We may finally have as close a definitive answer as we’re ever going to get to the question I’m most frequent asked: When is the best time to book airline tickets in order to get the best fare? Here’s the answer.
Kayak.com, a web site that lets you compare airfares, hotel prices, and other travel deals among a wide range of other sites, crunched the numbers. And those were a lot of numbers since Kayak averages 100 million search queries a month.
Here are the lessons to be learned:
The lowest DOMESTIC airfares were found 21 days before a flight’s departure. Average fares increased about five per cent the following week and about 30% in the final week before departure.
For INTERNATIONAL trips, the data revealed you’ll most often find the lowest fare 34 days before your departure date. Buying even six months ahead didn’t generally deliver any savings—fares were on average four per cent higher than those fares 34 days before a flight.
There are, of course, exceptions to this. If a flight is unusually empty a few days before departure, an airline may slash fares to encourage some last-minute buyers. But here’s your new rule of thumb: Shop 21 days before buying that domestic ticket you want, 34 before an international ticket.
Eating gelato while sitting on the Spanish Steps in Rome could now earn you as much as a $650 fine. The city council of Rome just adopted a new law prohibiting anyone from eating snacks around many of the monuments and architectural treasures in the historic center of the city.
That means you can’t make like Audrey Hepburn in “Roman Holiday” and snack on a gelato at the Spanish steps. And despite the fact that famous piazzas including the Piazza Novona and iconic sites such as the Pantheon are surrounded by cafes, restaurants and ice cream shops, you best watch where you consume your purchase.
Fines range from $32 to $650, and similar bans have been adopted in Venice–where you better not snack in St. Mark’s Square–as well as in Florence and Bologna.
I’m not quite sure what to make of these new rules. If many sites weren’t hemmed in by food vendors, I’d find this new law a bit more reasonable. But given that they are, I’d say this to the city fathers of these Italian cities Provide outdoor seating and appropriate trash bins and simply forbid eating and drinking IN or ON historic monuments.
I opened my email the other day to find two receipts for airline tickets from Delta Air Lines. Except I hadn’t bought any new tickets on the airline. And I wasn’t visiting the city listed in the emails.
There was an attached document to both emails, but I resisted the temptation to click to open it to see who might have bought or charged an airline ticket in my name.
And you should, too.
Because this appears to be the latest scam to get you to download an attachment that might contain a virus. Even though the email looked like one of those confirmation emails you receive when you buy a ticket on line, even though there might be—as there was in the emails I received—an impressive electronic ticket number and even a seat assignment, don’t open it.
I called Delta intending to read them the ticket number on the off chance this was a legit receipt. The reservationist knew immediately what I was talking about. Apparently the airline had been receiving queries all day and was already trying to learn where the emails originated.
So beware of this scam. Don’t download any attachment unless you’re 100% certain the sender and the message is legit.
If you’re going to be taken hostage while on a foreign trip, there’s only one place to choose–the Sinai Peninsula in Egypt.
Between February and July of this year, three pairs of Americans, three South Koreans, a pair of Brazilians, and a Singaporean were kidnapped by Bedouin tribesmen who had gripes against the Egyptian government.
But here’s the thing: Every victim was reportedly treated more as a guest than a hostage and released unharmed. October’s issue of The Atlantic has a fascinating piece by a Cairo-based journalist, Sarah Topol, who went into the desert and met some of the folks who have kidnapped tourists and held them for a few hours or several days.
She says the Bedouins are treated shabbily by the Egyptian government because for many years the territory was controlled by Israel, and the Bedouins are suspected of having cooperated.
They can’t get jobs or educational and developmental assistance from Cairo. They’re often arrested for vague reasons And that’s what’s led to these mini-kidnappings—it’s the only way they can get their government’s attention. Meanwhile, victims are usually treated graciously, as Bedouins are famous for doing. Their kidnappers say they’re simply taking their “guests” on a side safari.
Strange world, isn’t it?
You can’t walk down the main tourist streets of Vegas without encountering men handing out business-cards with X-rated pictures of women and their phone numbers. And those cards litter the sidewalks. Finally, Las Vegas is trying to do something about it.
Those cards can carpet a sidewalk as pedestrians discard them with a flick of their wrists. Now a new ordinance requires the folks who distribute those handbills to pick up all litter on the sidewalk within 25 feet of where they stand.
I’d extend the radius to 100 feet, but whatever the number, I’d enforce the new rule with great vigor. My guess is that the guys handing those cards out will spend more time picking them up than distributing them.
I’m no prude, but, come on—leaving aside the issue of litter, there are lots of kids walking those streets. I remember landing in Vegas with my 12-year-old son, and he saw ads atop taxicabs for outcall services complete with photos of nearly nude women. They were accompanied by slogans such as, “I’ll come to your hotel room tonight.” I explained to my son that the locals are unusually friendly in Vegas.