READERS' CHOICE: What Is Your Favorite Under-The-Radar Girlfriend Getaway?
We get to share our travel picks with you all year long. Now it’s your turn.
Over the next several weeks, we’ll be asking for a few of your favorite things, both large (airline, cruise port, national park) and small (which hotel has the best toiletries?). Then we’ll compile your suggestions and let you vote for your top pick in May. Come back often—we’ll be posting a new question almost every day.
What is your favorite under–the–radar girlfriend getaway? Not Vegas—everyone goes there. When you and the girls want to get away from it all (including the crowds), where's your go–to spot?
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The Website Where Cool Hotels and Poetry Meet
At HotelHaiku.com, everything you need to know about a hotel is described in 17 syllables. That's the premise anyway. Or perhaps "gimmick" is the more appropriate word? HotelHaiku is a niche site that highlights highly unusual hotels around the world, and yes, the write-ups of each property consist solely of a traditional three-line haiku poem: five syllables, seven syllables, five syllables. As of now there are over 70 hotels listed on the site. For instance, there's 9 Hours, an ultra-modern capsule hotel in Kyoto, Japan, described here: Check-in then shower / Fall asleep in your capsule / Prepare then check-out Maybe that's enough of a description for some travelers. Well, that and, presumably, the implicit endorsement of the tastemakers at HotelHaiku. In our recent "World's Weirdest Hotels" feature, though, you'd learn a lot more about this same property, including that it has "amenities you would expect from a four-star hotel (rain-forest showerheads, complimentary mineral water, pillows specially designed to ensure healthy posture during sleep)." Also, that "each capsule includes a computerized-lighting/alarm-clock system to facilitate sleeping and waking." Sweden's Treehotel also gets the haiku treatment: Nesting with the birds / In the forest canopy / Where tree lovers flock That one's also in our "Weird" story, only with a whole lot more detail. Here's some: Fixed about 20 feet up in the trees of the Harads woods are five separate "rooms" that each offer distinct tree-house experiences. The Bird's Nest is exactly what it sounds like, with a wild twig exterior on grand scale. The Mirrorcube is a square unit that reflects its surroundings, doubling as a kind of forest camouflage. (Bird lovers, don't fret—it's covered in an infrared film that's visible to our feathered friends, to avoid crashes.) The UFO evokes a spinning spaceship from just about any '60s sci-fi movie. Each structure is only accessible by an individual ladder, staircase, or bridge, so to wander among them is to stroll the forest floor. Even so, HotelHaiku is a neat starting point for tracking down one-of-a-kind lodging. If you're bored by cookie-cutter chain hotels, give the site a look. Just don't end your research there, obviously. UnusualHotelsoftheWorld is another good resource, as is our "World's Weirdest Hotels" feature and our Hotels section as a whole. MORE FROM BUDGET TRAVEL: World's Weirdest Hotels The Dirty Truth About Hotel Ratings 26 Gorgeous Hotels You Won't Believe Are Under $150
READERS' CHOICE: Which Airline Has The Nicest Flight Attendants?
We get to share our travel picks with you all year long. Now it’s your turn. Over the next several weeks, we’ll be asking for a few of your favorite things, both large (airline, cruise port, national park) and small (which hotel has the best toiletries?). Then we’ll compile your suggestions and let you vote for your top pick in May. Come back often—we’ll be posting a new question almost every day. Today’s question: Which airline has the nicest flight attendants? We know you have your favorite. Previous questions: Which city has the most user–friendly public transportation system? What is your favorite rental car company? What is your favorite historical spot in America? What's the top destination on your bucket list? Which airport features the best food? —Marc Peyser MORE FROM BUDGET TRAVEL World's 16 Most Picturesque Villages Secrets to the 10 Most Popular Cruise Ports 21 Girl Trips You Absolutely Love—and Deals to Match
How Much Time Do You Spend Obligation Traveling?
Weddings, reunions, graduations, new babies, business trips. Are you taking fewer leisure vacations because of the time and money you devote to obligation travel? According to a recent survey commissioned by Hotwire.com, 41 percent of traveling U.S. adults spend the majority of their vacation budget on obligation travel. And 89 percent of respondents said they would take more leisure trips if they had the time and the money to do so. For its American Travel Behavior Survey, Hotwire commissioned Harris Interactive to conduct an online survey of 2,127 U.S. adults from July 27-29, 2011. According to the survey, 94 percent of respondents said that they would take one more trip than they already had planned if they could afford it. The solution, suggests Hotwire, is combining the obligation travel with leisure time. Work sending you to a conference in Orlando? Bring the spouse and kids so they can enjoy some time at the local theme parks. Family reunion back home? Try to tack on a weekend getaway for some time away from everything — and everyone. But there are advantages and disadvantages to this approach. If it's a personal trip, a family event or gathering, travelers still have to find the time and money to get there, and any extra time spent away is just that, more time and money. That said, if you're already paying for a flight somewhere, it might be more economical to just add on some extra time rather than book an entirely separate flight and vacation elsewhere. If there is a business trip element, there are potential savings to be had on at least one person's transportation costs and possibly the accommodations, depending on the business trip. But then, the person working might be unavailable for part or all of the trip. What about you? Do you feel like most of your travel is devoted to obligation trips? Do you try to turn some of those trips into potential leisure getaways? What, in your opinion, are the advantages and disadvantages in doing so? More from Budget Travel: Is There an Easy Way to Get Through Security With a Little One? Do High Gas Prices Mean the End of Road Trips? 3 Ways to Use Facebook to Travel Smarter
3 Ways to Use Facebook to Travel Smarter
As Facebook's popularity booms, everyone's coming out with new booking and travel-planning tools to win your trust—and business. But which Facebook-powered tools make your life easier? 1. THE PROBLEM: Your loved ones want to follow along "virtually" while you travel, but you don't want to spend your vacation tied to your e-mail and cell phone. THE FIX: Tap into Facebook's power to update your family and friends automatically. Last fall, Wipolo, a travel dashboard, integrated with Facebook as one of the first free Facebook "apps." Click a button, and this app semi-automatically tells loved ones where you are in your trip. The tool shares your itinerary (from booking confirmation emails that you forward to it) and updates the specific list of friends you select, via their Facebook feeds. 2. THE PROBLEM: You have an upcoming milestone (like an important birthday) that you would like to celebrate with a vacation. But you need help affording your dream trip. THE FIX: MyTab.co, appearing last July, lets you share your dream destination with friends through Facebook and enable them to chip in to cover the cost of your tab via PayPal. 3. THE PROBLEM: Getting recommendations for hotels and restaurants at your destination used to be easy: Just post a status update requesting help. But now there is so much clutter in freinds' news feeds that your call for help may go unread. THE FIX: Add the free Facebook app. Trippy (which launched last September) posts your queries directly on their walls, which is more likely to be read by a Facebook user than random every item on a news feed. Even better, Trippy savvily targets which of your friends might have relevant recommendations. It picks the friends to contact after analyzing all of your friends' public profiles to see if they may know something about your upcoming destination. (Maybe they've taken photo at the destination you're planning to visit, which is a telltale clue.) One final note: Facebook is a fantastic tool for planning last-minute trips. To get discounts and giveaways to real-time, 11th-hour travel deals, consider "liking" or "friending" travel deal aggregators such as Airfarewatchdog, FareCompare, or Best Travel Deals. Members of hotel programs can benefit from exclusive Facebook offers by "liking" those company's Facebook fan pages, such as the especially active ones for Hilton HHonors and Starwood. We've seen especially worthwhile offers on the pages of loyalty reward programs in the past month. For example, yesterday, the Facebook page for PriorityClub—the loyalty program for major chains like Holiday Inn and InterContinental—touted a 24-hour sale on hotels, with a dozen properties up to half-off last-minute bookings. SEE MORE FROM BUDGET TRAVEL How to Use Pinterest for Travel Inspiration Online Maps Reveal Heavily "Checked-In" Spots 10 Most Useful Travel Websites