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By Bob Waite

There are tragedies far more consequential than the inability of a travel writer to travel.

It’s just that I can’t think of any at the moment.

My travels ended in late January 2020. As related on this site, I visited Japan, Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia. The month prior I had been in China.

Then the world shut down.

Subsequent planned trips to France, Jordan, Israel, Ecuador, and Panama were all postponed or cancelled. My travel was largely confined to trips to the kitchen for subsistence; to my office to teach my college students remotely; or to the family room to watch sporting events or movies.

The highlight during this period of enforced stasis was the rearrangement of the condiments in our fridge alphabetically, A-Z. And then reversing them.

But — Omicron variant permitting — brighter days have arrived. I have begun traveling again… Continue reading

Here are some of the travel books I’ve been reading the past few months, any of which would make a nice gift for the hodophile among your family, friends, colleagues — or for yourself, of course.

They’re selected to get those travel juices flowing again (if they aren’t already).

The Road Trip Survival Guide

By Rob Taylor (Tiller Press, 2021)

Even as the Covid epidemic was dealing severe blows to airline, cruise, and international travel, domestic road trips were zooming in popularity in 2020-21, making this practical yet enjoyably written guide a timely read.

Penned in a folksy style, Rob Taylor encourages readers to “explore at their own speed” and modify his suggestions as needed to fit their own circumstances.

That said, just about any road-tripper (novice or experienced) can find loads of tips within these pages. Divided into five sections — Planning, Packing, Road Trip Food, Safety, and… Continue reading

The best part of planning for retirement is imagining yourself in your new lifestyle — Including having the freedom to travel.

Mt. Cook rises above a tranquil lake in New Zealand. Photo by Clark Norton

By Rick Pendykoski

According to the 19th Annual Transamerica Retirement Survey, two-thirds of American workers spend heavily on travel in their first year of retirement. Many plan to travel abroad, while others may want to retire overseas. (Take a look at this abroad retirement checklist to see if the expat life is financially right for you.)

But even if you come up short on that checklist, you can still travel affordably in retirement. The key is proper planning. Here is a seven-step guide to follow:

Set Your Goals & Make a Bucket List

Spend some time thinking about your retirement goals. Those who plan for retirement are more likely to find a happy retired life than those who don’t.

Get into as many details as possible, and list the… Continue reading

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.

Guest poster David Goldstein, who has extensive experience staying in vacation rentals abroad (as my wife and I did in Tokyo and Kyoto, Japan; the island of Milos in Greece, and elsewhere), explains:

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

Thrifty Traveler

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

Expats can lead the good life abroad — but loneliness may set in during a pandemic Photo from Madagascar-tourisme.com

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

Hagia Sophia (Church of the Holy Wisdom) at dawn in Istanbul, Turkey. Photo by Dennis Cox/WorldViews
Hagia Sophia (Church of the Holy Wisdom) at dawn in Istanbul, Turkey.
Photo by Dennis Cox/WorldViews

Even as COVID-19 infections reach record highs in the United States, a number of countries have opened their borders to American travelers carrying U.S. passports.

These include popular destinations like Croatia — one of the few European countries now open to U.S. travelers — Turkey, Mexico, and Costa Rica, although some come with major restrictions.

Several Caribbean countries — including Aruba, Barbados, Dominica, St. Lucia, and St. Maarten — also welcome Americans and their dollars, all-important to their economies.

Please note that I’m not recommending international travel at this time, especially if you have any reason to believe you may have been exposed to the coronavirus, or — like many baby boomers — you fall into high-risk categories such as advanced age or underlying medical conditions.

Until the COVID threat passes, you’ll also be… Continue reading

In the midst of a world pandemic — and, in the United States, the culmination of a bitterly divided, exhausting election season — I can offer a few words of advice: Take a hike.

Hiking is an ideal way to get out of your cooped-up house into the fresh air and, certainly for less-crowded trails, is well suited to social distancing.

It’s a healthy activity and usually fun as well. (Some tougher trails aren’t always fun, but tackling — and conquering — them can be highly satisfying.)

But hiking right — meaning minimizing any risk of injury or other problem that may occur — requires adequate preparation and thought.

Guest writer Rebecca Brown lays out the key things to keep in mind for three different types of hikers: day hikers, overnighters, and multi-day hikers.

So lace up your boots, fill your water bottles, and don your backpack — but first,… Continue reading

Sarakiniko -- Milos' moonscape by the Aegean. Photo by Clark Norton
If you want to move to Greece, an expat suggests, hire a local language tutor. Photo by Clark Norton

With the U.S. presidential election nearing and emotions running high, it seems a good time to start plotting a possible escape abroad if your candidate loses.

So as a public service, I’m running this piece from the editors of International Living, a publication that has provided ex-pats and would-be expats both inspiration and solid practical information for decades.

They call it their “Election Escape Plan,” but it contains some good timeless advice.

“While travel may be restricted currently,” they write, “this is a smart time to begin laying the groundwork for a smooth transition to a better, less-expensive life overseas.”

And they offer this additional suggestion: “Consider making a move in smaller steps. Think about a three-month escape or a year-long getaway. Come at this idea with a ‘one-step-at-a-time’ attitude… Continue reading

Here’s something I hadn’t thought much about — but probably should have.

In case of emergency on a remote hiking trail, or on a lonely highway, or anywhere that your cell phone doesn’t get service, what do you do?

Guest poster Harding Bush of Global Rescue has a suggestion: satellite communications. And you can get it for not all that much money.

I do have satellite TV — but that wouldn’t help much if I encountered some Rutger Hauer (RIP) or Javier Bardem character out on that lonely highway. (If you haven’t seen The Hitcher or No Country for Old Men, check them out).

And, one hopes, I could reach AAA, a park ranger, a rescue service — or my favorite ER doc who makes remote trail calls. Well, hope springs eternal. But you get the idea.

By Harding Bush

Traveling near or far? Going with friends, family or… 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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