Best Travel Deals and News – June 1, 2010 – Airline Surcharge Dates, Travel Scams to Avoid, Couchsurfing 101, Hidden Cities and Underground Explorations, How To Pack Light

by brian on June 1, 2010

Travel news and deals of interest to YOU from around the Web compiled and edited by

If you know any great travel stories or tips we all should read, please send it to me and I will put an acknowledgment of your contribution in the posting.

Airlines add fees for peak summer days

I talked about the surcharges last year in a previous post, and the airlines figure that with passengers filling the seats, if they tack a charge on they can make more money.

The surcharges discussed previously were supposed to end Memorial Day and now will be extended until August 22. Isn’t there collusion involved when the big 5 US based carriers: American, Continental, Delta, United and US Airways, are slapping on the same fees at the same time?

You can anticipate this being ‘permanent’ from now on. Around August we’ll hear of new surcharges stretching until the holiday season. And the cycle will repeat again…

Couchsurfing 101: 10 Foolproof Ways To Receive Stellar References

Fellow travel blogger Leigh from The Future is Red wrote a great piece on what it means to be a fantastic hostee if you decide to couchsurf. I think it can be summed up as being extremely helpful and open beyond what anyone would expect. Many see the free accommodations, take it for granted and don’t show appreciation beyond a simple thank you. Doing things you were not asked to do go a long way toward making the experience not only a pleasure for you, but for your host.

Thai tourism seeking recovery from protests

One hotel went from 80% occupancy to 3% over the course of four months. Protests have slowed down, but the repercussions will linger for a long time.

Travel Video of the Week
Masai Mara Safari – Lonely Planet Travel Video
My favorite Disney animated move is “The Lion King”. Many have fantasies of going to Africa and seeing the Big 5 of the continent: lion, leopard, elephant, buffalo and rhino. That is still on my list. Enjoy the circle of life in this video. Warning, this video has video of animals kills. Like I said, the circle of life…

The Readers Say: Take the Fantasy Trip

A Wall Street Journal columnist floated the idea of taking his son on a six month excursion from Africa, through the Middle East to Europe.

One thing a reader wrote that really stuck out to me was called the Rule of 86. When faced with a decision, pretend you’re 86 years old at the old folks home. Will you say I’m glad I did that or not? That is how you should determine what to do.

Cool hidden cities and underground explorations

I feel like I may have talked about this before but it’s so cool it’s worthwhile to bring up again. Some of the most interesting things to visit are off the beaten path. I visited the Catacombs in Paris and took pictures, but had problems with my camera. Haunting, creepy, but it told another side to French history.

If the bones and skulls are not your thing, the other tours are just as entertaining and not nearly as scary.

A Close Distance: The Bangkok Protests From an Expat’s Eyes

Another perspective of recent woes in Bangkok from the ex-pat.

Five Things You Don’t Know About Your Airline Ticket

We buy the ticket, show up at the airport and take off into the wild blue yonder. But we know by now things are never that simple.

You can be bumped very easily from a flight because there is a common practice of overbooking. Of course the airline is suppose to take care of you by getting you on the next flight or putting you up in a hotel until the next day.

Important to note: You are NOT guaranteed to travel even though you have a ticket.

Packing Light: Ten Ways to Fit it All in a Personal Item

The next time you take a trip, really really examine what you are taking with you. Can you get from one piece of checked luggage to just an overhead bin carry-on? From an overhead bin carry-on to an under the seat backpack? From backpack to just the clothes on your back? These are the games travel geeks try to play…

Woman left on plane sues United Airlines

Common courtesy folks. When you see someone dead to the world on a bus, train OR plane, give them a slight tap to wake them up. You never know where people might end up.

Oh and of course, the woman who fell asleep and was detained on the plane by security is a lawyer. Good luck with that United!

Hundreds flee Guatemala volcano

Did you even know that Guatemala was having an ash problem like the one in Europe? I sure didn’t. When someone mentioned they were stuck in Florida trying to get to Guatemala, I asked if the European closures prevented her from flying from Florida.


I had no idea that was going on until I saw the news reports and put it all together. The Pacaya volcano, one of the most active in the world, is blowing her top even more than usual.

Terrible Travel Scams and Ripoffs: Part Two

More travel scams for you to avoid. I’ve talked about travel scams before in this post and another post here.

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Leigh Shulman June 4, 2010 at 11:08 AM

Thanks so much for including me in this, Brian.

I’m not sure why it’s taken me so long to connect with you in the travel blogging world, but I’m glad it’s happened now.


brian June 5, 2010 at 7:03 AM

Hi new friend!


Debbie June 8, 2010 at 2:27 PM

I just finished a trip on Monday and have always been a proponent of just taking a carry-on to avoid waiting for suitcases to mysteriously pop out of baggage claim. But this whole charging for checked baggage has invited in a new, horrible side effect – there is nowhere NEAR enough room for everyone’s carry-ons.

Ultimately what ends up happening is that all rolled luggage in economy (at least, for the people who get seated after the first 1/3 or so) gets gate-checked (free, but still annoying) and I still have to wait 20-45 mins for my stuff to unload in baggage claim. Pain in the arse.

I really think the airlines should have thought this through – either take away the fee, increase the size of the bulkheads, or tighten size restrictions on carry-ons. Because this is just nuts.


brian June 9, 2010 at 6:08 AM

You summarized it all in those last two sentences. If you charge for checked baggage, people will naturally move toward carry-on. If you charge for both, people are going bring everything on board because they have nothing to lose at that point.

Or just do like I’ve been saying all along, which is just charge the flat fee for everything and say when you fly with us you’ll have a hassle free travel experience. That would appeal to many people.


Debbie June 14, 2010 at 12:21 AM

Wow…that kinda sounds like what they’d been doing for the last gazillion years…imagine that! :)


Debbie June 14, 2010 at 12:22 AM

Oh and by bulkhead I meant overhead compartment. I have *no* idea why I called it a bulkhead because that makes no sense whatsoever.


Loree August 1, 2011 at 1:42 PM

It’s really great that people are shanirg this information.


Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: