Photo courtesy Pixabay

Travel Bag Bites: December 2017

Written by Craig Outhier Category: Adventures Issue: December 2017
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As editors of a city lifestyle magazine with a travel section that covers locales far beyond our beloved Phoenix Valley, you can imagine that we get pitched A TON about new and exciting travel offers around the country. Of course, we can't fit everything into a 200 page monthly magazine that only allots five of those pages to regional travel. Sigh... 'tis the nature of publishing.

But it pains us too much to kill all of our darlings. So each month, we scrape a few travel tidbits off the cutting room floor and bring you Travel Bag Bites – bite-sized travel-related goodies (special offers, activities and deals) to snack on while planning your next great escape.

Pool Big Ocean Final V2
Photo courtesy Monarch Beach Resort.

Holidays are a Beach
Swap traditional snow for tropical sand this holiday season. Monarch Beach Resort in sunny Dana Point – just a 5 hour drive from Phoenix! – is skipping the typical, stuffy Christmas dinner and offering a wide range of holiday activites. Get in the spirit(s) with a mixology class led by the resort's master mixologists ($40, Dec. 9,16, 23, 30). Join local portrait artist Tony Goodwin for a night of painting and wine ($50, Dec. 8, 15, 22, 29), or celebrate the fifth night of Hanukkah on Dec. 16 with stand-up comedian Brian Kiley. Book now for 25 percent of the resort's best available rate.

From Frodo, With Love
With 14 distinct terrains and climates – from tropical rainforests to glaciered fjords – New Zealand is a biodiversity jackpot. And now ambitious travelers can experience each of those two dozens biomes into a single, 18-day whirlwind travel package. Conceived by travel agency New Zealand in Depth, the package starts at about $4,000 sans airfare – and, no, you don’t get to throw a ring into Mordor at the end.

Polar Luxe-press
Taking the little‘uns to Williams for the Polar Express holiday train ride? If so, the celebrated L’Auberge de Sedona has an incentive-laden promotion just for you. The Polar Express Package includes a welcome gift for your kid, plus a packed picnic for the train ride and 30-percent reduced room rates. Yes, even with that discount, it will cost more than the Motel 6. But does the Motel 6 have outdoor showers? Only if the hose is running.

German Dreaming
Sad to say, but Phoenix, AZ – the nation’s fifth-largest city, mind you – currently boasts just one long-haul direct flight to Europe: a British Airways flight to London Heathrow on an old-ass 747. Tsk tsk. Thankfully, the nonstop international flight situation out of Sky Harbor will improve, incrementally, with a new Phoenix to Frankfurt, Germany route from leisure carrier Condor Airlines. The twice-weekly flight on a Boeing 767 wide-body will activate May 18, 2018, and starts in the high-$800s. So what is there to do in Germany’s fifth-largest city? Well, visit the famed Deutsches Architekturmuseum, for starters. We also understand the frankfurters are delicious.