Travel e-Scapes: January 8, 2016

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DESTINATION & DEAL OF THE DAY: London

Travel e-Scapes: July 30, 2015

Round-trip from Atlanta:
$829 per person to London including a 7-day Avis rental car (manual mini)
Sample rate based on February 11-18 travel
Rates of $857 per person based on May 13-19 travel
Larger vehicles available at slightly higher rates
Compare to air-only rates of $1,466 to London during the month of May!

Round-trip from Atlanta:
$1,034 per person to London including a 5-night hotel stay at the Royal National in London (based on two traveling and staying together)
Slightly higher rates available for other hotel choices
Add $35 per direction for Friday-Sunday travel
A 7-night minimum stay required
Sample rate based on February 1-29 travel (and January with limited availability)
Travel from March 1-June 30 available at slightly higher prices
Additional offers are available to European destinations on stays at the following hotels: 
Holiday Inn Edinburgh
Aspect Hotel Park West in Dublin
Citypark Pelayo in Barcelona
Giotto in Rome
Apart Hotel Serrano Recoletos in Madrid
121 Hotel in Paris
See all hotel and car rental options at British Airways 


TRAVEL TIPS & TIDBITS

New Sites to See in 2016!

IMG Worlds of Adventure, the world’s largest indoor theme park, is scheduled to open soon in Dubai.  The theme park, which features Marvel, Cartoon Network, the original Lost Valley – Dinosaur Adventure and IMG Boulevard zones, plans to give live performances to visitors.  The attraction will include a guest experience where visitors can interact with actors, dressed in spectacular costumes while in character.  When it opens IMG Worlds of Adventure will span 1.5 million square feet.  Adult ticket prices for entry to four zones in the park will cost $81 (children’s ticket prices TBA).

Shanghai Disneyland is slated to open soon.  The $5.4 billion resort will feature six themed zones, positioning familiar favorites like Tomorrowland and Fantasyland alongside newer additions like Treasure Cove (think ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’) and Gardens of Imagination with seven Chinese-themed gardens and rides based on the Chinese zodiac (depicted by 12 Disney and Pixar characters).

Zurich, Switzerland will be home to the new FIFA Football Museum.  The  $177 million facility is set to house more than 1,000 exclusive exhibits dedicated to the sport.  The venue’s interactive multimedia experience for visitors will include a giant soccer pinball machine and a cinema recreating the atmosphere of a stadium.  The World Cup trophy is the museum’s centerpiece.

When it opens to the public on May 14, San Francisco‘s SFMOMA will become the largest modern art museum in the United States and more than 20,000 square feet larger than the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in Manhattan.  The 10-story museum will house a Center for Photography, 260 works from the Fisher Collection and over 600 other prized artworks.  Free admission for age 18 and under.

Ark Encounter will open on July 7 in northern Kentucky with a full-scale replica of Noah’s Ark that’s said to be the largest wooden structure in the world.  The park’s creators hope to promote the theory of creationism.  Combo tickets will include admission to the nearby Creation Museum.

Set to open in September, Doha Festival City will feature 550 shops, 100 cafes and restaurants, a hotel and convention center, and an outdoor amusement park and indoor snow park for skiing and sledding.  Qatar will host the 2022 World Cup.

A $30 million dollar complex, Palestinian Museum will open in the West Bank just north of Jerusalem on May 15.  The 430,000-square-foot institution will be the largest of its kind dedicated to Palestinian art and culture.

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Louvre Abu Dhabi will open toward the end of 2016 with 65,000 square feet of permanent installations and 22,000 square feet more set aside for temporary exhibits.  Expect to view master Arabic paintings along with those from Van Gogh, Monet and da Vinci.  The emirate spent $525 million for the Louvre brand, and more than $700 million for art loans and managerial advice.
 

Hotel & Cruise Cancel Fees

Biggie hotel brands Hilton and Marriott have new cancellation policies in place.  
Marriott’s new ‘common standard’ requires a reservation cancellation to be made at least 24-hours in advance to avoid any penalty charges. Some hotels will require more notice. Be certain to check the rate rules for specifics.
The Hilton brand (including Hilton, DoubleTree, and Embassy Suites) is trialing a new stricter cancellation policy at 24 of its hotels (locations not named), imposing a $50 cancellation fee anytime after a booking is made. The current policy of charging one night’s room rate will remain in effect if the cancellation is made beginning midnight of the day the stay begins.  Hilton’s CEO Chris Nassetta says that ‘…people are trying to game all our systems with cancel and rebook.’ The trial runs though January.
Here’s how to avoid the $50 hit: Hilton Hhonors members will be exempt from the new fee.  Sign up — it’s free to join!

Effective immediately, Norwegian Cruise Line makes it tougher to cancel trips.  Previously customers could cancel a 5-day sailing 45 days from departure date and only forfeit the deposit. The new rule is 57 days in advance to do the same.  Cancelling 45 days before departure will result in a 50% penalty.  Customers cancelling cruises of 7-days days or more, even more than 76 days from departure date, now will forfeit 25%, where in the past they would only lose their deposit. 
Customers who cancel less than 30 days before a 7-day sailing will be charged a 100% penalty. Previously, the cruise line gave customers as little as 14 days on 6-days or more sailing before they were charged a 100% penalty.  

Trip cancellation insurance may not be the answer on this new gotcha.  Cancel for Any Reason (CFAR) coverage is an optional benefit of travel insurance coverage which offers the opportunity to cancel travel plans for reasons other than those listed as ‘covered reasons’ on a policy. However, CFAR cannot be purchased separately – it can only be an ‘add-on’ benefit. It is offered as a part of certain comprehensive plan and will only be available if you meet certain criteria. If you meet all the conditions, most of the policies will reimburse you 75% of trip costs.
Compare trip insurance and trip cancellation insurance riders at InsureMyTrip.com.
 

Apps that automatically compare, cancel and rebook for you

Customers used to cancelling and rebooking before arrival to land a better price should check out these two useful apps:
DreamCheaper: Forward your confirmation to [email protected]  The system will then continuously compare prices, rebook and cancel your old reservation.
TripRebel: Searches through thousands of new offers every day until the date of check in and cancels and rebooks a room if the price subsequently drops at a later time.  The original reservation must be made through TripRebel.com.
 


SPECIAL DOMESTIC & INTERNATIONAL OFFERS

Airfare offers – ones with a ticket-by date – and deals with our suggestion to ‘Hurry!’ can expire at anytime.   Heed Clark’s advice: Buy that great airfare deal – and then figure out a reason to go there! Eventually you’ll see the world at a fraction of the normal price!

NEW NONSTOP ROUTES! One-way from Atlanta, each way (air-only / The WORKS*) starting April 14:
Houston: $39 / $92
Memphis: $39 / $88
Salt Lake City: $79 / $138
St. Louis: $39 / $92
NEW NONSTOP ROUTES! One-way from Atlanta, each way (air-only / The WORKS*) starting April 15:
Kansas City: $49 / $102
Milwaukee: $49 / $102
Phoenix $79: / $138
Raleigh-Durham: $39 / $88
San Francisco: $79 / $138
Some markets do not offer daily service
Frontier’s full summer schedule is on sale for travel through August 15
Purchase low introductory fares by January 17
Blackout dates: May 28, 31; July 5
Opt to purchase Frontier’s bundled choice, The WORKS, available for purchase at FlyFrontier.com at time of initial booking
The WORKS includes one carry-on bag, one checked bag, best available seat including Stretch and Exit Row options, full refundability when canceled at least 24 hours prior to scheduled departure, no change fees and priority boarding  

Round-trip from Atlanta:
$938 Rome
$963 Milan
$1,014 Paris
Depart May 17-August 22
Travel any available day of the week
A 7-night minimum stay required; 3 months max
Milan exception: Add $20 per round-trip for minimum stays of one Saturday night 
Valid on Delta, nonstop
Purchase by January 20
Other carriers match with connecting service

NOTE: Airline fees can and often do exceed the cost of your flight! Additional charges now apply to budget and sale rates on most airlines for a carry-on bag, checked baggage and advance seat assignments. The least expensive fees are charged when these options are added during the flight booking process. Fees climb higher after flights are reserved and even higher when adding these options at airport check-in. Kayak offers the most up-to-date Fees Chart for all domestic and international airlines. 


SPECIAL HOTEL & RESORT DEALS

Dine & Stay Vancouver
The Dine Out Vancouver Festival will be held January 15-31. A record-setting 288 restaurants will be participate in this year’s event and offer prix fixe menus at one of three price points, $20 ($14 USD), $30 ($21 USD), and $40 ($28). The 17-day event is Canada’s largest food and drink festival. It’s the tastiest (and cheapest!) time to visit Vancouver! Download the Official Guide.  
Special promotional rates are offered at a number of hotels to complete your Vancouver Dine Out experience. The following per night rates (Canadian Dollar) are offered during the January 15-31 event: 
$80 CAD ($57 USD)
Comfort Inn Downtown Hotel  
Ramada Inn and Suites Downtown Vancouver
$110 CAD ($78 USD)
Coast Plaza Hotel and Suites
Granville Island Hotel
Lord Stanley Suites on the Park
Radisson Hotel Vancouver Airport
Rosellen Suites at Stanley Park
The Georgian Court Hotel
The Sylvia Hotel
Westin Bayshore, Vancouver
$140 CAD ($99 USD)
Coast Coal Harbour Hotel

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New NOLA Hotel
An Ace Hotel will open in New Orleans on March 14. Reservations are now being accepted. The restored 234-room property is in a 1928 Art Deco building in the city’s South Market Warehouse District development. Two James Beard Award-nominated chefs will lead the yet to be named restaurant of Southern cuisine. The property will also have a branch of Stumptown Coffee Roasters.
Guest room choices come in MEDIUM with a queen or king bed with specially-designed quilts, window seats, Roman and Williams lighting, Deco furnishings, Smeg refrigerators, Tivoli Radio, Rudy’s toiletries and Pearl+ soaps. Other room choices are LARGE, DOUBLE DOUBLE, SUITE and CORNER KING (some have turntables, some rooms have Martin guitars).
Nighly rates, including WiFi, from $189 weekdays; from $269 weekends. 


Travel e-Scapes is brought to you by Clara Bosonetto, Team Clark Travel Editor. Follow Clara on Twitter.


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