Grown-up Travel Guide News Update – 10.02.2012

In which we present a regular round-up of news from the world of Grown-up Travel

What is the safest mode of travel?

BBC Travel

It’s often said that driving in a car is more dangerous than flying in a plane, yet when an aeroplane crashes or a ship sinks, the nonstop media coverage that follows makes that claim hard to believe.

The sinking of the Costa Concordia cruise ship this month has once again shone a spotlight on the overall safety of transport. But considering how rare a disaster like this is, especially in comparison to car crashes, it raises the question, which mode of transportation is truly the safest?

Worldwide, there were only 373 fatalities on scheduled commercial passenger flights in 2011, according to the non-profit Aviation Safety Network Database. And according to the International Air Transport Association, an airline trade organization, there were 2.84 billion commercial passengers last year, which would roughly mean your average odds of dying on a commercial flight were roughly one in 7.6 million in 2011.

Over the course of a lifetime, the risk increases. For example, in a 2006 Reason magazine article, the National Safety Council (NSC) reported that in the US the average person’s odds of dying in a plane crash in their lifetime is about one in 5,000.

But contrast those odds to vehicular fatalities. In the same article, the NSC reported that the odds of dying in a car accident in the US over a lifetime was about one in 83. While the number of global vehicle passengers and drivers may not be known, the World Health Organization estimates that 1.2 million people die each year in road traffic accidents (roughly half of which are pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists). So even though we drive more than we fly, with apologies to Jack Kerouac and George Clooney, it seems that there is basis for the claim that on the road is more dangerous than up in the air.

While cruises are more optional than planes and vehicle when travelling, the odds of dying are nearly as slim as flying. As for cruise ships, the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA), an association of cruise lines, said that from 2005 to 2011 only 16 people died in cruise accidents, out of 100 million passengers, putting the odds of death over that period at one in 6.25 million. But the Costa Concordia disaster doubled that fatality number in the early days of 2012. (The death toll from the recent accident has currently reached 16, and there are still at least 16 people still missing.)

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Goodbye potato chips; Hotel mini-bars turn exotic and even healthy

USA Today

Forget the M&M’s and potato chips. Reach for some aloe vera pulp juice or a crystal-studded bottle from a “library” of designer water.

The hotel mini-bar is getting an upgrade as hotels seek to make more money from midnight-snacking hotel guests or better reflect the tastes of their clientele. For many, that means offering a fat-free or exotic menu of treats such as coconut water, muscle milk and Parmesan herb chips.

“They’re using their mini-bars as an extension of the property’s personality, so they’re stocking them with items that add to the mystique and experience,” says Glenn Haussman, executive editor of

Some examples:

•The Trump International Hotel & Tower Chicago has an in-room water library with a $25 bottle of bling h20, decorated with genuine Swarovski crystals.

•The Delamar Greenwich Harbor and Delamar Southport, both in Connecticut, have Honeydrop drinks, locally made juices and teas sweetened with wildflower honey instead of refined sugars. The mini-bar also includes a “make your own” martini option.

•The Chatwal in New York has such non-edible items as a signed copy of American Eve, a story about the love affair between architect Stanford White, who designed the building, and Evelyn Nesbit. There’s also a copy of The Great Gatsby and a box of candy cigarettes.

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Hollywood finds romance in travel

LA Times

On a train ‘North by Northwest’ and others, on a bus in ‘It Happened One Night,’ in Italy in ‘Roman Holiday,’ in Bali in ‘Eat, Pray, Love’ — love is all around.

Love is always lovelier some place other than home. Well, at least in the celluloid universe.

Traveling by boat, train or even bus can lead to romanticentanglements in the movies, as does visiting über-romantic locales such as Rome, Paris and Venice. Of course, these romances may not last, or they may even end tragically — just think of poor Jack and Rose in “Titanic” — but it doesn’t matter. Movie audiences crave these idealistic, sexy trysts.

Here’s a look at some of the best films in the romantic travel genre:

All aboard!

Trains are great locations for love and romance. And we’re not just talking Alfred Hitchcock’s 1959 classic”North by Northwest.”

In 1932, hearts beat a little faster with Josef von Sternberg’s lush romance “Shanghai Express,” set in 1931 during the Chinese Civil War. The film was one of the more successful collaborations between Von Sternberg and his muse, Marlene Dietrich. She’s in fine form as the mysterious woman of ill repute Shanghai Lily — “It took more than one man to change my name to Shanghai Lily” — who boards the Shanghai Express only to discover her former lover is also a passenger. The two rekindle their romance in the midst of the war and intrigue.

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UK going great guns on tourism push

Toronto Sun

Britain launched on Thursday its biggest ever campaign to attract visitors to its shores, exploiting a unique year in which London will host the Olympics and Queen Elizabeth celebrates 60 years on the throne.

“(GREAT Britain) is the largest ad (campaign) in our history,” said Jeremy Hunt, Secretary of State for culture, Olympics, media and sport of the 125 million pound trade and tourism initiative.

“We’re taking the fight for the tourist pound right to our competitors’ doorsteps… there will be no escape from the message that Britain is great.”

The international trade and tourism drive is split into a 25 million “image campaign” and a 100 million pounds “tactical campaign” invested over a four-year period across 20 source markets, to be co-funded by companies including British Airways, easyJet, P&O Ferries and Radisson Hotels .

Britain, already the sixth most visited country in the world, plans to splash images promoting its heritage around airports, metro stations and road junctions in 14 cities around the globe, with the aim of attracting over 4.6 million extra visitors over the next four years, and securing an additional 2.3 billion pounds in visitor spend.

The cities include Los Angeles, Tokyo, Beijing, New Delhi and Sydney.

“If you are looking for one traditional British quality that you won’t see this year, that is modesty,” Hunt said.

The campaign is a cross-department effort between tourism agency VisitBritain, the British Council (educational marketing) and UK Trade and Investment (business investment marketing).

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Andy Higgs
Andy Higgs

Not meaning to brag, but here goes. I can say I’m a travel expert and have spoken at multiple travel conferences and trade shows.

I enjoy travelling all over the world but my big passion is Africa.

I also own and run The Grown-up Travel Company as a travel designer creating personalised African itineraries for experienced adventurers

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