A review of Cheapflights.com’s “Travelnomics: Calling on Cuba” guide

Change is upon Cuba, and American travelers are especially eager to capitalize on the end of the travel embargo. In anticipation of the easing of travel restrictions to Cuba, Cheapflights.com recently put together “Travelnomics: Calling on Cuba,” a helpful PDF guide on traveling to Cuba. The guide provides travelers with a glimpse of life and travel in Cuba, travel accounts from writers familiar with the country, and a list of airlines that are or will fly to Cuba.

Having traveled to Cuba myself, I think this handy guide is an accurate reflection of what it’s like to travel there. It provides interested travelers with a good overview of the country’s sights, sounds, and smells, which helped remind me of what made Cuba such a unique place — lost in time and unbelievably beautiful. Keith Jenkins of Velvet Escape and Cuba travel expert Christopher Baker further describe the country’s real richness and warmth.

I did, however, find the “Cuba — Fact or Fiction” section only marginally useful for travelers, as food, accommodations, and money were not properly addressed and present significant challenges for American travelers in particular. There are two kinds of “restaurants”, “hotels”, and currencies in Cuba, and the guide doesn’t make this distinction. Travelnomics guides “are written to help the traveler find deals in a down economy and reassure travelers that travel is easy and affordable,” but traveling in Cuba is not cheap (even penny-pinching budget travelers will find themselves spending about $50 a day) and the guide does not sufficiently “break down the barriers to Cuba travel” as it states in the guide’s subheading.

Right now, not anyone can just hop on a plane to Cuba. The list of airlines flying to Cuba seems a little too anticipatory and not cautionary enough.

For a more comprehensive guide to travel to Cuba, you might want to read my “Cuba Libre: Travel observations and tips.”

JetBlue offers unlimited travel for $599

Got a lot of flying to do in September? If so, JetBlue has the deal for you.

Book an All-You-Can-Jet Pass and you can fly anywhere that JetBlue goes, as many times as you want from September 8 to October 8, for one low price. Saint Lucia one week, Seattle the next, all for just $599 (plus taxes for international destinations and Puerto Rico – domestic taxes are covered). Depending on which of JetBlue’s 56 domestic and international destinations your travels will take you to, the Pass could easily earn its price in two or three trips.

But, as ABC News points out, you should compare the cost of buying each trip a la carte versus going with the Pass; if you’ll be flying the cheaper routes, you’d have to fly a whole lot to make the Pass a good deal. Do the math before you commit.

Flights must be booked three days in advance and you may only book one flight per day. There are no blackout dates. If you’ve already bought tickets to fly on JetBlue during the month, you can pay the difference to upgrade to the Pass.

Passes will be on sale through Friday, August 21st “while supplies last”. There’s no word on how many Passes are available, so act fast or you might miss out.

Students and teachers can fly to London or France for $30 – No joke!

Got thirty dollars? You could go to lunch … or Europe.

STA Travel is offering $30 round-trip airfare to London and Paris while supplies last. But not yet. Calm down.

On Wednesday, May 20th, the tickets (whose totally ridiculously low price includes taxes and fees) will go on sale, so call them right away in the morning at 1-800-360-9273. You can choose a round-trip flight on Virgin Atlantic or American Airlines to London or Paris from any of these cities:

  • New York City
  • Boston
  • Washington, D.C.
  • Los Angeles
  • San Francisco
  • Seattle
  • London
  • Paris

A couple more rules: You have to be under the age of 26 and/or a currently enrolled student or teacher. A valid ISIC/IYTC/ITIC identity card is required to purchase a ticket and is available for $22 if you don’t already have one.

The ticket is non-refundable, but don’t go buyin’ ’em up and not usin’ ’em. That makes you mean.

You can only get the discount by calling or visiting an STA Travel retail branch, and you have to mention the promo code $30OFF when purchasing.

Put Wednesday on your calendars, folks, and set your alarm. But don’t worry if you miss this deal, we’ll have another for you soon!

Many inexpensive last minute holiday airfares do exist

You’ve probably noticed the stories about how airfares have dropped and air traffic is down. Two weeks ago, I flew from Copenhagen to Columbus on two airplanes that were not full. The Continental flight from Copenhagen to Newark was empty enough that most people had seats between them.

The flight from Newark to Columbus was even more roomy. The row in front of my daughter and me was empty, and we had that hoped for seat between us as well.

With less people flying that means more competition to entice passengers to fly. My mom is heading to New York City for the holidays. This past May, she took the bus because of gas prices and soaring airline costs. Her ticket plane ticket would have cost almost $400 at the time.

She thought about the bus again until last night when I searched for airplane tickets on a whim. There were several options for a $166 airfare when I used the variable date function. Delta and Northwest were the least expensive flights, but the flight she wanted was on Delta to LaGuardia which she prefers over JFK. Flights into Newark, at least the ones I saw, were more expensive.

Not only was she able to score a flight to the airport of choice, she also was able to get flights that are direct and leave at the times she preferred. At first, it looked like she’d have to leave at 6 a.m., but after going to another day of departure, an early afternoon flight to New York appeared. She also wanted to book a return flight later in the day than what originally appeared. Again, further looking found the exact flight out of LaGuardia.

After using Travelocity to find choices, I went directly to Delta’s web site to book the ticket. The amazing detail is that she’s leaving on Monday, just days from booking the ticket. Cheap flights so close to departure used to be unheard of.

So, if you’re thinking of going somewhere for the holidays, look into flying. It may be far less expensive than you thought. These are the days of deals. To find the best ones, look for flights during the week. My mom is flying out on a Monday and back on a Wednesday. In this case, the direct flights were less than the flights that went through another airport. I am amazed.

Cheap air travel options if the tropics suit you

What I really want is a cheap airfare to New York City from Columbus, Ohio. Since that’s not on my horizon, I’m taking an Amtrak train from Cleveland and a Greyhound bus back. For adults traveling with children, both offer a discount that can’t be beat.

If I were to head to the Caribbean, the Bahamas, or Bermuda, I might find different options that would put a cheaper airplane ticket in my hand. According to a recent “Practical Traveler in the New York Times,’ there are tickets for a bargain to these tropical locations.

Check out American Airlines, JetBlue. and Air France for the deals. Perhaps, you’ll be lucky and an airport near where you live will have one of those bargain flights to a place you’d like to go. Going to Cancún out of JFK airport in New York City is only a few dollars more than a trip to Denver, for example. Denver’s nice, but I wouldn’t exactly call it a destination for a holiday.

Yes, I did go to Denver myself two years ago and considered it part of a summer vacation, but there weren’t any hours relaxing by a pool.

One day, I might be looking to head to the tropics, but for now, it sure would be great to find a deal to New York. My son who is six years-old thinks Greyhound will be swell.

Also, an airline to keep an eye on for a travel deal, according to the article, is Southwest. As the article points out, Southwest has not offered a travel deal for awhile.