Archive for November, 2010

Waterfront Christmas Traditions

While Thanksgiving has been the traditional starting gun for the race to Christmas, it seems the retailers haven’t waited this year to put up Christmas decorations or start “Black Friday” sales.  Christmas in my mind is a Bing Crosby “Winter Wonderland,” but in the southeast, snow and sledding are less likely than rain and mud-bogging.  In that tradition, southerners have all kinds of options for getting in a coastal Christmas spirit.

This weekend, travelers to North Myrtle Beach can enjoy the Intracoastal Christmas Regatta.  Since 1984, the Regatta has kicked off the Christmas season in grand fashion.  This year, the parade will begin at the Little River Inlet at 5 p.m. on Saturday, November 27, and will end at the Dock Holidays Marina at 7 p.m.  Spectators and participants donate cash or unwrapped toys for local needy children and enjoy the sights of brightly lit boats floating down the Intracoastal Waterway.   

Also on Saturday, the city of Savannah will …

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At what point do you just opt out of flying?

In the past week, the hullabaloo over airport security checks has reached heightened levels, to say the least. Few travelers – or anyone for that matter – can have escaped news stories detailing the Transportation Security Administration’s move from back-of-the-hand pat downs for passengers who refuse full-body scans to searches where security personnel use the front of their hand.

Concerns over privacy loss from full-body scanners’ well-defined images seem to have led to some travelers enduring more personal or uncomfortable techniques. Groping, sexual assault and probing “where the sun doesn’t shine” are just a few of the printable descriptions some fliers are using for the new screening techniques at airport checkpoints. The result? Reports of a growing frustration among fliers and airline personnel, along with a week’s worth of video of long security lines, travelers receiving pat downs or frequent fliers worried about the long-term health effects of …

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What are the best and worst things about travel in the 2000s?

In two weeks, the 2010 holiday travel season will be in full swing. When it’s over, we will have crossed over the threshold into 2011 and the dawn of a new decade of travel. TripAdvisor.com released yesterday a survey of travelers, which asked among other things, for people to name the best and worst travel developments of the past decade.

Their response? For starters, travelers have become quite fond of online check-in since the beginning of this decade. Twenty-six percent of those surveyed said the ability to check-in for their upcoming flights was the number one development of the past 10 years.  Candid travel reviews and increased options for online travel bookings tied at 16 percent each for the next best development for travelers. In short, the Internet appears to have helped travelers — whether they’re jetting round the globe or driving round the state — make the most of their journeys in recent years.

On the flip side, the traveling public stood strong in its …

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Are you an adventurous traveler or a cautious one?

The other day, I ran across a headline that described vacationing Americans as the least adventurous as compared with citizens on holiday from four other similar countries. A survey by Intrepid Travel revealed that among Americans, Canadians, Australians, New Zealanders and British travelers, Americans were least likely to try a variety of vacation experiences. The Kiwis were the most adventurous.

Intrepid Travel organizes tours to small, off-the-beaten-path locales, and encourages travelers to meet with, and often stay in the homes of, locals as part of their vacation experience. Among the questions the company surveyed were whether travelers in each country would be willing to eat deep-fried tarantulas, go on safari, sleep in a hilltop village hut, explore ancient ruins and haggle at local markets. In essence, travelers were asked how willing they were to embrace the culture and people of their travel destination.

Within the United States, certain regions showed they were …

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