European Airlines Want EU to Relax Passenger Refund Rules

Romain Mathon  / Unsplash

Passengers at Frankfurt International Airport in Germany. European airlines want the EU to permit them to issue vouchers rather than refunds for cancelled flights. Romain Mathon / Unsplash

Skift Take: For years Europe has led the way in passenger refund rights. If the EU bends, it is safe to assume the airlines would find away to continue the relaxation beyond the end of the pandemic.

— Jason Clampet

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This Ghost Kitchen Boss Makes Sure Hotels Thrive in a New Era of Room Service

Butler Hospitality

Sam Feigeles (pictured), vice president of food and beverage at hotel ghost kitchen platform Butler Hospitality, makes sure operations succeed at these spaces and the hotels depending on them. Butler Hospitality

Skift Take: The hotel kitchen is the latest spot for industry disruption. Sam Feigeles plays a key role in reshaping the future of the hotel food and beverage experience.

— Cameron Sperance

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Orlando and Disney Deliver Contrasting New Tourism Messages

Thomas Evraert  / Unsplash

Disney World’s marketing videos show safety protocols, unlike Visit Orlando’s new campaign. Thomas Evraert / Unsplash

Skift Take: Destinations are not out of the woods yet with vaccines — but you wouldn’t know it from Visit Orlando’s new marketing campaign, unless you watched Walt Disney World’s ads instead. What’s behind the polar opposite messaging?

— Lebawit Lily Girma

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10 Places to Visit in Australia (That Aren’t Sydney)

When planning a trip to Australia, Sydney Harbor Bridge may be the first thing to come to mind, or you might picture the iconic wildlife such as kangaroos, koalas, or echidnas. However there’s so much more to OZ, and you could spend weeks (or months) exploring and still not see it all! Whether you’re looking for a great brunch spot, a beautiful place to hike, or a chance to meet some koalas, there is a place that’s perfect for you.

Here’s a list of ten places in Australia that you should visit (that aren’t Sydney)!

Hobart, Tasmania

Hobart is Tasmania’s capital city and it’s full of old buildings and beautiful outdoor attractions. Stop by the award-winning Salamanca Market and pick up some locally made bath and body products, artwork, and clothing, amongst other things.

If you’re more of an outdoorsy type, you won’t be disappointed by all of the incredible opportunities to go hiking and experience the stunning landscape of the area. Spend a day exploring Freycinet National Park or go hiking at the Bay of Fires.

If you’re a foodie, one of the guided food tours of Bruny Island is a can’t-miss excursion as well!

If you’re making the trip to Hobart, make sure to rent a car and book a stay at some of the incredible Airbnbs in the area. Captains Rest in Strahan is an incredible waterfront private cabin with a kitchenette. It’s a great place for a relaxing and unique environment.

Whatever you choose to do in Hobart, you’ll appreciate this off-the-beaten-path destination!

Melbourne, Victoria

Melbourne, Victoria (pronounced “Mel-bin” by locals) will grace most Australia bucket lists, and when you visit you’ll see why! It’s slightly more urban than other destinations on this list and has a thriving coffee and brunch culture.

It’s also a great home base if you’re interested in taking some day trips.

Just a few minutes away from the city center lies the 12 Apostles. These limestone stone stacks jut out from the ocean. Contrary to what their name might suggest, there have only ever been eight “apostles”. One collapsed in 2005, but you can still see the rest of them today!

Daintree, Queensland

If you’re looking to experience the natural beauty of Australia and want to see the rainforests and wildlife up close, Daintree, Queensland is your best bet! You can go snorkeling or scuba diving near the famous Great Barrier Reef.

For a truly unique place to stay, consider Daintree Ecolodge. Instead of a standard room, you can stay in one of the 15 treehouses located throughout the property. It’s located in the heart of the Daintree Rainforest and is a great place to disconnect and enjoy the lush green environment.

You can have dinner on the balcony of the Julaymba Restaurant and try one of the meals from the degustation menu which focuses on small plates, engaging all of your senses, and elevating the entire culinary experience.

Brisbane, Queensland

Famous for its beautiful weather, art, and foodie culture, Brisbane (pronounced “Bris-bin”) is Australia’s third-largest city and a popular retreat for Australians and tourists alike!

Visit the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary and get a picture with a koala, snake, or baby crocodile! The sanctuary has been providing refuge and care for many of Australia’s sick or injured animals since 1927.

Sunshine Coast, Queensland

Just an hour north of Brisbane lies Australia’s Sunshine Coast. This beautiful area is a prime surfing destination whether you’re a seasoned expert or not. There are many places where you can book lessons and rent surfboards in the area.

For a more peaceful activity, try a class at the Union Yoga Collective in Maroochydore. They provide the equipment – all you have to bring is yourself.

One of the Sunshine Coast’s famous destinations is the Australia Zoo. This famous wildlife conservatory was started by Steve Irwin’s parents and is still run by the family to this day! 

Uluru + Kings Canyon, Northern Territory

Australia’s Northern Territory has many stunning outdoor attractions. One of the most famous is Uluru, which you might know better as Ayers Rock. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is one of Australia’s most famous landmarks and a great place to visit if you enjoy hiking and walking.

Just know that you can’t scale the rock face anymore. The climb is incredibly dangerous, and the spot holds a religious and cultural significance for the Pitjantjatjara, the Aboriginal people of the area.

Kings Canyon is also an impressive outdoor attraction in the Northern Territory. The walls of the canyon are nearly 330 feet high, and it’s a great place to take in the sunrise and be greeted by some of the first rays to reach the park.

Take an opportunity to dine under the stars which hang in the night sky over the dining area of the Kings Canyon Resort. A helicopter tour over the landscape allows a one-of-a-kind view of the breathtaking landscape.

Gold Coast, Queensland + Byron Bay, New South Wales

Australia’s Gold Coast is notable for its world-renowned surfing beaches with waves to challenge experienced surfers or to encourage novices. For the less aquatically adept, the Warner Brothers Movie World is a top destination with some of the best roller coasters and thrill rides in Australia.

A boat trip along the coast lets you cool off with some sea mist even if you don’t want to jump into the blue waters.

For a change of pace head to Byron Bay. This city gets its name from an Aboriginal word for “meeting place” and lives up to that name.

Byron Bay has been a popular destination for visitors for decades. In the 1800s, Byron Bay had a gold rush which is what led to more permanent residents, and from there the city grew. A trip up to the lighthouse, constructed in 1901, provides a great view of the city and waters below.

Plenty of trails and beaches make this an outdoor haven for surfers, backpackers, and outdoors lovers from all over the world. There are also many nearby national parks where you can marvel at the natural beauty of Australia. 

Adelaide, South Australia

Adelaide is Australia’s fifth-largest city and has been an important city throughout the country’s history. It has a lot of the culture of Australia’s larger cities but is far less chaotic.

Make a pit stop at the German town of Hahndorf for a day of wine tasting, sampling pretzels, and strolling around. The culture of this unique destination is due to the influx of German settlers who arrived here in the mid-1800s.

If you enjoy wine, head to Barossa Valley. This region has a perfect climate for wine production and you can visit any of the major vineyards that are located here.

Whitsunday Islands, Queensland

If you’re looking to unwind on a beautiful island, the 74 Whitsunday Islands are a great option to consider. It’s the place to be if you’re looking for sparkling sandy beaches and deep blue water that you can swim, scuba, or snorkel in.

It’s also the place to be if you want to experience the Great Barrier Reef. This coral reef is the world’s largest and is often considered one of the seven natural wonders of the modern world. It can be seen from outer space!

Kakadu National Park, Northern Territory

Kakadu National Park is located 106 miles southeast of Darwin, the capital city of the Northern Territory. It became a UNESCO Heritage Site in 1981 when it was recognized for cultural and natural significance.

There are many paintings that were created by the Aboriginal people of the region. Many of the paintings are still well preserved which is impressive considering some are over 20,000 years old!

This national park is a great place to hike and explore!



The post 10 Places to Visit in Australia (That Aren’t Sydney) appeared first on The Blonde Abroad.

Why I Travel So Much

Hindu Temple, Singapore
A few days ago, as I was combing through my own Facebook fan page, something I do from time to time because I somehow tend to miss a few of the messages that readers leave on the page, I noticed a message that I had in fact not noticed before.

It was a very upbeat note, full of genuine curiosity and it also included a question. This reader wanted to know, “Why travel so much?” She just couldn’t understand why someone would be so attracted to travel and why someone would not want to live a simple, stable, more traditional life in one place.

While this might seem like a silly question to some of you, it’s important to realize that, as many of our high school teachers liked to say, ‘there is no such thing as a silly question’. For some people, the thought of travel is just not as exciting as it is to others. Some people don’t dream of faraway lands or have any desire to visit countries and cultures that are different from their own.

And that’s fine of course. I certainly don’t expect everyone on the planet to want the same things out of life and however anyone chooses to live, as long as they’re happy with that choice, I’m happy for them.

With that said, I naturally wanted to provide an answer to this reader’s question and so I quickly left a response on Facebook with a few lines about travel giving me an opportunity to see the world with my own eyes. Short and basic.

But over the next couple of days, I kept thinking about her question, over and over again. It’s not so much that I started to wonder why on earth I do travel so much, but instead, I began to wonder how I could even begin to explain the core reasons of why I’ve decided to live this traveling lifestyle for so long.

I guess I could talk about the beautiful islands, the mysterious cities, the unique cultures, the spectacular natural wonders and of course the people from all walks of life that have had a major impact on me over the years.

Those are all perfectly good reasons. But at the same time, they don’t seem sufficient.

My Answer

It was while I was eating a bowl of pasta last night that I suddenly thought of a more suitable response. And it all has to do with a recent experience, a very simple experience, that essentially defines my desire to travel so much.

Two weeks ago, as I wrote about already, I went on a four-day trip to Bratislava, Slovakia. The purpose of this trip was to spend some time with three of my friends.

So, after flying from Bucharest to Vienna (the Vienna airport is only 40 minutes from Bratislava) there we were, the four of us – two Romanians, one Kazakh and one American – spending time together in Slovakia. We ate at local Slovakian restaurants, we drank Moldovan wines and Czech beers, we spent an evening searching for nebulas, star clusters and distant galaxies in an empty field just across the Hungarian border, we went to the cinema one afternoon and watched a film about India. We spoke about my friend’s desire to live in France, about all of our travels to Istanbul, about my time working on board cruise ships and about whether or not we should all participate in the Mongol Rally (a car ‘race’ from Prague to Mongolia) next year.

And during that same trip, I also had a Skype call with a friend of mine from Australia, I made plans with another friend from the US to meet up in Montenegro in July and I received an email from an Italian friend of mine whom I hadn’t heard from in over a year and who just moved to Brazil, as one does.

This is exactly why I travel so much.

My life has become a combination of destinations, interactions, concepts, opportunities, friendships, challenges and realities that were once so very foreign or unknown to me. After twelve years of travel, the entire world now feels like my home. And it’s the resulting diversity of experiences and people in my life that ultimately lead to an increased appreciation of all that I encounter during my adventures.

The more I learn about other people and places, and the greater variety of experiences I have, I understand that very little differentiates us as human beings. We are all made of the same material, we all have the same ups and downs, we all are trying to do our best during our time on Earth. The result is a strong realization that getting upset over small things, sowing negativity or acting out without really understanding a situation, is simply not useful.

Instead, I’ve learned to relax, take things as they come, understand the beauty that connects us all and try to proceed with as much positivity as possible.

While that Moldovan wine I drank in Bratislava might not have been the best wine I’ve ever tried, I fully appreciated and enjoyed the experience of drinking something I would never have tasted had I never traveled, while sitting in a backyard overlooking a city that I would never have known anything about, talking about plans I would never have believed to be possible and surrounded by good people I would never have met. How perfect is that?

And the fact that this is how I feel when in such situations provides all the motivation I need to continue living this lifestyle.

*Again, I’m not saying that everyone should want to live this lifestyle…not at all. I’m just answering the question that was asked, hopefully showing why this lifestyle is so appealing to me.

I wonder, why do you travel? Or, if you’re not traveling yet, why do you want to travel in the first place?

The post Why I Travel So Much appeared first on Wandering Earl.

85 Percent of U.S. Travel Agencies Won’t Survive the Year Without Aid, Trade Group Warns

anyaberkut  / Getty Images

The American Society of Travel Advisors says most U.S. agencies won’t survive past 2021 without federal support. anyaberkut / Getty Images

Skift Take: Travel advisors play a critical role in the recovery of the leisure tourism sector. But these majority women-owned, small businesses will need relief to stay afloat if the U.S. travel industry is to benefit.

— Lebawit Lily Girma

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Why Omni and Loews Opted for Partnership Over a Merger

Omni Hotels & Resorts

Loews and Omni are finally linking up in a sales and marketing deal that could eventually extend to the meetings and events side of their similar businesses. Omni Hotels & Resorts

Skift Take: Loews and Omni’s closer working relationship is more about maintaining their respective independence rather than setting the stage for an eventual merger, or so company leaders say.

— Cameron Sperance

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Las Vegas Sands Sells Venetian and Sands Expo Center for $6.25 Billion

Ricky Barnard  / Wikimedia

Investment fund Apollo Global Management is set to buy Las Vegas Sands’ Venetian Resort and Sands Expo and Convention Center for $6.25 billion. Ricky Barnard / Wikimedia

Skift Take: The $6.25 billion jackpot for the Venetian Resort and Sands Expo and Convention Center shows investors clearly see a rebound ahead for the Las Vegas convention industry.

— Cameron Sperance

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