After a year when the COVID-19 virus has devastated the world’s tourism industry and thwarted vacation plans of millions of travelers, vaccinations have arrived that offer hope that 2021 may usher in some return to normalcy.
And none too soon for baby boomers, who have seen precious travel time and opportunities slipping away: cruises cancelled, tours postponed, bucket-list destinations closing their borders.
The fact that all this has been necessary to curb the ravages of the killer virus doesn’t make it any less painful — especially when you factor in the economic toll on tourism-dependent destinations. Estimates are that one in ten jobs worldwide are travel- and tourism-related.
I first wrote about medical tourism back in 2013, when it was starting to flourish as a means of saving money on medical care. The premise was that by traveling to other countries — such as India, Mexico, Thailand and others — Americans could receive hip replacements, cardiac surgeries, dental work and other procedures at considerably lower costs than in the U.S.
Then along came COVID-19, with travel to many countries banned or severely restricted. Medical tourism has been one more viral victim.
Today’s guest post, by writer Charlie Fletcher, offers a rundown on the current state of medical tourism — as well as some shoots of hope for the future as the world’s health care and tourism fields struggle to adapt.
By Charlie Fletcher
Medical tourism — the practice of traveling to other countries for affordable medical treatments — had grown increasingly popular among Americans in recent years. Until,… Continue reading
Here’s the latest from one of my favorite guest posters, Robert Waite (who I’ve known for longer than I care to admit). Whether or not I agree with Bob on any particular travel issue, I always find his work to be thoughtful, provocative, and always beautifully crafted. In this piece, he had me hooked by the first line: “I miss travel.”
By Robert Waite
I miss travel.
Not the airport part, nor the inevitable logjam whenever I try to motor my way to a client. That’s not travel; that’s self-inflicted torture.
What I am talking about is the anticipation of experiencing new vistas, or the excitement of returning to a special place.
In this age of social distancing, physical travel has all but ceased. Sure, you can watch endless re-runs of Rick… Continue reading
Here’s a way to get some of your travel juices flowing even if you’re confined at home for safety purposes, as I am, and can’t travel for the time being.
It’s the three-day Travel Like a Pr0 Summit, with Jerry Winans as ringmaster and interviews with more than 20 travel writers and bloggers, including yours truly. It’s filled with travel tips that, with good fortune, we’ll all be able to use as the world eventually return to normalcy.
I hope you’ll find it informative and inspirational, in a time when we could all use a little inspiration — keeping in mind the thousands of Americans and those around the world who have lost their lives to COVID-19, many of whom contacted the coronavirus while traveling in infected areas, on cruise ships, and in other settings.
Links to the interviews for days one and two are available today; watch… Continue reading
I’m pleased to announce that my latest book, Secret Tucson, has been published by Reedy Press of St. Louis and is now available for purchase at Tucson area bookstores, online at Amazon.com, or from Reedy Press.
What’s Secret Tucson about? The subtitle, A Guide to the Weird, Wonderful, and Obscure says it all, though I would add you’ll find such nuggets as:
What one time New York crime boss spent his last decades in Tucson?
Why does the Beatles’ classic song “Get Back” include a nod to Tucson?
Why is Tucson a must stop on many treasure hunters’ maps — and where can you search for a fortune in gold?
Where was John Dillinger captured in Tucson in 1934 after a series of blunders by his gang?
What locale is home to both the country’s southernmost ski resort and a World War II Japanese-American relocation camp?… Continue reading
The one time I don’t like to travel during the year is between Christmas and New Year’s Day.
Theoretically, it’s the week when I clean up my office, get my affairs in order, and enjoy more time with family and friends. Oh yes, and watch some football, especially my beloved Michigan Wolverines, who often play in a bowl game on the morning of January 1 so I have to be abstemious the night before. Go Blue!
In practice, it doesn’t always work out that way, but I still prefer spending New Year’s Eve at home with my wife, Netflix, and clam dip, unless we’re invited to a small party with nearby friends or family. I lived in New York for 20 years and never made it to Times Square to see the ball drop — not on… Continue reading
Readers: This is the third and last in a series of travel deals and discounts especially aimed at U.S. active duty and military veterans.
Writing for the website upgradedpoints.com, Alex Miller has compiled a comprehensive list of online resources for vets to save money on leisure travel. Today Alex looks at deals on theme park tickets and cruises.
By Alex Miller
Buying Theme Park Tickets as a Military Veteran
Military rates help families save on visits to some of America’s most popular theme parks. Here are some resources:
Disney World Military Ticket Rates: Active and retired members of the U.S. military are eligible for special deals at Walt Disney World. By visiting Disney’s Military Ticket Rates site, veterans can check eligibility, look over deal terms, and learn how to take advantage of… Continue reading
No more almost-free senior lunch at U.S. National Parks: The price of a lifetime America the Beautiful Senior Pass rises sharply from $10 to $80 on August 28, 2017.
The Senior Pass, available to U.S. citizens and permanent residents age 62 and above, has cost just $10 since 1994, making it one of the great travel bargains in the world.
At $80, it will still be a good deal, just not the steal it is now. If you already have one of the $10 passes, it will be honored for your lifetime.
Senior Passes provide access to more than 2,000 recreation sites managed by six federal agencies:
- National Park Service
- US Fish & Wildlife Service
- Bureau of Land Management
- Bureau of Reclamation
- US Forest Service
- US Army Corps of Engineers
Senior Pass Benefits
The passes cover entrance and day-use recreation fees… Continue reading
Research has shown that as we get older, we tend to become more altruistic
As “narcissistic and materialistic values wane in influence” (with age) writes Jim Gilmartin, CEO of the Chicago-based agency Coming of Age, which specializes in marketing to baby boomers and seniors,”concern for others increases.”
In the travel field, this trend has helped fuel the rapid rise of volunteer vacations, also known as “voluntourism”
The concept is simple: rather than go on a more traditional vacation, such as taking a cruise or staying at a resort, you sign up with a company or agency that sets you up to work on a project such as helping in wildlife conservation, building classrooms and homes, or improving local water systems, usually in the developing world.
Yes, you pay for the privilege of helping others, but it’s not necessarily all work and no play, and benefits accrue to the travelers… Continue reading
While I’m traveling in Antarctica for a few weeks I’ll be reprising some of my most popular posts from the past three years. This post — now updated — originally ran in June 2013.
Cut-rate Spirit Airlines has developed an interesting marketing approach. They’ve traded in customer service and comforts for ultra-low fares, and are charging extra for everything from rolling carry-on bags ($35-$55) to water ($3 a bottle), and printing a boarding pass at the airport ($10). Can pay toilets be far behind?
Spirit hypes what it calls its “bare fare: No’free’ bag. No ‘free’ drink. A ticket with us gets you and a personal item from A to B.”
For “personal item,” think average purse size or a small backpack. Measurements are stingy — 16” x 14” x 12” — and if you don’t pay… Continue reading