Travel Expert Brings Local Flavor To Guidebooks, Video

guidebooksKnown worldwide as travel editor for CBS News, Peter Greenberg has traveled the planet bringing far away places into living rooms for decades. Now, Greenberg shares his expertise on destinations around the globe in his new “Like a Local” series of guidebooks, videos and travel tips that go on sale April 16.

Teaming with Michelin, Greenberg is releasing the series of “Like a Local” travel guides to Buenos Aires, Cuba, the Caribbean, New Orleans, and Miami that have must-see sights and activities, but also reveal insider tips on how to navigate the process of travel to get the best experience.

“Learn tips like how to avoid the touristy tango clubs in Buenos Aires and dance with the locals in a milonga,” says a release touting Greenberg’s endeavour. Telling “where to find street food stalls serving locally sourced seafood in the Bahamas; how to spend a day with Cuban tobacco farmers in Pinar del Rio” and more, the series looks to be a winner.

Recently, I had the opportunity to talk to Greenberg in Amsterdam and found him as colorful and descriptive about travel as one might expect. Speaking of his recent PBS special, “Mexico:The Royal Tour,” Greenberg was as passionate about experiencing the country with Mexico’s President, Felipe Calderón as his guide, undertaking whale watching in Baja California, rappelling down the Cave of Swallows in San Luis Potosi and zip-lining through the jungles of Puerto Vallarta.

Bringing that level of up-close and personal experience to us via guidebooks, videos and tips, the project promises to be far more than the sum of it’s parts.

Packing for Travel Tips


[Image via Flickr user LollyKnit]

Under 30? Win a free stay for being a leader.

Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek
If you know (or are) someone under 30 who exhibits leadership with strong values and wisdom beyond their years, why not help them get a free vacation out of it?

For their 30 year anniversary, Rosewood Hotels is hosting a competition called 30 Under 30, which is offering rewards to 20-somethings (and under) who exhibit the qualities Rosewood values. Here are the criteria:

  • Mindful of the community
  • Leadership with integrity
  • Passion of conviction
  • Dedication to preserving our natural environment
  • Strong sense of life balance

On December 1, 2010, Rosewood will announce its 30 finalists and donate $100 to the non-profit organization of each finalist’s choice, as well as provide them all with complimentary dinners for two at Rosewood properties. The most exemplary nominee will be chosen and rewarded with a $1,000 donation to the non-profit of his or her choice and a complimentary three-night stay at any of the five-star Rosewood hotels or resorts across the world, such as Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek in Dallas, Texas (above).

Judges for the competition will include Peter Greenberg, CBS News Travel Editor, Jason Binn, CEO of Niche Media and Pamela Fiori, Editor-at-Large of Town & Country.

To nominate someone you know (or yourself), visit RosewoodHotels.com/30under30.

Missing your pet when you travel? Just borrow one

I love my two cats and I miss them dearly them when I travel for extended periods of time. Though there are more and more options for traveling with a pet, I’m still not about to bring them with me. It’s just too expensive, too much of a hassle, and too much stress on the pet to fly them with me for a two-week jaunt. So they stay home and I snuggle-attack any furry friends I happen to make along my travels.

For dog lovers, there’s another option available. As Peter Greenberg showcases in a video posted on his site, several hotels around the country are now offering special pet “rental” programs. At select Fairmont hotels, guests can borrow a dog for a day to take it out on a walk around town.

At the Fairmont Tremblant in Quebec, Gracie the canine ambassador is available for walks. At the Fairmont Copley Plaza in Boston, Catie the former guide-dog fills the role. Other hotels offer similar programs, like the Ritz Carlton Bachelor Gulch in Beaver Creek. Greenberg also highlights a program run by a shelter near Aspen. The shelter “rents” out dogs up for adoption for play dates. Many local hotels like the St. Regis and The Little Nell even allow the dogs to stay overnight. Of course, as Greenberg points out, the hope is that the temporary owner will then become a permanent one.

So next time you are traveling and missing your pets at home, you may not be out of luck. Just look for a hotel that offers one of these innovative pet-lover-friendly programs.

[via Peter Greenberg]

RVing – the enviromentally-friendly travel option?

Recreational Vehicles: giant, gas-guzzling monsters, or eco-friendly transportation? Our friend Peter Greenberg recently analyzed a new travel trend: the “green RV.” The term may seem contradictory; after all, can a lumbering, fuel-thirsty behemoth really be labeled “green?” But Greenberg points out that “the RV industry is adjusting to the demands of a more environmentally conscious public.” And those adjustments don’t just include simply trying to improve fuel efficiency (though a sleeker, more aerodynamic design and lighter composites contribute considerably to better gas mileage).

Features of these new, more environmentally-conscious RVs include solar and wind turbines (for powering that gourmet kitchen), and hybrid models that run on both gas and batteries.

Greenberg also points out that many consumers are simply buying smaller vehicles, which reduce environmental impact by using less fuel and creating fewer emissions. Further, he notes that the self-contained nature of an RV reduces travelers’ carbon footprint, since folks are not flying, eating out, or staying in a hotel.

Still, even innovative hybrid models get around 12 miles to the gallon, which doesn’t seem too eco-friendly to me. What are your thoughts?

Galley Gossip: Swine flu on the airplane (a few things you can do)

Today I’m flying from Los Angeles to New York to start my reserve rotation for May. I’m bringing my son along with me. He’s two. Because my husband travels on business often and I’ll be on-call, my son will be spending eight days with grandma and grandpa. Oh sure I’ll take the train out to see him in-between trips. That’s not the problem. The problem is with all this talk about swine flu, I can’t help but be a little nervous, not for me, but for him!

We’ll be traveling by plane and in New York where 75 people in Queens were recently diagnosed with the disease. Did I happen to mention my crashpad is in Queens? I’ll have zero control over where I’m going and how long I’ll be there. When I voiced my concerns, here’s what a few of my friends had to say…

  • “Heather, I think there’s a Mexico City layover with your name all over it! Hee, hee!”
  • “Don’t think you have to go to Mexico, Mexico will come to you. Start a new trend, nothing is hotter than a flight attendant with a Michael Jackson mask on! If you rock the body condom from the movie Naked Gun, I want to be there!”
  • “Every time I wake up in the MEX layover hotel I breathe a sigh of relief that I wasn’t crushed in an earthquake overnight. Now if I can just not breathe while down there . . .
  • “The only other thing you need besides a diagnosis is a company that’s not completely irrational and predatory about sick leave use. The company has denied me sick time, garnished pay for the days missed, and said to the union, “grieve it,” which is a years-long process.”
So what am I, the flight attendant, required to do if I see a passenger who may be exhibiting swine flu like symptoms?

  1. Isolate the person as much as possible.
  2. Contact the airline physician on-call. What I would actually do is call the cockpit who would then contact the ground who would then pass along important information.
  3. The airline I work for is providing extra gloves and thermometers for flight crews to use, as well as masks for passengers who may be infected.

Please note: As of April 26 there have only been mild cases of swine flu reported in the United States and most people have made a full recovery.

As of today, Argentina and Japan are the only two countries I’m aware of that are taking action. If you are flying into Argentina, all passengers and crew will be required to fill out a form that ground personnel will be distributing in order to enter the country. If you are traveling into Japan, all passengers and crew will be quarantined. That means passengers and crew will be required to remain on board the aircraft until Japanese health officials come on board and clear the flight.

Remember that post I wrote not too long ago about the sick passenger who didn’t ask for much (just my next unborn child), well if I had her on board a flight today I’d definitely wonder if she had the flu – as well as whether or not she was crazy. Honestly, I have no problem helping sick passengers, but at the same time I really don’t want to get sick and bring whatever it is they may have (or may not have) home to my son. Remember, he’s two! So what am I going to do (that you can do, too) in order to make sure this doesn’t happen?
  1. Wash hands often with soap and water (I’ll be packing travel size antibacterial hand lotion)
  2. Cover mouth when coughing or sneezing (use the inside of your elbow, not your hand)
  3. Report anyone who may appear sick. Passengers can report to a flight attendant who will then pass along the information to the correct authorities.

Peter Greenberg, the travel detective, doesn’t seem to be all that concerned. Yesterday he wrote on Twitter.com..

Remember SARS? I traveled at that time to Hong Kong — when hotel occupancies were around 3%. Had one of the best travel experiences ever. And how about the avian flu? About the only people infected (and there were incredibly few) were those who actually worked on chicken farms.”

I have to admit that Peter actually made me feel a little better about flying. Even so, I did what every flight attendant has probably already done, I went online and plugged the words SWINE FLU and FLIGHT ATTENDANT into the search engine. Just to see if anyone had it. So far so good. No one has it. Thank god! Here’s some other interesting information I found online concerning flight attendants, passengers, and the swine flu…

USA TODAY wrote… the USA’s largest flight attendant union, says it is directing members to keep an eye out for flu-like symptoms, especially on trips to Mexico. “We’re also pushing airlines to supply gloves and masks.” If a flight attendant observes a passenger with flu-like symptoms, the procedure is to isolate that person as much as possible, Caldwell says. So far, the travel industry is trying to accommodate travelers’ fears. Nearly every U.S. airline with routes to Mexico is waiving cancellation fees or rebooking flights.

Barcelonareporter.com wrote..The union STAVLA, a union that fights for the rights of flight attendants has condemned the airline for not allowing attendants to wear gloves to protect themselves against possible Swine flu infection. A source within the union said it had reiterated a request first made in 2003 for flight attendants to wear gloves when handling biological waste that is generated aboard, this request was put to the Health and Safety Committee and denied.

STAVLA, which has announced that it may take legal action against Iberia, has stated that each flight attendant assigned to the overseas fleet is in contact with about 33,000 passengers a year and has stressed that flights go “several times a day to Mexico.” The union said that after a circular sent to employees yesterday Iberia said ” it only allows the use of gloves by the flight attendant serving a passenger who, in his opinion, is affected by the infection.”

The union representatives of flight attendants recalled that the Regional Institute of Occupational Safety and Health at Work (IRSST) in Madrid has admitted that biowaste requires protective gloves, but “Iberia the practice remains prohibited for reasons of image” .

THE DAILYRECORD.COM wrote…

Q: What can flight attendants and gate agents do?

A: At the airport, gate agents can notify CDC officials at the airport to check waiting passengers who exhibit flulike symptoms. On board, flight attendants are authorized to isolate a sick traveler from the rest of the passengers if possible. Flight attendants also are authorized to dispense face masks to passengers who exhibit flu symptoms.

Have you booked a trip to Mexico and can’t decide what what to do – whether you should stay or go? And if you do decide to stay home, how do you get a refund? Click here for answers

Photos courtesy of (passenger) Wendy Tanner, (flight attendant) Aaron Escobar, (hands) Cafemama – Flickr.com