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Train Route Between Italy And Slovenia To Open For Historical Direct Trip 

A new train route in Europe is opening up that will connect Milan, Italy to Ljubljana, Slovenia in what is believed to be the first connecting the two nations, in this way, in over 100 years; the last time there was a train route between the two is thought to have been during the Habsburg Empire before it dissolved.

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How to Travel More Sustainably

As the effects of climate change continue to manifest in the form of increasingly destructive extreme weather events, including the massive wildfires currently affecting Australia, people are becoming increasingly interested in how to reduce their own carbon emissions to mitigate their personal impact on the crisis. While travelling the world is a personal goal and aspiration for many of us, it unfortunately also represents one of the most serious contributors to climate change, as the carbon emissions released during travel can be substantial. Luckily, there are a number of changes that travelers can make during their trips to reduce their carbon output while still being able to visit attractive destinations.

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Although travel by airplane is the quickest and often only viable way to reach many of the world’s most popular travel destinations, it also causes substantial carbon emissions. That being said, some airlines are better than others in this regard, as airlines like United, Qantas, and KLM use sustainable aviation biofuel instead of traditional jet fuel, which is less damaging to the environment. Travelling by train generates up to ten times fewer carbon emissions than travelling by plane, and while choosing this form of travel limits your selection of destination severely, it also makes for a cheaper and generally more enjoyable mode of transport. If you’re interested in avoiding air travel for environmental reasons, it’s likely a good idea to research travel destinations near train stations, which include major cities and national or state parks. Alternatively, if you’re interested in going on a cruise, there exist a few environmentally-friendly options, including Alaskan Dream Cruises and Aqua Expeditions, which work to protect the environments of the communities they visit. If your ideal vacation involves immersing yourself in nature, you generally don’t have to travel far to do so, as the United States is home to countless parks, forests, and natural wonders. If it’s practical to do so, opt to travel within your destination via bicycle, which has no environmental impact whatsoever.

Travelers interested in minimizing their environmental impact should also take their accommodations into account. Staying at a hotel generally uses more energy and produces more carbon emissions than staying at home, but this doesn’t have to be the case. Some hotels adopt environmentally-friendly policies to reduce their impact on the local ecosystem and the global environment more broadly, making them a good choice for the environmentally-conscious. Angama Mara, a hotel in Kenya, has a zero-plastic policies, as do Edition Hotel properties, which can be found in cities around the world. Some hotels also work to restore natural areas, such as Brazil’s Pousada Literária de Paraty, which helps to sustain the local bird population by planting foliage. Alternatively, you can minimize your carbon emissions by camping, but make sure to leave your campsite in at least as good a condition as you found it.

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Lastly, it’s important to take into consideration the environmental impact of your activities at your destination with an aim to limit energy use and waste. Deciding to use reusable containers instead of disposable ones can dramatically reduce waste, as can taking shorter showers and reusing towels. According to Bee + Hive, a sustainable tourism association, tourists in a developing country use 1,800 liters of water per night, whereas a village of 700 only uses 500 liters of water per month. As roughly 2 billion people around the world do not have access to clean running water, it’s important to be mindful of your water usage, particularly when visiting developing or poor countries. One way to do so is to ask your hotel about how they approach water conservation and the steps you can take to limit waste as a guest. 

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Thanksgiving Travel Expected To Be Highest on Record

With the Thanksgiving holiday just around the corner many families and friends are planning breaks away to spend time with their loved ones and airlines are anticipating record breaking levels of travel despite the grounding of the Boeing 737 Max aircraft.

An announcement by Airlines for America (A4A) has predicted this year’s Thanksgiving holiday to not only be the busiest time of this year but also in US commercial aviation history.

A major player in American aviation services, A4A represent the nine biggest US cargo and passenger carriers and have claimed over 3.1 million passengers will be traveling on the Sunday after the holiday meaning 1 December could be breaking records across the country.

After analysing the holiday period, A4A have claimed between 31.6 and 55 million passengers will be traveling throughout the 12 day holiday period, an increase of 2.7 per cent over the same period last year.

It is also expected load factors are to be between 79% and 91% for the period, with the official holiday break confirmed as being between Friday 22 November and Tuesday 3 December.

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) are expecting the busiest days for travel being Wednesday 27 November and Sunday 1 December, with the actual Thanksgiving Day being the quietest time to travel. In fact in order to reduce security line times various U.S. airlines have increased their offerings with a further 850 flights – or 108,000 seats – added to the schedules each day.

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These increases have been predicted despite daily airline departures still being reduced significantly due to the grounding of the 737 Max in March this year following two fatal accidents. Currently 76 new aircraft have not been delivered as expected while 72 planes are still grounded meaning all airlines have had to put together new plans to keep up with demand, including retirements being delayed, holidays being postponed, schedules being restructured and maintenance being carried out where required.

John Heimlich, Vice President and Chief Economist of Airlines for America states, ‘airlines had to take greater measures to offset the Max issues.’

November and December are the busiest periods in the travel calendar however this year the daily departures are currently estimated to have a net reduction of 417 for November and 426 for December, which are higher than average. This is despite the increase over the holiday periods.

Clearly all airlines are keen to have the planes returning to active service with Mr Heimlich commenting on the long term effects the industry could suffer once they are in back in service:

‘It’s unlikely that the manufacturer will be able to deliver all those planes on day one. It will be phased in, and even at the airlines which have already taken delivery of Max aircraft, it will take some time to work them back in to the schedule. The market knows this is coming.’

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The additional aircraft, and therefore extra flights, will be in demand during 2020. Currently the U.S. has a strong economy thanks in part to the constant growth in employment leading to more disposable income. Add to this the consistently low fares as well as consumer confidence at an all time high and the continuing increases in gross domestic product.

According to Boeing the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) are expected to award certification within the next 6 weeks, however this does not mean there is a specific date for the aircraft to return to our skies.

A4A recently published their industry review and have stated that around $18.1 billion was spent upgrading the metal for all the fleet renewal, satisfying demand, however if the Max had not been grounded the investment would have been nearer $19 billion. According to Heimlich that extra billion dollars should be deferred to the 2020 budge.

Domestic travel has continued to grow throughout the United States with passenger traffic in the first nine months of 2019 seeing an increase of 4 per cent compared to the same period in 2018. An average of 26,100 flights took off from U.S. airports each day via both American and foreign airlines, an increase of 2.7% from last year. The number of seats filled also increased with an extra 3.16 million sold, an increase of 3.5%.

If this has put you off the idea of flying home for the holidays you could drive, however the roads are expected to see around 49.3 million travellers heading to their families. These figures are a 2.8% increase on last year and the largest figures since 2005.

The American Automobile Association (AAA) predicts a peak of traffic on Wednesday as most travelers try to beat the holiday rush. Yet mixed with the every day commuters trips can be expected to take up to four times as long, so make sure you pack enough supplies to keep you fed and watered.

Bad Weather Traffic

Storms Threaten Holiday Travel Across US

The holidays are undoubtedly the most difficult time of the year to travel in the United States, as roughly 55 million Americans take to airports and highways to visit their families before the end of the year. This year, however, may pose even more of a travel headache than usual, as multiple storms are forecasted to hit various parts of the US this Thanksgiving. According to U.S. News, a snowstorm is expected in Colorado, Kansas, and northern New Mexico on Friday and Saturday, potentially wreaking havoc on these states’ roads. Additionally, a mixture of rain and snow is forcasted for Missouri and Maine, among other states. Much of the southeastern U.S., alongside the East Coast, is expected to be impacted by thunderstorms as well. 

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Over the weekend, the disruptive weather system is predicted to continue moving east, causing freezing rain in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Indiana, West Virginia, New York, Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine, and Massachusetts. Next week, rain will turn into snow in Chicago on Tuesday, and Wisconsin and Michigan will receive heavy snow on Tuesday and Wednesday. In the Northeast, temperatures will not reach freezing, but a storm system will cause rain on Tuesday and Wednesday, thankfully clearing up in time of New York’s Thanksgiving Day parade on Thursday.

Already, a winter storm in Denver has caused a 50 car pile-up, and this storm is moving from the Rockies toward the Northeast, according to ABC 7 NY. The central U.S. is predicted to be the area of the country most affected during the peak of Thanksgiving travel, but travel is sure to be disrupted throughout the country due to weather over the coming days and weeks. According to the AAA, travel during the holidays already takes four times longer than usual due to the increase in traffic, and weather will likely make this travel time even longer to the point of being nearly impossible in some areas. Even more people are predicted to travel this year than last year, as the AAA predicts an additional 1.6 million more people will travel in 2019 than in 2018, as a result of a strong economy.

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If you’re one of the millions of Americans planning on traveling this year, it would be wise to take some precautions to ensure you arrive at your destination safely and on time. According to a AAA report, the absolute worst day to travel is Wednesday, the day before Thanksgiving, though roads are likely to see very heavy congestion all week. AAA predicts that it will receive more than 368,000 calls from motorists in need of help this holiday season, with dead batteries, lockouts, and flat tires being the most common issues. While gas prices are predicted to stay at a relatively low $2.57 per gallon this holiday, this means that more people will be motivated to drive, making congestion worse.

Many people travel to warm-weather areas during the holiday season, and this year will be no different. According to the AAA, the top three travel destinations for Thanksgiving will be Orlando, Florida; Anaheim, California; and New York, New York, with theme parks being a major attraction during the holidays. In addition to car and plane travel, travel by train, bus, and cruise ship is also expected to peak during the holiday season, though not to the same degree as the other, more popular forms of travel. Air travel in particular will be more difficult this year than last year, as the AAA predicts that air travel will grow by 4.6% this year, a substantially higher margin than any other form of travel. The most important thing to consider when traveling during the holidays, especially when weather conditions are projected to cause difficulties, is the personal safety of yourself and your passengers. As such, you should take steps to prepare for the event of an emergency if you plan to travel.

Train travel

Should You Consider Traveling By Train Instead of By Plane?

If there’s one aspect of traveling that can really put a damper on the experience, it’s the stress and frustration of dealing with airports. They are often crowded, the food is usually overpriced and mediocre, and going through security is a pain. Air travel generally involves spending long hours sitting in airports, where access to electrical outlets is limited, cellular data networks are congested and sometimes fail, and free Wi-Fi is nowhere to be found. And the experience is not much better once you get in the air; seat sizes have been steadily decreasing over the years to fit more people onto planes, in-flight entertainment options are usually limited, and meals are generally limited to bags of chips and small cups of soda. Nevertheless, plane trips are widely regarded as a necessary evil when traveling to sufficiently distant destinations, and are generally more bearable than a long car trip.

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In many cases, however, there is a better way to travel, which is to take a train. There are several benefits to doing so. For instance, the drive to a train station is often much shorter than the one to an airport, and train tickets are nearly universally cheaper than plane tickets. You don’t have to go through security when boarding a train, nor do you have to deal with long waits in airports, and selections for food and beverages are often better. Also, trains happen to be a more environmentally-friendly form of transportation than planes, which have recently been found to pollute more than previously thought, and cell phone reception on trains is generally better than at airports and in the air. Of course, for sufficiently long distances, taking a plane can be your only option, but for a trip that would take one hour by plane it may be a better idea to take a five-hour long train trip when all factors are taken into consideration.

The quality of the time you spend on a train is often better than the time you spend in the air travel process, as you often have more legroom and opportunities for relaxation or work.

One such factor is the hidden additional time it takes to fly beyond the time spent in the air. Regardless of how long your trip to the airport is, you generally have to wait at least a few hours in the airport before boarding the plane, and it’s always recommended to arrive extra early as a precaution. The disembarking process also takes time, as you find your luggage while navigating an unfamiliar airport, and then you’ll often have to wait to be picked up by a taxi service or a relative. All of this time adds up, and a one-hour flight can quickly become a five-hour affair, making a train trip of similar duration more appealing. Furthermore, the quality of the time you spend on a train is often better than the time you spend in the air travel process, as you often have more legroom and opportunities for relaxation or work.

The New York Times writer Elaine Glusac compared details of traveling between various popular Americans cities by train and by plane in order to test the theory that train trips are often more desirable than plane trips. Her results, surprisingly, argued that for many trips we tend to imagine as necessitating air travel, trains were a superior form of transport. The trip from Boston to New York City, for instance, is both cheaper and faster by train than by airplane, as is the trip from New York City to Washington. The trip from Boston to Washington, however, is a better deal by plane. The trip from Seattle to Vancouver, British Columbia, was recently made easier by the signing of an agreement between the United States and Canada to allow travellers to clear customs and immigration before leaving a country, and taking a train instead of a plane allows travelers to save both time and money on this trip.

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With the advent of the Internet, it’s never been easier to do research on travel opportunities. One popular online resource is Hipmunk, which allows users to input the details of their journey to compare prices and travel times between different airlines and automatically includes details for taking a train instead. Before embarking on any trip, you should look into the various rules and restrictions of your travel method of choice, as both airlines and planes impose limitations on the size and type of luggage you can carry, among other rules. When planning a trip, make sure you take all eventualities into consideration, as a thoroughly-planned trip is much likelier to be a successful one than a spontaneous journey.