Travel e-Scapes: May 13, 2016

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DESTINATION & DEAL OF THE DAY: Vermont

Travel e-Scapes: May 13, 2016

HURRY! One-way from Atlanta, each way:
$106 Burlington, Vermont
A 21-day advance purchase required
Travel any available day of the week
Complete travel on or before August 15
No blackout dates
Valid on American via Philadelphia or United via Newark


TRAVEL TIPS & TIDBITS

Best Travel Website?
The editors at NextAdvisor.com, a leading consumer and small business information website, analyzed and reviewed nine of the leading direct booking sites to determine which are best for planning and booking both domestic and international trips. Services reviewed include Expedia, Hotwire.com, Orbitz, Priceline, CheapAir, Booking.com, TripAdvisor, Travelocity and Hotels.com, with Expedia taking the No. 1 spot.
Before the editors started testing, they compiled a list of the biggest names in travel sites that fit a certain criteria. First, the site had to offer its own prices (not list or compare another site’s prices). Next, users must be able to book directly through the travel site. Once they compiled a complete list, they started testing.

The editors analyzed the process of booking three identical trips. For domestic trips, editors looked at the process of booking a flight, hotel room and car rental, while they compared the process of booking a flight and hotel room for international trips. 
Along the way, editors took note of the features on each particular site as well as important aspects like price comparison, ease of use, clarity, search filters, rewards programs and customer service. Some services were noticeably more adept in giving users a positive booking experience, while others were disappointing in both overall site culture as well as pricing.
The Bottom Line: There seems to be a solid understanding among booking sites that no two trips will be exactly the same, yet each service tested excelled in some way.
Editors were able to detail which service is likely the most helpful for every type of trip.
See a comparison chart of all the factors that went into this test. And, read the full reviews for each travel site.

Duty Free Gifts
A new United Airlines program, dubbed Celebrate,’ lets people buy a gift from duty free online and have it hand-delivered onboard, with a personalized note, to a passenger on any United international flight departing the U.S.  To make this happen, you need the recipient’s name and flight number.
Whether it’s champagne, chocolates, a neck pillow, or a piece of jewelry, you can now make someone’s flight a little more enjoyable.
One caveat: Don’t order alcohol with the intention it will be enjoyed during the flight. It’s illegal to open duty free alcohol onboard.
The United initiative was inspired by an employee who remembered delivering a surprise bottle of champagne to a couple departing for their honeymoon 40 years ago. She brought up the idea with the company’s management team and voila — United is the first airline to offer a gift-giving service. 


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!

One-way from Atlanta, each way:
$124 Halifax, Nova Scotia
A 14-day advance purchase required
Travel any available day of the week
Complete travel on or before December 10
No blackout dates
Valid on United via Newark
Purchase by May 15​

HURRY! One-way from Atlanta, each way:
$136 Key West, Florida
A 21-day advance purchase required
Travel any available day of the week
Complete travel on or before April 9, 2017
No blackout dates
Valid on American via Miami
Stopovers of less than 18 hours permitted

HURRY! Round-trip from Atlanta:
$185 Muskegon, Michigan
$189 Grand Rapids, Michigan
A 21-day advance purchase required
Travel any available day of the week
Complete travel on or before August 21
No blackout dates
Valid on United via Chicago

Round-trip from Atlanta:
$356 San Juan PR
$362 Cancun
$444 Montego Bay
$463 Punta Cana DR
$476 Aruba
Valid Monday-Thursday only
Start travel on or after September 7
Stay at least one Saturday night
Complete travel on or before November 2
Valid on Delta, nonstop
Purchase by May 19

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 OFFERS

Bella, Italia!
Airfares to Italy have risen to highs of $1,400 for peak summer travel. But tweaking your travel seasons can find you enjoying Tuscany for nearly half that rate with a bundled package from Gate 1.
Travelzoo highlights this air/car/hotel deal from Atlanta at per person rates from $799 for the following departure dates:
November 14, 15, 28, 29
December 5, 6
January 9, 10, 16, 17, 23, 24, 30, 31
February 6, 7, 13 (over Valentine’s Day), 14, 20, 21, 27, 28 (end of February celebrates Carnivale)
March 6, 7, 13
The ‘8 Day Tuscany Fly & Drive with Milan’ package includes:
A five-night stay in Tuscany
One night accommodation in Milan
Daily breakfast
Manual rental car (upgrades available, including automatic and luxury vehicles)
Depending on departure date, choose from a 4-star city center hotel or a hotel near the famed thermal baths in Montecatini.
Easy day trips include venturing to Florence, riding bikes along the walls of Lucca, touring Siena’s churches or tastings of olive oil, cheese and wine in Chianti vineyards. Don’t rule out a visit in November and December. These months are mostly void of tourist throngs to enjoy sipping mulled wine and shopping the Christmas market).
Book by May 20 (book asap!) and refer to promo code TZTMLF100.
Start the booking process at Travelzoo

Earn Gift Cards on Stays
To celebrate the summer vacation season, Choice Hotels is bringing back one of your favorite ways to stay and save. For a limited time only, Choice Privileges members can earn unlimited gift cards this summer.  
Two separate stays between May 12 and August 18 can earn you enough points towards a $50 gift card of your choice. Use it at your favorite retail stores and restaurants.
Choice brands include: Comfort Inn, Comfort Suites, Quality Inn, Sleep Inn, Clarion, Cambria Hotel & Suites, Mainstay Suites, Suburban Extended Stay, Econo Lodge, Rodeway Inn, and Ascend Hotel Collection.
Not a Choice Privilege Member? Join the program free and register for this offer. 

Play Ball!
Courtyard St. Petersburg Clearwater offers its ‘Stay For Breakfast’ package to travelers headed to see Tampa Bay Rays games at Tropicana Field. Rates from $109 include complimentary breakfast for up to two adults and two children 12 and under. Valid on stays through December 31. Refer to promo code S4B.
The American League East team – with many fresh faces for the current season – hopes to give fans some exciting baseball against rivals including the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees. Day and evening games on the schedule make it convenient from the greater Tampa-St. Petersburg area to swing by the ballpark for the action.
The Tropicana Field park offers 90-minute tours of the facility. Tour highlights include on-field access, dugout, control room, press box, the Ted Williams Museum & Hitters Hall of Fame and the Rays Touch Tank – a 35-foot, 10,000 gallon tank located just beyond the right-center field fence with rays from the waters of Tampa Bay (and cared for by the Florida Aquarium staff). Adults $9.  


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


Looking for more deals?
View all current airfare offers at Clark’s Atlanta Travel Deals page or the National Travel Deals page.

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