GadlingTV’s Travel Talk – Austin Mann @ the World Cup (part 1)

GadlingTV’s Travel Talk, episode 26 – Click above to watch video after the jump

For everyone out there that wanted to make the trek to South Africa’s 2010 World Cup, but couldn’t – we have a fun series of segments this week.

A few days before the games began, a good friend of mine, travel photographer Austin Mann told me that he was booking a last minute flight to South Africa to meet up with friends that had spare game tickets. I asked him to document his travels, share some of his essential equipment as a photographer, and bring us back a piece of his World Cup experience right here on Travel Talk.

We’ve broken it up into two episodes, so stay tuned for the second installment to see some of the games in action!

If you have any questions or comments about Travel Talk, you can email us at talk AT gadling DOT com.

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What are some Austin’s essentials as a travel photographer?
Surefire G2 LED flashlight
Garmin 60CSX GPS
Pac-Safe lock
Canon 5D MKII & Canon 16-35 f/2.8 II
Gitzo 15141T Mountaineering Series Tripod

Host: Austin Mann
Edited by: Jordan Bellamy
Music By: Josh Ritter

Early Christmas gift from the airlines – no advance purchase surcharges

After several years of adding additional fees and rules to our tickets, the airlines are finally giving us something back for the Holiday season.

Seven of the major carriers (American Airlines, United, Delta, Northwest, US Airways, Frontier, AirTran and Midwest) announced that they would waive all advance purchase rules for tickets between today and January 4th 2010.

What this means to last minute travelers is that an $1800 ticket will be about $1500 cheaper when purchased for same day travel.

Of course, the airlines wouldn’t be the the money makers we know them to be, without a bunch of restrictions on their sales:

The cheapest tickets are available on Dec. 16, 17, 25 and Jan. 1 and 4

The second cheapest level airfares are about 30% higher than the lowest fares. Travel for this level is valid on December 18, 20, 21, 24, 30 and 31.

The third cheapest level is about 55% higher than the lowest fares. Travel dates will be December 19, 22, 23, 26, 28 and 29.

December 27 and January 2 and 3 have not been included in the holiday fare sale – and those tickets could end up being substantially more expensive.

(Source: USA Today /

Bottom line is that even though the airlines appear to be the good guys, their complicated fare structure could end up costing passengers more. Travelers tend to book flights for the holiday season in advance, so removing last minute purchase rules really only benefits those that suddenly decide to go somewhere for Christmas or who run into sudden changes that require a last minute ticket purchase.



Airlines roll out last-minute sales for Labor Day

There are just two weeks left until Labor Day, but it’s not too late to plan a getaway for the holiday weekend. In fact, waiting until now to book your trip might even save you money with some of the great last-minute deals that are available.

American Airlines Flights
American Airlines has several destinations on sale for Labor Day. Buy your tickets to Belize by August 28th and travel Monday through Thursday, starting September 1st, for as low as $217 each way. Book a trip to Jamaica by August 24th for travel any day of the week after September 1st, and prices will start at $84 each way. Tickets to Cancun, booked by August 25th for Saturday and Tuesday travel after September 1st, start at $88 each way.

United Airlines Flights
If you can stretch your weekend until Tuesday (departing on Saturday), book tickets to destinations within the United States on United Airlines by August 25th to save. Prices vary by departure and destination cities, but sample fares include Chicago to New Orleans for $89 each way, Atlanta to Denver for $109 each way, and Miami to Washington Dulles for $69 each way.

Spirit Airlines Flights
Spirit is well known for its near-constant sales to destinations within the United States, Central America and the Caribbean. It’s like the Gap of airlines – never pay retail because, just as the Gap will knock 50% off those jeans in two weeks, chances are that Spirit will soon offer a better deal for the flight you want. Their current sale ends tomorrow, August 25th, and discounts some of their more popular routes to as low as $33.90 each way. As with all of their sales, $9 Fare Club members and those in hub cities like Fort Lauderdale and Detroit save the most and have the most options. But even the rest of us can still get some good deals for Labor Day. For example, New York to Medellin, Colombia is $138.90 each way, Boston to Myrtle Beach is $68.90 each way, and Atlanta to San Jose, Costa Rica is $128.90 each way. Deals
Beyond flights, Expedia has deals on just about everything else – hotels, cars, cruises, package deals – for your Labor Day travels. Deals vary widely by location, but some of the highlights include discounts of up to 50% off hotels in Las Vegas, Orlando and Chicago (among other cities) and 3-night Royal Caribbean Bahamas cruises for as low as $262 per person for an inside cabin.

If these deals don’t work for you, there’s still plenty of time to plan your perfect Labor Day vacation at a great price. Check out Hotwire’s Travel Ticker, peruse the sale list on Travelzoo and follow your favorite airlines on Twitter. JetBlue and Southwest regularly post their top deals on twitter, so you’ll be the first to know about great fares.

One thumb down for

This might be a controversial position, but I’m not a fan of Kayak anymore. It’s gotten rave reviews for being an all-you-can-eat airfare conglomerate that doesn’t even charge you a buck (it works to aggregate data from other for-profit aggregators like Orbitz). People have also been saying it’s great for multi-city searches and car rentals comparisons.

To all that, I say bah humbug! I just tried to book last-minute tickets to Peru using the site and the fares it gave me were completely outdated. I wasted at least an hour trying to track down a ticket that I could actually buy; each time I got excited about a fare, it would tell me the system was outdated and the ticket was no longer available.

At first it showed me some ridiculous 3-stop connections to Lima for $1,000, which is quite a steal this late in the game. But those were gone. Then it showed me some 2-stop connections for $1,200 through Spirit Airlines. But when it connected me to the airline’s site, it abruptly changed the prices to $1,500. In its defense, Kayak did get most of the erroneous data from Orbitz, which on its own suffered the same problems.

Maybe I’m just grumpy I have to pay $1,500 for the tickets.