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Ways To Improve Travel Industry Thumbnail

Ways To Improve Travel Industry

Few things are worse for the traveler than nasty surprises.

Yet we keep traveling.

Not simply because we like to travel or because we must travel, but because we accept that the world is an imperfect place and the travel industry an imperfect business that likes, when possible, to get by on the bare minimum.

Nevertheless, there are some fixes that could be implemented quickly and cheaply that would make travel much more pleasant for everyone.

We seek neither the impractical (first-class leather seats in coach), the implausible (teleportation), nor the unrealistic (airport concourses that demand less walking than a breast cancer fund-raiser).

Even better, none of the brainstorms below are protected by patents, licenses or other legal restrictions, so Big Travel can feel free to scoop them up and begin making our lives better right away.

Read the rest of the article about Ways To Improve the Travel Industry

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Biggest Cruise Booking Mistakes

The entire idea of going on a cruise may be daunting for newcomers, but it shouldn’t be. Simply avoid these 10 common mistakes. Brush up with these tips and you won’t be making the biggest cruise booking mistakes.

Pick the Wrong Cruise Line or Ship

Selecting the right cruise line and ship makes a world of difference. That decision will determine if you fall madly in love with this type of travel or run screaming from the gangway. Each cruise line has its own style and price point and each ship has its own vibe that often depends on the ship’s age and amenities, crew, guest contingent, and the ports the ship calls upon. If you stay at full-service hotels like Four Seasons or Ritz-Carlton on land, booking an inside cabin on a budget line like Carnival or Norwegian Cruise Line might be a mistake. Likewise, if you’re traveling with small children, be sure to select a company like Disney Cruise Line that caters to families and offers special programs for kids. The best way to learn about different cruise lines is to talk with friends and family who have sailed before.


Read the entire article about the biggest cruise booking mistakes!

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Airline Rankings

Airline Rankings

Virgin America is the highest-quality major airline in the United States, according to the 2013 Airline Quality Rating report, an annual study of airline performance. The lowest-rated? United Airlines.

The privately owned airline – founded by billionaire entrepreneur Richard Branson – has only been operating in the U.S. since 2007, but after just five years in the air it leads the way in timely arrivals, baggage handling and customer service. This is the first time it’s been included in the AQR ratings.

The Airline Quality Rating report is the premier statistical study of major airline performance in the United States and has been conducted annually since 1991. It’s authored by Dr. Dean Headley, a professor at Wichita State University, and Dr. Brent Bowen, a professor at Purdue University.

See where your favorite airline ranks!

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Tales of Caution

Tales of caution from world travelers! Take these tips from these people who have experienced first hand just what kind of tricks countries pull on you when visiting.

  • My husband and I arrived at Paris’ Gare du Nord in the early evening and proceeded to read the map to find out how to get to our hotel via the Metro. One guy came up and advised us to buy tickets from the ticket machine. While we were at the machine trying to read the French, another guy came out and “helped” us buy tickets. The 3-day tickets we thought we were buying were, in fact, 1-way single-use tickets. We paid him the 48 euros which was displayed on the ticket machine, but he must have cancelled that transaction and bought us the single trip ticket instead. My advice is to buy Metro tickets ONLY through the ticket counter at the Metro station (a 2-day ticket is only about 13 euros).


  • Be careful if you are parking at the Tronchetto and want to ride the public vaporetto boat into Venice. Men surrounded us, told us where to walk and directed us to private taxi boats. They refused to allow us to go to the vaporetto dock. They raised their voices at us, insisted that we take their private taxis. I pulled out my Rick Steves book, showed them that I wanted the vaporetto, but they yelled “NO MA’AM” at me and made us walk to the taxi boats. When we got in the boat, the man asked for more money than we’d been told it would cost. When I questioned him, he yelled “GET OUT!” My husband and I and our two children (and luggage) got out of the boat. As we walked back toward the parking garage, we found signs pointing to the vaporetto, and got there easily. We then realized that the men kept positioning us so that we could not see those signs earlier.


  •  I had just been served pizza with some friends in Paris when a women came up to our table and tried to take our food. Thinking she was a waitress, I said in French, “We are not finished, thank you.” She ignored me and kept trying to take our food, when a real waitress appeared and shooed the woman out rather forcefully.


  • While visiting Sacre Coeur in Paris, a friend and I fell victim to the shell game in one of the alleys leading up to the church. Yeah, we were stupid, but our initial intention was only to watch. Of course, it all looked so easy. We lost about $70, no big deal. That $70 made me much more vigilant, so perhaps it was a cheap lesson. If you see someone playing the shell game or 3 card monty, be careful. No matter how easy it looks, only the “plants” in the crowd will win (if any native is playing then he/she is a plant). If you want to pick out thieves in the Metro and elsewhere, simply observe who’s looking at what (the thieves are the ones who are looking at what other people are carrying). On the Metro, thieves love to walk up and down the aisles until just before the doors close. They time their grab with the closing of the door, and quickly jump through as it shuts.


  • My wife and I were ready to leave Rome after a great ten day visit. We got into a cab outside our hotel, and asked the driver to take us to the train station (where we’d take a cheaper ride to the airport). The cab driver asked if we were leaving to fly home. We said yes. He then proceeded to tell us that there were major problems with the train to Fiumicino Airport, the line was down, etc …but he would be glad to drive us directly to the airport for 80 euros! Thank God I’d built enough time into our schedule so that I could investigate the train situation myself. I told him no thanks, take us to the train station anyway. There was no problem whatsoever with the train and we made it home sans difficulty. The lesson: try not to be in a rush.


  • Anywhere in Europe, friendly locals can invite a tourist into a bar where you end up buying a drink for a girl, you notice a burly bouncer at the door, and your bill comes to $80. This happened to me in Istanbul. I met a wonderfully friendly young man who suggested we stop by this bar close to my hotel. Once inside, we were having a beer, when a girl sat next to me and my friend ordered her a drink. At that point it just clicked in my head…this is that scam I’d read about. Sure enough, there is no one in the bar other than the big guy standing by the door and the mean looking bartender. The bill was $80 for my beer and the girl’s drink. I had no choice but to pay. Never go anywhere with someone who approaches you on the street, regardless of how “tough” you are or how “nice” they seem. It’s almost always a scam and can lead to real trouble.


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Life Changing Vacations for Kids

Life Changing Vacations for Kids. We all know that as we grow older, special occasions can become “less special”. The older you become, the more responsibility you take on, and consequently you realize just how much work has to go into making a great moment really great.

But when you’re a child, you relish in every special moment that arises. Even something as little as losing a tooth becomes a magical night as you let your imagination run wild about that popular fairy that will soon be visiting your room with a reward.

Point is, vacations are wonderful for adults, but think about the vacations you went on as a child. You had no responsibilities. Every meal was cost free. And the only stressful thing to think about was whether you or your sibling would get the window seat on the plane.

Adults need vacations for relaxation. A child needs vacations for making important memories. Here is a list of 10 places that can change your child’s life.  Remember, even the smallest event can create a wonderful lifelong memory for a child.

See The Entire List!

Best Eats at Busiest Airports Thumbnail

Best Eats at Busiest Airports

Best Eats at Busiest Airports

Whenever someone starts talking about the “good ol’ days” of air travel, remind them about eating at old school airports.

Back then, a meal at the airport meant horsing down a candy bar from the gift shop and wrestling with a vending machine for a can of soda.

Nowadays, large, medium and even some smaller airports provide legitimately good restaurants, with enough interesting offerings and atmosphere to make that three-hour layover just a little less hellish.

There’s still room for culinary upgrades — as noted below, some airports haven’t yet figured out that sitting on planes makes us hungry and irritable — but the best places to eat in the country’s busiest airports (ranked by passenger traffic, per FAA statistics) generally range from good to great.

Read the entire list of Best Eats at Busiest Airports