Book Christmas Travel Immediately, Says Travelocity

We may still be in October, but if you are thinking of traveling home for the holidays, get on booking those tickets immediately. According to booking data from Travelocity, Christmastime travelers get the best deals when they book by Nov. 12.

Granted it’s Travelocity’s job to get you to buy tickets, but if you’re looking to snag a good deal, it’s smart to look at its data to get an idea of how much you’ll be paying and how much when you purchase the ticket will affect the final price.For example, according to the data, the average round-trip domestic airfare for travel at Christmastime is $450, up 7.5 percent from last year. Those traveling internationally still will be paying for expensive tickets, but they’re about the same price as last year, with the average ticket at $1,016, up only 2.5 percent from last year.

Here is Travelocity’s booking barometer:

Booking Week Fare
8 weeks before Oct 30 – Nov 5 $ 314.00
7 weeks before Nov 6 – Nov 12 $ 320.00
6 weeks before Nov 13 – Nov 19 $ 352.00
5 weeks before Nov 20 – Nov 26 $ 392.00
4 weeks before Nov 27 – Dec 3 $ 341.00
3 weeks before Dec 4 – Dec 10 $ 313.00
2 weeks before Dec 11 – Dec 17 $ 363.00
1 week before Dec 18 – Dec 24 $ 438.00

As you can see, you can book now and snag a cheap ticket, or keep your fingers crossed and buy a relatively last-minute one a few weeks before. Other Christmas booking tips include avoiding the Sunday and Monday after Christmas, as those are two days with ticket spikes.

Not going home for Christmastime? This is also the time to book for Thanksgiving. Between now and Nov. 9, Travelocity says prices drop, and then go right back up, and steeply, around Nov. 10.

Couples Can Celebrate The End Of DOMA On Australia’s Hamilton Island

When the U.S. Supreme Court handed down its landmark decision that ruled against the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) a few days back it was met with jubilation across the country. The ruling is seen as a dramatic advancement of gay rights while also providing for the equal treatment of same-sex marriages moving forward. The 5-4 decision has such far-reaching consequences in fact that even our friends Down Under have joined the celebration. The qualia Resort on Australia’s Hamilton Island have announced a couple’s retreat package that is open to any couple regardless of genders.

Australia’s qualia, which was voted the Best Resort in the World by “Conde Nast Traveler” readers in November of 2012, features 60 spectacular one-bedroom pavilions and a single luxurious beach house. The resort is located at the north-end of Hamilton Island, which is itself part of the spectacular Whitsunday Islands. Surrounded on all sides by the Great Barrier Reef, soft white sand beaches and some of the clearest ocean waters you could ever hope to see, it is an idyllic escape into paradise.The Couple’s Retreat package starts at $3000 per person and includes accommodations for seven nights in a private pavilion, daily breakfasts and full use of non-motorized water sports such as catamarans, sailboats, snorkeling gear and so on. The romantic escape will also include a sunset cruise through the tranquil waters off the coast of Hamilton Island, a poolside dinner at the Pebble Beach restaurant, chauffeured car service around the island and beach drop-offs on other nearby islands, amongst numerous other amenities. Couples can even choose to upgrade to other pavilions that include their own private plunge pools.

I haven’t been to qualia but I have visited the Whitsunday Islands in the past. It is one of the most beautiful places that I’ve ever been lucky enough to experience and I can only imagine how romantic of an escape it would be for any couple. The beaches and ocean are simply breathtaking and it is the perfect place for a relaxed escape from the world.

Hotwire Launches, Offering Real-Time Price Information

Hotwire is promising to make travel searching even easier with the launch of their new real-time alert system, The site offers up-to-the-moment price alerts for flights – even for unadvertised sales.

They aren’t the first to offer this service – Kayak offers a price tracker, as do several other sites, but as data shows that many travelers search multiple sites before booking, it’s an easy-to-use platform that lends another chance for a discount from a reputable name in travel. The technology has existed for some time, actually, but today marks the launch of TripWatcher into a spin-off site.

“We’ve all experienced it, we look and look for low fares and the day we decide to take a rest, we hear about a lower-priced ticket after it’s already gone. So a couple of years ago, Hotwire developed the Trip Watcher tool to alleviate some of the guess work from getting a great deal,” said Clem Bason, president of the Hotwire Group in a release. “Using the site, travelers can rest assured they will get up-to-the-minute alerts when prices drop on their ideal flights, giving us all a chance to get the best deal.”

A few things we like:

  • The simple-to-use interface, which allows for registration via Facebook or Twitter
  • The ability to be contacted the way you want to – via email, Facebook or Twitter
  • Planning capabilities for weekend, flexible or exact date trips
  • The ability to watch hotel and car rentals (coming soon)

What do you think about this new way to search for discount travel?

Travel Inspiration, One Step At A Time

It’s not so much where we travel, but what we do when we get there that matters. For those who run in real life, there is nothing better than doing so at a remote location.
Like to hike? Getting away from the normal routine to engage a totally different terrain can bring new life to your passion for the sport.

But we don’t need to be into skiing, surfing, biking, climbing or backpacking either.

Many travelers find the first step towards the adventure of a lifetime starts with something simple. A photo posted by one friend on the road, a tweet full of fun from another at some festival or an old-fashioned phone call filled with unbridled joy can be just the inspiration we need to start planning.

Check out this video, pack your bags and hit the road; it can be just that easy to make some meaningful travel happen in your life right now.

[Photo credit – Chris Owen]

Deals For Tax Day: Hotel And Restaurant Specials Around The County

It’s tax day, which, for many Americans, marks their least favorite day of the year – unless, of course, you’re Uncle Sam. Whether your wallet is hurting or you’re flush with a little bit of cash from an unexpected refund, we’ve got a list of hotels and resorts around the country that are offering special deals and packages designed around the “holiday.”

Get A Deal in DC
The JW Marriott, Renaissance and Marriott hotels of Washington, DC are offering a tax day discount. Guests who book by April 22 will receive 25 percent off best available weekend rates for stays May 2 through September 9, 2013, using code SPJ at booking on

A Room With A View in Chicago
C-View, an outdoor rooftop terrace and indoor lounge located on MileNorth, A Chicago Hotel’s 29th floor, is offering 15 percent off tabs of $15 or more during the entire month of April. Filers can also enjoy the refreshing “Taxed” libation mixed with Crown Royal, Peach Tree, Red Bull and a splash of cranberry juice.

Life’s a Beach in Nassau
The Sheraton Nassau Beach Resort & Casino‘s “1040 De-Stresser” offers some post-taxation relaxation. Book four nights from April 5 through April 30, 2013, and enjoy a one-time rate of $1040 for four nights (inclusive of tax and resort fee), a half-day dolphin encounter for two and a guaranteed upgrade to an ocean-view room. Book online with code SN1040.

Nice Deal in NoLA
Sheraton New Orleans is offering two tax-themed cocktails for those looking to relax and unwind after filing their returns. Available on April 15 at the hotel’s Pelican Bar, travelers can enjoy a Tax Revolution or Show your W9…I’ll Show Mine cocktail, complete with Mardi Gras beads, for only $10.40 each (specially priced after the 1040 form). As an added perk, those willing to show their W9 will receive one of these fun cocktails free.

Let the CPA Handle it in Boston
At Onyx Boston, a Kimpton Hotel, a CPA will personally come to your hotel and file your return for you. This last-minute package includes a “Money Maker” cocktail, overnight tax-free accommodations and a late checkout. The code to book online is PFILE.

Tax Back in Sint Maarten
Sint Maarten’s Sonesta Resorts’ new, “Tax Back? You Bet!” promotion, offers a 46 percent savings on any all-inclusive vacation booked during April, valid for stays through 2013. The hotel is offering an additional 21 percent off (symbolizing the amount of tax and service) on the resorts’ already low “advance purchase rate” – for a total of 46 percent savings off published rates. The promotion is based on a four-night minimum stay, double occupancy and must be fully pre-paid at the time of booking. Enter booking promo code: TAX13 when booking on the hotel’s website.

Drown Your Sorrows in Hawaii
Whether you are drowning your sorrows or rejoicing your hefty return, JW Marriott Ihilani Resort & Spa offers a special cocktail to suit your needs. Priced at $10.40 after the famed 1040 form, the “Drown My Sorrows” and “Filthy Rich” drinks (the first on fire, the latter bright green) will soothe your thirsty soul.

[Image Credit: Marriott Hotels & Resorts]