Fly Here, Stay There: Best Places To Score Air & Hotel Deals This Month

If the start of the holiday season has you itching to get out of town, you’re in luck. Hotwire has tracked this month’s best deals, based on month-over-month and year-over-year cost analysis and found that many warm weather destinations are offering better than average deals. So where should you go?

Stay Here
Las Vegas tops the list for the fourth month in a row with a 10 percent drop and hotel prices for four-star accommodations from $85 and up. Convention business continues to be slow, but that’s good news for leisure travelers looking to hit the pools, shows and casinos at a fraction of what it typically costs. You’re in luck weather-wise too, with temperatures hovering in the upper 60s and low 70s in early December.

Knoxville and Milwaukee join the list as newcomers with eight and seven percent drops, respectively. In Milwaukee, hoteliers are concerned that this winter’s weather won’t be as mild as it was last year and are lowering rates to adjust. Hotels are reasonable too, at $82 and $86, respectively.

Palm Springs and Charleston – named the top destination in the world in the 2012 Condé Nast Traveler Readers Choice Awards – round out the list with six percent drops. Convention business is down in this Southern California resort town, leaving Palm Springs with rooms to spare, while hoteliers in Charleston are discounting to keep the momentum going from a busy October and early November.Fly There
Colorado Springs is a best bet for cheap airfare this month with an 18 percent drop and average fare of $258. Hawaii, however, continues to be a booming spot for great deals, where you’ll find great deal to a number of cities and islands, including Honolulu (16 percent drop), Lihue, (12 percent drop) and Kahului (11 percent drop) for an average fare of $452.

If you want to leave the country, you’ll also find great deals to Toronto, with an average fare of $358.

Drive Anywhere
Driving is particularly cheap in Cincinnati, Jersey City, Seattle, Detroit, and Miami Beach, where average per-day car rental prices all hover below $40, with many prices in under $30.

So we’d suggest booking a trip today. After all, you don’t want to be one of those travelers who leaves vacation days on the table … the average traveler leaves nine unused days each year, the site found.

[Image Credit: Buck Forrester]

Get Lonely Planet’s 2012 travel guide free this week at Starbucks

Planning a trip for 2012? We’d suggest you do it over a Starbucks coffee this week. The chain’s weekly iTunes’ “Pick of the Week” cards are featuring a redemption code to download Lonely Planet‘s Best in Travel 2012 from the iBookstore for free.

Featuring Lonely Planet’s top places to visit and experiences for 2012, this full-color eBook can only help guide your travel planning for the upcoming year.

Bud vs. Bud: Travel and the Great Beer War of the Last Century

There’s not enough beer in Bohemia to ever help you pronounce Ceske Budejovice, a Czech town located in southern Bohemia, about 100 miles from Prague. But there is at least one reason why you should go there.

Why? Let’s go back to the early 1870s, when soon-to-be major beer magnate Adolphus Busch and his friend/business partner Carl Conrad decided to do a European beer crawl, hitting the great centers of all things beer in Central Europe. Bohemians have long been known for their prowess in brewing (just go to the town of Pilsen, or Plzen in Czech, if you’re in doubt). Busch and Conrad made a special point to go to Ceske Budejovice because the town had a reputation for producing exceptionally good beer and the hops that grew in the fields around the it were (and still are) world renowned. Busch and Conrad sampled the local brew and were duly impressed.

So impressed, in fact, that Conrad bought the trademark for the name of one of the town’s famed beers, which was named after the town. Not Ceske Budejovice, but its German name. Before World War II many towns in Bohemia boasted a sizeable German population and thus, each town had a Czech and German name. Ceske Budejovice’s German name was–wait for it–Budweis.
By now, you can probably see where this is going. But with that trademark for the name of the town’s beer not only was an American beer named Budweiser born, but a century-long legal battle as well. The Czechs argued that they’d been brewing a beer called Budweiser (and, in Czech, Budvar) for centuries. Even though the actual Czech Budweiser/Budvar was founded after the trademark, they argued they had a geographical right to the name. Anheuser-Busch, though, would simply wave the trademark document at the Czechs and say–and I’m summarizing–sorry suckers!

After the Velvet Revolution in 1989, Czech breweries were slowly privatized and then bought up by one of the three major multinational brewing corporations. Pilsner Urquell, Radegast, Velkopopovicky Kozel and Gambrinus were sold to SABMiller; Starobrno and Krusovice to Heineken; and the Prague-based Staropramen to InBev (which now owns Anheuser-Busch, by the way), and so on. But the Czech government never privatized Budweiser/Budvar, fearing Anheuser Busch would buy the brewery and dismantle it, paving the way for complete European domination.

But all that came to an end in 2007 when the two companies formed a loose partnership. In an unpredictable turn of events Anheuser-Busch now distributes the Czech Budwieser in the United States. You’ll never find it under that name, though. An earlier ruling stated that Czech Budweiser could never be sold in the United States because of the possible trademark infringement. So the Czechs did something quite brilliant. For the beer sold in the United States, they changed the name from Budvar to Czechvar (not a brilliant name, if you ask me, though).

So while beer drinkers of America can finally sit back and actually drink the original Budweiser, I say make a pilgrimage to the town formerly known as Budweis. Brewery tours, in my opinion, are dull, but nothing beats sitting in a big beer hall like Masne Kramy, located in a former meat shop hall from the 16th century in the center of Ceske Budejovice, a huge chunk of pork in front of you and a mug of golden, fresh-from-the-brewery Budweiser–Czech Budweiser, that is.

Oh, and if anyone asks, it’s pronounced Ches-kay Boo-day-yo-vit-say.

Daily gear deal: Amazon Kindle Wi-Fi + 3G + free $25 gift card

Looking for a gift for Mothers Day, or just something to pamper yourself with? Amazon is selling the newest version of their popular eBook reader for $189.99, and throws in a free $25 Amazon gift card.

This Kindle is equipped with worldwide 3G support as well as Wi-Fi, so you’ll be able to update your book collection anywhere in the world.

To get the free gift card, you will have to add both the Kindle and the $25 card to your cart – there is no way to do this after you hit “buy”. Before you click “add to cart”, you’ll see the free $25 card listed under the “add accessories” header.

Once both items are in your cart, you’ll get two separate shipments – one with the Kindle and one with your gift card.

The product purchase page is here, which is also where you can learn more about the Kindle and its available books.

Amazon Kindle book deal: “Let’s Go Europe 2011” for $0

If you have an Amazon Kindle, or access to a device with the Kindle reader app, then you’ll want to head on over to Amazon to purchase this free student travel guide for Europe. The book usually retails for $22, but is currently down to $0.00.

From the book description:

From Portugal to the Ukraine, from Norway down to Greece, Europe is a lot to take on. Luckily, the student adventurers behind Let’s Go Europe 2011 know that any traveler can handle it – with a little help.

Whether whipping through London, Barcelona, and Prague in five days or spending a leisurely year abroad, travelers get all the info they need from Let’s Go. Their wit and irreverence can brighten even the drabbest Renaissance museum – if travelers didn’t take their advice to skip it. From German beer halls to Roman ruins, Let’s Go Europe 2011 is the ticket to adventure.

You’ll find the product page here, along with purchase links. And remember, you do not need a physical Amazon Kindle to read Kindle books – readers are available for almost any desktop and mobile platform.