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
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
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
Keeping track of what’s going on with airline fares these days is almost a full-time job.
That’s why I’ve turned to Scott Keyes of Scott’s Cheap Flights — whose full-time job actually is keeping track of airline fares — to help navigate through the turbulence.
In this guest post, Scott tackles the real story behind the recent wave of U.S. airlines dropping change fees. As usual, it’s a mix of good and bad — or at least middling — news for the consumer. But for all the uncertainty, we’ll take what we can get.
By Scott Keyes
Last week, four airlines—United, Delta, American, and Alaska—announced they were permanently axing change fees, which for domestic flights had typically been $200 (plus any fare difference). Hooray!
On balance, this is a positive move for travelers, but it’s not nearly the panacea that airlines would have you believe. There are still… Continue reading
When contributing writer Robert Waite told me he was heading from his Canadian home for a family camping vacation in New England, I asked him to consider doing a piece on his experience.
Normally (pre-COVID) crossing the U.S.-Canadian border by automobile has been a relatively simple procedure, albeit one that often required long waits at immigration due to the huge volumes of traffic.
But, as Bob reports, things have changed dramatically.
By Robert Waite
Champlain, NY – Unless you have dual citizenship, perform an essential service, or hold a current student visa, don’t expect to cross the world’s longest border any time soon.
Canada currently bars all non-essential travel to the United States until September 21 – and there is every expectation the ban will be extended at least another month.… Continue reading
With travel largely curtailed this summer, basic travel wellness procedures may get overlooked. But when it’s time to travel again, it’s wise to review some of the basics, such as getting enough sleep, eating well, pacing yourself, and making sure any medications are in order.
Guest writer Shaun DMello has some good tips and reminders for staying healthy on the road, especially for those past 50.
By Shaun DMello
The growing population of senior travellers is evidence that you can live a life of travel and adventure no matter your age — especially if you stay healthy. Adopting healthy habits won’t diminish your vacation fun – it’s just about making smart choices that allow you to keep having fun. Here are some you can incorporate into your travel routines:
- Fight Jet Lag… Continue reading