Travel News

How A Chevy Equinox Test-Drive Turns Into A Hurricane Getaway Car

By Valarie D’Elia Under normal circumstances, travelers might create a checklist when preparing for a road trip, but as I learned, you can’t plan for every fork in the road. When I was offered the opportunity to test-drive a new 2018 Chevy Equinox for a trip to the Florida Keys in exchange for a review, I took for granted the fact that gas is relatively cheap and plentiful. And then came Irma. The trip was right after Labor Day. The pick up point for the Equinox was Miami International Airport, as my boyfriend Ron and I were looking forward...

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Jimmy Buffett Rides A Wave All The Way To Broadway

By Valarie D’Elia “In surfer vernacular, I think we’ve got a good wave and I’d like to ride it for a while.” Singer-songwriter Jimmy Buffett could easily be talking about his 50-year career, during which he’s created a loyal following of baby boomers known as “Parrotheads,” people who dress up like sharks and cheeseburgers, hero worshipping a 70-year old balding, barefoot free-spirit. (Including the author of this story.) However, this estimated $500 million net-worth entrepreneur is referring more pointedly to his latest venture. Not an “active living” community in his growing Margaritaville hotel empire, but a Broadway show that...

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Why TPA Is The Best U.S. Airport And Getting Better

By Valarie D’Elia Located in the heart of a quintessential Florida tourism area, Tampa International Airport (TPA) served as Walt Disney World’s airport before Orlando International Airport (MCO) was built. Opened in 1971, TPA was designed on the premise that no passenger should be more than 700 steps from their car to the gate. To that end, it employs a network of monorail style trains, (the first airport in the world to have “people movers,” ) which are rumored to be the precursor to those at Disney. A frequent visitor to Florida’s Gulf Coast, I feel like I’m on...

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Why NYC Freelancers Won’t Be Fleeced Anymore

If you are part of the 38% of New York City writers and workers who freelance, here’s some very good news. The Freelance Isn’t Free Act is now law. This Act, (the first of its kind in the nation) offers protections to freelancers who’ve had to engage in the frustrating game of chasing down money. The effort, spearheaded last fall by the Freelancers Union,  rallied more than 8,000 freelancers to sign a petition that pushed the bill to a vote. In essence, the law calls for mandatory contracts for workers earning 1099-income of at least $800 over a four...

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Against The Odds, Mega-Resort Baha Mar Finally Opens In Nassau

The first phase of a $4.2 billion resort & casino development in the Bahamas that was plagued by delays has finally opened. A well-publicized dispute between the resort’s developer and his Chinese partners that led to bankruptcy court was finally settled, culminating in a traditional ribbon-cutting more than two years overdue. The first phase of a 3-hotel project, Grand Hyatt Baha Mar, replete with five pools, is now open.  It features1800 rooms & suites, the largest casino in the Caribbean along with 20 bars and restaurants as well as a convention center. Luxury retail outlets, a 30,000 square foot...

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How Wasted Hotel Soap & Lotions Are Saving Lives

Do you ever feel guilty about using those small plastic bottles of lotion or shampoo at your hotel? Do you know how much soap is wasted by travelers who unwrap a bar, and don’t finish it up? It’s estimated that the North American lodging industry alone throws away more than a million bars of soap each day. But now, a major hotel group, Georgia-based Atrium Hospitality, is trying to remedy that through a recycling program with a non-profit called Clean the World. Clean the World says about 2 million children under the age of five die every year due...

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United Airlines: Sorry Not Sorry

By Gretchen Kelly United Airlines, which was criticized by the traveling public and industry alike for its treatment of an ejected passenger this week, has finally brought itself to say the “S” word. Initially, United’s CEO, Oscar Munoz apologized for the scenario that led to the incident heard around the travel world, but not to the passenger whom lawyers now say will required surgery as well as dental work to repair his injuries while being dragged from the plane by law enforcement agents. On April 11, Munoz issued a statement to his “team” that read in part, “The truly...

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Flyers Rights Take A Front Seat In United Airlines Overbooking Debacle

United Airlines stocks dipped dramatically the day after a social media nightmare. On an overbooked flight, a passenger was forcibly dragged from his seat and injured by Chicago police when he refused to leave after being randomly chosen to depart so that United staffers could board. The initial response by United was a terse statement by CEO Oscar Munoz, apologizing for the overbooking. “The response fell well short of what was needed,” wrote P.J. Crowley in The Hill the day after. However, The New York Times is reporting the CEO is finally taking responsibility for the incident that has...

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Vienna’s Attractions Are Now More Affordable & Accessible

Austrian Airlines has just began its first non-stop service from LAX to Vienna. The flights will be operating five times a week starting June 13 and later will increase to six a week. The airline, which already offers non-stop flights from the East Coast to Vienna will use a two-class cabin Boeing 777-200 for the new service from LA to Vienna. Austrian has also partnered with its tourist board and other sources to offer the Vienna Card. The card, which must be purchased ahead of travel and mailed to your home or picked up at the airport on arrival,...

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A Tale of Two Cities: London & Paris Announce New Tourism Pact

  As the UK gets ready to “Brexit,” London’s Mayor, Sadiq Khan and the Mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo have signed an agreement to collaborate to encourage both business and the all-important tourism economy to both cities. The agreement sets out plans to attract international visitors to both capitals, whose joint economies support close to 1.2 million jobs and represents over 34 billion Euros in tourism spend per year. A release from the joint alliance said that the tourism agreement, which will launch in 2018, will focus on key drivers for international visitors to both cities, such as culture and heritage, and combine the resources of the tourism websites, VisitLondon.com and Parisinfo.com. If you’re thinking of doing the City of Light after hopping the pond to London and have time to spare, Ouibus has roundtrip fares to Paris for around 35 Euro (depending on how far in advance you book). The trip takes nine hours from London Victoria Coach Station to Paris Bercy Bus Depot in the center of town. Cheap flights on Ryan Air, EasyJet and other carriers can also be had, especially if you book in advance, and of course there’s the high-speed Eurostar train.  But if you have luggage and time to spare, the bus might be an interesting and cheaper way to go–you can read the famous book A Tale of Two Cities by Charles...

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Buh-Bye Virgin America: Alaska Kills Branson’s Brand Name

courtesy: Alaska Airlines Alaska Airlines, which recently added 13 new flights from San Francisco and the Bay area and touted them as Alaska and Virgin America flights, has decided to retire the Virgin America brand name. “After careful consideration, the combined company will adopt Alaska’s name and logo, retiring the Virgin America name likely sometime in 2019,” the airline said in a statement. Virgin America’s trademark people-pleasing perks like in-flight entertainment, mood lighting and a “warm and welcoming West-Coast-inspired vibe” will remain, the airline assures flyers. Virgin founder Sir Richard Branson was less than enthusiastic on the Virgin.com website...

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