Recently, for an assignment, I compiled a list on what travelers should be thankful for, and it got me thinking more about the subject. And with Thanksgiving right around the corner, I wanted to take some time to reflect on what as a traveler I feel most grateful about.
Here are my five examples.
- Ride sharing services. I was skeptical of using Uber for a long while, and didn’t sign up for it until this summer. Mainly it was because while I’m in New York City, my transportation options are plenty. In other places, it’s a different story. Two assignments this year took me to cities where spotting a cab was a challenge or not even possible. Plus what I like about Uber is that I can see who’s coming to pick me up (I’ve had drivers pulling over, claiming to be my ride, when they weren’t) and get an estimated rate.
- Free or discounted museum admission. I love visiting museums – even planning time for them in my trips – but after a while their price of admission can eat through my budget. So I appreciate museums and other public attractions that don’t cost a thing to see, or even have pay as you wish options. There are also ones that offer free days or evenings to state residents (like ones in Chicago such as the Field Museum) or extend these offerings to everyone (my favorite is NYC’s Museum of Modern Art’s free Friday nights.)
- Third-party search engines. Flying can get expensive, but we’re got some outside options. Thanks to sites like Google Flights, Travelocity, Orbitz, and Expedia, we can search for rates on flights and most likely get a price break on costs. For example, this summer, I used one site for booking my return flight from Stockholm back to New York and got a good deal ($598). At the airport, I discovered that I was able to check in my two bags at no additional charge. (I didn’t know they were included in the fare). What a good surprise. Also consider sites like Secret Flying, which publish flight deals and error fares (computer glitches resulting in our price favor).
- Hospitality workers. Flight attendants, housekeeping, and front desk clerks have probably encountered just about every type of traveler out there – good and bad. But they keep us going. I’ve made it a habit to not just say thanks but to show it. I always acknowledge good customer service, via Twitter or in person. At hotels, I always make sure to tip too, leaving a few bills on my nightstand. People I know who work in hospitality tell me that this simple gesture can make a staffer’s day, so let’s show all these hardworking people some love.
- More voices in travel communities. As a travel writer, nothing makes me happier to see more content being published by experts in various niches. From women travelers, to accessible travelers and budget travelers, to even baby boomers and LGBT, these sources are showing that travel is not restrictive. Our styles vary, and these writers, bloggers and vloggers get it and are giving solid advice on making our dreams of seeing the world happen.
Let me know what you would give thanks for.