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 wall, or send them my way on Twitter.
A “General” warning was issued by the U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security regarding shoes filled with explosives for flights coming in to the States. Even after Richard Reid’s failed 2001 shoe-bombing attempt, terrorists are still looking at footwear as a means of sneaking explosives through security. Be prepared to walk through security barefoot if you have an international flight coming up.
Speaking of safety, a recent study suggests that bomb-sniffing dogs can often offer false-positives at airports. After two recent events where this was the case, experts revealed that the canines pick up on subtle clues from their handlers. A nervous, on-edge TSA officer could influence the dog, and in an effort to please their handler, a bomb-sniffer might sit, even when they don’t detect a suspicious smell. But they still work, and I’d rather the pooches be over-cautious, rather than the opposite.
Experiencing other cultures is just one of the many joys of traveling. It’s always interesting to see how other countries live their lives, and it’s just as interesting to see how they react to our way of life. This article took a Japanese guide to visiting the U.S. and translated it back to English. Apparently our vending machines and checkout lines will disappoint the average Japanese tourist, but they will be surprised by our car manners and all of our “free time”.
On the subject of cultural differences between America and Japan, hotels with rates by the hour are doing fantastic in the land of the rising sun. Seen as seedy here in America, Love Hotels in Japan are doing great (and have been around since the feudal era). Themed rooms, absolute discretion, and high occupancy rates are keeping the industry alive.
In “news that comes as no surprise to anyone”, travelers are booking more and more on the internet. Sites like Expedia, Priceline, and Orbitz are seeing slow and steady growth over the past few years, and they expect the trend to continue. China’s Ctrip.com and India’s MakeMyTrip are also seeing impressive gains.