Why Europe This Summer?


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May 5th 2022
Published: May 6th 2022
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From TravelPulse: Europe is reemerging as a favorite destination among Americans in 2022 as recent data from Allianz Partners found that travel to the continent from the U.S. could climb by as much as 600 percent from last year. What's more, roughly three-quarters of Americans venturing to Europe will spend at least seven days traveling. In my case, 3 weeks.
A new survey of 1,000 American adults conducted for Hilton by Wakefield Research found that more than half of pet owners (55 percent) are planning to travel with their furry friends this summer. Interestingly, 58 percent indicated that they would prefer to travel with their pet rather than a friend or family member. This would include taking Lexi to the coast this summer.

That same Hilton survey conducted by Wakefield Research found that almost all travelers (98 percent) are prioritizing wellness activities or wellness-centric travel in 2022. Wellness can come in many forms, however. The study shows that many Americans feel mentally refreshed on vacation after connecting with the local culture (41 percent) or simply shutting their phone off to unplug (33 percent). Women are more likely to prioritize reconnecting with family and friends (46 percent) while men are likely to focus on healthy eating (34 percent), the study also found. If I can't take my bicycle, I try alternatives, like hiking, the gym, or ??

According to that same survey, 85 percent of American adults are in agreement that booking at an all-inclusive resort is the best way to reduce the stress of planning travel. Plus, more than one-third (37 percent) of respondents said that they feel mentally refreshed on vacation when they don’t have to worry about leaving their resort during their stay. All-inclusive resorts are booming. I am not a big all inclusive guy, but as I get older, I certainly understand the convenience.

More and more travelers are prioritizing sustainability as the years pass by. The Vacationer recently polled more than 1,000 American adults and found that 87.32 percent agree that sustainable travel is important. What's more, more than four-fifths of U.S. adults 81.57 percent said that they plan to make more sustainable or eco-friendly decisions when planning travel. That figure is up from just three-fourths in 2021 (74.85 percent). I try to avoid places that are endangered, like the Galapagos Islands, Antarctica, and Uluru.

From high-speed rail travel to supersonic jets and the Hyperloop, mobility is only poised to improve in the future. Additional investment in existing infrastructure such as airports, roads and passenger rail service along with the rollout of autonomous vehicles should also make it easier, faster and safer for travelers to reach their favorite destinations. I love the long distance flight, as long as I am able to upgrade with miles. But I love long distance train travel, as well as a Eurail Pass. I have friends who travel the world, and avoid flights whenever possible!

While more American travelers are planning international trips than at any point during the pandemic, the vast majority of travel will be – as it always is – domestic travel. And if you’re not able to select your trip solely based on ticket price, you can sure pay a lot for a transcontinental flight. Yes, I love travel here at home. How many of you have been to all fifty states??

Not everyone has the flexibility or the desire to push their summer trip to the fall. However, if it’s in the cards for your trip planning this year it could be a way to save a lot of money. I avoid summer travel (other than local), preferring May and October for crossing either ocean.

American Airlines on April 18 resumed its in-flight alcohol service on flights longer than 250 miles. Like many carriers, American had stopped serving booze during the pandemic and in the wake of the thousands of onboard incidents involving unruly passengers. I rarely drink alcohol on a flight, unless I have upgraded to Biz or First, where the champagne is FREE!!!

Just as the Biden Administration had extended the federal transportation mask mandate for two more weeks until May 3, a federal judge in Tampa, Fla., said, “Nope.” Ruling on April 19 that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention did not have that kind of authority to make such a mandate, the judge lifted the order. I plan to wear my mask on all flights for the foreseeable future.

For many travelers, the timeless allure of long-haul train journeys can be found in the details: a cozy sleeping car, helpful staff, and views of charming towns rolling by. Not least among these draws is the dining car, which on the best trains comes complete with pressed table linens, gleaming cutlery, and pristine glassware. Count me in, I love Amtrak.

Speaking of Amtrak: Often dubbed the ultimate cross-country rail trip by enthusiasts, this epic 2,438-mile (3,924km), 51-hour journey between Chicago and San Francisco is undeniably breathtaking. From the majestic mountain ranges of the Rockies and the Sierra Nevada to the bright-red hues of Utah’s deserts and the seemingly endless plains of Nebraska, expect fabulous scenery from start to finish. I have done this trip in both directions, I prefer west to east.
Ditch the car and opt for a more climate-friendly journey through one of America’s most beautiful (and least-visited) national parks. The Alaska Railroad's flagship train Denali Star embarks on a 12-hour ride between Anchorage and Fairbanks via Wasilla, Talkeetna and Denali. Along the 365-mile (587km) route, the train rushes past rivers and mountains and offers expansive panoramas of Hurricane Gulch from the top of a 296-foot (90.2m) bridge. I embarked on the Denali Star, but started in Fairbanks (for the Aurora borealis), and ended in Anchorage.

It’s been a favorite road trip destination for decades, but you might not have thought to visit the Grand Canyon by rail. Yet this underrated (and surprisingly affordable) excursion has to be one of the most beautiful train journeys on the planet. Beginning in Williams, a small town 30 miles (48km) west of Flagstaff, Grand Canyon Railway meanders through ponderosa pine forests and open prairie, stopping at Grand Canyon Village on the South Rim before heading back to Williams. We did this on Christmas Day a few years back. The highlight was the burger at the El Tovar.

Wherever you decide to go, travel safely. And smartly.

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