The Best Places to Travel Now to Get More Bang for Your Buck

by thehipmunk

The winter months of December through February — and sometimes through March — are notorious for flight delays due to bad weather. People risk delays during the holidays because they have long periods of mandated time-off and want to spend it with their families. But no one wants to request time off in February only to spend half of the vacation managing flight delays and bad weather.

But while February isn’t the best travel month for every destination, airlines offer some pretty sweet deals on flights during the year’s shortest month. With some trips discounted as much as 79%, travelers should take airlines up on their offers. We analyzed a year’s worth of Hipmunk flight and hotel pricing data, and the following February destinations are worth the bargain.

New York, NY

Whether covered in snow or sunshine, New York is New York — a magical amusement park for both kids and adults. There will never be a shortage of indoor and outdoor winter activities. With flights and a three-night hotel stay averaging $962 in February, the Big Apple offers a steal. Take a horse carriage ride through Central Park as you admire the snow-covered terrain and monuments that make the city so enchanting. Ice skating is available through March at parks including the Wollman Rink in Central Park and Rockefeller Center. If it gets too nippy, be entertained at a Broadway show  as you stay warm.

Philadelphia, PA

With 67 National Historic Landmarks, Philly ranks third in the country for most landmarks, including the famous cracked Liberty Bell and the house of poet Edgar Allen Poe. But the city is also a modern metropolis with a striking skyline, impressive street art murals, and rich pop culture. Run up the long steps to the main entrance of the Philadelphia Museum of Art and recreate the famous opening of the cult classic film “Rocky.” Philly has one of the oldest outdoor markets in the U.S. — Italian Market — and also boasts Terminal Market, a great indoor destination. Both sell everything needed to make delicious meals. An average flight and three-night hotel stay in February averaged $819, a savings of up to $80 compared with spring months.

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San Francisco, CA

Much like San Francisco’s weather stays constant, so do flight and hotel prices, averaging more than a $1,000 most of the year for a flight and a three-night hotel stay. But in late spring, the average was $953, making it the ideal time to head west. SF offers a multitude of varied activities sure to entertain all personalities.Pier 39 alone offers shopping, restaurants, Aquarium of the Bay, and a two-story carousel. But the most endearing attraction is simply observing the quirky sea lions lounge by the pier. In 2015 gave San Francisco a score of 83.9, making it the second most walkable city in the U.S., Canada, and Australia. Walk or ride the subway or the city’s famous cable cars to get around.

Dublin, Ireland

Flying to Europe from the U.S. in the summer will typically cost around $1,000 or more. But flights to certain European destinations are quite affordable in the coming months. Dublin is small and easy to walk around, ensuring travelers can see and do most of what the city has to offer in a single weekend. Admire the beautiful architecture of the famous St. Patrick’s Cathedral. Walk east for nine minutes to reach St. Stephen’s Green and appreciate the park’s original Victorian layout. Trinity College Dublin, one of Dublin’s most prestigious universities, is only a six minute walk north of the park. The college’s Long Room is eye candy for book nerds.

For the beer and whiskey enthusiasts visit to the Guinness Storehouse brewery or the Jameson whiskey distillery.

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Paris, France

Visiting Paris in the springtime is recommended, but it’s so much more affordable in February and March, with some flights ranging between $500 and $600 dollars. Much like New York, there is always plenty to see and do in Paris. Must do outdoor activities include riding to the top of the Eiffel Tower, admiring Notre Dame Cathedral, visiting at least one historical Parisian cemetery. Keep out of the elements at one of Paris’ many museums, the Louvre Museum being one of the most famous for housing Leonardo Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa and the Louvre Pyramid. For modern art lovers, visit the Pompidou Center or the Jeu de Paume.

This post was posted by thehipmunk on Hipmunk’s Tailwind blog on February 2, 2016.

Exploring the cultural attractions in Cordoba, Spain

photo by CC user James (Jim) Gordon on Flickr

Heading to Spain this summer, and looking to discover the cultural attractions in Cordoba, Spain? This article will give you a rundown of what to expect from its foremost points of interest. Check’em out below…

1) Mosque of Cordoba

Though it is presently a cathedral operating under the name Our Lady of the Assumption, the Mosque of Cordoba was the former name of this city’s most impressive structure.

After the success of the Reconquista in the 13th century, the structure was converted into a Catholic church, a denomination that it has remained loyal to ever since.

Though the altars and Christian iconography found here is very beautiful in its construction, the bones of this dazzling structure are irrevocably Moorish in their design, as you will note from the columns.

2) Alcazar de los Reyes

Serving as the palace from which the Caliphate of Cordoba ruled until the Spanish led Crusade wrested control from the Moors, Alcazar de los Reyes is a sight of splendor that reveals the breathtaking eye for design that the leaders of this civilization had back in medieval times.

Gardens, courtyards and reflecting pools are all highlights of this amazing structure … the only regret you’ll have is the fact that you can’t somehow make a deal for this choice pad (even if you had the money, the Alcazar de los Reyes is not for sale … sorry).

3) Roman Temple of Cordoba

Before the age of the Moors, the land upon which Cordoba is built was part of the territory of the Romans, widely considered to be one of the greatest empires to ever exist on the face of the Earth.

Discovered in the 1950’s during an expansion of Cordoba’s city hall, the remaining columns that marked where a Roman temple once stood were unearthed.

Dedicated to an Imperial cult, this religious structure was proof that this civilization was a bold one, spreading its influence and traditions far from the heart of its empire.

4) Calahorra Tower

If you have time, be sure to check out the Calahorra Tower before heading off to other parts of Spain. One of the last remaining gates that bound together a city wall that protected the settlement during the Moorish era, it also saw use over the years as a girls school and a prison.

Today, it is a museum which details a time when Cordoba experienced a peace where Muslims, Christians and Jews co-existed alongside in peace in this corner of Spain.

6 Destinations Perfect for a Family February Vacation

by thehipmunk

With the joys of the holiday season long gone and summer vacation still months away, February is the perfect time to treat the family to some good old-fashioned R&R. And that works out perfectly, because February is also the best time to visit any of the six destinations on this list, where the weather is great, the crowds are small, and the family-friendly sights are very much worth seeing. Whether your family loves NASCAR, whales, live sports, or rainforests, there’s mid-winter fun to be had at any these stellar destinations.

1. Charleston, SC

Great food, Southern charm, outdoor adventure, and historical sites make Charleston an educational and exciting trip for the whole family. February is a particularly great time to visit: The tourist crowds are smaller, the weather is mild (highs tend to be in the 60s or 70s), and the city’s many gorgeous gardens tend to be in full bloom. Visitors can tour the historic district in a horse-drawn carriage, rent kayaks, go shopping, or simply take a stroll through the city’s beautiful downtown. Bonus: In February, flights to and hotels in Charleston are generally much cheaper than in the summer months.

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2. Daytona Beach, FL

February is one of the best times to visit Florida: The temperatures are comfortable (not too hot or too cold), and there are tons of family-friendly activities on offer. If you’re not bothered by big crowds, take in the excitement at Speedweeks, which features stock car racing at the Daytona International Speedway. Race cars not your thing? The city also offers plenty of diverse attractions, from the Kennedy Space Center to water sports, Main Street shopping and entertainment, four-star golf courses, and gorgeous views of the Atlantic Ocean.

3. Fortuna, Costa Rica

For the family that loves being outside, look no further than gorgeous Fortuna. The region boasts the stunning Lake Arenal in addition to the Arenal Volcano Park, multiple rainforest parks, hiking trails, river cruises, and horseback tours. Visitors can also go on a tour of one of the region’s chocolate making facilities, during which guests will learn about the chocolate making process from harvest to packaging. February is Costa Rica’s dry season, meaning there’s very little rain and warmer temps—so it’s the perfect time to partake in any of these outdoor adventures.

4. Honolulu, Hawaii

The capital of Hawaii boasts stunning scenery, great weather, and a huge variety of indoor and outdoor entertainment options. And if you go in February, you’ll get to skip both the rainy season and the summer rush. In addition to the great beaches, one of the best things about Honolulu is its diverse neighborhoods: Don’t miss the historical attractions in the city’s Chinatown or the Waikiki neighborhood, which is known for its vibrant cultural attractions and unparalleled natural beauty. Or head to Ala Moana to take in the sights at the world’s largest open-air shopping center or relax on the gold-sand beach at Ala Moana Beach Park.

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5. Punta Cana, Dominican Republic

With clear skies and average February temperatures in the 70s and 80s, Punta Cana is a great destination for anyone who’s sick of the winter cold. Just like any other Caribbean locale, Punta Cana is popular in February—but it’s still an economical option for beach-loving families on a budget. Hotels start as low as $40 a night, and many of the family-friendly resorts are all-inclusive. The vibrant Carnival festival takes place in February, so be prepared for large crowds, great food, and plenty of thrilling attractions. Or avoid the crowds and take advantage of the area’s vast array of water sports, athletic activities, live music, and authentic food.

6. San Diego, CA

Because San Diego lies along the coast, it boasts a pleasant climate virtually any time of year. But February is distinct because it’s one of the city’s sunniest months. The city offers a host of family-friendly attractions, from museums, theater, and art galleries to live sports and athletic activities such as kite boarding, hiking, and scuba diving. The city is known for its eclectic neighborhoods—including the Gaslamp Quarter, Mission Bay, and Old Town—and popular sightseeing opportunities such as Balboa Park, the San Diego Zoo, and La Jolla Cove. February is also an ideal time for whale watching.

This post was posted by thehipmunk on Hipmunk’s Tailwind blog on February 4, 2016.