Three Packing Tips For Smooth Traveling On Your Next Vacation | On Air with Ryan Seacrest

Summer is around the corner which means summer vacation! But with vacation comes packing and we all know packing can be the worst.

Ryan Seacrest shared some tips on-air that could help your next trip go more smoothly.


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Three Packing Tips For Smooth Traveling On Your Next Vacation | KIIS FM

Summer is around the corner which means summer vacation! But with vacation comes packing and we all know packing can be the worst.

Ryan Seacrest shared some tips on-air that could help your next trip go more smoothly.


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“The Points Guy” Brian Kelly on how to get the best deals when planning a summer vacation

“The Points Guy” Brian Kelly on how to get the best deals when planning a summer vacation – CBS News

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Cybersecurity Tips for a Safer Vacation

The beauty of having different climates around the world is that there is always somewhere we can travel for leisure all year round. These are times when we tend to relax and let our guard down. The reality, though, is that cyber crime knows no vacation. Attackers are relentless and are always on the lookout for the easiest path to their next prey. That makes us, vacationers, an attractive target. Part of good cybersecurity training involves telling your employees how to protect themselves outside of the office.

Attackers are looking to steal your data or money, wreak havoc or use you to get intellectual property from your work. With the rising rates of cyberattacks and the impact having progressed to include loss of life, we all have a part to play in the fight against cyber crime. Ensuring that we always perform our due diligence and not fall victim to preventable attacks is a step in the right direction.  

This article uses the seven stages of an attacker’s kill chain to outline handy tips for securing your trip away from home.   

Cybersecurity Training for Abroad: Let’s Get Packing 

The first part of cybersecurity training for vacation is to know some things before you go. Everything starts with proper preparation. While you plan your itinerary and pack your bags, attackers are also at work. They lurk around performing reconnaissance activities. Their aim is to gather as much information about you as possible. Securing yourself and your data before you leave makes their work harder.

  • Use secure passwords, proper password safety and multi-factor authentication (MFA). According to Verizon’s 2021 Data Breach Investigations Report, 61% of breaches are due to improper credential management. This includes using the same passwords across accounts. To protect yourself, use strong unique passwords coupled with MFA. The passwords should safely be stored in a password manager. The use of unique passwords reduces the impact should one of the websites get compromised. Enabling two or more ways of authenticating to the same website further lowers the risk because the attacker will need to know the other factors too to successfully authenticate.  

  • Consider using temporary travel accounts. As an optional measure, it is wise to create a separate throw-away account that you use for anything travel-related. You can then use this throw-away account to register for things related to that trip and later close the account when you get back home. That way, should your account get compromised during your travels, the impact is minimal. Keep in mind that not every website or application requires your real personal information to function.  

  • Prefer credit cards to debit cards. When making online purchases, consider using a credit card instead of a debit card. Unlike debit cards, credit cards provide protection against fraud. If an attacker uses money from your debit card, they are making an immediate withdrawal from your own account. This makes it difficult to trace or get back. With credit cards, they are spending your credit card issuer’s money, which is easier to track and manage in case of fraudulent activities.  

  • Leave your data at home. Consider the number of electronic devices or documents that you carry on your trip. Do you need the extra gadgets? Take only what you need with you and leave the rest at home. This reduces the attack surface and makes it easier for you to keep track of your devices while on the road.  

  • Keep up with software updates. By keeping up with vendor software updates, you close an attack vector, making it harder for the attacker to succeed. Use reputable application stores or sites to download the software. Ensure that all your gadgets are up to date before hitting the road.  

  • Review app permissions. Give applications the least required permissions for the task they are to perform. That way, should attackers gain access via an application, they do not have extra privileges to cause too much havoc.   

  • Disable automatic connections. The auto-connect feature allows your gadgets to connect to nearby devices without intervention. This is not ideal when you are on the road, as the Wi-Fi and Bluetooth networks are untrusted and insecure. Disable the auto-connect feature to avoid connecting to rogue devices. Turn Wi-Fi and Bluetooth networks off when not in use.  

  • Protect yourself from prying eyes. Get yourself a privacy screen for your phone and computer. This protects you from shoulder surf attacks by a curious onlooker who tries to spy on what you are doing when you are out in public.  

  • Set up and test virtual private network (VPN) connectivity. While on the road, avoid accessing sensitive information over insecure public networks. A VPN builds a secure and private tunnel over untrusted public networks. You can then visit sensitive websites and connect to work or even to your home resources. Test and verify that the VPN network is working and that you have access before traveling. 

Plan for what is difficult while it is easy, do what is great while it is small.

– Sun Tzu, The Art of War

What If Something Goes Wrong? 

During the preparation phase also think of your disaster recovery and contingency plan. Remember, you will be on the road and will not have the convenience of your home. Good cybersecurity training should include a checklist of questions to ask. What would happen if you lost your phone or it got stolen and you use it for MFA or password management? Will you still be able to connect to your online accounts? Would you still be able to make payments? Do you have an emergency contact so that you are not stranded in a foreign country?  

  • Back up and test your data. Having backups of your data in accessible places allows you to get back in operational mode should anything happen to your device. This is the best way to reduce the impact of a cyberattack. Most gadgets give you several backup options. You never know when it will come in handy, so back up frequently.  

  • Enable the remote delete option. Find out how to locate or wipe your phone in case of loss or theft. 

  • Make prior arrangements to access funds. To prevent fraud, some banks need you to inform them to enable worldwide payment options when you travel outside your home region. As a result, your card may be automatically declined when used outside your geographic region. This could leave you stranded if you are dependent on that account. There are also some credit card networks, such as American Express, that are not readily accepted in some geographical regions. Make prior arrangements to ensure that you can use the card in those locations or have a backup in case it fails.  

  • Enable card charge notifications. Knowledge is power. You want to know when someone makes an unauthorized payment from your account so that you can act accordingly or report it immediately.   

Off You Go  

You are all packed, ready to hit the road and start your adventure. Remember your cybersecurity training, keep your cyber defenses up and teach your family and friends to do the same. Your defenses are only as strong as your weakest link. Remember that information gathering can happen at any time within your journey. Make secure practices a habit. This ensures that you don’t easily fall for attacker bait or leave breadcrumbs that an attacker can leverage against you.  

  • Make a sweep for hidden cameras. When you first check into your hotel room or rental apartment, be on the lookout for unsolicited cameras. It might be easier to do this at night. A quick way to do this is by turning off the lights and using your phone’s camera to scan the room for sources of infrared light.   

  • Use the safe in the room. Don’t leave your valuable items lying around in the room. Lock them up in a secure safe if you have access to one.   

  • Be watchful when making payments. Request that the terminal be brought to you or walk over to it instead of handing over your card. Should that not be possible, keep the card in sight and pay close attention to the payment process.  

  • Beware of onlookers and shoulder surfers. The only person who should know your PIN or password is you. Keep it that way. When keying in your PIN or password, ensure that the information remains private. You can use your hand as a cover. 

  • Protect your identity. Provide the least required information to achieve the task, nothing more. Don’t be afraid to ask what the information requested will be used for. Is it necessary to provide a scan of your passport or credit card? Do they really need to write down your credit card number, expiry date and security code (CVV number) after making a successful payment? 

  • Protect your digital footprint. Avoid oversharing personal information. This can be your location data, passport details, tickets, vaccination QR codes or anything that can be used against you. Should you choose to share, make sure that private information is scraped. With location-based data, consider sharing after you’ve returned home instead of during your journey. This protects you from being easily located by those with malicious intent. 

How Attackers Get Information

Cautious as you may be, a security incident could still happen. The attackers plan how they can use the information they gathered to strike their target. This is the weaponization phase. You do not have visibility into what is happening during this phase. An attacker could craft a phishing email, create a website that mimics a legitimate one or develop a malicious payload to send to the target. 

Cybersecurity Training for Abroad: Keeping Devices Out of Trouble 

Attackers need means to deliver a malicious payload to the victim. A very common way of doing this is via phishing. This is when the attacker sends a luring email with an attachment or link to the target. There are other means of malware delivery such as a drive-by download or leaving gadgets lying around for the target to pick up. With a drive-by download, the victim gets infected by simply visiting a malicious site during normal web browsing. You can hinder an attack at the delivery phase by practicing cyber awareness. Be careful where you connect your personal devices, which networks and websites you access and what you download.  

  • Avoid using shared electronic devices or untrusted accessories. Shared computers and accessories may already carry malicious software or might be set to log your keystrokes. Avoid connecting your devices to shared computers or cables. If you must use a shared computer during your travels, make use of safe browsing habits. Use an incognito (private) browser, do not log in to sites with private information and do not save or use ‘Remember Me’ options when visiting sites. Ensure that you log out and clear browser history and cookies upon completing your browsing session.  

  • Avoid free public Wi-Fi. Remember that public Wi-Fi is at the end of the day public. Be cautious. Ask for the correct name and connect only to known and secured Wi-Fi networks. Do not access sensitive information over public Wi-Fi. If you must access sensitive data, make sure it is over a secure VPN network.  

  • Keep track of all your electronic devices. Do not leave them unsupervised even while charging.  

  • Stop and think before you click. Analyze links and attachments in emails, social media sites or other sources before accessing them. When in doubt, do not click. Instead, go directly to the trusted company’s webpage. Remember, if it’s too good to be true, it probably is.  

Once malware gets onto the target system, it normally attempts to exploit a vulnerability to install itself. Keeping up with system and software updates hinders successful exploitation. There is a huge ‘but’ here. When you are on the road, you want to hold off on the updates. Do not install updates from just anywhere, as they may be malicious updates. If you really need to, use your phone network instead of the public Wi-Fi network. 

If the exploitation phase is successful, the attacker transitions to the installation phase. Here, a malicious payload backdoor is installed on the device. This is usually accompanied by some form of persistence to give an attacker access to the device for command and control. Once the intruder can control the device, it’s normally game over. The attacker can now move on to the last phase. The end goal may be to steal, destroy or corrupt your data. You may notice successful attacks in these four phases if you carefully and frequently study your device. 

  • Verify installed applications. Make it a habit to frequently check what applications you have on your device and look for oddities.  

  • Go through outgoing communications. Check to see what emails have been sent from your device or your call log. Also, keep tabs on what payments are being made from your card.  

  • Take note of suspicious behaviors. How is your device behaving in general? Is it crashing or is the battery dying quickly? Are you seeing strange activity like the mouse moving automatically? Are there some weird and unexpected network connections to or from your device? Whereas these symptoms do not automatically mean your device is infected, it is wise to investigate the root cause of the issues. 

Should you fall victim to a successful attack, it is not the end of the world. Keep calm and do not panic. This happens even to the best of us, so don’t beat yourself up about it. Instead, act quickly and learn from your experience. 

  • Assess risk. What is at stake? What might have been stolen? Is there something that can be done now? Perform a proper damage assessment and act accordingly.  

  • Report right away. Taking timely action will help reduce the impact. Notify your bank if your card or banking information has been compromised. That way, they can block outgoing transactions in good time. Notify the authorities and those around you in case of identity theft.  

  • Change credentials right away. When in doubt, the right action is always to change your credentials.  

Cybersecurity Training for After Vacation

The holiday has finally come to an end, and it’s time to head back home. But let’s not leave a part of you behind.  

  • Clean up after yourself. You do not want to leave valuable information or data behind only to be found by an attacker. If you had a rental car, make sure to remove any data that you had synced with the car before giving it back. Shred valuable printed material or take it with you instead of simply throwing it in the wastebasket. You don’t want an attacker to go shopping for your information at your expense. 

You made it home, safe and sound. Before you get back to your normal daily routine, put things back in good order.   

  • Disable unnecessary card settings. You no longer need to allow for worldwide payments. Put your card settings back to allow for local payments only. This reduces the attack surface and the risk of fraudulent payments being made from unexpected locations.  

  • Purge unnecessary apps. Make it a habit to review your installed applications and remove what you do not need. If you installed applications for a specific location and do not need them anymore, uninstall them.  

  • Review financial statements. Check your financial statement and review the payments made. If there are any payments that you are not sure about, do not hesitate to contact your bank.  

  • Update your passwords and PINs. Consider the credentials that you used during your travels compromised. Change them. Rotating the bank card is also a valid option if you believe it was compromised.  

  • Update your software and applications. Now that you are home and in a secure network, make sure that your applications and system software are up to date.    

The fight against cyber threats knows no vacation, so cybersecurity training can’t either. It’s an all-year affair that requires you to level up, remain vigilant and stay alert. The good news is that there is a lot that you can do to avoid falling victim or simply make it harder for attackers to succeed. Have fun, but don’t let your guard down. 

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Staycation or vacation? Locals talk summer travel plans amid record inflation | News

EUGENE, Ore.– As the warmer weather starts trickling in, many are planning their summer vacations, especially after being cooped up for nearly two years because of the pandemic.

But with sky high travel prices, some are putting the brakes on spending money for vacation.


“Inflation isn’t helping,” said Eugene visitor Eric Delora. “That’s certainly going to limit how far you can go or how much money you’re going to spend.”

Delora travel from Wyoming to Oregon to kick off his summer.

“We got AirBnB’s, rented a car, the car was a little pricy and that seemed to be the sticker shock,” said Delora.

Some people told KEZI they’ve had to pick up extra shifts at work to be able to afford any summer travel this year.

It’s also the pain at the pump making travel more difficult.

“The gas prices are going to make it a more expensive trip, but it’s not going to change the plans,” said Eugene resident Dain Nelson.

Nelson and his wife Louisa Dorsch are planning to drive to Wisconsin for vacation.

“The plan was always to do a drive and to camp along the way,” said Nelson. 

Ross Horr, a commercial airlines pilot, said his flights recently have been packed with passengers.

“Inflation is definitely going to affect a lot of people, but moreover I think people are really tired of being inside with the pandemic and I think they are going to do a lot of traveling despite the pandemic,” said Horr. “I think a lot of people saved during the pandemic. America is really good at spending once they’ve saved.”

Many people said they’re not going to let inflation rob them of a long postponed trip.

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Eco-friendly travel tips: How to ‘green’ your vacation

(CNN) — As pandemic-related restrictions start to lift, and we emerge from the lockdown shadows, one thing is returning to the minds and spending of many people: travel.

If the current travel chaos is anything to go by, we’re all dreaming of a vacation right now. There’s just one problem. The climate crisis hasn’t gone anywhere. Two years of hunkering down has been good for our carbon footprints, but returning to ambitious travel is a step in the wrong environmental direction.

Of course, we know the answer: stop traveling. Or, at least, stop flying.

But while the flight shame movement is growing, it’s not for everyone. And just because you aren’t prepared to make that sacrifice, doesn’t mean you can’t make smaller changes to ensure your travel is more sustainable.

What’s the big deal about flying?

The aviation industry is growing at an unsustainable rate for the environment.

The aviation industry is growing at an unsustainable rate for the environment.

Stefani Reynolds/AFP/Getty Images

After all, aviation accounts for just 2.1% of manmade carbon emissions worldwide, according to the Air Transport Action Group, and 3.5% of planet-warming emissions in total. It doesn’t sound so bad when you put it like that.
But it’s not so simple, explained Matteo Mirolo, aviation policy officer at Transport & Environment, a European campaign group for cleaner transportation.

“You have to look at the growth of the sector. It’s quite significant, despite Covid,” Mirolo said. “Even after 9/11 or the 1970s oil crisis, aviation grows back stronger. Now it’s growing again, and it’s a largely unregulated sector.”

“If we don’t do anything now, in a few years aviation will be one of the most significant contributing factors. We shouldn’t look at the snapshot now,” he said, “we should look at the forecast.”

Good news and bad

The problem is, so many of us want to fly.

The problem is, so many of us want to fly.

Evert Elzinga/EPA/Shutterstock

The good news? “Lots of solutions” are in the pipeline, Mirolo said.

The bad? They’re not ready yet. Expect real results in “decades.”

Sustainable aviation fuel, or SAF, is a future gamechanger, Mirolo said. But not all SAFs are created equal. What he calls “true waste residue” — like the used cooking oil with which Airbus recently powered an A380 — is “a real step in the right direction.” Synthetic kerosene also works. However, some SAFs contain palm oil, which is linked to deforestation. In October 2021, Indonesia conducted a test flight powered by biofuel containing palm oil, as government officials spoke of the need to increase production of palm oil-heavy biofuels.

Neste, a biofuels company which sells SAF to the likes of American Airlines, KLM, Lufthansa and Delta, uses palm oil in its non-SAF biofuels, though a company spokesperson says that it is sustainably sourced and will be phased out by the end of 2023. Using palm oil as fuel said Mirolo, is “a cure worse than the disease.”

And although flying a plane fueled by used cooking oil is in the testing stages, we’re decades from it happening commercially. The UK government, for example, has proposed mandating that all planes filling up in the country must fuel with up to 10% SAF by 2030 and up to 75% by 2050. The EU is mulling a mandate of 2% SAF by 2025 for planes departing from European Union airports, while Japan is aiming for 10% SAF by 2030.

That’s all unconfirmed, as yet. The only SAF mandates currently in place are Norway, Sweden and France, each of which oblige carriers leaving the country to use 1% SAF.

Meanwhile, we’re looking at around 2030-35 for the introduction of hydrogen-powered planes, if we’re being optimistic, said Mirolo. Even when they’re introduced, they’ll only be capable of flying under 2,000 miles — meaning they won’t be viable for long-haul flights.

As for battery-powered planes, again, 2030 would be optimistic, said Mirolo, and they are likewise unsuitable for long journeys. An hour’s flight is currently the limit for a 100-seater plane. Plus, he said, we’ll have to work out the climate impact of building and changing batteries — they may not be as great as we think. Hydrogen and electric planes could cover around 20% of the projected passenger demand by 2050, he says — which is why he thinks SAF is a better bet.

Mirolo said that airlines that trumpet their carbon offsetting schemes are ones to avoid. “Carbon offsetting was in fashion a few years ago but we know it’s not the solution — the solution is SAF,” he said.

Mike Childs, head of science, policy and research at environmental organization Friends of the Earth, previously described carbon offsetting as a “massive con” to CNN, partly because any effect from offsetting is years off (and might never occur) and partly because efforts to reforest are already being made. Today, “nothing has fundamentally changed” with the schemes, he said.

Bottom line: Fly less

Try returning to seeing flying as a treat, rather than your go-to.

Try returning to seeing flying as a treat, rather than your go-to.

iStockphoto/Getty Images

Experts are realistic and acknowledge that most people will feel the need to fly sometime. As Childs put it: “None of us are angels.”

“This isn’t a discussion about whether we should fly or not, but about reducing the amount of carbon emissions from flying,” said Justin Francis, CEO of Responsible Travel, which sells sustainable vacations around the world.

Francis believes travel broadens minds and helps local communities, but says many are doing too much of it. Instead of jumping on every cheap flight we get an alert for, Francis suggests we roll back to a time when getting on a plane was a treat.

We need to get out of the mindset that we need to fly so much, these experts say. Childs said that boarding a plane should be our last option. “The best thing to do is rail, or, mile for mile, even driving is going to be better,” he said.

Mirolo said that each time we plan a trip, we should “think twice about flying.” Can you go by another method of transport? If it’s a business trip, is an in-person meeting essential or can you do it remotely? “You have to decide whether you’re going to take that plane. It’s not about stopping flying altogether, but being reasonable.”

“Our position is to encourage people to take longer holidays, which will mean fewer flights total,” said Francis. “A longer trip is more relaxing and enjoyable, and carbon does need to be top of our minds. We need to choose big trips more consciously and use other forms of transport to travel closer to home.

“For me, instead of two long-haul flights a year I might still go to Vietnam, but for one of my longer trips I might do a slow travel train trip to Italy.”

Trains and buses

Traveling on the surface of the Earth will always be better than flying.

Traveling on the surface of the Earth will always be better than flying.


Of course, it helps that Francis is based in Europe, where high-speed train travel is the norm. But even if you’re somewhere with limited public transportation, like the US, it’s still better to avoid flying, said Childs.

He reckons that a long cross-country US road trip, say, from Washington, DC to Yellowstone National Park, will be less harmful to the environment than a quick flight to the Caribbean.

“If you’ve no option to go by train or public transport, and you’ve got a choice between driving and flying somewhere, then driving will always be the better option,” he said. “It’s easier to shift a body in a big lump of metal by road than by sending it up into the air and keeping it there… One day there may well be greener forms of flying a short distance, but right now go on the surface where you can.”

And the more often that surface transport is public (i.e. trains, buses) the better.

How to fly

Last year Airbus revealed a trio of hydrogen-powered zero-emission airliner concepts, under the banner ZEROe, which could enter service by 2035.

Last year Airbus revealed a trio of hydrogen-powered zero-emission airliner concepts, under the banner ZEROe, which could enter service by 2035.


For those of us who’ve been lucky enough to fly business class, going back to economy is hard. But economy is the greenest way to fly — and budget airlines that cram as many seats in as possible are the most efficient planes in the sky.

Premium seats made up just 5% of international traffic in February 2022, according to the International Air Transport Association, yet premium seats take up far more room on a plane. For instance, all-economy Wizz Air has 239 seats on its A321neo aircraft, whereas its European rival Lufthansa, which has a shorthaul business class, operates the same plane configured for just 215 passengers. Both fly the A320-200, too — Lufthansa’s version has 168 seats, while Wizz’s crams in up to 186 passengers.

On shorthaul routes the difference between business and economy class is likely to be a wider seat and maybe a bit more legroom, but long-haul configurations change the dynamics entirely, with space for lie-flat beds and even entire “suites” on the likes of Emirates and Singapore Airlines, each taking up the equivalent of several rows of economy class.

Both Singapore Airlines and Emirates fly the A380, for example, but the former puts economy and premium economy on the top deck; the latter reserves it for business and first class. The difference? Singapore Airlines fits a total of 399 passengers on its top deck; and Emirates, just 90, in the same space.

Business and first class components tend to be much heavier as well, with chairs sitting in fixed “shells,” and sometimes closable doors for each seat.

Budget carriers are greener — on paper at least

Looking at the expansion of budget airlines, they're less green than you imagine.

Looking at the expansion of budget airlines, they’re less green than you imagine.

Jason Alden/Bloomberg/Getty Images

The European carrier Wizz Air calls itself the “greenest” airline on the continent, thanks to its young, modern fleet, pile-’em-high, all-economy seating philosophy, and its undertaking to only fly direct. They also don’t offer any routes for which there’s a rail alternative in under four hours. Wizz claims the lowest CO2 emissions per passenger kilometer in Europe and tells passengers, “If you don’t need to fly, please don’t.”

However, that’s not the whole picture, said Mirolo. Low-cost carriers “are the ones growing very fast,” he explained — so while their metrics per passengers look good, they’re a major part of aviation’s problematic expansion.

When it comes to legacy carriers, he said that long-haul flights are the issue — with 5% of flights representing 50% of emissions. The EU’s proposed SAF mandate applies only to aircraft departing from EU airports — which means that while flights within the bloc would be covered, the mandate would only apply to half of long-haul flights (those leaving the EU, but not coming in).

That’s why Mirolo recommends concerned passengers put their money where their mouth is, booking flights with airlines who’ve been investing in, and already using, SAF in a “credible” way. Those include United, Alaska, Qantas and SAS, which even allows passengers to buy “blocks” of biofuel alongside their flights, and are rewarded with extra miles if they do so.

Air France-KLM is bound by the 1% SAF mandate for flights leaving France, but since January has committed to 0.5% SAF in every plane departing their Amsterdam Schiphol hub, too. A surcharge (€1-€10) is applied to tickets.

Mirolo also said concerned fliers should be using their vote to make the aviation industry more sustainable. “There’s unprecedented political will to make [sustainable aviation] happen, and real movement, so vote with your ballot, and then vote with your feet.”

Private jets are ruinous — but could also help

New tech is most likely to happen on smaller planes first -- so the private jet market could help.

New tech is most likely to happen on smaller planes first — so the private jet market could help.

Eviation Aircraft

For most of us, the closest we’ll get to flying in a private jet is watching celebrities’ social media posts. But just because it’s a method of travel for the elite, doesn’t mean it’s not affecting all of us.

A 2021 study by the environmental nonprofit Transport & Environment, found that 1% of people were responsible for half of all global emissions from flying. The private jet industry is booming, expanding by 31% between 2005 and 2019. What’s more, 40% of private flights are “ghost flights” — empty of passengers as they reposition for their next pick-up.

Because private jets tend to make short hops, that makes them even less environmentally sustainable. The shorter the hop, the less necessary it is, too. “For 80% of the most popular (private jet) routes in Europe, there’s an alternative by train,” said Mirolo, adding that according to his tally, 10% of flights taken in France are now private.

The good news, however, is that, because of their smaller size, private jets can be at the forefront to adapt to new technology as it comes on the market. That, in turn, could help the market move forward, faster.

“The super rich can super charge the decarbonization of aviation by investing in these kind of planes,” said Mirolo, referring to electric and hydrogen-fueled planes. And if they do that, the 1% will help the 99% fly more sustainably.

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The case for dining solo on vacation

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Welcome to The Upgrade, By The Way’s new series on travel hacks and hot takes. See how to submit here.

It’s no secret to those who know me: Food is a major source of personal happiness.

And there’s nothing quite as euphoric as enjoying the intricacies of a well-made dish in its motherland, like savoring a forkful of fresh pasta at an osteria in Italy or devouring a cut of meat at a ​​parrilla in Argentina. But because social conventions have taught us that dining out by yourself is not the norm, these moments are rarely experienced alone.

The beauty of a solo trip to Italy

The next time you’re with a dining companion, consider what might be different if you were a party of one. While breaking bread together has its benefits, only dining with others means you’re missing out on one of the greatest joys of travel — eating alone at a restaurant.

Dining alone allows you to go on a culinary journey, one that is often missed when engrossed in conversation.

This is especially true while traveling, when it is easy to get immersed in a semi-predictable dialogue at the dinner table. There’s the rehashing of the day’s events, discussing details of tomorrow’s itinerary and lamenting how sore your feet are from walking on cobblestones.

This isn’t a diss to your companion(s); it’s just the realities of traveling with someone else.

Eating by yourself provides an opportunity to hone in on details as they happen — all in real time. You will be more likely to notice the intricate font on the menu or the server’s delicate placement of the bread basket on the table.

All of the senses truly come to life. I’m imagining it right now, at one of my favorite restaurants in Hong Kong. My nostrils inhale the aroma of onions slowly caramelizing, and my ears eavesdrop on the juicy conversation at the next table over.

And finally, there’s the dish itself taking center stage, more than ever before. You’ll notice a dish’s perfect presentation, like the single sprig of fresh rosemary atop a New Zealand rack of lamb. Or you taste the nuanced, layered flavors of a steaming bowl of pho at a street stall in Hanoi.

7 lessons from traveling solo through Japan

For many would-be solo travelers, there’s an intense fear of dining by yourself. And I get it. At some restaurants, I’ve tried making reservations for one only to be told that “we don’t do that.” And if you do get a table, your phone may end up being your companion.

If there’s one thing that eating alone at a restaurant has done, it is strengthening my will and desire to be more independent. I use those moments to observe everything and make my own decisions. And that same feeling can be so empowering for the rest of, well, life.

All I ask is that, if you do eat alone on your travels, put the phone down and look around. Talk to the waiter. Ask questions about the food and how the establishment came to be. Or if you’re feeling bold, comment on the dish at the table next to you.

Go ahead: Eat yourself happy on your next trip. And if you’re doing it alone, all the better.

Chris Dong is a freelance travel writer and credit card points expert based in New York City. He writes a weekly travel newsletter.

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