Fights on Flights

Blanche DuBois may have always depended on the kindness of strangers, but it’s not an option on most airplanes these days. Manners at 30,000 feet are deteriorating, and strangers are starting mid-flight dustups over each others’ seats. You say you paid for a seat that reclines so why can’t you use what you paid for? Well, because it’s not that simple anymore. First of all, it’s not your imagination: The airlines have shrunk the seat you’re sitting in as well …

Tips for International Travel

Two back-to-back international trips this year — to Germany and South Africa — gave me a good reason to brush up on my world-traveler skills. Here are the main things I think about when I’m planning a trip abroad. Phoning home. How I am going to communicate? I mainly use Skype. It’s an easy, inexpensive way to make international calls. There are similar applications for phones, including Viber and WhatsApp, that allow you to text, call and send photos and …

Road Trips the Right Way

I love road trips. I’ve been crazy about them ever since the days when my parents loaded my two sisters and me into the Pontiac station wagon and went off to visit relatives or take a family vacation. On Sundays we would go for long family drives, and I always secretly wished my dad would aim the car toward the unknown and we’d be off on an unexpected adventure. Flying will never hold the anticipation and joy the highway does …

Cruise Tips: Keys to Smooth Sailing

I have 10 cruises under my belt – enough so that I’ve developed a protocol that helps me start enjoying myself as soon as I’m on board. Here’s what I do. I always bring a carry-on. That huge bag I packed might not be delivered to my room for hours (and I know it’ll have to be ready to go again the night before the cruise ends). In a carry-on, I’ll have the things I want to use immediately: swimsuit, …

Luxury Travel: To Spree or Not to Spree

Sometimes we want to indulge on a special vacation. We read “Zen-like ambience.” How peaceful. “Oasis.” Ah, yes. “Holistic therapy for body, mind and spirit.” How rejuvenating. But how do those eat-your-heart-out amenities really stack up? Couples massage? A butler-drawn bubble bath strewed with rose petals? An elegant seaside dinner served at a table right in the sand? Some luxuries are sure to please, and others … not so much. As a travel-show host I’ve been treated to just about every form of …

Europe: By Train or by Plane?

I love train travel. If I can choose between a plane and a train, I’ll choose a train whenever I can. It makes the transition from one place to another a gradual one, with plenty of time to watch the world go by (to say nothing of the deep nap the train puts me in). And for some trips the travel time can be about the same, or close enough, once you factor in getting to the airport an hour …