Paris Endures, But Istanbul and Brussels Take a Terrorism Hit

 

Rene Magritte's grave in Brussels, Belgium.

Rene Magritte’s grave in Brussels, Belgium

American travelers visiting Europe this summer are avoiding cities affected by acts of terror and are rerouting vacation plans to destinations recently left unscathed, according to an analysis of flight bookings by leading travel insurance provider Allianz Global Assistance..

Allianz Global Assistance reviewed more than 500,000 Americans’ travel plans during the summer vacation season from Memorial Day to Labor Day, and found the number of travelers booked to visit Istanbul are down by 43.7 percent in 2016 compared to the same period last year, while the number of travelers visiting Brussels are down 30.4 percent. Neighboring Germany saw travelers from the U.S. to Frankfurt down by 22.9 percent. Paris, meanwhile, was more resilient with a 0.6 percent increase in summer visitors from the U.S., helping it maintain its spot as the second-most visited city in Europe by American travelers behind London

While some major cities saw a significant decrease in U.S. travelers visiting during the upcoming summer, Europe as a whole recorded an overall 9.3 percent increase to 515,676 travelers in 2016 compared to 471,823 in 2015.

The cities that benefited most from the redistribution of American travelers still interested in visiting Europe include: Dublin and Shannon, in Ireland, increased by 42.8 and 46.5 percent respectively; Athens, Greece, increased by 42.7 percent; Lisbon, Portugal, increased by 42.3 percent, and Amsterdam, Netherlands, increased by 34.5 percent.

“What we’re seeing is that Americans are still bullish on Europe, and travel to the continent is going to be resilient as tourists seek safety in traditionally popular destinations like London and Rome, as well as increasingly popular cities like Dublin, Amsterdam and Lisbon,” said Daniel Durazo, director of communications at Allianz Global Assistance USA. “We’re pleased to see that summer travel to Europe will still be strong despite recent acts of terror on European soil. We’re seeing many travelers purchasing travel insurance so that they have the option to cancel or interrupt their trip should there be a terrorist event at their destination within 30 days of their arrival.”

Allianz Global Assistance offers travel insurance* through most major U.S. airlines, leading travel agents, online travel agencies and directly to consumers. For more information on Allianz Global Assistance and the policies offered for travelers, please visit: http://www.allianztravelinsurance.com or like us on Facebook at Facebook.com/AllianzTravelInsuranceUS.

Five Cities in Europe Where You Can Try Your Luck

Spiegelkwartier houses along a canal in Amsterdam.

Spiegelkwartier houses along a canal in Amsterdam.

If you want to feel like James Bond next Saturday night then jump on a plane and travel to one of these five European cities. We’ve chosen them because they’re famous for not only being cool in their own right but each one has a casino.

And if you show up in any of these city casinos wearing the right clothes, equipped with the right skills to play casino games and ordering the right drink (vodka martini –shaken not stirred) you just might feel like the British secret agent that we all long to be at some point in our lives. And these are skills you acquire or sharpen by practicing and playing poker with friends as you travel between the cities. But look at this list and start with Lyon, the capital of gastronomy in France but also the home to the Lion Vert casino, located in the heart of Lyon’s downtown.

Or how about taking the train from France to England through the Chunnel and get ready for an exciting evening in London at the Rendezvous Casino Mayfair. You’ve heard of Mayfair right? It’s the swankiest neighborhood in London and you’ll be surrounded by Arab sheiks and other people so vastly rich that losing a little money at the table will mean nothing.

There’s a good reason to have a casino in a city like London that has surpassed anywhere in Europe for the highest prices—people who can afford to eat there can also afford to lose lots of pounds at the blackjack tables.

Now let’s move on to the wonderful vacation destination of Spain. In the capital, Madrid you can on your dancing shoes and a nice looking tux. Before you check out Casino Gran downtown, how about a little flamenco?  Just let your partner lead and hang on!

If you have any euros left after your session at the tables in Madrid, and get a hankering for some smoke, why not hop the border to Amsterdam? Not only can you pick up some of the finest marijuana made in the world but you can take a shot at the Holland casino where swanky looking folks lose money every day. But some of them are so stoned they don’t even notice in this legally liberal city.

And finally for something a little more traditional— why not straighten up a little bit and head for Düsseldorf Germany here at the Hotel Nikko Dusseldorf offers many of the the games you already learned to play. Just make sure to look the part, a well-tailored new suit and your hidden Walther PPK handgun in the glovebox of your BMW supercar.

Here’s What’s Happening This Summer in Canada!

Millions of people from all over the world visit Quebec every year.Here people dressed up for the New France festival in Montreal.  Stephen Hartshorne photo.

Millions of people from all over the world visit Quebec every year.Here people dressed up for the New France festival in Montreal. Stephen Hartshorne photo.

Already well-known for its art and culture, Montréal puts its urban creativity on display during MURAL Festival. An international public art festival, Montréal’s Main street, Saint-Laurent Boulevard, is transformed into an open-air museum where visual artists unite to show off their talents. Both visitors and locals alike can roam freely and enjoy the diverse street art, fun activities, live music and more. Going into its fifth year, this year’s event will take place June 9-19, 2016 in the heart of the city.

If you’ve already experienced SXSW down south in Austin, Texas, head up north to Canada for the next big tastemaker festival with NXNE (North by Northeast Music Festival and Conference) in Toronto, Ontario. The most anticipated summer music event in Canada, NXNE gathers emerging artists and major-label headliners and is an essential festival for artists, industry professionals and fans alike. With additional conferences designated for filmmakers, digital innovators, artists, comedians and more, the global event offers something for everyone. Going into its 22nd year, NXNE will take place June 15-19, 2016, with more details on the can’t-miss music line-up and additional conference happenings to be announced soon.

Combine a world-class historic city with world-class music this summer during a visit to Québec City, Québec to experience Festival d’été de Québec. Canada’s largest outdoor music festival, Festival d’été attracts over a million visitors each year with concerts by international stars and top new talent, all taking place in the heart of the enchanting and celebrated Canadian city. For 2016, the event will open with a unique, once-in-a-lifetime concert by Sting and Peter Gabriel, with other artists including Red Hot Chili Peppers, Brad Paisley, Duran Duran, The Lumineers, Selena Gomez and more expected to perform. Taking place July 7-17, 2016 for its 49th year, visitors can experience up to 11 days of music and nearly 300 shows. Who can beat that?

For those looking to combine their love for art and music, experience Ottawa, Ontario’s Chamberfest, the world’s largest chamber music festival. Hosting more than 100 events across the city, visitors can enjoy a wide array of beautiful music while basking in historic churches, public spaces and national museums across the city. This year’s event will take place July 21 to August 3, 2016.

While fireworks shows are known to gather local communities together, none compare to the scale and spectacle of what is offered by Vancouver, British Columbia each summer during the Celebration of Light. Gathering an international audience, this event is the longest running offshore fireworks competition in the world, and is sure to be a memorable and spectacular event for visitors. For its 26th year, the largest public event in British Columbia will be hosted on the evenings ofJuly 23, 27 and 30, 2016 on the shores of English Bay. Although the fireworks are synchronized to music, arrive early for even more great tunes as Vancouver hosts SHOREFEST, the largest free community concert series on the beaches of the English Bay to get audiences excited for the evening ahead. Visitors will be anxious for the sun to go down so the sky can light up!

Craft beer lovers, unite! One of the top summer festivals in Halifax, Nova Scotia is Beerfestthe largest gathering of craft breweries in all of Atlantic Canada. With over 110 breweries present, visitors can sample nearly 300 unique craft beers, imports and ciders while basking in the beauty of the Halifax Waterfront. Nicknamed “Beer on the Pier,” Halifax Seaport Beerfest, a refreshing and buzzworthy festival, will celebrate its 10th year in 2016 on August 5 and 6.

 

Read more stories about Canada on GoNOMAD

Yotel to Open at Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport in June 2016

Yotel Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport: Opening June 2016

Known as the affordable luxury and technology-driven hotel brand, we will be spreading our wings by opening a brand new Yotel in Paris – Charles de Gaulle airport – one of the busiest transfer airports in the world.  If you’re not yet familiar with Yotel, read this story on GoNOMAD about their New York hotel.

Yotel NYC

Yotel in New York City

Coming 1 July 2016, our new hotel will be within the transit area of Terminal 2E, home to SkyTeam and Air France. Our cabins are ideal for an overnight stay, or just to rest and freshen up before, after or in-between flights. We are also the only hotel in the world that allows you to book by the hour, which means you can stay as long or as short as you need!

Yotel Paris will offer a 24/7 airline-style self-check in-and-out service, and our crew will be on hand day and night for assistance. Premium Cabins will include our space-saving adjustable SmartBeds™ with en-suite bathrooms and monsoon rain showers, in addition to our techno wall with mood lighting and entertainment options that can be connected to your device of choice.

Whether you are traveling on business, or with friends and family, our new hotel will feature a relaxing Club Lounge where you can chill on comfy sofas and enjoy our signature complimentary hot drinks. Be sure to also check out our practical work spaces with USB charging points and free super-fast WiFi, and relaxing Snug with TV zone.

Time For a Stop-over in London?

Landing at Heathrow?

Many long-haul travellers passing through the UK in the middle of a long-haul trip will be faced with having to travel between two of the UK’s major airports – Heathrow and Gatwick. Although they’re only about 40 miles apart, with no direct train route between the two, they’re not the easiest of places to travel between.

There are basically three ways to travel between Heathrow and Gatwick.

Take the train – with a tube from Heathrow on the Piccadilly Line to South Kensington, then a Circle and District line tube to Victoria, you can then catch the Gatwick Express from there.

Go on the coach – the most direct option is the National Express coach service which runs between the two airports.

Catch a taxi – if you don’t like the idea of coach or train travel, you could always book a taxi; though bear in mind this will probably be the most expensive option. Also, with either the coach or a taxi, you have to factor in possible delays because of the traffic.

Most airlines recommend that passengers allow at least three hours to travel between the two airports so there is sufficient time to catch their connecting flight. If your flight isn’t connecting, you’ll obviously need longer in order to check-in for the next flight and don’t forget how long security checks can take these days.
Depending on the length of your overall trip, you may decide it’s better to give yourself a longer break between flights and take advantage of being able to see one of the world’s most vibrant capital cities.

A day in London

London Bridge

London Bridge

If you’ve not been to London, then it’s definitely worth incorporating an extra day into your trip to simply see the sights – even if you leave with the feeling that you’ve barely scraped the surface of what London has to offer. Arriving at Heathrow, you can catch the tube directly to the centre of London via the Piccadilly line in about an hour and this is probably the easiest way to get to the tourist hotspots.

Get off the tube at Piccadilly Circus or Leicester Square and you’ll have places like Covent Garden, Oxford Street and Trafalgar Square all within easy walking distance – a great way to stretch your legs after a long flight. With so many of the big museums and art galleries free to enter, a day in London doesn’t need to be a costly one. You can then make your way out to Gatwick at the end of the day, so that you’re all ready for your connecting flight the next day.

Take a chance to chill

If you’ve been to London before, a day’s sightseeing may not interest you, but you still might value a decent break between two long flights. If that’s the case, then it’s perfectly possible to book a night at one of the many airport hotels. Ideally, book your accommodation at the airport you’re flying from the next day, so you get the travelling over with first. Many of the Heathrow and Gatwick hotels have great facilities such as spas and swimming pools so you can really just kick back and enjoy a few hours’ downtime before getting on the next flight the next day. You’ll also feel much more ready for another long flight if you’ve had a proper meal and a good night’s sleep before continuing your journey.  Or just press on through​.

The London Tube

The London Tube

You may not have the luxury of an extra day to play with, or perhaps you are the kind of traveller who just wants to reach their end destination as quickly as possible and then unwind. If you’re looking to travel directly between Heathrow and Gatwick, it’s perfectly possible – you just have to leave enough time for any contingencies, such as traffic delays or problems with the public transport network. Never underestimate the traffic in and around London, problems can occur at any time, but particularly on Monday mornings, and on Friday and Sunday afternoons and evenings, when rush hour reaches its peak.

Must Know Tips for Traveling with an Addiction

Your long-awaited vacation is coming up at long last. You think of a check list. Don’t forget the suntan lotion, your sandals and your phone charger. Don’t forget your bathing suit, your Bermuda shots, your golf clubs and your Hawaiian shirt.

Oh, yes. And don’t forget to leave your cigarettes and booze at home, because just like millions of others, you have decided that vacation will be the perfect time to quit smoking and give up alcohol.

Is this really wise? It is certainly a sizable gamble. After all, just as golf is a good way to ruin a nice walk, going sober and quitting cigarettes may be a sure-fire way to ruin a nice time with your family – one that everyone has been counting on for some time. But maybe this will be a smart move. And, boy, starting yourself on the road to recovery might make this the most memorable vacation ever.  Some tour operators run trips specifically designed for sober travelers!

Here are some positive thoughts on the subject.

It is good to have a change of scenery when you want to quit an addiction. Getting away from your happy hour buddies may be just the thing to helping you make a serious commitment to recovery.

It is good to get away from stress for a while. If you are one that forgets about bills and bosses during vacation, it may be an ideal time to quit your nagging addictions.
On that score, aim for a low-stress vacation. Some vacations are great for taking on some risky, at-home projects. This is not the time for that. This vacation should focus on keeping busy with fun distractions, getting some healthy exercise and sleeping in.

Keep busy. Play some games with the family, go swimming, go for a hike. Get away from those routines that have you in a rut and remember how to have fun again without abusing substances.

As mentioned, it’s a good time to get some exercise. Addicts have a rationalization for everything, including a few that get right in the way of exercise. Start thinking about your health. Long-term health and addictions don’t go well together.

Go to a smoke-free resort. There are now plenty of resort options that actually cater to people who want to quit smoking. They often mix busy, fun activities, like horseback riding, with calming environments. How about visiting a smoke-free ranch or a substance-free resort in the Amazon?

Recovery for many is a spiritual journey. If that word is off putting think of it this way….Recovery is a time to start thinking about what really matters to you: A healthy life … a loving family. It’s time to remember those people who your decisions may have hurt over the years. It’s a good time to think of ways to start a new, humble, happier lifestyle.

Negatives

Quitting an addiction makes more sense than you would think, given the ability you have during vacation to control the stress levels and choose your company and your activities. But there are some negatives to consider, as well.

First and foremost, you could be ruining a perfectly great vacation. This may or may not matter to you, but you could be putting your spouse and children through your own dislocated withdrawal and they deserve this vacation just as much as you. Do you really want to be a growling bear during their vacation? You want to come home as friends, not enemies.

Too much free time. Some folks like to hit the beach and take a nap for a vacation. If so, quitting an addiction might be hard to do, because you just have too much
time on your hands.

No support. For many, quitting an addiction requires professional support within reach or just around the corner. If you think you need a therapist or a hospital nearby to quit, a vacation might not be the right time to give it a try.

Support and consultation for this article came from Greenhouse Treatment at http://www.greenhousetreatment.com/texas-treatment/ as well as http://www.spaindex.com/best-stop-smoking-retreats/ and the Center for Disease Control And Prevention at http://www.cdc.gov/pwud/addiction.html