Long gone are the days when I traveled with one credit card, my AT&T calling card, Continental, United and Best Western’s paper membership program cards. Laptops didn’t exist. Heck, the internet was just a baby. Cell phones were just starting to come out in their 5-pound brick sizes and my suitcase was labelled with two ‘heavy’ tags. Yes, things have changed since the days of my double-heavy.

I’m now a much smarter packer. No need to bring along my own hair rollers, hair dryer, alarm clock, travel iron and hot pot for making coffee in my motel rooms. Jeez, no wonder my bag was a double-heavy!

Getting an upgrade meant I got a room on the first floor of the motel instead of having to lug the double-heavy up the outside stairs to the end of the exterior hall in the winter. Today I know the first floor of an exterior room isn’t smart as far as safety. Back then I didn’t give a darn about safety – it was all about getting me and my stuff into the room with the least amount of effort. Being parked close to my rental car was the goal, especially since many of my earlier years of travel were spent in Canada and the northern states of the U.S. where snow often hid the windshield of my car. Read More…

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Here are some articles and links from around the travel world that came across my desk this week. If you have any questions or suggestions, leave them in the comments, post them on our Facebook page or send them my way on Twitter.

Airplanes Around Thunderstorms

A few nights ago at Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson airport, a thunderstorm rolled in causing many planes to be rerouted. Watch this video to see how the air traffic controllers kept all of the incoming flights out of harms way.

Airfare Watchdog’s Best U.S. Airlines for 2014

We all have our favorite airline, or at least a preferred airline where most of our miles reside, but which airline is the best? For the third year, Airfare Watchdog has tried to find an answer, using criteria such as number of cancelled flights, on-time arrivals, customer satisfaction, and more. They present their findings for each category, as well as announce an overall winner for “Best U.S. Airline for 2014”. Did your favorite make the list?

Read More…

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I was asked by CNN International on ways to reduce the stress of business travel. Whether you travel for business, pleasure or both, stress can come into play from the minute you start planning to when you walk back in the door at the end of a trip.  (Ever get home to a house which is messier than when you left? See what I mean!)

While I have tons of tips on how to reduce the stress in the myriad of areas involved in travel, there are really two tips that I have found most impactful over my years of travel. (1) Look at each trip as an adventure (yes, even a business trip!) and (2) Be nice!

I have found these two core principles to be the reason why I can answer “very few” when asked how many travel horror stories I have.

For example, I have had numerous cancelled flights, both in transit and on my way home. I have missed important events, lost revenue and incurred significant expenses. But to stand screaming at the airline gate agent when a flight is cancelled due to weather or a mechanical delay doesn’t do anything but raise your blood pressure – and possibly get you to the bottom of the list when it comes to the agent looking for the next available seat for you.

Instead, take things one step at a time and keep calm.  Step 1: Get in line with the hundreds of other passengers waiting for rebooking – immediately Step 2: Get on the phone with the airline (yes, while you’re standing in line) and ask for their help in rebooking you. This is kind of like having a foot in two different grocery store checkout lanes and you select the one that becomes available first. Step 3: Be friendly to the agent helping you, whether they’re on the phone or in person. Good words to ask are “If you were in my shoes, what would you do?” Great advice is often offered with this simple question.  When you treat the agent like an ally, it’s amazing what good comes out of it.

The same goes for hotel front desk clerks and maids, restaurant staff and literally everyone you meet along the way. A smile goes such a long way and has even unexpectedly rewarded me with extra chocolates on my pillow (my husband loves when these make it home!), upgraded rooms, wine and snacks sent to my room, first class flight and car rental upgrades and more – and most importantly really enriches my travel experiences.

The Foreword of my book, Business Travel Success: How to Reduce Stress, Be More Productive and Travel with Confidence contains a powerful story that conveys this same message. If you have ever been in a gate area when a flight delay was announced (really, who hasn’t been??) you will feel the power of nice in this Foreword by Jack Canfield, co-author of the Chicken Soup for the Soul series.


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Here are several contests that offer travel winnings. Good luck!

Regal Princess Inaugural Sweepstakes

Princess Cruises are sending a new ship out to see, The Regal Princess, and they want to send you and a guest on the inaugural voyage. Grand prize includes airfare to Ft. Lauderdale, tickets to the official naming ceremony, and one balcony stateroom aboard the Regal Princess on her first cruise to the Bahamas.

Contest ends August 31

My Destination Story Contest

Fairmont Hotels & Resorts want to hear your stories about your favorite hidden gems, off-the-beaten-path experiences, and travel adventures. Put together a 90 second video showcasing your travel tale, and enter for a chance to win the grand prize of a 7 day trip to a destination of your choosing (in the U.S., Canada, Mexico, Bermuda or Barbados). They are giving away a lot of other prizes, and you don’t necessarily need to submit a video to enter. Make sure to read the official rules.

Contest ends Sept 14 Read More…

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Here are some articles and links from around the travel world that came across my desk this week. If you have any questions or suggestions, leave them in the comments, post them on our Facebook page or send them my way on Twitter.

United Letter

United Airlines sends boiler plate apology letter to passenger and forgets to fill in the blanks

United Airlines may have recently sent out their usual apology letter to a customer without putting in the details. Although unconfirmed by the airline, the (NONSPECIFIC) letter has made its way around the internet as a textbook example of bad customer service.

Airlines Waive Fees for Changing Tickets to Hawaii as Storms Approach

Hurricanes Iselle and Julio are on their way towards the Hawaiian Islands, and if their plans are interrupting your plans to visit our 50th state, no worries – the airlines have you covered. This Mashable article has a good rundown on what specific airlines are doing to accommodate passengers who have scheduled flights in the next few days. As always, it’s a good idea to call the airline yourself to reschedule.

Testy Exchange Between Delta Pilot and Air Traffic Controller

We all get a little stressed at work, but it’s never a good idea to take it out on others. In this captured audio from the ATL runway, a pilot demonstrates the incorrect way to start your day.

United Airlines adds passport scanning to its mobile app

United Airlines has become the first U.S. carrier to check-in for their international flights early by scanning their passports. United’s iOS and Android apps can now scan your document (and save it for future trips), allowing you to get your international boarding passes up to 24 hours before your trip. If your travels require a visa to enter the country, you will still need to present those at the airport.

Posted by Carol Margolis | No Comments

Here are some articles and links from around the travel world that came across my desk this week. If you have any questions or suggestions, leave them in the comments, post them on our Facebook page or send them my way on Twitter.


Travel scams to watch out for this summer

Travelers are often easy targets for thieves and con artists. You can easily let your guard down when you visit a foreign country, but Just The Flight put together this infographic to make sure you don’t become another statistic. Take a minute to go over the common scams that target tourists and which country they occur in.

Family Asked To Leave Southwest Flight After Tweet

Can a tweet get you kicked off of a plane? It just happened to this Minneapolis family. After a disagreement with the gate agent, Duff Watson took to Twitter to complain about how he was being treated by the Southwest employee. After boarding, they were asked to leave the plane and not allowed back on until the father deleted the tweet. The airline has since apologized for the incident.

America’s airlines are the world’s most profitable and least comfortable

If you travel frequently on both domestic and international flights, this should be of no surprise to you. U.S. based airlines are squeezing the most out of their passengers with baggage fees and seat upgrades, but are far behind the other world’s commercial airlines in terms of comfort. In the rankings of the Top 10 Airline Seats, no American airline appeared in any of the categories (Economy, Premium Economy, or Business Class).

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Reporter stopped by TSA agent who didn’t know District of Columbia is in US

Right at my home airport MCO, a resident of the District of Columbia (the seat of our national government) was asked for his passport. Why? The TSA agent did not recognize his Washington D.C. license, and was unaware that it was a place. It’s not the first time the TSA has run in to this problem, but some light is being shed on the subject because it happened to a reporter. The TSA has since confirmed that yes, D.C. driver’s licenses are valid forms of ID.

Fake TSA screener probes passnegers at SFO

In a bizarre situation, a drunk 53 year old San Francisco man allegedly posed as a TSA agent and directed two women to private booths to be pat down. Authorities quickly discovered the ruse and arrested the man, who was on his way to board a flight to Hong Kong.

Consumers, airlines oppose TSA fee hike

In an effort to pay down the deficit, Congress has approved an increase in TSA fee hikes that will bring in billions over the next few years, but both consumers and airlines are not happy about the changes. Those who oppose the increase, which goes into effect next month, say that the government is treating them like a bottomless piggy bank.

Boeing Preps the 787-9 Dreamliner for Farnborough

The Farnborough Air Show is going on this week in England. In a sneak peek of what is to come, Boeing released this video of a Dreamliner being put through it’s paces.

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Here are several contests that offer travel winnings. Good luck!

Win a Year of Travel with Coca-Cola

How would you like to win free airfare for a year? Coca-Cola, Cinemark, and Southwest have teamed up to give you the chance to win 24 round-trip tickets to anywhere Southwest Airlines flies. The tickets expire on December 31st, 2015, but I can think of enough places to visit between now and then.

Contest ends July 24

Show us your #AirportHugs for a chance to win!

CheapFlights.com wants to see your airport hug photos. Take a photo of you and your loved ones saying hello or goodbye and share them on Twitter or Instagram with the hashtag #AirportHugs. One lucky photo will be chosen and the winner will receive a new iPad Mini. Make sure to tag CheapFlights on Twitter & Instagram.

Contest ends July 21

5-Star International Flights from Miami

Qatar Airways has started flying international routes out of MIA, and to celebrate Read More…

Posted by Carol Margolis | 2 Comments

Here are some articles and links from around the travel world that came across my desk this week. If you have any questions or suggestions, leave them in the comments, post them on our Facebook page or send them my way on Twitter.

Airbus: Pilots don’t really need windows


Airbus has filed patents for a radical new cockpit design that does not include windows – and it doesn’t even need to be at the front of the plane, either. Instead, pilots in the future may use giant video screens to control the aircraft, making the plane more aerodynamic, lighter, and able to hold more passengers. This technology is still decades away from being implemented in commercial flights, but it’s always fun to get a sneak peak in to what the future may hold.

NYC’s First Five-Star Hotel in Decade Seen at One57 Tower

Hyatt Hotels is bringing luxury to New York when it’s 5-star Park Hyatt property opens soon. Rooms will start at $795 a night (and cost an average of $1.8 million to build) and will come with floor to ceiling windows and wood floors. The hotel will take up 25 floors of the One57 building in Midtown.

New Guide To Passenger Rights Aims To Help Air Travelers Navigate The Skies

If you’ve ever been seriously delayed, unintentionally bumped, or had your flight cancelled, do you know what your rights are? The Department of Transportation has mandated that airlines fairly compensate disrupted passengers, but every airline still has their own rules. Our friends at Airfare Watchdog go over what you should do if you find yourself in this situation, and then they put together a summary of all of their airline’s policies available on their website.

Southwest goes international, charts expansion

Southwest Airlines took a big step recently when their first international flight took off from Baltimore headed for Aruba. Initially, the airlines is offering three international routes, but plan for 50 by next year. This is great news if your a fan of the airline’s customer service, and the competition for other airlines big and small could help lower prices for flights in these new markets.

Near Miss At Barcelona-El Prat

In a display of both miscommunication and excellent piloting skills, one 767 coming in for a landing in Barcelona was forced to pull a go-around when another 767 crossed the runway moments before approach. Thankfully, a tragedy was avoided.

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Here’s an item for the Hilton Garden Inn in Veracruz, Mexico hotel’s “Amenities” page that will have you wishing you were in Veracruz right now:

Staying with us on a Tuesday night?
Then don comfortable clothes and join us on the beach for a 7pm yoga and relaxation session.
We’ll go for 90 minutes or more so you can really relax after a long day or work or play.
Enjoy our colorful mats,
Listening to the crashing waves
And feeling the warm gulf breezes.
Stretch your body,
Learn relaxation techniques.
Don’t worry that you may not know what to do.
We’re all friends here.
And yes, we speak Spanish and English.
Best of all, the session is free!

Hotel Yoga

Why I’m writing this instead of sitting cross-legged on one of the colorful mats is simply because I was unaware of this wonderful hotel offering until another guest mentioned it to me afterwards; not by any hotel write-up about it. Now that I know, on my next visit to this hotel I’m certain my photos will be taken from the left-most mat in the front row as my hair blows in the warm winds and I soak in the sound of the waves.

If you’d like to be cross-legged on one of these mats yourself, check out Hilton Garden Inn, Veracruz, Mexico.

Posted by Carol Margolis | One Comment

Here are several contests that offer travel winnings. Good luck!

Countdown to South America

Has the World Cup inspired you to start planning a trip to Brazil? LATAM Airlines Group wants to help by sending you and a friend to Rio. One winner we receive roundtrip coach airfare from either Miami or New York.

Contest ends July 12

Travel Channel’s Luxurious Trip to Los Angeles

Relax in the Golden State with Travel Channel’s Luxurious Trip to Los Angeles giveaway. The grand prize includes a trip for two including roundtrip airfare, 7 days/6 nights at a Hilton Garden Inn (split between Hollywood and Marina Del Ray), $1,000 giftcard for shopping and eating in Beverly Hills, walking tour through the Los Angeles Farmers Market, a VIP experience at Universal Studios and more.

Contest ends June 30

The Ultimate California Foodie Vacation

If you’d like to experience California with a different twist, think about entering Food & Wine’s Ultimate California Foodie Vacation sweepstakes. One winner we receive a 7 day trip for 2 to San Francisco, Santa Barbara, and San Diego. Dinner’s in some of the cities finest restaurants are included, as well as airfare, car rental, hotel accommodations and more.

Contest ends June 30

Wild Dunes Getaway Giveaway

Win a family vacation to South Carolina. One lucky winner will receive 3 nights and 2 bedroom accommodations at Charleston’s Wild Dunes Resort, $1,500 towards airfare, a Capers Island Wildlife Exploration Tour and a horse-drawn carriage ride through downtown.

Contest ends July 13

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