Friendly Planet Blog

Archive for February, 2011

Older Posts »

And the winners of autographed Arthur Frommer travel guidebooks are …

Before we close the book on Friendly Planet Travel’s contest to win autographed Arthur Frommer travel guidebooks, I want to tell you who won! But before I reveal the names, let me refresh your memory on what’s at stake here.

When we were at The Philadelphia Inquirer Travel Show, we got the opportunity to interview Arthur and Pauline Frommer, two of the BIGGEST names in the travel industry. They were so gracious. Not only did they give us a few minutes of their time (when everyone wanted a few minutes of their time), but they also signed a few of their travel guidebooks for us.

Instead of keeping them all for myself, I bundled “Ask Arthur Frommer” and “Frommer’s Costa Rica 2011” together to give two sets away to two lucky Friendly Planet Travel readers. You then told me why you wanted to win these great (and autographed) books by commenting on the original post, and today we randomly selected two winners.

And the winners are … Kellie Cereola and Kelvin! Congratulations! Both of you will be receiving copies of the books signed by Arthur Frommer. We’ll be contacting you shortly to confirm your address to send you books. In case you didn’t see them the first time, here are photos of Arthur’s sig.

Thanks to everyone who entered. I loved reading all the comments and I’m so happy to see that like me, Arthur Frommer not only inspired you to travel, but has given you great travel advice along the way. I’d also like to thank Arthur again for talking with Friendly Planet Travel and autographing the books.

And if you didn’t win this time, don’t fret. I’ll be telling you how you can enter to win a copy of “1,000 Places to See Before You Die,” autographed by Patricia Schultz. And if there are any other travel writers you’d like to see us to feature on the blog, let me know in a comment.

Friday’s Friendly Funny

Ambushed for travel advice: The series

I’ve been in the travel business for over 30 years, and have been to many exotic locations. You’d think that I’d know every trick of the trade, but every year I learn something new. And my travelers are my greatest source of learning!

So when we were planning Friendly Planet Travel’s appearance at The Philadelphia Inquirer Travel Show, I thought it would be fun to turn the tables and get travelers to give you their own travel advice. That’s exactly what we did.

We ambushed travelers to ask them about hot topics that are shaking up the travel industry, their top travel tips, and a trick question or two. We got so much great feedback from travelers that we couldn’t fit it all into a single video. We decided to bring you their interviews and their tips in a series of several short clips. Here’s the first video. And stay tuned, more terrific video is coming soon!

How to get a free trip to Kenya or India

What’s better than the Big Apple? Winning a free trip to Kenya or India while in the Big Apple!

Friendly Planet Travel is heading to The New York Times Travel Show this weekend to give attendees the chance to win a free trip for two on our Kenya Safari Express or Taj Mahal Express.

And that’s not all. We’re also giving away a Nikon S8100 digital camera. To enter to win, stop by Friendly Planet Travel’s booth, #276, at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center. The winners will be randomly selected and announced right here on the blog on Monday, Feb. 28.

In addition to our giveaways, I’ll be presenting “Five Exotic Locations for the Price of a Vegas Weekend” on Sunday at 11:30 a.m. on the Europe stage. Stop by and I’ll tell you all about the exotic spots around the globe that offer your family an unforgettable experience of a lifetime for the cost of the typical trip down the shore.

Back at our booth, we’ll have tour information, snacks, an international slide show with images of the places we visit, and show-only discount coupons valid for many of our tours. You’ll have a chance to win other great prizes just by spinning our Friendly prize wheel!

I’ll also be on hand as well as other Friendly Planet Travel experts to answer all your travel questions. And if you’re ready and find your dream trip while you’re at our booth, you’ll be able to book on the spot using our online booking engine.

As you can see, we have a lot planned for this show. If you still need to buy tickets, you can get them online. Adults are $15 and kids under 18 are free. For just $15, you could win a trip to Kenya, India, or a camera in a New York minute. And that’s in addition to the spectacular performances and activities planned for show visitors.

The New York Times Travel Show is one of the premier travel shows in the country. There are over 300 booths in addition to Friendly Planet Travel’s, but I have a special spot in my heart for booth #276!

But let’s get back to the good stuff — the prizes! Here are more details. The Kenya Safari Express takes travelers to the Masai Mara and Samburu game reserves where Africa’s big five game walks right past you. You’ll experience Africa’s sweeping vistas, teeming cities, and magnificent wildlife. Get the day-by-day details of the trip in my previous posts about Kenya.

Included are roundtrip airfare from New York’s JFK airport on award-winning Emirates Airlines; accommodations at deluxe hotels and superior safari lodges; game-viewing drives with experienced game spotters with a guaranteed window seat and access to a pop-up roof hatch; a boat safari on Lake Naivasha; comprehensive sightseeing tours in Nairobi by local, English-speaking guides; all transfers and land transportation; many meals, and more.

The Taj Mahal Express tour take you on expert-guided tours of the Taj Mahal, Fatehpur Sikhri, Jaipur (known as the “pink city”), and the Amber Fort, with an ascent on elephant or a Jeep. You also get a one-day tour in Delhi that takes you to its most important sites, such as the Laxmi Narayan Temple, Raj Ghat, the Red Fort, and more. There’s much more, but you can read about it in my recent posts.

The tour includes roundtrip airfare from New York on Emirates; superior first-class hotels; daily buffet breakfasts; an authentic Indian farewell dinner in Delhi; expert guides throughout the journey; fuel surcharges, transfers, and much more.

The Nikon S8100 features a 3-inch, high-resolution clear color display. It has 12.1 megapixals with a 10X wide Zoom-NIKKOR ED glass lens, covering 30-300 mm. It also comes with Optical VR Image Stabilzation, high ISO sensitivity to 3200, and a new flash control system. Plus, you can record full 1080p HD movies with stereo sound.

I hope to see you this weekend! And if you can’t make it, we’ll be recapping the whole show right here on the blog.

Time is running out to get autographed Arthur Frommer travel guidebooks

I’ve gotten some inspiring comments so far for our contest to win autographed Arthur Frommer travel guidebooks. In case you haven’t entered to win yet, you better do it soon! The contest ends on Wednesday, Feb. 23 at 11:59 p.m. EST. Here’s what you have to do to enter.

Flip back to our original post and leave a comment telling me why you want to win signed copies of “Ask Arthur Frommer” and “Frommer’s Costa Rica 2011.” To be eligible to win, you must include your first name and an e-mail address where we can contact you if you win in the comment. Two winners will be randomly selected from the pool of comments and announced on the blog.

If you need a little inspiration to get you typing, watch Friendly Planet Travel’s interview with Arthur and Pauline Frommer at The Philadelphia Inquirer Travel Show. Good luck!

Friday’s Friendly Funny

Patricia Schultz shows us ‘1,000 Places to See Before You Die’ in 8 minutes

You might have read “1,000 Places to See Before You Die” by Patricia Schultz. If you haven’t or if you’re not familiar with the book, it was a milestone in travel journalism when it was released in 2003 and it established Patricia as one of the foremost travel writers.

Patricia has also written for Frommer’s, Condé Nast Traveler, and Harper’s Bazaar, just to name a few. She was also the executive producer of the Travel Channel’s reality show, “1,000 Places to See Before You Die.”

When I learned that Patricia was speaking at The Philadelphia Inquirer Travel Show, I enlisted Melissa, a Friendly Planet Travel blogger, to do everything in her power to get an interview with her.

Fortunately we were able to get a few minutes with Patricia after she finished signing copies of her book, including one for Melissa and one we’ll be giving away on the blog. But I’ll save the details of the giveaway for another post.

Melissa found out why Patricia decided to document 1,000 places instead of 500, who the one person was who disliked the title of her book (hint: his last name rhymes with hommer), what her most terrible trip was, why Bhutan is one of her favorite places to visit, her advice on how to turn an ordinary trip into an extraordinary one, and much more.

Thank you so much for your time Patricia! You can watch the interview below. But stay tuned to the blog. I’ll be telling you in another post how you can win copies of Patricia’s “1,000 Places to See Before You Die.”

Friday’s Friendly Funny

How much are you willing to pay for better airport security? The New York Times looks at proposed airport security methods

It appears that the backlash against the TSA’s new airport security measures was heard. So much so that proposals of tiered airport security screening procedures were covered in The New York Times article, “Support Grows for Tiered Risk System at Airports.” Although the idea is only percolating, I think it’s promising for travelers.

The New York Times points out rightly that every passenger who checks in for a flight is treated by the TSA like a potential terrorist. This is actually a huge inconvenience to the travelers who are just trying to get on a flight and a huge expense for the government (and to us, the taxpayers) that is trying to keep us safe in the sky. The article talks about the goal of making airport security more efficient by having an information-based screening method, instead of one that is purely random.

The proposals include giving passengers the option to pay a certain amount to get screened before traveling by air. Then they will be categorized in one of three groups: trusted, regular, or risky. The group in which they’re categorized in will determine the level of screening used at the airport.

The New York Times breaks down all of the different options being proposed right now, so I won’t repeat the details here. But I will say that this would make getting through airport security easier and friendlier.

By removing random interrogations of innocent air travel passengers, which include children and the elderly, and basing airport security screenings on facts and background checks, U.S. airports might be back on track toward being friendlier places.

Kudos to the TSA for considering these proposals! Even if we, as travelers, have to pay a little more to be pre-screened, it’s well worth the cost. I look forward to seeing how these proposals develop and hopefully are put into action sooner rather than later.

What do you think about these proposed airport screening procedures? Would you be willing to pay an extra fee for this security convenience? Take our survey below.

Travel easier: How to get autographed Arthur Frommer travel guidebooks

Enter to win signed copies! Get the details below.

I just can’t get enough of the Frommers! I’m still on cloud nine about Melissa’s interview with Arthur and Pauline Frommer at The Philadelphia Inquirer Travel Show.

Today, to keep the excitement going, I’m giving two lucky readers the chance to win copies of “Ask Arthur Frommer” and “Frommer’s Costa Rica 2011,” autographed by Arthur Frommer.

As I told you in my last post, in my pursuit of an interview with the Frommers, I was able to snag a few autographed copies of Arthur’s latest books. He was kind enough to not only talk to us on camera, but autograph four books for us. Thanks Arthur!

I packaged “Ask Arthur Frommer” and “Frommer’s Costa Rica 2011” together to give two sets away to two lucky Friendly Planet Travel readers. Both are packed with travel advice and sure to come in handy. Take a quick look at Arthur’s John Hancock.

To enter to win, leave a comment on this post telling me why you want to win Arthur’s books. Would you keep them for yourself or give them away as a gift? Or has Arthur Frommer been your travel muse? Tell me all about it!

To be eligible to win, you must include your first name and an e-mail address where we can contact you if you win in the comment. The commenting contest starts today and ends on Wednesday, Feb. 23 at 11:59 p.m. EST. Two winners will be randomly selected from the pool of comments and announced on the blog.

Put your traveling caps on and start telling me why you want to win these books. I look forward to reading your comments!

Older Posts »