6 Hacks to Get Your Luggage through the Airport

luggage blog

Sometimes luggage can be a hassle. And nowhere does that become more apparent when you’re stuck in the airport for hours and need to figure out how to juggle carry-ons, checked-in bags, purses and laptops, all the while shuffling through security and onto the plane. Here are a few quick tips to get to your destination with your bags and sanity intact.

1. Weigh your Luggage.

It can be a pain to pay overcharge fees for excess or oversized luggage. Be sure to check with the airlines their weight limit and size requirements online. Get a tape measure and a hand-held luggage scale to catch the exact measurements.


2. Fed up with Bag Fees? So are we

Even if you pack carefully, you might still find an unforeseen charge on your ticket. Some airlines include checked-in luggage on your ticket, but with the rising trend of the nickle-and-dime, certainly not all. Extra luggage purchased at the airport can cost anywhere from $60-80 and up. To avoid unnecessary bag costs, make sure you pre-purchase any necessary bags online prior to check-in. Some airlines cut off purchase deadline by up to 72 hours, so be sure to make these purchases at least 3 days in advance of your flight. If you need additional baggage allowance, buy this 3 days prior as well.

3. Carry-ons for the win!

It can be risky to check your luggage – there might be extra fees, the baggage handlers might lose it, you might be stuck waiting at the carousel. To speed your trip along, you can opt to pack everything in your carry-on. Of course, this means packing carefully and economically—but if you can manage it, it might save you a lot of trouble.


4. Or Maybe You’re Pro-Checked In?

Then again, maybe dragging along your luggage is a pain and you want to stick with just a luggage or backpack. Check in everything so you have less to worry about. You won’t have to worry about gels or liquids. You won’t have to worry about grabbing your bags between connecting flights. And best of all you won’t have to fight for space in the overhead bin.

5. Lost Bag! What Now?

The worst has happened and the luggage has been misplaced. If the carousel finishes its rotations without your luggage, file a report with the airline before you leave the airport. Make sure the airline rep gives you a copy of the report, their name and phone number so you can follow up with them—and that you supply them with a forwarding address. If your bag is declared lost by the airline, you’ll have to file a detailed report with an estimated value of the contents. Fortunately, the Department of Transportation ensures that all airlines reimburse consumers for lost bags. Note that this doesn’t count with delayed bags.

6. Long Layover? Leave your Luggage at the Airport

Have a long layover 5+ hours and want to spend it exploring the city? Check in a storage locker for a couple hours. Most airports have these for a small coin fee. You can dump your bags and explore the new town at leisure. Some airlines, like Singapore Changi Airport, run a shuttle specifically designed to take passengers around town while they wait for their connecting flight.

These tips and more from our qualified travel agents at Willamette Intl Travel. Call 503-224-0180 or email inquiry@wittravel.com. 


Leave a comment

Filed under Travel Tips

Art Tour of Japan with Amy

art tour of japan with amy

Our longtime friend Amy Osaki of Art Tours by Amy is guiding a trip to the little-known side of Japan. She usually leads only one or two art tours each year. 

This November, explore Japanese art through iconic castles, monasteries, museums, and gardens. Step back in time and visit the home of a famous garden designer, remote art islands in the Seto Inland Sea, and discover the 1100-year-old Shikoku 88 Temple Pilgrimage.

Ask our WIT travel agents for more information or to secure your spot on this marvelous, once-in-a-lifetime tour. Space on this special trip is limited, but a deposit will guarantee your reservation. 503-224-0180 or email inquiry@wittravel.com. 

Amy studied art at the Louvre Museum in Paris, holds a master’s degree from Winterthur Museum, and worked as a museum professional for over a decade including six years at the Portland Art Museum. She has led art trips to Paris, Amsterdam, Prague, Barcelona, Budapest, Krakow, Peru, Japan and Russia for the past sixteen years. 

Japan Heritage: Art, History & Gardens

Dates: November 3-12, 2018

Arrive in Kyoto and depart from Takamatsu. Your travel agent will be happy to organize your flights in and out of Tokyo. 


Himeji Castle

Day 1 – Kyoto: Nijo Castle, Ryukoku Museum, Nishi Hongwanji

Visit the palaces and the gardens of the Nijo Castle World Heritage Site built in 1601 for the Tokugawa shogun. At the Ryukoku Museum and Nishi Hongwanji, step further back in time and learn about the birth of the Buddha 2,500 years ago in India and the spread of Buddhism to Japan 1,000 years later. 

Day 2 – Kyoto: Kyoto National Museum, Kawai Kanjiro

Today is a visit to the iconic Kyoto National Museum was established in 1897 as one of three national museums founded to preserve traditional culture, antiquities, temples and shrines. In addition, visit the museum’s new wing designed by architect Yoshi Taniguchi (who also designed the MOMA in New York). After lunch, proceed to the private home of Kawai Kanjiro, a ceramic artist who led a movement known as “mingei” whose aim was to perpetuate traditional Japanese folk arts at risk of disappearing due to the rapid modernization. Preserved by his family, the home exhibits over four decades of his art as well as the kiln (one of only 4 surviving in Kyoto) used by Kanjiro and other artists to fire their work.

Day 3 – Himeji Castle

After breakfast, travel via high-speed train (shinkansen) to Himeji town. Spend the day exploring Himeji castle built in 1609 and the best preserved of the feudal castles in Japan. Traverse the moat, pass through the gate, follow stone paths, and if you wish, climb the many flights of stairs to the summit of the inner keep of the castle where you can gaze out over the town.

Day 4 – Kyoto: Tofukuji Temple and Mirei Shigemori Garden Museum

Tofukuji, a temple built in 1236, is known for its spectacular display of fall foliage. Less well known are the four gardens at the head priest’s residence designed by Mirei Shigemori. In 50 years, Shigemori designed more than 180 gardens in Japan and worked with Isamu Noguchi on the UNESCO garden in Paris. We will visit the temple and gardens at Tofukuji, and in the afternoon Shigemori’s home and private garden. Shigemori described the melding of the classical and contemporary in garden design as “eternal modern” and his descendants have preserved his home and garden as a museum.


Pilgrims at Shusshaka-ji (Temple 72) on the Shikoku 88 Temple Pilgrimage

Day 5 – Teshima and Benesse House

Depart Kyoto and travel by train and bus to Uno port where you’ll board a ferry to Teshima, an island in the Seto Inland Sea. In 2010, a new program on Teshima Island opened as the Teshima Art Museum designed by architect Ryue Nishizawa and artist Rei Naito. The result is the “successful integration of art, architecture, and nature.” Continue to Christian Boltanski’s seaside art installation of Archives du Coeur which also opened in 2010. In the afternoon, journey by boat from Teshima to Naoshima where you’ll enjoy a two-night stay at the Benesse House Park Hotel designed by Tadao Ando. After dinner, you may visit the Benesse House Museum which is open to hotel guests until 11pm. In addition, enjoy over forty artworks in the hotel and on the grounds of the hotel and the museum.

Day 6 – Inujima and Benesse House

This morning, journey by boat from Naoshima to Inujima to experience another contemporary art project by Benesse House. Opened to the public in 2008, the Seirensho Museum on Inujima was created by architect Hiroshi Sambuichi and artist Yukinori Yanagi. Explore five art houses in Inujima village, a project led by architect Kazuyo Sejima and art director Yuko Hasegawa. Revel in the tranquility of the village and contemplate the industrial legacy and subsequent rebirth of this remote island. 


Detail, Nijo Castle Gate, Kyoto

Day 7 – Nagi Museum of Contemporary Art

Depart Naoshima by boat and travel to Uno port. Here, board a private bus for the journey north. Stop at the innovative Nagi Museum of Contemporary Art described by the New York Times as “more startlingly original than any built by a major city in recent years.” Conceived and designed by Arata Isozaki (who also designed the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles), this innovative museum is a delight and a splendid example of site-specific contemporary art. After lunch and the museum visit, continue north to Matsue, a city near the coast of the Sea of Japan. 

Day 8 – Adachi Museum, Lafcadio Hearn Museum, Matsue Castle

Travel by private bus to the Adachi Museum. Created by Zenko Adachi, the museum melds its art collection with its garden. Adachi designed the gardens to be viewed simultaneously with the paintings and strived for the viewer to be “moved by beauty.” Adachi said, “The garden is, so to speak, a picture scroll.” You can take a virtual step into the gardens thanks to the Google Art Project. The Adachi Museum also exhibits a collection of ceramics by Kawai Kanjiro. Return to Matsue and continue the journey into 19th century Japan with a visit to the home and museum of Lafcadio Hearn. Hearn arrived in Japan in 1890 on assignment for Harper’s Monthly magazine. In Matsue, he married Setsu Koizumi in 1896 and became a naturalized Japanese citizen. He wrote 30 books celebrating the beauty and mystery of old Japan. Afterwards, tour Matsue Castle before returning to our hotel. Enjoy dinner on your own this evening.


Yayoi Kusama’s “Pumpkin” on Naoshima

Day 9 – Ohara Museum of Art

Depart Matsue by private bus and journey south to the Ohara Museum of Art in Kurashiki near the city of Okayama. Opened in 1930, the Ohara Museum was the first museum in Japan to exhibit western art. Works by Monet, Renoir, Picasso, Matisse, and Calder fill the galleries. Some, including Waterlilies by Claude Monet, were purchased directly from the artist in the 1920s. Ohara’s son expanded the collection to include Japanese craft including ceramics by Kawai Kanjiro and Bernard Leach who was a British potter and leader with Kanjiro in the “mingei” movement to preserve traditional Japanese folk art. After lunch, cross the Inland Sea via the Seto Ohashi (bridge) and arrive on the island of Shikoku.

Day 10 – 88 Temple Pilgrimage

Today we’ll experience a portion of the 88 Temple Pilgrimage, a route closely associated with his life. Travel by bus from Takamatsu to visit five temples and learn about the pilgrims (known as henro in Japanese) who travel from all over Japan and the world to undertake the pilgrimage. Zentsuji (Temple 75) is often said to be the place where Kobo Daishi was born in the year 774. Consider purchasing a temple stamp book (called a nokyocho). At each temple office, you can have someone stamp your book with the vermilion stamps bearing the temple’s name. Then, using a calligraphy brush, symbols representing the main deity of the temple are handwritten in your book. You can acquire a blank book that you can use for any temple in Japan or a special book made specifically for the Shikoku 88 Temple Pilgrimage. Perhaps you will return someday to complete the entire route! Return to Takamastu for a farewell dinner and overnight.


  • 10 nights of lodging in Western-style hotels/inns
  • 2-3 Japanese-Style meals per day -> 10 B, 10 L, 7 D.
  • Price: $6,650
  • Single Room: $500
  • Access to museums and attractions,
  • admission to all sites,
  • all ground transportation,
  • expert insights into the art and culture of Japan provided by your trip leader and local experts.


Leave a comment

Filed under Art & Architecture, Japan

Travel News: World’s Oldest Message in a Bottle found on Australian Beach

 travel news message in bottle

World’s Oldest Message In A Bottle Found On Australian Beach

It’s always exciting to discover a message in a bottle, but rarely ones that are 132 years old. Found on Wedge Island in Western Australia on Jan. 21, it’s the oldest message in a bottle ever discovered. The discovery breaks the last record for the oldest message in a bottle, which was 108 years old and found in Germany in 2005. Dating back to 1886, the gin bottle was tossed from the German ship Paula in the Indian Ocean as part of an oceanographic experiment. Scientific researchers hoped the bottle would help them better understand ocean currents and hence find better shipping routes. The ship was a German sailing Barque Circa 1880. Perth resident Tonya Illman uncovered the bottle half-buried as she was walking with a friend along the soft sand dunes, thinking it might look good in her bookcase. “My son’s girlfriend was the one who discovered the note when she went to tip the sand out. The note was damp, rolled tightly and wrapped with string,” Tonya Illman said in a statement. “We took it home and dried it out, and when we opened it we saw it was a printed form, in German, with very faint German handwriting on it.” Illman and her husband Kym brought the bottle to the Western Australian Museum, who have published a report on the discovery. The Illmans even have produced s video about their find. Researchers think the bottle washed up on the beach within a year of being thrown off the ship, but was buried in the sand until a storm helped to unearth it a century later. The note, in German, asked for its finder to send the slip back to the German Naval Observatory or the nearest German consulate, with the date of its discovery and where it was found. Dutch and German researchers were able to find a record of the bottle being thrown overboard by the captain of the Paula, ending one very long experiment. The Illmans have loaned the bottle to the Museum for two years.


‘Millennial’ Cruise Line U By Uniworld To Remove Age Restrictions On All Sailings

Cruise Critic reports that the launch in April aimed at millennials, is already abandoning its original age limits and opening all of its sailings to all adult cruisers. Originally, U by Uniworld set itself up as a cruise line meant solely for travelers ages 21 to 45. An offshoot of the luxury river cruise line Uniworld, U by Uniworld stressed a youthful vibe, with activities such as rooftop excursions of Paris, silent discos, craft cocktails and other millennial-focused offerings. The line’s two 120-passenger ships, The A and The B, were revamped in modern decor, including cabins that were meant for friends bunking together, and spaces that focused on hanging out, such as communal dining tables and a lounge on the top deck. Opening the sailings to adult travelers of all ages will not change the way the cruise line operates, a spokesperson said. “Originally, U was very specific in defining its target market, but has learned that the experience is less about a number and more about attracting a new generation of adult travelers to river cruising,” said spokesperson Devyn Barker, in an email. “U by Uniworld will remain the same with sexy, stylish ships and itineraries that focus on longer stays in destination, allowing guests to connect with local people and experiences and each city’s vibrant nightlife. Removing the gated age restriction will not change the product or efforts to attract a new generation of adult travelers,” said Barker.” The ship’s itineraries on the Seine, the Rhine, the Main and the Danube have not changed from their original launch; however, the age restrictions have been removed from the company website. The change in U by Uniworld’s booking policies, however, casts doubt on whether millennials can fill an entire river cruise ship.

Screen Shot 2018-03-09 at 5.50.57 PM

Viking Cruises Orders Another Six Ships

Cruise Industry News reports Fincantieri and Viking Ocean Cruises have announced that they entered an agreement for six further ocean ships, which would lead to a total number of 16 930-guest ships for Viking by 2027. Delivery dates are 2024, 2025, 2026, 2027, and subject to specific conditions, according to a statement. Fincantieri and Viking said they will develop an “advanced project based on the successful characteristics of the previous ships, updated and revisited in line with the latest technologies available on the market.”


How to Ditch Those Annoying Bags When Traveling

The NYT reports for less than the cost of a Starbucks latte, a surprising variety of businesses, delis, dry cleaners, mobile phone stores, will look after your bags so you can sightsee hands-free. You’ve got a few hours before you can check into your vacation rental or your hotel before you leave for your flight, and you want to do some sightseeing, but that means slogging along crowded sidewalks with your (undoubtedly overstuffed) luggage in tow. Increasingly, you may not only store your bags for a couple of hours at the usual places (airports, train stations, luggage storage companies), but also with a surprising variety of businesses, delis, dry cleaners, clothing boutiques, wine shops, eyebrow-shaping salons, for less than the cost of a couple of Starbucks lattes. In New York City, for example, you can stash your bags for $2 an hour per bag at Chelsea Bicycles, the Puerh Brooklyn teashop, or an Al Horno Lean Mexican Kitchen (which is convenient if you’re also in the mood for a burrito), among hundreds of other nontraditional storage locations. Websites and apps that help travelers find these short-term spots have likened themselves to Airbnb for luggage: Travelers go online and book a date (it can be the same day) and location (maps show you your options), then drop off their bags. Afterward, some sites allow users to rate the storage location to help fellow travelers pick and choose. (While many places require advance booking, you can usually cancel free of charge.) Each storage network has its own rules, but they all typically provide luggage security seals as well as some version of insurance against damage, theft and loss.


Why International Airlines Are Flocking Back To Taiwan

International airlines are flocking back to Taiwan after a long absence to cash in on Taiwanese tourists and trade opportunities. Taiwan News reports Despite pressure to not recognize Taiwan as a country on their websites by China, several international air carriers are restoring their services to Taiwan because of the potential for increased tourism and trade. In spite of pressure on airlines such as Delta Air Lines and Qantas by China to classify Taiwan as a part of the communist country, and the recent spat over Chinese unilateral use of the controversial M503 route, many international carriers have started to reopen old direct routes to Taiwan. In the 1990s, many international airlines services discontinued services to Taiwan due to threats from China that they would retaliate with the confiscation of landing rights if they continued to fly directly to Taiwan. At the time, Beijing claimed the sole right to negotiate landing rights for Taiwan, as it claims the country to be part of China. Some countries got around this restriction by creating subsidiaries entirely for flights to Taiwan, while not affecting the main company’s landing rights in China. Even Taiwanese airlines had to bow to Beijing, such as Chinese Airlines’ removal the Taiwanese flag from its logo in favor of a plum flower. However, in 2008, direct commercial airline flights were opened between Taiwan and China, greatly boosting air travel across the strait. In recent years, growing numbers of Taiwanese tourists have increasingly started to travel further afield beyond China, and in response, international carriers are reopening dormant routes to help boost tourism in their home countries and increase opportunities for trade. Now many airlines such as Air Canada, Air France, Air New Zealand have returned.

Passengers Vote YYZ As ‘Best Large Airport, North America’

Open Jaw reports Passengers travelling through Toronto Pearson in 2017 have voted Canada’s largest airport as ‘Best Large Airport, North America.’ The Airport Service Quality (ASQ) Award and the title of Best Large Airport, serving more than 40 million annual passengers, in North America is an initiative of Airports Council International (ACI), the global organization representing the world’s airports. Now in its 12th year, ACI’s Airport Service Quality (ASQ) index is described as the only global benchmarking survey that assesses pax satisfaction while at the airport on their day of travel. The survey evaluates service quality at airports against 34 performance indicators across 18 elements of the airport experience including check-in, wayfinding, security, food and beverage, airport facilities and passport control. This award is a first for Toronto Pearson and comes at a time when the airport has invested in a several improvements to enhance the customer service experience, such as working with the Canadian Air Transport Security Agency (CATSA) to introduce new, faster CATSA Plus security screening; redevelopment projects in Terminal 3 to improve shopping and dining options and overall ambiance; and a focus on maintaining facilities to a high standard, particularly bathrooms, with many undergoing modern makeovers. From 28 new food and retail offerings, and updating greenery, artwork and fixtures, to being the first airport in the world to introduce MagnusCards digital card decks, an innovative wayfinding tool for persons with cognitive special needs, YYZ has introduced numerous passenger-focused updates in 2017 for an improved airport experience.

Leave a comment

Filed under Europe

Happy International Women’s Day 2018!

women's day

Happy International Women’s Day!

On this day, we honor all the awesome women throughout the world.


Several of our beloved tour companies and travel brands are taking the time to speak out about their projects that benefit women in communities all over the globe:

Small Luxury Hotels of the World reached out to the awesome women in their teams around the globe. 

– Article from The Independent: Four Female Pilots discuss life on the Flightdeck

– Video: Emirates’ all-female crew https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xSa4fB3nC9U

– G Adventures’ nonprofit initiative Planeterra, features female-focused projects around the year’s official theme: ‘Time is Now: Rural and urban activists transforming women’s lives’


In 2018, we’re seeing a lot of solo adventurers hit the road, and this means loads of solo women travelers too! Many cruise lines are reducing their solo supplement, or getting rid of them altogether, so we won’t be surprised if we continue to see the trend of solo women travelers continue to rise.

Interested in a Solo or Women-only trip? Ask one of our WIT Agents to learn more about such opportunities. Call 503-224-0180 or email inquiry@wittravel.com. 

Leave a comment

Filed under Europe

Springtime in Japan


Springtime in Japan is fast approaching and with it the promise of cherry blossoms. Many Japanese families and friends spend their time on a picnic known as  ‘hanami’, where they sit and admire the ubiquitous cherry blossom trees. Trees usually bloom pink and white at the end of March into early April in Tokyo and Kyoto, casting a delicate, brief frame over parks and trails. The farther south you go, the earlier the bloom season.

Needing a Spring getaway just around the corner? Think Japan in 2018. Ask our WIT Agents about booking a trip to Japan for you and your family.


Introducing: the New Japan Bike Tour with DuVine

Voted Travel + Leisure’s World’s Best Awards 2017, DuVine offers a 7-day guided cycling tour through tea fields, Yoshino cherry blossom district, and Kyoto. Stroll through bamboo forests and drink hot green tea with the locals. Discover your spirit of adventure with a sustainable journey through the heart of Japan that many visitors don’t get to see.


More Reading on the WIT Blog

Pam in Japan

Japanese with Alexander + Roberts

Nikko, Japan

Kamakura, Japan

Nara, Japan

Travel Tips: Japan

All Aboard: Japan with Princess Cruises


Links to Other Inspiration à la Japonaise

Japan Station has an awesome infographic Guide of Japan Rail

Conde Nast: 25 Most Beautiful Places in Japan

Conde Nast: Here’s when the 2018 Japanese Cherry Blossom Season Starts

Vogue: 6 of the Best Luxury Ryokan


Leave a comment

Filed under Europe

Travel News this Week

festivals around the world.jpg
A 10,000-Year Clock Is Being Built Under A Mountain Owned By Jeff Bezos
Travelwirenews reports the clock’s builders hope it will encourage people to think about humanity’s distant future. Hours away from any airport, deep in the heart of the Sierra Diablo mountains along the Texas-Mexico border, a 500-foot-tall clock is taking shape. In an era when atomic clocks can tick billions of times a second, the colossal timepiece will tick once a year, for the next 10,000 years. The 10,000 Year Clock is the brainchild of inventor Danny Hillis, who dreamed up the idea in 1986 as a way to encourage people to think about humanity’s distant future. After spending a decade designing the clock, Hillis and the San Francisco-based Long Now Foundation he co-founded are building and installing it within a mountain owned by Amazon and Blue Origin founder Jeff Bezos, who has invested $42 million in the project. Last week Bezos tweeted a time-lapse video showing construction of the clock, calling it “a symbol for long-term thinking.” The clock will be 500 ft tall, all mechanical, powered by day/night thermal cycles, and synchronized at solar noon, a symbol for long-term thinking. The foundation’s website offers its own rationale for building the clock via a series of questions: “If you have a Clock ticking for 10,000 years what kinds of generational-scale projects will it suggest? If a Clock can keep going for ten millennia, shouldn’t we make sure our civilization does as well? If the Clock keeps going after we are personally long dead, why not attempt other projects that will request future generations to finish?” The clock will be driven by giant gears within a shaft in the mountain and powered by thermal energy harvested from the changes in temperature associated with the day/night cycle on the mountain above. The clock can also be wound by people who make the difficult hike to the site for a visit. A century hand will advance once every 100 years, and a cuckoo will emerge once every 1,000 years, according to a blog post by Bezos. The mechanism will also contain 10 bells and a so-called “melody generator,” created by rock musician Brian Eno, that is designed to produce a unique pattern of chimes each time the bells sound. No completion date for the clock has been set. “The clock of the Long Now impels us to wonder how we will live as far in the future as we are from the beginnings of cities, far beyond the spans it will take to solve all the problems that occupy our thoughts now… If the clock can be built, it may inspire the imaginations of billions of people.”
Roald Amundsen Delayed as Hurtigurten Cancels Inaugural Season
Cruise Industry News reports because of problems at the shipyard, Hurtigruten will not take delivery of the 530-passenger Roald Amundsen until 2019. The new ship is being built at the Kleven shipyard, which faced financial issues in 2017 and was subsequently bailed out by a consortium of investors, led by Hurtigruten, which combined with other parties to take a 40% interest in the yard. “We are sorry to confirm that the delivery and introduction of the world’s most advanced, modern and environmentally friendly expedition ship, MS Roald Amundsen, will be delayed until 2019. Kleven yard, where the highly advanced vessel is currently under construction, has informed us that due to the complexity of the project, they will need more time to complete the vessel and will not be able to deliver her on schedule,” the company said, in a statement sent to Cruise Industry News. “While we are eager to welcome you onboard this truly unique vessel as soon as possible, this delay means that we unfortunately must cancel the voyage that you had booked with us. Please accept my sincerest apologies, and rest assured that we will do everything within our power to make your Hurtigruten adventure happen,” Hurtigruten CEO Daniel Skjeldam wrote in a letter to booked guests. Those guests will get a full refund, including cancelled flight costs, the company said. In addition, it is offering discounts on alternative Hurtigruten expedition sailings. Roald Amundsen’s first voyage is now expected to depart on May 3,2019 from Lisbon. 
Baccarat Hotel New York Named Five-Star Hotel By Forbes Travel Guide 
Baccarat Hotel in New York has been named a Five-Star Hotel By Forbes Travel Guide in Its Official 2018 Star Rating Announcement. The Baccarat Hotel New York is one of only two New York City hotels to receive the Five-Star award since 2016, and will be showcased with all the Star Rating recipients on ForbesTravelGuide.com. The Baccarat Hotel is owned by Sunshine Insurance Group, a comprehensive insurance financial group based in China that ranks among the country’s most successful insurance and investment firms. Sunshine Insurance Group purchased the property from Starwood Capital Group in 2015. The Baccarat Hotel New York is the first hotel and global flagship for the 254-year-old Baccarat crystal brand. Across the street from the Museum of Modern Art and steps from Fifth Avenue’s legendary shopping, the 114 guest rooms & suites designed by Paris-based, luxury design team Gilles & Boissier delight the senses with lavish finishes and artisanal attention to detail. Amenities include stunning salon-style spaces where guests enjoy breakfast, cocktails, afternoon tea and fare; a beautiful barrel-vaulted bar featuring Baccarat crystal stemware; Spa de La Mer, the first of its kind in the world, and a 55-foot marble swimming pool reminiscent of La Cote d’Azur. 
No. 1 Airport In The US For Stolen Baggage
While checking a bag is common practice for many travelers, some airports have better track records than others. In fact, there’s one airport that comes out as the No. 1 most notorious for missing baggage. (It’s important to note that for the sake of this article, we’re talking about missing items from bags, as opposed to missing bags that never reach their destination.) The information came from Stratos Jet Charters, Inc. The company used data that the US Department of Homeland Security compiled on TSA claims. Based on the claims filed between January 2016 and February 2017, here are the items most likely to be lost or damaged. Personal electronics/Cosmetics and grooming (tie) Clothing is the second most coveted baggage item. The NO. 7 airport for claims is Boston Logan. In just four years, they had just under 900 claims. No. 6 is Atlanta Hartsfield Jackson with 1,063 claims. No 5 is Newark Liberty International Airport with 1,072 claims. No. 4 is Miami with 1,168 claims. No 3 is Orlando with 1,308 claims. No. 2 is Los Angeles is with 1,491 claims. The No. 1 worst airport for theft is John F. Kennedy International Airport with 2,493 claims. For years, JFK has lived up to its reputation as the airport with the most theft in the country. In fact, the whistle was blown on a huge inside-job scam back in 2012, claiming that JFK had about 200 thefts per day.
American Cruise Lines Starts Construction On Another Riverboat
American Cruise Lines announced that construction has begun on the second modern riverboat in the series of five, according to a statement. The second riverboat is a sister-ship to state-of-the-art American Song, the first modern riverboat available in the US, which will make its inaugural cruise on the Mississippi River this October, the company said. “American Cruise Lines revived US river cruising in 2010 and is now is transforming US cruising with these innovative new riverboats. They are unlike anything other cruise companies are doing and the interest has been phenomenal,” says Timothy J. Beebe, Vice President of American Cruise Lines. Itinerary details will be released soon, but American Cruise Lines has said that the second new riverboat in the series will be available in the summer, 2019. Work has already started at Chesapeake Shipbuilding, in Salisbury, MD, where the American Song is also being built. The American Song will feature a bow that can open to a retractable gangway system for angling it towards various river bank and dock configurations. The ship will thus be capable of more itinerary options. Onboard, 190 guests will be comfortably accommodated in 102 staterooms across five decks. The smallest accommodation is the 250-square-foot single-occupancy stateroom with a private balcony. Double-occupancy staterooms range from 304 to 900 square feet for the Grand Suite. The fleet is known for having exceptionally large accommodations. The second ship has not yet been named. 
The FAA May Stop Airlines From Shrinking Seat Sizes
The FAA is set to announce the results of its review of seat sizes and legroom in the near future. That review could prevent airlines from further reducing the space available to passengers as carriers cram a few extra seats on board. The review, which followed a judge’s order in July, is looking at the safety implications of tighter seats. Seat pitch, better known as leg room by most flyers, has dropped from an average of 35 inches to 31 inches, with some airlines only offering 28 inches. Seat widths have gone from 18 inches to 16.5 inches. The issue has become contentious enough that legislators have introduced bills to stop airlines from further shrinking seat and leg room, but so far those have failed to make much headway. Passengers are backing up the complaints with their wallets. In 2016, airline profits were down over $11 billion. 

Leave a comment

Filed under Europe

Island Hopping in the Hebrides

island hopping in the hebrides

Island Hopping in the Hebrides

Island hopping in Scotland is easy, with regular ferry connections from the west and north coasts of the mainland, and in-between the islands. On some islands it’s also possible to go via plane – but truthfully, isn’t the ferry just more fun?


So if you’re looking for a unique getaway this holiday season, from Spring, Summer and Fall—think the Scottish Isles.

CalMac, whose video you saw last blog post, is the largest operator of ferry services in west Scotland, and NorthLink Ferries cover the north of Scotland to the Orkneys and Shetlands. Ask your travel agent at Willamette Intl Travel to learn more and to arrange your trip.


What can you do Island Hopping in the Inner Hebrides?

– Explore the castles and dramatic natural landscapes of Skye

– Roam the beauty of the isles of Jura and Colonsay

– Sample the whiskeys of the Isle of Islay

– Go bird-watching on the Isle of Mull

– Explore the ancient abbey on the Isle of Iona


The Enchanting Isle of Skye

What can you do Island Hopping in the Outer Hebrides?

– Paddle on a kayak off the Barra coast

– Walk along the illustrious beaches of the Luskentyre Sands on Harris

– Pedal through the roads on a cycling holiday (ask us about tour packages!)

– Discover the traditions behind Harris Tweed on Harris or Lewis

– Explore the abandoned Isle of St. Kilda, a UNESCO World Heritage Site


Leave a comment

Filed under Europe