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Providing a counterpoint to manmade Cancun on the opposite coast, Puerto Vallarta offers a genuine Mexican experience from it's roaming mariachi bands along the beach to myriad vendors selling real, local cuisine from their food carts in the Zona Romantica.
What could be more romantic than a surprise vacation to southern Europe over Valentine's Day? Not much we can think of, and here's how you can do it affordably.
For trips to Japan, our magic numbers are generally 500 and 600 -- that is, $500 from the West Coast and $600 from the East. This week, three airlines have stepped up with fares that easily pass our thresholds for great deals.
We mentioned Korean Air's great fare from LA to Tokyo, above. That's not the only sale out there to Asia, and we wanted to make it clear that now is a good time to buy tickets out East.
If you're curious about those less traveled roads, there's plenty to discover in South Dakota, as Johnny Jet will tell you.
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Puerto Vallarta
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Reader's Voice
From Elsie: "I always use Ita Software to compare prices. They give you the fare for all of the major airlines and all of the particulars on the flight and then you call the airline direct and quote them the fare and the fare code. I have always been able to get the price they quote, with no added charges since you are dealing direct with the airline and talking to a real person, so you know exactly what you are getting."
From Sea Breeze: "Has anyone else experienced terrible customer service from Celebrity Cruise Co.? We are captain club members and recently cruised on Millennium on 11/30/03 and had questions before sailing that Customer Service or Cap. Club would not answer by phone or respond to emails and answer questions. When they finally did respond to email -- it was a 'general statement' instead of providing helpful information to questions. This poor customer service dampen our attitude toward Celebrity."
From dawn: "With the holidays around the corner I was thinking of buying my husband a water purifying kit for an upcoming trip out of the country. How effective are they? Will they remove heavy metals out of water as well as pathogens? Which ones are the best for overall performance and reliability? Or am I still best off sticking with bottled water?"
From Aaron Johnson: "I just got back from Ireland with my mother. The trip was incredible. I highly recommend the Dingle Peninsula-- it's gorgeous. I liked it more than the Ring of Kerry. We did the southern part of Ireland starting at Shannon airport heading to Dingle and heading east from there. The locals were always kind and willing to interact with us. They love Americans for some reason. We had a great time and would highly recommend this trip to anyone."
From Jill Gorrie: "My father is on oxygen 100% of the time and am wondering if anyone has any tips/advice regarding travel abroad. We have a two-week trip to Scotland planned."

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