December 2020

Welcome to the December 2020 issue of Travel Research Monthly!

I hope you are enjoying a festive holiday season!

If you are new to Travel Research Monthly, please take a moment to review the Notes for Users section in order to get the most from each journal.

it’s December and I know everyone has had a tough year.  I applaud everyone in the industry for their hard work through it all.  Working for your clients, rescheduling trips or securing refunds for services they were unable to use, took a tremendous amount of time and effort.  Not to mention dealing with the ups and downs regarding when life will return to normal.   The client focused response of the entire industry deserves to be celebrated because the take away is that we will all be traveling again and travel agents have proven that they are indispensable as an advocate for their clients.

Here are some of my favorite articles for this month:


The design of Norway’s Whale Museum is truly captivating.
Opening in late 2023, the Whale Museum is located on the northern arctic coast of Norway on a well known migratory path.  When viewed from the sea, the museum looks like a whale’s tail rising from the water.  The museum will not be as much a natural history museum as a place to appreciate the grand scale of these incredible mammals.


Montreal’s Griffintown and Little Burgundy districts have transformed an industrial past into a vibrant present. 
Two areas worth exploring on your next visit to Montreal include Griffintown and Little Burgundy which are connected by the Lachine Canal.  These districts are transforming their industrial pasts into trendy, creative residential districts offering art galleries, boutiques and restaurants.


Abu Dhabi’s unique fossil dunes are truly off the beaten path.
The Al Wathba Fossil Dunes outside of Abu Dhabi evoke images of Luke Skywalker’s home planet of Tattoine.  Formed millions of years ago, the dune formations are extremely fragile and cannot be touched.  However, they can be enjoyed from a close vantage point while enjoying a picnic or while camping overnight.  The directions to get there make it seem like the world’s most secret location.


A lovely New Year’s Eve tradition in Tokyo’s Fukugawa neighborhood.
This New Year’s Eve tradition involves visiting the local shrines and temples of seven lucky gods.  This pilgrimage is to ask for good luck and a good year ahead.  ‘Pilgrims’ visit each shrine and collect either inscriptions on white cardboard or ceramic bells on a plastic bamboo branch.  Study the history of each shrine and the god it represents for a more meaningful visit.

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Happy Travels,

Travel Research Monthly

  1. Heubad, or Alpine hay bathing, is a 300 year old sustainable wellness practice that is offered in a number of Alpine spas. (Europe, Austria, Italy)
    Author: Mike MacEacheran
    Source: BBC Travel
  2. Verkhoturye was established in 1598 as a path to the Siberian wilderness. Its historical significance is enhanced by ties to St. Simeon, the peoples saint, whose remains inspired pilgrimages to St. Nicolas Church and the Cathedral of the Elevation of the Cross. (Europe, Russia)
    Author: William Brumfield
    Source: Russia Beyond
  3. Venice’s “bocche di leone” were complaint boxes available to the citizenry of Venice to provide a place to voice their concerns anonymously. While there, search for these boxes as part of a guided tour or as a self-guided treasure hunt. (Europe, Italy)
    Author: Kasia Dietz
    Source: National Geographic (Subscription-4 free articles per month)
  4. Cheers to Greece and the Onassis Foundation for taking the initiative to make the Acropolis in Athens accessible to visitors with disabilities. (Europe, Greece)
    Author: Lauren Keith
    Source: Lonely Planet
  5. Bruges is well-known for its gothic architecture inspiring romantic strolls alongside gently flowing canals with arched stone bridges one lovelier than the next. (Europe, Belgium)
    Author: Lydia Schrandt
    Source: USA Today 10Best
  6. The Church of the Holy Life-Giving Trinity in Moscow is an excellent example of the Siberian Baroque style and served as the inspiration for many Moscow churches of the second half of the 17th century. (Europe, Russia)
    Author: Sergei Rzhevsky
    Source: Russia Trek


  1. Touring the cities of the Golden Ring is classic Russia at its best. (Blog, Europe, Russia)
    Author: Daniil Timin
    Source: Russian Blogger
  2. The Northward Golden Route is a great way to explore less visited areas of Japan without having to venture too far from Tokyo. (Blog, Asia, Japan)
    Author: Nellie Huang
    Source: Wild Junket


  1. Women traveling solo and what the experience brings to their lives. (Podcast, Travel Business)
    Host: Kellee Edwards
    Author: Tanner Saunders
    Source: Let’s Go Together
    (Podcast – 32 minutes 40 seconds.  Content begins at the 17 second mark.)
  2. The inspiration to travel comes from many different sources. (Podcast, Travel Business)
    Author: Ben Groundwater
    Source: Flight of Fancy
    (Podcast – 35 minutes 52 seconds)


  1. Iceland suggests you replace Doomscrolling with Joyscrolling and I couldn’t agree more. (Video, Scandinavia, Iceland)
    Source: Inspired by Iceland
    (Video – 55 seconds)
  2. The sounds of London are highlighted in this short film. (Video, United Kingdom, England)
    Source: Ethan Parker
    (Video – 3 minutes 2 seconds)


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