Monday, January 30, 2012



Best Airfares:
Arthur Frommer recommended using the aggregators when looking for the best airfare.  These sites tell you what is available on an impartial basis and then you can go direct to the airline website to book the flight.
Here are the recommended aggregators:
Vintage Comment: I couldn't help but run a test to see if there was much difference between the aggregators and Expedia and Travelocity -  frankly every one of them gave me about the same airfare.  Of course,  they are all worth checking and the prices will vary at times  but I don't know that there is much difference. I have always preferred booking direct with the airline anyway so for me the aggregators are good way to go. 

Hotels and Rentals:
Arthur Frommer suggested  for accommodations.
Frequently mentioned websites: for last minutes hotels at 70% discount  for vacation rentals by owner which  (Vintage comment:  I have had great luck with this website.)
Rick Steves says he always calls and confirms his reservations verbally before arrival. Vintage comment: probably not a bad idea, especially, with the low cost of Skype calls. for reservations 1-3 months out. which is unfortunately is in the process of reducing the bidding aspect of it's business.

New federal Transportation Department Rules:
One important new ruling that all travelers should be aware of is the  New Total Cost Airport
rule which is effective today. Also included in this ruling is  "a 24-hour window for passengers to hold or cancel a reservation without payment or penalty for reservations made a week or more before the departure date, although some airlines already have voluntarily implemented this policy for years."

Free Travel with Frequent Flyer Miles:   this website charges $15.00 per month ($1 for first 14 days)  for advice on acquiring an incredible large number of free airline miles using credit cards.  and   are free websites that also offer advice. 
Vintage Comment:  the websites are of value because they have helped my husband and I acquire over 280,000 frequent flyer miles on American Airlines and British Airways in less than a year.

Other suggestions: for hotel reviews. to follow flights in the air at any time.   Vintage Comment: I just decided to give this a try on my seat assignments to Europe which was fortunate because it turned out that the seats we were assigned in both directions were rated as poor by   Fortunately I was still able to change them.  
Scan the first 2 pages of your passport and e-mail it to yourself so you always have a copy with you.

There was a lot about the new apps available for the iPhone and androids and new camera settings like "vivid color"  and "dreamy filter"  I am always amazed at the great photos people take even with the point and shoot cameras and new camera phones - it just keeps getting better.
Vintage Comment:    I am in the market for a new point and shoot camera and I have my heart set on the newly released Canon - PowerShot S100.  It is rated #1 by PC World and others.  I think is would be a good Valentines' gift - don"t you? 

Favorite Travel Blogs:

Finally,  I love to read travel blogs and one of my favorites, which I have been reading for many years,  is Johnny Jet.  He was one of the speakers at the show and I hope you take time to check out his blog to find out "where in the world"  he happens to be today. 

PHOTOS  of a great walk from the Los Angeles Union Station to the Travel Show at Staples Center.  It's just another 80 degree January day in Southern California.


Saturday, January 14, 2012






   This is our first 2012 adventure--a six-night trip to Heavenly Ski Resort in South Lake Tahoe. The Heavenly ski slopes overlook the sapphire-blue Lake Tahoe, making this one of the prettiest ski areas in the country. Little did we know, at the time we planned this trip, that the entire Lake Tahoe region was going to be without snow in early January.
   We also had no idea that Heavenly Ski Resort has the best snow-making equipment in the West. To my amazement, I was able to ski for miles on the man-made snow. (I didn't even concern myself about accidentally going down an expert run since they were roped off and didn't have any snow on them.) The long intermediate runs, mild temperatures, and spectacular views were very much to this "vintage skier's" liking. One of my favorite runs of the day, was the lovely three-mile scenic ski trail over to the California side from Nevada. This was my end of the day run before taking the lake-view chair lift down.
   The price of lodging in South Lake Tahoe beats most ski areas for economy--the casinos have a lot to do with this. We planned to avoid Friday or Saturday nights when the rates are higher. We paid $79.00 per night at Harrah's for a great room with a view of Lake Tahoe and the ski mountain. The casinos also provided my husband (a non-skier) with some entertainment when he is not working. He particularly liked the 25 cent roulette machines and, of course, the free drinks. We also appreciated the convenience of Starbucks coffee in the lobby (with $1.00 refills.).
   Highly recommended is the Lakeside Casino happy hour for fish tacos--the best ever.
   We flew in and out of Reno, and rode the South Lake Tahoe Express bus round-trip from the airport--spending the last night in Reno. I recommend this bus service.
   There is no problem getting around South Lake Tahoe without a car. The sidewalks are accessible, and there is free local bus service.