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Trip Doctor: How to Avoid Getting Sick While Flying

how to avoid getting sick while flying

It’s not the air quality you have to worry about (cabin air is well circulated and filtered) but rather germs transmitted through shared surfaces. So wash your hands frequently, use a sanitizer, and clean surfaces with a disinfectant wipe. And always keep yourself hydrated and well-rested.

Nikki Ekstein is an Editorial Assistant at Travel + Leisure and part of the Trip Doctor news team. Find her at on Twitter at @nikkiekstein.

Photo by istockphoto

Trip Doctor: Dreamliner Update

787

The news over the last few days about Boeing's new 787 Dreamliner has been unnerving—to say the least.

Last night, the U.S. Federal Aviation Authority grounded the aircraft pending a comprehensive review of the fire risk posed by the plane's lithium-ion battery. This comes a day after a Dreamliner in Japan's All Nippon Airways fleet was formed to make an emergency landing because of a defective battery—and a week after the battery was faulted with starting a fire aboard a parked Japan Airways 787 at Boston's Logan airport. Both of Japan's airlines grounded their fleets after the emergency landing. With the FAA directive, other international carriers with 787s followed suit. Among them: Air India, Chile's LAN Airlines, LOT (Poland), Qatar Airways, and United Airlines here in the States.

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Trip Doctor: Hotels and Rate Transparency

The Venetian

Ever wonder what that $30-a-night “resort fee” on your recent hotel bill was actually paying for? Depending on the property, it could have covered anything from Wi-Fi and “complimentary” bottled water in your room to gym and business center access—which you may not have even used during your stay. Either way, you were going to end up paying for it, no matter how enticingly low that advertised rate was. This practice of tacking on additional (and sometimes mandatory) fees to basic rates is known as “drip pricing,” and is most commonly encountered in resort destinations such as Hawaii and Vegas.

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Trip Doctor: Avis + Zipcar- What It Means for Travelers

Zipcar

You've come a long way, Zipcar.

The recent announcement that the Avis Budget Group is aiming to acquire the Cambridge, Massachusetts-based company for nearly $500 million marked the pioneering car-sharing service's evolution from an upstart launched at the turn of the Millennium to a lucrative brand with serious international potential. Though Zipcar members (a.k.a. Zipsters) may squirm at the idea of a traditional (read: staid) car-rental agency holding sway over their quirky, beloved service, the deal could have great advantages for everyone.

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T+L's Favorite Travel Shoes: Tieks

Tieks foldable shoes

Q: I’ve seen a lot of folding travel shoes that seem like they’d be comfortable (especially after an evening in high heels). Which are your favorites? —Cass Mitchell, Santa Monica, Calif.

A: You’re right—there are dozens of collapsible shoes on the market, but some are flimsy. Personally, I love Tieks by Gavrieli (from $165), which have a sturdy rubber sole and a breathable leather innersole. Each pair comes in a pouch—and with a small nylon bag to carry your heels. They’re incredibly versatile, transition easily from day to night, and are available in bright patent-leather colors for extra kick.

Packing is rarely easy—we’re here to help. Send your question to tripdoctor@aexp.com.

Photo by John Lawton

Trip Doctor: Airplane Etiquette—What to Do About a Space-Hogging Seatmate

airplane etiquette

Do...

Assert your territory early on: claim your overhead and under-seat space, and put the armrests down.

Be sensitive about passengers of size. Alert your flight attendant discreetly; you may be able to switch seats.

Don’t...

Resort to dirty looks, or subtle little pushes. Being passive-aggressive only escalates the problem.

Be greedy. Airplane etiquette says that the middle-seat passenger has rights to both inner armrests.

Nikki Ekstein is an Editorial Assistant at Travel + Leisure and part of the Trip Doctor news team. Find her at on Twitter at @nikkiekstein.

Illustration by Tom Gauld

Expert Tips for National Parks Photography

national parks photographer Ian Shive

Photographer Ian Shive has shot hundreds of our nation’s wildest spaces, many of which appeared in The National Parks, Our American Landscape (Earth Aware). The only trouble: they’re often overrun with visitors. Here, Shive reveals five of his favorite experiences in parks both familiar and unsung.

National Parks: Maine

Acadia National Park: Scrambling up the granite rocks of Cadillac Mountain is a classic, but Shive recommends staying after sunset to watch the town of Bar Harbor light up. Where to sleep? “The Harborside Hotel ($$$) has a cozy, old Americana vibe.”

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Stuff We Love: Biaggi Collapsible Suitcases

As Trip Doctors, we’re always on the hunt for great luggage to support our regular, on-the-job abuse. So when Biaggi’s collapsible suitcases made their way into my home recently, I found myself surprised that a new brand could bring so much innovation to a fairly standardized market. The premise: each bag’s sturdy sides snap into place while in use, and fold flat when you’re ready to store. The result? Ultra-compact storage—that doesn’t require you to play Russian dolls with your whole set to unearth the carry-on. A stylish design, super-sturdy handle, and four-wheel spinner function add to the appeal—and the pretty colors don’t hurt, either.

Nikki Ekstein is an Editorial Assistant at Travel + Leisure and part of the Trip Doctor news team. Find her at on Twitter at @nikkiekstein.

 

Trip Doctor: Getting Partial Refunds on an Orbitz-Booked Trip

airplane

Q: I booked a flight on Orbitz, and the price dropped the next day. Can I get my money back for the difference? —Heather Browne, Colorado Springs, Colo.

A: Most online booking engines offer price-assurance guarantees that protect you when fares fluctuate. Orbitz has a hassle-free policy that will automatically issue you a refund check if another customer books a cheaper fare. Other sites make you do the legwork: Travelocity, Expedia, and Priceline give credits toward future purchases on top of the price difference if you spot a better deal within 24 hours—but it can be time-consuming to make sure you’re matching all the criteria that qualify you for a refund (dates, fare category, cancellation policies, and more). Alternatively, if you book directly with a carrier, sites such as Yapta can monitor your fare and alert you when you can request a refund.

More From Travel + Leisure:
America's Worst Airports for Flight Delays
Best Secret Islands on Earth
America's Coolest City Parks

AmyHave a travel conundrum? The Trip Doctor is in. Send questions to tripdoctor@aexp.com.

 

Photo by iStockphoto

Trip Doctor: Get Paid to Travel

Worksurfers

Nearly every Ask an Editor Day, you’ve asked us the same question: How can I get paid to travel? Here’s a new way to make it happen: Worksurfers. The recently launched startup aims to connect creative professionals with short-term freelance assignments around the world, allowing them to hop the globe—or prolong an existing vacation—while broadening their portfolio. Simply sign up and input the type of work you’d be looking for (and where) and you’ll be e-mailed job leads as they’re made available.

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