Fun and Travel

There's the beach, and here you are on your laptop

2013-07-23 16:07:00 travel-amp-leisure

Summer means vacation for the vast majority of Americans. But more and more often, those days off aren’t downtime.

Some 61 percent of Americans plan to work during vacation this year, according to a new survey by Harris Interactive. That’s up from the 52 percent found in a similar survey last year and 46 percent in 2011.

That’s a lot of leisure converted to labor.

(Read more: Most Americans plan to travel for summer vacation)

Are these working vacationers just happy, energetic warriors? Not exactly. A third of the survey respondents who plan to work are not pleased about it, and 4 percent intend to deal with their frustration by throwing something. (Six percent plan to use their vacation to update their résumé.)

People aren’t just working while they’re on vacation but on weekends, too. The latest American Time Use Survey from the Bureau of Labor Statistics found that a third of the highest-paid workers (those earning $1,291 a week or more) worked an average of 3.6 hours on a Saturday, Sunday or holiday.

(Read more: No paid vacation? You must be an American)

The job market may be improving, but many people still feel nervous about uncoupling from the office completely.

People are also staying plugged in to avoid being overwhelmed when they return to work, according to Ellen Galinsky, president of the Families and Work Institute.

“It’s less the big bad people making us do it [than ourselves worrying] what will happen when we don’t,” she said.

The Harris Interactive survey suggests things aren’t likely to change anytime soon. The propensity to work during vacation is greatest for Generation Y: 73 percent of respondents ages 18 to 34 said they expect to work during their time off this year.

(Read more: Job growth posts large gain)

While staying plugged in may make things a bit easier your first day back in the office, it’s not really a good thing, Galinsky said. People need relaxation and a change of scene to recharge.

“Why do you get your best ideas in the shower, or when you are walking the dog?” Galinsky asked. Stepping back “gives you a chance to pull together things that as we’re rushing through we don’t necessarily see together.”

People become more productive, she said, “having a time where you don’t feel like you’re on a treadmill—or at least you’re on a treadmill of your own choosing at a spa.”

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Homeowners insurance covers your possessions in that vacation rental home

2013-07-13 15:59:59 consumer-reports

Renting a sweet beach bungalow or rustic mountain cabin this summer? Here’s news that may help you really relax and enjoy it. Any belongings you take with you likely are covered under your homeowners or renters insurance, according to the Insurance Information Institute.

In fact, your property is protected worldwide from losses due to fire, smoke, lightning, vandalism, theft, explosion, windstorm, and water damage other than floods. That includes items in your car.

But there are limits. Of course, your standard deductible applies. And possessions outside your home typically are covered for only 10 percent of your personal property limit. So if your coverage is $100,000, items outside your home are protected for up to $10,000.

But leave expensive items, such as jewelry, at home or in a safe deposit box, unless you have supplemental coverage.

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Sun Valley Kicks Off With Hulu, IMG, Hot Start-Ups

2013-07-09 19:46:00 travel-amp-leisure

Boutique investment bank Allen & Co. kicked off its annual media and tech conference Tuesday afternoon, with about 300 media moguls, tech titans, start-up CEOs, and high-profile VCs and investors gathering in Sun Valley, Idaho.

This annual off-the-record conference (panels and speakers in the morning; hiking, golf, biking, and rafting in the afternoon; schmoozing nonstop) has been nicknamed “summer camp for moguls.”

And for the past 30 years, it has been a key destination for megadeals to be hatched, including Disney‘s acquisition of Cap Cities/ABC in 1995, Time Warner and AOL’s merger in 1999 and Comcast‘s purchase of NBC Universal in 2009.

The attendees are a who’s who of power players: CEOs of all the media companies; Google‘s top four execs; studio chiefs; and star VCs, including Marc Andreessen and Peter Thiel. But Allen & Co. also invites those expected to be the next generation of heavy hitters. This year, four Facebook execs are on the list—more than any company other than Google—a sign of the social network’s growing buying power.

Start-up CEOs expected to show up represent multibillion-dollar acquisition targets and upcoming IPOs. Twitter CEO Dick Costolo is here, along with co-founder Jack Dorsey, who is also CEO of mobile payments company Square. It is one of three mobile payments companies here, along with Stripe and LemonWallet, a sign that the space is heating up.

Dropbox CEO Drew Houston is coming after wrapping up its developer conference. The cloud storage company is expected to file for an IPO within a year. Other hot start-ups here include Airbnb, Palantir Technologies and Evernote.

As media deals ratchet up (there is already more than three times the M&A and spinoff volume as at this time last year) a number of sizzling assets are on the table.

Hulu is in the spotlight. Binding final bids were due this past Friday, and bidders are expecting to hear some response this week, hoping that the parent companies will start exclusive negotiatiations.

Hulu’s three parents will be at the conference: Disney’s Bob Iger, News Corp.’s Rupert Murdoch, and Comcast’s Brian Roberts, as well as NBCU’s Steve Burke, (though Comcast isn’t participating in negotiations because of the terms of its buyout of NBCU).

Two of the three primary bidders are also coming: DirecTV’s CEO Mike White and Sun Valley regular Peter Chernin are on the leaked list, though no representative of partner AT&T appears.

Ross Levinsohn of Guggenheim Digital Media, now out of the bidding for Hulu, is not coming.

With Hulu on the block two times in as many years, the pressure is on to land a deal. If the media giant parents decide they don’t want to sell to a content distributor such as DirecTV or AT&T and to retain the asset, they may partner with Time Warner Cable. Its chief, Glenn Britt, will be here. As we’ve reported in the past, he’s not interested in buying Hulu outright but would like to invest.

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Connecticut governor visiting tourism attractions

2013-07-09 15:13:00 travel-amp-leisure

HARTFORD, Conn. — Gov. Dannel P. Malloy is visiting tourist attractions in southwestern Connecticut, seeking to draw attention to the state’s travel and tourism industry.

The industry is estimated to generate $11.5 billion annually in economic activity throughout the state and is responsible for about 110,000 jobs. Malloy’s office reports the sector experienced 3.9 percent job growth in 2012.

Malloy is scheduled to visit the Bruce Museum in Greenwich on Tuesday afternoon.

Later in the day, he is expected to visit the Stamford Museum & Nature Center and the newly reopened Connecticut Welcome Center, which is located along northbound Interstate 95 in Darien. The service plaza reopened on June 5 following a one-year construction project.

Dannel P. Malloy is visiting tourist attractions in southwestern Connecticut, seeking to draw attention to the state’s travel and tourism industry. Malloy is scheduled to visit the Bruce Museum in Greenwich on Tuesday afternoon.

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A View From the Highway: Great Lakes Economics

2013-07-08 18:28:00 travel-amp-leisure

CNBC’s Brian Sullivan just returned from his regular summer road trip to Wisconsin, where he had time to observe the changes in the economy from a different vantage point. The world sometimes looks different from behind the wheel than it does from behind a desk.

I’m a bit loopy as I write this, given that the usually 17-hour drive home from our Wisconsin vacation took closer to 20 due to traffic, and sleep remains elusive, but that traffic is all part of my completely unscientific economic takeaways from my annual trek to the great north woods and back.

So, dont’cha know, here’s what I garnered from my much-needed voyage back into America’s Heartland.

Everyone is on the road. I’ve done the drive to the upper part of Wisconsin every year now for the past 15, and without a doubt traffic seemed heavier than any time in the past four or five years. The 1,100-mile drive took three hours more than usual in part due to major backups in Michigan (I drive over the Upper Peninsula, over the Mackinac Bridge and straight down I-75 through the spine of Michigan), Ohio and Pennsylvania. The jams seemed to be caused only by the sheer volume of cars and trucks on the road. And by texting drivers rear-ending other texting drivers, who then text about the wreck.

They’re on the road in newer cars (good news for Ford and GM.) Spotted many 30-day tags on shiny new cars both to and from walleye country. The drive being mostly Michigan and Ohio, most were American models. The Ford Fusion seemed hot, as did big new pickups and the Chevy Tahoe.

(Read More: Red, White and Blue: States Most Loyal to the Big 3)

The new cars are still on old roads. Despite some big projects such as the Zilwaukee Bridge repair, the highways largely remain old and bumpy. Hubcap replacement may become the business of the future. This means you, Pennsylvania Turnpike.

Toys are back. This is both on land and water. On the lake where we vacation, there were more new boats this year. There were also a lot of new RVs, campers and “toy hauler” trailers on the road (see: “traffic jam” and “Chevy Tahoe” above).

OMG! Facebook has a problem. Between our friends’ families, there are probably 15 to 20 ‘tweens and teens. Despite the bright sunshine, faces were largely buried into iPhones (and yes, most were still iPhones). When I nagged them about what they were doing on said phones, most shot me an annoyed glance and mentioned Snapchat, Vine or Twitter. Facebook, at least according the cool kids on the lake, simply isn’t cool anymore.

(Read More: Why America Is Losing Its Gas-Guzzling Ways)

Two final points of note.

I know obesity is a national crisis, but you cannot deny bratwurst and cheese curds remain delicious.

(Read More: Trucks Power Strongest June Auto Sales Since 2007)

To the jerk who left his dog to run free on the interstate: you’re a jerk.

_ By CNBC’s Brian Sullivan. Follow him on Twitter @SullyCNBC.

The usually 17-hour drive home from our Wisconsin vacation took closer to 20 due to traffic and sleep remains elusive, but that traffic is all part of my completely unscientific economic takeaways from my annual trek to the great north.

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Enjoying Each New Day