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Flight001 - Two business travelers came up with this idea almost a decade ago and now have four bricks-and-mortar shops in addition to the online shop. When you walk into one of the shops, it's difficult not to say, "I'll take one of those, and one of those and ...." The cork screw key ring seems like a good idea (unless, of course, it could be confiscated as a weapon). And the towel pills that you soak with a little water and the pill transforms into an 11in X 9in sturdy textured multipurpose towel. And then, there are all those compression cases to reduce luggage space.

Sacred Destinations Travel Guide: This site currently profiles more than 1,000 sacred sites in 31 countries and provides many additional related articles, such as glossaries, biographies, histories, maps, photo galleries, and visitor guides to major cities. Information on Sacred Destinations is based on a variety of reliable sources, including guidebooks, textbooks, online sources, and the travel experiences of Holly Hayes, a graduate student in religious history who writes and edits the site. She also has a sense of humor about herself as evidenced by a photo: http://www.sacred-destinations.com/about.htm) . Some of the categories covered are: ancient mysteries and megaliths, Buddhist pilgrimages, temples and monasteries, cathedrals, Catholic shrines and pilgrimages by city, Shinto temples, synagogues, Da Vinci Code sites and UNESCO World Heritage Sacred sites. There's a festival calendar that can be consulted for specific dates during the year and it's possible to search for sacred sites by country, city or using an interactive world map of religious places.

FAA's International Aviation Safety Assessments (IASA) Program - The United States Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) established the IASA program through public policy in August of 1992. The FAA’s foreign assessment program focuses on a country's ability, not the individual air carrier, to adhere to international standards and recommended practices for aircraft operations and maintenance established by the United Nation's technical agency for aviation, the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). When looking at that list of countries (click on Results for an Excel spreadsheet view), 1 means that the country meets ICAO standards, 2 means it does not. An asterisk is for countries that don't adequately meet standards but don't serve the US at this time.

Grandtravel - Our grandchildren aren't quite old enough for us to travel together but soon they will be. The international tours of Grandtravel, based in Washington and a division of Academic Travel Abroad, include China, Russia, London and Paris, Australia, Scotland and England, Italy and Kenya. US tours include the American Southwest, Dinosaur Discovery, Alaska, Washington DC and Western Parks, Western Spaces.

There's a helpful Q & A as well as an explanation of their program approach and philosophy.

A bit of their online literature includes the following: We select deluxe, first-class or best-available hotels that welcome children and often feature swimming pools. Meals that are balanced as well as delicious are provided on schedule and promptly. Both traditional and local foods are offered. On some tours, lunches are not included. On others, we may exclude a meal for a specific reason. For example, we might exclude lunch on a day when everyone has enjoyed an especially generous breakfast, or when the itinerary includes a flight on which food is served. Whenever meals are not included, Grandtravelers have an opportunity to choose from a variety of local eateries.

Between points of interest, Grandtravelers ride in comfortable air-conditioned motor coaches, which make frequent rest stops. Everyone gets equal time at window seats and smoking is not permitted.

The site includes copious amounts of information (as well as colorfully drawn illustrations).

The New York Times has reviewed this company with founder Helena Koenig. First time registration required by The Times.


 
CDC Traveler's Health

This link is not new, nor placed routinely on travel rather than health pages, the CDC has updated and changed its Traveler's Health site to reflect "definitions [that] have been refined to make the announcements more easily understood by travelers, health-care providers, and the general public." The definitions of risk are outlined in chart form for the traveler, with recommendations for preventive measures to taken at each level of risk: Travel Notices should be consulted when even only considering a trip to a region that is unfamiliar, an exotic locale, or a country not known for high quality medical care.

When on a trip to the former Soviet Union, a member of our travel group took ill in Leningrad, again named St. Petersburg. Fortunately, the American Express group we were with knew that a doctor would visit the American embassy in that city once a week. Our sick travel companion was lucky to be there on that particular day. Do not risk your health on a trip.

Travel Links

AdventureWomen - For women over 30 (the average age is 50), this company has specialized in small groups traveling to domestic and international locations since 1982. The mission statement speaks to a noncompetitive environment of support, encouragement and developing new self confidence by trying new activities, experiencing new cultures or traveling alone, perhaps for the first time.

Access America - Insurance benefits and hotline services that cover a wide range of medical, legal and other travel related emergencies. This service contacted me (at that time they ere sub-contracted by American Express) when when my father fell ill on a cruise ship. The cruise line dictated he be transferred to a land hospital that we discovered had no cardiac or intensive care and was, in fact, a maternity hospital. AccessAmerica had a professional monitor his progress twice daily, recommending his transfer to another, better equipped hospital in Naples.  In this instance, I can wholeheartedly recommend their services on the basis of their efficiency in his case.

African American Assn of Innkeepers Intl - Lists of B&Bs, guesthouses, hotels and cottages owned by African Americans with links to related travel sites. 

Airline On-Time Statistics - The US Transportation Department's Bureau of Statistics provides stats on flight delays, cancellations and diversions for the nation's major airlines and the airports they serve since 1995. Summary Statistics: Search for average on-time performance record for major airlines, airports served by those carriers and individual flights by number. You can find percentage of flights delayed, canceled or diverted details about departure and arrival delays for late flights departure and arrival performance for all flights. Detailed Statistics. Search for more detailed departure and arrival statistics, airborne times, cancellations and diversions. The special reports section isn't updated regularly with Thanksgiving, Winter Holiday and Presidents Day Air Travel Delays.

Airline Seat Charts - OAG Frequent Flyer magazine has seating charts for most of the major airlines and their equipment.

AirSafe.com - Todd Curtis, PhD is a a former Boeing air-safety analyst and creator of this site which began on 3 July 1996, just two weeks before the crash of TWA Flight 800. The purpose of the site is to provide professionals and the general public with "factual and timely information on events that nvolve the deaths of airline passengers." Air Safe has a special section that deals with airlines that had no fatal events since 1970 as well as a section that examines the fear of flying phenomenon. Other breakdowns involve fatalities by airline, rates by model of airplane and one on most passenger fatalities. There's a file with 'Things You Should Not Bring on Board,' updated since September 11th.

The Society of Architectural Historians (SAH) is an international not-for-profit membership organization that promotes the study and preservation of the built environment worldwide.  The Society’s 3,500 members include architectural historians, architects, preservationists, students, professionals in allied fields and the interested public.  Founded in 1940, membership in SAH is open to everyone, regardless of profession or expertise, who is interested in the study, interpretation, and protection of historically significant buildings, sites, cities and landscapes.   

The Society offers travel opportunities to a variety of fascinating domestic and foreign sites on SAH Study Tours.   All tours, which last between four and thirty days, are led by recognized scholars and experts in their fields.  The focus of the Study Tours, from ancient to contemporary, is the history of architecture and landscapes, and the growth and development of cities.  SAH Study Tour participants include architectural historians, preservationists, curators, architects, and anyone else who is interested in the built environment, regardless of profession or background. 

Xanterra Resorts - Accommodations in or near the nation's top most visited national and state parks:  Grand Canyon National Park, Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah, Zion National Park- Utah, Yellowstone National Park, Everglades National Park, Florida, Death Valley National Park, California, Ohio State Park Resorts, Georgia State Parks, Saratoga Springs, New York, Arbor Day Farm, Nebraska, Napa Valley, California. 

Aviation Directory: Airlines - Websites for most all those airlines you may need for scheduling, frequent flyer programs, special package and other offers, nearby hotels, public and private airports. 

Ask a Traveller - The Guardian (newspaper of UK fame) posts a regular column of travel questions posed by the public to other travellers. Obviously, they do have a UK-bent, but many can be applicable to US explorers, too. How it works:
The real travel experts aren't the professional writers, they're the people who plan, book or create trips for themselves. And if you want to know something, your best bet is to ask a fellow traveller. To ask a question or offer some help:
Email ask.a.fellow.traveller@guardian.co.uk

Budget Travel - Quite an amazing compilation of links for every sort of contingency to your travel imagined, as well as budget specials. It's designed mainly for the younger traveler but even the seasoned and older traveler will find it extremely useful.

Crash Database - Again, you're reminded of Dustin Hoffman's line in Rainman when he tells his brother (Tom Cruise) that Quantas was the only airline that had never had a crash. This database contains: Civil aviation accidents of scheduled and non-scheduled passenger airliners worldwide, which resulted in at least one fatality (all U.S. Part 121 and most Part 135 fatal accidents); military aviation accidents involving transports which resulted in a high number of fatalities' ; aviation accidents involving helicopters, both civil and military, which resulted in a high number of fatalities; aviation accidents involving airships, both civil and military, which resulted in fatalities as well as aviation accidents involving the deaths of famous people and a viation accidents or incidents of noteworthy interest.

Cross Cultural Solutions - A travel/volunteer group and a woman's program (Saheli) with an altruistic approach: three-week programs focus on countries (China, Ghana, India, Peru and Russia) to offer volunteer work in the fields of health care, education and social development. The Saheli  program is a once-a-year trip to India to 'meet Indian women from all walks of life, discuss issues of importance to women worldwide and understand the culture and societal role of women in India'. There are other specialized programs that can be considered.

CruiseOpinion.Com - Experienced passengers offer 2500 reviews of their experiences to aid in choosing which cruise you should consider for your needs. This site the product of a travel agent associated with Uniglobe Cruise Centers.

Travel to Cuba: An ex-CIA figure from the late 1960s, Philip Agee, established a joint venture  with Cuba in the form of an inter-active travel agency. Agee hopes to attract Americans to vacation on the island still regarded as off-limits to the tourist sector.  Restrictions remain, so do read the Office of Foreign Asset Control's (pdf format) file on Cuba before packing those bags.

Disabled or Medically Challenged Travel (as Arthur Frommer's Budget Travel notes "the largest minority in the U.S."): Organizations or groups specializing in tips, agencies, exchanging information about traveling while concerned about certain medical conditions abound; we've just picked a few:  The Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh has a section devoted to a source list of tips, newsletters and societies with information; an  Arthur Frommer's Budget Travel site with links for various disabilities including one for the developmentally impaired;  The Open Directory's Disabled Travel section includes airlines, cruises, agencies, wheelchair access and rental and specific places to travel to; Access-able Travel with newsletters, forums and travel agents;  MossRehabNet Travel Resources including agencies specializing in international destinations, travel alerts, rentals, weather, tips.

Elderhostel - A nonprofit organization providing educational adventures all over the world to adults aged 55 and over. "Study the literature of Jane Austen in the White Mountains of New Hampshire, or travel to Greece or conduct field research in Belize to save the endangered dolphin population. Attend a program in your hometown or across the globe, in a classroom, aboard a ship or in the mountains." 

Eurailpass - Representing 60 European railroads , Eurailpass now also is a source for hotels and car rentals, not only in continental Europe but a complete line of BritRail passes and point-to-point destinations in Europe and Russia. Eurostar, rail travel between London, Paris and Brussels through the chunnel (Channel Tunnel),  is a feature of this service as is 'Rail 'n Drive' packages. Best of all, if you're over 40 (and we're assuming you are if you've come to this page, in 1999 you are offered a 40% discount on some of these services.

Explorations in Travel - This company has been designing trips for women for close to two decades and provides trips designed for women over forty. Adventures range from a weekend hike and rafting weekend in New England, multi-generational windjammer weekend in Maine, a Yucatan Peninsula trip to a Galapagos Islands sojourn. Itineraries are designed for beginners as well as more experienced travelers and outdoor enthusiasts.

Geographic Expeditions- Adventure treks, safaris and  expeditions are offered to Bhutan, Nepal, India, Ladakh, Sri Lanka, Tibet, Mongolia, China, Arabia, Persia, Southeast Asia, Indonesia, Japan, Kenya, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Zambia, Tanzania, Uganda, Namibia, South Africa, Patagonia, Peru, Galapagos, Costa Rica, Alaska, Antarctica, Turkey, Italy and France. To describe the level of difficulty in their treks (which involve light backpacks), they state that "Some of our hardiest travelers and trekkers are in their 60s or 70s."

Global Volunteer Network - Volunteers are placed in community projects in Alaska, China, Ecuador, Ghana, Nepal, New Zealand, Romania, Russia, Thailand, Uganda, and Vietnam. The purpose is to support the work of local community organizations in developing countries through the placement of international volunteers. The organization believes that local communities are in the best position to determine their needs, and they provide volunteers to help them achieve their goals. Volunteers have the opportunity to participate in a variety of educational, environmental and community aid programs. Examples of the activities available include teaching English, environmental work, AIDS education, and assisting in an orphanage. The majority of volunteers come from the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, and Australia and the organization also has smaller numbers of people from Ireland, Germany, New Zealand, Japan, and many other countries.

Historic Hotels, National Trust - "145 quality hotels that have faithfully maintained their historic architecture and ambiance. This highly diverse collection ranges from eight room properties to 1380 and from small town inns to downtown hotels." These hotels are located in 40 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. The database is searchable by state or by alphabetical listing and there are regional maps on the site. The historic hotel's national sales office acts a clearing house for checking availability and group rates. 

Holiday Expeditions - The women's River Retreat  includes a day beginning with meditation and Hatha Yoga and its philosophy; there's also massage therapy and stress reduction techniques. These sessions as well as the river rafting are conducted by women guides through such destinations as the San Juan River, Lodore Canyon, Main Salmon, Yamapa River, Lower Salmon, Hell's Canyon and Cataract Canyon. Trips are usually three, four and five days in length and are geared towards beginners as well as the more experienced. Holiday also conducts trips for family groups.

How Far Is It - Data from the U.S. Census and a supplementary list of cities around the world to find the latitude and longitude of two places, and then calculates the distance between them (as the crow flies). It also provides a map showing the two places, using the Xerox PARC Map Server miles, kilometers, nautical miles, population, elevations, all the things you need to be pedantic with friends about locations.

InfoHub.com - What was once a business travel site has now become one dedicated to special interest travel destinations. The interests categories include active adventure, family, history and culture, hobbies, nature and wildlife, romance, soft adventure, spiritual and sports. InfoHub claims to qualify each tour operator before joining their site. They also assert that they monitors the tour operators performance to ensure their level of services.

Italian Villas.com - Medieval houses, apartments, palace or castle ranging in cost from moderately priced to world class. A database of villas and descriptions to a match for criteria, index of listings and current specials. 

Journeywoman - A travel quarterly magazine just for women travelers with a specific section for women over fifty. Women - friendly city sites, an international travel tip bazaar, lots of women's travel tales from women around the world, love stories, what should I wear, and JourneyWoman's online travel classifieds and links.

Maps On Us - Offers four ways to plan a driving route to your vacation destination. Type in any two addresses (or landmarks or businesses) and choose which method you want to use to get there from here: fastest, shortest, highways or back roads.

Mariah Women's International Travel - Active and cultural adventure women's trips to Peru, Fiji, Canada, Bolivia, Chile, and the Galapagos Islands in a small group of women. The company began in 1982 and is still the only women's whitewater rafting owned by women.  Rafting takes place on rivers in California, Oregon, Idaho, Utah, and Colorado, sea kayak in Baja and Canada. Other trips explore the rain forests, rivers, beaches, and culture such destinations as Italy, the Greek Islands and Australia and New Zealand.

National Geographic Great Long Weekends -  A step by step TravelWise guide for each of the 22 locales. Here, youll find links for essential trip planning information on hotels, restaurants, transportation, activities, and much more.  KetchikanReykjavik, Austin, Lambertville, Voyageurs National ParkGrand Canyon RaftingColorado Hut Skiing, Hood RiverMoab Mountain BikingCajun CountryBermuda, Venice, Chattanooga, MontrealWashington, D.C.Assateague, Oaxaca, Berkeley Springs, Sonoma ValleyLyon, Hidden Creek Ranch, and Nantucket. 

National Geographic Travel -  Expeditions begin at $2,300 per person and some of 1999's trips include: Americas Canyon Country with an archaeologist and wilderness  guide;  a safari in Kenya with a wildlife biologist;  a trip during the sesquicentennial of the Gold Rush with an authority; a colonial heritage tour with the author of an award winning book on the Civil War, trekking Nepal peaks and Millennium voyage to Antarctica with a polar adventurer.

National Park Camping Reservations - An official government site for the National Park campgrounds and tours availability and reservations, camps or tours general information

National Scenic Byways Online - A combined effort of the Federal Highway Admin and Utah State Univ detailing road trips across the country. Searchable for routes by state or by a grouping of selected road tours by those considered most picturesque. Included are tips for historic, cultural and recreational activities including picnic sites and biking paths,  a database of reference center materials that can be ordered including FHWA brochures, videos, and a free map describing each of the 44 National Scenic Byways and the 9 All-American Roads.

National Trust On-line (UK) - Over 240,000 hectares of beautiful countryside and over 300 historic buildings and gardens, most with a car park, restaurants and shops. Search by name, or select an area or county to find out which properties can be visited. Joining the Royal Oak Foundation in the U.S., allows you free entry to all the National Trust properties, also known as 'stately piles.' Our family rented a house in Snowshill, the Cotswolds, and we've found the staff and volunteers always helpful and courteous.

National Trust for Historic Travel Study Tours - For 2005, tours are available to destinations in America and Close to Home as well as on Distant Shores. In addition, Family Tours, Hidden Treasures excursions and travels via Private Jet (!) are also offered. There are cruises aboard the Sea Cloud and Sea Cloud II, three private jet tours, architecture-based tours in Chicago and Tunisia, and, for the more ambitious, an expedition through Morocco and a walking tour through the Czech countryside. "There is a tour for every price range and activity level, and high-caliber study leaders, local guides and guest speakers share their expertise on every program we offer," so states the site's text.

Olivia Cruises and Resorts - The agency charters entire ships and resorts for lesbian travelers with every detail covered by the organizers. There are cruises planned to the Mexican Caribbean, Alaska, Eastern Caribbean, Greece/Egypt/Israel and Rome/Venice. Land tours and resorts are other avenues.

One World Journeys: Georgia (country of) Revealed - The Washington Post and OneWorld present Searching for the Soul of the Caucasus, highlighting an expedition that occurred this past April using daily journal entries (text, streaming video and audio and photographs) of the expedition. There are well-done and dramatic presentations of the material; regardless of your interest in this region, you can't help but be interested due to both the showcasing and the writing which are suspenseful in nature. 

QuickAid - A website with airports information about ground transportation, shops and services, hotels, even terminal maps. There's also information about gaining internet access at a limited number of airports with costs for the service explained. 

Roadside America - Guide to the nation's most off-beat tourist attractions. Odd and hilarious travel destinations throughout 700 pages based on the books which, frankly, look like a fun read even if you're not set to explore these oddities in person.

Scenic Drives USA - Now that more of us are staying closer to home, so we're told, Outside Magazine and GORP have put together a comprehensive guide to driving across the US as well as overseas highways and byways. There are categories of articles that cover the top 10 scenic drives, leaf peeping, breathtakers, off-the-beaten track, classic drives, driving into history and world wheeling. There are also tips for driving including articles on driving and planning trips with kids, driving with pets and tricks of the RV road.

Shipboard Cruiser - The Shipboard Cruiser states on its home page that it sells no travel, cruises or advertising. "We publish news and ship reviews monthly to help you choose which of over 65 Cruise Lines worldwide and which of their 240+ cruise ships you'll be aboard on your next vacation cruise." Other links included. 

Shawguides (see Interests Page)

Smithsonian Tours - The travel branch of the well known Washington institution. The tours are characterized by a combination of study, discovery,  combination of study, discovery, and adventure at a variety of levels.  The Smithsonian tours employs teachers who lecture as well as lead these excursions which include interesting excursions and behind-the-scenes tours.  Some of the international tours provide opportunities to meet local citizens and include visits to private collections and sites not generally available. 

TravelSecure.com - CSA Travel Protection, a trip insurance site and one of the industry leaders (so says Smart Money Magazine) covers trips canceled or interrupted because of a number of reasons including "adverse weather or natural disasters resulting in the complete cessation of travel services

Weather Channel - Invaluable when checking how to pack for a destination or just for an afternoon jaunt. Most forecasts project for three and five day periods.

Wiawaka - The name Wiawaka means 'The Great Spirit in Women.' The land that is Wiawaka today on Lake George in New York State was given by Spencer and Katrina Trask (the founders of Yaddo, the artists' colony in Saratoga Springs) and George Foster Peabody (the industrialist) to Mary Fuller to found this women's retreat. It is a National Trust property.

Wiawaka is one of the oldest and longest continuously operated retreats for women in America. Mary Wiltsie Fuller established Wiawaka in 1903. A progressive activist for women's rights, she saw the need for an affordable respite for female immigrants working in the shirt-collar factories, mills and laundries of her native Troy, and Cohoes.

Today, Wiawaka continues as a summer retreat for women. We offer affordable vacations on a sliding fee scale and many enrichment programs. Guests must be over 18 years of age. Wiawaka is a place to recharge spirits and try out new skills. Workshops as varied as knitting, quilting, sewing, Nia, Yoga, Tai Chi, writing and painting and lectures, performances and other life-enhancing activities, most of which are free of charge. Direct lake access is on their property with swimming, docking and porching. You're free to bring a kayak or canoe to launch from Wiawaka.

Women's Travel Club - The Women's Travel Club designs trips for women and the fee for joining the club is $35.00. Members receive a monthly  newsletter and trips are  popularly priced,  based on a group of 15 -25. Tour and guide quality is stressed and lodgings are comfortable but simple and always include some walking. 

Zagat Restaurant Guide - Choose your area (most major cities worldwide are covered) and search by cuisine type, cost, location, or overall rating. The guide is a reader's survey of restaurants so if you're looking for a compilation of professional reviewers, this is not the venue. 


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