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Rockstar Guides to the Galaxy

Rick Steves shows us Europe off the beaten path. Jacques Cousteau plunged us into fascinating underwater habitats. And Anthony Bourdain brings culinary bravado from around the world right to your T.V. screen.

Now, video artists Lauren Tabak and Alexa Inkeles take us along on intimate city tours by those who know the inner workings of the urban world better than most: Rock stars.

Why rock stars? Being an aspiring one myself (albeit on a relatively small scale–insert self-deprecating laugh track here, please), I can personally attest to the vibrant social life of the musician trying to move on up in a fast-paced industry. What gives rock stars such a well-framed perspective on city hotspots is that they know where the good times are. After all, it is their job.

Tips For Tipping

Last night, when the pizza was delivered, I made my boyfriend run out and pay for it. Correction, I paid for it—hey, I’m an equal opportunity kind of girl—but he signed the credit card slip. The reason? Tipping makes me nervous. Or rather, knowing how much to tip makes me nervous. And it’s even worse when the delivery guy is standing right there. Math in a bar? Taxing, but doable. Pressure math in the lobby of your building? Much scarier.

Of course, tipping is fraught with even more uncertainty when you’re in a foreign country. How much to give? Is it included? Can you add it to the credit card bill or should you leave it on the table?

If you’ve been wondering how much extra moolah you’re going to want to cough up on vacation, here are a few guidelines.

It’s Cruise Wave Season

Right now, we’re riding the crest of cruise wave season, the heaviest time of year for cruise bookings and prime time to find steals and deals on ships both large and small. When you factor in that all your meals and much of your onboard entertainment is included in the cruise price, it truly is one of the best bargains in vacationing today.

Now I know there are a lot of people out there who think “cruise” and roll their eyes (are you one of them?), but as someone who previously doubted she’d ever be able to find anything to like about sea legs, I’ve been proven wrong again and again.

Will Spring Break 2008 Thrive?

Spring Break is here again. If spring break happens year after year after year — why is this one different? Well for one, because it’s the spring break that shouldn’t be happening. We’ve all been hearing all about a possible recession. We’re all feeling the pinch. Real estate, consumer confidence, spending it’s all been looking rather bleak. And yet, for inexplicable reasons this spring break people are still traveling. In droves.

So lets stretch beyond these puzzling facts and just say – clearly Americans want their vacation time. Even if prices are high and they must scrimp elsewhere in order to take it. That means that this year with high prices continually on the rise, travelers booking further in advance than ever – it’s increasingly helpful to know where to find the deals.

I took a look at pricing data and here’s the skinny on where to find good pricing this spring break.

Picture from IgoUgo member btwood2