Shermanstravel Blog

Flights

standby flights 1Airlines these days rarely offer standby programs, which, in years past, used to offer reduced airfares for last-minute travelers who would simply show up at the airport. In fact, “flying standby” has taken on a slightly different meaning in past years: it applies to passengers who have already purchased a full-price ticket for a specific flight, but would rather hop onto a flight that better suits their schedule.

Suppose you’ve booked a cheap flight at 11:30 p.m. from Detroit to NYC. Your ideal flight, a 1:00 p.m. departure, costs $200 more. (After all, who wants to land at LaGuardia at 2 a.m.?) To solve this, you must head to your airline’s website and sift through the day’s flights. Standby travel is based on seat availability and is never guaranteed. If you find an open seat on your ideal flight, call the airline and request standby — or follow their standby procedures. Depending on the airline, the change to your itinerary can cost as little as nothing, or as much as $50.

Here’s a quick rundown of each major airline’s standby policies, in the hopes of saving you money, and securing your ideal flight, in the future. Read more

620x400_CathayPacificSome news for travelers heading from Newark to Hong Kong: Cathay Pacific has launched new daily nonstop service from Liberty International Airport this month. This is in addition to their four-times-daily service from New York’s JFK.

Read more

American AirlinesA newly-launched service on American Airlines makes travel between New York and Los Angeles easier than ever, thanks to a compact, efficient in-flight experience aboard the Airbus A321T. Earlier this year, the airline introduced the planes to its fleet in an effort to cut down on fuel costs (the A321 is small, with only 66 seats) and offer a more intimate flying experience for the many travelers shuttling between East and West coasts.

At $472, a roundtrip Economy ticket is comparable to similar flights on Delta and United. What makes the A321T special – aside from the super sleek interiors, free WiFi, and the fact that it’s specifically designed for the transcontinental route that it flies – is its seat configuration. It’s currently the only domestic carrier offering three cabin options for flights between new York and Los Angeles, as well as New York and San Francisco.

So how does this benefit you, the traveler? Read more

amsterdam schiphol airport park - 620No joke. When I recently stopped over at Amsterdam Airport Schiphol on the way to France, I was disappointed to only spend an hour there. Happily, I got a good three hours to scamper around on the return trip, and now I want to share the love. Here are nine reasons why this Dutch playground is our new favorite airport for a layover:

Read more

passport visa 2Many countries charge entrance fees to foreign visitors – including the U.S..  When the U.S. decides to hike up prices for foreign tourists entering the country, many countries, in turn, do the same for American travelers who wish to visit them. And some of those prices can be incredibly high. Ranging from a meager $15 (Vietnam) to $275 (Nigeria) – visas can quickly eat into your travel budget.

The lesson? When you’re planning to travel to another country, always check whether you need a visa. If you’re uncertain, you can quickly search by country on VisaHQ. You can also see how much that visa costs. Streamlining the visa acquisition process, companies like VisaHQ even allow tourists to pay for their documents online and with a credit card, so you don’t have to speak with or visit a foreign embassy. Here’s a quick list of the top 20 most expensive tourist visas for American citizens: Read more

Chesapeake Bay

Depending on the size (or existence) of the check coming your way post taxes, you could be looking at extra vacation money. And if you’re anything like us, money like that burns a deep, deep hole in your pocket. We thought you’d appreciate a few tips on ways to blow your tax refund on a trip in late April/May. Consider it a reward for getting them done in the first place. Read more

santignacioBritish Airways has just launched its discounted “daytripper fares” for travelers flying from London to a handful of European cities. The catch? (Or, perhaps the benefit?) You have to return to London in the same day. Round-trip tickets, including all taxes and fees, will cost £79 (about $130) to Dublin and Geneva, £89 (about $149) for Edinburgh and Rome and £99 (about $165) for Vienna and Munich. You can only travel with carry-on luggage from London’s Heathrow airport, and only on Saturdays or Sundays.

These fares are tailor-made for travelers who want to cram in a second destination with their London trip — a fairly common strategy, especially considering how easy it is to get to Paris, Scotland, or other parts of England by rail. Flying expands your options even more.

Of course, taking into account check-in, transfers, and flight time, this doesn’t leave you much time to enjoy that second destination. But if you really have the urge to pop across the Channel (or Irish Sea) for a few hours, here are some suggestions for quick, interesting itineraries you can accomplish in a day.

Read more

Sharjah

A simple roundtrip flight between New York and Dubai in late May can cost up to $1,200 on Emirates, the nation-state’s main carrier. Not exactly a bargain, considering you’d be forking over another thousand or two on lodging alone (Dubai’s low season doesn’t really get going until late June, when the extremely high temperatures cause rates to tumble). On top of everything else, you’ve probably already crossed Dubai off your list, so why go back if you’ve been there, done that?

Good thing, then, that Qatar Airways is providing another option for UAE-bound travelers who don’t feel like blowing their whole savings on a late spring jaunt. Thanks to a limited-time offer, the airline is offering flights to its newly-launched destination, Sharjah, from $696 roundtrip. Read more

Blue SmokeAfter the ride to the airport and the wait to get through security, the least you can expect from your airline of choice is a decent meal. But it rarely gets better than watery stir-fries or flavorless salads in the air. Maybe, if you’re lucky, you’ll get a good cookie. So we were pleasantly surprised to learn that a few airlines are making a concerted effort to bolster their food options by teaming up with reputable restaurant brands that seriously know their food. Here’s what’s being served up in the skies right now: Read more

CaribbeanGetting to the major Caribbean islands is pretty easy these days, with the major airlines providing direct service from many U.S. cities, Canada, and even Europe. But what if you’ve set your sights on a smaller island? Or if you plan to island-hop between destinations in paradise? Inter-island ferry service is possible, but the logistics of arranging it can be tricky. Flying is often a better choice, especially when time is a factor. Luckily, there are at least a dozen regional Caribbean airlines servicing the most remote islands. Some even have flights departing from the U.S. and Canada, sometimes at a cheaper price and with fewer connections than on the big commercial carriers. Use our mini guide to make navigating the islands fun, cheap, and, best of all, easy.

Read more

Caribbean BeachWe’ve got something to lift your spirits today: As we move into spring break season, resorts throughout the Caribbean and eastern Mexico are likely to be either booked solid, or selling at a premium. Come April and early May, however, we’ll start to see those prices go down. For an early spring getaway, plan on kicking back on a remote island in South Carolina, St. Croix, or enjoying a stay at one of New Orleans’ most historic hotels. Read more

620x400_FlickrLauraMotta_LittleMermaidIf you’ve been entertaining the idea of a warm, sunny Caribbean getaway to reward yourself for making it through winter (hang in there, we’re almost in the clear!), here’s something to make you reconsider: Norwegian has just launched a “Nonstop Europe” sale with one-way flights starting at $201 to top urban spots like Copenhagen, London, Stockholm, and more. This is easily one of the best flight deals to Europe that’s currently available. Read more

Helsinki AirportAh, airport layovers. Few of us will ever actually look forward to them, but there are some airports where top-notch facilities make waiting for a connection much easier. Here’s a list… Read more

CRJSure, you might encounter some increased turbulence (and an occasional slide on the runway) when you’re flying on a small regional jets, also referred to as CRJs. But those incidents are relatively rare – especially when viewed in the context of the tens of thousands of flights scheduled in the country each day. In fact, there’s plenty to love about a bite-sized aircraft. In the spirit of sticking up for the little guy, here are nine reasons why a smaller plane could make your next trip better: Read more

LAN Economy perksTake a few flights outside of the United States, and you’re likely to notice a slightly disappointing observation: Many U.S.-based carriers simply don’t measure up when it comes to perks in economy class. Whether it’s a free snack, or real wine glasses filled with (free!) vino, here are a few coach class airline perks we love on the foreign carriers… Read more

Sign up for the Top 25 Newsletter
to get exclusive weekly deals