The Travel Professor
Join me on a journey across the broad spectrum of interesting travel topics. We’ll discuss destinations domestic and abroad, some familiar and some off the beaten path. We take a look at suppliers like cruise lines, air carriers and tour operators and find their bargains and special offerings. Got questions? Email

Friday, June 29, 2007

Ohio's Outdoor theater

This summer immerse yourself in the history and folklore of Ohio’s native people and its early pioneers by attending one or more of our state’s outstanding outdoor dramas. We are blessed to have a wide variety of open air performances ranging from history, musicals, dramas, Shakespeare’s work, even a “passion” play. My next few posts will take a closer look at some of the Buckeye State's outdoor theater.

Many of us from the river cities are aware of “Tecumseh”. But if you are not aware of this story, Tecumseh tells the story of the fierce warrior who attempted to unit the Indian tribes and establish a city on the Tippecanoe River to thwart the westward expansion of the United States.

This sweeping drama plays out nightly at 8 p.m. in the picturesque Sugarloaf Mountain Amphitheater just north of Chillicothe. However, the theater offers early arrivals the chance to explore the Prehistoric Indian Mini-Museum and see displays of prehistoric Indian artifacts from the Scioto Valley. The museum is open from 5 to 7:45 p.m. and is free of charge.

Also theater goers can take an exciting Backstage Tour of the theater complex where cast members serve as tour guides. During the tour stuntmen from Tecumseh give a dazzling display of stage combat and flintlock firing, then pitch headfirst from a twenty-one foot cliff, get up and explain how they did it. Tours are offered at 4 and 5 p.m. daily, allowing guests’ time to enjoy dinner at the Tecumseh Restaurant Terrace. The Terrace offers an American buffet and is open from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m.

To get reservations for all of these events call 866-775-0700 or visit

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Anwser to JP's question of when should I book my cruise vacation

JP’s question: When should I pay for (reserve) my cruise?

Great question! I believe that everyone has a cost pricing zone and when the cost of the item you are considering purchasing falls into that zone then buy it. For example you are considering an 8 day 7 night Caribbean cruise and are willing to spend between $800-1000.00 for the complete package-air fare, surface transportation, cruise cabin and all the taxes and fees. When and if you find it priced in your buying range I suggest buying it.

By waiting you are gambling that the price will decrease but you’re also taking the risk that it may increase too! By making a reservation and getting it under deposit you also guarantee the cruise rate.

For my cruise clients I always check with the cruise lines to see if the rates had dropped after the initial reservations were made. There have been some instances where I saved the traveler a hundred dollars or so.

This is one of the benefits of dealing with a person instead of a booking engine. Once the original cruised is reserved the computer does not automatically check for fare reductions but a good travel agent should.

I’ll blog more about a good agent later.

Did I answer you question? If not blog me back and I’ll take another stab at it.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Tourism dollars turf war brewing?

Is a 2007 version of the Hatfield’s & McCoy feud (hotel tax dollars) brewing in the Huntington versus Cabell County tourist office debate?

Here is some tourism data provided by the Ohio Travel Association (

According to a recent study by researchers at George Washington University, one overnight visit by a motor coach group can generate more than $11,000 for a destination’s local economy. Those dollars are spent on lodging, meals, admissions, fees, shopping, souvenirs, services and local taxes.

In my humble opinion we should work together as a region-Ohio, Kentucky & West Virginia and develop/present (market) a unified travel product. Acting in unison should allow us to better market our region and attempt to attract & capture the revenue from business & leisure travelers, bus groups, meeting & convention attendees and so forth.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

To the person asking about travel costs for my Boston trip

Thanks for the comment and request for a price breakdown.

I can give you a ball park figure but with any travel experience you need actual travel dates to check prices, rates & availability. As seats sell out and hotel room fill up the price increases.

If you can advance plan the airline will quote your rates about 330 days into the future as will the hotels.

We did a 4 day/3 night trip departing on a Saturday from Columbus OH so I’m using this as a reference point. Plus as part of a package tour it’s difficult to price out the individual segments but I’ll try.

I checked November 10th through the 13th and the basic package for airfare and Best Western Adams Inn was $328.00 per person, 2 people sharing a room. Adding 3rd & 4th travelers as children adds another $150.00 per person. The hotel offers free airport shuttle service so you’ve gotten yourself to the hotel. Plus they offer free service up to the T stop.

Now here’s some of the extras’:
· $15.00 per person 7 day “T” pass
· $5.00 per person for the Adam’s National Historic Park tour
· $26.00 per person for the Beantown Trolley and Harbor Tour
· The trips to Concord, Salem & Plymouth ranged from $30.00 up.

Hopefully you make sense of my left handed logic and math. If you need more information on booking this sort of trip feel free to contact Patti at 740.550.1206 or your local travel agent.

Boston's Black (African American) Heritage Trail

Here's another important part of the history and heritage of our country that can be discovered in Boston Mass area. The photo below is a memorial to the black troopers of the 54 Massachusetts and their leaders. This is somewhat off the beaten path for many tourist but the National Park Service also offers a wonderful interpretive walking tour of the African American Heritage tour ( These tours depart from the Robert Gould Shaw Memorial on Beacon Street across from the state capitol. Shaw was the white colonel of the 54th Massachusetts Colored Regiment in the Civil War. If you’ve seen the movie “Glory” with Morgan Freeman and Mathew Broderick this is where the story starts. This walk in the Beacon Hill neighborhood and is comprised of the largest area of pre-Civil War black owned structures in the U.S. It has roughly two dozen sites on the north face of Beacon Hill. These historic buildings were homes, businesses, schools, and churches of a thriving black community that, in the face of great opposition, fought the forces of slavery and inequality. Its well worth the time and effort, as some of the hills and older street present a little vertical challenge so wear your hiking shoes.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Quincy Mass, the City of Presidents"

With the cost of lodging in downtown Boston soaring past $200.00 plus an evening I decided to search the surrounding suburbs for a suitable hotel for our “Pilgrims to Patriots” hub and spoke tour. The hub and spoke tour concept is simply that the tour members travel out of and return to a central point (hotel) each day. Price, access to public transportation and activates were my main concerns in selected the proper hotel.

Just minutes south of Boston awaits one of New England’s most captivating destinations, the City of Quincy (“quin-zee”). Called the "City of Presidents" and "Birthplace of the American Dream", Quincy is the birthplace of the second and sixth U.S. Presidents, John Adams and his son, John Quincy Adams. Rich in historic treasures, Quincy’s impressive past remains vibrant today as the city lays claim to an exciting future.

Fascinating historic sites abound, while miles of coastline capture the imagination with their enchanting beauty. Culture and commerce blend to create an impressive array of things to see and do year round.

Home to The Adams National Historical Park which commemorating the distinguished men and women of the Adams family who dedicated their lived to the founding and strengthening of the United States was a major plus. The thirteen acre park includes the home Peacefield (see photo) of this remarkable family; the farmhouse where both presidents were born, recognized as the oldest presidential birthplaces in the country; the Visitor Center; and the United First Parish Church and Adams Crypt. The Park Service operates a shuttle bus that takes you from the downtown visitors’ center to the historic homes. Visit the Adams National Historical Park web site at

Other prominent attractions include the Hancock Cemetery, the colonial community’s first and main burial ground; the Thomas Crane Public Library, a national architectural landmark; the Adams Academy Society; the birthplace of John Hancock; the Dorothy Quincy Homestead; and the Josiah Quincy House, site of many Sons of Liberty meetings.

Or you could stroll along the boardwalk at picturesque Marina Bay, the largest marina in the Northeast, and enjoy the incredible view of the Boston skyline. Known for its spectacular sunsets, Marina Bay has several restaurants offering outdoor and indoor waterfront dining as well as a variety of retail shops.

Other plusses for the city of Quincy were that it is on the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority Red “T” line ( and that the “Beantown” Trolley ( had regularly scheduled stops at area hotels. For $15.00 you could purchase a “T” pass that is good for 7 days of unlimited travel and the “T” stop was an easy 10 minute walk from the Best Western Adams Inn. Based on availability the hotel also would provide a courtesy shuttle to the “T”. The trolley service offered an affordable hop on, hop off 20 stop narrated tour route through Boston central so this easy access to transportation and activities near the hotel plus a reasonable nightly rate sealed the deal. Quincy Mass for me please.

I’ll tell you more about the sightseeing inclusions in our “Pilgrims to Patriots” study tour in subsequent pieces.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

the T

The Massachusetts Bay Transit, locally called the T, is the way to travel around the Boston metro area. It’s a combination of trolleys, subways and buses that serve all the major sites and neighborhoods. And it’s cheap-a 7 day unlimited rides pass just costs $15.00. Sure beats the high cost of a taxi that is stuck in traffic!

Columbus OH offers some pretty low air fares ranging around $100.00 round trip so combine this air bargain with a T pass and you have your transportation needs covered.

I’m staying in Quincy, MA a suburb south of downtown at the Best Western Adams Inn. Staying here cut my hotel bill in half and it’s about a 10 minute leisurely stroll to a T stop or a 2 minute ride in the hotel courtesy van.

I’m logging off as we’re off to Plymouth this morning.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Boston's Freedom Trail

Boston’s “Freedom Trail” is a 2 ½ mile stroll through the historic district that transports you back to the city’s Revolutionary period. Whether you do it on your own or as part of a guided tour the people, events and ideals of the 18th American patriots are revealed.

Following a clearly marked red line through town you will walk by Old South Meeting House, the site from where the Boston Tea Party crowd originated. Stop in and tour Paul Revere’s house built in 1680 and located in Boston’s oldest residential neighborhood. Be sure to visit “Old North Church” best known as the signal tower immortalized in Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s poem “The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere”.

The Freedom Trail is lined with many splendid dining and shopping opportunities so you can do it at a leisurely place while soaking up the past and experiencing the hustle & bustle of modern Boston. I took a mid day break at Green Dragon Tavern, 11 Marshall Street and enjoyed their lobster rolls. By the way the Green Dragon was a “hotbed” of revolutionary activities.

The National Park Service Visitors Center on State Street is right on the trail and offers free guided tours so check the schedule and join a ranger lead walk. The photo is the Old State House a historic landmark built 1n 1713 and a monument on the cobblestones underneath the balcony marks the site of the 1770 Boston Massacre.

I’d budget at least 4 hours on trail but if possible make it a day discovering our nation’s rich history.

Friday, June 8, 2007

Pilgrim to Patriots tour in Mass

I’m off to Boston with a group of community folks and Ohio University students who will be studying early American history. We’ll walk Boston’s Freedom Trail and discover the rich history of America’s walking city. Of course there will be time to have a lobster roll at the “Ye Old Oyster House” our country’s oldest restaurant and still shop at Filene’s Bargain Basement. Maybe we catch an Irish pub or two too!

Then it’s off to Lexington Battle Green and Concord Bridge where history books tell us that the 1st shots of the American Revolution where reportedly fired. Of course everyone in the Tri-State region knows that’s wrong. The 1st shots, established by an act of the US Congress were fired in Point Pleasant WV. Next stop is Salem, rich in seagoing history and home to the “witch” craze.

Our exploration ends with a call on Plymouth with visits to a replica of the Mayflower, a viewing of Plymouth Rock and a stroll around Plymouth Plantation, a living history settlement that interprets the early years of the Pilgrims.

I’ll keep you posted on more activities of our Pilgrims to Patriots tour.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

'Learn to make money from water!"

Yes that correct you can make money by selling cruises!

Ohio University’s Travel and Tourism and Business Management Technologies departments are hosting “Carnival College: Sales and Marketing 101” workshop on Thursday June 14th at 6:00pm in room 216 of the Dingus Technology Center, Ohio University Southern Ironton campus. Joan Fields, area business development manager for Carnival Cruise Lines, will focus on increasing your product knowledge, improving personal selling skills and techniques along with marketing and growing your business through group and incentive cruise sales.

This presentation is geared for the traditional store front or home based travel agent, cruise only agent or anyone interested is discovering how to profit from selling vacations at sea. There is no participation fee however reservations are requested.

To reserve your seat contact Steve Call at 740.533.4559, toll free 800626.0513 ext. 4559 or

Friday, June 1, 2007

Ohio State football and the Mall of America

The good folks over at Travel World in Ironton have put together a package that combines shopping at the Mall of America in Minneapolis along with an opportunity to catch the Buckeyes battle the Minnesota Golden Gophers on Sept 29. The package includes round-trip air from Columbus, lodging and more.

Contact them at 740.533.4630, toll free 800.210.3550 or for specifics.

Tell them you read about the trip on the Travel Professor’s blog and receive a special travel gift.

Timing is everything is finding a travel

A European based airline FlyGlobespan ( recently announced new nonstop service from Boston MASS to Glasgow Scotland & were offering $99.00 fares each way.

I have a meeting over there in the fall so I thought I’d construct my own travel plan. The FlyGlobespan flights were available at a base cost of $198.00 round trip plus domestic flights from Columbus OH to Boston priced out at $118.00 round trip. Adding these point to point fares together I had created an amazingly low airfare of $318.00 round trip plus a $100.00 or so in taxes and fees. CHEAP compared to what the other carriers were quoting for traveling during the same period.

But these were instant purchase non refundable tickets and I needed the OK from my traveling companion. It took me about 30 minutes to track down my colleague and secure approval.

Credit card out and ready to purchase I went back to the website only to discover that the $99.00 fare was sold out and my total round trip had increased by about $400.00 per ticket.

So the teaching point here is if you’re shopping for an air bargain or really any travel special be ready to buy it when you find it! That special may not be available when you go back to buy it.