Archive for September, 2009

Bad Blogger

September 16, 2009

It’s crunch time…our wedding is coming up, but a more immediate deadline I’m concerned with is our SCUBA certification course.  Next week, James and I will be spending a few hours in a local pool learning and showing our skills in operating SCUBA equipment and getting around under water. This is an even bigger challenge for me, particularly, since I just learned actual swimming skills this summer (which I’m still working on).

So, I don’t have much time to reminisce about my favorite vacation spots what with the being busy learning about the millions of ways you can die while SCUBA diving in my online coursework. For example, remember that really bad dentist you had a few years ago who gave you a filling? Well, if there’s air in that filling, you’ll be in for a painful SCUBA diving experience via “TOOTH SQUEEZE.” OK, it’s not necessarily fatal, but do I really need to worry about that too??

Anyhoo, I’ll likely be holed up in our apartment studying so I can become an informed SCUBA diver…I promise the stories will be priceless!

scuba-diver

SRSLY?

September 9, 2009

I know this blog is supposed to be happy/funny/silly anecdotes on lovely & exotic international destinations, but how am I supposed to get to these places with the airlines on a serious FEE BINGE?  Travel writer Chris Elliott writes that airlines’ revenue from fees was up 345 percent last year to $10 billion!  And it’s only going to get worse. This “unbundling” of fees – which I like to refer to as, um, nickel and diming – is creating confusion, surprise and frustration for air travelers (in that order).

I just want to know what the total cost of traveling with an airline will be at the end of the day. I could book the lowest-fare ticket at first thought, but end up paying more in the end because of the various broken-out fees that I don’t know about until I get to the airport. When you’re reviewing fares online before purchasing a ticket, these extras should be spelled out as well so you can make a fair “fare” comparison – kind of how the taxes are broken out when you’re buying a ticket. Is this too much to ask?  Apparently, yes, because the airlines are only thriving BECAUSE of this confusion.

Unfortunately, the airlines know they have us between a rock and hard place…the people who really want to (or need to) fly will fork up whatever fees they’re given.  Sigh.

airline-fees-sb0527bd

Yay! and Ut-Oh…

September 1, 2009

Last weekend two very special people got married – one of them my future sister-in-law, and the other the only dedicated reader of this blog (besides James) – her new husband Jim.

Love...ain't it grand??

Love...ain't it grand??

One thing I love about my future sis, Jennifer, is that she too loves to travel internationally.  She’s been to New Zealand, Australia, Poland, Greece and a bunch of other fun places.  We had a lot of fun talking about  our respective honeymoon plans, and  was happy to hear they chose Fiji (BULA!).  I’ll get more  details on their très exclusive  resort when they get back, but for now we’ve only gotten a cryptic update through James’ parents that they arrived in Fiji fine, but…sans luggage.

SIGH.

Is that not the ultimate travel nightmare? OK, I guess it could be worse, but what a frustrating way to start out your (much needed) vacation on a tropical island…without your bathing suit! I know the experts say to pack spare underwear and a change of clothes (etc.) in your carry-on, but who really does that??  No one packs for a vacation seriously thinking their luggage may actually get lost – but it does happen.  A lot.  Sometimes you’re lucky and you get your bag in a couple of days, but sometimes your luggage is lost in a black hole (or on the black market?) and never to be seen again.  The Wall Street Journal has a chart of different airlines’ baggage mishandling stats here.

Some experts recommend travel insurance. I did it once on a whim – not sure why – while at the airport waiting for my flight to Australia.  Because my flight was ready to leave the airport, I was charged significantly less than my travel companion, who bought hers weeks in advance. Go figure.  If you’re interested in some tips on decreasing the odds your luggage will get lost, check out this ABC News article.  Hint – there’s no foolproof method!

On a happier note, I am sure Jen & Jim thoroughly enjoyed their Fijian honeymoon with or without their luggage…Congrats to the newlyweds!

New tagline they should consider:  "Fiji...one of the few places you can probably get by without your luggage."

New tagline they should consider: "Fiji...one of the few places you can probably get by without your luggage."