Don’t pass through Singapore, stay for a bit

Singapore doesn’t want you to pass through. Instead, they want you to stick around, even if only for a little while. With the “Fabulous Singapore Stopover Package,” you can take advantage of a variety of discounts. In fact, six hotels are dropping rates to $1 for the first night you stay. Some are even kicking in prepaid cell phone cards and food and beverage vouchers that can be redeemed at Changi Airport.

Since getting to and from the airport can be a drag when you stop briefly in a city, the program also lets you use the Singapore Airlines Hop-On bus as much as you want. It’ll take you to 20 of the city’s major attractions, including the Singapore Zoo, Jurong Bird Park and Sentosa Island – which are among the attractions that have lowered their prices for guests.

Fill your stomach, save your wallet

You’ve heard a lot about cheap flights and amazing hotel rates lately. Well, restaurants are getting into the game, too. Prix fixe meals for between $25 and $40 are being offered at upscale restaurants across the country. Hey, if you’re not likely to spend big cash on travel, maybe you can splurge a little on a great local meal.

The restaurants are suffering just as much as the hotels and airlines, so they need to get diners in the door.

This year, the National Restaurant Association (yes, there is another “NRA”) expects restaurant sales to drop 1 percent this year – as it did in 2008. That would be the first time drops happened in consecutive years since the association started to keep score back in 1970. This isn’t as bad as the U.S. Travel Association‘s forecast of a 6.7 percent slip in travel spending, but for restaurateurs from coast to coast, it’s certainly cause for concern.

So, if you’re willing to sacrifice dinner at home from time to time, you stand to win. National seafood chain McCormick & Schmick’s for example, is offering a steak and lobster dinner special (with dessert) for $29.95. Realistically, the company has no choice. Up to 40 percent of its customers are business travelers, and sales are down 13 percent from last year.

To find some real bargains, keep an eye out for prix fixe menus. These deals allow restaurants to offer a better value to guests without having to turn to coupons and discounts that would bring prices down relative to specific menu items. Also, every party of four is likely to have one or two people who pull from the regular menu … and they can always nail you on the liquor.

NYC to San Francisco for the price of a cab on JetBlue

I guess it pays to keep an eye on JetBlue‘s website. Last Thursday, the airline sold 200 seats on its New York-to-San Francisco route at $14 a pop. Unsurprisingly, it only took a few hours. Those living on the west coast still have a shot at a sweetheart deal, though, with 1,600 seats for flights between San Francisco and Long Beach, CA still unsold at mid-day on April 2, according to an Associated Press story on MSNBC.

JetBlue used this promotion to highlight its policy on not charging for the first bag you check. Some airlines are charging $15 a bag, which makes it more expensive for your luggage to take another airline than it would for you to fly yourself on JetBlue.

Financially, JetBlue is taking it on the chin with this deal. As of the fourth quarter of 2008, it cost the airline $300 to carry a passenger 2,900 miles (the distance of a coast-to-coast jaunt).

As always, there’s a catch. The trips have to be taken by April 8, 2009.

3 for 2 in Paris through end of May

The Hotel Jules has been refurbished, and its new owners, G.L.A. Hotels wants to give you a good reason to stop by. Through the end of May, you can book two nights at this unique property on Rue La Fayette and get the third night free. Longer stays are rewarded. Each additional night is also 33 percent off. With cheap flights to Paris right now, this deal rounds out the total bargain.

The renovated property has a deliberate mix of styles reaching from the 1950s to the 1970s, thrashing the traditional concept of hotel design and creating a whimsical atmosphere for guests tired of the norm. The property is small, with 101 rooms on six floors. Four categories are available: standard, superior, deluxe and junior suite. So, you’ll have choices without having to sacrifice an intimate feel.


Going to an amusement park? It’s probably cheaper than last year

Here’s a direct quote: “It would be crazy to spend full price to go to Disney right now,” said Mary Waring, founder of” I found this tidbit in a Practical Traveler article in the New York Times about cheap travel options for a Disney vacation and more.

Whether you’re looking for multiple night stays at a Disney resort or a one-day ticket to an amusement park, the deals have become cheaper than ever. Seven night stays can be had for the price of four. What I found interesting is how Disney’s price reduction is affecting hotels around Orlando. Three-star hotels are as cheap as $56 a night. For people who want to go to Walt Disney World for only one day, I’d check out this option. I’d rather stay at an outside the parks hotel in order to explore the area. There’s more to Orlando than resorts.

Other money saving deals include $50 off for swimming with the dolphins at Discovery Cove and child admission prices for adults at SeaWorld, Busch Gardens and Aquatica if you book online at the Worlds of Discovery Web site a week before you go.

The article also pointed out that Six Flags amusement parks will be cheaper this summer as well. Personally, I perked up at the $43.99 for Cedar Point in Sandusky, Ohio. This is the end of the season price from last year and cheaper by $1 than the ticket price in 2005. We usually go to Kings Island near Cincinnati because it’s generally cheaper and the water park is included. This may have us rethinking our amusement park strategy. Maybe we’ll do both.

There are also similar deals in California. Bottom line. Do research before you settle on the price.