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April 21, 2014

Andrew Silow-Carroll: Passoverkill? Suggestions to make next year's seders even more culturally sensitive

Sara Israelsen Hartley: Seeking the Divine: An ancient connection in a new context

Christine M. Flowers: Priest's execution in Syria should be call to action

Courtnie Erickson: How to help kids accept the poor decisions of others

Lizette Borreli: A Glass Of Milk A Day Keeps Knee Arthritis At Bay

Lizette Borreli: 5 Health Conditions Your Breath Knows Before You Do

The Kosher Gourmet by Betty Rosbottom Coconut Walnut Bars' golden brown morsels are a beautifully balanced delectable delight

April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review

$ave smartly on Your Dream Vacation

By Susannah Snider





Whether you're seeking a romantic interlude or an exotic adventure, you can save on your getaway


JewishWorldReview.com | Traveling to your dream destination this summer (or fall) doesn't have to be a budget buster. We have strategies to save on every aspect of your vacation, from airfare to lodging to entertainment. You'll keep enough cash to upgrade to a more comfortable experience, or at least come home with a few dollars still in your wallet. Here's how to save on four different dream getaways: a romantic trip abroad for two, a volunteer vacation, a family reunion and an adventure cruise. Plus, we've highlighted destinations where you can get the most vacation bang for your buck.

TAKE A ROMANTIC TRIP ABROAD FOR TWO

To escape the crowds and avoid paying top dollar for plane tickets, fly someplace a little different. One good deal this year is Scandinavia. Food and entertainment aren't cheap, but airfare can be. Norwegian Air shuttles tourists to Copenhagen, Oslo and Stockholm from a handful of U.S. airports, including newly added Fort Lauderdale. Flights recently cost a few hundred dollars each way, depending on the date and departure site. For example, fares from New York's JFK International Airport to Copenhagen recently started at $204 one-way. Once you arrive in Copenhagen, you can stroll down the Strøget, a pedestrian zone in the heart of the city, or visit Tivoli, the world's second-oldest amusement park, where you can wander the gardens and catch the spectacular fireworks displays.

If an a la carte trip to Europe seems daunting, consider a vacation package, which can be a good deal and help you stick to a budget. A 13-night excursion to Turkey was recently available for $1,989(including airfare) at Gate1Travel.com. It included four nights in Istanbul, among other destinations, plus hotel, most meals and bus travel. Or forgo Europe altogether. Flights to Latin America are affordable, and the U.S. dollar still goes far there. Airfares from the U.S. to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, a romantic old city with a warm climate and a vibrant nightlife, are $516 round-trip, on average, according to Orbitz. Lodging is reasonable (the average rate is $161 per night). Choose an adults-only resort to avoid rambunctious kids. One child-free, all-inclusive option, Casa Velas, recently offered rates of $216 per person per night for travel through 2014.

Another romantic buzzkill is spending the first eight hours of your holiday next to the aromatic airplane bathroom. If you're flying this year, you might have to pay to change seats. Airplanes will be crowded, and fares will be high. You'll continue to pay fees for everything, from checked bags to priority boarding and choice seats.

If you can select an attractive seat while booking your flight, go for it. To get first dibs on a post-booking seat assignment, log on as soon as you can in the 24 hours before departure, when the airline opens up additional seat assignments (you can do this from your smart phone). Enter your itinerary into www.seatguru.com to see a map of the plane so you can avoid seats with less legroom, limited space to recline or uncomfortable proximity to the galley and restrooms. On long-haul flights, it may be worthwhile to pay extra for an upgraded economy or exit-row seat (prices can range from a few dollars to several hundred, depending on the upgrade and flight).

For a major upgrade, check out deals on nonrefundable business-class fares, which can run 50% to 80% off regular business-class fares (you can find them on an airline's "sales" or "specials" page). The tickets come with limitations: Fliers must purchase them a month or two in advance and can't travel on certain blackout dates. But they'll beat the discomfort of coach without costing ten times the price. "You're going to pay through the nose anyway; you might want to get some value," says George Hobica, of Airfarewatchdog.com.

Recently, Air France offered a round-trip business-class sale fare from New York's JFK to Paris for $3,046. That's about half the price of regular business fares on the Air France site, though it's twice as much as economy fares. KLM offered business-class sale fares from Chicago toIstanbul for $3,349.

GO ON A VOLUNTEER VACATION

Volunteer vacations run the gamut from rough-and-tough trail maintenance in the heart of a national park to sounding out letters with schoolchildren in St. Lucia. These trips, during which you volunteer from a few days to several weeks, can turn your holiday into an opportunity to help and may even qualify for a tax break.

A number of familiar organizations, such as the Sierra Club and Habitat for Humanity, offer volunteer trips. Each group organizes outings differently, with varying types of service opportunities and destinations. The more remote the destination and upscale the accommodations, the more you'll typically pay.

For the lowest cost, stay close to home and choose a trip that involves basic lodging. For example, the Sierra Club's fall trip to Acadia National Park in Maine recently cost $475, with a $50 deposit. Service projects might include restoring the carriage roads that crisscross the park or beating back invasive plant species. Volunteers sleep in tents, lace up their work boots for a day in the wild, and pitch in cooking group meals.

On the pricier end, Global Volunteers' trek to St. Lucia involves providing "essential services"--such as gardening help and tutoring--to families and children. Volunteers fill out a questionnaire and undergo an interview to match their skills with their assignment. Nights are spent in an air-conditioned bayside hotel, and volunteers eat in restaurants. The two-week program fee runs $2,895 (airfare is extra and usually about $1,000) before taking a charitable tax deduction.

Be aware that although you can always sprinkle volunteer work into your vacation, a dedicated tax-deductible volunteer trip isn't a holiday with a smattering of charitable day trips. To qualify for tax benefits, you'll need to work 40-hour weeks with an organization recognized by the IRS. If you itemize deductions, you may be able to deduct expenses such as the program fee, airfare or meals.

If you want to make sure your dollar goes as far as possible to help improve the region, ask how much of your fee goes to local donations, suggests Shannon O'Donnell, author of The Volunteer Traveler's Handbook. And make sure the locals have a say in what kind of assistance they're getting. "Often the best programs involve training and capacity-building, so volÂunteers are leaving skills behind," O'Donnell says. Check with the Better Business Bureau and ask for referrals from the service organization. The group should be able to put you in touch with a past volunteer.

GET THE WHOLE FAMILY TOGETHER

The trick to making a family-reunion vacation affordable is to be a little quirky. Consider going to an offbeat destination that still has plenty for everyone to do and swapping the hotel room for a vacation rental home (see Cash In on the Sharing Economy).

A vacation rental works well for large groups because it offers more space per person, with separate bedrooms for the kids and room to lounge, cook and relax. In popular markets, you'll find home rentals with pools, patios, scenic views and other vacation-friendly amenities. Plus, using the kitchen instead of dining out can save money.

Check out VRBO.com or Homeaway.com, which has more than 950,000 paid listings of vacation rental homes in 190 countries. You'll typically find a description of the home, photos and reviews.

Summer is off-season for ski country, so head to Colorado, where flights and lodging are affordable. A home near downtown Denver that sleeps seven and includes a large kitchen, a garden and a fire pit recently rented for $350 per night this fall. Once in Denver, dine al fresco on the 16th Street Mall, explore the Denver Zoo, or take a day trip to Breckenridge, where an alpine super-slide, guided hikes and zip-lining are available through mid September.


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If going offbeat isn't going to cut it, you can still save on a popular destination, such as Orlando. Consider a package to bundle the costs into one bill and make it easier to budget. One recent package included round-trip airfare from New York City, four nights at Disney's All-Star Music Resort and a five-day theme-park ticket for $795 per person. Prices in family-friendly spots, such as Orlando, typically drop in mid August, when children go back to school. If you can take the kids out of class, you'll save money. A two-bedroom suite recently went for $139 per night, but the price dropped to $109 in mid August through late September.

EMBARK ON AN ADVENTURE CRUISE

Want to snorkel with sea lions in the Galápagos? Photograph penguins in Antarctica? Fish for piranhas along the Amazon? You don't need to strap on a hiking pack and hire a local guide to penetrate these remote regions. In fact, getting to some of the most far-flung destinations can be as easy, and comfortable, as taking a cruise.

Despite several news-making disasters--including Carnival's capsized Costa Concordia and overflowing "Poop Cruise"--booking a cruise can still be attractive, at least as far as price is concerned. "I have never seen the market as lively and buoyant as it is today," says Carolyn Spencer Brown, of CruiseCritic.com. And keep in mind that such disasters are rare.

When it comes to adventure cruises (also called expedition cruises), expect a vessel completely unlike the megaships you've seen stranded on the news. These ships typically carry no more than a few hundred passengers, letting you glide along waterways that can't handle larger ships. Water slides and all-you-can-eat ice cream are scrapped for kayaking trips and local food and wine. Expect to spend more time in your hiking boots than your swimsuit.

Adventure cruises are not budget vacations. Most cost thousands of dollars and last for a week or more. You may have to pay your own airfare to reach Lima or Juneau before getting under way. However, you won't be tempted by gift shops, specialty restaurants or gambling nights.

Recently, an eight-day Un-Cruise tour of Alaska started at about $2,000, with opportunities to spot whales and kayak around glaciers. The ten-day Lindblad-National Geographic Amazon cruise aboard the Delfin II recently started at $5,990. The ship takes you through Peru's Pacaya-Samiria Reserve, where you can see dolphins and three-toed sloths plus take out kayaks and skiffs to explore on your own.

One strategy to snag deals on an adventure cruise is to book early. For travelers booking select 2014 cruises on Lindblad before July 31, airfare is included. Hurtigruten, which has ships that sail to Europe,Greenland and Antarctica, was recently offering up to 25% off on select 2015 cruises booked before June 30.

Want to see exotic locales without forgoing the luxury of a classic cruise? Check out Silversea Cruises. The line combines some aspects of inclusive luxury cruising, such as alcoholic drinks, a butler and 24-hour room service, with the freedom of an adventure cruise. A seven-day Galapagos cruise recently started at $5,450.

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Susannah Snider is a Staff Writer for Kiplinger's Personal Finance.



All contents copyright 2014 The Kiplinger Washington Editors, Inc. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC

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