From great tips on flying to an exploration of China’s booming tourism industry
Nights are getting longer, leaves are falling from deciduous trees, and temperatures are dropping across the Northern Hemisphere as autumn takes hold. That means it’s high time to cuddle up in a comfy chair and read about travel. Here, in no particular order, are three articles from the past few weeks that we deem to be worth your while.
The overall economy in China might be slowing, but the tourism industry is flying high. At least, that was the gist of a recent business article from the New York Times. The piece, from author Michael Schuman, notes that many wealthy Chinese families are spending extra income on travel. According to staggering government statistics, Chinese tourists took four billion domestic trips in 2015—twice as many as in 2010 and significantly more than their 122 million journeys abroad. The article indicates a significant portion of this travel has been to the Hainan province, which the government has targeted for development as an “international tourism island.” In addition to welcoming scores of new hotels and golf courses, the area recently received high-speed rail service, and the city of Sanya is due to get a new airport next year. Schuman says that in a Vegas-like twist, there has been so much development, many companies are losing money. For travelers like us, however, this is encouraging: If you’re looking for a discount vacation to China, consider Sanya.
It’s always fun to get flying insights from the people who know it best. That’s one of the reasons the latest article from Beth Blair, a former flight attendant, is such a good read. In a story for BBC Travel, Blair dishes on the best seats in a plane for comfort, service, and safety. She also gives the inside scoop on how to put yourself in the best position to get an empty seat next to you, where to sit if you need to deplane quickly to make a tight connection, and what to do to avoid pressure in your ears during takeoff and landing. The story is longer than most, but is broken out into a Q&A format that’s easy to read. We dare you to finish it without learning something.
We’re not bullish on Google’s new Trips app—at least not yet. That said, we love the recent Wired article about the app and how it works. The story explains that the app uses “scads of online data showing sightseeing visits by others in the past and Euler’s Geometry of Place” to map out a path “from one notable sight to another, giving you just enough time to enjoy one before moving to the next.” Author Cade Metz notes that the app also incorporates a hefty dose of graph theory, essentially rendering bridges and museums and cafés and all sorts of other travel icons into math. To be clear, right-brainers might scratch their heads at some of the article’s references to algebra and numbers. Still, the whole concept behind the new app is fascinating. Color us intrigued to learn more.
Matt Villano is a freelance writer and editor based in Healdsburg, California. In nearly 20 years as a full-time freelancer, he has covered travel for publications including TIME, the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, Sunset, Backpacker, Entrepreneur, and more. He contributes to the Expedia Viewfinder blog and writes a monthly food column for Islands magazine. Villano also serves on the board of the Family Travel Association and blogs about family travel at Wandering Pod. Learn more about him at Whalehead.com.