Harris to travel to Mexico and Guatemala in first foreign trip as vice president


Vice President Kamala Harris will visit Mexico and Guatemala on June 7 and 8, she said during a visit to Rhode Island on Wednesday. This will be Harris’ first trip abroad as vice president. 

Harris also said she will be talking to Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador this week. He said at his daily press briefing that he would be speaking with Harris about U.S.-bound immigration.

In March, President Biden tasked Harris with leading the administration’s efforts to stem migration at the southern border, announcing her new role as border apprehensions soared after Mr. Biden took office. He called her the “most qualified person” to lead U.S. efforts with Mexico and the Northern Triangle, and he said he hoped “we can move this along.”

The White House said at the time that Harris would work on “stemming the flow of irregular migrants to the U.S.,” while at the same time working toward the goal of establishing a strategic partnership with these countries.

Tensions are high in El Salvador, where the new parliament just tossed out all five of the judges who sit on the country’s highest court. On Tuesday, Harris said that “we need to respond” to what’s going on in El Salvador. Asked about those comments by CBS News Wednesday, Harris replied that the administration is working on potential responses.



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Trip Actions Acquires Reed & Mackay


TripActions has acquired UK travel management
company Reed & Mackay from its private equity owners. The terms of the deal
are undisclosed.

Reed & Mackay was founded in 1960 and
is best known for its high-touch service for clients in the insurance sector and wider
financial services. Private equity company Inflexion bought Reed &
Mackay in 2016 in a deal rumored to have been worth around £170 million.

TripActions was founded by Ariel Cohen and Ilan Twig in California
in 2016 and recently secured
US$155 million in Series E funding, valuing
the travel and expense provider at US$5 billion. It recently announced Springer
Nature and Primark among its European client wins.


We see TripActions and Reed & Mackay coming together to really fuel what our strategy was before. The TripActions guys have amazing strength in marketing, sales teams and a great product. We are able to service their ambitions on a global basis.”

Reed & Mackay’s Fred Stratford


Danny Finkel, TripActions’ chief travel officer, told BTN
Europe, “We have had this laser focus on the user and on building a product, a
service and a platform that enable travelers, travel managers and CFOs to be
happy.”

He said, “Where we saw an opportunity [with the acquisition] is
really catering to C-suites, to executive assistants and to board members who
require that super high-touch, bespoke level of service and that really embodies
Reed & Mackay.”

Speaking to BTN Europe, Reed & Mackay
CEO Fred Stratford said that the deal was not a result of a fire sale because of
the pandemic hitting business travel volumes.

“We were financially well backed and we didn’t
have to do this deal. It is going to provide further opportunities,” said
Stratford.

“Inflexion have been great investors in
Reed & Mackay and they were the third private equity investment we had. They
had no intention of selling

now—the business was absolutely flying pre-Covid.
They won’t go hungry, that’s all I can say.”

However, BTN Europeunderstands from industry sources that there is a sizeable debt on the holding company’s balance sheet that the deal will plug. 

Questioned
over what some might consider
an unusual marriage, Stratford said, “I think what is really exciting is
that we are so different. No one would really think it would make sense
but the
magic happens where you bring those together. Over the past few weeks we
have developed
a mutual respect about what each has achieved. This will be hugely
exciting for
the business and for the clients.

“It has become pretty clear that
the future is tech and digital. The world is changing in terms of
people’s thinking and how people have got used to working.”

In the short term, Reed and Mackay clients will see little change.

“I think it’s important to say that the Reed & Mackay
name is staying,” said TripActions’ Danny Finkel. 

As well as high-touch service, Reed &
Mackay is known for developing its own technology.

“We are renowned for our high-touch
service but quietly renowned for our technology and that is often underplayed,”
said Stratford. “We are going to keep the ecosystem we
have—self-booking tool, mobile app, agent tool, all fully integrated—and
learn from some of the innovation that TripActions has made and modernize some
of our technology.”

Finkel added, “One of the things that has amazed us through
the process in getting to know Reed & Mackay has been getting to know their
technology. It is tremendous—everything from their agent desktop to their booking
tool. Over time, I think there are absolutely opportunities to bring those technologies
together.”

Over recent years, Reed & Mackay has
grown its presence with owned offices around the world. It is now in more than
40 markets, including Chicago, Dubai, New Delhi, Singapore and Sydney.

“We see TripActions and Reed & Mackay
coming together to really fuel what our strategy was before. The TripActions
guys have amazing strength in marketing, sales teams and a great product. We
are able to service their ambitions on a global basis,” said Stratford.

Stratford believes more consolidation is
inevitable.

“Good businesses are good businesses,” he
said. “I think the change that we are going to see in the marketplace is that strong,
innovative businesses are going to get bigger and stronger. Players that are established
and not prepared to change will decline.”

The news of the acquisition follows
yesterday’s announcement that Amex GBT plans to acquire Egencia. TravelPerk has
also raised a war-chest in its latest round of funding which many believe will
be used to make TMC acquisitions.



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A Romantic Tasmanian Road Trip: Launceston to Strahan


Tasmania’s east coast is celebrated by those in search of the perfect road trip. But fewer travellers head west, towards beautiful fishing villages such as Stanley and Strahan, the rare cool-temperate rainforests of takayna/Tarkine, or the spectacular peaks of Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park.

Out this way, Tasmania can feel like an undiscovered country, with every turn in the road revealing a tiny hamlet, mighty forest or craggy stretch of coastline. Here’s how to spend a few romantic days in Tasmania’s west – where to stay, and what to see, do and eat.

Stay and eat in Launceston
Start your adventure in beautiful Launceston, the state’s second biggest city. Drop your bags at Hotel Verge, a new boutique hotel right in the guts of town. Echoing the precinct’s early industrial heritage, the hotel features industrial-luxe fittings in timber, steel and glass, Tasmanian-built king beds, handsome tiled bathrooms, and a fabulous on-site restaurant, Diverge, which showcases modern, local cuisine in a beautiful timber-lined setting.

Peppers Silo stands alone on the other side of the Tamar River. Here, four 1960s-built grain silos have been converted into an eye-catching nine-storey hotel with views. There’s a couple of excellent cafes and restaurants nearby – including Boathouse Coffee and Rupert & Hound – but the hotel’s own classy eatery, Grain of the Silos, sources produce from across the island for an approachable pan-European menu worth staying put for.

Explore and stay in Stanley, the quintessential romantic fishing village
Geographically defined by the Nut, an immense volcanic plug that rises 143 metres straight out of the sea, Stanley is a fishing village that feels almost stuck in time. Spend a couple of days here, exploring its cafes, restaurants and galleries, the atmospheric colonial-era Highfield Historic Site, or just gawking at the quaint stone cottages, and you’ll soon forget about the outside world. Grab some fish and chips from Hursey Seafoods and walk it off with a climb up the Nut for spectacular 360-degree coastal views. At the end of the day, have a pub meal with the locals at the Stanley Hotel Bistro and retire to Ship Inn Stanley, a beautiful old hotel that dates back to 1849. It’s the kind of place where you’ll want to linger, with the rooms decked out in stylish darkened tones, rich timber accents and luxurious linens – in other words, don’t be afraid to book an extra night.

Explore the Edge of the World
Wander down to the rocks at the tip of Gardiner Point to a spot dubbed the Edge of the World, and you’ll be staring at an ocean that stretches uninterrupted all the way to Argentina, 15,000 kilometres away. It’s an eerie spot, particularly when you take in the natural drama of the surrounding coastline. Grab a shot for Instagram and explore the rest of the area, which includes the small township of Arthur River and its eponymous waterway.

Discover takayna/Tarkine, Australia’s largest tract of cool-temperate rainforest
The north-west corner of Tasmania is home to takayna (or the Tarkine), an enormous tract of rare cool-temperate Gondwanan rainforest. One of the best ways to explore it is to head two hours south of Gardiner Point to Corinna, a former mining town that sits on the banks of the Pieman River. From here you can set off on wilderness walks and cruises – but perhaps the most romantic way to experience the rainforest is in a kayak, gently paddling your way to Lovers Falls. Five kilometres downstream from Corinna, this gorgeous waterfall drops about 40 metres through thick, vividly coloured bush. It’s magical stuff, but the journey there on the hushed river, passing by banks of myrtles, sassafras and giant tree ferns, is half the wonder. Hire kayaks from Corinna Wilderness Experience, and stay in its new wilderness cottages or in the old pub.

Day walk at Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park
Lake St Clair and Cradle Mountain are up there with Wineglass Bay, in Tasmania’s east, as the state’s most iconic natural attractions. Try to make some time for a day walk in Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park. There’s a clutch of trails at Lake St Clair, at the southern end of the park, while in the north you can get a taste of climbing to the summit of Cradle Mountain over the course of a day, or opt for the relatively easygoing Dove Lake Circuit, a three-hour walk that offers terrific views and access to some beautiful tracts of rainforest.

Stay in the shadow of Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park
There’s some brilliant accommodation near Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park.

Eagles Nest Retreat boasts three separate “nests” scattered over a 20-hectare property, with clear views of Mount Roland and the surrounding rural landscape. Opt for the smaller Eagles Nest I: it features a farmer’s bath, a log fire and – wait for it – a revolving sofa on a 360-degree turntable for taking in the surrounding vistas.
Peppers Cradle Mountain Lodge is located on the edge of the national park and is an incredible wilderness experience – and if you’re feeling indulgent, you could book some treatments at the Waldheim Alpine Spa. There’s a range of accommodation available, but the King Billy Suites are the ultimate romantic indulgence – each features separate sleeping and living areas, a double-sided wood fire, king size bed, and an oversized bathroom with freestanding bath. Outside, there’s a large deck where you can look out over the surrounding wilderness from a private hot tub.

Cruise the Gordon River
The Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area runs up the centre of the state and covers a whopping 15,800 square kilometres, making it one of the largest conservation areas in Australia. A great way to get a taste of it is on the water with Gordon River Cruises, operating out of Strahan on the west coast. A six-hour journey up the Gordon River on the state-of-the-art Spirit of the Wild departs early to experience the waterway’s famous rainforest reflections. It also includes two walking tours, at Heritage Landing and Sarah Island, and a chef-prepared lunch.

Stay in Wheelhouse Apartments in Strahan
End your Tasmanian adventure with a stay in Strahan, on the edge of the enormous Macquarie Harbour. Wheelhouse Apartments are perched on the cliffs overlooking the harbour and feature spas, private decks and fully equipped kitchens. What you’re really here for, though, are the lounge rooms with huge floor-to-ceiling windows with uninterrupted views of water below. From this luxe base, explore the old port town, with its shops selling artisan wares and eateries serving up local produce, and its ready access to nearby ocean beaches and forests.

This article is produced by Broadsheet in partnership with Tasmania – Come Down for Air. Find out more here.





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8 Things To Know Before Your First Trip To Paris


So, you finally booked your dream trip to Paris and are probably counting the days until you fly to the City of Light. The next thing you have to figure out is how to prepare for your maiden voyage — what to bring, what not to bring, what to know beforehand, what to know while you are there, whether you should have euros ahead of time, and a host of other things. 

I moved from New York to Paris permanently in 2005 and made at least a dozen trips before I moved here. Since I’ve been living here, I’ve given thousands of walking tours to American and international clients and now know the essentials you should bring before you arrive. 

I’ve prepared a comprehensive list of things you should know and do before your trip, so your dream vacation will go as smoothly as possible. 

1. Passport Requirements

If you are a U.S. citizen, you must have a U.S. passport that doesn’t expire for at least nine months after your arrival, otherwise, you will not be able to board your flight. This happened to one of my tour clients. She had booked a week of tours with me and when she was trying to board her flight, her husband’s passport was set to expire in three months, so he wasn’t able to board the flight, and they had to cancel their trip. 

2. What To Pack 

First thing first: Pack at least two pairs of your most comfortable shoes because Paris is mainly a walking city, and you don’t want to miss anything if your feet hurt. Sneakers or shoes with thick rubber soles work best, and make sure they are broken in before you leave. Packing a pair of dress shoes is a good idea, too. 

Put Paris in your weather app on your cell phone, and check it a few days before you leave so you can pack accordingly. Always bring an umbrella and a light raincoat. If coming in March, April, May, September, or October, it’s best to pack and wear layers because the temperature can vary greatly between morning and afternoon. On a typical April morning, it could be 38 degrees F at 9 a.m. and the temperature could go up to 60 degrees F by 2 p.m. A lightweight nylon or polar fleece vest or zip cardigan under a medium-weight coat or jacket is perfect so you can peel it off when it gets warm and then fold it up and put it in your bag or backpack. 

If you are a jogger or runner, pack your shorts or sweats because running is a fantastic way to soak up Paris sites such as the Seine River, the Tuileries park, and the Luxembourg Gardens.

Pro Tip: If you forget anything, don’t sweat it. Paris has more shops than almost any city in the world, so you’ll easily replace what you forgot, and also have a cool souvenir from Paris. 

3. Mobile Phones And Other Electronic Devices

There are two choices for cell phone service when you are in Paris. You can purchase a plan from your service provider from back home that includes international service. It will be a daily rate or a flat rate for an extended period of time. 

The other option is to purchase a local SIM card and install it in your phone if you have an unlocked phone. 

If you use the first option, make sure you turn off your data roaming service, otherwise, you will get socked with a shocking phone bill when you arrive back home. 

As far as laptop computers, tablets, Kindles, and other similar devices go, they will work fine here, and almost all hotels and apartment rentals have free Wi-Fi. 

France uses 220 – 240 V but the U.S. uses 120V, therefore the plugs are different, Buy at least two electronic plug converters, and more if necessary, so you can recharge your phone, computer, camera, et cetera. Some updated and newly opened hotels may already have the converted socket so you can use your American plug. If you forget to pack your converter plugs, you can ask the hotel if they have one you can borrow and you can easily purchase one at most electronic shops. You can buy a single converter plug for as low as $7 or you can buy a set that includes plugs for China and the UK. 

4. Museum And Attraction Tickets 

A smart idea is to book your museum and attraction tickets ahead of time, which will save you time and sometimes money. Although it takes more time to book your tickets individually at each site, it’s less expensive than buying a museum pass, unless you are planning to visit two or more museums a day. Also, make sure you book tickets directly on the museum’s or attraction’s site, rather than a third-party site such as Get Your Guide or Viator since these sites charge more than the museum sites do. This is the case especially with the Eiffel Tower, so purchase tickets directly here

It’s also best to print out a copy of the tickets, as some sites only accept physical tickets. 

5. Restaurant Reservations 

A number of Paris restaurants have online reservation systems, so it’s easy to book ahead. If the restaurant doesn’t have an online booking system, call the concierge at your hotel before you arrive and ask them to make the reservation. 

Most restaurants start their dinner service at 7:30 p.m., so don’t count on eating dinner any earlier, unless you go to a cafe, and then you don’t need a reservation. Just as a precaution, you or your concierge should call the restaurant the day before your reservation to confirm.

6. Money And Credit Cards 

Almost all restaurants, cafes, shops, hotels, and other establishments take credit and debit cards. Bring at least two credit cards, preferably either a Visa or Mastercard, because many small establishments don’t accept American Express or Discover. 

The euro is the currency used in France. Purchase a minimal amount of 50 to 100 euros at home, just to have when you arrive, but not more than that, because the exchange rate is much better when you exchange your money here. The easiest and safest way to attain euros in Paris is to use an ATM machine, as they have the best exchange rates. However, be aware that at certain ATMs, when you punch in the amount you want, it will then ask you if you want it taken out in euros or in USD, make sure to choose the euro option. For example, I have a Chase Bank account in the U.S. which I still use from time to time, and last week I took out 100 euros. The ATM asked me if I wanted to have $128 USD taken out of my account or if I wanted to take it directly in euros. I chose the second option, and it was $121 instead of $128 — a substantial difference. There may be an ATM fee of $3 to $5 from your bank back home, depending on what type of account you have, but it’s still worth it. 

The only place where you may need large amounts of cash is at the Paris Antique Flea Market, where some vendors don’t take credit cards. 

7. Travel And Medical Insurance 

It’s a wise idea to buy travel insurance, especially when traveling to a foreign country. As far as medical services, France has one of the best medical systems in the world, and is always in the top five list, even ahead of the U.S., at a fraction of the cost. Almost all general practitioners charge less than $50 for a visit. If it’s something more serious like a hospital visit or emergency surgery, it is possible that you will only be charged a minimal amount, as the government will sometimes forgive most of the cost. The American Hospital, in a suburb just outside of Paris, is known for its excellent service and highly trained doctors who all speak English. (Note that you may be charged full rates at the American Hospital). I had serious surgery five years ago at a French hospital, and I had the best care I’ve ever had in a hospital. 

8. Safety Tips

Paris, for the most part, is a safe city, with very little violent crime. The only thing is you have to beware of pickpockets, which are prevalent at most major tourist sites, such as the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, Champs Elysees, and Montmartre. To protect yourself, put your money and credit cards in a safe place, like an inside pocket, or for extra safety, a money belt under your shirt. Do not put valuables in a backpack, and women, don’t put valuables in your handbag. 

Be alert if a stranger comes up to you and asks if you speak English. Most of the time it will be either a pickpocket or someone trying to scam you into giving them money. Just ignore them.

Editor’s Note: Headed to Paris? Do not miss Richard’s 9 Ways To Avoid Looking Like A Tourist In France.



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‘Book your dream trip now. Pay later’: Airlines, hotels and cruise lines are peddling monthly payment plans. Should you bite? – USA TODAY



‘Book your dream trip now. Pay later’: Airlines, hotels and cruise lines are peddling monthly payment plans. Should you bite?  USA TODAY



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Biden’s road trip starts as partisan paths loom larger: The Note


The TAKE with Rick Klein

It may feel like a campaign — or, at least, a pandemic-era one, with car rallies, masks and social-distancing protocols. What they’re campaigning for is both an agenda and a way to open a path toward getting items on that list done.

But is the path of bipartisanship — of getting significant or even any Republican support for the White House agenda — really still open? Harris will be in deep-blue Baltimore on Thursday, with Biden in Georgia — a state that, like Maryland, now has two Democratic senators.

Travel choices aside, while Biden’s speech Wednesday night invited GOP ideas and highlighted meetings he and Harris are taking with Republicans, the president made clear that his patience has limits.

“I just want to be clear: From my perspective, doing nothing is not an option,” Biden said of infrastructure investments, in a line where he seemed to stray from his prepared text for emphasis.

To be even more clear, much, if not most of the Biden agenda does not even have unanimous Democratic support right now. Getting Republicans on board simply doesn’t seem viable at the moment, and some Democrats would argue that was always going to be the case.

When Biden talks about growing government and raising taxes, he knows better than to think his Republican friends will warm to him. That takes the campaign well outside Congress — to shaping public opinion, and showing that Biden is enough of a political force that his ideas should prevail.

The RUNDOWN with Averi Harper

Progressives had an answer to Biden’s address via the Working Families Party, with remarks delivered by freshman Rep. Jamaal Bowman, D-N.Y.

The gist: Go bold on legislation, take advantage of Democratic majorities in Congress and don’t wait for Republicans to get things done.

“The proposals that President Biden has put forward over the last few weeks would represent important steps — but don’t go as big as we’d truly need in order to solve the crises of jobs, climate and care,” said Bowman. “We need to think bigger.”

The sentiment is a far cry from the eagerness to work across the aisle we’ve seen from the White House and could signal growing frustration in the progressive wing of the party with the pace Biden is moving on his agenda, an early warning of sorts for the president.

For Biden, who prior to his speech Wednesday night referred to the Democratic Party as “splintered,” finding ways to appeal to his tent’s most centrist and progressive members will continue to prove difficult.

The TIP with Alisa Wiersema

As Biden marks his 100th day in office, across the aisle, another vice president-turned-possible-presidential-contender will be marking a milestone of his own: Former Vice President Mike Pence will deliver his first public remarks since the end of the Trump administration in South Carolina Thursday.

Before speaking at an annual gala of the conservative Christian nonprofit organization, the Palmetto Family Council, Pence will also make two stops across one of the nation’s most diverse early primary states. His office said Pence’s remarks will “contrast the policy accomplishments of the Trump-Pence administration with the first 100 days of the Biden-Harris administration.”

The move is not lost on Democrats, who plan to hold a virtual press briefing ahead of Pence’s visit. State party Chairman Tray Robertson, Jr. and Democratic National Committee Chair Jaime Harrison — a former 2020 South Carolina Senate candidate — plan to discuss “how Republicans are openly attacking Americans’ fundamental right to vote.”

While the discussion of ballot box access has ongoing, national relevance, it also offers a preemptive strike against the former vice president’s possible 2024 aspirations. In addition to this trip, Pence’s reemergence in the national spotlight includes penning an autobiography that has a tentative 2023 release date.

THE PLAYLIST

ABC News’ “Start Here” podcast. Thursday morning’s episode features ABC News White House correspondent Karen Travers, who recaps President Joe Biden’s first address to a joint session of Congress. ABC News Senior Investigative reporter Aaron Katersky tells us why Rudy Giuliani’s home and office were raided by the FBI Wednesday. And ABC News Senior Foreign correspondent Ian Pannell joins us from Afghanistan, where things are uneasy ahead of the original May 1 deadline for U.S. troops to withdraw. http://apple.co/2HPocUL

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW TODAY

  • Vice President Kamala Harris appears on ABC’s “Good Morning America.”
  • Palmetto Family Pastors Network will be hosting former Vice President Mike Pence at First Baptist Church of Columbia, South Carolina, at 4 p.m.
  • President Joe Biden receives the president’s daily brief at 9 a.m. and then travels with first lady Jill Biden to Georgia. They meet with former President Jimmy Carter and former first lady Rosalynn Carter in Plains at 1:25 p.m. They also travel to Duluth and participate in a drive-in car rally at 6 p.m.
  • Lt. Gen. Scott Berrier, director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, and Avril Haines, director of national intelligence appear before the Senate Armed Services Committee at 9:30 a.m. for a hearing on worldwide threats.
  • Jill Sanborn, assistant director of the FBI Counterterrorism Division, and Brad Wiegmann, deputy assistant attorney general in the Justice Department’s National Security Division appear before the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies at 10 a.m. for a hearing on violent extremism and domestic terrorism in America.
  • The vice president travels to Baltimore to tour a vaccination site at M&T Bank Stadium at 2:20 p.m. She delivers remarks on the administration’s first 100 days at 2:55 p.m.
  • The California Democratic Party kicks off its 2021 state convention.
  • Download the ABC News app and select “The Note” as an item of interest to receive the day’s sharpest political analysis.

    The Note is a daily ABC News feature that highlights the key political moments of the day ahead. Please check back tomorrow for the latest.





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    Save money on a California trip with Airbnb tiny homes


    Live large but think small. How? Rent a tiny home for your next vacation.

    Whether you plan to go bouldering in the desert or hiking in the forest, your getaway will be less expensive if you downsize your accommodations.

    Tiny houses, a popular architectural movement, are now booming as a vacation alternative.

    To help you sample the trend, we’ve scouted eight tiny homes you can rent for $200 or less per night in Southern California. All are available from Airbnb.

    Besides being budget-friendly, these rentals allow you to check in without human contact and avoid other guests.

    Most tiny homes accommodate only two people. You may be able to bring Rover, but ask upfront.

    The structures can be as small as 150 square feet, but we focused on ones 300 to 500 square feet. They’re still not spacious, but all offer outdoor seating and most have large patios or recreation areas.

    You must pay a cleaning fee, and there may be other charges. It usually makes sense to spend a few nights or a week rather than a single night.

    Idyllwild

    La Cabañita
    $181 a night

    There’s something special about this tiny house. Take a seat inside for a few minutes; better yet, recline on the bed. In front of you, a soaring wall of windows frames a landscape of tall trees, rocky mountains and blue skies. “People come in here and never want to leave,” said owner Jennifer Matthews. The 500-square-foot studio, which has a small kitchen, features unfinished cedar planks on walls and ceiling — an attractive woodsy touch. As wonderful as it is inside, there’s much to draw guests outside: hiking trails, a fun village, legendary Tahquitz Rock and nearby Mt. San Jacinto State Park.

    A small house with a deck surrounded by trees

    Tiny Charm Under The Pines in Idyllwild

    (Jim Edwards)

    Casita Lucila
    $169 per night

    Need some space? That’s a precious commodity in most tiny houses, including this 500-square-foot Pine Cove cabin near Idyllwild. But it offers plenty of space outside, with a deck, patio and large covered gazebo complete with firepit. Even the interior of this mini-home has surprising amenities, including a bedroom with a door that closes and a full kitchen. Another plus is the 5-foot fence that encloses the property. The cabin, built in 1927, was modernized by new owner Modesty Silva during the last year. Other amenities include a TV, wood-burning stove and board games. The home overlooks California 243, known as the Banning-Idyllwild Panoramic Highway.

    Crestline

    A small two-story wood house surrounded by conifers

    You need to climb a ladder to reach the bedroom in the Little Bear Cabin in Crestline.

    (Jim Edwards)

    Little Bear Cabin
    $121 per night

    Blue jays, chipmunks and towering pine trees welcome guests to this appealing cabin, set against the larger-than-life mountain landscape of the San Bernardino National Forest. Little Bear Cabin, at 500 square feet, offers a romantic getaway atmosphere for couples, said owner Desiree Abrantes, whose husband, Justin, recently added on the top floor and a new bathroom. “It has sort of a treehouse feel,” she said. You’ll need to climb a ladder to reach the bedroom, but it’s an actual room — not just a sleeping loft — with 10-foot ceilings so you can stand up. Amenities include a TV, internet and a fire pit. The rustic house was once a hunting cabin, built in 1937.

    Ojai

    A kitchen with flowers on a center table

    Serena Handley’s tiny house in Ojai has a pleasant vibe.

    (Rosemary McClure)

    Bungalow 514
    $150 per night

    Check out Ojai’s relaxed vibe at Bungalow 514, a cozy tiny house just outside town. Haven’t been to Ojai? You’ll find a mix of art galleries, spas and hippie healers in this inland community about 15 miles from Ventura. Bungalow 514, like the community as a whole, is surrounded by citrus groves and oak trees. It has a private gated entrance, where guests enter through an attractive archway of green plants. The recently converted and remodeled garage has a fenced patio with “space to do yoga or relax,” said owner Serena Handley. The house itself, at 440 square feet, is cute and efficiently designed with new appliances and a super-clean appearance. Minimum stay is three weeks.

    San Diego

    A two-story tiny house with French doors leading to a small patio

    A two-story tiny house can be found in the backyard of San Diego resident Daria Van Nice. It has two sleeping lofts.

    (Rosemary McClure)

    Traveler’s Tiny Home
    $146 per night

    The interior of a tiny house looking up at a sleeping loft

    Daria Van Nice cheerful tiny house has two sleeping lofts.

    (Rosemary McClure)

    Hotel prices are sky-high in San Diego. That’s why Daria Van Nice rents out a tiny house in her backyard. At 300 square feet, it’s the smallest of our featured houses. You wouldn’t want to spend the day inside, but it’s great for sleeping, showering and cooking. There are two sleeping lofts in this two-story mini; you’ll need to climb a ladder to access them. The house has a great yard, with pepper trees and a hot tub, garden, fire pit and chicken coop. The ladies will be happy to provide you with eggs in the morning, Van Nice said. The tiny home, about a mile from downtown San Diego, has parking and a private walkway and is in an evolving neighborhood.

    Joshua Tree

    Geologic wonders and wild-armed Joshua trees wow sightseers who explore 800,000-acre Joshua Tree National Park. This desert destination was among the nation’s top 10 most-visited parks last year and is booming again this spring, with full campgrounds and a line to get through the gates on weekends. That’s why we’re including three nearby tiny houses in this roundup. All are in the city of Joshua Tree, near the park’s west entrance.

    Tiny Rose
    $186 per night

    Swing in a hammock, take a walk in the hills or settle back in a lounge chair with a good book in the sunny courtyard of Tiny Rose, a converted garage with lots of flair. Rose Cefalu designed this 400-square-foot charmer, then gave it lots of privacy: Guests have a side driveway entrance and an enclosed patio with an eight-foot fence. Like our other Joshua Tree tiny houses, it’s about a 10-minute drive to the national park. You’ll find air conditioning, internet, a full kitchen, a large closet and easy parking. There’s a limit of two guests. Tip: You must climb a ladder to access the tiny sleeping loft.

    Modern Casita
    $182 per night

    This slick 400-square-foot home wins our squeaky-clean award. You can almost see your face in its polished cement floors. It helps that it’s new, having been built in 2020, according to owners Jon and Joanne Li. The couple, avid hikers and climbers, love Joshua Tree, about five miles away. Like most of our tiny houses, Modern Casita is very efficient: There’s a full kitchen, a double bed, a flat-screen TV and a carport — an unusual amenity that is a big plus when summer temperatures exceed 100 degrees. “The home is truly special to us, and we are glad we can share it with other people through Airbnb,” Jon Li said.

    Cozy Desert Escape
    $147 per night

    You’ll find a bottle of wine on the table when you rent this unpretentious backyard house on a quiet residential street about five miles from Joshua Tree. You’ll also find a business card for owner Nelson Day, who owns Climbing Life Guides, a service for pro and wannabe climbers. The structure was built in 1981; Day updated it after buying it in 2016. There’s a full kitchen, a double bed and lots of work space, which comes in handy for some visitors. Sara Greenbaum, visiting in early April from Boston, was enthusiastic: “I could get up at 4 a.m., do my work on my East Coast schedule, then walk in the park. It was perfect for my purposes.”





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    Booking windows, trip duration up as consumers return to travel: Travel Weekly


    As vaccinations continue to role out and some markets begin to reopen, Skyscanner has identified several trends it says are defining consumer behavior as it relates to travel planning and purchasing.

    Skyscanner Horizons: The Return of Travel is based on the global marketplace’s own search and redirect data, comparing March 2021 to March 2019 for travel between June and October of those years. It also includes results of a survey of 5,000 consumers in the U.S., U.K., Australia, Germany and South Korea conducted between April 21 and 23.

    Airfares for travel between June and October are down in many markets compared to 2019 — most sharply in Europe (down 15%), India (down 11%) and Brazil (down 9%).

    But the company said while price has long been the most important factor in picking a flight, now the decision-making process is more complex. During the first two and half months of 2020, travelers globally selected prices 25% more expensive than the cheapest price available, while for the same period in 2021 that rose to 28%, rising in all markets across EMEA, Asia-Pacific and North and South America.

    In its survey, Skyscanner said respondents indicate they are willing to pay more based on things such as convenient flight times, fewer stops or direct routes, airline safety ratings and flying with a specific airline.

    The report said trip planning is also changing. While booking windows shrunk in 2020 due to consumer uncertainty about the virus and destination conditions, now travelers are showing a willingness to commit to travel further in advance. 

    Skyscanner said travelers in the U.K. are booking about three and a half months in advance, “buoyed by their vaccination progress and the high chance of summer holidays in Europe and beyond.” Booking windows are now 80 days in advance in EMEA, 70 days in North and South America and 54 days in Asia Pacific. That’s compared to a low globally of about 55 days in September 2020.

    Trip duration is also up. Skyscanner says globally average trip length for this year is 16 days, up from 14 days in 2020 and 2019. Travelers in Singapore, Japan and South Korea are the biggest drivers of this trend, with APAC trip duration at 18 days, up from 13 in 2019. And in 2019 and 2020, average trip length fell after early July, but for 2021 Skyscanner says it is seeing trip length climb again in September, averaging nearly two weeks by the month’s end. 

    According to the survey, 55% of consumers are planning a holiday within the next six months, and 39% are planning trips longer than 14 days. When asked about international travel, the biggest deterrent for booking is quarantine (40%), followed by testing (28%) and there being too many restrictions (27%). 

    Said Skyscanner’s vice president of flights, Hugh Aitken: “There are still many pieces of the puzzle needed to fully restore traveler confidence and truly unlock underlying demand. As we have seen in the past, travelers are adept at adjusting to new measures, however we are entering a period where the importance of clear, straightforward and timely information is vital, especially relating to restrictions, quarantines and testing requirements.”

    Source: PhocusWire



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    Cape York camp sites booked out as travellers head for ultimate wilderness trip


    One of the country’s great wildernesses is gearing up for a bumper tourist season, as thousands of visitors prepare to tick Queensland’s Cape York off their bucket list.

    National park camp sites are booked out across the region, which spans nearly 1,500 kilometres from Cairns to the northern tip, as travellers look to conquer creek crossings and dirt road corrugations while doing a bit of crocodile spotting.

    Ken Godfrey runs the Bramwell Station Tourist Park, on the country’s northern-most cattle station, about two hours’ drive north of Weipa.

    several four-wheel drive vehicles drive along a beach with sand dunes behind
    Elim Beach near Hope Vale on Cape York is a popular four-wheel drive destination.(

    Supplied: Tourism Tropical North Queensland

    )

    Although the Cape is cut-off due to wet season flooding, Mr Godfrey said it hadn’t stopped the phone from “ringing off the hook” with enquiries from across the country, ahead of the June/July school holiday period.

    “We will host at least 500 people a night during June, July and August, from all over Australia — that’s a 50 per cent increase on 2019, ” Mr Godfrey said.

    Two big white tyres out the front of a remote tourist park in Cape York.
    The Bramwell Station Tourist Park in remote Cape York is expecting to host 500 visitors a night over the winter months. (

    Supplied: Bramwell Station Tourist Park

    )

    “A lot of people we are hearing from have never been north of Cairns.

    “They didn’t know that this part of the world existed, so they are in for a great surprise.”

    Mr Godfrey attributed the increased interest in the Australian wilderness to the closure of Australia’s border.

    Plenty of tourists but few staff 

    It is a similar situation at the Archer River Roadhouse, which runs a campground in the middle of Cape York.

    A man stands in front of a petrol station.
    Archer River Roadhouse owner Brad Allan is expecting a bumper tourist season. (

    ABC Far North: Anna Hartley 

    )

    Owner Brad Allan said he was expecting about 300 vehicles to pass through every day over the winter period, with many of those adventurers stopping to camp at the site. 

    “We’ve certainly had a lot of interest from people down south about travelling to the area, so we are expecting a huge season,” Mr Allan said.

    “Our accommodation is heavily booked, but we are lucky in that we have a lot of room for camping.”

    Mr Allan said one of the biggest challenges would be attracting staff to the area.

    “Normally we have four or five backpackers working here every year, but there’s very few of them left in the country,” he said.

    ‘Always been on our bucket list’

    Victorian couple, Emma Williams and her partner Dylan Veit, are among the hordes of travellers who will head to Cape York and attempt to tackle the famed Old Telegraph Track — an iconic but challenging 350 kilometre four-wheel-drive track.

    Ms Williams, from Kilmore, north of Melbourne, said they would be visiting Cooktown, Cape Flattery and Archer River, before eventually ending up at Captain Billy’s Landing at the tip of the country.

    A couple sit in a boat
    Victorian couple Emma Williams and Dylan Veit will travel to Queensland’s Cape York for the first time for a camping adventure in their four-wheel drive. (

    Supplied: Emma Williams

    )

    “Cape York has always been on our bucket list,” she said.

    “We will be camping in paid and free sites and spend a month in the Cape doing lots of four-wheel-driving. We can’t wait.”

    You must book ahead

    Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service Cape York manager Brett Stallbaum said the coming months were going to be a busy time for his staff.

    “We’ve got anywhere from being fully booked out to 80 per cent booked out depending on the location, including Lakefield and Elliot Falls,” Mr Stallbaum said.

    “My staff have to get to those camp sites and spend a good couple of weeks preparing, making sure they are safe and there’s no trees over the roads.”

    He urged campers not to turn up to national parks without a booking.

    “Also, when you are booking camping sites, make sure you use them. If your plans do change, let us know.”



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    Which COVID-19 Test Do You Need? Find out the Differences Between Them Before Your Next Trip




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