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October 05, 2009

Seabourn Cruises Flash Sale


Just a quick note to say: Get a load of the Seabourn sale over at Jetsetter.  I haven't done the math to determine just what sort of a deal this represents, but on the face of it the savings look pretty good to me. The itineraries on offer are for Belize, Panama, and Costa Rica (starting at $270/night), the Caribbean (starting at $299/night), and Asia (starting at $329/night).  According to the folks at Jetsetter, these sale fares range from 13% to 37% lower than the lowest rates you can find elsewhere, depending on the sailing date and room categories. The catch:  The sale lasts only two days (it expires Wednesday at 3 a.m. Eastern Time) or until cabins are sold out.

In case you missed my post explaining Jetsetter last week, it's a brand-new, still-in-beta, invitation-only website for flash sales of luxury travel experiences. You can be invited to join Jetsetter (for free) by clicking on this custom link for Perrin Post readers.

Note that if Jetsetter offers to put you on the waitlist for a Seabourn sailing you've selected, that doesn't necessarily mean the sailing is sold out. It means that the rooms available are in other people's shopping carts for a 10-minute period while they decide whether or not to buy. If you know you want to buy, put your name on the waitlist and check back in ten minutes or so.

October 01, 2009

Get Free Nights, Upgrades, Meals, Massages and More at Marriott Resorts in the Caribbean and Mexico


The JW Marriott Cancun Resort & Spa, which Conde Nast Traveler readers rate so highly it's on our Gold List, is one of nine Marriotts offering giveaways on Twitter every day this month.

by Wendy Perrin

Usually the Halloween mood doesn't strike me till the end of October, but this year it's already struck, thanks to Marriott Resorts' over-the-top "Trick or Tweet" promotion.  Like most innovative, fun, money-saving hotel promotions these days, it's happening on Twitter. 

Every day throughout October, a group of nine Marriott resorts in the Caribbean and Mexico will post a twitter message (or "tweet") announcing a different giveaway at one of the resorts. The giveaways will range from a free night's stay to $100 in meal credits to room upgrades to spa treatments to rounds of golf.  Follow Marriott Resorts on Twitter and you can collect all 27 giveaways, in the form of vouchers that you download and then redeem at the specified resort any time through December 20, 2010.

If you'd like to know who else to follow on Twitter, I listed 21 essential twitterers to follow -- for travel deals, perks, and advice you'll find either only on Twitter or on Twitter first -- in my Perrin Report column in Conde Nast Traveler's October issue (on newsstands now).

September 30, 2009

A New Site For Exclusive Travel Deals


Rooms at Venice's Bauer Hotel, which Conde Nast Traveler readers have voted one of their favorite properties in the world, can be booked on for $250 to $300 per night, vs. the rack rate of $384 to $589 per night.

by Wendy Perrin

For years our only online options for booking top-rated hotels and resorts at steep discounts were pretty much limited to Luxury Link and Tablet Hotels. That's why I'm happy to see Jetsetter land on the scene. Jetsetter is a flash-sale site that negotiates with noteworthy hotels, cruise lines, and other luxe travel suppliers to offer slashed rates unavailable to the general public. It just launched in beta a few hours ago and, I must say, it's refreshing to see a travel booking site that not only caters to sophisticated travelers--a group that has been grossly underserved in the online travel space--but is also, thanks to its large photos and uncluttered layout, actually appealing to look at.

Like its parent company Gilt Groupe, Jetsetter is a members-only site. You need to be invited to join. Lucky for you, I've finagled just such an invite, specifically for Perrin Post readers: Click on this custom link to register, and every night at 8 p.m. you'll receive an e-mail announcing the latest sale. Each sale should include no more than a handful of select travel experiences -- hotels, resorts, yachts, luxe cruises and tours -- that will be available at a significant discount for either a two-day window or until dates are sold out.

Continue reading "A New Site For Exclusive Travel Deals" »

February 24, 2009

New York City Boutique Hotel Sale

by Wendy Perrin

I interrupt this Caribbean travelogue to bring you news about hotel consolidator Quikbook's great 72-hour sale on rooms in some of Manhattan's most popular boutique hotels. If you're N.Y.C.-bound anytime before October and want rates that are 25 to 30 percent below Quikbook's already low negotiated rates, check out this sale, which ends Friday at 5:00 p.m. ET.

January 27, 2009

Experience Obama's Oahu on the Cheap


by Wendy Perrin

If your appetite's been whetted by Conde Nast Traveler's February feature on Obama's Oahu about where the President eats, stays, surfs, and plays, and you're looking to get away before the end of next month, you should know about the latest big Oahu sale from Pleasant Holidays: 3-night airfare-plus-hotel packages from Los Angeles to Oahu starting at $299 per person. For $456 you can upgrade to the JW Marriott Ihilani Resort & Spa and for $493 to the Hilton Hawaiian Village Beach Resort & Spa. These offers are combinable with the extraordinary added values available at many Hawaiian hotels right now, including third night free, guaranteed upgrades, daily breakfasts, resort credits, etc. (Reservations must be booked by January 31, for travel now through February 28.)

Of course, if you're flying from a city other than L.A. or you'd prefer a different Hawaiian island, Pleasant Holidays has plenty of other deals too. Why? My January Perrin Report on how to save money and travel smarter in 2009 explains why some of the best travel offers these days come in the form of airfare-plus-hotel packages put together by consolidators. After the jump, find out why:

Continue reading "Experience Obama's Oahu on the Cheap" »

January 12, 2009

Last Minute NYC Long Weekend on the Cheap

Room_mate_grace by Wendy Perrin

A stylish Times Square hotel, with heated indoor pool, for $109/night, including breakfast. A Hertz car rented at Newark Airport for only $13.95/day. And a round trip ticket from West Palm Beach to Newark for $292 (including all taxes and fees), even though it was purchased only two days ahead. That's what my friend Mary Munn Laronge, one of the savviest travelers I know, spent on her trip to New York City and environs this past weekend.

How did Mary get these prices? By booking at the very last minute and using the right Web tools:

Continue reading "Last Minute NYC Long Weekend on the Cheap" »

November 03, 2008

Best of the Travel Deals

by Wendy Perrin

My weekend surfing of the blogosphere turned up several remarkable travel deals available right now (though, in most cases, not for long):

* There are cruise-ship cabins still available for Christmas.

* You can drive a rental car to Florida for only $1 per day.

* You can fly to Australia--where the U.S. dollar stretches especially far right now--from LAX or SFO for only $695 on Qantas.

*The U.S. dollar also stretches far in Canada, where skiers interested in Whistler can lock in a low rate this winter (starting at $170/night) at the Pan Pacific Whistler Mountainside.

* Need to fly any of these 20 specific airline routes?  Book them through Orbitz: Should the price drop after you buy your ticket, you can get a refund of the difference between the price you paid and the new fare.

July 20, 2007

How To Get The Best Deal On LuxuryLink

WHERE'S BROOK? contest winner Susan Cory (middle), Brook (right), and I had lunch in Manhattan last Friday, July 13, 2007.

by Wendy Perrin

Okay, gamesters: Wanna guess where WHERE'S BROOK? contest winner Susan Cory and Brook and I ate last week?  Susan, a residential architect, chose the restaurant because she's a fan of its modernist architecture.

Here's another clue: Note the plate that Susan's Dover sole arrived on.

You may recall that Susan and I had lunch last month when I was up in Cambridge, Mass., where she lives. It ended up hardly being a proper contest-winner lunch, however:  Thanks to a delayed train to Boston, I was so rushed that we had time only for a burger.  And of course Brook was dying to meet Susan too.  Plus Susan has so many great travel tricks up her sleeve that I wanted to hear more.  We needed a do-over.  So, when everyone's paths crossed in Manhattan last weekend, we had a proper celebration. It also just happened to be my birthday.

Cotton_candy_at_four_seasons_rest_6 The main topic of conversation was LuxuryLink, a Web auction site that Susan swears by. She's scored huge bargains at first-rate hotels and resorts.  Three years ago she paid $800 for three nights, including tax and breakfast, at La Samanna, the posh resort on the Caribbean island of St. Martin. Two years ago she paid $900 for five nights, with breakfast daily and one dinner, at the Grand Hotel in San Remo, Italy.  And in October she's headed to St. Petersburg, Russia, where she's bought a five-night package for two at The Astoria for $1,264, which includes tax, daily breakfast, one dinner, and an hour-long massage for both her and her husband. Considering how crazy expensive St. Petersburg is, that's a steal. The retail value quoted on LuxuryLink is $3,534.  You go, Susan!

Susan's tips for getting the best price via LuxuryLink:

Continue reading "How To Get The Best Deal On LuxuryLink" »

April 04, 2007

European Low-Fare Airlines, Part 2

The_cranky_flierby Wendy Perrin

The Cranky Flier has weighed in with a coupla more Web sites for finding low-fare airlines in Europe.  To learn who flies between which cities, I've always happily used whichbudget, but Cranky has always happily used  flycheapo.  He adds that you can skip this step entirely by heading straight to wegolo, which lets you search a lot of low-cost carriers for rates and availability.

Thanks, Cranky, for coming through again with your nifty tips. No wonder you wonstole the 2007 award for Best Informative/Practical Travel Blog out from under me. I've ALMOST forgiven you.

So here's a fun game for everyone to play: Where in the world do you think Cranky is in this photo?  To hazard a guess, click on "Post a comment" below.                        

Photo courtesy of

April 04, 2007

European Low-Fare Airlines

Easyjet airplaneby Wendy Perrin

Question from reader LeslieGKoch:

"What Web sites can I use to book low-cost airlines in Europe?  I need to fly among three capital cities, but Expedia et al. show only the national airlines, which are quite expensive."

Great question. Fortunately, I covered this in depth in my Perrin Report on European low-fare airlines. One thing to remember about these airlines: They sometimes use an alternative airport that is farther from the city center than the main airport. So, before buying your tickets, research public-transportation options and taxi costs from the airport that the plane flies into.

Photo courtesy of

January 30, 2007

Looking Out For Low Air Fares?

Test Your Travel Smarts

By Wendy Perrin

"Why is Tuesday the best day of the week to search the Web for air fares?" asks reader Ed Barkowitz, who just last week got around to taking my Test Your Travel Smarts quiz in Conde Nast Traveler's November issue. To repeat Question 6:

Which of the following days is best for finding low air fares on the Web?
a. Tuesday    b. Friday    c. Saturday      d. Sunday     The answer: a.

Ed, you'll find the cheapest fares at around 6 a.m. on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays.  A fare that is $340 on Saturday could drop to $300 by Tuesday morning. Here's why . . . . 

Continue reading "Looking Out For Low Air Fares?" »

November 17, 2006

Savvy Price-Shopping Online

By Wendy Perrin

Conde Nast Traveler readers are a clever lot.  Yesterday I received an e-mail from one of them with a nifty tip.  When the reader books travel online, he often books it not through the travel company's U.S. Web site but through its site in the country he plans to visit, since the prices are lower:

"Before a recent trip, I was amazed at how expensive a 4-day car rental in Ireland was going to be.  At, an economy car picked up and dropped off at the Dublin airport was 181 euros (including the mandatory CDW, or collision-damage waiver).  At, however, the cost was 65 euros (including the CDW).  Another example: When I went to South Africa, I found hotel rates were much lower on Web sites ending in .za than on those ending in .com.  A room at the Sheraton in Cape Town, for instance, cost $50 less through the local Web site."

Continue reading "Savvy Price-Shopping Online" »

October 09, 2006

Luxury Travel For Less

Machu Picchu

Photo: Lisa Limer, Conde Nast Traveler

By Wendy Perrin

Conde Nast Traveler readers have bragged to me about the nifty deals they've gotten through Luxury Link, so when its president, Diane McDavitt, asked to stop by my office to introduce herself, of course I said yes. Luxury Link auctions off posh travel packages for up to 40% less than what they'd cost if you were to buy the components separately.  Sometimes the offers are cruises and villa rentals, but more often they are hotel and resort stays where the property throws in a bunch of extras (e.g. meals, spa treatments, golf).

How to win a Luxury Link auction?  If there's a package you want, submit a bid so that you're in the loop and will be notified of what others are bidding. Then don't bid again until literally the last minute:  Auctions are always extended to five minutes past the last bid.

Continue reading "Luxury Travel For Less" »

October 01, 2006

How To Beat Priceline At Its Own Game

My friend Marc's wedding in Beverly, Massachusetts, Sept 17, 2006

By Wendy Perrin

Remember a couple of weekends ago I was in the Boston area to attend a friend's wedding?  (That was when I had the high-speed Internet access nightmare at the Boston Marriott Peabody.)  Been meaning to post this ever since but got too busy:

The rate for wedding guests was $129 . . . which seemed reasonable until my friend Marc, the groom, told me he'd managed, six days before the wedding, to get a rate of $54 through Priceline.

Continue reading "How To Beat Priceline At Its Own Game" »

September 27, 2006

Cruise-Ship Upgrades: A Caveat

By Wendy Perrin

Okay, I've gotten several e-mail messages hawking Carnival's one-day sale tomorrow.  If you book a cruise departing any time from now through December 15, prices start at $229 ($189 on Travelocity) plus you get "FREE UPGRADES!"  Something to keep in mind about free upgrades offered by a cruise line:  They can land you in a worse cabin.

Continue reading "Cruise-Ship Upgrades: A Caveat" »