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.

Friday, February 27, 2009

TRAVEL VIDEO OF THE WEEK: Great Travel Advice

Great Travel Advice
I was browsing through wimp.com last week, which has all kinds of cool videos. One that makes this honor was from i-to-i.com. They are a volunteer travel company that’s been sending people to volunteer in Africa, Asia, Australasia and Latin America since 1996 and have supposedly sent over 20,000 volunteers to date. What’s cool about this video is that it offers great travel advice. Ah, forget about me explaining it! Just check it out for yourself; it’s just four-minutes long.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

WEBSITE OF THE DAY: U.S. President's Travel Map

U.S. President's Travel Map
With President's Day taking place last week in the United States, an interactive map on USAToday.com caught my attention. It documents all of our presidents who traveled abroad, beginning with Teddy Roosevelt who kicked things off with a visit to the Panama Canal and ending with President Obama, who had his first nation visit last week; Canada. What's cool is that when you click the President's picture, it will tell you how many nations he visited and a map will highlight the countries - countries he's visited more than once are indicated by a darker shade of blue. For more detailed information, click the view list button below Truman's picture and it will list each country. Bill Clinton was the first president to make over 100 international visits (133 to be exact with Italy being the most at eight visits). George Bush topped him by three and was the first to visit Mongolia. I wonder if President Obama will beat him? If only he would take me on a trip on Air Force One. How incredible would that be?!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

WEBSITE OF THE DAY: Babysitters4Hire.com

Babysitters4Hire.com
Not that I would know since I don’t have kids, but one problem my friends who are parents face is finding a babysitter – especially when traveling or renting a summer house. A few years ago, I featured a site called SisterCity.com, but I thought I would give this new service a shot. Supposedly, Dr. Phil recommended it so I guess it has to be legit … right? Babysitters4Hire.com or Care4hire.com (the URL changes once you log on), gives users a free preview of available babysitters or caregivers in the neighborhood they’re interested in. Just type in the zip code and within seconds you’ll receive a list of potential sitters in the area. To get their contact information, you will need to pay up and register. It costs either $69 for a year or $29 for the first month and $9.99 a month after that. Helpful tools include sample interview questions, a sample reference form and a sample contract form if needed. Babysitters4Hire.com

Thursday, February 19, 2009

WEBSITE OF THE DAY: The B.A.T. (Bay Area Traveler)

One of the reasons I am in this position and doing this job is because of Chris McGinnis. It's a long story but when I first started out learning travel secrets, I was obsessed with this man, who had written a couple of travel tip books and was a daily contributor to CNN. As fate would have it, the girl I was dating at the time turned out to be friends with him and the next thing you know, he took me under his wing and posted a link to JohnnyJet.com on his website. Because of that link, Laura Bly from USA Today found my website and declared it Website of the Week in the newspaper's weekend travel section. I'm eternally grateful to both of these people and I only bring it up now because Chris just began a new blog. Anyone visiting the San Francisco Bay Area should log on for great tips and advice. It's appropriately called THE B.A.T. (Bay Area Travelers). In case you're curious, he's also working as Best Western's travel expert to help road warriors - here's the link to that website. I hope you find them both helpful!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

WEBSITE OF THE DAY: Rick and Andy Steves' Helpful Websites

As I wrote in this week's Where's Johnny Jet, while speaking this past weekend at the L.A. Times Travel and Adventure Show, I got to hang out with one of my mentors, Rick Steves. BTW: In case you missed it, I was up in Seattle several months ago taping an hour-long radio interview for his nationally syndicated show (130 NPR stations). The show is now available for free as a podcast on his website. Besides my interview and all the other interesting travel experts he has interviewed, he also offers free audio tour guides for a number of cities in Europe. They are a little bit difficult to find on his site so it takes some fishing around (here are the French tours). However, once you find them, all you need to do is download them to your iPod, iPhone, MP3 player or whatever you use and just press play. Rick said he tested them out himself and that they're very informative but it was just a little weird to hear his own voice talking to him. What's also cool is that his 21- year-old son Andrew just created his own handy website with travel tips and ideas for students abroad. Check it out!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Ritz-Carlton's Massages

I just came back from The Ritz-Carlton in Marina Del Rey. I was there for a meeting but ended up getting a massage since my neck and shoulders were killing me so much that I couldn’t even lift a glass of water with my left hand. I’m not sure what is about their masseuses but they rock! I had a Russian lady who’s been a massage therapist for 16 years and she worked me like she was kneading dough. She was similar to the Ritz masseuse I had a couple week’s ago at their property in Orlando. The best part is you don’t have to be a guest to make an appointment -- much of their clientele are from locals. Check it out for yourself: http://www.ritzcarlton.com/.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Arthur Frommer

One of the best parts about speaking at the L.A. Times Travel Show is I get to hang out with travel legends. This morning I spent some time with Arthur Frommer himself and he made my day when he said he really gets a kick out of my stories on Frommers.com.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Meet Samantha Brown

A few hours ago I completed the first of my two panels at the Los Angeles Times Travel & Adventure Show. It seemed to go off very well and I got to meet the Travel Channel’s Samantha Brown (pictured above). She was very cool and even prettier in person. Tomorrow’s panel is on 10 Best Destinations for Traveling on a Budget which begins at noon in Petree Hall C at in the WEST Hall of the Los Angeles Convention Center. I hope to see you there!

Friday, February 13, 2009

L.A. Times Travel & Adventure Show


If you live in Southern California, come on down tomorrow and/or Sunday (February 14th and 15th) to the Los Angeles Convention Center and attend the L.A. Times Travel & Adventure Show. It's a great place to find all kinds of travel inspiration, advice and deals. Yours truly will be speaking on two panels. Other featured speakers include: Rick Steves, Arthur Frommer, Pauline Frommer, Samantha Brown, Rolf Potts and more. Click here for further details.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Breaking News: A Continental plane has crashed into a house in Buffalo, New York.


Continental flight 3407 operated by Colgan Air as Continental Connection. 48 on board.

WEBSITE OF THE DAY: TheCurrencyCommission.com

TheCurrencyCommission.com
Do you have left over European currency that's been lying around in a drawer for years because it's from a country that switched to the euro and you never got around to converting it? If yes, don't fret because there's a place that still takes most dated European bank notes (here's the list http://www.thecurrencycommission.com/faq-currency.html) and will convert them to either euros, US or even Canadian dollars. However, your leftover coins are going to have to be a souvenir since they’re not accepted -- I give mine to school-aged kids.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

WEBSITE OF THE DAY: Trippish.com

Trippish.com
Here's a cool website for people who love taking road trips. Trippish.com is a free service that gives users driving directions and weather forecasts for specific routes. All you need to do is input the start and end points (street address, city and state or zip code). Enter in the departure time and/or estimated average driving speed for more detailed and accurate forecasts. It will even provide advice on better times to leave but there’s a disclaimer (where they misspell responsible) that time and distances of trips are approximated.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

TRAVEL PRODUCT OF THE WEEK: OtterBox.com

OtterBox.com
Over the past 2 1/2 years, I have struggled to find the perfect iPhone case. Well, now I’ve found what I was looking for. The iPhone 3G Impact case is the perfect blend of style and protection. The tapered grip on the case is easy to hold and the reinforced edges are strong but not bulky. OtterBox cases are dedicated to all the klutzy, spontaneous, chaotic and graceless individuals who have broken a device or valuable due to their active lifestyles. They have cases for a variety of phones and mp3 players, all at a very reasonable price point. The iPhone 3G Impact case is the only case that all of my friends with iPhones were begging me for. Check them out ... you won't be disappointed! –Kevin O’Connor

Monday, February 09, 2009

VIDEO OF THE WEEK: Crew of Flight 1549

In case you missed this week’s 60 Minutes, which featured exclusive interviews with the hero crew of Flight 1549 that crashed into the Hudson River on January 15th, here’s a link (http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2009/02/08/60minutes/main4783580.shtml) so you can watch it online in high quality. The only thing you have to deal with is the 20-second commercial before each segment (there are three) but that’s it. It’s actually better than watching it on T.V. I don’t know about you but, like many people from around the world, Captain Sullenberger has captured my heart with his cool calm, collective demeanor and heroics. It’s nice to have a real life hero that you can look up to and honor for their hard work.

Friday, February 06, 2009

WEBSITE OF THE DAY: SubwayTheater.com

SubwayTheater.com
I was going to give SubwayTheater.com the honor of being Bonus Website of the Week since they are having three unique performances this weekend. However, I just checked their site and saw that seats are already sold out and the waitlists are full. But if you’re into theater, it might be something to keep on your radar since the idea is so cool: live theatre below New York City on a subway. Hopefully, they will have more, which is why I think it’s still a worth mention.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

WEBSITE OF THE DAY: AirTranU.com

AirTranU.com
Last week, I spoke about budget travel at two colleges in Florida (here’s a link to a newspaper article about it). In my research, I discovered a pretty unique deal from AirTran Airlines. AirTran offers college age (18 to 22) students (you don’t have to be a student) the opportunity to fly standby. It’s definitely something to consider if you’re traveling last minute and are headed to one of their 50+ destinations (Cancun and San Juan are excluded). But it’s probably not worth it if you have to make a connection as you pay for each segment. Depending on the length of the flight, prices are either $69 or $99. Keep in mind it’s standby and passengers aren’t allowed to check a bag. Certain blackout dates apply so be sure to read all the rules before showing up at the airport.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

WEBSITE OF THE DAY: QuikBook.com

QuikBook.com
It was recently brought to my attention that I’ve never made QuikBook.com website of the week. I must apologize because I’ve been using them for years. One of their greatest assets is that you can book rooms on their site but pay the hotel directly when you check out. That way, if you need to change or cancel your reservations you can do so without any penalty fees or charges. On top of that, check out there deals for New York City hotels this week! Some begin at prices as low as $77.

Monday, February 02, 2009

Punxsutawney Phil sees shadow, winter to continue

Punxsutawney Phil sees shadow, winter to continue http://www.usatoday.com/weather/news/2009-02-02-groundhog-day_N.htm