Shownotes for "Travel with Stephanie Abrams!" Radio Show (TWSA!) with Travel Expert and Radio Talk Show Host Stephanie Abrams - September 18, 2011
"Travel with Stephanie Abrams!" Radio Show - September 18, 2011
img Lighten the Load with Travelpro; European Luxury at the Baur au Lac Hotel in Zurich, Switzerland; Terrific Tips for Travelers; Chic Accommodations at Hotel Modern in New Orleans, Louisiana; On the Road with Travelers411 Creative Director Dru Abrams; The History of Irish Coffee and Pan Am at Foynes Flying Boat Museum in Limerick, Ireland.

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Hour 1

Topics Include:

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Scott Applebee, Vice President of Marketing, Travelpro International, Based in Boca Raton, Florida, USA.
www.travelpro.com

Radio Show Host Stephanie Abrams talks about traveling light with Scott Applebee, Vice President of Marketing at Travelpro International.  Scott says the luggage company recently introduced Maxlite 2, its newest line of durable, lightweight bags that travelers will find both easy to handle and affordable.  The second generation in Travelpro's Maxlite series, the latest luggage weighs in at just six and a half pounds for a twenty two inch Rollaboard carry on.  Scott calls this a "major feat" because of the minimal pounds coupled with a lifetime warranty that guarantees against defects to material and workmanship.  Stephanie is quite familiar with the excellence of Travelpro's products, having once purchased a garment bag for her husband, her colleagues and herself that both rolled and stood upright like a steamer trunk as well as offered ample interior space and three large external pockets.

Travelpro has focused attention on developing more carry ons because people often prefer to keep their luggage with them to avoid bag check fees.  Stephanie notes that travelers frequently face the challenge of trying to fit their carry ons in overhead bins, particularly on regional carriers.  Scott says that Travelpro designers kept this in mind when developing Maxlight 2, so the wheel and handle extensions should fit into the small compartments without a problem.  However, some may choose to purchase a twenty rather than a twenty two inch Rollaboard to be absolutely certain their bag will fit overhead.  This smaller size is the international carry on size and can save travelers and flight attendants from what he terms "Battle of the Overhead Bins."

In addition to the twenty two inch Rollaboard, the Maxlight 2 collection offers a twenty five inch version of the bag as well as duffle and garment bags.  When deciding which size bag is best for personal needs, Scott recommends that individuals think first about whether most of their travel is international or a combination of international and domestic.  Those who plan to check larger luggage should consider the twenty five inch Maxlite 2 bag, which weighs less than eight pounds.  This is one-third lighter than the lightest bag Stephanie has ever found, which weighed 12 pounds!  Lighter luggage, she advises, means people can pack more and run less risk of exceeding airlines' weight restrictions.  In fact, she has told people to either think of alternative ways to get souvenirs home rather than pack them or to not buy them at all because baggage fees can be so exorbitant.  Scott agrees and says that when Travelpro tested its other brand of bags, Atlantic, with families, it found that checking bags "could get very expensive in a hurry."

While well known for its suitcases and luggage, Travelpro also owns Austin House, a travel accessories company.  Given the high cost of surpassing baggage weight limits, Scott says a luggage scale is the top selling item in that division.  Stephanie says she always weighs her luggage at home because it can be inconvenient to have to take clothing out of suitcases at the airport in efforts to lighten the load.  She also points out that scales are not scientific, so travelers cannot be certain their bags will weigh the same regardless of where they check them.   She was once told the same luggage with the same contents had a two pound differential when her travels took her to two airports on the same day.  There may come a time when travelers have to stuff that cardigan or pair of shoes into a tote or handbag to escape an "over the weight limit" fee, but she says eight pound luggage "gives you a lot of latitude" from the outset, making this recent addition of lightweight luggage to the Travelpro family "glorious news."

Related Photo Galleries:
Coming Soon!

Travelers411 Community Forums - This interview's thread:
http://www.travelers411.com/forums/showthread.php?p=13465

For more information visit www.travelpro.com


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Michel Rey, General Manager, Baur au Lac Hotel, Zurich, Switzerland, Europe.
www.bauraulac.ch

Michel Rey, General Manager of Baur au Lac Hotel in Zurich, Switzerland, joins Travel Expert Stephanie Abrams to talk about his property, its unique setting and his life in the hospitality industry.  Although he was born and schooled in Zurich, Michele spent much of his early life in Monte Carlo, where his grandfather owned two hotels, as well as in Lucerne, Switzerland, where his father worked as a hotel General Manager before becoming the Managing Director of Baur au Lac in 1954.  In fact, his father was his immediate predecessor at the property and his family has managed the luxury property for several decades.  He has lived on site for the last fifty years.

Stephanie suggests that Michele pen his life story in the form of a children's book similar to the Eloise books based on the six year old girl who lives at The Plaza Hotel in New York City.  She believes this would make a "marvelous story" that would be a wonderful gift shop item.  She would also like to introduce him to Marlen Scalzi, Director of Sales at the Hotel Viking in Newport, Rhode Island, who also grew up on the property since her father was the General Manager.  Turning her attention back to the European property, she admits that, although she knows how fabulous a destination Baur au Lac is, she has only passed through Zurich when changing trains between Austria and Geneva, Switzerland.  She asks Michele to tell her more about the city.

Like Geneva, says Michele, Zurich sits on a lake.  It is the headquarters for the financial firms UBS and Credit Suisse, yet it has also become a tourist spot over the last ten years.  Not only is it very centrally located in Europe with its airport serving as a major hub for countries worldwide, but Zurich also offers visitors an array of shopping opportunities.  Unlike Paris, France, which has shops geographically dispersed throughout the city, Michele says Zurich's shopping "can be done in a handkerchief" because the city is so small.  The local currency, the Swiss franc, equals about one U.S. dollar and thirteen cents versus the Euro, which is about forty percent higher than the U.S. dollar.  Moreover, Zurich has not experienced exorbitant inflation, so American tourists will still find good deals for the money.

Baur au Lac is unique among five star properties because it is owned and operated by the Kracht family, descendants of Johannes Baur, the hotel's founder.  Andrea Kracht serves as the chairman of The Leading Hotels of the World.  Interestingly, Andrea's grandfather once worked at the Ritz Paris where Michele's great grand uncle was the Managing Director in the early twentieth century.  Although the two families' relationship has been carried on through their children for nearly one hundred years, Michele says it will most likely come to an end since he and his wife do not have children.  This prompts Stephanie to suggest he also meet Desmond FitzGerald, the twenty ninth and last Knight of Glin, also called the Black Knight, of Glin Castle in Limerick, Ireland, whose legacy of knighthood will also end since he has all daughters.

In closing, Michele paints a vivid picture of Baur au Lac, describing its Lake Zurich setting in a private park.  The property boasts one hundred twenty units, forty of which are suites.  Opened in 1844, it has attracted aristocracy and world leaders over the past two centuries, including the Russian Tsarina and President George H. Bush.  Its proximity to Tonhalle, the home of the Zurich Symphony Orchestra, has led to stays by composer Richard Wagner and tenor Placido Domingo.  Moreover, it is said to have been here that Baroness Bertha von Suttner convinced Swedish industrialist Alfred Nobel in 1892 of the need for that international peace prize that is so well known today.

Related Photo Galleries:
Coming Soon!

Travelers411 Community Forums - This interview's thread:
http://www.travelers411.com/forums/showthread.php?t=9803

For more information visit www.bauraulac.ch


Travel Tips:

Did you know…  Checking a second bag on domestic flights can cost up to thirty five dollars and up to seventy five dollars on international flights.

Planning a Swiss getaway?  Zurich is a mixed hub for railways, roads and air traffic with its airport and railway station as the busiest in the country.


Fun Facts:

And the winner is…  Real Simple magazine named Travelpro's Crew 8 baggage "Best for Business Travel" because of features like a laptop sleeve that lets travelers pass through security without taking out their machines.  In fact, the winning bags starred alongside George Clooney in the movie, "Up in the Air."

The Desmond family is descended from Maurice FitzGerald, a companion-in-arms of Strongbow, the Norman conqueror of Ireland.


Guests Include:

Scott Applebee, Vice President of Marketing, Travelpro International, Based in Boca Raton, Florida, USA.
www.travelpro.com

Michel Rey, General Manager, Baur au Lac Hotel, Zurich, Switzerland, Europe.
www.bauraulac.ch

Hour 2

Topics Include:

Link to this segment

News and Updates from Travel Expert Stephanie Abrams

Radio Show Host Stephanie Abrams takes a few moments to share tips with her audience that will ease their travels.  First, she tells listeners that this is the season for great bargains, particularly since teachers and students, who drive up costs when they are out of school, are now back in the classroom.  Tourists can take advantage of off peak fares between the middle of September and the first two weeks of December.  Prices for transportation and lodging are generally cheapest during this time.  There is no need to save dollars only to spend them to check suitcases that exceed airlines' weight limits, so Stephanie suggests traveling with lightweight bags like the Travelpro Maxlite collection that she discussed in Hour 1.  The luggage, which she is now testing, is constructed of ballistic nylon, features sturdy wheels and a durable handle, boasts a deep interior and only weighs eight pounds.  After all, why waste half of a fifty pound baggage weight limit on a suitcase that weighs twenty five pounds when empty?  She advises saving that gorgeous but heavy leather bag for road trips because "the heavier the luggage, the less you can put into it."

Stephanie also reminds everyone of the new airline passenger rights that regular "Tavel with Stephanie Abrams!" guest and Travel Attorney Alexander Anolik previously discussed.  Although travelers may be given the option to accept a one hundred fifty dollar voucher when checking in at an airport kiosk in the event their flight is oversold, she tells listeners to just say no.  Instead, they should wait until they get to their gate and ask for thirteen hundred dollars, the newly regulated fee that airlines must pay individuals who give up their seat.  Payment must be remitted within twenty four hours.  If passengers must relinquish their seat yet prefer a voucher instead of cash, then they should request that voucher be valued at more than thirteen hundred dollars because free flight vouchers are typically riddled with numerous restrictions.

Lastly, Travel Expert Stephanie Abrams wants to make certain listeners know about the Trusted Traveler Global Entry Program.  This program allows travelers to complete an online application to acquire federal clearance when traveling internationally so they can bypass those extremely long customs and immigration lines in international terminals.  Trusted travelers utilize kiosks instead, which have practically no lines.  They will also not need to complete a customs form during their return flight.  Applicants must be U.S. citizens and pay a one hundred dollar fee.  Once they receive e-mail verification, they are required to have their fingerprints scanned and passport verified at an international airport with a global entry department to complete the enrollment process.  The U.S. government is now considering expanding this program so it will be in effect when travelers deboard aircraft worldwide.


Link to this segment

Klaus Ortlieb, Managing Partner, Hotel Modern New Orleans, Lee Circle, Garden District, New Orleans, Louisiana, USA.

Travel Expert Stephanie Abrams is pleased to welcome Klaus Ortlieb, Managing Partner of Hotel Modern in New Orleans, Louisiana, to the show to talk about this soon to be opened property.  Hotel Modern is located on Lee Circle where parades assemble in The Big Easy and about fifteen blocks from the French Quarter.  Stephanie has "enormous confidence in the overwhelming wow factor" of the new hotel based on her knowledge of The Cooper Square Hotel and The Gotham Hotel, two boutique properties in New York City that Klaus owns.  "I know how chic, trendy, edgy and comfortable the two New York hotels are, so I can't wait to see this one," she says, adding that Klaus makes the "unexpected something no guest wants to check out of."

The architecture of Hotel Modern, a 1960s construction comprised of a twelve story building with lodging and a three story building with a lounge and restaurant, inspired the hotel's name.  The light grey color of the structure lends to its elegance, which will be bathed in orange light at night to match the colorful flair of New Orleans.  The guest rooms, which are each at least three hundred square feet, will be outfitted with what Klaus describes as "modern eclectic design."  Half of the rooms will be in two tone grey complemented by chrome and glass.  They will feature matching bathrooms, "old fashioned" headboards, a shelf with books, a modern television and a small table on which to rest drinks, snacks and papers.   The tenth floor will house suites. 

To match the elegance of this decor, Klaus has also paid careful attention to Hotel Modern's public spaces.  Diners will read the name of the French Vietnamese restaurant burned into a wooden sign similar to those found in the Asian country before stepping into an arena designed in greens and silvers.  There they will enjoy meals prepared by a chef recently nominated as the best in the city.  Guests will enter the red and black burlesque lounge at the end of the building through a courtyard.  The lounge will offer movable seating to facilitate comfort during live shows.   It will host international performers like Parisian acts as well as guests like tennis pro Venus Williams who will soon be onstage with her sister.  The excitement begins in October with Hotel Modern's soft opening and continues with its full opening the following month, just in time for the holidays.

Related Photo Galleries:
Coming Soon!

Travelers411 Community Forums - This interview's thread:
http://www.travelers411.com/forums/showthread.php?p=13468


Travel Tips:

American Express Platinum and Centurion card holders are eligible to receive reimbursement for the one hundred dollar Trusted Traveler Global Entry Program  application fee.  Each card on an individual account is eligible for this reimbursement.  To learn more, visit the American Express website.


Fun Facts:

While there is no one answer why New Orleans is called The Big Easy, some suggest it is because it was once an easy place for struggling jazz musicians to make a living while others attribute the nickname to the city's relaxed attitude towards alcohol.


Guests Include:

Klaus Ortlieb, Managing Partner, Hotel Modern New Orleans, Lee Circle, Garden District, New Orleans, Louisiana, USA.

Hour 3

Topics Include:

Link to this segment

Dru Abrams, Creative Directory, Travelers411 Family of Brands. 
www.travelers411.com

Dru Abrams, Creative Director for the Travelers411 Family of Brands, joins Travel Expert Stephanie Abrams to talk about the sights he encountered on a recent cross country drive from Pittsfield, Massachusetts to San Francisco, California.  Dru's road trip took him through fourteen states, including Massachusetts, New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota, South Dakota, North Dakota, Montana, Idaho, Washington and California, and took over 63 hours of drive time.  This is his third journey this year from the east coast to the west and he continues to be impressed by America.  "The most amazing thing about this country is how much diversity of landscape terrain there is, how much beauty there is in this country and how driving is really the only way you can immerse yourself in all of it."

Stephanie says the Travelers411 office opted to relocate to California after discussing the possibility for about two years.  Multiple snowstorms in Massachusetts in fall and winter 2010 made that decision easier!  Dru's move in the third week of 2011 required him to drive through the southern states rather than take a northern route because of weather conditions.  Between the two, he prefers the southern route.  Not only is it not as remote as some of the states through which he recently drove, but it also offers an array of services along the way while states such as Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas serve up good eats like Po' Boys, barbeque, fried foods and great beer. 

Stephanie informs listeners that Dru typically drives rather than flies to better accommodate his thirteen year old English Springer Spaniel, Teddy.  In fact, says, Dru, his dog enjoyed staying at The Pfister Hotel in Milwaukee, Wisconsin when the pair stopped in Cream City for Dru's visit to Irish Fest en route to California.  He describes the hotel as "an old American, luxurious property."  Both The Pfister and Hotel 1000 in downtown Seattle took great care of Teddy, providing a dog bed, dog water and his special diet of steamed rice and fried eggs.

One interesting stop Dru made about twenty miles outside of Milwaukee was at Mars' Cheese Castle in Kenosha, Wisconsin because he "couldn't resist the sign" directing traffic to the venue.  Dru purchased some "remarkable" twelve year old cheddar and a tee shirt.  In addition, the shop sells hats, mugs and even a cheese bugle.  He also took time in North Dakota where he stopped to rest a bit during his three thousand mile drive.  He stayed in Jamestown, located about two hours from Fargo.  The city boasts beautiful vistas, making it a nice place to relax a bit.  While there, Dru enjoyed "a really interesting, perfect kind of day trip" to the National Buffalo Museum, which fosters awareness for the cultural and historical significance of the North American bison.  He observed buffalo, including an albino bison, as they roamed a protected preserve.  The museum also houses what it claims is the largest statue of a buffalo in the world; it stands twenty six feet tall, measures 46 feet long and weighs 60 tons.

Adjacent to the National Buffalo Museum is Frontier Village, a collection of old buildings that were brought in to replicate an early American town.  Visitors can enjoy a hands on, self-guided tour through a post office, trading post, jail and fire department as well as stock up on souvenirs at the state's oldest grocery store, which has been converted into a gift shop and soda fountain.  Dru says he was able to "poke and prod" at the exhibits displayed in the village, making it "an inexpensive, worthwhile thing to do" with kids.  He also passed near the Theodore Roosevelt National Park in North Dakota, located off of I-84 and about one hour east of Montana.  It features a seventeen mile scenic driving route that he did not have a chance to take, but he plans to camp in the "visually stunning" park when he is in the area again.  He may even get to stop next door in Butte, Montana on that trip to visit the World Museum of Mining.  It offers a ninety minute tour sixty five below the Earth into the nearly three thousand foot deep Orphan Girl Mine as well as a recreation of an old mining town.

Related Photo Galleries:
Coming Soon!

Travelers411 Community Forums - This interview's thread:
http://www.travelers411.com/forums/showthread.php?p=13469

For more information visit www.travelers411.com


Link to this segment

Margaret O'Shaughnessy, Founder, Executive Director, Foynes Flying Boat Museum, Foynes, County Limerick, Ireland.
www.flyingboatmuseum.com

Radio Show Host Stephanie Abrams is pleased to be joined by Margaret O'Shaughnessy, Founder and Executive Director of the Foynes Flying Boat Museum in Limerick, Ireland, to discuss the origins of Irish coffee and Pan Am's connection to the museum.  Stephanie tells Margaret that she recently met a woman at Irish Fest in Milwaukee, Wisconsin who was standing beneath a sign that said a man from Derry invented Irish coffee in Donegal, Ireland.  In her opinion, this is like saying the British won the Revolutionary War!  She asks Margaret to weigh in on this claim.

Margaret says she knows the people who started this rumor; however, a new, half million dollar display at the Foynes Flying Boat Museum outfitted with special effects like holograms dispels its validity.  The display takes visitors back to the night in 1943 that Chef Joe Sheridan from County Tyrone needed to serve something to warm up a weather delayed airline crew and passengers in the restaurant of what was then the Foynes flying boat station.  Joe added a bit of Irish whiskey to his coffee, which passengers found delicious.  He later shared the beverage with Brendan O'Regan, the restaurant's owner, and it continues to be served today to all dignitaries who arrive at Shannon Airport, which eventually replaced the seaport.  Joe also brought the drink to the U.S. when he accepted a position at The Buena Vista cafe in San Francisco, California.

The Irish coffee exhibit is part of a two million square foot extension of the Foynes Flying Boat Museum, which received forty five thousand guests in summer 2011, ninety percent of whom were American.  Interest in the museum is surging, largely owing to the new ABC series, "Pan Am."  The airline's luxury flying boat, the Yankee Clipper, landed at Foynes' seaport on July 9, 1939 as the first commercial passenger flight with a direct route from the U.S. to Europe.  Built by Boeing, the Yankee Clipper was designed for one-class travel with seats that converted into bunks for overnight accommodations as well as lounge and dining areas.  It also featured top chefs who prepared six course meals and men's and women's dressing rooms. 

Margaret says travel agents are increasingly more interested in tourism to Ireland because of the television show.  Stephanie says she can help her connect with ABC about the story of Pan AM at Foynes, which Margaret thinks would be fantastic.  Stephanie agrees and says she cannot wait to see all of the new additions to the museum.

Related Photo Galleries:
Coming Soon!

Travelers411 Community Forums - This interview's thread:
http://www.travelers411.com/forums/showthread.php?p=13470

For more information visit www.flyingboatmuseum.com


Fun Facts:

Cheese and crackers?  Dru's mention of a cheese castle sparks Stephanie's memory of the Musee Francais du Pain, or The French Museum of Bread.  It houses the world's oldest surviving communion wafers as well as seven loaves from a more than four thousand year old Egyptian crypt.

Visitors to Irish Fest can save money while doing good, too.  Stephanie says the festival often waves the fifteen dollar admission during special events at which it collects canned goods, school supplies and other provisions for those in need instead of ticket fees. 

The rugged North Dakota badlands are a hilly landscape comprised of layers of sedimentary rock that contain abundant mammal fossils. Dru Abrams describes this topography, which he saw on his road trip, as "scalloped, brown orange hills."

Before it officially closed in 1956, the Orphan Girl Mine is estimated to have produced nearly eight million ounces of silver.

Affordable luxury!  A one way ticket on the Yankee Clipper cost only about three hundred seventy five dollars!

Foynes Flying Boat Museum made its own aviation history in 2006 when it opened a full scale replica of the Pan Am's Yankee Clipper.


Guests Include:

Dru Abrams, Creative Directory, Travelers411 Family of Brands. 
www.travelers411.com

Margaret O'Shaughnessy, Founder, Executive Director, Foynes Flying Boat Museum, Foynes, County Limerick, Ireland.
www.flyingboatmuseum.com

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