Travel News

Dublin: the gateway to Europe? Plus, Earth Day and Virginia Garden Week deals and—unfortunately—new airline fees.

If you’re considering a trip to Europe, a stopover in Ireland might be your cheapest way in. In an attempt to hook non-Ireland-bound customers, Irish airline Aer Lingus is offering cheap flights to European cities such as London, Paris, Barcelona, and Rome—but it’s only available if you originate in Dublin. Round-trip tickets from Dublin to many top destinations are less than $500. To get to Ireland from the States, you’ll find the cheapest fares by flying out of New York or Boston; fares from DC are slightly higher. The deals will only be available in May.

As the 40th anniversary of Earth Day approaches on April 22, DC seems to be the hub of the action. Exhibitions and performances will take place on the National Mall throughout the week of April 17, and various events are happening all over the city beforehand—from tree plantings in parks, to Green Hours at sustainable food spots, to a scavenger hunt in Dupont Circle (see the full list of DC Earth Day events here).
There are also Earth Day deals to take advantage of. The Museum of Natural History’s Johnson Imax Theater will be offering free admission to the film Wild Ocean 3D from April 10 through 18 to guests who bring a cell phone to recycle. The 40-minute ocean-themed film is on climate change and overfishing off the coast of South Africa. Get showtimes here.

Also in honor of Earth Day, Shenandoah National Park’s Skyland Resort is offering deal: Book one night for $125 from April 18 through 29, and the second night is on the house. When searching rooms, use the promo code SKYBOGO. Bonus: This promotion coincides with fee-free week at national parks nationwide, so entry into Shenandoah National Park will be comped, too.

Virginia’s Historic Garden Week, April 17 through 25, includes tours and open houses of more than 250 historic properties all over the state. Nearby stops include gardens in Alexandria and Woodbridge. Tours range from $10 to $35 a person. For a schedule of Garden Week events by day, visit the Garden Club of Virginia site.

Have you head about Spirit Airlines’s newly announced carry-on-bag fees? The airline, which describes itself as a leading “ultra low-cost carrier,” will start charging between $20 and $40 for carry-on items starting August 1. Spirit says the fees will help lower their already-cheap fares by asking customers to pay only for services and extras they want. Plus, they say, it will clear up cluttered overhead bins. Spirit is the first US carrier to implement the fees, but they might not be the last—other airlines are watching to see how the new fees sit with consumers, according to CNN Travel. Carry-on bag fees come at a time when passengers are already frustrated with other charges, such as flight-change fees  and upcoming toilet fees.

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