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A Hotbed for the Virus..What Travelers Experienced Returning From Europe to Overwhelmed U.S. Airports

Eric DiMarzio and his fiancé returned home to Houston after a one-week vacation in Iceland. They were only supposed to be at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport for a one-hour layover.

On Wednesday, President Donald Trump announced he would suspend all travel from Europe to the U.S. for 30 days to prevent the rising spread of the new coronavirus, officially known as COVID-19. The ban did not apply to U.S. citizens and it prompted a stampede of Americans out of the continent. Those returning would be subject to “enhanced” health screenings, however.

DiMarzio and his fiancé were waiting in line, along with what they estimated as a “few thousand” others, for hours at the Chicago airport on Saturday. They stood alongside couples with infants, college students traveling back from disrupted study abroad programs and elderly people, who are particularly high-risk for COVID-19. About 3,000 Americans returning from Europe were stuck for hours inside the customs area at O’Hare International Airport on Saturday, according to the Associated Press. Return flights from Europe were being funneled through 13 airports in the U.S.

“Just being around that many different people in that close quarters was worrying,” DiMarzio tells TIME, adding that he and his fiancé, both 31, were at the airport from about 7 p.m. until 11 p.m. One older woman who appeared to be tired kept almost falling asleep as the line kept trudging along slowly, he added.

Travelers across American airports have raised concerns this weekend that the screenings designed to limit the spread of COVID-19, may actually be making the disease more likely to spread as passengers are crammed in with people from different flights and countries as they make their way through long, winding lines. These packed spaces run counter to federal COVID-19 guidelines that recommend “social distancing” and avoiding large gatherings of people. The virus typically spreads between people who are in close contact — within about six feet of each other — through respiratory droplets that are produced when a person coughs or sneezes.

As situations at airports grew more concerning, some state officials blasted the federal government for allowing the build up of big crowds. Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker was quick to criticize the Trump administration for the long lines at O’Hare and sent out a series of frustrated tweets on Saturday night, saying that “The federal government needs to get its s@#t together. NOW.”

On Sunday, Pritzker said that federal officials told him U.S. Customs and Border Patrol would be increasing staff at O’Hare today.

But passengers who had to deal with earlier crowds wonder if the experience may have increased the possibility of exposure. DiMarzio said in a Facebook post that “if there was someone with coronavirus on any of the international flights that arrived today, you could not plan a better way of exposing them to as many people as possible.” He wrote that he was kept in a customs room with thousands of other international travelers for four hours and the the line was “shuffled so many times” that “we frequently found ourselves beside more and more different travelers from different flights.”

DiMarzio and his fiancé missed a connecting flight from Chicago to Texas and ended up having to pay for a hotel out-of-pocket.

He told TIME he didn’t mind the long wait time if it helped contain the disease but worried that the cramped lines could have led to the spread of the coronavirus. “If (waiting) is the part that we have to play in all of this to lower the impact of this disease, then we’re happy to do our part,” DiMarzio said. “We just hope that something like this didn’t make things worse,” he added. DiMarzio says he hoped that “lessons are learned quickly” and that “the consequences from this weekend are not any bigger than just an inconvenienced day of travel for us.”

Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport was also packed with long lines this weekend and even those who flew back from outside Europe were caught in the crowd.

“There was total confusion. It was chaos,” Nasreen Zeb told TIME. Zeb is a Dallas resident who identified her age as “above 50” and had just flown back from Pakistan. She said it took about five hours from the moment she exited the plane until when she got her luggage and that she and other travelers were not offered food or water.

Zeb wore a mask but said she was still nervous being within less one foot of other travelers, which included elderly people and young babies crying. She was also “shocked” that no one took her temperature before she went home.

College students whose study abroad programs were abruptly cut short were also among those stuck in O’Hare’s long lines. Sophie Bair, a 19-year-old Columbia University student who was studying abroad at the University of Amsterdam told TIME she booked a flight for Saturday, “not knowing how crazy it would be.” She spent more than four hours standing in lines. “It was concerning being around that many people,” Bair said but notes that she was less worried about herself as she is young and more worried about older travelers.

Tim Clancy, a 20-year-old University of Southern California student was studying abroad in Greece and flew back to the U.S. on Saturday morning.

Clancy said the lines at O’Hare “snaked around” and in some areas it would be a “huge clump of people together so i just felt like it was a hotbed for the virus to travel around.”

“I was more nervous that I contracted coronavirus in the span of getting on the flight and going through customs than I did through my entire time in Greece,” Clancy said.Clancy’s mother tweeted that “if he’s not sick now, odds are he will be soon.”

Clancy is now back home in Madison, Wisc., with his parents and sister but he is staying isolated from them in a guesthouse for the time-being.

By Sanya Mansoor March 15, 2020

Source: ‘A Hotbed for the Virus.’ What Travelers Experienced Returning From Europe to Overwhelmed U.S. Airports

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A day before the Europe travel ban went into effect, passengers arriving to Dulles International Airport and San Francisco International Airport describe their anxiety and travel woes. Subscribe to The Washington Post on YouTube: https://wapo.st/2QOdcqK Follow us: Twitter: https://twitter.com/washingtonpost Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/washingtonp… Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/washingtonpost/

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How To Visit Scandinavia On A Budget In 2020

An aerial view of the harbour at the Aker Brygge neighbourhood in Oslo.

It’s true that Scandinavia is one of the most expensive regions in the world to visit. But the real truth is that it’s only expensive if you mimic behaviors from ‘home’ such as staying in hotels, driving everywhere, visiting theme parks and eating out every night. The great thing about visiting Northern Europe is that none of that is necessary. In fact, doing so will limit your experience.

So while Scandinavia will never be a budget travel destination, there are ways to save money while still enjoying the best, authentic experiences.

Embrace slow travel

The concept of slow travel encourages travelers to slacken their pace, re-consider motivations and embrace a “less is more” instead of a “fast is better” ethos. Travel photographer Lola Akinmade Åkerström runs the website Slow Travel Stockholm and says there is a “frustratingly frequent habit of speeding through all the best known landmarks of a city in 24 or 48 hours.”

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Given the high prices, that habit is very tempting in Scandinavian cities. Yet with their compact nature, walkable streets, multiple green spaces and plenty of apartments with kitchens to rent on AirBnB, Scandinavian cities are also well-suited for slow travel.

It may seem counter-intuitive to stay for longer when on a budget, but cheaper accommodation, much lower cooking costs and the ability to spend longer enjoying the same attractions can all keep the final bill down.

Embrace the outdoors lifestyle

Speaking of slow travel, nature is the theme park of Scandinavia and wild camping is one of the biggest joys of visiting the region. Not only do you get to explore the spectacular scenery with just wildlife for company, it doesn’t cost you a thing. It’s all possible thanks to allemannsretten, which is the freedom to roam law that preserves the right for anyone to access so much of the countryside. The rules differ slightly, but Norway, Denmark and Sweden all have similar regulations in place.

For a more comfortable yet still budget-friendly option, consider staying at one of the region’s many camping grounds. A tent is the cheapest option, but most campsites rent out cabins, which vary in quality from basic shelter to mountain lodge style luxury. They usually sleep at least four and always offer better value than a hotel. Most also come with at least a basic kitchenette so you can cook your own meals, saving yet even more cash.

Skip Norway

It breaks my heart a little to write this given that I’ve lived in Norway for more than eight years. The country’s natural landscape is simply stunning and there’s so many opportunities to enjoy once-in-a-lifetime experiences. Yet there’s no denying that it’s much easier to rack up a big bill in Norway than it is in Sweden or Denmark.

If you’re not willing to embrace slow travel or the outdoors lifestyle, or if your idea of Scandinavia is cutting-edge design and urban chic, Sweden or Denmark could be better choices for you.

Plan ahead

If you want to travel quickly around the region and/or you prefer to stay in hotels, all is not lost. It’s still possible to slash the total bill simply by booking and paying in advance. This applies especially to domestic flights and trains, for which prices can be up to half by booking a specific departure at least a week in advance.

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If you’re confident you won’t change your plans, savings can be made with some hotel chains by paying upfront. For example, the popular Radisson Blu chain typically offers a 10-15% reduction in room rates when you pay in advance, although the bookings are non-refundable.

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I was born in the U.K. but moved to Norway in 2011 and haven’t looked back. I run a website and podcast for fellow expats, authored the Moon Norway travel guidebook, help Norwegian companies with their English, and spend my free time touring the country to discover more about the people and places of this unique corner of the world. I write for Forbes with an outsider’s inside perspective on Norway & Scandinavia.

Source: How To Visit Scandinavia On A Budget In 2020

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Travel Trends To Watch For 2020

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The travel industry continues to see massive changes as the Internet of Things continues to morph the world into its virtual, app-based mold. Along with technology, the issue of global warming is another major factor in change with travelers increasingly paying attention to carbon footprints and factors like single-use plastics when they book their vacations. Another factor in travel trends continues to be the emphasis on marketing to millennials with hotels creating entire brands to seize the almighty millennial dollar.

Top travel trends to watch in 2020 include:

The Rise of the Hotel Sub-Brand

Large hotel brands like Marriott, Hilton, Accor, and Hyatt are increasingly turning to the sub-brand as a way to reach new segments of loyalty and as a method of distinguishing the many properties they acquire.

The trend was spearheaded with the birth of Hyatt’s Andaz when it debuted in 2007 as the Andaz London Liverpool Station.

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One of the fastest growing brands is Marriott’s “Moxy” brand, designed for millennial “fun-hunters and to a more mature guest who is still young-at-heart” according to branding literature. The first Moxy opened in Milan in 2014 and there are currently 50 properties around the world with more than a hundred planned in the pipeline.

Millennial lures include free drinks on check-in, whimsical room decor, lots of meet and mingle space in the public areas and grab-and-go dining options. The PR machine around the Moxy is also whirring with celebrity events like the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit launch event being held in the NY Moxy in 2018.

Your Phone Is Your Key…And Everything Else

Hotels are increasingly offering key-less options for travelers. Your phone operates as your hotel key and in some tech-forward properties it can do things in the room like turn lights on and off and raise and lower temperature. Hilton is one chain that offers an app through their Honors program allowing guests the option of bypassing those little pieces of plastic that get lost in your bag.

Bathtubs Are Disappearing

Your next hotel room may not have a bathtub. You might have to book a room in a vintage property or a five-star hotel to get yourself a good soak. Hotels are increasingly doing away with bathtubs in all but their most palatial rooms. The reason? Modern travelers don’t want them, say designers. They are also time consuming to clean and use more water resources.

Get A Cookie Or A Meal Or a Non-Reclining Seat But Forget About Leg Room

In 2017 Delta announced the restoration of free meals in economy class on some national flights. At the same time, they also said that increased leg room wasn’t going to be part of the new deal. As airlines look for ways to placate passengers wedged into increasingly smaller seats, expect more offers like cookies or in flight meals. Some airlines have also tried to stop the seat recline battle when passengers try to settle in tiny spaces by preventing the seats from reclining at all. Allegiant and Ryan have such seats and British Airways has ordered new aircraft with seats with a “gentle” recline that doesn’t end up in your fellow passengers’ lap.

Get Ready To Pay Extra for Carry-On

As airlines continue to look for ways to increase revenue, they continue to eye the sacrosanct carry-on bag allowance as the next pay-for-play jackpot. Carry on bags cause passenger disruptions when people wedge too-big-bags into too-small spaces and take over fellow passengers’ overheads. Starting with no-carry-on budget fare options, the possibility that all airlines will soon charge for any carry on bag is fast approaching. Enjoy the overhead while you can.

The “Experiential” Boom is Waning

While hotels and destinations have been riding on the “experiential” travel trend, offering in-house cooking classes with local chefs and tastings at local restaurants with native chefs, among other “experiences” this trend seems to be exhausting hoteliers who are now hoping that guests will use options like online concierge services to figure out how to “live like a local” on their own.

Millennials Are Being Lured Out to Sea

Image - WP TravelSite FeatureThe travel industry has figured out that it better youth-en up their demographic fast. Cruise lines like Celebrity Edge are increasingly being marketed to younger travelers. Perhaps the biggest happening in this arena is the 2020 debut of “The Scarlet Lady,” the first ship in the new Virgin Voyages line. The first of four ships planned for the Millennial-baiting cruise line heralds a new chapter in cruising, designed to ensure the survival of the industry after the Baby Boomers have gone.

Swings. Everywhere.

Designed expressly for people to get the Grammable moment of their dreams, these swing destinations (where all you do is sit on a swing and get your picture taken) are popping up all around the world but primary in Bali.

Look for this trend to fade as soon as the Grammers find another visual metaphor for living the life of their dreams and everyone else’s.

Follow me on Twitter. Check out my website.

I’ve been to over 80 countries in all the continents of the world, starting my solo travels at age 13 as a student in Spain. Books, movies, paintings spark me to travel. I’ve crossed Wadi Rumm on a camel in the steps of Lawrence of Arabia. I’ve toured the Paris sewers under the old Opera House searching for the real Phantom of the Opera. Luxury is a subjective word but I love and report on creature comforts: memorable food and wine moments that blend seamlessly with the journey. I also believe that bringing your whole self and all your experience and emotion to the trip makes for better travel journalism (and better travels). I’m not afraid to push myself to explore the human experience from a very different point of view than my own. Follow my journeys on http://www.extremeluxurygetaways.com, on Twitter at @gretchenkelly and on Instagram at ExtremeLuxuryGetaways.

Source: Travel Trends To Watch For 2020

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10 Hotels Serving An Unforgettable Thanksgiving

There’s nowhere quite like home for the holidays, but all the stress that comes with preparing the perfect festive meal for your crew can leave you feeling more frazzled than thankful. This November, let the pros at these luxurious lodgings do the cooking, so you can focus on spending time with those closest to you.

From ice skating and turkey trots to multicourse meals and bountiful buffets, these Forbes Travel Guide-approved hotels are serving up all the fixings to make your Thanksgiving one to remember.

Pendry San Diego

Feast for a cause during the second annual ChefsGiving charity dinner at this sleek San Diego hotel. On November 14, 12 local toques (including Lionfish executive chef Jojo Ruiz and Top Chef Mexico alum Claudette Zepeda) will team up to prepare a family-style dinner of gourmet holiday fare (braised turkey legs, twice-baked Japanese sweet potatoes, roasted sunchoke and burrata gratin) that you can feel good about — $30 from each ticket will be donated to the San Diego Food Bank.

If you can’t snag a seat to the charitable gathering, you can still enjoy seasonal treats on November 28 with Provisional’s three-course Thanksgiving menu.

Today In: Lifestyle

Viceroy L’Ermitage Beverly Hills

Savor Turkey Day with a side of sunshine when you spend the holiday at this Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star Beverly Hills hideaway. On November 28, dig into a French-accented feast of roasted turkey roulade and caramelized pear and pecan stuffing at Forbes Travel Guide Recommended bistro Avec Nous.

After polishing off a pumpkin tart, visit the Lobby Lounge & Bar for seasonal sips (cider for kids, cognac cocktails for grownups) and, maybe, a star sighting or two. And with the SoCal hotel’s Family Festivity offer, you’ll sleep soundly knowing that you not only saved 50 percent off a second room for the tots, but scored pint-sized robes and gratis breakfast in the morning, too.

Park Hyatt Chicago

While this posh Michigan Avenue property may make for an ideal home base for some Black Friday shopping, its culinary display the night before at NoMI Kitchen should not be overlooked. Book a spot for the Forbes Travel Guide Recommended restaurant’s popular Turkey Day buffet to indulge in an array of chef’s stations featuring everything from sushi and antipasti to classics like truffle- and sage-brined turkey with cranberry-cornbread stuffing.

And don’t miss a trip to the decadent dessert bar. Treats like cranberry-jam- and gingerbread-cream-stuffed choux puffs and pumpkin pie with whipped white chocolate Chantilly ganache will provide a sweet ending to the day.

Viejas Resort & Casino

Get into the spirit of the season with a visit to Southern California’s largest outdoor ice skating rink at this Four-Star resort just outside San Diego. Lace up your skates and glide across the rink beneath twinkling lights that will put you in a festive mood.

Once you’ve worked up an appetite, refuel with The Buffet at Viejas’ Thanksgiving Day menu . The carving station will serve up autumnal specialties like smoked turkey breast with port wine demi-glace, and bourbon honey ham with currant sauce alongside all the trimmings.

If you’re craving a more romantic holiday, be sure to check in at Forbes Travel Guide Recommended Willows Hotel & Spa at Viejas, an all-suite, adults-only oasis just steps from the action.

The Sanctuary at Kiawah Island Golf Resort

Rather than just one day of celebration, make a weekend of it when you spend Thanksgiving at this Five-Star Southern charmer just outside of Charleston. Kick off the holiday with a turkey trot on the beach, followed by a turkey hunt, family sand sculpting competition and fall festival complete with live music and pumpkin bowling.

When it comes time for dinner, you’ll find an array of scrumptious-sounding feasts, from football and a festive atmosphere at The Players’ Pub to a fall-inspired, multi-course menu in The Ocean Room.

On November 29, the Christmas season gets into full swing with the property’s annual tree lighting ceremony, a holiday bazaar workshop where you can make your own gifts and a hot-cocoa-accompanied showing of The Polar Express.

The Garden City Hotel

Add a little romance to your Thanksgiving festivities when you book the Fall Celebrations package at this grand Forbes Travel Guide Recommended Long Island favorite.

Soak in the stunning fall foliage (and give thanks for some time alone together) from the comfort of your plush room while enjoying epicurean extras like apple confections, locally crafted hard cider and a $50 credit you can apply toward seasonal fare at Red Salt Room by David Burke.

If you still have room after all those goodies, pull up a seat for the property’s Thanksgiving Grand Brunch Buffet. Also curated by chef Burke, the elaborate spread features everything from turkey and sides to breakfast staples (an omelet station, vanilla French toast) and Mediterranean mezze (hummus, grilled haloumi cheese).

Hotel Jerome, Auberge Resorts Collection

Skiers hit the Thanksgiving jackpot this year as Aspen Mountain opens for the season on November 28. Be one of the first to cruise the slopes and work up an appetite for a holiday feast at this historic Four-Star hotel.

From 2 to 8 p.m., restaurant Prospect will present a bountiful buffet of fall favorites (butternut squash bisque, citrus-herb-roasted turkey with cranberry sauce) and succulent seafood (an oyster- and shrimp-packed raw bar) to help you round out your alpine holiday.

Archer Hotel Austin

For a Thanksgiving feast with Southwestern flair, head to this trendy Forbes Travel Guide Recommended boutique hotel, where Second Bar + Kitchen (the second outpost from the popular local restaurant) will cook up a mouthwatering spread. Nibble on chipotle-corn muffins with honey-lime butter while piling your plate with maple-mustard-glazed Niman Ranch ham and roasted sweet potatoes with bourbon apples.

Get a head-start on your holiday shopping (and work off those tasty indulgences) by browsing the array of high-end stores in the nearby Domain Northside retail district. Be sure to snap a selfie or two with the neighborhood’s unique decorations — Cowboy Santa and the 10-foot-tall Willie Nelson nutcracker offer a quirky taste of Austin.

Belmond Charleston Place

Always a go-to for special occasions in the Holy City, this regal Four-Star retreat’s Charleston Grill is pulling out all the stops in late November with a three-course meal fit for a debutante.

Snag a table in the elegant Four-Star restaurant’s wood-paneled dining room to savor festive French-inspired plates like foie gras with rosemary, braised rabbit with potato dumplings and crab cakes. Of course, traditional herb-roasted turkey with all the fixings is also available for Thanksgiving purists.

End your evening on a sweet note with a pumpkin pie pot de crème, served with a comforting apple turnover and cinnamon whipped cream.

The Ritz-Carlton New York, Central Park

For an unforgettable holiday, check into this recently refreshed Five-Star classic where unbeatable views of Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade come standard.

Book the Specialty Suites promotion to not only receive ultra-plush accommodations facing the parade route, but also a slew of celebratory extras like in-suite brunch, a one-hour session with a personal photographer and a $250 credit at Four-Star La Prairie at The Ritz-Carlton Spa.

Cap off your indulgent stay with a three-course Thanksgiving dinner at the posh property’s newly opened Contour restaurant. Fall-tinged dishes like New Bedford scallops with apple cider glaze and sweet potato gnocchi with hazelnut cream sauce add a modern twist to the menu. —Sarah Chanin

Forbes Travel Guide, formerly Mobil, created America’s original hospitality Star Rating system in 1958. Since then, its team of incognito inspectors have checked into thousands of hotels, dined at just as many restaurants, and experienced scores of spa treatments to bring you information on the very best places to stay, eat and relax around the world. Throughout ForbesTravelGuide.com, you’ll find Star-Rated and recommended hotels, restaurants and spas, as well as information on destinations and activities, created by Forbes Travel Guide’s team of professional editors, correspondents, expert and inspectors.

Source: 10 Hotels Serving An Unforgettable Thanksgiving

 

What You Need To Know About Flying With The Upcoming REAL ID Deadline

You may have seen “REAL ID” in the news or at the airport. But what is it? What do you need to know about it? Do you need one? How will it impact your travel? All these questions are important to ask so that you can be prepared and avoid any travel delays or problems.

What Is REAL ID?

REAL ID is the result of an act passed by Congress in 2005. Congress was attempting to cut down on domestic terrorism threats following 9/11. They decided that across-the-board, minimum security standards needed to be put in place for issuing driver’s licenses and other ID cards that normally are overseen by the state and used for air travel.

Getting a REAL ID requires more paperwork than you might need for a traditional license in the past. Additionally, REAL IDs are made using advanced technology that makes them more difficult to fake.

Of course, rolling a country-wide change to identification out across all states takes some time, which is why, 14 years after the act was passed, it’s still not totally solidified. However, by Oct. 1, 2020, every state must be in compliance with the act. That means starting Oct. 1, 2020, you’ll need a REAL ID in order to fly domestically.

Today In: Lifestyle

I Have A New Driver’s License — Do I Need Another One?

Maybe not. If you have a driver’s license with a black or gold star, a black or gold circle with an outline of the star in the center, or a bear in the upper right corner of the card, then you have a REAL ID. To know where you stand, the best bet is to check with your state government.

If your new license says “Not for Federal Identification” or “Federal Limits Apply,” then that means it is not a REAL ID. You won’t be able to use it for flying domestically starting next October.

To make matters even more confusing, some states are issuing driver’s licenses that are a form of REAL ID, in that they’re not normal driver’s licenses, but you can’t use them for air travel. This is called an Enhanced Driver’s License.

Note that you can only use them for getting into the Caribbean, Canada or Mexico via land or sea (so a good option for someone taking a cruise, maybe). You cannot use them for air travel. States issuing Enhanced Driver’s Licenses include Michigan, Minnesota, New York, Vermont and Washington State.

Also, did you physically get your new license at a DMV office and did you present the clerk with your birth certificate, passport, social security card and/or other forms of identification proof? If not, you probably didn’t get a REAL ID.

Bottom line — if you’re not 100 percent sure that you have a REAL ID, it’s best to check. States aren’t giving out the REAL ID licenses automatically, so you have to actively choose to get one. Check out the Department of Homeland Security’s page for more information.

I Have A Passport. Do I Still Need A REAL ID?

Nope. If you have a passport or another form of TSA-approved identification, then you can still fly domestically using that. You also don’t need a REAL ID if you’re flying and you’re under 18 years of age.

If, though, you don’t have a passport or the equivalent, you’re going to need to get that REAL ID in order to fly domestically.

What Can I Expect When Flying Next Year?

If you are aware of the REAL ID requirements and you have yourself covered ahead of any flights taking place after Oct. 1, 2020, then you’re in the clear. However, that doesn’t mean that flying shortly after the REAL ID deadline will be easy.

The U.S. Travel Association released a statement regarding a survey conducted that said three out of four of all Americans are totally unprepared for the REAL ID deadline. Furthermore, millions of people could be prevented from boarding their planes shortly after the deadline falls.

Currently, 72 percent of Americans either don’t have a REAL ID or are unsure whether or not they have a REAL ID. Plus, 57 percent said they didn’t even know about the deadline. The U.S. Travel Association also said that, if REAL ID standards are fully enforced starting Oct. 1, 2020, as many as 78,500 air travelers could be turned away at TSA that day.

Not only would this cost the U.S. economy $40.3 million in lost travel-related spending, but it means a lot of frustrations at the airport and likely longer lines at TSA for those who do have their REAL ID.

In order to minimize the impact of travelers not being prepared for next year’s deadline, the U.S. Travel Association recommends that Congress amends its REAL ID Act to allow for mobile REAL ID applications, making it easier for travelers to get their REAL ID without going to the DMV. It also asks for it to allow for other forms of travel identification, such as enrollment in a program like TSA PreCheck, to stand in for a REAL ID.

I’m a value maximizer always on the hunt for the next great deal. I specialize in rewards travel and travel products. I’ve earned and redeemed millions of rewards points over the last few years. I’ve created multiple consumer guides that inform readers about rewards redemption, travel maximizing and consumer value opportunities. Since starting my own rewards travel blog in 2011, my work has been featured on HuffingtonPost.com, TechCrunch.com, Hyatt.com, Yahoo Finance, and Inc.com.

Source: What You Need To Know About Flying With The Upcoming REAL ID Deadline

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By October of 2020, travelers won’t be able to board a flight without a REAL ID or alternative identification. At airports across the U.S., TSA officers are reminding customers. Kris Van Cleave reports. Subscribe to the “CBS Evening News” Channel HERE: http://bit.ly/1S7Dhik Watch Full Episodes of the “CBS Evening News” HERE: http://cbsn.ws/23XekKA Watch the latest installment of “On the Road,” only on the “CBS Evening News,” HERE: http://cbsn.ws/23XwqMH Follow “CBS Evening News” on Instagram: http://bit.ly/1T8icTO Like “CBS Evening News” on Facebook HERE: http://on.fb.me/1KxYobb Follow the “CBS Evening News” on Twitter HERE: http://bit.ly/1O3dTTe Follow the “CBS Evening News” on Google+ HERE: http://bit.ly/1Qs0aam Get your news on the go! Download CBS News mobile apps HERE: http://cbsn.ws/1Xb1WC8 Get new episodes of shows you love across devices the next day, stream local news live, and watch full seasons of CBS fan favorites anytime, anywhere with CBS All Access. Try it free! http://bit.ly/1OQA29B — The “CBS Evening News” premiered as a half-hour broadcast on Sept. 2, 1963. Check local listings for CBS Evening News broadcast times.

 

What Killed Thomas Cook? Brexit And Decline Of Package Holidays Undercut Venerable Travel Brand

The package holiday firm Thomas Cook has ceased operations overnight after 178 years, leaving 600,000 travelers stranded around the world, including 150,000 British travelers who will be brought back home under the UK CAA’s ATOL program. It also left 21,000 people suddenly unemployed.

In a statement published on the Virgin website, Richard Branson said he was saddened by the demise of the long-standing travel company and by the effect Thomas Cook’s closure has had on the lives of its employees.

“It’s upsetting to see so many people lose their jobs and thousands of holidaymakers affected by disrupted travel,” he wrote. “Our wonderful teams at Virgin Atlantic will do all they can to find people jobs and bring stranded people home.”

Today In: Business

Victim of Brexit

Branson also pointed to Brexit uncertainty as exacerbating the company’s troubles.

“The drop in the pound following the referendum has put even more pressure on the struggling business, which has been saddled with large debt for a number of years,” Branson wrote. “All of the travel industry costs are in dollars – for example fuel maintenance and airplane leasing. With the weaker pound, the cost of everything has skyrocketed. For Thomas Cook, this has proved terminal.”

Thomas Cook made a similar point in its financial filing this past May, saying Brexit uncertainty had contributed to its £1.5 billion ($1.86 billion) loss. The company’s CEO, Peter Fankhauser, also said the 2018 summer heat wave had contributed.

“The prolonged heatwave last summer and high prices in the Canaries reduced customer demand for winter sun, particularly in the Nordic region, while there is now little doubt that the Brexit process has led many UK customers to delay their holiday plans for this summer,” Fankhauser said.

Brexit or not, there have been some high-profile airline failures in Europe in recent years. The most recent was French budget airline Aigle Azure, in which David Neeleman is a stockholder. Another French budget airline, XL Airways, suspended ticket sales this past Friday and has reached out to Air France for help.

But the case of Thomas Cook is unique because it affects hundreds of thousands of travelers and thousands of employees; and raises questions whether Europeans are moving away from traditional package holidays and towards self-assembled budget adventures.

The end of the package holiday

Michael O’Leary pronounced package holidays dead in a conference in Copenhagen in 2016, in part because of the rise of digital platforms allowing holiday-makers greater options to put their own plans together.

“Sales of [traditional] package holidays have declined because what people are doing now is that there’s so much readily available low-fares and services that people go online and book their own accommodations,” O’Leary said. “That concept only existed 45 years ago because it was the only way you could get a cheap fare.”

Ryanair’s CMO Kenny Jacobs elaborated, “You’re seeing all of these digital businesses which are de-bundling the package holiday as we know it. There are a few exceptions: Some Germans will still walk to the high-street travel agent and buy the classic two-week holiday. And in Scandinavia there has been more of a tendency for package holidays..But the UK and Ireland are more like the American market, where people choose to package their own holidays.”

Thomas Cook’s business model, more akin to charter flights than commercial airline operations, did not allow the efficiencies of scale necessary for its airline operations to compete with the cost structure of low-cost giants like Ryanair and easyJet in Europe.

The collapse of Thomas Cook raises questions going forward about whether other similar package-model companies, like TUI, will find a way to work around this digital divide.

More planes on the market

The closure of Thomas Cook airlines does create an opportunity in the airframe market. According to ch-aviation fleet data, Thomas Cook Airlines UK operated 28 A321-200s and seven A330-200s. Thomas Cook Airlines Scandinavia operates eight A321-200s, one A330-200 and three A330-300s. Most of these aircraft were leased. The 737 MAX grounding creates demand for single-aisle aircraft and might make it easier to return these aircraft to service quickly, according to aviation analysts at Air Insight.

“Thomas Cook had a good fleet,” writes Air Insight founder, Addison Schonland, “The least attractive part of the Thomas Cook fleet, the A320s, are likely to be snapped up. The airline’s A321s are probably being eyed right now. These are in high demand as evidenced by how quickly Air Canada took over WOW’s A321s. The A330 fleet is also likely to find new employment as evidenced by the quick absorption of the Air Berlin A330s.”

Condor continues to fly

While Thomas Cook airlines UK and Thomas Cook Scandinavia have ceased operations, German operator Condor, Thomas Cook Airlines Balearics, and Thomas Cook Aviation (formerly Air Berlin Aviation), continue to fly, at least for now.

Condor is asking the German federal government for a €200 million ($220 million) bridge loan to sustain it.

Thomas Cook Scandinavia–which operates as Spies in Denmark–announced late on Monday evening that it had made arrangements to resume flight service starting on Tuesday, to help get stranded passengers back home. Spies CEO Jan Vendelbo told STANDBY.dk, “We deeply regret that so many of our guests have been affected by this and we will do our best to get our stranded guests home as soon as possible. We understand that this has created concern and inconvenience for those who have experienced it.”

These airlines will need to find new missions in the long term, either sustaining TUI–which already relied in part on Thomas Cook planes, leading to some of its own flight cancelations today–or in the charter and wet-lease markets.

But the likely long-term winners, as more of Europe’s travelers move to do-it-yourself holidays will be Europe’s well-established low-cost carriers, namely Ryanair and easyJet and Europe’s flagship airlines operating on sounder footing, including SAS, Lufthansa and IAG group carriers.

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I worked in aviation from 1994-2010 before turning my experience to writing about airlines and airports for leading industry and consumer publications in 2013. I’ve spent months in the hangars of airlines and aircraft manufacturers, dressed aircraft seats by hand, and worked with crew at training centres around the world. I’ve negotiated with airline CEOs and worked with buyers, engineers, leading design firms, suppliers and aircraft manufacturers on the launch of new programs. I was the executive responsible to international regulators on the approval of cabin equipment, with oversight of production facilities, product testing laboratories, a maintenance center, and a certified hazardous materials repair station. I even hold a patent for a military-spec life raft. Now, I translate “aviation speak” into English, breaking barriers of acronyms and jargon to make the beautiful business of flight easier to value. I also really, really love being on a plane—even in the middle seat.

Source: What Killed Thomas Cook? Brexit And Decline Of Package Holidays Undercut Venerable Travel Brand

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There’s a massive effort to bring home more than half a million stranded travelers. They got stuck at airports and hotels around the world, as Thomas Cook, the world’s oldest travel company, suddenly shut down. Kris Van Cleave reports. Subscribe to the “CBS Evening News” Channel HERE: http://bit.ly/1S7Dhik Watch Full Episodes of the “CBS Evening News” HERE: http://cbsn.ws/23XekKA Watch the latest installment of “On the Road,” only on the “CBS Evening News,” HERE: http://cbsn.ws/23XwqMH Follow “CBS Evening News” on Instagram: http://bit.ly/1T8icTO Like “CBS Evening News” on Facebook HERE: http://on.fb.me/1KxYobb Follow the “CBS Evening News” on Twitter HERE: http://bit.ly/1O3dTTe Follow the “CBS Evening News” on Google+ HERE: http://bit.ly/1Qs0aam Get your news on the go! Download CBS News mobile apps HERE: http://cbsn.ws/1Xb1WC8 Get new episodes of shows you love across devices the next day, stream local news live, and watch full seasons of CBS fan favorites anytime, anywhere with CBS All Access. Try it free! http://bit.ly/1OQA29B — The “CBS Evening News” premiered as a half-hour broadcast on Sept. 2, 1963. Check local listings for CBS Evening News broadcast times.

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Great Places To Follow Your Passions In Retirement In 2019

Want to be happy in retirement? Then cultivate relationships and spend more money on leisure activities—at least that’s what new academic research (as well as common sense) suggests.

To help you with the leisure part, Forbes presents its 2019 list of 25 great places to pursue seven retirement passions: arts, fine dining, lifelong learning, volunteering, outdoor activities on water, outdoor activities on land and (in its own category) golf.

Most are recommended for multiple passions and two—Seattle and Austin, Texas—excel in all seven categories. Our picks are spread across 21 states in all four continental time zones.

While our flagship Best Places To Retire list highlights locations that offer the best retirement value for the buck, our passions list doesn’t disqualify places simply because they’ve got high costs or taxes. Athens, Georgia, our most affordable passions pick, has a median home price of just $178,000, while San Francisco, our most expensive, has a median home price of $1.36 million. Although high costs (or high taxes) won’t keep a city from making this new list, we do take into account such practical quality of life factors as air quality, crime, doctor availability and how walkable and bikeable a city is. You can read more about our selection method here.

Legend:

  • Arts 🎨
  • Fine dining 🍴
  • Lifelong learning 🎓
  • Volunteering ❤️
  • Outdoor activities on water ⛵
  • Outdoor activities on land 🍁
  • Golf ⛳

Annapolis, Maryland

PASSIONS: ❤️ ⛵

Great for volunteering and outdoor water activities

POPULATION: 39,000

MEDIAN HOME PRICE: $428,000

Water on three sides, good air quality and a moderate climate make this charming historic Chesapeake Bay city an ideal spot for those who love boating, fishing or a waterfront view. For the newbie, the city offers lots of recreational boating schools and chartering opportunities. There’s a high rate of local volunteerism and the downtown area, which doubles as Maryland’s state capital (and was the U.S. capital for a year starting in 1783) is very walkable. Doctors per capita are at the national average. Elevation is 40 feet. On the downside, cost of living is 41% above the national average and the crime rate is above the national average. Taxes are on the high side, too; while Social Security benefits are exempt from tax, the top state/local income tax rate is 8.31% and the state has both an estate and inheritance tax.

Ashland, Oregon

PASSIONS: 🎨 🎓 🍁

Great for arts, lifelong learning and outdoor land activities

POPULATION: 21,000

MEDIAN HOME PRICE: $462,000

Located 285 miles south of Portland, this cultural outpost offers art galleries and the nine-month a year Oregon Shakespeare Festival, all set amid scenic mountains and forests. Southern Oregon University hosts an Osher Lifelong Learning Institute and allows free auditing of regular college classes. The highly walkable downtown (elevation: 1,950 feet) is set in a moderate climate with little snow, good air quality, a low serious crime rate and a high number of doctors per capita. Nature trails are just outside town. But the cost of living is 40% above the national average and Oregon makes up for its lack of a sales tax with an income tax rate that hits 9% at just $50,000 of income (with Social Security excluded). There is also a state estate tax.

Athens, Georgia

PASSIONS: 🎨 🎓 🍁

Great for arts, lifelong learning and outdoor land activities

POPULATION: 127,000

MEDIAN HOME PRICE: $178,000

This affordable college town, just 70 miles east of Atlanta, has a vibrant arts scene. The  University of Georgia hosts an Osher Lifelong Learning Institute, plus offers seniors free admission to regular classes. Mild terrain and climate (the nation’s first garden club was founded here in 1891) and good air quality are all conducive to warm-weather outdoor activities at an elevation of 600 feet. The ratio of doctors per capita is sufficient. Cost of living is 7% below the national average and the serious crime rate is low. Georgia doesn’t tax estates or Social Security benefits and offers a generous additional break for other retirement income. Top state income rate is 5.75%. One notable downside: Not very walkable.

Austin, Texas

Passions: 🎨 🍴 🎓 ❤️ ⛵ 🍁 ⛳

Great for arts, fine dining, lifelong learning, volunteering, outdoor water and land activities and golf

POPULATION: 950,000

MEDIAN HOME PRICE: $369,000

Sunny capital of Texas offers scores of dining and entertainment venues (including the annual SXSW festival), plus learning opportunities at the University of Texas, all surrounded by dozens of golf courses. The city boasts a high number of physicians per capita, good air quality, a good economy and a high rate of volunteering. The impressive state capitol building is higher than the one in Washington, D.C. At an elevation of 300 feet, the city is very bikeable and somewhat walkable. While there is no state income or estate/inheritance taxe, the cost of living is 30% above the national average and the serious crime rate is slightly above the national average.

Bend, Oregon

PASSIONS: ⛵ 🍁

Great for outdoor water and land activities

POPULATION: 98,000

MEDIAN HOME PRICE: $440,000

Lots of snow guarantees vibrant downhill and cross-country skiing in this scenic “Outdoor Playground of the West” 160 miles southeast of Portland. Other outdoor pursuits at an elevation of 3,600 feet around the north-flowing Deschutes River include fishing, tubing, hiking, rock climbing, bicycling and paragliding. Besides good air quality, a low serious crime rate and a high number of doctors per capita, the area boasts a strong economy. But Oregon makes up for its lack of a sales tax with an income tax rate that reaches 9% on just $50,000 of taxable income (which excludes Social Security). There’s also a state estate tax. The town itself is not very walkable. Cost of living is 34% above the national average.

Boise, Idaho

PASSIONS: 🎓 ❤️ 🍁

Great for lifelong learning, outdoor land activities and volunteering

POPULATION: 227,000

MEDIAN HOME PRICE: $299,000

The surprisingly mild climate in Idaho’s capital city, nicknamed “City of Trees,” is conducive to outdoor land activities, while Boise State University hosts an Osher Lifelong Learning Institute and offers free auditing of regular classes for seniors. Other pluses include a high level of volunteerism, a high number of physicians per capita, a low serious crime rate, good air quality and a good economy. With an elevation of 2,700 feet, the city is very bikeable, though not as walkable. Cost of living is only 7% above the national average. There is no state income tax on Social Security earnings, nor a state estate/inheritance tax. Idaho’s income tax rate for married couples is 6.925% on taxable income above $23,000.

Boston, Massachusetts

PASSIONS: 🎨 🍴 🎓 ❤️ ⛵ 🍁

Great for arts, fine dining, lifelong learning, volunteering and outdoor water and land activities

POPULATION: 685,000

MEDIAN HOME PRICE: $604,000

This buzzy historic coastal state capital city of 685,000 offers a wealth of cultural. and educational activities. Not too surprising, considering there are more than 50 area colleges. Boston has good air quality, abundant doctors per capita, and a good economy. At an elevation of 140 feet, the city, named for an English town, is both highly walkable and bikeable. The top state income tax rate is only 5% and there’s no state income tax on Social Security earnings. On the negative side, there’s a state estate tax and a higher than average serious crime rate. But the big downside is the cost of living: 82% above the national average.

Boulder, Colorado

PASSIONS: 🎨 🎓 ❤️ 🍁

Great for arts, lifelong learning, volunteering and outdoor land activities

POPULATION: 107,000

MEDIAN HOME PRICE: $742,000

This city, 30 miles northwest of Denver, is at the center of a huge recreational open space abutting the Rockies at 5,400 feet of elevation, which can be enjoyed in 10 months of annual sunshine. It’s also the home the University of Colorado, which allows seniors to audit courses for free. Boulder is a walkable and bikeable city with a low serious crime rate, good air quality, abundant doctors and a strong economy. Volunteering is a way of life here. While there is no state estate/inheritance tax, the state income tax (a flat 4.63%) does hit Social Security benefits. One big downside is the cost of living: 87% above the national average.

Chandler, Arizona

Passions: ❤️ 🍁 ⛳

Great for volunteering, outdoor land activities and golf

POPULATION: 235,000

MEDIAN HOME PRICE: $317,000

This Phoenix suburb, named for Arizona’s first veterinary surgeon, offers myriad outdoor activities, including 185 golf courses in the region. There’s a low serious crime rate, a good economy and a high rate of volunteering. With an elevation of 1,200 feet, the city is very bikeable, although not all that walkable. There is no state income tax on Social Security earnings and no state estate/inheritance. The sate income tax rate tops out at just 4.54% on a married couple’s taxable income above $317,900. On the downside, the number of doctors per capita is below the national average and the air quality is poor. Cost of living is 23% above the national average.

Chapel Hill, North Carolina

PASSIONS: 🎨 🍴 🎓 🍁

Great for arts, fine dining, lifelong learning and outdoor land activities

POPULATION: 60,000

MEDIAN HOME PRICE: $376,000

The home of the University of North Carolina, which offers free auditing of classes for senior citizens, this college town has been called America’s “foodiest small town” for its range of culinary options. It also has a high number of physicians per capita, good air quality, a low serious crime rate, a strong economy—and quirky blue fire trucks. There’s no North Carolina income tax on Social Security benefits and no state estate/inheritance tax. The state income tax rate is a flat 5.499%. At an elevation of 500 feet, the city is somewhat bikeable, but not very walkable. Cost of living is 30% above national average.

Charleston, South Carolina

PASSIONS: 🎨 🍴 ⛵ ⛳

Great for arts, fine dining, outdoor water activities and golf

POPULATION: 130,000

MEDIAN HOME PRICE: $322,000

This historic coastal city brims with activities, both indoors and out. (The first game of golf in the U.S. took place here.)  Pluses include a high number of doctors per capita, good air quality and a good economy. There’s no state estate/inheritance tax, no state income tax on Social Security benefits and there are additional tax breaks on pension income. But the state income tax rate tops out at an above average 7% on taxable income of just $14,860. At an elevation of 20 feet, the city is somewhat bikeable, but not very walkable. Cost of living is 22% above national average.

Dallas, Texas

PASSIONS: 🍴 ❤️ ⛳

Great for fine dining, volunteering and golf

POPULATION: 1.34 million

MEDIAN HOME PRICE: $217,000

Scores of public golf courses plus fine dining (far beyond the nation’s first drive-in restaurant, which opened here in 1921) and what is said to be the nation’s largest arts district distinguish the Big D. At an elevation of 430 feet, the city is somewhat walkable and bikeable and has an adequate number of physicians per capita and support for volunteering. Atop of a strong economy, there is no state taxation of income, estates or inheritances. Cost of living is only 8% higher than the national average. On the downside, the serious crime rate is above the national average and the air quality is poor.

Fayetteville, Arkansas

PASSIONS: 🎓

Great for lifelong learning

POPULATION: 85,000

MEDIAN HOME PRICE: $219,000

The University of Arkansas offers free tuition to senior citizens at its flagship campus in this Ozarks city 200 miles northwest of Little Rock. Besides a cost of living 1% below the national average, other pluses include good air quality, adequate number of physicians per capita and a good economy. At an elevation of 1,400 feet, the city (originally named Washington) is somewhat bikeable, although not that walkable. There is no state estate/inheritance tax and there’s no state income tax on Social Security benefits, plus there’s a small additional break for pension income. But the state income tax reaches 6.9% on a married-couple’s income above $35,099. The serious crime rate is above national average.

Las Vegas, Nevada

PASSIONS: 🎨 🍴 ⛵ 🍁 ⛳

Great for arts, fine dining, outdoor water and land activities and golf

POPULATION: 2 million (Las Vegas Valley)

MEDIAN HOME PRICE: $277,000

World-class entertainment centered around the hotels and casinos, famous chefs, and nearby water and land activities, including golf, grace this exploding desert valley. (In 1900, the population was just 18.) While summers are hot and dry, the other nine months are quite pleasant, and sun is year-round. At an elevation of 2,000 feet, the area is somewhat walkable and bikeable. A good economy is bolstered by no state income or estate/inheritance tax. Downsides include poor air quality, low ratio of physicians per capita and a high serious crime rate. Cost of living is 18% above the national average.

Los Angeles, California

PASSIONS: 🎨 🍴 🎓 ⛵ 🍁 ⛳

Great for arts, fine dining, lifelong learning, outdoor water and land activities and golf

POPULATION: 4 million

MEDIAN HOME PRICE: $686,000

The City of Angels has multiple colleges and universities offering reduced-price programs for senior citizens, world-class restaurants, numerous performance venues, a wide range of outdoor activities and many golf courses. Pluses include 28 days a year of sun, sufficient physicians per capita and a strong economy. Despites its reputation as car dependent and congested, the city, with an elevation of 300 feet, is both very walkable and bikeable (despites safety concerns for bikers). There is no state tax on Social Security benefits, estates or inheritances. But the state income tax hits a hefty 9.3% on taxable income above $150,000 per couple and goes up to 12.3% for the very wealthy. Among the drawbacks: poor air quality (although better than it used to be) and a serious crime rate above national average. Cost of living is 95% above national average.

New York, New York

PASSIONS: 🎨 🍴 🎓 ⛵ ⛳

Great for arts, fine dining, lifelong learning, outdoor water activities and golf

POPULATION: 8.6 million

MEDIAN HOME PRICE: $682,000

Dozens of colleges, fabulous arts and dining, and even golf courses accessible via subway can be found in the country’s largest city. Pluses include a high number of physicians per capita, good air quality and a strong economy. With an elevation of 30 feet, the Big Apple is very walkable and bikeable, despite concerns about bicyclist safety. There is no state income tax on Social Security benefits, plus there are additional state tax breaks on pension income. But there is a state estate tax, the combined state and city income tax rate can reach a whopping 12.696% and the cost of living is 109% above national average.

Pinehurst, North Carolina

PASSIONS:

Great for golf

POPULATION: 13,000

MEDIAN HOME PRICE: $281,000

Some 40 golf courses, led by famous century-old Pinehurst Resort, plus golf schools surround this scenic village 90 miles east of Charlotte. Pluses include an extremely low serious crime rate, above-average rate of doctors per capita and good air quality. At an elevation of 600 feet, the town, originally named Tuftstown, is somewhat walkable and bikeable. There are no state taxes on Social Security earnings, estates or inheritances. The state income tax rate is a flat 5.499% and the cost of living is 11% above the national average.

Portland, Maine

PASSIONS: 🍴 ⛵ 🍁

Great for fine dining and outdoor water and land activities

POPULATION: 67,000

MEDIAN HOME PRICE: $314,000

This coastal city offers a wide variety of water and land recreation, including boating, kayaking, rafting, cross-country skiing, hiking and bicycling. There’s a good restaurant scene, a low serious crime rate, a high ratio of doctors per capita and good air quality. The city—named after an island in the English Channel—has an elevation of 60 feet and is very walkable and bikeable.  There is no state income tax on Social Security earnings, but there is a state estate tax. The state income tax rate reaches 7.15% at taxable income above $103,400 for a couple. The

Portland, Oregon

PASSIONS: 🎨 🍴 🎓 ❤️ 🍁 ⛳

Great for arts, fine dining, lifelong learning, volunteering, outdoor land activities and golf

POPULATION: 648,000

MEDIAN HOME PRICE: $426,000

City affords wide range of pursuits, including free senior citizen auditing of classes at Portland State University. Pluses include a high ratio of physicians per capita, good air quality, a high rate of volunteering and a good economy. At an elevation of 50 feet the city—named after Portland, Maine—is highly walkable and bikeable. The state makes up for its lack of a sales tax with an income tax rate that hits 9% on just $50,000 of income (with Social Security excluded). There is also a state estate tax. Cost of living is 48% above the national average.

Salt Lake City, Utah

PASSIONS: 🎓 ❤️ ⛵ 🍁

Great for lifelong learning, volunteering and outdoor water and land activities

POPULATION: 201,000

MEDIAN HOME PRICE: $402,000

Mountains, lakes and rivers create a choice of outdoor activities, including skiing, bird watching and fishing around this state capital city. Indoors, the University of Utah offers courses a wide range of courses for seniors in concert with the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute. The city has a high rate of volunteering, a high rank on the Milken Institute list of best cities for successful aging and a strong economy. At an elevation of 4,300 feet, it is very walkable and bikeable. There is no state estate tax, but the state income, levied at a flat 4.95% rate, hits Social Security benefits. The cost of living is 27% above the national average.

San Francisco, California

PASSIONS: 🎨 🍴 🎓 ⛵

Great for arts, fine dining, lifelong learning and outdoor water activities

POPULATION: 860,000

MEDIAN HOME PRICE: $1.36 million

Surrounded by water, this scenic city is a mecca of culture and food, with 57 Michelin starred restaurants (compared to 76 in 10 times more populous New York). Opportunities for senior learning are offered at an Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at San Francisco State and at other venues. There’s a high ratio of doctors per capita, good air quality and a strong economy. Despite the famed hills, the city, with an elevation of 50 feet, is very walkable and bikeable, with both trails and protected bike lanes. There is no state estate/inheritance tax and no income tax on Social Security benefits, but the state income tax rate is a hefty 9.3% on income above $150,000 per couple and goes up to 12.3% for the very wealthy. The serious crime rate is above the national average, but the biggest downside is the cost of living: a stunning 205% above the national average.

Santa Fe, New Mexico

PASSIONS: 🎨 🍴 🍁

Great for arts, fine dining and outdoor land activities

POPULATION: 84,000

MEDIAN HOME PRICE: $397,000

Scores of art galleries, fine restaurants and museums, plus world-class skiing, distinguish this scenic state capital mountain town (elevation 7,200 feet), 60 miles north of Albuquerque. Somewhat walkable and bikeable, the city has a high number of doctors per capita, good air quality and a low serious crime rate. There is no state estate tax, but the state income tax does hit Social Security benefits. The state income tax rate is 4.9% on taxable income of married couples above $24,000. The cost of living is 21% above national average.

Sarasota, Florida

PASSIONS: 🎨 🍴 🎓 ❤️ ⛵ 🍁 ⛳

Great for arts, fine dining, lifelong learning, volunteering, outdoor water and land activities and golf

POPULATION: 57,000

MEDIAN HOME PRICE: $261,000

Nearby beaches, fishing, boating, a big arts/cultural scene and 30 golf courses dominate this Gulf Coast city 60 miles south of Tampa. With an elevation of 16 feet, the area is very walkable and bikeable, with good air quality, a strong economy and an adequate number of physicians per capita. The cost of living is only 9% above national average. There is no state income or estate tax. One downside: a serious crime rate above the national average.

Seattle, Washington

PASSIONS: 🎨 🍴 🎓 ❤️ ⛵ 🍁 ⛳

Great for arts, fine dining, lifelong learning, volunteering, outdoor water and land activities and golf

POPULATION: 725,000

MEDIAN HOME PRICE: $730,000

Still-booming Puget Sound city offers all the passions, including an Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at the University of Washington. At an elevation up to 500 feet, the city is extremely walkable, bikeable and even boatable, with good mass transit. Other pluses include good air quality, a high ratio of doctors per capita, a very strong economy, and a good volunteering culture. There is no state income, estate or inheritance tax. But the cost of living is a whopping 104% above the national average and the serious crime rate is also higher than average.

Traverse City, Michigan

PASSIONS: 🎨 🍴 ⛵ ⛳

Great for arts, fine dining, outdoor water activities and golf.

POPULATION: 16,000

MEDIAN HOME PRICE: $255,000

Frontage on Lake Michigan, the famed Interlochen Center for the Arts, 50 area golf courses and a reputation as a top foodie town all make his city, 250 miles northwest of Detroit, a top passions choice. There’s good air quality, above-average doctors per capita and a decent economy. At an elevation of 600 feet the city—center of the nation’s largest area for growing tart cherries—is very walkable and bikeable. Cost of living is only 2% above national average.  There’s no state estate or inheritance tax and no tax on Social Security benefits, plus additional breaks for pension income. The state income tax rate is a flat 4.25%. One downside: The serious crime rate is above the national average.

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A journalist for nearly five decades, I’ve written for Forbes since 1987. I’ve covered personal finance, taxes, retirement, nonprofits, scandals and other topics that interest me. I also am the author of a novel, OFFSIDE: A Mystery. Email me at: wbarrett.forbes@gmail.com .

Source: Great Places To Follow Your Passions In Retirement In 2019

The World’s Retirement Havens – Top 10 Best Places To Retire In The World For 2018. ============= ► Subscribe for latest video ! ► https://goo.gl/lOasu9 ► Follow me on Twitter: https://goo.gl/srKHao ► Facebook: https://goo.gl/yB9XvG ============= Today, retiring abroad is about launching a new life in a new country, starting over someplace sunny and exotic with white-sand beaches or Old World culture. But there is no one way to determine the best place to retire for every person. And with a seemingly endless amount of choices, how will you ever find the right one for you. International Living’s most recent Annual Global Retirement Index 2018 compares 24 countries that give you the maximum return for your money and promise to deliver a better quality of life. Overall, the Index is based on ratings in 12 categories: buying and investing, renting, benefits and discounts, visas and residence, cost of living, fitting in, entertainment and amenities, healthcare, healthy lifestyle, development, climate, and governance. Here are the 10 retirement destinations in the world for 2018: 1. Costa Rica – The World’s Best Retirement Haven 2. Mexico – Convenient, Exotic, First-World Living 3. Panama – Friendly, Welcoming, and Great Benefits 4. Ecuador – Diverse, Unhurried, and Metropolitan 5. Malaysia – Easy, English-Speaking, and First World. 6. Colombia – Sophisticated and Affordable 7. Portugal – Europe’s Best Retirement Haven 8. Nicaragua – Best Bang-for-Your Buck in Latin America 9. Spain – Romance, History, and Charming Villages 10. Peru – Low Cost Living, Vibrant, and Diverse. Thanks for watching this video. I hope it’s useful for you. (This article is an opinion based on facts and is meant as infotainment) ============= If you have any issue with the content used in my channel or you find something that belongs to you, please contact: ►Business email: truthseekerdailys@gmail.com Music by: Nicolai Heidlas (https://soundcloud.com/nicolai-heidlas) Title: 50 New Cities

The Brando Adds Luxe New Residences To Its Sustainable Polynesian Private Island Paradise

 The Brando, Marlon Brando’s former French Polynesian private island hideaway, continues to evolve with the addition of new residences, designed in keeping with the late actor’s ambitious vision for an environmentally sustainable resort.

The first of four residential accommodations opened last month on the resort’s main motu (islet) Onetahi, one of 12 motus that ring the Tetiaroa atoll in French Polynesia.

The 3,000-square-foot, three-bedroom residence sets the model for the others that will built over the next four years. The sprawling structure is nestled on a 1.25-acre plot, ensuring heightened privacy in what is already a very secluded resort.

The design blends indoor and outdoor living spaces with contemporary interiors that open directly onto the Residence’s large terrace and decks. It also has a swimming pool in addition to a private span of white sandy beach on the sparkling turquoise waters of the lagoon.

Residence guests have full access to the resort and its activities and amenities, including multiple restaurants and bars, spa, fitness center, and water sport options. You can also request a dedicated staff of chefs and butlers to provide the utmost personalized service and in-residence dining.

The Residence’s dramatic architecture offers a modern interpretation of Polynesian style with the use of local tropical wood, coral walls, and pandanus thatch roofing. Built in harmony with its natural surroundings, the Residence also adheres to the strict standards that earned the resort its LEED Platinum certification.

“Each of the Brando Residences will feature five-star services and amenities powered by the same zero carbon emission technology which has established The Brando as a pillar of sustainable hospitality,” said Richard H. Bailey, CEO of Pacific Beachcomber (the resort’s developer and manager) in a news release. “Solar energy and biofuel power the entire resort, while deep seawater cools it, and these practices will also be in place at the residences.”

Marlon Brando was introduced to Tetiaroa while filming Mutiny on the Bounty in the early 1960s. He was so enchanted by the place and its unique culture that he purchased the atoll in 1967 and settled into his private piece of paradise.

In 1999, Brando tapped Bailey, a fellow environmentalist who had created some of the region’s finest resorts, to design his vision for a carbon-neutral, self-sustaining luxury resort that would employ innovative technologies and preserve Tetiaroa’s natural beauty, biodiversity, and cultural richness. The concept would simultaneously provide the global scientific community with a model for environmentally sustainable development. Brando’s dream was ultimately fulfilled a decade after his death with the opening of The Brando in 2014.

Guests have the opportunity to take a Green Tour for a behind-the-scenes look at The Brando’s initiatives, such as seawater air conditioning technology, solar panels, water production and storage, coconut oil generators, and more. Meanwhile, the property’s EcoStation operates as a working lab for scientists from around the world, and the non-profit Tetiaroa Society, endeavors to protect the island and coastal communities by preserving local ecosystems and culture.

The Brando, located about 30 miles north of Tahiti, features 35 deluxe villas, each with its own private beach area and plunge pool, restaurants showcasing Polynesian and French cuisine, a Polynesian spa, an array of water sports, and more.

All-inclusive resort rates start at €3,300 per night for 2 people with a two-night minimum stay, and all-inclusive rates for the new Brando Residence start from €15,000 per night for up to six guests. 

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I believe luxury is about more than expense. My stories draw on my passion for quality, design, artistry, and craftsmanship. I have been writing about five-star travel, the world’s finest watches and jewelry, and other luxurious specialties for nearly two decades, including more than eight years as senior editor at Robb Report. I am a contributing editor for Cigar Aficionado, and I also contribute to Barron’s Penta, Centurion International, Departures International, NUVO, The New York Post, WorldTempus, and other outlets.

Source: The Brando Adds Luxe New Residences To Its Sustainable Polynesian Private Island Paradise

 

8 Travel Hacks That You’ll Actually Use on Your Next Trip

These days, the internet is chock-full of travel “hacks” that promise to help you book, pack, and fly for a fraction of the effort and expense.

Reading through some of these lists, however, can trigger an eyebrow raise from the savvy traveler. You may find yourself thinking, “There’s no way that really works.” Chances are, there’s merit to that gut feeling—many so-called hacks rarely play out as portrayed on Pinterest.

In an attempt to cut through the noise and offer advice you’ll actually use, below are a few time-tested travel tips gleaned from more than two years of full-time traveling (and more 10-plus-hour flights than I care to reflect upon).

1. Talk to strangers—and get creative.

Whether you’re talking to a local bartender, a tour guide, or a fellow traveler, there’s no more trite question than, “What’s your favorite [restaurant, city, etc.]?” Come up with at least two go-to questions that are a bit more inventive.

Getting more specific with these queries can lead to the discovery of true hidden gems. Try asking, “Where’s the best place for people-watching in this city?” or “What’s been your most memorable meal in the past six months?” instead of leaning on clichés, and you’ll be rewarded with equally thoughtful responses.

RELATED: How to *Actually* Sleep on a Plane

2. A dedicated pouch for cords is a necessity.

One downside of technology: an abundance of accessories. If you’ve ever spent 20 minutes digging through your carry-on for a portable charger, earbuds, or USB cord, you know how frustrating (and elusive) these items can be. A little pouch that’s specifically dedicated to these cords—and kept easily accessible in your carry-on—will save you serious headaches.

Pro tip: Some airlines give out little goodie bags with earplugs, an eye mask, and socks to every passenger. These baggies make perfect travel tech-cessory pouches. (I’ve been using one I picked up from Qatar Airways for the past year; it’s the perfect size.)

3. There’s an optimal number of alcoholic drinks to have while flying.

Downing four glasses of wine to relax sounds like a great idea during a three-hour layover or before a red-eye flight, but think twice before drinking half a bottle of Cab. Being on a plane causes dehydration and naturally messes with your circadian rhythm, and alcohol exacerbates both these things.

Too much booze can disrupt everything from your sleep cycle to your neighbor (who won’t be thrilled when you have to get up from the middle seat to use the lavatory six times). If you want a drink to take the edge off, that’s fine—but stick to one, one-and-a-half max. You’ll thank yourself later for having a little restraint.

RELATED: This Brilliant Trick Will Keep You Calm the Next Time You Hit Turbulence

4. Carry pens.

Sometime after smartphones became prolific, the practice of carrying pens fell into sharp decline. Nobody wants to be the plane neighbor who has to ask the surrounding three rows to borrow a pen to fill out a customs form (or a particularly tantalizing crossword puzzle in an airline magazine).

This one is an easy fix: You probably have an entire drawer filled with pens somewhere in your house. Grab a couple, toss them into your carry-on, and leave them in there as permanent fixtures.

5. Keychains are amazingly useful.

Especially if you frequently stay in apartment-style rooms or Airbnbs, it’s a good idea to carry a keychain so that you don’t lose the keys to your home away from home.

Here are a few of my favorites: surprisingly stylish Gorilla Tape; a sleek corkscrew wine opener (this one will fly with TSA); a tiny, powerful flashlight; and a simple carabiner. These gadgets take up very little space in luggage and come in shockingly handy in a pinch.

RELATED: Take These Steps to Make Sure You Don’t Lose Your Luggage

6. You can use a hotel room kettle to steam your clothes.

Wrinkles are the bane of a frequent traveler’s existence, and unfortunately nobody has yet invented a truly effective wrinkle spray. In addition to using a hair straightener or steam from a hot shower as a quick fix for wrinkled clothes, using a portable kettle as a steamer when you’re boiling drinking water or making tea takes resourcefulness to the next level. (If you’ve got extra room in a suitcase, these travel-sized steamers are a more conventional option.)

7. Make it a practice to take in 20 seconds of tech-free silence every day.

In a world in which little white earbuds have practically become appendages to our bodies (and in which we’re constantly glued to Google Maps), technology can be as much of a distraction as it is a valuable travel aid. And while friends or family can certainly add to travel experiences, being engaged in constant conversation with your travel companions means you may miss out on important solo moments that will later come to define your time in a new city or country.

So, watch a sunset in silence without trying (and, let’s be honest, failing) to capture it on a smartphone; look up from Google and actually take in the street you’re walking down. Find a way to remind yourself to take 10 or 20 seconds of each travel day to truly soak in it all in. (Downloading the 1 Second Everyday app is a fun way to develop this habit.)

8. Stop stressing about “hacking” travel.

Sometimes travel hacks are quirky shortcuts, and sometimes they’re fabulous failures. Regardless, focusing too hard on having a seamless travel experience misses the point. Sometimes, the best travel memories come out of sheer happenstance—or even in the aftermath of a mishap. Learning to roll with the punches is one of the most valuable lessons that travel can teach, so channel your inner spontaneity and embrace the unfamiliar.

This article originally appeared on Travel and Leisure. For more stories like this, visit travelandleisure.com.

By TRAVELANDLEISURE.COM/Stephanie Walden

Source: 8 Travel Hacks That You’ll Actually Use on Your Next Trip

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