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Hotels Suffered in 2009, but Service Didn’t

Travelocity’s most recent poll of over 2,000 North Americans revealed that despite the troubles faced by the hotel industry in 2009, the vast majority of travelers felt service was the same or better than the year prior.

69 percent of respondents felt service was “about the same” in 2009 compared to 2008, while 23 percent felt service levels had improved. Topping the list of ways service had improved was shorter lines, more free amenities, and improvement in room cleanliness.  Just eight percent felt service was worse.

A Whale of a Tourist Attraction

Last week, a star performer at SeaWorld tragically killed its trainer before a live audience. The star in question was a killer whale named Tilikum, who was captured in the wild off the coast of Iceland many years ago. Since his capture, he has been made to perform for audiences in theme parks in Canada and the United States. While debates may rage about whether or not creatures like killer whales should be kept in captivity and turned into performers, there’s no question that seeing such an animal in its natural habitat is an incomparable—and elusive—experience.

Does Mexico charge a departure tax when returning to the U.S.? If so, what is the tax and does it have to be paid in pesos

Hi there,

I’m so impressed that you’re preparing for a departure tax even before you enter the country! (Unless you sent us your question from a Mexican airport, in which case I hope things worked out for you.)

The answer is yes, Mexico does charge a departure tax, but (if you’re arriving via plane) you almost certainly paid it when you bought your plane ticket. If you’re unsure whether it was included in your ticket’s taxes, just call your airline and confirm.

If you’re departing over land, or if your flight originates somewhere other than the U.S., you may indeed owe your fee upon departure, but it can be paid in either pesos or U.S. dollars. The fee will vary depending on exchange rates, but it should be less than $50.