The Best USA Food Festivals

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Bonwi-Best-US-Food_Festivals

Attending a star-studded, multi-day culinary bonanza is the stuff of foodie fantasies. We have put together a list of our favorite food festivals in the USA to help inspire a mouth-watering trip.

camp-bacon-hero-builderCamp Bacon – Ann Arbor, MI 
Forget summer camps, Camp Bacon exists and offers participants plenty of opportunities to experience tasty smoked bacon. The event draws in bacon fans, bacon makers, journalists, chefs, and culinary historians. Some events are open to the public, like the Camp Bacon Street Fair which includes vendors selling bacon-related products.
The Food Network South Beach Wine and Food Festival
Food Network South Beach Wine & Food Festival – Miami, FL 
A five-day affair of dinners, presentations, and classes with celebrity chefs such as Rachael Ray, Andrew Zimmern, Guy Fieri, and Giada De Laurentiis. This event draws thousands of people each year due to impressive wine, craft beer, and spirit makers, as well as exquisite farm-to-table style cuisine.
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Great American Foodie Fest – Las Vegas, NV 
The Great American Foodie Fest is a compilation of some of the best specialty food vendors, restaurants and gourmet food trucks from all around the country that have been featured on the Food Network, Cooking Channel, and Travel Channel.
NYCfoodfestival
New York City Wine & Food Festival – New York City, NY 
The Big Apple hosts a weekend-long eating and drinking extravaganza, complete with sit-down dinners, walk-around tastings, and plenty of opportunities to meet and greet your favorite Food Network stars. The NYCWFF donates 100% of the net proceeds to the Food Bank For New York and No Kid Hungry charities.
Hawaii Food and Wine Festival
Hawaii Food & Wine Festival – Maui/Hawaii/Oahu, HI 

Set in the lush island paradise of Hawaii, the festival will take place over three weekends on multiple islands, featuring a roster of over 100 internationally-renowned master chefs, culinary personalities, and wine makers.

Let us help ensure that your next getaway is the best one yet. Find your happy place with Bonwi.

Save Money on Transportation While Traveling!

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For travelers looking to stretch their vacation dollars, cutting back on transportation costs may be the easiest way to do just that.

Carpool

In major cities, many taxi services like UberPOOL offer ridesharing or carpooling services; take advantage of these! By sharing a ride with other passengers, you can save around 20-40% on your ride fare. Chatting with locals or other travelers is just a bonus!

Bike

Contrary to popular belief, Amsterdam and Copenhagen are not the only cities where cycling is a popular mode of transportation. Save yourself some money, get around like the locals, and rent a bike! Not only is this much cheaper than other alternatives, but getting to experience your surroundings on two wheels is probably the most personal way to see a new city.

Forget “Recommendations”

When in doubt, you may think to ask the friendly hotel concierge for their recommendation on how to get to your destination. Think twice before doing this; they may be getting a kickback from the cab company they’re recommending, ultimately costing you more out of pocket. Airports have similar agreements as well, so cut out the commissioned middle-man and do your own research.

Rent A Car

If you plan on staying in any location longer than a week, it may be wise to spend a little more upfront on a rental car rather than racking up costs from many taxi rides. Rental cars are particularly useful in more rural settings where public transportation may not be readily available, but be aware of how and where you rent.

By using these tips as a guideline, you can better organize and prepare for your trip. Stay tuned to Travel Tip Tuesdays for more in-depth information about the best way to travel.

Ready to explore destinations? Bonwi has the best travel deals so you can travel more often, everywhere your heart desires! Try a search today.

The Cardinal Rules Of Carry-Ons

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Bonwi-Carry-On-Rules-and-Tips

This week’s Travel Tip Tuesday offers a few tips to keep in mind to help you pack light and pack right.

There are numerous advantages to flying with only a carry-on, and the benefits span from departure to arrival and back again. You’re able to save money by not checking bags, avoid the possibility of losing your luggage, and you can breeze past baggage claim to start your vacation before the first bag has even touched the conveyor belt.

  • Focus on packing only the essentials.
  • Limit yourself to two pairs of shoes, two pairs of pants, and wear your heaviest items on the plane.
  • Bring no more than one week’s worth of clothes.
  • For longer trips, plan to do laundry along the way.
  • Be efficient with your selections. Ensure that each garment you bring can color-coordinate with everything else in your travel wardrobe.
  • Bring only items that work with multiple outfits, otherwise leave it at home.
  • Clean your wallet/purse of old receipts and any junk you don’t need, swap your paperbacks for a Kindle, and forget about those “just in case” items that you can easily buy where you’re headed.
  • Consider using compression bags to save extra space.
  • Check in advance if your airline enforces weight limits for carry-ons.
  • Maximize your “personal item” by swapping a purse or laptop bag for a small backpack that can fit easily under the seat in front of you.
  • Roll your clothes instead of folding them; it will both save space and minimize wrinkles.

Embrace the simplicity and freedom of carry-on travel and you’ll never go back.

Ready to explore destinations? Try a search on Bonwi.

The Best Airports For A Layover

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Bonwi-Best-Airports-For-A-LayoverLayovers are seldom fun, as most seasoned travelers would agree. Moreover, layovers are growing significantly longer as airlines fly increasingly larger planes while reducing their number of flights. Fortunately, a handful of well-managed airports around the world are kicking their services and amenities up a notch in response to this trend. This week’s Travel Tip Tuesday showcases a few of our favorites.

Seoul Incheon International Airport (ICN)

Incheon offers free Wi-Fi and computers for travelers to use, but that’s not all. Here you’ll find an 18-hole putting course, casino, two movie theaters, an ice rink, a spa, and a sauna.

Munich International Airport (MUC)

Munich International comes complete with its own beer garden, live music, and on-site brewery, where you can watch brewmasters in action while waiting for your departing flight. The Visitors Park offers free showings of aviation movies, mini-golf, ultra-modern nap pods complete with iPhone and USB ports, as well as free coffee, tea and hot chocolate.

Zurich Airport (ZRH)

Free showers are available along with plenty of communal rest areas with reclining chairs. If you are looking for a little more privacy, furnished rooms are available to rent that come complete with beds, a television, and private bath. Plenty of duty-free shops and restaurants line this airport, including ones with the famous Swiss chocolate.

Dubai International Airport, Dubai (DXB)

Here you’ll find the world’s largest duty-free shop (58,000 square feet!). As if that’s not opulent enough, kiosks are scattered throughout the airport where travelers can buy actual gold bars before their flight. Walk through open-air gardens with mist machines, or stop in for a workout at their 24/7 gym, complete with a pool and showers. Reasonably-priced Snoozecubes are available, which are soundproof rooms that feature a bed, touch screen TV, and music.

Singapore Changi International Airport (SIN)

Changi International has it all. Explore a hikeable nature trail, butterfly gardens with more than 1,000 butterflies,  a full arcade, and a free movie theater. If you’d rather relax, experience the airport’s massage chairs, fish spa pedicures, multiple gardens, napping rooms, a rooftop swimming pool, and showers.

Ready to explore destinations? Try a search on Bonwi.

Best Ways To Exchange Currency!

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By using these tips as a guideline, you can better organize and prepare for your trip.

ATMs Are The Best Choice for Day-To-Day Funds

Best exchange rates usually come from your bank or credit union. Your bank typically charges 0% – 3% in fees when using international branches and machines, or partnered institutions. Check if your bank has international transaction fees. If they do, make fewer trips to the ATM by withdrawing larger amounts.

Ordering Foreign Currency Before Traveling

Check if your local bank or credit union sells foreign currency. Ordering cash through your bank is a good option because the banks themselves receive preferred exchange rates, and in turn, so do you.

Avoid Exchanging Cash at Airports, Hotels or Travelex Counters

While these are the most convenient, the exchange rates offered are poor and the fees are high. These should only be used for emergencies.

Use a Credit Card for Large Purchases

Paying with a credit card is a good option for favorable exchange rates. Visa, MasterCard, Diners Club, and American Express give wholesale exchange rates on purchases and charge 1% – 2% conversion fee. Check if your bank tacks on their own fee for international charges.

Bonwi finds you the best travel deals so you can travel more often, everywhere your heart desires! TRY A SEARCH HERE.

Travel Resolutions For The New Year Ahead

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 “Travel more” is a popular New Year’s resolution, since travel has the capacity to make you happier, healthier, more creative, and inspired. It’s now February – have you booked your trips for the comng year yet?  We know, it can be a challenge.

Not to worry. To help kick off 2019 on the right foot, this week’s Travel Tip Tuesday brings you five specific resolutions for a fantastic year of travel ahead.

weekend-getaway

Embrace The Weekends
Weekend getaways are the perfect opportunity for travelers who are limited on time, pinching pennies, or simply in need of some adventure in the time between their last big trip and the next. Find a new city that’s a quick flight or drive away, and grab your spouse, a couple friends, or even just go solo to discover it. Check out new restaurants and bars, meet new people, and experience new things. Exploring the unknown is an excellent way to gain confidence by extending our boundaries further. By the end of the weekend, you’ll feel invigorated and encouraged to continue exploring new places.

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Shorten Your Bucket List
We all have a bucket list. Even if you’ve never written it down, there are things that each of us hope to accomplish during our lives. You probably have at least one far-flung destination in mind that you want to see. No matter the “what” or “where” on your list, whether it be watching a sunrise over the ocean in Bali, or learning to cook Paella in Valencia, start planning now to make it happen. Strive to cross off at least one such experience, or to at least start working toward taking that trip. It will feel incredible transforming your dreams to reality.

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Use Travel To Connect
Travel isn’t just about the places you see, it’s about the people with whom you spend time. If there are people you’ve been vowing to visit forever, but it just never seems to work out, make this the year it happens. You’ll get quality time to bond with friends or family while creating memories that will last a lifetime. Meeting new people while exploring the world is also one of the best reasons to travel. Nothing opens your eyes to the world quite like conversations with strangers, and it’s the new friends who always stick in our mind after the trip has ended.

travel-to-disconnect

Use Travel To Disconnect
This year, use travel as an opportunity to disconnect a bit from the online world. Give yourself, and your vacation, the attention they deserve. We can’t suggest that you go completely offline, because you’ll need the Internet for information and communication, but making yourself scarce on social media while on vacation lets you focus more on what and who is around you. Why not savour that fabulous meal instead of Instagramming it first? And your Facebook friends can certainly wait for your vacation pictures.

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Be A Traveler, Not A Tourist
Live in the moment and embrace each new place that you visit to the fullest, and keep top of mind that travel is not a competition. When we get caught up in the numbers game of who’s been to the most places, we lose sight of what traveling is really all about. Slow down and take the extra time to absorb all that a new destination has to offer. Focus on having an experience rather than merely sightseeing. Attend events, festivals, or other activities. Try your hand at creating your own wine in France, fly fishing in New Zealand, or learning to surf in Hawaii. Get lost exploring off the beaten path, and never be afraid to stray from the guide books.

This New Year’s travel resolution list aims to inspire you to start dreaming about where and how you want to wander in the coming year. Expand your horizons to new experiences, sights, and cultures. Resist allowing fear to get in the way of exploring the unknown. Open yourself up to the invaluable life lessons that can only be learned through travel.

Ready to explore destinations? Try a search here.

2018 Highlights and 2019 Aspirations

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Today we announced a strategic partnership with WONDERLUST. We’re really excited to kick off 2019 by working with the top notch team over there. Read the press release here.

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2018 was an incredible year for Bonwi. We were rated the #1 hotel booking site by travel points guru Dan Gillaspia of uponarriving.com. We were a finalist in the Travolution Awards for the Best Travel Deals Publisher 2018. We also:

  • Surpassed 5,000 registered members on (sign up here if you haven’t already)
  • Exceeded 1 million bookable properties on Bonwi.com
  • Reached 1,000 subscribers right here on the Bonwi Blog
  • Added public price comparison to site search

Now we’ve partnered with WONDERLUST to differentiate the online travel experience for leisure and business travelers. Bob and his team are a force to be reckoned with.  As the exclusive editorial content provider to Bonwi, WONDERLUST will share features and travel advisories to Bonwi members including inspiration around new destinations and experiences and access to other partners and offers in the highly curated WONDERLUST ecosystem.  In turn, Bonwi will provide WONDERLUST users with:

  • Timely offers for up to 40% back in points when booking hotels and cars
  • Unique registration offers
  • Free dining for domestic bookings, and up to 50% off on dining, shopping and entertainment

Take a look at the world from the WONDERLUST perspective at wonderlusttravel.com.

Thank you for your support and for joining us in another exciting year ahead!

Benefits Of A Travel Journal

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Benefits Of A Travel Journal

Travel is an incredibly fulfilling pursuit that exposes us to new cultures, different perspectives, and unique experiences. A travel journal is an especially useful tool to record our adventures and share our memories with others. Below are a few of the major benefits of carrying a travel journal with you during your travels.

Use Your Journal To Plan
Your trip journal can begin before your trip has even started. Use your journal to start planning the things you want to do. It can be anything from a cool restaurant you want to eat at, a hike you want to go on, or different sights you want to see.

Write About Your Expectations
Sometimes your destination is wildly different than what you expected. It’s interesting to compare your predictions with actual experiences by writing down your expectations prior to arrival.

Gather Your Thoughts Each Day
It’s always easier to remember things when they are fresh in our brain, so try and write as much as you can while traveling; every day if you can. Before going to bed, simply jot down a few of the day’s most important or exciting events.

Supplement Your Writing
Combining mementos such as pamphlets, pictures, currency, menus, drawings, maps, or ticket stubs with first-hand written accounts of what they represent will make for an even more comprehensive narrative of your travels.

Reflect On Your Travels
Recounting your personal experiences is a great way to learn about yourself and the world around you. Take time to step back from all the things you did during your trip, and the impact that it made in your life.

Travel Journal Inspiration

  • Write about the people.
  • Why are you going?
  • What are you going to do?
  • Write about the food.
  • The ups and the downs.
  • Write about yourself.
  • Write about your expectations.
  • Write a travel guide.
  • What would you have changed?
  • Where do you want to go next?

Ready to explore destinations? Try a search on Bonwi.com.

Fun Ways To Bring Travel Memories Home

Fun Ways To Bring Travel Memories Home

Making memories and looking back on the times that you went on adventures around the world is one of the best perks of traveling. For this reason, having a few tangible ways to remember your travels will come in handy during the years to come. In this week’s Travel Tip Tuesday, we’re sharing our favorite ways for you to capture your journey.

Start A Collection  Sometimes, the cheap, obvious souvenirs are the best option, but add even more meaning to them by getting one of the same thing every place you visit. Here are a few suggestions:

  • Currency
  • Maps
  • Mugs or shot glasses
  • Matchbooks or coasters

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Write Letters/Postcards To Yourself  Take time to write a quick summary of the day on a postcard and mail it home. You’ll get to re-live your mental state and where you were at in life during different parts of your journey.

 

recipes

Collect New Recipes  Capture all of the different kinds of food and flavors you experience on your trip by bringing back a new recipe with you every time you visit a new place. Just take a quick snapshot of your favorite food and drink menus that inspire you. That way you can enjoy these new flavors at home and share them with others.

Capturing your trip in these tangible ways allows you to quickly recall the finer details that may otherwise fade away. They forever capture where you were, how you were feeling, who you were with, and all that you experienced during your adventures.

Ready to explore destinations? Try a search on Bonwi.com.

Home 2.0 for the Holidays

There’s no better time to embrace adulting than when deciding where to stay for the holidays.

Home vs. hotel 

Mom and dad are so excited. You’ve finally taken time away from your busy, impressive adult job to join them for the holidays. Normally, you might be more of a “call on Christmas, forget about Easter” kind of go-getter, but your parents are so proud of you. They just wish they could see you more. P.S. Make sure you’re eating enough. 

The thing is….

Though you might have hoped that, after busting your backside to accrue all of those vacay hours (or preparing that assessment for your boss of all the ways you earned your “unlimited” vacation), you would be going on an actual… vacation… Not so. You’re definitely booking a flight back to Akron, Sacramento, Des Moines, St. Paul, Lubbock or another hometown. It’s happening.

Now, where to stay? You could stay with your parents where their siblings, your siblings, and someone’s lonely neighbor will roost, OR you could stay at home 2.0.

What is home 2.0?

Home 2.0 is a hotel, proximal to your parents’ house – 15 miles or less. It’s outside of town enough that you won’t endure run-ins with high school crushes or former teachers, but close enough to make sense. You can park your bags, maintain your privacy, sleep like an angel and soak in the Jacuzzi while everyone else fights over the two outlets in your parents’ never-renovated split level. So, let’s compare going home for the holidays with going to home 2.0:

Home: Your brother’s kids scream-fight over toys
Home 2.0: A slice of quiet
Peace is important. You’ve learned this while adulting and you earned these days off. While you will cherish dinner, presents, caroling, crafting, movie night, and whatever else your parents have over-planned, your ambivert self is going to require a recharge. Your phone is, too. Welcome to your sanctuary.

Home: Politically gregarious
Home 2.0: Neutral territory
You and your parents may not see eye to eye on those hot button issues like the 2020 election, religion, or why you still haven’t had babies. Or maybe it’s Cousin Sam, who always goes eggnog overboard and alienates everyone before sundown. We all have someone. Tagging a secondary home base will allow you to casually slip out the back door, book it to your quiet, sensible rental car, and avoid catastrophe.

Home: That Christmas movie you hate, on repeat
Home 2.0: Your remote, your rules  
We don’t judge. Some people like the familiarity of those five holiday movies that are always on TV. If you’re someone who would like to take a hard left turn away from the usual suspects OR if you just want to watch something that isn’t animated for like, a whole entire hour, head back to Home 2.0. Blame it on a last minute work thing or a call from the (fake) significant other and catch up on a few hours of whatever else is on.

Home: Shoddy WiFi
Home 2.0: Connected
Your mom and dad are probably still using Wi-Fi provided by their cable company, who also provides their home phone line, and who also is not a national franchise. Your local cable outfit might be fine to make sure mom and dad can watch America’s Got Talent, but you need to be able to scroll Instagram, keep up with the scandalous group chat with your equally-displaced friends, and play Candy Crush, unabated. At Home 2.0 the WiFi password is a single word, and not the 14-digit code that came with the router (also on a sticker on the bottom of the router).

Home: A morning run with Uncle Greg
Home 2.0: A (basically) private gym
Uncle Greg. Good guy. Going through something you can’t relate to. Talks about something you can’t relate to. You’re going on a run. Now Greg is going, too. P.S. He’s wearing spandex. At home 2.0, you work out on your schedule, alone, or do a few laps in the pool. Without Uncle Greg.

Home: Sharing your childhood room with three other people
Home 2.0: Spreading out on the Cali King
Don’t be fooled, friend. Your childhood room might still be preserved the way you left it, right down to the race car wallpaper trim and the little league pennant – but it’s not your territory anymore. When you arrive, there will be air mattresses. There will be toiletry bags. There will be lost socks that aren’t yours, plus the bare feet that match them. Stay at home 2.0 and the only person putting their feet on your sheets is you.

Home: Someone else’s toothpaste, cap off
Home 2.0: Your oasis, and all the hot water you could ask for
Your parents’ one-and-a-half baths weren’t designed to accommodate 12 people, let alone three teenagers and a few kids who take hour-long baths. Your mid-range needs are last on the list, and when you DO get your turn, that place will be a warzone. Bathroom 2.0 is yours to linger and languish, alone.

Home: Eggo waffles by the plug-in fireplace
Home 2.0: Breakfast luxuries & the morning paper

Maybe your mom and dad make the most incredible pancakes on planet Earth. If they do, you have the flexibility to get up early and slide in right on time for the warmest short stack. If your parents aren’t exactly chef-inspired, you can enjoy a deluxe breakfast in the peace and quiet of your room or the dining space in your home 2.0 – and no one will take the part of the newspaper that you like best.

Where to find home 2.0

At the end of the day, you DO want to see your family. You love them, and that’s why you’re making this trek instead of heading to Cabo. But just because you miss your mom and dad doesn’t mean you want to sleep on their couch, end-to-end with a cousin you barely know anymore. This holiday season – and all year long – book yourself a backup plan that keeps everybody happy.

To book home 2.0 for the holidays, sign up for Bonwi today and instantly earn your first 1,500 points.  You’ll get the best hotel and car rental deals on the web, and earn massive amounts of points when you book…up to 40% back! Points can be redeemed for flights, hotel stay, car rentals and gift cards.

Happy Holidays and Safe Travels from the Bonwi team!

 

 

Get The Most Out Of Google Maps While Traveling

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travel-tip-google-maps

Get The Most Out Of Google Maps While Traveling

Since first being introduced in 2005, Google Maps has grown to become the most popular navigation software in the world. Active daily users now total well over one billion – and more than likely, you’re one of them. Google Maps is, after all, an extremely valuable and versatile tool for every type of traveler. But with Google steadily releasing new features and updates, are you sure you’re using the app to its full potential? In this week’s Travel Tip Tuesday, we’ll bring you up to speed on Google Maps latest functionality, and share with you a few of our favorite tips & tricks for your travels ahead.

Take Advantage Of Offline Functionality  

Before heading to the airport, be sure to download an offline map of the city or place where you’re traveling. Even if you have mobile data when you’re abroad, downloading a map ahead of time will use less data and/or load the map quicker when you’re out and about, so it’s a smart move either way.

Pre-Load Directions

Google Maps can still help you get where you’re going even if you’re offline and unable to use a downloaded map. In your accommodation (or wherever you have a wifi connection), simply program the route to reach your destination and Maps will download the info you need to get there. Once your route is configured, Maps will hold the data (even if you go offline) at least until you arrive, or until the Maps app is closed on your device.

Find Places Along Your Route

Google Maps is great for getting from point A to point B, but what about those times when you need to find food or gas along the way? Now the app will help you do just that without having to leave navigation mode.

  • Click the little magnifying glass and get a list of options such as gas stations, supermarkets, restaurants, coffee shops, and anything else you might need.
  • Tap “Explore” in the main menu of the Google Maps app to see a variety of sections each with ratings and descriptions.

The Little Person In The Corner Has A Purpose

That little yellow person in the bottom right-hand corner (named “Peg Man”) can be picked up and placed anywhere on the map. Right after dropping him, you’ll shift into that location’s street view and you can pan around as if you were there.

Make Use Of The “My Maps” Feature

Create a custom Google map using the My Maps feature, and plot all of the places you might like to visit based on your research in the run up to your trip. Then while you’re wandering around wondering where might be a good place within walking distance to grab dinner, you’ve got a phone full of your very own top choices.

My Maps are shareable if the creator makes them public. You can add your own favorite spots and discoveries throughout your trip and share with friends once you return. This is particularly helpful if you’re the type of person who is constantly being asked for travel recommendations – simply send them a link and vice versa.

Ready to explore destinations? Try a search on Bonwi.com.

Clever Travel Hacks For Any Trip

Clever Travel Hacks For Any Trip

In this week’s Travel Tip Tuesday, we’re sharing a few of our best tricks for saving time, space, and money as you explore the world.

Bring An Empty Water Bottle
Pack an empty bottle in your carry-on so you can get through security, then fill it up on the other side. There is no need to spend $4 on water every time you get on a plane!

Request A Fragile Sticker For Your Luggage
Doing so helps ensure that your suitcase ends up on the top of the luggage pile and first on the conveyer belt at the baggage claim.

Store Emergency Money In A Lip Balm Tube
Pickpockets target wallets, money clips, purses, and other obvious valuables. They’re almost certainly not after your Chapstick, regardless of how chapped their lips may be. Being small, inconspicuous, readily available, and watertight, it’s the perfect spot to stash some money for emergencies.

Use A Television To Charge Your Electronics
If you ever forget to bring a USB adapter, or find that your adapter has too few available outlets, keep in mind that most TVs have a USB port around the back which you can use to easily charge your electronics.

Pack Like A Pro With Tissue Paper And Dryer Sheets
Roll your clothes in tissue paper to avoid wrinkles. Doing so reduces friction, which is primarily what causes wrinkles to form. Toss a couple dryer sheets in your luggage as well to eliminate static electricity and keep your clothes smelling fresh and clean. (A bar of scented soap works great, too).

Download Google Maps For Use Offline
If you’re traveling somewhere without a phone data plan, you can easily download Google Maps ahead of time to browse offline. Type “Ok Maps” into the Google Maps search bar and the portion of the map that’s currently visible on your screen will be saved directly to your device for later use.

Wipe the dust off your suitcase and use the list above to enjoy more affordable, efficient, and stress-free adventures in 2019 and years to come.

Ready to explore destinations? Try a search with Bonwi.com.

Simple and Effective Tips For Restful Airplane Sleep

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travel-tip-tuesday-airplane-sleep

Simple and Effective Tips For Restful Airplane Sleep

People who can easily fall asleep on a plane are among the lucky few. Most of us are unable to doze off in a cramped space, sitting in an uncomfortable position, while surrounded by total strangers. Fortunately though, we have a few tips to help fellow travelers catch some quality Z’s during your travels ahead.

Head To The Gate Early | Book Nighttime Flights When Possible  It’s a good idea to pick a flight near to a time when you’d normally be sleeping. Wake up 2-3 hours earlier the night before your flight to make it easier to fall asleep onboard. Use that extra time at the gate to brush your teeth in the bathroom, wash your face, or read some of the books that sit on your nightstand. Performing such ritual actions will help tell your body that it’s time to sleep.

Best Days To Fly: Tuesdays & Wednesdays | Window Seats Are Your Best Bet  If you want fewer passengers and more space, pick the most unpopular days for booking flights: Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Fridays and any days before holidays are the most loaded. Always try to pick a window seat to rest your head on the wall and not be bothered by your neighbor wanting to get up to go to the bathroom. If you normally sleep on your left side, aim for seat A. If your right side is your preferred sleeping position, pick the window seat on the opposite side of the plane. Opt for a seat as close to the nose of the aircraft as possible. Your ride will be both smoother and quieter due to the extra distance from the engines.

Pick Food And Drinks Wisely, Both Before & During Your Flight  The best drink option for restful sleep while onboard is either herbal tea or plain water. A glass of red wine or two may help you doze off at altitude more quickly, though you’ll likely wake up groggy an hour or two later because alcohol reduces REM sleep, the most restorative phase of sleep. Avoid overeating as you fly, sticking to light, healthy food that’s just enough to keep you from feeling hungry.

  • Stay hydrated
  • Avoid alcohol and caffeine
  • Eat sparingly before flight

Tilt Your Seat Back As Much As Possible | Uncross Your Legs  Hours of sitting at a right angle may lead to lower back pain, and attempting to sleep with your head resting on the table or the back of the seat in front is bad for your neck and spine. Leaning back to a 135-degree angle is a far preferable sleep position, as it places the least pressure on the spinal discs. Crossed legs has the effect of clamping down on one side, which restricts blood flow and can also torque your lower back. Because your lower half is slightly twisted either to the right or left, and your upper body is still facing straight ahead, a small amount of additional stress is added to your lumbar.

Put Your Gadgets Away | Bring Along Sleep Accessories  Don’t watch movies on your phone, tablet, or laptop because the blue light of the screen wakes your brain up. The screens are interpreted as sunlight in our brains, which suppresses melatonin release and prevents sleep. Ideally, you’ll want to put away all your electronics at least half an hour before you plan on getting needed shuteye. To add comfort to your travels, we recommend bringing along a few accessories such as:

  • Eye mask and neck support
  • Compact travel blanket
  • Portable foot rest/hammock

Ready to explore destinations? Try a search at Bonwi.com.

Cruise Like A Pro

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travel-tip-tuesday-cruise-like-a-pro

Cruise Like A Pro

If you’re new to cruising, or it’s been a while since your last sea voyage, this week’s Travel Tip Tuesday explores a few ways to get the most out of your next cruise experience. Whether it’s a leisurely 12-passenger barge along French canals, or an ocean liner circling the Caribbean Islands, these tips will help you set sail like a pro.

Early-Bird Savings & Perks
Cruise lines typically offer the best rates and bonuses right when a cruise first goes on sale. You may be tempted to wait, but what usually happens is the cruise ships start to fill up and the increasing demand leads to higher prices. Booking early typically results in free bonuses such as pre-paid gratuities, on-board spending credit, or a reduced fare. Plus you’ll benefit from being able to select your ideal cabin. You can even book your next cruise while aboard the ship on a current cruise, usually at a discount.

Upgrading To A Balcony Cabin Is Money Well Spent
A balcony cabin will typically cost more than those with only a window, or no view at all. However, you’ll find that the additional expense is worth the price. Fresh air, complete privacy, and uncrowded views will make a big difference when you seek some downtime. Balcony cabins also tend to be quieter, and are prized by those who like to sleep in.

Make Dinner & Event Reservations Early
Once onboard, make a quick tour of your ship. Learn about the amenities and restaurants that you may want to book in advance. Set up reservations for events and specialty dinners early so that you can reserve the best times for your schedule.

Consider Buying A Spa Pass
A daily or cruise-duration spa pass offers the opportunity to use spa facilities that include steam rooms, saunas, and therapy/heated pools. Passes are usually limited to ensure the facilities aren’t overcrowded, so check if your ship’s spa offers them on the day you embark.

Planning & Preparation Checklist
Cruise-Pre-Vacation-Checklist to help take the stress out of vacation planning before embarking on your next adventure. Following this checklist will ensure that your home is prepped for your absence, your bank and cell phone providers are aware of your upcoming travel, that you’ve gathered together the correct travel documents to bring along, along with an assortment of other tips to make certain that your getaway remains worry free throughout.

Ready to explore destinations? Try a search on Bonwi.com.

Cooking While Traveling

travel-tip-tuesday-cooking-while-traveling

travel-tip-tuesday-cooking-while-traveling

Cooking While Traveling

Most travelers are familiar with the challenges of preparing meals from a hotel room or vacation rental. Necessary cooking utensils and ingredients are seldom available outside the familiar confines of our own kitchen. This week’s Travel Tip Tuesday shares a few tips on the right gear to bring along with you to make cooking while traveling a piece of cake.

knives-and-wine  

Bring A Chef’s Knife & Wine Opener  Vacation homes occasionally have flimsy, dull knives that make cooking feel like a dangerous chore. Bring your own sharpened chef’s knife and skip trying to use that dull blade in the drawer that by now is good only for spreading butter. It’s also best to error on the side of caution and pack a corkscrew just in case there are none available.

spices

Olive Oil Along With Salt & Spice Blends  A good olive oil makes it easy to turn the fresh, local ingredients you find into memorable meals, but it’s not worth buying a big, expensive bottle if you’ll only be using it for a week. Instead, pack a small bottle of whatever you like to use at home. Along with olive oil, your favorite salt and spices can make a big difference when cooking simple vacation meals.

tongs

Tongs & Grilling Tools  There are many cooking tools you can hack with other common kitchen supplies, but it’s tough to get by without tongs. Bring a cheap metal pair and maybe consider leaving them behind for future vacationers. Also if there’s a grill where you’re headed, pack any other such tools that might not be available, such as an accurate meat thermometer.

baking

Baking Supplies  If you plan to whip up any cobblers, pancakes, or pies with local summer fruit, pack a little kit with common ingredients such as baking soda, baking powder, vanilla extract, cinnamon, etc. You won’t waste money buying a big container of an item when you only need a teaspoon of it.

coffee

And, Of Course, Your Favorite Coffee  When settling for K-cups or Starbucks just isn’t an option, remember to include a bag of your favorite coffee beans before leaving. A little grinder with a small french press and you have everything you need for a great cup of coffee no matter where you are in the world.

Ready to explore destinations? Try a search on Bonwi.com.

World Tipping Chart

travel-tip-tuesday-tipping-while-traveling

travel-tip-tuesday-tipping-while-traveling

World Tipping Chart

Get up to speed with the tipping etiquette of your destination. Know how much to tip and when to tip based on where you are in the world.

Food Drinks Taxis
Australia 5%-10% Change (round to the nearest Dollar) Change (round to the nearest Dollar)
Canada 15% 10%-15% 10%-15%
Czech Republic 5%-10% 5%-10% 5%-10%
Ireland 10% Not expected (uncommon) 10%
Italy 10% Change (round to the nearest Euro) Not expected (uncommon)
Japan Not customary (often refused) Not customary (often refused) Not customary (often refused)
Mexico 10%-20% 20-40 Pesos ($1-$2)/drink Not expected (but appreciated)
Morocco 10% 10% 5%-10%
Spain 5%-10% Not expected (uncommon) 5%
United Kingdom 10%-15% Change (round up to the nearest Pound) 10%
United States 15%-20% $1/drink 10%-15%
Vietnam 5% Not expected (but appreciated) Not expected (but appreciated)

Ready to explore destinations? Try a search on Bonwi.com.

Get more Bonwi travel tips here.

 

Travel Tip Tuesday: September, The Best Time To Travel

September, The Best Time To Travel

September, just after Labor Day, is one of the best times to travel in the US. With vacation season winding down and schools back in session, those who travel from mid-September through October typically enjoy off-peak rates and great weather. So if you love the sun but not the crowds, consider a late vacation or an extended weekend getaway in September. Booking two months out (right now), also gives you the best blend of price and availability. Here are just a few destinations we recommend for this time of year.

Bahamas, Cayman Islands, Bermuda, Turks & Caicos

While the off-peak season in the Bahamas runs from late spring through late fall, temperatures in September become quite nice, with trade winds that ensure a comfortable stay in accommodations without air conditioning. Prices drop significantly through hurricane season, despite that storms are fairly infrequent. Storms more frequently pound the US mainland this time of year, so take advantage of this misperception and the low prices that come with it.

Orlando, Florida

Orlando theme parks attract families, so it is most busy when kids are on vacation from school during the summer. That said, the best time to go is during the academic year. September and October are the best months to go because prices are lower, the weather is still warm, and you will avoid the masses of families with children. Another good time to visit is after spring vacation in early May. The time to avoid is Christmas week.

Las Vegas, Nevada

In the fall months, Las Vegas is preparing itself for their “calm” season, so the city lowers its prices to keep their casinos clanging and clubs booming. The weather begins to cool off as things slow down. So if you don’t mind the city a little more quiet than normal, September/October is the prime time for you.

New Orleans, Louisiana

September/October is one of the best times of the year to visit New Orleans. The tourism traffic slows down, temperatures cool off, the humidity disappears, and prices drop. This phenomenon of good weather is no secret, so make sure you begin looking months in advance. The weather changes quickly so keep a close eye on the forecast during this time of year.

 

 

When planning your next September trip, check out Bonwi.com!

Five Fantastic Oktoberfest Events In The US

Oktoberfest

Oktoberfest

Oktoberfest, originally a celebration of a royal wedding, began over 200 years ago in a field in Munich, Germany. It’s now the largest festival on earth, with people coming all over the world to celebrate Bavarian culture by laughing, dancing, singing, and, of course, drinking beer. But it’s not necessary to leave the United States to celebrate Oktoberfest. Many cities across the country have embraced their German heritage, putting together festivals that rival those in Munich. Below we have included our five favorite picks for Oktoberfest celebrations around the United States.

Harpoon Oktoberfest
One of the most popular Boston fall events for over 20 years, complete with Oktoberfest beer, traditional bratwursts, a keg bowling game, and German chocolate cake-eating contests. Harpoon Oktoberfest offers everything from musicians dressed in lederhosen to yodeling competitions, plus much more.
Addison Oktoberfest
One of the most authentic outside of Munich, this four-day Oktoberfest in Addison Circle Park attracts more than 70,000 visitors every year. This event offers a variety of food and entertainment options, including gourmet schnitzel, polka dancing, folk music, karaoke, a German spelling bee competition along with numerous child activities.
Big Bear Lake Oktoberfest
Among the top rated Oktoberfests in the US for more than 42 years. Features of the Big Bear Lake Oktoberfest include food such as bratwurst, knockwurst, and Bavarian dumplings, as well as premium imported beers on tap. Observe or participate in various contests such as stein-carrying, plus enjoy live music, petting zoos, face painting, and much more.
Leavenworth Oktoberfest
A three-weekend festival held annually in Leavenworth, this celebration attracts over 10,000 people and features four venues with concerts of live traditional German music from the US and Germany. Here you will find authentic Oktoberfest cuisine like sauerkraut-topped bratwurst, shops with handmade art, crafts and collectibles, plus concerts, games and contests.
Historic German Town Oktoberfest
Attracting thousands of people for over 32 years, the family-oriented event of Oktoberfest in Nashville features everything from 4 stages presenting live German music, delicious assortments of Bavarian food and beverages, polka dancing, arts and crafts, antique booths, street performers, and plenty of fun games and activities for children.

 

Cheers to festivals and cheers to exploring new cities! Check back for more travel tips. And when booking your next trip, make sure to check out Bonwi.com.

The Ultimate West Coast Road Trip

West Coast Road Trip Tips

West Coast Road Trip Tips

The landscape found along the West Coast of the United States between Seattle and San Diego is considered by many to be the most beautiful in the world. The various environments between the two cities include volcanoes, high deserts, ancient redwoods, forested-coastline cliffs, massive rivers, and untamed wildlife. Depending on the time you travel and how you want to experience the journey, such a road trip can be conquered anywhere from one to five days. Starting at the northwest tip of the United States at Olympic National Park and driving all the way south to the Mexican border, this 1,650 mile (2.655 kilometers) stretch can be broken down into sections for you to start and stop as you wish during the best road trip of the year.

Olympic National Park

The park spans 1,442 square miles (3.734 square kilometers) and features snow-covered mountains, a temperate rainforest, and the rocky Pacific coastline. Olympic National Park is perfect for almost all outdoor activities due to its undeveloped and untouched environments. Camping, hiking/backpacking, rock climbing, whitewater rafting, fishing, soaking in hot springs, wildlife watching, skiing, snowshoeing, and surfing are a few activities you can take advantage of in this outdoor playground

Distance from Los Angeles: 1,243 miles/1.812 kilometers: (17 hours)
Distance from Portland: 162 miles/260 kilometers (3 hours)
Distance from San Diego: 1,124 miles/1.808 kilometers (19 hours)
Distance from Seattle: 112 miles/180 kilometers (2 hours)
Distance from San Francisco: 796 miles/1.281 kilometers (13 hours)

Joshua Tree

With its desert landscape, dry air, and “anything-goes” vibe, many consider Joshua Tree to be a very magical place. There are areas designated to walking trails and rock climbing found throughout the park. Here you will come across a variety of great stores and restaurants each with their own unique personality. Make sure to visit the Hicksville Trailer Palace and grab a drink at the famous Pappy & Harriet’s Bar & Grill.

Distance from Los Angeles: 128 miles/205 kilometers (2 hours)
Distance from Portland: 1,080 miles/1.738 kilometers (15 hours)
Distance from San Diego: 160 miles/257 kilometers (2 hours)
Distance from Seattle: 1,249 miles/2.010 kilometers (19 hours)
Distance from San Francisco: 500 miles/804 kilometers (7 hours)

 

Big Sur

The drive to Big Sur is known to be one of the best in the country. The road zigzags along the ocean making it a fun and beautiful drive. The beauty that you will see along the way will only continue to expand upon your arrival. Redwoods tower over cafes, hiking trails, and modern businesses. The area is booming with artisans from around the world.

Distance from Los Angeles: 352 miles/566 kilometers (6 hours)
Distance from Portland: 757 miles/1.218 kilometers (12 hours)
Distance from San Diego: 462 miles/743 kilometers (8 hours)
Distance from Seattle: 928 miles/1.493 kilometers (14 hours)
Distance from San Francisco: 140 miles/225 kilometers (3 hours)

 

North Lake Tahoe

Lake Tahoe offers something for everyone with its ski slopes, boat rentals, camping, fishing, gambling, and nightclubs. It is considered one of the best pit stops for road trippers. Grab a drink at the historic lakefront Cambers Landing Bar, or make have some Tex-Mex from the legendary Caliente, also known as “The Stop.”

Distance from Los Angeles: 500 miles/804 kilometers (7 hours)
Distance from Portland: 581 miles/935 kilometers (9 hours)
Distance from San Diego: 559 miles/899 kilometers (9 hours)
Distance from Seattle: 752 miles/1.210 kilometers (12 hours)
Distance from San Francisco: 199 miles/320 kilometers (3 hours)

UponArriving Names Bonwi #1 Best, Most Popular of 2018

We are way too excited (and humbled) to keep up the suspense. Thank You to Daniel Gillaspia for the honor of the top spot as Best Hotel Booking Site for 2018!!!

Deep breath. OMG OMG OMG!!! UponArriving.com has named Bonwi as #1 on the list of The 15 Best (and Most Popular) Hotel Booking Sites [2018] . Here’s what Dan said about Bonwi:

Bonwi is a standout OTA for one very special reason. It offers ridiculously high returns on… Click to Tweet

Dan also does a nice job calling out our sometimes slower search speed, too. Truth is, it’s seconds – less than 15 on a really exciting deal-packed day. It takes those extra 7-10 seconds on top of the other, lesser OTAs because we are pulling in Every Single Deal out there. Just for you.

“You’re not going to beat the best deals on Bonwi even if you have top-tier Platinum status with another hotel loyalty program.”

That’s why we’re Number One!

Now, if you’re new to the world of online travel booking site, deals, incentives, points, rewards, loyalty and redemption, Dan’s article is a go-to read. Yes, we also love it because we’re Number One, but it’s a comprehensive and definitive guide to who’s who, what’s what, all the choices out there and how you benefit from the major deals sites. Read the full story here.