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, February 28, 2011

Happy Birthday for the Republican Party!

On this day in 1854, a group of former Democrats, Free Soilers and other abolitionists, about 50 slavery opponents in all, met in Ripon, Wisconsin, to call for creation of a new political party. The American Civil War was still more than six years away, but slavery was on everyone's mind. The US Congress was poised to pass the Kansas-Nebraska Act which would extend slavery into new US territories. They adopted the name "Republican" after a party briefly formed by Thomas Jefferson, the "Democratic-Republican" party, ignoring Jefferson's own history of slave ownership. Six years later they nominated and ran a winning presidential candidate: Abraham Lincoln. The Republicans remained in power for all but eight years until 1913.

Friday, February 25, 2011

I've had enough winter!

Feb. is almost over, but winter shows no signs of slowing down! I’m ready for a tropical beach vacation!

No passport? No problem! You can head to Puerto Rico or the United States Virgin Islands. All you need to travel here is your official id like a drivers license.

There are still plenty of travel specials available. Contact your travel agent and let them tell you where to go!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Bringing the Hammer down on the Cougars!

They brought the hammer down on Sunday! It was an exciting game of indoor football as Huntington Hammer defeated the Canton Cougars in their inaugural game at the Big Sandy Arena on Sunday Feb 20th.

The travel crew loved it and we’ll be back for more! Corn dogs, cotton candy, draft Yuengling’s and live football in Feb, Mar & April who can complain!

I’m planning on purchasing a couple of season tickets. I hope many of you will find the time and money to catch one of the Hammer games.

Sure there are some kinks to work out like repainting the playing field (carpet) and side boards. The play was sloppy and the offense nonexistent but hey this was opening day. This sort of play happens at all levels so a little patience is warranted!

Go Hammer!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

It’s Hammer Time!

The Travel Prof is loading his travel crew into the PT and heading to Huntington WVA on Sunday Feb 20th for some football! That’s for some rocking arena style football.

This activity is an inbound tourism magnet for our region. The Hammer will draw in people and they’ll spend time and most importantly money at Big Sandy, Pullman Square and other local shops, restaurants and so forth.

When the Blizzard hockey team was in town it was a $100.00 day for my crew. Between tickets, souvenirs, dining, etc that's the amount we invested locally. That's hard revenue for the city, country & Tri-State.

Now we need get a baseball stadium for the Herd and a summer baseball team! I love Appy Power Park in Charleston but a ball field in Huntington would be wonderful!

Go Hammer!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Here is another great reason to go cruising…Princess Cruise ships will broadcast the Royal Wedding of Britain’s Prince William and Kate Middleton.

Passengers can watch the future Princess walk down the aisle with BBC world coverage on the lines "Movies under the Stars" screens. This will be the English “Super Bowl “so there should be hours of coverage o f this royal event.

And how fitting that the original “Love Boats” will be offering this special event!

There are plenty of cruise deals available so book your cabin today!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Train trip celebrates 150th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln's journey to DC

The National Park Service is sponsoring programming that will commemorate the 150 anniversary of President-elect Abraham Lincoln's trip from Springfield, Illinois to Washington, DC, on February 11-23, 2011, by revisiting sixteen cities and towns at which Lincoln made remarks. Those cities include Springfield, Illinois; Indianapolis, Indiana; Cincinnati, Ohio; Columbus, Ohio; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; Cleveland, Ohio; Westfield, New York; Buffalo, New York; Albany, New York; Peekskill, New York; New York, New York; Trenton, New Jersey; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, Baltimore, Maryland; and, Washington, DC.

In addition, the National Park Service is sponsoring an educational initiative related to the Lincoln's Inaugural Journey titled "
to CiNational Park Service Memory Trail: Civil War vil Rights" in which students can research their local community with an eye towards how their community related to the Civil War, the subsequent Civil Rights struggles, and their vision for their community in the next generation.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Play Ball!

With Major League Baseball’s spring training commencing next week my thoughts are turning towards spring and summer getaway opportunities. Here’s a travel suggestion that baseball fans can really get a grip on-schedule a tour of a baseball bat manufacturer. Even non fans should find the bat making process engaging and educational.

Mention baseball bats and ardent fans generally think about the city of Louisville KY, home of the famed Louisville Slugger bat factory and museum. But the Travel Prof has discovered another regional option the
Phoenix Bat Company.

The Phoenix Bat Company is located just outside of Columbus, Ohio, about 5 miles from the city's outer belt. Its right here where all of our bats are made…transformed from a long tube of wood in to a finished bat on the most advanced bat making machine used by anyone. If you're in the area please look us up!

The Phoenix facility tour lasts approximately 1 hour tour, you'll learn about how the business got started (blame it on a bunch of guys playing baseball in the 1800's!), working with pros, and the process in creating a great bat. You’ll learn about wood selection, computer-aided design then take a trip out on the shop floor for an up-close view of the bat making and finishing process.

Each tour includes a custom engraved mini bat to commemorate your visit. Current tours cost $10.00 per person and do need to be scheduled in advance.

I'd turn this tour into a day trip to the general Columbus area and I'll offer up some other suggestions in subsequent posts.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Airlines hike business traveler fares

United and Continental airlines are raising one way and business fares by $20 to $60 for a round-trip ticket. Delta & American immediately matched the increase.

Unless you are extremely naïve you know the next step-an across the board fare increase.

No make that a fuel surcharge. That way the airlines can say that they haven’t raised the airfares and they’re still at pre 9/11 levels.

However that $198.00 fare with $200.00 in fuel surcharges and $98.35 in taxes, users’ fees and passenger facilities charge is still close to a $500.00 ticket! Actually it is $496. 35 which is close enough!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Travel and Tourism Spending Highest Since 2004

According to the U.S. Department of Commerce U.S. travel and tourism output (adjusted for changes in price) increased at an annual rate of 8 percent during the third quarter of 2010, marking the largest quarterly increase in U.S. travel and tourism spending since the first quarter of 2004.

The airline, hotels a restaurant sectors recorded the most growth.

Be kind to your travel agent and get out of town! Book a package tour or cruise vacation!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Super Bowl 45 at Sea!

Football fans aboard all Princess Cruises ships around the world will have the opportunity to enjoy a super tailgate party at sea this Sunday February 6, with prime viewing of the match-up between the Pittsburg Steelers and the Green Bay Packers in Super Bowl XLV. The "Big Game" will be broadcast fleet wide to passengers, including viewing on the ships' 300-square-foot super-size "Movies under the Stars" screens.

Passengers will be able to follow the action between the AFC and NFC Champions, plus see the halftime show with a performance by the Black Eyed Peas. Fans can enjoy the game with an array of tailgate treats including specially prepared chicken wings, pizza, pigs-in-a-blanket and other game day "munchies," plus beer specials.
I haven’t done a Super Bowl at Sea yet but have caught a few regular season NFL and NCAA football games aboard ship. It was pretty neat having the buffet available but the cost of adult beverages hurt!

I should take a look at booking a special interest cruise like the NCAA Final Four or NASCAR’s opening race.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Ahoy Mates! Cruise Bargains Galore!

The year 2010 marked the launch of new cutting-edge ships with NCL’s Norwegian Epic and Royal Caribbean International’s Allure of the Seas. In 2011 new ships continue, including Disney Cruise Line’s first new build in over 10 years. Beyond new ships, cruise lines are carrying over some of their new innovations to existing ships as well. For travellers this presents more options available.

And with more beds to fill the cruise lines have many special sales and discounts available. But hurry as they are selling out quickly. Contact your cruise travel professional and book your sailing today!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

US travel industry can create jobs!

The US travel industry: “Please Mr. President promote inbound tourism to the USA and the travel industry will create thousands of new jobs!”

How does he do it?

By funding a national tourism office and get these folks engaged overseas selling tours and package to the US of A! It has been well documented that people spend money when they travel!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Location, location, pretty pricey location

I was having a chat at a recent technology conference with some colleagues and the subject of hotel rates came up. Everyone complained about their room prices while I opted to remain silent. Finally someone inquired “Steve where are you staying at?” Smiling I said: “Down in German Village. For what you guys are paying for one night pretty much covers my bill for the entire stay. Plus my hotel is next door to one of my favorite restaurants!”

I added that I know how to play the game. Judging by the puzzled looks they’re trying to figure out what game I’m referring to!

Are you too?

Happy travels!