Top five cities for travel spending … and the bottom of the barrel, too

Hey, Arlington, Virginia residents, why are you spending so much on travel? Do you really want to get out that badly? According to a report by Bundle.com, the folks who live in Arlington spent twice the national average on travel last year: a whopping $3,534 per household. Nationwide, the norm came in at $1,571 for 2009. Meanwhile, Detroit residents spent a meager $1,158 per household on travel last year due largely to the dismal economic conditions there.

The top five cities for travel spending last year (i.e., people who live there paid to go elsewhere) aren’t terribly surprising, in that they tend to be affluent and close to major airports.

1. Arlington, VA – $3,534
2. San Francisco, CA – $3,460
3. Washington, DC – $3,409
4. Scottsdale, AZ – $3,372
5. New York, NY – $3,274
And if there’s a top five list, there must be one for the bottom, right? Garland, Texas residents either love the place so much they don’t like to leave or simply have little appreciation for the outside world: they spent an average of $647 per household on travel last year.

5. Greensboro, NC – $820
4. Lexington, KY – $809
3. Memphis, TN – $683
2. Chula Vista, CA – $676
1. Garland, TX – $647

[photo by Beverly & Pack via Flickr]

Five steps to a better Valentine’s Day from Fairmont

After the toll that 2009 took on your spirit and your body, it’s time for you to commit to a relaxed and steady 2010. Fairmont Hotels & Resorts in on board with this and is kicking in some amazing deals through its Willow Stream spa brand, which is available around the world. So, if you’re planning to hit Monte Carlo, Miami or the Mayan Riviera, you’ll have a top-shelf treatment ready and waiting for you. Check out the “Follow Your Heart” spa experiences on tap at 11 Fairmont hotels this Valentine’s Day.

One Heart: This is a Red Ribbon Lips facial upgrade and includes a complimentary Jane Iredale Organic Sugar Lip Scrub treatment that will soften and soothe your lips. Worried about dry, cracked lip kissing? That won’t be a problem after this treatment.

Two Heart: Willow Stream’s Sending You Kisses offer includes a Willow Stream Lip Kit and Lip Definer pencil, which will make softened lips eye-catching — translation: you’ll more likely have the chance to use them.

Three Heart: Enjoy a Heartfelt 90-minute spa experience, an hour of which is side-by-side for couples, with a 30-minute dip in the spa’s oversized whirlpool tubs … complete with champagne.

Four Heart: The Love Me package makes you the center of attention. The solo day at the spa includes a 90-minute experience before noon and a Willow Stream spa bento box lunch.

Five Heart: Willow stream will Love You Forever. On the first day of the month, guests will enjoy enjoy either a 60-minute or 90-minute spa treatment … for an entire year!

Participating resorts include: Fairmont Turnberry Isle (Miami), Fairmont Singapore, Fairmont Scottsdale, Fairmont Le Montreux Place (Switzerland), Fairmont Mayakoba (Mexico), Fairmont Acapulco Princess, Fairmont Banff Springs (Alberta), Fairmont Dubai, Fairmont Southampton (Bermuda), Fairmont Monte Carlo, Fairmont Empress (Victoria, British Columbia).

Chattanooga, Portsmouth among top art destinations in the U.S.

Who thought that Tennessee and New Hampshire would be some of the top towns in the country for art lovers. AmericanStyle magazine just issued the results of its twelfth annual arts destinations poll. Some spots are predictable. Others, like Chattanooga, will just blow your mind.

This is the first year Chattanooga made the list, shooting all the way up to second in the mid-sized city category. If you’ve been there, some of the surprise wears off. I hit Chattanooga back in 1999, and it was turning into a pretty cool small city. The past decade, obviously, has treated the city well. More shocking is the top mid-sized city: Buffalo, NY.

At the top of the small city list, Santa Fe is an utterly predictable #1 – like New York in the big city category. Portsmouth, NH, toward the bottom of the small city list, is a sentimental favorite. I had my first real job in Portsmouth and drank away many a Friday and Saturday (and Monday and Tuesday and Wednesday) night on its sidewalks.

See the full lists after the jump.Big Cities (population of 500,000 or more)

  1. New York, NY
  2. Chicago, IL
  3. Washington, DC
  4. San Francisco, CA
  5. Albuquerque, NM
  6. Boston, MA
  7. Seattle, WA
  8. Atlanta, GA
  9. Philadelphia, PA
  10. Los Angeles, CA
  11. Portland, OR
  12. Baltimore, MD
  13. Denver, CO
  14. Phoenix, AZ
  15. Austin, TX
  16. Charlotte, NC
  17. Columbus, OH
  18. Nashville, TN
  19. San Diego, CA
  20. Tucson, AZ
  21. San Antonio, TX
  22. Las Vegas, NV
  23. Milwaukee, WI
  24. Dallas, TX
  25. Houston, TX

Mid-Sized Cities (population of 100,000 to 499,000)

  1. Buffalo, NY
  2. Chattanooga, TN
  3. Pittsburgh, PA
  4. Scottsdale, AZ
  5. New Orleans, LA
  6. Charleston, SC
  7. Savannah, GA
  8. Cleveland, OH
  9. Ann Arbor, MI
  10. Minneapolis, MN
  11. Alexandria, VA
  12. Miami, FL
  13. Tacoma, WA
  14. St. Louis, MO
  15. Athens, GA
  16. Kansas City, MO
  17. Colorado Springs, MO
  18. Providence, RI
  19. Salt Lake City, UT
  20. Honolulu, HI
  21. Rochester, NY
  22. St. Petersburg, FL
  23. Cincinnati, OH
  24. Raleigh, NC
  25. Tampa, FL

Small Cities (population of below 100,000)

  1. Santa Fe, NM
  2. Asheville, NC
  3. Sedona, AZ
  4. Taos, NM
  5. Saugatuck, MI
  6. Key West, FL
  7. Berkeley Springs, WV
  8. Boulder, CO
  9. Carmel, CA
  10. Corning, NY
  11. Sarasota, FL
  12. Beaufort, SC
  13. Chapel Hill, NC
  14. Burlington, VT
  15. Annapolis, MD
  16. Aspen, CO
  17. Laguna Beach, CA
  18. Northampton, MA
  19. Eureka Springs, AR
  20. Brattleboro, VT
  21. New Hope, PA
  22. Naples, FL
  23. Cumberland, MD
  24. Berea, KY
  25. Portsmouth, NH

The World’s Sexiest Cities (That Are Still Secret … Shhh)

HKII’m going to try to sneak this post in right here, real nonchalant-like. Why? Because the details are still secret.

MSN recently put together a list of the sexiest “secret” cities around. Apparently, they compiled the list so that you could “get a head start on your fellow travellers.” Cool, huh? And thoughtful? By the way, by “sexy” they mean bursting with culture — not filled with strip clubs. Anyway, the cities are:

Yeah, I know: Scottsdale. Whatever. The other seven sound pretty sexy, though.

Feel free to share this tip with your friends — but only the sexy ones. We’re trying to keep this a secret for as long as we can. We don’t want these sexy treasures filling up with the non-sexy. Eww.

Other sexiness:

Relax With a Hot Golf Ball Massage

There’s all sorts of weird ways you can get your muscles rubbed. We’ve previously mentioned the Israeli snake massage for the adventurous among you, and now comes the “Golf Specialty Massage.” It sounds like something that’s supposed to improve your swing, but no — the golf balls are actually used to perform the massage.

No lies. If you visit the Four Seasons Resort at Troon North in Scottsdale, you can have a “therapist” warm up some golf balls, and roll them along the large muscles of your spine and neck. That actually sounds nice, though I’m sure there’s a more efficient massage tool than golf balls, right?

Regardless, it’s not cheap. Expect to pay $150 for 50 minutes, and $205 for 80 minutes.

They provide the balls. No word on whether or not you can keep them afterward.