A New England Fall Foliage Sukkot

It must be getting boring reading this blog, or at least depressing. Service is getting worse,  everything costs extra and prices have not come down to reflect the economy. The airlines have re-written the law of supply and demand. “Don’t supply anything and charge to the hilt when customers demand what they deserve”. All of a sudden a mumified kosher meal sounds tantalizing when compared to the peanut butter and jelly sandwich packed 7 time zones away.

So, I take my East Coast and New England readers back to another time and another place.

Imagines that it is a crisp October day and you are building a Sukkah with your dad.  Maybe even before pre-fabs became popular so you had some collection of wood, screws, canvas and pipes that no one really remembered how to put up from year to year (or where the brackets were hidden).

Now look up at the trees. They are not the palm trees or citrus trees  outside of your Raanana Sukkah. They are Oaks, Elms and Maples  in every shade of yellow, gold and orange imaginable. Yup, those are  Fall Colors and it turns out that New England Fall Foliage is the best in the world.

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So, pack your bags (maybe even a sukkah) and plan to spend the holiday in NY Foliage. Here are some ideas for day trips from Brooklyn or Brookline.  We guarantee that the experience will be very different from Sukkot in Israel.

  • Catskills Fall Foliage – Ever been up in a vintage 1921 biplane?  Stop off at Rhinebeck and admire the New York State Fall Foliage from 3000 feet, with the wind in your goggles.
  • Heading south to Philadelphia or DC? Stop by and enjoy Fall Foliage PA with the Amish. You might even find a Sukka or at least a harvest festival. Sorry kids, Hersheypark is closed for the season.  Next stop –  Maryland Fall Foliage along the banks of the Potomac.
  • Combine  Massachusetts Fall Foliage with some American history and culture at Lexington,  Concord and Walden Pond.
  • Get up earlier in the morning and head north to Maine and catch one of the Fall Foliage Cruises.
  • Brave the crowds and head north to enjoy the New Hampshire Fall Foliage. The show lasts for most of the fall – leaves too green? Go higher or further north. Too brown? Go south.

And an honorable mention of  places more than 5 hours from New York City – Adirondack Fall Foliage, – great for early in the season – they show has started already;  New Mexico Fall Foliage and Fall Foliage in Colorado – very different from the East – Golden Aspens, towering evergreens and of course, ski season around the corner. And no jokes, please – Pittsburgh Fall Foliage.

And if it starts raining – duck into an enclosed mall.

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Jet Blue Unlimited Flight Promotion

Sorry, readers – this promotion is SOLD OUT.
Lots of buzz in the frequent flyer world about JetBlue’s just announced “All You Can Jet” Promotion. For $599 you get a full month (Sept 8 – Oct 8 ) of travel between 50 US cities and a few Caribbean and Central America destinations. The rules are pretty simple and no ElAl-style tricks:

  • Must buy by Aug 21
  • Must book individual flights 3 days in advance
  • “Last Available Seat” – which means all seats on the plane are available. If there is room – you are on.
  • Taxes apply on flights outside of the 50 States (but they apply even if you pay for a ticket)
  • No mileage bonanza – 35 JetBlue points for the whole thing. This is clearly a disappointment to world-class “mileage runners” but not a big deal for most normal people.
  • Penalty for no shows, cancellation fees apply. They don’t want hogging.
  • First bag free

Convinced – now start planning the trip.  I am assuming that you want to spend as little as possible. Here are some pointers:

  • Take advantage of the Redeye – Long Beach to Boston or JFK
  • Take day trips to the beach – 8am JFK to Fort Lauderdale, back in JFK by 10pm.
  • In general – make one of their hubs a base and day trip from there. Their hubs are LA, NY, Fort Lauderdale, Boston, DC.
  • Stick to destinations with good public transportation to/from the airport – such as Seattle, Portland, Las Vegas, Boston, DC, Salt Lake City, Pittsburgh, San Francisco

Now some itinerary suggestions from TripCart –

Most likely, you are starting in NY. Don’t miss the new fun things to do in Manhattan, like the High Line Park and of course the usual NYC entertainment offerings.  Head to the many places to visit in California via Chicago. Consider taking the Van Gelder Bus Lines to visit friends in Madison or Milwaukee. Then back to the see the places to visit in Chicago, before the winter deep freeze sets in. Once you get to the West Coast, use Long Beach Airport as your hub for travels to San Francisco, Portland, Seattle, Salt Lake City and Las Vegas. Leave the West Coast with a trip to Austin, take the bus Houston – Austin and enjoy the places to visit in Houston.

If you are interested in the places to visit in Phoenix, be aware that the only flights are from New York, so most of the day will be on the plane. Similar story for Denver, served only from the East Coast. BUT, given the dates, late September is the ideal time to see the peak fall foliage in Colorado. Start off with the shuttle DEN to COS, then it is up Pikes Peak. Finish up your trip with a flight to Burlington for the world-class Vermont fall foliage, which should be at its peak around Oct 8.

And don’t forget to check out shopping malls along the way.

Finally, for the vast majority (possibly all) of my readers that won’t be taking advantage of this, what this may mean, by my survey of some people really in the know:

  • Other airlines might come out with similar promotions.
  • JetBlue might really lower prices on seats still unsold. This is a traditionally weak time for the airlines

And, expect the unexpected. Air Florida sold a similar package a few years back and then promptly folded. But JetBlue seems quite sound. And definitely recommended by staff of TLV2JFK.

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Travel Protection Insurance – Trip Interruption / Delay

The New York Times “Haggler” column featured an informative and relevant article on travel protection insurance.  Like all insurance – if you didn’t need to file a claim – you are happy.  If, like me, you don’t buy things like earthquake insurance in Ranana and flood insurance in Beersheva – you are also happy.

But what if you were being cautious and bought insurance that covered Trip Interruption, Trip Delay, Trip Cancellation and whatever else you could think of? And what if you actually had to cancel the trip?

The New York Times covers a story of a couple that bought Trip Cancellation Insurance from the travel agent that sold them the trip. The premium was 10% of the cost of the trip (which is high for almost any kind of insurance – even for Bear insurance in Yellowstone). The husband had a heart attack and they cancelled.

The story only gets worse, and I won’t repeat it here. But if you are the type or even have good reason to buy Trip Insurance, bear in mind the following, when reading the fine print that you may get a credit (and only for use with the same travel agent) instead of a refund.  The call center operators seem to be instructed to use every comforting word like “protection” and “guarantee” while never invoking the word “refund”. They will not say refund, but you will hear it. So, read the fine print and insist that the term “full refund” appears somewhere in the agreement. And enjoy your fall foliage cruise to New England.

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US Air Begins Nonstop Tel Aviv to Philadelphia Service

US Air has started daily flights to Israel from Philadelphia.  Prices seem quite low to places other than Philadelphia.  I managed to book a flight on their Israel site to Boston for $875 (via Philadelphia). Interestingly enough, the exact same flight to Philadelphia costs $200 more.

Flights leave TLV at 11:15p and arrive at PHL 5:10a (Oy Vey!).

Flights leave PHL at 9:15p and arrive at TLV 3:30p+ .

Reasons to fly US Air:

  1. You want to go to Philadelphia (or just avoid New York)
  2. Good deals to other US cities
  3. Sully may be your pilot

As far as Frequent Flyer miles are concerned:

  1. Miles may be accrued on the US Air Dividend program or on programs of Star Alliance Partners (most relevant to TLV2JFK readers are Air Canada, United, Austrian, Turkish, Swiss, Lufthansa and Singapore)
  2. 80,000 US Air Dividend miles can get you to the States including Hawaii, Central America and the Caribbean.

With the addition of US Air, the following 4 cities are served non-stop from Israel:

New York, Los Angeles, Atlanta and Philadelphia

Before we get all excited about that – guess which  5 UKRAINIAN cities are served non-stop from Israel.

Give up? They are:

Kiev, Lviv, Odessa, Simferopol and Dnipropertovsk

Lets hope ElAl puts back the non-stop to Miami, so we can tie the Ukrainians.
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SmartPark JFK Parking – Every 7th day free

We decided to give our readers a promo for JFK long term parking. Try it out, post your feedback and tell them we sent you! Here is what SmartPark JFK has to say about JFK parking to the TLV2JFK community:

How smart are you? Pay less for JFK Airport Parking and get more.

June 9, 2009 was the official launch of SmartPark JFK website. The answer to all your airport parking woes.

Easy as 1… 2… 3 to locate at: 123-10 South Conduit Avenue, South Ozone Park, NY 11420, only minutes from JFK Airport. No nonsense, service with a smile to meet all of your 24/7 airport parking needs.

Bringing back the concept of the way it used to be. At our facility you will be received immediately by a member of our highly trained staff on an interpersonal level.  At SmartParkJfk, our priority is for you to be our guest not just another number.

In a rush? No problem. We will expedite all of your forms and paperwork for you and you will be on your way within minutes. A 5-7 minute ride door to terminal. Tired of the old broken down shuttles, no worries, our new, state of the art, plush shuttles and skilled valet drivers will have you riding in style.

As of late, the surrounding parking facilities along with the port authority are raising prices. In this time of economic hardship, we here at SmartParkJfk want to work with you.

We are on a separate road (pun intended) and have lowered our pricing via our “Smart Summer Stimulus Special” from $14.00 per day to a low $12.00 per day, adding only NYC (10.375%) parking tax. Stay with us for 6 days and every 7th day that you leave your vehicle with us, it is a FREE parking day for you.  Go to SmartparkJFK  and make a regular reservation then click here for Special JFK2TLV Coupon for every 7th day free rate.

Running late, flight delays, no worries, we have No late fees for arrival within 5 hours of your confrimed scheduled vehicle pickup.

The 5 Hour Grace period

Online Reservation:

If you make a FREE online reservation, please note that the check in time chosen online will almost always differ from your “Actual” check in time. So, your 29 hours starts from the “Actual” check in time at the SmartPark JFK airport parking facility.

Walk-in Reservation:

A walk-in reservation confirmed check-in time starts your 29 hour clock.

We are here for you and with you to make the anticipated, mundane and usually stressful travel experience, stress free.

Do you own a GPS navigation system; even better, your car will drive you right to our door, just look up to see our Signature cartoon smart, Einstein logo.

Our facility offers an all inclusive service from drop off to pick up with your baggage handling to the terminal if you so choose.

Also added for your convenience is our colorful, yet simple, user friendly website with the easy to see “reserve”, it is as easy as click and reserve, done!

Look for the signature cartoon Einstein logo.  Why Einstein logo you may say, Einstein was intelligent and smart and so are you for using SmartParkJfk.

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Enjoy your beach vacation in NY or Israel!

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