Bring it on home: Australia | Travel


Who and where • From left: Lavern Lewis of Green Park and Larry Strunk of Sunset Hills, Cindy and Jay Kaminski of Chesterfield at the Sydney Opera House in Sydney, Australia.

The trip • The two couples spent three days in Sydney before taking a two-week cruise of Australia and New Zealand in February and March 2020.

Travel tip • Instead of taking several electrical converters, take one plus an extension cord with multiple sockets and USB ports.

Contribute • Email your photo to stlpost@gmail.com. Include the full names of everyone in the photo, including where they are from and where you are standing in the photo. Also include your address and phone number. Please also tell us a little about the trip and a travel tip. We’re looking for interesting, well-composed, well-lighted photos.



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Local couple turns former Navy bus into traveling tiny home | Local News


The mobile home has AC and heating, solar panels on the roof hooked to lithium batteries, and a rooftop deck accessed from an interior ladder. There’s even space up there for a pop-up tent.

“The only thing that didn’t make it in, because it just takes too much floor space, is a bathtub,” Borland said. “But I’m thinking we can find room at some point for a detached one stored up top.”

They say a part of their dream is to eventually own small pieces of property in two or three different parts of the U.S.

“The hope is to eventually build an A-frame or tiny houses on those pieces of property, and then use the bus–home to travel between them,” said Austin. “We could stay in one and rent out the bus if that made sense.”

Austin and Borland have been working on the TV show “The Walking Dead: World Beyond” in and around Richmond. They say productions happen all over the country, and their converted bus can both get them there and then serve as a residence for as long as needed. Austin figures the bus could remain off the grid for up to a month.

“And at pennies on the dollar to what it would cost for hotels and eating at restaurants,” he said.

Austin, who has experience building custom houses, developed an affinity for the trades by accompanying his grandfather—Don Austin, a welder—to work sites when he was young.



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Working From Home Gives Americans More Time To Travel


After a pandemic that put the brakes on travel for more than one year, Americans are reconsidering how they think about and use paid time off.

According to the latest Priceline Work-Life Balance Report, 92 percent of Americans will travel, or already have, in 2021, and 52 percent are going as soon as this summer. This mirrors the findings of many other surveys that have noted Americans’ insatiable desire to venture out after a year of staying at home.

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Many Americans left paid time off on the table in 2020 and, now, they regret not using their days off. Only one in five (21 percent) Americans used all of their PTO in 2020, the report found, and more than half regret not using those days, a significant change from the one in five (21 percent) who felt that way in 2019.

Why the change? Many Americans (35 percent) who found themselves working from home regret not capitalizing on their newfound flexibility.

Thirty-two percent regret not working from new/different places, and 40 percent regret not taking more trips—this is especially true of younger generations (49 percent of Gen-Z and 51 percent of Millennials, compared to 37 percent of Gen-X and 22 percent of Boomers).

“Now that we’ve all felt the very real burnout that happens when we don’t take the time to recharge, the value of vacation is no longer abstract—it’s fact,” says Priceline CEO Brett Keller.

A shift to working from home is bound to be one of the more lasting effects of the pandemic, and it seems to be popular with workers.

Priceline’s survey revealed that 40 percent of Americans prefer to work from home full time, but there are other positive aspects to working from home as well.

Priceline’s research found that 75 percent of people said remote work has made work-life balance more achievable, and 72 percent enjoy not having to go into the office so they could work from different locations. Sixty-six percent said that they feel encouraged to explore new destinations.

This new work-from-home culture is blurring the lines between work and vacation time with the increase in popularity of the “workcation.”


A member of the jet set.
Working from anywhere is encouraging more travel. (Photo via iStock/Getty Images Plus/EXTREME-PHOTOGRAPHER)

Sixty percent of those surveyed reported being encouraged to take more workcations while working from home, and 34 percent said that they had extended a trip because they now have the freedom to work from anywhere.

Now that Americans feel they can travel again, they are doing so with a vengeance and plan to take advantage of remote work to travel more. Seventy-eight percent are excited to travel, and nearly all—92 percent—are planning to do so if they haven’t already, according to Priceline.

Sixty-six percent plan to take full advantage of working remotely by traveling more in 2021, with parents even more likely to say this (71 percent) than non-parents (62 percent).

Americans who have been known to leave vacation days on the table are now changing their tunes. Sixty-five percent of those who have a fixed number of paid-time-off days are planning to use more vacation and personal days in 2021.

Eighty-two percent said that they plan on using their 2021 vacation days by the end of the year, and 16 percent said they would use all of their days off for one vacation. This complements findings that the average length of hotel stays has increased by 12 percent this summer.

It is clear that, after a long year at home, Americans are putting more value than ever on time off and their ability to take a vacation.





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Bring it on home: California | Travel


Who and where Ruth Hall of Ballwin at Fern Canyon in Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park in Humboldt County, California.

The trip • Hall flew solo into Santa Rosa, California, rented a car, and spent the month of September driving this northwest coast. Highlights included Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park and Fern Canyon; Oregon’s beaches and coastal trails; Washington’s Mount St. Helen; the Columbia River Gorge and more.

Travel tip • “I wanted to tell single older folks that traveling doesn’t have to stop just because you are single, older or female. Traveling is its own reward, but traveling as a single senior offers one the opportunity to stop and see, go and stay, meet and greet as YOU want. I never feel afraid; I plan and am sensible.”

Contribute • Email your photo to stlpost@gmail.com. Include the full names of everyone in the photo, including where they are from and where you are standing in the photo. Also include your address and phone number. Please also tell us a little about the trip and a travel tip. We’re looking for interesting, well-composed, well-lighted photos.



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Will a Year at Home Change the Way We Travel Forever?


Given how constrained Bruce Poon Tip is feeling right now (the G Adventures founder is currently on day 430 of not travelling, not that he’s counting or anything) he has a pretty good sense of humour. Covid-19 is “almost certainly going to get all Darwinian on travel” says the Canadian, and he likens Australia’s closed-border policy to a “bad Will Smith movie”.

That’s a chipper take for someone who runs a travel company in 2021 – one whose leaping off point is the pursuit of freedom and that offers inventive trips to Uganda, Peru or Sri Lanka. But Poon Tip is nothing if not proactive. While grounded last year, he wrote an ‘Instabook’ or short e-book, Unlearn: The Year the Earth Stood Still, a thought-provoking read on people’s changed travel habits post-Covid.

“Every business was putting out statements at the time,” he says of the impetus for the book. “[They were saying] ‘We’re going to get through this together’. ‘We’ll be stronger on the other side.’ I thought, I don’t know what that means.” Poon Tip set out to write a love letter to travellers about the beauty of travel – and how it might be reimagined after the great 2020 reset. But that love letter grew into a manifesto, one that calls on the industry and punters alike to think more critically about travel.

We asked the founder exactly what some of those calls to action are.

Travellers’ anxieties need to be factored in
Poon Tip thinks three kinds of traveller will emerge from the pandemic: the “early adopters” who want to be the first to take off again and do something intense (“they’re the same people who line up outside for a week to get an iPhone”); the middling types who have realised we have a finite time to see the world, but that we also need to be flexible; and those who are going to take a lot longer to feel safe.

“We can do many things on the ground as an operator, but we can’t change the fact you have to fly in a very contained space to get there,” says Poon Tip of the latter. “There’s only so much you can do to distance people. So I think some will be hesitant and take longer to accept that. In the past week, we’ve had tour leaders taking groups in Egypt and Costa Rica. [But] they need completely different skills now. There’s a lot of emotional intelligence needed, as opposed to just being proud to show how beautiful their country is.”

Travel should be less about distraction, more about connection
Poon Tip believes people will be less interested in a few brief trips a year – the beach trip, the cultural trip, the weekend getaway – and more into slowing down and going deeper. “Before the pandemic, a travel brochure was about selling amenities,” he says. “The destination was [almost] irrelevant. It was about selling thread counts on sheets and being able to eat a different cuisine every night. ‘There’s zip-lining and indoor surfing, gyms.’ It was all about distraction. The most outrageous thing [I saw] was a cruise ship with a go-kart track. ‘Come and cruise Alaska – you don’t have to give up your go-karting.’ We were so disconnected from the destinations.”

We’ll realise travel is a privilege, not a right
In Unlearn, Poon Tip talks about G Adventures’ “Ripple Score”, a measure which “evaluates the entire supply chain within a tourist’s journey to determine if their money is being spent with majority local-owned or foreign-owned businesses within a destination.”

“I don’t like to be too critical,” he says, “but there’s a lot of greenwashing going on. Like a company donating to UNICEF or Amnesty International and calling that sustainable. Just putting a logo on their brochure, as opposed to really changing your business model and the way you engage with local communities so they benefit from you being there.”

He wonders if there will also be fewer complaints about a missed breakfast, as travellers think more ethically about the positive impact they can have. “There are so few people on this planet who have the privilege of saying ‘I want to go on holiday’,” he says. “That’s the transformational change we need as an industry – the understanding that travel is a privilege and not a right. You shouldn’t demand to feel like you never left home. That’s so counterintuitive. Leaving comfort is the greatest way to make travel transformational. Travel can [also] be a vehicle for wealth distribution and poverty alleviation; all the great things we do through NGO charity work can also be achieved through where you choose to holiday.”

This article is produced by Broadsheet in partnership with G Adventures.





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Tiny home trend ‘ideal’ for homeowners looking to downsize or travel, fans say


LAS VEGAS (KLAS) – Looking to downsize or add on to your house, all while cutting costs? A tiny home on wheels may be the answer for you.

Your average home or apartment has a living loom, bedroom, bathroom — the basic necessities for a home. But what about if you could get just that without the extra space, and at half the cost?

“It’s like an apartment except a lot cheaper,” said tiny homeowner Jenna Hall. “I have a full bathroom, a full kitchen, I got my bedroom. So I absolutely love it.”

Hall is 21 years old and already owns her first tiny home.

Builders say younger buyers, like Hall, are mostly taking part in this unique way of living.

“We are now bringing back the starter home — the one-bedroom or studio home that can be lived in and bought at a very affordable price,” said Todd Bayer, co-founder of Back Porch Homes, based in Riverside, California.

Bayer also said tiny homes are great for people looking to add on to their house without having to wait to build a traditional addition.

Also more attractive to buyers? The price tag. Tiny homes generally start at $60,000, depending on size.

“Honestly, if we had to downsize, that would be [the way we’d go], tiny homes,” said Debbie Giamba, an attendee at the Las Vegas Home Improvement & Backyard Expo, where tiny homes were on display. “They’re just so great”

The wheels also make it easier to pick and leave.

“I think, in this day and age, when everyone is so full of excess that if you didn’t need the extra space and wanted to travel, it would be ideal,” said expo attendee Shannon Duffy.



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Tiny home trend ‘ideal’ for homeowners looking to downsize or travel, fans say


LAS VEGAS (KLAS) – Looking to downsize or add on to your house, all while cutting costs? A tiny home on wheels may be the answer for you.

Your average home or apartment has a living loom, bedroom, bathroom — the basic necessities for a home. But what about if you could get just that without the extra space, and at half the cost?

“It’s like an apartment except a lot cheaper,” said tiny homeowner Jenna Hall. “I have a full bathroom, a full kitchen, I got my bedroom. So I absolutely love it.”

Hall is 21 years old and already owns her first tiny home.

Builders say younger buyers, like Hall, are mostly taking part in this unique way of living.

“We are now bringing back the starter home — the one-bedroom or studio home that can be lived in and bought at a very affordable price,” said Todd Bayer, co-founder of Back Porch Homes, based in Riverside, California.

Bayer also said tiny homes are great for people looking to add on to their house without having to wait to build a traditional addition.

Also more attractive to buyers? The price tag. Tiny homes generally start at $60,000, depending on size.

“Honestly, if we had to downsize, that would be [the way we’d go], tiny homes,” said Debbie Giamba, an attendee at the Las Vegas Home Improvement & Backyard Expo, where tiny homes were on display. “They’re just so great”

The wheels also make it easier to pick and leave.

“I think, in this day and age, when everyone is so full of excess that if you didn’t need the extra space and wanted to travel, it would be ideal,” said expo attendee Shannon Duffy.



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This is what changed in the travel industry while you were staying home


This article is reprinted by permission from NerdWallet

Listen, I don’t blame you for ignoring travel industry news during the pandemic. Who cares if Hilton
HLT,
+0.12%

went bankrupt (it didn’t) or Alaska Airlines
ALK,
+0.17%

joined some alliance (it did) when you aren’t traveling?

If it wasn’t my job, I would’ve tuned out that stuff, too.

However, many under-the-radar changes did significantly alter the travel landscape in 2021. Beyond the obvious — more cleaning, more masks — other updates rippled throughout the industry, including smaller fees and new credit card perks.

Anyway, it’s good to have you back. Here’s what you missed.

Main COVID-era travel industry changes

Airline change fees (almost kinda sorta) disappeared

If you didn’t know about airline change and cancellation fees before the pandemic started, you likely got familiar with them at its inception. These fees were always a pesky nuisance, but when everyone in the world had to cancel their flights at once, they became intolerable.

Believe it or not, airlines seem to have done us a solid on this front. Many not only waived change fees early last year, but also removed them from most fares indefinitely.

What this means:

  • On most U.S. airlines for domestic flights, you can now change or cancel non-basic-economy fares without an extra fee.

  • You can book a flight, then rebook it if your plans change, without eating a bunch of fees.

What this doesn’t mean:

  • You can change and cancel tickets willy-nilly. You’ll have to pay the fare difference if you change your ticket to a more expensive one. And if you cancel it, you’ll get a voucher back as credit rather than cash.

  • You shouldn’t assume a ticket is changeable. Read the fine print before hitting “book.”

Rental cars got bizarrely expensive

This is a weird one, but it could have a major impact on your summer travel plans and expenses. A combination of supply issues and demand spikes have led to the so-called rental car apocalypse, driving costs through the (sun)roof in many popular destinations like Hawaii and Glacier National Park.

See: Matt Landau wanted to find a rental car at a reasonable price — it was cheaper for him to rent a U-Haul truck

What does this mean for travelers? Flip your summer trip planning on its head and investigate rental car costs first, then look at hotels and airfare. Otherwise, you could end up scoring a great deal on flights, only to pay many times as much for a rental car when you land.

The ol’ invisible hand of the free market should address this problem eventually, but for now: Beware rental car sticker shock.

See: Remember when you could score a bargain on Airbnb? Not anymore

Your travel credit card had a midlife crisis

In the Before Times, travelers would shell out beefy annual fees on travel credit cards that offered perks like airport lounge access and free checked bags. But those perks were rendered moot last year, and these cards scrambled to offer new benefits and features that made some semblance of sense during a global pandemic.

The fallout from this identity crisis is a bunch of travel credit cards that now offer perks wholly unrelated to travel.

Some American Express
AXP,
+0.56%

credit cards offered perks for streaming services like Netflix,
NFLX,
-0.02%

then a $30 PayPal
PYPL,
-0.93%

credit every month. Other Chase
JPM,
-0.47%

bank credit cards offered bonuses on grocery spending instead of airfare and hotels. Basically, every premium travel credit card became a premium living-your-life credit card.

Some of these changes are temporary. Others were temporary, but keep getting extended as travel plans get deferred. The upshot for you? Don’t be surprised to see some unusual and flexible benefits when researching traditional travel rewards cards.

Related: What are crypto credit cards and should you get one?

Other stuff that happened

Alaska Airlines joined American Airlines
AAL,
-0.21%

in the Oneworld Alliance. Most travel companies got huge federal checks in order to stay afloat. The cost of flights dropped when nobody was paying attention. Now, they’re climbing back up.

Let’s see, what else?

Some airlines handled the pandemic in a customer-friendly way (hat tip Delta
DAL,
+0.22%

), while others did not. Ditto hotels. To be honest, most airlines and hotels have coalesced their COVID-19 policies to the point where they’re basically indistinguishable from one another. There’s no use fretting over whether to stay at a Hilton or IHG
IHG,
+0.30%

for safety reasons — they’re both gonna be soaked in disinfectant.

The bottom line

I get it. You weren’t traveling, so you stopped paying attention to all of the travel blogs and websites you used to frequent. Who can blame you?

Considering that the entire industry effectively hit pause for over 12 months during a time of unprecedented turmoil, you didn’t miss anything earth-shattering. There were no blockbuster bankruptcies or mergers, and the value of reward points didn’t change as much as you might have expected.

Read next: Cruises are finally returning to U.S. ports — here’s what will be different post-COVID

Yet some of the changes, like the welcome exit of airline change fees, added up to a new travel reality that’s worth checking in on before you plan your next vacation.

More From NerdWallet

Sam Kemmis writes for NerdWallet. Email: skemmis@nerdwallet.com. Twitter: @samsambutdif.



Source link

This is what changed in the travel industry while you were staying home


This article is reprinted by permission from NerdWallet

Listen, I don’t blame you for ignoring travel industry news during the pandemic. Who cares if Hilton
HLT,
+0.12%

went bankrupt (it didn’t) or Alaska Airlines
ALK,
+0.17%

joined some alliance (it did) when you aren’t traveling?

If it wasn’t my job, I would’ve tuned out that stuff, too.

However, many under-the-radar changes did significantly alter the travel landscape in 2021. Beyond the obvious — more cleaning, more masks — other updates rippled throughout the industry, including smaller fees and new credit card perks.

Anyway, it’s good to have you back. Here’s what you missed.

Main COVID-era travel industry changes

Airline change fees (almost kinda sorta) disappeared

If you didn’t know about airline change and cancellation fees before the pandemic started, you likely got familiar with them at its inception. These fees were always a pesky nuisance, but when everyone in the world had to cancel their flights at once, they became intolerable.

Believe it or not, airlines seem to have done us a solid on this front. Many not only waived change fees early last year, but also removed them from most fares indefinitely.

What this means:

  • On most U.S. airlines for domestic flights, you can now change or cancel non-basic-economy fares without an extra fee.

  • You can book a flight, then rebook it if your plans change, without eating a bunch of fees.

What this doesn’t mean:

  • You can change and cancel tickets willy-nilly. You’ll have to pay the fare difference if you change your ticket to a more expensive one. And if you cancel it, you’ll get a voucher back as credit rather than cash.

  • You shouldn’t assume a ticket is changeable. Read the fine print before hitting “book.”

Rental cars got bizarrely expensive

This is a weird one, but it could have a major impact on your summer travel plans and expenses. A combination of supply issues and demand spikes have led to the so-called rental car apocalypse, driving costs through the (sun)roof in many popular destinations like Hawaii and Glacier National Park.

See: Matt Landau wanted to find a rental car at a reasonable price — it was cheaper for him to rent a U-Haul truck

What does this mean for travelers? Flip your summer trip planning on its head and investigate rental car costs first, then look at hotels and airfare. Otherwise, you could end up scoring a great deal on flights, only to pay many times as much for a rental car when you land.

The ol’ invisible hand of the free market should address this problem eventually, but for now: Beware rental car sticker shock.

See: Remember when you could score a bargain on Airbnb? Not anymore

Your travel credit card had a midlife crisis

In the Before Times, travelers would shell out beefy annual fees on travel credit cards that offered perks like airport lounge access and free checked bags. But those perks were rendered moot last year, and these cards scrambled to offer new benefits and features that made some semblance of sense during a global pandemic.

The fallout from this identity crisis is a bunch of travel credit cards that now offer perks wholly unrelated to travel.

Some American Express
AXP,
+0.56%

credit cards offered perks for streaming services like Netflix,
NFLX,
-0.02%

then a $30 PayPal
PYPL,
-0.93%

credit every month. Other Chase
JPM,
-0.47%

bank credit cards offered bonuses on grocery spending instead of airfare and hotels. Basically, every premium travel credit card became a premium living-your-life credit card.

Some of these changes are temporary. Others were temporary, but keep getting extended as travel plans get deferred. The upshot for you? Don’t be surprised to see some unusual and flexible benefits when researching traditional travel rewards cards.

Related: What are crypto credit cards and should you get one?

Other stuff that happened

Alaska Airlines joined American Airlines
AAL,
-0.21%

in the Oneworld Alliance. Most travel companies got huge federal checks in order to stay afloat. The cost of flights dropped when nobody was paying attention. Now, they’re climbing back up.

Let’s see, what else?

Some airlines handled the pandemic in a customer-friendly way (hat tip Delta
DAL,
+0.22%

), while others did not. Ditto hotels. To be honest, most airlines and hotels have coalesced their COVID-19 policies to the point where they’re basically indistinguishable from one another. There’s no use fretting over whether to stay at a Hilton or IHG
IHG,
+0.30%

for safety reasons — they’re both gonna be soaked in disinfectant.

The bottom line

I get it. You weren’t traveling, so you stopped paying attention to all of the travel blogs and websites you used to frequent. Who can blame you?

Considering that the entire industry effectively hit pause for over 12 months during a time of unprecedented turmoil, you didn’t miss anything earth-shattering. There were no blockbuster bankruptcies or mergers, and the value of reward points didn’t change as much as you might have expected.

Read next: Cruises are finally returning to U.S. ports — here’s what will be different post-COVID

Yet some of the changes, like the welcome exit of airline change fees, added up to a new travel reality that’s worth checking in on before you plan your next vacation.

More From NerdWallet

Sam Kemmis writes for NerdWallet. Email: skemmis@nerdwallet.com. Twitter: @samsambutdif.



Source link

Bring it on home: Ecuador | Travel


Who and where • Rita Winters and her husband, Joe Carpenter, meet with  his newly discovered Ecuadorean cousins, Alexandra and Sara, at the Milad du Mundo Monument marking the equator in Ecuador. 

The trip • The couple traveled to meet relatives in July 2019. 

Travel tip • Take a dizzying ride on “The Devil’s Nose” tourist railway, accessed through the town of Alausi. You’ll see folk dancing, local crafts, etc. and hear lots of great music. My husband’s grandfather was the chief engineer of the original railroad, which used to connect to Riobamba.

Contribute • Email your photo to stlpost@gmail.com. Include the full names of everyone in the photo, including where they are from and where you are standing in the photo. Also include your address and phone number. Please also tell us a little about the trip and a travel tip. We’re looking for interesting, well-composed, well-lighted photos.



Source link