This week, we're reading about volunteer travel to Oklahoma. Find out how you can help, and get the scoop on other travel news and blogs in our regular roundup.
How to Volunteer in Moore, Oklahoma
Travelers interested in helping the residents in Moore and other parts of Oklahoma that were affected by the devastating tornado should consider a volunteer vacation. There's plenty of work to be done, and almost anyone can help. According to a report from Jaunted, a handful of charitable organizations are putting together volunteer groups to help the affected communities. Among them: The American Red Cross, which needs volunteers for debris clean up and other tasks. ... read more»
By now, nobody should be surprised to see JetBlue carry off yet another win in the best-airline sweepstakes. For the ninth consecutive year, it earned the highest scores among all big U.S. airlines in the J.D. Power annual customer satisfaction ranking. And second-place Southwest outscored the top network carrier, Alaska, which in turn outscored all three of the giant legacy airlines. These results raise two questions, both easily answered.
Why does JetBlue do so well? Let's see—low fares, the industry's most generous legroom in coach, one no-charge checked bag, no overbooking, a generous frequent-flyer program, and a low ticket-change fee. What's not to like? ... read more»
Megabus.com, the big intercity bus system, announced more $5 and $9 fares this June, depending on route.
The bus line promises that at least 20 seats will be available at those promotional prices on "each eligible route" for Tuesday, Wednesday, and Saturday trips June 1 through 30. Buy seven days in advance; tickets are on sale now.
Megabus operates a series of networks to destinations within one-day or overnight trip range from Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas-Ft. Worth, Los Angeles, Nashville, New York, Pittsburgh, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C. Through connections, the line serves the most important cities in the eastern half of the U.S. A Canadian affiliate operates from Toronto to Buffalo Airport and Montreal, with intermediate stops. ... read more»
Guest blogger Mark Kinsel is the President of Driver Solutions, where he uses his 19 years of experience to prepare young drivers for the issues they'll face on the road. He also writes for Great CDL Training, a national leader in commercial truck driver training..
Wacky American Monuments
Everyone remembers those long road trips as a kid with Mom and Dad—rest stops, diners and the license plate game. However, with less and less families striking out for a couple weeks at a time and touring the United States, a lot of the beauty in this country goes unseen. Whether it's a giant ball of yarn, or the infamous Carhenge, there are plenty of quirky attractions worth visiting this summer. ... read more»
According to Consumer Reports' 2013 list of the best and worst airlines, Virgin America is the top carrier in the U.S.
The worst? It couldn't be more obvious: No-frills Spirit Airlines earned an unfavorable Consumer Reports score of 50, coming in last in a list of 11 carriers.
The Consumer Reports National Research Center polled more than 60,000 travelers, who collectively took about 32,000 flights last year. Airlines were evaluated based on cabin comfort and cleanliness, baggage handling, ease of check-in, cabin service, and in-flight entertainment. ... read more»
Catching up, finally, with other major hotel-loyalty programs, Marriott announced that, beginning on June 22, Gold and Platinum elite members of the Marriott Rewards program can expect a daily complimentary Continental breakfast for two at participating JW Marriott, Autograph Collection, Renaissance, and Marriott hotels in the U.S. and Canada.
Until then, the free breakfasts are only available during the work week.
If the lounge is closed, Gold and Platinum members will be given a choice of a free continental breakfast in the hotel restaurant, or 750 Marriott Rewards points. ... read more»
If you plan on renting a car this summer, a bit of forethought can help you knock quite a bit off a potential rental bill. Here are some suggestions:
Check alternate airports. If you're heading for a city with more than one airport, check rates at each field. You often find differences, such as what I found from Hertz for a one-week compact car rental from June 5 to 12, and those differences aren't always what you think they might be: ... read more»
Booking a hotel you haven't previously visited is always something of a gamble. Sure, "star" ratings and user reviews can reduce your risk, but despite your best efforts, hotels have a way of coming up with nasty surprises.
Resort Fees: This mandatory add-on is the most pervasive scam in the hotel business. To make their rates look better in side-by-side rate comparisons, some hotels and resorts carve out a portion of their true price, give the carved-out portion a plausible name like "resort fee," display the artificially reduced remainder as the base rate, then add the fee back in before you pay. This scam is most prevalent in highly competitive vacation areas such as Hawaii, Las Vegas, and the Caribbean, but you may encounter it anywhere. And the amounts involved aren't small: Typical fees run up to $25 a day. ... read more»