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A Few Real-World Travel Tips That Don't Require Faking a Peanut Allergy or Bad Business Cards

March 20, 2015 at 1:42 PM | by | Comments (0)

By now you've all probably seen or heard of this ridiculous video from a faux socialite, named, well, you'll see if you watch the video.

He made headlines yesterday with his obnoxious first class travel hacks that included tips such as booking a refundable plane ticket just to get lounge access then canceling the ticket before the flight takes off; faking a peanut allergy to get a seat change; printing fake business cards to take advantage of corporate rates and finding the weakest hotel employee to badger for a suite upgrade.

If his fake tan, Hermes belt or girlfriend who flashes her breasts in biz class doesn't turn you off, then you might actually make it all the way through this largely pointless video. (At the end, he does redeem himself, only slightly, to say that he tips the people who take care of him very well.)

While people have been faking life-threatening scenarios or pretending to be more important than they really are for ages now to get upgrades (see also, travel "journalists" who promise coverage to publications they've never written for in exchange for free trips or actual journalists who think they can threaten PR with no coverage unless they get the upgrades they want), this video is sure to infuriate the hotel and airline industries for exposing holes in their system and for manipulating employees who are just trying to do their job.

However, as this Frank Abagnale-wanna-be says, these "tips" do require a lot of chutz pah to pull off and not everyone is gonna be up to such a long con. (Besides, we'd rather sit in the middle seat in coach than up in first with him.)

So disregard all that, and instead read some of our real-world tips on getting what you want while traveling, as culled from Travel Tips Archives of Jaunted, HotelChatter and VegasChatter.

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The Difference Between South Lake Tahoe's Big Four Casinos

March 20, 2015 at 1:05 PM | by | Comments (0)

South Lake's newest casino resort, the Hard Rock Hotel, opened just over a month ago

California owns most of South Lake Tahoe, but Nevada arguably gets the most bang for its buck because of its casino-friendly laws that make Nevada's Tahoe a lot different than California's. We described in detail the incredible differences between the two states' laws when it comes to nightlife, and now we want to take a peek inside Nevada's main draw - the casinos - and see how they do things differently.

The "big four" are all located adjacent to one another, yet the crowds and offerings you'll find in each are by no means similar:

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10 Words You May Actually Use on Your Next Trip Abroad

March 20, 2015 at 11:30 AM | by | Comments (0)

Travel evokes thoughts and emotions you may otherwise never experience. The breathtaking northern lights in Lofoten, Norway. Witnessing the perfect rainbow on Skye (pictured above.) Or the obvious tourist feeling you get when you can’t order a crepe in Paris (the French word for that is "Dépaysement," if you’re curious.)

Sometimes the English language can’t quite capture these surreal experiences—there’s a reason we’ve adopted words like "wanderlust."

Although we’d love to include words already integrated into English like "schadenfreude," and words that don’t 100% pertain to travel like "Kummerspeck," (Grief bacon/fat, the German word for weight you gain from overeating while upset) or "Shahat" (Tunisian word to get drunk by sniffing shoe polish), here are 10 words you may actually use during your next vacation abroad.

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The U.S. Mobile Passport App Wants to Get You Through Customs Faster

March 20, 2015 at 10:16 AM | by | Comments (0)

Automated passport kiosks aren’t anything new, and in fact they continue to pop up here, there, and everywhere to streamline the customs clearance process. Well now there’s another technology tidbit joining the process, as Custom and Border Protection is now offering up a mobile app to help keep things moving along.

Available in both Apple and Android flavors the Mobile Passport App helps you enter details in advance, and in theory will do its best to expedite your return back into the nifty fifty. Basically the app eliminates the need for some of the traditional forms, and you’ll be able to tap, swipe, and enter your passport information electronically.

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How to Handle the Dreaded Trip Back Home Like The Real Adult That You Are

March 19, 2015 at 6:31 PM | by | Comments (0)

With Spring Break on the horizon, as well as Easter and Passover, many of you might be heading out for a much-needed vacation. But some of you might be heading home. Our Millennial contributor, TipsyTraveler, has some tips on how to deal with that trip like the real adult that you are. Or at least, that you think you are.

We travel a lot in today’s society. Some of us travel for work, some of us travel just for mileage runs funsies. But for many of us, there was a point in our lives where we practically needed to travel…to get away from home (and never come back).

I’m from a medium-sized Midwestern town. I used to make fun of it a lot. Still do. For as long as I can remember, getting out of there was my only goal in life. Once I finally did (oh what a happy day), I began to develop that nostalgic appreciation for my hometown and the life I once knew there. Some days, I’d even describe the geography of my upbringing as quaint. But no matter how many positive memories I conjure up, it’s never enough for me to actually want to go back. At least not permanently.

Every now and then though, we have to go back. Maybe it’s for a best friend’s wedding or a sibling’s graduation. Maybe a new life was brought into your family, or maybe one was taken away. No matter the circumstance, even if it’s a good one, the mere idea of revisiting your hometown can cause night sweats.

I’ve found myself on various visits back in my childhood bedroom screaming into a pillow because ohmygodwhyamIbackhere. What do you do when the new baby nephew you came home to meet is tired and wants to sleep the rest of the day? What do you do when you fly home for Thanksgiving but Thanksgiving is just one night of gluttony yet you had to book a 6-day trip because travel costs are seriously messed up during the holidays?

No matter the scenario, if you have to go back home and you really don’t want to, try some of the below advice. Rather than drown in a sea of woe, you might as well make the most of it…even if the most you can make is sandwich that you didn’t have to buy ingredients for because your mom stocked up the fridge in honor of your triumphant return.

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Throwback Thursday: The Fast Way to the Philippines in 1947

March 19, 2015 at 4:22 PM | by | Comments (0)

Sure, we love all the speed and comfort of modern travel, but it didn't get that way overnight. Every Thursday, we're going to take a look back at travel the way it used to be, whether that's decades or centuries ago. This is Throwback Thursday, travel edition.

It wasn't all that long ago that the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) lifted the ban on airlines from the Philippines owing the country's abysmal aviation safety record. In fact, that was only last year. Still, it's taken a little time to coordinate a return of flights, and now Philippine Airlines renewed flights to New York only this week (via Vancouver). The flight time will be approximately 18.5 hours.

That's modernity for you, as this vintage ad (placed in The Atlantic in 1947) advertises that "the Philippines are coming closer," thanks to a more liberal government and new inclusion in the Round The World voyage on American President Lines. That voyage, mind you, includes port calls at 23 ports in 14 countries, and you can bet it's longer than 18.5 hours. Try several months at sea before Manila.

[Photo: jbcurio]

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5 Differences Between Nevada and California 'Partying' Laws in South Lake Tahoe

March 19, 2015 at 1:00 PM | by | Comment (1)

Driving down the main drag towards the Nevada State line in South Lake Tahoe

Most of South Lake Tahoe is owned by California, but the very eastern tip is property of Nevada. The road that runs along the border between the two states is appropriately named Stateline Avenue, and as you cruise east on the Lincoln Highway, it will be very easy to know when you are nearing the border. Especially at night.

The two states operate under two very different approaches that are never more evident than they are in the town's nightlife,when the casino lights come on and locals and tourists alike begin to imbibe.

Travelers heading out for the night should be aware of a few contrasts of the law that exist within a block of each other. Drinking in public is okay in Nevada, but a ticketed offense in California, for example. Here are the main differences to keep in mind as you head out for the night in South Lake:

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SXSW Is Bringing Art to The Streets of Austin This Week

March 19, 2015 at 11:48 AM | by | Comments (0)

In addition to film, technology and music, SXSW is also showcasing rising talents and established artists throughout Austin, Texas this week.

Part of this year's Art at SXSW initiative includes a collaboration between POW! WOW! Hawaii, a global network of artists, and SprATX, an Austin-based art collective, to create several mural installations around downtown Austin.

Participating POW! WOW! artists Tatiana Suarez, Yoskay Yamamoto, Rone and Meggs, along with Austin locals Mouf, Truth, Lucas Aoki and Ana Maria, will continue working on The Impossible Wall Project through Sunday, March 22 at 10:00 PM.

You can check out the murals for free at Brick Oven located at 1209 Red River St, Megalomedia at 901 Barton Springs Rd, on Cesar Chavez Street at 1619 E Cesar Chavez St and the Spider House, located at 2908 Fruth St.

Can't make it to Austin? You can follow the artists' progress with @Spratx/Instagram.

[Photo: Instagram]

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As Spring Skiing Begins, Heavenly's Groomer DJ Booth Gets the Party Pumping

Where: 4080 Lake Tahoe Boulevard [map], South Lake Tahoe , California/Nevada, United States, 96150
March 19, 2015 at 10:30 AM | by | Comments (0)

Heavenly converted a ski groomer into a DJ booth

Lake Tahoe, like many ski areas across the country, have had a tough winter in terms of total snow accumulation. South Lake Tahoe's Heavenly Resort has relied on its snow-making system - one of the country's best - and the epic views to stay in good spirits. This past weekend, those views combined with sunny skies and soft snow to kick off the spring skiing a month early. And with spring skiing comes a refocused mindset, one that switches the emphasis from the number of runs to the number of beers.

South Lake Tahoe is no stranger to a good party. Split between Nevada and California, casinos and clubs mingle with a hang loose mentality to create a party atmosphere both on and off the hill. In one of the more creative efforts we've seen by a ski area in past years, Heavenly converted one of its ski groomers into a DJ booth. It can be moved around the mountain for different events, but typically finds itself parked outside of the Unbuckle Après Party at Tamarack Lodge (which, for the record, is the only on-mountain apres party we've seen that has go-go dancers).

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How a Scuba Dive in Kauai Just Became Our Favorite Ever

March 18, 2015 at 5:18 PM | by | Comment (1)

Dear snorkelers and scuba divers:

Have you ever experienced a trip out into the water which was so impressive, effortless, and magical that you just know you'll be comparing all future water adventures to it?

Such was our recent experience during a dive off the south coast of Kauai, Hawaii, with the island's Seasport Divers.

What made it special enough to become the best scuba dive of our lives (so far)? During the long, long flight home from Hawaii, we boiled down the exceptional experience to 8 factors to look in every future dive:

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Thanks to a Pesky Volcano, There's Now More of Tonga to See

Where: Tonga
March 18, 2015 at 4:54 PM | by | Comments (0)

We're usually not overly excited to talk about how volcanoes affect travel plans; it gives bad flashbacks to a certain Icelandic mountain that basically stopped any type of trans-Atlantic air travel in the Spring of 2010.

Forget all that nonsense for a moment and let's talk about a new island in the archipelago of Tonga in the South Pacific.

Only a few months ago, the Polynesian nation was comprised of 177 islands. But after the Hunga Ha'apai volcano began erupting back in January, the resulting lava flow formed a narrow strip of land about a half mile wide and a 3/4 of a mile long. Now that the seismic activity is complete, visitors are flocking to the island to be some of the first people to step on this newly formed land-mass. Not a bad result after lying dormant for five years. (Tourism boards, take note!)

Still, we wouldn't necessarily start planning your next vacation dreaming of white sands, poolside afternoons and fruity cocktails.

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What It's Like Running a Hotel At Sea: Celebrity Reflection's Hotel Director Tells (Almost) All

March 18, 2015 at 10:45 AM | by | Comments (0)

Have you ever wondered what it's like to run a hotel at sea as compared to one on land? Well this is the kind of thing that occupies this writer’s brain so I took some time during my vacation aboard Celebrity Reflection to speak with the ship’s Hotel Director (because yes – they have that), Jamie Petts, to get the inside scoop.

Like a hotel GM, a ship’s Hotel Director oversees pretty much everything to do with running a regular hotel including F&B, housekeeping and guest services. But unlike a GM who also looks after revenue and bookings, Jamie’s concerns are more hands-on: getting 3,000 people off the boat and back on 25-minutes later, whether the tenders are working properly and if the pools can open on time due to rough seas.

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