Navigate / search

New York Times: ‘Use Travelocity to Hunt for Packages’

I’ve made a career out of telling travelers how to save money. My number one piece of advice: Book your flight and hotel together. I stress this so much it’s borderline annoying, so when a story in the New York Times titled When a Vacation Package Can Save You Money (and When It Can’t) popped up in my Google Reader, I couldn’t click thru to read it fast enough. Mostly because I wanted to know exactly when columnist Michelle Higgins says it can’t save you money.

Turns out even she discovered that, while it pays to be a comparison shopper, “the [online] agencies’ pre-negotiated rates with airlines and hotels allow them to create packages at prices that you’re unlikely to get from hotels and airlines separately,” she writes.

For her article, Michelle tested three sites — Travelocity, Expedia and Orbitz — by searching flight + hotel vacation packages for a few different destinations. She not only shopped across all three agencies, but she also shopped the standalone flights and hotels on the supplier websites as well.

In her conclusion, Michelle writes that “Ultimately Travelocity had the best price for two of my searches.” She goes on to give multiple pros and cons for each of the online travel companies she tested before ending with her key piece of advice: use Travelocity to hunt for packages.

The Cheapskate’s Guide to Snow Skiing and Boarding: How to Maximize Your Money on the Slopes

Shortly after I learned to walk, my parents strapped skis to my feet and deposited me at ski school. What started out as the hobby of young-marrieds has now become a passion for their grown children.

But there’s just one problem with this: skiing is expensive!

tahoe

I devoted much of my early adulthood to figuring out how to pursue my passion while pinching my pennies. Here are my best tips to make the most of the mountain while getting the biggest bang for your buck!

Have an awesome tip you want to share? Please leave it in the comments section!

The Cheapskate’s Guide to Snow Skiing and Snowboarding

Would You Tip A Flight Attendant?

You can’t swing a dead cat these days without hearing how awful air travel is; stories of delays, cancellations, and surly flight attendants abound. But what if there was a way to make it better?

I read a great blog post recently that posed a really interesting question: could we get better service on airplanes if we tipped? After all, we tip for everything else: a morning latte, a dinner out, the convenience of having the bellman bring your bags up to the room. Would it make a difference if you slipped the flight attendant a couple of bucks as she handed over your diet coke? Sure, it’s not standard now—you’d probably get it passed back to you with a polite but firm no thank you, ma’am—but what if it was common practice? What if everyone tipped on planes?

What do you think? Would you do it? Should you do it? Would it make a difference to the general flying experience?

5 Essentials for a Perfect City Break

I live in a big city. Within two blocks of my apartment there are over a dozen restaurants. At night, I hear sirens wailing, my neighbor’s baby crying, and the occasional shouts of revelers as they make their way home from nearby bars. I squeeze onto crowded subway cars, know my sidewalk etiquette, and am rarely, if ever, able to experience total calm and quiet. And yet, when it comes to taking vacation breaks, I somehow find myself gravitating toward other cities. Through my travels, here’s what I’ve determined to be the five most important components for a successful big city break:

10 Don’t-Miss National Parks: Acadia, Grand Canyon, the Everglades, and More

When I tell people that my goal is to cross two new national parks off my list this year, they usually begin recommending their favorites to me. The only problem is, they have no idea what actually qualifies as a national park.

If you’ve watched the PBS series The National Parks: One of America’s Best Ideas, then you already know that getting a national park set aside is extremely difficult. They must be established by an act of Congress and there are only 58 in the U.S. system. Here’s the official list if you’re curious.

Many of the parks my well-meaning friends and family have recommended are, in fact, national monuments, which can be signed into existence by any U.S. president, or state parks, which are far more abundant.

arches