Here’s the thing: Living the American Dream is expensive.
If your income is unpredictable or fixed, as it is for self-employed and retired Americans like my husband Hank and me, the financial weight of home ownership and a rising cost-of-living can feel overwhelming and render travel an unaffordable luxury you once enjoyed.
I asked my 22-year-old niece, just back from summer travels in Europe, to give us the inside scoop on hosteling. Learn her list of myth-busting tips and packing must-haves.
AN INSIDER’S GUIDE TO HOSTELING
by Madeleine Clute
My first foray into hosteling was at the end of high school when some friends and I took a road trip to Quebec, Canada, and it’s been my preferred method of seeing new places since. Most recently, my friend Elizabeth and I traveled on students’ budgets for 30-days in Europe, spanning 10 cities and 8 countries, primarily staying in hostels.
Here’s the truth: The food is GREAT in Britain. Long gone are the days of bland cuisine and mushy peas.
On my last visit I enjoyed fresh, organic produce at local farmers’ markets, dined in cosy gastropubs and globally recognized restaurants and discovered a vibrant scene of fantastic street food. But with recent dollar-to-pound exchange rates it’s not a cheap place to eat.
TOURISM AUTHORITY OF THAILAND ANNOUNCES THE LAUNCH OF WWW.THAILANDFASTDEALS.COM
New Flash Deals Site to Feature Exclusive Last-minute Deals to the Land of Smiles
The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) has announced the launch of ThailandFastDeals.com, a new dedicated flash deals site showcasing last-minute offerings from the destination. Created to allow tour operators, hoteliers and wholesalers to promote their unique Thailand offers, the site will give consumers access to travel packages and activities at a discount in Bangkok, Phuket, Chiang Mai and beyond.
Thailand Fast Deals include special hotel, flight, tour packages and other perks made available to the TAT by trusted industry partners. Curated directly by TAT to ensure quality and value, offers are priced specially for the site and are available for a limited time only.
DID YOU KNOW? Lifetime passes to America’s national parks for senior citizens and Americans with disabilities are now available through the mail.
The Senior and Access passes provide admission to, and use of, federal recreation sites that charge entrance or standard amenity fees. Pass users also receive a 50% discount on some amenity fees for activities like camping and launching a boat. They are available to citizens and permanent residents of the United States age 62 or more or who have permanent disabilities regardless of age.
The “Senior” and “Access” versions of the America the Beautiful Pass – the National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Pass – are good for a lifetime. The Access pass is free and the Senior pass is just $10. There is a $10 processing fee to receive either pass by the mail.
To get your Senior pass through the mail just submit a completed application, proof of residency and age, and $20. The fee covers the cost of the pass and a document processing fee. You can print out an application at this web site: http://store.usgs.gov/pass/index.html. Once the application package is received and the documentation verified, the pass will be mailed to you.
When kids go back to school, many adult travelers head to U.S. national parks. Depending on the location, the parks are visited by fewer people during the fall months, and temperatures are typically moderate. No matter where you go, however, there are plenty of appealing activities, as well as lodging choices for every budget.
Here are three examples of autumn-season national park adventures:
Death Valley National Park, California. Unlike most national parks, fall is just the beginning of the park’s peak season. Concessioner Xanterra Parks & Resorts operates the luxurious, 66-room Inn at Furnace Creek, which opens its doors for the season in mid-October. Xanterra also operates the year-round Ranch at Furnace Creek. The resort features three restaurants, lounge, gift stores, golf course, swimming pools and more. Activities in Death Valley include golfing at the world’s lowest golf course, horseback riding, Jeep tours, bicycling, tours of historic Scotty’s Castle, hiking and touring by car.