TripAdvisor flags assault
Until a few weeks ago, you had to search certain words — "assault," "rape" — to uncover allegations of harmful activity at any of the 8 million businesses listed on TripAdvisor.com. Now, businesses with reviews that allege a sexual assault are flagged with a "Traveler safety" tag that will remain on the site indefinitely. Below the label, you can read the blurb relating to the alleged abuse or crime. "Safety is one of travelers' top priorities," said Brian Hoyt, a TripAdvisor spokesman. "We don't want to scare them. We want to empower them." The new label is the first phase of a multipart safety initiative. In coming months, TripAdvisor said, it will expand its scope to flag such categories as deaths, druggings, armed robberies and other forms of physical harm. Hoyt said the company may add safety-related tips, such as noting that a hotel has round-the-clock security guards or advising travelers to avoid certain neighborhoods.
Delta's welcome bonuses
If you've been sitting on the fence with Delta Air Lines' SkyMiles credit cards, now might be the time to act. The airline's American Express cards currently offer increased welcome bonuses, but only if you apply by July 2. The Gold Delta SkyMiles Card, for instance, boasts a 60,000-mile bonus (it's typically 30,000) after you spend $2,000 on the card within three months. Those 60,000 miles could redeem for at least $600 in airfare if you use the Pay With Miles feature or look for a SkyMiles flash sale. The gold card carries a $95 annual fee, but it's waived the first year. Other benefits include priority boarding and a free checked bag for everyone in your party. Delta's higher-fee Platinum and Reserve cards are offering an even bigger bonus of 75,000 miles (or 80,000 miles for the business versions of these cards). "These match the highest publicly available offers we have ever seen on all three cards," reported Minnesota-based Thrifty Traveler.
Simon Peter Groebner
Don't forget the dryer sheets
James Beard Award-winning chef Michelle Bernstein has a defense against stinky travel clothes: "I keep dryer sheets with me at all times to stick in my cooking shoes, so they won't smell like food. And then I started using them with my clothes. I'm a bit of a freak, as I don't like having dirty clothes near me. The idea to use dryer sheets for that, too, started when I was traveling with my husband and son, who are both very dirty. We kept a space in the closet of the room, with a plastic bag, where we could put our dirty clothes, but after a few days, the smell got so bad I could barely handle it. So I dropped a dryer sheet in the bag, and when we got home from that trip to do the wash, I thought, 'Omigod, I'm not gagging. This is great.' So now I use them every time. It's amazing how fresh a scent we have whenever we open up our suitcases after a trip now."
Southeast Asia cruise
G Adventures is offering 25% to 40% off select Mekong River cruises. For example, the seven-night Mekong River Experience cruise departing on Aug. 25 starts at $1,199 per person, down from $1,999. (Solo travelers share a cabin with a roommate of the same gender.) The Toum Tiou II riverboat sails from Siem Reap, Cambodia, to Ho Chi Minh City. Price includes 16 meals, several tours, farewell cocktail and captain's dinner, all river and land transport, and taxes. Book by June 30 (1-888-800-4100, gadventures.com).