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

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Greenbrier Valley Arts & Craft show

Take a fall foliage drive through the mountains of to the Greenbrier Valley’s 30th Annual Arts and Craft Show. This event features nearly 100 arts and crafts exhibitors and is the area’s largest arts and crafts event. There will be prize drawings, food, free admission and parking.

Held October 8th thru the 10th this show is located inside the West Virginia Building at the WV State Fair Event Center. It will run Friday and Saturday from 9-7pm and Sunday 11-5pm. The fair grounds are located in Fairlea, WV. For more information, contact 304-645-6023 or 304-645-6536.

As you travel through Beckley WV why not plan stop for a late breakfast or an early lunch at Tamarack. You can browse the interesting crafts before you sit down for a tasty delight.
This journey is pretty much a straight shot on I 64/77 but for a more scenic and historic adventure jump off the Interstate and travel the Old Midland Trail.

More to follow!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Elvis is in the house..I mean onboard NCL's EPIC!

I’ve heard that celebrities are sailing aboard Norwegian Cruise Lines “Epic”.

It looks like Britney Spears is heading to the Norwegian Epic. So is Rod Stewart and the late Michael Jackson is making a surprise recovery.

That's right! There are “Stars at Sea” on Norwegian Cruise Line as they announced a new lineup of look-alike celebrities who will be performing in the Legends in Concert show on the three-month-old, 4,100-passenger ship.

The faux Spears, Stewart and Jackson will start on the Epic on Saturday, taking the place of a look-alike Madonna, Tina Turner and Elvis who have been playing the vessel since its debut in June.

These look alike impersonators featured in Legends in Concert, a long running tradition on the Las Vegas Strip for more than 25 years, is just one of several big-name shows that premiered this year on Epic -- the biggest Norwegian Cruise Line ship ever built.

Epic also is home to another well-known icon of Las Vegas, the Blue Man Group, as well as the dueling piano show Howl at the Moon and a comedy show by Chicago's Second City. In addition, the ship houses an unusual circus-and-dinner show called Cirque Dreams located in what's billed as the first big top at sea.

The Legends in Concert look-alikes take the stage in Epic's 685-seat Epic Theater for six 45-minute shows over three days during each seven-day cruise. In addition, a cabaret-style show is performed on three additional nights in the Manhattan Room, the ship's New York-inspired supper club.

Norwegian has said the celebrity performers will change every few months.

Check back in October during the World’s Largest Cruise Month for special offers and discounts on Norwegian and other cruise lines.

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Bon Voyage!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Choice Hotels "undercover" boss air tonight

The hit CBS show Undercover Boss is proving to be a great boon to the travel industry as it is helping millions of viewers better understand the tremendous work that goes on behind the scenes to create a quality travel experience.

The second season premiere of Undercover Boss will feature Steve Joyce, president and CEO of Choice Hotels International, as he hits the frontlines of his company and receives an exhausting, up-close look at his company while manning the front desk and cleaning rooms at Comfort Suites hotels, directing sales at Cambria Suites, and plunging toilets and working with a maintenance crew at the world's largest Econo Lodge.

The episode which airs tonight at 10 pm ET is the first of several scheduled for this season that will highlight the workings of travel companies. Already announced are upcoming shows featuring the heads of Frontier Airlines and Great Wolf Resorts.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

The Ghosts, Goblins, Creepy Crawly and Fright season is here!

One of the top rated haunts in the US the Ghostly Manor Thrill Center opened this weekend for the Halloween Season! The nationally-ranked, indoor haunted house, Ghostly Manor, is twice as big this year. Plus they’ve added a brand new haunt for the 2010 season – the Ghostly Gauntlet outdoor maze!

This Sandusky Ohio fright zone now is bigger and better than ever! They’ve added more scares, expanded the haunt another 50% and kept the ticket price the same.

A special feature is the XD 3D theater with a 4D onscreen action with wind effects, unbelievable surround sound, 100 movements a second and up to up to 2 Gs acceleration

Ghostly Manor tickets are $11 for adults and $7 for children (under 10). Extra fees apply for the movies and other attractions.

Spoooky travels to you all!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Cheapest Days to Fly for Thanksgiving

Mega on-line travel agency (OTA) Travelocity’s Thanksgiving Travel Report found that travelers can pay up to $170 more on airfare if they travel on peak days, indicating those who are flexible with their dates can save. To get a cheaper flight over Thanksgiving, the day-by-day analysis suggests travelers should avoid Sunday returns, and opt to return the Friday or Tuesday after the big day to get the lowest possible fares.

The average domestic airfare for the Thanksgiving holiday is cheapest ($293 roundtrip) for travelers departing on Thanksgiving Day and returning the Tuesday after the holiday, and most expensive ($463 round trip) when travelers depart the Tuesday before Thanksgiving and return the Sunday after, two of the busiest days of the holiday. In general, a Sunday return bumps up the average fare while returns the Friday and Tuesday after Thanksgiving offer fares below the domestic average.

Travelocity data also notes that the average domestic airfare for the extended Thanksgiving travel period is $384 round trip, a price point travelers should keep in mind as they’re shopping. For more information, visit

Airlines generally will make reservations 330 days into the future so I set my Travelocity fare watcher up & then purchase my holiday tickets when the price falls into my price range.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Airline mergers

After more than two years of going through the approval process, United and Continental Airlines have completed their merger, creating the world’s largest airline.

But now there’s a more immediate question for passengers: what will the impact be on travelers?

Your thoughts please!

I'm looking for reduced service, increased pricing and less frequent flyer seats being made available.


Thursday, September 16, 2010

Fall foliage colors are here!

There is color in the mountains of WVA up around Morgantown. A traveler camped overnight at Coopers Rock State Forest and just phoned me to report that the colors of fall are here!

It's time to go topless in the mountains! That's means dropping the drop in the convertible and hitting the winding roads!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Choose to cruise: pick your cabin

1st off cruise cabins are small. You need about what you are really using the space for. A place to sleep, shower and stash your gear. If you’re hung up on cabin size then please look for a land based vacation and book into a Sandals Resort suite.

Although smaller than most hotel rooms modern cabins are quite comfortable and well appointed. Besides the reasons you are cruising are for the activities going on outside your stateroom.

Standard inside cabins have amenities that are to that of a standard room of a hotel: a queen-sized bed or twin beds, a satellite TV set, air conditioning, a closet and some storage space for your clothes and personal items, a telephone, a hair dryer, and other items. Inside cabins do not have windows or portholes and the bathroom is small usually having only a shower stall rather than a tub.

A standard outside cabin with an ocean view is the generally same size and offer identical amenities as the inside cabin. The only difference between the two of them is that the standard outside cabin has a porthole or a window. However the window/porthole is locked and cannot be opened. But you can watch the world sail by your stateroom’s window.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Oh Say Can You See!

During the war of 1812, Francis Scott Key was a prisoner aboard a British war ship anchored in the Chesapeake Bar during the Battle of Fort McHenry. He boarded the ship under a flag of truce to secure the release of prisoners. However, while on-board he accidentally overheard British plans to attack Baltimore.

He witnessed the battle during the night. On September 13, 1814 he wrote down his recollection of the events in a poem he called "Defence of Fort McHenry". Circulated widely, the poem was soon set to music and became known as The Star-Spangled Banner. Despite the great difficulty many have in singing the song due to the wide range of octive notes, the Star Spangled Banner became the nation's anthem in 1931.

This place is worth the visit especially if you're in Washington DC area. It makes for a great side trip!

Better yet plan on spending the day in Baltimore. There's plenty to see and do on the Chesapeake.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Choose to Cruise: More on cabin selection

I think that one of the best ways to select your cruise cabin is to study the deck plans. These are in printed cruise line brochures that you can pick up at your travel agency or download them from the cruise line’s website.

As you scan the color coded deck plans you’ll quickly discover a somewhat confusing maze of cabins and prices. A general rule is that the windowless (often called inside) cabins on the lowest passenger decks are the least expensive and prices increase as you move up to higher decks and to an outside cabin. If your room is way up front or in the back this may also impact your fare

To me there are four basic types of staterooms: standard windowless inside, standard outside window view, outside balcony then the suite category. We’ll talk more about these categories later.

Bon voyage and happy travels!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

How to select your cruise cabin

One of the essential decisions that you will have to make when planning out your cruise vacation is selecting the cabin that you will be staying in. What type of cabin and where it is located on the ship can play a big factor in how you enjoy your journey.

Selecting your stateroom depends on a couple factors- how much you can afford (or want) to spend on it, what kind of lifestyle you lead, how long your vacation is going to be and where you will be sailing.

Unlike hotel rooms where you room is assigned upon check in your specific cruise cabin can be assigned well in advance of your departure. By looking at a deck plan you can pin point your location.

Choosing a cabin is a very personal decision and should be made based on what is important to you. An experienced travel agent or cruise counselor can also be very helpful. Listen carefully to their advice but in the end it is still your decision to make.

We’ll cover more about cabin selection and the different types of staterooms later.

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Friday, September 10, 2010

It's time to get out of town!

A thought or two for the weekend and beyond....

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” says American writer & humorist Mark Twain.

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

Monday, September 6, 2010

Enjoy the date!

“Let’s drink to the hard working people! Let’s drink to the salt of the earth” Mick Jagger (1943 – ) English musician in the Rolling Stones.

Are these his thoughts on celebrating Labor Day in the U.S. & Canada or what?
Whatever make mine a Yuengling and pair it up with a medium rare steak!

Have a safe and enjoyable Labor Day or Labour Day in Canada!

Happy travels!

Friday, September 3, 2010

Watch the colors sail by on a fall foliage cruise

As the car and busloads of tourists flock to America's most colorful country roads this fall why not try an alternate route? Autumn colors of gold, red and yellow leafs can be just as breathtaking from the deck of a boat. And a cruise tour can be downright relaxing as you miss the traffic jams. Unpack once and let the leaves sail by!

There are plenty of special fall season cruises on the nation’s rivers and shore lines. For example this fall, MSC Cruises' full-scale ocean voyages cover some of North America's most spectacular leaf-peeping territory. For its inaugural stateside season, the Europe-based company is sending the 2,550-passenger MSC Poesia between New York and Quebec, with ports of call at Prince Edward Island; Halifax, Nova Scotia; Newport, R.I.; Boston MA and Bar Harbor, Maine, to name a few.

Carnival, NCL, Celebrity and Royal Caribbean all offer east coast fall foliage tours so there are plenty of options. Small ship river cruises are another alternative.

There are plenty of deals out there! Just contact
the Travel Professor or your favorite travel agent.

Bon voyage!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Great balls of fire as Londontown comes burning down

The Great Fire of London began on September 2, 1666 at the storefront bakery of Thomas Farriner on Pudding Lane. The mayor of London delayed calling for demolition of buildings around the fire, the chief means of fighting urban fires at the time. As a consequence of the delay, the fire spread rapidly. The conflagration consumed more than 13,000 houses, 87 parish churches, the great St. Paul's Cathedral, and many city government buildings. The fire burned through Wednesday when organized efforts and favorable wind conditions finally helped to extinguish it. The city was re-built along much of the same road plan.

It has rebuilt itself into a wonderful destination. Because of a common language and culture London, the UK and Ireland are often the 1st European destination that many Americans experience.

But I question the idea of serving “Rolling Rock” as a premium American beer at the original Hard Rock Café. Cheerio!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Did you get a great deal or what?

On a recent Mexican Pacific Coast cruise the condo brokers were everywhere! They were very thick in Cabo San Lucas! Attacking us eager tourist as we disembarked. I managed to run the gauntlet unscathed but other ship mates were not so fortunate.

Don't get me wrong Cabo is great but be sure to tell the marketers where to go!

My table mates bragged about the great deal they got for a week over the Christmas holidays. After a couple of days of this I had heard enough and finally burst their bubble by explaining how air prices are inflated over the holidays. Their cost of their cheap condo vacation increased by $at 1000.00.

Think before you sign up for that great travel bargain!

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