California's tourism commercials that poke fun at some of the state's stereotypes definitely reinforce one thing: sometimes, we really do wish we could reside in the land of Hollywood starlets, daisy dukes, convertibles, beaches, and surf galore. While relocating may not be an option, a visit to Los Angeles, San Diego, and San Francisco is made possible by these airfare, hotel, and experience deals. Cali, here we come!
First, head west with a 1-way flight on American's number one airline, Virgin America (from $59, a low by $3; expires June 30). Or, take advantage of roundtrip flights on United Airlines (from $178, a low by $10; expires June 30) that'll take you straight to SoCal or wine country.
RECOMMENDED: 5 great travel rewards credit cards
Southern California: Los Angeles and San Diego Hot Spots
The City of Angels can be all glitz and glamour or beach bummy and relaxing. It's your choice: From Rodeo Drive to The Getty to Venice Beach you can explore all of L.A.'s neighborhoods from the centrally located Westin Bonaventure Hotel and Suites where a 1-night weekend stay starts at under $200 (a low by $10; expires June 30). The 4-star hotel is located in downtown LA, and is steps to the Philharmonic, the area's galleries, and famed eatery Bottega Louie.
Want to feel like a celebrity while you are at it? Indulge in a spa day at the Beverly Hills Plaza Hotel & Spa ($99, a low by $101; expires June 29). The deal includes an 80-minute massage with luxurious hot stone and bamboo, a 15-minute body scrub, complimentary blended fruit smoothies, valet parking, and access to the sauna and steam room.
Don't stop there. Follow in John Travolta and Angelina Jolie's footsteps by piloting your own plane with a 90-minute private flying lesson (from $99, a low by $126; expires August 30). With an hour of ground instruction and 30 minutes in the air, you'll be able to control the cockpit and take in aerial views of plenty of Los Angeles sights, too.
Looking for something a little more romantic? Head an hour and a half south for a romantic summer escape to Southern California wine country. Stay in a deluxe two-queen or one king bedroom at the Temecula Creek Inn (from $89, a low by at least $21; expires July 1).
A touch further south you'll find that San Diego's 70 miles of coastline and reliably sunny weather will keep your spirits high. The city also has plenty of sights to keep you giddy from start to finish. Tour the world-renowned zoo, visit the historic Gaslamp Quarter, and be sure to enjoy a fish taco or two. Once the sun goes down, rest your head in nearby Torrey Hills at the affordable Hilton Garden Inn San Diego Del Mar (from $154, a low by $18; expires June 30). With this offer, you'll also score a $50 dining or spa credit good towards the Serenity Spa and Salon, Bistro 39, or the NY Garden Deli.
Alternatively you could throw caution to the wind and stay at the AAA 4-Diamond Hilton San Diego Bayfront (from $179, a low by $20; expires June 30). The hotel is situated on the San Diego Bay and boasts easy access to the Gaslamp Quarter and Petco Park where you can catch a Padres game. If you prefer to kick back, take in the views from the hotel's renovated outdoor space and go for a dip in the saltwater infinity pool. And like the Hilton Garden San Diego Del Mar, you'll also enjoy a complimentary $50 dining credit to boot.
Northern California: Must-See San Francisco
San Francisco may not have the always-sunny and warm weather of SoCal, but it does happen to be "The City That Knows How." Head to the diverse Bay Area with a 3-night stay at the Laurel Inn – A Joie de Vivre Hotel (from $1,050, a low by $50; expires June 29). Situated in the upscale Pacific Heights, the hotel sits on Sacramento Street amidst stylish boutiques and restaurants, so it's no wonder that the hotel also offers a wide range of high-end amenities including afternoon lemonade and cookie service in the lobby, coffee and tea service 24-hours a day, and more. To see the rest of this vibrant city, wander over to the nearby historic Presidio National Park and catch a glimpse of the Golden Gate Bridge, meander Fisherman's Wharf, Chinatown, and Union Square.
With these deals to California, you'll be enjoying the West Coast before you know it. But, if you've got different ideas for a vacation, be sure to check out our daily travel deals for other airfare, hotel, and vacation packages.
At the time of publication, these travel deals offered the lowest prices we could find. Deals may include blackout dates, additional taxes, and fees. Some of our prices may be based on mandatory double occupancy.
RECOMMENDED: 5 great travel rewards credit cards
Summar Ghias is a contributor to Dealnews.com, where this article first appeared.
Original story: http://dealnews.com/features/california-vacation-deals/
There are hundreds of myths about credit and debt. They range from the somewhat reasonable to the ridiculous. The bottom line: Just because you’ve heard them all your life doesn’t mean they are true. A little legwork on the Internet or a conversation with a credit expert at a bank, mortgage company, or nonprofit credit counseling service may help you arrive at the truth. Here are five myths that can cost you money:
1. One credit score tells you all you need to know. So you looked up your credit score with Experian, you were satisfied with the report and moved on. Creditors take a much different approach. Some creditors will pull all three of your credit reports in order to get a more complete picture of your payment habits. Others, such as auto loan lenders or landlords, tailor their search to fit your performance in a particular location or area.
Credit scores from the three major services are rarely, if ever, identical so you really do need to look at what each of the three major credit bureaus have for your credit history and what your score is with each. The three major bureaus are: Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. ( Continue… )
If the potential Rakuten credit card scam has you worried, your fears might not be totally unwarranted. In 2012, 12.6 million people were victims of identity theft, according to a study by Javelin Strategy & Research.
Being a victim of identity theft is no small matter. At best, someone gets a hold of your credit card information and uses it to buy some stuff online. At worst, a thief open accounts in your name, makes huge purchases, and racks up a ton of debt before you realize what's happened. The toll to your credit history can last for years, but there are things you can do to minimize the damage and protect yourself in the future.
Report Your Losses
If you notice strange activity on your credit or debit card, report the charges to your bank immediately using the toll free number on the back of the card or on your statement. The Federal Trade Commission says you aren't responsible for any charges made on a stolen account number after you report identity theft, so act quickly.
RECOMMENDED: Top 5 credit cards for world travel
Enact a Fraud Alert
If you find suspicious activity on your accounts, ask one of the credit bureaus to place an initial fraud alert on your credit report. Once you notify one credit bureau, that bureau will notify the others and alerts will appear on all your credit reports. According to the Federal Trade Commission, the alert will remain on your credit report for 90 days. During that time, creditors cannot open new accounts without verifying your information, making it harder for thieves to access your credit. You can file a fraud alert online through Equifax, Experian, or TransUnion. ( Continue… )
Bartering for goods or services may seem like an old-fashioned concept, but with the power of the Internet, it's coming back in style. With a variety of sites and services to help you trade or swap goods of all types, now's as good a time as ever to go on that shopping spree — even if finances are tight. Sound too good to be true? We've collected eight stellar services that help you get rid of things you don't want in exchange for things you do.
The online classifieds section may not be what comes to mind when you think of bartering, but Craigslist does have a bartering section just for this purpose. (It's listed under "for sale.") In this forum you can post about things you want to get rid of or things you're looking for and see if anyone bites. However, the downside to Craigslist is that anyone can post anything and nothing on the service comes with any guarantee. Though you can find some great deals, be on the lookout for scams.
Bondsy is an interesting twist on the bartering concept in that it only allows you to trade with people you know or trust. Fire up Bondsy on your iPhone (sorry, other smartphone users) and write up the details on what you have and include a picture. With luck, one of your other iPhone-toting pals will have a use for it.
RECOMMENDED: Daily deal sites: Beware these five things
Swap.com Valet Service
Like its name suggests, Swap.com lets members swap stuff, and it's simple to use. Just box up what you don't want and ship it to Swap.com: they'll sort it, photograph it, and list it on the site. You can swap your goods for those from other users listed on the site, or accept a cash payment.
While Swap.com charges a fee for shipping, cataloging, and listing as well as storage fees for goods that don't sell, its guaranteed listings ensure that anything you buy on the site is exactly what it says it is. But just in case it isn't, the site also has a no-hassle return policy. ( Continue… )
Whether you're an Instagram obsessive, a "pro" mobile photographer, or simply enamored with kitty pics, smartphones have revolutionized the ways in which we take and share photos. In a little over a decade, these gadgets have nearly replaced the functions of point-and-shoot cameras and have come to reign as consumers' cameras of choice. The trend towards bigger and better megapixels partly explains why smartphone photography has surged in popularity, but constant web connectivity that allows for instant image sharing, as well as image-processing apps and third-party accessories, have helped to seal the deal.
Manufacturers realize that consumers consider a devices' picture-taking quality as much as its ability to make calls. Just take a look at this billboard promoting the newly launched Nokia Lumia 928. The marketing campaign highlights not the processor speed nor its screen size nor svelte design, but simply the low-light camera performance.
To get a better handle on which smartphones offer the best mobile photography features, we turned to the venerable Digital Photography Review for the top five smartphone cameras that offer the most bang for your buck. Or the most pop for your pixel. You know what we mean.
RECOMMENDED: 20 best iPhone apps for starters
Apple iPhone 5 Smartphone
Some photo enthusiasts may carp about the iPhone 5's grainy or soft images, but look no further than Flickr for proof that the iPhone 5 is the most beloved smartphone camera. As such, Digital Photography Review praised the iPhone 5 off the bat for its camera's marked improvement over that of the iPhone 4S. Although the 8MP capacity remained unchanged, the iPhone 5's redesigned camera optics, combined with a faster A6 chip, and larger screen (4" vs. 3.5") lead to improved picture quality. And though the iPhone doesn't have the best camera, it offers "satisfying image quality, some neat functions like auto panorama and HDR mode, and – crucially – it is supremely easy to use." ( Continue… )
By Joshua Nichol-Caddy, dealnews contributor
Surely mowing the lawn and trimming the hedges is out of the question in heat like this. But the weather shouldn't keep you from putting to good use these tool and hardware deals that will help tackle those stragglers on the home improvement to-do list.
Is It Worth It?: Owning this Editors' Choice set of 65 screwdrivers may finally mean you can tighten the loose screw on the kitchen cabinet. Featuring a variety of sizes and heads for nearly any job, this set specifically includes a 15-piece screwdriver, 4-piece precision screwdriver, 1-piece ratcheting screwdriver, 1-piece 2" extension bar, and 9-piece 1/4" drive socket. What's more, the ergonomic, soft-grip handle on every piece of the set will also help avoid blisters.
Lowest By: $105
Expires: July 6
Is It Worth It?: The screwdrivers detailed above will fit perfectly in one of the four drawers of this limited edition top chest. Fortunately you won't need to use any of them to put together this steel chest as it comes fully assembled. It features a keyed internal locking system as well as drawers of various sizes with liners and accessories to protect the tools inside. While there are side handles for portability, this 50-lb. chest is really for claiming a spot in the garage because it can hold up to 600 lbs. And keep a dry-erase marker handy, as perhaps the coolest feature of this chest is its finish.
This chest is available through a larger sale that cuts up to $255 off a rather wide selection of Craftsman tool chests. And though it's a little late for Father's Day, this is the best sale we've seen on these items since November.
3. Craftsman Universal Max Axess MTS 85-Piece Set
Price: $113.99 with free shipping
Lowest By: $6
Is It Worth It?: Go nuts on some bolts! With all that room in the tool chest, this 85-piece set will fit in perfectly. It includes a variety of 1/4" and 3/8" drive Max Axess sockets, extension bars, ratchets, and drives. Even better, the entire set can pack up into its durable and portable molded case.
Price: $9 with free shipping
Lowest By: $19
Expires: June 25
Is It Worth It?: This little lightweight flashlight is Editors' Choice deal. It boasts a lens that turns and a dual-output LED, which can run for up to 72 hours on two AA batteries (included). Weatherproof, this handheld flashlight is great in case of emergency.
Store: Factory Authorized Outlet via Rakuten Shopping
Price: $259.99 via coupon code "SUMMER10" with free shipping
Lowest By: $107
Is It Worth It?: Speaking of emergencies, this gas-powered generator can produce a 4,000-watt surge and 3,300-watt continuous power, running for up to eight hours at a 50% load. It also boasts an electric start, idle control, and wheel kit.
Joshua Nichol-Caddy is a contributor at dealnews.com, where this article first appeared. Original article: http://dealnews.com/features/Tackle-the-Honey-Do-List-with-5-Must-Have-Indoor-Tools/767208.html
There are few things more thrilling for a deal shopper than getting something for free. In fact, freebie deals are often the most popular offers on our site. From smartphones to restaurant food, there are certain categories that are regularly flush with gratis promotions. So next time your whip out your wallet, consider first if that purchase could come at no cost to you.
If you're a fan of phones with Google's operating system, then you're in luck; so many new Android smartphones are released these days that the market has become saturated — and as a result, most models quickly fall to $0 (with new 2-year contracts) after a few months. For example, the HTC First (the "Facebook Phone") was released in mid-April this year, and by the first week of May, we saw a deal that knocked it to just 99 cents. Even trendy models with lots of media hype do eventually follow the same deal path; last year, it took the Samsung Galaxy S III just four months to become free with contract. For more details on how long to wait until phones become free, read our smartphone price guide.
Skype, Google Voice, and other services let you make calls for free over the Internet, though be careful if they try to get you to upgrade to a paid plan. You can drop your landline and your cell phone plans for a few months and see if these services meet your calling needs.
RECOMMENDED: Can you manage your money? A personal finance quiz.
Getting a full album for free can be difficult, but with the number of music credit freebies we see bundled with Amazon deals, you should be able to amass a stockpile of credits to purchase a number of MP3 downloads that tempt you. Moreover, Amazon currently has more than 50,000 free songs available for download. Not enough of a selection? Leave the DJing to Starbucks, which gives out a free downloadable song each week. ( Continue… )
Why Imelda Marcos has approximately 3,000 pairs of shoes, we don't know. What we do know is that this week's best shoe deals include five pairs of must-have ladies footwear, including flats from Tory Burch, boat shoes from Sperry Top-Sider, and more.
Tory Burch Women's Stitched Logo Chelsea Ballet Flats
Store: Tory Burch
Price: $121.50 with free shipping when you sign up for the Tory Burch newsletter
Lowest By: $49 Is It Worth It?: These Tory Burch ballet flats are so chic, and can be yours at a discount simply by signing up for the Tory Burch newsletter. Choose from five luscious colors including Daisy, Iced Coffee, New Fire Orange, Ocean Breeze, and Rose Petal; they're available in sizes 6 to 11, though not in all size/color combinations.
Scroll to the bottom of the page, and enter your email address in the bottom right corner; you'll be emailed a code within 24 hours of signing up with a new email address, although most arrive within an hour.
RECOMMENDED: Are you a smart shopper? Take our quiz.
Route 66 Women's Ornamented T-Thong Sandals
Price: $11.99 via coupon code "SANDALS20" with free shipping
Lowest By: $2
Expires: June 22 Is It Worth It?: These thong sandals feature a metal embellishment, buckle closure, and are a great pair of summer shoes. They're also a part of the best sale we've seen on sandals from Kmart in recent months, which cuts up to 40% off men's, women's, and kids' sandals. Plus coupon code "SANDALS20" takes an extra 20% off!
To extend your savings, make sure to sign up for a 90-day trial on Shop Your Way Max to net free shipping. ( Continue… )
Your bags are packed, the tank is full, and hotel room reserved. Have you chosen the right credit card to take along?
Simply grabbing any credit card just won't do. If you are strategic with your choice of credit cards, not only can you rack up on rewards but you may also be able to save yourself a bundle of money and avoid embarrassing situations.
First and foremost, whatever credit card you take with you has to be open and usable. That might seem obvious, but credit card issuers have a habit of shutting down credit cards because of long-term inactivity. If the card is closed for a reason other than something negative on your credit reports, no notice of the closure is required. So, before picking a card you haven't used for a while, call the bank to confirm it’s still open.
While you’re on the phone, confirm the card's credit limit and interest rate. ( Continue… )
It seems like summer just started, but students will be headed back to school in just a couple of months. While many adults say that their 20-something years were some of the best in their lives, being a student is rarely the best time in someone's financial life. Between tuition costs and living expenses, there are plenty of students who are surviving on Ramen noodles while they try to pinch pennies.
In fact, a recent study of college student finances found that 58% of incoming freshman in the U.S. took out some form of student loan, and of students who attended public universities, each took out an average loan of $6,400. What's more, a recent survey conducted by the College Savings Foundation found that only 49% of high school students have started saving for college. While most savers had at least $1,000, that's barely enough to cover the cost of textbooks in a student's first year.
Despite these discouraging financial figures, it is possible for college students to enjoy this time in their lives on a budget. Thanks to numerous student discount programs from top retailers, students can get amazing savings on groceries, travel, and computers. Here's a look at some of the best student discounts and perks we've found, from retailers to restaurants, and everything in between.
RECOMMENDED: Can you manage your money? A personal finance quiz.
Student Discounts on Apple and Tech
While tuition and living expenses make up the bulk of college costs, many students also need to make hefty tech purchases to get ready for school. The main requirement? Not an iPad, but a laptop.
Dell offers students a $200 gift card with the purchase of select laptops over $699.99 (expires September 26; select the "Student & Member" tab to find this promo), which knocks several models to all-time low prices. And while the Dell team suggests using the gift card to buy an Xbox 360 4GB console (which comes with a free 1-month Xbox LIVE Gold Membership), students can also put the gift card towards the purchase of a wireless printer, an external hard drive, or other peripherals. ( Continue… )