Hot Spots: Dublin, Ireland

Hot Spots, Ireland
There’s more than just a robust literary underpinning to Dublin, Ireland, although the city’s history of letters is unavoidable. The erstwhile hometown to James Joyce, George Bernard Shaw, Samuel Beckett, Jonathan Swift, Oscar Wilde, J.M. Synge, W.B. Yeats, and many other major writers brims with a youthful vim (an estimated 50% or more of the city’s denizens are less than 25 years of age) that belies the solid architectural appearance. Neatly bisected by the River Liffey, Dublin offers ample sightseeing opportunity via foot. For the traveler on a tight budget, Dublin’s many free attractions leave extra funds for a pint or five after a long day of tourism, but for those with a little extra gravy, the Dublin Pass widens the range of attractions while keeping funds in check. What…
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Should I Stay or Should I Go Now?

Travel Tips
That's the dilemma facing travelers who are trying to decide whether to book flights now, while prices are low, or wait until later in the summer travel season when fares may decrease further.  The New York Times reports, "In recent weeks, travelers have been able to find nonstop round-trip flights, including taxes and fees, for $477 from Chicago to Madrid for travel in April, $312 from Newark, N.J., to Dublin in May, and $482 from Washington to London in early June." Sounds great, right? But what if ticket prices can still go lower, just like the housing market? And what if they don't? Will travelers ruin their plans by playing wait-and-see? The old "book early for the best price" rule is no longer applicable, it seems. The answer, of course,…
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United Airlines’ Controversial New Policy

Featured
Last week, United Airlines introduced a controversial new policy that requires passengers who need more than one seat-belt extender and who cannot put their seat's armrests down when seated to purchase an extra seat. If no empty seat is available on the flight, the passenger must wait for the next flight or forgo his or her travel plans with United. While United is not the only airline to enforce such a policy, it has come under fire from the Association for Airline Passenger Rights (AAPR) for shelving its customer service standards in favor of profit and irresponsibly packing in passengers in coach too tightly. Could the new rule do further damage to the flagging airline industry? A 2008 survey showed that airline customer satisfaction had reached its lowest level since…
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La Parisian Vita, Courtesy of Doitinparis.com

France
For anyone who cut her hair into a semi-sloppy bob after seeing Amelie or wished Carrie would just stay in Paris with The Russian forever, a new site called Do it in Paris is just what the doctor ordered. Featuring Parisian fashion, tres chic Paris addresses, French recipes, and tips on what to see and where to eat, the site is a comprehensive guide for anyone planning a trip to Paris, as well as anyone who wants to take a mini-vacation in their head! Also handy is the Practical Guide, which provides information about landing in Paris, getting around the city, and daily life.  For a taste of the Parisian joie de vivre, visit www.doitinparis.com.
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Find Accommodations for Less with iStopOver

Travel Tips
Love to travel but have limited funds? What if you had a friend in every city whom you could stay with for much less than the cost of renting a hotel room? The answers to both questions are cropping up in the form of sites like iStopOver.com, which caters to frugal travelers looking for hotel alternatives. The concept is sort of like a Craigslist for accommodations. Hosts list their house/apartment and guests can search for available rooms in their destination city. Often, the accommodations rival that of hotels but are offered at a much lower rate, and some do not charge the costly cancellation fees associated with hotel reservations. The inevitable concern, of course, is whether the host will be some pervy neat-freak who has a conniption fit if you…
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Hot Spots: Adelaide, South Australia

Australia & New Zealand, Featured, Hot Spots
Flocked by parklands and vineyards and peppered with churches, Adelaide enjoys a slower pace of life than some of the other state capitals, calling up its German and English history (Adelaide is the only capital settled by English free settlers, though it was originally inhabited by the Kaurna people) while also edging towards a more cosmopolitan flair. Adelaide tends to get overshadowed by cities like Sydney and Melbourne, but it has many pleasures in store for lovers of wine, food, art, and coastal life. Adelaide, with a population of 1.1 million, claims the distinction of having more restaurants per person than any other city in the country, as well as the distinction of producing about half of all Australian wine. For the epicure or just the foodie, this is a…
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Pink-Dollar Travel Remains High Despite Recession

Travel
According to the Chicago Tribune, the recession has done little to curb the so-called “pink dollar”—the currency wielded by the nation’s gay and lesbian communities, who have refused to relinquish their travel plans, much to the delight of the nation’s travel industry. Now, hotel chains, destination cities, and airlines are all ramping up their efforts to woo pink dollars through gay-and-lesbian-targeted marketing programs. Chasing the pink dollar can pay high dividends. In 2006, a U.S. Travel Association survey found that gay men spend an average of $800 per trip. Their straight counterparts, on the other hand, spend only about $540 per trip. The reason for the discrepancy has much to do with the “double income, no kids” effect that so many gay and lesbian couples enjoy, although adoption rates are…
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When the Most Private of Business Becomes Public

Hotel Trends
The newest design trend among luxury hotels is the exposed bathroom, reports The New York Times. From Los Angeles and London to China and India, bathrooms enclosed (barely) by transparent glass walls and bathrooms that are free-standing, open areas of hotel rooms are all the rage among designers and hoteliers. The arguments for these designs range from conserving space to adding luxury to opening up hotel rooms by removing walls and letting in natural light. Some proponents of the exposed bathroom have also argued that the design minimizes spatial confusion and allows guests to locate easily all areas of their hotel rooms. (I say you’d have to be from another planet to need help differentiating between the clothes closet and the water closet.) Of course, for couples there’s also the…
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Tips for Traveling with Baby

Travel Tips
If you’ve ever flown in the same plane as a screaming baby, you know exactly what Sartre meant in No Exit by “hell is other people.” If you’re the parent of said baby, you’re more likely to believe that your formerly sweet child is Virgil reincarnated, leading you into some unnamed 10th circle of hell. Either way, it’s an unpleasant experience. Luckily, though, Jen Leo of the LA Times has compiled a few helpful tips to make the experience a little less hellish: Bribe your seatmates into assistance, or at least a little tolerance. Starbucks gift cards work well, as do goodie bags containing ear plugs and sweet treats. Nurse or bottle feed during takeoff and landing. Be prepared. Extra diapers, extra clothes, blankets, plastic baggies, a thermometer, and Tylenol…
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Hot Spots: Denver, Colorado

Colorado, Hot Spots
Former mining town Denver, Colorado, seems to be jumping to the top of several "best" lists as of late, including claiming the number one spot on the Pew Research Center's list of "America's Most Popular Big Cities." No doubt propelled by the attention it received last summer when it played host to the Democratic National Convention, the Mile High City beat out such cities as San Diego, Seattle, Orlando, and Tampa for the distinction. Colorado has always retained a storied reputation as an fresh-air enclave, an outdoor enthusiast's paradise, a nature lover's Eden. In more recent years, it has also gained notice for its cultural offerings such as the expanded Denver Art Museum and the burgeoning theater scene and its winning sports teams the Denver Broncos, Colorado Rockies, and the…
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