crew. Make them like you with inexpensive presents. Globe-trotting charmer Johnny Jet, a master of the art of schmoozing flight attendants, is a major proponent of this strategy. One of his not-so-secret secrets: handing out chocolates. Mr. Jet offers this advice in his Tip of the Day: "I almost always bring two boxes of chocolates—one for the gate agents and one for the flight attendants, because both can make or break your trip. When you hand the chocolates over, do it with a big smile, be genuine, and don't look for anything in return."

Don't: Assume a quid pro quo. As Johnny advises, never directly ask for anything while distributing a gift. Airline crew are prohibited from accepting gifts as bribes. Small tokens like candy or snacks are good; anything more expensive is probably a bad idea.

 

(Photo: Thinkstock/iStock)

Speak Their Language

Do: Demonstrate your foreign-language skills when appropriate. We've seen a room upgrade go to a fellow traveler in Mexico when she flaunted her fluency in Spanish. Initiate a friendly conversation with a hotel clerk in his or her native tongue, ingratiate yourself with the staff, and you just might receive a complimentary room upgrade. Even if you're not fluent, learn a word or two. Staff will appreciate a "hello" or "thank you" in the resident language. Make an honest attempt to have a sincere conversation.

Don't: Loudly and clumsily speak a few words of the local language to staff, expecting a shower of upgrades in return. A powerful voice volume will not demystify your clumsy attempt at a foreign language.

 

(Photo: Thinkstock/iStock)

Say It's Your Birthday

Do: Be obvious about the day you were born. You could, when checking in for your flight or hotel room, happily mention, "It's my birthday!" Wear a pointed hat and shake some maracas for the full effect. There's nothing wrong with a little self-celebration. Seriously, though, the elusive birthday upgrade has been known to happen now and again. We've heard of passengers (usually with some kind of frequent-flyer status to begin with) receiving birthday upgrades sans any effort to draw attention to the fact. Evidence of your birthday is, of course, printed on your boarding pass. And your ID. And your Keep Calm It's My Birthday shirt.

Don't: Lie. The chances your deception will be exposed are high. We'll say it again: Your birthday is printed on your ID.

 

(Photo: Thinkstock/Stockbyte)

Say It's Your Honeymoon (or Anniversary)

Do: Excitedly tell your booking agent that you're on your way to your honeymoon vacation. Bring proof if possible: Offer the flight attendant an extra favor from your wedding as evidence and incentive. Wear your "I'm the Bride!" T-shirt. Maybe you won't get a pair of first-class boarding passes, but at the very least, you might receive some free Champagne.

If a honeymoon upgrade at your hotel or resort is what you're after, be sure to bring a copy of your marriage license. Many resorts offer complimentary honeymoon upgrades but require proof of marriage.

Don't: Lie. Airline employees and front-desk clerks aren't stupid. I'd venture to guess that flight or hotel staff has a good gauge for who's on a honeymoon and who's only faking.

 

(Photo: Thinkstock/iStock)

Slip the Hotel Staff Some Cash

Do: The cash bribe is a decidedly shameless activity, but there's a slick way to do it. When paying for your stay, hold twenty bucks (give or take) in your hand with your credit card and smile politely, asking whether any room upgrades or well-located rooms are available. Your front-desk clerk will get the hint. This is more effective in some places than others, of course, so it's important to proceed with caution. In Las Vegas, for example, kickbacks for cash are more likely to be tolerated, especially if you're a guest who has a good play history with the hotel. At other properties, your front-desk agent may be risking his or her job by accepting a small bribe. Be careful, be respectful, and read the situation carefully.

Don't: Bribe an airline worker. Chocolates are one thing—but airline employees who accept cash bribes can lose their jobs. Don't even try.

 

(Photo: Thinkstock/iStock)

Bribe a Fellow Passenger

Do: Offer the guy with a better seat $100 to switch spots. This isn't illegal. There aren't any clear airline policies prohibiting flyers from paying other passengers for seat swaps. There's even an app, believe it or not, called AirrTrade that facilitates seat buying and selling among passengers. You may do this, if you want.

Don't: Have high expectations or be anything other than extraordinarily polite. Passengers are under no obligation to accept your bribe. Some folks might even be offended by it.

 

(Photo: CCFoodTravel.com via flickr/CC Attribution)

Show Your Loyalty

Do: Flaunt your unofficial status. Signing up for a hotel chain's loyalty program isn't exactly shameless. But advertising your unfailing loyalty to a boutique property that doesn't have a loyalty program is a bit bolder. Returning to a B&B for the third time? Write an email to the owners. Mention that you've been there a bunch of times. Tell them how much you love their property. If appropriate, write a good review. Send the link to the owners and congratulate them on a job well done. Show that you appreciate your stay, and your hosts just might show you a little appreciation in return, whether it's in the form of a room upgrade, coupons, or even just free bottles of water by your bed. Better yet, you can feel good about sharing some positive thoughts with your fellow humans.

Don't: Threaten to write a bad review if you don't receive an upgrade; anyone who does this should have their hotel privileges revoked for life.

You Might Also Like:

 

 7 Shameless Ways to Make Your Flight More Comfortable

 

 

 

 9 Things Not to Wear on a Plane

 

 

 

 10 Most Annoying Things You Do While Traveling

 

 

This article was originally published by SmarterTravel under the title Seven Shameless Ways to Get an Upgrade.

Follow Caroline Costello on Google+ or email her at editor@smartertravel.com.

Domestic Fare of the Day: Atlanta to Palm Springs $297 round-trip, incl. taxes

Posted by Tracy Stewart on Monday, September 29, 2014

For fall travel, fly from Atlanta to Palm Springs for $297 round-trip, including all taxes, on Frontier.

We found seats departing ATL on Tuesday, October 28, returning from PSP on the following Tuesday, November 4. Flights connect via Denver.

Other dates are also available for travel through early December.

For booking info, see our Fare Details.

To learn more, visit Tracy Stewart's profile on Google+

Int'l Fare of the Day: NYC to Bridgetown, Barbados $343 round-trip, winter travel

Posted by Tracy Stewart on Monday, September 29, 2014

From American, fly from New York to Bridgetown, Barbados for $343 round-trip, including all taxes.

We found seats departing JFK on Monday, February 23, returning from BGI on the following Monday, March 2. Flights connect via Miami.

Other dates are also available for travel in February/March. Have a look at our Bridgetown BGI fares for a complete look at current deals to Barbados from all over the US and Canada.

To learn more, visit Tracy Stewart's profile on Google+

Domestic Fare of the Day: Las Vegas to Honolulu $268 round-trip, nonstop

Posted by Tracy Stewart on Monday, September 29, 2014

On Allegiant Air, fly nonstop from Las Vegas to Honolulu for $268 round-trip, including all taxes.

We found seats departing LAS on Sunday, October 19, returning from HNL on Monday, October 27.

This fare is for debit card purchases only. Tickets purchased via credit card are slightly higher at $276 round-trip.

Other dates are available for travel through mid November. For booking info, see our Fare Details.

Similar fares available for travel from Los Angeles LAX.

To learn more, visit Tracy Stewart's profile on Google+

Domestic Fare of the Day: NYC to Albuquerque $214 round-trip, fall travel

Posted by Tracy Stewart on Monday, September 29, 2014

Fly from New York to Albuquerque for $214 round-trip, including all taxes, on American.

Seen below, we found seats departing LGA on Tuesday, October 28, returning from ABQ on Sunday, November 2. Flights connect via Dallas DFW.

Other dates are available for travel from October through mid November.

See our Albuquerque ABQ fares for a current list of available deals from all over the US and Canada.

 

To learn more, visit Tracy Stewart's profile on Google+

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