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Travel News

By Judy Newell


Mexico Travel News

Get Happy

Seeking some of the world’s happiest places? Be in San Miguel de Allende in March. That’s when the World Happiness Fest will take place on March 16-18, just before the United Nations’ International Happiness Day on March 20.

Institutions around the world are supporting the event, including Gross National Happiness Center of Bhutan, the Instituto del Bienestar Chile (Chile Wellbeing Institute), research centers such as the University of Berkeley Greater Good Science Center, UMindfulness in the University of Miami, Action for Happiness and the Happy Startup in the U.K. and the United States Happiness Alliance.

Additional plans are in the works to create a deeper impact during the coming years, such as developing both individual and corporate training, and forums and festivals like the World Happiness Fest and Happiness Fest.

An academy will also take a holistic approach to crafting a “happier you” with training that incorporates science, technology, cuisine, art, movement, reflection, intention and music.

There is a reason why San Miguel de Allende is an ideal location for the event. As one of the most sought-after destinations in the world, it was recently named one of the friendliest cities in the world and is also known as one of the best small cities.

International News

Americans Renouncing Citizenship in Record-breaking Numbers

More Americans are renouncing their citizenship, according to data from the US Treasury Department, and 2017 could be a record-breaking year for the number of expatriates if the trend continues.

Since the start of the year, more than 4,400 Americans renounced their citizenship. If this year’s final quarter mirrors last year’s, Bloomberg estimates that 6,813 Americans will have chosen to expatriate in 2017. The total number last year was 5,411 ‒ a 26-percent jump from the previous year.

Reasons for renunciation vary from person to person but, contrary to popular belief, are unlikely to be about politics.

In order to renounce American citizenship, a person must appear in a U.S. Embassy or Consulate and sign an oath in front of a diplomatic officer. Renunciation is irrevocable and once relinquished, a person cannot re-obtain American citizenship. And with a $2,350 fee, the U.S. is also the most expensive country in the world from which to expatriate.

People may be choosing to renunciate U.S. citizenship for financial reasons. When an American chooses to live abroad, they must not only pay American taxes but the taxes in their country of residence.


The Department of State estimated that 9 million Americans lived abroad in 2016

The number of renunciations has been increasing ever since 2010, when the government passed the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (Facta) of 2010. The act requires foreign banks to report assets and financial information about American expats abroad ‒ or else risk penalties. It was passed in an effort to curb tax evasion, but has made it more difficult for Americans to open bank accounts abroad.

The Treasury Department reported that 2011 was the first time that annual renunciations exceeded 1,000 citizens.


Cruise News

Oceania Is Best Cruise Line for Foodies

Oceania Cruises has figured out the way to anyone’s heart is through their stomach. It has carved an impressive niche in the cruise business by offering the best cuisine at sea. In fact, over the years, the cruise line has won numerous awards for its dining offerings from Cruise Critic, Town & Country, Fodor’s Travel and Travel Weekly’s Readers’ Choice Awards.

Craving Asian food? Dine at “Red Ginger”. French food? “Jacques” will surprise you with its authentic French Country dishes. If steak is your fancy, you can have a memorable one at “Polo Grill”. Canyon Ranch Spa Cuisine is also offered. Best of all, all of restaurants are offered for no additional dining surcharge, as they are included in the fare.

Legendary Jacques Pepin, Oceania’s Executive Culinary Director, recently upped the ante and created a new, extravagant dining option for Oceania’s Marina and Riviera ships. Formerly a chef at the five-star Plaza Athenee in Paris, he has created a seven-course dinner experience called “La Cuisine Bourgeoise by Jacques Pepin”.

Limited to 24 guests in the La Reserve dining rooms, the meal features classic French dishes from the 1950’s and 1960’s. Each course is dramatically served from gleaming silver trays and paired with expertly selected wines by Wine Spectator.

Oceania also offers an array of food-related programs ranging from cooking classes to land excursions that will impress even the savviest of foodies.

Oceania’s series of land-based Culinary Discovery Tours are at select ports, giving passengers the opportunity to experience firsthand the local culture of each destination through personally-led tours with Oceania chefs for visits to local farmers’ markets, wineries and top restaurants.


Words of the Wise and Well-traveled

Travel doesn’t become adventure until you leave yourself behind.–Marty Rubin


Deal of the Week

Croatian Jewels

Adriatic Island Cruise: Sail crystal blue waters in the shadow of charming and historical locales. Delight your senses with Dalmatian delicacies and then stop for a swim in Pucisca’s crystal blue waters. Tiny villages and sophisticated ports of call are a daily experience. The towns of Omis and Split promise Roman palaces and seafront promenades. Bask in the sun at Bols’ golden beaches, said to be the best in Croatia. Stroll along the narrow cobble-stoned streets of Korcula, the acclaimed birthplace of the famous explorer, Marco Polo. A visit to Grgich Vineyards for a taste of paradise completes this delightful cruise along Croatia’s Dalmatian Coast. Visits: Dubrovnik, Mljet, Korcula, Pucisca, Omis, Split, Bol, Hvar. Tour duration: 8 days/7 nights. Departure season: May 26, 2018 – Oct 6, 2018. From USD$1,915 per person, based on double occupancy.

Judy Newell, an international travel consultant for over 40 years, heads Perfect Journeys and specializes in unique travel experiences to destinations around the world. She designs journeys that are tailored to suit your interests, abilities and budget. Please contact Judy for further info943rmation on Travel News topics and around-the-world travel; cell phone 415 111 8765; Vonage 949-300-3682; email Her office is in Rancho Los Labradores, Car. a Dolores Hidalgo. View the latest travel specials on the website


Sources: Travel Pulse, Travel+Leisure, Forbes, Oceania Cruises, Homeric Tours


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