Travel Tips

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From the time Maria Maio could walk, she was fascinated with her mother’s makeup drawer. Fast-forward to today, and Maria is one of the industry’s most sought-after makeup artist. Her client roster is filled with A-listers — from pop stars to supermodels. “I love Carnie Wilson,” she gushes. “I also enjoy working with Hilary Duff, whom I am currently with on-set.” Maria is responsible for Duff’s makeup for the new Darren Star show, Younger. “I also loved working with supermodel Paulina Poritzkova,” Maria says. “She is such a pro — and what a great honor to do her makeup!”

Maria splits her time between clients in Los Angeles and New York City, and all that in-flight mileage can easily cause havoc on the skin. As Maria warns, “There is nothing worse than being on a plane for hours! The recycled air causes skin dehydration. And once you exit the plane, you can realize you have a bad case of the uglies.”

Well, the team here at Oyster.com surely don’t want a case of the uglies! (Although, to be honest, we’d take one any day in exchange for an awesome getaway.) So we asked Maria for the inside dish on how travelers can combat the bad skin blues.

Check out her easy tips after the jump to guarantee you’ll have hydrated, glowing skin — even after a transatlantic flight >>

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Everyone has their must-have travel accessories, whether they be neck pillows, eye masks, ear plugs, sneakers — you name it. And now, thanks to technology, that list has grown even longer — which can kinda be a pain. But the gadgets that make out list of travel essentials make traveling so much less of a pain that we’re okay with the fact that our packing list is two pages instead of one. Here are five life-changing travel essentials that you shouldn’t board the plane without.

1. Global Phones

spotphone

The SPOT Global Phone may appear to be from the Atari era, but even E.T. could phone home with this bad boy. It can work almost anywhere, so it’s a favorite among adventure types, from mountain climbers to explorers. With its superior voice quality and the fastest satellite-based data speeds in the industry, the SPOT Global Phone keeps you connected well beyond cellular networks. Powered by 100 % satellite technology, the SPOT Global Phone connects you to family, friends, work, and emergency services from virtually anywhere in the world.

$500, SPOT Global

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palm springsEven though we’ve been trying to embrace all things fall, we still can’t help but feel like summer came and went too quickly this year. And while fireplaces and fall reading and apple picking are all nice, we’d still love some time defined by warm weather, sandy shoes, and suntan lotion – especially as the temperatures start to drop, and drop, and drop some more. So we’ve come up with an Endless Summer Series to satisfy our sand-and-sun dreamin’. It’s a simple idea based on the fact that no matter what month it is, it’s summer somewhere. And since it doesn’t get much hotter than the desert, we figured that was a pretty good place to start sizzling. No need to throw in the (beach) towel on your warm weather wanderlust!

Click through the jump to get all the scoop on Palm Springs in September…and where to stay for every budget >>

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Let’s play a game of “would you rather.” Would you rather stay in a cute boutique in Istanbul or a dated (but canal-side) hotel in Venice? A historic country estate in Ireland or a stylish, woodsy hotel on the fjords in Norway? Everyone’s preferences are different, but one thing is for sure: Not every destination around the globe will deliver the same level of accommodations for your travel dollar. That’s why we decided to launch a new series to expose just how much bang for your buck you’re actually getting on your trip.  It may change your mind about where to go next…and you may even find yourself packing your bags for somewhere unexpected — but totally awesome, and affordable! This week, we’re taking a look at what you can get in cities across Europe. The price: $250/night. The dates: October 10th through 17th. And we’re off!

Which hotel would you choose? VOTE ON FACEBOOK or let us know in the comments section below!

Hotel Indigo London Kensington – Earl’s Court: $237/night

Hotel Indigo London Kensington

This is one of the trendiest Indigo properties anywhere, with bold, stylish decor and a quirky theme that’s inspired by Victorian manor houses (which this hotel once was) and French boudoir style. Each floor is themed after a different color (think: lime, teal, or fuchsia), and the hallways are lined with portraits of Lordships and Ladyships. There’s not a lot to dislike, although the hotel’s address isn’t the major selling point — the location on the west edge of Kensington is accessible (via the nearby Earl’s Court tube station), but there’s not a lot within walking distance.

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Newsflash! Visiting the world’s most expensive cities doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll be forced to stay in the world’s most expensive hotels. Though the suite life can be tempting when hoteling in the globe’s most affluent destinations, what’s feasible for the rich and famous often doesn’t align with what’s feasible for the rest of us. Thankfully, there are fantastic budget options in pricey towns that offer a lot of bang for your buck — so you can use that extra cash towards your eight-euro bottle of water. From London to Singapore and back again, we’ve got the lowdown on hotels that won’t break your bank…in cities that threaten to do just that! Though some cities are even too rich for Oyster’s blood — we’ll get to you soon Lausanne! — here are our top picks for the best budget stays in the world’s most expensive cities.

London: Generator Hostel London
Price: $39/night

HOSTEL LONDON

The Generator Hostel represents a new type of high-end “hostelling” which puts a real emphasis on creating fun, chilled-out atmospheres conducive to interaction between guests. The Generator is one such property and is a good choice for both young solo travelers and groups, offering dorms for up to 12 people as well as private rooms (though some are cramped). The cafe, bar, and cinema room are all great spaces to relax, and the hostel’s event program is a nice touch. There are few properties with as good a central London location that also promise such a snazzy vibe on the cheap in the world’s most expensive city.

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For travelers on a budget, a jaunt to the Mediterranean might seem off limits. Known for its gorgeous scenery, temperate climate, sumptuous cuisine, and sky-high price tags, the area is often thought of as a playground exclusively for the rich and famous. But we believe everyone deserves a fabulous vacation and a trip to the Mediterranean is, well, fabulous! So our team of Oyster investigators has searched high and low to find hotels across the Mediterranean that are a little more wallet-friendly  than you’d expect. (We don’t expect any thanks and we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves but, sure — you’re welcome). Here are 11 of our favorites.

Villaggio Colostrai, Sardinia

Villaggio Colostrai

Villaggio Colostrai is a budget traveler’s best bet in Sardinia. The hotel offers a free breakfast buffet, nightly activities for adults and children, and free parking. Rooms are pretty basic, and the hotel doesn’t offer Wi-Fi, but its manicured grounds and incredible pool, with sweeping views of the Mediterranean, will certainly make up for any shortcomings.

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What’s the secret to a great family vacation? Finding a location that allows everyone to explore and have fun – at their own pace. A spot where the kids (most likely bursting with energy) can have a blast while you enjoy a relaxing massage and a margarita…or several margaritas. (Go ahead – it’s vacation.) And generally a beach destination can deliver on all these fronts. So we’ve rounded up the best kid-friendly, tropical vacation spots that feature safe and fun places to play, kid-friendly restaurants, and all sorts of activities, even if the sun goes into hiding for a day or two. And Mom and Dad will be just as happy at these spots as well.

Beaches Turks & Caicos Resort & Spa

Beaches Turks & Caicos Resort and Spa With ten pools, a sprawling (45,000-square-foot) water park, a shopping center, a spa complex, and more restaurants than you can shake a breadstick at, the family-friendly Beaches is one of the most features-heavy resorts in Turks and Caicos. With a pirate-themed Sesame Street Treasure Caravan; 12 miles of white sand beach; pools staffed by lifeguards; Pirate’s Island Waterpark featuring two waterslides; AND Crayola Art Camps (whew!), your little ones can be entertained while you head for a rum punch. For the tweens and teens, there’s a Martha Stewart Crafts Studio, a (teen-appropriate) nightclub and lounge, an Xbox games garage, and even a DJ academy.

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Business Center

These days, most are aware that you have to be super vigilant when entering your personal info on the web, especially when doing so on a public computer. But a nice little wakeup call never hurts, and this time it comes in the form of a warning from none other than the U.S. Secret Service and the Department of Homeland Security. Got your attention? Late last week, the duo sent out a non-public advisory to numerous departments within, and members of, the hospitality industry in response to a recent slew of arrests after hackers were able to steal information from business center computers at several major hotels in Dallas. Hackers were able to access hotel guests’ personal and financial information, such as bank, retirement, and personal webmail accounts, with keystroke-logging malware. Notified hotels are now addressing the issue, but it’s good to keep in mind that you should really only use public computers — while at hotels and elsewhere — for surfing the web. Just a helpful travel tip to keep you, and your personal information, safe! [KrebsonSecurity.com]

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Travel is often an expensive endeavor, especially when you’re part of a large group and your days are packed with fun (but pricey) adventures. After all, no one wants to be the Negative Nancy who suggests ordering in for a night or two. But fortunately, traveling in a group can have its money-saving perks. While many a hotel keeps groups of more than four adults from sharing a room or suite, there are others that encourage it. And often, fancy-sounding categories such as the “Two-Bedroom Park View Room” or the “Kennedy Suite” can actually wind up being less expensive than booking several rooms in more basic categories. So whether you’re traveling with the fam or planning a group getaway, here are five U.S. hotels that will let you pack in a whole gang of guests.

Trump International Hotel And Tower, New York

Trump International

The Room: Two Bedroom Park View

An ostentatiously luxurious hotel with a supremely well-trained staff, and huge, elegant rooms, this Trump boasts a fabulous location at Columbus Circle. The luxe Two-Bedroom Park View Suite, not surprisingly, overlooks Central Park and has two spacious bedrooms, one with a king bed and the other with a queen. The suite fits up to six adults and feature gorgeous decor, including crystal chandeliers, and a small — yet fully equipped — kitchen.

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The Caribbean, the West Coast, and North America’s ski resorts…. During the winter months, these spots are bustling with tourists who are either looking to escape the cold, or are seeking it out for that fresh powder. But summer months see their crowds dispersing for destinations like the beaches of the East Coast, Europe, and theme parks around the world, where temperatures are generally high — as are the prices. That’s why we think it’s a great idea to not overlook your favorite wintery getaway as a possible summertime escape. Not only are hotel rates nearly cut in half, but winter destinations can be just as fun (dare we say more so?!) in the summer as they are during peak season. Here are eight popular winter destinations where you can enjoy an amazing, and affordable, summer getaway!

1. Cancun

Fiesta Coral

Not surprisingly, Cancun’s busiest months are those around winter and spring breaks, when hordes of college students descend upon the white-sand shores to party and lounge poolside. Even early June, though it technically falls during low season, can be a busy time for Cancun tourism as families treat their tots to summer vacations. By the end of the month, however, this beach destination starts to clear out — which means beautiful, uncrowded waters and great deals on hotels. It may be warm, but the crystal-clear ocean is right at your toe tips and the culinary scene is still bustling. September sees particularly low rates — but be prepared for potential hurricane weather!

Where to Stay: Fiesta Americana Grand Coral Beach Resort & Spa

While not all-inclusive, to which many guests attribute the resort’s quiet atmosphere, the Fiesta Americana Grand Coral Beach Resort & Spa has three restaurants; three poolside bars, including a swim-up bar; and a lobby bar. The extensive and beautifully designed spa, billed as the only in Latin America with a 10-step hydrotherapy program, is a big draw.

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