Although the Internet is still relatively young, it’s difficult to remember a time without it. Until a little over a decade ago, trips were planned using hefty travel books, glossy brochures, 800 numbers, and travel agents.
This limited amount of information meant that many times, travelers entered into their trip hoping for the best. The Royal Imperial Windsor Arms Hotel in National Lampoon’s European Vacation is a great example: the Griswolds were expecting a posh four-star hotel, but discovered upon arrival that it was actually a bit of a roach motel.
These days, we have a wealth of knowledge at our fingertips. While mainstream publications are still a popular resource for travel guidance, research shows that today’s travelers trust online reviews more than other resources. In fact, according to online research firm Market Matrix, 90% of global travelers state that their booking decisions are heavily influenced by reviews on sites such as TripAdvisor, Yelp, Google Places and the like. Furthermore, 53% of travelers state they wouldn’t book a hotel that has no online reviews.
The real question is – can the reviews you read online be trusted? Not always! While 95% of travelers believe that online reviews are trustworthy, the reality is every major online review site has a percentage of phony reviews – both positive and negative. In fact, Yelp recently admitted that roughly 25% of all reviews they receive are fake. While these sites make an effort to filter out blatantly suspicious reviews, it’s difficult, if not impossible, to identify and filter all phony reviews.
Unfortunately, we’ve had a few experiences with phony online reviews here at Travelpro. As customer satisfaction is our top priority, we continually monitor our reviews on different sites, like Amazon.com and others. There have been a few times we’ve received negative product reviews from individuals who haven’t placed an order with us. When we reach out to them in a private message, the vast majority of the time they never respond to our efforts to resolve their complaint.
How can you separate fact from fiction when reading online travel reviews?
They key to using online reviews is to read a lot of different reviews from a few different sites and make your opinion across a very broad spectrum. If you come across reviews that are either absolutely scathing or overly-positive, always click through to see the other types of reviews that have been posted by that user. If their account is brand new, has only one or two other reviews or only posts one star reviews and/or five star reviews, it’s safe to say their opinion might be biased. Additionally, be aware that some companies offer freebies to existing customers who leave online reviews. While this practice isn’t illegal per se, it can sway the types of reviews people leave.
When trying to determine the actual quality of a particular restaurant, hotel, or travel resort, you need to use your best judgment and look at the total number of reviews. Are more people happy or unhappy? By looking at the trends, you can get a clearer idea of how well the destination will perform.
How do you separate fact from fiction when reading online travel reviews? Share your tips in the comments section below!
- 5 ways social media is transforming travel | SmartBlogs SmartBlogs (falkenhaug.com)
- Why Yelp will NEVER be able to get rid of phony reviews (michellechkim.wordpress.com)
- Kayak unveils hotel reviews and gives homepage a facelift (venturebeat.com)
- Why should Hotels care about TripAdvisor ? (customertestimonials.wordpress.com)
It’s no secret that Millennials are changing the way many things are done these days. Commonly referred to as “Gen Y,” this tech savvy generation’s preferences have made a huge impact on today’s workplace, communication style, and the way we consume news and TV. So major hotels, airlines and travel brands are paying close attention to the travel habits of millennials. Ready or not, Gen Y is about to change the way we travel.
According to a recent study conducted by Harris Interactive on behalf of Egencia and Expedia.com, millennials are doing more business travel than their Gen X and Baby Boomer counterparts, and they’re also spending more money. Younger Americans (34 and under) are slightly more likely to use their company’s credit card to splurge on a flight upgrade, room service, alcoholic beverages or expensive meals than those 35 and older. Additionally, millennials are also more apt to mix business with pleasure. In fact, 62% of millennials surveyed have extended a business trip into a personal vacation.Gen Y travelers are also complaining more than any other age group. According to Egencia, tech savvy 18-30 year old business travelers are more likely to air their grievances via an online review site after having a poor experience while traveling. That being said, negative online reviews are still relatively rare — 67% of travelers worldwide state they have never written one.
While it’s no surprise that Gen Y travelers are more apt to use smartphones and mobile apps when traveling, many may be surprised to learn than mobile app usage in travel is up for all generations. In fact, 75% of travelers worldwide report that they use a smartphone or tablet while traveling. It’s safe to say that in the coming year, many more major travel brands will be launching mobile technology to accommodate tech savvy travelers.
Egencia president Rob Greyber said in a USA Today article, “Business travelers are early adopters of technology — millennial travelers even faster — and all on the move from device to device, from online to offline and back again. We realize that keeping pace with millennials and future generations of corporate travelers demands significant focus on mobile in order to sustainably engage them with the right information.”
We’d love to hear from you. Do you welcome such changes, or do you feel they will only alienate older travelers? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below, or via our Facebook page.
- The Rise of the Millennial Workforce (intercall.com)
- Gen X Is from Mars, Gen Y Is From Venus: A Primer On How To Motivate A Millennial (forbes.com)
- Millennials drive less, but are roads safer? (roadtrafficsigns.com)
Atlantic brand luggage, part of the Travelpro family of brands and a market leader in affordable, lightweight luggage since 1919, is pleased to launch the new Atlantic Debut and Atlantic Lumina collections, designed for the family leisure traveler.
“Not only are the new Atlantic Debut and Lumina collections fashionable and of great quality, but they will help make travel easier and more affordable for family travelers,” said Scott Applebee, Vice President of Marketing for the Travelpro and the Atlantic Luggage brands. “These versatile and lightweight collections have some unique features that are ideal for family travelers on the go.”
The Atlantic Lumina collection introduces a contemporary satin look and feel to hardside luggage. Featuring a unique polyurethane finish on a sculpted hard shell, you have to touch Lumina to appreciate its rich, satin texture. Complete with a dual-wheel spinner system and an expandable packing compartment, Lumina combines superior strength, looks and maneuverability with great value. Available in fashionable black, ruby red and midnight blue, the collection includes the following models: 20″ International Carry-On Spinner, 24″ Spinner and 28″ Spinner. Lumina luggage is perfect for chic travelers of all ages and is backed by a 10-year warranty.
Atlantic Luggage is also introducing the new Atlantic Debut collection. This unique four-piece collection combines the very best of today’s fashion and lightweight design. Debut’s stylish case resists abrasion and is built to absorb shock during every day travel, providing protection for your possessions. The two-compartment design allows for greater packing flexibility and ease of travel. Combine this with eye-catching pink and turquoise fabric colors; Debut is ideal for female teenagers and college students who love to travel. The Atlantic Debut collection features a 20″ Carry-On Upright, 25″ and 28″ Uprights and a handy Rolling Tote. It is covered by a 10-year warranty.
For more information, or to purchase Atlantic Luggage, please visit the Atlantic Luggage website.
About Atlantic Brand Luggage
Since 1919, the Atlantic brand has been synonymous with affordable, value-added and lightweight luggage. As a market leader in the lightweight luggage segment, including neatly designed uprights and spinners to trendy and smart garment bags and totes, all Atlantic branded luggage is of superior quality and durability. Whether for business or pleasure, travel is easier with Atlantic luggage, now part of the Travelpro family of brands.
Please visit the Atlantic Luggage website for a full list of the latest products.
For over 25 years, Travelpro International has prided itself on design innovation and durability in crafting the highest quality luggage for travellers worldwide. Since transforming the ease of modern day travel with The Original Rollaboard wheeled luggage, Travelpro has been the brand of choice for flight crews and frequent travelers worldwide. Travelpro is dedicated to building a lifelong relationship with its customers by consistently understanding and exceeding their needs. Travelpro was honored to receive the New Product Innovation Award from the Travel Goods Association (TGA) in March 2013 for the revolutionary Platinum Magna luggage collection.
If you’ve ever wished you could bypass extensive airport security lines, now you can. A private traveler program called CLEAR now gives travelers the opportunity to jump to the head of the airport security line — think of it as a sort of high tech version of Disney’s Fast Track pass.
It may sound too good to be true, but it’s not. In fact, the CLEAR program was awarded Safety Act Certification by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, making it the only expedited traveler program to be placed on the “Approved Product List for Homeland Security.”
How CLEAR WorksIn order to join the CLEAR program, interested participants are required to go through a somewhat extensive application process. Those who wish to participate in the program need to provide everything from their social security number to the make and model of their car. Additionally, participants must have their iris and thumb print scanned and pay $179 per year for their membership.
Once approved, users will receive their microchipped CLEARcard, which they can then present to CLEAR representatives at participating airlines. Once scanned (they asked for those iris and thumb print scans for a reason), members can then proceed to the front of the security line. The only downside to the CLEAR program is that, unlike the TSA’s Pre-Check program, CLEAR members must still go through the standard TSA security screening process, shoe removal and all.
Currently, the CLEAR program is available in seven airports within the United States: San Francisco, San Jose, Denver, Dallas/Fort Worth, San Antonio, Orlando, and Westchester County. The program also has two more Texas locations on the way.
So the real question is, at $179 per year, is the CLEAR program worth it? That depends on where you’re flying to and from, and how often you travel. As they say, time is money, so if you frequently fly in and out of one of the participating airports, the $179 per year fee might be worth the ability to breeze through airport security in five minutes.
Would you participate in the CLEAR program, or are you a current member? Share your thoughts in the comments section below or on our Facebook page.
- The longest airport security line: TSA to start security background checks (mysecuritysign.com)
- Keep your shoes on. Huntsville airport adds TSA PreCheck to expedite security screening (gallery, video) (al.com)
- TSA PreCheck program expands in Utah (ksl.com)
- TSA Rolls Out Expedited Screening Program At SoCal Airports (losangeles.cbslocal.com)
While traveling can be an enriching, wonderful, life changing experience, it can also be stressful, especially if you’re not well prepared. Whether you’re traveling for business or pleasure, there are certain things you can do to ensure your trip goes as smoothly as possible. We have compiled a list of our five favorite travel tips from the TravelPro team and other travel industry experts to ensure your next trip goes off without a hitch.
1. Get in the (time) zone
There’s nothing worse than wasting the first day of your trip feeling completely jet-lagged. Instead of making an abrupt switch, set your watch to the time zone you’ll be visiting as soon as you board your flight and act accordingly. This means that if you’re visiting Thailand and it’s 11pm Indochina Time, then guess what? Time for some shut eye.
2. Invest in an international SIM cardIf you travel abroad quite often, an international travelers’ SIM card is worth the investment. You can pick these up on sites like Ekit and most work in over one hundred countries around the world. You can even register your SIM card with Ekit and have it map your journey, allowing friends and family members to not only follow your travels, but ensure you’re alive and well.
3. Get your finances in order
If you’re leaving the country, do your research. Your debit card may be useless in many countries. In some places (such as Myanmar), ATMs are not connected to international networks, whereas in others (i.e. Japan), you’ll find that your card isn’t even the correct size for ATMs. Also, don’t just inform your bank of your travel plans once. Be sure to call and confirm they’ve noted your account before you leave. Finally, exchange a small amount of money — enough to last a day or so — prior to leaving the United States. In the event that you run into issues withdrawing money, you won’t find yourself stranded and penniless in a foreign country.
4. Plan for the worst
As the saying goes, expect the best, but plan for the worst. Leave copies of your itinerary and all travel documents with a trusted friend or family member. Hide an emergency credit card and back-up identification in an inconspicuous location, keep scanned copies of everything (especially your passport!) on your computer, and back-up your photos as often as possible. If you are pick-pocketed or your hotel room is robbed, you’ll be grateful you took these extra precautions.
5. Don’t make it obvious you’re a traveler
Nothing screams “I’m new here!” than walking around with tags on your luggage. As soon as you pass through customs, be sure to rip the tags off of your bags and discard them. If you need to pick up a taxi to your hotel, leave the international area make your way over to domestic arrivals. Chances are, you’ll end up paying less for that ride anyway, since some international cab drivers try to take advantage of foreign visitors.
Are you a savvy traveler? Have you picked up any valuable tips on your travels? Share your tips with other travelers in the comments section.
- How To Choose The Best International Cellular Data Plan (forbes.com)
- New SIM card gets you local data rates everywhere, launches in HP tablets and Google Chromebooks (venturebeat.com)
- Why Traveling with Gift Cards are Safer than Carrying Cash (honeymoon.answers.com)
When it comes to budget air travel, Southwest Airlines is the go-to option for many savvy travelers. While Southwest’s fares may have risen slightly in the last few years (according to some experts, up to 39% over the last five years) the airline continues to offer an array of complimentary perks that are practically unheard of in a time when airlines seem to be continually looking for new fees to charge their customers.
While many airlines are beginning to charge fees not just for checked baggage, but also for carry on luggage, Southwest Airlines continues to offer free checked bags. In fact, each passenger is allowed to check up to two bags free of charge. The airline also offers smaller perks, such as complimentary snacks in-flight. However, one of the biggest perks Southwest offers is one that many travelers were unaware of: until recently, passengers could no-show for a flight without penalty. Instead, the value of their ticket would simply be applied to their account as a credit for future use, no questions asked.
Recently, however, Southwest Airlines opted to change its ultra-forgiving policy to one that penalizes travelers that simply no-show for flights. While the airline is becoming a bit more strict, Southwest’s policy still remains extremely forgiving, especially in comparison to other major airlines. While passengers who no-show for their flight will lose the face value of their ticket, not all hope is lost.
Under their new no-show policy, Southwest Airlines will continue to credit the face value of the ticket to a customer’s account as long as they notify the airline of their absence within 10 minutes of the flight’s scheduled departure. Additionally, customers can still make changes to nonrefundable tickets ahead of time without penalty. In contrast, most major airlines charge up to $200 for itinerary changes.
While Southwest’s new policy does tighten the reins a bit, we’re not complaining. After all, giving the airline notice of your cancellation up to ten minutes before the flight leaves a simple trade-off in exchange for the ability to change your itinerary up to the day of travel. Without breaking the bank.
- Southwest buys LaGuardia slots from American Airlines (bizjournals.com)
- Southwest Airlines to get 22 AA slots at New York LaGuardia, with Virgin America to get 12 slots (aviationblog.dallasnews.com)
With the economy slowly but surely returning back to normal, business travel is back on the rise. In the first quarter of this year, business travel accounted for 56.8% of all trips taken, making it the most popular reason for travel. For hotels, business travelers are their bread and butter, accounting for almost 20% of occupied room nights in the United States and 30% of lodging industry revenue.
While this recent increase in travel for both business and pleasure is undoubtedly good news for hotels, airlines and the like, it appears that as a result, U.S. hotels are less willing to cut corporate travel managers a deal on hotel rates.Unlike small companies (or the average traveler), corporations don’t simply book employee business travel on third party booking sites such as Priceline or Expedia. Instead, each fall, corporate travel managers negotiate the following years’ rates with the hotels they do business with – and for better or for worse, they are locked into these rates for the following year.
According to research conducted by Bjorn Hanson, divisional dean of the Tisch Center for Hospitality at NYU, corporate travel managers can expect to pay between 5 – 6% more when booking hotel rooms for business travelers in 2014. Unfortunately, corporations aren’t the only ones that will pay more for lodging in the upcoming year – overall, the average daily rate for hotel rooms has risen by 4.5%. According to Nashville-based STR, the average daily rate for US hotels through July is $109.95.
While a 5 – 6% rate increase may not be crippling to independent travelers, this type of rate increase can have a massive impact on the travel budgets of large corporations that spend hundreds of thousands per year on business travel.
As a result, many corporations are opting to work with more affordable hotels (such as Holiday Inn) as opposed to luxury, full service hotels. Others are simply allowing their employees to choose their own accommodations, as long as they stay within the allotted budget – a tactic which is appealing to millennials who prefer to make their own decisions.
- What should you expect from your business travel provider? (practicallyperfectpa.com)
- Short-Term Apartment Rentals: What You Need to Know (apartmentguide.com)
- Business travel spending expected to rise in 2014 (nbcnews.com)
- Business travel goes super sci fi, leaps forward 50 years (tnooz.com)
Travelpro® Maxlite® 2 Luggage Wins Coveted Editors’ Choice Award from “Outdoor Gear Lab” [Press Release]
Boca Raton, Fla. – December 2, 2013 – Travelpro, the original inventor of Rollaboard® luggage and a market leader in innovative, high-quality luggage design, was honored to receive the 2013 Editors’ Choice Award for the Travelpro® Maxlite® 2 22” Expandable Rollaboard, from OutdoorGearLab.com. The Outdoor Gear Lab Review Editors chose the winner after extensive field testing on flights across the country. Eleven popular pieces of carry-on luggage were subjected to head-to-head tests to determine which stood out in terms of performance across these following metrics: features, durability, weight, storage capacity, ease of transport and style. To read Outdoor Gear Lab’s review of Travelpro’s Maxlite 2, click here: Outdoorgearlab.com.
“We are very honored to receive the Editor’s Choice award from Outdoor Gear Lab for our Maxlite 2 22” Rollaboard. Receiving this award from an objective 3rd party, supports our strong emphasis on product testing and quality throughout the product’s life cycle,” said Scott Applebee, Vice President of Marketing for the Travelpro family of brands.
The Travelpro Maxlite 2 22” Expandable Rollaboard provides an economical and lightweight two-wheel design, ideal for carry-on use by frequent business and leisure travelers. Maxlite 2 expands up to 1 1⁄2 inches, maximizing space and packing flexibility, without sacrificing effortless mobility. A full length zippered lid pocket provides easy storage for shirts, blouses and accessories. Moreover, a large front pocket provides a great way to store tablets and laptops as well as any other last minute items.
For additional information on the Travelpro Maxlite 2 22” Expandable Rollaboard or any other of Travelpro’s expansive line of luggage, contact email@example.com or dial 305-573-0882
For 25 years, Travelpro International has prided itself on design innovation and durability in crafting the highest quality luggage for travellers worldwide. Since transforming the ease of modern day travel with The Original Rollaboard® wheeled luggage, Travelpro® has been the brand of choice for flight crews and frequent travelers worldwide. Travelpro is dedicated to building a lifelong relationship with its customers by consistently understanding and exceeding their needs. Travelpro was honored to receive the New Product Innovation Award from the Travel Goods Association (TGA) in March 2013 for the revolutionary Platinum® MagnaTM luggage collection.
When it comes to taking medicine with you on a flight, many people are unsure of the proper protocol. If you find yourself in the unfortunate situation of traveling with a cold, what should you pack, tablets or cold syrup? And if you do bring cough syrup with you through airport security, is it subject to the Travel Security Administration’s 3 ounce or less 3-1-1 rule for liquids?
If given the option, your best bet is to skip the liquid medicine and pack tablets or gel caps in your carry on luggage instead. This way, you can simply avoid any issues at the TSA security check point.
That being said, the TSA does allows some wiggle room for what it refers to as medically necessary liquids, such as liquid medicine, baby formula and breast milk. However, they do not clarify if over the counter medicines are considered “medically necessary,” meaning it can be left up to the discretion of each airport’s security team.
If you strongly prefer liquid medicine over tablets or gel caps but don’t want to chance having a full bottle discarded at security, you may also be able to locate travel size bottles of certain brands of cold medicine at your local pharmacy. Alternatively, you may also simply transfer your liquid medicine into a travel size container and include it in your 3-1-1 liquids bag at the TSA checkpoint.
If you have no particular preference between tablets or liquid cold medicine, your best bet is to simply stick with cold tablets. Not only will they take up less space in your carry on luggage, but if you need to take a dose in flight, you won’t have to worry about any spillage.
In fact, if you find yourself traveling often, it may be a smart idea to simply set aside a separate bag of travel-friendly over the counter medicines to have available, should you need them.
- Airline Travel – The Steps For Boarding a Plane (itravel01.wordpress.com)
Before embarking on an international trip, there are a lot of things to consider, the largest of which is money. When traveling abroad, is it better to bring cash or credit cards? And if you do opt to bring cash, should you bring US dollars to exchange upon arrival, or should you change your currency before you even leave the US?When traveling internationally, I use debit and credit cards as my main form of currency as in most cases, it’s more cost-effective to use a debit or credit card to withdraw local currency upon arrival. This method will allow you to exchange your US dollars into local currency at the wholesale exchange rate, which is typically better than what a local currency exchange would offer. Additionally, most local banks and currency exchanges will add on a transaction fee, which will usually be around 2% of your total transaction. By using an ATM, the only fee you may get hit with is an ATM fee, which will be similar to what you’d pay at an out-of-network ATM in the United States.
However, I also exchange a small amount of money — enough to last a day or so — prior to leaving the United States. I recommend this to all international travelers, as in the event that you run into issues withdrawing money, you won’t find yourself stranded and penniless in a foreign country.
There is a slim chance that your bank may flag your transaction as suspicious, especially if you forgot to call to inform them of your travels prior to leaving! Also, many countries around the world now rely on chip and pin (or EMV) credit cards. While most retailers will still accept magnetic strip cards, this isn’t always the case.
Of course, there are circumstances where cash is the only way to go. Many people are surprised to learn that US debit cards are virtually useless in many countries. In some countries (such as Myanmar), ATMs are not connected to international networks. In other countries (like Japan) debit cards are much smaller, and the standard US card is not sized correctly for ATMs.
Depending on your destination, your best bet is to use a credit card as your primary source of funds. However, no matter where you’re headed, it pays to do your research before you leave.
- Using Your Bank Check Card/Debit Card on Vacation (ally.com)
- TEN Tips to Safeguard Your Credit and Debit Cards (arthamvidya.wordpress.com)