Would you buy a seat on a discounted flight—one with no food, entertainment, or baggage allowance—to save hundreds of dollars? In 2016, travelers will see the return of the $99 round trip airfare. In fact, fares even lower than that are being tracked by TravelPlex counselors. These low prices are due to a few factors. The first, oil prices continue to drop. With fuel prices down over 50% in the last 18 months, airlines are finding it harder to justify fare increases. Even static pricing is drawing the ire of most travelers.

That said, there are many things to consider before jumping at those eye-popping prices...

January’s Memorable City is unforgettable for a number of reasons, and if you’re a Cardinal fan, the painful memory of October, 2006 is still fresh. That said, Boston is still a very popular travel destination for St. Louisians. We’ve all grown up studying famous historical events and figures such as Paul Revere; the battles at Concord and Lexington; the infamous Boston Tea Party and the USS Constitution. And how can one speak of Boston without mentioning Harvard and the Kennedy’s. What baseball fan hasn’t dreamt of hitting a ball off – or over -the “Green Monster” at Fenway Park?

On your next visit to Bean Town, we’ve assembled a few of Boston’s lesser known charms - hidden gems that most out of town visitors never see but are worth an hour or two of your time.

It’s that time of year again where we don our Nostradamus hat and predict what will impact the travel industry in the new year. The big travel news in 2016 is likely to follow a few main themes. Notice I reference “themes" versus “trends”, because instead of blockbuster announcements, you're more apt to see evolving developments throughout the year. New slants to old problems, and new fights over new problems. The perfect example is Uber and how it will mesh with – and impact – the corporate travel industry. While it may not be a great year for travelers, it will certainly be an interesting one. Here are some trends to watch for in the year ahead.

We here at TravelPlex have received many questions from travelers about news they have recently heard regarding what will be allowed as identification at airports. In order to clarify recent TSA announcements, we have quarried many sources to provide you the truth as to what will be allowed as ID and when any enforcement of these new policies will take effect.   

Currently, travelers from four U.S. states will not be able to use their driver’s licenses as ID to board domestic flights. Those with driver’s licenses from New York, Louisiana, Minnesota, and New Hampshire, are considered “noncompliant” with the security standards outlined in the Real ID Act.

TravelPlex would like to address rumors that are floating out there regarding acceptable ID.

If you travel enough, you’ve had this problem. You have 10 minutes before your three-hour flight begins boarding and you’re scanning the airport newsstand, urgently searching for a snack to get you through the flight. Sometimes you might find something reasonable, at least until you see how much it costs ($6 for a small bags of nuts! Really?). Sometimes we're not even that lucky. The same can be said for in-flight snack boxes. It's a rarity to want everything inside one, so you're essentially paying for things you won't eat (or won't enjoy).

But there is a solution.

This past year, as security has ramped up the importance meter and more and more people are growing cognizant of possible security exposure, TravelPlex has offered a number of things travelers can do to protect their security and prevent potential security hacking.

We don’t want to alarm or scare people, but being aware of what could happen helps prevent the possibility of having personal information breached. An item we would like to bring to your attention is your airline boarding pass. Have you ever tossed away your boarding pass in the trash can at an airport, or worse, left it behind in the magazine pocket at your seat? Well, you might not want to do that in the future.

Newly combined St. Louis headquartered travel management company grows to $50 million in annual sales.

St. Louis, MO (December 18, 2015):  Two of St. Louis’s leading travel companies announced they are joining forces: TravelPlex Travel & Cruise, a Branch of Tzell Travel Group, has signed an agreement to acquire Travel etc., also headquartered in St. Louis.  The merged operations of the two companies will represent $50 million in annual sales.

Delta Airlines, St. Louis’s fastest growing airline in terms of seat capacity, has for the fifth straight year been named by corporate travel managers as their favorite airline. The carrier once again earned the top score in all 10 categories in Business Travel News' Annual Airline Survey. Delta continued to gain ground on its competition, posting a total score almost 1 point higher, on a five-point scale, then all its competitors. Last year, Delta’s premium over the nearest competitor was 0.7 points. This year’s rankings were Delta Airlines - 4.19; United Airlines – 3.31; Southwest Airlines – 3.28 and American Airlines – 3.27.

Kansas City, St. Louis’s little cousin located a few hours west on I-70, is home to a number of great sights, including a vibrant arts scene, professional sporting teams (including a decent baseball team….), world-class attractions, great food (and BBQ almost as good as Pappy’s!) as well as a blend of eclectic and specialty shops. Whether you are visiting Kansas City for business, or a quick weekend getaway, take the time to discover a mix of new and traditional favorites...

Now through July 31, 2016, members of Enterprise’s Enterprise Plus program can earn bonus points for a number of qualifying activities. These extra’s include:

  • Earn 50 bonus points for agreeing to receive marketing emails from Enterprise
  • Earn 150 bonus points for the first Enterprise rental booked with no prior bookings within 24 months
  • Earn 75 bonus points for the first weekend Enterprise rental booked with no prior weekend bookings within 24 months

It hasn’t been a secret that Starwood Hotels was up for sale. The initial conjecture had InterContinental (IHG) as the likely buyer. More recently, those rumors were replaced by more credible reports that Hyatt, or even a Chinese buyer, was ready to make an offer.

However, yesterday morning it was revealed that Marriott Hotels was the buyer of the hotel chain.

The principal benefit of the merger for travelers? Marriott has promised the following for members of the two companies’ loyalty programs: 

It was just revealed that American Airlines is preparing to dramatically change its AAdvantage program in the next few months. Delta Airlines and United Airlines have already made recent changes to their frequent flyer programs and many travelers have been fearing the time when American would drop the axe and change their popular program. The newly revamped AAdvantage program will be a blend version of the award programs and the revenue-based programs implemented at Delta and United. Qualifying for AAdvantage elite status will remain the same, but earning miles for award bookings will be harder.

This month’s Memorable City is Las Vegas. If the names of such cities as “city of light’s”, or “the city that never sleeps” weren’t already claimed, Las Vegas would certainly be entitled to them.

Las Vegas, roughly translated, means “the meadows”. Located just west of the older downtown area, there is a series of natural springs that is now called "the Springs Preserve". Pioneers would stop at the springs on their way west. Today, Las Vegas is an ever-changing fantasy-land of a city and has seen unbelievable expansion since it emerged from the desert in 1905.

As travelers, we try and make sure we take the right flights, stay at the “good” hotels, and rent cars that are large enough to make us feel safe. We try and avoid touching things that may make us sick on the road (nothing worse than having the flu or a bad cold while away from the friendly confines of home) and eat foods that will help keep us healthy. Some of us even look for hotels that have a gym (or at least access to one) so we can exercise (I use the word “we” very loosely mind you). However, safety while on the road is often times overlooked or taken for granted. 

A few television news programs (60 Minutes and 48 Hours) have recently highlighted some hotel scams that are being employed on unsuspecting travelers.

Let’s see… We have advised you what not to touch on a plane. What effective habits to do before flying. What apps to add to your phone to help your travel experience. I guess it is only natural that the next topic we tackle is what foods / drinks to avoid while flying. Omitting these dining disasters via your pre-flight checklist will help you avoid the dreaded "jet bloat" and other in-flight horrors. Read on to see what foods / drinks one should avoid before flying.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a “germaphobe”. That said, I try to avoid places that scream germ haven and breeding ground. You know, like the bouncy ball pits that our kids love to frolic in. Or any shopping mall door handles, escalator rails, or anything else the general public touches.

With the arrival of cold and flu season, we at TravelPlex thought we would provide some tips to our travelers on what to avoid while traveling. While it would be great if we could all travel in a bright orange hazmat suit (good luck getting through the TSA monitors with that on…), reality is we have to use our head to tell our hands what not to touch.