Friday, May 29, 2009

Bargains Galore For Travel To Mexico

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has lifted its advisory against non-essential travel south of the border. So if you want to travel cheap, think about a trip to Mexico.

The Mexican government has earmarked $92 million for a public relations campaign to improve the country's image and to get tourists to return.

Occupancy rates in Cancun have dropped to about 50% of what they were a year ago. The beaches are empty and you don't need a reservation at top notch restaurants.

For more on this story

Thursday, May 28, 2009

When in Cape Town, Don't Feed the Baboons

Chacma Baboons are a protected species. About 350 of them live in and around Cape Town. In the past, tourists and tour operators have fed the baboons to be able to get interesting photo ops.

Now the baboons have become aggressive, stealing snacks from people and even breaking into cars. Unfortunately, some of the more aggressive baboons have had to be killed by park rangers.

In hopes of stopping the feeding of the baboons, city authorities will now impose a fine of ZAR1,500 (about $150) PLUS six months in jail on anyone caught feeding the baboons.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

JetAmerica: New Low Cost Airline

A new low cost airline is getting ready to take off. Planning to start flying in July, JetAmerica will be flying Boeing 737s between Newark Liberty Airport and Toledo, Ohio, South Bend, Indiana, Lansing, Michigan and Melbourne-Vero Beach, Florida.

Fares will run around $69 for one way but very early bookers could snare of the $9 seats that will be available on each flight. There will be a fee to check bags or to have a soft drink.

Technically, JetAmerica will be classified as a public charter since it will sell tickets only on its web site, determine its own flight schedules and also determine what cities it will fly to.

For more information, check out their web site at www.jetamerica.com.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Do Not Fly Into Santiago (Chili) With Any Food

Fresh or dried. Sealed or unsealed packages. Makes no difference.

Those of us who have traveled internationally have to fill out Customs forms upon arriving in a new country. One typical question: Are you bringing in any fruit or vegetables? And, I think about fresh food, not the package of dried fruit I have with me, and I check off 'No'.

Well, if you do that on the Chilean customs form, and you have any type of fruits or vegetables with you, you will have lied. In Chili they mean ALL fruits and vegetables.

The Chilean authorities are extremely vigilant about preventing the importation of pests because they export so many agricultural products. Once in a while, a Customs agent might let in a sealed package of nuts but, in general, they are very strict and will confiscate your package of dried fruit, roasted nuts and trail mix.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Take Advantage of Summer Freebies

I saw an article in USA Today that I thought was very timely, considering the current state of the economy.

If you are looking for free things to do this summer, check out the article:

Summer travel '09: Freebies across the USA


See what's 'playing' for free in your state!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Florida Rt 1 versus I95

Let me start by saying how much I dislike driving on I95. But if you coming up the east coast from Florida, one doesn't have much choice. Unless.....

Recently driving north we entered a horrific rain storm as we approached Daytona. It was getting late, and the dark wasn't helping, so we called it a night, hoping next morning would dawn bright and clear.

No such luck. Rain continued the following morning as we got onto I95 and made it all of one exit. Yup, you read that right....we got on one exit and got off the next. Between the heavy rain and the spray kicked up by all the cars and trucks, we, literally, could not see.

So, instead, we headed over to Rt 1 which parallels I95, figuring a slower road and less traffic would work better. And it did. We were amazed at what a pleasant road Rt 1 offered. Yes, we had to slow down for a town or two. But, in general, speed limit was 65 (same as I95), very little traffic (no 18 wheelers) and beautiful countryside.

Definitely our recommendation if you want to get off the interstate between Daytona and Jacksonville.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Don't Leave Home With It!

What is 'it'? 'It' is your garage door opener.

Taking a trip? Flying out of your home town airport? Leaving your car in the airport long term parking lot? Leave your garage door opener at home!!!

Think about how much ID you probably have in your car: insurance docs, registration doc, receipts, etc, etc.

Now, suppose your car gets broken into? You have just handed the thief your home address AND a way to get into your house: the garage door opener.

So leave the garage door opener home. And don't leave your home address in your car. Check with your state's DMV but I understand it is OK to black out your home address on your insurance ID card. If not, keep it in your wallet or purse.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Ground Transportation From PBI

In the past, whenever I've traveled to West Palm Beach, I've always been picked up at the airport (Palm Beach International). But not this time.

This time I was coming down to Florida to pick up my step-mom's car and drive it north. So no one at the airport to meet us (my step-mom and dad are no longer driving) and no rental car to get.

We had three options for a ride from PBI to the condo: taxi, SuperShuttle, and private shuttle. I figured the taxi for the most expensive. Before leaving home I had called a private shuttle and they wanted $35. I also called SuperShuttle and their rate was $25, but they don't take reservations. OK, we'd give SuperShuttle a try upon arrival.

Fast forward to arrival at PBI and a stop at the Ground Transporation counter. Yes, SuperShuttle was $25 but it would be almost an hour before a shuttle would be there to take us. My husband and I looked at the display board listing taxi fares to area locations. Even though the location we needed was not on the list, looking at nearby localities we figured the taxi would be on the expensive side. But after being up since 4 AM, traveling all day, we looked at each other and decided to spring for a taxi.

The taxi fare? $35...same as the private shuttle. No where near the rate we anticipated based upon the displayed fares. In this case, the taxi turned out to be the right decision.

dot travel?

I think most of us are familiar with the URL extensions of .com, .edu, .net, .org and others. And I've known for some time that the travel industry has been campaigning for a dot travel extension.

Guess I must have missed the announcement because it looks like dot travel is, currently, in use. With some restrictions on who can use it, .travel is being used by organizations, associations, and private, governmental and non-governmental agencies in the travel and tourism industry.

Doing some research I turned up the ICANN list of accredited registrars. I have to admit I had no idea there were so many top level domains.

.museum?

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Be Sure To Cancel Your Credit Cards Before You Die

I have no idea if the conversation presented in this post really happened or not. But after some frustrating experiences I've had with banks recently, I have no trouble believing it.

Either way, made for a nice chuckle and good start to my day

Remember to cancel your credit cards before you die!

Monday, May 11, 2009

One Way Now Available With American Airlines AAdvantage Miles

It is now possible to use miles from your American Airlines AAdvantage account to book one way travel. American Airlines is calling them Flex Awards.

The trip can be, literally, a one way trip. Or, it can be a round trip, booked using different mileage levels for each direction. For instance, a flight could be business class in one direction but coach in the other.

In addition, the online booking form has been improved. I'm really excited about the new look, the new options and how easy it is to use.

You can read more detailed information at American Airlines website.

Rochester's Lilac Festival

Rochester, New York is in the middle of its annual Lilac Festival. No matter what the weather (really), people flock to see the beautiful lilacs in Rochester's Highland Park. People visit from all over the country, and all over the world, to see these lilacs.

We are fortunate in that we live nearby and can visit the park at any time. We've made it a point to go to the festival either mid-week, or even better, just go see the lilacs a day or two before or after the festival. On a weekend, with beautiful weather, literally 1000's visit the park and parking nearby can be a problem. (Definitely take advantage of the parking at Monroe Community College and take the shuttle.)

If you plan on coming to the festival, be sure to wear good walking shoes. And walking on the grass is permitted. While there are paved paths throughout the park, you'll need to walk off the paths to get close to the lilac bushes, to smell their fantastic fragrances and for taking pictures.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Wool Socks

My husband got me started on this. I used to wear regular old white cotton athletic socks for all of my walking. Not anymore.

Now, doesn't matter if it is winter or summer, when I travel I take wool socks with me. Wool socks are great whether I'm doing serious hiking or marching along city streets. They are thick, cushioned and very comfortable. I have several pair of Wigwam brand wool socks that have, literally, been all over the world with me and still look practically new.

In the winter they keep my feet warm and in the summer they do a great job absorbing sweat. And, no, they don't make my feet hot in the summer. They are a lot more comfortable than cotton socks which keep the moisture against my skin.

If you'll be doing any kind of serious walking on your travels, give wool socks a try. Just remember that they are usually thicker than cotton athletic socks so make sure your footwear can accommodate the extra fabric.


Friday, May 8, 2009

Statue of Liberty on Ellis Island

I just read that the crown of the Statue of Liberty will be opening again on July 4th. That is great news and a perfect day for it to reopen.

I grew up in New York City and I am one of those who have made it to the top. It was fantastic and I'm glad that now others will be able to share the experience.

It's been many years since I've been back to Ellis Island. I really should make another trip. All of my grandparents came through Ellis Island and I've done searches for them at EllisIsland.org. I was fortunate in being able to find the records of my paternal grandmother.

I really would like to visit again, now that it has become part of the Statue of Liberty National Monument. This is part of my personal history.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Save Money on Your Trip to Venice

If you'll be visiting Venice, and will be using one of the many passes available (transportation, museums, etc) you can save money by buying them online.

Venice's online reservation system, Venice Connected, offers these passes at a discount if you buy them online at least 15 days in advance of your visit.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Free Copenhagen Concerts

If you'll be visiting Copenhagen, on a Wednesday, this summer, try to take advantage of one of the free concerts.

From May through August, Copenhagen Castle Concerts puts on free performances of classical music in the churches of historic royal residences in and around Copenhagen.

The concerts start at 5 PM in May and June, 5:30 PM in July and 4 PM in August.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Don't Plan a Waterford Tour

The Waterford Crystal factory, in Waterford, Ireland, closed at the end of January this year. The company is looking for a buyer or financing.

When it was open, more than 300,000 visitors a year took the factory tour. Now, of course, the tour and visitors' center are 'temporarily' closed.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Travel Guide For Mexico and Central America

If you are new to traveling to Mexico or Central America, this book is a great resource.

First, let me tell you what this book is not. It is not a destination guide although there is a brief overview of each country.

What the book is filled with is loads of practical 'how to' information. It covers pretrip planning, how to find a place to stay, how to shop and then how to ship, healthy, safety, photography and more.

It is loaded with checklists, is well organized and offers plenty of money saving tips. This book is a worthwhile purchase for help in planning your trip.


Saturday, May 2, 2009

Shortage of Coins in Argentina

I just came across this travel note. The government has been putting millions of dollars of new coins into circulation but coins are still had to get.

It is a real problem in Buenos Aires where riders need coins for the bus and train. In fact, there is a black market on coins.

Because of this, the government is working on an electronic ticketing system for public transportation in Buenos Aires.