5 Important Tips for Driving in the Snow That Will Keep You Safe on Winter Road Trips




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‘It took me 5 minutes to do that’


An airline passenger is going viral after sharing how she uses a neck pillow to dodge extra luggage fees.

The budget-friendly travel tip has been trending on TikTok for a few weeks now, but it’s getting more attention thanks to user @anayotothe. In a series of now-viral clips, the TikToker shared her progress as she successfully pulled off the hack.

Her trick, which uses an airplane pillow to sneak extra luggage onto the plane, is just the latest travel hack to spread widely on the app. In recent weeks, users have shared how to easily track flights on an iPhone and how to save money by buying your tickets at the airport

In @anayotothe’s first clip, she explained that she was using a budget airline to fly to Las Vegas. To avoid the airline’s strict baggage rules, she packed a neck pillow full of extra luggage. 

“My flight is in three hours. Let’s see how this goes,” her caption read.

TikTokers immediately jumped in to praise the hack, calling it “brilliant.”

“I needed this!” one user wrote.

“It’s really crazy to me how they make us pay extra for bags,” another added.

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“I do it all the time!” another agreed

Users were especially curious to know whether @anayotothe got away with it. So, she shared a follow-up TikTok to confirm it worked — and explain how easy it was.  

“It took me five minutes to do that,” she said in the video.

The trick also comes just months after another neck pillow hack, in which user Sidney Raz shared that millions of people have been using neck pillows the wrong way. Meanwhile, TikTokers have also shared their attempts to sneak extra luggage inside a full-sized pillowcase.

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The post Airline passenger baffles TikTokers with ‘brilliant’ budget travel hack appeared first on In The Know.



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5 Ultra-Romantic Lodgings In The U.S, Mexico And Virgin Islands


We’ve all been through lots, and probably haven’t traveled as much as we would like in the past couple of years. That means when we do, we might want to splurge. And what better time than Valentines Day, when you can not only enjoy your getaway, but also get big points for doing so?

So here are a few terrific — frankly pricey — absolutely romantic getaways. Enjoy reading even if you don’t get to go, this year.

San Ysidro Ranch | Santa Barbara, CA

A romantic boutique hotel for over a century thanks to its intimate cottages, world-class service and setting in the Montecito foothills, this is where Laurence Olivier and Vivien Leigh exchanged midnight wedding vows on the grounds, and John and Jackie Kennedy honeymooned in the cottage that now bears their name. And currently this is the area Megan and Andrew — and Oprah — choose to live.

The secluded Forbes Five-Star resort has meticulously landscaped grounds, 38 luxury cottages and offers award-winning dining, a year-round heated swimming pool, salon and spa, and access to 17 miles of hiking trails.

Customized romantic itineraries include sunset sailing, private yoga and sound meditation sessions, horseback riding and curated wine tastings from the best wineries in California. You can go big and book the new 50k splurge-cation package for the trip of a lifetime, for really big points.

Oil Nut Bay | Virgin Gorda, British Virgin Islands

Virgin Gorda is known for “The Baths,” huge granite rocks strewn around tropical sands — to get the same feel, you’d have to travel to the Seychelles, so think of all the money you’re saving!

For privacy, and romance, Oil Nut Bay in Virgin Gorda is only accessible by boat or helicopter, spread across 400 acres and entirely surrounded by the ocean. Guests stay in private villas custom-built into the island’s topography. Private chef dinners are available in-villa and on the beach along with romantic picnic spreads in secluded locales around the property.

Amenities include a beach club with three pools and a swim-up bar; Nova overwater restaurant and bar; wellness center; two heli-pads; equipment for kayaking, sailing, and snorkeling; and world-class dining options.

One special Romantic Getaway package includes a candlelit private beach dinner, turndown service with locally sourced flower petals, and a guided snorkel tour to see sea turtles.

Salmon Falls Resort | Ketchikan, Alaska 

At the southernmost entrance to Alaska’s iconic Inside Passage, Salmon Falls Resort is 90 minutes from Seattle. The 51-room resort is known for its majestic setting and world-class salmon fishing. The natural splendor in the midst of the Tongass National Forest on Revillagigedo Island lends itself to reconnecting over private adventures.

The resort reopens for the 2022 season on June 1, but couples can book now. Luxury rooms are in a secluded area with terrific views of wildlife and water. Adventurous couples will love the scenic Floatplane Fishing Adventure or Salmon Roe & Wine Pairing.

Grand Solmar at Rancho San Lucas | Cabo San Lucas, Mexico

At the southernmost tip of the Baja California peninsula, just 15 minutes from downtown Cabo San Lucas, this tranquil resort boasts ocean views from every suite, and a high-style vibe. Amenities include multiple restaurants, a luxury seaside spa with private beachfront cabanas, infinity pools, saltwater lagoon and a new Greg Norman Signature golf course. 

Couples can book its Luxury Balinese Dinner, and includes waterfront views in a Balinese cabana and a gourmet candle-lit four-course meal accompanied by wine selected by the resident sommelier.

Low-key love birds can opt for the Glam Picnic by the Sea experience complete with a lantern-lit walkway, decorated arch, throw pillows and blankets, hors d’oeuvres and wine or champagne. And live music, if you wish.

Smyth Tribeca | New York, New York

Recently opening its doors in the heart of TriBeCa, Smyth Tribeca is understated and chic. A hundred well-appointed guest rooms and suites feature floor-to-ceiling windows with sweeping views of downtown Manhattan, and spacious marble bathrooms.

In true downtown Manhattan style, The “Comeback Closet” personal shopping experience pairs guests with an Editorialist YX stylist for a consultation prior to arrival. The stylist will shop and curate looks based on your desired aesthetic. On the Editorialist app, you’ll access their personalized outfits in advance of your stay and pick and choose, and be greeted in your suite by rolling racks of hand-selected clothing and accessories — and a bottle of Champagne, of course.



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5 reasons ‘shoulder season’ is best time to travel


In many ways, travel in 2021 was more challenging than it was in 2020. While demand for travel returned, sufficient hospitality staffing often did not, leading to long waits at airports, hotel check-in desks and restaurants.

The eye-catching travel deals seen in 2020 mostly faded away, making way for price increases, like soaring rental car prices. Despite social distancing recommendations, travelers often found themselves in bigger crowds than ever. Mobs clamoring around airline customer service counters to rebook canceled flights left people barely six inches apart — let alone six feet.


This year might bring similar challenges for travelers, but here’s a good way to skirt most of them: Travel during “shoulder season.”

The definition of shoulder season varies by destination, but it typically means the period of time between a region’s peak season and offseason. This timespan can last months or just weeks. For instance, if a place’s peak season is summer and its offseason is winter, then the shoulder season would be spring and fall. Alternatively, a place may experience peak travel during a holiday weekend, but demand will drop off the weekend before or after — these times can also be considered shoulder season.

Here are five reasons why shoulder season is the best time to travel, especially during the pandemic.

1. LOWER PRICES THAN PEAK

Airfares averaged 23% cheaper when booked for shoulder season versus peak season travel. That’s according to a NerdWallet analysis conducted in December 2021 of more than 100 airfares taken from the most popular routes in the U.S. across eight major airlines.

The same routes were compared for flights booked for peak versus shoulder season days, where peak season flights were those booked for the Monday before or after a major holiday. In contrast, the shoulder season flights were those taken two weeks before or after that date.

The difference was starkest around Christmas: Flights averaged 50% cheaper when booked for Monday, Jan. 10 versus Monday, Dec. 27.

2. LESS RESERVATION COMPETITION

Those higher flight prices typically stem from supply and demand — which means demand is higher during peak season.

Increased interest leads to more competition across the board, whether for a hotel room at the price point you want or the chance to nab tickets to that concert. And that’s only scratching the surface. Restaurants are more likely to get filled, airplanes to fly with fewer empty seats and wait times to get longer, and the likelihood of a complimentary upgrade diminishes.

Book during shoulder season and you’ll vie with fewer folks for your top experiences.

3. NOT AS MANY CLOSURES

While demand is high during peak season, sometimes demand drops so low during offseason that the places you want to visit aren’t even open. Boat tour operators might board up for the winter, and charming ski town cafes could close for the summer.

For example, January in Utah’s Zion National Park averages about 16% of the number of visitors that come during peak season in July, and most tourists will have a rough go. Ice forces certain trails to close, some roads become inaccessible to drivers, and the museum and services like shuttle buses aren’t available.

Instead, consider a trip during the September shoulder season, when crowds are at only about 85% of the park’s peak but most amenities are available. Plus, you’ll benefit from mild weather and the emergence of fall colors.

Around the world, hotels often take the offseason to do renovations, so the pool might become off-limits. Airlines typically cut back routes, so you’ll have less flexibility on what day or time you can fly.

But the shoulder season is less likely to entail such challenges. Travel before summer crowds arrive and you might be pleasantly surprised with a newly renovated hotel room. Head to the mountains just after the winter holidays to take advantage of still-snowy slopes without as many skiers on them.

4. WEATHER IS PRETTY GOOD

The shoulder season likely won’t bring the sweltering heat or storms that come with a region’s offseason. And in some cases, the weather during shoulder season is actually better than peak season.

Summer at Florida’s theme parks is often humid and muggy — and that’s before you add in the crowds of out-of-school kids. During shoulder season, you might forgo sunny summer days on the beach, but you’ll typically get temperate weather, not to mention a less sweaty smile in that photo with your favorite character.

Shoulder season in the Rocky Mountains might not entail the romanticism of white powder snow surrounding a cozy cabin. But, you can pack light and leave the parka at home.

5. UNIQUE, LOCAL EVENTS

Tourist hot spots typically want year-round crowds, so they often host events, concerts and other festivities that don’t occur at times when crowds would be large anyway.

Theme park food festivals are among the most common shoulder season delights. Southern California theme park Knott’s Berry Farm typically hosts its annual boysenberry festival from March to April. Hawaii comes alive in the fall with festivals spanning multiple islands, including the annual Waikik i Ho‘olaule‘a, which is a giant block party on Oahu, and the Kauai Mokihana Festival, a weeklong celebration of Hawaiian culture.



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5 reasons why ‘shoulder season’ is the best time to travel | Business


In many ways, travel in 2021 was more challenging than it was in 2020. While demand for travel returned, sufficient hospitality staffing often did not, leading to long waits at airports, hotel check-in desks and restaurants.

The eye-catching travel deals seen in 2020 mostly faded away, making way for price increases, like soaring rental car prices. Despite social distancing recommendations, travelers often found themselves in bigger crowds than ever. Mobs clamoring around airline customer service counters to rebook canceled flights left people barely 6 inches apart — let alone 6 feet.

This year might bring similar challenges for travelers, but here’s a good way to skirt most of them: Travel during “shoulder season.”

The definition of shoulder season varies by destination, but it typically means the period of time between a region’s peak season and offseason. This timespan can last months or just weeks. For instance, if a place’s peak season is summer and its offseason is winter, then the shoulder season would be spring and fall. Alternatively, a place may experience peak travel during a holiday weekend, but demand will drop off the weekend before or after — these times can also be considered shoulder season.

Here are five reasons why shoulder season is the best time to travel, especially during the pandemic.

1. EXPECT TO PAY LOWER PRICES THAN FOR PEAK SEASON TRAVEL

Airfares averaged 23% cheaper when booked for shoulder season versus peak season travel. That’s according to a NerdWallet analysis conducted in December 2021 of more than 100 airfares taken from the most popular routes in the U.S. across eight major airlines.

The same routes were compared for flights booked for peak versus shoulder season days, where peak season flights were those booked for the Monday before or after a major holiday. In contrast, the shoulder season flights were those taken two weeks before or after that date.

The difference was starkest around Christmas: Flights averaged 50% cheaper when booked for Monday, Jan. 10, versus Monday, Dec. 27.

2. YOU WON’T COMPETE AS MUCH FOR COVETED RESERVATIONS

Those higher flight prices typically stem from supply and demand — which means demand is higher during peak season.

Increased interest leads to more competition across the board, whether for a hotel room at the price point you want or the chance to nab tickets to that concert. And that’s only scratching the surface. Restaurants are more likely to get filled, airplanes to fly with fewer empty seats and wait times to get longer, and the likelihood of a complimentary upgrade diminishes.

Book during shoulder season and you’ll vie with fewer folks for your top experiences.

3. YOU WON’T SEE AS MANY OFFSEASON CLOSURES

While demand is high during peak season, sometimes demand drops so low during offseason that the places you want to visit aren’t even open. Boat tour operators might board up for the winter, and charming ski town cafes could close for the summer.

For example, January in Utah’s Zion National Park averages about 16% of the number of visitors that come during peak season in July, and most tourists will have a rough go. Ice forces certain trails to close, some roads become inaccessible to drivers, and the museum and services like shuttle buses aren’t available.

Instead, consider a trip during the September shoulder season, when crowds are at only about 85% of the park’s peak but most amenities are available. Plus, you’ll benefit from mild weather and the emergence of fall colors.

Around the world, hotels often take the offseason to do renovations, so the pool might become off-limits. Airlines typically cut back routes, so you’ll have less flexibility on what day or time you can fly.

But the shoulder season is less likely to entail such challenges. Travel before summer crowds arrive and you might be pleasantly surprised with a newly renovated hotel room. Head to the mountains just after the winter holidays to take advantage of still-snowy slopes without as many skiers on them.

4. WEATHER IS GENERALLY PRETTY GOOD

The shoulder season likely won’t bring the sweltering heat or storms that come with a region’s offseason. And in some cases, the weather during shoulder season is actually better than peak season.

Summer at Florida’s theme parks is often humid and muggy — and that’s before you add in the crowds of out-of-school kids. During shoulder season, you might forgo sunny summer days on the beach, but you’ll typically get temperate weather.

Shoulder season in the Rocky Mountains might not entail the romanticism of white powder snow surrounding a cozy cabin. But, you can pack light and leave the parka at home.

5. YOU COULD MORE LIKELY EXPERIENCE UNIQUE, LOCAL EVENTS

Tourist hot spots typically want year-round crowds, so they often host events, concerts and other festivities that don’t occur at times when crowds would be large anyway.

Theme park food festivals are among the most common shoulder season delights. Southern California theme park Knott’s Berry Farm typically hosts its annual boysenberry festival from March to April. Hawaii comes alive in the fall with festivals spanning multiple islands, including the annual Waikik i Ho’olaule’a, which is a giant block party on Oahu, and the Kauai Mokihana Festival, a weeklong celebration of Hawaiian culture.



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Omicron Travel Safety Tips: 5 things to remember before you travel


Omicron scare: 5 things to remember before you travel

Omicron scare: 5 things to remember before you travel

Omicron, the new variant of Coronavirus, has left the world scared once again. The variant, first detected in Botswana, Africa, has now reached 40 countries, including India. Till now, India has repor…





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Covid news, live updates today: Omicron symptoms, quarantine, vaccines, flurona… | 5 January


Beijing Olympics imposes “closed loop”

With a month to go before the start of the Beijing Winter Olympics organisers have begun a “closed loop” operation to prevent a covid-19 outbreak among Games participants from leaking into China’s general public.

The 2022 Games, which open on 4 February, are set to take place as the world grapples with the highly transmissable Omicron variant, although China, which has a zero-tolerance covid policy, has reported just a handful of Omicron cases.

Organisers said on Wednesday that the “closed loop” bubble, in which participants can only leave if they are exiting the country or undergo quarantine, had been activated as planned on Tuesday, the same day that President Xi Jinping toured several Games facilities.

Xi expressed “firm confidence” that Games staff “will continue to do a good job in all preparations to ensure the complete success of the Beijing Winter Olympics and Paralympics,” state broadcaster CCTV reported on Wednesday.

Restrictions at Games venues in Beijing and Zhangjiakou in neighbouring Hebei province will be much tighter than those during last summer’s Tokyo Olympics.

Photo by REUTERS/Thomas Peter



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5 essential travel tech tips to help provide a stress-free trip


Every summer, I get the travel itch. Before you head out, make sure your home is locked down. The bad news is security cameras, from video doorbells to a full-fledged security system, aren’t always hack-proof out of the box.

Tap or click here for the steps to make sure only you can access your security and video doorbell camera’s feed. It’s an important step whether you’re traveling or not.

Speaking of cameras, best check your rental for any hidden cameras. It happened to me. Tap or click here for steps to spot a hidden camera.

Now, let’s jump into the essential steps before you hit the road to save you time, money, and a whole lot of stress.

1. Take photos of all your important documents

Of course, you always need to carry identification when traveling, but it’s wise to have a digital backup, too. Worst case scenario, you lose your wallet. It will be a lot smoother getting home if you have photos of all your important documents with you.

The easiest way to do that on an iPhone is to use the handy document scanner built into the native Notes app.

• Open Notes and tap the compose icon at the bottom right of the screen.

• Above the keyboard, tap on the + sign and then the camera icon.

• There, you can choose a photo you’ve already taken, take a new photo or scan documents. Easy!

The Notes app for iPhone is surprisingly powerful. Tap or click here for more secrets for this pre-installed app, including using it as a full-fledged document scanner.

On an Android, snap some photos and mark them as favorites in your picture gallery. That will make finding your documents easy, no matter where you are.

Pro Tip: I also recommend saving your identifying documents as PDF files and saving a copy to your iOS Books, Android e-book app, or even sending to your Kindle. This way, you can access them offline. Send a copy to your travel partner, too, if you feel safe doing so.

2. Get your digital driver’s license

Pictures are great, but what about an actual digital driver’s license? You can use a digital driver’s license for any transaction or situation where ID is required. Think of it as a supplement to your physical ID as various jurisdictions figure out how to implement its use.

A digital license can be updated quickly with new information, such as a change of address. If your phone is lost or stolen, you can remotely wipe the digital ID before getting a new one.

What’s the catch? Right now, digital licenses are only available in some states, including Arizona, Colorado, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Florida, Idaho, Iowa, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Oklahoma, Texas, and Wyoming.

Getting a digital version of your license varies from state to state. For example, Arizona launched its version in March in partnership with identity management firm IDEMIA and its “Mobile ID” platform. That company also provides digital driver’s licenses to Oklahoma and Delaware residents. All you have to do is download the state-specific app on iOS or Android to get started.

For others on the list above, check your state’s official state government websites or run a search with your state name and “digital driver’s license” for more on how to apply.

Staying closer to home? Tap or click for the best apps for camping, RV travel and road trips.

3. Keep track of your belongings

Losing your stuff is terrible at home and much worse when you’re in a different state or country. Digital trackers can help you keep an eye on your valuables and track them if you lose anything.

You can use these neat little gadgets to find your phone, laptop, tablet, wallet, luggage, backpack, and other essentials.

• The Tile Essentials 4-pack comes with various tags for your keys, wallet, luggage, or whatever else you want to try.

Apple’s AirTags are ideal if you have an iPhone, Mac, or iPad.

play

How to pack your suitcase for trips

Be prepared for your next trip with these packing hacks.

ProblemSolved, USA TODAY

4. Don’t rely on a paper boarding pass

If you’ve never taken advantage of digital boarding passes, you’re missing out. Losing a slip of paper is easy if you’re carrying around lots of bags and searching for your boarding gate.

To access the digital version, you can log in to the airline’s website and have them email your boarding pass. You can also download your airline’s app to access it. From there, you can add it to your phone’s digital wallet.

• If you get your boarding pass through email, Apple Mail can automatically add it to your wallet. Otherwise, open the email attachment and tap Add to Apple Wallet > Add.

• Use an Android? You can sync your Google Pay and Gmail accounts to add emailed boarding passes to the Pay app. Open Google Pay and tap the three bars, then Settings > General, then toggle on Gmail imports and tap Connect to Gmail.

Gmail tips and tricks: 10 buried features and settings to try

5. Be wary of scammers

Scammers try to hit people at their most vulnerable. What better time when you’re searching for the best prices, at the airport worried about making your flight or in a new city? Travel scams are growing as more and more people are leaving home again.

Here are some of the hottest scams going on right now:

Vacation rental scams: Use caution if you’re booking through Airbnb, VRBO, or another rental site. Individuals can create false home profiles only for guests to show up to a home much dirtier, smaller, or run down than in the photos. Last-minute cancellations force desperate guests to book a much more expensive option with the same host. Tricky! Tap or click here for red flags to watch for.

Fake websites: Scammers know how to manipulate Google search results. The first answer to your query might not take you to an official website. It’s best to type the web address to official pages directly into your web browser instead of clicking links from search results.

Scammy ads: Cybercriminals often create fake online ads for destinations at unbelievable rates. These listings generally require you to pay upfront. Proceed with extreme caution and ensure that the company you are dealing with is legitimate.

Vaccine passport apps: Scammers are targeting victims with fake vaccine passport apps and websites. You don’t need one of these digital documents to travel, and the U.S. government has authorized none, so watch out. Tap or click here for all the details.

Vaccine passports: How to prove you’ve gotten your COVID-19 shots for travel and avoid scams

ARE YOUR PHOTOS A MESS?

Do you have more photos than you know what to do with? Check out my podcast “Kim Komando Explains” on Apple, Google Podcasts, or your favorite podcast player.

In one episode, I dive into the best ways to get rid of all the junk and duplicates – like memes and screenshots – hiding the important pictures you want to keep. Plus, how to backup and store your collection for easy browsing and long-term storage.

Tap or click here now to listen to my podcast “Too many photos? Insider tricks to organizing, sorting and storing for the long-term.”

Learn about all the latest technology on the Kim Komando Show, the nation’s largest weekend radio talk show. Kim takes calls and dispenses advice on today’s digital lifestyle, from smartphones and tablets to online privacy and data hacks. For her daily tips, free newsletters and more, visit her website at Komando.com.

The views and opinions expressed in this column are the author’s and do not necessarily reflect those of USA TODAY.



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A Local 5 Reporter’s experience navigating the pandemic holiday travel rush | WFRV Local 5


GREENVILLE, Wis. (WFRV) – Travelers around the country were subject to delays this holiday season, and I was not immune to them. Everything was fine on my trip back home to Pennsylvania, we all arrived on time, but it was getting back to Wisconsin when my flight was delayed.

When it was announced the plane would be delayed people were stressed it might snowball from there. The terminal next to mine was overflowing into our because of delays.

I wasn’t alone, thousands of other passengers were stranded across the country, including many at Ronald Reagan International in Washington D.C.

Bridgid sterling had it worse, with her delays ruining her holiday.

She was sitting on the floor of the backed-up D.C. airport when she said, “I really wanted to hang out with my family, but I’m here. Delta has one flight, $2100, from here to Minneapolis, Minneapolis to Seattle, Seattle to Eugene, tomorrow at midnight.”

Airlines canceled nearly four thousand flights over the weekend due to Covid staff shortages and Appleton passengers felt the pressure.

Lauren Fallu, an Appleton Airport Passenger said, “It was delayed about 30 minutes then it was delayed about 20 more minutes because our plane wasn’t at the gate. Two planes back the crew didn’t show up.”

And while there was tension in some terminals across the Detroit airport, passengers getting off the delayed Appleton flight were generally in good spirits because many were expecting the delays.



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