Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Another glass of half full blog: Forecast for your 2019 travel

NOTE:     This blog has no ads and I'm not beholden to hotels, cruise lines, tour companies or airlines, and that's why I can offer my readers the truth about all of the above + offer the many ways to enjoy comfort traveling for less

   I’ve been hedging about whether or not to write this end of 2018 year blog, I am uncertain about making any predictions, and I hate to mislead, nor do I want to pervert my stated purpose of less $ comfortable travel.
    Unfortunately, the news that I am permitted to read in the USA which is slanted towards a glass half full, views that the whole world is in disorder, and all more so here in the USA.
    Oddly, there are no “yellow jackets” protesting and burning the elite compounds in major USA cities, nor are people sleeping in the streets, except in “sanctuary cities” in the states of California, Washington, and New York, since there are no housing projects in those cities located in the states I mentioned made available for the influx of illegal refugees from economic disasters worldwide, who come to these USA sanctuaries to work for less than the prevailing wage mostly off the books, which politicians like the most.
    Even the poor undocumented aren’t complaining, they believe they will eventually have the vote when they bring their children into the world, and if they don’t yet legally have the vote in some of their sanctuaries, they get to use the “honor” system, but they “honor” their need and accept in kind contributions for aiding the candidates who love them.

    Forgive me, I’ve vented my frustration, moreover, I’ve digressed insofar as less $ comfortable travel, the USA is dull and boring as I find  it at the end of 2018.
    With only “themed” boutique Inns catering to those financially full of pension cash, and those who are employed at cash levels bordering on less work for more money than ever before, there is no more “real” town, only those that survive as “must see” places are staged and $$$ trove craft heavy for what used to be “homemade” by mother stuff.

    Now for overseas travel, there is the usual Australia, and New Zealand where women reign and govern with babies on their hip, Hong Kong and Taipei, if their host country, China, is in a good mood.
    Again, these are 2019 destination $$$ heavy for comfortable travel, but available to the pension retiree who is quickly moving toward their bucket, even while they eat their way to a medical intervention, that will postpone the consequences for over eating to fill up and to take advantage of what they missed when they were young, by working for little government pay—in those gratefully gone years when government employment wasn’t looked upon as a great job.

    And that leaves the new Communist free now Western nations composed of the more as the USA press labels “extreme right wing” where less $$$ comfortable travel is in effect, and good law and order destinations if you aren’t worried about the “right wing” leaning governments that the USA press say are bad places.
    The parts of Italy that lay far south into Sicily are yet good for my stated blog purpose of less $$$ comfortable travel, but keep away from the islands that are overpriced aimed at the pension cash crowd bourgeoisie worldwide, good for this blog's stated purpose most definitely the Austrian and “far right” wing nations that the USA media may define as less than free to European union dictum, like the city of Trieste, where people from warring nations meet and speak without rancor as they enjoy the beauty of a tranquil seaside and the best food ever.

    I’d stay away from France and Germany.
   Stay away from all the destinations that are experiencing the consequences of unbridled immigration from warring nations in the Mideast, whose people have fled to bring their political divisions and opinions to the lands that granted them refuge, but they can’t experience tranquility until they explode their anger toward destruction of a few persons here and there, who were part of the welcome mat that is now dirty with the rage.

    Is there any place left where travel in 2019 is happy, worry-free and less $$$ for comfortable travel?

    I don’t know about you, but I’m still going back to Trieste, it's where my $$$ go far and when I’m there I am expecting to tranquilly contemplate my next sea view, and my trip to the market to buy the best for my dining table—even this has a negative, there isn’t an easy way to get there without driving from Venice, or from one of the so-called “right wing” lands, or the 2 flights necessary, leaving from Rome not always plane gate friendly, and then with a 4-staircase long down to airport arrival, if you are carrying luggage, it’s necessary to start flexing muscles and do weight training in lieu of a wheelchair that gets to go into the arrivals area directly.    

    Please accept my apologies for this inglorious travel forecast, I can only wish you, whoever you are, wherever you are, a better 2019 than  I can travel forecast in this end of 2018 blog post, but I warned you, this another half full glass blog to end 2018..

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Apartments managed by hotels

NOTE:     This blog has no ads and I'm not beholden to hotels, cruise lines, tour companies or airlines, and that's why I can offer my readers the truth about all of the above + offer the many ways to enjoy comfort traveling for less

   The latest trend for small hotel groups in Italy as well as some other countries are the advent of apartment suites with hotel services to include half board that allows for the best of all worlds with a full English breakfast included available at the hotel—cook in for lunch and eat dinner at the hotel, or cook your own dinner.  
   Anyone who travels to a destination and uses that destination as a base to travel out of or to stay and explore must enjoy the pleasure of renting a suite apartment managed by a hotel that offers hotel services.
   The apartment suite should be either in the hotel or just steps away in another building
   Renting an apartment in preference to a hotel when traveling to a particular destination is one that encouraged me to write my first informational travel book NO MORE HOTELS IN PARIS: How To Rent An Apartment, a copy of which is in libraries worldwide (WorldCat.org), and my book is also in permanent collection of The Library of Congress.
   Yet in the 21st century the destination apartment rental business has been taken over by startups like FlipKey and others, in addition to travel sites like TripAdvisor or Expedia, not to the best alternative as it once was in the year 2000 when my first NO MORE HOTELS Paris destination book was published.

   A word of advice, now renting an apartment in a travel destination is fraught with problems, but if you do go with a company that rents suites apartments, and you check with the tourism agency at your destination, then ask the company if it is affiliated with a hotel group, you have a better chance of resolving any problems when you find what you rented is not what you expected, especially if you don't pay for the entire stay in advance.
   The best thing to do is to negotiate a partial payment in advance, and pay a little bit extra if necessary, then do put your advance on a credit card, not a debit card.
   What happens if you do the due diligence and you get there but find you can't stay?
   First hand, I found that out this year when I visited Trieste Italy for 10 days, but when dealing with reputable companies it is possible to resolve your dispute amicably.
   I did, since my rental problem was like a business arrangement gone awry—treat the manager with respect, and he or she will be willing to negotiate a settlement.
   In my case, it was in season in Trieste, but the  manager was Italian and he suggested an Italian 4 star hotel that did not offer discounts to hotel booking websites.
   The hotel was within blocks away owned by a small Italian hotel group that offered half board at a great rate.
   When I inquired as to why the hotel didn't use the  usual hotel booking sites, the manager said that they were always full and known to Italian and European tour operators.
   The suites  manager called the hotel and they had a room available a day before the 5-days I had paid for in advance.
   I accepted it and the suites manager agreed not to charge me the tourism tax to make up for the extra day I would lose.

   See a picture of me at the hotel below, and I am smiling.
   All because I found my perfect solution to my next year's stay in Trieste—the Continental Hotel has suite apartments just across the street, Palaces Suites, offering me the best of both worlds, either half board, or the free English breakfast included in the very reasonable rate.
My stay in 2017 at the  posh Trieste Savioa Excelsior Hotel in a beautiful apartment suite with balcony overlooking the sea and with hotel services, plus full English breakfast was 2 times more expensive and they didn't offer a half board rate.

Sunday, March 4, 2018

Is there a travel destination utopia?

NOTE:     This blog has no ads and I'm not beholden to hotels, cruise lines, tour companies or airlines, and that's why I can offer my readers the truth about all of the above + offer the many ways to enjoy comfort traveling for less

For me, there isn’t a travel destination utopia
   But I have fond memories about the first European vacation I took.
   Against the advice of a veteran travel agent who told me to concentrate on one country, stay in the main city and take day trips, I opted for an on the road vacation.
   For the 2 weeks of my vacation I traveled through 5 countries, flew into London, stayed overnight and traveled to Paris. 
   In Paris I rented a car and from there traveled to Switzerland, into Italy over the mountains and via the road along the Mediterranean through Monaco into the south of France, back to Paris for an overnight then home to the USA.

   There are well known travel sites that tout lists of the top travel destinations, like Lonely Planet, for instance lists the top for 2018.

   Yet I believe that the travel destination utopia is one we fantasize about.
   Perhaps the best destination are many, it depends on what you want for the time off that you have to focus on the day by day and moment to moment challenge of being away from home wherever that is.
   The prime utopia travel destination can be just getting away from the everyday monotony of working, coming home, eating dinner, and getting ready to go to work again.
   Just waiting for a real vacation from your day to day existence will bring you toward your travel destination utopia,  whether you’ll find your utopia destination is up to the travel gods.
   Good luck!