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Meetings & Conventions: Planner's Portfolio January 2001 Current Issue
January 2001 On TravelPLANNER'S PORTFOLIO:

On Travel

By Sarah J.F. Braley


Travelers can reap benefits from a new deal between US Airways and Stockback.com

Invest on the fly. In November, US Airways announced that travelers can buy tickets online through New York City-based Stockback (www.stockback.com) and earn cash rewards. Awards can be spent on merchandise or invested in the Stockback Fund, a no-load, open-ended mutual fund managed by Merrill Lynch.

At press time, tickets at Stockback were available only for flights to and from New York’s LaGuardia International Airport, with expansion to the entire US Airways system expected within a few weeks.

Blood curdling. On Oct. 23, ABCNews.com reported that a young bride traveling from Australia to England died from “Economy-Class Syndrome” (also known as deep- vein thrombosis, or DVT), a potentially fatal condition in which travelers who sit for long periods of time are at risk of developing blood clots in the lower leg that can break free and travel to the heart or lungs.

Exercises to boost circulation can help ward off the condition, as can TravelSox, an FDA-approved product from Williamsburg, Va.-based Global Health Ventures. The $15.99 TravelSox are knee-high “gradient compression” hosiery designed to improve circulation in the lower leg. They are available through Dynamic Health Wares (www.dhwonline.com).

Other ways to cut the risk of developing DVT on board: avoid alcohol, caffeine and medications that dehydrate; drink plenty of water; and take one aspirin a day before and on the day of travel.

Take the e-train. While dot-coms go into cardiac arrest right and left, the e-travel industry continues to be the healthy sector. A study conducted in September by PhoCusWright, an independent strategy and research company out of Sherman, Conn., shows that the number of Americans who bought travel online in the past year grew to 21 million, a figure that nearly doubled for the second consecutive year. The survey also found that 7 million of those 21 million now buy travel exclusively online. Ninety-one percent indicated they chose their main online service because “it seems to have good prices.” The second most popular reason was “ease of use,” at 80 percent.

Meanwhile, a new book helps surfers navigate the world of Web-based travel. Travel Planning on the Internet by Ron and Caryl Krannich (Impact Publications; Manassas Park, Va.; $19.95) covers finding and buying travel online.

Hanging out at the airport. Layovers are becoming ever more interesting as airports go beyond the mall concept to keep travelers entertained. Canada’s Calgary International Airport opened SpacePort in September, featuring interactive displays, simulator rides, a quarter-scale replica of the space shuttle and a moon rock.

Here in the states, ground has been broken at Washington (D.C.) Dulles International Airport on a lavish $238 million companion to the Smithsonian’s Air and Space Museum. The 710,000-square-foot facility will be dedicated to the history of flight, housing such famous aircraft as the B-29 Enola Gay and the Space Shuttle Enterprise. The museum is scheduled to open in 2003.

Hot off the press. For planners who spend time in a variety of cities each year, two annual guidebooks published by New York City-based Zagat Survey are must-haves. The 2001 edition of Top U.S. Hotels, Resorts & Spas features 800 properties rated and reviewed by 19,600 frequent travelers, including 900 travel industry professionals. Properties are rated by quality of room, service, dining and public facilities; spas receive an additional rating for treatments. America’s Top Restaurants for 2001 is a compilation of reviews of 1,279 top-rated eateries culled from Zagat surveys for 44 major cities and regions. The books cost $12.95 each.

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