USA Tourists 2012 Hotel and Car Rental Discounts

USATourist News Magazine

October 2003

In this issue:

Up, Up and Away!

If you are out west head over to Albuquerque, New Mexico, stop at the Albuquerque International Balloon Festival taking place from October 4th through the 12th. The festival offers over 750 balloons in flight at the same time. It is probably the world's largest balloon festival and it is certainly the world's most photographed one. Admission to the festival is five dollars for each person over the age of twelve. You can place a credit card order from anywhere in the USA and Canada over the telephone by calling (888) 422-7277 ext 303.

If you are in spending October visiting the Orlando area you can take your own Orange Blossom Balloon Ride. As well as experience reduced crowds at all the area attractions now that schools are back in session. Check out the information about Orange Blossom Balloons and read about the fantastic time's very own Mike and Anny Leco had on their balloon flight. I mention this because I want you to know that most of us who work on USATourist love to travel and we love sharing information about places we have actually been.

Daytona Beach

When I mention that Daytona Beach has beautiful white sand beaches washed with blue waves as well as all the shopping and nightlife anyone could ever want it is because I've been there recently and can't wait to return.

Another thing I'll add about Daytona is that if you want a casual beachside meal that's as authentically American as you can get check out Racing's North Turn Bar and Grill at 4511 South Atlantic Ave. Ponce Inlet, Florida. The grouper sandwich is a Florida must and locals swear by the ones that the North Turn Serves. And, you've got to have Buffalo wings when you visit the USA and North Turn serves great ones. They are chicken wings that are very spicy with a dipping sauce. The fried shrimp sandwich sounds usual but it is a really good meal. You'll also find that the key lime pie at the North Turn is authentic; it has a tart taste and seems homemade. But one of the best parts of eating there is the ocean view and the fact that much of Daytona's auto racing history rests on the sport. The restaurant is sited where the north turn of the old racetrack was when motor sports enthusiasts raced on sand. Daytona Beach is the home of over one hundred years of racing history.

Like any city with a bit of history Daytona claims a few ghoulies and ghosties. October is the best time to take a walking tour with Daytona Ghost Walks.

Why October?

Many reasons! You'll find that House Boat Vacations are less expensive and the weather is still warm enough to really enjoy the experience --- add to that the pleasures of fall foliage watching and you've got the trip of a lifetime. You really can save hundreds of dollars by booking and traveling now.

The USA has many citizens with German ancestry. While no one claims that we can compete with Munich many local communities have very impressive Oktoberfests in America and while that listing looks fairly complete, check with your hotel desk to see if there is one near you that wasn't listed.

And, even though we love all our holidays in the USA we get very excited over Halloween. Don't be surprised if staff at your hotel or clerks in shops are wearing costumes on October 31. Also, if you are a nightlife lover, clubs and bars are always a bit crowded that evening as many adults celebrate Halloween by going out for a drink in costume. If you have a sweet tooth, check out drug stores on the day after Halloween --- November the first for huge savings on candy.

Throughout October many cities and towns have haunted house events where folks decorate a house and wear creepy costumes. These haunted house events are usually fun for children and many of them benefit local charities. You'll also find ghost walks in many cities that do not normally have them. If these events interest you check for a haunted house themed attraction or ask at your hotel desk.

The most haunted house in the USA

A two-story Greek revival style brick house in San Diego's Old Town that was constructed in 1867 claims to be one the USA most haunted homes. Thomas Whaley designed the house for his family and ran his store on the lower level. The Whaley family lived in the house for nearly a century. For four months in 1868-1869 a theater troupe operated out of the house. On Halloween day in 1956 the County of San Diego bought the house and began restoration work on it.

Hans Holzer, a paranormal researcher, has studied the ghosts that live in Whaley house and details their history in his book Ghosts of the Golden West.

The house is open from 10 am to 4:30 pm, every day except Tuesday. Admission costs are adults $5.00, seniors $4.00, and children $3.00. The Whaley House is located in Old Town San Diego at 2482 San Diego Avenue.

During October the house offers special evening events. The nights of Friday, October 17th and Saturday, October 18th, and Friday, October 24th and Saturday, October 25th, from 10pm to midnight are all special event evenings. A tour of nearby El Campo Santo cemetery begins at the house followed by a candlelit procession back to the Whaley House for a ghost tour led by experts on the haunted history of the house.

Only forty spaces are available for each evening tour. Reservations must be paid in advance by calling the SOHO Events Hotline (619) 297-7511; tickets are $35.00 for Non-Members.

Latest Information about Machine Readable Passports

Starting on October 26, 2004 Visa Waiver Program travelers from 21 countries must present a machine-readable passport at a U.S. port of entry to be admitted to the country without a visa. Calm down readers. That's next year.

Citizens of Australia, Austria, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Monaco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, San Marino, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom have until next year to obtain a machine-readable passport.

If you are from Andorra, Brunei, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, and Slovenia your government did not ask for a postponement so as of October 1, 2003, you must have either a machine-readable passport or a United States visa to enter the USA. Most passport holders from those countries already have machine-readable passports.

Belgian nationals who use the Visa Waiver Program have been required to present a machine-readable passport since May 15, 2003.

Sales in the USA

We do not have the regular "sale seasons" that many other countries do. You will generally find end-of-season sales on clothing right before the next season's styles arrive. You will frequently find discounts in stores throughout the year. Shopping in the USA can be a fun part of your vacation.

Thanksgiving is Thursday, November the 27th this year. Usually the busiest shopping day in the USA is the Friday after Thanksgiving, the 28th of November this year. While some shops do run sales it is busy because many people have the day off work and want to do their Christmas shopping so it's best to avoid stores.

If you are planning a visit to Disney World over the Thanksgiving Holiday --- November 27 you can have a traditional American Thanksgiving meal at many of the Disney Restaurants. Call 407 WDW-DINE once you check into your hotel and they'll be delighted to explain your options.

This month the hotel chain we're looking at is La Quinta Inns

The chain does offer a few pricey places like their luxury resort in Palm Springs and their Manhattan hotel (which is still a bargain for the area) but usually they are a value for money chain that far exceeds most properties in their price range. If you check prices on our hotel search engine you will often find that they are the lowest priced option in your desired destination. That's surprising given what you get.

They offer an included continental breakfast. The large rooms have phones with data ports, hairdryers, ironing facilities and coffee makers. Many of the properties have swimming pools and on-site laundries. They're super for families on a budget, as children under 18 stay free in a room with their parents. Hotels in the La Quinta chain that are airport locations offer free shuttle service to the terminals.

La Quinta Inns do not always have bars or restaurants on site although they are often located near several restaurants. They are frequently located away from main attractions or the city center with very little within walking distance. They are a great chain for an over night near an airport or anyone making a long car trip who needs a clean, comfortable overnight stay. They are also well equipped for business travelers with large work areas in the rooms.

And the Restaurant Chain is Applebee's

It seems like you can't turn on a television anywhere in the USA without seeing an advertisement for Applebee's. You'll find them throughout the United States and Canada. They advertise as a neighborhood restaurant but you'll find most of their locations along major roads or in shopping areas. While they are a chain with the same basic menu across the country they often have a regional specialty or two on the menu. They are a moderately priced chain serving lunch and dinner. Expect to pay around ten to fifteen dollars per person for a meal. They're a good place to go if you want a meal with large portions, they serve generous portions of meat and chicken. They do serve alcohol. They have a children's menu. They do not have any vegetarian entrees. If you are only in the mood for a light meal they may not be a good choice - they cater to hearty appetites. If you are staying in a hotel with kitchenette facilities you may want to take half your meal back to the room with you.

As always I love hearing from folks at MsTravel (email address no longer active). This month it will take me longer than usual to answer. I'm traveling around the USA myself to explore parts of the Smoky Mountains and Las Vegas. So next month I'll have a lot of new information about what's going on in those two great places.

Diane Goldberg

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