XCom Global Mobile Hotspot (Photo: XCom Global)

What Is it: The XCom Global Mobile WiFi Hotspot, a small device that you can rent and use to access the internet in over 175 countries on your web-enabled devices.

Price and Where to Buy: $14.95 flat rate per day for coverage in up to two countries; $14.95 per day plus a $30 surcharge per additional country if traveling to three or more countries. A Europe Travel Plan is also available, which charges just $14.95 per day for access throughout 40 countries in Europe with no surcharges. A monthly package is also available at $395 per month for coverage in up to four countries. ... read more»

Photo: IndexOpen

What airlines look on fondly as "ancillary revenue" hits you in the form of pesky—and often outrageous—fees and charges. A new report from the meticulous folks at IdeaWorks tells airline-industry professionals what they need to know about ancillary revenues, but it also illustrates some of what you, as consumers, need to know, and how best to game the system. ... read more»

Air: Small Airplane Landing (Photo: Thinkstock/iStockphoto)

"How safe is air travel?" The relentless media obsession with the mystery of Malaysia Airlines flight 370 again focuses attention on the broad question of airline safety. And despite the apparent tragic fate of the flight 370 passengers, last week's release of safety data by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) shows that air travel, overall, is incredibly safe. Among the highlights for 2013: ... read more»

Mumm Champagne Cellar, France (Photo: Rick Steves)

France's bustling, modern Reims greets travelers with cellar doors wide open. As the capital of the Champagne region, it features a lively center, a historic cathedral, and, of course, Champagne tasting. And thanks to France's slick high-speed rail, it's just 45 minutes from Paris—making it an easy day trip.

Reims (pronounced like "rance") has a turbulent history: This is where French kings were crowned, where Champagne first bubbled, where WWI devastation met miraculous reconstruction, and where the Germans officially surrendered in 1945, bringing World War II to a close in Europe. The town's sights give you an informative, entertaining peek at the entire story. ... read more»

Plane Flying Under Rainbow (Photo: Thinkstock/Hemera)

The 2014 Airline Quality Rating was published this week with its annual review and rankings of U.S. airlines' performance during the previous year. ... read more»

(Photo: Rainrap)

What Is it: Rainrap lightweight, reversible, pashmina-style rain wear.

Price and Where to Buy: $60 from Rainraps.com.

Pros:

  • It folds up tidily into a small bag you can keep in a purse.
  • The bag that comes with it protects your other belongings if the rain rap is wet.
  • Works well for light rain and mist.
  • It drapes like silk and is fashionable.

Cons:

  • It's not made for protection against heavy rain.
  • The button meant to secure the wrap comes undone easily ... read more»
Singapore skyline (Photo: Index Open)

Enter the Singapore Airlines "Travel in Luxury" sweepstakes by April 30 for a chance to win a trip for two to Singapore, including business-class tickets on Singapore Airlines. ... read more»

Miles & Points (Photo: Shutterstock)

Following is our regular summary of the latest travel news and best frequent traveler promotions reviewed during the past week.

If it was a good deal—or a notably bad deal—from an airline, hotel, or car rental loyalty program, you can read all about it here, and plan your travel accordingly.

Now Playing on British Air Long-Haul Flights: HBO

British Airways today upgraded its inflight entertainment line-up with an HBO channel, available to passengers "from the moment they board, to the minute they land." ... read more»

Passenger Waiting to Check In (Photo: iStockphoto/Naphtalina)

For travelers spending the big bucks to fly in business or first class, these are happy days.

Bigger seats. Three-star meals. Chauffeur-driven Porsche rides.

For the other 99 percent—those relegated to the coach cabin—not so much.

If anything, the overall trend for coach passengers is a negative one. In particular, in their zeal to maximize revenues, the airlines have packed coach seats ever more densely. Over the past two decades, average coach legroom has decreased by around 10 percent. That, combined with load factors that routinely exceed 80 percent, has made for a coach-class experience that can border on the unbearable. ... read more»

Man clinging to airplane seat (Photo: Index Open)

In case you didn't know (and I didn't), Stavanger is a town in southwest Norway, known locally as the Oil Capital because of its close proximity to that country's booming offshore oil industry.

On August 20, SAS will launch flights between Stavanger and another oil-industry hub, Houston, Texas. ... read more»

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