Vacationers grow cautious; bicycling options grow
New reports find that travel is running cold and colder.
In a recent survey of more than 1,000 adults, Chase Card Services found that only 41 percent of Americans will probably take a vacation this summer, down from 44 percent in 2010. Of those, 58 percent plan to stay close to home, and 51 percent will crash with friends and family. Nearly 57 percent expect to set a budget, with 24 percent trimming the purse.
In even chillier news, the International Association of Antarctica Tour Operators found that, for the 2010-11 season, 33,824 people journeyed to the southernmost continent with its member-operators, 8.3 percent fewer than last year’s 36,875 passengers.
The organization also expects further declines due to a ban on the use and transport of heavy fuel oil due to go into effect in August. For the upcoming season, IAATO projects a decline in the number of cruise-only passengers from 14,373 to fewer than 5,000, with the overall number of visitors expected to fall 25 percent, to 25,319.
The Fairmont is pedaling it forward.
After establishing a free bike program at its U.S. and Canadian properties last year, the hotel chain has expanded its fleet of BMW cruise bikes to the rest of its worldwide outposts. (Mostly, anyway: You’re out of luck if you’re planning to visit Fairmont properties in Dubai, Cairo, the Masai Mara in Kenya and a few other spots.)
Hotel guests may borrow the bikes free, with priority access given to Fairmont President’s Club members. Locks and helmets included.
For pedal pushers in Boulder, Colo., there’s another option: Last month, Boulder B-cycle launched its bike-share program. Memberships cost $5 (24-hour), $15 (week) or $50 (annual). First hour is free, plus $4 per additional half-hour. Other cities also available. Info: www.bcycle.com.