Discounted Holiday Events Make For Rich Seasonal Travel

holiday events

As we make plans for travel through the first of the year, holiday events are often included. At home or on the road – traditional, old fashioned or new – different holiday events are in place for us to enjoy. Some are free to see, others have a ticket or admission price, but all aim to be a part of our holiday travel plans. Here are a few of the more noteworthy holiday events to consider.

Radio City Christmas Spectacular“- New York City
Norwegian Cruise Line has been designated the official cruise line of the Rockettes and is offering a 25% savings on tickets to the “Radio City Christmas Spectacular” through December 30, 2012 (use promotional code “Cruise”).

Norwegian also launched a sweepstakes that gives “Radio City Christmas Spectacular” attendees a chance to win a cruise for a family of four on Norwegian Breakaway, which will be the largest ship to homeport year-round from New York City beginning in May.

Holiday Ballet “The Nutcracker” from Georgia Metropolitan Dance Theatre
– Atlanta
To many of us, nothing says “holidays” like a good performance of “The Nutcracker” and Atlanta’s Georgia Metro Dance Theater has one of the best.

In its 11th year of creating holiday magic, they invite you to come and watch the timeless tale unfold as a young girl’s gift of a nutcracker comes to life and a handsome prince whisks her away through the land of snow.

The Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing LightsOrlando
Walt Disney World in Orlando has a seasonal display featuring millions of glittering lights
at Disney’s Hollywood Studios theme park. Synchronized to holiday music, buildings are blanketed in sheets of multi-colored lights with thousands more forming twirling carousels and heavenly angels in a show that cycles every ten minutes.

Included with standard admission to Disney’s Hollywood Studios theme park, Santa and his reindeer will be on hand through January 6, 2013.


CHILL: A Dazzling Ice Kingdom in a Giant Igloo at the Queen Mary
– Long Beach
Retired ocean liner the Queen Mary has been transformed into an amazing winter wonderland for the whole family called CHILL through January 6, 2013. A giant igloo, home to The Ice Kingdom, features a one-of-a-kind exhibit with larger-than-life ice creations.

Ice Tubing, an Ice Skating rink, a Holiday Village, complete with Christmas trees, “Candy Lane,” gingerbread decorating, carolers and Santa Claus will be on hand too as we see in this video:



Looking for discount tickets to these and other holiday attractions? Suddenly Frugal, an online source has all of these and more listed as well as a list of the 11 Best Freebies When You Travel.

[Photo credit- Flickr user ZakVTA ]

Atlanta Airport To Become A Global Portal

atlanta airportWhen the Atlanta airport’s new Concourse F international terminal opens on May 16, it will add 12 international gates and create a new entry-exit point for travelers on the opposite end of the airport from the main terminal. The new facility will address a number of current issues but the $1.5 billion addition is more geared toward future travel needs.

As the Atlanta Journal-Constitution (AJC) reports, the project is tasked with anticipating a new travel industry. “You can’t build something today that meets your needs for today,” said airport general manager Louis Miller. “We’re building for the future.”

When the project began in the late 1990s, initial cost estimates of a few hundred million dollars had the new Maynard H. Jackson Jr. International Terminal opening in 2006. Now six years late, the facility will eliminate the current baggage claim setup for Atlanta-bound international travelers, who must recheck their baggage before a train ride to the distant main terminal after clearing customs.

That’s a good, immediate improvement for international travelers but the additional gates will not only provide more capacity for international flights but also open space for domestic flights.

“At peak hours, we have a need for additional facilities,” Miller said. “But we’re really looking toward the future.”

Delta, the airport’s biggest airline, thinks the new concourse will operate near capacity several times a day. Spokesman Trebor Banstetter told AJC that operating flights out of the new concourse would give its top customers access to the “world-class facility” and its new Sky Club lounge.

“We want our best customers to be in this facility,” Banstetter said.

Colorado-based aviation consultant Mike Boyd believes future growth in Atlanta’s operations will continue, propelling the facility into much more than it is today.

“The reality is, if we don’t build these things, you’re going to find yourself way behind the curve,” Boyd said. “Atlanta is still going to grow … Delta is going to turn Atlanta into what we call a global portal, where there will be enormous amounts of traffic flows going all over Latin America and all over Asia.”

World's Busiest Airport Getting Busier

[Flickr photo via redlegsfan21]

Find hotel deals with new booking site Guestmob

hotel deals guestmob collectionsThe Internet has brought us many ways to research and book hotels at prices much lower than the hotels’ published rate. Aggregate sites like Kayak and Orbitz give you the best available rate (BAR) without pre-payment on a specific hotel, while “opaque” sites like Priceline and Hotwire allow you to bid for a room below BAR but the actual property remains hidden until after you book and the purchase is non-refundable. Now a new booking site offers you hotel deals well below BAR while ensuring consumers flexibility and a standard of quality.

Guestmob differs from other hotel booking sites by combining high-tech algorithmic pricing and expertly curated properties hand-picked for their high user ratings. The site works by grouping hotels into collections of four to eight properties in a given category and neighborhood. You enter your travel dates and can immediately see a room rate of up to 50% below BAR for each hotel collection. The Thursday before you check in, the exact hotel is revealed but you are guaranteed one of the specific hotels in the collection. Best of all, unlike other opaque booking sites, you can cancel your reservation up to three days before check-in.hotel deals guestmob booking pagePreviously, some savvy travelers have tried to “game the system” with sites like Bidding for Travel, a forum that tries to guess winning bids and participating hotels on opaque sites by sharing successful bookings. Guestmob removes the need for this research by specifying hotels in each collection and immediately offering a deeply discounted price. While room upgrades, frequent guest points and other requests are still at the discretion of the hotel upon check-in, it’s still a great option for travelers with flexibility.

A Guestmob search for a hotel in Chicago on a weekend in mid-May yielded a price of $164 for a 3.5 star hotel on Magnificent Mile (such as a Courtyard or Embassy Suites), or $203 to bump up to a 4 star in the same area such as a W or Westin Hotel. The same properties ranged from $221 to $279 on other sites. Most Guestmob hotels are part of well-known chains such as Marriott or Starwood, or smaller chains like Kimpton and JDV.

Guestmob soft-launched last year in San Francisco and has now expanded to include New York, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Miami, Orlando, San Diego, San Jose, Seattle, Boston, Washington DC, Philadelphia, Minneapolis, Atlanta, Houston, Dallas, Portland and Phoenix. The site is well connected to social media so you can get help, learn news or give feedback on Facebook, Twitter and Google+. You can also chat with them right on the site if you have questions.

Atlanta loses a Rosewood, gains a Mandarin Oriental

mansion on peachtree to become mandarin oriental atlantaAtlanta is losing its signature Rosewood hotel, the Mansion on Peachtree, and gaining Mandarin Oriental when the hotel changes management in May of this year. The hotel will be rebranded and operated by Mandarin Oriental, but no major overhauls of the hotel are planned. The hotel will now be called The Mandarin Oriental, Atlanta.

The Peachtree area hotel is primed to get new restaurants (Del Friscos, according to the Atlanta SkyRise blog), as well as a transition to a signature Mandarin Oriental Spa. The hotel’s 25 private residences will also be rebranded as Mandarin Oriental Residences.

Forbes Travel Guide reports that Mandarin had planned a hotel in Midtown in 2007, which failed after the economic downturn.

Most booked locations for MLK weekend getaways

mlk weekend 2012- mlk memorialWant to know where to head for MLK weekend? Hotwire just announced the top 10 most booked destinations travelers are visiting over Martin Luther King Day weekend.

Several cities have historic significance, including Atlanta, where Martin Luther King Jr. he received his B.A. degree at Morehouse College and where the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Center was founded as well as Chicago, was the first state to adopt MLK as a state holiday. Public pressure for the holiday mounted during the 1982 and 1983 civil rights marches in Washington.

According to results from Hotwire’s American Travel Behavior survey, 74% of people would rather take several smaller vacations over the year than one big one.

So here’s an impromptu poll – will you be traveling this MLK weekend, and if so, will you be visiting one of the ten most popular destinations?

Destination & Average Nightly Hotel Price

  • Las Vegas, Nevada $101
  • Atlanta, Georgia $72
  • Orlando, Florida $54
  • New York City, New York $125
  • Fort Lauderdale, Florida $97
  • New Orleans, Louisiana $87
  • Chicago, Illinois $66
  • San Francisco, California $109
  • San Diego, California $74
  • Washington D.C. $83

[Flickr via michaelhyman300]