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A roundup of the good, the bad and the bizarre from the world’s best travel media.

Venice canal

Traffic, Venice style | ©Greg Gross

Could a hundred and twenty seconds worth of forethought save your life in an airline emergency?

British Airways thinks so, and they’ve got a class for their corporate passengers to teach them how.

In addition to giving them tips on how to do their own personal pre-flight check, the course shows BA passengers how to operate the emergency doors, slide down emergency chutes, use those life vests folded up under your seat, even give them a taste of what it’s like in a smoke-filled aircraft cabin.

What I find most remarkable is the class itself. Granted, BA doesn’t make it available for the Great Airline Unwashed like you and me, but the fact that they offer it at all is rather remarkable — and in my opinion, pretty cool.

Am I wrong in believing that if more folks felt they knew clearly what to do in an emergency, that fewer people would be afraid to fly?

This is something the airline industry as a whole should make available — not just to their big-spending corporate passengers, but everyone.

The fall shoulder season is a great time to travel through Europe, especially by rail. Trains in western Europe are fast, comfortable, efficient — in other words, basically everything that Amtrak is not.

Train travel through Europe on its growing network of high-speed trains is ultra-efficient. By day, comfortably view the countryside as you whisk between cities or between countries. By night, bed down on an overnight train instead of a static hotel — and wake up in another country the next morning.

It’s even better if you can take advantage of one of the many Eurail passes that allow you make multiple trips over a set period.

And now, Eurail’s got a sale going that could actually give you a free day on train travel, and in First class, no less. Check it out at Rail Europe.

And now, here’s this week’s Digest:


from the New York Times
Tips and tactics for getting some decent sleep in an airline Coach seat — or the science of sleeping like a sardine in a can at 35,000 feet.

from Gadling
Waiting for your flight to take off, and the food options in the airport lounge leave you cold? Want to have something tasty delivered to you, right at your departure gate? Yeah, there’s an app for that.

from MSN Money
Overpaid on your airfare…get a refund? Yes, you can!

from the Washington Business Journal
An all-Business Class airline suspends flights between Washington DC and Paris. Is Open Skies on the verge of closing its doors?

from ​Airfare Watchdog
Left something on the plane? Here’s how to get it back.

from the Independent Traveler
Want to get away…from the airport…faster? Here are 16 tips for how to do that, without making like OJ, and it starts before you leave the house.

from msnbc
The Hyatt Regency New Orleans, shredded six years ago by Hurricane Katrina, gets a $275 million revival. Let the travelers say “Amen!”

from BootsnAll
Walking is great exercise and a great way to experience a new city. Here now, a list of eight relatively small cities ideal for walkers — including the one I call home!

from Frommer’s
Call them The Delicious Dozen: The best 12 cities in the world for cheap, filling and almost sinfully street food. I’ve hit six of them already, and my tastebuds are impatiently waiting to touch down in the rest. SLIDESHOW

from Globetrooper
Want to bring your MacBook on your next big trip? Here’s how to set it up for travel.

from BootsnAll
Here’s a whole different spin on the term “cross-country travel:” Ten countries small enough for a traveler to traverse on foot. And if you’ve ever traveled to Europe, you may have already set foot in six of them.

from USA Today
Are Europeans better drivers than Americans? USAT’s Ben Abramson says yes, and says he has proof.

from USA Today
Cruise lines keep looking for reasons to make their passenger forget about going ashore: A celebrity Miami chef take charges of the menus aboard Royal Caribbean’s Oasis of the Seas.

from USA Today
River cruising in Europe is increasingly catching on with tourists. The pace is less frenetic, the crowds are smaller, you get more exposure to the local culture — and everybody gets a cabin with a view.

from USA Today
Would you pay $59 per person to spend a few extra hours on a cruise ship that isn’t going anywhere? Celebrity Cruises thinks you just might.


from Live the Magic of Africa
The ins and outs of car rental in South Africa.

from Africa Business
It’s not just travelers who are increasingly focusing on Africa these days. Forbes magazine launches its African edition.

from ​Wired
U.S. and European mercenaries are quietly taking over escort duties from Western navies in the battle against East African pirates, though not without some problems of their own.

from the Nairobi Star via ​allAfrica.com
Kenyan tourism ministers say East Africa needs a unified tourist visa for the region. IBIT agrees. EDITORIAL


from Velvet Escape
Chillin’ in Buenos Aires, a city that specializes in being hot and cool at the same time.

from Pauline Frommer via the Palm Beach Post
The 2012 London Olympics are still more than nine months away, but they’re already drawing tourists.

from the New York Times
Getting yourself lost on the streets of Paris can be a good thing.

from the New York Times
The heavy rains that pounded the East Coast last month are making for some truly lush, eye-popping fall foliage this year. But those same storms also did enough damage that New Englanders ​fear it may put off visitors. So they’re masking deals. Advantage: YOU.


from the Huffington Post
If you’ve ever dreamed of seeing the Taj Mahal, you’d better hurry. Its foundations are in such bad shape that the whole thing could collapse in five years.

from the Straits Times (Singapore)
A new rail line in Singapore, the aptly named Circle Line can take passengers around nearly the entire island city/state in a shade under an hour. Great for commuters, equally handy for travelers. Took ten years to build, and already there’s an extension in the works.


from Velvet Escape
How to experience Istanbul like a local.

from the Independent (London UK)
Europe’s newest foodie mecca is…Birmingham, England? Really?

from the​ Telegraph (London UK)
Okay, we all know that Brazil is a hot destination for British travelers. But why are so many Brazilians winging in the opposite direction?

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