Rachel Khona writes a provocative blog on women’s issues, and she wants to encourage women to travel alone. And she has a few tips.
Rachel says she’s had great adventures traveling alone and made friends for life. You’re more approachable alone, not only to members of the opposite sex, but also to locals and fellow travelers. And it’ll give you great confidence.
Her first piece of advice is to choose your destination wisely. Stay away from spring break destinations and remote places where there simply might not be many people to meet.
Always eat at the bar. You can befriend the bartender, and it’s easier to strike up a conversation with locals than if you’re sitting alone at a table.
Buy the right guide, such as one from the Lonely Planet or Rough Guides series. They’re popular among solo travelers.
And when choosing a hotel,look for words like “lively,” “friendly,” and even “party” when checking out sites like TripAdvisor.com. Places like the Ace hotels in New York and Portland, OR, where there are very social public spaces.
And seek group activities like bike tours or beer crawls in a new city. Details at her blog.
The other day I got a message on my toll-free, radio show number from a listener with a question. He wanted to spend a month taking a cross-country drive with his son from their home near Philadelphia to California, and he wanted to rent a car for the trip. Then the two of them planned to fly home. But he was finding rental car companies asking outrageous drop off fees for leaving the car out West.
Those are the kinds of problems I like to tackle on the radio show, because answering them on air might help other people who might face the same problem.
Most rental car companies do ask hundreds of dollars in drop-off fees if you don’t return a car to the same place where you rented it. But if you do some exploring, you might catch a break.
I went to Kayak.com, a site that searches multiple web sites in a flash. Sure enough, most companies wanted more than $2,000 for that month’s rental. But on one site, I found an Avis car with no drop off fee, cutting the price in half.
Sometimes the good guys win, but it often takes a bit of searching.
When you’re flying into an out of a big city, there are often alternate airports that you might want to consider, if only because the larger airports might have a dismal record when it comes to on-time arrivals and departures.
Which airports had the worst on-time arrival and late departure records last year? Keep in mind, a flight is deemed on time if it leaves or arrives within 15 minutes of its scheduled time.
Let’s do the roll of shame, stating with number 10 and working up to the worst.
Both numbers 10 and 9, Ft. Lauderdale Hollywood International Airport in Florida and Washington’s Dulles, had flights late more than 21% of the time.
Reagan airport in DC wasn’t much better at 22%. Philadelphia came in at nearly 24 per cent. And only three out of four flights at Chicago’s O’Hare were on time. New York’s Kennedy and LaGuardia were about the same, and Number Two, San Francisco, reported nearly 30% of its flights were late.
In the number one position, Newark’s Liberty airport. There, one out of every three flights is late. San Francisco has fog to blame for it poor showing; Newark ought to do better.
It wasn’t but a few weeks ago that I warned about common travel scams. In fact, I did three “Travel Minutes” on the subject, and you can find the scripts here on the radio show’s web site by looking at my April 24th, 25th, and 26th commentaries. But here are two more scams to avoid.
The FBI recently warned travelers to beware of a rash of phony and malicious software updates aimed at hotel guests using hotel Wi-Fi networks. If you’re using one of those and a window pops up notifying you of a software upgrade, ignore it lest you infect your laptop.
The other one is more prosaic.
In Miami Beach, a long FBI investigation resulted in the arrest of more than a dozen people—corrupt club employees and several Eastern European women—who approached men at South Beach hotels and bars along Miami Beach and managed to slip a mickey in their drinks.
With their victims drugged, the women took the men to a club that was part of the scam. There, the unfortunate men’s credit cards were charged thousands of dollars without their knowledge. One Philadelphia TV weatherman got stung for nearly $44,000, and it took him a long time to get his credit card company to let him off the hook.
Beware attractive strangers bearing drinks.
NOTE: The photo accompanying this “Travel Minute” is a stock photo from Colourbox.com and not meant to imply the model was associated with the Miami Beach scam artists.
Bet you never thought an airline would think their frequent flyers ever fly too much. Well, American Airlines did, and it’s trying to stop that.
In 1981, American needed to raise some cash, so it offered something called an AAirpass for $250,000 that allowed the buyer a lifetime of flying free in first class on American. For another $150K, you could buy a pass for a companion.
Folks including Willie Mays and Michael Dell of Dell Computers took advantage of the deal. Over the years, American raised the price–$600,000 in 1990, just over $1 million in 1993. A year later, American ended stopped selling AAirpasses.
But there are still folks using theirs, and a few years ago the airline realized it was losing money on the deal. So it began to investigate some of the more frequent users hoping to find someone violating the rules so the airline could rescind their pass. It took away one man’s pass, saying he charged people to fly with him on his companion pass. The airline charged another with booking too many flights and only using some of the reservations. Now, at least two cases are on hold in courts as American tries to work its way out of bankruptcy.
I’ll follow the details, as I’m really curious about how this story will end.