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

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Passports! Get your passports!

All US citizens need a passport for any air travel abroad -- including travel to Mexico, Canada and the Caribbean. But some countries require that your US passport be valid not only for the duration of your visit, but also for three to six months after your entry or return from their country. This means you must watch your passport expiration date carefully!

As of Wednesday June 30, 2010 the U.S. State Department is processing routine applications in approximately 4-6 weeks from the time of application. Since passport processing times can vary, we recommend applying at least two months before any scheduled international travel.

If you need your passport quicker your travel agent can help! Travel agents have access to special firms that help expedite the process but here’s the catch-there’s an additional handling fee. Often we agents can help many travelers get their passport in less than a week sometimes as quickly as 48 hours!

Got travel questions? Email

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Shakespeare Live in Londontown

In 1599, a theatrical company, "The Lord Chamberlain's Men", built a new theatre in London and called it "The Globe". The wooden structure housed the company and its performances of plays by the upstart playwright, William Shakespeare. On June 29, 1613, during a performance of Henry the Eighth (billed the "bearded and beheader"), a cannon used in the performance misfired, igniting the beams of the structure. The theatre burned to the ground. No injuries were recorded. A new Globe was built in its place on the same site in June, 1614.

Today a modern rebuilt Globe theater stands on the banks of the Thames. Live performances continue to thrill the crowds.

For many 1st time European travelers Great Britain-England, Scotland, Wales plus Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland remain a great choice. Reasons for this are a common language (although at times I've needed help with the accents), common culture and a short flight over the big pond.

The exchange rates have dropped so the US dollar buys more these days which means that there are some travel bargains on the horizon.

Happy travels!

Monday, June 28, 2010

Home school contacts

Home schooled students sometimes miss out on educational opportunities that we occasionally have on Ohio University's Ironton campus. I'm building a data base of individual contacts or local home school organizations so that they can be invited to events.

In the fall Patrick Henry will be on campus plus with elections coming up you know know when President Lincoln will stop by when he's out campaigning in Lawrence County.

Contact me at, 740.533.4559 or 800.626.0513 ext. 4559.

American Civil War themed 2011 river cruises

2011 marks the 150th anniversary of the American Civil War. There are plenty of special events and activities scheduled during the 2011-2015 time period. I’ll keep you posted so check my blog frequently.

Blount Small Ship Adventures, formerly American Canadian Caribbean Line, is having Civil War authors onboard four of its 2011 Mississippi River cruise itineraries. This cruise line has been taking travelers along the Mississippi River for nearly 2 decades but only recently have they enhanced their programs to include more onboard activity as well as noted Civil War speakers.

According to President Nancy Blount, “We are thrilled to have two well-known and respected authors James I. Robertson JR and Richard M. McMurry joining us as our onboard historians and lecturers.

Contact your favorite travel agent or the Travel Professor for more cruise details.

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Saturday, June 26, 2010

Baseball greats at sea

English born American author Amelia E. Barr quotes “The great difference between voyages rests not with the ships, but with the people you meet on them.”

Fans looking to stretch the baseball season into the winter months can enjoy the warmth of the Caribbean with some of their favorite former Major League Baseball stars with upcoming “Baseball Greats” cruises .Interact with former Major Leaguers who played and were stars on several recognizable teams.

“Baseball Greats” cruises offer free guest/player activities including a player-hosted trivia game, a question-and-answer session, a guest pitching contest, and a lively story-telling session. Baseball players will host pitching, hitting, fielding, and base running clinics.

One of the most popular aspects of the experience includes a free autograph session.

me or your favorite TA today!

Got travel questions? Email

Friday, June 25, 2010

Battle of the Little Bighorn

Led by Sitting Bull, many of the Lokota and Cheyenne Indians had left the reservations carved out for them by the US Government and were on the move.

The 7th US Calvary lead by General George Armstrong Custer engaged these tribes near the Little Bighorn River in Eastern Montana. Custer was defeated and killed in what became known as the Battle of the Little Bighorn, but the Native Americans called the Battle of the Greasy Grass, on this day in 1876.

I had the pleasure of serving in the reborn 7th Cav and have made the pilgrimage to this battlefield. It's a short drive from Billings MT. There's plenty of frontier history and nature to enjoy a long weekend out here.

Garry Owen!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Oil spill cruise news

Oil has been gushing into the Gulf of Mexico for more than two months. I’ve heard that cruise ships departing from Gulf Coast ports of Galveston, New Orleans, Mobile and Tampa have not been affected by the disaster.

Only Carnival Cruise Lines offers departures from these ports at this time of
year and according to Gerry Cahill, Carnival’s president and CEO, the impact on his operations have been minimal.

Ships departing from (or returning to) New Orleans and Mobile sail around the oil slick and are inspected each time they return to port. To date, the ships have not had oil on their hulls that would necessitate cleaning prior to entry into the ports.

So don't cancel your western Caribbean cruise plans!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

WVA capitol city weekend fun

Make it a WVA capitol city weekend by catching the Blues, Brews & BBQ event this Friday night June 25th. Enjoy great beer, fine food, the best local and regional blues artists and one of America’s hottest blues singers, Bettye LaVette, who performed at President Obama's inauguration. Also performing is Eden Brent a boogie woogie pianist.


Save the date: charleston's WV Jazz & Wine fest

Charleston’s WV 2010 “Wine and All That Jazz” fest is set for this Saturday June 26th. This all day event held on the campus of the University of Charleston provides a day long concert and lawn party. Bring a folding chair if you wish but no pop up tents or coolers, please.

West Virginia’s vintners and vineyards will present the fruits of their vines and there will be plenty of fine food along with a great schedule of performers.

Happy travels!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Cruise vacation values

I took my son to a major league baseball game the other night. Here are wallet damages for food and beverages: $3.50 bottle of water, $6.50 nachos, $4.50 soda, $6.00 hot dog, $5.00 ice cream and a $10.00 foam finger. He said he was not full but I was not buying it.

As a responsible parent I would say that my “yes’s” were around .300 not a bad major league batting average. But according to my son only agreeing to 3 out of 10 requests was being a “mean” dad because I did not indulge in every request. Too bad BTC!

However this experience made me think about the real value of a cruise vacation. Gosh most of these items are included in your cruise fare. He’d have access to a 24 hour pizzeria and room service. Menus would not have any prices on them. Normally I could park the kiddies at Camp Carnival and have them participate in the educational programs without any additional charge.

Cruising is also an educational enriching experience as you visit foreign lands and cultures plus interact with a broad range of passenger onboard the ship.

That $70.00 weekly cruise fare for the 3rd or 4th person in a cabin is starting to look much better. Better yet occasionally you can catch a “kids cruise free” promotion.

Hopefully the airline gods are smiling and I can get affordable to my port. Last time I checked it would have cost me more for a 2 ½ flight than a fairly inclusive 7 night cruise vacation.

Got travel questions or concerns? Email

Thursday, June 17, 2010

The Statue of Liberty Arrives in NYC

The French frigate Isere steamed into New York Harbor on June 17, 1885. On board were 214 crates originating in France. Inside the crates were the 350 individual pieces that would be assembled to create the Statue of Liberty. The statue was a gift to the United States from the people of France. The copper clad statue was designed by Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi and engineered by Alexandre Gustave Eiffel, the designer of the Eiffel Tower. To this day it stands in the harbor, a reminder of the ideals upon which the nation is founded and to which it aspires

You can catch a ferry down at Battery Park in NYC or from a less congested terminal in New Jersey for a trip out to both the Statue and
Ellis Island.

I'd budget a good 4 to 6 hours to visit both of these locations. Allow for more if you plan on conducting ancestral resource at Ellis.

Happy travels!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

The "Magna Carta" was signed today

History is one of the main travel motivators so I’d like to share this historic occurrence with you. Check back here often as I’ll share historical data which can act as trip planning tool for you.

King John of England reigned from 6 April 1199 until his death in 1216. In the first hundred years since the Norman conquest of England, the monarchy had become very powerful. This power was too much so for the liking of the lords and barons subject to King John's taxes.

In open rebellion, and with the support of France and Scotland, a group of English barons entered London on June 10th, 1215 and demanded the King sign the "Articles of the Barons" which become known as the Magna Carta. King John attached his Royal seal to the document on June 15, 1215 under threat of open civil war.

The Magna Carta greatly limited the powers of the King in theory, though in practice much time would pass before any English king would feel the brunt of the document's force. Among its most important provisions was a prohibition against unlawful imprisonment, the forerunner of the modern doctrine of habeas corpus.

For many of us the first trip abroad to the United Kingdom and/or Ireland is a great fit.

Got travel questions? Email the

Monday, June 14, 2010

TAE:Worald of ....

Thought for day and a road trip opportunity: “If we did all the things we are capable of doing, we would literally astound ourselves” Thomas Edison (1847–1931) American inventor and businessman. He was the Bill Gates of his day.

Motor on up to Milan OH & check out his boyhood home & museum. While in the area explore Cedar Point and the the Lakke Erie Islands are in the neighborhood. Or you can head east to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. Keep traveling east and you’ll run into Ohio’s wine country. Not into the amusement park then after Tom’s place head east to Avon Ohio’s “Duct Tape Festival” to see the multi uses of this sticky item.

Or head west to Toledo and check out a world class art museum then enjoy Hungarian hot dogs at Tony Pakcos.

From Toledo I strongly suggest that you continue north by northeast & dump your trash in Michigan.

Go Bucks! Beat Michigan!

I’ve got plenty of itinerary suggestions for this road trip so contact me at

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Shrek is going cruising!

Shrek that big strong lovable solitude-loving intimidating ogre from DreamWorks Animation Studios has signed on with Royal Caribbean Cruises. He’ll be one of the characters sailing aboard the “Allure of Seas” when she starts sailing in December.

These days you can sail with Sponge Bob Square Pants, a Food Network chef or a NASCAR driver. You can even conduct tax deductible business meetings at sea. Contact the Travel Professor or your favorite travel agent today to discuss your options.

Happy travels!

Friday, June 11, 2010

Travel agents alive & still seliing and providing service to travelers

The American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA) recently reported that travel agents (TAs) still sell 51% of all airline tickets, and according to ARC travel agent ticket sales are growing faster than those sold by online agencies. Travel agents sell 87% of all cruises, 81% of all tours, 45% of all car rentals and 47% of all hotel stays.

There is no doubt that today's travelers have more options than ever before when it comes to booking their travel, but travel agents still remain the choice of the vast majority and more travelers are returning to travel agencies to book their travel.

And without an agent you're by yourself.

Here's why you should use a travel agent!

Got travel questions? Email

Thursday, June 10, 2010

The Hanging of Bridget Bishop

Bridget Bishop spoke her mind. She dressed in a flamboyant way, at least in the eyes of her Puritan neighbors in Salem, Massachusetts. When several young girls in the community began acting strangely and telling tales of strange apparitions and pain, Bridget was accused of witchcraft. On June 10, 1692 she was the first person hanged in the infamous Salem Witch Trials. She proclaimed her innocence to no avail. In 1956, Bridget Bishop was exonerated by the Massachusetts General Court.

Salem is an easy day trip from Boston Mass and worth the visit. On my excursion I included Salem with stops at Revolutionary War stops of Lexington Green and Concord Bridge. The Greater Boston area is ringed with our nations’ history.

Got travel? Email

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Roadtrip idea: Everything Duct Tape!

Head up to Ohio's North Coast and catch the seventh annual Avon Heritage Duct Tape Festival that kicks off on June 18, 2010, just in time to celebrate Father’s Day. The festival will be an all-weekend event starting Friday at 4:00 p.m. at Veteran’s Memorial Park in Avon, Ohio.

This three-day event celebrates duct tape, its enthusiasts and its wacky and fun uses. The festival also honors the history and heritage of the city that is proclaimed the “Duct Tape Capital” of the world—Avon, Ohio—the home of Duck brand duct tape.

From sculptures and fashion to games and a parade, everything at the festival revolves around duct tape and the wonderful City of Avon.

More North Coast touring thoughts to follow so check back.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Ceremonies today mark the anniversary of the WW2 D-day landings in Normandy France

66 years ago today on June 6th Allied forces stormed the beaches of Normandy France. This marked the opening assault on Hitler’s “Fortress Europe”.

For those interested in military history here’s a
day trip that I took years ago from Paris. It’s an all trip but eye opening!

For the WW2 history buff Paris makes a great hub to base your touring from.

Happy travels!

Saturday, June 5, 2010

National Trails Day

The Appalachian Trail now has a museum. The museum is housed in a 200-year-old grist mill at Pine Grove Furnace State Park near Carlisle, Pa. It opens today Saturday June 5th which happens to be National Trails Day.

Highlights at the museum will be veteran hikers telling trail tales, historic hiking artifacts, hikers' photos and more. The museum is due to open daily in summer from12 noon to 4PM.

Lace up the hiking boots and head out to a hiking path today!

Got travel questions or concerns? Email

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

The President promotes Gulf Coast travel

President Barack Obama is encouraging Americans to visit the Gulf Coast despite the huge offshore oil spill. At a White House news conference last week, Obama said while three beaches in Louisiana have been fouled by oil, the rest of the region's beaches are clean and safe. He says Gulf state governors have asked him "to remind everybody" the beaches are open.

Is this oil spill deterring your travel plans to the sunny South this summer? Email