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Thursday, January 7, 2010

Weathering Winter Travel

With wicked winter weather whistling through the Midwest and Southeast (as it is wont to do in January), several airlines are once again proactively cancelling flights and encouraging ticketed customers to rebook itineraries. They are also waiving certain change fees.

During the last huge storm in Washington, DC, I was called upon by local television stations to give advice to airport-bound travelers. Given this week’s weather forecast, said advice bears repeating.

1. Whenever a big winter storm is looming, either in your hometown or anywhere in the country (storms in the East or Midwest can snarl air traffic as far west as Hawaii), go online or call your airline to check on delays and cancellations BEFORE going to the airport. There is absolutely no sense standing in long lines at the airport when it is just as easy...or easier...to monitor and rebook travel from the comfort of your Laz-E-Boy.

2. Especially in the winter, fly non-stop whenever possible. Note: Direct is NOT non-stop. Direct means there is an intermediate stop, although a change of planes is not required. For example, a non-stop flight from Boston to Denver goes from Boston to Denver. A direct flight from Boston to Denver may stop in Chicago, make this flight a triple threat for winter travel delays.

3. If you have a one-stop flight, try to travel earlier in the day. That way, if there is a snafu at Airport #2, the odds of catching a later connecting flight are greater. If you book a one-stop in the evening, be prepared to spend the night at the intermediary airport or at a local hotel.

4. Check on airline refund and rebooking policies due to weather problems. This year, airlines are being quite generous about change fee waivers and the like. Still, I can guarantee you that airlines are not going to give you free room and board in cases of delays to due acts of God and Mother Nature.

Saturday, January 2, 2010


Laura Powell
PO Box 9444
Washington, DC 20016
(202) 415-6455  (202) 248-4622

Career Summary To Date: 25 years covering travel and lifestyle topics for a range of media outlets. Work has included television and video production; writing for print and online outlets; custom content development; strategic consulting; and spokesperson and media training work.
Current Positions:
1990- Executive Producer, LP Productions/DailySuitcase Washington, DC
Produce/host/write travel-related content. Also write speeches and do consulting and project work for associations and corporate clients.
1993-Content Writer, The Washington Post
Write special sections on travel, lifestyle, education, and the environment.
2005-Travel Correspondent, Around the World Radio Santa Barbara, CA
2007- Contributing Television Travel Expert, Great Day Washington and NewsChannel 8, Washington, DC
2015- Regular Contributor: CNN.com, ShermansTravel, Orbitz Blog

Professional Writing Experience:
Writer, Travel Supplements and Custom Content
Special supplements have appeared in National Geographic Traveler, Reader's Digest, The Sunday Times (UK), Conde Nast Traveller (UK), and other publications.
Writer, Groupon Washington City Guide
Contributing Editor, Hotel F and B

Writer, Travel Supplements, USA Today
Contributing Editor, Lodging, Washington, DC
Contributing Writer, Good Housekeeping New York, New York
1998-2002; 2007-2009
Writer/Columnist, MSN sidewalk.com Redmond, Washington
Producer, CNN TravelGuide Atlanta, Georgia
·        Created and produced CNN TravelGuide.
·        Provided management direction to production of CNN's travel coverage, including daily segments
on business and leisure travel.
·        Coordinated and planned field production at domestic and international locations, and wrote and produced daily packages and weekly programs.

Selected Television and Radio Appearances:
ABC World News This Morning, ABC News Now, CNBC, CNN Headline News, CNN Airport, WUSA (Washington, DC), NewsChannel 8 (Washington, DC), WTTG (Washington, DC), Fox News Channel, Good Day New York, Today Show/New York, WABC (Los Angeles), CBS 2 News This Morning (Los Angeles), AM-Philadelphia, WTOP-AM (Washington, DC), WOR-AM (New York), WGN-AM (Chicago), NPR, Martha Stewart/Sirius Radio.

Some Other Print and Online Freelance Outlets:
National Geographic Traveler; Forbes; Hemispheres/United: Alaska Airlines Magazine; Open Skies/Emirates; Travel Weekly

Syracuse University, Syracuse, New York B.S., Broadcast Journalism
Distinction: Summa Cum Laude and Class Marshal-Newhouse School of Public Communications
University of Essex, Colchester, England M.A. International Relations
Distinction: Rotary Foundation Scholar
European University Institute, Fiesole, Italy