Travelers get deals & freebies on Tax Day

Monaco Chicago_Tax Day_1

Ready with that tax return?

Whether you’re writing a check to Uncle Sam this year or he’s writing one to you, the stress of preparing your taxes may leave you yearning for a vacation, but fretting over your travel budget.

Help is on the way.

Some hotels and restaurants around the country are coming to the rescue with special Tax Day promotions that include carefully calculated deals and rewarding rate reductions.

You have until midnight April 16th to take advantage of the “Tax Break” special for weekend stays at participating Starwood hotels in the New York City area.

The deal provides weary taxpayers 15 percent rate discounts on stays that include Thursday to Sunday arrival dates through May 31, 2015 at W New York, W New York – Downtown, W New York – Times Square, W New York – Union Square, W Hoboken, Sheraton New York Times Square, Sheraton Tribeca, The Westin Grand Central and The Westin Jersey City.

Those checking into those hotels on Tax Day – April 15 – may also request the Tax Break discount rate and cash in on special perks being offered by some of the hotels.

For example, W Hotels guests will receive a piggy bank; guests at the Sheraton New York Times Square will receive a $25 Macy’s gift card, two complimentary drinks during Sheraton Social Hour and a Pay Day candy bar; and guests at the Sheraton Tribeca will be able to nibble on complimentary Pay Day, 100 Grand and Sugar Daddy candy bars.

On April 15, Portland, Oregon’s Hotel Monaco will offer complimentary chair massages during the nightly wine hour along with free champagne (for toasting refunds) and chocolates (to console those who owe money.) The adjacent Red Star Tavern will be serving specialty cocktails for $4.15 and buying one of those drinks for any guest who shows proof that they had to pay taxes this year.

The Tax Break Package at the Hotel Monaco Chicago waives the city’s hefty 16.4 percent occupancy and lodging taxes on room rates throughout the month of April. And on April 15, the food tax on bills at the hotel’s South Water Kitchen will also be waived. On Tax Day the front desk will also be handing out Pay Day and 100 Grand candy bars.

Travelers will also find Tax Day deals at some restaurants around the county.

Boston Market is offering diners a buy one/get one free meal deal on April 15 and, for those who want to explore the barter economy, on April 15 participating Hard Rock Café locations will host a Sing For Your Supper event and give a free Local Legendary Burger to diners willing to get up and sing a song on stage.

(My story about Tax Day Deals for travelers first appeared on CNBC)

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JetBlue celebrates Record Store Day at JFK Airport

Records

Record Store Day – a fun event dating back to 2008 celebrating record store culture and the role independent record stores play in communities – officially takes place this year on Saturday, April 18, 2015, but JetBlue is kicking things off early on Tuesday, April 14 with live music and a pop-up record shop in Terminal 5 at JFK Airport.

The live music starts at noon with country-blues-soul singer Elle King at noon, punk pop artist Kevin Devine at 3pm and indie rock band Caveman at 5pm.

Earlier in the day, at 9 a.m., the New York City-based record shop Other Music will open a pop-up record shop complete withe turntable listening stations and music for sale. Giveaways and prizes are also promised.

(Photo courtesy Galt Museum & Archives, via Flickr Commons)

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Souvenir Sunday: Kit Kats at Narita Airport

Narita Kit Kat

Welcome to Souvenir Sunday, the day we take a look at some of the fun, locally-themed and inexpensive items you can buy when you’re stuck at the airport.

This week: Kit Kats picked up on a very short layover at Tokyo’s Narita International Airport.

Wildly popular in Japan (where Nestle has a Kit Kat boutique), Kit Kats are available in dozens of unusual flavors in addition to the three – wasabi, hot Japanese chile and rum raisin – that we picked up at the airport.

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Snack Saturday: Hello Kitty lattes

Those hearts your barista makes with the foam on your latte may be charming, but the 3D foam Hello Kitty and other cute characters that top the drinks at Chock Full of Beans in Singapore’s Changi Village neighborhood bring latte art to a new level.

Starbucks, take note…

Changi Village Hello Kitty_edited

Changi Village - 3D Foam latte

Changi Village Rose Latte

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Greetings from: Singapore Changi Airport

Changi candy

It’s always a delight to spend a day touring Singapore Changi Airport, which offers a wide array of truly useful amenities and a smorgasbord of entertaining treats.

Here are some snaps taken this week during a 5-mile airport hike that included a stop at Hobbiton, an encounter with a giant Oreo cookie and a view of the airfield from one of the world’s best airport powder rooms.

Air New Zealand has set up a Hobbit hole  in the departure hall of Terminal 3.

Air New Zealand has set up a Hobbit hole in the departure hall of Terminal 3.

The Easter Bunny is still on duty at Changi Airport

The Easter Bunny is still on duty at Changi Airport

Changi cookie_edited

This giant Oreo cookie had a helper handing out samples of tiny Oreo cookies.

 

Changi restroom

This Changi Airport powder room has picture windows offering great views out to the airfield. I’ve been assured those outside cannot see in… Photo courtesy Yvette Cardozo.

 

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