Little-known ways to fly to Italy and Germany
Discount airline Eurofly is worth considering for your next trip to Italy. Eurofly is a low-cost carrier based in Milan that provides nonstop service between New York City and Bologna, Bari, Catania, Lamezia Terme, Naples, Palermo, Pescara, and Rome. These cities make convenient jumping-off points, whether for exploring less-touristed regions like Apulia (fly into Bari) and Calabria (choose Lamezia Terme) or Italy's best-loved destinations. Bologna, for instance, grants easy access to Tuscany to the south and Venice to the north while Rome and Naples put the Amalfi Coast within a short drive. All flights are nonstop on Airbus 330-200 planes. Even if you plan to visit Italy this summer and don't live in the Big Apple, you may save by flying a U.S. discount carrier to New York City and then catching a non-stop flight on Eurofly. You can only find its fares at Eurofly.com--not through Web travel agencies, such as Orbitz, or meta-search websites, such as Kayak. As a fun side note, Eurofly is the official airline of the FC Inter and AC Milan soccer teams and the Ferrari racing team.--Kate Appleton
Discount airline Condor is worth considering for your next trip to Germany. For several years now and with almost no marketing, Condor Airlines has been flying from Anchorage, Las Vegas, Fort Myers, and Orlando to Frankfurt, Germany, with connecting flights to other cities. The airline is owned by Thomas Cook and uses Boeing 767-300, Boeing 757-300 and Airbus A320 aircraft. You won't find its fares at Web travel agencies, such as Orbitz, or meta-search websites, such as Kayak. Instead, you'll find Condor's fares at its website. If you're flying to Germany this summer, consider hopping a U.S. discount airline to Las Vegas (assuming you don't already live in Sin City), and then jumping on Condor, which flies to Frankfurt from Las Vegas four times a week.
Today's travel intel
It's Budget Travel's credo that you don't need most travel products. Our official reason is that we think they're almost always a waste of money. Our unofficial reason is that you'll look like a total geek if you carry around some of this stuff. In fact, nothing says "geek" like a pair of bottle-opener sandals. Well, on second thought, maybe an 84-tool Swiss Army knife screams "geek.' Here's a full round-up of travel gear for geeks. (I would like to add another product to this round-up: Vibram's new aquasocks with toes. As a very wise man -- who happens to be my boss -- once said, just because you can make toes out of neoprene doesn't mean you should.) America has been rated the world's most unfriendly destination for foreign travelers in a new global poll. Only Canadians still like us, or at least, they are the only nationality that continues to visit our country in the same numbers as in 2000. The drop-off in European and Japanese visitors is all the more astonishing because today's exchange rates with the euro, the pound, and the yen make the U.S. relatively cheap. Details on the global poll can be found in this article in the New Zealand Herald (via BoingBoing) What's the world's most treacherous road? This blogger and the Washington Post both say they have found the answer: Bolivia's Road of Death. This road has a 40-mile, unpaved section that is a lane "hacked out of the mountainside, bordered by 3,000-foot cliffs." (See images at the Dark Roasted Blend blog.) I recently told you about the slide show "How to Take Better Pictures of Your Friends," put together by Budget Travel's photo department. You may also be interested in some expert scrapbooking tips and some time-saving tricks for making photo books.
Ireland on sale in peak season
Low-cost airline Aer Lingus is holding a sale that ends tomorrow. It's offering some amazing fares for summer travel. Round-trip tickets for flights departing from New York or Boston and arriving in Dublin or Shannon cost $498, plus taxes, which can add up to $220. Fares are good from July 1 through the end of August, when fares ordinarily hover around $900, plus taxes. Fares departing from Chicago and arriving in Shannon are also $498 round-trip. Fares out of L.A. are $399 round-trip, flying into Shannon or Dublin. Note: Aer Lingus is starting service from San Francisco to Dublin, for $400 round-trip. (Taxes add about $200 a ticket for each of the above offers.) For details, click here.
How to take better photos of your friends
The photo editors at Budget Travel have put together a bunch of tips on taking better shots. Tip 1: Tuck Discreetly. In a perfect world, no one would ever have to be photographed by someone who's shorter than she is--it's a recipe for a double chin. If it's unavoidable, remember to tuck your chin down slightly, but not so far down so that it looks like you're doing a yoga stretch. This will minimize any jowliness and emphasize your sexy eyes instead. See our staff member, Lauren Feuer, illustrating the difference here. You'll find other cool tips and tricks when you check out this slide show.
What's better than Google?
Google mashups, of course. Before you take your next trip, don't just settle for a standard map of your destination. Go online first to see if some creative person has whipped up a free, customized map. New mashup Google maps highlight selected locations with boxes that fly over the maps and typically display addresses and phone numbers. Here's the fastest way to see if there's an enhanced map of your destination. Visit this website, Google Maps Mania. Then search on your destination either by clicking on the "By Country" link or by entering your destination's name in the website's search box. You'll find both the link and the search box in the top right-hand corner of the website's main page. For example, click on this Prague 360 map. Besides seeing the typical Google map of the Czech capital, you'll see teardrop-shaped markers for various spots around the city. By clicking on each marker, you'll see photos of the location or additional information about events scheduled to take place there. For instance, if you click on the link "Flying above Petrin Tower -- Prague Skyline," you'll see a 360-degree image of Prague's skyline, which you can click and drag for an adjustable view. (Neat!) This service allows you to plan for aspects of your trip in ways that your guidebook won't. Budding photographers can spot the most promising locations for taking scenic photographs. Nightlife-lovers can find out about the latest lineups at top concert venues. Travelers willing to take public transportation can plot out where subway and tram stations are in relation to their hotel. Many U.S. and Western European cities have well-developed Google Map Mashups, which you can find by clicking here. However, most destinations around the U.S. and the world still don't have a lot of customized maps available. If the location of your next trip doesn't have a cool map now, bookmark the Google Maps Mania site and check back six months from now. New maps may have been developed by then. Another cool planning tool is Google Earth, which incorporates satellite data into Google's streetmaps. Learn about the latest cool features of this free software by clicking here.