Thursday, January 31, 2013

Airlines Go Foodie in Economy Class

I have never paid for a business class seat and on those rare occasions I've been upgraded (I can count three times in the last three years, which ain't much considering how often I fly), the food hasn't been memorable. Looking at my narrow experiences on Singapore Air, Alitalia and Air France, I'd say that the food reminded me of what airline food used to taste like...when you actually got a meal on a plane. The only differences: it came with better and more abundant wine plus good bread served from a basket. Oh, and I got a white table cloth, metal utensils and obsequious service. Those were the only differences I could detect.

Now, that may not be the airlines' fault. Studies have shown that our taste buds are badly affected by high altitudes. In fact, a third of those in our mouths are numbed out entirely when we fly. We don't smell as well, either, as the dry cabin air affects that ability and smell is, obviously, a huge part of the culinary experience. That's why, though airlines oversalt the food, it usually tastes very bland.

Which all leads me to wonder whether the new strategy being employed by some airlines to introduce gourmet food into steerage class will actually work. In a CNN.com article today, it was reported that a number of airlines are making partnerships with well-respected restaurants in destinations around the world, which will allow them to sell their specialties at 40,000 feet. Passengers must pre-order their meal; they pay a bit more for the privilege of dining on the famous dishes being offered. At this stage, Air Berlin, Austrian Airlines, US Airways, Hawaiian Air and KLM have programs of this sort.

I think I'm going to stick with my tried-and-true method of either bringing my own home-cooked meal aboard, or grabbing a sandwich in the destination before I hit the airport. Cheaper, and likely more tasty. But I may be in the minority on this one. It'll be interesting to see how many passengers, er, bite.


Wednesday, January 30, 2013

A Rail Sale From Amtrak

More than one, actually. The railroad must be experiencing a slow winter, hence the three sales it's recently posted. They are:

The 20% Off Winter Sale: This one's valid for fares booked by February 5 for travel by April 18. Some of the sample savings include Boston to Albany for $22, Philadelphia to Raleigh for $62, Washington to Toledo for $55, Los Angeles to San Franciso for $45 and New Orleans to Jackson for $16. For full information, click here. On select routes, that discount bumps up to 25%. Click here for that info.

Take-3-Get-1-Free Acela Rides: This one is for frequent riders (Joe Biden, you listening?). But if you ride the Acela 3 times between now and March 2, you can win a free summer ride (for travel between July 1 and August 29). The railroad is allowing customers to win up to four free rides this way. You must join the Amtrak Guest Rewards program to qualify. Here's a link to learn more.


Select 50% Discounts: These apply to weekend savings on the Capitol Corridor (between Auburn and San Jose for travel through April); and senior citizen fares on the Downeaster (between Boston and Portland, ME).

Click on the links above for information and links to even more deals.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Gastro-Hillarity in Chicago

As I promised, here's my dish on what had to be one of the funniest meals of my life. Now, I enjoy laughter, so in a sense this was quite a good thing. But every once in a while, the pretentiousness of the experience reached laughable levels.

It was at one of Chicago's most celebrated restaurants, a tasting-menu-only, Michelin starred joint with the plainest decor I've ever seen in a restaurant (I suppose all that unadorned wood was meant to keep the focus on the food). The music was the kind you hear before and during a very bad massage. And the waitstaff scuttled around like Secret Service agents, each with earpieces and a mic on their sleeve so that they could share your every whim with the kitchen and time the meal to the second. (That being said, they were a friendly bunch, though the sommelier performed her duties almost as if she were in some sort of odd ballet, so stylized was her presentation of the food).

The first course was a long rectangular plate with about 12, teeny, tiny dots of sauce on it (none larger than a dime) to represent everything you'd eat in the meal to come. That was a fun touch, I thought. Next up were a slew of still lifes; some were delicious, like the "duck a lorange" which consisted of a glass box with an orange in it, and a plate of duck on top; the diner then poured sauce from inside the hollowed out orange over the duck. Others were just, well, odd, like a very fishy fish dish; and a "breakfast radish" concoction which consisted of every single radish known to mankind, surrounded by butter every which way, from artfully sculpted with liquid nitrogen, to aerated butter, to shaved butter. And what did all this butter taste like? Well, like butter. At one point, a large pile of wood covered with ribbons of cinnamon were placed on my table, followed by a blowtorch weilding waitress who ran the flame over the cinamon simply so I could smell it as I dined on bison. Other chi chi ingredients included tundra grass from Alaska, candied praying hand fruit, foie gras and on and on.

I'll admit, I enjoyed it. But was it worth $175. Not by a long shot.

Ah well, live and learn. I have had masterful molecular gastronomy elsewhere (most notably in Aix En Provence), but not here.

Any guesses which restaurant it was (not that I'm sure I'll say)?

Monday, January 28, 2013

A Quick Trip to the Blustery City

Can one get frostbite in less than 5 minutes?

That was the question I would have typed into my smart phone, as I trudged the ice-glazed streets of Chicago's Logan Square neighborhood, had my fingers still been working at that stage. But one hand had frozen into a claw, gripping my rolling suitcase, and the other was hiding in my pocket, trying to talk some sense to my brain ("No I won't come out, damn it. It's pretty clear I'd freeze! Why risk it to type?"). Instead, I ducked into a cafe and stood in a corner, hoping nobody would ask me to purchase something. Of course, the opposite happened; a kindly barrista, seeing my shivering form, called out "Oh hon, you thaw out. No need to buy anything, just get warm."

Cold and kindness were two of the touchstones of this recent trip, one that made me rethink that old bit of travel advice "go in the off season". Frankly, I so dreaded going out, that I did a lot less in Chi-Town than I usually do when I head, well, anywhere.

Luckily, I had my own, cozy and warm apartment through AirBnB ($65/night!), which my charming host Jonathan had stocked with snacks, sodas, breakfast stuff and even beer and vodka. No need to head out if hunger or existential, vodka-needing angst, struck And if that weren't enough, he invited me up for drinks and I spent a lovely second evening meeting his 20-something friends and swapping travel tales.

Of course, I did venture out...a bit. Having visited the Art Institute, The Field Museum and other Chicago bold name attractions on other trips, I decided to go a bit off the beaten path and head to the less-visited Chicago History Museum.What an unexpected treat! Chicago has a very distinct personality, it's a manly city but one that's also highly creative. And at this fine, highly interactive, wonderfully curated museum, you understood how the city got its moxie. Everything from the Great Fire to the race riots of the '60's to the many innovations that came out of the city (both Lincoln Logs and the Pill were created here) are explored at the museum in a way that's quite compelling and only a hair overwhelming.

Best reason to go right now: the exquisite photos of Vivian Maier's are on display. Never heard of her? You will in the coming years. She was a total unknown until 2009, when photos of hers that were rescued from an abandoned storage locker were posted on the internet. Maier, who worked as a nanny in Chicago all her life, never tried to display her work herself and had passed away by the time her work started gaining acclaim.  But the photos are Diane Arbus like in their intensity and humanity, and capture the Windy City of the 1960's and 1970's quite vividly.

My second sightseeing venture was somewhat of a bust: I signed up for one of the Chicago Architecture Foundations Tours, its Elevated Chicago experience, assuming that we'd be ensconsed in a nice, warm train, looking at architecture through the windows. Nope! The tour was about the development and architecture of the El itself, so we hung out on street corners looking up, or on platforms gazing down, always in the windiest spots of the Windy City. I made it halfway through that tour before, feeling a waspish stinging in my hands and toes, I had to bale out. Sad to do so, as the tale our guide was weaving was a compelling one, all about the corruption and characters that shaped the city. But had I stayed...well, I might not be able to type this today!

I must finish up with a shout out to all the great cheap eats I had while in town, so thanks to Bel 50 for the terrific waffle sandwiches (that's right, waffles filled with delicacies like burrata, smoked salmon or short ribs); to Au Cheval for the fab, foodie bar food (duck's heart gravy over hash!); and Little Goat for the amazing tempura fried potatoes.

Hopefully I'll have time later in the week to blog about the silliest meal of my stay (perhaps of my life). Stay tuned!

Friday, January 25, 2013

And Here's the Discount Code for the Chicago Travel Show

It's not too late to save!

Simply go to  www.adventureexpo.com/chicago and enter Promo Code:  SPK2 for $7 tickets.

You know you want to come in out of the cold! Should be a terrific show. I was just informed there would be live Penguins, thanks to Sea World. Can't beat that!

See you there.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Chicago, Come In Out of the Cold! The Travel and Adventure Show Will Be Here This Weekend

And I'll be one of the featured speakers, along with Rick Steves, Patricia Schultz (author of 1000 Places to See Before You Die) and a surprise guest who WON'T be handing out roses. I'm referring to Chris Harrison, host of TV's "The Bachelor". I suppose after chaperoning all of those dates in sexy destinations round the world, he has a good amount to say about travel.

The show will actually be in Rosemont, IL (at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center). I'll be speaking on Saturday morning, so do come early! And hey, bring the kids. There'll be climbing walls, ziplining and scuba lessons to keep them happy, along with performances on the Cultural Stage. For complete information, click here.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Shorter Flights to everywhere? That's What the Future Could Hold, According to Airbus

On good days, I explain my wanderlust, and that of others, with phrases like "getting to know our neighbors and thus advancing the cause of world peace" or "lifelong education".  But when I take a hard look at my habits, my jetsetting proclivities, I recognize that I'm a big part of the problem when it comes to climate change. Air travel is not a very green way to get places, alas.

But it could be in the future, at least if some of Airbuses suggestions are followed. That's right, a company that's been responsible for a heckuva lot of carbon emissions has actually come up with a bunch of darn good strategies for making flights more eco-friendly. They include:
  • Changing the ways planes take off. If a plane could be shot out, as if being propelled by a slingshot, it could achieve its cruising altitude in a far more efficient fashion, reducing both emissions and noise. That may sound wacky, but remember that the sea planes that take off from aircraft carriers are already using this sort of technology (since runways are necessarily short aboard these carriers).
  • Flying more like birds do: Instead of using established air corridors, airplanes could, with the help of new technology, simply fly the most direct routes. That could mean hours trimmed from transatlantic and transpacific itineraries. They might also fly in formation with planes going in the same direction in order to reduce the effects of wind drag.
  • Landing slower. Instead of coming in at full throttle, aircrafts might simply glide onto the runway. The runways could be shorter then, and noise pollution would be significantly decreased (as would emmissions).
  • The use of other forms of energy: Yes, someday planes might fly on solar power, or the wind they generate, or use bio-diesels. Hopefully that day isn't too far in the future.
For more on Airbus' plans, plus video presentations on possible future aircrafts, click here for an article from the Singularity blog. According to an author who identifies himself as Socrates  "Airbus says its plans could cut average flights by 13 minutes and save almost 30 million tons of avoidable CO2 emissions a year." Wouldn't that be great?!?  

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Ditch the Diet: "Nude" Scanners Being Pulled by the TSA

Though I can't say this is a win for air security, it certainly is for shy travelers. The TSA confirmed to NBC News last Friday that it will be ditching its backscatter imaging machines in favor of those that simply show a stick figure to screeners. The machines will be replaced by millimeter wave screeners. Apparently, all of the old machines will be gone by June 1.

No reason was given for the move, but I'm assuming that the public outcry against these scanners was behind it. A constant drum beat of concerns--about privacy invasion, about radiation emissions (less than we get from walking in the sun, from what I've read)--seems to have cowed the TSA into replacing the machines. So that's $45 million down the drain.

Will this tame the public's hatred of the TSA? Hard to say, though I certainly hope so. With all the talk about "security theater" we seem to be forgetting the tragic events of 9/11, and the serious attempts since to bring down jets. No system is perfect, folks, and our government officials are doing their best, I sincerely believe, to keep us safe. Shouldn't we give them some credit for the fact that there hasn't been a plane hijacking since 9/11 in the US?

For a full article on this development, click here.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Freebie Friday: Free Marriott Nights

And you don't have to sleep around that much to get them!

Marriott has returned with its "Megabonus" promotion which offers one free night for every two paid nights. Travelers must register for the promo by March 15, and stay between Feb 1 and April 31 to rack up nights (a maximum of 3 free nights). At this point, some 3000 hotels worldwide are participating.

To learn more, click here.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

An Invitation to the New York Times Travel Show (And A Discount Code!)

One of the highlights of my year is appearing at the New York Times Travel Show. Not only is it a lovely opportunity for my father and I to meet the listeners to our radio show in person (along with the people who read Frommer's publications), but I usually try and sneak into other speakers rooms to hear their presentations. This year there'll be an all-star cast, including movie star-turned-travel-writer Andrew McCarthy (author of the terrific travel memoir "The Long Way Home"), the crack staff of the New York Times Travel section, Patricia Schultz, Brian Kelley ("The Points Guy"), my wonderful colleagues Reid Bramblett and Jason Cochran and a number more.

As well, it's always a treat for my kids to attend, because there's usually climbing walls, cultural performances, bouncy houses and a number of other activities perfect for the under-12 set.

The final perk: getting to meet all the experts on travel who man the booths on the show floor. They range from tour operators to tourist board officials to folks who sell new and useful travel gadgets.

For information on the show, click here.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

A New Website Claims to Cure Jetlag

I like travel expert Peter Greenberg a lot, and think he has some excellent points to make on traveling. But I also think he's a liar. Because I once heard him say he never suffers from Jetlag.

 I hope this isn't too crude, but that's like saying "I never fart".

Jet lag, which is tied into the body's circadian rhythms, is an inevitable problem when one jumps times zones. It's unavoidable.

I know, because I've tried just about everything for it, from herbal remedies, to drowning myself in liquid on the flight over, to timing when and how much I sleep. I'm still a bleary-eyed mess for the first two days of most European and Asian trips.

What I haven't tried, however, but plan to, is the program being offered by the new website JetLagRooster.com. Created by a Canadian Researcher, it invites travelers to key in their itineraries and usual sleep patterns and then it shoots back a light exposure plan. I typed in my upcoming trip to Morocco, and received a detailed itinerary of when I should avoid and when I should seek light after I arrive in country.

As I'm typing this from my home city of New York, I can't review how well it works, but I promise to do so after that North African trip.

I also promise never to use the word "fart" in this blog again.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

A Gaggle of Good International Airfare Deals

Though prices in general are floating upwards, every once in a while a route doesn't sell and the airlines are forced to discount. Here are some of the best sales I've seen recently:

Turkish Airlines from Washington, DC, New York or Chicago to a number of European and Middle Eastern Gateways: The first half of February seems to be the best time to snag these offers, which include Washington,DC-Sarajevo ($492 round-trip), Washington, DC to Sharm-El-Sheik ($503 round-trip), and a slew of $699 round-trips from DC to such far flung destinations as Stockholm, Amsterdam, Athens, Frankfurt, Geneva, Lisbon, London, Madrid, Moscow and Paris. From Chicago, deals include Istanbul round-trip for $525, Isfahan round-trip for $599 and Izmir for $619. From NYC, the best offer is a $499 round-trip to Istanbul, though $599 to Kermansah is also quite a value.

Lufthansa puts May in Europe on Sale: Best prices are usually from the NYC area to Dusseldorf for $609 and to Tirana for $879. From Chicago, Lufthansa has a sale to Istanbul $789 and Sofia for $839. Istanbul is also the best value from Dallas/Fort Worth and Miami ($669 round-trip). Tickets must be purchased by May 15 for departures May 17-30 and returns by June 30.

American Airlines to Doha, Qatar: I spotted this one on AirfareWatchdog. The price is just $680 for round-trip travel through March 15.

Air Berlin Sale: And this one I learned about at last weekend's LA Travel and Adventure Show (a perk of going to travel shows). For travel from now through April 30 (Wed, Fri and Sun flights) the airfare from LA to Dusseldorf will be as little as $729 round-trip. For more information, go to www.airbelin.com





Monday, January 14, 2013

An Excellent Source for Civil Rights Tourism Information

With Black History Month right on the horizon, and the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr's famous "I Have a Dream Speech" occurring on August 28th, interest in the history of the Civil Rights movement has never been more widespread. Which is why I wanted to direct your attention, dear reader, to an excellent website on Civil Rights travel curated by Larry Bleiburg.


Bleiburg is a decorated travel journalist, long the travel editor for the Dallas Morning News, and a former President of the Society of American Travel Writers. His site CivilRightsTravel.com is the best resource I know of for people hoping to follow the trail of the Freedom Riders, or hop from museum to historic site in the American South.

Not only does Bleiburg offer a dramatic retelling of the events of the 1950's and 60's, he also offers information--or links to information--on such necessary touristic items as where to stay and eat in the destinations covered.

Frankly, if you plan on visiting Alabama, Georgia, Washington, DC or any number of other southern states and you don't take a peek at this website first, you're missing out. 


Friday, January 11, 2013

Freebie Friday: Fewer Free National Park Days

For anyone who's been watching the National Park Service budget shrink faster than a cashmere sweater dumped in the dryer, this cut back in programs should come as no surprise. Still, it's a shame that the NPS has had to cut back on the 2013 days it will open its gates free of charge to the public. Not only were these freebies a wonderful way to guarantee that ALL our citizens--and not just the well-heeled ones--got to enjoy our nation's greatest treasure. But the free days also carry with them wonderful special programs for visitors, from guided hikes to children's activities to lectures by learned experts.

That being said, in 2013 the National Park Service will be able to sponsor just 11 free days, down from 17 in 2012.

These will be:
  • Martin Luther King Jr. Day: January 21
  • National Parks Week: April 22 – 26
  • Get Outdoors Day: June 8
  • National Public Lands Day: September 28
  • Veterans Day Weekend: November 9 – 11

According to a recent USA Today poll National Park visits will be the third most popular form of vacation in the US next year (after beach and lake vacations and road trips). With that in mind, it's good to remember that there are 398 parks in the system, of which only 133 charge entry fees. Of course, these are the most popular parks (Yellowstone, Yosemite, Grand Canyon, etc.).

Thursday, January 10, 2013

"Keep Your Shoes On!" The TSA Tells an Increasing Number of Travelers

And your laptop in your bag, too!

Those are the pleasant perks for kids under 12, a growing number of seniors (those over 75 at select airports) and now, those enrolled in the TSA Pre-Check program. Open only to frequent flyers, identified as such by the airline loyalty programs of Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, United Airlines, and US Airways, members of this newish program have to submit to a background check before joining.

For complete details on how to become a member, click here.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

La Living Dolce Vita in Roma Just Got a Bit More Complicated

Two small pieces of news that could impact your next vacation if you're going to the Boot:

1) Credit cards and ATM cards can no longer be used in Vatican City: And the reason is truly bizarre.  The Bank of Italy has accused the tiny, Papal nation of not taking strenuous enough precautions against money laundering. Because of this, it has blocked all electronic transactions within the Vatican as of January 1, which means that all of the ATM cards that were once there are being removed; and if you want to buy a postcard of the Sistine Chapel at the gift shop, better have euros ready. I'm assuming from the reports that visitors will also have to pay the entry fee to the Vatican Museums in cash. No word yet on how that will affect advance reservations and tours.

And you gotta wonder:is there fire where there's smoke? (And I'm not talking about the smoke that announces a new Pope). What's the back story here? Has someone accused a Bishop of being in cahoots with organized crime? Methinks a nice action thriller flick could come out of this story.

2) Limitations on driving within Rome imposed: With its swarms of mopeds, byzantine traffic rules, and tiny side streets, Rome has always been a nightmare for motorists. But thanks to new smog reduction measures, attempting to drive inside the "green belt" of Rome could also be a budget buster. The government will be limiting who gets to drive in the city by license plate numbers. Those with odd numbers one day, even numbers the next. Those who ignore the measures and get caught face fines of 155 euros.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Big Changes Coming to Disney World

Just this past weekend, we interviewed Robert Niles of ThemeParkInsider.com about Disney World's redo of its iconic "Fantasyland" (that's the section of the park that's right behind Cinderella's castle and is home to "It's a Small World", the Peter Pan ride and a bevy of Princesses). The Mouse has finally tackled the issue of sunburns, planting much needed trees to shade guests. More importantly, it's adding a slew of new rides (the Seven Dwarfs Mine, an indoor roller coaster will open in 2014), new restaurants (including a Beauty and the Beast-themed one inside the Beast's castle) and will be doubling up on beloved rides (the Dumbo ride always had the longest lines in the park; now there'll be two of them!).

But those projects, while requiring massive amounts of manpower, are not Disney's most innovative move this spring. That would be the new MyMagic+ system, a new payment system so groundbreaking that it's being studied not just by rival theme parks, but also credit card companies, according to the New York Times.

The key to the new system is a rubber bracelet that visitors will wear and simply wave to pay for food and entry (it will be encoded with credit card information). Smartphone alerts will let visitors know when to head to rides in order to avoid lines. Instead of having to wait at kiosks to get "FastPass" tickets, they'll be able to pre-register for up to three rides, helping with gridlock. According to the Times, the system cost somewhere between $800 million and $1 billion to develop. Disney execs are saying publicly the expense was worth it as they believe if they make it easier to pay, visitors will spend more.

The key to the new system won't just be ease of payment though. Disney will be collecting data on visitor's spending habits in order to more effectively market to them for future visits (and other sorts of Disney purchases). These mouse helpers will even know which characters hands you shook! And that character will know who you are, and will be able to say to your child "Hello Pauline" when she meets her, and perhaps "happy birthday" if appropriate (yup, Goofy will have the inside scoop on you and the reason for your visit). And it won't just be the human characters who will be able to have individualized interactions with you and your off-spring: mechanical animals (like the robotic version of Scuttle the seagull at the "Little Mermaid Ride") will greet you by name, and use your personal info to craft a conversation.

If this seems a little too obtrusive know that Disney's taken into account the sensibilities of their guests. When visitors sign up for the MagiBand system, they'll be given a menu of options, letting them customize how much or how little information they want used on their visit.

A final perk for Disney: the use of these bands will prod visitors to do more advance planning (as in the pre-registration for FastPass) which will allow Disney to deploy its staff more effectively.

The only thing I can say about all of this is: Wow. I certainly am impressed and can't wait to try the new systems myself.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Pennsylvania Schussing at a Discount

Though Pennsylvania may be better known for its cheesesteaks, Hershey Chocolates, Amish towns and the colonial gem that is Philadelphia, it has more-than-decent skiing. Yes, the season this year got off to a slow start. But recent dumps of snow and temperatures well-below freezing (and thus ideal for snow making) have been luring skiiers to the slopes of late.

But perhaps not enough skiiers, which may be why the Lehigh Valley is offering a raft of "Stay-and-Ski" deals for the Blue Mountain and Blue Creek Resorts. Prices start at just $155 per night for a room (at the Best Western Plus Lehigh Valley in this case), breakfasts for two and a pair of lift tickets. Not bad, considering that the lift tickets alone usually come to $59 per person.

For complete details, including the names of other properties participating in the offer, click here.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Freebie Friday: Kids Sail Free on Some Disney Cruises

All praise the Mouse!

For a number of sailings this spring, Disney Cruise Lines will be waiving the fees for kids under the age of 17, when they share a cabin with two adults. Up to three kids per adult pair on this deal.

The sale is applicable on 8-night Galveston sailings to the Bahamas (assorted dates Fab 15-Apr 26); 6-night sailings of the Western Caribbean (Jan 12-Apr 20th, excluding some in March); and 4-night Western Caribbean sailings (Feb 1-Apr 16).

Miami departures are also featured on this promotion, specifically assorted January and February departures to the Bahamas (4 nights) and Western Caribbean (5 nights).

Parents will have to pay taxes on their off-spring (about $40 worth on most sailings) and a few other fees, but all in all this is a darn good deal.

For complete information, including discount codes, click here.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Tarmac Delays: A Lightly Publicized Rule All Flyers Should Know

USA Today is reporting that the Department of Transportation imposed fines for tarmac delays at the tail end of 2012. COPA Airlines of Panama will pay $150,000 and Virgin America has been levied a fine of $50,000.

What's fascinating about this development is why Virgin got its slap on the wrist.

COPA's situation was the common one: it wrongfully imprisoned its passengers on the plane for 5 hours and 34 minutes, while it sat idling on the tarmac, a very obvious no-no according to DOT regulations. (Click here for a press release on those rules, which were established in the summer of 2011).

Virgin's situation was odder. Its plane only sat on the runway for a bit over 2 hours. But because it did so at the gate, it apparently had the responsibility to tell passengers they could deplane during the delay. They should have made that announcement 30 minutes after the scheduled and every 30 minutes thereafter.

I've been watching this issue carefully and am chagrined to admit that I didn't know about the "at the gate" rule. It certainly makes sense, and I, for one, will be watching to see what airlines do when I'm in a delay situation. I hope you all will do the same, dear readers.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Top Destinations for Travelers in 2013

That question is being answered in articles across the web. Most analysts are looking for higher airline fees and cheaper gasoline. 

But where will travelers be going? Each expert has a very different answer to that question!

My father has guessed Miami, Dubai, Peru, India, and Ireland. To that list, Jim Byers, travel editor of the Toronto Star has added The Philippines, Toronto, New Orleans, Florida, Spain, Portugal and Greece to the list. To read their reasons for their picks, click here.
Taiwan
I looked at the 2013-only events that would be shaping travel this year, and picked Derry/Londonderry (in Northern Ireland), Marseilles, Dallas, Washington, DC, Botswana, India, Taiwan, Dubai, Peru, The Hawaiian Islands, and Amsterdam. To read my complete list, and see the spectacular photos that accompany it, please click here.

National Geographic Adventure geared its list to travelers who want to go well off the beaten track. Its suggestions range from the Crimea to the Great Bear Rainforest. In all, they choose 20 for the list, so I won't list them all here, but here's a link to the entire slideshow.

And I'll give a hat tip to Lonely Planet, which printed not one, but three compelling lists, dividing the topic by top countries for 2013 (Sri Lanka, Montenegro, South Korea, Ecuador, Slovakia, Solomon Islands, Iceland, Turkey, Dominican Republic, Madagascar), top cities and top regions.

Which expert is right? All of us!


Tuesday, January 1, 2013