Vacation rentals can provide an excellent alternative to staying in hotels while traveling, but there are possible pitfalls you need to know before you book with VRBO or Airbnb.
By David Goldstein
My wife and I have been booking vacation rentals through VRBO (vacation rentals by owner) and Airbnb for almost 20 years.
Both platforms offer great options for travelers who are looking for something a little different than a typical hotel experience. We enjoy the freedom that having our own place in a foreign city allows. We grocery shop in the local markets, explore the neighborhood bakeries, and start to get a sense of new cultures.
While I wouldn’t go so far as to say… Continue reading
Note: This story was originally written and published at Thrifty Traveler, a flight deal and travel website. It has been republished here with their permission. You can read the original story on the Flight First Rule on their website.
By Kyle Potter
Most travelers follow a similar script when planning any trip: Set the dates, pick a spot, book a hotel, book a flight, and go.
You’re doing it wrong: That’s a recipe to pay too much for flights almost every single time. But four simple words could help you significantly cut the cost of airfare every time you fly. And no, it’s not by clearing your cookies or booking flights on a Tuesday. This is even bigger than that.
We call it The Flight First Rule. And it’s exactly what it sounds like.
Instead of deciding on the dates of your trip before booking your flights,… Continue reading
While international travel restrictions may be easing somewhat, people living overseas still face difficulties getting vaccinated, being comfortable taking long flights, and perhaps facing long quarantines if they wish to go home for visits.
Many are retirees or other baby boomers who have not been able to see children and grandchildren for more than a year.
Guest writer Jack Warner tackles the issue of what my old sociology professor would call “expat alienation.” Translation: loneliness and other tough stuff to deal with.
By Jack Warner
Much of the world has been living under lockdown measures for more than a year, as countries across the globe have put travel restrictions in place to curb the spread of Covid-19.
One often overlooked set of victims has been expats, unable to travel to visit… Continue reading
As I was browsing through some of my late mother’s memorabilia on Roman times — she taught classics at George Washington University for years — I came across an interesting set of recipes attributed to M. Gavius Apicius, said to have lived in the time of the emperor Tiberius (AD 14-37).
Tiberius, stepson of Augustus Caesar, was reputedly a nasty fellow and some of the contemporary Roman cuisine seems to reflect that. (More on that in a moment.)
Apicius himself was reputed to have spent a fortune (one hundred million sesterces!) on food and, when facing starvation due to his eventual impecuniousness, drank a vial of poison. But before that he had written two cookbooks and established himself as the Mario Batali of his day.
According to an author named… Continue reading
Based on that headline, things are looking up!
The travel and hospitality industries — airlines, restaurants, hotels, cruise lines — have taken the brunt of the economic hit during the pandemic. Estimates are that at least $500 billion of travel business has been lost in the U.S. alone.
With about 10 percent of the world’s population employed in some travel-related occupation, the global cost has been staggering, and many smaller operators, especially — tour companies, family-run restaurants, inns and the like — have struggled to survive or been forced to close down permanently.
Now, even with COVID cases still raging in many parts of the U.S. and the world, some 200 million Americans (out of 330 million) have received at least one dose of vaccine — and the travel industry is moving into… Continue reading
With the European Union announcement that fully vaccinated travelers should be able to fly to Europe at some point this summer, sufficiently jabbed baby boomers can take advantage of some truly exceptional airfares currently being offered to the Continent.
There are also some lower-than-low airfares to Asia, Latin America, the Caribbean, and within the U.S. Some are almost mind-boggling.
But you have to know where to look — and just as important, when to look.
That’s where the website ThriftyTraveler.com comes in.
By subscribing to its Premium service, you’ll get email notifications of hot airfare deals around the globe within minutes from the time they appear — which is good, because some of these deals disappear within a matter of hours. Thrifty Traveler considers a fare worth writing about if it’s $250 or more off… Continue reading
OK, this is a bit of shameless self-promotion, but I’m happy to say that Cruising the World: From Gondolas to Megaships — has won Gold in the Coffee Table Book category of the 2021 Independent Press Award competition.
The book represents the finest images from prize-winning travel photographer Dennis Cox’s decades of documenting cruise ships — and a host of other passenger carrying vessels — from around the world (77 countries on seven continents!).
I enjoyed writing the text for the book because in the process I learned a lot about the history of cruising, as well as the sheer magnitude of what goes into running megaships (love ’em or hate ’em) and smaller ocean-going cruise ships — along with the incredible variety of riverboats, sailing ships, freighters, ferries, dhows, sampans, junks, paddle wheelers, barges, trajineras, expedition vessels, feluccas, gulets, and, of course, gondolas, that traverse the world’s waterways.
Cruise… Continue reading
Editor’s Note: This is Part II of “Bordering on Madness,” chronicling the adventures and misadventures of Contributing Writer Robert Waite as he journeys from England to Moscow and back in 1971, driving a vintage Triumph Spitfire. As we pick up the tale, he has just entered the USSR after refusing to drive his car into a six-foot-deep concrete pit at the border.
By Robert Waite
On this first day we drove to the city of Minsk, which today is the capital of an independent Belarus, but was then part of the Soviet Union.
The roads were relatively empty, save for a few lumbering, diesel smoke-spewing trucks. We made it to our hotel at about… Continue reading
While I’ve traveled to Russia following the fall of the Soviet Union, I never had the pleasure of visiting the USSR in all its glory, with its 15 “autonomous republics,” its delightful-sounding “Intourist guides” — who shadowed you night and day — and restaurants where waiters served you mostly bad food when they felt like it, which they usually didn’t.
But fortunately, we have roving Contributing Writer Robert Waite to give us a glimpse into what it was like to journey to the 1971 Soviet Union in what was a highly unlikely form of transport, a vintage two-seater Triumph Spitfire.
Able to proceed only at the whim of the Spitfire’s capabilities, Bob and his companion managed to overcome mounds of aptly named bureaucratic red tape — and a cast… Continue reading
As an increasing number of baby boomers get their COVID-19 vaccinations — vital for resuming safe and authorized travel — it’s easy to forget that older adults should also keep up to date with other immunizations.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control recommends that all adults over age 50 get inoculated against influenza, shingles, pneumonia, and tetanus and diphtheria. (Some are one-time jabs, while others need periodic boosters.)
But the CDC also warns of current “widespread” outbreaks of a highly contagious virus both in the U.S. and abroad, which can damage the liver and lead to sickness, hospitalization, and even death: Hepatitis A.
While the three main Hepatitis types — Hep A, B, and C — are caused by separate viruses, they can all lead to similar symptoms.
Though not everyone is symptomatic — and Hepatitis A tends to be a… Continue reading