Travel Journal

“Heads In Beds” Review — The Story Behind The Front Desk

I read Jacob Tomsky’s Heads in Beds: A Reckless Memoir of Hotels, Hustles, and So-Called Hospitality during my Christmas ski vacation in Park City, UT. It’s a fun, easy read. Just looking at the cover, you can tell that Tomsky wants to give us the hotel version of Anthony Bourdain‘s Kitchen Confidential — the flawed insider with…

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Managing travel itineraries — Digging Deeper into Trip Management Apps

In the last podcast, I did a side-by-side comparison of the free versions of the leading trip management apps. In an article on the Tnooz website, I dug deeper, expanding my comparison to the free and paid versions of TripIt, TripCase, and WorldMate. My conclusions didn’t change much. THE TCRITIC TAKE: TripCase for smartphone only;…

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Video – ORD Layover Excursion: a 6-Hour Tour of Chicago

A long layover can be an impromptu vacation or a mind-numbing marathon of CNN Airport Network shows. Inspired by my own 5-hour layover excursion through Frankfurt, I grabbed my iPhone and shot what I’d recommend you do and see on a long layover at O’Hare Airport. Using foot power and a one-day unlimited pass on…

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Food and Drink Highlights from My Drive South

On my Drive South, I ate and drank my way down I-65 and back up I-55. I had excellent meals throughout my trip — something you expect in New Orleans, but might find a bit more surprising in Louisville or Nashville if you haven’t been paying attention.  Every city I visited had neighborhoods with restaurants…

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Social Trip Planning Not Quite Ready…

I’ve been planning a solo road trip to see some old friends. Driving south on I-65 from Chicago to Louisville, Nashville, and Mobile, and then across Alabama and Mississippi Gulf coasts — the western half of the Redneck Riviera – then up I-55 to Memphis, and then back home to Chicago. It’s a 2,000-mile loop…

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How Much Do You Want to Tip?

For a simple calculation that can be performed on a four-function calculator with buttons to spare, determining the right tip seems mystify a large portion of the traveling public.   Searching Apple’s App Store for “tip calculator” returns almost 600 apps for the iPhone.  The Hospitality Management Schools’ web site just published a comprehensive tipping…

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American Airlines Reaches Out to Apologize… Again and Again

American Airlines has been a bit more forward over the past month in letting me know they care about me.  A phone conversation, replies to my Tweets – I haven’t had this level of attention from AA in the prior 27 years and 2.4 million miles that I’ve flown them.  However, I’m not sure this…

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Best Hotel Amenity? Free Breakfast

Recent surveys by TripAdvisor and Hotels.com report that the most popular hotel amenity is free WiFi. If they both didn’t misplace a decimal point, then they surveyed the wrong travelers.  Experienced travelers know that the most important amenity is the free hotel breakfast. Now I’m not denying that the growth of mobile devices — smartphones,…

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