Go big, spend big on bucket list trips


‘New sense of urgency’ to hit the road

There’s a “new sense of urgency” to travel, said Stephanie Papaioannou, a vice president at the luxury travel company Abercrombie & Kent. 

“Guests feel they have lost two years, and older clients are concerned about having fewer healthy years left to travel,” she said.

A couple pose in front of Machu Picchu, a destination in Peru that tops many travelers’ bucket lists.

Marina Herrmann | Moment | Getty Images

Lee Thompson, co-founder of the adventure travel company Flash Pack, agreed.

“People are desperate to get away,” he said. “They’ve been waiting to get back out there and are not shying away from those international destinations and big, once-in-a-lifetime adventures.”

The year of the ‘GOAT’

Expedia is calling 2022 the year of the GOAT, or the “greatest of all trips.”

In a survey of 12,000 travelers in 12 countries, the company found that 65% of respondents are planning to “go big” on their next trip, according to a company representative. As a result, it named the desire for exciting and extravagant trips “the biggest travel trend” of the year.

A survey of 12,000 travelers by Expedia found that Singapore residents were the least likely to have traveled during the pandemic (59%) and the most likely to want to splurge (43%) on their next trip.

Roslan Rahman | AFP | Getty Images

Amadeus is seeing a jump in searches to “epic destinations,” according to a company report published in November. Searches to Tanzania (+36%), flights to Jordan’s Petra (+22%) and bookings to cities near Machu Picchu (nearly +50%) rose from 2020 to 2021, according to the report.

These trends are expected to grow this year, along with interest in islands in the Indian Ocean as well as Antarctica, according to the report.

The pandemic has changed the “mood of travelers,” said Decius Valmorbida, president of travel at Amadeus.

“We have people just say: “Look, what if another pandemic happens? What if I’m locked in again?'” he said. There’s “a psychological effect that now is the moment.”

Searches for stays in vacation homes abroad are now on pace with 2019 levels, according to HomeToGo’s travel trends report, released in late November.

The international destinations drawing the biggest search increases this year, compared with 2019, are Tuscany, Italy (+141%), the Bahamas (+129%), French Polynesia’s Bora Bora (+98%), the Maldives (+97%) and the south of France (+88%), according to the report.  

The top-searched international destinations for Americans for 2022 travel are Rome, Bali, London, Paris and Mexico’s Riviera Maya — which includes Playa del Carmen and Tulum — according to Expedia.

Emily Deltetto / EyeEm | EyeEm | Getty Images

Research shows that those aged 18 to 34 are driving the trend, and families are also getting in on the act, said Abercrombie & Kent’s Papaioannou.

“Families are choosing destinations they have always dreamt of, especially those centered around outdoor experiences like Nile River cruises, Machu Picchu, safaris and barge cruises in Europe,” she said.

Loosening purse strings

While financially devastating for some, the pandemic has allowed others — namely, professionals who have been able to work from home — to sock away more savings.

Some 70% of leisure travelers in major countries — such as the U.S., the U.K., Canada, Japan and Spain — plan to spend more on travel in 2022 than they have in the past five years, according to a November joint report by the World Travel & Tourism Council and travel website Trip.com.

Travelers are “more willing than ever before” to splurge on future travels, according to Expedia.

James O’Neil | The Image Bank | Getty Images

Globally, HomeToGo’s average booking expenditures increased by 54% last year, compared with 2019, according to company data. But average nightly rates haven’t gone up nearly that much — around 10% — for bookings this year compared with before the pandemic, said the company’s co-founder and CEO Patrick Andrae.

“Pent-up demand for travel led to travelers taking longer vacations, many opting to do so in a spacious vacation rental versus a hotel,” he said.

U.S. travelers are also seeking quieter, more luxurious destinations this summer — Maui over Honolulu, Nantucket over Cape Cod — despite the higher costs, according to HomeToGo’s data.

Travelers may be willing to pay more to go to certain places, rather than to make the trip itself more luxurious. Twice as many U.S. respondents indicated they were willing to spend more to see “bucket list” destinations (32%) rather than book luxury experiences (15%) or room or flight upgrades (16%), according to Expedia.

The willingness and ability to spend more are likely a good thing, since travel costs have increased in some places. The U.S. Travel Association’s December Travel Price Index, which measures travel costs in the United States, shows that prices have increased for food (+10%), hotels (+13.3%) and motor fuel (+26.6%), compared with 2019.

Airfare, however, was lower than 2019 levels (-17%), according to the index — but that may soon change, partly because of rising jet fuel costs.

Family reunions and ‘friendcations’

People are expected to travel more with friends and family this year.

Hinterhaus Productions | DigitalVision | Getty Images

“People are still catching up for lost time with family,” he said. “Destinations that provide for large multi-generation families, such as those with a high inventory of large villas — including the Caribbean, Mexico and Maldives — are seeing an uptick in bookings.”

The U.K. saw an explosion of bookings by large groups once restrictions eased, according to Amadeus. Bookings to party spots, such as Las Vegas; Cancun, Mexico; and the Spanish island of Ibiza, led the company to name “friendcations” a top travel trend for 2022.

Renewed demand for travel agents

Big trips often require big plans, which is resulting in a renewed demand for travel agents, said Elizabeth Gordon, co-founder of the tour and safari operator Extraordinary Journeys.

Professional planners can help travelers navigate “Covid-19 tests, restrictions, changes in entry requirements, visas, flights, accommodation, activities and backup plans,” she said.

Even “DIY travelers,” who normally plan their own trips, are nowadays seeking professional help to make sure their upcoming travels are seamless, said VIP Traveler’s Hoenig.



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The Big Money Golf Classic promised the largest payday in minor-league golf. It ended with lawsuits and controversy | Golf News and Tour Information




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How To Get Big Value From Your Credit Card


Select’s editorial team works independently to review financial products and write articles we think our readers will find useful. We may receive a commission when you click on links for products from our affiliate partners.

Among your new years resolutions may be tasks like filling your Roth IRA, buying a home or even traveling to that one country that’s been on your bucket list. It’s important to have smaller goals along with lofty ones, and if you’re interested in improving your personal finances this year, consider starting with the benefits of the credit cards in your wallet.

While the main purpose of credit cards is to have spending flexibility and to earn rewards on your purchases, many cards have additional benefits including airport lounge access, Global Entry/TSA PreCheck credits, travel insurance, purchase protection and more. And by not using the card to its fullest potential, or even switching to a better card, you may be leaving money and value on the table.

Select details how you can maximize your credit cards this year while still being financially responsible.

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How to get big value from your credit cards in 2022

Many consumers use their credit cards in a very simple manner: spend and pay the statement each month. However, there is much more to credit cards than meets the eye.

1) Do an audit of where you spend the most money

Americans leave about $30 billion in rewards on the table every year, according to Uthrive. This boils down to anywhere between $210-$960 per consumer, and this typically happens by spending on the wrong card. You can avoid this by analyzing your spending and finding where you spent the most money.

In fact, many card issuers will divide up your spending based on category for you to show you where you regularly spend. From there, you may be able to replace one card for another to increase the amount of rewards your earn.

For example, if you spend regularly at restaurants with the Citi® Double Cash Card, you will earn 2% cash back: 1% on all eligible purchases and an additional 1% after you pay your credit card bill. While 2% cash back isn’t a bad rewards rate, you may find better value in a card like the American Express® Gold Card, which gives 4X Membership Rewards® points per dollar spent at restaurants (including takeout and delivery).

This tip is best suited for consumers who use one credit card for all purchases, which avoids the hassle of having multiple cards and tracking spending categories. For me, I’m currently on a ‘one card strategy’, with my go-to card being the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card. I’m aware I’m probably leaving some rewards on the table, but I’ve made the decision it’s the right strategy for now.

However, by switching your main credit card to one that better complements your largest spending category, you can drastically make a difference in the amount of rewards you earn.

2) Don’t let spending credits go to waste

In recent years, banks have been adding spending credits to many of their credit cards. Most notably, during the early months of the pandemic, issuers like Chase and American Express were shelling out rewards for more relevant purchases, like grocery stores and take out food, as travel credit card holders were unable to use their benefits.

Now, spending credits are becoming a staple. Most recently, I have been taking advantage of the $10 monthly Gopuff statement credits offered on my Chase Sapphire Preferred.

Premium cards, including the Business Platinum Card® from American Express and The Platinum Card® from American Express, allot several credits to cardholders — including Uber credits, airline fee credits, and more. And since these cards have high annual fees, it’s even more important to use the credits to “earn back” some of the cost of the annual fee.

For myself, the easiest way to keep track of these spending credits is by tracking them in a specific section on my budget spreadsheet.

3) Use your travel insurance, if needed

As more Americans have become cautious of travel hiccups and health-related issues, the travel insurance industry has seen a large spike in customers. In a recent survey from Allianz Travel Insurance, 84 percent of respondents indicated that they’re likely or may be likely to purchase a separate travel insurance policy.

But did you know your travel credit card may have complimentary travel insurance as a benefit? By simply booking your flight on the right card, your trip can automatically be covered in the case it’s severely delayed or cancelled.

For example, I booked my Christmas flight using my Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, and the flight home was cancelled due to staffing issues. Because of that, the insurance policy kicked in and covered the costs of a new flight, hotel and food. This policy alone makes the annual fee absolutely worth it.

4) Consider asking for a credit line increase

Your credit score is a very important part of your financial health, and your credit cards can actually be used to help build your credit score.

A credit score is made up of these five factors:

  • Payment history (35% of your score)
  • Amount owed and amount of credit used (30% of your score)
  • New accounts opened (15% of your score)
  • Length of credit history (10% of your score)
  • Types of credit (10% of your score)

For this example, we’ll focus on the amount owed and amount of credit used portion. Let’s say your credit card has a credit limit of $5,000 and your regular balance is around $2,000. That means you’re using 40% of your credit allotted, which can be detrimental to your score. It’s recommended to avoid using over 30% of your allotted credit line.

But if you simply call your credit issuer and request a credit line increase, and they increase it to $10,000, that will put your credit line usage at 20%.

By extending the amount of credit you have, along with using as little of it as possible, you can give your credit score a boost at no additional cost.

While this isn’t using the benefits of the card, improving your credit score through responsible credit card use is a great benefit to having a credit card in your wallet.

Bottom line

More than 190 million Americans have credit cards, and it’s safe to say many of these cards aren’t maximized to their fullest potential. Whether you have a card to earn cash back, travel rewards, or are using one to build your credit score — it’s wise to look at what your card can offer you beyond spending flexibility.

However, the core tenet of maximizing your credit card is to spend within your means, and pay off the balance in full each month to avoid paying credit card interest. Paying only the minimum payment can lead to financial disaster.

Catch up on Select’s in-depth coverage of personal financetech and toolswellness and more, and follow us on FacebookInstagram and Twitter to stay up to date.

Editorial Note: Opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the Select editorial staff’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any third party.





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UConn vs. Providence postponed: Big East matchup will not be played Saturday due to COVID-19


Saturday’s scheduled Big East matchup featuring the No. 23 Providence Friars hosting the UConn Huskies has been postponed due to COVID-19 issues within the Friars’ program. The game was originally scheduled to tip off 1t 2 p.m. ET and will the conference will attempt to make it up at a later date.

This is yet another marquee college basketball game that has been altered as the surge of the Omicron variant continues to change plans across the sport. Both teams are getting into the thick of Big East play and will have to re-adjust their respective schedules to account for the make-up date for this pivotal matchup.

UConn is coming off an 86-78 overtime victory over St. John’s on Wednesday and are next schedule to host Butler on Tuesday. Providence was last in action last Saturday when it toppled St. John’s in an 83-73 victory at home. The Friars are next scheduled to travel down to Seton Hall this upcoming Tuesday and that game may be affected if the COVID-19 issues within the program carries into the weekend.



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Lancers Open Big South Play At Radford


Lancers Open Big South Play At Radford



Men’s Basketball
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The Opening Tip
• After Longwood’s first two conference games were postponed due to COVID-19 in opposing programs, the Lancers will travel to Radford for their conference opener.
• Four of Longwood’s previous five scheduled games, at St. Francis-Brooklyn, at Maryland Eastern Shore, at Hampton and vs. High Point, were canceled or postponed due to COVID-19 protocols
within other programs.
• Due to the postponements, Longwood has played twice in the past three weeks.
• The Lancers hold an 8-5 record in non-conference play, their best non-conference record since going 10-5 in the 2018-19 season under head coach Griff Aldrich.
• Longwood is currently the third-highest ranked Big South team in the NCAA NET rankings. At No. 190, the Lancers trail only No. 162 Gardner-Webb and No. 184 UNC Asheville.

Last Time Out

• In their first game in two weeks, the Lancers knocked off some rust and blew past Pfeiffer University 109-69 as all 13 players that played scored.

• The win helped the Lancers move to 8-1 at home in Willett Hall as four players scored in double digits. The team scored more than 100 points for the first time since the 2018-19 season.

Isaiah Wilkins poured in 21 points to lead the Lancers, while Zac Watson chipped in 16, his career high since joining Longwood. Justin Hill added 15 points, and DeShaun Wade added 12 more for a Longwood side that shot .605 from the floor.

• Longwood never trailed, racing out to a 25-3 lead in the opening six minutes behind a suffocating defense that has been one of the best units in the Big South.

By The Numbers

• Longwood has two of the Big South’s top passers in Jordan Perkins and Justin Hill. Perkins holds a 3.4 assist-to-turnover ratio (37/11), which would rank first in the league if he was over the minimum threshold of 3.0 assists per game, while Justin Hill (1.9, 51/29) sits in fifth. The Lancers are second in the Big South overall with a 1.26 assist-to-turnover ratio.

• Longwood has totaled more assists than turnovers in 10 of 13 games this season. The Lancers’ 12.6 turnovers per game rank as the fourth-fewest in the Big South, and the team leads the Big South in turnover margin (+3.15).

• Longwood’s bench is contributing 35.2 points per game, with 11.4 of those coming from Leslie Nkereuwem. Nkereuwem leads the Big South in scoring off the bench and would lead in field goal percentage, .654 (53-81), but he is just shy of the minimum threshold of shots made per game.

• The Lancers lead the Big South in scoring offense (80.3 points per game) and rank second in scoring defense (63.5 points allowed per game). Longwood is one of three Big South schools ranked among the league’s top five in both categories. Longwood leads the conference in scoring margin with an average of +16.8 points per game.

Nate Lliteras and DeShaun Wade have both hit a three-pointer in 12 of 13 games this season.

• Longwood has excelled on its home court under fourth-year head coach Griff Aldrich, amassing a 34-17 record in Willett Hall during his tenure. That includes an 8-1 mark this season, an 8-5 record in 2020-21, a 8-6 record in 2019-20 and a 10-5 mark in 2018-19.

• Only Iowa, Georgetown, Abilene Christian and Pfeiffer have scored more than 65 points against Longwood. The Lancers have held five teams to 55 points or fewer.

• The Lancers’ +9.8 rebounding margin ranks 11th nationally, while their 14.4 offensive rebounds per game rank sixth in the nation.

Quotable

“This has been a hard couple of weeks for these guys, expecting to play on the 30th and then not playing, expecting to play on the fifth, a conference game, and you don’t have that. There’s a lot of uncertainty, which is atypical for what these guys go through. They come to play the games. As much as they love me and practice, they really enjoy the games.”

— Longwood head coach Griff Aldrich following the win over Pfeiffer after the schedule had changed on an almost daily basis since the holidays

Series History

• Longwood and Radford meet for the 35th time, as the pair have battled since the late 1970s as Commonwealth rivals.

• Radford has won the last 10 matchups between the two teams, with Longwood’s last win coming in 2016 in a 92-81 win on Feb. 27.

• The two sides played a pair of tight games in 2020-21, with Radford winning the season series on back-to-back days. The Highlanders won the first game 67-66 in a heartbreaker for the Lancers before taking down Longwood 62-53 in the second game of the series a day later.

#HorsePower



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Virtual Events Co. Zuddl Goes Big, Raises $13M


Hybrid and virtual event enterprise software Zuddl had raised $13.35 million in a Series A round, the company announced Thursday.

The round was led by Alpha Wave Incubation, with participation from Qualcomm Ventures, GrowX Ventures and Waveform Ventures. 

Since its founding in May 2020, Zuddl has launched features and improvements to enable organizations to build virtual replicas of their physical office spaces, favorite venues and themed event spaces. 

With the funding, Zuddl intends to develop one platform for all enterprise events, internal or external, hybrid or virtual, according to the company. It will also invest in data and integrations to enable data-driven, post-event decisions, and revamp the organizer event setup experience to be simpler and more intuitive. The San Francisco-based company also plans to open a new office in Abu Dhabi this month.

Zuddl’s move into primetime is the latest indicator of red-hot interest in meeting technology. Meetingstech companies Aventri and MeetingPlay announced Thursday that they planned to merge, while Cvent has plans to go public through a merger with a special-purpose acquisition company.



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Travel news: Ontario's staycation tax credit, the latest Nordic spa close to Toronto, and Big Ben's (almost) back – northumberlandnews.com



Travel news: Ontario’s staycation tax credit, the latest Nordic spa close to Toronto, and Big Ben’s (almost) back  northumberlandnews.com



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When can big rigs travel in the left lane in Florida? Trooper Steve explains


News 6 traffic safety expert Trooper Steve Montiero answers viewer questions and shares tips about the rules of the road, helping Central Florida residents become better drivers by being better educated.

Trooper Steve was asked, “Are tractor-trailer cabs allowed to drive in the left lane if they remove their trailer and not hauling anything?”

To answer this question, Trooper Steve takes a look at the bigger picture of semi-trucks traveling on Florida’s roads.

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“I totally understand why this question is being asked but I also believe it’s because of confusion of certain signs that we see out on the roads,” Montiero said. “When traveling on major multilane highways throughout the state of Florida, there are areas that restrict trucks from driving in the left lane, but these restrictions are only located in those areas for those trucks. In all other spots, these vehicles are treated the exact same as yours and mine.”

Trooper Steve added, “Whether the truck has a trailer attached to it as long as there are no signs restricting that specific vehicle in the left lane then that vehicle would be allowed to travel in the left lane.”

Montiero did point out that all drivers should avoid abusing the left lane.

“Now, I will add that anyone, no matter what you’re driving, should avoid being in the left lane as often as possible. The left lane is designed for passing slower traffic and by staying in the right lane you leave an open for other vehicles and of course emergency travel,” he said. “So, whether that truck has a trailer attached to it or not as long as there is no sign restricting them from the left lane they would be allowed to travel as they choose.”

Copyright 2022 by WKMG ClickOrlando – All rights reserved.



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Lowcountry travel experts say tourism, holiday travel recovered in a big way during 2021


CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) -Travel experts say holiday travel and tourism across the Lowcountry is recovering in a big way after a year of shutdowns due to COVID-19. They say, the success of 2021 could mean even more good things are to come going forward in 2022.

Officials and some Charleston business owners say not only did the tourism industry recover but say it bounced back in a big way and in some cases even proved record setting. Charleston International alone saw a 43% increase in passenger numbers over the Christmas holiday this year compared to 2020.

“Recovery was fantastic,” says Brian Solari, Owner of Carmella’s Dessert Café and Bar. “We had a wonderful year, actually our best year ever.”

Lowcountry travel experts say the recovery was noticeable across the board over the course of the year.

“We recovered at a much quicker pace than did the rest of the country,” says Doug Warner, Vice President of Media and Innovation at Explore Charleston.

Tourism was almost non-existent in 2020 due to COVID-19 and pandemic shutdowns forcing businesses to fall on hard times. Tourism came back in full force in 2021 providing some relief for business owners like Solari.

It was a year presenting new challenges for business owners. Solari says he fought through labor and supply chain issues but nonetheless, his business had it’s best year yet.

“You know we went in lean with product and we went in lean with labor thinking we kind of wanted to step in slowly and make sure we didn’t over-extend ourselves and we got pummeled,” says Solari referring to the quick recovery.

Some businesses weren’t as lucky suffering hard hits in the early months forcing some owners to shutter their doors. Warner says after reopening’s and vaccine rollout, family vacations to the Lowcountry pushed the tourism industry through the roof even as business travel to the area almost completely disappeared.

“From May through the rest of the year, we were either exceeding 2019 numbers or right at them,” says Warner.

Hotel occupancy rates is the data used to judge tourism turnout and is the bar that sets the tone for tourism. Warner says hotel occupancy was down 3.8% from 2019 to 2021 but says daily rates were up 6.9% paying dividends for the industry.

Warner says some unpredictability remains in 2022 with COVID-19 still present but believes travel and tourism interest could bode well for the Holy City in the new year.

“The uncertainty of international travel, the increase in air lift capability in our community are all things that say 2022 is going to be a really good year,” says Warner.

Business owners and officials alike hope 2022 will hold more of the same.

“If it could be better fantastic, if it could be the same, fantastic,” says Solari. “I’ll take it anyway I can get it after being closed for those months through COVID-19, I mean I’m happy to be open.”

The Sunday after Christmas was the busiest at Charleston International Airport, nearly 7,000 thousand passengers passed through the airport. Airport travel saw a 43% increase over 2020.



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