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What a summer of hellish flights taught us about flying now

Easy air travel is a thing of the past.

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A photo illustration shows an airport info panel displaying departures for flights, one of which is delayed, one is canceled, and three are on time.

More than 240 million people in the US flew somewhere between June and Labor Day, according to the Transportation Security Administration — about 7 million more than in summer 2019.

Air travel is back. But it’s most definitely not back to normal.

Horror stories of interminable delays and vacation-wrecking cancellations came from every corner of the country this summer — caused not just by storms and extreme heat, but also labor shortages. Befuddlement at how much pricier it has become to fly mounted, too.

For travelers, taking to the skies feels like it has reached a nadir. Not only were there bigger crowds and more delays to contend with at airports, but when delays happened, they caused more stress than usual. A recent Forbes Advisor survey of 2,000 travelers found that 61 percent had experienced a flight delay or cancellation this summer, and most of that 61 percent lost some money due to the delay — cash lost on prepaid hotel rooms, missed cruises, parking fees, and even kenneling pets.

Some of the problems are a temporary bump in the runway as the industry gets used to high numbers of travelers again, but some of the most deep-seated causes of passenger disgruntlement might be here to stay.

“Things that may not have upended the entire system in the past — thunderstorms on the East Coast in the afternoon — now seem to have ripple effects throughout the entire system,” says John Breyault, who is the vice president of fraud policy at the National Consumers League and leads its airline advocacy program. “I think that’s symptomatic of a system that is really overtaxed in every way.”

Here’s what we learned from this summer’s travel debacles:

Climate change is straining a fragile industry

Mass flight delays and cancellations happen because of bad weather. Thunderstorms, hurricanes, tornadoes, or even extreme heat aren’t new, but record-breaking temperatures and more frequent weather disasters in the past year added stress on the air travel industry. In December 2022 and July 2023, a series of storms across the country caused a torrent of flight delays that stranded thousands of passengers during busy holiday seasons. Last month, as Hurricane Idalia made landfall in Florida, more than 1,000 flights were delayed across the South.

The weather this summer did more than create delays; it laid bare just how unprepared the aviation industry is for handling any shocks. Weaknesses that might have gone unnoticed by passengers before — like aging, sparse fleets, or difficult conditions for workers, such as extreme heat — suddenly became glaringly obvious, adding to the cascading effects of bad weather and creating disruptions lasting for days. The Bureau of Transportation Statistics says that consumer complaints against airlines have soared by more than 300 percent since 2019. (The most common type of complaint was not getting the refund for canceled flights, which airlines are required to give. The second most common was flight delays and cancellations.)

A single hour-long delay might not seem like a huge deal, but the problem is amplified when airlines are overscheduled — one late flight bumps all the others after it — and when there aren’t enough planes or staff across various airports to accommodate a sudden change in plans. In its most recent earnings call , United Airlines said that its thousands of delays and cancellations in the leadup to the Fourth of July holiday had cost the company 1 point of profit margin for the entire quarter. According to trade association Airlines for America , flight delays in 2022 likely cost the industry billions of dollars.

“We are getting a very real preview of what our new normal will be like for summer travel,” says Henry Harteveldt, a travel industry analyst and president of Atmosphere Research Group. “The first storm tosses Humpty Dumpty off the wall, but sequential storms make it harder to put Humpty Dumpty back together again.”

The labor shortage is sky high

There’s still a widespread shortage of workers in the industry, including pilots, flight attendants, airport workers, and air traffic controllers. Airline employment data from June 2023 shows higher numbers than June 2019, but the industry is still clamoring for more workers. Currently, according to one estimate, US airlines need 8,000 more pilots to fulfill demand. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates there will be more than 16,000 job openings for pilots and flight attendants each year between now and 2032.

A labor shortfall becomes especially apparent when something goes wrong: When there aren’t enough people to fill crucial jobs, everything has to slow down, or else risk disaster. A recent New York Times report revealed that near-crashes between planes taking off and landing have become more common because of mistakes by air traffic controllers, who are overstrained amid chronic staff shortages. The Federal Aviation Administration has hired 1,500 air traffic controllers this year, but still wants to hire 1,800 more next year.

Flight delays weren’t just more common. They were more irritating.

While there have been more delays this year than usual, cancellations are actually down. According to data from the Bureau of Transportation Statistics (which currently only has numbers through May), 20.8 percent of flights were delayed so far in 2023, compared to 18.8 percent in 2019. The average length of delay in 2023 is 53 minutes, just 3 minutes longer than in 2019, according to flight tracking site Flight Aware.

So what’s creating such horrid air travel vibes? One possibility is that there are more travelers now than in 2019, but fewer commercial aircraft are flying , meaning passengers have fewer chances to reroute or get on the next flight when delays happen, leaving them stuck in limbo longer. When over 15,000 flights were axed during the infamous Southwest cancellations last winter , not only outdated tech, but also aggressive overscheduling created a huge domino effect on the system. Delays can have serious consequences for travelers, not just causing people to miss important life events, but in some cases limiting their access to food and water while they’re stuck on a plane for hours. American Airlines was recently fined a record $4 million for hours-long tarmac delays during which it did not allow passengers to deplane.

Extra fees feel unavoidable, and they’re here to stay

Over 22 million more travelers crowded the airports this summer than last — some of them flying for the first time in years — and many were freshly reminded of what’s now the industry standard of nickel-and-diming passengers for checking bags and choosing seats. In the early 2000s, it was mostly ultra-low-cost carriers charging extra to check luggage. But since then, even full-service US carriers are creating basic economy fares that tack on bag and seat fees.

“Drip pricing” for services that used to be included with airfare only piles onto the exasperation travelers feel. According to an analysis by the airline consultancy IdeaWorks , top US airlines demand $33 on average for a preferred seat (which is usually closer to the front of the plane), $48 for an exit-row seat (where there’s more leg room) and $18 for a last-row seat. These are “junk fees” to consumers and the White House , but to airlines, they’re a cash cow. Take United, which made a record $1 billion in revenue just from bags and seats fees from April to June. Having multiple types of seat upgrades “is a key driver of our revenue growth,” United executive Andrew Nocella said in the company’s most recent earnings call . And just look at baggage fees : Last year, top airlines made about $6.7 billion in baggage fees, a spike from the $5.7 billion they made in 2019, despite more flyers that year.

Airline perks and deals were harder to come by

The race to the bottom isn’t going unnoticed by travelers. Flying is becoming more stratified; class divisions feel more heightened than ever, and having frequent flyer status with an airline is more valuable. Airlines know this too, and in response to an inundation of passengers attaining “elite” status , many have upped the threshold to join, limiting airport lounge access to higher membership levels or raising lounge fees.

“I have spoken with airline managers and executives who have said that part of the reason that the standard coach product is so bad is intentional,” says Harteveldt. “They want to get more people paying extra and trading up to a better product. America can claim to be egalitarian, but that claim ends at the airport door.”

Airfare has dropped since reaching new highs last summer, but is still elevated. “This has been one of the worst years I can ever remember for flight deals,” says Ben Mutzabaugh, senior aviation editor at The Points Guy, a popular travel site. Meanwhile, leisure travelers with disposable income have shown a surprising willingness to spend. “A lot of times they’re willing to just buy business-class tickets — we see much more of that now than we did before the pandemic.”

The stark contrast in travel experience between the haves and have-nots may be fomenting resentment on one end and arrogance on the other. Airports and even flights are becoming an all-too-common setting for viral videos of travelers losing their tempers.

Reports of “unruly passengers” — people airlines report for causing a disturbance on flights — skyrocketed amid mask mandates in 2021, almost reaching 6,000 reports , according to Federal Aviation Administration data. In 2019, there were just 1,161.

This is the new normal — unless airlines are forced to change

Some of the annoyances travelers experienced this summer will remain unavoidable in coming months. Increasingly frequent bad weather will keep walloping flights ; that’s the reality of the climate crisis.

Airlines have learned some lessons from this summer’s onslaught of demand. The biggest are to hire more workers and have more spare planes on the ground in case of emergencies, but also to leave more slack in scheduling flights. Airlines have been on a hiring spree, and experts say the worst of the pilot shortage will probably be over by next summer.

But some of the other bugbears of air travel — like airlines’ worst anti-consumer practices — aren’t likely to go away without antitrust action. Much of what we hate about taking to the skies today can be blamed on industry consolidation after the airlines were deregulated in the late 1970s. A handful of airlines — United, Delta, American, and Southwest — control about 80 percent of the domestic market. “Since the government let the industry become a permanent oligopoly, there is zero risk that competition will discipline fee increases,” Hubert Horan, a transportation analyst, told Vox in an email.

The Biden administration has signaled a desire to rein in airlines’ worst practices, voicing support for a policy requiring airlines to disclose all fees from the beginning of a fare search rather than showing a deceptive base fare that will significantly rise as seat and bag fees are added. The administration has also urged Congress to mandate airlines to seat families together for free. But these rules don’t actually exist yet. (A few airlines have voluntarily offered free family seating.)

Under Secretary Pete Buttigieg, the Department of Transportation has revved up its enforcement actions; not only did it order American to pay up, the department has also been levying millions in fines to airlines that didn’t refund customers in a timely manner. Breyault, of the National Consumers League, says that these are steps in the right direction but that the DOT hasn’t used the full force of its authority. By the NCL’s accounting, the frequency of enforcement and the amount of money fined has decreased over the years. Breyault calls even the historic $4 million fine “a rounding error to a company the size of American.”

A flight delay doesn’t have to entirely ruin a vacation, and maybe we don’t have to pay an arm and a leg just to have a pleasant flying experience. But if flying during the high season continues to be awful, that could turn off customers and ultimately dampen demand.

“I don’t think that this is sustainable,” says Breyault.

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'Expensive in every way': What travelers should expect this summer

Summer travel in 2024 will be "expensive in every way," said Katharine Nohr. And she should know.

She's planning a two-week adventure to Europe in June, which starts with a marathon flight from Honolulu to Zurich, where she'll speak at a conference. Then she's hopscotching across Europe – to Vienna, then on to the Olympics. Nohr made plans to be in Nantes, France, to watch a soccer game, in Lille for basketball, and in Paris for gymnastics, boxing and swimming.

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All told, it'll set her back five figures despite her best efforts, which include flying economy class and staying in the lowest-priced hotels. 

"The trip is pricey, even with my efforts to economize," said Nohr, an attorney from Honolulu. "But it's a once-in-my-life adventure." 

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Summer travelers are pursuing exciting, expensive vacations

Nohr is part of a wave of travelers who are making big plans for this summer. The itineraries are exciting – and expensive. 

Pretty much every barometer of travel intent is up for the summer travel season. Inflation and unemployment are low, and consumer sentiment and curiosity are high, fueling an unprecedented interest in travel. 

"Bookings are rising," said Susan Sherren, who runs Couture Trips , a travel agency. "Unfortunately, hotel, tour and air prices are not falling. So if you plan on hitting the road this summer, make sure you are willing to splash some cash."

Travel companies say they're overwhelmed with summer reservations.

"The travel economy is booming," said Joe Ialacci, owner of Yacht Hampton Boating Club , a company that rents yachts in Sag Harbor, New York. He's seeing a 40% increase in rentals this summer compared with last year as Americans shift some of their vacation dollars to domestic destinations.

Prices aren't the only thing trending higher. People's expectations for their summer vacation are also higher than at any time since the pandemic, said Sangeeta Sadarangani, CEO of Crossing , a multinational travel agency headquartered in London. 

"They're embracing the unknown," she said.

And one of the great unknowns is travel prices. How much higher will they be?

What will prices be like this summer?

It depends on where you're going. There's good news if you're traveling within the U.S.: Flights and hotels are a little less expensive than last summer . But they're rising elsewhere. Here's the breakdown:

  • Airfares are mixed. Domestic round-trip airfares for summer will peak at $315 a ticket, according to the travel platform Hopper . Flights to Europe are cheaper, too. They've fallen 10% from last year to $882. But flights to South America are up 2% and flights to Canada have risen 7%. You'll pay an average of $708 to fly south of the border and $419 to head north.
  • U.S. hotel rates are down. Domestically, they're about the same as last year at an average of $206 a night.
  • Car rental prices are rising. Average domestic car rental rates are up only 3% this summer to $42 a day on a four-day rental, according to Hopper. 

But you can avoid the high prices with a little strategic planning, experts say.

What to avoid this summer

American travelers are becoming more predictable in their summer vacation choices, said John Lovell, president of Travel Leaders Group . Immediately after the pandemic, they embarked on "revenge" vacations to far-flung locations. Now they're returning to more conventional vacations.

"We continue to see U.S. travelers heading back to the more traditional locations across Europe this year, like London, Rome, Athens and Munich," he said.

There are places that will be exceptionally busy – and exceptionally pricey – this summer.

  • Paris during the Olympics. The Olympic Games are in Paris this summer. Rooms are more than double the normal rates , which is typical of the Olympics. Paris is already crowded with tourists during the summer, so you can probably imagine what it will be like with the Olympics. Zut, alors!
  • Taylor Swift is touring Europe this summer. Prices will be higher and the crowds will be denser. "If you aren't planning to attend one of her concerts, I recommend planning around those European cities when she's there," said Betsy Ball, co-founder of Euro Travel Coach . (Want to know if your schedules overlap? Here's Taylor Swift's concert schedule .)
  • Other big summer events. Even if you steer clear of Taylor and the Olympics, you're still not out of the woods. There's the UEFA Euro 2024 football tournament in Germany in June. There's the Tour de France in July, which begins in Florence and finishes in Nice. France is also hosting the Paralympic Games in August and September in Paris, Nice, Marseille and Bordeaux.

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When is the best time to book a 2024 summer vacation?

Because this is going to be a busy season, the sooner you book, the better. Hopper recommends buying your plane tickets two to three months before your departure for domestic flights, and for international – well, it's probably too late to get that rock-bottom fare. If you're reading this in April, you can still find something for late August or early September, according to its airfare experts.

As always, you can save money by booking a flight for midweek instead of on the weekend – and, of course, by keeping far, far away from the big travel holidays like Memorial Day, the Fourth of July and Labor Day. 

Also, if you're going overseas, remember the holiday calendar is different there. For example, half of Europe shuts down in August for summer vacation. It's worth a look-up, otherwise, you could face some real disappointments.

Strategies for traveling better during the summer

One tactic that consistently works is splitting your getaway into two sections. Take that required summer vacation with your family somewhere less expensive during the high season. Then, wait until shoulder season for the big trip. 

That's what Ross Copas, a retired electrician from Tweed, Canada, is doing during the summer of 2024. It's a road trip across the northern U.S. by motorcycle – New York to Washington state, and then back east through Canada. 

Then he's heading to Amsterdam in September for a 23-day European river cruise. He said the late-summer getaway will be costly, but he doubts fares will fall anytime soon. "So price be damned," he said.

Actually, that's pretty smart. I took the same cruise on Viking River Cruises many years ago, and it was worth every penny.

With hotel rates rising in some places this summer, this is the right time to consider alternatives. Monica Fish, a writer from Glen Rock, New Jersey, is headed to Ireland to catch one of Taylor Swift's performances. She said hotel rooms in Dublin are overpriced, if they're even available. But Fish found an affordable vacation rental. 

"We just had to book it farther in advance than we normally would," she said. 

Go ahead, follow the crowds this summer

I think it's fine to follow the crowds this summer. I'll be doing it. I'm planning to rent an apartment for a month in Switzerland with Blueground, a long-term apartment rental company. Then I'm crashing on a friend's sofa in Spain, then heading to Sweden to see other friends and visiting my brother in Finland. Yes, travel writers know people everywhere . 

But don't follow the crowds off a cliff. There are places even I won't go. I might take the four-hour train trip from Zurich to Paris in June to check out my favorite patisseries, but I wouldn't go anywhere near the City of Lights during the Summer Games in July unless I made a reservation a long time ago.

And Taylor Swift? Puh-leeze. I'm more of a jazz guy.

Christopher Elliott  is an author, consumer advocate, and journalist. He founded  Elliott Advocacy , a nonprofit organization that helps solve consumer problems. He publishes  Elliott Confidential , a travel newsletter, and the  Elliott Report , a news site about customer service. If you need help with a consumer problem, you can  reach him here  or email him at  [email protected] .

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The Best Solutions to 9 Common Travel Problems

Lena El

  • November 27, 2022
  • Travel Smart , Travel tips , World of Travel

common travel problems

{{This post might contain affiliate links. If you use any of these links to buy a product, I will earn a small commission at no additional cost to you}}. Read my full disclosure for more details.

Traveling the world is the most memorable and exciting activity where we can try new things, gain new experiences and get new emotions. However, despite all the positive sides of travel, there are always some common travel problems on the way which can destroy our trip entirely if we do not take action to avoid them once they happen.

If we can be better prepared for traveling, we can make it much easier and less stressful, and many travel problems can be avoided or minimized. That’s why I’ve created this list of the biggest and most common travel problems most travelers face and their best solutions.

The Best Solutions to 9 Common and Biggest Travel Problems

Top 9 common travel problems , 1. getting sick.

We can get sick everywhere and anytime, unfortunately, but it is much worse if it happens when we travel. Therefore, to evade these travel problems related to sickness or minimize the chances, at least follow these SIMPLE TIPS:

  • To avoid getting food poisoning on the plane , do not eat fish or food you never tried before (if you have a sensitive stomach, that might be a big problem).
  • You are getting altitude sickness . Drinking plenty of water and taking particular medication with you if you plan to climb high and get used to the environment first is very helpful. You shouldn’t have any shortness of breath, nausea, or tiredness. In case you got it, stop climbing and get back to the lower level until you feel better . In rare cases, you will have to look for medical help.
  • Wash your hands ALL THE TIME . Especially in some rural places, there can be some sanitarian issues.
  • If you have problems with veins , wear compression stockings and walk on the plane during your flight to get some exercise.
  • If you go to hot and tropical places , ensure you have the most effective insect repellent. In addition, wear a hat, covered clothes (when possible), sunglasses, and sunscreen to avoid sunburn.
  • To avoid substantial medical bills , always get travel insurance . There are many companies and plans, and you can get as cheap as $5 for your trip. Most of the affordable plans cover major cases and can be very useful if there is an emergency.
  • To avoid or minimize jet lag when flying internationally, try to fly in the evening from your destination and do not sleep during the day once you will arrive.

2. Cultural Shock

Some places are so different from the places we get used to. It can be their traditions, culture, people habits, or food.

SOLUTION: To avoid cultural shock, do all the research about the new country upfront. I constantly research the rules of the country or other vital information to avoid being fined or getting into an embarrassing situation. That helps :).

3. Getting Lost

Does that sound familiar? :). Have you ever heard about this common travel problem, or did it happen to you? It can happen to everybody in a foreign place, even if you have never gotten lost. It can happen for many reasons: not working internet, google maps, or little people’s ability to speak English.

SOLUTION : To avoid this travel problem, ensure you have a screenshot with all the necessary info/directions/addresses on your phone and a portable mobile charger.

Uber is not always available at the destination you are going to, which means you won’t be able to use the app all the time. Research what sharing app they are using so you can download it earlier.

And, of course, try not to panic . I understand that when you are lost, it is impossible (I’ve been there too), but people are usually beneficial. Even if you have problems finding directions or something else, they will try to help you if you ask.

4. Lost or Delayed Baggage

At first, it sounds awful if your baggage doesn’t arrive at your destination once you land. However, it can be an advantage for you at the same time :).

Once you know that your baggage is delayed (it usually happens between international flights if your layover between destinations was too short) or lost, stay calm and proceed to the agent’s desk with your concern.

SOLUTION : For compensation, you can file a claim with an airline agency, insurance, or credit card company (if you bought tickets through them). Quite free money :).

It happened to me once that my baggage was delayed for a day or two, and I got some compensation from the airline for the inconvenience it caused me.

traveler problems


  •  To protect your baggage from scratches or any other damage, wrap it up yourself with plastic wrap at home to save money instead of doing it at the airport ( Important: make sure you check with the airline/airport first if they accept self-wrapping. Some places do not).
  • Put the address/name tag on your luggage. So in the order it gets lost, it has your information.
  • Please do not put the primary necessities in your luggage; instead, have them in your carry-on. So you have them with you when needed.

5. Missing Your Flight

Missing a flight is the biggest annoying travel problem, which can happen to anybody and cause a lot of trouble.

SOLUTION: To avoid such a situation, ensure you arrive at the airport early. I usually arrive at the airport 2 hours ahead of my domestic flight and 2.5-3 hours if I fly internationally. Better early than late, right ?!.

If you get into a situation where you miss your flight, stay calm. If it were your fault, the airline would be less likely to provide you with a new flight for free, but sometimes they can offer you a standby option for the next flight. Airlines typically have this policy if you arrive no more than two hours late. Don’t hesitate to talk to the agent to know your best options.

You might also be interested in learning more about common airport problems and solutions !

6. Overbooked Flight

Sometimes the flight can be overbooked, and airport authorities might tell you you have no seat. Did it ever happen to you? That is not the best news we want to hear, right? They do it because they need to sell all the tickets, and some people do not show up occasionally; they sell more tickets than they are supposed to.

That doesn’t sound very good, but think about it from a different perspective.

SOLUTION : Your best option is to wait until the seats get open, or if you are not in a hurry and can take another flight, do it, as the airline is going to offer you compensation for that plus a free ticket for the next flight if you volunteer to give up your current seat. It doesn’t sound bad at all!

To avoid this situation, always check in as early as possible (it’s not a 100% guarantee, but it can make a difference).

7. You Forgot to Buy a Travel Adapter

I got into a situation when I arrived in Singapore and couldn’t charge my phone because the adapter I had was unsuitable for its country. 

SOLUTION: To make sure you are not making the same mistake, do your research upfront about what kind of voltage is there and what adapter you need to avoid such an issue and buy it, so you will have the right one once you arrive. If you don’t have it, ask your accommodation place if they offer to rent or buy it. Some places do.

I found this International  adapters guide helpful article you might want to check out.

8. Bad Accommodation

I am sure you triple-checked your hotel online?! Everything was good, but the reality didn’t meet your expectations once you arrived. For example, your room and shower were dirty, there was a bad smell, or you didn’t get the view you requested.

Did this happen to you?

Once I wasn’t happy with my room and asked for an upgrade because of the poor room conditions. It worked fine for me.

SOLUTION: If you have booked your accommodation with a third party, contact them first to resolve this travel problem. If it was Airbnb, they could assist you with finding a new place or getting a refund. If you booked a hostel or hotel yourself and don’t like your room for any reason, do not be afraid to ask the staff of the hotel/hostel for an upgrade. KNOW YOUR RIGHTS AND SPEAK UP!

9. Paying For a Carry-on

Some airlines have strict rules about what you can bring as a carry-on. A good example is Frontier airlines. They only allow a small purse inside the plane, which in most cases is not enough and can cost a lot of money to pay after.


travel problem

SOLUTION: Always check on the airline website the approved dimensions for a carry-on bag to bring on board to avoid extra charges. Pack as lightly as possible to make sure you can fit all you need in one bag.

Final Thoughts

Traveling nowadays has become so much easier than before. The reason is that we have so many resources available now and know a lot of tricks from the travel experts which help us on our travel journey.

Unfortunately, traveling has never been stress-free and without common annoying travel problems , but knowing the best solutions for resolving the biggest travel problems makes it more enjoyable and less stressful. I’ve been using these tips myself, and since then, my travel has been 99% better in difficult situations. I hope my article about the 9 most common travel problems and how to avoid them will help you on your journey.

Happy travel!

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6 Ways Travel Has Become More Accessible During the Pandemic

By Sunny Fitzgerald

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All products featured on Condé Nast Traveler are independently selected by our editors. However, when you buy something through our retail links, we may earn an affiliate commission.

As a traveler with a neurological condition whose symptoms mimic a stroke, I’ve often wished that the travel industry would extend more flexibility and compassion to people with disabilities. Pre-pandemic, I faced a multitude of challenges when traveling: excessive fees when debilitating symptoms forced me to postpone or cancel a trip; ill-prepared tour operators that excluded me from activities without offering an alternative, or worse, put me in danger due to their lack of forethought. During the pandemic , I’ve seen glimmers of hope and guidelines for reopening safely for travelers with disabilities . While there are a number of pandemic protocols, such as face masks , that have created additional obstacles for those with disabilities, there are also a few new habits that, if made permanent, could make for a much more inclusive travel industry.

1. Flexible booking and cancellation policies

The abrupt arrival of the pandemic necessitated a shift to more flexible policies across the industry, from boutique hotels to international airlines. Now, a desire to attract customers back has led to new policies, such as G Adventures “Book with Confidence” terms that allow for lower or no penalties for cancellations closer to the departure date.

Extending this same compassion and flexibility to travelers with disabilities even after the pandemic subsides would be a welcome step toward more accessible travel.

On her blog, Clumsy Girl Travels , Marika Devan writes about traveling with ataxia, a degenerative neurological condition. She says sometimes her symptoms are so severe she needs to cancel a trip, but pre-pandemic it wasn’t easy to do so without incurring hefty fees.

Woman pushes luggage cart past United ticket desk

“The fact that airlines were able to enact these policies so quickly means they’ve long had the technology and capability to be more customer-friendly,” says Michelle González, a travel expert with Ehlers-Danlos syndrome. She notes that it can be a win all around; if the airline holds the ticket value as a credit for future travel without tacking on large change/cancellation fees , “they’ve still captured that business while instilling a sense of comfort in customers.”

Even tour operators accustomed to forgiving policies are updating them. Hidden Iceland is now offering bespoke cancellation policies on request and open-ended tickets valid through 2022. CEO and co-owner Dagný Björg says the company has long had flexible booking and cancellation policies, particularly as weather can disrupt an itinerary. Hidden Iceland plans to maintain this level of customer-friendliness in collaboration with local partners. “On our Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon tour, for example, we stay overnight at Lilja , a secluded farm guesthouse, to search for the Northern Lights,” she says. “Before COVID-19, [Liljia’s] patience and flexibility helped during unexpected bad weather days. Today it helps at a much larger scale. Having these strong relationships is the best and only way to operate, even when COVID-19 becomes a part of history.”

Marika in Prague  courtesy Marika Devan  Clumsy Girl Travels.jpg

Marika Devan appreciates the new flexibility policy bookings, as she sometimes has to cancel a trip last-minute due to her symptoms.

2. An increase in safety and accessibility measures

The industry was quick to create coronavirus-related safety policies, market activities, and accommodations conducive to physical distancing. What if that enthusiasm and sense of urgency were applied to accessible travel? In the same way that destinations, operators, and agents have made pandemic info easy to find, they could proactively seek out and highlight accessible options for travelers with disabilities.

Dale Reardon of Tasmania, Australia says the pandemic has prompted increased interest in the inclusive travel market. Reardon uses a seeing-eye dog while traveling around his country and a cane for mobility when traveling internationally. He and his wife created Travel For All as a community and directory for accessible and inclusive travel. “It shouldn’t have required a pandemic, but businesses, particularly travel and accommodation-related, are really suffering so they are looking into attracting more customers—marketing to and providing services to new customers they haven’t targeted before,” he says. “This means some of them are much more receptive to fixing website accessibility issues, improving booking processes, and generally being far more open and accommodating to accessibility requirements.”

3. A move toward contact-free

The risk of COVID-19 led to the implementation of more contactless options, such as more automatic doors, which Reardon says also helps improve access for many with mobility issues. And Devan says she’d be happy to see contactless check-in continue post-pandemic. “I sometimes have slurred speech due to ataxia,” she says. “With this [contactless check-in], I don't have to communicate with anyone.”

Allie Schmidt , creator of Disability Dame (an online resource for moms with chronic illness and disability) has a rare, undiagnosed motor neuron disease that is paralyzing her arms. She, too, is pleased with the increasing availability of touch-less options. “There’s no longer an endless amount of paperwork and documents to sign when doing things like checking into a hotel,” she says. “Since I can’t use my hands very well, moving to touch-less payments has made it a lot easier for me.”

And for those with weakened immune systems due to a number of medical conditions, reduced contact and the elimination of physical expectations such as handshakes may be a welcome change.

Unfortunately, contactless pandemic protocols have also created additional obstacles. “As a Deafblind traveler, I rely heavily on my sense of touch,” says Haben Girma , an author and disability rights lawyer.

Janice S. Lintz , founder and CEO of Hearing Access & Innovations , says that some of the changes meant to prevent contact have proven problematic for those with hearing loss. “People are wearing masks and there is plexiglass or glass everywhere which inhibits sound,” she writes via email. Lintz says more induction loops—systems that provide a signal to send sound directly to the hearing aid or cochlear implant—are needed.

Allie Schmidt Seattle

Allie Schmidt, who has a motor neuron disease, is optimistic about the increase in contact-free options at hotels.

4. Public spaces are easier to navigate

In many ways, pandemic mandates for physical distancing have made public spaces easier to navigate for travelers with disabilities. “General mobility everywhere is much more pleasant,” says Reardon, citing the lack of crowds and increased awareness of space between people, whether on the street, in a store, restaurant, or elsewhere. “As a blind person, this makes mobility easier.”

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Devan says that reduced capacity on flights and elevators has also meant more room for travelers that use a cane or assistive device.

But González cautions that in rearranging spaces to suit pandemic protocol, properties, restaurants, and staff also need to keep in mind how to do so without excluding people with disabilities. She says removing benches and golf carts from resorts or closing seating areas outside restaurants in an effort to discourage people from gathering eliminates the option for folks that do need a safe place to sit.

5. Increased local offerings

In the absence of out-of-town visitors, many hotels and tour operators are paying more attention to their local market, expanding tour options and extending deeper discounts to residents. For people with disabilities that may not be able to travel long distances, expanded options and affordable prices could make local travel a more accessible and attractive option—if these programs continue post-pandemic.

Root Adventures , a responsible travel company with a focus on inclusivity, postponed all of their international trips in response to the pandemic and began developing North American tours for 2021. Owner Breanne Kiefner was diagnosed with a neurological condition as an adult and aims to create experiences that make all guests feel welcome. Adding these North America options—“a little closer and a little more affordable”—may make that possible for more people.

6. Virtual access is more than an afterthought

When COVID-19 was declared a pandemic, tour operators, hotels, tourism boards, museums, and more began offering virtual experiences around the world—revealing what’s possible with a little time and effort.

“The pandemic has sparked many creative virtual travel projects,” Girma says. Although she'd prefer in-person experiences, she says that virtual options are indeed “making it easier for those with mobility disabilities to see places they might not otherwise see.”

But when in-person, international travel picks up again post-pandemic, will virtual experiences and those that are enjoying them be left behind? For folks unable to travel for any number of reasons, let’s hope not.

“Business conferences, concerts, comedy events are being broadcast and taking place online, allowing us to be involved and learn and participate from a distance,” says Reardon. “Often travel is difficult, expensive, or inaccessible; these events are now much more accessible and affordable.”

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unfortunately travelling is becoming

How Conscious Traveling Is Gaining Popularity Among Young Professionals

unfortunately travelling is becoming

Conscious travel means being mindful of the world and the people we encounter during our travels. It’s about thinking differently when we travel; changing our values and perception of the world by seeing a destination through a local’s eyes.

The world is altering as people’s mindsets are shifting. No longer content with mass tourism, people are becoming more conscious of real experiences, immersing themselves with their surroundings to establish longer-lasting connections and gain a better understanding of the world.

Conscious travel’s goal is to create a sustainable travel economy that gives something back to communities.

Whether through wellness and spirituality, eco or sustainable travel, traveling consciously makes a positive impact on the world and enriches the lives of everyone we meet along the way, one footprint at a time.

With travel becoming more popular, it’s important to know how to travel consciously.

Why Is Conscious Travel Important?

Travel and tourism generate over $2.9 trillion globally but unfortunately, not all communities benefit from the money that tourism makes.

Tourism can damage local communities with locals being out-priced from their homes, goods or services as prices increase to cater for tourists. Meanwhile, jobs can be seasonal and employees may even make less than minimum wage. Profits generally go to the larger international companies who may not have sustainable practices, meaning the local community does not benefit.

When we talk about conscious travel, we’re not advising against travelling, instead, it’s about how we can streamline and funnel our travels so that it benefits those who need it the most. It’s about being aware of what we do, what we buy, and how we interact with others. It’s our responsibility to be informed about where our money is going.

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  • The first way to become a conscious traveller is by reading books or blogs that educate us about the local culture before we travel. Knowing and respecting the culture is so important.
  • Eating in local restaurants and buying food from street markets instead of international chain restaurants supports local businesses.
  • Stay in small locally-owned accommodation such as guest houses or B&Bs. Or look at a homestay where you learn about local culture. During your stay keep your water use as low as you can and turn off the tap and lights when you aren’t using them.
  • Minimise your footprint by caring for the local environment. Use public transport such as buses or walk or cycle rather than hiring a car or flying.
  • Be careful where you put your litter and the packaging which you buy. Recycle when you can.

A word on traveling greener

Conscious travelling means that we care about many other things while we travel. One of them is the environment. Many young people are looking for ways to become greener while travelling and it is important to them that the environment doesn’t suffer from their trips.

You can keep a few things in mind that can support your thought of travelling greener.

Think carefully about your chosen transportation, this can have an enormous influence on the environment. Choose eco-friendly accommodations and use your hotel as if it was your home regarding electricity, water use and towels. In addition, you can avoid creating lots of plastic trash if you always take a small foldable shopping bag with you that you can use for your groceries or other things you might buy on your trip. Think small and you already make a difference.

Become a Conscious Traveler

These are just some of the ways you can make conscious choices as you travel, ensuring you are a respectful traveller and actively contribute something to the places you visit. With only a few conscious decisions, you can really make a difference and enrich the lives of others around the world.

Using an app to stay healthy and give something back to the local community

There are multiple platforms and apps that can help you to easily travel consciously. Let us say you want to go the gym to stay in your active routine an app like TrainAway is a good solution to support local gyms. Local gyms have the capacity for letting travels work out and stay healthy and fighting those extra calories eaten on your trip.

To visit the local gym and buy a day pass is also a far better option than talking a run in an unfamiliar area or trying to work out in your hotel room.

Trying out a local gym is also a great way to learn about new machines, techniques and meeting other fitness enthusiasts. As it supports local businesses by allowing you to get guest access to local fitness clubs for a day, three or week access at a good price it is way to be both conscious, and healthy. Thereby you make sure your money is giving back to the local community.

unfortunately travelling is becoming

Kenn Gudbergsen is the Co-founder and CEO at TrainAway. Kenn graduated from Copenhagen Business School in 2015 with a major in Applied Economics and Finance combined with a minor in business strategy. He started his professional career in PwC as a management consultant working with Finance and Strategy before co-founding TrainAway.

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Traveler Tracking and How to Avoid Risks

Where are your travelers right now in today’s travel climate, just knowing what city or neighborhood they’re in isn’t enough. traveler tracking can help..

Over the last decade, unfortunately, travel emergencies and major incidences have become more common. From air disasters to train crashes to terrorist attacks, there are risks associated with travel of all types — and business travelers are keeping them in mind.

A 2022 Global Business Travel Association study found that business travelers view terrorism as their greatest safety risk while traveling for work. This is followed by street crime, disease outbreaks, property crime, kidnapping and natural disasters. Furthermore, 25% of the respondents to the survey ranked 70% of the world’s emerging market destinations as either “unsafe” or “not safe at all.”

These risks and concerns have caused many companies to reevaluate their traveler safety and security programs, as one Business Travel News article from 2016 detailed. Have you done the same?

Here’s everything you need to know about how traveler tracking can help you stay informed of your business travelers’ whereabouts. Thereby avoiding unnecessary risks to both your employees and your company.

old phone

The Old Way of Traveler Tracking

In years past, many corporations would simply rely on itineraries in order to track their traveling employees. This, of course, comes with its issues.

If your traveler is gone for multiple days or even weeks at a time, just looking at an itinerary on a piece of paper doesn’t truly tell you where the traveler is. If something does happen and your traveler is unresponsive, you’re left trying to find out where they deviated away from the itinerary, how and why. It’s an unfortunate game of detective that’s both costly and dangerous.

Luckily, as the same Business Travel News article linked above noted, in recent history, more organizations are moving away from merely relying on itineraries. Instead, they are implementing policies that require travelers to routinely check in with someone else on the staff. This ensures that they’re okay and actually following the itinerary. This helps better create a timeline in the event that something does go wrong. Organizations are enabled to at least pinpoint traveling employees’ locations within the last 24 hours.

Modern Traveler Tracking

With the advent of GPS tracking and mobile usage, though, traveler tracking has further entered the modern age. Traveler tracking is easier and more convenient for organizations and employees alike. Travelers can check in and provide their location with a simple touch of a button, both routinely and in the event of an emergency. Traveler tracking can also be taken further, with constant GPS monitoring that shows a traveler’s exact location, minute by minute.

Geofencing is also an option, allowing you to set a geographic boundary around a traveler’s device. Then, you’re alerted when a traveler takes the device outside of a specific area.

Business traveler's itinerary on mobile device

The Issues with Traveler Tracking

Of course, the above Business Travel News article also acknowledged that traveler tracking does come with its issues. Those issues are the same today as they were when the article was published in 2016.

Most traveler tracking solutions rely on mobile devices, and mobile devices are hardly foolproof. A traveler can leave their cell phone on a plane, train, or in their hotel room. They can forget to charge their mobile device, or the mobile device can break.

Beyond this, there can be legal issues around traveler tracking if you’re not tracking a company-owned device.

Additionally, just like with all aspects of corporate travel policies, traveler tracking requires traveler buy-in. If your travelers aren’t compliant with your corporate travel policies overall, they’re not likely to do their part to ensure that your traveler tracking methods actually work (i.e., ensuring they have their mobile device on them, charged, at all times).

Challenges Aside, You Still Have a Duty of Care

These challenges can make some executives want to forgo traveler tracking altogether. However, it’s worth realizing that, regardless of the challenges, you do still have a duty of care to your travelers.

Just like you’re responsible for ensuring that your office or other work environment is safe for your employees. You’re likewise expected to ensure that your travelers are safe when they’re traveling on your behalf for the company’s work. While not the case in every country, in some countries, this responsibility is a legal one.

That said, even if you’re in a country where you have no legal obligation to ensure your employees’ safety while they’re traveling for business, it’s still a smart idea to put their safety front and center. If a traveler feels unsafe while on their business trips, that can not only impact productivity but also morale and company culture .

Map of the Globe made of buttons

How a TMC Can Help

Providing traveler tracking and risk management systems to your traveling employees can be a giant undertaking. This is particularly the case if you have nothing like this set up currently and you’re building this facet of your travel program from scratch. That’s where a TMC can help.

With ample experience in travel risk management, a vetted and qualified TMC can manage your travelers’ travel risks from the start of trip planning and all the way through a trip. This might include helping to create an appropriate travel policy, ensuring compliance, traveler tracking, and providing emergency security services. And even being available to travelers for assistance 24-7 and providing training for employees as needed.

For travel managers looking to fulfill their duty of care responsibilities, specific risk management teams like those at Crisis24 can likewise help. Crisis24, a JTB BT partner, offers risk management services that can help you track, monitor and protect your team; crisis response solutions; and more. Using a state-of-the-art platform that’s trusted by a range of top organizations around the globe, including JTB. Crisis24 is a JTB Business Travel trusted partner.

Need more info?

Learn about JTB Business Travel’s duty-of-care services that include pre-trip information and preparation, traveler tracking and real-time alerts. Our traveler tracking tools allow you to track your travelers 24-7. You can provide immediate assistance and security to your company’s most valuable asset — your talent — as needed.

If the worst happens, you’ll be glad you invested in traveler tracking and risk management resources.

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8 Things I have Learned from Travelling

Things I have Learned from Traveling, what I've learned from travelling, 8 things I've learned from travelling, travelling gives you a perspective, travelling gives you clarity, what you learn from travelling, Travelling teaches you a lot about life, You can’t plan everything, You can’t make everyone happy, You will always miss out on something, Travel shows you who your true friends are, During travel you make unexpected friendships, You are privileged to be able to travel, You can’t be happy all the time, even when you are travelling, it's about the little things in life, 8 levenslessen die ik heb geleerd van reizen

This post is also available in: Dutch

It’s been a while since I wrote a personal blog . Lately I’ve been focused more on creating guides and travel tips. So, I guess it’s time to be a bit more personal again. This time, I’m talking about things I have learned from travelling.

We haven’t been in The Netherlands since we left to Australia in 2015. Returning home after this significant amount of time calls for some reflecting of what I’ve learned back over these past months. Personally, I think what you learn through travel is different for everyone. Because basically, everyone has a different experience.

I’m quite interested what you have learned through travelling, whether it’s a short or long trip. Let me know in the comments!

Travelling teaches you a lot about life

With this article I am by no means claiming I now know the secrets to life because of travelling – trust me I wish I did. And I think even if I had stayed at home, I would’ve learned a lot of (different) lessons. Life is all about growing and learning, right?

Often you don’t even realize that you are learning something new. It’s easier to reflect back than realising at the time how much you have changed. Although I haven’t figured out life at all, unfortunately,  travelling does give you a kind of clarity and perspective. Below are eight things I’ve learned from 18 months of travelling.

1. You can’t plan everything

You may be a big planner and have all these cool ideas for your travels (or plans for life in general). Well, it just doesn’t always go the way you want. Eventually Jeffrey and I just stopped planning and just went with the flow. Because when we did plan, it often didn’t go as we expected. I must add that it isn’t a bad thing to plan ahead a bit. Planning can be very useful, but just realise that it can all work out differently. Therefore, it really helps if your plans are a bit flexible.

2. You can’t make everyone happy

It’s human nature to feel the need to care about other people’s opinion. For instance, some might not dare to go travelling because their parents and friends don’t approve. And, there will always be people trying to bring you down and make you feel insecure. Stop trying to be someone everybody likes. Because first of all, this is really not possible. Second of all, you might end up not being happy at all. If you are a people pleaser, you can end up living a life you don’t even want. Trying to be a people’s pleaser won’t make yourself happy.

This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be kind or considerate. Of course, I’m not saying you should be selfish. But, you will be so much happier if you don’t try to get the approval of others and just do what you want in life. Find a middle ground, be selfish in some important issues in life, and be there for people when they need you most. But don’t let people take advantage of you.

3. You will always miss out on something

Before we went on this big trip, one of my close friends asked me if I didn’t mind missing out on so many things back at home. Things like certain festivals, activities with friends and such. Yes, I did miss out on a lot of things.  The thing that bothered me most was missing out on my little nephew growing up, more so than the many parties I wasn’t attending during my absence. My nephew was only one year old when I left, and I missed his first steps, his first words and so much more. Because those are the things you can’t relive, or take back.

If you decide not to travel because of the fear of missing out on all the great things with friends and family, you’ll miss out on the adventures you could’ve had while travelling. If it’s really your dream to travel, you might regret not pursuing it. And even though I’ve missed out on so many special moments, I’m happy to have had the moments during my travels and look forward to create new moments now I am home again.

4. Travel shows you who your true friends are

I consider myself lucky, because I have a group of amazing people that I know I can count on. Before I left for this big trip, I was really curious to see what would happen with those friendships. There are lots of articles that say you really learn who your close friends are when you’re gone. For instance this article by Nomadic Matt:  Travel and the Art of Losing Friends . One of the quotes really stood out, it said: “Going away didn’t lose me friends; it had shown me who my true friends were.”

And now I’ve been away for so long, I tend to agree. Although I still have to reconnect with most of my friends, I already noticed via the ease of technology these days who I really still am connected with, and who kinda ghosted away. Friendship really is a two way street, so I’m definitely not blaming anyone. I’m also not saying it’s not possible to restart those friendships. Sometimes it’s just as simple as “out of sight, out of mind”.

5. During travel you make unexpected friendships

It can be harsh to lose people, but luckily travelling brings you a lot of unexpected friendships too. I noticed during this trip that I’ve made friends with people I probably wouldn’t even hang out with back at home. For instance, people that are quite a bit older than me, or people that just don’t run in the same kind of circles. Of course, also people from totally different countries with completely different backgrounds.

Jeffrey and I made friendships with people from all over the world, and we couldn’t be more thankful for that. Although we might not see these friends in our daily life, we know we will always be welcome in their homes, and vice versa.

6. You are privileged to be able to travel

I already wrote about this before , and will probably write more about it in the future – and  I did, read our most popular article Not everybody is able to travel . You see so many people claiming that “everybody can travel” and that it’s only a matter of chasing your dreams, saving money and quitting your job. Well, one thing I’ve learned is that this only accounts to a small percentage of the world’s population. Think about people in North Korea who can’t even leave their country. Or people that hold a passport that have trouble getting a Visa in most countries, like  citizens from Afghanistan . These are just two minor examples.

Furthermore, besides these two examples, it really is a privilege for anybody to travel. Even though we have worked hard for this, and we definitely didn’t get anything handed to us,  we are still very lucky that we had all the means to be able to do all this.  Even people from developed countries have factors that limits them in chasing their dreams and go travel. Really, I’m not saying that if you are travelling or doing something else amazing, that you shouldn’t be proud. All I am saying is that we should’t forget that it really isn’t possible for everyone. We should be thankful and perhaps also think more about those people that don’t have the same possibilities.

7. You can’t be happy all the time…

…even when you are travelling. 

This is something I’ve thought about a lot before I went. Will travelling make me happy?  To be honest, I’m not even sure what being happy in life really means. Is there even one person in this world that is always happy ? I think life consists out of moments of happiness, combined with moments of unhappiness. Without the bad, there is no good, so that way you can actually know that you are happy in a moment. Otherwise you just have the same feeling all the time.

I wrote one of my first posts (which is now more up to date) a few days before we left for this big trip. In that post I wrote that travelling is often glamorised, and that I was wondering whether I would be happy because of travelling. There are so many articles that claim that travel makes you a happier person. Well, my personal experience is that travelling didn’t necessarily make me happier. Just like in my “regular” life, I had good moments, and bad moments. But I do think both of these feelings were intensified while travelling.

I had lots of fleeting moments of pure happiness . But I also had  some of my darkest moments in my life during this trip . Because when you travel, you really do get out of your comfort zone.

Like I said in the beginning of this article, these lessons are based on personal experiences. Although many articles claim that travelling makes you a happier person, be aware that this doesn’t mean that you will be on cloud nine throughout your trip. You will have bad moments too, you just have to get through these and embrace the happy moments.

8. It’s all about the little things

When you travel, you start to miss things from back home. I’ve noticed that for me the things I missed most were simple little things. Going to the grocery store. Having dinner with my family. Laughing over wines with my friends. Or just sitting in the passengers seat in the car, looking at familiar trees and buildings from my home town.

When you travel, you get a new perspective. Although landing your dream job, getting married and other big moments in life can bring you happiness, it is only a rush. If you focus more on the little things in life, it can really bring you a bit more happiness.

These are eight things I have learned from travelling. I can probably come up with a much, much longer list. But, these were the things that popped in my mind immediately as I was writing it, and I think that this means they are the most important lessons for me. There are still so many things to learn, and I can’t wait to see what life will bring me now I am home again. 

Marije from Our Traveldreams  told us one of the things she learned during travelling in our comment section below. We will add it here in English, because we think it’s a very important lesson:

My addition: I’ve realised that we have to be more mindful of Planet Earth. All the plastic in the ocean and streets (especially in Asia). Or burning down rainforest to create plantations for products like palm oil. I try to be aware of how my (buying) behaviour influences these things, and I hope I will continue to do so at home. 

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I love this post! And I agree with all of your points as well. One of the things that I’ve learned (about myself) while traveling is that I’m a lot stronger mentally than I thought I was. Through experiences, I’ve learned that I can think quickly and process situations fast to get myself into a better spot, find the correct train, locate a place to stay, etc. I was worried that I would stress too much when things went wrong or didn’t exactly go as I anticipated, but realized it was just the opposite. Sure, I had bad days, but when it came down to it, I realized that I know how to take care of myself. Crazy!

That photo with you and the cherry blossoms is stunning! I appreciate your reminder to be kind to Planet Earth as you travel.

Thank you! 🙂

Love your post and it is so true and not only about traveling but about life in general, I think that people would be happier if they would understand (myself included) some of the things stated above and not chase happiness blindly. I have struggled for such a long time with the pleasing everyone part and it is so hard and consuming, but once you start realizing you just cannot do it and start accepting it, you will be just a little happier. Thank you for sharing this from your heart!

Thanks Ingrid! It’s true, most of it applies to life in general. Thank you for your kind comment.

Lovely post and thanks for sharing 🙂 after several long trips myself, I agree with all of them! About ‘you can’t be happy all the time whilst travelling’, yep, it’s funny because I found it very hard to accept when I wasn’t feeling happy whilst I was on the road (I was in some beautiful places but something wasn’t right), but it’s a great lesson. That happiness comes from within and wherever you are, life has it’s ups and downs. Welcome home! I also wrote about coming home, a few weeks ago, and I discuss how travelling has reshaped the way I want to live my life if you’re curious – https://lulaaventura.wordpress.com/2017/04/12/home-is-where-i-feel-a-little-strange-2017/

Thank you Lula! It is hard when you’re not feeling happy on the road, because you expect to feel that way. Loved your article too. Thanks for sharing.

Such great points! I love that you were honest, and a lot of these we wouldn’t even think about while traveling. It’s not until you get home and life goes back to being somewhat normal, that we realise how much we’ve learned! 🙂

This is a really insightful post & I love that it breaks from the usual ‘travel makes you smarter and better than everyone else’ type posts. Well done! I found myself relating to many of these, especially finding out who your real friends are when you travel.

Thank you Katie, so nice to hear!

I totally agree with your points. Very well written post. I never traveled for more than 15 days at one go due to personal reasons, I come back home and then go again (At times the difference between 2 trips is few months and sometimes a couple of weeks). It also showed me, who feels genuinely happy for me when I am doing what I love to do (I mean traveling) and who gets snobby or talk behind my back for my travels. It increases the patience level and ability of handle new situation. You are a lucky couple, who travel together. God bless. 🙂

Thank you Sapna! Yes, you can really tell who is genuinely your friend and who isn’t. And people who talk behind your back; you don’t need that negativity in your life!

Everything you say rings true. My husband and I have been travelling for ten months and will be heading home soon. I look forward to it but also suspect we won’t be able to simply pick up where we left off. We will have changed in ways we might not even realize. I wonder how this will impact relationships.

Thank you for your comment, Esther! It’s funny how everything is the same, yet it is different.

Mooi geschreven en zo waar. Mijn toevoeging: ik ben me gaan realiseren dat we wel wat zuiniger op onze mooie aardbol mogen zijn. Al dat plastic in de oceaan en langs de straten (vooral in Azië). Of het afbranden van hele stukken regenwoud om hier plantages voor o.a. palmolie van te maken. Ik probeer me bewust te zijn van hoe mijn (koop)gedrag meewerkt aan deze dingen en hoop dat ik me hier thuis nog steeds bewust van blijf.

Helemaal waar Marije, mooie toevoeging! Ik zal het erbij zetten en je crediten 🙂

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Here's Why You Should Never Forget To Tell Your Bank You're Traveling

Man with mobile banking phone

You've booked your flight, reserved accommodations, quiet-bragged on your email away message, and tripled-checked your luggage. You're finally ready for that dream two-week vacation. To complete the pre-trip checklist, go ahead and call your bank. Not the sexiest of tasks, but tell your financial institution where you're going, when you're going, and for how long. Trust us, it's worth the investment.

For soon-to-be travelers, there's a tendency to focus on the fun preparations. You create sightseeing itineraries, read restaurant reviews, and check out local events while ignoring the less-exciting tasks. And maybe there's something about the psychology of calling your bank. In essence, you're admitting something bad could happen.

But maybe you're an optimist. After all, you've traveled all over the world without issue. Awesome! Let's keep it that way. According to the Federal Trade Commission, they received more than 73,000 reports of travel-related scams in 2020, per AARP . Yes, in 2020, while the world was locked down and no one was traveling, they received over 73,000 reports. Call your bank.

Call your bank to geolocate your spending

Fortunately, financial institutions have become increasingly better at spotting scams and preventing fraud. Unfortunately, travel scammers have become increasingly better at creating scams and committing fraud, says Business Insider . So, when you're traveling, you're in the middle of an ongoing battle between your bank and someone's bad intentions.

Here's the rub. In an effort to protect you, it's possible your bank mistakes you for a scammer. For example, you've just landed in Riga, Latvia. Before arriving at your hotel, you stop to get a few essentials. (Your skin can't handle the dry air.) You then check into the hotel , dab a bit of moisturizer on your face, and find the closest restaurant still open.

After a bit of speck and potatoes, you try to pay your bill, but your card is repeatedly declined. Your bank's fraud detection team, in their diligence, stopped all foreign transactions. And why wouldn't they? Latvian moisturizer isn't a typical expense for you. If you're lucky, you can quickly resolve the issue. If not, you agree to help the restaurant sweep, mop, and take out the trash.

Obviously, this example is wildly too specific to be true. Nevertheless, not all restaurant owners will be as understanding as Sofija and Artūrs. To avoid a similar scenario, simply call your bank before traveling and tell them where you're going.

Call your bank to better combat scams

Another reason to call your bank before traveling is to combat actual, factual fraud. If something happens on your trip, whether it's a dubious overcharge, a credit card-skimming scam, or some kind of identity theft, you're better positioned to dispute fraudulent charges if your bank knows you're traveling.

It's no secret that tourists make easy marks for travel scams. After all, these types of scams couldn't exist without traveling tourists. And while letting your bank know you're traveling will help, it's a good idea to familiarize yourself with an area's common scams before arriving.

Also, always leave yourself with a financial out if something does happen. Use a mix of credit cards and cash, or leave backup funds in a hotel safe. These are both tried-and-true travel best practices. Optimism is one thing. Prudence is another. So, give your bank a quick phone call. The small action can save you travel-related headaches, money, and embarrassing dining experiences.

The Traveller Guru

8 Travel Scams to Avoid: Tips for a Safe and Secure Trip

Hey there my travel enthusiasts and welcome to my post where we will check out my 8 travel scams to avoid when out and about this year. When planning a trip, the last thing you want to worry about is being scammed.

Travel Scams to Avoid - Header

Unfortunately, travel scams are a common occurrence in tourist destinations around the world. These scams can range from minor inconveniences to major financial losses, so it’s important to be aware of the most common travel scams and how to avoid them.

  • Fake Authorities
  • Fake Travel Operators
  • Common Street Scams
  • Credit Card Fraud
  • Email Scams
  • Vacation Rental Scams
  • Timeshare Sales Scams

Travel Scams to Avoid

When traveling, it’s important to be aware of common travel scams to avoid becoming a victim of fraud. Scammers come in many forms, from individuals to organized groups, and they often target unsuspecting tourists. By understanding the common scams and red flags, you can protect yourself and your finances. Here are some of the more common ones:

Check out these: Tips For Keeping Your Money Safe When Traveling

1. Fake Authorities

One common travel scam involves scam artists posing as official authorities, such as police officers or hotel staff, who claim that there is a problem with your reservation or that you need to pay a fine. They may ask for your passport or wallet, and then disappear with your valuables.

To avoid falling for this scam, always ask for identification and verify with the hotel or local authorities before giving out any personal information or money.

2. Fake Travel Operators

Another common scam involves fake tour operators or travel agents who promise low prices or exclusive access to popular attractions. They may ask for payment upfront and then disappear with your money, leaving you without a tour or ticket.

To avoid this scam, always research the tour operator or travel agent before booking, and never pay in full upfront.

Check out these: 6 Tips for Booking a Cheap Airfare Online

3. Common Street Scams

It’s also important to be aware of other common scams, such as pickpocketing, fake charity solicitations, and overcharging for goods and services. Always keep an eye on your belongings, be cautious of unsolicited offers, and negotiate prices beforehand.

Travel Scams to Avoid - Pick Pocket

4. Credit Card Fraud

Credit card fraud can happen anywhere, but it’s especially common in tourist areas. Be careful when using your credit card in unfamiliar places, and always keep an eye on your card when it’s out of your sight.

Skimmers can easily steal your card information, so it’s important to check your statements regularly for any unauthorized charges.

Check out these: Best RFID Travel Wallets

5. Email Scams

Email scams are a common way for scammers to steal your money or personal information so be wary of any emails you receive that ask for personal information or money. A common one here also is to offer to assist with your visa application as well.

Always double-check the sender’s email address and be cautious of any links or attachments in the email.

6. Taxi Scams

Taxi scams can happen in many different forms, from drivers taking longer routes to charging exorbitant fees. Always agree on a price before getting into a taxi, and make sure the meter is running. Be wary of drivers who offer to take you to “special” places or who claim that your hotel is closed.

Another common scam in many countries are unauthorized taxis. Always look for a fare meter, authorised taxi sticker on the cab or official identification from the driver.

Travel Scams to Avoid - fake taxi

7. Vacation Rental Scams

Vacation rental scams can be difficult to spot, but they can cost you a lot of money. This is where you view a site and then pay the money to someone directly into their bank account only to find that the property is already booked, or simply doesn’t exist.

Always research the property and the owner before booking a vacation rental and be wary of any listings that seem too good to be true, and never wire money to a stranger. At the end of the day, the safest way to avoid these scams is to use official booking sites such as Airbnb etc.

8. Timeshare Sales Scams

Timeshare sales are technically not scams but the sales agents here can be aggressive and convincing. They will often use hard tactics or the offer of free stuff to convince you to buy in.

Be wary of any high-pressure sales tactics and always read the fine print before signing any contracts. Remember that timeshares are often expensive and difficult to sell or get out of, so it’s important to make an informed decision.

High Risk Locations

When it comes to traveling, there are some locations that are more prone to scams than others. In this section, we’ll cover some high-risk locations that you should be aware of.

While Europe is generally a safe place to travel , there are some areas where you need to be particularly cautious. One common scam is the “found ring” scam, where someone will approach you and ask if you dropped a ring. They will then try to sell it to you at an inflated price.

Another scam is the “fake petition” scam, where someone will ask you to sign a petition and then demand money from you. To avoid these scams, be wary of anyone approaching you on the street and always keep an eye on your belongings.

Thailand is a popular tourist destination, but it’s also a place where scams are common. One scam to watch out for is the “tuk-tuk scam,” where a driver will offer to take you on a tour of the city for a low price. They will then take you to various shops where they will receive a commission for bringing in customers.

Another scam is the “gem scam,” where you will be approached by someone who claims to be a government official and offers to sell you gems at a discount. To avoid these scams, always negotiate the price before getting into a tuk-tuk and be wary of anyone offering you a deal that seems too good to be true.

United States

While the United States may not be the first place that comes to mind when you think of travel scams, they do happen here. One scam to watch out for is the “fake hotel booking” scam, where you will receive a call from someone claiming to be from a hotel and offering you a discount on your booking. They will then ask for your credit card information and use it to make fraudulent charges.

Another scam is the “fake charity” scam, where someone will approach you on the street and ask for a donation to a fake charity. To avoid these scams, always double-check with the hotel before giving out your credit card information and be wary of anyone asking for donations on the street.

Travel Scams to Avoid - ripped off couple

Preventive Measures

Protecting yourself from travel scams requires a combination of common sense, awareness, and caution. Here are some preventive measures that can help you avoid falling victim to travel scams:

  • Personal Information – Be wary of providing your personal information to anyone you don’t know or trust. Scammers may use this information to steal your identity or access your financial accounts. Make sure to keep your personal information private and secure.
  • Payment – Always use a secure payment method when booking travel arrangements. Avoid wire transfers or paying with cash, as these methods are often used by scammers to steal your money. Use a credit card or a reputable payment service to protect yourself from fraud.
  • Travel Insurance – Consider purchasing travel insurance to protect yourself from unexpected events such as trip cancellations or medical emergencies. Make sure to read the policy carefully and understand what it covers and what it doesn’t.
  • Verify – Before booking any travel arrangements, verify the legitimacy of the company or website you’re dealing with. Check for reviews, ratings and complaints online and make sure to read the fine print carefully. If something seems too good to be true, it probably is.
  • Technology – Use technology to your advantage. Install anti-virus software on your devices and use secure Wi-Fi networks when accessing sensitive information. Be cautious of emails or messages from unknown sources and never click on suspicious links or attachments.
  • Abroad – Be extra cautious when traveling abroad, as scammers may take advantage of tourists who are unfamiliar with their surroundings. Keep your belongings close and be aware of your surroundings at all times.
  • Social Media – Be careful what you share on social media, as scammers may use this information to target you. Avoid posting your travel plans or personal information online, and be cautious of friend requests or messages from unknown sources.

What to Do If You Fall Victim

If you’ve fallen victim to a travel scam, it’s important to act quickly to minimize the damage. Here are some steps you can take:

  • Contact your bank or credit card company. If you paid for the trip with a credit card, you may be able to dispute the charge and get your money back. If you wired money or paid with a debit card, your options may be more limited, but it’s still worth contacting your bank to see if they can help.
  • Report the scam to the FTC and/or the Better Business Bureau. These organizations track scams and can help you report the incident. They may also be able to provide you with information about similar scams and how to avoid them in the future.
  • Monitor your credit report and bank statements. Scammers may try to use your personal information such as your social security number to open new accounts or make fraudulent purchases. Keep an eye on your credit report and bank statements to make sure there are no unauthorized transactions.
  • Be wary of follow-up scams. Scammers may try to target you again after you’ve fallen victim to a travel scam. Be on the lookout for suspicious emails, phone calls or letters that ask for personal information or money.

Remember, falling victim to a travel scam can be a frustrating and stressful experience, but it’s important to stay calm and take action as soon as possible. By following these steps, you can minimize the damage and protect yourself from further harm.

What are some common travel scams and how can I avoid them?

There are many travel scams out there, but some of the most common include fake travel booking websites, “free” vacations that require you to pay hidden fees, and taxi drivers who overcharge you for a ride. To avoid these scams, make sure to do your research before booking anything, only book through reputable companies, and always negotiate the price of a taxi ride before getting in the car.

What should I do if I realize I’ve been scammed while traveling?

If you realize you’ve been scammed while traveling, the first thing you should do is try to get your money back. If that’s not possible, report the scam to the local authorities and your embassy or consulate. It’s also a good idea to warn other travelers about the scam so they don’t fall victim to it as well.

There you have it, my 8 travel scams to avoid when out and about this year. As usual, let me know of your experiences here or if there is anything you think I need to add.

Also, please do not hesitate to comment below if you have any questions, concerns, or corrections or would like me to check anything else out for you.

Until next time.

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My name is Paul and I love traveling with my wife Nic. We have been lucky enough in my life to be able to see a lot of the world. Oh, and not to mention all those tedious business trips that actually got me to places I would never have gone to as well.

But here’s the thing, we have made all of the mistakes that a traveler can make and have learned a lot along the way so we like to think we have a fairly good idea in regards to what it’s all about. So let's dive in.

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The top pros and cons of travelling for business

unfortunately travelling is becoming

Travelling can be a rather nice experience where we can learn a lot. We can learn about new cultures and broaden our horizons. When you run a business, or you work for a company that runs internationally , there are chances that you will have to travel now and again. 

Whether it is for networking opportunities, to meet with clients, or another reason, it can prove to be advantageous to travel. But some downsides come with business travel. 

Therefore, you must look at the advantages and disadvantages before leaping. In this article, we will be looking at the pros and cons of travelling. 

Pros of travelling for business 

To go further, here are the top advantages of travelling for business: 

More networking opportunities 

Networking opportunities are one of the biggest advantages that come with intercontinental travel. It gives you and your employees the chance to attend different events and trade shows, the business will have a chance to become bigger. 

In these trade shows, you can link up with others within your industry as well as potential clients and build your brand. From meeting up with these people one-on-one, you will stand a higher chance of a strong relationship, rather than connecting with them virtually. 

To link up with potential clients

Another outstanding benefit that comes with business travel is the chance to meet up with your clients physically. You get to see them in person and see their premises. You also get a better idea of what they need from your business. 

Furthermore, you can also use the chance to advertise what you have to offer, instead of meeting with them using Skype or another virtual method, it will show a level of competence that your competitors may not provide. 

It balances work-life

Maintaining a good work-life balance can help build up your mental and physical health . Work trips can be an excellent way to keep the balance between your personal life and your work . 

A classic eight-hour shift may become repetitive along the line. Adding travel breaks to your schedule may change your routine and can make your life more entertaining. 

Cons of travelling for business

While travelling is great for business, some minor disadvantages may be encountered.

It can be costly 

Unfortunately, travelling for business isn’t cheap. Costing the company money each year depending on the number of staff that need to travel for work. It is something that might not be included in the budget for startups or small-scale businesses. 

Also, you have to consider the plane ticket cost, food, and drink, travelling around the area. However, there are a lot of possibilities to choose a stay according to your budget and necessities, thanks to Spotahome now you can find studios to rent in London that can reduce the expenses of hotel rooms if you are worried about spending more than necessary and you are planning to stay for a reasonable period of time. 

It can be stressful 

Frequent business travel can be very stressful, when you or your employees are feeling the stress, it can result in the business trip feeling futile. 

The emotion will affect the success of the trip and could damage your brand in the long run. For instance, if one of your staff arrives at an important meeting angry and stressed, it could put a restraint on the meeting. 

You might experience communication problems

If you travel on business trips a lot, you will also face serious communication problems since you might not be able to communicate in a foreign language properly. 

You might learn some words, but you will never be able to speak some unfamiliar language fluently , since you might not often put enough time into learning it. 

These are the top pros and cons that come with travelling for business trips , it doesn’t matter if it’s a private jet or an economy class. It is something that cannot be avoided, you can consider other ways to ease the discomfort, this will help with the downsides. 

However, the advantages that come with it should not be ignored also. It is a key way of building your company in the long run and spreading your wings. It could also give you the edge you seek in the business terrain.

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serpent à sonnette

The risks of traveling and how to prevent them?

Last Update: 08/04/2024 1 COMMENT

After having told our relatives about our project to travel around the world, one of the reactions that often came out was:

But traveling like that is risky… aren’t you afraid of what could happen to you during your round the world trip?

We are aware of this, there are indeed risks related to travel but is that a sufficient reason not to go backpack around the world and make our dreams come true? Of course not! It’s like deciding not to go skiing in the winter to avoid breaking your leg or driving for fear of an accident.

The idea is rather to be aware of the different things that can happen during a trip around the world in order to avoid them as much as possible. So to help you prepare for it, we have prepared our list of travel risks… and you will see that the biggest risk is not necessarily the one you would have thought of 😉

Illnesses or accidents

Road accidents, stomach problems.

  • Pickpockets
  • Animals or insects

Assaults or robberies

  • Altitude-sickness


The travel bug.

Our free ebook in PDF format

travel around the world

But if you prefer, our guide is also available in PDF format. You can read it on your computer, smartphone or tablet (or even print it out if you want). To get the ebook, just subscribe to our newsletter at the end of the page. To go directly to the registration form clic here .

A little sneak peek in the ebook:

Download the PDF

First cause of travel interruption, illness or accidents are unfortunately part of the risks of traveling… But you want some good news? Staying home won’t protect you in any way! 🙂

The risks of illness and accidents are not really related to where you are, but more to the safety measures you take, to your lifestyle, and let’s be honest sometimes also to your luck!

accident disease

The best way to prevent them is still to take preventive measures such as vaccines for common travellers’ illnesses , but also to listen to your body while travelling!

Because let’s be honnest, travelling is not always easy, and sometimes we tend to do or to see a little too much!

Also know how to rest, allow yourself days off, give yourself a break, sleep in if you feel the need and of course avoid putting yourself unnecessarily at risk!

And in case of a problem, be sure to tell yourself that with a good backpacker insurance you are covered, and that in most cases you will be able to continue your trip once you recover!

Unfortunately, this is a reality while travelling; road accidents are frequent (as they are in our country), but when you travel the risk is even higher in our opinion… Hellish traffic in Asia, slightly crazy drivers, almost non-existent traffic rules, roads in poor condition ( Laotian and Bolivian memory at the top of my mind), and very often cars or buses that are not really up to date in terms of safety!

How to prevent the risk of accidents? Quite often it won’t be you at in the driver’s seat, so you have to know how to trust, but there are still a few rules to follow!

Especially present in Asia, scooter rental is very common for tourists… So of course it is an excellent way to discover a region independently and with an incredible feeling of freedom, but be sure to respect some basic rules:

Always wear your helmet!

Yes, yes, I sound like your mother, but it’s true! Rental companies tend not to give you helmets in Asia, so demand it and wear it! It’s certainly less glamorous, and yes it’s hot in Thailand, but your precious head really deserves to be protected!

Always check the condition of the scooter you rent!

Test the brakes… we met some travellers who were surprised to find no brakes on the rental scooter… Scary!

You don’t know how to drive? Then don’t do it!

How many people have never driven a scooter in Europe on our perfect roads with defined traffic rules, and who once in Asia feel like they can? Do you honestly believe that a dirt road, with animals running out, a hell of a traffic and no priority rules are the keys to a successful learning? Hmmm… I doubt it!

driving a scooter in Asia

Dress properly !

Yes it’s hot, and it’s damn cool to ride in a bikini with flip flops… but think that in case of an accident it leaves you almost no chance! We met travellers with serious scars all over their bodies, for a simple fall at 15km/h! In other words, jeans and a jacket are really recommended!

Don’t drive if you’re drunk!

It sounds silly, but how many people drive completely drunk in touristic places…. A bucket of mojito doesn’t make you invincible, and no, the red bull doesn’t make you fly!

Adapt your driving to local driving style

do not try to drive “as if you were at home”. Any advice? The number one rule on Asian roads is “the priority goes to the biggest! “In short, you are the last element of the chain, and don’t expect a bus to give you priority (or a cow for that matter!)!

animals on the road asia

Renting a car is a good way to discover a region, we have done it in the north of Argentina … But remember here to respect some rules as well!

Of course, alcohol is not allowed

If only for insurance reasons. If a country has a limit of 0 (like Argentina), even a simple beer can have serious consequences! Not that you can’t drive after a beer, but if anything happens, the insurance won’t pay anything because in Argentina it’s 0.00 tolerance! In short, find out about the rules of the country!

Fasten your seat belt!

It’s silly, I know, but just because it’s the holidays doesn’t mean you won’t go through the windshields in case of a collision!

busiest scooter in Asia

Adapt your driving!

For example, in Argentina, speed limits are a rather vague concept… There are certainly signs, but no one respects them. When a sign indicates 80 on a country road and everyone is driving at 120km/h it’s tough… When there are slowdown signs asking you to reduce the speed to 50km/h and yet everyone is still driving at 120km/h: it’s even tougher! In short, find the right balance!

Get informed about traffic rules…

For example, the left-hand priority in roundabouts does not seem to exist in Argentina. It is the notion of “main road” that prevails… In short, it is the one who is on the “most important” road who wins… Sometimes it’s obvious, sometimes it’s more subtle!

Asia as well as South America you may well travel many kilometers by bus, whether by day or by night…

In these cases, not much to do except trust the driver… Even if attaching your seat belt (if there is one, which is quite rare) can be good advice! Oh, and avoid looking at the road… Doubtful overruns and excessive speed could make you faint at times, sometimes it’s better to live in ignorance, believe me!

Hehe the famous tourist illness! So this one we didn’t expect, at least not like that…. Before the start, we had more apprehension about Asia, but in the end it was South America that won by KO against our stomachs!

Nothing serious in itself, just a few days (or a 23h bus ride for Benoit) not really exciting…


Some tips to avoid getting (too) sick:

Beware of water!

Drink only bottled or purified water through a filter/pellets or boiled water! Some countries such as Chile and Argentina are exceptions, because tap water is safe to drink, but for other countries do not take any risks! However, there is no need to get paranoid, we have always brushed our teeth with tap water and have not had any problems either…

Don’t think that a more expensive restaurant will necessarily be better!

This applies especially to China ! Many travelers only choose “tourist” restaurants because they are afraid of getting sick… And guess what? Bingo they get sick almost instantly for sure! And we, with our sometimes very dubious little street-food stalls: NOTHING!

The reason? Think food flow! A restaurant that serves only a few dishes a day to tourists has a much lower turnover than the little granny who serves 300 dishes a day on the street; the little granny sells so much that she gets her supplies daily! The golden rule in our opinion is:

“Eat where the locals go, and if possible where there are people! And avoid ordering non-local stuff… We were much more confident ordering chicken and vegetable noodles than a Hawaii pizza…” Check out our article dedicated to Chinese cuisine for more information.

chinese food

Don’t get paranoid!

The more you think you will get sick, the more likely it will happen to you! We ate hundreds of fruits (often without washing or peeling them), we tasted thousands of specialties (some better than others) and nothing happened!

The only meals that really made us sick were always meals where “you wouldn’t have thought”. A vegetarian super well rated in the guides in La Paz almost killed us… pfiou… and yet it was delicious! But here too…. We wanted to eat a dish with cheese! Well, yes, nostalgic little Swiss kids who shiver as soon as they see the word cheese on a menu, even if it’s not a local specialty at all!

Pickpockets while traveling

Yep, it happens… Unfortunately! Just like in Europe, by the way! For us, we have been victims of pickpockets twice in our lives… Once in Vienna, Austria , and once in Barcelona … In short, not even in out trip around the world!


Very often there is not much to do, you will often not even realize it… But there are still a few rules that can make it a little more difficult for pickpockets!

  • Gentlemen, never put your wallet in the back pocket of your pants , unless the latter can be closed with a button (might not be enough…)
  • Don’t leave your laptop or wallet lying around on a bar or restaurant table.

pickpocket while traveling

Avoid displaying your values , and giving the impression of owning 3 times more money than the country’s national GDP will help you not to attract attention

  • Keep emergency money in a safe place, away from the pickpocket’s loose hands. Belly pocket, in the bra for these ladies, in the socks, whatever, but avoid having large sums at hand.
  • Ladies, keep your handbag on your lap in bars… Never hung on a chair, let alone on the floor! Personally I found it very practical to have a handbag on my shoulder, so in bars (or anywhere else for that matter) I always had it on me! The shoulder bag can of course be worn in the front! It’s much safer than in the back!

Dangerous animals or insects

Iiiiiiihhhhhh the little creatures…. A phobia for many people, and let’s be honest I’m not really a reference in this matter, especially when these bugs have 8 legs! Before the trip I was wondering a little bit how it was going to go and especially how I was going to react when I had my first cockroach in front of me…

Yes well I was able to get into it quickly, because during our first week of travel a cockroach fell on me in the shower in China… As I looked up, I saw that there were dozens of them on the ceiling of that creepy inn shower! Iiiiiiihhhhh screaming, strident, panicky, I got out of the shower right away…

Yes yes yes, the naked girl in a hotel hallway in China screaming was me! 😀 . Now I laugh about it, because yes, the journey forges character and believe it or not, you get used to everything!

animal risk

On our side, we have seen many more insects and spiders in Asia, and over time we got used to it…. So no, I’m not yet a spider enthusiast who cuddles them, but let’s just say I’m more zen now!

The types of animals and their dangers and how to prevent them:

moskito bites backpacker

Problem number 1 for travellers… mosquitoes are like tourists, they like the warmth and are present at the end of the day on terraces, bars, preferably at apero time. To prevent bites there are many tactics, we have tested them all: creams, gels, sprays, patches, essential oils, mosquito repellents, incense…

Well… first observation: it certainly works a little, but not 100%. Don’t be fooled, you’ll probably get stung! 😉

The good news is that mosquito-borne diseases do exist, and it’s better to try to avoid getting bitten, but it’s not worth panicking either! The chances of catching malaria or other diseases are pretty slim! But the best technique is still to think about covering yourself in high-risk areas. Linen pants, a long-sleeved shirt will be your best allies, much better than anything else they can try to sell you on the market!

disgusting spider

Ew… for me they’re probably the most despicable creatures…

While traveling I also learned to tolerate them, because hehe they feed on mosquitoes! In short, still not a fan, especially if they are big and hairy, but honestly you will probably not see that many of them, and most species are harmless to humans! (I reassure myself as much as I can!)

Other small crawling and cheerful little animals with 6 or more legs

Often harmless, cockroaches, centipedes and others are part of the picture. Not very attractive, they are generally not very dangerous… in short you will learn to live with them!

Avoid touching them , and if the beast seems dangerous to you (scorpion for example) do not hesitate to ask a local for help… It will usually make them laugh to see the little Europeans afraid of such a small animal, but they will surely help you to get rid of it… Experienced in the Amazon!

A problem in some areas, especially if you are hiking… But from our experience stray dogs are still pretty indifferent to your presence, and very often they will simply come to you wagging their tails in the hope of having a little something to eat or a cuddle!

Besides, in South America it is not uncommon for them to follow you for a whole day on a hike, but very few want to hurt you.

The most dangerous dogs according to us are those that are in the wild, and that are more or less domesticated. Understand that they are vaguely fed by a person and that “in exchange” they keep an eye on their owner’s land.

So you have to be careful with these, we had some some troubles while hiking in China with the dogs that guarded the herds of yaks… Our advice, keep your distance from the houses, stay calm and when in doubt keep one or two stones in your hand to defend yourself in case they get dangerously close.

But overall, stray dogs are more like that:

stray dogs

I admit they scare me…. But in 18 months we saw exactly 4 of them! and 3 times it was in the jungle with a guide who showed us! (the 4th it was a solo hike, and now I admit it scared me…) So yes there are, but believe me they can feel you coming from far away, and in general they’d much rather go underground than face you ! Besides, the one we met while hiking quickly left and I think he was more afraid of me screaming than I was of him! 🙂

A very strange animal that is easily spotted by the noise it makes (especially at night). In fact, for a long time we thought it was a bird! In short, these are the ones that will officially be your best friends on the road! They love to sit on the ceiling of the rooms and feed mainly on… Mosquitoes and spiders! And since the tourist is not yet on his favorite list of dishes, he is really the ideal roommate!

A nuisance!!!!! On our side, we have not been spared in Asia! A week with these bugs during our cycling and camping week in Taiwan , a few bites in Laos but above all a 23-hour bus ride in Indonesia with infested seats!

Sorry but there is nothing to do to avoid them, the only option is to check the mattresses (we don’t see the fleas, but on the other hand we see small black stains or mini blood stains (it’s their droppings) 😉 .

For the curious, stings look pretty much like that:

bed bugs bites

This is a bit like the South American version of mosquitoes! They are everywhere in the Andes, they are tiny and operate day and night! We were literally eaten by these things during our trek to Machu Picchu! Only effective remedy? Wear long clothes!

Speaking of sandflies, if you are interested in a short break from your readings, here is our video of our 9-day trek to Machu Picchu ! Sandflies’ bites are illustrated at “02:10” in the video below 😉

Other wild animals

Elephants, hippopotamus, lynx, lion, etc…. Yes they exist and can be dangerous, but to be honest, man spends much more time looking for them and taking pictures of them than what these poor beasts spend time “hunting” humans. Anyway, leave them alone, and everything will be fine!

Oh and if an elephant loads you, climbs a tree, or turns around a tree , that should discourage him… Don’t try to run, because despite their hanging look, elephants run much faster than you do!

Highly mediatized, this type of aggression exists everywhere, but it is true that it is more common in South America than in Asia… a question of culture perhaps, but in Asia they are more in the reap off than in physical violence. So even if it’s a reality, don’t think it’s happening on every street corner either…. 18 months of travel, including 9 months in Latin America and not the slightest worry for us! However, there are a few safety rules to follow.

assault robberies

The “basic” safety rules to be observed (valid all over the world, by the way)

  • Avoid openly displaying your wealth , especially in large cities. Walking around the center of Quito with your camera around the neck and dollars coming out of your pockets is not really a good idea…
  • Always take official taxi drivers!
  • Do not walk alone at night in large capitals, and especially not in small unlit streets with little traffic
  • Follow your instincts! If you don’t feel comfortable in a place, take a taxi, go into a shop or café and go back to where you feel comfortable.
  • Avoid exposing stress and mistrust . A relaxed person attracts much less attention, be confident and walk as usual. Avoid looking lost…. if you really are, ask someone!
  • Keep your passport and credit card with you , in a front pocket for example!
  • Never cross public parks at night.
  • Ask your hotel or hostel for advice on which neighbourhoods to avoid, and follow the recommendations of the local people.
  • And most importantly, in case of aggression don’t try to resist , give what you have and remember that nothing is irreplaceable!

And if you want more details, we wrote an entire article dedicated to security in South America .

Hmmm we don’t know if we’re very objective about it, but we have to say that Asia has worn us down a little bit at this level… We often had the impression that we were being fooled. And to be honest this impression has totally disappeared in South America. Of course there are some tourist traps on the American continent as well, but nothing compared to Asia in our opinion… In Asia everything is negotiable, even a bottle of water bought in the street…


Our advices :

  • Try to get used to the currency of a country quickly and have price references for everyday things. A bottle of water, an hour on a bus, a night in a hotel… Having references will give you a better idea of the degree of scam…
  • Know what you want , and before you ask the price, set yourself a price you’re willing to pay… and stick to it! You bought a great bracelet that you absolutely wanted for 3€ that may be be worth 1 at most? Well… the seller is happy, and so are you, that’s all!

tuktuk in Angkor

  • Whenever possible (for taxis in large cities, for example), insist that the driver use the meter! In cities like Bangkok, for example, a taxi that runs on the meter costs almost nothing!
  • Feel free to observe the price paid by a local before you . For example for food or drinks bought in the street or in a bus… Get in line, prepare the change and give it with a convinced look. If the seller has just sold the same thing 2 seconds before and you show that you know the price there is (usually) no problem.
  • When you negotiate, do it with a smile!
  • If you really are in a complicated situation, don’t hesitate to pretend you want to call the police… Even if it would often be pointless, it can help. This happened to us with a taxi driver in Vietnam who wanted to bill us 10 times the price of the trip… he claimed that his counter was missing a 0, except that we had made the same trip the day before, and so we knew the price… Especially since the amount he was asking us was more than an average Vietnamese monthly salary, and for only 11 minutes of taxi time… Hmmm!

Altitude Sickness

In Asia you are unlikely to be confronted with the problem, or at least in South East Asia… Nepal and parts of China are another story…

But in South America you may find yourself confronted with it, even if you are not hiking!

Well yes, just the city of La Paz is already almost 4000m above sea level, and a trip to Sur Lipez will bring you closer to 5000m!

altitude sickness

Altitude sickness is something that can affect anyone , regardless of whether you are a great sportsman or a siesta fan; your physical condition has no impact on this phenomenon (specialists tend to say that the most athletic people are most affected).

The risks of altitude sickness are serious: pulmonary embolism, cerebral embolism can lead to death!

But in most cases, altitude sickness simply means extreme fatigue, lack of strength, vomiting, and headache .

So there are medicines on the market that can help prevent this problem, but believe us, nothing will ever replace good acclimatization and some common sense advice…

Some basic rules about altitude sickness

  • First of all, the most important thing is to acclimatize! Try to climb gradually, and if, for example, you land directly in La Paz, then allow yourself a few days to get used to it before you go on hikes at higher altitude.
  • Hydrate yourself! At high altitudes, you should drink at least 2 litres of water per day. More, if you go hiking!
  • The Coka leaves! In South America, the Coca leaf is considered to have virtues to reduce altitude sickness. It is consumed as a herbal tea, coca mate, or you can chew the leaf directly. We drank the Mate (which is quite good), but we didn’t try the leaf. On our first day of trekking, 3 of our companions chewed the leaf and all found themselves with a beautiful diarrhea for the first night of camping… 😉
  • If the symptoms become too strong, the only solution is to go back at lower altitude as fast as possible! Avoid sleeping at high altitudes as much as possible if you have symptoms that go beyond a simple headache!
  • Know how to listen to your body! You have always dreamed of climbing to 6000m but you already feel bad at 4000m? So don’t try the devil… if you have time ahead of you you can repel the ascent and acclimatize gently, but if not, don’t force it!

But don’t worry, by being a little careful you won’t notice much! For example in our case, altitude has never been a problem because we have always been careful not to overestimate ourselves… Benoit even reached the top of Parinacota in Bolivia without any trouble (6342m though) 🙂

And if you want to have an example of what not to do, we did a trek in Peru with a guy who was too proud and stubborn to go down… He could have died! You can read about this misadventure here .

parinacota Bolivia

What? What do you mean? We go on a round-the-world trip, we experience crazy things every day, all our colleagues envy us, and we still manage to complain???

Well, yes… well, almost! Let’s just say that travelling is a unique experience, but don’t fool yourself, spend all your days moving, negotiating, changing beds, getting scared in transport, finding yourself confronted with the language barrier, not eating what you really want, etc… well it can get tiring…

And many long-distance travellers will tell you, there is sometimes a moment when you don’t really want to anymore…

We aspire to a quieter, more routine life, we want to know what tomorrow will be like…


Let’s be honest we didn’t really understand this phenomenon before we left, and it took us almost 16 months, but we didn’t escape this little down period!

Nothing very bad eh, but just a little less motivation to discover another park, another temple, etc…. Life on the roads is incredible, we love it, but sometimes there is a little down moment…

Don’t panic, it often passes by itself.

Nothing to worry about, these little periods usually go by themselves, and each traveller has his own way of dealing with them. For us, it generally means rest, and especially “doing nothing”. It happened to us a few times on the trip that we decided to stay a small week in one place, and eventually not to do much… For example, we stayed 5 days in Sucre, Bolivia, and did absolutely nothing of what is recommended in the guides… No, we just enjoyed a nice little inn, we walked around, ate ice cream, and that’s it!

The same for Mendoza , we rented an apartment for 3 weeks, and we didn’t even go around the vineyards by bike as any good visitor should do…. No, we just took advantage of this time to work on personal projects, we had aperos on our terrace, we invited some friends to come and eat, we went shopping at the market and we prepared good meals! In short, we took back the space of 3 weeks, a 100% ordinary life, and it felt good!

Besides, in our opinion it is very important to remain flexible and to know how to listen to yourself in order to succeed in your round the world trip .

mendoza Argentina

Hmmm… We are very sorry about this one but we didn’t find any solution to avoid it… And unfortunately that’s a very contagious disease that infects 99,9% of travelers… Only solution to feel better ? Once you came back, plan as soon as possible a new adventure!

travel fever

We will be back in the next and last chapter to find some more last minute practical information as well as a summary of everything you need to think about before you leave

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Travelling at high speed on ground level is much more dangerous than at high speed In the sky. (Hyperloop Vs Airplane.)

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Travel Agent Mistakes

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1. Lack of Contact Information

In the world of social media and websites, many independent travel agents use platforms such as Instagram or Facebook to bring in traffic and build up their brand.

While this can certainly be a good thing for business, it is important to always include some way of communicating with those who see your profiles.

Implement strategies to direct people back from your social media channels to your website, and be sure to provide easy access to your contact information.

2. Mixing Business With Personal Life

If you operate on social media platforms, be sure not to combine your personal life with your travel booking business. Nothing detracts from your professionalism more than overly political, negative or posts too personal in nature.


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Not Focusing on a Niche Area of Travel

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However, trying to offer everything may mean that you can’t be an expert on any one thing. While you can still offer a range of travel booking services, try to focus in on a niche area where you can truly excel. As you gain experience, you can expand your niche to include other areas on which you can become an expert.

Mixing Up Geography

This is perhaps the most embarrassing mistake that a new travel agent can make, but it can easily be avoided by double checking any geography before you begin helping a new client.

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unfortunately travelling is becoming

Think solo travel is a young person's game? Think again


Recently updated on August 1st, 2023 at 03:21 pm

Solo travel is one of the best ways to explore the world. There’s no need to wait a lifetime for the perfect travel companion or squeeze your plans to fit in with your partner, best friend, sister or travel buddies. If you want to visit Italy, just travel by yourself. If you’re ready to explore US National Parks, lock in those dates. Here are some surprising facts about solo travel – especially mature travellers – that will make you rethink your next expedition.

Solo travel on the rise

When is the best time to travel? Whenever YOU are ready. The number of people travelling solo seems to just increase year on year, and we predict that after the pandemic it will only continue to rise with people – especially mature travellers – refusing to put their lives on hold to wait for family or friends to say ‘yes!’. According to Google trend data from 2021, solo travel is up by 761 percent as people are “biting the bullet” and looking for new experiences. Booking.com stats from 2020 showed some 25% of all travellers were thinking of taking a solo trip in 2020. It’s likely those plans were put on ice, but are you making plans for 2022?

RELATED BLOG: The dream bucket list destinations that are open to travellers for 2022 trips

Solo travel destinations Young-Woman-Hiker-with-Backpack-www.istockphoto.comgbphotoyoung-woman-hiker-with-backpack-jumping-on-wilderness-mountaintop-canada-gm517407918-89470425-PamelaJoeMcFarlane

Solo travellers travel more

Love the idea of travelling lots ? Travel by yourself and you too could take three or more trips a year. Yes, our solo traveller friends manage to organise and book more trips each year than those travelling in a group, with their partner or family. Of course it’s easiesr to organise a trip when you don’t need to coordinate multiple schedules and find dates to suit everyone. 

The mature solo traveller is the new Millennial

Solo travel isn’t just a young person’s game. While those between 24 and 55 make up the larger majority of those travelling alone, the Baby Boomer audience has latched onto the trend. At Trafalgar we’ve seen the average age of solo travellers who book directly with us increase from 55-years-old in 2016 to 62-years-old in 2021. 

unfortunately travelling is becoming

Retirement travel is the new honeymoon

We celebrate love with travel, so why not celebrate a lifetime of work with a trip too? Retirement travel is becoming more popular as hard working Baby Boomers hang up their boots and treat themselves to an adventure abroad. After all, if you’ve just spent 40- or 50-something years bringing in the dough to pay for your lifestyle, raise kids and put food on the table you surely deserve the chance to tick off your bucket list and make memories overseas. A study by Booking.com found Baby Boomer solo travel was a growing trend, and that 40 percent of those aged between 55 and 64 took a solo trip in 2018.

GET INSPIRED BY: Great Italian Cities

Group trips remove the disadvantages of solo travel

While exploring the world enriches us with new experiences, unfortunately travelling by yourself can throw up some disadvantages. If you travel alone – especially as a female – you need to be more aware of your surroundings and make extra considerations if venturing out alone at night. Plus, solo travel can be more expensive when there’s no one to split the bill with. It’s why so many solo female and mature travellers choose to join a group trip or guided tour that gives them the safety and comfort of a shared experience while still allowing them the freedom of a solo trip. 

Eating Out in Florence Couples-Shopping-in-Italian-Delicatessen-www.istockphoto.com_gb_photo_mature-couples-shopping-in-an-italian-delicatessen-gm611081362-105074279-SolStock

RELATED BLOG: 7 Trafalgar experiences perfect for solo travellers

Women lead solo travel trend

Speaking of women, some 84 percent of all solo travellers are female. In 2019, 72 percent of women in the US took a solo vacation, and 65 percent of American women have taken a holiday without their partner. That’s right, you don’t have to be single to travel by yourself.

RELATED BLOG: What to do when your partner doesn’t share your love for travel

Are you a mature traveller planning a retirement trip or solo travel adventure? Let us know how you feel about solo travel in the comments below… 


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Gabe Hiatt named travel editor

Gabe will lead travel news and service coverage to empower readers to become smarter travelers.

Announcement from Executive Features Editor Ben Williams, Deputy Features Editors Amanda Finnegan and Hank Stuever:

We are excited to announce the promotion of Gabe Hiatt to Travel Editor. In this role, he will lead our travel news and service coverage to empower readers to become smarter travelers.

As deputy travel editor for more than two years, Gabe spearheaded the planning of a multi-story package on regional pizza in America and managed an immersive visual story on a surfers’ paradise in Indonesia . He worked with desks across the newsroom during breaking news events such as the wildfires in Maui and Baltimore bridge collapse, providing quick service journalism to help inform readers about how their travel would be impacted.

Most recently, Gabe edited a profile of America’s favorite travel guide, Rick Steves , and front-page stories scrutinizing a pattern of security lapses at U.S. airports and outdated mental health standards for pilots. He’s helped raise the bar on stories and projects since joining By The Way in 2021, pushing us to think more collaboratively and ambitiously.

Gabe first joined The Post as a high school sports reporter in 2013 and was previously the Sports Editor of Washington Post Express. In between stints with The Post, Gabe was the editor of Eater DC for three years. You can find his local restaurant insights in the Casual Dining column for Weekend. Gabe lives with his wife, Beth, and their dog, Barkley, in Logan Circle.

Please join us in congratulating Gabe. His new role starts immediately.

unfortunately travelling is becoming

I will travel, I’m traveling, or I will be traveling?

YouTube video

Take your grammar to the next level!

Our question of the day is about the future in English: should we say:

  • I will be traveling next month.
  • I am traveling next month.
  • I will travel next month.

The two best options are “I will be traveling next month” and “I am traveling next month.”

We could also say “I’m going to travel next month.” Three correct ways for talking about future plans.

Why DON’T we say “I will travel next month”?

We tend not to use will + verb for established plans. We use this structure more for promises, offers, and decisions made at the moment of speaking:

  • “I’ll give you a ride.” (that’s an offer)
  • “I’ll have a large coffee.” (that’s a decision made in the moment)

So, what are you doing tomorrow? I’ll be making more videos!

Go ahead and write your own examples using one of these 3 future forms.

Learn more: Present continuous for future plans

I will travel, I'm traveling, or I will be traveling? Espresso English

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Shayna Oliveira

Shayna Oliveira is the founder of Espresso English, where you can improve your English fast - even if you don’t have much time to study. Millions of students are learning English from her clear, friendly, and practical lessons! Shayna is a CELTA-certified teacher with 10+ years of experience helping English learners become more fluent in her English courses.

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8 Vacation Spots To Visit This Summer Before They Become Too Expensive

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Summer is one of the best times to take a trip, but it can also be one of the most expensive . If rising prices are getting in the way of your dream vacation, now is the best time to book your summer getaway.

Here are some vacation spots to visit this summer before they become too expensive

Orlando, Florida

Considering Orlando, Florida, is home to Walt Disney World, Universal Orlando Resort, Fun Spot America and LEGOLAND Florida, it’s no surprise that it’s a popular destination for families. The Kennedy Space Center is also nearby, or you can explore the white sandy beaches of Cocoa Beach, which is about an hour’s drive from Orlando.

A trip to the area’s theme parks isn’t exactly cheap but now may be the best time before ticket prices go up. For example, Walt Disney World has already put its 2025 tickets on sale, and the cheapest one-day, one-park tickets cost $119 for guests over the age of 9, a $10 increase from 2024, USA Today reported.

Aspen, Colorado

Famous for its skiing, Aspen can be an expensive place to travel. However, seasonality is a major factor in how much a vacation will cost. Hotel rates are much higher during the peak ski season. Over the holidays and OptimosTravel said that visitors can expect to spend roughly $760 per day to visit Aspen during this time. But in the summer, according to Forbes, you can typically find much better deals on hotels or camping grounds. 

Washington, D.C.

The District is another popular family destination spot. Not only is there plenty to see and do, but most museums and the National Zoo have free admission. There’s also the Washington Monument, the National Mall and the White House, all of which are free to visit. According to Lonely Planet, summer is when most families visit, but this doesn’t mean you should expect higher prices. The area’s high humidity is a big deterrent, but hotels often have great deals to attract travelers, especially in August and September.

Amelia Island, Florida

Sitting on the border of Florida and Georgia, Amelia Island is a great place to visit for budget-conscious travelers. Families often travel here during the summer to take advantage of the city’s kid-friendly attractions, uncrowded beaches and hotel prices. According to U.S. News & World Report, travelers can find better deals on mid-range hotels and vacation rentals during the summer. 

Glacier National Park, Montana

Glacier National Park in northwest Montana features some of the most impressive scenery in North America, including gorgeous mountain ranges, melting glaciers, alpine meadows and crystal-clear lakes. Summer is the best time to visit if you want to drive down Going-to-the-Sun Road, and the park’s $35 entry fee includes seven-day access. Also, camping in the park is relatively cheap. Rates range from $10 to $23 per night, U.S. News & World Report noted.

According to Google Travel, hotel prices in Aruba are the highest from December through March. But, Upgraded Points says you can save money on hotels and airfare by visiting during the off-season, usually from mid-April to October. U.S. News & World Report also pointed out that you can save even more money by booking your stay at one of Aruba’s all-inclusive resorts or by purchasing a vacation package.

Old San Juan, Puerto Rico

Old San Juan, Puerto Rico, is one of the most popular cruise destinations in the Caribbean. The city is known for its old-world beauty, rich history and vibrant culture. To save money on flights, accommodations, food and activities, Travel + Leisure recommends visiting between August and November. But keep an eye on weather forecasts, considering this is also hurricane season.

With Arches National Park to the north and Canyonlands National Park to the southwest, Moab, Utah, is a popular vacation destination for nature lovers and adventurers. According to U.S. News & World Report, travelers can find a wide range of affordable accommodations, from campgrounds to motels and vacation rentals.

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Israel-Hamas war

May 19, 2024 helicopter crash involving Iranian president

By Antoinette Radford, Dakin Andone, Michelle Shen, Steve Almasy, Matt Meyer and Kathleen Magramo, CNN

Iranian media has confirmed the death of Iran's President Ebrahim Raisi. Our live coverage continues here .

President Raisi was likely traveling on a Bell 212 helicopter acquired before the Iranian Revolution, military expert says

From CNN's Rhea Mogul

A helicopter carrying Iran's President Ebrahim Raisi takes off, near the Iran-Azerbaijan border, on May 19.

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi was likely traveling on a Bell 212 helicopter that began operating in the late 1960s, according to CNN military analyst Cedric Leighton.

Leighton told CNN's Paula Newton that the difficulty in obtaining spare parts could have played a factor in the crash.

The helicopter was first produced in the United States and then in Canada, Leighton, a retired US Air Force colonel, said.

“It was first introduced during the latter period of the Shah’s rule in 1976 in commercial form and it had a life before that in the US military, so the actual start of this particular type of helicopter may have been as early as the late 1960s,” Leighton said.

“So spare parts would have definitely been an issue for the Iranians.”

“In this particular case, I think this confluence of spare parts, because of the sanctions, plus the weather which was very bad over the last few days in this particular part of northwestern Iran. All of that, I think contributed to a series of incidents and a series of decisions that the pilot and possibly even the president himself made when it came to flying this aircraft… And unfortunately for them, the result is this crash.”

Drone footage shows wreckage of crashed helicopter

By CNN's Jerome Taylor

Red Crescent via FARS News Agency

Iran’s president and foreign minister are presumed dead after Iranian media agencies reported that “no survivors” were found at the crash site of a helicopter carrying the two men and seven others.

Iran’s President Ebrahim Raisi and Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian were among the senior officials on board the downed helicopter.

Drone footage of the wreckage taken by the Red Crescent and carried on state media FARS News Agency showed the crash site on a steep, wooded hillside, with little remaining of the helicopter beyond a blue and white tail.

No official announcement of their deaths has yet been made.

Reuters news agency also cited an unnamed Iranian official as saying all passengers are feared dead.

No signs of life from helicopter passengers, says head of Iranian Red Crescent

From CNN's Negar Mahmoodi 

There are no signs of life from those traveling on the helicopter that crashed in Iran's East Azerbaijan province, said Pir-Hossein Kolivand, head of the Iranian Red Crescent, according to Iranian state news IRIB.

Iran's President Ebrahim Raisi is believed dead after Iranian agencies reported that "no survivors" were found at the crash site of a helicopter carrying the leader, Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian, and seven others.

BREAKING: "No survivors" found at crash site of helicopter carrying Iran's President Ebrahim Raisi, Iranian agencies report

From CNN's Artemis Moshtaghian 

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi attends a press conference in New York on September 20, 2023.

"No survivors" were found at the crash site of the helicopter carrying Iran's President Ebrahim Raisi, Iranian state news agency IRINN and semi-official news agency Mehr News reported.

Some background: A former hardline judiciary chief, Raisi was Iran’s eighth president. The former prosecutor and judge was elected in 2021 following a historically uncompetitive presidential contest.

He oversaw a period of  intensified repression of dissent , according to human rights monitors.

Next in the line of succession would be First Vice President Mohammad Mokhber, if approved by Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

Iran's Supreme Leader serves as the final arbiter of domestic and foreign affairs in the Islamic Republic, dwarfing the powers of the country's president.

Unlike his predecessor, the moderate former President Hassan Rouhani, Raisi had fostered a close alliance with Khamenei. Many Iranians believed Raisi was being groomed to one day succeed the ailing 85-year-old Khamenei.

CNN's Tamara Qiblawi contributed reporting to this post.

Rescuers have reached crash site of helicopter carrying Iran's President Ebrahim Raisi

From Negar Mahmoodi and Artemis Moshtaghian

Rescuers have reached the crash site of the helicopter carrying President Ebrahim Raisi, Iran’s semi-official Tasnim news agency.

The agency did not say the condition of those who were on board the helicopter.

At least 73 rescue teams are in the area of the helicopter crash near the village of Tavil in Iran's East Azerbaijan province, according to Pir-Hossein Kolivand, head of the Iranian Red Crescent, Tasnim reported.

Kolivand said the "the situation is not good," according to Iranian state news IRNA.

It's 6 a.m. in Tehran. Here's what we know

Rescue vehicles are seen after the crash of a helicopter carrying Iran's President Ebrahim Raisi in Varzaqan, northwestern Iran, on May 19.

The crash site of the helicopter carrying Iran's President Ebrahim Raisi has been located, Iranian state news agency IRNA and semi-official news outlet ISNA reported on Monday. 

The helicopter crashed in a remote part of the country on Sunday.

As president of Iran, Raisi is the second most powerful individual in the Islamic Republic's political structure after Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. He became president in a historically uncompetitive election in 2021, and he has overseen a period of intensified repression of dissent in a nation convulsed by youth-led protests against religious clerical rule.

The crash comes at a fraught moment in the Middle East, with war raging in Gaza and weeks after Iran launched a drone-and-missile attack on Israel in response to a deadly strike on its diplomatic compound in Damascus.

Here’s what to know:

  • Others on board: Nine people were onboard the helicopter, including the country's foreign minister, and their status remains unknown as rescue operations continue through the early hours on Monday.
  • Rescue: Rescuers are contending with dense fog and extreme cold in the country's remote East Azerbaijan Province. A Turkish drone had located a heat source but have not reached the crash site nor located the helicopter. Turkey and Russia have said they are sending aircraft to help in search operations.

BREAKING: Rescuers locate crash site of helicopter carrying Iran's President Ebrahim Raisi, state media says

 From CNN's Negar Mahmoodi and Artemis Moshtaghian 

The crash site of the helicopter carrying Iran's President Ebrahim Raisi and the country's foreign minister has been located, Iranian state news agency IRNA and semi-official news outlet ISNA reported on Monday. 

Rescuers are approaching the scene of the accident, ISNA said, citing Pir-Hossein Kolivand, head of the Iranian Red Crescent.

State media did not give the exact location of the site. 

More to follow.

Analysis: Helicopter crash comes at a fraught time for region — and Iran itself

From CNN's Jerome Taylor

An anti-missile system operates after Iran launched drones and missiles towards Israel, as seen from Ashkelon, Israel April 14.

The crash of a helicopter carrying Iran’s president and foreign minister comes at an especially fraught moment in the Middle East – and for Iran domestically.

Israel’s war against Hamas and the subsequent humanitarian catastrophe that has unfolded in Gaza over the last seven months has inflamed global opinion and sent tensions soaring across the Middle East. 

It has also brought a decades-long shadow war between Iran and Israel out into the open.

Last month Iran launched an unprecedented drone and missile attack on Israel — its first ever direct attack on the country — in response to a deadly apparent Israeli airstrike on Iran’s consulate in Damascus that killed a top commander in Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards (IRGC). 

Israel struck back a week later , according to US officials, hitting targets outside the Iranian city of Isfahan with a much smaller, calibrated response. 

Since then the tit-for-tat direct strikes between the two have stopped. But the proxy war continues with Iran-backed militias such as Hamas and Hezbollah continuing to fight Israel’s forces.

Meanwhile, Iran’s hardline leadership has weathered an explosion of recent popular dissent on the streets at home where years of US-led sanctions have hit hard.

The country was convulsed by youth-led demonstrations against clerical rule and worsening economic conditions following the 2022 death of Mahsa Amini in the custody of Iran’s notorious morality police.

Iranian authorities have since launched a widening crackdown on dissent in response to the protests.

That crackdown has led to human rights violations, some of which amount to “crimes against humanity,” according to a United Nations report released in March.

And while the protests for now have largely stopped, opposition to clerical leadership remains deeply entrenched among many Iranians, especially the young, who yearn for reform, jobs and a move away from stifling religious rule.

A former hardline judiciary chief with his own brutal human rights record, Raisi was elected president in 2021 in a vote that was heavily engineered by the Islamic Republic’s political elite so that he would run virtually uncontested.

While he is president, his powers are dwarfed by those of Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, who is the final arbiter of domestic and foreign affairs in the Islamic Republic.  

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California Today

Wayfarers Chapel Is Coming Down

The famed chapel in Southern California closed this year because of severe damage from a landslide. Leaders now say it will be disassembled until a new site is found.

By Douglas Morino

The inside of a chapel with rows of pews and tall glass windows and ceilings.

Perched among redwoods on a bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean, Wayfarers Chapel has served as a spiritual home in coastal Los Angeles County for nearly 75 years.

The glass chapel in Rancho Palos Verdes was a popular spot for weddings, and it attracted photographers for its architecture, sprawling ocean views and manicured lawns. But it was closed in February because of severe damage from a landslide that city officials attributed to recent winter storms.

Chapel leaders said this week that the chapel, a national historic landmark, would be disassembled and stored until a new site could be found.

“We’re all devastated,” the Rev. Dan Burchett, the chapel’s executive director, said in a news conference. “We’ve been working feverishly to do what we can to save the chapel. But the landslide is looming, and it’s a tragedy felt by many.”

Officials hope to rebuild the chapel in a safe, stable spot, either on its current campus or on another plot in the city, said the mayor of Ranchos Palos Verdes, John Cruikshank. The project to disassemble and eventually rebuild the chapel is expected to take four years.

I recently visited Wayfarers, walking under a canopy of redwoods and pines as crashing waves echoed in the distance. Stone walkways were cracked and broken. About 15 of the chapel’s glass panels were shattered, and several structural beams were on a precarious slant.

The chapel, affiliated with the Swedenborgian Church of North America, was built in 1951 in Portuguese Bend, an area notorious for ground movement. City officials attribute the current instability to the 1950s, when work crews were grading land for a road at the top of the Palos Verdes Peninsula and triggered a long-dormant landslide. It’s been in motion ever since, spanning 675 acres and threatening hundreds of homes, city officials said.

When the chapel closed in February, more than 175 scheduled weddings and special events were canceled. Naomi White’s wedding was among them.

“Getting married there was something I had my heart set on for a long time,” said White, 28, who grew up in the nearby community of San Pedro and had chosen a date in July. “There’s something about how the glass brings in light in such a gorgeous way. The chapel combines faith with nature, and being there is a spiritual experience.”

Some parts of the ground in the landslide area are moving more than nine inches a week, affecting an important highway as well as the chapel. The road is rapidly deteriorating, with new fissures and large cracks that slow traffic. City officials have allocated more than $14 million to install pumps that remove underground water, which contributes to the movement, and to repave broken roads.

“Everyone is feeling anxious and nervous,” Ara Mihranian, the city manager, told me. “It’s very important to be aggressive and do what we can immediately. For years we’ve been saying something imminent is going to happen.”

Although the ground is moving fairly quickly, residents have been told that a single cataclysmic landslide isn’t expected, Mihranian said.

But for Eva Albuja, who grew up on a street above Wayfarers and has lived in the area for more than four decades, it’s still unnerving to think that the landslide is creeping closer every day. The ceiling and walls of her house on the landslide’s southern edge are lined with cracks. Two neighbors have had their houses red-tagged as unsafe to occupy, and many more houses have structural damage.

“It’s been very hard,” Albuja told me, holding back tears. “ We don’t know what will happen.”

The rest of the news

Academic workers in the University of California system authorized their union to call for a strike over the system’s handling of pro-Palestinian protests. A university spokeswoman said that a strike would set “a dangerous precedent that would introduce nonlabor issues into labor agreements.”

Southern California

U.C.L.A. is among three schools backing a new A.I. program that aims to prepare lower-income, Latina and Black female computing majors for artificial intelligence careers.

Police officers cleared the protest encampment at the University of California, Irvine, Wednesday night.

Northern California

Sonoma State University’s president has been placed on administrative leave after he released a campuswide message promising to pursue “divestment strategies” and endorsing an academic boycott of Israel, the California State University system chancellor said.

Tesla is planning to cut over 600 jobs in the Bay Area in another week of layoff announcements, The Los Angeles Times reports.

The city of Antioch has agreed to a $7.5 million settlement with the family of Angelo Quinto, who died in 2020 after a police encounter in which the family claims that officers knelt on him, KQED reports.

And before you go, some good news

A pilot program with students from the California School of the Deaf in Riverside is teaching the children how to code , ABC 7 reports. The course, taught by instructors at California Baptist University, is eight hours long.

The students are taught coding by creating their own video games. Instructors are aided by American Sign Language interpreters, some of whom are students with the Center for Deaf Studies.

“The students will engage with their instructor but they’re engaging in another language,” said Phil Van Haaster, dean of California Baptists’ engineering college. “And in engineering, computer science is very much another language.”

Thanks for reading. We’ll be back tomorrow.

P.S. Here’s today’s Mini Crossword .

Soumya Karlamangla , Halina Bennet , Briana Scalia and Jonathan Wolfe contributed to California Today. You can reach the team at [email protected].

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