Rocky Mountains

5 Cheap Vacation Spots To Travel To In 2020

A popular New Year’s Resolution for many involves taking in more experiences. Life is short, the news is often depressing, and people just want to live and see the world. Traveling is one of the best ways for anyone to gain knowledge, experience, and a sense of adventure, but the number one thing that gets in the way of all that is the price. 

This year, you don’t have to break your bank in order to have an amazing vacation. There’s always the option to dedicate a few days to having a “staycation” that’s all about you and your wants, but why not dip into your savings just a little to really get yourself out of your comfort zone? While experts have stated that airfare is likely to increase by up to 2% this year, which happens pretty much every year, there are still ways around spending thousands upon thousands for a fun weekend away. 

Our first destination is Bergamo, Italy in the Republic of Venice. This city is typically known by American travelers for its airport, as many land here before heading off to a more standard Italian vacation location such as Venice or Florence. However, Bergamo has all of the beauty and culture that one would want out of a trip to Italy. 

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Bergamo, Italy

Not only do they have a renowned art scene, but Bergamo is known for its outdoor activities, including countless hiking paths and skiing. Additionally the food is exactly what you’d expect from Italy, and is relatively cheap compared to places like Milan. Bergamo is most popular for its Hotel Excelsior San Marco, which has a beautiful rooftop view of the Italian coast, and rooms run for less than $100 a night! Want to travel beyond just Bergamo? Milan is only a 40 minute train ride away which would put you right in the heart of Italy, without hurting your wallet too much. 

If you live in the United States, an obvious and easy solution to saving on travel is to do a roadtrip! Especially if you’re being joined by friends and family who can contribute to gas money, traveling by car is not only cheaper, but more sustainable as well. Ocean Isle Beach in North Carolina has risen greatly in popularity throughout the past few years, and it’s thanks to a bunch of roadtrippers who claim the ride alone makes the trip worth it. 

The Southern United States in general is much cheaper compared to other more coastal areas. Every meal can cost you less than $10, and parking for the beach is completely free anywhere you go within Ocean Isle. If you want to tap more into your wild side, you can fish for $1, and walk just about anywhere for some cool new scenery. There’s a ton of family-friendly activities such as mini-golf, arcade play, and community concerts that all will cost less than $20 per person. 

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Eugene, Oregon

Staying on the theme of road-trip travel in the US, look no further than Oregon. Eugene, Oregon to be more specific. Many people disregard cities that are home to major colleges as vacation destinations because they just assume the only thing to do there would be go to a frat party and bar crawl, however, this is not the case for Eugene. 

Eugene is known for its ability to give tourists something to do all year round. “With so many gorgeous wineries just a short drive away, Eugene has plenty to offer. Be sure to check out King Estate for lunch or dinner. In the summertime, enjoy the beautiful view from its expansive patio. Or, in the winter, hunker down by the fireplace while sampling the amazing wines and oysters,” said food and travel photographer Erin Lynch.

Copper Mountain, Colorado is Denver’s western chap cousin. A typical ski lift fee in Colorado will run you anywhere between $200-$250, however, at Copper Mountain the ski lift prices are $140. For $140 you get access to142 trails spanning 2,490 acres, with a summit elevation of 12,441 feet.” The town itself has countless restaurants and bars, all of which have happy hour specials on drinks AND food. 

To finish off our list we’re heading north, to Canada that is. Calgary, Canada is just like Bergamo in the sense that most people only ever go there when they’re experiencing a layover to get to another, more popularized, area of Canada. Calgary, however, offers all the same amenities you’d expect to get from a Canadian vacation, for way less. The Fairmont Palliser is one of the most well-reviewed hotels in the Calgary area, and with room rates starting as low as $130 a night, you can’t go wrong. The Palliser also recently opened their own Dining Room and Bar, making your decisions regarding where to eat much easier. 

All of these locations would make for perfect vacation spots, and while you’ll still have to pay a decent amount, you won’t be breaking your bank as much as you would going to a more standard vacation spot. Forbes recently listed a total of 43 “cheap” vacation destinations around the world that might also inspire your next travel move. 

Corporate Culture

Companies with the Best Corporate Culture, According to Forbes

There are plenty of factors to consider when determining what makes for a good corporate culture, and it’s not as simple as it may seem to create an environment where workers are productive, satisfied, and motivated. As the Business Roundtable recently said that stakeholders, including employees and customers, should take precedence over shareholders, many business leaders are searching for ways to improve their companies’ cultures.

Fortunately, companies like Glassdoor have conducted research to determine the elements of a good corporate culture. In their study, Glassdoor found that there are three factors that strongly influence the quality of a company’s culture: the presence of a workplace where employees feel like they have a clear mission and social purpose; high-quality leaders who inspire and empathize with their employees; and clear opportunities for career advancement. In accordance with this research, Forbes conducted their yearly survey of the companies with the best corporate culture in 2019, giving its readers an insight into the most fulfilling companies to work for as well as providing leaders with references for improving the culture of their own businesses.

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In order to determine the top companies for corporate culture, Forbes looked at, a website where employees are invited to anonymously comment on various aspects of their workplace. Forbes included quotes from employees at the top 5 large companies, Microsoft, Zoom, ADP, Google, and Hubspot. Microsoft is well-known for having adopted a culture that encourages employees to pursue their passions and collaborate to solve problems, resulting in a high level of employee satisfaction. Google is also well-known for having a unique and fun employee culture; the employee quoted in the Forbes article cites their relationships with their coworkers as well as the number of opportunities available as a reason why the company makes the top 5 list yet again. Employees of Zoom, ADP, and Hubspot cite a good work-life balance, happy coworkers, and a belief in the company mission as reasons why they value their work environments.

Young workers in particular are more likely to be dissatisfied if they feel that their work does not contribute positively to society in some way

Forbes also took a look at the top 5 mid-small companies, whose employees had similar things to say about their jobs. An employee of Weave HQ said how much they love how the company makes employees feel comfortable and welcome, whereas a worker at HighSpot pointed to the employees’ excitement about their product. Employees at Greenhouse Software Inc. and Salesloft both highlight the spirit of collaboration in their workplaces, where employees are happy to work together to solve problems, hold each other accountable, and admit their mistakes.

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The author of the Forbes piece, Rachel Montanez, spoke with the CEO of Comparably, Jason Nazar, about the findings. Nazar pointed out that 2019 was one of the most competitive years he had seen, and this year’s list represents a more diverse set of companies than just the tech sector, which ranked prominently on prior years’ lists. He also stressed the importance of providing employees and job hunters with real opportunities for career growth, as doing so not only improves job satisfaction but prepares the leaders of the future to take on ever-more challenging and necessary roles.

Nazar argues that investing in company culture is a profitable move for companies in the long run, as it results in companies recruiting and keeping the best talent in their industries. A positive work culture, he says, includes good compensation and strong leadership, which motivates workers to do the best job they can. Young workers in particular are more likely to be dissatisfied if they feel that their work does not contribute positively to society in some way, increasing the risk of burn-out or leaving the job; as such, ensuring employees understand the value of their work pays off in the long run.

Business Meeting

How To Make Your Business Idea A Reality

We’ve all had that moment when we’re gathered around the coffee table, hanging out with a few friends, having a few drinks, when suddenly one of you gets a brilliant idea. The idea is shared amongst the group and you all agree that the idea could make you all millionaires! You all could finally quit your nine-to-fives, buy a house, and retire early, it’s that good of an idea. Typically, after the initial excitement wears off, the conversation often quickly changes, and maybe one of your friends wrote down the idea just in case, but it’s likely it will never get brought up again. But what if that wasn’t the end of it? So often we have these brilliant ideas that never actually see the light of day, unless a bigger and wealthier corporation comes up with it somehow, but what if we actually all had the means to create our dream businesses? While I can’t provide you with a proper investment or all the specific logistics for your particular idea, I can give you the right tips to actually making your business dream ideas a reality. 

First and foremost, one of the keys for creating a good and marketable business idea is to ask yourself: what problem does your idea solve? Consumers want a product, store, service, etc. that will be beneficial to their life in some way. Even if your idea is a simple corner coffee shop, what is it about your specific shop that makes customers want to walk into your doors every morning for their morning coffee? Maybe it’s the fact that your shop is the closest coffee shop within a five mile radius, or maybe it’s that you make homemade muffins every morning so that they’re fresh for the customers. Whatever it is, your business needs a niche that makes it special; the goal should always be to be as memorable as possible.

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If you’re having trouble even thinking of a general idea of what you want to do, make it personal. Think about your own life and current living situation and what would make going about everyday easier. Making it personal connects you on a deeper level to the idea, and will create a greater sense of passion for the project. 

Lindsay Cook, the founder and CEO of the app FitOn, spoke with Forbes Magazine about this concept:  “As a busy working mom, I realized that making it to my favorite studio classes had become seemingly impossible. When I searched online for more accessible and practical workouts, I was disappointed in the quality and lack of motivation that existed. Hence the inspiration behind FitOn.”

Once you have your idea it’ll be time to do some research. You want to research your general market, and designate your target audience. When researching your market you want to think about it in relation to your product/idea. Does it reach a broad enough audience? Is your intended market large enough to sustain the business in its entirety? What aspects of your idea should be expanded upon in order to be more relatable and usable to the general public? You also want to think about how you’re going to market yourself and sell your product; obviously this all depends on the specifics of your idea.

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Will it be exclusively online or do you want a storefront to start off? Either way, definitely make a professional website for the business to make it easily accessible to anyone. Additionally, having an online presence can include making your business multiple social media accounts; this way, your business is more likely to reach that broader audience you need. 

Before you dive fully into your idea, it’s good to get some honest feedback, validation, and tips from others on how you plan on running your business  and the product itself. Create focus groups or online forum boards in which you can present your idea to friends, family members, or even complete strangers. Consumer feedback is so important, especially when it comes to a business that you’re starting from the ground up. Your audience is your customers, so it’s important to appease to their wants.

Once you have your feedback, it’s time to take this coffee table idea you made with your drinking buddies and turn it into a reality. Running a business is no easy feat, so take your time to make sure you’re jumping through all the right hoops and crossing your T’s and dotting your I’s. Believe in your idea and have some faith that you will be able to retire early on a beach in Miami when the business finally does take off. Robert Herjavec, star investor on the show Shark Tank, recently gave Business Insider some of the best advice he’s received regarding starting a business:

“You have to have a senseless belief in your idea and yourself—almost to the point of being delusional. Remember that everyone has advice, but no one knows what you have to go through to start, grow and scale a business until they live it. Talk is cheap, but action speaks volumes.”

Baltimore Museum of Art

The Baltimore Museum Of Art Will Only Acquire Art Done By Female Artists In 2020

The Baltimore Museum of Art has been a hub for art work and culture in Maryland for years. This week, the museums leadership director Christopher Bedford had an interview with The Baltimore Sun, where he announced that the museum will only be acquiring art by women artists in 2020. The announcement is a part of the museums greater mission of further diversifying the artwork acquired for display, as well as raising up minority artists who don’t normally get the opportunity to have their work shown off in a real professional gallery setting. In 2018, the museum began this effort by selling many works by white male artists, and using the money earned from the sales to acquire pieces strictly done by women and minorities exclusively. 

This how you raise awareness and shift the identity of an institution. You don’t just purchase one painting by a female artist of color and hang it on the wall next to a painting by Mark Rothko. To rectify centuries of imbalance, you have to do something radical,” Bedford told The Baltimore Sun

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Bedford went on in the interview to explain how in the 22 exhibits on display, each will have a female centered focus. 19 of the 22 exhibits will showcase artwork that’s all exclusively done by female artists, and will include artwork done by one transgender woman, Zackary Drucker, as well. Additionally, Bedford said that two of the exhibitions will dive into the male gaze and how male artists tend to observe women in their art, and another exhibit will honor Adelyn Breeskin. Breeskin was the director of the Baltimore Museum of Art from 1942 to 1962 and a pioneer for giving female artists a voice, including her own. Now her artwork will be on full display in its own exhibit in the museum she helped sculpt for 20 years. 

The process of a museum selling parts of its exhibits to make money to pay for newer collections is known as “deaccessioning” according to Forbes Magazine. The process itself is quite controversial in the art scene. Some critics of this process claim that it’s a museums responsibility to the community to make art completely accessible to the public, and view the selling of that art as a disservice to the public’s access to cultural artifacts. Add on top of that the fact that in this specific case the museum is deaccessioning work by male artists to purchase art exclusively by women and minorities, and a whole other controversy has begun. However, in this case, Bedford doesn’t seem too worried about the critics. 

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The whole goal of this process is to reverse the history of art acquisition in our world’s museums, which has always been a male dominated scene. Artnet News did an investigation into the museums of America and it’s female artist presence. The study found that in the past decade (2008 – 2018) throughout 26 of America’s major art museums, only 11% of new art acquired by these museums were done by women, and 14% of the permanent exhibits in general contained work by female artists. In addition, only 3% of that newly acquired work was done by African American artists. 

Julia Halperin and Charlotte Burns, the two authors of the investigation, discussed how it’s easy to assume why the art community is this way, as 16 of the 26 museums had men as their directors and of the countries top 10 art institutions, only one of them had a female director. The acquisition process thus speaks on a much larger issue of lack of female presence in the art world in general. So the decision for Baltimore to exclusively acquire and display female created art, is a part of a much larger effort for female voices to become more prominent in these institutions. Bedford stated that this acquisition process is just a piece of their larger “2020 Vision” program, which is honoring the 100th anniversary of women gaining the right to vote in this country. As a celebration of one of the first major women’s rights successes, the museum is including the yearlong program to “examine representations of female power and protest in American and European art,” (Forbes). 

“The museum sees this as an opportunity to extend that commitment while also working to shift the scales within its collections, acknowledging that women artists are still underrepresented in the museum field and within museum collections. We hope this will serve as a model and a first step towards better representation within our field,” said a spokesperson for the Baltimore Museum of Art.