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January 15, 2013

New York City's Broadway Week: 2 for 1 Tickets

By awayblog

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Broadway Week Logo
Have you been wanting to don tails and catch the latest on the theatre curcuit? Here's your chance to hit up Broadway without diminishing your savings for fancy duds. Starting January 22, and running through February 2, New York City is holding Broadway Week, or to those who like to talk money, 2 for 1 week. Buy two tickets for the price of one—perfect for a NYC date night. Click here for participating shows and booking information, and hurry, they're going fast!'s New York City Travel Guide

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October 24, 2012's Great Escapes Videos Receive the 2012 Travel Weekly Magellan Award

By awayblog

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Travel weekly_magellan award_silver_logo_2012We are excited to announce that’s Great Escapes travel videos have won a 2012 Travel Weekly Magellan Award. Over 550 entries from around the world were submitted for the Magellan awards this year. “In 2012, creativity reached new heights among marketers and designers in the travel industry,” said Arnie Weissmann, editor in chief of Travel Weekly. “This year’s Magellan entries were inspiring overall, and those who ended up in the winner’s circle truly represent the best of the best.”

The Great Escapes videos are created to provide travelers with travel advice and unique ideas for trips across the United States and the world. They cover everything from how to pack your suitcase to which cities are great for family vacations. 

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October 02, 2012

Travel Taxes: How Much Is Your Trip Really Going to Cost?

By Kate Chandler

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Honolulu, Hawaii, has relatively low travel taxes (Corbis)

So you scored a great price on a hotel room in New York City? Or a killer rate on a rental car in Boston for your tour of New England? Or maybe you have all your meals budgeted out "just so" for a trip to Washington, D.C. Of course you know that you’ll have to pay sales tax on all these carefully researched purchases. But did you know that “travel taxes” can cost you an average of 57 percent on top of sales tax? Better get back to your trip-planning calculator!

Chicago tops the charts this year as the city where travelers will pay the most taxes, according to Global Business Travel Association’s recently released “Travel Taxes in the U.S.” report. When factoring in sales tax, plus additional specific taxes on hotel stays, car rentals, and meals, you can expect to spend an extra $40 per day in Chicago. That really starts to add up over a week-long stay! New York City and Boston were the next most-taxed cities, with travelers racking up nearly $38 and $35 extra per day, respectively.'s Chicago Travel Guide

Destinations such as Fort Lauderdale, Florida; Portland, Oregon; and Honolulu, Hawaii, have some of the lowest overall travel-tax burdens, coming in at $22 to $24 extra per day. Ironically, Portland, Oregon, actually taxes travelers at the highest rate of any U.S. city, but because Oregon has no state sales tax, the overall tax burden on Portland visitors is still favorable when compared to other major destinations.

Continue reading "Travel Taxes: How Much Is Your Trip Really Going to Cost?" »

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July 13, 2012

More Travelers Have Guilt about Leaving Their Pet than Their Kid

By Kate Chandler

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According to a summer travel survey conducted by Orbitz (our parent company), 33 percent of travelers feel guilty about leaving behind their pet, compared with 30 percent who feel guilty about leaving their children behind. With kids out of school for the summer, it's probably no surprise that parents responded this way! And for those who feel guilty about leaving their pets behind.. come on, have you seen the doggie day-spa options out there? They are arguably much nicer than any daycare for a child.

Other insights from the summer travel survey include:
*77 percent of Americans have some kind of summer travel planned.
*And they plan to spend more this year than they did last year. More than half of respondents said they will spend at least $1,500 on their vacation this year (compared to 39 percent who spent that much last year).
*More people plan to travel by car than by air. This isn't too surprising, given that gas prices are down from where they were this time last year (though we've seen the national average price creep up in the last week or so).
*81 percent of those surveyed plan to travel domestically. Looks like even though the economy is stabalizing a bit, no one's ready to break out the big travel guns just yet.

It's a good thing people are planning to spend more money this year, because it's going to be more expensive to travel. Hotel rates in Orbitz's top ten markets are up 12 percent, and airfare is up slightly (from 1 to 3 percent, depending on which source you use). But there are still some affordable spots out there: Las Vegas and Denver hotel rooms go for less that $100 per night, and there are rooms to be had in Orlando, Los Angeles, and Seattle for less than $150 per night.    

As for me, I'm staying put this summer, with my pets and my kid. We'll hit the road in the fall, when high temperatures relent, airport lines shorten, and kitty day-spas slash their rates.

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May 21, 2012

Reverse Culture Shock: What It Is and How to Beat It

By BootsnAll

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Most people are familiar with the concept of culture shock: You go somewhere that's foreign to you and feel confused, out of place, and even angry. But what if you come back home to surroundings and people that are supposed to be familiar and comforting, and you still feel confused, out of place, and angry? That's even worse.

When you experience the symptoms of culture shock upon returning from a trip it's called "reverse culture shock," and it's not hard to understand how this can happen. Once you get used to the formerly mystifying aspects of a place, a different set of social norms is going to feel strange, even if they once felt completely normal.

Continue reading "Reverse Culture Shock: What It Is and How to Beat It" »

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December 23, 2011

The Most Exciting New Resorts and Hotels of 2012

By awayblog

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Rendering from Revel, Atlantic City, New Jersey (Revel Entertainment)

While resort development has certainly slowed due to the global recession, with many projects shelved these past two years, 2012 will be a banner year for the unveiling of new properties. Billion-dollar mega-resorts, ultra-chic honeymoon hotspots, and boutique hotels in downtown centers will all open their doors to the public this coming year.

In some instances, cost has not been spared. Take, for example, the $2.4 billion Revel, set to open on 1,000 feet of Atlantic City boardwalk this spring. Built to delight all Boardwalk Empire fans and folks who like their casinos to display Vegas-style flair, Revel will occupy more than enough space to entertain guests for a weekend of gaming. The 47-story tower will house 12 restaurants, six pools, a 5,800-seat theater, close to four dozen retail stores, and one massive casino.'s Atlantic City Travel Guide

As one would expect, London is gearing up for the 2012 Summer Olympics with a slew of new hotel construction. Yet two of the most exciting openings have pushed their launch dates beyond the Games. Near Hyde Park Corner, in the upscale neighborhood of Knightsbridge, the Wellesley Hotel London is now scheduled to debut in November 2012. Next door to the Lanesborough Hotel, the Wellesley will feature 36 spacious suites, including the largest suite in the city, and is billing itself as the first six-star lodging in London.

Overlooking the Thames in London, the 70-story building dubbed "The Shard" is supposed to be completed by the end of the year, but Hong Kong hotelier Shangri-La reportedly won't move in until early 2013. Once finished, the Renzo Piano-designed building will be the tallest structure in the European Union. Shangri-La will occupy floors 34 to 52, so rest assured that you'll have glorious vistas of the city's skyline.'s London Travel Guide

Assoufid, Marrakesh (Rocco Forte Hotels)

Continue reading "The Most Exciting New Resorts and Hotels of 2012" »

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September 06, 2011

Safety in the World's Newest Nation—South Sudan

By WorldNomads

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(South Sudanese celebrate winning the referendum on independence)

There's a pretty good chance you've never visited this country, because until July 9, 2011, the Republic of Southern Sudan didn't exist. Of course it did physically exist—the land, the water, and the people—but until the official declaration of independence, it wasn't a nation.

Unless you are an aid worker, a United Nations official, or a very foolhardy traveler, it's unlikely you've been anyway, because this was one of the most dangerous places on the planet.

Civil War
Northern Sudan and the government in Khartoum were at war with Southern Sudan and the rebels based in Juba, the country's largest city. It was Africa's longest civil war, 1983-2005, and resulted in the deaths of two million people and the displacement of another four million.

Visitors not caught in the crossfire, or stumbling on the tens of thousands of landmines littering the countryside, ran a gauntlet of outlaws and criminals who regarded any foreigner as an intruder, or a walking bag of cash to be held for ransom.

Continue reading "Safety in the World's Newest Nation—South Sudan" »

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March 21, 2011

Blog4NZ, Japan Earthquake Relief, and How Travelers Can Help

WALK THIS WAY: Milford Track, New Zealand (Heidi Coppock-Beard/New Zealand Tourism)

In the wake of the devastating March 11 earthquake in Japan, it has been almost tragically easy to overlook the impact of another recent natural disaster, the February 22 earthquake that flattened much of Christchurch, New Zealand. Communities in both countries are now digging out and rebuilding shattered lives. And while it will take a very long time for these stricken regions to recover, it's a moment when the travel community should remember that we can still play a very active, healing role.

Blog4NZ logo Tourism to New Zealand makes up 10 percent of that country's annual GDP, while tourism-related GDP to Japan accounts for over 2 percent of economic activity. Christchurch and large swathes of the Canterbury region will be out of action for quite some time, but the rest of New Zealand—the adventure-centric, naturally-endowed "Land of the Long White Cloud"—is still very much open for business. For example, go and enjoy the spectacle of the forthcoming Rugby World Cup, due to be played in 11 other venues around NZ. Tournament officials reluctantly decided on March 16 that the seven games scheduled to be played in Christchurch would have to be moved, adding another emotional layer to what is sure to be an incredible festival of sporting as well as international fellowship.

Read our New Zealand Travel Guide to plan your trip

The section of northeastern Japan affected by the 9.0-magnitude earthquake and subsequent tsunami was even harder hit (including the ongoing nuclear crisis), but you should still consider many other parts of the country a safe and unforgettable vacation destination. For example, the southern island of Kyushu harbors some great places to visit, including atmospheric Nagasaki, the volcanic hot sands of Kagoshima, and some world-class surf over in Miyazaki. There's no doubt the Japanese people will appreciate all the support and good wishes of the international community to help them get through the immediate aftermath of the disaster, but don't forget that when the crisis passes, they will also relish the chance to say "yokoso" and show you all this great country has to offer.

Read our Japan Travel Guide to plan your trip

This post is in support of Blog4NZ, an independent travel bloggers' initiative to offer continuing support to the victims of the Christchurch earthquake. To support ongoing earthquake-relief efforts in Japan, please consider making a donation to the Japan Society.

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March 18, 2011

Final Four Travel Plans

TX, Houston_TX skyline with Memorial Park in foreground_73068373 (VisionsofAmerica-Joe Sohm_Digital Vision_Getty)
Houston plays host to this year's NCAA men's basketball tournament (Joe Sohm)

Chances are, you're too busy hiding the NCAA Tournament video stream behind an Excel spreadsheet right now to read this, and I'd be lying if I said I wasn't a little sleepy from staying out to watch the UConn-Bucknell game last night at the Verizon Center in Washington, D.C. But if your team is making a run deep into the tournament, here are a few places you might hope they wind up:

5. Tuscon, Arizona
Site of the first and second rounds (or, sorry NCAA, second and third rounds thanks to the miserably confusing "First Four" play-in games), Tucson is a great destination for early spring. Dry desert air and Spanish colonial architecture make you almost forget this is one of the West's greatest college towns and home to the Arizona Wildcats, a five-seed in the West bracket.

Tuscon Travel Guide

4. Tulsa, Oklahoma
Really? This host of early-round games gets its reputation from oil-derrick roots (and indeed, you'll find the 76-foot-tall "Golden Driller" statue in the town's fairgrounds), but spring brings rose blooms and cool temperatures to Tornado Alley. And the burgeoning area along East 15th Street is awash in new restaurants and boutique shops, including the trendy Rope Tulsa.

Tulsa Travel Guide

3. Anaheim, California
Home of the West bracket finals, families will find plenty to do in Orange County, from Disneyland to Lego Land to a land filled with great beaches and nearby mountains close enough to squeeze in a hike before the games start.

Anaheim Travel Guide

2. Newark, New Jersey
Ok, laugh. Make your Jersey Shore jokes or snide comments about crime rates. They're all somewhat valid in New York's largest suburb. But what's lost is that Newark has some legitimate attractions and fine hotels, including a superb art museum and a history rooted deeply in sports. It's the perfect place to catch the East bracket semi-final game and see if your team can make the Final Four. (And an easy train ride from New York if that's more your style.)

Newark Travel Guide

1. Houston, Texas
Of course, everyone wants to be in the final. And Houston, with its fascinating shipping port, resurgent arts scene, and excellent shopping and dining, is a mighty good host for the championship games. Of course, I think I might hold out until next year, when the finals will come to New Orleans and may even overlap with Jazz Fest. I'll just have to hope my Huskies can make the trip.

Houston Travel Guide

See's Top Ten College Towns.

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March 07, 2011

Your Travel Primer for the 2012 London Olympic Games

February was a busy month for the planners of the 2012 Olympic Games in London, with the release of the final competition schedule and a flurry of press images showing construction progress on the Olympic Stadium, athletes' village, and other venues around the 500-acre Olympic Park in east London. March promises to be no less action-packed, with tickets to the 300-plus Summer Olympics' events (across 26 sports) being released worldwide on March 15 (distribution will be made via lottery). Residents of the United Kingdom and designated European countries can apply for tickets at the official London 2012 website. Residents from all other countries should apply for tickets through their local National Olympic Committee, National Paralympic Committee, or an authorized ticket reseller. U.S. and Canadian residents can apply for tickets from CoSport, the group appointed by the London Organising Committee to distribute tickets in Australia, Austria, Bulgaria, Canada, Norway, Sweden, and the United States.'s London Travel Guide

Continue reading "Your Travel Primer for the 2012 London Olympic Games" »

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