Things To Consider If You Are Planning A Stag Party


 

stag-340981_1280Being a best man at your mate’s wedding entails crucial tasks of ushering a man into a blissful married life, most important of which is the eventful bachelor party that you will have to carefully orchestrate. 

 I remember the moment I was asked to do the honours of being the captain to my best friend Andrew’s bachelor party vessel. It was particularly daunting task given that it was held in a location that I’m not familiar with but scouting girls that will provide entertainment came in handy through XXX Buck Parties. Everything went well in the end, I was able to secure the venue at Diamant Hotel on Kings Cross Road and had to make sure that we abide by the hotel’s policies especially regarding the noise which was rather impossible to keep it down especially with a bunch of rowdy men but I managed not to get us kicked out.

If you are planning a bachelor party, remember that details of the event and activities are important. You were chosen as a best man for a reason and that is you hold a special relationship with the groom. You could plan the festivities around his personality, list down the things he enjoy doing around his mates and consult it to him. Andrew and I known each other since college and I personally know that he wants a grand send off and spend his last hours as a single man with a massive headache and a little bit regret the following day. It doesn’t always have to involve any strippers that comes out of huge cake but ideally, it has become a staple element but never push unless the groom gave you a hint.

List of party attendees is crucial as well. Send out invitations to grooms closest friends and make sure that whatever activities you planned out will also work for them. In the invitation, provide information about the event such as cost, location, time, theme of the event but never reveal any details that might ruin the element of surprise. It is also important to keep in mind that you are solely responsible for keeping the event on track and to prepare for any damage control in case things doesn’t go accordingly.

 

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Simple Tips to Save Money on Last Minute Business Class Flights



photo credit: PYONKO via photopin cc

photo credit: PYONKO via photopin cc

Every traveller knows that the easiest way to save money on business class flights is to book tickets well in advance. This approach is undoubtedly effective and has helped thousands of people fly business class and pay less, but there are situations when you need to take off as soon as possible. This is when you should think about a last minute flight.

Saving money on business class flights is possible even if a last minute flight is your only chance to reach the destination within the shortest time possible. Here are a few simple and practical recommendations on how to pay less.

Stay Flexible

Those who are flexible with their travel dates and do not mind flying a few days earlier or later, have excellent chances to save money even on last minute business class flights. The rule is simple – just choose the date with the lowest airfare. Also opt for less popular departure time, for example early in the morning or late at night. Flights with a less convenient departure time are always cheaper.

Search Online and Compare Prices

Online research increases your chances to find low-cost airfare. Visit the websites of different airline companies and compare available airfare. Also look for  promotions and special offers. Some airline companies offer discounts for a particular category of passengers, like students or military personnel, for example. So make sure to check this option, who knows, may be there is a special offer specifically for you.

Opt for Connecting Flights

Connecting flights are usually significantly cheaper than non-stop flights. So, if you are concerned about your family budget, connecting flight is a good opportunity to cut down your expenses. Of course, connecting flights take more time than direct flights, but if you are aboard a business class cabin, you will hardly notice any discomfort. Moreover, you will spend significantly less.

Avoid Busy Flight Days

Prices on business class flights are inconstant and can significantly change during the year and even week. The highest airfares are usually during and before major holidays, so if you do not want overpaying, avoid such dates. Also, the most expensive days to fly are Fridays, Saturdays and Mondays.

There are lots of online companies that help passengers discover cheap last minute business class flights, and cheapfirstclass.com is among them. With Cheapfirstclass you can forget about a bothersome online research, as the company’s specialists will do this job for you and provide the list of the most suitable and affordable last minute business class deals.

 

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Hidden Gems of Pittsburgh



TR_AndyWarhol1If you’re planning a trip to Pittsburgh, big name attractions like the Carnegie Science Center and Andy Warhol Museum are probably on your itinerary already. This historic city is the second largest in the state and has so much to offer, you can’t possibly see it all in one trip. If you’re looking for some lesser-known highlights to fill out your list, consider these hidden gems that are easily overlooked.

The CLO Cabaret for an Unforgettable Show

If arts and entertainment rank high on your list, the CLO Cabaret is the perfect choice to round out your vacation itinerary. The calendar of musical shows here changes often, but there’s always something stunning scheduled to hit the stage. Upcoming shows for 2014 and 2015 include Dixie’s Tupperware Party, Murder for Two, Boeing Boeing, and Girls Only – The Secret Comedy of Women.

Enjoy your show in an intimate 250-seat theater while enjoying food and drink from an appetizer and bar menu. Though the choices are simple, you can easily make a full meal of options like crab cake sliders, quesadillas, or steak satay. Order early as food is not brought to the table during the performance. Book a nearby Pittsburgh hotel online and you can pop over to the theater district easily during your stay.

The Old Allegheny County Jail Museum for Historic Sights

courthouseIf you can’t get enough of Pittsburgh’s history, the preserved cells from the 1886 jail will offer a fascinating destination to your itinerary. This small museum is easily overlooked, thanks to its location inside the Family Court Facility. A downtown hotel like the Pittsburgh Marriott City Center will put you near this hidden gem as well as other historic sites like the Epiphany Catholic Church.

Shaw Galleries for Stunning Art

Stay in the Penn-Liberty Historic District at a hotel like the Courtyard by Marriott Pittsburgh Downtown and you’ll find you’re just a stroll away from this easily overlooked art gallery. Art critic and appraiser Kurt Shaw founded the Shaw Galleries in 2007. The collection now houses more than 4,000 antique maps as well as vintage photos and rare prints. Whether you’re dropping in to browse or buy, you’re sure to find plenty to appreciate. Check out the schedule of upcoming shows before your visit to make sure you don’t miss a thing.

Beechwood Farms Nature Reserve for a Quiet Retreat

If you’re spending so much of your vacation glued to your travel apps that you’re not really getting the retreat you were after, head to Beechwood Farms and step back to a simpler time. The 134-acre preserve offers several trails to explore, from the Upper Fields trail that you can walk in 15 minutes to the hilly Pine Hollow trail that will take about an hour. It’s easy to step back and really escape in this picturesque space.

For more about Pittsburgh and how to find the perfect hotel for your vacation, check out my Pittsburgh travel guide. An exciting trip to this historic destination is just a few clicks away.

Mandi Rogier is a resident of sunny central Florida who regularly contributes to several travel blogs and websites. In her free time she enjoys visiting nearby theme parks, taking family road trips, and planning girlfriend getaways.

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Jackson: The Big One



TR_GrandTeton

Jackson, Wyoming, has many monikers, most notably the “Gateway to the Grand Tetons and outdoor adventure,” because of its close proximity to both Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks. However, it is also infamously known as a “North American ski resort on steroids” and, more affectionately, as “The Big One,” as it possesses big vertical and skiable terrain that rivals any to be found in even the Alps. Jackson’s steep and challenging slopes attract an international cadre of hard-core skiers and snowboarders, which it nicely complements with some of the best ski resorts in the world.

Upscale Ski Resorts

Ensconced in the mountains and within walking distance of downtown Jackson, the Rusty Parrot Lodge and Spa is a AAA Four-Diamond award-winner for 19 consecutive years. Guest rooms at the 30-room lodge include memory-foam mattresses and fireplaces, while its suites offer whirlpools and separate living rooms. The Rusty Parrot also offers a shuttle to the nearby ski slopes. Alpine House, which features 22 guest rooms and five creek-side cottages, is another upscale option and offers ski tours. Other amenities at this eco-certified, European-style hotel include massage and spa treatments, free Wi-Fi, gas fireplaces, private balconies, and deep-soaking tubs.

Affordable Yet Regal

Living up to its name, the Snow King Resort Hotel, situated along the Teton Range, is ideally located near skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, snowtubing, and even snowbiking areas. The budget-friendly resort not only offers double-queen guest rooms, but two-, three-, and four-bedroom condos with a full kitchen, washer/dryer, coffee maker, microwave, and fireplace. All of its accommodations come with majestic mountain views. Another affordable option is the Teton Gables Motel, which offers easy access to world-class ski resorts. Each of its 28 rooms features cable TV, a microwave, and a refrigerator. Many of its rooms afford panoramic views of nearby Snow King Mountain.

Last-Minute App

If an unexpected storm dumps fresh powder on “The Big One’s” slopes and you require an immediate Jackson hotel, fear not as Hipmunk possesses a feature called “Tonight Only” that allows users to find those last-minute deals on their phones via iOS and Android apps. In an interview with Mashable, Hipmunk co-founder Adam Goldstein said, “The way that people search is different when they are on their computer or their phone. About half of people searching on their phone are searching for last-minute hotels and the other half are searching more in advance. We want the app to work for both.”

Options Abound

Whether you’ve planned your ski trip in advance or at the last minute, rest assured that accommodations in Jackson and its environs abound. If budget bears no weight, nearby Teton Village offers numerous luxury lodges and resorts that are ski-in, ski-out, enabling skiers and snowboarders front-of-the-line status. However, keep in mind that compact Teton Village does not offer the nightlife and shopping found in the town of Jackson. Additionally, Jackson offers cheaper hotel accommodations and superior connection to the ski resorts via the Southern Teton Area Rapid Transit (START) bus system.

Dale Myers is a world traveler and travel writer from Ventura, CA. In his free time he surfs while planning his next adventure.

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How to Get the Best Deals in Minneapolis



As the largest city in Minnesota, Minneapolis has much to offer every visitor. If you’re planning a trip to this Twin City, keep reading for some tips on how to get the best deals during your stay.

Visit During Winter

Image via Flickr by rtclauss

Image via Flickr by rtclauss

While summers in Minneapolis offer warm sunshine and temperatures averaging 80 degrees, this is also the time of year when hotels have the highest rates. However, if you truly want the most affordable hotels in Minneapolis and you can handle the snow, book a trip to the city in the winter. While the area sees around 40 inches of snow every year, the city does a good job of keeping the streets and sidewalks clear. Plus, there are plenty of indoor activities to keep you busy even if you can’t spend much time outside.

Take Advantage of a Free Museum

If you’ve come to Minneapolis for a little culture and learning, there are no better places to explore than some of the area’s museums. There are many museums around the city that offer free admission, either on specific days or year round — such as The Minneapolis Institute of Arts, which is just slightly south of Hyatt Regency Minneapolis. The museum houses around 100,000 objects of art ranging from prehistoric to modern times and some of the most popular exhibits include the Native American and Asian art collections.

Another popular museum in the city is the Bell Museum of Natural History. Here, you can explore a living rainforest, see the gallery, and look at dioramas replicating many habitats around Minnesota. Plus, visitors on Sunday can enter the museum for free.

Spend the Day at the Beach

While many people don’t picture Minneapolis as a place for a beach getaway, the diverse lakes around the city are the perfect spot to enjoy some sun, sand, and water. The city has 12 beaches in its park system that, along with the opportunity to swim and sunbathe, also include amenities like playgrounds, bike paths, walking paths, picnic areas, and volleyball courts. Most of the beaches have lifeguards on duty and Lake Nokomis Main Beach offers an open swim area outside of the buoys for adults.

Enjoy Free Beer

If you work up a thirst while having fun exploring Minneapolis, you can take advantage of free beer samples at breweries around the city. Surly Brewing Company offers free tours and allows you to sample a few of their seasonal, special, and regular beers. Or, if you happen to be visiting on St. Patrick’s Day, head on over to Nomad World Pub to enjoy free beer. However, make sure you empty your bladder before you go because the free beer will only last until someone gets up to use the bathroom.

If you’re interested in learning more about planning a trip to the area make sure you read the guide on Minneapolis on Hipmunk’s Hotels in Minneapolis page. Also, please share your favorite tips for getting the best deals in the city in the comments below.

Author Bio: Kristen McCalla is a Hipmunk writer and avid blogger who lives in St. Petersburg, Florida with her husband, cat, and dog. When she’s not writing on her blog, 31 Million Seconds, she enjoys traveling and exploring all over this beautiful country.

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Historic Highlights of Richmond You’re Probably Missing



Richmond, VA, has a long and distinguished history, and many local museums willing to put it all on display for you. However, one of the best ways to experience the city’s storied past is to step outside the museums and set foot instead on grounds that have been carefully preserved since their glory days. Don’t miss these historic highlights on your next visit.

Enjoy an Elite Escape at The Maymont Mansion

Image via Flickr by Redden-McAllister

Image via Flickr by Redden-McAllister

The Maymont Mansion is a stunning example of the opulence of the Gilded Age. This Victorian country estate was once the home of James Henry and Sallie May Dooley. The mansion was completed in 1893 and the couple lived out the remainder of their days on the property. Major Dooley died in 1922 and his wife passed away in 1925. With no heirs, the mansion became the property of the city of Richmond.

Today, guests can tour 12 restored rooms on the first and second floors, taking in lavish details like white onyx hearthstones and silk damask wall coverings. Eight restored rooms in the servants’ quarters offer an intriguing look at the lives of staff members. Book an affordable room at the Clarion Hotel Central on Hipmunk.com and stay less than 15 minutes from this local highlight.

Visit Presidential Graves in Hollywood Cemetery

President James Monroe’s tomb, also known as The Birdcage, is a National Historic Landmark in the Hollywood Cemetery. It features ornate Gothic Revival architecture that indeed gives it the appearance of an elaborate birdcage of cast iron. President John Tyler has a tall monument nearby. Jefferson Davis, the only president of the Confederate States of America, is buried here as well in an area known as Davis Circle. A life-size statue marks his grave.

View Stunning Brickwork at Mankin Mansion

Mankin Mansion was once home to the founder and owner of a major brick foundry, Edward Thurston Mankin. Appropriately, the 7,000-square-foot mansion is an architectural landmark featuring stunning brick walls and walks with intricate designs. Today, the property serves as an elegant bed and breakfast. If you prefer simpler accommodations but still want to swing by the mansion for a glimpse, consider a cheap nearby alternative like the Candlewood Suites Richmond Airport.

Take a Stroll to the Byrd Park Pump House

Byrd Park has many highlights including 1.3 miles of walking trails, three lakes, and Poplar Vale Cemetery. The pump house, however, is easily overlooked amid these popular attractions. It was built in 1882 to provide water for the city of Richmond, but it was more than a glorified building for plumbing purposes. The pump house also featured an open-air dance hall that was a popular gathering place through the swing era.

After World War II, the dance hall’s popularity began to wane, and in the 1950s the First Presbyterian Church purchased the building for just $1. The structure is a stunning example of Gothic Revival architecture.

Get more tips on planning an unforgettable Richmond escape in this Richmond guide. Share your own favorite spots in the comments below.

Author Bio:

Mandi Rogier is a resident of sunny central Florida who regularly contributes to several travel blogs and websites, including Hipmunk. In her free time she enjoys visiting nearby theme parks, taking family road trips, and planning girlfriend getaways. 

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