Merry Christmas! Most of my friends back east thought I was crazy when I told then I wished I was in NYC for the “snowstorm of the century.” Instead, I was in hot and sunny L.A., playing beach volleyball and attending holiday parties—including one on a boat ! The week before I was lucky enough to be walking around Rockefeller Center and Central Park admiring all the colorful decorations. But I bet it would’ve been more special with a foot of snow as a backdrop.

This week’s newsletter is sponsored by Book with confidence from 800 luxury travel suppliers on

Before we get to this week’s story I have to give a shout-out to @UnitedAirlines and @Continental for doing such a great job using Twitter this past weekend. I follow all the airlines and these two did the best job by far, keeping customers updated about flight status and calming nerves with the heavy call volumes. The other airlines seemed to have taken Saturday off—maybe their social media communicator was at a holiday party?

Hopefully, the others will learn from United and Continental’s lead—I never thought I would say that, because it wasn’t long ago that these two airlines were the laughing stock of Twitter. Now it’s the others falling behind—especially Delta, who hasn’t tweeted since June. What are they thinking? Obviously, they aren’t. It’s shocking to me that more airlines aren’t proactively using Twitter. I mean when it comes to getting quick, informal yet important messages out to your customers there’s no better tool than Twitter. And for passengers it’s so easy to get updated by following or at least checking out the Twitter feeds of the airline of your choice—especially during storms and busy travel days. In case you don’t know where to start, here’s a list of all the airlines, hotels, cruise lines, travel writers . . . basically everything travel on Twitter. If I’m missing something, please let me know.

This week I’m experimenting with something new: a slide show. This will allow readers to spend much less time viewing my photos and still read about my experiences. We begin with one of the country’s most famous and luxurious hotels, The Breakers in Palm Beach. FYI: The very last page of the slide show has a video.

What do you know?! It turns out last week’s column of the 16 travel products/tips that I never leave home without was a big hit. In fact, WGN Radio in Chicago had me on as a guest just to discuss it (you can listen to the eight-minute interview here). For those waiting until the very last minute (like moi!), one of the companies I mentioned, Scottevest, is offering free expedited shipping for US orders over $250 if placed by 1 p.m. ET on Wednesday, December 23rd. And if you use coupon code “Johnny” before January 1st you’ll save 20% off anything in their store.

Next week – Colombia! *PLEASE tell us what you think of this week’s newsletter!

Note: This trip was sponsored in part by The Breakers & jetBlue.

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