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November 08, 2010

Onboard the World's Longest Non-Stop Flight

There are only 100 seats on Singapore Airlines' all-business-class planes that fly between Newark and Singapore non-stop. (Photos shot with my iPhone.)

The worst part of any trip is the flight to get there, right? Well, not if it's the all-biz-class flight flown by Conde Nast Traveler readers' favorite airline between Newark and Singapore. At nearly 19 hours, it's the world's longest regularly scheduled non-stop. But it hardly feels that way, thanks to 30-inch-wide seats that convert into comfy 76-inch-long lie-flat beds and personal TV screens with about a thousand different entertainment options. The flight (which is priced in the $7,000 to $8,000 range) will spoil you rotten and likely ruin all future airline travel for you. 

My Conde Nast Traveler colleagues Kevin Doyle, Deborah Dunn, and Trish Harnetiaux in the seat behind mine on the return flight from Singapore to Newark, October 21, 2010.

How did we Conde Nast Traveler staffers luck out and end up on such a fancy flight?  Well, we couldn't miss the magazine's 4th annual World Savers Congress, held this year in Singapore. (Plus, the advertising side was paying.)  If you missed our live coverage of the Congress here on Truth.Travel, or the real-time photos of our Singapore shenanigans that I posted on Twitter, then sign up for The Perrin Postcard: The upcoming November edition includes links to many of those Singapore souvenirs.
October 14, 2009

Got a Question for Virgin America, Travelocity, or Seabourn?

I'll get an interesting angle on Virgin America, our readers' favorite domestic airline, when I interview its CEO, David Cush later today at a Condé Nast Traveler conference in NYC.

* "What's the biggest challenge you face right now when it comes to enticing new customers?"

* "What's the single most exciting innovation you plan to introduce over the next few months?" 

* "Which social networking site works better for you when it comes to engaging consumers: Facebook or Twitter?"

I'll be asking these questions and more when I moderate a panel of travel industry leaders at a Condé Nast Traveler conference in Manhattan today. In addition to Virgin America CEO David Cush, I'll be interviewing Pamela Conover, CEO of Seabourn Cruise Line; Victoria Treyger, Travelocity's Chief Marketing Officer; and Mariano Proano Salvador, the Vice Minister of Tourism for Ecuador. 

Over the next few days the Truth.Travel team will be bringing you Flip videos and blog posts from the event so, if you've got specific questions for any of the panelists, please post them here before noon and we'll do our best to get you the answers. For a behind-the-scenes look at what's happening at the conference in real time, follow Condé Nast Traveler on Twitter between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. today.
September 29, 2009

Win An Awesome Adventure of a Lifetime!


Okay, I'm jealous. That's "Adventures of a Lifetime" photo contest winner Drew Notestine on a recent exploration of Patagonia.  This photo has won him a trip for two to the Galapagos Islands with Lindblad Expeditions.

by Wendy Perrin

Have you entered the Adventures of a Lifetime photo contest yet?  The winner of the first of five adventures has been announced, but four prizes are left. The prizes are trips for two to:

* Idaho for whitewater rafting with OARS down the Main Salmon River

* Churchill, Manitoba, to view the polar bears with Natural Habitat Adventures

* The Czech Republic and Austria for a Backroads biking and hiking trip

* The temples and monasteries of Tibet with Geographic Expeditions

This contest comes courtesy of the group of high-minded adventure travel companies known as the Adventure Collection.  If you've got what they're looking for -- "a photo that captures the essence of the adventure travel experience: the way adventure travel broadens your horizon and quickens your pulse, the way a great adventure can transform your life" -- then by all means submit it

I'd enter the contest myself if I weren't judging it.  On the panel of judges with me are Jim Benning of WorldHum, Catharine Hamm of The L.A. Times'  Daily Travel & Deal Blog, renowned photographer Robert Holmes, and Adventure Collection editor in chief Don George.  I don't know about them, but there's not one trip listed above I wouldn't be thrilled to take.

Speaking of winning free trips, remember that luxury villa giveaway we told you about earlier this month?  Turns out the winner found out about it via The Perrin Post.  How cool is that?!  If I can help every Perrin Post reader win a free trip, I can die happy.

September 28, 2009

A New Home For "Deal of the Day"

by Wendy Perrin

Deal of the Day

introduced it seven months ago as a public service to help travelers separate the real deals from the raw deals in the Middle Eastern bazaar that is today's online travel marketplace. And it's grown so popular that it now merits its very own blog!  I'm talking about Deal of the Day, which I'm thrilled to announce is moving to Conde Nast Traveler's new site, Truth.Travel.

Not to worry: Your favorite dealsters -- Julia Bainbridge, Katherine Hottinger, and Kathryn Maier -- will still be investigating and vetting the offers.  But my Conde Nast Traveler colleague Lisa Gill, who edits the magazine's annual Hot List of top new hotels, will take over the day-to-day supervision. Remember when we spun off The Daily Traveler from The Perrin Post?  It's like that, only this time we've got not just one new blog but a whole new site, filled with the voices of even more Conde Nast Traveler editors. And, of course, I'll still be advising where and how to find the best travel values in my regular Perrin Report advice column in the magazine.

I'm thrilled because this means I'll have more time -- when I'm not snowed under by my print responsibilities -- to do what I was doing before Deals overtook this blog: dispense travel advice.  I'll still cover the occasional terrific bargain that pops up in my In-Box and mustn't be ignored, of course, but I'll now have more time to address timely travel issues in the news, answer your questions, share my own personal experiences and adventures from the road, and run the occasional "Where's Wendy?" contest.  Sound good?

September 21, 2009

Tune In Today and Learn How You Can Help Save the World When You Travel

Mandy Moore will speak today at Conde Nast Traveler magazine's third annual World Savers Congress. So will Ken Burns, Wyclef Jean, Edward Norton, and other celebs who are helping to save the planet.

by Wendy Perrin

Want to learn what it takes to be a responsible traveler? Find out which travel companies are the most responsible--meaning, which are greenest and do the most good when it comes to helping the local communities in which they operate?  Eavesdrop on conversations among the most forward-thinking travel industry C.E.O.s who have gathered to share their hard-earned wisdom regarding how to operate sustainably?  Suggest ideas of your own for how travelers and travel companies can make a difference?

Then tune in to today's World Savers Congress at the Morgan Library & Museum in New York City, starting at 8:30 a.m. Eastern Time. I told you all about it a few days ago, and here's the program of scheduled presentations and panels.

You'll find live coverage of the event on this brand-new blog, where we'll be posting reports and insights from the Congress throughout the day, as well as Twitter updates from Congress attendees. We hope you enjoy following along!

September 14, 2009

How Can YOU Help Save the World When You Travel?


In this video address at our World Savers Congress last year, actor/activist Matt Damon told travel industry leaders just how much power they hold to improve our planet. 

by Wendy Perrin

Conde_Nast_Traveler_World_Savers_Congress Not sure how you can help save the world when you travel? Then tune in to Conde Nast Traveler's 3rd annual World Savers Congress a week from today. Leaders of the travel industry will convene in New York City, at the Morgan Library & Museum, to discuss how we all can limit environmental impact and improve the health, education, and economic well-being of the communities worldwide in which we leave our footprints.

We'll be honoring the 2009 World Savers award winners and hearing from speakers and panelists including Ken Burns, filmmaker and director of The National Parks: America's Best Idea, a six-part documentary airing on PBS this fall; Wyclef Jean, musican and philanthropist, on how tourism can help Haiti; Mandy Moore, actor and ambassador for Five & Alive, on the Conde Nast Traveler Five & Alive Fund, administered in partnership with Population Services International; Nicholas Kristof, op-ed columnist for The New York Times, who will moderate a panel on "The Economics of Doing Good"; and Abby Joseph Cohen, president of Goldman Sachs' Global Markets Institute.

Wendy_Perrin_Adam_Stewart Me, I'll be moderating a panel called "The Committed Consumer: Engaging Your Guests Now."  We'll focus on how companies that are committed to sustainable travel can best articulate their message to travelers. The panelists? Carmen Baker, VP for Responsible Business, Carlson Hotels; Richard Edelman, CEO, Edelman Public Relations; Niki Leondakis, COO, Kimpton Hotels; Gregg Michel, President, Crystal Cruises; and Bruce Poon Tip, CEO, Gap Adventures. (As you can tell from the photo above, I had fun moderating last year's consumer panel. That's Adam Stewart, CEO, Sandals Resorts and the Sandals Foundation, at right.) Anything you want me to ask the panelists? Just click on "Comments" below and let me know your questions.

Queen_Rania_Ashley_Judd For scenes from last year's World Savers Congress (where we heard from Queen Rania of Jordan and actor/activitist Ashley Judd, pictured at right) as well as a wrap-up of the remarks and highlights, see our 2008 World Savers Congress page.

Can't join us at the Morgan Library? Then join us on Twitter. From 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Eastern Time, next Monday, September 21, you can follow live coverage of the World Savers Congress both on Twitter and on a brand-new Conde Nast Traveler blog. I'll be back later this week to tell you how and where.

Speaking of blogging . . . we've got a limited number of seats left at the Congress for NYC-based travel bloggers.  Interested?  If so, please email Megan Montenaro at

March 24, 2009

My Trip to Austin, Texas: Highlight #3

Clay_shirky_wendy_perrin_sxsw Clay Shirky, the author of Here Comes Everybody, at the South by Southwest Interactive conference in Austin, March 16.

by Wendy Perrin

Remember I was saying that the best part of my trip to Austin was the people I got to hang out with?  One of the coolest moments was breakfast with Clay Shirky, the author of my favorite book of 2008, a wake-up call entitled Here Comes Everybody: The Power of Organizing Without Organizations. It's a riveting read about how the Internet is changing society. Its relevance to the world of travel?  New technological tools are enabling travelers to share more information with other travelers than ever before, faster than ever before, thus empowering us all (well, those of us who are using the tools).

That's why I'll be talking about Clay's book, as well as two other seminal works I've devoured lately--Groundswell: Winning in a World Transformed by Social Technologies by Charlene Li and Josh Bernoff, and What Would Google Do? by Jeff Jarvis--when I head to Washington, D.C., this weekend to speak at the conference of the Editors Council of the Society of American Travel Writers.  They've asked me to talk about how I balance my print and online responsibilities, how I use social media in my work, what the future holds for travel journalism. . . .  Piece of cake! (Kidding.)

If you're interested in tuning in to my talk in real time and you're on Twitter (one of those aforementioned technological tools), you'll be able to read what's being said by twitterers at the conference here. Wish me luck!

And, if you have any recommendations for D.C., of course I'd love to hear those too. Just click on "Comments" below, and, if you like, include your URL in the text of your comment so we can all click to learn more about you.

March 22, 2009

My Trip to Austin, Texas: Highlight #2

Sheila Scarborough (in the cowboy boots) and others from the South by Southwest Interactive conference, ordering dinner at Guero's, March 14.

by Wendy Perrin

Remember how I spent more time in Austin meeting people than sightseeing? Pictured here are a few of the movers and shakers in the travel blogging firmament who gathered for dinner after Sheila Scarborough's and Pam Mandel's "Blog Highways" session I told you about last week. Clockwise from the top: Michael Yessis of World Hum, Pam of Nerd's Eye View, Elliott Ng of UpTake, Christina Clark of Green Daily, Roger Wade of BootsnAll, Sheila of Family Travel Logue, Jim Benning of World Hum, Kelly Goodman and Austin Hill of Travellious, and, last but not least, Conde Nast Traveler's Interactive Editor, Tom Loftus of Daily Traveler

To read what we gabbed about at Sheila's and Pam's talk, check out Sheila's recap here and Pam's here. To listen to me and Pam interviewed by Todd Lucier of Internet Marketing for Travel and Tourism in an impromptu podcast over lunch--just a casual chat about the influence of Twitter on the travel industry--click here. And to see an equally spontaneous video recorded by Shannon Hurst Lane of Traveling Mamas on her Flip, click here.

March 13, 2009

Austin, Texas, Here I Come

by Wendy Perrin

I'm off to Austin today for the South by Southwest Interactive conference, where I'll be cheering on Sheila Scarborough of the Family Travel Logue and Pam Mandel of Nerd's Eye View as they lead the conference's first-ever session on travel blogging, "Blog Highways: Travel Blogging for the Wanderer." If their names ring a bell, it could be because Sheila's the person Conde Nast Traveler asked to twitter--meaning, report in the form of a live news feed from--its Readers' Choice Awards ceremony at the New York Public Library last year, and Pam twittered the magazine's 2008 World Savers Congress from NYC's Gotham Hall. 

If you'd like to tune into the live news feed twittered from the "Blog Highways" session, you can do so tomorrow, Saturday, March 14, from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. Eastern Time, by following its two officially designated twitterers: Kelly Goodman of Travellious, whom you can follow by clicking here, and Shannon Hurst Lane of Traveling Mamas, whom you can click to follow here. You'll also want to follow Sheila (by clicking here) and Pam (by clicking here). As for me, I'll be twittering from Austin too, and you can follow me here

While I won't have time to blog over the next few days, Julia will be bringing you not only some awesome new travel deals I've handpicked for her to share with you but also a couple of very cool contests you can enter to win free vacations. Enjoy!

February 04, 2009

On the Road, with Twitter Your Only Guide

The Guardian's Benji Lanyado TwitterTripping through Paris.

by Wendy Perrin

Check out what's unfolding over at the online water cooler known as Twitter: U.K. Guardian travel writer Benji Lanyado is in Paris with no advance plans, basing all his travel decisions--where to stay, what to see, where to eat--on tips sent to him, in real time, by the people following him on Twitter. Yes, folks, it's the latest, greatest, most cutting-edge form of travel: the TwiTrip. Click here to follow Benji's progress and here to read the Paris recs he's been receiving.

Twitter is not just changing people's trips. It's changing people's lives. But I don't need to tell you what a big deal Twitter is because people like The New York Times' Clive Thompson and MSNBC's Chris Elliott already have. And I don't need to tell you who the travel twitterati are -- the people you should be following on Twitter if you want to know what's going on in the world of travel -- because several lists have already been published, including this one and this one.

So instead I'm going to list some of the non-travel-world people who make Twitter such a fascinating destination. Following their Twitter updates ("tweets") allows me to see inside the brains of some of today's most influential thinkers and find out what's going on in the world almost before it happens. Here are just a few of the "tweeple" every smart twitterer should know about:

Continue reading "On the Road, with Twitter Your Only Guide" »

December 03, 2008

Give $10 to a Good Cause . . . and See What You Might Get In Return

by Wendy Perrin

'Tis the season to think about people around the world who are in need. This month, for a mere $10 donation to help some of those people, you can put yourself in the running to win any one of dozens of travel-oriented prizes--travel gadgets, gear, clothing, books--listed here. Your $10 will benefit the excellent charity Heifer International.

Although my husband and I have personally supported Heifer International for years (on our children's birthday party invitations we suggest contributions to Heifer in lieu of gifts), this nifty Passports with Purpose fundraiser has nothing to do with me or Condé Nast Traveler. It's the brainchild of four of my favorite travel bloggers: Debbie Dubrow of Delicious Baby, Pam Mandel of Nerd's Eye View, Michelle Duffy of Wandermom, and Beth Whitman of Wanderlust and Lipstick. After the jump, details on how to make your donation now and possibly win big later this month.

Continue reading "Give $10 to a Good Cause . . . and See What You Might Get In Return" »

November 05, 2008

Let's Make the Honeymoon Last

Barack Obama in the news
A selection of Britain's national papers covering Barack Obama's victory.
Photo: Martin Cleaver/AP Photo

by Wendy Perrin

In my travels overseas over the past few years, I've noticed a downward slide in how other countries view ours; an image problem confirmed by scientific studies. Fortunately, the people I've met abroad have always drawn a clear distinction between the U.S. government and individual American travelers.  And, they've told me, they never stopped liking U.S. visitors (mainly because, they say, Americans buy a lot of stuff, tip well, and have more intellectual curiosity about the local culture than the sun and fun holidaymakers from countries closer by). Still, it's been my experience that Americans have been getting a less enthusiastic welcome in general.  And when I've been asked to explain the U.S. government's actions abroad, or why Americans voted the way they did in 2004, I haven't known how to respond.

Now, with the election of Obama, I feel I've got a response. I think this moment has the potential to do for the U.S. what the Olympics did for China: show the world we've changed. I think it'll improve how Americans are perceived, and received, around the globe. Or, as world traveling blogger Tim Leffel puts it, "You can stop pretending you're Canadian now." World Hum is even anticipating "a steep drop in sales of Canadian flag pins destined for American backpacks."

Of course, many of us never pretended to be Canadian. Personally, I feel that every U.S. citizen who travels abroad is an ambassador for the United States, whether they like it or not. And right now we travelers get to enjoy a honeymoon period with the rest of the world. Let's all do our best to make it last!

I'd love to hear from any readers who are overseas right now. Where are you, and what response to the election have you noticed there?

September 30, 2008

So How WAS that World Savers Congress Anyway?

by Wendy Perrin  

Check out this compelling message from Matt Damon to Conde Nast Traveler's 2008 World Savers Congress. Matt explains why the $8 trillion travel industry holds the power to improve our planet.

Now that Michael Kinsley is off and running (finally!), his tech issues resolved (hopefully!), I can get back to what happened at the magazine's 2nd annual World Savers Congress in NYC last week. Thing is, by now so many other reporters have covered it--all in wildly different ways--that I think what is most interesting is to share their takeaways. A round-up of the best Congress coverage:

Loved Mediabistro's take because it highlighted two of my favorite messages from the Congress:  Leading global economist and poverty fighter Jeffrey Sachs saying, "The one billion travelers every year can be one billion ambassadors." And Conde Nast Traveler editor-in-chief Klara Glowczewska telling the leaders of the travel industry that they have the power to effect change because "Nothing opens people's eyes like traveling. Travel breeds empathy." Exactly.

Daily Traveler live-blogged the entire 7-hour event, of course, including poignant speeches by actress/activist Ashley Judd, a fervent ambassador for Population Services International who traveled with my ed-in-chief to Rwanda last spring, and Jordan's magnetic Queen Rania, who announced the addition of nine more ecotourism-friendly parks in her country.

Nerd's Eye View's Pam Mandel touched so beautifully on the speakers and panelists whose passion most impressed her that she inspired those gungho Traveling Mamas to spread the word about Conde Nast Traveler's Five & Alive Fund, run by Population Services International. The Fund, which the magazine started only a year ago, has raised nearly $1 million so far.

World_savers_congress_by_elliott_ng At left, CNT's editor-in-chief holds an award she's about to present to Andrea Ross of Journeys Within (at the podium). Photo: Elliott Ng of Uptake.   

Wondering what a week in NYC in the life of Queen Rania of Jordan is like?  Read the fascinating diary that ran in Slate. My favorite quote: "My husband told me that Hashem, my 3-year-old, has been coughing all night and has a temperature, and my stomach lurched with guilt for not being there to cuddle and soothe him. Why do they always get sick when I'm away?  It kills me." Boy, can I relate.

If you're interested in the panel I moderated entitled "Is Social Responsibility Smart Business?" (transcript to be available on soon; I'll let you know when it's up), check out TravelMuse's thoughtful take on it, as well as Travelocity's blog The Window Seat, which came away with this good advice: "Be a change ambassador wherever you go by making an effort to support the community, reach out to locals, and share a bit about your home as well."

Bryant_park_by_elliott_ng_3 Last but not least, a big thank-you to Uptake's Elliott Ng for snapping nifty photos of the Congress as well as this shot of a few of us recovering in Bryant Park afterward. Left to right: Donna Airoldi of TravelMuse, Pam Mandel of Nerd's Eye View, and me, Sept. 23, 2008.

September 20, 2008

World Savers Congress: Any Questions You Want Me to Ask?


by Wendy Perrin

Tuesday's the big day, folks: Conde Nast Traveler's World Savers Congress. We're gathering leaders of the travel industry at Gotham Hall here in NYC to discuss how they can limit environmental impact and improve the health, education, and economic well-being of the communities in which they operate. If this topic interests you as much as it interests us at the magazine, be sure to read the highlights from last year's Congress, as well as my editor-in-chief's Huffington Post article "Can Travel Change the World?"

At the Congress I'll be moderating a panel of five industry leaders who've been knocking themselves out to put a wide range of environmentally and socially responsible programs in place: Rob Katz, CEO of Vail Resorts; Sven Lindblad, president of Lindblad Expeditions; Andrea Ross, director of tours for Journeys Within; Adam Stewart, CEO of Sandals Resorts International; and Tensie Whelan, executive director of the Rainforest Alliance.  The hopefully newsmaking questions I plan to ask them include:

Continue reading "World Savers Congress: Any Questions You Want Me to Ask?" »

September 12, 2008

CNT's World Savers Congress: Shout-Out to Fellow Travel Bloggers

Queen_rania_of_jordan_2 by Wendy Perrin

If you follow me on Twitter--where I've discovered a worldwide virtual community of travel hounds sharing nifty tips daily--you know I've been prepping for Conde Nast Traveler's 2nd annual World Savers Congress in NYC on Sept. 23. The Congress gathers leaders of the travel industry to discuss how their companies can limit environmental impact and improve the health, education, and economic well-being of the communities in which they operate. Featured speakers will include Her Majesty Queen Rania Al Abdullah of Jordan (pictured at left), Jeffrey Sachs, and Ashley Judd.  Me, I'll be moderating an industry-leader panel entitled "The Consumer: Is Social Responsibility Smart Business?" Thus the prepping. Must be on my toes! (The pic below is of Conde Nast Traveler editor in chief Klara Glowczewska with Bill Drayton and Richard Holbrooke at last year's Congress.)

Conde_nast_travelers_2007_world_sav I'm thrilled that Pam Mandel of the fab blog NerdsEyeView will be coming to NYC to twitter the World Savers Congress from start to finish. You might already know Pam from her clever comments here on The Perrin Post, if you don't already follow her on Twitter.

What this means is that, if you're not actually with us at Gotham Hall but you are with us on Twitter, you'll get Pam's live continuing news feed about what's being said at the Congress, both on stage and behind the scenes. (I recommended Pam for the job because, when she twittered a conference last month, it was riveting. And it ain't easy conveying passion and import in only 140 characters -- which is what Twitter updates are limited to.)  Fortunately, Pam won't be constrained to 140 characters on her blog, where she'll also be covering the Congress. In fact, she's already published her take on what it was like to get the call from Conde Nast Traveler.  I laughed out loud reading it.

Speaking of blogging . . . we've got a limited number of seats left at the Congress for NYC-based travel bloggers. Interested?  If so, please email Ty Trippet at Hope to see you there!