BOSTON — As guided group travel continues to soar in popularity, EF Go Ahead Tours (GAT), a premier provider of culturally immersive and education-based group tours, responds as the first operator to open bookings to all of its tour destinations through 2026. It is the largest and most diverse collection of itineraries to open 35 months in advance. By offering such generous lead time, travelers will realize incredible value by booking future travel at today’s prices. And for ultimate flexibility, EF Go Ahead offers a $99 down AutoPay with payments in manageable monthly installments, one of the few credit and interest-free payment plans in today’s economy.
2023 was an extraordinary year for guided group travel, with all indicators pointing to even stronger future demand through 2025. Based on sales in the last quarter, EF Go Ahead has seen bookings into late 2025 increase by almost 30% compared to 2024 bookings in the same time period last year. Lead time isn’t the only benefit at EF Go Ahead Tours. The company is also expanding its tour offerings in Asia, Africa, Latin America and Europe, focusing on less-traveled, expertly-vetted gems aimed at embedding travelers into local culture, gastronomy, and traditions.
“It’s not just where people want to go, it’s how they want to travel that defines the future of our industry,” says Heidi Durflinger, President, EF Go Ahead Tours. “People want connection and meaning, so they are choosing guided group travel for these transformative moments. By launching more departure dates than ever before to all of our destinations through 2026 (at 2024 prices), we are enabling travelers to plan for the experiences they desire at a tremendous value.”
EF Go Ahead data supports emerging trends for 2024 travel and beyond:
Travelers Are Going Guided for Planning-Intensive Destinations: Based on EF Go Ahead Tours’ recent (November 2023) bookings, trips to both Asia and Africa – two highly desired but not easily accessed destinations—were up 70% in sales compared to November 2022. Looking at the first half of 2024, Thailand and Japan departures are both up 57% compared to the same time in 2023, further underscoring travelers want to access these destinations in a guided group experience. Highlights of Southern Thailand: Bangkok, Phuket & Krabi and Highlights of Vietnam: Hanoi, Hạ Long Bay & Hô Chi Minh Cityare two new ways to see Asia through 2026.
More Meaningful, Deeper Dives into Culture, Food, and History are on the Rise: In the last few months, bookings for longer tours continue to see a big increase compared to the same time last year, with a 110% increase in tours lasting more than 16 days. Itineraries with a longer “Grand Tour” lens showcase the many advantages of modern group travel with 12+ days of travel. While these tours are increasingly popular in Asia, Grand Tour of Costa Rica: From the Caribbean to the Pacific is an exciting new itinerary that strikes the perfect balance of gastronomy and adventure and The Greek Ionian Islands: Kefalonia & Corfu with Nafplio & the Athens Riviera Extension offers an insider’s look at the less traveled parts of the Greek Isles.
More Opportunities to Connect Through Travel Drives Social Tourism & Solo Tours: The end of 2023 saw a soaring rate of 380% more solo travelers embarking on solo-only group tours than the previous fall. EF Go Ahead continues to strengthen its commitment to the “travel solo, but never alone” style bringing its unparalleled collection of solo-only tours up to 18 offerings in 2023.
“Peak Season” is Now All Seasons: While “hot” seasons like summer will always be popular in Europe, other seasons are growing at a rapid rate—even to destinations like Italy! “Shoulder Season” and off-season—Oct-April—offers less crowds and temperate weather with more access to local charm. In Oct-Dec. of 2023, EF Go Ahead Tours departed 30% more travelers to Italy than during the same period for 2022. Future shoulder season travel to other parts of the world like Asia, Australia, Latin America & Africa are also on the rise.
Value Oriented: All Reward, No Risk. Booking future trips with EF Go Ahead is a win-win. Travelers lock in today’s costs for future travel and through EF Go Ahead’sAutoPay, travelers benefit from one of the few credit and interest-free payment plans available in the current economy. Flexible, fee-free options allow changes to dates and destinations up to the Tour Finalization Date.
EF Go Ahead Tours offers more than 175 guided trips across six continents. Each carefully planned, expertly led tour makes it easy for curious travelers of all ages to get to the heart of a destination. With a maximum group size well below the industry average, each trip has the perfect balance of planned sightseeing and free time to explore. EF Go Ahead Tours is a part of EF Education First, the world’s largest international education company that was founded in 1965. With a mission of opening the world through education, EF Education First has 612 offices and schools in 50 countries.
Optimism is the keyword for the 2023 travel landscape as travelers embrace more distant experiences compared to 2022. Overseas Adventure Travel (O.A.T.), a leader in personalized small group and solo travel for Americans ages 50 and older, announced its top 4 travel trends for 2023.
“Travelers are showing a high level enthusiasm for life-changing adventures far from home, often on their own,” said Brian FitzGerald, Chief Executive Officer of O.A.T. “It’s a genuine priority for travelers to connect and engage with people from other cultures, and to find ways to give back to communities they visit.”
O.A.T. Top 4 Travel Themes for 2023:
1. Africa – Travel to Africa is seeing a resurgence. Botswana, Morocco, and Egypt top the list of popular 2023 trips at O.A.T. In 2022, travelers were more focused on Europe.
People who dream of visiting Africa — whether on safari on floating down the Nile — continue to make up for time lost due to the pandemic. These motivated travelers don’t want to put off visiting the continent any longer, and their sights are set on 2023.
2. Solos going strong – Women over 50, in particular, are heading out to see the world on their own. According to O.A.T., the number of solo travelers reserving for 2023 is up 24% compared to 2019. Overall, more than 60% of O.A.T. travelers are solos, and the majority are women.
“As a single traveler, you’re driving everything,” said O.A.T. solo traveler Muriel Forster. “That just gives you a great deal of flexibility. I overheard someone say, ‘a once in a lifetime experience.’ I thought, ‘I don’t want this to be once in a lifetime – I want this to be my lifetime!”
Solo travelers are drawn to trips with no single supplement, which can be hundreds or thousands of dollars. O.A.T. offers free single supplements on 92% of its single spaces in 2023.
3. Personalized travel – Travelers want the benefits of expert-led small group tours, but increasingly crave more than a one-size-fits all experience. 2023 will bring continued traveler demand to tailor trips with one’s individual preferences. For example, many travelers prefer to arrive early at a destination before a tour starts so they feel acclimated.
At O.A.T., 87% of travelers personalize their trips by arriving early, staying later, adding a stopover at a popular international city, or combining trips. By comparison, just 75% requested personalization in 2018.
4. Regenerative travel – The idea that tourism should leave a destination better than it was before is gaining ground globally. In a nutshell, regenerative travel improves local economies while preserving local cultures and biodiversity. It benefits local people and allows destinations to improve, all while providing authentic experiences to travelers.
O.A.T., through its Grand Circle Foundation, supports projects focused on water, conservation, and renewable energy in the areas to which the company travels. The Water, Sanitation, Hygiene (W.A.S.H.) initiative helps improve the well-being of local people. Access to safe water, adequate sanitation, and proper hygiene education reduces illness and death, and increases socio-economic development leading to a reduction in poverty. The Foundation supports alternative energy sources to reduce carbon emissions and dependency on fossil fuels. Some schools add solar panels as an alternate source of electricity and to reduce operating expenses. Solar lights from the Foundation replace kerosene, reducing illness from soot and smoke and enabling students to study at night, leading to a better education.
O.A.T. provides travelers over 50 with impactful, intercultural experiences that help change people’s lives. O.A.T. fosters an intimate and accessible experience, with groups limited to 16 travelers (average of 13) by land and 25 (average of 22) by sea.
Established in 1978, Overseas Adventure Travel (O.A.T.) is part of Boston-based Grand Circle Corporation’s family of travel companies, which also include Grand Circle Cruise Line and Grand Circle Travel. In 1992, owners Alan and Harriet Lewis established the nonprofit Grand Circle Foundation to support communities in which Grand Circle works and travels, including some 300 humanitarian, cultural, and educational endeavors worldwide—among them, 100 schools, in 50 countries. The Foundation is an entity of the Alnoba Lewis Family Foundation, which has pledged or donated more than $250 million since 1981.
After two long years of closed-down borders, quarantines, and restrictions, travel is coming back with a vengeance in the summer of 2022—if you can find a place to go that isn’t fully booked. Travelers trying to make plans for some of the most sought-after destinations, such as Italy, are finding limited flight options and no-vacancy hotels.
If you were dreaming of making a last-minute trip through the Italian countryside or to some other in-demand destination, don’t fret. The travel curators at travel planning company Origin have compiled a list of the five countries they recommend for a phenomenal holiday that isn’t totally overbooked.
Instead of Tuscany, try the Douro Valley, Portugal
If sipping on wine surrounded by rolling hills of vineyards sounds like your kind of vacation, look no further than the Douro Valley of northern Portugal. The namesake river weaves through the mountains, making this not only one of Europe’s best wine regions but also one of its most picturesque.
Instead of the Dolomites, explore the Vestland, Norway
Summertime in the mountains means cooler temperatures, hiking to panoramic viewpoints, and flowing rivers for taking a dip, and you’d be hard-pressed to find somewhere more breathtaking than Western Norway.
Instead of Rome, go for Rio
Get big city vibes but without high season crowds and scorching temperatures in Rio de Janeiro. The months of June, July, and August are the middle of winter in the Southern Hemisphere, but it never truly gets cold thanks to Brazil’s tropical climate and winter is also the dry season, so even laying out on the beach can be a part of your plan.
Instead of the Amalfi Coast, visit Costa del Sol, Spain
The Costa del Sol of southern Spain sets a high expectation with a name that translates to “Sunshine Coast,” although with about 320 days of sunny weather a year, it fits.
Instead of Sicily, travel to Crete
The stories of Greek mythology are tangible on Crete, where you can walk through the cave where Zeus was born or visit the ruins that housed the legendary Minotaur. Every beach is somehow more breathtaking than the last on over 600 miles of Mediterranean coastline but move inland and it becomes dramatic mountains and gorges.
Worried about the long lines at the airport?
Origin recommends traveling (super) light, keeping to carry-on only and if needed, we can help you ship your travel equipment or clothing to your next destination so you don’t have to worry about checking in or baggage drop. Booking with Origin this summer also means automatic VIP greeting on landing – meaning you’ll be greeted at the airplane door and assisted with customs by airport personnel via priority lanes, skipping the long lines altogether (this service depends on the destination).
How to Book a Journey with Origin
Download the Origin app (available on Apple Store), create a user profile and submit a trip request with your desired destination, itinerary, and preferred budget. An expert travel curator will then be in touch with you via the app’s chat to start planning your trip. Origin is a membership travel company that creates completely individual, personalized trips. Origin’s mission is to deepen the traveler’s experience through boundless personalization and unique connections. Origin uses the knowledge of human travel experts and then superpowers their trip curation with machine learning – all in one app.
After a COVID-enforced two-year hiatus, the Global Scavenger Hunt is back in 2022 – an around-the-world travel adventure to crown the “World’s Greatest Travelers.”
Unlike the Amazing Race (which was inspired by the Global Scavenger Hunt), The Global Scavenger Hunt isn’t a race, but rather a contest to amass the most points by doing scavenges designed to immerse you into local culture, heritage and environment of the places you visit.
In the course of 23 days, the teams of two travel to 10 countries, not knowing your next destination until your team is given instructions to get to the airport. You have to figure out how to get around without the benefit of GPS, smartphones or computer. Paper maps are allowed, but asking locals for directions is preferred.
Trusting strangers in strange lands is the shibboleth, as the intrepid travelers circle the globe (which is why you can’t use your own GPS or smartphone). The event has touched down in 85 countries to date.
“We’re thrilled about the growing momentum for travel and are feeling so positive and excited about it, that we have scheduled the takeoff dates for our Spring 2022 event: Wheels up April 22 thru May 14,” writes Event Director Bill Chalmers, who calls himself the “ringmaster.”
“Our last event in 2019 was fully subscribed, and we are currently reserving spots for our 2022 adventure while holding on to our 2019 price structure on all deposits made before December 10th this year.”
(Full disclosure: I was on the 2019 Global Scavenger Hunt.)
The event, which will be the 16th Global Scavengee Hunt, pits savvy international travelers against each other by taking them on A Blind Date with the World, visiting ten secret destinations without any prior preparation, and then have them unravel a constant blitz of highly authentic, participatory and challenging culturally-oriented scavenges along the way.
For example: meditating with monks, training elephants, taking flamenco lessons, cooking local dishes with local chefs, searching out Lost Cities, cracking sacred temple mysteries, joining in local celebrations and learning local languages enough to decipher their scavenger hunt clues.
The Global Scavenger Hunt is limited to a small group of world travelers. All travelers are interviewed for suitability and single travelers are welcome to apply (you will be paired up for a team).
For additional information visit GlobalScavengerHunt.com, or contact GreatEscape Adventures Inc., at +1.310.281.7809.
Black Friday travel deals are already underway at EF Go Ahead Tours. From October 26 to November 26, EF Go Ahead Tours, a leading provider of immersive, small group travel, is launching four weeks of discounted departures to every corner of the world. With up to $600 off — and some itineraries discounted by 20% or more — now is the ideal time to book a tour, as current bookings indicate 2022 will be a gangbusters year for international travel. The deals effectively mean 2022 and 2023 trips are available at discounted 2021 prices — the lowest they are likely to be — with experts who handle all the details and the complexities of traveling in the COVID-age taken care of for you.
Each week will have a theme with up to $600 per traveler/$1,200 off per couple on select itineraries:
Week 1: Oct. 26 to Nov. 4 Get first dibs on great deals around the world. Sign up to get Early Access to Black Friday deals with tours through 2023. In demand trips will sell out, so this is your chance to book early and save!
Week 2 Nov. 5-11: Save up to $600 per traveler/$1,200 per couple on Italy & Greece
Week 3: Nov. 12-18: Save up to $600/$1,200 per couple on UK & Ireland
Week 4: Nov. 19-25: Save up to $600/$1,200 per couple on Bucket List (Iceland, Egypt, Kenya, Costa Rica, Galapagos and more)
Black Friday: Nov. 26: “Special Lightning Deals!” with the best of what’s left!Plus up to $600 off on worldwide tours plus a doorbuster on Black Friday day!
*Specific itineraries per week available upon request
ALL MONTH LONG:
Each week EF will have a surprise “Lightning Deal” with an extra discount and incentive.
Solo within group travel is on the rise and EF Go Ahead Tours welcomes this travel style. Every week will include an extra $100 off for private rooms on top of the sales, which could equate to a free single room.
Only $99 down secures a spot when you enroll in AutoPay. Interest-free payments aren’t due until 60 days after booking. Book before November 30th and if you have to change plans, receive a refund of all money paid for that tour, including the deposit, through February 1, 2022. Change tour date or destination without a rebooking fee up until the Final Payment Date.
SANTA ROSA, USA –The 16th annual edition of The Global Scavenger Hunt, known among travel cognoscenti as the world travel championship, is set to take place over 23-days between April 17 and May 9, 2020, is now accepting applications for entry. Eager Indiana Jones-types of adventurers and curious travelers wanting to test their travel IQ against other travelers in an extraordinary around-the-world travel adventure competition that crowns The World’s Greatest Travelers, can apply at GlobalScavengerHunt.com.
“Competitions, trophies and titles provide inspiration,” says Event Director William Chalmers, “We want the best international travelers to participate. The 2020 event will find out if travel writers and bloggers know the world as well as they claim to; whether social media influencers and travel agents can go beyond their staged selfies and glossy brochures; and whether some of the world’s ‘most traveled people’ and Amazing Race wannabe’s actually have any real-world travel skills. Winning our event is the ultimate test and proof.”
The 2020 event will pit savvy international travelers against each other by taking them on A Blind Date with the World, visiting ten secret destinations without any prior preparation, and then have them unravel a constant blitz of highly authentic, participatory and challenging culturally-oriented scavenges along the way, like: meditating with monks, training elephants, taking flamenco lessons, cooking local dishes with local chefs, searching out Lost Cities, cracking sacred temple mysteries, joining in local celebrations, and learning local languages enough to decipher their scavenger hunt clues. Trusting strangers in strange lands will be their focus as they circle the globe for three weeks. The event has touched foot in 85 countries to date.
The title of The World’s Greatest Travelers and free trip around the world to defend their titles in the 2021 event await the travelers worthy enough to win the 16th edition of the world travel championship.
Event participation is open but limited; the $25,000 per team entry fee includes all international airfare, First Class hotels, 40% of meals, and special event travel gear. All travelers are interviewed for suitability and single travelers are welcome to apply. For additional information please visit GlobalScavengerHunt.com, or contact GreatEscape Adventures Inc., at +1.310.281.7809. (CST#2071053-40)
Where are the best places in the world in 2017 for Americans to live better, reinvent their life and have a grand adventure? That’s the basis for the new Live and Invest Overseas’ ranking of the “Top 10 Best Places to Live Overseas in 2017”. The list includes locales in traditional places like Portugal, France and Spain, as well as places one might not expect, including the Dominican Republic, Malaysian Borneo, Nicaragua, and Colombia.
“Our best places to live overseas list is part of a new series of New Year rankings that the editors of Live and Invest Overseas have put together,” said Kathleen Peddicord, author and publisher of Live and Invest Overseas, a leading resource on investment, real estate, retirement, and living overseas today. “For this list, we asked ourselves where are the best places in the world to live better, reinvent one’s life, and have a grand adventure in 2017?”
The list includes locales in traditional places like Portugal, France, and Spain, as well as places one would not expect, including the Dominican Republic, Malaysian Borneo, Nicaragua, and Colombia (and Kathleen adds a “bonus”: Paris).
Here are Kathleen’s recommendations:
1) Carvoeiro, Algarve, Portugal
Portugal is the best-kept secret of Old World Europe. For three years running, we have named its Algarve coast as the world’s best place to retire overseas.
Coastal Carvoeiro, in particular, qualifies as perhaps the most appealing place on earth to call home if you want to live on the water in a real-world (as opposed to a developing-world) setting.
The take-your-breath-away views from Carvoeiro’s rocky coast, the constant sunshine, the near-perfect weather year-round, the food, the wine, the history… it all adds up to top-shelf of living yours for a very bargain price.
Thanks to the current down value of the euro, the enviable coastal Continental lifestyle on offer in Carvoeiro is further reduced… and the cost of a very rentable home or condo is irresistibly discounted.
2) El Poblado, Colombia
Escobar’s dead and the city he and his goons once terrorized is today at peace.
Located in one corner of Medellín, El Poblado offers a comfortable, tranquil, idyllic way of life for a super affordable cost. At the current exchange rate between the U.S. dollar and the Colombian peso, the luxury-level cosmopolitan lifestyle available in El Poblado is an even greater bargain.
Medellín is culture rich and Euro chic; its people well dressed, well mannered, and welcoming. Medellín’s heart, El Poblado, is our #1 pick for city living on a budget.
3) Las Terrenas, Dominican Republic
Las Terrenas is quintessential Caribbean with a French twist. The big and established community of French expats living in this white-sand beach town means fresh baguette, great restaurants, and kisses on both cheeks in greeting.
Infrastructure is improving, establishing residency is easy, and the cost of living is one of the great bargains of today’s Caribbean… making Las Terrenas our #1 pick for a new life with a Caribbean Sea view.
4) Santa Familia, Belize
If you want to leave the troubles and the worries of our age behind, little Santa Familia village in Cayo, Belize, is calling your name. Life in Cayo is back to basics, simple, and sweet. You know your neighbors, they know you, and you all look out for each other.
Belize’s Cayo is a region of wide-open spaces, fresh air, warm sun and fertile land, making it our pick for the world’s best place to disconnect and unplug.
5) Pau, France
France is a country of superlatives. World’s best quality of life… best health care… best food… best art and fashion… most beautiful, most romantic city (more on this in a moment)…
To many, la vie française is the good life defined, and the charms and appeals of French Country Life are unrivalled. In this context, we suggest you consider Pau, also known as the “Green City” and the “Garden City,” thanks to its ratio of greenery per square meter per person, one of the highest of any European city.
Pau’s landscape is accessible woodlands, the steep slopes of Jurançon wine country, the history-packed Plaine de Nay and its main town of Nay and the pretty rolling countryside and ancient towns of the Gaves de Béarn.
Pau is also a university town, with close to 12,000 university students living on and off campus, helping to keep it lively.
Brits and other North Europeans have been seeking out this part of France for retirement for years. This is a very friendly bunch of people with a wide range of backgrounds and interests always ready to welcome newcomers.
6) Chiang Mai, Thailand
Since the 1800s, the Thai city of Chiang Mai has been luring expats from the West with its über-low cost of living, great weather (especially compared with elsewhere in Thailand), rich history and distinct culture.
The heart of Chiang Mai lies within its old city walls where ancient and modern Buddhist temples coexist with public and international schools, residential and commercial neighborhoods.
Modern Chiang Mai has grown beyond the ancient walls and offers mega-malls, huge multi-national grocery and department stores, and all other trappings of life in the 21st century.
The biggest advantage to life in Chiang Mai is its cost in general and of health care in particular. A couple can live here comfortably on as little as US$1,100 per month, and you can see an English-speaking doctor for US$20.
7) Playa del Carmen, Mexico
Playa del Carmen is a little beach town that sits about an hour south of Cancún on Mexico’s Riviera Maya. Once a sleepy fishing town, the port was inadvertently put on the map by Jacques Cousteau in 1954 when he filmed an underwater documentary of the Great Mayan Reef just offshore.
Divers began seeking out these Caribbean waters for themselves, and in the 1970s a port was built to ferry the tourists from the mainland to Cozumel.
Today Playa is home to more than 10,000 foreigners, including Europeans, Americans, Canadians, Argentinians, Venezuelans and many other nationals of all ages including 20- and 30-somethings, young families and retired couples.
Playa is also a welcoming destination for the LGBT community.
8) Barcelona, Spain
Barcelona, in the northeast of Spain on the Mediterranean Sea, is a vibrant, colorful, proud city that combines the passion of the Spanish with the efficiency and organization of the Catalans.
This is a city with a strong energy that has not been dampened by Spain’s ongoing economic woes and the economic, cultural, and administrative capital of Catalonia.
Spain’s second-biggest city is easily and quickly explored thanks to its compact, well-laid-out design… and the opportunities for diversion, entertainment, and discovery are many. Art and architecture from pre-Roman to Modernista is around every corner. This is a city of galleries, museums, monuments, theaters, restaurants and shopping… with the beach just right there.
9) Granada, Nicaragua
Nicaragua is a beautiful country with a troubled history that appeals to the romantic, the poet, the eco-traveler, the surfer (the break off Nicaragua’s Pacific coast is world-class) and the bargain hunter. The cost of living, of real estate and of everything else is a steal.
Geographically, Nicaragua is blessed, with two long coastlines and two big lakes, plus volcanoes, highlands, rain forest and rivers. In this regard, it’s got everything Costa Rica’s got, all less discovered, less developed and less expensive.
Architecturally, too, Nicaragua is notable. Colonial Granada is its architectural jewel. This city, one of the oldest in Latin America, is also busier and livelier today than at any other time during its near five centuries of history, attracting tourists and expats in record numbers.
When you see it, you understand why. The setting for this colonial town is like out of a fairy tale—the lake, the volcano, the mountains. At night, the backdrop is an ink-streaked sky that, just before the sun sets, illuminates the yellow and white cathedrals in ways that would have inspired Matisse to set up his easel.
10) Kota Kinabalu, Malaysian Borneo
This laid-back and quiet city is one of the most pleasant places to live in Asia and is incredibly welcoming. Its biggest practical advantages are the low cost of living and the high standard (and low cost) of health care. A couple could live well here on US$1,200 a month or less.
The city is small and walkable, less than 3 kilometers from end-to-end. Life revolves around the water and is lived out-of-doors. At home, you can fill your days snorkeling, diving, boating and ferry hopping from the city center to neighboring islands.
This is a little-known, low-key, low-population destination offering a tranquil, serene, close-to-nature lifestyle at a cost that’s a global bargain.
Bonus from Kathleen: Paris, France
“I would argue that no list of world’s most appealing places to spend time is complete if it doesn’t include Paris. This is as true as we turn the corner into 2017 as it has been since people first compiled world’s best lists.
“Life in Paris can be as good as life gets anywhere. I figure you know that.
“What you may not realize is that the cost of living in Paris can be manageable.
“About a month before our move from France to Panama, my husband Lief presented me with a budget showing that our cost of living in Panama City would be more or less on par with what it had been in Paris.
“I suggested that Lief, an accountant by training, double-check his figures.
“But Lief was right. Our day-to-day costs have averaged out to be the same in the Hub of the Americas as they were in the City of Light.
“Paris is a place where even a modest lifestyle can feel rich and where some of the greatest pleasures—strolls along the Seine, picnics in the Luxembourg Gardens—come free.
“Paris is also a city where a car is an unnecessary liability. We lived four years in Paris happily auto-free. We walked everywhere. The butcher, the baker, the grocer, the wine shop and our son’s school were all less than 15 minutes from our apartment, as were (are) the Tuileries Gardens, the Louvre, the Latin Quarter, six movie theaters and at least a dozen cafes and restaurants.
“When we wanted to venture beyond our quartier we took the Metro. For 1 euro 90 cents you can get from anywhere to anywhere in this city you might want to go.
“Other things in Paris can be cheap, too, including necessaries of modern living like cable, telephone and Internet. You can get a phone plan in France that includes unlimited calls to anywhere in Europe, North America, and the Caribbean plus cable TV and wireless internet and cable for 45 euros monthly.
“These thoughts are on my mind as we move into 2017 because this summer Lief and I will be repositioning our home base from Panama City back to Paris.
“If you could live anywhere in the world, where would you go? For me the answer to that question has always been Paris,” Kathleen writes.
Other lists in the 2017 New Year Overseas series are “The Best Places to Buy Real Estate,” “The Best Places to Go Offshore” (for taxes, banking, asset protection, second passports, etc.), and “The Best Places to Start a Business.” Every July, Live and Invest Overseas publishes its annual Retire Overseas Index.
Based in Panama City, Panama, LIOS is the leading resource for people who want to live, retire, and invest overseas. Headed by KathleenPeddicord and Lief Simon – who collectively have more than 50 years’ experience visiting, living, and investing in foreign countries – LIOS and its free e-letter service the Overseas Opportunity Letter have more than 500,000 regular readers.
MIAMI, FL – As a travel insurance company, APRIL Travel Protection may not take sides in partisan conflicts, but it cannot ignore the harsh realities of the world as it strives to keep Americans safe when traveling domestically and abroad. APRIL has compiled a checklist of simple precautions travelers should keep top-of-mind when on vacation.
“It is imperative that travelers are educated on how to remain safe when vacationing in a world that is becoming increasingly volatile,” said Jason Schreier, CEO of APRIL USA.
Reports of hate crimes on the rise throughout the U.S. and a new State Department advisory warning against European travel are unlikely to deter Americans from vacationing. Traditionally, travel agents look out for their clients’ best interests, ensuring they are properly informed and adequately protected. This is one of the many reasons APRIL recommends using a trusted travel counselor.
“Travel agents are often the vacationer’s first line of defense, playing a crucial role in keeping clients safe,” noted Schreier.
“It’s not our role to influence or pass judgment on the political process in America, but regardless of personal opinions on Trump’s presidency, travel counselors recall the anti-American sentiments prevalent during the George W. Bush administration. They are therefore cognizant of shifting perceptions of Americans internationally,” explained Schreier. “Likewise, travel agents assisting members of the LGTB community will advise clients on the dangers they may face in destinations where intolerance is commonplace, often steering them away from potentially dangerous areas in favor of destinations which are more welcoming.”
Vacationing is a staple of American society and one of the primary ways Americans enrich themselves culturally. World events should not deter one from traveling, but vacationers need to be aware of their vulnerabilities and protect themselves accordingly.
Purchasing a comprehensive travel protection policy is the best way to protect one’s vacation investment. Following are a few additional common-sense precautions of which travelers should be mindful when visiting less familiar destinations:
Be aware of your surroundings. This may seem like a no-brainer, but in many cities, travelers average 10 pedestrian miles or more per day as they take in all the sights and sounds of their destination. It’s easy to get distracted and wander off-course. Many travelers actively leave the beaten path in search of more authentic cultural experiences, while some are lured outside of established tourist zones by nightlife or bargain shopping districts. Knowing which areas are safe is crucial. Most Americans know which areas to avoid in their own cities, but many take their safety for granted when traveling in distant locales. Identifying safe zones and staying within those boundaries should be a top priority. Travel agents and hotel staff can be a valuable resource in this regard.
Carry a working mobile phone. Global cellular coverage is a lot better than it used to be 10 years ago. And while roaming charges vary based on carrier, U.S. cell phones will generally operate throughout most of North America as well as many overseas destinations. For travelers who anticipate significant usage, a pre-paid phone or SIM card-or a supplemental talk, text and data plan on their existing phone-may prove prudent, but at a minimum, travelers should carry a working mobile phone at all times. The temptation to disconnect when on vacation may be strong, but operational pay phones are increasingly difficult to find in the case of an emergency.
Ask your hotel concierge to arrange a taxi. In most American cities, the taxi and livery industry is tightly regulated. This is not always the case internationally. When traveling in a region where taxi oversight may be lax, a hotel concierge can recommend a reputable company. If a return trip is anticipated, get a card from the driver and use the same taxi company for the ride back to the hotel.
Travel in groups. Travel packages are often priced based on double occupancy accommodations, but a single occupancy surcharge is particularly common in the mature market. But while FIT or independent travel may be the dominant trend these days, depending on one’s destination, solo vacationers may be wise to consider an escorted tour package. Even for traveling duos, the temptation to split up to pursue individual interests is natural. The husband’s going to impose limits on shopping for shoes and accessories, while spending hours at the pub is bound to try the wife’s patience. There may be instances when it becomes necessary to divide and conquer. In these moments, stick to heavily populated public areas. Statistically, criminals are more likely to prey on individuals than groups.
Let it go. As Americans, we often engage our freedom to speak out against racism, religious intolerance and discrimination. And while one shouldn’t turn a blind eye when observing a crime, if one is the target of a racial slur or other form of discrimination, knowing when to take a stand and when to walk away is vital. When traveling in an unfamiliar environment, a “cooler heads” mindset can help avoid unnecessary conflict escalation.
Observing common-sense precautions can help reduce the likelihood of an incident during one’s vacation, but even the most mindful traveler can be inconvenienced or worse through no fault of their own. In these cases, a comprehensive travel insurance policy can help mitigate the impact of such an occurrence on one’s vacation.
‘Stress Less’ Benefits
APRIL stands out in the marketplace by offering clear and easy-to-understand agreements that make sense for today’s traveler. Additionally, all policies sold by APRIL and its partners feature “instant adjudication” through its signature ‘Stress Less’ Benefits – a ground-breaking feature which allows policyholders to enjoy their vacation without having to worry about out-of-pocket expenses in an emergency caused by severe weather, natural disasters or a wide range of potential issues including injury, sickness, death, job loss or relocation, military duty, terrorism, strikes, supplier default and more.
As the first insurance company to provide this progressive benefit to U.S. policyholders, APRIL offers instant adjudication for applicable inconveniences that can’t be predicted in advance, including emergency medical coverage up to $250,000 (with no deductible), trip interruption covering up to 150% of your trip’s cost, and evacuation benefits up to $500,000. Cancellations are eligible for reimbursement of 100% of their trip costs.
“This means you don’t have to pay out of pocket, endure a ton of paperwork and then wait months to find out how much your policy will actually cover,” explained Schreier.
At the core of APRIL’s efforts to communicate with policyholders is its pro-active approach to keeping up travelers’ evolving needs. A multi-lingual team and 24/7 toll-free access is available from most destinations along with other convenient support channels from Skype to texting, email and live chat. APRIL is the first company to pioneer these support methods for American travelers.
APRIL Travel Protection is owned by APRIL, an international group with 45 operational companies in more than 40 different countries, serving more than six million policyholders worldwide. APRIL is listed on Euronext Stock Exchange and has yearly sales of more than $1.1 billion.
The company’s U.S. division is supported by American Modern Insurance Group (an AM Best A+ rated carrier) as its preferred underwriter and is headquartered at 11900 Biscayne Blvd. Suite 600, Miami, FL, 33181.
(NOV 20, 2016)–– President Barack Obama shared his thoughts on the important role travel plays and his hopes for the future of the planet with Lonely Planet’s travelers on lonelyplanet.com, during his final foreign trip as President.
President Obama offered to share his thoughts with Lonely Planet on how interacting with people and cultures from different countries is essential for the world’s future. In an exclusive article written, he describes how travel is fundamental to progress and essential to overcome challenges across borders.
The President traveled extensively during his eight years in office, becoming the first sitting US president to visit Cambodia, Ethiopia, Kenya, Laos and Myanmar. He also paid homage at Hiroshima, Japan, and visited Vietnam. Recognizing the value of travel in cultivating face-to-face interactions, he also lifted the more than 50-year ban on US travel to Cuba.
Since the publication of its first guidebook in 1973, Lonely Planet has always believed responsible travel can be a force for good, and continues to today as the world travels with Lonely Planet content on mobile, web and in print. It’s a belief shared by President Barack Obama, detailed in his exclusive article on lonelyplanet.com, highlighting how the optimistic, tolerant and engaged young people he has met around the world give him hope for the future.
A key takeaway from his extensive travels as President is the importance of engaging beyond governments, and connecting with young people – who will determine the future of the planet – in a meaningful way. This is particularly crucial for the future of the developing world, where 90 percent of the global population under 30 lives.
“It is the world’s young people who will determine whether their voices direct the change that is sweeping our world towards greater justice, opportunity, tolerance, and mutual respect,” President Obama stated.
President Obama shared the plans he has put in place to support the empowerment of young global citizens prior to hosting a town hall meeting with young people in Peru.
For more information and to read President Barack Obama’s first person article, visit lonelyplanet.com.
Obama Administration Paves Path for Students, Millennials to Travel
Throughout his presidency, Obama has appreciated the importance of travel to bring people together, forge better understanding. Travelers become ambassadors for America and also bring back to the US appreciation for other cultures and people. The opportunity to travel abroad is particularly important for young people, and the Obama Administration has also facilitated opportunities for students and millennials to study, volunteer, work and travel abroad.
In December 2014, the National Security Council hosted a summit with 100 of the most influential travel bloggers and digital media outlets to highlight U.S. Government initiatives and discuss strategies for encouraging American students to study, volunteer, and work abroad. The summit emphasized that international education and exposure are increasingly essential for the competitiveness of American companies and the American workforce, yet fewer than ten percent of students in the United States choose to study abroad.
By transforming interest in travel into study, volunteer, and work opportunities, the Administration sought to significantly increase the number and diversity of young people participating in educational, cultural, and professional experiences internationally.
Studying abroad is a critical component to deepening and broadening relationships with citizens overseas. Today, fewer than 10% of students take part in study abroad. In 2012 to 2013, the total number of U.S. students taking part in study abroad was under 300,000 — only 1.5 percent of the almost 20 million American students enrolled in U.S. higher education programs.
To combat these trends, the State Department’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs created the U.S. Study Abroad Office. This office manages the Department’s study abroad scholarships and capacity building programs for American students and institutions, as well as plays a leading role in promoting the benefits of study abroad to U.S. students and parents, faculty, and education administrators. It provides resources that can help interested U.S. students navigate a complex process to study or intern abroad by offering scholarships, recommendations, and guidelines.
The summit also featured remarks, presentations, and panels of experts on current efforts around studying, volunteering, and working abroad. Experts from National Geographic, iHeartMedia, Institute for International Education, George Mason University, Millennial Trains Project, Minerva Project, Travel Channel, and Yahoo Travel shared their ideas for increasing students’ international interest.