Holiday Travel

Southwest Vacations: Memorial Day Hotel and Flight Packages on Sale

Memorial Day Sale!

Memorial Day is one of the most important United States federal holidays. It is observed on the last Monday of May (May 30 in 2011). It also marks the start of the summer vacation so the fight to grab a good deal for this extended weekend is definitely on for months before the holiday.

Get a head start with the Memorial Day hotel and flight packages available on sale now. Book a package choose a featured hotel and flight from Southwest Airlines – and get free nights, free upgrades and more.

Book the package by May 19, 2011 for travel between May 25 and June 1, 2011. Advance purchase required.

The packages which comprise 4 nights-hotel and flight from Chicago can be booked for stays at:

  • Treasure Island, Las Vegas, $148 per person, per night
  • Mandarin Oriental Las Vegas, $346 per person, per night
  • Sheraton Vistana Resort Villas, Orlando, $108 per person, per night
  • Sheraton San Diego Hotel & Marina, San Diego, $167 per person, per night
  • Jumeirah Essex House, New York City, $263 per person, per night
  • New York Marriott Marquis Hotel, New York City, $300 per person, per night

You can also book packages in Anaheim with flight from Denver, in San Diego or Washington with flight from Houston and in Chicago with flight from Omaha.

Don’t forget to read the Southwest Airlines Vacations Current Deals

Read more Southwest Flight Deals.

Best Places in the US to Go This Summer

Summer, for many, just screams “road trip” – and there are few countries better suited to a road trip than the United States. We love our cars, the interstate highway system is an intricate lace-like web connecting here with the furthest there, and there’s just so much country to see!

There are great reasons to explore the U.S. by car just about anywhere you go in the country, but – as mentioned – it’s a big place. If you need help narrowing down your choices for a U.S. road trip this summer (or just need a few suggestions for places to visit in the United States – road trip or not), here are some of our favorites for the summer of 2011.

>> Read more about planning the perfect road trip and 7 Great American Road Trips

Best Places in Europe to Go This Summer

By this point most people have made their summer travel plans for the year – but if you’re one of the people for whom advance planning isn’t really in your genetic code, you might still be looking for a place to go this summer.

European travel always reaches its peak during the summer months, for a couple of good reasons – reliably warm weather through most of the continent and reliably long chunks of time off from school and work. Unfortunately, since so many other people flock to Europe during the summer you also run into extra large crowds and higher prices than usual.

Those things aren’t enough to stop people from going to Europe, however, so if Europe is on your radar for this summer – and you’d like to get the most bang for your buck – here are a few locations worth considering for a trip in the summer of 2011.

Latin American Festival and Event Calendar

Whenever we travel it can feel like we’re on a non-stop holiday – but in most cases, life goes on as usual around us and we’re the only ones in a celebratory mood. All of that changes if you plan your trips around a country’s major festivals and events – like these festivals and events in Latin America.

There are local festivals and special events that take place throughout Latin America at all times of the year, but there are also some that stand out on the calendar as particularly special and worth traveling in order to see. Some of them are listed below, with links to additional information about traveling to see each one.

>> Look for cheap tickets to South America, cheap tickets to Central America, and cheap tickets to Mexico in order to get to each of these special events and festivals.

Cheap Tickets to Inti Raymi in Peru and Ecuador

When asked about the big festivals that take place in South America, most of us would be able to name the famous Carnival celebrations in Brazil, and some of us might be aware of the Semana Santa processions that take place in much of Latin America – but it’s a smaller number who would be familiar with the Inti Raymi celebrations, despite the fact that they’re some of the biggest on the continent.

Inti Raymi, which means Festival of the Sun, is an historic ceremony that was important to the people of the Inca Empire, and it dates back to the 13th century. After the conquest of the Incas by the Spanish, the Inti Raymi celebrations lost their grandeur and then finally were stopped altogether. Then in 1944, the ceremony and celebrations were presented in a theatrical way – eliminating some of the more gruesome aspects of the original ceremonies – based on historic accounts, and they’ve continued each year since then.

Today’s Inti Raymi celebrations are performed by actors representing the Incas, and the festivities have become a major draw not only for people from nearby areas but tourists from all over the world.

>> Inti Raymi marks the winter solstice on June 24th of every year.

Cheap Airfare to Copa America 2011 in Argentina

Even if you’re not a hard-core soccer fan you’re probably familiar with the World Cup, held every four years to determine which country sits atop the soccer world, but you may not be aware that there’s a similar competition that also happens every four years in South America. The Copa America tournament is contested by the national soccer teams of South America.

Argentina is hosting the 2011 Copa America in eight different cities around the country. The cities hosting games are Buenos Aires, Cordoba, Jujuy, La Plata, Mendoza, Salta, San Juan, and Santa Fe. While these cities are all in the northern half of the country, they’re not all right next to one another – so if you’re planning to see games in more than one city you’ll need to plan for in-country travel as well as your travel getting to Argentina and back.

In 2011, the countries participating in the Copa America tournament are Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil (the reigning champions), Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay, and Venezuela. There are also a few countries from outside South America invited to participate each year. One invited guest for 2011 is Mexico – the other invitee, Japan, has withdrawn from the tournament and organizers are working on finding a replacement.

>> In 2011, the Copa America tournament runs from July 1-24

>> Look for cheap tickets to Argentina

Semana Santa: Cheap Travel for Easter in Latin America

For much of the world, the entire week leading up to Easter Sunday is full of celebrations and festivals – including Palm Sunday and Good Friday – and it’s known as Holy Week. Of course, these holidays are particularly meaningful to the religious faithful, but in some places the festivals associated with the holidays are major events on the calendar and are therefore interesting whether you’re religious or not.

Latin America ranks highly mong the places where Holy Week festivities – called Semana Santa in both Spanish and Portuguese – make the grade as a must-see tourist attractions.

Much of Latin America is predominantly Catholic, and the Semana Santa celebrations are among the most important on the Catholic calendar throughout the region. Regardless of where you’re planning to go in Latin American during the week before Easter, you would be smart to check out what that city or town has planned for Semana Santa – but if you’d like to plan a specific trip to see what are widely regarded as the best Semana Santa celebrations, here is some information about countries with particularly well-known festivals (and specific cities or towns to visit for the best-known celebrations).

>> In 2011, Easter falls on April 25th

>> Learn more about Easter travel deals

New Orleans Jazz Fest Travel Deals

Next to Mardi Gras, Jazz Fest is perhaps the second most popular time to be in New Orleans. Although the city’s reputation as a jazz-filled city isn’t without merit, the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival (most commonly known simply as Jazz Fest) runs the musical gamut from Dixieland to hip-hop to rock, and lots of stuff in between – not to mention scores of music fans. This is one of the many reasons why a trip to New Orleans Jazz Fest requires a little pre-planning.

To help you plan your own trip to see New Orleans Jazz Fest, then, here are some articles we’ve published recently – including tips on finding cheap airfare and other ways to get to New Orleans and the festival grounds. You’ll also find links below for accommodation in the Crescent City to help complete your travel planning.

>> New Orleans Jazz Fest in 2012 is April 27 – May 6. 

How to Get to New Orleans Jazz Fest

When you’re asking about how to get to the New Orleans Jazz Fest, the easy answer is that since the location is in the event’s name it shouldn’t be hard to locate.

In point of fact, the Crescent City’s famous jazz festival has been held in the same location since 1972 (the Fair Grounds Race Course), and it happens to be pretty close to the popular French Quarter – so once you get yourself to the city it’s actually not hard to find at all.

If the question is a broader one about the best way to get to the city and then to festival grounds, then here are your main options.

>> The 2011 New Orleans Jazz Fest runs from April 29-May 8.

What Airports to Use for New Orleans Jazz Fest

It shouldn’t surprise you that the closest airport to the New Orleans Jazz Fest is the main airport in New Orleans – but if you’re scouring the web for potential savings on airfare to New Orleans for the big music festival, then one thing you shouldn’t overlook is the option of flying into a different airport (and a different city) altogether.

Often, flying right into New Orleans’ main airport will be the cheapest option – but, depending on where you’re flying from, that’s not always going to be the case. The airports listed below are, after the primary New Orleans airport, between 70-120 miles from the Crescent City. In other words, it doesn’t hurt to check on flights into those airports in case you find a spectacular deal – especially if you don’t mind a little bit of a road trip after your flight.

>> New Orleans Jazz Fest is from April 29-May 8 in 2011.