Southwest deal for duos; NYC, Hawaii drop quarantines, masks + more travel news

In this week’s TravelSkills on SFGATE newsletter…

A deal for duos: Southwest is pulling out one of its biggest marketing guns to help convince customers to fly this fall and winter. Will you bite? Normally, Southwest Airlines’ coveted Companion Pass is a long-term goal for Rapid Rewards participants, but a new very-short-term promotion lets members earn a limited-duration Companion Pass by booking just one flight. You don’t have a lot of time to think about it, though. Read: Southwest hopes to gin up winter travel with valuable promo

In route news, San Francisco International gets quieter; Southwest extends its open middle seat policy through Thanksgiving; American’s website adds a trip planning feature that details COVID-related restrictions on U.S. travelers to countries worldwide; New York now allows California residents to visit without subjecting them to a mandatory 14-day quarantine; Hawaii now expects to lift its mandatory quarantine rule in mid-October; new

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Best Prime Day Smart Thermostat Deals 2020: What To Expect

Prime Day is only a month away. This means that soon we’ll be seeing some of the biggest tech deals of the entire year. If you’ve been looking to add some smart home devices to upgrade your Google or Amazon ecosystem, Prime Day is the perfect time to do that. Smart thermostats are one of the best additions to a smart home because they function easily with Wi-Fi and control your heating and cooling systems automatically. There’s so much more to a thermostat than just telling you the temperature of your room. Get ready to shop these Prime Day smart thermostat deals and soon conventional thermostats will feel like a thing of the past.

When are the best Prime Day smart thermostat deals?

Amazon saves the best Prime Day deals for the event itself. That said, the online retail giant is no stranger to whetting buyers’ appetites by having a

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Save up to $2400 per couple with APT on the Mekong

APT will be cruising through Vietnam and Cambodia aboard the brand new Mekong Serenity from 2021. Luxuriously spacious, all the Mekong Serenity’s suite categories include a private balcony, so guests can enjoy the ever-changing scenery in absolute comfort. With one staff member to every two guests, there’s an intuitive, friendly and gracious style of service. Exclusive to APT is the Indochine by Luke Nguyen restaurant where guests can delight in the taste of Vietnam with an intimate culinary journey inside a private dining room of 16 people.

Renowned chef Luke Nguyen said; “It is exciting to be part of the development of Indochine aboard the beautiful Mekong Serenity. I’m very proud that my authentic yet modern Vietnamese cuisine is so well received by diners and it gives me so much pleasure shaping the menu

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The Best Board Game Deals for August 2020

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If you have been stuck at home for months with kids, odds are you are running out of activities to do with them. Even though there are tons of things to do outside, you still need indoor activities for the kids. It’s tough to keep children entertained without the usual hustle and bustle of everyday life such as school, organized sports, and playdates. One way to keep kids entertained and have fun with the whole family is board games. Many families have existed thus far without experiencing the simple joys of playing board games due to ever-present electronic games and distractions that are available. However, families have been gathering around the table to play good, old-fashioned board games for decades, and they are tons of fun. Traditional board games and newer games alike will provide some

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Robyn Benincasa to Keynote Travel Leaders’ Virtual Conference

Travel Leaders Network announced that Robyn Benincasa, a motivational speaker on leadership, an Adventure Racing world champion, CNN Hero and author, will be the keynote speaker for the company’s annual conference. Bridge to the Future, as the virtual conference is titled, will be held October 13-15. Benincasa, Travel Leaders says, will provide a blend of inspiration and fortitude to complement the array of workshops and networking opportunities that will be available for attendees seeking to improve their sales.

“Robyn has participated in a plethora of challenging competitions that have taken her to some of the most unique and compelling destinations on earth—the jungles of Borneo, the Himalayan peaks of Tibet, the rivers of Fiji, and the desert of Namibia, to name a few. Her message of passion and courage will profoundly resonate with our travel advisors,” said Roger E. Block, president of Travel Leaders Network, in a

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Gadgets and gear on sale today

Who doesn’t like a good bargain on tech and gadgets? If you’re like us, you’re always on the hunt for something new and fun to pick up, especially if it’s on sale.

We’ve gathered up a handful of best-selling products in the AG Deals Store and are sharing them below.

The products span a range of different topics, but each of them has a common feature: excellent pricing. Be sure to look around the entire store, though, as there are tons of great things to grab.

RokBlok: The World’s Smallest Wireless Record Player ($89.99)

As seen on Shark Tank, RokBlok is the world’s smallest, wireless record player. This handy device combines classic and modern. Rock out to your favorite records with RokBlok’s built-in speaker. Simply place RokBlok on a record, and raise the control lever to start playing. You can even wirelessly send your music to any Bluetooth device for

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Rental car tips: How to find the best prices during covid-19

For many Americans, embarking on road trips has been a way to keep traveling during the pandemic. And if you’re not a car owner, now may be a good time to rent one.

According to data from, a car-rental comparison engine, road trip travel is up, but the travel industry as a whole is still hurting. As a result, rental car rates in the United States are down by between 15 and 40 percent, depending on the region.

Unlike airplane tickets that can change in price by the minute, the price of renting a car isn’t a mystery.

“Between now and Christmas, your flight might change a hundred times,” says Liana Corwin, the travel expert for Hopper, the flight and hotel booking app. “With car rentals, they’re a little bit more static.”

While renting a car isn’t complicated, there is legwork to get the best deal. Here are tips

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