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Business Class Holiday Sale: NYC to Barcelona $1,803 nonstop

Posted by Tracy Stewart on Thursday, October 16, 2014

As part of KLM's current winter holiday Biz Class sale to Europe, fly nonstop from New York to Barcelona for $1,803 round-trip, including all taxes.

We found seats departing JFK on Sunday, December 21, returning from BCN on Thursday, January 1. 

Other cities are also on sale, though Barcelona appears to be the lowest. Sale fares are valid for travel from November 22 through November 28, and again from December 15 through January 3. Flights may be operated by Delta, Air France, KLM, or Alitalia.

Tickets must be booked by October 24.

Barcelona image via Shutterstock

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

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Int'l Fare of the Day: Boston to Dublin $627 round-trip, nonstop

Posted by Tracy Stewart on Thursday, October 16, 2014

For St Patrick's Day, fly nonstop from Boston to Dublin for $627 round-trip, including all taxes, on Aer Lingus.

Depart BOS on Monday, March 16, return from DUB on the following Monday, March 23.

Other dates are also available for travel from November 8 through March 31, excluding peak holiday periods.

For booking info, see our Fare Details.

Dublin image via Shutterstock

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

Domestic Fare of the Day: San Francisco to Providence $255 round-trip

Posted by Tracy Stewart on Thursday, October 16, 2014

Fly from San Francisco to Providence for $255 round-trip, including all taxes, on US Airways.

Searching USAirways.com, we found seats departing SFO on Thursday, December 4, returning from PVD on the following Tuesday, December 9. Flights connect via Charlotte.

Other dates are also available for travel through February 11, excluding peak holiday periods.

For booking info, see our Fare Details.

Rhode Island image via Shutterstock

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

Domestic Fare of the Day: Newark to Orlando $167 round-trip, nonstop

Posted by Tracy Stewart on Thursday, October 16, 2014

From United, fly nonstop from Newark to Orlando for $167 round-trip, including all taxes.

Seen below, we found seats departing EWR on Monday, November 10, returning from MCO on Friday, November 14.

Other dates are also available for travel through November, excluding holiday travel.

For booking info, see our Fare Details.

Disney image via Shutterstock

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

11 Things You Should Never Delay Before Your Trip

Posted by Christine Sarkis on Thursday, October 16, 2014

(Photo: Thinkstock/iStock)

You want to wait until the last minute to pack? Go for it. Prefer to read up on your destination only when you're on the plane? Sounds good. But there are some things that even the most fly-by-the-seat traveler must do before setting off. Here are 11 planning pitfalls—irksome oversights and full-on show-stoppers—that are brilliantly avoidable, as long as you address them well in advance. From getting the proper immunizations to breaking in new shoes, here's what you need to be thinking about in the days, weeks, and months before your next trip.

Get Immunizations

Heading to Argentina? Make sure you have your typhoid shot. Going to China? You'll need a hepatitis A vaccine. Since getting the proper vaccinations means booking medical appointments and sometimes requires more than one dose (often spaced a few weeks or months apart), it's not something you can do at the last minute. The CDC's Travelers Health tool offers comprehensive information about vaccination recommendations by country.

Keep in mind that even in countries where special vaccinations aren't necessary, it's important to make sure you're up-to-date on all your routine vaccinations—including measles-mumps-rubella and diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis.

Break in New Shoes

Breaking in new shoes, especially the pairs you'll be using intensively on your travels, should never be left to the last minute. It can take days or weeks of short-term wear to effectively and painlessly get a new pair of shoes vacation-ready. Try to cram the breaking-in process into a few days pre-trip and you may end up with blisters that will not only make you hate the shoes but can also make walking uncomfortable right from the start of your trip.

Download Movies

Traveling with your own entertainment is great. Layovers, long flights, and delays simply aren't as bad if you can fill the time catching up on movies. But even with a fast Internet connection, downloading movies is still a surprisingly slow process. As a general rule, it's a good idea to prepare your tablet (or phone, or laptop) at least a day in advance, giving your device plenty of time with a fast connection so you can add whatever movies, TV shows, or books you want to take. Because waiting for a movie to finish downloading is a terrible reason to miss a flight.

Order Special Meals for the Plane

If you're expecting a vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, kosher, halal, or other special meal on a flight, you can't leave it to the last minute. Most airlines require at least 24 hours' notice to accommodate alternative meals. In fact, the best time to make your request is at the time of booking, when you're already on the website or phone and already thinking about it. Your hungry future plane self will thank you for it.

Update Your Operating System

Downloading the latest operating system for your phone on the way to the airport can throw a major wrench in the works. Not only does it mean rebooting at a time when you're likely to need the device to make last-minute phone calls or check your flight status, but your phone's fresh outlook on life means you may need to re-log in to some of your apps. And if you're a person who doesn't know all of your passwords off the top of your head, this can leave you without travel vitals like itinerary information and access to communication tools.

Book House Sitters and Pet Sitters

It's always wise to lock in your preferred house sitter or pet sitter well in advance of your trip. This goes double during the summer and around the holidays, when home-care providers are in high demand and book up quickly. Even if your plan is to souvenir-bribe a family member to pick up your mail or pay a neighbor kid to clean the litter box, you'll need to make sure they'll be around to manage the home front while you're away.

Download and Update Apps

Without a fast connection, downloading and updating apps can be frustratingly slow. And deciding which new apps you'll need (which HDR camera app? Which map app? Which public transportation app?) can be a time-consuming process. That's all to say that it's a good idea to download new apps and update any apps you'll rely on while traveling (since older versions may crash or just not work as they should) the day before you leave, at the latest.

Sort Out Your Adapter and Converter Needs

Will your electronics simply require an adapter, or will they need both a converter (also called a transformer) and an adapter? These are important questions to clear up well before you travel. Many electronics (such as Apple phones and tablets) have a converter built into the charging plug, so if you're traveling somewhere with 240 V current, you'll just need an adapter for the plug shape. But if you try to plug in something (for instance, a hair dryer or white-noise machine) that doesn't run on dual current, you'll break it. Figure this out before your trip and avoid electronic meltdowns.

Book Popular Restaurants

If you've got your heart set on eating at a specific restaurant in a city you're visiting, you should seriously consider reservations. Because if a restaurant is popular enough for word of it to have reached foreign shores, chances are it's going to be hard to get into. Brush up on your language skills and make the phone call, or if you have a credit card with a concierge service, you can enlist the help of a professional. OpenTable allows you to book online at many restaurants in the U.S., as well as an increasing number of spots in 19 countries and regions including the U.K., Japan, and Mexico. Or use a country-specific restaurant-reservation site such as Lafourchette in France.

Check Your Passport's Expiration Date

Are you traveling anywhere within the next year? Then stop reading this, go find your passport, and make sure the expiration date isn't within six months of your travel dates. Take this small but vital step because some countries won't allow you in if your passport expires too close to your travel dates. Known as the six-month passport validity rule (and the similar three-month passport validity rule), it can ruin a vacation even before it begins. USA Today has an overview of countries and regions that enforce validity rules.

Check Baggage Restrictions of Connecting Airlines

On some connecting flights, you only need to know the baggage restrictions of the airline you booked through. But other times, you'll be expected to abide by multiple airlines' baggage policies. And if you book a separate flight at your destination, you'll need to make sure your baggage abides by those rules or risk paying a hefty fee. It's an irritating process, and on some foreign carriers without clear information posted online it may require a phone call, but think of it as better than getting to the airport and discovering you'll need to pay an extra $50 to bring your toothbrush and clean socks.

You Might Also Like:

 

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 10 Things to Do Before a Trip

 

 

 

 How to Fly Like a Travel Pro

 

 

This article was originally published by SmarterTravel under the title Pro Tip: Don't Leave These 11 Things Until the Last Minute. Follow Christine Sarkis on Google+ or email her at editor@smartertravel.com.

Int'l Fare of the Day: San Francisco to Seoul $708 round-trip, nonstop

Posted by Tracy Stewart on Wednesday, October 15, 2014

From Singapore Airlines, fly nonstop from San Francisco to Seoul for $708 round-trip, including all taxes.

We found seats departing SFO on Wednesday, October 29, returning from ICN on Friday, November 7.

Other dates are also available for travel through November 13.

For booking info, see our Fare Details.

Seoul image via Shutterstock

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

Spring Sale from SATA: Boston to Lisbon $497 Round-Trip, March Travel

Posted by Tracy Stewart on Wednesday, October 15, 2014

SATA is offering reduced fares on spring flights between Boston and Lisbon, Portugal. Sale fares are valid for travel from March 1 through March 30.

Seen below, we found seats for $497 round-trip, departing BOS on Tuesday, March 10, returning from LIS on the following Tuesday, March 17. This fare does include a carry-on and one checked bag (up to 50.6lbs).

Seats are limited! Tickets must be booked by October 31.

For booking info, see our Fare Details.

 

Above image via Shutterstock

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

Domestic Fare of the Day: Minneapolis to Phoenix $137 round-trip, nonstop

Posted by Tracy Stewart on Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Fly nonstop from Minneapolis to Phoenix for $137 round-trip, including all taxes, on US Airways.

Searching USAirways.com, we found seats departing MSP on Saturday, November 8, returning from PHX on Thursday, November 13.

Other dates are also available through December 18, for travel Mondays through Saturdays.

See our Fare Details for booking info.

Above image via Shutterstock

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

Int'l Fare of the Day: New York to Inverness, Scotland $670 round-trip, inc. taxes

Posted by Tracy Stewart on Wednesday, October 15, 2014

As part of the previously mentioned Aer Lingus sale, fly from New York to Inverness, Scotland for $670 round-trip, including all taxes.

Seen below, we found seats available for travel in late November/early December, even over the Thanksgiving holiday, departing from JFK on Thursday, November 20, returning from INV on Tuesday, December 2. Flights connect via Dublin. 

Other dates are also available for travel through late March.

For booking info, see our Fare Details.

Inverness Castle image via Shutterstock

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

How Vegas Is Reinventing the Boutique Hotel

Posted by Christine Sarkis on Wednesday, October 15, 2014

(Photo: TripAdvisor, LLC)

The next big thing has arrived in Vegas, and it's surprisingly … small. Whether you see Las Vegas' wave of boutique-inspired hotels as an adaptation, a reinvention, or a perversion of the small-hotel concept, there's no doubt that boutique is reshaping the city. With the recent opening of three high-profile hotels that rely heavily on the boutique angle to differentiate themselves from what's come before, it's clear that the hotel trend has reached critical mass in Vegas.

But as with everything else, Sin City does things its own way, and it has taken the core concepts of boutique hotels—individuality; personalization; quirkiness; fewer rooms; and destination restaurants, bars, and spas—to new and different heights than the rest of the world.

So what's Vegas boutique? Since the concept is constantly being reinvented, there's no single profile. Some properties occupy a few floors within major casino hotels, others fill high-rise towers that help define the skyline; some eschew gaming, while others embrace the casino floor. But similarities exist: When bigger isn't the point, all that manic Vegas energy is channeled into the small things—like subtle and sophisticated scents, high-end toiletries, sumptuous fabrics, and cool communal spaces with the trendiest coffee in the morning and cocktails in the evening. 

Here's a tour of the latest boutique offerings in Vegas.

 

(Photo: MGM Resorts)

Delano Las Vegas

Delano debuted on Labor Day of this year, bringing an "all-suite boutique offering" that draws on the spirit, the name, and the vibe of the original Delano South Beach, all adapted to Las Vegas. The underlying design theme is desert chic. The hotel was previously THEhotel Mandalay Bay.

Vital Stats: 1,117 suites fill the Delano's 64-level golden tower. Since there's no casino, the ground floor is given over to a series of beckoning modern spaces where guests can hang out, mingle, and eat and drink.

Part Of: MGM Resorts International and Morgans Hotel Group.

 

(Photo: TripAdvisor, LLC)

SLS Las Vegas

SLS has all the focus of a boutique hotel—service, luxury, creativity, and community—but presents it on a massive scale for grand Las Vegas.

Vital Stats: 1,600 rooms and suites fill the former Sahara Hotel & Casino. The hotel includes a casino as well as Bazaar Meat by Jose Andres, the latest restaurant by the renowned chef.

Part Of: SLS already has hotels in upscale hot spots South Beach, Beverly Hills, and New York, and in August, the brand opened the SLS Las Vegas.

 

(Photo: TripAdvisor, LLC)

The Cromwell Las Vegas

The Cromwell, which opened in May of this year, touts itself as the Strip's first boutique hotel.

Vital Stats: With 188 rooms that mingle modern and vintage design elements, The Cromwell is also home to one of the city's hottest new restaurants, Giada, helmed by celeb-chef Giada De Laurentiis.

Part Of: Caesars Entertainment Corporation.

 

(Photo: TripAdvisor, LLC)

Nobu Hotel

Nobu Hotel opened in the spring of 2013, mingling Japanese and Asian design elements with a bit of Vegas flair. The hotel was imagined into being by its namesake, Chef Nobu, as well as actor Robert De Niro and designer David Rockwell.

Vital Stats: Part of the much larger Caesars complex on the Strip, Nobu Hotel occupies the former Centurion Tower and has just 181 rooms.

Part Of: Caesars Entertainment Corporation.

 

(Photo: TripAdvisor, LLC)

SkyLofts

Crowning the top two floors of the MGM Grand, SkyLofts defines the hotel-within-a-hotel subset of the Vegas boutique trend. With chauffeured airport service and butlers on 24-hour standby, service is paramount.

Vital Stats: 51 two-story lofts offer incredible views and luxurious amenities like in-room espresso machines, pillow menus, and Dream Butlers (who will draw you a bath and make you tea).

Part Of: MGM Resorts International.

 

(Photo: TripAdvisor, LLC)

Rumor Hotel Boutique

The off-Strip Rumor Hotel Boutique is an all-suite, low-rise hotel with a pool-and-cabana scene and dog-friendly rooms.

Vital Stats: The two-story hotel, which opened in 2010, has 150 suites, many with private balconies or patios.

Part Of: The Siegel Group, which also operates the off-Strip Artisan Hotel Boutique.

 

(Photo: TripAdvisor, LLC)

Artisan Hotel Boutique

The off-Strip Artisan Hotel Boutique is the wild child of the boutique hotel set in Las Vegas. A favorite for bachelor and bachelorette parties, the hotel plays up its sexy/naughty vibe with a top-optional pool and nonstop weekend parties.

Vital Stats: Each of the 64 rooms and suites at this 21-and-up hotel is unique.

Part Of: The Siegel Group.

 

(Photo: TripAdvisor, LLC)

Hotel 32

Since 2009, the 32nd floor of the Monte Carlo has been home to the stylish but low-key Hotel 32. The small boutique hotel within the larger casino distinguishes itself with amenities such as limo service from the airport, on-call personal assistants, and a private lounge.

Vital Stats: Hotel 32 has 50 rooms and a check-in process that's entirely separate from the bustle downstairs at the Monte Carlo.

Part Of: MGM Resorts International.

 

(Photo: TripAdvisor, LLC)

El Cortez Cabana Suites

The vintage classic El Cortez Hotel & Casino was put on the National Register of Historic Places in 2013, and now it can claim its own part of the boutique hotel market with the El Cortez Cabana Suites. Located across the street from the original hotel in downtown Las Vegas, El Cortez Cabana Suites is brimming with funky, playful, modern design.

Vital Stats: The hotel has 64 rooms and suites.

Part Of: The hotel is an extension of El Cortez Hotel & Casino, but it isn't part of one of the mega-hotel groups.

 

(Photo: MGM Resorts)

Aria Sky Suites

Another boutique-hotel-within-a-hotel concept, Aria Sky Suites maintains its separation from the main property with a VIP entrance, a private elevator, and private check-in. Opened in 2009, the luxury hotel has earned both a Forbes Travel Guide Five Star rating and a AAA Five Diamond award.

Vital Stats: Aria Sky Suites has 442 one-, two-, and three-bedroom rooms and suites.

Part Of: MGM Resorts International.

You Might Also Like:

 

 What Not To Do in Vegas

 

 

 

 Secrets of Las Vegas

 

 

 

 Quiz: How Well Do You Know Vegas?

 

 

This article was originally published by SmarterTravel under the title How Vegas is Reinventing the Boutique Hotel. Follow Christine Sarkis on Google+ or email her at editor@smartertravel.com.

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