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Ultra-low-cost airline Spirit will likely have the cheapest base fares on any route it flies, but the carrier's pre-flight and onboard penny-pinching may cut into those savings. Here's what to expect (and how to make sure you're getting the best prices for your route) when flying with Spirit.

$9 Fare Club Actually Costs $60

The cheapest fares available via Spirit's airfare promotions are exclusively for members of the airline's $9 Fare Club. The Fare Club gives access not only to cheaper fares but also reduced bag fees.

But hold on to your wallet, because membership to Spirit's famed $9 Fare Club actually costs $59.95 for the first year. A 60-day trial membership (which once cost $9, hence the outdated name) goes for $19.95—and unless Spirit receives a written cancellation notice, it automatically rolls over into an annual membership.

Here's another stinger: Trial memberships may only be purchased with airfare and aren't valid until the next reservation. ... read more»

Travelers packing up convertible

For the sixth consecutive year, the U.S. Travel Association has launched Daily Getaways: one discount offer per day, for one month, from the likes of Best Western, Busch Gardens, Choice Hotels, Hertz, Hilton, InterContinental, MGM Resorts, Universal Studios Hollywood, and so on.

Every day at 1:00 p.m. ET, a new deal will appear on the Daily Getaways homepage. The USTA promises the deals will deliver savings of "upwards of 50 percent" over normal prices.

Daily Getaways are available for sale between March 23 and April 22, for travel through the summer and beyond. This year's dates have been moved back two months, "to assist travelers looking to plan ahead and save big this summer," according to the USTA.

The number of discounted products and services is limited, so the best deals are likely to be snapped up quickly. ... read more»

(Photo: AFP/Getty Images)

This week, the TSA announced a significant milestone for its Precheck program: the enrollment of its 1 millionth traveler.

Precheck travelers may leave on their shoes, light outerwear and belts, and keep laptops in their cases and 3-1-1 compliant liquids in carry-ons when clearing security in designated screening lanes.

To enroll in Precheck, travelers pay an $85 application fee and must undergo an in-person interview at one of TSA's 330 application centers.

Once approved as a low-risk traveler, flyers are entitled to use TSA Precheck lanes at 133 U.S. airports when flying on 11 participating carriers ... read more»

Bags lined up for departure (Photo: iStockphoto/Vera Bogaerts)

Beginning in May, Frontier passengers will pay more to check their bags.

That's no surprise, given the airline's ongoing transition to an ultra-low-cost carrier (think Spirit, Ryanair). The marketing strategy is straightforward: Advertise extra-low ticket prices, and impose hefty surcharges for any services that can be separated from the basic A-to-B transportation product. ... read more»

What is it: Trunki Ride-On Suitcase for Kids

Price and Where to Buy: $26 to $45 and up on Amazon.com (color and pattern dependent); $40 on Trunki.com

Pros: Kids think it's a ride-on toy, which offers hours of in-airport amusement. It's fairly sturdy, doesn't tip easily, and has horn-like handles for gripping. In addition to handles, it has an over-the-shoulder carrying strap, which can be repurposed—in a way not mentioned in the instructions—as a towing strap. ... read more»

People: Spa Experience for Couple-DD

There's no question about it: Vacations are good for your health. Studies have shown that taking time off from work can improve cardiovascular health, mental health, and sleep patterns. But while regular vacations of any kind might make you live longer, not all getaways are created equal.

An all-inclusive calorie fest on the beach, for example, obviously isn't as good for you as backpacking across Europe. (The former may involve bad eating habits and sun exposure, while the latter will likely include more physical activity and mental stimulation.) We spoke to a variety of experts to help determine five of the top healthy vacation options, so you really reap the benefits of your time away. ... read more»

Airplane: Inflight Scene (Photo: Luke Ma via flickr/CC Attribution)

In the future, will airlines make passengers complete "microwork" tasks for cheaper tickets? One industry expert thinks it could happen.

In a posting on Fast Company, self-styled frequent-flyer Martin Lindstrom speculated on the future of air travel. His predictions make for amusing reading, if nothing else. He predicts, along with almost everyone else in the business, the widening gap between the "ultraplush" and the "ultrasqueezed." But some of his other forecasts are a bit over the top. ... read more»

Woman Reading Map in Car (Photo: Thinkstock/Lifesize)

The 12 most sun-drenched beaches. The 15 destinations with the friendliest people. The best value-vacation spots for your dollar. Cities with the best pizza (or burger, or pastrami sandwich).

OK, fine. There's a place for all those places. But what about the 10 most dangerous U.S. cities? You know, must-visits for the truly adventurous traveler. Or, flipping that, must-not-visits for the danger-averse.

For them, the Law Street website has analyzed the latest FBI statistics and published its list of the "Top 10 Most Dangerous Cities in America."

According to the report, the most dangerous U.S. city with a population of more than 200,000 is... ... read more»

American Airlines aircraft tail (Photo: American Airlines)

Where the merger of AAdvantage and US Airways' Dividend Miles programs is concerned, American has proceeded in accord with the venerable marketing adage, "Under-promise and over-deliver."

Originally, American committed to consolidating the two programs "sometime in the 2nd quarter of 2015." That left them three months of wiggle room. Then, in early March, the target date was narrowed down to "next month," which would be sometime in April.

But today, an email update from AAdvantage pinned down the start date to a single day: "On March 28, we'll begin moving Dividend Miles members into the AAdvantage program. This transition to a single loyalty program will take several days."

So there it is. If all goes as planned, the conversion could be complete by April 1. ... read more»

(Photo: Rick Steves)

I'm all about traveling efficiently—and a great way to do that is by savoring local cuisine as you soak up the splendor of the place you came to see. While view restaurants often come with a steep price tag, I've learned to find scenic places to eat where the food is delicious, affordable, and memorable.

You might call taking in the view while you eat "killing two birds with one stone," but in Scandinavia, it's "killing two flies with one swat." This past summer, I "killed two flies" in the fascinating Swedish town of Kalmar, which has a wonderful beach at the edge of its Old Town on the Baltic Sea. On a hot summer day, I found a festive and happy slice of Swedish life, with views of the town's medieval castle, as well as of castles built of sand. With a snack-stand meal in hand, I walked to the end of a long pier to take in more views—plus some exuberant kid-leaping-into-water action. The combination Swedish beauty pageant/tattoo show on shore made for great lunchtime people-watching. ... read more»

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