Traveler
Because the world is still big!
9
Sep

Frequent flyer

Posted in Airline Industry, Vacations  by Traveler

Brendan Ross - Credit Wired.com

Brendan Ross - Credit Wired.com

Would you spend an entire month flying to over 40 cities? Brendan Ross would. As a matter of fact that is exactly what he plans to do in the next 30 days.

Brendan is taking advantage of the Jet Blue unlimited pass, a promotion the airline company did a couple of weeks ago, where you could purchase a month worth of unlimited flying for a flat rate.

Brendan has plugged all his flights on an Excel spread sheet to make sure he can cover as many cities as he can possible visit on the month. Wired.com purchased the ticket for Brendan with two conditions: he must not leave the airport at any time during the following month (unless he is in the air flying) and he will blog the entire experience on Autopia, a Wired magazine blog.

I am looking forward reading Brendan’s experience with the long lines, flight delays and all the other nightmares associated with flying.

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26
Aug

New attraction in New York City

Posted in Uncategorized  by Traveler

Dancing naked at the hotel

If you have already seen the Statue of Liberty, the Empire State Building, and the Rockefeller Center, then perhaps it is time to visit another attraction in New York that you haven’t seen yet: The High Line’s Standard hotel.

You see, people have been flocking the park next to the hotel to see hotel guests who for whatever reason, decide to dance naked in front of the hotel’s huge glass windows. Some times, they openly engage in sexual acts for the world to see.

According to the article posted in the New York Post, “thrill-seekers yesterday flocked to the Meatpacking District’s newly christened High Line urban paradise to catch a glimpse of the free skin show playing out in the massive windows at The Standard hotel, which straddles the park”

They even included some pictures to illustrate the story

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19
Aug

Another week in Orlando

Posted in Money Saving Tips, Vacations  by Traveler

Last week we returned from our one week annual pilgrimage to Orlando. As usual we stayed at Orange Lake Resort, which to my surprise began offering free wireless access all the villages.

 Wet and Wild

This year we decided to purchase the annual tickets to Wet and Wild. After doing some serious search on the internet, I was able to find this coupon, which lower the weekday annual pass at Wet and Wild from $49.00 to $40.00 per person. The coupon also have discount for daily passes, and it is good until December 31st. 2009. You can download it here.

Wet and Wild is much smaller than any of the Disney water parks, and in my opinion, everything inside the park is much more expensive. Lockers cost you $8.00 to rent, and if you want to do water ski in the lake, you must pay extra for that too. The food it is expensive as well, although this is something I had expected.

Some of the most popular rides have long lines, while in the smaller rides the lines were short and they moved fast. The good thing about the park is that they allow food and drinks inside the park, as long as there are not in glass containers, so if you pack some sandwiches and some drinks you will save a lot of money.

In general my kids enjoyed the water park. We visited twice during the week.

Bongos Restaurant

One of the biggest disappointed this summer vacation was the dinner we had at Bongos Restaurant in Downtown Disney. Bongos is owned by the singer Gloria Stephan and her husband. They serve Cuban food and on the weekend they have live music at the restaurant. This was our second time having dinner there and I must say that it was a completely different experience compared to our previous visit to the restaurant.

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15
Jul

It is all about customer service

Posted in Airline Industry  by Traveler

This is to illustrate the importance of customer service.

I will reproduce the entire post here. You can read the original at Andy Azula site

Dear Delta:

I am a frequent-flyer with Platinum status on Delta. And one of your biggest fans.

I’m also the guy in those UPS Whiteboard commercials on TV. And I’m not just the actor. I’m also am the creative director at the ad agency who creates the advertising for UPS.

On June 18th I flew Delta for the last time. As of now, I cannot imagine ever stepping foot on another Delta airplane.

Because on June 18th, things went wrong. Very, very wrong.

On that morning, my wife and two children (7 year old twins), got up at 4 am in order to catch the first flight from our home in Richmond, VA to Atlanta. It was a business trip mixed in with a family vacation. You see, my parents live in Atlanta and my children hadn’t seen their grandparents for quite some time. As you can imagine, we were all very excited.

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14
Jul

Say good-bye to oversized carry-on bags

Posted in Airline Industry  by Traveler

 

Since most airlines began charging passenger for their luggage, many of us have become experts in packing every thing we need in our carry-on bags.

I’ve seen people with obviously over-packed carry on luggage trying to push them in to the overhead compartments, only to discover that no matter how hard they push, the bag won’t fit in it.

 Perhaps this last resource to avoid paying for the luggage fees will soon come to an end.

 There is a bill in congress that will put limitation on the type and size of carry on luggage. It is called the ‘Securing Cabin Baggage Act’ (H.R 2870) and it was introduced early this year by Rep. Daniel Lipinski (D) of Illinois

Among other things, this bill stipulates that ” each passenger may bring only one carry-on bag and one personal item.

The dimensions of each, when loaded, shall not exceed 56 centimeters in length by 45 centimeters in height by 25 centimeters in width (rounded to 22 inches by 18 inches (17.75) by 10 inches (9.85)).

The only exception to the rule will be a child safety seat for a child passenger; assistive devices for disabled passengers, including wheelchairs, canes, and crutches; and musical instruments.

As you can imagine, the airlines are very happy with this bill. If it passes, the bill will give them the tool to prohibit passenger from carrying any luggage that doesn’t fall within the size or shape permitted, thus forcing them to check them in and paying the fee.

I would like to ask Rep. Lipnski how this bill will improve our security. Perhaps I will send him an email and ask him this question. You should too, and you can contact him here

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9
Jul

United breaks guitars

Posted in Airline Industry  by Traveler

When Dave Carroll saw United Airlines ground crew tossing his guitar into the luggage compartment of the airplane, he knew his $3,5000 custom-made guitar would be damaged for ever. And he was right.
Carrol tried to get UA to pay for his guitar, but got nowhere with customer service, so he did the only thing any creative artist would do: he wrote a song about his experience and uploaded it to Youtube. The song has become an instant hit, with more than 1/2 million views and several thousands comments.
Finally Carroll and his band Sons of Maxwell got UA attention. A spoke person of the airline, said that “the song has struck a chord with them, and they were planning to talk to him directly”
So next time something happens to your luggage on one of UA flights, you know what to do.

Here is the song for you.

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2
Jul

Airline crew bares it all in the name of safety

Posted in Airline Industry  by Traveler

We are suppose to pay attention to the safety instruction video or demonstration every time we board an airplane, yet most likely you will see the majority of passengers reading or chatting while the video is playing or the flight attendant is showing us how to put the life jacket on.

Air New Zealand just came out with a very clever idea that will make all its passengers watch the safety instruction video without even blinking once. The video shows the crew going over the safety demonstration, wearing nothing but body paint. The video itself is not explicit and no nudity is shown, however the camera angle is positioned in such a way that keeps you guessing what is behind all that body paint.

In case you want to see it, here is the video:

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30
Jun

Back from Orlando. Review of West Gate Resort and Buena Vista Palace

Posted in Vacations, hotel review  by Traveler

My wife and I just came back from the Orlando, Fl. area. I had a 3 days work related conference in Buena Vista, and since my wife was also on vacation, and the kids were spending some days with the grandparents, we decided to take a break and combine work and vacation for a total of 5 days.

It worked out great. I took two days off from work (Monday and Tuesday) and the conference was held from Wednesday through Friday. While I was on the conference, my wife was relaxing by the pool or shopping at the outlet stores nearby.

West Gate Resort

First I want to write a little bit about West Gate Resort, where we spent our first two nights thanks to the free accommodations I got.

There is nothing spectacular about the resort. I mean, it definitely beats any hotel, but there are plenty of other resorts in the Orlando area that have much more amenities, bigger swimming pools and more stuff to keep the kids occupied. I browsed through their daily activities program and nothing caught my attention (nor it would have probably caught my kid’s attention either).

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18
Jun

Mini vacations withouth leaving town

Posted in Free Stuff, Money Saving Tips  by Traveler

There are some days where your entire body is asking you for a vacation; a break from everything.  This is especially true if you had a hard week at work, filled with last minute or end of the month reports, deadlines, or your boss asking you to do more things that any human can possible do in 40 hours of work.

Unfortunately, what our body wants and what our wallets can afford not always go hand in hand. So what do you do when you need a brake, but can afford a vacation?

Use one day of the weekend and take a mini vacation without having to leave town.

Here are some of things you can do to get away from everything, and they won’t cost you much, plus they can really help you relax and recharge your batteries.

 Grab your camera

Most of us have a digital camera that we use to take pictures of our kids, family reunions, etc. The thing is that most people don’t even think about using their camera to take pictures of their surroundings.  As a matter of fact, because we are so busy going from one place to another, most of us don’t even notice our surroundings. So grab your camera, go to a park, a nature reserve, the beach, a lake, even downtown and start taking pictures of all the interesting things that you find. You will be surprise how many new things you will discover even in places where you have been thousand of times before. For some reason, when you go to a place with the sole purpose of taking pictures, you look at things in a completely different way. For example, you might see a weird looking tree that resembles a statue, or how different a building looks when you look at it from certain angle. Snap away, and don’t worry about the technical stuff, simple try to be creative about your picture, and soon you’ll find yourself immerse in your picture taking quest and you’ll forget about work and everything else that stress you out.

Cook out.

Having a BBQ on the beach or a park can be fun. You can really enjoy a day out in the outdoors if you are surrounded by family and friends. If you have a family, put the kids in the car, grab some charcoal, a bag of hamburger, some hamburger buns and head to the nearest park or beach. You can also invite a couple of friends or other family members. You will be surprise what a great time you can have with a simple barbeque and good company.

Go camping

When was the last time you went camping? Most of us loved to camp out when we were kids. Remember the campfire, the sky full of stars at night, the excitement of sleeping in the middle of nowhere? Almost every town in America has a place where you can go camping for less than $20 a night. Go ahead, relive those memories from long gone days, and if you have children, create new memories for them. They’ll never forget the experience.

 Visit a local attraction.

I bet you that there is at least one attraction in your city that you have never been to. It can be a water park, a museum, a gallery. Any place nearby that you have been thinking about going but put it in the back burner because you knew it was right there and you could go anytime you wanted. Well perhaps spending several hours at a local attraction is what you needed to relax and have a good time.

Spend a night at a local hotel

The idea of renting a room in a hotel located only a couple of miles away from you home sounds silly, but if you have never done try it. I am sure you’ll be able to find a local hotel or motel for a very reasonable price. Mi wife and I do this whenever we can. We send the kids to spend the night with the grandparents and just go and rent a room in a local hotel. Because we can focus our attention in ourselves, we have a very relaxing time, especially if after checking in, we go out to the movies or a restaurant to grab a quick bite.

Those are only some suggestions, but if you are really creative, you can have a mini vacation almost every weekend, and it won’t cost you much. After all, fun doesn’t necessarily have to be expensive.

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12
Jun

A letter is a powerful tool

Posted in Free Stuff, Travel Tips  by Traveler

A while ago, I wrote an article with the title  When everything else fails, call headquarters”. This article talks about how sometimes it is best to skip the middle man and complain directly with the company headquarter if there any issued with booking, hotels, etc.

Following my own advice, I decided to send a letter to West Gage Resorts corporate offices to complain about what happened when I went to their sales presentation.

I sent two identical letters, one to the company owner, Mr. David Siegel and another to Mr. James Gissy, Executive Vice President of Marketing and Sales. To my surprise, 3 days after I’ve sent the letter, I received a call from Michele Colaci, Sr. Director of Specialty Marketing.

Michelle was very professional, and I could tell she had a genuine intention of make things right. For once, she immediately acknowledged that I was grossly misled with the information I’ve received. She also explained to me that it was a third party vendor the one responsible for the marketing material I had received, but after my letter she send out a memo to all third party vendor informing them that West Gate would now allows this type of misleading practice to go on.

Michelle offered me a two night stay at their resort and two ticket to any Orlando park free of charge to compensate me for all the troubles, which I accepted.

In two weeks, I’ll be in Orlando enjoying the free accommodations and tickets.

This goes to show you once more, that a letter is a powerful tool if you send it to the right person, so don’t give up on your complains. I must also comment West Gate Resorts for making things right.

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