8 Travel Safety Tips You Probably Ignore (But Shouldn’t)

Be honest. How many times have you read a safety tip for travelers and thought: “Yep, that makes sense” … and then just totally ignored it next time you took a trip?

We’ve all been there. So let’s make a pact together to stop ignoring the good advice and start following these rules to stay safe while traveling.

Register with the State Department

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No one expects to experience a natural disaster, terrorist attack, or other emergency while they’re abroad. But if you do, you’ll want to be prepared.

Enroll in the State Department’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) before you leave, and the nearest U.S. Embassy will easily be able to find and help you if something bad happens (either abroad or back home, like a family emergency).

Leave an Itinerary

You should also leave an itinerary with a trusted friend or family member back home. That way, if you don’t return they’ll know exactly where to begin the search, instead of trying to piece together your steps through social media postings. This can also be helpful if you have a family member that worries when you travel—if they hear of something bad happening in the general region that you’re traveling, they can double-check that you’re not actually near there.

Make a Copy of Your Passport

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It seems like a hassle to make a copy of your passport, but if yours gets stolen or lost while abroad, you’ll be really glad that you took the extra 10 seconds to do it. If you don’t want to carry paper around, you can also scan your passport and e-mail it to yourself, so you’ll be able to access it anywhere.

Don’t Have Your Phone Out

I know I’m guilty of this—whenever I’m bored on the subway or bus, I usually turn to my phone for entertainment. Unfortunately, having your phone out makes you a target for petty thieves, especially on crowded public transit. It’s easy for criminals to snatch your phone out of your hand and jump off at the next stop if you’re not paying attention.

Buckle Up / Choose Your Transportation Wisely

When in a foreign destination, you might be tempted to be a little more lax than at home when it comes to wearing your seatbelt or taking a scooter out for a spin. In fact, the most common cause of death for Americans abroad is traffic accidents. So be careful: Insist on a taxi that has seatbelts (even in the backseat), don’t drive yourself if you’re not comfortable with the roads (especially if you’re driving on a different side than at home), and always wear a helmet while on a scooter/moped/motorcycle/bike.

Learn the Local 911 Equivalent

We’ve been conditioned since we were kids to dial 911 in case of an emergency, but if you dial those three numbers while abroad, you’re not likely to get any help. Learn the local emergency numbers for police/fire/EMS (in some countries, these are all different numbers) and save them to your phone (if your phone will work at your destination). In a dangerous situation, every second counts.

Keep Your Seatbelt on While Flying

It can be tempting to unbuckle when the seatbelt sign is off (or even when it’s on) just to get a little more comfortable in your tiny airplane seat. But if turbulence strikes, you could be seriously injured when you’re not securely strapped in, as these passengers learned.

Not Checking State Department Warnings or Advisories

The U.S. State Department’s cautions, warnings, and advisories can seem a little alarmist sometimes. (Just look at the current worldwide caution, for example.) And I’m not saying you should cancel your trip based on a warning/alert/advisory for a destination, but it is important to at least read them so you know what to look out for. (Confused about the difference between alerts and warnings? Read this.)

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The 9 Worst Decisions You Can Make on a Cruise

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If you’re making any of these poor decisions, you’re cheating yourself of the best version of your cruise vacation.

If you know what you’re doing, cruising can be an enriching form of travel. But plenty of people swear off the big ships because of some terrible experience that ruined their first time out. To prevent yourself from becoming yet another cruise hater, take note of these rookie mistakes—and don’t make them.

You Book a Same-Day Flight

We know, you’re trying to minimize time away from work by booking a flight for the same day your cruise pushes off. Even if you’re dealing with a neck-breathing boss who side-eyes your every minute away, don’t do it. There’s a decent chance you’ll lose your whole vacation if your flight is delayed or your checked luggage doesn’t make it to your arrival airport at the same time you do.

Try to arrive a day before your cruise is scheduled to depart. Book a hotel near your embarkation point, spend that extra time sightseeing, and give yourself lots of time to get to the pier.

Once your itinerary’s underway, don’t dillydally on shore, either. It’s easy to get carried away in a new place, but get back to that boat on time or you’ll be stuck. “The ship sails if you’re on board or not,” points out Nancy Porter, a travel manager for Global Connections. “On small islands with few roads, rush-hour traffic can delay you unexpectedly. I’ve seen many people miss their cruise because of it.”

You Overpack—Or Underpack

If you decide to stuff your suitcase to the point of barely being able to zip it, you’ll suffer each time you have to reach in there—and forget about being able to comfortably bring home souvenirs.

Still, you’ll want to bring everything you need. If you decide to leave the following things at home, your trip could be worse for it: a passport, in case you have to fly home from a different country; prescription medicine; sea bands or behind-the-ear patches for seasickness (most boats’ medical centers sell these but keep very limited hours); and toiletries like conditioner—your room likely stocks only shampoo and a bar of soap.

And pack a carry-on, since your checked luggage might not find you until hours after the bon voyage horn blows.

You Don’t Pre-Book Shore Excursions

If you know you really want to do a specific shore excursion offered by your cruise line, don’t take the risk of waiting to book it. Sign up before you disembark.

You can also plan your own shore excursions. “Don’t blindly buy shore excursions from the ship,” advises Dena Roche, creator of The Travel Diet. “They’re often overcrowded, overpriced, and bland. Instead, do some research and find private guides so that you can do exactly what you want to do. Jump on message boards to find people who’ll be on your cruise if you want to lower costs by creating a small group to do your tour.”

Other cruise activities worth booking before you board include spa treatments—popular ones book up—and reservations for the ship’s specialty restaurants.

You Choose the Wrong Type of Cruise

If you haven’t thought through what type of cruise experience you want, you’re not ready to book. Are you into relaxing? Partying? Cultural experiences? Family time? Your answer should inform which company you go with, what boat you should be on, and when you should go.

“It starts with the ship,” Roche says. “If you want culture and history, don’t book the party line. If you don’t like to dress up, don’t pick the ship that has black-tie nights. Know yourself and pick your cruise line according to your personality.”

Rebecca Brooks, who co-founded Alter Agents, a research firm that represents cruise lines, adds: “The worst mistake a vacationer can make is focusing only on itinerary when booking a cruise. Itinerary matters, but don’t assume all boats are the same. Sure you love kids, but do you want to be on a boat that caters to families if you’re traveling with adults? Are the room layouts, dining options, and amenities appealing to you? Did an entertainment experience entice you to a certain cruise line? Make sure it’s offered on your specific boat.”

Timing matters, too. If you’d rather not be surrounded by kids, avoid summer and holiday cruises, when a third of passengers can be children. Three-night cruises to warm-weather destinations like Mexico and the Caribbean tend to attract twenty-somethings looking for a party, but shorter cruises in Europe and Asia won’t have the same wild vibe.

You Opt for Price Over Weather

It’s tempting to cruise the Caribbean between September and early December since the prices are so low. They’re that way for a reason—it’s hurricane season and you’re all but guaranteed to get poured on. Fares to Europe are similarly enticing during winter, but you’ll have to endure cold weather and rough seas.

As for cruising Alaska, if you book for two alluringly affordable months—May and September—come prepared for snow and mud, and be willing to do your excursions in strong rain.

You Dine Recklessly

Cruises are notorious for offering food that sickens travelers. In fact, a common first question doctors have for gastroenteritis patients is, “Did you eat at a buffet?” That’s because if you consume food that’s been left out too long, or lingered over by too many people, you could be in a date with the norovirus.

Since there are few sensations worse than being ill or uncomfortable at sea, take precautions: If any food item looks or tastes at all funny, ditch it. Don’t approach all-you-can-eat buffets as a challenge, or make too many friends at the bar. Drink enough water to stay hydrated. Get out on deck enough to breathe the salty air. And apply sunscreen.

You Don’t Budget for Added Expenses

If you’ve decided that your full budget for your cruise is what you’ve paid to get onboard, you’ve set yourself up for trouble. For those on a strict vacation budget, it’s easy to get lured by what seems to be an impossibly low price. Once you’re onboard, that’s where they get you.

Unless you’re on a fancier cruise line—in which case you wouldn’t have paid a basement rate anyway—plan to shell out for all your alcohol, anything you drink in your cabin (Bottled water? Four bucks, please.), shore excursions, fitness classes, spa treatments, and Internet access, which can cost hundreds and not even work very well. Also budget for off-the-boat expenses like food, souvenirs, and services when you’re in port.

You Don’t Consider Travel Insurance

Sometimes buying travel insurance is a foolish decision. But sometimes it’d be foolish not to buy. People who deal with chronic illness, or whose health is otherwise sensitive, would do well to think this one through.

“Finding oneself in a foreign land with an unfamiliar medical system is very inconvenient and can be dangerous,” says William Brady, an ER professor at the University of Virginia and the medical director of Allianz Global Assistance. “A good medical travel insurance policy can help you find a doctor or decide which hospital to go to based on your symptoms, and cover emergency medical care and evacuation.”

You can also buy insurance to protect you in case of any other type of catastrophe, including cancellation, a missed connection, lost or delayed baggage, or a dental or legal problem.

Don’t feel confined to buying the insurance your cruise is selling, either. “Most travelers don’t know that they have a choice, and therefore buy the insurance plan relegated to a small checkbox during the booking process,” says Sharon Mostyn, a spokesperson for RoamRight. “Travelers who’ve done that assume they’ll be covered for anything—after all, they just paid for insurance.

However, when it comes time to file a claim, people who bought directly from the cruise line may be disappointed. Trip-cancellation coverage benefits may not be paid out as a monetary value, and medical coverage may be lacking. Coverage may also be limited to the cruise itself—what about airfare or hotel stays? These are expenses that should be covered by a good travel insurance policy.”

You Bring Work Onboard

Vacations are for vacationing. Deciding to bring work along immediately reduces the value of your cruise trip—for you and your travel companions, who are likely to roll their eyes as your crack open the laptop. Decide that you’re going to relax your brain, unplug from work, and save that chunk of money that you’d have spent on Wi-Fi that barely works in the middle of the ocean.

“One thing I tell my clients,” says Anthony Klang, a certified master cruise counselor with Cruise Planners, “is that it’s best not to overplan. Enjoy some unscheduled time in port. Leave time for wandering about the ship. Take in the sunset.”

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You might have you remove your food at TSA

Sandwich

Airline food is pure YUCK and they don’t feed you on domestic flights. I am a big fan of either making my own food or stopping by Panera on my way to the airport.

The TSA is loosey goosey on their rules, but many times I have had to show my sandwich to the TSA agent because the X-ray has difficulty distinguishing it from explosive material.

Some of my tips are:

  • No Stinky Food – No one wants to smell your egg salad or salmon sammie
  • Nothing Dripping – Turbulence anyone?
  • Super Noisy Food – Crunch, Crunch, Crunch………..Nope

So be courteous of your fellow passengers and pack responsibly. Just beware, the TSA may also want to see your delicious nibbles.

What can I bring through TSA

Updated Food List

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The Best Airport Perk You’re Not Using

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What’s the first thing that pops into your mind when you think of curbside check-in? For me, it’s a vague 1970s-toned image of a suitcase without wheels being hoisted out of a wood-paneled station wagon and into a pile, while a mustachioed skycap lassoes each with a bag tag.

If you have more recent, less sepia-toned associations with curbside check-in, you’re onto something. And if you don’t think much at all of the airport curbside option, maybe it’s time you should.

For years, I’ve been traveling carry-on only, breezing past the airport curb with nary a second thought. Some part of me has long considered the notion of curbside check-in a throwback to a time when checked bags were free and everyone traveled with half their wardrobe. How quaint.

But on a recent family vacation that involved two car seats and a large suitcase, I started to rethink this assumption. And I discovered that plenty of people are wise to the benefits of curbside check-in. Sure, its relevance has narrowed in recent years as online check-in has become the norm and baggage fees have spurred a shift toward carry-on baggage. But, most airlines still offer it, and demand remains high. In fact, a spokesperson for JetBlue told me that “curbside check-in still remains popular among our customers,” especially during summer and holiday periods.

A Southwest spokesperson says that curbside is a popular service and the airline “continually receives positive feedback about this option.” Perhaps most tellingly, United mentioned that while curbside check-in has declined with the rise of self-service check-in, it seems to lead to higher satisfaction in post-travel surveys.

I turned to my social networks to see if I could find some curbside loyalists. I didn’t have to look far. Turns out those that use it swear by it … and think of curbside as the airport option that’s hidden in plain sight.

Curbside Check-in as Time Saver

Some of the people I spoke with used curbside both to check in and check bags, while others checked in online and simply dropped their bags at the curb before heading into the airport. Everyone cited not having to wait in line more than five minutes (if at all) as the biggest perk. While the lines snaked inside, they could always count on their trusty skycaps to speed them through.

The Curbside Check-in Type

The people who were most enthusiastic about curbside check-in fell roughly into a few categories. There were those traveling with kids (especially small kids) . And there were also those who, for a variety of reasons, were traveling with a lot of stuff. The broadest group was anyone in a hurry—that included the chronically late, frequent travelers trying to minimize transit, and anyone who had battled traffic on the way to the airport. And finally, there were the people with mobility issues, who appreciated that the distance between car and bag drop could be measured in mere feet.

The Pros and Cons of Curbside Check-in

Aside from the time savings, the biggest benefit people cited was the possibility that they could interact with an airline employee in a relatively good mood. Whether it’s the fresh air or the possibility of a tip with each interaction, skycaps just seem to be in a better mood than their inside-counter brethren, swore many curbside check-in partisans.

The downside, of course, is cost. Some airlines still offer free curbside check-in, but others charge $2 per bag (that’s of course, in addition to the standard baggage fees). And whether you pay or not, tipping is an expected part of the skycap exchange.

Want to Try It?

Here’s a breakdown by airline. Note that any costs are in addition to standard baggage fees.

American: American offers curbside check-in at nearly 30 airports. There are a few caveats—a few airports only offer seasonal curbside check-in service, and in Cincinnati you can’t use curbside for international travel. There are no additional fees to check baggage curbside, though tipping is encouraged.

Delta: Delta has curbside check-in at around 100 locations. No fee, but “gratuities are always appreciated for outstanding service.”

JetBlue: JetBlue offers curbside check-in at two dozen U.S. airports, and charges $2 per bag checked curbside. (At Washington Dulles, Washington Reagan, and Westchester County White Plains airports there’s no charge to check bags.) Cash isn’t accepted for payment, but it’s fine for tipping.

Southwest: Curbside check-in is available at “a majority” of the airports served by Southwest. The airline says that “We do not charge a fee for this service, although gratuities are accepted.”

United: Curbside check-in is available on United for no additional cost at approximately 40 airports.

Virgin America: Free curbside baggage drop-off is available for Virgin America passengers at San Francisco, Los Angeles (LAX), and Dallas Love Field airports who have already checked in online and hold a printed or mobile boarding pass.

6 Passport Rules for Faster Renewal

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Applying for or renewing a passport in a timely fashion might be easier said than done for a while thanks to a massive surge in applicants, but following some little-known passport rules might help.

Fiscal year 2017 was record-setting for Passport Services,” Kevin Brosnahan, a spokesperson for the State Department’s Bureau of Consular Affairs, told me. The U.S. State Department is seeing a rise in passport renewal applications thanks to the 10-year anniversary of the 2007 law that first required passports for travel to Mexico and Canada (adult passports are only valid for a decade, after all). And as the State Department warns of longer-than-usual processing times, it’s important to make sure your application for passport renewal is following all the rules so it won’t take even longer.

Do you know how to take a valid passport photo, for example, and which documents to include with your forms? Plus, there’s one big change slated for this year that could take your entire renewal process online.

Passport Rules You Need to Know

To increase your chances of a quick and painless renewal (or first-time application), follow these six passport rules.

Know When to Apply

The first step to passport renewal is recognizing when you need it. Know when your passport expires, especially if you’re visiting a country that requires six months of passport validity for you to enter the country, like Brazil and Botswana. Unique passport rules also apply to people who might not look like their photo any more. The State Department says on its website that you’re responsible for the following changes to your appearance:

You may have to apply for a new passport if you have:

  • Undergone significant facial surgery or trauma
  • Added or removed numerous/large facial piercings or tattoos
  • Undergone a significant amount of weight loss or gain
  • Made a gender transition

Remove Those Glasses

These next two rules are for taking a valid passport photo, which can apparently be a somewhat difficult feat to accomplish. “Photos that do not meet our requirements are the number one reason applications are removed from standard processing,” Brosnahan told me. “We want to avoid delays as much as you do.”

The newest major change to passport rules is that glasses are no longer permitted in your photo. The rule took effect in November 2016, and of course also applies to sunglasses. Other passport rules for your photo include its size, lighting, and that the backdrop be white or off-white. Check all the rules for taking a valid passport photo here.

Smile, But Not Too Much

Yes, you can smile in your passport photo—just not too big. Passport rules for photos dictate that your face have “a neutral expression or a natural smile, with both eyes open.”

“Contrary to popular belief, we don’t have a rule against smiling!” Brosnahan says. “We’re just looking for a natural expression with both eyes open, with a full front view of the face, that realistically depicts the passport holder.”

Pay the New Fee

The State Department recently announced that some fees for passport processing are increasing by $10. According to Brosnahan, that includes “all first-time passport applicants, all kids under 16 (first time and renewals), and any adult that is renewing a passport that is over 15 years old. It does not affect anyone using the DS-82 form, which is a standard adult renewal and is done by mail.”

Renewing via mail will require a check or money order for the correct amount: Find the necessary fee amount according to your application type here.

Don’t Forget Your Supporting Documents

Some passport renewal applications require you to gather supporting documents, like citizenship evidence or a signed personal statement. The latter is required if you wear religious attire that could otherwise deem your passport photo invalid, and people unable to remove glasses or other items for medical reasons can submit a doctor’s note for an exception.

Passport renewal also requires applicants to mail in their old passport, but don’t worry—you’ll get it back with your new one.

Keep an Eye Out for Online Renewal 

Anyone with internet access, rejoice: You might soon be able to apply for passport renewal without having to mail anything. Online passport renewal has been buzzed about for a while now, with a rumored soft release of mid-2018.  Brosnahan tells me “online passport renewal is a planned update which will be released in the near future.”

Online passport renewal could be a game changer for the application backlog just in time for the Real I.D. changes that might soon require some people to fly with a passport domestically—see if your state ID is affected here.

10 Travel Safety Tips You Can Learn from the CIA

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Mathew Bradley spent more than 14 years in the Central Intelligence Agency, and now this former CIA agent is the Regional Security Director, Americas, for International SOS (a medical and travel security assistance company). I spoke to him via email to ask his top travel safety tips, both at home and abroad.

Travel Safety Tips from CIA Experts

Here are Mr. Bradley’s top travel safety tips based on his training and experience as a CIA agent.

What travel safety tips does the CIA give to its employees?

  1. Maintain a low profile. CIA employees don’t want to draw attention to themselves.
  2. Research your destination before you go. Part of keeping a low profile is knowing the local customs and blending in. Act like you have been there before.
  3. Plan your ground transportation and hotel arrangements in advance.  We never leave home without contact details for every stage of our itinerary.
  4. Stay aware of your surroundings. [Do] the research to know what fits in the location where you are.

What should tourists do in case of an emergency while traveling?

  1. Have a plan before you go out. Know where you will meet if separated from your group following a terrorist attack, violent protest, or other incident.
  2. Make sure someone knows where you’re going and when you should be back. They should know who to call if you don’t check in.
  3. For natural disasters, plan ahead to avoid hurricanes and wildfires. If in an earthquake zone, have a plan for what to do in case of an earthquake.
  4. The CIA has a heavy influence on planning because in a crisis situation, you don’t have time to plan. You can execute what you have planned, but if you don’t plan ahead, you won’t know what to do.

What does a CIA agent always pack for a trip?

A doorstop. When you lock yourself into your hotel room at night, slip the doorstop under the door to keep intruders from being able to force the door open.  The doorstop is effective even when the chain or other external locks give way.

What is your number one travel safety tip?

Plan ahead! Travel is more enjoyable when it goes smoothly, and it goes smoother when you have a plan. Also, don’t take your passport out of your hotel. The number one way to ruin your trip is to lose your passport. You don’t need it on the street, and no one will steal it from your hotel safe. Plan for safety and security like you plan for fun and entertainment, and you, too, can travel like a CIA operative.

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Get to know Paris with a belly full of laughs

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The Earful Tower

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I happened upon the Earful Tower through a friend who runs walking tours in Paris who was on Oliver Gee’s show. You will remember the host Oliver Gee, not only for his wit, his charm, his impeccable French, but also his endearing Aussie accent.

His podcasts are hilarious. He’s a fellow journalist from Australia who knows how to spin a yarn about his beloved city, Paris. He has interesting guests on his show that flesh out how unique and incredible life in Paris can be, especially for an ex-pat.

His podcasts are delicious, much like a decadent creme brulee that you never want end. You just savour every bite, the crunch, the creamy, the egg and the sweet vanilla. That is exactly the warm feeling I get when listening to his show, I crack open the podcast and it’s all smooth until I lick the ramekin clean.

So give The Earful Tower a listen, you will be hooked and it’s low in calories.

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Why You Should Never Take Your Shoes Off On an Airplane

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If you are a frequent flyer, you may often notice that some passengers like to kick off their shoes the moment they’ve settled down into their seats.

As an ex-flight attendant, I’m here to tell you that it is a dangerous thing to do. Why?

Besides stinking up the whole cabin, footwear is essential during an airplane emergency, even though it is not part of the flight safety information.

During an emergency, all sorts of debris and unpleasant ground surfaces will block your way toward the exit, as well as outside the aircraft. If your feet aren’t properly covered, you’ll have a hard time making your way to safety.

Imagine destroying your bare feet as you run down the aisle covered with broken glass, fires, and metal shards. Kind of like John McClane in Die Hard, but worse. Ouch!

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A mere couple of seconds delay during an emergency evacuation can be a matter of life and death, especially in an enclosed environment. Not to mention the entire aircraft will likely be engulfed in panic and chaos.

So, the next time you go on a plane trip, please keep your shoes on during takeoff, even if it is uncomfortable.

You can slip on a pair of bathroom slippers if you really need to let your toes breathe. They’re pretty useless in a real emergency evacuation, but at least they’re better than going barefoot.

146 Life-Changing Skills You Can Learn Without Spending a Lot of Money

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Need a guide that covers everything you need to know in life? Learn how to do everything from CPR to create a budget with these life hacks we rounded up.

 

 

 

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9 New Travel Trends to Watch in 2018

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Curious about which new travel trends might dominate your Instagram feed this year? They’re shaping up to be more than just fleeting food trends or hyper-futuristic travel technology—some could change the way you travel for good.

2018 Travel Trends to Watch

Here are the travel trends that have been turning heads, and how they might impact you in 2018 and beyond.

South Korea on the Rise

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The 2018 Winter Olympics are sure to put South Korea on the map when Pyeongchang takes the world stage in February, and there are plenty of other reasons for travelers to start flocking to South Korea. Temples, palaces, cherry blossoms, and street food (read: kimchi) are just the beginning.

The “K beauty” trend, focused on skincare products originating in Korea, has recently taken social media and the beauty-blogosphere by storm, but ultra-moisturizing skincare treatments and sheet masks have long been a cornerstone of South Korean beauty culture. Intriguing natural ingredients like snail slime, bee venom, salmon eggs, seaweed, mushrooms, and more might be the travel trend to inspire many to skip the skincare aisle and book a luxe spa getaway in Seoul instead.

Women’s Travel

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Last year saw a major spike in solo travel trends and an increase in solo-tour availability, and now 2018 is shaping up to be the year of women’s travel. In the wake of the #MeToo movement the focus on women’s experiences has extended to travel, with many providers touting their women-only tours and pointing to a recent rise in female-only bookings .

REI small-group tours are now about 60 percent female on average. REI Women’s Adventures head everywhere from New Zealand and Machu Picchu for hiking, to Puerto Rico and Baja for sea kayaking. The company has expanded its female-only tours (which are also led by women) to 19 offerings after seeing three times the interest it had forecasted for the tours in 2017. Women with a passion for the outdoors are looking to stick together in bucket-list destinations.

Food Foraging

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One of the newest culinary travel trends requires working a little for your meal. Connecting ecotourism and cooking classes, travelers are lining up to forage for local ingredients with an expert before heading into the kitchen. Hunting down truffles or herbs in forests and plucking scallops and seaweed from shorelines have become popular across the globe, from England and Portugal to Australia, Cape Town, and Abu Dhabi.

Millennial Cruises

Uniworld

Think you’re not a cruise person? Uniworld Cruises shook up cruise travel trends recently when it announced a new millennial-only river cruising option: U by Uniworld for ages 21 to 45. DJ lounges, restaurants, and shore excursions will dominate experiences on the Rhine, Seine, and Danube—but with a much younger crowd than your typical cruise ship, and with about 120 passengers onboard each sailing. The first of its kind, the idea of millennial-only cruises might have legs and expand once U by Uniworld starts sailing in 2018.

Alternative Safari Destinations

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Over-tourism concerns went from murmurs to resounding protests in destinations like Barcelona in 2017, and the push for sustainable travel trends is likely to intensify this year, even outside of Europe.

Wildlife-famous Cape Town is now suffering from a water shortage that could make travelers instead consider unsung safari destinations like Zambia for leopards, Rwanda for endangered mountain gorillas, and Botswana for an abundant elephant population.

New Fitness Trips

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Active travel isn’t among the travel trends that are going away any time soon: Fitness trips are rapidly expanding their options. Intensifying adventure-tour offerings have evolved from trekking and hiking to cycling, marathon running, and rafting, kayaking, and sailing options from the likes of Intrepid Travel, REI Adventures, and G Adventures. It’s never been easier to find an active vacation that suits you while also crossing a destination off your bucket list.

Hyperloop Train Travel

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“Hyperloop” travel, a near-supersonic-speed train tube network, has seemed like nothing more than a sci-fi novel idea since Tesla CEO Elon Musk floated the idea years ago—until recently. In late 2017 Musk expressed interest in finally executing the idea, and the project seems to have backers’ interest for development in 2018. Details are few, but industry experts seem excited by the prospect, so it’s worth keeping an eye out for any hyperloop travel trends that could make train travel glamorous again.

Last-Chance Travel

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Climate change is becoming a more important travel trend with every passing year, and some destinations seeing major ecological changes like extreme temperatures and frequent flooding are beginning to feel as though they could soon be off-limits—making way for last-chance travel. From melting icefields and glaciers to Australia’s bleached and dying Great Barrier reef, travelers are setting out in droves to see things that may soon no longer be.

“Smart” Hotel Rooms

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Have an Alexa at home? Welcome to the future: Hotel rooms are following suit ever since Aloft hotels incorporated voice-commanded rooms. “Smart” hotels may go even further than rooms you can ask to “close the blinds” or “turn off the lights.” Robot room service has become available in some hotels, and tech-focused Asia brands like Yotel are expanding to the United States.

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