Traveling has become so convoluted since 9/11 that it's hard to make travel plans that are clear and concise. There are so many asterisks, double bars, other bizarre symbols on each listing that it's hard to keep it all together in my head. I'm at the stage where I must be careful lest the overloaded noggin explode. Messy, that.
There is no way I can swing an Alaska Cruise alone. Everything is based on "double occupancy. Besides, it wouldn't be much fun having no one to share the experience and memories with me.
I've been focused on a mid-September getaway to New Orleans to visit the sister and see a few childhood friends. I believe I will let American Express Travel handle the trip, but there are still many things to sort out and little information at the individual airline/hotel sites. I know I want a non-stop flight; 2 whole days spent traveling and changing planes, and waiting doesn't spark my interest. Waste of time and exhausting, to be sure.
I'll need a rental car, and a hotel located in the vicinity of the sister and a few friends who live in Metairie. At the Amex site I've clicked on a number of options, and the results were staggering. It could take weeks to sort them out.
I have to mention here that there is a vast divide in respect to reviews of various hotels, car rentals and airlines between Trip Advisor and American Express Travel websites. Way too many hotel ratings on Trip Advisor give 2 or 3 stars for most hotels - even some that I know to be nothing like the review. The same hotels at the Amex site are more generous and productive. The recently renovated Roosevelt Hotel is NOT a flophouse or bedbug ridden place. Different travelers have different expectations and experiences. I would trust Amex over Trip Advisor any day, so I think I'll be in good hands once decisions are made and travel dates are confirmed.
One other thing is to find out what luggage restrictions are and what the extra charges would be. I tend to travel light - one medium bag and a carry-on containing the camera, passport and meds. Since I am bald, toiletries are minimal, so no worries there. Oh, it's been so long since I've had to figure out all this stuff it will be a whole new learning experience. Anything deemed inappropriate for the flight will be just one thing less to carry back home.
Or, I figure I can do what most American travelers do; pretend to be ignorant of all the silly rules and regulations and wait to see what hottie will be patting me down before loading. Yes, I know, they hire the dumbest, ugliest, and humorless people for these positions, so I lose all round.
And so it goes.