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Proposed Airline Ticket Tax Bump Has Tempers Soaring

USA Today |  President Obama is asking passengers to pay a few dollars more in taxes for an airline ticket — which already is about 20% taxes and fees. And the travel industry is in an uproar about it.

Big airlines say people would buy fewer tickets if Congress approves the president's proposal to help cut the deficit and pay for the nation's aviation system.

Regional airlines, which carry more than half of domestic fliers each day, say it could force them to pull out of small cities.

Small-city airports worry about that.

And some travelers and consumer groups say it's just unfair to ask passengers to pay more on top of the taxes and fees that government and airports already charge.

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CBS Early Show: Hidden Hotel Fees

Did you know some hotels are now charging for early check-ins? International editor Mark Orwoll shares the latest hidden hotel fees—what to ask, and how to avoid them.

Great Social Travel Websites

Great Travel Social Websites

What’s the best hotel in Aspen? According to Web entrepreneur Travis Katz, it all depends on who you are: a Goldman Sachs banker might want the luxury and cosseting service of the Little Nell, while a 20-year-old yoga instructor on a budget might opt for the more-bang-for-your-buck Limelight Lodge. Earlier this year, Katz, a former MySpace executive, officially launched gogobot.com, a sort of Facebook for travelers that lets you exchange tailored hotel, restaurant, and other destination recommendations with like-minded friends on the site and through other social networks. Gogobot, which creates stylish destination scrapbooks for users by drawing from their manually submitted reviews and FourSquare and Facebook check-ins, is based on the premise that travelers trust their friends’ recommendations over those of guidebooks or online user-generated review sites like TripAdvisor.

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Editor Find: Loeffler Randall's Rain Booties

201109-b-rain-bootiejpg

Until recently, rainy days on vacations seemed unbearable. Packing rain boots is never easy; not only do they weigh down the suitcase, they take up half of the limited space!

But, Loeffler Randall has brightened my rainy days and made my vacations easier. I don't have to worry about the bulky boots anymore with their sleek designs. These rain booties are so light and comfortable you might even find yourself wearing them on dry days. Jessie Randall, founder and creative director, explains how her designs are so easy to wear: "These boots are great for being out on a rainy day and getting a lot of work done. I can push a stroller, grab groceries, take the dog out for a quick walk in them."

Today Loeffler Randall launches their latest season of rain boots and booties, which will add a new silhouette and colors to their existing line. With prices ranging from $150-$195, the only thing you will have to stress over will be determining which style is most appropriate for your lifestyle. Try on a pair at your local Nordstrom or Saks Fifth Avenue or, if you're confident in your size you can purchase a pair through their website today.

Jessie Bandy is the assistant fashion editor at Travel + Leisure.

Photo courtesy of Loeffler Randall

TODAY Show: Travel Tips to Hurricane-Proof Your Vacation

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Were you stranded because of Hurricane Irene? T+L Features Director Nilou Motamed shares some smart travel tips for weathering storms.

Digital Travel News: Street Food App, Mini Luggage Scale, More

Bullguard

BullGuard Mobile Security 10 ($29.95; Android; BlackBerry; Symbian; Windows Mobile) provides antivirus protection for your phone and can wipe data from a lost device.

Fan of street food? The Eat St. app (free; iPhone, iPod Touch) plots food carts—many with profiles that include their Twitter feed, menu, and hours—in 318 cities in the U.S.

Worried your checked bag might be over the airline’s weight limit? Balanzza’s Mini Luggage Scale ($24.95) is compact, handheld, and can weigh objects of up to 100 pounds.

Keep track of the flight departures and arrivals of 1,400 airlines at more than 4,000 airports around the world with Mobiata’s Flightboard app ($3.99; Android; iPhone, iPad).

Image courtesy of BullGuard

CBS Early Show: New Federal Rules to Protect Airline Passengers

Starting this week air passengers will be well compensated for a flight delay. Want to know more? Travel + Leisure's international editor, Mark Orwoll, spells out the new airline passenger rules.

Watch Out for Dropping Airfares

Smaller carriers have upped competition with major airlines this summer, introducing new routes into large hubs. Virgin America is starting flights into Chicago O’Hare (a hub for both United and American), Frontier is adding service out of Denver, and JetBlue is now flying into Anchorage. Generally, when smaller carriers introduce discount flights, major airlines slash their prices on that route out of competition, to make it as painful as possible for the other airline. (When JetBlue started service in May between Newark and Boston, Continental dropped its fares to as low as $49 one-way.) For the average flier, this can also mean mileage bonuses and more options and capacity, as well as lower-priced tickets.

Alexander Basek is a regular contributor to Travel + Leisure.

Gift for Traveling Wine Lovers

inflatable wine carrier

Waiting for a flight home for Christmas once, I ran into a blowhard I knew from college who announced that the only present he was bringing his parents was a bottle of extraordinarily good wine.  He dropped and broke the bottle of red on the linoleum at LaGuardia before we’d boarded the plane.  Blowhard frat boy or not, I felt bad for the guy.

I was reminded of this tragic holiday vignette when I heard about VinniBag, an inflatable bag that cushions your wine bottle (or bottle of olive oil or Vermont maple syrup or vintage McCoy vase) from the sharp, hard, pointy things of the world.   The smart bags are reusable, deflate easily to slip in your luggage, and make an unbreakable and practical gift for Mummy and Pater.

Vinnibag is available for $28 from local retailers, Vinnibag.com, or on Amazon.

Photo courtesy of Ellessco.

Ann Shields is an online senior editor at Travel + Leisure.

Radiation-Free Full-Body Scanners

BBC Travel's Passport Blog |  As controversy simmers surrounding the levels of radiation used in full body scanners, a small company based in the United Kingdom has developed a machine that emits no radiation at all.

Last year, the US Transportation Security Administration (TSA) began installing two types of full body scanners at airport security checkpoints across the country. L3’s Provision millimetre wave scanners beam radio waves through clothing to detect potentially dangerous objects hidden by terrorists. Rapiscan backscatter scanners use low-dose x-rays to do the same.

While both companies and the TSA say the radiation emitted by these machines is at safe levels, the scientific community has not reached a strong consensus either way....

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