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The Best Travel Jacket Ever?

That’s me and Pepper, just back from a stroll about the grounds of Chateau Orwoll. I’m wearing the Quantum Jacket from ScotteVest, or SeV, which I wish I had had with me a month ago during a two-week multi-country trip, because it’s the best travel jacket I’ve ever worn. The main reason it’s so great? Storage.

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Learning The Hard Way: What To Do If You Lose Your Passport

After arriving Monterosso, Italy, last month for a daylong hike through the five seaside villages of Cinque Terre, one of my friends had that sinking realization: left behind on one of the three trains we’d taken to get there was her wallet. With all her money, credit cards, and, worst of all, her passport inside.

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The FAA's Computers Are On The Fritz. Should I Worry?

Flights in several major hubs across the nation were heavily delayed early this morning by a glitch in an Federal Aviation Administration computer system that helps manage air traffic. The snafu resulted in no accidents, but it raises an obvious question: could future such problems put passengers in danger?

The short answer, according to FAA spokesman Hank Price, is no. “Radar coverage and communication with aircraft were never affected,” he told me. “So it’s not a safety problem at all.”

What happened was that the system that automatically generates flight plans crashed, forcing FAA personnel to input the data manually, and thereby slowing down the whole system. Flight plans are electronic documents that tell air traffic controllers where each aircraft is going, when, and by what route, and are required for all commercial flights. If an airliner’s crew can’t be issued a flight plan, it simply has to sit on the ground.

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Top Tips for Driving With Your Pet


Every Thanksgiving I pile my dog Max into my Toyota Land Cruiser and head south to visit my family.  The truth is I would never go without him—he’s my child, of course—and since my parents are crazy pet people too, they welcome both of us with open arms. 

Having traveled so much with Max over the years, I’ve learned that there are some very important ‘rules of the road’ that everyone should be aware of when traveling with your dog. While taking your furry friend along for the ride can be tons of fun, it can also present some real dangers—to both of you.

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No Escape From Work Emails: 47 Airports Get Free Holiday WiFi


Everyone has a Thanksgiving travel horror story, don’t they? Heading “over the river and through the woods” takes longer and involves more encounters with the surly and stressed hoi polloi than it did when we traveled by sleigh with lap blankets.

Google has granted travelers a respite from watching people freak out in airports during our holiday layovers en route to grandmother’s house. The benevolent search-master is footing the bill for free WiFi in 47 U.S. airports around the country between now and January 15.

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Do Your Holiday Shopping While You Fly

The holiday travel season just got a little bit better…if you’re flying Delta, that is. Starting on Tuesday, November 24th, over 250 of Delta’s planes will have free WiFi, via the Internet service provider Gogo, sponsored by eBay.

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"Secure Flight" Program Poses Problems for Name-Challenged

Like many Americans, I have three names. Stuart Clark Mitchell. I like all of them, but they’ve led to confusion my entire life.

First of all, they could all be first or last names. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been called “Mitchell,” especially in situations where names on a roster are listed last name first. Secondly, my parents had the bright idea of calling me by my middle name (“Clark”). As a result, on the first day of every class in college, I had to explain that I was indeed “Stuart,” but “Clark” would be my preference. Then there’s the question of spelling—some, including a certain person on staff here at T+L, insist on making my name a little fancier by writing  “Clarke,” even after years of correcting.

While all of this may seem trivial compared to keeping our country safe, the new TSA program, Secure Flight, which launches early next year, is bound to affect people like me.

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Dubai Debuts Its New Metro

200911-b-dubai-metrojpgDUBAI—I've just arrived here for a conference, and everyone is talking about the city's new Metro, a futuristic elevated train that soars high above the desert floor as smoothly as a magic carpet over the Arabian sands.

Opened in September, the state-of-the-art system (the photo, left, was taken with my less-than-state-of-the-art phone camera) links Dubai airport with the Jebel Ali district on the far side of town, a distance of 31 miles. For much of its length, the line runs alongside busy busy busy Shaikh Zayed Road, one of the main thoroughfares. It's satisfying to be on one of the trains, clipping along at 55 mph, while below you Zayed Road is illuminated with thousands of brake lights as traffic crawls to a stop, which tends to happen more and more often these days.

The Dubai Metro is the longest automated driverless metro in the world—a source of pride in the United Arab Emirates but also a potential problem.

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When In Rome (or Florence, Paris)....Rent an Apartment!


If two’s company, three’s a crowd, and four’s too many, what does that make five? A really awkward number of people to travel with, is what my friends and I quickly realized when we were planning a trip to Italy. Five girls are too many for one hotel room, but it’s really expensive to book two. So, what to do?

Enterprising travelers that were are, we opted to rent an apartment in Rome, thinking it would be the most cost-effective way to experience the city. Wow, were we right.

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More Airlines Allowing In-Flight Cell Phone Use

200910-b-cell-phonejpg Is there anything more annoying than being forced to listen to others chit-chat on their cell phones? (Truth be told, I don’t care if your brother’s friend’s girlfriend’s sister broke up with you know who…) So I’m holding out that US airlines will keep in-flight mobile use out of the air.

Across the Atlantic, it’s another story. Passengers flying Emirates, Royal Jordanian, and Ryan Air, are already free to make calls and phone use agreements have recently been announced for Lufthansa, Qatar Airways, Hong Kong Airlines, and select British Airways business-class only flights.

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