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Posts Tagged ‘Taste of China’

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Like Friendly Planet Travel on Facebook to enter to win a free trip to Turkey!

LIKE US AND WIN: Enter our Facebook sweepstakes for
a chance to win three amazing trips!

In the first three months of 2012, we gave away three amazing trips through our Win the World Facebook Sweepstakes — one to South Africa, one to Peru, and one to China. After the excitement of Phase I, and a one-month hiatus to catch our breath, we’re ready to launch Phase II of this amazing program!

Yes, that means the Friendly Planet Travel Win the World Facebook Sweepstakes is back on with three more trips for a winner and the guest of his or her choice over the next three months. The first trip up for grabs? A getaway for two to the crossroads of Europe and Asia — Turkey — on our Best of Turkey program, valued at more than $5,000.

So how can you win? Since it’s the start of Phase II, we’re wiping the slate clean. If you entered your information between the months of January and March, you must enter your information again to be entered in Phase II. The good news is that once you’ve submitted your name, you’re in the running for all three giveaways!

As in Phase I, you can earn extra entries into our sweepstakes by inviting your family, friends, coworkers, Facebook friends, and anyone else who would love to win a free trip to enter. For every entry into our sweepstakes from your referrals, you’ll get an extra entry for yourself.

Our Win the World Sweepstakes will give travel aficionados a chance to escape to an exotic destination with included flights, great hotels, some meals, and plenty of escorted touring, all the great features travelers expect from Friendly Planet. The winner will experience visits to Istanbul, Cappadocia, Antalya, Pamukkale, and Ephesus. Check out the detailed itinerary for our amazing Best of Turkey tour on our website to learn more about all that the winner will see.

I’ve written in detail about what travelers should expect while visiting Turkey, so if you want to further explore the facets of this destination, check that out. After the Best of Turkey tour, we’ll be giving away our A Taste of Ireland tour on July 1, and our Taj Mahal Express tour on August 1.

But if you don’t enter, you won’t win. And if you don’t help us spread the word by referring your friends, you won’t get extra chances to win. What are you waiting for? Visit our Facebook page, like us, and fill out the form to win one of three marvelous trips.

Oh, and here’s an important tip. If you already like our page, just be sure to fill out the form again to enter Phase II. Refer your friends for more chances to win, and then be ready on June 1 when the next drawing will take place. Maybe I’ll be calling you to tell you that you’ve won!

The Friendly Planet Travel Winner’s Circle: Amazing Peru

THEY LIKE FRIENDLY PLANET: Liking our Facebok
page won Lillian and her husband a free trip to Peru

We just announced the third winner of our Win the World Facebook Sweepstakes, where Shari Ashley and a guest will go on an all-expenses-paid dream vacation to China. All the excitement made me want to check in with Lillian Mayes, the winner of our Amazing Peru trip.

Friendly Planet Travel blogger Caitlin reached out to Lillian to see if she’d be interested in letting our blog community hear what winning was like, and she agreed. So we set the call up, and jumped on the phone. Lillian filled Caitlin in on where she’s traveled before, what she likes to do, and what she’s most looking forward to seeing when she travels to Peru
Listen in on their conversation below. You can also right click on this link, and select “save link as” to download it to your computer, so you can save it to your mobile device and can listen on the go.

Thanks for taking the time to speak with us Lillian. We’re looking forward to hearing about your trip to Peru when you come back!

Who is the winner of Friendly Planet Travel’s FREE trip to China?

CHINA CHAMPION: One of our 16,000 Facebook fans has won
a free trip!

Even though it’s Tuesday (I personally consider it the worst day of the week — Friday is still so far away!), it was a treat coming into the office today. You probably don’t even have to ask why, since I’m sure you’ve also been looking forward to the announcement of the third winner in our “Win the World” Facebook sweepstakes.

You entered yourself, told your friends to enter, and now it’s time. Who will be going on an all-expenses-paid dream getaway for themselves and a guest to China on our Taste of China tour?

The excitement is killing me, so I’ll just go ahead and say it. The winner of our Taste of China tour is Shari Ashley. Congrats!

I called Shari to let her know that she was our winner. Listen in to her excitement! And click here to download the audio to listen on the go!

So who is Shari taking with her on her trip, what does she want to see, and what is she most looking forward to in China? We’ll be posting a podcast that Friendly Planet Travel blogger Caitlin conducted with her soon, so stay tuned for those details and more.

Our “Win the World” Facebook sweepstakes will be kicking off for a second round on May 1. We’re wiping the slate clean, and starting fresh. Starting in May, every Facebook fan will have the opportunity to enter again, whether they’ve already submitted their name yet or not. So it will be a whole new ball game — fans will enter again, and of course, refer their friends for more chances to win.

I’m looking forward to giving away three more amazing trips to our loyal fans. Congratulations to Shari and I’ll be back at the beginning of June to announce the next “Win the World” Facebook sweepstakes winner! I already can’t wait!

Win a free trip for 2 to China with Friendly Planet Travel!

Two trips to fantastic destinations given away, four more free tours to go. If you haven’t won a trip yet, then this is for you.

You might have seen that we’re giving away a trip for two to China on our Taste of China tour, and you might have already entered our sweepstakes. If you haven’t, there’s still time.

A Friendly Planet traveler and a guest will be on their way to see Beijing, China’s capital and host of the 2008 Summer Olympics; Shanghai, often called the “Paris of the East;” and Xi’an, where one of the most fascinating archeological finds in the world, the Terracotta army, is found.

Don’t wait to visit our Facebook page and fill out the entry form. If you entered to win the Best of South Africa tour or Amazing Peru tour, then your name is already in the pool and you don’t have to enter again. But referring your friends to enter will get you more chances to win!

Who would you take with you to China? Invite that person to enter, and that’s two more chances to win! I like those odds!

And if you’re still not convinced, I have lots to say about the fascinating country of China. It’s a beautiful place, full of fast-paced cities, ancient history, lots and lots of people, plenty of great shopping, and cultural experiences everywhere. I recently went to China, and it was one of the best trips I’ve ever taken. You simply have to see it to believe it. I’ll be sharing my experiences on my trip in the future, so stay tuned.

The winner of our Taste of China tour and a guest will win round-trip flights from Los Angeles via Air China, including fuel surcharges, taxes, and fees; all intra-China flights and ground transportation; and deluxe and first-class hotels with a private bathroom.

Also included are 12 meals, including eight buffet breakfasts, three lunches, and one dinner; comprehensive touring programs, including entrance fees; and a professional, English-speaking tour director and local guides.

What are you waiting for? Hop over to our Facebook page and enter to win this fantastic trip!

Disability, wheelchair doesn’t stop traveler from experiencing a Taste of China

I can’t imagine a more glum situation than sustaining an injury, especially one that hinders you from walking, right before a vacation.

But that’s what happened to Dorothy Kellher from Palm Beach, Fla. right before she went on Friendly Planet Travel’s Taste of China tour.

However, two fractures in Dorothy’s hip didn’t slow her down. After weighing her options, she decided to use a wheelchair and go on the tour. And she doesn’t regret her decision for a second.

Friendly Planet Travel’s tour guides took excellent care of Dorothy and made sure she had just as great of an experience as everyone else in her group.

But enough of me telling you why Dorothy enjoyed Friendly Planet Travel’s Taste of China tour so much. I pasted the e-mail below (verbatim) she sent to me when she returned to tell you all about it herself.

“I was planning to cancel my participation in the tour, having recently sustained two fractures in my right hip. At the last minute, hoping I would not be a drag on the rest of the group, and being assured that a wheelchair would be made available, I made the trip. The accommodations, food and service at all the hotels were first-class. The optional tours were too good to miss. The guides did a fantastic job in keeping us informed as to what we were visiting, and, more importantly, in continually checking that we were enjoying every experience to the max. We were given excellent opportunities to indulge in shopping, but were never pressured to buy. All our guides made sure I was part of the group at all times, and my temporary disability proved no drawback. My use of the wheechair was discarded after I reached the top of the Great Wall with the help of my cane. You are fortunate to have Peter Pi as a national guide. Both he and Jon Wang went way beyond their duties to befriend every tour guest. For me the tour gave new meaning to ‘The Experience of a Lifetime!’ Thanks Friendly Planet.” — Dorothy Kelleher, Palm Beach, Fla.

Dorothy, I’m so happy that you had a wonderful time on your trip! I hope you recover quickly from your injuries and are able to join us on another tour in full health.

How to save money on a trip to Asia

A few weeks ago, Michelle Higgins of The New York Times called out our Taste of China tour as a great way save money on a trip to Asia. But when I was exchanging e-mails with Michelle about Friendly Planet Travel’s tour, it got me thinking of other ways travelers can save money when planning a trip to Asia.

I know a lot of ways to cut costs without cutting the experience of a trip. Being in the travel industry for over 30 years has taught me a thing or two. It’s why Friendly Planet Travel’s tours are so extraordinary.

However, I also know that some travelers like to design their own itineraries when they travel. But even if building your own trip is your travel preference, everyone loves to get advice from other travelers who’ve been to that destination before.

The Friendly Planet team, myself included, has been to Asia at least a dozen times. So I wanted to share with you ways to save on flights, hotels, tours, currency exchange, and restaurants.

But since there’s so much to tell you about, I’m splitting this post into two. Look for part two in a few days. Let’s start with ways to save on flights and hotels when booking a trip to Asia.

Flights
Asia is far away for American travelers. That means you’re going to be flying for a very long time, no matter which carrier you select. But if you do your airfare research, you’ll discover that there are wide variations in pricing. In booking flights, I typically look for the least expensive deal I can find.

Sometimes that double connection actually saves hundreds of dollars per ticket off the single connection or nonstop flight. Keep in mind that the single connection and nonstop flights still take a long time, and if you can save $300, 400, or more on your tickets by choosing the longer flight, you might want to take advantage of the savings.

Or, consider departing one day earlier, take a relatively small part of your savings to pay for an extra hotel overnight at your destination, and give yourself the gift of a day to rest and recover from the jet lag. You will need the extra rest regardless of the flight you take. But saving money on the ticket will give you the money to indulge in the luxury of sleeping off the impact on your body of the long flight. You will still enjoy the savings from your tickets, and you’ll be ready to explore the destination with plenty of energy.

Hotels
Hotels in many Asian destinations can be tricky. The price is not the sole consideration for selecting a hotel. I start with the location of the hotel. Make sure that it’s very close to, or even at, a public transportation station.

In many, many Asian cities, gridlock is what you’ll find all day and into the night. Traffic is a nightmare and getting around the city can be a horrible and time-wasting experience. Even if your hotel is practically free, if you have to spend hours getting around, the value of your entire vacation will be eroded by the inability to do the things you really want to do.

On the other hand, if you’re near a tube, light rail, or (last choice) a bus line, you’ll make much better time. The extra cost of a hotel in a location that is very close to good public transportation will be well worth it.

Also, when you do your comparison shopping for a hotel, be sure your breakfast (buffet, American style) is included in the cost, as well as taxes and other fees. Otherwise, you may think you’re paying a bargain price only to discover the real cost is 50 percent or more more than your budget. I would NOT recommend staying in anything less than superior tourist class hotels in Asia, unless you are staying in a B&B owned by a good friend.

So, if designing your own trip to Asia is more your style, try using Friendly Planet’s new travel search engine. It lets you search thousands of great deals on flights and hotels. Our travel search engine is an easy way to arrange your next vacation, while enjoying Friendly Planet’s great savings and award-winning service.

And stay tuned. I’ll talk about ways to save on tours, currency exchange, and restaurants in part two. But before I get to that, have you been to Asia recently? Please share some of your own advice on ways to save in a comment on this post.

Reflecting on the 2011 Philadelphia Inquirer Travel Show

We had a great time at The Philadelphia Inquirer Travel Show this past weekend, and I can’t wait to tell you all about it. But first, let’s get to the most exciting news: The winners of our Taste of China tour, Taj Mahal Express tour, and Nikon S8100 digital camera.

On Sunday at 3:15 p.m., my special guest Corrine dug her hand into a fishbowl full of names and picked the three winners. For a trip for two on the Taste of China tour, we called out Larry Kleeman. Larry and his wife Wendy were in the crowd to accept their free trip!

Melissa, a Friendly Planet Travel blogger, interviewed them right after they got the news. I can’t put their excitement into words, so I’ll let them do it themselves. Watch the video below.

Congrats again Larry and Wendy! You’re going to have an amazing trip. We announced the winners of the Taj Mahal Express tour and the Nikon S8100 digital camera, but neither winner was there to accept their prize. So if you entered our drawing, check your e-mail and voice mail, we’re trying to reach you!

Thanks to everyone who stopped by our booth to enter to win and who showed up to my presentations on Saturday and Sunday. It was gratifying to see the room fill up to standing room only. I hope every one of you took something valuable away from “7 Exotic Locations for the Price of a Vegas Weekend” and “How to Compare Travel Offers for the Best Value.”

And in case you missed it, we have the video! I’ll post it in the coming days. I wasn’t the only presenter at the show. I was in the amazing company of Arthur and Pauline Frommer, which was very exciting for me. After all, without Arthur Frommer’s “Europe on $5 a Day,” I might never have figured out that travel to the far corners of the world can be inexpensive as well as thrilling. Melissa interviewed Pauline and Arthur and got a few of their travel guidebooks autographed.

She also got a few minutes with Patricia Schultz, travel journalist and author of “1,000 Places to See Before You Die.” When I post the interviews, I’ll tell you how you can win autographed copies of the Frommer’s travel guidebooks as well as Patricia’s book.

P.J. Thomas, Founding Editor of Pathfinders Travel Magazine and Travel Journalist Reid Bramblett stopped by Friendly Planet Travel’s booth for quick interviews too. Thanks Pauline, Arthur, Patricia, P.J., Reid, and the dozens of attendees who spoke to the Friendly Planet Travel blogging team.

Our blogging team found out what travelers thought about the TSA’s new airport security measures, airline ticket prices, as well as their favorite piece of travel advice, the #1 item they need in their carry-on bag, and much more. You’ll hear all their answers and a few fun surprises in the videos that are coming soon.

Friendly Planet Travel had a great time at The Philadelphia Inquirer Travel Show! Thanks again to everyone who attended. Stay in touch with the blog, videos and giveaways are on the way!

Reminder: Friendly Planet Travel is giving away a trip to China and India at The Philadelphia Inquirer Travel Show

Before the weekend officially starts, I wanted to remind you that Friendly Planet Travel is giving away an extraordinary trip for two on our Taste of China tour or the Taj Mahal Express tour at The Philadelphia Inquirer Travel Show this weekend. In addition, we’re also giving away a Nikon S8100 digital camera.

All you have to do is stop by Friendly Planet Travel’s booth, #514, on Saturday or Sunday to enter for your chance to win. On Monday, we’ll announce all three winners right here on the blog! Besides giving away amazing prizes, I will be giving two presentations.

“7 Exotic Locations for the Price of a Vegas Weekend” is slated for Saturday at 12:15 p.m. and “How to Compare Travel Offers for the Best Value” is scheduled for Sunday at 11:15 a.m. Flip back to my previous post to get all the details on our prizes and my presentations.

Friendly Planet Travel bloggers will also be on the show floor interviewing attendees and members of the media to find out the hottest trends in travel and much more. Keep your eyes peeled to the blog next week as we post videos, podcasts, and more from The Philadelphia Inquirer Travel Show.

Hope to see you at the show!

A trip to The Philadelphia Inquirer Travel Show this weekend could send you to China or India

Philly’s more fun when you win a trip to China or India! If you go to The Philadelphia Inquirer Travel Show at The Pennsylvania Convention Center this weekend, you have the chance to win an extraordinary trip for two on Friendly Planet Travel’s Taste of China tour or the Taj Mahal Express tour. And those two trips aren’t the only prizes attendees can win. We’re also giving away a Nikon S8100 digital camera.

Friendly Planet Travel will be exhibiting at the show at booth #514 where attendees can register to win. It’s that simple. The winners will be randomly selected and announced right here on the blog on Monday.

If you do make it to the show, please stop by booth #514 and say hello! I’ll be there all weekend. I’ll also be giving two presentations. “7 Exotic Locations for the Price of a Vegas Weekend” will reveal the exotic spots on the globe that offer your family an unforgettable experience of a lifetime for the cost of the typical week down the shore or a long weekend in Vegas. That’s slated for Saturday at 12:15 p.m. on the entertainment stage.

And “How to Compare Travel Offers for the Best Value” will teach you how to compare different packages and uncover hidden fees to slim down your cost without slimming down your experience. That’s scheduled for Sunday at 11:15 a.m. And I’ll be answering your travel questions after each presentation.

If you haven’t bought your tickets yet, you can still do so online. Adults are $10 and kids under 18 are free. So for just $10, you could win a trip to China, India, or a pretty snazzy camera. Not a bad deal, right? And that’s in addition to the abundance of travel information and fun planned for show visitors.

There are 63 booths in addition to Friendly Planet Travel’s, although I personally have a preference for booth #514! We will have lots of material, an international slide show with amazing images of the many places around the world we visit, and special, show-only discount coupons valid for many of our tours.

Here are more details on our prizes. The Nikon S8100 features a 3-inch, high-resolution clear color display. It has 12.1 megapixals with a 10X wide Zoom-NIKKOR ED glass lens, covering 30-300 mm. It also comes with Optical VR Image Stabilzation, high ISO sensitivity to 3200, and a new flash control system. Plus, you can record full 1080p HD movies with stereo sound.

The winner of the Taste of China tour visits three of China’s most dynamic and culturally awe-inspiring cities: Beijing, Xi’an, and Shanghai. Included are roundtrip airfare from Los Angeles via Air China including fuel surcharges; all ground transfers; all intra-China flights; deluxe and first class hotel accommodations with private bath; many meals; comprehensive sightseeing with a local, English-speaking expert guide; and more. Jump back to my previous posts on the tour find out all the sights you’ll see in each city.

The Taj Mahal Express tour includes roundtrip airfare from New York on Emirates; superior first-class hotels; daily buffet breakfasts; an authentic Indian farewell dinner in Delhi; expert guides throughout the journey; fuel surcharges, transfers, and much more.

While in India, we take you on expert-guided tours of the Taj Mahal, Fatehpur Sikhri, Jaipur (known as the “pink city”), and the Amber Fort, with an ascent on elephant or a Jeep. You also get a one-day tour in Delhi that takes you to its most important sites, such as the Laxmi Narayan Temple, Raj Ghat, the Red Fort, and more. Your tour concludes with a rickshaw tour through Old Delhi’s most popular street market, Chandni Chowk. There’s so much more, but you can read about it in my recent posts.

I hope to see you this weekend! If you can’t make it, you’ll have another chance to see us at The New York Times Travel Show where we’ll be exhibiting on Feb. 25 to 27. But more to come on that in a future post.

Read along as Farihah Ali searches for the perfect dumpling in China

If you want another helping of dumplings, err, I mean another helping of our podcast with Farihah Ali, you can download the transcript. Read along as Farihah tries to find the best dumplings on Friendly Planet Travel’s Taste of China tour.

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About Peggy

Peggy Goldman is a specialty tour operator and travel expert, who owns and operates Friendly Planet Travel, a full-service company that specializes in tour packages to exotic worldwide destinations at affordable prices.   More about Peggy

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