Travelrific® Travel Journal

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Archive for May, 2007

Luxury Travel

By Linda Tancs

Is there really such a thing as “luxury travel”?  Who gets to define what luxury is, anyway?  As the old saying goes, “One man’s meat is another man’s poison.”  Webster’s dictionary defines luxury as self-indulgence–an enjoyable, but not necessary, thing.  But let’s face it, travel is the ultimate indulgence for the mind, body or spirit–whether it be around the block, around the country, or around the world.  In that sense, the luxury of any journey, then, depends on how you arrange it in your mind, or as Winston Churchill put it, “Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference.”

Virtual Travel

By Linda Tancs

In this week’s edition of the podcast Travelrific, the topic is virtual travel, or, put another way, travel via the internet.  At least this is one mode of travel that won’t put a dent in your wallet.  And if your fear of travel inhibits your wanderlust, then virtual travel may be the perfect solution.  So where in the world would you love to be–right now?  Listen in and find out how to get there–virtually, that is.  Visit www.travelrificradio.com.

Parlez-vous francais?

By Linda Tancs

Some time ago, there was a lot of ballyhoo about the French ministry banning all English words and colloquialisms from the French vocabulary.  Maybe “hamburger” was the last straw.  So how do the French react these days to the francophone-challenged tourist?  Perhaps not as well as we would like, according to a recent study suggesting that France is perceived negatively on its ability to be welcoming to visitors.  Whether this perception is based strictly on unpleasant dealings due to language barriers, however, appears hard to gauge.  Anyway, I’ll have some (french) fries with that hamburger.

What’s New in the Western Hemisphere?

By Linda Tancs

It should come as no surprise that there’s a run on  passports these days.  Under the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative, U.S. citizens traveling via air between the U.S. and Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean and Bermuda now need a passport.  For the time being at least, the passport is lauded as the best documentation of identity and citizenship.  But is it “hassle free”?  With the advent of the biometric (data encoded) passport, concerns are rampant that the passport holder’s identifying information is subject to hacking, giving rise to a cottage industry in anti-hacking devices.  Necessity is the mother of invention, as the saying goes.

On The Road Again

By Linda Tancs

A bit of advice for the intrepid international traveler unafraid to take to the open road:  make sure the driving permit is legit.  An international driving permit (IDP) is only available from two legitimate sources:  the American Automobile Association (www.aaa.com) or the American Automobile Touring Alliance (www.nationalautoclub.com). 

Pet Travel

By Linda Tancs

In this week’s edition of the podcast Travelrific, the topic is: traveling with pets. Will Fido like Marriott–or will Marriott like Fido?  Tune in for the do’s and don’ts of pet travel. Visit www.travelrificradio.com.

Have Laptop Will Travel–Or Will You?

By Linda Tancs

Given our tech dependencies, it may seem like an apocolyptic event to be denied use of a laptop aboard a plane.  Thankfully, some earlier restrictions put into place after a massive battery recall have eased.  Virgin Atlantic, for example, now allows any laptop to be used with its own battery in any cabin class.  Ditto, Qantas.  The moral of the story?  Be sure to check your airline’s Web site for the latest news or special announcements regarding baggage.

Room With A View

By Linda Tancs

There simply is something majestic about Hotel Suisse Majestic in Montreux, where everyone gets the room with a view.  Open the glass doors beside the bed and admire the lake or mountain view from the cozy balcony with table and chairs for two.  It’s hard to resist a bottle of wine and some emmental as you gaze at the Alps or Lake Geneva, or both.  If you have the good fortune of getting there when the Jazz Festival aligns with Bastille Day, you have the unmitigated pleasure of enjoying great music during the day and fireworks over the distant French Alps at night.  Que magnifique!

Regional Culture

By Linda Tancs

Europe celebrates itself each year with the designation of a Capital of Culture.  In 2007, the designation goes not to a city but to a region–Luxembourg and Greater Region, to be exact.  Of course, Luxembourg had its close-up in 1995, so it’s only fitting that it share the glory this time around with some of its neighbors.  Those neighbors include Belgium, Lorraine in France and Rhineland-Palatinate and Saarland in Germany.  Don’t leave your appetite at home–you’ll find more Michelin-rated restaurants in Luxembourg per capita than anywhere else.

A Taxing Situation

By Linda Tancs

 In a bid to address the airlines’ contribution to global warming (ahem–assessed at 1.6% of all global greenhouse gas emissions by one group), Tony Blair’s successor-in-waiting (Gordon Brown) proposed a passenger air tax that doubles the existing tax on long-haul passenger flights.  As we’ve seen in the past, taxes come and taxes go.  On this side of the pond, the FAA recently proposed eliminating certain taxes such as the domestic segment tax, the Alaska/Hawaii tax and the frequent flyer tax.  International arrival and departure taxes would be somewhat reduced as well.

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