Archive

Archive for the ‘Travel’ Category

This Week In Travel

October 15th, 2010

SeaWorld Orlando’s Discovery Cove and Busch Gardens Tampa Bay both announced major new attractions this week. A new ground hugging Cheetah themed coaster is coming to Tampa and Orlando is getting an 875,000 gallon Saltwater Reef where you can swim with sharks and tropical fish. The Orlando Sentinel has details of the announcement.

A story in the Oregonian has a good lesson on how to make sure you’re eating sustainable fish even when you’re traveling. Check out the guidelines in the sidebars.

The LA Times has a good guide to Daytona Beach’s Daytona 500 Experience. And there’s a brief peak inside the new Queen Elizabeth cruise liner from Cunard.

For those looking for a little adventure with their Florida beach experience, the Miami Herald lists 5 great places to Canoe or Kayak in southern Florida.

JFrost Travel

Survivor, Amazing Race and Big Brother Past Winners at Discovery Cove in Orlando

July 26th, 2010

Past Survivor winners and players gather at SeaWorld Discovery Cove
Past Survivor winners and players gather at SeaWorld Discovery Cove

Dozens of winners, heroes and villains of Survivor got together at Discovery Cove in Orlando for a day of outwitting, outplaying, outlasting and out-and-out relaxing. Discovery Cove offers visitors the sort of personal one on one experience with wildlife that you can’t get anywhere else in Orlando.

Past Survivor winner Natalie White at SeaWorld Discovery Cove
Survivor Winner Natalie White at SeaWorld Discovery Cove

Swimming with dolphins and rays and hand feeding exotic birds were Survivor’s first winner, Richard Hatch; the game’s only two-time winner, Sandra Diaz-Twine; villains Russell Hantz and Courtney Yates; and players Yau-Man Chan and Terry Deitz.

Also at the park were players and winners from The Amazing Race and Big Brother, including Amazing Race winner, Jordan Pious.

The winners and players were in Orlando to benefit Give Kids the World, a non-profit organization that exists only to fulfill the wishes of all children with life-threatening illnesses and their families from around the world to experience a memorable, joyful, cost-free visit to the Central Florida attractions, and to enjoy the magic of Give Kids The World Village for as long as there is a need.

More photos below the jump:

Read more…

JFrost Travel , , , , , , , , , ,

LastMinuteTravel.com Survey Reveals it’s All Work and No Play for Americans

June 28th, 2010

It’s Summer and if you’re looking at your vacation days account at work and seeing a surplus, you’re not alone. As it turns out, Americans are terrible at actually taking a vacation. Here at Last Minute Travel, the premier online travel booking site, we are encouraging Americans to break the habit of not using all of their hard-earned vacations days and have some fun.

A new survey by LastMinuteTravel.com finds that close to half (45%) of working Americans did not maximize their vacation days in 2009; in fact, 39 percent admitted to losing 10 or more of those days. As we reach the halfway point of 2010, the survey finds that more than three-quarters (78%) of Americans plan to repeat this trend by leaving their paid vacation days on the table.

Vacation Days Survey

According to the survey, reasons for lost vacation days is that many find it difficult to take time away from work, coordinate family schedules or they cannot afford a “real vacation.” Nonetheless, working Americans yearn for time off and fantasize about the type of vacation they would take, time and money permitting: close to four in ten (35%) would choose a beach destination where they can relax and unwind; 19 percent would opt for an all-inclusive cruise; 16 percent would go to a family (theme-park) destination; and 15 percent would take a road trip across the country.

Life shouldn’t be all work and no play. When it comes to vacation days, you’ve got to use them or lose them. And we’re here to help. We’ve compiled the top five beach destinations, top five affordable vacations, and five of our most popular activities to help you plan how to spend those vacation days.

JFrost News, Travel , , , , ,

DOT proposes higher compensation for bumped passengers

June 3rd, 2010

The Department of Transportation is thoroughly making over the rules airlines must comply with when it comes to safety and passenger comfort. They’ve already limited the amount of time an airplane can spend in the tarmac before penalties start to accrue, now they’re focusing on undisclosed fees and overbooking that leads to involuntary bumping of passengers.

Currently, airlines must compensate passengers for involuntary bumping. You’ll receive at least $400 if the airline can arrange substitute transportation that will get you to your destination within one to two hours of your original scheduled arrival for domestic flights, or one to four hours for international flights. That rises to $800 if they miss that deadline.

The new regulations would up the penalties to $650 and $1300 respectively and then ties those amounts to inflation. “This administration believes consumers are entitled to strong and effective protections when they fly,” stated Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood.

In theory this will provide an incentive for airlines to reduce the practice of overbooking and to schedule their flights to allow more time for possible delays.

Other rules and regulations suggested by the DOT include:

  • Smaller airports and international air carriers would be required to adopt contingency plans for long tarmac delays.
  • Airlines must provide passengers more information on delays, this includes international airlines.
  • Establish of minimum standards for carriers’ customer service plans and extend the customer service plan requirements to cover foreign carriers.
  • Carriers will be required to list taxes and fees in advertising and prevents “opt-out” add-ons (an oxymoron if there ever was one) such as trip insurance.
  • Airlines will now have to reveal extra fees like baggage and seat reservation fees where they publish their airfares.
  • One of my favorites, allow passengers a 24-hour grace period during which they can change their mind about an airline ticket purchase.
  • Post-purchase price increases would be prohibited.
  • Communication with passengers regarding flight status changes, such as cancellations and delays, would have to be more frequent and displayed at the boarding gate area, on website, and on telephone help lines.

What do you think? Will these proposed changes actually have an affect on your travel comfort?

JFrost Travel , , , , , , ,

Increased Travel expected Memorial Day Weekend

May 25th, 2010

Travel this Memorial Day Weekend is expected to be the highest in three years. Growth of more than 5% is forecast by AAA thanks to the improved economy.

“While the economy continues to be rocked by waves of occasional uncertainty, improved economic performance from one year ago should cause more Americans to take vacations this Memorial Day holiday weekend,” said Glen MacDonell, director of AAA Travel Services.

This combined with low fuel prices at the pump will likely entice many more families to hit the road. What are your plans?

JFrost Travel , , ,

World’s Most Dangerous Destinations

May 24th, 2010

The Los Angeles Times recently listed some of the most dangerous travel destinations in the world. The list mostly omits destinations made unfriendly due to political strife and instead focuses on actual tourist destinations where travelers might encounter a little more than they expected.

Here are a few examples:

  • Care to go surfing in the waters of Gansbaai, South Africa, you’d better watch out for great white sharks. This place is full of them due to an abundance of their favorite foods.
  • Mount Everest makes the list for obvious reasons. It takes a lot of training and the right equipment to make an ascent and people still occasionally die on its slopes. Less than 5% of those who attempt the climb ever make it to the top.
  • The list includes all of Australia. Known for its crocs, snakes, spiders and other dangerous members of the animal kingdom. Plus there are the unknowns of the outback.

What’s true of every destination on the list is that a journey there is rewarded with nature’s beauty and the knowledge that you’re really living life on the edge. But also a reminder that you don’t have to be visiting a country on the State Department’s warning list to be flirting with danger.

See them all at the LA Times.

JFrost Travel ,

Behind the Magic - By The Numbers

May 18th, 2010

Wondering who the people are behind LastMinuteTravel.com? We are a swiftly growing division of Travel Holdings, Inc.

Travel Holdings - By The Numbers.

  • 16 years in operation
  • 32 locations serving 97 source countries across 6 continents
  • 400 employees providing support in 23 languages
  • $40 million invested in proprietary technology since 2002
  • 17,000 direct hotel contracts
  • $2.5 million in sales per day
  • 3.5 million passengers/year resulting in 1.19 million bookings including 3.99 million room nights and other services such as flights, cars, cruise, activities and transfers
  • 36% growth in sales year to date 2010 and 480% growth in the last 5 years*
  • Positive EBITDA of 5.4% and growing

With numbers like this Travel Holdings, and LastMinuteTravel.com, are poised to provide you excellent travel options for years to come. There is a lot more to come.

*All numbers are from 2009, except this fact from May 2010

JFrost Travel , , , ,

Travel Savings abound when planning Last Minute Travel

February 15th, 2010

Jason Rich of the New York Daily News writes about how you can still save big on your vacation even if you’re making last minute travel plans. He advises you to be flexible on your dates and airport. Often a change to a nearby airport or a departure a few hours earlier or later will save you big bucks.

If you can be flexible on your accommodation you can find big savings as well:

“By keeping the name of the hotel, for example, quiet until after you book, we are able to offer incredible discounts,” said Lauren Volcheff, vice president of marketing at LastMinuteTravel.com. “We do, however, provide everything else you need to know before booking, including available dates, a detailed description of the hotel, price, a star-rating and its location. All that’s missing is the actual name of the hotel or resort.”

I would also add to be sure to keep an eye out for specials. For instance, extending your stay by just one more night may save you a lot on travel. Of course, we’re happy that Jason thought of LastMinuteTravel.com when considering price savings for travel.

JFrost Tips, Travel ,

Foreign Travelers Flood Orlando Airport

February 9th, 2010

There has been much worrying going on in the tourism industry that new visa regulations and TSA checkpoints would dampen the spirit of international travelers resulting in fewer visits to the United States. But at least at the Orlando International Airport that hasn’t been the case. In fact, OIA reported a record year for international passengers in 2009. It seems the pull of Orlando’s attractions and resorts is too great.

Visitors from the United Kingdom accounted for the largest group with over 567,000 flying into the airport, Canadians were a respectible second with 384,000 passengers. The total number was over 2.97 million which broke the record set in 1993. In fact, the British, Canadian, and other nationalities accounted for a 10.8 percent increase from 2008.

“With new and expanded international service that created a double-digit increase in international passengers, and the completion of the major components of the refurbishment and expansion of the two original airside buildings, 2009 was a significant year in our operations” Executive Director Steve Gardner said.

With more airlines adding more flights to Orlando, 2010 is shaping up to be another record year. How about you? Do your plans bring you to Orlando anytime soon?

Photo Credit: Flickr user Hyku via CC 2.0

JFrost Travel , , , ,

Kings Dominion’s 305-foot tall Roller Coaster “Intimidator(TM) 305″ Capped

January 18th, 2010

Intimidator 305 Roller Coaster

Roller coaster fans, get ready to make your way to Doswell, VA, outside the state capital of Richmond. The last piece of track was lifted into place Jan. 9, 2010 for the biggest and most thrilling ride yet at Kings Dominion. Intimidator(TM) 305 is a mammoth 5,100-foot long steel Giga-coaster, that takes its name from one of stock car racing’s most beloved and tenacious drivers, Dale Earnhardt, “The Intimidator(TM)” along with the height of the coaster’s lift hill, 305 feet.

Intimidator(TM)305, only the second Giga-coaster ever built in North America, will be the tallest and fastest roller coaster of its type on the East Coast. The lift hill will stand a towering 305 feet at its highest peak, close to the height of the park’s signature Eiffel Tower, and will descend 300 feet at an 85 degree-angle and thunder along the track at speeds in excess of 92 miles per hour during its three-minute race to the finish.

The trains, fashioned after Dale Earnhardt’s signature black car, will roar through six airtime humps plus three high-speed turns and have you screaming for another lap around the track. Lots more information, including construction photos, blogs, live webcam and more at www.intimidator305.com.

Intimidator(TM)305 is scheduled to open with the park on April 2, 2010. Book your hotel stay today to get an early start on all the other coaster fans who will be racing to ride The Intimdator(TM)305.

Tip: Spend an extra day in historic Richmond, VA and be sure to visit the Edgar Allan Poe Museum.

In addition to Intimidator(TM)305, America’s Top Dog, Snoopy, has arrived at Kings Dominion! Snoopy, along with Charlie Brown, Woodstock and the entire PEANUTS Gang are settling into their new home, Planet Snoopy (formerly known as Nickelodeon Central/Hanna Barbara).

Kings Dominion’s guests can enjoy over 60 rides, slides and attraction all season long with a Kings Dominion Season Pass. Season Passes include entrance into the Kings Dominion, access to Intimidator(TM)305 and 14 other amazing roller coasters, WaterWorks, a 20-acre waterpark, and Haunt, the Mid-Atlantic’s largest Halloween themed event.

Kings Dominion will open in 2010 daily for spring break week on Friday, April 2 through Sunday, April 11 and weekends April 17 through Monday May 24. Daily operation begins Friday, June 4. WaterWorks Waterpark opens Saturday, May 29.

JFrost Tips, Travel , , , , , , , ,