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Travel News

By Judy Newell

Mexico Travel News

Southwest to fly Houston-Mexico City

Southwest Airlines has been approved to fly to Mexico City and Cabo San Lucas from Houston’s Hobby Airport. Just days after it launched its first international flight from Hobby to Aruba, the US Department of Transportation approved the request. The Mexican Dirección General de Aeronáutica Civil (DGAC) said that it would consider amendments to the existing treaty to allow more flights.

Southwest is building a US$156 million international terminal at Hobby with five gates. It is partially open now but won’t be completed until October. George H. Bush Intercontinental, Houston’s other main airport, has for years had the monopoly on international flights.

Southwest also plans to add flights from Hobby to Belize, Cancún, Puerto Vallarta, and San José, Costa Rica.

Volaris debuts service from Houston and Dallas to Guadalajara

Since its inception nine years ago, Volaris has grown faster than any other Mexican carrier when it comes to flights to the US. On March 23, the low-cost carrier launched thrice-weekly nonstop service between Houston’s George Bush Intercontinental Airport and Guadalajara International Airport and will begin service out of Dallas on April 29, which will also operate three times a week.

The carrier operates more than 239 daily flight segments on routes that connect 38 Mexican cities with 19 in the US, including Los Angeles, San Diego, Sacramento, Oakland, San José, Fresno, and Ontario, California; Orlando; Las Vegas; Phoenix, Denver; San Antonio; and Chicago. Its two primary hubs are Mexico City and Guadalajara.

Cruise News

New river cruise/biking vacations

AMA Waterways and tour operator Backroads have partnered to create river cruise itineraries that include biking, walking, and hiking excursions on 20 Danube River sailings in 2015. The special programs will be expanded throughout Europe and Asia in 2016.

The eight-day Danube River bike tour includes several bike and walking excursions on a cruise between Prague to Budapest. Travelers can bike through the Black Forest and Bavaria, and participate in walking tours and cycle along the river. They will have an allocated trip leader, titanium bikes, support vans, and flexible itineraries with a range of cycling routes suited for different abilities.

In 2016, AMA Waterways and Backroads will introduce a number of new tours along the Rhine, Rhone, Seine, Douro, Garonne, and Mekong rivers.

Special Vikings-focused cruise

Were the Vikings a people hell bent on barbaric raiding and pillaging or a forward-thinking group of explorers and tradesmen who put Scandinavia on the map? On Hurtigruten’s 12-day “Voyage of the Vikings” itinerary, which sets sail on September14, you can find out more about these fascinating people, their empire, and their legacy.

Viking expert Gareth Williams of the British Museum is the group’s guest host, giving lectures on board and leading tours and excursions on land. Since 1996 he has been curator at the British Museum, and he was the lead curator of the major Viking exhibition at the British Museum in 2014.

The cruise begins and ends in the southern city of Bergen, sailing to the northern town of Kirkenes on the Russian border and visiting a total of 34 ports in each direction. Fares start at US$2,989 per person, double occupancy

International News

Egypt requires visa before arrival

Individual tourists traveling to Egypt must now obtain a visa from an Egyptian consulate prior to their arrival and can no longer do so upon arrival at an Egyptian airport. Groups traveling with a tour operator can still obtain tourist visas upon arrival in Egypt.

The Egyptian Embassy in Washington, DC, estimates that most applications will be processed within 10 business days. There are Egyptian consulate offices in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, and Houston.

Now is the cheapest time to rent a car in the States

Winter is just about over and snowbirds in Florida and the southwest will be heading back home. So the car rental companies that flooded those locations for winter travelers now need their cars back.

Hertz’s “Florida Drive Out” promotion allows you to rent a car and drive it back up the east coast, dropping it anywhere you like along the I-95 corridor from Georgia to Maine, for as little as US$10 a day. Budget, National, and Avis are all doing similar promotions with low rates and no drop-off charges.

When seasons change or special events create unusual demand, rental car companies need to move vehicles all over the country. A new website, Transfer car, shows you how and when car companies are looking for drivers to take their vehicles from one place to the next for free. The vehicle relocation service enables rental car companies to drastically reduce costs in freight services, while offering a way for budget-conscious travelers to drive for free.

Deal of the Week

Pay a rate equal to your birth year at Starwood Hotels

Getting older isn’t so bad after all. Pay a full rate for your first night (rates vary by property). Then pay a rate equal to the year you were born for your second or third night. Born 1968? Pay US$68. Offer available at participating Starwood hotels and resorts and expires April 16, 2015.

Judy Newell heads the travel company Perfect Journeys which specializes designing independent tours, cruises and travel for the discerning traveler. Please contact Judy for reservations or further information on any of the Travel News topics; cell phone 415 111-8765; Vonage: 949 300-3682; email: or view the latest travel specials on the website where you can book your hotels, tours and cruises online.

Sources: Southwest, Volaris, Travel Weekly, AMA Waterways, Hurtigruten, Travel Pulse, Starwood Hotels


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