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May 30, 2012

Round-the-World vs. Point-to-Point Tickets

By BootsnAll

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Airplane travel-86482754(Thinkstock Images)
(Thinkstock Images)

Anyone who's in the early stages of around-the-world travel planning will testify that it can feel a bit like trying to drink from a fire hose. You can go from barely knowing the popular acronym "RTW" to learning the pros and cons of traveling East-West vs. West-East in no time at all—which means you'll hit information overload quickly. But one critical topic worth some extra attention is whether it's better to book round-the-world tickets or book point-to-point tickets as you travel.

For most simple round-trip flights, booking point-to-point is more expensive, so it's not an option most travelers are familiar with until they start learning about RTW travel. When it comes to multi-stop international trips, however, it can be cheaper—often by quite a bit—if you don't book official-sounding "round-the-world tickets" and just book one-way flights from city to city.

Continue reading "Round-the-World vs. Point-to-Point Tickets" »

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Related Topics: Air Travel · Travel Tips · Trip Ideas

April 03, 2012

What Book to NOT Read While Flying

Heat_bill_bufordThe flight from DC to Seattle lasts nearly five hours, which is almost long enough to sate yourself with a free snack mix and then grab some half-decent seafood in Seattle—which had been my plan last week when I flew from Reagan National to Bend, Oregon, on Alaska Air. Grab a big lunch and then a decent dinner while laid over in Seattle. Until, that is, I got on the plane and started reading Heat.

Bill Buford’s book chronicles the author's obsession with Italian cuisine, a months-long path that starts in Mario Batali’s New York restaurant Babbo and ends with him working under a Dante-quoting butcher (the best butcher in the world, no less), all of it written with nominal flourish and a true passion for food, both where it originates and how it’s prepared. Midway through the book—and the flight, as it happened—Bufford visits Italy for the first time, and encounters the cuisine that has made that part of Europe so utterly, justifiable famous. And as I read through his descriptions of the fine smoked meats and the right way to prepare bolognese, it was all over. Seven dollars later, I was inhaling the poorest substitute of what I was reading: a pre-packaged fruit and cheese plate (they were out of the meat plate). Reading a well-written book on food while traveling assures that you’re going to eat whatever the airline offers, and it’s never going to measure up.

And when I reached Seattle, I also had fish tacos. Again, a poor substitute for Italian fare. But the one-hour jaunt from Seattle to Redmond, Oregon, on Horizon Air did include a FREE glass of microbrew beer from Bend, my eventual destination. And that helped shift me toward a different world of enjoyment.

What books do you always avoid while flying? Tell us in the comments section.

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Related Topics: Air Travel · Food and Drink

January 27, 2012

The World's Best Airports for Family Travelers

Butterfly garden at Singapore's Changi Airport (Andy_Mitchell_UK/Flickr)

There are certain world airports that stick out as perennial party poopers when it comes to traveling with kids (London Heathrow being my personal horror show, with its interminably long, draughty, and crowded corridors, which are a nightmare to navigate with jetlagged youngsters). But where are the airports that put some of the play back into travel? Here are our picks (caveat emptor: we can't vouch for freak weather events, transit delays, or unplanned kiddie meltdowns at any of these selections).

Europe Winner: Amsterdam Schiphol (AMS)
Forego the strike-fuelled chaos of Paris Charles de Gaulle each summer, and use Amsterdam Schiphol as your European transit hub. This bright, smooth-running airport features a free "Kids' Forest" playzone with treehouses, slides, and climbing equipment, plus an outdoor observation deck for teens to get their first lungful of (admittedly, aviation-fuel-soaked) European air.

Regional Runner-up: Copenhagen Airport (CPH), for its home-turf Lego store and family-friendly quiet areas.

Continue reading "The World's Best Airports for Family Travelers" »

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Related Topics: Air Travel · Family Vacation

July 20, 2011

Tips for Traveling Stress-Free

By Erika Lloyd

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(Allan Ferguson/Wikipedia)

Most of us have faced stressful situations while traveling—from dealing with delayed or canceled flights to jet lag, traffic, or sitting in a cramped seat for hours. Whether you're exploring a far-off destination for the first time, or just getting some new scenery on a business trip, travel is exciting and fun, but it also has the potential to wreak havoc on our emotional and physical wellbeing. A recent article on looks at the causes of travel stress and offers some insightful tips on how to make your next journey more enjoyable. Here are the highlights:

A healthy mindset
It’s easy to get agitated when the person in front of you at security thinks they can convince the TSA agent to let them through with their family-size containers of shower gel, perfume, and duty-free rum. Take a deep breath and remind yourself that this is an expected part of travel. Arrive at the airport early and free yourself of expectations that everything will be on schedule.

Nonstop flights
They may empty the wallet a bit more, but nonstop flights will alleviate a lot of the stress surrounding travel. Decreasing your chances of a delayed or cancelled flight is worth the extra cost. Also try to avoid peak travel hours: 7:00-9:00 a.m. and 4:00-7:00 p.m.

Avoid jet lag
Help your body overcome jet lag by trying to adapt to the sleeping schedule of your travel destination as soon as possible. Natural sleep aids will help you sleep at night and don’t have the side effects of pharmaceuticals. Try a supplement like Rest Easy or Melatonin that will help your body adjust to the new sleeping schedule.

Stay physically healthy
A cold, flu, or even allergies can put a huge damper on your travel plans. Pack a pocket-size container of sanitizer and wash your hands often. Don’t forget your regular allergy meds, and try taking a multivitamin or a natural supplement that will strengthen your immune system, such as Echinacea or Olive Leaf Extract.

Read more helpful tips about how to avoid travel stress at

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Related Topics: Air Travel · Travel Tips · US Travel

January 13, 2011

The Big Airport Uproar: TSA-Proof Undies, Invasive Scans & Extreme Fees

By Lacy Morris

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Airport security(Photodisc,Digital Vision,Getty)
WE'RE ALL IN IT TOGETHER: Passengers wait their turn at airport security (Photodisc)

Security pat-downs (GateRape), full-body scans (Nude-o-Scopes), and fees for, well, everything was the going trend for globetrotting travelers in 2010. No one or nothing was spared. "In the unlikely event of loss of cabin pressure, oxygen masks will drop down. To start the flow of oxygen, simply insert your credit card," one joked. But with the economy slowly rebounding and airline prices unlikely to see much of an increase, 2011 is looking to be a healthier year for travel. People are finally planning that vacation that had been postponed due to the economic downturn. But a consumer travel survey suggests otherwise. In fact, it shows that only 30 percent of Americans plan to travel more in 2011, close to the same figure saying that they will travel less. Though there are no figures to show why, one can only speculate that the public backlash over the Transportation Security Administration's screening procedures has a little to do with it.

Continue reading "The Big Airport Uproar: TSA-Proof Undies, Invasive Scans & Extreme Fees" »

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Related Topics: Air Travel · From Around the Web

September 28, 2010

Southwest Airlines will buy AirTran. So?

By Kate Chandler

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We normally don't cover "travel industry" news here, but I'm a big fan of Southwest and get strangely excited when they start offering service to new cities. Who knows? I may need to fly direct to Louisville one day.

This week the airline announced it will buy AirTran, another popular low-cost carrier. The acquisition will open some key domestic cities, in particular Atlanta, to loyal Southwest customers. But what's most exciting is the promise of a few new international destinations, something Southwest hasn't ventured into before. AirTran has service to Cancun, Mexico; Montego Bay, Jamaica; Punta Cana, Dominican Republic; San Juan, Puerto Rico; and Aruba. Check out the rest of the new offerings on the route maps.

Maybe I won't need to go to Louisville after all. You can find me in Punta Cana instead.

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Related Topics: Air Travel · Travel News

February 05, 2010

WiFi Coming to Southwest Airlines

By Kate Chandler

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SOUTHWEST: You are now free to surf around the cabin (Allan Ferguson/Wikipedia)

Those of us who frequently travel on Southwest Airlines have been waiting patiently (or in my case, not so patiently) for the company to get going on its WiFi plan. Well, the wait is over, almost. The airline reports that it has inked a deal with a provider and will begin installing WiFi on planes in the coming months. The entire fleet of planes should be wired by early 2012. No word yet on the cost to connect, except that it will cost to connect. Bummer? Kind of. But it perhaps means that we'll all be spared constant Tweets and Facebook updates from the air.

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Related Topics: Air Travel · Travel News

December 01, 2009

Tweet Your Dream Holiday Escape and Win a Free Round-Trip Air Ticket!

By awayblog

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Twitter-holiday-button Are you going away for the holidays? Have a dream destination that tops your holiday life list? Is there one perfect place that you always revisit year after year? Tell us about it on Twitter and you could win one of five free round-trip flight vouchers! Here's the deal:

- From noon on Wednesday, December 2 to 11:59 a.m. on Friday, December 4, follow on Twitter and tweet your dream holiday escape plus the hashtag #myaway in 140 characters or less. The five most creative and original tweets will win. (Download official contest terms here.)

Need some inspiration? Here's a handful of tweets from staffers to get the creative juices going:

Off to Edinburgh where warm beer, mince pies, and festive crowds await. Better yet, Hogmanay is one of Europe's best NYE parties. #myaway

A beach in Western Australia, Indian Ocean lapping my toes. Thoughts turn to family in the Northern Hemisphere, but only briefly! #myaway

Wish I could be on a Boracay beach. No holiday stress, no family to entertain - just sipping Mai Tais & working on my tan. #myaway

Love being at home w/my family in Lawrence, KS. KU bball, Midwest hospitality, KS BBQ. Dorothy’s right: there's no place like home. #myaway

#myaway is to Vienna, Austria's famous Christmas market where I could really get in the holiday spirit w/hot wine punch & schnitzel!

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Related Topics: Air Travel · News · Free Stuff · Holidays, Events, & Festivals

Can You Travel Without Valid Photo ID?

Globe-photodisc2 On a trip last week to Phoenix, Arizona, I managed to misplace my driver's license, leaving me to sweat for 48 hours before my return flight about how I was going to get home. And despite the fact that I ultimately found my ID hidden in an obscure zipper pocket the day before flying (go figure), it did give me a chance to dig into the rules and regulations about flying without valid photo ID. The good news? It is quite possible to fly without official ID. The bad news? That's little consolation if you only discover you've lost this documentation on arrival at the airport with the clock ticking down, or worse yet, you lose your wallet or purse containing ID as well as all other identifying documents such as credit cards and health-insurance cards. Here's why.

Continue reading "Can You Travel Without Valid Photo ID?" »

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Related Topics: Air Travel · Travel Tips

November 23, 2009

The Dirty on In-Flight WiFi

By Lacy Morris

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THE SKY'S NO LIMIT: Businessman and child on plane (Photodisc/Getty)

Facebook, Twitter, BlackBerry, iPhone, WiFi… we’re a society obsessed with staying connected. Keeping in touch online is everywhere, and the sky is no longer the limit. Airlines are quickly putting WiFi on their in-flight menus, making “I was 30,000 feet in the air” an outdated excuse to your boss. Most major airlines will be offering WiFi on a selection of their fleet by 2010.  Although it is new technology and still in the testing mode, there is already the ubiquitous bad apple. Flight attendants and fellow passengers are voicing outrage and the need for Internet filters to block questionable material from being viewed in such close proximity to others. Some need to be reminded that they are going to Dallas, not watching Debbie do it. As quickly as airlines raced to be the first to unearth mile-high WiFi, they are installing filters to stop the viewing of any material that could be deemed non-cabin friendly; both Delta and American, along with numerous others, have already done so. However, not all airlines plan on filtering what can be viewed on their aircraft, maintaining that what your seatmate chooses to do with their time is strictly their choice. Virgin America, which has decided not to filter what can be viewed, is the poster child for this argument. Instead, the WiFi customers aboard these flights are asked to adhere to the terms of service that are listed upon purchase, which prohibit certain online activities. If ignored, it is left to the flight attendant or the rule-breaker's fellow travelers to cry foul.

What do you think, personal choice or inappropriate? Should in-flight WiFi be filtered? Tell us your thoughts.

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Related Topics: Air Travel · Travel Trends

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