Beyond the Boutiques, Volunteer Opportunities Offer New Meaning to the Gift of Giving
Shop ... Give ... Get! As the holiday whirlwind heats up, savvy shoppers can jump-start the season with the ultimate treat: a shopping vacation. For conscientious consumers, CheapTickets.com, a leading online travel agency that knows "the less you pay, the better it feels(SM)," introduces its Holiday Shopping Cheapometer(SM), identifying top-shop cities where travelers can blow their budget on the presents, not the hotel room. And in the spirit of giving, CheapTickets invites shoppers to "give a little, get a lot," incorporating a volunteer activity into their travel experience for a true gift this holiday season.
Whether exploring the shopping splendor of New York City's Fifth Avenue, or enjoying the intimacy of Minneapolis' charming Linden Hills, travelers can marry their zeal for finding that perfect gift with their desire to lend a helping hand. Volunteer opportunities to please travelers of all persuasions are available at volunteer.cheaptickets.com.
"Incorporating a few hours or even a few minutes of a shopping vacation to help the local community can truly make a world of difference," said Marita Hudson Thomas of CheapTickets' Cheap Squad(SM). "For example, travelers can add extra goodies to their shopping carts to donate to national and local toy drives. Or, they can stop by a nearby community center to offer their time and assistance. The bottom line is that no act is too small, and we hope that travelers will remember to give while they get this holiday shopping season."
CheapTickets Holiday Shopping Cheapometer:
This regular travel pricing guide analyzes where budget-minded travelers can still experience a rich vacation. The 2007 Holiday Shopping Cheapometer reviewed average holiday hotel costs in 10 top shopping cities, identifying which destinations offer the most value through the remainder of the year.
CHEAPTICKETS.COM'S HOLIDAY SHOPPING CHEAPOMETER(1)
Destination Average Daily Hotel Rate for the Holidays
Minneapolis, MN $ 83.03
Atlanta, GA $ 86.57
Orlando, FL $ 89.02
Seattle, WA $ 97.13
Los Angeles, CA $ 107.42
Las Vegas, NV $ 114.59
Washington DC $ 122.05
Boston, MA $ 126.11
Chicago, IL $ 141.93
New York City $ 252.48
(1) Average daily hotel rate was calculated on 11-8-07 by taking the average price for all hotel bookings made from January - October 2007 for arrival in November and December 2007.
The Gift of Giving: Give a Little, Get a Lot
This holiday season, travelers on a shopping mission can balance their time in the boutiques with some time spent benefiting others. A variety of volunteer opportunities for every type of traveler are available through The United Way of America at volunteer.cheaptickets.com. Holiday shopping and volunteering favorites from the CheapTickets team include:
Minneapolis, MN -- With hotels rooms starting at $83, Minneapolis is a cool destination worth considering this holiday season. For travelers daunted by the Mall of America, smaller outlying neighborhoods offer an equally impressive shopping experience, showcasing quaint boutiques as an alternative to mass-market madness. For example, Linden Hills, Minneapolis is a sanctuary for the "in the know" traveler, featuring a hometown toy and book store that is well worth the visit. Back in the city-center, travelers can tutor local residents in basic writing and reading through the Minnesota Literacy Counsel -- a gift that keeps giving long after the vacation has ended.
Orlando, FL -- Losing zeal for the mouse ears? Escape to the Mall at Millenia in Orlando, which offers an exhilarating shopping experience to rival the rollercoaster whirlwind of neighboring theme parks. Vacationers can browse some of the world's most coveted brands, finding great deals on top names. Better yet, the good-hearted shopper can make another family's holiday bright, picking up a few extra items to share with Orlando's Mending Hearts Charities. Mending Hearts represents local families in need of clothing among other essentials, and volunteering a bit of time will warm travelers' hearts and Orlando's less fortunate.
Seattle, WA -- Pioneer Square is the place to go when looking for a walk through history, and this Seattle hot spot offers the perfect selection of shops for holiday gifts. Shopped 'till you dropped? The original Starbucks is nearby, leaving travelers one "grande-non-fat-sugar-free-mocha latte" away from a second wind to tackle the famed antique furniture and book stores in the area. After finding a favorite read, travelers can volunteer at the Page Ahead Children's Literacy Program, whether choosing to read to children at the center or filing books for those to come.
Los Angeles, CA -- From Rodeo Drive to a toy drive, travelers can experience it all in Southern California. After hitting up the L.A. shops, follow the coast down to San Diego for a daytrip to volunteer for the Child Abuse Prevention Foundation's 2007 Holiday Toy Drive. Those not LA-bound this season can still make a difference for the victims of the recent Southern California fires, which left many without a home for the holidays. CheapTickets has launched a special Southern California Recovery page, offering travelers a range of reliable online resources to learn more about the needs of the community and to make a donation.
New York City -- Traveling to New York City this holiday season doesn't have to break the bank. Throughout the city, travelers can find designer shops and vintage boutiques alongside budget-friendly stores -- a melange of choices for the holiday shopper. For example, not far from the hustle and bustle of Fifth Avenue's big-city designers are diverse neighborhood pockets, including the Lower East Side, Soho and West Village. Beyond the boutiques, travelers can join the 2007 Holiday Stocking Project headquarters in New York to spread a little holiday cheer, helping to stuff stockings for children diagnosed with HIV/AIDS.
CheapTickets (http://www.cheaptickets.com/) is a leading seller of discounted leisure travel products online through its Web site, http://www.cheaptickets.com/. CheapTickets provides consumers access to its collection of airfares on hundreds of airlines. In addition to air, CheapTickets' family of discounted travel products also includes hotel accommodations, cruises, rental cars, vacation packages, condo rentals and Last Minute Trips. Founded in 1986, CheapTickets is a brand that is owned and operated by Orbitz Worldwide (NYSE:OWW) .