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.
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.
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.
When 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.
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.
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:
- and www.furnacecreekresort.com.
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.
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).