What Is It: CupCase Your Bras, a protective travel case for your delicates.
Price and Where to Buy: $19.95 to $24.95 at CupCase.com.
Pros: I didn't initially see much value in the CupCase, but I'm glad I took another look. The case is marketed as a way to protect your bras while traveling. I don't think that's a critical need for most women, but this nearly indestructable case will come in handy for anyone who needs to transport mastectomy undergarments, including prosthetic bras and bikini tops; breast prostheses; or even bedazzled lingerie that can snag other garments or lose their gemstones when left loose in a suitcase.
Heck, the CupCase will protect just about anything you don't want crushed (but keep in mind it's the size of a healthy D-cup brassiere). Need a place to store those obligatory tchotckies for your friends back home? Protect 'em in the CupCase! A vacation's worth of jewelry? Bling it! A large muffin or frosted cupcake? Yup (and yum)!
Cons: I do just fine stuffing my undergarments in with the rest of a bag's contents, and I can't afford to add even a few more ounces to an already overstuffed carry-on. Anyone who leaves their most extravagantly blinged-out lingerie at home will do just fine without a protective case for their travel undergarments....read more»
On March 3, United's new MileagePlus program will consolidate and replace the current Continental OnePass and United MileagePlus programs.
Most of the consolidation of the two programs will happen automatically, behind the scenes. But not all of it. And as with any large-scale computer project that involves the merging and purging and modifying of tens of millions of records, there's the potential for niggling lapses if not outright mayhem....read more»
It's not too late to plan a spring getaway and still get a great deal, whether you've got just a few days or an entire week to spend. To get you started, here are six great getaway ideas.
I love spring training getaways in Arizona and Florida because the kids might actually get an autograph, plus you can sit closer to the action. Tickets are so cheap (lawn tickets to see the Chicago Cubs play at Mesa's HoHoKam Park are just $8 apiece) that you won't feel guilty if the kids—or you—can't last all nine innings.
There are plenty of hotel packages (check Visit Florida or Arizona Guide) and plenty else to do whether you are in Phoenix (our pick: The Musical Instrument Museum, which features such iconic instruments as John Lennon's piano) or central Florida (where you can explore the Everglades, the largest subtropical wetlands in the U.S., by airboat, kayak, or canoe).
Mickey, Spider-Man, and More
Orlando now has the distinction of being the first city in the country to welcome more than 50 million visitors annually. The weather is a lot more pleasant in spring than in summer. If you have young kids not yet in school, wait until after spring break, when the prices come down. There are plenty of new attractions, including Legoland and its soon-to-open water park. There's also Disney's expanded Fantasyland, which will include SeaWorld's Turtle Trek 3-D (open later this spring) and Universal Studios' Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man attraction at its Islands of Adventure theme park. Whether this is your first or 10th time visiting Orlando, you can't see it all—not nearly—so relax and enjoy yourselves!...read more»
Airlines all too often fail to provide the service you expect, and when you complain, they all too often fail to provide a satisfactory response. If an airline doesn't fulfill its contract or causes you actual financial loss, and still stonewalls your complaint, you have some remedies—including asking for a credit-card chargeback, notifying the Department of Transportation (DOT), and even hauling the offending line into small claims court.
But in many cases, an airline's misdeeds may not result in any measurable loss of time or money—just annoyance and inconvenience. As a case in point, a colleague at SmarterTravel recently received a lengthy email about a series of difficulties with a trip to London, starting with inadequate notification of schedule changes from the online travel agency (OTA) she used to her inability to get advance seat assignments without paying hefty fees. Clearly, none of this entailed any loss of vacation time or money—just hassle, uncertainty, and annoyance. And she obviously can't justify a monetary claim against either the OTA or the airline.
In such situations, most of you probably shrug it off as "kismet" and get on with your lives, maybe with a vow never to use the offending airline again. But if you're really steamed, you can take your complaint public. Here are your options...read more»
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is taking steps to raise commercial-pilot qualifications. According to a press release issued by the agency, a proposed rule would mandate that copilots receive 1,500 hours of flight time before climbing into the cockpit.
As it stands now, copilots (which the FAA refers to as "first officers") need to have flown for just 250 hours in order to operate a plane. The FAA requires captains, however, to hold an Airline Transport Pilot (ATP) certificate, which necessitates 1,500 hours of flying practice, so this rule would have little effect on them. But if the rule passes, copilots would need six times more flying experience than before....read more»
When Enric Sala, a marine ecologist and diver who's seen it all, puts someplace on his Adventure Bucket List, who are we to argue? Sala picks Cocos Island, off Costa Rica, for its amazing natural variety: "It's hard to find another place in the ocean with the same tons of large animals per hectare ... If it's not a school of 200 hammerhead sharks, it is a bait ball attacked by Galapagos sharks, dolphins, and seabirds." Jacques Cousteau agreed; he called Cocos Island "the most beautiful island in the world."
Tempted? Grab your scuba gear and get ready to travel—Cocos Island is about 341 miles off the Pacific coast of Costa Rica. The entire island, as well as nine miles of surrounding water, is both a national park and a UNESCO World Heritage site. The island itself is volcanic and features a jagged coastline, cliffs, waterfalls, and sandy beaches. It's also the only island with a tropical rainforest in the eastern Pacific.
On shore, expect to see around 87 different species of birds, and in the water you'll find sharks, rays, tuna, dolphins, and much more....read more»
What's worse than being caught in a freak rainstorm? Figuring out that's not rain on your face—it's human sewage. The Hughes, a New York couple, told CBS Local Radio Station 1010 Wins that they were sitting outside their home last week when they were hit with sludge from a plane taking off at JFK airport.
"Some black liquid, black oil, came off on [my wife's] face, and I walked around and I looked and said, 'Oh my God.' There was quarter-sized, nickel-sized, dime-sized drops all over my deck, my barbecue, my table," Artie Hughes told the station....read more»
On March 3, Continental and United will have one reservations system, frequent flyer program, and website. For the most part, the new system builds on the former Continental infrastructure: It uses Continental architecture, Continental passenger records, and such....read more»
American Airlines and GayCities have named their top pick for the world's best gay city of 2011, and surprisingly, it's in the Middle East. Sorry, San Francisco, but Tel Aviv is number one for gay tourists. The Israeli city got 43 percent of votes, crushing the competition. Second place New York City got a mere 14 percent of votes. The remaining contenders were Toronto (7 percent), Sao Paulo (6 percent), Madrid (5 percent), London (4 percent), New Orleans (4 percent), and Mexico City (4 percent).
So what made Tel Avivi the landslide winner? The city actively works to attract gay tourists, and according to the Huffington Post, Tel Aviv earmarks about one third of its international marketing budget toward gay tourists. "We've long recognized the economic potential of the gay community. The gay tourist is a quality tourist, who spends money and sets trends ... There's also no doubt that a tourist who's had a positive experience here is of PR value. If he leaves satisfied, he becomes an Israeli ambassador of good will," says Tourism Ministry official Pini Shani.
Other tourist-friendly forces are at work in the city, with many travel websites devoted to promoting gay-friendly travel experiences in Tel Aviv. Plus, there's the yearly Tel Aviv Gay Pride Parade and surrounding Gay Pride Week, numerous gay bars and nightclub, and even gay beaches.
Can't make it all the way to Tel Aviv? A number of U.S. cities won top spots in other categories, including Best Nightlife City and Best Dressed City (New York), Best Pride City (San Francisco), Best Settle Down City (Seattle), and Best Up and Coming City (Buffalo).
Are you planning a trip to any of these cities or any pride festivals this week? Tell us your plans in our comments! And remember, please keep your comments respectful....read more»