jetBlue to bring back “All-You-Can-Jet” pass?

This year, airline jetBlue allowed a few lucky people to take “frequent flying” to the next level. The carrier offered an “All-You-Can-Jet” pass for 30 days (September 8 to October 8) for one low price of $599. While the pass may not have been the best deal for the occasional flyer, it would have saved anyone with multiple longer flights some serious cash.

A few folks went beyond flying to business meetings or off to visit the in-laws though, and decided to see just how much they could fly in one month. According to Jaunted, these super-jetters were invited to the jetBlue corporate retreat on Wednesday, to talk about their experiences using the pass. There, jetBlue execs apparently promised that they would be bringing back the pass next year.

Could it be? Nothing has been confirmed and no dates have been released yet, but I’ll agree with Jaunted that fall seems a likely time to run the promo again. So clear your calendars, start wishlisting locations, and cross your fingers that the news is true.

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Celebrity Cruises starts all-you-can-drink plan

Despite the advertised low rates for many cruises, I’ve always thought that the extra fees for alcoholic drinks would make the final price rise far above the base cost. Even for a moderate drinker – a few glasses of wine or beer with dinner, a pina colada here, a strawberry daiquiri there – the cost for a few days of booze for two people on a cruise could come out to a couple hundred dollars over the course of a week.

So when I first read Jaunted’s headline that Celebrity Cruises was now offering several all-you-can-drink beverage options, I was intrigued. But upon closer inspection, it seems like you’d pretty much have to spend your entire cruise drunk in order to justify the cost.

For unlimited liquor, you’ll pay over $50 per person per night, and wine packages (which don’t state how many bottles the package entitles you to) start at $114 per night per package. An unlimited supply of domestic and imported beers is $34.50 per night per person. Which means for two people, you’ll need to drink $70 worth of beer in a single day. Though that’s about three 12-packs at your local liquor store, it’s the equivalent of 10-12 beers at Celebrity’s on-board prices.

As CruiseCritic points out, the package only makes sense if you’ll drink 5-6 beers per day. While lots of people could do that over the course of a day at sea, it doesn’t seem likely that many would do it every day of the cruise, and since you have to buy the package for the duration of your cruise…well, it looks Celebrity will be making quite a profit – or ending up with some really drunk passengers.

Photo essay of Blue Highways and what’s changed over the years

Haunting, thought provoking and gorgeous are some of the adjectives that come to mind when looking through the photographs of Ed Alior at CNNTravel. Alior has retraced the route that William Least Heat-Moon made famous when he traveled along the back roads of the U.S. and wrote about it in his book “Blue Highways.” Alior’s photographs attest to how things can change over the years and what has remained the same.

Along with presenting ten of Alior’s lush photographs of back-road scenery, CNN’s feature, “Back-road adventurer on America’s ‘Blue Highways'” includes an interview with Heat-Moon.

In the interview, Heat-Moon talks about how he has seen the U.S. back-roads’ landscape change over the years, both for the good and the bad. There’s a tone of melancholy for what has changed–most noticeably the Mom and Pop establishments that have given way to hard times or the competition of chain restaurants.

Heat-Moon has also noticed the sprawl of cities into suburbia and on out into rural areas. As he puts it, a “‘quarter of a century ago, towns that still had limits — discernible edges — now can look like they’re getting swallowed by an inoperable cancer. . .'”

The repercussions, he feels, have altered the genuineness of place and that we haven’t done much as a country to see what all this sprawl has cost us. On the other hand, he does point out positive change. It’s change that is heart-warming.

As Heat-Moon traveled in the last ten years, he’s noticed that there’s more racial harmony and the racial slurs he used to hear pepper conversations are not being said.

Read the rest of the interview here. I was particularly interested in his take on how travel has been altered. One thing Heat-Moon has found, if you’re looking for a cheap place to stay off the beaten path these days, lots of luck.

Thanks to Jaunted for pointing me in the direction of this read.

Explore five cities with a “bad rap”

I grew up in Detroit. I love my city and will be the first tell anyone who thinks it’s nothing but a boarded up hellhole just how wrong they are. But I know Detroit’s bad rap comes not only from suburb-dwellers and business travelers who just breezed through, but also from the media that portrays it as a city with nothing to offer other than casinos and a punchline. But maybe the tide is changing. Anthony Bourdain went to Detroit – and liked it! And now Jaunted has included Detroit on its list of Five Cities with a Bad Rap that are still worth visiting.

Detroit is recommended for its passionate people and Motown soul, along with great food from every culture. In addition to my hometown, the list includes Kingston, Jamaica – for the hospitable people and cheap flights, Madrid, Spain – which despite its reputation as a haven for pickpockets still lures visitors with fine art and tasty tapas, Naples, Italy – where the government is making an effective bid to clean up the ancient streets, and Oakland, California – San Francisco’s little sibling, where the crime to culture ratio doesn’t lean in the direction you might assume.

With the exception of Madrid (which still sees hundreds of thousands of tourists per year), one benefit of visiting these traditionally shunned-by-tourists cities is that there are fewer crowds and a cheaper cost of travel. Plus, your tourism dollars can help the city governments invest in infrastructure, make the cities safer and cleaner, in the hopes that one day they can shed their bad reputations.

Help for lost cameras

The folks over at Jaunted posted a story yesterday about a friendly-looking family who dropped their camera at some point while on a trip to Maui. A good Samaritan found the camera and posted one of the pics on Reddit last week, along with a plea for help in locating the family so that their camera could be returned.

According to HalogenLife, in a prime example of the power of social media, the family was located and the camera is on its way to be reunited with its rightful owners.

That news in itself is pretty cool. But what I found even more interesting is that there are apparently several websites dedicated to helping people recover their lost cameras. On Ifoundyourcamera.blogspot.com photos from orphan cameras are posted each Thursday. I haven’t lost a camera recently, but I think I may become addicted to scrolling through the pics looking for familiar faces. There’s got to be someone I know on the site, right?

Jaunted has a better, smarter solution for digital camera owners though. Write your name and contact information on a card and snap a picture of it. Lock it on your memory drive and internal memory and voila – electronic dog tags for your camera! If someone should find the camera and scroll through your photos, they can easily get in touch via the info you’ve provided. You know, if they aren’t just going to keep your camera for themselves.