London Airport Receives Massive Upgrades

London City Airport is aiming to create an “airport of the future.” The airport’s goal is to eliminate the annoyances that come along with flying.

Their lofty goal includes shortening security lines and making missing luggage a thing of the past.

These experiences will be delivered by technology called Internet of Things (IoT). This technology allows a variety of devices and machines to communicate and has proven to be the foundation for ground-breaking technology. For example, the technology has helped create “smart lights” which detect when you’ve woken up to turn on and “smart cars” which are said to avoid collision.

The London City Airport is the first airport to use this technology for commercial aviation. Over the next year, the airport will integrate different technologies to provide a picture of what’s possible.

A few of these possibilities include tracking luggage and passengers and a system that would allow passengers to pre-order food through their smartphones and have it delivered to their departure gate.

Overall, the airport is combining date to create a better customer experience. So now it’s your turn to tell us — would you welcome these types of changes at airports or are you considered about privacy and safety implications of this technology? Leave a comment below, write on our Facebook page or Tweet us. We look forward to hearing from you!

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Furloughs cause flight delays and cancellations

Air travelers are experiencing delays the government warned us about a few months ago. The delays are reportedly caused by forced federal spending cuts. On Monday, New York City-area airports reported delays for all incoming flights because air traffic controllers were forced to take unpaid time off.

Overall, furloughs kicked in on Sunday for 47,000 Federal Aviation Administration workers, including 15,000 air traffic controllers.

“Throughout today, the FAA has put in place a series of traffic management initiatives around the country to manage both reduced staffing as a result of employee furloughs and weather related issues,” Department of Transportation Press Secretary Justin Nisly said in a statement.

The FAA said there were 400 furlough-related flight delays on Sunday alone. Examples of the flight delays occurred on two Alaska Airlines flights destined for Los Angeles International Airport. The flights were diverted 60 miles away to Ontario International Airport Sunday night due to furloughs and bad weather. Due to the delay, the airline had to bus passengers to LAX. However, the airline waived rebooking fees through Tuesday, citing furloughs.

These delays are the only beginning. FAA workers are required to take a total of 11 days off by the month of September. The workers must take off at least one day every two weeks which means 1,500 controllers could be off the job per day.

“The best indicator of what this is going to be like is (that) we ran delays on Sunday — not one of the busiest days of the week — … on a perfect weather day,” said Stephen Abraham, the National Air Traffic Controllers Association representative in JFK.

In addition to delays, there were another 400 flights canceled Monday and 50 flights canceled Tuesday cancelled as of 5 am ET.

So what is your best bet for dealing with the delays? Be sure to check your flight status before heading to the airport. Be sure to purchase travel insurance to make sure your travel investment is protected against delays, cancellations and many other unforeseeable events.

We’d like to hear your thoughts about the recent flight delays and cancellations. Leave a comment below, write on our Facebook page or Tweet us. We look forward to hearing from you!

Travel to Cancun on the Rise

According to the Cancun Convention & Visitors Bureau, more than 2 million visitors will be visiting Cancun this Spring.

Throughout the past month, families, students and friends are selecting Cancun for their vacation destination. In fact, Easter week saw more than 500 daily flights and an approximate 90 percent occupancy rate. The vibrant city held events like Oasis Dance U brought together a variety of performers from the worlds of electronic music, hip hop and dance, as well as top DJs from around the world that attracted thousands of vacationing college students and other audiences.

Now it is your turn to tell us – is Cancun a popular spot with your clients? Has anyone shared safety concerns about traveling to Mexico? Leave a comment below, write on our Facebook page or Tweet us. We look forward to hearing from you!

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Get Featured as the Most Social Travel Advisor

Are you a travel agent who connects with their clients on Facebook and Twitter? Do you pin exciting destinations on your Pinterest page? Do you share interesting travel tips and articles on your Google+ page? If you answered yes to any of these questions, you may be featured as the Most Social Travel Advisor in Travel Agent Central.

The publication is reaching out to travel professionals who are on top of their social media game. If you are using social media to answer your clients’ questions on Facebook or boosting sales through Twitter, they want to hear how social has worked for you.

Make sure to nominate yourself here by April 30, 2013 and share your agency information along with your proudest social media moments and tips for other agents.

Please pass this along to friends and other travel agents who may want to enter as well, and don’t forget to follow us on Facebook and Twitter. Good luck to all!

Report: FAA to allow Kindle use during takeoff

Reports are circulating that the Federal Aviation Administration may allow travelers to use Amazon Kindle devices during takeoff.

The FAA’s Portable and Electronic Device Advisory and Rulemaking Committee is reviewing current policies and will end those deliberations in July. The committee has more than two dozen members, who include representatives of the FAA, Amazon, airlines, pilot and flight attendant unions, aircraft manufacturers, the FCC and the Consumer Electronics Association.

The current guidance is that travelers have to turn off everything while below 10,000 feet, but that may all change.

Over the past few years, the FAA has been under mounting pressure to either allow passengers more electronic freedom onboard aircraft, or provide solid scientific evidence why they can’t. Critics point out that pilots now employ iPads in the cockpit for navigation purposes.

So tell us what you think — should passengers be allowed to use electronic devices during a flight? Leave a comment below, post on our Facebook wall or Tweet us. We look forward to hearing from you!

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Statue of Liberty Scheduled to Reopen by July 4, 2013

The National Park Service is expected to reopen the Statue of Liberty to the public by July 4, 2013, according to Secretary of the Interior, Ken Salazar.  Liberty Island experienced extensive damage due to Hurricane Sandy.

“Hurricane Sandy inflicted major damage on facilities that support the Statue of Liberty – destroying the docks, crippling the energy infrastructure on Ellis Island and wiping out the security screening system – but we are fully committed to reopening this crown jewel as soon as it’s safe for visitors and not a second later,” Secretary Salazar said.

“Lady Liberty was hit hard by Superstorm Sandy, but just like New York, she will be back – and stronger than ever,” said Senator Charles E. Schumer. “Being open for the summer tourism season isn’t just important symbolically, it’s a boon to the city’s economy and businesses, as the statue attracts millions of tourists from all over the world to our shores. I thank Secretary Salazar for his extraordinary work – he was uncommonly focused on getting this job done, and the people of New York appreciate it.”

“We worked together to address safety and security concerns to reopen the crown and now he has helped bring this national treasure back after Superstorm Sandy. The Statue of Liberty will stand as a symbol of the whole region rebuilding even better and stronger after the storm,” said Senator Robert Menendez.

The reopening of the monument will also help the New York economy. Approximately 4 million people visited the park in 2011, generating $174 million in economic activity and supporting 2,218 jobs, according to an annual report released by the National Park Service.

However, the economic boost will require an investment from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Lands Highways Program. The program committed $28 million  to roads and bridges in federal parks and recreation areas in New York and New Jersey damaged by Hurricane Sandy.

Tell us — are you looking forward to Liberty Island reopening?

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TravelSafe Vacation Plan Named Number One for Second Consecutive Year

We are proud to announce that the TravelSafe Vacation Plan has been ranked the number 1 travel insurance plan for the 2nd consecutive year by Top Ten Reviews!

So what does this mean for you? TravelSafe plans provide unmatched coverage which allows travelers to see the world with peace of mind. Awarded a 9.5 overall rating, the Vacation Plan offers up to 150% of the trip cost if your trip is interrupted and up to $25,000 for non-medical emergency evacuation. The policy also provides a $100,000 emergency accident and sickness benefit.

According to Top Ten Reviews, “if you are most concerned about travel insurance benefits for missed connections or lost baggage, this policy beats all of the competition.”However, we know that one plan doesn’t fit all – so we offer several options so you can find the plan that works best for you. Choices include Basic, Classic, Classic Plus, Protect-a-Group and more.

To find out more about the right coverage for you, visit or call us at 1-888-885-7233. We look forward to hearing about your next travel adventure!

Safe travels,
Your Friends at TravelSafe


Top 5 Family Travel Tips

Traveling with kids can present challenges, but with these tips your trip will be smooth sailing!

Traveling with children adds another layer to your travel plans. You have to be prepared for all kinds of situations, so we’ve compiled five tips you can use while traveling with your family:

1. Don’t forget necessities! Make a packing list before you travel to ensure you don’t forget anything. Be sure to add these things to your list:

Medicine – Children’s Tylenol, Benadryl, cough syrup and allergy medicine

Baby wipes – You can use them to clean surfaces, hands and faces. They are also great on a hot day to cool the kids’ hot faces, too.

Snacks –  Nuts, granola bars or oranges are great to have on hand for both road and air travel.

2. Choose the right departure time. If you have little ones, try leaving at night as you might get lucky and have your children sleep the whole way!

3. Be prepared for airplane travel with these tips:

Pre-plan. Check out the airplane seat diagrams and try to plan where you want your family to sit. You can sit across the aisles, near the bathrooms or divide and conquer if fighting siblings is a battle you know you’ll have to fight.

Pre-board. Check with the airline to see if they allow pre-boarding for families with small children. If that is not an option, send in one parent with the luggage first, and have one parent stay behind with a child (or two) so they can move around until the last possible minute.

4. Choose your distractions wisely! Bring along books and toys that are easy to pack, don’t have a lot of loose parts and are entertaining. Forgot to pack the toys or they’ve lost interest already? No problem. Simply find some paper and pens, pencils or markers and ask your children to draw you a picture.

5. Lastly, relax and cut yourself some slack! If you expect there are going to be a problem or two, you won’t be disappointed when they arise. If you get stressed when you can’t find your hotel, your kids will get stressed, too. When you think of it as “exploring the neighborhood,” everyone will feel better. Simply go with the flow and everything will work out!

Share with us – what’s your best family travel tip? Leave a comment below, post on our Facebook wall or Tweet us. We can’t wait to hear from you!

Top 10 Mediterranean Destinations

The Mediterranean is full of vacation spots that can satisfy any traveler’s wish list. It’s such a popular spot, National Geographic has named the top adventures worth exploring in the Mediterranean. Read the list below and tell us which one of these you’d like to add to your travel wish list by leaving a comment below, posting on our Facebook page or Tweeting us. We’d love to here from you!

  1. Cycle the Tour de France

    The world’s premier long-distance cycling event is for pros only—but there’s nothing stopping you from enjoying some of the world’s best bicycle routes by following the Tour de France’s annually changing path from dizzying mountain passes to the charms of France’s sunny Mediterranean coast. Many outfitters provide logistical support for cyclists who want to ride some or even all of the legendary stages of “Le Tour,” and some packages combine rides with VIP spectator access to the real race. Independent cycling options abound thanks to charming communities and welcoming locals all along the French Riviera.

  2. Windsurf in Turkey

    Turkey’s beautiful coastlines and clear waters draw legions of visitors each year, but those looking for reliable winds tend to descend on a scenic, formerly sleepy fishing village called Alacati. Between May and October north winds blow reliably here across a turquoise bay on the Cesme Peninsula. Competitors of the Professional Windsurfers Association hold World Cup events at Alacati, which lend the town a festive flavor, but the area may be best suited to beginners, and the area’s surf schools thrive.

  3. Dive Into Alexandria’s Classical Past

    Few dives can match those to the sunken treasures offered in and around Alexandria, Egypt—a glimpse of ancient civilizations from the pharoahs to the Romans. Sites like the sunken City of Cleopatra, in today’s harbor, allow divers to explore statues, amphorae, columns, and even ancient buildings. Shipwrecks in the region date from ancient times to World War II. While some dives are “experts only” and visibility can be a problem, even beginners can get their feet wet in this watery corner of the ancient world.

  4. Ski the Abruzzo

    Fun in the Mediterranean sun needn’t always include sand and surf—snow sports also thrive not far from the lapping waves. Italy’s Abruzzo region, with its long Adriatic coastline, offers great skiing, surprisingly reliable snow, and picturesque villages stocked with topflight eateries. And visitors to Abruzzo will share slopes like Roccaraso and Campo Felice with far more Italians than tourists, who are typically drawn to the more famous Alpine resorts to the north. In fact most of Abruzzo reflects a quieter corner of Italy—a rustic throwback to an earlier era that’s also evidenced by far lower prices.

  5. Kite Surf Tarifa, Spain

    Europe’s southernmost port town is perched on the Strait of Gibraltar and draws kite surfers to a dozen or so beaches well situated to feast on howling winds funneled through the strait. A wide selection of schools can help even newcomers to the sport get up and running in relatively short order. If the wind dies down travelers can flee Europe via a fast catamaran that reaches Tangier, Morocco, in under an hour.

American Rail System Gains Speed

In 2009, President Obama shared his plan for a high-speed rail across the United States. Whether the rail system will ever get built remains to be seen, but one artist, Alfred Twu, has determined where exactly those speedy rail lines should go.

Twu posted his design on Facebook and since then, the post has gone viral. With the overwhelming response, Twu created a petition to the White House to fund the system, and the petition has over 27,000 signatures after one week.

If the petition works and the government decides to go ahead with the project, the trains would zip across the country at 220 mph. Sound futuristic to you? You’re right, but it might not be as far off as you may think. Advocacy groups have marked potential dates between 2030 and 2050.

Overall, the project is estimated to cost between $1-$2 trillion. If this cost is divided over four decades, the government would be responsible for about $25-$50 billion each year.

To get a closer look at the map, view or download this .PDF file. And tell us, do you think the rail system will bring the United States up to speed with the rest of the developed world? Would you travel on the high-speed rail system? Leave a comment below with your answer.