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Baton Rouge: Gumbo AND the World’s Oldest Dog

August 31, 2009 | Posted in: Deals,Destinations,Pets | 1 comment

My editor dared me to post this one.

She was looking at flights to Baton Rouge – and found some great deals – but she also found this story about a mutt named Max, who lives nearby in New Iberia.

Max just turned 26.

According to the UK’s Telegraph (and don’t ask me why a British paper is covering a Louisiana dog), that makes Max 182 years old in dog years – the equivalent of being born when John Quincy Adams was president.

If you want to give a shout out to Max, or just enjoy the many delights of Baton Rouge (gumbo! jambalaya! crawfish etouffee!), check out these great roundtrip fares:

New York to Baton Rouge, $271

Chicago to Baton Rouge, $276

Dallas to Baton Rouge, $203

Rare Insect Arrives in Florida — Uninvited, Unwanted

August 31, 2009 | Posted in: Airline News,Pets,Security | 1 comment

A slim, brown, antenna-ed insect decided to hop a ride from his (or her) home in South Africa to Miami International last week – where it was discovered by customs officials in a shipment of cut flowers.

Click here to see a photo – an acquaintance from the Midwest told me, “It looks just like a lightning bug” – well, sort of.

It is actually an Uttaris pallidipennis Stal which, as we all know, is a member of the Hemiptera species. Here’s what we don’t know – its favorite food. And that could be a problem.

The good news, according to the Miami Herald is, South Africans do not classify this thing as a pest. But what if South Africans have a greater tolerance for creepy bugs than we do? Authorities, meanwhile, have remanded the Uttaris to custody. No bail has been set.

Alert: Hurricane Jimena Headed to Baja (See Map)

August 31, 2009 | Posted in: Airline News,Storms,Travel Safety,Weather | 0 comments

If you have plans to head to Baja California in Mexico this week, stay on top of the news – and check with the National Hurricane Center: click on the “Eastern Pacific” tab to learn more about Hurricane Jimena.

At the moment, there are hurricane warnings out for Baja, home to La Paz – but things can and do change, so if you’re planning a visit – check with your airline frequently. Your carrier’s website is the place to learn about cancellations, refunds, and travel alternatives.

The map below is courtesy the NHC – an excellent resource for travelers and weather watchers.

First Person: “I’m in Hawaii — Never Thought I Could Afford It!”

August 31, 2009 | Posted in: Airfare News,Deals,Travel Tips,United | 2 comments

Editor’s note: Paula is an employee of FareCompare, but as Rick says, “I didn’t lift a finger to get her this deal. I didn’t need to.” That’s Paula pictured at left with one of her kids, on her way from Dallas to Honolulu – and here is her story:

Paula: “In the past, all family vacations have been planned and researched well in advance-and involved driving not flying. It is a necessity of budget and sanity when my husband and I travel with 3 little boys.”

But this summer, the family decided flights were cheap enough so they could afford to fly – at least to someplace nearby.

Paula: “I knew to start with signing up for alerts from FareCompare.com where I would get notified of deals that occurred during the summer months.”

“Being practical, I chose cities that historically dipped to my budget range like St. Louis, San Antonio or Orlando, and I found great prices, but then while monitoring FareCompare’s Deals Blog, I saw a deal for $276 roundtrip to Honolulu from my home in Dallas!”

“San Antonio or Honolulu? As my 5th grader would say, what a ‘no-brainer’. I purchased our tickets that afternoon. When I checked later that evening, the deal was gone. I felt like such a smart shopper!”

Paula is in Hawaii now – picture coming up, so keep reading…
First Person: “I’m in Hawaii — Never Thought I Could Afford It!”

Hey, it’s Friday – How to ABSOLUTELY Avoid Bag Fees

August 28, 2009 | Posted in: Airline News,Destinations | 4 comments

This made me laugh.

A writer with the Dallas Examiner.com blogged about her increasing frustration with bag fees – and clearly, this scribe is a woman who usually checks a bag (or two).

At the end of her polite rant, she sort of shrugged her shoulders and said, there are really only a few places one can go where a small carryon holds everything you need. Ready? Nude beaches.

Well, I’m sure I’ll hear from the Naked Lobby about this, but – personally, I’m sticking with clothing-mandatory destinations.

Have a good weekend – wherever you go!

Southwest Says, It’s Not Too Late for Labor Day Deals

August 28, 2009 | Posted in: Airfare News,Deals,Holiday Travel,Southwest | 0 comments

Southwest Airlines has some last minute Labor Day getaway deals, like Chicago to Ft. Lauderdale — for $164 one-way. I expect to see some matching.

And here’s the easiest (and quickest) way I know to find the best deals to your favorite destinations — from your airport:

Go to FareCompare’s deal finder – it’s actually fun to use! – and you’ll always come away a winner.

Remember, this year Labor Day falls on Sept. 7.

Air Travel Site of the Year – Popular Mechanics?

August 27, 2009 | Posted in: Airline News,Travel Tips | 0 comments

Don’t laugh. Popular Mechanics, the do-it-yourselfers’ magazine first published in 1902 – featuring must-read’s like “100 Skills Every Man Should Know” – is now tackling some of our current air travel woes.

Actually, writer Chris Sweeney lists the worst air travel problems – followed by proposed solutions – and grades it accordingly.

There’s the problem of “limited seating” on planes; we all recall Ryanair’s solution to that -standing room only. But as Popular Mechanic’s Sweeney points out, that’s an excellent way for people to get maimed or otherwise injured during turbulence.

Keep reading for more – including the one I believe Popular Mechanics got wrong.
Air Travel Site of the Year – Popular Mechanics?

August Birthdays: Fly in & Help Your Favorite Celeb Celebrate

August 27, 2009 | Posted in: Airfare News,Deals,Destinations | 0 comments

Do something outrageous – like visit your favorite famous-person to help him/her celebrate a birthday! The birthday has already passed? Please – it’s never too late for cake.

But if this seems a tad stalker-ish to you, then how about visiting the city he or she is associated with? Some ideas to get you started (and how to find cheap flights, below):

Aug. 3 – Tony Bennett: By now, even he probably thinks he lives in San Francisco

Aug. 5 – Neil Armstrong: First he went to Purdue, and later the moon – unfortunately, there are no moon flights, so head Indianapolis (well, it’s close to Purdue) and pretend you see craters

Aug. 15 – Napoleon: Soldier, emperor, megalomaniac – hey, any excuse to party in Paris

Aug. 16 – Madonna: She’s on her Sticky & Sweet tour – if you don’t catch her at the final stop in Tel Aviv, just wait for 2010′s tour– or 2011′s — or 2012′s…

Aug. 16 – Steve Carell: I don’t know where the actor lives but Michael Scott is King of Scranton

Aug. 17 – Davy Crockett: we’ll never forget him or the Alamo (which, in case you’ve forgotten, is in San Antonio)

How to get to these cities cheaply? 1) Go to FareCompare’s deal finder. 2) Add your departure city and destination. 3) Add the month you want to travel and your price limit; 4) Click the “Find My Deal” button – and get ready to blow out some candles.

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