3 Tips for Taking a Cruise After Covid

The cruise industry is planning for a post-pandemic world that allows travelers to experience the delights of life on the water while simultaneously keeping them safe from potential COVID-19 outbreaks. Determining the boundaries between public health safety measurements and personal freedoms and desires while on vacation might be a challenge, but companies are confident that they can introduce measures to encompass all aspects of cruising. Vacationers who aspire to return to the seas, rivers, or other water byways should anticipate a variety of changes when they resume cruising. Here are some tips for taking a cruise after COVID-19:

Be Prepared for Pre-Travel Medical Requirements

Some cruise lines might require proof of vaccination, whereas others might be satisfied with a negative Covid test taken within three days of travel. Luggage will need to be sanitized. Temperatures will be brought before embarkation on vessels, and passengers with high temperatures will not be allowed on board. Basic Covid safety measures such as wearing masks, washing hands, and maintaining social distance will be enforced.

Be Aware That Onboard Activities Will Change

Passenger numbers will be capped to prevent overcrowding. Buffets will be eliminated and replaced by single-serve meals served to cruisers at staggered times. Staff and crew will need to spend a significant amount of time on deep-cleaning and sanitizing, especially in public areas. Ventilation systems will be replaced and upgraded as necessary to provide 100% fresh air to passengers. Shore excursions will still be an option, but they will be highly managed to control social distancing and sanitization protocols. Social distancing guidelines may impact the number of people allowed into onboard fitness rooms, entertainment venues, and sporting events. Typical spa activities such as showers, whirlpools, and saunas will be closed. Most importantly, crew members will need travelers to observe and respect best practices for preventing the spread of COVID-19.

Be Responsible Post-travel

Regardless of vaccination status, cruisers should be tested for COVID-19 3-5 days after the end of their cruise. Those who test positive need to isolate, while everyone needs to self-monitor for symptoms for two weeks. Maintaining safety guidelines will help to ensure that cruises can once again be an option for vacationers as a post-pandemic world opens again to those seeking adventure.

How to Make the Most of a Layover

An inevitable part of flying is dealing with layovers. And while some are only long enough to transfer from one plane to another, others are longer. Rather than dreading an extended layover, travelers can embrace the following ideas for enjoying it.

A long enough layover is an excellent opportunity for travelers to see a city they might not otherwise see. Even if all they have time to do is take a quick walking tour, enjoy a meal based on local cuisine, and maybe even purchase a souvenir. In almost every city layovers commonly occur and have something to offer. Sometimes airports will even provide a quick tour, led by a knowledgeable local.

Depending on the airport’s size where a layover takes place, they may offer what is called a transfer hotel. This one lets guests book rooms for the few hours they have until their next flight. Tired, weary travelers can use this opportunity to take a nap before their next flight.

Other airports may not have a transfer hotel, but some have a place where those passing through can take a hot shower. In some cases, airport lounges offer this luxury to paid members.

Yet another perk some airports offer are meditation rooms. For nervous travelers, stressed out, or both, this can be an easy way to relax and make the remaining travel seem a little less daunting.

Travelers that have a layover in a foreign country often pass the time by perusing the selections available on Netflix. Since the streaming service is offered in many parts of the world, each country with access to it has movies and TV shows that aren’t available in other countries. This can be a relaxing way for tired travelers to stay occupied.

Most international airports have a duty-free shop. These are good places to stock up on free samples of items that come in handy for travelers. Items offered typically include perfumes, lotions, and sometimes even small snacks or sweets.

Perhaps the most low-key way to take full advantage of a long layover is to spend it people watching. For creative types like artists and writers, this might inspire new ideas they can use in their work.

5 Summer Travel Destinations

Traveling for the summer season is something most people look forward to all year long. The destination they choose can make all the difference in how fun and memorable a vacation is. Here are the top five summer travel destinations.

San Diego, California 

San Diego is a top vacation spot with so much to see and do, where it’s summer all year long. Its many shorelines make it a popular destination for those who enjoy lounging on the beach. But San Diego has so much more to offer, including its world-famous zoo and attractions such as Balboa Park. For those that can appreciate an adult drink, this city is famous for its 150 breweries. The food and drinks scene in San Diego is impossible for many visitors to resist.

Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming

Wyoming’s Grand Teton National Park can make for an excellent vacation spot. AT over 300,000 acres, there is plenty to explore. Visitors can pitch a tent and camp out in the park. They can also get a glimpse of the wildlife and hike one of the many trails. For younger visitors, the park runs ranger programs during the summer season. These programs cover topics like astronomy and bear safety.

Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming

Not to be outdone, Yellowstone National Park is also a popular summertime vacation destination. While the park is best known for Old Faithful, there are many other reasons to visit. A hike through the Grand Canyon is one of them, along with the Grand Prismatic Springs. Visitors can stay in one of the park’s many lodges and hike one of its many trails. During their stay, many visitors make a short trip to some of the towns nearby, each of which has its attractions and events to offer.

Chicago, Illinois 

Baseball fans may want to plan a visit to Chicago to take a game at Wrigley Field Millenium Park. Another highlight of a visit to Chicago is Millenium Park, which hosts various exhibitions and concerts. Visitors can also check out the city’s museums and Lake Michigan beaches.

Boston, Massachusetts

Equally popular for baseball fans is Boston. Aside from taking in a game at Fenway Park, the city has many historical attractions and a trendy food scene. Boston is also home to many festivals during the summer months.

How has Covid-19 Changed Travel Insurance Purchases

The relationship between the fallout of COVID-19 on travel and the travel insurance industry has been direct and not difficult to understand in a general sense. That is, a lot less travel resulted in far fewer travel insurance policies sold through 2020.

On the other hand, the pandemic produced a boom in sales of travel insurance in other ways.

A closer look illuminates some interesting breakdowns about how travel insurance has changed, including key shifts in the demographics of travelers.

A Change in Demographics

Up until pandemic times, older America purchased the majority of travel insurance policies because they did the most traveling to overseas destinations. Until 2019, the year before COVID took hold, the average age of a traveler was 50. In 2020, the average age for a traveler abruptly changed to 38.

Thus, the most likely market for policies migrated swiftly from Baby Boomers to Generation X.

Caribbean Destinations Rise

Trips to the sunny beaches of the Caribbean island nations have always been popular, but travel statistics show that they were not the dominant choice. Trips to Europe were by far the highest, comprising 45% of all bookings. After the United States enacted travel bans to Europe, that naturally dropped to 10%.

The Caribbean islands were certainly not immune to COVID restriction, and some island nations found it necessary to ban incoming travel for periods. However, with Europe no longer an option, flights booked to Caribbean nations skyrocketed. For example, trips to Turks and Caicos jumped a robust 303%. Flights booked to the U.S. Virgin Islands soared by 207%.

Thus, travel insurance policies tailored to the risks associated with Caribbean travel instead of European travel saw huge increases, according to an analysis by Squaremouth, an insurance statistical data site.

More Demand for Special Coverage

Another way travel insurance changed was an increased interest to buy coverage for medical care, unforeseen disruptions, and trip interruption. Demand to be covered for these contingencies is a good way for travelers to hedge their bets against a trip that goes off track. For example, policies for “cancel-for-any-reason” ballooned by an amazing 500%.

Also, more people opted to buy travel insurance when they would not have before the pandemic. According to a spokesperson with Embark Beyond, 90% of the trips they booked carried travel insurance policies compared to just 58% before the pandemic.

5 Tips for Traveling by Train

Seeing the world via a train ride is often the best way to get the most out of traveling. Driving or flying can be stressful, uncomfortable, and ultimately exhausting. Yet when taking a train, travelers are much less like to encounter those problems. Here are five tips for making the most of train travel within the U.S.

Amtrak provides the vast majority of train trips in America. Depending on the amount of traveling one plan to do, the first tip is to consider buying an Amtrak Rail Pass. This is best for those that are planning an extensive trip across the country. Typically, a rail pass will allow travelers to visit as many as eight destinations over 15 days, but there are passes available for even longer and more extensive travel.

The second tip is that those buying regular tickets for Amtrak are urged to do so in advance. However, it is generally impossible to reserve a specific seat if one is taking a coach train. In this case, their seat is assigned when they arrive for the train trip.

For traveling across the country, tip three is to book a bedroom or roomette instead of a regular seat. This is best for those traveling overnight since a seat is not the most comfortable place to sleep.

Tip four involves going into travel with as much flexibility as possible. Amtrak is notorious for delaying trains for a variety of reasons. Freight trains use the same tracks as Amtrak, and these trains are always given top priority. This can lead to passengers sitting on a train that does not move for an extended period.

Like with airlines, train trips often involving a layover somewhere along the way. Planning for possible layovers will help make traveling smoother. Many customers download the Amtrak app to stay updated on any delays in service or other relevant information.

The fifth tip is to build in time for unexpected delays. When switching from one train to another, it can be difficult to connect the train if the first one was delayed. Travelers need to be prepared to make their connection or arrange to take a later train if necessary. 

Originally published

The Top US Based Travel Destinations

Most people that get the chance to travel embrace the opportunity. Many destinations throughout the U.S. are ideal for travel for a variety of reasons.

New Orleans, Louisiana

Aside from Mardi Gras, there are many other compelling reasons to visit New Orleans. It is a historic city that boasts a music and food scene that has to be experienced to be believed. A trip to Frenchman Street exposes visitors to local cages and live musical performances. Magazine Street, located close to Frenchman Street, also boasts many cafes as well as full-service restaurants. Aside from the music and food scenes, there are roughly 130 festivals held every year. There is virtually always something going on.

Vail, Colorado 

Those who enjoy skiing often flock to Vail, Colorado, for a reason. In Vail Village, visitors can enjoy taking a walk down the cobblestone streets. The streets are heated, so even on a cold winter day, visitors will find warmth. Streets in Vail Village are dotted with coffee shops and bars, restaurants, a bowling alley, a movie theater, and an ice skating rink. When it comes to skiing, Golden Peak Mountains is where kids can learn the sport from instructors. The Epic Discovery attraction is even family-friendly and boasts a climbing wall, mountain roller coaster, zip lines, and a bungee trampoline, with additional activities offered during the summer months.

Greenville, South Carolina

Anyone who enjoys the outdoors will benefit from visiting Greenville, South Carolina. The main attraction here is the Blue Ridge Mountains. It boasts the Swamp Rabbit Trail, which spans 22 miles. Downtown Greenville is the best place in the city to get a glimpse of numerous waterfalls. Visitors are also urged to see Falls Park for its suspension bridge and South Carolina’s equivalent of Central Park.

Key West, Florida

Key West, Florida, is another of the top U.S.-based travel destinations. The highlight of a visit to Key West is experiencing The Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum. Hemingway spent ten years of his life living in this home and wrote many of his classic novels. Along with this is the Key West Food Tours. For three-and-a-half hours, visitors get to see the places Hemingway frequented during his lifetime, as well as eat and drink some of his favorite foods and beverages.

Please check COVID-19 guidelines for your selected travel destination when planning a trip.

Originally published

Top Things to do in Tulsa, Oklahoma

Though it may not be the most popular destination for travelers, there are some exciting things to see and do in Tulsa, Oklahoma. The city has a lot to offer visitors of all ages and from all walks of life.

Tulsa River Parks

For visitors who enjoy outdoor activities, one of the top things to do is the Gathering Place. The Tulsa River Parks offer a lot of entertainment value. Popular activities include kayaking at the site of the ONEOK Boathouse. Visitors also make it a point to see the Four Seasons Garden.

Families will enjoy taking their children to the Chapman Adventure Playground, where they can climb on fruit, animal, and castle-shaped structures. The whole family can get some exercise on the SemGroup Sports Courts and Midland Valley & River Parks Trails.

Even more outdoor activities are offered throughout the Tulsa River Parks. Lining the Arkansas River, the parks serve as an outdoor retreat for locals and tourists. Many trails are ideal for hiking and biking. A popular attraction for families is the Turkey Mountain Urban Wilderness Area. Its dirt trails span 300-acres where people regularly enjoy mountain biking, horse riding, and running.

Restaurants and Other Activities

Other top attractions include the Blue Dome Entertainment District. It consists of nine blocks of restaurants, nightclubs, and more. Some of the most popular places to enjoy an adult drink are Arnie’s Bar and El Guapo’s Mexican Cantina. Those who prefer German cuisine can head to Fassler Hall. Tulsa locals swear by establishments that include the Juniper Restaurant & Martini Lounge. And for a hearty meal, a popular choice is the Dilli Diner. Last but not least is Andolini’s Sliced, one of the most loved pizza places in the area.

Utica Square

Those who enjoy shopping often flock to Utica Square. It is filled with various upscale boutiques as well as world-famous department stores and specialty shops. Utica Square also includes Coach, Saks Fifth Avenue, and similar retailers for anyone who wants to treat themselves.

Located just outside of Downtown Tulsa is the Gilcrease Museum. It houses an extensive collection of antique maps, artifacts, and historical manuscripts of Western Art. Overall, the museum’s galleries have 10,000 art pieces, including bronze sculptures created by artist Frederic Remington.

Family Travel Destinations for 2021

In 2021, many families are going to want to start traveling again. The good news is that there are many destinations where families will enjoy a safe and fun vacation.

Washington, DC

Thanks to recent and upcoming improvements in hotels and attractions, Washington DC has become a family-friendly travel destination. There is no lack of places to stay while visiting D.C. Hotels opening for the first time in 2021 include The Cambria Hotel Washington DC and the Kimpton Banneker Hotel, which will be in DuPont Circle. This is a new development that also consists of six townhouses.

While families are in town, they can mark the Smithsonian Museum’s 175th anniversary. The Arts and Industries Building that originally housed the museum will be open again to mark the occasion. While they are at it, families are encouraged to visit the Natural Museum of American History when the Hall of American Culture opens.

Bookworms will enjoy a visit to the Martin King Jr Public Library to mark the D.C. Public Library System’s 125th anniversary. Other notable celebrations include the 50th anniversary of the Kennedy Center.

New York City

Another popular destination for family vacations in 2021 will be New York. Hikers may look forward to experiencing the new Empire State Trail, which spans 750 miles and is the world’s longest trail with multiple uses.

A visit to New York isn’t complete without a stay at the Catskills, opening a sprawling new resort in 2021. The Eldred Preserve is also set to open in the coming months. Stretched over 75-acres of private land, the resort will offer a boutique hotel and an on-site lounge and restaurant.

Florida

To relax under the sun, families will be flocking to Florida. Secluded attractions open to visitors include the J.N. Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge, which can be found on Sanibel Island. Other popular destinations include Miramar Beach, conveniently in Santa Rosa Island, and Rosemary Beach. Visitors can book a stay at the new Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort. It boasts amenities such as a rooftop pool, luxury spa, and four high-end dining options.

These are just a few of the destinations set to welcome families from all over the country in 2021.

2021’s Travel Trends

As restrictions have loosened, numerous people resumed travel plans—many plan taking trips in 2021. Current economic, environmental, and health concerns play a significant role in travel trends. Tourism and business are only two of the traveling objectives currently and in the coming year.

Staycations

More than 60 percent of people surveyed expressed the need to travel within the proximity of home. Limited finances may limit travel options. The ongoing concern for health and safety may be another reason why many prefer staying closer to home. Individuals living close to national or state parks have the opportunity to venture outdoors to enjoy nature while saving money and maintaining recommended social distance protocols.

Flexible Work and Travel

The loss of going to a brick and mortar business to work secondary to Covid-19 enabled many to work from home. Having access to a laptop, internet connection, and digital media means that individuals have the option of working from any location. Thus, employees may travel any time of year and to many different destinations while splitting their time for enjoyment and work.

Pop Culture Destinations

The locations that served as the backdrop for filming certain TV shows and movies are becoming increasingly popular vacation destinations. Fans of the hit series “Game of Thrones” delight in venturing to Dubrovnik, Croatia, to see the real King’s Landing. Perhaps travel to Scotland to Doune Castle, who played the role of the Stark family estate. Fans of the “Hobbit” trilogy might plan a trip to New Zealand, where the movies were filmed. Marvel Comics enthusiasts may journey to one or more destinations where “Avengers: Endgame” was filmed.

Unique Accommodation Options

In hopes of having a once-in-a-lifetime, travelers might opt to combine an exotic vacation with staying in an unusual accommodation. Winter travel enthusiasts might consider venturing to Manitoba, Canada, and spend time in the Tundra Buggy Lodge for the chance to watch the local polar bear activity. Maybe venture to a community exhibiting ice sculptures and spend the night in an authentic ice hotel. If desiring to travel to Great Britain, perhaps stop in Oxford and stay at the Malmaison. The historic location served as a prison for decades before being renovated into a luxury hotel.

To learn more, please visit Anthony Karabon‘s travel blog!

The Best Things to do in Oklahoma City

Whether you are looking for a quick weekend getaway or a summer vacation with the family, Oklahoma City has an abundance of things to do, see and eat. Make the most of a trip by planning to include some of these highly-rated tourist stops.

Oklahoma City Zoo and Botanical Garden

Animal lovers will enjoy visiting the more than 1,800 animals at the Oklahoma City Zoo. The zoo spans almost 120 acres, giving the animals plenty of room to roam. One of the most popular attractions is the African elephant habitat. Kids will love getting to feed the giraffes and getting close to the monkeys, flamingos, and goats.

Hurricane Harbor OKC

Cool off during the warm summer months with a visit to Hurricane Harbor. The gigantic water park features more than 15 water slides and attractions. Thrill-seekers will love the Mega Wedgie, a 277-foot long water slide that ends with a 64-foot free drop into the water below. Those who want to take it a little easier will enjoy riding as a family down various tube slides, relaxing in the Castaway Creek lazy river, or splashing in the waves at Ship Wreck Island.

Catch an Equine Championship

Oklahoma City is famous for its horse shows. The city holds more international and national equine championships than any other city in the world. Fans will love watching cowboys and cowgirls perform routines and showing off their roping and wrangling skills. The majority of the shows are held at the Oklahoma City Fairgrounds, and many of the shows are free, making it an affordable option.

Blues and BBQ Festival

Join the locals at the popular annual Blues and BBQ Festival held for two days every June. The festival features non-stop blues routines performed by both local and famous musicians. Restaurants and food trucks from around the city serve up the best barbecue that Oklahoma City has to offer. Grab some barbecue, a few beers, and sit back and enjoy the music.

Boathouse District

Enjoy a day of kayaking and rowing at the Boathouse District. The seven-mile stretch of river at the Boathouse District winds throughout the city, giving rowers beautiful views as they glide along the water.

Don’t settle for the regular tourist museums and tours; try one of these fun and unique activities in Oklahoma City. Your family will make priceless memories as you discover more to love about the city.

To learn more, please visit Anthony Karabon‘s travel blog!