Let me guess: you want to travel more, but you don’t get enough vacation time. You’d love to take that month-long trip through Asia or just sit on a beach for an extra week every year. Those of us who don’t really take a whole lot of vacation time would love to get a bit more of it, even if it means working from the road.
Well, if you want to satisfy your thirst for travel, freshen up your resume and get yourself a gig at Netflix. The company’s vacation policy will make you drool: there isn’t one. Let your boss know when you’re hitting the road, and make sure your work gets done. It’s pretty straightforward. Some employees will go several years without taking an vacation time … and then take six or seven weeks off at a stretch!
In many countries around the world, tipping isn’t practiced to the extent it is in the US. Here, anything less than 15% for a restaurant server is considered an insult. We tip hotel housekeepers, valets, even the people who make our coffee. We’re used to the system of tipping to supplement a worker’s wages, but in other countries, the average tip is much lower.
American cruise lines are having some trouble reconciling the American way of tipping with attitudes and customs around gratuities in other countries. It seems that Carnival‘s Australian branch, P&O Cruises Australia, had received complaints from passengers in response to the automatic tipping policy the cruise line previously had in place, so they’ve announced that they will be removing the automatic gratuity charge added to all accounts.
Other US-based cruise lines that operate in certain countries may follow suit in reevaluating their policies to accommodate foreign customs in tipping. Royal Caribbean, which does not currently add the automatic charge, said it is working on changes to its own policy because the British who cruise on its line out of Southampton don’t tip.
There’s no question that Venice is a city overrun with tourists. 20 million people visit the sinking city each year, yet only 60,000 Italians call Venice home. It’s no wonder then that the city starts to feel more like an open-air museum, a well-preserved relic of the past, rather than a living, and lived-in, city.
The residents of Venice put up with a lot (though or course, many of them profit greatly from the massive tourism industry too), and many are fed up with the overwhelming crush of tourists that descend on the town each year. And they aren’t above fighting back. Last year, the city created a (short-lived) locals-only vaporetto line from the Grand Canal to Piazza San Marco. Technically, anyone with a 3-year Carta Venezia pass could ride, but at 40 Euros each, most visitors wouldn’t buy one.
The latest tactic in the battle of locals vs. tourists is to ban day-trippers. Only about 30% of Venice’s annual visitors stay there overnight. The rest stay outside the city, stop by on their way to or from other destinations, or come for the day by cruise ship. The proposal would limit visitors to the city to those people who have a pre-booked hotel reservation.
Enrico Mingardi, the head of public transportation in Venice, is the mastermind of the proposal. He says that Venetians can “no longer tolerate the discomforts” caused by the influx of thousands of tourists each day. He didn’t say exactly how the system would work, what rules would apply to cruise ship visitors, and if those without proof of hotel reservations would be locked out of the city.
Proposals that would limit the number of Venice’s tourists have been brought up before, but always defeated. If the policy does take effect, I have a feeling Venice will feel even more like a historical theme park. What’s next – turnstiles and a ticket window?
First you couldn’t smoke on planes. Then trains banned smoking. Now, you can’t smoke in rental cars, at least, not if you rent from Avis or Budget. As of October 1, all cars in both rental companies’ fleets will be non-smoking.
Avis and Budget say the policy came about in response to the needs of renters, citing a non-smoking car as the most-popular rental request. Cars that have been smoked in also require additional cleaning and are out of service longer, costing the companies more money. A spokesman for the Avis Budget Group says they expect some smokers to be upset with the new rules and to take their business elsewhere, but that they think overall the new plan will attract more customers than it will lose.
Avis and Budget will be the first major rental car companies to ban smoking entirely (others offer “non-smoking” cars but many don’t guarantee them), though they are only instituting the ban among their North American fleet, not worldwide. Each car will undergo an inspection upon return and renters who have smoked in the vehicle will be charged a cleaning fee of up to $250.