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Interest in Iceland has exploded in the past few years, which had led to a back-lash amongst citizens inside Iceland who do not personally benefit from tourism.  Here's how to make yourself a more welcome guest and minimize your ecological footprint. These are the do's and don'ts for visiting this spectacular and unique place*.  Many of the suggestions apply equally to other popular off-the-beaten track destinations such as the Galapagos Islands and Machu Picchu.

 

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Posted on Monday, February 10, 2020

If you're Canadian, and over a certain age, you will no doubt use the term "seat sales" when debating about whether or not to purchase an airline ticket or wait for a better deal.  Most Canadians don't know this, but the term is a unique Canadian expression.  An American, for instance, wouldn't know what you're talking about.  It was first used by an airline back in the early 1980's when - in the middle of a recession - it launched an eye-catching sale.  The practice continued for many years; until computer software became sophisticated enough to manage...

Posted on Friday, February 7, 2020

 

Posted on Monday, December 30, 2019

In 2015, Delta Airlines rocked the points world with a radical change on how it awarded points.  They changed from a mileage-based measurement system to a "revenue-based" approach.  No longer if you flew 1,000 miles would you earn 1,000 points.  From then on, Delta Skymiles members were awarded 5 times the dollar spend on each flight.  So, in this case, for instance, if you paid $200 (ie. separate from taxes/fees) for your 1,000-mile flight, you would earn 5 X $200, or 800 points rather than the traditional 1,000.

The following year American Airlines...

Posted on Friday, December 20, 2019

Posted on Wednesday, December 18, 2019

On Nov. 18-19, Air Canada switched computer systems.  As would be expected, there were some “hiccoughs” over the following few weeks.  And that’s putting in mildly!  Hold times for some of their departments stretched as long as 7 hours....

Posted on Tuesday, December 3, 2019

We've had a good run, but it is beginning to look like the era of "cheap" business class awards is coming to a close.

More and more airlines are dropping their "reward charts" which show you fixed mileage levels for redemptions based on class of service and geographic area.  The latest to phase out "fixed rewards" is United.  While the fixed levels still seem to apply (for now) for economy class redemptions, there's virtually no seats being offered at the traditional mileage level for business class. 

As an example; if you were to...

Posted on Monday, November 18, 2019

The latest craze in the airline business is bidding for an upgrade.  Lots of airlines are offering this now; and the feature has turned out to be wildly popular with consumers.   Here's some advice on how to finesse the upgrade bidding systems of Air Canada and Westjet.

Their programs  are almost identical:

Ineligible tickets...

Posted on Friday, September 6, 2019

Everyone "knows" you can't really get a business class ticket on airline points, right?

Wrong.  Clients of The Travel Group can, and do.  Here's how.

First of all, here's the back story.  Although credit card rewards programs make a convincing pitch - fly any airline, any time, anywhere - there is one important caveat.  Credit card rewards programs are based on a 1 to 2 cent per mile formula.  That's fine for economy class travel, but be prepared to dish out a million points for an international business class ticket.  That's the number...

Posted on Thursday, May 30, 2019

You've read the media stories about the dirtiest areas of the airplane to touch.  But, which airlines score highest for overall cleanliness?

Well, according the Skytrax, the organization that rates airlines, it is mostly Asian airlines that score highest for cleanliness.  

Air Canada scored highest for North American airlines, but it did not make the top 20 list.

Here's Skytrax Top 20 Cleanest airlines in 2018:


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Posted on Thursday, March 21, 2019

The latest hotel trend is not a good one.  Major chains such as Marriott (who now own Starwood) and Hilton are imposing 48-hour cancellation policies on customers.

It wasn't that long ago that 6pm day of arrival cancellation policies were the norm.  Then, about 3 or 4 years ago, all the major hotel chains started imposing 24-hour cancel policies. Travellers accepted that change in stride, as it didn't seem too unreasonable.  Roughly the same time, hotels also started putting similar restrictions on cancelling nights during your stay: eg. insisting you must give them 1...

Posted on Friday, July 21, 2017

This is the first of an ongoing series of stories where we will explore corporate culture, particularly as it relates to travel.  We'll look at how various companies we support look after their employees and their unique policies and philosophies.  We are particularly interested, of course, in how they deal with their employees' needs when they travel.

 
One of the most memorable compliments I’ve ever received from a client about our travel agency was this: “The single...
Posted on Friday, July 7, 2017
Touring “The County” in Southern Ontario
 
When I was growing up in Southern Ontario, Prince Edward County (PEC) was a sleepy farming community with a few small villages and towns that no one had any particular reason to visit. In the past decade, however, Prince Edward County, located about 200 km east of Toronto and 200 km west of Montreal, has become a first class tourist destination, as well as a home of some very promising new wineries.
 
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Posted on Saturday, June 24, 2017

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Posted on Friday, January 6, 2017
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