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US Passport Application | 24 Hour US Passport by RushMyPassport.com

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Seattle Travel Deals Examiner: Seattle to Alaska cruise deals hit new lows

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Seattle Travel Deals Examiner: What to wear on an Alaskan cruise?

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Is Trax.com better than Kayak Travel?

‘Travel Site Critic’ put Trax.com to the test in a head-to-head competition with Kayak.com to see who had the best flight deals. Who do you think came out ahead?

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Getting a drink at the Seattle airport (Sea-Tac)

CB049549I’m what you would call a nervous flyer.  Okay, maybe nervous is not a strong enough term…. 

Even if I am just taking a 1 hour flight, it is a hair raising experience!   Although I love to travel to new destinations, I wish I could jump into a Star Trek transporter to get there.  I’m not kidding.  But no.  That option is not quite available yet.   Nothing seems to take the edge off like a drink (or 3) before my flight.  When I am at the Seattle airport (Sea-Tac), I spend a bit of time at the bar, kicking back a few before I venture off on my not-so-brave jouney. 

Nonetheless, I actually have had some fun experiences at the Seattle airport, making small talk with strangers at the bar in Alaska Lodge or the Chili’s Too.  Airports are an interesting place to socialize (and take your mind off the flight ahead).  Last time I chatted with a nurse from San Francisco, a sales Rep for Dell in San Diego, an Alaskan fisherman, and a Japanese stockbroker.  All there on business, and all headed in separate directions.   We sat, talked and ate our chicken wings. 

I must admit that I have been to nearly every single restaurant inside the Seattle airport, at one time or another.  I have spent the majority time at the Alaska Lodge and Chili’s Too, because they are near the Horizon Air terminals.  (okay, Chili’s is a bit of a walk, but they have the best chicken).    Based on my “expertise”, I’m providing a little guide to the best places to get a drink at the Seattle airport, near your departing terminal. 

Layout of the Seattle Airport -

Basically, at the Seattle airport there are 4 concourses (wings): A, B, C, D along with the central terminal.   It’s like a big 4-legged spider. As long as you stay in the central terminal, or the same councourse (A, B, C, or D) as your departing flight you should be close to your flight.   However, if you are not in this main spider portion of the airport, your flight must be departing from either the “North Satellite” or the “South Satellite“.   If that is the case, you should probably stay in your satellite if you have less than 1-2 hours before your flight departs.  The majority of the restaurants are in the central terminal.

Concourse A:  

Sorry to say, your choices are quite limited.  I suggest you head over to the central terminal to get a drink.  The bar in concourse A is the Mountain Room Bar.  I have not spent much time in here.    If you are there in the morning, thank your lucky stars because they have the best breakfasts at the airport.   They are open early.  But, this is about bloody mary’s and not eggs.   Stale atmosphere, nothing special.   Head elsewhere for a drink.

Concourse B:

Hope you’re hungry.   I personally love Mexican food, so I recommend getting the Ultimate Margarita (or 2)with some enchiladas at the Casa del Agave.  They even have salmon enchiladas…yum.  Drink prices are also quite reasonable (for an airport)!

Concourse C:

This is where I am really familiar.  I think this is the best concourse.  After you get a massage and a manicure, head over to the Alaska Lodge for a drink.  I’m not a big fan of their food, but the atmosphere is like a cozy lodge amist the hustle and bustle of the airport.   The bar is very long, and you should easily find a seat.  Great place to relax and have meaningless small talk with strangers.  I know they have wings, but I have no idea what other food products they serve.  When I get hungry I take a the quick walk over Wolfgang Puck (actually a cheap place to eat) or to concourse D.

Concourse D:

If you are a sports fan, it’s a no brainer.  The best sports bar in the airport, The Sports Page Pub, is at your becking call.   This is the place to catch the game at Sea-Tac.  You’ll also find the Chili’s Too, which has a fun atmosphere and good menu.  The actual bar is quite small however.  You may find it hard to get a seat at the bar in Chili’s.

Central Terminal:

Central to all, but also a little spendy here.  You’ve got Anthony’s, a downsized version of this upscale seafood restaurant.  Unfortunatly, their prices are not downsized.    The Seattle Tap Room, is similiar to Chili’s Too with a slightly higher pricetag.  They do have hand-crafted ales and a big selection of microbrews, so I give them the thumbs up for that.  I’m more of a wine-o, so I recommend Vino-Volo, where you can buy tasting flights, glasses of wine, and bottles to take home.   

South Satellite: 

Ahem.  “Where’s the bar!”   I can only hope I never fly out of this terminal.  There is one bar, Cascades.  I have never been there, so I can’t really comment.   Either way desperate times call for desperate measures, and I may find myself here one day.

North Satellite:

More promising here, the Edge Sport’s Bar has cheap prices and premium drinks.

So, tell me.  Where do you catch a drink at Sea-Tac?

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Flight + Hotels = Savings?

TravelSiteCritic.com

TravelSiteCritic.com

This is how my post was supposed to start today:

You’ve heard the hype, I’m sure.   Travel sites everywhere proclaim:

SAVE $250 by booking your flight and hotel together!  

I’ve heard it so many times,  I almost believed this hype myself.   I am going to convince you otherwise. 

As I went on writing this post, I fruitlessly tried to “prove” my theory that it is cheaper to book flights and hotels separately.  To my chagrin, I realized I was DEAD WRONG. 

I must admit, it is tough to admit I was wrong.   You see, I always assumed travel sites over advertised “VACATION PACKAGES” (hotel+flight combos) to shove more money in their deep pockets.  I thought I could get cheaper deals if I booked the hotel and flight separately, and set out to convince you of that in this post.  In doing so, I realized that you really do save a lot of money if you book the travel site “vacation package”.  To further illustrate this, here are the results of my little experiment today:

1.  I searched Priceline for “Vacation Packages” to downtown New York City from March 9-13.   Priceline pulls up a list of packages, starting with their “Most Popular”.  To be consistant, as I’m trying to save money here, I click on the “lowest price” tab to filter the results.  Priceline now shows me the lowest priced vacation package in downtown New York City, staying at the “Latham Hotel” for $828.  I must admit, that is a cheap price.  Can I beat it?

2.  To find the cheapest flights, I like to use a site like Kayak.com or cFares.com.   For this experiment, I search cFares for round trip flights from Seattle to New York City from March 9-13, and find a Jet Blue flight for $339 with tax.  That’s a cheap flight, which leaves me with $489 ($122/night) to spend on a hotel in New York City for 4 nights to break even with Priceline’s deal.  Is that possible?

3.  Still optomistic, I head over to the Latham Hotel website.  (The hotels own websites often have the rock-bottom rates).   Their rate is $159/night with tax.  That means that if I book the “package” on Priceline, I save nearly $150!    No way.  I am truly surprised.  I even took a gander onto Hotwire’s site, to see if I could find a cheaper hotel in downtown New York City.  Not even close!  The cheapest hotel was $249/night.  I think I would be hard pressed to find another hotel in downtown NYC for less than $159!

Still not convinced.  I try it again.

1. This time I search Travelocity for vacation packages to Chicago, same dates.  Not really familiar with Chicago, for the sake of this experiment I choose “Chicago Area” and filter by “lowest price”.  The lowest priced vacation package to Chicago is $363 staying at the Days Inn Elk Grove Villiage.  This hotel is not truly in “Chicago” (20 miles away), so I scroll down and look for a hotel in “Chicago”.  Finally, I come across a vacation package to the Chicago O’Hare Garden Hotel for $537.   Whoa.  That’s crazy cheap.  I know I can’t beat that.  But, I’ll try anyway.

2.  Flights on cFares come up with $271 (for members).  Since that is the cheapest flight I find, I’ll go with that, which only leaves me with $266 ($66/night) to spend on a hotel in Chicago.  Um, I think that is impossible.

3.  Again, I go to the hotels own website.  The Chicago O’Hare Garden Hotel website shows their rate is $89/night.  So, yet again, we would save by booking the Travelocity vacation package.  In fact, we would save $92 to be exact, which is like getting one night free.  (Keep in mind that we would need to be a cFares platinum member ($50) to get the $271 flight, so we should add another $50 to the savings as well).

4.  I have to see how much I would save if I stayed at the Days Inn Elk Grove Villiage.  So, heading over to their site, I find that their cheapest rate is $60/night.  So, with the $271 flight + $240 (4-night hotel) = $511.  That is $138 more than Travelocity’s package.

Now I am convinced.  Are you?

Sources:  Priceline.com, Travelocity.com, cFares.com

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