Travel News: Hot-Spots Edition

A volcano-prompted sale and deals for teachers.

By: Sophie Gilbert

Tempted to vacation in Europe this summer but put off by the exorbitant plane fares? Here’s a deal generating a lot of buzz in the travel blogosphere: Iceland Express is offering flights from New York to London, Oslo, Warsaw, Krakow, Copenhagen, Berlin, and more for only $399 round trip. The offer is valid for the month of June, and the sale (which started last week) runs until June 21. All flights are via Reykjavik (assuming that Eyjafjallajökull—which prompted the sale by singlehandedly crippling Iceland’s tourism industry—isn’t still causing trouble).

If your plans are more domestic, AirTran is having a sale on flights from Washington to Atlanta, Chicago, Miami, Nassau, Orlando, and Palm Beach for travel through November 9. Prices range from $74 to $114 one way; the sale ends June 10, so act quickly.

If you’re wondering, post-graduation, what teachers actually do all summer, here’s the answer. TeachersTravelWeb.com is a members-only site that offers free bed-and-breakfast and home exchanges for educators. There’s no catch—simply pay the 45-euro membership fee, log on, and contact members all over the world, who will happily offer three nights’ free accommodation and occasionally even the use of a car.

Closer to home, two local deals are worth checking out. The Lansdowne Resort in Leesburg recently introduced a new golf deal for women. The Pink Pampered Putter package for two includes one night’s accommodation, unlimited golf, a 30-minute group lesson with a PGA pro, pink-petal pedicures, pink golf towels, pink golf balls, two post-round cosmos, and a bottle of wine. The total cost is $439 midweek and $459 Friday through Saturday, and it includes a donation to breast-cancer research.

The Ritz-Carlton in Pentagon City is celebrating its 20th anniversary with a special package for two, available through December. The deal offers one night’s accommodation, a bottle of Champagne, a multi-course dinner for two at Fyve restaurant, a keepsake, and complimentary parking. The special rate is $499, valid Friday or Saturday night only.

Just 110 miles down I-95, Richmond is welcoming visitors to a special weekend of history, music, and entertainment June 4 through 6. Highlights include Broad Appetit—a tasting event where 50 local restaurants offer food and drink for $3 a sample—and a live music show at Brown’s Island tonight. The recently expanded Virginia Museum of Fine Arts will also be participating in events, and special hotel packages available.  

And finally, if you’re looking at your cheeseburger this weekend and longing for more excitement than just a side of chili fries, Budget Travel has a roundup of the world’s weirdest restaurants. Ithaa, in the Maldives, is nestled 16 feet below sea level, so you can literally dine with the fishes. Taiwan’s Modern Toilet lets guests sit on toilet-shaped seats while eating out of dishes resembling sinks and bathtubs. And for Godfather fans, there’s always Fortezza Medicea, located in a maximum-security prison just outside Pisa and staffed by inmates. Don’t be afraid—as we learned in Goodfellas, murderers make exceptional pasta sauce.

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