Souvenirs I Did Not Buy in Italy

From strange foods and scary fruit vendors to Vatican pin-up photos, here are the souvenirs I did not buy in Italy.

Things I’ve Gotten for Free at Airport Clubs

In the past few months, I’ve found myself deluged with free passes to the various fancy lounges that airlines offer to their frequent-flier customers, and sell for an average of $50 per visit to the rest of us.

Why Don’t I Give Money to Poor People?

Everywhere it's different but the same. In San Francisco it's the guy who could visit his sick sister in Portland if he could just get 10 bucks for the bus fare. In Paris it's children with their arms out. Why do we give or don't give?

WWYD: A Flight Voucher for a Different Delay

You're given a travel voucher and a letter of apology for a flight that you weren't on.

Can’t Afford to Travel But Can Totally Afford to Be a Travel Snob

Most of the email newsletters I've signed up for go to spam. The ones that don't, I wish they did. Exception: The Travelzoo Weekly Top 20, which alerts me to the very best in airfare, hotels, and all-inclusive vacation packages that I have never and will never buy. I devour it each week.

Pilfering From the Hotel Room

"35% of global travelers say they make off with even more valuable hotel amenities, such as towels, lamps, robes and bedding, according to a recent survey by the hotel booking site Hotels.com."

Austin, On Less Than $20 a Day

A man goes to SXSW and tries to spend less than $20 a day.

The Future of Renting Your Room for the Short-Term

I like the service Airbnb is trying to provide. Is it contributing to higher rental prices in cities like San Francisco and New York and pricing out locals? Unclear. Does it provide an unsafe environment for neighbors concerned with strangers coming into buildings—another maybe, and Craiglist has already filled that role for some time now. We'll have to see what happens to Warren, and what the lobbyists end up accomplishing.

Notes from an Airport

JOMO KENYATTA INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT, NAIROBI, KENYA But then: another one of those airports, like Newark, where you can’t let your guard down or trust anything that anyone tells you. A place where you have to snap out of it. Nothing will be easy here. East African Safari? Right over there in the waiting tent, sir; a representative will come and collect you and the other passengers. A representative? No, you have to go through immigration. Transit? Twenty dollars please. East African Safari is in the Cargo Terminal, reachable via shuttle bus—that shuttle bus. No, it’s in the domestic terminal, which is now the international terminal because the airport burned down on Wednesday. Or possibly it’s the cargo terminal that’s now the domestic terminal, which means the international terminal would be—

It isn’t an exaggeration to say that it took several hours to disentangle all of this, although this is to be expected, since the airport—the third busiest in Africa by passenger volume. Like, imagine JFK burning down and you’ll get an idea of how major this is—had in fact been reduced to a charred hunk of ’60s brutalist concrete the previous Wednesday. And what a field day the conspiracy theorists are having! “I DIDN’T BURN AIRPORT, SAYS PARETTI,” trumpeted possibly the greatest newspaper headline I’ve ever seen; “BLAZE CATASTROPHE,” read another, elegantly.

Blogger Armin Rosen has a fascinating post about visiting nine airports in the Middle East and Africa, describing his experiences at each one of them. I mostly fly out of JFK and in my experience, it takes forever to get through JetBlue’s security screening at Terminal 5, and is less of a pain if say, you are flying on Virgin America and going through Terminal 4. I’ve also haven’t had many problems flying out of LAX. Haven’t yet flown out of charred airport yet.

Photo: Shankar S.

Not an Elite Flyer? Sorry, No Seats for You at the Moment

The Wall Street Journal's Middle Seat column discussed how airlines have increasingly taken available seats on flights and blocking them out for regular customers, but keeping them available for "elite" frequent flyers. Scott McCartney reports that 30 to 40 percent of airline seats are reserved for these "elite" flyers or come with a reservation fee.

The Pre-Departure Costs of Travelling By Cargo Ship (A Note to Self)

The cost of travel via cargo ship.

The Simple Solution to a Last Minute Passport Snafu ($$$)

Last minute passport debacle.