In brief: A round-up of today's news
A $5,000 cab fare, free guides to the United Kingdom’s Royal Wedding, travel bargains in Japan and more. Here are the stories that travellers are buzzing about:
A $5,000 cab fare
"New York taxi driver Mohammed Alam recently picked up the fare of a lifetime - $5,000 to drive across the US to Los Angeles," reports BBC News. Investment banker John Belitsky and his friend wanted to do something "magical". So they hired the cab for a 2,448-mile trip, arriving on 22 April. Had the meter been running, the true cost of the trip would have been about $17,000.
A free guide to the royal wedding
In case you hadn't heard, England's Prince William will marry Catherine Middleton this Friday at London's Westminster Abbey. This week, Lonely Planet is offering free downloads of a chapter from its London guide. Go to the LP's Royal Wedding round-up page to get the PDF. The site also points visitors to an eight-minute audio guide about the Royal Wedding procession, downloadable on iTunes, free for a limited time.
Tourism to Japan deeply shaken
Japan has yet to see tourism rebound more than a month after the largest earthquake in its history. Hotel reservations are at half their normal level, according to figures that do not include the prefectures hit hardest by the earthquake. The UN World Tourism Organisation recently said it was safe to travel to and from Japan because radiation levels at the nation's airports and ports are "well within safe limits". All of these cancellations have led to a price war: hotels and flights are relatively cheap for the upcoming cherry blossom season. In the meantime, where are the tourists going? Hong Kong, which is breaking tourism records.
Thai-Cambodian border clashes worry some travellers
Since Friday, the military forces of Thailand and Cambodia have exchanged fire over the disputed Preah Vihear temple, a masterpiece of Khmer architecture. The fighting is in Thailand's Surin and Buri Ram provinces. The UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office advises against all travel to the temple area. The US State Department has not yet issued a travel warning, though its site has information about various issues that any traveller should keep in mind while visiting the two countries.
The five best booking sites?
Readers of the popular US site Lifehacker recently named their top five picks for best cheap travel booking sites: Kayak, Hipmunk, Travelocity, ITA Software/Matrix and Priceline. Are one of the sites unfamiliar to you? You may want to give it a test drive when booking your next trip.
The mega retweet
We scour Twitter to highlight a standout travel tweet.
"I spent $5k and profited infinitely."
--@JohnBelitsky, the investment banker who hired a taxi cab to travel cross country, tweeting about it all the way.