6 Travel Fees You Can Easily Avoid

For all of the memorable and potentially life-changing experiences it can provide, travel is not cheap. The U.S. Travel Association estimates that in 2013, domestic and international travelers spent $621.4 billion on leisure vacations alone. Even if you manage to hack a deal on your flight or hotel room, there’s still a surge of unforeseen expenses that can throw any budget off track. But according to Gabe Saglie, senior editor for Travelzoo, you don’t have to begrudgingly give in to all the extra costs. “As consumers, it behooves us to be aware of these fees and be ready to read the fine print,” he said. To help you anticipate hidden charges and plan accordingly, here are six often overlooked fees, and tips for steering clear of them.

See: How to Save Money on Your Next Hotel Stay

Checked baggage fees
According to the U.S. Bureau of Transportation Statistics, the top 15 major U.S. carriers raked in more than $3.35 billion in checked bag fees in 2013. Unless you’re flying with an airline that offers one or two free checked bags (like JetBlue or Southwest) or you have an airline-affiliated credit card that waives the standard $25 fee, you’ll need to try your hardest to fit everything you need into a carry-on. Saglie offered this advice for perpetual over packers: “Think like a business traveler. Streamline as much as possible.”

Priority seating
Avoiding these fees can be easy, but as Saglie notes, you’ll need to “learn to love the middle seat.” Paying extra for the coveted aisle or window, or even the more spacious economy-class seat, is a cost justification that varies widely by traveler, Saglie said. “It really depends on the flight experience you want to have,” he added. According to Saglie, airlines release their unsold seats 24 hours ahead of the flight’s departure; so if you do get stuck with a dreaded middle seat, see if you can switch it when checking in. Asking the gate agent about available seats is another option, though you may be less likely to score a more comfortable spot as the departure draws nearer.

Reservation change fees
Change fees aren’t quite as lucrative for airlines as checked bags (the industry earned $2.8 billion in 2013 for reservation changes and cancellations), but according to Saglie, this is another easily avoidable expense. Thanks to federal provisions instituted in 2012, airlines are required to allow passengers to change their reservations within 24 hours of booking if the ticket is purchased at least a week in advance of the flight’s departure. If you know your travel plans may change more than 24 hours after you’ve booked your flight, consider purchasing a refundable ticket. Though these fares are more expensive than non-refundable tickets, the extra cash you’ll pay up front may be less than what you would owe in change fees. Once again, it pays to fly with a low-cost carrier like Southwest — the airline doesn’t charge for reservation changes.

See: 11 Easy Ways to Slash Travel Costs

Wi-Fi service
Despite the fact that Wi-Fi is an increasingly free commodity (according to a 2013 HotelChatter report, 64 percent of hotels offer complimentary Wi-Fi), some stalwart brands still refuse to provide a wireless network without a fee. If you’re staying at a property that doesn’t offer the free service off the bat, Saglie suggests looking into joining the hotel’s loyalty program. Brands like Kimpton, Omni and Fairmont offer free Internet access just for signing up. If you can’t access the free service in your room, see if it’s offered in the lobby. And if it’s not provided for free anywhere on the property, research to see if there are any cafes or eateries nearby that offer free Wi-Fi connections.

Resort fees
Perhaps the most maddening surcharge for the modern day traveler, resort fees are said to pay for amenities like gym access, beach chairs and even housekeeping. And they’re tough to sidestep, even if you don’t use some of the amenities or facilities that the resort fee claims to cover. It’s estimated that in 2013, U.S. hotels brought in $2.1 billion in revenue from resort fees alone, according to research from the Preston Robert Tisch Center for Hospitality, Tourism and Sports Management at New York University. Though travelers’ demands to eradicate resort fees have been heard by some properties (the Federal Trade Commission released a letter calling the fees “deceptive”), others have kept the added charges. Saglie said these expenses are often non-negotiable, but also adds that you can find deals on third-party booking sites (like Travelzoo) that waive the resort fee. Avoid an unwelcome surprise on your hotel bill by asking about the fees up front — either at the time of booking or when you check in.

Car rental airport fees
It’s convenient to step off the plane and into your rental car, but it’s also costly. Airports charge rental companies a concession fee for vehicles picked up at the airport. These fees can span from 10 to 25 percent of the overall cost. To avoid the surcharge, Saglie suggested checking for car rental locations located off airport property. Sometimes, paying for a cab fare to a different car rental location (or taking public transportation there) amounts to less than the airport fee. Though, Saglie said this is also a matter of individuals’ willingness to pay for the luxury of proximity.

“At the end of the day, fees are part of travel,” Saglie said. “It’s a personal cost-benefit analysis about the convenience each particular fee can bring you — could it enhance your travel experience?”

See: Deal or No Deal: Weighing the Costs and Benefits of Hotel Loyalty Programs

Ann Rivall is a Travel Editor at U.S. News. You can follow her on Twitter, circle her on Google+ or email her at arivall@usnews.com.

Article source: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/us-news-travel/6-travel-fees-you-can-eas_b_5889122.html

6 Reasons You Need A Travel Agent

By Irene S. Levine, Next Avenue Contributor

Over the past 15 years, the number of “do-it-yourself” travelers arranging trips online has soared. Fewer than 10% of leisure travelers now use a travel agent, according to PhoCusWright, an industry research firm.

Yet, even for experienced travelers, planning and booking complicated trips online can prove daunting:

  • First there’s deciding where to start a search, with choices including online travel agencies like Expedia, travel aggregators like Kayak, direct sites for hotels, airlines etc., and user-review sites like TripAdvisor.
  • Then there’s reading fine print and weighing the cost of hidden charges — unbundled airline fees add an obstacle to comparing apples to apples.
  • Finally, there’s the time it takes to put together all the disparate and often non-refundable pieces.

(MORE: How to Customize a California Wine Country Visit)

No wonder some consumers are circling back to travel agents.

The New Travel Agents Are Advisers

The new breed of agents operates differently than those of the past. Rather than merely booking transactions or acting as order-takers, agents now function as travel advisers. They work collaboratively with clients to sort through vast amounts of information and make informed decisions, much like financial advisers assist clients in managing their money.

(MORE: 6 Travel Tips for Midlife Adventurers)

“My husband and I are going to Sicily at the end of the month and to Budapest in December,” says frequent traveler (and Next Avenue contributor) Carol Cassara of San Jose, Calif. “Our agent knows our preferences for air travel — which cabin and where we like to sit, what kind of layover we prefer and which airlines we like to fly. It would have taken me days to compare all the options.”

The PhoCusWright.com study found that consumers who use travel agents tend to be older (two-thirds are 45 and over and nearly a third of agented bookings come from people over 60). These individuals also tend to spend more, and to book more complex trips.

But even travelers who use agents still want hands-on involvement in researching their trips online. A study by Travel Weekly notes that 72% of those who used agents over the past year also used review sites.

Six Reasons to Use A Travel Adviser

According to PhoCusWright, about 35% of those booking travel offline do so because they want personal service. Here are six other reasons you might consider using a travel agent/adviser:

1. You’re not a travel expert.

With their training — and being well-traveled themselves — good travel advisers can offer you options you might not have considered. Some travel advisers are generalists; others specialize in niches, such as cruises, or in multigenerational group travel or in particular geographic destinations. If you book a cruise through an agent, he or she is likely to be familiar with various lines, sailings, cabins and excursions. Some agents even have subspecialties, such as riverboat cruising.

2. You want to get it right.

Some trips are more complicated than others. For example, foreign travel is more complex than traveling to the next state. Or sometimes the stakes are too high to make a mistake when you are planning a big trip to celebrate a special birthday or anniversary or a trip that involves coordinating itineraries with friends or family members. Even on city tours or shore excursions, an agent may be able to point you to the most knowledgeable and English-proficient guides.

Article source: http://www.forbes.com/sites/nextavenue/2014/09/30/6-reasons-you-need-a-travel-agent/?partner=yahootix

Despite protests, travel to Hong Kong is seen as safe

Protesters in Hong Kong use umbrellas to shield themselves against tear gas and pepper spray. (AP)

Jennifer Price has been planning her trip to Hong Kong to attend a friend’s wedding for over a year.  Now one week before her scheduled departure, the nurse from Arlington, Va. is watching the events in the Chinese territory very closely, but she isn’t nervous.

“The protests have honestly had no effect on my excitement to travel Hong Kong. As naïve as it may be I am not only excited to see the sites, but excited to be there during an important time for Hong Kong,” Price said.

Tens of thousands of pro-democracy protesters have gathered in Hong Kong’s Central District, demanding more democracy after Beijing last month said it would restrict future Hong Kong leadership choices to candidates loyal to Beijing. Protesters have been blocking streets as they stockpile supplies and erect makeshift barricades to prepare for what some fear may be a push by police to clear the roads before Wednesday’s Chinese National Day. 

You’d expect a city riot-ravaged city would make some travelers a little jittery, but for most, it’s business as usual.  

Steve Loucks, communications officer with the travel agency trade association –Travel Leaders Group –said members he polled in his group have not seen a single cancellation due to the protests.

“19 have had no clients either expressing concerns or canceling and/or postponing travel to Hong Kong. The 20th agent indicated that she had clients who were merely postponing their business trip,” he said.

The generally tame Hong Kong is seen as financial hub rather than a hotbed of protest. It draws in more than 54 million tourists a year for its many attractions, including world-class hotels and restaurants, shopping and even a Disney theme park. 

As of now, the U.S. Dept. of State has not issued a travel alert, although the U.S. Consulate in Hong Kong issued a security advisory that recommends exercising caution if in the vicinity of large gatherings, protests and demonstrations.

No flights have been cancelled into Hong Kong so far, and none of the U.S. airlines serving Hong Kong offered any travel waivers allowing passengers to change flights without penalties.

United Airlines did issue this statement:  “Public transportation services to and from the airport in Hong Kong may be delayed due to student demonstrations. We recommend that customers check the availability of transportation services and allow ample travel time to and from the airport.”

Generally, areas outside the protest area remain calm.  Public transportation is still working and safe and schools and businesses are open.  Adding to Hong Kong’s image of relative calm is the symbol of the protest.

Hong Kong’s protestors have been using umbrellas to block tear gas and pepper spray–a practice that’s becoming so ubiquitous that people have even dubbed the protests the “Umbrella Revolution” and stands in striking contrast to the well-armed police.

But as with most protests, things can happen fast and the situation on the ground could deteriorate.  But that isn’t deterring Price.

“Of course my mom wants to know where I will be every second of every day, but no interruption of plans as of yet.”

Article source: http://www.foxnews.com/travel/2014/09/30/despite-protests-travel-to-hong-kong-is-seen-as-safe/

‘Protest tourism’: How Hong Kong demonstrations are affecting travel

(CNN) — With an efficient subway, multiple inexpensive taxis and a good public bus system, Hong Kong is normally one of the world’s easiest major cities to get around.

In the midst of this week’s Hong Kong pro-democracy protests, however, travelers to Hong Kong may find moving around slightly more difficult than usual.

Since being occupied by demonstrators, traffic has been paralyzed in key areas of the city.

Sections of major roads have been closed to vehicle traffic, though largely left open for pedestrians.

Areas affected

In Hong Kong Island’s Admiralty and Wanchai districts, Gloucester Road, Harcourt Road and Connaught Road Central have been closed to vehicle traffic, but remain open to pedestrians.

The area outside SOGO shopping mall in Causeway Bay, including Yee Wo Street and Percival Street, as well as the public square Edinburgh Place in Central, are also protest zones. Various streets in these areas have also been closed to vehicle traffic, but remain open to pedestrians.

Protests have spread across Victoria Harbour to Kowloon, with sections of Argyle Street and Nathan Road in Mong Kok occupied by protestors.

The size of the protests in these districts tends to grow at night, as more residents join after school and work.

‘Protest tourism’

 Hong Kong protest hotspots

Hong Kong protest hotspots

Meanwhile, the protests have proven to be an attraction for some visitors.

Many tourists have taken to walking to and through protest zones independently, though tourists on private tours around protest areas have been seen.

Locals, tourists and supporters of the protestors have taken to “sightseeing” and looking for photo ops on elevated pedestrian bridges over roads near the Central Government Offices in Admiralty, where the largest protest (in terms of number of people) is taking place.

The idea of Hong Kong protests as tourist attractions might seem surreal, but it isn’t entirely new.

In 2012, Lonely Planet included Hong Kong in its list of top 10 cities to visit, recommending such exotic attractions as the Star Ferry, Chinese fortune-telling and local protest rallies.

The popular guidebook called Hong Kong “China’s most liberated city” and predicted that 2012 would be an exciting year for the city, highlighting its “rallies infused with theatrics and eruptions of song, dance and poetry” as it continued its push for greater democracy.

Safety concerns

Travel to and within protest areas is generally safe.

On Sunday evening and early Monday morning, police attempted to move crowds with force, including firing tear gas canisters. The protests have since been peaceful.

However, protestors continue to operate ad hoc supply depots at various points around and within protest zones, handing out water, towels and surgical masks to those wandering through the area as minimal protection against further potential uses of tear gas by police.

Supplies including food and umbrellas are also being given out to protestors and sometimes others entering protest areas.

Protesters are standing their ground in the heart of Hong Kong.

The protests have spread to different areas in the city.

It’s been more than a day since officers fired tear gas and pepper spray at the crowd but protesters have water at the ready.

The head of the Hong Kong government has urged protesters to clear roads, saying they are impeding any emergency vehicles that may need to pass.

Pro-democracy protests have caused widespread disruption in Hong Kong.

Police said they have arrested 78 people, ranging in age from 16 to 58, including some leaders.

With thousands of demonstrators continuing to jam streets in key financial and commercial districts, it appears unlikely that the extraordinary protest movement would end anytime soon.

Defiant demonstrators remained on the streets, blocking traffic on key highways.

The government ordered schools to shut on Monday in some areas of the city.

Protesters wore goggles, masks and raincoats.

The protesters were responding to China’s decision to allow only Beijing-vetted candidates to stand in the city’s elections for chief executive, Hong Kong’s top civil position.

The government urged the demonstrators to disperse.

Many bus routes were suspended in the city on Monday.

At least 41 people have been injured and taken to hospitals.

The demonstrations, which authorities have intermittently attempted to disperse by force, follow a week of student-led boycotts.

Riot police have occasionally wielded batons against protesters. They have also used pepper spray, and tear gas has been deployed against more than one group of protesters.

Hong Kong is in the midst of its longest series of political protests since the 1997 handover.

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Hong Kongers have their say on protests

Public transportation has also remained safe.

“We have been working closely with the Transport Department and The Police to ensure the safe operation of our train system,” a spokesman for the MTR metro rail network told CNN on Tuesday evening. “(We) have robust contingency plans to handle events that may occur.

“If there is a need to adjust train service or temporarily close station entrances for any reason, we will communicate this information to our passengers through different channels such as public announcement at stations, traffic news and electronic media.”

Getting around

“MTR is currently operating normal train service although Entrance L at Central Station is still temporarily closed as the building it connects to, CCB Tower, has been closed,” the MTR spokesperson told CNN. “Passengers are advised to pay attention to announcements at stations and allow more time for travel.”

Updates on MTR station operations are available in English on the company’s mobile app.

Bus and tram services between Central and Admiralty, as well as to Mong Kok, have been affected.

More than 100 bus or tram routes have been diverted or suspended.

Travelers can find the latest updates in English from websites operated by Hong Kong’s public bus companies, KMB and Citybus/First Bus.

Some shops and banks in remain closed in all of the protest areas.

READ MORE: Hong Kong protest: What you need to know

Article source: http://www.cnn.com/2014/09/30/travel/hong-kong-protests-travel/

How One Man With a Lighter Crippled America’s Air Travel System

The flicker of a single lighter’s flame brought our nation’s air travel system to its knees.

According to an FBI affidavit, at 5:06 a.m. Friday, airport telecommunications contract employee Brian Howard, 36, used his key card to enter the basement of the radar facility he worked at in Aurora, Ill. — one that’s responsible for traffic at O’Hare, one of the nation’s busiest airports. He was carrying a black roller bag.

“Take a hard look in the mirror, I have. And this is why I am about to take out ZAU [the three-letter call number for the Control center] and my life,” read a message posted to Facebook 30 minutes after Howard entered the facility, according to the complaint. “I’m gonna smoke this blunt and move on, take care everyone.”

Paramedics responding to a 911 call found Howard, who the affidavit said had recently been told he was being transferred to Hawaii, with cuts on his arms and slicing his throat with a knife. A gas can and a floor panel with exposed telecommunication wires were nearby.

The effects of the fire he’s also accused of setting were immediate.

It damaged the FTI system, the FAA’s telecommunication backbone through which it communicates with all other air traffic facilities. The blaze damaged 20 of the center’s 29 racks of computer equipment. Critically, it also damaged the cable connecting the center with the O’Hare control tower. Airlines had to fax in flight plans, and controllers had to manually enter all the information, according to National Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA) spokesman Doug Church. Temporarily, all arrivals and departures at both Chicago’s O’Hare and Midway International were suspended.

Duties for directing traffic at O’ Hare, a hub for United Airlines and other major carriers, were handed off to four surrounding regional routing centers.

“This is the biggest challenge we have experienced in the national airspace system since the tragedy of 9-11,” NATCA president Paul Rinaldi told NBC News. “You have a very large chunk of airspace that is not being controlled by anybody.”

The facility’s central location and regional importance caused a chain of flight problems. Airlines, already running high passenger loads and tight schedules to maximize profits, struggled to cope, and cancellations quickly mounted.

On Friday, more than 2,000 flights were canceled. That dropped by Sunday, but still more than 700 flights were canceled. On Monday, O’Hare was experiencing delays of 20 minutes or more and more than 300 flights were delayed. Delays at Chicago’s Midway airport averaged 45 minutes, with just a few flights canceled.

FAA officials estimate the delays could last for two weeks until round-the-clock repairs are completed.

On Monday, FAA Administrator Michael Huerta announced a review of contingency plans for major failures and outages and a review of security procedures at airport facilities.

The question is, if one individual with a lighter can do this, is the entire air traffic system vulnerable to an inside job?

“The telecommunication system is segregated from the rest of the systems and we’re working closely with our contractor to focus on how we can restore the system there,” Huerta told NBC News. “All of the facilities have appropriate levels of security and we have actually increased the security at our facilities.”

Article source: http://www.nbcnews.com/business/travel/how-one-man-lighter-crippled-americas-air-travel-system-n214276

Is Travel to Hong Kong Safe Right Now?

· No airlines have cancelled or reduced service to Hong Kong. The only hint of any issue is Cathay Pacific’s advice for traveling between the airport and Central, as “public transport services to and from the airport are likely to be affected.” Leave extra early or plan an alternate routing if you hope to use the MTR, with specific attention to the Central, Admiralty, Wan Chai, and Mong Kok stations. Hong Kong Station, where Cathay Pacific operates a city check-in desk, is operating normally but extra time and care should be planned.

· The US Department of State has not issued a travel alert for Hong Kong.

· The greatest disruption will come for travelers headed to mainland China, where social media crackdowns continue, including the recent blocking of Instagram in the hopes of blocking photos from the #occupycentral movement from spreading.

· Unless you’re invested in the cause, stay away from the protests. Protesting for protesting’s sake isn’t respectful, and it could potentially have health or legal consequences. The area to avoid is the financial district, along Connaught Road from Pedder back to Rodney Street, just to be safe.

[Photo: Jaunted]

Article source: http://www.jaunted.com/story/2014/9/29/84645/6440

After Obama Touts Success Against Terrorism in Yemen, State Department …

In laying out his strategy to combat ISIS in Iraq and Syria through airstrikes two weeks ago, President Obama cited Somalia and Yemen as examples of where the United States has been successful in fighting terrorism. 

“This strategy of taking out terrorists who threaten us, while supporting partners on the front lines, is one that we have successfully pursued in Yemen and Somalia for years,” Obama said. 

Now just two weeks later, the State Department has issued a travel warning for…Yemen. 

Today, the Department of State ordered a temporary reduction in the number of U.S. Government personnel in Yemen. We are taking this step out of an abundance of caution and in response to recent political developments and the changing, unpredictable security situation in Yemen. The Embassy did not suspend operations and will continue to operate, albeit with reduced staff.

Maintaining the security of our staff is among the highest priorities of the Department. We are continuing to closely monitor developments in Yemen and will calibrate our response as the situation develops.

Consular services have not been affected by this temporary reduction in personnel. U.S. citizens traveling to or residing in Yemen are urged to enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (www.travel.state.gov/step) and to review the U.S. Embassy’s website and the State Department’s travel warning issued on September 25, 2014.

U.S. citizens remaining in Yemen despite the Travel Warning in effect should limit nonessential travel within the country, be aware of their surroundings whether in their residences or moving about, and make their own contingency emergency plans, and provide their current contact information and next-of-kin or emergency contact information.

I assume the American people can have full faith in the Obama administration’s strategy to successfully fight ISIS moving forward.

Article source: http://townhall.com/tipsheet/katiepavlich/2014/09/29/after-obama-touts-success-against-terrorism-in-yemen-state-department-issues-travel-warning-n1896797

How we quit our jobs to travel: The civil servants

When Julie and Steven Hando bought a boat in June 2010, they didn’t intend to use it on vacation. Instead, it would be their home.

The couple from south Wales had worked for years as civil servants for the UK government (he a computer programmer, she an administrator and manager). But in 1992, Steven got sick and was forced to go on haemodialysis until he received a kidney transplant the following year. For the pair, the health scare made it pretty easy to start planning for a life beyond the typical nine-to-five.

“There were no fears whatsoever,” Julie said. “We decided to just do it. We didn’t feel we deserved a break; it’s just that Steven’s health wasn’t good and there were so many things we wanted to do. If we didn’t do them now, we might never get the chance.”

But they didn’t quit their jobs right then. Instead, the couple waited for 18 years, allowing their youngest child to grow up and leave home. In 2011, after years of planning, they were able to make leaving their jobs more of an early retirement – one they intended to spend entirely on their recently purchased 18m-long, 2m-wide narrowboat.

A narrowboat on the Kennet and Avon Canal in Wiltshire, England. (Rachel Husband/Getty)

The next year, in 2012, the couple sold their four-bedroom, high-ceilinged Victorian-style house in southern Wales and either sold or gave away most of their possessions. Today, they split their time between the narrowboat, a motorhome and travelling, often on cruises.

“A typical day on the boat for us is very, very lazy. We wake up late, have breakfast and check in with friends and family over Whatsapp,” Julie said. “I’ll do some shopping while my husband watches black and white Western films. I often go for a little half-hour run.”

Julie Hando raises a glass on the couple’s narrowboat. (Steven Hando)

When purchasing their narrowboat, they used their past motorhome experience to select bed layouts, galley design and storage requirements. They knew they wanted a boat no larger than 2.1m wide, with a maximum length of 18m in order to navigate as many canals in the UK as possible. A multi-fuel stove and diesel central heating provide warmth during the winter. Water is included in their mooring fee; a meter at the marina provides their electricity. They buy bottled gas, which they use for their gas cooker, and a washing machine and small tumble dryer on board clean the clothing they’ve held on to.

“When you give up all your possessions,” Julie said, “you realize that, after all, they are just things.”

Since making the move to a more nomadic life, they’ve taken a helicopter over the Grand Canyon, taken the Queen Mary 2 along the Suez Canal to Dubai and cruised along the Baltic Sea to St Petersburg; they have also travelled to Rome, Switzerland, Cyprus, Spain, Las Vegas, Sao Miguel and the Caribbean. They drove their motorhome to the historic town of Dinan, France, where they dressed up in medieval gear to join in the Fete des Remparts celebrations; last winter, they took three back-to-back cruises around the Mediterranean, visiting Istanbul, Italy and the Greek islands. Next up: a trip to the Black Sea this October and November, where they’ll explore Bulgaria, Romania, Ukraine and Morocco. None of it, Julie said, would have been possible if they were tied down by jobs and a traditional home.

A view of Rome toward St Peter’s Basilica, just one of the stops the couple has made. (AFP/Getty)

Article source: http://www.bbc.com/travel/feature/20140925-how-we-quit-our-jobs-to-travel-the-civil-servants

New travel report says we’ll be vacationing on the Moon by 2024

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Underwater hotel rooms will become mainstream. (Skyscanner)

Ever wonder how travel may change in 10 years.

Skyscanner, a U.K. based travel search engine, thinks it has some answers –and it’s spectacular. 

The company has just released their latest report titled The Future of Travel 2024. In it, they envision supersonic aircraft that will allow passengers to get from London to Sydney in just two hours—a journey that currently  involves multiple layovers.

Taking a trip to the deepest depths of the ocean will be just as mainstream as going to the beach, with more the proliferation underwater hotel suites, such as the Poseidon at the Atlantis Hotel in Dubai.

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Customized hotel services will relieve traveler jetlag. (Skyscanner)

And space travel won’t just be for billionaires. According to the report, “Orbital space travel will be the next hot ticket and commercial companies are lining up to make it a more affordable proposition.” Projects include colonies from companies like SpaceX and The European Space Agency and architecture firm Foster + Partners.

As the race for space picks up, Gareth Williams, CEO of Skyscanner is even predicting extended stays on other planets and the Moon. 

“I suspect we’ll see the habitation of Mars and the ambitions of Mars One or Elon Musk’s vision coming to fruition before space travel becomes common enough and cheap enough to be affordable for the majority,” Williams said in the report.

Shopping will be an entirely digital experience in the future. Skyscanner

The report is the work of Skyscanner editors, travel experts and international technology experts to provide a total analysis of how travel will look in the next 10 years. The entire report investigates everything from hotel trends, to destinations, food and futuristic hospitality offerings.

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Facial recognition software will change air travel. (Skyscanner)

With all these new findings, how’s a world traveler to decide where to go?

Luckily, according to the report, hotels of the future will be able to provide instant relief to jet lagged travelers with Vitamin-C infused showers and customized room lighting so you can be at your best right away.

The report was released just in time for World Space Week which runs Oct. 4- 10.

Article source: http://www.foxnews.com/travel/2014/09/29/new-travel-report-says-well-be-vacationing-on-moon-by-2024/

FAA will review security and plans after big Chicago air travel problems

The Federal Aviation Administration will review its security in the wake of a fire last week at a facility near Chicago, the agency announced Monday morning. And even as air traffic has slowly increased at the city’s two airports — both among the busiest in the country — significant cancellations were still plaguing travelers.

On Friday, a contractor at a radar facility in Aurora, Ill., set fire to a telecommunications room and attempted suicide, according to the FAA. The center was evacuated early in the morning and a ground stop was issued for flights in the area and flights bound for Chicago, eventually leading to thousands of cancellations Friday.

In the days that have followed, this incident continued to wreak havoc on air travel in the region. More than 770 flights through Chicago were canceled  Saturday and an additional 800 flights were canceled  Sunday, according to the flight-tracking site FlightAware.

The misery continued  Monday, with more than 400 flights to O’Hare International Airport canceled by noon.

“I do understand the traveling public’s frustrations with flight delays and cancellations,” Michael P. Huerta, the FAA administrator, said in a speech Monday morning. “The air transportation system is vital to our economy and people rely on it to function 24 hours a day, seven days a week. I want to make sure that we have the most robust contingency plans possible.”

This review, which will take 30 days, will encompass the way security is managed at facilities, said Huerta, who was speaking to the annual Air Traffic Control Association conference outside of Washington, D.C. It will also cover the ways air traffic control operations can be resumed “as quickly as possible,” he said.

O’Hare is the second-busiest airport in the country, seeing more than 32 million passengers in 2012, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation. (It trails only Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International, a hub-city that had 45 million passengers that year.) Midway International Airport had more than 9.4 million travelers that year.

A major problem in Chicago — or at a similarly highly-trafficked area like Atlanta or New York – can reverberate across the rest of the national system, impacting passengers who can miss connecting flights and planes that were scheduled to continue to additional destinations.

Brian Howard of Naperville, Ill., was charged with setting the fire and interfering with the operation of an air navigation facility, according to a criminal complaint filed by the FBI. Howard, who had been a contract worker there for eight years, was found inside the basement trying to kill himself, the complaint said. (This incident has raised old questions about the screening process involving employees and contractors who work for government facilities.)

The fire was set at a radar facility focusing on higher altitudes. After the fire, the FAA shifted the work done by the Illinois facility to radar centers in Cleveland, Indianapolis, Kansas City and Minneapolis. These centers worked with other facilities in Illinois, Indiana and Wisconsin to track and manage flights traveling through the altitudes normally watched by the Aurora center.

“This is one of the most challenging situations that air traffic controllers and other FAA employees have faced since 9/11,” Paul Rinaldi, president of the National Air Traffic Controllers Association, said in a statement. “The damage to this critical facility is unlike anything we have seen before.”

Due to damage from the fire, the communications network at the Aurora facility will be completely replaced in another part of the building. But the FAA said it will take until Oct. 13 for the radar facility to be at full service. Replacement equipment for the Aurora facility began arriving Sunday night and will continue arriving this week.

Even after flights resumed through Chicago, they did so at a reduced rate. On Friday, the FAA handled just 40 percent of the average traffic at O’Hare and 30 percent at Midway. By Sunday, air traffic controllers were able to manage about 60 percent of the usual traffic at O’Hare and more than 75 percent at Midway, officials said.

Article source: http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-nation/wp/2014/09/29/faa-will-review-security-and-plans-after-big-chicago-air-travel-problems/