Don't Miss the 24-hour Cyber Summer Sale on June 21st
For one day only, 20 beachfront hotels and resorts around the world will go on sale in honor of the first day of summer, June 21st. You won't want to miss these Cyber Summer deals, ranging from $200 off a 10-day trip to Cape Town, South Africa, to up to 50 percent off hotels and resorts in Florida, the Caribbean, Mexico, and Central America. Don't wait—all deals must be booked between 12 a.m. and 11:59 p.m. on June 21st, and depending on the package, travel dates are available throughout the summer and in some cases, until Dec. 31, 2013. Some of our favorite deals include:
•Rooms at the Jupiter Beach Resort & Spa in Palm Beach from $99 a night.
•Rooms at the Lido Beach Resort in Sarasota from $118 a night.
•40 percent off rooms at the South Beach Marriott, with rooms from $132 a night.
•Rooms at the trendy Sense Beach House in Miami Beach or the Harbor Beach Marriott Resort & Spa in Fort Lauderdale from $139 a night.
•40 percent off rooms at the Sandpearl Resort in Clearwater Beach, from $219 per night and worth the splurge considering regular rates are usually upwards of $369 per night.
•Rooms from $143 per night at the San Juan Marriott Resort & Stellaris Casino in Puerto Rico, available for bookings through Dec. 31, 2013.
•Rooms at the Hotel Kura-Hulanda Spa & Casino and Lodge Kura-Hulanda & Beach Club in Curaçao from $99 a night.
•Rooms at the Santa Barbara Beach & Golf Resort in Curaçao from $119 a night including your choice of either a spa treatment or a round of golf.
•Accommodations at the Aruba Marriott Resort & Stellaris Casino from $169 a night.
•50 percent off accommodations at the CuisinArt Golf Resort & Spa in Anguilla, from $275 a night but worth the splurge considering regular rates are from $575 per night.
•Rooms from $175 per night at the JW Marriott Cancún Resort & Spa, plus a $100 resort credit per stay.
•Rooms from $145 per night at the CasaMagna Cancún Marriott Resort, plus a $100 resort credit.
•35 percent off accommodations at Casa Palopó in Guatemala, with rooms from $91 a night.
•Accommodations at Alma del Pacifico Beach Hotel & Spa in Costa Rica from $143 per night on stays of three nights or more.
Visit CyberSummerTravel.com for more information and travel deal listings.
Renaissance Hotels Offer Free Events During Global Day of Discovery
On Wednesday, June 19th, you can attend culinary workshops and see live musical performances from your favorite local and international artists thanks to Renaissance Hotels' second annual Global Day of Discovery, a one-day-only event that spans five continents and 35 countries. All events are hosted at one of Renaissance Hotels' 155 properties around the world and are open to the public, not just to hotel guests—visit their website to find an event near you and follow along on Twitter with #RDiscovery. Highlights include performances by country music sensation Montgomery Gentry at the Renaissance Nashville Hotel and Juliet Simms, the season two runner-up from The Voice at the Renaissance Los Angeles Airport Hotel, culinary specialties by Executive Chef Capili and Food Writer Nevin Martell at the Renaissance Dupont Circle Hotel in Washington D.C., and special front-of-the-line access for guests at the Renaissance Orlando at SeaWorld. Several hotels will feature musical performances by local musicians—like the Delta Pines Blues Band at the Renaissance Chicago O'Hare Suites Hotel and Rhyme N Rhythm at the Renaissance Las Vegas—and showcases by some of Cee-Lo Green's protegés including That Girl V at the Renaissance Dallas Hotel. The Renaissance New York Hotel 57 will feature a night of stargazing with the Amateur Astonomers Association of New York, special starry night themed cocktails, and music by DJ Danny Estrella, while the Renaissance New York Times Square Hotel will be running a pet adoption station and offering pet-themed food and drinks (Scooby Snacks anyone?) in their event co-sponsored by the North Shore Animal League, the world's largest no-kill animal rescue center. The Global Day of Discovery aims to inspire travelers to explore the destinations around them when they visit a new place. Go for a walk in a new neighborhood, stop to admire a beautiful piece of artwork, have a chat wtih the local resident serving your dinner. In this video, celebrities like Tracy Morgan, Patricia Arquette, Leslie David Barker from The Office, Josh Radnor from How I Met Your Mother, and Kevin McHale from Glee, among others, advocate doing just that. Discovering the little quirks and local flavors about the place you're visiting will make for a much more authentic travel experience and an unforgettable trip. What are some of the hidden gems you've discovered by just wandering around town? Tell us about it below!
Do You Need Travel Insurance?
As heavy spring rains caused major European rivers like the Elbe and the Danube to overflow their banks, serious flooding has hit parts of Germany, Austria, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, and Hungary. With more than 20 deaths and extensive damage to structures, the floods also caused the cancellation of several river cruises, including cruises from Budapest, Hungary, and those that call on the popular German port Passau. While European vacation plans aren't on the top of anyone's list of concerns at a time like this, we've found that the question of travel insurance often arises in the wake of natural disasters. It's a good time to remind readers of Budget Travel's recommendations where insurance is concerned. In general, Budget Travel does not recommend travel insurance. The cost of rebooking a flight will be less than an insurance premium, and hotels and rental car agencies rarely have strict cancellation policies. However, if you've booked a package tour or cruise, travel insurance may be a good idea. Familiarize yourself with the company's cancellation policy so you know what your risks are. In the case of Viking River Cruises, for instance, cancellations in the 29 days preceding your cruise will result in your losing your entire cruise fee. But the company offers a Travel Protection Plan that costs approximately 10 percent of the cruise fee (a Travel Protection Plan for a $3,000 cruise will run you $299) and protects you from sudden emergencies or medical problems, including pre-existing conditions. That being said, it's important to remember that many travel companies will respond to natural disasters and other major disruptive events with courteous and thoughtful waiving of re-booking or cancellation policies. But as we've noted here before, we can't guarantee that your cruise line or tour operator will follow suit! TALK TO US! Tell us about your experiences with travel insurance—including any last-minute cancellations or natural disasters that have rocked your travel plans—and we may quote you in an upcoming Budget Travel story!
6 Great Destinations That Survived Sandy
It's almost impossible to shake the dramatic images of waves crashing over Casino Pier's iconic roller coaster after it was pushed into the Atlantic during Hurricane Sandy. Our hearts broke with the news of entire communities throughout the east coast being ravaged by ferocious floods and in the unfortunate case of Breezy Point, NY, unstoppable fires. Despite such suffering and turmoil, people came together to help each other, communities worked together, and one year later, things are looking a whole lot better. While so much work still needs to be done in many of New York and New Jersey's residential areas, several popular destinations have bounced back. From the Hamptons to the Jersey Shore, here are six popular places that survived the storm and why you should pay them a visit. CONEY ISLAND Despite the storm, Coney Island's signature amusement park, Luna Park, was able to open its summer 2013 season right on schedule, thanks in part to hundreds of volunteers from all five boroughs who came together to help rebuild the area's playgrounds, streets, churches, and iconic boardwalk. Luna Park recently unveiled Water Mania, a new ride similar to Disney's Tea Cup attraction that lets visitors spray water cannons at other riders as they spin around. Luna Park will open two new rides this summer, and plans to bring back the Thunderbolt, a 125-foot tall, 2,000-foot long roller coaster that will reach speeds of up to 65 miles per hour, in 2014. Pay a visit to Coney Island's timeless attractions, brave the almighty Cyclone, and take a ride on the historic B&B Carousel in the newly christened Steeplechase Plaza. If all else fails, you can always stop for a bite at Nathan's Famous, home of the original Coney Island Hot Dog. ATLANTIC CITY Contrary to popular belief, Atlantic City was not hit hard by Hurricane Sandy last fall and was actually back on its feet within a week of the storm-in fact the area still continues to bounce back post-Sandy with new openings and events along its iconic stretch of New Jersey coastline. The Tropicana Casino and Resort opened six new restaurants and AC's iconic Steel Pier debuted eight new rides this summer. Ultra-chic hotel Revel also opened its new HQ Beach Club over Memorial Day weekend, a nightclub modeled after the posh décor of Mykonos that features pools, bungalows, bars, DJs, and a new dance floor. For free family-friendly entertainment, don't miss AC Dreamin', a new 3-D light show featuring catchy music and creative, thought-provoking images against the façade of Boardwalk Hall every half hour between 8 p.m. and 11 p.m nightly. LOWER MANHATTAN While images of the New York City subway system overflowing with floodwaters might still come to mind, it's important to remember that things are for the most part back to normal in Lower Manhattan. Shop for farm fresh produce at one of the Greenmarkets Downtown-try the Bowling Green Greenmarket at Broadway and Battery Place every Tuesday and Thursday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. thru Dec. 26th, or the Staten Island Ferry Terminal Greenmarket, every Tuesday from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. thru Dec. 31st. Treat the family to a picnic in Battery Park with views of the Statue of Liberty or take advantage of the City's new Citi Bike Stations and take a bike tour Lower Manhattan at your own pace. MONTAUK AND THE HAMPTONS While Long Island didn't receive as much television coverage during Sandy compared to other places, Montauk, the Hamptons, and most of Long Island's beaches endured large amounts of flooding and beach erosion as a result of the storm. Trees fell, water rose, and power outages were rampant. Luckily, one year later, the beaches are in much better shape. According to an article byCurbed Hamptons, $700 million was recently approved by Congress to go towards rebuilding Long Island's South Shore, namely Montauk, Hampton Bays, East Quogue, and West Hampton Dunes Village-East Hampton Town is bringing in roughly 10,000 yards of sand to support Ditch Plains since the project reportedly won't begin until late next year. THE JERSEY SHORE If New Jersey's Stronger than the Storm campaign is any indication, the Jersey Shore has bounced back from the effects of Hurricane Sandy with courage, style, and grace. This summer, the beaches were open from Long Beach Island all the way down to Cape May and area hotels, B&Bs, restaurants, and shops are eagerly awaiting your visit. Check out the Stronger Than The Storm Fall Guide for a list of haunted houses, hayrides, corn mazes, pick-your-own pumpkin and apple farms, and the best places to see fall colors. 26 B&Bs and Inns along the Jersey Shore are also participating in Back Inn Business, a campaign offering 10 percent off rates for Sunday-Thursday stays this October in honor of the one-year anniversary of Hurricane Sandy. STATEN ISLAND Here's a novel idea: take a free ride on the Staten Island Ferry from Manhattan and actually stick around to explore the fifth borough before heading back to the City. There's a lot going on in Staten Island. History buffs shouldn't miss the chance to explore Fort Wadsworth, one of the oldest military sites in the country, Historic Richmond Town, an 11-acre living history museum on New York City's oldest farm, and Sandy Ground, a community settled in the 1800s by freed slaves from New York, Delaware, and Maryland that later became an important stop on the Underground Railroad. Visit the Jacques Marchais Museum of Tibetan Art, the Garibaldi-Meucci Museum, and the Snug Harbor Cultural Center for a taste of culture on one of New York City's most culturally diverse boroughs.
3 Easy Ways To Give Back When You Travel
Trying to make a difference in the world? Whether you're booking hotels that contribute to those who are less fortunate or want to try a hands-on conservation vacation at one of your favorite national parks, we've got three easy ways you can help others and make the world a better place while you travel. Affinia Hotels in New York City and Washington D.C.When you book a room at any Affinia Hotel by July 31st, your room rate (from $149 a night in D.C. and from $199 in New York City) will include a $10 donation to Operation Smile, a non-profit organization helping to provide surgeries for young children around the world who were born with facial deformities. As a special thank you for participating in this summer promotion, you'll receive complimentary WiFi at the hotel—a value of $14.95 per day—as well as a list of popular area attractions and a promotional Smile Kit that includes a toothbrush, toothpaste, mouthwash, mints, and floss to take care of your own pearly whites. Guests at the Affinia Shelburne, Affinia Dumont, Affinia 50, and Affinia Manhattan will also receive complimentary wine while attending Evening Libations, Affinia's signature wine hour. Click here for more information and to book your room or call 866/246-2203 and mention promo code SMILE. Aqua Hospitality Hotels in HawaiiBook a room at any of Aqua Hospitality's 21 properties on Oahu, Maui, Kauai, Molokai, and the Big Island of Hawaii and you'll pay from $99 per night and receive a copy of the controversial New York Times Bestseller, Lean In: Women, Work and the Will to Lead, by Sheryl Sandberg, one of Fortune's 50 Most Powerful Women and CEO of Facebook. You'll get to learn a little more about LeanIn.org and 10 percent of every reservation will benefit the Patsy Mink Foundation, a non-profit organization based in Hawaii that provides educational opportunities for low-income women and mothers. Click here to book this package online and travel by Dec. 31, 2013 to receive the special rate of $99 per night or call 866/940-2782 and mention the Lean In Promotion. Conservation Volunteer Vacations in U.S. National ParksIf you're interested in helping to preserve America's great national parks, volunteer with the American Conservation Experience this summer and gain access to volunteer vacations normally reserved for AmeriCorps members and long-term volunteers. After a wildly successful program in California's Catalina Island last year, the organization has expanded this year's program to include Bryce Canyon National Park and Grand Canyon National Park as well, with 11-day volunteer vacation packages priced at $600 including your accommodations, supplies, and meals. You'll spend time preserving the parks during the day on weekdays and have nights and weekends to explore these natural wonders. Dates for Catalina Island are Jun. 17, Jul. 22, Aug. 5, 19, and Sept. 2, 2013. Dates for Grand Canyon National Park are Jul. 15 and Aug. 26, 2013. Dates for Bryce Canyon National Park are Jun. 17, Jul. 15, 29, and Aug. 12, 2013.