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Been fantasizing about a European getaway? Daydreaming about walking cobbled streets with gelato in-hand? You don’t need to smash your piggy bank—these closer-to-home North American destinations look like quaint European villages. Another bonus: no 14-hour flight across the ocean required.

Leavenworth Washington Christmas

Experience Bavaria in Leavenworth, WA

You could go to Germany…or you could take a quick day-trip to Leavenworth from Seattle. This adorable town, which is surrounded by mountains, looks exactly like a Bavarian village, down to the half-timbered houses and the hanging pretzel shop signs. From sausage stands and beer gardens to the wooden handicraft stores and Oktoberfest celebrations, Leavenworth is your ticket to Europe in America—complete with a scenic, rushing river and lederhosen-clad men playing the tuba in the streets. Stay at the picturesque Blackbird Lodge in Downtown Leavenworth and send perfect alpine ski lodge-style photographs to everyone you know.

Holland Michigan windmills

Go Dutch in Holland, MI

Founded by Dutch Americans, Holland, MI is, well…exactly what it sounds like. This quaint town near the shores of Lake Michigan boasts its own annual Tulip Time Festival and has a big tulip farm you can visit called Veldheer Tulip Gardens. There’s also a traditional Dutch village and De Zwaan, a 250-year-old original Dutch windmill, as well as a cute, old-fashioned downtown with shopping and a brewery. Oh, and Holland State Park has a beach. A stay at CityFlatsHotel will put you close to Macatawa River, and you can rent bikes at from the front desk. Forget visiting—should we just move to Holland?

Guanajuato Mexico aerial

Enjoy a siesta, Spanish-style, in Guanajuato, Mexico

This World Heritage Site is more than pretty—Guanajuato is unabashedly romantic. Walk through this Mexican city’s beautifully preserved colonial center on narrow, cobblestone streets, and you’ll feel like you’re strolling through Spain. Shaded plazas, 16th-century architecture, and hidden stairways delight visitors, and strains of mariachi music echo in the air. Make sure to check out San Cayetano Church, a testament to this city’s rich silver mining beginning, and lay your head down at Hotel Posada Santa Fe, which has a rooftop terrace and is walking distance to Union Garden, an ornate park.

Solvgang California - what European villages don't have windmills?

Get a taste of Danish culture in Solvang, CA

If you’re looking for cute, head to Solvang. This Danish-styled community with a twee downtown walking area is an excellent place to bring kids—not only does it have themed restaurants and thatched-roof buildings, but there’s also Hans Christian Andersen Park, a big public playground and park with a castle arch stretching over its entrance. Danish windmills and a horse-drawn sightseeing carriage complete the visual spell. Stay at the half-timbered Solvang Innand Cottages and you’ll be strolling distance from Hans Christian Andersen Museum.

New Glarus beer

New Glarus Tasting Courtyard | Flickr CC 2.0: mcfst3

See a quaint slice of Switzerland in New Glarus, WI

A town with just 2,000 residents, New Glarus certainly sees plenty of visitors, who come each year for its many celebrations, festivals, and all-around European aesthetic. New Glarus was founded in 1845 by Swiss immigrants, and the town is dedicated to promoting its Swiss heritage. Along with unique, Swiss chalet-style architecture, New Glarus offers Old World meat markets, bakeries, folk museums, and even a yodeling group. Visit for the Swiss Volksfest or Oktoberfest and raise a pint at the town’s local brewery.

This street in Quebec City looks like it's tucked away in the French Alps.

Get your French fix in Quebec City, Canada

Narrow cobblestone streets? Check. A towering chateau hotel (Chateau Frontenac) on a hillside? Check. How about a breezy riverside promenade and a French-speaking population that’s vaguely disdainful of anyone who doesn’t speak French? Oui! There’s no need to leave North America to feel confused when reading a menu—Quebec City is beautiful, overtly European, and closer than you think. Visit the Old Quebec neighborhood to see the only remaining fortified city walls in North America and browse among the boutiques and cafes set out for visitors to discover.

CTIXblog CTA _ cheap of the week

Tagged: California, Family, Mexico, Tips & advice

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If you’re looking in the mirror and wondering when it’s time you finally take the plunge and book your first trip overseas to Europe, then yes, “Mirror, mirror on the wall, you’re the smartest of them all!”

2015 is definitely THE year to travel.

Related: 7 breathtaking cruise ports around the world

While the strength of the U.S. dollar increases, you’re literally getting more bang for your buck. The Euro is down and that means all of your European expenses subsequently are too! Things thattake up a majority of your traveling expenses such as transportation, accommodation, and food will all be less than it was last year.

The exchange rate is in your favor, America.

Now that you’ve picked a date, and you’re all set for your first European getaway, I’ve compiled a list of the cheapest destinations that I’ve experienced while gallivanting through this amazing continent. While there are plenty more suitable candidates, these are the ones I enjoyed the most.

5. Nice, France
This gorgeous coastal city on the French Riviera is not only a 4 train ride away from Monaco (which hello, who doesn’t want to go there for a quick day trip to drool over things you can’t afford and breathe the same oxygen as the affluent), but it’s also incredibly scenic. From the hilltop views, to the promenade, your camera will be in Heaven. With the varied cuisine, you can easily eat well for under 10 a meal.

The view of the Promenade from Castle Hill!

The view of the Promenade from Castle Hill!

4. Granada, Spain
Granada is one of the few cities where you get free tapas with your drinks! I’ll say that again — FREE TAPAS! Quick reminder, tapas are mini portions of food to satisfy temporary cravings. We call them appetizers in America.

These tapas can range from plates of rice, to croquettes, to a large meatball, and other variations of Spanish-influenced foods.

So your beer, which is already €1 on average, now comes with a plate of rice. So for the whopping price of €2, you could have two drinks and two plates of food. There are some places who even increase the portion and amount of food with every drink you purchase. Seriously Granada, you’re a walking dream for a budgeter’s heart. Get over here and let me love you.

Enjoying my large meatball and bread!

Enjoying my large meatball and bread!


3. Athens, Greece
Despite what the news outlets want you to think about the whole situation with Greece’s debt and failing economy, think about it, they need tourism now more than ever! So please don’t let the media scare you into thinking you should avoid Greece by any means!

Athens, despite its graffiti-filled alleys and streets, is still one of the most historically-beautiful cities the European continent has to offer, and if you’re looking for ways to support their economy, then come and spend your dollars here! As many banks are temporarily out of business, just be sure to have enough cash on you to last you through your time there. That being said, always stay alert for pickpockets! You can read more tips about that in general here.

P.S. Gyros will be your best friend.

Standing atop of Acropolis Hill!

Standing atop of Acropolis Hill after having a glass of wine or 5.

2. Lisbon, Portugal
Lisbon just might be my favorite city in Europe. I’m in denial because my heart belongs to Barcelona, where I lived for an entire year. But Lisbon truly has it all. The food, museums, and free open air festivals make it such an attractive city for your wallet.

There are also gorgeous baths, markets, and parks to really experience an authentic atmosphere. The people are super friendly and even though you won’t know a lick of Portuguese, your eyes won’t have any problems reading all the prices under €5 that you’ll see on the menu.

Lisbon

1. Barcelona, Spain
Barcelona, Barthelona. Oh how you have my heart. Barcelona is a top destination for Erasmus students, gap years, vacationers, and everyone else in between because of its wide variety of everything from affordable living to free Wi-Fi in most public parks and streets.

Barcelona does a great job of looking out for its tourists. After all, they do make up a large percentage of their economy, so they find ways to accommodate and cater to their needs.

While this may include street vendors selling you 1 cans of beer to casually drink on the metro before arriving to the local bodega or free concerts in parks, you can always count on a city like Barcelona to make an extremely fun, affordable, and unforgettable getaway when crossing the Atlantic. Every day feels like a walk through a museum as you take in the gorgeous scenery from the architectural genius of Antoni Gaudí, whether at La Sagrada Familia or strolling through Park Guell.

Barcelona is simply NOT to be missed!

The view from the top of Montjuïc Park.

The view from the top of Montjuïc!

CTIXblog CTA _ cheap of the week

Tagged: Beach, Cheap Tips, Destinations, Family, Food & drink, FREE!, International

Gloria Atanmo
Gloria Atanmo is an adventure-junkie currently on a 2-year jaunt through Europe after booking a one-way ticket. She enjoys discovering the unequivocal education of travel, risks, and hustle. Follow her journey on Instagram (@glographics) or her blog (www.TheBlogAbroad.com).
Gloria Atanmo

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It’s a college student’s rite of passage to make the pilgrimage to the closest and warmest beach with a hefty crew of cronies. Fifty-five percent of college students are planning to travel for spring break this year, with Las Vegas, Cancun and San Diego toppingthe list of the hottest destinations, according to the latest booking and survey data from CheapTickets.com. Spring breakers are also flocking to Florida as the state’s beaches occupy five of the top 15 spots.

To help students find the most popular places to go and get the most bang for their buck, the CheapTickets College Crowdometer maps the spring break schedules of 50 of the largest U.S. colleges.

CTIX_CollegeCrowdomenterFINAL

The CheapTickets spring break list below identifies top college spring break destinations and calculates average hotel and flight prices.

CheapTickets.com top 10 college spring break destinations

2015 average daily hotel prices

% difference year-over-year

2015 average airfare

% difference year-over-year

Las Vegas, Nevada

$99

-12%

$337

-13%

Cancun, Mexico

$298

21%

$533

-4%

San Diego, California

$152

22%

$362

-7%

Los Cabos, Mexico

$242

7%

$489

-13%

Miami, Florida

$212

16%

$433

2%

Nassau, Bahamas

$368

42%

$509

7%

Daytona Beach, Florida

$155

8%

$349

0%

Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

$104

7%

$309

-15%

Fort Myers, Florida

$248

48%

$353

-5%

South Padre Island, Texas

$143

14%

$377

-2%

 

Price is the biggest factor in deciding their spring break destination. College students are inherent cheapsters, after all. Party scene and weather also come into play. Seventy percent of students plan to spend less than $1,000 and are stretching budgets by buddying up and road-tripping:

CTIX spring break blog graphic

Be safe out there, you college cheapsters. Have a fun and cheap spring break. Don’t do anything we wouldn’t do. 😉

Tagged: Beach, California, Caribbean, Cheap Tips, Events, Flights, Florida, Holidays, Infographics, International, Las Vegas, Mexico, Seasonal, Tips & advice

Kelsie Ozamiz

Kelsie Ozamiz

Kelsie Ozamiz

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Money doesn’t grow on your tree pose. Fortunately, major cities across the country host free yoga classes through summer—perfect for traveling warriors who want to avoid the $10 to $25 per-class fee that’s standard at most yoga studios.

Plus, most of these yoga sessions are held outdoors in iconic cosmopolitan settings, which is ideal for travelers who want to combine a little mind-body-spirit TLC with sightseeing.

New York City

What: Bryant Park YogaWhere: Bryant Park

When: Tuesdays 10-11 a.m. and Thursday 6-7 p.m., through Sept. 18, 2014

Work your downward dog under shady trees, surrounded by towering Manhattan skyscrapers in this summer series presented by Athleta. Mats are provided. Walk-ins are welcome, but visitors are encouraged to pre-register online.

Bryant Park Yoga -Photo by Bryant Park Corporation (1)

Bryant Park

What: Summer in the Square

Where: Union Square

When: Thursdays 7-8a.m. (South Plaza) and 7-8 p.m. (North Plaza)

Find solace in one of New York’s great public spaces in the morning or evening. A limited number of mats are provided, so participants are encouraged to bring their own. Families can enjoy Yoga StoryTime with Karma Kids from 10-11 a.m.

Credit: Union Square Partnership

Union Square. Credit: Union Square Partnership

What: Wanderlust 108

Where: Prospect Park, Brooklyn

When: Saturday, Sept. 13, 2014The meditation and yoga portion of this bigger “mindful triathlon” event is free for those who register online by Aug. 15, 2014. With celebrated yoga teachers Seane Corn and Elena Brower leading the group, complemented with music by MC Yogi, it’s sure to be an energetic gathering in Brooklyn.

Credit: Jake Laub

Wanderlust 108 in Brooklyn. Credit: Jake Laub

Boston

What: Summer Yoga at Frog Pond

Where: The Boston Common Frog Pond

When: Thursdays, 6-7:15 p.m., through Aug. 28, 2014

Enjoy an all-levels vinyasa yoga flow in Boston’s most historic park. The class meets behind the Frog Pond Carousel. Bring your own mat, and check for weather-related cancelations on the Facebook page.

Chicago

What: Everybody Free Yoga

Where: Venues all over Chicago

When: Varying times through Sept. 6, 2014

This summer initiative spearheaded by Moksha Yoga Center, Chicago’s largest yoga studio, offers free yoga at parks, beaches and festivals throughout the city. Among the offerings: Saturday morning yoga at Millennium Park and Candlelight Yoga at Foster Beach during full moons. Check the website for a complete schedule.

Millennium Park Credit: Jen Pagonis

Millennium Park. Credit: Jen Pagonis

What: Yoga Rocks the Park

Where: Northside Preparatory High School

When: Sunday, Aug. 17, 2014 at 9:30 a.m.

Part of a bigger grassroots initiative to bring yoga into parks across the country, the Chicago event is free to those who register online. Sponsored by YOGA SIX, the class will include live music.

Washington, D.C.

What: Yoga in the Park

Where: Dupont Circle

When: Wednesdays, 6-7 p.m., Through Oct. 1, 2014

Hosted by lululemon Logan Circle, this is an all-level class in the heart of one of DC’s trendiest ‘hoods. Check the Facebook page for weather updates.

Meridian Hill Park

Meridian Hill Park

What: Yoga in the Park 2014

Where: Meridian Hill Park

When: Sundays, 5-6:30 p.m., Through August

Get your OM on in this gorgeous 12-acre park in the Columbia Heights-Adams Morgan neighborhoods of northwest DC. Hosted by Bikram Yoga Dupont, this all-level class celebrates its 10th summer season.

Miami

What: Yoga in the Park

Where: Bayfront Park (Tina Hills Pavilion)

When: Mondays and Wednesdays, 6-7:15 p.m.; Saturdays, 9-10:15 a.m.

Free yoga is offered year-round at this park overlooking Biscayne Bay and hugged by Miami’s luxurious high-rises and palm trees. Participants should bring their own mats.

Bayfront Park in Miami

Bayfront Park in Miami

Las Vegas

What: Blissfully Free Sundays

Where: Barefoot Sanctuary
(located inside Whole Foods Market at Town Square)

When: Sundays at 4:30 p.m., through 2014

After a weekend of partying hard on The Strip, detox with a mellow yoga class suitable for beginners at Barefoot Sanctuary — the only yoga studio on the Las Vegas Strip, inside the Whole Foods Town Square.

Barefoot Sanctuary located along the Las Vegas Strip

Barefoot Sanctuary located along the Las Vegas Strip

What: Sunday Morning Yoga

Where: lululemon, Las Vegas Fashion Show Mall

When: Sundays at 9:30 a.m.

lululemon is always a great go-to for free yoga since most stores offer no-cost classes on weekends. The Las Vegas location extends classes to the public on Sunday mornings. Mats are provided, but arrive early to snag a spot.

Dallas-Fort Worth

What: DFW Free Day of Yoga

Where: Throughout Dallas-Fort Worth

When: Aug. 31 & Sept. 1, 2014

If you’re in Dallas-Fort Worth for the Labor Day Weekend, take advantage of free yoga across the city at more than 170 participating studios on Sept, 1. A free group class will also take place at the Fort Worth Water Gardens on Sunday, Aug. 31, at 5 p.m.

Los Angeles

What: Runyon Canyon Free Daily Yoga

Where: Runyon Canyon Park (Fuller Avenue entrance)

When: Everyday, see schedule

It’s tough to find free yoga in Los Angeles. But no-cost classes are offered at Runyon Canyon not just once a week – but several times daily! The classes, which get stellar Yelp reviews, are appropriate for all levels. Donations are accepted and appreciated.

Runyon Canyon Park. Credit: Ryan Vaarsi

Runyon Canyon Park. Credit: Ryan Vaarsi

San Francisco

What: Yoga in Golden Gate Park

Where: Golden Gate Park (Big Rec Baseball Field)

When: Sundays at 11 a.m.

Hold your tree pose amidst the trees in one of San Francisco’s most beautiful parks. While the class is technically free, teachers accept donations to benefit the Purusha Seva Project. Sparing a few bucks is good for karma, after all.

Golden Gate Park

Golden Gate Park

What: Rooftop Yoga by Kari Gregg

Where: Lombardi Sports’ Rooftop

When: Sundays at 11 a.m.

Enjoy yoga under the skies atop a rooftop in San Francisco’s hip Nob Hill neighborhood. Bring your own mat for this 60-minute all-levels class and leave with a smile – plus, a 20-percent-off coupon for in-store merchandise.

Lombardi Sports Rooftop in Nob Hill

Lombardi Sports Rooftop in Nob Hill

Seattle

What: Gentle Yoga

Where: Seattle Center Exhibition Hall Lawn

When: Wednesdays, 11:30 a.m. -12:30 p.m., Through Aug. 20, 2014

Breathe and gently stretch your body in this Hatha yoga class suitable for beginners. Drop-ins are welcome, but bring your own yoga mat.

Olympic Sculpture Park. Credit: Robert Wade

Olympic Sculpture Park. Credit: Robert Wade

What: Summer at SAM Olympic Sculpture Park

Where: Olympic Sculpture Park

When: Saturdays, 10:30-11:30 a.m., Through Aug. 25, 2014

The Seattle Art Museum (SAM) combines the outdoors with art and yoga for a weekly summer yoga practice in its Olympic Sculpture Park. Bring your own mat and check the Facebook page for more information and weather-related cancelations.

Tagged: California, City, Events, FREE!, Las Vegas, Last minute travel, Sports, Tips & advice

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Cheap-tickets
You've booked a cheap flight and cheap hotel. Now, what could make your vacation even better? How about cheap tickets for shows, sporting events and other activities at your destination. Now you can get an extra 10% off the event of your choice when you purchase from CheapTickets. Just use the promo code 10OFF when you check out.

CheapTickets has tickets for concerts, theme parks and everything in between — one-stop shopping for your vacation entertainment. If you're looking for concerts, you can find tickets for Britney Spears, Elton John and Bruce Springsteen, plus avariety of artists in jazz, hip-hop and country music.

For family vacations, find cheap tickets to Universal Orlando, Disneyland and Disney World — even multi-attraction passes to help you see more of your destination for less.

Vegas is known for high-quality entertainment, and cheap tickets for events in Sin City also are available. So hear Cher, see Cirque du Soleil or Blue Man Group — all for an extra 10% off.

The 10% off promotion may be used just once for each purchase and is valid through March 31. So go ahead — add something special to your vacation with cheap tickets to an NBA game, Broadway show or other local attraction.

CheapTickets resources:

Tagged: City, Events, FREE!, Music, Sports

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Cheapvacations_2
By Kate Schwartz

Save big this February with astounding deals on cheap vacations. According to CheapTickets’ 2009 Value Travel Forecast, February is the best month to explore Italy, France and Colorado Springs, Colorado. With hotel savings of up to 42% compared to peak rates (based on analysis of hotels booked on CheapTickets from December 2007 to November 2008), February is the perfect time for a romantic Valentine’s Day getaway to Europe, or simply an end-of-winter excursion to the Rockies.

The CheapTickets’ 2009 Value Travel Forecast has named Italy as the best travel value this February, with savings of up to 42% on Italy hotels.
With its impressive history, fashion houses and food, Italy is the
perfect place to travel for your next cheap vacation. Whether you want
to explore ruins in Rome, art in Florence, or take in the scenic countryside, you can have a cheap Italy vacation for less than you would imagine.

Plan a cheap France vacation this winter and see what everyone
is talking about. Exquisite cuisine and breathtaking architecture are
just a couple of reasons why people fall in love with this country. The
topography of the country alone is enough to make you come back for
more. Whether you are looking to ski the Alps, sun yourself on the southern coast, or take in the urban ambiance of Paris, France has something for everyone. And when you travel to France in February, you can save up to 35% on your hotel.

Overlooking beautiful Pikes Peak and couple hours from some of the best skiing in the country, Colorado Springs is a truly unique place to spend your cheap vacation. Located at the edge of the Rockies, Colorado Springs embodies the spirit of the mountains while being firmly grounded in the culture of the plains. Experience the juxtaposition by traveling to Olympic Training Center located close to downtown Colorado Springs, and then heading across town to the Garden of the Gods, home to some of the most beautiful hiking in the area.  With savingsof up to 29% on cheap Colorado Springs hotels, February is the best time to take advantage of all this mountain town has to offer.

CheapTickets resources:

Kate Schwartz is a marketing coordinator for CheapTickets. When
she’s not searching for the best travel deals, she’s out taking
advantage of them!  From hiking the Rockies to lounging on the beaches
of Barcelona, Kate is always looking for adventure.

Tagged: FREE!, International, Tips & advice

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The key to cheap travel is knowing the best time to find cheap flights and cheap hotels. So we created the CheapTickets 2009 Value Travel Forecast, a month-by-month guide of top destinations that offer the most savings for travelers.

To help identify the best budget-friendly travel opportunities for next year, we analyzed hotels booked on CheapTickets from December 2007 to November 2008 and calculated the percentage of savings compared to peak rates.

Here are the winners (and honorable mentions) for 2009:

Italy vacationsJANUARY: 37% savings in New York
In addition to a 37 percent savings on New York hotels compared to peak rates, retailers are buzzing with post-holiday sales, and big-city attractions are easily accessible now that the holiday crowds have come and gone. Visitors can also take advantage of New York City’s Restaurant Week in January, giving them access to some of the city’s best restaurants for a fraction of the price.

Other January cheap vacation destinations: Santa Barbara, CA and Hong Kong

FEBRUARY: 42% savings in Italy
In February, Italy is just starting to come out of its winter cloak, and budget travelers will appreciate the lower airfare and savings of up to 42 percent on Italy hotels when compared to the high season. February visitors can experience one of Italy’s most famous festivals, Carnevale.

Other February cheap vacation destinations: France and Colorado Springs, CO

MARCH: 53% savings in Portland, ME

This historic, seacoast town is filled with galleries, one-of-kind boutiques and incredible restaurants serving everything from creamy clam chowder and lobster rolls to nouvelle New England cuisine.

Other March cheap vacation destinations: Reno, NV and Canada

APRIL: 58% savings in Brazil
In April, the summer surge of tourists in Brazil is complete, which means fewer crowds, but the same great tropical weather.

Other April cheap vacation destinations: Santa Fe, NM and Columbus, GA

Lake tahoe hotels MAY: 38% savings in Lake Tahoe
For those who love the outdoors, Lake Tahoe is the ideal destination in May. The lake is popular for water sports and beach activities, and with 38 percent savings on Lake Tahoe hotels compared to peak winter rates, going during the off-season means affording activities like a guided cruise or dining at the many lake front restaurants.

Other May cheap vacation destinations: Denver, CO and Atlanta, GA

JUNE: 38% savings in Egypt
With 38 percent savings compared to peak rates, June visitors can relax on the wondrous Red Sea or Sinai coasts, take in the high culture of Cairo or even leisurely float down the Egyptian Nile on a river boat.

Other June cheap vacation destinations: Columbia, SC and Dallas, TX

Continue reading

Tagged: City, FREE!, Off-season, Tips & advice

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Cheap los cabos hotels
By Kate Schwartz

With fall in full swing and winter around the corner, there has never been a better time for a cheap vacation. And the CheapTickets Fall Beach Sale can help. Until November 23, 2008, CheapTickets is offering $100 off flight + hotel vacation packages of four nights or more to beach hot spots. So you can travel to the Caribbean,Florida, California, Mexico, Puerto Rico and Hawaii and save.

Looking for cheap hotels in Hawaii? Surf’s up at the Outrigger Reef on the Beach hotel in fabulous Honolulu. Known for being one of the most “Hawaiian” hotels on Waikiki Beach, this hotel offers the best in Hawaiian travel. During the CheapTickets Fall Beach Sale, in addition to saving $100 instantly, the Outrigger Reef on the Beach hotel is offering a 4th night free!

Or maybe you’re looking for cheap flights to Mexico and cheap hotels in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. Take in the sights, sounds and sun of this vacation hot spot as you lounge by the pool at the Villa Las Estancia Los Cabos, one of the premier resorts in the area. For a limited time only, save up to 45% on yourstay in addition to CheapTickets $100 instant savings.

Or, stay closer to home with cheap flights to California and Florida. Choose from many cheap hotels in these states’ hot beach destinations. Visit sunny Orlando and take advantage of up to 40% off your vacation and a $50 resort credit when you stay at the Regal Sun Resort. Or explore the beaches of San Diego with 25% off your stay at the Ocean Park Inn.

You can choose from hundreds of hotels in great beach destinations, but you have to book soon. The Fall Beach Sale ends November 23.

CheapTickets resources:

Kate Schwartz is a marketing coordinator for CheapTickets. When
she’s not searching for the best travel deals, she’s out taking
advantage of them!  From hiking the Rockies to lounging on the beaches
of Barcelona, Kate is always looking for adventure.

Tagged: FREE!, International, Limited-time Offers, Vacation packages

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New York hotels
By Samantha Chapnick

With orchestra seats going for $300 (more than the cost of some New York hotels) even half-price TKTS tickets seem outrageous. It’s time to get drastic. These are the tried-and-true tested techniques real New Yorkers use to get the goods for far less.

1. Win the lottery

Several shows, for example Wicked, offer great unsold orchestra seats at a steep discount (under $30/per person) to 20 or 30 lottery winners. Each winner is entitled to two tickets. Be there at least two or three hours before the performance. Usually no more than 100 people line up so the odds are with you. Or at least better than getting hit by lightening.

If you absolutely, positively need to see the show, have a back-up plan.

2. Get rush tickets

Some shows will sell the remaining seats to either students or the general public at deep discounts ( about $20) an hour or so before the performance. Get to the box office VERY EARLY (at least 2 hours in advance) and expect lines. Most of the seats will be in the less desirable areas, but occasionally you get lucky and hit a nice orchestra seat. DO NOT EXPECT TO SIT TOGETHER in a good section. Most of these seats will be singles unless they are in the upper tiers or with a blocked view.

3. Become a member

Even if you only plan a New York vacation once a year, becoming a member of free or steeply discounted ticket brokers is well worth the price — if you are flexible. TDF.org, AudienceExtras.com,  BroadwayBox.com, and Goldstar all offer members free last-minute tickets to both major and minor shows, and discounted tickets to future shows.

For example, a membership to Audience Extras is $99/year and entitles you to two tickets per performance free ($4 service charge per ticket). In the past, I have gotten tickets to both excellent, popular shows and really terrible one-person shows. This week they are offering "To Be or Not To Be" (Broadway), Dolly Parton in concert, Branford Marsalis, and "The Tempest" with Broadway actor Mandy Patinkin.

Advice:

The good tickets go fast. Sign up to get the e-mail notification when a show is available and pounce on it. If you can’t go to a show, don’t get the tickets. They are doing these freebies to fill up the audience. If you don’t show up, you may lose your privileges and hurt others: if the theater gets too many no-shows it pulls the offer from these sites.

4. Bring a minor.

One of the main reasons New York vacations are so popular with families is because of the unprecedented affordable cultural opportunities the city offers young people. If you have a teenager or college student, especially one who attends a local NYC college, or a friend whose child you could borrow for a few hours, there are some remarkable discounts to be had out there.

First, try High Five Tickets. Anyone accompanied by a teen (13-18) from anywhere in the world can get two tickets for $5 a piece — one for the teen, one for the adult. Currently there are over 80 shows available including the Broadway show "39 Steps." Oh and as a nice bonus, High Five also gives museum entry for $5 for two to most of the major NY museums. (Again, the person picking up the tickets must have a valid student ID but can be accompanied by one adult.) Extra Bonus: There are no booking fees or service fees. Who-ho!

Next, do the student rush if the regular rush is not available.

Visit School Tix to see most family-friendly Broadway shows for about half price. Go to the "Shows Available" page and click on the icon for the show you want to find the coupon code offering the discount and book the tickets.

Finally, if your young friend goes to Columbia University, NYU or one of the other major schools in New York, get them to use their university Internet connection to get tickets. Many have sites accessible only to people with school IDs and logins that provide tremendous discounts to theater — and free entry to local museums as an added bonus.

5. Go Off-Broadway

For every one big Broadway blockbuster, there are a hundred theater companies providing a more intimate and unique experience — a much better value for your dollar in this current economic climate. Going to see a show at places like the Public Theater, Cherry Lane, Playwrights Horizons and Manhattan Theater Club rewards with brand-name bankable stars, a more intimate experience and extensive set design, without the high ticket price.

If you still want more tips, visit the ne plus ultra ultimate guide to cheap theater tickets and up-to-the-minute info: The Frugal Theater Goer’s Guide to Discount Tickets.

Oh, and next year, book one of your favorite New York hotels for mid-October when Free Night of Theater Day is held. This organization gives away 8,000 tickets to performances across the city. For more information about discounted theater tickets, visit Playbill.

CheapTickets resources:

Samantha Chapnick is a New York writer who scours international destinations looking for what hasn’t been found.

Tagged: City, FREE!, Tips & advice

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Puerto Rico hotels
By Kate Schwartz

This fall CheapTickets is offering amazing savings on already cheap vacations. Score a tropical vacation for a fraction of the price with CheapTickets’ deals on Puerto Rico hotels. Explore the shores of this tropical wonderland and take advantage of all Puerto Rico has to offer. From its very own rainforest, to world-renowned Latin cuisine, it’s no wonder that the Island of Enchantment is this season’s vacation hot spot. Check out these offers on Puerto Rico hotels:

  • 50% off San Miguel Plaza : For a limited time only, San Miguel Plaza, located in Bayamon, Puerto Rico, is offering 50% off hotel rooms. A short drive from the beach and across the street from prime shopping, San Miguel Plaza is the perfect place to experience true Puerto Rico culture and cuisine.
  • 20% off Courtyard by Marriott Isla Verde : If your idea of a relaxing vacation involves lounging in a hammock under lush palm trees while sipping a beverage out of a pineapple, look no further than Courtyard by Marriott Isla Verde in San Juan. Tropical travel can be cheap when you take advantage of 20% off your stay at this hotel.
  • 30% off vacation packages at Gran Melia Puerto Rico : Get luxury for less! Enjoy Gran Melia Puerto Rico’s sprawling estate and vacation like never before. With expansive pools, top-notch restaurants and an on-site spa, you may never want to leave. With 30% off vacation packages, there isn’t a better time to try this luxurious resort.

Your Caribbean vacation doesn’t have to break the bank. With CheapTickets’ fall travel deals, you can book one of these cheap hotels and enjoy a great Puerto Rico vacation. Many of these cheap hotel deals expire in November, so book today.

CheapTickets resources:

Kate Schwartz is a marketing coordinator for CheapTickets. When she’s not searching for the best travel deals, she’s out taking advantage of them!  From hiking the Rockies to lounging on the beaches of Barcelona, Kate is always looking for adventure.

Tagged: FREE!, International