Clark Howard: Travel e-Scapes Newsletter December 14, 2010

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Travel Tips, Tidbits & Trivia

April in London
The latest news out of England was huge! Prince William and Kate Middleton will marry at Westminster Abbey on April 29. Superbreak, the short break specialist, has announced the launch of its April, 2011 Royal Wedding packages. The tour operator offers from 2 to 3 night breaks in a range of 3 to 5-star hotels in central London. Each of the tailor-made packages includes a flight on the London Eye, a Hi-Life dining card that offers two-for-one meals, savings of up to 20% at top London restaurants and attractions and all taxes. Royal Wedding packages start at £299 per person on three-night stays in a 3-star hotel (about $473 USD).

The Scoop on Airline Vouchers
Airfarewatchdog.com has created yet another handy chart for the traveling public — a chart that breaks down the differences in airline voucher policies. The founder of Airfarewatchdog.com, George Hobica says, “Some airlines are making it more difficult than others to redeem vouchers. Passengers should be aware of the differences before accepting a voucher or trying to use one.” The guide makes it useful for travelers to determine when to accept a voucher and when to say “no thanks.”

Mexico’s Monarch Mission
Mexico’s celebrated winter visitor, the Monarch butterfly, has a new conservation center aimed at boosting its dwindling numbers. The black and orange insect has been hit hard by deforestation around its winter nesting grounds in Michoacan state. Environmentalists say that last winter, only about one- fourth as many butterflies migrated to Mexico from the U.S. and Canada as in the previous year. President Felipe Calderon said last month that logging is a major threat to the butterflies, which are a big tourist draw and a boon for the local economy. He spoke at a ceremony inaugurating the center in Angangueo, which will provide visitors with information and seek to raise awareness about destruction of the Monarchs’ habitat.


Today’s HOT Domestic Bargains

The following rates could vanish at any time. HOT deals have no ticket-by date – meaning the airlines can ‘pull’ the rate when they deem the offer a sell-out or an error. Act fast!

One-way from Atlanta:
$149 San Jose, California
A 10-day advance purchase required
Valid Tuesday, Wednesday, Saturday
Rates are $169 on other days
No blackouts
Complete travel by November 10, 2011
Valid on Continental via Houston
Inclusive rate: $168.90

Round-trip from Atlanta:
$294 Palm Springs, California
A 21-day advance purchase required
Valid only Tuesday, Wednesday, Saturday
Depart on or after January 3, 2011
Complete travel by March 16, 2011
Stay a weekend to one month
Valid on Delta via Salt Lake City
Inclusive rate: $336.80


Great International Deals

The following rates have a ticket-by date which gives you a bit more breathing room to purchase tickets. However, these rates can also expired should an airline deem the offer sold-out — or a mistake!

One-way from Atlanta:
$89 Cancun
$114 Montego Bay
A 21-day advance purchase required
Valid Tuesday, Wednesday, Saturday
Rates are $10 higher for other days, except Sunday
Complete travel by March 16, 2011
Purchase by December 16
Valid on AirTran, nonstop
Inclusive rate: $133.37 CUN; $137.10 MBJ
These destinations are just a sampling of the deals offered in AirTran’s newest systemwide sale

Round-trip from Atlanta:
$225 Paris
$323 Frankfurt and other major cities in Germany
$334 Madrid
A 14-day advance purchase required
Add $25 per direction for weekend travel
Depart by April 12, 2011
Blackouts: January 1-5, 2011
Complete travel by March 16, 2011
Purchase by January 6, 2011
Valid on Air Canada, Continental, United
Inclusive rate: $703.30 PAR
Add up to $480 for inclusive pricing

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Top 10 Tuesday

Travelers with a sweet-tooth can indulge as they take in the sights, sounds, smells and tastes of these sweet spots, which include chocolate fountains, ice cream empires and jelly bean feasts.

TripAdvisor has come up with a list of the Top 10 Sweetest attractions in the U.S.:

1. Hershey’s Chocolate World, Hershey, Pennsylvania: At Hershey’s Chocolate World, chocoholics can hop on a free tour ride for a simulated journey through Hershey’s chocolate making process, package their own Hershey’s Kisses, or be immortalized on their very own chocolate bar.

2. Jelly Belly Factory Tour, Fairfield, California: No. 1 Jelly Belly Lane is home to the Jelly Belly factory which offers free 40-minute walking tours of the candy-making process. Enroll in Jelly Belly University and earn a degree in Beanology then round off the experience with a pizza or hamburger – Jelly Belly-shaped, naturally – at the Jelly Belly cafe.

3. Food on Foot Tours, New York City: ‘The World Famous Sweet Tooth Tour’ is a three-hour guided expedition taking in some of the city’s greatest spots for cookies, cupcakes, candy and more.

4. M & M’s World, Las Vegas: Situated next to the MGM Hotel and Casino, this 28,000 square-foot, four-story retail-entertainment emporium could be just the ticket for travelers who have had their fill of slot machines. Candy dispensers contain every color of M & M’s imaginable and a wide range of M & M merchandise.

5. Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream Factory, Waterbury, Vermont: A 30-minute experience begins with a movie about the company’s history before heading to the production room where a guide shares details of the ice cream-making process. From May through October, travelers can also visit the Flavor Graveyard in the grounds and pay their respects to dearly de-pinted flavors such as Peanut Butter and Jelly and Purple Passion Fruit.

6. Gourmet Walks, San Francisco: This city is at the center of a new wave of artisan chocolatiers and this three-hour guided tour lets travelers sample local flavors and receive tips on tasting. Stops are subject to change, but can include a Swiss chocolatier loved by Oprah Winfrey for its champagne truffles, a deluxe boutique featuring treats made by “the Dali of Chocolate Art” and even a newsstand that carries 225 chocolate bars from 15 countries.

7. New World of Coca-Cola, Atlanta: Located in downtown’s Pemberton Place, which takes its name from John S. Pemberton – the local pharmacist who invented Coca-Cola in 1886. Visits last 90-minutes on average, during which time travelers can explore the history of the world’s best-known brand, sample over 60 different products from around the globe, and check out Coca-Cola memorabilia.

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8. Bellagio Las Vegas, Las Vegas: While Bellagio’s famous dancing fountains are a sight to behold, an altogether different type of drool-inducing fountain lies within the hotel. Jutting out from Jean-Philippe Patisserie is the world’s tallest chocolate fountain, as certified by Guinness World Records. The mesmerizing fountain of cascading chocolate stands at 27-feet tall and uses more than 2,100 pounds of dark, white and milk chocolate, to spellbinding effect.

9. Angell & Phelps Chocolate Factory, Daytona Beach: A free tour of Angell & Phelps Chocolate Factory, open since 1925, gives visitors the opportunity to see candy-makers doing things the old-fashioned way then tuck into free samples of freshly made chocolates while perusing the goodies for sale.

10. Eli’s Cheesecake World, Chicago: The company’s Chicago-style baked cheesecake has been making its mark across the US and beyond for 30 years, and during the course of a short guided tour of the award-winning bakery, visitors can learn about the history of Eli’s and its dessert-making process.


The Best Hotel & Resort Deals

Getaway to Hilton Head
Take time for an overnight getaway and enjoy complimentary meals as part of a special hotel package at one of the most spectacular Hilton Head hotels and resorts – The Hilton Head Marriott Resort & Spa. Enjoy luxury oceanfront accommodations, dinner for two and breakfast for two the next morning, at rates starting as low as $179 on stays through March 10 (valid seven days a week!). Package perks allow guests to appease their appetites with a fine selection of menu offerings provided by the resort’s restaurants such as dining at Conroy’s, one of the finest Hilton Head seafood restaurants. Spacious accommodations provide Atlantic views, private balcony, luxurious bedding and Bath and Body Works amenities. The resort is home to three of the island’s 24 golf courses. The Spa Soleil is on-site for treatments and services. Refer to promo code ES1 when booking the “Great Escape Dining Package.”

Hit the links!..and then the Beach!
The only AAA Four-Diamond resort in Daytona Beach, The Shores Resort & Spa has partnered with LPGA International to bring golf enthusiasts a special Stay-and-Play offer, available on stays through January 26. Starting at just $352 per golfer, the package includes four nights accommodations and three rounds of golf, including cart fees on all three rounds and greens fees on rounds two and three. An easy 20-minute drive from the beachfront Shores Resort & Spa, LPGA International boasts two, four-star rated courses – the Champions Course and the Legends Course. A Rees Jones design, the Champions Course is considered a favorite among tour players. It is a traditional links style 7,088- yard design and is extremely playable for all skill levels. Designed by Arthur Hills, the Legends Course is known as a masterpiece in playability and variety, with challenges at every turn. Located on a quiet stretch of world famous Florida shoreline, The Shores Resort & Spa offers guest rooms and suites with views of the Atlantic or the Intracoastal Waterway and amenities such as oceanside fire pits, fine dining and a private spa.


Travel Quotation

AOL recently asked its Small Business Board of Director members, “What Are Your Best Travel Secrets?” Here’s one…

When it comes to flying, never check luggage. I once broke my own rule because I was going to Italy, so I checked one bag. One. One time. It was the size of a house. It didn’t matter. They lost it. I carry on a loose, single-fold single-suit bag. It keeps a suit and several shirts wrinkle free. No ironing or shower steam required. I also carry on a small roller bag for shoes, toiletries and computer. My iPhone doubles as a book reader, but I bring a paperback for those long sits on the tarmac when I can’t use electronics. I’m 6-foot-2. I pay for first class so I can work comfortably and I avoid small regional jets for the same reason.

Phil Town, investor and author of Rule #1 and Payback Time


Note: Unless otherwise stated above, follow these guidelines when booking special airfares from Clark Howard’s e-Scapes newsletter:

    No expiration of travel means the rate is valid on trips taken over the next 331 days, or the advance booking window allowed on most airlines International rates are based on mid-week travel days, or with most airlines Monday-Thursday. (one exception is Monday-Wednesday to London). Economy class airfares to Europe require a minimum stay requirement of a Saturday night and a maximum stay of a month. Economy class airfare to Asia, Africa, India and the Middle East typically require a 6-day minimum stay; 30-day maximum. Most domestic coach class airfares, including Canada and Hawaii, are based on mid-week travel. Weekend travel days are typically $10-$30 higher, per direction, for both domestic and international destinations. All airfares shown on e-Scapes are exclusive of taxes, fees, unless noted otherwise. Fuel surcharges on international trips can add from $180-$400 to base rates shown above, varying by continent.

Clark Howard’s Travel e-Scapes Team reminds you that the information in this newsletter is researched on the same day that you receive it. It can happen that by the time you read your copy a particular airfare may already have expired, especially the “HOT” deals listed. Airlines can publish and then ‘pull’, or discontinue sales without warning. Timing is everything!

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Get more of Clark’s best travel deals Mondays through Fridays on the Atlanta Travel Deals page.




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