Scott’s Cheap Flights
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.
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
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
As dedicated travelers, what are we to think of the concept of “travel shaming” — the notion that it’s irresponsible to travel or even plan future trips during a pandemic?
According to a recent New York Times article, people desperate to get out of their houses after months of self-quarantining are heading off on the road — but are traveling on the sly, reluctant to post pictures on social media or even to tell friends they’re leaving, for fear of being judged.
As the Times quoted Harvard Business School assistant professor, Jillian Jordan, who studies moral psychology: “The pandemic presents a unique case of travel entering the moral sphere, because there are two things that happen when you travel: The first is that I put myself at risk, and… Continue reading
This morning I received an email (below) from Scott’s Cheap Flights, which is my go-to website for airline deals.
Scott Keyes’ site regularly turns up airfares that are 50 percent off the regular price, and sometimes up to 90 percent off — but they’re often good for just a day or two, so you need to act fast. (Sign up to get email notifications of the daily deals.)
But acting fast to grab great fares (and with airlines anxious to fill seats again, they are plentiful) isn’t easy in the midst of a pandemic — because it’s difficult to know what the situation will be next year, much less a month or two from now.
While I’ve been on the cautious side of the when-is-it-safe-to-fly debate — as a baby boomer, my age puts me in a higher-risk category — I found Scott’s take on the risks… Continue reading
Second in a Series
My previous travel experiences in Japan had been very brief before my wife, Catharine, and I flew off to Tokyo in early April, so I wasn’t sure what to expect.
How much of a language barrier would we find? Is Japan as expensive as it’s reputed to be? Would we face greater-than-average logistical problems there?
Those taking an organized tour to Japan can avoid most of these potential problems, of course, but — just as some people enjoy figuring out how cars or watches work — I like figuring out how to get from Point A to Point B while traveling as efficiently and economically as possible.
I also like to follow my own schedule, choose my own lodgings and restaurants, and not have to follow a guide around. (This isn’t to say that I haven’t enjoyed some wonderful… Continue reading