Business Travel’s Wellness Hoax

by Robert McGarvey

The Skift headline got me smiling: “Wellness for Business Travel Is An Uphill Slog.” You betcha.

From my perspective of perhaps 45 years of business travel, I’d say the industry can measure its wellness progress in centimeters. No more. We drink less booze – certainly I do – and eat fewer steaks and for that we can congratulate ourselves (and maybe mourn the passing of the “good times”). But as for a real wellness commitment, who is kidding whom?

Hoteliers and event planners talk a good wellness game. Just about every chain now has a “major” wellness initiative. But talk is still cheap. It’s the doing that matters.

Or the non doing in this case. Both on the part of the hoteliers and – truth be acknowledged – us.

I am just back from three nights in Las Vegas – a conference hosted by a financial technology company – and I returned a pound or two lighter than when I left home. But I skipped dinner every night, I also skipped the event cocktail hours, and every day I logged about 10,000 steps, just walking around a huge Strip resort.

But was my trip healthy? A role model for wellness?

Don’t be silly. I swilled maybe six large cups of coffee daily – at least double my norm – to keep me fueled up for long meeting days; I ate more scrambled eggs, bacon and sausage in three mornings than I had in the three prior months; and I also ate close to zero fresh and raw vegetables and fruit.

The breakfast buffet stands as an exemplar of progress not made. Sure, there was a platter of beautiful melon slices, an artistic palette of green, orange, yellow. It remained largely intact throughout service. I am not pointing fingers. I too admired its looks but otherwise ignored it. I dove into the scrambled eggs, the crispy bacon, the sausage links and, shudder, also grabbed a croissant one morning. The bread wasn’t good so I skipped it the other mornings.

Don’t tell my cardiologist about that morning feast. He would double my statin dosage.

Lunch – another buffet line. Fresh salads to start, also largely ignored. Visually appealing but shunned. Onto the chicken, the steak, and – of course – a small heap of cooked veg, just for appearances sake, no need to actually eat them.

The good news about lunch: desserts were at a separate table which I never visited and, by all means, give me applause for my discipline.

Or, more to the facts of this matter, question what happened to my culinary sanity as you review my daily intake of cholesterol, fats, and stuff that we know isn’t good for us.

Note: this was at a lovely, upscale Strip hotel. No faulting execution. It’s the underlying concepts that I question. The concepts are ours, by the way. Hoteliers are giving us what we want.

Here’s the reality: we all are talking a dandy game of enhanced wellness on the road but it is a mirage. Very little has changed in a half century. Perhaps a few more of us use the hotel or resort gym (although I am skeptical about that as are Cornell researchers). But we are a heckuva lot more obese than we were a half century ago. Maybe 10% of men were obese in 1960. Now it’s nearing 40%. Around 15% of women were obese in 1960. Now it is over 40%.

If it had been available, would I have eaten a bowl of oatmeal with almond milk and a handful of berries for breakfast? A feast at home. But on the road?

For lunch would I have eaten a veggie burger on a whole grain bun with an arugula, tomato salad on the side? Well, yes, actually. That’s become a personal favorite meal.

But count me as a no on the oatmeal. What about you?

We – most of us – are wellness laggards.

“The business travel industry is taking baby steps to incorporate more wellness, but there is a ton of room left for growth,” Sahara Rose De Vore, founder of the Travel Coach Network,told SKIFT. Indeed.

It’s not their fault, however. It’s ours. They are giving us what we want.

Are You Covered for Medical Issues on the Road?

by Robert McGarvey

The United States Travel Insurance Association (USTiA) just issued a report that says only 6% of us buy travel medical insurance. Are we all fools?

Uh, no. Answer a few questions to start.

Question: how old are you?

Another question: where do you work?

A third – crucial – question: Do you travel out of the US?

The last question sets the table. If you don’t, or rarely, travel out of the US, you probably have little to worry about especially as regards emergency care. Even if you are in Medicare Advantage – a managed care approach – you are covered for emergencies in the US even if your network has no presence. Ditto for holders of other managed care policies: you probably are covered for emergencies in the US.

So this story tosses a match on fears but there may be nothing to fear here but fear itself.

But probably, like me, you travel outside the US occasionally. Maybe once a year. Maybe a bit more often.

Listen up: that foreign travel could wreck your bank account if a medical emergency hits. Few policies cover foreign care. Not even emergencies.

Even some domestic medical treatment may ding your wallet if it happens away from home. Read that again. If you live in the Bronx the care you get in Bayonne may not be covered. Ouch.

First the good news. Most of us in fact are covered for emergencies in the US. Then there’s the fine print. The word to notice is “emergency.” If you break your arm, it’s an emergency. It’s probably covered. What if you sprain it? What if you really only pulled a muscle? Hang tight because you may be getting billed personally if you are out of network.

Be very cautious about seeking care when you are away from home and out of network, even if you are in the next state. Many plans will deny coverage for what they deem routine care that’s delivered out of network. Said Consumer Reports: “if you have a relatively minor problem—say, you sprained your ankle or suspect your child has strep throat—how much of your bill is covered can depend on where you seek care and the type of insurance you have, says Cathryn Donaldson, director of communications at America’s Health Insurance Plans, a trade association for insurance companies.

“Your insurer may treat your out-of-town healthcare as an out-of-network claim. As a result, you could be on the hook for a larger portion of the cost or the whole bill.”

If in doubt – and you often should be – contact the insurer for advice before seeking out of network care.

The bigger problem is with foreign travel and, yes, we hear stories of travelers with significant medical issues, a broken limb for instance, getting dinged for several thousand dollars in US cash before a hospital will admit the patient. These stories aren’t in Europe or Canada but traveler beware in a lot of the world.

Which brings us back to the money question: are you covered abroad? The first step: if you are an employee, ask your HR department. Also ask if you are covered when traveling for work and how about on vacation. The answers may differ.

Don’t be surprised if a rider covers business travel incidents – but not personal travel. For that you may need special coverage (see below).

You have a personal, Obamacare type policy? Check the fine print but the odds are high it offers no coverage outside the US. You too need special coverage.

What about Medicare recipients? A very, very few Advantage plans offer international coverage. So do a few traditional plans. But the vast majority provide bupkis. If you are on Medicare and you travel outside the country – and that means exactly what it says: you ordinarily aren’t covered in Canada or Mexico either – get travel medical insurance unless you know your plan specifically says otherwise.

Can you count on the kindness of strangers, that is, hope you will get gratis emergency care? Stories of same were numerous a generation ago, especially among travelers to European Union countries where the hospitals generally do not bill patients and many simply winked when a US patient came in. Do not count on that nowadays as many national health programs are straining under use and lack deep pockets. Ireland for instance says forget about it.

Bottomline: most of us need to take special steps to be sure we are covered when we travel abroad. That usually means buying a policy.

Want coverage? JoeSentMe subscribers get a deal on MedJetAssist Global Evacuation. That’s a $35 discount on a personal policy, $50 on a family deal.

Many others offer one-off policies for specific trips. Shop carefully, buy only from names you know and trust. This is a space with a lot of hucksters and you don’t want to find out you got fleeced when you are on the operating table in Rome.

Personally, for years, I have had a medical protection policy via American Express that provides up to $50,000 in expenses per incident and, no, in today’s medicine that isn’t a lot. But the policy costs me just a notch above $100 annually. Alas, that policy may not be available to new customers, but other outlets offer similar.

Just don’t go out of country without knowing you are covered. And don’t go out of network domestically without knowing similar.

The Cooperators, Special Edition, Maine Harvest

Update: Maine Harvest now officially a new credit union. Hard work makes miracles happen.

This podcast initially appeared the CU 2.0 Podcast series. It appears here as a for instance of a community coming together and creating a cooperative to meet local needs.


It has taken some years but finally Maine Harvest may be in the final lap before gaining an official credit union charter.  That’s because it’s met its fundraising goal, $2.4 million, with last monies ponied up by the Maine Credit Union League and what’s remarkable is that just about the whole credit union movement in the state has supported formation of this novel credit union.

So, too, do the states two U.S. Senators and two House members.

Maybe 30 credit unions have been chartered by NCUA in the past decade. So this is a big deal.

We first covered the Maine Harvest story in 2015.

We picked it up again in 2017.

And in 2019 we may be covering the official opening.

What’s special about Maine Harvest is that it intends to follow a  specific, narrow business plan where it makes loans to small farmers – for land purchase, equipment purchase, and similar.

No checking. In fact no cash in the till.

No other institutions crave that loan business. But small farming is seen as very important to Maine’s future.

Also essential to the business plan is that essentially all the back office will be provided by Synergent, a subsidiary of the Maine League.

That lets the start up focus on finding borrowers and making sound loans.

Why do many credit unions fail? They don’t serve a clear need.

This one knows its need and has a plan for filling it.

Other states would do well to look into similar efforts.

Has Uber Ruined the Drive to the Airport?

By Robert McGarvey

A huge slice of any air travel day is the time it takes to get to and from the airport and yet we don’t talk about that. We do talk about flight times, also about security line times.  Valid topics both. But not so much transit times to/from the airport.

That topic is presently on my mind because Phoenix voters recently voted down – by a two to one margin – an underhanded proposition aimed at destroying the area’s light rail system.  Partly bankrolled by Koch Bothers funds, Proposition 105 aimed to withdraw funding for the light rail.

I applaud that and in fact also voted against it.  Here’s the deal: I cannot imagine why anybody who uses the airport would have voted otherwise. The light rail has significantly reduced automotive congestion at the airport and, a local’s tip, if you are heading from the airport to a downtown Phoenix hotel, take the light rail.  It’s as fast as a car – it won’t take more than 30 minutes – and it costs $2. ($1 if you are 65 and older.)  

And your contribution to global warming is near zip.

The other reality: airports around the country are faced with crumbling road access to airports. Drive times are becoming overwhelming. From Laguardia to Logan to Sea-Tac, airport road access is a descent into circles of Dante’s hell.

Mass transit is the way to go.  

Especially because if you think airport traffic access is worse now you very probably are right.  The New York Times headline tells why:  Ride Sharing Adds to the Crush of Traffic at Airports.

Wrote Julie Weed, “Traffic at the airports — even before you get inside — has gotten worse. The cause is not just the record number of travelers. It’s also the shift to ride sharing.”

Weed continued: “The explosion in ride-share demand has caught airports off-guard, ‘and operations staff are scrambling to address it,’ said Kama Simonds, spokeswoman for the Portland International Airport in Oregon. Ride-share pickups there, she said, have climbed to 106,000 from 48,000 in the last two years.”

Weed also notes that airports, along with ride sharing companies themselves, are seeking ways to address a problem that frankly irritates increasing numbers of travelers.

But a reality is that many airports have limited choices.  They just don’t have space to build new roads.

Meantime, many ride-share drivers behave differently than traditional taxi drivers did.  The latter, historically, have had to wait in a holding lot until dispatched and told to drive to a specific terminal because passengers are waiting.  Years ago, when I drove a cab in Boston, I remember waiting in the holding lot as long as an hour – but the good news is that I did not drive around Logan Airport in never ending circles on a hunt for a fare. My contribution to airport traffic congestion was close to nil.

At many airports, rideshare drivers too have holding lots for their use – but some are fidgety and circle the airport.  That adds to congestion.

Sure, the rideshare companies say they are trying to change driver behavior and maybe they will, maybe they won’t.

And the access roads around airports are more clogged than a foie gras eater’s arteries.

That won’t change soon. Not for those who insist on driving in and out of airports.

Enter mass transit. The silver bullet for many passengers, at many airports, is mass transit. The light rail definitely is in Phoenix. But the same is true of other cities.

I am a big fan of BART from SFO to downtown San Francisco. It’s as fast as a cab and costs about $9.60 compared to maybe $45 in a cab.

LAX now has its Flyaway – another good mass transit option,

Even EWR has a PATH station on the drawing board.

In much of the country similar is true.  That’s why I usually check my mass transit options wherever I fly. It’s increasingly the smart transit play – environmentally best but also often as fast as a car.

But then there are the exceptions. You are flying into PHX but are heading to Scottsdale? For you there’s Lyft. Sorry, no lightrail.  Scottsdale has sat out the lightrail and, looking at a longterm expansion map, it is still a holdout. Why? Ask them, not me. Here’s what the AZ Republic reported the last time Scottsdale knifed light rail.

Fortunately, light rail can thrive without Scottsdale and in fact it presently serves Phoenix, Tempe, and Mesa. There are plans to extend it to Paradise Valley, Glendale and Avondale.

And now the voters have once again spoken up and once again defeated the anti mass transit lobby. So if you are heading to PHX always check the lightrail options. For me, it’s the only prelude to flying.

The Cooperators Podcast Episode 24 Dennis Johnson on Senior Housing Co-Ops

by Robert McGarvey

Co-op housing: a better way for seniors?

 Where to house the ever expanding numbers of American seniors? Ask Dennis Johnson, president of the Senior Cooperative Foundation in Minnesota, where seniors control their housing destiny.

There are many such co-ops in Minnesota and Iowa and a handful more states, typically in the upper midwest. Why isn’t this housing popular elsewhere? Johnson tells why in this podcast.

The guiding principles behind senior co-ops spell out what make them different, special.  Such as: these co-ops “put the well-being of the members above other considerations.”

As you listen to this podcast, dream about how your community would if it had senior housing co-ops. Then take it to the next step, action.

Listen here

Part 1 of our housing co-op series is here, student housing.

Too Old To Fly?

by Robert McGarvey

When are you too old to fly?

The question is getting asked. We are living longer, many of us still want to see the world around us, many companies – and definitely universities – are keeping older employees on staff and active, and the upshot is that seniors are still on the road, both in pursuit of personal bucket list destinations and also as traditional business travelers.

At the other end of the age spectrum, just about all carriers have restrictions on kids flying solo. Delta, for instance, won’t allow children younger than five to fly alone and it won’t allow unaccompanied minors on redeye flights (except for those originating in Alaska or Hawaii or connecting with international flights). At least some airlines require children to be declared as unaccompanied minors – who receive special supervision, for a fee.

Now the question is beginning to pop up: what about seniors? Should there be limitations on their travels? Possibly including special fees?

Understand, this is a Pogo moment where they are me. I am not pointing fingers at others.

A trigger for this inquiry is that lately I have heard more stories from friends – also leading edge Baby Boomers – about how hard travel has gotten for them, how jet lag lasts longer, how more medical issues seem to crop up when far from home. Are these anomalies? Or part of a broader trend?

Let’s start by removing the elephant from this cabin and that’s cognitive impairment (Alzheimer’s etc). I know a 60 year-old with tragically profound cognitive impairment. I know many people in their 80s who are as clever as they were at half the age. Those with cognitive impairment bring significant challenges to the travel experience. There also are no blanket prescriptions. The best advice is such issues have to be decided individually. No more will be said on that topic.

Ditto for severe physical impairments. Delta offers sound advice on this, other airlines do similarly.

What about the rest of us, on the kinds of flights we usually take?

Short flights honestly do not seem to pose a significant issue to the 65+ who are otherwise in good health. Scan the literature and there is not much written about geriatric travel and the one and two hour flights that make up the bulk of my business travel. And using myself as a case study of one I can say no health issues arise on those flights.

It’s the long-haul flights where the literature grows dense. For instance, a St. Louis geriatrician flatly says, “jet lag worsens as you get older.” Definitely my experience, also what I hear from others. Recovery from a hop to Paris 20 years ago that took a day or two now may take a week. “As you get older you feel more tired for longer. It takes about five days for me to recover from jet lag now,” traveler Tim Huxley, 58, told the South China Morning Post.

A key issue is that older travelers have less ability to make the physical compensations often made necessary by long-haul travel, Dr. Winston Goh told the South China Morning Post. Our aged bodies are less resilient and we don’t generate new cells as swiftly.

Alcohol also hits senior harder and that applies all the more to booze at 30,000 feet or in an airport club. It’s why I rarely drinking booze on the road.

The SCMP adds that deep vein thrombosis (DVT) is more of an issue for seniors on long haul flights. That’s a potentially deadly blood clot. The usual precaution is to get up and walk every hour or so. I know I’ve done that since I first wrote about DVT going on 20 years ago.

And then there is a grim finding that longterm, chronic jet lag and related sleep deprivation are associated with cognitive impairment.

At least some physicians also insist that a heavy travel schedule may be associated with more pronounced aging – very probably because our sleep habits are disrupted and so is our diet (who eats as healthy on the road as at home? I know I do not). We simply live unhealthier lives traveling and that may be associated with more signs of visible aging (say hello dry skin and wrinkles).

Business travel indeed may be killing us.

Bottomline: travel definitely is harder past a certain age. What age? For some it’s 60. Others, 80. Still others haven’t hit that age for themselves yet and that’s key: this is a personal matter.

Here’s the other reality however: most of us know when it’s time to put the rollaboard in storage. I have personal friends who have done exactly that in the last year, a decision triggered – in every case I know – by a medical issue that made it prudent to dramatically cut back on travel.

Makes sense to me. My plan is to travel until I no longer can depend upon myself, physically and/or mentally, to navigate through airports and in unknown cities (where the usual chore is no more complicated than getting from the airport to the hotel). I commend that philosophy to you.

Do we need airlines to get involved, to force seniors to fly with designated supervision? Absolutely not. Most seniors – especially most who are still actively on the road – are fit, healthy, perfectly capable of making their own travel plans and decisions.

Let’s leave it that way.

Plastics Bans Coming to an Airport Near You

by Robert McGarvey

SFO fired the first shot – on 8-19 it forbade airport shops, restaurants, vending machines, et. al. from selling plastic water bottles. We are instructed to bring our own refillable bottles and to grab our water at some 100 hydration stations.

Watch for this to spread to airports across the country and globally. Single-use plastics are cluttering our planet. Can we recycle our way out of this? Hah. “As investor Rob Kaplan of Circulate Capital recently told National Geographic, ‘There’s no silver bullet to stop plastic pollution. We’re not going to be able to recycle our way out of the problem, and we’re not going to be able to reduce our way out of the problem.’”

Much recycling is ineffective. Maybe even a scam. Just don’t use single-use plastics. That’s the exit and water bottles are a good place to start.

There’s a loophole in the SFO bans, by the way. Water can be sold in plastic bottles bigger than one liter, reports SFGate. My reaction to that is big deal. (1) What traveler buys a half gallon water jug? Not me. (2) It’s as easy to ban big bottles as it was smaller ones so if there’s a flagrant parade of giant jugs watch for a broader ban.

The bigger loophole is that the ban does not apply to juices, sodas, etc. It should.

Globally we use more than one million plastic bottles a minute. No one wants that much trash. Recycling efforts are noble but Sisyphean. Mountains of trash accumulate daily.

Repeat: no one wants this much garbage.

We can do our part. Personally as I walk around Phoenix where I live, I usually have a metal water bottle, stamped with the name of one resort or another, I couldn’t tell you which, or maybe it was a handout at a business meeting where, in recent years, there are ever more giveaways of logo metal water bottles. Point is: they are free.

It’s no big deal to carry a small metal water bottle in a carryon bag. For years I’ve carried a small travel umbrella (go to New York or Belfast enough and you’ll never fly without an umbrella). A water bottle is a little smaller and lighter.

Some pundits report that business travelers are grumbling about the SFO ban. Reported WAPO: “Although public reaction has mostly been positive, the news has resulted in some disgruntled business travelers who bristle at the inconvenience of having one more item to pack.”

I don’t get. What’s the inconvenience of toting a lightweight refillable bottle when measured against a planet that is choking with waste plastics?

Water bottles are just the first shot.

Color me also opposed to plastic straws which I never use. If you like straws buy a metal straw. They are cheap and small. California has a plastic straw ban (customers have to ask for a straw to get one); more states will follow. Plastic straws simply are bad. Something like 7.5% of the waste plastic in the environment is from straws and stirrers. Stop it.

I’m on record in my attempt to support the flygskam movement – but I am equally on record noting that it just isn’t easy to cut back on flying because our transportation alternatives suck.

It is easy to cut back – eliminate – a lot of plastic. I remember as a kid liking the feel of glass Coke bottles. Paper straws were fine too in that era (although I think reusable metal straws are a much smarter solution in 2019).

While we’re at this, ban single-use plastic bags too – as many nations already do. So does California. It’s easy enough to carry a small string sack, or cloth bag.

We can make a difference when it comes to plastics. I hear the pain when the talk is about flygskam. Single use plastics are different. They are easy to eliminate – we won’t miss them – and the planet will thank us.

You want some plastic in your life? Have at this.

CU 2.0 Podcast Episode 48 Susan Mitchell on the Credit Union Underground

Circle the date, October 26. Las Vegas. That’s when Susan Mitchell, a longtime credit union consultant, is convening another meeting of the Credit Union Underground, this time in parallel with Money 20/20, probably the meeting of the best and brightest in the disruptive quadrant of financial services.  

The point of each Underground is collision with disruptors. A lot – maybe most – credit union executives cling to their individual comfort zones. But get with reality. Maybe half of today’s 5500 credit unions will go poof in the next decade.

Bye bye.

At the Undergrounds, attendees get exposed to disruptive thought – abut they also see they aren’t required to face the challenges alone, a lot of credit union people are in the same boat.

A Mitchell belief is that widespread cooperation helped build the credit union industry. And a renewed commitment to cooperation just may be its salvation.

Ask yourself this: what’s your institution’s purpose? Who did you help today? Whose life did you change?

Credit unions were created to help community members, to change lives. Are they still doing that?

And know that that is a path to survival. Purpose fuels existence.

This is a wide ranging podcast. Listen and you just may find your path to survival.

For Ramones, go here

Listen to the Mitchell podcast here:

Like what you are hearing? Find out how you can help sponsor this podcast here. Very affordable sponsorship packages are available.

Find out more about CU2.0 and the digital transformation of credit unions here. It’s a journey every credit union needs to take. Pronto

The Eyes Have It: Cameras Are Spying on Travelers

By Robert McGarvey

On a May 5th United flight from San Diego to Houston, an unnamed female passenger in first class entered the bathroom where she noticed a blinking blue light. She did not know what it was but she took the device to the flight crew. United Corporate Security subsequently determined it was a video recording device.

Then, per a document compiled by the FBI, “After viewing the information on the device, a male was caught on video installing the device in the first class lavatory of this particular flight.”  Apparently the man’s face wasn’t visible but – using his clothing and also jewelry – an ID was made. The arrest of Choon Ping Lee, who works for Halliburton, an oil field service company, followed.  

Creeped out? Justifiably. But here’s the grim reality: throughout your travels, very probably you are being spied on.  In some cases it’s by state sponsored security forces. In other cases it’s by miscellaneous creeps, perverts, and miscreants.

Does it really matter who?  Is it more comforting to know the Chinese government has eavesdropping devices in your Beijing hotel room – which it probably does and it also probably has your cellphone tapped – than it is to know that your Airbnb host is a perv who has cameras in rooms?

Guess what, it’s nothing new. In 1983 I co-wrote a book called The Complete Spy, which detailed the hundreds of legally available devices that let ordinary citizens spy on their spouses, children, neighbors, co-workers, bosses, you name it.  A theme of the book was that our privacy was evaporating and we seemed uninterested in fighting back.  

It is much, much worse today.

You don’t have to be Erin Andrews to have your privacy robbed. But a take away from the Andrews caper is that a determined eavesdropper can – with few roadblocks – easily spy on us in hotels.  And spying in hotels is surprisingly common

There’s even a claim that a hidden camera was found in a cruise ship cabin.

Why would anyone want to spy on me or you? Who the hell knows.  

Some nation states spy compulsively.  The Soviet Union and East Germany did it routinely (and if you visited either, you were eavesdropped upon. This is beyond question).  Today, Russia ranks high among nations that eavesdrop on foreign visitors. But China does likewise (maybe even more so).  The Saudis do too. Ditto the Israelis.  But you also hear about the French, Singapore, and many, many more nations. It’s not just nation states however.

As for who else eavesdrops in hotels, it can be anything from a business competitor to a jealous spouse or a just plain weirdo.  Remember Gay Talese’s The Voyeur’s Motel, where he documents a motel owner who systematically spied on guests.

Don’t say it can’t happen where you are staying.  Especially not because spying has gotten easier.

What’s new today is that eavesdropping has become very cheap and very low skill.

Around $40 will buy you a perfectly good spy camera.

For a few extra bucks, you can get a camera disguised as a clock or a bluetooth speaker.

Such cameras are usually wireless and battery powered. It takes essentially no skill to set up a camera.  

That’s a scary difference. A generation ago, cameras were expensive but also high maintenance.  Now cameras are installed by dropping them in place and, very probably, forgetting about them. Who needs to retrieve something so cheap?

How can you fight back?  The good news is that self-defense detection weaponry too is proliferating.

Now for Spy vs. Spy. There is plenty of technology that says it can find hidden eavesdropping technology and that has a prima facie credibility in that these devices typically connect via wiFi and/or Bluetooth. A device, or app, that hunts for Bluetooth and WiFi in the immediate vicinity may well pinpoint a nearby camera.

Some also hunt for a glint from the lens of a hidden camera and they just may find them.

But they may not, too. The better, pricier eavesdropping tools are built to foil the cheap detectors.

Dial up the price of the detector to north of $50, or even better, north of $100 and your odds of finding spy gear escalate.

Experts also recommend an oldfashioned physical inspection. Look for what’s out of place – a blinking blue light in a United lavatory – and you’ll hit the bullseye without any tech.

But even with preventative steps, don’t count on having privacy wherever your travels take you.  For 40 years people have asked me what I do to avoid being spied upon. My answer has always been the same: nothing.  I assume I may be spied upon, I act accordingly, and if I am spied upon, so be it.

I really cannot think of any surer strategy. Especially not today.