There goes my free annual supply of shampoo as hotels replace plastic bottles with wall dispensers –

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The hotel industry is moving quickly to replace those small plastic shampoo and conditioner bottles in your hotel bathroom with wall dispensers.  I have to confess for the last 40+ years I have taken the liberty of bringing home hundreds if not thousands of bottles of hotel shampoo and conditioner to use at home and to give away to homeless shelters and people in need. In the coming months, most of the major hotel chains will be eliminating offering plastic bottles of shampoo and replace them with wall-mounted pump dispensers. The hotels are making this major change saying it will have a positive environmental impact. But we also know that it is cheaper to buy shampoo in a 55-gallon drum than putting it in small bottles and only half are used and the other half is thrown away. When I first learned of the change I was disappointed but now I think it is better for everyone and is a small way to help our fragile environment.

Airlines are making flying so painful and expensive many people are driving where they once used to fly –

This weekend my wife and I are traveling from Lincoln, Nebraska to Lake Geneva, Wisconsin for a family reunion. I fly over 100,000 miles every year so my first thought was to fly. Then I thought to myself it has been years since I took a road trip and what better time of the year to travel than when the temperatures are cool and the leaves are turning color. I then turned to Google Maps which said driving was 530 miles and would take 7 hours and 43 minutes. That seemed like a lot of car time until I did the math of how much time it took me to fly. My drive to the Omaha airport takes an hour and if I arrive an hour before my flight and park my car I have 2.5 hours invested before the trip. Add the 1.5 hours of flight time and 30 minutes to get the rental car plus a 1.5-hour drive from Chicago, O’Hare to Lake Geneva, Wisconsin and you have a total travel time for flying of 6 hours compared to 8 hours of driving. Now compare the cost. The cost for two for flying is $900 ($450 X 2) plus a rental car for 3 days @ $50 a day totals $1050. The cost of driving 1060 miles roundtrip is about 50 cents a mile or $530 dollars. The bottom line is it takes me only 2 hours more to drive plus I save $500. Add in the hassle of parking, security, the extra cost of checking in luggage, possible delays or cancellations and you can see how the airlines are pushing away many people who used to fly the friendly skies. If you look at the cities that are a six to eight-hour drive from Omaha they include Minneapolis, Denver, St. Louis, Kansas City, and even Chicago. If two or more people are traveling this makes it even easier to justify a road trip.

Pay the extra $100 this winter and fly non-stop flights –

Missing a connecting flight because of a delayed flight has become a nightmare. In years past there were usually enough empty seats on other flights, you could make it to your destination, just a few hours later. Today with all the airline consolidation there aren’t enough empty seats on airplanes to deal with the extra passengers when a flight is canceled or delayed. Add in a major snowstorm and you have a 3-day tidal wave trying to find flights to get home. With this in mind, I will do almost anything I can to try to find non-stop flights to get to my destination. You will often pay as much as $100 more for direct (non-stop) flights but if it saves you a half-day of travel it is worth the price to me.

Procrastinators alert! Prices around the holidays are skyrocketing – 

This is normally the time of the year that procrastinators are shocked to see how expensive it is to fly during the weeks of Thanksgiving and Christmas. Today I did a quick check and was amazed to see how high prices were for flying around both Thanksgiving and Christmas. Normally these are two of the busiest weeks of the year to fly. Procrastinators can expect to pay $600 or more for the primo travel days. You can still find some reasonably priced flights but you will need to be very flexible with your days of travel. For example, returning from Thanksgiving on Saturday instead of Sunday will often save you over $100. If you have not made your holiday travel plans yet please do it now as this window of opportunity will close fast. The airlines know they can increase prices around the holidays and they want to make hay while the sun shines. The last few seats on planes will be filling up fast in the next few days. Please take my advice on this one and buy your tickets now.

There is a really nice two-week window in November and December to find good airfare prices –

Everyone knows that traveling around Thanksgiving and Christmas is busy and expensive. This year we are seeing that there are two windows that have reasonable airline prices. The first period is the first two weeks of November. The second period is the first two weeks of December. The airplanes during these dates appear to have a lot of empty seats. We have even been able to find several frequent flyer ticket seats during this time so you know the airlines have empty seats.

FINAL CALL – join Women of Nebraska/Women of the Midwest to Israel and Jordan –

Last month, I returned back from the most amazing trip to Jordan and Israel. If you would like to experience the biblical wonders of the Holy Land, then join our women-only tour this coming February 20 – March 2, 2020. The deadline to sign up is October 28, so please do not hesitate. This tour is limited to 15 travelers and the journey will take you to all the extraordinary sites of Jordan and Israel, incl. Petra, Madaba, Mount Nebo, Caesarea, Nazareth, Sea of Galilee, the Jordan River, the Dead Sea, and Jerusalem. CLICK HERE for full tour details and call or email Beth at our friendly group department today, (402) 435-8888, GroupDepartment@executivetravel.com.

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