LOOKING FOR SUMMER TRAVEL? BUY NOW. AND WE MEAN "NOW!"
More bad news for air travellers. Yesterday, I reported how both American and United Airlines in the U.S. had raised fares on some routes for the second time in a few weeks.
Today, I noticed that the Wall Street Journal is reporting another price hike of sorts, saying that the "average price for markets tracked on Microsoft Corp.’s Bing Travel, which includes the fare-prediction service Farecast, is now $281 (U.S.), up from $259 three week ago."
"Farecast, which uses computer algorithms to predict whether a price offered for a flight is likely to rise or fall during the next seven days, says two-thirds of its recommendations are to buy now," the Journal reported.
Lots of industry experts are pointing to similar hikes and warning people that the great deals we've been seeing the past few months could start to disappear. It's still a good time for visits to non-traditional countries or to countries where they're not having the best weather (e.g., July-August trips to Australia and New Zealand or southeast Asia or South America).
Also, it's always good to keep an eye on the fluctuating currency. We all see how the Canadian loonie is stacking up each day against the U.S. buck, or we can see if we check the news. But looking for other currencies isn't always as simple.
The British pound was down to 1.77 or so in winter, but it's rebounded and was sitting at 1.90 against our loonie at last check. Still a bargain compared to a couple years ago, but not as attractive as it was in March.
The Canadian dollar is still ahead of the Australian dollar, which is worth about 92 cents Canadian. Nice, but not a huge difference. The New Zealand dollar is around 74 cents Canadian, which means you'd get something like a very solid $1.34 New Zealand for a Canadian buck.
USA Today has an interesting piece on American bartenders (they like to be called bar chefs, but I'm not buying into that) using fresh ingredients and cranking out some unusual offerings.
A guy at Santa Monica's Copa D'Oro (Italian for "really expensive cocktail") says his fave is Rhode Island Red (must be a Bugs Bunny fan), a mixture of red raspberries, organic agave tequila, fresh lemon juice, Chambord and Australian ginger beer. Sounds pretty refreshing to me.
Up the coast in San Francisco, which has a real, old-time bar culture to rival the best cities in the world, the bartender at Gitane makes something called a Sing Sing Sing cocktail, with Acai Viva Veev, a 60-proof liqueur flavored with vitamin-packed acai berries, mixed with organic Rain vodka, fresh lemon juice and natural peach liqueur.
As much as SF kicks LA's butt in most departments, I'd go for the Rhode Island Red over the Sing, Sing, Sing.
SOUTHWEST TO NEW YORK
USA Today also is reporting that Southwest, one of the best bargains in American air space, will launch flights to New York's La Guardia Airport. It's a big change for them, for sure, as it marks their first foray into La Guardia after 38 years of existence.