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oct 13 2015

Is Now the Best Time to Visit the Caribbean?

Visiting the warm, clear waters of the Bahamas in October can save you as much as 43 percent compared with a similar trip in February.


We've crunched some numbers and have good news for those of you yearning for a warm-weather getaway this fall: This year’s Caribbean hurricane season has been mild (as predicted), and the season is winding down over the next few weeks. October, November, and early December are great times to grab bargains in the Caribbean, before the holiday and winter crowds descend, driving up prices.

oct 12 2015

10 B&Bs You Won't Believe Are Under $200

Auberge on the Vineyard, Cloverdale, California
(Courtesy bedandbreakfast.com)

It's amazing what you can get for less than 200 bucks at a B&B. Along with delicious eats and personable innkeepers, each of these spectacular inns offers private baths, complimentary Wi-Fi, and luxurious perks galore. Plus, they're located near some of America's most popular cities and attractions.

Peter Shields Inn, Cape May, New Jersey

oct 09 2015

Fall Festivals Worth Traveling To

The Mendocino Mushroom, Wine & Beer Festival is a countywide celebration in early November, including mushroom dinners, winemaker dinners, and brewmaster dinners, among other delicious events.

(Courtesy Mendocino Mushroom, Beer & Wine Festival)

Celebrating America’s best food, wine, beer, and music, amazing fall festivals are happening over the next few weeks. Here, a look at some of the best!

NEW YORK CITY WINE & FOOD FESTIVAL happens next weekend, October 15 through 18, with a wide variety of price points from downright indulgent to stylish steals. All proceeds benefitting Food Bank for New York City and No Kid Hungry. Amazing demonstrations and food and wine tastings at NYC’s Piers 92 and 94, with celebs like Giada De Laurentiis, Rachael Ray, Mario Batali, and Emeril Lagasse hosting events.  You have never tasted anything like this concentration of culinary talent all in one place! It’s a foodie convention like no other! We’re especially excited about the “under $100” events, starting at just $20, which include panel discussions and hands-on classes on Italian cooking, making jam, wine-tasting, home-brewing beer, and cocktail mixology.

oct 08 2015

Want to Fly to Europe for $69?

We're counting down the hours until we can book a nonstop $69 flight to Edinburgh on Norwegian Air Shuttle. (The airline has announced that the steeply discounted fares could be available as early as 2017.)

(Lonely Planet)

Whoa. Norwegian Air Shuttle ASA announced its intention to offer one-way tickets to Europe for $69, possibly as early as 2017.

I know, this raises some questions: How can they offer fares this low? And why do we have to wait more than a year to nab one? The airline’s CEO, Bjorn Kjos, explained that Norwegian (one of Europe’s biggest budget carriers) hopes to offer flights to Edinburgh and Bergen, Norway, from small U.S. airports, such as Westchester County Airport in New York and Bradley International Airport in Connecticut, because those airports have much lower fees than popular transatlantic airports like JFK.

oct 08 2015

Save on Winter Travel With These Credit Cards

Be here when the polar vortex returns! A trip to Mexico's Riviera Maya and other brag-worthy winter travel destinations can be more affordable when you use the right credit card, earning rewards points, statement credits, and getting the best exchange rate on foreign currency.

(Whitney Tressel)

Savvy travelers are booking holiday and winter travel now to lock in good deals. With some of the year’s busiest travel dates coming up around the holidays and winter break, our friends at CardHub have delivered another great report: Best Travel Credit Cards for Winter 2015-16. While lower fuel prices, a strong dollar, and more reasonable airfares are already making this an great time to save money on travel, this new report makes it clear that careful shopping for the right credit card can nab you as much as an extra $625 in savings.

oct 08 2015

How to Do Grand Cayman Like a Local

This article was written by Sarah Greaves-Gabbadon and originally appeared on Yahoo Travel.

You’ve soaked up the sun on Seven Mile Beach; swum with the rays at Stingray City; and dived the island’s famous North Wall. So now you think know Grand Cayman. Think again. Beyond George Town’s duty-free shops and the swanky resorts of the Seven Mile strip, there’s a side of this 75-square-mile territory that islanders have been keeping to themselves. Until now. Here are eight fun and unexpected ways to experience Grand Cayman like a local, no snorkel gear required.

Related: Hurricane-Proof Caribbean Vacations

Flip out with the flip flop tree

A flip-flop tree grows in Grand Cayman. And it has more than 2,600 followers on Facebook. Really. So peel yourself off that chaise and hop in a cab to see the (dead) casuarina tree along the South Sound coast road that’s embellished with hundreds of sandals, shoes, sneakers, and thongs nailed to its trunk. The ever-evolving installation was started back in 2008 by two residents who wanted to draw attention to the garbage discarded on the island’s shores by displaying stray sandals they found on the sand. Now islanders are memorializing their own flip-flops on the tree, and the footwear fiesta has reached heights of more than 15 feet and has begun migrating to a neighboring trunk. Bring your worn-out skimmers and add a shoe to the collection. Just remember to dispose of the other foot responsibly.

See the stars—starfish that is

Let the cruise-ship hordes head for Stingray City; Caymanians cruise instead to Starfish Point, on the northeast tip of the island, where, depending on the season and tide, scores of red cushion starfish sit in gin-clear, knee-deep water. They gather here to feed on micro-organisms found on the white-sand seabed, presenting the perfect opportunity for you to snap a photo with the sea stars. Just don’t lift them out of the water; they can’t breathe properly unless submerged. And don’t even think about taking one home as a souvenir—that’ll get you a $500,000 fine or 10 years in the slammer.

Related: Cayman Islands to Build Cruise Port That Could Destroy the Environment

Take the best foodie tour

You’ll never go hungry on an island with more than 200 restaurants. But you might just go broke. Grand Cayman is one of the Caribbean’s priciest destinations (its currency is worth even more than the U.S. dollar) and dining out is no exception. But if you’re in town on a Wednesday night you can save as you savor by joining local foodies on the Flavour Tour at Camana Bay. For just $89 a person you’ll enjoy a tasty four-course progressive dinner (each course served at a different restaurant in the retail village) as well as pre- and post-dinner drinks at West Indies Wine Company. Four not-so-small plates plus six cocktails for less than 100 bucks? Sold.

Relax on a gem of a beach

Stroll the Seven Mile Beach strip on any given day and you’ll see conventioneers escaping air-conditioned conference rooms and well-oiled tourists basking in curtained cabanas. What you won’t see is hotel employees hanging out on their day off. That’s because they’re all soaking up the rays at Smith Cove, a petite beach that’s just 10 minutes’ drive away yet feels a world apart. This South Sound gem has absolutely no “scene,” so you can really relax. Restrooms and a few picnic tables are the only amenities, so bring your own beach chair, umbrella, and refreshments. Visit on a weekday and apart from a few locals, your only company will be a flock of vocal chickens pecking their way across the sugary sands.

Shop like a local

Sure, you can pick up a shot glass, T-shirt, or baseball cap as souvenir but wouldn’t you rather buy something lovingly handcrafted and unique to the islands? The only answer to that question is yes, and the only choice for one-stop local shopping is Pure Art Gallery & Gifts, a South Sound souvenir store that features Caymanian and Caribbean art and craft items. Must-buys include: straw hats and baskets woven from the dried fronds of the national tree, the Silver Thatch palm, and jewelry made from Caymanite, a semi-precious stone only found here.

Explore underwater—at night

Recreational diving got its start in the Cayman Islands, but you don’t have to be a diver or snorkeler to explore its fish- and coral-filled depths. Atlantis Submarines takes adventurers 100 feet below the surface, no breathing apparatus required, and Grand Cayman is the only Caribbean island where you can take a nighttime tour. During 45-minute dives you’ll witness all the ocean’s after-dark attractions, including silvery tarpon, which hunt for prey using the sub’s high-wattage lights. And with excursions timed for pre- and post-dinner hours, you won’t even have to miss a meal.

Related: Crazy Cool Night Activities at Hotels Around the World

Take a cooking class

Maybe it’s raining. Maybe you’re sunburned. Or maybe you just love air-conditioning. Either way, here’s an indoor idea: Take a cooking class at the Ritz-Carlton Grand Cayman’s culinary studio (launching this month), where resort chefs lead one- to two-hour classes that range from traditional island cuisine to macaron-making and tutorials on carving a cake in the shape of your favorite designer handbag. Kids from four to 12-years-old can get in on the foodie fun at Bon Vivant, a cookware showroom at Camana Bay, where little ones join hour-long cooking demos and leave with a recipe and their own culinary creations.

Have a Funday Sunday

On Sundays Caymanian boaters (and their friends) navigate north to Rum Point, the island’s quintessential Funday spot. There, the day is well spent anchored off the famous Wreck Bar & Grill. Take a dip in the warm waters; swim ashore for a Mudslide (the vodka-, Kahlua- and Bailey’s-laced Mudslide invented here back in the ‘70s); and get to know the locals as you stand in the shallows and chat over a frosty Caybrew beer (or three). See your hotel’s tour desk for boat rental info or hop one of Cayman Luxury Charters’ yachts.

WATCH: Going Full Local in Puerto Rico

oct 07 2015

Act Now To Save Big On Your Next Ski Trip

A white-out in Colorado is a great thing for skiers that love tooling through feet of fresh powder
(Whitney Tressel)

Skiing and snowboarding have always been sports that reward those who plan ahead. The best deals on ski gear can always be found before the season starts, away from the mountains, and not at the base lodge during snow day. Not only that, fresh tracks are always found by those who wake up early enough to catch the first lift.

oct 06 2015

Chile Will Protect the Ocean Surrounding Easter Island

(Courtesy anoldent/Flickr)

We are thrilled that Chile’s president, Michelle Bachelet, announced yesterday at the Our Ocean conference that her nation will create a huge marine park around Rapa Nui, better known as Easter Island.

Pending approval by the island’s indigenous people, a 243,630-square-mile area in the Pacific would be off-limits for fishing. The British government is also planning a marine park, of 322,000 square miles, around the Pitcairn Islands, which are Easter Island’s closest neighbors. Protecting this vast area from illegal industrial fishing is a major ecological step forward for the world’s oceans. Richard Branson, founder of the Virgin group, spoke for many of us when he blogged on Monday: “This wonderful action will protect treasures off the shores of this remote island, as well as the brilliant biodiversity that feeds the local Rapa Nui people, and helps them continue their centuries-old cultural traditions.”

oct 05 2015

'Hacker Fares': An Easy Way to Save Big

(Courtesy kalaloch/myBudgetTravel)

The name sounds vaguely naughty: “hacker fare.” But, trust me, scoring one of these bargain airfares doesn’t mean you have to be a tech whiz or an aspiring thief: Hacker fares are simply airfares that combine a one-way ticket on one airline with a return ticket on a different airline, potentially saving you a bundle.

oct 02 2015

Ready for a Room With a View?

The windows in an Avalon Waterways Panorama Suite are 11 feet wide and 7 feet high, affording unparalleled views on a river cruise.

(Courtesy Avalon Waterways)

We’ve always loved E.M. Forster’s great “travel romance” A Room With a View (not to mention the beautiful film adaptation), in which a young Englishwoman’s life is forever changed when she agrees to swap hotel rooms with a fascinating young Englishman in Florence in order to have, yes, a room with a view. We love the way that expression can mean, quite literally, a window that affords gorgeous scenery, but also the way those words can sum up a transformative travel experience.

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