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Plan Ahead or Do It On the Spot: The Conundrum of Modern Vacations

By Pauline Frommer

Posted on 06/05/2013, 3:30 PM

United Airlines caused a stir two days ago when it announced that travelers could now “subscribe” to its fees. Pay one lump sum in advance—$349, so that’s one big lump sum actually!—and you’ll be able to carry on your luggage “free” for the next year. Oh, wait, no, that amount was just for one bag checked. If you need to check two bags, the fee goes up to $399.  To guarantee a seat in “economy...

The Re-Appearance of China Spree's $888 One-Weeker to Beijing (Including Round-Trip Airfare!) May Indicate that China Air and China Irself Have Plenty of Unsold Capacity for Autumn and Winter. China, Anyone?

By Arthur Frommer

Posted on 06/05/2013, 2:15 PM

     To my utter amazement, China Spree has today replaced its former China specials with an entirely new list of spectacular fall/winter bargains (such as $888 for a week in Beijing, including airfare), all of which are wide open for booking for the coming fall/winter months (they used to be shown as largely sold-out).  If you haven't yet chosen a fall/winter vacation, you might very well rus...

Italian State-Run Museums Now Free to Everyone Under the Age of 18

By Pauline Frommer

Posted on 06/05/2013, 2:00 AM

My thanks to Frommer's author Donald Strachan (who's currently hard at work on a new Frommer's guidebook) for spotting this one. Until now, non-European Union teens and children had to pay entrance fees at state-run museums. That changed on May 28th with a ministerial decree that these museums would now be open to all young people, no matter their nationality. Bravo! Of course, not all...

A Preview of Kennedy Space Center's Awesome $100 Million Home for Space Shuttle Atlantis, Opening June 29

By Jason Cochran

Posted on 06/04/2013, 1:30 PM

On June 29, the most lavish of America's four final homes for the former space shuttle orbiters will open. The Atlantis will admit visitors on the very grounds where it launched 33 successful missions over its lifetime. I was given a special preview of the 90,000-square-foot Atlantis Orbiter Home — and it's gorgeous. Some aspects of the permanent display are still under wraps, but the core...

A Preview of Kennedy Space Center's Awesome $100 Million Home for Space Shuttle Atlantis, Opening June 29

By Jason Cochran

Posted on 06/04/2013, 1:30 PM

On June 29, the most lavish of America's four final homes for the former space shuttle orbiters will open. The Atlantis will admit visitors on the very grounds where it launched 33 successful missions over its lifetime. I was given a special preview of the 90,000-square-foot Atlantis Orbiter Home — and it's gorgeous. Some aspects of the permanent display are still under wraps, but the core...

Disney Raises Prices Past the $90 Mark, So Your Summer Vacation to the Mouse Will Cost More Cheddar

By Jason Cochran

Posted on 06/03/2013, 10:00 PM

The Mouse has roared again. Each year it raises prices on us, and it did it again. A one-day, one-park ticket to its Magic Kingdom park now costs $6 more, or $95, and kids (which in Orlandoland are only children until age 9) cost $89. Interestingly, it is not hiking its other three Florida parks to the same level. They will be $90 adults/$84 kids. Disneyland broke the $90 wall, too. That's...

Would You Believe That Bangkok Has Edged Out London as the World's Most Popular City?

By Arthur Frommer

Posted on 06/03/2013, 1:30 AM

     Here's an assertion that will cause most observers (including myself) to rub their eyes in wonder.  According to the prestigious Global Insights Index, Thailand's Bangkok now receives more yearly visitors, more airline passenger arrivals, than London, and thus enjoys the title of "world's most popular city".       At first glance, I for one can't imagine how that can be.  For one thin...

In the Battle of the Golf Booking Sites EZLinks and GolfNow, Golfers Score As the Winners

By Jason Cochran

Posted on 05/31/2013, 1:30 PM

In April, the golf booking website EZLinks.com, founded in 1995, got a new CEO. He came over from Redbox, the DVD rental jukebox that took over seemingly every grocery store lobby in town. His objective is war. He wants to make EZLinks the dominant player in the online golf reservations game. Think of his site as an OpenTable, which match-makes customers with reservation times. There are o...

From Frommer's Forums: A Website That Compares the Value of Pre-Paid SIM Card Plans Worldwide

By Jason Cochran

Posted on 05/30/2013, 2:00 PM

Frommer's community member Drobert360 posted about a little-known tool for international travelers that could potentially save them hundreds on phone charges. The website is http://prepaidwithdata.wikia.com, and country by country, it lists the major available SIM card providers that provide data plans (for Android, iPhone, and iPad) and the ins and outs of each one's plans. Being a wiki, it's...

It Now Seems More Probable Than Ever That Some of Those "User-Generated" Reviews Were Written by Hotel Executives, Lauding their Own Properties and Condemning Their Competitors

By Arthur Frommer

Posted on 05/29/2013, 3:45 PM

     A news item richocheting around the Internet tells of a top p.r. executive of Accor Hotels (world's largest hotel chain) who has admitted to writing 100 fake reviews for submission to TripAdvisor, praising his own hotels and castigating his competitors.  The news was revealed by a British p.r. firms called KwikChex, which has set for itself the task of defending hotels and hotel chains ag...

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