The Brancatelli File for 1989
DECEMBER 1: CAR RENTALS IN AN INSTANT
Travelers can now rent cars at major domestic airports without standing in line—if they are wiling to pay for the privilege. Instant-rental clubs from National and Hertz allow a renter to go directly from an airport terminal to an automobile without stopping at a counter or filling out a contract. That can save you up to 45 minutes at peak travel times.
NOVEMBER 15: THE BOOK ON VISAS
Travelers searching for dependable information about foreign visa requirements need look no further than Uncle Sam. The State Department’s Bureau of Consular Affairs publishes a comprehensive guide to the rules and regulations each nation imposes on American visitors. Prosaically titled “Foreign Visa Requirements” or, bureaucratically speaking, “Publication 9517,” the pamphlet provides detailed entry information on more than 200 nations.
NOVEMBER 1: OVER 50? TRAVEL DISCOUNTERS WANT YOU
Wondering why you’ve seen so many promotions aimed at so-called “mature travelers” recently? One glance at the statistics explains it all. The Census Bureau says more than one in four of us is now at least 50 years old. More importantly, this “mature” quarter of the population controls 75 percent of the nation’s wealth and 50 percent of its disposable income. And mature Americans are extremely active travelers.
OCTOBER 1: MAKEOVERS AND MADE-UP PRICES IN WAIKIKI
A combination of old-style Hawaiian spirit and modern-day amenities, the lavishly renovated Moana Hotel is a refreshingly old-fashioned antidote to the city's nondescript high-rise concrete towers. Restored over 20 months--using old photographs and hotel memorabilia from the original--at a cost of $50 million, the beaux arts and Italian renaissance Moana might be more compelling today than when it opened in 1901 as Waikiki’s first hotel.
SEPTEMBER 15: TIPS FOR LONG WEEKEND TRIPS
Once dismissed as an indulgence of cash-rich, time-poor yuppies, “short stay” weekend trips have become so popular in recent years that they’ve profoundly changed the nature of the American vacation.
JULY 1: GOING OVER THERE WITHOUT OVERPAYING
With the high season for international travel about to kick into high gear, here's an update on a few items that Americans always find tricky: consolidator fares; cdw coverage; London's theatrical inflation; and airport parking.
JUNE 1: FLYING FIRST CLASS FOR LESS
Flying first class has never been a bargain, but the price gap between the roomy seats up front and the cramped quarters in coach has grown astoundingly wide. But cost-conscious travelers can still fly up front in first class and pay coach prices. Here’s how.
MAY 1: MANHATTAN'S GHOST HOTEL
The curious tale of the erstwhile “ghost hotel” on New York’s Fifth Avenue has taken still another dramatic turn. The oft-renovated, 84-year-old former Gotham Hotel is now owned by the Peninsula Group, operator of the much-loved Hong Kong Peninsula.
APRIL 15: PLAYING THE GRAY MARKET FOR TICKETS SAFELY
Buying low-priced airline tickets through the “gray market” is riskier than ever thanks to measures taken by some major airlines. Intent on eradicating all or part of the market—in which travelers can purchase tickets for up to 70 percent less than the airlines lowest published fares—the carriers have put heavy pressure on some cut-rate firms and sued others.
APRIL 1: KEEPING TRAVEL SAFE NOW
This should have been about Paris. You know, April in Paris. It could’ve been about the cherry blossoms in Washington,. Or what to do when you finally get to Turkey or Santa Fe this summer. Unfortunately, this story has to be about making travel more secure. That’s because instead of dreaming of Paris or London or Rome, Americans are getting nervous about their safety abroad again. We’re feeling like targets again.
MARCH 1: WHAT DOES CASH COST?
These days getting cash from credit-card machines costs cash. Dipping your card into an ATM can set you back as much as $20 to withdraw $500 when you use the service.
JANUARY 15: WILL YOUR CAR RENTAL WAIT FOR YOU?
If your flight is delayed, even for an hour, you’d better call your car-rental company and let it know you’re running late. Otherwise you might end up stranded at your destination.
JANUARY 4: WHERE TO EAT AND SLEEP IN HONOLULU NOW
The 600-acre enclave of Waikiki is home to virtually all the hotel rooms on Oahu, including a slew of recently renovated properties, top-rated resorts and legendary favorites. And with six million hungry tourists and locals who dine out much more frequently than mainlanders, the town is teaming with restaurants and an unusually vibrant hotel dining scene.
JANUARY 3: WHERE THE LOCALS GO IN HONOLULU
Most kama'ainas (longtime residents) observe a hard-and-fast rule about Waikiki: don't go there unless you absolutely have to. That attitude is rooted in an unsavory snobbery that insists that nothing interesting ever happens in one of the world's most exciting neighborhoods. Forget the crowds and tourists and check out the places where the kama'ainas congregate in Honolulu.
JANUARY 2: THE BEST OF WAIKIKI
Just two-thirds the size of New York's Central Park, Waikiki encompasses more than 1,000 retail shops, 440 restaurants, 350 bars and nightclubs, 34,000 hotel rooms, six beaches, several parks and a golf course. Herewith, a collection of the "best of" food, shopping, sightseeing and much more.
JANUARY 1: EVERYONE WANTS A PIECE OF HONOLULU
Honolulu is the most dreamed-about vacation spot on the planet, and most of the 6 million annual visitors fantasize about buying a home. But its median home price--$200,000 per shack, the highest of any city in the nation—means most will leave with a beach towel rather than a beach cottage. What’s most compelling about Honolulu? It isn’t a great restaurant or a pretty vista or a wonderful museum. It’s the city’s ability to allow tourists to live out whatever Hawaiian illusions brought them over in the first place.
Copyright © 1989-2010 by Joe Brancatelli. All rights reserved.