Few things scream summer more than strawberries and cream – and with DIY picking now in full swing (with social distancing measures in place), we want to hear about your favourite farms for filling your punnet.
Whether it’s strawberries, raspberries, cherries, rhubarb, blackberries – or anything else that’s in season, tell us where you love for a bit of pick-your-own and why. We promise not to tell if you follow the “one for the basket, two for me” technique!
If you have a relevant photo, do send it in – but it’s your words that will be judgedfor the competition.
Keep your tip to about 100 words
The best tip of the week, chosen by Tom Hall of Lonely Planet, will win a £200 voucher to stay at a Sawday’s property – the company has more than 3,000 in the UK and Europe. The best tips will appear on the Guardian Travel website, and maybe in the paper, too.
We’re sorry, but for legal reasons you must be a UK resident to enter this competition.
The word best comes up frequently when retirees and expats talk about living in the South American country of Colombia.
You’re likely to hear, for instance, that Colombia produces the world’s best coffee, that the beaches are among the best in the world, and that the bird-watching opportunities are better than any others around the globe.
There will probably also be mentions of the wonderful climate, the vibrant cities, and the low cost of living.
Jacob Bushmaker, an expat from the United States, counts his move to Colombia among his best choices ever. “Without a doubt, moving down here has been the best decision of my life,” he said. Other expats are similarly smitten with their new home.
Colombia, located at the northern tip of the South American continent, has been rapidly growing in popularity as a spot for expats and retirees alike. When International Living recently released its list of the best places to retire in 2021, Colombia came in at number four, behind Costa Rica, Panama, and Mexico.
Based on the increasing online buzz and the recommendations from several expats already living in Colombia, here are nine reasons the country is so popular with retirees.
1. The Cost Of Living
While affordability is relative to your previous location and your lifestyle, expats agree that the cost of living is significantly less in Colombia than in North America.
Expat Alex Davis of Ryan and Alex Duo Life says the cost of living in the city of Medellín, Colombia, is about 20 to 30 percent of what she and her husband had experienced in their previous home of Fort Worth, Texas.
And some things, like groceries and fresh produce, are even less expensive. Davis says buying food at an organic market in Colombia is about 10 percent of the price it was in Texas. A full week’s worth of organic groceries for two costs between $10 and $15 in her new home.
Likewise, expat Wesley Jacobs, who moved from Tacoma, Washington, to Cartagena, Colombia, reports that his total monthly expenses went from about $4,000 in Washington to $880 in Colombia. “Rent, food, and transportation are my biggest expenses, and each is dramatically less expensive here than in the United States,” he said.
Bushmaker, the traveler behind The Wandering Climber, moved from Seattle to Medellín several years ago and says his expenses are 20 percent of what he was paying in the U.S. For a spacious two-bedroom, two-bath apartment in the Laureles neighborhood, one of the most popular expat spots, Bushmaker pays $295 per month.
International Living says a retired couple can live in many cities around Colombia for $2,000 per month or less.
2. The Excellent Healthcare
Another thing the expats are unanimous on is that healthcare is not lacking in Colombia. In fact, they say, it rivals and sometimes surpasses medical care in the U.S.
Bushmaker recommends opting for Colombia’s private SURA plan, which he said offers world-class healthcare. He pays about $85 per month for the basic plan, which covers 10 doctor visits a year.
Davis agrees that Colombia’s healthcare is excellent. “It is also easy to navigate, even for someone with beginner Spanish,” she added. Through research and recommendations, she has been able to find many English-speaking doctors.
Jacobs, whose career specialty is healthcare, noted that before the COVID pandemic, Colombia’s high-quality healthcare had been attracting thousands of medical tourists a year. And even with the recent limitations, he said people continue to travel to Colombia for procedures.
Pro Tip: Jacobs founded Apollo Medical Travel to help patients from the U.S. and Canada access Colombia’s best dental and cosmetic surgeons.
3. The Retirement Visa
For those receiving monthly Social Security income of about $750 (three times Colombia’s minimum monthly wage of $262) or $2,500 from a private pension or 401(k), a retirement visa is available.
Basic information can be found on the government’s website, and a quick internet search will yield many private websites offering advice. According to online sources, the visa is valid for three years and can be renewed. Retirees can apply for a Colombia resident visa after having a retirement visa for five years.
While Davis and her husband are “pre-tired” from their previous jobs as engineers, they know many retirees in their 50s to 70s who have been happily retired in Colombia for more than a decade.
The retirement visa is just one of a host of visa options in Colombia, and Davis said she and her husband qualified for an investment visa when they bought a home for more than $145,000.
4. The Mild Climate
It would be hard to exaggerate the appeal of the climate of Colombia, where the proximity to the equator keeps temperatures balmy year-round. In Medellín, the average high hovers in the 80-to-83-degree range for the entire year, and average lows are consistently in the 63-to-64-degree range.
“Known as the ‘City of Eternal Spring,’ Medellín has perfect year-round weather,” Davis said. “It’s lush and verdant, so while you’re in a city of two million, you still feel like you’re living in a jungle.”
Cartagena in the coastal region is similarly consistent, although a bit warmer, with average highs in the 88-to-89-degree range all year long, and average lows in the high 70s.
Pro Tip: The dramatic elevation differences throughout mountainous Colombia allow for a choice of climate options — from average highs in the 70-degree range in 7,090-foot-high Manizales to average highs in the high 80s in sea-level Cartagena.
5. The Availability Of Flights To North America
Major U.S.-based airlines offer nonstop flights to Colombian cities such as Medellín, Bogotá, Cartagena, Cali, and Cartagena. And because Colombia is in the far northern region of South America, the flights from the U.S. tend to be of manageable duration.
From airports in the southern U.S., nonstop flights to Bogotá range from 3 to 5 hours. Nonstop flights from New York City’s John F. Kennedy International Airport are less than 6 hours.
6. The Safe Communities
Colombia appears to have long since moved past its dark days of the drug cartels in the 1980s and 1990s, and the expats we talked to all said they feel safe in their Colombian homes.
“I’ve been living in Medellín for three years, and not one time have I felt unsafe,” Bushmaker said. “Just like in the U.S., you need to be cautious in certain parts of town, especially at night.” But as long as you take common-sense precautions, he said, you can rest assured that it is a perfectly safe place to live.
Jacobs suggests heeding the local expression No dar papaya (loosely translated: Don’t show your valuables or put yourself in a vulnerable position). “Dress modestly, don’t flash valuables, and don’t drink in excess — you won’t have any problems!” he said.
Davis acknowledged that friends have sometimes questioned her move to Medellín, given its history as the one-time home of Pablo Escobar, former head of the Medellín Cartel. But the city has changed quite a bit since then. “Locals here will be quick to change your opinion of Medellín and shed some light on the transformation that the city has undergone since the 1990s,” she said.
Having lived in 12 countries around the world, Davis said that “Colombia feels no different, and, frankly, sometimes safer.” Still, she said it would be naive to think the whole country is safe, and it is important to do your research.
The U.S. Department of State states that while Colombia has transformed itself over the past 20 years “from a fragile state into a vibrant democracy,” visitors should still be cautious of things like civil unrest, crime, terrorism, and kidnapping.
The State Department’s Overseas Security Advisory Council website reports that Bogotá and other large cities in Colombia share many of the crime problems that plague big cities around the world, such as mugging, assault, cell phone theft, credit card fraud, and burglary. But it added that Colombia’s tourist areas like Cartagena experience considerably lower crime rates and that crime there rarely turns violent.
7. The Proximity To Two Sea Coasts
Like its neighboring nation Panama, Colombia is twice blessed in the ocean department, with the Pacific to the west and the Caribbean to the northeast.
The two seas, with their different vibes, offer plenty of choices for retirees and expats. Jacobs, who lives in Cartagena on the Caribbean side, notes that there is a small but active community of expats there.
And on the Pacific side — known as Colombia’s best-kept secret — is the city of Cali, capital of salsa music, gastronomy, and festivals.
Colombia’s coastline totals nearly 2,000 miles, and that means that the country offers countless gorgeous beaches. The choices include standouts like Santa Marta, a captivating city that straddles the mountains and the Caribbean, and tropical island gems like San Andrés, Tintipán, and Baru.
8. The Amazing Cities
From the mountain setting of Medellín to Bogotá’s bustling capital-city vibe to Cali’s salsa rhythms and Cartagena’s colorful Old Town, Colombia’s cities run the gamut.
Bogotá, the country’s largest city, is known as Colombia’s melting pot, and Davis describes Medellín, the second-largest city, as “a South American Hong Kong — just as mountainous and jungly. Just as chic and hip.”
While all of the major cities are worthy of visits, exploring Cartagena’s Old Town, a UNESCO World Heritage site, is among the bucket-list experiences Colombia has to offer.
As one of the most biodiverse countries in the world, Colombia is home not only to mountains, beaches, waterfalls, and rainforests, but also to the most bird, amphibian, butterfly, and frog species anywhere in the world.
Pro Tip: Even with all its natural wonders, Colombia’s biggest claim to fame might just be its coffee culture. With conditions that produce arguably the finest coffee beans on the planet, Colombia is consistently named one of the places to get the best cup of coffee in the world.
The TSA has prepared for the continued surge in travelers at Southwest Florida International Airport and across the country with acrylic barriers and upgraded technology to reduce or eliminate physical contact between passengers and staff, according to a press release. The agency also has tips for people returning to air travel.
The first is to arrive early, two hours early. Remember that the doors to your plane are shut 15 to 20 minutes before the posted flight time and you might arrive just when there is a crowd to check a bag or go through security. TSA staff are screening record numbers of passengers at RSW, even higher than before the start of the pandemic
“The health and safety of our work force and the traveling public remain our critical mission,” said Robert McLaughlin, federal security director with the TSA at RSW. “I am impressed with the professionalism of our TSA employees and the remarkable teamwork with Lee County Port Authority and the Lee County Port Authority Police.”
The TSA has installed the latest checkpoint technology, CT 300s, as well as credential authentication technology, to reduce touchpoints. The CTs or computed tomography equipment uses complex algorithms to search for threats, allowing TSA officers to rotate the images, reducing the need to open bags. Passengers screened in the lanes with this new equipment do not need to remove their 311 bag or their electronics.
In the lanes with CAT machines, passengers are separated from TSA officers by acrylic barriers and can insert their own ID or passport. Boarding passes are not needed in those lanes. The equipment verifies passengers’ identity and confirms in real time that they are flying that day.
Face masks for both employees and passengers are required for all domestic transportation, including airport security screening checkpoints and throughout the airport. Since the implementation of the federal face mask mandate for travelers on Feb. 2 and the subsequent extension into September, masks are required regardless of any local or state easing of restrictions. Those who refuse to wear a mask face fines from the TSA and from the Federal Aviation Authority if the infraction occurs while flying. The TSA continues to work closely with all transportation partners to enable the highest security standards within a travel environment that helps reduce the spread of COVID-19.
Travelers should follow these six tips for getting through the TSA checkpoint as quickly and efficiently as possible:
Tip 1: Wear a face mask. You must. Face masks must be worn in the airport, on the plane and on all public conveyances and at stations, ports, or similar transportation hubs regardless of state and local laws.
Tip 2: Leave prohibited items at home. To reduce the likelihood of physical contact with TSA officers at the checkpoint, verify if items are prohibited by using the “What Can I Bring?” page on the TSA website. Also, empty your pockets of your wallet, coins, phone and other permitted items into your own carry-on, not into the trays in the checkpoint. That will reduce touchpoints as well.
Tip 3: Prepare for the security checkpoint. Have a valid ID card readily available. Follow the liquids rule of 3.4 ounces or less, with the exception of hand sanitizer, which has a temporary 12-ounce limit in carry-on baggage.
Tip 4: No guns at checkpoints ever. Airline passengers can fly with firearms only in checked baggage. All firearms must be properly packed and declared at check-in. Contact your airline for additional guidance. And know what the laws are on both sides of your trip.
Tip 5: Help is always available. Get live assistance by tweeting your questions and comments to @AskTSA or via Facebook Messenger, weekdays from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. EST and weekends/holidays from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. EST. You can also call the TSA Contact Center at (866) 289-9673.
Tip 6: Enroll now in TSA PreCheck. “Travel with Ease” by enrolling in TSA PreCheck and avoid removing shoes, belts, liquids, food, laptops and light jackets. Most new enrollees receive a known traveler number within five days, and membership lasts for five years.
Each month, we will be highlighting some of the most popular books of the last year in multiple genres.
“And Then She Vanished” (Joseph Bridgeman #1) by Nick Jones
Still haunted by the disappearance of his little sister, Amy, more than 20 years ago, Joseph Bridgeman’s life has fallen apart. When a friend talks him into seeing hypnotherapist Alexia Finch to help with his insomnia, Joseph accidentally discovers he can time travel. His first trip only takes him back a few minutes, but his new-found ability gives him something he hasn’t felt for the longest time: hope.
Joseph sets out to travel back to the night Amy went missing and save her. But after several failed attempts, he discovers the farther back he travels, the less time he gets to stay there. And the clock is ticking.
With the help of Alexia,
Joseph embarks on a desperate race against the past to save his sister. Can he master his new skill and solve the mystery of Amy’s disappearance before it’s too late?
“The Low Desert” by Tod Goldberg
With gimlet-eyed cool and razor-sharp wit, these spare, stylish stories from a master of modern crime fiction assemble a world of gangsters and con men, of do-gooders breaking bad and those caught in the crossfire. The uncle of an FBI agent spends his life as sheriff in different cities, living too close to the violent acts of men; a cocktail waitress moves through several desert towns trying to escape the unexplainable loss of an adopted daughter; a drug dealer with a penchant for karaoke meets a talkative lawyer and a silent clown in a Palm Springs bar.
Witty, brutal and fast-paced, these stories expand upon the saga of Chicago hitman-turned-Vegas-rabbi Sal Cupertine — first introduced in Gangsterland and continued in Gangster Nation — while revealing how the line between good and bad is often a mirage.
“The Lady in Residence” (Doors to the Past) by Allison Pittman
Can a legacy of sadness be broken at the Menger Hotel?
Visit historic American landmarks through the “Doors to the Past” series. History and today collide in stories full of mystery, intrigue, faith and romance.
Young widow Hedda Krause checks into the Menger Hotel in 1915 with a trunk full of dresses, a case full of jewels and enough cash to pay for a two-month stay, which she hopes will be long enough to meet, charm and attach herself to a new, rich husband. Her plans are derailed when a ghostly apparition lures her into a long, dark hallway, and Hedda returns to her room to find her precious jewelry has been stolen. She falls immediately under a cloud of suspicion with her haunting tale, but true ghost enthusiasts bring her expensive pieces of jewelry in an attempt to lure the ghost to appear again.
Christopher Marlowe, a brilliant aspiring playwright, is pulled into the duplicitous world of international espionage on behalf of Queen Elizabeth I. A many-layered historical thriller combining state secrets, intrigue and romance.
“The Burning Girls” by C.J. Tudor
An unconventional vicar moves to a remote corner of the English countryside, only to discover a community haunted by death and disappearances both past and present — and intent on keeping its dark secrets — in this explosive, unsettling thriller from acclaimed author C.J. Tudor.
“Finlay Donovan Is Killing It” (Finlay Donovan #1) by Elle Cosimano
Finlay Donovan is killing it … except, she’s really not. She’s a stressed-out single-mom of two and struggling novelist. Finlay’s life is in chaos: The new book she promised her literary agent isn’t written, her ex-husband fired the nanny without telling her, and this morning she had to send her 4-year-old to school with hair duct-taped to her head after an incident with scissors.
When Finlay is overheard discussing the plot of her new suspense novel with her agent over lunch, she’s mistaken for a contract killer and inadvertently accepts an offer to dispose of a problem husband in order to make ends meet … Soon, Finlay discovers that crime in real life is a lot more difficult than its fictional counterpart, as she becomes tangled in a real-life murder investigation.
“When You Look Like Us” by Pamela N. Harris
When you look like us — brown skin, brown eyes, black braids or fades — people think you’re trouble. No one looks twice at a missing black girl from the projects because she must’ve brought whatever happened to her upon herself. I, Jay Murphy, can admit that, for a minute, I thought my sister, Nicole, got too caught up with her boyfriend — a drug dealer — and his friends.
But she’s been gone too long now.
If I hadn’t hung up on her that night, she’d be spending time with our grandma. If I was a better brother, she’d be finishing senior year instead of being another name on a missing persons list. It’s time to step up and do what the Newport News police department won’t.
Nic, I’m bringing you home.
“The Guest List” by Lucy Foley
On a remote island off the coast of Ireland, guests gather to celebrate the wedding of Jules Keegan and Will Slater. Will is a rising television star, handsome and charming. Jules is a smart, ambitious magazine publisher. Though the sea is a little choppy and the cell service spotty, their wedding is everything you’d expect of a young power couple: designer dress, four-tiered cake, boutique whiskey, vintage champagne. Every detail has been curated to perfection. All that’s left to orchestrate is the happiness.
But perfection is for plans, and people are all too human. Everyone on the island has a secret. Everyone has a motive. And someone won’t leave this wedding alive …
“Home Before Dark” by Riley Sager
What was it like? Living in that house.
Maggie Holt is used to such questions. Twenty-five years ago, she and her parents, Ewan and Jess, moved into Baneberry Hall, a rambling Victorian estate in the Vermont woods. They spent three weeks there before fleeing in the dead of night, an ordeal Ewan later recounted in a nonfiction book called “House of Horrors.” His tale of ghostly happenings and encounters with malevolent spirits became a worldwide phenomenon, rivaling “The Amityville Horror” in popularity — and skepticism.
Today, Maggie is a restorer of old homes and too young to remember any of the events mentioned in her father’s book. But she also doesn’t believe a word of it. Ghosts, after all, don’t exist. When Maggie inherits Baneberry Hall after her father’s death, she returns to renovate the place to prepare it for sale. But her homecoming is anything but warm. People from the past, chronicled in “House of Horrors,” lurk in the shadows. And locals aren’t thrilled that their small town has been made infamous thanks to Maggie’s father. Even more unnerving is Baneberry Hall itself — a place filled with relics from another era that hint at a history of dark deeds. As Maggie experiences strange occurrences straight out of her father’s book, she starts to believe that what he wrote was more fact than fiction.
“The Sun Down Motel” by Simone St. James
The secrets lurking in a rundown roadside motel ensnare a young woman, just as they did her aunt 35 years before, in this new atmospheric suspense novel from the national bestselling and award-winning author of “The Broken Girls.”
Upstate New York, 1982. Every small town like Fell, New York, has a place like the Sun Down Motel. Some customers are from out of town, passing through on their way to someplace better. Some are locals, trying to hide their secrets. Viv Delaney works as the night clerk to pay for her move to New York City. But something isn’t right at the Sun Down, and before long, she’s determined to uncover all of the secrets hidden …
If you’re like many Americans, your cellphone has essentially become another appendage. And if you’ve ever broken — or shattered — that appendage, you know full well the panic that can set in.
That might be why you decided to pay extra for insurance from your wireless carrier, typically at a cost upward of $20 each month, on top of your bill. But what if you could get similar peace of mind free? If you have an eligible credit card, you can.
Cellphone protection used to be a rare side perk found on only a select few credit cards. But in recent years, it’s begun to show up as a standard benefit for many customers.
Here’s why, and how it can help.
Phones over showering?
It’s hard to find an American who doesn’t own a cellphone these days. According to the Pew Research Center, a staggering 97% of Americans have a mobile phone, with 85% owning a smartphone — up from just 35% of Americans carrying a smartphone in 2011.
And our phones aren’t just something we carry around cavalierly. We have become positively attached to and dependent on them. One in three millennials would rather give up showering for a month than spend a day without their cellphone, per an American Express AXP, +0.75%
Trendex survey in early 2021.
Yet while many have experienced cellphone damage, like water logging or cracked screens, Americans are waiting longer to replace their phones. According to Daniel Research Group, which offers market research services, Americans wait an average of 3.17 years to get a new one, 25% longer than they waited in 2015.
Part of that reluctance may be the cost involved, especially if a phone is uninsured. A new iPhone 12 might set you back $800 out of the box. So if your current phone has a few screen cracks? You can maybe live with those until your next scheduled device upgrade.
Nerd tip: If you have an iPhone, you can pay for Apple AAPL, +1.87%
Care protection, but pricing varies depending on coverage, and you’ll still be on the hook for any applicable deductibles.
A credit card trend that’s a ‘win-win’
Up until a few years ago, cellphone insurance was not a common perk for cardholders. You could find it on several Wells Fargo WFC, +0.60%
credit cards and a smattering of individual products from other issuers, and that was about it.
But in 2019, Mastercard MA, +2.16%
unveiled cellphone protection as an added benefit for World and World Elite cardholders. Mastercard does not issue credit cards; it’s a payment network that services many, many credit cards, regardless of what bank issues them. As such, this change had far-reaching effects, from old-guard cards to fresh products rolled out by new startups.
American Express — which is both a card issuer and a payment network — followed suit in early 2021, announcing the addition of cellphone insurance to many of its premium credit cards. Terms apply.
Experts say it’s a trend that makes sense. “Promoting these benefits to cardholders can encourage spend on the card, and provide a win-win for the issuer and the customer,” says Megan Cipperly, senior director of insights at Competiscan, a firm that analyzes how companies communicate with customers. “The customer gets access to free cell protection by using their card to pay their monthly cellphone bill, and the issuer ensures their card is used monthly.”
Even several retail credit cards are starting to offer the perk, which Cipperly says can help encourage customers to use those cards outside those store brands. It might also serve as a differentiator among travel credit cards, too.
“Many of the ancillary benefits associated with credit cards are tied to travel,” Cipperly says. “Cellphone protection provides a way for the issuer to diversify their benefits, especially since during COVID-19, travel benefits may not have felt as attractive to customers as they once did.”
What to know about credit card cellphone protection
All credit cards and benefits are not created equal. Often, details of the cellphone protection perk can be buried deep in the terms and benefits pages of your credit card.
“This can be a great cost savings for consumers if it is offered by their credit card, and if they understand the terms,” says Linda Sherry, director of national priorities at Consumer Action, a national nonprofit advocacy and education organization. “Make sure you understand what exactly is covered and the requirements for coverage, like loss, theft and damage.”
Here’s what you should know:
You’ll need to pay your cellphone bill with the credit card: In most cases, just holding a credit card that offers cellphone protection isn’t enough.
You’ll owe a deductible: That amount varies by card, usually ranging between $25 and $50 per claim. Plus, each card has limits of how much it’ll cover for each claim, and how many claims are allowed.
You’ll have to file paperwork: Terms may vary, but be prepared to submit documents like a claims form, a billing statement from your wireless provider, a copy of a receipt for any repairs, etc.
Coverage may not be primary: In some cases, cellphone protection from your credit card is supplemental to other insurances, like home insurance, car insurance or cellphone insurance you might have purchased separately. That means it doesn’t kick in unless all other insurance options have been exhausted.
Typically, a “lost” phone doesn’t qualify for coverage: Theft or damage? You’re generally covered. But if you just misplaced it? Probably not.
The definition of “damage” varies: While most smartphone holders have had the misfortune of dealing with a dreaded cracked screen, screen repair is not universally covered with this perk.
Even cards that appear similar may not share the same benefits: Chase, JPM, +0.63%
for example, has a popular family of Ink Business credit cards, but only one of these similarly branded cards comes with cellphone protection.
The perk may come from different places: Payment networks, like Visa V, +1.94%
and Mastercard, can make coverage available on certain card types. Mastercard, for instance, says cellphone protection is a core benefit that it will provide to all eligible World and World Elite cardholders, no matter the issuer. On the other hand, while Visa makes cellphone coverage an option on all its Signature cards, it’s up to the card issuer (the bank) to decide which cards it applies coverage to.
More From NerdWallet
Erin Hurd writes for NerdWallet. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Labor Department on Tuesday released the final version of a rule that would allow employers to share workers’ tips with co-workers who don’t normally receive tips.
Under the so-called tip pools authorized by the new rule, the tips of waiters and waitresses can be shared with back-of-the-house workers like cooks and dishwashers.
But such sharing will be allowed only if the waiters and waitresses receive the standard minimum wage in their city or state, not the lower minimum wage that most states allow employers to pay tipped workers.
“This final rule provides clarity and flexibility for employers and could increase pay for back-of-the house workers,” Cheryl Stanton, the department’s wage and hour administrator, said in a statement.
The rule carries out a compromise negotiated between Senator Patty Murray, Democrat of Washington, and R. Alexander Acosta, then the labor secretary, that was enacted in legislation in 2018.
Before the compromise, a Labor Department proposal for creating tip pools would have allowed supervisors, managers and owners to share in workers’ tips. The compromise prohibited this practice, making clear that only rank-and-file workers can benefit from tips.
Still, some labor advocates raised concern about an element of the new rule governing the amount of nontipped work, like cleaning, that a worker can perform and still be paid the lower minimum wage for tipped workers.
The previous standard, known as the “80/20” rule, held that workers could spend no more than 20 percent of their time on nontipped work and still earn the lower minimum wage. The new rule appears to allow workers to spend a much larger portion of their time on nontipped duties, citing vaguer language like a “reasonable time.”
Heidi Shierholz, a former chief economist at the Labor Department, has estimated that the change would cost workers more than $700 million per year, and probably far more during the pandemic, when tipped work is scarcer.
“Getting rid of the 80/20 rule is another way that employers can capture some of workers’ income,” Ms. Shierholz said in an interview.
The rule is scheduled to take effect in roughly two months, giving the incoming Biden administration a chance to postpone the implementation and possibly prevent it.
Winning tip: A zen Christmas with disco karaoke, Japan
One Christmas, I went to a zen meditation retreat in Oita, on the southernmost Kyushu island, because I was feeling very burned out. The meditation retreat, as you would imagine, was pretty relaxed and the resident monk and I got along very well. Oita is famous for its fugu – the poisonous puffer fish – and for Christmas dinner, I took the only other person at the retreat and the monk into the city for a fugu feast. After a visit to a karaoke bar where we sang I Will Survive, the three of us rounded our Christmas off at a whisky bar before riding the train back to the temple to meditate before bed. Best Christmas ever! Sarah Martin
Festive fireworks on the beach, Bangkok
In Bangkok over Christmas, we decided to head to the island of Ko Chang. A five-hour drive was livened up by the karaoke machine in the back of the taxi. Our hotel’s attempt at roast turkey – served beachside – was not a great success. Fireworks and dancing at the Sabay Bar on White Sand beach that night were more like it. And splashing out on a speedboat back to the mainland on Boxing Day was a fun end to the trip. David Hall
The belénes of Granada, Spain
Arriving late by bus, still wearing ski gear, we trundled our cabin bags over the cobbles in search of our rented apartment in the heart of medieval Granada. It was Christmas Eve. Everyone was out: drinking cava, sharing tapas or queuing to see the belénes, the nativity scenes set up in all the plazas. We went to midnight mass in the Cathedral, and on Christmas morning, climbed up to the viewpoint at the Albaicín, the old Moorish quarter. From there, the Alhambra looked sublime against its backdrop of snow-capped peaks, the same mountains we had skied down just the day before. Helen Barnes
Romance on the 102nd floor, New York
New York, 2009. Baggage handlers kindly mislaid our luggage, making our engagement more problematic than I’d have liked, but the snow and the scenery and the gasp of “really?” when I popped the question atop the Empire State Building on Christmas morning, followed by a Christmas dinner of burgers in the Diamond District, more than made up for it. There really is no other place like it, certainly not at Christmas. Visiting the Plaza, Radio City Music Hall, taking a horse ride through Central Park – they all sound like cliches but were simply magical moments we’d recommend everyone experience. We spent a lot on phone calls to the airline, but who cares? Jonathan Greenbank
A bushveld feast, South Africa
We had a family holiday at Shimuweni, a remote bushveld camp down a small dirt track in the Kruger national park, self-catering. After a day of drizzle we spent an hour trying to extract ourselves from the mud before sundown. No Christmas dinner has ever been quite such fun as a spatchcocked chicken masquerading as a turkey, green peppers (the only greens in the camp shop) as sprouts, baked potatoes cooked direct in the embers and some barbecued pineapple for pudding. Having hidden tinsel and a few tiny gifts in our hand luggage the whole trip, pulling them out to my parents’ utter surprise was entirely worth it. Sophie
Retreading the missionary path, India
For Christmas in 2016, my family and I went on a trip to southern India to see where my mum spent six years of her childhood in the 60s when her dad was a missionary. It was a fascinating trip and surprisingly Christmassy in a weird and wonderful way – a whole cooked turkey with the head and neck still on, anyone? At the Christmas Day church service Mum bumped into a friend who she used to play with when she was a child, and we swam in the sea at Kovalam beach just as she did with her family all those years ago. Alex Robinson
A wondrous walk, Jordan
Our twist on Christmas was set in Jordan and began with a sleepless night on Christmas Eve in a wind-battered tent – although “tent” was a loose term for the patchy tarpaulins we used for shelter, and a structural collapse occurred at 3am. Despite the mishaps, Christmas morning began in style with a sip of prosecco and a bite of Mum’s homemade Christmas cake for all. Once clad in festive antlers, we set off on a walk through the mountains to the majestic monastery in Petra. Festive greetings from home and an unusual Christmas dinner, consisting of a cucumber, an orange and flatbread, rounded off a brilliant Christmas Day in one of the wonders of the world. Rhian Thomas
An alternative white Christmas, Bolivia
My most unusual Christmas Day was on the Salar de Uyuni in Bolivia – white, but salt, not snow. We visited the Salt Hotel, then drove over packed salt to walk on a island with weird cactuses everywhere. Then it was on to a very basic hostel – no electricity (cold showers) and unisex dorms with cast-iron bunk beds – for a dinner of spag bol reheated over a gas cylinder burner and carols by candlelight. After a short night, Boxing Day saw us visiting the amazing Sol de Mañana geysers before heading to San Pedro de Atacama in Chile, which was like a wild west film set. Micki Hobbs
Viennese whirlwind, Austria
With no plans on Christmas morning we searched for an impromptu mini-break and chose three nights in Vienna, departing Stansted at 8pm. No traffic, no queues, last train into the city, and a taxi around the Ringstrasse – illuminated golden bright on a silent night – for chocolate in bed as the clock struck midnight. Cafe Hawelka, Wiener wurst, Christmas markets, ice skating, Belvedere Museum Klimts, the ferris wheel at Prater, feeling giggly after gluhwein, looking for the Third Man aboard a clanking tram … Vienna simply dazzles at Christmas. Sometimes the unexpected presents are the best. Sonia Marshall
Mastering the haka, New Zealand
Taking part in a local haka contest – and winning it – on Christmas Day on a New Zealand beach was the last thing I expected to do during my backpacking trip around the world. While sunbathing on Piha beach near Lion Rock, just outside Auckland, I was invited to learn the ceremonial dance so decided to go for it along with several other tourists. My terrific trainer, Ari (whose name apparently means Lion of God), should take all the credit for my prize – a large live sheep and a Māori tattoo on my shoulder. Strictly Come Dancing it certainly wasn’t, but a Christmas with a difference it sure was. Greta Cooper
During a summer holiday in January last year, Ariotti gave her kids the dream holiday of their young lifetime — a stay at the Disney report, filled with entertainment activities, water slides and visits from their favourite cartoon characters.
“It was everything you needed for a family and they had the most beautiful time,” Ariotti tells 9Honey.
“But of course, it wasn’t without it’s disaster moments.”
Ariotti, husband Gerry, and their three children aged five, three and six months during the trip, decided to embark on a half-day long catamaran trip around the coast of Hawaii.
“It was my husband and middle child’s birthday and it sounded so good in theory — turns out, it wasn’t the smartest of ideas.”
Within moments of setting foot onto the vessel, Arriotti discovered her eldest child suffers from severe seasickness, forcing her to remain stationary and curled up below deck during the entire ride.
Between managing one sick child, a baby in a carrier and another child, Ariotti and her husband were surrounded by a crowd that consisted of backpackers and people in bikinis knocking back champagne.
“It probably wasn’t the best moment or idea, but we got some hilarious photos of it.”
When the shores settled and the family were back on land, Ariotti was determined to make sure her husband’s birthday wish of surfing on Waikiki’s spectacular beaches came true.
“We had one night in Waikiki and after all the things we had to deal with, I wanted to make sure he got in at least one surf,” Ariotti explains.
“And right as he was about to head out, one of our kids was ready to vomit in the pool.”
The couple spent the rest of the afternoon on their final night on the tropical island looking after their daughtering and “attempting”, as Ariotti puts it, “to keep the kids entertained.”
“It was a mission to say the least,” she laughs.
While the sun set and Ariotti’s husband wasn’t able to get his single surf in on the trip, the family look back on their first overseas summer together as the “memory of a lifetime.”
“Even though it was a challenge with three children under the age of five, stuck on a plane, sick, and whatever else we dealt with, you do get a sense of real achievement when you manage to have a fun time!” Ariotti shares.
“We’re so glad we made those memories, and the kids have not stopped talking about it since.”