- February 5th 2013
Think a trip to Las Vegas is out of your budget? Think again! Although Vegas is a city that exudes opulence and wealth, you can easily enjoy all that Sin City has to offer on a strict budget. Amazing deals are available virtually all year round in Las Vegas, but there’s also some sneaky insider tips that you can use to get the most value out of every buck.
Here are 5 of the very best money-saving tactics:
- Stay Off the Strip Staying at a hotel on the Strip may be convenient, but it’s also likely to burn a big hole in your wallet. You can save a ton of money by opting to stay at one of the many off-the Strip hotels or resorts, which are every bit as nice as their counterparts on Las Vegas Boulevard, but far more affordable. A wide variety of off-Strip hotels provide phenomenally affordable room rates, and some of them are even surprisingly luxurious. While you may have to get a cab or take a shuttle to get to the Strip from one of these locations, the money you save from booking off Strip will more than make up for those minimal costs.
- Score Free Drinks If you’ve come to Vegas to party – don’t waste your money on buying drinks! Cocktail waitresses at virtually every casino in Vegas are more than willing to provide you with free alcohol as long as you’re on the gaming floor and appear to be gambling. Although you’re expected to tip a dollar (at least) for each drink you get, you can still save a huge amount of money on your booze by avoiding paying the typically high prices of alcohol in bars and clubs throughout Sin City. Even if you don’t feel like hanging out on the gaming floor to get free drinks, you could still save a lot by pre-partying in your hotel room with alcohol bought from a local drug or liquor store. Vegas is pretty much synonymous with alcohol, but that doesn’t mean that you need to spend a ton of money on it to enjoy yourself.
- Get Discounted Show Tickets There really is no need to pay full price for show tickets in Vegas, as you can find discounted tickets online or by visiting one of the many discount ticket booths lining the Strip. Here you’ll find same-night-of tickets for many of the major Vegas shows, usually at dramatically reduced prices. While it’s harder to plan for, and you may have to have a flexible schedule to take advantage of the reduced rates, the savings are more than worth the sacrifice. Vegas entertainment definitely looks pricey on the outset, but if you know when and where to get the good deals, you can see the same awesome shows for a far better price.
- Use Restaurant Coupons Don’t ignore the coupon books you’ll find stuffed into the back seat of taxis or located in your hotel room. These are likely full of valuable restaurant coupons! Restaurants can be very expensive in Vegas, especially as the Strip features some of the most highly rated restaurants in the world, but you can save a ton of cash by utilizing coupons. Even some of the most expensive, most well-known restaurants in Vegas dole out coupons to reduce their asking prices, so be sure to snoop around a bit before making those reservations. Coupon use is commonplace in Vegas so don’t feel ashamed to whip out a coupon next time you dine out.
- Get on a Guest List Want to go clubbing in Vegas but don’t want to pay the entry fees? Try to get yourself put on a guest list, which really isn’t all that difficult in Sin City. Guest lists will often allow you to enter the club for free or at special discounted rates, so they’re definitely worth pursuing. You may be able to get on the guest list via the club’s website or by contacting a club promoter once you’re in Vegas. You can usually find promoters hanging around outside night clubs during the daytime, or, if you’re traveling with a group of females, you may even be approached by one or more of them. While there’s certainly no guarantee that you can get on one of these lists, it’s more than worth exploring, especially if clubbing is your thing.
An amazing stay in Las Vegas doesn’t have to cost you a small fortune. In fact, you can enjoy a show, fancy meal, alcohol and clubbing all at a discounted rate if you’re prepared to use the above insider tips. Have fun in this city of sin, but please do remember that what happens in Vegas often ends up on Facebook!
- October 5th 2012
If you love the brilliant reds, golds, and yellows of autumn leaves but never seem to see quite enough of them, a tour of the Old Dominion State may be in order this fall. Nothing is quite as spectacular as the display of color in the beautiful national parks and scenic areas of Virginia. Seeing the Blue Ridge Mountains and the Shenandoah Valley painted with the rich palette of Autumn is like stepping into an Autumn fairy world and is an experience you will never forget.
Best Places for Color
While Virginia is always a great place to visit, autumn seems to bring out its best. Whether long drives, active fall festivals, or quiet getaways are your favorite, the Old Dominion has them all:
- Drives – The Blue Ridge Parkway is a popular fall color drive, and of course there are some amazing sites along the way, such as the natural bridge and historic Lexington, both beautiful in their fall colors (1). Another obvious favorite is Skyline Drive in the Shenandoah National Park. This 105 mile drive offers some of the most spectacular fall colors you can imagine. Of course, countless other drives await your exploration, and getting off the beaten trail will offer some unexpected treasures.
- Festivals – Many towns and communities celebrate autumn colors with fun festivals. Whether celebrating ethnic heritage, historic significance, or just reveling in the crisp days of fall, gold ol’ fashioned fun abounds in Virginia this time of year.
- Lakeside Serenity – Take the family camping, or get away to a cabin with just the two of you. Either way, the lakes in Virginia are especially beautiful in fall, with their surfaces mirroring the brilliant colors of the surrounding leaves. Smith Mountain Lake, the “Jewel of the Blue Ridge Mountains,” offers a variety of lodging options, all at reduced prices from the summer season (2).
The Source of Color
According to the National Park Service, the main sources of color in the Shenandoah Mountains and Valley are: sumac, various oaks, ash, poplar, maple, dogwood, beech, locust, sassafras, tulip trees, hickories, walnuts and mountain laurel. Of course, these deciduous trees are interspersed among evergreens, such as pine, creating a beautiful kaleidoscope of colors such as: red, gold, yellow, orange, brown, tan, and green which are a feast for the eyes.
When to Go
If you are lucky enough to live in or close to Virginia, you will want to make several color-viewing excursions. After all, the brilliant beauty is practically in your backyard. If, however, you are going to have to travel a little, you will want to plan ahead for the best views. Thankfully, there are some set patterns in nature, and Virginia has excellent viewing areas that peak at different times, including:
- Western Virginia – peaks in the middle to end of October
- Central Virginia – begins around the last week of October, ends first week of November
- Eastern Virginia – ending of October to the middle of November
With these guidelines in mind, you can expect to find fantastic color in Virginia, regardless of when during the fall season you arrive. There are a number of websites provided by the government that give up to the minute reports on fall color, and a fall foliage report is available at 1.800.424.LOVE.
Paul Moore has a real estate business near Smith Mountain Lake, Virginia. He loves the view when the fall colors light up the country side.
- June 12th 2012
Whether you’re planning a trip to the United States but haven’t yet chosen a destination or you’re an American looking for some of the more beautiful sights that your country has to offer, the sheer size of the United States can make narrowing down your options a difficult thing.
Natural beauty, amazing cityscapes and unique people await you in every corner of the country – here are 10 Flickr groups to discover awesome U.S. places to go next:
Showcasing nature, outdoor adventures and the wide variety of travel opportunities that the United States has to offer, the About USA Travel Flickr group is a great place for the adventurous soul to find beautiful American travel destinations.
The unique State of the Nation Flickr group holds photo submission contests in order to narrow down the 10 best photographs from each state, giving any traveler an inside look at what every individual American state, from New York to California, has to offer.
Sandy beaches, beautiful waterfront and snowy landscapes can be found in the Travelling in the U.S. group, offering up destination options to lovers of every kind of climate.
Landscapes, cityscapes and historic landmarks are given a chance to shine in this patriotic group that aims to show off the many varieties of beauty that the United States has on hand, helping any traveler to find near endless opportunities!
Snow-peaked mountains, seemingly endless beaches, dry deserts and green fields are offered up in the Great American Landscapes group, focusing solely on the widely varying natural beauty that this huge country boasts.
Get an inside peek at the wonders to be found within the many state-run parks in the United States, each harboring unique plant and animal life and so protected in these reservation type areas. With each of them open to the public, usually year-round, this group is a great place for the outdoors-minded person to find excellent hiking and nature viewing possibilities.
Like their state-sponsored brethren, national parks in the United States are a huge draw for tourists each year and this group offers breathtaking views of each in panoramic and often aerial views.
This travel-oriented Flickr group aims to offer only photos that are likely to catch the eye of potential visitors to the United States, with views ranging from amazing architecture to natural landscapes.
With 50 continental states, just choosing which political locale you want to visit in the U.S. can be difficult! This Flickr group allows its members to post photos of their favorite spots, all organized by state, giving you an opportunity to pick your favorites from amongst the bunch!
The United States is known around the world for its many astoundingly advanced and well-maintained zoos and aquariums and this group gives you an inside look at each of them, enticing nature lovers around the world to choose their next American travel destination based on a visit to one or more of them!
Annie is an excited traveler and blogger for Grand Canyon Tours, another great place to get travel-onspired!
Traveling this summer? Check out our latest off airport parking deal and save!
- May 16th 2012
Last week we started a short photo series on great beaches, kicking off with great American beaches. This week, it’s time to move to Europe, just in case you’re thinking of a trip across the Atlantic this summer. Here are some of Europe’s best beach destinations, according to TripAdvisor and others.
Turkey has a diverse climate but in the summer the temperature can rise to a scorching 40 degrees Celsius. That’s beach weather by anyone’s standards. It’s got plenty of beaches to choose from, but among the best are Patara on the Turquoise Coast, Icmeler and Olu Deniz. And let’s not forget the beaches in Antalya. Fun fact: this is one of the world’s oldest continuously inhabited areas and it includes the city of Troy made famous in Greek mythology.
Spain has a lot to offer, beach-wise, whether you’re attracted by wall to wall people at Fuengirola or the expansive beauty of Canary Islands beaches such as Playa Las Teresitas in Tenerife and Playa del Ingles in Gran Canaria. Benidorm and Lanzarote’s Puerto del Carmen are also worth a trip. TripAdvisor’s recommendation is Port d’Alcudia in Spain which has beautiful white sand and some nearby Roman ruins to visit. Fun fact: Mount Teide in Tenerife has the world’s third largest volcano.
You don’t expect to see the UK on a list of best European beach locations, but it seems that Bournemouth beach has made the cut. TripAdvisor users put this beach at number 4 on the list of Europe’s ten best beaches. It’s got an artificial reef and a very nice strip of sand, as well as the traditional pier. Fun fact: In 2007 Bournemouth was named the happiest place in the UK.
A trip to the Algarve is a highlight of many European holidays, with travelers enjoying the cliffs, sandstone and beautiful, dramatic scenery. Good beach picks include Sagres and the beaches of Albufeira. Fun fact: Portugal had the world’s first global empire which lasted from 1415 to 1999.
Planning a trip during the summer? Check out Park Ride Fly USA’s latest discount airport parking coupon for big savings on off airport parking.
- May 2nd 2012
Once known as “The Farm” because of its isolation, Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport (PHX) is now among the busiest airports in the US and the world. On the average day the airport handles more than 100,000 passengers and has 1,200 arriving and departing airplanes. It has 120 gates spread over 3 terminals. Most of these are in Terminal 4 which opened in 1990 and was expanded in 2005.
Phoenix Sky Harbor airport celebrated its 75th anniversary in 2010, dating its history to the purchase of an existing airport by Phoenix city in 1935 (which happens to be the same year that the Monopoly board game was released). An interesting fact about the airport is that it was once popular with couples wanting to make a quick marriage. It had a chapel next door (near where the Left Seat Restaurant is now) and there was no three day waiting period in Arizona.