The Daily Valet. - 7/11/24, Thursday

Thursday, July 11th Edition
Cory Ohlendorf  
By Cory Ohlendorf, Valet. Editor
Today, we've got a lot of travel news. Are you headed anywhere interesting anytime soon?

Today’s Big Story

Revenge of the Locals


Residents in cities around the world are getting fed up with poorly-behaved tourists


I can’t say that I blame them. Anytime I’m traveling and see a fellow traveler not respecting local customs or merely acting without consideration for locals, I feel a surge of guilt and embarrassment. And we all know that overtourism is a serious problem that only seems to be getting worse.

As tourist numbers worldwide return towards pre-pandemic levels, the debate around what constitutes “too many” visitors continues. Crowds are straining the infrastructure of major popular destinations in the United States and cities abroad, such as Amsterdam, Athens, Paris, Kyoto and Venice. UNESCO World Heritage sites are being overrun by people trying to plan an Instragram-worthy vacation.

While many destinations reliant on the income that tourism brings are still keen for arrivals, a handful of major cities and sites are now imposing bans, fines, taxes and time-slot systems, and, in some cases, even launching campaigns of discouragement in a bid to curb tourist numbers. It came to a head in Barcelona recently, as thousands of people marched through the streets, chanting and spraying visitors with water guns—arguing that the flood of visitors has driven up living costs for residents.

But at the same time, it’s also true that tourism is a massive driver of economic growth in many destinations. Spain, for instance, was the second-most-visited country in the world last year, and more than 10% of the country’s GDP comes from tourism. Curtailing visitors to popular destinations would certainly have a negative impact on the economy. And that issue is even more acute for developing economies that rely on tourism to fund national development.

The answer, it seems, is to simply demand people to be better tourists. No one wants to give up on bucket-list destinations, right? But with heightened pressures on popular destinations around the globe, we could all stand to take a moment to learn how to be a more conscious tourist. Outside compiled a list of expert-suggested tactics and guidelines, which include embracing off-times like shoulder season, paying the extra fees (without bitching about it) and patronizing locally-owned spots.

According to a survey by, 64% of respondents said they would be prepared to stay away from busy tourist sites to avoid adding to congestion.

A Growing Chorus Against Biden


It doesn’t look like Democrats are moving on

The most devastating argument against Joe Biden’s reelection bid may have come not from a politician or a pundit, but from Hollywood. George Clooney, who had been among the president’s biggest celebrity supporters and donors, called on Biden to bow out of the race on Wednesday in a stinging New York Times opinion piece—just weeks after he headlined a major fundraiser for his reelection campaign.

“Would it be messy? Yes. Democracy is messy,” he wrote. “But would it enliven our party and wake up voters who, long before the June debate, had already checked out? It sure would.” And he isn’t the only one speaking out. A growing chorus from Democrats is sinking the president’s hopes of steadying his campaign. Representative Nancy Pelosi, the former House speaker tried another tack on Wednesday: She telegraphed not panic but respect, in hopes of appealing to the Joe Biden who has taken a breath and stepped aside in the past. She said that Democrats will have more to say after he holds a high-stakes news conference at the NATO summit today.

Also on Wednesday, Peter Welch of Vermont became the first Democratic senator to openly call on Biden to withdraw, "for the good of the country", as he wrote in an op-ed for the Washington Post. It’s clear that wheels are turning, but it’s unclear whether they are grinding toward a resolution or spinning in place.

Say Goodbye to Those Tiny Shampoo Bottles


Hotels are trying to cut back on single-use plastics (and it will soon be illegal in New York)

If you’re the type that likes to steal all the toilerties from your hotel, take this as a warning: Your days are numbered. Call down to the front desk and ask for more to be sent up because those sample-sized toiletries will be banned in hotels throughout New York State beginning Jan. 1, 2025. And experts are saying that this is the start of what will eventually be a nationwide practice.

Last year, a similar law took effect in California to ban the tiny bottles from the state’s hotels. And Illinois is poised to be the next state with a ban. The new rules reflect a wider push to reduce plastic waste in the hospitality industry. Global chains such as InterContinental Hotels Group and Marriott are among the larger brands that have already pledged to curb their reliance on plastic, starting with the little bottles.

What hotels must decide now, is how to offer the shampoo, conditioner and lotion, etc. One independent hotlier told the New York Times that he considered tiny tinfoil packages similar to the ketchup packets (but they couldn’t be opened with wet hands in the shower). He’ll likely end up with the big bottles from a nice brand to encourage people to use them, but fears that they will be stolen, too. “You know, I thought companies would be coming in with plenty of new ideas,” he said. “But here we are.”

Are They Safe?
Generally speaking, most reusable bottles are fine, but as one doctor points out, if they're not cleaned regularly, bacterial growth can be an issue.

Samsung Launches the Galaxy Ring


Could this make “smart rings” really a thing?

I know that the Oura ring has a decent following and that it can do a lot. But it’s never really took off because it was a standalone product. But after months of teasing, Samsung officially announced its Galaxy Ring at Wednesday’s Unpacked event—and tech writers finally got to play around with it and seem genuinely impressed.

The $400 titanium wearable is lightweight and water-resistant, packed with an ecosystem of health-tracking gear. Yes, this is the third or fourth time it’s been announced, but today is the day it’s actually available for you to pre-order. And unlike the Oura, it syncs really well with Samsung devices. The ring can snooze alarms from your phone or control its camera, and you can locate it using Samsung Find if the ring is misplaced.

CNET says those features (along with a seven-day battery life) help set up the Galaxy Ring to potentially strike the perfect middle ground between being a smart device that functions as a companion to your phone while remaining significantly less distracting than a smartwatch. That's something that Oura isn't doing right now.

Sorry, iOS users, but Samsung spokesperson Cole Hagedorn told The Verge that this ring is Android only.

Embrace Gratitude


Is it an emotion? A virtue? A behavior?


Gratitude is powerful. It's a transformative emotion that's been revered by cultures across the globe for centuries. Beyond its cultural and spiritual significance, science has delved into the study of what being thankful really does for our body and mind—uncovering its profound impact on mental, emotional and physical well-being. It's linked to everything from happiness and life satisfaction to less anxiety and depression.

But what are we talking about when we say “gratitude”? Most people have an instinctive understanding of what gratitude is, but it can be surprisingly difficult to define. Is it an emotion? A virtue? A behavior? Indeed, gratitude can mean different things to different people in different contexts. In its simplest form, gratitude refers to a state of thankfulness. And researchers at UC Berkley suggest that gratitude is not simply a cultural construct. They found it has deep roots that are embedded in our evolutionary history, our brains and DNA.



What We’re Buying


Summer slip-ons


SeaVees makes the ultimate summer sneakers. The California brand specializes in comfortable, breathable kicks that can easily be worn all-day, with or without socks. A cushy memory foam footbed with airflow channels allows for cooling comfort while the “power grip” outsole (made from durable natural and recycled rubber) provides plenty of traction—be it in the city or by the water. And now, the brand is hosting a summer sale where you can grab some of their best-sellers for up to 40% off.

Our Pick:
SeaChange LTT slip-on, $100 / $60 by SeaVees

Morning Motto

Trust the process.


What if everything you are going through is preparing you for what you asked for?




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