The Shortest Flight in the U.S.

By Zac Thompson

Posted on 09/29/2017, 12:30 AM

United Airlines has begun operating the shortest commercial flight in the United States.  Zipping between San Francisco and Santa Rosa in California's Sonoma County wine region three times a week, the route covers about 60 miles and stays in the air for just 16 minutes. (Factor in taxiing and such and the one-way trip takes a still-speedy 45 minutes.)  In addition to putting themselves through t...

Arthur Frommer: Resort Fees are Immoral, But More Hotels Are Imposing Them

By Arthur Frommer

Posted on 09/28/2017, 12:00 AM

At a large and growing number of U.S. hotels, final room prices have recently risen by thirty to sixty dollars because of "resort charges" billed to hotel guests. This has happened despite the fact that these hotels are not resorts by any stretch of imagination. And guests are being charged for indoor swimming pools, fitness rooms, vending machines and parking—the usual justifications for resort c...

Hot Tips on Hotel Stays from Top Travel CEOs

By Pauline Frommer

Posted on 09/28/2017, 12:00 AM

So what do the masters of the travel universe have in store for us vacationers? I attended the Skift Global Forum, an industry conference, and in between the speeches on marketing and client acquisition by CEOs of many major travel brands, I gleaned a few tidbits that will be helpful for hotel-goers. Real loyalty: After listening to a lot of talk about points programs, it was clear to me tha...

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Texting Is Now Free on Delta: Here's How It Works

By Jason Cochran

Posted on 09/27/2017, 12:00 AM

Delta Air Lines has announced that starting this weekend, passengers on 90% of its flights will be able to use the carrier's in-flight Wi-Fi network to text with people on the ground for free. The service will be text-only—no videos or photos. To use it, passengers must access the signal using the Gogo app, which you can get at airborne.gogoinflight.com. Texting will then only be permitted via Wha...

Gorilla Trekking in Uganda: How to Take This Bucket List Trip on a Budget

By Melissa Klurman

A trip to see African gorillas in the wild isn't cheap. But there is a way to bring down costs as much as possible.

Now Is the Best Time to Apply for or Renew a U.S. Passport, Says State Department

By Zac Thompson

Posted on 09/26/2017, 9:00 PM

If you need to apply for or renew a U.S. passport, the best time to do so is right now, according to the U.S. State Department. Processing times are shortest between September and December, the agency says, and longest (up to six weeks) from January to the high season of summer travel. Even if your passport isn't set to expire before the end of the year, you might still need to renew—many countri...

Florida Keys to Reopen to Tourists October 1

By Zac Thompson

Posted on 09/25/2017, 8:30 PM

The Florida Keys will reopen to tourists on October 1, government officials there have announced. The archipelago just off the southern tip of Florida was hit with extreme force by Hurricane Irma on September 10, when the Category 4 storm made landfall, destroying an estimated 25% of homes on the islands.     In the immediate aftermath, officials advised travelers to postpone trips to the area w...

U.S. Airlines Are Making a Fortune from Checked Bag Fees

By Zac Thompson

Posted on 09/21/2017, 8:30 PM

Two recent government reports have underscored the huge revenue-generating power of checked bag fees at the airport. First, a Government Accountability Office (GAO) study found that while unbundling airfares from services such as checking bags and priority boarding has indeed resulted in lower base fares, the new fees often more than make up the difference that customers think they're saving. ...

A Tragic Backpacker Death Teaches an Important Travel Lesson

By Jason Cochran

Posted on 09/20/2017, 11:00 PM

What happened to Kit Mallinson was the nightmare every parent has when they send their child away on a trip. Last December, the 18-year-old backpacker from Dorset, England, boarded a night bus in Cambodia to visit Angkor Wat. He had just completed a seven-week engagement as a volunteer building clean water pipes in Borneo, and he wasn't feeling very well, so he hoped the overnight trip would give ...

We Attended a Sitcom Taping in Hollywood: Here's What to Expect and How to Get Tickets

By Jason Cochran

We attended a TV sitcom taping—and we actually had fun! Here's what the experience is like, and here's how to get tickets for your next vacation.

The Undeniable Drop in Incoming Foreign Tourists Will Gravely Affect Our Economy

By Arthur Frommer

Posted on 09/15/2017, 6:00 PM

Disturbing reports from a number of reliable sources have shown, beyond doubt, that the number of incoming foreign tourists to the United States has fallen dramatically in the past several months.   Those reports are not simply from private sources, but also from federal government agencies that would be the last to challenge the Administration’s claims of a healthy economy. The fall-off in forei...

Not All of the Caribbean was Devastated by Irma: Don't Neglect the Rest

By Arthur Frommer

Posted on 09/15/2017, 6:00 PM

Our hearts go out to those island nations that suffered so badly from recent storms—St. Martin, the Virgin Islands, Barbuda, among them. But by assuming that all such islands were equally affected, and by then canceling our general plans to vacation in the Caribbean, we increase the suffering of that area.     It’s important to realize that some Caribbean islands were totally or primarily by...

One U.S. Virgin Islands Resort Stands a Good Chance of Reopening First

By Arthur Frommer

Posted on 09/15/2017, 5:15 PM

Back in July, it was announced that a new management company had taken over the unique tented community known as Cinnamon Bay on the gorgeous island of St. John in the U.S. Virgin Islands.  The news was greeted with enthusiasm by the tens of thousands of unpretentious, cost-conscious tourists who, over the years, have used large tents as their beachfront accommodations in St. John.   The new...

After the Storms: What You Need to Know If You Have Booked Travel to Impacted Regions

By Frommer's Staff

Harvey's and Irma's effects will be felt for months to come. What the airlines, cruise lines, hotel companies, and other travel industry entities are—and aren't—doing to help those who have travel plans.

Up-to-the-Minute Online Tool Finds Wisconsin's Best Fall Foliage

By Zac Thompson

Posted on 09/11/2017, 10:45 PM

New England states get all the attention when it comes to fall foliage, but there are other leafy places worth peeping during Pumpkin Spice Latte season. One of the best in the Midwest is Wisconsin, where vivid displays in spots like the Kettle Moraine State Forest (pictured above) provide beautiful backdrops for scenic drives, waterfall hikes, and stops at orchards in small farm towns. Travel ...

Canada Completes World's Longest Hiking Trail

By Zac Thompson

Posted on 09/07/2017, 8:45 PM

After 25 years of trying, officials in Canada have managed to stitch together a network of hiking, biking, and paddling trails that stretches across the breadth of the country from coast to coast. With a total length of 14,000 miles, the Great Trail, formerly known as the Trans-Canada Trail, is now the longest hiking route in the world. By way of comparison, the Appalachian Trail from Georgia to ...

United Airlines Called Out for Hurricane Irma Price Gouging

By Jason Cochran

Posted on 09/06/2017, 9:00 PM

Hurricane Irma is the most severe hurricane ever measured in the Atlantic Ocean, and millions of people are being told to get out of its way. Amid the pre-storm scramble on Wednesday, Dan Rather's News and Guts Facebook page posted a serious allegation for United Airlines (any errors were in the original post): "We are genuinely curious if anyone in South Florida or Miami has tried to book a flig...

Non-Flyers Now Allowed Into Secured Areas at Pittsburgh Airport

By Zac Thompson

Posted on 09/06/2017, 8:30 PM

We've got good news for airport shoppers, chaperones, and prolonged goodbye-sayers. For the first time since 9/11, an American airport is allowing people without tickets into secured areas.  The facility in question is Pittsburgh International Airport, where officials have worked with the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) over the last two years to develop a program called MyPITpass, ...

Bringing Plastic Bags to Kenya Could Land You in Prison

By Jason Cochran

Posted on 09/04/2017, 12:00 AM

While some world cities have been dabbling in the reduction of plastic bags by charging customers if they want one or switching to paper, Kenya has just instituted the harshest plastic bag ban in the world. Now, importing plastic bags to Kenya could result in fines of up to $31,000 or even prison time. Plastic bags, which take as long as 1,000 years to break down, make their way into oceans, wher...

Wildflowers Now in Bloom at Chile's Atacama Desert, the Driest Place on Earth

By Zac Thompson

Posted on 09/01/2017, 12:00 AM

The driest place on earth is currently blanketed in purple wildflowers. Northern Chile's Atacama Desert typically gets a measly 0.6 inches of rain in an entire year. Nevertheless, every five to seven years—usually along with El Niño weather patterns—multitudes of beautiful mallow flowers fill the arid landscape with a surreal expanse of color. It's like finding a botanical garden on Mars (it so h...

Boston's Logan Airport Might Charge You to Drop Off and Pick Up Passengers

By Zac Thompson

Posted on 08/31/2017, 9:45 PM

A new fee could soon be put in place at Boston Logan International Airport—and drivers are not going to like it.  The airport has launched a study to look into charging people for bringing their private cars to the terminals in order to drop off or pick up passengers. These are ordinary drivers we're talking about, mind you—not those offering Uber or taxi services. The potential measure is onl...

L.A.'s Angels Flight Railway, Featured in "La La Land," Reopening After Four Years

By Zac Thompson

Posted on 08/30/2017, 7:45 PM

Except for a single day during the shooting of La La Land, the Angels Flight funicular railway in downtown Los Angeles hasn't operated since 2013. That's when a derailment during the long-running tourist attraction's steep sojourn on Bunker Hill prompted officials to close the ride down, pending repairs. La La Land director Damien Chazelle secured special permission to capture a kiss between th...

Four New Cities Get $99 Flights to Iceland

By Jason Cochran

Posted on 08/30/2017, 12:00 AM

WOW Air, which has been earning its name with an aggressive expansion plan and tickets as low as $99 with advance purchase, is adding nonstop flights to Iceland from four Midwestern American cities that, until now, have not enjoyed them. This spring, Cleveland, Cincinnati, Detroit, and St. Louis get their own routes to Reykjavik. Once there, WOW also connects to Northern Europe. WOW already flies...

Women-Only Taxi Service Debuts in Paris

By Zac Thompson

Posted on 08/29/2017, 10:00 PM

Women have a new option for getting around Paris. A taxi service called Women Drive has debuted in the French capital. The business is staffed with female drivers and geared toward female passengers. The hope is that customers won't have to worry about "prying eyes or indelicate questions," as the Women Drive website puts it. The company also wants to provide job opportunities for women cabbies ...

The Travel Industry Steps Up for Hurricane Harvey—And Rewards Those Who Help

By Pauline Frommer

Posted on 08/29/2017, 10:00 AM

As Biblical flood scenes flash across T.V. screens, and the battered residents of Texas brace for a clean-up of massive proportions, help is on its way from the travel industry. We’ve heard about a number major companies that are doing their bit for those affected by the storm and reward travelers who help. Airbnb: To aid those who would give shelter to evacuating Texans, Airbnb is allowing would-...