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January 15, 2013

2013 President Barack Obama Inauguration: Events in Washington, D.C.

By Lacy Morris

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Capitol building, Washington D.C.(iStockphoto,Thinkstock)
Capitol Building, Washington D.C.(iStockphoto)

As America gears up to inaugurate President Obama into a second term as President of the United States, Washington, D.C., gears up to accommodate the thousands who will flock to our nation's capital to welcome the president and his family to another four years in the White House. Plans have been made to ensure that this year's inauguration, dubbed "Faith in America's Future," is a safe one. Here are some helpful hints and a preview of some of the activities scheduled around the city to help you execute your inaugural weekend without a hitch.'s Washington, D.C. Travel Guide

Saturday, January 19
National Day of Service
To commemorate those who have served, a public event will be held on the National Mall from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Many special guests will be speaking, including Honorary Chair Chelsea Clinton, Iraq war veteran and Delaware Attorney General Beau Biden, PIC Co-Chair Eva Longoria, and the Washington Children's Choir. The weatherman is calling for no rain and sunny skies, but with temps in the lower 50s, a coat will still be needed for this outdoor event.

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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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January 08, 2013

Hotel Spotlight: Hotel Teatro

By awayblog

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Teatro, deluxe room
Deluxe room, Hotel Teatro

Located exactly where you want to be in Denver, Colorado, Hotel Teatro occupies the cornerstone of the city's theater district. This downtown enclave sits in a restored century-old building originally built in the early 1900s as the Denver Tramway Building, and is now restored with careful efforts taken to preserve original touches like marble flooring and wainscoting. Its central location allows for an easy walk to the best of Denver's cultural offerings—the Denver Performing Arts Center and Colorado Convention Center provide a meeting place for musicals, ballets, and symphony performances; Coors Field and the Pepsi Center house some of the city's best athletic events; and the 16th Street Mall boasts local boutiques and street performers showcasing their best acts. The only problem with Hotel Teatro is getting yourself out of the hotel itself.

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December 07, 2012

Make It a Bowl Game Vacation

Aerial view of Downtown Miami, Florida (Ingram Publishing) 122564103
Aerial view of Downtown Miami, Florida (Ingram Publishing)

Whether you're a fanatic who shaves your college team's logo into your back hair or just someone who likes a little football incorporated into your vacation, here's a look into the top bowl games this season and some other things to do while you visit the host cities.

Rose Bowl Game presented by VIZIO
January 1, Pasadena, California, 5:00 p.m. EST
Wisconsin vs Stanford
2012 Winner: Oregon Ducks
The Rose Bowl has been a New Year's Day tradition since the early 1900s, which is why it's nicknamed "The Granddaddy of them All." Many Heisman trophy winners and national champions have showcased their talent at these games. This year, fans should expect an exciting game as the Big 10 Wisconsin Badgers take on the Pac-12 Stanford Cardinals in Pasadena, California, for the 99th playing of the Rose Bowl. Be sure to arrive in Pasadena a few days early, as there are many other events such as Bandfest on December 29 and 30, which features performances from all the bands in the 2013 Rose Parade; the Equesfest on December 29, which showcases many of the equestrians seen in the parade New Year's Day; and, of course, The Rose Parade held before the game-day kickoff. Also, while in the City of Roses, take note of the historic buildings filled with local shops and eateries along Colorado Boulevard and the prominent architecture throughout the area. And if you like culture, check out the Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens... but most of all, if you do just one thing, stop and smell the roses.

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Related Topics: Holidays, Events, & Festivals · US Travel

December 06, 2012

Plan a Warm-Weather Holiday Getaway to Arizona

By Guest Blogger

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Phoenix, Arizona at dusk (iStockphoto) 118267678
Phoenix, Arizona at dusk (iStockphoto)

December is here, and like many people I'm already dreaming of warm weather. Luckily for me, my family lives in Phoenix, Arizona, so I get to escape the cold for a week and visit a warm weather destination during my holiday vacation. With average winter temperatures in the 60s, the Phoenix metro area has so much to offer. I'm already planning my week of activities, so I thought I would share some of my favorite things to do while in Arizona.'s Phoenix Travel Guide

Shop 'til You Drop
If you enjoy shopping, Phoenix and Scottsdale are some of the best vacation spots in Arizona. Be prepared to drop some coin because Scottsdale and Phoenix are home to a number of great indoor and outdoor shopping promenades. In Phoenix, your best bet is Biltmore Fashion Park, a luxury outdoor retail and dining plaza located in the upscale Biltmore area of Phoenix. In Scottsdale you have a number of options. Kierland Commons is an upscale sidewalk shopping center located on the border of North Scottsdale that offers fabulous restaurants and a bustling bar scene. If you head south to downtown Scottsdale you'll find one of the Southwest's premier shopping destinations, Scottsdale Fashion Square, which houses many luxury retailers. If high-end designers aren't your thing, there is a little something for everyone along the 5th Avenue shopping district. You'll find a mix of trendy boutiques, art galleries, jewelry stores, and Native American gifts. With all the options, you might need to bring an extra suitcase to bring home all of your loot from your Arizona vacation.

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Related Topics: Holidays, Events, & Festivals · Trip Ideas · US Travel

December 03, 2012

Hotel Spotlight: Craddock Terry Hotel

By awayblog

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View of the Deluxe King Suite (Craddock Terry)

Housed in a former shoe factory—which you'll see nods to almost everywhere—Lynchburg, Virginia's Craddock Terry hotel is as good of a homecoming you can get without having ever gone home. Each guest is greeted at the door by Buster Brown, the hotel's resident wirehaired fox terrier—he's also available for guests to take on walks/runs on trails through the surrounding historic district. Mixing turn-of-the-century architecture with stylish, and a bit eclectic, décor, Craddock Terry is a tranquil escape at the front door of the Blue Ridge Parkway and some of the most idyllic countryside a city-weary heart can think up.

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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.

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September 19, 2012

Hot Spots and Highlights of Portland, Oregon

Portland, Oregon-145902329(iStockphoto,Thinkstock)blog
Portland, Oregon skyline (iStockphoto/Thinkstock)

Portland, Oregon, might be nicknamed the City of Roses, but after vacationing there I think it could also be called the City of Beer, the City of Coffee, or an all-encompassing City of Food. Having lunch on my first day in PDX with a local Portlander, she told me that I better enjoy eating and drinking because that is what Portland does well. Thankfully, those two activities are high on my list of 'Things I Like To Do While On Vacation,' so I knew I was going to be just fine. Though I certainly did enjoy the local fare, I also found there was a ton to see in this easy-going town, and a good excuse to work off your dinner.

The city is very walkable, but if you want to conserve energy, it has a MAX light rail system that runs anywhere you'd like to go, and usually for free. And even though you might see people walking around in their pajamas, the city itself is very clean. Upon my arrival, one of the first things I saw was a city worker Windexing the trash cans and recycle bins... sparkling trash cans... yes, Portland has them.

So with map of downtown in hand, hit some of these hot spots and highlights of Portland, and, of course, stop and smell the roses.

Visit Powell's Bookstore
1005 W Burnside Street
Powell's is the largest independently owned bookstore in the world; it takes up an entire city block (68,000 square feet to be exact). The store has been around for more than 40 years, and, on average, 6,000 people walk through its doors each day to get a cup of coffee and browse the selection of nearly one million books that line the shelves.

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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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July 11, 2012

Hot Spots and Highlights of Charleston, South Carolina

Historic Main Street at night, Charleston, South Carolina-80466001(Design Pics,Thinkstock)
Historic Main Street at night, Charleston, South Carolina (Design Pics/Thinkstock)

Every year, nearly four million tourists flock to Charleston, South Carolina, originally called Charles Town when it was settled in the 1600s. Charleston's entire downtown is considered a National Historic Landmark, and it's here where the visitors can take in a bit of history, as well as a plethora of dining, shopping, and cultural options. And that's not to say anything of the nearby beaches. If you're planning a trip to this charming southern gem, there are certain things to do/see/eat that are very Charleston and worthy of any traveler's "must" list. In no particular order, here are some of the highlights...

Take a carriage ride through historic downtown
Five carriage companies operate in the district, and many can be found lining North Market Street near their stables on Anson Street. In an effort to cut down on too much carriage traffic, the city instituted a lottery system to determine which neighborhoods and historic buildings a particular carriage ride will cover. So you may need to take a few rides to see everything on your list. Reservations are usually not needed.

Have a drink and appetizer at The Gin Joint on East Bay Street
You'll find a pre-Prohibition menu, so vodka is not behind the small bar, but locals say you won't even miss it. I recommend trying the Gin and Basil Smash drink with an order (or two!) of the homemade soft pretzels with sriracha cheese. Both of these items are delicious and addictive, so be careful!

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