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British Museum in London

By Mommy Points

After an overnight flight from the US, we arrived in London to experience the magic of the Olympic Games.

Having been to the 1996 Atlanta Games, I think I was mentally prepared for a semi-repeat of that experience. I was just a teenager in 1996, but I distinctly remember the heat and the crowds.  However, London is dramatically different; it is almost chilly here, and while there are many people around, the city seems quite able to handle the crowds.  I was shocked when we breezed through London’s Heathrow Airport in a matter of mere minutes.

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Summer Hull of the blog Mommy Points shows us how to take advantage of travel rewards points and miles to make the most of our vacation dollars with her new Travel Channel web series. By breaking down the often-complicated frequent-flyer programs out there, Summer makes it easy for anyone to redeem miles and points in exchange for memorable family vacations.

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By Mommy Points

There’s only a little time left until the Olympic torch reaches London and marks the beginning of the 2012 Summer Olympics, so it isn’t surprising that hotel prices in London this summer are high. Not only is the British pound a pretty strong currency against many other currencies (such as the US dollar) but demand is obviously higher than normal because of the Olympics.  You could say that the whole world is converging upon London!

However, if you collect miles and points from your travels, or even just through your credit card spending, you can still use those points to book some free rooms in London during the Olympics.  There are several very nice hotels in London that still have standard reward night availability from July 27 – Aug. 12 when the Olympics are in full force.  In fact, using your hotel points for free nights when the going rate is very expensive, such as during the Olympics, is actually the best way to redeem them.  It ensures you are getting the best value for your hard-earned points.

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We spend time trolling the travel blogosphere so you don’t have to! Well, not trolling … more like, blissfully absorbing. Anyway, turns out the Olympics is on everyone’s minds — as it will be for the next couple of months — and we found tips on eking as much enjoyment as possible out of the remaining summer days. Check out what we found on Travel Channel’s blogroll.

Looking to get to London on the cheap? Mommy Points debates taking a discounted trip to the Olympics.

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Sailabration

What better way to show off your love for “the land of the free and the home of the brave” than with a visit to this weekend’s aptly named “Star-Spangled Sailabration” in Baltimore? Put on your American flag pants (or bowtie!) and scoot down to this weeklong festival, which commemorates the 200th anniversary of the War of 1812 and the writing of every American’s favorite tune … “The Star-Spangled Banner.”

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OutEscpapes.com Launches

Memorial Day is the unofficial kick off to summer travel. It also marked the launch of a new gay travel website that caters to LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender) travelers … and their straight friends, too. OutEscapes.com — founded by Travel Channel’s guest blogger, Jimmy Im, and his business partner, Todd Murray — provides travelers with bookable travel and event packages at top travel destinations and properties around the world.

According to the staff at Out Escapes, the new website is the first travel, flash-sales website geared specifically to the LGBT community — an industry estimated at $65 billion in revenue a year. The new site touts having a skilled team of LGBT travel experts and industry insiders that will curate the website with their own experiences. So now travelers can get real, qualitative information about a specific destination of interest — for free!
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NBC’s 17th annual TODAY Summer Concert Series kicks off  (appropriately) … today! If you’re an early bird and in Manhattan on any Friday this summer, head down to Rockefeller Plaza around 6 a.m. to stake out your spot for a free live show. Usher is the first on the all-star roster of performers, which also includes Justin Bieber, Maroon 5, Kenny Chesney, Zac Brown Band, Train and Jason Mraz. READ MORE

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