ANNOYING HOTEL TRICKS ... AND ONE-DAY WEST JET SALE
Being nickel and dimed (nickeled and dimed?) on airplanes is bad. I HATE having to fork over $6 for a cold submarine sandwich that you can't pre-order with the fixings you want. And if it's got mayonnaise on it, forget it; I'm done.
What's MORE annoying to lots of folks is being charged for Internet access, particularly in hotels. I find it appalling that airports trying to lure customers don't provide it for free. But hotels are what really drives me batty.
As most of you would probably agree, isn't it bizarre (understandable, but still bizarre) that the small motel/hotel chains give you free breakfast and free Internet but the places that cater to the big boys make you pay through the nose for both? Apparently, some of the major chains are starting to bend on the Internet question, and many at least provide free Internet for loyalty program members.
But in a day and age where we'll soon be able to log onto the web from an airplane (at what cost, we don't know), it's only a matter of time until all hotels, we hope, get the message that charging for Internet access is like charging to use the hotel shower.
Not sure of the Canadian content, but travel post's web site has an item that surveys which hotels have free Internet and which charge. It's worth checking out.
WESTJET DEAL TODAY
Not much time left, and sorry about that. But there are still significant savings to be had on Wednesday, May 5 at westjet.com. They were offering 50 per cent off today only for Monday, Tuesday and Wednesdays flights until July 1 at a number of locations across Canada. It was $169, one-way, for flights to Vancouver. I went to the web site and could've had a flight leaving for Vancouver on May 27 and returning the next Monday for $449, including all taxes and such. Not a huge/wow/pack up the kids/never to be seen again/American-style fare, but pretty good.
STAYCATION, ALL I EVER WANTED...
My apologies to the Go Go's for stealing their lyrics, but everyone's bombarding yours truly with stay-at-home vacation ideas. I even received a book today called The Great American Staycation by a cat called Matt Wixon. Not a bad idea, actually, as the author points out everything from how to plan ahead and how to maximize your home town (easier in some cities than others, of course). He also has useful chapters on theme parks and thrill rides, outdoor adventures, sports staycations, romantic staycations and educational staycations.
Some of them are common sense, like camping or picking your own fruit or taking in a ballgame. But there's some useful stuff, including factory tours and company museums, going to minor league ballparks (New York has quite a few) and having a block party. We used to have a party on our North Toronto street when our kids were young, and it was always a highlight of the summer. Unless you had to listen to me play the drums, that is.
BEST JOB IN THE WORLD, TAHITI STYLE
Ben Southall of England won the Tourism Queensland job of working on an Austalian island for six months and blogging about his experiences. So you're out of luck on that one, mate. But Tourism Tahiti has something similar, with a contest called Invest In Your Love where families send in videos to show why they, and not their pesky neighbors with the annoying children, should get a vacation in the fabled south Pacific. Go to investinyourlove.com for information.
EUROPE MADE EASIER
Reporting on msn.com, Europe expert Rick Steves says several more countries have done away with border controls ,making it even easier to cross from one country to another.
Steves says Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Slovenia, and the Baltic States "have done away with border controls for travel within Europe. This means you can now go from country to country without stopping to show your passport."