Where to Find the Most Stunning Fall Foliage

Rich reds, oranges and yellows pop across the country during September, October and November, making fall one of the best times to go leaf peeping in the United States. While stunning fall foliage isn’t hard to come by in this country, you do have to know where to look to uncover the most eye-popping colors. From the California coast to the mountains of Vermont, the United States is crawling with places where the autumnal colors truly pop, leaving eyes wanting more. If you need a little guide for finding the best spots for fall foliage, here are some of the top places to catch the changing of the colors and the seasons across the country.

Aspen, Colorado

While much of the High Country of Colorado delights fall sightseers with eye-popping foliage, Aspen in particular rises above the rest. The town known for its celebrity status and posh attitude also is appropriately named after the aspen tree. Aspens in and around town glow with a golden yellow color, even more so when the wind kicks up. You can catch the aspens at their best from late September through mid-October.

Green Mountain Byway, Vermont

Vermont’s Route 100 features an 11-mile byway of beauty in autumn. The Green Mountain Byway is filled with color, specifically come the first week of October. Some of the state’s and the country’s best fall foliage can be found along this route through Waterbury and Stowe. The Green Mountain Byway also boasts views of Vermont’s highest peak, Mount Mansfield.

Napa Valley, California

Fall foliage hunts should not go without a little wine. Napa Valley, California, offers one of the best spots to not only see the colors change on the trees and grapevines, but also to sample some of the best wines in the world. Napa Valley in California is at its fall best around late October when rows of grapevines take on more golden yellow hues. You can tour vineyards and stop for tastings as you leaf peep.

Boston, Massachusetts

It is no secret that Massachusetts boasts some of the country’s best spots for leaf peeping, including Boston. In order to experience New England fall foliage, you don’t have to get out of the big city. Boston Common and the Charles River Esplanade are good spots in the city to soak up the fall colors. If you want to take a drive from Boston and experience eye-popping colors, you can follow Route 2 from Boston to the New York-Massachusetts border. The scenic highway features fine views of the fall foliage out the car window. Fall foliage tours aren’t complete until you have experienced autumn colors in New England. 

 

When you need a home base for leaf peeping in New England, Extended Stay America Boston is the answer. Suites are outfitted with every traveler’s needs such as Wi-Fi, television and a kitchen. You can easily rest up after a day of fall foliage touring so that you can hit the ground running in the morning and catch more of the colorful season before it heads south for the winter.

October 30, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

The Thrill-Seeker's Guide to Halloween Horror Nights

The Thrill-Seeker's Guide to Halloween Horror Nights

It’s finally here: The time of the year has come for the ultimate experiment on just how much fear you can take. Yes, Universal Studios’ annual Halloween Haunted Horror Nights 2014 is in full force. And for the next month or so, you can put your nerves to the test. Whether you’re on the West Coast in the Los Angeles area, or on the East Coast in Florida, this year’s fear factor is off the charts. With elements from Alien vs. Predator, The Walking Dead and From Dusk Till Dawn, you’ll be sure to face your worst fears. Go on, we dare you.

Before you buy your tickets though, here are our top 8 tips for making it out alive.

Tip #1:

Get there early. This popular event is only here for a limited time, so it’s sure to be both busy and crowded. Gates will open around 6:30 p.m. each night.

Tip #2:

Plan ahead. Purchase your tickets ahead of time, as tickets tend to sell out. On nights they sell out, no tickets will be available at the gate. Tickets are conveniently available online. Will you be at Universal Studios in the LA area? Or will you be at Universal Studios Orlando?

Tip #3:

No costumes or masks are allowed. Please note you will not be admitted with either of these on.

Tip #4:

For your safety and that of your friends, or those who have come to terrify you, please know that the following are not permitted in the event areas:

  • Food
  • Bottles
  • Drinks
  • Flashlights or laser pens
  • Recording devices
  • Flash photography

Tip #5:

Purchasing a Halloween Horror Nights Express or Front of the Line Pass will grant you somewhat of a VIP status, allowing you front-of-the line cuts, bypassing those inevitably long lines. Note: These passes are very popular, and with only a limited number available each night, they will sell out.

Tip #6:

Plan for traffic getting into the park. The parking situation can be particularly daunting on Saturday nights.

Tip #7:

Scout out your visit and develop a loose plan of attack ahead of time. A map for the Hollywood location can be found here, and Orlando’s map is here.

 Tip #8:

Keep in mind that while there are technically no age restrictions for this event, the material is geared tremendously toward adult viewers. Also note there will be no refunds given if you later determine the experience is not age appropriate for a member of your party.

 

Halloween Haunted Horror Nights 2014 is expected to be the best of these events yet so make sure you get the most out of the horrifying night by knowing everything you need to ahead of time. And when you need a fear factor break? Make your way back to your home-away-from-home at an Extended Stay America near you. If you’re in the Orlando area, we’ve got a safe haven for you. Are you planning on hitting up the horror house on the Golden Coast? Don’t worry, we have Extended Stay Americas there, too. 

October 27, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Save Money: Book Your Holiday Travel Early

Once Labor Day has come and gone, the countdown to the holidays officially begins. For families, this often translates into a mad dash to book airfare and secure car rentals and hotels around the busiest time of year to travel. What can make holiday travel truly painful aren’t so much the crowds, delays and other annoyances, but rather the costs. Prices escalate quickly. If you would like to have enough funds to actually have holiday celebrations and gifts, you will need to spend your cents wisely in regards to holiday travel. Here are a few tips for this holiday travel season to ensure you still have a budget for gifts under the tree or a turkey in the oven.

Book Flights Up to Three Months in Advance

Many online travel search engines release studies and data informing travelers when the air fare for holiday travel is at its lowest. Usually, holiday flights for Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Eve are at their most reasonable between September and mid-October. While there is no sure date or time that will ensure you get the lowest-priced ticket, you can set up air fare email alerts with several airlines and booking agents to alert you when the prices are rising or dropping.

Take Advantage of Fare Locks on Flights and Early Hotel Booking Discounts

Many airlines offer fare locks in which you can lock in a good rate for a few dollars if you are still trying to decide on your holiday travel dates. Fare locks are ideal for holiday travel as the air fare can rise quickly. There is perhaps nothing worse than watching a flight you were contemplating purchasing increase in price just a few days later. Also, many hotels offer discounts if you book well in advance. You can save by being the early bird and booking your accommodations as far out as possible.

Secure Hotels with Ample Freebies

Not all hotels are created equally. Some might look like a great deal for the holidays but once you get there, you never seem to close your wallet. Many properties charge for parking, Internet, breakfast and gym usage. These costs can quickly eat away at your budget. It is best to look for hotels that offer ample free amenities. You don’t want to check in and think you budgeted for everything, only to have pricey amenities be a burden on your holiday travel.

Get a Ride or Take One Depending on Your Situation

If you scored cheap air fare for your holiday travels, you can quickly forget these savings when you roll up to the airport parking lot. Parking costs will ruin a holiday budget. If you can, have someone take you to the airport for your holiday travels. If you aren’t flying or still on the fence about flying, you might want to look into driving instead. If you have a big family looking to get to Grandma’s house a few hundred miles away, it might be more cost effective to take your own wheels rather than renting or flying.

 

To help you save on holiday travel, Extended Stay America provides discounts for those who book early. In addition to this advanced purchase discount, you can also save by taking advantage of all the free amenities on site. 

October 19, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

5 Hotspots for Celebrity Sightings in Los Angeles

A visit to Los Angeles isn’t quite complete until you have had a star sighting. Celebrities fill the City of Angels, heading to their favorite coffee shops, hiking to stay in shape and touching down back home after returning from far off places. If you want to spot a celebrity during your visit to Los Angeles, here are a few places you are more likely to see glitz and glamour in the flesh.

1.      Carbon Beach

If you seek out the sands of Malibu, you are bound to find a celebrity soaking up some sun with friends and family. Carbon Beach is a stretch of white sand reaching from Carbon Canyon Road to Malibu Pier. As pricy beachfront mansions line this stretch, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to assume those who reside along there like to stroll the sands too.

 2.      Los Angeles International Airport

Most travelers do everything in their power to spend as little time at the airport as possible. However, in Los Angeles, you might rethink that notion. For celebrity spotting, LAX is one of the best places to see the rich and famous. You can often catch a glimpse of stardom at one of the arrival terminals at the airport. While the stars can duck into first class lounges, they still have to pick up their bags like the rest of us. If you are arriving or departing from the airport, it is worth keeping your eyes peeled to see your favorite celebrities a little jet-lagged and road weary.

3.      Runyon Canyon

The celebrity lifestyle includes getting fit somewhere in Los Angeles. While many head to Pilates and yoga classes in town, you can expect to find several at Runyon Canyon. The 130-acre park sits just two blocks from Hollywood Boulevard. It is a popular spot for the famous to work off the pounds for their next role. You can enter the park through three different routes, two at the bottom in the south and one at the top in the north.

4.      The Ivy

Many Hollywood tours with a focus on star spotting make a stop at The Ivy for a very good reason. While not known for the cuisine, The Ivy is a well-known celebrity haunt. This eatery is where many celebrities want to be seen. You can easily spot a star having lunch on the front patio of the restaurant.

5.      Intelligentsia

Grabbing a cup of Joe at a coffeehouse is just one stop on the long list of Los Angeles attractions. And celebrities need their caffeine just like anyone else, so spotting them while you’re getting your morning pick-me-up is not unheard of. You can often find a sunglass-sporting, hat-wearing, incognito celeb at Intelligentsia, a coffeehouse with three locations in the area. At Intelligentsia locations in Silver Lake, Venice and Pasadena, you can easily expect to sip on a fresh cup with a few familiar famous faces. Celebrity spotting at a Los Angeles coffee house is made easy as you can head to these spots with your laptop to catch up on work and emails, all while seeing a celebrity or two.

 

After all of the star gazing around Los Angeles, you will want to rest up for the night right in the heart of the action at Extended Stay America Los Angeles. Suites come equipped with kitchens, separate bedrooms and premium television channels so you can feel a bit like a celebrity with your own digs in Los Angeles. 

October 14, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

How to Save Money on Travel During Retirement

Many people save and save for retirement. They work the majority of their lives so that once retirement does roll around, they can enjoy a calmer life, namely one filled with travel. However, traveling during retirement doesn’t come without its challenges. With a fixed income, you can’t stray too far away from a strict budget when you travel. If you are retired and looking to save money on travel, there are a number of measures you can take to ensure your dollars stretch a little further and allow you to still see the world.

Take Advantage of the Ability to Travel in the Off-Season

If you are retired, you have a leg up on many other travelers out there. You aren’t limited to two weeks vacation in the summer. You can now use your flexibility of schedule to your advantage. Rates on attractions, air fare, tours and accommodations are always heavily discounted in the off-season. Your money will travel a lot further and longer if you don’t travel in the peak season. Seniors will also avoid crowds and competition in the process. Off-season travel is often much more enjoyable and relaxed when you don’t have to pay double and elbow your way through crowds in the process.

Know Your Senior Discounts

While some companies have pulled back on offering discounts for seniors, those who have retired should still look for these deals. From the ticket booth on your tour to your hotel for the night, it never hurts to ask if the establishment offers discounts to seniors. A few dollars off here and there can help you achieve affordable travel. You don’t want to be missing out on discounts that you are entitled to have.

Cook Your Own Meals When You Can

A large portion of a travel budget goes down the drain, or rather into your stomach. Eating out every night of your travels once you have retired will only limit how long you can travel. When possible, seniors should try booking accommodations that have kitchens where they can prepare meals as they would at home. The few nights off here and there from the restaurant scene will help you save a large chunk of change. Home-cooked meals will also help you keep up with healthy eating habits.

 

Seniors looking to save on their accommodation costs can take advantage of the special discounts for seniors offered at Extended Stay America. Not only are suites nice and roomy, but seniors don’t have to pay an arm and a leg for such luxury as they travel.

 

October 5, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)