Disney World Now Charges for Parking at Hotels, Decreasing Their Value

By Jason Cochran

Posted on 03/14/2018, 4:00 PM

It used to be one of the great courtesies of staying in a Walt Disney World resort hotel: You got free parking, and then you could take Disney transportation for free. It was touted as one of the perks and a big incentive to choose a Disney hotel over a room located outside the resort property's gates. Since Disney hotels are two or three times as much as a room of comparable quality a mile away, ...

Most Visited U.S. National Parks and Monuments in 2017

By Zac Thompson

Posted on 03/05/2018, 10:45 PM

The National Park Service (NPS) has released its visitor numbers for 2017.  A total of 330,882,751 people spent time at American national parks, monuments, and other sites deemed worthy of federal protection. As the NPS points out, that figure is only a smidge lower than the record-setting 330,971,689 visits the agency logged in 2016—the year of its highly touted 100th birthday. The Blue Ridge ...

American Airlines Adding Basic Economy Fares to Transatlantic Flights

By Zac Thompson

Posted on 03/02/2018, 12:00 AM

Starting in April, American Airlines is selling bare-bones "basic economy" tickets on some flights to Europe.  The move seems an obvious effort to compete with low-cost transatlantic carriers such as Norwegian Air Shuttle, Iceland-based WOW air, and Level, a recently launched Spanish entrant in the cheap-flights-to-Europe race.  Closer to home, Delta Air Lines has also begun selling no-frills ba...


This New Budget-Priced Transatlantic Airline Is Probably News to You

By Arthur Frommer

Posted on 02/22/2018, 5:45 AM

Most everyone by now has heard of Norwegian Air Shuttle, which flies the Atlantic at rock-bottom prices. Although Norwegian suffered a loss in 2017, it has struck fear into the hearts of the so-called “legacy carriers,” like British Airways, Iberia Airlines, and others. Result: A consortium of established airlines—British Airways, Iberia, Aer Lingus, and others—have recently created a brand-new ...

Resort Fees Are a Tax Dodge: Why They're Destructive for Us All

By Jason Cochran

Posted on 02/21/2018, 12:00 AM

Americans despise resort fees. But in a shockingly short span of time, about a decade, we became blasé about them. Appallingly, the people once reknowned for feisty individualism and a testy spirit of fairness have rolled over like docile lap dogs—we sigh and pay hidden charges as if staying in hotels had always been this way. It wasn't. This is not normal. Can you remember how terrible you felt ...

Italian Airline Now Offers Free Stopovers in Rome

By Zac Thompson

Posted on 02/06/2018, 10:45 PM

Rome remains a destination that rarely lacks for tourists. In 2017, more than 14.5 million of them visited the Eternal City—a nickname that might as well refer to the wait times in line for the Vatican during summer. But even more travelers could soon begin queuing up for trips to the Italian capital thanks to a new initiative from state-owned national carrier Alitalia.  From now until the end o...

The Travel Services That Close in a U.S. Government Shutdown

By Jason Cochran

Posted on 01/19/2018, 11:00 AM

As the wheels of Washington threaten to grind to a halt yet again, another United States federal government shutdown is a concern. Travel, by and large, is considered a "non-essential" function—and non-essential functions either dim or go dark. Generally speaking, here's what is not available during a federal government shutdown: Passport services Visa processing National parks and...

Tour Operator to Pay Passport Fees for Travelers Age 18–35

By Zac Thompson

Posted on 01/13/2018, 9:30 AM

More than half of Americans age 18–35 don't have passports, according to Contiki, a tour operator specializing in that very demographic. For a limited time, Contiki is offering some passport-acquiring incentive to first-time international travelers—at least, those who fall within the 18–35 age range. Contiki customers who book one of the company's trips lasting longer than seven days can get the...

Now You Can Fly Round-Trip to Europe for €399—with a Catch

By Jason Cochran

Posted on 01/11/2018, 12:00 AM

First, U.S. domestic airlines introduced Basic Economy fares so their rates would appear more competitive with low-cost carriers in Web searches. Now the transatlantic airlines are stripping down their benefits to compete with low-cost airlines. First it was Icelandair, which came up with Economy Light, which only allows for a single carry-on up to 22 pounds (10kg)—no checked bags permitted. TAP ...

No More Airline Miles for Hotel Stays Among Changes to Hilton's Loyalty Program

By Zac Thompson

Posted on 01/10/2018, 11:30 PM

Hilton Worldwide is making changes to its 70-million-member hotel loyalty program, Hilton Honors. Among the most consequential of the updates: Starting April 1, members will no longer be able to earn airline miles from stays at Hilton hotels. Though it will still be possible to transfer loyalty points to the airline of your choice, the move makes it even harder for ordinary travelers to gain mile...

NYC's Met to Charge Mandatory Admission to Out-of-Towners

By Zac Thompson

Posted on 01/05/2018, 11:15 PM

For the first time since its founding in the 1870s, New York City's Metropolitan Museum of Art is instituting a mandatory admission fee.  Starting March 1, visitors who do not live in New York State will be charged $25 to enter. That ticket will be valid for three consecutive days at the Met and its offshoots, the Met Breuer and the Cloisters. There will not be separate lines at any of those plac...

When Southern California Museums Open for Free This Month

By Zac Thompson

Posted on 01/04/2018, 12:30 AM

The 13th annual Free-for-All day at Southern California museums will be Sunday, January 28.  Nineteen institutions in the area will waive their admission fees on that day, offering access to their artistic, cultural, natural, and scientific holdings at no charge. An additional 18 museums where admission is always free are also listed as participants—though in their cases, we guess the event is m...

Shanghai skyline at night

World-Record Hotels: The Biggest, Tallest, Oldest, and More

We took a dive into the Guinness World Records to compile this superlative collection of unsurpassed hotel champs in categories ranging from the significant to the silly.

Royal Caribbean Increases the Daily Fee Used to Tip Staff

By Zac Thompson

Posted on 12/29/2017, 12:00 AM

For the third time in three years, Royal Caribbean Cruises is hiking up its "automatic gratuity"—the term for the service fee that lines recommend each passenger pays per day during a cruise. They make this recommendation by automatically adding the tip to your bill. To raise or lower the amount—or strike it altogether for those who prefer to tip housekeeping staff, restaurant servers, and other ...

The Bund, Shanghai

Do These Things Before Going to China—Your Trip Will Go Better

Before leaving on a China vacation, Westerners should take these steps to navigate the country's currency, mobile phones, and Internet systems.

In January, Learn to Ski—for Less—in Michigan

By Zac Thompson

Posted on 12/19/2017, 12:30 AM

It might surprise you to learn that Michigan has one of the highest concentrations of ski areas in the United States. There are around 40 places to hit the slopes in the state. According to the Detroit Free Press, only New York has more (take that, Colorado and Vermont).  In January, 28 ski areas across the state are banding together to offer affordable introductory packages for downhill skiing...

Why Hotel Bills in Hawaii Are About to Go Up

By Zac Thompson

Posted on 12/16/2017, 2:00 AM

On January 1, the tax on lodgings in Hawaii will increase by 1% statewide. But that's not all. The fee charged to tourists who rent rooms in hotels, condos, B&Bs, and "transient accommodations" of any other kind is going up to 10.25%. Paired with a 4% sales tax, that means state legislators will now charge visitors an extra 14.25% on top of room rates, simply for the pleasure of sleeping in p...

Airbnb Just Made Planning Group Trips a Lot Easier

By Pauline Frommer

Posted on 12/04/2017, 12:00 AM

Humans have always traveled in packs. But booking this style of travel online has always been difficult—few sites allow users to divvy up payments among several travelers.    Airbnb to the rescue. The short-term rental marketplace announced last week that it is modifying its website and app to allow groups to reserve accommodations so that no one member will be left holding the bag. Here's...

Travel gifts, many under $100

Frommer's Gift Guide: Great Stuff for Travel

Don't know what to buy your favorite traveler? Frommer's has the best gift ideas for you.

Airfare is About to Rise. Here's Why

By Jason Cochran

Posted on 11/01/2017, 6:00 PM

American and Southwest airlines have both sent signals that their airfares are about to go up. Why? Simple: They're making more money, so they don't need to put flights on sale as often. The message came in the form of Q3 earnings reports, says the Chicago Tribune, in which major carriers reported a rise in "revenue per mile," which is the monetary metric that all airlines use to judge your busin...

One More Airline Adopts Basic Economy Pricing

By Jason Cochran

Posted on 10/31/2017, 9:45 PM

Monkey see, monkey do. The biggest airlines have now instituted new, bare-bones "basic economy" fares that strip passengers of the automatic right to checked bags or seat assignments unless they pay extra charges. Now Sun Country Airlines, a long-running Minneapolis-based airline that covers the United States, Mexico, and the Caribbean, has jumped on board. Its pricing structure is even more com...

National Park Fees May Triple, Become Unaffordable

By Zac Thompson

Posted on 10/26/2017, 11:00 AM

Entrance fees at many of the country's most popular national parks could soon go way up. To address a backlog of maintenance needs and infrastructure improvements, the National Park Service has proposed increasing admission charges to $70 per vehicle at 16 sites, up from the current fee of $25 to $30 depending on the park. That would mean more than doubling—or, in the case of the $25 fee, almos...

One Key to a Successful European Vacation Is Planning Several Months Ahead

By Arthur Frommer

Posted on 10/10/2017, 12:15 AM

When is it best to begin planning your trip to Europe? Though some of the experts disagree, the majority of them say just after the start of the new year, when airline tickets tend to be priced at their lowest level. The optimum advance period is 120 days (four months), which means that a smart traveler purchases those tickets in January or February for a vacation in May or June. What about a t...

Norwegian Cruise Line Drinks Package Now the Priciest at Sea

By Zac Thompson

Posted on 10/05/2017, 10:00 PM

Norwegian Cruise Line has raised the price of its Ultimate Beverage package, covering all alcoholic and nonalcoholic drinks that a passenger consumes while on board the ship (except drinks priced higher than $15, which have to be purchased separately).   Up from a previous fee of $79 per day—and, as recently as 2014, $54 per day—the package now costs $89 per passenger, per day.  But with a "serv...

Arthur Frommer: Resort Fees are Immoral, But More Hotels Are Imposing Them

By Arthur Frommer

Posted on 09/28/2017, 12:00 AM

At a large and growing number of U.S. hotels, final room prices have recently risen by thirty to sixty dollars because of "resort charges" billed to hotel guests. This has happened despite the fact that these hotels are not resorts by any stretch of imagination. And guests are being charged for indoor swimming pools, fitness rooms, vending machines and parking—the usual justifications for resort c...