Ireland on sale in peak season

By Sean O'Neill
October 3, 2012

Low-cost airline Aer Lingus is holding a sale that ends tomorrow. It's offering some amazing fares for summer travel. Round-trip tickets for flights departing from New York or Boston and arriving in Dublin or Shannon cost $498, plus taxes, which can add up to $220. Fares are good from July 1 through the end of August, when fares ordinarily hover around $900, plus taxes.

Fares departing from Chicago and arriving in Shannon are also $498 round-trip. Fares out of L.A. are $399 round-trip, flying into Shannon or Dublin. Note: Aer Lingus is starting service from San Francisco to Dublin, for $400 round-trip. (Taxes add about $200 a ticket for each of the above offers.)

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Travel Tips

How to take better photos of your friends

The photo editors at Budget Travel have put together a bunch of tips on taking better shots. Tip 1: Tuck Discreetly. In a perfect world, no one would ever have to be photographed by someone who's shorter than she is--it's a recipe for a double chin. If it's unavoidable, remember to tuck your chin down slightly, but not so far down so that it looks like you're doing a yoga stretch. This will minimize any jowliness and emphasize your sexy eyes instead. See our staff member, Lauren Feuer, illustrating the difference here. You'll find other cool tips and tricks when you check out this slide show.

What's better than Google?

Google mashups, of course. Before you take your next trip, don't just settle for a standard map of your destination. Go online first to see if some creative person has whipped up a free, customized map. New mashup Google maps highlight selected locations with boxes that fly over the maps and typically display addresses and phone numbers. Here's the fastest way to see if there's an enhanced map of your destination. Visit this website, Google Maps Mania. Then search on your destination either by clicking on the "By Country" link or by entering your destination's name in the website's search box. You'll find both the link and the search box in the top right-hand corner of the website's main page. For example, click on this Prague 360 map. Besides seeing the typical Google map of the Czech capital, you'll see teardrop-shaped markers for various spots around the city. By clicking on each marker, you'll see photos of the location or additional information about events scheduled to take place there. For instance, if you click on the link "Flying above Petrin Tower -- Prague Skyline," you'll see a 360-degree image of Prague's skyline, which you can click and drag for an adjustable view. (Neat!) This service allows you to plan for aspects of your trip in ways that your guidebook won't. Budding photographers can spot the most promising locations for taking scenic photographs. Nightlife-lovers can find out about the latest lineups at top concert venues. Travelers willing to take public transportation can plot out where subway and tram stations are in relation to their hotel. Many U.S. and Western European cities have well-developed Google Map Mashups, which you can find by clicking here. However, most destinations around the U.S. and the world still don't have a lot of customized maps available. If the location of your next trip doesn't have a cool map now, bookmark the Google Maps Mania site and check back six months from now. New maps may have been developed by then. Another cool planning tool is Google Earth, which incorporates satellite data into Google's streetmaps. Learn about the latest cool features of this free software by clicking here.

Girlfriends Getaway to the Emerald City

Chicago's liveliest nightspots, newest shops, and best spot for desserts can be found by clicking here. Hungry for to know this spring's coolest restaurants in Chicago? Click here. You'll find a list of the best hotel gift shops by clicking here. For more ideas, check out our sister magazine Girlfriend Getaways. Keep reading to find two click-and-go. easy weekender trips to Chicago... Food & Wine Appreciation, $485 per person. This package includes accommodations for two nights at the Talbott, a 149-room hotel with boutique touches, such as nightlight turndown service, a Friday night Asian dinner, including wine and sake, at the restaurant Aria, a Saturday morning tasting of foods invented in Chicago, a Saturday afternoon wine tasting at Randolph Wine Cellars, and a Sunday cooking class with a brunch that you cook yourself. When: May 4-6, 2007. Details: Local transportation is provided between tastings and restaurants. Hotel taxes, admission fees, one dinner, tour fees, and breakfast daily are included; based on double occupancy. Contact: Chicago Convention and Tourism Bureau, 877/244-2246. Museum Lovers' Weekend, $504 per person. Includes lodging at the Talbott, a Friday evening private tour of two architectural gems, the Glessner House Museum and the Clarke House Museum; dinner of traditional Chicago cuisine at The Chicago Firehouse restaurant; visits to several unique museums, such as the Oriental Institute Museum, the Smart Museum of Art, and the Hellenic Museum and Cultural Center; Saturday lunch at Greek restaurant Pegasus; and Sunday breakfast at the Field Museum of Natural History, followed by a private tour and access to the museum's exhibition, Darwin. When: July 13-15, 2007. Details: Local transportation is provided between museums and restaurants. Hotel taxes, admission fees, one dinner, one lunch, tour fees, and daily breakfasts are included; based on double occupancy. Contact: Chicago Convention and Tourism Bureau, 877/244-2246. Remember, Chicago's public transportation system, the RTA, has a helpful online trip planner where you can select a starting point and destination, date, anticipated arrival time, and quickest routes. Buy a day pass for $5.

Today's travel intel

America's top architectural wonders. A new website,, offers images of our nation's most popular buildings, monuments, and bridges as picked by a national survey. The most popular piece of architecture is the Empire State Building. Surprisingly, only two hotels were ranked among the top 25 wonders: the St. Regis in New York City and the Bellagio in Las Vegas. For a slide show of cool modernist houses you can visit, click here. For a slide show of the world's coolest bridges, click here. US Airways is fixing its reservations-system. As many of you know, the airline's system has a track record of imploding whenever a large storm causes flight delays. The airline is hiring 1,000 workers whose jobs will be to rebook passengers when trouble strikes, according to this article in the Philadelphia Inquirer. US Airways also plans to replace 600 troublesome reservations-booking machines within the next month. Freebie! Norway's capital -- Oslo -- has been ranked the world's most expensive city in a survey by the global bank UBS. (For example, a Big Mac that averages $3.22 in the U.S. costs $6.63 in Norway.) Oslo's tourist board has now responded with a free, easy-to-download, 86-page guidebook that offers some tips on how to have a cheap time in the city. This guidebook lists restaurants where you can get meals for between $8 and $16. It also suggests inexpensive activities, such as touring the city by tram and shopping at consignment shops. (Yep, they really had to stretch to find cheap things to do.) You'll find the guide by clicking here. You can also learn about government-subsidized farmhouse lodging in Norway by clicking on this Budget Travel story. Tip from a reader of this blog. In Germany, a coaster is known as a Bierdeckel. In many establishments, bartenders use these coasters to run your tab, marking on the edge each time you get a beer. They make good souvenirs: cheap, light, easy-to-pack!--Mike Anderson (For more reader tips, click here.)