04/02/2014

Day Tripping - How to Make the Most of Less Time

My wife just gave birth to our first child. If you’re like me, you don't have the time or the money for a vacation this summer, but maybe you can spare a few hours for a day trip here and there. If economic or other reasons (such as a screaming baby) are keeping you from enjoying that long flight, faraway drive, or overnight hotel stay, short day trips might be just what you’re looking for.

On Hotwire, they refer to this kind of vacation as a "straycation," or "travel that's within a close proximity to the customer's origin," according to its president, Clem Bason. As a big Beatles fan, I like to call it Day Tripping. But how does one make the most of a day trip? Here are some suggestions.

Put Yourself in the Role of a Tourist

I’m from the Philadelphia area and I thought I’d seen just about everything worth seeing, but there’s a lot more to do than I initially considered. Your closest metropolitan area probably holds at least a few hidden gems for you to discover. By assuming the mindset of a tourist, you start to think like a visitor and can seek out things like ballpark tours, free outdoor concerts, roller skating, visiting a museum you haven’t been to before, or simply going for a hike or bike ride on a beautiful trail. The only limit is your ability to work the search engines.

Speaking of Search Engines, Use Them

Your local Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB) website has a wealth of information about day trips in your area. I searched for "convention and visitors bureau" and "PA", and my first three results brought me Philadelphia tourism, Pennsylvania Dutch Country, and York County, PA (apparently the Factory Tour Capital of the World - who knew?). And be sure to click (safely) on links that bring you to other tourist sites—you never know what undiscovered treasure you might find (see Crayola Crayon Factory tour).

Don’t Go Too Far

If you feel trapped in the city or suburbs, then get out of town, but not so far that you feel like you really should be spending the night. Typically, three hours is pretty much the maximum you’ll be able to travel each way without feeling really tired and losing the enjoyment of the trip, especially with kids in the car.

Plan a Visit to a Park

The big national parks like Yosemite and Grand Canyon tend to get all the attention from vacationers, but thanks to the growing popularity of day trips, state parks have found themselves to be popular destinations as well. State parks across the country are pushing the concept of day trips with an advocacy group called America's State Parks which promotes state parks as "smart vacation" choices because closer destinations cut down on vehicle emissions and will also save you money.

Consider Your Budget

Staying at home doesn't mean you have to skip the fun, especially with tweens. Consider a day trip to a local arcade, amusement park, or a Dave & Buster's. The kids will have a blast and you won't need to spend a fortune. That’s the whole idea behind a great day trip. And although you might have to wait a year or more for that “real” vacation, you might as well have some fun in the meantime.

03/26/2014

15 Packing Secrets From a Professional Traveler

A long time ago, it didn't matter how many suitcases you brought along on your trip. Sizes and weight weren't much of a concern, either. But in this modern era of security checks and surcharges, it's best to plan a minimalist approach to luggage, bringing only what you really need (or less). Thus, packing for a trip can be a cause of great stress.

But it doesn't need to be, if you put some thought behind what you're bringing, why you need it, and how it's being packed. In the article, 15 Packing Secrets From a Professional Traveler by Nora Dunn (not the former SNL performer), you'll find some great tips on packing lightly from someone who literally lives out of a suitcase and travels the world full-time.

02/24/2014

The Emergencies We’d Rather Travel Without

JetwingLast week in travel, we saw a lot of scenarios that we think only play out on the silver screen. Being a frequent flyer myself, a couple of these situations hit very close to home – actually, a little closer than I’d like.

It started with news of severe turbulence resulting in injuries on a United Airlines flight from Denver to Billings, Montana. While the airplane was able to land safely at Billings Airport, five injuries were reported as a result of the severe turbulence, causing the captain to declare a medical emergency upon landing. That same day, an Ethiopian Airlines flight was hijacked by the co-pilot en route to Rome, ultimately landing in Geneva. One of the passengers delivered an account of his first-hand experience on Reddit, which gave a very insightful look on how everything happened. Then on Wednesday, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) warned airlines to be careful of possible shoe bombs coming from flights originating outside the United States. All this comes off the heels of a warning for travelers coming to and from Russia for the Olympic Games.

There are a lot of wonderful things that come from traveling the world, as Vagabondish pointed out in their article this week. However, with the good comes an inherent risk that every traveler takes when they climb in a car, sit in a train or board an airplane.  And while the risk is lower in transit than on the ground, the opportunity for hazard remains.

My thoughts go out to those affected by these events that took place this week.  Yet, as traumatizing as some of these events were, there are still lessons that can be learned for what to do during an emergency:

1: Don’t Panic
I know it’s very easy to say those words from behind a desk, but as I’ve learned from being in my own fair share of emergency situations, there’s nothing that panic will solve. By panicking, one reduces the opportunity for rational thought, problem solving and deducing ways to get out of the situation. So if you are in an emergency, remember to breathe slowly and deliberately, assess the situation at hand with a sound state of mind and make a plan based on the best available information. And keep in mind that sometimes the best heroics may be to keep yourself and others calm.

2: Follow Crew Member Instructions
Those (sometimes) friendly crew members aren’t just there to remind you to keep your tray tables up and your seats in the upright and locked position. In the event of an emergency, your crew members can be your first line of assistance in getting through an emergency – be it mid-air or on the ground. If you’re unsure of what to do, ask one of them for help. After all, this is the exact emergency for which they have been training.  Also be sure to take the 10 minutes at the beginning of your flight to go over the emergency instruction card in the seat back pocket in front of you. Knowing how to use the emergency exit doors ahead of time can mean the difference between life and death.

3: Add Travel Insurance to Your Emergency Card
If an emergency were to happen to you that forced you to diver to another nation, or if you were injured in a foreign country as a result of your travels – would you know what to do and who to contact?
I don’t know that I have the words to describe the fear and anxiety that come with not being able to get medical care while in another country, or arriving in a country that you didn’t intend to go to. Travel insurance has become a vital part of my travel kit, both at home and abroad. In many situations, travel insurance may be able to help me get home or find medical attention no matter what condition or country I’m in.

Have you ever been in an emergency situation? How would you handle the stress of being in an emergency? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.

02/14/2014

Sochi Problems: A Lesson in Murphy’s Law and the Olympics

Not even the Olympic Athletes are immune from the Sochi Problems. Just ask those who have been skiing or snowboarding on Krasnaya Polyana this week. Though I doubt that travel insurance would cover gold medal expectations...We’re now a week into the XXIII Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia. But overshadowing the events  are the stories surrounding the Olympic Village. Social media has helped us get in touch with the Olympic Games more and more every year. However, this year it has taken that access to a whole new level.

It all began when international journalists started arriving in Sochi ahead of the opening ceremonies. Unlike what the world was told leading up to the games, these correspondents shared a completely different look across their Twitter accounts. Everything from incomplete hotels to broken restrooms was put on display for the world to see. This was followed by the trials of bobsleder Johnny Quinn, who seems to have a penchant for getting stuck in the most random places. Next, a Canadian journalist got left a note informing him of the charges that come with placing personal effects on the second bed in his room. And this week, veteran NBC host Bob Costas was sidelined for the first time since 1998 as a result of a particularly bad eye infection. All of these combined make the non-expanding snowflake look like a minor hiccup.

So far, it’s been a tumultuous Olympic season. With only a week’s worth of competition under our belt, I’m a little hesitant to ask “what’s coming up next?”

While these games may be remembered for the rather humorous, behind-the-scenes look that we’ve been given through the lens of social media, more important is the lesson that every traveler can learn as a result of these games:

1. Research your accommodations before you book
Just because a hotel is marketed as a “five star resort” — that doesn’t necessarily mean it is. Before you make that non-refundable, pre-paid booking, make sure you do your research. There are many peer-review websites where guests post reviews after their stay, giving you a more objective idea of where and how accommodations rank. If you’re staying in an area with less established hotels or where reviews may not be as available, then your best bet may be sticking with the big name brand hotel chains, as opposed to the lower-priced accommodations that you know little about.

2: Always have a backup plan for your travels
Even Olympians experience problems along the way. When making your plans for your travels, always have a backup plan in place for what you’ll do if “Plan A” doesn’t work out. Something I always do before I book my hotel is search the location I’m going to, and the area I’ll be surrounded by. This way, I can make better decisions on what I should see and do when I get to where I’m going, and have alternate plans available to me should I need them.

3: Travel insurance gets packed when traveling abroad
If you happen to get an eye infection while traveling in your native country, you would know what to do:
go to a doctor, get a prescription and rest until everything’s cleared up. But what would you do in a foreign country? Not all health insurance plans cover you while you’re outside your home country. Additionally, finding proper medical care may not be as easy as following road signs. By packing a travel medical plan in your suitcase, you may be able to detour around some of these problems if you get ill or injured during your travels.

What are the biggest lessons you’ve learned as a result of these Olympic Games? How will the lessons of these games affect how you prepare for travel? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!

02/05/2014

Let the Games Begin: Travel Tips for the Winter Olympics 2014 in Sochi

The slalom will be just one of the events that athletes from around the world will be competing in at the 23rd Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, Russa, starting this week. It's not my favorite sport, but I'll watch it none the less, and root for our American competitors none the less. I wonder if athletes purchase travel insurance as part of their equipment list...Citius. Altius. Fortius. Faster. Higher. Stronger.

Three words that I believe capture the true spirit of the Olympics. It is with that same spirit that millions will descend upon the resort town of Sochi, Russia this week. This Friday, February 7th , the torch will be lit in Fisht Olympic Stadium, signifying the beginning of the XXII Olympic Winter Games. 88 nations will be represented in competition spanning 90 events, with competition taking place throughout the month of February.

With such an undertaking, the world will be watching everything that happens in Sochi. From the first drop of the puck, to the last curling stone thrown. From the first triple axel attempted, to the running of the final bobsled. Athletes, fans, and tourists alike will bear witness to history at this year's Olympiad.

With the start of the Olympic season comes much preparation and precaution from the Russian government, as well as their international partners. Considering that this is the first set of Olympic Games that is taking place in Russia in over 30 years, there’s a lot of reason for caution when it comes to an event of this size.

If you plan on being one of the many that don’t want to wait for the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, to be a part of history, be sure you’re prepared to root on your country before you board a plane, train, or automobile. Here are my best tips for making the most of your Olympic experience in Sochi:

1: Don’t leave home without your Visa
Russian regulations require that many international travelers (including American travelers) have their Visa ahead of time, before their travels begin. In many cases, this requires having a sponsor – such as a tour operator or hotel – to endorse their Visa application. However, during the Olympic Games, the Russian Embassy website states that visitors to Russia can be issued one-month tourist visas based on copies of confirmation letters and tickets for Olympic events. In some cases, you can get your Visa in hand same-day, with proof of ticket. Before you buy your ticket for Sochi, make sure you have your Visa in hand. Otherwise, you could be denied entry to the country - and out a lot of money trying to find your way home.

2: Know the rules and regulations – and what to do in an emergency
Should you end up traveling to Sochi for the Olympic Games
, it would behoove one to take a moment to revisit the rules that travelers are subject to while in Russia. All travelers to Russia are required to carry their travel documents with them at all times, and are subject to inspection upon demand. Additionally, throughout the Olympic Games, the Olympic Village will be subject to “controlled” and “forbidden” zones. Should you find yourself inadvertently in trouble, make sure that you are registered with your home nation’s Consulate upon your arrival. The Consulate office may be able to help you in certain situations.

3: Add travel insurance to your equipment list
The U.S. Embassy in Moscow website says it best:

“The Olympics are the first large-scale event to be held in Sochi and medical capacity and infrastructure in Sochi are untested for handling the volume of visitors expected for the Olympics.”

With the major crowds expected and the unpredictable environment that comes with the Olympic Games every season, travel insurance can be your best bet if something were to happen. Make sure your plan covers emergency evacuation and repatriation as well, in the event that you need to be returned to your home country. Our Travel Insurance Select can provide these benefits and more, including emergency assistance while abroad.

May your Olympic experience be one that will bring you joy for years to come, and allow you many great memories. If you’re going to the games, be sure to share your memories with us on our Facebook page! What competitions are you looking forward to the most? Olympic travelers: what advice would you add to this list? Let me know in the comments below!

01/31/2014

#EuroTour14: Travel Tips from the Emerald Isle

The Tri-Color flag of Ireland flies proudly over the Kilmainham Jail museum. It's actually quite a fascinating story of how it became one of the national symbols of Ireland - if you're into Vexillology.It’s disappointing, really. #EuroTour14 has officially come to an end, with my return to the United States on Tuesday. And already, I miss the wonders and people of Europe. From watching the Changing of the Guard in Buckingham, to singing bad karaoke with my new friend Tony in a pub in Dublin, this trip to Europe was exactly what I needed to get myself re-centered, and re-focused on why travel means so much to me in this world. I can’t wait to go back to Europe again – if nothing else, at least once more in September to Munich.

Dublin, as I’ve explained to so many I’ve come back to since, fascinates me as a city – as Ireland fascinates me as a country. For an island nation so proud of their place in history, they also view themselves as a very young country. In truth, Ireland is much younger than many of their European counterparts – only having claimed their independence from the Crown in the gap between the two world wars.

None the less, my trip to Ireland was nothing short of lovely. Between the history lessons learned at the Kilmainham Gaol and the National Museum of Modern Art (formerly the Military Hospital), to the liveliness and night life of Temple Bar, my trip across the pond will be one that I will long remember. I certainly hope that, as a result of all this travel, I’ll get to head back to the Emerald Isle sooner rather than later.

But as with anywhere I go, I learned valuable lessons from this trip that I plan on taking with me as I move further down the road. And unlike other trips, I picked up a unique set of tips that I don’t think I would have learned anywhere else. Here’s what I learned while I traveled to and far across the green hills of Dublin:

1: Know the road that leads home
Something that struck me about Dublin was, unlike London, the city was not as friendly to pedestrians as many parts of Europe are. This caused me to hop a lot more buses than I intended to while I was in the city. And in some cases, it caused me to get lost in places that were well off the beaten path. My first travel tip seems like it should come out of Travelers’ 101, but it’s a good reminder: always know which bus takes you to your destination, and which takes you home. Just because a bus has a number on it, doesn’t mean it’s the one going in your direction. If you’re unsure, pop into a shop that has WiFi, and do a Google search on where you’re going, and the bus number and line that should take you there. Another great travel tip: if you’re unsure, ask your bus driver, or use the free WiFi provided on the Dub lin Bus!

2: Pay in the local currency
I found it particularly entertaining that everywhere I went in Dublin, I had the opportunity to pay in either American Dollars or Euros. What they didn’t tell me was that the bank was trading 1 Euro for $1.30, while the shops were usually trading 1 Euro for $1.40. While a dime doesn’t sound like much, that’s $10 off of every $100 I spent. One of the most important travel tips that I’ve talked about before is to always pay in the local currency. This way, you know you’re getting (within reason) the same rate you would get at the bank – and save yourself some money as well!

3: Pre-Clearance is your friend
My final tip for visiting the Emerald Isle is to take advantage of the Customs Pre-Clearance at Ireland’s airports in Dublin and Cork.
The nice thing about flying through these airports is that you’ll ultimately clear Customs before you arrive home, thanks to the great facilities at their airports. This saves you some time, prevents you from going back through TSA once you land, and gives you more freedom in what you bring back from the Duty-Free store! Enjoy being able to pre-clear and be on your way back home!

I can’t wait to go back to Ireland, and have a much better time armed with these great travel tips! Where do you have planned to visit this year? What tips do you have for those going abroad in 2014? Let me know your ideas in the comments below!

01/23/2014

#EuroTour14: Mind The Gap - Travel Tips Learned from London

IMG_1088Fresh off my trip to London, and I already can’t wait to go back! Despite only being there for two days, and a 40-hour trip delay caused by weather, I can’t wait to get back to Britannia sooner rather than later. What struck me the most was the eloquent approach to the history of London and the ceremony of the city – demonstrated by the memorial walkways, and the preservation of history, and the great care in the monuments of Parliament Square. Additionally, I was very impressed by the gardens of the city – each one having its own personality and artwork that seemed to complete the community.

While it was a quick trip, I was surprised by how much of London I was able to see on foot. More importantly was what I was able to catch in just walking – including the Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace, high noon striking at Big Ben, and the bustle of Trafalgar Square and the National Gallery. While I didn’t stop down for tea time on Sunday, I did end up in a pub for a pint and a plate of bangers and mash! Despite what people say, authentic English food was delicious!

While my trip was a lot of fun, it reinforced a lot of travel lessons that I learned from my years as a student traveler. There’s plenty of adventure and excitement to be had in Europe, but knowing these great travel tips ahead of your trip can save you a lot of time – and hassle – when you get there:

1: Carry a credit card with an EMV chip embedded
This travel tip is one that I often read about, but didn’t realize how important it was until I stepped up to a ticket kiosk at the Underground.
None of my cards would be accepted, nor would they fit in – the machines were configured to accept EMV chips only, and not magnetic stripes. Lucky for me, I just happened to have an EMV enabled card, and was able to buy my tube ticket with ease! While traditional cards are accepted in many places, automated machines (like the ticket machines and ATMs) only operate on EMV chips. Carrying one of these cards can be a huge asset, are available from several banks, and may offer consumer protections when traveling abroad (such as zero-liability protection if your card gets stolen). Every time I cross the pond, I have at least one EMV card with me.

2: Keep a schedule for your travels
I thoroughly enjoyed walking everywhere in London – and with the old downtown of the city so accessible, it makes sense to do just that! However, there was no way I would be able to walk from my hotel to the downtown , as my hotel was out by Heathrow Airport. For this, I utilized many different phone and tablet apps to keep my schedule running with the busses and the underground. This travel tidp helped me make sure that I could get wherever I needed to go – be it to my hotel, to one of the historic sites, and anywhere in-between!

3: Map out your journeys with a start and finish point
Let’s face it – London is an extremely large city, and it can be very easy to get lost on maze of one-way streets and back alleys. This is why having a map turned out to be one of the best travel tips I utilized on this trip. My map allowed me to easily navigate my starting points, my stops along the way, and how to get back to my hotel from the Tube. And while I kept a paper map in my backpack just in case, using my tablet allowed me to navigate in real time – plus, I didn’t obviously look like I was a tourist.

With one more leg of #EuroTour14 coming this weekend in Dublin, Ireland, I can’t wait to get back across the pond! Be sure to follow us on Twitter as I document my adventures (as WiFi allows). What travel tips would you give someone going to London for the first time? Leave me a comment with your ideas below!

01/16/2014

#EuroTour 2014: Preparing for the Trip

Shutterstock_107597459This weekend, I finally get to complete a trip that’s been 13 years in the making. Thanks to a strategically-placed airfare in the ecosystem, I’ll finally be able to get back to London. Not a bad way to start off the New Year, right? This weekend starts one of two consecutive weekends of travel – first to London, followed by another weekend jaunt to Ireland.

This one isn’t just about taking a trip overseas because I can – personally, this gives me a chance to reconnect to my student traveler roots. And while I will enjoy the 14,000 miles that will come from this run (putting me two Columbus-Los Angeles runs away from making silver status), I’m more excited about getting back to Europe – a place I discovered many years ago and gave me my love of travel.

As much as I’m excited jumping on an airplane again, this trip is going to come with just a little bit more preparation than usual for me. I realize that I’m going to a country much more geographically north of me during the lowest point of winter. This creates an environment ripe for trip cancellation, trip delay, and a whole mess of other problems that I just don’t want to deal with. So for this trip, I’ve already primed and prepared for the worst case scenarios that can take place. Here’s how I prepared to make the best of my European Tour this winter:

  • Packing warm for one extra day – just in case
    I’ll only be in London two nights – which means I can easily get away with packing light for the weekend. So why am I packing an extra day’s worth of thin layers to stay warm? With the cold temperatures comes the possibility of trip delay and trip cancellation. And if I’m forced to stay in London an extra day (which, in of itself, wouldn’t be the worst fate in the world), I want to make sure that I stay warm with clean clothes. Packing an extra set gives me a little extra assurance in the event things get pear-shaped.
  • Adding Global Entry status
    Remember about how I wrote about getting my NEXUS card last year, so I can get in and out of Canada a lot easier?
    One of the best things about NEXUS is that it comes with Global Entry, at half the price of just Global Entry alone. This allows me to use one of the kiosks when I re-enter the United States by air. This will make my run through Customs a whole lot easier at the end of the day.
  • Adding travel insurance to my adventures
    I know that talking about travel insurance on a travel insurance company’s blog might be a little redundant, but this time travel insurance is a very important part of my planning.
    Traveling alone as a tourist to a foreign country makes me a target for a lot of bad things which could happen to me. Additionally, as I outlined above, winter is not known as the most contusive season to go traveling. Travel insurance gives me some flexibility when it comes to trip delay, and trip interruption in the worst of scenarios. For the next two trips, travel insurance is going to be imperative to my adventures.

I can’t wait to get back to Europe this month – and share some of the adventures that I found while I was there! Be sure to follow along with my adventures on Twitter with the hashtag #EuroTour14! How do you prepare for a major international trip? Let me know what tips you would add in the comments below!

01/10/2014

Remembering 2013: The Year of Trip Delay

In 2014, let's hope we all get to see more of this - and less of the groud, held by trip delay or trip cancellation. How do you combat trip delay?Should old acquaintance be forgot, and never brought to mind? It all depends on which airline you flew the most in 2013.

At the beginning of 2013, on the conclusion of my first mileage run, I wrote about how 2013 might go down in history as the year of trip delay and trip cancellation. Come to find out, I wasn’t wrong – and the Wall Street Journal’s Middle Seat Blog agrees with me. At a whole, of the airlines tracked by the Wall Street Journal and FlightStats, only 78% of flights were on time in 2013 – down a total of 2% from the year before. At the high end of that statistic, the number of flights delayed in excess of 45+ minutes increased 13%, and cancelled flights jumped 15%. You can read the entire report, and find out which airlines performed the best, on The Middle Seat at the Wall Street Journal.

So what is to blame for 2013 being known as the year of trip delay? Many of the airlines blame 2013 returning to normal weather patterns as part of the problem for the increase in trip delay and cancellation. Additional problems include systematic problems within airlines (as a result of mergers and acquisitions), as well as problems in scheduling. After having a year of good weather in 2012 (save a couple of major incidents), 2013 was heavily affected by weather situations, resulting in trip delay & cancellations. Some good news did come out of this report, however: the Department of Transportation reports less passengers complained about service, and less passengers got involuntarily bumped from flights.

With this behind us, what do we have to look forward to in 2014? If last year was any indication, we’re going to see a lot more trip delay and trip cancellation in 2014 as well. The polar vortex didn’t help us get this year off the ground with any ease, and 2014 will also see the merger of American Airlines and US Airways. If we learned nothing else from the United-Continental merger, we’ve learned that mergers always result in pains felt by the end travelers.

So how can you keep your travels flowing smoothly in 2014? Here’s how I plan on managing my flying time, and doing my part to keep my personal trip delay statistics down in the New Year:

  • Pack Light and Often
    Last year, necessity forced me to pack my bags and occasionally check a bag on my adventures. Lucky for me, it was free as a result of having status across many different airlines. Unlucky for me, it cost me at least one suitcase. In 2014, I plan on carrying on luggage at every given opportunity. This allows me to be flexible with my plans, change flights as soon as there are delays or cancellations, and not worry about having to getting to my destination without my luggage. Plus, with PreCheck, I’m allowed to keep my laptop and liquids in my suitcase, making the security transition easier and faster.
  • Plug in my Trusted Traveler number at every opportunity
    Last year, the best thing I did for my travels was getting my NEXUS card.
    Not only does this give me Global Access status when traveling internationally, but it also gives me access to the TSA PreCheck program, allowing me to get through the security checkpoint quicker and easier. How does this help with trip delay? If I have to switch my flights and switch terminals, then I’ve got an easier transfer through terminals (if I need one). Plus, a quicker run through security reduces the chances of creating my own trip delay.
  • Go with the flow
    Sometimes, despite our best planning, we can’t get around trip delay. And it’s frustrating to not be able to get through a trip delay and get to our destination (or home) on time. This is why I always plug extra time into my trips, allowing plenty of time between connections, as well as extra days should anything get misconnected along the way. By allowing extra time on my connections, I can ensure on-time connections everywhere I go – even when that means having to suffer a trip delay or flight cancellation.

Hopefully, your travels will be a little more successful than mine in 2014! Is trip delay something you’re worried about in the New Year? Or are you going to travel despite the risks of getting stranded? Let me know in the comments below!

12/31/2013

A Look Back at the World of Travel in 2013

For what its worth, I genuinely appreciate you taking the time to not only read this blog, but also reading this ALT text! I hope you enjoyed this look back at my big stories of 2013. And hopefully, you'll come back for more misadventures in 2014! Ack!2013 was a rather incredible year in the world of travel, wasn’t it? During this year we saw some of the best – and worst – that comes with taking the roads, the skies, and the seas. We’ve seen companies come together, passengers divide on how to get to their destination, and storms that have twisted and snarled traffic across the United States. Personally speaking, my 2013 has been a rather successful campaign in retrospect: nearly 28,000 miles traveled in the air, with 46 total flights – which turns into the equivalent of three days in the air.

In looking back at the year, there were a lot of stories that really stuck out to me for many different reasons. Here are the stories that topped my list of big events in 2013:

In 2014, may our travels be safe, healthy, and may we all get to see much more of the world than we have before. What were your biggest travel stories of 2013? What would you include on this list? Let me know in the comments below!