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Travel safety

Iceland is drop-dead beautiful in many locations (but don't take that literally). Photo from Inspired by Iceland

Iceland is drop-dead beautiful in many locations (but don’t take that literally). Photo from Inspired by Iceland

By a nice coincidence following our last post on travel safety, two new surveys are out that try to identify the safest countries in the world, with implications for travelers as well as residents.

One, called the Global Peace Index 2018, comes from the Institute for Economics and Peace. It looks at 23 relevant statistics for 163 countries — including political terrorism, murder rates, and deaths from internal conflicts — and ranked them for overall safety.

The second, from the Gallup polling organization, takes a different tack: Gallup went straight to nearly 150,000 residents of 142 countries and asked them how safe they felt, based on factors such as their own experiences with crime and their attitudes toward local policing.

The results, as you might imagine, were quite different, though one country… Continue reading

Sudan is said to have more pyramids than Egypt. Photo from Corinthia Hotel Khartoum.

Sudan is said to have more pyramids than Egypt. Photo from Corinthia Hotel Khartoum.

The other day I received a press release promoting what sounded like a wonderful five-star hotel in an exotic location, said to be the finest accommodation in its city.

Along with various five-star amenities such as a state-of-the-art spa and gym, six restaurants including one with panoramic views, tennis courts, and indoor pool, it promised to serve as a base for tourists exploring UNESCO World Heritage sites, taking river cruises, visiting museums, and marveling at spectacular evening performances.

The only potential downside? The name says it all: it’s the Corinthia Hotel Khartoum, serving the capital of Sudan, a nation wracked by terrorist violence and crime in recent years, including reported attacks against Westerners in Khartoum itself.

The U.S. State Department doesn’t mince words: if you plan to travel to Sudan, the department warns in an extraordinary… Continue reading

Today’s guest post is by Helen Nichols, whose website Well-BeingSecrets.com focuses on health issues. This post is adapted from  a longer article on her site about the health benefits of travel. It’s a well-researched piece complete with links to a variety of insightful scientific studies, reports and other documentation.

By Helen Nichols

Traveling has the potential to make us healthier, both physically and psychologically.

We may not be actively aware of it, but traveling can bring about substantive positive changes, which can take effect both during the course of travel and over the longer term.

Boosts Your Immunity

Travel helps strengthen your immune responses to bacteria, viruses, and other foreign bodies.

Of course, that doesn’t mean that you should be careless about hygiene and sanitation while traveling or put yourself at direct risk of getting ill.

However, when you visit new places, you naturally give your body… Continue reading

Visits to Wyoming's Grand Teton and other national parks may take a hit. Photo by Dennis Cox/WorldViews

Visits to Wyoming’s Grand Teton and other national parks may take a hit. Photo by Dennis Cox/WorldViews

According to the National Travel and Tourism Office, there was a four percent decline in the number of international visitors to the U.S. during the first six months of 2017 compared to the first six months of 2016.

And according to a recent International Trade Report released by the Commerce Department, spending by international travelers to the U.S. decreased by 3.3 percent through November 2017 compared to November 2016. Total spending by international travelers to the U.S. came to $246 billion, according to figures from the U.S. Travel Association (USTA), a trade group representing travel industry members.

That 3.3 percent decrease translates to a $4.6 billion loss to the U.S. economy as well as 40,000 jobs in tourism-related industries (hotels, restaurants, transportation, stores, tour operators, travel agencies, etc.)

But the ripple effects… Continue reading

Taughannock Falls overlook is free to all. Photo from VisitIthaca.com

Taughannock Falls overlook is free to all. Photo from VisitIthaca.com

This concludes our four-part series containing 50 tips about How to Travel Cheaply. In today’s guest post, Jesse Miller looks at how you can save money on sightseeing and entertainment, how to manage your money while traveling, and adds some safety tips that can have financial ramifications as well.

Previous posts in the series offer tips on  Planning Your Trip, Saving Money on Transportation, and Saving Money on Accommodations and Food.

By Jesse Miller

Sightseeing & Entertainment Tips

1. Be Picky.
Plan to visit your top two or three sites instead of taking a whirlwind tour of all the attractions your destination has to offer. By doing so, you can spend as much time as you’d like connecting with these areas while eliminating rushing around from one tourist spot to the next.

While at these locations,… Continue reading

This hostel in Nuremberg, Germany, is attached to a castle. Photo by Catharine Norton..

This hostel in Nuremberg, Germany, is attached to a castle. Photo by Catharine Norton.

For baby boomers, saving money on accommodations can be tougher than for young travelers.

Dormitory-style hostels and CouchSurfing may have much less appeal than for those in their 20s or 30s.

Camping — at least the type (unlike “glamping” or glamorous camping) that leaves you trying to get a decent night’s sleep in a bag on the ground — can be tough on the back (with legitimate concerns that you might not be able to straighten up at all in the morning).

But, as guest poster Jesse Miller contends, “It’s still possible to enjoy a five-star housing experience without paying a five-star price.” The key, Miller says, “is to live like the locals do. This means avoiding more traditional options (such as pricey hotels and resorts) and immersing yourself in opportunities to interact with the… Continue reading

Before you fly, check out these tips to make things go more smoothly

Before you fly, check out these tips to make things go more smoothly

Leading-edge baby boomers — those born in the late 1940s — are now edging into their 70s, and with that inevitably come new challenges when we travel, no matter how healthy we are.

Much as we may hate to admit it (and I’m a prime offender in this regard), we may walk a bit slower, require assistance from time to time, and need to take care of ourselves a bit more.

Flying and airports can be especially vexing, and so I was struck by this piece by Bay Area freelance journalist Scott Morris from the excellent website caring.com that’s filled with tips on how to make the flying and airport experience a bit smoother.

Here’s Scott on a topic of interest to anyone who flies, but especially to older travelers:

By Scott Morris

Flying can be difficult… Continue reading

Before you fly, make sure your medical condition won't hold you back

Before you fly, make sure your medical condition won’t hold you back

Note: This is the fourth in a series of guest posts on traveling with a medical condition by British writer Laura Miller. In this post, Laura provides advice on flying with a medical condition and obtaining the right vaccinations and visas for your trip.

By Laura Miller

Flying with a medical condition

While traveling with many medical conditions is generally safe, airlines do have the right to deny passengers who could suffer complications in the air.

For those travelling by plane, the most common in-flight problems are:

• Neurologic events
• Cardiac events
• Respiratory events
• Gastrointestinal events
• Vasovagal syncope (fainting)

If you’re worried about the risk of being denied passage, it’s worth speaking to your doctor to ask for medical clearance. Consider if any of the following apply:

• You could compromise the safety of… Continue reading

Florence, Italy, is a generally safe destination choice for those traveling with certain medical conditions. Photo by Dennis Cox/WorldViews

Florence, Italy, is a generally safe destination choice for those traveling with certain medical conditions. Photo by Dennis Cox/WorldViews

Note: This is the third in our series of Traveling with a Medical Condition, written by British journalist Laura Miller. Today Laura offers specific tips for traveling with cancer, a heart condition, or dementia.

By Laura Miller

Traveling with cancer

There’s no reason why a cancer diagnosis should limit your traveling. You’ll still want to see the world for the same reasons as everyone else and cancer shouldn’t be the barrier.

It’s not unusual for people with cancer to book up a holiday at the end of their treatment. On the other hand, others will have no qualms about leaving the country after being told the bad news.

However, it’s important to speak to your doctor and get their opinion before arranging a trip. You’ll then know the ins… Continue reading

Sit back, relax -- but don't get too comfy.

Sit back, relax — but don’t get too comfy.

Unless you’ve been camping in the desert or just can’t face listening to  the news lately, you’ve no doubt heard the story about the greatest PR disaster to befall an airline since, well, maybe ever.

And it couldn’t have happened to a nicer airline: United, or — as I fondly call them — Untied Airlines.

To briefly recap: On a recent flight scheduled from Chicago O’Hare to Louisville, Kentucky, United Airlines’ employees called in airport police to forcibly eject a 69-year-old baby boomer named David Dao, a physician who lives in Kentucky.

His crime? He refused to give up his seat and deplane when United decided that he and three other passengers picked “at random” had to leave  to make room for an airline crew that needed to get to Louisville.

The punishment? The police officers literally dragged… Continue reading

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According to government and private surveys:

  • Leading-edge baby boomers (born between 1946 and 1955) and seniors account for four out of every five dollars spent on luxury travel today.
  • Roughly half the consumer spending money in the U.S.--more than $2 trillion--is in the hands of leading-edge baby boomers and seniors.
  • Baby boomers (born 1946-1964) travel more than any other age group.
  • When asked what they would most like to spend their money on, baby boomers answered “travel” more than any other category, including improving their health or finances.

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