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.

Sunset over the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, California

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 Walkscore.com 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 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.

Sunset over the Eiffel Tower in Paris, France

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 article was posted on Hipmunk's Tailwind blog by The Hipmunk on February 2nd.

Published in Travel Inspiration

Oakland is a diverse city that has much to offer visitors. Unsure where to stay? If you seek excitement or action then head on up to Berkeley. However those in the mood to relax or being lured to the water might want to stay on the riverfront right in the heart of Oakland.

Hotel Durant

One of Oakland's best suburbs is Berkeley and right in the heart of it all is the green-certified Hotel Durant, near the University of California Berkeley. Offering stylish, comfortable rooms at an affordable price, there is no better place to stay than the Durant when planning to explore the city or campus. All the modern amenities are included, as well as other features to help busy individuals on the go, such as a large desk, ergonomic chair, and best of all free (and fast) wifi.

Hotel Shattuck Plaza

Those seeking affordable elegance need look no further than Hotel Shattuck Plaza in downtown Berkeley. Geared to both business and leisure travelers, everything about Shattuck Plaza is designed to help you make the most of your trip. 24-hour business center, fitness center, restaurant and lounge. Complimentary wifi. Luxurious furnishings, executive appliances and first class toiletries. The hardest part about staying here is leaving.

Hotel Shattuck Plaza in Berkeley, California

Executive Inn & Suites - Oakland Waterfront

If leaving home is hard then the Executive Inn & Suites - Oakland Waterfront is for you. Their rooms have been designed to make you feel more at home and include refrigerator, microwave, coffee maker, plush queen- and king-size beds, executive toiletries, daily newspaper service, and more. You can even choose city or water view. Free continental breakfast and wifi are also included. Located nearby are countless shopping and dining options, including Fisherman's Wharf and downtown Oakland.

Red Lion Hotel Oakland International Airport

When convenience is the name of the game then the hotel for you is the Red Lion Hotel Oakland International Airport. Make the most of a short business trip by doing everything from your hotel with Red Lion's business center, conference rooms and meeting areas. Plenty of shopping and dining options are located nearby. Plus you guests here can enjoy those few precious moments of freedom at the end of the day even more with plush beds, flat screen TVs, and spacious bathrooms. Some rooms even have balconies with an amazing view of the surrounding bay area.

Waterfront Hotel, a Joie de Vivre Boutique Hotel

White sand. Blue beaches. The two colors are prevalent throughout the design and furnishings of the nautical-themed Waterfront Hotel, a Joie de Vivre Boutique Hotel. Located next to the marina, the Waterfront Hotel is the jewel of Oakland. Spacious rooms with top of the line furnishings and appliances, even balconies! Impeccable service including free wine and cheese hour and complimentary downtown shuttle service. Heated outdoor pool, fitness center, sauna and valet service are just a few of the many additional perks of staying at the Waterfront Hotel.

Which of these hotels resonates most with your personality or travel style?

Published in United States

Many of the major cities across the United States play host to annual gay pride events, often a parade that encourages solidarity, fun, and comradery. Members of the LGBT community may travel far and wide to attend these events, so they want to make sure they will have the experience they are seeking when they go. Here are some of the top gay prides that are known for their memorability.

New York

New York City Gay Pride Parade 2011

There are dozens of gay pride festivals and parades that happen in New York during the summer months, so visitors really have their pick of which to attend. Of course, there is one in Manhattan that’s pegged to the Stonewall Riots in Greenwich Village in 1969. It’s really the event that started it all. However, there also are celebrations in each of the other boroughs of New York, as well as smaller events in several city parks. Just check a list of events here to get a feel for all the options in New York.

San Francisco

San Francisco Gay Pride Parade 2008

Of course, the LGBT community is huge in this iconic city, so it stands to reason that it would boast the largest gay pride gathering in country. Starting where pioneer Harvey Milk addressed the crowd in the early 1970s, the parade routinely draws more than a million marchers. There really is a whole month of tangential events, and visitors can be part of one or many of them.

Atlanta

Altanta Gay Pride Parade 2007

This city really goes all out for the members of the LGBT community and includes not only a Gay Pride march attended primarily by men, but also an event for lesbian marchers and one for the trans community. Many of the city’s business owners show their support of the marchers with sponsorships, partnerships, and special events during the annual Gay Pride Festival. Plus, the Atlanta event has the bonus of being held at the end of summer instead of at the beginning as a lot of other cities do. This means the heat is more tolerable and visitors don’t have to miss another great city’s event in order to attend.

There are hundreds of gay pride events held throughout the country every year, even in cities one might not think would be a likely place to host a festival. For people who want to attend an event as part of their travel plans this summer, all that’s required is a perusal of this master list in order to find the right fit for them.

  flickr   //   kargaltsev   bastique   lamenta3

Published in United States

California is known around the world as being a mecca for forward-thinking movements and people, but San Francisco in particular stands out from the rest of the state. The city is a hotbed of art and independence, as well as being the home to countless green movements and corporations. As such it should be no surprise that the hotels in San Francisco are likewise amazing and unique. The next time you are passing through San Fran, be sure to check out these cool and quirky hotels lest you find yourself in another boring chain.

Hotel Tomo

Fusing that rustic California feel with a touch of Japanese is the intriguing Hotel Tomo, located in San Francisco's Japantown (no surprise there). This hotel is a gamer's paradise and the ideal destination for any Japanophiles. Throughout the hotel are subtle references to Japan, from anime to artwork, all decorated in the most tasteful of ways.

Phoenix Hotel

The cool and quirky Phoenix Hotel in San Francisco, California -- designed for musicians

Owned and managed by the same parent company as Hotel Tomo, the Phoenix Hotel has a strong musical theme that makes it perfect for any traveling rockers. Word on the street is that there are several well-known groups that always stay here when they have gigs in town. Might be worth booking a room just to see who you run into in the lobby.

Hotel des Arts

Is it an art gallery? Is it a hotel? I still don't know but definitely love it! The Hotel des Arts near Chinatown is a must for art lovers. Every wall of this hotel from lobby to bathroom is adorned with at least one piece of artwork, most of which are abstract but all of which are wildly captivating. A stay here will make you want to grab a spray can and hit the San Francisco streets.

Hotel Diva

Hotel Diva in San Francisco, California

One of the all around coolest boutique hotels in San Francisco is the Hotel Diva, of which you need not be to enjoy a stay here. With funky and stylish rooms unlike anything else you've ever seen in San Francisco (and that is saying a lot), this hotel is perfect for anyone with a quirky personality or design sense.

Hotel Mark Twain

Step back in time with this unique fusion of Mark Twain era life mixed with a dash of modern San Francisco charm and quirkiness. The Hotel Mark Twain stands apart from all other San Francisco hotels because it is simply a trip. From a larger than life photo of the man himself to the authentic retro outfits of the staff, guests here are swept away from the minute they enter the door. An obvious must for any fans of Mark Twain — but that should go without saying.

Hotel Triton

Hotel Triton in San Francisco, California

If color and vibrance are as mandatory to your daily life as oxygen is, then the Hotel Triton is where you want to be. Full of cool, crazy, colorful, and quirky designs, paintings, and artwork throughout the entire building, the Triton is a feast for all the senses.

See More       Offbeat Travel Guides   United States Travel Ideas

  flickr //   dlytle   pjmixer   jimnix

Published in United States

No visit to San Francisco would be complete without a tour of Alcatraz. I highly recommend taking the night tour. Be sure to book your tickets in advance via Alcatraz Cruises) as they sell out weeks in advance. They are the only official ticket provider and any tickets purchased elsewhere are merely AC tickets re-packaged.

A Day in San Francisco:

3:30 PM - 9:00 PM
- Ferry to Azkaban, I mean Alcatraz
- Night Tour of "The Rock"     (AMAZING!)
- Ferry back to the mainland

Aboard the ferry to Alcatraz Island
From the ferry ride to the island

Old photos of inmates at Alcatraz Island
Old photos of inmates at Alcatraz

Each corridor and space inside Alcatraz has a nickname: Broadway, Times Square, etc
Each corridor and space has a nickname: Broadway, Times Square, etc

Cool staircase at Alcatraz
Cool staircase at The Rock

The Alcatraz key system: When requested the key was sent down to the prison floor via the rope and hook
The key system: When requested the key was sent down to the prison floor via the rope and hook

The Gun Galley of Alcatraz is at the top (where the guards kept vigil, behind the metal bars)
The Gun Galley at the top (where the guards kept vigil, behind the metal bars)

Metal walkways and railings inside Alcatraz aka The Rock

Weathered door to the Alcatraz courtyard outside

Photos of friend Jesika, who came to visit for the weekend and let me test out my new 50mm 1.4 lens on her

Sunset as seen from Alcatraz Island

How about THAT sunset!

The reception desk to Alcatraz prison
The reception desk to the prison

Can't you just picture the Alcatraz inmates staring out at the world from these windows in lonely desperation...
Can't you just picture inmates staring out at the world from these windows in lonely desperation...

Sunset view through the frosted glass blocks of Alcatraz
Sunset view through the frosted glass blocks of Alcatraz

View of the Golden Gate Bridge through the frosted glass blocks of Alcatraz
View of the Golden Gate Bridge through the frosted glass blocks

The hydro
The hydro "therapy" chamber in the hospital wing...creepy!

The Hospital wing of Alcatraz prison, one of the areas open for the night tour
The Hospital wing of the prison, one of the areas open for the night tour -- very, very cool

The hospital ward of Alcatraz
Not any hospital I'd want to visit...

Old exam table in the hospital ward of Alcatraz
Exam table

There are all sorts of after hours lectures and extra features on the night tour of Alcatraz
There are all sorts of after hours lectures and extra features on the night tour -- very, very cool

The hospital ward of Alcatraz
Last shot of the hospital ward

The hospital ward of Alcatraz
This is my favorite shot from the day. Isn't it crazy creepy? Yah.

Alcatraz at night
The prison at night

  Have you ever been to Alcatraz?

Published in United States

A friend and I recently ventured into my local metropolitan center, aka San Francisco, and did some exploring. The weekend is best summarized by said friend's phone call to her husband: "Hey babe, I just saw the Golden Gate Bridge, Coit Tower, toured a WWII Submarine and now I'm going on a night tour of Alcatraz. Tomorrow I'm going to see a Tuscan Castle!"

Her husband's hilariously sarcastic response: "Great. Let me know when you fly a fighter jet!"

Anyway here are some photos from our day out on the town:

The Palace of Fine Arts

The Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco, California

The Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco, California

The Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco, California

Coit Tower

The Coit Tower in San Francisco, California

Path to the Coit Tower in San Francisco, California

There is a really cool path up/down to/from Coit Tower, which wanders by an amazing neighborhood and some very cool, unexpected gardens in the middle of the city. If you're lucky, you'll see the famous parrots.

Along the path t the Coit Tower in San Francisco, California

The Coit Tower in San Francisco, California

Published in United States

Explored Pier 39. ✔   Walked to Pier 45. ✔   Found a WWII Submarine. ✔  That's right. I said A World War II SUBMARINE. The USS Pampanito served for three decades before being retired but is perhaps most famous for its starring role as the fictional USS Stingray in the 1995 comedy film Down Periscope starring Kelsey Grammar.

The USS Pampanito

SO worth the $10 admission fee.

Exploring the USS Pampanito in San Francisco, California

Exploring the USS Pampanito in San Francisco, California

Exploring the USS Pampanito in San Francisco, California

Exploring the USS Pampanito in San Francisco, California

Exploring the USS Pampanito in San Francisco, California
One laundry machine for 70+ men. How often do you really think they washed their clothes? (Also, only one shower too. Ditto for washing of bodies?)

Exploring the USS Pampanito in San Francisco, California
This bunk is sandwiched between torpedoes. Yup. Better not toss and turn at night if you sleep there.

Exploring the USS Pampanito in San Francisco, California

Exploring the USS Pampanito in San Francisco, California

Exploring the USS Pampanito in San Francisco, California
Torpedo tubes

Exploring the USS Pampanito in San Francisco, California
A hatch. It's TEENY TINY. There are 4 or 5 of these to pass through when traversing the length of the sub -- these divide the sub into watertight compartments.

Exploring the USS Pampanito in San Francisco, California

Exploring the USS Pampanito in San Francisco, California
RED ALERT! The lighting on "the bridge" is red.

Exploring the USS Pampanito in San Francisco, California

Exploring the USS Pampanito in San Francisco, California
How would you like to sleep in such tight quarters? (You can't really see them from this photo, but the bunks go five rows deep to the left. Imagine the smell! Or don't.)

Exploring the USS Pampanito in San Francisco, California
Kaboom!

  Turns out you can rent the submarine for overnight stays! How cool is that?

  flickr // pathfinderlinden

Published in United States

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