Travel News You Can Use

By Judy Newell

Mexico Travel News
Mexico City launches fuel-efficient auto rental

Carrot Shared Automobile System, an initiative designed to reduce traffic and pollution in Mexico’s capital city, enables residents and visitors to rent a fuel-efficient car for US$6.40 per hour with pickup and drop-off at 16 locations throughout the city.

Renters must pay a one-time US$21 fee to obtain a user card and must show a valid driver’s license. The program is similar to the Zipcar programs already in place many cities in Europe and the US, including New York.

The rental cars get 34 miles per gallon; city officials are hopeful that the program will reduce the number of vehicles in the city, which number more than US$5.5 million.

Baja Film Festival sets November premiere
The inaugural Baja International Film Festival, set for November 14 to 17 at the Convention Center in Los Cabos, will feature the works of leading filmmakers from Mexico, the US and around the world. Events will include screenings, galas, award ceremonies, panel discussions and receptions.

Festival co-founders and brothers, Scott and Sean Cross, also founded the Colorado Film Institute and the Vail Film Festival. The festival’s goal is to showcase the best filmmaking from around the world and grow the event into the Cannes Film Festival of Latin America, according to the founders.

The festival currently is accepting entries through August 20 and will award prizes in the four categories of feature films, documentaries, short films and student films. In addition, a prize will be given for the best Mexican film.

Airline News
Aeromexico places US$11B aircraft order
Aeromexico signed a letter of intent with Boeing to purchase 90 737 MAX 8 planes and 10 787-9 Dreamliners for US$11 billion. The order “represents the most ambitious investment program for a national carrier in Mexico’s commercial aviation history,” according to CEO Andres Conesa.

The Dreamliners will begin arriving next summer; the 737s are expected to arrive in 2018. The new aircraft will allow the carrier to overhaul its existing fleet of 110 aircraft.

Delta bought a four percent stake in Aeromexico in June, but it is not known if the US carrier would contribute toward payment for the order.

Cruise News
Short on time, big on luxury
Love luxury line Crystal Cruises but don’t have time to take a long voyage? Crystal is now featuring 12 new shorter Mediterranean itineraries through December at fares starting at US$262 per day. The five to eight-day voyages on the Crystal Serenity start at US$1,310 per person. And that becomes an even greater value because Crystal is all-inclusive now, with wine, premium spirits, gratuities, fitness classes and enrichment activities all bundled into the fare.

Among the options: a six-day October 30 cruise from Athens to Istanbul, visiting Navplion, Mykonos and Kusadasi, priced from US$1,575; or a seven-day October 17 voyage from Haifa to Bodrum, Corfu, Dubrovnik and Venice from US$1,835.

Tauck drops single supplement on Europe river cruises

Tauck is dropping the single supplement for Category 1 cabins on all 14 of its European river cruise itineraries in 2013. The savings are as high as US$4,676 (on the 24-day, trans-European cruise), while the average savings is over US$2,400.

Tauck is also offering savings of US$1,000 off the normal single supplement on Category 3 cabins on select sailings of eight European river cruise itineraries. The US$1,000 Category 3 savings represent an average reduction in the single supplement of nearly 40 percent.

International News
Zambia no longer accepting US dollars as currency
Norman Carr Safaris reported that Zambia is undergoing economic policy changes and it appears that US dollars will no longer be accepted currency in Zambia.

Americans can still pay for their safaris in US dollars from abroad, but US dollars are no longer accepted for payment within Zambia. Visitors can pay for their visas in US dollars upon entry into Zambia, but once they have passed through immigration they will need Zambian Kwacha to pay for airport departure taxes and any other cash incidentals.

It is not possible to purchase Kwacha outside of Zambia so travelers need to be prepared to change cash at a currency exchange bureau at the airport or carry a bankcard and withdraw cash at the airport ATM. Visitors should alert their credit card provider so that they will not invalidate credit card purchases when seeing transactions from Zambia.

Golf packages in Bermuda
Now through March 31, 2013, guests can stay at some of Bermuda’s
finest hotels for a minimum three-night stay and get free rounds of golf on some of the most popular courses. Stay three nights and get three free rounds, four nights for four rounds, and five nights for five rounds. Guests will play like champions, and be treated like champions too. All packages include daily breakfast, complimentary golf cart and 50 percent off golf club rentals at each course.

Deal of the Week
Experience the rich history of France and save $2,000 per stateroom
Seven-night Seine cruise with AMA Waterways starting from US$1,499 per person. Single supplement waived on cruise and land! Select Paris and Normandy cruises embarking from March 29 through November 8, 2013.

Embark on your cruise in Paris, the “City of Lights.” Visit the village of Giverny, where Monet lived for 43 years. Explore Honfleur, a charming French harbor town made famous from artists’ paintings. Stroll through Rouen, the historic capital of Normandy, followed by an unforgettable excursion to the famous Normandy beaches. Visit the charming town of Les Andelys, home of the impressive Château Gaillard. Conclude your journey with the Arc de Triomphe, Champs-Élysées and the Louvre in the magical city of Paris.

Sources: Travel Weekly, Crystal Cruises, Tauck, Travel Pulse, Bermuda Tourism, AMA Waterways

Judy Newell heads the travel company Perfect Journeys which specializes in custom-designed tour and cruise travel. She presents “Travel Tuesdays”, a free seminar on travel topics at the Biblioteca Publica – the next seminar will be August 28. Topics will be announced in Que Pasa. Contact Judy by email at

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