Once you go SMART you never go back

Now I know why the called them SMART |  Miami, Florida |  Ok, this time I tried to be original and unpredictable. I came to Miami and decided to have my own SMART Car experience for my daily 40 minutes commute from South Beach to Fort Lauderdale. And yes you read right 40 minutes, because when renting a SMART Car, the only thing you are missing is the DRAMA of finding a free parking space in South Beach for your oversized car or SUV.
I have seen them all over Europe, but was never brave enough to try them. So this time, since I am traveling solo for most part of my trip, I said… OK give it a try. My main concerns were (1). Speed, (2). Comfort, (3) Security. Once I got my SMART from the rental company, and I was able to move from the initial …”OMG you are a CUTE daredevil…” I completely fell in love with it. And after a full day driving it around Florida State, I can day that Once you go SMART you never go back…. mmmm where have I heard this phrase before…. ? I got on the I95 this morning, and I must admit that in the beginning I felt very intimidated, but after five minutes I was so proud of my little fellow.
What can I say…. plenty of leg room, air conditioning, glass rooftop, and the most shocking, the multiple option of either stick shift or automatic. Not either or, but BOTH. Fuel efficient, and I mean very efficient.
So trust me. If you are traveling SOLO or with a plus one and not a lot of luggage, consider this option. The total value, including insurance for a FULL WEEK. USD 200. And I am not expecting to spend too much on gas, from what I have seen as for today. CM

My own Educational Session at IGLTA’s Annual Convention

My own Educational Session at IGLTA’s Annual Convention | Ft. Lauderdale, Florida |  This whole week I am in Florida, attending like every other year the IGLTA’s International Annual Convention. Familiar faces, new members and lots of new vendors from all corners of the world. This year I am honored to have been invited as a Guest Speaker with my own Educational Session based on Gay Travel Online Businesses, Social Media and Blogs. As you may be very well aware at this point if you follow my blog, IGLTA stands for International Gay & Lesbian Travel Association, organization of which I have been an active member for almost the last 10 years.
The ABCs of Developing a Blog is the topic of my upcoming Educational Session, as presented on the official IGLTA’s Annual Convention booklet. I will be sharing Educational Sessions with renown companies such us GayCities.com, GayTravel.com, Google, IBM among many others. Unfortunately this time it can only be attended by those within the convention. But just FYI I am consulting and assisting various companies, organizations and individuals worldwide, with the basics on How/Why/When and more on blogging as a way to expand your business, earn money and networking. My presentation is based on a true story, my story of a full year devoted to blogging and branding with hotels, destinations and other travel related suppliers Worldwide. So feel free to contact me. CM

Next Stops Miami and Ft. Lauderdale

Next Stops Miami and Ft. Lauderdale |  Florida |  I am off next week to Miami Beach and Ft. Lauderdale to spend a full week of work and relaxation. The main reason of my trip, is that I have been invited by the IGLTA to be a Guest Speaker at their Annual International Congress “Unleashed” to take place May 10 – 15th. During this week I will be also experiencing and reviewing four properties in Miami Beach – The TIDES South Beach, Canyon Ranch Miami, The Palms and the new self proclaimed gay hotel of Miami The Lord’s.  If you see me driving around on a little SMART car…. say Hi, since I will be testing for the first time my own SMART experience. Finally I want to invite you to come to the Wilton Manors gay village  IGLTA Consumer Trade Show & Festival which will take place on – MAY 13th. from 6PM – 10PM – out in the open. There, CarlosMeliaBlog will have its own Booth, so please come by and say HI. !!!! (more to come)  CM

Find your Sunny in Greater Ft. Lauderdale. Go Luxe. Go Fab. Go all OUT in Greater Fort Lauderdale. They are rolling out the rainbow carpet to welcome us to the IGLTA Annual Global Convention May 10-15, in one of America’s “favorite gay resort town.” Greater Fort Lauderdale has more than 150 gay owned establishments including hotels, bars, clubs and restaurants.

The ABCs of Starting a BLOG at IGLTA’s Annual Convention

The ABCs of Starting a BLOG at IGLTA’s Annual Convention |  Ft. Lauderdale, Florida | If you are assisting the IGLTA’s Annual Convention in Ft. Lauderdale (May 10-15) you are officially invited to my Educational SessionTHE ABCs of STARTING A BLOG. (FRI. 13th. MAY, 1.30PM – 2.45PM) @ Fort Lauderdale Hilton Marina Hotel. Click here to RSVP http://carlosmeliablog.cocodot.com Cheers CM

U.S. Orders Airlines to State Fees More Clearly

U.S. Orders Airlines to State Fees More Clearly | New York Times by SUSAN STELLIN |   Very interesting article about US Airlines and the extra hidden FEES. I relate to this story very much since, just yesterday I was booking a flight for myself on SPIRIT Airlines turning into quite a frustrating and disappointing experience. The government plans to announce a new set of passenger protections on Wednesday aimed primarily at travelers’ growing frustration over airline fees.
I was booking my flight from New York City to Miami International Airport. Price promoted by Spirit Airlines on an email BLAST…. fares from USD 9. I am a travel agent, and I am not fool of course, so I knew the story behind this. But I said let’s do a little exercise and give it a try, so I went along with it and did it. I went through all the booking process, passing promotion after promotion, extras after extras and so forth. Since I know in advance that I have to attend a conference in Ft. Lauderdale next month I had the dates and was ready to book. FYI lower fare on the competition USD 185 including taxes.
Logged into Spirit Airlines site and started with a base fare of USD 47 for the New York / Miami segment and USD 67 for the Miami / New York segment. The outbound and inbound from/to La Guardia Airport, which let’s be honest, is not the most accessible, convenient or modern airport in the US. Total fare before taxes USD 114. Taxes were around USD 37,40. Subtotal = USD 151,50. So I said to myself… OK I am saving USD 30 isshhhh… now here is where the trick begins and you start adding up without even realizing. Check IN Baggage USD 28 each way (total on Round Trip base USD 56) OH and that if you do it online, because if you do it at the airport it almost doubles. Seat assignment from USD 10 on each way, depending on the row and group number, so another USD 20. Food and Beverages, of course there is no food served on the plane and they measure the water or drinks on board so let’s say you spend another USD 30 in food and drinks round trip at the airport. The grand total now comes to USD 257,40. NOW were you aware of this when you went for the from USD 9 per segment marketing campaign? I don’t think so. In the end I booked with the competition the USD 185 fare…. but hey I was fooled again, since now I found out that I have to pay USD 25 each way for Check IN baggage plus my food (averaging USD 80) so my total now is USD 265. Of course that once on board they provide you with everything Headphones (USD 2 ha ha ha which are yours to keep if they last through out the flight), Pillows or Blankets (USD 10 each and we will turn the air conditioning on to make sure you freeze), WiFi (USD 12)… and so forth. Be careful now, because there are rumors that anytime soon they will begin charging for using the bathrooms, oxygen masks, life vests, seat belts and guess what breathing… Have a GREAT FLIGHT. !!! CM @ Carlos Melia Recommends


(*) To book flights, do not hesitate to contact me either by email carlos@carlosmelia.com or phone # 917.754.5515. I am an experienced Travel Agent with over 25 years of experience, member of IGLTA, First in Service Travel, TZELL Travel Network.


TIP – Now you can read CarlosMeliaBlog in multiple languages. Just go to the bottom of the page and choose the language of your preference at the Google Translate drop down menu. Enjoy.!!!


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Carlos Melia to be Guest Speaker at IGLTA Convention 2011

Carlos Melia to be Guest Speaker at IGLTA’s Convention |  Ft. Lauderdale, Florida |  IGLTA – International Gay and Lesbian Association, will be holding their 2011 Annual Convention in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida (May 10-15th.), and I have been invited to take part as a Guest Speaker for their Educational Session Itinerary. During this week I will be sharing sessions with very well renown professionals and stablished companies such as Google, GayCities.com, GayTravel.com, Air Canada, SAS Airlines, IBM, NGLCC, among many others. It is an honor for me to be consider for this duty.  You may check out the full Seminars Itinerary online at IGLTA’s Convention UNLEASH. As for my own session here is the full information, I look forward seeing you all there (May 13th.) CM by Carlos Melia Carlos Melia, Travel Agent, Blogger & Marketing Consultant Learn the ABCs of Developing a Blog: Becoming a travel blogger can benefit your business and create a new parallel source of income. Drawing from his own successes with carlosmeliablog.com, Melia will demonstrate how to create and monetize a blog associated with your travel business/product/service. The session will also cover promotion strategies to help you find your niche.

…” We are so incredibly excited for our convention in Fort Lauderdale, May 2011! This event is going to be the premiere event in LGBT tourism and will include businesses from all over the world. You will network with, learn from and meet the leaders in our industry. Stay tuned to this website for more information…” by IGLTA Staff.