Rundown for the week of January 02, 1999
Wherever you travel, you'll find a place where people tend to gather.
Whether it's a plaza, main street, town hall or city park, there's
usually one special spot that is the center of social activity. Many
of these places have achieved legendary status. You've surely heard of
the Champs d'Elysee, Harvard Square, Rome's Colisseum. But the list
would be incomplete without the Djemaa El F'nan in Marrakesh,
Morrocco. The Savvy Traveler's Jim Metzner takes us on a tour.
Q & A I: New Year's Travel Resolutions
Rudy talks to listeners about their travel resolutions for the new
Ed Perkins Interview
1998 was a big year for travel. The airlines flew at close to 70
percent capacity and announced major alliances -- Delta and United,
American and U.S. Airways, Continental and Northwest. And travel
experts everywhere are already predicting a record year in 1999 for
air travel, hotel occupancy and trans-Atlantic trips. We taked with
Ed Perkins, former editor-in-chief at Consumer Reports Travel Letter,
to help sort out what this means for travelers.
The Life of a Concierge
Most swanky hotels have a desk in the lobby marked "concierge." The
person behind it is the hotel's ambassador of service. He or she
manages the rest of the uniformed staff, finds you a rental car or
theater tickets, sets up sightseeing trips, or whatever else you'd
like. Who are these saints of service? Where do they come from? We
sent reporter Judith Ritter, in Montreal, to find out.
Deal of the Week: Hotel Deals Abound
It's snowing a flurry of hotel deals this week, beginning with half
price rooms in that most expensive of hotel cities, London. Usually,
you'll pay more than $200 a night to stay at the three-star Kensington
Palace. But if you book through a tour operator called Destination
Europe, you'll pay $107, including tax and continental breakfast.
Other hotels in London's center are on sale, too, including the
four-star Kensington Park at $137 a night, half the normal price.
These deals are good through the last day of March by calling
Destination Europe at 800-835-1555.
Closer to home, the Fairmont Hotels in the U.S. are offering
discounted rates until April 12th if you're a member of the American
Airlines frequent flyer program. The chain has hotels in Boston,
Chicago, Dallas, New Orleans, New York, San Francisco, and San Jose.
Rates vary, from $89 for a weekend night in San Jose up to $259 for a
weekend night at the Plaza in New York City. That's about 25 per cent
off. There are also special rates on weekdays, too, but when I called
to check, I learned those rates weren't available EVERY weekday. In
Boston, the first weeknight I could get at the lowest rate was in
March. So shop carefully and be sure to mention you want the
"Exciting Rewards" rate. Fairmont's toll free number is
Q & A II -- General Questions
Rudy takes listeners' general questions about travel. He mentions:
Moving to American Samoa
- The office of Congressman Faleomavaega of American Samoa can answer
questions. Phone: 202-225-8577.
- American Samoa is part of the Polynesian Islands in the South
Pacific Ocean, made up of the larger island of Tutulia (19 miles
long) and a number of smaller islands.
- Tutulia is the best option. It has more lodging, but less seculsion
and natural beauty. Stay away from the main harbor of Pago Pago if
you can. You'll be blown away either by the dramatic rock formations
that plunge into the ocean...or by the rancid smell pouring out of
nearby tuna canneries. The western end of the island is less
commerical and offers more appealing scenery.
- The smaller islands are said to be more beautiful and alluring .
You'll find national parks, rain forests, volcanic valleys,
geological wonders like crater and cone formations, sweeping cliffs,
sparkling lagoons, streams and waterfalls, coral reefs and untouched
sandy white beaches. The trouble is, these places are so unspoiled
that virtually no infrastructure exists, making it a great place to
visit but a difficult place to live.
- The website www.samoanet.com
has a listing of the very few accomodations in American Samoa as well
as other information about the islands.
Information on Phobias
- Acrophobia: fear of flying
- Aerophobia: fear of flying
- Thalassophobia: fear of the ocean
- Ochlophobia: fear of crowds
For more info: the Anxiety Disorders Association of America (ADAA)
has information on their website: www.adaa.org.
We also spoke with Dr. Michael Spevack, a clinical psychologist in
Montreal who specializes in anxiety disorders.
Carry-On Luggage Postcard
1998 will go down as the year of the great carry-on debate. Some
airlines started holding passengers to only one bag, other carriers
stuck with two. But then again, sometimes they consider a purse or
laptop computer a carry-on. There's no rhyme or reason to the
restrictions, so just about everyone -- the Savvy Traveler included --
is confused about what will make it onto the plane. The latest news
is that the country's flight attendants are asking the FAA to step in
and set industrywide standards. The Savvy Traveler's Geo Beach sent
us a postcard after seeing one garment bag too many.
Next Week on The Savvy Traveler...
What's a guy to do when his carry-on is bigger and far more delicate
than he is?
"A string bass, you see, is as fragile as a violin and as bulky
as an NFL linebacker. Not the kind of thing you can entrust to the
airline baggage gorillas."
The hazards of carting a string bass cross-country. Speaking of
hazards, we'll have tips on how to pack an emergency kit for all
trips. And a book lover travels overseas to visit some old
friends...the Bronte sisters.
"They are romantic, they are Gothic. As my mother-in-law said,
every woman should have a Heathcliff in her life"
A literary journey to England, and your suggestions for the best place
to ring in the year 2000. That and more so please come along for the
ride in next week's edition of The Savvy Traveler.
For tapes of the show
If you want your very own copy of The Savvy Traveler, order an audio
cassette. It's easy. Just call 303-823-8000. The price is $15. As Rudy
says, it's a steal.
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