Travel Deals: 4 New Ways to Save Money

Last Updated Apr 22, 2011 3:53 PM EDT Consolidation in the airline industry, coupled with rising fuel prices, makes finding cheap flights quite the challenge these days. I'm planning a trip to Las Vegas this August, and I'm already using all the smart travel-booking websites - but although FareCompare tells me now is the optimum time to book my plane ticket, a search on Kayak shows me that the least expensive direct flight from New York will cost me a whopping $600 round trip. Ouch. But travelers will find there's far more room to save on lodging, food and other related travel expenses. Here are four ways to lower your expenses, as well as some new Web sites that can help. Dine with Locals Rather than pay hundreds of dollars on restaurant fare, you may be able to find free local, home-cooked meals on your next trip via The Web site connects local hosts all over the country with travelers looking for a more unique experience. You may be asked to bring the wine or dessert - but even if not, you should offer to anyway. It's just good manners. Skip the Hotel Locals are not only opening up their kitchens to travelers - they're also offering their homes as an alternative, more affordable place to stay. Find guest rooms in local homes and apartments through Web sites likes (currently listing an apartment in central Paris for $89 a night) and (exclusively for London travelers). You can search on Craigslist, too. Vote for a Good Deal is a new Web site getting a lot of buzz as a Groupon-like site for travel deals. The site announces new hotel deals and getaways each day. If you like the trip, vote for it. If enough votes are given, TripAlertz puts the trip on sale. At most you pay the Web site's already discounted price for the deal, but the more people book the deal, the lower the price becomes for everyone. Deals go live every Tuesday and last for 14 days. Swap Timeshares If you're a timeshare owner (or have Continue Reading

The coldest New Year’s in 55 years means lots of layers — and pee

Throngs of revelers channeled their inner Sir Edmund Hillary to weather a bone-chilling New Year’s Eve in Times Square — the coldest since 1962. Milwaukee tourist Sallie Anderson, 29, bragged that the expected 8-degree temps at the Crossroads of the World were a piece of cake, considering where she spent the holiday last year — the South Pole. “This is no big deal,” she said, wearing the same Canada Goose-brand Expedition parka she donned for her Antarctic trek as she stood in Times Square with her mom. The pair began waiting for the ball at 9:45 a.m. “I’m actually overheating at the moment. I don’t have gloves on. I have warmers, but I don’t have them on,” Anderson said. Her coat was originally designed for researchers living in Antarctica — and she needed it. The National Weather Service predicted that the mercury would plummet to a mere 8 degrees — or minus 4 with the wind chill — by the time the ball dropped, making it the coldest New Year’s Eve since 1962, when the temperature was 4 degrees. The coldest ever was 7 below zero, in 1917. But while the temps might have been too much to lure many New Yorkers out to the spectacle, the area was teeming with tourists. Lea Webber, 18, noshed on gingerbread-flavored ice cream as the thermometer teetered on 13 degrees just before 6 p.m. “We live in Canada, and it’s really cold in Montreal,” Webber explained. “For six months out of the year, it’s usually 40 below zero there, so temperatures in the teens like today is not bad. This is better than normal for us.’’ Born-and-raised Minnesotan Matthew Frank opted to augment his jeans, long-sleeve shirt, sweatshirt, jacket, winter hat and gloves by fattening himself up on a dinner of 10 chicken legs and six biscuits last night — and a hearty helping of bacon this morning. “You need some fat to stay warm, so why not some bacon?” said Continue Reading

Last-minute rooms for New Year’s in Las Vegas going for $500 and up

People line up to check-in at MGM Grand in Las Vegas on Wednesday, Dec. 27, 2017. Chase Stevens Las Vegas Review-Journal @csstevensphoto The check-in desk at Mandarin Oriental's "sky lobby" on the 23rd floor of the hotel in Las Vegas on Wednesday, Dec. 27, 2017. Chase Stevens Las Vegas Review-Journal @csstevensphoto People walk with their suitcases after checking in at MGM Grand in Las Vegas on Wednesday, Dec. 27, 2017. Chase Stevens Las Vegas Review-Journal @csstevensphoto The lobby at MGM Grand in Las Vegas on Wednesday, Dec. 27, 2017. Chase Stevens Las Vegas Review-Journal @csstevensphoto People line up to check-in at MGM Grand in Las Vegas on Wednesday, Dec. 27, 2017. Chase Stevens Las Vegas Review-Journal @csstevensphoto It will cost $600 to stay at A Fisher's Inn Motel on Boulder Highway for Friday, Saturday and Sunday night, according to Todd Prince/Review-Journal, Dec. 27, 2017 A Fisher's Inn Motel on Boulder Highway offers about 20 basic rooms. Todd Prince/Review-Journal, Dec. 27, 2017 Car shops surround A Fisher's Inn Motel on Boulder Highway. Todd Prince/Review-Journal, Dec. 27, 2017 A Fisher's Inn is a one-story motel. Todd Prince/Review-Journal, Dec. 27, 2017. A Fisher's Inn is charging more than $600 for the long holiday weekend, according to Todd Prince/Review-Journal, Dec. 27, 2017 People line up to check-in at MGM Grand in Las Vegas on Wednesday, Dec. 27, 2017. Chase Stevens Las Vegas Review-Journal @csstevensphoto The best last-minute deals for three nights in Las Vegas for the New Year’s holiday will cost more than $500, according to and hotel websites. Up and down the Strip, a three-night stay starting Friday ranges in cost from about $600 to $1,500, including taxes and resort fee. The Best Western Plus Casino Royal on the Strip will cost $798 for the three nights, while one of the better deals at Circus Circus can be had for about $630. Continue Reading

First Airbus A380 parked amid search for new operator

By Jamie Freed and Tim Hepher SINGAPORE/PARIS (Reuters) - The first Airbus A380 superjumbo to fly passengers almost a decade ago has been taken out of service by Singapore Airlines , highlighting a debate over the future of the world's largest airliners. Singapore Airlines has already said it plans to hand back its first A380 to a German leasing company rather than extend its 10-year lease. The move focused attention on slack demand for the 544-seat double-decker and raised the prospect that some could be headed for the breakup yard, casting a pall over celebrations to mark the airliner's 10 years of service in October. Confirming a report in, Singapore Airlines said it had parked the aircraft ahead of the transfer back to its owner. Its last commercial flight was to London in June. "It is correct that the aircraft has been removed from service ahead of its return to the lessor in October," a spokesperson for the airline said by email. "We are not in a position to comment on what is planned for the aircraft after it is returned to the lessor." The owner of the aircraft, Dortmund-based Dr Peters Group, and Airbus both declined to comment on the move. The German owner says it is in talks with several entities who may be interested in the first aircraft, one of four due to come back from Singapore Airlines up to June next year. In total the asset manager owns nine superjumbos including five leased to Air France . These have been financed through the Kommanditgesellschaft (KG) market, a tax-efficient system best known for its appeal to high-income individuals. Singapore Airlines continues to take delivery of new A380s which will be fitted with upgraded cabins. But the problems in finding a new airline willing to operate the giant aircraft as they come off their initial leases have highlighted the lack so far of a fluid second-hand market. That in turn weighs on fragile demand for new aircraft, which has twice forced Airbus Continue Reading

Outer space, anyone? NASA launches public search for new astronauts

WASHINGTON - Looking for a job? NASA is hiring astronauts. You can even apply online at a giant government jobs website. There's only one hitch: NASA doesn't have its own spaceship anymore and is sending fewer fliers into orbit right now. "The experience is well worth the wait," promised NASA flight crew operations director Janet Kavandi as the space agency started a public search Tuesday for new astronauts. There will be flights, but not many, with the space shuttle fleet retired. A handful of astronauts each year are launching on a Russian Soyuz spaceship to the International Space Station for six-month stays. In about three to five years, NASA hopes to purchase trips for astronauts headed to the space station on American-built commercial rockets instead. And eventually, NASA hopes to fly astronauts in a government owned Orion capsule to an asteroid or even Mars, but those pioneering trips are more than a decade away. With veteran astronauts leaving the space agency, Kavandi said NASA is afraid it will not have enough astronauts, something a National Research Council report pointed out in September. NASA needs about 55 astronauts, and with a new class of nine graduating earlier this month, the astronaut roster is up to 58. One of those new astronauts will get to fly to the space station as early as 2013, Kavandi said. "We're ready to serve, we're ready to get going," new astronaut Serena Aunon said Tuesday at NASA headquarters. So to find candidates, NASA on Tuesday unveiled what its personnel chief called its biggest ever push to hire new astronauts - with dozens of cheering elementary school students there to ask questions. In the past - when NASA had a space shuttle - the space agency didn't make such a big deal of searching for astronauts, and they were inundated with applications. This new drive comes with a YouTube recruitment video complete with flashy images and driving techno-beat background music. "We need you to help plan for this future of Continue Reading

Sweetheart deals: Valentine’s Day travel packages near New York City

Face it, fellas: No matter how romantic you think it is, picking up flowers from the corner deli and a box of chocolates from the drugstore on your way home ain't gonna cut it on Valentine's Day. Despite the over-commercialization, price-gouging and pressure to please your significant other that occurs every Feb. 14, having a memorable Val-Day is important. But you’re in luck this year. There are loads of quick and easy - and relatively inexpensive - weekend and overnight romantic getaway packages available that are within reasonable driving distance from the city. Just don't forget the flowers. POCONOS Remember those commercials for low-rent hotels in the Pocono Mountains boasting heart-shaped tubs and Champagne-glass whirlpools? Those kitschy amenities still exist - they're just in nicer places now. A trio of couples-only Pocono resorts is offering Month of Love packages through February with the idea that every day should be Valentine's Day. The all-inclusive rates at Cove Haven, Paradise Stream and Pocono Palace range from $250-$490 per night and include a couples massage, dance instruction, romantic dinners, wine tastings, live entertainment - and yes, 7-foot Champagne glass whirlpool baths and in-suite heart-shaped pools. or; 1-800-972-7168   FINGER LAKES New York's Finger Lakes region is a popular summer haven for families who are especially into water sports. In winter, the picturesque area in the northwest part of the state is tailor-made for lovers looking for a romantic escape at any number of cozy B&Bs and charming inns. Situated on Cayuga Lake, the Aurora Inn offers an overnight Valentine's package from Sunday, Feb. 13, to Monday. Couples receive one night's accommodations, four-course dinner for two with Champagne toast, morning muffins and coffee delivered to your room, and a full breakfast, all for $225 per night. Tip: Try to score a room with a fireplace.; (315) Continue Reading

Escape from New York for New Year’s deals

The best place to watch the ball drop for New Year’s is from a hotel room far from the madness of Times Square. At least that’s the hope of resorts from the Poconos to the Caribbean as they tout their getaway packages to ring in 2011. Among the escapes offered in the Poconos, about a two-hour drive from the expected midtown mayhem, is a two-night package for $349 at the family-owned Fernwood Hotel & Resort, which includes two tickets to its New Year’s Eve party. The nearby Split Rock Resort, which features an indoor water park, has a deal that includes deluxe accommodations, free breakfast, New Year’s Eve Buffet, and drink tickets and live music to its big bash for $131 per person, per night with double occupancy. The Lodge at Woodloch, which doesn't allow kids under 16, has a spa-and-dinner package that starts at $324 per person, per night. Those looking for an adventure farther north should check into the Stowe Mountain Lodge, one of the top ski destinations this side of the Rockies. The resort, which requires a four-night stay, has rooms beginning at $500 a night. A more cost-friendly alternative is the Stoweflake Mountain Resort & Spa, a family-run hotel with rooms beginning at $212 a night for a minimum four-night stay. The quaint Gables Inn, which features a carriage house for $200 a night, is another good option. In nearby New Hampshire, the Lodge at Bretton Woods, part of the famed Omni Mount Washington Resort, has rooms available from $150 and is a haven for thrill-seekers with its zip-lining canopy tours. The ride descends over 1,000 feet of elevation across a series of tree-top zip lines, and is one of the longest canopy tours in the U.S. High-flying suspension bridges and hiking trails connect the zip lines, and the tour concludes with the Williwaw Racing Zip, a dual, side-by-side zip line leading right into the Bretton Woods base area. If escaping the cold is your choice, then the Renaissance Curacao Resort and Continue Reading

Save money on your pet: New York City’s best deals for pet stuff

The time for pricey pet pampering has passed, along with Paris Hilton’s heyday. These days, even your pet has to live on a budget. Lucky for you and your pal, this city is jam-packed with steals, deals and bargains — from supplies to grooming to veterinary expenses. SUPPLIES & GEARROBBIE DAWG HOMEMADE TREATS (10-OUNCE BOX), WERE $11 NOW $10. Made right in Brooklyn, all these yummy treats are made fresh daily with organic and all-natural ingredients. 246 Creamer St., Brooklyn. (718) 855-1552. PETGUARD ORGANIC CAT FOOD, WAS $1.50 PER CAN NOW 4 FOR $5. Cheap organics are hard to find, so get one of many flavors of this wet food for your kitty while supplies last. Whole Foods, 4 Union Square South. (212) 673-5388.HOLIDAY RAWHIDE BONE TREATS, WAS $1.49 NOW 50 CENTS. The holidays are over, but these leftover green and red festive treats are perfect for any chomping pup. Order in bulk while they’re in stock! TANK STARTER KIT, WAS $29.99 NOW $14.99. With this mini-aquarium, coral reef ornaments and gravel, start your own world under the sea. All you need are the fish! Also, take a look at the store’s clearance inventory; most of it is 50% off. Arcadia Pets, 4371 Amboy Road, Staten Island. (718) 967-7387. PET SITTER AUTO FEEDER, WAS $109 NOW $79.99. Use this eight-day, digitally programmed feeder to portion daily amounts for any small pet while you’re away. The round bowl has a moving lid that reveals enough food for only one day at a time. Petco, 2343 Utica Ave., Brooklyn. (718) 338-3896.FISH BONE CAT BOWL, WAS $14.99 NOW $9. With a rubber, no-slip bottom, this 8-inch-diameter food bowl holds about a half a quart of food and has a removable inner bowl for easy cleaning. LA CINOPELCA ROLLED LEATHER DOG COLLAR, WAS $69.95 NOW $39.95. In a variety of bright colors, these soft leather leashes are half the original price — and will last twice as long as cheaper rivals. Continue Reading

New Year’s travel deals

SINGLES CRUISE Celebrate the New Year with other singles on a ship bound for Haiti, Jamaica, Grand Cayman and Cozumel, Mexico. Singles Travel International is hosting a seven-day New Year's cruise featuring welcome and farewell parties, and a New Year's celebration with complimentary Champagne aboard Royal Caribbean's new Liberty of the Seas. While onboard, enjoy WiFi, the casino, two pools and three Jacuzzis. Sports enthusiasts can take advantage of the ship's oceanview fitness center, a boxing ring, rock-climbing wall, miniature golf and ice-skating rink. The ship leaves Dec. 29 from Miami and returns Jan. 5. Shared cabins start at $1,999 plus tax. NEW YEAR'S ROCKS The Honey Brothers band, featuring "Entourage" star Adrian Grenier, play South Beach, Miami, on New Year's Eve at the Hyatt's luxury Hotel Victor. The country/glam-rock group headlines an outdoor event that also includes three deejays spinning poolside music. Guests booking the New Year's Party Essentials package receive two party tickets, four nights' accommodations and a complimentary bottle of Champagne (New Year's dinner not included). Honey Brothers tickets start at $250 per person. The New Year's Party Essentials package begins at $3,363. Call (305) 779-8888 or go to    CELEBRATE IN STYLE The San Juan Marriott Resort & Stellaris Casino in Puerto Rico is offering guests a luxurious start to the New Year. The hotel's Escape! New Year's package includes a two-carat diamond ring, round-trip first-class flights from anywhere in the U.S., limousine airport transfers, luxury accommodations and a personal butler. Travelers also receive Cristal Vintage Champagne with monogrammed Waterford Crystal toasting flutes, a five-course dinner prepared in their suite - with a chamber orchestra playing during the meal - and a $2,000 private Gucci shopping trip. Packages start at $40,000.   INTIMATE EVE Ring in the New Continue Reading

Kent, Sukup and Iowa Corn give $14 million for new ISU feed, grain complex

Two Iowa-based companies and the state’s corn promotion board plan to give Iowa State University $14 million to kick off construction of a $21 million feed mill and grain science complex, the groups said Friday.Muscatine-based Kent Corp. said it will give $8 million; the Iowa Corn Promotion Board, $4 million; and Sheffield-based Sukup Manufacturing Co., $2 million.Project supporters envision building a feed mill tower and feed milling and mixing structures; grain storage bins and a one-story classroom and laboratory building.The groups said it would “provide hands-on student learning, meaningful faculty research, and extension and outreach to industry workforce.”Iowa leads the nation in corn production, and ranks second for soybeans. More on Iowa agriculture: Some Iowa farmers struggle with drought“Iowa’s economy is heavily dependent upon grain and livestock production,” said Duane Aistrope, the Iowa Corn Promotion Board’s president.Much of the nation’s corn and corn products — particularly for pork, beef, dairy and poultry feeds — are processed at feed mills throughout Iowa and the Midwest, the groups said.Over the past decade, commercial feed consumption in Iowa has doubled to 15 million tons. At about 5 million tons, corn byproducts from ethanol plants represent the largest ingredient source in animal feeds.Deere will spend $305 million to buy a California tech company that uses “deep-learning algorithms” –  similar to facial recognition programs  – to better identify weeds that should be sprayed with herbicides and plants that need fertilizer.The Moline, Ill.-manufacturer of tractors, combines and sprayers said Wednesday it entered into an agreement to buy Sunnyvale-based Blue River Technology.Deere said the company's 60 employees will remain in California. The sale is expected to close in September.Blue River Technology says on its Web site it Continue Reading