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Americans Love to Travel

September 23, 2020

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In the May 2020 issue of Smithsonian magazine I came across an intriguing article titled, “A Half-Century of Trips,” written by Ted Scheinman, (a writer and scholar based in Southern California). This features a subhead that reads, “Americans have steadily become more dedicated travelers, despite historic setbacks.”

He goes on to say, “Americans have long dared to get up and go – for the thrill of it, of course, but also because it helps enlarge our perspective. As Mark Twain once wrote, “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry and narrow-mindedness.” That says it all.

LOOKING AT THE YEARS FROM 1972 UNTIL 2018

I believe if we look at these 46 years we’ll have a pretty good idea of travel in America since the first trans-Atlantic flight in 1939. Up until now many of us have traveled abroad. Of course, during this time conflicts, recessions and diseases have slowed us down.

Let’s look at 1972 when the post-World War II boom in travel continued – due to rising income and advances in travel technology. Overseas travel inched closer to becoming the norm while thirteen years later it became even more popular. In 1985 the percentage of Americans traveling overseas topped 5% for the first time. Also, the number of US folks traveling to Africa, Asia and the Middle East rose 44% from the year before. Moving on to 2001 we see that U.S. airlines lost over $7 billion following 9/ll (that’s an astounding figure). And by 2002 overseas travel from the U.S. had dropped 13% from its pre-9/ll peak in 2001. It did not recover until 2004. Now we’re up to 2008 when the Great Recession spurred a seven-year downturn in annual overseas travel. Airlines lost $10.4 billion globally, as business and leisure travel plummeted. Ten years later in 2018 we see that overseas trips reached an all-time high. U.S leisure and hospitality job openings surge to 1.14 million – or nearly triple 2009 levels. And where are we now? It looks as if foreign travel will dip in 2019 and plunge in 2020 – that’s no surprise.

LET’S TAKE A LOOK ON THE LIGHTER SIDE of things by reviewing the selection of DO NOT DISTURB signs from near and far that I found in the April 2020 issue of Travel & Leisure magazine. Some are fairly basic and straightforward while others are downright cheeky and fun – one way or another – there’s something for everyone. 

THE BOWERY HOTEL

The chic, yet rustic, Bowery Hotel is located at 335 Bowery, New York, New York 10003

THE CHATEAU MARMONT #1

THE CHATEAU MARMONT #2

Hollywood’s most iconic hotel can be found at 8221 Sunset Boulevard, Los Angeles, California 90046

THE MANDRAKE HOTEL

You can walk to Oxford Street from this hotel: found at 20-21 Newman Street, Fitzrovia, London W1T 1PG, United Kingdom

THE ACE HOTEL

You’ll find this historic boutique hotel at 20 West 29th Street, New York, NewYork 10001

TAMARIND VILLAGE HOTEL

A boutique hotel with an astounding address: 50 Rachadamnoen Road Soi 1, Tambon Si Phum, Mueang Chiang Mai District, Chiang Mai 50200, Thailand

 Shaun Nelson-Henrick



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