Advertisements

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.

Follow me on Twitter.

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

Advertisements

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. 

Follow me on Twitter or LinkedIn. Check out my website.

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

How A Hotel Earned Five Stars For Five Years

Managing director Robert Schofield

Managing director Robert Schofield

The Langham, Chicago

It’s difficult to earn a Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star award — only 20 percent of all hotels rated attain the honor — but it’s even harder to maintain it. The Langham, Chicago hit a hot streak, winning the top accolade for five years in a row. The 52-story riverfront hotel also holds the distinction of having the only Five-Star spa in the city.

We talked to hotel managing director Robert Schofield to find out what it takes to achieve excellence year after year, the most underrated amenity at the property and what you should do on your next Chicago visit.

Take A Dip In The Pool

Take A Dip In The Pool

The Langham, Chicago

What’s The Langham, Chicago’s secret to continual Five-Star success?

The Langham brand itself was not very well-known in the United States when we decided to build the Chicago company, and therefore we were faced with some real big challenges in terms of our competition because we have some really great hotels here in Chicago — the Peninsula, the Waldorf and the Ritz.

We said, “Okay, how are we going to introduce a sort of limited name, not a lot of recognition, a Five-Star property against the big brands?” The only way we could do that was to establish the best hotel.

We set about seeing what standards we would need to do that. [We blended] in the Forbes [Travel Guide] standards into Langham brand standards and then basically created a vision for all our colleagues that we employ.

Most importantly, with any product at all, it’s the consistency of that product. So to make sure that we were consistent in what is a human service type of business is in many ways much more challenging than creating a motorcar or suit or any other product that you put to the public. They can test it before they go out, and therefore the guest gets something that has already been checked as being perfect.

Human beings aren’t quite the same in terms of being perfect, and we have to instill a culture into the hotel whereby each colleague actually feels ownership of our product. And through ownership of our product, they have to engage with our guests, they effectively have to take that ownership to deal with any guest inquiry at any point in time. And through tens and twenties of thirties of contact points in that whole of the guest experience, not one of those can be adverse. Because as we all know, the one that you remember is the one that doesn’t go well.

Infinity Suite

Infinity Suite

The Langham, Chicago

We don’t employ guest relations managers in the hotel, which is odd. I know many, many Five-Star hotels do. The philosophy behind that was really every single colleague has to take responsibility to be the guest relations manager. So effectively everybody has to take action on the spot to meet the needs of the guest. The key thing there is each and every one of our colleagues is personally empowered to do that. We expect it from every one of our colleagues. And we orientate them to that right at the beginning. We try to employ colleagues that are willing to take ownership, that are naturally hospitable, keen to please the guest, and this will create a total environment whereby everybody is a guest relations manager.

If we have guests who leave without great memories, we have failed. We have a beautiful stage, a beautiful hotel. But a stage is a stage, and at the end of the day, it’s the performance on that stage that creates the memories for our guests.

To make something consistent, you have to have processes in place. Once those processes are in place, you have to continually review what your colleagues are doing. The same way that if you were a producer of a stage production, you would be watching what everybody was doing on that stage all of the time to make sure everything was perfect and was in accordance in what your goals and objectives were.

We have the same attitude with our departmental managers. They effectively have their stages via the Pavilion restaurant, Travelle restaurant or spa. It doesn’t matter which location in the hotel — the manager in charge of that, it’s their show. They have to watch the body language, they have to watch the reactions of our colleagues towards guests and basically make sure they are in full compliance with the training we’ve given them.

But most of all, it’s hiring the right people who actually want to do this and want to be part of building the reputation of the hotel, maintaining the reputation of the hotel.

Pavilion

Pavilion

The Langham, Chicago

What are the biggest challenges of running a Five-Star hotel?

The biggest challenge is to be better every day. You can never rest on your laurels, you have to effectively all day, every day, look at every aspect of the operation and see how it can be better, whether the maintenance department, the kitchen, the restaurant, the spa — the whole team has to continually be looking to see how they can get better.

Challenges come and go. The market conditions in a hotel change. Sometimes you’ll have a bigger demand in the marketplace, sometimes a lesser demand. Maybe new hotels are built and that becomes challenge, because now the guest has more opportunities. We have to build guest loyalty through their interactions with us so they will continually come back and spend time with us.

The challenges going forward: it’s a tight labor market in Chicago and nationally. We have to make sure we hire the right people. We only hire 2 percent of the applicants that actually apply to us. We have to make sure we retain the colleagues we have, and we do that through a big concentration on our colleagues in terms of what their individual needs are for the next five years. We look at the succession planning processes that we incorporate into the hotel. We train people, we recognize and respect each and every our colleagues for the part they play. At the end of the day, it’s a one team, one dream situation. Our goal now is to become a legendary Langham.

In your five years of having the Five-Star award, how has the luxury traveler changed?

I think much more casual elegance as opposed to formal elegance. Things don’t change drastically over a five-year period. But things tend to evolve. The world is a much more casual environment. We maintain a graciousness. We definitely don’t want to be formal and stuffy — and we never were when we opened the hotel.

Travelle
The Langham, Chicago

What’s an underrated feature at the hotel?

I think the club lounge on the 13th floor. Many hotels in the past had butlers that went to guest rooms and knocked on doors to ask if guests effectively wanted any services.

We incorporated our butlers into our club lounge, which is a very unique, relaxing area with food available for breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea and dinner. And that has been so popular. The panoramic view covers Lake Michigan and the whole of the riverwalk and the river itself.

The goal of the butlers in the club lounge is to have a private check-in facility and very much a personalized level of service whereby the guest meets the butlers all day long, rather than just meeting them when they have tea in a normal situation. Now the butlers get the guests the minute they arrive, they check them in, they escort them to the room, they provide other services for them if they want a bath run or want their luggage unpacked.

How has Chicago changed in the six years you’ve been at the Langham?

We’ve seen a very lovely evolvement on the Chicago Riverwalk whereby the walking and entertainment area has been expanded for a great distance all the way up to Lake Street. That is literally what we look out onto — the Chicago Riverwalk and the Chicago River. So that’s been much more of a leisure destination now, which has brought a lot of business down into this part of town where we are located.

What are some of your favorite places in Chicago?

The riverwalk. You have all the restaurants, you have the kayaking — it’s lovely. The architectural tour is obviously right outside our windows, and that is such a popular thing for anybody coming to Chicago.

If you want to go a little further north, you can go to Lincoln Park. I personally love that area for walking dogs. It has a zoo, it has the lakefront down there, it has a lot of people sunbathing during the summer months and bicycling up and down there all year round. It’s a really memorable section of Chicago, for sure.

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

Source: How A Hotel Earned Five Stars For Five Years

%d bloggers like this:
Skip to toolbar