Your Mileage May Vary

Category: Travel – General 🧭 (Page 1 of 7)

Travel as we knew it is unlikely to return in the same form. New adventure trends are emerging

(Source » Wikimedia)

Kevin Rushby, writing in The Guardian »

There has been a realisation – which has been coming for some time – that the type of adventure associated with far-flung destinations can be had closer to home, and at a fraction of the cost, in both money and carbon. For example, free-diving with sharks in the Irish Sea (Celtic Deep), cliff climbs in Wales (Climb Pembroke), and packrafting down whitewater rivers (Tirio and Secret Compass). The latest warnings about the risks of resuming holidays abroad too soon will encourage even more of us to look for adventure on our doorstep.

Interests established during the past year like birdwatching look set to do well, with many new trips available (Wildlife Worldwide, Yorkshire Coast and Nature and Naturetrek). Running, yoga, cycling and hiking, in various combinations, are the ingredients for women-only trips in the Brecon Beacons (Element Active).

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Travellers from Ontario will want to know that the province is about to scrap out-of-country emergency health care coverage

Carola Vyhnak, writing in the Toronto Star »

The province says it’s cancelling the existing “inefficient” program because of the $2.8-million cost of administering $9 million in emergency medical coverage abroad each year. OHIP’s reimbursements also tended to offset only a fraction of the actual expenses.

Without private insurance, travellers can face “catastrophically large bills” for medical care, warns Ministry of Health spokesperson David Jensen, who “strongly encourages” people to purchase adequate coverage.

Read the whole article at the Toronto Star »

World’s Most Powerful Passports as of Q3 2019

The Henley Passport Index has released its third quarter ranking of the world’s most powerful passports in 2019.

The index is compiled from data provided by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and measures global mobility based on visa-free access to destinations. It also uses data from the index’s 14-year history, “to show how travel mobility has changed over the past decade, looking at which passports have gained in strength and which have fallen behind.”

Japan and Singapore hold the world’s strongest passports, with Visa-free access to 189 destinations. South Korea dropped to second place, joining Germany and Finland with Visa-free access to 187 destinations.

The United Arab Emirates entered the top 20 index for the first time in the list’s 14-year-history, moving up an astonishing 41 spots. Other countries that climbed standings include Taiwan, which climbed 24 places over the past ten years and ranks 30th.

The USA and the UK each dropped to the lowest position they’ve held since 2010, sharing the sixth spot with Canada, Greece, Norway, Belgium and Ireland.

Pakistan now offers an ETA (Electronic Travel Authority) to citizens of 50 countries, including Finland, Japan, Malta, Spain, Switzerland and the United Arab Emirates — but not, notably, the USA or the UK.

Afghanistan is once again at the other end of the rankings, with its citizens needing a prior visa for all but 25 destinations worldwide.

Most Powerful Passports of Q3 2019:
1. Japan, Singapore (189 Destinations)
2. South Korea, Germany, Finland (187)
3. Denmark, Italy, Luxembourg (186)
4. France, Sweden, Spain (185)
5. Austria, Netherlands, Portugal, Switzerland (184)
6. Canada, Norway, Belgium, Greece, Ireland, UK, US (183)
7. Malta (182)
8. Czechia (181)
9. Australia, Iceland, New Zealand, Lithuania (180)
10. Latvia, Slovakia, Slovenia (179)

The Least Powerful Passports of Q3 2019:

101. Bangladesh, Eritrea, Iran, Lebanon, North Korea (39 Destinations)
102. Nepal (38)
103. Libya, Palestinian, Sudan (37)
104. Yemen (33)
105. Somalia (31)
106. Pakistan (30)
107. Syria (29)
108. Iraq (27)
109. Afghanistan (25)

Source: Henley Passport Index

US Airlines collected $4.9 Billion in bag fees in 2018

JT Genter, writing for The Points Guy »

More than four months after the end of the year, we are just getting the 2018 statistics for airlines, and there are some jaw-dropping numbers. US-based airlines recorded $11.8 billion in after-tax profits for the full year. And a significant portion of those profits was baggage fees, which came in just shy of $4.9 billion in 2018.

That’s an increase of 7% from the baggage fees collected from a year prior. Alaska, American Airlines, Delta, JetBlue and United all increased their fees for first checked bag during the year.

In the fourth quarter of 2018 alone, airlines collected $1.25 billion in bag fees. That marks the 11th straight quarter that US-based airlines have collected over $1 billion in baggage fees.

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