Author Archives: TravelPulse.com Features & Advice Headlines

Woman Who’s Hauled Off Her Flight Goes on Homophobic Rant

In yet another bizarre incident showcasing unruly airline passenger behavior, American Airlines flight attendants last week were obliged to eject from the cabin a woman who was caught on video spewing homophobic slurs at her fellow flyers.The Texas woman, later identified as Kelci Cashman, had boarded an American Airlines flight headed from Dallas to Orlando, but she and her party, which appears to include two young children, were escorted off the plane prior to takeoff for failing to comply with the federal mask mandate. But, that’s not the part that caught media attention.ADVERTISING Trending Now No one seems to know what set off Cashman’s tirade, but someone recorded a snippet of her ranting on unrelated subjects and yelling homophobic slurs at fellow passengers as she was exiting the aircraft.Evidently in the middle of an argument with another passenger over who-knows-what, the erstwhile real estate agent can be heard shouting things like, “F***ing faggots! You corrupted Disney!”There are few audible responses from other passengers, including a “Bye, Felicia” and someone saying “cover your mouth!”.One cabin occupant who jumped in said, “I’m in a lesbian marriage and I fought for this country. Please get off this plane.”Cashman comes back with, “You think I talk to my kids about same-sex marriage. No, we don’t talk about that. But, if we all want to talk about it, let’s talk about it.”From off-camera, a man can be heard telling her, “No one wants to listen to your bigotry. Get off the plane.”[embedded content]A flight attendant arrives to take hold of Cashman’s arm and lead her off the plane, eliciting a burst of cheering and applause from fellow flyers. Police were reportedly there to meet her on the jet bridge, but it’s unclear whether she was afterward detained.An American Airlines spokesperson provided Live and Let’s Fly with a statement when asked to comment on the incident: “We expect our customers to comply with our policies when they choose to travel with us, and we take action when that is not the case. Harassment of any kind will not be tolerated and we thank our team members for their professionalism.” Adblock test (Why?)

Tips for Planning the Best National Park Vacation

Adventure travel has been urging the travel industry in the direction of recovery since restrictions began easing, with more people than ever desiring to get outside, get active and explore a new (usually domestic) destination they’ve never been to before.Hopper recently released The Great Outdoors 2021 Travel Report, which analyzed booking data from the company’s booking app to reveal the top trending destinations of the year and the latest booking trends, which tend to lean towards national parks.ADVERTISING Trending Now The year 2020 saw a different list emerge of the most popular national parks in the country, due to the rise in social distancing, park closures and travel restrictions. The report found that the most popular national parks this year will resemble 2019’s list more than 2020’s list, with parks like Yellowstone and Glacier ranking high once again. Airlines have already expanded new routes to these destinations, making ticket prices for air to the national parks cheaper. Flights to Bozeman, Montana (BZN), where travelers can get access to Yellowstone National Park, are down 36 percent from 2019’s airfares, due to the expansion of 17 new routes to the city; this is the highest number of route expansions to national parks in the country. The destination with the second-highest number of route expansions is Jackson, Wyoming; in third place is Phoenix, Arizona.Other national park cities with lower airfares include Yosemite through Fresno (FAT), Acadia through Bangor (BGR), Grand Teton through Jacksonville (JAC) and more. Airfare nationally is on average down five percent from pre-pandemic summer levels.The destinations people are most interested in watching for hotel prices to drop are Denver, Colorado, Gatlinburg, Tennessee and Kihei on Maui, Hawaii. These destinations are all within close proximity to national parks and outdoor activities. In terms of airfare quotes, the most popular were Jackson, Wyoming ($363), Bozeman, Montana ($287) and Asheville, North Carolina ($299), which have risen in popularity from 2019’s list of popular outdoor destinations: an indication that adventure travel is more popular than it was two years ago. Snake River Overlook, Grand Teton National Park. (photo by Julie Lubick/Dreamstime.com) While the flights to the most popular national parks are cheaper this year, it might still be a good idea to skip the crowds and opt for less popular but no less stunning national parks. Some of the most popular ones require reservations or have capacity limits in place, which can make access more difficult.Some less popular national parks featuring moderate summer weather and cheaper airfare compared to 2019 are Black Canyon of the Gunnison, which requires flying into Montrose, Colorado; Mesa Verde, which requires flying into Durango, Colorado; Kings Canyon from Fresno and Kenai Fjords from Anchorage. Airfare is down at least 15 percent for each.This year, to get the best deals, it might just pay to go farther. Fairbanks, Alaska’s airfare is down nearly 50 percent. St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands and Bozeman, Montana also feature more than 35 percent cheaper flights than in summer of 2019. Bull bison grazing in Yellowstone's Lamar Valley. (Photo courtesy of Abercrombie & Kent/Jacob W Frank) But airfare isn’t the only thing to consider when traveling; hotel prices are also an important factor. With this in mind, the cheapest destinations are Phoenix, Arizona; Denver, Colorado; and Salt Lake City, Utah, with trip costs beginning at $403-$428 (including round-trip airfare and one night at a hotel).If money is a great factor in where and when you travel, consider traveling in the early fall, when round-trip airfare fell on average about 20 percent in 2019. This is expected to happen again this fall, but with high demand for travel, the report expects airfare to drop only 10-15 percent.Due to changing weather, consider traveling in the fall to warmer weather or less wintry national parks, like Shenandoah National Park, Acadia or the Great Smoky Mountains, which all offer brilliant autumn foliage. Desert parks, like Death Valley, are also great options in the early-mid fall. To view the full report, please click here. Visit NPS.gov to learn more about each national park. Adblock test (Why?)

Safety Regulators Warn How Vacation Rentals Can Prove Deadly to Children

Federal safety regulators have just issued an appeal for action by Airbnb and other vacation rental platforms, calling on these businesses to help their ‘hosts’ and guests safeguard against the potentially lethal hazard posed by residential elevators that are present in many rental properties.The move arrives less than two weeks after a visiting child died in a residential elevator while staying at a beach rental home in North Carolina's Outer Banks. The seven-year-old boy was found between the bottom of an elevator car and the home’s upper door frame, his neck crushed, after he’d evidently become trapped between the product’s inner and outer doors when the elevator was activated.ADVERTISINGMORE Features & Advice Home elevators that were installed more than just a few years ago may contain a gap between the product’s outer (home-facing) door and inner accordion doors that’s deep enough for a child to fit inside while both doors are closed. Jordan Nelson, who was 10 years old at the time, suffered one such horrific accident in 2013 while his family was staying at a rented beach house in South Carolina, which left him paralyzed and with catastrophic brain injury when the elevator failed to stop with him caught between the doors.It was only in 2017, following decades of outcries from safety advocates and several lawsuits, that the nation’s elevator safety code shrank the allowable space between the two sets of doors. Unfortunately, the new safety code regulations only impact new elevator installations, leaving existing in-home elevators across the country—which CBS News reported number in the hundreds of thousands—remaining potential death traps for unsuspecting kids.The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is now urging vacation rental companies to require that the ‘hosts’ who use their platforms to rent out their private properties either disable in-home elevators while renters are present or provide proof of an inspection to guarantee that such dangerous gaps don’t exist."Residential elevators can pose a deadly but unforeseen hazard to children, particularly children who are encountering them in vacation or rental homes," Robert Adler, the CPSC’s Acting Chairman, wrote as part of the agency’s appeal to Airbnb-type rental platforms for their help to avoid any such future tragedies. "Children, some as young as two and as old as 12, have been crushed to death in this gap, suffering multiple skull fractures, fractured vertebrae and traumatic asphyxia," Adler noted. "Other children have suffered horrific and lifelong injuries."According to the CPSC, residential elevators are frequently found in townhomes or multi-level homes, vacation homes and rentals and homes that have been converted to inns or bed-and-breakfast accommodations.There are relatively inexpensive ways to make existing gaps safer, Adler explained in his letter, “by placing space guards on the back of the hoistway door or installing an electronic monitoring device that deactivates the elevator when a child is detected in the gap.”In his appeal, Adler asked vacation rental platforms to immediately notify all renters about the potential hazard via email or by displaying a warning box on their booking pages. He also requested that they require their ‘hosts’ to, “lock outer access doors or otherwise disable the elevators in their properties unless and until those members provide proof of an inspection to certify that no hazardous gap exists” and have inspections be required for anyone posting a listing on their platform going forward. Adblock test (Why?)

Study Shows Americans Returning To Live Entertainment

Demand for live entertainment, including sporting events and concerts, is recovering quickly, according to new data included in Allianz Partners USA's 13th annual Vacation Confidence Index.More than half of Americans (55 percent) have indicated that they plan to attend at least one ticketed event by the end of 2021. What's more, a notable 16 percent of survey respondents said that they plan to attend three or more events before the year is up.ADVERTISING Trending Now More than four in 10 (43 percent of) Americans will attend a ticketed event or festival outdoors, and a similar number (39 percent) plan to attend an indoor event by the end of 2021. Younger travelers (age 18 to 34) are driving the live entertainment recovery, with six in 10 (60 percent) indicating that they plan to attend an outdoor event and 57 percent saying that they would attend an indoor event.In terms of increasing confidence in attending indoor events post-pandemic, respondents want to see limited attendees and additional spacing (36 percent), COVID-19 vaccine verification or negative COVID test requirements for unvaccinated individuals (34 percent), mandatory mask requirements (31 percent), event ticket insurance (28 percent) and temperature checks for all employees and guests prior to entering the venue (27 percent)."This summer will go down in history as a time when Americans started engaging socially again, with a huge pent-up demand for ticketed events of all types," Daniel Durazo, director of marketing and communications at Allianz Partners USA, said in a statement. "Our survey shows that this demand is real and will likely translate to billions of dollars in economic spending. Interest in ticket insurance has also picked up as Americans are looking to protect their experiences when they're unable to attend an event due to a reason covered by their policy." 13th Annual Vacation Confidence Index. (photo courtesy of Allianz Partners) The Ipsos poll conducted on behalf of Allianz Partners USA takes into account responses from more than 2,000 American adults who were interviewed between May 24 and 28, 2021.The study also found that Americans will take more, shorter trips or micro-cations this summer and spend $153.7 billion on summer vacations in 2021. Adblock test (Why?)

Study Finds Americans Opting for More, Shorter Summer Trips

Allianz Partners recently released its 13th annual Allianz Travel Insurance Vacation Confidence Index, revealing that one in three (34 percent of) Americans will take multiple vacations between July and September, with shorter trips gaining momentum over the traditional week or longer vacation.The Ipsos poll of more than 2,000 American adults who were interviewed in late May 2021 found that the average trip length is four nights or a "micro-cation," a trend that Allianz Partners defines as a leisure trip that is fewer than five nights.ADVERTISING Trending Now Allianz's research also found that two in three (67 percent of) Americans plan to travel away from home for at least a night this summer, with the average number of trips coming in at 1.2 vacations. A vacation is defined as a leisure trip at least 100 miles from home. What's more, nearly half of Americans (44 percent) are eager to get away. More than half (51 percent) of eager travelers will take multiple trips and even 22 percent intend to take three or more trips before summer is over.Four in 10 (40 percent) of those travelers planning to take four or five trips a year will spend just two or fewer nights away from home on each trip. The multi-micro-cation trend is most popular with younger travelers age 18 to 34, with nearly half of that age group (46 percent) planning to take two or more trips this year."Americans are making up for lost time and are planning not just one vacation this summer, but multiple 'micro-cations,'" Daniel Durazo, director of marketing and communications at Allianz Partners USA, said in a statement. "Pre-pandemic we coined the term micro-cation and this year we're seeing that trend return with a vengeance, with Generation Z and Millennials leading the pack of Americans who are taking multiple trips.""For those planning on traveling multiple times this year, annual travel insurance offers coverage for rental cars as well as coverage for trip cancellations, interruptions and delays, baggage issues and medical emergencies. Annual travel insurance offers value and the convenience of a single purchase for 12 months of travel." Allianz Partners 13th Annual Vacation Confidence Index. (photo courtesy of Allianz Partners) The Allianz Travel Insurance Vacation Confidence Index also revealed that American travelers will spend a whopping $153.7 billion on summer vacations in 2021. Adblock test (Why?)

Safe Travel Pathways Seeks To Create Trust-Based Health Information Platform

Safe Travel Pathways (STP), an open platform aimed at helping the trade create healthy travel experiences, will be launched on a trial basis in Costa Rica in several weeks with plans for expansion shortly afterward. Terry Suero, senior board member, said the initiative is a grassroots movement to get information to the trade “so they can truly get back to being travel advisors.” Suero is the founder of Toca Travel, a Buffalo-based travel research and services company specializing in experiential travel.While the platform is being developed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, said Suero, it can be expanded in multiple directions involving concerns around travel – including food allergies, mobility constraints, sustainability, special needs, etc.ADVERTISINGTo specifically address the confusion caused by unverified certifications and stamps, STP aims to identify a list of travel companies worldwide that can work together to minimize health travel risks associated with COVID-19. The platform acts as a clearinghouse for safety certifications by identifying the ones that are credible and adhere to three identifying criteria: 1) follow internationally accepted health standards; 2) has an audit system to validate compliance; and 3) has an active governance system. This gives consumers and travel advisors the ability to source and determine the level of risk they want to take while traveling abroad, said Suero. Trending Now STP uses a grading system from 1 to 5 stars based on its criteria. It serves as a clearinghouse of COVID-19 safety certifications, accreditations and stamps so that users can identify the hospitality companies that are following internationally accepted guidelines. As a result, It enables travel planners to build itineraries based on accredited providers.The idea, said Suero, is to separate those stamps that are real from those that have little validity. He said he is hearing from advisors that they are feeling uncomfortable about risking their reputations when designing trips. Advisors and providers, he said, “are operating in the blind when it comes to COVID safety.” STP, he said, is a way to bring confidence back to the industry.“It’s becoming a situation,” said Suero, “where there is a lot of confusion in the marketplace and a lot of trepidation.” With so many validation options in the marketplace, he said, it creates a false sense of security but also a very volatile situation when it comes to trust.Tim Case, standards expert for STP, said that while it has been a tough year for the travel industry, there are now opportunities “to change, grow and be better prepared for the future.” He said, “this is not the last pandemic we will be living with and there are things that can be done to better prepare the industry to save lives and livelihoods.”Those vendors working hard to provide a safe experience, said Case, might get lost in the crowd, as so many players are offering some kind of COVID-19 accreditation so it is difficult for consumers to differentiate between serious efforts and rubber stamping.The STP platform will be self-managing with a board, but it will be totally open at no cost for industry suppliers to showcase who they are – and they can decide to be listed or not. They might even choose whether to be listed in the food allergy section, for example, but not the COVID-19 section. Potential revenue-generating models, said Suero, include limited advertising possibilities on landing and search pages. He stressed that STP will not become an online travel agency or referral-based revenue company as that would damage its advocacy stand.STP is also looking for support from leading certifying/accrediting organizations in the form of a certain number of free certifications to ensure that specific markets have enough highly rated providers to establish safe pathways.COVID-19, said Suero, has created much more sophisticated consumers, but “marketing has trumped information when it comes to health.” He concluded, “We should treat travelers as adults; we can provide the information and then they can decide for themselves.” Adblock test (Why?)

Responsible Travelers Lead the Way in Industry Recovery

Research shows that travel is coming back but that concerns still remain for those willing to go.According to recent YouGov research, the International Travel & Tourism Report 2021 found that the three major barriers to travel are health risks, safety and travel restrictions. Travelers are also concerned about the price of travel, health situation, work, price and availability of accommodation.ADVERTISINGBut these barriers are manageable since YouGov's research also found that one in five global consumers plan to travel internationally in the next 12 months. Millennials and on-the-go travelers are the most lucrative segments, and 57 percent of travelers over the next year expect to take multiple trips. Trending Now While leisure travel is going nowhere but up, business travel is still a mixed bag, according to YouGov's research. Some companies have decided to reduce their business travel footprints, and Microsoft founder Bill Gates predictedin November 2020 that business travel will drop by50 percent compared to before the pandemic.However, business travel is not going away, it is just transforming. Expense management firm SAP Concur predicts that business travel will return and anticipates that ‘Zoom fatigue’ will increase, even driving firms spend more per trip for their employees to travel more sustainably.Realistically, however, business travel is going to return slower than leisure travel.When looking at the U.S., YouGov found that more than half of Americans intend to travel and that the outlook in the States is more positive than the global average. U.S. travelers are vastly less put off by travel restrictions than consumers in other regions, perhaps because their domestic restrictions have been less confining than those in Europe or APAC, YouGov says.The YouGov research also broke down travelers into several categories, including luxury travelers, budget/value travelers, responsible travelers, the adventurous, all-inclusive/package purchasers and weekend travelers.Sixty-eight percent of those who identified as luxury travelers planned to take a domestic trip in the next 12 months, and 35 percent were traveling internationally—the highest of all the other self-identified groups.Budget travelers are ready to travel domestically, but not as willing to travel internationally with 56 percent saying they are taking a trip in the next 12 months in the U.S., but just 17 percent will leave the country.Responsible and adventure travelers are just about equal in their travel preferences. In the next 12 months, 52 percent and 50 percent respectively are planning to travel in the U.S. Twenty-eight percent of responsible travelers intend to take an international trip and 26 percent of those who are adventurous plane to travel internationally. Group of young women taking a pandemic-era road trip. (photo via iStock/Getty Images E+/valentinrussanov) Responsible travelers are a growing portion of the travel market. According to YouGov, the research makes clear that the demographics most focused on responsible travel are Millennials and Gen X–who typically have more disposable income than Gen Z.YouGov also noted in its research that travel companies have an opportunity to meet the needs of responsible travelers by ensuring the accommodation is as sustainable as possible, and that marketing to this group should take into consideration factors such as cultural and historical sites, sustainability and conservation policies, natural beauty and safety.Lastly, the survey focused on the changing popularity of destinations. U.S. travelers were slightly less interested in travel to Florida, but it retained the number one spot. Canada was still in second but was growing in interest among U.S. travelers. Hawaii was number three, and New York was number four followed by the U.K. which grew in interest. California, Italy, Australia, Arizona and Paris rounded out the top 10 with California and Arizona declining in interest slightly and the others growing. Adblock test (Why?)

US Faces Passport Backlog

The U.S. State Department is facing a massive backlog of passport applications as it brings back staff.According to ABC News, Americans are looking to travel overseas and they will need current passports in order to do so. This has created a glut of applications that need to be processed, which is overwhelming the State Department.ADVERTISINGThe agency has warned Americans that they need to submit their applications at least six months in advance. The backlog has created frustrations for Americans looking to leave the country to travel this summer and from Congress. Trending Now Two lawmakers urged the State Department to expedite applications and cut down the "well beyond usual processing times."Currently, passport renewals submitted by mail could take as many as 18 weeks and, for those who pay for expedited processing, can expect to wait 12 weeks.Those applying in person, which parents must do for young children, appointment times are hard to come by.The State Department has said that it is trying to return staff to offices even though many cities across the country have fully reopened."We continue to adapt to the COVID-19 situation while we work to meet demand as U.S. citizens increasingly seek to travel overseas again," a State Department spokesperson told ABC News. Adblock test (Why?)

The Latest Honeymoon Trends for 2021

With the pandemic easing, more people being vaccinated and travel restrictions relaxing, couples are eager to tie the knot and travel on honeymoons.A survey from Zola asked almost 2,000 engaged and newly married couples about their honeymoon plans to gauge how they perceive travel and whether or not they’ll take their honeymoons this year.ADVERTISING Trending Now Around 60 percent of engaged couples are planning some type of honeymoon for 2021, with stays being on average seven to eight days long, which is markedly longer than 2020’s average stay length, which was five days. Of those planning honeymoons this year, 46 percent are planning a minimoon, a shorter, cheaper escape after they marry, then expect to have a full honeymoon later on, perhaps when they can travel to the destination of their choice without restrictions. Most couples (92 percent) feel comfortable traveling domestically, while 58 percent feel comfortable traveling internationally.Around 38 percent of couples had to reschedule their honeymoon plans due to the pandemic.The top honeymoon destinations for 2021 are currently Hawaii, Mexico, Disney World, Greece and Jamaica, citing a sense of sticking closer to home or choosing locations within North America that center around warm-weather destinations with access to the beach.According to Zola’s wedding registry tool, more couples are now adding travel-related products to their registries, like luggage (292 percent higher), hotel gift cards (166 percent higher), airline gift cards (162 percent higher) and cruise gift cards (221 percent higher).Couples, especially those who are planning their weddings for this year or have been recently married, are ready to travel again and are eagerly planning their honeymoons for this year. Check out all of Zola's wedding planning and registry features here. Adblock test (Why?)

WTTC and ‘It’s a Penalty’ Partner To Help Stop Human Trafficking

The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) and It’s a Penalty (IAP), an organization that’s dedicated to the eradication of abuse, exploitation and human trafficking worldwide, have partnered to raise public awareness, and work together to fight and eventually end these global crimes.The two groups today signed a ‘memorandum of understanding' (MoU), acknowledging the international Travel & Tourism community’s inherent opportunity to proactively take a stand against human trafficking, as well as develop best practices to help stamp it out.ADVERTISINGMORE Features & Advice The global tourism body and the activist charity organization will bring their respective areas of expertise to bear in collaborating on major research projects to inform the development and promotion of best practices and protocols.The strategic partnership will enable collaboration, not just between the two organizations, but also the WTTC’s members and IAP’s non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that work with trafficking victims and survivors. WTTC members include 200 chairpersons, presidents and CEOs of many of the world’s foremost Travel & Tourism companies from all around the globe.WTTC and IAP will support each other and their shared humanitarian agenda by contributing to one another’s insight pieces and sharing instructive videos and resources to educate and raise awareness among the traveling public about these issues.Virginia Messina, Senior Vice President at WTTC said: “We are excited to enter this partnership with It’s a Penalty to broaden the scope of both our organizations’ knowledge and influence on the incredibly important subject of human trafficking. We believe that together we will be able to share our collective expertise and continue to shed light and awareness on the horrors of human trafficking. Travel & Tourism can play a proactive and meaningful role in addressing this global crime.”Sarah de Carvalho, CEO of It’s a Penalty said: “It’s a Penalty is delighted to be partnering with WTTC to combat abuse, exploitation and human trafficking. IAP commends WTTC’s global taskforce to help prevent and combat human trafficking. We believe that the platform, partnership and strategic collaboration with WTTC, and the Travel & Tourism industry are essential in order to achieve incredible impact.”IAP harnesses the power of global sports and high-profile athletes in leading awareness-raising campaigns against exploitation and human trafficking. Collaborations and partnerships with strategic stakeholders, NGOs, governments and corporates are key to enabling the success of its overall mission. Adblock test (Why?)