Thursday, June 28, 2012

A Romantic Vacation for Two in France

France is the land of love and romance, so whether you decide to stay in Paris or venture past the City of Lights to see the sites in the countryside, you can be sure that just being in France will be a romantic and unforgettable experience.  However, if you are the adventurous sort of person, here are a few things you might want to try on your vacation to France to add an extra bit of romance.

Experience the relaxed activity that many French people like to indulge in and spend the day tasting wine together.  There are wineries spread throughout the towns and countryside in France.  You could either walk or drive to a winery near where you’re staying, or you can join an organized tour that will take you to several wineries.  If you don’t have a tour guide just look for signs that advertise “degustation,” or tastings.  If you’d rather stay in the city, you could spend an afternoon going from one cafe to the next, sampling different types of wine together.  Maybe you’ll find a new favorite that you can look for back home that will remind you of your romantic vacation in France.

Even if you are on a limited budget, the both of you can have a romantic picnic anywhere in France.  Just pack simple foods you can eat with your hands or feed each other.  Pick up a freshly baked baguette, a couple of chunks of cheese, a few chocolate croissants, and a nice bottle of wine then find a nice quiet spot.  If you are in Paris, you can have a picnic at the base of the Eiffel Tower, on the edge of the Seine or on a simple park bench.  In the countryside, spread out a blanket in the grass on a rolling hill.

For a nice romantic trip, go to the Loire Valley.  This region in the northwest is known for its fairytale gardens, quaint towns and gourmet cuisine.  The Loire Valley is also home to more than 1,000 castles, with some that date back to the late 990s A.D.  Some of these chateaux are open for tours, while others have been converted into hotels.  Spend an entire week bonding in one of the beautiful towns or spend the time traveling from one to the next.

Several romantic movies have been filmed in France, because its just so darn romantic.  Do a little research before your trip and watch a movie or two that was filmed in France, find a particularly romantic scene (if you two don’t already have a favorite) find out where the scene was filmed and visit that spot with your love.  Maybe even act out the scene.  You can find information about filming locations online or at a tourism office.  But don’t let on that you heard that last idea from me, it will be our little secret and your brilliant romantic idea.

Happy Travels!!!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Hidden fees vacationers aren’t expecting

Discovering hidden fees you weren’t expecting while on vacation is one of the worst feelings and it can put a bit of a cloud over your otherwise sunny summer vacation.  Whether it's a fee for checking an overweight suitcase or having to pay for internet use at your hotel.

The most common hidden fees are ones that are common but unpredictable and difficult to budget for and record, making keeping track of these travel expenses much tougher to deal with than need be.

There can be quite a few hidden fees charged by the airlines.  Expenses will include things that usually go unnoticed in most circumstances.  Some of these expenses are ordering a soft drink, buying or renting a headset to watch a movie or other entertainment that is offered or of course buying food.

Luggage fees aren’t usually considered as hidden fees because you know what those are upfront, which doesn’t make them any easier to handle, it just makes them more noticeable.

When it comes to booking your hotel, you should ask about fees for internet use, parking your car and the use of the phone.  These fees are usually added on to your bill when you check out and can be a surprise if you aren’t expecting them.

Renting a car can also have some hidden fees attached.  Some of the more common hidden fees you might be charged when renting a car can be, tolls, late returns of the car, and dropping off a one-way rental.  Another rule of thumb for renting a car is to make sure you check the car for damage before you accept it.  If there is any damage at all bring it to someone’s attention and ask that it’s noted somewhere or ask for a different vehicle.  I’m not saying that this is a way for a rental agency to charge multiple customers for the same damage but it can sometimes be overlooked and why should a careful driver like yourself be charged for someone else's mishap.

One final hidden fee is fuel, all drivers should be aware of the fact that you need to return your rental car with a full tank of gas.  If you return the car with anything less than a 100 percent full tank of fuel, they will charge you to fill the tank and their charge for fuel will be a lot higher than what it would’ve cost you to fill the car yourself because they will charge you at a premium.

One of the main things to keep in mind when vacationing, is that there are usually no freebies.  Just about everything you take for granted will have some sort of cost added to it, and if you keep this in mind on your journey, you should make it without too many hidden fees.

Happy Travels!!!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Planning your first Caribbean Vacation

People planning their first Caribbean vacation will be amazed at how much there is to see and do.  The Caribbean Islands have a rich and long history of ancient Mayan ruins, pirates with buried treasures, and early explorers in search of the Lost City of Gold.  The beauty of the Caribbean is it’s own treasure and something everyone should see.

I have come up with a few helpful tips to help make sure you are getting the trip you’ve been dreaming about, one full of adventure, romance and relaxation.

The first step to any great vacation is to do all of the research you can ahead of time.  Plan your trip several months in advance so you can take advantage of great deals and all inclusive vacation packages available. has several great money saving deals running right now for a summer vacation to the Caribbean.

You can save a bundle by visiting the Caribbean during its long off-season which is mid-April to mid-December, so a summer vacation to the islands is the most affordable which makes the Caribbean a perfect destination for your summer vacation.  The downside to visiting the islands during this time is that a lot of the popular resorts close up for the off-season.  There is also the chance of dealing with muggy weather during this time frame due to the fact that the trade winds aren’t as prevalent in the summer.  But if you are mainly interested in the culture of the islands, this can be a great time to visit.

There is an endless amount of things to do on your Caribbean vacation.  Make a list of all the things you’d like to see and do based on the islands you will visit.  Here is also where the research comes in and researching the things you’d like to see and do should go hand in hand with researching your vacation package.  Several packages will help you with this by adding tours and activities to the package to either get you started or plan out your whole stay if you choose.  Some of the more popular activities are swimming, parasailing, scuba diving, and boating.

If you are in the Mexican Caribbean, you won’t want to miss seeing the Mayan ruins, such as Tulum or Chichen Itza which are pre-Columbian archaeological sites built by the Mayan civilization.

Dolphins are a big favorite with everyone and the experience of playing and interacting with dolphins can be a big hit with children and adults alike.  There are several well known and reputable places that specialize in dolphin encounters, look into them first to make sure you are getting the best experience possible.

Many of the leading hotels offer some serious full-service spas for their guests.  However, these spas do come at a price so make sure to check to see what is included in your stay and what is the cost of extras.

A Caribbean vacation can be expensive but this dream vacation doesn’t have to cost your life savings.  With the right amount of research and planning, you can have a vacation that you’ll remember for a lifetime in the Caribbean.

Happy Travels!!!

California: Vacation in the Golden State

California’s gorgeous weather, interesting culture and beautiful scenery make it a favorite vacation spot of people from all around the world.  The things to see are endless, from the glamour of Hollywood to the beautiful scenery of Yosemite National Park.  Vacationers can spend two weeks in this beautiful state and never come close to seeing all it has to offer.  However, here are few helpful tips that will make your vacation more enjoyable and save you a lot of time and grief.

California is a very large state of almost 800 miles from north to south, it is larger than some European countries.  Los Angeles to San Francisco takes 6 to 8 hours travel time by car, San Diego is about 2 hours by car and Yosemite is 3 to 4 hours from San Francisco.  Air travel of course would take less time but when you figure in the security delays, it pretty much works out to be the same.  Make sure you factor in the travel time to the sites you want to see so you can spend enough time sightseeing.

The San Francisco Bay area has an effective and reasonably priced public transit system, but California as a whole just doesn’t have the public transportation structure to make it a convenient form of travel.  Plan to rent a car when you arrive in California because too many of the vacation spots are spread out and not easily accessible by train or bus.  A rental car will save you a lot of trouble.

California’s freeways are every bit as bad as you have heard.  When you are traveling in a major city like LA or San Francisco, avoid the freeways during rush hour periods and plan an alternate route to your destination.  A navigation system in your car can be your best friend for maneuvering California’s traffic.

One great thing about California is, the weather is nice all year round.  With its great weather you can plan to visit during the off-seasons like spring or fall, it's not so crowded.  You also need to prepare for this great weather and sunshine.  Make sure you have sunscreen available wherever you go.  A hat and sunglasses are also standard equipment for sunny California.  If you plan on spending long periods in the sun, which I’m sure you will then you will be happy you're prepared.

California is a vacation spot you have to visit at least once in your life to see why it's so special.  But visiting California doesn’t have to break the bank.  There are plenty of very affordable travel packages listed on this site that can save you a lot of money and keep your stress level down while you enjoy your vacation.  You just need to do a little research and plan ahead.

Happy Travels!!!

Monday, June 25, 2012

Taj Mahal Majestic Beauty

The Taj Mahal or “crown of palaces”, located in Agra India, is a beauty to behold and a vacation tourism sight you won't ever forget.

Built by Mughal emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his third wife, Mumtaz Mahal.  The Taj Mahal is widely recognized as “the jewel of Muslim art in India and one of the universally admired masterpieces of the world's heritage”.  It covers area of about 552 acres, which includes the Taj Mahal and the Taj protected forest area.

Taj Mahal is the finest example of Mughal architecture, a style that combines elements from Persian, Turkish and Indian architecture styles.

In 1983, the Taj Mahal became a UNESCO World Heritage Site.  While the white domed marble mausoleum is the most familiar component of the Taj Mahal, it is actually an integrated complex of structures.  The construction began around 1632 and was completed around 1653, employing thousands of artisans and craftsmen.  The construction of the Taj Mahal was entrusted to a board of architects under imperial supervision, including abd ul-Karim Ma'mur Khan, Makramat Khan, and Ustad Ahmad Lahauri.  Lahauri is generally considered to be the designer.

The tomb is the central focus of the entire complex of the Taj Mahal.  This large, white structure stands on a square plinth and consists of a symmetrical building with an arched doorway topped by a large dome and finial.

The interior walls are about 82 feet high and are topped by a “false” interior dome decorated with a sun motif.  The chamber goes way beyond traditional decorative elements.  The inlay work is of precious and semi-precious gemstones.  The chamber is an octagon with the design allowing for entry from each face, although only the door facing the garden to the south is used.

The gardens are just as spectacular, using raised pathways that divide each of the four quarters of the garden into 16 sunken flowerbeds.  A raised marble water tank at the center of the garden, halfway between the tomb and gateway with a reflecting pool on a north-south axis, reflects the image of the mausoleum.  The garden is laid out with avenues of trees and fountains.

The Taj Mahal complex is surrounded on three sides by red stone walls, with the river facing side left open.  Outside the walls are several additional mausoleums, including those of Shah Jahan's other wives, and a larger tomb for Mumtaz's favorite servant.  These structures, composed primarily of red sandstone, are typical of the small Mughal tombs of the era.  The garden facing inner sides of the wall fronted by columned arcades, a feature typical of Hindu temples which was later incorporated into Mughal mosques.

There are several vacation packages that will let you see this magnificent structure and its surrounding gardens.  The Taj Mahal is only one of the beautiful sites to see in India.  India is filled with palaces and wonders of all kinds for an adventurer to discover and is a place you might want to consider for your next dream vacation.

Happy Travels!!!

The 4th of July in the Nation’s Capitol

The 4th of July is a favorite summer holiday that celebrates our independence, and cities big and small all across our country celebrate it.  While many places all over the country have great events with parades, activities, and fireworks, there really is only one place to be on our country's birthday.  Washington DC, the nation’s capital is one of , if not the best place to experience the celebration of our country's birthday.

While most cities around the country will hold their July 4th celebration on the weekend closest to the holiday, Washington DC celebrates on the actual day, regardless of the day of the week.

The Independence Day Parade kicks off the celebration at 11:45 a.m.  The parade follows a route along Constitution Avenue in the Capitol Hill area and includes everything from marching bands to floats and military units.  After the parade there are plenty more daytime activities to make the Washington DC 4th of July celebration special.

The Smithsonian Folklife Festival takes place on the National Mall from 11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and features music, dance, cooking demonstrations, and crafts.

The National Archives building puts on a special program about the signing of the Declaration of Independence, open from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.  The White House visitor center also offers entertainment from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. which includes games and crafts.

Starting at 6 p.m., there is a concert on the Washington Monument grounds featuring the U.S. Navy Band.  Located on the southwest corner of the monument, this concert goes on until 9 p.m.

The National Symphony Orchestra performs “A Capitol Fourth Concert” which is held on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol building.  This is a free concert and is open to the public and gets started at 8 p.m.  Several pop artists will also be there performing patriotic music as well.

After the concert finishes, the annual Fireworks Spectacular starts.  The Fireworks kick off around 9:15 p.m. at dark.  The Fireworks are launched from the reflecting pool in front of the Lincoln Memorial and light up the sky above the Washington Monument in spectacular fashion fitting for such a grand celebration.

The 4th of July is one of the most popular times of the year to visit Washington DC, which means that hotels will be cramped.  If you plan to celebrate America’s birthday in the nation's most iconic city, then you need to plan ahead and do your research.  Even with the time closing in you can still find a condo to rent.  

Renting a condo can take some of the hassle out of your vacation and save some money by giving you and your family enough room to stretch out and relax after a day of sightseeing.  Having a kitchen can keep your costs down by allowing you to cook some of your meals yourself rather than going to a restaurant for every meal.  What better way to spend a memorable 4th of July in the middle of all the history and pride.

Here are some travel deals in Washington DC 

$298 - Two- or Three-Night Stay at The Dupont at the Circle in Washington D.C.

$149+: Washington, D.C. Hotel near Smithsonian, Save 45%

Happy Travels!!! 

Making Your Disney World Vacation a Little More Affordable

Disney World is a spectacular and magical place to take your family on vacation.  Even today with all the new cartoon characters out there and different theme parks to choose from, Disney still holds a place in our hearts that we want to pass down to our children.  A simpler time and place when fairies come to life, fairy dust is real, and there aren’t any remarks from cartoon characters that can only be truly understood if you are an adult or at least older than 15.

Disney World’s most magical aspect is its ability to make your money disappear right out of your pocket.  No one denies that a vacation to Disney World is expensive, or that you do get a lot of entertainment for your whole family.  That is why I hope to be able to suggest a few tips that will help save you some money while spending a magical and memorable vacation with your family.

There are plenty of great package deals on trips to Disney World running right now.  Even though summer is the peak season for a vacation to Disney World, you can cut your costs in half by doing a little research and finding the best deal that suits your needs.  With packages that include airfare, hotel, and even meal discounts your trip to the magical world doesn’t have to cost you a bundle of fairy dust.

One of the best ideas is to bring a backpack into the park with you.  Fill it with snacks, water even sandwiches.  Kid’s are always hungry and thirsty, no matter what they are doing so if you are carrying your own snacks and drinks you can save time and money.  You can save time by not having to spend a lot of time standing in line for snacks or drinks and more important you can save money by not paying the high prices every time you child wants something to eat or drink.  If you pack your lunch as well, you can save a bundle.  Food and drinks are going to be one of your biggest expenses and packing your own is a good way to save a lot of money and keep within your budget.

Don’t forget to pack and take the regular items you will need like sunscreen, film, and batteries.  These items cost an arm and a leg in the park, probably more than food does.  Especially if you have little ones, which I’m sure is the main reason for the trip, you owe it to yourself and your wallet to plan carefully the things you anticipate you’ll need for a full day’s outing.  Most likely you won’t want to trudge all the way back to the hotel just because you forgot something because every minute counts on a trip like this and you want to make sure you make the most of it.

Souvenirs are another big expense when you are on a vacation like this.  My suggestion is that you only buy for your children so that they have something to remember this important vacation and buy something that will hold up and be a keepsake.  You don’t need to buy a souvenir for the mailman, teachers, or the friendly neighbor next door, I’m sure they will understand.  A good suggestion is, just like planning well in advance for your actual trip, plan ahead for souvenirs as well.  Of course, you aren’t going to know exactly what is available at the park but you will have a good idea what will make a nice memento of your important family trip.  Figure out how much money you can afford to spend on the each keepsake and as always stay within your budget.

A vacation to Disney World is honestly a wonderful and magical trip for you and your children, one that won’t soon be forgotten and most likely remembered for a lifetime.  However, there is no reason why you need to spend your life’s savings on it, with a little planning and forethought, you can have just as good of a time without spending a bundle.

Happy Travels!!!
I’m a fan of Goofy myself if you feel the need to buy one extra souvenir!

Air Travel Made Simple: Suggestions for a simple and happy airplane trip

Maybe you don’t fly often.  Maybe you only fly once a year on vacation or to visit Grandma and Grandpa in Florida.  Maybe this is your first trip on an airplane headed to the vacation dream of your life.  If any of these are the case then this article is for you.  I will offer a few tips that will make your flight a little more enjoyable or just a lot less stressful.

What’s the difference between a direct flight and a nonstop flight?  Unlike a nonstop flight, a direct flight can touch down at any other airport on the way to their end destination.  The stops are figured into the total travel time but the delays that may come up aren’t.

Always buy your ticket under the exact same name that appears on your ID.  It might seem obvious to you that Jack is a nickname for John, but it might not be that obvious to a desk agent or more importantly a security officer.  In today’s world of ramped up air travel security, this could pose a big problem for you in the form of a delay, especially when asked for your identification.

If you have a disability and need to have a premium seat that will accommodate you better, make sure you tell the agent when you make your reservations.  Don’t wait till you get to the airport, other passengers may be able to choose those seats 24 hours before the flight, when they are made available to everyone.

Get to your gateway city as early as you can, since delays will stack up as the day goes on, it’s best to book the first flight you can into a hub if you have a connecting flight.  There is nothing more frustrating than airline delays, whether or not you have a set time to be somewhere or you’re on a vacation.

Since more airlines are charging for even one bag, everyone wants to carry-on all of the bags for their trip.  Airlines are wise to this and are enforcing their carry-on policies.  Think about what you really need to take on your trip, I mean the absolute minimum to get you through.  Think about how many outfits you can mix and match.  Remember you are wearing a pair of shoes, so plan to take another pair only if you need them.  Minimize everything you take.  Instead of taking shampoo and toiletries, decide whether or not you can get away with the sample sizes your hotel will offer you.

Check your pockets and bags before you go to the airport.  I promise you, if you forget that you have a pocket knife on your keychain or maybe in your pocket, your experience in air travel just got a lot longer and more complicated.

By following these tips and using some common sense your flight will be a pleasurable and smooth experience.

Happy Travels!!!

Travel Tips to Help You Cruise Through Your Cruise Trip

Some people will only take one cruise in their lifetime to mark a special event like an anniversary or honeymoon, others will take a cruise every year or have at least taken more than one in their lifetime.  If this is your first cruise there will be a lot that is new to you.  A cruise is a very memorable and magical vacation.  Here are a few tips to help you make your first cruise memorable in a good way.

Cruise vacation packages are the best way to go.  Do your research well ahead of time and pick the best deal that will offer you everything you want to see and expect to do.  With all of that bundled into one affordable price all you have to do after that is sit back and enjoy.

When booking a cruise, if you have children, check to make sure you aren’t booking a cruise for adults only.  If you are a couple and would rather not have children around then make sure your cruise will be for adults only.  This is one thing you really don’t want to mix up.

I suggest you book the second seating for dinner.  That will give you more time for sightseeing on shore and you won’t have to rush back so you don’t miss your meal.  If you are traveling with kids then I suggest you book the first seating because everyone knows that kids have an internal need to eat at a certain time or things get ugly.

The cruise ship will offer to take professional photos on the cruise and then try to sell them to you.  Don’t buy all the photos immediately.  Toward the end of the cruise the price will drop considerably and you can buy them then.

If you don’t like crowds or want privacy for a majority of the cruise, get a cabin with a balcony.  This type of cabin is a bit more expensive but it will give you a place to go to be alone and relax.

There are dress codes on cruises even if most don’t mention it on their website or in their brochure.  It’s better if you abide by them, so take a nice set of clothes along just in case.

There is always an event or something to do on a cruise and I’m sure after spending as much as you did for the vacation you’ll want to take advantage of everything that interests you.  Spend some time and read through all of the brochures and material you can find on your cruise to make sure you don’t miss a thing.

A cruise is a very memorable vacation and like it is with any vacation you can’t afford to waste your hard earned dollar, so do your research to find the deal that will best fit your budget and your interests.  Then after finding the cruise for you do more research to make sure you will be able to take advantage of everything they have to offer.

Happy Travels!!!

Things to do on Your Vacation to Cancun

You will never run out of things to do on your Cancun Vacation.  Here are a few ideas to get you started.  You can take advantage of a wide range of watersports, play on some championship golf courses, take the family to one of the world renowned eco-parks, or just lie back and be pampered at one of the luxurious spas.

Cancun’s watersports will please even the most avid enthusiast, there is some of the best scuba diving, snorkeling and sport fishing in the world.  You can also charter your own sailboat with crew and equipment for an adventurous day on the open sea or a romantic sunset cruise.

Cancun adventure tours are great for the whole family.  You can enjoy some of the best zip lines in Latin America, go mountain biking, drive through the jungle in open top jeeps and swim in cenotes.  The adventure trips can also be customized to be as challenging as you want.

Cancun Mayan Culture is something to see.  The culture still holds mystery and majesty.  There are the amazing archaeological sites to explore, such as Chichen Itza, Tulum and Coba to mention only a few.  Best of all the sites are located well within the reach of bus or car.  Take one of the many tours so you don’t miss a thing.

Cancun restaurants offer a varied choice of cuisine, with everything from traditional Mexican restaurants to modern and trendy restaurants along the Nichupte lagoon.  You are sure to find something for every taste and budget.

Cancun nightlife is a major attraction for many of the visitors.  The Hotel Zone has some of the best nightclubs in the world that play everything from salsa to disco and R&B and live venues.  You will find something to suit any age and taste.

As I said before Cancun championship golf courses are every golfers dream.  They are located in some of the most beautiful natural settings imaginable and they meet the highest standards set by professional golf tournaments and expert golfers.

Don’t miss visiting Puerto Morelos which is a friendly, laid-back fishing village located only 35 km from Cancun.  You will be enchanted by the bohemian, tranquil atmosphere and natural beauty and charm which will transport you a million miles away from the glitz and glamour of Cancun.

A vacation to Cancun is a memorable and beautiful trip and you will never run out of things to keep you busy, unless you don’t want to be busy but would rather lay on the beach and soak in the sun and magic of this little bit of paradise.

Happy Travels!!!

Europe May be More Affordable than Ever for the American Traveler

Americans may have felt let down by their dollar's spending power in Europe over the past few years, but the dollar is finally bouncing back a little at a time and putting a European Vacation back in your budget for this summer.  The dollar's value compared to the euro increased 9 percent between January 2010 and January 2012.

Add the dollar's increase in value over the euro with the unsteady European economies, as well as growing tourist markets and emerging destinations, and you have the conclusion that Europe travel can be affordable again.

An example is Berlin, where there are a lot of new hotels.  There is currently 30,000 more hotel beds in Berlin then in New York City.  This is creating heated competition and driving down the prices, the average price for a room is $111 a night.  Another great money saver if you are planning to visit Berlin, is their new Berlin Welcome Card, which covers two days of public transportation and admission to more than 160 urban attractions for $22.75.

The Berlin Brandenburg International Airport (BER) opens in June and will have new routes to new Eastern European destinations.  Cities such as Bucharest, Romania, and Zagreb, Croatia, are great values where hotel rates in both cities decreased 20 percent in 2011.  Americans will also be happy with the cost of visiting Hungary where the dollar is up 25 percent against the Hungarian forint since July 2011.

Americans were the second biggest growth market to Portugal in 2011 after Brazil, where eating out in Lisbon, for instance, costs a fraction of what it does in other European capitals.

Anyone wanting to visit Italy can take comfort in knowing that a stronger dollar will help in Florence and Venice.  But to really stretch your travel budget in Italy, go to some out of the way places for a change like Puglia, where you'll be rewarded with more than freshly made pasta and century old olive groves.

As with all things in life, timing is everything.  People are under the impression that summer is the best time to visit Europe, according to the Department of Commerce's Office of Travel & Tourism Industries, June and July are the peak months for U.S. Travel there.  Though those few extra rays are nice, the best values fall outside these heavily trafficked months.  Airfares to Europe start to fall for departures in mid to late August, just before the school year starts, and they stay low through the end of March (except during the winter holidays and around spring break in the U.S.

Hotel room prices at big city hotels tend to stay steady all year, European resorts also have dramatic seasonal rate shifts.  Spring means more showers, but the flowers are in bloom in the English countryside.  In August, temperatures in Paris soar to uncomfortable highs as residents leave the big city.  If you arrive in mild and sunny May, you'll have a greater chance of meeting the locals.

With these helpful tips and a little bit of homework along with staying off the beaten path a little you will find that you too can visit Europe and soak in all of its beauty and splendor.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Open Standards for Travel Deals

We've been working for few months now to aggregate travel deals data from various websites.  We have come to realize that there isn't a standard format for distributing and consuming these travel deals. We have tried a combination of web crawlers, excel feed, xml feed and some APIs but they are all in different formats, and a bit of a pain to use. The extracted data is incomplete. We’ve been a big fan of Open Travel Alliance (OTA), and we’ve worked within OTA standards in various projects.  If we get some traction and some usage, we plan to contribute this standard to the OTA for review.

From our past experience, we've also heard from lot of  travel publishers that the processing to aggregating these data is a pain.  We want to think about an open and non-proprietary standard, that would facilitate this process. The goal of this format would be to make it easy the exchange of travel deals data information between different systems that should help all parties. Publishers will be able to consume this data and display this data in any format. Suppliers can distribute their deals content across multiple sites, increasing their exposure to a variety of different target audiences and ultimately consumers  will benefit from improved access to the best travel deals on the Web.

To facilitate the discussion, here is our proposed format data elements which will look something like this in JSON.  We want to make it very simple for all the parties to exchange this information without extensive overhead.

The content of the deals would have the following elements.
Category (Airfares, Hotels, Cars, Vacations, Cruises)
Origins  (list of available Locations, usually for Airfare)
Deal URL:
Photo URL:
Thumbnail URL:
Deal Start Date
Deal End Date:
Travel To Dates
Travel From Dates

JSON Format: 

{ "Description" : "An award-winning hotel with perks -- now up to 45% off. Royal Sonesta Boston just reduced rates for travel May 31-September 30. Stay for as little as $199 -- and that includes a $25 hotel credit and complimentary WiFi.",
        "Discount" : 0.0,
        "EndAt" : "6/30/2012 12:00:00 AM",
        "Id" : 9483,
        "LargeImageUrl" : "",
        "Locations" : [ { "City" : "Boston",
              "Country" : "United States",
              "Region" : "United States",
              "State" : "Massachusetts"
            } ],
        "Price" : 199.0,
        "Providers" : [ { "Address" : { "City" : "Cambridge",
                  "Lat" : null,
                  "Lon" : null,
                  "State" : { "Code" : "MA",
                      "Name" : "Massachusetts"
                  "Street" : "40 Edwin Land Boulevard ",
                  "Zip" : "02142"
              "Email" : null,
              "Id" : 3146,
              "Name" : "Royal Sonesta Boston",
              "Phone" : null,
              "WebSite" : null
            } ],
        "ServiceCategories" : [ { "Name" : "Hotels" } ],
        "SmallImageUrl" : "",
        "StartAt" : "5/1/2012 12:00:00 AM",
        "Title" : "Boston: luxury waterfront hotel with $25 credit -- from $199 ",
        "TravelFrom" : "May 31, 2012",
        "TravelTo" : "Sep 30, 2012",
        "Url" : "",
        "Value" : 299.0

Your feedback is appreciated.
If you are working on a similar project and want to discuss few ideas, please email us at support AT

Monday, June 18, 2012

Tips for Vacation Packages to Hawaii

If you are planning a trip to Hawaii this year, here are a couple of reasons why you should consider going with a vacation package rather than piecing together your trip.

First of all it is pretty obvious that no matter where you are coming from you are going to have to fly to Hawaii there just isn't an easy or safe way to drive to the island paradise.  So along with airfare you'll need to rent a car which is a lot cheaper than taking cabs everywhere and a lot more flexible than using only public transportation.  Next will come your lodging, unless you plan on going for the “beach bum” feel but I wouldn't suggest this not to mention I'm sure it would probably land you in hot water with the police.  Experts will tell you that you can save up to 40 percent by combining all of these necessities into one package.  A great place to start looking for affordable packages is right where you are rig ht now on

All inclusive resorts may sound expensive, but they may be a better deal than piecing together your vacation.  If a stay in a resort includes many of the activities you would have paid extra for, it could be a great way to save a little money by paying in advance for those extras.  Check to see whether that all inclusive rate covers things like meals, day-trips, rounds of golf, surfing lessons, airport shuttles, massages, etc.

A multi-island vacation package will allow you to see more than one island.  Instead of sticking to just one spot for your entire trip, you can branch out and see the different island personalities with a two or three island package.

A cruise package is another great way to visit more than one island.&nbs p; Getting from island to island can be a hassle, not to mention expensive, but if you book a Hawaii cruise you'll get to hop from island to island as your giant floating hotel moves from port to port.  Not to mention you won't have to keep packing and unpacking, who could ask for more than that.

Taking a package day tour can take the stress out of sight seeing.  You may not have booked a whole all inclusive package tour for your trip, but that doesn't mean you can't get in on a package deal once you're in Hawaii.  Many tour companies offer all inclusive day trips for both excursions on one island and also to other nearby islands.  These can be great ways of seeing the sights without worrying about handling all the details yourself.

Vacation packages offer you a nice savings over piecing together your vacation.  They also off you a convenient way to plan a very nice vacation because, especially if you've never been to Hawaii and don't know where to begin your sight seeing or where you'll want to stay a package gives you a hassle free way to enjoy your vacation rather than spend it in a frantic rush to make sure you get in all the sites and get the most for your money.  Like any other vacation plan start your research several months before your planned departure so you can lock in the best deals.  When you get to the island paradise the only thing you'll have to worry about doing is enjoying your vacation.

Happy Traveling!!!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

How to Get a Great Deal on a Great Cruise

Cruises usually come with everything included, combining your lodging, dining and entertainment into a single bill.  While some cruises are very expensive, many mass-market cruise lines cost less than a comparable land-based vacation.  Here are some tips to help you get the best deal on that cruise you've always dreamed of.

Research your destination online to find the most inexpensive season.  Caribbean cruises are typically least expensive in the fall, when kids are back in school and hurricanes are a possibility.  Alaska cruises cost less in the spring and fall.  Repositioning cruises, in which the ship changes home ports for the next cruise season, are typically least expensive of all.  Match the season to the destination for the best savings.

Check your membership clubs for discounts.  Some cruise lines give discounts to members of AARP, Travelers Advantage or other organizations.  Some lines open these discounts to everyone in the qualifying category, such as seniors, while others require proof of membership.  If you are an honorably discharged veteran, you might qualify for discounts on certain cruises.

Use your past cruise to get a better price on this year's trip.  Cruise lines provide incentives for remaining with one line.  Returning guests rates are often significantly lower and might include cabin upgrades, on-board parties and other perks.

Flexible Dates
Check multiple sailing dates.  Cruise fares are based on supply and demand.  You might find that your chosen week costs nearly double what it would cost the week before or after, just because more people already have booked for your week.  If your schedule is at all flexible, search several dates for the same itinerary.

Keep Checking
Keep checking even after you book.  When you book, you are guaranteed not to pay m ore than the booked price.  Likewise, the cruise line will not simply make a reduction in your cost.  Most but not all cruise lines will adjust your fare until you make the final payment.  A few will adjust the fare all the way until you sail.

People tend to believe that when you say “cruise” you might as well be saying “too expensive for me”.  That isn't usually the case, in fact cruises have become more affordable then ever and they are a great way to do something very different and have a very exciting adventure.  Like anything else, with a little homework you too can afford a wonderful cruise and a memorable vacation.

Here are few affordable deals we found :

$185+: 4-Nt Bahamas Cruise from Miami w/$50 Credit

$479 - 7-Nt. Eastern Caribbean Cruise from $479 + OBC

Check out our Cruise deals  page for amazing cruise deals.

Happy Traveling!!!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

How to save money on your dream vacation

Your dream vacation can be the trip of a lifetime.  Yet when you start to add up your airfare, tour expenses, food, and lodging it may begin to seem like it is financially out of reach.  With careful planning and money-saving tips, you can save hundreds of dollars per person which can put that dream vacation back within your grasp.

First plan ahead.  The cheapest airfares usually are the first to sell out, so the closer to vacation time you buy your tickets, the more you spend.  Give yourself several months before you plan to take your trip to allow you to research and reserve the best deals.  Also try to plan your trip for off-peak tourist seasons.  The off peak season for Hawaii is mid-April to mid-June and from September to mid-December.  This will save you a lot of money and also let you take advantage of Hawaii' s best weather.  Flying on non-weekends will typically save you a bundle on airfare pretty much wherever you plan to go.

Check to see if there are any vacation rentals or timeshares available where you are headed.  These are less expensive compared to staying in a resort just about anywhere you plan to go.  Staying in an apartment style lodging, depending on your destination, these types of lodgings are sometimes available to rent and can be suited better to families and groups.  The kitchen and laundry facilities available in timeshares or apartments can be your biggest money savers since you can pack light, to save on airline baggage fees if you are able to do your own laundry.  With a kitchen area you will be able to save on some of your meals by cooking your own breakfast in the morning and maybe going back to your rental in the after noon for lunch and a break from your day will not only save you enough money for a restaurant dinner b ut it will also make your day a little less hectic.

Driving tours are another way to be able to save some money on a dream vacation.  You can usually rent a car at the airport for a lot less than an off-airport car rental agency.  Make the arrangements for your rental car several weeks ahead of time to make sure you get better rates and availability.  Airport car rental agencies can supply you with maps and brochures on attractions to see.  By saving on transportation you'll be able to afford a tour that has really caught your eye.

All inclusive travel packages are another great way to go if you want to save money and make sure you get the most out of your dream vacation.  There are plenty of packages that offer great trips to wonderful destinations while saving you hundreds of dollars per person.  Here again it pays to plan well in advance of your vacation date to take advantage of the lower prices.

A dream vacation can be well within your reach if you do a little research and planning, so that dream vacation doesn't turn into a nightmare by worrying the whole time you're spending too much money.

Happy Travelling!!!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

What are the Top 10 Engineering Works of Genius?

Here are top 10 works of engineering genius, according to Lonely Planet. Anyone of us would be very lucky to visit some or all of them. These are amazing places built by human with amazing engineering skill that are just mind boggling. Read more

The list:

1. Great Pyramid of Khufu, Giza, Egypt
2. Aya Sofya, Istanbul, Turkey
3. Indian Railways
4. Guggenheim Museum, Bilbao, Spain
5. Great Wall of China
6. Millau Viaduct, France
7. Lalibela, Ethiopia
8. Falkirk Wheel, Scotland
9. Yaxchilán, Yucatán, Mexico
10. Burj Khalifa, United Arab Emirates

Happy Travelling!!!

Monday, June 11, 2012

Delta Airlines - Dad's Big Break

To celebrate Father's Day Delta is running a sweepstakes on Facebook.
The winner will receive 4 round-trip economy class travel to any destination in the continental United States and a $1,000.00 American Express Gift Card.  Sweapsteak ends June 17, 2012

Click here for more details.

Announcing Travelope API for travel deals

We are very excited to release our API which means that you can now consume our data programmatically using our simple RESTful API.

The Travelope API lets you build a variety of applications that can take advantage of our data gathered from various sources. We not only aggregate data but also look for additional sources so that the data is complete.

Big online travel agencies (OTA) and daily deal sites have not opened their deals APIs. Some that have opened have incomplete data. We think today consumers are interacting with brands and travel companies in a lot of different ways including social sites and mobile. We think that if the big travel sites opened full deals API there would be a lot of innovation in the travel deals space. Customer loyalty as a concept is, generally, extinct as services such as air travel become commodities. Customers are looking for ways to plan, search, and buy travel products from a multitude of sources.  We are hoping to make consumers travel deal search experience easy and seamless.

We are also hoping that other developers' would take this data and develop other amazing apps.

The API is available for free to everyone.

To get started: Get your API key. You can send a quick email to to get your API keys and get started.

If you have questions about the API, please send email to We will be monitoring the site for questions and answering them promptly.

We can’t wait to see what you create.

API Usage is simple as we have exposed the data in all three formats (RSS, JSON, XML). You can filter the data by the following criteria.

category: (Airfare, Hotels, Vacations, Cruises, Cars)
region: (Europe, Asia, ...)
country: (France, Germany, ...)
state: (New York, ...)
city: (Paris, New York, ...)

travelFrom: (ex. 01/02/2012)
travelTo: (ex. 01/05/2013)

startFrom: (ex. 01/02/2012) - Deal starts from
startTo: (ex. 05/01/2012)

endFrom: (ex. 01/02/2012)
endTo: (ex. 01/02/2013)

Friday, June 8, 2012

How Much Americans Spend on Summer Travel?

According to our friends at - On Average, Americans plan on spending $1,180 per person on their summer travels this year. They explore the various modes and methods of Americans’ travel plans this summer. Check out the infographic.

If you are planning to save on your travel this summer, you can check out these amazing travel deals on our site.


Wednesday, June 6, 2012


We are happy to announce the launch of A website that aggregates all the travel deals from the top sites on the web. Most websites that offer travel deals overwhelm users with flashy displays of their top specials that can be downright distracting. We plan to make it easy and simple for anyone to find a great deal on the dates they are travelling.

There are hundred of sites including travel portal and daily deal sites that offer significant savings and packages. Instead of having to visit each site, Travelope aggregates all the travel deals on one page, so that you don't have to visit each site.

Visitors to the are immediately presented with a list of top travel recommendations. Travel deals are automatically organized by the most recently added deals and the most popular deals as determined by site users based on a proprietary algorithm Deal Rank. New travel deals are evaluated and added to the site on an hourly basis to keep the content fresh, relevant, and up-to-the-moment.  In addition, every travel deal is linked directly to the specific web page where it was found so that anyone can go directly to the source. not only displays the newest deals, visitors can easily search for deals based on popularity, price, or destination including travel category such as air, car, cruise, hotels, or vacations. A sidebar also displays the most popular cities, which are ranked by our special formula so that the best deals are always first.

The Week’s Best in Travel™ is one more tool for people to stay on top of the latest travel specials and offers. This free weekly e-mail features our editor’s picks for best travel deals of the week.

Subscribers can also select 'Add Alert' for a specific destination; ideal for anyone interested in being notified about the latest deals for a specific destination.

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