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June 2009

June 30, 2009

Need A Little Pick-Me-Up? Gorgeous Safaris!

Gorgeous safaris Do you ever realize how much you need a quick pick-me-up, but have no clue what you need or where to start? I bet a rejuvenating, luxurious, all-inclusive getaway with elements of a makeover sounds pretty tempting. Overworked, stretched-too-thin women come to Gorgeous Safaris to get some balance in their lives in one perfectly rejuvenating week. The all-inclusive, women-only safaris take small groups (20 or less) on luxury "safaris" through exotic locations, filled with things women will love.

"Of all my mad ideas, I think this one has been the best," says Gorgeous Safaris creator and owner Maeve O'Meara.

For more women's travel ideas, check out RTM's What Women Want.

June 28, 2009

What To Do When You've Lost Your Luggage

Luggage Airlines around the globe mishandled about 1 percent of the 3 billion bags checked last year. Airlines in the U.S. alone lose roughly 10,000 pieces of luggage a day. Although airlines claim to return roughly 98% of lost luggage within a few hours to a few days, it makes traveling, and more importantly, enjoying your vacation, difficult.

So, what can travelers do to avoid lost luggage? The simplest solution is to ship it directly to your location, eliminating airlines altogether.
UPS and FedEx are more reliable than the airlines, and they have much better tracking technology in place.

You should also note that if your bag is not on the carousel, wait around. Frequently, bags that don't make the right flight end up on the airline's next flight. If all else fails and your luggage is lost, be sure to file a complaint with your airline immediately. Some airlines will only have a small window of time for filing one.

For more expert advice on how to avoid lost luggage, check out RTM's Airline Rules Section.

June 25, 2009

How to Squeeze The Most Out Of Your Vacation

If you're like me (busy and broke), vacation time and money are both limited. So don't waste either at second-rate restaurants, hotels, or attractions on this summer's vacation. We'll highlight one simple rule a week to make sure you get all you can from a shorter, more inexpensive vacation. 

Vacaaataii The Rule of Spontaneity: Allowing yourself to be a little spontaneous while travelling may actually save you money. Think about it: By booking reservations for every night of your stay in advance, you are guaranteed to spend that much money before you even arrive! In general, booking from overseas is more costly, and the charming local lodging you'll find once you get there is usually more affordable. When it comes to using guidebooks, keep in mind that when something is recommended by a guidebook, it becomes more touristy - and you don't want an itinerary that's just one tourist destination after another.

More travel advice & tips from RTM

Steering Women and Families to Friendly Car Dealers

By Courtney Caldwell


Car buying, whether new or used, can be a daunting task at best. It's so overwhelming that many of us put it off until the very last minute. By then we're so anxious to get it over with that we may not do the proper research or make the smartest choices in our haste. So what is it about the car-buying experience that scares so many of us?


Used car salesmann There's no one thing for every person. For some it's the fear of not being knowledgeable about cars and getting ripped off. Some don't like dealing with salesmen and fear condescending treatment. For others it's the nightmare of negotiating. That’s why was created.


The site provides women with the resources they need to ensure a good car-buying experience. It is a bilingual social networking site that allows women to review their browsing, buying and servicing experience at new car dealerships nationwide. The reviews, all generated from women, are compiled, audited, and calculated into Women’s Satisfaction Index™ or a WSI™ scores for a dealership.


Click here for more negotiating and buying tips from RTM.  

June 24, 2009

Why Do People Buy New Cars? The Top 14 Reasons

By Marty Bernstein

1. Old car had high mileage (35%)
2. Just tired of old car, wanted something new (22%)
3. Old car was always in for repairs (20%)
4. Wanted a car with better gas mileage (19%)
5. Old car died (18%)
6. Not sure (17%)
7. Like the styling of newer models (15%)
8. Wanted a vehicle with better safety features (15%)
9. Good deals too hard to pass up (14%)
10. Needed another car for family (14%)
11. Significant other wanted a new car (12%)
12. Needed a vehicle with more room (9%)
13. Wanted a car with more high-tech toys (6%)
14. Lease on old car is up (5%)

The sum of % totals may be greater than 100% because respondents could select more than one answer.

(Source: Consumer report by BIGResearch)

Read the entire article from RTM's Automotive News & Views Section here.

June 23, 2009

Rail Travel: The Most Scenic Train Tours in the World

Trains Train travel is romantic, scenic, a wonderful way to meet and mix with locals - and equally important, a very green way to experience a country, according to Bea Broda, President of the Society of American Travel Writers (SATW). Here are the SATW’s top scenic train rides around the world:


Switzerland: The Glacier Express is the famous Swiss mountain railway from St. Moritz to Zermatt, a 7.5 hour railway journey that crosses 291 bridges and burrows through 91 tunnels.


United States: Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad winds through rugged canyons in the remote wilderness of Colorado’s two-million-acre San Juan National Forest. The train is pulled by a coal-fired, steam-powered locomotive along the same tracks traveled over a century ago by miners, cowboys and settlers of the Old West.


Canada: The Rocky Mountaineer offers spectacular two-day journeys through the Canadian Rocky Mountains from Vancouver to Jasper.

Europe: The Bernina Express from Chur, Switzerland to Tirano, Italy, makes the highest rail crossing of the Alps, passing from icy glaciers to palm-shaded piazzas in just a few hours. It crosses 196 bridges and passes through 55 tunnels, while winding around countless spectacular switchbacks.


Peru: The Peru Rail carries passengers on a spectacular journey through the high Andes from Cusco to Machu Picchu.  There are three levels of service, from backpacker trains to Vistadome cars to the luxurious blue and gold Hiram Bingham train.

Continue your railroad journey by clicking here.


Check out RTM's Train Vacations & Tours Section, too!

June 22, 2009

Death By Cell Phone: Risky Driving Habit Needs a Ban

Asian cell phone car We can not emphasize this enough: cell phone use while driving is dangerous. So dangerous, it has already been banned in more than 50 countries; punishable by fines and even jail time. In the Norway, fines are over $600 per infraction and in the Netherlands, fines are up to €2,000 or two weeks in jail. However, only six U.S. states have placed a total ban on cell phone use.

That's why the National Safety Council became the first organization to call for a nationwide ban on all forms of cell phone use while driving. Two "Death By Cell Phone" victims are featured on the NSC's new billboards, and their stories are shared online by ban advocates who make impassioned pleas for Americans to put down their cell phones while driving. Both believe the drivers of the cars that killed their loved ones were unaware of the cognitive distraction caused by talking on a cell phone or texting while driving.

According to one estimate, cell phone use is a factor in 6 percent of all crashes, which equates to 636,000 crashes, 330,000 injuries, 12,000 serious injuries and 2,600 deaths each year. Cell phone-using drivers are four times more likely to be involved in personal injury crashes than other drivers, and most crashes are caused by driver inattention, with cell phone use being the number one distraction. According to a 2008 poll by Nationwide Insurance, roughly eight in ten (81%) cell phone owners report that they talk on their cell phone while driving. One day, we'll all look back at cell phone use while driving in disparage.

To read more about driving distractions from RTM, check out the Safety & Security Section.

June 19, 2009

Quickie Getaways for the Workaholic

FL A long weekend getaway — three nights away from the daily routine — can do wonders to revive the spirit and fortify the soul. Wherever you live in the U.S., there is a quick getaway you can set your sights on, so start planning! The following five destinations offer vacations ranging from the great outdoors to art and culture, sizzling nightlife or golf and spas. Best of all, you can get a handle on these places within a three-night, four-day timeframe.

South Beach, Miami, FL: These two square miles at the southern tip of Miami Beach are packed with trendy hotels, restaurants, nightclubs and shops along a stretch of beach so wide there is room enough for everyone to play in the sun. Days are hot, but nights are even hotter.

Adirondack Mountains, NY: The mountains and waterways of northern New York lend themselves to leisurely drives; hiking and biking trails; climbing a peak for a majestic view; swimming and fishing in a serene lake; or retracing America's past at historic sites throughout the region, which is larger than the state of Vermont.

Sante Fe, NM: The crisp, clean mountain air of this city in New Mexico is not the only thing that will surprise visitors. Historical charm accompanies exhibitions at the Georgia O'Keefe Museum and the Museum of Spanish Colonial Art, many galleries and shops, and exceptional cuisine at renowned restaurants.

Telluride, CO: Everything to see and do in Telluride is packed into the tiny 8-by-12 block town, surrounded by a stunning landscape of mountains that make up the outdoor playground. People prefer to walk from place to place in town, so it's the perfect getaway for those who would rather not drive.

Palm Springs Desert Resorts, CA: This oasis encompasses 8 different blossoming desert cities, making it the perfect resort getaway. In addition to shopping, visiting casinos, spas, bars and clubs, there are more unconventional pursuits such as tandem skydiving to try. The best part is the guarantee of excellent weather.


Read the full article here.

June 18, 2009

Driving InTEXTicated: A Deadly Distraction

Coupkle inexticatedd With cell phones becoming more popular on the road, driving tragedies involving teenagers text messaging while behind the wheel have increased in frequency. This alarming trend has now made parents and drivers more aware of the dangers of text messaging and other cell phone distractions on the road.


Driving Distractions to Avoid:

  • Do not drive while calling or texting.
  • Use speed dialing or voice-activated dialing if you have to make a call while driving.
  • Let your voicemail take the call. You can call back later when you are not driving.
  • Know when to stop talking. If the conversation is long, emotional or stressful continue it when you are not driving.
  • Do not take notes while driving.
  • Do not eat or drink while driving.
  • Groom yourself at home, not in the vehicle.

If worse comes to worse and you must have a phone convseration while driving, by all means make or take a phone call over intercepting and responding to texts - both are unsafe, but at least while talking, your eyes can stay on the road.

As politics have proved, phone company records of text messages are irrefutable and accurate to the second; so it would be an easy matter to prove in court that a person was texting at the time of an accident. As with drunken driving, a jail sentence (no matter the driver's age) will be mandatory whenever anyone is injured by an InTEXTicated driver. These aren't the only repercussions for inTEXTicated driving...distracted drivers are dangerous to themselves and to others. Some say texting and driving is proving to be as dangerous and deadly as drinking and driving.


This email went around recently, mostly from parents to teens, warning in graphic detail what can really happen when drivers aren't aware of their surroundings. In almost all situations, responding to a text can wait.


Read more from RTM about Driving Distractions.

June 17, 2009

Travel Etiquette: How To Respect Local Customs

Cultures We’ve all heard the cliché: "When in Rome..." Here are some very specific ways to respect the culture of any other country you're visiting this summer.

1. Don't dress inappropriately for the area or occasion - research local customs before. When in doubt, don't wear skimpy apparel.

2. Make sure to learn at least a few words of the local languauge. Locals respect travelers who try, and will often respond in English if they can.

3. Find out beforehand about dining customs. If you're lucky enough to share a meal with local people in Asia for instance, don't stick your chopsticks upright in a bowl of rice or use them to spear food. Most of all, don't use them to point at people!

Foreigners 4. Don't photograph local people without asking their permission. If they oblige, be sure to share the pictures with them somehow.

5. Don't give any sort of gift, money or candy to local children. This encourages begging, so it is always better to donate to a local charity.


For more insider travel tips from RTM, click here.