Care to increase the odds you’ll be happier on your next airline flight? They you need to know about Routehappy.com.
Right now it’s a website, though an app is apparently in the works. You type in where you’re flying from and where you want to go. Then Routehappy gives you options of flights with accompanying ratings meant to show you which flights might be most enjoyable.
How does the site measure happiness aloft? It considers the model of plane on each route, the seating arrangements, on-board amenities (such as Wi-Fi or power outlets), and reviews by other flyers.
It also looks for the shortest route and easiest connection and then combines those parameters to come up with a happiness rating from one to 10, with 10 being the highest.
You can also click on specific airlines and read passenger reviews of their flights. And, no, they’re not all negative. And there’s a blog with some extra postings that tell you, for example, how to get out of Delta’s Terminal 4 at London’s Heathrow airport. Hint: It’s tricky to get to the train downtown, and it’s even trickier for someone coming to pick you up to find Terminal 4!
When in Los Angeles, I often stay with friends who live in Pacific Palisades, an affluent suburb near Santa Monica overlooking the Pacific Ocean. But I had no idea what I’d find when I went for a hike through nearby Rustic Canyon.
In the middle of nowhere, in what is now a state park, are ruins covered almost entirely by graffiti of what was once a hideaway for Nazi supporters of Adolf Hitler.
I came upon them quite by accident and later read about them in the LA Weekly and a book called Secret Stairs: A Walking Guide to the Historic Staircases of Los Angeles.
If you pass through the rusted, wrought-iron gate of this hidden place, you eventually come to a series of crumbling cement staircases with 500 or so steps each that lead to what was said to be home to Nazi sympathizers called the Silver Shirts, fashioned after Hitler’s para-military brownshirts. Up to 40 local Nazis reportedly lived there between 1933 and 1945 while preparing for the coming of the Third Reich.
Discovering this bizarre factoid was evidence that it can be darn interesting when you take the unknown road.
For more information check out this Los Angeles Times story from 2005:
Here’s a more lurid article from the London Daily Mail last year:
A couple of years ago, I did a “Travel Minute” on the rise in Chinese tourism. I predicted hotels would—by now—have menus in Chinese, and signage in Chinese would begin to appear everywhere. I was wrong.
Not that the Chinese aren’t traveling in increasing numbers. But so far they’re favorite destination are Australia and southeastern Asian countries closer to home.
It’s the Russians who are making a big splash in tourism, especially in Eastern and Western Europe and—among the very rich–to cities where they can buy trophy real estate such as Miami, New York, and California.
I first noticed this a year ago when I was in Monaco, and it was even more obvious when I was there in early June. Russians were a godsend to the tourism industry in Europe during the global recession.
Nine per cent of tourists to Greece are from Russia; four years ago, only two per cent of tourists were Russians. Greece has experienced the sharpest increase in Russian visitors followed by Iceland, Slovakia, Romania, Serbia, Latvia, and Spain.
No, there aren’t Russian menus in American restaurants yet, but at this rate, there will be Russian menus before there will be menus in Chinese.
There’s finally an easy solution to splitting a restaurant check with someone who feels the need to point out your entrée was more expensive than his or that he didn’t have a dessert when everyone else did.
We all know someone like that, don’t we? But even if it’s just a simple split among two, three, or more people, there’s an app for that.
It’s an app called Check Splitter Deluxe, and it ends the need for you to throw in a few extra dollars to cover a tip or to spend ten minutes calculating everyone’s share of a bill.
You can figure the size of the gratuity you want to leave by naming a percentage, and charges can be organized for each guest if you happen to be dining with someone who’s picky about such things.
There are several other tip calculating apps available, but this is the first I’ve seen that lets you ascribe each item to a specific person quickly and easily, putting a halt to arguments about who had what. As I write, the app is only available to owners of iPhones, but I wouldn’t be surprised if there’s an Android app soon, as well.
New York City’s hotel rooms are among the most expensive in the country, but savvy travelers know January is the slowest month for travel. So it only makes sense that hotels—even hotels in New York City—will offer deals during Hotel Week NYC, January 3rd to the 12th.
And we’re not talking just any old hotels. Among the participants are the flashy Gansevoort Park Avenue, The James New York, and Thompson LES. Then there’s the trendy Ace Hotel with its round-the-clock lobby scene that’s not to be missed, and the new Jade Hotel in Greenwich Village.
Rates start at $100 a night—you can barely get a hostel at that nightly rate in Manhattan normally. And $200 or $300 may well get you rooms that normally go for $400 or $500 a night.
In some cases you have to call the hotel directly while others allow you to book on line. Either way, you have to mention “hotel week” to get the discount.
Some sample rates: $200 for Hotel Giraffe or the Library Hotel; $300 for The James in Soho; $100 for the Affinia in midtown Manhattan. Here’s where you can check out participating hotels.