New York Posts

Has Travel Really Gotten Worse?

There’s been a lot of discussion lately about whether air travel really has gotten worse over the years, or whether it’s just a matter of romanticizing the past. I recently read this article on the subject, then heard famed travel writer Paul Theroux discussing the question on one of my favorite podcasts, and have thought it over myself, usually while waiting in a painfully long airport security line.

The most obvious changes are the smallest and most recent, like the fact that things like checked bags and in-flight meals used to be free. FREE! Imagine! But those changes are nothing compared to the luxury of air travel in its early years. Check out this video created by Pan Am in 1958. Tray-passed hors d’ oeuvres served in the lounge, anyone? (Though the flight attendant lighting one man’s cigarette is a reminder that some of the changes are for the best.)

Before airline deregulation, a plane ticket was good on any airline, so if you missed your flight on Pan Am, you could easily hop the next one on American. Security was virtually non-existent – actress Molly Shannon recalls jumping on a plane to New York with a friend when they were 12… They had no tickets or ID, and were wearing ballet leotards. Many of the security procedures we take for granted were only introduced in the 70’s, in response to a sharp increase in hijackings and terrorist activities in the air. (Check out this infographic of the history of airport security.) Air travel was also far more expensive, believe it or not, which made it harder for most people to travel long distances, but it also made for less crowded airports.

While we can all agree that security and lower prices (at least compared to 50 years ago) are good for travelers, it sure would be nice to bring back some of the luxury and romance of the old days. Probably the best we can do is indulge in some old airline commercials and take the perks where we can get them.

Maybe Mad Men will have the Drapers will hop a flight next season? We can only hope.

Top 5 Destinations for Summer Travel

Where to go?  Where to go?  Where to go?  Sure, you have been socking away that extra hard-earned money all year.  Now, it’s time to figure out where to take the family for the summer vacation destination.   But, sometimes you just need a little inspiration.  I’ve been planning our family vacation and here are my top 5 destinations suggestions – Boston, San Francisco, New York City, Yellow Stone National Park and Monument Valley – Four Corners.

Boston, MA  I’m not sure you can get more American than Boston, Massachusetts.  Home of the Boston Tea Party, the midnight ride of Paul Revere, and the shot heard around the world when the rifle fired to start the American Revolution, Boston is the perfect destination to take the kids for a little bit of American history.  A hike along the Freedom Trail takes you along 16 historical sites in a 3 hour walk.  It covers 2 and a half centuries of Boston history and is a must see for any visitor to Boston.

Not much into history? Boston has several museums which includes the John F. Kennedy Library and Museum.  Visit the Institute of Contemporary Art that includes works by Andy Warhol, Picasso, Georgia O’Keefe and others just to name a few.  There’s also the Paul Revere House, Old State Museum, the U.S.S. Constitution, and the Boston Children’s Museum.

Maybe you are more into sports what a better sports destination than Boston.  Check out Fenway Park, home of the Red Sox.  It celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2012.  The New England Patriots stake their home in Boston, as well.  For those connoisseurs, check out the oldest restaurant in America, the Union Oyster House (est 1714), the  oldest bar in the United States the Bell in Hand Tavern (est 1784), and there’s also the infamous Cheers from television fame. Boston has so many activities that they are just too numerous to list. I’ve only touched on a brief amount of things to do if Boston is your destination for your summer plans.

Yellowstone National Park When you think of the phrase “family vacation,” I’m sure the word “Yellowstone” immediately came to your mind.  Established in 1872 as the United States’ first national park by Teddy Roosevelt, there’s no better way to spend quality time with your kids and family than exploring Yellowstone National Park.  The park boasts the world’s largest collection of geysers, and haven’t we all stood in wonder watching Old Faithful erupt every 90 minutes or so. The beauty of the park alone is breathtaking and will create a lifetime of memories.  Take plenty of cards for the digital cameras so you don’t miss the elk in the background of Old Faithful.

From bears to bison, mountain meadows to cold, rushing streams, biking to hanging out camping Yellowstone National Park is a must see for everyone.  The park’s website has a park trip planner to help you make the most of your visit.  Younger children can become a Junior Ranger and the family can take guided tours with Park Rangers and outside vendors.  Remember to pack a variety of clothes, since weather at the park changes quickly.  Plenty of rechargeable batteries for your camera is also a requirement because you will want to take photos of everything!

Four Corners Region – Monument Valley  Aside from Yellowstone National Park, there is nothing more breathtaking than Monument Valley.  I believe that most of us who watched the old west movies of John Wayne can immediately recognize the land formations that are now icons of the old west.

I visited this spot recently on a “great American tour” that I took and it was very surreal to see these sandstone land formations rising from the horizon.  I did opt to take a guided tour through the Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park, and it was money well spent.  I strongly suggest this option, as to drive through the park requires a 4 wheel drive.  Led by a Native American Navajo guide, we went to the various formations and he pointed out both popular movie locations from John Ford movies, as well as different locations that John Wayne shot scenes.

However, the most interesting part of the tour was when our guide explained how the land is infused with Navajo culture and tradition.  The park is located on Navajo Nation.  The Navajo raise sheep, and in turn, the wool is woven into beautiful rugs sold throughout.  The methods are passed down from generation to generation and are still made the same way today.

Also in the area is Four Corners. This is the only place in the United States where four states, Utah, Colorado, New Mexico, and  Arizona, come together in one location. Kids get a great kick out placing their hands and feet in four separate states.  This monument is also on the Navajo Nation and  there is a small admission fee.  There’s also a small visitors center and a Four Corners gift shop.  Another stop that is well worth the time getting there and making more family summer vacation memories. Four Corners is located right next to Monument Valley, so these two destinations are not to be missed!

San Francisco Street cars, hills, Rice-a-roni, the Golden Gate Bridge.  What a beautiful city, and like other destinations on my list, San Francisco has a ton of things to do.  Early in the morning (dawn), you can go check out Fisherman’s Wharf and all the sea lions that hang around Pier 39 before heading back out to sea later in the day.  If you can’t get your family up that early, you can still check out all that Pier 39 has to offer for dining, spectacular views of the bay, shopping,  the aquarium and other attractions in this area.  You can also take a cruise under the Golden Gate Bridge and circle Alcatraz.

Take a tour on one of the world renown San Francisco Cable cars.  You can hop on and off at will, and what a better way to tour the city.  Be sure to make it over to the Golden Gate Park.  Be sure to visit the Conservatory of Flowers and for the kids, there is a huge playground with a circa 1912 carousel.

To round out the highlights, do NOT forget to go see the Golden Gate Bridge in all its glory.  And, if it isn’t too foggy or windy, makes for a beautiful walk across the engineering marvel.  No matter what your tastes, budgets, or time frame, there is a ton of things to do in San Francisco and can make for a great family vacation!

New York City What can I say about New York City.  It is one of the most exciting places that I have ever been.  From Central Park, to the Bronx Zoo, to Ellis Island your family could spend a month here and still not see all this city has to offer.  Going into Manhattan to Times Square, Wall Street, Broadway, MoMA, and  all the iconic New York City destinations are always worth your trip.   However, if you can only do one thing in Manhattan do take in the Empire State Building, The view from the 86th floor of the Empire State Building  is breathtaking. To avoid the lines, go early or during lunch or dinner hours.  There is a charge, but it is well worth the money to view New York City at your feet.

No visit to New York City would be complete without a trip to Ellis Island.  Since many of us have ancestors who first came to the United States through Ellis Island, it is a good way to feel your roots.  What a better way to show your kids how their great-great-grandparents immigrated into the country.  A perfect family history destination.

Just walking around New York City itself is an experience.  During our last visit to Manhattan, we did just walk around and absorbed the energy the city have to offer.  We had no specific destination in mind, but happened along many spots we recognized from movies and television.   The city certainly has a life of its own.  Whether you choose to visit just Manhattan or the other boroughs, be sure you plan what you want to do well in advance.  Planning ahead will be worth the time and energy to ensure your trip goes smoothly.

Planning for your trip is something that you must do, including arriving refreshed and with a clear mind at the airport. If you book at any of the airport hotels listed, you can get a great park sleep and fly package.  Think of this – Getting up  at 3 AM, pile cranky kids in the car and drive the hour and a half to the airport to make that 7AM flight.  After a couple of road construction delays, you race to the airport only to spend 30 minutes trying to find a space in the airport parking lot.  Scramble to the shuttle, throwing your bags in the door with your crying kids and barely make  your flight.

By booking a park and stay hotel, you can stay the night before your flight.  Get a decent night’s sleep, transportation to the terminal, and parking for the duration of your trip.  You may even have enough time to grab something from the breakfast bar at the hotel!

If you are thinking of going to any of the destinations I listed above, did you know that also has airport hotel packages too?  You get the same great rate at an airport hotel, but with no parking.  So, if you are going to Boston, Salt Lake City, San Francisco, or New York City check out our rates for airport hotel rooms, as well.  Just select “airport hotel” when submitting your itinerary on the page. You may be pleasantly surprised at the prices.

If you have other great destinations you are considering for your Summer Vacation plans, let me know.  I’d love to hear your suggestions.  There’s so much traveling, and so little time!


No Strikeouts for Baseball Celebrations. Visit to Knock One Outta the Park!

In the spring a young man’s fancy doesn’t necessarily turn to love – it turns to spring training and Opening Day of the Major League Baseball Season.  This year, the World Series Champion St. Louis Cardinals will meet the Miami Marlins On April 4, 2o12.  Not only is it the first day of the season, but the Marlins will also christen their new baseball stadium, Marlins Park.  The stadium is state-of-the-art building with a retractable roof and natural grass turf.  What a great way to start a new season!  Recent history indicates that The Marlins have luck on their side since that last five out of six stadium christening games were won by the home team. Playing the World Series Champion Cards, the Marlins (72-90 last season) may need it. If you want to make history, travel to Miami and attend the opening day at the new stadium.

If you are more the parade/festival type, the Findlay Market Parade marches the Cincinnati Reds into their Opening Day on April 5th against The Miami Marlins.   There’s no other place to be in baseball than at a Reds’ Opening Day.  I doubt that there are few true Reds fans that have not been to at least one Opening Day, as its a staunch tradition celebrating 93 years.

This extravaganza all began in the late 1880s, when baseball teams promoted aggressively for attention and for fans. Parades were one way to garner that attention.  Over time, the Reds excelled and rose to the top as the King of Opening Day.  The team also has the rare honor of always opening its season at home, hence why that tradition has lasted so long.  Throughout the ups and downs of the team, there’s always been a parade and a lot of festivities prior to the first game of the season.  As Sparky Anderson, (Manager of the Reds at the time), said “It’s a holiday – a baseball holiday! Ain’t no other place in America got that!!”  

Also on April 5, Vin Scully will begin his 63rd year announcing the LA Dodgers baseball games when the Dodgers face the San Diego Padres.  Following the Dodgers from Brooklyn to LA in 1958, Scully boasts the longest, continual history of any broadcaster with one professional sports team.  Only Tommy Lasorda has been with the Dodgers longer! Talk about team loyalty! The Dodgers will face the Padres. And, who doesn’t enjoy listening to Scully announce each game? So, take a trip to San Diego and both watch and hear history through Vin Scully’s play by play.

On April 10, the Dodgers will face the Pittsburgh Pirates.  This will also mark the 50th anniversary of the Dodgers’ first game in Dodger Stadium.  So, in the course of 5 days you can take in a lot of Dodger history if you are a fan.  Make a trip of it.  Visit LA, take in the sites, and see some great baseball.

A truly big anniversary this year is when the Boston Red Sox celebrate Fenway Park’s centennial on April 20.  The team will face its arch rival, the Yankees.   It will be exactly 100 years to the day when Boston’s American League played the New York Highlanders for the very first game in the stadium.  The stadium was not yet complete when it hosted it’s first game.  However, the right field grandstand and the main grandstand around the infield structures were completed and still are use today.

The “Big Green Monster” (left field wall) was painted its traditional green in 1947.   The highest among current Major League Baseball Teams at 37’2″, the wall serves to not allow cheap home runs with line drives.  Batters can normally only get a double out of what would be a home run on other fields.  So, for a great step back in time head out to Boston for this once in a life time event.

The New York Mets and the Houston Astros will both celebrate 50 years of hard ball.  So, visiting either of these teams’ stadiums this year will be a real celebration.  Whether you live in your team’s town, or you have to travel to see the boys of summer, this year is full of celebration for America’s favorite pastime.

So, if you are going to travel, take your 7th inning stretch before you fly and check out our airport hotel partners on    You can choose to stay before your flight, or after you return, get airport parking for the duration of your trip, and receive transportation to and from your airport terminal.  You’ll arrive relaxed and refreshed at the stadium since you had a good night’s rest the night before.  Whether you are a die hard Red Sox fan, or you love the Cardinals, you can always find a great rate with ParkSleepFly.  And, do your best impression singing “Take Me out to the Ballgame” for me at your favorite ball park.  Oh, and I’ll take a hot dog and a box of popcorn, too!


Family Day – Spring Break – Travel Ideas and Beyond!

Wow, it seems like the holidays just ended and now Family Day and Spring Break are upon us. Time to make some plans in a hurry. Even though Canadian winters can be a long, time passes by quickly and before you know it is time to take a break.

There are just so many options but so little time. Need some inspiration? A recent survey show that sounded top destinations Canadians love to travel to are:  New York City, New York, Orlando, Florida, Minneapolis, Minnesota, Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Las Vegas, Nevada, and Phoenix, Arizona.

Who doesn’t want to escape the snow and cold to warmer climates?  The vitamin D supply is running low, so why not go and soak up some naturally in sunny Florida or Arizona?  Dipping your toes in the Atlantic Ocean or the Gulf of Mexico is enough to cure some of those winter blahs.  After all, Family Day is about getting together, reconnecting, enjoying each other’s company – time away is a perfect solution.

I remember old family vacations. My mother was a school teacher and my dad had a knack of trying to teach us historical facts, that may or may not have been true.  However, it was more about being together for a few days and enjoying the time together.

So, if you are planning that special Family Day vacation or Spring Break, enjoy every minute and don’t get started off on the wrong foot with your family.  If you are making that trip across the U.S.-Canadian Border to the Detroit Airport, you already know what a hassle that can be.  The wait to cross the border alone can be over an hour.

No one, and I mean no one, wants to ride in a car with cranky kids in backseat asking how long  before you go through the border.  Then, you need to drive on over to DTW, find a parking space, wait for the shuttle, go through security again, then… wait for the flight.  And, you are doing this on a couple hours sleep.

Instead, why not book a park, sleep, and fly package at a hotel near the Detroit International Airport.  You stay the night before, after, or both.  Included in the package is a night’s lodging, parking for the duration of your trip and a ride to and from the airport terminal on the hotel’s shuttle.  All this for one low price.

Check out our website at    We offer several hotels that service DTW.  The rates are reasonable and you can leave for your Family Day vacation or Spring Break rested and relaxed, even if the kids are keyed up.  Start your trip off right and stay the night before your flight!


Stay at the Best Western Albany Airport Hotel

Albany, New York travelers will be pleased to stay at the Best Western Albany Airport hotel. You’ll be just fifteen minutes from the airport with their complimentary shuttle. Travel the way with easy and convenient park sleep and fly packages – whether you are a business or family traveler you’ll appreciate these great airport deals every time.

The Best Western Albany Airport hotel is right off of the Interstate 87 so you are near many popular attractions in Albany and the business hub. You and your family will enjoy your stay at this fine airport hotel, enjoying every comfort and convenience you’d expect from the Best Western chain of hotels. They include an indoor heated pool, 24-hour business center, fax and copy services, complimentary hot breakfast and hi speed wireless Internet. It’s the ideal choice for any family or business traveler. Don’t fuss or stress over your airport transportation needs, you’ve got it all under control with a great park sleep and fly package from

Our packages are popular as we easily help travelers manage their airport transportation logistics no matter where or when they travel. Why get up at dawn to catch your flight – when you can be just minutes from the airport on your travel day? Enjoy your stay at the Best Western Albany Airport hotel with generously sized rooms that feature single king or double queen sized beds. With 153 guest rooms, you’ll be sure to find a great place to stay at this fine Albany area airport hotel. Every package includes airport hotel accommodations, airport parking and an airport shuttle to make your travel day run smoothly and hassle free. Choose the Best Western Albany Airport hotel the next time you travel from the Albany County Airport.