Clark Howard’s Travel e-Scapes Newsletter September 29, 2011

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Travel Tips, Tidbits & Trivia

Bourdain’s Back!
Anthony Bourdain, contemporary cultural anthropologist, best-selling author and host of the Emmy-winning series, “No Reservations,” turns the travel genre on its head in Travel Channel’s newest original series, “The Layover.” Beginning Monday, November 21 at 9:00 p.m. ET, Bourdain is back like never before with a high octane series that gives him just 24-48 hours to explore an unexpected destination. Viewers get a ringside seat as Tony goes on the hunt for local intel and explores the essential “must see” places, people and foods in locations throughout the U.S., Asia and Europe. His itineraries, completely off the beaten track and all completed within a matter of hours, are mini-trips of a lifetime. No nonsense and budget friendly, Bourdain reveals insider tips that only the most seasoned travelers would know. In each hour-long episode of the 10-part series, Bourdain explores a different jet-setting hub proving that layovers are opportunities for travelers to mingle with locals, crash parties, dine on local cuisine, and explore cultures. From New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Miami to Hong Kong, Singapore, London, Rome, Montreal and Amsterdam, viewers learn where to go, where to stay and what to eat, to maximize their enjoyment no matter how much or little time they have in that city. “‘The Layover’ is a fast, busy and content-filled hour,” comments Bourdain. “We go to spots that I personally think are cool and fun for all budgets. In every case, these are places where I either did go, or would visit even when the cameras are off. ‘The Layover’ is a reflection of what I’ve learned over time. It’s about telling a story that viewers can recreate themselves.” Anthony Bourdain is a 28-year veteran of professional kitchens, having worked as a dishwasher, line cook and chef in places good, bad and horrible — most of them in New York City. Since embarking on a round-the-world trip for “A Cook’s Tour,” he has continued traveling for ‘No Reservations’ (now in its seventh season) and for various publications – and because he likes it.

New in Augusta…
Known worldwide for the Masters and the coveted green jacket, Augusta, also boasts a rich past that tells the story of Southern history and progression. Now a new attraction – The Historic Trolley Tour – offers natives and visitors alike the chance to travel back in time to further explore the second-oldest and second-largest city in Georgia. The tour begins with the Augusta Museum of History. There guests can explore the many exhibits featured at the museum, such as a restored 1917 steam locomotive, an exhibit dedicated to Mr. James Brown, the Godfather of Soul, and six life-size bronze statutes of some of golf’s greatest players. Next, visitors board the Lady Liberty trolley and explore Augusta’s Historic Downtown. The tour takes riders by some of Augusta ‘s most famous homes, including the Boyhood Home of President Woodrow Wilson. Learn about the bones in the basement of the Medical College of Georgia, see the Augusta Canal and hear the legend of the famous Haunted Pillar. The Historic Trolley Tour runs each Saturday from 1:30–3:15 p.m., and departs from the Augusta Visitor Center. Tickets are $12 per person, which includes admission to the Augusta Museum of History. Twenty-four hour advanced reservations are required. Call 706-724-4067, or visit online (see above).

October Fantasy Fest
Sea monsters and mermaids, creatures of the deep and escapees from Davy Jones’ locker are to surface in Key West on October 21-30, during the island city’s annual Fantasy Fest celebration. Begun more than 30 years ago, the festival is internationally recognized for its uninhibited flair and lighthearted spirit. Themed “Aquatic Afrolic” this year, Fantasy Fest features 10 days of masquerade balls, costume contests, parties and ocean-inspired escapades climaxing in a glittering grand parade set for Saturday, October 29. The aquatic action is to begin with a Royal Coronation Ball Friday, Oct. 21, to crown the festival King and Queen. In addition, Key West’s Caribbean roots are to be celebrated with Friday and Saturday’s Goombay street party in historic Bahama Village. Tuesday’s is the “Underseas Odyssey” Headdress Ball, featuring prizes for the best masks, helmets and other headgear. Wednesday brings the offbeat Pet Masquerade and Parade, where furred, feathered and even finned friends compete for costume prizes. Watch high-energy performances on a beachfront stage Thursday, during Pretenders in Paradise, Fantasy Fest’s most elaborate costume competition. Key West’s renowned Duval Street becomes the stage Friday with costumes, arts and crafts, food and libations star in the mile-long Fantasy Fest Street Fair. Saturday’s big event is the Captain Morgan Fantasy Fest Parade through Key West’s historic downtown. Tens of thousands of spectators converge to cheer its marching groups in feathered and sequined robes, Caribbean bands, costumed characters and lavishly decorated motorized floats.


Today’s HOT Domestic Deals

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

One-way from Atlanta:
$119 each way, San Francisco
A 7-day advance purchase required
Valid Monday-Saturday
Complete travel by August 25, 2011
Blackouts: November 27, 28; December 23; January 2; February 16, 17, 20; March 8-12, 15-19, 22-26; March 29-April 2; April 4-7, 9, 13, 15
Valid on United via Chicago, Denver or Houston
Inclusive one-way rate: $140.40

One-way from Atlanta:
$119 each way, Seattle
A 14-day advance purchase required
Valid any available day
Complete travel by August 25, 2011
No blackouts
Valid on United via Chicago, Denver or Houston
Inclusive one-way rate: $140.40


Great International Deals

The following rates have a ticket-by date which gives you a bit more breathing room to purchase tickets. However, these offers could expire before that date should an airline deem the sale rates sold-out — or a mistake!

Round-trip from Atlanta:
$249 Quito, Ecuador
A 21-day advance purchase required
Travel any available day
Stay at least any three nights
Complete travel by December 31
Southbound blackouts: December 16-26
Purchase by October 5
Valid on Delta, nonstop
Inclusive rate: $769.90

Round-trip from Atlanta:
$257 Lima, Peru
A 14-day advance purchase required
Travel any available day
Stay at least any three nights
Complete travel by December 31
Southbound blackouts: December 16-26
Purchase by October 5
Valid on Delta, nonstop
Inclusive rate: $969.84

Round-trip from Atlanta:
$609 Santiago, Chile
A 10-day advance purchase required
Add $25 per direction for weekend travel
Saturday night minimum stay
Complete travel by December 31
Purchase by October 5
Valid on Delta, nonstop
Inclusive rate: $1,486.10

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Clark Said….

This fall represents a great opportunity for cruise deals if you’re looking to take to the high seas.

Fall is traditionally a bargain time because it coincides with autumn hurricane season and the kids being back in school. But in the wake of August’s debt ceiling standoff and U.S. debt downgrade, Americans have really lost confidence in the economy and are putting off big purchases that much more.

At the same time, many of the big cruise lines have too many ships that were commissioned during the boom years now coming into rotation. So supply is completely out of whack with demand. If you’re a relatively new cruiser, I prefer that you look at a web site like CruiseCritic.com to help you know when to buy, what ships you’re going to like based on your preferences and even what to do on individual ships. The web site offers user-generated reviews by fellow cruisers.

On the other hand, if you prefer to travel by air, the airfares to Florida are phenomenal. JetBlue has increased its presence in the Northeast to Florida and the Caribbean. Southwest Airlines, meanwhile, has increased its presence in the Northeast. Look to travel between December 1-15 for the ultimate bargains. Nobody goes on vacation those two weeks!


Hotel & Resort Specials

Super Scottsdale Package
The JW Marriott Camelback Inn Resort & Spa invites guests to relax and do their own thing with the “Fling + Swing” package, available on stays through December 30. Whether vacation fun means hitting the greens, lounging by the pool, shopping, dining out or even enjoying high-tech fun, the whole family will find something to delight and entertain them at this legendary Scottsdale resort. Starting at $169 per night, the package includes Pueblo-style accommodations, a daily $50 resort credit, unlimited rounds of golf, free kids’ meals (12 and under from Rita’s kids menu), shopping discounts and more. Other package amenities include WiFi in guestrooms; one complimentary appetizer after 4 p.m. with purchase of item of equal or greater value at BLT Steak, Rita’s Kitchen or R Bar; 15% savings off gift and clothing purchases at the resort, spa and golf shops; two-hour tennis court use; two-hour bike rental and complimentary shuttle service from the Resort to Camelback Golf Club. Refer to promo code ZJ5. Set on 125 acres of Sonoran Desert in affluent Paradise Valley, Camelback Inn offers a peaceful desert setting, private grounds for hiking and meditation and indigenous plant life. The resort, which recently received its 35th consecutive AAA Five Diamond Award, also features a 32,000-square-foot spa, three swimming pools and seven restaurants and lounges.

Miami’s Albuquerque Adventure
The streets of Miami Beach transform into a vivacious city-wide stage of all-night arts and cultural performances for “Sleepless Night Miami Beach” on November 5, 2011. Miami Beach joins Paris, Rome, Madrid, Montreal and 11 other major international cities who set aside one whole night (6 p.m.-6 a.m.) to bring free arts encounters to their residents and visitors. “Sleepless Night Miami Beach” offers an eclectic mix of more than 150 local and international artists ranging from trapeze artists, symphonies, theater and dance groups, music concerts, architectural tours, museum exhibitions, full-length plays and operas to concerts, dance performances, stand-up comedy and street spectacles and much more at 80 locations citywide. The Catalina Hotel & Beach Club helps visitors enjoy the event with the “Sleepless Night” package, available on stays through November 8. Included are accommodations; a welcome drink of energy drink cocktails and nightly cocktail hour; caffeinated gift basket amenity; two Hungry Man’s Breakfast Platters served at 24-hour Maxine’s Bistro; two signature Sushi Samplers served at Kung Fu Sushi; two beach chairs per day per room; use of Catalina cruiser bicycles; access to VIP Oxygen Bar during Sleepless Night Miami Beach event; VIP club passes; round-trip airport shuttle from Miami International Airport and 4 p.m. late check-out from $229, double. Three-night packages from $189. For more, visit Sleepless Night Miami Beach 2011.


Travel Quotation

Uncertainty and anticipation are the joys of travel. /

Ken Hundert


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 $200-$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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