Archive for March, 2009

Astute observers of our Great Lakes itinerary might observe that our terminal port of call is Duluth, Minnesoada. And I’ll bet you’re thinking: “Wow, can it really be? I’ve seen the Pyramids, Paris and the Pyrenées, but I never once thought I’d ever get to Duluth!

O great World Traveler, yes, you can have it all. And for thee of little faith, I say: stay a while. I’ve been in the travel industry for more than a decade, and I can tell you that Duluth is far more than a funny word with double u’s. I have it on excellent authority that Duluth is a mysterious place of drama and excitement:

And who should know more about drama and excitement than Minnesota’s own Al Franken, who’s now locked in an interminable race for Senate? Here’s his take on Minnesota’s biggest port city:

See, here at Travel Dynamics International, we like to travel to places that have character. Duluth is a place with character. We love this city, and we think you will too. Come and have a look round – while it’s warm, that is.

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Joe Sharkey, over at The New York Times‘ travel segment “On the Road,” reports on Expedia.com’s new TripAdvisor, which – he says – performs some flight-booking magic:

a search function that quickly sort[s] out flights and variables, including fees, connections and even the layout of the plane, from data pulled from a vast range of online booking agencies, including airlines’ own sites and sites like Travelocity, Hotwire and Expedia.

I’ve been fiddling with it, and I’m impressed. Besides basic fare, my priorities in booking an airplane ticket are seating (I’d sooner walk than sit in the middle seat), connections and the time it takes to get from here to there. I tried a sample Houston-to-Seattle round trip and got 1,100 price and schedule options (variable connections account for the big number of choices). Most fares ranged from about $320 to $420, but a few were near $1,200.

Clicking on the “fees estimator” tab, I could then pick and choose among a range of options like headphones, snacks and checked bags. Depending on what I chose, the selections narrowed, each with a specific price. Clicking through to a specific flight, I could then see which seats were available. The system was quick and easy to use.

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