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Different Japan Hotels




Thinking of where to stay in Japan? Gay Courter enumerates different Japan hotels in this article. Read on and see the different places where you could stay.


From Soaring Towers to Tatami Mats: Japan Hotels

By Gay Courter

Slightly jet-lagged. In bed. I press a remote and the curtain reveals the vastness that is Tokyo in the classic Lost-in-Translation view. Greater Tokyo is not only the most populated city on earth — with more inhabitants than all of Australia or Canada — it covers 845 square miles, almost twice the size of New York City.

But there’s no need to pay the sky-high prices for the hotel depicted in the movie. We bookended our Japan trip with high-rise rooms in different districts. First we stayed at the Cerulean Tower Tokyo, the tallest building in Shibuya and only a few blocks from the famous crossing where crowds surge in all directions when the pulsing light changes. Our luxurious room was about half the price of the one where Bill Murray and Scarlett Johansson assuaged their loneliness.

A few weeks later we delighted in the view from the 32nd floor of the ANA Intercontinental in Akasaka, a district near the ancient Senso-Ji temple. Many of the hotels in Tokyo’s tallest buildings start 10 to 30 stories up, and they also have many subterranean layers. The guest rooms are on the highest floors to take full advantage of the sweeping views, and the higher the restaurant, the pricier the tab.

While a typhoon raged outside we explored the floors below the hotel and discovered more than 30 reasonable cafes and restaurants, plus grocery stores, bakeries and shops.

In Kyoto, still a bastion of Zen gardens, ancient temples and ritualistic teahouses, we were treated like honored guests in Shiraume, a ryokan in the Gion neighborhood, where geishas still scurry the narrow lanes to entertain at exclusive parties. These traditional inns offer an opportunity to experience authentic Japanese hospitality.

The diametric opposite of our cutting-edge Tokyo lodgings, hand-crafted Shiraume has only five rooms. Our suite included a living room that was converted to a bedroom while we had dinner in our adjoining dining room. Thankfully the bathroom had substituted the old-fashioned squat toilet for one of the electronic bidet marvels that makes travel in Japan so hygienic. We also were given access to an onsen, or soaking bath, for our private use.

Guests need to be mindful of the customs when staying at these inns. Street shoes are exchanged for slippers before entering the building. In rooms with tatami rush-covered mats, the slippers are removed. But when entering a bathroom, you change again into clogs. We were given comfy yukatas (cotton kimonos) and shown how to properly fold the left side over the right and tie the obi sash at the waist for women, a bit lower for men. They also provided tabi socks that have a split between the big toe and the others that Japanese men and women were wear with their getas –wooden flip-flops.

The futon laid out on the floor had many cushy layers and fine linens, and we slept blissfully despite some awkwardness climbing in and standing up. Because an elaborate breakfast and a seven-course kaiseki dinner (with delicacies such as sea urchin, lily root, Kobe beef, duck, quail eggs and persimmons) are served in your room and there is so much personal service, the costs are per person and definitely an indulgence. To stay within our budget, we spent two additional nights in Kyoto at the more modest Vista Premio in a commercial zone.

Japan can accommodate most pocketbooks, from hikers and students to businessmen and royalty in capsule hotels, Airbnbs, temple lodgings, family-run bed-and-breakfasts and, of course, a variety of typical hotels. Vistas from sky-piercing towers and perfection of service in a ryokan are among the higher-end options, but both were once-in-a-lifetime experiences.


Due to language and cultural barriers, it can be difficult to organize a self-guided tour without expertise and connections. We used (who also offer small-group tours and luxury options) as facilitators for our independent travel. They arranged hotel and restaurant reservations, train and metro tickets, guides and invaluable wisdom. Many ryokans and restaurants cannot be booked over the Internet, and their connections secured coveted reservations for us.

Tower Hotels:

Kyoto Ryokan:

Vista Premio:


Gay Courter is a freelance travel writer. To read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at

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Cruise Stocks Get Pummeled Amid Government Warning, Coronavirus Worries




Cruise Stocks Get Pummeled Amid Government Warning, Coronavirus Worries

There was more bad news yesterday for cruise line stocks, after an already brutal sell-off last week continued amid new warnings from the very top of the US government.

The State Department issued a statement that “U.S. citizens, particularly those with underlying health conditions, should not travel by cruise ship.”

Shares of the three largest operators – Carnival, Royal Caribbean Cruises and Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings – dropped significantly on Monday in the latest blow to the troubled industry.

Carnival closed yesterday at $21.74, down nearly 20%. Royal Caribbean was down 25.75% and Norwegian fell 26.90% to $19.81. 

This comes after a brutal sell-off last week that saw the Carnival lose 17%, Royal Caribbean lose 20.2% and Norwegian drop a stunning 27% in just 5 days.

Year-to-date, Carnival is down 57.63%, Royal Caribbean is down 64.15% and Norwegian is down 66.32%.

Adding to investor fear is the news that at least two cruise ships, one the Carnival Grand Princess and the other the Carnival Regal Princess, are being kept at sea while crew members are being tested for COVID-19, the coronavirus.

The Grand Princess, floating off the coast of Oakland, California, has already had a former passenger die from the coronavirus and 21 people aboard the ship have tested positive.

The Regal Princess, sailing in circles off the coast of Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, is being held at sea while two crew members who previously worked on the Grand Princess are being tested for the coronavirus.

Can the Cruise Industry Survive the Coronavirus?

The question that investors now have to ponder is can the major cruise lines survive this latest outbreak?

Bookings are down and cancellations are up. Without ships sailing, and particularly without full ships sailing, the companies can’t generate revenue.

A Japanese cruise operator, Luminous Cruise, filed for bankruptcy protection a week ago, citing a drop in demand since February 1st due to the coronavirus outbreak. 

If the coronavirus drags on through the summer cruise season, things could get quite scary for the major cruise lines.

The quick ratio is a simple ratio that measures a company’s solvency, or their ability to meet their short-term obligations with cash on hand. Anything less than 1.0 is problematic as it means the cash coming in from their operations isn’t enough to cover their current liabilities.

Looking at each of the major cruise lines quick ratio, we get the following numbers:

Carnival: 0.17

Royal Caribbean: 0.125

Norwegian: 0.177

And these were the numbers before the coronavirus outbreak. The numbers going forward will likely get worse as the drop in bookings and increasing cancellations take a toll on the companies ability to generate cash.

Bankruptcy or Bailout

If the State Department warning leads to a prolonged slowdown in the cruise industry, it might not be long before we have a major cruise line file for bankruptcy protection. 

The alternative is that Washington could step in and give the industry a bailout to prevent massive job losses and keep the vital tourism industry afloat, particularly in President Trump’s (new) home state of Florida. It’s been reported that the bailout could come in the form of deferred taxes for companies in the travel industry.

Either way, the short-term future for the cruise industry looks bleak and we wouldn’t be calling a bottom in cruise line stocks just yet.

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Samsara Introduces World’s First Smart Suitcase With Wi-Fi Hotspot Technology [VIDEO]




Samsara Smart Luggage
Samsara’s next generation of smart luggage is ready for take off, shown here in polycarbonate yellow. New tech features includes GPS and Bluetooth 5.1 tracking and Wi-Fi Hotspot. Now available for pre-order. (Photo: PR Newswire)

Samsara Luggage announced today the launch of its online pre-sale for their next generation of smart carry-on suitcases with Wi-Fi Hotspot capabilities, making Samsara the first to market this innovative technology.

Samsara launches pre-sales for groundbreaking new generation of smart carry-on suitcase, introduced to the market at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES)

Samsara unveiled its new generation of smart luggage at this year’s CES. Forbes broke the news to its online audience calling the new product line “incredible.” The review continues with, “A competitor of Away, Samsara wasn’t content to stick a battery in their bag and call it smart.”

The new Samsara smart carry-on features more breakthrough innovation including WiFi . Hotspot, IoT tracking solution that offers consumers the most accurate location data for their smart-case.
The new Samsara smart carry-on features more breakthrough innovation including WiFi . Hotspot, IoT tracking solution that offers consumers the most accurate location data for their smart-case.
Samsara’s next generation of smart luggage is ready for take off, shown here in polycarbonate yellow.

Samsara’s next generation of smart luggage is ready for take off, shown here in polycarbonate yellow. New tech features includes GPS and Bluetooth 5.1 tracking and Wi-Fi Hotspot. Now available for pre-order.

The new Samsara smart carry-on features more breakthrough innovation including an IoT tracking solution that offers consumers the most accurate location data for their smart-case. The new generation builds upon the original model’s ergonomic on-the-go workstation design with a sleeker smart unit that is accessible from the exterior of the case and features a portable wireless charging dock for cell phones. This new generation is currently available for pre-order on the Samsara website for $199 without the Hotspot feature or $279 with it.

“I’m so excited to offer our new generation of smart luggage at such a competitive price point during the pre-sale,” says Atara Dzikowski, Co-founder and CEO of Samsara Luggage. “Adding durable polycarbonate to the product line in vibrant colors and styles offers our diverse clientele the options they want leading into peak travel season. As part of the company’s continued efforts to create an effortless travel experience, we brought together exclusive tech features with an enhanced design to show our customers a better way to travel.”

Samsara Luggage recently announced its partnership with Monogoto, an affordable and reliable cellular provider, to enable its new Wi-Fi Hotspot feature. Customers will be able to subscribe to Monogoto at a preferred rate and enjoy access to a secured Wi-Fi Hotspot while traveling.

About Samsara Luggage

Samsara Luggage, Inc. (OTC: SAML) is a global luggage and lifestyle brand with a deep belief in creating a world where travel isn’t a hassle, but rather an effortless experience. By combining smart features, including IoT technology, with innovative design and quality materials, Samsara is dedicated to transforming the luggage industry with its products.

Samsara Luggage recently unveiled its next generation product line at the 2020 Consumer Electronics Show (CES). The Next Generation Samsara is the first to market a Wi-Fi Hotspot technology for travelers to access a secured network globally. The smart unit also features a portable and removable wireless charging dock to easily charge cell phones. Equipped with a powerful USB-C connector, the smart unit is also able to charge laptops. Using GPS and Bluetooth (5.1) technology, the IoT tracking solution gives users the most accurate location data for their smart-case.

Samsara’s safety features are unparalleled with any smart suitcase on the market today. The updated Samsara phone app sends real-time notifications to customers when the suitcase is moving out of range or opened. Partnered with the two-separate built in combination locks, this suitcase was made to give travelers the peace of mind they want to enjoy their travels, whether for work or pleasure.

The Samsara Next Generation will be available in 23″ the maximum size for US carry-on luggage and 21″ for international travel. The new product line is available in both durable polycarbonate and the same lightweight and fireproof aviation-grade aluminum that was used for its first generation.

Samsara’s Next Generation shares the same ergonomic design as the current model, with a flattop surface that doubles as a mobile desk.

Samsara’s first generation smart carry-on suitcase was named by Forbes as Best Smart Luggage of 2019, calling it the “it” bag when it comes to smart luggage.

Samsara continues to become one of the fastest growing smart luggage brands in the industry, always looking for ways to stay ahead of the tech curve. The smart luggage company continues invest in the development of new and innovative product lines with improved safety features.

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How the Future of Travel Looks in 2040




How the Future of Travel Looks in 2040
Image via Shutterstock

By the year 2040, international travel will be a faster, easier and more ecologically sustainable activity than ever before, according to a report commissioned by Allianz Partners to help prepare for the travel-related needs of their customers in the future. Allianz Partners is a world leader in B2B2C assistance and insurance solutions, delivering global protection and care, and offers dedicated travel insurance services through the Allianz Travel brand.

Authored by internationally renowned futurologist, Ray Hammond, ‘The World in 2040’ futurology series presents likely future developments and trends that will impact international travel and the traveler experience over the next 20 years. The report identifies key trends which will, collectively, revolutionize the travel landscape by 2040:

1. Virtual & Augmented Reality

Multi-sensory virtual reality technology will allow armchair travel planners to ‘step into’ virtual hotel rooms, visit street carnivals, explore museums or walk into restaurants, from the comfort of their own living room. This trend is expected to fuel an appetite for more real-life travel, rather than hinder it.

2. Instant check-in thanks to new technology

Facial pattern recognition systems are already in experimental use at airports and within 20 years, computer systems that can reliably identify your face will be in widespread use to check-in seamlessly.

3. Hotel software assistants

While some luxury hotels will greet their guests with a human face, many business and budget hotels will use automated check-in and guidance to rooms provided by software assistants. Some hotels will even provide robotic baggage carriers to move luggage.

4. Super-fast trains

Cross-border train journeys will be smoother and much improved in many parts of the world. Computer networks and the ‘Internet of Things’ (IoT) will manage national and international rail networks, allowing trains to run faster and closer together. Train speed will also increase on most rail networks, with most high-speed trains running at speeds above 125 mph.

5. On-site 3D clothes printing

In 2040, it will be possible to send your measurements to your hotel in advance of your arrival and heavy or bulky clothes (e.g. raincoats or shoes) will have been printed out to await your arrival, reducing the amount of luggage the tourist of 2040 will have to transport. The low cost of 3D printed garments means travelers will be able to leave the clothes behind for local recycling.

6. Sustainable cruises

Cruise ships will be far more environmentally friendly than today’s giant ocean liners. Vessels will be powered by Liquified Natural Gas (LNG), a light fossil fuel with almost no greenhouse gas emissions, transforming cruise vacations into one of the greenest ways to travel the world. The range of cruise destinations will also continue to grow, with Asia proving particularly fertile ground.

7. Space as a regular destination

For some travelers in 2040, the world may not be enough as it may not offer a sufficiently large choice of destinations. By that time, it’s likely that tourists will be flying to and from the Moon on a regular basis as they seek the experience of seeing the Earth from space.

Commenting on the transformation expected for travelers by 2040, Ray Hammond said: “The face of travel as we know it will change dramatically over the next 20 years. Airline passenger numbers are forecast to double by that time and the travel industry is coming under increasing pressure from travelers for faster and more efficient travel experiences. By 2040, personal software assistants will be sufficiently intelligent to help travelers book their trips online and they will be able to cope with all the complexities of multi-destination travel planning in order to meet the needs of the traveler. Travel will also become more about rejuvenation, adventure, fulfillment and learning new skills rather than just ticking off places to see from a list.”

Speaking about the impact of the report for the business, Joe Mason, Chief Marketing Officer at Allianz Partners, Travel Line of Business, said: “The ‘Future Travel Experience’ report allows Allianz Partners to foresee the trends and changes in travel so we can work towards redefining travel insurance. This includes the delivery of new innovative products and services, while also building more value for our partners and customers. We are already shifting our focus from travel insurance to travel protection as we move from a reactive customer service approach to a more proactive care approach. Our customers will benefit from this shift through more responsive claims processes, more sophisticated mobile solutions, and a greater sense of safety, security, and overall well-being when Allianz Partners accompanies them throughout their journeys.

“Though some aspects of travel should be much less stressful by the year 2040, there will still be some familiar risks for travelers to contend with, along with some new ones. Unforeseen trip cancelations, delays and emergencies abroad will continue to happen, meaning that travelers will continue to need travel protection and assistance services to travel with peace of mind.”

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