All posts in Hot Topics

Reverse auction site for vacation rentals shakes up sharing economy

ExpertFlyer Hot Topics — Where the Rubber Meets the Runway

The home share and peer to peer vacation rental market has risen to mainstream stature as of late. Now there’s a new option, Tansler.com. The site promises to disrupt the vacation rental market by simplifying the booking process and trimming inefficiency by allowing renters to bid for properties that they like at a price they can afford.

Watch our interview with Tansler CEO, Jeremy Bernard, to learn more about the company and how the process works to benefit both hosts and guests.

 

 

 

7-Point Credit Card Cheat Sheet for Improving the Value and Benefits of Frequent Flyer Rewards

ExpertFlyer Hot Topics — Where the Rubber Meets the Runway

travel credit cards

Understanding how to save money on everyday items and activities is something we can all take advantage of throughout the year, but many of us will be planning summer vacations and other trips that will require an airplane to get there. With airline tickets increasing in price and frequent flyer miles now being awarded based on the price of a ticket rather than the distance traveled, it becomes difficult to determine how to best use the award miles we have, understand when to use them (or if we should use them), and which credit cards provide the best value for accumulating reward points or cash back.

To help unravel the do’s and don’ts on this matter, we teamed up with Jason Steele, credit card rewards expert, to provide a 7-point cheat-sheet for travelers to easily determine when to use their miles, how to accumulate additional miles faster, and the ideal ways to find the best price on airline tickets if it makes more sense to buy your ticket with money rather than points:

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Why Traveling the National Parks is a Must-Do in 2016

ExpertFlyer Hot Topics – Where the Rubber Meets the Runway

Just in case you didn’t get the memo, August 25th marks the 100th year anniversary of the founding of the National Park Service (NPS). The NPS was created under the Woodrow Wilson  administration to preserve the ecological and historical integrity of the places entrusted to its management while also making them available and accessible for public use and enjoyment.

Today, the Park System includes 410 areas covering more than 84 million acres in every state, the District of Columbia, American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands. ExpertFlyer interviewed Ford Cochran, Director of Programming for National Geographic Expeditions, to find out why visiting the Parks is extra special in 2016.

Not too many people realize that 100 years ago the National Geographic Society was a founding patron of the NPS and actually helped persuade the US gov’t to create it. Tell us a little about the history between Nat Geo and NPS.

From shortly after National Geographic’s founding, and even before the creation of the National Park Service, the Society and those most closely associated with it have explored, documented, nurtured, and celebrated our national parks. Society founders John Wesley Powell, Clarence Dutton, and Almon Thompson systematically explored and mapped vast expanses of the Colorado Plateau, including regions that today contain Grand Canyon, Bryce Canyon, and Zion National Parks. Another founder, Robert Muldrow, was the first to measure the height of North America’s tallest mountain, Denali, now the centerpiece of Denali National Park. Continue reading →

The US & Cuba have agreed to restore commercial air travel – Time to expedite your visit

air travel to cuba

For the first time in half a century, commercial air traffic will be restored between the United States and Cuba based on a deal signed this week between the two countries.

According to the Associated Press, dozens of new daily flights will bring hundreds of thousands more American travelers a year to the island as early as this fall.

So, is now the time to go?  Forbes contributor, Ann Abel, says, “Cuba is evolving, which is why visiting right now is fascinating. We’re nearing another inflection point—Cuba’s succession plan for when (if?) Raul Castro steps down in 2018 is a big question, as is the outcome of the upcoming US election.

For now, the safest, and most educational, way for Americans to go is on a “people-to-people” visa arranged by a tour operator that has earned State Department approval and has organized heavily structured itineraries of “cultural exchange” with at least one Cuban contributing to the conversation at all times.”

cuban street

Photo: Sonia Laguna

Expertflyer caught up with Cuba travel expert, Sonia Laguna, Founder and CEO of Just 90 Miles, to take a pulse.

EF: Now that the US and Cuba have officially opened commercial air travel between the two countries, what do you think the impact will be?  
SL: I believe the impact will be positive. Once it takes off, it will make it easier and more convenient to book flights.
EF: Is there greater pressure to visit Cuba sooner rather than later? 
SL: As relations stabilize and the influx of American tourists becomes greater, changes to the island will most definitely come.  For people who want to experience Cuba as it’s been for many years, I recommend planning your trip sooner, rather than later.  As time passes, Cuba will change and modernize.
cuban beach

Photo: Sonia Laguna

EF: Will this affect the affordability of visiting Cuba? 
SL: People do expect that with competition prices will be more affordable.  Today a round trip ticket from Miami, FL, on a charter airline ranges from $300 to $500, depending on the month. Similar flights to the Bahamas are in the range of $200 to $550.
Expedia prices over the past 21 days:
$204
Lowest price
$556
Highest price
$254
Average price
EF: Which airlines do you think will be the best bet for Cuba travel and why?
SL: The airlines that are currently operating with Charter Companies are American Airlines, JetBlue and Eastern Airlines. But I think all the major airlines will try to get routes. It will largely boil down to individual traveler’s preferences and associated loyalty programs may also have a bearing.
cuban architecture

Photo: Sonia Laguna

EF: What else should we know about Cuba tourism today?
SL: Today Cuba is on so many people’s bucket lists.  If you are looking for  a once in a lifetime experience traveling to Cuba, TODAY will guarantee you a country different from any other, with very little modern conveniences, but wonderful architecture,  classical cars, the world’s greatest cigars, music, rum, and most importantly, the warmest and friendliest people you will ever meet.

 

Should we get excited about movie theaters becoming the new “thing” at airports?

ExpertFlyer Hot Topics – Where the Rubber Meets the Runway

In a recent report by CNN.com, cities like Portland, Minneapolis-St.Paul and Miami and offering cinema experiences to bored, delayed or otherwise curious airport dwellers. In the case of Portland and Minneapolis, the cities are using mainly short films created by local artists to share the cities unique culture and artistic fingerprint.

airport movie theaters

While Asia has long pioneered the airport movie theater – even screening top box office hits for free – most aviation experts agree that it’s unlikely the US will see pervasive adoption of in-airport cinemas across the country.  In an interview with the LA Times, Bob Hazel, an aviation partner at Oliver Wyman, a management consulting firm, says the economics of providing a movie theater in a U.S. airport are unfavorable. “Airport construction is just about the most expensive form of construction there is,” he said.

The good news is, with airports beefing up their power outlets, charging stations and wi-fi, as well as making DVD rentals available, travelers craving some video entertainment will be able to get their fix on their mobile devices pretty easily — who needs the big screen, right?