5 Hotel Scams You Need to Know About

April 23, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

We’ve talked about hotel scams in the past, but it’s always good to review alarming information from the world around us.

We found a Yahoo Travel article on different travel scams that revealed some of our old favorites, as well as several new ones worth bringing to your attention.

When you’re staying at a hotel, the restaurant menu under the door is an old trick. Someone slides a menu under your door. You call and order takeout, and trustingly give out your credit card information. Except that’s no restaurant on the other end of the line. Instead, it’s a thief taking down your info and using your card information for nefarious purposes.

Bahasa Indonesia: Fasilitas WIFI Pusdiklat Dep...

Bahasa Indonesia: Fasilitas WIFI (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Beware of wifi skimming. This happens when a scammer sets up a “Free Wifi” hotspot for you to sign onto. Once you do, your passwords can easily be harvested by the scammer. Just resist the urge to sign on when you see free wifi.

It’s very easy to fake but if you know what to look for, you should be able to see the signs. Small things like a @ or % at the front of the wifi name, or Free_Hotel_Wifi mean you should avoid those like the plague.

A new (to us) scam we never thought of is the faked hotel views. For instance, before booking that expensive beach view hotel, check out the address on Google Street View and see if it really is close to the beach. With Google Street View, you really can see the view from the particular place you’re renting.

Another common scam is the fake front desk calls. They’ll tell you there’s something wrong with your credit card, and could you please give them the number again to confirm it. If you get that kind of call, go down to the front desk and make sure they actually did call you.

Have you ever been scammed? What’s the one people have tried on you? Leave a comment and let us know if there’s anything new we should watch out for.

Travel Secrets You Can Learn Sitting Next to a Pilot

April 21, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

You can learn a lot from people, even on your travels, if you just talk to them on occasion. While most people don’t like to talk to their seat mates on a plane, a recent article on Yahoo revealed a few secrets the author, Leah Ginsberg, learned when flying back from Central America seated next to two off-duty pilots.

One of the things we had never thought of was to wipe everything in the vicinity of your seat down with antibacterial wipes. We were also surprised to hear that you should never touch the faucet handles in a plane. Apparently, pilots know some terrifying facts about germs on planes, although there’s always the possibility that this particular pilot happens to be a germaphobe.

Still, we plan to travel with antibacterial wipes until we hear differently.

Stormy Flight by Russ LoarWe also learned why plane windows are oval: Original plane windows were square, which for some reason was more open to cracking. And cracked windows can lead to window blow-outs, which lead to plane crashes. So next time you’re on a flight, take a moment to appreciate the safe rounded-corner window you’re looking out of.

And pilots, it turns out, are just like us! They like to look out the window, they use travel hacks, and they get tired of each other after long periods spent in each other’s company.

Ginsberg also noted the two pilots she sat next to paid careful attention to the flight attendants directions and followed the rules like champions.

What’s something cool you’ve learned from flying, whether it’s about airplanes, or just from a fellow (non-pilot) passenger? Leave us a comment and let us know.

Photo credit: Russ Loar (Flickr, Creative Commons)

Marriott Tests In-Room Netflix Service

April 16, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

If you’re staying in a Marriott hotel and find you miss your Netflix, Hulu, and Pandora, and don’t want to chew up the data on your cell phone, you’re in luck. Marriott is planning a new in-room entertainment service that includes access to the three entertainment streaming services.

A Yahoo Travel article reported that Marriott is working with a number of different content providers to get their different hotel chains up and running with the latest in on-demand programming.

English: Copenhagen Marriott Hotel Dansk: Cope...

Copenhagen Marriott Hotel (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

We think this is a smart move on Marriott’s part, because it not only helps the people who already have the service, but it could be a lower-cost alternative to the in-room movies or trying to catch up with the shows you may have missed.

Its usefulness will boil down to how much it costs. Hotels already charge a lot of money just to watch movies, so if this service will cost an arm and a leg, it may not be worth it to many travelers.

On the other hand, sometimes when people are bored and trapped in a hotel room, they’ll pay for anything. What else can explain the continued existence of the minibar?

And if Marriott can come up with an affordable way to do this, especially for people who already have accounts, or make it affordable for people who want to take the services for a test drive, it seems like a great idea.

It also seems like allowing people to view Netflix on the hotel TV instead of wifi would be a great way to free up some wifi bandwidth, which tends to get bogged down, as people watch Netflix on their laptops and tablets.

However, Marriott seems to also be exploring the option of allowing guests to upgrade to a paid “premium” Internet connection.

Since guests with Netflix and similar accounts can already access those services through wifi, they could get a guaranteed high-speed service. Or Marriott could throttle video streaming through their regular wifi, which would force viewers to shell out for the extra bandwidth.

Access to movies and music that doesn’t have to endure a long load time can perhaps be considered worth paying for, especially if your kids need it to settle down after a long day on the road.

What do you think? Would you pay extra for Netflix in your hotel room? Leave us a comment and let us know.

Marriott Backs Down and Says it Won’t Block Wi-Fi… For Now

April 14, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

After previously announcing in January that they were going to block hotel guests’ personal wifi devices at conferences, Marriott has backed down, after facing a great deal of blowback from consumer groups, frequent guests, Google, Microsoft, and the news media.

The hotel giant was recently fined by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) for blocking wifi access in Nashville and their knuckles are apparently still stinging from the rap. They did file a petition to the FCC and do not plan to withdraw it, and have said they still wish to receive clarification on the rule.

English: Baltimore Marriott Waterfront Hotel

Baltimore Marriott Waterfront Hotel (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Marriott says that they put these blocks in place to protect against cyberthreats.

But despite the hotel chain’s thirst for security, they have backed down and promised not to jam guests’ signals while at their hotel chain.

The main reason they seem to be backing off due to a resounding amount of public criticism, coming in the form of public comments, negative new articles, and vows from guests not to spend another dime at Marriott.

This is the type of fury that can only be roused by someone attempting to take wireless devices away from the American consumer and Marriott seems to have seen its mistake.

“To set the record straight it has never been nor will it ever be Marriott’s policy to limit our guests’ ability to access the Internet by all available means, including through the use of personal Mi-Fi and/or Wi-Fi devices. . . To be clear, this matter does not involve in any way Wi-Fi access in hotel guest rooms or lobby spaces,” Marriott said in a recent statement after the controversy grew so big that the New York Times ran a scathing article about the incidents.

What do you think? How important are your wifi devices to you when you travel?

Bring This, Not That: Should You Take a Taxi, Hire a Car, or Drive to the Airport?

April 9, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

When you’re going to the airport, what’s the most cost effective way of getting there and getting home again? Should you hire a cab or an Uber driver, or even a black town car? Or should you park your car in long-term parking?

In some cases, this really is a “six of one, half dozen of the other” scenario. So how do you figure out which is the better choice?

English: A checker taxi cab. Deutsch: Ein Chec...

English: A checker taxi cab. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I always prefer to hire a car to take me to the airport if we’re going on vacation. I’m already going to have to pay for parking if we drive our own car, which can really add up if it’s an extended stay. Out of pocket, the car service will be more than parking, but the convenience can outweigh a lot of things.

For one thing, I prefer a car service because being dropped off curb side saves on a lot of stress, especially if the whole family is going. So it’s always important to look for a car service that is decently priced, because prices can vary quite a bit.

Other considerations are the distance to the airport. How far away are you and what is the cost to get there by yourself in your car versus hiring a car or taxi? If you’re close to an airport, it’s a lot more economical to take a cab.

The airport pricing for parking varies. Finding a spot can be difficult if you’re at a busy airport, so you may need to valet park the car, which costs even more.

You can also consider park-and-flies, which are offsite parking services. You pay less, and a shuttle transports you to your terminal. They come by every half an hour, so you can stand on the curb at the airport (and the parking lot) and wait for them to make their return trip. This option is generally a lot less expensive than airport parking

Another option in larger cities is public transportation. In Florida, look for the Tri-Rail, which can get you from West Palm to Ft. Lauderdale airport to the Miami airport with great ease. You have to buy a ticket both ways but it’s a great option for extended stays and could be cheaper than a car service or a taxi.

It is more time consuming because it has more stops, however, so there’s the whole money-versus-time conundrum to figure out. But in terms of total dollars, the only thing cheaper is a friend who’s willing to help you out.

So how do you usually get to the airport? What’s your standard mode of transportation? Do you park and ride, take a cab, or even public transportation? Leave a comment and let us hear from you.

Travelpro and Atlantic Luggage Go the Extra Mile with the 2015 Mother’s Day Gift Guide

April 8, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

Wow That Special Lady in Your Life with the Gift of Travel

Boca Raton, FL—Travelpro and Atlantic Luggage, purveyors of the finest travel luggage, are pleased to present their much-anticipated “2015 Mother’s Day Gift Guide.” Nothing can compare to your mom, wife, or other cherished mother figure in your life. That’s why we offer this unique guide which makes it easy to select the perfect gift for the woman who enjoys travel.

American Ultralite 3 CoverAll chosen to delight and enchant your special someone, these five stunning pieces will make you a real hero on May 10th this year. Start out by considering the Atlantic Ultra Lite 3 21″ Expandable Spinner for women on the go. Superb for those looking for lightweight luggage at an affordable price, this attractive option is made with water-repellent polyester fabric, high-mileage wheels that roll effortlessly, convenient exterior pockets and comfortable carry handles. Built to go the distance, it features expansion capabilities for extra packing and is available in colors she will adore – turquoise, purple and black.

The Atlantic Solstice 20″ Expandable Hardside Spinner is another gift that will never steer you wrong. Celebrated for its lightweight durability and bright palette of colors – bubble gum pink, orange sherbet, blueberry and grape – this collection stands out from the crowd with Dual-Wheel Spinners that roll smoother, perform better and offer more features for a great price. Outfitted with multiple pockets to help organize items and make travel fun, the sturdy hard shell is stylishly textured and resistant to scratching. Sleek and fashionable enough to make any mother happy, this hardside spinner is a winner by any measure.

Maxlite Hardside Business SpinnerWhat could be better than the gift than a Travelpro Maxlite 19″ Business Plus Hardside Spinner, the ultimate in hardside luggage? This amazingly lightweight piece has a strong 100% polycarbonate hard shell for ultimate protection plus the patented Contour Grip to ensure effortless maneuverability. Featuring 2″ of expansion capacity, this model offers a dual wheel spinner system, integrated TSA lock for added security and an exterior pocket that opens for easy access to a fully-integrated business organizer for storing files, paperwork, cell phone, pens, cables and more. With padded sleeves to conveniently hold both a laptop and tablet, this versatile Maxlite is a true breakthrough in durability, style and value — perfect for a business trip.

The Travelpro Crew Executive Choice Women’s Business Tote is designed for today’s business and frequent travelers. Part of a premium collection that has garnered stellar reviews, this piece integrates fine leather accents and durable fabrics with Travelpro’s outstanding craftsmanship. The attention to detail, style and functional efficiency are a reflection of Travelpro’s commitment to business travelers worldwide. It makes a bold statement with features that include a removable padded sleeve for laptops, along with a separate built-in tablet pocket and business organizer plus a removable cord pouch that provides efficient storage for business essentials and power cables. An RFID-blocking pocket keeps credit cards and passports hidden to protect against loss and identity theft.

Part of the Travelpro Crew 10 collection, the Rolling Tote is a one-of-a-kind piece for the mobile worker. Ideal for short business trips or daily treks to the office, the Crew 10 Rolling Tote has a patented PowerScope Extension Handle to reduce wobble and shear-resistant zipper heads for effortless open and closing of the tote. The Rolling Tote includes a padded laptop sleeve, a business organizer and an area to store files and clothing. It is a Mother’s Day gift that will be cherished for years to come.

“This year’s Gift Guide offers a variety of choices sure to please every lady on your list,” said Scott Applebee, Vice President of Marketing for the Travelpro and Atlantic family of brands. “As always, our products are backed up with substantial warranties that reflect our high quality standards.”

About Atlantic 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, from cleverly designed uprights and spinners to trendy and smart garment bags and totes, all Atlantic-branded luggage comprises superior quality and durability. Whether for business or recreation, travel is more pleasurable with Atlantic luggage, part of the Travelpro family of products. Please visit the Atlantic Luggage website for a full list of the latest products and retail locations.

About Travelpro

For over 25 years, Travelpro International has prided itself on design innovation and durability in crafting the highest quality luggage for travelers 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 once again be voted as the “World’s Best Luggage” by Premier Traveler Magazine in 2014.

Please visit the Travelpro website for a full list of the latest products and retail locations. You can also like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter at @Travelprointl.

Expedia, Travelocity, Sabre and Consumers All Win in Acquisition

April 7, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

The online travel reservation world has been shrinking, and we’re interested in seeing what this means to consumers who book their travel online.

A January article on MultiBriefs.com discusses Expedia’s recent acquisition of Travelocity, which strengthens its hold on the online booking market. According to the article, the company already owns Hotels.com, Hotwire, Trivago, and CarRentals.com.

Since the article appeared, Expedia has also purchased Orbitz.

Expedia Squad South Beach, Florida

Expedia Squad South Beach, Florida

At present, Expedia plans to keep the new brands separate from each other and its own brand — they’ll keep the branding and corporate goodwill, but pull in all their profits.

And although these sites will remain separate, the back end systems may be the same, so pricing will not necessarily be different among the Expedia owned sites. We don’t know what will happen down the road, but we believe shutting down the original sites and switching users to Expedia would tend to lose revenue as unhappy customers migrated to other sites. In many cases, the general public won’t even be aware of the purchases, and continue to use their own favorite site.

One rather meaty issue that has arisen as a result of all this spending on Expedia’s part is the specter of an antitrust lawsuit. Expedia’s purchase of Travelocity and Orbitz leaves just one other major player in the U.S. online travel field, Priceline.

So it doesn’t seem impossible that an antitrust suit will be filed by the Federal Trade Commission.

According to a Dealpolitik blog post in the Wall Street Journal, Expedia is prepped for battle and in fact, included a clause within the Orbitz contract giving them until May of next year to wrap up any antitrust trouble that arises. Giving themselves that much time to work out matters with the government lets the regulators know that Expedia is willing to go to court, which shows their commitment to the deal.

Still, consumers don’t need to worry too much just yet about a lack of competition. Although Priceline and Expedia are the kings of the online travel world, new competitors enter the market place constantly, including companies with massive successes and presence in other areas, such as Google and Amazon.

Photo credit: Shibby (Flickr, Creative Commons)

4 Tips to Buy Luggage That Lasts

March 26, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

If you travel more than once every few years, even once a year, you’ll want to get luggage you can return to again and again. If you’re a frequent traveler, visiting the airport or train station more than four times a year, you need luggage that’s going to be with you for the long haul.

So how do you choose the luggage that’s going to give you what you need? The first step is to assess the kind of traveling you’re going to do the most frequently.

Tpro Bold 2 Group Photo - Blue

Our new Tpro Bold 2 line.

If you’re traveling for business, you probably want a carry-on size, usually because you’re only going to be in one location for a few days at a time. But if you’re traveling with your family, especially a family with small children, you probably want a large piece of luggage that can accommodate the whole clan to some extent.

Choose luggage based on the size and durability based on your total usage, not just your next trip. Disposable luggage can end up being more expensive than a single piece of high-quality luggage due to the fact that you might have to continually replace it.

You should also check out the warranty information of the piece you’re considering. That will give you an idea of whether the company stands behind their work, and how much protection you have if your bag starts shredding after just a couple months.

It’s also not a bad idea to stay with a well-known brand when buying your luggage. Luggage takes a beating, as travel is never easy, especially if you check your bags at the airport. Look at the value of your chosen bag, not just the price. Don’t compare the cheapest, flimsiest piece of luggage from one line to the best-in-show piece from another line. It’s like comparing apples to sports cars.

Crew 10 Computer Bag

Crew 10 Computer Bag

Assess the various features the luggage has. Check that the moving parts are high quality and durable. Look at the handles, wheels, and zippers, to see if they look durable or flimsy. Also check out the interior of the suitcase and make sure it looks like it will serve your needs as you travel. A good luggage manufacturer will have tested these things already, to determine whether they meet their high standards.

Finally, visit a specialized travel goods store, which will allow you to test the luggage extensively. The staff are very knowledgeable about travel and luggage, unlike some department stores. The travel goods stores also get feedback from frequent travelers, so they know what actually works.

If you’re not sure of what bag to get, it could be worth paying the travel goods store a visit, because they’ll understand what you need and can help you figure out which bag you should get.

How do you assess your own luggage purchases? Do you look for anything in particular, or visit a particular kind of store? Leave a comment below or post something on our Facebook page, and let us hear from you.

Turkish Airlines to Improve Passenger Experience Even More

March 24, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

A new airport is being built in Istanbul, Turkey over the next five years, with Turkish Airlines slated to be the “flagship tenant.” In this new space, Turkish Airlines plans to use cutting edge technology and personal hospitality to create a better passenger experience for their customers.

Turkish Airlines already takes great pride in offering comfortable spaces for travelers to relax in, so this should be interesting for those people who like to travel in comfort. The airline focuses on showing passengers a great degree of civility and hospitality, especially in their pay-to-enter lounges.

In the paying lounges, they’ve rolled out push notifications alerting passengers to gate changes, flight changes, and even nearby sales. This is already being tried out in airports in Istanbul and has apparently been a hit because Turkish Airlines announced last spring that they intend to make this a permanent feature.

Another great program that Turkish Airlines is rolling out is free tours of Istanbul to travelers on a layover of six hours or more. That way, travelers don’t have to waste a huge chunk of their time sitting around the airport, but can also feel more secure that they’ll get back to the airport on time since the tours are sponsored by an airline.

These types of pampering are about improving the travelers’ experiences and making things a little more convenient, even as travel seems to be more hectic and uncomfortable in this day and age.

Perks like this may eventually make their way to the U.S. If you’re in any major city in America, say New York or Miami, wouldn’t you be interested in a brief tour of that city during a long layover? We’re also interested in seeing push notifications for travelers, as well as a few other creature comforts at our airports.

We’ll look forward to seeing some of these improvements arrive here in the U.S. too.

Travelpro Announces “Win a Trip to Las Vegas” Sweepstakes in Celebration of Sony Pictures’ Upcoming Motion Picture Comedy, “Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2″

March 20, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

Travelpro, the original inventor of Rollaboard luggage and a leader in innovative, high-quality luggage design, is proud to announce its “Win A Trip to Las Vegas Sweepstakes” in celebration of the upcoming Sony Pictures’ motion picture comedy “Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2,” in theaters April 17, 2015.

Paul Blart 2 photoThe Sweepstakes winner and a guest will fly roundtrip and stay at the Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star Wynn Las Vegas resort. In addition, the winner will experience Le Rêve –The Dream, the aquatic and aerial theatrical production named Best Show in Las Vegas for four consecutive years, presented exclusively at Wynn Las Vegas. Additionally, the winner will receive two pieces of Travelpro luggage. Look for Travelpro luggage in the movie and at retailers nationwide and online.

One trip for two (2) to Las Vegas includes:

  • Roundtrip airfare for two (2) to Las Vegas, Nevada
  • Three (3) night stay in a Wynn Deluxe Resort room
  • 2 premium tickets to Le Rêve –The Dream
  • 2 carry-on size Travelpro luggage
  • $200 spending cash

The sweepstakes runs from March 20 through May 1. To enter, simply register at www.travelpro.com/mallcop-sweepstakes. Visit this same site to view the complete sweepstakes official rules. No purchase is required to enter the sweepstakes. Void where prohibited.

About Travelpro

For over 25 years, Travelpro International has prided itself on design innovation and durability in crafting the highest quality luggage for travelers 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 once again be voted as the “World’s Best Luggage” by Premier Traveler Magazine in 2014.

Please visit the Travelpro website for a full list of the latest products and retail locations. You can also like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter at @Travelprointl.

About “Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2″

After six years of keeping our malls safe, Paul Blart has earned a well-deserved vacation. He heads to Vegas with his teenage daughter before she heads off to college. But safety never takes a holiday and when duty calls, Blart answers. Directed by Andy Fickman. Produced by Todd Garner, Kevin James, Adam Sandler and Jack Giarraputo. Written by Kevin James & Nick Bakay.

About Sony Pictures

Sony Pictures Entertainment (SPE) is a subsidiary of Sony Entertainment Inc., a subsidiary of Tokyo-based Sony Corporation. SPE’s global operations encompass motion picture production, acquisition and distribution; television production, acquisition and distribution; television networks; digital content creation and distribution; operation of studio facilities; and development of new entertainment products, services and technologies. For additional information, go to www.sonypictures.com.

About Wynn Las Vegas

Wynn and Encore Las Vegas are two luxury hotel and casino resorts on the Las Vegas Strip. The iconic travel destinations are operated by international resort developer Wynn Resorts, recipient of more Forbes Travel Guide Five Star Awards than any other independent hotel company in the world. Wynn Las Vegas opened on April 28, 2005 and has been recognized as the best resort in Nevada on Condé Nast Traveler’s “Gold List” for six consecutive years. The resort features 2,714 lavish guest rooms and suites, more than 111,000 square feet of state-of-the-art casino space, 14 casual and fine dining restaurants, a spa and salon and an on-site Ferrari and Maserati dealership and 18-hole golf course. Wynn Las Vegas is home to Le Rêve – The Dream, the aquatic and aerial theatrical experience named Best Show in Las Vegas for four consecutive years, and Steve Wynn’s ShowStoppers, a production with 35 singers and dancers and a full 31-piece on-stage orchestra composed of quintessential numbers from some of the most celebrated composers and lyricists to ever grace American theater stages. Encore, an expansion of Wynn Las Vegas, opened on Dec. 22, 2008. Featuring an additional 2,034 all-suite accommodations, a 72,000-square-foot casino, five restaurants and a spa and salon, Encore is located adjacent to Wynn Las Vegas. Combined, the two resorts boast four distinct nightlife and day club experiences, approximately 283,000 square feet of meeting space and 98,000 square feet of retail space. For more information on Wynn and Encore Las Vegas, visit www.wynnpressroom.com, follow on Twitter and Instagram at @WynnLasVegas and www.facebook.com/wynnlasvegas.

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