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, November 30, 2010

Amusement park awards

Amusement Today has named Ohio’s Cedar Point as the overall best amusement park for the 13th straight year. Cedar Point also took the prize for best steel coaster the Millennium Force.

The industry newspaper has announced the winners of its annual Golden Ticket Awards, based on a survey of people described as "experienced and well-traveled" amusement park fans around the world.

The awards also named Universal Orlando's Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey as the best new ride of 2010.

The Wildebeest at Splashin' Safari, Santa Claus, Ind., was named the best new water park ride of the year.

Kings Island amusement park in southwest Ohio won the award for best kids' area.

For all of your coaster enthusiasts spring is just around the corner!

Friday, November 26, 2010

What type of traveler are you?

Take an on-line quiz that will identify your travel personality. The quiz only takes less than five minutes of your time, but you can probably learn a lot about your travel personality and the places that you'll like most for your next vacation. You'll get results that are based on scientific research and you may even discover things about yourself that you didn't know. You must answer every question or they can't score it and present the results to you.

I'd also like to know if you agree with the results!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Cindy from Ona emailed; " We are having a docent led tour at an art museum. I’ve never heard the term docent before. Can you explain?"

Absolutely! They are an unpaid a guide in a museum or art gallery. Normally they have received extensive training and have great personal knowledge about the subject(s) that they’re talking about. Sometimes they may accept a tip at the end of the tour. This depends on company or personal policy. If you’re interested there are plenty of places around here that would love a volunteer.

Got travel questions? Email

Monday, November 22, 2010

Why use a travel agent?

Sammy from Coal Grove recently asked: "You always refer us to use a travel agent. Why?"

Yes I am partial to the travel agency distribution channel and here’s why. I feel that it provides the consumer an unbiased perspective in regards to matching the right product with the consumer's unique needs. A single supplier can never fill that requirement. When you contact a specific airline, tour company or cruise line they will only offer you their product not their competitors.

With the travel agency community selling over 75 percent of all cruise and tour products, the agent fills a needed role for the supplier and traveler, particularly when it comes to complex travel. Most cruise and tour suppliers recognize this and actively support the agency channel.

Sure a percentage of you will always go direct but the savings of cost and time still favor the agency distribution system. I’ll admit that the travel agent will not always beat that bargain you discovered on line but I’ll still side with the agent. There’s a good chance that you’re not comparing apples to apples or giving your agent all the information. If you are a frequent guest of a specific hotel chain let you agent know. This way he/she will access to those special rates that you qualify for.

Again it this collaborative effort between all parties involved planning then providing your vacation and/or business travel needs. If you agree or disagree with me I’d love to hear your comments. You can contact me at or 740.550.9540.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Some foreign travel thoughts

"If you reject the food, ignore the customs, fear the religion and avoid the people, you might better stay at home." quotes James Michener.

I've heard plenty of these statements when on the road in foreign countries. I often wonder to myself why bother to go then?

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Seat rotation

"Hey Travel Prof! We were looking at taking an escorted tour of China and the brochure mentioned that there was daily “seat rotation”. What in the world is that?"

It is a practice on tours in which passengers are moved from seat to seat so as to give all travelers equal access to the "good seats." You move from front to the middle then to the back of the coach. Does this make sense?

Monday, November 15, 2010

Thoughts on getting the value when paying in Euro or English pound

From the email inbox: “Hey Travel Prof we’re thinking about traveling aboard? How can someone make their dollar go further especially where the Euro and the English Pound are used?”

Pay for as much as you possibly can in advance with U.S. dollars. On escorted tours most things are included. What if someone doesn’t want to be on a strict schedule or tour a city they have no interest in? Today’s escorted tour operators offer variety. You can pick a tour that fits your preferences. Is gas expensive in Europe? Yes. But with an escorted tour, gas is included in the price and the cost of transportation is divided by the number of passengers.

Another way is select a tour operator that guarantees the exchange rate when you reserve the tour. This is a hedge against any foreign currency increases while occasionally if there’s a huge drop in the exchange rate the tour operators will reduce their price.

Cruises either the big box ships or the small intimate river vessels are still one more fairly inclusive option that will help maximize your savings and stretch your dollars! The ship becomes your floating hotel and transports you to many intriguing destinations at a leisurely pace. Depending on the cruise line items like shore excursion, on board history and cultural lectures, wine with dinner even bicycles in your ports of call.

Hopefully I’ve answered your question. If not contact me at

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Armistice I mean Veterans Day

At the 11th hour on the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918, the Great War ends. At 5 a.m. that morning, Germany, bereft of manpower and supplies and faced with imminent invasion, signed an armistice agreement with the Allies in a railroad car outside Compiégne, France. The First World War left nine million soldiers dead and 21 million wounded, with Germany, Russia, Austria-Hungary, France, and Great Britain each losing nearly a million or more lives. In addition, at least five million civilians died from disease, starvation, or exposure.

Peace at last! The war to end all wars was finally over. Or so the educated politicians thought and the rest of the world hoped for.

To my knowledge the only American National Museum dedicated to WW1 is located in Kansas City MO.

In the US this event was originally celebrated as Armistice Day, currently known as Veterans Day.

Today I salute all veterans for their service, sacrifices and a job well done!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Travel thought for the week

Thought for the week: “Experience, travel - these are as education in themselves” say Euripides Greek playwright, c. 480-406 BC.

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

Got travel questions or concerns? Contact

Sunday, November 7, 2010

International wine festival at Cincy's Jungle Jim's Market

Wine lovers and food fans need to mark off Nov 12th & 13th on their calendars and plan a road over to Cincinnati O-H-I-O for the Jungle Jim’s International Wine Festival!

Novice and connoisseur alike will find much to enjoy at Jungle Jim’s International Wine Festival, from international favorites to the new and unique. With over 400 wines, guests will experience the classics like Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay as well as Carmenere, Pinotage, Tempranillo, Petit Sirah, Mead, Viognier, Vidal Blanc, Petit Verdot and a host of others. During this event the world of wine is spinning in your favor...your favorite wine is just a taste away.

Over 20 countries will be represented as you wander, sip by sip, through all the major wine producing regions of the world. Argentina, South Africa, Spain, New Zealand, Canada, Chile, Italy, and France are a few of the countries sharing their bottled bounty at the show. Taste how Vitis vinifera (the common grape vine) has been historically cultivated from culture to culture. As you experience the wines, you will also learn about wines, wine making and storing from those who taste and promote winemaking for a living. Table after table of experts are available to walk you through the wines they know and love.

Interspersed among the wines are olives, cheeses, meats and more. All arranged within their countries to compliment your tasting experience. There is a food for every wine and a wine for every food, which is understood by all those who make and enjoy wine. The right bite can make a great wine into a memorable experience. This event brings food and wine – and the company of other wine lovers - together in the way wine was meant to be experienced.

You’ll want to visit the booths of our local and regional vintners from Ohio, Kentucky, Missouri and more. Home grown isn't always the most exotic, but we invite you to experience the local pride and connection that wine connoisseurs and others have always felt about the wines from their countries.

Friday, November 5, 2010

The Fabulous Food Show is back in Cleveland OH!

The Fifth Anniversary of the Fabulous Food Show, presented by Time Warner Cable, the premier culinary event of the year, will be held November 12-14, 2010 at the I-X Center in Cleveland OH. After a successful first-year run at last year’s show, a newly-expanded Farmers Market will showcase more farmers, displays and seminars held daily. Sweet Street has expanded again with the delicious addition of the all-NEW Cake Walk, which features creative talents of seven local pastry chefs and bakers.

Make plans to see your favorite celebrity chefs including: Giada De Laurentiis, Guy Fieri, Alton Brown, Anne Burrell and Cleveland’s favorite, Michael Symon. The ticket includes admission to exhibits and one chef show, more than 225 exhibiting companies, the Main Kitchen Theatre and Culinary Celebration Theatre, Grand Tasting Pavilion, Sweet Street and 100 ongoing demonstrations on six different stages. The ticket also allows patrons to see other celebrity chefs on the day of the visit -- on a first-come, first-served basis. Cleveland By Hand, a juried fine art festival, runs in conjunction with the Fabulous Food Show and is FREE to all attendees.

Ticket prices for One-day Admissions are $25 online at or $30.00 onsite November 12-14 at the I-X Center. 2-day and 3-day TICKETS with Specially Reserved Seating run between $45.00 and $65.00 dollars. Each ticket includes admission to exhibits and seating to see one of your favorite celebrity chefs and also allows patrons to see other celebrity chefs on the day of the visit -- on a first-come, first-served basis.

Event Hours are Friday, November 12th 10:00 AM - 8:00 PM, Saturday, November 13th 10:00 AM 8:00PM and Sunday, November 14 — 10:00 AM - 6:00 PM.

For more information and/or to purchase your tickets visit Bon appétit!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

United Nations International Festival in Columbus O-H-I-O

For fifty four (54) years, the Columbus International Festival has strived to bring together different cultures from across the world each first November weekend. Formerly known as the United Nations Festival, the event is the Columbus Chapter's largest outreach event, and the largest event of its kind sponsored and implemented by a UNA-USA chapter in the country. Each year, approximately 175-200 booths representing nearly 75 cultures offer arts, crafts, entertainment and food. A main performance stage offers continuous entertainment throughout the festival, and a children's area offers international arts, crafts and demonstrations for youths of all ages. In 2000, a health fair component was added to the festival to provide information on local health and fitness as well as global health issues. A Parade of Nations, held midday both days, winds its way through both halls displaying the cultures in attendance. Periodically, other events will be held in conjunction with the festival, such as the International Community Forum and Model United Nations exercises.

It is being Saturday & Sunday, November 6-7, 2010 from 10AM-9PM Saturday and 11AM-7PM Sunday. The festival is housed at the Franklin County Veterans Memorial 300 West Broad Street, Columbus OH. Admission prices are Adults $7.00, Students & Seniors $5.00, Children 6-12 $2.00, Children under 5 free. Additional information can be obtained by emailing

Happy travels!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

What's a shared code carrier?

Here's a recent email: "I was checking airfares on-line and kept noticing the term “shared code carrier”. What’s that a small plane?"

It has nothing to do with airplane size or engine type. It is an airline term used to a list a smaller sized carrier as that of a larger airline. For example when you fly on Allegiant Air out of Huntington Tri-State you are flying on Allegiant proper. But when you fly Delta you’ll start your journey on Comair-the shared code/dual designated carrier. You flight may seem like Delta roundtrip but there may be other partner airlines flying under the Delta logo.

Got travel questions? Email