CouchSurfing is an online community of friendly hosts who are ready and eager to throw their convertible couches open to travelers from across the world. The service offers more than a free place to crash; it connects travelers with like-minded people who are excited to share their enthusiasm for their hometown. But aren’t you going to be immediately robbed and stabbed by the opportunistic lechers lurking on the internet, you ask?
We all know the crushing defeat of logging onto an open WiFi hotspot at an airport only to discover that you need to pay to reach the internet. No more! If the portal has a space for promotion codes, go ask the gift shop if they have a coupon for free access. If they don’t, you’re not out of options…
The State Department is advising travelers using super-secure RFID-enabled passports to buy a “radio-opaque” holster, because it turns out that RFID chips aren’t so super-secure after all. Don’t fret if “radio-opaque sheath” isn’t on your holiday shopping list, this is thankfully one of those rare problems that you can solve with a hammer…
Petfinder.com compared airlines to see which ones are the best choices if you’re traveling with pets. You may remember our post a while back on Pet Airways, about which Petfinder says, “While Pet Airways didn’t make the rankings because they haven’t ‘hit the air’ yet, [we are] excited to see the promising airline take off.”
My suitcase had been opened, my jewelry bag unzipped, and my fine jewelry (gold, diamonds, sapphires) had been hand picked out of the jewelry bag and the inexpensive jewelry (plastic, glass, metal) left strewn across my belongings inside my suitcase.
Back in March, Steve Bierfeldt was pulled aside while going through the security line at Lambert-St. Louis (Missouri) International Airport, taken to a room, and questioned for half an hour about the box of cash he was trying to check through. Bierfeldt, who works for a Ron Paul organization, recorded the conversation. Now with the help of the ACLU he’s suing the TSA.
Spending money costs money when you’re abroad, but a list of cards and fees compiled by USA Today can help you decide which card to pack before you leave.
Most travelers make do with 2 normal-sized pieces of luggage or less, but if you think you might have to travel with more bags, or unusually large or heavy ones, be prepared to shell out a lot of cash for what’s called an “excess baggage fee.”
Is there a worse place to have sudden diarrhea than on an airplane? Well, yes, and that would be on a water slide, but let’s stay with the airplane for a bit. Joao Correa was on a Delta Airlines flight from Honduras to Atlanta last week when something bad happened down below, and he had to immediately use the bathroom. Unfortunately, there was a drink cart blocking his way and the flight attendants wouldn’t let him by.
So, it’s not exactly good news, but between the toilet tax and priority boarding fees, Reuters thinks that airlines may have run out of “perks” worth excluding from a ticket’s base price. The bad news? All those new airline fees aren’t going anywhere. American Airlines, which last year pocketed an extra billion in “ancillary revenue,” calls them “a pretty big success story.”
Ryan’s wife is currently traveling alone with their 3-month-old son on the way to an unexpected funeral near Salt Lake, Utah. Despite the fact that she paid for the rental up front as part of an Orbitz package, the local Hertz jerks are refusing to give her the car unless she goes to an ATM and brings back $200 cash, which they say they will mail back in check form a few weeks after she returns the car. Even Hertz says this isn’t their policy, but they can’t seem to stay on the phone long enough to help Ryan and his wife.
It’s as if all the frustration from airline travelers across the world has collected into one crazy woman who’s just eaten a candy bar. We can’t believe we missed this last Thursday.
United may be trying out a new revenue idea: the don’t-set-my-bags-ablaze fee. Shannon Tadel’s luggage was incinerated as she boarded a plane in Syracuse, NY on December 1st, 2008. The cool thing about this sort of story is she got to see the inside of a cockpit! The not so cool part is what happened next:
Listen, HSBC Fraud Department, we need to talk. We know it sounds like a joke, but Phil is actually in Norway. We’re sure people call all the time and navigate your byzantine series of computer menus just to tell you hilariously absurd lies like “I’m leaving the country, here’s my forwarding contact information.” We’re sure labeling every foreign transaction as potential fraud isn’t nearly as fun as caring about the part of Phil’s account notes where it says “Travel advisory: In Norway.” The one joy of this endless runaround, the one nugget worth sharing, is that every time you flag a transaction, Phil gets to call you collect, and calling international collect makes a huge difference…
In 2006, Raed Jaer, an Iraqi-born U.S. resident, was forced by TSA officials and JetBlue to cover his t-shirt—it read, “We Will Not Be Silent” in both Arabic and English—before he could board a flight. The airline and the two TSA officials (TSA was not named in the suit) settled out of court last week for $240,000, although JetBlue still denies they did anything wrong, and the TSA says they don’t “condone profiling in any way shape or form.” [More]
My wife and I are there right now. We opened the minibar last night to put a piece of pizza in there in a pizza box. This morning, there’s a $26.04 charge for food on the bill slid under our door. Why? My wife just called to ask and was told, “If you open the mini bar door, there’s a sensor in there and if you move anything in there… you get billed for it.” In our case, we must have jiggled a $20 bottle of wine.
We talk a lot on this blog about personal data and privacy, but not so much about how to secure that data on your own computer. That’s because a.) we’re not Lifehacker and b.) the solutions frequently bloat into crazy, jargon-filled recipes that scare away the non-IT crowd. Not this time! For all you novices, here is a single idea you should consider that will help keep your personal data personal, and make your identity that much harder to steal.
Here’s the real reason for an airline to switch to credit-card-only sales on board its flights: people spend more. Southwest Airlines’ customer service veep, Daryl Krause, told the Dallas Morning News that “since Southwest began accept credit cards (and no longer taking cash) on Sept. 9, its drink sales are up about 8 percent.” Since in general “the goal was one more drink sale per flight,” we wonder whether that wasn’t the real reason for going cashless all along.