Tag Archives: holidays

5 Most Affordable Destinations This Winter

Wanting to go on a vacation soon but concerned about your budget? No worries — we found the 5 most affordable destinations this winter. Whether you’re looking for a spot to escape the cold or to embrace it, there’s a place for everyone to visit.

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Bahamas

Would you believe us if we said a roundtrip flight to the Bahamas costs about the same for a roundtrip to LA? Well, it does. So if you’re worried about the cost of flying, there are places that are affordable when it comes to travel. One of the other great things about destinations like the Bahamas is that there are many hotels and resorts that are all-inclusive. This means you can enjoy more and spend less. TripAdvisor offers vacation packages that are affordable and make it possible to make 2016 the year that you finally make it to the Bahamas. You deserve the beach and some sun.

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Ireland

Although it may seem like a less desirable spot when it comes to a destination during the winter, it is actually a great time to check out Ireland. Ireland during winter has a reputation for being cold and rainy, but it’s important to remember that that’s just how the island nation always is. Ireland’s weather is relatively temperate year-round, yet people tend to travel during winter less, making it cheaper to visit. If Ireland has always been on your list of places to see, then why not visit now and save a lot of money? Main attractions are still open, it’s not actually that cold, and the off-season means great deals. Learn more about why you should pick Ireland as a winter destination.

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Vancouver, Canada

O Canada, thank you for having Vancouver be one of our favorite and most affordable vacation spots this winter. There may not be much history in this Canadian city, but they make up for it in scenery. Surrounded by mountains and beaches, it comes to no surprise that Vancouver is an ideal setting for film and TV. Want to save on flying? Choose a flight to Seattle, then take a shuttle into Downtown Vancouver. Also, save on gas (it tends to cost more up North) by utilizing the public transport. For more on traveling to Vancouver, check out these tips.

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Bermuda

Like the Bahamas, Bermuda is another dream getaway. It seems pretty unrealistic that a vacation to Bermuda is possible when it comes to being on a budget, but it is! Because May to September is Bermuda’s peak season, it’s uncrowded and affordable. Although temperatures are in the 60s, there’s still so much to enjoy and so much to see. Restaurants also offer great deals because they tend to suffer throughout the winter months from less tourists. The key to planning an affordable trip to Bermuda is, well, to PLAN. Plan in advance so you can save more. TripAvisor offers the best deals when it comes to a romantic vacation, family trip or an all-inclusive holiday.

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Denver, Colorado

This one’s for all of you who are ready to embrace winter and all of its wonderful qualities. It’s pretty uncommon for U.S. ski destinations to offer lower seasonal rates during winter, but Denver is the exception. With attractions like Loveland Ski Area, Winter Park Resort and Rocky Mountain National Park, it shouldn’t come to a surprise why Denver is an ideal spot for winter sports and activities. Still not convinced? Read more about the breathtaking city here.

 

It’s time to take an affordable winter vacation. Vacations are for relaxing — so when you travel to one of these five places this winter, leave the stress of your luggage with us. You can now fly into all five of these affordable destinations while using our Bags VIP luggage delivery service. See the full list of locations.

Use Bags VIP for Spring Break Travel & Avoid Hassles of Shipping Luggage

Bags VIP luggage delivery allows you and our family to bypass baggage claim and begin making the most of your spring break vacation the moment you step off the plane – without the burden of luggage and without the hassles of shipping luggage or shipping golf clubs.

Image courtesy Visit St. Pete/Clearwater via Flickr.

Traveling during vacation seasons can be stressful and difficult in itself, but when you throw large crowds into the mix it can turn into a nightmare. During spring break, airports are packed and tensions run high. Bags VIP luggage delivery service can take care of your luggage so that, at the end of a long flight, you can skip baggage claim and we’ll deliver your bags to your destination. Bags VIP is always working to Make Travel Easier for you… even in during one of the most popular times to take a trip.

Whether its to the sunny beaches of the south or ski slopes in the north, we can help you make the most of your spring break plans.

Don’t bother with shipping luggage; let us deliver your bags!

Bags VIP luggage delivery allows you and our family to bypass baggage claim and begin making the most of your spring break vacation the moment you step off the plane – without the burden of luggage and without the hassles of shipping luggage or shipping golf clubs. Major airlines, cruise lines, and world-famous resorts trust Bags to handle their customers’ luggage every day – more than 5 million bags each year!

When your flight arrives, trusted Bags VIP agents retrieve your luggage from baggage claim and deliver it to the address of your choice, within 100 miles of your spring break destination airport. Along the way, you will receive email updates on delivery status and have access to 24/7 customer service and support.

Bags VIP luggage delivery allows you and our family to bypass baggage claim and begin making the most of your spring break vacation the moment you step off the plane – without the burden of luggage and without the hassles of shipping luggage or shipping golf clubs.For assistance or questions regarding Bags VIP, please:

1. Consult our Frequently Asked Questions and the information available on this site.

2. Contact Bags VIP Customer Service at 877-847-0045 OR email them via bagsvip@maketraveleasier.com.

Best Spring Break Vacations for Families

Most people think of spring break as a time for college students to take to the beach and go wild. This can be a challenge for families looking to vacation with younger children. So what options are there for wholesome family fun during this week of infamous partying? Well you’re in luck. While the beaches may be packed with older spring breakers, there are still lots of options for you and your younger ones to have a lot of fun. If you’re planning a spring break getaway, make travel easier for you and your family. If you’ve considered shipping luggage, don’t give it another thought – our Bags VIP luggage delivery service is easier and more affordable for traveling families.

Hersey Park, PA

If you've considered shipping luggage for your Spring Break getaway, don't give it another thought - our Bags VIP luggage delivery service is easier and more affordable for traveling families.

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Around since 1907, Hershey Park is the perfect vacation destination for the little sweet teeth in your family. But there’s more to do than just satisfy your candy cravings. Hershey is famous for its thrilling amusement park, packed with adrenaline inducing coasters, thrilling rides for the children, and entertaining shows. But there’s more to it that just the park. The city also houses many other one of a kind experiences.  Cocoa Avenue features miles of shopping and excellent restaurants. You’ll find luxury spas for adults. Go see the Hershey Bears professional hockey team. And before you arrive, be sure to check in to the many live performances and concert events at the Hershey Theater, The GIANT Center or Hershey Park Stadium. No matter what you choose you can know that everyone will have a great time.

Steamboat Springs, CO

If you've considered shipping luggage for your Spring Break getaway, don't give it another thought - our Bags VIP luggage delivery service is easier and more affordable for traveling families.

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While not your typical sunny spring break destination, Steamboat Springs is a hot spot for families with kids. A great starting point for families is the Kids Vacation Center, featuring a fast check in process and a large facility to acclimate your young ones to the cold. They also provide excellent children’s ski instruction and other snow sport activities. Lessons are available for children starting at 2 years old, and special slopes for kids only allow them to practice their skiing before moving to the kiddies terrain park. Rough Rider Basin is a wild west themed attraction with teepees, a log cabin playhouse and snack areas. Your entire family can enjoy a horse drawn sleigh ride through the Great Rockies, and afterward take a soak in the natural hot springs. Kids Fly Free domestic packages coupled with Kids Rent Free and Kids Ski Free all reduce the price of one cool family vacation.

Six Flags Splash Town, TX

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A refreshing alternative to the crowded spring break beaches, Six Flags water park can help your family beat the heat and have a great time too. A wave pool, speed slides and more will keep you and your kids busy and cool all day. The park also has music festivals featuring Texas tune, and during springtime you can squeeze some learning in to by participating in a Math, Science, and Physics day.

 

Atlantis Resort, Bahamas

If you've considered shipping luggage for your Spring Break getaway, don't give it another thought - our Bags VIP luggage delivery service is easier and more affordable for traveling families.

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This one stop legendary vacation will fulfill your whole families every spring break fantasy; for the parents, a luxurious and relaxing resort and for the kids, tons of outrageous and exciting activities. Kids can choose their own adventures at the stellar AKA (Atlantis Kids Adventure) program. They can unloose their creative side and make pizza and pretzels in culinary classes, or aspiring young architects can grab a hard hat and go to the Lego Construction room. There’s cozy reading rooms, an extravagant Victorian style dollhouse for tea parties, costumes to make movies, a craft room and even advanced video game systems. If you can pull the kids away from the clubhouse you can enjoy a nice family meal before the kids are off to the water slides, river rides, and rock climbing or marine habitats while the parents take advantage of spa treatments and world class casino.

Theme Parks, Central FL

If you've considered shipping luggage for your Spring Break getaway, don't give it another thought - our Bags VIP luggage delivery service is easier and more affordable for traveling families.

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While this may seem like a cliché, it’s not one of the most popular family vacations for no reason. Wisk your family away for a magical spring break adventure they will never forget. Take your kids on dozens of exciting rides at any of the central florid parks themed after their favorite movies. Introduce them to all their beloved characters from shows and stories. With multiple parks all with vastly different experiences, your family will be sure to find enjoyment around every corner. And be sure to look out for special deals. For example, United airlines offer a “kids fly free” promotion to certain during springtime. Make sure to take advantage of the available savings and show your family and unforgettable time.

No matter where you decide to go, traveling as a family can be a challenge to say the least. The youngest family members travel with lots of “stuff,” but they can’t always be counted on to haul their own things. Adults have their own stuff, the kids’ stuff – sometimes even the kids themselves – and then those suitcases get heavy! Bags VIP is the answer to making the most of every second with your family: luggage free! Bags VIP can deliver up to 8 bags to any destination from the airport for one low price. So you can skip baggage claim and start your family vacation the moment you land.

Choosing the Right Cruise for You!

Planning your first cruise can be a daunting and overwhelming task. Many people assume that all cruises are the same, except for their destinations. However, there can be much more important factors that determine the success of your vacation than just where you’re going. Are you traveling with a group or as a single? Are you looking for adventure or relaxation? Traveling on a budget? Taking these ideas into consideration can be the difference between making and breaking your trip. Don’t bother shipping luggage! With Bags VIP, we can deliver your bags right to your cabin.

No need for shipping luggage for your cruise – Bags VIP will delivery your bags right do your cabin!

Traveling on a budget: Carnival Cruise Line

If you've considered shipping luggage for your cruise, don't give it another thought - our Bags VIP luggage delivery will delivery your bags right do your cabin.

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Carnival favors affordable, three to seven night excursions to lengthy and expensive trips. With popular destinations in the Caribbean, Bahamas and Mexico, you can have an exotic vacation without breaking the bank. With some careful planning and timing, a Carnival cruise can cost you as little as $50 per person per night. In an effort to save you money, Carnival features simple cabins and does not go overboard with extra cost venues on board. For budget rates, avoid holiday periods, especially school vacations, and consider an Early Saver rate, which could knock 20 percent off the price simply by putting a $50 down payment on your trip.

Traveling with Teens: Royal Caribbean Cruise Line

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Every parent knows older kids can be hard to please. They need exciting activities, and lots of them. Royal Caribbean has them. Depending on the ship, your teens can enjoy a bottomless well of energy with rock-climbing walls, zip-lines, ice- and inline-skating, surf simulators, a boxing ring, and basketball and volleyball courts. Onboard youth programs divide kids up by ages in order to provide the most age appropriate entertainment, while still making them feel like adults. With amenities like a Generation Y Spa designed especially for younger generations and their adolescent needs, a teens only “casino,” backstage ship tours, and a no grown-ups allowed club where they can dance, drink “mocktails,” and interact with new friends while parents enjoy their own time.

 

Traveling with Families & Children: Disney Cruise Line

Image courtesy of Scottwdw via Flickr

Image courtesy of Scottwdw via Flickr

Disney is unique in the cruise industry in that it caters to the needs of the youngest travelers; babies and toddlers. While most ships only allow children six or twelve months old, Disney will accept tots as young as 3 months old. They provide nurseries for little ones up to 3 years old with water play areas just for them. The ships also feature signature Disney characters like Mickey, Goofy and the Princesses who interact with the youngsters during breakfast, tea times and meet-and-greets. With huge play areas designed after their favorite Disney and Pixar movies, lots of high-tech games, and interactive and educational programming, your little ones will never be short on things to do. Cabins and dining establishments are tailored for families, taking into account the practical needs like split bathrooms with tub/shower combos, and the magical wants like restaurants with fairy tale décor.

Mature cruisers: Holland America Line

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With all of today’s loud and crowded ships, some older cruisers may feel out of place on their vacation. Holland America Line offers quiet, relaxing pleasures like a Culinary Arts Center, which focuses on cooking demos, tastings and shore side market tours led by top chefs. You can go on a self-guided art tour on board the ship, or visit the Explorations Café with a library and visiting lecturers speaking on art, history and a variety of other topics. For those wishing to stay active on their vacation, you can enjoy amenities such as a golf putting green, yoga and tennis. Under the brand’s Signatures of Excellence initiative, the line is expanding their ships’ enrichment programs and renovating the public areas and staterooms with comforts such as the Mariner Dream bed and high quality cotton linens.

For singles: Norwegian Cruise Line

If you've considered shipping luggage for your cruise, don't give it another thought - our Bags VIP luggage delivery will delivery your bags right do your cabin.

Image courtesy of Kevin H. via Flickr

In 2010, Norwegian Epic was unveiled featuring 128 Studios, 100-square-foot cabins that are perfect in size and price for parties of one. The ship also offers passengers in this category of cabin a keycard with access to the Living Room, a special lounge with a bar, snacks and activities that facilitate pairing up with fellow single travelers. The ship also offers a plethora of other bars, including the Svedka Ice Bar and Bliss Ultra Lounge, hip entertainment like the Second City improv show and Blue Man Group, and ship wide events such as pub crawls that are perfect for singles, or newly formed couples.

Adventurers Seekers: Lindblad Expeditions

If you've considered shipping luggage for your cruise, don't give it another thought - our Bags VIP luggage delivery will delivery your bags right do your cabin.

Image courtesy of Scott Ableman via Flickr

Looking for an out of the ordinary cruise experience? For the adventurous types, Lindblad Expeditions ventures to not so ordinary destinations like the Arctic, Antarctica, Galapagos, Amazon and other less-mainstream cruise destinations. On trips to the arctic, passengers travel aboard an ice-class vessel that plows through icy waters for extraordinary views of polar bears and other arctic wildlife. Its Cape Horn-to-Cape of Good Hope excursion that follows the path of ancient surveyors and circumnavigators. On trips to Antarctica, National Geographic naturalists, marine specialists and photographers live on board, offering insights and information to the passengers. For the most adventurous travelers, the cruise line is equipped with sea kayaks and underwater cameras for close up views. The company also advances sustainable practices and supports many conservation programs in the fragile destinations it visits.

No matter which vacation you choose, we can help make your travels easier. Most cruise lines offer onboard airline check-in services that allow guests to check-in for flights, receive boarding passes, and check luggage all from aboard the ship. Bags VIP luggage delivery service can also be added for additional convenience when guests travel to and from the port. Bags VIP luggage delivery allows you to bypass baggage claim after your flight and begin making the most of your vacation right away, without the burden of luggage. For more information on these services, click here.

Like this post? So did we! To read more, please visit cruisecritic.

Top 5 Romantic Vacation Destinations

Looking for that perfect vacation destination to share with your loved one on your next trip? Look no further. Below are our top 5 most romantic vacation getaways in the US for you and your special someone. From island paradises to snowy resorts, these places are sure to bring a new spark to your relationship and inspire your romantic side. If you’re planning a trip to one of these destinations, skip the hassle of shipping luggage – use Bags VIP luggage delivery and start the romance the moment you land.

#5: Santa Barbara, California

Santa Barbara is a one stop vacation hot spot. Great food. Great shopping. Great culture. One of

If you're planning a trip to one of these destinations, skip the hassle of shipping luggage - use Bags VIP luggage delivery and start the romance the moment you land.

Image courtesy of Cameron23 via Flickr

the most affluent parts of California, Santa Barbara offers everything from great historical attractions to world class golf courses, all perfect for a romantic getaway. You and your valentine can enjoy views of beautiful mountains, painted valleys or romantic walks down the city side beach, absorbing the elegance and sophistication not found in many other places.  Be sure that you and your special someone head to the nearby wineries for some of the best wine tastings in the country, and experience the unique and reputable cuisine at any of Santa Barbara’s famed restaurants.

#4: Aspen, Colorado

If you're planning a trip to one of these destinations, skip the hassle of shipping luggage - use Bags VIP luggage delivery and start the romance the moment you land.

Image courtesy of Scutter via Flickr

If you’re looking for a romantic winter wonderland getaway, look no further than beautiful Aspen Colorado. This gorgeous town set in a picturesque mountain setting is the perfect place for you and your valentine to enjoy each other’s company. Sit close on a ski lift as you pass by the snowcapped mountain peaks or warm up together in a hot tub overlooking the twinkling mountain town. With high-end shopping, fascinating museums, funky galleries and fun festivals, it might be a struggle to make it to the world class ski slopes. No matter how you spend your time here together, it will be a vacation neither of you will soon forget.

#3: Savannah, Georgia

If you're planning a trip to one of these destinations, skip the hassle of shipping luggage - use Bags VIP luggage delivery and start the romance the moment you land.

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A visit to this beautiful city decked out in Spanish moss and southern charm is perfect for a romantic getaway. Packed full of lush gardens, parks, and outdoor activities, Savannah practically oozes romance and love. Take an evening stroll in Riverwalk for lively music, fresh seafood, splendid wine stores, and great vistas of the water. At night, Savannah College of Art & Design students mix with ghost hunters and preservationists, while restaurants and restored theaters wait for you and your date to explore the mystery and charm of this romantic city.

#2: Key West, Florida

If you're planning a trip to one of these destinations, skip the hassle of shipping luggage - use Bags VIP luggage delivery and start the romance the moment you land.

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Once you and your significant other take a visit to sunny Key West, you will know why Ernest Hemingway chose to never leave the city. Key West is chock full of romance, fun, food and drinks, and is consistently rated one of Americas most romantic escape destinations. Watch the sun set at the southernmost point of the United States, and keep an eye out for the famous “green flash” as the sun disappears behind the watery horizon. Visit the tropical reefs and explore the crystal clear depths with your valentine for an exciting and colorful date. Or, just enjoy the many cafes, bars and parades that permeate the city.

#1: Maui, Hawaii

If you're planning a trip to one of these destinations, skip the hassle of shipping luggage - use Bags VIP luggage delivery and start the romance the moment you land.

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Ranked high on Travel & Leisure’s most romantic getaways nearly every year, Maui is just about as romantic as you can get. Book a room at a luxury resort and enjoy the spa, or take a moonlit walk on the beach and gaze at the stars. Its exotic jungles and stunningly gorgeous beaches cap off what will be the perfect vacation spot to experience romance. Go snorkeling in the beautiful waters or take a tour to see some of the islands exotic wildlife and interesting culture. Fall in love all over again at this stunning island paradise.

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Pick 5 | Places to Ring in the New Year

ring in new year pinterestFor auld lang syne, my dear,
for auld lang syne,
we’ll take a cup of kindness yet,
for auld lang syne.

Another year has come and gone. If you’re ready to ring in 2014 in style, consider traveling to one of these destinations that celebrate New Year’s Eve right.

Las Vegas Strip. Image courtesy Marco Verch via Flickr.

Las Vegas Strip. Image courtesy Marco Verch via Flickr.

Las Vegas
Virtually every club in Vegas has special New Year’s Eve parties. The Strip is closed to automobile traffic. And fireworks light up the sky. From an outdoor concert on Fremont Street to a VIP party at Stratosphere Tower to exclusive fireworks viewing atop Paris Las Vegas’s Eiffel Tower Experience, there are plenty of opportunities to party up to and after midnight. And what happens there, well, you know. >> More

Key West
Key West’s New Year’s Eve festivities include a conch shell drop, high-heeled shoe drop, pirate wench drop, and a key lime wedge drop! There are parties with live music and dancing throughout the island, many of which spill onto Duval Street and down to the waterfront. >> More

New Year's Eve in New Orleans. Image courtesy Bart Everson via Flickr.

New Year’s Eve in New Orleans. Image courtesy Bart Everson via Flickr.

Los Angeles
Like Las Vegas, L.A.’s hotspots have ticketed parties featuring everything from full dinners to black-and-white-only attire. Want to try multiple locations? Pub crawls let you visit up to half a dozen parties. Check out fireworks at Disneyland, Universal CityWalk, and Long Beach. >> More

New Orleans
The Big Easy boasts an annual fleur-de-lis drop, breathtaking fireworks over the Mississippi River, and live entertainment in Jackson Square on New Year’s Eve. Many Bourbon Street clubs offer ticketed parties. Or take a river cruise on a paddle wheeler with entertainment, food and beverages, and great views of the fireworks. >> More

Times Square New Year's Celebrations. Image courtesy Anthony Quintano via Flickr.

Times Square New Year’s celebrations. Image courtesy Anthony Quintano via Flickr.

New York City
The world’s most famous New Year’s countdown takes place in Times Square. Many parties and pub crawls culminate near the ball drop. From Billy Joel in Brooklyn to a midnight run in Central Park, there is no shortage of ways to ring in 2014 in the Big Apple. >> More

5-4-3-2…what are you doing New Year’s Eve? Where will you be at midnight?

Pick 5 | Places to Get in the Holiday Spirit

Photo: ExploreBranson.com

Christmas in Branson. Photo: ExploreBranson.com

Some say there’s no place like home for the holidays; others prefer to pack their bags and head out of town knowing that Santa will still find their chimney. If you are one of the latter, you are not alone – Christmas vacations are an increasingly popular trend. And whether you want to go walking in a winter wonderland or are looking for Christmas time in the city, these destinations are sure to get you in the holiday spirit.

1. Orlando, Florida
If you like your holiday destinations cold and snowy, look elsewhere. Orlando’s average December high is in the mid-70s, perfect weather to explore the theme parks. The Walt Disney World® Resort, Universal Orlando® Resort, and SeaWorld® are decked out during the season and feature holiday parades, shows, lights, and visits with Santa. Outside the theme parks, the village of Winter Park celebrates the season with a boat parade, movies in the park, ice skating, and more.

Don’t miss:
On select nights, Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party transforms Disney’s Magic Kingdom. The separate ticket for admission gives visitors access to a special parade, fireworks, “snow” falling on Main Street, and hot chocolate and cookies.

2. Branson, Missouri
Branson draws tourists near and far for its annual Branson Area Festival of Lights. Considered the live entertainment capital of the world, over a hundred of the town’s shows offer holiday productions. The Lights Drive-Through is a mile-long path illuminated with more than 175 displays. The Annual Adoration Parade down historic downtown Branson features more than 50 bands and floats and cowboys herding cattle decked in holiday finery. The fountain at Winter Wonder Landing at the waterfront shoots fire and water as visitors shop, dine and take in millions of Christmas lights. For a more intimate experience, snuggle with your sweetie on a horse-drawn carriage through the Ozark Mountain hills.

Don’t miss:
Theme park Silver Dollar City’s An Old Time Christmas celebrates the season right with over five million dazzling lights, a thousand decorated trees, a holiday light parade, two Broadway-style productions and a five-Story Christmas tree.

Christmas at the New York Stock Exchange. Photo courtesy Michael Daddino via Flickr.

Christmas at the New York Stock Exchange. Photo courtesy Michael Daddino via Flickr.

3 .New York City, New York
Christmas in New York is on many a bucket list and it’s easy to see why. From the Radio City Christmas Spectacular to The Nutcracker at Lincoln Center, from ice skating at Bryant Park’s Winter Village to shopping along Fifth Avenue, there is much to do throughout the city. No trip is complete without a photo in front of the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree. Thirsty? Try the hot chocolate at Max Brenner in Union Square.

Don’t miss:
FAO Schwartz is the oldest and largest toy store in New York. Each morning, toy soldiers play a fanfare and a red carpet is rolled out to welcome shoppers. They’ll even give private tours before the store opens.

Salt Lake Temple. Image courtesy Zechariah Judy via Flickr.

Salt Lake Temple. Image courtesy Zechariah Judy via Flickr.

4. Salt Lake City, Utah
There are countless places to ski across the country, and the slopes around Salt Lake City are among the best. There are eight resorts all within an hour’s drive of Salt Lake, including Park City, Deer Valley, Canyons Resort, and Alta. Each has its own vibe, so pick one that fits your skiing style. Don’t ski? You can always enjoy the snowcapped mountains, gorgeous scenery, and cozy lodges.

Don’t miss:
Celebrate the holidays at the Salt Lake Festival of Lights, a celebration of events and activities throughout the city. Colorful Christmas lights, musical performances, and a three-day, family-friendly New Year’s Eve party make this a not-to-be-missed event.

Washington DC's National Christmas Tree. Image courtesy JulieLG via Flickr.

Washington DC’s National Christmas Tree. Image courtesy JulieLG via Flickr.

5. Washington, DC
Each year, the National Christmas Tree is placed on the Ellipse, a grassy area south of the White House. The tree is lit during a special concert and remains a symbol of peace throughout the season. The Pathway of Peace, 56 smaller decorated trees representing all 50 states, five territories, and the District of Columbia, surrounds the National Christmas Tree. Volunteer musical ensembles and choirs perform nightly. If you’ve been good this year, visit Santa’s Workshop.

Don’t miss: Washington Harbour Ice Rink is larger than New York City’s Rockefeller Center rink which means plenty of skating fun. Georgetown’s idyllic fountain is transformed into a sheet of ice that especially shines at night when twinkling white snowflakes light up and the rink is bathed in light. It’s even open Christmas Day.

Are you planning on traveling this holiday season? What Christmas destinations did we miss?

Pick 5 | Holiday Shopping Destinations

Magnificent Mile, Chicago. Photo courtesy Flickr user Lindsey Turner.

Magnificent Mile, Chicago. Photo courtesy Lindsey Turner via Flickr.

Thanksgiving is almost here! That means Christmas is just a month away. The shopping season is upon us. These shopping destinations come alive at the holidays but are a great place to visit any time of year.

Magnificent Mile | Chicago, IL
Chicago’s most famous thoroughfare is a shopper’s dream. From Crate & Barrel’s four-story flagship store to Water Tower Place and its eight-level atrium to luxury retailers such as Chanel, Kate Spade, Stuart Weitzman, Prada, Burberry and Louis Vuitton, there is something for everyone. Set against the backdrop of one of the most beautiful skylines in the world, the Magnificent Mile is a magical place to visit at the holidays.

Bonus: On the south side of the Chicago River stands one of the world’s largest department stores. Opened in 1907 as Marshall Field & Company, the store now operates as Macy’s. It’s listed on the National Register of Historic Places and features the largest Tiffany glass mosaic dome in the country. During the holidays, store windows are lavishly decorated in the old-fashioned tradition and shoppers enjoy lunch under the large Christmas tree in the historic Walnut Room.

Mall of America. Image courtesy Michael Ocampo via Flickr.

Mall of America. Image courtesy Michael Ocampo via Flickr.

Mall of America | Bloomington, MN
America’s largest shopping mall welcomes 40 million visitors every year and is so big it could hold seven Yankee Stadiums. Mall of America will open at 6 a.m. on Black Friday so get to bed early the night before!

Bonus: If the mall’s 550+ stores aren’t enough to keep you occupied, take your kids to Nickelodeon Universe®, seven acres of unique attractions and entertainment, or American Girl, featuring character shopping, dining and a doll hair salon. There’s also a movie theater and aquarium.

Frankenmuth. Image courtesy Amanda M via Flickr.

Frankenmuth. Image courtesy Amanda M via Flickr.

Frankenmuth, MI
The German-settled village of Frankenmuth welcomes more than three million visitors a year. Frankenmuth’s quaint architecture, fun festivals and unique shopping like Bronner’s Christmas Wonderland, which claims to be the largest Christmas-themed store in the world, make it an ideal holiday shopping destination.

Bonus: Enjoy a meal at Zehnder’s, a destination in its own right, that features all-you-can-eat chicken dinners and fresh baked goods. The restaurant first opened in the 1950s and is one of the largest in the country.

Holidays in New York. Image courtesy Adnan Islam via Flickr.

Holidays in New York. Image courtesy Adnan Islam via Flickr.

Fifth Avenue | New York, NY
Shop, eat, shop, sleep, repeat. You could spend days walking up and down New York’s famed Fifth Avenue and never run out of retailers and boutiques to visit. From department stores like Bergdorf Goodman and Henri Bendel to the original Tiffany & Co., from luxury brands like Harry Winston and Prada to Apple’s flagship store, Fifth Avenue is the ultimate shopping destination.

Bonus: Head west to Times Square and the new 110,000 square-foot Toys ‘R’ Us. Inside this emporium of toys is a life-size dollhouse and 60-foot-tall indoor Ferris wheel.

Leavenworth, Washington. Image courtesy Visit Leavenworth WA on Facebook.

Leavenworth, Washington. Image courtesy Visit Leavenworth WA on Facebook.

Leavenworth, WA
This picturesque small town nestled in the Cascade Mountains is about two hours from Seattle. Leavenworth has been called the ultimate holiday destination because of its snow-capped mountainous terrain, Bavarian-style architecture, and beautiful, sunny winter weather. The holidays bring carolers, sleigh rides, twinkling lights and unique shopping at their annual Christkindlmarkt.

Bonus: Leavenworth’s Nutcracker Museum displays over 6,000 specimens of nutcrackers from Roman times to present day. Fun fact – the museum’s owner was Conan O’Brien’s first guest when his late-night show Conan debuted on TBS in 2010.

Do you enjoy shopping when you travel? What amazing shopping destinations did we miss?

Checking In for the Holidays

Happy Holidays

By Marcus Quigmire from Florida, USA (happy Holidays Uploaded by Princess Mérida) [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

In anticipation of the busy 2013 holiday travel season, many people think that packing light is the only option for air travel. The problem is, the holiday season is the least-suited time for traveling light.

What if you want to bring your Christmas tree with you wherever you’re headed? What if you want to take back some family-favorite foods on the return flight? What if you have multiple gifts to deliver, or you need to get your Black Friday purchases back home? As it turns out, you can check many of these items on your flight, and Bags VIP will deliver them for you.

While you should confirm with your specific airline, you can travel with many holiday items including ice skates, snow globes, Christmas trees, pies and cakes, antlers, food items, and gifts.

So the next time you have holiday items to transport, use the service that even Santa wished he had used: Bags VIP!

What holiday items have you checked in on a flight? If you could fill a suitcase with your favorite holiday food, what would it be?