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USATourist News Magazine by Elizabeth Blair
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USATourist News Magazine

November 2009 - Holiday Issue

In this issue:

Welcome to the November issue of USA Tourist News Magazine.

The holidays are upon us! This issue we are going to visit a couple of the most popular holiday destinations (New York and Florida) and provide some holiday travel tips, especially for those busy airports.

The Holidays in New York City

Thanksgiving Parade

The Big Apple is absolutely one of the best cities to get into the holiday spirit. The cold weather, bright lights and decorated store fronts make it a lovely experience all-around. Plus, there is tons of holiday action. The big holiday season starts with Thanksgiving and New York hosts the most famous celebration: Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.

Rockefeller Christmas Tree

The Chrstmas Tree at Rockefeller Center is a must-see for visitors and residents of New York City.
Photo by: Mike Leco ©USATourist.com

Rockefeller Center

New York City's Rockefeller Center holds one of NYC's annual traditions. Every year since 1931 the Rockefeller Christmas tree is put up, normally it's a Norway spruce which reaches between 75 to 90 feet (23 to 27 m) and the lighting of the tree is broadcast on NBC. The world-famous Rockefeller Center Ice Rink is located adjacent to the tree and has been a New York winter custom since the 1930's. Afterward, skaters can grab a cocktail and appetizers at the nearby Rink Bar or enjoy a meal at Rockefeller's Rock Center Café, The Sea Grill or Cucina & Co.

Speaking of Rockefeller Plaza, there are several tours you can experience during your visit: NBC Studios, Rockefeller Center, Rockefeller Center Tour, Top of the Rock Observation Deck, and Art and Observation Tour. Save on these great attractions with the New York Pass: 5% Off Any New York Pass!
Use Coupon Code: nyp5pc2007

New Year's Eve

Don't forget New Year's Eve in Times Square - in other words "watch the ball drop" at midnight. Be sure to get there early to claim your spot and dress very, very warm.

Radio City Christmas Spectacular

Radio City Christmas Spectacular is a "must see" show starring the world-famous Radio City Rockettes. The beautiful girls are the best in the business, and well-known for their signature eye high kicks and dazzling choreography. The shows start in mid-November and run daily until the end of the year. Book discount New York Broadway Tickets online - including Radio City Christmas Spectacular - and enjoy the best prices, guaranteed! www.NewYork60.com

OnBoard Tours has a wonderful Christmas Lights Tour from November 15 through January 10. It's the best holiday lights show in the city!

Winter wonderland in the sun

Cold weather may not be your thing, and if that's the case, you can't go wrong with Orlando, Florida where the theme parks transform from their usual happy ambience to a winter wonderland with jingle bells, lights and holly, especially at Disney World.

Mickey's Christmas Parade

On 18 special evenings in November and December guests can experience Mickey's Once Upon a Christmastime Parade.
Photo by: ©Disney

Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party is an annual event held at the Magic Kingdom theme park (extra ticket required) on various November and December nights. Some of the entertainment that makes this celebration special are: Live entertainment featuring Disney Characters, Mickey's Once Upon A Christmastime Parade, the enchanted Castle Dream Lights on Cinderella Castle, cookies and hot cocoa and of course a visit from Santa. The event hours are from 7:00 p.m. to 12:00 a.m.

The Official Ticket Center is a good source for discount tickets to Orlando's top attractions including Walt Disney World, Universal Studios Orlando, Sea World Orlando, and Kennedy Space Center. Discounted Dinner Show tickets also available for Arabian Nights, Sea World's Makahiki Luau, Sleuth's Mystery Dinner Show, Pirates Dinner Show Adventure and Medieval Times.

I stumbled upon a website dedicated to Christmas in Orlando which is your one-stop for all of the activities and events in Orlando over the holidays.

SAVE up to $900 on a 7 Night Stay! Stay 5 nights, receive 2 nights FREE on featured Orlando vacation homes during select travel dates through 12/18/09!

Holiday Travel Tips

This month kicks off the holiday travel season. The week of Thanksgiving is the busiest travel time of the year followed by the weeks of Christmas and New Years.

Here are some tips to help you manage your holiday travel schedule:

The gap between these Thanksgiving and Christmas are an extremely affordable time to travel. Hotels and rental car prices drop and the crowds are minimal everywhere you go.

When flying over the holidays arrive at the airport two hours before departure. Monday mornings, Friday afternoons and all day Sunday are exceptionally busy at most airports, and the security check lines can be very long. Winter weather often interferes with airline schedules and causes delays. Choosing a non-stop flight over one with connections can decrease chances of a delay. Morning flights are less likely to be delayed than afternoon and evening flights.

Airline passengers are asked for identification several times before boarding. Wear a lanyard with a plastic passport holder for easy I.D. access. You will be asked to remove your footwear at the security check, so wear slip-on shoes and clean socks.

Checked baggage fees are still in existence like we mentioned last year. Some airlines charge, others don't and the confusing part is that the prices vary between carriers that do charge. Check with the individual airline for their checked baggage rates.

In-flight snacks and meal services are still not what they used to be and many are charging for food. The best way to avoid these extra costs is to pack a lunch or pick something up on the way to the airport if you have a long flight ahead of you. Liquids are still not allowed through security, but beverages can be purchased at an airport vender after passing security screening. Keep in mind that if you plan to purchase food on the aircraft, many airlines have stopped accepting cash and only take credit cards.

Harrisburg Airport

Passengers line up to go through the TSA security screening at Harrisburg International Airport.
Photo by: Harrisburg International Airport ©

When packing luggage, all valuables, electronics, and medications should be kept in carry-on luggage. Packages should never be gift-wrapped. Label all checked and carry-on luggage pieces inside and out with your name and contact information. Tie a colorful ribbon around the handle for easy identification.

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) will cut the lock off of your luggage if it is chosen for a random inspection. To avoid this problem, do not lock your bags, or use a TSA approved lock that may be opened by security agents via a universal TSA code. If you travel with a laptop computer, be prepared to remove it from the carrying case and put it through the x-ray machine independently.

You can still carry liquids, gels or pastes that are no larger than 3 oz. (9 cl.) in your carry-on luggage, but you must place them in a one quart (1 liter) plastic bag. At the security check, you must remove that bag of cosmetic items and place it on top of your luggage through the x-ray machine. You should carry all larger liquid items in your checked luggage. Generally, you can carry unlimited quantities of prescription medications, diabetic nutritional supplements, baby formula or breast milk as long as you declare it at the checkpoint. Items such as snow globes need to be packed in checked luggage, as the agents will ask you to surrender them.

The best advice though, is to keep a smile on your face. Traveling these days isn't the easiest, but the kinder passengers are to each other, the nicer the flying experience is for us all.

We wish you a happy holiday season and hope you enjoy your travels in the U.S.

Contest Winner

Congratulations to Mario Alberto Sanchez of Santa Fe Argentina! He was the randomly selected winner of our August News Magazine contest. Alberto won a USATourist Travel Gear Package, including a USATourist T-shirt, USATourist Hat, Airplane Carry-on Toiletry Kit, 2 Luggage Tags and a Travel Alarm Clock.

Special Deals

Get Fantastic Rates on Rental Cars across the country with Car Rental Coupons from Rental Car Momma.

New Year's Eve Cruise in New York - Cruise on New York Harbor and watch the sparkling lights of the city pass you by as enjoy a full open bar, hors d'oeuvres and non-stop DJ who will supply the soundtrack to New Years Eve, 2010.

New York City Holiday Lights Tour - Get in the festive mood by taking a three-hour, early-evening tour of Manhattan's glittering holiday-season lights. New York City comes alive at night, and there is no better time to tour the illuminated city than during the Christmas holidays.

8% Off Two Day New York Passes! Use Coupon Code: 8pc0108

Don't Forget to Book Your Holiday Travel This Cyber Monday. Great Deals on Total Trip Adventures with Travelocity!

Choice Hotels New York. Great hotel value in New York. Book direct and save.

New York City Duck Tour

Woodbury Common Shopping Tour

DISCOUNTED Last minute deals to New York City. Book your New Years travel with US.Lastminute.com.

Book your New York activities at Expedia.com and see the sights

Book flight, hotel, and Magic Your Way® Ticket and receive up to 3 FREE nights at the Walt Disney World® Resort. Book 9/29 - 12/20.

Written by: Elizabeth L. Blair

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