Archive for January, 2011

Cairo Protestors

The US State Department has issued a travel alert urging US citizens to avoid all nonessential travel to Egypt, as police and protestors clash in demonstrations going on in Cairo and across the country. According to Huffington Post, the demonstrations are not directed against the US, but the department noted that protests have turned violent, resulting in deaths, injuries and major property damage.

US officials advised those American citizens already in Egypt to remain in their hotels or residences until the situation calms down. Officials decided not to issue a travel warning — a more serious action that usually triggers automatic cancellations by cruise companies and tour operators and affects certain types of travel-insurance coverage.

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Snow-Covered Airplane
On January 26 we posted a story about the traveling saga of Mate Tokic. Mate spent an unplanned week in London in mid-December during the great snowstorm of 2010 after his flight was canceled at Heathrow Airport. It appears Mate’s travel misfortunes continue. His flight from Dulles Airport near Washington, DC to Cairo via Heathtrow was canceled Wednesday due to a winter storm that dumped about a foot of snow in the DC area. Mate was scheduled to leave Dulles at 10 p.m.

At the peak of the snowstorm, Mate, a history professor at the American University of Cairo, decided to risk a trip to the airport from his parents house in Takoma Park, MD, located about 50 miles from Dulles, via the DC subway system. He made it to its furthest west point at the West Falls Church station and had planned to take a bus the remaining 20 miles or so to the airport.

Mate waited 2 hours for a bus that never arrived, then went back to his parents home  after he saw a group of people who had walked about a mile back to the station. The were left stranded for three hours after the bus they were riding and which was heading to the airport got stuck in the snow. His said his flight was officially canceled at 1:30 a.m. READ MORE

Cruise Deals

It’s Wave Season and that means it’s time to book your cruise for 2011-2012. According to CruiseCritic.com and industry leaders, Wave Season is the time between January and March when cruise lines offer deep discounts for the coming year and as a result, more cruises are booked during this time.

Book a trip on Royal Caribbean to the Bahamas for a 3-night cruise with prices starting at $199, or a 4-night cruise to the Western Caribbean from $249. Royal Caribbean isn’t the only cruise line with the deep discounts — board the Norwegian Cruise Line and receive a free upgrade!

See our guide to the Eastern Caribbean, Family Cruises and more in our Cruises section.

Cruising in 2011? Where to? Post a comment on our blog.

Stranded Travelers

More than a month ago, Mate Tokic spent an unplanned week in London when a winter storm crippled Heathrow Airport and curtailed his plans to be with family in the Washington, DC area a full week before Christmas.

Tokic was able to avoid overnight stays at the airport with the help of social media. He used Skype and Facebook to solicit the kindness of strangers who provided comfortable, if unfamiliar, dwellings throughout London. His travel saga is documented in a story we posted today.

At about 10 p.m. on Wednesday Tokic is scheduled to depart on a flight from Dulles Airport some 25 miles west of Washington. His ultimate destination is Egypt, where he works as a European history professor at the American University in Cairo, and he’s got a scheduled layover in London. READ MORE

David and Victoria Beckham

TravelChannel.com has launched a new franchise! “What We Love …” will feature the things we love about traveling, with a focus on a specific destination’s people, culture, traditions and food.

For January, we decided to throw some love at the UK with our slideshow What We Love About The Brits. The London Eye, David Beckham, high tea and the Royal Family are just a few of our picks. After you check out the slideshow, tell us what you like about the Brits — we want to know!

Make sure you check back in February when we celebrate China.

Oyster

Valentine’s Day is right around the corner. Are you ready? Start things off right with our mouthwatering Chocolate Porn slideshow. And if you’re looking for a little added excitement in the bedroom, check out our Top Aphrodisiacs slideshow — not all the rumors you hear are false!

What are your favorite Valentine’s Day treats? Post a comment on this blog.

Brazil Mudslides

The official death toll from Brazil’s mudslide disaster has risen to 803. Nova Friburgo, near Rio de Janeiro, is the hardest-hit town, where 389 deaths were recorded. A total of 400 lives were lost in other towns, including Teresopolis, Peropolis and Sumidouro.

According to the LA Times, more than 14,000 people are homeless in one of the worst natural disasters in the country’s history. People were forced to abandon their homes in southeast Brazil, either because the houses were destroyed or deemed unsafe.

The World Bank donated $485 million to rebuild and provide prevention plans. The Brazilian government also plans to revamp its national alert system to warn of future flooding disasters.

More bad weather may be in Brazil’s future. Mudslides are probable as summer rainfall continues.

Spring Break Hotels for Families

TravelChannel.com has teamed up with Oyster.com to provide you with cool hotels to book for your next vacation. Travelers now have the opportunity to read hotel reviews, view hotel photos and book the hotel of their choice.

Spring Break is right around the corner, and we have Oyster’s Top 10 Spring Break Hotels for families. Check out the list of hotels and book a fun family getaway to warm destinations like the Dominican Republic, Hawaii, Miami and Los Angeles. All of the featured hotels have something to keep you and your children happy, including a beach, water park, spa or gym.

What are your favorite family-friendly hotels for spring break?

Marriott Hotels Bans Porn

Marriott International plans to remove pornographic movies from its pay-per-view menu. The company wants to pull the plug on skin flicks, starting with its new properties opening in the next few years. After several years of raking in a wad of revenue, Marriott’s earnings are now, um well, limp.

Over the past few years, the hotel chain has noticed a drop in porn and pay-per-view consumption. According to USA Today, one of the reasons for the decrease is that business travelers check into hotels and bring their own entertainment, including Netflix DVDs, an iPod Touch or a laptop.

In a released statement, Marriott is “working with in-room entertainment providers and technology vendors to transition to the next generation of in-room entertainment.” What does that mean? We’re not sure, but for now, we suggest you B.Y.O.P. — bring your own porn.

Do you watch pay-per-view entertainment at hotels? Tell us what you think about Marriott’s new ban.

Killer Whale

SeaWorld will resume its “Dine With Shamu” killer-whale show at its San Antonio park on Feb 26 after a year-long hiatus following the attack and death of trainer Dawn Brancheau at SeaWorld Orlando.

Like most kids, I was beyond excited to see the Shamu show back in the ‘80s, but I was NOT the type of kid to volunteer to climb a ladder, lean my head way over the tank and patiently wait for a big tongue kiss from a 6-ton killer whale. I was impressed with the graceful orcas and the brave trainers, but like most things in life, there was an element of danger that kept me in my seat. Would I take my kids to see a Shamu show now, after what happened? Sure, but I wouldn’t let him kiss them!

Limited admission to the “Dine With Shamu” show will include a buffet meal and a training demo with one of the park’s whales. And if all goes well in San Antonio, SeaWorld will reopen the show at its Orlando and San Diego parks later in the spring.

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