When my daughter, Lia, and her partner, Mike, traipsed into the wilds of North Carolina last August for an unobstructed view of the total eclipse of the sun, they also ventured into the rising realm of Astro Tourism — along with thousands of other Americans who journeyed near and far to find the ideal locales to witness that extraordinary celestial event.
Having just had cataract surgery, I wasn’t among them, alas, and here in Tucson the sky barely darkened during our partial eclipse, which was hundreds of miles south of the band of totality that swept across the U.S.
I was able to view the “super blue blood moon” eclipse on January 31, a lunar event that had not occurred in the United States since 1866. But that was visible right here in my front yard, and all it required was walking a few… Continue reading
How many days in advance should you book a cruise to get the best price?
In part that depends on your destination, according to the website Cruisewatch.com, which uses artificial intelligence to study trends in worldwide cruising. In this case, says a Cruisewatch press release, they undertook a “massive study [that] examined 18,983 sailings by region with departures in 2017.”
They also conducted an “intensive analysis of over 18 million data points” (which are, of course, too numerous to detail in a press release or just about anywhere for that matter, but we are nonetheless grateful for modern technology).
Cruisewatch says the massive study found a “surprising trend: as the date of departure approaches, cruise prices fluctuate to a greater extent.” Some regions, they note, show as much as a 71… Continue reading
Today’s guest post is by financial expert Saleh Stevens, with timely reminders of why it’s crucial to obtain or renew a U.S. passport now if you need one — or even if you think you don’t.
By Saleh Stevens
The Early Bird Saves Money
The initial cost of a U.S. passport is $135 for an adult applying for the first time ($110 application fee and $25 execution fee). The cost of an adult passport renewal is $110.
Alternatively, you can opt for a passport card good for land or sea crossings only to Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean, or Bermuda for $30, but this card is not good for any international air travel. (Cruise passengers take note: if you have to fly to or from your cruise for some unexpected reason, you will probably be denied boarding your plane.)
However, if you… Continue reading
As a sequel to our posts on travel-related military discounts last year, we have a great new list of discounts for active duty and military vets thanks to the website dealhack.com. It covers a number of aspects of travel including transport, car rentals, hotels, museums and parks, restaurants, language learning, and military sign-up discounts.
You’ll find the complete list of dealhack’s military discounts (including clothing, cars and more) by going to their website; this one was compiled by writer Emma Lewis.
Amtrak: Amtrak offers an exclusive 10% military discount on the lowest available rail fare to active duty military personnel, their spouses, and dependents. All uniformed personnel and family members are also welcome to the front of any Amtrak line. Certain limitations apply (source).
Carnival Cruise Lines: Carnival Cruise Lines offers… Continue reading
Every once in a while some travel information crosses my desk (well, appears in my email) that I feel an immediate need to pass along. Such is the case with the floating Arctic Bath Hotel and Spa, which is due to open in the fall of 2018.
The six-room hotel and spa is said to sit in the ice during winter and float on the river during summer.
The location is in far northern Sweden in the area that’s renowned for having the best Northern Lights viewing in the world. The river is the Lule, which freezes in winter and thaws in summer, allowing for the above-mentioned sitting and floating.
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
In my last post, Where to Go in 2018 (and Beyond), I presented what I consider to be the essential destinations in the U.S. (primarily cities and national parks), the essential European countries, and the essential counties in the rest of the world.
By essential, I mean those which any dedicated traveler should seek out to establish their “travel literacy,” if you will. They are not necessarily my favorite countries and destinations, but those that offer some unique quality that makes them stand out among all others.
For example, I love both the Mediterranean island countries of Malta and Cyprus — and strongly recommend seeing them — but not (necessarily) before visiting France or Spain.
For the purposes of this post, I’m going to skip over U.S. cities: New York, San Francisco and the rest, on the assumption… Continue reading
Just about every travel publication, digital or print, now seems to start the New Year with a top ten list of “where to go this year,” counting down to the most irresistible spot on the planet.
One year, the hot ticket may be to Croatia, the next year to Colombia, the next year to Canada. (For my own facetious take on where Americans would be going in 2017 — with nearly half the country fleeing to Canada for extended vacations, the other near-half checking out the newly discovered charms of Russia, and the remaining in-betweeners headed to Cuba — check out my post from December 29, 2016. Seems so long ago…)
My own (rather cynical) theory about top ten lists of this nature is that they mostly reflect where editors of said publications want to… 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