At Westin, If You Decline Housekeeping, They'll Give You $5 to Spend

By Jason Cochran

Posted on 10/15/2013, 9:00 AM

If you're cheap, you will now benefit from being a slob, too. Westin, an upscale-ish branch of the giant Starwood group of hotels, has a new idea. If you do something "great for the environment" (its words) and decline maid service, it will either give you a vouncher worth $5 at the hotel's restaurants or you can have 500 Starwood Preferred Guest Starpoints. In making the "Make a Green Choi...

A Few Lucrative National Parks Are Reopened, But Most American Treasures Remain Forbidden

By Jason Cochran

Posted on 10/12/2013, 12:45 PM

To help curb some of the damage cause to income and tourism by the Congressional-led government shutdown, state governments are now permitted to open National Park units they deem most important, provided they can find the money. Governors from both political parties are scrambling for funds from state reserves and corporate donors alike so that they can salvage local economies that rely upon...

Is the TSA Pulling Aside Travelers at Airport Security to Make Sales Pitches for TSA Pre Check?

By Jason Cochran

Posted on 10/09/2013, 4:15 PM

Word comes to me today from a traveler who had a strange experience at the airport in Las Vegas today. The traveler, who did not wish to be named, told me that he and several other passengers were "yanked" out of the security screening queue for what was termed "experimental screening." They were led to another area, where they were instructed not to remove their shoes, belts, and laptops. ...

If You Dance or Sing, Trade Your Talent for Travel Across Canada or the Atlantic Ocean

By Jason Cochran

Posted on 10/08/2013, 2:30 PM

Canada's Globe and Mail broke the story open, and now everyone with a guitar may be begging to sign up: Via Rail, Canada's national railway, grants free train tickets and meals to musicians and singer-songwriters in exchange for on-board performances. The Canadian transcontinental ride through the Rockies is already one of the most distinctive voyages that North America has to offer, and sinc...

A Lawsuit By the Attorney General of New York is Threatening to Put an End to the Short-Term Rental of Apartments to Cost-Conscious Tourists

By Arthur Frommer

Posted on 10/08/2013, 11:30 AM

In its impact on the ability of Americans to travel, no legislation could be more misguided or harmful than the ban against the short-term rental of apartments enacted into law some time ago by the New York State Legislature. The well-meaning lawmakers were seeking to prevent greedy property owners from turning their apartment buildings into illegal hotels. The legislature sought ...

Forget the Phone. Now Twitter is the Place to Get the Fastest Customer Service

By Jason Cochran

Posted on 10/08/2013, 10:30 AM

"Man invented language to satisfy his deep need to complain." —Lily Tomlin And man invented Twitter to make sure everyone had to listen. It's pretty obvious that Twitter is a hotbed of whining about bad service. People fume about everything from politicians to their bungled latte orders. It's as if Congressmen care and the barista was online to read it. But it's also true that many airlin...

Would You Believe a Roller Skating Rink at Sea? Bumper Cars, A Circus School, A Basketball Court? Controlled Sky-Diving? Read On and Weep

By Arthur Frommer

Posted on 10/07/2013, 10:15 PM

If I hadn't actually seen the press release, I wouldn't have believed it. On a new ship of Royal Caribbean Cruises debuting a year from now (the "Quantum of the Seas"), that cruiseline will offer an indoor sports and entertainment complex containing a roller-skating rink, bumper cars, a basketball court, and a circus school with trapeze instruction. For other passengers, there will be "c...

Our Most Recent Radio Travel Show (Sundays at Noon, Eastern Time) Received a Number of Challenging Questions from Listeners, of Which Ten are Representative

By Arthur Frommer

Posted on 10/07/2013, 12:45 PM

If you didn't listen to our most recent, Sunday Travel Show on radio (it is streamed live every Sunday, starting at noon Eastern Time on—the podcast can be downloaded at, you missed a lively interchange of travel questions between our listeners and ourselves. In the thought that some of this discussion may be helpful to travel planning, we're showing s...

Whether or Not to Book an African Safari Starting in Kenya is an Increasingly Difficult Decision to Make

By Arthur Frommer

Posted on 10/04/2013, 12:00 PM

Kenya, in East Africa, is regarded by many travellers, including myself, as Africa's best location for safari adventures at an affordable price. Botswana's lodges may be more elegant, and South Africa combines open-air safaris with urban attractions (CapeTown is a tourist favorite), but Kenya virtually guarantees an abundance of wildlife for your excursions into the bush, and offers wonde...

The Dalmatian Daytona: Croatia's Popularity with Young Travelers Surges

By Jason Cochran

Posted on 10/04/2013, 11:00 AM

According to the national tourism board of Croatia, some 300,000 United Kingdom residents flocked to the sunny Mediterranean country between January and August, a 24% rise from the year before. And most of them weren't well-heeled playboys. They were young. What's happening in Croatia? In a word: festivals. There are now more than 20 of them that take over islands and coastal towns, attractin...

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