Friday, August 29, 2008

Would you travel by train instead of airplane? You Should. Here is Why.

Fed up with airlines charging you for everything from checked bags to a pack of pretzels? Reconsidering your road trip due to skyrocketing prices at the pump? Vexed vacationers, take heart — and consider taking the train. An even better, travel by train for free! Visit this link:

Long an under-appreciated part of the U.S. travel scene, train travel is making a comeback. Amtrak reports that its national ridership is up 11 percent since October 2007, and the company expects to see a record number of passengers in 2008. With both airfares and gas prices on the rise, train travel is looking increasingly attractive to budget-conscious travelers, particularly over shorter trips. Over longer distances, a train ride can even be a vacation in itself.

If you're not sure riding the rails is right for you, read on — we've put together 10 compelling reasons to take a train on your next trip.

1. Money savings
If you're watching your wallet, trains are an increasingly cost-effective alternative to planes, particularly if you're going a relatively short distance or if you're traveling in the busy Northeast Corridor, where train service is fast and frequent.

2. Stable fares
Anyone who's agonized over when to purchase airfare knows how arcane and frustrating the airlines' pricing structures can be. (We're still waiting for a logical explanation of why a one-way ticket costs so much more than a round trip.

3. Flexibility
Except on long-haul or infrequently traveled routes, trains tend to offer travelers a great deal of flexibility. Missed the 10 a.m. train? Just catch the 10:30 or 11 a.m. train instead. Most short trips do not require prior reservations, and you can simply show up at the station the day of your trip and grab a ticket for the next train — without paying an exorbitant last-minute fare.

4. More baggage ...
These days, nearly all the major airlines charge domestic travelers a fee to check two bags — and many of them will charge you to check just one.

5. ... Less hassle
Imagine taking a trip and not having to arrive two hours early, wait in a long security line, take off your shoes for inspection, or ration out your liquids and gels. Welcome to the world of train travel. In most cases you can arrive 30 minutes ahead of time and walk straight to your platform — with no security and no lines.

6. Door-to-door convenience
Unlike airports, most major train stations are located right downtown in the heart of the cities they serve. Instead of taking an expensive airport cab ride from miles outside of town, you can step off your train and be just moments from your hotel.

7. Eco-friendliness
Trains are more energy-efficient per passenger mile than planes or cars, making them one of the most eco-friendly transportation options around (short of walking or riding your bike!). Carbon emissions from trains are less damaging to the environment than those of airplanes because those emissions are not released directly into the upper atmosphere.

8. Comfort and relaxation
Rather than cramming yourself into an ever-shrinking airplane seat or squinting at road signs trying to figure out where to make your next turn, why not relax on a train? It's one of the least stressful forms of transportation out there: someone else does the driving, you'll have more legroom than you would on an airplane, and you'll be able to move around at will — not just when the captain turns the seatbelt sign off.

9. Old-fashioned charm
There's something refreshingly traditional about taking a train, particularly if you're traveling over a long, multi-night route. The days of silverware and fine china in coach class may be long gone in the airline industry, but on overnight trains you'll still find dining cars with full-service meals and uniformed wait staff.

10. Beyond just transportation
Unlike airplanes, which whisk you from point A to point B with barely a glimpse of what's in between, a train ride can be a destination in and of itself. Take the California Zephyr — a dramatic route that wends its way through the Rocky and Sierra Nevada Mountains from Chicago to San Francisco.

Visit this site and enjoy the pleasure of traveling by train for free.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Labor Day Weekend destinations

Will you be one of the many Americans strolling the "Magnificent Mile" in Chicago this Labor Day Weekend? For the third year in a row,, a leading discount travel site, names Chicago the top Labor Day destination, followed by Boston and New York City. The Top 10 Labor Day weekend destinations, according to hotel bookings on, include (2007 rankings in parentheses):

1. Chicago (1)
2. Boston (5)
3. New York City (2)
4. Seattle (26)
5. Las Vegas (8)
6. San Diego, CA (9)
7. New Orleans (7)
8. Los Angeles (11)
9. Toronto (14)
10. Atlanta (3)

According to a recent Harris Interactive survey commissioned by Hotwire(R), only 10 percent of Americans consider themselves spontaneous travelers -- planning their getaways less than two weeks in advance. What the other 90 percent don't know is that they can still get great last minutes deals for the Labor Day weekend on

Over the Labor Day weekend, hundreds of thousands picnic and enjoy the music of the Chicago Jazz Festival. Boston travelers visit the city's North End, site of the largest St. Anthony's Feast, named the "Feast of all Feasts" by National Geographic Magazine. Additionally, visitors to New York can dance away the weekend at the Brooklyn Carnival.

What about visiting Chicago's attractions for free? The Chicago Citypass includes admission to the Shedd Aquarium, the Field Museum, the Adler Planetarium, the Museum of Science and Industry and either the Hancock Observatory or the Sears Tower Skydeck.

Instead of paying $120 for two citypass tickets, get them for free at This website has a drop down menu, where you can select the city of your choice, including New York City, Boston, Seattle, Toronto, and more!


Free Schlitterbahn waterpark tickets?

Here is my first "free" offer related to leisure activities and written with the family traveler in mind. I have been looking for the best waterpark to take my kids. I visited several sites with reviews of parks across the US.
The one waterpark with the best reviews was Schlitterbahn. With three locations in Texas (Galveston, New Braunfels, and South Padre), this waterpark is exactly what I am looking for. However, it would cost me about $250 for 7 one day tickets, not including parking and meals. I started searching for a better deal and I found it... free tickets!

I will examine this offer under the following criteria:
1. How/where can it be found
2. Who is offering this
3. What is required to receive this (efforts and cost, if any)
4. My personal experience with this offer

1. I searched on Google using the keywords schlitterbahn park and found this website

2. This is part of the current corporation I am examining "World Avenue"

3. I submitted basic mailing information, spent anywhere from 35 minutes to 2 hours, used a secure internet connection, and spent $0 because I used the Refer-A-Friend option

4. I went slowly in order to document the page and offers, using their refer-a-friend option I made it through without paying out of pocket. I signed up for a free trial at Blockbuster and also signed up to receive a coffee trial.

Conclusion: With the inclusion of Refer-A-Friend option you can receive any of World Avenue’s offers without paying any cost- something intriguing and definitely worth testing. I can't wait to take my kids to this amazing waterpark! I’m excited for delivery of my Schlitterbahn tickets and will update when I receive them!