If I were asked to name the strongest trend in travel today, I wouldn’t hesitate for a minute – it’s the substitution by American travelers of vacation apartments and homes for hotel rooms. Hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions, are now of the view that these alternative accommodations cost much less than equivalent hotel rooms, and offer far more spacious and comfortable stays, to boot.
The travel season of 2014 will be marked by higher airfares, both domestically and internationally – of that there can be little doubt. Already, examples abound of trips that have risen in price by $100-$200 per person because of the higher cost of transportation. And although those increases may be minor for a person traveling alone, they can be ruinous for a family traveling together.
They – Canada and Norway – are as different as countries can be. Yet both offer unusual opportunities for low-cost travel in the months ahead.
Many of us fall into a vacation rut – by which I mean that we go to the same destinations year after year: Jamaica and Aruba, London and Paris, San Francisco and Hawaii. How about trying new locales, new cultures, new lifestyles, new attractions?
Miami, a capital of cuisine? A place to rank with Hong Kong, San Francisco, and New Orleans for its food? Hold on to your hats – that claim actually can be made. I have just returned from a short stay in Florida’s largest resort city, where I had some of the best meals of my life.
Some two years after I first began writing about AirBnB.com – the ultra-successful service for finding short-term apartment rentals – I actually became an AirBnB user last month. In fact, I became such a user twice.
l receive countless inquiries asking me to suggest novel methods of vacationing __ tactics designed to get the listener or reader out of a vacation rut. To my surprise, these questions continue to recur, even though I regard the answers to them to be rather obvious. Here is my take on five suggested tactics for avoiding a "vacation rut":
The press is full of reports that most of the major airlines American, United, Delta among them have reduced the number of holiday dates to six on which they will be charging surcharges of $20 to $40 each way. So this Thanksgiving and Christmas, it will be only a small number of instances like the day before Christmas or the day before Thanksgiving, or the day after New Year's when rates will suddenly skyrocket, as compared with the 12 or so days that saw such surcharges in 2010. Are the airlines frightened that they will be unable to fill their seats if they suddenly charge more on such days?
We live and learn. When a caller to my radio program recently requested information about how to obtain a "European passport" (she meant an Irish passport entitling the bearer to all the privileges of the European Union), I casually responded that this was impossible, it couldn't be; I was certain that an American could not enjoy dual citizenship.
In January, exceptions to the 50-year-old embargo against travel to Cuba were announced by the Obama administration, raising hopes that this totally counterproductive policy finally would be phased out.