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Land of the Midnight Fun

July 31, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

How about a summer vacation where the average temperatures are in the mid-70s, and each day gives you somewhere between 19 or 20 hours of daylight?  Yes, Road Warrior is talking about Alaska - Fairbanks, to be specific. 

According to Weather.com, the average temperatures here in July and August range from the low 80s to the 60s and there are plenty of fun things to see and do.  Be sure you are rested and ready for adventure by booking a comfortable studio at the Extended Stay Deluxe Hotel in Fairbanks.

Deep in the land of the midnight sun, Fairbanks is one of the best places to experience the aurora borealis, or Northern Lights.  While never guaranteed to appear, a three-night stay gives you an 80% chance of viewing this amazing sight. 

Just three miles from your door is the University of Alaska Museum of the North, which features amazing exhibits on the state’s history, its native wildlife and other natural wonders. 

Not every attraction worthy of your time is outdoors.  Alaska is also world known for its amazing food, like wild Alaskan salmon, birch syrup and even reindeer sausage.  At the Chez Alaska Cooking School, you can take a three-hour class, view a cooking demonstration or just stop by for lunch.  We are sure it will be a gastronomic experience like none you’ve had in the Lower 48. 

In Fairbanks, you are surrounded by some of the most awe-inspiring parks and recreation areas in the world.  Just an hour north of Fairbanks is White Mountain Recreation Area, offering one million acres of natural beauty and peaceful solitude.  Fifty miles east is Chena River State Recreation Area, a great place to view Alaskan wildlife. 

To the southwest of Fairbanks is one of Alaska’s largest, and arguably most impressive, natural sights, Denali National Park and Preserve.  Six million acres in size, Denali is home to the 20,320 foot Mount McKinley, North America’s highest peak.  It is also a tremendous place to view Alaskan wildlife and flora.

Whether you come for the hearty Alaskan food, a peak at the Northern Lights or to see bear, wolves and elk in their native environment, this is a great time to head to Fairbanks and to stay at the Extended Stay Deluxe Hotel.

New Bytes of the Apple

July 28, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Road Warriors are wise to keep their eyes on technology trends, as upgrades, enhancements, and new product launches make business travel more convenient and efficient.  Much of the techny news in 2009 concerns trendy Apple innovations.

Just in time for the end of the second quarter of 2009, Apple released the latest software update for its IPhone.  This major upgrade includes more than 100 new and enhanced features.  The magazine PC World wrote a great article with lots of details, but here are some highlights. 

Considered among the major improvements is the lengthwise, or landscape, keyboard now available for many more applications.  Also heavily hyped is the “cut, copy and paste” function.  But most of the buzz seems to be over the thousands of new applications, or apps, now available for download. 

These range from the seemingly ridiculous, the “Dunkin Run” app that allows users to notify their buddies when they are planning a trip to Dunkin Donuts, to the sublime.  Road Warrior’s choice for sublime is the “roadtrippr,” an app designed to help you find those interesting, but off the beaten path, sort of places. 

For those of you with Smartphone not made by Apple, fear not; apps abound for you too.  Road Warrior searched “Smart phone software” in Handster.com and came up with 652 items.  If you can’t find something of interest for your Blackberry or Palm here, you probably aren’t trying very hard.

New software downloads are out for more than Smartphones.  The battle of the browsers is on.  Apple claimed that the official release in June of its Safari 4 browser, which runs on either Apple or PC, sparked enough interest to generate over 11 million downloads in the first 72 hours after release. 

The big tech news for the fourth quarter of 2009 will likely be the release of Windows 7 in October by Apple's biggest rival, Microsoft.  After a bit of a stumble with the Vista operating system, many people think that Windows 7 will spur a big increase in PC sales.  Road warriors considering buying a new laptop may want to keep their powder dry and check out this next generation operating system.

Electronics have become much more than just gadgets that are fun to play with.  For many business travelers they are the tools that mean the difference between a good and a great trip.  Of course, a comfortable hotel room is also important, so Road Warrior hopes that your next trip includes a visit to one of the nearly 700 Extended Stay Hotels nationwide. 

20% off Hotel Stays this Week-End - Select Extended Stay Hotels Locations

July 22, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Last minute deals for new bookings this week-end (stays 7/24 through 7/26) and next week-end (stays 7/31 through 8/2) at select Extended Stay Hotels(sm) locations. Visit our Week-End Deals section by clicking here.  From there, you can book and save at least 20% for stays this week-end or next at your favorite destinations, like Sacramento, Orlando, Houston, Chicago, Las Vegas, and St. Louis.

For Arrival Dates 7/24/2009 and 7/25/2009

* Sacramento, CA - Rates from $31.99/night
* Orlando, FL - Rates from $35.99/night
* Atlanta, GA - Rates from $31.99/night
* St. Louis, MO - Rates from $23.99/night
* Houston, TX - Rates from $31.99/night

For Arrival Dates 7/31/2009 and 8/1/2009

* Denver, CO - Rates from $27.99/night
* Chicago, IL - Rates from $35.99/night
* Las Vegas, NV - Rates from $39.99/night
* Columbus, OH - Rates from $34.99/night
* Portland, OR - Rates from $43.99/night

Are We There Yet?

July 20, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

It’s summer and that means it’s time for that great old American tradition, the family vacation.  Whether you are going across the state or half way across the nation, traveling in a car with children means that you had better be prepared. 

As experienced parents will attest, a child that is occupied and having fun is a happy child, and that is good news for parents.  This is true whether you are in the car or after you’ve arrived, and are getting situated in your hotel room. 

Fortunately for Road Warrior, a recent Fox News article brought new life to some old standby games.  The license plate game can be made more fun and educational with just a few changes.  For instance, have everyone look for the letters of the alphabet in order.  Each time a letter is called out, that person must then say a word beginning with that letter.  Ramp up the competition by limiting the words to a particular type, like vegetables or cities. 

Car travel is a great way to learn United States geography.  Give each person a blank map of the country.  About.com has a printable map available here.  Tell children to look for license plates from each of the fifty states.  Once they see a plate, ask them to find and color that state on the map.  Washable markers are, of course, recommended!

Musical families might try their own version of “Name That Tune” by using the scan function of the car radio.  Set the radio on FM, press scan and give points for the first to identify the song, the performer and the songwriter.  For more great road trip ideas, visit Momsminivan.com

Ben Franklin told us to be “early to bed and early to rise.”  This is good advice for anyone traveling with children.  By starting your trip early, you arrive at your next Extended Stay Hotels location early enough to have some wind-down time, and perhaps enjoy the pool.  If you prefer a hotel with a pool, Extended Stay Hotels offers several locations with a poolside seat waiting for you. 

Picking one of the over 700 Extended Stay Hotels for your road trip is a great idea for many reasons.  Thanks to the full kitchen, feeding hungry children is never a problem.  The extra space in each studio means everyone has room to roam. And as for on-premise laundry facilities, if you are a parent, you know that is a must have on any car trip. 

Road Warrior wishes you and your family a fabulous highway adventure filled with enough fun activities that, by the time the question “are we there yet” comes, you have arrived. 

Celebrate America with a Road Trip

July 14, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

This year, baby boomers have not one, but two anniversaries sure to spark memories of those bygone years.  2009 marks the fortieth anniversary of man’s landing on the moon and a little music festival in upstate New York called Woodstock.  Road Warrior thought the events were great excuses to engage in that all-American tradition, the road trip.   . 

In 1962, President Kennedy announced plans to go to the moon. Just seven years later, on July 20, 1969, that goal was met.  Today, Houston, Texas (or "Space City, to call it by one of its many nicknames) remains a key part of America’s space program and offers visitors terrific sightseeing opportunities.  Most notably, the Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center, home to NASA's Mission Control Center, covers over 1,500 acres in southern Houston.  The Center hosts NASA's astronaut training program and scientific research initiatives.  Road trippers should plan a trip to this impressive facility to experience thrilling movies, fascinating exhibits, and tours of real working areas of the center.

In addition to the Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center, other popular space venues are located throughout the city.  Two exhibits available for most of 2009 are at the Space Center Houston, the official space museum of Houston, and the Health Museum, which is showing an exhibit entitled Facing Mars through September 2, 2009. 

After a fun-filled day of site seeing, travelers can take advantage of any of 20 Extended Stay Hotels locations in the area, including the Extended Stay America Houston – Johnson Space Center.  

Remembering Woodstock takes us north, to some of the most beautiful country in New York State.  The original festival was held on a 600-acre dairy farm in Bethel, New York.  This year the Bethel Woods Center harks back to the days of tie-dyed shirts with performances by the likes of Bob Dylan, Peter, Paul and Mary as well as an event on August 15 called, Heroes of Woodstock

This area of New York State deserves more than a day or two to truly appreciate, so travelers should plan on staying at the Extended Stay America Albany – Capital and visiting other impressive upstate New York attractions.

Staying in Albany puts you comfortably between two of New York’s most famous natural settings, Catskill State Park and the Adirondack Park Preserve.  The Catskills is the smaller of the two and sits closer to New York City. 

The Adirondack Park, on the other hand, is the largest state park in the nation and the site of Lake Placid, home of both the 1932 and 1980 winter Olympics.  Even in summer you can take the elevator to the top of the ski-jump tower for a view like no other. 

Road Warrior hopes that however you celebrate our nation’s history, your road trip features safe travels and a comfortable, convenient Extended Stay Hotels suite.

Save 20% on Select Week-End Stays - Extended Stay Hotels

July 14, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Last minute deals for new bookings this week-end (stays 7/17 through 7/19) and next week-end (stays 7/24 through 7/26) at select Extended Stay Hotels(sm) locations. Visit our Week-End Deals section by clicking here.  From there, you can book and save at least 20% for stays this week-end or next at your favorite destinations, like Phoenix, Chicago, Boston, Atlanta, Las Vegas, and St Louis.

For Arrival Dates 7/17/2009 and 7/18/2009

* Phoenix, AZ - Rates from $23.99/night
* Los Angeles, CA - Rates from $44.99/night
* Fort Lauderdale, FL - Rates from $35.99/night
* Chicago, IL - Rates from $35.99/night
* Boston, MA - Rates from $47.99/night

For Arrival Dates 7/24/2009 and 7/25/2009

* Atlanta, GA - Rates from $31.99/night
* Detroit, MI - Rates from $35.99/night
* St Louis, MO - Rates from $23.99/night
* Las Vegas, NV - Rates from $39.99/night
* Houston, TX - Rates from $31.99/night

Making the Most of Your Next Business Trip

July 9, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

After a hectic business trip, an extra day of rest and relaxation sounds pretty good.   The Budget Travel magazine website recently published a terrific article titled “One-Tank Escapes for Seven Cities” that offers some great getaway ideas.   As you might expect, all seven jumping off locations have convenient Extended Stay Hotels locations nearby. 

Part of what makes this article such a great road warrior resource is the variety of locations and activities.   Plus, no excursion is more than 140 miles from a major business destination, thereby adding no more than a day or two to your trip.   Let’s look at just a couple of the offerings.

After the chaotic pace of New York City, what could be more relaxing than visiting a 20-mile long barrier island along the New Jersey coast?  Long Beach Island, suggested in this article, offers visitors everything from delicious food to fun in the sun and surf.  Be sure to stop at the Ron Jon Surf Shop in Ship Bottom, New Jersey.   After all, Ron Jon got its start on the New Jersey shore in 1959. 

Near Seattle, on the northern edge of Puget Sound, is Whidbey Island.  Known for its pine forests and waterfront views, you would never know that Whidbey is just 25 miles from the Pacific Northwest’s largest business center.   Take your car, but make the trip from Seattle to Whidbey on one of the Washington State Ferries that not only get you and your car there in comfort, they offer some great views of the Sound. 

Just under 90 miles from St. Louis is Great River Road, Missouri, a collection of scenic roads and highways that are perfect for anyone interested in America’s steamboat heritage or world famous writer Mark Twain.  An author of fiction and newspaper correspondent, Samuel Clemens, Mark Twain to his readers, grew up in Hannibal, Missouri, where the Mark Twain Boyhood Home and Museum celebrates his early years.  

Most road warriors agree that long trips, even those made more comfortable in an Extended Stay Hotels suite, take a personal toll.  The next time you’ve finished a tough job, treat yourself to a day or two exploring a new area.  You are sure to return home a more rested and happy traveler. 

Outstanding Last-Minute Hotel Deals on Week-End Stays

July 8, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Last minute deals for new bookings this week-end (stays 7/10 through 7/12) and next week-end (stays 7/17 through 7/19) at select Extended Stay Hotels(sm) locations. Visit our Week-End Deals section by clicking here.  From there, you can book and save at least 20% for stays this week-end or next at your favorite destinations, like Atlanta, Orlando, New York City, Seattle, and Philadelphia.

For Arrival Dates 7/10/2009 and 7/12/2009

* Phoenix, AZ - Rates from $23.99/night
* Orlando, FL - Rates from $35.99/night
* Atlanta, GA - Rates from $31.99/night
* Indianapolis, IN - Rates from $31.99/night
* Kansas City, MO - Rates from $39.99/night

For Arrival Dates 7/17/2009 and 7/18/2009

* Philadelphia, FL - Rates from $59.99/night
* Dallas, TX - Rates from $35.99/night
* Seattle, WA - Rates from $39.99/night
* New York, NY - Rates from $87.99/night
* Washington, D.C. Area - Rates from $47.99/night

With Malice Toward None: The Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Exhibition

July 7, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Abraham Lincoln was one of those presidents who helped craft America.  Born on February 12, 1809, he eventually became our sixteenth President.  Those of you quick with math have already recognized that 2009 is the 200th anniversary of his birth.  To celebrate this, an amazing collection of Lincoln memorabilia called “With Malice Toward None: The Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Exhibition” is traveling to selected U.S. cities.

Given Lincoln’s place in history, we thought it might be interesting to track the exhibit cities, each of which is home to several Extended Stay Hotels, and describe some of the other great things to see and do.

The exhibit will remain at the California Museum in Sacramento until August 22, 2009.   Founded at the confluence of two rivers, Sacramento draws visitors to a variety of attractions, including the State Capital building, the American River Parkway, and the State Railroad Museum.  Accommodations are no problem since there are nine Extended Stay Hotels in the greater Sacramento area

From Sacramento the Exhibit travels to Chicago where it will be at the Newberry Library from October 10 to December 19, 2009.  This is the Windy City, and though you will have to dress warmly, finding comfortable accommodations will be no problem.  Extended Stay Hotels offers nearly 30 convenient locations in the Chicago metropolitan area.  While in Chicago, be sure to expand your cultural experiences by taking in the sites of Little Italy, Chinatown and many world class museums. 

Next year the Exhibit moves to the Indiana State Museum in Indianapolis from February 12 until April 11, 2010, then on to the Atlanta History Center from September 4 until November 6, 2010.  No trip to Indianapolis would be complete without a visit to the Motor Speedway Hall of Fame Museum.  No matter which sights you plan to see, Extended Stay Hotels in Indianapolis has just the right place to stay.  If you'll be catching the exhibit in Atlanta, consider iconic sights like the World of Coca-Cola and the CNN Tower before heading for one of Extended Stay Hotels’ 25 local hotels.   

No matter if you are a civil war buff, or if your eyes glaze over at the mere mention of the word "history", the life of Abraham Lincoln is sure to captivate.  So, be sure to make time for With Malice Toward None: The Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Exhibition.  No matter which city in which you choose to see this exhibit, you'll find a clean, comfortable hotel suite at an exceptional rate at one of our Extended Stay Hotels' locations.

Survey Says...

July 2, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Road Warrior just came across the results from an interesting airline survey and wondered how its outcomes match your experience.

The survey was done by SeatGuru, a service sponsored by travel industry website TripAdvisor.com.  Some 1,600 travelers completed the survey.  While this is not exactly a mammoth sample, the results are certainly insightful. 

Which airlines got the best grades for tasty meals?  Mostly the foreign airlines.  It is important to know that 40% of the respondents claimed a full meal to be their most important on-board amenity.  Top marks went to Singapore Airlines and British Airways, with Continental Airlines ranking reasonably well. 

Next question.  Which airlines have the most courteous flight attendants?  Survey says, Singapore Airlines, followed close behind by British Airways and Southwest Airlines. 

An amenity all but absent on most commercial carriers, comfortable seating, was the subject of another question.  Which company had the most comfortable economy class seats?  First place went to newcomer JetBlue, with Singapore airlines placing first in comfort for business class seats.  A whopping 42% of fliers would pay up to 10% over the ticket price for additional legroom at their seat.

On the issue of which technology would you most value during flight, Road Warrior was surprised to read that only 8% said internet access, while the number one selection (chosen by 32% of recipients) was a TV at the seat.

Road Warrior was wondering what would happen if there were a survey on comfortable, well priced hotels.  Here is how it just might look. 

Question:  Which national hotel chain offers its guests comfortable, well appointed studio rooms from Coast to Coast? 

Survey says:  Extended Stay Hotels, with nearly 700 hotels in all major U.S. metros as well as three cities in Canada. 

Question:  What are the hotel amenities that road warriors want most?

Survey says:  Great locations, budget prices, no hassle direct billing, on-site laundry, kitchens in every room and a name you know you can trust, like Extended Stay Hotels. 

Given the answers in the SeatGuru survey, Road Warrior is confident that the traveling public really does appreciate comfort, service and warm hospitality, all things to be found at Extended Stay Hotels. And unlike the airlines, Extended Stay Hotels doesn't charge extra for the added legroom.