Labor Day 2014, that bittersweet holiday that marks the unofficial end of summer, is going to be one of the busiest in years.
Although AAA has yet to release its annual Labor Day holiday travel forecast, new data from Expedia hints at a very crowded and expensive summer break. According to a press release from the travel-booking site, demand for plane tickets over Labor Day weekend is up 20 percent compared to last year. Demand for hotel rooms is up 30 percent. And demand for rental cars has increased by 35 percent. ... read more»
Marriott Rewards is the best hotel loyalty program. Or so says U.S. News & World Report, the former news weekly whose annual "Best Colleges" rankings have become its best-known product.
In its just-released "Best Hotel Rewards Programs" ratings, U.S. News employed a scoring algorithm based on five factors, weighted as follows:
- 30% - Ease of earning a free night
- 20% - Number of hotels in the network
- 20% - Additional benefits
- 15% - Geographic coverage
- 15% - Property diversity (i.e. style, price point)
Using the above rating scheme, 17 hotel programs were assigned scores between 1 and 5, and ranked from best to worst ... read more»
With all the travel writers urging "rent early," you might think that "last-minute vacation rentals" is an oxymoron. Fortunately, it isn't. A newly launched British website, Snaptrip, focuses on last-minute vacation rentals, and the industry giants HomeAway and Flipkey allow you to locate various special deals, including last-minute offers.
Newcomer Snaptrip provides a friendly search system. Enter a destination—either a town or a county—plus dates, length of stay, and number of beds, and the site posts available results. The price displays account for your length of stay; they post full-stay prices rather than prices per night. The top menu also includes a "top deals" option that returns, as you might guess, the best available deals for your dates throughout the U.K., listed in order of percentage discounts. I tested the site for one-week stays at the industry standard Saturday to Saturday periods: For a stay starting one week after the day I tested, the site returned 33 properties with discounts ranging from 6 percent to 29 percent, with several above 15 percent, and about the same results for rentals starting two weeks after my test. By the third week, discount percentages dropped sharply, and by the fourth week, only four deals were available. Snaptrip also displays a map with deal locations highlighted. ... read more»
Aarhus, Denmark's second-largest city, calls itself the "World's Smallest Big City." I'd argue it's more like the world's biggest little town: easy to handle and easy to like. A pleasant three-hour train ride from Copenhagen, Aarhus is well worth a stop.
Aarhus is the lively cultural hub of Jutland, the part of Denmark that juts up from Germany—a land of windswept sandy beaches, inviting lakes, and fortified old towns. It's also one of the oldest cities in Scandinavia. When its Viking founders settled here in the eighth century, they were attracted to its strategic location, where a river hits the sea. The navigable river meant the Vikings could easily run their ships inland if a hostile attack came from the open waters. ... read more»
Air travel is, by most statistical standards, safer than driving a car. But the recent spate of plane crashes has generated some public safety speculation. In an Associated Press story, Jon Beatty, President and CEO of the airline-supported Flight Safety Foundation, noted the most fundamental fact about modern airline safety: "One of the things that makes me feel better when we look at these events is that if they all were the same type of event or same root cause then you would say there's a systemic problem here, but each event is unique." That's the key: Each event is unique.
Worldwide, the overall approach to safety is to determine the cause of each accident beyond a reasonable doubt, then either fix the cause or develop ways to avoid it, so it never happens again. When foul play is involved, the safety folks also want to know who did what, how they did it, and how to prevent a recurrence. Government agencies, airlines, and airplane manufacturers act cooperatively to make sure the safety system works this way. ... read more»
In what is probably best viewed in the context of Frontier's continuing evolution into an ultra-low-cost carrier (think Spirit), the airline has announced that its current two-tiered elite program will be replaced by a single elite tier beginning next year. From Frontier's website:
Starting February 20, 2015, the EarlyReturns program will retire Ascent and Summit elite status and launch a brand new elite tier, Frontier Elite. The new Frontier Elite will offer a simple elite tier structure, but will still reward our most frequent fliers with added benefits.
The new tier will entitle EarlyReturns members who fly at least 20,000 miles or 25 segments during 2014 to the following ... read more»
Enter the VisitOrlando "Family Vacation" sweepstakes by September 30, 2014, for a chance to win the grand prize: a five-day trip to Orlando for four, including air, hotel, tickets to Walt Disney World, Universal Orlando, or SeaWorld Orlando, and a rental car.
To enter, provide the requested information (name, address, email, etc.) on the sweepstakes landing page and press "Submit." Done! Time required to participate: less than 30 seconds. ... read more»