Tag: Travel Trends

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Free Tickets All Around

November 19, 2008 at 11:14 AM | by | Comments (3)

Now this is a trend we can get behind: In the face of a recession, companies are giving away tickets to keep people traveling.

In Mexico, VivaAerobus is giving away seats on certain flights to its hub in Monterrey. You'll have to pick up taxes and fees, but your flight from Austin, Cancun or Puerto Vallarta will be fare-free. And even if you want to connect in Monterrey to another flight, you won't be spending much: One-way tickets start at about $30.

In the US, Megabus will be giving away 100,000 free seats starting today for travel January 14-March 18, 2009. Just type in the promo code "greenbus" to see if your dates and routes are eligible. We randomly picked a trip between New York and Baltimore on January 15 and found six trips with free seats out of 14 daily departures. (Of course, the other trips were priced at $1 and $4, but still!)

And in Europe, Ryanair's 1 million free seat promotion continues until Friday. As usual, you'll cover the taxes and fees--and might get slapped with additional fees if you're not careful about the weight of your luggage--but the upside is a "free" flight. Even better? The carrier has a handy PDF of all the current availabilities so you don't waste your afternoon digging through city pairs and departure times.

Related Stories:
· Free Seats to Mexico [Airfare Watchdog]
· Megabus [Official Site]
· Ryanair [Official Site]
· Travel Trends coverage [Jaunted]

[Photo: Megabus]

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Cartagena's Cuisine Revival

October 27, 2008 at 9:15 AM | by | Comments (0)

When Cartagena, Colombia comes up in a convo it's often replete with references to Pablo Escobar, marching powder and imitation accents. It's hardly ever paired with hip bistros, authentic seafood fare, bright veggies mixed with pungent spices and refreshing mojitos.

But The New York Times begs us this week to look at that side of Cartagena, one that's rapidly making a mark on the (very) competitive foodie scene. The tropical city is home to some of the area's freshest fish, inventive, hip chefs and discerning diners. Folks that once headed to Paris and Rome for culinary vacations, the Times says, are re-thinking Cartagena.

Read on for some of the city's most amazing (and upcoming) new restaurants, and trust us, drop the "Romancing the Stone" references when you make your reservations:

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Three Is a Trend: Billboard-Free Cities

September 10, 2008 at 3:30 PM | by | Comment (1)

A billboard ban--called an act against "visual pollution" by the mayor--went into effect on January 1, 2007 in São Paulo. And what the Brazilian city started could soon become a global trend.

In China, the well-touristed city of Xi'an has just announced it will remove advertising from its historic center as part of a broader plan to spruce up the imperial capital. Meanwhile in Cleveland, some government officials are trying to reign in billboards using a legal clause already on the city's books.

Other South American cities including Buenos Aires, Rio de Janeiro and Brasilia are looking into the idea of ending outdoor advertising, too. Could billboard prohibition be the new smoking ban?

Related Stories:
· Billboards Gotta Go in Xi'an [IT]
· Advertising Rage [Cleveland Scene]
· Clearing the Air [OTM]
· Advertising coverage [Jaunted]

[Photo of São Paulo: andredeak]

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Open Arms Travel: Japan Invites You to World Cosplay Summit

Where: Nagoya, Japan
July 31, 2008 at 2:00 PM | by | Comment (1)

Give me your tired, your poor, your costumed masses yearning to break free: Japan welcomes wacky performance artists everywhere to the World Cosplay Summit held this Saturday and Sunday, at which presumably cosplayers will issue a statement solving the problems of the world.

In all (or most) seriousness, the event, which includes a parade and the ominously named World Cosplay Championship, marks a turning point in Japanese attitudes toward visitors.

Where tourism offices may have once been cool to anime-crazy foreigners, it recognizes now that they're a lucrative market, as your local Hot Topic knows. As the event's website proclaims:

These young people who know Japan from manga say... JAPAN is COOL!

Related Stories:
· World Cosplay Summit [Official Site]
· Japan Gives State Welcome to Cosplayers [AFP]
· Travel Trends coverage [Jaunted]

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Keep Your Trunks on Travel: NJ's Prudish Beach

May 1, 2008 at 11:15 AM | by | Comments (0)

Last we heard, naked vacations were the newest hotness. Now The New York Times says at least one beach town isn't getting in on the latest vacation "trend." So if the idea of cavorting nekkid with other tourists isn't your idea of fun, perhaps you'll be more comfortable in Long Beach, New Jersey.

The beach town has just passed an ordinance outlawing:

The change of clothes in any public area or public street unless within a permanent enclosed structure.

Doesn't sound too draconian, really, until you realize that just about everyone in town--locals and visitors alike--hit the beach as often as possible. And since wet suits and swim trunks don't mix, that means, yep, some people change on the beach.

Locals are split on the new rule, as it satisfies some tourists (the prudes) while causing headaches for others (the surfers). But while other people have mixed feelings on the ordinance, Surfrider Foundation manager John Weber has his mind made up on how important it is:

I'd like to fight the polluters and doers of evil, but we've got to fight about people changing their wet suits.

Related Stories:
· A Beach Where Discretion Is More Than Just Advised [NYT]
· No Shoes, No Shirt, No Worries [NYT]
· Beaches coverage [Jaunted]

[Photo: john w]

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Jaunted Interview: Chatting with Stephanie Oswald

April 24, 2008 at 10:30 AM | by | Comments (0)

If you didn't know by now, girlfriend getaways are the hottest thing going in the travel world. The trend has already spawned a magazine and a website and now, clearly, it's time for the TV show.

Host Stephanie Oswald's All-Girl Getaways debuts tonight on the Fine Living Network, so we wanted to ask her: Is it just gonna be spas and pampering? And is this whole trend contrived? Her answers, and the bonus story of the last crazy meal she ate on camera, are after the jump.

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Travel Tech Gear: Flip Video is the New iPod

March 20, 2008 at 1:47 PM | by | Comment (1)

Earlier this month, on our field trip to Puerto Rico, we ran into the Flip Video camera for the first time. A fellow traveller raved about their tiny, utilitarian video machine. It is the size of a small digital camera, but you hold it vertically when shooting.

We were confused. How was this little Flip different from every other digital camera with the ability to shoot video? The answer seemed to be its simplicity. No stills, a tiny 1.5 inch screen, no memory card, no menus, or settings, just this neat little USB jack that pops out right from the camera. The owner of this particular Flip camera was most impressed with this built in jack. "No wires or connection issues", she almost shouted. Hmm.

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Southwest CEO Predicts "An Interesting 2008"

December 20, 2007 at 2:00 PM | by | Comments (0)

We certainly have an obsession with interviewing travel trendwatchers like Peter Greenberg and airline CEOs like Fred Reid. Sadly, we can't score all the gets. But we can tell you what Southwest Airlines CEO Gary Kelly had to say in a recent interview with The Dallas Morning News.

Most importantly for his company, Kelly says Southwest is ready for high fuel prices and an economic slowdown--both definite possibilities for next year:

We've got a great fuel hedge this year. It's not quite as good next year, but it's still very good and certainly provides us tremendous protection. We're 70 percent hedged next year at about $50 a barrel...We've slowed down our growth to be prepared for a more difficult economic environment next year...In terms of the fleet, that will be a net of between five to 10 airplanes.

That puts Southwest at odds with European low cost carriers--and the newest point-to-point LCC in the States, Skybus, who's busy adding lots of new routes and new planes. While Kelly doesn't name names, he does say:

We are not going in a direction like some of our European counterparts who, they don't capitalize "C" in customer, I assure you. It's just a very different approach. It's a desire to be cheap at all costs. And that's not who we are or where we're coming from.

With ruthless competition between price point and customer service, looks like Kelly could be right when he says, "It'll be an interesting 2008." If you wanna talk travel with us, Gary, be in touch!

Related Stories:
· Southwest's Gary Kelly Says Airline Acquisitions Possible [DMN]
· Southwest CEO Makes His Case on YouTube [Jaunted]
· Southwest Airlines coverage [Jaunted]

[Photo: StuSeeger]

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Jaunted Interview: Chatting with Fred Reid

December 6, 2007 at 9:00 AM | by | Comments (0)

A Jaunted Exclusive

Tuesday night Virgin America threw its holiday party and the airline toasted CEO Fred Reid by naming its very first aircraft in his honor: The A320 in question will now be known as Fred, White and Blue.

The current chief is riding off into the sunset soon, but we couldn't let him escape before asking his thoughts on the Department of Transportations plans to regulate takeoff and landing slots at JFK--something that could have a profound effect on new airlines like Virgin America.

Fred's take on travel hell, the New York market and growing grapes.

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Jaunted Interview: Chatting with Tim and Nina Zagat

November 19, 2007 at 3:30 PM | by | Comments (0)

Late last week we sat down with Tim and Nina Zagat, former lawyers who were dealing in user-generated content before anyone dreamed of YouTube. Their guides to restaurants, nightlife, hotels and attractions (and more) rely on the first-hand reviews of people around the world--which explains those quotation marks you'll always find in their guides. As Tim says, "We're giving anybody who really cares about something the opportunity to be heard."

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Jaunted Interview: Chatting with Peter Greenberg

October 15, 2007 at 9:35 AM | by | Comments (2)

Late last week we got a chance to sit down with Today Show travel editor Peter Greenberg to chat about airlines, hotels, Kyla and his new book, The Complete Travel Detective Bible. This is one serious travel tome: It appeared on the New York Times Best Seller list just one week after it went on sale. Peter's mission is to keep travelers from getting abused on the road, something we definitely wanted to know more about since, as he says, "There are about 47 different points of abuse from the time you decide to go somewhere until the time you limp back home."

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iPod Audio Tours Taking Over New York

October 1, 2007 at 4:31 PM | by | Comments (0)

True, podcasts and narrated tours have been on the travel radar for awhile now. But it would take more patience than we have on an average vacation to listen to all of them, good and bad. Fortunately, New York Times writer Seth Kugel digs up gems for a living and found some of the best podcast tours of the Big Apple.

He's particularly fond of a series called Soundwalk, with its multiple tours of the city's neighborhoods. The Chinatown walking tour is particularly cool:

Jami Gong, activist, comedian and Chinatown native, leads you on a refreshingly disorienting jaunt to semihidden shops, into alleys and through Doyers Street, a jagged block no Chinatown visitor should miss but most do.

He'll guide you into a teahouse and tell you to look for the owner, Mr. Wong, reading the newspaper. "He's been sitting there and reading the newspaper forever," Mr. Gong says into your ear. And there's Mr. Wong reading the newspaper in front of your eyes.

We also have to mention the MoMA Audio Guides that Seth name checks, too. Created by college students tired of wonky art museum audio guides, you'll be chuckling while learning about modern art with these tours. And iPod's a lot easier to listen to in the museum than your cell phone.

Related Stories:
· Soundwalk [Official Site]
· MoMA Audio Guides [Official Site]
· Your Ear Can Be Your Guide [NYT]
· Podcast Tour of San Francisco, Sans Segway [Jaunted]

[Photo: Zengame]