Friday, February 27, 2015

‘Old school’ still rules

Well into the 21st century, businesses of all sizes have websites. Whether basic or sophisticated, almost all have a “contact” page or email link. What is far less predictable is whether the business will actually respond to inquiries submitted electronically.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Airfares, overall CPI drop slightly amid sharply lower energy costs

Airline fares continued to decline in January and fell less than half a percentage point in the first month of 2015, according to the latest figures on the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) issued by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

ANA to launch seventh phase of 'Tastes of Japan' campaign

Japan’s All Nippon Airways (ANA) will launch the next phase of its “Tastes of Japan” campaign in March to highlight the cuisine of three of the country’s lesser-known prefectures.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Exchanging currency and other foreign financial matters

International travel, even to countries as close as Canada or Mexico, can result in a host of hidden charges and unforeseen hurdles. But there are ways to minimize your chances of getting some rude surprises, either while on the road or when you return home.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Traveling overseas with electronics - easier than you might think

Not too long ago, traveling with electronic devices required a fair bit of pre-trip homework, advance preparation and maybe additional purchases. Today, it’s almost as simple as throwing your gear in a bag and heading for the airport.

Friday, February 20, 2015

OPINION: Social networking travel sites or your favorite blogger?

Which is a better source of travel advice: your favorite social networking site or your favorite blogger? The answer is “it depends." It depends on how you use the cornucopia of information available to us today.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Alaska State Ferries: Deal or No Deal?

Ever since I moved to Seattle in 1983, people have been telling me that the Alaska state ferries are an economical way to see Alaska from the water. I recently decided to investigate and see exactly how economical they are.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

THE LIGHTER SIDE: Mistranslations

In the midst of planning a trip to a country where the primary language is other than English, I am anticipating being able to add to my growing collection of examples of how my mother tongue is -- often humorously -- mangled.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Especially when traveling, cash is king

When traveling to another country, it’s a good idea to carry a modest amount of the local currency. Doing so is not only convenient for making small purchases but can help you avoid being scammed when you use your credit card.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Alaska Airlines offers double mile deals

Seattle-based Alaska Airlines is offering double Mileage Plan miles on some of its most popular routes from Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA) and Salt Lake City International (SLC).

Friday, February 13, 2015

Virtual Mardi Gras goes live

Ever wanted to attend Mardi Gras in New Orleans? Or wanted confirmation that your decision to avoid it is the right one? Either way, a company that specializes in webcam content is making it possible to see what goes on at what is arguably one of the world’s most famous parties.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

23 interesting (and potentially useful) travel facts

Among the things I love most about travel are amassing new stories and acquiring new bits of trivia to add to my quiver. It was therefore with great interest that I read an e-mail from a Ramon van Meer.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Favorite B.C. hotels win top honors

Several of my favorite hotels in the Canadian province of British Columbia have just been accorded top honors by Forbes Travel Guide.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Tips for surviving a long-haul flight

In preparation for a long flight from Seattle (SEA) to Frankfurt (FRA), I have been compiling a list of tricks and tips for surviving ten hours in the main (economy) cabin or, as I tend to refer to it, “steerage.”

Monday, February 9, 2015

Voting opens soon for airline, hotel loyalty programs

Voting opens Sunday, Feb. 15, for travelers to select their favorite airline and hotel loyalty programs and affinity credit cards in the 27th Annual Freddie Awards.

Friday, February 6, 2015

Public gets first glimpse of upmarket Viking Star cruise liner

Viking Cruises - long a purveyor of cruises along inland rivers in Europe, Russia, Egypt and Asia - has released a video that gives the first glimpse of the flagship of Viking Ocean Cruises, which is set to carry its first paying passengers in May.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

ANA adds upmarket service to Southeast Asia routes

Japan’s All Nippon Airways (ANA) in March will debut new, upmarket travel classes on flights between its two airports in Tokyo and Singapore, Bangkok and Jakarta.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Delta Air Lines to move headquarters to Seattle?

Nah. A rumor made up of whole cloth. Pure speculation on my part. But considering the carrier’s aggressive growth in and courting of the Seattle market, nothing would surprise me.

Monday, February 2, 2015

The cost of a 'free' ticket

In the midst of planning a trip to Poland using my frequent flier miles, I am being reminded of how much a "free" trip can cost.

Friday, January 30, 2015

A romantic Valentine's Day weekend at Whistler

If you've been waiting to find that perfect Valentine’s Day getaway before making your special weekend plans, your wait may be over.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Can't decide where to fly? This can help

I have just discovered a feature on the American Airlines website that makes it easier for members of its frequent flier program to indulge their wanderlust, especially when they don’t quite know where they want to go.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Airport food and drink continue to move upmarket

Travelers of a certain age will remember the time when pretty much every concession stand at any given airport was run by the same company. Cartoonist Matt Groening drew a “Life in Hell” comic in 1987 titled “Akbar and Jeff’s Airport Snack Bar,” lampooning that reality with the tag line, “When you’re stuck at the airport, you’re stuck with us.” Happily, that is no longer the case.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Alaska Airlines named North America's most on-time airline

For the fifth year in a row, Seattle-based Alaska Airlines has been recognized as the major North American air carrier with the best record for on-time arrivals.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Things to do in Phoenix

If you're heading to Phoenix for the Super Bowl and need a break from the crowd, here are some recommendations of things to do and see that are not on the Greater Phoenix Convention & Visitors Bureau's recap of things to do in Phoenix.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Valentine's Day in Victoria, BC at the Magnolia Hotel & Spa

With Valentine’s Day quickly approaching, I was delighted to learn that one of my favorite hotels in western North America has just been named among the Top 25 Romantic Hotels in Canada in the 2015 TripAdvisor’s® 2015 Travellers’ Choice® awards, making it a great choice for a romantic getaway.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

U.S. hotels lag many countries in Wi-Fi access - report

Connectivity is fundamental in today’s connected society, and many of us have come to take robust connectivity for granted at the office or at home. But as too many of us already know, that service often falls short on the road. Now, a new report identifies the regions where the hotels have the best – and the worst – Wi-Fi.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Obtaining a chip and PIN card for overseas travel

If you’re considering or planning a trip overseas, add one more item to your “to-do” list: get a “chip and PIN” credit card before you leave the United States.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Emirates offers bargain fares to romantic Italy

Looking for an exceptional romantic getaway? Emirates, the world’s largest international air carrier, is offering two-for-one fares for flights between New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) and Milan’s Malpensa Airport (MXP) for a period that includes the Valentine’s Day weekend.

ANA amps up in-flight entertainment

Beginning in February, Japan’s All Nippon Airways (ANA) will launch what the carrier is calling “Japan's most comprehensive in-flight entertainment system.”

Monday, January 19, 2015

Alaska Airlines to give away flights to the Super Bowl

On the heels of the Seattle Seahawks’ overtime playoff victory against the Green Bay Packers, Seattle-based Alaska Airlines is giving some Mileage Plan members a chance to fly from Seattle to Phoenix on a special charter flight.

Friday, January 16, 2015

New Mexico offers unique Valentine’s Day getaways

With Valentine’s Day less than a month away, a New Mexico hospitality company is encouraging couples to consider spending that special day in the Land of Enchantment by highlighting a variety of distinct offerings from romance to adventure.

Rosewood Hotels to manage historic resort in Tuscany

As a big fan of the Rosewood Hotel Georgia in Vancouver, B.C., I was pleased to learn that the parent company, Rosewood Hotels and Resorts, has been selected to manage a historic resort in Italy’s Tuscany region.

Airline fares fall sharply in December CPI

Airline fares reversed two months of increases and fell sharply in December, making 2014 the second consecutive year in which airline fares dropped, according to the latest figures on the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) issued by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Alaska Air group begins seasonal service between Mammoth Lakes and Vegas

Alaska Air Group initiated service between Las Vegas (LAS) and Mammoth Lakes on Jan. 15, beginning twice-weekly round trips that will run through April 6.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Delta to begin non-stop service from LAX to Shanghai

Atlanta-based Delta Air Lines (NYSE: DAL) has announced plans to begin daily nonstop service between Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) and Shanghai-Pudong Airport (PVG) on July 9, 2015.

Upmarket hotel rates on the rise

Data complied by on-line lodging search engine AllTheRooms.com shows that rates for upscale lodging in 2014 increased by more than 15% from the previous year.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Seeking a romantic setting for Valentine's Day? Consider Montréal

If you’re looking for an exotic, romantic getaway for Valentine’s Day that won’t break the bank or take hours and hours to reach, the city of Montréal, Quebec could fill the bill nicely.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Tour offers England for introverts

I am not a fan of organized tours. I prefer to explore new cities and discover new areas by wandering around on my own, following my nose and seeing where it leads. Neither am I an introvert, and being an extrovert probably complements my proclivity to explore sans guide. Accordingly, I found myself a bit surprised that an email promoting a tour of England for introverts captured my attention at all.

Friday, January 9, 2015

Upstart rental car company challenges status quo

For many of us, upmarket travel includes modest indulgences like renting a car a couple of notches nicer than the conveyance that occupies our garage or carport. Now, an upstart rental car company is promoting driving in luxury and making that luxury a little less expensive – at least for the next few weeks.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

The nefarious new ‘NeverLost’

Sliding into the driver's seat of a Hertz rental car at Sacramento Airport (SMF) over the Christmas holiday, the first thing I noticed was the next-gen version of the company's famous NeverLost navigation system. As it turns out, it's much more nefarious than simply being an updated version of what had become an outdated GPS system.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

New Orleans issues official invitation to Mardi Gras

As if dyed-in-the-wool partiers needed a reminder, the New Orleans tourism industry has shared with the world a proclamation from the King of Carnival that Mardi Gras season has begun.

U.S. gasoline prices end 2014 at lowest levels since mid-May 2009

Gasoline prices in the United States at the end of 2014 were at their lowest levels since mid-May 2009, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) brief, “Today in Energy,” released on Jan. 7.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

The economy of flying First Class

During a recent business trip, I discovered quite by accident that flying First Class on certain flights may not be all that much more than flying in economy.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Welcome to 2015!

The beginning of the new year also means the beginning of the seventh year of blogging for TheTravelPro, and it promises to be an interesting year indeed.

Making the Most of Melbourne

By Drew Snider

I can thank Olivia Newton-John for straightening me out. She told me, in no uncertain terms, that you don’t call the Australian city “Melburn” or (Heaven help us) “Mel-born”. You do not say the “R”; the correct pronunciation is "Mel-bun".

Alaska Airlines rings in the New Year with a free checked bag

Seattle-based Alaska Airlines is ringing in the new year by offering members of its frequent flier program one free checked bag through the month of January.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Storms expected to dampen Christmastime travel

Two major winter storms are expected to hit the East and West Coasts of the U.S. and Canada and have a major effect on Christmastime travel.

FRIDAY FRUMP: Possibly the most dangerous travel accessory EVER

Call me a curmudgeon if you will, but am I the only one who thinks an espresso machine for your car is a bad idea?

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Cricket World Cup fans get help finding hotels

As cricket fans well know, the ICC Cricket World Cup in Australia and New Zealand will commence on 14 February 2015, so it is not too soon for those who plan to attend to be looking for lodging.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Obama plans to open relations with Cuba

After more than 50 years of a largely ineffective embargo against it, President Barack Obama has unveiled a 13-point plan to reestablish relations with Cuba.