One of CroisiEurope's recently refurbished vessels in Lyon, France
In the vast outpouring of comment about Apple's new Apple Watch (a computer in the size and form of a wristwatch), surprisingly little has been devoted to the device's usefulness in travel. Maybe that's because there's scarcely any travel function the smartwatch performs that isn't already done by a cell phone (tells you where you are, gives directions, identifies nearby restaurants, pays hotel bills, opens hotel room doors, etc.). Most commentators claim that the only real advantage of the smartwatch (over a cell phone) is that it's less likely to be mislaid or stolen, which seems an awfully slight reason for buying one. A lot of travel experts are also delaying a purchase until the next edition of the smartwatch is offered, improving its utility (as most Apple products do when a newer version is made available).
Few, travel-related, cell phone apps are growing faster in use than Hotel Tonight, which posts hotel bargains for use on the very night that you consult the app. Just recently, Hotel Tonight has extended its hours of operation by three hours, starting at 9 a.m. rather than noon. You can now consult it that early to learn whether there's a hungry hotel in the designated city willing to put you up that night for considerably less than they normally charge. Large numbers of travelers are now arriving in cities without advance hotel reservations, in the hope that Hotel Tonight will snare them a spectacular low price for that night, or even for a two-night stay starting that very night....
Airfares to Asia are currently showing a strangely lower level of prices than used to be the case. Though there's no explanation for it (other than a slowdown in their business), airlines flying to Singapore, Kuala Lumpur or Tokyo are frequently charging less than airlines flying to Rome, Athens or Frankfurt, even though the flying time to those latter cities is far shorter. You might want to consider a vacation in Asia this summer, especially in Japan where a reduction in the value of its currency has greatly lowered the expense of staying in this Land of the Rising Sun.
The facilities for traveling to Cuba are growing more numerous every week. JetBlue is the latest airline to announce that it will henceforth fly between New York and Havana on Fridays (call Cuba Travel Services for seats), and three Miami-based companies have announced the operation of thrice-weekly, ocean-going, ferries between Miami and Havana. Contact Baja Ferries whose round-trip rate to Havana will be $250, far less than a flight there would cost....
Looking for a European river cruise? Most Americans are unaware that the largest source of such cruises is a French company called CroisiEurope, which usually asks lower prices than the others for good quality trips and tours along all the famous European rivers. For the first time, Croisi is now seeking American passengers, and a larger and larger percentage of their passengers is currently made up of us Yanks. Contact croisieuroperivercruises.com for details.
The website called Oyster.com, which normally limits itself to recommendations of hotels (written by journalistic experts rather than by the public at large), has recently published an unusual article claiming that Americans who go on regular vacations have lesser health problems than stay-at-homes. Without citing their medical qualifications (about which I express no opinion), Oyster.com claims that taking one vacation per year cuts the frequency of heart problems, delays the onset of dementia, and performs other good things. More power to them.