Category Archives: Travel Tips & Thoughts

It’s not a scam: getting the most out of discount airline ticketers

When shopping for international flights, some of the best deals can be found on discount travel websites such as Vayama or Best Travel Store. But as third party agents, there is always some apprehension as to whether or not it’s “safe” to do so. If you Google either or, the suggested search terms include “scam” and “complaints.” It’s easy to get scared off.

Air New Zealand adds beds… in economy

Air New Zealand recently introduced the “Skycouch,” affording economy class passengers the opportunity to lie flat across the row of seats. The Skycouch seats will go on sale in late April for long-haul flights between Auckland and Asia, North America and the United Kingdom.

Trazzler for Travelers

I recently joined an online travel community called Trazzler, a collection of user-submitted write-ups of trips and destinations around the world. The style is geared toward travelers, not tourists — the places and activities, along with the writing style, are meant to inspire, not dictate. Join the community and you can submit your own trips, too.

Thoughts from 30,000 feet in the air….

Blogging from my Virgin America flight from LAX to JFK thanks to Google’s free holiday WiFi. Naturally, the first thing you do when you have free internet on an airplane is to update your Twitter and Facebook statuses to broadcast how amazing it is you can Twitter and Facebook… on an airplane.

Wanderlusting with

One of the most innovative online retail concepts to hit the scene in the last few years is Gilt Groupe, a fashion retailer offering members-only flash sales (only 72 hours) of high-end designer clothing at discounts of up to 70% off. In late 2008 under the helm of Susan Lyne, the wunderkind behind Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, Gilt took off, with a number of copycat concepts following not too far behind it.

Comparing the cost of goods around the world – helpful or irrelevant?

The LA Times has what I thought would be an interesting travel slideshow entitled “Comparing prices of common goods around the world,” which lists the average price of certain items — a cup of coffee, a liter of gasoline, a bus or subway ride — in major metropolitan cities. I thought I’d find some interesting differences, but then realized that half of the listed items are useless.

Potent Quotables: On the Road

“Our battered suitcases were piled on the sidewalk again; we had longer ways to go. But no matter, the road is life.”
– Jack Kerouac, On the Road

Maui Photo Festival: Point, Shoot & Learn

I know it’s a recession, but for anyone who is serious about photography and has a few ducats to drop, I want to point your attention to an upcoming event: the Maui Photo Festival & Workshops. If you want to invest time and money into photography, why not do it in one of earth’s most photogenic places?

The Accidental Host: My first CouchSurfing experience

It started in a slight comedy of errors. My roommate had received a call from his high school buddy just a few days prior. “I’ve got some friends who need to crash at your place when they visit L.A. tomorrow,” she said. He agreed, thinking she was bringing friends of hers down to L.A. Lost in translation was any mention of “total strangers I met today,” “I’m not coming with them” and “Couch Surfing.”

Air New Zealand bares all

I’m always a sucker for good marketing campaigns, so here’s one that I found particularly… revealing. Air New Zealand, with just a minimal budget, some body paint and a hefty amount of bravado from some of its employees, created the following in-flight safety video and subsequent ad. To this date, it has 4 million+ views on YouTube. I gotta hand it to them; I haven’t paid attention to a safety video in years.

Bookmark this: Modern Hiker

Every once in awhile I stumble across something that deserves more than just a link on my blogroll. No matter what preconceptions you may have about the city of Los Angeles, geographically, Southern California is near perfection. Beach to the west, desert to the east and mountains just about everywhere you look — which means great hiking. Very few travelers visiting L.A. really take advantage of this, and it’s unfortunate. Casey Schreiner is trying to change all that with his blog, Modern Hiker, an extensive blog covering hundreds of miles of hiking trails in and around Southern California.

Tweet your way to better airline customer service

Seems like every business is jumping on the Twitter bandwagon these days, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Michelle Higgins of the New York Times found travel customers who have Tweeted their way to the top of the command chain when ordinary customer service routes were not working.

Southeast Asia on $100 a day?

Southeast Asia on $100 a day? David Allen of the New York Times travel blog “In Transit,” in response to a letter asking for advice on Southeast Asia, says that “if you gave yourself a generous daily budget of $100 you would be well fed, well rested and able to see every site you wish.” I’m all booked up for my own Southeast Asian adventure this summer — two weeks in Bangkok, Phuket, Phnom Penh and Siem Reap to be precise. I’m no backpacker, but I can tell you that you will have to try pretty hard to rack up $100/day.