Johnny Jet's Travel Blog

Travel blog featuring best travel sites, travel deals, travel guides, effective travel tips, daily stories with up-to-date travel information, travel pictures, travel webcams. For more, visit my travel portal, www.johnnyjet.com.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

WEBSITE OF THE DAY -- GasBGon

Gasbgon.com Ha! You might need this contraption after dining at one of the restaurants I mentioned above. The GasBGon seat cushion is designed to absorb the odor and sound of – ahem – flatulence. Man! I know it’s gross and maybe a little ridiculous, but I seriously could have used this bad boy for my seatmate on the last flight I took. The guy next to me was dropping SBDs left and right. Well, the plane was packed so you never actually know who the culprit is but nonetheless, this would have come in handy! If I ever start up my own airline, rest assured that I’d make these seats standard.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

WEBSITE OF THE DAY: VirginAmerica.com

VirginAmerica.com

I wrote about the launch of Virgin America a few weeks ago. It’s America’s newest low-fare carrier based out of San Francisco. Currently, they offer service from SFO to JFK and LAX but will soon be expanding that service to include Las Vegas and Washington D.C. Tomorrow is the inaugural LAX-JFK flight, which sadly, I had to decline due to the fact I will be on another inaugural flight the following day. However, just a few moments ago, I had the privilege of a one-on-one meeting with Sir Richard Branson – the Rebel Billionaire and the man behind all of the Virgin companies. Sir Richard has been one of my travel idols for some time now. I love his attitude, his innovative vision and all that he’s doing for the environment, for example, investing in alternative fuels. I have no doubt that Virgin America will be successful; the amazing in-flight entertainment options will undoubtedly win the business of the traveling public – as will Virgin’s friendly staff and low prices (just $149 one-way for transcons and $49 LAX/SFO). I will be flying Virgin America later next month so look for full my review. For now, happy travels.


Monday, August 27, 2007

WEBSITE OF THE DAY -- FastFoodMaps.com

FastFoodMaps.com I don’t eat much fast food ... OK, I have the occasional Double-Double from In-N-Out Burger. But sadly, many business travelers don’t have much choice but to scarf back a late-night burger when they’re on the road. If you’re one of these people and you don’t have a GPS device in your car, you might find this website helpful. FastFoodMaps.com shows the locations of popular fast food chains nearby. So if you find yourself sitting in your hotel room one night, jonesing for some greasy food from McDonald's, Burger King, Pizza Hut, Taco Bell, Wendy's, KFC, Jack in the Box, Hardee's, Carl's Jr. or my beloved In-N-Out Burger, then log on to FastFoodMaps.com to figure out your quickest route to get there.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Hurricane Dean Update

I made trips twice in the past 9 months to the Yucatan Peninsula so I was especially worried about how the area made out in this last storm. I’m happy to report that Club Med Cancun (here's my story) escaped unscathed. Here’s Club Med’s official press release:

HURRICANE DEAN UPDATE
Club Med Reports No Structural Damage to Caribbean and Mexican Resorts After Hurricane Dean

All Resorts in Martinique, Guadeloupe, Punta Cana and Cancun Are Operational “We are thankful today that the storm passed well to the south of the newly renovated Club Med Cancun Yucatan in Mexico. Our outstanding team is onsite and the resort is operational, providing the gourmet meals, premium beverages, sports activities and unparalleled children’s programs that our guests love.” Cedric Gobillard, CEO North America comments, “Our luck, however, does not allow us to forget our neighbors in the Yucatan who were less fortunate. Through our continued partnership with local communities and the United Nations Foundation, we will work to aid those affected by Hurricane Dean.”

The Club Med resorts in the islands of Martinique and Guadeloupe in the French West Indies are also open and operating after the storm.

All Club Med guests who are in a village in the unlikely event a storm hits the region are protected by Club Med’s Hurricane Protection Program which provides:

·Club Med guests with a Future Travel Certificate in the unlikely event that Category One or higher hurricane force winds (as defined by the National Weather Service) impact the resort at any time during their stay. Club Med will offer these guests a Future Travel Certificate for the value of the land portion of their vacation for the number of days impacted by the hurricane force winds.

·For more information about the terms and conditions of the Hurricane Protection Program, guests can call 1-800-CLUB MED (800-258-2633) or their local travel agent, or visit http://www.clubmed.com/.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

WEBSITE OF THE DAY: Scrabulous.com

Scrabulous.com I'm not sure if a lot of you readers are bored in your hotel rooms or what, but the online games I've been featuring lately seem to be quite popular. There's only one board game that I play regularly and that's Scrabble, usually with my dad. In college, people used to think I cheated because I knew all the two-letter words in the official Scrabble dictionary and I seldom lost. Well, when I joined Facebook recently, a friend introduced me to the site's online Scrabble game, powered by Scrabulous.com. At Scrabulous.com, two to four players can play Scrabble online for free. It takes less than a minute to sign up and each time you make a move, your opponent(s) will receive an email notifying them that it's their turn. Players don't have to be online at the same time or even in the same country, so games can take as long as you want.



There are two versions of the game: one is a regular game where the letters put down have to form a bona fide word in the Scrabble dictionary. The regular version also gives users access to a dictionary before submitting their word, so that you can see if it's a valid word or not. It even includes a two-letter word cheat sheet, which is ever so handy! The other version is a “challenge” game; it's the same as regular Scrabble except for one exciting detail. Players can put down fake words and hope that their opponent doesn't challenge it. Also, the dictionary function, including the two-letter word cheat sheet, is disabled. Yikes! However, if you want to impress your friends, here's Hasbro's Scrabble website; it features a word builder tool. Just put in your letters and voila! It spits out every possible word using your letters. It also has the official Scrabble dictionary, though it doesn't completely agree with the dictionary used by the folks at Scrabulous.com. For example, on Scrabulous.com, “qi” and “za” are words, but not according to the Hasbro dictionary. You should definitely check this out but, I will tell you, it's addictive ... don't say I didn't warn you!

Monday, August 20, 2007

WEBSITE OF THE DAY: LicketyShip.com

LicketyShip.com What's nice about traveling to New York City is that you can get everything delivered. There are couriers everywhere. Well, there have been many times when I've been on the road in a city where I wished I could find a courier. Surprisingly, it's not that easy to find one. And if you happen to find one, they charge a ridiculous fee. Well, fast-forward to the Internet age and in steps LicketyShip.com. This is another brilliant website that I wish I had thought of! LicketyShip.com's search engine is brilliant! Simply enter in the zip codes of your pick-up and drop-off destinations, along with the estimated weight of your package and presto! You've got a quote. I entered in pick-up and drop-off points of Manhattan Beach, CA to San Pedro, CA and received a quote for $22.49. Not bad since it's a 20-mile drive.

Friday, August 17, 2007

WEBSITE OF THE DAY: LuxeCityGuides.com

Okay, here's the dealio: I didn't write this blurb (below) but I did check out the new guide and think it's quite handy and fun.

Luxe City Guides: A brassy, bright and irreverent breath of fresh air in the all-too-predictable guidebook market, LUXE City Guides are the definitive travel and style guides for the most enticing cities of Asia, Europe, Australia and now New York City, the first American guide. The ultra-smart, pocket-sized, accordion-folded travel companions are packed with priceless and highly selective information for demanding and discerning travelers. Eschewing the usual tourist spots for detailed digestions of favorite and little-known hotspots, LUXE City Guides are compiled by contributors who actually live there, and who know what sophisticated types want to experience. In other words, not just hotels, restaurants, clubs, bars and spas, but services, shops and city secrets that the tour-bus crowd will never find. Each LUXE City Guide is researched and collated by a resident city editor, then personally vetted with feet on the street by LUXE’s Publishing Editor to assure a consistently high standard of detail. Updated annually as well as online throughout the year, the current LUXE lineup ranges from Madrid to Melbourne, Seoul to Sri Lanka, New York to Paris and 16 more. Buy online at http://www.luxecityguides.com/ as well as select retailers worldwide.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

WEBSITE OF THE WEEK: Thailand Cooking Schools

This week, we’re featuring a site recommended to us by reader Suzanne Lowrie. Here’s what she had to say about her favorite cooking school in Chiang Mai, Thailand: “The Kao Hom Cooking School six-class complete course alone is worth making the trip to Chiang Mai, Thailand. It is in a visually beautiful setting, with gorgeous gardens and wonderful architecture. Kao Hom has a full complement of sous-chefs and an executive chef who helps the students. The owner, Tim, is also there instructing. No student can fail to create wonderful Thai food. I also loved the graciousness and charming behavior of all the staff. They are trained to be superbly patient, positive and kind with all the students.” Click here for the website of the week: kaohom.com Interested in more on Thailand? Join me for a journey back in time and check out my first experience in this enchanting country. JohnnyJet.com/folder/archive/letter07_21_04.html#editor

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

WEBSITE OF THE DAY: Viator.com

Viator.com I can’t believe I’ve never selected Viator.com as the website of the week! I thought I had, years ago when they first launched. Foolish me! Hopefully, you’ve heard about them and used their service in the past. If not, listen up. Viator.com has a comprehensive list of more than 4,500 destination activities for travelers, so that when you arrive wherever it is that you’re going, you’ll know what kinds of things you can do there. It’s not just limited to U.S. travel either. In fact, their service targets more than 75 countries and over 450 cities around the world! They really are the traveler's one-stop-shop for researching, planning and booking destination activities. What I like most is that they provide access to reputable local operators, hand-selected by their in-house travel experts who routinely review and validate the activities. But the best thing Viator.com can do for you is save you some serious time by helping you to avoid waiting in long lines at popular attractions. For example, forget waiting two hours in the hot sun to see the Sistine Chapel at the Vatican Museum. For $38.90, which is twice the regular entrance fee, (but even if it was triple the regular admission, it’d be worth it) visitors don’t have to wait in the long line and get exclusive access before the general public does. Same goes for the Front of Line Pass at Universal Studios Hollywood, The Academia Gallery in Florence, Guinness Storehouse in Dublin, British Airways’ London Eye, Madame Tussauds, The Louvre in Paris and an exclusive Alcatraz/San Francisco city tour. Heck, they can even get you into the hottest Las Vegas nightclubs with no cover charge and no wait in line! Now that’s what I’m talking about! Log on to their website to see how they can simplify your travels.

Monday, August 06, 2007

WEBSITE OF THE DAY -- BusinessJetSeats.com

BusinessJetSeats.com Here’s an interesting service. If you’ve ever wanted to fly on a private jet but either don’t have the money to charter one yourself, or don’t have a rich friend ... listen up! BusinessJetSeats.com might be your ticket to the TSA-free skies. When available, BusinessJetSeats.com will sell open seat(s) on either an empty flight or one already chartered, when the owner is looking to offset costs. It’s still expensive; I entered a route from New York to Miami to test it out and was quoted a price of $4,500. But that’s still a lot cheaper than chartering a jet yourself.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

WEBSITE OF THE DAY -- Statetris

http://www.mapmsg.com/games/statetris/usa/
Since so many people loved last week’s Traveler IQ game (http://www.johnnyjet.com/folder/archive/WebsiteOfTheWeek07252007.html), I thought I’d give you a heads-up about a new online geography game. This one is not as difficult as the Traveler IQ challenge and it has an old-school feel. Think Tetris. Remember that arcade game? Well, this free game is called Statetris and the goal is to stack game pieces, shaped like the 50 states, in the right place. Testing your knowledge of US geography, players use the arrow keys to move side to side and the space bar to speed up the fall.