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Budget Saving Tips

FOR FOODIES: Top Tips for Budget Bites in Britain

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FOR FOODIES: Top Tips for Budget Bites in Britain

Here’s the truth: The food is GREAT in Britain. Long gone are the days of bland cuisine and mushy peas.

On my last visit I enjoyed fresh, organic produce at local farmers’ markets, dined in cosy gastropubs and globally recognized restaurants and discovered a vibrant scene of fantastic street food. But with recent dollar-to-pound exchange rates it’s not a cheap place to eat.

The British summer brims and bursts with food festivals and markets that will whet any appetite.Are you or a friend headed to the British Isles for vacation? Discover how to eat well while stretching your dollars with these top tips for finding budget bites in Britain. 

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Ellen Barone has been creating words and images for travel and tourism since 1998. She co-founded and publishes the group travel blog YourLifeIsATrip.com and is currently at work on her first book "I Could Live Here".

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New Flash Sale Site Features Last Minute Travel Deals to Thailand

TOURISM AUTHORITY OF THAILAND ANNOUNCES THE LAUNCH OF WWW.THAILANDFASTDEALS.COM

New Flash Deals Site to Feature Exclusive Last-minute Deals to the Land of Smiles

The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) has announced the launch of ThailandFastDeals.com, a new dedicated flash deals site showcasing last-minute offerings from the destination. Created to allow tour operators, hoteliers and wholesalers to promote their unique Thailand offers, the site will give consumers access to travel packages and activities at a discount in Bangkok, Phuket, Chiang Mai and beyond.

Thailand Fast Deals include special hotel, flight, tour packages and other perks made available to the TAT by trusted industry partners. Curated directly by TAT to ensure quality and value, offers are priced specially for the site and are available for a limited time only.

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Ellen Barone has been creating words and images for travel and tourism since 1998. She co-founded and publishes the group travel blog YourLifeIsATrip.com and is currently at work on her first book "I Could Live Here".

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To B or not to B? Advice for B&B first-timers

by Marti Mayne with travel expert Eileen Ogintz 

Where should we go? 

With so many options the decision can send enlightened travelers either into a quandary or an adventure. From resorts and hotels to campgrounds and hostels, travelers have a myriad of accommodations options. Value is the buzz word in travel today, and when it comes to finding plenty of value, a B&B or country inn makes a lot of sense for some, but not all travelers. 

The Avon Chambers at Manor on Golden Pond. Photo provided by Manor on Golden Pond, Holderness, NHWhen to B&B? 

“If you thought B&Bs weren’t for you, think again,” says syndicated travel columnist Eileen Ogintz.  

Of course you’ll find everything you need to celebrate romance at inns and B&Bs from king and queen beds with luxurious linens to deep double whirlpool tubs, double showers and ensuite fireplaces.  

But they can also be a terrific place to visit with kids. Some inn owners welcome children with special dress up corners, children’s books and more. And they are a lot more homey than staying in a big hotel.  

You’ll get a lot of bang for your vacation dollar too since  homemade multi-course breakfasts, afternoon refreshments and evening innkeepers’ receptions at many inns are part of the deal. The extras  can add up to more than $100 in value over the course of your stay. Add in fee-free wi-fi, parking, bottled water, DVDs and movies, and much more, and savings add up. “You won’t find those annoying resort fees,” said Ogintz.

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Ellen Barone has been creating words and images for travel and tourism since 1998. She co-founded and publishes the group travel blog YourLifeIsATrip.com and is currently at work on her first book "I Could Live Here".

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Twelve Tips for Planning National Park Vacations

Winter is a great time to plan national park trips because there is still a broad range of room options available in popular parks such as Yellowstone and Grand Canyon. Although some of the iconic lodges are filling up during peak times, there is plenty of availability.

National park concessioner Xanterra Parks & Resorts offers tips for successfully planning a park visit and securing accommodations.

 

1.    Be informed.  Visit Xanterra’s web site at www.xanterra.com for general information on the parks operated by Xanterra as well as lodging descriptions, rates and availability. Another good source of information on national parks is the National Park Service website at www.nps.gov

2.    Be web-savvy. Rooms can be booked online at: 

 

 

Booking online is usually the quickest way to secure a reservation. Travelers can check room availability too via Xanterra’s online reservations calendar.

3.    Confirm that you have the full online picture. Some lodges will list various room types as part of drop down menus. If you do not click on the down arrow only one room type will be visible. And guess which room type is the first to show up as sold out?

4.    Be flexible with your choice of lodge. Some of the larger parks such as Grand Canyon and Yellowstone feature multiple lodges in spectacular settings. While Yellowstone’s Old Faithful Inn and Grand Canyon’s El Tovar are best-known and tend to fill up first, other lodges offer history, comfortable accommodations and their own appeal.

5.    Avoid the crowds. Regardless of which park you are visiting, consider traveling during the first two weeks of June, the last 10 days of August or the first two weeks of September.

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Ellen Barone has been creating words and images for travel and tourism since 1998. She co-founded and publishes the group travel blog YourLifeIsATrip.com and is currently at work on her first book "I Could Live Here".

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National Park Fee Free Days for 2011

Good news for budget travelers, the National Park Service announced today that it will waive admission fees on 17 selected dates throughout 2011, encouraging all Americans to make a New Year’s resolution to visit a national park this year.

“Many people have made resolutions to spend more quality time with loved ones and to get outdoors and unplug in 2011,” said Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar. “There’s no better place than a national park to help keep those resolutions. Parks offer superb recreational opportunities, making them perfect places to enjoy our beautiful land, history and culture, and nurture a healthy lifestyle.”

Salazar noted that with 394 national parks throughout the country, most Americans live within a few hours of a park, making them places for easy and affordable vacations any time of the year.

“In these tough economic times, our fee-free days will give families many opportunities to enjoy our nation’s heritage and natural beauty in meaningful and affordable ways,” he said.

The 2011 fee-free dates will be the weekend of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day (January 15-17), National Park Week (April 16-24), the first day of summer (June 21), National Public Lands Day (September 24), and the weekend of Veterans Day (November 11-13).

The first fee free days are centered on the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday (January 15 - 17, 2011).

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Ellen Barone has been creating words and images for travel and tourism since 1998. She co-founded and publishes the group travel blog YourLifeIsATrip.com and is currently at work on her first book "I Could Live Here".

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America's Top 10 Ski Rental Home Destinations From TripAdvisor.com

Rental homes can be a great accommodation choice for groups of travelers looking to spend a week or more in their destination. According to the TripAdvisor Vacation Rentals Calculator, groups of four or more can potentially save thousands of dollars by staying in a vacation rental as opposed to a hotel in these top ski destinations. In addition, rentals offer many of the comforts of home to travelers, including full kitchens, large living rooms, multiple bedrooms and even fireplaces for those chilly winter nights.

 

Top 10 Ski Rental Home Destinations:

 

Located in the Eastern Sierra region of California, Mammoth Lakes has long been one of the West Coast’s premiere destinations for winter sports. Whether travelers enjoy skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, sledding or simply sipping hot cocoa from the lodge, the town’s Mammoth Mountain has them covered. In addition, there is a wealth of vacation rental options for travelers looking for the perfect base camp for their winter trip.
Straddling the California and Nevada state line, Lake Tahoe is a scenic destination year round, but it really shines in the winter with its numerous downhill and cross country ski areas, as well as unique activities like dog sledding and sleigh rides. For travelers looking to warm up after a day on the trails, the area also boasts six casinos where they can try their luck.
While travelers flock to this Victorian-style town each winter for its many nearby ski resorts, Breckenridge also offers visitors a wealth of dining, shopping and spa options. Breckenridge Ski Resort itself provides more than 2,300 acres of terrain, giving skiers and snowboarders plenty of room to explore and enjoy. With many vacation rentals in the area offering ski-in/ski-out access, it’s easy to get out and hit the slopes early.
Surrounded by the San Bernardino National Forest in a region just northeast of Los Angeles, Big Bear Lake is a resort community that is perfect for a winter vacation rental stay. Visitors have access to a wealth of winter fun options including skiing, snowboarding, horseback riding, downhill inner tubing and snowshoeing, ensuring that there won’t be a dull moment whether they’re out on the slopes or enjoying time together at their cabin.
Home of the 2002 Winter Olympics, Park City has cemented its place among the top winter vacation spots across the country with its premier ski resorts and its many winter activities, ranging from snow tubing to heli-skiing. Add in plentiful vacation rental options and travelers have a fantastic destination for enjoying the snow without breaking the bank.

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Ellen Barone has been creating words and images for travel and tourism since 1998. She co-founded and publishes the group travel blog YourLifeIsATrip.com and is currently at work on her first book "I Could Live Here".