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Airline Fuel Surcharges: Cruel or Crucial?

“Gas Prices At $4” screamed the headline of yesterday’s San Jose Mercury News. According to the article, people around the country are paying more at the pump, and the Bay Area has some of the highest prices around. While plenty of my friends worry about the rising cost of gas, I generally shrug off oil-related drama. I don’t drive, so it’s not my problem, right?

Wrong. As gas prices rise, so do jet fuel prices, and these prices get passed on to the consumer. United Airlines announced yesterday that it plans to add a surcharge of $5 each way for most of its domestic flights (except to Hawaii, which already has a $25 one-way fuel surcharge in place). This announcement comes on the heels of a similar statement by American Airlines that it plans to tack on a $10 one-way fuel surcharge for its continental flights.

Photo courtesy of IgoUgo member torpedo1962.

Guerneville Gay-cations

I remember the first time I went to Guerneville. I was young, naive, and–perhaps most relevantly–freshly out of the closet. After a month-long road trip up to Washington and Canada, my then-girlfriend Amanda and I were hauling back down to our home turf in Los Angeles. We drove through thousands of miles of unknown, un-gay terrain. Amanda peeled the rainbow sticker off the bumper of her Saturn, and we both sunk low into our seats and tried to look less gay.

California Wine Country: Beyond Napa Valley

What’s better than a relaxing day off work spent lounging in the countryside? Nothing, except that same day spent imbibing some of California’s finest wines, nibbling on exquisite appetizers, and chatting with friendly vintners in a quaint, bucolic atmosphere.

I just got back from a one-day wine tasting excursion to Napa Valley. Napa is a world-famous destination for wine lovers of all kinds, and is also known for its lush scenery. Framed by rolling hills shrouded in stout oak trees, and sprinkled liberally with brilliant California poppies, olive trees, and those famous vineyards, Napa is a true treat for the senses, even for those who are not particularly wine-inclined.

Traveling Outside the Box: What’s Safe, What’s Not?

With the Western world’s growing leeriness of terrorism, many alluring destinations experiencing social unrest conjure up more fear than gusto. But how dangerous are these places, really?

Part of the equation depends on who you are, where you’re from, and where you’re going. A good friend of mine recently enjoyed a two-week vacation in Iran. She visited the mountain capital, Tehran, went to the awe-inspiring Persepolis ruins near Shiraz, and got a great tan on the shores of the Caspian Sea. I should mention that she’s a second-generation Iranian-American, speaks fluent Farsi, and has family in Tehran. Even so, she was hassled regularly by both police and private citizens, mostly for being an improperly covered woman.

Photo courtesy of IgoUgo member writeonthespot.