www.uk-2-usa.com Newsletter
Quarter 2-2004

April 2004

Welcome to the second
www.uk-2-usa.com newsletter of 2004.

This newsletter will update you with any recent USA travel information I have come across and uk-2-usa.com web site changes that have occurred recently. All feedback is gratefully received about style or content. Click here to send me suggestions for improvements, additions or even things to avoid in future newsletters. This newsletter will be available via e-mail, on the web site or via the associated online uk-2-usa travel discussion group


Contents





USA travel news and tips

Passports and visas
The news at the start of April is that it looks like the USA is likely to change its policy with regard to requiring biometric data on passports from October. This is not yet definite. If you have a passport that runs out after October 26th this year and before the summer of next year, at this moment you are still better off getting your passport renewed before the 26th October deadline.

However, it has recently been announced that from the end of September this year, all visa waiver entrants to the USA will have to have a photo taken and fingerprints as they enter the USA. At the same time a request has been put to Congress to delay the requirement for biometric data for another two years. It is believed that the introduction of the finger printing and photographs has been done to make Congress more likely to agree to delaying the biometric requirement. If Congress do approve this change then this removes the threat of having to get a visa to go on holiday to the USA.

The fingerprinting and photo are all done electronically and it is said that it only adds 23 seconds per person to the immigration procedures. Therefore, it should not cause backlog in airports.

United Airlines
I've been reporting regularly about struggling United Airlines. The lastest news is that some legislation has been passed easing the requirements for United to fully fund their pension fund immediately. This apparently makes it more likely that United will emerge from the threat of bankrupcy. Read the full story
here

Travel scams
I came across this excellent article on avoiding travel scams. Check it out.

Getting a cheap room rate
Another excellent independant traveller article about getting a good room rate

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Destination ideas

Houseboats
Here is an article from the USA tourist news magazine

From Florida all the way across the USA there is a wealth of waterways. The second largest river in the USA, the Mississippi, is the principal waterway. The longest river in the USA, the Missouri River, is its chief tributary. Together, these two mighty rivers make up the planet's 3rd largest river system (after the Nile and Amazon). It flows from the Rocky Mountains and down through New Orleans. The Mississippi is home to over two hundred species of fresh water fish. Recreational opportunities abound! Visitors enjoy swimming, fishing, and water skiing. One of the best ways to explore the area is a House Boat Vacation.

Florida also offers houseboat options. On the St. John's River in central Florida, Holly Bluff Marina rents houseboats starting with 38 feet models and moving up to more than 60 feet long. From this location you can cruise the St. John's River in Florida's central wetlands enjoying the lakes and springs from Sanford to Palatka. Swimming, fishing, exploring old river towns, and hiking and picnicking in a variety of state parks or just watching the world go past makes this a relaxing way to see the USA.

The unique flavor of Cajun Country is also available for house boaters. Centrally located 90 minutes from New Orleans, Lafayette and Baton Rouge on the banks of the Atchafalaya River in Morgan City you'll find Cajun House Boats. Nature lovers owe it to themselves to cruise the bayou at least once in their life. The cypress swamps and unspoiled waterways of this southern state house plant and wildlife that you won't see anywhere else. You'll also find unique architecture left over from the plantation era and have a chance to sample cuisine that merges French, African, and Spanish styles.

You don't have to have experience to navigate a houseboat. Rentals come with full instructions so that in a short time before you set off you'll be confident in your ability to manage the watercraft. The boats are fully equipped, many of them with luxury features.

Women only breaks
Heres an unusual idea how about an
Adventure trip for Women ?. "A chance to renew both body and soul. Spectacular river canyons offer secluded beaches where your facilitators will share the ancient art of hatha yoga and the healing techniques of massage therapy. You'll experience excitement and comradery as you run the rapids with women guides who understand the nature of the journey".

Ketchum Wagon Days
I believe I listed this in one of last years newsletters. It still sounds good to me, I'll get to it one of these years. Sept 3-6, Ketchum/Sun Valley Since 1958, Ketchum Wagon Days has annually celebrated the mining heritage of the Wood River Valley with four days of good Old West entertainment including a shootout, BBQs, live music and the Big Hitch parade - the longest non-motorized parade in the Northwest.

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USA flight price survey

Because this is no longer a monthly newsletter, I cant really plot the month on month variations in flight prices as I did last year. Therefore, I will look at a couple of different months in each survey that represent different price bands. To show the level of price inflation I include average results from last years survey of the same period. An extra dimension is added this month as the survey shows the difference in this years costs for the same flights but quoted 3 months apart.

Once again this survey has thrown up some surprises.

From this survey it can be seen that booking flights in January to travel in June would have saved you an average of 36 compared to booking those same flights this month. However, booking flights in January to travel in August would have cost you 3 extra compared to booking those same flights this month.

This is not a simple picture however, as always there is substantial variation within the results and as seen before, it clearly pays to shop around demonstrating the value of the uk-2-usa.com
online flight quote and booking page where all 4 companies flight search engines can be found. It is noticeable that even when the same airline clearly has the cheapest prices on a certain route, then you can pay a substantially different fare depending upon who you book the flights with (see BMI fares Man-Den June and Continental fares Lon-Den August)

This survey again looks at flights in the early summer band (June) and the very peak band (August). The survey was conducted on April 19th from the uk-2-usa.com Online flight quote and booking page. The first set of results in the table below is for one adult return fare including all taxes flying out on the 9th June and back on the 16th June. The cheapest quoted fare for each route is highlighted in red. Scroll down the page to view the August survey results.

uk-2-usa.com April 2004
flight price survey
for travel in June

Summary details
Quotes obtained April 2004
Route
Average
June 2003
price

Average
June 2004
price quoted
Jan 2004

Average
June 2004
price quoted
April 2004

Expedia
prices

Opodo
prices

Travel4less
prices

ebookers
prices

London
to
Orlando
382 382 411 444
US Airways
372
Northwest Airlines
456
US Air
373
Northwest Airlines
London
to
Denver
427 385 440 449
US Airways
407
Northwest Airlines
444
American Airlines
461
American Airlines
London
to
San Francisco
338 349 425 451
US Airways
357
Northwest Airlines
444
American Airlines
449
Continental Airlines
Manchester
to
Orlando
420 404 375 355
American Airlines
414
BMI
347
American Airlines
386
American Airlines
Manchester
to
Denver
449 398 440 446
BMI
424
BMI
437
BMI
453
Continental Airlines
Manchester
to
San Francisco
383 366 415 390
American Airlines
453
Delta Air Lines
465
US Air
351
American Airlines
Average for
all 6 flights
400 381 417 422 404 432 412




The set of results in the table below is for one adult return fare including all taxes flying out on the 11th August and back on the 18th August. The cheapest quoted fare for each route is highlighted in red.

uk-2-usa.com April 2004
flight price survey
for travel in August

Summary details
Quotes obtained April 2004
Route
Average
August 2003
price

Average
August 2004
price quoted
Jan 2004

Average
August 2004
price quoted
April 2004

Expedia
prices

Opodo
prices

Travel4less
prices

ebookers
prices

London
to
Orlando
559 600 614 614
US Airways
621
American Airlines
609
American Airlines
612
US Airways
London
to
Denver
554 576 576 569
Continental
571
Continental
597
Continental
569
Continental
London
to
San Francisco
565 575 573 569
Continental
571
Continental
585
Lufthansa
569
Continental
Manchester
to
Orlando
626 632 622 621
US Airways
614
Air Canada
634
Air Canada
619
US Airways
Manchester
to
Denver
551 596 580 590
Continental
534
BMI
610
US Air
588
Continental
Manchester
to
San Francisco
610 585 584 550
American Airlines
613
Delta Air Lines
632
US Air
541
American Airlines
Average for
all 6 flights
578 594 591 585 587 611 583


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Web site updates/news

A significant event at the end of March was that web site visitor numbers passed 200,000 since the site started up. I am still continually amazed by the ever growing volume of visitors.

Its sad to report that the 'tailor made' holiday quotation service provided through North America Travel Services has had to be suspended. It seems that people were simply using this service to get a quote and then scouring the Internet to beat it. It was not economic to carry on.

Updates since the last newsletter


The 'Absolute Beginners' section has been introduced because of a recognition that lots of simple information vital to the first time USA traveller (but assumed knowledge for those who have been before) is simply not documented anywhere. If any readers of this newsletter have knowledge of anything at all that caught them by surprise the first time they travelled to the USA, please e-mail it to me and I'll add it to the website.

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About uk-2-usa

www.uk-2-usa.com is a privately owned website. It was written to share the authors passion for travel to the USA. It is none commercial in nature with all information and advice being freely given. Although commission is made on any holidays sold through the site.

There is an associated online travel group which is also free to join where a message board allows members to share experiences, ask questions and also quiz some of our American members about their country. You may subscribe by clicking the link below.

Click to subscribe to uk2usa
Or you can look without joining by clicking here.

You can e-mail with any questions here.




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Future Newsletters

Please give me your feedback about what you would like to see in future editions of this newsletter. I will develop the format based on feedback from readers. Click
here to send me suggestions for improvements, additions or even things to avoid in future newsletters.

This is written in HTML format to make it more interactive than a simple text message. If this causes problems with your e-mail programme, please let me know by clicking here and including a brief description of the problem. This assumes that you can read this of course !

Well, thats it for the edition number 2 in 2004.

Happy USA travelling

UK



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