The Most Ridiculous 2020 Travel Trends

It seems like yesterday that everyone suddenly realized Iceland exists and flew across the world for a weekend getaway, doesn’t it? I actually think I’m the only one of my friends who didn’t book a flight to what looks like, I’m sorry, a miserable time. I’ll keep my freezing cold and aggressively humid conditions in New York, thanks. Clearly, I’m on a different wavelength than literally every other millennial who simultaneously booked this trip. This actually brings up an important question: how do travel destinations become trendy? It’s not like Pangea just split and we are dying to see what that breakup did to the different parts of the world. These places have been around forever, so who decides which ones will become the new hot spots? 

Obviously, people in the public eye or anyone with a few thousand Instagram followers can declare something cool and before you can say “tiny sunglasses,” it’s everywhere. Experiences, though, are an entirely different ball game. Are entire countries just doing a rebrand in the hopes of having the next Revolve trip there? The answer is, low-key, yes. It’s all just clever marketing and a little dash of hope. Case in point: I found an article with “top travel trends in 2020” in the title, and I had to click it to get a sense of where all the Bachelor rejects will be Instagramming next year. Some of the predictions only seem viable for the 1%, but dare I say, I hope some actually do find their way down to us mere peasants. *Waves hand in a beckoning motion towards imaginary camera* Let’s go.

Micro-Hotels

After reading that subhead, I assumed this was a “tiny house” situation to which my reaction was “no.” But then I read the subsequent blurb and learned it’s just “Go off grid with just the bare minimum, with the aim of freeing yourself up both mentally and physically and reconnecting with what is around you.” I get taking a little break to enjoy where you are, but the bare minimum? No, thank you. Even though I can barely afford my Spotify Premium account, I’m not about to shell out my hard-earned money to try on minimalism. Isn’t the whole point of staying in a hotel to enjoy luxuries you don’t have in your everyday life? The blurb continues, “Get back to nature and book a stay in a tiny hideout removed from the modern world.” I mean, if the damn PR can’t even dress this up, who can? Is the hotel just Dean Unglert’s van? Asking for a friend.

Nakations

This word is giving me major Naked and Afraid vibes, and I don’t want to pay to be those things—especially on vacation. I would easily dismiss this as a trend that absolutely no one is doing, except for the “perineum sunning” meme that was all over the internet in early December. In case you missed that, people were advocating for tanning (get this) their buttholes and genitals because, as one woman named Megan put it (of course it was a Megan), doing so “strengthens organs, improves libido, regulates circadian rhythm, boosts mental focus, and increases energy.”

The blurb about the travel trends notes, “Prepare to get your kit off because naked retreats and holidays are on the rise,” citing the opening of London’s first naked restaurant and the fact that “naked yoga retreats are on the hotlist next year” as evidence of this burgeoning fad. And I just have a few questions. Whose hotlist are naked yoga retreats on? How exactly would a naked restaurant pass any sort of health inspection? And what, in god’s name, is a kit, and what does it mean to get it off?

Luxpeditions

I can already tell I can’t afford this, but here we go. Contrary to what I imagined, luxpeditions aren’t just really expensive hotels, but rather, really expensive experiences. Authentic PR suggests “Book a five night charter yacht trip island hopping!” Yeah, let me just do that! Sorry, am I booking a vacation or auditioning to be the next Below Deck charter guest? Just to see how realistic this was, I sent the article to my best friend’s very rich parents and asked if they’d be interested in any of these trips and her mom wrote back, “Lol. Very funny joke.” So if people like her, people who wear fur coats to the damn drug store, think this is absurd, who is actually going on luxpeditions? More importantly, can you take me with you? 

Hipster Cruises

Not that I understand the inner workings of a hipster, but I feel like cruises—no matter what kind—are not hipster by definition. Like, if your natural state of being involves wearing wire-rimmed round glasses (that may or may not have a prescription) and going to bars in Bushwick to drink hard kombucha out of paper or metal straws, I can’t see you being marooned on a boat for days at a time. Not to mention, do hipsters even exist anymore? Haven’t we all moved on to like, VSCO girls and soft girls and the other Gen-Z stereotypes?

So what about the cruise makes it hipster? “There will be Tom Dixon-designed interiors, a tattoo parlor, karaoke studios, an open-air gym, a vinyl record shop curated by Mark Ronson, bars serving craft beer, and all-inclusive restaurants serving vegan Impossible Burgers and CBD cocktails.” First of all, no hipsters know who Tom Dixon is, so you probably just lost a few of them with that opening offer. Secondly, did the creator of hipster cruises just Google “What do hipsters like” and design a giant boat to house it all? All of these features are so aggressively mainstream that even I, a basic bitch, am familiar with them. I can’t imagine the amount of sh*t I’d get if my friends were like “Cool tattoo, where’d you get it?” and I’d be forced to say on a cruise. Right? Are these offerings supposed to be ironic? If so, maybe that will work. Hipsters love irony! 

Now, not all of the proposed 2020 travel trends made me raise an eyebrow, and some of them were actually pretty cool. I thought it was only fair that I took a look at the trends I do actually hope become a thing.

Cultural Hubs

Interest piqued! “No longer is it enough just to be a hotel—next year it’s all about experiential stays,” the article says. This means that instead of just having like, a bar and maybe even a rooftop with a couple strategically hung tea lights to take Instagrams at, hotels will lean into providing more well-rounded experiences, like a literary festival, art exhibition, or even an Artist in Residence program. I feel like in theory, this sounds like a good idea, but in practice, I’m still going to feel like an asshole if I spend my entire vacation at my hotel, photo exhibition or no.

Off-Setting Emissions

reusable utensils

Conde Nast Traveler reported, “As the reality of a climate crisis looms, travellers in 2020 and beyond will need to do everything they can to balance the negative impact of their trips with positives.” This can be done by donating money to renewable energy projects; using ethical search engines such as Ecosia Travel, which uses profits to plant trees, to book hotels; and choosing brands that are committed to sustainability. Given that Greta Thunberg was just named TIME‘s Person of the Year, I think naming this a 2020 travel trend is a pretty surefire bet.

Garden Hotels

I am into this. I imagine a garden hotel to look like the last scene in Moana when she restores the heart of Te Fiti and everything just bursts into bloom. Garden hotels seem like they’d be really popular, since we as a society are now thoroughly unimpressed with flower walls. If your mind just drifted to the ridiculous floral installations in Vegas, think again! These are more lush, natural-looking installations that will make you appreciate nature more than they’ll make you wonder how long it took to make. 

Articles like these make me so happy because they make me realize that there are people out here selling these types of things to other people who will actually buy into it. Do these people actually want to take a hipster cruise or were they just lured in by the promise of Tom Dixon’s ability to choose good sofas? Do they regret shelling out an obscene amount of money for these shenanigans or do they feel like they’ve made the wrong choice? So many questions, yet I feel like I’ll never get the answers I need. 

Images: Maria Ilves / Unsplash (7); Authentic PR

A Fake Sugar Daddy Scammed Women Out Of Thousands Of Dollars

If you’re anything like me—aka not a Kardashian but vaguely aspiring to live like one—then I imagine you’ve considered the idea of a sugar daddy. Don’t lie. No matter how “moral” you are, the idea of being handed five-figure checks while being asked to make zero spreadsheets on Excel is an appealing prospect. Of course, men have figured out how to ruin even this arrangement. Last week, the New York Times broke a story on a fake sugar daddy who scammed three women out of thousands of dollars. While scammer stories usually fill me with criminal aspirations glee, this one frankly just makes me sick. Read on for how your retirement plan these girls’ quest for extra cash became a horrifying nightmare.

Last spring, Chandler Fowles, 25, met a man on SeekingArrangement.com. In case your sugar daddy interest has never progressed to this point, SeekingArrangement is the website where prospective “sugar daddies” and “sugar babies” make profiles and make plans to meet up. The man Fowles matched with said he was an investment banker at Bain, and “offered her a ‘generous’ weekly allowance.” The man, who first went by “Jay,” and then “Ron,” proposed the following meetup with Fowles and a female friend. He offered $2,500 “for sex and to cover the cost of a hotel room.” Fowles was instructed to cover initial costs herself—including dolling herself and a friend up with a “smoky eye and nude lip,” per his preference. At the hotel, “Ron” walked her through setting up a PayPal account and submitting a request. After leaving the hotel, she saw that the request had never been completed.

Some time later, Fowles’ friend saw “Ron” on Tinder—and this is where sh*t gets crazy. Fowles and her friend came up with a plan to reveal his identity. Fowles’ friend arranged a date with “Ron” at a bar, and the bartender agreed to take down his name and credit card information when “Ron” bought a drink. (Sidenote: where can I find bartenders this loyal?? Or friends this loyal, for that matter?) Fowles’ friend, who sounds like a badass, texted “Ron” while he waited at the bar: “I’m anxious. Get me a prosecco so I can have a drink right away.” Frankly, I hope she conducts all first dates like this even if she’s not trying to pull off some surveillance sh*t. The bartender took his information, and Fowles and her friend got to Googling.

As we all know, there’s nothing a woman scorned scammed out of thousands and tricked into sex can’t find on the internet. They were quickly able to find out that “Ron” was actually a former City Hall employee and a current student at an NYU program. In other words, definitely not an investment banker. When the Times reached out to him for comment on the initial story, he said he didn’t remember “the details,” or “a promise of payment.” He added that his SeekingArrangement profile was purely done as a “good way to meet women for non-transactional hookups.” Yes, because the Tinder bio line “swipe right if looking to be spoiled,” which he used, really targets the financially self-sufficient ones.

Honestly, I’d make more jokes about how bad this man is at even trying to hide his intentions, but that would be holding an NYU student to higher standards than our president. Like so many men in this day and age, this guy is a sh*tty person who does sh*tty things and a sh*tty job pretending otherwise. End of story.

But wait! It’s not the end of the story at all. When the Times ran the initial story about Fowles, two other women contacted them within a day of publication. Both of these women had been scammed by the same guy, with eerily similar details. “I don’t know if telling you this will bring any justice to this situation or make it at all possible for someone to press charges against him,” one woman wrote in, “but I had to write to you and tell you that this is true.” While I’m always sad when a woman is forced to make a statement that hopeless, I’m at least grateful that this time it’s not to the Senate Judiciary Committee.

The second woman who spoke to the Times was a foreign student whose native country had gone into financial default. Without parental support, and unable to qualify for a work visa rather than a student visa, she was facing $5,000 of debt and eviction notices. When she met “Ron,” she denied his creepy requests for specific hair and makeup looks, but was still scammed out of $500 covering a hotel room fee. She also consented to a sexual encounter after seeing a falsified statement detailing payments of $1,700 to her account. For weeks, she called him begging him to pay her back. He never replied.

The man has now been identified as Imran U. Khan, 36, a Brooklyn resident working toward a master’s degree. He has since been banned from SeekingArrangement, and the support team is tracking all known IP addresses he used. Will that stop this guy from doing the same thing through other platforms? I wouldn’t bet on it. Does this whole story make me want to sob into my hands and throw my laptop through a window? Yes, it really, really does.

As a final few thoughts here, I’d like to welcome anyone who’s looking to go into the comments and shame the whole Sugar Daddy thing to just kindly close their browser window instead. You may have noticed that I treat scamming like a hilarious romp when women do it, and you may find that hypocritical. But I do find female scammers funnier and more thrilling, because the patriarchy is real and women are f*cked out of power and earning potential all the goddamn time. So while I know nothing about Khan’s situation specifically, it makes me unspeakably sad that the women in this story were already financially struggling, opted for a situation that they admittedly found less than ideal, and were hurt even further. So, let’s please attack the system that places so many young women in desperate situations, not the tactics they choose to get out of it.

Images: Giphy (3), Mikail Duran/Unsplash

3 Way Cleaner Alternatives To Sex On The Beach

It’s starting to get warm again, y’all, and you know what that means. It’s time to start having sex outdoors. If you’re rolling your eyes and picturing sand in unmentionable places, bear with me. There are plenty of places to have sex outside that do not involve the ocean’s toilet (aka the beach). Obviously, you’ll want to start spending some time outdoors now, because you probably forget what the sun looks like. But I for one am not particularly interested in dragging all the outside dirt/sweat I pick up day drinking in Williamsburg home to my only slightly food-stained freshly pressed sheets. And you shouldn’t be either. Stop wasting the lovely spring weather with boring indoor sex. Here’s where you should be hooking up instead.

Private Boat

I want to be very clear here that I have never had sex on a boat. I am irritated with myself for even suggesting a boat, because I’m now in a tailspin of sadness about the fact that I’ve never acquired access to a personal boat, and probably never will. Boat-wise, I have no idea what I’m doing with my life. Also, if there are motion-sickness concerns when banging in a boat, I don’t know about them. All that is to say, proceed with caution.

Anyway, a boat seems like the ideal place to have outdoor sex in so many ways. (Specifically, a sturdy boat capable of fitting 5-10 people comfortably.)  You’re on the water, which is key for Titanic role play, and also privacy. Also, literally everyone feels sexier and more alive while out in the ocean, so you have that going for you. And since boats are basically a condo for the ocean, you get all the comfort/cleanliness of indoors while being able to multi-task sex with perfecting your tan.

Be more like Rihanna. Have sex on boats.

Cabana

Poolside, oceanside, I don’t care. The important thing is that there’s a nearby body of water. This will both make you feel summer-y and tropical, and the aforementioned nearby body of water should serve as a nice cool-down after. There should also be some level of seclusion/a mattress. Ideally, you’d pull a Kristen/James on Vanderpump Rules and find a private poolside, or just wait until 4am. If it isn’t clear yet, I’m not one of those savages who enjoys the “thrill of being caught.” I used to burst into tears if my teachers called on me—you can’t reverse that type of shy.

Important disclaimer: If you’re staying at a large resort (especially one with a family-friendly vibe), please don’t do this. Having sex in one of the 65 cabanas lining the pool will only end with a soundtrack of screaming children, and probably two new additions to the sex offender registry. At that point, you’re better off just pitching a tent on the beach (LOL puns).

Not directly related, but Dean and Kristina certainly just had sex in this pool, right?

Hotel Balcony

This list has started sounding less like places to have sex and more like places Jordan Belfort does drugs. I’m sorry! I understand these are not all feasible, but you know the alternatives. And public, crowded outdoor places are just not going to be where I recommend you have sex. So, if you’re taking a vacation this summer and staying in a hotel, try for a room with a balcony. Or if you meet a hot guy on vacation—after taking all necessary precautions to assess that he’s not a murderer and allowing several girlfriends to track your iPhone location—and he has a sick suite, go take advantage of that. Hotel balconies give you the advantage of being able to duck quickly back indoors, typically involve some gorgeous views, and make you feel wildly adventurous without really posing a risk.

Cabana rule applies here: If there are multiple in a row, you’ll be in too much contact with your neighbors. Also, it should go without saying but the only sex you should be having on hotel balconies is standing up and from behind. No way are you sacrificing your view (and, potentially, your life) to turn around and perch up on some ledge.

Your goals for this summer:

If you absolutely insist on having sex some place where your risk for arrest is high, at least listen to the following advice. Do not have sex in public pools, which are filled with more filth than you ever want to think about, let alone literally open yourself to. Do not have sex directly on hot sand, if you value your skin or that of your partner. And if you absolutely have to have sex in the bathroom of whatever establishment you’re frequenting, at least see if there’s a nicer bathroom down the block with less of a line and/or chance someone puked in it in the last hour. Everyone involved in the situation will thank you.

Images: Giphy (3)

10 Times HotelTonight Will Literally Save Your Life

If you’re fairly new at being a real adult, you’ve probably figured out that making travel arrangements is one of the most frustrating things in the world. The websites are always a pain in the ass, and making plans four months in advance just so you can get a better deal is the worst. That’s where HotelTonight comes in. This miracle app is all about last minute hotel deals, and they give you what you want, exactly when you want it.

We know you like to do things at the last minute, and HotelTonight has you covered. The app shows you the best deals on hotels up to one week in advance, but it’s no problem if you literally need to check in right now. That’s what it’s for. And don’t worry, it’s not just like, shitty motels and places in the middle of nowhere—they’ve got the top hotels in the biggest cities, and they can be yours in seconds.

HotelTonight is in basically every city, so if you ever find yourself stranded in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, 1) we’re so sorry, and 2) HotelTonight is here to save you. If you’re thinking wow, this sounds great, but when would I use it?, here are some real life situations when the power of HotelTonight could save you and still get you dope accommodations.

1. Family Holidays

We love our families, but we all need a break sometimes. If you’re not so into sleeping on the floor of your cousin’s room for a fourth night, HotelTonight is the way to go.

2. Bad Hookups

Going home with him seemed like a really good idea, but now you realize that he’s super drunk and literally wants you to be his wife. Not gonna happen. Break out HotelTonight and plot your escape.

3. Good Hookups 

If you meet someone when you’re out, but neither of you live in the ideal hosting situation, just bite the bullet and get a hotel. Your psycho roommate who has work at 6am will thank you.

4. Spontaneous Road Trips

Sometimes you just need to feed your Britney Spears in Crossroads fantasy, and we don’t blame you. HotelTonight is perfect if you don’t know exactly where you’ll be 12 hours from now.

5. You Fucked Up the Original Plans 

Planning is no fun, so it’s completely logical that you just forgot to book the hotel in the first place, or made the reservation for the wrong weekend. Your friends might yell at you, but you’ve still got it covered.

6. Camping Sucks 

You were at a music festival and camping sounded like an awesome idea three months in advance, but not so much anymore. You are a princess, and you deserve to sleep in a real bed inside a real building. No problem.

7. Power Outages 

If there’s a big storm and your power is out, your entire life is basically on hold. It’s hell. Find somewhere with internet and use HotelTonight to get back to civilization.

8. Staycations 

Maybe you’re having roommate problems, or maybe you just really need a break from your life. There’s nothing wrong with that, and HotelTonight will tell you where you can get pampered within 20 minutes of your house.

9. Hotel Problems 

You booked a hotel in advance, but the pictures online were definitely from Google Images 10 years ago. The roof looks like it might cave in, but rather than sticking around to find out, you should probably just hop on HotelTonight and move to greener pastures.

Get Out

10. Life Happens 

There are a million reasons to use HotelTonight, but chances are it’ll make your life a whole lot easier.