Categorized | Technology

Travel Smart: Trends, tips and tidbits for the New Year

Ah, the freedom of youth: In celebration of Canada’s 150th birthday, visitors to national parks, historic sites and marine conservation areas made more than six million online applications for Parks Canada Discovery passes in 2017, and the freebie has been extended to visitors 17 and under throughout 2018. Older Parks Canada visitors will have to pay admission just as they did in previous years.

Engaging vs. lounging: Adventure travel vacations are increasingly popular, while interest in all-inclusive resort holidays declines. Kasi Dundas, with the Intrepid Group North America, says global tour organizations and Statistics Canada are seeing a drop in demand for traditional beach, bar and buffet resort holidays and growth in “experiential adventure-style travel.” It’s not just young people but also more families, seniors and solo travellers who want active excursions with local cultural interaction these days.

Smart luggage trepidation: Smart luggage with non-removable batteries could be heading the way of the spontaneously combusting cellphone, self-igniting hoverboard and face scorching e-cigarette, as airlines move to ban them. As of Jan. 15, Alaska, American and Delta airlines will nix them in both carry-on and checked baggage, and other air carriers are considering the same over fire fears, to the consternation of several manufactures. Without power smartphone app connectivity, smart luggage’s geo-tracking, remote lock-unlock, motor wheels and device charging capabilities cease, making expensive hi-tech luggage as hard to trace as any plain old missing suitcase.

The fear is that if lithium-ion or lithium metal batteries combust inside cargo holds inflight the result could be catastrophic, whereas in a cabin the fire would be noticed and quickly extinguished.

In December, Gregory Martin, U.S. Federal Aviation Administration spokesman, told “The FAA has been very, very clear in its guidance to air carriers, that lithium-ion batteries stored in the cargo hold present an unacceptable risk.”

On its , the FAA recommends passengers carry portable electronic devices in carry-on bags instead of in checked baggage.

The Canadian Air Transport Security Authority advises “not all airlines allow lithium batteries carried in personal devices such as laptops or cell phones in checked baggage,” so travellers should consult their airline for its policy.

So far, there have not been reports of any smart luggage battery fires.

Vacation Deprivation: To the detriment of health and family life, food and beverage workers and Quebecers are Canada’s most vacation-deprived groups, according to a 2017 Expedia survey released in the fall. Many café, restaurant and bar staff are young and work part-time, so that’s logical, but why Quebecers? The folks at Expedia didn’t have an answer, Statistics Canada doesn’t calculate vacation deprivation numbers and reaching out to workplace health and wellness experts yielded no answers. Could it be too many Quebecers work in the food and beverage industry?

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