mini-bar goneThe mini-bar.  The name itself makes you feel like you’re almost at your favorite watering hole.  Except for the fact that it’s five-times as expensive, and there’s nobody to keep you company.  Although mini-bar prices have always been high, they’re actually a sunk cost for many hoteliers.  So, large chains such as Hyatt, Marriott and Hilton have either started scrapping them – or have already abandoned them entirely.  Weary travelers looking for a convenient late-night snack or drink will now be forced to rely on vending machines or high-end hotel shops.

Here’s some more travel news you can use:

Authorities are warning of a continuing scam, offering round-trip airline tickets, that has circulated in the mail since at least last summer. Here’s how it works: Scammers mail you a photocopied check (from “Travel Union of Scottsdale, AZ”) with an offer to exchange the check for “tickets to anywhere in the continental U.S. from any major international U.S. airport.”
People who respond are either asked for their credit card information, or are asked to attend a travel club presentation with a membership fee of several thousand dollars. Bottom line: If it’s too good to be true, it ofen is.
  • The Los Angeles International Airport has launched a new program called Pets Unstressing Passengers (PUP) with the intent to calm nervous passengers waiting for flights.  Now that’s a program that sounds dog-gone good.
  • Authorities are warning of a continuing scam, offering round-trip airline tickets, that has circulated in the mail since at least last summer. Here’s how it works: Scammers mail you a photocopied check (from “Travel Union of Scottsdale, AZ”) with an offer to exchange the check for “tickets to anywhere in the continental U.S. from any major international U.S. airport.” People who respond are either asked for their credit card information, or are asked to attend a travel club presentation with a membership fee of several thousand dollars. Bottom line: If it’s too good to be true, it often is.
  • According to the New York Times, Dollar Rent a Car and Thrifty don’t always drop rental car insurance when you verbally decline it.  Instead, they often have you sign the rental agreement with insurance added – and when you try to dispute it later, they point to your John Hancock.  Some people have filed lawsuits on the matter – so pay attention to the rental agreement up front and you’ll possibly save some money, frustration and hassle.