Save on End of Summer Getaways

Summer Getaways
Get Last Minute Deals on Summer Getaways

I am taking stock of the last weeks of summer and am planning a getaway around DMVthe District, Maryland, and Virginia, that is.

For starters, my daughter and I are heading down to Petersburg, Virginia for a college visit.  I’ve been hoping to snag a room on Priceline.

I’ve updated my Promos page with some opportunities to save on end of summer travel.

If you find the summer has been slipping away without plans for a vacation, check out these deals from some of my favorite discount travel sites:


  • 15% off Flash Deals on Getaways with promo code GETAWAY15.  Good 8/15/14 – 8/16/14.  


  • Get an extra 5% off Express Deals with code METRO6 when you book in Las Vegas, Denver, Los Angeles, New York City, Miami, Toronto. 2 star hotels and above, min 2 night stay. Travel anytime. Book by Aug 25, 2014.

Living Social

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Attention Foodies: Vermont Cheesemakers Festival

Vermont Cheesemakers Festival
Vermont Cheesemakers Festival
July 20, 2014

Tickets are going fast for the sixth annual Vermont Cheesemakers Festival set for Sunday July 20, 2014 in Shelburne, Vermont.

Vermont is the premier artisanal cheese state, with 44 cow, goat, and sheep cheese makers throughout the state.

The 2014 Cheesmakers Festival will offer cooking demonstrations, cheese-making demonstrations, and tasting seminars.

2014 Vermont Cheesemakers Festival

The Cheesemakers Festival takes place at the historic Shelburne Farms, a scenic 1,400-acre agricultural estate with a working farm and inn, on the shores of Lake Champlain.

The event features:

  • over 40 award-winning cheese makers
  • over 200 products to sample and purchase
  • local wineries, breweries and distilleries & artisan food producers

Festival runs from 10:00 AM – 4:00 PM.

Vermont Cheesemakers Festival
Vermont Cheesemakers Festival

Tickets are available online here, but act quickly because they are already 75 percent sold out.  Tickets cost $50 plus a $3.25 box office surcharge.

Seminars include “Sweet & Stinky,” “Beyond the Curd,” and “A Vertical Tasting.”

The Vermont Cheese Trail

If you can’t make the event, there is a do it yourself tour of the Vermont Cheese Trail, with 12 cheesemakers open to the public.

I’ll be in Ann Arbor that weekend, but this looks like a fun event to keep in mind for the future.

Four Ways to Win a Family Trip to Universal’s Harry Potter World

Win a Trip to Harry Potter World
Win a Trip to Harry Potter World

There are at least four active contests to win a free trip for a family of four to Universal Studios in Florida to see the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, including the brand new Diagon Alley.

Some of these contests end tomorrow, so enter now for a chance to win!

I’ve been fascinated by all the press accounts this week about the new Hogwarts Express ride and Diagon Alley and I’m dying to go!  The park will officially open to the public July 8, 2014.

Here are four ways to win a free to trip to Universal Studio’s Harry Potter World

Fandango Harry Potter World Sweepstakes

One lucky family will enjoy the action and fun of Universal Orlando® Resort, including early admission to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter™.  The grand prize includes:

  • Roundtrip airfare to Orlando, Florida for a family of four
  • Hotel accommodations on-site at the new Universal’s Cabana Bay Beach Resort
  • Ground transportation between airport and hotel in Orlando
  • Admission to both Universal Studios Florida® and Universal’s Islands of Adventure® theme parks, including Early Park Admission* to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter™ one hour before the parks open
  • Tickets to Blue Man Group
  • Admission to Wet ‘n Wild® Orlando waterpark

Enter here by 9 pm PT on June 30, 2014.

Southwest Vacations Universal Orlando Sweepstakes

Enter here for a chance to win a Southwest family vacation package  to Universal Studios Florida® and Universal’s Islands of Adventure® theme parks.  The family vacation package includes:

  • Roundtrip air fare for up to four via Southwest Airlines® to Orlando, Florida
  • Three-night stay at one of four on-site hotels at Universal Orlando® Resort
  • 3-Day/2-Park Tickets for up to four people to Universal Studios Florida® and Universal’s Islands of Adventure® theme parks
  • Four-day rental car from Alamo
  • Two (2) wands from The Wizarding World of Harry Potter™
  • Four (4) tickets to Blue Man Group show at Universal CityWalk®

Enter by June 30, 2014.  See the official entry form for details.

Orlando Visitors Bureau Sweepstakes

The Orlando Visitors Bureau is sponsoring a sweepstakes for an Orlando Family Vacation for up to four people to travel to Orlando, Florida.  You have your choice of visiting Universal Orlando, Disney World, or SeaWorld.

Enter here for your chance to win:

  • Round trip airline tickets to Orlando
  • Four-night accommodations at the Hyatt Regency Orlando including a half-day cabana rental and a $100.00 food and beverage credit.
  • Two-day tickets to your choice of Walt Disney World Resort, Universal Orlando or SeaWorld Orlando
  • Round trip ground transportation from Orlando International Airport to the hotel

Entries must be received by 11:59 pm ET on June 30, 2014.

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Fabulous Deal on Price’s Seafood Restaurant

Save at Price's Seafood in Harve de Grace, MD
Save at Price’s Seafood in Harve de Grace, MD

Update:  Deal Extended.  $16 for $40 of crabs with coupon code:  Save 20% off sitewide with code SUMMERSTART. Valid 6/19/14 12:00 am ET through 6/21/14 11:59 pm PT. Restrictions apply.

I’ve raved about the sweet crabs at Price’s Seafood Restaurant in Harve de Grace, Maryland before.

This bayside restaurant serves up bushels of crabs and other seafood specials.  It’s not fancy, just a genuine crab shack by the Chesapeake Bay.

Price’s Seafood restaurant is a great midway stop if your driving between New York and Washington.

LivingSocial Deal on Price’s Seafood

LivingSocial is running a fabulous deal where you can get a voucher for $40 worth of seafood for $20.  (Please note that the terms of the offer exclude Fridays and Saturdays.)

But you can do better than that!

 Price's Seafood on the Chesapeake Bay
Price’s Seafood on the Chesapeake Bay

If you collect United Mileage Plus points, you can get 6x points by going to LivingSocial via the United Shopping Portal, and an additional 15 percent off with coupon code UNITED15.  

You must act quickly because this offer expires today, June 16, 2014!  You’ll get the voucher for $17, plus earn 102 Mileage Plus points in the bargain!

100 points isn’t worth much, but can be useful if you need a transaction on your account to keep your miles from expiring.

Alternately, if you go through the cash back shopping portal at FatWallet, you can get 10 percent cash back.  I have had very good experience with FatWallet.  They track all your purchases and the cash back posts fairly promptly.  With this route, you’ll get $2.00 cash back on your purchase.

Hat tip to Just Another Points Traveler.

This post contains affiliate links.  Thanks if you choose to use them.

Dulles Flyer: What is the #icelanDChase?

Icelandair Ticket Giveaway Washington DC to Europe
Icelandair Reps Will be Giving Away Freebies on the Streets of Washington, DC

Icelandair is celebrating its new year-round service from Washington D.C. by giving away round-trip tickets for two to any of Icelandair’s more than 20 destinations in Europe!

Icelandair representatives will be hitting the streets of the nation’s capital to give away one pair of tickets each day from Thursday, June 12, 2014 through Saturday, June 14, 2014.

Additional prizes include thirty $100 gift certificates for travel, tee shirts, Icelandic music CDs, and cool merchandise.

How can Washingtonians join the #icelanDChase?

You can search for the location of each day’s tickets, by finding clues and a password on Icelandair’s Facebook and Twitter pages.

  • Follow #icelanDChase on Twitter for clues
  • Clues will be given at various times of the day until the tickets are found
  • The first person to arrive at the location and reveal the password to the Icelandair representatives will win tickets for two to any one of more than 20 destinations in Europe
  • For further information, see the Terms and Conditions

    Where can you Fly on Icelandair?
    Where can you Fly on Icelandair?

You can find Icelandair on Facebook ( or Twitter (@Icelandair).

Note the blackout dates, which exclude travel during the summer, or over the Christmas holiday:  May 21, 2014 through September 5, 2014; and December 15, 2014 through January 6, 2015.  

If You Don’t Live in Washington, Here are Two  Other Contests to Iceland

1.  Icelandic Fourmula is giving away a trip for two to Iceland!  This online giveaway includes:

  • Roundtrip coach class airfare for two
  • room accommodations for three nights/ four days at a luxury hotel in Reykjavik
  • City of Reykjavik Welcome Card
  • VIP room for 2 at the Blue Lagoon Geothermal Spa.
Icelandair Launches Year Round Service from IAD
Icelandair Launches Year Round Service from IAD

Fill out the entry form online to enter for a chance to win this Iceland getaway!  Enter by December 31, 2014.

Click here for sweepstakes rules and conditions.

2.  X-Men X-Treme Adventure

This contest is for a trip to Iceland, or weekly packs of Flipz, X-Men memorabilia, Schick razors and cash.  Enter before October 31, 2014.  

The Grand Prize Winner will receive a trip for two to Iceland and $2,274 in cash for personal expenses.  The trip must be taken between October 31, 2014 and March 31, 2015, but cannot be taken over Christmas, New Years or public holidays in the U.S. or Iceland.  The official rules are here.  

Dulles Flyer: See Air China’s Inaugural Flight into IAD

Inaugural Air China Flight to Dulles June 10, 2014
Inaugural Air China Flight to Dulles June 10, 2014

Dulles International Airport (IAD) in will welcome Air China’s inaugural arrival from Beijing to Washington, DC on Tuesday June 10, 2014 with a special ceremony.

Twenty-five lucky members of the public will be invited to view the aircraft landing and the ceremonial water arch of Air China’s first flight into IAD. 

In addition to viewing the landing of Air China’s first flight, guests will attend a VIP Ceremony and ribbon cutting at the Main Terminal.

Would you like to be a part of this exciting event?

Click here to enter for a chance at an invitation.  Entries must be received by 10:00 a.m. Friday, June 6, 2014.

Participants will be transported via mobile lounge to the airfield.  Upon conclusion of the landing and aircraft parking, the mobile lounge will return to the Main Terminal where participants are invited to attend the Air China Inaugural Ceremony.

Air China will offer four nonstop flights per week to Beijing beginning June 10, 2014.

Win a Staycation: Ride the Capital Wheel

The Capital Wheel at National Harbor
The Capital Wheel at National Harbor

Here’s a contest that caught my eye, mostly because of the chance to ride the brand new Capital Wheel.

The Maryland Office of Tourism is running a sweepstakes for a staycation at National Harbor, right on the Potomac River in Prince George’s County.

National Harbor is a multi-use riverfront development with outlet shopping, dining, entertainment and lodging.

I call this a staycation sweepstakes, because it includes hotel, meals, and entertainment, but not plane fare to Washington, DC.

Enter the National Harbor Summer Getaway sweepstakes by June 25, 2014, for a chance to win this prize package:

In addition, the grand prize includes four offers from the Potomac Riverboat Company:

  • Two VIP boarding passes (each pass admits two):  Alexandria – National Harbor Water Taxi;
  • Four VIP vouchers: National Mall Water Taxi;
  • Four VIP boarding passes:  George Washington’s Mount Vernon Estate & Gardens Cruise;
  • Four VIP vouchers:  Washington Monuments Cruise.

I entered this contest.  I think it would be a blast to stay on the other side of the Beltway and get around via water taxi for a couple of days.  Does it tempt you?


Win an Entire Year of Family Nights Out!

Fandango Family Movie Night Sweepstakes

Okay, here’s another sweepstakes offer I couldn’t help but share.

Fandango is offering a chance to win everything you  need to have the perfect family movie night every week, for a whole year!

The grand prize winner will receive:

  • Four Fandango movie tickets per week
  • Dinner out for four
  • Concessions
  • Gas money to cover your trips to the theater

Fandango is valuing this prize at $13,000 — it’s kind of astounding to think that that’s the cost of family entertainment these days.

They are also offering twenty weekly prices of $100 each in Fandango promo codes.

The sweepstakes runs from 5/28/14 to 6/27/14

You can enter online here.

Win a Year’s Worth of French Chocolate and a Trip to Paris!

Hipmunk Paris Sweepstakes Here’s a travel sweepstakes with a bonus:  it’s a contest for a trip to Paris and it comes with a year’s worth of chocolate!  Hard to pass on this one!

The Grand Prize includes:

  • Vosges Haut-Chocolat years worth of chocolate (value of $400)

    Hipmunk Paris Sweepstakes
    Vosges Haut Chocolat
  • 3 nights at Pavillon De La Reine on the Place des Voges, including breakfast (value of $1500)
  •  Curated weekend itinerary by Fathom (value of $100)
  • A private driver via Uber
  • $2500 for airfare for two roundtrip economy class tickets from anywhere in the continental U.S. to Paris,provided by HipMunk.

You can enter the contest here, by June 13, 2014.:  Travel the World Through Chocolate Paris Sweepstakes.

Remember to uncheck the tiny boxes on the bottom of the entry form if you do not want to receive adverts from the contest sponsors.

Hack My Wallet: Market Research Study

market researchThe other day, I was invited to participate in a market research study on credit cards.

In order to qualify, I had to answer some preliminary questions about which banks I used for my checking and savings accounts, and which banks had issued my credit cards.

After answering the pre-screening questions on the phone, I was selected to participate, and offered a fee for my time.

Upon arriving at the study site, I was ushered into a room to meet with two interviewers.  There were a couple of laptops, and I was told that my responses to questions would be captured by webcam so that the researchers could go back over the tapes to analyze my tone of voice and facial expressions.  There was also a one-way mirror in the room, from which additional people were observing the interview.

The interviewers began by asking me what credit cards I had, and why.

This was the warm-up question, and I think they were quite taken aback when I proceeded to describe the dozen or so credit cards I carry in my wallet, and my reasons for opening each card.

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