Escape Artists offers up a global discourse ranging from great finds close to home to adventures far afield. You'll find weekly travel deals here, too. Share your road wisdom, rave about great finds and rant about roadblocks that get in the way of a great trip.
Contributor: Travel editor Kerri Westenberg.
Email us with tips and questions.
Q I need a warm weather break, where can I find an all-inclusive resort that’s friendly to an LGBT family with children?
A Mary Hedger of the Travel Leaders agency in Loveland, Colo. has been trained by The Travel Institute to address the specific needs of the LGBT market. She says that Mexico, specifically Puerto Vallarta and Cancun, is your best option. She also recommends the Riviera Maya, in particular resorts that also cater to Europeans. In Puerto Vallarta, she suggests the Allegro and Marival, but also says that RIU resorts are popular with gay couples. And she’s sent couples to the Huatulco area long the Pacific coast with no problems, but does not recommend the Caribbean Islands.
Answers to travelers’ questions appear in Travel weekly and every Monday at startribune.com/escapeartists; send your question by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Q. I just returned from the Caribbean and have bumps on both legs that really itch. I don’t remember seeing any mosquitoes or other insects, so am worried that I was attacked by bed bugs, is it time to call the exterminator?
A. It’s possible that you shared your room with bed bugs, but don’t rule out other possibilities. In the tropics many of the flying and jumping insects that feed on human blood are much smaller than they typical Minnesota mosquito, so it’s likely that while you were hanging out on the beach you feeding the local wildlife. Possibilities include sand fleas (aka sand flies, beach fleas and no-see-ums), which are only about 1/8-inch long, but can jump than a foot high – a likely explanation for why the bites are on your feet. An over-the-counter antihistimine will help relieve the itching.
- Jim Buchta
At Travelzoo I found a hot deal for those want to escape the cold (sort of), but stay close to home. The Chula Vista Waterpark Resort in Wisconsin Dells is offering a special $69 a night deal for accommodations in any room type up to a Junior suite. That includes four passes to the resort’s 80,000 square foot indoor water park. The offer applies only to the following dates: Dec. 9 to 11, 13-18, 20 to 21, 23 to 25 and Jan. 5 to 8, 14, 17 to 22, 24 to 25, 27 to 28.
If you stay two nights, you'll also get a $25 dining voucher. Stay three or more nights and receive a $50 voucher. You must book by Dec. 18.
Go to www.chulavistaresort.com and type HOT in the promo code box, or call 1-800-388-4782.
The ski season officially opens at Lutsen November 21. To entice you there, the North Shore ski resortt, with 92 runs, is offering to double your online discount when you purchase lift tickets online through November 15. Also, buy a day lift ticket and a single night of lodging and you'll get another lift ticket and night for free. To read more, go here.
It's a week for a number of online deals for Twin Cities travelers.
For last-minute getaways this weekend, United is offering a truckload of last-minute destination roundtrip deals from Chicago ($112) to El Paso ($190) to Syracuse, NY ($214).
United is also offering additional deals for next weekend to more than a dozen more cities, ranging from $88-$434.
The usual fine print applies to these deals: Purchase by Friday and travel departs the Saturday with a return flight the following Monday or Tuesday.
Details can be found here:
American Airlines is also offering a last-minute deal this weekend to Chicago for $120 as part of their NetsAAver promotion. Details here: http://www.aa.com/netsaaver/
Thursday is the final day for the $39 one-way airfare sale out of Minneapolis, at least as far as AirTran is concerned. The most recent e-mail I'm receiving is from Hotwire's Travel Ticker touting flights out of the Midwest for as low as $44 one-way.
Personally I'm not a fan of generic sale-fare claims, but feel free to check it out all the same. The link can be found here:
But, if you go directly to AirTran, you can find specific fares listed, such as Orlando for $64-$124; Dallas for $74-$124; Philadelphia for $64 - $176 and more.
Here's the link:
Tickets must be purchased by midnight Thursday and travel must be completed by Dec. 16. Sale fares are not valid for travel on Fridays or Sundays and there are some blackout dates -- basically the bookends to Thanksgiving.
That said, decent fares can be found for the flexible.
(Likewise, Southwest was touting sale fares this week through Thursday for as low as $59 one-way, though in my few searches of destinations, the lowest fare I could find was $80. Here's the link: http://travel.southwest.com/)
Elsewhere on the web, Travelzoo this week is touting sale fare prices from Minneapolis to Tampa for as low as $199, including tax, through much of November and December. Granted, it's Tampa. But it's a pretty cheap flight, relatively speaking, and just this week on Hotwire I priced December rental cars for under $30 a day.
That airfare deal can be found here:
And then, of course, there are the charter deals, which are starting to heat up this week as the weather continues to drizzle.
Low price specials that I spotted this week:
Funjet Vacations' 3 nights air+hotel to the Luxor Las Vegas, for $300 a person.
Otherwise, over at worryfreevacations.com, the best deals seemed to be airfare-only deals to Caribbean and Mexico, hovering in the $300 range.
|Minnesota Parks (3)||Deals (66)|
|Adventure travel (15)||Airlines (48)|
|Airports (23)||Chicago (13)|
|Consumer travel (69)||Cruises (12)|
|Europe (6)||International travel (29)|
|Minnesota (25)||Passports (6)|
|Regional travel (16)||Road trips (12)|
|Travel deals (7)||Travel gadgets and gear (1)|
|U.S. travel (56)||Winter getaways (11)|