Neiman Marcus has just reminded us that the holidays are soon approaching with its famous annual Christmas book featuring luxe clothing, accessories, and our favorite, "fantasy gifts." Given, we're not in the market for about 90 percent of the items in the catalog, but it doesn't hurt to look, and perhaps dream a little. That said, we culled the wildest, most covetable items we'd like to receive from the catalog. For the ultimate fashion hound, how about a gorgeous fur Fendi bag retailing at about $6,300 or a David Yurman necklace for $39,000? Meanwhile, there's a hand-crafted speedboat available for the sea lover and a personalized Stone Barns Farms day trip package — imagine yourself noshing on the freshest fruits and veggies prepared by chef and kitchen director Adam Kaye — for the ultimate foodie. But wait, there's more where that came from. Just click the slideshow to see our top 10 list and why they're so amazing, crazy, and downright cool.
It's time to start scouting for deals and prepping for holiday travel (props to you if you've already done this!), before the prices start rising. Don't book your trip at the last minute, because the holidays are prime travel season, which means sky-high costs for airlines, car rentals, and hotels. Read on to find out the best ways to save on your upcoming holiday trip.
Picking a destination
Perhaps you're not planning on returning home for the holidays and would like to use the days off to take a trip — you need to start researching some budget destinations. Some countries to look at include places that are seeing a decline in travelers. One in particular would be Japan as many people are still afraid of traveling there because of earthquake and radiation scares. Most parts of the country have not been affected, and cities like Osaka and Kyoto have been left relatively unscathed.
If you're interested in traveling to countries that have seen a drop in travel due to political unrest such as Egypt, it's best to reach out to locals to hear their thoughts on safety. Ask friends and family if they know anyone living in those countries, or post a question on Quora, Facebook and Twitter. For countries that have had civil and religious upheavals, you might want to check important political, historical, and religious dates that may cause conflicts. Check out some of Budget Travel's picks for top budget destinations this year if you're looking for more international travel ideas.
Another alternative is to check out underrated places that people often pass over. Lonely Planet gives a neat list of US cities that are often neglected and passed over for more famous spots such as New York, Las Vegas, and San Francisco.