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Deals and News
Bob Fisher examines the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome outbreak and how it can affect you.
Psychologically, a cruise vacation doesn't start until you're aboard ship, so even in the best of times, the idea of trucking to the airport, getting on a plane, and flying a thousand miles just to get your vacation rolling can sometimes be a little, well, annoying. And face it, these days a lot of people want to stick close to home, within their perceived comfort zone. Enter the dual concepts of "alternate homeports" and "homeland cruising."
This week saw a major bankruptcy shuffle, but one that shouldn't affect passengers too much. Air Canada declared bankruptcy, American Airlines staved off bankruptcy and US Airways came out of bankruptcy. Those shifts, so far, haven't affected travelers, although we should expect to see flight cancellations across Air Canada's schedule soon. American and US Airways are both in miserable financial shape, so "staying out of bankruptcy" doesn't mean "increasing flights or service."
Gulf War II prompted travel jitters long before the first shots were fired, leading cruise lines to offer attractive prices and worry-free cancellation policies as they attempt to fill European-bound ships for the summer and beyond.
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Reader's Voice
From Skip Bowman: "I just got word that, based on an agreement dated last December between the TSA and the musicians' union, musicians (mainly horn, guitar, and violin players) who wish to carry their instruments into the cabin with them may now do so IN ADDITION to their single carry-on and personal bag. This is because of a chronic problem with airlines losing instruments through damage, negligence or theft when stowed in the cargo pit."
From MTV Backpacking: "MTV's True Life is filming an upcoming documentary about backpacking in Europe. MTV's award winning True Life documentary series features documentary style reports on the lives and concerns of young adults. The series covers a diverse mix of stories relevant to young people, ranging from pop culture trends to breaking news."
From Rebecca Doctors: "I am a college student who will be driving cross country in late May (San Francisco to Providence, RI) with one other person. We have a limited budget and limited time frame. We would like to to through Bloomington, IN (to visit a friend) but other than that had no specific restrictions. Suggestions on route, lodging, food (we are both very healthy eaters, one of us a vegetarian), or any other general advice welcomed. Thanks!"
From Cynthia Dommisse: "We just returned from a holiday in Peru and wanted to share a few tips with others."
From Kevin Manning: "My wife and I just returned from a week in London arranged thru OffPeakTraveler.com and it was without doubt one of the best vacations we've ever had!"

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