Here is PART 2 of my review of the 2010 New York Times Travel Show at the Javits Center in New York City.
The Frommers had another session later on in the afternoon called
“What’s Right and What’s Wrong in Travel”
5 things Arthur Frommer liked
Hostels are a cheap way to save, avoid the hotel costs and fees and interact with more people. Frommer mentioned Hostelbookers. I have used Hostelworld [aff link] with much success.
Comparing the American railway system to the European is like apples and oranges. The Europeans are interconnected not only through discount airlines, but an extensive rail system. Amtrak is making moves to bring the level of service up to par with the Europeans, especially with the population of the United States expected to increase by over 100 million people in the next 30 years. All these people can’t be on the highway or in the air…at least hopefully they won’t. This is where Amtrak should/would come in.
Elimination of Museum Fees
The UK is famous for having most of its museums and galleries open and free at all times for everyone. Arthur Frommer really likes this idea and hopes it will spread all over the world, especially to the United States.
Survival for budget airlines
Many people complain that the quality of air travel has gone down, partially because air travel was once limited to the elite. The lowering of prices means everyone can fly. Prices are low, but that means things won’t be perfect. OK, a lot of things won’t be perfect…
5 things Pauline Frommer liked
The use of vacation homes and condos as rentals is big now. Especially with the glut of properties built during the global real estate boom. Now all those homeowners need to pay the mortgage or lose it in foreclosure. Better to rent out than to lose it completely. Some sites recommended are Vacation Rentals By Owner, FlipKey.com and Rentalo.com
Willing Workers on Organic Farms is one that mentioned for doing work for accomodations.
Sleep in the Hay is the equivalent to find a farmstay in the United States.
If you have an apartment or home and you’re on vacation, why not trade with someone else? For examples you stay in their home in London, while they stay in your home Brazil. Home Exchange is an example of this. Couchsurfing.com and GlobalFreeloaders.com provide you the means to connect with someone and sleep on a couch or spare bedroom. The great thing is you get to live and interact with locals on a deeper level than just passing them in the street on the way to the hostel/hotel.
Small Group Adventure
As mentioned before by Arthur Frommer getting a group of less than 12 people with a guided tour and using small buses or even public transportation is the way to go. Some organizations Pauline listed for you to check out include
Cruise Prices Drop
The reason for the prices drops is that when the world economy was rolling, cruise lines ordered mega ships with a ton of rooms. Now they have to fill those cabins in a global recession. How do you do that? You drop the price until people start showing up at the docks ready to hit the open seas.
Never book from the cruise lines directly. Use a cruise specialist travel agent or a site like CruiseCompete.com
OnlineVacationCenter.com this another site used to book cruises.
Now for the bad…Things Arthur Frommer didn’t like about travel…
Cruise Ships as Amusement Parks
Arthur Frommer went into a LONG 10 minute rant about cruise ships being turned into amusement parks on water. He’s wholly against the zip lines, climbing walls, casinos and essentially anything that takes away from the ability to lay out on lounge chair in the sun with a book, or better yet, interacting with your fellow passengers.
Lack of Vacation Time
Frommer wants to start the ‘League for Longer Vacations’, a lobby group to persuade US legislators to make a minimum 3 week vacation MANDATORY for all Americans. Compared to Europeans and Australians who generally start with 4 weeks minimum and up, Americans are in the Dark Ages when it comes to time off.
Not much needed to explain there, do we? Long lines, body scanners, sometimes rude guards…
Rise in Hotel Fees
Hotels charging you for anything and everything they can get away with. Fees for Internet access, bellhops you didn’t use, the room safe you never used, etc. Start using the alternative accomodations we’ve talked about.
Jets of big business execs and wealthy individuals, according to Frommer, are clogging the air and slowing down traffic at the airports. He advocates more regulation of them.
The things that Pauline Frommmer didn’t like about travel
Overwhelmed Tourists Sites
Pauline relates being in Greece at the Parthenon in summer and unable to move because it was so crowded. She’s a big advocate of going in the offseason of the country you want to visit. Smaller crowds, cheaper prices and a more enjoyable experience.
Cuba Restricted for Americans
Still legally closed off to Americans, but there are ways around it. Read on.
The USA is charging $130 to enter and other countries are charging US citizens reciprocal fees to enter their countries. The fees should be dropped to make it easier for tourists to enter. For a family of 4, that is another $500 on top of everything else you’ve paid to enter the good ole US of A.
with Stephanie Abrams talked about airport customs, airline regulations and the like.
Her mantra for travel – Flexibility, Wisdom and Patience
If you have problems at a hotel, don’t talk to the manager. Talk to the General Manager.
Instead of using the airport parking lots which charge $25 and up per day, use the nearby hotels. They charge half what the airports do, provide free shuttles to terminals and can even wash and detail your car. Check out LongTermParking.com or AirportParking.com for coupons and deals.
When your flight is delayed, Abrams recommends the following
- Check in anyway or you may be at the bottom of the list when they do eventually board
- Don’t walk away from the gate in case the situation changes
- If you know for sure that you’re not going to be leaving anytime soon, go to a hotel lobby and sleep as opposed to on the terminal floor
“Travel Writing 201″
with Max Hartshorne and Kent St. John of GoNomad.com and Julia Dimon of Travel Junkie Julia discussed something many travelers think about: How do I do make money off of travel? The first thing people think of is writing. The takeaway is that it is difficult to break into the industry, but with social media and blogs, you have to be consistent and persistent to get your name out there.
Print media is much harder to get your foot in the door. If you want to published, use of the travel websites first –> 50 Travel Magazines That Want to Publish Your Writing
“Cuba: Opening the Door for U.S. Travelers”
was a panel discussion that basically told us what most of us know: you can go to Cuba, but you’re not suppose to spend any US dollars there. The hypocrisy of the situation is lost on no one, since other countries fly to Cuba and the US allows travel to Communist countries without any problems.
The way Americans get around it right now is by not getting their passports stamped by Cuba. Flying in from Jamaica, Mexico, Canada and other Caribbean countries is not restricted. Simple as that.
Panelist John McAuliff from the Fund for Reconciliation and Development wrote me and asked that I make the corrections below. In his words:
Pauline Frommer is the source of the 6 years without a prosecution by the US govt on an American visitor to Cuba. The information I have is no individual travelers in at least two years have been sanctioned, and no cases resolved that appealed for a hearing. Also I did not advise that people admit it if asked by the Treasury Department. I think they should refuse to acknowledge anything to OFAC (U.S. Treasury – Office of Foreign Assets Control) if it starts going after violators again and ask for a hearing. I said people should say on their immigration form that they had been to Cuba in fulfillment of their rights as an American.
Some on the panel expect the ban to be lifted by next year…but then again some thought it would have been lifted last year, when the restrictions were taken off of Cuban family members in America.
Go to Open Cuba to sign a petition to lift the restrictions and let all Americans drop in and pay Fidel a visit - opencuba.org
So there you have it. Some of the more interesting tidbits from the New York Times Travel Show 2010. Of course I couldn’t cover everything myself, so if you were there and have some great information you’d like to share or agree/disagree with something said, drop it in the comments below.