Best Travel Deals and News – November 22, 2011 – What is Couchsurfing, How to Avoid Airline Fees, What NOT To Pack When You Travel, Why Airlines Love First Class Passengers

by brian on November 22, 2011

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

How to avoid airline fees
This story will get harder and harder to write as more airlines put in fees that you just can’t avoid. Remember the lure: super low prices and then you add the baggage fees, the fee for the (dirty) pillow and blanket, for talking to an agent on the phone, etc. This has forced travelers to become more self sufficient trying to avoid any contact with the airline until they are actually on the flight.

New rules, tips for Thanksgiving fliers
A lot of this will apply for Christmas/New Year’s travel also. Less seats means more crowded flights. As I always preach, book your flights as soon as you know what your dates are, get to the airport early and make sure to read the fine print.

Travel Video of the Week
What is CouchSurfing?

CouchSurfing has a nice brief video that explains the concept for the traveler who has not heard of it yet. You sleep on someone’s couch, spare bedroom, etc. all for free. The intent is for cultural exchange and sharing. The host does not have to, but is assumed to entertain the hostee or at least show them the ropes of the area they are in. The traveler is not supposed to abuse the privileged of getting a place to stay for free and be on their best manners.

What Not to Pack
Have you ever gone away on a trip and realized that you did not use or wear 50% of what you packed? I used to be that person, until I learned the joy of packing less clothing and the hotel/hostel/local laundry. The article also talks about jewelry and I can’t understand why anyone is taking anything of value on a plane. Unless you’re a diamond dealer or a rapper from 80s, leave the bling at home.

The etiquette of crowded flying
“Suggested” responses to some of the more common flying quandaries, like should you recline your seat and crying babies on flights. Flying requires more and more patience these days. More people slammed into the same size aircraft. With so many people in close proximity, nerves are bound to be irritated more frequently and much faster. Take a breath (or a few) and try to get to your destination without a shouting match, or being lead off the plane in handcuffs.

TSA Turns 10: Examining the Agency’s Strengths and Weaknesses
The TSA gets ridiculed for patting down wheelchair bound grandmas, forcing cancer victims to show their prosthetic breasts and making small children cry when they have to take a “closer look” at the stuffed bear. But the fact remains there has not been a successful hijacking of a plane since 9/11. We’ve had the shoe bomber, the underwear bomber and we’ve been lucky they weren’t very good at what they tried to do.

5 ways to be international at home
If you can’t travel now, there are ways to get that international flavor without jumping on a boat or plane and getting your passport stamped. I like the postcard exchange program. Very cool. They recommend hosting an exchange student. You can also become a Couchsurfing host to have a steady stream of people in your home. There are some people who love this, especially when they can’t travel.

Cancer-Causing Airport Scanners? Enough Is Enough
The debate continues on whether the new body scanners at US airports cause cancer. We probably won’t know for another 20 years, like with cell phones.

U.S. Airlines: No Pillows In Coach, But It’s Sundae Time Up Front
First class customers, you are very special to the airlines. Very, very special.

Cambodia’s surprising cuisine: Spiders, anyone?
Cambodia was where I wanted to eat the still beating cobra heart. Never got around to it. Apparently there were other treats for me to sample had I known they were there.

Get your flu shot at the airport
Miss your flu shot? You can get them at the airport. Be warned that some think the flu shot is a scam at best and at worst, part of a worldwide conspiracy.

Is Travel to Cuba for Americans Worth the Hassle?
Is it? Until the US lifts the restrictions on its citizens, we always have to be careful about getting your passport marked with a Cuban stamp.

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