Thursday, April 28, 2016

Our "Hot" Destination Will Leave You Glowing

The Chernobyl nuclear disaster occurred 30 years ago this week.  Days after the accident, the 50,000 residents of the nearby town of Pripyat were evacuated, never to return.  But three decades later it's tourists that populate what's known as the Exclusion Zone, a 30-kilometer radius of contaminated land around the power plant.  Is it safe to visit?  What is there to see?  We'll answer those questions and more this week in the "Hot Destination" segment of Get Packin', Saturday afternoon at 4:00 on Freedom 95 (95.9 FM and 950 AM in Indianapolis or streaming worldwide at

There's plenty to see and do in Indianapolis this Spring and Summer.  We'll get a rundown of all the fun stuff from Lisa Wallace of Visit Indy, including miniature golf at the Indianapolis Museum of Art.  Speaking of museums, the home of the late artist Prince is set to become a museum.  We'll have details on that and who's leading the effort.  The world's oldest message in a bottle has been found. We'll tell you what the message was and who sent it.

Quite possibly his first salad.  Ever.
And one London restaurant is taking the idea of a "natural" dining experience to the extreme.  Maybe we should call it an au naturel experience.  The Bunyadi is said to be the first naked restaurant in the British capital, where diners will have the opportunity to have dinner while wearing nothing at all. ("Do you have reservations?  Yes, but we're eating here, anyway."  Ba da BING!)


All that and more on this week's (clothing optional) Get Packin'. We hope you'll join us.

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Thursday, April 21, 2016

Cuba, Iceland, and Drones This Week on Get Packin'

Carnival Cruise Lines' new ship - the 704-passenger Adonia, that will do "voluntourism" cruises to the Dominican Republic and Cuba as part of Carnival's Fathom brand - is supposed to make its maiden Cuban voyage on May 1st.  Well, despite the thawing of relations between the U.S. and Cuba in recent months, there is still one little-known rule about travel to Cuba that could throw a wrench in those plans.  That's just one of the stories we'll be talking about on this week's edition of Get Packin', our weekly travel radio show you can hear Saturday afternoon at 4:00 p.m. on Freedom 95 (95.9 FM and 950 AM in the Indianapolis area and streaming worldwide at

Ann and her Grand Tetons, one of the
Top Ten Most Visited National Parks.
Also on the show, we celebrate 2016 as the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service by giving you the Top Ten Most Visited National Parks.  Think the Grand Canyon is Number 1?  Think again. It's a very distant second place.  We'll give you the surprising #1 and the rest of the Top Ten,  We'll even throw in #11, since it's fairly close to Indiana.

We're going to talk to Alex Pinelo of Norwegian Cruise Line about the history of the cruise line and how cruising has changed since Norwegian introduced the first modern cruise ship 50 years ago. (Hint: that first Norwegian ship could fit inside the engine room of today's Norwegian mega-ships!)


If you're planning a trip to mainland Europe, Iceland Air has a great offer.  It's essentially a FREE layover in Iceland.  We'll explain when we talk about Iceland as this week's Hot Destination.  There was a midair collision between a British Airways plane and a drone above London's Heathrow Airport.  The plane and passengers are OK.  The drone, not so much.  All that and more on Get Packin', Saturday at 4:00 p.m. on Freedom 95.

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Thursday, April 14, 2016

Get Packin' for Saturday, April 16

Each week on Get Packin' we feature a "Hot Destination", a location that has seen a marked increase in interest from travelers because of the time of year, a specific event, or because it's been in the news.  We've had obvious locales, like Cuba (in the news) and ironic ones, like Iceland ("HOT" destination, ICEland. Get it?).  Anyway, this week's Hot Destination may be our most surprising of all.  Iran.  Despite the U.S. State Department's warnings about traveling to Iran, apparently Americans aren't listening. According to the director of one North American travel agency, "Iran really does appear poised to become the next Cuba."  And like Cuba, it's the lifting of sanctions that has opened the flood gates of tourists to Iran.  We'll talk more about it Saturday afternoon at 4:00 p.m. on Get Packin' on Freedom 95 (95.9 FM and 950 AM in the Indianapolis area and streaming worldwide at www,

Walking Naked In Tehran
No, that's NOT Ann
on the cover.
Iran has been on what Ann calls her "Extreme Bucket List" for a while now, hoping to return to a place she once called home.  Ann lived in Tehran, Iran for a year-and-a-half back in the mid 70s as a 19-year-old newlywed, a time she recounts in her memoir, Walking Naked in Tehran.  (Shameless plug alert!)  You can get the book on Amazon or at  Now back to our show...

We'll welcome back Scott McCartney (@MiddleSeat) to Get Packin'.  Scott writes the Middle Seat travel column for the Wall Street Journal and he will help us navigate the sometimes confusing world of airplane seat categories.  Just when you thought you had figured out the difference between First Class and Business Class, along comes Premium Economy and Last Class.  Scott will lay it all out for us.

     Click here to see if water really does go down the drain differently
     in the Southern Hemisphere from the Northern Hemisphere.

A French tourist in Rome found out the hard way why you SHOULDN'T try to photograph the Colosseum with a drone.  And two Chinese women were shocked at the kind of hotel room an airline put them up in after their flight was cancelled.  Details on those and other stories this week on Get Packin', Saturday afternoon at 4:00 on Freedom 95.

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Thursday, April 7, 2016

This Week on Get Packin'

Brussels.  Paris.  Istanbul.  Not long ago these names conjured images of classic European architecture, iconic tourist attractions, unique cuisine, and centuries-old culture.  Bucket-list destinations all.  But now when those names are invoked, tragically, the first images that come to mind are an airport in ruin, blood on the floor of a nightclub, or tourists running for their lives.  Thus is the world of travel in the age of terrorism.  That is one of the topics we'll discuss this Saturday, April 9 at 4:00pm on Get Packin', our weekly travel radio show heard in the Indianapolis area on Freedom 95 (95.9 FM and 950 AM or streaming worldwide on

The Brussels Airport reopened on April 3rd with limited service.  We'll have more details on that, as well as the frustratingly vague travel warning issued by the U.S. State Department for all of Europe. And we'll chat with George Hobica (@airfarewatchdog) of Airfare Watchdog about what this all means for travelers.

Click here to read about our latest Excellent Adventure to Europe

Donald Trump
Make America Stay at My Hotels Again
On a sunnier note - literally - this week's Hot Destinations are the cities of the world that see the most sunshine year-round.  Number one on the list is right here in America.  If you're tech-savvy, you'll be interested to find out which airline is now making it possible to get your boarding pass via Facebook Messenger.  And finally, what effect is Donald Trump's presidential campaign having on his hotel business?  You might be surprised by the answer.

All those stories and more this week on Get Packin' with Ann & John.

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