Category Archives: Travel


5 ways to travel better in 2023 — and maybe save some money doing it

The start of a new year brings fresh opportunities, and that includes travel.카지노사이트

People are figuring out where they’d like to go and what they need to do in order to make successful trips happen.

Now is a good time to apply for or renew a passport and sign up for a Trusted Traveler program such as Global Entry or TSA PreCheck — or check to make sure your enrollment isn’t expiring soon. It’s also a good time to consider whether visiting must-see Arizona destinations in off-peak times or getting a credit card with improved travel perks is right for you.

Here are five things to do right now to enjoy traveling more in 2023.

  1. Apply for or renew your passport right away

Demand for international travel is apparent as airlines add more flights from Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport. American Airlines will introduce new service to Monterrey, Mexico, in January and ultra-low-cost carrier Lynx Air will enter the market with flights between Sky Harbor and Calgary, the largest city in Alberta, Canada, starting in February.

If you’ve booked an international trip or are planning one for the not-so-distant future, get your passport as soon as possible if you don’t already have it. The U.S. Department of State estimates travelers can expect to wait six to nine weeks for routine passport processing and three to five weeks for expedited processing. These times may increase if demand surges.

If you have a passport, check the expiration date. Passports are valid for 10 years. If yours is expired or close to expiring, renew it as soon as possible. Some countries won’t let you enter if your passport is near expiration. That window varies by country, so check the travel requirements of your destination if your passport has less than one year remaining.

  1. Make sure your PreCheck or Global Entry is current

Passports aren’t the only travel tools that can expire. Now is good time to check how much time remains on your Trusted Traveler program enrollment.

These programs help speed you through security and immigration lines. Enrollment, which requires going through an interview, lasts five years and can be renewed the year before it expires.

The Transportation Security Administration offers PreCheck ($85). U.S. Customs and Border Protection administers Global Entry, NEXUS and SENTRI. Global Entry ($100) allows expedited entry into the U.S. from international destinations. SENTRI ($122.25) expedites entry to the U.S. from Canada and Mexico. NEXUS ($50) allows expedited entry to the U.S. from Canada.

Applying or renewing well in advance is key. PreCheck processing can take up to two months in some cases, though most applicants receive their Known Traveler Number within three to five days. The process for the CPB programs could take as long as six to 18 months, and interview availability is limited.

Arizona has eight PreCheck enrollment centers, at Sky Harbor Airport, Staples locations at Camelback Colonnade in Phoenix and Arrowhead Crossing in Peoria, and IdentoGo locations in Gilbert, Sun City, Casa Grande, Tucson and Flagstaff.

Arizona has five enrollment centers for the CPB programs: Sky Harbor Airport, Tucson International Airport and the port of entry offices in Douglas, Nogales and San Luis. You can check interview appointment availability before applying; to do so, visit

If your Global Entry is close to expiration and you have a filed your renewal application, you can use it past the expiration date for up to two years, according to Homeland Security.

  1. Consider getting a credit card with travel perks

Credit cards with perks like airline miles, hotel points or cash back for purchases can supplement your travel budget.바카라사이트

The Capital One Venture Rewards card, for example, offers 2 miles per dollar on every purchase, 5 miles per dollar on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One travel, and an introductory offer of 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months of the account. Other cards have different combinations of benefits that may suit your needs.

Be aware that many of these credit cards have annual fees, like Venture Rewards’ $95 per year. Some cards have no enrollment fees, like Chase Freedom Unlimited, which currently has an introductory offer of 6.5% cash back on travel purchases made with the card in the user’s first year.

  1. Visit Arizona’s hottest destinations in the offseason

It might feel like Sedona, Flagstaff and the Grand Canyon are always crowded. But a comfortable experience is possible if you travel when people are less likely to go.

The spring and fall months tend to be the busiest times to visit Sedona, while fewer tourists are likely in summer and winter. Data from the Sedona Chamber of Commerce confirms this — bed tax collections in the 2021-22 fiscal year were highest in spring and fall, peaking at just over $1 million in May 2022.

The Grand Canyon is busiest from the late spring to the early fall, with this past summer averaging around 500,000 visitors in each peak-season month, according to the National Park Service. October through March typically is less busy, though people who visit during the winter months should be aware of winter weather hazards and plan for snowy and icy conditions.

  1. Consider flying from Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport instead of Sky Harbor

As the main airport serving metro Phoenix, Sky Harbor International is where most of the region’s leisure and business travelers fly.

But for residents of the eastern part of Phoenix and cities including Chandler, Gilbert, Mesa, Tempe, Apache Junction and Queen Creek, Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport may win out over Sky Harbor for its convenient location and smaller, easily navigable size.

The east Mesa airport continues to experience record-setting passenger growth, and October 2022’s passenger count of 150,846 people marked a 15% increase from the same month in 2021.

Gateway Airport continues to evolve to keep pace with airline industry and regional growth. It recently began work on a 30,000-square-foot terminal extension that will add new gates, a glass walkway, a tech lounge and restaurants and shops upon its expected completion in 2024.

Gateway Airport is targeted toward leisure travelers. Be aware that its airlines — the biggest one is Allegiant Air — offer flights only on certain days, not every day. Parking is cheaper than at Sky Harbor — $13 per day in the main daily lot just south of the terminal, $11 in a covered economy lot and $9 in an uncovered economy lot — but travelers should still give themselves plenty of time to find a spot and get to the terminal.온라인카지노


Chinese cold on overseas travel even if COVID curbs ease: survey

More than half of Chinese will put off travel abroad for periods from several months to more than a year, even if borders reopen tomorrow, according to a survey, a sign that consumer recovery from COVID-19 measures will take time. 카지노사이트

Mainland China retains some of the world’s most stringent measures on PCR testing and quarantine for international travellers, despite some domestic easing of curbs after last month’s unprecedented COVID protests.

Fear of infection with the disease was the top concern of those saying they would postpone travel in a survey of 4,000 consumers in China released by consultancy Oliver Wyman, with worries about changes to domestic re-entry guidelines in second place.

“People have become cautious,” said Imke Wouters, a retail and consumer goods partner at the firm. “So even when they can travel, we don’t think they will come back right away.”

As many as 51 percent of those surveyed plan to delay international travel. And when they do, short-haul destinations will be the first to benefit, the consultancy said in its study, “China Consumption Recovery”.

The Asian financial hub of Hong Kong topped wishlists for travel, with 34 percent of respondents saying it would be their first stop after the reopening.

The late October survey followed the 20th Congress of the ruling Communist Party in Beijing, which brought President Xi Jinping a precedent-breaking third term as leader, at an event many had hoped would herald an opening up after COVID.

China was formerly the world’s largest outbound tourism market, but its overseas visitors, who spent $127.5bn on such trips in 2019, have virtually disappeared after it all but shut international borders in early 2020 and curbed non-essential travel by citizens.

China’s uncompromising “zero-COVID” effort hit the economy hard, and it is expected to reshape policies soon, though analysts have warned that any reopening will be bumpy and complex.

As many as 83 percent of the executives in China who responded to the survey said “a long road to consumer confidence recovery” was set to affect their mainland business over the next year.바카라사이트

While the report found consumer sentiment subdued by lockdowns and economic uncertainty, Wouters said Chinese consumers still showed a willingness to boost spending next year if conditions improve.

Nearly half, or 44 percent, of respondents cited an increase in personal savings as a reason they were likely to spend more next year.

China’s household deposits increased to 13 trillion yuan ($1.87 trillion) from January to September this year, up from 8.5 trillion yuan ($1.22 trillion) for the corresponding 2021 period.

Most spending in the next 12 months will focus on personal wellbeing in areas linked to health, fitness or wellness.

The outlier, according to Wouters, was Gen Z, the group born in the period spanning the late 1990s and the early 2010s, which would focus spending on “living in the moment”.

“We don’t expect to see the same boom in luxury spending that we saw in 2021,” she said. “But whatever growth we do see will be driven by Gen Z.” 온라인카지노


Grappling With Travel to a State Whose Policies You Oppose

San Francisco couple Kemari Ombonga and Akosua Agyepong were weighing a classic decision: Should they stay, or should they go? Move home to Ombonga’s native North Carolina; to Texas, where Ombonga had family; or remain in California? Despite the pull of the past, the decision ultimately came down to each state’s politics, particularly around abortion control and gun regulations. Yes, California had a higher cost of living, but the more progressive state won their allegiance.카지노사이트

They also had similar conversations about where they wanted to travel following the fall of Roe v. Wade.

“It’s a bit tricky,” says Agyepong, who moved to the United States from Ghana last year. “It’s a layered decision, especially when it comes to [the question of] where do I want to travel to? Where do I want to live?” They found there were no simple answers to either question, with Ombonga noting that several states with the strictest abortion restrictions are in the South, where the largest African American population lives—a population that has historically been subjected to oppressive policies. While they said they didn’t want to move back, not traveling to see family—scattered across Louisiana, Texas, and Florida—wasn’t an option, either.

The two run Ashure Travel, a travel consulting and management company that helps businesses book flights. From a business standpoint, they decided to offer support to their employees who might need access to an abortion after the overturning of Roe v. Wade.

“What was a very easy decision was making sure that all the women in our organization felt like they had safe access to their medical care and felt supported,” Ombonga says. “And not just lip service, but financially as well.”

The more complex choice, he says, was communicating the business’s stance without alienating staff and potential clients with opposing views.

“That’s kind of been tough to reconcile. But at the same time, if we have to lose a few people or clients to stick to our values, I think that’s a small price to pay.”

The two say they’re no strangers to using travel as a force for change—Ombonga used to volunteer with Miles4Migrants, a nonprofit that books travel for people displaced due to war or conflict, and he has booked travel for clients in the path of hurricanes in his native North Carolina, to help get them out of harm’s way. That there could be a need to help book travel for people seeking abortions, he says, “doesn’t [feel] any different.”

The travel industry’s response to a changing policy landscape

After the Supreme Court overturned the landmark Roe v. Wade decision in June, the right to have an abortion was left entirely up to the states. As of now, abortion is outlawed in more than a dozen states, several of which enacted so-called trigger laws to go into place when Roe fell. According to the Center for Reproductive Rights, 14 other states, plus American Samoa, Guam, and the Northern Mariana Islands, are considered “hostile”—meaning these states have indicated they want to ban abortion.

The travel industry has largely stayed out of the political fray following the overturning of Roe v. Wade, with just a few airlines and travel companies like Airbnb publicly saying they supported reproductive rights. Seattle-based Alaska Airlines said it would continue to cover the costs for employees seeking reproductive care.

“Today’s Supreme Court decision does not change that,” the airline wrote to its employees in June.

Others have taken a more nonpartisan approach. Chicago-based United Airlines sent out a memo to its thousands of employees worldwide, calling the topic of abortion “an emotional one” and encouraging employees to be empathetic and respectful of one another when discussing the issue but otherwise did not take an official position. (Roe v. Wade is codified into law in Illinois, with Governor J. B. Pritzker saying in a statement in early May that “abortion will always be safe and legal here.”)

Individual travelers take a stand

The fall of Roe is just one of several examples of how a change in U.S. policies affects the daily lives of so many citizens and travelers, from abortion rights to gun control and LGBTQ+ issues. Travelers have ample places they can go to spend their vacation time and money. So, what happens when their personal politics conflict with the policies of a given destination? How are social issues affecting travelers’ choices about where to visit—and spend their hard-earned dollars—within the United States?

In the immediate aftermath of states enacting trigger bans, some travelers, like Twitter user Carolyn Higgins, who travels throughout the United States by RV, said they would boycott states with restrictive abortion laws on the books.

“No travel, no products from their key industries or largest employers. Who’s with me?” Higgins wrote in May.

The notion is that visiting a destination with policies one opposes demonstrates a degree of support for those policies. Others, like Twitter user Jonathan Field, say steering clear of small-scale cities and towns often punishes people and businesses that had no part in developing the laws in question. Field took issue with the term “boycott,” which he says was disrespectful to the “[people] that have to live in those places.”바카라사이트

How effective are travel boycotts?

While both Ombonga and Agyepong believe boycotts can be effective, grassroots work helping marginalized communities—such as going door-to-door and having conversations with people—can be just as successful, if not more so.

“Boycotting is definitely one of the tools in the toolbox,” Agyepong says, “but the question is, is it going to do what we need [it] to?”

There’s a long history of successful boycotts that have resulted in significant policy changes. The most well-known in the U.S. is, perhaps, the Montgomery Bus Boycott, during which people boycotted the transit system in Montgomery between 1955 and 1956 to protest racial segregation. While the social impact was clear, there was also a significant financial hit to the transit system: The strike, which lasted a little more than a year, cost the city an estimated $3,000 per day and resulted in up to 40,000 lost bus fares each day.

More recent forms of protest have included boycotting Trump hotels, forgoing travel to North Carolina over so-called bathroom bills that denied transgender people the right to use public restrooms that aligned with their gender identity, and to Georgia due to a voting law that required people voting by absentee ballot to show identification. An Associated Press analysis found that the bathroom bill would have caused North Carolina nearly $4 billion in lost business. (The bill was later repealed.)

Travel boycotts aren’t unique to the U.S.: After the gruesome murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, Saudi Arabia found itself shunned by Washington and Silicon Valley (though it’s worth noting that President Biden recently visited Jeddah and met with Mohammed bin Salman, whom the CIA has concluded ordered Khashoggi’s murder).

For Kristin Luna, a travel writer and photographer based in Nashville, the issue isn’t as clear-cut as simply boycotting a destination. Luna points to Kansas, where voters overwhelmingly rejected the state’s proposed amendment to ban all abortions. According to Luna, Kansas showed that what happens inside a statehouse doesn’t necessarily represent the feelings and positions of the people outside it.

“Having grown up in a more rural region, I see the impact of tourism and hospitality,” says Luna, who lives in the town where the Jack Daniels distillery is located. “It’s definitely a town where a lot of businesses wouldn’t survive [without tourism],” she says, “and having traveled so much, predominantly in the Southern states, I’ve seen a lot of small businesses who’ve been able to build a sustainable model because they have so many tourists coming in a year.”

Tourism is a $17 billion industry in Tennessee, where Luna lives, employing 150,000 people. She argues that politicians and corporations won’t feel the strain of a travel boycott, but small businesses still recovering from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic certainly will.

Building bridges versus boycotts

The U.S. Travel Association, the nonprofit representing the interests of the U.S. travel industry, has a very clear position on travel boycotts.

“Sweeping out-of-state travel boycotts won’t change laws, but they can decimate communities that rely on visitors,” states Tori Emerson Barnes from the U.S. Travel Association. “Travel bans harm travel industry workers who do not make public policy decisions, ultimately hurting the very groups that ban advocates claim to support. The bottom line is travel is an activity that brings Americans together and should not be a tool that causes further division.”

Several states that enacted trigger bans rely on tourism to prop up their economies. Mississippi, for instance, generated more than $400 million in 2021 for the state’s general fund—money used for state operations and programs—from tourism. Travel jobs were the fourth largest in the state, according to the Mississippi Development Authority.

Rather than expressing displeasure with a destination’s policies by boycotting it, Luna suggests supporting the local people and businesses you feel your values are aligned with when you do visit.

“I feel like we’ve come to this point in society where people are being more mindful where their dollars go anyway,” she says. “Apply that same mindset to how you’re traveling.”

The choice to travel (or not to travel) to a U.S. destination where you may disagree with its policies and where you may not find support if you do need resources is, ultimately, a personal one. But some would argue that there’s also a case to be made for the role travel can play in bringing people together and in helping to build bridges of understanding—perhaps even more so amid divisive times.

“It is always important to continue to have conversations with people, for us to see both sides,” Agyepong says. “I think that is the only way that we can make progress.”온라인카지노


7 Destinations That Are Trending This Fall—in the U.S., Caribbean, and Beyond

As the summer travel crowds fizzle and temperatures mellow out, fall emerges as one of the most ideal—and strategic—times of year to book a dream getaway. This autumn, U.S. travelers seem eager to venture far from home.카지노사이트

“The spike in searches for places like Munich, Ho Chi Minh City, and Barbados point to travelers being excited to pack their bags for places that were previously harder to visit due to travel restrictions, testing requirements, or high airfare prices,” says Christie Hudson, head of U.S. public relations for Expedia. “Now that most Covid-related travel restrictions have loosened, these destinations are back on the table and made even more appealing by factors like the favorable dollar-to-Euro exchange rate and shoulder season deals.”

Here are seven destinations that are seeing surges in interests from travelers this fall—according to data from travel search sites.

Ho Chi Minh City
Asia has also seen a spike in interest this fall as more countries have opened their borders—Priceline has seen four times more searches for flights to the continent this fall. According to metasearch site Kayak, Vietnam’s biggest city has seen a 46 percent increase in search compared to 2019, while Expedia reported a 630 percent growth in searches from last fall.

“Vietnam reopened its borders to foreign travelers on March 15 with immediate excitement,” Hudson says. “Ho Chi Minh City is very affordable for the fall months, so your travel dollars go a long way.” She noted that she found five-star hotels in September and October starting at around $50 a night.

Generally warm year-round, fall marks the end of the rainy season as temperatures cool, making it a good time to visit the city’s landmarks like the Cu Chi Tunnels, the Notre Dame Cathedral, and Ben Thanh Market.

Major European cities saw some of the biggest increases across all the search engines, with the British capital notching 290 percent growth since last year, and was one of the most searched cities on and Priceline.

The passing of Queen Elizabeth II may have sparked more interest in recent days (be sure to check for closures during the mourning period), but royal interest had already been strong with events honoring Her Majesty’s Platinum Jubilee earlier this year. Still on view are Buckingham Palace’s special exhibit on the Queen’s Ascension through October 2 and Kensington Palace’s Life Through a Royal Lens through October 30.

With fewer crowds and milder temperatures, fall makes a prime time to stroll through Portobello Road Market in Notting Hill or Old Spitalfields Market in Shoreditch; catch a classic West End show like Les Misérables, a new favorite like Six, or an immersive experience like The Burnt City (from Punchdrunk, the team behind Sleep No More) through December; or see the city from above on the London Eye or the Sky Garden.

Punta Cana
As the temperatures cool, the more sunny island vacations come into focus, with Punta Cana topping Kayak’s list of top international destinations for fall travel, with a 147 percent spike over pre-pandemic 2019 searches.

The early part of fall is sunny and humid, marked by showers in the afternoons and evenings as hurricane season tapers off and officially ends in November. While the chance for passing rain is always there, fall is still an opportune time to relax along the Dominican Republic’s 30-mile stretch of white sand, whether it’s diving to see shipwrecks, fishing, boating, or simply kicking back under a coconut palm with a drink in hand like at Zoëtry Agua Punta Cana or Royalton Punta Cana Resort & Casino.

New York City
All eyes are on the Big Apple domestically, as New York City topped Expedia’s list with a 75 percent growth from last year, and came in second on both and Skyscanner. It’s no surprise that the City That Never Sleeps has roared back from its pandemic pause.

New York will see the opening of its first museum Museum of Broadway in November, as well as buzzed-about new shows like Almost Famous with previews starting October 3 and KPOP starting October 13 alongside staples like The Lion King celebrating its 25th anniversary in November.바카라사이트

Recently opened new viewpoints include Summit One Vanderbilt with an Instagram-worthy mirrored spaced and Edge NYC (where daredevils can scale the side with City Climb), while the digital art space Hall des Lumières opened today. And of course nothing beats a walk through Central Park immersed in the autumnal colors.

“Munich is a great example of a place that’s making a comeback for U.S. travelers, as the German city is hosting Oktoberfest for the first time after a two-year hiatus due to the pandemic,” Hudson says, with searches increasing 180 percent compared to last year on Expedia. Priceline also saw the German city top its searches for both flights and hotels.

The celebration runs from September 17 through October 3, with guided tours available, as well as packages that include a seat at the Oktoberfest table to bypass the lines. But it’s not the only fall festival in town. The autumn edition of the nine-day Auer Dult (this year from October 15 to 23) carries on a folk tradition with rides, entertainment, shopping, as well as plenty of food, including roasted almonds and sausages.

It’s also a beautiful time to catch Munich’s fall colors in Perlacher Forst, the Allacher Lohe nature reserve, or Hofoldinger Forst, or enjoy the indoor swimming pool at Müller’sche Volksbad, or catch the final days of raising a glass outdoors at a biergarten. This year also marks the 50th anniversary of the Munich Olympics with its sites on full display.

“For a location that is a best-kept secret to beat crowds, Albania has seen almost double the number of bookings in 2022 than it enjoyed in the same period in 2019,” says Laura Lindsay, Skyscanner’s trend and destination expert. “Most people have yet to discover it, but flights and tourism infrastructure are in place, and thus there are fewer crowds.”

The Balkan Peninsula country shines in the autumn months with its mild climate inviting outdoor activities through November, whether it’s biking at the Grand Park of Tirana, hiking in the Accursed Mountains in the Albanian Alps, exploring the 2,500-year-old ruins of Butrint, or simply wandering around the village of around Korça.

The Caribbean island nation has seen a whopping 3,360 percent growth in Expedia searches between last year and this year for fall travel, likely tied to Covid-19 testing requirements being dropped in May. “From a price and availability standpoint, fall—or shoulder season—is a great time to visit Barbados which has a pretty low risk of hurricanes or heavy enough rainfall to impact your island getaway,” Hudson says. She notes average nightly rates for September are nearly $100 cheaper than August and $90 cheaper than the week of Thanksgiving.

“There are also several music, food, and surfing festivals that happen during the fall months, so you’ll have plenty to do in between relaxing on the beach.” Among the fall events are the Barbados Jazz Excursion and Golf Tournament October 6 to 10; Barbados Food and Rum Festival October 27 to 30, and the Run Barbados race, with distances from 3K to a marathon, December 11.온라인카지노