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

Friday, July 30, 2010

10 top USA travel choices

When asked where they would spend a vacation if money were no object, Americans chose Italy to put Australia at second place, out of first for the second time since 1997. Surveyed by Harris Interactive between June 14 and 21, 2,227 online, the top five selections among respondents included Ireland, Great Britain and France. Next in the top 10 were Greece and Germany in a tie, Japan, Spain and New Zealand. Following were Israel, Canada, Mexico, The Netherlands and Switzerland, beating out Brazil and Jamaica, formerly 14 and 15 last year respectively

What are your top 10 places?

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

The jet age

July 27, 1949 saw the inaugural flight of the de Havilland Comet, the world's first commercial jet airliner. Manufactured by a British company, de Havilland, the craft was a high point in early aeronautical design and was powered by four jet engines. Unfortunately, early models suffered from catastrophic metal fatigue, and a series of well-publicized accidents ensued, costing the design public and commercial confidence. The company withdrew the plane from production and it underwent a series of re-designs. In all 114 were built and put into production.

Within 10 years of this date new and improved jet propelled aircraft were on the scene and aviation really took off! Jet travel shrunk the globe and bought tourism to the fore front in many nations. And the air of air travel for the rich and famous had ended.

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Sunday, July 25, 2010

Field trip to replace broken china? Where?

Last week I was invited to a friend’s place for a colleagues going away party. She broke out the fine china and wouldn’t you know that someone broke a piece. She was distraught but I shared a replacement site with her.

This is the world’s retailer of old & new china, crystal, silver and collectibles located? They have over 14 million pieces of inventory from over 320,000 plus pattern.

Where in the world is this store located?

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Working a Saturday July 24th football camp

I’m dusting off the old coaching whistle and breaking out the Baldwin Wallace college brown “Bike” polyester coaching shorts this weekend for the Chris Jennings youth football clinic. It’s being held in Ashland KY on Saturday July 24th. There’s still space so bring your aspiring football players for a morning of skills & drills from the Cleveland Browns.

They’re putting me to work so I'll see you there on Saturday. Go Browns!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Airport Codes

A do-it yourselfer just emailed asking me to help sort out her European flight schedule. I said sure and asked for the details. She’s flying in to SWF and out JFK. These airports are 80 miles apart! There was no way she’d make her connection.

Unfortunately she’d purchased non refundable tickets so I couldn’t help and recommended that she would have to deal with the people she purchased her tickets from.

Sounding distraught she said she bought it on-line and her messages hadn’t been

I then suggested that she contact the carriers directly provided her with their customer service telephone number and wished her luck.

The teaching point here is pay attention airport codes. These are 3 letter codes used to uniquely identify all airports. When booking online note the airport codes as there is a huge difference between SWF & JFK. The computer sure didn’t distinguish the difference as it was pulling up greater New York City airports.

Happy travels!

Friday, July 9, 2010

14th Amendment

Although the Fourteenth Amendment was originally intended to provide full citizenship and rights to former slaves, the Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses have provided important civil rights to all Americans. Ratified on this date in 1868, the Fourteenth Amendment requires states to provide equal protection to all persons…

nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws”…

These words have been the basis of some of the most important Supreme Court cases of the last 100 years and secure the right to due process to all citizens of the United States.

A visit to the National Constitution Center a wonderful interpretive museum located on Philadelphia’s Independence Mall is an outstanding venue. It is an extremely interactive museum that is located 2 short blocks from the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall.

You can spend a day here right in the center of a revolution then a constitutional government. It doesn’t get more historic than this.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

US passport fees are increasing

Passport prices are increasing on July 13th. Adult first-time passports will increase from $95 plus the $25 execution fee to $135. The US Passport Book and US Passport Card for adults are valid for 10 years.

Rush down to the post office today!

Got travel questions? Email

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

The US Government comments on UFOs!

On July 8, 1947 The Roswell Army Air Field issued an unusual press release indicating that on July 7th, the day before, some of its personnel had located and removed a crashed “flying disc” from a local ranch. A second press release corrected “flying disc” to “weather balloon”. One of the great conspiracy theories of the 20th century was born. A government commission convened in reaction to the media uproar concluded the findings were debris from a secret government program called Project Mogul which used high altitude weather balloons as listening and surveillance devices.

Proof is at International UFO Museum in Roswell NM. The Truth is Out There!

There's more to New Mexico than mountains & chili peppers1

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Las Vegas flat taxi rate?

It's no secret for years now that some cab drivers take tourists arriving at Las Vegas’ McCarran Airport on longer routes to their destinations in order charge them a higher fare, a practice known as long-hauling. A recommendation of a $20 flat rate from the airport to any destination in the city was made at a Nevada Taxicab Authority meeting last week that could end the practice.

Fortunately I’m familiar with the local roads and pointed this out to the cabbie and he corrected immediately. Another option I use is the airport shuttle as this runs $6.00-$8.00 way.

This flat rate works for me on an airport to the Strip or downtown hotel run but I’m not sure how it impacts the short haul trips. $20 bucks seems a little steep to go from the Mirage to Mandalay Bay. But then again I ride the RTC-CATS public transportation most of the time when I’m in Vegas. I only rent a car when I’m traveling out in the countryside.

Got travel? Email

Monday, July 5, 2010

Speak the local language

“In Paris they simply stared when I spoke to them in French; I never did succeed in making those idiots understand their own language” says Mark Twain

I’ve struggled trying to communicate with my German and Spanish and found this to be an enjoyable & interesting situation. If you don’t try it you don’t know what you’re missing!

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Happy B'Day USA!

Happy birthday America!

Ohio University is closely linked to our Founding Fathers. Although it no longer exists the roots of OU can be traced to the Boston’s “Bunch of Grapes” tavern. Today a small memorial plaque near Faneuil Hall commemorates this location.

Go Bobcats!

Friday, July 2, 2010

Greenbrier Casino opens

The Greenbrier in White Sulphur Springs, W. Va., is due to fly in stars including Ben Affleck, Jennifer Garner, Brett Favre, Brooke Shields, Shaquille O'Neal and Jessica Simpson to help inaugurate its slot machines and table games at today’s grand opening of its Casino Club.

The new 103,000-square-foot Casino Club contains 38 gaming tables and 320 slots plus restaurants and shops.

The only thing missing is my invitation. My “tux” was just cleaned because I thought that the new owner would invite the Travel Professor. I guess I'll just have to save it for Vegas.

Happy travels!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Zip codes introduced

On July 1, 1963, the United State Post Office introduced non-mandatory ZIP for the entire country. Employee Robert Moon, first submitted his proposal for the idea while working as a postal inspector in 1944. In 1967, the Post Office began mandating Zip Codes for second- and third-class bulk mail.

Speaking of zip codes the Old Post Office in Washington DC built in the 1890s is a great tourist stop. It has an interior glass-roofed atrium with a food court. After lunch, take the free elevator ride to the top of the Old Post Office tower. The granite clock tower has an observation level 270 feet above the street. It offers a 360 degree view of downtown Washington, DC.

Happy travels!