Follow contributing editor Ed Perkins as he embarks on a round-the-world "Joan Trip." (What's a Joan Trip? Find out in Take That Special Trip ... While You Still Can.) According to Perkins, "neither frequent-flyer miles nor people improve with age," so he's working off a bundle of miles seeing the world, combining places he missed over the years with some old favorites. Read the rest of Perkins' round-the-world-trip posts.
Getting Around Geneva
Arrival at Geneva is easy—the airport is very well-signed—and arrivals from within most of Western Europe don't have to go through any immigration formalities. As noted earlier, the plan was to rent a car from the French side of the Geneva airport because rates are much lower in France than in either Italy or Switzerland. ...read more»
If you're taking a cruise or heading to the beach on the Atlantic coast this summer, take heed. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) annual 2012 hurriance season forecast is here. Find out how stormy this summer's going to be, read about traveling by RV in the U.S. (it's more fun than you might think), and take a nostalgic look at air travel in the 80s.
Roaming the West in an RV
These days, it seems like long-form travel writing has gone the way of the T-Rex, especially on the Web. But travel journalism is alive and kicking at The New York Times, which recently published a mesmerizing account of an RV road trip from Oakland to Oregon by Andy Issacson. Writes Issacson, "I had never driven an RV before, and for this I could say I had never experienced my own country as millions do every summer, and have for more than a century." The writer visits some of the less-traveled parts of the States—abandoned homesteads, small rural towns, and Wal-mart parking lots—plus popular places like Crater Lake National Park; and there's a photo slideshow to go with it....read more»
If it's a good deal (or a notably bad one) from an airline, hotel, or car-rental loyalty program, you can read all about it here, and plan your travel accordingly....read more»
Everyone knows the Bahamas, but few people have ever heard of the Exumas, an archipelago of 365 cays (one to explore for every day of the year). The area's crstal-clear water and sandbars make for beautiful views, and the environmental area is so unique that 176 miles of the Exuma Cays are preserved and protected as the Exuma Cays Land and Sea Park. Known as the Bahamas' "Other Islands," this area offers the best of the Bahamas without the resort crowds.
The privacy and luxury of the islands attract many rich patrons and their yachts, as well as celebrities. Start your trip at Staniel Cay, the main island hub, and watch everyone sail into the Staniel Cay Yacht Club. Nearby, you can go swimming like 007 at Thunderball Cave (where the Bond movie of the same name was filmed). Snorkel inside the small cave and hand-feed the friendly fish....read more»
Delta's extra-legroom Economy Comfort will be available on all flights longer than 750 miles, including all mainline planes and larger regional jets, beginning June 7. Delta started the program last year on international flights, and apparently found that lots of travelers are willing to pay $19 to $99 each way for more legroom on domestic flights as well.
In this case, Delta is playing catch-up with United, which went fleet-wide with its comparable Economy Plus last year, and with JetBlue. American is also adding its version of upgraded economy, but the installation schedule is well behind its main competitors. We're still waiting to see whether Alaska, Hawaiian, US Airways, and the newer low-cost lines will follow suit....read more»
Going to Europe is exciting, but can be stressful, too. By arranging a few things while you're still at home, you'll greatly increase your chances of having a smooth, enjoyable European vacation.
Check your passport
Is it due to expire soon? You may be denied entry into certain countries if your passport will expire within three to six months of your ticketed date of return. Get it renewed if you'll be cutting it close.
Stash photocopies of important travel documents
Whether at home or abroad, anybody can experience unexpected problems from loss or theft. If you have a copy of a valuable document, it's easier to replace the original. In fact, make two sets of photocopies of your passport and railpass or car-rental voucher. (For debit and credit cards, just record the numbers, rather than photocopy them.) Pack one copy and leave the other with a buddy at home, to be faxed or emailed to you in case of an emergency. I hide my copy in a second money belt clipped into the bottom of my luggage (don't tell anyone). ...read more»
Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park is a group of five islands protected as a eco-park since the 1970s. The large park encompasses 4,929 hectacres, and two-thirds of the area is water.
The five islands all have white sand beaches and easily accessible coral reefs full of colorful fish and marine life for divers and snorkelers to enjoy. The lack of a strong current make the park a great location for beginning swimmers. Or, if you're not into traditional watersports, try Seawalking, where you wear a helmet connected to the surface with an air tube (so you can wander around underwater with no air tank required).
Two of the islands, Gaya and Sapi, have lush jungles inland, with many hiking trails to explore. ...read more»
Domestic discount airline Southwest could soon go international.
Annise Parker, Houston's Mayor, added her support to Southwest's proposal to build an international terminal at Houston's Hobby Airport. Southwest proposes to foot the bill for the terminal; it just wants permission to build the facilities it needs to fly from Houston to nearby points in the Caribbean, Mexico, and Central and South America. The mayor adds her weight to a fairly long list of supporters....read more»
When it happens once, it's weird. When it happens twice, it's an epidemic. Seriously, people. Stop packing human fetuses in your luggage!
The NY Daily News reports that Chow Hok Kuen was arrested in Thailand after officials found six human fetuses in his luggage. Although the fetuses were roasted and covered in gold leaf, officials believe Keun was not planning on chowing down on them himself, but instead hoped to sell them for use in black magic.
Moving on ... Here's an idea—Don't insult the woman flying your plane. MSNBC reports that a passenger on a Trip Airlines (a Brazilian carrier) began making loud, sexist remarks about his flight being piloted by a woman. The female pilot was not amused, and kicked him off before taking off without him. ...read more»
United will no longer offer early boarding to families with children. The line has replaced Continental's former policy—offering early boarding for groups with kids—with its own less family-friendly approach.
Passengers who need extra help may still get an early start, but a party won't get to board early just because it includes kids. The rest of the industry is split on this issue. Delta and JetBlue, for example, offer early boarding for children; American does not....read more»