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Sep 18, 2010 - Travel Tips    No Comments

Are you an adventure travel junky?

Well according to researchers at George Washington University’s International Institute of Tourism Studies, adventure tourism is a rapidly growing market.

Adventure tourism is no longer considered a niche market as countries around the world are adopting this form of travel and promoting it can provide significant economic growth opportunities.   This is a great way for countries with limited infrastructure to show case their natural and cultural resources otherwise overlooked in favour of more traditional destinations such as Europe or North America.

Preserving those cultural and especially natural resources becomes that much easier when a countries economy depends so heavily on those resources.

Researchers cited a staggering $89 billion dollars consumers had spent on adventure tourism in 2009.  This immense growth could only mean good things of governments, state or national tourism offices, tour operators and gear and apparel manufacturers.

The study surveyed people from Europe, North America, and Latin America and found that these travelers were typically environmentally and culturally aware consumers and lean toward adventure travel due to its focus on responsible and sustainable development.

So the next time you’re planning a trip and looking for something a little more exciting, take a chance on an African safari or cave diving in South America.

Sep 4, 2010 - Travel Tips    No Comments

Round The World Airline Tickets: A Flexible and Affordable Way to Travel

If you’re planning the trip of a lifetime – one that will take you to various cities and countries over an extended period of time, you will likely want to consider a Round the World ticket.

Rather than buying separate flights from one destination to another, a Round the World ticket offers a more flexible and often cheaper way to travel.  One Round the World ticket is generally valid for an entire year, and for up to twenty stops at different airports.  They’re also a great way to rack up frequent flyer miles – so make sure you sign up for an airline rewards program before you travel!

Since no individual airline offers truly global service, each round the world ticket is usually associated with an airline alliance, which allows you to travel on any airline that is part of the alliance.  The three major alliances for Round the World tickets are:

Star Alliance

The Star Alliance is made up of 21 airlines that cover 162 countries and almost 1000 destinations – it’s the champion of Round the World tickets for sheer number of destinations and easy routing.  They have tickets available in 29,000, 34,000, and 39,000 mile versions – in either Economy, Business, or First Class – each with up to 15 stop  overs.

There is also a special “Starlite” Economy-only fare for 26,000 miles, but this is limited to a maximum of 5 stopovers.

As in most of these fares, Star’s rules require passengers start and end in the same country, but not necessarily in the same city. Some backtracking is allowed, though not over oceans. Backtracking, surface sectors, and transits/connections all count against the mileage total.

One World

The One World alliance offers two types of Round the World tickets:

OneWorld Explorer is based on the number of continents visited (from three to six) and has no maximum mileage limit. Up to 16 flights, as opposed to stopovers, can be included — in any class of service. However, because of that flight (or “segment”) ceiling, this fare can be more limiting than it first seems. (Also, only two stopovers are permitted in the continent of origin.)

On the other hand, routings that require major backtracking (ie: from Europe to Africa) are more easily accommodated here, than they are in mile-centric fares. Travelers are free to change the dates on their ticket at no extra charge.

Global Explorer is Oneworld’s more conventional, mileage-based RTW (26,000, 29,000 or 39,000 in Economy class only; 34,000 in Economy, Business or First class). While the OneWorld Explorer is limited to the full members of Oneworld, several non-Oneworld alliance airlines (including Aer Lingus, Air Pacific, Alaska Airlines and its affiliate Horizon Air, Gulf Air, S7 Airlines and Kingfisher and affiliate Kingfisher Red (for its domestic Indian flights only). Qantas code share flights operated by Air Tahiti Nui, Jetstar, South African Airways and Vietnam Airlines can also be used.) can be used with the Global Explorer. For this reason, travel to certain regions — e.g. many South Pacific islands — is easier with Global Explorer than with Oneworld Explorer. Surface segment rules are particularly rigid and constraining on the Global Explorer, and the 16-segment restriction applies.

As with the Star Alliance mileage-based RTWs, all miles are counted, including surface segments. Each surface segment also consumes one of the 16 permitted ticket segments.

Sky Team

The Sky Team alliance runs a distant third, and has lost even more ground after Continental defected to Star. Regardless, SkyTeam has singular strengths in Russia and central Africa, and the addition of China Southern Airlines provides vast new options in China and around some of Asia’s more interesting nooks. Mileage and rules are similar to Star Alliance’s RTW.

If you book now, Sky Team is offering between 5% and 30% off its Round the World ticket in honor of their 10th anniversary!  However, to take advantage of the savings, you’ll need to book before September 30, 2010.

Sep 2, 2010 - Travel Tips    1 Comment

Cheap Hotels: US Cities with Dropping Hotel Rates


Travelling is a fun and rewarding experience, but it can be expensive.  However, at a time when it appears that air fares and hotel rates are just going up, there are a few cities where the price of a room has actually decreased.  If you’re looking for a quick getaway, but are a little strapped for cash – really, who isn’t these days? – why not check out the cities below, which Hotwire.com reports are offering 4 star accommodations for less than $100 per night.

San Diego, California

Escape the hustle and bustle of Los Angeles and instead plan a trip to San Diego.  The city is well known for its wildlife conservation movement, and is home to both Sea World and the world famous San Diego Zoo.  If relaxation is more your style, take advantage of the beautiful California sunshine and relax on the beach, try scuba diving, or play a round of golf.  The city boasts a variety of public courses to fit every budget.

Richmond, Virginia

Richmond is one of the oldest American cities, and actually served as the capital of the Confederacy during the civil war.  As such there are many museums and sites that give visitors a firsthand look at what America was like during the Civil War.  Visit the house Robert E. Lee lived in, the Museum of the Confederacy, the original Confederate White House, and Hollywood Cemetery in the heart of the city where more than 18,000 confederate soldiers have been laid to rest.

Omaha, Nebraska

Did you know that Omaha has the highest number of millionaires per capita in the nation?  The city is also home to the highest number of restaurants per capita – so eat lots, and take advantage of Omaha’s reputation for hospitality.  Omaha has many unique tourist landmarks and outdoor festivals throughout the year, including the birth site of Malcom X, and Jazz on the Green, which takes place every Thursday night in the summer.  Don’t forget your dancin’ shoes!

Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Dubbed, “Venice of America” for its expansive canal system, Fort Lauderdale is famous for its beaches and boats.  As the beach is the city’s main draw, snorkelling, scuba diving and deep sea fishing are Fort Lauderdale’s most popular sports.  But if you’re easily bored after a few hours on the beach, play a round of golf at one of the many courses in the city, or visit the Galleria Mall – conveniently only about a 10 minute walk from the beach – which boasts more than 200 stores, including Neiman Marcus, Macy’s and Saks Fifth Avenue.  (Since you’re saving so much on hotels, you might as well indulge, right?)

Las Vegas, Nevada

The entertainment capital of the world, and appropriately nicknamed, “Sin City” Las Vegas is home to giant mega-casino hotels, decorated with lavish care and attention to detail to create a real life fantasy-like atmosphere.  The larger than life casinos and shows are obviously not to be missed.  But if you can pull yourself away from the black jack tables for a few hours, there are more than a few non-gambling related activities to experience in Vegas as well.  Go rock climbing – Las Vegas has some of the best sites in America – try indoor sky diving, ride the New York New York roller coaster, or go skiing or snowboarding at the Las Vegas ski resort (about 45 minutes from the strip).

Find more cheap hotel rates at Hotwire.com!

Aug 22, 2010 - Travel Tips    3 Comments

Luxury River Cruises: The New Way to Travel?

The Cruise Line International Association (CLIA) reports that there has been a steady increase in the demand for both luxury cruises and river boat cruising.  Advantages of both types of cruises include: smaller boats (much less waiting in line), more personalized service and easier access to city centers.

According to Travel Mole, the growth of the luxury cruise and river cruise markets has a lot to do with the changing demographics of passengers.  “While the primary market for luxury and river cruises is and will continue to be the experienced traveler, the lines report increased numbers of younger guests, in one case a drop in the median passenger age from 60 to 45 in the last ten years.”

As luxury and river cruises have become more popular – a wide variety of destinations have been added, including  smaller ports in the Caribbean, Europe and countries like Indonesia, Cambodia, Japan and India.  However, tour operators report that Europe (more specifically, the Mediterranean) remain the most common luxury cruise and river cruise destinations.

But as people continue to flock to luxury cruises and river cruises, areas in the Baltic, Russia, Central Europe, South America, the Middle East, the Holy Land and Asia are quickly increasing in popularity and seeing a steady growth.

A few of us at Tripsidoo will be jetting off on our own river cruise in the coming weeks – so we’ll let you know what we thought of our first luxury river cruise experience.