Arthur Frommer: Prosecution of Fake TripAdvisor Reviewer Raises Questions

By Arthur Frommer

Posted on 09/18/2018, 1:00 PM

The defendant, in a recent criminal prosecution brought in Italy, was a man who operated a company manufacturing fake hotel reviews. Presumably hiring excellent writers, he apparently sent hundreds of fake recommendations to TripAdvisor.com, claiming that particular hotels (at which the writers had never stayed) were outstanding in their service and facilities. For this work, the defendant was app...

A New Women's Travel Magazine Hits the Newsstands (and the Internet)

By Pauline Frommer

Posted on 09/14/2018, 9:15 AM

A new travel magazine debuted this month, called Unearth Women. I spoke with Nikki Vargas, its Editor-In-Chief and co-founder, about what the first issue holds, and what this new publication promises to female travelers down the line.   Pauline Frommer: Why do women need their own magazine? Why can’t they just read Afar, or Condé Nast Traveler, or one of the other travel magazines out there?...

Is This the King of Airfare Search Sites? The Aggregator of Aggregators

By Jason Cochran

Posted on 09/13/2018, 1:30 PM

For years, we've been telling you that the best places to find cheap airfare are often the "aggregators," which are search engines that scan prices from dozens of different airfare-selling websites to pick out the lowest prices and tell you which site to visit to find them.  But even though these aggregators do their best to level the shopping playing field, or at least to make the shopping game l...

advertisement

Switzerland Just Won the Gondola War (If That Exists) With This Crazy Tramway

By Jason Cochran

Posted on 09/12/2018, 3:00 PM

Temperatures that plummet 20 degrees below zero. A hostile, windy crag 2.5 miles (4,000 m) high, totally devoid of trees. Air so thin that people can only wheeze, creeping around at 60% of their normal abilities.  It's not hell. It's Switzerland! Those are the conditions that workers endured to give the Alps a new wonder: luxury gondolas on the Matterhorn Glacier Ride, the world's highest cablewa...

A Brand New V&A Design Museum Opens This Week

By Jason Cochran

Posted on 09/11/2018, 6:00 PM

The world-famous V&A museum, founded as an offshoot of the Great Exhibition of 1851, is one of London's most popular attractions, bringing in about 4.4 million visits a year. This weekend, the Victoria and Albert, the more formal name for the powerhouse of decorative arts, will have a presence in Scotland, too. V&A Dundee, billed as Scotland's first design museum, opens on the revitalized...

Your African Dream Trip Is Now Cheaper Than Ever

By Jason Cochran

Posted on 09/10/2018, 8:15 PM

In the past six months, the value of the South African rand has tumbled some 40% against the U.S. dollar. In March, one greenback would get you a bit more than 11 rand. Today, you get over 15. South Africa has been a terrific bargain for years. As long as you can swing the airfare there, which regularly costs around $1,000, you'll find it incredible how cheap things are on the ground.  With ...

Eat on Florence's Streets and You Could Be Fined $580

By Jason Cochran

Posted on 09/06/2018, 4:00 PM

Lots of people choose to visit Italy because they respect the cuisine, but now, eating it with dignity is the law. On September 4, Florence instituted a new penalty for tourists who are caught loitering as they eat. On the narrow lanes of central Florence, local shopkeepers are fed up with visitors who linger in doorways and on stairwells to have a snack.  The biggest complaint, it seems,...

WW2 Tower Converted to Vacation Rental in Channel Islands

By Zac Thompson

Posted on 09/05/2018, 5:15 PM

During World War II, the Nazis occupied the Channel Islands, a string of isolated spots floating between England and France. Using forced labor, the Germans built concrete fortifications aimed at their British enemies, and many of these structures still stand to this day. Now, a local preservation group has converted one of them to a vacation rental. Standing on the southwestern tip of Jersey Is...

Arthur Frommer: The Biggest News is the Dominance of Tourism by the Chinese

By Arthur Frommer

Posted on 09/05/2018, 12:00 AM

Suddenly, the press that deals with travel is full of articles about the sudden rise of Chinese tourism.   All over the world, Chinese citizens have become the largest source of tourism, edging out the American, German, British and French. This doesn’t happen by accident.  In recent years, the Chinese government has encouraged the movement towards international travel as a means of accomp...

New, Heart-Stopping Bungee Catapult Launches in New Zealand

By Zac Thompson

Posted on 08/29/2018, 4:15 PM

New Zealanders are like Elphaba in Wicked—they're obsessed with defying gravity.  The world's first permanent commercial bungee operation was established by AJ Hackett Bungy (that's how Kiwis spell it) in 1988 over a gorge near Queenstown on the country's South Island. In the three decades since, many more places for playing human yo-yo have been set up over New Zealand's lakes, dramatic mountain...

Exult in the Pleasures of Solo Travel with This Distinguished Book

By Arthur Frommer

Posted on 08/29/2018, 6:00 AM

It isn’t often that a newspaper reporter publishes a truly distinguished book about the sensations of solitary travel, the rewarding emotions you feel when abroad by yourself in a strange city.   Yet that is the achievement of Stephanie Rosenbloom of The New York Times in her recently published Alone Time. Rosenbloom, a staff columnist for the Times, is known for her extremely lucid and help...

JetBlue Increases Baggage Fee, Leading Way for Copycats

By Jason Cochran

Posted on 08/28/2018, 6:00 PM

It's like a cautionary fairy tale. There once was a fun-loving, egalitarian airline that wanted to revolutionize the industry. All seats were given personal TVs, there was only one type of aircraft and one class of service to keep maintenance costs and fares low, and, best of all, there were no checked bag fees. "No, no, no," promised the little airline. "We will not charge to check bags like a...

New Street Murals Animate World Trade Center in New York City

By Samantha Zúñiga-Levy

Posted on 08/27/2018, 6:00 AM

Ever since the events of 9/11, New York City has faced the challenges of rebuilding the area around the Twin Towers as well as finding an appropriate aesthetic for the site—tasks that have been especially difficult given the emotions involved.  In early 2017, Silverstein Properties, the World Trade Center's main developer, invited 50 street artists to do what they do best all over the 69th-floo...

Royal Caribbean's Private Beaches Make Second-Class Citizens of the Rest of Us

By Arthur Frommer

Posted on 08/27/2018, 6:00 AM

Most passengers on a Caribbean cruise are by now aware of the “private beaches” and “private islands” that cruise lines operate for the purpose of keeping you from contact with local residents or businesses when your ship alights at a particular port.  This deliberate segregation has been tolerated by most of us because the artificial beaches or ports have been operated in such a way as to be r...

$999 for a Week in Vietnam, Including Air! Outstanding, Writes Arthur Frommer

By Arthur Frommer

Posted on 08/24/2018, 9:00 AM

To enjoy a travel miracle—a memorable tour to an exotic nation, for less than the cost of airfare alone—is to lend excitement to life. Several months ago, we described an awesome Chinese-American named Wilson Wu who operates two-week tours of Vietnam for as little as $1,599 per person, including round-trip air from the U.S. West Coast.   Now, the same Mr. Wu, through his company called World Sp...

This Fall, See Rome, Venice, and Florence by Rail for Less Than $25

By Zac Thompson

Posted on 08/24/2018, 12:00 AM

Traveling by train among Italy's three most popular tourist destinations can be extremely affordable this fall, provided you buy your tickets right now.  European travel booking site GoEuro has joined forces with Italo Treno, an Italian rail service operator, to offer a fare from Rome to Venice to Florence or vice versa for just €19.80 (US$23) one way.  That's an incredible bargain for seeing Ro...

“Crazy Rich Asians” May Feel a Lot Like Going to Singapore, Says Arthur Frommer

By Arthur Frommer

Posted on 08/22/2018, 3:00 AM

Let me be entirely frank. I greatly disliked the movie Crazy Rich Asians, which I recently saw.   I was so horrified by its fawning depiction of irresponsible wealth that I almost walked out of the theatre during the first half hour of the show, and only stayed because things improved a bit in the remaining hour and a half.   Crazy Rich Asians is a two-hour romantic comedy about an ultra-rich ...

Why Airlines Like to Annoy You with Credit Card Pitches—and Why It's About to Get Worse

By Jason Cochran

A researcher has calculated how much money U.S. airlines are making from in-flight credit card sales pitches, and the number isn't good news for peace and quiet.

Real-Life Version of "Simpsons" Convenience Store Comes to Myrtle Beach

By Zac Thompson

Posted on 08/21/2018, 9:15 PM

Fans of The Simpsons have a new place to satisfy their cravings for Buzz Cola, Squishee frozen drinks, Heat-Lamp Hot Dogs, and Lard Lad Donuts (what, no Duff beer?). A full-size, three-dimensional Kwik-E-Mart, the convenience store that frequently appears on the long-running animated sitcom, has opened in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.  Part of the Broadway at the Beach retail and entertainment c...

Another New Fee, Courtesy of United Airlines

By Pauline Frommer

Posted on 08/21/2018, 4:00 PM

About five years ago, Saturday Night Live scored some laughs with a skit that parodied "priority boarding" announcements at the airport gate. A uniformed Tina Fey and Taran Killam stood behind a podium and called upward of 20 different categories of flyers before they got to "Group 2" as their SNL castmates grew comically agitated waiting to board. Back then, it seemed like the madness at the gate...

Arthur Frommer: Remove Ryan Zinke as Secretary of the Interior

By Arthur Frommer

Posted on 08/20/2018, 6:00 AM

The Secretary of the Interior of the United States is supposed to preserve and protect our national parks, national monuments, and public lands from commercial exploitation.   He is supposed to endorse the plea of President Theodore Roosevelt some hundred-or-so years ago that these cherished properties are to be preserved for generations to come. By his recent statements and actions, the cur...

Turkey Is Insanely Cheap for Travelers Right Now

By Zac Thompson

Posted on 08/20/2018, 12:00 AM

Turkey's ongoing currency crisis, during which the Turkish lira has lost more than 40% of its value, is making a vacation in that country extremely affordable at the moment for travelers from places with stronger economies. As of this writing, one U.S. dollar equals 6.04 lira. According to USA Today, $1 got you 3.54 lira just one year ago. That means that American travelers can get a lot of bang...

In Late Autumn, Fly to Iceland for $99 Each Way

By Arthur Frommer

Posted on 08/17/2018, 12:00 PM

The following is in the nature of a “believe-it-or-not” category of travel.   A scrappy budget airline of Iceland (the aptly named WOW Air) has just announced that for scattered flights to Reykjavik in August, September, and October, it will charge only $99 each way! Specifically, you’ll be able to fly to Iceland’s capital from 10 U.S. cities at that remarkable price.   And these take-off...

Arthur Frommer: Climate Change Is Jeopardizing the Travel Experience

By Arthur Frommer

Posted on 08/17/2018, 6:00 AM

Is climate change for real? And is it having an impact on the recreational travels we undertake? If you would put that question to relatives of mine living in England, they would loudly respond, “Yes!”   They live near an English province where temperatures recently reached 111 degrees Fahrenheit (44 Celsius). While such heat would only slightly affect residents of, say, Phoenix, Arizona,...

Epic New Zealand Rail Line to Reopen After Quake

By Jason Cochran

Posted on 08/15/2018, 12:00 PM

New Zealand's gorgeous Coastal Pacific rail service, which runs between Picton and Christchurch on the South Island's east coast, announced it will return on December 1. KiwiRail's popular five-hour, 335-km (208-mile) trip was halted in November 2016 after a major earthquake devastated the Christchurch area. For much of the journey, the route hugs the coast, with the sea on one side and the ...