Spring is a mere week away! Some of you may be planning a vacation and I wanted to fill you in on some travel tips I've recently discovered.
First, if you're interested in getting some really great deals throughout the U.S., Caribbean, Mexico, and even abroad — you should check out www.skyauction.com. It's an auction site — you're bidding on trips, cruises, flights, and hotel stays. They even have a section for Broadway shows and goods. If you decide to sign up, there are a few things to remember. First, there is usually a $20 one-time fee for each auction you win. Taxes are usually extra, so if you bid on something say for $20 per night, keep in mind there are probably $49 per night taxes (taking you up to $69/night + the $20 fee). But I've successfully bid on auctions where I won a $1 bid on a week in Orlando in a 1-bedroom condo (Wyndham Cypress Palms) that was recently upgraded to granite and stainless steel. For the week it came to $300 (for 2 — that's $150 each), including taxes and fees. Not bad. I've also won a 6 day/5 night (1 night short of a week) all-inclusive stay at Barcelo Maya Palace on the Mexican Riviera . . . I stayed with my boyfriend and the two of us paid $320 for the hotel during that time. Airfare was separate. But — ALL INCLUSIVE, AAA 4-diamond, 5-star accommodations, plus top-shelf restaurants (surf and turf!) and top-shelf liquor (Grey Goose, etc.) for pretty much a week for $160 per person? Whaaaat? Definitely worth it. I can't even stay in my own home for that price! Just be careful and watch the fine print. Plus, I always check out the reviews on hotels on TripAdvisor.com. Make sure you're not getting a "deal" on a dump.
The other travel item I wanted to share relates to Europe. If you're from the U.S. and trying to book Eurail tickets on raileurope.com, know that you are being overcharged. If you can book on a European site like www.tgv-europe.com you will be able to choose some other country (take your pick, just make sure it's not the U.S. — that will kick you off the site and take you to raileurope.com) and book from there. Just choose to have your tickets e-mailed to you. No worries. If you can't have them e-mailed, you can also pick them up at the train station with the credit card you used to pay. (It's easier if you have a credit card with a signature chip in it — that's the kind they use in Europe). Alternatively, you can also book French rail on www.capitainetrain.com. You can save over $100 on just a couple of train rides!
Image © Claudine Gandolfi