Archive for March, 2010

Mombasa, in particular, is an excellent place to base yourself during a family vacation. We love the Serena Beach hotel. It is beautiful inside and out. A true hotspot, this hotel offers excellent amenities, childrens activities, and some of the best service in the area.

OpenSkies, the British Airways boutique carrier that offers all-business-class service between Newark and Paris/Orly, will add a second route on May 3. That’s when it will begin flights from Washington/Dulles Airport.

When he was 14 months old, in 1981, my son David took his first family vacation to Guatemala. With only a large red backpack, a hand-woven woolen Guatemalan bag, an aluminum-frame baby backpack and a cheap folding stroller, my husband and I took Dave all over Guatemala, on public buses, hitchhiking and walking.

Cambria actually is at its best in springtime, though summers are pretty darn beautiful too. This tiny coastal art colony is about 40 minutes west of Paso Robles wine country, and is one of the friendliest places in California for all sorts of reasons. First of all, there’s the food and wine.

Over Bastille Day in July of 2009 my wife and I took the kids (two girls, then ages 6 and 8) on a 10-day Europe vacation to Paris. We chose to stay in a Paris hotel in the 17th arondissement because it was comfortable and near the food markets on Rue Cler. We found the kids had many more entertainment and play options than expected.

She was surprised to find that Tokyo was not as nearly expensive as conventional wisdom would suggest. She avoided the central business districts and found a safe, clean Toyko hotel in the Shiodome district (She felt the more obvious Ginza and Shibuya districts were too crowded, noisy and dirty for a baby.) at a rate that would be a steal in NYC and was on par with prices in any major U.S. city.

See which @Orbitz Twitter follower just scored a 7-day Disney vacation for best Disney travel tip our Twitter giveaway.

All over Mexico, tourism is up and new hotels are opening. Plus, cruise lines continue to frequent both coasts, even adding new, lengthier Mexico itineraries for 2010. Acapulco welcomes Hotel Encanto, the boutique all-suite “design hotel” perched on a crest above Puerto Marques Bay.

As financial markets have stabilized in recent months, however, something astonishing has happened: There are days when getting a seat to London for last-minute travel is a dicey proposition. So carriers are once again paying attention to the “underserved” NyLon market. First to move: Continental Airlines, which will increase its Newark capacity by as much as 25 percent this year.

If you’re planning a Las Vegas vacation and need the inside scoop on hotels, restaurants, shows and more, join us for a live Q&A on Wednesday with Orbitz Vegas Blogger Eric Gladstone. When: 12:30p ET/9:30a PT Where: Why: No one else has the inside scoop like this guy.  If it’s in Vegas, chances are Eric [read more…]

Best Western has always trailed other major hotel chains when it came to soliciting the business of frequent travelers exactly because it wasn’t a chain. To compensate for the handicap, Best Western is deploying the nuclear option of loyalty programs: the “status match.”

East Coast gays look down their noses at Washington’s small queer scene, saying it’s full of transient part-time residents and in-the-know cliques. Some even site the closure of several long-standing gay bars and clubs in the mid-2000s to make way for the city’s baseball stadium. But what they fail to see is that for its size, Washington has a large and active LGBT population that is politically sophisticated and boldly out, and it is the latest spot in the U.S. to pass same-sex marriage.

We took a road trip to Niagara Falls and stayed in a hotel right across from the falls, so our rooms had truly breathtaking views. The pedestrian area near Niagara Falls offered many vantage points and lots of room for the kids to exert some energy! They were amazed to see the waterfalls and were confused that they never stopped. The big feature and bonus of staying at the Sheraton on the Falls for our family vacation was the fact it was connected to the Fallsview Indoor Waterpark.

As you surely know by now, hotel frequent-stay award charts are based on each hotel’s “average daily rate” (ADR). When the rate goes up, the price you pay in points goes up because the hotel chains raise the charge in line with the increase. Hilton HHonors raised its award prices for 2010, claiming the 20 percent devaluation was overdue. Now comes word that Starwood Hotels Preferred Guest will not be making any changes in its 2010 rewards chart. This despite a 2009 ADR decline in the range of 15-20 percent.

Throughout 2009, the hotel industry was awash in waves of property openings just as occupancy rates and nightly room rates were collapsing. But 2010 will be much different. Here’s what’s new lately:

For all those who entered our Disney travel tip contest, here’s a special vacation discount: Use promo code TWITTER40 to receive $40 off a vacation package.

Honest disclosure: As a female, I fully believe that most Caribbean vacations — actually, most vacations in general — should be mixed-gender. Women make things more fun, plus, we always are the ones who remember the sunblock. But if you’re planning on four solid days of spear-fishing or survival training or anything that gets dirt/fish scales under the fingernails, I pass. You and your backpack-heaving buddies have my blessing to hit any of the amazing, remote, outdoorsy Caribbean vacation destinations below, have fun, take pictures, try to avoid major bruises, and I’ll see you when you’re back to civilization.

Alaska is one of those places where people go to seek adventure. Its fierce beauty, overwhelming silence and lack of luxury hotels makes it a natural spectacle. Once you get off the main roads and into the wilderness, a whole new world opens up: raw, magnificent and still.

Continental Airlines has embarked on a “pizza strategy” — the odd theory that posits passengers will pay more on an à la carte basis for stuff that is currently bundled into the airfares. Its latest initiative: selling exit rows for mysterious prices that the carrier won’t reveal and admits will be on a what-the-market-will-bear scale.

We’re giving away a 7-night vacation package to Walt Disney World® Resort in Orlando, Florida! Prize includes airfare for four, 7-night hotel stay in a Disney property, four 7-day Magic Your Way® theme park tickets with Park Hopper® and Water Parks Fun & More, $250 Disney gift certificate, admission to Cirque du Soleil® show for four, winner’s choice of spa treatment or round of golf. That’s a value of $8,000!