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

Monday, November 30, 2009

Gone traveling

Off to “Gnaw Lynn's”-that’s how the locals pronounce New Orleans. Then it is research time as I continue working on my Ph. D. in Funology.

My laptop is staying docked so I’ll be unplugged and off the Net for awhile. I will not be checking any Internet or phone messages until I’m back on the mainland.

Happy travels!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Where was the 1st Thanksgiving?

As we approach the festivities of Thanksgiving Day let me run a little controversy by you. Where and when was the 1st English Thanksgiving in the New World?

The history books state it was in 1621 at Plymouth Mass. where the colonists and Native Americans celebrated the recent harvest.

This was a tradition that the Pilgrims had brought with them from the old country, England.

But there was also a thriving British colony in Virginia. Established in 1607 the early settlements built Jamestown and expanded up the James Rivers.

Berkeley Plantation, home of Benjamin Harrison, a signer of the Declaration of Independence and the home of President William Henry Harrison, claims to have held the 1st official Thanksgiving feast in 1619. The site lays claim to America's first official Thanksgiving in 1619, when a group of British settlers knelt in prayer of thanks for a healthy arrival across the Atlantic.

Both are deserving of the honor, offer a great deal of history and are well worth the trip.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Shopping alert!

There are only 30 shopping left before Christmas? Stuck on what to give that special someone? Try the gift of travel. Purchase a gift certificate from your travel agent or favorite airline, cruise line, tour operator & so forth.

Follow the Travel Professor on Facebook & Twitter. Read his Sunday travel column online here.

Happy travels!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Let’s talk Turkey! No not the bird, the country of!

Turkey is where Europe and Asia connect and you meet at the historic heart and cross roads of western civilization.

It reaches a finger into Europe through the Balkans yet most of the only secular Muslim country on the globe sits in Asia nestled between the Mediterranean and the Black Sea. Its geographic location the West and the exotic east make Turkey both a traditional and modern destination. Turkey offers more Roman archaeological sites than Italy and more Grecian ruins than Greece itself. The art and culture of its Byzantine reign and of its Ottoman Empire are also plentiful. It is a land of contrast.

The best times to visit are April to mid-June--although the early spring can be a bit rainy--and mid-September to October when Turkey enjoys mild weather. November to March is likely to be chilly and rainy, and summers are very hot, humid, and uncomfortable.

Escorted tours and/or cruises offer a great way to explore this interesting and alluring destination. Contact
the Travel Professor or your travel for suggested itineraries.

Happy travels!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Website tracks new airline fees & surcharges

Fare Compare is a website that has a calendar that highlights and tracks the growing number of dates on which carriers are charging additional fees.

The first surcharges were around $10 each way and attached to popular travel days for the Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s holidays. Now the airlines are adding these surcharges, up to $30 each way, to numerous popular flight dates in 2010. I saw that they surcharged the date we go on daylight savings time!

To me these extra fees tough to swallow especially when we already paying a laundry list of additional fees for checked bag fees, blankets, assigned seats, etc.

To the airline execs: Don’t publish an airfare of $198.00 then tack on an extra $100.00 in fees and surcharges. Just publish the total price of $298.00. I can do the math and calculate the total costs of my flight.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Go Herd! Washington DC road trip thoughts

Rumor has it that the Thundering Herd may be headed to Washington DC for a football game in December. Here’s a hotel for consideration.

The Hotel Harrington is my choice for most folks traveling to Washington DC. Admittedly it is a well used older tourist hotel but you can beat the value and location. Located at 436 11th Street, N.W. it is in the heart of a restaurant and shopping district. It features 245 guest rooms, including 26 extra large family rooms. It is just ½ block from Pennsylvania Avenue, between the Capitol and the White House.

DC is a great walking city especially when you use the public transportation to get to the various neighborhoods. Be sure to check out the DC Metro and there is a stop near RFK stadium. But let’s start our stroll from the Harrington.

Walk four blocks west and tour the White House. Then go south across the green grass of the Ellipse to the Washington Monument; turn west and pass beneath stately trees to the Lincoln and Vietnam Memorials.

Another day, walk two blocks south to the Mall and see the American History Museum, the Natural History Museum, the Air & Space Museum, the National Gallery of Art - there is always more to see.

Tour Ford's Theater or the FBI headquarters one block east of the Harrington; five blocks further east brings you to the Pension Building, home of the Building Museum. Look inside to see the most spectacular interior space in Washington. The US Capitol and the Library of Congress are further east, half an hour's walk from the Harrington, or take the Metro, Washington's subway, two blocks north of the Hotel.

You may want to reserve some rooms today

Be kind to your travel agent and get out of town!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Friday's Fare Finds

Costa Cruises offers a 15-day transatlantic cruise departing on Dec 5th 2009 with cabins starting at $599.00 per person. That’s food, meals, entertainment and port calls for $38.00 a person per day! Visit Spain, Portugal, Antilles and the Dominican Republic and sail the Atlantic!

Be kind to your
travel agent and get out of town!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Latin American cultural festival in Cincy this weekend

Cincinnati’s Museum Center at Union Terminal heats up this weekend with a
Latin American cultural festival. Art, music, and food fill the rotunda on Saturday and Sunday. There will also be a Latin American marketplace where you can shop for authentic goods.

This event is part of the Museum’s Passport to the World programming. These events give visitors an inside-look into the beauty and richness of cultures from around the globe. Each culture fest provides a glimpse into that culture’s arts and heritage through displays, cultural presentations, performances and merchandise, and provides a forum for interacting and learning with community members of different backgrounds. All culture fests are free and open to the public.

Got travel questions? Email

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Hot dog flavored potato chips?

One item I sampled at the Fabulous Food Show was Shearer’s Home Run Hot Dog flavored potato chip. According to the company “Shearer’s Rippled Home Run Hot Dog Potato Chips are loaded with the classic taste of a flavor of plump, juicy Sugardale® beef wiener smothered with mustard and relish.” Sorry guys but I struck out on this one. I’ll wait for next summer and a real stadium dog at the ole ball park.

I would love to see how potato chips are made but was disappointed that they did not offer a factory tour. But they do have what looks like an interesting company store so a visit to the
Shearer’s Potato Chip Company Store is on my schedule for next summer.

Many companies offer factory tours and I’ve discovered that these to be fun, informative (and often free and/or inexpensive) educational activities. To locate these I go to the company home and search for “factory tour” or “visitors centers”

Be kind to your travel agent and get out of town!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Destination: The island of Hispaniola

Christopher Columbus landed on Hispaniola on December 5, 1492 and named it La Isla Española, "The Spanish Island," which was eventually Anglicized to Hispaniola. It is said that when he first laid eyes on its shores, he termed it "La Perle des Antilles" or "the Pearl of the Caribbean."

The island is the second largest island of the West Indies, with an area of 29,418 square miles (76,192 square km). To its west is Cuba, southwest is Jamaica, and Puerto Rico is to the east. The Bahamas and Turks and Caicos Islands lie to the northwest.
Haiti occupies the western third of the island, the remaining eastern two-thirds of the island make up the Dominican Republic.

Be kind to your travel agent & get out of town!

Got travel questions? Email

The Fabulous Food Show

Cleveland’s Fabulous Food Show was well...uh... just fabulous! As an ex Food Network celebrity chef would say my expectations were “bam” blown away! I was able to watch Sandra Lee and Tyler Florence wow the crowds with entertaining and engaging cooking presentations.

Any foodie would love this event! There were plenty of opps to view celeb chefs both national & local cook on the main stage/kitchen and the side kitchens.

Free samples of meats, cheeses, sauces and much more flowed throughout the main show room. I ate my ways through the many aisles that were stocked by vendors displaying their wares.

Plenty of locally grown produce and/or made fresh in Ohio products were available to taste and purchase. I could spend a couple of days touring the farms and shops that presented their goods.

True foodies need to keep early November 2010 free so they partake in the next Fabulous Food Show!

Be kind to your travel agent & get out of town!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Celebrating "the birth of the Blues" in Memphis

Today is the “Birthday of the Blues!” W.C. Handy, often called the "Father of the Blues," was born in Memphis TN on Nov 16th 1873.

In Memphis today Beale Street still rules as the house of blues! For music lovers this is a must visit!

Be kind to your travel agent and get out of town!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

The PT Cruiser is packed and I’m off to the Fabulous Food Show in Cleveland OH.

This show returns to Cleveland’s I-X Center on November 13-15, 2009. The event features appearances by celebrity chefs, cooking demonstrations by local chefs, wine and food tastings, and lots more to interest Northeast Ohio food lovers.


Be kind to your
travel agent and get out of town!


Happy "happy hour" day!

Today November 12th commemorates the 1st recorded happy hour way back in 1745! Of course it was held at a pub in Ireland!

Cheers! Enjoy a pint today at your favorite pub!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

The significance of November 11th

While most folks know that today Veterans Day honors those who have served in the military, the meaning behind its exact date (November 11) may not be so familiar. Here’s a little history.

Back in 1918, in the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, a stop to hostilities was declared ending World War I. An armistice to cease the fighting on the Western Front was signed by the Allied powers and Germany.

President Woodrow Wilson immediately proclaimed the day "Armistice Day," kicking off the annual commemoration on November 11.

Please thank a veteran today for their service and sacrifice.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Destination: Turks and Caicos Islands

Here's a little known but maybe soon to be discovered Caribbean treasure.

Miles of sparkling white sand beaches with serene waters and the brightest shades of blue ring the Turks and Caicos Islands. Beaches and coves are so deserted you will feel as if you have an island retreat all to yourself.

Southeast of the Bahamas, the chain consists of 40 islands and cays, eight of which are inhabited, and the others are accessible by boat. The two principal groups, each surrounded by a continuous coral reef, are the Caicos Islands (West, Providencales or Provo, North, Middle, East and South) and the Turks islands of Grand Turk and Salt Cay, which lie to the southeast and are separated from Caicos by a 22-mile-wide channel.

World class hotels, spas, and restaurants await, as do our famous stretches of uncrowded beaches and vibrant coral reefs. On land or below the water, you'll relax in the unique serenity, hospitality and beauty of the islands.

Home to the Best Beach in the World, breathtaking hues from inviting waters, and legendary diving, snorkeling and fishing, the
Turks & Caicos Islands beckon you to an undiscovered Caribbean. Travel to the Turks and Caicos is easy and efficient. It is just a short flight from the east coast of the US.

I really enjoyed my time at the Beaches resort T & C!

Happy travels!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Ohio "Fireland" road trip part 1

It’s road trip season! I’m hitting the highways en route to the ‘Firelands” of northeastern Ohio. The motivations for this journey are the Fabulous Food Show, high school football playoffs, an old time hardware store plus a clam bake. Plus I’ve added a couple of shopping stops too.

The Firelands or Sufferers' Lands tract was located at the western end of the Connecticut Western Reserve in what is now the U.S. state of Ohio. The land was set aside for residents of the Connecticut towns of Danbury, Fairfield, Greenwich, Groton, New Haven, New London, Norwalk, and Ridgefield who lost their homes in 1779 and 1781 due to fires set by British forces during the American Revolutionary War. Originally referred to as the "Fire Lands" (two words), it is now spelled as one word, "Firelands."

This heritage is one reason why clambakes are popular and held all over northern Ohio in the fall. Another reason is just that they’re a tasty treat. Who wouldn’t love some clams, chicken, corn on the corn and a bowl of chowder!

Travelling north to the shores of Lake Erie in the late fall means that the convertible stays garaged and I’ll be cruising in the PT Cruiser. This field study trip is scheduled to depart on November 13th-17th. There are a couple of routes that I could travel but a quick Net search indicates that I 64 East to Charleston WV then I-77 North is the one.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Friday Fares 2: Fly free to Europe on inclusive tours

Your companion flies free to Europe on Trafalgar Tours air-inclusive vacations*. The only air fare charge to your companion will be taxes of up to $190. Of course they’ll still have to pay for the land components.

Contact your travel agent, the
Travel Professor or today!

*Specials terms & conditions apply to this offer.

Friday Fares

A winter sale from select east coast US cities to Rome, Paris, Dublin, Amsterdam and other European cities was just announced with with prices at just $237 roundtrip (Boston to Dublin). Purchase your tickets by December 31 to get this offer, which is valid for travel between November 1 and December 10, and January 10 and March 31.

Rates do not include the September 11th security fee up to $10, passenger facility charges up to $50, segment fees up to $12, applicable U.S. departure taxes up to $31 or foreign departure taxes up to $80. Additional fees may apply.

For more information contact your travel agent or

Be kind to your travel agent and get out of town!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Which Destination is Right for You?

Is Hawaii? If so what island(s) Or Europe? Where & when? Is it the Caribbean-cruise, all inclusive or hotel package?

Starting next Tuesday I’ll present a 60 second snapshot of a destination. Then you decide if it fits your travel style and budget.

Feel free to email destination questions to

Destination Thursday: the Bahamas

In the corners of the world where it's starting to get quite cold this time of year, deciding whether or not to take a trip to the Bahamas is a breeze. The real dilemma: Which island to visit? There are hundreds of Bahamian islands, many of which are secluded cays that offer quiet beaches, sea caves and shipwrecks. Or visit one of the more populous islands of the Bahamas, where travelers can find big-name resorts, casinos, fantastic golf courses, gourmet restaurants, museums and historical sites. Water sports abound with excellent fishing, scuba, snorkel and sailing.

It’s better in the Bahamas!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Disney says China approved Shanghai theme park

Disneynophiles will need to update their passports as Disney says China approved Shanghai theme park. The approval by the National Development and Reform Commission will allow Shanghai, China's biggest city, and Disney to work on final details for the amusement park, to be located in the city's eastern Pudong district

The jury is still out on Hong Kong Disney but WDW officials believe mainland China is the big move.

I now have to work on saying “the Magic Kingdom” in Mandarin.

And its refresher course time at the College of Disney Knowledge.

Be kind to your travel agent & get out of town!

Monday, November 2, 2009

The downsides of a Destination Wedding

To me some of the biggest negatives of destination weddings can also be argued as positives. One downside is the expense of traveling to and staying at an out of area destination. These costs may really limit the number of people than can afford to travel and attend. So if you have you heart set on having your life long best friend in your wedding you better be sure he/she can afford the trip.

The act of travel may limit participation. My dad hated to travel and almost refused to fly. You know the type and these folks could put a damper on your plans.

Another downside is the planning process. A destination wedding is a complex affair. You need to arrange flights from multiple cities, ground transportation, lodging, food & beverage, etc. I haven’t even mentioned the legal and civil requirements of a marriage ceremony. It can be a very detail oriented and time consuming endeavor.

As the planning and coordinating of your special day can be a little overwhelming I suggest that brides and grooms should work with experienced Destination Wedding planners. These travel professionals work with you to craft the perfect experience and to eliminate confusion, insure that everything is planned to flow smoothly and even save money!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

More thoughts on Destination Weddings

Here are some good reasons why I think that a Destination Wedding is a great concept.

The locations and associated costs can help you keep it small and intimate. Every couple knows the agony of drawing up a wedding guest list. Should they invite second cousins or only first, should they invite work colleagues to the full day or just the evening? All too often the list spirals out of control, including people you feel you should invite but hardly know. The results are out of control expenses.

Speaking of containing costs many resort hotels are now offering free wedding packages and other amenities for the bride and groom. They offer the services of a locally based wedding planner and do most if not all of the leg work.

Many destinations wedding resorts offer all inclusive packages that work out to be great value. If you get married outside of the United States the price of food and accommodation may be lower plus you will not have to pay for a separate honeymoon.

Frequently destination weddings have a bridal registry program where guests can make financial contribution and help lower the cost of your wedding package.

All weddings are special, but a destination wedding can be a truly unique experience. You could combine the wedding with a family reunion, and it is the perfect opportunity for a romantic holiday for your guests.

Relaxing on a pure white sandy beach is a sure way to beat stress, but destination weddings reduce the pressure of wedding planning in other ways too. Wedding packages are usually all inclusive so you don’t have to work through a whole list of suppliers for every aspect of your wedding. Your travel agent and wedding coordinator do all the coordination for you and your guests.

There are some downsides to a destination wedding that I’ll point out later.

Got travel questions or concerns? Email