Welcome to "Travels With the Diva", a newsletter for women who love to travel!

In this issue, we'll talk about Fall Travel - the kids are back in school and family vacations may be over for the year, but Fall is a great time for a long weekend getaway with your friends.

I'll also tell you a little bit about TripDiva Travel, and give you a chance to participate in the website by adding your travel stories or trip reviews.

Travel News and Updates

The Passport Card as an Alternative to a Passport

The U.S. State Department has now authorized the use of the Passport Card for land or sea travel between the U.S. and Canada, Mexico, and the Caribbean.

The Passport card is less expensive than a regular passport, and is about the size of a driver's licence.

The Passport card is NOT good for air travel - you will need a regular passport for any air travel outside of the U.S.

But if you live near a border and frequently drive across the border, the card may be more convenient for you. It can also be used for some cruises, but check with the cruise line first - generally, a regular passport is better for cruising, if only for emergency situations that may require a flight home.

A Handy Chart for Airline Fees

When planning your budget for a trip, "airfare" isn't just the ticket price any more.

With fees for meals and snacks, and checked baggage, plan on spending at least $25 over the price of the ticket; if you have several bags, make it at least $100!

Every airline has its own fee schedule; you can't assume the fees on JetBlue are the same as USAirlines.

Kayak.com, the meta-search engine that culls prices and information from all of the airlines, has created a handy chart you can use for reference when planning your trip.

Bookmark this page - it's updated regularly, so a printed copy will be obsolete almost immediately.

Refer to the list when booking your air ticket - you might find that the rock-bottom price you found isn't really the cheapest!

Fall Vacations

Fall is a great time to travel.

The kids are back in school and family vacations are over - now, it's time to relax and enjoy some time with your mother or daughter, sisters, or friends.

Even if you can't pull off another week, a long weekend can be a great way to rejuvenate - you'll be much more prepared for the busy holiday months ahead!

The weather is still nice in September and October, the fall colors are spectacular, and air and hotel rates go down considerably!

There are a few drawbacks - while the weather is generally good, it's not "beach weather" in most areas; the Caribbean is great, of course, but you have to watch for hurricanes! (If you're willing to take the risk, CheapCaribbean.com offers hurricane insurance when you book a trip!)

And, in some of the most "touristy" spots, you may find that hotels are understaffed and restaurants and attractions are closed or have limited hours.

But most areas are begging for visitors at this time of year - hotels drop their prices, many airlines lower their fares, and the crowds just disappear - for a really relaxing getaway, fall can't be beat.

Hawaii Vacations
Funjet Vacations offers complete travel packages to beautiful Hawaii.

If you want to hit the beach, Hawaii is essentially hurricane-proof (it's not impossible, but highly unlikely that a major storm will hit the islands). The weather is always beautiful in Hawaii (even in "rainy season" in the spring!) - but prices are better now!

Escape this weekend to a destination renowned for its Food & Wine -- great last-minute travel deals on Site59.

Food and Wine tours are perfect for a women's getaway - I just returned from a trip to Boston with my sister-in-law and some of her gourmet group (which also includes men, so it wasn't a "women-only" trip) - we had some great meals and took a fabulous food tour of Little Italy (check back soon for my trip report. Even if you don't cook (like me!), if you appreciate a good meal, a food and wine weekend is a great getaway.

Fall is also a great time for a cruise!

This article gives good info on fall cruises - Cruisewest has some great cruises in the Pacific Northwest, as well as the Napa wine cruise. You can contact me for more information. I'd be happy to help with the cruises.

Caravan Tours has some very nice land tours of fall foliage, too. They have a great tour that starts in Boston and circles through Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Connecticut, Rhode Island - and even hits Martha's Vinyard! - before returning to Boston. You can contact me for more details on this trip, also.

Write a Review or Tell us Your Story and get a T-shirt!

Have a great travel story, or know of a good restaurant somewhere that you want to tell everyone about?

Send it to us using our contact me page.

You can tell us about a great experience, funny story, fascinating destination, or whatever you want to share.

Tell us about your last trip - where did you go, what did you do, what was great about it, what would you avoid next time?

If your story or review is published, we'll send you a TripDiva T-shirt or mug with the Hula Girl logo.

This doesn't have to be professional quality writing - just share your experiences! We want to hear them!

Until next time - Happy Travels!

About TripDiva Travel

TripDiva Travel is a home-based travel agency, associated with Dugan's Travels (a nation-wide group of over 500 agents). TripDiva specializes in great vacations for women (hence the website domain, www.great-womens-vacations.com).

Some of the vacations we talk about are for women only; most are not (so if you see something you would like to explore with your husband or significant other, you can do that, too).

But women's vacations tend to be a bit different than most couples or family vacations. They're a bit "smaller" in scale, allowing for interaction and connections with your fellow travelers and companions. It can be hard to get to know people on a large cruise ship; there are just so many of them! On a small ship cruise, there are no more than 200 people on board and you can make many new friends, or have a nice conversation with your travel companions without shouting over the crowds!

The vacations we look for are focused on experiences, not destinations (although there are a lot of great destinations, too). Would you like to learn to paint or speak Italian, join a cooking class or just learn to enjoy fine wine, take a tour that lets you get close and interact with the locals instead of just passing by an historical site while riding a bus? Those are great women's vacations.

At www.great-womens-vacations.com (or www.tripdivatravel.com - it will get you to the same place), we try to give you the tools to find great vacation experiences and contact information to book your trip. We will be adding a booking engine (via Travelocity), so you can book air and hotels, if needed; or you can simply contact us and we'll help you arrange your trip.


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