A Travel Writer Reflects on Her Profession, Overcrowding, and Hate Mail

“Do you silly writers realize the damage you’re causing?” the email read. “Write about and ruin your own home.” A guy named Jim was responding to a story I’d written for Outside about the Million Dollar Highway, a high-altitude roadway that connects the Colorado towns of Silverton and Ouray.

“You wrote an article about Highway 550 and the Ouray area, but what you probably can’t understand is that enough fools have already done the same thing these past few years and now this area is so freaking busy, that all the folks who live here are asking, ‘What happened?’ ‘How did we get so busy’ that it’s completely RUINED,” Jim continued. “People who have lived in the Ouray area for generations are moving away because the whole area is being overrun.”

If you’re looking for someone to blame, apparently it’s my fault that the once-quiet corner of southwest Colorado is now swarmed with people. But here’s the deal: sharing information about unique places in the outdoors is literally my job as a correspondent for Outside, and what if I have an opportunity to inspire people to visit a new place that will alter their view of themselves and the world around them? What if they fall in love with that place and then work to protect it? Wouldn’t you want to share that? Don’t you want others to know the beauty of the place you love so much? Well, sorry, but I do.

Travel writing—an archaic job that’s now mostly been replaced by influencers and YouTubers—sounds glamorous, but it really isn’t. Nowadays, it takes deciphering which places are under-the-radar gems that could benefit from a tourism boost and which spots are so overvisited that you’ll sit in gridlock just getting through town.

I like to inspire people to get outside. In fact, that’s Outside’s core mission. I also know that many U.S. towns that rely on tourism were hit hard during the pandemic with less income as a result of fewer travelers, and outfitters, stores, and restaurants went out of business. Now that people are traveling again, I also consider that many of these towns are getting more tourists than ever before and business owners are still struggling to find the staff to accommodate them.

“You have to ask yourself, is your writing about a place contributing to or taking away from the place?” veteran travel writer and longtime Outside contributor Stephanie Pearson, author of the new book 100 Great American Parks, told me. “You have to take responsibility. If you participate in this, how are you making it better?”

I had called Pearson to ask for some advice. How do I deal with the fact that, as a travel writer, I’m possibly contributing to our current overcrowding problem? In other words, what if Jim is right?

“The party line is that yes, more people will go there, but they will love and respect those places, so they won’t be destroyed,” Pearson said. “But in some areas like Moab, where tourists have trashed campsites, started fires, and dumped RV sewage, some residents believe that disrespectful visitors can be almost as destructive as the extractive industries that tourism was supposed to replace.”

On the story on Colorado’s Million Dollar Highway, someone commented: “Nooooooo!!! Tourists are dangerous on this road!!!!!! … STAY AWAY!!!!!!!” 

Pearson said she’s of the philosophy that everyone should be given access to these places, but we all need to take responsibility as well. She told me she’s become even more thoughtful about the places she writes about. The first question she asks local sources when she’s writing about a new place: Do you want me to write about this? Sometimes, the hotel clerk or the dive shop employee will say, no, we have enough crowds. Or sometimes they’ll say, August is very busy, but tell people to come in September instead. “I think we are hard wired as humans to want to wander, and people are always going to travel, but there’s always a more responsible way to do it. If you feel like a place shouldn’t be written about, don’t write about it,” she said.

When I was writing about ski towns to live in, the PR person from a well-known western ski resort told me, kindly: please don’t write about us. “The town has seen an influx of homebuyers from out of state, resulting in a shortage of affordable housing and a lot of resentment among the workers who call this place home,” he wrote. “I know this story isn’t unique, but right now, the resort and our local visitor bureaus are focused on promoting stewardship and sustainable tourism, rather than contributing to the population boom.”

So, I didn’t write about that town. I don’t want to add to the problem; ideally, I’d like to help solve it, by writing about issues like responsible tourism, best practices, and how you can give back to a community you’re visiting. But again, my job is to write about great places to travel to, so I’ve got to try to find spots where the locals won’t hate me for mentioning their hometown.

Jim’s note was hardly the first hate mail I’d received. On the story on Colorado’s Million Dollar Highway, someone commented: “Nooooooo!!! Tourists are dangerous on this road!!!!!! I’ve seen too many crazy things because tourists don’t know how to drive mountain roads … STAY AWAY!!!!!!!”

When I wrote about underrated beach towns, I got comments like, “Way to blow up the spots.” A piece on best free campsites in all 50 states—which, for the record, included responsible dispersed camping practices and didn’t divulge any spot that’s all that unknown—warranted an onslaught of angry responses along the lines of: “And now they’re all ruined. Keep the best places private!”

Concealing our secret spots just makes us gatekeepers to public lands that never belonged to us in the first place.

We now live in a world where Leave No Trace principles apply to not leaving trash on your next hike and also to social media guidelines on how to post about your favorite places and whether or not to geotag them. “The pushback against geotagging involves ordinary people deputizing themselves and asserting authority they don’t actually have to keep the outdoors ‘pure’ or ‘wild,’ ‘pristine,’ or simply, the way they remembered it from childhood by excluding people they view as dirty, loud, offensive, or simply not sharing their values,” Danielle Williams, founder of, writes on her blog.

Williams’ point is loud and clear. If we want to make the outdoors a place where everyone feels welcome, then we need to share information—as well as education. Concealing our secret spots just makes us gatekeepers to public lands that never belonged to us in the first place. “The so-called United States is Native Land and even the places you think of as ‘the middle of nowhere’ are the beloved homelands of Native people,” Jolie Varela, founder of a community called Indigenous Women Hike, writes in an Instagram post. “National Parks or so-called public lands are stolen Native lands, not your playgrounds or your backyard.”

There’s a sliding scale between thinking a secret spot is yours to own and keep private versus the trampling effect of overtourism. Ideally, we can live somewhere in the middle, sharing places to make them more accessible to a wider array of people but also protecting spots that risk being overrun. And it’s on all of us—writers, influencers, tourists, state and local governments—to find a sustainable way forward.

Not everyone is angry, of course. Occasionally, people will tell me they visited a place I recommended in a story and they were grateful for the insight. My editor at Outside was on a hike recently in Santa Fe, New Mexico, and a fellow hiker told her that he wouldn’t have known about that trail if it weren’t for Outside and that he appreciated the tip.

“The recipe for preserving nature is not to have less people experience it; it’s to have more people experience it,” photographer Chris Burkard says.

Most travel writers—myself included—recognize the hypocrisy of what we do: revealing other people’s secluded stashes but sometimes hoarding our own. “We have a campground close to where we live in New Jersey that I’ve really kept secret over the years, because selfishly, I want to be able to get a site there,” says Jeremy Puglisi, author of the guidebook, Where Should We Camp Next? “Call me a hypocrite, but I don’t want that place to get overwhelmed. But if some other writer or influencer shows up and blows the place up, I’m not going to get angry with them. Are there really any secrets anymore? With the internet and how easy it is to find information, it’s very hard to call any place a real secret anymore.”

Puglisi told me he considers if a campground can handle crowds before he covers it—does it have two campsites or 200?—and also that it’s becoming increasingly harder to find places that are truly undiscovered. “If we show up to a great spot, and there are other people there, I don’t find the experience ruined because someone else is there,” he says. “I don’t have to be totally alone to enjoy nature. I’m never going to complain about a crowd somewhere, because I’m there, so I’m part of the crowd.”

There’s a weird little corner of the internet where people post videos and locations of free, dispersed campsites on public lands, like a guy who goes by Dispersed Camper Man on YouTube, or RoaminRazz. They mainly shoot low-budget phone videos of beautiful, remote campsites, sharing so the rest of the world can find and enjoy. Nobody hates on them. Instead, they get comments like: “Thanks for the specific directions and coordinates.”

Photographer Chris Burkard, who has 3.9 million followers on Instagram and travels the world taking stunning photos of places that most of us will never see, says he’s careful about giving away specific instructions to the places he photographs. Not to serve as a gatekeeper, but to preserve people’s experiences in exploring their own path. “If you’re giving someone a road map to a place, that can be a bit of a bummer. The greatest joy comes from finding a place, or researching a place,” he told me. “We need to give people a chance. We need to understand that nature can provide a way.”

According to him, we don’t need outdoor places that are limited to the lucky few. We just need those who visit those places to be respectful. “The recipe for preserving nature is not to have less people experience it; it’s to have more people experience it,” Burkard says. “But if you’re going to unlock the gate to a place, there better be some instructions on that gate. I share places with the hope that other people experience them, but I hope they experience those places with a sense of respect and care.”

I hung up the phone with Burkard and made a resolution to myself. If I show up at your swimming hole or ski mountain, I’m warning you now, I may write about it. Sorry in advance. I think everyone should be able to experience beautiful places. But I promise you this: I’ll do my absolute best to remind readers to learn about the history, pick up their trash, tip their guides, and be kind to the locals and the land.

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Cruise holiday packing tip: Essential tips to pack to avoid common problem onboard ship | Cruise | Travel

However, several passengers have been caught out when it comes to charging electronics. An expert told what to pack to avoid challenges onboard.

Ashley Kosciolek at the Points Guy UK shared their essential cruise packing list with

She said: “Bring European plug adapters. The situation improves with each new ship, but cruise cabins are notoriously short on outlets.

“If you’re like me and travel with your phone, laptop, tablet, e-reader, wearables and a host of other electronics, charging everything can be a challenge.

“Some cruisers recommend packing a power strip, but that can be dicey, as surge-protected strips are often confiscated.

READ MORE: Passengers should ‘avoid’ certain clothing if they want free upgrade

“Instead, I suggest bringing a couple of plug adapters for European-style outlets. You’ll usually find at least one or two in your room, depending on the line and ship, and having those adapters will allow you to actually use them.”

Cruise ships may not have outlets for UK plugs so it’s essential that cruisers pack plug adapters.

It’s not always a good idea to bring a power strip as this could be confiscated when passengers board the ship.

Passengers should also try to bring a portable charger so they can maintain their battery while on excursions.


Ashley added: “I never cruise without a pack of thank-you notes or blank greeting cards.

“Unless something goes horribly awry, I leave a cash tip for my room steward at the end of each voyage, in addition to the automatic gratuities that are charged to my account.

“It gives me somewhere to put the money instead of just leaving it on the vanity when I depart.

“Even if you’re not a fan of additional tipping, you can still leave a nice note of thanks.”

Cruise crew work notoriously hard so it’s always nice for passengers to show their appreciation when they leave.

READ MORE: British expats could get paid over £2,500 to move to Spain

She said: “With so many horror stories about lost luggage lately, Apple AirTags are a must-have right now for any traveller, especially cruisers who are flying to their ports of embarkation.

“Simply pop one into each of your pieces of luggage and you can track their whereabouts using your iPhone and a Bluetooth connection.

“With a pack of these handy gadgets, you’ll be better equipped to find your missing bags than the airlines themselves.”

Many passengers have lost their luggage recently and some have struggled to find it again.

Using AirTags or another similar tracking device, passengers can keep track of their luggage when they travel.

It’s a good idea to keep all valuables in hand luggage as they’re less likely to go missing.

Some cruise passengers like to pack a swimming costume in their hand luggage so they can swim on the first day.

Cruise ships normally deliver passengers’ luggage towards the end of the first day so it’s good to be prepared.

Find more tips at The Points Guy UK

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ACA Conference & Expo 2023 Travel

The Toronto Pearson International Airport (airport code: YYZ) is located approximately 18 miles (30 minutes) from the Metro Toronto Convention Center.


Many airlines provide service to the Toronto Pearson International Airport such as Air Canada, WestJet, Air Transat and Sunwing Airlines. Feel free to book your travel with the airline(s) that best meet your needs.

Ground Transportation

Taxis: For your safety and security, be sure to choose a licensed taxi. They charge flat rates no surge pricing to Toronto destinations, accept all major credit cards and meet safety requirements. Licensed taxis pick up locations are at Terminal 1 – Arrivals Level, Door D and Terminal 3 Arrivals Level Doors D, E and F. Approximate cost for a taxi is $61-$67 one-way plus tip.

Public Transit Buses

Public Transit Buses at Person Airport go to downtown Toronto and the suburbs. Use the trip planner to map your route. Transportation options are TTC (Toronto) and Go Transit

Train to City

Union Pearson Express runs from Pearson Airport to Union Station in downtown Toronto in just 25 minutes. Adult on-way fare from Pearson to Union is $12.35. The train runs every 30 minutes seven days a week. UP Express locations at Pearson Airport are in Terminal 1 and Terminal 3.

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‘That’s not normal’: Van Vleuten tears up the GC on the Tour’s first mountain stage

The GC race had barely begun before stage 7. Marianne Vos (Jumbo-Visma) was sitting in yellow on borrowed time before the mountains with the GC favourites dotted around the top 10. Just 2:34 separated Vos in first and Elise Chabbey (Canyon-SRAM) in 10th. 

After Annemiek van Vleuten (Movistar) had her way in the Vosges Mountains, however, the GC was torn to pieces. 

The 39-year-old’s 60 km-long assault on the GC race sees her leading by 3:14 ahead of her nearest rival, Demi Vollering (SD Worx0, who valiantly stuck with her compatriot until she could no longer match her pace on the climbs. 

“That’s not normal,” Vollering said of Van Vleuten’s performance. “I said to her it’s not normal what you did. She said, I have so much more training experience and experience overall. She said to me that it will come to me, so let’s hope.”

Vollering stayed away on her own ahead of a chasing group of favourites to finish 5:16 ahead of Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig (FDJ Suez Futuroscope) who took third place on the stage. Vollering’s ride puts her at a 1:19 advantage over Kasia Niewiadoma (Canyon-SRAM) who started the day in second place.

“It was brutal to be honest,” said Niewiadoma after the stage. “There was seriously no time to recover, no time to do anything, because we started with a lot of attacks from different teams. So the pace was quite high. And then of course, we get the first climb. And it was still just crazy.

“For me personally, I knew that after the second climb, there was a long descent on the big road and the part in the valley was something that you definitely would benefit from when having riders around too. So when I saw [Elisa] Longo Borghini going on her own I knew that it would be a difficult day for her.

“And then on the last climb I just gave my best because I knew that the GC spot or the top three is available for me, especially the third place so basically I rode for that.”  

Longo Borghini’s solo efforts meant that she struggled on the final climb after eventually being caught by the group containing Niewiadoma, Juliette Labous (DSM), Uttrup Ludwig, Evita Muzic (FDJ Suez Futuroscope), Urška Žigart (BikeExchange-Jayco), and Silvia Persico (Valcar Travel & Service). The Italian eventually crossed the line 7:23 behind Van Vleuten and 2:07 behind Uttrup Ludwig putting her in seven on GC at 6:15.

“I’m completely exhausted,” Longo Borghini said after the stage. “I’ve been alone for a long time. For me, what really killed me was the valley. I gave my best and that’s it. In the end if you give your best it’s all you can do, and I really did it.

“We all knew that she [Van Vleuten] was the strongest and I didn’t believe for one second that she was not good.

“For me I was rockclimbing the last climb, but what can I say? It’s bike racing.”

Uttrup Ludwig’s third place on the stage has moved the Danish rider up to fifth overall at 5:59. Despite climbing up the GC the 26-year-old seemed uncharacteristically deflated after the stage. 

“I just gave it my all,” she said. “I guess then you should be satisfied. I didn’t have much more to give. They were just stronger today,” she said. “I did everything that I could, and I think the rest also. She [Van Vleuten] was just stronger.”

Labous, who finished fourth on the stage after a three-up sprint with Niewiadoma and Uttrup Ludwig has climbed to fourth overall at 5:22 while Muzic, who was in the same group going into the final climb, has entered the top 10 and sits in eighth with a deficit of 10:13 on Van Vleuten. 

Italian multidisciplinary rider Silvia Persico beat Longo Borghini in a sprint over the line to come sixth on the stage but still lost time to move into sixth overall at 6:11 back. An in-the-wars Mavi Garcia (UAE Team ADQ) managed to pull up after an unfortunate few stages of crashing to ride to 13th on the stage which propelled her back into the top 10. She sits in ninth place overall, 12:06 behind Van Vleuten. 

One of the day’s big GC losers was Vollering’s teammate, Ashleigh Moolman Pasio. Usually one of the peloton’s strongest climbers, the South African could only manage 18th on the stage, 13:43: behind Van Vleuten, dropping to 12th overall.  

“I’ve had a bit of a runny nose and stuff but I thought it was just allergies, but my whole body was just aching today,” Moolman Pasio said. “I don’t know, empty today. It’s crazy how you can go from feeling so good to feeling so shit just overnight. But yeah, a really good performance from Demi so we can be happy with that.” 

One of the revelations of the day was Žigart who, after a relatively quiet race, spent the day in a group of the peloton’s best climbers. The 25-year-old Slovenian finished the stage in eighth place but is over 30 minutes in arrears on GC.  

“It was full gas from the start,” she said. “Already when the big break went. Actually when the peloton split. And then full gas into the full climb. Everybody knew that they had to make a difference as soon as possible and then it’s everybody on their own.

“I wasn’t there – I didn’t see it [Van Vleuten’s move]. I was a little bit stuck and out of position. I had to climb my way back to the group of favourites. We were unlucky to have Kristen [Faulkner] back but I couldn’t push, I couldn’t work in the group. Of course I was a little sad. I felt a bit stupid.

“I felt good [on the day]. I showed the world that I have the climbing legs. Hopefully in the future I can be further up.”

The GC podium seems all but secured with one stage to go, however in the words of Niewiadoma: “you never know what can happen. Bike racing is unpredictable.” 

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17 Tips And Tricks For Taking Young Grandchildren To Disney World

Toting a four-year-old and a one-and-a-half-year-old, our first trip to Disney World with our grandchildren was a hoot. Our children visited Disney World for the first time when they were around four. We knew what a joyful experience it was for us and our children that we had to take our oldest granddaughter and started planning for her fourth birthday.

A Disney World trip for younger kids can be a lot of work, but also glorious fun. Watching the wide-eyed amazement as beloved characters come to life right before their eyes is a moment not to be missed. Your grandchildren’s first Disney World vacation will be filled with princess dresses, tiaras, magic bubble wands, and Buzz Lightyear costumes.

If you plan ahead, be prepared for plans to change, and enjoy the crazy Disney World atmosphere, you will have a wonderful time —  and your grandbabies will too.

The Disney World Parks

Each park has its challenges and rewards. To avoid trying to cram all the Disney fun into one exhausting day, choose a multi-day, Park Hopper Pass option. Under the current Disney regulations, Park Hopper hours start at 2 p.m.

Viewing rhinos at Kilimanjaro Safaris at Disney Magic Kingdom.

Viewing rhinos at Kilimanjaro Safaris

Photo credit: Sandi Barrett

1. Animal Kingdom

I think Animal Kingdom is the best park for the first day to ease into the visit. The parks can be completely overwhelming for young kids and exhausting for us grandparents. There are good ride options depending on the age of your grandkids.

The Kilimanjaro Safari opens at 8 a.m. which is perfect if you are an early riser and staying on Disney property. The kids love watching all the exotic animals. They enchant even very small children.

Another child-friendly ride in Animal Kingdom is the Wildlife Express Train. The short train ride, which for the little ones is an adventure, drops you off at a winding path through the “jungle.” Ultimately, you land at a kid-friendly petting zoo and exhibit.

2. Magic Kingdom Must-Do Rides

My best advice for the Magic Kingdom is to plan your must-do rides. There are so many rides to choose from, but you should figure out which are the must-dos for you — whether it’s “it’s a small world”, Mad Tea Party, Dumbo, or something else. When you take your grandkids to Disney World they expect a magical time and this is the park to bring on the magic.

Intersperse wild, tummy jostling rides like the Mad Tea Party —  I can only take so much spinning —  with rides where you sit. The PeopleMover, “it’s a small world”, and the Marketplace Carousel are calming options.

Watching the fireworks display over Cinderella’s Castle is a time-honored tradition, and everyone wants a perfect view. Magic Kingdom’s Main Street can become extremely crowded during the festivities. If you want a good view, arrive early. Guests start lining up two hours ahead of time and navigating a stroller through the crowds is challenging.

3. Epcot And The World Showcase

Epcot is not just for adults, it is worth spending at least half a day here with young grandchildren. Frozen Ever After is a must-see for any young Disney fan, and Soarin’ Around The World is another wonderful ride. When you are ready to sit, visit The Seas with Nemo and Friends; it is cute and appropriate for all ages.

4. Disney’s Hollywood Studios

I would skip Hollywood Studios if your grandchildren are really young. There is so much to see and do at the other parks. When they are in their tween years, they will love the wild rides here.

Goofy, the author's grandchildren, and their father at Chef Mickey's.

The author’s grandchildren with their father at Chef Mickey’s

Photo credit: Rose Pacific

Disney Hotel Must-Haves

A Disney Resort Hotel is the best option for a stay. Each themed hotel offers great options, but I like Disney’s Contemporary Resort. The monorail runs right through the hotel, making it easy to get to the Magic Kingdom. Additionally, they host breakfast at Chef Mickey’s. Make sure to get a reservation at Chef Mickey’s beforehand or join the walk-in waitlist the day of by checking if there is dining availability on the My Disney Experience App. The main goal with little ones is to keep it easy and simple.

5. A Great Pool

Mixing in a few pool days is super important. Grandpa wants to go to the park every day, but with little ones, it’s important to have downtime. Nothing gets everyone ready for a nap better than a swim.

6. Stay Close To The Park

If you can’t stay in the park, let’s face it, the on-property hotels are pricey. Look for a hotel that is close to the park. The Springhill Suites by Marriott is close to all the action for a family-friendly price. For other options, browse through this list of hotels that are participating in Disney’s Good Neighbor Hotel program!

7. Kitchen

Groceries can be delivered right to your condo, hotel, or Airbnb. You don’t want to waste time running around the grocery store. Plan a few meals and healthy snacks before you go. Order them to arrive when you are unpacking and settling into your temporary home.

Getting your babies’ favorite snacks such as the right yogurt, crackers, and fruit will help keep the kids comfy and regular —  a very important consideration to keep them happy. Young children can be picky eaters and having your own food will save you money.

The author's grandchild with a bubble wand at Walt Disney World.

The author’s grandchild with a bubble wand at Walt Disney World

Photo credit: Sandi Barrett

Extra Surprises

Disney parks are designed to process lots of guests. Be prepared for long lines and throngs of people by stashing a few extra surprises in your magic bag of tricks.

8. Fun Toys

You can order popular items like the ubiquitous bubble wands before you go for less than in-park prices.

9. Disney Wearables

Ordering Disney pajamas, character t-shirts, and Disney hats before you go is a fun way to spread the magic without breaking the bank. You may still want to purchase a small trinket or two on the trip for memento purposes.

10. Genie+ Service

Enhance the Disney magic by using the Genie+ Service. You need to set up an account on the My Disney Experience App, but you will want to do this anyway. The service costs $15 per person in your group. You can have all members of your party on the account which makes reserving parks, rides, and more a one-stop-shop.

As of June 2022, Disney has eliminated the pre-purchasing option for Genie+. Guests can purchase the service on the day of their park reservation.

11. Lightning Lanes

The Genie+ Service is the best way to avoid long lines for your most desired rides. You can sign up your entire group for a time window to access the lightning lane for a particular ride. There are a few restrictions; it is applicable for certain rides, but many popular ones are available for an upcharge. Depending on the park and your timing, you can expect to upgrade two or three rides to lightning lane passes —  if you arrive at the park early.

12. Order Food

With the My Disney Experience App, you can order and pay for food at counter service restaurants throughout the park using the Mobile Order feature. No need to stand in line for a snack! You will be notified when your order is ready for pickup.

13. Wait Times, Character Meet And Greets, PhotoPass, And More

The My Disney Experience App will display wait times for rides, shows, height requirements, character meet and greet times and locations, as well as PhotoPass photographer locations, and more. It is an invaluable tool that will make your experience less frantic.

Visiting a princess at Magic Kingdom Park.

Visiting a princess at Magic Kingdom Park

Photo credit: Emily Barrett

Visiting Walt Disney World

14. Buy A Park Hopper Pass

A Park Hopper Pass adds more to the cost of your ticket and adds flexibility to your visit. With Park Hopper tickets, you can enjoy attractions at the Magic Kingdom in the morning, journey through Pandora in Animal Kingdom during the afternoon, then finish the night watching Epcot’s new nighttime spectacular Harmonious.

15. Start Early

Go early in the morning. It is always crowded but aim to be at the park when it opens. Head straight to the must-do ride of the day and enjoy a shorter line, then meander from there.

If you are staying on property or at a Disney Good Neighbor Hotel, you have the advantage of 30-minute early access to the parks. This can make a big difference in wait time for the most sought-after rides.

16. Take A Midday Break

With a multi-day park hopper pass, you have the option to leave the park and enter a different one. Note that if you have a day pass (without park hopper access) and reservation for a Walt Disney World theme park, you can leave the park and re-enter later that same day. Take advantage of the midday slump and head back to the hotel for lunch, a swim, and a nap —  not just Grampy, but the kids too. After a refreshing break, you will be ready to head back into the park.

17. Be A Flexible Planner

Finally, be flexible. Pre-plan your days to determine which days will be park days and which will be pool days. That way, you will have a better and more efficient trip.

Funny story: One time when my girls were young, it was our sixth day entering the park. My youngest daughter, five at the time, had a meltdown in the parking lot. She threw herself to the ground and screamed, “No more Mickey —  no more Mickey!” We were long overdue for a pool day.

A Perfect Walt Disney World Vacation

It doesn’t exist. Don’t aim for perfection, aim for creating special moments. Going with the flow and having fun is more important than getting on that last ride.

Visiting Walt Disney World with your grandchildren is a magical vacation. I can’t wait to bring them again when our grandson is old enough to remember the experience and make priceless memories.

Pro Tip: With the little ones, bring mom and dad along. Give them a night out, but bring them to the park — little ones are exhausting and those teacups are traumatic for Gigi after the fourth go around!

For more tips and tricks to planning your next magical Disney vacation, click here:

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Tour de France COVID test results, updated as we get them

We roll with some trepidation into the Alpine rest day of the Tour de France, as the entire peloton plus team staff, the UCI jury, and other key Tour de France personnel were all tested for COVID after Sunday’s stage. The results of those tests are starting to trickle in, first via reporting by CyclingTips and other media outlets and, sometime tomorrow, as a formal report from the UCI and Tour de France organizer ASO.

A number of teams have already returned 100% negative results and will enter the rest day with a calm that comes from knowing they will start the Tour de France on Tuesday. Crucially, the teams of Tadej Pogačar and Jonas Vingegaard are both in the clear, according to a report from Het Laaste Nieuws. The below list is a combination of independently verified negatives and reporting from HLN and others.

Tour teams with all negative tests

  • AG2R-Citroën
  • Alpecin-Deceuninck
  • Intermarché Wanty-Gobert
  • Lotto Soudal
  • Jumbo-Visma
  • Trek-Segafredo
  • Quick Step Alpha-Vinyl
  • UAE Team Emirates
COVID testing in a tent near the team bus parking area on Sunday.

How does the Tour de France’s COVID testing work?

Under the UCI’s revised COVID protocol, the testing process can be broken down into three parts.

First is an antigen test. These are the tests performed on the entire peloton just after the stage. Riders descended from the finish to the team bus area, about 6 km below, and were immediately handed a mask and whisked away to a testing tent. They returned roughly 5-10 minutes later to shower and change.

The results of those tests began to arrive late Sunday evening.

In the event of a positive antigen test, the rider or staff member will receive a PCR test. PCR tests are more sensitive and provide more detail than the simple “yes/no” of an antigen test. PCR tests generate a Cycle Threshold (CT) score, essentially a measure of how much virus is being shed by the individual in question. Higher numbers are better. A number below 30 or 35 (there appears to be some leeway here) is a definitive positive and the rider is out of the Tour. Above that threshold and there are decisions to be made.

If CT is over 30 or 35, a three-doctor tribunal of sorts, comprised of a team doctor, the Tour’s COVID doctor, and a UCI doctor, all decide what to do with a particular case. These doctors can let a rider continue to race or send him home. Bob Jungels, who won Sunday’s stage, tested positive in the days before the Tour began but returned a score over 35 before the start and was thus allowed to line up. It is possible that a rider who scores close to 35 on Sunday night could be tested again Monday night and be cleared to race. This is why in this case, no news is unlikely to be good news.

We will update the above list of confirmed negatives as teams release their results.

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Enjoy the best that Bali has to offer at Jimbaran Puri

This week’s Travel Tip Tuesday is brought to you by iTravel Darwin, one of the fastest growing independent travel franchises and mobile travel agent networks in Australia.

Visit Bali and enjoy its stunning beach, traditional culture and fascinating traditional food, and top it all by staying at Jimbaran Puri Villas.

Matching Bali’s natural wonders are its ever-growing choice of awesome accommodations. Jimbaran Puri is a Belmond Hotel offering a retreat with your well-being in mind. The place offers a tropical gateway with talcum-soft sands and tranquil waters to entice you after a massage by the sea.

Villas at Jimbaran Puri offer an idyllic Balinese beach escape. Each luxurious cottage comes with an interior of cool marble floors, lavish teak woods and high-beamed ceilings. En-suite bathrooms feature a sunken terrazzo bathtub and dual vanities. Outside, your secluded terrace or wooden deck is surrounded by lush flowers.

Stepping out of your lush sanctuary, you are immediately greeted by the breathtaking beach and garden views.

Jimbaran’s one-bedroom de-lux pool villa package for three persons includes: return Business class airfare, five nights’ accommodation, daily breakfast with half board (dinner or lunch), one x 60-minute spa treatment per person, and one Daily cocktail per person.



Room amenities include a Butler service, a private swimming pool with an outdoor shower, air conditioning with climate control, free WiFi, a large bathroom with an elegant black-stone bathtub, a teakwood deck with Balinese daybed, Indoor and outdoor rainfall showers, TV with international channels and a fully-stocked mini bar. Rooms are 350 sqm. and non-smoking.

Other services and amenities offered to guests are turndown service, welcome drink and afternoon tea, pillow menu and luxury linens and designer toiletries.

Relax, unwind, and embrace the island spirit of Bali. Accommodation at Jimbaran Puri offers guests a magnificent yet tranquil beach escape, with every moment that promises endless memories to cherish!

To inquire about this wonderful vacation package visit us at Jape Homemaker Village located at 365 Bagot Rd Milner, Darwin. You can also e-mail us at [email protected] or call 08 8985 2737.


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Airline pilot shortages impacting summer travel

CHESTERFIELD, Va. (WWBT) – Major airlines all over the country have been canceling hundreds of flights a day, citing pilot shortages after encouraging many pilots to retire early during the pandemic while underestimating the demand during recovery. So far, over 300 airports nationwide are now offering fewer flights.

One hundred eighty-eight airports have lost more than 25% of their flights. At least nine airports no longer have any flights coming or going. It’s estimated that the airline industry will be short some 12,000 pilots by next year.

But former airline pilot and CEO of the Richmond Executive Aviation Flight School (REA) Captain Mark Hackett says this problem was propagated after a reduction and pay and pensions industry-wide following 9/11.

“Pilot pay and benefits were reduced after 9/11. Pensions and 401k plans were disrupted during bankruptcy court. Pilot pay was actually cut in half as the airlines were struggling to survive, and it really diminished the pilot training pool from Sept. 11, 2001, onto today,” Hackett said.

Hackett says barriers to entry in the aviation field have also limited the pool of available qualified pilots and how quickly they can become certified.

“We’re also experiencing a shortage because it costs a lot of money to become a professional pilot. You have to have a lot of training, you have to have FAA certification, and now since 2009, you have 1,500 hours of flight time to qualify as an airline transport pilot,” Hackett said. “We’re seeing a reduction of airline pilots that can fill those seats today.”

Before 2009, the training hours required for new pilots were just 350. Hackett says while the safety requirements have significantly improved across the industry, it also means it takes longer for pilots to become certified, which is why maintaining a robust training and hiring pool is crucial for the health of the aviation industry.

“Due to that fast-paced recovery, you can’t just snap your fingers and have a pilot go from you’re hired to you’re in the seat,” Hackett said. “It takes time. These pilots that we train here at Richmond Executive Aviation must have 1,500 hours of flight experience before they even qualify for the airlines, and that takes years to do.”

Hackett says despite the pandemic hitting the airline industry hard, it also slowed the demand for pilots. During that time, airlines reduced the number of pilots they were training, betting that recovery after the pandemic would take much longer.

“The airlines were struggling to maintain during the pandemic, so they stopped their hiring cycles, they stopped their pilot pools, and their search for qualified pilots,” Hackett said. “The airlines, to save resources, did not put many resources into getting those qualified candidates into the seats fast enough, and now that the industry is recovering much quicker than anticipated, the pilot shortage is starting to rear its ugly head again.”

There is also a requirement by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) – that airline pilots must retire once they reach the age of 65. Hackett says that the age requirement was increased from 60 in 2007, which bought the industry time up to the pandemic.

“Had the pandemic not happened, airline companies would have experienced the airline pilot shortage we’re seeing now much earlier,” Hackett said. “You can’t fly planes without pilots, and you can’t have safety unless those pilots are highly qualified.”

The Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA), which represents the largest union of pilots in the world, says there have been 8,000 newly certified pilots in the past year, and that poor planning from airlines’ filling positions is to blame.

“Some airlines are trying to distract from their profit-first business decisions to cut service with the fictitious claim that there is a lack of available pilots,” the union said in a press release.

“ALPA is prepared to collaborate with anyone who comes to the table, in good faith, and work together to help our industry navigate this challenging period. However, we will not allow anyone to exploit this current moment to divert attention away from their mismanagement of the pandemic relief while attempting to weaken aviation safety,” ALPA president Capt. Joe DePete said.

Hackett says many issues plaguing the airline industry today come down to pay. He says there are over 250,000 qualified pilots nationwide but approximately 85,000 airline jobs. Despite the surplus, he says many pilots are not rushing to fill the gaps in the airline industry because of concerns about their quality of life while working.

“That’s where we are today,” Hackett said. “You’re going to cancel hundreds of flights, and no airline or aircraft is exempt from having a pilot on board.”

Hackett says he’s not in favor of reducing the training hours required to become certified. Still, he believes in improving the quality of the training to prepare pilots for the technology and equipment they’ll be using in state-of-the-art planes of today.

“Whether you’re flying a smaller plane, or a commercial jet, or a corporate jet aircraft, the pilot qualifications to fly passengers is roughly the same,” Hackett said. “It’s not a quick overnight fix, and because of that problem, we’re seeing the hurt today with the lack of pilots. Training protocols have to change.”

He says the benefit of REA is that he’s training his pilots on the technology they’ll be using in the field rather than on antiquated planes, which he says not only prepares future pilots for what they will be operating at an airline but also could qualify the pilots quicker. Hackett says this can’t be the only issue addressed to resolve the pilot shortage.

“The biggest problem is we have to fix the pilot quality of life and pilot pay. We need to safeguard the industry as far as safety goes, and we can’t reduce those minimum hours for certification just to get the youngest pilots on the books that are willing to fly for less, which is what companies want to do,” Hackett said.

Hackett says there is also a need for more flight schools to train the next generation of pilots to meet the demand of airlines in the future, but he says local governments can make services like that difficult to establish.

“We also have to get more flight schools open; flight schools are busting at the seams,” Hackett said. “It was very difficult to open our flight school. We got a lot of discontinuity with the County of Chesterfield and still do to this day.”

Even if these solutions were put in place today, Hackett says that consumers should expect the impacts from the shortage to last far beyond summer.

“It’s not tomorrow, it’s not the end of the summer – we’re in trouble,” Hackett said. “As a matter of fact, this is the tip of the iceberg. This is going to get much, much worse. We’re talking about 10 to 15 years before we see an industry adjust training protocols and pilots.”

Copyright 2022 WWBT. All rights reserved.

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