Travelrific® Travel Journal

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Archive for December, 2007

A Guide to New Year’s Eve Celebrations

By Linda Tancs

Baseball great Yogi Berra once said, “It ain’t over till it’s over.”  Well, 2007 is almost over, but not until we clink a glass or two of bubbly and salute the great bard Rabbie Burns with a rendition of Auld Lang Syne (which means “old long ago”).  All dressed up with no place to go?  Then check out the fun read at for some suggestions.  You might not agree with all of their assessments, but as another saying goes, one man’s meat is another man’s poison.  One interesting event that didn’t make the cut on this Web site is Vienna’s big bash at Hofburg Palace.  Visitors descend on this grand imperial city from every part of the globe to usher in the new year in the former winter residence of the Austrian emperor.  Well, there’s always next year!  See you then.

Santa Claus is Coming to Town

By Linda Tancs

In honor of the impeding arrival of Santa Claus, today we highlight Santa Claus’s Village. Located near Rovaniemi, Finland, approximately 520 miles from Helsinki, Santa Claus’s Village offers the child in all of us a chance to explore and discover the Arctic Circle origins of the world’s most famous gift giver.  Visit the village online at   Later tonight, track Santa’s progress in his world travels at

2008 Will Usher In Changes in St. Bart’s

By Linda Tancs

Postcode aficionados, take note:  in 2008, St. Bart’s postcode will change from 97133 to something beginning with “977.”  But that’s not the only change to take place in this small yet sophisticated French West Indies island–the new year brings a new tax on guests.  A resort tax (often referred to as a tourism development tax) of 5% will apply to the island’s 160 + hotels, condos and villas.  No doubt this levy will greatly enhance the local economy.  After all, consider the economic benefit conferred on Orlando, Florida courtesy of its 6% tax remitted by moneymakers like Magic Kingdom properties.  By some accounts, the Mouse contributes as much as 33% to Orlando’s resort tax revenue, which tallied in the $14M range this year.  Considering the exclusivity of this French isle, it’s a wonder that its luxe visitors (including A-list celebs) weren’t taxed sooner.  Better late than never, as they say.

GAO Reports on Runway Safety

By Linda Tancs

The U.S. Government Accountability Office issued a report recently on the status of runway and ramp safety measures deployed by the FAA.  As any traveler knows, runway incidents are relatively infrequent, but increasingly crowded skies pose growing concerns over traffic management.  In fact, according to the GAO, runway incursions have not decreased in the same manner as runway overruns since the FAA’s last runway safety plan was implemented in 2002.  Among other things, the GAO recommends that the FAA revise its 2002 plan to conform to its own policy, which mandates revisions every 2 or 3 years.  Go to to read more about the report.


By Linda Tancs

In the latest edition of Travelrific® Travel Show, the topic is Gibraltar.  Gibraltar is a quaint little place overlooking the Strait of Gibraltar, but it’s more than just a big rock.  Find out why at

Proposed Rule Could Assist U.S. Cruise Lines

By Linda Tancs

In a move to thwart the incursion of U.S. cruise business by foreign-flagged lines, Customs and Border Protection has proposed a change in cabotage law.  In cruise industry parlance, cabotage refers to the transportation of passengers between two ports in the same country.  Current U.S. law prohibits foreign vessels from transporting passengers between ports in the country, but this restriction is often circumvented by foreign lines by the addition of a token port of call in another jurisdiction.  Under the proposed new rule, any such additions will be deemed a violation of the cabotage law unless the foreign port of call lasts at least 48 hours and foreign ports comprise at least 50% of the overall itinerary.  The time for public comment on the proposed new rule will expire on December 21, 2007.  Go to for instructions on submitting a comment. 

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The Art of Tipping

By Linda Tancs

The now-debunked story of Donald Trump leaving a $10,000 or so tip to a waiter has me thinking about the art–some would say, science–of tipping.  How much is too much or not enough?  Do popular conventions typically override the actual service received?  Do you tip differently when you travel internationally?   Calling all pundits–what say you?

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3-1-1 Rule Revisited

By Linda Tancs

As any traveler knows, 3-1-1 (the rule restricting carry-on liquids to 3 ounces in a single quart-sized, ziplock bag) has evolved into a global rule for the promotion of safe air travel.  The TSA Web site reports that the following countries have adopted the rule: 

Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Brazil, Canada, Cape Verde, China, Cook Islands, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Egypt, Estonia, Fiji, Finland, France, French Polynesia, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Hungary, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Marshall Islands, Malaysia, Maldives, Mauritius, Mexico, Micronesia, Morocco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Romania, Serbia, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Tunisia, Ukraine and the United Kingdom.

Of course, all travelers should exercise caution and watchfulness (especially during busy holiday seasons such as this) regardless of the rules in play (or lack thereof), as the TSA recommends.

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New Swiss Tunnel Provides Speed

By Linda Tancs

All aboard the trains heading for the new Loetschberg Base Tunnel for a speedier run within and between Switzerland and Italy. Although the new base tunnel may bypass some scenic valleys, it will cut travel time from anywhere between 45 and 75 minutes depending on the route. So look at it this way: more time for the pistes.

If you enjoy my blog, please leave a comment and/or post a short review at a site like Stumbleupon.  Thanks!

The New South Beach

By Linda Tancs

If market saturation in Miami’s South Beach has you feeling less than sanguine about your prospects for peace and quiet–not to mention scoring that coveted table at Bed–then head a bit north to Sunny Isles.  Soon to go upmarket, Sunny Isles will offer CHI condo towers, sporting $5 to $7 million digs complete with personal mineral water pools.  Not to be outdone, Regalia will offer full-floor condos in the $7 to $14 million price range.  Better hurry before the Euro crowd–or any other dollar beaters for that matter- swoops in for the kill.
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