Ever gone skiing, snowboarding, or just for a walk while traveling, only to return home missing an important item because it fell out of your pocket (or was helped out by a pickpocket)? Well, one company wants to turn your sad loss back into a gain! Clever Travel Companion is giving away Long Johns with hidden pockets to the two Smarter Travel readers with the best story about losing an important item on the road.
These ingenious pick-pocket proof clothing are great for travel, and the Long Johns are perfect for winter sports. (Read our review of their underwear and tank top line here.) The Long Johns are unisex, and come in a variety of colors and sizes—perfect for layering under regular pants to keep you warm (and your belongings safe) on your winter vacations.
Want to win a pair? Tell us a true story about the worst time you ever lost something while traveling....read more»
Carol Atkins has been traveling the globe for much of her life. She currently writes about her travels and adventures at YMT Vacations and other travel blogs. She loves of all types of travel expeditions, including island-hopping, hiking, cruising, and being lazy on the beach. Follow her on twitter @atkins_carol.
I recently found out that to the people of Alaska, breakup can mean not only letting go of a relationship—for them it refers to the changing of seasons. Springtime in Alaska is when snow and ice are melting everywhere, and people are bidding goodbye to the winter season with celebrations such as outrageously dressed skiers competing to ski across a large puddle at the foot of a slope. Alaskans have contests to predict when the ice will completely disappear from rivers. Animals are on the move, as birds and whales begin to migrate. There is movement and vibrancy in the air, which makes it a perfect time to take that Alaska boat cruise!...read more»
Singapore Airlines will stop flying the world's two longest nonstop routes—Singapore to Los Angeles and Singapore to Newark—sometime next year. The reason isn't necessarily because the flights aren't profitable, however. Singapore is trading in all five of its A340-500s, the carrier's only planes capable of the long-haul flights, on orders for additional super-jumbo A380s and new super-efficient A350s.
Whether market factors had anything to do with the cancellations is anyone's guess—in an all-business-class layout, the airline had to fill a lot of expensive seats—but the industry generally agrees that high fuel prices have turned the A340 into an uneconomical plane. Other airlines are also dropping that four-engine model in favor of more efficient twins from Airbus and Boeing....read more»
Carol Harrison credits her grandson with helping her get back her travel mojo.
The Atlanta grandmother hadn't traveled much since she was widowed five years ago—until this past summer. She invited 12-year-old Miller Sinyard, her son Todd, and her daughter-in-law Becky to join her on a 78-passenger Inner Seas Discoveries expedition cruise in Alaska. ...read more»
You're outside a restaurant, want a cab to your hotel, but spot no cabs in the area. So you get out your smartphone, call up a taxi app, and the system tells a participating cab where you are. Your cab will arrive "within minutes," say the proponents; you pay by a stored credit card, including tip. That sounds like a great idea, doesn't it? Unfortunately, some industry pioneers have faced unwelcome opposition from entrenched interests. The country's best "taxi town," New York City, temporarily seems to be off limits, so Boston is the current target, where two different outfits are ramping up operations—and you may see other cities soon. ...read more»
Last week, I reserved flights on United from my home airport, Medford, Oregon, to New York, with a connection in San Francisco. My connection was a bit more than an hour, so I thought I'd be fine. But a week before departure, I started checking the on-time performance of my flight from Medford to San Francisco. And I quickly found that, out of the seven days before departure, that flight would have made my connection only once—the other days it was either delayed an hour or more or canceled outright.
Accordingly, I called United and asked if it could transfer me to an earlier flight, which it did, fortunately without any extra fee. So instead of leaving Medford at a civilized hour of 10:11 a.m., I had to get up at 5 a.m. for an 8:11 a.m. flight; this left me with a boring three-and-a-half-hour wait in SFO rather than the convenient 65 minutes I had originally booked. But when departure day finally arrived, that wait shrunk substantially. Our early flight was held up on the ground for an hour and a half before leaving, so we actually arrived with a bit less than two hours to connect. And that cushion was appreciated, given that most United Express flights and code-shared flights on US Airways at SFO now use the US Airways gates in Terminal 1, and connecting travelers have to schlep on shuttle buses to United's primary gates at Terminal 3. The net result was that I made the connection comfortably. And to cap the story, I checked the arrivals board before getting on the New York flight, and sure enough, my original flight from Medford has been canceled....read more»
The Washington Post reports that the federal air-travel tax intake has fallen below projections, largely due to the fact that airlines are getting more of their revenue from optional fees—like baggage charges—which aren't subject to the same taxes as airfares.
According to the story, "There's a 7.5 percent federal tax on every airline ticket. The money goes into a fund that pays for the air transportation system." That system includes the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). With airfare revenue staying low while revenue from optional fees rises, there's reportedly less money going into that fund....read more»
Today, the European Union (EU) Court of Justice upheld a ruling that promises reimbursement for passengers when flights are canceled or severely delayed. Several airlines, including Lufthansa and British Airways, had previously challenged the rule in European courts. But thanks to the EU Court of Justice's reinforcement of its original law, passengers will continue to receive compensation if their European travel plans are upended....read more»
Flying through one of these major airports? You might want to keep your valuables with you at all times, as a list detailing the airports with the most dishonest TSA agents has been released.
ABC News made a Freedom of Information Act request for statistics on TSA agents fired for theft, and found that America's busiest airports are also where the TSA agents are most busy (busy stealing)....read more»
At Moulin de Rabion, an 18th-century chateau nestled in France's castle-dusted Loire Valley, travelers can live like a lord—but pay like a pauper—this winter. For 350 pounds (about $556; check xe.com for the latest conversion rates), you get a seven-night stay for two people in a private converted farmhouse, called a gite, with a bedroom, a living room, a kitchen, and even a working fireplace. The gite has two bathrooms, one of which includes a deep, luxurious copper tub.
The property is set on 18 acres of idyllic farmland, with resident pigs, goats, donkeys, and cats, and one sweet-as-French-pastry Burmese mountain dog. Bikes are available (for free) for those who wish to explore the surrounding countryside. Oh, and you'll also receive a free three-course meal for two.
This offer is valid for stays in November and December, the low season for travel to the Loire Valley, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Still, for what you get, the rates are nothing to sneeze at. You're paying budget-hotel prices—about $80 a night—for a stay at a very luxurious, historical property with lots of character....read more»