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The most LGBTQ+ friendly travel destinations

<p dir="ltr">As people in the LGBTQ+ community continue to face discrimination, some countries are more open and friendly to queer people. </p> <p dir="ltr">For queer travellers, there are a lot of factors to weigh up when deciding on an international travel destination, with safety always at the forefront. </p> <p dir="ltr">Luckily, <a href="https://news.booking.com/from-planning-to-personas-bookingcom-research-reveals-how-lgbtq-travelers-are-taking-control-of-their-trips/">Booking.com</a> has revealed its latest LGBTQ+ travel research, which includes the destinations that are openly accepting of gay couples, and also the places that are unsafe for queer people to be themselves. </p> <p dir="ltr">More than half (53 per cent) of Australian LGBTQ+ travellers have experienced discrimination when travelling, rising to 62 per cent for travellers across Asia-Pacific.</p> <p dir="ltr">One in four travellers say they've cancelled a trip in the past year if they've seen a destination be unsupportive of its LGBTQ+ residents and feel their safety could be in jeopardy. </p> <p dir="ltr">It’s not all bad news for queer travellers, as the travel site also compiled a top ten list of LGBTQ+ friendly destinations. Check out the list below. </p> <p dir="ltr">10. Stockholm, Sweden</p> <p dir="ltr">9. São Paulo, Brazil</p> <p dir="ltr">8. Melbourne, Australia</p> <p dir="ltr">7. Montreal, Canada</p> <p dir="ltr">6. New Orleans, Louisiana, USA</p> <p dir="ltr">5. Munich, Germany</p> <p dir="ltr">4. Chamonix, France</p> <p dir="ltr">3. Bologna, Italy </p> <p dir="ltr">2. Bogota, Colombia </p> <p dir="ltr" role="presentation">1. Amsterdam, The Netherlands</p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Image credits: Shutterstock </em></p>

International Travel

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Tasmania to cover travel costs in exchange for these "odd jobs"

<p>Tasmania has just opened applications for 10 "odd jobs" that you could do in exchange for a free trip to the state. </p> <p>As part of Tourism Tasmania's latest campaign to entice winter visitors, they are offering to cover travel and accommodation costs in exchange for a few odd jobs. </p> <p>While the work is unpaid and only lasts a day or two, the chosen Aussies will also get a hire car and a hamper worth up to $500 of local Tasmania produce and memorabilia. </p> <p>One of the jobs on offer is a wombat walker at East Coast Natureworld in Bicheno.</p> <p>The wildlife park is looking for an animal and nature lover, who loves going out for walks to lead the furry animals on their morning waddles as part of their rehabilitation program. </p> <p>Another job on offer is a “paranormal investigator” who will help Tasmania’s Most Haunted in New Norfolk capture and document any disturbances, spectral figures or unexplained phenomena at Willow Court Asylum.</p> <p>They are looking for someone who is “attuned into interactions with the otherworldly” and respects the controversial history of Willow Court. </p> <p>Other jobs include a “truffle snuffler” at The Truffledore, which involves truffle hunting with a canine companion, a “wine whisperer” at Clover Hill, a “puffer nut” at West Coast Wilderness Railway and  “soaksmith” at Little Things Farm. </p> <p>They are also looking for an “oyster organiser”, a “star seeker” and “sauna stoker”. </p> <p>Anyone interested in taking these odd jobs must explain in 50 words or less why they want to swap their day job for the odd job in Tasmania. </p> <p>Applications are open from now until July 8 this year. </p> <p>The total value of the prize pool is up to $25,000. </p> <p>“More and more, we’re all looking for remedies through experience that make life feel simpler and less stressful," Tourism Tasmania chief marketing officer Lindene Cleary said. </p> <p>“Watching ‘cottagecore’ videos of people gardening and building cabins in the woods. Hobbies like cooking and reading are even trumping digital hobbies like gaming.</p> <p>"So, we extend a warm invite to Australians to apply for an odd job in Tasmania and wake up from their cool weather coma.”</p> <p><em>Images: Tourism Tasmania</em></p>

Domestic Travel

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Costly mistakes to avoid when travelling

<p dir="ltr">While travelling the world is an exciting and joyous way to spend your time, getting caught up in devious scams can sour even the best holiday.</p> <p dir="ltr">Whenever you hit the road, there are a few measures you can take to avoid being hit by hackers and sneaky scammers, and enjoy your holiday to the fullest. </p> <p dir="ltr">When it comes to online scams, some countries are more vulnerable than others, as NAB Executive, Group Investigations Chris Sheehan says.</p> <p dir="ltr">"Just like you'd plan visas and check the weather at your destination, it's also vital to be aware of common scams in the countries you're visiting so you can recognise the red flags and protect yourself," he said. </p> <p dir="ltr">When travelling in a new country, it’s important to be wary of accommodation or booking website impersonation scams, ticket scams for major events, as well as overcharging or wrong charge scams.</p> <p dir="ltr">"The pressure to act now is a red flag in ticket and accommodation scams, while overcharging or wrong charging scams play on distraction and a lack of detail," Chris says.</p> <p dir="ltr">"Letting your bank know where and when you're travelling can help with more accurately monitoring your transactions for suspicious activity while you're away."</p> <p dir="ltr">Another thing to be wary of when on holiday is to avoid posting your real-time location on social media, or inadvertently sharing sensitive travel documents can expose you to serious risks.</p> <p dir="ltr">Broadcasting your whereabouts can make you vulnerable to various risks, including burglary, stalking, and other personal safety threats, while criminals can take advantage of the information you share to target you or your unoccupied home.</p> <p dir="ltr">Travel expert Trevor Cooke from <a href="https://earthweb.com/">EarthWeb</a> says its best to wait until you’ve moved on until you share your location online. </p> <p dir="ltr">"If you really want to share the location of where you travelled to, wait until you're already at the next location or back home," he says.</p> <p dir="ltr">"By delaying your posts, you can still share your experiences without compromising your safety."</p> <p dir="ltr">Another thing to keep in mind when you’re next hitting the road is to be wary about unknowingly posting personal information online, such as your boarding pass. </p> <p dir="ltr">"Many people don't realise how much personal information is on your boarding pass and other temporary travel documents," says security expert Trevor.</p> <p dir="ltr">"Boarding passes, for instance, contain sensitive data such as your full name, frequent flyer number, and a barcode that can be scanned to reveal even more information. This data can be used by criminals for identity theft, unauthorised access to your accounts, and other malicious activities."</p> <p dir="ltr">"To protect yourself, always double-check that any picture you upload does not include your boarding pass, travel itinerary, hotel receipts, or any other sensitive information," Trevor adds.</p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Image credits: Shutterstock </em></p>

Travel Tips

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Travel agent arrested after allegedly selling fraudulent bookings

<p>A Sydney travel agent accused of taking the money of dozens of customers has been arrested by police. </p> <p>Footage obtained by A Current Affair showed the moment police finally caught Zahra Rachid, who is accused of ripping of customers and leaving them hundreds of thousands of dollars out of pocket. </p> <p>Officers in Sydney's south established Strike Force Bail to investigate reports of a travel agent that had allegedly failed to honour customer bookings. </p> <p>Rachid, who ran Travel World Sydney, allegedly cancelled bookings made by customers without their knowledge, and did not issue any refunds, pocketing the money for herself. </p> <p>NSW Fair Trading received complaints about Travel World Sydney totalling more than $230,000.</p> <p>Nicole Vris, claims she used Rachid as a travel agent to book a trip to Greece for herself and 34 family members. </p> <p>She thought that her dream family holiday was booked, but when she checked her flights with the airline, they had no record of her booking. </p> <p>"It's very hard to round everyone up to go on a holiday at the same time, it's so hard," Vris told <em>A Current Affair</em>. </p> <p>"Zahra has ruined that dream for many people."</p> <p>Her family has allegedly been left about $160,000 out of pocket.</p> <p>She has since paid for new flights to Greece, going with only a handful of family members who are able to afford to pay for the trip twice. </p> <p>"Your face value matters in life ... and she's definitely lost that," Vris said.</p> <p>"This was going to happen and she needs to be held accountable for her actions."</p> <p>Rachid is facing 16 fraud charges and is due in court in July. </p> <p>"I think everybody having their funds returned to them would be great and I think by Zahra being put away it might just shake her foundations a little bit," Vris said.</p> <p><em>Images: A Current Affair</em></p>

Legal

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Tourism Australia staff caught spending $140k of taxpayers' money on personal travel

<p>Three Tourism Australia employees have been fired after spending $137,441 of taxpayers' money for personal travel expenses, with the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) called in to investigate.  </p> <p>Tourism Australia is the government agency in charge of promoting Australia's tourism industry abroad. </p> <p>Tourism Australia chief executive Phillipa Harrison appeared before a Senate committee in Canberra on Tuesday and confirmed the breach of the agency’s travel policy. </p> <p>The spending  had been uncovered in October 2023 when the agency's own staff detected the misuse of funds and “immediately reported and escalated” it. </p> <p>“The three employees undertook personal travel that was booked through Tourism Australia’s corporate travel agent and was invoiced to Tourism Australia,” she told the committee. </p> <p>“Tourism Australia demanded that the three individuals repay the full amount of this travel.”</p> <p>She added that the full amount was repaid to Tourism Australia last December, and the three employees have since been sacked. </p> <p>Harrison also said that Deloitte was hired to do an extensive audit dating back to 2021 “to ensure that we understood the full extent of the issue” but “no further instances of wrongdoing were identified”.</p> <p>“Off the back of the audit I have overseen a strengthening of our travel policy processes to ensure the conduct cannot be repeated,” she said.</p> <p>Tourism Australia have referred the matter to the NACC and are awaiting a response. </p> <p>When asked by New South Wales Nationals senator Ross Cadell about the identities of the staff and whether the agency's chief financial officer was among those involved, she replied: "The NACC has advised me that I'm unable to provide the further details on the roles and the people involved until they have finished their investigations." </p> <p>"To do so may compromise current or potential investigations, and prematurely impact the reputations of individuals in circumstances where the legislation enacted by parliament intends to avoid that by requiring that investigations, generally, be conducted in private and that information concerning them is not to be disclosed."</p> <p>She took a question on notice about how many trips were booked by the staff and the destinations for the travel. </p> <p>Her refusal to answer the questions caught the senator off-guard and he said: “I am shooketh, shaken, by not being able to ask these questions,” before calling a short suspension to discuss the concerns. </p> <p>On return, she officially claimed “public interest immunity” and was told she had to outline the situation in writing. </p> <p>"I have to say, this is the first time in my experience where a direction from the NACC has directed an official not to make a public statement," Tourism and Trade Minister Don Farrell said. </p> <p>"This does present some significant issues which I myself would like to get clarified.</p> <p>"You and I both voted for this legislation and obviously this is how it's being applied. The witness, obviously, has to comply with the direction of the NACC, she has no choice."</p> <p>The matter has not been referred to authorities. </p> <p><em>Image: Tourism Australia/ news.com.au</em></p>

Travel Trouble

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The must-visit winter travel destinations

<p dir="ltr">As winter rolls around, many people are looking to flee the confines of their chilly homes and routines in search of sunshine and adventure. </p> <p dir="ltr">Aussies have been already planning their getaways to follow the sun, as <a href="about:blank">Booking.com</a>'s latest search data has revealed the top ten international holiday spots for this year.</p> <p dir="ltr">The results show that while many travellers are heading to tropical destinations this winter, others are searching for a different kind of holiday. </p> <p dir="ltr"><strong>10. Kuta, Bali</strong></p> <p dir="ltr">While Bali has long been a popular tourist destination for Aussies, many chose to head to Indonesia to enjoy the sandy beaches and escape the winter chill. </p> <p dir="ltr">With winter temperatures hovering around 25°C each day, there's no better place to escape the cold.</p> <p dir="ltr"><strong>9. Paris, France</strong></p> <p dir="ltr">In 2024, Paris is on many people’s travel lists ahead of the Olympics in July. </p> <p dir="ltr">With charming restaurants, trendy boutiques, chic cafes, and amazing museums on offer, as well as warm temps, there’s no better time to head to Paris. </p> <p dir="ltr"><strong>8. Ubud, Bali</strong></p> <p dir="ltr">Another Bali region to make the list, Ubud is an inland paradise amongst rice paddies and lush jungle.</p> <p dir="ltr">The food heaven destination is also known for its gorgeous climate, making it a perfect holiday spot. </p> <p dir="ltr"><strong>7. Queenstown, New Zealand</strong></p> <p dir="ltr">For those who don’t want to venture too far from home, Queenstown is an amazing spot for anyone seeking an active holiday.</p> <p dir="ltr">As the only spot on the list which isn't about escaping winter, Queenstown - and New Zealand in general - is often visited by keen skiers and those looking to amplify their winter travels. </p> <p dir="ltr"><strong>6. Canggu, Bali</strong></p> <p dir="ltr">Another Bali spot making the list, Canggu is a beachside area surrounded by terraced rice paddies and known for good surf.</p> <p dir="ltr">Accommodation in the area ranges from beachside villas and gorgeous guesthouses, with something for everyone. </p> <p dir="ltr"><strong>5. Singapore</strong></p> <p dir="ltr">While Singapore has long been a default stopover city for travellers on their way to Europe, it's also a great destination in its own right.</p> <p dir="ltr">With a stunning mix of old town charm and modern skyscrapers, it's the perfect place for a mid-week getaway or long weekend.</p> <p dir="ltr"><strong>4. Legian, Bali</strong></p> <p dir="ltr">Legian Beach is right next to the popular spot Kuta, though is a bit more relaxed and laid-back, and perfect for travellers who want to chill out.</p> <p dir="ltr">According to booking.com, Legian has become increasingly popular with travellers in the last year.</p> <p dir="ltr"><strong>3. London, England</strong> </p> <p dir="ltr">For anyone embarking on a Euro summer, London is a must-see destination for any keen traveller.</p> <p dir="ltr">There's something in London for everyone, from amazing museums and sprawling markets, to iconic landmarks and rich history.</p> <p dir="ltr"><strong>2. Tokyo, Japan</strong></p> <p dir="ltr">While tourism in Japan has surged in recent years, there’s a good reason why, as many travellers are flocking to the nation to experience its rich culture. </p> <p dir="ltr">On top of it being an affordable destination, the unique experience has Aussies heading to Japan in droves, with Tokyo seeing a 25 per cent search increase among Aussies in the last year. </p> <p dir="ltr"><strong>1. Seminyak, Bali</strong></p> <p dir="ltr">Unsurprisingly, a Bali destination has topped the list, as Seminyak offers luxury hotels and villas, high-end dining, and famous beach clubs.</p> <p dir="ltr">Located between Canggu and Kuta, Seminyak has long hosted thousands of tourists looking to escape the cold, with travellers and locals alike basking in the picturesque sunsets. </p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Image credits: Shutterstock</em></p>

International Travel

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Air travel exposes you to radiation – how much health risk comes with it?

<div class="theconversation-article-body"> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/timothy-j-jorgensen-239253">Timothy J. Jorgensen</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/georgetown-university-1239">Georgetown University</a></em></p> <p>In 2017, <a href="http://www.independent.ie/business/world/18-million-miles-and-counting-the-globes-top-business-traveller-35666790.html">business traveler Tom Stuker</a> was hailed as the world’s most frequent flyer, logging 18,000,000 miles of air travel on United Airlines over 14 years.</p> <p>That’s a lot of time up in the air. If Stuker’s traveling behaviors are typical of other business flyers, he may have eaten 6,500 <a href="http://www.airliners.net/forum/viewtopic.php?t=689041">inflight meals</a>, drunk 5,250 <a href="https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1708-8305.2009.00339.x">alcoholic beverages</a>, watched thousands of <a href="http://www.iata.org/publications/store/Pages/global-passenger-survey.aspx">inflight movies</a> and made around 10,000 visits to <a href="http://blog.thetravelinsider.info/2012/11/how-many-restrooms-are-enough-on-a-plane.html">airplane toilets</a>.</p> <p>He would also have accumulated a radiation dose equivalent to about 1,000 <a href="https://www.radiologyinfo.org/en/info.cfm?pg=safety-xray">chest x-rays</a>. But what kind of health risk does all that radiation actually pose?</p> <h2>Cosmic rays coming at you</h2> <p>You might guess that a frequent flyer’s radiation dose is coming from the airport security checkpoints, with their whole-body scanners and baggage x-ray machines, but you’d be wrong. The <a href="http://www.aapm.org/publicgeneral/AirportScannersPressRelease.asp">radiation doses to passengers from these security procedures</a> are trivial.</p> <p>The major source of radiation exposure from air travel comes from the flight itself. This is because at high altitude the <a href="http://www.altitude.org/why_less_oxygen.php">air gets thinner</a>. The farther you go from the Earth’s surface, the fewer molecules of gas there are per volume of space. Thinner air thus means fewer molecules to deflect incoming <a href="http://www.space.com/32644-cosmic-rays.html">cosmic rays</a> – radiation from outer space. With less <a href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/science/earth/atmosphere_and_climate/atmosphere">atmospheric shielding</a>, there is more exposure to radiation.</p> <p>The most extreme situation is for astronauts who travel entirely outside of the Earth’s atmosphere and enjoy none of its protective shielding. Consequently, they receive high radiation doses. In fact, it is the accumulation of radiation dose that is the limiting factor for the maximum length of manned space flights. Too long in space and <a href="https://www.nasa.gov/hrp/bodyinspace">astronauts risk cataracts, cancer and potential heart ailments</a> when they get back home.</p> <p>Indeed, it’s the radiation dose problem that is a major spoiler for <a href="http://www.space.com/34210-elon-musk-unveils-spacex-mars-colony-ship.html">Elon Musk’s goal of inhabiting Mars</a>. An extended stay on Mars, with its <a href="http://www.space.com/16903-mars-atmosphere-climate-weather.html">extremely thin atmosphere</a>, would be lethal due to the high radiation doses, notwithstanding Matt Damon’s successful Mars colonization in the movie <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ej3ioOneTy8">“The Martian</a>.”</p> <h2>Radiation risks of ultra frequent flying</h2> <p>What would be Stuker’s cumulative radiation dose and what are his health risks?</p> <p>It depends entirely on how much time he has spent in the air. Assuming an <a href="http://hypertextbook.com/facts/2002/JobyJosekutty.shtml">average flight speed</a> (550 mph), Stuker’s 18,000,000 miles would translate into 32,727 hours (3.7 years) of flight time. The radiation dose rate at typical <a href="http://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/travel-truths/why-do-planes-fly-so-high-feet/">commercial airline flight altitude</a> (35,000 feet) is about <a href="https://hps.org/publicinformation/ate/faqs/commercialflights.html">0.003 millisieverts per hour</a>. (As I explain in my book <a href="http://press.princeton.edu/titles/10691.html">“Strange Glow: The Story of Radiation</a>,” a millisievert or mSv is a unit of radiation dose that can be used to estimate cancer risk.) By multiplying the dose rate by the hours of flight time, we can see that Stuker has earned himself about 100 mSv of radiation dose, in addition to a lot of free airline tickets. But what does that mean for his health?</p> <p>The primary health threat at this dose level is an increased risk of some type of cancer later in life. Studies of atomic bomb victims, nuclear workers and medical radiation patients have <a href="https://doi.org/10.17226/11340">allowed scientists to estimate the cancer risk</a> for any particular radiation dose.</p> <p>All else being equal and assuming that low doses have risk levels proportionate to high doses, then an overall cancer risk rate of <a href="http://www.imagewisely.org/imaging-modalities/computed-tomography/medical-physicists/articles/how-to-understand-and-communicate-radiation-risk">0.005 percent per mSv</a> is a reasonable and commonly used estimate. Thus, Stuker’s 100-mSv dose would increase his lifetime risk of contracting a potentially fatal cancer by about 0.5 percent.</p> <h2>Contextualizing the risk</h2> <p>The question then becomes whether that’s a high level of risk. Your own feeling might depend on how you see your background cancer risk.</p> <p>Most people <a href="http://www.who.int/whr/2002/chapter3/en/index4.html">underestimate their personal risk of dying from cancer</a>. Although the exact number is debatable, it’s fair to say that <a href="https://www.cancer.org/cancer/cancer-basics/lifetime-probability-of-developing-or-dying-from-cancer.html">about 25 percent of men ultimately contract a potentially fatal cancer</a>. Stuker’s 0.5 percent cancer risk from radiation should be added to his baseline risk – so it would go from 25 percent to 25.5 percent. A cancer risk increase of that size is too small to actually measure in any scientific way, so it must remain a theoretical increase in risk.</p> <p>A 0.5 percent increase in risk is the same as one chance in 200 of getting cancer. In other words, if 200 male travelers logged 18,000,000 miles of air travel, like Stuker did, we might expect just one of them to contract a cancer thanks to his flight time. The other 199 travelers would suffer no health effects. So the chances that Stuker is the specific 18-million-mile traveler who would be so unlucky is quite small.</p> <p>Stuker was logging more air hours per year (greater than 2,000) than most pilots typically log (<a href="http://work.chron.com/duty-limitations-faa-pilot-17646.html">under 1,000</a>). So these airline workers would have risk levels proportionately lower than Stuker’s. But what about you?</p> <p>If you want to know your personal cancer risk from flying, estimate all of your commercial airline miles over the years. Assuming that the values and parameters for speed, radiation dose and risk stated above for Stuker are also true for you, dividing your total miles by 3,700,000,000 will give your approximate odds of getting cancer from your flying time.</p> <p>For example, let’s pretend that you have a mathematically convenient 370,000 total flying miles. That would mean 370,000 miles divided by 3,700,000,000, which comes out to be 1/10,000 odds of contracting cancer (or a 0.01 percent increase in risk). Most people do not fly 370,000 miles (equal to 150 flights from Los Angeles to New York) within their lifetimes. So for the average flyer, the increased risk is far less than 0.01 percent.</p> <p>To make your exercise complete, make a list of all the benefits that you’ve derived from your air travel over your lifetime (job opportunities, vacation travel, family visits and so on) and go back and look at your increased cancer risk again. If you think your benefits have been meager compared to your elevated cancer risk, maybe its time to rethink flying. But for many people today, flying is a necessity of life, and the small elevated cancer risk is worth the price.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/78790/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/timothy-j-jorgensen-239253">Timothy J. Jorgensen</a>, Director of the Health Physics and Radiation Protection Graduate Program and Professor of Radiation Medicine, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/georgetown-university-1239">Georgetown University</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Shutterstock</em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/air-travel-exposes-you-to-radiation-how-much-health-risk-comes-with-it-78790">original article</a>.</em></p> </div>

Travel Trouble

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How one widow has changed how women solo travel

<p>After Yvonne Vickers' husband passed away in 2014, she thought her opportunities to travel and see the world had slipped away. </p> <p>Yvonne had always been a keen traveller and went on trips with her married friends after becoming a widow, but she "got over being the third wheel", she admitted to <a href="https://travel.nine.com.au/latest/cruising-solo-female-older-passengers/9553953c-84e8-418a-9c2b-8c9b847b9ba4" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><em>9Travel</em></a>. </p> <p>Still wanting to see the world on her own terms, Yvonne took to Facebook where she created a group seeking like-minded women who share her passion for adventure. </p> <p>Now, the Find A Female Cruise or Travel Buddy is an ever-growing group that has connected thousands of women looking for travel companions. </p> <p>Whether they're single, widowed, or just married to someone who doesn't want to travel, the group is open to women across the globe to join.</p> <p>Thanks to her newfound community, Yvonne has taken 41 cruises and dozens of land trips since her husband's death, all while making friends for life, and the rest of the group's members are in the same boat.</p> <p>"It's wonderful to get feedback from ladies saying that it's helped to change their life," Yvonne said. "That's the rewarding part of it for me."</p> <p>Members can make a post in the group, detailing a cruise sailing or trip that they have their eye on booking, to see if anyone else would like to join them.</p> <p>"We have a lot of widows in our group who are cashed up and want to travel but don't have anyone to travel with or share their experiences with," Yvonne said. "The group gives them the opportunity to be able to do that."</p> <p>"There are also a lot of ladies who are married but their husbands don't want to travel. It gives them the opportunity to be able to travel."</p> <p>Yvonne says that cruising is a perfect way for older females to travel, especially if they're on their own.</p> <p>"It's a really safe way to travel as a solo female," she says, also noting that it's an easy way to get around and see places. Recently, she did a 35-day trip around Hawaii with a group of women from the group.</p> <p>For the Find A Female Cruise or Travel Buddy group, there's even more fun trips on the horizon.</p> <p>Yvonne just came back from a trip to Japan with 14 group members, and is heading to Bali in August with a friend she made through the group.</p> <p><em>Image credits: Nine News \ Facebook</em></p>

Cruising

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Do red bags get loaded onto a plane first? Travel hack goes viral

<p>One TikTok user has racked up over 75 million views for their hack which warns travellers against buying red suitcases.</p> <p>The reason behind it? He claims that red suitcases are always loaded onto a plane first - meaning that they will be the last ones to come out at the baggage carousel. </p> <p>The <a href="https://www.tiktok.com/@airportlife_/video/7359248989134327072" target="_blank" rel="noopener">viral video</a> showed a plane's cargo being loaded, with all the red bags being loaded first. </p> <p>Many commenters have shared their theories on why this might be the case. </p> <p>"If the red are at the back then they are less likely to get left behind when unloading," one wrote. </p> <p>"So that it's easier to check if there is any bag left at end corner of loading area and prevent missing out black bags at dark corners, maybe," another added. </p> <p>However, a spokesperson for KLM Royal Dutch Airlines has debunked this theory and claimed that the video is "nonsense" and "was made purposefully to mislead or provide false information".</p> <p>They also said that there was simply not enough time for their baggage handlers to sort suitcases out by colour. </p> <p>The question of "Do red bags get loaded onto a plane first?" also made its way to Reddit, after the video went viral, and one user who claimed to be a ramp worker denied the theory. </p> <p>"If we had taken the time and brain power to load bags based on colour I'd still be loading flights from 2015." </p> <p><em>Image: TikTok</em></p>

Travel Tips

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4 ways to avoid foot pain when travelling

<p>Whether it’s caused by a hectic day of sightseeing or a mad rush through the airports, there’s nothing quite as annoying as foot pain when you’re on holidays. And when you consider how easy it is to avoid (so long as you take the correct preventative measures) you’ll feeling like kicking yourself for putting up with it for all these years.</p> <p>Here are four ways to avoid foot pain when travelling.</p> <p><strong>1. Choosing the right pair of shoes  </strong></p> <p>Out of all the fashion statements, shoes are probably responsible for more chronic foot pain than anything else. So make sure you choose the right pair of shoes for your trip. For example, if you’re going to be walking around all day sightseeing it might be an idea to ditch the stiletto heels for a pair of joggers (even if they’re not quite so aesthetically pleasing).</p> <p>Dr Robert Mathews from Cremorne Medical in NSW says, “I recommend wearing supportive shoe such as running shoes. If you want to wear something more stylish then consider buying some gel insoles to slip in your shoes, you can get a wide variety of these from your local chemist.“</p> <p><strong>2. Manage your feet on flights</strong></p> <p>Foot swelling can become quite a big problem on long haul flight, so managing your feet becomes crucial. Simple, preventative measures anyone can take, like wearing support stocks, standing up every so often to move around or even just flexing your feet and wriggling your toes, can make a big difference and greatly reduce the chance of swelling.</p> <p><strong>3. Slip, slop and slap</strong></p> <p>So many island holidays have been soured by the blistering pain of sunburnt feet. If you’re staying at a resort or near a beach and your feet are exposed, don’t forget to apply sunscreen everywhere. Otherwise you’re going to want to have some aloe vera gel handy!</p> <p><strong>4. Take time to rest</strong></p> <p>While you’re probably in a mad rush to see everything, fear of missing out can put significant strain on your feet. So make sure you set aside plenty of time every day to put your feet up and rest. It also might be worth considering some extra pampering, like a foot bath or even a half hour massage. You are on holidays after all, so why not treat yourself!</p> <p>Dr Matthews adds, “It may also be worth taking with you some thick band aids in case you develop any blisters from long walks.”</p> <p><em>Image credits: Shutterstock</em></p>

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Catriona Rowntree shares her Europe travel hacks she picked up from locals

<p dir="ltr">After decades of hosting <em>Getaway</em>, Catriona Rowntree has learned a thing or two about travelling. </p> <p dir="ltr">Along the way, the 52-year-old has picked up some must-know secrets from locals that every traveller should know before heading to Europe.</p> <p dir="ltr">While in Mallorca in Spain, Rowntree quizzed locals on how to make the most out of her experience, and what faux pas to avoid. </p> <p dir="ltr">She was given advice on the best way to start a day at the markets, told why you should never rent an Airbnb or buy seafood on a Monday, why takeaway coffee is a bad idea and the secret to a longer, healthy life. </p> <p dir="ltr">The TV host shared a little known secret when it comes to buying fresh fish, and said travellers should not buy fish on Monday, because fishermen don’t fish on Sundays, meaning fish purchases on Mondays won’t be fresh. </p> <p dir="ltr">“The life expectancy of a Spaniard is 84, they're a healthy lot, loving a Mediterranean diet, a dollop of sun and a good climate,” she added. </p> <p dir="ltr">The presenter also discovered that all the locals she has spoken to don't like Airbnb accommodation and prefer for tourists to stay in hotels. </p> <p dir="ltr">“All the locals I've spoken to say that's what's pushing them out of their apartments as the town centres are slowly gentrified,” she said. </p> <p dir="ltr">“The average wage is low, most locals rent, sadly landlords prefer the higher fee of an Airbnb. Not cool!”</p> <p dir="ltr">Catriona's final tip is not to get your coffee takeaway, but rather sit down in a cafe, enjoy your coffee and take it slow. </p> <p dir="ltr">“People sit down to enjoy their coffee, they don't get a takeaway: 'If you can't sit for five minutes and talk to a person what's wrong with you!',” she said. </p> <p dir="ltr">Catriona said she was told by a local that the best way to start your day is to explore the markets by getting a hot chocolate and some churros. </p> <p dir="ltr">“Not every day as you'll be round, but market day for sure," she said.</p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Image credits: Instagram </em></p>

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3 common travel illnesses (and how to avoid them)

<p>Nobody wants to fall sick when they’re on holidays but it happens and is actually quite common. Not every travel illness is foreseeable, but the most prevalent ones usually can be managed if you’re prepared and know what to look out for. Here are three of the most common illnesses travellers experience and what you can do to avoid them.</p> <p><strong>Traveller’s diarrhoea</strong></p> <p>It may be an unpleasant topic of conversation, but as diarrhoeais the most common travel sickness, it’s important to be prepared. It is estimated diarrhoeais experienced by almost half of travellers at some point on their holiday, but mainly by those visiting developing countries. It’s contracted by eating or drinking contaminated food and water and in severe cases can last for days.</p> <p><em><span style="text-decoration: underline;">How to avoid it</span>:</em> Stick to bottled or purified water, freshly cooked meals and fruits and vegetables you can peel yourself. Talk to your doctor for antibiotics you can take in case you are struck with traveller’s diarrhoea.</p> <p><strong>Motion sickness</strong></p> <p>Whether it’s by boat, plane, or car, many travellers experience motion sickness. This occurs when your eyes see motion but your body doesn’t register it, leading to a conflict of the senses. It often results in nausea, vomiting, headaches, and sweating.</p> <p><em><span style="text-decoration: underline;">How to avoid it</span>:</em> If flying, try to sit near the wings of plane. If cruising, get an outside cabin in the middle of ship, and if in a car, sit up front. Don’t play with your devices, as looking at a small screens often exacerbates the problem; instead try to look far to the horizon. Have a light meal before travelling and avoid spicy, greasy or rich foods. You can talk to your doctor about over-the-counter medication that can help motion sickness as well.  </p> <p><strong>Bug bites</strong></p> <p>There are all sorts of infectious diseases like malaria, dengue, chikungunya and yellow fever you can pick up from bug bites, especially in developing nations. While you should always talk to your doctor about the types of vaccines you need to take for your travel destination, it is always advisable to protect against insect bites.</p> <p><em><span style="text-decoration: underline;">How to avoid it</span>:</em> Apply insect repellent, wear long sleeves and pants where possible and try to avoid outside activity around dust and dawn when mosquitos are active. If sleeping outdoors, it is advisable to use curtain nettings.</p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images </em></p>

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As you travel, pause and take a look at airport chapels

<div class="theconversation-article-body"> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/wendy-cadge-343734">Wendy Cadge</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/brandeis-university-1308">Brandeis University</a></em></p> <p>Flying home? It is very likely there is a chapel or meditation room tucked away somewhere in one of the airports you’ll pass through. <a href="http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2015/07/06/most-of-the-busiest-u-s-airports-have-dedicated-chapels/">Sixteen of the country’s 20 largest airports</a> have chapels, as do many more around the world.</p> <p>I am a <a href="http://www.wendycadge.com/">sociologist</a> of contemporary American religion and have written <a href="http://www.wendycadge.com/publications/airport-chapels-and-chaplains/">two recent articles</a> about airport chaplains and chapels. My interest in airport chapels started as simple curiosity – why do airports have chapels and who uses them? After visiting a few – including the chapel at Logan, my home airport here in Boston – I have concluded that they reflect broader changing norms around American religion.</p> <h2>How airports came to have chapels</h2> <p>The country’s first airport chapels were intended for staff rather than passengers and were established by Catholic leaders in the 1950s and 1960s to make sure their parishioners could attend mass.</p> <p>The first one in the U.S., Our Lady of the Airways, was built by Boston Archbishop Richard J. Cushing at Logan airport in 1951 and it was explicitly meant for people working at the <a href="https://doi.org/10.1093/socrel/srx025">airport</a>. A neon light pointed to the chapel and souvenir cards handed out at the dedication read, “We fly to thy patronage, O Holy Mother of God; despise not our petitions in our necessities, but deliver us away from all dangers, O glorious and blessed virgin.”</p> <p>Our Lady of the Airways inspired the building of the country’s second airport chapel, Our Lady of the Skies at what was then Idlewild – and is today John F. Kennedy airport in New York City.</p> <p>Protestant chapels came later. The first was in New York – again at JFK. It was designed in the shape of a Latin cross and was joined by a Jewish synagogue in the 1960s. These chapels were located at a distance from the terminals: Passengers wishing to visit them had to go outside. They were <a href="https://books.google.com/books/about/Exploring_Interfaith_Space.html?id=on5YNwAACAA">later razed</a> and rebuilt in different area of JFK.</p> <p>In the 1970s and 1980s, Protestant chapels opened in Atlanta, and in several terminals of the Dallas airport in Texas.</p> <h2>Becoming more inclusive</h2> <p>By the 1990s and 2000s, single faith chapels had become a <a href="http://www.tciarchive.org/4534.article">“dying breed.”</a> Most started to welcome people from all religions. And many were transformed into spaces for reflection, or meditation for weary travelers.</p> <p>The chapel at San Francisco International Airport, for example, known as the <a href="https://www.flysfo.com/content/berman-reflection-room-0">Berman Reflection Room</a> for Jewish philanthropist Henry Berman who was a former president of the San Francisco Airport Commission, looks like a quiet waiting room filled with plants and lines of connected chairs. A small enclosed space without any religious symbols or obvious connections to things religious or spiritual is available for services.</p> <p>The scene at the <a href="http://www.atlchapel.org/">Atlanta</a> airport chapel is similar, with only a few chairs and clear glass entrances, to provide space for quiet reflection.</p> <p>Some airports, such as JFK, continue with their “Our Lady” names, indicating their faith-based origins.</p> <p>Others include religious symbols and objects from a range of religious traditions. The chapel in <a href="https://cltairportchapel.org/">Charlotte</a>, North Carolina, for example, has multiple religious texts alongside prayer rugs, rosary beads and artistically rendered quotes from the world’s major religions.</p> <p>Pamphlets on topics ranging from grief to forgiveness are available for visitors to take with them at the Charlotte airport.</p> <h2>Different airports, different rules</h2> <p>As these examples show, <a href="https://doi.org/10.1093/socrel/srx025">no two airports</a> have negotiated chapel space in the same way. What is permissible in one city is often not in another. Often, it is local, historical and demographic factors, including the religious composition of the region, that influence decisions. These could even be based on who started the chapel, or how much interreligious cooperation there is in a city.</p> <p>Certain airports such as Chicago’s <a href="http://www.airportchapels.org/">O'Hare</a> have strict rules regarding impromptu religious gatherings whether inside the chapel or out. Some use their public address systems to announce religious services. Others prohibit such announcements and do not even allow airport chaplains to put out any signs that could indicate a religious space.</p> <p>If they are included in airport maps, chapels tend to be designated by the symbol of a person bent in prayer. But even then, they can be difficult to spot. About half of the existing chapels are on the pre-security side of the airport and the other half accessible only after passengers pass through security.</p> <p><a href="https://doi.org/10.1093/socrel/srx025">Only four large American airports</a> – Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Philadelphia and New York’s LaGuardia – do not have chapel spaces, although opening such a space is under consideration. In the interim, at LaGuardia, a Catholic chaplain holds mass in a conference room.</p> <h2>What’s the future?</h2> <p>The reasons for these spaces and their variations are idiosyncratic and intensely local. These chapels reveal a range of approaches to contemporary American religion and spirituality.</p> <p>So on your travels, keep an eye out for these chapels. Note their similarities and differences and recognize how important local histories are to how church-state issues are resolved – at airports and beyond.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/87578/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/wendy-cadge-343734">Wendy Cadge</a>, Professor of Sociology and Women's, Gender and Sexuality Studies, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/brandeis-university-1308">Brandeis University</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images </em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/as-you-travel-pause-and-take-a-look-at-airport-chapels-87578">original article</a>.</em></p> </div>

Travel Tips

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The unique travel hack that is guaranteed to help beat jet lag

<p dir="ltr">Experts have revealed how to beat jet lag on your next overseas holiday, and it all comes down to your modes of transport. </p> <p dir="ltr">Sleep researchers said it's good news for cruise lovers, as exposure to sea air and bright natural light improves sleep to cure the annoying condition quickly.</p> <p dir="ltr">Some experts say to avoid travelling by plane all together, and always opt for cruising holidays instead. </p> <p dir="ltr">However, if you have to travel to your cruise by plane, being on board is a great way to tackle the dreadful feeling, compared with holidaying on land, Panache Cruises said.</p> <p dir="ltr">Dr Lindsay Browning, expert at Trouble Sleeping said exposing yourself to bright lights at the right time after a long-haul flight is one of the most powerful things we can do to boost and help shift circadian rhythm, and being on a ship is the perfect place for that.</p> <p dir="ltr">"As a general rule, you want to get lots of bright light exposure during the daytime and avoid light at night," Browning said.</p> <p dir="ltr">"When travelling on a cruise ship, you will naturally get a lot of bright light exposure during the day, helping your circadian rhythm.”</p> <p dir="ltr">"Further, when travelling by ship you will have a cabin with a proper bed and curtain, enabling you to sleep at night when you want to."</p> <p dir="ltr">The company claimed research showed how prolonged exposure to sea air can improve blood oxygen levels, boost vitamin D, and improve breathing leading to higher-quality sleep, helping to rid travellers of pesky jet lag so they can enjoy their holidays. </p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p>

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94-year-old grandma takes on huge travel challenge

<p>"Grandma Joy" Ryan was 91 when she first got her passport, and she hasn't stopped travelling since. </p> <p>Now aged 94, she is embarking on a new global challenge with her grandson Brad Ryan, 42, with the intergenerational duo planning to travel to all seven continents in the world together. </p> <p>"I don't have many years left, [so] you hop to it," Grandma Joy told <em>CNN Travel</em>. </p> <p> "If you slow down, you don't get anything done."</p> <p>The pair, who are from the US, have already travelled to three continents, visiting Banff National Park in Canada last year to "represent North America well beyond just our own country", and Africa in 2023, visiting both Amboseli National Park and Maasai Mara National Reserve in Kenya. </p> <p>Their most recent trip was to South America, where they travelled to Ecuador, and spent time in  the Galapagos Islands, as well as Chile. </p> <p>"It was amazing to see those huge tortoises," Grandma Joy recalled. "They could raise their shells up just like a convertible or something."</p> <p>Prior to travelling the world together, the grandma-grandson duo were actually estranged for around a decade due to a family rift that occurred after Ryan's parents divorced. </p> <p>After reconnecting in 2010, Ryan was telling his grandma about his previous hiking adventures on the Appalachian Trail and Mount Kilimanjaro, when he learnt that his grandmother "had never set eyes on a mountain."</p> <p>"That was one of her lifelong regrets," he said. </p> <p>"Her travel had been limited to just a few road trips to Florida with my grandfather when he was alive.</p> <p>"Her view of the world was always what she saw on the Travel Channel or just on the news."</p> <p>That conversation stuck with him and the pair embarked on their first journey together in 2015, when Ryan decided to take a weekend road trip to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. </p> <p>"At 85, she saw her first mountain, climbed her first mountain and went camping for the first time and fell off the air mattress a couple of times and didn't complain," he said. </p> <p>He added, that having to move more slowly as he was travelling with his grandma, meant that he was able to appreciate everything in a more meaningful way. </p> <p>"I wasn't rushing through the places that I was visiting. I was really taking the time to appreciate smaller details.</p> <p>"The lens through which she is seeing the world is very different to most people my age. She doesn't visit a place thinking, 'Well, I'll be back again,' so there's more presence."</p> <p>They kept the adventure going and decided to travel to the 62 other US National Parks, and while it took them almost eight years with two-month long breaks between each trip, Grandma Joy made history last year. </p> <p>She became the oldest person to visit all 63 National Parks in the US. </p> <blockquote class="instagram-media" style="background: #FFF; border: 0; border-radius: 3px; box-shadow: 0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width: 540px; min-width: 326px; padding: 0; width: calc(100% - 2px);" data-instgrm-captioned="" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/p/CsU_w4-rqyP/?utm_source=ig_embed&utm_campaign=loading" data-instgrm-version="14"> <div style="padding: 16px;"> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; align-items: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 40px; margin-right: 14px; width: 40px;"> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 100px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 60px;"> </div> </div> </div> <div style="padding: 19% 0;"> </div> <div style="display: block; height: 50px; margin: 0 auto 12px; width: 50px;"> </div> <div style="padding-top: 8px;"> <div style="color: #3897f0; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: 550; line-height: 18px;">View this post on Instagram</div> </div> <div style="padding: 12.5% 0;"> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; margin-bottom: 14px; align-items: center;"> <div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; height: 12.5px; width: 12.5px; transform: translateX(0px) translateY(7px);"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; height: 12.5px; transform: rotate(-45deg) translateX(3px) translateY(1px); width: 12.5px; flex-grow: 0; margin-right: 14px; margin-left: 2px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; height: 12.5px; width: 12.5px; transform: translateX(9px) translateY(-18px);"> </div> </div> <div style="margin-left: 8px;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 20px; width: 20px;"> </div> <div style="width: 0; height: 0; border-top: 2px solid transparent; border-left: 6px solid #f4f4f4; border-bottom: 2px solid transparent; transform: translateX(16px) translateY(-4px) rotate(30deg);"> </div> </div> <div style="margin-left: auto;"> <div style="width: 0px; border-top: 8px solid #F4F4F4; border-right: 8px solid transparent; transform: translateY(16px);"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; flex-grow: 0; height: 12px; width: 16px; transform: translateY(-4px);"> </div> <div style="width: 0; height: 0; border-top: 8px solid #F4F4F4; border-left: 8px solid transparent; transform: translateY(-4px) translateX(8px);"> </div> </div> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center; margin-bottom: 24px;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 224px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 144px;"> </div> </div> <p style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 17px; margin-bottom: 0; margin-top: 8px; overflow: hidden; padding: 8px 0 7px; text-align: center; text-overflow: ellipsis; white-space: nowrap;"><a style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px; text-decoration: none;" href="https://www.instagram.com/p/CsU_w4-rqyP/?utm_source=ig_embed&utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank" rel="noopener">A post shared by Grandma Joy’s Road Trip — Brad and Joy Ryan (@grandmajoysroadtrip)</a></p> </div> </blockquote> <p>"Being an old person sitting on the porch, this makes you feel like, 'Well maybe I did accomplish something.' So I enjoyed every bit of it," she said. </p> <p>Ryan himself is very proud of his grandmother's achievement, and after going viral with their national parks quest in 2023, he said that travelling with her has been a life-changing experience. </p> <p>"She shattered my preconceived notions about what it means to be an older person,"  he said. </p> <p>"Because she wasn't just sitting in the passenger seat looking out the window, although we did that too."</p> <p>He then described how Grandma Joy went ziplining at New River Gorge National Park and Preserve in West Virginia and whitewater rafting at Wrangell St. Elias National Park in Alaska at the age of 91, and how she reminded him of all the possibilities that come with getting older. </p> <p>"I think we all have this sort of innate dread about getting older," he said. </p> <p>"And we think about the limitations instead of the possibilities. She [Grandma Joy] reminds us of the possibilities that still exist."</p> <p>While the pair are currently "still recovering" from their latest trip to South America, they shared their plan to visit Australia later this year, and hope to  "hop over to Asia" after. </p> <p>Once they've ticked off Australia and Asia off their list, they plan to visit Europe and hope to end their trip in Antarctica. </p> <p>"Antarctica is the one that's like the wildcard," Ryan said. "We would love that, but getting there is challenging.</p> <p>"I'd like to end big, and I think Antarctica would be the cherry on top of this adventure."</p> <p>The duo document all their adventures on their Instagram account, <a href="https://www.instagram.com/grandmajoysroadtrip/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">grandmajoysroadtrip</a> and despite people wondering when they would wrap it up, Grandma Joy's "willing spirit" keeps her going. </p> <p>"I just take one step at a time, one day at a time, and thank the Lord every morning for giving me one more day," she said. </p> <p>"I try to be an optimist. The glass is half full, not half empty. And the people that you meet along the way lift your spirits.</p> <p>"You see people in worse shape than you, and I just think 'I've got a lot to be thankful for.'</p> <p>"Not everybody's lucky enough to have a grandson that's willing to drag them around."</p> <p><em>Images: Instagram</em></p> <p> </p>

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Everything you need to know before you travel to Vietnam

<p dir="ltr">So you’ve booked your flight to Vietnam to experience the best of south-east Asia. </p> <p dir="ltr">When travelling to Vietnam, and other Asian countries, there are a handful of tips and tricks to be aware of to ensure you have a smooth sailing travel experience. </p> <p dir="ltr">In comparison to travelling around Western countries, exploring Vietnam comes with a unique set of circumstances, and being prepared for every situation will make sure your trip is one to remember. </p> <p dir="ltr"><strong>Cash is king</strong></p> <p dir="ltr">When it comes to planning your trip to Vietnam, other than booking your flights, hotels and travel insurance, one of your first priorities should be getting your hands on cash. </p> <p dir="ltr">The Vietnamese Dong is a unique currency to get used to, given that $5 AUD is equal to approximately $82,000 VND. </p> <p dir="ltr">Most of the restaurants, cafes and tourist attractions you’ll be heading to will only accept cash, so make sure you seek out an ATM (most ATMs will let you translate to English) and always have a decent amount of cash on hand. </p> <p dir="ltr"><strong>Go off the beaten track </strong></p> <p dir="ltr">Vietnam has so much more to offer than the major cities. </p> <p dir="ltr">While Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City have a lot of interesting history, tourist attractions and unique cultural experiences, staying in these cities for the entirety of your Vietnam trip is limiting. </p> <p dir="ltr">Make sure you explore coastal towns such as Hoi An, Hue and Phu Quoc, explore the rolling rice fields of Sapa, and don’t forget to book your cruise around the picturesque Ha Long Bay. </p> <p dir="ltr"><strong>Don't be afraid of the food </strong></p> <p dir="ltr">While Vietnamese food is maybe not what you’re used to eating everyday, part of experiencing a different culture is immersing yourself in the food scene. </p> <p dir="ltr">One of the best things you can do when you arrive at your destination is to book a food tour with a local guide (there are many available through TripAdvisor), to take you around and show you a variety of dishes to become accustomed to. </p> <p dir="ltr">Your food tour guide will also help ease your anxiety over ordering food in different places. </p> <p dir="ltr">Another top tip: Restaurants will often be called the name of the dishes they serve. For example, places that sell the delicious Bahn Mi bread rolls will have “Bahn Mi” in their name. </p> <p dir="ltr"><strong>Google Translate is your friend </strong></p> <p dir="ltr">While your hotel staff will often speak good English, other vendors at restaurants or markets may not be as fluent. </p> <p dir="ltr">Downloading the Google Translate app on your phone will allow you to communicate with locals quickly and easily, by typing in what you want to say in English, and letting the app read out the sentence in Vietnamese. </p> <p dir="ltr">Also, the app’s camera feature lets you hover your smartphone camera over something written in Vietnamese, before translating it into English in seconds. </p> <p dir="ltr"><strong>Beware of scams</strong> </p> <p dir="ltr">One of the most common scams in Vietnam is taxi scams. Some people will claim to be a taxi and then jack up the prices once they take you to your destination. </p> <p dir="ltr">To avoid this, only get in registered taxis (that actually look like taxis and not just a random car), and download Grab, which is the Vietnamese version of Uber and is just as easy to use. </p> <p dir="ltr">Another common scam is for market vendors to hike up prices for food and souvenirs, so be ready to barter for a better price. </p> <p dir="ltr"><strong>Make friends with the locals </strong></p> <p dir="ltr">The Vietnamese people are some of the loveliest, kindest and most accommodating in the world. </p> <p dir="ltr">People on the street, hotel staff and restaurant workers are always happy to help you with queries or concerns, so make the most of their local knowledge and don’t be afraid to approach people with a smile. </p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Image credits: Getty Images </em></p>

International Travel

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Why you should travel solo this summer

<p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/claire-mccamley-446927">Claire McCamley</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-huddersfield-1226">University of Huddersfield</a></em></p> <p>When you think about booking a summer holiday, you might think of trips with partners, friends or family. The idea of going on holiday alone can be daunting, or even unappealing. It raises all kinds of questions – who will you talk to? Who will you eat with? Will you be safe?</p> <p>There has long been a <a href="https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/0267257X.2015.1073170?journalCode=rjmm20">stigma against solo consumption</a>. Societal norms encourage us to be with someone – leisure experiences are billed as something to <a href="https://www.emerald.com/insight/content/doi/10.1108/IJCHM-06-2019-0584/full/pdf?title=dining-alone-improving-the-experience-of-solo-restaurant-goers">share with others</a>. There may also be a level of guilt or self-indulgence associated with solo travel, feeling as if you are shirking responsibility or abandoning time with family.</p> <p>An increase in <a href="https://www.euromonitor.com/article/single-person-households-to-record-128-percent-growth-by-2030">single-person households</a>, however, means the hospitality industry is now serving solo consumers in addition to families and couples. The continuously <a href="https://www.forbes.com/sites/adigaskell/2020/05/11/is-a-blurred-work-life-balance-the-new-normal/?sh=5c9db6341813">blurred line</a> between work and play, particularly for Millennials and younger generations, makes it easier to work remotely or travel as part of our jobs. We are more transient than ever, and have more opportunities to work and travel alone without feeling completely disconnected from the rest of our lives.</p> <p>In recent years, people have been <a href="https://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/comment/whats-behind-the-rise-in-solo-travel/">increasingly</a> travelling alone – including younger vacationers. They also share their experiences to a large audience on social media – the hashtag #SoloTravel has over 7 million posts associated with it on Instagram. Solo travellers are taking part in the growing <a href="https://www.futuresplatform.com/blog/solo-economy-new-consumption-patterns">solo economy</a> – new products and services targeting the lone consumer.</p> <p>Hotels, <a href="https://www.ncl.com/uk/en/freestyle-cruise/solo-cruising">cruises</a>, restaurants, tourism <a href="https://www.flashpack.com/">companies</a> and festivals are showing how design, staff and technology can be tailored to accommodate – and even encourage – solo consumption in travel. <a href="https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/14705931211017184">Our research</a> into the experience of solo consumers in coffee shops offers insight into how solo consumption can be as pleasurable and fulfilling as going with a partner or friend. Through <a href="https://www.research.ucsb.edu/sites/default/files/RD/docs/FREEWRITING-by-Peter-Elbow.pdf">freewriting</a> exercises, these consumers shared their own experiences. Their words offer some reasons you should try it too.</p> <h2>Be together, alone</h2> <p>Our research participants highlighted key factors that help them enjoy their solo experience – high seats and window views allowing them to sit back and observe others’ lives without any direct interaction or connection. You don’t need to arrive with others to feel part of a social environment. Alone in a crowded square or on a busy beach, the proximity of other people and their conversations can be a source of comfort, distraction or even entertainment.</p> <blockquote> <p>The seat is important -– I like the window especially a stool and “shelf” table facing out … I see people, imagine their lives, see cars and life pass by. I watch other customers, I watch the street out the window, the cliché of “watching the world pass by”. The setting, context and environment of the café are important to that moment of pause.</p> </blockquote> <h2>Take time for yourself</h2> <p>Being alone can be a <a href="https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/pdf/10.1177/14705931211017184">therapeutic experience</a>, a time to process thoughts, feelings and emotions and leave you ready to tackle the world again. Perhaps take time to write, draw or practice another creative activity in your own time. Bask in your own thoughts without feeling pressure to please anyone else or force a conversation.</p> <blockquote> <p>Sitting alone with my thoughts can be a comforting experience; picking a seat, getting comfy…I can find silence with my thoughts and don’t feel any pressure to act for anybody or involve myself in a conversation that doesn’t interest me.</p> </blockquote> <h2>Get out of your comfort zone</h2> <p>Being able to do your own thing, without needing to consider others can be relaxing and can also give you the opportunity to do something you’ve never done before, free of judgement. You might want to go to some sort of class, shop or have a complete chill-out day.</p> <p>Findings from our research indicate that time spent doing things alone can relieve some of the pressures that companions can bring. Alone time gives you the space to experience things in your own time and take in your surroundings without distraction. In doing this, you may find yourself in new situations, away from your comfort zone – an energising and enthralling experience.</p> <h2>Embrace solo traveller culture</h2> <p>Solo travellers have their <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0278431921002516">own way of doing things</a>, they have a shared behaviour and process and often become a collective in themselves. They acknowledge the process of travelling alone and respect others doing the same, and may even seek out spaces to be alone, together. Solo travellers can engage in a shared experience and dialogue while maintaining their own individualism – helping each other when needed, but also leave one another alone.</p> <blockquote> <p>We search for places where we feel we fit … We are happy to smile at one another. We don’t need to chat to engage. We are happy on our own with a coffee. I am amongst my tribe.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/184000/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> </blockquote> <p><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/claire-mccamley-446927"><em>Claire McCamley</em></a><em>, Senior Lecturer in marketing, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-huddersfield-1226">University of Huddersfield</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/why-you-should-travel-solo-this-summer-184000">original article</a>.</em></p>

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Longing for the ‘golden age’ of air travel? Be careful what you wish for

<p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/janet-bednarek-144872">Janet Bednarek</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-dayton-1726">University of Dayton</a></em></p> <p>Long lines at security checkpoints, tiny plastic cups of soda, small bags of pretzels, planes filled to capacity, fees attached to every amenity – all reflect the realities of 21st century commercial air travel. It’s no wonder that many travelers have become nostalgic for the so-called “golden age” of air travel in the United States.</p> <p>During the 1950s, airlines promoted commercial air travel as glamorous: stewardesses served full meals on real china, airline seats were large (and frequently empty) with ample leg-room, and passengers always dressed well.</p> <p>After jets were introduced in the late 1950s, passengers could travel to even the most distant locations at speeds unimaginable a mere decade before. An airline trip from New York to London that could take up to 15 hours in the early 1950s could be made in less than seven hours by the early 1960s.</p> <p>But airline nostalgia can be tricky, and “golden ages” are seldom as idyllic as they seem.</p> <p>Until the introduction of jets in 1958, most of the nation’s commercial planes were propeller-driven aircraft, like the DC-4. Most of these planes were unpressurized, and with a maximum cruising altitude of 10,000 to 12,000 feet, they were unable to fly over bad weather. Delays were frequent, turbulence common, and air sickness bags often needed.</p> <p>Some planes were spacious and pressurized: the <a href="http://everythingnice.org/wp-content/uploads/2009/07/PanAm-cutawayS.jpg">Boeing Stratocruiser</a>, for example, could seat 50 first class passengers or 81 coach passengers compared to the DC-3’s 21 passengers. It could cruise at 32,000 feet, which allowed Stratocruiser to fly above most bad weather it encountered. But only 56 of these planes were ever in service.</p> <p>While the later DC-6 and DC-7 were pressurized, they still flew much lower than the soon-to-appear jets – 20,000 feet compared to 30,000 feet – and often encountered turbulence. The piston engines were bulky, complex and difficult to maintain, which contributed to frequent delays.</p> <p>For much of this period, the old saying “Time to spare, go by air” still rang true.</p> <p>Through the 1930s and into the 1940s, almost everyone flew first class. Airlines did encourage more people to fly in the 1950s and 1960s by introducing coach or tourist fares, but the savings were relative: less expensive than first class, but still pricey. In 1955, for example, so-called “bargain fares” from New York to Paris were the equivalent of just over $2,600 in 2014 dollars. Although the advent of jets did result in lower fares, the cost was still out of reach of most Americans. The most likely frequent flier was a white, male businessman traveling on his company’s expense account, and in the 1960s, airlines – with young attractive stewardesses in short skirts – clearly catered to their most frequent flyers.</p> <p>The demographics of travelers did begin to shift during this period. More women, more young people, and retirees began to fly; still, airline travel remained financially out-of-reach for most.</p> <p>If it was a golden age, it only was for the very few.</p> <figure><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/bKqQgNZylLw?wmode=transparent&amp;start=0" width="440" height="260" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe><figcaption><span class="caption">Jet planes were introduced in the late 1950s, resulting in shorter flight times. But their ticket prices out of reach for the average traveler.</span></figcaption></figure> <p>People also forget that well into the 1960s, air travel was far more dangerous than it is today. In the 1950s and 1960s US airlines experienced at least a half dozen crashes per year – most leading to fatalities of all on board. People today may bemoan the crowded airplanes and lack of on-board amenities, but the number of fatalities per million miles flown has dropped dramatically since since the late 1970s, especially compared to the 1960s. Through at least the 1970s, airports even prominently featured kiosks selling flight insurance.</p> <p>And we can’t forget hijackings. By the mid-1960s so many airplanes had been hijacked that <a href="http://www.latinamericanstudies.org/hijackers/flying-high.htm">“Take me to Cuba”</a> became a punch line for stand-up comics. In 1971 <a href="http://nymag.com/news/features/39593/index2.html">D.B. Cooper</a> – a hijacker who parachuted from a Boeing 727 after extorting $200,000 – might have been able to achieve folk hero status. But one reason US airline passengers today (generally) tolerate security checkpoints is that they want some kind of assurance that their aircraft will remain safe.</p> <p>And if the previous examples don’t dull the sheen of air travel’s “golden age,” remember: in-flight smoking was both permitted and encouraged.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/34177/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/janet-bednarek-144872"><em>Janet Bednarek</em></a><em>, Professor of History, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-dayton-1726">University of Dayton</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images </em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/longing-for-the-golden-age-of-air-travel-be-careful-what-you-wish-for-34177">original article</a>.</em></p>

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