Friday, March 6, 2009

Last minute NYC-Barcelona for $200 r/t??? Later in the year under $250! Muy bonito!

I must say that I was starting to become pretty jaded with low fares to Europe. But today I was proven wrong yet again. As reported just yesterday, I stated how I found airfare to places like Italy and Ireland for under $300. Well add the country of Spain, Barcelona in particular, to that list of European destinations that are on sale in an insanely major way.

To continue click here.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

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Monday, March 2, 2009

Mexico travelers warned of increased violence & “Miracle” Flight 1549 Towed Through NJ Streets

The U.S. State Department is warning travelers headed for Mexico of a surge in drug-related murder and mayhem south of the border. This news comes as more than 100,000 American high school and college students prepare for spring-break getaways to many of the country’s resort areas. Now while most of the violence has occurred in U.S./Mexico border towns, tourists have not yet been targeted in any of the crimes.

However, there have been killings in the big spring-break resorts of Acapulco and Cancun, which are far away from the border. Many Universities throughout the country, including Notre Dame, Penn State and The University of Arizona in Tucson, have warned students to be careful while visiting Mexico and many colleges have even asked students not to travel south of the border for their week of partying.

To read the rest of this article and to check out pictures of Flight 1549 being towed through the streets of New Jersey, head on over to my new travel site at

If the link is down, try

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Moving day.

Ok the moving truck is here. You can now find my daily travel updates at

Also Twitter me at

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Funny airline moments from tv and movies

Hope you are having a great weekend. While browsing YouTube, I came across some great moments in tv & movies related to air travel. While funny, most of us probably have been in a similar situation while flying the somewhat friendly skies. Enjoy!

Back Monday with a new update.

Friday, February 27, 2009

LA to Australia for under $700 r/t, Caribbean/South America airfare and Delta deals.

Here are some deals currently going on right now with a few airlines that run out within the next 2 weeks, so you may want to get started on booking your spring or summer getaway sooner than later (since prices will more than likely go up as the weather gets warmer).

American Airlines:
When you fly out of Miami Airport (MIA) this spring, you will be able to get in on some great one-way fares to the Caribbean and Latin America. Here are some sample fares currently advertised through American Airlines:

***Kingston, Jamaica (KIN), $79
***Panama City, Panama (PTY), $79
***Punta Cana, DR (PUJ), $79
***Bogota, Colmbia (BOG), $124

Many more destinations are included and you must book by March 10 for travel through May 28. Check out American Airlines for full information.

Delta: Ending this Monday March 2 is Delta's NYC to Europe sale, which includes nonstop fares to such countries as Greece, Spain, Italy and France. One of the most shocking fares is the NYC-Shannon route for only $290 r/t (with taxes and fees included). Fares are valid March 2-April 2, for more information on this great sale check out Delta.

V Australia: The new Aussie Airline is having an introductory sale to top destinations like Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne from Los Angeles for as low as $655 r/t. V also flies out of Minneapolis, Seattle and Portland, OR. This super deal ends March 9 for travel between March 1 and June 15. So make your plans now for a trip down under. Check out V Australia for more information.

An encore for S.C.'s Hard Rock Park

Hard Rock Park in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina just might live to rock and roll another day. After seven years of planning, the $400 million, 55-acre park opened last April to a less than stellar performance. It was the single biggest investment to South Carolina tourism ever. But with gas prices at an all time high and the economy being so weak, the park was shut down by September.

A few months later investors purchased the financially doomed park at auction for $25 million ($10 million less than what the creditors had hoped for). The new owners hope to have the park up and running by Memorial Day at the earliest and plan to use the "Hard Rock" name when doors reopen.

Some of the ways in which the new ownership plans to attract customers is by dropping the admission price from $50 to $40 and to cut the price of an annual pass in half. With the way the economy has crumbled in recent months, there is no doubt that for the Hard Rock Park to reopen and do well, it would have to make it more affordable to the general public.

With the park reopened, this would lead to 750 new jobs, which is great news for the South Carolina area. Hard Rock Park is hoping to draw roughly 750,000 people over the summer (down drastically from the 3 million customers they projected to have in 2008). So if all of this works out, we may be able to have another reason besides gorgeous golf courses and beautiful beaches to visit this great South Carolina destination.

For more information on Hard Rock Park's reopening check out USA Today's article by clicking here.

Planning on being in Myrtle Beach this summer and want to see what Hard Rock Park has to offer? Then head on over to their official website for more information.

Weekly round up: Europe's Rising stars, NYC hotel for under $100 a night???, JetBlue getaways and more.

Another eventful week in the travel business. So I thought today I would catch you up on some of the deals, news, stories and articles that came out this past week.

Jetting for less:
JetBlue currently has a 40% off select getaways that include such destinations as Aruba, Cancun & Nassau. These "beachy keen" deals include 4-star accommodations and nonstop flights from such locales as Boston, New York & Orlando.For more information head on over to JetBlue.

NYC Hotel for $89/night???: Whoa...recession pricing is in full effect with this great deal from TravelZoo and Best Western. The new Bowery Hanbee Hotel, which is located in the hip and trendy SoHo neighborhood of Manhattan, is offering a jaw dropping special. For select dates through April, travelers can enjoy a great room for only $89/night! In order to get this low rate you must book with TravelZoo's special code, which is...well..."TravelZoo"...not hard to remember. Click here for more information. Hurry because you must book by March 9.

Luck of the Irish: While not "new" news, it is worth mentioning the current sale and prices that Ireland's most popular airline Aer Lingus currently has on their website. Sales at a stunningly low $199 each way to/from Ireland in the spring and $229 in the summer. Simply amazing considering how expensive flights to Europe were just 8-12 months ago! But Aer Lingus is not just good for flights to the Emerald Isle. In fact they have dozens of European cities at lower than normal prices right now. I booked a 3 week trip to Krakow in June for about 40% lower than the competition. More for information on the Ireland sale click here, to check out all of the other great destinations that Aer Lingus flies to click here.

(Another)Southwest sale: In what seems to be a regular occurrence these days, Southwest is offering a sale. But this sale is unique as it covers all of the airline's destinations. Some of the cities that the low cost airline flies to include New York (Long Island Islip), Ft. Lauderdale, Chicago (Midway) and Seattle. The Nationwide sale has fares that range from $49-$129 one-way. Check out Southwest for more information. Hurry though, this sale ends Monday March 2.

Europe's other great cities: Fodor's has a great article about "Europe's Rising Stars", which includes a look at such amazing, yet sometimes overlooked, cities like Galway, Ireland and Valencia, Spain. These particular cities offer all of the same excitement and culture of their more popular neighbors, but often times To check out the full article, click here.

So much is going on these days in travel. Airfare sales seem to pop up every 7 minutes (or at least it feels that way) and hotel prices are plummeting worldwide. Who would have thought a year ago that you could stay in a nice hotel in Manhattan for under $100/night? Madness. It is safe to say that the term "Staycation" is officially retired. To that I say, GOOD RIDDANCE!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Brooklyn's endless culinary options are worth the visit.

Whenever a friend comes to visit New York or I am asked by a reader "what to see" or "what to do" when visiting the Big Apple, I always point them in the direction of that neighboring borough, my hometown, of Brooklyn.

Brooklyn had been known for years as the place where people that could not afford Manhattan prices went to live and play. Now while that is probably more truer than ever before, it is not just fiscal reasons that drive lifelong "Noo Yawkers" or transplants to "Kings County" anymore. This borough is full of culinary wonders!

Drive 5 minutes in any direction and you will wind up in a part of Brooklyn that offers such different cuisine. Greenpoint has home made Polish, Bensonhurst covers old school Italian perfectly and Brighton Beach offers you top notch Russian. Plus landmark locales like Junior's Cheesecake in downtown Brooklyn, Nathan's Famous in Coney Island, Grimaldi's in DUMBO and Peter Luger Steakhouse in Williamsburg will definitely add an extra few inches to your waistline once you are done with Brooklyn.

So the next time you visit the Big Apple, do not forget to check out "that other borough" and if you are in the neighborhood drop me a line...I love free meals.

For more information on Brooklyn, check out their official site: Visit Brooklyn

My favorite Brooklyn restaurants:

Park Slope: Beet (Thai), Al Di La Trattoria (Italian)

Greenpoint: Krolewskie Jadlo (Polish)

DUMBO: Grimaldi's (Italian)

Bensonhurst: Villabate (Sicilian bakery)

Midwood: DiFara's (Italian)

Click here for more on Brooklyn's new culinary movement.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Break out the Dyson...United is cleaning up its act

If you have boarded a United Airlines flight recently and noticed a certain shine to the windows and the aroma of Lysol in the air, it is because the airline is taking the task of keeping their fleet squeaky clean very serious these days.

In an effort to boost customer morale, United is now going the extra mile to clean its planes thoroughly and more often than it had in the past. I mean it is no secret that airplanes are germ infested flying capsule shaped machines with wings. Especially now with airline cutbacks, many passengers are now seeing dirtier planes when traveling.

United Airlines however will make flying the friendly skies much cleaner. The airline is now steam-cleaning as many as eight wide bodied jets a night and a deep cleaning every two weeks. Planes will be sprayed down and washed from floor to ceiling. Seats will be lifted and checked for garbage. Tray tables will get some disinfectant sprayed on them and windows will shine from the Windex treatment. On domestic flights, which have a faster turn around time, United will employ more cleaners to get the job done faster.

Something about a freshly cleaned airline that just makes me all happy inside.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Drinks are on the house again at US Airways

After several months of charging passengers for drinks on it's fleet, US Airways has decided to yank their stingy policy and go back to giving flyers free water, soda, coffee, tea and juice again. Oh how nice of them.

US Airways actually said that their liquid levy was working and that they only are canceling it now due to the fact that they are the only large mainstream airline currently charging you for that Pepsi or sub par cup of Joe.

US Airways CEO Doug Parker wrote the following letter to employees:

"We know customers don't buy an airline ticket based on whether or not they will get a free soda onboard, but with US Airways being the only large network carrier to charge for drinks, we are at a disadvantage." they are only doing this in order to save face and not to look out for the customer? That is an odd press release. By the way how does Mr. Parker know that I do not choose an airline based solely on it's refreshments!? Trust me, if there was a Guinness Airline, I would be a frequent flyer. Back to Mr. Parker's letter:

"This difference in our service has been a focal point that detracts from all of the outstanding improvements in on-time performance and baggage handling that all of us have worked so hard to achieve over the past year."

Seriously? I mean was this letter really necessary? They are just giving us small plastic cups of soda filled with iced cubes, not an all you can drink open bar.

For those of you that were not lucky enough to fly US Airways in the last 7-8 months, let me explain what their policy was, as it pertained to drinks while flying with them. US Airways' "buy on board" menu included $2 for soda or bottled water and $1 for tea and coffee. Now while that may not sound like a lot of money, remember they implemented this new policy back on August 1st when airfares were at an all time recent high.

This change in policy came as a surprise to many in the industry, including many insiders that worked for the airline. US Airways' officials had been touting the success of charging for beverages in recent weeks, so it seemed odd that they would just stop the program abruptly. A major reason why executives at US Airways were stunned at the end of this policy had nothing to do with new cash flow, but more with how efficient their fleet had become since charging for drinks. In the past, every traveler had a drink at their table and many asked for seconds...or thirds. When they were being charged however, less people bothered the crew and more work could get done.

But according to Mike Flores, president of the US Airways chapter of the Association of Flight Attendants, who called the policy a "complete disaster", said that the main reason US Airways canceled the entire "buy on board" program was because passenger complaints have been flooding their call centers and e-mail inboxes since August and have yet to die down.

Now while 2008 saw a surge in airfare prices due to the high price of oil, as well as the introduction of "penny pinching policies" such as fees on luggage, food, drinks and even pillows, 2009 may be the year of the exact opposite. With oil trading for about $40 a barrel and the economy in the toilet, airlines have slashed prices. This US Airways "buy on board" policy cancellation might be the beginning of the return of "the friendly skies"...ok maybe not yet. But free soda is a start.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Amtrak's Acela prices to drop by 25%

It is nice to wake up to some good news for a change. I checked my inbox to find a lovely e-mail from Amtrak this morning.It read:

"Book early and ride the Acela for surprisingly low fares. Save up to 25% when you purchase a ticket on Acela Express."

Here is how prices will change on some popular Northeast routes with Amtrak's Acela service:

New York - Boston, $99 (down from about $130)
Boston - New York, $79 (down from about $110)
Washington DC - Philadelphia, $73(down from about $100)

Now while this frugal traveler still feels that these prices need to lower even more to be worth the upgraded service, I will definitely take lowering prices over rising prices when it comes to travel. I personally love using the rails for trips, but Amtrak's prices have been just too high for such mediocre service. Why does it take roughly a day to go from New York to Chicago when I can drive there in traffic and with red lights in under 11? We are so far behind Europe and Asia's lighting fast rail services. Hopefully something will change with this new administration...but I will believe it when I see it.

By the way these lower prices are through June 26, 2009 and require at least a 14-day advance purchase.

Amtrak's newly adjusted Acela prices and full route information can be found by clicking here.

Southwest to start flying out of Boston by fall

Southwest Airlines, the popular low-cost carrier, has announced that they will start service out of Boston's Logan Airport by this fall. This is great news for people that use Boston when traveling for business or pleasure. More airlines equates to lower prices for passengers.

This news comes less than a week after Virgin America started it's own Boston route to San Francisco. Since Virgin joined the fray, "Bean Town" travelers have seen a steady decline in air travel prices on that particular route.

It has not been officially announced as of this posting where exactly Southwest Airlines will fly to when they start using Logan Airport, but many airline analyst predict a Boston-Chicago (O'Hare Airport) route will definitely top the list.

Boston will become Southwest's 66th destination and make many New England travelers happy, since the only option they recently had for a flight using Southwest was in Providence, Rhode Island and Manchester, New Hampshire.

Southwest will have "a conservative number of flights" at two gates in Logan, which is the sixth busiest airport in the country. Details will follow later this Spring with more information on the specific routes Southwest will use when they arrive in Red Sox nation.


Insane Italy sale!

Through May Italy is on sale! Big time my friends (or grande tempo i miei amici).

I have found airfare as low as $387 round-trip (taxes and fees included) to cities like Milan and Rome out of New York. I also came across low deals to both of those major Italian locales from top U.S. destinations including Washington D.C., Boston and Los Angeles. Two such sites showcasing these low rates are Orbitz and CheapTickets.

Be flexible when searching for prices and remember to not go past May, as these low deals are only good up until around the end of that month. You will however find the lowest fares earlier (I found a long weekend in late April, NYC-Milan, for that low price of $387).

Nothing is quite like a jaunt to Italy. I was just there last year and absolutely loved Rome and Florence (which while not in the sale, is just a 3 hour train ride from both Rome and Milan). Italy is on pretty much every traveler's "must see" list. So here is the perfect opportunity to not only visit a beautiful country full of flavor and culture, but save a gondola load of loot in the process. What a great way to spend a few days in Spring.


Wednesday, February 18, 2009

A True Blue Promise

JetBlue announced today a program that is starting to become pretty common among major companies in light of so many Americans losing jobs at such a drastic rate in this poor economy.

Similar to the program that car company Hyundai started last month, if you lose your job, you can get a refund without suffering any penalties or fees. Call it a recession proof deal by JetBlue by one of the more customer friendly domestic airlines.

Here is the lowdown straight from JetBlue's website:

The person seeking to cancel the reservation for flight(s) and request a refund under the Program must:

* Involuntarily lose his/her full time job on or after February 17, 2009
* Be aged 18 or older as of February 17, 2009
* Be a traveler on the reservation/itinerary for which a refund is sought; and
* Have personally paid for the travel for which a refund is sought.

Now before you wave your blue #1 giant foam finger in the air, there are of course some exclusions to this deal (I mean they are an airline after all!):

* Excludes corporate bookings, group bookings, Getaways vacation packages and cruises
* Excludes the following forms of payment: Gift Cards, Vouchers, TrueBlue Award Travel, Travel Certificates

For full details of this unique promotion, head on over to JetBlue.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Virgin Angels of the sky.

Low prices...great seats...environmentally conscious...plenty of entertainment on Virgin too good to be true? In a word...NO.

Like there weren't already enough reasons to book a flight on Virgin America. The Sir Richard Branson owned airline just released this friendly PowerPoint style presentation that gives you a detailed description of why you should travel with them. Click here to enjoy the show.

Virgin America service is available in New York, Boston, Washington DC, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Orange County, San Diego, Las Vegas and Seattle. To check out more about where Virgin flies across the USA, then head on over to their U.S. site and take a look at the Virgin America Route Map.

Also don't forget to check out their sale to London on Virgin Atlantic, which is just so damn low. You can fly for example out of New York's JFK to London's Heathrow for only $156! That is a jolly good sale! Click here to check out other departure locations and prices.

Maybe you want to upgrade your trip across the pond. If so, then head on over to Virgin where they are offering "Premium Economy" tickets for as low as $307 each way. According to their website you will receive, "extra room, devoted cabin crew, personal seatback entertainment, exclusive meals, plus a slew of other features." So you can go VIP style on Virgin without needing to request a stimulus check after you get home to pay the bill. Again like the other sale, you have until February 24th to lock in these low prices. Click here for more on Premium Upgrade.

Sound great? You are not alone...Virgin America was ranked the best airline by the readers of Conde Nast Traveler, beating heavy fan favorites such as JetBlue and Midwest Airlines. With all the perks, beautiful seats, new planes, impeccable service and most importantly low prices, who can blame them?

More information:

Virgin Atlantic Official site

Virgin America Official site

Ireland on sale? More like giving itself away.

As an Irish American, I must say that my Irish eyes have been smiling a lot lately. You see my favorite country to visit outside of the US is so damn cheap to visit it is making me want to book a trip to the Emerald Isle right now. Unfortunately I already have 3 trips (one of them being a month in Eastern Europe), so I am good for now.

I will however touch down in Ireland for a brief moment, because my layover from New York's JFK to Krakow is in Dublin. Can you say mad dash to the airport pub for a pint of the black gold (Guinness)?

Now I have seen some deals come in as low as $315 r/t this Spring! While under $400 fares are becoming harder to find as each we get closer to Spring, you can definitely still find some gems out there. Here are some helpful links to get you started on your vacation to Ireland:

Aer Lingus: Of course you can not mention flights to Ireland and leave out the country's biggest airline. But Aer Lingus is seriously on fire this year with deals to not only Ireland, but to many top European destinations like Brussels, Krakow and Nice. Fares to Ireland via Aer Lingus start as low as $199 each way between April 1 and June 15. If you are looking for Summer travel, then their one way fares start as $283 between June 16 and August 22.

Continental Airlines: Today is one month until St. Patrick's Day and if you are looking for a last minute jaunt across the pond for that holiday then check out Continental, which still has low fares nonstop to Dublin out of Newark for $423 (Based on a Sunday/Monday March 15/16 arrival and a Monday March 23 return; round-trip with taxes and fees included). While that is not the cheapest fare I saw for St Patty's week (It was as low as $315 back in January), it is still much lower than visiting many parts of Europe this Spring. Do a Kayak search and be flexible with the date of arrival and departure option or visit Continental Airlines direct.

Dooley Vacations: Want to see more of Ireland for less? Then book a vacation package this Spring or Summer. Dooley Vacations is one of the many companies that are offering travelers much to do without breaking the bank. One package in particular that stood out was the "Ireland Two-City Vacation" starting at $599, which includes a 3-night stay at the Strand Hotel in Limerick and 3-nights at the Regency Hotel in Dublin. Plus the package includes r/t airfare, 3-day manual shift car rental (pick up Shannon Airport & drop off Dublin Airport on Day 4 by 6pm. Transfer to Regency Hotel will be provided), full Irish breakfast daily and even a discount booklet to save while on the trip. Check out Dooley Vacations for more information and pricing.

For more Ireland vacation packages, starting as low as $349, check out Travel Zoo and their European Vacations section.

Hopefully these links have provided you with some ideas on how cheap is it right now to fly to Ireland. May your days in Ireland be filled with plenty of craic (fun and enjoyment).

Monday, February 16, 2009

City Spotlight: Chicago

The windy city...the second city...Chi Town...whatever you want to call it, Chicago is indeed a city full of tasty food, great sports and beautiful architecture. So when my brother asked me to join him on a long weekend in Chicago, I jumped at the opportunity. I have been twice before, but once was for 24 hours with work and the other time was for a wedding. So I never got to experience what this amazing city had to offer until now. Here are some highlights of where to stay, play and eat!

Where to stay?

Well Chicago has hundreds of amazing three and four star hotels. Your best bet is to give priceline a try and bid on a 4 star hotel in following locations:

Millennium Park, Loop & Grant Park Area & North Michigan Ave - River North Area

I bid and received the Hard Rock Hotel for only $90 a night through priceline. It was going for over $200 on its website. So saving cash always makes me happy. The hotel is nice and has a cool "rock star" feel to it. The only critique I have about the place are the dimly lit rooms and equally dim hallways. But as two brothers on a trip to see Chicago, it did not bother us at all. I can see it being a problem for women who may be trying to put make up on in a somewhat dark room. The beds were comfortable and the room was spotless. Our Hard Rock room, number 811, had a good view of the marina city buildings (aka the corn on the cob twin buildings).

Our departing flight was going to be at 5pm, which meant our 12pm check out time was not great, since we would have then about 4 hours to kill between leaving the hotel and arriving at the airport. But luckily though, the hotel let us check out at 2pm, with no extra charge. The Hard Rock Hotel also has free wifi internet, which is a nice touch since so many 4 star hotels charge for 24 use of their internet. I used the concierge to check into my airline and print out my boarding passes. They were quick with getting them for me as I checked out.

Hard Rock Chicago

What to do?

Chicago is full of so many amazing sights. You may not be able to fit them all into a weekend, but here are some highlights for the traveler in a rush:

Sears Tower: Yes it may be a tourist trap at times, but it has one of the best panoramic views of the windy city. Adults are $12.95 and children are $9.50. It is a great way to spend an hour or two while checking out Chicago.

Millennium Park: This beautiful park is right in the center of the city. It has so much to see and enjoy. When I visited this park on a unseasonably hot April afternoon in Chicago, I was in awe of some of its beautiful art & architecture. Some of the many attractions in the park include the Jay Pritzker pavilion, the bp bridge, boeing galleries, crown fountain and cloud gate (aka the bean). A few hours here is definitely going to become the highlight of your Chicago trip.

Millennium Park

Wrigley Field: This historic stadium has been the home of the Chicago Cubs for 93 of its 107 year existence. A Cubbies game with a few Chicago style hot dogs, warm pretzels and the occasional over priced beer, will make you root, root, root for (or against) the home team for sure.

Chicago Cubs official website

What to eat?

This is a foodie's city. The Chicago area is full of tasty treats and is known for its deep dish pizza, "Chicago style" hot dogs, which is usually made of Vienna beef, and covered in green pickle relish, yellow mustard, pickled sport peppers, tomato wedges, dill pickle spear and topped off with celery salt. Don't even dare to ask for ketchup...locals will look down on you as some crazy tourist!

Giordano's: (Try not only the deep dish pizza, but order their delicious steak sandwich w. gravy and fries)

Pizzeria Uno: (go to the original location for the real Chicago experience)

Hot Doug's: As for the hot dog lovers out there, be sure to stop on by Hot Doug's. But be prepared to wait in line for one (or more) of these tasty dogs. Some of the menu items include The Paul Kelly which is bratwurst soaked in beer, The Salma Hayek which is described as being "very, very, very hot" and the local's favorite simply called The Dog, which has basically everything in the kitchen on it. Mmm heartburn.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Movies that make you want to travel.

I am a travel junkie.

Seriously, I am.

I probably look at travel news, stories, deals and journals more than anything else during my weekly activities. It is an addiction and something that I may need to eventually get help for (is there a Traveler's Anonymous?). In any event, while my travel bug is still active, let me say that one of the things that makes me want to log onto Kayak or Trip Advisor and book my next trip comes after watching certain movies.

If I see great scenery or a beautiful location, I then get online, check it out, research flight information, see if my airline miles can take me there and before you know it, I am walking the streets of Tuscany with a gelato in one hand and a limoncello in the other saying to myself, "Damn you Diane Lane, how am I going to afford this trip?!"

Here are some flicks you might want to add to your NetFlix or rent from your video store (do those still exist?):

In Bruges: This Academy Award-nominated and Golden Globe Award-winning 2008 film directed and written by Martin McDonagh stars Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson as two hit men hiding out in a small city in Belgium. Yes they are staying "In Bruges", which is a small town outside of Brussels. The backdrop is perfect in my opinion yet Colin Farrell's character hates this city. It is too cold, quiet and boring for him. His character prefers the excitement and energy of Paris and London. But his partner absolutely loves the quaint city and takes in a river cruise, snaps pics of his architecture and enjoys many of drinks at their local watering holes. If you can not have a good time in Belgium then something is seriously wrong with you. A place that is known for the best chocolate and beer on the planet? Perfect!

Vicky Cristina Barcelona: Who wouldn't want to spend a summer in Spain with the likes of Penelope Cruz and Scarlett Johansson? This 2008 Golden Globe Award-winning/Academy Award-nominated film written and directed by Woody Allen is filmed in beautiful Barcelona and has not only a good storyline, but a lot of good looking people. I'm sold.

Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas: Based on the 1971 Hunter S. Thompson book, this film starring Johnny Depp and Benicio del Toro is such a great flick. Depp and del Toro's interaction throughout the film make for one hell of a ride to Sin City. A movie with so many desert scenes was never so entertaining. Highly recommend. But read the book first.

Under the Tuscan Sun: While this one is a "Uber-chick flick", I could not turn away while my wife watched it. The Italian backdrop was perfetto. Definitely check it out with your wife or girlfriend. If you are a single male then rent it, lower the blinds and cuddle up on the couch with your kitty. It's ok, you are confident in your masculinity.

A Good Year: Set in both London, England and stunningly romantic Provence, France. This 2006 romantic comedy starring Russell Crowe seriously was not the best movie I have seen in recent years, but the location of Provence was good enough to keep me watching through to the end.

Bourne Trilogy: Yes, all three of the Bourne movies, while fast paced and fun to watch in my opinion, also make you want to jaunt to Europe ASAP. Some of the locations used in these great movies include Prague, Paris, Imperia, Rome, Mykonos, Zürich, Tangier, London, Paris, Madrid (as itself and double for Turin) and Berlin (as double for Moscow). Even New York City is used in this movie. That is some serious traveling Mr. Damon.

Once: Set in Dublin, this drama stars musicians Glen Hansard (of popular Irish rock band The Frames) and Markéta Irglová as struggling musicians. I personally found this movie to be entertaining from beginning to end. Plus being Irish and visiting Dublin many times sure did give it extra credit. The soundtrack is equally good.

Into the Wild: Based on the 1996 non-fiction book of the same name by Jon Krakauer about the adventures of Christopher McCandless. This Sean Penn directed film stars Emile Hirsch, Jena Malone, Marcia Gay Harden, Vince Vaughn, Kristen Stewart, William Hurt and Catherine Keener. I loved the book and found the movie to be good, not great. Check out the soundtrack by Eddie Vedder, some pretty good tunes.

Other notable mentions:

Home Alone 2 (New York)
Sleepless in Seattle (duh)
National Lampoon's European Vacation(England,France,Germany,and Italy)
The Da Vinci Code (Rome/Vatican City)
Lost in Translation (Tokyo)

Want to add to this list? Leave a comment!

Have a great holiday weekend!


Twitter with me. It's lonely out there.


Wednesday, February 11, 2009

How low can they go?

Airline prices are drastically dropping left and right for both domestic and international flights on what feels like a daily basis. I mean holiday weekends are not even expensive these days. I checked today on the price of a NYC to Chicago round-trip for this Valentines/Presidents weekend and got back a price of $159 (taxes and fees included). That's madness my frugal friends!

Here are some other delicious deals that you should take a second look at before springtime comes and prices eventually go up.

United has some "draw-droppingly" low deals this Spring. You must book by this Friday (Feb 13) however to lock in the prices. Some of the one-way fares include:

* Charlotte to Chicago, $47
* Denver to Los Angeles, $57
* Washington, D.C. to Miami, $86
* New York City to San Francisco, $107

Click here for more details and fare options.

Another sale that ends this Friday is from American Airlines. They also have tons of routes at prices not seen this low in years. Some one-way fares include:

* Boston to New York City, $47
* New York City to Washington, D.C., $47
* Philadelphia to Miami, $57
* Washington, D.C. to Boston, $67
* New York City to Orlando, $77
* Boston to Chicago, $85
* Washington, D.C. to St. Louis, $87
* New York City to Seattle, $97
* New York City to San Diego, $107

That New York/Seattle route is tempting. But with three trips already planned for '09, I may have to slow down...but oh no tempting. These fares again must be booked by Friday and you must fly by May 13. Blackout dates do apply. Click here for more information.

Flying overseas as little as 6-8 months ago was seen as a real expense and with the dollar so weak against the Euro, it had seemed like the days of U.S. travelers hopping on a last minute flight to Europe was no longer a viable option. But rejoice American travelers, because airlines like Virgin Atlantic are offering stellar deals right now to many of the top European cities. One such deal with Virgin is to London, where fares come in as low as $156 one-way. Check out their website for more deals to Jolly Old England from such cities as Miami, Orlando, San Francisco and more.

There are bound to be more deals coming within the next few weeks. But like I mentioned earlier, they will not last for long and as the weather gets warmer, expect the prices to go higher. Book now for travel later!

You can contact me at: &

Monday, February 9, 2009

Let's make a (travel) deal.

Ok so times are tough. The economy is in the toilet and people are losing jobs left and right (600,000 jobs cut in January alone). This fear of consumer spending effects the travel business greatly. So in order to get people traveling in such weak financial times, airlines, hotels and even opaque travel sites are offering travelers coupons, promotional codes, money towards future trips and more.

Some of the great deals I found just today online include:

Expedia: Book your next hotel stay with Expedia and you will get a prepaid MasterCard debit card worth $50. Simply book either a 4-night stay or a flight with a 4-night stay and then a few weeks later you will receive the gift card in the mail. Click here for more information on this promotion.

Alaska Air: Book your next getaway at and you'll save 10% when you enter promo code AS9SAVETEN. Just purchase your package by February 28, 2009, and complete travel by April 30, 2009, to take advantage of this great offer.

Spirit Air: You have until midnight tomorrow (Feb. 10) to take advantage of this deal and get $35 off your next Spirit Airlines flight. This deal is good for travel through mid-December. Enter the promo code SAVE35 on the homepage when booking. You must be a member of the Spirit’s “$9 Club” - but non-members do receive a $17 discount. Click here for more information.

Travelocity: This is one deal where you do not have to enter a code. Travelocity has simply lowered prices on hundred of hotels worldwide. Click here for more information.

Orbitz: What happens when one site offers a sale? Of course the competition answers with their own version. So here is 50% off hotels worldwide through Orbitz.

Hotwire: What also happens when a site starts a sale? Another site comes out with a bigger and better deal to match it or beat it. Hotels are up to 60% off at right now

JetBlue: A different kind of sale is taking place at JetBlue right now. To commemorate their 9 year anniversary, the low cost carrier is celebrating with games and prizes on their website. If you play their memory game they will even give you 9% off your next flight. Click here for more information and be sure to sign up as a TrueBlue member (it's free).

If you are indeed looking for a deal or an idea of a place to visit that is "on sale", check out locations like Hawaii, Poland, Iceland, Las Vegas & Canada where your money will go farther.

Safe travels,


Germany not so much.

A BBC poll last week had Germany ranked #1 as the most liked country in the world. Germany came in with a whopping 61% favorable worldwide rating. That is up from last year's 55%. Can you blame them? The land of delicious chocolates, amazing architecture, beautiful people, big pretzels and bigger beers has definitely been on my short list of places to see. Luckily I may be able to swing by Germany in June when I venture into Eastern Europe for a month. Dresden here I come!

As for how well other countries fared on this list?

***Britain moved up 7%, with 58% of people rating it as having a positive influence.

***Negative views about Russia were up 8% with 42% among the 13,000 people questioned in 21 countries.

***The 2008 Olympic host China did not get much love either on this list. 39% of the people polled found China's role in the world to be a negative.

***Rejoice USA...but not so much. The poll, taken after Barack Obama was elected president, saw the United States rise in the poll for the first time in a few years. 43% of the people polled still had a negative view when asked about the good old US of A. However, this is an improvement from 47% in 2008. It is definitely still way too early for the world to change their attitude towards America since Obama still has that new President smell on him.

***The USA for the first time since 2005 was less hated by the world than Russia. Oh yes Mother Russia has not seen as favorable by the worldwide audience.

The same countries were asked the same questions at the same time last year and saw both Russia and China as favorable countries. The drop in love comes as no surprise to Russia, who were blasted by many people around the world after their treatment to Georgia. China on the other hand, while not completely shocking, does probably have some people scratching their heads since China tried very hard during the Summer games to come off like good guys.

Rounding out the list of the least liked countries were the usual suspects: Iran, Israel, Pakistan and North Korea.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Travel By Andy has moved.

I ran a pretty decent travel site at "" for the last year. After much consideration I thought that Google had a much nicer looking format and as of today, February 8, I will no longer be posting their and instead will be right here. To check out my past posts, click here

Traveling in 09 will be much friendlier on traveler's wallets

What a time for travel. The combination of the economy going into the toilet and oil prices plummeting has brought on a major drop in the price of travel this year. Even better for us American travelers is that the US dollar is seeing better days and you could book a trip outside the country and actually make out like a bandit.

So with such a bad economic outlook for 2009, the travel industry has decided to get desperate. That is bad news for them and great news for you. Airlines, hotels and cruises have slashed prices and are offering deals that only a year ago seemed impossible. So below are some great sites to check out and also some great places to find the best deals for the first half of 2009.

Where to go?:

Ok here is a listing of some amazing locations you could visit in 2009 and not break the bank. Plus with the exchange rate, you might even have a lot more cash in your pocket when you land.


As you might know from past posts on here, I have been trying to book a trip
to Poland. After missing out on a killer deal in December to the land on pierogis, I was able to book a sweet summer deal on Aer Lingus to Poland's second city of Krakow. I got round-trip tickets for $500 below the advertised price on Poland's more popular airlines of LOT Polish and Czech Airlines by going with Ireland's biggest airline. Many people probably wouldn't think of Aer Lingus as an option when booking to a European destination outside of Ireland, but the Irish airline has had some of the best deals to Europe for summer travel so far this year.

A great reason to visit Poland right now is that their currency, the Polish zloty, is at a four year low against the U.S. Dollar. As of this post, for every $1 you hand over to the exchange booth in Poland, they will hand you back $3.45 (It even went as high as $3.63 last week). What makes that even sweeter is that Poland is full of amazing restaurants that not only dish out Eastern European delicacies, but also offers to notch French, Italian, Indian and various other ethnic treats for very low prices. Beers are under $2 and most of their attractions are either really cheap or absolutely free.

For further information on Poland, check out the following sites:

For air travel, as of this posting, AerLingus is your best bet.
But before you book a flight, be sure to do a Kayak search.

Click here for Krakow's official website, which offers detailed information.

Click here for Warsaw's official website, which offers detailed information.


Oh Canada! The exchange rate will give U.S. travelers about 25 cents on each Dollar. So with that extra cash in your pocket, you could visit some of the amazing cities of the Great White North and not feel broke in the process. Some of the most popular cities include Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver, but check out Canada's other great destinations including Mont Tremblant, Quebec City, Calgary, Edmonton and Ottawa.

The Canadian Tourism Commission offers great information for people looking to visit their country. Another great site is, which offers information on places to go, events and lodging information.

Other locations where your money will go further in 2009 include:

India: Check out the popular cities of Mumbai and Delhi. "Incredible India", which is the country's official tourism site is great. It has tons of things to do and see, where to stay and when to visit. Check it out before you book a flight.

Iceland: Yes it has been covered in just about every travel website, magazine, newsletter, newspaper and travel show. But Iceland is on sale and you should get there while the Dollar goes so far. Reykjavik is a vibrant city full of great bars, restaurants and such attractions as the
blue lagoon.

Colombia: Besides your Dollar going far, hotels are cheap and starting in February you can fly to Bogota from Orlando on JetBlue for only $49 each way! Check out JetBlue for more information and click here to see more about Bogota.

Where to book?:

These travel sites are your best bet for finding the best deals: The aforementioned website really is a time saver and also a money saver in the process. But be forewarned, when you see a price listed and click on it to book, it may change (for better or worse). Also not every single airline is on Kayak, one that really stands out is Southwest. Plug in the dates you are traveling, the airports you want to use and obviously the location. Then let Yapta do the rest of the work for you. They will email you with updates on the route you chose and tell you if the fare went up or dropped. Also if you book a flight, it can tell you if the price lowered and help you get refunds on the price difference (if available). Plus Yapta just introduced a feature that tells you when reward seats are available on a flight. I once blogged for these great people and have to admit that their website is great. They are on top of all deals(both advertised and not) and will post it on their site ASAP. Sign up for
their email alert and save cash in the process. Want to save some cash? Then head on over to Priceline. I have had so many great deals due to them. Just last week I booked a trip to Toronto and used their "Name your own price" hotel feature. I got a 4-star hotel in the center of the city for only $45 a night. The hotel, which I will not name here (so that you do not stand outside seeking an autograph), was going for $199 on their own site. So that is
a savings of $154 a night! I have had other great hotel deals that were more than 50% off the listed price. Remember though, when you book the hotel...YOU CAN NOT CANCEL! All sales are final and you are stuck with that property. I once also used Priceline's "Name your own price" for air and got $40 off a NYC-Chicago trip. & These two sites have up to
date sales on air, hotel, cruises, packages & car rentals. Sign up for both of their newsletters and be in the know on the latest deals.

Want to get real opinions from real travelers? Then head over to this site: Their motto is "Get the truth, then go." They have every hotel on this site. Plus a majority of them with real pictures taken by travelers. If it is one thing that I can not stand when booking a hotel is checking out sites that have those packaged, well prepared photos taken by the company. TripAdvisor's members help big time with their shots. Plus they have information on what to do in each city and also a great message board with questions and answers from travelers.

Travel wise in 09,