Would You Book A Flight To An Unknown Destination?

Earlier this year, new booking engine GetGoing began offering deep discounts to travelers with flexibility and a sense of spontaneity. You tell the site what type of trip or region you want, and it will give you two destinations and the airfare you’ll pay, up to 40% off. The catch? You won’t know *which* place you’ll go or which airline you’ll fly until after you purchase.

Now how about booking a trip where you won’t know where you’re going until a few days before departure? FlyRoulette launched this week, taking spontaneous travel to the next level. With FlyRoulette, you’ll tell them your budget, maximum trip length, and type of trip (does “weird and exotic” sound appealing?) and it will create an itinerary for you. But you won’t know where you are going until 12-48 hours before you depart, which means you can probably rule out anywhere that requires an advance visa, but the whole world is fair game. In exchange for your flexibility, you’ll get great hotel and flight deals, but it’s not for those who want some degree of control over their travels.
Would you book a trip without knowing where you are going? While it’s an intriguing concept, there are a few issues I can see arising for even the most intrepid travelers. Without knowing what destinations are in their arsenal, a trip to go somewhere “to party” could just as easily be Daytona Beach or Berlin, two very different tastes. There could be reasons why a destination is discounted: even if you wanted a “quiet” trip, what if everything of interest is closed for the season? While you specify your maximum budget, you don’t know what portion is going to airfare or hotel, so you might prefer a destination with a more expensive flight but cheap accommodations. The site allows you to book for groups up to 25 people and was founded by recent college graduates, which may indicate their ideal demographic. It might be best for INexperienced travelers, who are more open to anything and carry less baggage (no pun intended) about how they travel and where they end up.

To Find Discounts On Travel, Know The Lingo

Discounts on travel
commonly come from a travel service provider’s attempt to promote their business. An airline may have extra seats to fill so they discount them, offering a better value. Hotels promote traditionally slow occupancy times in one way or another and cruise lines do much of the same. But how do we know what is really a good deal or just an effort to encourage us to buy?

Start by learning the difference between “special” and “featured” when considering travel pricing. Its a tactic other businesses have used for decades, one we expect to see in travel more in the coming years.

“Special, in the world of travel, will most often translate to “discount,” offering the same travel product for less.

Travelocity, for example, has a cruise vacation special that came to an end recently where buyers could get up to $500 cash to spend on their sailing, based on the price paid. Assuming that price is competitive, that’s adding value to the deal by giving us more than we paid for.

“Featured” in the world of travel services, commonly highlights destinations, modes of travel and other offerings by a travel company that they want us to know about. “Featured” may or may not be sold at a discounted price.

Hertz car rental, for example, has a weekend, unlimited mileage car rental deal featured. It’s priced at $14.99 per day on an economy or compact car when you pick-up from Thursday through Sunday at select participating airport or neighborhood locations.Easy way to remember: A restaurant’s “special” is commonly a bundled offering that, if priced separately, would cost more. That restaurant’s chef may have created a fabulous new menu item so it is being “featured” on the menu today.

This is just one small piece of the discount on travel puzzle, but an important one.

Except for travelers who have never been anywhere, ever, “feature” pricing most often deserves no more than a passing glance. Spend that time on travel products that offer “special,” not normal pricing where actual gains can be made.

Some other terms to know the difference between are “value-based” or “cost-based” pricing, as explained in this video-

[Photo Credit- Flickr user miskan]

Discounted Holiday Events Make For Rich Seasonal Travel

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 ]

Celebrate National Parks Week with Call of the Wild

National Parks Week is now just a couple of weeks away, and the Park Service has a host of events planned to celebrate, not the least of which is free admission to nearly all of the parks. Adventure travel company Call of the Wild, which specializes in women’s only travel, is celebrating too, offering a 5% discount on all of their trips that take place in one of the national parks this year.

Travelers wishing to take advantage of the discount have plenty of great options to choose from. For example, there are multiple opportunities to go backpacking or hiking in Yosemite National Park, truly one of the crown jewels of the entire system. There is also an excursion to Zion and Bryce National Parks scheduled for October, and another trip to Joshua Tree planned for November as well.

Perhaps the most exciting option on the schedule however, is an August hike along the John Muir Trail, one of the most popular and beautiful treks in the U.S. That adventurous trip will take intrepid travelers on a six day journey through the Sierra Mountains of California, offering up spectacular vistas and crystal clear mountain lakes. While this hike isn’t for the uninitiated, it promises to be a once in a life time experience for those who take part. It also happens to be eligible for the 5% discount mentioned above.

Call of the Wild has been organizing women’s only adventure travel since 1978, which makes it one of the oldest companies to cater to the ladies only crowd. If you’re looking for a fun, adventurous escape with your girlfriends this year, you’ll definitely want to check out all the options they have to offer.

REI Adventures offers members 25% discount on select trips

In 2011, REI Adventures, the travel arm of outdoor gear retailer REI, is celebrating its 25th year of offering great outdoor and active journeys to adventure travelers. To commemorate the occasion, they’re passing on a substantial discount to members of the REI Co-Op, giving them 25% off some of their most classic trips.

In all, there are seven trips that the discount is being applied to. Those trips include a classic safari in Tanzania, a trek to Everest Base Camp, cycling in the Loire Valley of France, trekking the Tour Du Mont Blanc, hiking the Inca Trail in Peru, backpacking in Fitz Roy and Paine in Patagonia, and exploring the Alaskan wilderness on foot and kayak. Each of these trips is considered to be one of REI Adventures’ signature vacations, offering some of the most amazing and memorable experiences for any traveler.

As mentioned, to take advantage of the 25% discount, you must be an REI member. Becoming a member is simple however, and it offers more benefits than just the discount on these trips. There is a one time fee of $20 for the membership, but it entitles you to take part in special events at REI stores, increased discounts on gear items, and a yearly dividend that is based on the items you purchased. That dividend can then be spent on new gear in the store as well. If you’re an outdoor enthusiast at all, then the membership usually more than pays for itself in the first year alone.

Members always receive a discount on REI Adventures trips, but the additional 25% savings is on top of that already discounted price. For instance, the African Safari normally costs non-members $4075. Members get the same trip for $3699, but if you take advantage of the added discount, you can visit the Serengeti for just $2775. Not a bad deal at all.

Dates for the discounted trips are limited, so you’ll want to take advantage of them as soon as possible. To get more details on these adventures and the dates when they are available, click here.