Another year of travel, another 12 months of crises and debacles. As one analyst put it, 2023 “took chaos to a new level.” Oh. Still, travelers continued to fly, even in record numbers over Thanksgiving weekend.
Whether they decided to enter the fray or simply travel from an armchair, our readers loved the stories that captivated them, whether about a journey through London on the new Elizabeth railway line, or long hiking routes distance (like the new Pekoe Trail in Sri Lanka or the 637-mile Michinoku Coastal Trail in Japan), or the slow-motion ballet of whales off the coast of Long Island in New York.
And many strange trends emerged, too: fake AI-generated tour guides flooded Amazon, dogs flew on private jets, and “flying couches” became an onboard comfort option.
Here are eight of the most read travel stories for 2023, some of which got readers very excited (let's just say people have opinions about sock etiquette on airplanes).
“Internal cleaning!” Does the phrase, which usually follows two surprising knocks on the door, fill you with happiness or fear? In 2023, travel largely rebounded to pre-pandemic levels, but daily cleaning at hotels appeared to have become a thing of the past. Maybe it's good for sustainability (less laundry), but hotel unions worry the changes could threaten housekeepers' jobs.
“Staying in a hotel without daily housekeeping is like going out to have a nice dinner and then expecting you to stay and wash the dishes.” Allison, in the west
An obscure phrase became more popular in 2023: skiplagging. Passengers found that, in some cases, airfare to their destination was cheaper when booked as a stopover elsewhere, so they disembarked after the first leg of the flight and did not board the second. Genius, right? Turns out, airlines don't think so: American Airlines suspended a teenager for three years for this practice.
“What a shame for the airlines. After decades of screwing travelers (seat size, tarmac delays, etc.), it's time for customers to beat them at their own game! The Eyewitness, New York
Is anyone surprised that this is the most read 36-hour guide of the year? Laura Cappelle, a Paris-based Times theater critic, planned a weekend exploring a different side of the French capital. After reading her guide, she may dream of climbing the wrought-iron spiral staircase in painter Gustave Moreau's magnificent two-story art studio.
“Incredible city. I have been lucky enough to visit it several times. The only thing I recommend? Buy a pastry or a baguette, travel to the Sacré Coeur Basilica in Montmartre, sit back, take in the most beautiful view of the city and watch the world go by.” Christian, Manchester
For the Guisachan Gathering, of course! Think of it as a kind of golden retriever convention, commemorating the anniversary of the breed's founding.
“If everyone had a Golden, we would live in a peaceful, crime-free society and walk around happily.” John Zotto, Ischia, Italy.
Exploring a city on foot is one of the great pleasures of traveling. We map out seven magnificent city walks: follow the wall of a 600-year-old fortress in Seoul, stroll the beaches of Rio de Janeiro, and discover a web of passageways in Marrakech, Morocco.
Traveling is fun until things go wrong and travelers find they have little power when an operator refuses to refund thousands of dollars. This Tripped Up column, part of our travel advice series, resonated with readers, many of whom had been in similar circumstances, leaving nearly 2,000 comments. In this case, our columnist managed to secure a full refund for this reader in need, but it wasn't easy.
“Bravo! Bravo! Bravo! Excellently researched and executed. Putting the minutiae of the fine print of the companies involved against them was an expert hit, masterfully executed.” Daniel, Orion Nebula
Have you ever sat in an airplane seat and noticed, out of the corner of your eye… no, it's too terrible …a bare foot dragging right next to the armrest? By the summer of 2023, travelers already needed a refresher on air etiquette. Kristie Koerbel, a flight attendant for more than 20 years, laid down the law.
“I just got back from MIA to EWR, which is a two-hour flight. I'm boarding in first class, just settling into my seat, and I notice that the guy across the aisle has already taken off his sneakers and socks. Not only did he sit there without socks, but he also moved around the cabin and got up to go to the bathroom without socks. Have people lost all sense of decorum? KeepYourFeetCovered, New York
Our annual list of destinations worth visiting generated many wonders, surprises and heated debates. Scroll through to get inspiration for a future trip or just to expand your world with a little armchair travel.
“I couldn't travel much when I was young, but I could dream big dreams. Finally, I made some of those dreams come true. These types of articles help us dream and appreciate the beautiful diversity of this planet. Life without big dreams feels empty.” Diane L Lewis, Chicago, Illinois.
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