TSA PreCheck: For Quicker Boarding...Maybe

TSA now promises frequent flyers and other savvy travelers special encoded boarding passes. When you qualify and flash it at security stations, and if there are no glitches, you may go thru more quickly in a special line.

Additionally, as TSA promises, you keep your shoes on, as well as belt, watch and other metal items, including electronics. However, the quick-board system still has restrictions, and it may not be in effect when you hit the line, and still isn’t offered in every airport.

For instructions on how to sign up and other current info, go to www.tsa.gov/tsa-precheck

Destination spotlight: Porto, Portugal PDF Print E-mail

Porto, Portugal

The scenic city is built into the granite cliffs over the river Douro.

Hollywood tour: Photo the stars as a paparazzo PDF Print E-mail

Marilyn Monroe

Next time you’re in Los Angeles, sign up for a special tour that turns you into into a Hollywood  star gazer. The Rolling With the Paparazzi Tour offers you to become one of those bothersome celeb photographers for couple of hours. The tour is led by a real-life paparazzo, Rick Mendoza.

You’ll follow, ride, walk and run with Mendoza all over the Los Angeles area to try to spot favorite celebrities. You’ll tote your cell phone camera and any other photo gear you choose, just so you can get that great shot. It could be of Paris, Kim or Lindsay sashaying in or out of the latest Sunset Strip club or fancy Beverly Hills hairdresser’s shop.

The charge is $150 per person, and for more information, go to www.walkjogrun.net

Hotel room stuff: What's OK to take home? PDF Print E-mail

Hotel lotions

Q: Whenever we stay at a hotel, I take all the little plastic tubes and bottles of body lotions, shampoo and other toilet articles with me when we leave. My husband says that’s stealing? I say it’s there for guests to use and/or take home. Who’s right?
M.J., Buffalo NY

You are absolutely right. Guests are expected to take the little toilet things, whether you use them or not. Hotels print their logos on the containers, and the idea is that whenever you see them, you’ll think about coming back.

Of course, that’s where the taking should stop. There’s the old joke about the thieving guest who complained that the hotel towels were too fluffy and didn’t fit into her suitcase. Towels, sheets, pillow cases, silverware, glassware, electronic gear and other hotel property should not be swiped. In fact, some hotels will check your room after you depart, and if anything valuable is missing, you’ll get an embarrassing bill for its cost.

Royal Caribbean Gives New Tipping Tips PDF Print E-mail


Royal Caribbean suggests passengers on their cruise ships should consider raising the tip rate for service workers on board. The tips start at $3.75 a day for waiters and $5 for cabin stewards. RC claims it’s the first time the tip amount suggestions have been raised in more than a dozen years.

While those tips are voluntary, RC and most other cruise lines add an automatic 15 percent as tips to bar tabs. The old adage that tips’ initials mean To Insure Prompt Service should still be the gauge on how much or how little a customer should give to service providers.

Airport booze now available 'round the clock PDF Print E-mail


It's six a.m., and you’re waiting in your favorite airport. All the shops and restaurants are closed, except the gin joints. They're allowed to be open all night. Now, you can get silly in Philly. If you're waiting there, you can pop the cork in New York or get high in Chi.

The booze rules have been eased. Some airports now allow liquor to be sold 24-7. High in the air has two meanings now, because passengers in flight can enjoy the same privilege. This is great news for those fliers who’ve had loud, drunken seatmates bother them or get sick all over them.

Of course, this new easing of the drinking rules is just another way airlines and airports are seeking to bring in extra income. So now, in addition to paying to check your bags, you’ll be able to drink enough as you fly to add more of those sagging bags under your eyes.

Our only advice we have for travelers is to enjoy yourselves with the booze of your choice anywhere, at any time. Just do it only up to a point where you’re not annoying others.


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