The best of the travel Web this week

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The best blog for tracking travel freebies is Glen Leff's View from the Wing. He recently reported on how anyone carrying an American Express Platinum card can now access American Admiral's Club lounges, along with immediate family or up to two guests, prior to boarding American flights. "This adds American to Continental, Northwest, and Delta in the stable of airline lounges accessible with a U.S.-based Amex Platinum card," says Leff.

Rick Steves, the travel expert known for his "Europe Through the Back Door" guidebooks, tours, and TV programs, has a blog. He provides a steady stream of insights on travel, along with the occasional odd tidbit, such as his recent blog post about eating fried sperm in the Czech Republic.

It's a special challenge to travel with a teenager. A parent who runs offers five tips on traveling with teens in this blog post. Here's one of the tips: Let them maintain contact with their friends:

Three weeks without their friends is cruel and unusual punishment for most teenagers. Find hotels with Internet connections or close to Internet cafes so the kids can get online to chat or exchange emails. Learning the latest gossip at home is more valuable knowledge to your teenager than the fascinating food preferences of ancient Romans. It is also a time to reflect on their travel, the boring morning at the museum is suddenly a cool experience to see Michelangelo's David when chatting to friends who spent the day watching Sponge Bob.

Once upon a time, flying as an air courier had near mythical status among travelers as a great way to save money. But the opportunities dried up in recent years, partly because of the success of FedEx. Yet there are still air courier opportunities out there, as the Go Budget Travel blog describes in a recent post.

A pilot talks back. More specifically, a woman who says she's a pilot for a major airline has been putting together a podcast of her experiences, complete with audio outtakes from her flights. She's funny! Betty In The Sky With A Suitcase. (Thanks, Airline Confidential!)

Stay overnight in a house designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, by following this tip from the blog Wandalust. "The Louis Penfield House in Ohio can be rented for a minimum of two nights. Up to 5 people are allowed to stay at any given time, with a cost of $275 per night, plus tax."

Harry Potter hijinx uncovered! Slate has the dish on why Disney abandoned a plan to build a Harry Potter theme park, allowing its rival Universal Studios nab the contract to build one instead. Disney thought that J.K. Rowling was too demanding in her expectations of what the park should be like.

Japan pampers its pets like no other country. Here's the proof, via the fun blog Japundit. [The U.S. isn't far behind in pet-pampering, however. Consider the new travel kit for pets, called Sexy Beast ($30).

More travelers are heading to Chicago this Labor Day weekend than any other city, according to Los Angeles Times' Daily Travel Deal Blog has the scoop on some travel deals to the Windy City.

The Cool Hunter features gorgeous photos of gorgeous hotels, offering one of the most beautiful travel blogs on the Internet. Unfortunately, many of the properties that the website showcases are luxury properties with four-star rates. (Sigh)... (

Want to find a great deal in a street market overseas? You'll find commentary on some of the best markets abroad on this blog post at IgoUgo.

Few blogs cover the comings-and-goings of the airline industry with as much panache asUpgrade: Travel Better. For a taste, check out the site's most popular entries.

There's no better record of this summer's airplane delays and indignities than the special blog, The Summer of Our Discontent, by the poet laureate of air travel, Joe BrancatelliThis blog gives you a a good sense of how bad it's been.

If Europe is too rich for your tastes this year because of the weak value of the U.S. dollar there, then visit Tim Leffel's Cheapest Destinations. This blog keeps you on top of the news about destinations that are affordable and offer high-quality experiences, such as these recent posts on Latin America.

The amusing pop culture travel blog Jaunted provides a stream of fun items, such as the recent news that New Zealand is holding its annual contest for the nation's best bathroom.

Before you make a trip to Asia, be sure to check out Travelfish, a website with updated info from travelers on the ground throughout Asia. Guidebooks may be out-of-date in these rapidly-changing countries, but Travelfish has up-to-the-minute details and perspectives.

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