Category Archives: Travel (General)

7 Secret Passenger Rights

We already feel like airlines are screwing us enough. Add long delays, overbooked flights, lost bags, and it turns into hell on runway. But there’s a silver lining, if you know what to ask for. Here are seven ways to get even.

Get refunded for bumping It’s hard not to freak out when you’re bumped off an oversold flight. But remember this: you can get paid back. According to the Department of Transportation, if you get to your destination between one and two hours of your original arrival time on a domestic flight, or between one and four hours on an international trip, the airline owes you 200 percent of the one-way fare (up to $675). If you arrive more than four hours later than planned, you’ll pocket 400 percent of the ticket (up to $1,350). Still can’t believe it? An AirHelp study found that the average payout is $643.

Ask for cash not flight vouchers Don’t let an airline ever give you a voucher for a bumped flight, or any other inconvenience. Vouchers are like Monopoly money. They look good on paper, but they’re not as useful in reality. Your best bet? Ask for cash or a check because credits almost always come with strings attached (i.e. blackout dates). So before you pass go, collect your $200 — in cash.

Opt out of a tarmac delay So you’re stuck on the runway, forced to watch Taken for the fifth time as the hours tick by. (No offense, Liam.) Lucky for you, you can’t be held on a delayed plane for more than three hours on domestic flights or four hours on international routes (if you don’t want to be at least). Airlines are also obligated to update passengers every 30 minutes, and serve food and water after a two-hour wait. Pass the pretzels.

Cancel tickets for free Got a bad case of buyer’s remorse? Don’t worry, most airlines allow you to cancel or change your ticket within 24 hours for a full refund. In fact, on some carriers (like Southwest) you can even change plans until right before boarding at no charge. But there are some exceptions. Take American Airlines: You can hold a ticket up to 24 hours, but once you book, you’re locked in. Also, keep in mind that third-party sites like Kayak and Expedia have their own set of rules, too.

Pay back for itinerary changes When flights are delayed, rescheduled or canceled, many passengers are forced to rearrange transportation. In situations like these, the airline must either cover all the expenses and fees to reroute you or give you a full refund — even if you bought a non-refundable ticket or were rebooked on a different carrier. So, if the only seat left on the next flight out is first-class, it’s yours without costing a cent. More champagne, please.

Snag a hotel voucher This will be the last time you’ll ever have to sleep at the gate, or worse, on the terminal floor. Airlines are required to offer free accommodations if you’re stuck overnight involuntarily. Just don’t expect the Ritz. These hotel vouchers can be claimed at any time, meaning if you decide to stay with friends instead of a Holiday Inn, you are still entitled to the coupon. It’s also worth asking if they’ll cover meals as well.

Cash in for lost luggage If your checked bag is lost, delayed or damaged, don’t settle for the small $50 sum you’re usually offered. Depending on how much your items were worth and how long your bags are MIA, you could be repaid up to $3,500 per passenger in liability for a domestic U.S. trip, and up to $1,675 on international flights. Hello, shopping spree.

 

By Chelsea Bengier reprinted from Smarter Travel

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The Fall ’14: 14 Things to do in NYC this Autumn

It’s my favorite time of year in New York: the moment between summer-weekends away and the Holiday season.

If you blink, you might miss it.

Here are my 14 top things to do and places to go, eat, and drink for Autumn 2014 in NYC.  (A broad @ home)

Am I missing anything? let me know in the comments

NY-Autumn-9

Do

1.  New Yorker festival  (October 10-12)  In its 15th year, covering a range of topics, with some of the most notable people.  I’m thinking Lena Dunham or Mindy Kaling — any takers?

2. DONE! Barry’s Bootcamp  – I’d always been too intimidated to try this workout, but thanks to a few fit friends (ahem, AD), I now worship at the altar of the Barry’s Bootcamps.  Layla Luciano’s 12:45 pm Saturday workout is, hands down, the best workout I’ve ever had.

3.  DONE! Jeff Koons Retrospective at the Whitney (until October 19th)   “Jeff Koons is widely regarded as one of the most important, influential, popular, and controversial artists of the postwar era…This exhibition will be the artist’s first major museum presentation in New York”  How I didn’t make it this summer is beyond me

One of the best-curated exhibits I’ve been to in a long time. Do not forget to use the free “ipod-touch”-esque guide given out in the Lobby to hear Koons’ own thoughts on the different exhibits and pieces.  Do not miss!

4.  DONE! The Moth – This open-mic-put-your-name-in-a-hat-and-get-called-up-to-tell-a-story-in-front-of-hundreds-of-strangers-event was one of the best nights I’ve had in a long time.  Cannot wait to go back. – True Stories. Told Live.  H/t to CK for the suggestion.  (October 6 StorySlam, Theme: Hunger)

5.  Celebrate Oktoberfest  Ok, so it’s not quite the same as going to Germany, but in the spirit of A broad at Home, I want to check out some of the newer beer gardens that will be celebrating Bavarian brews & pretzels.  Particularly this one at Zum Schneider (October 3-12). 

6.  DONE! Jay Z @ Global Citizen Festival, (September 27 ): If you want some snark, ask me what I thought of this event.  Luckily, it was a beautiful day spent in Central Park w one of my favorite people.

7.  Upstate Escape: Daytrip to Cold Spring.  Thanks, Sosh, for the inspiration. 

8.  Greenwood Cemetery.  I’m having a total Baader Meinhof moment with the Greenwood Cemetery.  I’d never heard of it and now it seems to be everywhere.  478 acres of p ublic green space from a time before New York had public parks.  Apparently, it is filled with famous residents and has a ton of wild parrots that live over one of the gates. Seems like a good adventure around Halloween while the weather is still nice.  

9. DONE! Matisse Cut-Outs Exhibit at the MoMA.  Totally joyous, beautiful exhibit of Matisse’s ahead-of-his-time “drawing with scissors.”  Didn’t hurt that it was free with my CUID. (Oct 12-Feb 8)

Eat & Drink

10. DONE!  Ivan Ramen  My obsession with ramen only increased after my 2013 trip to Japan and this sraight-from Tokyo LES notable newcomer has a vegetarian-broth base on the menu that will make it one of my first stops this fall 

11.  Barcade  $0.25 arcade games  (Ninja Turtles!) + tator tots + 20+ microbrews… in my neighborhood?  Sign me up.  The Williamsburg bar just opened up an outpost in Chelsea. As long as my brothers aren’t hogging the NES console, pretty much sounds like my happy place.    

12.   DONE!  Dear Irving  this cocktail parlor on Irving Place is the newest creation from the team behind Raines Law Room.  Rumored to be inspired by Midnight in Paris, I’m just having trouble deciding whether to start with The Godfather Part 2 or the Whiskey Business  — 

Possibly the best new date spot in the city — reservations are highly recommended.  Oh, and all of the whiskey-based drinks are awesome.  A particular favorite is their pear-infused take on the Gold Rush.

13. Attaboy  The crisp air makes it easy to trade in rooftop summer nights for cozying up in one of NYC’s many, many speakeasies.  Nope, that’s right, we here in Manhattan are still not over the cocktail + speakeasy craze.  Attaboy is in the original Milk & Honey LES space (brought to us by that very same team!), with the same knock-and-buzz entrance and mixologists-extraoirdinaire.   

14.  Miss Favela – now that I live downtown & venturing to brooklyn is no longer such a schlep, it’s time to visit Miss Favela, the Brazilian comfort food spot in Williamsburg, known for its caipirinhas as much as live Samba music on Saturdays  

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Balkans Road Trip

It’s about that time of year again, when I realize how long it has been since my last adventure.  Wanderlust has set in with full force and so I did what I always do and booked tickets.

With an arrival in Belgrade, Serbia and a departure from Podgorica, Montenegro the following week…are you thinking what I’m thinking (of course you are, it’s in the title): Balkans Road Trip!

Ideas for places to stay & things to do are always welcome!

balkans-political mapped

 

April 26: Belgrade, Serbia
April 27: Belgrade, Serbia
April 28: road trip to Sarajevo, Bosnia & Herzegovina with a stop in Srebrenica
April 29: Sarajevo, Bosnia & Herzegovina
April 30, Sarajevo, Bosnia & Herzegovina
May 1: Mostar, Bosnia & Herzegovina
May 2 Kotor, Montenegro
May 3: Kotor/Budva/Sveti Stefan, Montenegro
May 4: Depart from Podgorica, Montenegro

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My 5 Favorite (Unnecessary but Totally Wonderful) Travel Gifts for the Jetsetter

With Hanukkah just 2 weeks away (eek!) & Christmas not far after , it’s time to start thinking about adding gifts to the online shopping cart.  I wrote the below in February & not only is it just as relevant, but Tory Burch just renewed the amazing passport holder!  Perfect!

2 years ago, on my Around the World trip, I wrote this list detailing my favorite travel things.  And anyone who has ever traveled with me will tell you, I don’t board a plane without those items.  Ear plugs, tiger balm, sleep sack, Kindle…each of the items on that list is a travel must* for me.

So if those are the items I needhere is a list of the items I simply love.  For form, function, beauty and whimsy, here are the Top 5 items I love right now  – which make the perfect holiday gift for your jetsetter.

things I love

  • ONE – pink and white striped laundry bag from Etsy; perfect size to fold up into your carry on and fill along the way  {$22.50}
  • TWO – Cheeky travel pouch from Flight 001; I use for all of my plugs, adapters & cords – perfect for cosmetics, toiletries, jewelry, and of course – medication! {$16}
  • THREE  – Passport holder + wallet from Tory Burch.  Perfect size to hold my credit cards, cash, itinerary + passport all in one place; the color pops making it easy to find in my purse!  This is my new favorite travel accessory.  {$135}
  • FOUR – iPhone backup battery from J. Crew.  Just what you need to give your iPhone a few more hours of life. I received one this year as a holiday gift from 2 of A’s nieces and it has been a lifesaver for traveling! {$39.50 SALE! $21.50}
  • FIVE – tiny speaker with big sound available from Amazon; perfectly portable with great sound for listening to music with friends on trips – and a great value at {$16}

*aside from the Lush Shampoo which is reserved for backpacking trips)

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Traveling vs. Taking a Vacation: “The Art of Relaxation”

Conde Nast Traveler’s June Edition has a piece by one of my all-time favorite writers, Nicole Krauss, discussing how she and her husband (acclaimed writer Jonathan Safran Foer) decided – after taking their children on trips to the Atacama Desert in Chile, Sarajevo, and even the Arctic (in utero) – to take a beach vacation to Turks & Caicos.

My favorite thought of the day on the difference between ” traveling, or even taking a trip” and “vacation.”

“I’d always been set against beach vacations; they seemed indulgent, lazy, and uneducational. Now it dawned on me that they were all of those things, attractively so; that a vacation was something entirely different from traveling, or even taking a trip, which is what I had been doing all these years, first on my own, and then with my family. Traveling has always been about throwing myself into the unknown—an expansive intake of experience, a bracing and heightened exposure. At the bottom of my wanderlust is the hope that, freed of the ordinary, alert and alive to even the tiniest things, what I find in that other place will be revelatory enough to change me. But vacation—that was something else entirely. To want only to rest and recuperate, to be removed from it all, to enjoy oneself effortlessly—was that really too much to ask?”

Photo from one of my most incredible adventures in Ethiopia with my dear friend Allison Shigo, Founder of Healing Hands of Joy

Photo from one of my most incredible adventures in Ethiopia with my dear friend Allison Shigo, Founder of Healing Hands of Joy

Full Article:  “Stranger in Paradise: The Art of Relaxation in Turks and Caicos” 

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June 24, 2013 · 2:33 pm

Crowdsourcing Scandinavia – Itinerary Help!

For our week of travel in May, after much debate about traveling to Ecuador, Costa Rica & Belize, The Balkans we have tentatively decided on a Scandinavia + Iceland combination (flying into either Copenhagen, Stockholm or Helsinki and out of Reykjavik)…but we need help figuring out where to go:

What are the best cities/places to visit in Scandinavia??

Where should we visit??

Where should we visit??

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Where should I go next??

I know, I know – I am far behind on my posting, having neglected Hong Kong for the past month.  Work with me here and let’s  pretend that my “busy” MBA schedule has kept me occupied.

Looking at my schedule the next month, I realize that I have about 8 days after graduation and before a friend’s wedding in Connecticut.

Of course, the first thing that pops into my mind is: can I fit in one more trip?  One more destination?  Where should I go?

Criteria:

  • Someplace I’ve never been 
  • Someplace that is within an 8 hour flight of New York
  • Someplace to which flights won’t cost an arm and a leg at the end of May (which eliminates much of Europe)

So far, the locations that are top of mind are:

  • Iceland
  • Scandinavia (some combination of Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Finland)
  • Bosnia via Zagreb, Croatia

Thoughts?  Where should I go next?

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