Last minute NYC-Barcelona for $200 r/t??? Later in the year under $250! Muy bonito!

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I must say that I was starting to become pretty jaded with low fares to Europe. But today I was proven wrong yet again. As reported just yesterday, I stated how I found airfare to places like Italy and Ireland for under $300. Well add the country of Spain, Barcelona in particular, to that list of European destinations that are on sale in an insanely major way.

Iberia Airlines is offering last minute round-trip airfare, with all taxes and fees, from New York’s JFK airport to Barcelona, Spain for…$205! You can pick up your jaw now. Yes for the same price as your weekly food shopping bill (or at least mine because I like organic 2% milk and imported Swiss cheese) you can visit one of the most beautiful and historic cities in all of Europe. These crazy prices were found for this month, so if you are able to get a few days off from work or school, then book ASAP! These prices will not last long.

Other rock bottom prices found online included $229 for select dates in early April. This same low price shows up again for select dates between late October and early December. You can also find a friendly fare of $367 in the months of May, September and October as well. But $200?! That is downright madness…or should I say, francamente locura.

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Airfare down 40% since June – 24 month low.

$97 round-trip to Milan, Italy?! Just one of the crazy airfare sales so far in 2009.

$97 round-trip to Milan, Italy?! Just one of the crazy airfare sales so far in 2009.

Travelocity released figures today that might make you think twice about skipping a trip this year. According to research released today from the travel site, airfares across the board (yes, both domestically and internationally) are down on average a whopping 40 percent! This of course comes at a time when the economy is in utter turmoil worldwide. In the United States alone more than 2.6 million jobs were lost last year, the worst in more than six decades.

But this economic dark cloud has seen an odd silver lining for many Americans. While jobs were cut, the price of oil also dropped and with that came the resurgence of the U.S. dollar’s value. Yes I do not get it either. Take a look at the differences in exchange rates from one year ago and today involving America’s currency:

  • 3/4/08: 1 British Pound=2.01 USD, 1 Euro=1.53 USD, 1 USD=2.32 Polish Zloty, 1 USD=1.01 Australian Dollar
  • 3/4/09: 1 British Pound=1.42 USD, 1 Euro=1.26 USD, 1 USD=3.72 Polish Zloty, 1 USD=1.52Australian Dollar

Now on top of that news, comes the sales…oh the glorious sales! Yes since no one is spending money, the travel industry is hurting big time. Everything from air, hotel and cruises have gone down drastically in price and if you can afford to travel, now it most certainly the time. Airfares are at their lowest since post 9/11 days and when you see an airline advertise a sale, it is a sure-fire bet that the competition will match or beat it.  Here are a few examples of some fare differences between right now and a year ago. A round-trip NYC-San Francisco flight would put you back easily $350-$450 this time last year. Book it today and you will see fares throughout the spring for as low as $211-$250!

Same goes for international fares, last year if you were to fly round-trip from Newark to top European cities, it would cost roughly $500-$600. Now go online today and you will see pretty much all of Europe is on sale with jaw dropping prices. A few that stood out from my local airports in the New York area included Dublin ($315), Madrid ($370) and Berlin ($325). One fare out of Charlotte to London back in February was $250 round-trip with taxes and fees included!

I even reported on my site last month of an Insane Italy sale, in which the total round-trip fare was $387 from NYC to Rome or Milan (That was $97 for the tickets and $290 taxes/fees). Oh and let’s not forget Australia. The once super expensive destination is also on sale. Flights that were going for as much as $2,000 round-trip a year ago are now priced at $900!

Aer Lingus is offering great low fares to Nice, Krakow, Brussels & more.

Aer Lingus is offering great low fares to Nice, Krakow, Brussels & more.

Some of the best prices for European airfare currently is through Aer Lingus. They literally have all of the major European destinations at much lower prices than the competition. Even if you do not see your desired city, it is wise to book a flight to Dublin and then transfer on a low-cost European carrier. But be warned, these fares go up and down like yo-yos. I purchased round-trip tickets from NYC-Krakow for June 8th-June 30 at the unbelievably low price (as far as flying to Eastern Europe in the summer is concerned) of $730 with taxes/fees included. The competitors were all charging upwards of $1,200 for the same dates.

So I locked in my flight before the sale ended. Now in the past, before such odd economic times, I would have been safe and watched as my low fare crept slowly up and became much less affordable as my departure date approached. Well those days of book early and save seem to be long gone, for now at least. Because over this past weekend, one month after booking my flight, I saw my fare at $693! Say it isn’t so! Same goes for my April Toronto long weekend. I booked through American for $207, it is now $180. Ouch!

Now I never advise anyone looking to plan a big vacation to wait until the last second to book airline tickets, it is just too risky. But if you are looking at a long weekend in the summer, I would say wait it out and pay less later. If this recent trend in travel is any indicator, sales are going to get more extravagant and competition is going to get fierce.

Say it with me… “Good riddance Staycation!”

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TripAdvisor enters the travel search engine game.

While checking out TripAdvisor over the weekend, I noticed that they added a handy new feature on their website. Yes they have joined the travel search engine game. Along with other popular sites like Yapta, Kayak, Sidestep (owned my Kayak) and Farecast, TripAdvisor is now another destination online where you can do an easy search for airline travel to ensure you get the lowest deal. So now not only can you check out TripAdvisor for travel reviews, you can then book the travel as well. It is still in the beta version and only offers flights (unlike other sites that include hotels, car, vacations etc).

I found TripAdvisor to work smoothly and run faster than Kayak does on my computer, however I am someone that prefers the original, and Kayak still has more features and options, like the aforementioned searches on other travel related items like cars and hotels. But TripAdvisor definitly has me loving their new travel tool. Below are some shots taken from their site. To check for airfare right now, head on over to TripAdvisor and play around with their new toy.

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The new flights feature is prominently featured on TripAdvisor, with a eye catching "New!" logo for all to see. Above I start a search of NYC to San Francisco for April 10-14.

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My results appear quickly. To the left of the results you can play with the time and arrival, airlines and whether or not you want nonstop flights. Same deal as Kayak and other travel search engines.

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1,057 results! Wow so many options, very impressive. It looks like JetBlue is my best bet at $231 nonstop. To the right you can check and compare prices with other sites like JetBlue.com, Orbitz & Priceline, to ensure the lowest price before booking.

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U.S. warns Mexico travelers to be on alert; increase in violence.

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Mexican Federal policemen prepare to board a plane at the international airport in Mexico City on their way to Ciudad Juarez March 2, 2009.

The U.S. State Department is warning travelers headed for Mexico of a surge in drug-related murder and mayhem south of the border. This news comes as more than 100,000 American high school and college students prepare for spring-break getaways to many of the country’s resort areas. Now while most of the violence has occurred in U.S./Mexico border towns, tourists have not yet been targeted in any of the crimes.

However, there have been killings in the big spring-break resorts of Acapulco and Cancun, which are far away from the border. Many Universities throughout the country, including Notre Dame, Penn State and The University of Arizona in Tucson, have warned students to be careful while visiting Mexico and many colleges have even asked students not to travel south of the border for their week of partying.

The violence in Mexico stems from various drug cartels battling for smuggling routes. The same drug cartels have also waged war with government forces. These public bloody battles in various parts of Mexico have resulted in  massacres and carnage. Despite a rise in violence and crime throughout Mexico in recent years, tourism is doing great. In 2008, 23 million travelers visited Mexico, up 6% from the previous year, with 80% of them coming from the United States.

Mexico Violence

Members of a newly-assigned police force, aimed at providing more security to Mexico City's international airport, line up during a presentation ceremony in Mexico City, Monday, March 2, 2009.

In recent days Mexico has beefed up security at airports like Mexico City, due to increase theft and violence. More than 800 federal and local police were assigned to the capital’s airport following a series of attacks on travelers who exchanged money, authorities said Monday.

If you or someone you know is visiting Mexico this year, especially in the next few weeks, you might want to check out the U.S. Department of State’s “travel alert” on their website.

Photos courtesy of the AP and Reuters.

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“Miracle” Flight 1549 Towed Through NJ Streets

flight_1549_towing2Imagine being stuck behind this in traffic: This past Saturday, the Airbus A320 that crashed into the Hudson River back in January, was towed through the streets of Jersey City, NJ to a storage warehouse.  US Airways Flight 1549 made yet another move for further investigation by the  National Transportation Safety Board. It will remain here for the next 18 months.The plane was delivered to its new home by two trailers. One carrying the wings and tail section, while the other lugged the actual plane itself.

Photo credit: Richard J. McCormack/AP

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Funny airline moments from tv and movies.

Hope you are having a great weekend. While browsing YouTube, I came across some great moments in tv & movies related to air travel. While funny, most of us probably have been in a similar situation while flying the somewhat friendly skies. Enjoy!

Back Monday with a new update.

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LA to Australia for under $700 r/t, Caribbean/South America airfare and Delta deals.

Here are some deals currently going on right now with a few airlines that run out within the next 2 weeks, so you may want to get started on booking your spring or summer getaway sooner than later (since prices will more than likely go up as the weather gets warmer).


American Airlines:
When you fly out of Miami Airport (MIA) this spring, you will be able to get in on some great one-way fares to the Caribbean and Latin America. Here are some sample fares currently advertised through American Airlines:

***Kingston, Jamaica (KIN), $79
***Panama City, Panama (PTY), $79
***Punta Cana, DR (PUJ), $79
***Bogota, Colmbia (BOG), $124

Many more destinations are included and you must book by March 10 for travel through May 28. Check out American Airlines for full information.

Delta: Ending this Monday March 2 is Delta’s NYC to Europe sale, which includes nonstop fares to such countries as Greece, Spain, Italy and France. One of the most shocking fares is the NYC-Shannon route for only $290 r/t (with taxes and fees included). Fares are valid March 2-April 2, for more information on this great sale check out Delta.

V Australia: The new Aussie Airline is having an introductory sale to top destinations like Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne from Los Angeles for as low as $655 r/t. V also flies out of Minneapolis, Seattle and Portland, OR. This super deal ends March 9 for travel between March 1 and June 15. So make your plans now for a trip down under. Check out V Australia for more information.

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