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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

 

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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.

 

WP Travel Site V1 Developer License The Perfect Solution to Having A 100% Self Updating Travel Site

Image - DFY eCom Affiliate Sites Package

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100% set & forget affiliate site engine, you can quickly build your own WP Affiliate Travel Site with stunning design. From your WP Travel Site your visitors can search and book over 250,000+ hotels, 600+ flights and more. People LOVE to travel and now you can have a WP site that brings solution to their vacation needs!

Once your WP Travel Site up & running in 5 minutes, it automatically updates room prices, reviews, flight schedules, etc dynamically. No maintenance needed and the site will keep updating on autopilot without you ever ever touch it again. No more paying content writer fees or writing articles yourself. Your WP Affiliate Travel Site is fully-loaded with travel tips articles!

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This WP Travel Site package utilize affiliate programs from TravelPayouts and HotelsCombined. This allows your travel site to show price comparison of hotels through different sources : SnapTravel, Agoda, Expedia and so on.. And whichever the visitor choose, you’ll get commissions!

Low-cost airlines (such as airasia.com and ryanair.com) do not pay a commission for the tickets you sell. Nonetheless, to give users the opportunity to find the cheapest tickets no matter what, those low-cost airlines will still be displayed in your WP Travel Site.

Over 250,000+ hotels around the world +PLUS 600+ flight tickets…Now you can simply tell your relatives, friends and colleagues to book hotels or flight tickets from your own WP Affiliate Travel Site whenever they want to go for a vacation next time!

It’s Extremely Simple For You To Start Using This “Self-Updating WP Travel Site” Package Even If You’ve Never Built A Blog Before! You earn commissions for room bookings and plane tickets made thru your TravelPayouts/HotelsCombined affiliate link. Then you can withdraw your commissions through Paypal.

 

Source: WP TravelSite V1 Early Access — WP Haven

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

11 Ways To Spend A Perfect Weekend On The Italian Riviera

While Portofino and Cinque Terre are the best-known spots on the Italian Riviera today, Rapallo is a destination that can provide all you want for a perfect weekend (or longer) getaway. As one of Italy’s first modern seaside resorts, a place the beau monde flocked to in the early 20th century, it has glamour and history, along with incredible seascapes. Rapallo’s prime location makes it easy to visit most anywhere on the Riviera di Levante, the halcyon strip of coast that runs from Genoa to Portovenere.

Here are 11 ways to have a perfect (preferably extended) weekend here.

1.See the Riviera from on high. The views from the beautiful Santuario di Nostra Signora di Montallegro, a shrine dating from the 16th century 600 meters above the town, are among the most extraordinary in a region filled with exceptional vistas. Take the cable car from Piazza Solari for the seven-minute ride to this dreamy perch. Occasionally the service is available at night, when you’ll be able to see the coast at its glittery best.

2. Sail the exquisite Gulf of Tigullio, the beautiful coastal area that stretches from Portofino to Sestri Levante, or to Cinque Terre. Rapallo is well situated to get you to some of the Riviera’s best-known destinations without having to deal with departures from crowded harbors. Portofino is about a half-hour’s sail away, ideal for a sunset excursion; for a wonderful day outing, cruise to the Cinque Terre. (You can choose from a variety of boating companies in the area, for example, Portofino Taxi Boat, run for several generations by the Viacava family, offers a number of area tours. For a trip to the Cinque Terre, Luxury Charter Portofino could either pick you up near the Villa Porticciolo in town, or send a car to take you to Santa Margherita Ligure for departure there. If you’re staying at the Excelsior Palace Hotel, the concierge will arrange boating excursions. See below.) Should you not be traveling by sea, note that train connections are easy and fast—only three minutes to go from Rapallo to Santa Margherita Ligure; nine minutes to Camogli; and between 35 minutes to an hour to Monterosso al Mare (the closest Cinque Terre village). The fastest trains to Vernazza run between 36 and 56 minutes.

3. Pamper yourself in sumptuous style. One of the Riviera’s grand retreats, the Excelsior Palace Hotel will pamper you with its refined blending of modern and old-world luxury. At this property you’ll feel as if you’ve been invited into the (very large) home of a Genovese aristocrat—there are period paintings and decorative objects, silk-covered furnishings and antiques, along with plush modern bedrooms and bathrooms. Spectacular views from seaside rooms and dining areas are sure to keep you in a permanent swoon. The Excelsior is not only a palatial site, but a historic one, where the Rapallo Conference was held by the Allied nations after Germany’s defeat in the first World War. Prominent names have been coming here for decades—the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, King Hussein of Jordan, Marilyn Monroe and Ernest Hemingway were all guests; in more recent times, George Clooney and Bruce Springsteen as well.

Start your day with the lavish breakfast buffet (with prosecco if you’d like) served in the Lord Byron restaurant overlooking the sea (there’s a spacious outdoor terrace too). In summer the Lord Byron also serves dinner, with a menu offering dishes like an asparagus flan appetizer with zabaione; risotto with roasted lobster and peas; and fresh grilled fish. (The seaside Eden Roc restaurant is the hotel’s summer lunch spot; in winter the Lord Byron serves lunch.) You can work off calories at the sleek modern spa and fitness area, which has an indoor pool to use in cool-weather months. The Excelsior offers another special amenity—a private dock at the beach club where you can depart on boating excursions (booked in advance) to such destinations as Portofino, Cinque Terre and Portovenere.

A stay at the hotel can run less than at other five-star properties along the French and Italian Rivieras, where room rates in summer are often well over €1000 a night. This year doubles with sea views and a balcony in peak season range from €770 to €965; the rate for a non-sea-view room, double occupancy, during the second half of August and September is €386.

4. Enjoy a posh beach scene. Although Rapallo has limited beach areas, there are lidos in town where you can while away the day. But if you want to experience Riviera beach style in a way that reminds you of a Slim Aarons photograph, go to the Excelsior Palace’s Beach Club. (You can pay a fee to use it if you’re not staying at the hotel.) Two striking infinity pools and their lounge areas overlook that gorgeous Riviera coastline and beach terraces on the levels below provide access to the vividly colored sea. You probably won’t want to budge from this spot all day (or ever), unless you decide to swim to the floats (materassini prendisole) positioned offshore, so it’s good there’s both a snack bar and the chic Eden Roc restaurant close at hand.

5. Golf at a historic club. Il Circolo Golf e Tennis Rapallo, dating from the early 1930s, has hosted everyone from screen legend Rita Hayworth to Bill Gates. The 18-hole (par 70) course can be played year-round thanks to the Gulf of Tigullio’s balmy climate. (Contact the club for booking information.) As the club’s name indicates, tennis is available here—there are four clay and two synthetic-grass courts. The club is about two kilometers from the Rapallo train station.

6. Learn how to cook Ligurian dishes. At the Vecchia Rapallo, a noted restaurant with a prime location in the historic center, there are classes to help you master the art of making such Ligurian specialties as pesto, lasagne with pesto, and stuffed vegetables the way the pros and locals do. After lessons are complete, you get to enjoy your culinary efforts at lunch. If you want to savor a range of Ligurian flavors, come back for dinner and try one of the restaurant’s tasting menus. On the Menù Contadino, for example, there’s pear ravioli served with cheese; on the Menù Marinaio the octopus salad with pistachios, tomatoes, oranges and olives, is followed by sea-bream ravioli in scampi sauce.

7. Indulge your sweet tooth at one of Italy’s iconic pastry shops. Since the 19th century the Caffé Pasticceria Canepa 1862 has been tempting Riviera residents and visitors with irresistible pastries and cakes. Try their signature cubeletti, quince jam-filled treats that have been produced here for more than 150 years. There are many other sweets to savor including pandolce, the Genoa fruit bread/cake; colomba, the Easter specialty; solluccheri cookies and sugar-flecked airy brioches. This atmospheric shop, owned today by Giovanni Garbarini and pastry chef Andrea Zino, can ship their delicious products anywhere.

8.Explore lesser-known nearby spots like San Michele di Pagana. Relax at this beautiful seaside hamlet between Rapallo and Santa Margarita Ligure, which has a small harbor, several coves (Pomaro, Trelo and Prelo) and beach areas. Despite its small size this haven has a major piece of art, The Crucifixion by Anthony Van Dyck, in the church of San Michele Arcangelo.

9. Head to Zoagli, another under-the-radar retreat, and the neighboring towns of Chiavari and Lavagna. Zoagli, a favored spot of wealthy Genovese for centuries, was long known for its production of fine velvets, coveted by Europe’s elites. Stroll the lovely seaside promenade, then head to Seterie di Zoagli Cordani, where beautiful silk velvets and silks have been made since 1849, and Tessitura Artigiana Giuseppe Gaggioli, for exquisite hand-woven velvets and damasks, along with fine silks. When in Chiavari, a bustling sea town, stroll the medieval quarter and the various arcades, and if you’re in the area the second weekend of the month, check out its well-known antiques and flea market. In Lavagna, you’ll find a long (4 kilometer) beach, along with six medieval sestieri, or districts.

10. You can even visit castles. A series of waterside castles in Liguria serves as reminder that for centuries many Riviera coastal villages lived under threat of invasions from the sea. Rapallo’s 16th-century castle, built after a fearsome raid by Turkish pirates when locals were captured and made slaves, sits on the Lungomare and is one of the town’s famous markers. The space is often used for exhibitions. (Reconstruction work from last fall’s storm is expected to be completed shortly.) In nearby Portofino visit Castello Brown, perched high on the promontory and dating from the 1400s. You can also stop by the Castello di Dragonara in Camogli and take in the remarkable sea views from its exterior. There are number of other castles to see as you work your way down the Riviera di Levante coast to Portovenere.

11. If you’re doing a three- or four-day weekend, find time to head north to Genoa, a fascinating city with great art, where you’ll find palazzi housing masterpieces by Caravaggio, Rubens, Dürer and Veronese; a large historic center; fascinating shops; and the cool Porto Antico, the old port, which was revitalized by the Genoa-born superstar architect Renzo Piano.

I have worked for Italian publications in the US and Italy, including Harper’s Bazaar, Mondadori’s Linea Italiana and RAI’s Moda. For Clarkson Potter/Crown I produced and authored two books on design, ‘Italian Style’ and ‘Italian Country.’ In addition to living in Milan and going to school in Pisa, I have produced and written features from many countries in Europe and throughout Italy. For American publications I have been editor-in-chief of the Forbes Special Interest Publications group and Gotham Magazine. My focus is on travel in Italy and Western Europe

Source: 11 Ways To Spend A Perfect Weekend On The Italian Riviera

Austrian Airlines The Quality Reliability of All Travel Experience

General

Austrian Airlines is Austria’s largest carrier and operates a global route network of approximately 130 destinations, being particularly dense in Central and Eastern Europe with 35 destinations.

Thanks to its favourable geographical location at the heart of Europe, the company’s hub at Vienna International Airport is the ideal gateway between East and West. Austrian Airlines is part of the Lufthansa Group, Europe’s largest airline group, and a member of the Star Alliance, the first global alliance of international airlines.

Austria established the world’s first regular international air connection on 1 April 1918, when it opened its route between Vienna and Kiev. Initially, this served only to transport post. In July 1918, the line from Vienna to Budapest was also opened.

On 14 May 1923, the first aircraft to be operated by ÖLAG (Österreichische Luftverkehrs AG) flew from Vienna to Munich. ÖLAG soon expanded to become the fourth-largest airline in Europe. Following the occupation of Austria in 1938, ÖLAG was forced to cease operations.

When Austria regained sovereignty over its airspace in 1955 with the signature of the State Treaty, two separate carriers were founded, Air Austria and Austrian Airways. Neither of the two began operating flights at this stage. On 4 April 1957, the two companies finally merged to form a single airline, Austrian Airlines.

On 30 September 1957, Austrian Airlines AG was founded, and the new company began to operate scheduled services on 31 March 1958.

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The fleet development announced in January 2019 is taking shape now: Austrian Airlines has now secured six additional A320 aircraft. The first of these jets is scheduled for delivery in August. Within the next few days, it will already receive the red-white-red Austrian color scheme in Jacksonville/USA. A total of ten additional jets are to replace the 18 Dash 8-400 turboprop aircraft by 2021. Austrian will thus increase its Airbus fleet from 36 to 46 aircraft. As of June 30, 2019, the entire Austrian Airlines fleet consisted of 82 aircraft.

“These six additional A320s should also be understood as a strong signal towards low cost competition. We are defending our market position and are determined to fight for our customers”, Austrian Airlines CCO Andreas Otto explains the strategic fleet development.

Four A320 aircraft from Avianca Brasil, two from Juneyao

Four of the six additional A320 jets are leased from Aviation Capital and previously flew at Avianca Brasil. In part, these aircraft are already being subject to the necessary delivery check. The first A320 plane is expected to be transferred to Austrian Airlines in the middle of August. Additional planes will be supplied at the end of August as well as in September and October. Following the necessary modifications and adaptations, the first aircraft should be put into operation on Austrian Airline’s behalf in December of this year. Austrian Airlines will take possession of two other Airbus jets purchased from CDB Aviation, which are currently operated by Star Alliance Connecting Partner Juneyao.

Quality, reliability and creation of a positive travel experience for our customers are the core competencies of the Austrian Airlines Group. Thus we aim at inspiring our passengers. In this regard Central Procurement plays an essential role: We are searching for suppliers and partners, who support us in satisfying our customers’ needs. However, this gets surpassed by a continuous cost optimization process, quality improvement and especially by innovation through which we enthuse and amaze our customers.

Source: https://www.austrianairlines.ag

7 Spots To Experience The Joy Of Missing Out

Get A Taste Of Bedouin Life

Get A Taste Of Bedouin Life

Four Seasons Hotel Amman

Gorgeous photos and shareable moments are the hallmark of any modern vacation, but when is the last time you actually took a trip just for yourself?

Instead of trying to keep up with wanderlust-inducing Instagram feeds, opt for a more laid-back approach to your next getaway. Treat yourself to a digital detox at these Forbes Travel Guide-approved stays that excel in JOMO (the joy of missing out), the antithesis to FOMO (fear of missing out).

Four Seasons Hotel Amman

You won’t find Wi-Fi in the heart of Wadi Rum, the rose-hued desert four hours south of this spectacular stay in Jordan’s capital.

Head for the dunes for an overnight excursion to Bedouin Lifestyle Camp — a tented complex run by the region’s traditionally nomadic inhabitants — where you can hike through the otherworldly rock formations that surround the sands.

After sundown, gather around the fire for a family-style meal of roasted lamb. Be sure to gaze up at the stars — the celestial bodies shine bright without Amman’s light pollution.

The Westin Palace, Madrid

The Westin Palace, Madrid

Westin Hotels and Resorts

Across the map, Westin properties put self-care first with a host of health-focused offerings to keep you on top of your game during your travels — without the constant stimulation of digital devices.

At hotels like Forbes Travel Guide Recommended The Westin Chosun Seoul, look out for rest-enhancing amenities, such as bedside Sleep Well Lavender Balm or the superfood-packed Sleep Well Menu for late-night room service.

More active pursuits can be found at stays like The Westin Hilton Head Island Resort & Spa, where you can trade in your phone for the day in exchange for bike rentals, kayak tours or spa time, or Forbes Travel Guide Recommended The Westin Palace, Madrid where you can follow the property’s running map for a 2.5-mile route around some of the city’s most popular sights.

In the spirit of dolce far niente (“the sweet art of doing nothing”), this Five-Star Venetian gem recently debuted an early morning experience you need to see to believe.

Scala Del Bovolo Sunrise begins with a shuttle ride to St. Mark’s Square, where you’ll stroll through the deserted city streets before climbing the spiral staircase of the 15th-century Palazzo Contarini del Bovolo.

After conquering the 80-step ascent, you’ll be rewarded with sunrise views over Venice and a continental breakfast. Trust us when we say you’ll want to leave your phone behind — pictures won’t do these vistas justice.

Esperanza, Auberge Resorts Collection

Esperanza, Auberge Resorts Collection

Esperanza, Auberge Resorts Collection

A cliffside locale and VIP-approved amenities (past guests have included Leonardo DiCaprio and Jennifer Aniston) are just a few of the reasons to unplug and soak in all that this Five-Star stunner has to offer.

Ditch your device for a bit of romance with the Cabo San Lucas property’s Sueños Spa Experience. Enjoy a steamy spin in the Five-Star spa’s grotto, where you and your partner will find a sauna-like cave and warm pools to luxuriate in.

An alfresco couple’s massage illuminated by starlight followed by post-indulgence finger foods and bubbles complete the enviable experience. You will want to keep the details of this romantic rendezvous all to yourselves.

Six Senses Spa

Six Senses Spa

The Alpina Gstaad

Find your center among the scenic Swiss Alps with the Tibetan Healing Retreat offer from this Five-Star gem.

Available June 9 through September 22, the rejuvenating four-night escape begins with a personal consultation, pulse reading and questionnaire that will determine the course of your customized experience.

High stress levels? The spa’s Tibetan medicine amchi-naturopath practitioner might recommend a 60-minute singing bowl session. Need a pick-me-up? You’ll likely enjoy a 75-minute Ku Nye Massage.

No matter your treatments, you’ll be sure to enjoy gratis daily breakfast made especially memorable with a side of those breathtaking mountain views.

Ko’a Kea Hotel & Resort

Ko’a Kea Hotel & Resort

Ko’a Kea Hotel & Resort

Perched in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, this Forbes Travel Guide Recommended retreat is a JOMO paradise. If the Poipu Beach property’s saltwater pool, white sands and fire-pit-dotted grounds aren’t enough to convince you to unplug, its Kauai Wanderlust offer might just do the trick.

Customize your perfect day with your choice of indulgent Hawaiian dinner for two, an oceanside couple’s massage or an adventurous afternoon (surf lessons and a private luau), before retiring on your room’s cozy lanai — a scenic spot to watch the sun set.

The Ranch at Laguna Beach

The Ranch at Laguna Beach

The Ranch at Laguna Beach

Need a break from L.A.’s constant buzz? Head about an hour south to this rustic-chic Orange County retreat to recharge your batteries.

You’ll want to leave the devices at home at this tranquil spot. Tucked between two canyons on 87 verdant acres, the SoCal resort may as well be a world away from the bustle of Hollywood.

Home to Laguna Beach’s only golf course, the sprawling property begs for you to do absolutely nothing, whether by the gorgeous central pool, at nature-inspired Sycamore Spa or around the fire pit roasting s’mores after nightfall.—Sarah Chanin

Forbes Travel Guide, formerly Mobil, created America’s original hospitality Star Rating system in 1958.

Source: 7 Spots To Experience The Joy Of Missing Out

How Bali’s Legendary Mulia Spa Is Embracing Affordable Luxury

The Mulia's famed Oasis Pool.

Some places are easier to get to than others. Then, there’s Bali. For me, the journey took a 15-hour flight from New York to Hong Kong, a four-hour layover, and another five-hour flight. Needless to say, I landed at the Denpasar Airport in pretty grimy shape.

But once I stepped into the elegant, open-air lobby (think gleaming marbling floors, crisp white and beige palette, and local accents like oversized, wall-hanging abacuses) of The Mulia, an award-winning resort in Nasa Dua, my self-consciousness melted away. (The calming tones of traditional Balinese instruments, easygoing staff, and refreshing welcome drink surely helped). And it didn’t take long for me to realize why Bali has been such a longstanding, popular destination for well, most everyone: outdoor enthusiasts, spiritual seekers, honeymooners, and spa fanatics.

The Mulia offers three distinct categories of accommodations: The Mulia (all suites), Mulia Resort, and Mulia Villas (pictured).

The Mulia offers three distinct categories of accommodations: The Mulia (all suites), Mulia Resort, and Mulia Villas (pictured).

The Mulia & Mulia Villas

As for me? I fall squarely into the last category. But I wouldn’t categorize myself as the typical spa-goer. With a professional background in beauty and retail – I owned a Brooklyn apothecary with an in-house aesthetician for ten years – I’ve always held the belief that spa treatments are about far more than pampering and vanity. I also know that a breathlessly expensive, big brand name experience doesn’t necessarily correlate to quality, either.

This is when Mulia Spa’s Full Day Spa Wellness Package enters the picture. As the name implies, the comprehensive, mind-and-body experience takes course over an entire day, from early morning through dinner. Yes, it’s definitely indulgent – Mulia Spa is widely and consistently recognized as one of the region’s best for good reason – but as I mentioned before, what makes this treatment a real standout is how it ticks off all the boxes (including one many travelers won’t typically discuss). Below, four reasons why Mulia Spa’s Full Day Spa Wellness Package shouldn’t be missed.

The dazzling entrance to Mulia Spa.

The dazzling entrance to Mulia Spa.

The Mulia & Mulia Villas

Relatively speaking, it’s a bargain.

It’s funny how many travel writers are loathe to comment on pricing. Because guess what? Everybody, regardless of income level, loves getting more bang for their hard-earned buck. Mulia Spa’s Full Day Spa Wellness Package costs around $787 – which includes tax, along with breakfast, lunch, and dinner – and spans approximately six hours. And if you break down the price per hour, it comes down to about $131. (Just for quick comparison: a basic, hourlong Swedish massage at a no-frills spot in my Brooklyn neighborhood is $130.) So, for the same amount of dollars, you’re receiving world-class facilities and service (and not to mention, the breathtakingly Bali backdrop) at Mulia Spa. 

Alternate between the warm and cold hydrotherapy pools before your treatments.

Alternate between the warm and cold hydrotherapy pools before your treatments.

The Mulia & Mulia Villas

It’s not just about pampering – which there’s plenty of.

Make no mistake: you’ll be thoroughly scrubbed, rubbed, and treated like royalty during most of the Full Day Spa Wellness Package. But you’ll begin the experience bright and early at 7:00 a.m. with your choice of fitness activity. While most guests opt for yoga – which makes sense, given that Bali is also a destination for yogis – I went on my own with a five-mile run. Commencing with physical activity not just helps you connect with yourself, but sets a positive tone for the rest of the day. And the spa’s famed Wellness Suite, comprised of hydrotherapy pools, steam room, sauna, and Asia Pacific’s only ice room – where you can sit in a 30-degrees Fahrenheit, and massage crushed ice all over your skin – just adds to the good vibes already set in motion.

Cool yourself off (and boost circulation) in Asia Pacific's only ice room.

Cool yourself off (and boost circulation) in Asia Pacific’s only ice room.

The Mulia & Mulia Villas

Customization is key.

We’ve all tried out spa packages where the treatments are fixed beforehand. While they’re fine, Mulia Spa goes above and beyond by letting you create a truly bespoke experience for yourself. To that end, you’ll have a consultation at the spa the day before your appointment. After refreshing yourself with an oshibori and pink ginger drink, you’ll fill out a form detailing your specific needs and concerns. In addition to selecting a massage, facial, body scrub, and salon experience, you also get to pick what you’d like to eat for your meals throughout the day.

You'll enjoy a spacious, dedicated suite for most of the day.

You’ll enjoy a spacious, dedicated suite for most of the day.

The Mulia & Mulia Villas

This isn’t your standard spa food.

I usually cringe when I hear the words spa food. Why? Because it almost always sacrifices flavor and creativity for low-calorie nutrition. But when I glanced at Mulia Spa’s menu, which was filled with a wide range of tantalizing options (including soups, small plates, juices, and entrees), I shelved my doubts. Everything I ordered was generously portioned, balanced, and nutritionally sound. My lunch of miso black cod, dashi spinach with eggplant, and steamed quinoa, for example, left me feeling completely satisfied for hours, without the least bit weighed down.

I cover travel – like hip hotels, a destination’s can’t-miss dining, and products that make the journey easier.

Source: How Bali’s Legendary Mulia Spa Is Embracing Affordable Luxury

10 Best Things To See and Do in delightful Bruges, Belgium

When I look back on the past decade of our travels, all I see are little city breaks scattered throughout the years. Instead of burning all the vacation days on one big, proper trip, we favoured spontaneous voyages around Europe and Ireland.

One thing I was surprised to discover- I found real satisfaction in planning all the trips and loved the anticipation of what might happen. Actually, when I think about it, I enjoyed organising weekend getaways and staycations even more than remembering them after.

I got so hooked that I needed this happy feeling in my life repeated as often as possible. I started planning prospective road trips and crazy adventures. Over the years I plotted pretty much everything I could, from a two-week Pacific Northwest adventures to The Great Ocean Road trip and even several Around The World Trips.

Some of the journeys and routes that I have planned are still bookmarked for later and some of them we had a chance to experience several times.

When it comes to pretty European getaways, Brugge is one place I always wanted to go. It was one of the first trips that I personally planned with great enthusiasm. Was I seduced by chocolate fountains that never dry out or inspired by long exposure pictures of the medieval city at night with silky smooth waters on my Instagram feed?

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Pretty cobbled streets in Bruges, Belgium.

 

All I know is that since we had to cancel long weekend in Belgium a few years ago, because of Valters work circumstances, urge to go surfaced from time to time in my head.

The purpose of our visit to Bruges, that was founded in the 9th century by the Vikings,  was to see its beautiful squares, hear folkloric tales and to climb 366 steps to the very top of the Belfry.

And even though we arrived in Bruges hearing rain pound on the train window and even though we never made it to the medieval bell tower, we were swept away by its laid-back ambience and delectable foods.

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You gonna love Bruges!

10 best things to see and do in delightful Bruges, Belgium

For those world wanderers who want to discover the best things to see and do in this city, we put together a list of some of the most beautiful places you’ll find in Bruges. If you ask me, there’s no denying that with the quirky houses, incredible Christmas markets, and the cobbled streets, Bruges is one of the Europes most beautiful cities.

It’s so beautifully unique and full of history that in fact, the centre of it became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2010.

After spending a full day in Bruges, we can recommend this medieval town to everyone. Bruges is a very walkable place, and you can fit all the major attractions in a day. So, bring your walking shoes and explore this place.

#1. Eat all the Belgian chocolate you can

On a quest to find the best sweets in town? You have come to the right place. White and dark chocolate, macaroons, pralines, truffles, strawberry ganache, waffles – whatever you fancy! Bruges is cheerfully dripping in sweets. For the most amazing chocolates in the World, go to The Chocolate Line.  Lavender and the Cuban cigar flavour, anyone?

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Pure deliciousness.

#2. Find the 18th-century windmills

The Koeleweimolen and Sint-Janshuismolen mills are located on the outskirts of town and are worth a visit. Out of four remaining windmills, these two are still used today to grind the grain. Each of the houses a small museum and if you are in luck, you’ll see the sails in motion.

#3. Look out for In Bruges filming locations

Before our trip I scrolled through the Netflix archives, looking for a black comedy starring Collin Farrel and Brendon Gleeson, In Bruges.  Not only this movie was hilarious; it also revealed beautiful Gothic architecture, old bridges and lots of tourist attractions.

Most of the filming locations are freely accessible, and you can see Minnewater Bridge, The Groeningemuseum, the Relais Bourgondisch Cruyce, The Huidenvettersplein, The Jan Van Eyckplein and many more. Bring your camera, get the map of all the filming locations at the tourist information bureau and have fun finding them.

#4. Go for a Boat Ride

The canal boat ride was the very first thing we enjoyed in Bruges. The price of the ticket is around 8 euro, it takes 30 minutes for a round trip, and this trip allowed us to see the town from a different angle. Jumping into the boat with other travellers was a perfect way to see the city and our tour guide was quite the character, telling jokes and interesting facts about everything we saw along the way.

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Bruges, Belgium.

#5. Go for a walk

When you go for a walk around Bruges, the evidence why this place never needs to fight for visitors attention, unlike Ghent or Antwerp, is on every corner. Strolling through unfamiliar streets and squares filled with small cafes and shops, we stopped many times to gaze into the beautifully decorated shop windows, tried to imagine what the rooms look like behind those pink painted window frames, admired the unique architecture and tried to absorb its energetic vibe.

#6. Explore Bruges on bike

Bruges is a land of bicycles. ROour advice, rent the bikes, ditch the mid-day crowds and go for a ride. You can use the pedestrian/bike path that circles nearly all the way around town. If you enjoy hopping on two wheels and like to see the countryside too then go all the way to Damme, situated north-east of Bruges.

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Bruges, Belgium.

#7.  Find cute door knobs

As we wandered from one cobbled street to the next one, we found many beautifully detailed doors often with symmetrical designs. One thing to look out for in Bruges is door knobs that come in all shape and sizes. We spotted everything from flowers and animals to beautiful ornaments. Knocking on the doors in this town sure is fun.

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Cute, isn’t it?

 

#8.  See the impressive Town Hall

Located in Burg Square Bruges Town Hall is strikingly remarkable inside and out. Interior of this place is decorated with a golden ceiling and valuable paintings. 19th-century murals adorn the Ghotic Hall and may original documents can be found in the historic chamber.

#9. Go on a tour  with a horse-drawn carriage

While walking around medieval town, we quickly learned that that Bruges was in a class of its own.  Another fun way how to enjoy the sights and listen to the stories told by the coachman is to go for a half-hour carriage ride along beautiful streets. It is definitely one of the priciest things to do in this city, but its good fun!

#10. Send some love

Last thing before we left – postcards. I send one home to Latvia and to my friends from every place we visit. I love this old fashion way of keeping in touch as it’s an effective way to show you care. Who doesn’t want to receive a hand-picked card with a personal note from the other side of the world?

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Sending postcards from Bruges.

How to get to Bruges

Typically for most visitors, the first stop in Belgium is Brussels city. From here, you can take a train ride to Bruges with Belgian Railway.  To make the most of your trip, especially if you are going on a day trip, you need to get an early start. It takes around an hour to make it to Bruges from Brussels by train, and it’s possible to purchase the ticket in advance. To do so, use the Belgian train online page.

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Bruges, Belgium.

Now, over to you!

Have you been to Bruges? Let us know in the comments below!

Let us know if you are plotting a visit to Bruges and have travel related questions!

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Our Crossings follows daily adventures of Latvian expats living in Sligo as they surf and explore the world

Source: 10 Best Things To See and Do in delightful Bruges, Belgium

U.S. Travelers Are Benefiting From The Lowest Domestic Airfares In At Least 9 Years – Dan Reed

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With only one month left in 2018 it now appears almost certain that the average inflation-adjusted domestic round-trip air fare in America this year will be the lowest it has been in at least nine years.

Based on data and analysis from the U.S. Department of Transportation and Airlines for America, the major carriers’ trade association, the average domestic round-trip fare paid during the first of 2018 was $338, excluding ancillary fees, and $360 including those fees.

That’s 15.1% lower than the $398 that travelers paid, on average, in 2014 excluding ancillary fees, and 14.9% lower than the $423 they paid, on average in that same year when fees for ancillary services are included. The year 2014 turned out to be the costliest, on average, for domestic air travel year out of the last nine years.

Average U.S. domestic round-trip airfares since 2010Airlines for America/ U.S. DOT

The cheapest year for domestic air travel, on average, out of the previous eight years was 2017, when the average domestic round-trip fare, excluding ancillary fees was $347, and $370 with those fees. Those figures were  both about 3% higher than the average domestic round-trip fare in the first half of this year.

All dollar figures in the data and analysis are inflation adjusted and stated in 2018 constant dollars.

The final calculation of the average domestic round-trip fare price for all of 2018 won’t be available until sometime next spring. But it is very unlikely – in fact, it’s almost statistically impossible – for the full-year 2018 average fare price to rise above the 2017 full-year average price. That’s the case for several reasons.

First, to push that much higher from the first half 2018 average fare price, second half 2018 fares prices would have to have been significantly, even painfully higher throughout the second half of this year. But that has not been the case.

Only this week has Southwest been able to push through a modest fare hike that other carriers followed. Southwest is a long-established discount carrier that now struggles with higher costs than traditionally was the case. Still, it tends to set the floor price for fares charged by the nation’s largest, more conventional airlines. Southwest raised its prices $2 to $5 each way on about 90,000 listed fares. American, Delta, United, Alaska, JetBlue and Hawaiian airlines all followed suit.

That increase was welcomed by analysts and investors who had been complaining for months that airlines’ fares were too low this year because the industry had added more capacity than consumer demand could fill without airlines resorting to increased price discounting. But even that new, modest price increase isn’t big enough, nor will it be in effect long enough for it to significantly alter 2018’s downward pricing trend line.

Airline profits in 2018 also are expected to be down from 2017 and from the peak year of 2015, when the group as a whole earned an unprecedented $23.7 billion net profit and an operating profit of $26.8 billion. Last year U.S. airlines reported combined operating profits of $20.3 billion and combined net profits of $14 billion.

Through the first nine months of this year, U.S. airlines saw fuel prices move up 50% from the previous year, only to fall precipitously again over the last six weeks.

The fact that U.S. air travelers are getting a relatively good deal on the average domestic fare prices paid this year does not mean that every passenger is scoring a great deal.

The calculation of the average fare price includes a large number of factors that impact the percentage of seats sold at various prices. Business travelers and leisure travelers willing to spend extra for comfort frequently end up paying twice or three times more than the price of the average fare. Conversely, those willing to forego “extras” or even service features that used to be considered basic (like the ability to choose a seat or carry on a bag for free) frequently pay half, or even only a third of the “average” fare price.

Then there are business travelers who pay somewhat lower fares for full service treatment because the big corporations for which they work negotiate substantial net discounts based on the high volume of business travelers they place a particular carriers’ flights.  Then there are those who travel for free, or virtually free, by using mileage points earned as members of carriers’ frequent flier programs.

Price-sensitive travelers tend to make up a much greater share of passengers on board any given flight. But the wide gap in prices paid by the most and the least price-sensitive travelers can push the average price up even though relatively few travelers pay those higher fares.

Not surprisingly, data from A4A, the carriers’ trade association, illuminates the effect that different carriers’ marketing approaches can have on the average prices paid by their passengers.

U.S. Carriers’ Average Domestic Round-trip Fares* – 1st Half 2018

Carrier                                 Fare                      Market Share

Southwest                          $261.52                 23.3%

American                            $411.63                 19.6%

Delta                                    $413.01                 18.8%

United                                 $428.70                 14.4%

Alaska                                  $320.78                  6.3%

JetBlue                                $296.36                   5.5%

Spirit                                    $ 90.32                    4.3%

Frontier                               $114.71                     3.1%

Allegiant                              $133.65                    2.5%

Hawaiian                             $349.12                    1.5%

Sun Country                       $268.60                   0.4%

Southwest, which continues to be a discount carrier though it no longer positions itself as industry’s absolute low price leader, had an average roundtrip domestic fare price, excluding fees and taxes, of $261.52 in the first half of the year.

American, the world’s largest airline, had a first half average fare of $411.63, while No. 2 Delta’s was $413.01 and No. 3 United’s was a relatively whopping $428.70.

But because Southwest, which has a very small international footprint, carries an industry-leading 23.3% of all domestic travelers (to the Big Three’s 19.6%, 18.8% and 14.4%, respectively), its first half average domestic round-trip fare of $261.52 has an out-sized effect on bringing down the industry’s average fare price.

The carrier with the lowest average domestic round-trip fare in the first half of this year was Spirit Airlines, at just $90.32. Thus, though it carries only 4.3% of domestic passenger, Spirit, which features Spartan service and extra fees for virtually any service beyond a seat on the plane also has a strong downward pull on the industry’s average fare. Though slightly pricier – and, in each case, smaller that Spirit – fellow “ultra low cost carrier” Frontier, Allegiant and Sun Country exert similar downward pull on the industry’s average price.

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