A Patagonian trek, getaway to Glenwood Springs, sun in the Riviera Maya

Beach
Caribbean beach

This week’s deals include adventure in Patagonia, a hotel deal in Glenwood Springs, and a getaway to the Riviera Maya.

Trek in Patagonia

Trek in Torres del Paine National Park in Patagonia for 11 days, starting at $2,744 per person for the land-only package and $3,785 per person with round-trip flights between Los Angeles or Miami and Santiago. Santiago is the Chilean capital city and has a booming restaurant scene and trendy shopping centers, with the looming peaks of the Andes Mountains in the distance. South of Santiago more than 1,500 miles, Torres del Paine National Park is a treasure-trove of mountain peaks, huge glaciers, and icy mountain lakes. Spend six days trekking through this spectacular wilderness. The packages also include round-trip ground transportation per itinerary from the airports to the hotels and sightseeing destinations, double-occupancy accommodations’ for three nights at the Casa Bonita Bed and Breakfast in Santiago and six nights at the Refugios in the National Park, with one night at Hostel Amerinidia in Puerto Natalas.  Also included is 10 breakfasts, seven lunches, and seven dinners, domestic airline flights, taxes, fuel surcharges, hotel fees, entrance fees, trekking permits and medical and evacuation insurance. As a bonus, 10% of the trip cost goes to the OneSeed Microfinance Fund for investment in local entrepreneurs. Visit Livingsocial.com to learn more about OneSeed Expeditions and this Patagonian adventure by May 8.

Swim in Glenwood Springs

For those who prefer to stay in the mountains close to home, Glenwood Suites in Glenwood Springs is offering a great deal on a rooms, with dates into June. Stay in a King Room for as low as $59 per night and a Double-Queen Room starting at $79 per night. Glenwood Springs is a great weekend getaway from the Front Range, offering hiking and biking trails, whitewater rafting, and the Glenwood Hot Springs Pool to sooth away the aches and pains of the day. Visit Groupon.com soon for more information and to book your getaway.

Sun in Cancun

Sun and sand is only a short flight away from Denver, and Apple Vacations is offering a great vacation deal to Cancun, starting at $599, including airfare and taxes. This package includes three nights at an all-inclusive beachfront resort, the Barcelo Maya Beach & Caribe. This luxury resort features a dolphinarium, spa, miniature golf, live shows, and kids club and surf ride wave pool. This is part of a larger sale on three- to seven-night vacation packages and stays at other resorts. Cancun offers beautiful beaches, great restaurants, and nightlife. Visit Travelzoo.com by May 6 to book your summer vacation.

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These deals are subject to change or cancellation at any time, and restrictions may apply. Book early for the best deals.

Drive a Ferrari, explore the Amalfi Coast, enjoy an escape to Puerto Vallarta

Puerto Vallarta
On the Malacon in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

This week’s travel deals include renting a luxury automobile, visiting the Amalfi Coast, and a romantic bed and breakfast in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.

If your dream is to drive a Ferrari 458 Italia, a Lamborghini Superleggera, or Lamborghini Spyder, it’s finally time to realize your vision. Oxotic Supercar Driving Experience has partnered with Travelzoo to offer a 15-mile test drive on a Monday, Wednesday, or Thursday for $99 or the same experience on Friday or Saturday for $129. The drive lasts 20 minutes and you receive an orientation, instructor guidance, professional photos, and digital video of the drive. This price includes the fuel fee and your pick of the three supercars. Visit Travelzoo.com soon for more information and to buy your voucher.

If you really enjoy driving on winding roads, consider seven days on the Amalfi Coast. Great Value Vacations is offering seven days on the Sorrento Coast starting at $1,299, double occupancy. The package includes round-trip air from New York, Boston, Chicago, or San Francisco to Naples, and double occupancy four-star accommodations for five nights at Towers Hotel Stabiae Sorrento Coast. Also included is a manual shift economy car rental with unlimited mileage, six breakfasts, airline taxes, fuel surcharges, and hotel fees. Explore the Coast on your own, spending time on Bagni d’Arienzo beach, hiking the Sentiero degli Dei, or touring the Villa Rufolo. Visit Livingsocial.com by April 9 for more information and to buy your voucher. Book your getaway by April 17.

For sunshine a bit closer to home, visit the Quinta Maria Cortez bed and breakfast overlooking the Sea of Cortez in beautiful Puerto Vallarta. Stay four, five, six, or seven night starting at $475.  This is an adults-only bed and breakfast where you can view the sunset over the ocean from your private terrace or balcony. The packages are for two and include daily breakfast served in the oceanfront dining room.  Each suite includes classic and antique Mexican furniture, kitchenettes, original artwork, purified water and coffeemakers. Downtown Puerto Vallarta is located minutes north of the property, with plenty of great restaurants and clubs. Visit Groupon.com soon for more information and to buy your voucher.

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These deals are subject to change or cancellation at any time, and restrictions may apply. Book early for the best deals.

Getaway to Prescott, vist San Clemente, airfare deals to Spain

La Sagrada Familia
La Sagrada Familia

This week’s travel deals include a two-night stay in Prescott, Arizona, airfare deals to the Spanish coast and a great deal on rooms in San Clemente, California.

For those who are interested in a beach getaway, the San Clemente Inn in San Clemente, California is offering a great deal on rooms into mid-June. Two guests stay in a studio starting at $67 per night, a room for four in the Breaker Suite starts at $79 per night, or six guests stay in the Crest Suite starting at $85 per night. The San Clemente Inn is located less than a mile from the beach and has an on-site restaurant that specializes in hearty breakfasts, burgers, sandwiches, soups, and salads. Each guest room has a kitchenette including a microwave and dishwasher and the property includes a heated outdoor pool and hot tub. Activities in the area include miles of biking trails, swimming, fishing, and surfing. There are plenty of great restaurants along the coast to have a meal and people-watch. Visit Groupon.com soon for more information and to book your getaway.

A trip to Spain is never a bad idea, and the Norwegian Air Shuttle is offering great deals on airfare to some of Spain’s most popular destinations. Currently Norwegian Air Shuttle is flying out of five markets: Fort Lauderdale, NYC, Los Angeles, Orlando, and Oakland. From Los Angeles, fly to Malaga in April, May, and October starting at $662. Fly to Barcelona April, May, September, and October starting at $696. Norwegian Air Shuttle was named the Best Low Cost Airline in Europe by Skytrax. The sale fares are their LowFare class which includes fees for checked baggage, seat reservations, and meals. To include these extras, check the LowFare+ class for pricing. Visit Travelzoo.com by March 31 for more information, including links to the reservation system. Book soon for the best selection.

If you love Arizona but the heat of Phoenix and Tucson is problematic, then visit Prescott, one of Arizona’s best preserved 19th-century towns. For fans of the Old West, Prescott boasts more than 800 buildings listed on the National Register of Historic Places and home to the World’s Oldest Rodeo. Stay at the Hotel Vendome, right in the center of town. The hotel includes oak furnishings, patchwork quilts, wireless internet, off-street parking, and an on-site pub. Prescott is about a mile above sea level and a short drive from five mountain lakes. Visit Livingsocial.com by March 28 for more information and to buy your voucher.

Like this article? Click the subscribe link at the top of the page to get the latest information by email when it’s published. For more fun deals and information,  follow Deb on Twitter at debtalkstravel.

These deals are subject to change or cancellation at any time, and restrictions may apply. Book early for the best deals.

Excursion to Greece, sail to Alaska, adventure in Estes Park

Glacier Bay
Glacier Bay, Alaska

This week’s deals include an excursion to Greece, a great deal on an Alaskan cruise, and a winter wonderland adventure in Estes Park, Colorado.

Playing in the snow is a popular pastime in Colorado, and Estes Park is a great place to play. The Aspen Lodge Resort and Spa is offering a one night stay for two in a Lodge Room with a bottle of wine or champagne and a 45-minute session for two at the Oxygen Bar for $159.  Or perhaps a one night stay for up to four in a Lodge Room with a sleigh or wagon ride for four people and cross country ski rentals for four, including skis and poles for $189. Guests can combine vouchers to stay up to three nights. Estes Park is less than two hours from Denver by car and right at the entrance of Rocky Mountain National Park. Cross country ski, hike, or fish in the park. Enjoy the spa after your ski day. Visit Livingsocial.com for more information by February 25 and to buy your voucher.

If you’ve got a week or two open in May, Travelzoo.com has partnered with Norwegian Cruise Line to offer a great deal on sailings to Alaska. Pay $649 per person for the 10 night sailing from Vancouver, setting sail on May 7 and finishing in Seattle. Roundtrip from Seattle is also $649, leaving on May 17, 24, and 31 for seven nights. The third and fourth guest sail free while sharing the same cabin. These packages also include an unlimited beverage package for two. Ports of call include Juneau, Ketchikan, Skagway, Victoria, and Glacier Bay. There are also deals over the peak summer dates in June and July. Visit Travelzoo.com soon for more information and to book your summer cruise.

For those of us who long for the warmth of the summer sun, Gate 1 Travel is offering a great deal on a air-inclusive trip to Greece through Groupon Getaways starting at $1,599. This ten day excursion includes round-trip airfare between New York and Athens, three nights’ accommodation in Santorini, three nights in Mykonos and two nights in Athens, all in standard accommodations. In addition, all transfers, flights, and ferries between Athens and the Greek Islands are included as well as daily breakfast and airline taxes and fuel surcharges. Gate 1’s English-speaking staff will be there to greet you and answer any questions in each location. See the Parthenon in Athens, the blue-capped roofs of Santorini, and the beautiful beaches of Mykonos. Visit Groupon.com by March 1 for more information and to book your Grecian adventure. Book by March 10. A

Like this article? Click the subscribe link at the top of the page to get the latest information by email when it’s published. For more fun deals and information, follow Deb on Twitter at debtalkstravel.

These deals are subject to change or cancellation at any time, and restrictions may apply. Book early for the best deals.

Roadtrip to Los Angeles

Utah mountains
Utah mountains
Utah vista
Utah vista

Packing the car to the roof, stashing the pretzels and the water, and putting the maps on the floor, my son and I were ready for a road trip to the Los Angeles area.

M was moving to Glendale, California. He had rented an apartment with a friend and didn’t yet have a job. He had been working for about a year, saving his money and spending mine. Finally it was time for the big move. We were driving from our home near Denver to California via I-70 and I-15.

We left early on a Wednesday, only getting stuck once in rush hour traffic. Our trip over the Continental Divide was uneventful – though we did see the half-pipe and cross-country ski course at Vail from the highway. I can’t imagine snowboarding on that crazy thing!

After lunch in Grand Junction, we headed out across Utah. As we headed south past the National Parks, it started getting warmer and the snow disappeared. About St. George, M said he was ready to go straight through to Las Vegas to spend the night.

Pulling out the trusty smartphone, I download Hotels.com and started searching for a place to stay the night. This was a Wednesday night which is less pricey than the weekend. Hotels.com doesn’t sponsor this blog, but I got a great deal on a nice hotel on Flamingo Road. We ended up paying 29.00 for the two of us to stay at the Tuscan Suites, just down the road from the Westin. The room was large and lovely. Thanks Hotels.com!

The beach at Santa Monica
The beach at Santa Monica.

The next day, we headed into the north Los Angeles area. Our four hour drive took us through the desert, past the San Bernadino Mountains and into the Hollywood Hills. Compared to Colorado, this place was green and shiny!
We found the apartment, and with the roomate’s help, moved him in. The attraction of Southern California over the Front Range of Colorado is evident in the beautiful and warm sunny days.  We did hit some of the tourist sites before I had to fly home and return to work – the Warner’s Studio Tour and the Santa Monica Pier. What a great feeling to walk on the beach in January.

On the
On the “Friends” sofa at the Warner Brothers Studio

Since he didn’t have any furniture, I rented with AirBnB – Mama don’t sleep on the floor any more. My host was very gracious and we had a great time during the few minutes we had in the mornings and in the evenings. Thanks to AirBnB and Grace for a comfortable stay.

Now that I’m back home and cleaning out the room he left behind, I’m hoping to get back to a regular blogging schedule. Stay tuned for more tips on how to plan your vacations!

Getaway to the Antlers Hilton in Colorado Springs

Garden of the Gods
Garden of the Gods

Colorado Springs makes a great getaway from the metro Denver area. About 45 minutes drive south of Denver, Colorado Springs boasts the Garden of the Gods, Pikes Peak, and the Olympic Training Center. The Antlers Hilton downtown is offering a discount on stays through March 31. Two guests stay for $99 per night through January 31, 2015. Starting on February 1, the cost increases to $119 per room, double or king. Add $10 to the room rate for a mountain view. Breakfast and parking is included. There are a few black-out dates in January and February. Visit Travelzoo.com soon for more information and to buy your voucher. Call the hotel directly with the voucher number to reserve your travel dates.

Like this article? Click the subscribe link at the top of the page to get the latest information by email when it’s published. For more fun deals and information, follow Deb on Twitter at

debtalkstravel.

These deals are subject to change or cancellation at any time, and restrictions may apply. Book early for the best deals.

Traveler or tourist? 6 Tips for planning a vacation to Panama

Century Bridge
One of the two bridges that lead out of Panama City and into the countryside.

The gentle thumping against the window drew us out of the night. It’s raining in Panama City, which is not unusual in October. We’ve come to this  Central American country to enjoy the sun, play some golf, and explore. Flying in during the early evening, we’ve stayed in a hotel downtown to avoid driving at night from the airport. As we traveled in this country, we discovered several planning strategies to help make your trip to Panama more enjoyable. With the advent of non-stop flights between Denver and Panama City, more tourists may make the trek.

1. Be prepared with basic Spanish. English is not widely spoken or understood. Tourism is new to Panama. Aside from the Canal and Bocas del Toro, the country hasn’t been much of a vacation destination for English speakers and most folks outside of Panama City only speak basic English. In the city, those in the hospitality industry may be more fluent but our waitress in the hotel restaurant still was puzzled when I asked for unsweetened iced tea. Be prepared with some rudimentary Spanish.

2. Rent a car to explore. Transportation is problematic. Officially, taxis are pretty inexpensive in Panama City. In reality, if you don’t know what it should cost, they charge you as much as they can get away with. From the airport to downtown Panama City, legally it should be about $12.00. In reality, it costs about $30.00 for a tired, non-Spanish speaking gringo.

Traffic in Panama City
Weaving through Panama City traffic

Traffic is awful and this affects both private and public transportation. There is a country-wide bus system as well as flights to the major cities if you need to get to David or Bocas del Toro quickly. If renting a car, be prepared to drive very aggressively and take the comprehensive insurance.  The condition of the roads range from good on the major highways to challenging in the neighborhoods. While my husband drove on the side roads, I kept an eye out for potholes that would swallow the front right quarter panel. Since many roads aren`t marked or named, GPS is not very useful either in the city or in the smaller towns. There aren’t many roads outside Panama City, particularly compared to most American urban areas. A good map is as useful as any GPS.

3. Arrange excursions before leaving home. Know who you want to call when you get in country for excursions. Our experience was that businesses that catered to tourists didn’t reach out or do much advertising. For example, we stayed in Coronado, a well-known resort area. My husband was interested in learning to surf, and we knew there were several well-known surf beaches close to where we were staying. We never found any information about any surf schools in the area. The resort didn’t have any brochure racks that we saw, and we never found a tourist office in town. We did plan on a day trip to El Valle before we left, and were able to drive there and enjoy the area. If there is something you want to do during your stay, arrange it or gather the information before you leave.

Pilot boat
A pilot boat comes to pick up the pilot that maneuvered the ship through the locks

4. Be ready to shop. Stocking items that are not necessities is not high priority for Panamanians. There were no vendors on the beach, unlike the beaches in Mexico where vendors constantly approach visitors. For those of you who expect to shop for souvenirs, Coronado has many stores, but they don’t cater to tourists. We did see a couple of stores for the local artisans along the Pan American Highway, but didn’t want to stop at the time. There are also many vendors in Casco Viejo with a large variety of handmade goods.  If you plan to return home with souvenirs, shop for them when you find them. The airport has mostly stores that cater to the high-end luxury goods crowd and very few T-shirts and shot glasses.

5. Ask about wireless service when booking a hotel. We had free Wi-Fi in the Doubletree in Panama City, at our resort in Coronado, and at the Country Inn and Suites on the Canal. My research indicates that not all hotels offer Wi-Fi, some offer it and charge, and some don’t. When booking accommodations, be sure to ask.

6. Talk to your cell provider. Cell coverage is fine in the bigger cities but may be less than stellar outside the most populated areas. We didn’t use our phone for calling or data on the cell network because it was too expensive. However, T-Mobile is offering international calling and data without additional charge. Check with your cell provider to determine what charges may be incurred in country. If you absolutely must have a phone, it is easy to buy a phone and load it up with minutes. Movistar and Cable & Wireless are the major cell providers in Panama and they have outlets in all the major Panamanian cities.

Coronado Beach
Coronado Beach on a Saturday morning.

Spending  time in Panama takes a bit more planning than the traditional resort vacation to, say, Mexico. Panama  is still up-and-coming, and hasn’t focused on tourism like some of it’s neighbors. For those who prefer to explore and travel rather than visit and be served, Panama is a great vacation destination. Go, meet the people, and experience the deserted beaches and beautiful jungles. You’ll plan to go back.

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Cunard cruises, New Zealand tour, sunny Belize

Tropical beauty
Tropical beauty

This week’s deals include transatlantic cruises, an adventure in New Zealand, and a resort in sunny Belize.

The Cunard Line, home of the Queen Elizabeth, Queen Victoria, and Queen Mary 2 is offering great deals on transatlantic sailings through June 2015. Cruisers sail on the Queen Victoria between New York to Southampton for eight days on April 25, starting at $1099 for an inside cabin. In addition save up to 20% off launch fare with up to $400 on-board credit per stateroom, specialty dining for two and free gratuities. Special fares are offered for the Queen Mary 2 and the Queen Elizabeth as well. Visit Cunard.com for more information and to book your cruise.

For those J.R.R. Tolkien fans, Air New Zealand is offering a 13-day “The Hobbit Trilogy” inspired vacation in New Zealand from $1,999 per person. The package includes round-trip airfare through Air New Zealand from Los Angeles or San Francisco to Auckland, returning from Queenstown. Package also includes intra-country flights, four nights’ accommodations at Mercure Auckland, two nights accommodations at Sudima Lake Rotorua, and half-day guided Hobbiton movie set tour in Rotorua. Spend four nights at Mercure Queenstown Resort with a half-day guided Safari of the Scenes tour in Queenstown. All U.S. and foreign taxes and fees and applicable airline fuel surcharges are also included. Visit Groupon.com by December 8 for more information and to book your Tolkien adventure.

Winter is in full swing in the Rocky Mountain West, and many folks are dreaming of warm water and sunny beaches. The Almond Beach Resort & Spa in Hopkins, Belize is offering a four night stay for two in an Ocean View room for $499 or in an Ocean View Deluxe room for $599. If you prefer to sun a bit longer, stay six nights starting at $699. The Almond Beach Resort is on the Belizean coastline between Dangriga and Placencia. The resort has two pools, beachside hammocks and on-site spa. For the active guest, visit the Mayan ruins nearby, go diving and snorkeling, or take a guide into the jungle for some bird watching. Visit Livingsocial.com by December 11 for more information and to book your Caribbean vacation.

Beach
Caribbean beach

Like this article? Click the subscribe link at the top of the page to get the latest information by email when it’s published. For more fun deals and information, go to www.debtalkstravel.com and follow Deb on Twitter at debtalkstravel.

These deals are subject to change or cancellation at any time, and restrictions may apply. Book early for the best deals.

Airfare deals for Black Friday, La Fondue in Denver, rail car resort

Las Vegas Sign
Las Vegas Welcome Sign

Today’s deals include Black Friday airfare sales, half price on dinner for two at a popular restaurant in the Denver area, and a great deal on lodging with the Featherbed Railroad.

Southwest Airlines is having an airfare sale to celebrate Black Friday, with one way airfares from Denver as low as $87 one way to Las Vegas and $124 one way to New York (LaGuardia). Book these deals by November 27 for travel between December 6 through December 16, 2014 and January 6 through February 11, 2015. Visit Southwest.com for more information and to book your warm weather vacation.

For those staying in town, La Fondue is partnering with Travelzoo.com to offer a four-course dinner for two with wine for $59. This is a 45% discount from the regular price. La Fondue is within easy walking distance to the Colorado Convention Center as well as the Denver Center for the Performing Arts. Dinner includes two salads and any cheese fondue with veggies and bread, a main course and chocolate fondue for dessert. The meal also comes with two glasses of beer or wine. Visit Travelzoo.com soon for more information and to buy your voucher.

For those who like to getaway to unique destinations, the Featherbed Railroad Bed and Breakfast in Nice, California might fit the bill. This resort is about 120 miles north of San Francisco near Clear Lake and is comprised of nine renovated railcars. For $99 per night, the accommodations for two include the Wild Wild West Caboose, with western décor and a claw foot tub. If you prefer the tropical atmosphere of the Florida Keys, check out the TropiCaboose with its white wicker furniture and hardwood floors. The cars are air-conditioned and feature queen-size featherbeds and flat-screen TVs. Visit Livingsocial.com by December 9 for more information and to buy your voucher.

Like this article? Click the subscribe link at the top of the page to get the latest information by email when it’s published. For more fun deals and information,  follow Deb on Twitter at debtalkstravel.

These deals are subject to change or cancellation at any time, and restrictions may apply. Book early for the best deals.

Cruise the Panama Canal, visit sunny Palm Springs, adventure in the Maldives

The Panama Canal
Exiting the Panama Canal on the Atlantic side

This week’s deals include a trip through the Panama Canal, a great hotel deal in Palm Springs, and exotic adventure in the Maldives.

For those with flexible schedules, Princess Cruises is offering a great deal on 11-night cruises through the Panama Canal, starting at $649 per person. Set sail from Ft. Lauderdale, visiting Aruba, Cartagena, Columbia, and then a partial transit through the Panama Canal to Colon. From Colon, sail to Limon, Costa Rica and Ocho Rios, Jamaica before docking back in Ft. Lauderdale. This deal is available on the December 7, 2014 sailing on the Island Princess and the December 12 sailing on the Coral Princess. Princess Cruises offers such amenities as wine bars, live entertainment, and Movies under the Stars with 300-square foot open-air screens. There is an additional $331 fee per person the covers the cost of passing through the Panama Canal. Visit Travelzoo.com soon for more information and the book your holiday cruise.

As the holiday travel season approaches, the Palm Mountain Resort in Palm Springs, CA is offering a deal on room rates through January. Two people stay in Garden King Room for $60 per night. Select the two-night package and get a $25 dining credit at the Matchbox Restaurant. The hotel is within walking distance to downtown Palm Springs, with its restaurants, shopping, and delightful art museum. The sun shines 300 days per year here, allowing visitors to golf, hike, or just enjoy time around the pool nearly every day. Palm Springs is also the birthplace of desert modernism, and there is a self-guided tour of the midcentury modern architecture available at the Palm Springs Official Visitors Center. Visit Groupon.com soon for more information and to book your winter getaway.

The Maldives are found several hundred miles off the southern tip of India. Indus Travels is offering a seven-day trip to these exotic islands, starting at $2239 per person. This package includes round-trip airfare between New York City or Los Angeles and Malé, double-occupancy accommodations for five nights at the Fihalhohi Island Resort, five breakfasts, lunches and dinners, airline taxes, fuel surcharges, and resort fees. The Maldives have some of the most beautiful beaches in the world and the reef is a snorkeler’s paradise. Visit Livingsocial.com by November 13 for more information and to buy your exotic island vacation.

Like this article? Click the subscribe link at the top of the page to get the latest information by email when it’s published. For more fun deals and information, go to www.debtalkstravel.com and follow Deb on Twitter at debtalkstravel.

These deals are subject to change or cancellation at any time, and restrictions may apply. Book early for the best deals.

Plan ~ Play ~ Discover