Believe it or not, there is a guesthouse in the fancy town of Hudson, NY, that will charge you $500 if you hold a function at their place and any of your guests post a negative review of the property on the Internet.
The Union Street Guest House, according to the NY Post, charges couples $500 if any of their guests posts a negative review on any internet site following a stay there.
When I read this, I called the inn immediately for comment. I didn’t receive a call back, nor did the NY Post. However, the Post reported the policy is stated on line, and quotes it. But several hours after reading about this, I went to B&B’s website and looked under “rates & policies” and also read the site’s section detailing rules for events and weddings and saw no mention of this ridiculous policy.
Since I received no answer to a call and email, and I soon learned the inn quickly removed the stipulation saying it was a joke. But that’s not what one guest said when he received a letter from the place demanding a guest retract a negative on-line review or his credit card would be hit for cash.
I’d suggest the inn’s owners remember the first amendment. You don’t like something someone writes? Sue ‘em. It’s the American way.
Unless you’ve spent a lot of time following congressional legislation, the buzz around a bill the House of Representatives passed last month might have escaped your attention. It’s not law yet because the Senate hasn’t voted, but you might not like it.
It’s titled the “Transparent Airfares Act,” and airlines want it badly because they want to post only the actual airfare part of a ticket’s price when advertising fares. Given that taxes and fees add an appreciable amount of money to a ticket, consumer groups are complaining loudly that not including those costs—as they are now when you comparison shop fares—constitutes tricky advertising.
I talked with the CEO of Spirit Airlines recently about this, and he says he supports this legislation even as its opponents complain this move is just the opposite of “transparent.” Ben Baldanza of Spirit says you don’t see the cost of something you buy at a store or a meal at a restaurant with the tax included until you end the transaction.
I said, yeah, but we’re not always doing side-by-side comparisons on the price of a sport coat or a hamburger. Plus, taxes on those items vary city to city and state to state. Not so with airline tickets.
I hope the Senate kills this bill.
Here’s a petition you can sign if you agree with me.
I like to take trips that involve a quest. It gives you a focus and helps get you in touch with locals. When we filmed my public television show on Venice, I tried to find the perfect Venetian mask for the Venice Carnivale. I didn’t attend the soiree, but the mask search took me—and my viewers—all over Venice.
Here’s a fun one closer to home: A tour of Vermont cheese mongers.
This isn’t my original idea. There’s been a Vermont Cheese Trail for years, but I didn’t know about it until I read San Francisco-based journalist Rebecca Flint Marx’s article about the five days she spent visiting farms that make cheese in Vermont.
While you can actually take a course in how to make cheese—Marx spent three days doing just that at the Round Barn Inn in Waitsfield, VT. You can see the state even a you sample all kinds of different , locally made cheeses by downloading the Vermont Cheese Council’s trail map. It features more than 40 farms that welcome visitors.
If you like cheese, what better quest to choose for a vacation?
The TSA will award a total of $15,000 to folks who can come up with ideas on how to handle lines. The agency promises at least one recipient will receive $5,000; others can receive $2,500 up a total of $15,000
I have to tell you, I’m not impressed with the award amount, but be that as it may, we already have lines at larger airports for first-class flyers, elite-level flyers, TSAPre-registered flyers. Lines for active military personnel, airline crews, and passengers in wheelchairs.
I think the TSA should start by letting its employees use more common sense on the job, generally speaking, but perhaps you have a specific, creative idea on how to move those security lines more quickly. Those small holders that look like water bowls for dogs, for example, were a good idea; previously, we had to dump coins and keys into those big bins and then spend time clumsily retrieving those items.
If you have an idea, here’s where you can submit it.
I needn’t have worried.
I especially thought about this four years ago when I began my weekend radio show. Would I be able to come up with enough travel news, deals, and interesting guests to build a robust show every week? Or to write these “Travel Minutes” five days a week?
But travel is a fast-evolving world, some of it even good for travelers. And it’s often little things . . . Southwest Airlines decides to replace its leather-covered seats with slimmer seats to fit more passengers on planes and the company donates the leather to an African social enterprise group called Alive & Kicking that turns that leather into soccer balls. (The nonprofit organization has a great slogan: “The balls make a difference.”)
Delta unveils a new entertainment system that allows you to stream TV shows, movies, and games via your personal digital device. Carnival Cruises forbids smoking even on cabin balconies beginning October first. Uncle Sam urges travelers to avoid three Western Africa countries due to the spread of the Ebola virus.
Travel—a story that never ends.