We are apologize for the inconvenience but you need to download
more modern browser in order to be able to browse our page

Download Safari
Download Safari
Download Chrome
Download Chrome
Download Firefox
Download Firefox
Download IE 10+
Download IE 10+

the IBIT DIGEST 10-28-12

The good, the bad and the bizarre from the world’s best travel media

awash coffee ceremony

©IBIT/G. Gross

In addition to wildlife safaris, history and heritage, you now have a new reason to visit East Africa: coffee. An outfit called ET African Journeys is offering a 14-day tour next month called Ethiopia & the Birth of Coffee.

Don’t expect a lot of “down” time on this trip. The package includes visits to a coffee cooperative and at least three different local tribes — the Erbore, Kanso and Woito peoples. You’ll also head into the Great Rift Valley for 4×4 drives and boat rides on valley lakes, as well as the Blue Nile Falls. You’ll also be seeing two different UN World Heritage sites, the castles of Gondar and the rock churches of Lalibela.

Lest you drop from sheer exhaustion and sensory overload, they’ve also worked a couple of resort and spa stays into those 14 days, as well.

Ethiopia is where coffee was born and there are those of you who will swear it’s the best in the world. It spread east into the Arab world and then to Europe before finally making its way to the Americas and the rest of the planet.

I’ve never been a big coffee drinker, but after getting my first taste of it during San Diego’s African Restaurant Week, I can tell you this: Ethiopian coffee is the only coffee I’ve ever had that I would willingly drink black. It’s smooth, it’s flavorful and it won’t bite your tongue off.

I’ll make my apologies to Juan Valdez later.

The tour departs Washington DC’s Dulles airport on Nov. 30 aboard a long-range Boeing 777 jumbo jet from Ethiopian Airlines. For more information, go to the ET African Journeys site here.


Think of this as a kind of pre-emptive strike from American Airlines.

We all know how much travelers resent those airline baggage fees. We also know that travelers are starting to turn toward air freight companies and luggage shipping services to get their bags picked up and delivered, thumbing their noses at the airlines in the process.

Well, before too many more folks opt out of letting the airlines handle their bags, American has decided to partner up with one of those services to offer its own baggage delivery. For a fee, you can now bypass the luggage carousel and let American deliver your bags to your home or hotel.

You can read about it here at Travel Weekly.

Sounds like a great idea, and a pretty slick move by American…until you learn that you pay for this extra service on top of the airline’s checked bag fees. That, I suspect, will be a deal-breaker for a lot of travelers.


OpenSkies is a small upscale subsidiary of British Airways that flies trans-Atlantic routes with smaller Boeing 757 narrow-body jets set up to be more comfortable for travelers willing to pay for a pricier ticket.

In addition to offering more legroom, nicer meals and seats that don’t leave you feeling you’ve spent six hours in a vise, the airline is now offering flights from New York into Paris’ other major airport, Orly.

Most international travelers, especially from North America, usually fly into Paris via the massive, chaotic and perpetually packed Charles de Gaulle international airport. If you’ve experienced CDG in the past — and would do anything to avoid a repeat of it — this may be your chance.

And now, here’s the Digest:

from SmarterTravel
You know those controversial airport X-ray body scanners? The TSA is quietly replacing them with scanners believed to be less potentially harmful. But the old machines aren’t going away, just being moved to smaller airports.

from Yahoo Travel
Coming soon to an airline near you — personalized airfares. Individual airfares based on your personal profile data and travel history. Good deal or something sinister? Read and decide.

from Smarter Travel
Eight foods and beverages to avoid when you fly. Some, like beans and garlic, are no-brainers. Others, like alcohol, are no surprise. But sugar-free gum?

from Travel Weekly
With Orbitz, you may not always know: the federal government fines the online travel agency $25,000 for failing to properly disclose airline baggage fees.

from USA Today
Feel like living dangerously? North Korea’s Air Koryo, judged by aviation experts around the globe as the world’s worst airline, launches a Web site. Apparently, the site is about as functional as the airline it represents. Pyongyang, anyone?

from the Travel+Lesure via the BBC
The five best neighborhoods in America for authentic ethnic food — and you won’t see a lot of “the usual suspects” on the list. If you have dissenting opinions, list your own nominees in the Comments section. SLIDESHOW

from SmarterTravel
Was it something you said? Five phrases never found on the lips of a good traveler. SLIDESHOW

from Travel Weekly
There’s a little less competition in the rental car business these days. Hertz is buying up Dollar Thrifty. Good news for Hertz. For the traveling consumer, probably not so much. But the feds still have to bless this merger, and there’s no guarantee that they will.

from the United Nations
UNESCO, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, adds 26 new locations to its list of world Heritage Sites. Meanwhile, the crew at SmarterTravel picks its ten favorites. Your bucket list may need a bigger bucket.

from USA Today
Few visitors to New York City have reason to hit Staten Island, even with the lure of a free ferry ride from Manhattan. That could change by 2016 if plans go ahead to build the world’s biggest Ferris wheel in the Big Apple’s most ignored borough.

from Travel Weekly
This from Carnival Cruise Lines: No more saving deck chair for someone who’s not on deck.

from Travel Weekly
For those who plan ahead: The Cunard line has already set its world cruise itineraries for 2014 The cruises can last three months — but Cunard will let you buy much shorter segments, as short as eight days.

from CNN Travel
If unique wildlife is your thing, then Tanzania may be your place. Who’s up for a safari?

from Bulawayo 24 via Travel Comments
Ahead of next year’s big general assembly of the UN World Tourism Organization in Zimbabwe, three African airlines are adding more flights to Victoria Falls. You don’t have to be a UNWTO attendee to take advantage.

from Gadling
Forget trick-or-treat. If you want to see something truly spooky, check out the annual migration of 8 million African bats. Relax, they only eat fruit.

from the BBC
New entry fees and visa requirements going into effect in Argentina and other South American countries. If you’re planning a trip to South America, don’t wait until departure day to get yourself up to speed on the new requirements. If you do, you may never get out of the airport.

from Agence France Presse via France 24
You know all that stuff you’ve been hearing about how the Mayan calendar forecasts the end of the world in 2012? Well, the Mayans say it’s all bogus and they have one word for all the folks out there pushing this myth: STOP.

from the New York Times
Want to really go New Age in Santa Fe, NM — and get healthier at the same time? Explore it by bike.

from The Guardian (London UK)
El Vilsito. Auto mechanics by day, wonderfully fixed up tacos al pastor by night. Only in Mexico City.

from Xinhua News Agency via CNNgo
China is taking not quite $1 million to turn its first atomic bomb test center into…a theme park? Swords into plowshares is one thing but, uhh…wow. This is one new tourist hotspot that could be just that.

from China Daily
For decades, travelers from around the world have descended on Hong Kong in search of bargains. Now, te Chinese are doing it, too.

from The Province (Vancouver, BC, CANADA)
There’s a lot to see and do in Hong Kong. There’s even more to see and do outside one of the world’s most densely crowded cities. Venture out.

from The Guardian (London UK)
There are lots of good reasons these days to visit the Czech Republic. Here’s one you may not have heard about — good skiing, incredibly cheap.

from the BBC
In Paris, the Seine is getting a 35 million euro makeover that will make the riverbanks more pedestrian friendly and even more attractive to locals and visitors alike. It comes at the expense of daily commuting motorists, who are less than thrilled.

from CNN Travel
Ten cool and free things to enjoy in Paris, including your own guided tour with a local. Did I mention that it’s all free?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.