Could our Globe Aware volunteers imagine doing this!? Sometimes travel can go terribly wrong, but this passenger did something astounding to save everyone on a flight.
Passenger with no flying experience lands plane at a Florida airport after the pilot became incapacitated
By Jamiel Lynch, Dakin Andone and Pete Muntean
11th May 2022
"I have no idea how to fly the airplane."
The pilot on his single-engine Cessna 208 had "gone incoherent," the passenger was telling air traffic controllers Tuesday afternoon, according to audio from LiveATC.net.
It was, he stressed, a "serious situation."
Air Traffic Controller Robert Morgan, a certified flight instructor, was on a break when the call came in from the plane, headed out from the Bahamas.
"I rush over there and I walk in and the room is really busy ... and they're like, 'Hey, this pilot's incapacitated. The passengers are flying the plane. They have no flying experience," Morgan told CNN's "New Day" on Wednesday.
"I said, 'Oh boy.'"
Morgan learned the passenger on the line had never flown a plane -- but had been around aviation and seen other pilots fly.
"He was really calm," Morgan said. "He said, 'I don't know how to fly. I don't know how to stop this thing if I do get on the runway.'"
Morgan had never flown this model Cessna. He pulled up a picture of the instrument panel's layout and started guiding his new student step-by-step.
"Try to hold the wings level and see if you can start descending for me. Push forward on the controls and descend at a very slow rate," the air traffic controller can be heard telling the fledgling pilot in LiveATC audio.
"Try to follow the coast either north or southbound. We're trying to locate you."
Morgan made the key decision to guide the aircraft to the area's biggest airport, helping the passenger-turned-pilot position his aircraft 8 miles out from Palm Beach International, "just so he could just have a really big target to aim at."
Together, they got the Cessna to touch down on the runway, footage obtained by CNN affiliate WPBF shows -- something that takes about 20 hours to learn with typical flight instruction.
The landing rated 10-out-of-10, in Morgan's view.
"I felt like I was going to cry then, because I had so much adrenaline built up," Morgan said. "I was really happy that it worked out and that nobody got hurt."
Other pilots were stunned, as another air traffic controller relayed across the airwaves what had just unfolded, other audio captured by LiveATC.net indicates.
"You just witnessed a couple of passengers land that plane," the tower operator can be heard telling an American Airlines pilot waiting to take off for Charlotte, North Carolina.
"Did you say the passengers landed the airplane?" the American Airlines pilot asked. "Oh, my God. Great job," he said.
The condition of the original Cessna pilot, who had a "possible medical issue," was not immediately known, the Federal Aviation Administration said in a statement.
After the Cessna's landing, Morgan met his new student, who gave him a big hug and said thank you.
"It was an emotional moment. He said that he just wanted to get home to his pregnant wife," Morgan said. "And that felt even better."
"In my eyes, he was the hero," Morgan said. "I was just doing my job."
- Source CNN
When it comes to wish list travel spots, Peru's Machu Picchu is a favorite, and is now open again to travelers. A guided tour can be arranged with Globe Aware when booking your Peru volunteer vacation, as a separate excursion.
Why Machu Picchu, Peru, should be on every traveller's wishlist
14 May, 2022
By Sara Bunny
After a string of closures due to Covid precautions, Peru's ancient Inca trails are again open to visitors.
When it comes to wishlist travel spots, Peru's Machu Picchu is a perennial favourite. The jewel in the crown of the Inca Empire, it's a crumbling citadel of more than 100 buildings and a network of walkways and terraces, dating back to about 1450. Perched on a dramatic mountain range where the Peruvian Andes meet the Amazon Basin, the lack of tourists has made it unusually quiet of late. But recently, the Peruvian Government reopened most of the area's famous trails.
If you're planning a trip, book in with a tour guide to help navigate the various circuits and their opening times, as well as logistics with connecting buses and trains. New rules are in place for 2022, including limits on the numbers of visitors allowed on tracks at any one time and time restrictions at some of the more popular attractions.
Regardless of what route you choose, here are a few of the many highlights along the way:
Temple of the Sun
Thought to be the spot where the Incas worshipped their sun god, Inti, it's likely that only priests and high-ranking community members were allowed inside. As Machu Picchu's only round building, its windows were carefully designed for observing the sun at the summer and winter solstice. Visitors are not permitted inside due to the temple's delicate structure, and it's best viewed from the lookout above.
A popular backdrop for tourist photos, the sacred mountain features a series of steps carved into the cliff face. Some researchers believe it was used as a surveillance centre against attacks on the citadel below, while another theory is that is served as the seat of the high priest. You need to be fit to hike to the summit, but walkers are rewarded with once-in-a-lifetime views over the ancient city and surrounding lush mountains.
Temple of the Condor
Displaying the Incas' incredible skill at stonework, the temple was carved to resemble the open wings of an Andean condor. With an altar inside, it's thought the temple was used to make sacrifices to the gods, and there's also evidence it served as a prison. Find the temple in the Hurin area of Machu Picchu, near the city's main square.
Travellers to Peru must present an International Travel Vaccination Certificate, or a Covid-19 RT-PCR Report for a negative test taken at most 24 hours before departure. Check with your travel agent or airline for details.
- Source New Zealand Herald
Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen lifted the government-instituted mask-wearing mandate, leaving it to people across the country to decide for themselves. Globe Aware volunteers should know that mask-wearing requirements, however, still apply to enclosed settings such as air-conditioned offices, meeting rooms or movie theatres.
Mask-wearing mandate lifted in Cambodia
May 8, 2022
PHNOM PENH POST/ANN – Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen lifted the government-instituted mask-wearing mandate, leaving it to people across the country to decide for themselves.
Mask-wearing requirements, however, still apply to enclosed settings such as air-conditioned offices, meeting rooms or movie theatres.
The premier made the announcement, effectively immediately, in a special audio address to the nation.
“From the time you receive this audio message, you can decide for yourself whether to continue wearing mask in open space or not,” he said.
At public gardens or parks and tourist attractions or recreational areas, mask-wearing is also optional.
People in certain areas – such as crowded places or where there are suspected cases of Covid-19 – are “encouraged” but not required to wear mask.
Hun Sen reiterated his call for the public to get vaccinated against Covid-19, at least with a third dose which is now compulsory.
Meanwhile, the Cambodian Ministry of Health yesterday reported two new Omicron community case, with five recoveries and no new deaths.
As of yesterday, Cambodia had recorded a total of 136,262 Covid-19 cases with 133,177 recoveries and 3,056 fatalities.
- Source Borneo Bulletin
Cambodia reported no new Covid-19 cases on Saturday night (May 7), the first time since the third wave of community transmission broke out in February last year, Prime Minister Samdech Techo Hun Sen said. This is great news for volunteers wishing to vacation in Cambodia. Feel free to contact a Globe Aware team member in regards to entry regulations and safety.
Cambodia reports zero new Covid-19 cases for first time in over a year, says PM Hun Sen
08 May 2022
PHNOM PENH, May 8 (Xinhua): Cambodia reported no new Covid-19 cases on Saturday night (May 7), the first time since the third wave of community transmission broke out in February last year, Prime Minister Samdech Techo Hun Sen said.
"Today, it is the first time since Feb. 20, 2021 that Cambodia has found not even a single new case of Covid-19," he said in a special audio message.
"This is a great success that resulted from our joint efforts in the fight against Covid-19, and I'd like to thank all compatriots for participating in the anti-COVID-19 movement," he added.
However, Cambodia is not Covid-19 free yet, as it still has 29 active cases, according to the Ministry of Health (MoH).
Hun Sen attributed the success in the fight against Covid-19 to the kingdom's high vaccination rates and urged eligible people to go for booster doses, the third or the fourth shots, when their turns come.
"We'd like to thank all foreign friends for providing vaccines to us, enabling us to give them free of charge to our people," he said. "Vaccines have given us an opportunity to reopen our economy and businesses."
The Southeast Asian nation launched a national vaccination campaign against Covid-19 in February 2021, with China being the key vaccine supplier and most of the vaccines used in the kingdom are Sinovac and Sinopharm.
The country has so far vaccinated at least one dose of vaccines to almost 15 million people, or 93.7 percent of its 16 million population, the MoH said, adding that of them, 14.22 million, or 89 percent, have been fully vaccinated with two required shots.
Buoyed by high vaccination coverage, Cambodia has resumed all socioeconomic activities and reopened its borders to fully vaccinated travelers without quarantine since November last year.
Kin Phea, director-general of the International Relations Institute at the Royal Academy of Cambodia, said vaccines have protected lives, stabilized health system and helped restore the economy.
"The royal government of Cambodia has made the correct decision to choose China as a strategic supplier of Covid-19 vaccines so that's why Cambodia has enough vaccines for its people," he told Xinhua.
According to the MoH, since the pandemic hit Cambodia in January 2020, the kingdom has recorded a total of 136,262 confirmed cases with 133,177 recoveries and 3,056 deaths. - Xinhua
- Source The Star
Today, Google is launching a new set of travel search tools that can help you plan for your dream Globe Aware summer vacation. The set of four new functions will enable you to better customize searches and works on your desktop or mobile device.
Check out these four great new Google trip-planning tools
By Bill Fink
The Points Guy
May 2 2022
Today, Google is launching a new set of travel search tools to help you plan for that upcoming weekend escape, summer vacation or long-delayed dream getaway.
The set of four new functions will enable you to better customize searches and quickly sort through targeted destination, pricing and lodging choices before saving all the results in a personalized tab that works on your desktop or mobile device.
Want to be notified whenever your bucket list destination has a flight sale? Curious about road trips you can take from your in-laws’ hometown? Have to find a hotel or restaurant within a 10-minute walk from your convention center? Regardless of the details surrounding your search, Google has you covered.
Here’s everything to know about Google’s four new features.
Updates to Google Flights
Google Flights has created a new feature that may inspire you to take that long-desired but seemingly out-of-reach trip.
With the latest Google Flights iteration, users can now track future flight prices between any cities by clicking on the new “Any dates” toggle switch. You could previously set flight alerts, but this takes the search process a step further.
If Google detects lower-than-usual fares anytime in the next three to six months, you will receive an email notification. This is great for planning for far-flung dream destinations or getting suggestions for spur-of-the-moment deals.
Users can also click on price grids and price graphs to evaluate flight options in selected date ranges.
Addition of ‘Explore Nearby’ function
Perfect for planning road trips, Google’s new “Explore Nearby” function is located under the Explore tool of Google Travel. It will allow you to pick a location (your home base or your future destination) and then add filters like budget and trip length to explore additional destinations nearby. Google will then suggest road trip-ready escapes.
Click on a highlighted photo and Google will populate a side tab with trip information like average drive time, hotel prices and weather.
More search options for hotels and attractions
Google is also introducing new map-based “interest layer” search options for Google Travel. You can now find lodging within a selected walking or driving time or distance from a particular landmark or address.
For example, you can search for accommodation options within a 15-minute walk of the Eiffel Tower. Enter the specific address or landmark in the search bar and select dates plus “hotels” and/or “vacation rentals” to see a shaded section of the map that shows nearby lodging options.
Or, if you want to find a particular neighborhood’s dining, shopping or sightseeing options, you can click new “interest layer” icons on the map along with walk or drive times. Even very specific search options like “kid-friendly hotels in Orlando under $200 with a pool” will return results (in this example, you’ll see a mapped list with 123 choices on a sidebar with photos, prices and booking links).
Additional hotel tabs of “When to visit” and “What you’ll pay” will show typical price ranges and weather patterns for selected time periods. Price tabs will include links to compare options across multiple web-based booking sites.
Creation of a travel bookmarking tool
Great for saving both dream travel research and practical details for upcoming trips, Google’s new bookmarking tool will allow you to tap a bookmark icon on any hotel for it to become a “saved property.” Then, you can return at a later time and hit the “saved” tab under “Your travel plans” to see all your targeted hotels and continue your aspirational or soon-to-be-booked trip planning.
Google has also created a travel icon that can be easily added to the home screen of your iOS or Android smartphone, giving you one-touch access to all your scheduled trips and future travel research.
The newly added Google search options will make it easier than ever to customize your travel research, consolidate flight and lodging options and save it all for future viewing.
The neighborhood searches and “Explore Nearby” search functions should be particularly useful when looking for travel ideas in cities or countries you have never visited before. Meanwhile, the seasonal flight pricing and hotel pricing searches will prove beneficial for finding deals.
- Source The Points Guy
Thailand has removed all testing requirements for vaccinated tourists, which includes Globe Aware volunteers. Entry procedures have been simplified and the country is planning to launch a new vaccine passport soon.
Thailand Plans To Launch New Vaccine Passport For Entry
Here we go again. After Thailand removed all testing requirements for vaccinated tourists, many believed it was finally prepared to abandon its infamously strict Covid policies. Although entry procedures have been simplified, those who had been expecting a full reopening to follow will be surprised to learn the country is, in fact, planning to launch a new vaccine passport soon.
During Covid, very few foreigners traveled to Thailand as a result of the country’s complex entry rules, which included multiple testing and quarantine post-arrival. Those rules have all been relaxed, and even though visiting Thailand now may be certainly a lot easier than it was in 2020 or 2021, this Southeast Asian nation remains extremely reluctant to fully drop its guard.
Now, health authorities in the country are looking to replace the much-criticized Thailand Pass with a Thai Vaccine Pass. While it would de-bureaucratize travel for vaccinated tourists, the announcement has raised concerns the unvaccinated may be locked out of the country for good this time.
Here is what we have learned about Thailand’s proposed new vaccine pass and how it could affect tourists:
Thailand Pass To Be Replaced By A Vaccine Pass Soon
As announced by Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul on April 26, the ministry is mulling over the introduction of a new vaccine pass that will tentatively replace the existing Thai Pass. According to Charnvirakul himself, this will not present obstacles, but will instead ‘facilitate entry to Thailand by overseas tourists‘.
Elaborating on the topic, the Minister suggested Thailand could benefit from a vaccine passport, as they have been the ‘international standard used to screen foreign arrivals based on each visitor’s vaccination history’. He also confirmed his ministry is already currently ‘designing the process’, which should be operational by June.
At present, all travelers must apply for permission before arriving in Thailand. This means obtaining a Thailand Pass in advance, and preferably up to a week before travel, as waiting times vary and longer delays have been highly publicized. On top of that, visitors must either present a vaccination certificate or, when unvaccinated, apply to enter via one of the Quarantine Schemes.
Even when eligible, some travelers have been denied a Thai Pass, with the Tourism Ministry confirming that, while 2.1 million tourists have applied since the border reopened, only 1.5 million were accepted. Over 600,000 were unable to satisfy Thai requirements, had their applications refused and were subsequently unable to visit the country.
When saying travel will be ‘facilitated’ once a Vaccine Pass is in place, the Health Minister is likely referring to fully vaccinated travelers, as they would no longer need to apply for a Thailand Pass. Instead, they would have an option to simply present their certificate in order to ensure smoother entry into Thailand.
What About The Unvaccinated?
On the other hand, as expected with mandatory vaccine requirements, a tweak in the rules would be of little benefit to the unvaccinated, who have been allowed to visit the country, albeit under strict quarantine rules, and could have this route blocked should a vaccine passport become mandatory.
After all, little is known yet about the upgraded Thai Vaccine Pass. Here are some of the things we do know:
- The system is being developed and should be operational by June
- Only travelers who have had at least three doses of an approved vaccine will be able to apply
- Filling out the immigration arrival form Tor Mor 6 (TM6) will remain mandatory
- Covid insurance will still be a prerequisite for entry into Thailand
The Health Minister was quoted saying ‘two jabs alone are not enough to raise immunity for a prolonged period’, backing his ministry’s decision to launch the Vaccine Pass with a 3-dose minimum requirement. In summary, traveling to Thailand is becoming progressively easier for the vaccinated, and the vaccinated only.
Tourism and Sports Minister Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn, another one of Thailand’s leading figures in Covid management, reiterated he will be advocating for a Vaccine Passport himself. Ratchakitprakarn plans to present the proposal at the next CCSA – Covid-19 Situation Administration meeting.
Thailand Will Not Be Joining 36 Other Countries That Have Fully Reopened
Both Ministers have held meetings and have already agreed on the implementation of a Vaccine Passport, though they have come to the conclusion the new 3-dose requirement should be applied ‘selectively’. As some countries struggle with uneven vaccine distribution, certain foreign nationals would face greater challenges and could be offered a grace period.
This would most certainly not apply to U.S., Canadian, British and European citizens, who reside in countries with high vaccination coverage and wide availability of vaccines. While there are 36 other countries in the world the unvaccinated can travel to hassle-free, Thailand does not aim to be one of them, at least for now.
In other news, Thailand is seeking to implement soon a 300 baht entry fee, further adding to the woes of travelers. According to the tourism minister, 50 baht of the so-called ‘landing fees’ would be used as insurance coverage for all tourists, on top of the already mandatory travel insurance, and the remaining 250 baht will fund tourism initiatives in the country.
- Source Travel Off Path
Not sure what you're dealing with since all three have commons symptoms? Globe Aware volunteers can read on to learn more about the symptoms of food poisoning, stomach flu, and COVID-19 and how to determine which condition you have.
Is This Food Poisoning, Stomach Flu, or COVID-19?
by Emily Cronkleton
March 17, 2022
If you are experiencing gastrointestinal symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea, you may wonder if the cause is food poisoning, stomach flu, or COVID-19. These conditions share similar symptoms, though there are some key differences between them.
Read on to learn more about the symptoms of food poisoning, stomach flu, and COVID-19 and how to determine which condition you have. You’ll also learn how to treat each condition, when to seek medical care, and how to test for SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.
How to tell if my symptoms are food poisoning, stomach flu, or COVID?
To determine what is causing your gastrointestinal symptoms, it’s important to consider factors such as severity, accompanying symptoms, and possible causes. You may need to take a test to get a diagnosis.
Typical food poisoning symptoms
Eating food contaminated with bacteria, viruses, or parasites can cause food poisoning.
Symptoms can occur within a few hours, days, or weeks of consuming contaminated food. They tend to be more severe than symptoms of the stomach flu.
Common food poisoning symptomsTrusted Source include:
- abdominal cramps
- loss of appetite
Usually, symptoms are mild to moderate and get better within a week, with or without treatment. However, severe and chronic (long-term) cases may require hospitalization.
Typical stomach flu symptoms
A viral infection causes the stomach flu, called viral gastroenteritis. Usually, symptoms occur 1 to 3 days after exposure to the virus and improve within 1 to 3 days.
Common symptomsTrusted Source of the stomach flu include:
- abdominal cramps
- loss of appetite
- weight loss
- muscle aches
- achy joints
As you can see, the stomach flu can give you many of the same symptoms as food poisoning, but with additional pain in the joints and muscles due to the viral infection.
Typical COVID-19 symptoms
People who develop COVID-19 from SARS-CoV-2 may have a wide variety of symptoms that are mild to severe. Usually, symptoms occur 2 to 14 days after exposure to the virus.
Gastrointestinal symptoms often occur during the early phase of COVID-19. They may appear before respiratory symptoms. Symptoms of COVID-19Trusted Source include:
- abdominal pain
- fever or chills
- muscle or body aches
- shortness of breath
- sore throat
- new loss of taste or smell
- congestion or runny nose
Unlike food poisoning or the stomach flu, COVID-19 usually causes respiratory symptoms as well as gastrointestinal. If you’ve developed a cough or are experiencing a lack of taste or smell, it’s a good idea to speak with your doctor and get tested for SARS-CoV-2.
Getting treatment for food poisoning or stomach flu during the COVID-19 pandemic
To treat mild to moderate food poisoning or stomach flu, there are several home remedies you can try.
Home remedies to treat food poisoning and stomach flu include:
- Staying hydrated. Symptoms such as vomiting and diarrhea can lead to dehydration. Consume plenty of water and beverages with electrolytes, such as coconut water, fruit juice, and sports drinks.
- Using a heating pad. To alleviate abdominal pain and relax your stomach muscles, apply a heating pad to your stomach for 15 minutes at a time.
Consuming ginger and mint. Ginger and mint may help alleviate nausea. You can take the herbs in supplement form or drink them in tea.
- Drinking herbal teas. Drink licorice, fennel, and chamomile tea to calm and soothe your stomach.
If you have symptoms of dehydration, severe symptoms, or symptoms that do not improve within a few days, visit a healthcare professional.
Symptoms of dehydration include:
- decreased urination
- dry mouth, lips, or throat
- dizziness when standing
- extreme thirst
See a healthcare professional if you have severe symptoms such as:
- bloody diarrhea
- high fever (103°F or 39.4°C, or above)
- frequent vomiting, which can cause dehydration
- diarrhea that lasts longer than 3 days
If you’re concerned about visiting a doctor’s office or hospital due to the possibility of contracting SARS-CoV-2, you can take precautions to maximize your safety by:
- wearing a mask
- maintaining a distance of 6 feet
- using hand sanitizer regularly
- scheduling your appointment in the morning, since the waiting and exam rooms are likely to be the cleanest
Healthcare workers and staff are taking precautions as well, most of whom are fully vaccinated. Some precautions they may take include:
- regularly cleaning and disinfecting clinics
- spacing out appointments to minimize the number of people in the waiting room
- giving you the option to skip the waiting room altogether
- performing tests and other procedures in the exam room instead of having you visit multiple locations, in some cases
Getting tested for COVID-19
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)Trusted Source recommends getting tested if you experience COVID-19 symptoms or have been in close contact with a person with COVID-19.
A rapid self-test involving a nasal swab will provide quick results. Laboratory tests involving saliva or a nasal swab provide results within 1 to 3 days. Usually, laboratory tests are more accurate than self-tests.
While you’re waiting for the results of your test, it’s a good idea to stay at home, both to quarantine and to take care of yourself. At-home treatments for COVID-19 are similar to treatments for other viruses and include:
- getting plenty of rest
- staying hydrated
- taking prebiotics and probiotics to treat gastrointestinal symptoms
- taking acetaminophen to alleviate headaches, body aches, and fever
- applying an ice pack for 15 minutes at a time to reduce fever
Some symptoms of food poisoning, stomach flu, and COVID-19 are similar, which may make it tricky to determine which condition you have. In most cases, people can treat food poisoning or stomach flu by resting, staying hydrated, and using home remedies.
If your symptoms are severe or do not improve within a few days, make an appointment with a healthcare professional. They can provide you with an accurate diagnosis, determine if there are any underlying causes, and choose the best course of treatment.
If you think your symptoms are from COVID-19, follow the usual safety precautions and self-isolate. Take a test as soon as possible.
Medically reviewed by Elizabeth Thottacherry, MD — Written
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What You Need to Know About Food Poisoning, Its Causes, and Treatments
What is food poisoning?
Foodborne illness, more commonly referred to as food poisoning, is the result of eating contaminated, spoiled, or toxic food. The most common symptoms of food poisoning include nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.
Although it’s quite uncomfortable, food poisoning isn’t unusual. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)Trusted Source, 48 million people in the United States (or around 1 out of 7) contract some form of food poisoning every year. Of those 48 million people, 128,000 are hospitalized.
Food poisoning symptoms
If you have food poisoning, chances are it won’t go undetected.
Symptoms can vary depending on the source of the infection.
Common cases of food poisoning will typically include a few of the following symptoms:
loss of appetite
Symptoms of potentially life threatening food poisoning include:
diarrhea that lasts for more than 3 days
a fever higher than 102°F (38.9°C)
difficulty seeing or speaking
symptoms of severe dehydration, which may include dry mouth, passing little to no urine, and difficulty keeping fluids down
If you experience any of these symptoms, contact a doctor or seek medical treatment immediately.
How long does food poisoning last?
The length of time it takes for symptoms to appear depends on the source of the infection, but it can range from as little as 30 minutesTrusted Source to as long as 8 weeksTrusted Source.
With or without treatment, most cases will resolve in 1 week.
Causes of food poisoning
Most food poisoning can be traced to one of three major causes: bacteria, parasites, or viruses.
These pathogens can be found on almost all of the food humans eat. However, heat from cooking usually kills pathogens on food before it reaches our plate. Foods eaten raw are common sources of food poisoning because they don’t go through the cooking process.
Occasionally, food will come in contact with the organisms in fecal matter or vomit. This is most likely to occur when an ill person prepares food and doesn’t wash their hands before cooking.
Meat, eggs, and dairy products are frequently contaminated. Water may also be contaminated with organisms that cause illness.
Bacteria are by far the most common cause of food poisoning. Bacterial causes of food poisoning include:
E. coli, in particular Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC)
When thinking of dangerous bacteria, names such as E. coli and Salmonella come to mind for good reason.
Salmonella is the biggest bacterial causeTrusted Source of food poisoning cases in the United States. According to the CDCTrusted Source, an estimated 1,350,000 cases of food poisoning, including 26,500 hospitalizations, can be traced to salmonella infection each year.
Campylobacter and C. botulinum are two lesser-known and potentially lethal bacteria that can lurk in our food.
Food poisoning caused by parasites isn’t as common as food poisoning caused by bacteria, but parasites that spread through food are still very dangerous. They include:
various tapeworms, such as:
Taenia saginata (beef tapeworm)
Taenia solium (pork tapeworm)
Diphyllobothrium latum (fish tapeworm)
Ascaris lumbricoides, a type of roundworm
flukes (flatworms), such as Opisthorchiidae (liver fluke) and Paragonimus (lung fluke)
pinworms, or Enterobiasis
According to the CDCTrusted Source, toxoplasmosis is a leading cause of death attributed to food poisoning in the United States. Toxoplasma gondii is also found in cat litter boxes.
Parasites can live in your digestive tract and go undetected for years. People with weakened immune systems and pregnant people are at risk of more serious side effects if certain parasites take up residence in their intestines.
Food poisoning can also be caused by a virus, such as:
norovirus, which is sometimes known as Norwalk virus
hepatitis A virus
The norovirus causes 19 to 21 million casesTrusted Source of vomiting and diarrhea in the United States each year. In rare cases, it can be fatal. Other viruses bring on similar symptoms, but they’re less common.
The virus that causes the liver condition hepatitis A can also be transmitted through food.
- Source healthline
All travel restrictions for entering Romania related to the coronavirus were lifted on March 9th, 2022. Globe Aware volunteers can book their volunteer vacation to this beautiful European country with ease.
These countries have lifted all coronavirus travel restrictions
These are all the destinations in Europe that currently have no Covid-related entry requirements. This list is being regularly updated
BY SARAH JAMES
20 April 2022
CONDÉ NAST TRAVELLER
Since 2020, we’ve all needed to stay on top of the Covid-related rules for different countries – from where you can travel without a vaccine to which destinations require a Covid booster jab for travel. By spring 2022, however, a handful of European countries (including the UK since Friday 18 March 2022) have lifted all restrictions relating to coronavirus and travel, allowing international visitors to enter without proof of vaccination, a negative test, recent recovery or even filling in a passenger locator form. These are the places that have dropped all such rules – although, of course, we still recommend following UK health advice, including having your Covid vaccine and booster if you are able to.
On Saturday 9 April 2022, the Czech Republic lifted all coronavirus-related entry requirements for people arriving from other countries. Visitors do not need to show any proof of vaccination or negative tests and do not need to fill out a passenger locator form.
At the time of writing (Wednesday 20 April 2022), there are no coronavirus-related requirements regarding testing or quarantining when entering Denmark regardless of vaccination status. However, you can only enter Greenland if you can prove that you are fully vaccinated or have previously been infected with coronavirus in the past 12 weeks.
The Hungarian government lifted all coronavirus restrictions upon entering the country on Monday 7 March 2022. You do not need to show vaccination proof or any negative tests.
There are currently no rules about coronavirus vaccinations or tests to enter Iceland as an international visitor.
Since Sunday 6 March 2022, international visitors have not been required to follow any restrictions regarding coronavirus. If travellers develop coronavirus symptoms while staying in Ireland, they should follow the current HSE guidance.
There are no coronavirus-related travel rules for those travelling to Montenegro.
Entry requirements for Norway are the same for everyone, regardless of vaccination status. You do not need to show any negative tests, fill out any forms or self-isolate.
Since Monday 28 March 2022, pre-departure testing and proof of vaccination have not been required to enter Poland.
All travel restrictions for entering Romania related to coronavirus were lifted on Wednesday 9 March 2022.
As of Friday 1 April 2022, travellers to Sweden are no longer required to present a negative test or proof of vaccination to enter.
- Source Conde Nast Traveler
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Monday updated its warning level policy for international travel, now reserving its Level 4 warning only for instances of extreme Covid-19 threats. Globe Aware volunteers will now have a more actionable alert for when they should not travel to a certain destination.
U.S. CDC Restructures Covid-19 Travel Warning System
By Michael B. Baker
April 18, 2022
Business Travel News
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Monday updated its warning level policy for international travel, now reserving its Level 4 warning only for instances of extreme Covid-19 threats.
A Level 4 warning, at which the CDC advises travelers not to visit regardless of vaccination status, now indicates "special circumstances, such as rapidly escalating case trajectory or extremely high case counts, emergence of a new variant of concern, or healthcare infrastructure collapse," according to the CDC. The other levels still will be determined by case counts and incidents during a 28-day period.
"With this new configuration, travelers will have a more actionable alert for when they should not travel to a certain destination, regardless of vaccination status, until we have a clearer understanding of the Covid-19 situation at that destination," the CDC said in a media statement.
Prior to the change, the CDC's Level 4 list still covered about 90 countries and destinations, including most of Europe. As of Monday afternoon, no destinations were listed at Level 4, and more than 120 were listed at Level 3, at which the CDC recommends unvaccinated travelers avoid travel.
Ending the "avoid travel" advisories was one of the recommendations of U.S. Travel Association president and CEO Roger Dow in a letter to White House Covid-19 response coordinator Ashish Jha last month. "The CDC should ensure that Americans are not dissuaded from traveling to any place with Covid-19 case rates that are equal to, or less than, the case rates prevailing in the U.S.," Dow said in the letter
- Source Business Travel News
Mexico makes for a perfect first international vacation destination for a number of reasons. Here are some of the best our Globe Aware volunteers can check out!
8 Reasons To Make Mexico Your First International Vacation
BY CYNTHIA LEVY
April 18, 2022
Mexico makes for a perfect first international vacation destination for a number of reasons, but there are some of the best.
Many people are unaware of how amazing Mexico can be to visit. It is a country with many destinations, but a good number of people don't know where to go. One may have heard stories about beaches in Mexico, heritage sites, museums, villages, valleys, and hiking trails and have an interest in visiting.
Due to the great climate of Mexico, one can visit almost any time of the year and there will be a variety of things to enjoy. Here are some of the best reasons why Mexico is practically the perfect vacation destination for first-time international travelers.
8 Enjoy Authentic Mexican Cuisine
One of the things that make Mexico so popular for vacations is the country’s unique and delicious cuisine. Many people know about Mexican tortas and tacos, but there is so much more than that. When visiting the north, one will enjoy the cabrito or carne asada. These are kinds of seafood from Sinaloa. For those visiting the western region, dining in Mayan or Jalisco delicacies will be the ultimate treat for sure. Mayan delicacies are sourced from the Yucatan Peninsula and represent the true western Mexican cuisines.
7 Appreciate Mexican Music
Many travelers have seen and listened to the unique Mexican music in films and on TV. Going on a vacation to the country is a special chance to enjoy authentic Mexican dances and music that is available in both English and Spanish. The traditional music is diverse in many ways, therefore giving visitors more than enough varieties to enjoy. There are popular band groups in almost every town, ready to play their best songs. Having a band of talented Mexican musicians with a variety of guitars is a reason to go to Mexico.
6 Explore Historic Monuments
Mexico is a country with so many monuments, mostly from ancient civilizations. These are impressive monuments showcasing extraordinary architecture and telling the story of the ancient civilizations. Many people do not know that there are ancient pyramids in Mexico. However, they are different from those in Egypt. The pyramids of Teotihuacan are the most popular monuments in Mexico. Visitors will also get a chance to visit several archeological sites and places such as El Tajin, and Chichen Itza.
5 Relax On Beautiful Mexican Beaches
Mexico has some of the best beaches in all of America. Due to the great warm weather of the country, the beaches are a good spot for vacation, especially for someone coming from a cold region. Many beaches are rated first-class, with clean white sands as well as turquoise waters. The list of beaches where one can vacation is long. Some of the most popular include Puerto Vallarta, Acapulco, Playa del Carmen, Huatulco, and Mazatlan. Most beaches are also very clean.
4 It's Affordable To Plan
Mexico is a very affordable country to visit for a vacation when compared to countries in Europe, or areas of Canada or the United States. It all starts with the airlines that operate in Mexico, which offer affordable deals. By traveling during off-peak seasons, when there are few holidays, one gets to spend even less. The country has a moderately good economy and the cost of living is low. Since there are many open markets, bargaining for commodities is easy and allows a person to get affordable products. The government has also provided many free destinations for tourists.
3 You Can Find Great Vacation Packages
Traveling for a vacation in a new country is different from getting a vacation package from a travel company. One does not have to necessarily travel on their own to enjoy Mexico. Private traveling can be expensive. However, several travel companies operate in Mexico and offer vacation packages. These are packages with well-packed itineraries and fun activities. One can get as short as two days’ vacation on Cancun beach. The best way to acquire this is by going through different travel companies in Mexico and identifying suitable packages. Booking early is the best way to get affordable deals.
2 Visiting The Mystical Mayan Ruins Is A Must
The Mystical Mayan ruins are one of the most popular attractions in Mexico. These ancient Mayan artifacts show a great civilization from a bygone age that no longer exists. These ruins are characterized by amazing works of innovation done by people of that time. Many things were built – including majestic temples, agricultural systems, and other advanced infrastructures. A visit to these ruins is reason enough to visit Mexico. One will also get a chance to visit the Chichen Itza ruins, which are equally as impressive.
1 See Its Unique Wildlife In Person
Mexico is also a country with great wildlife. The best part is that the most fascinating animals in the country are unique and only found in Mexico. There are also a few jungles and forests to visit. The ocean also is home to many animals. Visitors will get a chance to sport endangered axolotl and cacomistle, which is a mammal native to Mexico. On the northern side of Mexico, there is a chance to see Mexican prairie dogs, and in the Baja waters, there is vaquita porpoise.
- Source The Travel
Officials from major airlines said they expect to offset their higher fuel bills with raised airlines tickets. Thanks to travel demand from vacationers, and Thanksgiving-like crowds returning this Easter, that's concerning news for Globe Aware volunteers who have not booked their summer trips yet.
Haven't booked those airline tickets yet? Don't dawdle. Bookings are bonkers, pushing prices up
Thanksgiving-like crowds are returning to security checkpoints and airport parking lots are filling up in popular destinations.
But few things say air travel is roaring back more than airline executives taking a spike in oil prices in stride. Fuel is airlines' second-biggest expense after labor.
In presentations at an investor conference in New York Tuesday, officials from Delta, American, United, Southwest and JetBlue said they expect to offset their higher fuel bills thanks to sizzling travel demand from vacationers and an uptick in business travel.
That's bad news for travelers who haven't bought tickets for spring break or summer vacation yet, as strong bookings enable airlines to raise ticket prices.
Delta Air Lines President Glen Hauenstein said the airline needs to collect an extra $30 or $40 per the average $400 round trip ticket to cover its rising fuel costs and so far is having no trouble doing so given a surge in bookings.
"We are very, very confident of our ability to recapture over 100% of the fuel price run-up in the second quarter and through probably the end of the summer," he said at the J.P. Morgan Industrials Conference.
Hauenstein said he has never seen travel demand rebound as quickly as it has following the sharp decline in bookings from the omicron variant in late 2021 and early this year. One day last week, the airline had the highest sales day in its 100-year history, he said.
Delta is not alone in its confidence in the industry's recovery and ability to pass along fare increases.
"The pandemic really does seem to be behind us here in the U.S.," Nocella said. "Bookings across most of the network are at normal levels.''
Nocella said United expects to be able to offset a "large chunk" of its higher fuel bill by boosting fares and will cover the rest by trimming some flights.
United purposely held back seats for sale for summer travel in anticipation of a rebound so it could charge more for tickets when bookings resumed post-omicron. And it's working, he said.
"We're pretty happy about that," he said.
He said a key revenue metric for Easter travel in mid-April is ahead of 2019 levels despite an increased number of flights.
It all adds up to more sticker shock for consumers fighting inflation on every front this year. Another COVID-19 wave and other factors could hurt bookings again and reduce airlines' ability to raise fares, but for now, the trend in ticket prices is up. With domestic travel bookings and revenue surpassing pre-pandemic levels for the first time in the second week of February and ticket prices were up 5%, according to the Adobe Digital Economy Index.
"This is a major turning point, and it shows a level of consumer confidence we've not seen in many months," Vivek Pandya, lead analyst at Adobe Digital Insights said in a statement.
'How much can the consumer bear?'
The big question for airlines and travelers is how high ticket prices can go before travelers resist.
"How much can the consumer bear?" J.P. Morgan airline analyst Jamie Baker asked airline executives.
Delta's Hauenstein said the airline is pricing summer flights to a level that will cover higher fuel costs and so far, bookings are above 2019 levels.
"We haven't actually found the breakpoint yet," he said.
JetBlue's Hayes said the airline also has not seen any so-called "demand destruction."
"We're still dealing with pent-up demand from people," he said.
Airfares are on the rise: 5 tips for travelers shopping for airline tickets
- Don't wait for prices to go down, especially to popular spring and summer vacation destinations. If you see a palatable ticket price on the dates and times you need, book it and don't look back. (Or look back occasionally and rebook if the flight price has dropped since major airlines have dropped change fees on most tickets and Southwest has never charged change fees. You'll receive a credit for any fare difference.)
- Don't overlook airline and travel website flexible date calendars and airfare alerts from apps including Hopper and Kayak if your travel plans are flexible.
- Do include online travel agencies like Expedia and search engines like Google Flights and Kayak in your research as they combine flights from different airlines for the itinerary, which can save money over flying one airline for the trip. Just make sure you aren't flying into one airport and out of another in metro areas with more than one option if that's a dealbreaker.
- Don't limit your search to the major airlines. Discount airlines Spirit and Frontier, which recently announced plans to merge, and Allegiant have been expanding rapidly. As have newcomers Avelo and Breeze. On all, add up the fees for extras, including a carry-on bag or seat assignment to make an apples-to-apples comparison with major airlines.
- Do skip that summer trip in favor of a fall or other off-season getaway if your travel plans are flexible and you're on a budget.
- Source USAToday
While traveling into countries may have become easier, it's still important Globe Aware volunteers be prepared for re-entry back into the United States. Our volunteer vacations provide testing on site or at your accommodations, provide travel insurance and assist with understanding government regulations and procedures.
5 things I learned after testing positive for COVID-19 abroad
April 9, 2022
The Points Guy
After a great adventure in Argentina, it was time to come home.
Then, seven hours before my return flight from Buenos Aires to Atlanta, I received the results of my COVID-19 test required for re-entry to the United States. The news sealed my fate for the next few days. With a positive test, I was not going to be able to board my Delta Air Lines flight that evening.
In the days that followed, five lessons about traveling during COVID-19 became abundantly clear to me. So long as negative tests are required for re-entry into the U.S., these lessons will remain true — so I am sharing them here so anyone traveling abroad can embrace them.
It had been three months since my last trip to Argentina. This time, my wife and I were returning for the wedding of two close friends and a quick escape to Argentina’s famous wine region of Mendoza. As a fully vaccinated and boosted U.S. traveler with a negative COVID-19 test, I was able to enter Argentina with ease. I would not have guessed that my entry into Argentina was going to be easier than my re-entry to the U.S.
Here’s a brief overview of the current entry requirements for Argentina and a little bit of background:
Argentina entry requirements
As a fully vaccinated traveler, I needed three things to enter Argentina. Like many countries, Argentina requires you to fill out an affidavit form within 48 hours of departure. The form is straightforward, only requiring typical traveler information: arrival, departure, passport number, etc. Additionally, I needed a negative PCR test taken with 72 hours of departure and proof of medical travel insurance. The U.S. embassy in Argentina provides a great overview of all requirements.
The trip to Mendoza
My wife and I spent the days leading up to the wedding exploring the bodegas and vineyards of Mendoza. Traveling within Argentina also proved easy. There were no additional requirements for travel within the country. A first for me, we flew the low-cost local carrier, Fly Bondi, from Aeroparque Internacional Jorge Newbery (AEP) in Buenos Aires to Governor Francisco Gabrielli International Airport (MDZ) in Mendoza. While a full review isn’t necessary, I will say that I would use Fly Bondi again, but will certainly anticipate frequent (and drastic) changes to my originally scheduled flight leading up to the day of departure.
It was on day two of our vineyard tours in Mendoza that my congestion started. As it was the only symptom to manifest itself, I didn’t think much of it. Congestion has been pretty par for the course for me each time I’ve made the journey from our U.S. winter to summer in Argentina. My congestion cleared up over the next few days, and was mostly gone just in time for the Saturday wedding. Little did I know my brief bout of congestion would have larger ramifications.
We were scheduled to return to the U.S. on Monday night aboard the Delta red-eye to Atlanta. With the U.S. still requiring a negative antigen test taken no more than one day prior to departure, we scheduled our tests for Monday morning. As a side note: If you find yourself needing a test in Argentina, I highly recommend using Stramboulian. Scheduling was easy and there are multiple locations in popular areas.
Within a few hours, we received our test results: negative for my wife and positive for me. What transpired over the next few hours and days consisted of a lot of research into quarantine requirements and travel requirements to understand what I needed to do locally and what I needed to do in order to return to the U.S. as quickly — and safely — as possible. The rules mandated 7 days of quarantine from the onset of symptoms with at least 48 hours symptom-free plus three days of “special care,” meaning not going out in crowds. I ended up in Argentina about five days longer than planned.
After a few conversations with my primary doctor and a few days without symptoms, I ultimately flew home on Friday evening with my positive test and a signed letter indicating proof of recovery. Luckily for me, the entire experience was nothing more than a minor inconvenience. However, five lessons became abundantly clear.
My lessons learned
Travel with take-home tests
Before leaving for your international trip, purchase at least one take-home test to take with you. Depending on your destination, tests can be difficult to find or, at the very least, inconvenient to find. Considering my symptoms were never more than mild congestion, I never felt the need to seek out a testing center prior to my mandatory test for returning home. However, if I had a take-home test on hand, there’s a good chance I would have used it and had a few days’ head start on planning my next moves regarding quarantine and my return trip.
‘No more than one day before you travel’ does not mean ‘No more than 24 hours before you travel’
The United States’ testing requirement for international travel states that travelers “are required [to] show a negative COVID-19 viral test result taken no more than one day before travel…” I had interpreted this to mean that for a 9 p.m. flight on Monday, your test could be conducted no earlier than 9 p.m. on Sunday. After testing positive, I learned “one day before travel” means that your test can be taken at any time during the day before your travel date. While this knowledge would not have changed my circumstances, earlier awareness of my predicament would certainly have reduced my stress levels in the short seven hours between learning my test results and my scheduled departure.
Required or not, purchase trip insurance
To satisfy Argentina’s insurance requirement, I purchased the bare minimum $12 plan from Trawick International. While it remains to be seen how the claims process goes, my plan included $150 per day of trip delay insurance.
Luckily for me, I was able to stay with local friends. However, had I been in a different destination, I would likely have needed a lot more coverage to find a suitable hotel for my extended stay. For my needs, the $150 was plenty to cover food and other costs I incurred. In the future, I will make a deliberate calculation to ensure my trip delay coverage matches my potential needs at my destination.
If you’re able to work remotely, travel with your work computer
So long as there is a testing requirement in place necessary for re-entry to the U.S., all travelers should anticipate the possibility of testing positive abroad. Having recognized this prior to my trip, I made the decision to bring my work computer with me. While it stayed in my backpack for the entire first part of the trip, I was certainly glad I was able to work remotely after my planned return was disrupted.
Don’t upgrade your flight until you have your negative test in hand
The day before our original return trip, I had upgraded our seats to Delta Premium Select using miles that transferred from American Express. When it came time to change my return flight, I was reminded that upgrades made using miles are non-refundable. The miles I used to upgrade my original ticket disappeared in an instant. To make matters worse, the additional price of the upgrade was not part of the equation in determining the price difference between my original fare and my new fare (the only remaining element of change fees after Delta dropped nearly all change fees in 2020).
Fortunately, it only cost me $68 to change my ticket — but you may not be so lucky.
- Source Self
Globe Aware Makes Volunteering Easy, Safe and Fun
By Hyeyeun Jeon
The University Network
For students in high school and college, volunteering is beneficial in many ways.
Through volunteering, not only can you make meaningful impacts and learn to live as a part of a wider community, but also network with people from various career paths and improve your school applications.
Of course there are numerous local volunteering opportunities available. However, as air travel normalizes again, students can look into opportunities in international communities as well.
With Globe Aware, you can reap the same benefits of volunteering while traveling to various wonders of our beautiful world.
Founded in 2000, Globe Aware is a nonprofit that develops short-term service abroad programs for those interested in volunteer travel.
Volunteering with Globe Aware
Volunteer travel aims to combine the best intentions of the non-profit sector with the excitement of the tourism sector to create stimulating, service-oriented vacations.
With a special consultative status with the United Nations, Globe Aware develops a safe, fun and culturally interesting experience for volunteers interested in service across the world.
The organization’s service projects focus on working side-by-side with locals as equals on community projects that are important to them. Previous projects include installing concrete floors in the homes of single mothers in Guatemala and assembling and distributing wheelchairs for landmine victims in Cambodia.
Simultaneously, Globe Aware provides several cultural excursions throughout every program, such as swimming in deep, water-filled sinkholes formed in limestone known as cenotes in Mexico, and spectacular nature hikes into the Carara Rainforest Reserve of Costa Rica.
None of Globe Aware trips require special skills or the ability to speak a specific foreign language because Globe Aware employees lay the groundwork prior to your arrival and accompany you during the entire volunteer vacation.
How Students Can Volunteer with Globe Aware
Globe Aware has volunteer programs for high school and college students. These programs typically run for about a week, but programs can be extended up to three weeks upon request.
Destinations vary widely, ranging from a quaint village in Romania to a Rainforest village in Costa Rica. You can look through all programs operating in Africa, Eastern Europe, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean here.
Note that India, Thailand and Nepal programs are set to reopen this summer after being temporarily closed during the pandemic.
On top of a life-changing experience, Globe Aware trips provide service hours. High school students can use the hours worked during a program (usually 40 hours per week) for their required number of service hours to graduate or to qualify for the distinguished President’s Volunteer Service Award.
And all volunteers can request to receive a Community Service Certificate upon completion of their programs.
Also, there are discounts available for students. For example, participants under 17 years of age or groups of 10 or more can receive a 10 percent discount.
To register for a volunteer travel trip, you can sign up here.
For students looking for internship opportunities, Globe Aware provides internships that can be as short as one week and as long as four weeks, which are held virtually from India.
Depending on your interests, you will be directed to one of various organizations, ranging from local schools to elephant welfare nonprofits.
For example, as an intern at a local community center for children from low-income families, you will be working on weekly tasks such as creating educational videos that will be used in virtual lessons.
Though volunteering can be done anywhere, a Globe Aware program is truly one of few opportunities in life that offer the ability to experience another culture while also serving in a deeply meaningful way.
- Source The University Network
With the no-passport-required ease of traveling, and direct flights available from dozens of cities, it’s no wonder that the vacation-deprived are rushing to this island. Globe Aware volunteers headed to Puerto Rico can figure out what they need to pack with these helpful tips!
8 items to pack when traveling to Puerto Rico, according to residents
BY REGAN STEPHENS
June 13, 2021
In late May, traveling to Puerto Rico just got a little easier. The U.S. territory loosened its requirements for domestic travelers, with vaccinated visitors now able to skip COVID-19 entry testing, and instead upload their vaccination card via a portal.
With the no-passport-required ease of traveling to the Caribbean island, and direct flights available from dozens of cities, it’s no wonder that the vacation-deprived are heading south in droves. Puerto Rico has seen an uptick in travelers since last fall, with overall hotel demand outpacing 2019 rates.
“There’s been a pent-up demand to travel from the past year because of COVID-19, and as Puerto Rico has always been a popular destination for U.S. mainland travelers, naturally an influx of people have booked trips to our tropical island,” says Adrian Mercado, director of sales and marketing at Hotel El Convento and Palacio Provincial. The two historic properties located in Old San Juan have seen a 30% increase in occupancy over the past couple of months. “We credit this to the convenience in getting to Puerto Rico with no passport necessary, as well as the recent ease in testing restrictions.”
While it’s true the island has a bounty of scenic beaches—and who couldn’t use some R&R in the form of seaside piña coladas and a juicy novel?—Puerto Rico also has a rich history, abundant natural beauty, and a vibrant cocktail scene. (Fun fact: That piña colada was actually invented here.) All that, plus it's blessed with year-round sunshine.
Read on for locals’ best tips on what you should pack for exploring everything Puerto Rico has to offer.
An insulated cup
Bring along an insulated beverage cup, like a Yeti, says Gigí Nieves Bosch, the writer behind OMG ¡Qué Rico!
“The heat can be intense, and sometimes a few minutes in the sun can completely melt the ice in your drink,” she says. “I take my Yeti cup everywhere. It's amazing for going to the beach and honestly the best option for keeping your beer cold when you're in the water.”
Nieves also notes that using an insulated cup cuts down on plastic usage, which is more environmentally friendly and keeps the beaches cleaner. Her Yeti is decorated with stickers from her favorite local shops, and she suggests—for a unique souvenir—doing the same, “to showcase the small, local businesses you supported on your trip!”
“People underestimate the strength of the sun here,” says Claudia González, a front desk agent at Palacio Provincial in Old San Juan. To avoid a vacation-ruining burn, and to ensure the island’s surrounding coral reefs stay healthy, choose a reef-safe sunscreen like Supergoop! PLAY or Drunk Elephant Umbra Sheer Physical Daily Defense. Both are easy to apply, don’t leave a thick film, and are available in a three-ounce (or under) carry-on-approved size.
A wide-brimmed hat
Some of the local beaches have a dearth of shade, says Claudia González, so it’s wise to wear a hat that will protect your scalp and face, even if you’re consistently reapplying that reef-safe sunscreen. Plenty of Instagram-worthy options abound (we love the Goorin Bros. Vodka Soda straw hat), and if you’re optimizing for packable, the Athleta wide brim sun hat is breathable, water-repellent, and doesn’t take up much room in your bag.
A pair of sneakers
With over 270 miles of coastline, Puerto Rico is home to an array of beautiful beaches. While many are located in front of private resorts, there are countless lesser-traveled public spots that highlight the island’s pristine natural beauty, many with calm waters perfect for swimming and snorkeling. But to visit them, you’ll need to plan ahead.
“If you’re trying to explore our local beaches, bring comfortable sneakers or close-toed shoes,” says Aida Bauzá, Palacio Provincial ambassador. “In order to get there, you usually have to hike a little, and it’s not recommended to go in flip-flops.”
Efrén David Robles, cofounder of Frutos del Guacabo, agrees that sneakers are imperative, adding, “There are so many beautiful places to see [in Puerto Rico] which you can only experience by walking.” One of them is his agro-tourism farm, where you can walk the acres of crops like microgreens and tamarind, visit with the baby goats, and refresh with a homemade limber, a Puerto Rican–style icy treat.
A handheld fan
Pack a fan, either a foldable option you can easily fit in your bag, or a natural fiber, handmade version. Average temperatures hover between 75 and 85 degrees, year-round, and “you never know when heat will strike,” says Lulu Santaliz, a manager at Cool Hope Creamery in Lote 23, a gastronomic park. Or opt for a battery-powered device. About the size of a cell phone, this Tripole Mini handheld fan will cool you down in a snap, whether you’re touring the Unesco World Heritage sites or lounging on a beach chair.
Beyond packing sneakers, waterproof shoes are an ideal option for hiking some of the island’s trails that lead to beaches, caves, or natural swimming pools. “I would recommend bringing a good pair of waterproof shoes,” says resident Lynette Cabrera. “One of my favorite sites in Puerto Rico is El Yunque rain forest, which happens to be the only tropical rain forest in the U.S. National Forest Service. Waterproof shoes are great for hiking the trails and jumping in waterfalls you may come across.”
A driver’s license
While areas like charming Old San Juan, Santurce, and Condado are easy to explore on foot, so much of Puerto Rico’s treasures are a bit farther afield. Since most are reachable in less than a two-hour drive, though, Lulu Santaliz recommends bringing your driver’s license, noting, “If you're older than 25, renting a car might be a good option to be able to explore the island.” (Note: It’s also recommended to book a car prior to visiting, as the inventory goes quickly.)
Some options: El Yunque is about 45 minutes by car from Old San Juan. Or one of the island’s bioluminescent bays—or bio bays, as they’re called—Mosquito Bay on Vieques, the island off the coast of Puerto Rico, Laguna Grande in the northeast in Fajardo, and La Parguera.
The latter, in the southwest in Lajas, about a two-hour drive from Old San Juan, is the only one of the three that allows swimming. Visitors can book a kayak or boat tour in the evening to fully experience the glowing waters, which come from microorganisms called dinoflagellates. Finally, visit the coffee haciendas of the south—about an hour and half away from the city, in Puerto Rico’s mountainous region—to learn about the island’s history of coffee agriculture and production, and to sample some of the best coffee on earth.
Don’t let pests put a damper on a perfectly pleasant hike through the scenic Toro Negro State Forest or El Yunque. Claudia González of Palacio Provincial keeps natural bug-repellent spray on hand at the hotel’s front desk to lend to visitors who are on their way to places like the rain forest or even just the beach.
Some options include California Baby and Badger Anti-Bug Shake & Spray, or, if you’re not checking luggage, stash these Babyganics single-use wipes in your carry-on. They’re DEET-free, spill-proof, and simple to apply.
- Source Fortune
Cambodia is aiming to attract more tourists into the country by relaxing covid tests. You can contact our office to learn more about entry regulations because an impactful Globe Aware volunteer vacation awaits you in Cambodia!
No more covid tests for fully vaccinated travellers going to Cambodia
TRAVEL NEWS, CAMBODIA
Mar 19, 2022, 12:36 IST
Cambodia has now announced that travellers are not required to take COVID 19 tests to enter the country, thus hoping to boost tourism in the coming months. The country has gone ahead of its neighbours to relax restrictions, so that tourism can get the much needed boost.
The country’s Prime Minister said in a speech, "Now it's the stage to open the economy by learning how to live with COVID.”
Cambodia has one of the highest vaccination rates in the region, with 92.3 percent of its population being vaccinated against the virus.
However, visitors coming into the country are still required to be fully vaccinated. Moreover, any traveller who is unable to show proof of vaccination, must quarantine themselves for 14 days. Cambodian authorities have asked visitors to test themselves, even though there is no mandatory testing.
Cambodia is also planning to resume the visa on arrival programme, but it has not yet confirmed a date for the same. The visa on arrival programme was suspended throughout the length of the pandemic.
According to the World Bank, Cambodia’s international arrivals took a 90.6 percent dip in the first seven months of 2021. The entrance fees of Angkor Temple Complex, which is one of its most popular tourist sites, also saw a 98.7 percent drop.
Cambodia reported 140 new covid infections, and 3049 deaths on Wednesday.
- Source Times of India
Have you ever considered volunteering? Whether it’s for a church, school, or another place, many organizations benefit from (and in some cases, completely depend on) volunteers to help. Volunteers also benefit from donating their time and effort to a cause they support: they gain a better understanding of the situation and culture surrounding the cause –– especially if it’s a volunteer program abroad. If you volunteer in a country where another language is spoken, you’ll also probably start to pick it up and actually learn it!
Beyond these core benefits of volunteerism however, there are also some specific upsides to doing your volunteer work through an NGO, as opposed to independently. Below, we'll get into some of those benefits and explain why, more often than not, you're best off going through an established organization.
The clearest benefit of volunteering through an NGO, rather than as an individual, is that you'll have more opportunities to work where you're needed. To give some sense of what we mean, among the most notable nongovernmental organizations you can work for are Habitat for Humanity, Doctors Without Borders, and the international Red Cross. These are sprawling organizations with global reach that can help you to find the kind of work you're looking for and make the impact you want to make –– and they're only a few examples! Others associated specifically with IVPA include Globe Aware, Global Brigades, Good Hope Volunteers, International Service Learning, Projects Abroad, and American Youth Understanding Diabetes Abroad.
In contrast to working with established organizations like these, when you set out as an individual volunteer, finding specific opportunities is up to you, and it's not as easy as it may seem. Particularly if you're looking to go abroad, you may not always be able to contact a given church, school, or community. And even if you can get in touch, there may not be much of a chance to get involved. Which brings us to our next point:
We just touched on the idea that there may not always be a chance to get involved with an entity you reach out to as an individual. And the truth of the matter is that this is a more complex issue than some might assume. Most of the time, Individual churches, schools, and so on, simply aren't prepared to accommodate and host volunteers by themselves. They may not have space or supplies for you to operate with and there may be issues with language and translation. They often won't have liability insurance, whereas when you work with an IVPA member you're covered by medical and liability insurance. In some cases, they may not even be able to provide meals or accommodations for unprepared travelers. On top of all of these issues, there's also a high likelihood that by volunteering without the support of an organization, you'll be pulling someone away from their own tasks; someone will have to assist or train you, such that you are inadvertently reducing the resource of the school, church, or community that you are trying to help.
The beauty of NGOs, among other things, is that they take all of this into account and have thoroughly established processes in place to make work as comfortable and effective as possible. Indeed, when you volunteer through organizations that have been vetted by quality affirming entities such as IVPA, you're not only supported, but even spared your own costs, in a sense. The cost to participate is tax deductible against your income (as is any related airfare).
When you travel on your own to volunteer –– even if you mean well and take proper precautions –– there is always the chance that you violate cultural or societal norms you're unaware of. For example, if you're volunteering in Cuba, you may not realize that Cuban culture all but forbids people from accepting charity. However, a "gift of friendship" is acceptable. This is the kind of local detail an NGO will be aware of, and will prepare you for. Generally speaking, these organizations will help you to understand in advance what you're walking into, such that you don't offend, embarrass, or even inadvertently endanger the very people you're trying to help.
Meanwhile, to briefly touch on a more personal perk, there's also something to be said for the opportunity to go abroad! For the most part, NGOs offer the possibility of traveling across borders in order to participate in volunteer projects. While many volunteers had to return home during the pandemic, some NGOs are starting to send volunteers out once more. If you enjoy traveling, volunteering for an NGO can be one of the most rewarding ways to appease your travel bug –– whereas when you volunteer as an individual, it's not quite as easy (or sometimes even as doable) to find a reasonable opportunity to do good work abroad.
Humans are social creatures, and we enjoy the company of others. Volunteering for an NGO gives us the opportunity to socialize more than we normally would, which is great news for those of us who have found ourselves rather isolated over the last few years. Volunteering for an NGO whose advocacies you support also means that you’ll be in more contact with like-minded people with similar ideas and beliefs. This not only makes for more effective work on the ground, more often than not, but also opens the door to establishing relationships that can result in more service opportunities in the future.
Have you thought about learning a new language? Studies show that the most effective way to learn a language is to be immersed in it. If you’re keen on learning Spanish, for example, you can look for NGOs that have a presence in a Spanish-speaking country. Chances are, you’ll pick up some of the language passively. Besides, you’ll be in the perfect place to take some courses and learn from native speakers.
Having a well-known NGO on your resume can do wonders for your job search. Volunteering often helps you develop certain skills, such as effective communication and critical thinking - which is something recruiters keep an eye out for.
On top of this, remember that NGOs don’t depend solely on volunteers - they also have employees on payroll. An NGO may be more inclined to hire a former or current volunteer from “inside” first before hiring externally, which means that you could possibly work for the NGO if you meet the qualifications for the job.
Volunteering is an extremely rewarding experience that offers an incredible array of benefits. While it may not be for everyone, it’s worth taking a look to see what opportunities are out there and if they (and their benefits) are a good fit for you.
Authored by Rosalie Janelle
Article exclusively submitted to volunteerinternational.org
- Source Self
Globe Aware destination Hoi An makes it on the list as one of the most romantic places in the world! The location is famous for its lantern-lined streets and well-preserved historic architecture.
The 10 most romantic places in the world
From Montreal and the Maldives to Las Vegas and Lake Malawi, these are the most romantic places in the world according to us
Written by John Bills
Tuesday 8 February 2022
You can never have enough love in your life, especially when the world around us seems more chaotic than ever. Luckily for lovers worldwide, the planet is packed with romantic places that will simultaneously take your breath away and steal your heart, filling the lungs with love and excitement in equal measure. We live in an incredible corner of the universe, that cannot be denied.
From idyllic island paradises to charming cities and vibrant villages, we’ve scoured the globe in search of the most romantic places in the world. The final selection covers the classics while introducing a couple of places you might not be aware of: secret spots for you and yours to plan the rest of eternity together.
1. Montreal, Canada
Swoon. There’s something about magical Montreal that really sets it apart from other cities in North America, something that screams ‘romance’ and promises to never let go. It could be the curious combination of Canadian confidence and European elegance, or it could be the tangible history that sparkles from every corner of the city’s historic heart. In truth, it doesn’t matter what it is, as long as whatever ‘it’ is keeps on shining. Seek out one of the many rooftop bars in the Old Town and soak it all in.
With the heart in its name and wine flowing from every corner, Herzegovina remains one of Europe’s final hidden treasures. The use of the word ‘hidden’ isn’t entirely accurate, of course, as any summertime visitor to Mostar, Kravice Waterfalls or Medjugorje will attest, but the passionate southern portion of Bosnia and Herzegovina is a beautiful region filled with romance-friendly adventures for lovers of all shapes and sizes. From exploring wild rivers by kayak to the shimmering allure of the Tekija in Blagaj, Herzegovina is a destination defined by the heart. If the sight of Počitelj doesn’t make you fall head over heels in love, you might want to check your pulse.
3. Venice, Italy
Where else to begin? No city on the planet encapsulates the idyllic concept of romance quite like Venice. There is beauty around every corner here, from sunrise to sunset and beyond, with narrow canals and Renaissance architecture transporting visitors to a rose-tinted wonderland. The romantic restaurants don’t hurt, while the many bridges of Venice seem tailor-made for proclamations of passion. All this without mentioning the inherent romance of a gondola ride? Venice is a city for lovers, old and young.
4. Marrakech, Morocco
With the colours, the smells, the sounds and the sights, Marrakech is the sort of place that reawakens the senses with a cacophony of excitement. Somehow it manages to be forthright and wistful all at the same time, a dizzying destination that is perfect for the passionate, making it a thrilling destination for romantic visitors of all types. It also happens to be known as the City of Luxury, with all the ornate palaces and life-giving spa and wellness options anyone could need.
5. Kyoto, Japan
Tokyo gets all the noise, but Kyoto is where it’s at. The historic and cultural capital of this most fascinating nation, Kyoto is a picture-postcard city of classical Buddhist temples, Shinto shrines, traditional wooden houses and imperial gardens. The food is incredible, the people are magnificent, the atmosphere is spellbinding. Kyoto is Japan at its most romantic, with bamboo forests offering a breathtaking backdrop for a starry-eyed stroll. The city has become something of a hotspot for proposals, and it isn’t hard to understand why.
6. Prague, Czech Republic
The City of a Hundred Spires seems to have been built with love in mind. That can be the only takeaway from a moment spent looking over the Czech capital from the viewpoint at Letna Hill, a beer in one hand and beloved in the other. Prague is a postcard city of stories, a famous old wonder that has inspired generations of authors for centuries and will continue to do so as the years fly by. The Old Town gets most of the attention, but don’t be afraid to explore further afield either; each district has its own unique feel, from the modern stylings of Karlin to the grandeur of Vinohrady and beyond.
Zanzibar’s dazzling beaches have long made it a popular honeymoon destination, but there is more to the island than the natural beauty of where sand meets sea meets sun. Traditions are important here, and that makes for a more sedate pace of life in the very best way. Zanzibar is a place where couples can step back and fall in love with what they have all over again, complete with shimmering coral reefs and all the spices the palate can handle.
8. Niagara Falls, Canada/USA
The Honeymoon Capital of the World? That’ll be Niagara Falls. The world’s most famous waterfall is a take-your-breath-away sight if ever there was one, and isn’t that one of the great experiences of love? The thrilling moments of realisation that this person is the one, the sort of experience that always hits different when backed by 3,160 tons of water rushing by every single second. It might not be the most original of honeymoon spots, but who cares about originality when it’s the heart we’re talking about?
9. Hoi An, Vietnam
Hoi An’s famous lantern-lined streets are an idyllic spot for twilight walks and candid conversations, backed by well-preserved historic Vietnamese architecture that tells plenty of stories. The town’s lantern boat rides are the thing of romantic dreams – a tremendous combination of natural delicacy and impressive confidence – while Hoi An also has one of the best cocktail scenes in the country.
Iceland can feel like another world, a world filled with all the best bits of nature from thrilling geysers to moon-like craters and more. There’s nowhere quite like it, and it’s that unique atmosphere that brings lovers here in search of something special. It doesn’t get more special than the staggering light show of the Aurora Borealis, an achingly gorgeous experience that everyone should seek out at least once in their lives. The eccentric side of capital Reykjavik is plenty romantic in its own right.
- Source Time Out
Interested in a Globe Aware volunteer vacation in Kenya? Here’s how to make the most of a trip to this East African nation, from safety and visas to clothing and etiquette.
Here are the things you need to know before traveling to Kenya
Lonely Planet Writer
8 MARCH 2022
Think of Kenya and safari jeeps and beach scenes come to mind, but Nairobi has exciting city life and rich cultural encounters, too.
Here’s how to make the most of a trip to this East African nation, from safety and visas to clothing and etiquette.
Check the visa requirements for Kenya
Before the COVID-19 pandemic, many nationalities could obtain a visa on arrival, but now, a visa in advance might be necessary. Check Kenya’s official visa website and allow time to complete the application. Random checks can mean extra questions for some travelers, even after submitting and payment.
You won’t receive an email confirmation of your Kenya visa application or payment, so you need to log in to check its status. Once issued, print a color copy (or two) of the visa and payment and keep them to hand, even for domestic flights, such as between Nairobi and Mombasa. You may also need to upload COVID-19 test results, health status and vaccination records, so check the current entry requirements.
Pack smart for Kenya – it’s not always hot
Early morning safaris can be chilly, so it’s wise to take layers for a trip to Kenya. Similarly, temperatures can drop at night in the highlands, so fleeces and even windproof waterproofs are recommended. On the other hand, staying cool is key by the coast or in the city. Pack cool, breathable fabrics and cover up in the midday sun.
Leave your plastics at home
Kenya banned single-use plastics in 2017, so leave any carrier bags (and preferably single-use plastic water bottles and straws) at home. The bag ban is countrywide – luggage is often scanned so don’t pack shoes or other items in plastic bags. Single-use plastic bottles and straws are banned in national parks – bring a reusable water bottle from home.
Do you need malaria tablets for Kenya? Probably.
The risk of malaria is low in Nairobi, and in the highlands above 2500m (8200ft), but you should still avoid being bitten. The majority of Kenya falls into a malarial zone, so take advice on which antimalarial is best suited to you between atovaquone/proguanil, doxycycline or mefloquine. Brand names you might be more familiar with include Malarone and Lariam, but check with your physician, pharmacy or travel clinic.
Greet people with “mambo” or “niaje”
“Jambo” is the best-known greeting in Kenya, but if you want to show off your sheng (a Swahili and English combo originating among Nairobi’s younger population), try greeting people with “mambo vipi.” The common reply is “poa.” Alternatively, say “niaje,” to which someone will reply with “niaje.”
Feel free to bargain, but don’t go too far
A sense of humor is essential when bargaining. It’s fine to offer a lower price in markets and some shops – many sellers will start with a higher price, and it can be fun to barter and meet in the middle. Few sellers will accept too low an offer so have some fun with it – just bear in mind what you’re prepared to pay and don’t over-haggle.
Leaving a tip goes down a treat
Tipping isn’t expected in Kenya, but if you’ve had a good meal or service, leaving around 10% is appreciated. In hotels, you can also tip porters and housekeeping staff. Some calculate it at Ksh100 to Ksh200 (US$1 to US$2) a day while others round it up at the end. Keep small change on you for tips and shopping in markets.
If you’re taking a taxi, round up to the nearest 100, but tips are not always necessary. Taxi apps are popular, and you can add a tip at the end of the journey through the app. Avoid giving money in exchange for preferential service.
Be respectful of local communities
Don’t take photos of people without asking permission, particularly in rural areas. If you want to publish any photos, even on social media, it’s respectful to carry a consent form and say “asante” (thank you).
Be particularly conscious around children or other vulnerable people. If you’re given the OK to take a photo, show them the photo. Think twice before visiting a school or another place that would be strange in your home country.
Dress appropriately – but don’t overthink it
Kenya is moderately conservative, but that doesn’t mean you need to cover your shoulders and knees everywhere. In Nairobi, in towns and on safari, shorts, dresses and sleeveless tops are fine to wear, and the same goes for most beach resorts, although walking around in swimwear isn’t appropriate. In Muslim communities such as Lamu Town, dressing more conservatively is advised. Loose clothing can be more comfortable in the heat.
Don’t rush – go with the flow
It’s misleading to suggest the whole of Kenya operates on some slower “Kenya time” – Nairobi can have the same pace and rhythm as any major city. But the heat and humidity of the coastal areas, around Mombasa, Malindi and Lamu for example, can mean life is lived at a more relaxed pace. Bear that in mind before expecting certain tasks and services to be carried out immediately, and instead, go with the flow and enjoy a pole pole (“slowly” in Swahili) way of life.
You can boil the tap water in Kenya and drink it
Tap water in Kenya isn’t off-limits. If you have the facilities, you can boil the tap water – it’s soft and sweet – and drink it once cooled. That’s not always an option, in which case filtered water in restaurants and hotels is safe. You can buy plastic-bottled water, but it’s better to bring your own reusable bottle and filter.
Pack a power bank
Power cuts in Kenya can occur (they’re usually not for long, in most places), so if you rely on your smartphone, take a power bank and ensure it’s always charged. If you’re going on safari, a spare camera battery for a DSLR is handy, as is a decent flashlight in case of power cuts but also when walking around the safari camp at night. In addition to helping you navigate in low light, it will help you look out for insects and snakes. Headlamps are especially handy if you’re camping, for reading and nighttime bathroom trips.
Don’t be scared by headlines, but know your geography
People often ask, “Is Kenya safe for tourists?” Few incidents involve tourists, especially in game reserves and tourist areas, but a few areas are better to avoid, including but not limited to, within 60km (37 miles) of the Kenya-Somali border, Garissa county and Lamu county (excluding Lamu Island and Manda Island – travel by air if you do). Check the latest guidelines from your government before traveling. In Nairobi, as with any city, keep valuables safe and your wits about you.
Keep embassy and consulate details to hand
Wherever you’re from, it’s savvy to know contact details of your embassy or consulate. Take photos of your passport, visa and other documents, such as your vaccination proof, and keep them to hand in your phone and on email. Carry an original form of ID if possible. A driver's license is useful if you don’t want to carry your passport.
- Source Lonely Planet
South Africa will no longer require fully vaccinated travelers to provide a negative PCR test to enter the country. The country’s president announced the relaxation of travel restrictions as part of a wider easing of Covid-19 measures, which came into effect on Wednesday (23 March). Unvaccinated travelers, including Globe Aware volunteers, will still have to provide a negative PCR test result on arrival.
South Africa ends PCR test rule for vaccinated travellers
By Rob Gill
23 March 2022
South Africa will no longer require fully vaccinated travellers to provide a negative PCR test to enter the country.
The country’s president Cyril Ramaphosa announced the relaxation of travel restrictions as part of a wider easing of Covid-19 measures, which came into effect on Wednesday (23 March). Unvaccinated passengers will still have to provide a negative PCR test result on arrival.
“Travellers entering South Africa will need to show proof of vaccination or a negative PCR test not older than 72 hours,” said Ramaphosa during a live TV announcement on Tuesday (22 March).
He added: “All unvaccinated travellers entering the country who want to be vaccinated will be offered a vaccination.”
All travellers arriving in South Africa had previously been required to provide a negative PCR test, regardless of their vaccination status.
South Africa has also removed the rule requiring the wearing of face masks in all outdoor public areas but it remains mandatory in public indoor spaces.
- Source Business Travel News
Travelers, including Globe Aware volunteers, vaccinated for COVID-19 will no longer need a test before traveling to Thailand starting April 1, health officials said Friday. Thailand is keen to restore its lucrative tourism sector, which took a nosedive when most arrivals from overseas dried up since April 2020.
Thailand drops pre-arrival COVID test for foreign visitors
Visitors vaccinated for COVID-19 will no longer need a test before traveling to Thailand starting April 1
March 18, 2022
The Associated Press
BANGKOK -- Visitors vaccinated for COVID-19 will no longer need a test before traveling to Thailand starting April 1, health officials said Friday.
Visitors will still need to take a RT-PCR test upon arrival and a self-administered rapid antigen test on the fifth day in the country, said Taweesin Visanuyothin, a spokesperson for the government’s Center for COVID-19 Situation Administration.
Thailand is keen to restore its lucrative tourism sector, which took a nosedive when most arrivals from overseas dried up since April 2020.
Neighboring Cambodia, whose tourism industry was similarly battered, announced Thursday that fully vaccinated passengers are no longer required to have a RT-PCR test before arrival. It also removed the need for a rapid antigen test upon arrival.
Thai health authorities are currently coping with record numbers of daily COVID-19 cases and related deaths this year.
There were more than 50,000 new cases reported Friday, slightly more than half confirmed by RT-PCR tests, and the remainder with rapid antigen tests. There were also 80 new deaths.
Since the pandemic started in 2020, Thailand has had a total of around 3.3 million confirmed cases and 24,075 deaths.
The health authorities are concerned about the potential for the spread of the virus next month during the Songkran festival, a raucous holiday that celebrates the Thai New Year.
They have prohibited the traditional splashing of water in the streets and other public areas, and banned the selling and consumption of alcohol at public celebrations.
A major threat from the holiday is mass travel from the cities to home villages in rural provinces. The practice was a huge problem last year, when most Thais had not yet been vaccinated.
Thailand has administered 126 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines. At least 54.6 million people, more than 78% of the population, have been vaccinated with at least one jab. Fifty million people have received at least two jabs, and 22 million received booster doses.
- Source AP
Americans are ready to return to travel in a big way, and as more destinations reopen and drop COVID-19 test requirements, flights are expected to be much busier, which is likely to lead to rising prices. Globe Aware volunteers are recommended to start booking their summer volunteer vacations this spring, in order to take advantage of cheaper flight prices.
Why you should be making your summer travel plans right now
Mar 9, 2022
The official start of spring is right around the corner, which means it’s time to start planning your summer vacation — seriously.
We know it might seem a little early to start locking in plans for travel in June, July and August. But pent-up demand for travel coupled with ongoing staffing shortages, reduced air loads and limited availability could spell a perfect storm of summer sellouts.
Americans are ready to return to travel in a big way, and as more destinations reopen and drop COVID-19 test requirements, hotels and flights are expected to be much busier, which is likely to lead to rising prices, says a Tripadvisor spokesperson.
Even if you can snag your ideal hotel room or preferred flight time, travel booking app Hopper says domestic airfare prices are expected to “increase 7% monthly through June” while “international airfare [could] increase an average of about 5% each month until June.”
Plus, the average spending per trip for 2022 is beyond that of 2019 (up 29% for Americans), according to Tripadvisor, as travelers look to “level up their travel experience.”
This, says Casey Brogan, a consumer travel expert at Tripadvisor, means people “are more willing to splurge on trips and accept higher prices, whether it’s choosing to stay at a luxury hotel or seeking out more local tours and experiential activities.”
In other words: Now is the time to book if you want the most selection and the best prices for a summer getaway.
If you haven’t locked in any summer trips yet, here’s everything you need to know about the upcoming summer travel season — and how to start planning now.
For summer getaways, “travelers should start watching airfare now,” says Adit Damodaran, an economist at Hopper.
“We forecast an average 7% increase in domestic airfare each month until June — prices typically peak in June due to summer travel demand. This amounts to a 35% increase in airfare from current prices by the end of May. We’re forecasting domestic flight prices will average $315 round-trip this summer, which is up 9% from last year and up 29% from 2020.”
As far as international travel, especially to Europe, Damodaran doesn’t expect a full return to 2019 demand due to continued COVID-19 restrictions and the crisis in Ukraine (according to MMGY Travel Intelligence, 47% of travelers surveyed want to wait and see how the situation in Ukraine evolves before making plans to visit Europe this year).
But he does say that you can expect international airfare to increase an average of about 5% each month until June.
The awe-inspiring natural wonders of the U.S. National Park Service are perennially popular in the summer months, but the pandemic — when travelers were looking for social distancing and outdoor vacations — saw an even bigger uptick in visitors. For many of the parks, you’ll need to reserve well in advance for timed-entry tickets to visit, and for camping or lodging you had better commit now or wait until 2023.
For example, for campsites at Yosemite, reservations become available five months in advance on the 15th of the month at 7 a.m. PT. That means for a reservation in August, you’re going to have to book on March 15.
And, says the National Park Service, “Be aware that nearly all reservations for the months of May through September and for some other weekends are filled the first day they become available, usually within seconds or minutes after 7 a.m.!”
If you have your heart set on a particular destination and property, don’t delay booking your trip, says Henley Vazquez, co-founder of the Fora online travel agency.
“Domestically, people who have postponed weddings or big family trips — the trips that were rescheduled so many times in the last two years — are now scheduled for this summer, so availability is getting eaten up really quickly,” says Vazquez. “For instance, Triple Creek Ranch is already sold out May through October.”
This is a trend hotels are already watching play out.
“We’re seeing an earlier booking window this year,” according to Lisbeth K. Yori, the senior sales manager at Cliff House Maine. “Last year,” she says, “we were almost fully committed for the summer by April/May.”
Elsewhere on the East Coast, popular summer destinations are filling up fast.
“We had many new domestic visitors this year, people who normally would have traveled to farther-flung locations, but came and loved their visit, and the ease of domestic travel. Many of them booked ahead for 2022, even before leaving the resort,” says Katherine Hawk of Chatham Bars Inn on Cape Cod in Massachusetts.
And in New York City, NH Collection New York Madison Avenue general manager Ruth Abellan expects it to be a “good summer” and is already seeing an 80% occupancy rate.
So, what should you do if you get shut out of your first-choice domestic vacation spot? Try the Caribbean or Mexico for a good beach and nice weather, Vazquez advises. “After having very strict [COVID-19] protocols, we’re seeing destinations like the Caymans reopening, plus they’re adding airlift there as well,” she said.
What should you do if you get shut out of your first-choice domestic vacation spot? Try the Caribbean — like the Cayman Islands. (Photo by Michal Ben Ari/Gerry Images)
At this point, you may be thinking of leaning on a vacation rental as your backup plan. But not so fast.
Airbnb has seen a spike in global gross nights booked, increasing from 20% in the last quarter of 2021 to nearly 35% in the first quarter of this year, attributing some of the increase to “the live and work anywhere” trend, which has contributed to a decrease in availability.
You probably already know that booking early will typically give you the best selection of vacation rentals, but home rental site Vacasa says one of the leading factors in determining how far in advance you should book is the size of the home you’ll need.
Larger vacation rentals tend to book up quickest, whereas smaller homes that are well suited for last-minute family getaways will more often be available closer to an arrival date. And that makes sense when you consider all the advance planning that goes into coordinating a large group trip, says Natalia Sutin, vice president of revenue management at Vacasa.
The median booking window was 35 to 40 days, according to Vacasa’s Vacation Rental Search Report from 2021, so if you’re looking for a larger home in particular, it’s helpful to get ahead of the curve and look at least a couple of months in advance.
“People are looking into trips in wide-open spaces to reconnect with nature,” according to Liz Bates, director of adventures and custom travel for luxury rental platform ThirdHome. Specifically, Bates says, “on the domestic side, there has been an increased interest in places like Montana, Utah and Joshua Tree.”
The travel experts at Vacasa are seeing a trend toward beach destinations, with Ocean City, Maryland; Destin, Florida; and Hilton Head Island, South Carolina, topping the summer travel list on the East Coast. Out west, the resort community of Sunriver, Oregon, was very popular with cycling enthusiasts.
Abroad, Hopper reports that London; Cancun, Mexico; and Paris were the most popular destinations in searches for international flights.
If you’re searching for those destinations too and can’t find anything, try expanding your search to similar or nearby destinations — but don’t give up on your summer plans.
- Source The Points Guy
Scheduled international flights which were suspended following the outbreak of covid-19 in 2020, will be allowed to operate from 27 March. Globe Aware volunteers can resume any potential summer plans for a volunteer vacation in India.
India set to restart scheduled int’l flights from 27 Mar
The resumption of scheduled international flights comes amidst a rise in search queries for popular international tourist destinations.
Mar 9 2022
India suspended scheduled flights in March 2020. However, flights with some countries continued under air bubble pacts
NEW DELHI : The Centre on Tuesday said scheduled international flights which were suspended following the outbreak of covid-19 in 2020, will be allowed to operate from 27 March.
“After having recognized the increased vaccination coverage across the globe and in consultation with stakeholders, the government of India has decided to resume scheduled commercial international passenger services to and from India from 27.03.2022, i.e., the start of the summer schedule 2022," the ministry of civil aviation said in a statement.
International flights have to strictly adhere to the guidelines of the ministry of health and family welfare.
“After deliberation with all stakeholders &keeping in view the decline in the #COVID19 caseload, we have decided to resume international travel from Mar 27 onwards. Air bubble arrangements will also stand revoked thereafter. With this step, I’m confident the sector will reach new heights!," civil aviation minister Jyotiraditya Scindia said in a Twitter post.
India had suspended scheduled international flights on 23 March 2020. However, flights with some countries continued under bilateral air bubble agreements.
Currently, India has air bubble agreements with 37 countries, including Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Canada, France, Germany, Japan, Singapore, the UAE, the UK, and the US.
The suspension of scheduled international flights was reviewed every month till 30 November, before the government announced the resumption of services on 26 November, but had to roll back days later following the third wave of covid-19 infections.
However, a sharp decline in covid cases and a rise in domestic travel prompted the government’s decision to resume international flights.
Air traffic on domestic routes grew 19% sequentially to 7.6 million in February, said Icra on Tuesday. “One major concern that continues to be a drag on the sector is aviation turbine fuel prices, which have seen a sharp increase of about 57% on a Y-o-Y basis till March 2022," it added.
“This is great news for travellers and the industry, especially before the peak summer season," said Aloke Bajpai, co-founder and group CEO of online travel platform ixigo.
- Source Mint
International demand for travel to Asia Pacific is rapidly increasing due to a relaxation of border restrictions across the region. Globe Aware offers volunteer programs in Thailand, India, Vietnam, Nepal, Cambodia and the Philippines for interested volunteers.
International demand for travel to South East Asia soars
By Linda Fox
14 February 2022
International demand for travel to Asia Pacific is rapidly increasing according to data from Skyscanner Travel Insight.
The company said the momentum followed the relaxation of border restrictions across the region.
Skyscanner said international bookings in January to destinations including Thailand and Singapore showed signs of pent-up demand.
It added that demand to Australia is also high following the recent border announcement with a 199 per cent increase between 6 February and 7 February. Singapore, meanwhile saw a 19 per cent increase in January compared with December.
Paul Whiteway, senior regional director, Asia Pacific, Skyscanner, said: “The latest border re-opening announcements in Asia Pacific alongside easing of some restrictions at the beginning of the year have resulted in positive travel demand, providing a boost to the industry during a crucial period for seasonal travel.
“Skyscanner’s flight data analysis shows increased international travel bookings to key destinations in the region and strong signs of a sustained momentum.
“The re-opening of Australia’s border to international visitors this week is another huge milestone... our early analysis reveals that many travellers across the globe are already planning their trips for the immediate future.
“Over the coming weeks, we will see markets react to the news, airlines announcing new schedules and building capacity to allow the return of international travel at scale. Travel providers acknowledge that it’s in their best interest to make travel accessible and they will likely continue to offer good value and flexibility in order to meet growing demand and remain competitive. Coupling this with reassurance and further clarity on the latest restrictions and travel requirements, will be the key to maintaining momentum and rebuilding traveller confidence.”
- Source Benefit News
On March 15th, Vietnam will reopen for those international travelers who test negative for COVID 19 before their departure to the country. There are a few additional requirements Globe Aware volunteers should be aware of, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more.
Vietnam to reopen for foreign travellers from March 15
TRAVEL NEWS, VIETNAM
Feb 19, 2022, 12:08 IST
Vietnam is planning to reopen for foreign visitors as early as March 15. The country’s tourism ministry has proposed this, and also decided to lift almost all of the travel restrictions
Vietnam is planning to reopen for foreign visitors as early as March 15. The country’s tourism ministry has proposed this, and also decided to lift almost all of the travel restrictions from mid March. This is not what was decided upon previously, and it is now reopening three months before expectation.
Vietnam decided to reopen for those international travellers who test negative for COVID 19 before their departure to the country. Moreover, visitors should have been vaccinated against the virus in the last six months, and 14 days before entering into Vietnam.
Also, it must be noted that visitors have to be quarantined for the first day of the trip, besides carrying travel medical coverage for up to $ 10000. On the other hand, unvaccinated travellers will be permitted to enter the country, but they are required to quarantine for seven days in a hotel. They must also take RT PCR test on the first day, and the seventh day.
Vietnam is cautiously following other southeast Asian countries such as Thailand and Philippines, and gradually welcoming back visitors. The country is still dealing with a rise in COVID 19 infections. According to the World Health Organization, the country reported 32000 new cases of COVID 19 cases on Wednesday alone.
Vietnam is quite a popular destination for travellers from across the world, who are looking for a budget friendly destination.
- Source Times of India
Experts reveal the top places for seniors to visit for some fun. You can find Costa Rica, Puerto Rico, and South Africa on the list, all of them locations with Globe Aware volunteer vacation programs.
The Best Warm Weather Travel Destinations for Seniors
EXPERTS REVEAL THE TOP PLACES FOR SENIORS TO VISIT FOR SOME SUN.
By ILANA KAPLAN
FEBRUARY 27, 2022
If you're in your golden years, your tastes have likely changed since your youth. That applies to travel, too. Perhaps palm trees now sound way more appealing than a ski trip (which is totally understandable). If you're looking for a reprieve from freezing temperatures or want to lean into the relaxation of retirement, there's nothing quite like booking a vacation where you can soak up some sun. Whether you're craving a book on the beach, nature, or just the perks of a warmer climate, there are plenty of places where you can get your fill of vitamin D with an itinerary tailored to your current wants and needs. Read on to discover the best warm-weather travel destinations for seniors.
San Juan, Puerto Rico
San Juan is the perfect destination for those who are looking for some island time but also want to pair it with a little bit of nature and history, too. The capital touts everything from tropical rain forests and turquoise waters to a 16th-century Spanish colonial historic district. According to Viator, a global platform for booking travel, "the Puerto Rican capital's proximity to El Yunque National Forest makes it easy to escape into the lush wilderness [and has] accessible hiking to waterfalls." If you're in need of some downtime after all that, visit one of San Juan's many lush beaches like Laguna Grande, where you can get a tan.
According to Viator, Hawaii is ideal for seniors because it not only has a "casual and laid-back" vibe but endless activities to do and places to explore. Filled with rich culture, white sandy beaches, volcanic peaks, and gorgeous waterfalls, Hawaii is a stunning getaway where seniors will never be bored and can choose their own adventure. Whether you're looking to indulge in some traditional island food or are looking for an undersea snorkeling trip, each island has something exciting in store.
Costa Rica is the perfect destination for people of all ages, but particularly for multi-generational families. "For grandparents traveling with adult children and grandchildren, there are specialized multi-bedroom units and villas that work wonderfully for large families," says Helen Giontsis, president of private travel tour company Kensington Tours. Even better? It's easy to travel to from the U.S., making Costa Rica's breezy palm trees and crystalline water a popular year-round getaway.
With breathtaking views, an abundance of wildlife, and deep-sea diving, seniors will find an exciting escape in South Africa. "You would start your day out looking for animals early in the morning from the comforts of your 4×4 safari vehicle," says Giontsis. "Then during the heat of the day, you can just relax at the pool at your luxury safari lodge while also enjoying some really good gourmet meals." Need to soak up South Africa's beauty comfortably before turning in? Find a nice vista to watch the sunset.
If you're looking for a stateside destination filled with wildlife viewing, let Wyoming indulge you. Yellowstone, in particular, is perfect for photography enthusiasts. "Naturalist guides typically consider this to be the best wildlife safari experience in North America, with opportunities to photograph bison, bighorn sheep, and bald eagles against a mountain backdrop," says Giontsis. This can be an alluring activity if you have limited mobility and need to be in a vehicle. Looking to explore other parts of the state? Grand Teton National Park "offers activities like fly fishing, relaxed river floats, and stargazing that are popular with adults of all ages," adds Giontsis. Regardless of where you're looking to spend your time in the state, Wyoming is beautiful year-round (although the warmest temperatures are from May to September).
If you're looking for a location that offers the best of both worlds—beach and city—Barcelona has you covered. According to Viator, "Barcelona attracts older travelers with its whimsical architecture, Mediterranean beaches, and round-the-clock dining and drinking scene." It's easy to be captivated by Antoni Gaudi's work around the city, from Parc Güell to the Sagrada Familia. Need a break from the historic part? Pick up some local goods and artifacts from La Boqueria Market, or get a tan at Bogatelli Beach.
Key West, Florida
Florida is a favorite retirement spot for many seniors. But for those who don't end up living there year-round, it can be a solid destination for a break. "Key West, Florida is versatile with slow- or fast-paced activities," says AutoInsurance.org travel expert Dorothea Hudson. "From water sports to sunset cruises, seniors will find activities to meet their needs and pacing." If you're looking to take in the sunset, be sure to visit the dock at Mallory Square. Then, grab some Cuban food before getting some shut-eye.
- Source Self
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is ripping through the air travel industry, prompting no-fly zones and other restrictions. Globe Aware volunteers traveling to their program destinations should be on the lookout for potential flight changes and cancellations.
No-fly zones, canceled flights: How Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is disrupting air travel
FEB 26 2022
By Leslie Josephs
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine this week is ripping through the air travel industry, prompting no-fly zones and other restrictions.
Ukraine closed its airspace to civilian flights moments before Russia invaded early Thursday, choking off an exit point.
Lufthansa said Saturday that it will suspend flights to Russia for the next seven days and not use Russian airspace “due to the current and emerging regulatory situation.”
“Flights that are in Russian airspace will leave it shortly,” the company said in a statement. “Lufthansa Group continues to monitor the situation closely and is in close exchange with national and international authorities.”
Discount carrier Wizz Air said Friday that it was trying to evacuate crews stranded in Ukraine.
“We are still working hard to get them out at the earliest opportunity,” spokeswoman Christie Rawlings said in an emailed statement. “We are in regular contact with all of the crew and can confirm that many of them have been able to get out of the country via ground transport. The majority of our employees based there are Ukrainian nationals.”
KLM Royal Dutch Airlines previously halted Ukraine flights. KLM told CNBC on Friday that it was also cutting some of its flights to Russia so crews wouldn’t have to overnight there.
No-fly zones for aircraft were extended to Moldova and parts of eastern Russia. Many airlines have avoided eastern Russia since Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 was shot down by a Russian missile there in 2014.
The backlash to Russia’s invasion included British officials banning Russian carrier Aeroflot from landing there, resulting in retaliation from Russia that prohibits British carriers from using its airspace.
Some airlines were rerouting planes around the potential conflict zone in the days before the invasion.
“Any diversions that aircraft have to make around the no-fly zone is going to add to fuel costs,” said Bruce Chan, a logistics analyst at Stifel.
Higher costs would come at a time when airlines are already grappling with a surge in fuel prices.
United Parcel Service started flying a more southerly route around Ukraine last week.
“While this alternate routing adds additional time to the flight, we feel this is a viable alternative to continue to provide safe and efficient operations,” the airline said in a message to pilots on Feb. 21. “We will continue to monitor the situation and provide additional updates to you when we receive them.”
Some international carriers had inquired about fuel and ground support availability at Anchorage Airport in Alaska, a major cargo airport, a spokesman told CNBC. The questions are a sign that airlines are developing contingency plans should more of Russian airspace be closed to them.
Delta Air Lines, for its part, on Friday said it suspended its codeshare agreement with Aeroflot, which allowed the carriers to book seats on one another’s flights.
- Source CNBC
Romania remains open to our Globe Aware volunteers, as long as there is proof of vaccinations and a provided negative Covid-19 test result. Visit our website to learn more about the Romania program, perfect for a summer abroad.
COVID in Europe: An updated list of travel restrictions for every European country
By Euronews Travel
Most countries have travel restrictions in place in a bid to control the spread of COVID-19.
The latest big changes include:
- The EU has recommended that from 1 February anyone travelling from within the bloc will need only a basic ‘green pass’ health certificate, which can be obtained via vaccination, recovery, or a recent negative Covid test, and remove the need for self-isolation. However, not all countries have stated that they will adopt this rule so check with your destination.
- Greece removes testing requirements for vaccinated travellers from 7 February.
- Face masks are no longer mandatory in the UK.
- Travellers to the Netherlands with a booster vaccine will no longer have to quarantine from 2 February.
- Denmark and Norway lift all domestic travel restrictions from 1 February.
- Switzerland and Austria have relaxed travel restrictions for UK travellers.
- Sweden has dropped the requirement for proof of a negative test from arrivals.
- Measures to contain COVID-19 remain in effect, including night-time curfews from 11pm to 6am, and mandatory face masks indoors and on public transport.
- All land borders are open and there is no restricted movement around the country.
- All foreign nationals over the age of six must have one of the following: proof of vaccination, a negative PCR test taken less than 72 hours before arrival, a rapid antigen test taken less than 48 hours before arrival or evidence that you have recovered from COVID-19 within the last six months.
- Access to Andorra requires passing through either Spain or France, so check their travel restrictions, too, before planning your trip.
- Travel to and from the country is open, but masks are still required in indoor spaces. Andorra also asks that social distancing be respected.
- Travellers who intend to stay in Andorra for more than three nights need to present a vaccination certificate, a negative PCR or lateral flow test result, or proof that they have recovered from COVID-19.
- One of three documents is required to enter the country - a negative PCR test no older than 72 hours, a vaccine certificate or proof of past infection.
- However, only proof of vaccination or past infection will be accepted to enter any type of accommodation, restaurants, bars, nightclubs, theatres and to use cable cars or ski lifts. A negative COVID-19 test will not be sufficient.
- If you are travelling from a country not on Austria’s safelist you will need to complete a pre-travel clearance form. You can find the full list of safe countries and regions here.
- Austria is connected to the EU Digital COVID Certificate (EUDCC), which allows restriction-free travel across all EU and EEA countries following proof of vaccination and a negative COVID test.
- A curfew is in place for restaurants from 10pm to 12am.
- Masks are required on public transport and in indoor spaces.
- It's still possible to travel to Belarus by air under certain restrictions, but land travel for leisure is currently banned.
- At the moment, most countries are considered high risk but fully vaccinated arrivals are exempt from restrictions.
- All public spaces and tourist destinations are open with some restrictions in place.
- Foreign arrivals who are fully vaccinated are no longer required to do a PCR test 72 hours before entry. This rule still holds for those above six who are not vaccinated.
- Masks are compulsory on public transport.
- Connected to the EU Digital COVID Certificate (EUDCC), which allows restriction-free travel across all EU and EEA countries following proof of vaccination and a negative COVID test.
- Everyone entering the country must fill in a Passenger Locator Form, except if you are staying in Belgium for less than 48 hours.
- The rules for testing and quarantine vary depending on where you are travelling from, where you have been in the last 14 days and your vaccination status. The official government websiteis the best source of information on Belgium's rules.
- Masks are no longer required outdoors but remain compulsory in indoor spaces such as shops, places of worship and public transport.
- People entering bars, restaurants, cafes and other indoor must show their COVID-19 safe status through the Belgian Covid Safe Ticket (CST) system.
Bosnia and Herzegovina
- Bosnia and Herzegovina are open to tourists as long as they can present a negative PCR result, issued no less than 48 hours before travel, or proof of vaccination.
- Grocery stores, pharmacies, restaurants, and cafes are open, along with most other businesses.
- People must wear masks in outdoor and indoor public spaces and on public transport.
- Connected to the EU Digital COVID Certificate (EUDCC), which allows restriction-free travel across all EU and EEA countries following proof of vaccination and a negative COVID test. Many EU countries are now on Bulgaria's red list, however with further requirements for entry.
- Bulgaria is operating a colour-coded system for international travel.
- A negative COVID-19 PCR test taken no more than 72 hours before travel is necessary for entry.
- The country has introduced a 'dark red' category with more stringent requirements for entry.
- There are no restrictions on travel between cities, and police-operated checkpoints have ceased. The leisure and entertainment sector is either on lockdown or operating at reduced capacity.
- Connected to the EU Digital COVID Certificate (EUDCC), which allows restriction-free travel across all EU and EEA countries following proof of vaccination and a negative COVID test.
- All passengers coming from an EU/EEA country on the 'green list' are allowed into Croatia, as long as they can show a negative PCR test taken 48 hours before departing, or a vaccination certificate.
- Failing to provide any of the above documents, travellers have the obligation to isolate themselves for 7 days on arrival in Croatia. This isolation can be shortened by obtaining a negative result in a PCR test or rapid antigenic carried out in Croatia.
- Cyprus has toughened its COVID-19 screening for all travellers, now requiring them to present a negative PCR result taken within 48 hours of departure. Those aged 12 and above must also take a PCR test on arrival at the airport, quarantining until the results are back from the lab.
- Connected to the EU Digital COVID Certificate (EUDCC), which allows restriction-free travel across all EU and EEA countries following proof of vaccination and a negative COVID test.
- Cyprus is also operating a 'SafePass' to access public spaces, where face masks must be worn.
- A Cyprus Flight Passmust be obtained by all arrivals, along with a negative PCR test for orange and red list arrivals.
- All travellers are required to fill in the Passenger Locator Formand present it upon arrival.
- Czech Republic separates countries into categories with varying entry requirements, the full lists are available here.
- All domestic COVID-19 restrictions have been lifted. Masks will no longer be a legal requirement and you will not need to show an EU Digital COVID Certificate (EUDCC) to enter restaurants, museums and bars.
- Travellers will no longer have to present a post-arrival test or undergo mandatory quarantine.
- All foreigners and non-residents entering Denmark must continue to test before arrival. This can be a PCR test taken 72 hours before arrival, or an antigen test taken 48 hours before arrival.
- Different rules may apply for high risk countries, check if there are any restrictions for the country you are travelling from here.
- A 10-day quarantine period will be applied if you are arriving from an EU/EEA country with an infection rate higher than 150 cases per 100,000 of the population in the last 14 days.
- Travel documents and medical symptoms are checked at the borders.
- Finland has ended all travel restrictions for travellers from other EU and Schengen Area countries.
- Those arriving from outside of these areas are required to present proof of full vaccination or proof of recovery from COVID-19 within the past six months, along with a negative COVID-19 test taken less than 48 hours prior to arrival.
- Finnish citizens and residents, or those arriving for 'compelling reasons' do not have to show a negative test on arrival.
- The Finnish Border Guard gives advice on cross-border traffic by phone and email. The service is available in Finnish, Swedish and English on weekdays between 8.00 and 16.00 at +358 295 420 100. Questions can also be sent by email to email@example.com.
- France has now lifted its ban on UK tourists. Brits no longer need a 'compelling' reason or have to isolate on arrival. Full details on the new rules are here.
- France requires all UK travellers to present a negative COVID-19 test - either antigen or PCR - taken within 24 hours before departure. Antigen tests must be certified by a laboratory and NHS lateral flow test kits are not allowed.
- France is connected to the EU Digital COVID Certificate (EUDCC), which allows restriction-free travel across all EU and EEA countries following proof of vaccination and a negative COVID test.
- France is operating a 'green pass' for entry into public spaces.
- Non-vaccinated visitors from the EU need to present a negative test taken 24 hours before travel.
- Unvaccinated passengers travelling from the UK to France by Eurostar will be asked to take a COVID-19 test upon arrival at Gare du Nord.
- From 28 February, masks will no longer be required in restaurants, cafes and other inside spaces.
- Germany is operating a 'green pass' for entry into public spaces.
- Travellers entering the country need to fill out a digital registration formbefore they travel and must have proof of full vaccination or a negative COVID test. Full details here.
- Unvaccinated travellers from high-risk countries will have to self-isolate for up to ten days on arrival in Germany. This can be shortened by submitting a negative test on or after the fifth day of quarantine. Arrivals from these countries will also have to register on Germany’s Digital Entry Portal.
- UK tourists who are fully vaccinated are allowed into Germany without showing a negative COVID-19 test or quarantining for 14 days on arrival. The UK will also be classified as a high-risk area, according to a statement on the German embassy's website.
- Arrivals from other "areas of variant of concern"are subject to different rules, detailed here.
- German regions have some authority to set their own restrictions leading to new restrictions being put in place since mid-November. It is best to research where you are going to find out what restrictions are in place at the time, as they can change at short notice.
- From 7 February fully vaccinated travellers will no longer need to show proof of a negative COVID-19 test to enter Greece.
- Unvaccinated travellers will still require a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours before arrival or a rapid antigen test taken within 24 hours.
- Connected to the EU Digital COVID Certificate (EUDCC).
- Beaches are open but people must socially distance themselves. Masks must be worn in all indoor public places.
- All arrivals must fill in a Passenger Locator Form.
- Social distancing rules are no longer in force, but people must wear face masks in hospitals and 'social institutions'. They must be worn on public transport too.
- Curfews are no longer in place. Shops and service providers are now open as normal.
- Visitors from other countries must be fully-vaccinated or recovered, and present a negative PCR or antigen test taken 72 hours or less before arriving in Iceland.
- If you are fully vaccinated or have proof of recovery, arrivals in Ireland are no longer required to present a negative antigen or PCR test.
- If you are not fully vaccinated, you will still be required to show a negative PCR test taken no more than 72 hours before travel.
- Travellers must also fill out a Passenger Locator Form (PLF) before departure.
- Only people who are fully vaccinated, or who have proof of recovery from COVID-19 in the past six months, will be able to enjoy indoor hospitality.
- Italy has a simple questionnaire to fill in, which will instantly give you the rules to follow based on your situation.
- Italy has extended its state of emergency until the end of March, which gives the government greater powers to implement new laws at short notice.
- Italy now requires a 'super green pass' to enter hotels, bars, restaurants, cafes, use public transport and the majority of indoor venues. This super green pass is only available to people who are fully vaccinated, unlike previously when proof of a negative test was sufficient. Italian citizens and residents can obtain green passes in many ways, but for visitors, a vaccination certificate from your home country will be accepted in its place.
- The country is colour coded, with most regions currently in the lowest-risk white zone, meaning outdoor dining is allowed and hotels are open.
- All arrivals to Kosovo are required to demonstrate that they have either received three doses of a COVID-19 vaccination or proof of two doses and a negative PCR test taken within 48 hours of arrival.
- Medical staff are present at border crossings and you may be subject to a health check, especially if you are showing symptoms of COVID-19.
- These countries are marked as red or orange on the official ECDC map here.
- Latvia is operating a 'green pass' for access to public spaces.
- Everyone who intends to enter Latvia is required to complete and submit an electronic form no earlier than 48 hours before entering Latvia.
- For travellers from high-risk countries outside of the EU, EEA, Switzerland and the UK who are not vaccinated and have not recovered from COVID-19 in the last six months, travel is only allowed for essential reasons.
- All arrivals must show a negative PCR test performed no more than 72 hours before flying to be allowed to enter Latvia.
- For the most part, the tourism industry is operating and the usual COVID-19 measures such as wearing face masks and social distancing apply in public spaces.
- Liechtenstein follows Switzerland's travel advice, so information about travel in either country can be found here.
- Foreign nationals travelling to Lithuania must complete an online registration form no earlier than 24 hours before they begin their journey.
- A 10-day quarantine is in place for non-EUDCC arrivals.
- Luxembourg is operating a 'green pass' for access to public spaces.
- There is no requirement to quarantine when entering Luxembourg. However, if you do not have evidence of a negative test or submit to a rapid antigen test at the airport (which costs €10), you will need to self-isolate for 14 days or until you can show a negative test.
- All passengers must complete a passenger locator formbefore travelling to Malta.
- Malta is still operating a traffic light system that will determine which restrictions you will be subject to when you arrive.
- Currently, there are no countries on the green list. Arrivals from countries on the red list (all countries) are required to present a recognised vaccination certificate.
- Failure to provide a vaccination certificate will result in testing on arrival and quarantine. Travelling from countries on the 'dark' red list is only possible upon authorisation from the public health authorities.
- Only fully vaccinated people in possession of a recognised vaccination certificate are exempt from quarantine.
- Visitors from the UK to Malta who have not been fully vaccinated will have to quarantine for 14 days.
- Most hotels are open with no restrictive measures in place.
- Private events such as weddings or birthday parties are not allowed, and nightclubs are closed.
- Regular updates on travel restrictions, which depend on where you're travelling from, come from the border police website here.
- Monaco is open for tourists and is following the EU traffic light system to determine restrictions for arrivals.
- Visitors have to present a negative PCR test no more than 72 hours before arrival. In the absence of a negative test, a quarantine will be enforced.
- Evidence of a negative PCR test taken 72 hours prior to travel, proof of recovery from COVID-19 or proof of full vaccination with an EU approved vaccine is needed for entry into Montenegro.
- Arrivals to Montenegro with none of the above will need to isolate for 14 days.
- From 2 February all travellers who have received a booster vaccine at least seven days before their trip to the Netherlands will no longer have to quarantine.
- Unvaccinated travellers, as well as passengers who haven't received their booster dose, will still be required to quarantine for 10 days unless their country of origin is on the exemption list.
- No negative test or quarantine period is required for visitors arriving from "safe" countries across the EU, Asia, and Oceania. A full list can be found here.However, all passengers must show their digital vaccine certificate.
- All other arrivals, except some in transit, must present a negative PCR test, no older than 72 hours and fill in a health declaration form.
- Travellers from high-risk countries who have received a booster dose will have to fill out a quarantine statement, which can be found online.
- Restaurants, bars and cultural venues reopened on Wednesday 26 January but there is a 10pm curfew in place.
- Wearing a face mask is advised in any place where it is not possible to stay 1.5 metres apart. This now also applies to busy outdoor places such as shopping streets. People are now advised to wear disposable masks.
- Full details for requirements for those in transit are available here.
- The borders are open in North Macedonia.
- Bars, restaurants and cafes are open for business with social distancing and extra hygiene measures in place.
- Other businesses including shops and hairdressers are open.
- Norway has removed all mandatory testing requirements at its borders.
- Everyone travelling to the country must still fill out an online registration formprior to arrival.
- Masks are compulsory in public spaces for everyone over the age of 12 unless you are exempt.
- Capacity is limited in shops, bars and restaurants.
- UK travellers and anyone else from non-Schengen countries must provide evidence of a negative pre-departure test (PCR or antigen) taken within 24 hours before arrival.
- Arrivals from Schengen countries must show proof of full vaccination on arrival. If they do not, they will have to quarantine for 10 days.
- A traveller locator formis required if you travel by plane.
- Travel from non-EU/EEA countries (excluding the UK and some others) is only allowed for essential purposes.
- It is mandatory to prove full vaccination status to enter restaurants, tourist venues and accommodation.
- Face masks must be worn in public and social distancing and extra hygiene measures are in force in all public settings.
- Similar measures have been adopted in the archipelago regions of Azores and Madeira.
- Hotels, guesthouses and other tourist accommodations are open and subject to COVID-19 restrictions.
- Museums, cultural sites and tourist attractions are open along with restaurants, cafes and clubs.
- Locals and visitors must wear a mask when in indoor public spaces, as well as while in crowded outdoor gatherings.
- All arrivals into Russia will be temperature checked and will be required to provide a negative PCR test result dated within 48 hours prior to arrival. This applies regardless of vaccination status.
- All foreign passengers must complete a travel form before arriving in Russia. These are usually handed out by cabin crew on arriving flights.
- Testing and quarantine requirements vary depending on where you depart from with entry from some countries currently not allowed so be sure to check before you leave.
- Bars, restaurants and tourist attractions are now open.
- If you are accessing San Marino through Italy, you’ll need to check Italy’s travel advice before you set off.
- Restaurants, bars, cafes and other leisure facilities are open with social distancing measures and face mask requirements in place. Gatherings - defined as groups of over 10 people where social distancing cannot be maintained - are still strictly forbidden.
- All arrivals to Serbia must provide a negative PCR test performed no more than 48 hours before departure to be allowed entry a vaccine certificate or certificate of recovery from the virus. Without these, you may be subject to a 10-day quarantine.
- Travellers arriving from high-risk countries also have to self-isolate and take mandatory tests within 24 hours and after 7 days of arrival. They will also need toregister with Serbia's e-Health portal.
- Restaurants, cafes and bars are allowed to serve customers in their outdoor spaces and indoors at reduced capacity.
- Travellers will also need to register their arrival via an online form.
- Slovenia has a traffic light system in place. If you’re coming from a 'red list' country, you’ll be asked to quarantine for 10 days when you arrive.
- COVID-19 restrictions vary between municipalities.
- Antigen tests are now accepted instead of PCRs for travellers from countries on the list of risk zones - including France and Germany - while no tests are required for low-incidence areas.
- Travellers from the UK must show proof of being fully vaccinated. This means you must have received the second dose at least 14 days before arrival. Children under 12 years old are exempt when travelling with an adult. This rule applies to the whole of Spain, including the Canary Islands and the Balearics.
- If your last vaccination was more than 270 days ago you will also need a booster to enter the country or you will be considered unvaccinated.
- UK and non EU/EEA arrivals are no longer banned, with the exception of those who do not have proof of being fully vaccinated, having recovered from COVID, or a negative PCR test from the previous 72 hours.
- Most of the economy remains open with social distancing, face masks and extra hygiene measures in force.
- Vaccinated and recovered travellers are no longer be required to take a pre-travel PCR test.
- Vaccinated arrivals from outside the Schengen area will be refused entry unless they are coming for work or exceptional reasons.
- Unvaccinated travellers who qualify to enter will still have to take a test prior to visiting the country but won't have to take post-arrival tests.
- The rules are different if you are transiting through Switzerland. Check herefor full details.
- All arrivals need to complete an entry form.
- Switzerland is connected to the EU Digital COVID Certificate (EUDCC), which allows restriction-free travel across all EU and EEA countries following proof of vaccination and a negative COVID test.
- Switzerland has a larger permitted list of countries than most European countries. It is updated regularly here.
- Most travellers to Turkey aged 12 years and above must have proof of a negative PCR test result within 72 hours of arrival, an antigen test within 48 hours, or be fully jabbed.
- All arrivals will be subject to a medical check for symptoms of COVID, including temperature checks, and may be asked to take random PCR testing on arrival.
- Public and hospitality services are open.
- Outdoor mask-wearing is mandatory.
- All visitors must have health insurance that covers COVID-19.
- Entry restrictions depend on whether you’re travelling from a ‘green’ or ‘red’ zone country.
- Ukraine is operating a colour-coded regional system, in place until at least the New Year. Social distancing and indoor mask-wearing are mandatory in all zones.
- From 11 February, fully vaccinated travellers and children under 18 no longer need to test upon arrival in the UK. Pre-departure tests are also not required for fully vaccinated travellers.
- Unvaccinated travellers will still need to test before leaving for the UK and within 2 days of arrival. However, they will not need to isolate unless their test is positive.
- All arrivals into the UK must fill in a passenger locator form.
- Face masks are no longer mandatory in UK venues, though some locations and forms of public transport may still ask you to wear them.
- There are currently no countries on the UK's red list. This follows the removal of 11 African countries earlier in December as the Omicron variant spread. Arrivals from these nations no longer have to go into hotel quarantine.
- Rules for travel into and out of Wales are available here.
- Rules for travel into and out of Scotland are available here.
- Rules for travel into and out of Northern Ireland are available here.
- Source Euronews Travel
India has done away with Covid-19 testing and quarantine for fully vaccinated passengers from 82 countries, which include the US. Globe Aware volunteers can now consider booking a spring break in the beautiful city of Jaipur!
India relaxes entry norms for travelers from 82 countries, no testing or quarantine from next week
Feb 10, 2022
MUMBAI: India has done away with Covid-19 testing and quarantine for fully vaccinated passengers from 82 countries, which include the US and the UK. Under the new guidelines issued by the union ministry of health and family welfare on Thursday, India has also done away with its classification of `at risk' countries as well. The new norms will come into effect from 00.01 hours on February 14.
The new guidelines will replace the ones issued on January 20, under which passengers from all countries had to undergo an RT-PCR test within 72 hours of undertaking the journey. The January 20 guidelines are currently followed and under this, passengers from `at risk' countries have to undergo another RT-PCR test on arrival. If they tested negative, they would have to home quarantine for a week and had to undergo another RT-PCR test on the eighth day of arrival into India.
From Monday next week though, fully vaccinated passengers from 82 countries can fly into India without testing and quarantine, if they are vaccinated and free of symptoms, that is. The 82 countries include those that have agreement with India on mutual recognition of vaccination certificates of nationally recognised or WHO recognised vaccines, said the guideline.
"Similarly, there are countries which presently do not have such an agreement with India, but they exempt Indian citizens fully vaccinated with nationally recognised or WHO recognised vaccines. On the basis of reciprocity, the travellers from only such countries which provide quarantine-free entry to Indians will be allowed for relaxation under certificate of completing full primary vaccination schedule of Covid-19 vaccination," it said adding that the list of countries whose fully vaccinated passengers are permitted to travel into India sans tests will be updated from time to time.
The travel industry welcomed the move. "Such a move shall infuse confidence in the industry, as well as the travelers, who would look at India as a must-visit destination, especially post-pandemic. It will also help Indian tourism regain and build its market share to pre-Covid levels," said Jay Bhatia, vice president of Travel Agents Association of India.
Under the latest guidelines passengers from 82 countries which include Sweden, Switzerland, Sri Lanka, Spain, US, Turkey, UK. Thailand, Singapore, Saudi Arabia, Nepal, Qatar, Canada, Bangladesh, Oman and Australia among others will only need to show proof of vaccination.
"All travelers will have to submit a self-declaration form on the online Air Suvidha portal (https://www.newdelhiairport.in/airsuvidha/apho-registration) before the scheduled travel, including last 14 days travel details," said the guideline, referring to an existent norm will continue.
Passengers from these 82 countries who aren't vaccinated will have to undergo an RT-PCR test within 72 hours of journey and upload the test report on the government portal. Those with vaccination certificates will only need to upload the said document onto the portal.
"Each passenger shall also submit a declaration with respect to authenticity of the report and will be liable for criminal prosecution, if found otherwise. They should also give an undertaking on the portal or otherwise to ministry of civil aviation, government of India, through concerned airlines before they are allowed to undertake the journey that they would abide by the decision of the appropriate government authority any post arrival requirement to undergo home/institutional quarantine/ self-health monitoring, as warranted," the guideline added.
On arrival, thermal screening will be carried out at the airport, the self-declaration form filled online shall be shown to the airport health staff, it said. The passengers found to be symptomatic during screening shall be immediately isolated and taken to medical facility as per health protocol. "If tested positive, their contacts shall be identified and managed as per laid down protocol.. Contacts of the suspect case are the co-passengers seated in the same row, 3 rows in front and 3 rows behind along with identified cabin crew," the guideline said.
Apart from this, about 2% of the total passengers in the flight shall undergo random post arrival testing at the airport on arrival. If such travellers are tested positive, their samples should be further sent for genomic testing, they shall be treated/isolated as per laid down standard protocol. "All travellers will self-monitor their health for next 14 days of arrival," it adds.
- Source Times of India
Not only do we provide insurance with your Globe Aware volunteer vacation abroad, we ensure a safe week in your program destination. If you're concerned as a solo female traveler, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we are happy to help address your questions!
10 Best Solo Travel Tips And 10 Top Destinations For Women, According To Experts
Take it from women who've been there, done that, had the best time ever.
BY MOLLIE DAVIES
FEB 7, 2022
Whether dipping your toes in the Sulu Sea or riding horseback through the Tuscan hills, there is so much of the world to explore—and doing it alone means exactly at your own pace. Solo travel is becoming increasingly more attractive for many reasons: You get to meet new people while doing things your way, spend intimate time with yourself, and rest without feeling guilty.
If you've ever thought about embarking on your own version of Wild or Eat, Pray, Love, you're (ironically) not alone. A whopping 84 percent of solo travelers are women, according to studies led by Booking.com and Condor Ferries. In fact, two thirds of all travelers are women, and 80 percent of all travel decisions are made by women, the George Washington University School of Business reports. Plus, solo travel was rated the second-most popular category of travel by respondents planning future trips in a 2020 survey conducted by travel company Cox & Kings.
Of course, a solitary sojourn poses its own challenges, but "traveling solo is one of the most empowering and fulfilling adventures women can embark on," says Mar Pages and Megan Jerrad of Solo Female Travelers. "It not only opens the senses to new smells, sights, and sounds, but the soul to different perspectives and ways to live life, thus contributing to making the world a more open, tolerant, and empathetic place."
But, before you book that plane or train ticket, here are the 10 best tips and 10 top destinations for solo female travelers—from women who've been there.
1. Just do it.
"It will never be the perfect time, so make now the time to live your travel dreams," says Amanda Black of The Solo Female Traveler Network. While it would be nice to receive a divine signal to get on that plane, if you keep waiting around for that moment when you finally have enough money, your trip is expertly planned, and all the stars align, you'll never get anywhere. Take the leap, and trust that the memories you make along the way will be worth it.
2. That said, it doesn't hurt to start small.
Many prospective travelers make a New Year's resolution to stop waiting on others and take their first solo trip, but then become overwhelmed with where to start. Pages and Jerrad recommend starting small, perhaps with an overnight trip to a nearby city or a weekend trip somewhere in the same country.
Reduce the number of changing variables by going somewhere where the culture is the same as back home, and then increasingly change these variables by next going somewhere where the language or culture is similar (e.g. from the US to Canada). This will help you figure out if solo travel is right for you and build your confidence to travel further. Eventually, you'll feel like a pro, ready to set off to an international destination with a completely different culture.
3. Stash cash in multiple places.
Money is a must when traveling (sad, but true!), so ensuring yours stay secure amid every adventure should be top of mind. "Keep some in your wallet, of course, but that could potentially get lost or stolen," says Black. She also recommends stashing some in your shoes, a hidden pocket in your clothes, and an obscure corner of your backpack. If your day bag gets stolen, you will still have backup bucks in your hotel room.
4. Download and sign up for a safety app.
Having "spent a lot of time last year testing and assessing a variety of safety apps and devices designed for women to call for help in case of an emergency," Pages emphasizes the importance of these tools for solo female travelers. Her top recommendation: UrSafe. (As a result of their app testing, Solo Female Travelers entered into a partnership with UrSafe where members can try the app for free for 30 days.)
The app has a voice-activated safety word that will contact emergency services and/or the police or private security services, depending on what country you're in. Unlike other apps or devices, you don't have to do anything beyond saying the word you have preset, and the camera of your phone will immediately start streaming a video of the situation to your safe contacts. For $2-4 a month, you can stay safe when traveling or wherever you live as UrSafe can be used even when walking home from work. Oh, and these apps also allow someone to track your location, so you can allow loved ones to know where you are and that you're safe. Peace of mind = priceless.
5. Travel on the shoulder season.
ICYDK, shoulder seasons are the sweet spot between the busy tourist season and the low season (which probably has bad weather). It's "the best time to travel to get thinner crowds, good weather, and cheaper prices," says Black.
6. Get travel insurance.
The prospect of getting sick—alone—in a foreign place is daunting enough. Add the challenges, both financial and emotional, of paying for hospital bills or worrying if you can even afford them, and it's enough to give you a headache...on top of your original ailment.
Take it from women who've been there: "I broke my arm in South Africa and needed surgery, which cost upwards of $20,000 and had me off work for a month," says Pages. "My insurance paid for everything including my mother flying over." On the flip side, Jerrad had an asthma attack without insurance in Eastern Europe and was double stressed making sure nobody called a pricey ambulance to take her to a hospital.
More recently, the duo have seen an increasing number of their community members stranded abroad because of COVID-19, facing large hospital and quarantine bills—even if perfectly well. But word to the wise shopper: It's not enough to buy insurance, says Pages and Jerrad. You need to read the fine print and see if the policy will cover you in case you test positive but are asymptomatic, and in case you are quarantined because of someone you came into contact with on your travels.
7. Research safety in your destination.
Some cities or countries have specific safety concerns that are important to know before you go. For example, sometimes hailing a random tuk tuk or taxi won’t be safe. Black recommends "asking your hostel or hotel to arrange a ride, and always keep your map open to be sure you are going in the right direction."
In other places, mugging tourists may be common, so she advises against carrying a bag. But, if you need one for your travel essentials, "look at a slash-proof option with RFID pockets, especially [if you're traveling] in Europe or cities where petty theft and pick-pocketing is common," says Black.
8. Always get a SIM card with data as soon as you land.
If you have a SIM card and an internet connection, you can address a lot of the worries and fears that solo female travelers commonly share with Pages and Jerrad: loneliness (listen to music or an audiobook or text with friends), fear or embarrassment of eating alone (schedule a video or phone call with a pal), personal safety (an app like UrSafe comes in clutch), fear of getting lost (Google Maps and car-hailing apps, FTW!).
And while it's always a good idea to familiarize yourself with key phrases in the local language, Google Translate can help bridge any language barrier that may come up along your travels. The pair praise the translation service's ability to have a full conversation in another language: "I've done it more than once," says Pages.
9. Save money on accommodations.
There are many creative ways to make your travel budget stretch further, and trying to save on what is usually the biggest expense—lodging—is the first place to start. "Try house sitting for a free place to stay in exchange for watering plants or watching pets," says Black. Road tripping and opting for camping or hostels over hotels for even just part of the trip will save you big, too.
10. Plan, but leave room for serendipity.
"It's a good idea to have a general sense of what you will see or do, but it's also important to leave space to breathe and for the unexpected to find you," says Pages. Some of the duo’s best stories from their respective solo travels come from unexpected moments where they met someone new, discovered a cool place that wasn't marked on any maps, or stumbled upon a street musician who sang amazing opera in a back alley. If you are on a check-list trip, you will miss those opportunities—and they're usually the ones you remember most.
What are the best destinations for solo female travelers?
Black, Pages, and Jerrad agree that Iceland is a top spot for solo female travelers because it's super safe with many roads that are easy to navigate. Not to mention, the gorgeous country will take your breath away. (I mean, the Northern Lights? C'mon!) Iceland may be an expensive travel destination, but it's one of the world's most equal countries for women.
2. Barcelona and surrounding areas
There is something for everyone within the city and surrounding areas, from culture and food to history and adventure to even the mountains and the beach, says Pages and Jerrad. In fact, Barcelona is a great first solo trip destination, based on the respondents to Solo Female Travelers' survey in 2020 and 2021. It's not only very safe for women, but also very affordable. Plus with 40 million visitors a year, it's easy to meet other travelers and locals. If you want to get out of the city and explore more of Catalonia, the public transportation options and various day trips means you can enjoy medieval villages, beach towns, holy mountains, and so much more.
3. Greeces Cycladic islands
Greece became an incredibly popular destination in 2020, ranking among the top three bucket list destinations among members of the Solo Female Travelers community, says Pages and Jerrad. Even better: The country has retained this title in 2021. With white washed fishing villas and those gorgeous blue domes, this well-loved sun and sea combo is known for its affordability. Women can indulge in great food, long hours of sunshine (it only rains 20 days a year in Santorini), quaint spots for photo ops and Instagrammable flying dress photo shoots, shopping, and more.
4. New Zealand
Another destination recommended by all three experts, this island is easy to navigate, and is so beautiful that it feels like something out of a picture book (or, ya know, a Lord of the Rings film). The jaw-dropping nature and breathtaking landscapes offer some of the best outdoor experiences life has to offer—glow worm caves, anyone?—plus, the friendliest people.
Eat, Pray, Love truly left a mark on the rolling hills of Tuscany, turning it into both a top choice for many a female traveler's first solo trip, as well as an overall bucket list destination, says Pages and Jerrad. Whether you have specific experiences in mind or just want to leave it all up to chance, you can likely plan to enjoy the slow life among wine country, olive groves, undulating green hills, and quaint medieval villages.
Nature lover ready to spread your wings? The islands are full of incredible wildlife and pretty safe for women traveling solo. Choose a boat tour to be guided around the islands for hikes, go snorkeling, or join nature walks, recommends Black. You can also island hop using ferries whenever you want a change of scenery and to see even more amazing animals.
This hardly-visited country is the spiritual center of Buddhism and the place where GDP has been replaced with Gross Domestic Happiness, says Pages and Jerrad. The peace and calm that one can experience in Bhutan is the perfect background for anyone going through the process of self-reflection and self-healing. For example, Pages visited Bhutan solo after being diagnosed with a serious condition and returned hopeful and at peace with the healing journey she was about to begin.
8. Costa Rica
In recent years, Costa Rica has climbed to the top of the bucket list for many travelers, and has become a very popular destination throughout 2021 among Solo Female Travelers members, says Pages and Jerrad. The country features stunning nature and wildlife and has become a favorite destination for wellness retreats.
The language barrier may feel intimidating, but Japan is so organized and easy to navigate, from ordering food to using the public transportation system, says Black. It is safe, clean, beautiful, and runs more or less on schedule. A Type-A solo traveler's dream!
Everyone thinks of the Maldives as the ultimate couple's destination, but that's no longer the case, says Pages and Jerrad. With more than a thousand hotels and resorts in the Maldives, there is something for everyone, including those who want to party. Plenty of travelers vacation here solo, whether to take a trip purposefully focused on self-care or simply to disconnect from it all and enjoy a beautiful place. Plus, more and more resorts are offering solo packages complete with butlers who will take your picture when requested and in-villa BBQs for one. So, if you're going to treat yourself (and you should), there's no better place.
- Source Women's Health
For the first time in 60 years, the Trans Bhutan Trail is reopening in April 2022 to travelers across the world. Globe Aware volunteers interested in exploring this breathtaking trail can email email@example.com to learn more about our Bhutan program.
Trans Bhutan Trail is reopening for travellers after 60 years
TIMES OF INDIA
Jan 29, 2022
For the first time in 60 years, the Trans Bhutan Trail is reopening to travellers. The 402 km trail connects 9 districts, 28 local governments, 2 municipalities, one national park, and 400 historic and cultural sites.
The trail is opening from April 2022, and will allow travellers from across the world to walk this breathtaking trail. The restoration work of the Trans Bhutan Trail has been funded by the Bhutan Canada Foundation, which is the principal donor of this project.
Travellers will be able to explore 18 major bridges, and even climb 10000 stairs, besides being able to take mountain bikes through the route.
The trail will take you through the incredible eastern Himalayan region. It is an opportunity to explore the scenic beauty of Bhutan, something that not travellers don't get to explore in their Bhutan trips. The trail has a 500-year old history, with historic and cultural sites all along the route. It used to serve as a pilgrimage route for Buddhists who were looking to explore sacred destinations in Tibet and the western part of Bhutan.
Tourists can take guided walking and biking tours on the trail, the proceedings for which will go to the communities here. You could explore the entire trail by foot, which will take over a month's time. For adventurers, photographers, and birdwatchers, this can be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
Moreover, the trail is going to be a major hit among pilgrims, and travellers who are looking for spiritual and wellness experiences.
- Source Times of India
The government of the Philippines has announced to open the country to fully vaccinated travelers, including Globe Aware volunteers, starting February 10th, 2022. The government also said that the quarantine requirements for returning foreign tourists will be removed from February 10th, but they all must be vaccinated and also test negative for COVID-19.
Philippines to reopen to fully vaccinated tourists from February 10
Jan 30, 2022
In an effort to boost tourism, the government of the Philippines has announced to open the country to fully vaccinated travellers starting February 10, 2022. The gorgeous island country in Asia had planned to reopen in December however, the plans were scrapped due to the Omicron variant. The nation has now said that travellers from some 150 countries with visa-free entry to the Philippines will be allowed to enter for tourism purposes. But the list excludes China, Taiwan and India.
Tourism Secretary Berna Romulo-Puyat stated, "(This) will contribute significantly to job restoration, primarily in tourism-dependent communities, and in the reopening of businesses that have earlier shut down.”
The government also said that the quarantine requirements for returning Filipinos will also be removed from February 1 and for foreign tourists from February 10. But they all must be vaccinated and also test negative for COVID-19.
The archipelago nation is home to around 7000 incredible islands which are prized for their white sand beaches and rich aquatic life. Apparently, the country has tourist arrivals from Japan, South Korea and China which dropped by 83 percent last year because of the pandemic.
"The tourism industry can now recover and it can contribute big to jobs, livelihoods and the country's economic growth," said presidential spokesman Karlo Nograles.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, the Philippines has reported around 3.4 million infections and more than 53000 deaths.
- Source Times of India
The World Health Organization (WHO) says it’s time for countries to lift or at least loosen their existing travel restrictions related to COVID-19, and that recent travel bans are “are not effective in suppressing international spread." Globe Aware is keeping of track of which countries will soon allow our volunteers to enter without quarantine.
WHO says it’s time to lift COVID-19 restrictions calling travel bans “ineffective”
JAN 22 2022
THE POINTS GUY
The World Health Organization (WHO) says it’s time for countries to lift or at least loosen their existing travel restrictions related to COVID-19.
As reported by VOANews, WHO’s International Health Regulations Emergency Committee said during their most recent meeting that coronavirus-related travel bans are “are not effective in suppressing international spread,” and cited the most recent surge as proof.
“The failure of travel restrictions introduced after the detection and reporting of the omicron variant to limit the international spread of omicron demonstrates the ineffectiveness of such measures over time,” the committee’s report stated. In addition, it said such restrictions “do not provide added value and continue to contribute to the economic and social stress experienced by citizens.”
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The agency advised that safety measures such as masking, testing, isolation/quarantine and vaccination, “should be based on risk assessments to avoid placing an excessive financial burden on international travelers.”
The WHO cautioning against blanket travel restrictions is not a new stance for the agency. When the omicron variant first became known, it advised countries to take a “risk-based and scientific approach” to combatting the variant, as opposed to simply reinstating travel restrictions.
This follows the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) updating its travel advisory lists for 40 countries and territories due to a rising number of COVID-19 cases around the world. The CDC urged Americans to avoid travel to countries including Israel, the Bahamas, Bermuda, Panama, Argentina, Egypt, Albania and Uruguay due to surges in COVID-19 cases. Those nations are now at the agency’s Level 4: Very High risk for travelers, the highest level of risk.
The U.K. and other countries also relaxed some of its COVID-19 restrictions last week, which led travel industry experts to forecast that international travel will soon reach 90% of what it was before the pandemic.
One change? Fully vaccinated travelers and children under 18 no longer need to take a pre-departure COVID test when returning to the U.K.
- Source The Points Guy
With the reintroduction of the Test & Go program, fully vaccinated Globe Aware volunteers would be allowed to enter Thailand with a Day 1 and Day 5 PCR test. We are hopeful for a return to our programs in Surin and Chiang Mai from February and beyond.
Thailand tourism industry hopeful with the return of Test & Go
January 23, 2022
With the reintroduction of the Test & Go program, that allows fully vaccinated people to enter Thailand with a Day1 and Day 5 PCR test, businesses in the tourism industry are hopeful for a more sustained growth in international travellers from February and beyond.
The program was reinstated, albeit with some revisions that were not met with a particularly welcoming reception, and will be open for travellers again on February 1.
The new version of Test & Go was almost universally panned by tourists and travellers for added complications and cost, now requiring a second RT PCR test with a pre-booked hotel on the fifth day after arrival, and additional insurance requirements. Inconvenient though it may be, it is generally a step up from the Sandbox programs.
Nevertheless, tourist organisations in Thailand believe that the reopening will open the door to an uptick in foreign arrivals. Between 200,000 and 300,000 international travellers are predicted to arrive in Thailand next month, according to the head of the Thai Hotel Association. She forecasts a steady rise in arriving tourists and is expecting even better numbers for March.
The Thailand Tourism Board Association shared in the hopefulness, though tempered their optimism with a warning that, as has been seen in the recent past, all hopes of upward momentum in tourism numbers can be curbed at the drop of a hat with yet another last-minute government reversal or drastic change.
Barring another setback though, the relaunch of Thailand’s reopening (is this Thailand Tourism 5.0 now? 6.0?), if the numbers do grow in February and continue throughout March, this latest reopening could signal that Thailand has turned the corner in the economic battle against the Covid-19 pandemic. Tourists and hotel and other tourism business operators remain hopeful that Thailand could finally see the return of international and domestic tourism.
- Source The Thaiger
Southwest Airlines seems to have found an easier way for passengers to get a Covid-19 test for travel: Mailing a kit to your home. The test is approved by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for travel purposes and a convenient new option for any Globe Aware volunteers traveling with Southwest.
Southwest Airlines flyers can now get a COVID-19 test in the mail before travel
Victoria M. Walker
Jan 12, 2022
The Points Guy
If you’ve traveled abroad in the last year, you’re likely familiar with the testing mandate that all travelers need to show proof of a negative COVID-19 test taken one day before flying back to the U.S.
Unfortunately, it’s been tough to get a COVID-19 test abroad in some countries right now, due in part to both the omicron surge as well as the shorter testing window to renter the U.S.
But Southwest Airlines seems to have found an easier way for passengers to get a COVID-19 test for travel: Mailing a kit to your home.
The Dallas-based airline announced it’s partnering with the testing company CityHealth to mail out COVID-19 tests to international passengers. The test is approved by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for travel purposes. The kit normally costs $75, but Southwest passengers can lock in a discounted rate of $50 per test.
“Since it was launched, the RapidReturn kit has been one of our most popular [COVID-19] testing options,” Sean Parkin, CityHealth’s CEO, said in a statement. “We’re thrilled to be working with Southwest Airlines to offer their passengers an easy, accurate, affordable and convenient way to return home safely. The quick return of results will help Southwest passengers stay in compliance with the new one-day testing rule.”
Travelers can order their RapidReturn test kit directly through the CityHealth website. Test kits are shipped Monday through Friday between 8 a.m. and 3 p.m. PST and tests ordered after 3 p.m. PST on Friday will be shipped Monday. That means if you have a weekend trip planned, you may want to order your test kit early in the week.
According to the company, travelers can pack their test kits before travel and use a secure portal when it’s time to test. The results will be available in the portal and are approved for flights back to the U.S.
The CDC accepts a handful of at-home tests for use by inbound passengers, such as Abbott’s BinaxNow COVID-19 Home Test and Qured’s video-supervised rapid antigen test. So, there are other at-home options if you need a COVID-19 test for a flight back to the U.S. Just make sure to order your test with enough time for shipping.
- Source The Points Guy
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Globe Aware volunteers who recently recovered from Covid-19 can fly back to the U.S. with proof that they’ve recovered instead of a negative test. This proof can include a positive COVID-19 viral test result and a signed letter from a licensed healthcare professional stating that you’re cleared to travel back to the U.S.
How soon can you travel after testing positive for COVID-19?
By Victoria M. Walker
January 13, 2022
A positive COVID-19 test during a trip can throw all your travel plans into limbo. But even a positive test in the weeks before you travel can be cause for concern.
If you’re wondering when you’ll be cleared to travel again after testing positive for COVID-19, it’s an important question: Here’s everything you need to know.
What are the rules on flying back to the US?
If you’ve traveled internationally in the past year, you’re likely familiar with the rules to fly back to the United States, but they’ve changed several times.
All travelers coming to the U.S., vaccinated or not, must produce a negative COVID-19 test taken within one calendar day of their departure. (The previous policy allowed vaccinated international travelers to show a negative test taken within three days before departure.) Additionally, international foreign travelers can enter the U.S. with proof of vaccination and a negative COVID-19 test.
If you have a positive test, does that mean you’re banned from flying back to the U.S.? Not quite — but the rules can be a little confusing even if you’re a seasoned traveler. If you recently had COVID-19 but recovered from the virus, you can still travel back to the U.S., but you’ll need the proper paperwork. Let’s break it down.
What paperwork do I need to travel after testing positive?
People who recovered from COVID-19 may continue to test positive for the virus up to three months after infection, even after they’ve recovered.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, travelers who recently recovered from COVID-19 can fly back to the U.S. with proof that they’ve recovered from COVID-19 instead of a negative test. This proof can include your positive COVID-19 viral test result, but it has to be taken no more than 90 days before your flight’s departure from a foreign country.
Additionally, you will also need a signed letter from a licensed healthcare professional stating that you’re cleared to travel back to the U.S. According to the CDC, the letter from a healthcare provider must include:
- Information that identifies you personally (such as your name and date of birth) and matches your passport.
- The letter must be signed and dated by the healthcare provider.
- The letter must be on official letterhead that contains the name, address and phone number of the healthcare provider or public health official who signed the letter.
The CDC says the positive test result and letter together are referred to as “documentation of recovery.” If you tested positive, that’s the only way to be able to fly back to the U.S. if you’ve recovered from the virus but don’t have a negative test result.
Proof of recovery is also acceptable for certain destinations, so you may be able to use this documentation to travel abroad after you’re cleared by a doctor to travel.
What if I can’t show proof of recovery?
The CDC is pretty strict on this rule: You either need a negative COVID-19 test or proof of recovery. The agency says, “If you have recovered from COVID-19 but are not able to obtain documentation of recovery that fulfills the requirements, you will need to show a negative COVID-19 viral test result from a sample taken no more than one day before your flight to the US departs.”
How soon can I leave my destination after a positive COVID-19 test?
Travelers have to consider the possibility of testing positive for COVID-19 while abroad. What happens after the positive test depends entirely on the destination and, in some cases, your vaccination and booster status.
For instance, if you test positive while in France, you’ll have to quarantine for seven days if you’re fully vaccinated with a booster dose. However, you can leave quarantine after five days with a negative antigen or RT-PCR test result and if you’ve had no symptoms in 48 hours. If you are not fully vaccinated (France will soon require travelers to have a booster to be considered fully vaccinated) or not vaccinated and test positive, you must isolate for 10 days, though the quarantine can be shortened.
So if you have international travel planned, you’ll need to read up on the rules around how long you’ll have to stay in quarantine and the documentation you’ll need for your flight back to the U.S.
- Source The Points Guy
South Africa, where the Omicron variant was detected last month, says its latest coronavirus wave has peaked without a surge in deaths or hospitalizations, enabling the country to lift a nightly curfew for the first time in 21 months. Globe Aware is maintaining contact with our South Africa coordinators to assess when volunteers can return.
South Africa Lifts Night-Time Covid Curfew As Omicron Wave Abates
Calls for the midnight to 4 am curfew to be lifted had been mounting among operators in the hospitality sector ahead of New Year's Eve celebrations with owners launching an online petition addressed to President Cyril Ramaphosa.
December 31, 2021
Johannesburg: South Africa, where the Omicron variant was detected last month, says its latest coronavirus wave has peaked without a surge in deaths or hospitalizations, enabling the country to lift a nightly curfew for the first time in 21 months.
The Omicron variant emerged in November to become the pandemic's dominant variant, driving new cases at a record rate around the world.
"According to experts, Omicron has reached the peak, ...with clinical manifestations that have not caused any alarm in the hospital situation," Mondli Gungubele, a minister in President Cyril Ramaphosa's office, said on Friday.
"Based on the experts, the conditions do allow that we lift the curfew," he told a news conference, spelling out a move that the presidency announced the previous evening.
Calls by the hospitality sector for the midnight to 4 am curfew to be lifted had been mounting ahead of the New Year's Eve celebrations, with restaurant and bar owners launching an online petition to lobby Ramaphosa.
Many countries outside Africa are tightening restrictions to battle a surge in infections.
The minister cautioned "we will monitor the situation on an hour-by-hour basis" and if need be, it would be reinstated, adding "I hope it never comes back."
Gungubele said the government of Africa's most advanced but battered economy took the action to try "balance between livelihoods and saving lives."
"Businesses are suffering," he said.
- Omicron hopes -
The highly contagious Omicron variant, which contains a number of mutations, has fuelled an end-of-year global pandemic resurgence.
But mounting evidence in South Africa and elsewhere has fuelled hopes that Omicron, while more contagious than other strains, may also be less severe.
Infections in South Africa dropped by almost 30 percent last week compared to the preceding seven days, according to the president's office, and while hospital admissions also declined in eight of the nine provinces.
Even so, the risk of increased infections "remains high," the presidency warned in its Thursday night statement.
Mask-wearing remains compulsory in public spaces and public gatherings are limited to 1,000 people indoors and 2,000 outdoors.
The government has continued to stress the need for caution and vaccination.
Inoculation rates have also improved -- more than 15.6 million people in South Africa have been fully vaccinated, out of a population of 59 million.
- Little rise in deaths -
During the surge in December, only a marginal increase in Covid-19 deaths was noted, while hospitalization rates were lower than in previous waves, the presidency statement said.
"This means that the country has a spare capacity for admission of patients even for routine health services."
Omicron was first identified in South Africa and Botswana in late November.
It quickly became the dominant strain in South Africa, causing an explosion of infections with a peak of about 26,000 daily cases recorded by mid-December, according to official statistics.
The variant is currently present in more than 100 countries, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).
It can also infect vaccinated people as well as those who have already had coronavirus, although such individuals are also far less at risk of falling severely ill.
South Africa has been the hardest hit by coronavirus on the continent, recording more than 3.4 million cases and 91,000 deaths. But fewer than 13,000 infections had been recorded in the past 24 hours.
"The speed with which the Omicron-driven fourth wave rose, peaked, and then declined has been staggering. The peak in four weeks and precipitous decline in another two," Fareed Abdullah of the South African Medical Research Council posted on Twitter.
While many Omicron-affected countries are reimposing virus countermeasures, South Africa announced it was reversing course just ahead of New Year's Eve celebrations and a day before the weekend funeral of the venerated anti-apartheid icon Desmond Tutu.
- Source Agence France-Presse
It would be impossible to discuss any developments in 2022 without referring to Covid-19 variants. Here we break down some of the most notable changes coming up for our Globe Aware volunteers in regards to airlines, airports, and the rest of aviation in the next 12 months.
How flying will change in 2022
By John Walton
January 6, 2022
(CNN) — During almost any other year, a look ahead to what the future holds for aviation would almost certainly be centered on exciting things like new airplanes, airlines and airports.
But it would be impossible to discuss any developments in the industry for 2022 without making reference to Covid-19 variants, restrictions and challenges to airlines.
Here we break down some of the most notable changes coming up for airlines, passengers, airports and the rest of aviation in the next 12 months, as well as the numerous problems the ongoing global pandemic continues to bring about ...
More Covid challenges
How Covid-19 progresses, especially any new variants of the virus, is the major question for aviation.
At the time of writing, the Omicron variant is still being examined in order to determine how it compares to earlier variants like Delta and Alpha.
But its emergence has already had a huge impact on travel, with flight bans in place, not to mention the number of travelers testing positive on arrival, passengers absconding from quarantine, and so on. Flight cancellations due to pilot shortages have also been an issue over the busy holiday period.
One of the key challenge both airlines and passengers will face in 2022 is managing vaccination certification.
This is especially true when it comes to defining what "vaccinated" means, especially around booster or third doses.
For instance, will travelers who've received a single dose vaccine continue to be counted as fully vaccinated in the coming months? And what about those who've had two of the two-dose vaccines, but haven't been administered with a booster jab?
Will the rules differ for tourists who've recovered from coronavirus and received one standard vaccination, as is customary in countries such as Germany, or chil
dren from countries where some youngsters are given just one dose of an mRNA vaccine? And how will Omicron affect vaccination statuses?
There's some push for a digital QR-based standard (possibly the EU's Digital Covid Certificate), but that's going to need a lot of work and negotiation.
New airline launches
Starting a new airline during a pandemic is a bit of a wild card to say the least, but Norse Atlantic Airways is rising to the challenge by launching long-haul low-cost flights between Europe and North America.
Of course, its founders would probably rather you didn't say "oh, like Norwegian used to do?"
But as they're the same team who ran Norwegian and are planning to use the same Boeing 787 Dreamliners the airline used, it's not too far a stretch.
In the US, another low cost venture, Northern Pacific Airways is aiming to launch in 2022 with the ambition of making Anchorage's Ted Stevens airport a hub connecting the United States and Asia via its fleet of of Boeing 757-200 narrow body passenger jets.
Over in India, ultra-low-cost startup Akasa Air is looking to join the fray by summer, while the defunct Jet Airways is set for new life in early 2022.
And the new airlines that launched in 2021 will be in expansion mode during the coming months.
After starting up with flights from its base in Burbank, California in April 2021 to destinations in the west and northwest of the US, Avelo Airlines has been expanding, most recently to New Haven, Connecticut, with winter flights to six Florida destinations.
Breeze Airways, meanwhile, continues to grow its network across the east, midwest and south of the United States, with a wide point-to-point network spanning San Antonio and Oklahoma City to Providence and a wide swathe of the country from Tampa to Akron/Canton and Tulsa.
Breeze is due to put its brand new Airbus A220 airplanes, which happen to be some of the most comfortable, quiet and spacious jets in the sky, into service during the second quarter of 2022.
Keep an eye out for new services from familiar airlines.
United Airlines, for example, is boosting its transatlantic network in summer 2022, adding new flights to Bergen in Norway, the Spanish Mediterranean island of Mallorca and the Canary island of Tenerife, Ponta Delgada in the Azores, and Amman in Jordan.
The airline is also bumping up its London services -- with extra flights from Boston, Newark, Denver and San Francisco -- as well as adding additional services to Munich, Milan, Berlin, Dublin and Rome from its hubs.
If international travel remains complicated this year, airlines will want to keep their planes flying.
This means they're likely to put them on the routes they think will make the most money — in this case, domestic routes (like within the US, India or China, or within Europe's Schengen area).
It's worth looking out for fare deals, but make sure they're refundable.
After a flurry of international airport openings in recent years, 2022 is set to be relatively quiet on this front.
However, some much welcomed new terminals will be launching in New York.
First up: LaGuardia Airport's Terminal C, home to Delta Air Lines, which is due to open in spring. This new terminal will definitely be a big improvement to the passenger experience.
The new Terminal A (previously called Terminal One, slightly confusingly) will launch at Newark, just across the Hudson River from Manhattan, later in the year.
On the other side of the Pacific, Bangkok's main Suvarnabhumi Airport is set to open its new Satellite Terminal 1 in October, following numerous scheduling delays linked to the tourism slowdown during the pandemic.
Additionally, Chennai International Airport is due to open its own new terminal, which will replace the now-demolished terminals 2 and 3 this year, while Australia's Gold Coast Airport's three-level terminal expansion is also due for completion.
To the south in the Indian Ocean, the Maldives' Velana International Airport is adding a new seaplane terminal and a new runway to accommodate larger aircraft.
And it's not just the big airports that are opening brand new terminals.
New facilities are due to open in Pune, Andaman/Port Blair, and Leh in India, Provo in the US state of Utah, Columbia in Missouri, and Tacloban in Philippines.
The aviation industry tends to oscillate between two modes: "sell new airplanes" and "build those airplanes." Right now we're in the latter, with more of the latest planes arriving from factories.
These include the Airbus A320neo family, A350 and A330neo and the Boeing 737 Max and 787 Dreamliner.
Airbus has been steaming ahead with deliveries (460 as of the end of October, the last set of data the company has released) despite the pandemic, and the airliner manufacturer aims to build even more of its popular A320neo family -- especially the longer A321neos that can hold up to 244 passengers in an all-economy layout.
Boeing, of course, has had a huge Max backlog after its safety grounding, while Dreamliner deliveries have been halted for more than a year because of production quality problems.
But they will eventually resume, and airlines are likely to put the aircraft directly into service.
This has been the case with Singapore Airlines, which is putting its stored and newly built 737 Max 8 planes straight into the sky with a brand new cabin.
The same thing is happening at flydubai, the all-737 airline which is a partner airline of Emirates.
Don't expect to see Boeing's massive stretched 777X in 2022, though. While it was scheduled for next year at one point, the first deliveries aren't expected until 2023 or 2024 now.
But passengers are likely to see more aircraft like the Airbus A321LR (for Long Range) in 2022. An increasing amount of these planes are being produced, which means more flights straight to a central destination rather than connecting through a hub.
In 2023, keep an eye out for the A321XLR -- you guessed it, that's Extra Long Range.
Updated seats and cabins
While this particular "build" mode is less fun for plane fans at airshows, it's great news for passengers.
Newer planes with updated seats, newer entertainment systems, at-seat power, and faster Wi-Fi are currently in full "build" mode and fast arriving at airlines.
For those flying business class in particular, this will mean more mini-suites with privacy doors and all the bells and whistles they could wish for.
Meanwhile, an increasing number of airplanes are being fitted with premium economy sections. Emirates is the latest airline to add the middle-cabin, announcing an upcoming 18-month program to install premium economy seats in a whopping 105 Airbus A380 and Boeing 777 airplanes.
Economy cabins will also be getting some technology upgrades in the form of fast-charging USB-C sockets, inflight entertainment systems that integrate with phone apps, allowing passengers to use Bluetooth headphones.
Other notable updates include space-saving seats that move those knee-crunching support structures out of the way of legs so that passengers feel like they have a bit more space on board, even if the seats are the same distance apart.
Oddly enough, with quite a lot of older airplanes being retired during the pandemic, passengers are actually more likely than ever to get to fly on a newer plane with better entertainment and more of the mod cons in 2022.
- Source CNN
Globe Aware is looking forward to brighter days in the spring and summer of 2022. Here's a glance at some of the travel trends to expect this year to help you plan your volunteer vacation accordingly.
The travel trends to watch in 2022
BY RACHEL KING
December 27, 2021
Winter travel, at the moment, is taking a bit of a hit amid the latest surge in positive COVID-19 cases due to the arrival of the new Omicron variant in the United States and Europe. That has a lot of people rethinking their upcoming travel plans, both for business and pleasure, which is especially disheartening for many after last year's dismal holiday season.
But many travelers and travel industry professionals are looking forward to brighter days in the spring and summer of 2022. Here's a glance at some of the travel trends to expect next year to help you plan accordingly.
Back to nature, again
Being outdoors was all the rage (and the only option) in the pre-vaccinated days of the pandemic in 2020. Travelers began to make their way back to urban centers—craving more socialization, nightlife, and simply being indoors in winter—starting in the summer of 2021. But that renewed interest in the great outdoors hasn't died out just yet—and it might be getting bigger than ever. Club Wyndham and WorldMark by Wyndham time-share properties near U.S. national parks, for example, have seen a 71% uptick in bookings.
Outdoorsy destinations are dominating Kayak's top-trending list at the tail end of 2021, with Colorado and Montana making up four of the top 10 trending destinations for 2022, with an increase in search share of at least 46% compared to 2019. And while it’s typically filled with cities like New York, San Francisco, Boston, and Atlanta, Kayak's most popular destinations list is seeing these destinations replaced by outdoor beach towns like Cancun, Honolulu, and Maui. This is the first time in years that New York City has not been among the top 10.
"We always see beach towns in Mexico and Florida trend for American tourists, but what’s more interesting are the new cities we’re seeing pop like Kalispell, Bozeman, and Steamboat Springs," Kayak CEO Steve Hafner tells Fortune. "Destinations that offer quick flights, little to no restrictions, and provide a good combination of indoor and outdoor activities appear to be the preference amongst American travelers these days."
But it's not all about just going camping or glamping. The Greek islands are Contiki’s top booked destination for 2022. Likewise, the tour company, which typically attracts travelers between the ages of 18 and 35, says Costa Rica is one of its top booked, with a 375% increase year over year. According to a recent survey conducted by Contiki, younger travelers are especially interested in beach vacations in 2022, nearly 70% opting for "beachscapes over mountainscapes." And Wyndham has seen a 69% increase for bookings to Hawaii.
The booking window for flights is shrinking when compared to two years prior, according to travel search engine Kayak. And this is especially the case for international travel: Searches for flights within seven days have increased 50% as travelers become increasingly more flexible in their travel plans. (Kayak also has a flexible cancellation filter that helps travelers determine which airlines and hotels are waiving change or cancellation fees.)
"The demand is there. People want to travel again and they are becoming more flexible and spontaneous in their planning," says Hafner. "We’re seeing more people book last minute, especially for international trips, due to the unpredictability of COVID-19, which will likely continue through the first half of next year."
Anyone who has ever watched the Cameron Diaz and Kate Winslet film The Holiday has long dreamed about the ideal home-swapping scenario. And like everything else that is popular on the Internet, TikTok is making it hot again. The hashtag "#houseswap" has generated approximately 10 million views and viral videos of users swapping houses on the social app.
And global home-swapping platform Love Home Swap, which has homes in more than 110 countries, saw a nearly 300% increase in member sign-ups last year, compared to 2019, and new sign-ups are currently surpassing pre-COVID levels this year. The company says these staycation arrangements help offset the increased costs of traveling, saving members on average $3,500 per year on accommodations through Love Home Swap. (Membership starts at $11 per month.)
“When our members begin home-swapping, they are surprised how much money they are actually saving," says Celia Pronto, managing director of Love Home Swap. "Not only does home-swapping give you access to an entire property, but it frequently comes with added benefits—whether using each other’s cars, children’s toys, or even gym memberships and ski equipment. With 36% of our members traveling four-plus times per year and 85% looking for new travel experiences, home-swapping really does tick all the boxes. We’ve found it quickly becomes a lifestyle choice for our members, with the most popular destinations in the U.S. being New York, California, Florida, and Colorado."
With a growing demand for blending the flexibility of remote work with leisure travel, more than 40% of Gen Z employees plan to take a "workcation" (essentially, working while traveling—but not traveling for work and not taking PTO days for it) in 2022, according to data provided by Kayak.
"Younger generations like Gen Z likely live a more flexible lifestyle (i.e., no kids, pets, etc. just yet) that makes it easier to travel (and work) for weeks at a time from different locations, [which] gets more complicated when you have to move the whole family," Kayak's Hafner says. "Once people can really start traveling more freely again, we’ll start to see people squeeze in extra trips that double as work. Companies that support blending business with leisure travel will have a competitive advantage with talent. Many people want a change of scenery right now."
And it's something Kayak is seeing in-house as well, Hafner notes. This past September, Kayak launched a “Work from Almost Anywhere” policy, which lets employees choose how often they work from the office—if at all. "We’re a travel company, so we want our employees to feel comfortable working from different cities, countries, etc., as much or little as they’d like," Hafner says.
Trip-stacking—the practice of booking multiple trips back-to-back—really took off during the summer of 2021. There are multiple reasons for this: People wanted to maximize their trips abroad (especially while international borders are open); it can be more budget-friendly on the airfare if going a long distance from home; and many people simply wanted to make up for lost time after spending more than a year at home.
Contiki CEO Adam Armstrong says Gen Z and younger millennials are trip-stacking frequently with the company, booking multiple trips back-to-back. And young professionals are taking more PTO days, with an average trip length of nine to 11 days.
“They are traveling for longer periods of time—some exploring the world for months on end, flexing their remote work perks, taking advantage of the freedom that comes with being in between jobs or seizing the gap year in between college and career life,” explains Armstrong. “We’ve analyzed 2022 preliminary booking patterns, which demonstrate 18- to 35-year-olds are heading to Greece, Italy, Egypt, and Costa Rica—which is up 375% compared to last year—and booking these trips back-to-back to really stretch their travel wings again.”
This is one to watch for the long term. All-inclusive resorts have the reputation for being convenient and family friendly, but the amenities aren't always high-end. But pandemic travel changed all that as measures implemented in the age of COVID are becoming mainstays, like mobile payments or simply paying for everything in one go so as not to have to swap cards or touch point-of-sale checkpoints frequently.
Many hotel companies, such as Marriott and Hilton, are taking part in the ongoing evolution of luxury in the all-inclusive space, notes Brian Kelly, founder and CEO of The Points Guy.
"Luxury travelers are yearning for all-inclusives post-pandemic as they provide guests with security from both a health and safety standpoint," Kelly tells Fortune. "Guests don’t have to risk exposing themselves outside the resort and are spread out enough, which makes social distancing easier."
- Source Fortune
Peru and South Africa are mentioned, and Globe Aware agrees both places deserve to be near the top of anyone's travel list. We hope to see volunteers make a strong comeback to both locations in 2022!
Where to travel 2022: The best destinations to go
By Lilit Marcus, Forrest Brown, Julia Buckley, Karla Cripps, Tamara Hardingham-Gill, Marnie Hunter, Barry Neild, Maureen O'Hare and Francesca Street
December 31, 2021
(CNN) — Travel is more challenging now than it has been in a long time. Borders tentatively reopen only to slam shut again. A once-simple visa on entry is replaced with piles of paperwork. And the whole world is brushing up on the Greek alphabet whenever a new variant makes headlines.
Still, though, amid all the darkness that has defined the pandemic, there are some glimmers of hope.
Perhaps the lesson travelers can take into 2022 is that exploring the world is a privilege, not a right. This year's crop of dream places to visit reflect that mindset -- from national parks to remote islands to lesser visited spots, mindfulness and respect for the Earth are part of the journey.
When Orville and Wilbur Wright first got their small plane aloft in 1903, it seems unlikely they would have imagined a world of scores of jetliners a day connecting the world's great cities or an eyeball scan replacing a paper passport.
When we look back on how far we've come, it makes us more grateful for where we are.
Let's all try to channel a sense of wonder if and when we're able to travel in 2022 and beyond.
ANTIGUA AND BARBUDA
Not only is the twin-island nation blessed with miles and miles of pristine white and pink sands -- Antigua famously has a beach for every day of the year -- its also lays claims to the longest running Sunday party in the Caribbean, which takes place at restored military lookout Shirley Heights.
Barbuda, the smaller of the two islands, was famously one of Princess Diana's favorite vacation spots, while veteran actor Robert De Niro co-owns a resort in the area with Australian billionaire James Packer.
Cricket is a massive deal here, so the England Tests, which are being held in Antigua in 2022, are one of the most anticipated events of the year. The official test match between England and the West Indies will take place at the stadium named after Antiguan cricketing legend Vivian Richards in March.
Antigua and Barbuda has been gaining recognition for its sustainability efforts in recent years thanks to a number of successful green initiatives. Single-use plastics are banned, while the "Green Corridor," a collection of environmentally friendly hotels, resorts and businesses has been established across the southwest coast of Antigua. -- Tamara Hardingham-Gill
BISSAGOS ISLANDS, GUINEA-BISSAU
Made up of 88 islands, of which just 23 are inhabited, this magical archipelago situated around 48 kilometers off the Guinea coast of western Africa is as unique as it gets.
The Bissagos Islands are run by a matriarchal society where women possess all the power. Here women choose their husbands, propose marriage, build their own homes and run the households.
The few tourists who are able to visit the UNESCO Biosphere Reserve are rewarded with immaculate beaches, expansive natural parks and calm blue waters.
The cluster of islands, which can be accessed by boat, ferry or light aircraft, also holds an extraordinary abundance of wildlife, including protected or rare species like the Nile crocodile, the common bottlenose dolphin and the African manatee, as well as about 500 species of birds.
Hurtigruten Expeditions, the company that founded expedition cruising in 1896, has added its first-ever African adventure to its 2022/23 lineup, with the Bissagos Islands among the list of destinations on the itinerary. -- THG
CAPE BRETON, NOVA SCOTIA
Connected to the Canadian mainland by a mile-long causeway, Nova Scotia's Cape Breton Island is famed for its scenic vistas and historic sites.
Spread over 10,311 square kilometers, it's no tiny dot in the ocean, either.
Island highlights include Cabot Trail, a scenic two-lane byway that snakes through Cape Breton Highlands National Park, where lush green hills and rusty red cliffs tower over rugged beaches; the impressive 18th-century Fortress of Louisbourg, once the capital of a French colony and today a living history museum; and culinary offerings, from modern fine dining to traditional community lobster suppers.
Why go now? In recent years, Canada has taken important steps to develop and promote indigenous tourism and Cape Breton is no exception. Visitors can immerse themselves in traditions of Cape Breton's Mi'kmaq -- a First Nations people who have lived in Canada's eastern Maritime region for over 10,000 years -- through a variety of offerings from the island's five First Nations communities. -- Karla Cripps
A long, thin strip between the Pacific Ocean and the Andes Mountains, Chile is a world leader in ecotourism and an outdoor adventurer's paradise.
In northern Chile, the Atacama is the place to go. Valle de la Luna features otherworldly landscapes, rock formations and surreal, colorful sunsets. Speaking of color, see vivid pink flamingos at Chaxa Lagoon. Both are located within Los Flamencos National Reserve.
Want something even wilder? Then head farther south to the Patagonian wilderness. Torres del Paine National Park is considered one of the crown jewels of Chile's park system. Its glaciers, waterfalls and wildlife are renowned.
The United Nations World Tourism Organization named two Chilean places in its list of "Best Tourism Villages" in 2021, which promotes sustainable development. They are Pica, known for its citrus fruits and hot springs, and Puerto Williams, the southernmost city in world.
2022 will mark 300 years since the Dutch arrival to the South Pacific island of Rapa Nui (AKA Easter Island). Famed for its giant stone faces, this special territory of Chile has been closed to visitors during the pandemic. But it's set to reopen to tourists in February. -- Forrest Brown
Colombo is usually misunderstood from the beginning.
Despite being Sri Lanka's biggest city, it isn't the capital (that would be Sri Jayewardenepura Kotte, which is a great fact to break out at your next pub quiz), and many travelers skip it over in favor of the island's gorgeous beaches and tea farms.
But in 2022 it's time to pay attention to the city's underrated design destinations, including late architect Geoffrey Bawa's home, which is now a mini museum and guest house called Number Eleven. The next year is bringing a spate of promising new hotels to the city, including properties by Amari, Grand Hyatt, Marriott, Sheraton and ITC.
Sri Lanka does have its share of delicious curries, but don't assume that the food is the same as in neighboring India.
Start the day by filling up on egg hoppers heaped with coconut sambal at the Palmyrah's lush breakfast banquet, head to the Pettah Floating Market to stock up on bananas in nearly every color of the rainbow, and end the day watching the beach sunset at the Galle Face Hotel sipping a grapefruit-infused take on a Negroni at the aptly named Traveller's Bar. Everything tastes better paired with the island's own ceylon teas.
Tour company Urban Adventures provides necessary historical context on the country's Sinhalese, Tamil and Malay cultures alongside the eats. -- Lilit Marcus
Thought Lyon was the capital of French cuisine? Not so fast -- Dijon has always been a huge foodie hub. The biggest city of the Bourgogne-Franche-Comté region is a glorious mishmash of timber-framed houses, magnificent 18th-century palaces and a soaring Gothic cathedral -- but it's also one of France's gastronomic capitals.
Fittingly enough, May 2022 sees the opening of the Cité Internationale de la Gastronomie et du Vin in Dijon -- a 70,000 square meter renovation of historic buildings from the 16th to the 18th centuries, turned into a complex devoted entirely to French food and wine.
New opening aside, there are plenty of other reasons to put Dijon on your to-do list. Venture out into the surrounding vineyards of the Burgundy region -- Beaune, half an hour south, is a top-tier wine town. Hit the Les Halles food market, designed by Gustave Eiffel (yes, he of tower fame) to sample the region's best ingredients. Go mustard tasting at La Moutarderie Edmond Fallot, going strong after 180 years, and try the gingerbread from Mulot et Petitjean, baked here since the 18th century.
Food and drink aside, there's the stunning Musée des Beaux-Arts de Dijon, where over 130,000 works of art are stored in the neoclassical Palace of the Dukes of Burgundy. -- Julia Buckley
DISKO BAY, GREENLAND
Waterfalls, remote hiking and panoramic views inspire some to call Greenland's Disko Island the Grand Canyon of the Arctic.
Whales, colossal icebergs, a fast-moving glacier and a whole lot of dog sleds define Disko Bay, on Greenland's western coast.
The town of Ilulissat, with its colorful houses, makes a great base for exploring, not least because it neighbors Ilulissat Icefjord. This dramatic fjord is a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site, partly because of its jaw-dropping splendor, and partly because of the scientific studies that have taken place here over the past 250 years, which helped scientists understand the impact of climate change.
The enormous icebergs that populate Ilulissat Icefjord stem from the Sermeq Kujalleq glacier -- local boat trips available in Disko Bay offer a chance to marvel at the icy scenes, and encourage travelers to consider why this region is sometimes called climate change's "Ground Zero."
Another boat trip will take you to Disko Island, with its striking black sand beaches, while back on the mainland, there's the recently opened Ilulissat Icefjord Centre to explore.
This new attraction seeks to educate visitors on the importance of the ice in the Disko Bay area, as well as champion the stories of the Inuit people -- who've lived off land and sea in the region for thousands of years -- and examine the ballooning impact of the climate crisis. The building is an attraction itself, designed by Danish architect Dorte Mandrup as a riot of glass, steel and curves that blend into the staggering landscape.
As tourism grows in Greenland, there are several airport projects in the works -- including a new air hub in Ilulissat. The goal is to make it easier for international travelers to explore the beautiful country in coming years, while also dispersing visitors around the country to avoid overtourism. -- Francesca Street
GABON NATIONAL PARKS
The Amazon gets more press, but the Congo Basin -- sometimes called "the lung of Africa" -- is the world's second-largest rainforest and is also a precious resource under threat from deforestation. More than 10% of Gabon, on Central Africa's Atlantic coastline, is given over to its 13 national parks -- and they're all celebrating their 20th anniversaries in 2022.
Accessible only by the Trans-Gabon railway or private plane, Ivindo -- this equatorial country's newest UNESCO World Heritage site -- comprises nearly 300,000 hectares of parkland crisscrossed by blackwater rivers, featuring impressive rapids and glorious waterfalls. Its remoteness means parts of the site are still to be explored, but the creatures that make their home here include gorillas, leopards, mandrills and pangolins, as well as the critically endangered forest elephant.
Loango National Park offers big-game fishing in the estuary and at sea, while Minkébé, at 7,000 square meters, is the country's largest. Pongara National Park has beautiful untouched beaches where leatherback turtles lay their eggs between November and March, while dolphins and humpback whales can be spotted in the dry season between July and October. -- Maureen O'Hare
A few years ago, Jordan's spectacular rock-carved ancient city of Petra was in danger of becoming a victim of its own success as the tourism industry threatened its delicate structures and lured Bedouin locals away from their traditional ways. Years of regional unrest followed by the pandemic mean Petra is now crying out for crowds.
Visitors will surely return to this gem, but there are opportunities to explore Jordan more sustainably. Other archaeological treasures, like the ruins of Jerash and Umm Qais deserve to be seen.
There's also the vast expanse of the Wadi Rum desert, best enjoyed with Bedouin guides who can share their knowledge of working in harmony with the epic landscape. A side trip for a salty float in the Dead Sea is also still worth it, not least to observe another delicate ecosystem under assault from modern life, this time rampant water extraction. -- Barry Neild
Finland is regularly ranked as the happiest place in the world, and there's a great deal to be cheerful about when it comes to the beautiful lakeside city of Lahti.
Situated 100 kilometers northeast of Helsinki, this destination is green in every sense. Finland's eighth-largest city is packed with beautiful forests, parks and reserves with incredible hiking trails and lookout points.
Lahti has also led the way in terms of environmental innovations, becoming the first Finnish city to be appointed as the European Green Capital after ditching coal as a source of fuel and offering its citizens free transport tickets and food as rewards for being eco-friendly.
Those who visit should certainly try out the tap water. The city's innovative groundwater system has been certified by UNESCO as "the world's best drinking water," and is used by award-winning Lahti-based Teerenpeli Brewery & Distillery, the oldest whiskey distillery in Finland.
In the spring of 2022, the brand new Lahti Museum of Visual Arts Malva will launch its first exhibits, while Lahti is to host the Ironman 70.3 World Championship for the first time in 2023. --THG
MUNGA-THIRRI-SIMPSON DESERT, AUSTRALIA
For those who've always wanted to experience a once-in-a-lifetime off-road challenge in Australia's Outback, the country's newest -- and now biggest -- national park awaits.
Hailed as a major conservation corridor in the heart of the nation, South Australia's Munga-Thirri-Simpson Desert National Park covers 36,000 square kilometers and includes parts of the famed Simpson Desert, which stretches into the state of Queensland and the Northern Territory. It was declared a national park in November 2021 and combines an existing regional reserve and a conservation park.
Now here's the challenging part: The only way to explore the Munga-Thirri-Simpson Desert National Park is with a high-clearance four-wheel drive vehicle, necessary to access its extensive network of playa lakes, stunning red dunes and bird-filled grasslands. Nights are spent camping out under the stars.
Drivers need to carry fuel, water and food reserves, as well as basic vehicle spare parts and recovery equipment, while a Desert Parks Pass is required to enter and camp in the park. In other words, self-sufficiency is key. Another important note to keep in mind when trip planning: The national park is closed from December 1 to March 15, when temperatures soar.
Travelers deterred by the logistical challenges can book one of several Simpson Desert tours departing from South Australia capital Adelaide. For instance, trips organized by Spirit Safaris also include stops at a variety of regional highlights, from historic pubs to restored railway ruins. -- KC
Cut Naples and it bleeds classic Italy. Pizza was born here; Sophia Loren was raised in its cobbled streets. Ancient ruins lie beneath modern suburbs. Scooters zigzag past faded-glory palazzos, built when the southern city was its own sovereign state. Hand gestures are an art form here. And that fabled Italian friendliness? This is where it is forged.
But why go now? Because Naples is booming. The centro storico is pulsating with energy. Sassy, non-cookie-cutter hotels are opening up -- like Atelier Inès, which is part jewelry workshop, part arty guesthouse.
Areas which were previously considered no-go for tourists are finally being seen in a different light. The Sanità district, once looked down on, is now the place to be -- visitors are flocking to its networks of ancient catacombs, and neighborhood artist Paolo La Motta is suddenly on display amid works by Louise Bourgeois and Anish Kapoor at the former royal palace of Capodimonte.
There's more to come: New archaeological sites are due to open in 2022 which, although under wraps for now, will shed new light on Greek and Roman Neapolis, as it was called back then. Outside the city, Pompeii is unveiling newly excavated ruins and new ideas -- like the Pompeii ArteBus, which shuttles visitors around nearby, lesser known villas, for free. Offshore, island Procida will be Italy's Capital of Culture for 2022. But really, this is Naples' year. -- JB
A trip to one of the world's most sought-after sightseeing spots should be about far more than the final destination. And that's where Ollantaytambo comes in.
This well-preserved town along the route to Machu Picchu in Peru's Sacred Valley boasts in own impressive Inca ruins and has recently been named one of the UNWTO's "Best Tourism Villages." The initiative recognizes places that have embraced tourism as a means to promote sustainable development and to safeguard rural villages "along with their landscapes, natural and cultural diversity, and their local values and activities."
There's a lot to safeguard here: An Inca fortress and temple dating to the 15th century that became the site of a rare defeat of Spanish conquistadores; a vibrant town that's also one of the best surviving examples of Inca city planning; the Inca storehouses of Pinkuylluna overlooking Ollantaytambo; and a nearby Inca quarry that gave rise to engineering marvels.
Because Ollanta, as it's often called, is at a lower elevation (2,792 meters or 9,160 feet) than the international arrivals gateway of Cusco (3,399 meters or 11,152 feet), it's also a better place to acclimate to the thin air of the Andes. Other intriguing spots in the Sacred Valley, including the mysterious circular Inca ruins at Moray -- thought to be an agricultural project -- and the terraced Maras salt mines, are nearby.
Tourism to Peru in 2020 dropped to just 20% of 2019 arrivals, but those numbers will creep back up as the world tackles Covid-19. 2022 just might be the year to plan a good, long, meandering trip of a lifetime before visitor numbers surge again. -- Marnie Hunter
ORKNEY ISLANDS, UK
Off the most northerly tip of Scotland, you'll find the Orkney Islands, a breathtaking archipelago with cliffs and crags dotted with seabirds, seals and fascinating archaeological sites.
Orkney comprises some 70 islands, of which 20 are unoccupied. The largest, Mainland, is home to a group of UNESCO-protected Neolithic monuments dating back 5,000 years, including the chambered tomb of Maeshowe and the enigmatic standing circle, Ring of Brodgar.
Other highlights include stargazing and Aurora-watching on North Ronaldsay, a recently designated Dark Sky island, and visiting the colorful Italian Chapel on uninhabited Lamb Holm, constructed out of Nissen huts by Italian Prisoners of War during World War II.
Meanwhile the St Magnus Way pilgrimage route, named for Orkney's patron saint, offers a great introduction to the islands' wild beauty, the route winding round rugged cliffs, taking in Iron Age brochs and culminating at Kirkwall's St Magnus Cathedral.
Travelers can hop between the Scottish mainland and Orkney, and between the individual islands, either on ferries or via air -- Orkney is home to the shortest commercial flight in the world, connecting the 1.7 miles between the islands of Westray and Papa Westray in just two minutes.
There's also hope that electric-powered aircraft could become a chief transportation source for the islands, as summer 2021 saw Ampaire's six-seater Cessna Skymaster aircraft undergo test flights on the archipelago. It's a natural next step for Orkney's islands, which are green in more ways than one -- the famously windy archipelago hosts more than 500 power-generating wind turbines. -- FS
Norwegian winters may be cold, but things are hotting up in Oslo. June 11 will see the opening of the new National Museum -- traditional and contemporary art, craft and design, making it the biggest art museum in the Nordic countries. The 5,000-object collections of three previously existing museums have been collated under one thoroughly modern roof, just behind the city waterfront, with views of the inner Oslo fjord from its rooftop terrace.
That'll join the new Munch Museum, which opened in October 2021 under its rebranding as, simply, MUNCH. Not only has it given more space to the artist's work, with 11 exhibition spaces providing room to show works that had previously been in storage, there are also areas for temporary exhibitions. Those kicked off with Tracey Emin's phenomenal show, "The Loneliness of the Soul," transferred from London's Royal Academy, in which she explores her lifelong fascination with Munch.
The building itself packs a punch, too. Designed by Estudio Herreros, a Madrid architectural company, it's part of Oslo's longterm waterfront regeneration project. Want to escape the city? Instead of the water, try heading inland. Three hours west is Rjukan, a mountain-wrapped town where "sun mirrors" on the peaks reflect light down into town during the otherwise dark winter months, and an accessible Cold War-era funicular pulls tourists deep into Mount Gausta and then up onto its peak. -- JB
In 2021, Palau had one of the world's only successful "travel bubbles" with its fellow Pacific island of Taiwan. One of the reasons Palau has been able to pull off a small reopening to tourism is that sustainability isn't just a priority -- it is baked into everything that happens in this precarious 153-square-mile paradise.
Every visitor to the country must sign the Palau Pledge, a vow to behave responsibly while traveling and do one's part to care for the environment -- which can include everything from not using plastic bags to only packing sunscreens that meet the country's high standards. The pledge was written by Palauan schoolchildren -- another reminder that the decisions we make affect not just us but the generations to come.
The commitment to preserving the environment makes sense when you see how much breathtaking, diverse landscape Palau has to offer.
Jellyfish Lake, which was closed to visitors for several years in order to let the titular jellyfish population return to acceptable levels, is open again.
The island's lone UNESCO World Heritage Site is a blockbuster: Rock Islands Southern Lagoon, an expanse of more than 400 islands which are home to some of the world's rarest corals, as well as a range of birds, fish and sharks. -- LM
The pandemic has left many of us longing for epic culinary-focused journeys, and Penang ranks up there with Asia's best.
This Malaysian island in the Andaman Sea offers a wide mix of traditional Malay, Chinese and Indian dishes. And then there's Baba Nyonya -- a.k.a. Peranakan -- cuisine, which incorporates regional ingredients and Chinese and Malay cooking methods.
All of it can be found in hawker centers and shop houses throughout Penang's capital, George Town, which is filled with historic buildings, from old English mansions to classical Chinese shop houses and Islamic mosques.
But there's so much more than just food and architecture to sustain wanderlust appetites on this 295-square-mile island.
In September 2021, the popular Penang Hill was designated a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve.
Home to Penang's highest point, it's filled with excellent hiking trails that stretch from its peak down to the lovely botanical gardens, which were created in 1884 and serve as a repository of Penang Hill's flora and fauna -- including more than 200 species of orchids.
Leading conservation efforts is The Habitat Penang Hill, a world-class rainforest discovery center that offers guided walks and zipline tours. -- KC
We've all had a bad year. Hell, we've all had a bad two years. Yet it's hard not to feel a strong surge of empathy for South Africa.
While many destinations at least benefited from summer Covid lulls to revive traveler numbers, South Africa's November-March peak season has meant that most of its would-be visitors have been stuck at home, battling winter virus spikes.
To cap it all, in gratitude for South African scientists quickly identifying and warning about the Omicron variant, much of the rest of the world cut off all travel contact, delivering a pointless blow to the country's already beleaguered tourism industry.
For those reasons alone, if it's safe to visit in 2022, South Africa deserves to be near the top of anyone's wish list. All those things that make it special -- from beaches to big game safaris, wine to whale spotting, township tours to hiking trails -- are all still there. And there are plenty of unexplored gems to experience if it does get busy: beach city Gqeberha, the Drakensberg mountains in KwaZulu-Natal, the scenic Panorama and Garden Route driving trails. -- BN
ST EUSTATIUS, NETHERLANDS
It seems impossible there's a Caribbean island you haven't heard of, but St Eustatius is just that -- unless you're Dutch, as the island is a municipality of the Netherlands.
The centerpiece of "Statia," as it is known to locals, is Quill, a dormant volcano whose sloping sides make for excellent hikes -- as well as sweeping scenic views of this eight-square-mile pearl in the sea.
Until now, most travelers to St Eustatius were divers eager to explore the shipwrecks and coral reefs as well as get up close to barracudas and sharks in the unspoiled waters. But that will likely change in 2022 with the opening of a new luxury hotel called Golden Rock -- after the island's nickname.
On top of that, it's easier to get here than ever thanks to new ferry routes connecting the island with Saba, St Maarten and St Kitts. -- LM
Tulsa, Oklahoma's big travel news of note in 2022 will be the opening of the Bob Dylan Center, scheduled for May 10.
The center will house more than 100,000 cultural treasures created and owned by Dylan over seven decades. Covering his career in folk and rock, the displays will show original manuscripts, unreleased recordings and film performances, photos and more. It's being built in Tulsa's Arts District, close to another center devoted to Dylan hero and folk musician Woody Guthrie.
Last year was the 100th anniversary of the Tulsa Race Massacre. Visit the John Hope Franklin Reconciliation Park, part of the National Park Service, and the newly opened Greenwood Rising to learn more.
Love the outdoors? You'll be in the right place. Tulsa is set in gently rolling terrain at the edge of the Great Plains to the west and the Ozark Mountains to the east. Inside the city are the Turkey Mountain Urban Wilderness Area, with rugged trails and steep grades to provide a thorough hike, and River Parks, with miles of paved trails that follow the Arkansas River. -- FB
This year, give the thronging streets of Barcelona a rest and head a few hours south along Spain's southeastern coastline to the port city of Valencia, World Design Capital for 2022.
Home to a population of around 800,000, it's Spain's third-largest city and it aims to be an emission-neutral destination by 2025.
The City of Arts and Sciences, designed by Valencian architect Santiago Calatrava, is a vast futuristic complex featuring a planetarium, science museum and Europe's largest aquarium. From there, you can cycle or stroll across the whole of Valencia through the nine-kilometer-long Turia Garden, built on the former bed of the Turia River.
Valencia is the birthplace of paella, and you'll find the iconic Spanish dish for sale everywhere. For fine dining, local chef Ricard Camarena's eponymous restaurant has been awarded two Michelin stars, one of which is a green star for sustainability -- the first eatery in the city to be awarded the honor.
Finally, if you visit in March, you'll get the chance to experience the annual Las Fallas Festival which, when Covid permits, is a five-day street party involving fireworks and the burning of wooden and cardboard sculptures. -- MO
YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK
Geysers, hot springs, mudpots and fumaroles. Bears, wolves, bison and elk. The world's first national park holds enough wonders and curiosities to warrant many repeat visits.
And in 2022, Yellowstone will mark 150 years as a national park. Originally slated to be a state park, Yellowstone earned its national park status in 1872 because the land it stretched across was part of three territories, none of which was yet a state. Today's park -- 96% in Wyoming, 3% in Montana and 1% in Idaho -- encompasses 2.2 million acres.
That's a lot to discover. Its hydrothermal features alone number some 10,000. Grand Prismatic Spring at Midway Geyser Basin is a stunner with bright rings of orange, yellow and green rimming its deep blue center, and of course watching Old Faithful erupt is a Yellowstone tradition.
Add encounters with formidable wildlife -- keep your distance, please -- and you've got an incredible crowd-pleaser with visitor numbers to match. (More than a million people visited the park in July 2021, the busiest month in the park's history.)
Getting to top natural attractions early in the morning or later in the afternoon and visiting in the spring and fall can mean fewer people.
The park plans to celebrate 150 Years of Yellowstone with a series of activities, concentrated from March to August, that highlight the land's tribal connections, examine successes and challenges in its ecosystems and look to the future. An emphasis on stewardship and visiting responsibly will encourage visitors to do their part to help protect the park for generations to come. -- MH
- Source CNN
Globe Aware volunteers planning to get their passports should know that the US passport book will shoot up by $20. The US State Department announced that "the increased fee is necessary to ensure we continue to produce one of the most secure travel and identity documents in the world."
Fees for US passports are about to pop way up
December 22, 2021
(CNN) — It seems few things are escaping the scourge of inflation these days -- and that will soon include US passports.
On December 27, the fee for a US passport book will shoot up by $20 for all customers, the US State Department has announced.
Why the price hike?
In a tweet, the State Department said, "The increased fee is necessary to ensure we continue to produce one of the most secure travel and identity documents in the world."
How much will this cost you in total?
There are several personal factors that go into the cost calculation -- including the type of passport you want, whether you're renewing or getting your first one, and how fast you need it.
One example: For an adult renewing a US passport book by mail, the current fee is $110. Adding in the extra 20 bucks starting next week, and you're looking at $130, or an 18.2% increase.
For comparison, consumer price inflation rose by 6.8% without seasonal adjustments over the 12 months ended November.
You can quickly learn how much one will cost you at this State Department fee calculator.
Mail vs. online
Even in late 2021, mail is still the standard way to get a passport.
But last week, President Joe Biden signed an executive order instructing government agencies to come up with systems that provide more efficient customer service.
For current US passport holders, that would eventually allow them to renew their books entirely online.
The order gave US agencies 180 days to report the status of their efforts to the President.
Where will this passport take you?
Before the pandemic, the United States was close to the top of the "best passport" list, providing access to 184 destinations in 2019.
Then in the summer of 2020, when the pandemic was still relatively new and borders were closed in many places, that US passport allowed you in to a very limited number of places. Mexico and Turkey were two of the bigger travel names on a small list of options.
Since then, that list has grown -- and sometimes contracted -- responding to ebbs and flows of the pandemic.
There are still popular places US citizens can't visit for leisure travel: Japan, for instance. But overall, US passport holders -- especially those who are fully vaccinated -- have a much wider selection of foreign destinations now than a year and half ago, even with the Omicron variant of the coronavirus causing worldwide concern.
Argentina and Canada opened up to American passport holders in more recent months. Much of the Americas and Europe are open. There are a good number of choices in Africa. Asia and the Australia/Pacific region have the fewest options, still.
- Source CNN
The Biden administration is planning on lifting restrictions on eight southern African countries on December 31 at 12:01 a.m. ET. Globe Aware volunteers should know that these eight countries (which include South Africa, Malawi & Zimbabwe) will be subject to the same coronavirus travel protocols the US has imposed on other countries.
Biden to lift travel restrictions on southern African countries that were put in place due to Omicron
By Jeremy Diamond
December 24, 2021
Washington (CNN)The Biden administration is lifting restrictions on eight southern African countries that were put in place last month after the Omicron variant was first identified in South Africa, two administration officials told CNN.
The restrictions will lift on December 31 at 12:01 a.m. ET, the officials said. News of the lifted restrictions was first reported by Reuters.
President Joe Biden ordered the restrictions in late November on the advice of his public health officials, cutting off most travel from South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Lesotho, Eswatini, Mozambique and Malawi. The measures barred nearly all foreign nationals who had been "physically present" in the countries during the "14-day period preceding their entry, or attempted entry into the United States." US citizens, lawful permanent residents and noncitizens who are the spouses of citizens or permanent residents were exempt.
Biden and his coronavirus response team stressed at the time that the measure was a temporary effort to slow the spread of the Omicron variant and give US officials time to assess the variant and prepare for it to hit the US. But the measure still faced criticism after it became clear that Omicron was already spreading in several non-African countries before it was identified in South Africa, which has a strong public health surveillance system.
The restrictions came under increased scrutiny in recent weeks as Omicron was identified in the US and particularly as it became the dominant variant in the last week.
"At the time these restrictions were put in place, it was clear that there was widespread community transmission in South Africa, as well as a great deal of cross-border travel in the region and little surveillance in many of the countries near South Africa," a senior administration official said.
Biden said Tuesday that he was "considering" lifting the restrictions and officials said Biden had been urged in recent days to reverse the ban.
A senior administration official said the US Centers for Disease Control recommended the restrictions be lifted for two key reasons.
"First, our nation's health officials have made progress in understanding Omicron; importantly, our existing vaccines are effective against severe disease with Omicron, especially if you're boosted. Second, with Omicron now present across the US and globally, international travelers from these countries will not have a significant impact on US cases," the official said.
The eight countries will now be subject to the same coronavirus travel protocols the US has imposed on other countries, requiring foreigners be fully vaccinated and that all travelers get a negative coronavirus test within one day of departure to the US.
- Source CNN
Cambodia's Siem Reap International Airport has finally welcomed its first international passenger flight for the first time in 20 months. Siem Reap should get more visitors after the reopening of international flights, and come out as Cambodia's top leisure and cultural destination for Globe Aware volunteers.
Cambodia welcomes its first international flight for the first time in 20 months
Cambodia's Siem Reap International Airport has finally welcomed its first international passenger flight for the first time in 20 months. The inaugural flight flew in from Singapore, and landed in Siem Reap airport at 9:45 am on Friday. Siem Reap is one of the three international airports operating in Cambodia.
Singapore International Airport said in a statement, "This is the first international flight to Siem Reap since March 2020. The re-launch of the service will help to rebuild air traffic between the two countries following the challenging months arising from the pandemic."
Singapore International Airport is going go operate daily flights between Singapore and Siem Reap. The Vaccinated Travel Lane (VTL) flights are expected to operate four times weekly. It has been reported that the flights will offer quarantine-free entry into Singapore for those travellers who are eligible. The VTL flight, SQ163 will be operating every Monday, Friday, and Sunday.
Zechariah Chai, General Manager for Singapore Airlines Cambodia said, "The re-introduction of international services between Singapore and Siem Reap is great news for our customers, who can resume travel between the cities and connect on to other destinations in our network."
Siem Reap should get more visitors after the reopening of international flights, and come out as Cambodia's top leisure and cultural destination. This is also a good opportunity for travellers to travel between Cambodia and other international destinations with the help of an extensive global flight network.
- Source Times of India
Different countries and territories have taken different approaches toward preventing the spread of the new Omicron variant. Here are the most up-to-date information for Globe Aware volunteers, but please be aware that governments can change their regulations on a moment's notice.
Travel restrictions by country following the Omicron variant outbreak
Lilit Marcus and Barry Neild
December 4, 2021
(CNN) — Just as many countries around the world were beginning to loosen their border restrictions, reports of a newly detected coronavirus variant in South Africa sent many of those doors slamming shut again.
The new B.1.1.529 variant was named Omicron by the World Health Organization on November 26.
Different countries and territories have taken different approaches toward preventing the spread of this new variant.
The most up-to-date information is below, but please be aware that governments can change their regulations on a moment's notice. Check back for further updates.
Angola announced on Saturday that it will close its borders with seven countries in southern Africa in an effort to prevent the spread of the new Omicron variant, according to state media.
Angola's border will be closed to South Africa, Botswana, Lesotho, Eswatini, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Tanzania and Zimbabwe will be closed until January 5, 2022.
Passengers entering Argentina who have been anywhere on the African continent within the last 14 days before their arrival to the country must undergo a mandatory 14-day quarantine upon landing.
They must also show proof of being fully vaccinated and a negative PCR test done within 72 hours before departure. Upon arrival in Argentina, they must take an antigen test. Travelers who are not citizens or residents of Argentina will be required to prove they have health insurance that will cover Covid-19.
Australian officials have suspended all inbound and outbound flights to Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Seychelles, South Africa and Zimbabwe for at least 14 days and has banned foreigners with a travel history to these locations within the previous two weeks from entering.
Quarantine rules are still in places for the few people allowed to enter the country. Australian citizens and fully vaccinated visa holders may enter, but foreigners must quarantine in a hotel for up to 14 days. Some locals are allowed to quarantine at home, but each state has its own guidelines.
Meanwhile, the state of Tasmania is barring people who have been in any overseas location -- except for New Zealand's South Island -- from entering.
Brazil's Presidential Chief of Staff Ciro Nogueira has said his country's air borders with South Africa, Botswana, Swatini, Lesotho, Namibia and Zimbabwe are now closed.
The measure, announced Friday, came despite President Jair Bolsonaro previously stating he would not support such border closures.
Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos has announced that any non-Canadian who has been in South Africa, Mozambique, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Lesotho and/or Eswatini from November 12 onward will be barred from entering the country. Canadian citizens or permanent residents who have been to one of those countries will still be allowed to come home, but with strict rules: they must have a negative PCR test to board their flight to Canada, must take another virus test upon arrival, quarantine at a hotel until they have a confirmed negative test result, and then quarantine at their residence for another 14 days.
Anyone who has visited Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Malawi, Angola and/or Zambia in the past 21 days will be denied entry into the country as of December 2.
Chile has banned the entry of anyone who has spent time in the past 14 days in Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe. Chile residents who have been any of the affected territories must submit to testing on arrival and quarantine for seven days.
One country not making major changes amid the Omicron news is China, likely due to the fact that its travel restrictions are already extremely tight with few if any foreigners able to enter the country. Zhong Nanshan, a top respiratory disease expert and government adviser, said China has no plans to take any "major action" in response to the Omicron variant.
Hong Kong, meanwhile, strengthened its already tight restrictions, banning any foreigners who have visited South Africa, Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia and Zimbabwe in the past 21 days. Any Hong Kong residents arriving from the southern African countries will have to spend seven days in a government quarantine facility where they will undergo daily virus testing and be monitored by health professionals. After the seven days, they'll be required to continue quarantine for 14 days at a designated hotel.
Denmark has advised its citizens against all travel to Angola, Malawi, South Africa, Lesotho, Eswatini, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Botswana and Namibia, and introduced a mandatory 10-quarantine and testing regime for anyone who has visited them in the past 10 days.
All travelers who have stayed in any of the seven nations within 10 days before entry to Denmark must be tested and go into isolation for 10 days after entry, according to the Danish Foreign Affairs Ministry. Isolation can be broken on the 6th day after two negative PCR tests (on day 4 and 6).
Foreigners without a permanent residence in Denmark must have a worthy purpose to travel to Denmark and can only enter if they can present a negative PCR-test taken a maximum of 72 hours before the time of entry, according to the Foreign Ministry.
Egypt says it has stopped direct flights from a number of southern African countries, including: South Africa, Lesotho, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Namibia and Eswatini.
Fiji is tightening its border regulations. The southern African countries were already on its "red list," but now only Fijian citizens can enter the country if they have been to one of the red-listed nations. In addition, they will now have to quarantine for 14 days upon arrival, with PCR tests carried out on days 5 and 12.
Riaz Hassan, a spokesperson for Fiji's Ministry of Health and Medical Services, told CNN the new restrictions will not affect the country's plans to reopen to tourists December 1.
France has suspended all flights from South Africa, Lesotho, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Namibia and Eswatini.
Germany has banned all flights from Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.
Greece will allow only essential travel from South Africa, Lesotho, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Mozambique, Eswatini, Zambia and Malawi, the country's health ministry said Friday in a statement.
Travelers will have to have a special permit from the local Greek embassies and diplomatic missions to travel, the ministry said, adding that on arrival they will be tested and put in quarantine hotels for 10 days after which they'll be tested again.
Beginning December 1, all international passengers must submit a self-declaration form to an online government portal that includes a 14-day travel history and a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours prior to their departure, according to guidelines issued by India's Health Ministry.
Travelers from countries deemed "at risk" will also now face further testing and surveillance, including a PCR test on arrival. They will also have to quarantine at home for seven days.
As of November 26, "at-risk" countries include South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe, as well as "countries in Europe including the United Kingdom," Brazil, Bangladesh, China, Mauritius, New Zealand, Singapore, Hong Kong and Israel.
Indonesia says it is banning the arrival of any foreigners who have spent time in the last 14 days in South Africa, Botswana, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Lesotho, Mozambique, Eswatini and Nigeria. Any Indonesian nationals who have traveled to those countries will be required to quarantine for 14 days on arrival.
Ireland says it is imposing mandatory quarantine for anyone arriving from Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe. Irish residents arriving from affected countries will be allowed to isolate at home.
Israel has the distinction of being the first country to close its borders following news of the Omicron variant less than three months after the Middle Eastern country began allowing tourists back in. Israeli citizens can come back to the country but will have to quarantine, even if fully vaccinated.
Italy has restricted the arrival of anyone who has been in South Africa, Lesotho, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Namibia, Eswatini during the last 14 days.
As of November 30, Japan's borders are closed to any non-citizens, including international students, short-term residents (those already in the country can stay), or people visiting family.
Kuwait on Saturday halted direct commercial flights from South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Lesotho, Eswatini, Zambia and Malawi, and advised against all travel, particularly to southern Africa. Kuwaiti nationals arriving from affected countries must spend seven days in quarantine, while non-Kuwaitis would not be permitted to enter within 14 days of visiting the listed countries.
Tourists who have traveled to or transited for more than 12 hours through South Africa, Namibia, Mozambique, Lesotho, Botswana, Zimbabwe, and Eswatini within the past 14 days will be denied entry into the country as of Sunday, the Health Ministry said.
Nationals of the Maldives and long-term visa holders arriving from these countries will still be allowed to enter, but will have to undergo a mandatory 14-day quarantine with virus testing.
Malta has banned travel to and from South Africa, Nambia, Lesotho, Botswana, Eswatini and Zimbabwe.
The Kingdom of Morocco has suspended all incoming international flights for a two-week period beginning midnight November 29.
The Netherlands has imposed a flight ban on the southern African region following reports of the new variant. Anyone entering the Netherlands who has been to one of those countries is required to quarantine at a government-selected hotel. Two people have already been arrested for violating this policy.
As of December 3, Nepal will not issue tourist visas to passengers from South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Lesotho, Eswatini, Mozambique, Malawi and Hong Kong.
The country's health ministry has recommended that Nepalis do not travel internationally unless it is an urgent situation, but there are no outright bans in place for outgoing passengers.
Only New Zealand citizens are allowed to travel from South Africa, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Lesotho, Eswatini, Seychelles, Malawi and Mozambique as of 11:59 p.m. local time on November 28.
Travelers from these countries are required to stay in managed isolation quarantine for 14 days and undergo testing, New Zealand's Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said in a statement.
Oman has suspended incoming flights from the following countries: South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Lesotho, Eswatini, and Mozambique, according to local media.
Anyone who has visited the seven countries within the past 14 days will also be banned from entry.
Pakistan announced on Saturday that it would be closing its borders to arrivals from South Africa, Hong Kong, Mozambique, Namibia, Lesotho and Botswana. Pakistani citizens returning from affected countries will be permitted entry if they're vaccinated and produce negative results taken from before and after travel.
The Philippines has suspended inbound flights from South Africa, Botswana, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Lesotho, Eswatini and Mozambique until December 15.
Beginning November 28, non-Russians who have traveled in Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Madagascar, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Tanzania and Zimbabwe are not allowed to enter the country. Russian nationals who have been to one of those countries -- or in Hong Kong, mainland China, Israel or the United Kingdom -- are permitted to enter but are required to take a PCR test upon arrival and self-isolate until they have a confirmed negative result.
Rwanda on Sunday announced a temporary suspension of direct flights to and from southern Africa. Anyone arriving from affected countries will be required to quarantine for seven days.
Saudi Arabia has suspended air connections with South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Lesotho and Eswatini. Anyone who has spent any of the past 14 days in affected countries will be barred from entry. Saudi citizens who have visited the region must quarantine for five days on arrival.
Arrivals from South Africa, Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, and Zimbabwe are greatly restricted as of November 28.
Anyone who is not a Singaporean passport or residency holder who has visited at least one of those countries will not be permitted to enter Singapore or transit through the airport there. Singaporean citizens and residents who have visited one of the countries can still return home but are subject to a 10-day quarantine.
Passengers arriving to Spain from Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe will have to quarantine for 10 days, with the possibility to leave isolation after a virus test on day seven. The new rules will be in place for 14 days, and could be extended further.
Passengers who are residents in the EU, Schengen space, Andorra, Monaco, Vaticano and el Marino, and who are transiting through to Spain to reach these countries, are exempt from the new rules, as well as airline crew members.
Sri Lanka has banned the arrival of any foreigners who has been in South Africa, Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia, Zimbabwe and Eswatini in the past 14 days. Sri Lankan citizens arriving from the listed countries must spend 14 days in quarantine at home.
Thai authorities have confirmed that they will ban travel from Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe starting from December.
Turkey on Friday issued a ban on arrivals from Botswana, South Africa, Mozambique, Namibia and Zimbabwe.
Dubai is restricting travelers originating from or transiting from South Africa, Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe, according to Emirates airline.
Outbound passenger flights from Dubai to the countries listed however are permitted, the statement said.
Six countries have been added to the UK's "red" list: South Africa, Botswana, Lesotho, Eswatini, Zimbabwe and Namibia. UK or Irish citizens or permanent residents returning from a red-listed country must quarantine in a hotel for 10 days, regardless of vaccination status. Citizens of other countries who have visited a red-list destination will not be able to enter at all.
As of 4 a.m. December 6, only UK, Irish citizens and residents will be allowed to travel from Nigeria and must isolate in a managed quarantine facility.
A day later, arrivals from countries not on the red list will be required to take a pre-departure test, regardless of their vaccination status.
Anyone entering the UK must now quarantine until they receive the results of a PCR test taken on their second day in the country. Anyone testing positive faces a 10-day quarantine.
President Joe Biden said "I've decided we're going to be cautious," before announcing restrictions against non-citizens entering the United States from South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Lesotho, Eswatini, Mozambique and Malawi.
Vietnam has suspended international arrivals from South Africa, Botswana, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Eswatini, Lesotho and Mozambique, as well as the issuing of visas for passengers coming from these countries, state media reported.
- Source CNN
India has extended the suspension of scheduled international flights through 31 January 2022 over concerns of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus. Globe Aware volunteers will be updated when our India dates will be available for booking.
India extends international flight ban to January 2022
By Alfred Chua
India has extended the suspension of scheduled international flights through 31 January 2022 — days before it was due to reopen its borders — over concerns of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus.
A notice from the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) of India adds that the flight ban will not apply to cargo flights and passenger flights “specifically approved” by the authorities.
It also states that it would allow selected scheduled flights “on a case by case basis”.
India was due to lift the ban on scheduled international flights — first imposed at the onset of the coronavirus outbreak in 2020 — on 15 December, according to a 26 November DGCA announcement. However, days later, as infections from the Omicron variant grew around the world, the DGCA announced tightened measures for incoming arrivals.
On 1 December, the authority said it would delay border reopening indefinitely, citing the “evolving global scenario”.
While scheduled flights are largely banned, India has “travel bubble” arrangements with a number of countries. Most recently, it opened its borders to Singapore under the latter’s Vaccinated Travel Lane scheme for fully-vaccinated traveller.
- Source FLIGHTGLOBAL
Prime Minister Hun Sen made an unexpected announcement that all fully vaccinated international travelers could visit the whole of Cambodia freely without quarantine from now on. All travelers, including Globe Aware volunteers, would have to show two negative Covid tests -- one taken no less than 72 hours before travel and one on arrival in Cambodia.
Cambodia re-opens to fully vaccinated travellers
15 NOV 2021
PHNOM PENH: Cambodia has announced that fully vaccinated foreign travellers can visit the kingdom without quarantine from Monday, giving a boost to the Covid-hobbled tourism industry.
Travel restrictions imposed to tackle the pandemic put the brakes on Cambodia's burgeoning tourism industry -- revenue plummeted to $1 billion last year, down from nearly $5 billion in 2019, when the country attracted 6.6 million visitors.
Prime Minister Hun Sen made an unexpected announcement on Sunday night that all fully vaccinated international travellers, tourists and businesspeople could visit the whole of Cambodia freely without quarantine from Monday.
The decision overrode the previous reopening plan, under which popular beach spots Sihanoukville and the island of Koh Rong, as well as Dara Sakor -- a Chinese-developed resort zone -- were set to welcome visitors from Nov 30.
And the reopening of Siem Reap -- the gateway to the world heritage-listed Angkor Wat complex -- is brought forward from January.
Hun Sen said travellers would have to show two negative Covid tests -- one taken no less than 72 hours before travel and one on arrival in Cambodia.
"When they arrive and we see they have received two doses of vaccine, we will take swabs for rapid tests. After results show they are free of Covid-19, they are allowed to travel across Cambodia," Hun Sen said in an audio message posted on his Facebook page.
"I order the ministry of health, the ministry of tourism and relevant sectors to implement these measures from November 15, 2021 onwards," he said, adding that the move was a quick way to re-open the country.
Hor Sophea, a tour guide at Angkor Wat, welcomed the move.
"It is a positive step for the survival of our tourism," she told AFP.
Unvaccinated travellers will have to quarantine for 14 days, Hun Sen said.
Cambodia was spared the worst of the pandemic in 2020, but has recorded the bulk of its nearly 120,000 cases since April this year.
The country has won praise for its swift vaccination programme -- 88 per cent of its more than 16 million population have been fully jabbed.
- Source Bangkok Post
US officials are tightening travel regulations again after the discovery of the Omicron variant in late November. Globe Aware volunteers should know about the two new measures that have been put in place by the U.S. government before traveling.
New US travel rules: What you need to know about the changes prompted by Omicron
Marnie Hunter and Forrest Brown
December 6, 2021
(CNN) — Just when we thought US travel rules were starting to stabilize, along comes Omicron.
The dominoes fell quickly after South African health authorities informed the world of their discovery of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus in late November.
The Biden administration rolled out controversial travel bans on arrivals from eight nations in southern Africa. Travelers found themselves unexpectedly stranded. And now US officials are tightening travel regulations again.
Things are changing by the day and even by the hour, but here's what we know about the US travel rules effective as of Monday:
Are testing rules for entry into the US changing?
Yes, all inbound international travelers are now required to test within one day of departure for the United States starting Monday.
All flights departing after 12:01 a.m. ET December 6 will abide by a new CDC testing order.
This new testing time frame will apply to everyone, "regardless of nationality or vaccination status," the plan outlined on the White House website says.
Documentation of having recovered from Covid-19 in the past 90 days is also accepted.
There is still a requirement for foreign travelers arriving in the United States to be fully vaccinated.
Before the new rule went into effect, all vaccinated travelers were required to test within three days of their departure.
Unvaccinated Americans and legal permanent residents are allowed to enter the country with a test taken within one day of departing for the United States. The new rule makes the testing time frame one day for everyone.
Biden also announced that the federal mask mandate requiring travelers to wear masks in airports, on planes and on other modes of public transportation such as trains and buses has been extended through March 18.
Does 'one day' mean 24 hours?
No. Per the CDC, the "one day" time frame is used to "provide more flexibility to the air passenger and aircraft operator."
Acceptance of the test does not depend on the time of the flight or the time of day the test sample was taken.
"For example, if your flight is at 1 p.m. on a Friday, you could board with a negative test that was taken any time on the prior Thursday," the CDC says on its website.
Does the testing requirement apply to children?
Yes, it applies to all air passenger 2 years or older flying into the United States.
Does it apply to land border and seaport arrivals?
No, the requirement is just for air travelers.
Is there a post-arrival testing or quarantine requirement?
There is not. "We're not announcing any steps on post-arrival testing and quarantine," a senior administration official said in a press briefing on December 1.
"I will say -- look, if additional measures are recommended, if additional measures can be implemented well and are effective, we won't hesitate to take them, but we're not taking them today," the official said, according to a White House transcript of that briefing.
What countries fall under the new US travel ban?
The travel bans announced on November 26 bar entry into the US of noncitizens coming from eight countries in southern Africa. They are Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe.
On November 27, the CDC placed them all at Level 4 "very high" risk for Covid-19. (Botswana was already at Level 4 because of its caseload -- more than 500 per 100,000 residents in the past 28 days.)
Citizens of those nations and citizens of other nations who have been traveling there in the past 14 days are currently not allowed entry into the United States.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said on Sunday that the travel ban is being reevaluated every day, and the US government is aware of the hardship it has placed on those countries.
Fauci, Biden's chief medical adviser, said the ban was put in place when the US was "in the dark" and just learning about a surge in cases in South Africa because of the Omicron variant; the ban was meant to provide time to assess the situation.
Can US citizens already in those nations return?
Yes they can.
Per the White House proclamation, the CDC says that "citizens and lawful permanent residents of the United States, certain family members, and other individuals who meet specified exceptions, who have been in one of the countries listed above in the past 14 days will be allowed to enter the United States."
A negative Covid-19 test taken within one day of their departure for the US is required.
Can US citizens still travel to the banned nations?
At least two US carriers are still flying back and forth from South Africa, for example. Delta Air Lines is still offering Atlanta-Johannesburg service, and United Airlines is still offering Newark-Johannesburg service.
United Airlines is also resuming nonstop service between Newark and Cape Town, according to a news release from South African Tourism. The release also said, "we would like to emphasize that our country remains open for all those travelers who wish to visit."
An American family stuck in Johannesburg, South Africa, amid new Covid-19 travel restrictions talk about their experience in trying to get back home.
Whether it's advisable to go is another matter. The CDC advises against it.
You might also encounter new travel barriers. For instance, Zimbabwe imposed a lockdown and mandatory quarantine on Tuesday, November 30, for travelers, state-run news agency NewZiana reported.
Going to southern African nations while bans are in place around the world might cause you to be banned from going to other countries. For instance, the United Kingdom is not allowing anyone who has been to "red list "countries -- which include Angola and Zambia as well as the eight discussed above -- from entering except its own returning citizens.
Argentina, Canada, Italy and other nations also have put bans in place, each with their own specific parameters.
What is the US doing to detect the virus?
The CDC said it would expand Omicron surveillance at four major US international airports.
The CDC has also recently directed airlines carrying passengers that have been to certain southern African nations to share those passengers' contact information with the agency.
Airlines have already been gathering contact information from passengers under a CDC contact tracing order that has been in effect since November 8.
CNN Travel will update this article as new information becomes available and rules change. CNN's Wayne Chang, Kaitlan Collins, Jamie Gumbrecht, Jacqueline Howard, Pete Muntean, Megan Vazquez and Greg Wallace contributed to this report.
- Source CNN
Globe Aware volunteers can consider booking India for travel in 2022. India will resume international flights to all countries from December 15, after a gap of 20 months, though there will be restrictions on the number of flights permitted from a country depending on its health risk status.
Come December 15, India will resume scheduled international flights
NOVEMBER 26, 2021
India will resume international flights to all countries from December 15, after a gap of 20 months, though there will be restrictions on the number of flights permitted from a country depending on its health risk status.
Key destinations for Indians such as U.S., Canada, Australia, UAE, Saudi Arabia, Thailand, and Sri Lanka are permitted to have 100% of pre-COVID capacity. Europe and countries like Singapore will be allowed 75% of pre-COVID flights, while China and Hong Kong will be allowed 50% of pre-COVID flights. India has air-service pacts with at least 109 countries.
The decision, however, comes even as several countries are tightening travel restrictions after a new coronavirus variant has been identified in South Africa.
Fares likely to drop
The announcement is likely to result in a fall in airfares on key routes, as well as allow travellers to take via flights, which was banned under the air bubble arrangements India signed with 31 countries as an interim measure.
“Due to prevailing COVID-19 situation, the capacity entitlements shall be as per the category of countries based on enlistment of countries as at-risk from time to time by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare,” the Ministry of Civil Aviation said in an order issued on Friday.
Come December 15, India will resume scheduled international flights
It further added that countries outside the “at-risk” list will be allowed 100% of pre-COVID flights. Countries in the “at-risk” list, but with whom India has an air-bubble will be allowed 75% of pre-COVID flights, while those with which India doesn’t have air-bubbles will be allowed 50% of pre-pandemic flights.
The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare on Friday identified 11 countries as well as all of Europe as “at risk”. These 11 countries are South Africa, Brazil, Bangladesh, Botswana, China, Mauritius, New Zealand, Zimbabwe, Singapore, Hong Kong, Israel.
“In a market that is bursting with pent-up demand for international travel, and a tourism industry that has been starved of revenue, the opening up of our international travel routes is exactly the timely intervention that was required to give a boost to the millions of Indians who are dependent on this sector for their livelihood,” said Subhash Goyal, chairman STIC Travels.
“We welcome the resumption of flights under the bilateral agreements for many countries. There has to be some re-planning and re-scheduling by the airlines and this will take a day or two, perhaps longer for foreign carriers. Until the competitive situation on each route becomes clear it is difficult to predict the fare trajectory. In general though, more capacity is, of course, good news for the customers,” Willy Boulter, Chief Commercial Officer, IndiGo told The Hindu.
Several international carriers also welcomed India’s decision to revert to “bilaterally agreed capacity” as air-bubbles with selective countries had led to fears among airlines and in diplomatic circles that India was trying to revise bilateral agreements without negotiations.
“Demand for international flights to and from India remains high. The Lufthansa Airline and Swiss International Airlines, both part of Lufthansa Group, are looking forward to serve Indian customers with an increasing number of flights as quickly as possible. As one of the first countries in Asia to open up, India will have a clear advantage in recovering from the pandemic,” said George Ettiyil, Senior Director Sales for Lufthansa Group Airlines, South Asia.
- Source The Hindu
Globe Aware shares the latest updates from around the world. News includes that this week countries around the world imposed travel restrictions after the discovery of a new Covid-19 variant, Omnicron, in South Africa and more.
What we learned about global travel this week
27th November 2021
(CNN) — Countries around the world imposed travel restrictions after the discovery of a new Covid-19 variant in South Africa, more than 2.3 million Americans traveled by air on a single day for Thanksgiving, and in Asia-Pacific, New Zealand and the Philippines revealed new reopening plans.
Here are some of the biggest developments in travel this week:
A new variant triggered flight bans
An aggressive new Covid-19 variant was discovered, setting off a cascade of travel closures on November 26 as the United States, the European Union and other major destinations moved to block arrivals from seven southern African nations, including South Africa, Namibia and Botswana.
At the start of the week, the outlook in most of the continent had been looking good, as a dozen African countries, including Benin in the west and Ethiopia in the east, moved to lower-risk categories on the US travel advisory list.
Only a small number of cases of the new strain, named Omicron, have been identified so far, but the World Health Organization has said it's a cause for concern and experts warn it could spread rapidly.
Europe soldiered on with its winter season
Austria and Slovakia have gone into national lockdown and there have been protests in Croatia, the Netherlands and Belgium about fresh Covid restrictions -- but in Europe's ski resorts, there were (cautious) preparations for the winter season.
Germany and Denmark have been added to the already bulging US list of highest-risk travel destinations, joining the likes of Ireland, Greece and Hungary.
Christmas markets began opening in Italy and elsewhere, despite rising Covid numbers, while the EU recommended a nine-month limit on vaccine validity for travel. The UK meanwhile is set to widen its remit of vaccinations that it will allow for entry.
US travel disruption continued its record-breaking year
There have been more reports of disruptive passengers in 2021 than there have been in the 30-plus years of recording such incidents. Flight attendants have had enough.
Following the panic on November 20 at Atlanta airport when a passenger's gun accidentally went off, this week the Federal Aviation Administration announced that a traveler on board an April Southwest Airlines flight was fined $40,823 after he allegedly brought his own alcohol on board, sexually assaulted a flight attendant, then smoked cannabis in the restroom.
Covid cases are rising again in the US, with 595,255 new cases reported in the past week, but Thanksgiving travelers still set a pandemic record, with more than 2.3 million people in the air on November 24 -- the busiest day at American security checkpoints since March 2020.
Philippines and New Zealand revealed reopening plans
Foreign vaccinated tourists will be allowed to visit the Philippines quarantine-free from December 1, provided they've stayed within "green list" countries for at least 14 days beforehand.
The list of eligible countries includes the US, the UK, Germany, Japan and Australia and travelers will also need to provide a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours of departure.
As announced back in October, the Pacific archipelago of Fiji will also reopen on December 1.
New Zealand revealed a little more about its long-awaited reopening plans for 2022. The border will first open to New Zealand citizens and residents traveling from neighboring Australia on January 16, before expanding to include New Zealanders from the rest of the world on February 13. Fully vaccinated visitors from all other countries, except those deemed "high risk," will be able to visit from April 30.
Egypt reopened its ancient Avenue of the Sphinxes
The more than 3,000-year-old road, linking two Egyptian temple complexes, was first discovered in the late 1940s and has since undergone decades of excavation and restoration efforts.
Egypt celebrated the reopening of the 3,400-year-old Avenue of the Sphinxes in Luxor on November 23. The 2.7-kilometer road that connects the Luxor and Karnak temple complexes and was first discovered in the 1940s.
The site has undergone decades of excavation and restoration efforts and today features hundreds of traditional sphinxes and ram-headed statues lined up on its path.
The Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities described the site as the "largest open museum in the world." According to Reuters, Egypt lost around $9 billion in tourism revenue in 2020, so there will be high hopes for this new project.
A restaurant group is bankrolling family trips home for its staff
Hong Kong's Black Sheep Restaurants group is shelling out $650,000 in order to let 250 of its staff fly home to see their families abroad.
In addition to money for flights and those many, many Covid tests, the workers will also receive extra weeks of unpaid leave to help them undergo Hong Kong's hotel quarantine, which the company is paying for, too. The city's famously strict entry restrictions mean returning residents have to spend a mandatory two or three weeks in designated hotels.
Black Sheep restaurants will also deliver their employees nightly meals to their quarantine hotels. To qualify for this impressive staff perk, they need to complete one year of service at the company upon their return.
A holiday love story
When Dina Honour hosted her first ever Thanksgiving dinner at her New York home in 1997, a British guy on vacation -- Richard Steggall -- crashed the meal with her friends. She flew to England a month later to celebrate Christmas with him and now they've been married 20 years.
- Source CNN
This holiday travel season is shaping up to be the busiest and most chaotic in some time as people return to the roads and skies in nearly full pre-pandemic force. As Globe Aware volunteers prepare for travel during this busy holiday season, follow these guidelines to ensure a safe experience.
Tips for Travelers Facing Chaos and Crowds This Season
Patience and preparation are essential if you’re flying or driving over the holidays
By Bill Fink
November 15, 2021
This holiday travel season is shaping up to be the busiest and most chaotic in some time as people return to the roads and skies in nearly full pre-pandemic force within a weakened travel infrastructure that has yet to revive enough to efficiently meet the demand.
Travel volume has rebounded over the past few months, with increased flight and hotel bookings. AAA is forecasting that 53 million Americans will be on the move Thanksgiving weekend, with 4.2 million traveling by air (closing in on the 4.6 million who flew Thanksgiving weekend in 2019, before COVID-19 hit). Meanwhile, the U.S. is welcoming rising numbers of visitors from other countries, now that it has reopened to international travelers. Misty Belles, managing director of global public relations at Virtuoso, says the travel company's international hotel reservations have increased 30 percent just over the past month.
While not yet reaching 2019 levels, “travel is going to feel busier than normal," Belles predicts. "The majority of us have not been traveling regularly and haven’t faced many crowded situations over the past 18 to 24 months. That will make the upcoming peak travel period seem that much more hectic.”
Adding to the hectic feeling are staff shortages across the travel industry, more flight delays and cancellations, and confusing and changing COVID-19 travel rules.
But by doing some planning and research, applying a few tips and tricks, and bringing a huge helping of patience, you can reduce the holiday travel stress.
Tips for air travel
Avoid the hot spots. If your travel is for vacation, rather than to visit family, and you can be flexible, consider booking a trip to a less popular destination. You’ll skip many of the usual holiday-season hassles and probably save money, as well. (Hotel rates in New York City, for instance, can skyrocket during the holidays.)
Make advance reservations for airport parking. Even off-property lots can fill up during the holiday season. You could look into staying at an airport hotel the night before an early flight; these hotels sometimes have great long-term-parking deals that can offset the price of a night’s stay.
Check rental-car availability. Due to a shortage of rental cars, prices have skyrocketed — sometimes exceeding the cost of a flight — so it may be in your best interest to book flights to match car availability, if you have the flexibility to do so.
Research your destination’s COVID-19-related rules. For international travel, understand what testing and vaccination requirements are in place at your destination.
Even for domestic journeys, look into your destination’s COVID-19 rules; some cities, including Washington, D.C., and New York City, require face masks in indoor public areas (among other requirements). You’ll want to know what to expect as soon as you hit the ground. Individual attractions and businesses may have their own rules, such as requiring proof of COVID-19 vaccination.
Arrive at the airport, and the correct terminal, early. Fliers nervous about travel in the holiday season should allow plenty of time before their flight and do their homework, advises Doug Yakel, public information officer for San Francisco International Airport: “Know which terminal your flight is operating from; getting dropped off in the wrong location can make for a stressful start to a trip. Arrive at the airport two hours prior to a domestic flight, three hours prior to an international flight.”
Get through TSA security screening as efficiently as possible. Try to streamline your boarding process by signing up for and using the Department of Homeland Security's Trusted Traveler programs, including TSA PreCheck and Global Entry. If you aren’t enrolled in one of these programs and need to take off your shoes and jacket, do so before you’re standing in front of the conveyor belt, so you don’t hold up other passengers.
Remember that, due to the pandemic, you’re allowed to bring liquid hand sanitizer in containers of up to 12 ounces in carry-on bags; previously, liquids had to be in containers of no more than 3.4 ounces. You’re also still allowed to use a driver’s license that expired on or after March 1, 2020, as acceptable ID at checkpoints, for one year after the expiration date.
Splurge on lounge access. Consider paying extra to escape the airport crowds and decompress in an airline lounge (or sign up for a credit card that gives you access to the lounges) before boarding. A day pass is about $25 to $40; the LoungeBuddy app allows you to reserve in advance.
Don’t hog overhead bin space. Use the space above your seat, if possible — not the first space you see when you enter the plane. And don’t shove in your coat and other bulky items along with the allowed carry-on bag. Your one personal item, like a purse or laptop bag, should fit under the seat.
Be nice. Don’t cause problems about the rules, and, again, be patient; airlines and the feds are cracking down on unruly passengers' behavior, which has accelerated in recent months. Not to mention that airports and airline workers have plenty of other stressors, including staff shortages. They certainly don’t want to contend with rude customers (nor do other passengers).
Tips for car travel
Those who hit the road may be distressed to see that gas prices are dramatically rising — 65 percent above last year’s levels, averaging $3.42 a gallon nationwide (with California prices the highest, at $4.68 a gallon), according to AAA. “The demand for gas is robust, but the supply is tight,” says Andrew Gross, spokesperson for AAA. “We haven’t seen prices this high since September of 2014.” Here are a few ideas for saving money and lowering stress levels while on the road.
Try to save on gas. A gas station search app like GasBuddy helps you find the best prices on the road. You also can enroll in various branded gas-savings services, such as Shell’s Fuel Rewards program, or apply for gas station credit cards, which offer per-gallon savings and introductory offers that can offset some of the price increases.
Sign up for prepaid toll programs. If you’re driving through any of the 19 states that are part of the E-ZPass toll system, sign up for the prepaid program to conveniently manage transit costs on toll roads, bridges and tunnels. In some areas you can use the pass to pay for express-lane usage to save time during holiday traffic jams.
Take along a paper map, just in case. Using electronic GPS navigation systems while road-tripping is convenient, but bring along paper maps or itinerary printouts as a backup. You never know when cell coverage may drop or batteries may lose charge. And confirm directions with locals at your destination, as they can sometimes alert you to places where inaccurate GPS directions have been leading people astray.
Bring your own water and snacks. Consider packing some lunches and more substantial fare, to avoid long lines at rest stops or having to detour to find food.
- Source AARP
Ready to see family and friends? Globe Aware volunteers can follow these these tips for a smooth traveling experience during the Thanksgiving holidays.
Thanksgiving travel tips
Nov. 19, 2021
By Katherine Shaver
The Washington Post
Travel and public health experts say these tips can help travel go more smoothly during the busy Thanksgiving holiday:
- Research vaccination requirements and other pandemic-related rules, such as for face masks, at your destination.
- If driving, get your vehicle’s battery, fuel system, tires, brakes and fluid levels checked to prevent breakdowns, especially if you have put off routine maintenance while driving less during the pandemic.
- If flying internationally, check with your airline about coronavirus vaccination or testing requirements for your destination, as they will be enforced before you board.
Remember that masks are still required on airplanes, trains, buses and other transit systems, as well as in airports, train and subway stations, bus terminals, and other public transportation hubs.
- Meet arriving airline passengers on the airport’s “departure” level, which is typically less congested than the arrivals area, especially in the late afternoons and evenings.
- Source Washington Post
The Philippines is slowly opening to foreign travel, and is already allowing countries under the Green category or low risk to enter without quarantine. For volunteers interested in this program for 2022, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org for more details.
Philippines Exempts Fully Vaccinated Foreign Travelers From Quarantine, Eases Restrictions
Philippines is easing its COVID-19 restrictions in the country. Fully vaccinated foreign travelers coming to the country will not be required to undergo facility based quarantine anymore. International travelers coming to the country from places which are classified as green or low risk will just require a negative Covid-19 test report within 72 hours of their departure.
In a press release by the Bureau of Immigration Commissioner Jamie Morente, some countries and regions that fall under Green category are China, Bhutan, Hungary, New Zealand, North Korea among others. Grenada, Papua New Guinea, Serbia, and Slovenia are the countries from where travelers will have to face a temporary travel ban. Rest all the other countries and regions which are not listed under green category, barring the previous four, had been classified as low risk.
Philippines has also eased restrictions within the country to allow business operations to run more smoothly. The major areas of the country are being opened up now. According to are port published in Bloomberg, Harry Roque, presidential spokesman, in a statement said that Metro Manila — one of the important financial centers of the country — will “shift to a loser Alert 3 from October 16 to 31.”
The city has also allowed many businesses to work on full capacity. Based on previous government orders, public spaces which are indoors like spas, casinos and other indoor tourist attractions are allowed to operate at 30% capacity. Quarantine rules for other cities and regions have also been eased. Apart from foreign travelers, travel restrictions for locals have also been loosened.
With 22% of adults being already fully vaccinated, the country has vaccination drives open for all the adults. The inoculation programme for children will also start from this week.
Bloomberg’s Covid Resilience Ranking had placed the Philippines at the last spot out of 53 countries that was published in the last month. The situation has now improved as the country has been reporting cases below 9,000 since past days.
- Source News18
Countries around the world are relaxing their Covid-19 restrictions as we prepare for travel in 2022. which includes two more Globe Aware locations. Volunteers will soon be able to volunteer and vacation in Cuba and Cambodia again!
From Angkor Wat to Havana, the travel destinations reopening soon
November 1, 2021
(CNN) — There are only two months left in 2021 and as we enter November, countries around the world are relaxing their Covid-19 restrictions. Here are 10 destinations that have made headlines in pandemic travel news this week.
1. Anguilla: A Lonely Planet best pick
Anguilla, a Leeward Island in the eastern Caribbean Sea, this week geared up for the winter tourism season by updating its travel requirements, effective November. Changes include reducing its testing costs from $200 to $50 and removing its day four Covid-19 test requirement.
Only pre-approved, fully vaccinated visitors can enjoy its azure waters, luxury resorts, 33 public beaches and 80-degree temperatures (with exceptions made for under-18s and the pregnant).
Those stringent requirements could be worth your while: On Wednesday, Anguilla was named one of Lonely Planet's "Best Destinations to visit in 2022," the only Caribbean island to make the cut.
2. Australia: Residents can travel again
Starting November 1, fully vaccinated Australian citizens and permanent residents will finally be able to travel out of the country without needing a special exemption.
Two of the country's states are taking slightly different approaches to easing Covid restrictions.
For the double-jabbed majority, most of Victoria's Covid rules will lift in November, but unvaccinated adults and older children will be left in the cold.
In New South Wales, restrictions have already eased for the vaccinated, but unvaccinated residents will have to continue to follow lockdown rules until December 1.
3. Barbados: No quarantine for the vaccinated
The eastern Caribbean island of Barbados has just elected its first ever president, Sandra Mason, who will take over from Queen Elizabeth II as head of state. She'll be sworn in on November 30, which is the 55th anniversary of Barbados becoming independent from Britain.
If you want to celebrate with the Bajans, December to April is the peak time to visit, when the weather is driest. This week, the island removed its quarantine requirement for fully vaccinated travelers as well as its mandatory second PCR test. Find out more on the website.
4. Cambodia: Reopening to international travelers
Pre-pandemic, Cambodia was emerging as one of Southeast Asia's most fascinating destinations.
Vaccinated foreign tourists will soon to be able to visit once again, starting with the beach 'n' party spots of Sihanoukville and Koh Rong island, as well as the China-developed resort of Dara Sakor, reopening on November 30.
The country's biggest attraction, though, is the city of Siem Reap and the legendary Buddhist temple complex of Angkor Wat. Foreign visitors will have to wait until January 2022 to explore the archaeological wonder.
5. Cuba: Welcomes tourists next month
Having now vaccinated most of its population with its homegrown vaccines (which are still under review by the World Health Organisation), the Caribbean country of Cuba is preparing to open its borders and ease entry requirements by November 15, Reuters reports.
Visitors will need just proof of vaccination or a recent PCR test to enter the country, says the news agency.
6. Easter Island: Voted against reopening
The far-flung Chilean territory of Easter Island, renowned for its huge stone head statues, has been closed to visitors since the start of the pandemic -- and residents want to keep it that way.
On October 24, the island's inhabitants, most of whom are indigenous Rapa Nui, voted against reopening its borders in January 2022, reports French news agency RFI, although the final decision rests with Chilean health authorities on the mainland.
7. Iran: Borders are open again
Iran is filled with spectacular archaeological treasures, no fewer than 24 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, and an array of beautiful mosques.
It's also on the no-go travel advisory list for citizens of the US and the UK because of security concerns, including "risk of kidnapping and arbitrary arrest."
For those wanting to make the journey, however, the Tehran Times reports that borders are once again open to foreign tourists. More details here.
8. Israel: Reopening to vaccinated tourists
Israel's Ministry of Tourism announced on Thursday that the country will welcome individually vaccinated tourists from November 1. Currently, only organized tourist groups are allowed into Israel. You can find full details here.
If you're heading there for the scuba diving, you might just strike lucky. Earlier this month, a diver found a 900-year-old Crusader sword off the Israeli coastline.
9. New Zealand: New easing measures
Like its neighbor Australia, New Zealand is moving away from its zero-Covid strategy and preparing to reopen to the world.
Chris Hipkins, minister in charge of New Zealand's Covid-19 response, announced on Thursday that, from November, travelers from Pacific countries including Samoa, Tonga and Vanuatu will no longer need to quarantine on arrival.
For those fully vaccinated travelers from abroad who still do need to quarantine, the 14-day sojourn in a hotel will be shortened to seven days, with a plan to move to a system of home isolation for fully vaccinated arrivals later in 2022.
10. UK: Cleared its red list
There are just seven countries left on England's once heaving inventory of "red list" destinations -- Colombia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Haiti, Panama, Peru and Venezuela -- and they're all set to be removed on November 1.
This means that anyone from any country will be able to enter England, although they will still be subject to testing requirements or quarantine, depending on their vaccination status.
Rules vary in the other UK nations of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. You can find out more in our UK Covid travel guide.
CNN's Karla Cripps, Jack Guy, Lilit Marcus, Francesca Street and Philip Wang contributed reporting.
- Source CNN
You’re just starting to travel again and you’re thinking about a volunteer vacation, which can be a great way to experience a destination in a more meaningful way than simply being a tourist. Here are nine questions to ask about volunteering, and which Globe Aware is happy is provide answers to by giving us a call or emailing us at email@example.com!
9 vital questions to ask before embarking on a volunteer vacation
Volunteer vacations are popular with gap-year students, retired seniors, and millions of people in between. Perhaps you’re just starting to travel again, for the first time in a long time, considering the pandemic, and you’re thinking about a volunteer vacation.
These can be a great way to see the world and experience a destination in a more meaningful way than simply being a tourist.
However, with so many organizations and types of volunteer vacations available, it can be difficult to know where to begin.
Here are nine questions that you should always consider when evaluating a potential volunteering opportunity.
1. What is the destination like?
If you plan to volunteer in a country you’ve never visited, you’ll want to do some basic research before going there. Learning about the local culture will help you to understand how to behave.
Beyond learning in general about the country, try to familiarize yourself with the area in which you’ll be volunteering. Is it urban or rural? Hot or cold? Are there local attractions nearby that you’d like to visit? Is there reliable public transportation in the area? What is the political situation like in that region? These are just a few things you should investigate about any potential destination.
2. What will you be doing?
This question might seem like a no-brainer, but some of the work that you actually perform as a volunteer might be different from what you signed up to do. For example, you might volunteer to teach yoga at a meditation retreat in Costa Rica, only to find out that you’re also expected to cook and clean.
If you’re into cooking and cleaning, no problem!
However, if you want to perform only a specific type of volunteer work, then make sure to ask the program director or volunteer coordinator to specify exactly what your tasks will be. If possible, get this in writing in order to avoid stumbling into a situation where you’re expected to do tasks that are beyond your skill set or comfort level.
3. What will the hours be?
Some volunteer programs are more fluid than others, with volunteers not working a set number of hours per day and just helping “as needed.” Other programs have a rigid schedule that volunteers must follow.
The type of program you choose depends on your personal preferences. But, no matter what program you go with, the volunteer coordinator should be able to give you an estimate of how many hours you’ll be expected to work in a given period of time. For example, you might be asked to work four hours per day or 20 hours per week.
Being asked to work an extra hour or two on an occasional basis shouldn’t be a cause for concern, but if you’re regularly getting pressured to work more hours than you signed up for, that’s not a good sign.
Remember that you have every right to refuse to work beyond the hours you’ve agreed to. After all, you’re a volunteer.
4. What, if any, compensation is included?
Volunteer work is not typically paid. However, many organizations compensate their volunteers in other ways, such as providing free room and board, educational opportunities, and sightseeing tours in the local area.
Before signing up for a volunteer position, find out what perks and amenities would be provided for you.
For example, if you’re expected to cook your own meals with food that you’ve purchased yourself, you should know this ahead of time so you won’t show up hungry and empty-handed on your first day.
5. What are the accommodations like?
Many volunteer positions include free or discounted accommodations. Volunteer accommodations can range from rustic to luxurious, from tent camping to home-stays with local families to fully serviced hotel rooms.
When considering a volunteer program, you should find out exactly what type of accommodation it offers.
Will you be expected to share a room with other volunteers? Will you share a bathroom? Will your meals be catered for you, or is there a kitchen where you can cook for yourself? Are there laundry facilities? What type of area are the accommodations in?
For example, if you plan to volunteer in a rural location, are the accommodations near a bus stop that can take you to the nearest town? Or, if you’re volunteering in a busy city, are the accommodations in a neighborhood that’s OK to walk around in at night?
6. Is there a charge?
Many volunteer programs charge participants a fee.
This can range from a small “membership” or “service” charge to thousands of dollars to cover the entire cost of a volunteer’s accommodations, meals and transportation.
Ethical volunteer programs will always be clear about any fees they charge. They should also be able to give you an estimate of any other expenses you might incur, such as bus fare to the nearest city on your day off.
7. Are there reviews of the program from past volunteers?
Feedback about an organization from past volunteers is priceless, because people who have actually volunteered with an organization can give you the inside scoop about what the experience is really like.
Any organization that you’re considering volunteering with should be able to put you in touch with a former volunteer who can answer your questions about the program. If an organization can’t or won’t connect you with any past volunteers, this might raise some red flags.
Also, you can go online and read reviews of organizations that are posted by former volunteers. Googling the name of the organization along with “reviews” or “volunteer reviews” is a great way to get started. Check social media accounts for the organization, as well.
8. What kind of support is provided for volunteers?
If a problem arises during your stint of volunteering, you should be able to get assistance in a timely manner from the organization you’re working with. If the organization doesn’t offer 24/7 support, then it should provide you with an alternative phone number to call outside of office hours or in the event of an emergency.
9. Have you read the fine print in your volunteer contract?
Unless you’re in an extremely informal volunteering situation, you’ll likely have at least a basic type of contract spelling out what is expected of you, as a volunteer, and what will be provided in return.
Avoid unpleasant surprises by reading the fine print in your contract very carefully before signing it. If there’s anything unclear or confusing, ask the volunteer coordinator or contact person within the organization to clarify it for you. Don’t be pressured into signing a contract before you’ve had a chance to fully understand and consider it.
A volunteer vacation can be an immensely rewarding experience, but it pays to do your homework before signing up. By carefully considering each of these questions, plus any others you can think of, you’ll be more likely to find a volunteering opportunity that is right for you.
- Source Conde Nast Traveler
In just a few days, the United States will reopen to foreign vaccinated tourists for the first time in nearly two years. Globe Aware is excited to welcome back our coordinators from around the world, who visit our main office in Dallas to discuss new initiatives, programs and encourage team building!
U.S. Travel Restrictions are Lifting Nov. 8 — Here's What Travelers Can Expect
Experts weigh in on how the upcoming border opening has affected not only hotel and flight bookings, but the travel industry as a whole.
By Alison Fox
November 05, 2021
Travel + Leisure
In just a few days, the United States will reopen its border to vaccinated foreign tourists, welcoming people back to the country for the first time in nearly two years. And experts say international travelers are getting ready.
Hotel bookings, flight searches, and vacation home rentals throughout the U.S. have all seen a bump in traffic in the days since the Nov. 8 reopening date was announced, signaling a beacon of hope to travel pros for the industry's return to normal or at least a new version of normal.
Following the announcement, Expedia saw a 43% increase in Australian travelers searching for hotels in the U.S., a 28% bump in hotel searches from UK travelers, and a 24% increase from French travelers, the company shared with Travel + Leisure. And Vrbo saw a more than 160% increase in searches for U.S. vacation homes from international travelers.
"There was a lot of dreaming and what I call 'soft planning' happening before Nov. 8 was announced," Melanie Fish, a travel expert and head of Public Relations for the Expedia Brands, told T+L. "That soft planning turned into all business the moment international travelers got the news and searches really started in earnest. There is a feeling of confidence this time around among travelers that I haven't seen in any of the fits and starts in travel we've seen since the pandemic began."
And that confidence has turned searches into actual bookings, especially when it comes to places to stay. Hyatt told T+L that nearly 50% of its U.S. hotel bookings for the week of Nov. 8 were made after the border reopening was announced.
Who will be allowed to enter on Nov. 8?
Travelers who have gotten vaccinated with a shot approved by either the Food and Drug Administration or the World Health Organization — which include Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson, as well as AstraZeneca/Oxford, Sinopharm, Sinovac, and Covishield — will be allowed to enter.
There will be some exceptions to the vaccine mandate, including for children who are under 18 years old.
Fully vaccinated travelers will have to get tested within three days of boarding a flight to the U.S. Unvaccinated air travelers — including U.S. citizens — will be required to show proof of a negative test taken within one day of boarding a flight. Children under 2 years old are exempt from testing and "accommodations" will be made for people who tested positive for COVID-19 within 90 days and recovered, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Airlines will also collect contact information for passengers for contact tracing purposes.
What will flights look like?
Senior product operations specialist at Scott's Cheap Flights, Willis Orlando, told T+L that a pattern has emerged throughout the pandemic. When a border reopening is announced, airlines ready their jets in anticipation of increased demand — and that's likely true this time as well.
Since the U.S. border announcement was made in late September, travel app Hopper saw a 338% spike in international flight searches to the U.S for trips after Nov. 8, the company shared with T+L.
Additionally, a spokeswoman for United Airlines told T+L the carrier expects to see more than 30,000 international inbound passengers on Nov. 8, adding most flights will be "fairly full," in line with the peak days this summer. Following the announcement, United actually saw transatlantic bookings for November and beyond exceed 2019 levels for the first time since the start of the pandemic.
But while there is a noticeable bump, Orlando said international bookings still remain down compared to pre-COVID-19, leading to good news — and good deals — for travelers.
"For short-term travel, we're seeing some great deals. These planes are being put back into action quickly… We're seeing cheap flights in both directions right now as these European airlines have joined the party," he said, adding, "I do think the impact will be somewhat short-lived. It will last throughout the holiday season in terms of these great deals and then things will normalize."
As of now, Orlando said it's not unheard of to find flights as low as $325 roundtrip from New York, Chicago, Miami, and Washington D.C. to places like Ireland and Italy.
He also said it's a good time to splurge on a better seat as the price difference between premium economy and business class is markedly slim.
"Right now the gap between premium economy and business class is as low as it's ever going to be," he said. "It's a unique opportunity for leisure travelers who may not be the cheapest of the cheap."
What should travelers expect from hotels?
As international travelers return to the U.S., many will head back to the large cities they've loved for years. According to Expedia and Hotels.com, that means New York, Las Vegas, Orlando, Miami, and Los Angeles.
"It made sense during the pandemic that people were craving a way to get away from home but still be near the great outdoors, be where they felt they had space to spread out," Expedia's Fish told T+L. But that's starting to change. "International travelers have always flocked to big tourist destinations, big urban destinations. So it makes sense now that they're coming back, they're going to those places."
Fish said she expects to see a "steady increase" in hotel traffic starting in November through the holidays, followed by an increase throughout the beginning of 2022.
"And by next summer, it's going to be a flood of travelers going every which way across every ocean," she said.
Asad Ahmed, the SVP of commercial services for Hyatt, also told T+L that the hotel group is seeing a 72% increase in resort bookings throughout the Americas over the Thanksgiving holiday, compared to 2019. While urban properties haven't quite hit those numbers, they're hovering around 86% of 2019 levels, which is the best they've been since Labor Day.
"Even before announcement went out, we have continued to see the international traveler population testing the waters, putting bookings in the system and saying aspirationally 'I do want to go to New York' or 'I do want to go to Chicago,'" he said. "If anything, formal government announcements have given people the confidence to do what people have already been thinking of."
What can travelers expect from vacation rentals?
There's been a shift when it comes to vacation rental bookings throughout the pandemic with travelers securing homes months earlier than they would have before COVID-19. That's still very much the case, Fish said, creating the potential for some steep competition.
"International travelers are searching for Vrbo vacation rentals in popular warm-weather destinations. These are places that Vrbo was already doing incredibly well in with U.S. travelers," she said. "So the competition for whole private vacation homes is going to be intense. It's going to result in people needing to be more flexible if they're married to a certain destination or a certain type of vacation home."
Maui, Hawaii, was the most popular search destination for international travelers on Vrbo, followed by Palm Springs in California and Fort Myers in Florida.
For fellow home rental company Airbnb, the site saw a 44% increase in U.S. bookings by foreign guests for stays starting Nov. 8 after the reopening date was announced, the company told T+L. International travelers on the site who are headed to the U.S. are most often coming from London, Paris, Santiago, Toronto, and Vancouver.
What are travelers valuing for the future?
Experts agreed there are two things travelers will be looking for going forward: flexibility and information.
"People are paying attention to cancelation policies, booking flexible rates," Fish said. "These are all lessons we learned, like it or not, during the pandemic and these are the lessons... that [is] going to be a permanent part of how we plan our travel."
Alison Fox is a contributing writer for Travel + Leisure. When she's not in New York City, she likes to spend her time at the beach or exploring new destinations and hopes to visit every country in the world. Follow her adventures on Instagram.
- Source Travel + Leisure
Globe Aware volunteers who wish to visit Buddhist temples like the majestic Takhsang must obtain a "temple permit." If you are interested in exploring temples on your future volunteer vacation to Bhutan, feel free to contact our office and we'll help you plan accordingly!
Visit Taktsang Monastery: Bhutan's Most Iconic Monastery That's Impossibly Perched On A Sheer Cliff
This important pilgrimage site is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Bhutan and judging by its architecture, it's pretty easy to see why.
BY AARON SPRAY
OCT 31, 2021
The Paro Taktsang, or Taktsang Palphug Monastery - also known in English as the "Tiger's Nest" or "Tiger's Lair" is one of the most iconic and mind-bending Buddhist monasteries in the world. It is a sacred Vajrayana Himalayan Buddhist site and is located on the cliffside of the upper Paro valley in Bhutan.
It is one of the thirteen Tiger's Nest caves in historical Tibet as one of the thirteen "Taktsang" or "tiger lair" caves. It is one of the most sacred and important sites in the Kingdom of Bhutan. Those who wish to see the wonders of modern-day Tibet in China can if they book with a tour company.
History And Legend Of The Tiger's Lair
The story of Takstang comes from 747 AD when Guru Padmasambhava chose the cave in the sheer rock face to meditate. The legend goes that he flew to the site on the back of a tigress and meditated in the caves for 3 years, 3 months, 3 days, and 3 hours so that he could subdue evil demons that lived in it. Since then the cave has been considered sacred and has become an important pilgrimage site.
- Built: Around 1692 (Buildings Around The Cave)
The elegant structure that inspires people today was built around the cave in 1692 and has become a cultural icon of Bhutan. It is one of the most venerated pilgrimage destinations in the Himalayas and it clings to the rock towering over 800 meters over 2,600 feet above the valley. It takes around 2 to 3 hours to reach by climbing if coming from the nearby town.
The Monastery Today
The shrine is dedicated to Padmasambhava or the "Shrine of the Guru with Eight Names" referring to Padmasambhava's eight manifestations.
- Height: 800 Meters or 2,600 Feet Above the Valley Floor
- Altitude: 3,120 Meters or 9,678 Feet Above Sea Level
- Time To Climb: 2 to 3 Hours Depending on Fitness Level (12 Km or 8 Miles From the Paro Town)
Today the monastery is one of the most famous and touristic destinations in Bhutan. Visiting this monastery is certainly an unforgettable experience. It is notable for its isolation and is only accessible by mountainous paths. The mountainous Paro valley lies in the heart of Bhutan. The Paro valley hosts the only international airport in the country.
While its isolation makes it special and romantic, it also creates other headaches. In 1998 a fire broke out in the main building of the complex (which also contained valuable paintings, statutes, and artifacts). And it was burned down completely with emergency services unable to provide assistance. The monastery was subsequently restored.
- Destroyed: In 1998 By A Fire
The complex is made up of white buildings with golden roofs. The monastery complex consisted of 4 main temples and several dwellings. All the buildings are interconnected with staircases with steps carved into the rock and most of the buildings have a balcony with breathtaking views of the surrounding area. There are eight caves in the monastery, of which four are easier to access.
- Rotation: Every Morning At 4.00 am The Prayer Wheel is Rotated By Monks To Mark A New Day
There are golden idols everywhere and in the hall of Thousand Buddhas (which is carved into the rock) is a large statue of a tiger.
The Kingdom of Bhutan follows a policy of "High Value, Low Impact Tourism" and so tourism in the kingdom is highly regulated. Only a limited number of tourists are permitted to enter the country at any one time in an effort to preserve the unique qualities of the all Himalayan country.
- Policy: "High Value, Low Impact Tourism"
While tourists are issued a 7 or 14-day "entry permit" they are only able to enter the area around Thimphu and Paro and the rest of the country is considered a restricted area. There are immigration checkpoints throughout the country.
- Visiting Temples: Requires A Temple Permit
Foreigners who wish to visit Buddhist temples like Takhsang must obtain a "temple permit" from the Ministry of Culture. The permits are normally arranged by tour operators.
- Spending: One Must Spend A Minimum of $250 or $200 A Day Depending On The Season
With the exception of Indian, Bangladeshi, and Maldives citizens, all foreigners must apply for a visa before visiting Bhutan. Foreign tourists must have a licensed Bhutanese tour operator who must pre-arrange their holiday. Every tourist must spend a minimum of around $250 a day during the tourist high season or $200 a day for the low season.
While in the region, visit the eye-watering Himalaya country of Nepal and see their seven UNSECO Listed world heritage sites. This is a stunning region where India meets Tibet and is a region that has inspired people for generations.
- Source The Travel
Wishes are pouring in for India as the country reached a milestone in administering the Covid-19 vaccination. With it's planned re-opening this late Fall, we look forward to having Globe Aware volunteers back in the country, serving safely!
Wishes pour in from WHO, Bhutan, Sri Lanka as India achieves 100 crore Covid vaccine dose landmark
GENEVA: Wishes poured in for India from the World Health Organisation and the leadership of Bhutan and Sri Lanka after it scripted history on Thursday with the cumulative Covid-19 vaccine doses administered in the country surpassing the 100-crore milestone.
Taking to Twitter, WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus congratulated Prime Minister Narendra Modi, scientists, health workers and people of India on their "efforts to protect the vulnerable populations from Covid-19 and achieve vaccine equity targets".
Bhutan's Prime Minister Dr Lotay Tshering said the feat is a "huge accomplishment" not just for India, but the world. "On behalf of the people of Bhutan, I congratulate India!" he tweeted.
The ministry of external affairs (MEA) thanked Tshering for his wishes and his appreciation for the Vaccine Maitri initiative.
Vaccine Maitri is a humanitarian initiative undertaken by the Indian government to provide Covid-19 vaccines to countries around the world. The government started providing vaccines from January 20. India has so far delivered around 66.3 million doses of vaccines to 95 countries, including Canada, the UK, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Brazil, Nepal, South Africa, Ukraine and Bahrain.
Bhutanese foreign minister Tandi Dorji also congratulated India for administering one billion Covid-19 vaccinations. "A historic milestone!" he tweeted.
Sri Lankan Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa congratulated PM Modi, the medical community and frontliners of India "for achieving this mammoth task".
"The way forward & adjusting to the new normal while staying safe is highly dependent on a successful vaccination drive. Congratulations on reaching this milestone," he tweeted.
In its response, the MEA said the guidance and support of the Lankan Prime Minister have been instrumental in driving India-Lanka relations forward.
"We hope mass vaccination drives in the 2 countries will promote travel & interactions in both directions & enhance people 2 people ties that form the bedrock of India-Lanka relations," it tweeted.
External affairs minister S Jaishankar, who is in Israel on a five-day visit, applauded the selfless hard work and dedication of doctors and health workers.
- Source Self
Cambodia has lifted a ban on all flights from Malaysia, Indonesia, and the Philippines after most of the kingdom's population have been vaccinated. Globe Aware looks forward to the re-opening of the beautiful country to our U.S. volunteers soon.
Travel Update: Cambodia Announces Reopening in Phases to Fully Vaccinated Visitors
Cambodia has lifted a ban on all flights from Malaysia, Indonesia, and the Philippines after most of the kingdom's population have been vaccinated.
October 27, 2021
Edited by Sumaila Zaman
Phnom Penh: The government of Cambodia on Tuesday released plans to resume the country in a phased manner to the fully vaccinated foreign travellers by the end of this month. According to the Tourism Ministry, the program will allow only the fully vaccinated visitors, tourists to skip the quarantine if they stayed a minimum of five days in the designated areas.Also Read - Vande Bharat Express Train on Howrah-Ranchi Route Soon | Check Timetable, Facilities, Routes.
The designated areas include two seaside provinces, Sihanoukville and Koh Kong. While arriving the foreign travellers must give proof of their double-dosed vaccinations as well as the recent report of the rapid test against the coronavirus.
If the results show a COVID negative then the traveller can proceed without any quarantine. The SouthEast Nation, Cambodia has registered a total of 112 fresh cases of coronavirus as of Tuesday. This has been recorded as the lowest number of cases since the month of April.
Presently, Siem Reap province is likely to be added to the quarantine-free province list in the month of January. Recently, Cambodia has lifted a ban on all flights from Malaysia, Indonesia, and the Philippines after most of the kingdom’s population have been vaccinated against the Covid-19, as said by Health Minister Mam Bunheng said.
The Health Minister added, “It’s part of the country’s move to reopen social and economic activities gradually in all areas by adapting to the new normal and to reactivate air transport services”, quoted news agency IANS. It even banned all flights from the three ASEAN member states in August last year in an effort to curb coronavirus transmission.
Earlier in the month, the Ministry of Health (MoH) said in a statement that the Cambodian government has decided to reduce the quarantine period for fully vaccinated inbound travellers from Monday onwards. The statement added that foreign travellers will still need to present a medical certificate for a negative Covid-19 test within 72 hours prior to their arrival in Cambodia, and they must carry a vaccination card or certificate indicating their full vaccination status and vaccination date.
- Source India.com
Toting everything from sewing machines to human skulls, these flyers took left TSA agents scratching their heads. What strange items have our Globe Aware volunteers packed in their luggage!?
From bats to skeletons, travelers have actually flown with these 13 strange items fit for Halloween
Oct 26 2021
Last month, I was preparing to pack for a Disney cruise — one of Disney Cruise Line‘s Halloween on the High Seas sailings — and I needed to find out if I would be allowed to fly with a lightsaber to complete my costume.
Cue TSA’s hilarious answer to that question: “Sadly, the technology doesn’t currently exist to create a real lightsaber. However, you can pack a toy lightsaber in your carry-on or checked bag. May the force be with you.”
That got me wondering about other weird stuff people have flown with. I polled members of The Points Guy’s TPG Lounge on Facebook, and some of the answers were so fun — and seasonally appropriate — that I had to share them. Toting everything from sewing machines to human skulls, these flyers took “spooky szn” to a whole new level — and left TSA agents scratching their heads.
Decorations and creepy bric-a-brac
Grinning jack-o-lanterns: “I live in the U.S. Virgin Islands but spend time in Connecticut during the summer,” TPG Lounge member Jenn Manes shares. “I had to fly back to the island for a quick, 24-hour work thing at the end of July. I didn’t need to bring much, so I packed my suitcase with Halloween decorations.”
Skeletal replicas: Jill Greenblatt, Ophir Marko and Jerri Tolson Tryon have made it through security with replicas of skeletons and even a fake human head. While Greenblatt — who was working on a play where the skeleton was a prop — says she didn’t get a second look from TSA, Marko, who brought a child-size skeleton home for his children, and Tolson Tryon both had their bags searched. “It was used to demonstrate radiography [when] I was selling radiography film for DuPont,” Tolson Tryon elaborates. “I got some second (and third … and supervisor) looks. [I] carried it on the plane in what appeared to be a bowling ball bag.”
Goth memorabilia: For his tale of odd cargo, Dan Eskenazi takes a stroll down memory lane: “[I’m] from Salem, haven’t lived at home in years. [Recently] went through some totes [from] when I was goth. Found some cool Halloween-type stuff and filled my carry-on. Got weird looks when scanned by security.” The haul? He tells us it included tarot cards, three voodoo dolls and a devil’s puppet head, among other items.
Dollies dearest: Darlene Crouthamel says she was stopped on her way to a vintage doll convention because of the voice boxes inside the dolls she was carrying. “… I … had Chatty Cathy talking dolls in my carry-on and had to explain to TSA what they were because their talking mechanisms look suspicious in X-ray,” she remembers. When asked if they started conversing inside her bag, she says, “Only when I pulled the string to demonstrate. However, we’ve had some mysteriously talk on their own here at the house.” Cue the goosebumps.
Cauldron Cakes: Now that we’ve covered the decorations, what’s Halloween without a bit of candy — especially the magical kind? “I brought Cauldron Cakes from Wizarding World of Harry Potter, and the TSA agents were properly stumped by them in the X-ray,” Chelsie Spacke tells us.
Gummy bears: I’m a sucker for gummy bears, so this one catches my attention — particularly as Drew Tipton tells us that he lugged 50 pounds of them back to the U.S. from abroad. “I was bringing them back because my wife used to work with disadvantaged kids,” he explains. “She used them as treats because I got all sorts of different ones that you can’t get here stateside.”
Extra-large trick-or-treat bags: Angie Clouse brings us the story of a treat-filled (albeit embarrassing) trip home from Disney with her daughter Lauren. “My college-aged daughter and I had been to the Disney Halloween party. Her backpack and carry-on were filled with only candy. She’d been flirting with the guy behind her in the TSA line — until she had to empty bags to go through the screener, which took up three TSA bins.”
Weapons (real and fake): Pre-9/11, weapons — such as the replica Fiji war club Katie Isaacson took with her on a flight — were allowed as carry-ons. Thankfully, Mieke Lisuk realized she had to check the authentic six-foot-long, hand-carved hunting spear she brought back from Borneo. But Lynn LaChance Solak wasn’t so lucky: “I bought my son-in-law a decorative fiberglass steampunk pistol in Key West. Really not sure what I was thinking, but I thought it would be OK to pack it in my carry-on…. Of course [TSA] said I couldn’t … so I had to turn around and go purchase a small piece of luggage at an airport gift shop and check it in.”
Freaky fashion: TPG Lounge moderator Gloria Lee laments what can go wrong when you decide to dress festively to fly. In her case, the ensemble included a jack-o-lantern dress, purple and black striped tights, and an orange and black fascinator. “Got stuck in the airport overnight on 10/31 due to bad storms,” she says. “‘Super cute’ on 10/31 turns into ‘walk of shame’ on 11/1.”
Sewing machine: Impressively, Laurene Christensen didn’t bring a costume on her flight, but she did bring an entire sewing machine to a conference (in her checked luggage) in order to make one for her daughter in her downtime while she was there. Now that’s dedication.
Shrunken head: So far, most of the items on this list have been quirky, rather than spooky, but these last few are what’s left of beings that were once animate — both people and animals. For starters, Heather L. Arnold told us the strangest thing she ever took on a plane was an “Antiques Roadshow”-bound shrunken head. Yikes!
Taxidermic bat: “I brought home a [taxidermic] bat in my carry-on … earlier this year,” Becki Hyde shared. And she’s not the only one. At least two others — including Eskenazi, who mentions a mounted bat as part of his goth collection — say they also flew with them.
Cremains: Out of the several hundred answers I received, cremains was the single most common, with more than a dozen people saying they transported their loved ones’ ashes to their final resting places. Most were human, but some were what was left of furry friends, too. Sadly, it wasn’t smooth sailing for all of them. “In spite of a letter from the crematorium and [the ashes’] passing easily through the X-ray, the TSA folks still insisted on sifting through the ashes to make sure no contraband was inside the case,” remembers Dean Mazurek.
- Source The Points Guy
Globe Aware volunteers can learn these helpful tips for their first volunteer vacation in Cuba, as the country prepares to resume international tourism.
Top 6 Helpful Travel Tips for Your First Visit To Cuba
The island nation of Cuba is a place that many tourists would like to experience. Although the country is open for tourists, it has many specific requirements for travel. There are many things you need to know before you visit this unique country. Read on to get these helpful travel tips for your first visit to Cuba.
The Best Time to Visit Cuba
The best time to visit Cuba would be the shoulder season between December through April. The prices for accommodations and tours would be considerably less than the peak season. The weather will also be warm and mild during this time.
What You Need To Arrive in Cuba
Visitors to Cuba will need a visa to enter the country. For Americans, the visa process is complex, and you can enter Cuba if you fit into a specific category.
Canadian tourists travelling to Cuba must fill out a tourist visa, also known as a tourist card. The card is usually provided by tour companies or airlines. If you go to Cuba on your own, you can obtain it from a Cuban government office.
Before you board your plane, you will need to show evidence of a departing flight from Cuba.
Appropriate travel insurance is a must before traveling to Cuba. You may be asked to show proof of insurance at the airport.
It is best to have hard copies of all your travel related documents on you. This includes hotel reservations, travel insurance, tour bookings, etc.
Using Your Cell and WIFI in Cuba
Some cell phone providers are now providing specific roaming packages for Cuba. Check with your provider to see what travel packages may be offered.
Cuba does not have free WIFI. You will need to purchase a card called ETECSA. This is a small scratch card that you use to access network hotspots in the cities. Some hotels do sell cards for up to five hours of internet service, but they will usually only offer this to their guests. Even with this, the internet service in the country is very slow, and it may interfere if you have work to do online.
There are not any US websites that will work in Cuba. Do all your travel research well in advance before your trip, and print any useful information, maps, etc. for easy reference.
Most travel websites such as Booking.com, etc. will not work in Cuba. It is highly recommended that you book all accommodation and activities well in advance to make your trip as pleasant as possible.
Money Matters in Cuba
Make a travel alert with your bank that you will be traveling to Cuba.
The easiest way to withdrawal money from your bank account with your card is to go to a CADECA. These are places for currency exchange and are located in many hotels.
Debit and credit cards from US banks will not work in Cuba. Hotels do not have credit card machines, and transactions are usually done over the phone. Your best bet is to go to a CADECA and get cash to pay your bill. It is good to note that credit cards including Visa and Mastercard and banks cards that have their logos will work as long as they are not issued by US banks.
Cuba has a modestly expanding network of ATMs but make sure to bring enough cash for times you can’t locate a bank machine.
Other Tips For Your First Visit to Cuba
It is not recommended that you drink the tap water in Cuba. Keep a supply of bottled water handy for consumption.
The options for buying groceries in Cuba is limited. Most supermarkets have limited supplies consisting mostly of canned goods, pasta, and bread. Your best bet for fresh fruit and vegetables is to find a local street market.
Keep a plentiful supply of prescriptions and your usual over the counter medications with you. If you get sick in any way, you will probably not be able to any of this medication anywhere on the island.
In Cuba, there is usually an attendant at most public bathrooms. Keep a few coins handy to pay the attendant for use of the facility.
More Tips for Cuba Travel
The power plugs in Cuba are the 110v receptacles that are standard in North America.
Tipping is common and expected in Cuba. Most people that work in the service industry have very low salaries and rely on the tips from tourists to support their families.
Be aware of people that may try to con you by pretending to be helpful. Some of these people would expect payment for restaurant recommendations or directions. As always do not flaunt luxury jewelry and signs of wealth.
Be prepared to spend time waiting in lines during your trip to Cuba. Life still moves very slowly here, so it does not matter whether you are waiting for currency exchange or purchasing goods, you will be waiting on line for it.
Entry Requirements: All international arrivals must present a negative COVID-19 PCR test result taken less than 72 hours before arrival to Cuba at the port of entry. All travelers will also be required to fill out a health declaration card before being allowed entry in Cuba. Travelers will also be subject to a PCR test at the port of entry and a mandatory period of self-isolation (at your hotel) until they receive the result of the PCR test.
- Source Travel Off Path
Each year, travelers weigh in on their favorite international cities, and the results of our survey reflect the kinds of places you longed to visit when you couldn’t travel. Globe Aware is delighted to see Merida, Mexico included on the list and recommend our volunteer vacation there to everyone!
The Best Cities in the World: 2021 Readers' Choice Awards
The places inspiring your return to travel.
BY VALERIE MARINO
Condé Nast Traveler
October 5, 2021
Each year, readers weigh in on their favorite international cities, big and small, and it’s always exciting to witness which trending locales can rise to the top and compete with the old stalwarts. As the world has begun to reopen, the results of our 34th annual Readers’ Choice Awards survey reflect the kinds of places you longed to visit when you couldn’t travel and the ones you returned to first once you could. Over 800,000 of you filled out our survey, and while we’re always curious about where you’ve been and where you’re going, we’re especially excited to learn about the truly memorable cities that sparked your imagination and stayed with you when your next trip seemed out of reach. Here are the cities you loved most this year.
From historical sites to local art, signature dishes to sun-washed beaches, there’s something for everyone among these small international cities.
10. Kralendijk, Bonaire
Divers and snorkelers will be familiar with the lure of Kralendijk, the capital of the Dutch Caribbean island of Bonaire. The Bonaire National Marine Park is the world’s oldest marine reserve and spans the entire coast with more than 85 dive sites, but you’ll find just as much color and beauty on land. The compact downtown is home to traditional architecture, unique shops along Kaya Grandi, and the Bonaire Museum of Natural History (entry is free, but donations are welcome), with its collection of shells, coral, and local artifacts.
9. Galway, Ireland
A popular home base for day trips to the Aran Islands or the Cliffs of Moher, Galway is a worthy destination in its own right. The bustling university town in Western Ireland blends the historic—you’ll see remnants of medieval stone walls weaving through downtown—with the contemporary, and its thriving art and music communities earned the city the title of European Capital of Culture in 2020. Its vibrant food scene spans from pubs to Michelin-starred restaurants, with plenty of fresh seafood thanks to the city’s location between the River Corrib and Galway Bay, and its wide range of lodging options includes cozy B&Bs and the avant-garde g Hotel and Spa.
8. Reykjavik, Iceland
What is there to say about Reykjavik that hasn’t been splashed across your Instagram feed in recent years? While the ultra-cheap flights might be a thing of the past, there’s still plenty to see and experience in the Icelandic capital, including the otherworldly lagoons, hot springs, and active volcanoes right in the city's backyard. Airbnb is often the best choice for lodging, but venture east of the city to the 5 Million Star Hotel (known as The Bubble Hotel for its transparent bubble rooms) for an experience you won’t find elsewhere. The toughest decision is when to visit. You’ll find the best weather (and 21 hours of sunlight) from June to August, but peak season for the magical Northern Lights is from September through March.
7. Cambridge, United Kingdom
A city that seems locked in time thanks to the architecture of the world-famous university at its heart, Cambridge offers an idyllic setting with its cobblestone streets, green spaces, and magnificent buildings. Pop into one of the city’s pubs (there are more than 100 to choose from) to pull a pint, or tuck into the “world’s stickiest” Chelsea buns at Fitzbillies. King’s College Chapel, the most recognizable building in town, puts on a show as a stunning example of Gothic architecture, as do The Backs, the postcard-perfect gardens found behind Cambridge’s colleges.
6. Bruges, Belgium
Close your eyes and picture a quaint European city, and Bruges just might be what comes to mind. One of the most famous and well-preserved cities on the continent, Bruges exudes charm from every cobblestone and canal. The Belfry of Bruges is hard to miss, towering 272 feet over the market square, but be warned that it’s a cramped 366 steps to the top if you choose to enjoy the view. For a more leisurely way to take in the sites, hit the water with a canal tour before sampling the wares at one of the city’s excellent breweries.
5. Dubrovnik, Croatia
Dubrovnik saw a massive spike in tourism after being featured as the filming location for King’s Landing in Game of Thrones, and while you won’t find any mad kings (or queens) here in real life, the beauty of this city at the edge of the Adriatic is very real. Wander the limestone streets and walk along the ancient city walls, or take a short ferry ride to the island of Lokrum. Here, you can hike through the botanical garden, catch a glimpse of the wild peacocks, and climb to the top of an abandoned 11th-century monastery for stunning panoramic views.
4. Siena, Italy
Traveler readers know better than to overlook the Tuscan city of Siena. All roads lead, quite literally, to the Piazza del Campo, built at the intersection of three main roads, and the square has served as the city’s social center for centuries. Just up the hill, admire the intricate marble mosaic floor of Il Duomo, one of the most ornate churches in Europe. Siena is known for its Gothic architecture, vibrant streets, and some of the best wines in Italy. Order a bottle of local wine with a plate of pici cacio e pepe at Antica Trattoria Papei, and don’t leave town without sampling ricciarelli, an almond cookie originating in Siena.
3. Salzburg, Austria
Classic Salzburg, the birthplace of Mozart, sits divided by the Salzach River: Its pedestrian Old City lines the left bank, and the (slightly) newer side is on the right. To drink like a local, head to Bräustübl zu Mülln, Austria’s largest beer hall, where beer is drawn directly from wooden barrels and can be enjoyed alongside traditional and regional specialties from the Schmankerlgang, an Old World food court of sorts. For a hotel stay involving gingerbread cookies, falling snow, and the fluffiest beds, look no further than Hotel Goldener Hirsch.
2. San Sebastián, Spain
San Sebastián has everything you could want from a seaside resort town—especially if you arrive hungry. Pintxo (or “small snack”) bar hopping is commonplace in Basque country, and you’ll find no shortage of options in Parte Vieja, the heart of the city. During the day, head to Playa de la Concha to lounge on the beach or take in surfer culture in Gros. A favorite vacation spot of Queen Maria Cristina in the late 1800s, San Sebastián has retained much of its splendor, which you’ll find in the breathtaking views from the top of Monte Igueldo.
1. San Miguel de Allende, Mexico
Four hours northwest of Mexico City is the jewel of San Miguel de Allende. A hub for expat artists, this highland city is known for its Spanish Colonial architecture and colorful facades. You could spend hours browsing the galleries and pop-up shops at Fábrica La Aurora, a former textile factory that is now home to local artisans. The Rosewood San Miguel de Allende is a hidden oasis in the heart of the city, with grand rooms featuring hand-carved furnishings and 360-degree views of the skyline from the rooftop tapas bar. For dinner, book the chef’s table at Aperi for one of the best dining experiences in the city, full of fresh flavors from the region.
Best Big Cities
Your favorite big international cities include destinations beloved for food, wine, architecture, and art. Some are classic travel spots that many have visited multiple times, while others are slightly less-touristed, but all are equally deserving of your attention.
10. Seoul, South Korea
A modern city with pockets of serene palaces and temples, Seoul is home to some of the most beautiful places in South Korea. At Gyeongbokgung Palace, the Gyeonghoeru pavilion remains almost exactly as it was when it was built back in 1395, while many of the traditional buildings at Bukchon Hanok Village now host tea houses and galleries. The city is also a shopper’s paradise, whether you’re stocking up on Korean beauty products or high-street fashion. When it comes to lodging, check in to the Park Hyatt Seoul for upscale convenience or La Casa Hotel for a boutique alternative.
Consistently ranked as one of the most-visited cities in the world, Bangkok has a multifaceted identity that blends history, culture, street style, and luxury like nowhere else. Take in its old-charm architecture in Chinatown or enjoy the view from the top of Wat Arun, one of the few temples in Thailand you can climb. Be sure to have a game plan when it comes to dining—the city has some fantastic street food stalls as well as modern and refined restaurants with opulent dining rooms. The capital's wide-ranging art scene, from a complex of perfectly preserved teak houses to the sprawling Bangkok National Museum, offers a chance to learn about Thai culture—and escape the sweltering heat.
8. Porto, Portugal
Porto, sometimes called Oporto, is a known destination for wine connoisseurs, but there’s much more to this seaside city than its sweet port wine. The modern and traditional meet in Portugal's most creative city, where chefs, artists, and designers are bringing a new spirit to the its old-world appeal. Sites like the Igreja de São Francisco, an opulent display of Gothic architecture, are woven with displays of public art. There’s a similar blend of the modern and traditional at Casa de Chá da Boa Nova, Porto’s first Michelin-starred restaurant, where sea urchin crème brûlée is served with floor-to-ceiling ocean views in a building designed by Pritzker Prize–winning architect Álvaro Siza Vieira.
7. Marrakech, Morocco
The former imperial city of Marrakech is an experience for the senses. In the medina’s densely packed maze of alleyways, you’ll find spice markets, food stalls, and all sorts of vendors peddling their wares. Spend an afternoon in Sidi Ghanem, an industrial quarter lined with shops and workshops for artists and designers. While the city has long been known as a creative oasis for Europeans, it has more recently become a hub for Africa’s diasporic art world. Start with the Museum of Contemporary African Art Al Maaden before making your way to Comptoir des Mines, an experimental gallery and residency for artists in the region.
6. Mérida, Mexico
The streets of Mérida are bursting with the colorful facades of Spanish colonial architecture, but the capital of Mexico’s Yucatan state is also steeped in Mayan history. Centrally located on the Yucatan Peninsula, the city is an easy day trip to UNESCO World Heritage sites, such as the ancient cities of Uxmal and Chichen Itza, and the beaches on the Gulf shore in Progreso. Locals recommend visiting Fundación de Artistas, a nonprofit featuring art exhibits in a 19th-century home; Gran Museo del Mundo Maya, a modern cultural museum; and the traditional Yucatecan food at the super casual Manjar Blanco.
Trite but true: Istanbul is the city where east meets west. It would take several visits to see it all in this sprawling city, but the opulent Çırağan Palace Kempinski Istanbul is an excellent choice for your home base with its ornately carved arches and an infinity pool overlooking the Bosphorus Strait. The Seraglio, formally known as Topkapı Palace, is top of the must-do list, as is the Grand Bazaar, one of the oldest and largest covered markets in the world. Spend a day making your stomach very happy with a walking food tour, sampling kebabs, menemen, fresh figs, and rainbow-colored Turkish delight.
We named Singapore one of the best places to visit in 2019 and Traveler readers agreed. Thanks to the direct flight from New York to Singapore (and the lure of Crazy Rich Asians), this bustling city-state is way more than a stopover. Singapore has a growing contemporary art scene, a new hotel seemingly every eight minutes, and a commitment to start-ups and innovation (just see the Supertree Grove, above). All of this is to say, if you visited once before, you may not even recognize it now. Want to relax after a day of exploring? Choose from 1,000 types of gin at Atlas bar, or check into Marina Bay Sands so you have access to that top-of-the-world infinity pool you've heard so much about. Come evening, dig into the city’s hawker culture—you can do a multi-country food crawl without ever leaving the hawker center.
3. Kyoto, Japan
You think you know Kyoto—after all, how much can change in an imperial capital, where you can visit 10th-century temples and pass young geishas in the street? Though it's still one of the most well-preserved cities in Japan, Kyoto has also been reborn following a 2011 earthquake. "Many artists moved to Kyoto, bringing a new energy," says Lucille Reyboz, cofounder of the Kyotographie photography festival; now the city’s leafy, machiya-lined streets are draws for their specialty crafts shops and chic concept stores. There's a thriving gin scene along with the sake scene, and, yes, about 100 Michelin-starred restaurants still. For an authentic meal without Michelin prices, try 200-year-old ryokan Kinmata.
2. Osaka, Japan
Japan’s second-largest city is often overshadowed by Tokyo and Kyoto, but there are plenty of reasons it’s become a destination in its own right. For starters, it’s one of the best food cities in all of Japan, thanks to must-eat regional specialities such as takoyaki (battered, fried octopus balls) and okonomiyaki (grilled savory pancakes with a variety of additions), and its baseball culture rivals that of New York or Boston, with similarly devoted legions of fans. Don’t miss Osaka Castle, where the eighth-floor outdoor deck provides unparalleled views.
A regular on our best cities list, Tokyo continues to thrill with its contradictions: ultra-modern, neon skyscrapers and tranquil temples, unmatchable street style and centuries-old etiquette. As we've said before, it's like a fever dream you don't want to wake up from. This Japanese capital has more Michelin stars than any other place on earth, and is—no surprise—one of the world’s best food destinations. For just a taste of what the city can offer, pull up a stool and dig deep into a bowl of inventive ramen at Kikanbo, or sample rare Japanese whiskey at Bar Ben Fiddich. Or simply let us plan your first trip for you.
- Source Conde Nast Traveler
The Southeast Asian country is keen to welcome back international travelers, including Globe Aware volunteers, after nearly 18 months of strict entry policies. Reducing the quarantine and adding tests would also be required and those without vaccination proof would be isolated for 10 days if arriving by air.
Covid Travel Update: Thailand Keen to Reduce Quarantine Period For International Travellers
Thailand is keen to welcome back foreign visitors, after nearly 18 months of strict entry policies, due to Covid-19, that caused a collapse in tourism.
September 24, 2021
International Travel News: Here is a piece of great news for international travellers! As countries have started to open their borders for foreign visitors, Thailand’s disease control committee has recently proposed halving of a two-week hotel isolation requirement for vaccinated arrivals, amid delays in plans to waive quarantine and reopen Bangkok and tourist destinations from next month.Also Read - UK Further Relaxes Travel Guidelines, Allows Cheaper COVID Tests For Fully Vaccinated Tourists Including From India
The Southeast Asian country is keen to welcome back international travellers, after nearly 18 months of strict entry policies caused a collapse in tourism, a key sector that drew 40 million visitors in 2019. Also Read - International Flights: US to Allow Fully Vaccinated Foreign Passengers From THIS Date
“Reducing the quarantine is not only about tourism, but will help business travel and foreign students,” senior health official Opas Karnkawinpong told a news conference, adding tests would also be required. Also Read - 2021 Covid Outbreak in Delhi Shows Herd Immunity Against Delta Variant Difficult: Study
Under the proposal, to be presented to government on Monday, those without vaccination proof would be isolated for 10 days if arriving by air, and 14 days if by land.
Only Phuket and Samui islands currently waive quarantine for vaccinated tourists, as part of a pilot scheme, according to Reuters report.
Less than a quarter of the estimated 72 million people living in Thailand have been fully inoculated.
Thailand, one of the most preferred tourist destinations in the world, is still fighting its most severe wave of coronavirus infections, which has accounted for about 99% of its 1.5 million cases and 15,884 deaths.
- Source Nivedita REmail
Globe Aware volunteers can soon start planning their volunteer vacations in India and Vietnam. India will begin granting tourist visas for the first time in 18 months and Vietnam plans to reopen tourist destinations from December to vaccinated visitors from countries deemed "low risk."
Travel news: India, Bali and Vietnam announce opening plans
October 9, 2021
(CNN) — This was a pretty good week for the world's wannabe jetsetters. The UK and Israel both cleared out their travel "red lists," while India, Bali and Vietnam all announced reopening plans.
Here are 10 things we learned in pandemic travel this week.
1. The UK cut its 'red list' to just seven countries...
The UK introduced a new system for international travel, relaxing testing requirements for many fully vaccinated travelers and designating destinations either "red" or "green."
From October 11, England is set to remove 47 countries from its red list, leaving only seven red destinations: Colombia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Haiti, Panama, Peru and Venezuela.
The rules vary in the rest of the UK (that's Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.) Here's the CNN Travel lowdown on what travelers need to know.
2. ...But there was anger over its quarantine rules
There were accusations of discrimination at the start of October when the UK relaxed its inbound travel rules but fully vaccinated visitors from India and many African countries still faced mandatory quarantine in the UK.
The UK has now changed its restrictions so that from October 11, vaccine certificates will be accepted from close to 40 countries that were previously ineligible, including India, Brazil, Chile, Bangladesh, Nigeria, Ghana and Kenya.
The UK's recognized vaccines are Oxford/AstraZeneca, Pfizer BioNTech, Moderna and Janssen (Johnson & Johnson), or formulations of these.
3. The CDC lowered the risk category for France, Portugal and South Africa
There was good news for Argentina, France, Iceland, Lesotho, Morocco, Nepal, Portugal and South Africa, and for Americans keen to travel there.
All eight were moved from Level 4 -- the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)'s highest risk category -- down to Level 3 (which is still "High," FYI). This means the US travel advisory is to be fully vaccinated before traveling there, and to avoid nonessential travel if you're unvaccinated.
Meanwhile, six destinations have moved from Level 3 to Level 4 ("Very High") which means nonessential travel should be avoided by US citizens.
Those destinations are Armenia, Austria, Barbados, Croatia, Latvia and New Caledonia.
4. India will start letting tourists in this month...
India will begin granting tourist visas for foreign visitors for the first time in 18 months, the country's government announced Thursday.
Tourists arriving by chartered flight will be able to do so from October 15, according to a press release from India's Ministry of Home Affairs. Other arrivals will be permitted from November 15, it said.
5. ...And Bali will gradually reopen too
The Indonesian island of Bali will reopen its airport to international arrivals on October 14, officials have announced.
Bali Ngurah Rai Airport in Denpasar will begin welcoming arrivals from a select number of countries, according to Luhut Binsar Panjaitan, Indonesia's minister of maritime affairs and investment.
However, he didn't clarify whether foreign tourists would be permitted. Here's what we know so far.
6. Vietnam plans to fully reopen by June 2022
Vietnam plans to reopen key tourist destinations from December to vaccinated visitors from countries deemed "low risk," Reuters reports, ahead of a full reopening targeted for June 2022.
The country announced in September that it would reopen the popular resort island of Phu Quoc to vaccinated foreign tourists this month, but that reopening has been postponed until November.
Vietnam still has a way to go when it comes it vaccinating its population: Just over 13% are fully vaccinated, making it one of the lowest rates in Asia.
7. Soon New Zealand will only let foreign nationals enter if they're vaccinated
New Zealand's Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announces the country is moving from eliminating Covid-19, amid a persistent outbreak of the Delta variant, and will instead transition to a strategy of 'living with the virus.'
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced in press conferences this week that the country is transitioning away from its Covid-19 elimination strategy and will start using vaccine certificates as early as next month.
From November 1, all foreign nationals entering New Zealand will need to be fully vaccinated against Covid-19.
Air New Zealand, the country's flag carrier airline, has also announced that passengers on its international flights will need to be fully vaccinated from February 2022. Get the full details in our Covid travel guide to New Zealand.
8. Canada has issued a vaccine mandate for trains and planes
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has announced a nationwide Covid-19 vaccine mandate for rail and air travelers aged 12 and over, as well as for staff.
The mandate will start to be enforced by the end of October, with a short month-long grace period in which negative Covid-19 tests will be accepted. (More details here).
Over in South Asia, from the start of this month Pakistan has been requiring all air passengers aged 17 and over to be fully vaccinated.
9. Israel now lets its citizens travel anywhere
Venturing into the fairy chimneys begins a journey of discovery in this unusual place.
Israel has emptied out its "red" travel list, meaning Israeli citizens and residents can now travel anywhere in the world.
Until October 4, Israelis were still barred from traveling to Turkey, Bulgaria and Brazil because of high Covid rates.
Under current guidelines, travelers returning to Israel who have been vaccinated three times, or twice within the past six months, are only required to quarantine for 24 hours, or upon receipt of a negative PCR test -- whichever comes sooner.
Unvaccinated individuals or those whose second dose was more than six months ago are still required to quarantine for a full week or receive two negative PCR tests.
The Israel Ministry of Tourism has also announced that it's working on plans to allow individual vaccinated tourists to visit the country from November. Currently it's only open to small groups of tourists or individuals visiting family members.
10. The airline industry is set to lose nearly $52 billion in 2021
Airlines will lose $51.8 billion in 2021, more than previously forecast, according to an updated outlook from the International Air Transport Association (IATA).
Net losses for 2020 were also revised higher, to $137.7 billion. More woes are expected next year too -- a $11.6 billion dollar loss is projected. The group expects the industry to return to profitability in 2023, IATA Director General Willie Walsh said October 4 at the group's annual meeting in Boston.
The other big news out of Boston is that the global group of 290 airlines agreed to a resolution committing them to reach net zero carbon emissions by 2050.
CNN's Melissa Alonso, Pamela Boykoff, Matt Friedman, Hadas Gold, Swati Gupta, Marnie Hunter, Masrur Jamaluddin, Lilit Marcus, Francesca Street and Nimi Princewill contributed to this report.
- Source CNN
Globe Aware volunteers flying within the United States may soon need to prove they're likely COVID-free if a proposed bill becomes law. This is in hopes of reducing a potential surge this coming winter.
Domestic flyers may need to show proof of vaccination if Senate bill passes
BAILEY SCHULZ AND DAWN GILBERTSON
September 30, 2021
Domestic flyers within the United States may soon need to prove they're likely COVID-free if a proposed bill Wednesday becomes law.
The U.S. Air Travel Public Safety Act, introduced by California Sen. Dianne Feinstein, would require all U.S. passengers to be fully vaccinated, fully recovered or test negative for the coronavirus before boarding a domestic flight.
"We know that air travel during the 2020 holiday season contributed to last winter’s devastating COVID-19 surge," Feinstein said in a Wednesday news release. "We simply cannot allow that to happen again."
While testing and or showing proof of vaccination is common for international air travel, domestic U.S. air passengers do not go through the same level of scrutiny.
The bill builds upon the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's current air travel requirement, which has passengers traveling to the U.S. from a foreign country show proof of a negative COVID-19 test result or proof of recovery from COVID-19.
The Infectious Diseases Society of America and the American Public Health Association support the additional requirements for domestic air travel, according to the release.
"Vaccination is a critical strategy to end the COVID-19 pandemic, and vaccination requirements in multiple settings are an important mechanism to boost vaccination rates, prevent infections and hospitalizations and save lives," Barbara Alexander, president of the Infectious Diseases Society of America and professor of medicine and pathology at Duke University School of Medicine, said in the release.
Various health experts have expressed support for vaccine mandates on flights. Dr. Anthony Fauci, Biden's chief medical adviser and the nation's top infectious disease expert, said in an interview with The Skimm in September that passengers should also be subject to a vaccine mandate in order to fly.
When asked about travel restrictions in a COVID-19 briefing in September, Jeff Zients, the White House COVID-19 response team coordinator, said nothing is off the table. He pointed to the government's move to double the fines for passengers who refuse to follow the federal mask mandate on planes and other public transportation.
But airlines say vaccine mandates could pose logistical issues, with airlines tasked with figuring out the vaccination status for millions of passengers. Delta Air Lines CEO Ed Bastian said it would "bottleneck the domestic travel system" in an interview with "CBS This Morning" in late August.
The U.S. Travel Association, which promotes travel to the United States, released a statement against vaccine mandates for domestic flights on Sept. 13.
"U.S. Travel has long maintained that there should be no mandatory vaccination requirement for domestic travel," Tori Emerson Barnes, the group's executive president said in a statement. "Such a policy would have an unfair, negative impact on families with young children who are not yet eligible to get the vaccine."
The bill would also let the Secretary of Health and Human Services develop national COVID-19 vaccination standards and procedures for domestic air travel to prevent future outbreaks and have the CDC's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices make recommendations for vaccine use in health care settings.
Follow USA TODAY reporter Bailey Schulz on Twitter: @bailey_schulz.
- Source USAToday
Globe Aware volunteers can be excited to learn that Machu Picchu has become the first international destination to obtain the carbon neutral certificate. This means the historical site is an environmentally friendly tourism spot.
Machu Picchu is now the world's first carbon neutral tourist destination!
|TRAVEL NEWS, PERU
Sep 30, 2021
Machu Picchu has become the first international destination to obtain the carbon neutral certificate. The certification was awarded to the Historic and Natural Sanctuary of Machu Picchu by the Green Initiative, which is an institution that seeks to promote green and environmentally friendly tourism. The Green Initiative positioned Machu Picchu as a global reference in terms of sustainability.
As per the certification, it seeks to drastically reduce carbon dioxide emissions of the Inca citadel, with the intention of reducing 45 percent of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions in 2030 and reaching neutrality in 2050.
To achieve this certification, this popular tourist hotspot adopted several methods. Among all the other actions, Machu Picchu got the certification for installing the only organic waste treatment plant that exists in Peru, to transform garbage into natural coal as well as for having the transformation plant of oil that produces biodiesel and glycerin from vegetable oils, discarded from homes and restaurants in the area.
Apart from this, a reforestation process, led by the National Service of Protected Natural Areas (SERNANP), of one million trees in the spot will be in place to help mitigate climate change.
Another method to compensate for the impact of these emissions will be to purchase carbon credits, which incentivise entities to find solutions to reduce their emissions, thereby reducing the number of credits purchased over time. As per the reports, this mechanism will be overseen by the UN’s Climate Change model.
- Source Times of India
SEPTEMBER 23, 2021
Today we’d like to introduce you to Kimberly Haley-Coleman.
Hi Kimberly, so excited to have you on the platform. So before we get into questions about your work-life, maybe you can bring our readers up to speed on your story and how you got to where you are today?
My career has been circuitous, to say the least! From training on-air CNBC staff in financial tools, putting dead people into space with Space Services, working at museums and start-ups! But I found my true calling when I founded Globe Aware a couple of decades ago, organizing experiences that allowed people to have fun helping people. These short-term experiences in 26 countries are designed to give back, show participants a side of the culture they are visiting in a way they never would, but also to make a huge social impact in a short amount of time. Prior to Globe Aware, such experiences were primarily the domain of high school and college students or of churches or meant a 2.5 years Peace Corps commitment. Since then, the organization has grown in ways we could never have anticipated. For example, now corporations send their staff through us, using contribution matching, paid Volunteer Days Off, allowing tax deductions for portions the staff member pays for, etc. BUT THEN the pandemic. Borders closed, travel safety called into question, the world stopped, and I decided to temporarily pivot. And THAT is what led to my creating The Tickle Bar, America’s newest and most unique affordable luxury.
Alright, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
As conditions around covid 19 have rolled up and down, so too have both my businesses. We have instituted new protocols and have had to keep up with changing requirements. We are doing things we never anticipated. The border situation and pandemic safety conditions change frequently, and we have been lucky to flourish in an uncertain market. Having rapid covid tests administered at our program locations prior to participants returning to the US or transferring program locations from one country to the next, it has NOT been a smooth road, but it has been enormously interesting and gratifying. It is such a privilege that I get to run businesses that provide joy to people at a time when people especially need it.
Thanks – so what else should our readers know about your work and what you’re currently focused on?
As the mother of two teenagers going to the same high school, I did back when I lived in Lakewood, I feel lucky that my daughters get to bear witness to a business person learning how to adapt quickly to changing conditions. This generation, despite the setbacks and struggles, will be stronger than previous generations because of this. When the President declared the Travel Emergency in March of 2020, we did not wait to react. We had closed our Asia programs in January, then immediately started finding creative ways to cut costs. I went unpaid for quite a while, we applied for and received PPP rounds of funding, we created virtual programing to bring services to folks the world over as an alternative to our core businesses, and then we figured out how to fill a niche that people suddenly urgently needed. After months of severely limited human interaction, we created an affordable business to get safe, human, healing, nurturing touch. As a parent, as strange as it sounds, I am glad this all happened while they were still under my wing.
What makes you happy?
Like most people, my greatest source of joy is service. That can be providing the specialty homemade vegan dinners my eldest likes or planning and building a school in Laos. How could anything else compare to that? I think it’s a given, universal thing for which we all yearn.
- Globe Aware programs run from $1000 t0 $1600 per week
- Tickle Bar sessions (think of light back tracing your mom did on your back when you were growing up) from $25 and up
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- Source VoyageDallas
After being battered by the pandemic, South Africa is slowly loosening its restrictions, the country is also considering a vaccine passport. Those interested in our South Africa volunteer vacation, can begin planning for 2022.
Chile, Fiji and South Africa are ready for travelers to come back
September 18, 2021
(CNN) — There have been mixed fortunes for the world's island communities this week, as some have restricted entry due to Covid surges while others are making plans for reopening.
Here's our latest roundup of the biggest news in pandemic travel.
1. More island getaways have been added to the US 'do not travel' list
The popular island destinations of Grenada and Saint Kitts and Nevis in the Caribbean and Mauritius in the Indian Ocean have been added to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)'s "very high" Covid-19 travel risk list.
This means that US citizens are advised to avoid travel there, and to only do so if they're fully vaccinated.
This highest-category risk list is now brimming with some of the world's most-loved tourist destinations, including France, Spain, Turkey, Thailand and the UK.
2. Lithuania will pay to extend your stay
If Lithuania has been on your to-visit list, you're in luck: the Baltic nation is giving out more than 10,000 free hotel stays to travelers visiting this fall.
Independent travelers can sign up online for the "Lithuania. Take your time" program, which will provide a free third night's accommodation after booking two.
That means that the expanses of Trakai Historical National Park and the UNESCO-recognized old city of Vilnius are now easier to visit than ever. The promotion runs until November 8.
Two people on bicycles drive through an empty street in the Old Town of Vilnius, Lithuania, on March 29, 2020
Vilnius' well-preserved old city is home to Medieval buildings.
3. Miami has a team of Covid-sniffing dogs
Good boy and girl alert! Two dogs, Cobra and One Betta, can literally sniff out the coronavirus.
The two pups started working at Miami International Airport (MIA) this week and are tasked with sniffing the face masks of all airport employees when they arrive at work. Both dogs have an accuracy rate of more than 98%.
Miami is the first airport in the U.S. to have trained covid-sniffing dogs, but similar pup programs exist in Finland and the United Arab Emirates.
4. Australia is testing out vaccine passports ...
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has announced that travel can restart once the country hits the mark of 80% of the population being fully vaccinated.
While Aussies are getting excited and dreaming of foreign getaways, the government is working out exactly what the reopening could look like. First step: a vaccine "passport" in the form of a QR code.
5. ... while the UK is divided on the matter
Although the government floated a proposal that would require "vaccine passports" to enter nightclubs, movie theaters and other public places in the UK, Prime Minister Boris Johnson is expected to shelve the plan as well as the mandatory mask wearing regulations.
Instead, his administration will continue to push vaccinations, with booster shots encouraged for front-line health care workers, people over 50 and other at-risk groups.
However, there will be one exception to this: Scotland. The Scottish government has voted to enact a measure where people attending large events will have to show proof of vaccination in order to get in. It goes into effect on October 1.
So, like the Meryl Streep and Steve Martin movie, it's complicated.
6. England green lights the scrapping of traffic lights
Staying with the UK, where months of headscratching over complicated "traffic light" travel restrictions have contributed to the demise of a once world-leading tourism industry, things are about to get a whole lot simpler.
As of October 4, arrivals in England will no longer be governed by constantly changing red-amber-green lists of which countries are deemed safe. Instead there will just be a red no-go list, beyond which everywhere is open.
Stringent PCR testing requirements are also being eased for vaccinated travelers, meaning that journeys to and from the UK are now a lot cheaper as well as easier.
7. Chile is ready to greet guests again
The South American nation of Chile will welcome international travelers starting October 1.
Visitors must present a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours prior to boarding, travel medical insurance with a minimum coverage of $30,000, register on the national C19 website and get a "mobility pass," Chile's version of a vaccine passport where you can upload your information.
All visitors who get the mobility pass have to isolate for five days upon arrival in the country, while those who are unvaccinated or don't get the pass will have to isolate for seven.
But let's get to the fun stuff. Travelers to Chile can enjoy the colorful street art of Valparaiso, the beauty of the world's driest place (the Atacama desert) and the country's newest UNESCO site, the mummies of Chinchorro.
8. Jamaica wants to vaccinate all its tourism employees
What's one way to make tourists feel at ease when they come to stay at hotels and dine at restaurants? Jamaica is hoping that getting 100% of its hospitality workers fully vaccinated will do the trick.
The Tourism Vaccination Task Force's ambitious goal is to vaccinate the 170,000 Jamaicans who work across all sectors of the industry, from airport ground staff to tour operators to craft market vendors.
9. More beautiful islands are re-opening their doors
Fiji has announced that it will begin reopening to tourists from around the world when it hits an 80% vaccination rate, which means either November or December of 2021. (Either way, it's not too early to start planning New Year's Eve in the South Pacific).
Also reopening is Montserrat, the underrated Caribbean island and overseas British territory. To get there, you'll need to fly to a neighboring island like Antigua or Guadeloupe and catch a ferry or a short commuter flight.
Bonus: if you fall in love with it, Montserrat is offering a remote-worker program amid the pandemic.
The Langkawi islands in Malaysia started a gradual reopening on September 16. For now, these scenic islands will only be open to domestic tourists, but keep your fingers crossed, because this is a dry run for eventually allowing international travelers to join them.
10. New York City vaccine passport rules have kicked in
The Big Apple's "Key to NYC" vaccine passport program is now in effect.
CNN's Eric Levenson explains the logistics: "Businesses are now required to check the vaccination status of all staff and customers 12 and older, or they will be subject to fines. Residents can show proof of vaccination in the form of a CDC vaccination card, NYC vaccination record, the New York state Excelsior Pass or the NYC Covid Safe App."
One sweetener for travelers is the opportunity to visit Summit One Vanderbilt, New York's latest observation deck, which opens on October 21.
The Midtown attraction has an all-glass elevator that soars 1,200 feet over the city and an immersive art installation entitled "Air."
11. South African Airways returning this month
After being battered by the pandemic, South Africa is slowly loosening its restrictions.
Gathering sizes can increase from 250 to 500, and the national curfew has moved from 11 p.m. to 4 a.m.
The country is considering a vaccine passport, but the move strikes many as too similar to the old apartheid-era passes that Black South Africans were forced to carry.
Meanwhile, national carrier South African Airways will resume flights on September 23 after a 16-month shutdown.
- Source CNN
Globe Aware volunteers who want a digital option of always whipping out their vaccine card, can choose from plenty of apps. Here's a breakdown of which one is right for you.
Which Vaccine Passport App Should I Use?
For those who want a digital option instead of always whipping out their vaccine card, there are plenty to choose from.
BY SHANNON MCMAHON
September 2, 2021
Planning travel abroad might have you wondering what kind of vaccine passport app you’ll need to download on your phone to confirm your vaccination or proof of a negative test upon entry. But with the highly contagious Delta variant causing a rise in cases in the U.S., you don’t need to leave the country anymore to run into coronavirus vaccination requirements.
While you might have first heard of coronavirus vaccination apps for international travel, like the European Union’s Green Pass or airline-favorite VeriFly, the United States has not designated any one technological standard for proof of vaccination. It’s up to states (and often individual businesses, like performance venues) to decide if they’ll require proof of vaccination, and which digital service they might employ to avoid counterfeit vaccination cards and streamline the process. Since New York City, San Francisco, and the State of Hawaii have begun requiring proof of vaccination to participate in activities like indoor dining, several digital vaccine passport apps are becoming more popular for travel and entertainment. From government-created options to private technology creating their own health passes, here are several vaccine apps travelers are likely to encounter.
Apps that simply store your vaccine card: Clear, VaxYes, and Airside
While many destinations and businesses are accepting Centers for Disease Control (CDC) vaccination cards as proof of vaccination, it can be unnerving to walk around with your original coronavirus vaccine certificate. While some places may accept a smartphone photo of your white CDC card, it’s far from a reliable approach: Enter the vaccine card app, which allows you to upload proof of vaccination and a form of identification to create a vaccine-status QR code. This allows you to give businesses only the information they need from you—your vaccine status, and none of your other sensitive personal information—and provides peace of mind that you won’t lose your vaccine card.
Perhaps the most familiar app to travelers that will digitize your vaccine card is Clear, the biometric service that existed pre-pandemic as a way to skip identity screening lines at airport security (and is often paired with TSA Precheck, a separate service, to breeze through security). Amid the pandemic Clear saw an opportunity to create a secure COVID-19 vaccine passport, called Clear Health Pass: The service, which lives in the free Clear app, requires users to upload (via smartphone camera) a photo ID, your CDC-issued vaccination card, and a selfie, as well as answer some questions about when and where you were vaccinated. Similar services include Airside and VaxYes, however Clear is widely considered more secure for its photo ID requirement; the city of San Francisco, for example, requires businesses to crosscheck a photo ID against apps like Airside and VaxYes’s level-one version, but does not require this for Clear.
State-designated health passes: Excelsior, Hawaii Safe Travels
While the U.S. did not designate any one proof-of-vaccine app for optional use, some U.S. states have. New York State became the nation’s first state to do so this spring with its Excelsior Pass; the app, which is for those vaccinated in New York State, cross checks state vaccine records to verify a vaccine card. An app called NYC COVID Safe is also permitted in New York City for those who were vaccinated outside of the state (although it does not cross-check out-of-state vaccination records, and for that reason functions more similarly to Clear, VaxYes, and Airside).
The state of Hawaii’s Safe Travels Program functions similarly to the NYC COVID Safe app by requiring visitors to upload their CDC card, although the program is a website login portal and not an app; it still requires visitors to have their original vaccination card on them. The state has also designated Clear as acceptable supplemental proof of vaccination (again, in addition to your original CDC card) that travelers can link to the Safe Travels program to speed up their verification on arrival.
International health-record apps: CommonPass, VeriFly
There are also some multi-use coronavirus record apps out there that can serve as proof of both vaccination and test results to satisfy entry requirements in other countries. CommonPass and VeriFly, which started as apps offering coronavirus test results for travel, both now serve as proof of vaccination for certain airlines. American Airlines, Aer Lingus, British Airways, Iberia, and Japan Airlines use VeriFly, which was created by biometrics company Daon, where testing and proof of vaccination are required. United, Hawaiian Airlines, Lufthansa, and JetBlue use CommonPass—an app developed by the nonprofit Commons Project and the World Economic Forum.
Foreign national health passes
Outside the U.S., many nations have opted for a single national health pass to avoid this patchwork of apps and services, and to standardize digital proof of vaccination. Canada’s migration app, for example, is ArriveCAN; France’s Pass Sanitaire ("health pass") app is required of all French who want to dine indoors, and is an option for Americans who get a health provider like a pharmacist to enter their CDC vaccine card into the French national system; Germany has tapped private app CovPass for digital proof of vaccination among its residents. There is also Europe's broader Green Health Pass, which is for use by Europeans but officials have said will become available to foreign travelers with approved vaccinations.
All nations have differing requirements and exceptions for these apps, however, so it’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with the system before planning any travel abroad, and to always carry your original vaccine card on you, somewhere secure. The benefit of having a digital vaccine pass to back it up is that you won’t always have to have it on you, the same way we travel with our actual passport, but typically avoid toting one around on the ground so we don’t lose it.
- Source Conde Nast Traveler
While traveling abroad is returning for Globe Aware volunteers, movement in and out of Hong Kong -- once Asia's biggest international hub -- remains at a near-total halt. Dream Cruises has come up with a fitting alternative vacation option -- a voyage with no destination, taking passengers from and to Hong Kong by sailing in a big loop. Would you try this if you couldn't travel?
What it's like to sail on a 'cruise to nowhere'
September 12, 2021
A "cruise to nowhere" feels like a fitting metaphor for Covid-era Hong Kong.
As with the city's previous failed attempts to re-establish international travel, it offers a facsimile of forward movement that ends up taking you right back to where you started.
While the possibility of traveling abroad is slowly returning to the US and Europe, movement in and out of Hong Kong -- once Asia's biggest international hub -- remains at a near-total halt.
As the semi-autonomous region pursues a zero-Covid policy, repeated attempts to establish travel corridors with neighboring countries have been abandoned, and most incoming travelers face up to three weeks of self-funded hotel quarantine. Before the pandemic, Hong Kongers were among the world's most well-traveled people; now, many would-be holidaymakers favor staycations, as their passports gather dust at home.
Dream Cruises has come up with a fitting alternative vacation option -- a voyage with no destination, taking passengers from and to Hong Kong by sailing in a big loop. Journeys last for either two or three nights, with cheaper sailing options midweek, and rooms range from a HK$1,688 balcony cabin (about $217 US) to a HK$23,838 suite (about $3,065 US) with access to a private deck and pool. Cruising may not be for everyone, but at a time when any other option would require quarantine, it seems a lot more attractive.
Boarding the Genting Dream -- a 335-meter-long vessel (almost 1,100 feet) that can normally hold more than 3,000 people -- was reminiscent of getting back on a plane, but with the additional health measures of much other travel in 2021. Ticket sales are capped at half-capacity; inside the cavernous Kai Tak cruise terminal, passengers were almost outnumbered by staff checking and re-checking travel documents and medical forms.
Life on board
While the cruise industry hasn't necessarily had the best coronavirus track record, safety precautions on the Genting Dream ship are strict. All passengers must be fully vaccinated and produce a negative PCR test taken within 48 hours before departure, as well as undergoing pre-boarding checks and health declarations. And everyone on board gets a tracking device (cutely named Tracey) to monitor their whereabouts in the event of an infection.
But that formality subsided when embarking passengers were greeted by bubbly staff handing out balloon animals and posing for selfies.
Face masks were mandatory in public spaces, as they are in the rest of Hong Kong; but aside from that, guests cheerfully disregarded suggested social distancing measures while milling around by the swimming pool and exploring the labyrinthine corridors of the 18 decks, as dusk fell and the ship glided slowly out of Victoria Harbor.
I traveled with three friends, sharing two of the cheapest available cabins -- fairly spacious twin rooms with pull-out sofas, comfortable beds, an en suite shower and bathroom, and a private balcony overlooking the sea. At around 20 square meters, they weren't that much smaller than a lot of hotel rooms on dry land, and felt much more secluded, with the only noise being the sound of the waves outside.
For a vessel that's usually a vehicle to a different destination, rather than being the destination itself, the Genting Dream did a decent job of offering enough activities to keep its temporary residents -- mostly older adults, with a few families and children -- occupied throughout the cruise.
Booking for pool access was only casually enforced, and while the hot tubs were closed, sun loungers and sofas by the deck bars were freely available. For the more adventurous on board, there was a basketball court, a mini-golf course, a play area with activities for children and an arcade for teenagers, lethally fast water slides twisting down to the main deck, and a hair-raising ropes course with a zip wire jutting out over the open sea. But the most packed attraction was the below-deck casino, which offered slot machines, blackjack, giant bingo, and cabaret singers crooning love songs in Mandarin and Cantonese.
Not all of these facilities were open throughout the cruise -- but staff were attentive, helpful and pleasant, ready to open a closed-off rock climbing wall or pour drinks at one of the many bars that sat empty as guests packed out the dining rooms.
Two buffet-style restaurants were included in the ticket price, serving a mix of Asian and Western dishes. While paid-for restaurants were available, most people on board got their money's worth by piling their school dinner-style trays high with a mishmash of meals. Attempts at creating a party atmosphere were enthusiastic, but fruitless -- inside the ship's sole club, a DJ playing early '00s hip-hop gamely pumped dry ice onto an empty dance floor, while passengers had more fun at the adjoining neon bowling alley.
Broadly, the cruise atmosphere was one of decompression, and relief at experiencing something -- anything -- a bit different from regular life, where maintaining relative normality inside Hong Kong's borders has come at the expense of being able to easily move outside them.
Coming from one of the most densely populated cities in the world, it was oddly freeing to look out over the open water and see nothing but distant container ships, or watch the sun set below a skyscraper-free horizon. With no phone signal, and no particular need to do anything beyond sit on a balcony and stare at the stars, it was tempting to lean into the comfort of this sealed-off idyll. Far away beyond the skyline was disease, stress and uncertainty; on this unusual cruise, drinks flowed, people had fun, and life was good in a brief bubble of normality, floating in the endless blue of the South China Sea.
- Source CNN
In a big COVID travel update, Bangkok has announced it will reopen completely for fully vaccinated travelers from October 1. Thailand has been meaning to restart tourism for a long time and now, with Globe Aware volunteers getting vaccinations, there is hope in visiting the beautiful country soon!
Fully vaccinated travellers can visit Bangkok from October 1
TIMES OF INDIA
Sep 12, 2021
In a big COVID travel update, Bangkok has announced it will reopen completely for fully vaccinated travellers from October 1. Thailand has been meaning to restart tourism for a long time now but given the rise in infection cases, the plan couldn’t take shape. But now, with people getting vaccinations, it has given hope to the world of tourism once again.
Before the world was hit by the pandemic, tourism took the fifth spot in Thailand's national income. But today, because of COVID, tourism has been the economy's weakest link in over 20 years. But now, the Tourism Authority of Thailand has announced that from October 1, international travellers who have taken both the vaccine shots will be able to visit Bangkok along with four other provinces. Also, if you are fully vaccinated, you won’t have to undergo 14-days hotel quarantine rule.
Also, the country has introduced a sandbox theme under which tourists need to stay at one place for a week after arriving in the country and take COVID tests. The initiative is expected to be available in five regions, including Chiang Mai, Chon Buri, Phetchaburi and Prachuap Khiri Khan provinces. According to the officials, by October 21 other important tourist destinations will also be added to the list including Chiang Rai, Sukhothai and Rayong.
As per government spokesman Thanakorn Wangboonkongchana, under the sandbox scheme, more than 29000 fully vaccinated overseas visitors were recorded in Phuket which generated nearly $50 million in revenue.
However, the third wave in the country is not yet fully over, so the tourism agency has warned that the plans could change in future. Apparently, when the world was struggling with the deadly virus in 2020, Thailand was mildly affected and recorded low numbers. But the Delta variant took the country by storm and Thailand recorded more than 1.3 million cases, and nearly 14000 deaths.
- Source Times of India
US officials have expressed optimism that Covid-19 booster shot delivery can start for all adults on 20 September. Globe Aware vaccinated volunteers are recommended to get the booster when available for future travel safety.
US officials optimistic Covid booster rollout will start on 20 September
But they insist shots won’t be rolled out without health agencies’ authorization, leaving open possibility of delays
Sun 5 Sep 2021 17.11 BST
US officials have expressed optimism that Covid-19 booster shot delivery can start for all adults on 20 September, the goal set by President Joe Biden, as cases continue to rage across the country fueled by the highly transmissible Delta variant.
The officials insist, however, that boosters will not be rolled out without US health agencies’ authorization, leaving open the possibility of delays.
Dr Anthony Fauci, head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and chief medical adviser to Biden, was asked Sunday on CBS’s Face The Nation whether the 20 September goal remained the planned rollout date.
“In some respects, it is. We were hoping that we would get both the candidates, both products, Moderna and Pfizer, rolled out by the week of the 20th. It is conceivable that we will only have one of them out, but the other one will follow soon thereafter,” Fauci said. Pfizer has submitted its data, making it likely to meet this goal, Fauci said; Moderna announced that it has started submitting data.
“The bottom line is, very likely at least part of the plan will be implemented, but ultimately the entire plan will be.”
“We’re not going to do anything unless it gets the appropriate FDA regulatory approval, and then the recommendation from the [CDC] advisory committee,” Fauci also said, explaining that he expects any possible delay with Moderna would be “at most” a few weeks.
As almost all Covid-19 infections in the US are caused by the Delta variant, officials hope boosters will clamp down on its rapid spread. Covid-19 vaccines do provide incredibly strong protection against illness, hospitalization, and death against Delta, but breakthrough infections are reportedly rising with this variant.
At present, 53% of the US population is fully vaccinated, and 62% have received at least one dose.
Covid-19 cases have increased 6% in the past week on 4 September, and there has been a 22% increase in deaths over that same period. The seven-day average for cases and deaths over this same period is 163,716 and 1,550, respectively.
The US continues to lead the world in Covid-19 cases and deaths, at 39,908,072 confirmed infections and 648,121 known fatalities, according to Johns Hopkins University data. Nearly 95% of US counties have “high” community transmission, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Fauci’s statements come amid questions on Biden’s plans for distributing Covid-19 booster shots. Leaders of the CDC and FDA have implored Biden to reconsider his plan to start offering boosters on 20 September, saying they needed more data, NPR reported.
White House chief of staff Ron Klain echoed Fauci’s statements Sunday on CNN’s State of The Union, saying that 20 September was a projection, not a hard-and-fast date. Klain said that Biden’s discussion of booster implementation had always depended on FDA and CDC authorization.
“I think what we said was that we would be ready as of the 20th,” Klain said. “I would be absolutely clear, no one’s going to get boosters until the FDA says they’re approved, until the CDC advisory committee makes a recommendation.”
“What we want to do though is be ready as soon as that comes.”
Klain also said that the recipients would be determined by FDA and CDC’s scientific guidance.
As discussion of booster rollout continues, public health officials and experts have recently expressed concern that Labor Day holiday travel this weekend could worsen the ongoing surge.
“As we head into Labor Day, we should all be concerned about history repeating itself. High or intense transmission around most of the country combined with population mobility with limited masking and social distancing has been a consistent predictor of major surges,” Dr John Brownstein, a Boston Children’s Hospital epidemiologist, told ABC News.
Data show that holidays can spur dramatic Covid-19 transmission throughout the country. In the weeks preceding Labor Day 2020, average US daily cases dropped to about 38,000. There was a 400 percent increase in daily US cases between Labor Day weekend and Thanksgiving of 2020, however, resulting in record high deaths and hospitalizations, ABC News said.
Dr Rochelle Walensky, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention(CDC) director, said Tuesday during the White House Covid-19 briefing: “First and foremost, if you are unvaccinated, we would recommend not traveling.”
“Throughout the pandemic, we have seen that the vast majority of transmission takes place among unvaccinated people in closed, indoor settings,” Walensky also said.
Jeff Zients, White House Covid-19 response coordinator, similarly commented during this briefing: “We need more individuals to step up, as people across the country prepare for Labor Day weekend. It’s critical that being vaccinated is part of their pre-holiday checklist.”
- Source The Guardian
There's something extra special about traveling during the fall for our Globe Aware volunteers. South Africa and Mexico are two of those travel destinations, whether you're making plans for this fall or fall 2022!
The Best Places to Travel in October
Where to go for harvest festivals and Halloween fun.
BY CAITLIN MORTON
August 17, 2021
As much as we love beach lounging in summer and exploring snowy wonderlands in winter, there's something extra special about traveling during the fall. Aside from fewer tourists and lower prices, October brings harvest festivals, Halloween parties, and the best foliage of the year. (And those warm beaches are still open, if you're willing to fly for them.) Whether you're looking to view some spectacular fall foliage or escape to the warm Caribbean this year, these are 10 of the best places to travel in October.
Note: Due to the Delta variant of coronavirus, it's a good idea to consider extra precautions if traveling this fall. We recommend investing in “cancel for any reason” travel insurance and only booking changeable flights and accommodations. It's also crucial to obtain medical insurance that will cover you abroad, and to research different countries' case and vaccination rates when choosing your destination.
It’s Halloween this month, so where better to book a trip than America’s unofficial witching capital? Snag a room at The Hotel Salem or The Merchant (they’re both owned by Lark Hotels, famed for its funky makeovers of countless New England inns) and then make your way into town. Salem celebrates its connection to the occult all month with a program of events, including horror film festivals, séances, and a fair with psychics on hand to read your future. (See complete calendar here.) During the festivities, it’s worth pausing to consider the history of Salem’s witch trials at the 1692 Salem Witch Museum. The museum recreates the trials using actual documents as the basis for its life-size stage sets, and hosts an exploration of witchcraft in all its forms through the ages.
Cape Town, South Africa
Cape Town is one of the best places to travel in October, as the month signals the height of springtime in the southern hemisphere. That means you can plan on tons of outdoor activities, from walking among spring blooms in Kirstenbosch Botanical Garden to touring vineyards in Franschhoek. You could also spend an entire trip hopping between Cape Town’s best beaches. Camps Bay Beach is worth visiting for the views of Lion's Head and the Twelve Apostles alone, as is Windmill Beach (a 10-minute walk from Boulders Beach) for its warm water and boulders you can jump off. Stay at Readers’ Choice Awards darling Cape Cadogan Boutique Hotel, 15-room Georgian-era townhouse tucked away in a residential street in Gardens (a fashionable neighborhood known for its restaurants, bars, and interior shops). The street-level luxury suites come with their own spacious sun terraces and private pools, making you feel like you’re in an incredibly beautiful private home.
Albuquerque, New Mexico
Known as “the most photographed event in the world,” the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta (October 2 to 10) does not disappoint, offering families and travelers the chance to get up close with hundreds of seven-story balloons ranging from cute animals to Darth Vader. You'll want to wake up before dawn to get a prime viewing spot for the Mass Ascension, when all the balloons rise together to the tune of "The Star Spangled Banner." You can crash later that night at Hotel Chaco, a sleek, contemporary property with Native American–inspired art and architecture located in the heart of Old Town. That ideal location and perfect October weather means you can explore all the museums and markets downtown without breaking a sweat.
We’re big fans of the Baja California Sur peninsula in Mexico, with its beautiful scenery and luxury resorts. While most tourists flock to Los Cabos, set your sights on the underrated city of Loreto. Located about 230 miles north of Cabo, the town is best known for its secluded, unspoiled setting on the Loreto Bay National Marine Park, a UNESCO World Heritage site. For stress-free planning, book a stay at Villa del Palmar Beach Resort & Spa at the Islands of Loreto, where guests can enjoy scuba diving tours, cultural city tours, whale watching excursions, kayaking, surfing, and ATV desert tours. After a day spent adventuring, head back and unwind at the 39,000-square-foot Sabila Spa or one of the resort’s five swimming pools.
Aspen may seem like a bit of an obvious choice (hello, mountains famously full of yellow leaves), but obvious isn’t always a bad thing. Hotel Jerome is a great place to set up camp, with a huge array of activities on tap for guests looking for an outdoor adventure—think horseback riding in the Rockies, riding a Jeep through alpine backcountry, and stand-up paddleboarding along the Colorado River. The hotel can also arrange day trips to the Maroon Bells, a pair of mountains that is one of the most photographed spots in the entire state. In fact, professionals are known to flock to the shores of Maroon Lake well before sunrise to nab that stunning fall shot.
The Bavarian Alps, Germany
An autumn trip to southern Germany is about so much more than Oktoberfest (which has been canceled for 2021 anyway). Fall may be the best season to visit the Bavarian Alps, when the weather is perfectly cool and the mountains transform into a technicolor dreamscape. The season is prime for outdoor enthusiasts as well, with areas like Berchtesgaden and Lake Tegernsee lending themselves to some epic scenic hikes. Shutterbugs are never disappointed by the Disney-esque Neuschwanstein Castle, whose white turrets look best against a backdrop of deep reds and oranges. Spend at least a couple days tucked away in Hotel Bachmair Weissach, a modern alpine property located in the lake town of Tegernsee. With walls adorned with antlers, a cloistered courtyard, plaid carpets, and scalloped wood balconies off each of its 141 rooms, it will fulfill every romantic Bavarian fantasy you can think of.
Barbados made headlines in 2020 when it announced its Welcome Stamp visa for sun-seeking digital nomads. Valid for 12 months, the visa allows anyone earning over a certain salary to live and work remotely temporarily. If you’re not ready to commit to a year-long visit, it’s still worth flying down here in October. Book an oceanfront villa at The Crane, one of the country’s finest resorts, and spend a few days exploring the Bajan rum circuit. Though it’s now ubiquitous across the Caribbean, rum was formally first distilled at the Mount Gay Rum headquarters in 1703. Head to its visitor center and you’ll be able to learn more of that history, as well as sample a range of great dark and white blends. Then head to Bathsheba Beach on the east coast—one of the best stretches of sand in the world—where you'll find big, surf-able waves and shallow pools carved by the coral reef right off the shore.
Asheville, North Carolina
Don't discount the South when it comes to fall foliage, especially the Blue Ridge Parkway and Carolina mountains. Make Asheville your home base for exploring the parkway in both directions: to the south, drive to Pisgah National Forest, filled with waterfalls and fall foliage–covered hills on view from Looking Glass Rock, and to the north, the curving Linn Cove Viaduct hugs Grandfather Mountain, offering some of the parkway’s most iconic views. Get a dose of the funky lifestyle in downtown Asheville: sample the African-meets-Appalachian food at Benne on Eagle, browse fem theory and queer lit at Malaprop's Bookstore and Cafe, and drink a Strawberry Milkshake IPA at Highland Brewing Company. Stay at Asheville's best boutique property, The Foundry Hotel, for comfortable rooms with exposed brick walls, a chic lobby bar, and a restaurants serving up modern spins on comfort food.
More than two million people visit Santorini each year. To dodge those crowds—and to experience a more authentic side of the island—plan your trip during the off-season in October and November. Visit Red Beach and take in the legendary sunsets in Oia, of course, but then search for some more under-the-radar spots. Only one in 20 travelers to Santorini goes to Akrotiri, an almost perfectly preserved ancient city and archaeological site. Visit some wineries at Vlychada, or hire a guide to take you around Akrotiri. Then get some rest at Incognito Villa, located at the end of a dirt track on the beach near Monolithos and the airport. It has its own garden and a little pool, and you can walk in either direction along the beach to a taverna. Even in the height of summer, it is amazingly quiet.
Hudson Valley, New York
If you're looking to totally lean into the cider-sipping, sweater-wearing, pumpkin-picking vibe of fall, look no further than the Hudson Valley. Aside from offering primo leaf peeping opportunities, October is the best time to go apple picking or sample some hard cider made from local produce at Angry Orchard. Alternatively, take in a movie at the Four Brothers Drive-In Theater or celebrate Halloween with the Great Jack O'Lantern Blaze in the grounds of Van Cortlandt Manor (advance reservations required). More than 7,000 pumpkins are displayed there each night, including a 25-foot-tall Statue of Liberty, all of which are carved onsite by a team of 1,000 volunteers. Look to Warren Street in the heart of town for accommodations: either at the retro Rivertown Lodge, complete with wood fire burners and bicycles to borrow, or the relatively new Maker Hotel, filled with one-of-a-kind pieces of furniture and a restaurant serving up ingredients sourced from local farms.
- Source Conde Nast Traveler
The TSA extended a federal requirement that travelers wear masks on commercial flights, buses and trains through Jan. 18. The measure is the latest in decreasing the spread of Covid-19 and the delta variant.
TSA extends mask mandate for transportation through Jan. 18
AUG 17 2021
- The TSA said it is extending the mandate to curb the spread of Covid-19 through Jan. 18.
- The mandate was set to expire on Sept. 14 and officials had extended it in the spring.
The Transportation Security Administration on Tuesday extended a federal requirement that travelers wear masks on commercial flights, buses and trains through Jan. 18.
The measure is the latest sign of persistent concerns within the federal government about the spread of Covid-19. Airlines including Southwest and Spirit have warned about a drop in bookings and higher cancellations, trends they blamed on the fast-spreading delta variant of the coronavirus.
“The purpose of TSA’s mask directive is to minimize the spread of COVID-19 on public transportation,” the agency said in a statement.
The current mask rules, aimed to curb the spread of the virus, were extended this spring through Sept. 13.
Officials briefed airlines on Tuesday about the plan, according to people familiar with the matter.
The Transportation Security Administration declined to comment. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention didn’t immediately comment.
The extension covers traditionally busy periods for air travel such as the Thanksgiving and December holidays.
Airline executives say most passengers comply with the mask requirements. However, the vast majority of reports of unruly travelers this year are tied to travelers who allegedly refuse to wear masks.
The Federal Aviation Administration said it has received 3,889 unruly passenger reports this year through Monday, nearly 74% of them related to violations of the mask mandate.
The Association of Flight Attendants, the labor union for about 50,000 flight attendants at 17 airlines, said the extension “will help tremendously” to keep travelers and staff safe.
“While vaccination has been key to the increased air travel demand, the lagging vaccination rates and rise of the Delta variant has caused cases to skyrocket again - threatening lives, continued virus mutation, and recovery from this pandemic,” said AFA’s international president, Sara Nelson, said in a statement.
- Source CNBC
The RTF-EXPAR test is reportedly as sensitive at detecting coronavirus as PCR tests. There are hopes the tests could be used at international airports and revolutionize testing for travelers, including Globe Aware volunteers.
10 minute Covid test hoped breakthrough for travel sector
Researchers from the University of Birmingham say they have developed a quick Covid test that is just as sensitive as a PCR test. (Photo by Ian Forsyth/Getty Images)
University of Birmingham researchers have developed a new Covid test that provides results in less than 10 minutes.
The RTF-EXPAR test is reportedly as sensitive at detecting coronavirus as PCR tests, according to the scientists behind the breakthrough.
The tests also detect low levels of the virus, which lateral flow do not despite also delivering speedy results.
There are hopes the tests could be used at international airports and revolutionise testing for holidaymakers.
“An ideal test would be one that is both sufficiently sensitive and speedy – our test, called RTF-EXPAR, achieves this goal.” Professor Tim Dafforn, one of the scientists behind the project, said.
Analysis by researchers found RTF-EXPAR’s sensitivity was equivalent to quantitative PCR testing, with a positive predictive value of 89 per cent and a negative predictive value of 93 per cent.
The university’s Surgical Research Laboratory will publish full results of its research soon while it looks for commercial partners to license the test to make it publicly available.
- Source City A.M.
Americans who are set to travel in the coming months but don't have a renewed passport yet may be out of luck. Globe Aware volunteers should check their passport expiration date before booking their travel dates.
"I am freaking out": Passport backlog frustrates travelers
BY MEG OLIVER
Scammers forced the State Department to temporarily shut down its online bookings for urgent appointments for passports, adding to the frustration of many travelers who are already experiencing long wait times amid a huge backlog in passport applications.
Third-party actors used bots to book all available online appointments, the State Department said. Scammers then sold the appointments for as high as $3,000 to applicants with urgent travel needs.
Americans who are set to travel in the coming months but don't have a renewed passport yet may be out of luck.
"I am freaking out," said Kelsey Renken. "I call every day to try and get an answer to get the same runaround that, 'Oh, we can only push a week before you travel.' A week before you travel is kind of cutting it very close!"
Renken and her husband Heston applied for passports in May but only one has arrived. Their nonrefundable flight to Mexico leaves in two weeks. In the last two years, the couple suffered the heartbreaking loss of a stillborn and two miscarriages.
"We just need to take to get a break, get a mental reset, celebrate our anniversary," Renken said.
Renken said $3,000 will have gone down the drain if the passport doesn't arrive before their trip.
The State Department acknowledges it has a staffing issue and it is scrambling to complete an extraordinary backlog of passport applications. The current wait time for a passport is up to 18 weeks.
"During the pandemic, they sent their people home and right now we're over 1.6 million passports in backlog that they can't process," CBS News travel editor Peter Greenberg said.
- Source CBS News
As the world reopens, not all countries are recognizing a mix of vaccines from different makers as fully vaccinated. Globe Aware volunteers can check to see which countries they need to watch out for when it comes to regulations.
Thinking of travelling? Here’s where mixed COVID-19 vaccines aren’t accepted
By Eric Stober
Canada’s health authority has given the green light to mix-and-match COVID-19 vaccines, but as the world reopens, not all are recognizing a mix of vaccines from different makers as fully vaccinated, despite millions of Canadians doing so.
Here’s who has announced so far they do not accept mixed vaccines.
The Centre for Disease Control (CDC), the U.S.’s main health body, does not currently recognize a mix of a vector vaccine, such as AstraZeneca, with an mRNA vaccine, such as Pfizer or Moderna, as fully vaccinated.
It does, however, recognize a mix of two mRNA vaccines, such as Pfizer and Moderna, as fully vaccinated.
As such, many cruise lines are following the CDC’s guidance in their own protocols for who can come aboard.
Princess Cruises, Celebrity Cruises, Carnival Cruise Line and Holland America have said they will not recognize those who have mixed an AstraZeneca vaccine with an mRNA vaccine as fully vaccinated, citing CDC’s guidance.
“Following CDC guidelines, Celebrity will consider a guest ‘fully vaccinated’ with proof of vaccination that can include mixed doses of the Pfizer and Moderna mRNA vaccines only. No other mixed vaccine doses will qualify a guest as ‘fully vaccinated,’” Celebrity Cruises’ website reads.
Carnival’s policy applies for cruises leaving from U.S. ports.
Norwegian Cruise Line is going further and not accepting any mix of vaccines, including two mRNA vaccines, when departing from U.S. ports, but will accept a mix of “only AstraZeneca-SK Bio, Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna combinations” from non-U.S. ports.
Royal Caribbean will not accept mixed doses when departing from a U.S. port, but will from non-U.S. ports, depending on the specific country’s policy.
Already Canadians have been caught off-guard by some of these policies.
Travel bloggers Karen and Brian Hosier of Port Coquitlam, B.C., have six cruises booked over the next year, but both were first vaccinated with AstraZeneca and and then Pfizer.
“It’s a little bit frustrating. We don’t know at this point whether to cancel [our] trip,” said Karen.
Canada’s National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) has approved mixing vaccines, including AstraZeneca with an mRNA vaccine.
Zahid Butt, an infectious disease epidemiologist at the University of Waterloo, said there is no evidence to show that mixing-and-matching vaccines is harmful and said studies show that mixing AstraZeneca with a second dose of Pfizer is better in creating antibody response to the virus.
“There is no scientific evidence to say people who have a second dose, which is of a different vaccine, would have lesser immunity than the ones who have the same vaccine,” he said.
“There has to be scientific evidence to justify why you are not allowing people to join cruises.”
In addition to cruises, some countries have their own policies toward mixed vaccines, as well as the COVISHIELD vaccine — the Indian-made version of AstraZeneca.
Trinidad and Tobago currently do not accept travellers with a mix of Moderna and Pfizer vaccines but does allow an AstraZeneca and Pfizer or Moderna mix.
“For 2-dose series COVID-19 vaccines, passengers must have received 2 doses of the same vaccine OR the first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine followed by the second dose of the Pfizer vaccine,” the country’s travel requirements read.
“Passengers with any other combination of vaccines would NOT be considered fully vaccinated, at this time.”
Barbados reversed its policy on July 15 to allow mixed vaccines after initially not accepting it.
Elsewhere in the Caribbean, Jamaica will accept anyone with two doses of a World Health Organization-approved (WHO) vaccine, mixed or not, and Cuba and the Dominican Republic have no vaccine requirements.
While the U.S. doesn’t currently require vaccinations for travellers, the CDC’s guidance could pose trouble for some Canadians if the country were to use its guidance in its travel requirements. The U.S. also has not approved the AstraZeneca vaccine.
Already a Lady Gaga and Tony Bennett concert will require full vaccination under New York state’s guidelines, which currently follow the CDC’s lead — meaning no mix-and-match of AstraZeneca with an mRNA vaccine.
The WHO currently has not issued guidance on mixing vaccines but said that there is currently limited data on doing so and warned of a “dangerous trend” of vaccine shopping for extra doses.
According to Health Canada, at least 1.3 million Canadians mixed doses in June.
NACI recommends mixing AstraZeneca, Pfizer, Moderna COVID-19 vaccines, Tam says
Over in Europe, several countries, such as Italy, Portugal and Poland, do not recognize COVISHIELD, which has been approved in Canada and has been administered to over 80,000 Canadians.
This means that visitors with that vaccine must quarantine and provide a COVID-19 test.
A growing number of European countries, though, do accept the vaccine, including Spain, Greece, Iceland and France.
Both Germany and France only accept a combination of AstraZeneca and Pfizer or Moderna as fully vaccinated and not two mRNA vaccines of different makes, meaning travellers must present a negative COVID-19 test to enter.
In response to some of these policies, Quebec will now allow its residents to get a third shot of an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine to avoid policies against mixing vaccines and the COVISHIELD vaccine.
The province warns, though, to seek advice and weigh the risks before getting an extra shot.
“This measure is exceptional and the person should be properly counselled to be informed of the potential risks associated with this additional dose, compared to the benefits of the planned trip,” Quebec’s health department said in a statement.
– With files from Julia Wong and Alessia Simona Maratta
- Source Global News
Globe Aware has been rapidly adapting to cope with the demands of the new Covid era. We're sharing this Covid Travel Checklist with our volunteers, so they can be prepared for travel too.
The Covid travel checklist: What to know before you go
(CNN) — While our suitcases have been gathering dust over the past 16 months, the travel industry has been rapidly adapting to cope with the demands of the new Covid era.
This means that if you're making your first flight for a while, things may be very different from what you've previously been used to.
It's no longer just about packing your power adapter and making sure your shampoo is in little bottles. We've put together this Covid Travel Checklist with everything you now need to think about before you set off.
Planning where to go
1. More travel doors are open worldwide to those who can prove they're fully vaccinated, with the typical requirement being that 14 days must have elapsed since your second jab.
Not all vaccines are equal, so you will need to check that the brand you've received -- and sometimes even the batch number -- are accepted by the destination you hope to visit.
2. Thoroughly check the entry restrictions for all the destinations you wish to visit, or transit through, and keep checking them -- right up to when you travel, and while on the trip itself. And if you're planning to travel around inside a country, remember that different regions might have different rules. CNN Travel's Unlocking the World guides are a good place to start.
3. Remember that while you might be allowed into a country, life may still be far from normal there. Do your homework beforehand to find out what tourism attractions and hospitality services are open, and where and when mask-wearing is mandatory.
4. Book flexible, refundable flights and accommodation wherever possible, or reconsider the trip. And don't neglect to get up-to-date travel insurance -- some destinations require it before entry (be sure to check the Covid-19 small print).
CNN Business breaks down the price hikes customers are seeing at the grocery store, the gas tank, the car lot, and more.
1. Remember cheap vacations and budget flights? Well, those won't be coming back for a while. Expect or prepare for price hikes when it comes to the cost of flights, car hire, accommodation, food, drink and just about everything.
2. Check how many Covid-19 tests you might be required to take and how much each of them will cost. If there is the possibility that travel rules could change mid-trip and you'll be required to self-isolate at home or undergo a mandatory stay at a designated hotel, this is something you'll need to factor in too.
Samantha Brown has been crossing the globe as a TV travel host for 20 years. She often just takes a carry on bag, and offers her best tips for packing up your luggage. First tip: go with a hardside suitcase
1. Confirm well in advance what documentation will need to be presented at different legs of your journey and print out anything for which hard copies are required (or simply as back-up).
Depending where you are in the world and where you're going, check travel requirements and download any apps that are required or recommended and load them up with the relevant information.
2. On top of your regular packing checklist, two new additions we'd recommend are disposable face masks and a small bottle of hand sanitizer you can take in your carry-on.
3. Pack your (empty) refillable water bottle in your hand luggage as usual, but bear in mind that due to Covid-19 precautions water fountains may or may not be back in operation at the airports you visit.
4. It's likely that not all of your favorite airport restaurants and stores will be open as usual, so it might not be possible to pick up last-minute items such as toiletries or particular meals and snacks. If it's an item you 100% need for your journey, purchase it before you travel.
Heading to the airport
If you were a frequent pre-Covid flier, chances are you had a tried-and-tested route to the airport, knowing just how much time you needed to leave before setting out. You might need to rethink that.
1. If your journey to the airport involves public transport, services may be less frequent than pre-Covid. There are also driver shortages in many cities when it comes to taxis and ride-hailing apps like Uber and Lyft, meaning longer wait times and high fares.
2. Once you're at the airport, there may be delays to your journey due to Covid-19 testing wait times and the implementation of social distancing measures.
3. An airline you previously used frequently may have changed their travel rules since you last flew with them. For example, some airlines -- such as Ireland's Aer Lingus -- are cutting back on free cabin baggage, so you will need to choose whether to put your 10 kilogram bag in the hold for free or pay extra to take it on board.
If you put it in the hold, you'll need to allow for extra time at check-in and at the end of your flight.
At the airport
Under the Phuket Sandbox program, visitors arriving on the Thai island must undergo Covid-19 checks on arrival and are required to stay on the island for 14 days before being allowed to visit the rest of the country.
While you might see other passengers disregarding them, social distancing measures will certainly be in place at the airports you travel through.
1. Please allow space for other passengers, and give people plenty of space in line at security and other travel checkpoints. If you see other passengers not doing the same, do your best to relax -- you're on vacation, after all.
1. You'll be expected to wear face masks while on board, so make sure to choose masks you feel comfortable in that meet the airline requirements. Disposable masks are the simplest choice so that you can change to a fresh one periodically.
2. Not all airlines are taking the step of blocking middle seats to prevent Covid-19 transmission, so if that's a priority for you, do your research beforehand and prepare to pay a bit extra with a premium carrier.
3. Practically all airlines, however, will have reduced their inflight service, so check beforehand to see what will be available and if you need to book meals in advance or notify the airline of dietary requirements.
4. Bear in mind that many airlines won't accept anything other than contactless payments, so have your bank card or phone ready for in-cabin purchases.
5. The cabin crew will also be keen to reduce passenger movement in flight, so you may not be able to get up and stretch as often as you'll have been used to. Use lavatory facilities on the ground before you board and bring any travel pillows or other requirements to make sure you can settle in comfortably when you're on board.
- Source CNN
Globe Aware offers flexibility when it comes to protecting yourself and others. In case your volunteer vacation destination is impacted by the Delta variant, Globe Aware will work with you and your family to reschedule your dates and even location.
Is It Safe to Plan International Fall Travel Right Now?
We speak to experts about how the Delta variant could impact upcoming travel plans.
BY SHANNON MCMAHON
July 26, 2021
This year, as much of the United States became vaccinated against the coronavirus and other nations mounted their own vaccine rollouts, experts estimated that international travel would rebound by autumn—if enough of the world became inoculated. But with lagging vaccinations and cases rising again globally thanks to the highly contagious Delta variant, what does that mean for fall travel?
While breakthrough cases among vaccinated people were always expected, and primarily present mild symptoms, the Delta variant, which is now widespread in the U.S., is changing the course of infections in under-vaccinated areas. And it's leading to some returning restrictions: After a case spike in Las Vegas, for example, employees in the city are once again required to mask indoors, and officials in some places are warning against travel to the area.
“We're at quite a junction now with the Delta variant, because what's become apparent in the past few weeks is even vaccinated people, at a low frequency, are starting to get infected,” says Dr. David Freedman, an emeritus infectious-disease specialist at the University of Alabama at Birmingham whose COVID-19 research has focused on travel. “People don't want to go away and get sick, especially somewhere they can't get good medical care.”
If you’re planning on traveling this autumn, here’s what to consider about sticking with or postponing your plans.
Should I book fall travel right now?
According to experts, it depends on your health status and the epidemiological situation where you’re going. Those with underlying conditions should reconsider traveling abroad even if they are vaccinated, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which now offers country-specific travel guidance that ranges from a Level 4 (COVID-19 Very High) alert to Level 1 (COVID-19 Low). In general, unvaccinated people should avoid international travel, according to the CDC, and those who are vaccinated should avoid nonessential travel to Level 4 destinations.
As for how travel will be impacted over the coming months, the trajectory of COVID-19 cases in the U.S. remains unclear, Freedman says, mainly because that trend will depend heavily on the amount of people who decide to get vaccinated. According to the CDC, which collects national data sets predicting the future spread of the disease in the U.S., “Newly reported COVID-19 cases will remain stable or have an uncertain trend, with 92,000 to 803,000 new cases likely reported in the week ending August 14, 2021,” with the vast majority of those cases occurring among unvaccinated people. (About 332,000 cases were reported in the last week, for comparison.) It is worth noting, however, that COVID-19 cases have historically risen in fall, when colder weather drives people back indoors.
For that reason, travel could be risky for immunocompromised people, even if they are vaccinated. “People need to be honest with themselves, and if they have underlying health problems those are really the people who should not travel,” Freedman says. The bottom line, he notes, is that vaccinated people are much less likely to get severely sick.
Will destinations remain open?
Some destinations that recently thrust open their doors to summer tourists are already reimposing restrictions due to the Delta variant. While many countries in Europe are allowing Americans again, some recently brought back curfews and indoor-dining restrictions to slow the spread of the virus. Greece, for example, has banned music in bars and set curfews in nightlife spots like Mykonos. France, which is only allowing vaccinated visitors, will also begin requiring proof of inoculation to dine indoors. In the Caribbean, Turks and Caicos has narrowed its time frame for visitors to acquire a negative coronavirus test, shortening the window from five days before arrival to three. Europe travel could also shut down at any moment thanks to terms built into the European Union’s tourism reopening: Member states can halt travel at any time via an “emergency brake” established by E.U. leaders. The region’s tourism plan relies on a digital health pass that is available to Americans for use.
“The rules are still ever-changing,” says Michaela Moore, a travel advisor for Creative Vacations who has clients traveling to both the Caribbean and Europe this summer. “It’s been a challenge to stay on top of.” Moore says that it’s become her job to give travelers the most up-to-date rules so they can make decisions about what type of travel they’re most comfortable with. The easiest, and therefore more popular, places for Americans to travel right now are Mexico and the Caribbean, she says, followed by Europe, which is proving slightly more difficult to navigate; Africa and Asia trips have largely been put on hold.
How can I safeguard my trip?
If you choose to travel internationally this fall, Moore advises you invest in the right travel insurance and only book changeable flights and accommodations, in case a spike in cases at your destination means you’ll have to postpone your trip. ‘Cancel for any reason’ insurance is most helpful in those scenarios, and is typically separate from standard trip insurance that kicks in during travel for things like emergency flights home or alternative accommodations if you have to quarantine. It’s crucial that travelers make sure they have medical insurance that will cover them abroad, Moore says, as most U.S. health-insurance providers can’t provide coverage internationally. Travelers can also choose to visit countries with better healthcare systems that are less likely to be overwhelmed by a sudden rise in cases, and nations with high vaccination rates that make a sudden outbreak far less likely.
“A lot of people are over COVID even though COVID is not necessarily over us,” says Moore. “I give them the rules and provide them with all the information they need, and then they need to make the decision they're most comfortable with about traveling.”
Freedman says we can also keep an eye out for signals that travel restrictions might return post-summer and complicate the fall travel season, including steadily rising cases in the U.S. through August, which could compel other countries to again close to Americans.
“There's going to be increasing bureaucratic hurdles if Delta doesn't get under control in the next month or so,” Freedman says. “If that doesn't happen, once people stop spending so much time outdoors, countries are likely going to put even more inconvenient restrictions in place.”
With that in mind, it's as important to keep up with your own local epidemiological situation as your destination's—and to have planned your travel as flexibly as possible in case either area's case rate impacts your plans.
- Source Conde Nast Traveler
Vietnam Airlines is resuming more international routes as the airline starts preparing for the reopening of the country. Globe Aware is optimistic our volunteers will be ably to visit the country safely in 2022.
Vietnam Airlines Brings Back More International Routes In Preparation For Reopening
July 13, 2021
Vietnam Airlines is resuming more international routes as the airline starts preparing for the reopening of the country. While the airline has been operating some international flying over the last year, the carrier is now bringing back more regular flights to points in Australia, Europe, and Asia starting this month.
Vietnam Airlines starts to bring back international routes
To serve the needs of essential workers, international students, and any other official travelers who need to come to Vietnam, the carrier will be resuming several international routes.
To Australia, Vietnam Airlines will be flying between Ho Chi Minh City’s Tan Son Nhat International Airport (SGN) and Sydney International Airport (SYD) with two flights per week from July 15th through October 30th. A second flight to Australia will run once per week from SGN to Melbourne Airport (MEL) from July 20th through October 30th.
Meanwhile, Europe will see Vietnam Airlines service with some relatively specific dates in mind. Frankfurt Airport (FRA) will see flights from Hanoi’s Noi Bai International Airport (HAN) on July 25th, 38th, and August 21st. Return flights to Vietnam will run on July 26th, 29th, and August 22nd.
London Heathrow Airport (LHR) will see nonstop service from HAN on August 14th and September 2nd. Return flights from London to Hanoi will run on August 14th and September 3rd.
Closer to home, Vietnam Airlines will be flying between Hanoi and Tokyo Narita International Airport (NRT) with two flights per week from July 17th to October 30th. Narita to Ho Chi Minch City will also resume. Next up will be flying between Ho Chi Minh City (SGN) and Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport (BKK) from August 1st to October 30th.
Vietnam Airlines will be flying widebodies on international flights. This will include both Boeing 787 and Airbus A350 aircraft. Both jets feature lie-flat products in business class.
Preparing for the return of international travel
Vietnam Airlines is expanding its international flight network in preparation for handling two-way flight operations.
Vietnam was well-renowned during the crisis for strict entry restrictions, including mandated quarantines for international travelers. While many of those restrictions remain in place, there are signs that Vietnam is looking to reopen.
Vietnam Express reports that the Vietnamese Ministry of Culture, Sports, and Tourism is looking to reopen Phu Quoc for foreign tourists. This pilot program would allow fully vaccinated travelers from Europe, the US, and some Asian countries to visit the island.
A tourist destination located off the coast of Vietnam, the island could work well for international tourism. Thanks to its isolation from the mainland, it is possible to more easily isolate the virus if the reopening does not go as planned. Plus, with a small population, it is easier to vaccinate all residents there.
When will Vietnam reopen?
Vietnam has taken a very strict approach to the pandemic. With case spikes – even comparatively small ones – the country has not hesitated to lock down the most impacted areas. However, the recent spike has proven to be more difficult to control.
However, locking down and shutting down entirely is not sustainable. Vietnam is hoping for vaccinations to help reopen the country. However, the country has gotten doses out to less than 4% of its population, with less than 1% fully vaccinated, according to data from the New York Times at the time of writing. Recently, the country received two million doses from the United States government.
It will likely be a few months before Vietnam reopens more fully. Phu Quoc could be the only option for travelers looking to vacation in the country in 2021 – assuming it does open up and meet vaccination targets. More of Vietnam will likely follow in 2022, as the country gets to higher vaccination numbers.
When Vietnam is ready to reopen its borders, Vietnam Airlines is expected to resume more international flying. While the carrier did operate routes to the United States during the pandemic for repatriation purposes, it has spent time considering nonstop routes to the United States, though nothing has materialized just yet.
- Source Simple Flying
The country has decided to resume international flights while allowing domestic services to operate at full throttle, following a drop in Covid-19 cases in the country. Globe Aware volunteers interested in Nepal, can visit our site to learn more about our brand new volunteer vacation in Chitwan.
Nepal cautiously reopens international flights
The Cabinet has also permitted regular domestic flights by following health safety protocols.
July 8, 2021
Nepal cautiously reopens international flights while allowing domestic services to operate at full throttle, following a drop in Covid-19 cases in the country.
Tourism Joint Secretary Buddhi Sagar Lamichhane told the Post that a Cabinet meeting on Monday had authorised the ministry to resume passenger flights on international sectors based on the country’s needs and travel demand.
The Cabinet has also permitted regular domestic flights by following health safety protocols. Lamichhane said that domestic flights would be allowed to operate at full capacity from Sunday.
“With regard to international sectors, we will meet on Thursday to decide how to proceed. There will be some limitations on some sectors as the Covid-19 risk still prevails in some countries.”
“The Cabinet decision has come as a relief to people travelling in and out of Nepal as there will be adequate flights from next week,” said Lamichhane. “There are concerns over flight tickets becoming expensive due to the limited number of flights.”
The government had restricted domestic flights from midnight of May 3 and international flights from midnight of May 6 as the second wave of Covid-19 gripped the country.
On June 21, the government allowed a limited number of scheduled international flights after virus caseloads started to drop. Flight frequencies on domestic sectors were capped at 50 percent of pre-Covid levels.
Airlines have been urging the government to fully unshackle domestic flights after heavy monsoon rains damaged several national highways connecting Kathmandu with the rest of the country, severely curtailing overland travel.
“There has been massive demand for air seats due to the damage caused by floods and landslides to national highways across the country,” said Birendra Basnet, managing director of Buddha Air. “As per our assessment, there could be demand for nearly 15,000 air seats in the domestic sector daily if flights are operated as per normal schedules.”
The Narayanghat-Mugling and Narayanghat-Butwal highways including other key routes have been blocked from last week due to landslides. According to airline officials, the onset of the wedding season has also increased demand for air seats.
“Flight tickets are expensive as airlines are allowed to conduct only 50 percent of their services. As soon as flight frequencies return to normal levels, ticket prices will come down due to an oversupply of seats,” said Basnet.
Passengers have been complaining about expensive air tickets in the international sector since the government allowed a limited number of flights to some key destinations.
Abdullah Tuncer Kececi, general manager of Turkish Airlines for Kathmandu, told the Post that they plan to raise their frequency to three weekly flights from the current two weekly flights. Turkish Airlines, the only carrier connecting Nepal and Europe, flies on Thursdays and Saturdays.
Kececi said that passengers would be relieved if regular passenger flights are not stopped again. “Allowing regular flights will allow airlines to plan and also people to plan their travels. This will help the market to work in a healthy way.”
Despite the resumption of regular services, there are many countries, including China, that have not allowed flight connectivity with Nepal.
Dhiraj Shrestha, deputy sales manager at the China Southern Airlines office in Nepal, said that China Southern had no immediate plans to resume its Nepal flights. “The company has no immediate plans to resume flights based on the Covid-19 cases assessment in Nepal.”
From a high of 9,317 cases on May 11, the number of new cases on Wednesday has been reported at 2,077, taking the nationwide infection tally to 650,162.
The countrywide death toll has now reached 9,291 with 28 Covid-related deaths on Wednesday. The number of active cases stands at 26,544.
As per the existing travel protocols, fully vaccinated arrivals need to isolate themselves at home for 10 days, and those who have not been vaccinated have to spend seven days in quarantine in hotels recommended by the government.
The government issued prohibitory orders in most parts of the country at the end of April to help check the spread of the virus as the second wave of the pandemic hit Nepal.
- Source The Kathmandu Post
Recently Globe Aware took an online survey, and the most requested travel destination was Kenya! Here are just 10 of the many reasons why we agree, and visit our website to learn more about the impact we make in this beautiful country!
Longing for a once in a lifetime getaway? 10 reasons why Kenya should be at the top of your post-pandemic travel bucket list!
It's the fantasy that's been keeping us all going through a year of lockdowns and travel restrictions; the dream holiday!
So what's your ideal escape?
For some it's a white powder beach and crystal clear waters, for others it's awe-inspiring landscapes. Or how about the chance to see nature's most incredible creatures up close and personal or the adrenaline-filled fun of sporting adventures?
Whatever your dream holiday, you can do it all in Kenya!
From mountains to beaches and vast plains to vibrant cities, this wonderful country has got it all. Whether you're a couple seeking out romance or a family looking to create memories, this is the destination where once in a lifetime experiences are around every corner.
Read on for just 10 reasons why Kenya should be at the top of YOUR post-pandemic travel bucket list...
1. The locals
Wherever you travel, it's always good to get to know the locals.
But in Kenya that means so much more, thanks to the incredibly diverse wildlife that inhabits the country.
In fact, with 25,000 different animal species and a huge variety of up-close experiences on offer, you'll truly be immersed in the wonder of our natural world.
Stay in remote camps and lodges that take you away from the crowds, but which put you right in the centre of the animal kingdom.
Here you can spot the Big Five (lion, leopard, rhinoceros, elephant and buffalo) as they go about their daily lives, or set off on a guided exploration of the many reservations and parks where you can enjoy day and night drives, as well as private bush walks.
And for another bucket-list sight, why not visit the lakes in Kenya's Great Rift Valley, where you can see one of the most colourful spectacles on earth - a flamboyance of flamingos feeding in the shallow waters!
2. A whole year of amazing experiences
Kenya's climate is warm and temperate all year round, making it the perfect destination whether you're looking for winter sun or a getaway that fits into the school holidays.
Plus, no matter when you choose to visit, you're guaranteed a whole host of incredible experiences with the country's animal inhabitants.
If you want to see young wildebeest and zebra tagging along after their mothers then aim to be on safari between January and March. This birthing season also sees predators like lions come out in force, so you'll have the chance to see them on the hunt.
See the Masaai Mara looking its absolute best during the green season between April and June, or see that spectacular Great Migration in the months of July, August and September.
And with cultural festivals, eco-tourism opportunities, balloon safaris, walking tours, homestays, deep sea fishing, windsurfing, coffee tours and countless other once in a lifetime experiences taking place throughout the year, whenever you go to magical Kenya, it'll be a trip you remember forever.
3. A safari with a difference
Kenya's landscapes are as varied as its wildlife.
And in its northern region you can discover the wide open spaces of the Chalbi Desert. Explore this fascinating area, home to Lake Turkana, the world's largest desert lake and UNESCO World Heritage Site, as well as a stunning area of oases where you'll find groves of tropical palm trees!
Known as the Cradle of Mankind, Northern Kenya is also the site of some of the world's most important prehistoric discoveries which tell almost the entire story of human evolution, like the 1.6 million year old complete skeleton of the Turkana Boy.
Combined with the rich cultural heritage of the region's 14 tribes, a visit to the north of Kenya will open your eyes to a whole new world.
4. The coastline
When you think of Kenya, safaris and sparse plains come to mind. But did you know its coastline is also one of the most beautiful in the world?
With white sandy beaches and warm clear waters, there are plenty of coastal resorts where you can kick back and soak up the sun in peace.
From the tranquility of Tiwi, a true hidden gem loved by locals, to the water sports and club scene of Malindi, there's one to suit all travellers. You can even indulge in an after-dark swim at Kilifi, when the natural bioluminescence in the tidal creek creates a truly magical experience you'll never forget.
Spend your whole getaway enjoying the gentle sea breeze and laid back atmosphere, or why not take a couple of days at the beach as a break from the action and early mornings of your safari?
But don't worry, there's still wildlife to discover. The warm Indian Ocean provides the perfect habitat for diverse species like dolphins, starfish and whale sharks, not to mention the coral gardens, reefs and mangroves, all waiting to be explored in the country's marine parks.
5. An island paradise awaits
Talking of beaches...
No visit to Kenya is complete without a stay on the Lamu Archipelago.
Comprised of four main islands - Lamu, Manda, Pate and Kiwayu - it's a place like no other, combining idyllic beaches and sparkling reefs with Arabic architecture and historic sites.
Add in bohemian boutiques, its reputation as a refuge for artists, fashionable restaurants and beach bars and the privacy afforded by its remoteness, and it's no surprise that Lamu is now the destination of choice for A-list stars looking to get away from prying eyes.
Board a traditional dhow boat for a sunset cruise, drink in hand, explore Lamu Old Town, the oldest and best preserved Swahili settlement in East Africa and picnic on the pristine sands of its hidden beaches, and you'll feel like you've truly escaped to a paradise on earth.
6. Endless adventures
For something a bit more high octane, you'll find water sports like kite-surfing, rafting, diving and jet-skiing on offer, or set out on an adventure back on dry land with a trip to Mount Kenya.
With its sheer cliff faces and snowcapped peaks, it's home to a diverse range of terrains, making it the ideal place for climbers, hikers and trekkers to reach new heights.
Experienced climbers can tackle Mount Kenya's main summits, Batian and Nelion, but those who want the breathtaking views without such an intense ascent, can scale Lenana, the mountain's third highest peak.
Or why not book a walking safari? These guided tours are a brilliant way to experience Kenya's flora and fauna and to learn about the wildlife of its national parks, with the spectacular scenery and unspoilt landscapes providing the backdrop.
And if, after all that, you're still feeling energetic you can rent a bike and cycle the quiet paths of the Rift Valley, Maasai Maara and the Kenyan coast.
What a fantastic way to experience the magic of Kenya up close and at your own pace.
7. Conservation in action
Kenya has one of the most biodiverse ecosystems in the world, so it's no surprise the culture of conservation has been embraced across the country, with initiatives to protect the land and the animals that inhabit it.
From government programmes, to local community enterprises, visitors to Kenya are able to witness conservation in action, as well as help contribute to its continued success.
Not only is there a national ban on hunting in Kenya, but there are many orphanages across the country, dedicated to caring for orphaned and endangered animals, where travellers can watch the rehabilitation process up close.
The memories you'll take away will last a lifetime, as will the knowledge that by visiting these incredible organisations, you did your bit to help protect Kenya's wonderful wildlife.
8. A warm welcome
If you want to truly immerse yourself in an authentic Kenyan experience, spending time with the Maasai Mara tribe is a must.
Not only can you stay in Maasai-owned lodges, but you can go on bush walks and game drives led by Maasai guides, enabling you to learn about the people of this incredible place, as well as the animals.
In the evenings there's the opportunity to enjoy music and dance while discovering more about the tribe's traditions and history. Or get really hands-on with a warrior training session where you'll be taught how to throw spears, fight with sticks and use Maasai bows and arrows.
By choosing Maasai-owned accommodation and activities, not only will you get a genuine understanding of a unique way of life, you'll also help it to continue as tourism is a vital source of income for the tribe.
9. Vibrant cities
After a few days exploring the far reaches of Kenya's vast plains, deserts and mountains, get a hit of urban life in one of the country's vibrant cities.
The capital, Nairobi, is a thriving and modern metropolis where you can shop 'til you drop, sip coffee at bustling cafes, enjoy an indulgent dinner at one of the city's outstanding restaurants and STILL see incredible wildlife at the Nairobi National Park!
The park is home to large herds of zebras, wildebeests, buffalos, giraffes, rhinos, leopards and lions, all living wild within 20 minutes of the central business district!
Or head to Mombasa to experience a diverse city that combines world class hotels and restaurants, with historic forts and hipster street food markets, with beaches right on your doorstep!
10. A very special event
While animal experiences are abundant in Kenya, there's one in particular that's truly unique.
A visit to the Maasai Mara National Reserve will bring you close to over 100 mammal species including zebra, gazelle, antelope, giraffe, ostrich and cheetah, as well as over 450 species of birds.
But to witness one of nature's most incredible events, plan your trip around the time of the Great Migration.
Watch as herds of wildebeest make their way from Tanzania's Serengeti National Park, across the crocodile-infested Mara River, in search of fresh water and grass.
Seeing this battle for survival will be sure to stay with you long after you've flown home.
Visit magicalkenya.com to discover more and to book your dream holiday now...
- Source DALLAS OBSERVER
This is the summer of the vaccinated travel has in the US, and it's wreaking havoc on some of the nation's airlines and airports. Here are some ways for our Globe Aware volunteers to avoid stress that comes with
I volunteer at a major airport and deal with hundreds of unprepared travelers. Here are 12 ways to avoid lines and have a stress-free summer travel experience
Jul 1, 2021
- Americans have been taking to the skies this summer more than any season since the start of the pandemic.
- Airlines and airports are still adjusting to increased passenger levels, causing long lines and delays.
- These travel tips will help flyers avoid lines and move through the airport easier.
The summer of vaccinated travel has arrived in the US, and it's wreaking havoc on some of the nation's airlines and airports.
AAA estimates that 47.7 million Americans will travel over Fourth of July weekend and air travel will likely see a large share of that number. Every day since June 22 has seen more than 1.8 million travelers depart from US airports and four days in that period have seen more than two million.
Long lines will be the norm as travelers descend upon airports and airlines are still struggling to adjust to increased passenger volume following months of slowdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The onus, this summer, will be on travelers to help themselves instead of relying on the airlines to get them to where they need to be.
I volunteer at New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport and see the most common ways travelers make the airport experience harder than it has to be.
Here's how to have a smoother travel experience this summer.
Check-in online for a flight 24 hours in advance
Online check-in takes no more than a few minutes but can save travelers hours of waiting in line. Flyers can review flight details, change seats, pay for baggage allowance, print boarding passes, and even have boarding passes sent to a phone.
Flyers that get a boarding pass by checking in online can head straight to the security checkpoint when arriving at the airport if they don't have a bag to check.
The check-in rule will also help Southwest Airlines flyers get a better seat as boarding groups are assigned based on check-in time.
Airlines will also use check-in time when determining which flyers to take off a flight in the event that it's oversold.
Those checking a bag should pay the baggage fee online to save time at the airport. Some carriers like JetBlue Airways and Spirit Airlines have bag drop systems where flyers use a kiosk to print their bag tag and then drop it on a conveyor belt.
Download and update all airline mobile applications
Nearly every major US airline has a mobile app that, much like online check-in, can often be used to avoid long check-in lines altogether. Travelers that only plan to bring carry-on bags can go straight to the security screening checkpoint with only a mobile boarding pass.
Airline apps will also have phone numbers and contact options in the event of a delay or cancellation. Flyers can change or cancel their flights on most airline apps, as well.
Arrive extra early for domestic flights and super early for international flights
Even the most experienced travelers can be trapped in a long line and miss their flight. Airlines are short-staffed after reducing headcounts during the pandemic and holiday travel weekends will only compound pressure on staff.
Travelers checking bags should arrive extra early to hedge against long lines. Most airlines advise arriving at least two hours in advance for domestic flights and three hours for international flights but flyers should be more cautious and allow extra time.
And even carry-on passengers should arrive early in case of long lines at the security screening checkpoint or if something goes wrong.
International flights often require additional protocols at check-in where an airline employee will have to verify travel documents and COVID-19 tests. Lines are often longer for international departures since flyers often bring checked baggage and now the added burden of verifying COVID-19 documents means flyers should allow for extra time.
Use apps like Verifly for international flights
Some airlines are using third parties to verify COVID-19 documentation and are letting customers that use the free services cut the line at airports.
American Airlines partners with Verifly, a company that offers mobile health passport services, to speed along the check-in process for international flyers. Travelers upload a profile to the Verifly app, as well as their COVID-19 test results, and have their documentation digitally reviewed long before they arrive at the airport.
American has dedicated check-in lines for Verifly users that have shorter wait times than normal lines. The process can take a few days, however, so flyers should upload the info as early as possible.
Be aware of COVID-19 requirements and print out tests
Many international destinations require negative COVID-19 tests as a prerequisite to entry, and each destination has its own rules on the recency and type of tests required.
Airlines will direct travelers to check-in desks so an employee can review COVID-19 tests. In that case, passengers should arrive extra early in case lines are long.
Having COVID-19 tests printed out can also speed along the process at check-in and arrival in a foreign country.
Travelers without proper tests will often be denied boarding. Some airports do have testing sites but privately-owned sites can charge upwards of $100 for a test.
Some countries also require applying for visas or approvals to enter the country that wasn't once mandated, and flyers should check the entry requirements of their destination country with their airline and the US embassy in that country.
Use TSA PreCheck and Clear at security checkpoints
Flyers may spend a long period of time at check-in only to face another line at the security checkpoint. First class flyers and elite status holders can often use dedicated priority lanes but another method to skip the line is by enrolling in the Transportation Security Administration's PreCheck program.
PreCheck lines are often shorter and travelers in the program save time by leaving their shoes on, laptops in bags, and jackets on, among other perks. Travelers that don't currently have TSA PreCheck can get a five-year membership for $85.
Another method of skipping the line is enrolling in a membership with Clear, a private company that brings members to the front of security lines. Clear isn't available in every terminal but can save time where available.
Travelers can have both a TSA PreCheck membership and Clear membership for double effectiveness, with the latter costing $179 per year. Free trials for Clear are often available and some airlines give their frequent flyers discounts on memberships.
Make the most of airport lounges
Chase Sapphire Reserve and American Express Platinum and Centurion cardholders have complimentary access to Priority Pass lounges around the world. Lounges typically feature plush seating along with free WiFi and complimentary food and beverages.
American Express Platinum and Centurion cardholders also have access to exclusive Centurion Lounges, known for exquisite food and drinks, as well as Delta Sky Clubs when flying Delta Air Lines. Delta Air Lines American Express Reserve cardholders can also access Centurion Lounges and Sky Clubs when flying Delta.
Chase Sapphire Reserve cardholders enrolled in Priority Pass can also dine at some airport restaurants for nearly free, as Insider found on a recent layover in Washington, DC.
Be prepared for a delay or cancellation
Busy travel times are when delays and cancellations are likely to happen, especially as airlines adjust to flying more people. Travelers need to be proactive and have a plan of action ready.
As soon as a delay or cancellation strikes, travelers should be searching for backup options and have a plan to execute them. An hour-long flight delay might very well turn into four hours or even a cancellation, as Insider found on a recent trip to South America.
Long hold times are common but flyers should at least call and get themselves on the callback queue, if an airline has one, in case they need to talk to a reservation agent down the line. Messaging an airline through their apps or using Twitter to direct message an airline as soon as a delay strikes can also help, just so a dialogue is opened as soon as possible.
Flyers should also know where the nearest customer service center is in as agents there can also help flyers.
Use credit card perks like travel insurance
Travel credit cards like the Chase Sapphire Reserve and American Express Platinum have built-in travel insurance that can be used if delays strike, if the travel was paid for by that card. Each card has different requirements and spending allowances but it can help mitigate the inconvenience of a delay or cancellation.
"If your common carrier travel is delayed more than 6 hours or requires an overnight stay, you and your family are covered for Unreimbursed expenses, such as meals and lodging, up to $500 per ticket," Chase's website reads.
If bad weather or sickness strikes, some trip insurance will also cover any prepaid costs like airfare or pre-arranged tours. Baggage delay insurance will also cover expenses if a checked bag is lost by the airline.
Know your rights as a passenger
In the event of an airline-initiated delay or cancellation for an issue other than weather, passengers are often entitled to amenities that help make the delay easier to bear.
Meal vouchers are often distributed in the event of a lengthy delay and airlines will give hotel vouchers if an overnight stay is required away from the traveler's home city.
If a flight is delayed or canceled and another is available at a nearby airport, airlines will often provide transportation to the alternate airport. After the trip is complete, flyers can request delay compensation from an airline to make up for the lost time.
Use your elite status or first class perks
Airlines often have dedicated check-in lines for their most frequent flyers with elite status or first class flyers. If checking in with an airline employee is a must, elite status holders or premium cabin flyers can take advantage of the shorter wait times on those lines.
Bring extra masks
Wearing a face mask while in an airport or on an airplane is still required by federal law in the US, and mandatory by most airlines around the world.
Airlines will also have masks to offer passengers in case they forget a mask, need a replacement mask, or simply need an extra one.
- Source Insider
If a Globe Aware volunteer tests positive for COVID-19 or learn that they were exposed to the virus while traveling, it’s important to be responsible, doing everything possible to avoid spreading it. Follow these tips to help spare other people the same fate and limit your added expenses!
What to Do If You Get COVID-19 While Traveling: 8 Tips to Get Back on Track
Getting sick while traveling doesn’t have to be a disaster.
Alicia A. Wallace
It’s been over a year since the COVID-19 pandemic forced major changes to most of our lives. Countries all over the world continue to have a hard time responding to the spread of the virus and the resulting crises.
Since the vaccine became available, more countries have opened their borders. People who have been itching to travel can finally hit the road.
There’s still some risk in traveling during the pandemic, but it feels a bit safer.
Some people want to escape the homes they’ve been cooped up in. Others desperately want to see their family members.
And others need to take a mental health break, go to a place with different weather, move for a new job, or get access to a service that’s not available in their home countries.
Whatever the reason, people are traveling, and the tourism industry is making room.
What to expect if you test positive
Vaccinated people have a sense of security because of the protection provided by antibodies. But it’s still possible to contract COVID-19, even after you’ve had your full dose.
It’s especially risky if people don’t wear masks or don’t properly wash their hands, sanitize, and practice physical distancing.
Taking these measures isn’t just about preventing illness. It isn’t even just about preventing the spread. It may also be the difference between getting back home — or not.
Most countries now require a negative polymerase chain reaction (PCR) or rapid antigen test for (re)entry of residents and visitors alike. Even if you’re asymptomatic, you likely won’t be able to return to your home country as planned if you test positive for COVID-19.
That could result in a cancellation or change fees on your flight, additional hotel days, an increase in spending on food and other supplies, and possible loss of workdays.
It costs less money to take the precautions and continue to follow COVID-19 safety protocol.
How to handle COVID-19 on the go
If you test positive for COVID-19 or learn that you were exposed to the virus while traveling, it’s important to be responsible, doing everything possible to avoid spreading it.
This kind of news can be disorienting, but you’ll need to act quickly to spare other people the same fate and limit your added expenses.
The tips below can help you get back on track with your travel plans sooner rather than later.
Do the math
If you test positive, you may be able to figure out when you contracted the virus based on the timing of any previous tests and your recent activities.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)Trusted Source, asymptomatic people can discontinue isolation 10 days after testing positive.
Still, it’s possible to test positive beyond that period, even if you’re no longer able to pass on the virus.
If that’s the case, you may need to prepare to stay where you are for a longer period of time, depending on the restrictions of the country you’re in.
Reschedule your flight
You can reschedule your return flight based on your best estimate of when you contracted the virus and when you are likely to test negative.
It’s usually best to do this by phone, so an agent can help you with fare differences and change fees. Have something handy to take notes, because the options will likely be more than you can remember.
Sorting this out early can save you money and will definitely spare you some guessing games.
Book appropriate accommodations
Find a place to stay for your entire isolation period. You need an accommodation where you won’t have to leave for meals, ice, restroom use, or anything else.
- a kitchenette
- 24-hour staff
- a restaurant
- an onsite or nearby convenience store
- a sympathetic bellhop or concierge
Go for a room with a kitchenette, so you have the ability to refrigerate food items and cook. Contactless delivery might not be an option in every country, and it can get expensive.
Be sure to let the staff know you don’t need your room serviced and use the “do not disturb” indicator if one is available, so housekeeping doesn’t come in.
If you communicate with them, the staff may even be able to help you get necessary personal items, like toiletries, and leave them outside your door. They’ll likely be grateful that you’re taking precautions and respecting their safety.
Book your next COVID-19 test
Now that you have a flight booked and place to stay, you need to schedule another COVID-19 test.
Make sure this test is both:
- ten or more days after your first positive test
- within the window required by your home country, which is typically 72 hours
If possible, use a concierge service where someone will come to you to administer the test. This way, you won’t expose anyone else to the virus. There will likely be a convenience fee.
If this option isn’t available to you, and you’re driving, you can opt for a drive-thru test. Many airports are now offering COVID-19 tests to travelers.
Make notes, and check them often
There will be a lot to keep track of during this period. Don’t leave anything to chance.
Take note of:
- dates and times of your test
- how long your test results are valid in your home country
- check-out times for your accommodations
- check-in times for your flight
- any other necessary details, like train or bus timetables
Once you’re settled into your room, meal plan. If your budget is tight, try to plan meals that make use of the same ingredients. For example, if you like eggs for breakfast and you have to buy a dozen, you may consider making quiche for your lunches.
You don’t want to order too many grocery items that you’ll end up throwing away or stuffing into your luggage.
Order groceries and necessary supplies
Once you’ve made a grocery list, place the order for delivery or ask accommodation staff if they can help you get what you need. If you go for the second option, be prepared to tip generously.
Do not, under any circumstances, venture out to do the shopping.
Don’t forget to include:
- vitamins and supplements, like vitamin C
- any necessary medications
- a thermometer
- sources of hydration
You may feel completely fine, but there’s no telling how that positive test result will affect your mental health.
Being able to check your temperature and take supplements daily can help a lot.
If you’re experiencing symptoms, make sure to hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. Pedialyte, or even sports drinks in a pinch, can restore lost electrolytes due to vomiting or diarrhea. This is especially important in hot climates.
If you test positive for COVID-19, chances are you are stressed, feel sick, are far from home, and have logistical details to work out.
You might not want to announce on your social media that you’ve tested positive or been exposed to COVID-19, but you should definitely let a trusted loved one know what’s going on.
Be clear with them about how you’re feeling and the kind of support you think you’ll need. Maybe you’d like quick daily check-ins via text message, or maybe you need them to run interference with other people you’re not ready to deal with yet.
Ask for help.
It might be a good time to schedule some extra telehealth sessions with your therapist, too.
Do something nice for yourself
Being stuck in a room that isn’t even in your own house under stressful circumstances is likely not be the vacation you had in mind. You can still make it a better experience for yourself with some effort.
Order fresh flowers or a plant, a nice mug to have your morning beverage in, some essential oils and a small diffuser, or even a fancy body wash.
If you can, go for room service and order some pay-per-view. If you brought your own computer, what better time for a favorite TV show binge-watch?
These small things can help brighten your days and give you a greater sense of control.
Testing positive for COVID-19 is an unwelcome surprise under any circumstance. It comes with added stress if you’re traveling.
Before you leave home, be sure to budget for unexpected events. Be prepared to pay for a few extra nights and an additional COVID-19 test.
If you test positive, make the necessary plans to ensure that the following days go as smoothly as possible. It doesn’t have to be a disaster.
Keep your cool, take your to-do list one step at a time, and give yourself permission to ask for support and treat yourself to something nice.
- Source Healthline
Volunteer alum Jodi Lipson speaks of her Globe Aware experiences with her family, and find out how you can book your meaningful volunteer vacation.
How to Volunteer While Traveling With Your Kids
Looking for meaningful travel? Volunteering lets you give back and grow as a family.
BY KEN BUDD
JULY 15, 2021
When Jodi Lipson's daughter was seven, the duo embarked on a mommy-daughter adventure — and no, they didn't travel to Disneyland. For one week, the pair did maintenance work at a hostel in Peru and helped local schoolchildren learn English. They soon worked on three more projects with volunteer organization Globe Aware in Guatemala, Cambodia, and Costa Rica. The experiences, said Lipson, who works in book publishing in D.C., have expanded the worldview of her now 13-year-old daughter.
"We've met so many people," she said. "We have a whole repertoire of experiences, feelings, and memories."
As travel-hungry Americans start dusting off their passports, meaningful travel will top many bucket lists—and short-term volunteering should be on your radar. Volunteering abroad was ranked number three on a list of most-desired post-pandemic travel opportunities in a recent survey by Go Overseas, a resource site on meaningful travel.
For kids, volunteering can reveal a world beyond their screens and fuel a lifelong interest in giving. It also helps families to escape their comfort zone, bond, and immerse themselves in local cultures. Volunteering might even impact your child's future. A teenage volunteer with Earthwatch, a scientific organization that runs expeditions worldwide, wrote her college essay on her volunteer experience and was admitted to Stanford. She's now been admitted to several PhD programs in ornithology, which was the focus of her Earthwatch expedition.
Interested in volunteering with your family? Consider these possibilities:
For a deeper experience, consider a volunteer vacation, also known as voluntourism. Organizations such as Global Volunteers, Globe Aware, and Projects Abroad run one-week-or-longer family programs in the United States and abroad. Some allow children as young as six; others, like Earthwatch, have a minimum age of 15. Most organizations also provide cultural activities (such as language lessons) and tourism opportunities (the Lipsons visited Machu Picchu while volunteering in Peru).
Multiple organizations expect to relaunch projects in late 2021, though 2022 may be best for families interested in international volunteering, especially as countries start requiring COVID vaccinations, for example, it could create entry issues for children and teens who aren't vaccinated yet). Organizations such as Globe Aware, which has restarted programs in countries such as Costa Rica, Guatemala, Ghana, and Kenya, are taking steps beyond masks and social distancing to protect locals and volunteers: "All our projects, leisure activities, and meals are outside," says executive director Kimberly Haley-Coleman. Global Volunteers is offering programs in Montana, West Virginia, Poland, and Tanzania in July.
Thinking about a weeklong volunteer vacation? Take these steps:
Do your homework. Sites like Go Overseas, Go Abroad and Volunteer Forever post info and reviews as well as tips on family volunteering.
Ask questions. Inquire about subjects such as safety, food, and accommodations. Will you stay in a hotel? With a local family? Are there day trip opportunities to local communities if you're staying in a central location or major city?
Talk with a former volunteer. "Any reputable organization will give you a list of people to speak with," said Alia Pialtos, COO at Go Overseas. "Talking with someone about their experience is different from reading testimonials."
Understand the program fee. Organizations charge a fee that covers everything from lodging to transportation. Find out how your money is spent.
Scrutinize the screening process. Many organizations, for example, require a background check if you're working with kids. If they don't, that's a warning sign.
Ask about the work. Is it necessary? Does it match your talents? If you don't have construction skills you shouldn't be building houses. And make sure you're not taking work from locals.
Appreciate the intangibles. One of the biggest upsides of volunteering is that people talk who would never talk otherwise — which changes how we see each other.
- Source Voluntourist
The king of Bhutan has taken it upon himself to hike across the country to help curb the Covid-19 pandemic because "his Majesty's presence is far more powerful than just issuing public guidelines." Globe Aware applauds the king's continuing dedication and efforts to help his people.
Bhutan's king has been hiking and camping across his mountainous kingdom to oversee pandemic measures
June 28, 2021
- Bhutan's king has been making personal trips across the country to visit remote regions and meet Covid-19 taskforces.
- His Facebook page shows him donning a baseball cap, hiking attire, and a backpack on his treks.
- Bhutan is one of the world's most mountainous countries, with an average elevation of 8,000 feet.
The king of Bhutan has taken it upon himself to hike across mountains, visit remote villages, and trudge through leech-infested jungles to help his country curb the Covid-19 pandemic.
King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck has been making trips by car, horse, and foot across his kingdom to supervise pandemic measures and warn his people of the coronavirus, according to the official royal Facebook page. He's been making the trips over the last 14 months and has managed to span Bhutan's eastern border - which is more than 400 miles long - reported Reuters.
One of his latest treks lasted five days across 41 miles, according to the royal Facebook page, in which he sported an outdoor backpack, hiking gear, and sometimes a pair of sunglasses or a dark baseball cap.
Camping on the slopes and among the trees by night, and dropping by rural settlements in the day, he has spoken to health workers in various regions and inspected several border posts.
Whenever he finishes a tour and arrives back in the capital of Thimpu, he quarantines himself in a hotel according to protocol, said Reuters.
The monarch is immensely popular among the people of Bhutan. He's known for traveling to meet and discuss the country's policies with his people. When he took the throne in 2006, he relinquished his absolute powers to turn Bhutan into a constitutional monarchy as part of a democratization process.
"When the king travels for miles and knocks... to alert people about the pandemic, then his humble words are respected and taken very seriously," Bhutan Prime Minister Lotay Tshering told Reuters.
"His Majesty's presence is far more powerful than just issuing public guidelines," said Tshering, who accompanies the 41-year-old king on his trips.
According to the royal Facebook page, the king is concerned by a recent "large number" of community infections in the region.
Bhutan, a land-locked kingdom of 700,000 people that is surrounded by China and India, is one of the world's most mountainous countries with an average elevation of 8,000 feet. Its southern neighbor, India, has been battling one of the worst Covid-19 outbreaks in the world but Bhutan has had relatively few cases.
As of June 28, Bhutan has reported 2,052 Covid-19 cases and one death caused by the coronavirus.
As a Covid precaution, Bhutan closed its borders to all but essential travel in April.
However, there is concern about "frequent interactions between people across the porous border" with India, according to the royal Facebook page.
"(The king) has been to all high-risk border areas time and again to monitor every measure put in place and to ensure best practices are followed within limited resources," Rui Paulo de Jesus, the World Health Organization representative in Bhutan told Reuters.
Bhutan is currently struggling with a severe vaccine shortage. While it managed to provide around 90% of the country with one dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine, it does not currently have enough doses to ensure that its citizens receive a second dose.
The government is contemplating offering mixed doses of another vaccine to residents. Both Canada and Spain have already approved mixing vaccines, and studies have shown that taking the Pfizer vaccine as a second dose to the Astrazeneca vaccine is safe.
- Source YouAreUNLTD Magazine.
Stress, jet lag, cramped airplane seats, new foods and exhaustion all conspire to test your physical limits. Globe Aware volunteers can avoid these travel symptoms by following these helpful tips!
How to deal with vacation constipation, swelling and other travel symptoms
July 2, 2021
Travel can do wonders for the soul. It can also do a number on your body.
The very word originates from “travail,” or “painful or laborious effort,” according to the Oxford English Dictionary.
Painful, indeed, as stress, jet lag, cramped airplane seats, new foods and exhaustion all conspire to test your physical limits.
Almost 48 million Americans are expected to travel during the 2021 Fourth of July holiday period — from Thursday through Monday — the second most traveled Independence Day holiday weekend since AAA began tracking the numbers. This represents a near return to pre-pandemic levels and an increase of almost 40% compared to 2020, the organization said.
Here are common symptoms you may experience while traveling this summer and tips to stay healthy during your journey:
1. Vacation constipation
You may notice your bathroom habits change quite a bit once you hit the road. When a regular routine suddenly becomes anything but, it can cause discomfort and concern.
“Many people experience constipation when they travel,” said NBC News medical contributor Dr. Natalie Azar.
There are several possible reasons why.
Eating habits: You may be eating less fiber and drinking less water, all of which contributes to travel constipation, Azar noted. Try to stay well hydrated and eat lots of fruits and vegetables.
Disruption of your daily routine: Maybe you’re waking up later or skipping a favorite workout. Try to re-establish your everyday rhythm, she advised. If you’re used to having a bowel movement in the morning, try and recreate the setting for that to happen with a similar meal or exercise routine you would normally have at home.
Jet lag: When zipping through time zones turns night into morning and morning into night, it will take a few days to get your system back on track.
“Safe toilet syndrome:” Psychology plays a role, too. Your body has to relax to go to the bathroom, but that’s hard when you’re in a new, unfamiliar environment, causing irregularity when you’re away from home, Dr. Mehmet Oz told Oprah.com. Then, there’s "shy bowel" syndrome, or the fear of going to the bathroom when other people are nearby. Public restrooms on planes, in airports and hotels may cause some travelers to “hold it in,” further disrupting their routine.
2. Menstrual cycle changes
Many women find a trip abroad will delay or shorten their period, or even cause them to skip a cycle, so don’t be surprised if the timing is a little unusual.
The menstrual cycle is controlled by the coordinated secretion of different hormones, which can be affected by changes in your circadian rhythm, or your internal body clock, Azar said. Jet lag really messes with your body, including the reproductive system.
“In other words, a shift in your body clock can cause a change in reproductive hormones that affect ovulation and menstruation,” she noted.
“Keep this in mind when you travel if you are NOT planning a pregnancy!”
3. Swollen legs, feet or hands
This is particularly common with air travel, or any other mode of transportation that forces you to sit still for long periods of time. Our bodies are designed to move to help blood flow, so when you stop moving during a long flight, your blood tends to pool in your legs.
“Our calf muscles are a very efficient pump for squeezing the veins and pushing blood back to our heart,” said Dr. Gregory Piazza, a cardiologist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston.
“When we’re sedentary, we lose that calf muscle pump.”
That may put some travelers at risk for deep vein thrombosis, or a blood clot that forms in a vein in your leg. If it breaks loose, it can travel into the heart and lungs and cause a pulmonary embolism, a dangerous condition that could be deadly.
Developing DVT could affect people hours and days after a flight, Piazza said. Watch for symptoms like cramping or some other discomfort in the leg, redness or purple discoloration, swelling or difficulty walking.
To keep your blood moving, he suggested the following tips:
- If you’ve had blood clots before, consider wearing compression stockings.
- Drink enough non-alcoholic fluids so that you have to urinate once an hour on the plane.
- Get up and walk at least once an hour, which should already be happening if you’re drinking enough fluids and have to get up to go to the lavatory.
- Try calf exercises and foot pumps to help enhance the calf muscle pump action.
Dehydration and diet indiscretions during your trip can also lead to swelling, Azar noted. Lay off the salt in your meals and drink plenty of fluids.
4. Skin breakouts
Your flawless complexion suddenly sports blemishes and bumps as you explore a new destination.
“I hear that all the time from people,” said Dr. Carolyn Jacob, founder and medical director of Chicago Cosmetic Surgery and Dermatology.
Jacob suspects it happens because travel is stressful to your system or because you may be eating differently than at home.
Dr. Julie Karen, a board certified dermatologist in New York, believes a lot of the changes are environmental.
“There’s increased pollution for certain cities and that can accumulate on the skin and lead to further inflammation and pimples,” she said.
You may also be using different products than you’re used to — a hotel-supplied moisturizer or soap, for example — which may affect your skin differently, both experts said. Or you skip your usual cleansing routine.
Traveling with face wipes is a good idea. Don’t forget to drink lots of water on planes, where the environment is dry. And consider packing one more item in your bag: your own pillow case.
“The pillow case you come into contact with (in a hotel) may not be as clean or cleaned in the same way as yours at home,” Karen said.
Happy, healthy travels.
- Source NBC Today Show
The new CDC travel guidelines now include specific recommendations for both vaccinated and unvaccinated travelers. Globe Aware volunteers should continue to check their destination's page to stay updated on travel restrictions.
CDC Travel Guidelines Relax for More than 100 Countries
France, Japan, and Mexico are among the destinations with revised guidelines.
BY SHANNON MCMAHON
June 9, 2021
On Monday the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) revised its coronavirus travel guidelines for over 100 countries “to better differentiate countries with severe outbreak situations from countries with sustained, but controlled, COVID-19 spread,” the agency said on its website. The new CDC travel guidelines now include specific recommendations for both vaccinated and unvaccinated travelers.
The 110 changes includes 61 places that have been downgraded from the highest Level 4 status to a Level 3, plus 50 more lowered to Levels 1 and 2, reports Reuters. The U.S. State Department has mirrored the CDC changes by lowering 85 of its own travel advisories for countries including Japan ahead of the Olympics, but told Reuters it did not lower all 110 advisories after taking into consideration "commercial flight availability, restrictions on U.S. citizen entry, and impediments to obtaining COVID test results within three calendar days." (Returning to the United States still requires a COVID-19 test taken no more than 72 hours in advance.)
Countries downgraded to a Level 1, for “low” COVID-19 risk, include Singapore, Israel, South Korea, Iceland, and Belize. Level 2 “moderate-risk” countries include Barbados, Bermuda, Cambodia, Mauritius, Uganda, and Zambia. Countries downgraded from Level 4 ("very high" risk) to a Level 3 “high” COVID-19 risk include Ecuador, France, the Philippines, South Africa, Mexico, Russia, Spain, Switzerland, Turkey, Ukraine, Honduras, Hungary, and Italy.
The new rankings are a result of revised criteria for each tier, with the highest Level 4 now assigned to destinations with 500 cases per 100,000 (more lenient than the previous 100 COVID-19 cases per 100,000 benchmark). For Level 3 and 4 destinations, the CDC recommends that travelers avoid non-essential travel, and be fully vaccinated (two weeks out from their final shot) if they do visit. Level 2 advises travelers are fully vaccinated, and that "unvaccinated travelers who are at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19 should avoid nonessential travel to the these destinations." Level 1 only advises that travelers be fully vaccinated.
CDC travel guidelines do not take into account the country or territory's restrictions for Americans, however. Singapore, for example, which is classified under the lowest level, does not permit anyone traveling from outside Australia, Brunei, mainland China, New Zealand, Taiwan, Hong Kong, or Macau to enter without quarantining for 21 days. Japan is classified as Level 3 by both the CDC and State Department ahead of next month's year-delayed Olympic Games in Tokyo, though the Games will not allow foreign spectators to attend.
Regions where non-U.S. citizens are still barred from entering the U.S. despite very low COVID-19 case loads, including China, certain European nations, the U.K., and South Africa, could potentially see those restrictions removed following “an interagency conversation" that is "looking at the data in real time as to how we should move forward," CDC Director Rochelle Walensky told Reuters. The Biden administration is reportedly working with those countries toward reopening travel after more than one year of restrictions.
We’re reporting on how COVID-19 impacts travel on a daily basis. Find our latest coronavirus coverage here, or visit our complete guide to COVID-19 and travel.
- Source Conde Nast Traveler
Over the years, this couple has visited everywhere from Rome and Iceland, recreating scenes from famous films! Have our Globe Aware volunteers ever done this before on a volunteer vacation!?
The couple who travel the world recreating movie scenes
June 25, 2021
(CNN) — After going on several big trips together as a couple, Robin Lachhein and Judith Schneider, both from Frankfurt, Germany, wanted to do something extra special for their next vacation.
They talked through various potential ideas before coming up with something that excited both of them -- traveling to a movie location and recreating a famous scene.
In 2014, they visited Prague and re-enacted a clip from the 1996 film "Mission: Impossible," making sure to document the moment on camera.
Over the next few years, Lachhein and Schneider visited everywhere from Rome and Iceland, to New York and even Utah, recreating scenes or promotional shots from films like "Thelma and Louise," "The Hunger Games," "Eat Pray Love," "The Devil Wears Prada" as well as TV series such as "Game of Thrones" and "Downton Abbey."
In 2018, the pair launched an Instagram account, Secret Famous Places, where they share their re-enactments alongside stills from the movies that inspired their shoots.
The account now has nearly 40,000 followers, with the likes of Oscar winners Hilary Swank and Marion Cotillard among those posting in the comments section.
Lachhein, 32 and Schneider, 31, who met at a friend's birthday party 11 years ago, say they're thrilled that their slightly unusual hobby is gaining such attention, particularly as they never planned to share the images with the world.
"First we just want to take the pictures for our living room, so we could have great memories from the spots we'd visited," Lachhein tells CNN Travel. "But more and more people reacted to these pictures."
According to Lachhein, some of their friends assumed the images had been Photoshopped, and were stunned to learn that they'd actually traveled to the spots featured in the movies, dressed up as the characters and taken their photos at an identical angle.
"We were laughing when we first talked about dressing up like the actors, because that's a lot of work," says Schneider. "But then we gave it a try."
They also go to great pains to make sure that the angle is as close to the original picture as possible.
"You have to get the right angle, the right perspective and stand in exactly the spot where the actor or actress was standing," explains Lachhein.
The first shoot they did didn't quite go to plan. After dressing up in their costumes, putting on the appropriate make up and going to the Charles Bridge in Prague to mirror a pose from Tom Cruise in the first of the "Mission: Impossible" movies, it began to rain uncontrollably.
Lachhein and Schneider had little choice but to turn back and reconvene the following day. Thankfully they were eventually able to get the shot they needed, and soon began planning other movie location trips.
However, recreating an iconic film or TV scene isn't as simple as just turning up at the location one day and pulling out a camera.
The couple often have to do a lot of planning in order to determine exactly where the spot featured in the sequence they want to focus on is, as well as how to get there.
They walked for hours to get to the spot where Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling dance in the 2016 film "La La Land," while villagers were on hand to help them find a specific rock in New Zealand from the 2008 action-adventure movie "10,000 BC."
"If it's not that big a movie, then it's a little bit difficult," explains Lachhein. "Then there's many hours of research on Google Maps trying to find the overview of the area."
On some occasions they've had to gain permission to take photos in a particular place, as was the case when the pair re-enacted scenes from 2020 movie "Tenet" at Villa Cimbrone in Ravello, Italy and "Star Wars: Episode II Attack of the Clones" at Lake Como.
Then there's the small matter of making sure they have clothes identical to those worn by the film or TV characters they're posing as.
"We always try to use things we already have so that we don't buy a lot of stuff," says Schneider, recounting how they made a necklace out of a piece of steel for a particular scene from "Star Wars".
"Or we borrow from our friends. Sometimes it's very easy, you might need jeans, white shoes and a shirt. But for something like 'Game of Thrones', it's very complicated. We have to improvise a lot."
One of the most popular images on their account is a recreation of a sequence from the 1994 movie "Forrest Gump" taken in Monument Valley, in which they enlisted a group of travelers to stand in the background to make it look more authentic.
If the place they need to feature happens to be in a popular tourist spot, such as the bench from 2014 film "The Fault In Our Stars" starring Shailene Woodley and Ansel Elgort, which is located next to the Leidsegracht canal in Amsterdam, getting the image they need can be even more challenging.
"There were a lot of people who wanted to sit there," says Schneider. "So we waited, and waited until it was empty."
Their painstakingly precise efforts have proved to be a hit on Instagram, with Swank giving the account her seal of approval when she commented, "That's incredible!" on their image from her 2007 movie "P.S. I Love You," which also starred Gerard Butler.
However, Welsh actor Tom Cullen, who played Viscount Gillingham in "Downton Abbey" was the first star to post a message, writing "nailed it" on their image mirroring a scene from the popular ITV show captured outside Highclere Castle in the UK.
"At that moment, we had maybe three pictures and 300 followers or something like that," says Schneider. "So that was very nice [of him]."
As they both work full time, Lachhein and Schneider plan their trips within the six weeks vacation time they're allotted each year.
Although some of their followers have assumed the pair's trips are financed by their families, they stress that they pay for everything themselves and don't earn any money from their pictures.
They try to avoid Photoshop as much as possible so that the photos are a true depiction of the location, but admit to occasionally using filters and/or altering colors in order to enhance an image.
While the couple don't necessarily choose their vacation destinations based on the movies they want to create, Lachhein admits that the prospect of visiting the filming location for 2010 movie "Inception" played a big part in their decision to go to Paris in 2017.
"'Inception' is my favorite movie. I wanted to create this scene with Leonardo DiCaprio and Marion Cotillard at the [Pont de Bir-Hakeim] bridge looking at the Eiffel Tower.
"So then we had to go to Paris. And we combined the trip with different movies and series."
They've been particularly touched by the trouble that some of the locals have gone to to ensure they get the exact image they need.
"People are so proud that these filming locations are in their city," explains Schneider. "And they try to help us a lot. They are so kind."
While the pandemic has put many of their foreign trips on pause for a while, the couple have been able to travel around Germany shooting images, and also paid a visit to Italy last summer, when travel restrictions were briefly lifted.
Despite recreating around 100 movie and TV scenes, they have many more on their wish list.
They hope to visit London in the coming months, as well as New York and Australia, when international travel reopens.
"The list [of locations] is long," says Schneider. "I think we will spend quite a few more years doing this."
- Source Self
- Source Self
Positive news to share with our Globe Aware volunteers and coordinators! The U.S. announced it will send 55 million Covid-19 vaccine doses to countries in Latin America, Asia and Africa, in order to "defeat COVID-19 and to achieve global health security.”
U.S. to split 55 million Covid vaccine doses between Latin America, Asia and Africa
JUN 21 2021
Berkeley Lovelace Jr.
The Biden administration announced Monday it will send 55 million Covid-19 vaccine doses to countries in Latin America, Asia and Africa as the coronavirus continues to rapidly spread in low- and middle-income nations.
The 55 million vaccine doses are the remaining portion of 80 million shots President Joe Biden has committed to donating abroad. Earlier this month, the administration said it would send the first 25 million doses to South and Central America, Asia, Africa, neighboring countries and U.S. allies.
The U.S. plans to allocate 75% of its initial 80 million doses through COVAX, the nonprofit that distributes vaccines mostly to poor countries, while the remaining shots will be sent to countries currently dealing with surges in new infections, the administration said Monday.
The administration said about 14 million doses will go to places in Latin America and the Caribbean, including Brazil, Argentina, Colombia, Peru, Ecuador, Paraguay, Bolivia, Uruguay, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Haiti, Dominican Republic, Panama and Costa Rica.
About 16 million will go to countries in Asia like India, Nepal, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Philippines, Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia, Laos and Thailand, the administration said. About 10 million doses will go to Africa and are expected to be shared with countries that will be selected in coordination with the African Union, it said.
Another 14 million will be shared with “regional priorities and other recipients” such as Iraq, Yemen, Tunisia and Ukraine, the administration said.
“Sharing millions of U.S. vaccines with other countries signals a major commitment by the U.S. government,” the administration said in a release detailing its plan. “Just like we have in our domestic response, we will move as expeditiously as possible, while abiding by U.S. and host country regulatory and legal requirements.”
The announcement Monday comes as more than half of the U.S. population has had at least one dose of a Covid vaccine, and new cases and deaths have fallen sharply.
As of Sunday, more than 177 million Americans, or 53.3% of the population, have had at least one shot, according to data compiled by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. More than 149 million Americans are fully vaccinated, according to the agency.
The pandemic outlook in other countries is more bleak, however, with some places such as Africa reporting an increasingly worrying rise in Covid cases.
The World Health Organization is urging wealthy nations to donate doses. Many countries have made pledges to share millions of shots around the world, but WHO officials say those doses need to make their way to low-income countries immediately and without delay.
Earlier this month, the administration said it would buy 500 million more doses of the Pfizer Covid vaccine to share through the global COVAX alliance to donate to 92 lower-income countries and the African Union over the next year.
The administration said the doses are vital “component of our overall global effort to lead the world in the fight to defeat COVID-19 and to achieve global health security.”
- Source CNBC
Hoi An is much loved for its peaceful atmosphere, centuries-old houses, and unique cuisine. Consider a Globe Aware volunteer vacation in Vietnam for summer 2022!
Hoi An among 10 cheapest global tourist destinations
By Nguyen Quy
June 21, 2021
Hoi An Town in central Vietnam is eighth on this year’s annual list of 10 cheapest tourist destinations in the world.
The ancient town in Quang Nam Province and Bali in Indonesia are the only two Southeast Asian destinations to break into the top 10, with the latter standing in fourth position, according to the annual Holiday Money report released by the Post Office, the U.K.’s leading currency exchange agency.
The ranking is based on the minimum required budget for eight staple items that holidaymakers are likely to purchase – a cup of coffee, a pint of beer, a can/bottle of Coca-Cola, a bottle of water, sun cream, insect repellent, and a three-course dinner for two with a bottle of wine at 46 tourist destinations worldwide.
According to the report, the average cost in Hoi An is £58.39 ($80.51) per day, which is more expensive than the famous resort island of Bali at £55.01 ($75.89).
In Hoi An, a can/bottle of beer at a resort would cost around £2.85 ($3.93), and a cup of coffee, £0.71 ($0.97), the report said. A romantic dinner for two - a three-course evening meal, including a bottle of house wine, would cost tourists around £34.37 ($75.9) while a glass of wine would cost £2.6 ($3.58).
Sunny Beach in Bulgaria topped the lowest cost destination ranking, with an average daily cost of just £27.71 ($38.22). Turkey's Marmaris was the second cheapest tourist destination at £37.19 ($51.33).
Hoi An, much loved for its peaceful atmosphere and its centuries-old houses, pagodas and even its unique cuisine, has repeatedly featured in best-value destination lists.
A UNESCO heritage site and home to beautiful beaches like An Bang, it was named among world's 25 most popular travel destinations in the 2021 TripAdvisor Travelers’ Choice Awards.
- Source VnExpress
Face shields required in airports at Peru, 21-day quarantines in some countries...with international air travel surging in the summer our Globe Aware volunteers will run into quite a range of travel restrictions and entry requirements.
Flying Overseas? There's A LOT You Need To Know. Here's A Guide
June 11, 2021
FRAN KRITZ and DAVID SCHAPER
Each week, we answer frequently asked questions about life during the coronavirus crisis. If you have a question you'd like us to consider for a future post, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line: "Weekly Coronavirus Questions." See an archive of our FAQs here.
I live in the U.S. and am considering a trip to another country. What do I need to know about international air travel at this stage of pandemic?
First of all, you have plenty of company. International air travel is expected to surge this summer. Americans are thinking of European vacations again. "We've had people asking a lot about Europe," says Chicago-area travel adviser Kendra Thornton of Royal Travel & Tours. "Not necessarily booking but wanting to keep tabs on it."
In addition, residents of the U.S. with family members in other countries are eager for a reunion after pandemic-enforced separations. People may be traveling abroad for work as well.
They'll run into quite a range of travel restrictions and entry requirements.
NPR correspondent Jason Beaubien was surprised to see his face on a giant screen in an airport in Sierra Leone, where thermal scanners take the temperature of everyone in the crowd simultaneously. Airport personnel takes aside anyone who registers a fever for evaluation.
Travelers headed to Peru should pack a face shield. You have to wear it in crowded spaces such as an airport.
What's more, the protocols may change as new variants, such as the highly contagious Delta variant, spread and take hold in different countries.
So if you're itching to travel abroad or have already booked a trip, you probably have a lot of questions. Here are some guidelines that might help you deal with the new rules of international flight:
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says to get vaccinated before you go. Air travelers should be fully vaccinated regardless of the risk level in the country you're visiting, according to the health agency. There's still a lot of virus circulating.
Keep track of the ever-changing guidelines and restrictions for your destination. You can check specific travel requirements through the U.S. State Department website or your destination's Office of Foreign Affairs or Ministry of Health.
In addition, the CDC provides guidance on travel to other countries, which are ranked from "very high" risk of COVID-19 transmission to "low" (among them China, Iceland and Rwanda).
Avoid countries in the "very high" category unless it is essential travel. There are 60 countries on this list, ranging from Argentina to Yemen.
Some countries are closed to visitors but make exceptions. Belgium, Canada, the United Kingdom and Uruguay are a few examples. But some of these "no visitor" countries may make exceptions for the death or serious illness of a family member. If those are your circumstances, you may be able to visit. But the authorities might not/will not take your word for it. Expect to have to show proof of the reason for the visit, such as a death certificate or a doctor's note about a family member's illness. You can inquire about rules in your destination by contacting the American Embassy or Consulate there, or the country's embassy in the United States.
And changes occur almost daily in this matter, so it's good to keep an eye on the State Department's or the country's official website for updates.
Bring your vaccination card. Some countries want to see your vaccination card, so make sure your official CDC vaccination card is filled out with the date of your dose or doses (if you received a two-dose vaccine). It's a good idea to make a copy of the card or have a photo on your phone as backup, suggests Thornton, the travel adviser.
Lost your card? Reach out to your vaccination provider or contact your state health department's immunization information system.
You can also present the World Health Organization international certificate of vaccination, also known as a yellow card. You can ask your vaccine provider to add your COVID-19 vaccination info if you already have a card. Or if you need one, you can purchase it through the U.S. Government Bookstore, which tells NPR it has seen a 55% increase in sales in the last six months. Cards are on back order but should be available by the end of June. Or you can purchase one from the WHO, which means waiting at least a week for shipment from Switzerland.
What about vaccine apps? Vaccine apps that show your record could be accepted as well, but there's no guarantee that border control will accept these as proof, so bringing a paper record is a good idea.
Citizens of the European Union will soon have a Digital COVID Certificate system that provides a scannable QR code to verify vaccination status and coronavirus test results. This should smooth travel between member states but won't help a vaccinated tourist from outside the EU.
Airlines are trying to help their customers meet the vaccination and testing requirements of various countries by developing their own apps. The International Air Transport Association has rolled out its own IATA Travel Pass, which many major airlines around the world will use.
But officials say calling it a vaccine passport, as many people are, is a bit of a misnomer.
"It's more of a digital credential associated with your vaccination or testing profile," the IATA's Nick Careen says. "So the consumer can use that to help them through their passenger journey."
British Airways, Japan Airlines, Qatar Airways and Emirates are among the global airlines running trials of IATA's travel pass app, which is expected to go live soon.
Other airlines, including American, will be using an app called VeriFly.
American's Preston Peterson told NPR that "because the requirements for entry differ by almost every single country and, in some cases, by the region within a country," the app will give the customer "the peace of mind to know that they comply with those different regulations."
"A customer can submit their documentation, have it verified and then they receive a green check mark, or effectively, an OK to travel status, that we as the airline trust, the customer can trust and then they know they're ready to go," Peterson says, adding that the app will update in real time as entry requirements for various destinations change.
But even proof of vaccination may not be sufficient to ease your entry. Some countries don't care if you have a vaccine card, as they can be easily faked or forged, or a digital vaccine pass on an app. They'll still insist on a PCR test to determine if you're infected several days before flying into and out of their airports. Most countries are asking airline personnel to verify the test. A positive result means the trip is off. That's the case in Egypt, some European countries and Israel. And you can't leave Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv, Israel, after arrival in the country without taking a coronavirus test; airport personnel usher everyone to the clinic tent right after baggage claim.
Even if you're vaccinated and tested negative for the coronavirus, you may have to quarantine. Samoa, for example, requires a minimum 21-day quarantine for all incoming passengers.
Keep up on testing requirements before your departure. They definitely change. Because of the high rate of cases, Namibia on June 1 changed its visitor entry rules from a simple self-test for the coronavirus to a typically more expensive laboratory test conducted before leaving your home country and not older than seven days before your arrival.
The State Department site dates its updates so you can see when a change was made, and it also provides links to specific country guidelines provided by U.S. consulates and embassies.
Check the latest requirements three days before your flight just to make sure. Some airports, such as Chicago's O'Hare International and Los Angeles International, offer on-site coronavirus tests, but these can be pricier options than you might find elsewhere. And airport testing sites might have limited hours, so check before you head to the airport.
Get alerted. It's a good idea to sign up for notices on international travel from the State Department, says Zane Kerby, president of the American Society of Travel Advisors. In Portugal, for example, increased cases of the COVID-19 variant known as Delta, identified as likely more transmissible and causing more severe disease, has put the country at a higher risk level.
Bring proof of health insurance. Even if you're a veteran traveler who knows that your insurance carrier covers you overseas, be sure to check on COVID-19 coverage before you leave. Some countries, such as Argentina, require that you have a notice from your health insurer that specifically mentions COVID-19 coverage as proof that you are covered for the virus. Cambodia requires all foreigners to purchase insurance from the government on arrival: $90 for 20 days of coverage. Also check to see if your policy covers medical evacuation insurance, or consider buying a separate policy if not. Travel specialists say it's a wise investment during a pandemic.
The CDC offers great background information on health insurance and foreign travel on its site. If you buy a supplemental plan, the State Department site recommends looking for one that will pay for care directly rather than reimburse you so out-of-pocket expenses are limited.
Brush up on testing requirements. All air passengers coming to the United States — residents who have traveled abroad and visitors as well — are required to have a negative coronavirus viral test no more than three days before travel or documentation of recovery from COVID-19 in the past three months before they will be allowed to board a flight to the United States.
That test can be either a so-called molecular test done at a laboratory that can detect specific genetic material from the virus and is the most precise test, or an antigen test — which can be done as a self-test — which detects proteins on the surface of the virus if you were infected.
Embassy and consular notes on the State Department's travel website offer detailed information on locations for a molecular test in each country if available. In some countries. the test is free. Or it could cost up to $200. Check the State Department travel site, which offers frequently updated, detailed testing requirements and resources for many countries.
Self-tests are a limited option. Right now, only two airlines are making self-tests easily available United and American – and you need to be able to perform the self-test while conducting a telehealth visit with a designated clinic. For more information, contact United or American if you will be returning home on either carrier or eMed.com, a telehealth company handling the testing to see if you qualify for the self-test, even if you're on another carrier.
If you're not vaccinated, though, you may want to choose a lab test rather than the self-test for re-entry, "especially if you're returning from a country experiencing high rates of COVID-19," says Matthew Binnicker, vice chair of practice in the Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology at the Mayo Clinic. That's because the lab test can be more accurate than the self-test, according to guidelines published by the Infectious Diseases Society of America.
Don't forget your mask. While some jurisdictions around the world are beginning to loosen COVID-19 restrictions, the Transportation Security Administration in late April extended its mask requirement to Sept. 13 (and could extend it further) for U.S. airports and on board U.S. airlines. Many foreign carriers have the same rule.
Fran Kritz is a health policy reporter based in Washington, D.C., who has contributed to The Washington Post and Kaiser Health News. Find her on Twitter: @fkritz
- Source NPR
Traveling to Puerto Rico is now even easier with updated entry requirements. Fully vaccinated Globe Aware volunteers arriving from the U.S. can visit without a negative COVID-19 test and don't need to wear masks at beaches and parks.
Puerto Rico Eases Entry Protocols
JUNE 07, 2021
Puerto Rico further eased COVID-19 protocols, allowing for more access to public facilities and increased capacities at commercial businesses effective June 7. The updated measures were announced in a June 3 executive order.
Under the changes, Puerto Rico bars and game rooms may now reopen at 50 percent capacity. Outdoor bars and "chinchorros" are not subject to capacity limits, but patrons not from the same family unit must maintain a physical distance of six feet from one another.
In addition, a 75 percent capacity threshold is now authorized for restaurants, malls, casinos, theaters, museums and hotel pool facilities. Social activities, including corporate and business events, may also proceed at 75 percent capacity. Attendees are required to provide proof of a negative PCR antigen test result or proof of full vaccination.
Puerto Rico’s Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport is providing Johnson and Johnson vaccination in Terminal B. Vaccination is also being offered on the Puerto Rican islands of Vieques and Culebra via the Maritime Transportation Authority ferry terminal in Ceiba.
The revised measures follow the government’s recent move to eliminate negative COVID-19 PCR test requirements for fully vaccinated travelers arriving on domestic flights and the lifting of the local curfew.
- Source Travel Pulse
Globe Aware volunteers could see some major changes in the not-so-distant future when it comes to air travel. This could include multi-level cabins and stand-up seats.
Double-Decker Airplane Cabins Might Be the Future of Air Travel
Air travel could see some major changes in the not-so-distant future, including multi-level cabins.
By Caitlyn Hitt
Air travel has evolved a lot since the days of Lewis and Clark, but one thing remains constant: Uncomfortably cramped quarters. However, plane designers have been hard at work trying to change this without having to cut the number of passengers a plane can fit (aka profit for airlines).
Plane designers have toyed with several different seating concepts, including stand-up seats, but it’s multi-level airplane cabins that are really catching on lately: Zephyr introduced such double-decker lie-flat seats last year, which quickly went viral.
At this year’s Crystal Cabin Awards, which judges aircraft interior innovation, a similar dual-level cabin was introduced, called the Chaise Longue Economy Seat Project. It was designed by 21-year-old Alejandro Nuñez Vicente, a Spanish native who’s studying at TU Delft University in the Netherlands.
His concept differed from other multi-level cabin ideas in that it suggested alternating each row of seats between on-floor seating and elevated seating, getting rid of overhead bins to make more space, instead storing carry-ons under seats. He told CNN Travel that he believed doing so would increase leg room.
“The lower row has the advantage of passengers having the lounge experience of a couch by stretching the legs, whilst the upper row provides an SUV experience, making it possible for instance to cross the legs due to the increased leg room and overall living space,” he said.
Vicente’s design wouldn’t just give people more leg room and more room to move about the aisles, it would also allow for more space to recline, without worrying about lying in another passenger’s lap behind you, or getting kicked in the back the whole flight.
Right now, Vicente’s concept is just that: A concept. However, he’s working with a few professors from TU Delft to present his idea to airlines and get the ball rolling, meaning there’s a very real possibility you may see double-decker airline cabins before long.
“At the moment, this is an internal student-led university project that still hasn’t been formally presented to airlines. However, some companies in the aerospace sector have already shown interest in the Chaise Lounge Economy Seat project, presenting possible chances for future collaborations,” he said.
- Source Thrillist
Air travel is officially up and travelers are scrambling to make up for a year of missed adventures. A Globe Aware adventure is the perfect way to ease yourself back into travel with a planned volunteer vacation.
How to Plan a Trip Again, According to Experts
The lowdown on safety protocols, under-the-radar car rental alternatives, and tricks for getting the best flight deals.
By Vanita Salisbury
You’re vaxxed, you’re snaxxed, you’ve got your essential apps, and now you’re itchin’ to break out of town. And you’re not the only one: Air travel is officially up, with the TSA screening 1.85 million travelers on Sunday, May 16 at US airports, the highest number since March 2020.
Travelers are scrambling to make up for a year of missed adventures: Airbnbs and campsite reservations are filling up months in advance, rental cars are the new unicorns, and airfares aren't as cheap as you'd think.
Over 70% of American travelers say they are excited and open to trips in the near-term, according to the most recent data by Destination Analysts. 46.3% of American travelers say they’re planning low key close-to-home escapes, while 40.7% plan to get more ambitious with the vacation plans. 1-in-10 are going all in and booking that bucket list trip.
So, um, how do you plan a trip again? We’ve been housebound for over a year so it’s understandable that some of the details have fallen out of your brain. In the past year some new important details have sprung up—like safety protocols, under-the-radar car rental alternatives, and tricks for getting the best deals. We’re here to guide you through all of it. Buckle up.
Take extra care to be respectful of your destination
Just because your community feels somewhat back to "normal," keep in mind that may not be the case at your destination. Some communities may still be experiencing high rates of Covid-19; others may be in emotional recovery mode. And with dangerous new variants and the virus’s continued impact around the world, even vaccinated travelers need to remain vigilant and extra conscientious. Do a little research, contact your hotel, or check with local authorities to get a feel for what you're walking into.
Kylie Shmida, Director of Experience at The Surfjack Hotel & Swim Club in Honolulu, recommends travelers check the Hawaii Tourism Authority website for regular updates. “Keeping the harmony that is part of Hawaii’s charm is important to us,” she says. “We greatly appreciate travelers of Oahu who are respectful of current guidelines and have made it a priority to stay up to date on the island’s current regulations.”
No matter where you're traveling, practice kindness, patience, and empathy. Some workers in the tourism sector have been working non-stop throughout the pandemic, often with reduced wages. There are new systems in place that everyone is still getting used to. So mask up when asked, respect boundaries, maintain your distance, and be safe out there.
Book flights now, but know you have flexibility
At the start of the pandemic, domestic flight prices plummeted and last-minute fares were a steal. But alas, all good things must come to an end—or, in this case, revert back to the relatively cheap fares we had pre-pandemic.
“Business travel has been slowly inching back up, whereas vacation travel has rebounded much more quickly,” says Scott Keyes of Scott’s Cheap Flights. “Summer travel, especially at this point, will likely start to get pretty expensive, because summer flights always get more expensive."
Planes are also, once again, packed. Airlines are no longer blocking out middle seats for social distancing—Delta was the last holdout—despite findings from the CDC that spacing on airplanes was beneficial to reducing the spread of Covid-19. If your comfort level hinges on space, pay extra for a seat with more room or look for a less popular flight. For their part, airlines are still enforcing mandatory mask wearing.
Here's one silver lining to come out of the pandemic: Flexible cancellation and flight change policies have now become the norm. "US airlines—all the big ones: Delta, United, Hawaiian, JetBlue, Alaska—they all joined Southwest in permanently getting rid of change fees,” says Keyes. (The one exception is that it doesn’t apply to basic economy tickets.)
One of Keyes’s favorite tips for finding cheap flights in his new book Take More Vacations: How to Search Better, Book Cheaper, and Travel the World is that if you see an exceptionally low fare to an awesome destination—even one you weren’t necessarily looking to go to—book it, and figure out logistics later. That’s even easier now that you're free to reschedule or cancel your flight should the situation change.
ABCP: Always Be Covid Prepared
We’ll come up with a better acronym later. That means packing a few masks for hotels, transportation, attractions, amusement parks, or just emergencies (KN95s are your best bet for protection). The abundantly cautious among us may want a travel thermometer, but everyone should have hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes to sanitize surfaces on your plane and at your destination.
Bring a pen in your carry-on to fill out customs and immigration forms ahead of time to avoid waiting hours in a line once you land (plus it’s good for crossword puzzles). Snacks are back on some airlines like Delta, but you may want to pack your own just in case. Squirrel away a straw for sipping beverages under your mask. A metal option might give you some trouble at TSA (we’re speaking from experience) so bamboo might be your best bet. Or for a fun snack after, a Twizzler.
Know your testing and mask requirements
The CDC recommends delaying any trip until you're fully inoculated. If you’re not fully vaccinated and must travel, follow their recommendations for unvaccinated people: get tested three days before you travel and stay six feet apart from other people. Honestly, that’s good advice for everyone: many countries open to US travelers require proof of a negative Covid test taken within a few days before traveling, even if you’re vaccinated. Check the requirements of your destination before jumping on a plane.
Though there’s not yet proof of vaccination required to board a flight domestically—or even proof of a negative Covid test beyond the honor system—that will probably change soon. Have some documentation on hand, even if it’s just a photo of your vaccination card on your phone.
“I bought just a plastic sleeve—you can get them at any office supply store,” says Keyes. “I didn’t want to spill and damage or lose this card because it’s going to be really important for international travel, and second I put it in a sleeve rather than laminating it just in case we need to have booster shots in the fall; you want to be able to add that to your card. And it’ll be a lot more difficult if it’s been laminated.”
For traveling back into the US from an international destination, per the CDC website you need to get tested no more than 72 hours before you fly back, and show your negative result to the airline before you board your flight. This does not apply to US territories.
Be efficient in the airport
If you’re the type to beeline to the airport bar for your traditional pre-flight beer because hey, you’re on airport time and anything goes, these days you may have to adjust your carefree airport expectations. “It’s less a fun and joyous and relaxed place to be and more of an ‘alright I’m here to take this flight,’ mentality,” says Keyes. “But everybody just kind of understands, ‘okay let’s all get through this.’”
Airports these days are streamlined to function as efficiently and safely as possible. Which means some stores and restaurants are still closed, and the ones that are open have long lines. Seating in the airport terminals may also be at a premium, with some seats removed to promote social distancing, plus an uptick in travelers. If you can, get a day pass to an airport lounge, which mostly still invokes capacity limits.
Many airports are going touchless, with more check-in kiosks, self-serve baggage drops, utilization of the mobile food ordering app Grab, and hands-free sinks and soap dispensers in bathrooms (some go into the future: Dubai International Airport has adopted widespread facial recognition and Singapore's Changi Airport has cleaning robots!). Be ready for temperature checks — maybe fancy ones like the thermal scanning at Hawaii’s five large airports — and by federal mandate, face masks are still required. And good news: TSA now allows liquid hand sanitizer up to 12 oz in your carry-on, up from the regular 3.4 oz for other liquids. That’s the size of a can of Coke!
Maybe just ball out with a private jet
Got loads of cash for a private jet? Good for you! Figure it out yourself.
Jk, jk, with membership programs you don’t actually need a ton of cash to fly private these days. Private jet users unsurprisingly skyrocketed for their obvious safety benefits: less touch points (about 20 points vs 700 on a commercial flight), more room, and with access to 5,000 airports versus the 500 that serve commercial flights, dropping you closer to your destination. Companies like XO, Blade, FlyJet and Air Charter Service allow you to purchase a membership and share a plane with other passengers, with flights sometimes working out cheaper than if you book traditionally.
Weigh your rental car options
When travel slowed down last year, rental car companies compensated for losses by selling off large portions of their fleet—we’re talking hundreds of thousands of cars. Which now means that there are less cars in rotation. So even if there is a rental car available for you, the price will definitely be significantly higher than it was pre-pandemic.
If you think you’re going to want a rental car, book as early as possible. And don’t rely on search engines: this is where tenacity and charm will be your best friend. Pick up the phone to call about inventory, or, better yet, visit the rental company. And make note of who you spoke with, just in case somehow your reservation gets “lost.”
If traditional car rental places fail, try alternatives like Zipcar or the car sharing app Turo, which is like Airbnb for rental cars. Browse by location or make (we spotted a Maserati on there) and cancel for free up to 24 hours before your trip. And if that doesn’t work, why not consider the RV? Apps like RVShare and Outdoorsy connect you with owners of camper vans, Class As, and everything in between, and it’s a way to travel the country in a style you may not thought possible before.
The bottom line? Be flexible. You may not score what you think is your ideal car, but it might turn out to be something even better. And if it’s an RV, watch out: your friends may crash your new sweet ride.
- Source Thrillist
If you are fully vaccinated, the chance of being infected with Covid-19 is low however you could test positive during travel. In order to prepare for a Globe Aware volunteer vacation, make sure to check with your country's entry guidelines and airline policies.
What happens if you test positive during a COVID-tested flight?
May 20, 2021
Sitting in the COVID-19 testing area at several airports recently, I wondered, “What happens if my test comes back positive?”
After all, one of the most significant risks of taking COVID-19 tests while traveling is that you could test positive. Whether you contract COVID-19 or have the misfortune of a rare false positive, getting a positive result certainly complicates your trip.
Multiple TPG staffers have gotten positive test results unexpectedly while away from home. For example, one TPG staffer tested positive on a layover in San Francisco. Another saw a three-night spring break turn into a 15-day quarantined mess. So, getting an unexpected positive result during your trip is certainly possible.
As of May 16, 2021, American tourists can visit Italy without quarantine when arriving on a COVID-tested flight. But, these flights require one or two COVID-19 tests before departure. You’ll also need to take a COVID-19 test when you land in Italy. So, what happens if you test positive at any point during the journey?
Since I flew on a Delta-operated COVID-tested flight recently and picked up some documentation about what happens in the case of a positive result, I’ll focus primarily on what happens if you test positive on one of Delta’s COVID-tested flights from New York-JFK to Milan, Italy (MXP). But, much of this information will also apply to American and United COVID-tested flights.
Testing positive before travel begins
Delta, United and American all require travelers to provide a negative COVID-19 test result before check-in for COVID-tested flights to Italy.
You typically need to take your test within 48 to 72 hours of the scheduled departure time for your flight to Italy. But, each airline has different requirements regarding what tests are acceptable.
Delta’s website provides the following information about what happens if you test positive before beginning travel:
Customers who receive a positive PCR test result will need to postpone their trip, should self-isolate in accordance with health guidelines and should not come to the airport for check-in. Customers will receive an eCredit for the unflown portion of their ticket and change fees will be waived.
When asked about what happens if a passenger tests positive, an American Airlines spokesperson said, “We have an existing policy that makes exceptions for people with illnesses or health-related issues prior to traveling on American. With proper documentation, we work with the customer to meet their travel needs.”
A United spokesperson echoed the sentiment, saying, “All of our normal change and cancellation [or] refund options would apply if a customer tested positive during their travels.”
So, in short, if you test positive before travel, you should follow the advice given to you by your health care provider. This may involve retesting but will likely also mean you’ll need to cancel or postpone your trip. After all, the formal statement I had to fill out and give to a border police officer when entering Italy required me to declare:
- Not to have tested positive for COVID-19
- To have tested positive for COVID-19 with an RT-PCR test abroad but to have:
- Scrupulously implemented the health protocols required by the authorities of the country where the test has been carried out
- Observed 14 days of isolation from the last date on which symptoms appeared
- No longer be subjected to isolation or quarantine measures established by local authorities
If you tested positive on an antigen test and then negative on a molecular test, your health professional may clear you for travel. When I checked in for my Delta flights, I had to check that “In the past 10 days, [I] have not had a COVID-19 diagnosis and have not experienced the onset of any one of the primary symptoms of COVID-19.”
But, a United spokesperson told TPG that “customers need to confirm that they have not tested positive in the last 14 days in order to travel.”
That’s why I recommend getting a molecular test instead of an antigen test whenever possible. After all, molecular tests are the current gold standard to diagnose COVID-19 infections because they detect the specific genetic makeup of the virus.
Testing positive at the airport before departure
If you’re flying on a Delta COVID-tested flight, you’ll also need to take a second COVID-19 test at the airport before boarding your flight to Italy. Delta’s website notes:
Customers who receive positive COVID-19 results at the airport prior to boarding will undergo a second test to confirm the result. Once confirmed, local regulatory guidelines for medical treatment and quarantine will be followed. Affected customers who test positive at the airport will be issued an eCredit and may request a refund of the remainder of their Delta ticket.
When I got a test at the XpresCheck JFK before my Delta flight last Sunday, the lab analyzed my sample using the BinaxNOW antigen test. But, if I’d tested positive on the initial examination, I assume a molecular test would have been used to confirm the result.
It’s unclear whether I’d be allowed to fly if my initial result was positive, but the second test was negative. I reached out to Delta for confirmation but didn’t receive a response in time for publication.
Finally, I didn’t need to pay anything extra for the initial test at JFK. But, it’s unclear whether I would need to pay for a required follow-up test if my initial results come back positive.
Testing positive upon arrival
And finally, if you’re flying on a COVID-tested flight to Italy, you’ll need to take a rapid COVID-19 antigen test at the airport when you arrive. Based on documents I received at the Milan airport when agreeing to the test, the following will occur in the case of a positive or inconclusive result:
- You’ll “undergo a viral RNA diagnostic investigation by means of an additional nasopharyngeal swab”
- The health personnel will activate procedures involving home isolation for you and your close contacts. Home isolation will continue until a new viral RNA swab is negative.
The result certification sheet I received in Milan showing my negative test result gave slightly more information. This sheet noted
In the event of a positive test result, the positivity to SARS CoV-2 infection must be confirmed with a second swab performed with a molecular method within 12 hours.
So, it’s unclear whether you can do the second swab at the airport or whether you’d need to go elsewhere in Milan to get a molecular test. But, based on how organized testing was in the Milan airport when I arrived Monday morning, I assume you’ll get more detailed instructions if you test positive.
I didn’t worry much about testing positive during my recent COVID-tested flight to Italy as I’m fully vaccinated. So, my chances of becoming infected with COVID-19 are low — especially when combined with masks, social distancing and other risk-mitigation techniques.
Plus, I took an RT-PCR molecular test about 24 hours before my first flight, so I knew I was negative at that point.
There’s still a risk, however, that I could test positive along the way. And, this is the reason some travelers don’t want to travel outside the U.S. until the U.S. removes its reentry testing requirement. So, you should carefully consider your risk as well as your willingness to change plans last minute or even quarantine away from home. The risk may not be worth the reward for some travelers.
But for me, I decided my risk was adequately low and I enjoyed my last-minute quarantine-free trip to Italy.
- Source THE POINTS GUY
As travel evolves from virtual to actual, many tourists can get caught up in the excitement of actually planning a trip again -- which may make them more vulnerable to unscrupulous schemes. Globe Aware has been providing reputable volunteer vacations for years, and is happy to answer any questions or concerns you may have.
Travel is back -- and so are travel scams
May 26, 2021
(CNN) — With more widespread vaccinations and relaxed travel restrictions, many people are making long-awaited vacation plans. But scammers are making plans of their own to separate eager travelers from their money via too-good-to-be-true vacation packages, fake airfare deals and other shady schemes.
Consumer advocacy organizations such as Better Business Bureau are issuing warnings about an increase in incidents involving scammers who often pose as airline ticket brokers and travel agents via telemarketing calls.
Another common tactic is imposter or "spoofed" websites that mimic legitimate booking platforms for airfare, hotels or rental cars -- but do not deliver the product as promised.
These kinds of scams are surging as leisure travel re-emerges -- and are likely to remain a hassle for the near future. According to data from RoboKiller, a spam call and text blocker app, the estimated number of automated, unsolicited telemarketing calls (or robocalls) with a travel focus -- for example, promising a free hotel stay or a deeply discounted booking -- will grow to a staggering 4.9 billion in the United States in 2021, representing an 80% increase from last year.
"Scammers do tend to follow what people are doing, because people are susceptible to scams that are believable and relevant to their daily life," says Giulia Porter, vice president of marketing at TelTech, the mobile communications company that owns RoboKiller.
"During Covid, we saw a lot of PPE and contact tracing scams, because that was what was going on in the world. Now we're seeing travel scams because everyone is getting vaccinated and they want to travel again."
Porter says one recent scamming strategy is using a pre-recorded, unauthorized introduction from a well-known travel brand -- Delta, Booking.com and Marriott have been popular choices within the last month -- as a way to build trust with potential targets.
Spam texts promising a free cruise or other vacation deal also are on the rise, with RoboKiller projecting 2.25 billion travel-related messages sent in 2021, a 300% increase from last year.
Whatever their form, travel-centric schemes rely on a different type of psychology than other common types of scams, such as a caller demanding your credit card info to correct a problem with your Social Security number or that you owe taxes to the IRS -- often with the threat of jail time if you don't pay up.
"The end goal is the same: to get your personal and financial information so that they can then use that however they want," Porter explains. "That comes in two different forms: more financial-based scams are using fear ... whereas travel scams are more getting people to sign up for offers that are possibly too good to be true.
"If it's truly a scammer, they're trying to get your credit card information to use it however they'd like."
The financial fallout can be disastrous. According to data from the Federal Trade Commission, $26 million was lost to travel, timeshare and vacation rental fraud from January to March 2021, with a median reported loss of approximately $1,100 per incident.
Scams are on the rise elsewhere, too. In the UK and other parts of Europe where pandemic restrictions are relaxing, authorities are warning travelers planning summer holidays to be aware of bogus lodging offers, fake vaccine passports and other schemes circulating online and on social media.
Decreasing deals and pent-up demand
One factor likely playing a role in the current spate of travel scams is that many consumers are still looking to score rock-bottom deals on airfare, hotel rooms and rental cars that were commonplace during the pandemic.
But now that demand is back, prices have rebounded, especially in the car rental industry, where widespread shortages have spiked rates in many markets, especially warm-weather destinations like Florida and Hawaii.
As a result, many consumers still determined to get a deal then explore alternate or unfamiliar companies they would normally overlook, creating a "perfect storm" for scammers to swoop in with deals and offers that seem too good to pass up, explains Charlie Leocha, chairman of Travelers United, a traveler advocacy nonprofit based in Washington, D.C.
"It's becoming prime time for scammers because the scammer can come in with lower airfare or a lower total price of a package," Leocha told CNN. "When people don't know what they're buying, this is when they really become victims."
Scammers have become increasingly tech-savvy as well. In addition to "spoofing" official websites with fraudulent ones, they're acutely aware of consumers' purchasing patterns and how to create ads or sponsored links that pop up during a web search for keywords like "cheap car rentals" along with a desired destination.
"They can target these things in a very specific, narrow way, where they only want people who are searching for car rentals in Maui to see this ad," explains Scott Keyes, founder of Scott's Cheap Flights, an airfare deal site. "Try to ignore those ads in general, but even if you click them, if you come [to a website] from an ad you need to have your guard up. Even if they claim to be Avis or Alamo, the service number they provide might not be the actual one."
Then, there's the very powerful driver of wanderlust. As travel evolves from virtual to actual, many people with unspent vacation funds burning a hole in their pocket can get caught up in the excitement of actually planning a trip again -- which may make them more vulnerable to unscrupulous schemes (or even just not reading the fine print).
"You've been cooped up, you want to go somewhere, and you've got the money, and when you're a little flush with money, you're more likely to make a dumb decision, sending money to maybe somebody who is not reputable, or not understanding what the refund policies are or what happens with trip cancellations," explains Dave Seminara, author of "Mad Travelers: A Tale of Wanderlust, Greed & the Quest to Reach the Ends of the Earth," which tells the true story of a young British con artist who scammed many of the world's most traveled people. "When you're dreaming of a trip and dreaming of travel, you're not thinking about negative scenarios like that."
Fighting back against fraud
Some politicians are calling on government to take more action against travel-focused scams. Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D) MN and Sen. Steve Daines (R) MT, wrote a May 13 letter to the FTC asking the agency to provide more information about how it's addressed such fraud and how it plans to prevent it moving forward, noting in their letter that some 67% of Americans say they have plans to travel this summer.
Big-name travel brands are fighting back, too.
On May 19, Marriott filed a federal lawsuit against the unknown perpetrators, or "John Does," that the hotel giant claims have been illegally misrepresenting themselves as Marriott agents or representatives in millions of robocalls to consumers. According to a Marriott release, these calls increased dramatically to a peak of seven million a month in 2020.
On an individual level, consumers also can take several steps to keep themselves safe. For starters, BBB recommends researching any company that sounds unfamiliar before making any purchases.
Pay particular attention to the URL, making sure it's correct before entering any personal or payment information, as it can be easy to click on a sponsored ad or a spoofed website without noticing. (Secure links, the BBB notes, start with "https://" and include a lock icon on the purchase page.) Misspelled words and pixelated images are also possible signs of a scammer.
Porter also points out that even something as seemingly harmless as sharing your phone number or email address on a web form can put you on the radar of scammers, who are known to share contact information of possible targets.
"Always do your research before you sign up for anything travel-wise online," Porter says. "To our knowledge, a lot of instances of these online scams is that even if you're just submitting for more information, you're giving them your phone number or your email address, so your information is feeding into this list of phone numbers that is then fueling phone scams, text scams."
When you do book that trip, be sure to use a credit card instead of a prepaid gift or debit card, cryptocurrency or wire transfer, as most credit card companies can help fight fraudulent charges. It also bears repeating that suspicious or "unknown" phone calls should go unanswered, and if you do pick up, hang up right away and resist the temptation to press a number to opt out -- which usually just confirms to the spammers that it's a live number.
Finally, don't expect scammers to go away anytime soon.
"They'll stop at nothing," Porter says. "Covid didn't stop them, natural disasters -- we've seen scammers impersonate FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) officials and trying to steal from people that way. It's like, people want to go on vacation. Just give them a break."
- Source CNN
Many people believe that traveling has great educational benefits for students. Globe Aware offers internships year-round for young learners, ready to improve themselves and their skills.
Educational Benefits of Travel for Students
The process of learning is long and pretty complex. Students face a lot of difficulties related to poor learning skills, a lack of knowledge and time, some personal hardships, and something of the kind.
Clever folks try to improve themselves and their skills in a variety of ways, and traveling is one of such methods. Many people believe that this activity has great educational benefits for learners. They can travel to educate themselves.
Lauren Bradshaw is a highly qualified blogger and essay writer at an academic writing service - Custom Writings. She knows a lot about paper writing and its combination with traveling. Here is her interesting opinion: “If students want to improve their academic performance, they should travel as frequently as they can with the purpose of educating. This activity helps to boost skills and obtain experience that will help to become a good writer.” Our article analyzes this interesting claim and provides important explanations.
Enhanced Learning Experience
The first benefit of traveling is a huge boost of a learning experience. We strongly recommend visiting local schools or colleges to check how other educational institutions conduct their lessons and what methods they apply. Besides, your experience can be redoubled if you’re on a trip to another country. Afterward, this experience can be successfully used to develop your learning skills.
When you attend lessons in another school or college, make sure to:
Take instant notes;
- Ask questions about everything you did not understand;
- Participate in class events (if possible);
- Discuss new methods with others (your mates, teachers, etc.).
Improved Cultural Learning
When a person travels, he/she inevitably meets people with other traditions, habits, and worldviews. You can enrich your cultural experience. In the meanwhile, your educational travels also improve your “cultural learning.” Even if you go to a neighboring state, you will see great differences in the attitude toward education in general and in detail. Don’t miss a great chance to learn and adapt to something new. You also expand your worldviews.
Mastering a New Language
In case you travel abroad, you receive a rare opportunity to communicate with native speakers. A foreign country has a different attitude towards many things, and you may change your worldview. In the meanwhile, it happens when you communicate with the locals. If you’re on a lasting journey, use this time to work out your language skills.
It’s much better to visit countries with a familiar foreign language. For example, you study German at school. Use this chance to boost your language skills. Go to Germany, Switzerland, Austria, or Lichtenstein. German is the main language in these countries. After you talk to native speakers, you will surely improve your command of German.
Make sure to:
- Speak in a foreign language only (if your skills are good enough);
- Ask the explanations of unknown words;
- Work out your pronunciation and grammar;
- Use new words by writing essays in a foreign language.
Boosting Compassion and Empathy
You can enhance your classroom experience in a variety of ways, and an emotional level is one of the best possibilities. It’s especially important when you go to a foreign country. You will see the conditions other students have. Not all countries provide high-quality learning benefits. This experience will teach you to never care from the first glance. You’ll develop empathy, which will benefit your personal and educational growth.
Improving Social and Teamwork Skills
Travels to other locations and educational institutions also help to improve your social skills. It’s very important for your education. Socializing helps to boost teamwork and collaboration. Students always work together to solve the same projects. They may be paired or divided into micro-groups that consist of 3-6 participants. If your communication skills are weak, you may face serious problems with your classmates.
When students travel (especially aboard), they interact with new people. It may be frightening, but your courage will help you out of confusion. You’ll steadily master how to deal with quite different people. Afterward, you won’t have any difficulties while cooperating with your classmates.
Therefore, traveling develops the next skills:
If you go to a foreign location on your own, you will face any possible challenges alone. It may be scary, but it is very beneficial for your social and educational life. You will have to face all the problems without somebody’s support. It’s good for you because you will boost your self-awareness. You will finally realize what you’re capable of.
You’ll overcome any difficulty using your ideas and strategies. Every time you enjoy success, you boost your self-esteem. You will realize how good you are, and there is nothing impossible for you. Use this experience to handle all academic issues you have. An independent and self-confident student always enjoys success! Remember this simple rule for good.
As you go on educational trips, you learn many new things. They will surely affect your inner world. You will:
Master new skills;
- Learn a new language (if you travel abroad);
- Realize the differences of educational systems;
- Obtain a different classroom experience;
- Develop socializing and teamwork;
- Become self-confident and independent;
- Enrich your cultural learning experience, etc.
These benefits will surely help to succeed in learning.
Establishing Important Relations
You should not forget about the possibility of establishing beneficial relations with others. You may be lucky to meet famous educators or potential employers. Thus, you may ensure your future by acquiring a good job thanks to a recruiter or receiving positive feedback from an educator. Besides, you may simply meet new friends and communicate with them remotely, and visiting each other.
Try to keep in memory the points we have highlighted above. They prove that traveling helps students to improve their learning skills. Try to travel from time to time to gain the necessary experience, which helps to become an effective student and writer. Perhaps one day, you will start your travel blog.
- Source ftnNEWS
The novelty that a trip provides is one reason that travel can have an enduring impact on our happiness. During the lockdown, many Globe Aware volunteers showed memories of past volunteer vacations on social media, sharing the happiness that it brought them.
After A Year Of Staying Close To Home, Travel Has Become An Emotional Journey
MAY 17, 2021
When Jennie Larson finally became eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, she jumped into action and added three big events to her calendar: Her two vaccine appointments and a trip to Atlanta, Georgia from her home in Washington, D.C. Exactly two weeks and one day after receiving her second Moderna shot, and thus fully immunized, she'll be boarding a plane for the first time in over a year. "I have some loose plans to meet up with some friends, but mostly I plan on a quick solo weekend trip just enjoying the fact that I can travel again," she tells Refinery29.
Larson says that Atlanta is her second favorite city in the country after her own, but that's not the only reason she's decided to head there for her first post-vaccine vacation — it was also the last place she traveled before the pandemic, about 10 days before the country shut down. "This trip feels symbolic in a way, like I am bookending the uncertainty and fear that the pandemic brought for so long," she says. "One trip before we all really knew the hell COVID-19 was going to release on the world, and one trip 14 months later, fully vaccinated, that marks the beginning of our return to normalcy."
For Larson, normalcy means traveling. Before the pandemic, trips were a huge part of her life. "With the expendable income of a single woman in her late 20s, unlimited PTO at work, and a knack for finding cheap flights, impulse weekend trips were something I used to do regularly — whether it's a day trip to New York via Amtrak, a weekend trip to Detroit to explore a new city, or a cross-country flight to visit my parents in California, I was traveling in some capacity at least once a month." She's not the only one for whom travel feels vital. "I love to travel and missed the normalcy of it," says Leslie Tayne, who recently took her first post-vaccination trip to Boca, Florida where she visited with her mom and some friends. "I missed being able to take a break, visit new places, and explore." Within that normalcy, though, is an escape into novelty. "It keeps things interesting to step out of your daily routine and experience something different," Tayne shares. "Different climates, different food, and different people and experiences than you're used to can make everyday life more exciting."
The novelty that a trip provides is one reason that travel can have an enduring impact on our happiness. Dr. Amit Kumar, assistant professor of marketing and psychology at the University of Texas at Austin, studies how happiness is affected by experiential purchases versus material ones. According to him, though material purchases like clothing or tech gadgets may physically last, the emotional value they provide us is often fleeting because we get used to seeing them in our closet or in that tech drawer among a tangled mess of errant wires. That's not the case with experiential purchases like travel. "It's not like we want some other trip aside from the great trip that we took," Dr. Kumar explains. "We look back at it fondly, we often have these positive memories of our experiences. The psychology of material goods doesn't work in quite the same way."
Tayne enjoys getting away to a new environment because it helps keep her grounded. "It allows me to re-energize and revitalize, which then translates into my work and daily life," she shares. "There's always an emotional connection when learning about new cultures, ways of life, food, and experiencing new places." That emotional connection to something outside of our regular routines is one aspect Tori Stark has also missed about being able to take trips this past year. "My favorite part of traveling is plugging into the local culture and imagining myself having a life there," she says "After a year of monotony and feeling stagnant, I'm looking forward to being reminded of the whole big world out there and just feeling part of something bigger!”
Stark is currently in the process of planning two post-vaccine trips. First, she's heading to Portland, Oregon with her boyfriend. "I live in L.A. and wanted to celebrate being fully vaccinated with a quick trip somewhere relatively close, but new to me," she says. "While we've looked into some restaurants and tourist attractions, we're honestly just looking forward to being anywhere different from our apartment, and strolling through a neighborhood we haven't seen every day for the past year." One week later, she and her mother are going to surprise her sister who lives in Maui, Hawaii. Though she hasn't even boarded a plane yet, Stark says she's already reaping some of the benefits of travel. "I really missed having trips to look forward to," she explains. "Simply having something on the calendar is so refreshing and helps me orient myself."
Then, too, the activities leading up to the trip have provided her with a major mood boost. "I really missed the planning stages where you're researching what to do in a new destination and finding that balance of hitting all the must-sees, while leaving wiggle room in your plans in case, for example, the hotel concierge has a recommendation for a cool local spot," she says. "Getting to indulge my love of planning and researching and busting out my Excel sheet with links to Airbnb or hotel options, restaurants, parks, museums, and other attractions has honestly been the most fun I've had in a year. And then it all comes to life when you're on the actual trip!"
For so long, conditions of the pandemic and vaccine rollout were so uncertain that it was impossible to make concrete plans, especially for something like a vacation. Now, we've finally arrived at a place where we know it's safe to travel after we've been fully vaccinated, which means we've entered into an anticipatory period that can provide emotional benefits. According to Dr. Kumar, waiting can feel good or it can feel bad. When it comes to waiting for the arrival of material possessions — like perhaps all those purchases you made online throughout the last 14 months just to feel something — we tend to feel impatience, anxiety, or frustration.
Waiting for an experiential purchase like a trip to Portland or Maui, on the other hand, tends to be more positive or even pleasurable and exciting. "You can start deriving satisfaction from these experiences now, before you've even engaged in the travel," Dr. Kumar explains. "That's why it makes sense to book your flights ahead of time, of course, to start planning that vacation, to maybe look at restaurants that you might go to, menus, maybe buy tickets to things that you're going to do. Essentially, that increases the time that you can spend savoring this future consumption."
For Stark, one key part of that planning process and the trips themselves is how they can be shared with others. "Traveling has so many relational opportunities to express care for one another because you're creating a brand new experience together from scratch," she says, which is exactly why she can't wait to explore Portland with her boyfriend and visit with her mom and sister in Maui. "What can we prioritize that you're most excited about? What can I do to contribute to you having a relaxing, fulfilling time on this trip? I love answering those questions together and using a trip as a way to learn new things about each other."
According to Dr. Kumar, it is the social value of experiential purchases like trips that, more than anything else, contribute to people deriving more satisfaction from them versus material purchases. "With these experiences, we engage in, like travel, they're actually more likely to be talked about than material purchases," he explains. "Travel makes for better story material, and experiences like that are more likely to be discussed with others and contribute to our social relationships." And, fostering our social relationships, Dr. Kumar says, happens to be one the best things we can do for ourselves. "It's one of the strongest predictors of happiness. It's basically essential to our wellbeing.” And, of course, the pandemic, has made tending to those relationships more complicated, as the act of social distancing was necessary for our physical well-being, but impeded our ability to maintain social connections, which in turn, likely impacted our emotional well-being. Now that we're able to once again plan trips, we've regained one way of facilitating those social connections with others. "Even if you can't yet engage in this travel right now, at least you can talk about the travel that you're going to engage in with other people, and those interactions, those discussions are going to make you happy in the moment as well," he explains.
For so many, connecting with loved ones is the sole motivation behind their first post-vaccine trips. Linda Ostrom and her husband Chris, for instance, recently flew from where they live in San Francisco, California to Houston, Texas to visit their son, daughter-in-law, and two grandkids, one of whom they met for the very first time. Initially, upon finding out that they would be getting another grandchild, the couple told their son and daughter-in-law that they wouldn't be able to visit when the baby arrived. "This was before the vaccine, it was too far to drive, and we were not comfortable flying," Ostrom shares. "Chris and I had been pretty conservative throughout the pandemic and more so since my mom moved in with us in January. Our son and his wife were disappointed but understood." Then, in February, they were able to get vaccinated and book a surprise trip to Houston. "We kept telling them we couldn't make the trip," she says. "Finally, when they were going into labor, we couldn't keep the secret anymore and told them we were coming!"
The anticipatory excitement combined with the opportunity to connect with their kids and grandkids that this trip provided brought the couple a lot of joy. Ostrom says that simply spending time together made the vacation extremely memorable. "We helped a little around the house, helped with [our grandsons], ate takeout," she recounts. One day, all six of them went over to her daughter-in-law's parents' house. There, Ostrom and her family ate brunch outside. She sat around watching the older of her two grandsons play in the pool and holding the new baby. "We just 'were.' It was one of the best days of our lives!" she says.
The second trip that Ostrom and her husband took post-vaccine is also all about connection. They're currently in Honolulu, and while they will be checking in on her mother-in-law who lives there, this trip is mostly a vacation filled with quality time as a couple. When asked what she's looking forward to most about the trip, Ostrom shares a thrilling list: "Reconnecting with my husband, taking care of each other, doing whatever we want all day, sleeping in, snorkeling, eating out, doing nothing, vacation sex!" After a year of lockdowns, isolation, fear, and grief, even reading about that experience for someone else likely brings a smile to your face.
Travel, it turns out, can also make us feel more connected to and appreciative of our everyday lives. "It might sound weird after being home for over 13 months, but I think my upcoming trips will have an 'absence makes the heart grow fonder' effect on my relationship with my home city," Stark says. "I've been grateful for the refuge my little apartment has provided during this hard year, but I'm excited to be away for a little while so the return is that much sweeter. In a very meta way, I miss the feeling of missing home." Increased feelings of gratitude, it turns out, are a common side effect of travel.
"What we find is that reflecting on the experiential purchases that you've made — so maybe the travel that you've engaged in in the past — that tends to inspire stronger feelings of gratitude than reflecting on significant material purchases that you've made," Dr. Kumar explains. "So when you think about the trips that you've taken, or the venues that you visited, or the amazing meals that you've eaten or something like that, you tend to feel more grateful than when you think about all of the gadgets that you own or the furniture you've bought or the stuff that you have." According to Dr. Kumar's studies, that increased gratitude prompted by experiences like travel, in turn, often prompts altruistic behavior. Tayne has certainly felt this phenomenon when she travels. "It's easy to forget that not everyone lives the same way you do in your part of the country or world, so being taken out of my element carries into my professional life and allows me to practice empathy and gratitude with clients and colleagues upon returning," she shares.
For many, these post-vaccination trips will have the added benefit of feeling like that return to normal they've been craving. "It was nostalgic to walk in Waikiki on a Friday night and hear folks dancing and laughing to a live band, see couples holding hands, and smelling exotic flowers!" Ostrom shares. "Like how it used to be."
Larson can't wait for that experience. "The second my immunocompromised brother FaceTimed me to tell me he had just gotten his first vaccine, I felt immediate relief from extreme fear and anxiety I didn't know I had been carrying. I expect that the first time I step on a plane fully vaccinated, the feeling will be somewhat similar," she says. "Not only is it one more step toward normalcy — whatever that ends up meaning post-pandemic — but it's also participating in something that brings me joy after a year of so much fear and anxiety."
- Source Refinery 29
Families are combining traveling and being together, two practices sorely missed during the pandemic lockdowns. Globe Aware has a long tradition of mobilizing volunteer programs around the world for families of all ages and sizes, and have a variety of dates open this year!
US post Covid: As restrictions loosen, families travel far and spend big
Far-flung families are combining traveling and being together — two of the most longed-for practices during more than a year of pandemic lockdowns — into elaborate new twists on the old-fashioned family reunion.
Written by Debra Kamin
May 20, 2021
Jeff Belcher, 41, wouldn’t necessarily have chosen Williamsburg, Virginia, as the destination for his family’s first vacation since travel restrictions began to ease. But when his extended family decided to travel to the American Revolution-era town for a reunion this summer, he knew that he, his wife and their three children wouldn’t miss it.
Their group of 18, which will include his parents, his sister, his aunt and uncle, and his mother-in-law and sister-in-law, will gather at the end of July and stay in several adjoining rented condos. There are plans to visit historical battlefields, check out the recreations of Jamestown Settlement ships, and enjoy outdoor meals while the family’s youngest generation — eight kids in total — play together after more than a year apart.
Far-flung families are combining traveling and being together — two of the most longed-for practices during more than a year of pandemic lockdowns — into elaborate new twists on the old-fashioned family reunion. In a recent survey by Wyndham Destinations, the nation’s largest timeshare company, 75% of respondents said they were planning to travel for a family reunion in 2021; in a March survey from American Express Travel, 71% of respondents said they planned to travel to visit loved ones they hadn’t been able to see during the pandemic, and 60% said a 2021 family reunion was in the works.
Properties that cater to large-scale gatherings are feeling the windfall. At Woodloch, a Pennsylvania family resort in the Pocono Mountains, multigenerational travel has always been their bread and butter. But bookings for 2021 are already outpacing 2019, with 117 reservations currently on the books (2019 saw 162 bookings total). “Demand is stronger than it has ever been,” said Rory O’Fee, Woodloch’s director of marketing.
Salamander Hotels & Resorts, which has five properties in Florida, Virginia, South Carolina and Jamaica, has seen 506 family reunions already booked in 2021, accounting for $2.47 million in revenue. In the full calendar year of 2019, they saw only 368 events total, worth about $1.31 million. Club Med said that 16% of its 2021 bookings are multigenerational, compared with 3% in 2019.
Guided tours are also newly becoming more popular with families looking to reunite: Guy Young, president of Insight Vacations, launched several new small private group trips — which can be booked for as few as 12 people and include a private bus and travel director — after noting that extended families accounted for 20% of his business in March and April, compared to a prepandemic average of 8%. “Coming out of COVID, with families separated for many months, we saw a significant increase in demand for multigenerational family travel,” he said.
Reuniting at long last
Traveling together will also offer families a chance to reconnect offline after many months of Skype and screen time.
Esther Palevsky, 70, lives in Solon, Ohio, and hasn’t seen her 7-year-old grandson, Sylvester, since before the pandemic. So this summer, she and her husband, Mark, 71, will fly to Reno, Nevada — their first flight in more than a year — and then drive to California’s Lake Tahoe. Palevsky’s daughter, Stacey, and her son-in-law, Ben Lewis, will drive with Sylvester from San Francisco to meet them, and the family will spend several nights at an Airbnb in the Sierra Nevada mountains. It will be a new experience for the Palevskys, who prefer to take cruises when they have vacation time. Neither has ever been to Lake Tahoe, and they have limited experience with Airbnb. The location and accommodations, said Esther Palevsky, didn’t matter much. She just wants to squeeze her grandson.
“Just thinking about hugging him again, I get teary-eyed,” said Palevsky, who has been reading chapter books with Sylvester over video chat throughout the pandemic in order to stay in touch. “I’m sure I’ll see Sylvester and think about how big he looks. On the tablet, you just can’t tell.”
Sandy Pappas, the owner of Sandy Pappas Travel, said that on an average year, 5% of her clients are booking family reunion trips. This year, that number is already between 15% and 20%.
“I do a lot of family travel but it’s usually just a family of four or five. Now I’m getting two adult kids and their families and grandparents, and sometimes both sets of grandparents. And everyone is spending more money because nobody ate out or traveled in 2020, so they have funds left over,” she said.
Not your old-fashioned family reunion
While the demand for travel across all sectors is high, family travel was predicted to eventually lead the way for the industry’s rebound after a staggering collapse. Travel advisers spent most of 2020 creating socially distanced itineraries for nuclear families that were already living together during lockdown. But now, they say, the most popular type of family trip is the reunion that brings far-flung relatives back into the fold.
Kate Johnson, owner of KJ Travel in Houston, says she has seen a sixfold increase in family reunion travel compared to last year, and she expects the number to continue to climb. She is also planning her own family reunion trip with 17 family members, including her daughters, their grandparents, cousins and aunts, to Disney World in Florida, in November.
“When I get requests and I see how tight availability is for accommodation, it definitely makes me feel a sense of urgency to get my own family to start planning,” she said.
Properties are leaning into the trend, rolling out packages geared toward family reunions and even hiring dedicated staff to shepherd the events.
After noticing that a nearly 20% spike in bookings was coming from seniors looking to reconnect with younger family, the Deer Path Inn, in Lake Forest, Illinois, relaunched its Gramping Getaway Package, which includes an outdoor scavenger hunt and an afternoon tea that can be enjoyed by all ages, including little ones as well as Gram and Gramps.
Meanwhile, the Westin Cape Coral Resort at Marina Village created a new staff position to oversee such group trips: chief reunion officer. Tosha Wollney, who was promoted to the position from her previous post of senior catering sales executive, will be busy: In 2019 the property had two family reunions, and in the last five weeks alone, they’ve booked five.
Private jets, budget-busting plans
And after using the act of planning for future travel to get many isolated families through the darkest months of the pandemic, many of the reunions on the books are truly budget-busting. Private jet travel, which surged during the pandemic, is increasingly popular among large families. Jessica Fisher, founder of the aviation marketplace Flyjets, said private jet bookings for families on her site have doubled since last year.
“There is this readiness to ‘move’ in safe ways among groups, especially for those who are choosing to reunite with extended family,” she said in an email.
Spending is up, as well, as families splurge on longer and more elaborate trips together than they might have prepandemic.
“During the worst of COVID, when people were unable to see their grandparents, what started happening was clients planning these epic, complex itineraries for the future,” said Brendan Drewniany, communications director for luxury-travel company Black Tomato. “The rise of multigenerational is the biggest trend we can track.”
- Source The Indian Express