5.7.13 | Oh, to win a safari. That’s been one of my greatest sweeps fantasies. This safari sweeps is from the adventure-outfitter Sobek, in honor of its 40th anniversary. The package consists of a 12-day Tanzania safari, through the magically inspiring Serengeti, Ngorongoro Crater and Tarangire National Park, as well as a round-trip flight from Exito Travel and assorted travel gear from Magellan’s.
To enter, click HERE. You can enter once through July 16, 2013. Go for it!
5.1.13 | I’ve been writing recaps for my favorite TV show of all time, Mad Man, over at Reel LIfe With Jane, the sensational site devoted to film and television and run by the phenomenal Jane Boursaw. It’s a complicated season, my second as one of the Mad Men obsessed, and I’m thoroughly enjoying the ride. Here are my recaps.
Here’s a line from last week’s episode that sheds light on Don Draper’s struggle to love his children.
Then one day they get older and you see them do something and you feel that feeling that you were pretending to have and it feels like your heart is going to explode.
— Don Draper, “The Flood,” S06 E05.
And this being Travel Sweeps, what would a post be without a shoutout for a chance to win a trip? There’s still time to enter AMC’s Hawaiian sweepstakes for a four-night stay at the Royal Hawaiian, the hotel featured in the Season’s Six opening episode. The sweeps closes May 7. You can enter daily until then. Go for it!
2.28.13 | My favorite show returns April 7. I can’t wait to watch it, even though I don’t have cable. I’ll find a way to watch the two-hour season opener. After that, I’ll follow the show on Twitter as it airs, which is perverse but, like much stellar television, it’s not so much what things happen but how they happen. Then, on Monday, I’ll watch the show on my desktop on Amazon first thing in the morning. And after that, I’ll monitor the recaps as they appear throughout Monday and into Tuesday. Mad Men brings out some inspiring commentary. I plan to do a recap roundup, like the one I did last May.
Here’s a chance to win three nights in NYC, at a 5-star hotel, with $1,000 in spending money and a $1,000 gift card for Banana Republic, with a stylist. This is a promotional for Banana Republic’s Mod Style Mad Men-inspired line.
To enter, click HERE. The sweeps closes April 12. You can enter daily.
P.S. The word “curate” knows no bounds. This sweeps is curated by Urbandaddy.
7.25.2 | I’ve been meaning to get my act together when it comes to earning miles and points. I think I’ve mapped out the universe of essential sites. Here we go:
1. TravelHacking.org: This is a subscription-based site that aggregates offers from airlines, hotels and credit card companies. You can test-drive it with a $1, 14-day trial subscription. I signed up last evening. There are three subscription levels: Economy, Business and First Class, at, respectively, $15, $25 and $39 a month. Obviously it’s too early for me to judge whether this is worth the price of admission. I’ve already found two deals that I can use, so I’m off to a good start. I’ll report back after I’ve given it three to six months.
2. Flyer Talk’s Miles Buzz Forum: As reader of Travel Sweeps know, I am a huge fan of FlyerTalk, especially its Free Travel Sweepstakes and Contests Forum. The Miles Buzz Forum is frequented by some of the savviest travelers out there. It’s worth clicking around to keep up with programs and offers.
3. Essential Blogs/Sites: Boarding Area, The Points Guy and Frugal Travel Guy, Again, my research is preliminary, but these sites look like essential resources. If you’re a Twitter fiend, be sure to follow them on Twitter, too: @BoardingArea, @ThePointsGuy and @FrugalTravelGuy.
Please let me know if you have any other sites or Twitter accounts that are worth the click. You can comment below or email me at TravelBlog AT aol DOT com.
7.12.12 | I was researching travel history books on ABE.com earlier today, which prompted me to follow them on Twitter, which is where I saw their tweet about today being Henry David Thoreau’s birthday. I hadn’t contemplated Henry David Thoreau (1817 - 1862) in ages, so I scooted over to his Wikipedia’s entry for a refresher course. There I discovered the most fascinating thing about him. He took to travel writing in his later years. Here is a passage from the Wikipedia entry:
Later years: 1851–1862
In 1851, Thoreau became increasingly fascinated with natural history and travel/expedition narratives. He read avidly on botany and often wrote observations on this topic into his journal. He admired William Bartram, and Charles Darwin’s Voyage of the Beagle. …. He traveled to Quebec once, Cape Cod four times, and Maine three times; these landscapes inspired his “excursion” books, A Yankee in Canada, Cape Cod, and The Maine Woods, in which travel itineraries frame his thoughts about geography, history and philosophy. Other travels took him southwest to Philadelphia and New York City in 1854, and west across the Great Lakes region in 1861, visiting Niagara Falls, Detroit, Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul and Mackinac Island. Although provincial in his physical travels, he was extraordinarily well-read and vicariously a world traveler. [Emphasis added.]He obsessively devoured all the first-hand travel accounts available in his day, at a time when the last unmapped regions of the earth were being explored. He read Magellan and James Cook, the arctic explorers Franklin, Mackenzie and Parry, David Livingstone and Richard Francis Burton on Africa, Lewis and Clark; and hundreds of lesser-known works by explorers and literate travelers. Astonishing amounts of global reading fed his endless curiosity about the peoples, cultures, religions and natural history of the world, and left its traces as commentaries in his voluminous journals. He processed everything he read, in the local laboratory of his Concord experience. Among his famous aphorisms is his advice to “live at home like a traveler.”
The sentence I put in italics for emphasis was particularly relevant, as I’m writing an essay about this very thing, the traveler’s spirit, which cannot be measured by trips taken and countries visited. Here more of Thoreau’s thoughts on home and travel, from the Walden Project. This is fascinating in the context of neverending discussions on the subject of the “staycation.”
Fittingly I found a sweeps with a Massachusetts theme: A chance for two nights at the Nantucket Inn, and then some, on the MassVacation.com website. To enter, click HERE. Don’t dally, I believe this one ends soon.
7.9.12 | EmergencyLink is a new service that could become the standard for travel preparedness. It serves two important functions: as a digital storage space for travel documents such as your passport, driver’s license, medical and car insurance cards and whatever else you chose to include, and a medical notification service for first responders and treating medical staff who contact EmergencyLink. It’s important to note that the latter is presently only available in the U.S. and Canada. (EmergencyLink should make that clearer on its website.) Of course international travelers could benefit from EmergencyLink’s storage functionality, as it would make replacing documents lost while traveling abroad much smoother.
EmergencyLink is free and has a free app for Apple, Android and Blackberry devices. Those who register for the Emergency Response Service get a set of cards and luggage tags for your wallet and luggage.
Before I did this Q&A with EmergencyLink founder Michael Soenen, I sensed that travelers were far from prepared in the way of emergency information. But I had no idea how ill prepared! Basically, the majority of travelers flunk Travel Preparedness 101.
Here’s the Q&A, edited for clarity, followed by a few thoughts on travel preparedness.
Do you have any stories you can share, about how EmergencyLink helped people who were traveling, or might have helped folks if they’d been using EmergencyLink?
We have been getting positive feedback from everyone including business travelers. When traveling for business you are usually alone, which is why it is so important to be prepared. A recent survey we conducted showed that 89% of Americans do not have emergency contact information in their wallet and phone. And a majority do not give those emergency contacts enough information to help if you are in real need.
If you were knocked unconscious while traveling, the paramedic will look for your wallet and find your license – but how would a first responder know who to contact or what medical issues you may have? No matter if you are traveling for business or leisure, you need to be prepared and armed with the right tools to help in any type of emergency situation. With our service the tags, stickers and cards we provide are great to put on luggage, key chains and in wallets. We also have a screen saver for your smartphone. If in an emergency the first responder calls us, passes your important medical information onto the first responder and contacts your emergency contacts. [REMINDER: This service is presently only available in the U.S. and Canada. — Barbara Benham]
6.22.12 | Macy’s been on a Brasil kick. For some context, here’s a press release that went out over Business Wire last month. As part of its Brasil campaign, Macy’s is sponsoring a sweeps for five nights for four at the 5-star Pestano Rio Atlantico, in Rio, which looks to-die-for gorgeous. I mean, the views! And you know, this hotel lust is why I love entering travel sweeps as much as I do. It’s not about winning, it’s about possibility and discovery. So much so that I committed to cultivating my passion for hotels in a more systematic fashion. Which of course in this day and age means starting a blog. I’m over at Hotel Aficionada. I added a Twitter stream, too. To enter this fabuloso sweeps, click HERE.