Record Numbers of Americans Traveling by Car this Holiday Season

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The vast majority of holiday travelers — more than 90 million — will be driving, and much cheaper gas prices will drive the costs of the holiday trips down.

At a rest stop in Ridgefield, New Jersey, the Wolfe family of six from Brookhaven, Mississippi, told CBS News that they’ve already logged 18 hours on the road.

Dad Nick Wolfe says their final stop is Vermont.

“Everybody is doing great. We had a DVD installed in the van, so we have been watching a lot of movies. It’s been great.”

For Alex Sphere and his family from Boston, highway driving has been great for the wallet, even if it means nearly running out of gas.

“We tried to make it to New Jersey without stopping so we could get the cheaper gas prices in New Jersey than New York, so we are running on just about empty,” Sphere said. According to AAA, the record 91 million people hitting the road is nearly 2 million more than last year.

Cheap gas may be fueling the increase. They are at an average $2 a gallon, down 37 cents from last year. A family of five driving a minivan from New York to Miami is paying just $130 one way — a savings of $80 compared to just two years ago. Read the rest of this entry »


LEMUR UBER Ride Sharing

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What International Air Travel Was Like in the 1930s

1936:  Passengers enjoying a drink and a game of cards in the cabin of an Imperial Airways plane.  (Photo by General Photographic Agency/Getty Images)

1936: Passengers enjoying a drink and a game of cards in the cabin of an Imperial Airways plane. (Photo by General Photographic Agency/Getty Images)

Today we largely take international air travel for granted. Every major city in the world is little more than a hop, skip, and jump away. But what was it actually like to fly halfway around the world in the 1930s, when the very concept was still novel? Pretty incredible, as it turns out—provided you could afford it.

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At the dawn of commercial air travel, Imperial Airways was Britain’s shuttle to the world. As the British Empire’s lone international airline in the 1920s and ’30s, Imperial was responsible for showing the rich and famous every corner of the Empire. And in doing so, their mission was to make the Empire (and by extension, the world) feel that much smaller.

They did it in style.

circa 1938:  Sir Robert Hodgson arriving at Croydon from Paris on an Imperial Airways flight.  (Photo by London Express/Getty Images)

circa 1938: Sir Robert Hodgson arriving at Croydon from Paris on an Imperial Airways flight. (Photo by London Express/Getty Images)

Rough Take-off

During the WWI, airplanes became a vital tool for victory, ushering in a brave new world of battle. Airplanes were the future of war, but they had yet to prove themselves as the future of peace.

After the war, Britain had a surplus of warplanes that would jumpstart its commercial air industry. But the early 1920s was a hard period for British aircraft companies. Unlike their counterparts in France, Belgium, the Netherlands, and the United States, very little government investment in British air travel occurred during peacetime.

Instead, the government hobbled together the few struggling British air companies to form Imperial Airways, which was incorporated in 1924. Imperial was devised as a private, highly subsidized company that would operate with monopoly support from the British government. They shuttled mail and passengers to the farthest reaches of the globe.

 

circa 1937:  Imperial Airways plane 'Hanno' at Croydon aerodrome before flying to Paris at 7 o'clock.  (Photo by London Express/Getty Images)

circa 1937: Imperial Airways plane ‘Hanno’ at Croydon aerodrome before flying to Paris at 7 o’clock. (Photo by London Express/Getty Images)

Modern Tech

Imperial’s planes of the 1920s (made of wood and fabric) would slowly morph into the planes of the 1930s (made of metal). But it wasn’t merely because the streamlined aircraft looked sleeker. The newer planes also better suited Imperial Airways’ mission of Empire maintenance.

Read the rest of this entry »