Resources

  • Travelzoo Deal: $29 for 6 Bottles of Premium Wines

    A great deal from Travelzoo on six bottles of premium wine from Richard Branson’s Virgin wine for $29.  Now, that $29 does not include tax or shipping ($19), but its still a great deal for good wine.  We haven’t tried any of this wine ourselves, but Richard Branson usually doesn’t put the Virgin brand on anything if it’s not at least halfway decent.  And, when you’re only really spending around $9 per bottle, with shipping and tax included, it’s not a bad deal.  You also have the option to do all red, all white or a combination thereof.  This Travelzoo deal was a local “Denver” deal, however in reading the terms and conditions, it appears to be valid as long as you live within a state that can be shipped to: AZ, CO, DC, IA, ID, IN, LA, MN, NC, ND, NM, NV, OR, SC, TN, VA, WA, WI and WY only.

  • Jet Luxury Resorts

    We used Jet Luxury Resorts for the first time a few weeks ago for a stay at the Trump SOHO in NYC.  Their prices are definitely better than most other sites, including “flash sale” sites, like Vacationist, Luxury Link, etc.  Another advantage Jet has is that you don’t need to “prepay” for your reservation.  Your credit card is only charged three days prior to your arrival date, giving you plenty of time to cancel prior to your trip.  The inventory of rooms they have at each of their offered locations are somewhat limited, so if you find availability on their site for dates you’re looking to travel, book quickly.  Since Jet has specific rooms at each property, you’ll actually be assigned a room number when you book.  That’s unique compared to other booking sites.

    Before our arrival, we did have to make a change in our reservation.  On our first couple attempts to reach them at their 800 number, we were placed into the automated answering loop.  The next day, we tried again and reached a live person on the second ring.  While they were very helpful, the agents don’t sound like the company image Jet wants to project.

    When we did arrive at the hotel, there was a problem with one of our reservations.  While we had booked for three nights, the hotel desk reservation indicated we were staying only one night.  Because of Jet’s special relationship with each property, it’s Jet that handles all of the payment and booking and passes that information along to the hotels front desk for check-in.  In our case, the information wasn’t transmitted correctly.  Only then did we find out that the front desk couldn’t help us.  They indicated they were only going by the information they received and we would have to call Jet to resolve the issue.  We were checking in at 10:30PM ET and Jet’s help and reservation line closes at 10PM ET.  We thought for sure we were out of luck and wouldn’t be able to resolve the issue until the next day.  Not something you want to deal with while you’re on vacation.  Luckily, someone was still at Jet and answered the phone.  To their credit, the person immediately phoned the hotel and within about 10 minutes the problem was resolved.  

    This is probably our only main complaint.  If there’s an issue with your booking and you’re checking in after hours, you may be out of luck and getting it resolved until the next business day.  in our opinion. they definitely need to offer a 24 hour problem resolution line.

    Overall, we were pleased with Jet Luxury Resorts and we’d use them again.  If they can get their act together a bit more on their reservation line and make sure assistance is available 24/7/365, we’d give them 5 stars instead of 4.

  • VRBO

    Specialty: Homes, apartments, flats and condo’s worldwide that you can rent for your vacation.

    Website: www.vrbo.com

    We’ve used VRBO several times, both for domestic and international vacation rentals.  We’ve had great luck each and every time.  Renting houses or flats make sense for longer stays and for larger groups.  It also allows you to “live like a local” and have a much better travel experience.  VRBO is simply a listing service, so for the actual rental transaction, you’ll be dealing directly with the owners of the property.  Searches are easy.  You can search by country, region or city. Each property listing usually has a few photos of each property, the price per stay and a calendar of availability.

    Many places on VRBO have minimum rental periods.  Some also charge cleaning fees, so make sure you factor in all of the charges into your planning.  Reviews can be hard to find for some properties, so double check with search engines to see if you can find feedback on the properties your considering.  Remember, you’re dealing direct with property owners, so always make sure listings are legitimate before sending money.

    Upside: Renting a house or flat gives you more room to spread out and enjoy living like a local.

    Downside: Longer rental periods than hotels and it may be more difficult to find reviews.

  • Minimus

    Specialty: Individual and travel size items for just about anything.

    [Rating: 4/5]

    Website: www.minimus.biz

    If you’re looking for small, travel sized personal care/hygiene items, Minimus probably has one of the largest selections out there.  If it’s made in travel size, they’ll have it.

    Upside: You won’t find a wider selection of travel or individual size items anywhere.

    Downside: You’ll pay for the convenience of travel sized items.

  • REI

    Specialty: All things travel and outdoor.

    [Rating: 3.5/5]

    Website: www.rei.com

    Retail Locations: Throughout the US

    The main thing REI has going for it is access to almost everything made by major outdoor clothing or travel gear manufacturer.  It doesn’t come cheap, as almost everything is always priced at retail.  REI almost always has a wide selection of color, style and sizes in everything they carry.

    Upside: Wide selection, stores throughout the US.  Regularly run coupon sales for members.  Membership fee is reasonable and a one-time fee.

    Downside: Some stores don’t carry as wide of a selection as others.  You’ll almost always pay regular retail price. Online delivery can be slower than most other retailers.  Shipping costs can be higher than most.

    Deal Watch:  Almost every REI store location has a “garage sale” twice a year for members.  Get discontinued or returned items for ridiculously low prices.

  • Campmor

    Specialty: Travel & athletic clothing, outdoor gear, camping gear

    [Rating: 3.5/5]

    Website: www.campmor.com

    Retail Location: Paramus, NJ

    From time to time, Campmor has great deals on anything travel related.  Some of their gear isn’t any cheaper than you can find elsewhere, but when they have a sale, they usually have great deals.

    Upside: Large selection focused on travel and camping items.  Quick shipping and easy returns.

    Downside: Some items are priced the same as most retail outlets.

    Deal Watch:  Sunglasses, Columbia clothing items, outdoor clothing.

  • Gilt

    Specialty: Clothing, shoes, outdoor gear.

    [Rating: 4.5/5]

    Website: www.gilt.com

    You can’t beat Gilt for high-end brand name clothing for men, women or kids.  We discovered Gilt about a year ago, have made many orders and always pleased with the results.  Note that access is by “invitation only”.

    Upside: Designer names at reasonable prices.  Selection changes daily.

    Downside: Sales start each day at NOON ET and if an item is in short supply, it sells out quickly.  Some items have delayed shipping dates.  You almost need to buy the minute the sale starts each day for best selection.

    Deal Watch:  Athletic clothing, Icebreaker brand baselayer, designer items

  • Sierra Trading Post

    Specialty: Travel clothing, shoes, outdoor gear.

    [Rating: 4.5/5]

    Website: www.sierratradingpost.com

    Retail locations: Visit their stores in Cheyenne, WY and Reno, NV.  Their stores have a larger selection of items that are not listed online or in their catalogs.

    It’s our Go To place whenever we need quality name brand outdoor/activity oriented items at rock bottom prices.  You should always check out Sierra Trading Post before buying retail.

    Upside: There are very few places that can beat Sierra Trading Post on price.  They have a wide selection of clothing, outdoor equipment, sprinkled in with a few odds and ends.  They have a “Bargain Barn” section that features discounts of a t least 60-70% or more.  Easy return policy and extremely fast shipping at reasonable rates.

    Downside: Selection of colors and sizes can be very limited.   Quantities of certain items can also be limited.

    DEAL WATCH:  Ski coats, baselayers and shoes.

  • Amazon

    Specialty: Just about everything.

    [Rating: 4/5]

    Website: www.amazon.com

    You can rarely beat Amazon for selection or price on most things you’ll need for travel.  From clothing  and travel gear, to electronics and books, Amazon always comes through.  We estimate that we buy almost 60% of what we need for travel from Amazon.

    Upside: Prime Shipping.  For $79 a year you get free second day shipping on every item or one-day shipping for $4.  There have been many a trip when we’ve needed something at the last minute and it’s paid for itself time and time again.  Has a high number of user reviews for most products.

    Downside: Need to watch for items sold by 3rd parties via Amazon.  Sometimes it takes longer to receive them and shipping rates can be unusually high.


  • Flight 001

    Specialty: Travel related – Luggage, bag tags, packing accessories, wallets, adapters, travel gadgets, etc.

    [Rating:3.5/5]

    Website: www.flight001.com

    Retail locations: Berkely, San Francisco, Brooklyn, Manhattan, Chicago  and Sydney.

    Flight 001 is expensive.  No doubt about it.  Their selection is somewhat limited.  So, why even bother to list them here?  They do have unique things that are hard to find anywhere else, when it comes to travel gear, especially packing items.  One of our favorite items is the F1 Seat Pack.   There’s nothing more frustrating than having to fill every nook and cranny in your backpack with things you need while you’re in the air.  Whether that be adapters, earphones, medicine, etc.  Because of course, you won’t need it until that seat belt sign is on for 20 minutes straight and you can get it out of the overhead bin.

    One big advantage of Flight 001 is that when they have a sale or put items on clearance, they don’t mess around.  A few months back, we picked up a lot of handy items for over 70% off.  Make sure you sign up for the email list, so you’ll know when the items you want will be on sale.  But once they notify you, don’t wait around because this stuff flies off the shelves quickly.

    DEAL WATCH:  Sign-up for their email list to be notified of monthly sales.  Sometimes, you can buy items at more than half off retail, but you’ll need to move quickly.