If you subscribe to my (free) Daily Travel Tip newsletter, then you already know my feelings about what took place in Washington D.C. on Wednesday. But since this is my weekly newsletter and the subscriber list is much larger, I think it’s important I express them here as well.
As I wrote in my tip yesterday, “I had planned to send this newsletter out yesterday but just before I hit send, I saw the events at the U.S. Capitol begin to unfold on TV and on Twitter, which as usual, was way ahead of the network news coverage. I thought, “Does anyone really care about travel at this time because I certainly don’t.” So I closed my computer and watched the news in horror.”
I couldn’t believe what I was seeing and how embarrassed I was for America. It was shocking. The silver lining, I suppose, is that when tragic things like this happen, it usually brings people closer together, just like 9/11. That’s what happened yesterday and I’m so thankful that the people who stormed the Capitol had their plan completely backfire on them and I’m confident blue skies are ahead.
I know I’m not alone in feeling this way. The writers and editors behind many of the travel newsletters that I subscribe to have condemned the President’s attempted coup and have acknowledged the double standard, including American Airlines’ CEO and President who sent this letter to AA team members (thanks CrankyFlier for obtaining and sharing). If you’re a member of Skift’s premium version, there’s a story on what travel CEOs are saying.
Now on to the travel news …
TSA checkpoint travel numbers
TSA checkpoint travel numbers have been through the roof (relatively speaking) the last two weeks. In fact, they set a new pandemic record multiple times. Twelve times since December 18th over a million people passed through U.S. security checkpoints. The highest number was this past Sunday with 1,327,289 and the lowest was Wednesday (665,855) with the exception of Christmas Day (616,469). I’m predicting there will be a huge slump in travel the next couple of months and I don’t see the TSA breaking a million passengers again until Easter unless the vaccines get some miraculous roll-out before then.
All of this holiday travel is terrible for hospitals especially in counties like Los Angeles where they’re chock full … so much so that emergency and ambulance workers are told not to transport patients to hospital who have little chance of survival. (LA Times)
Pope criticizes holidaymakers fleeing lockdowns
“They didn’t think about those who were staying at home, of the economic problems of many people who have been hit hard by the lockdown, of the sick people – only about going on holiday and having fun,” the Pope said. (Reuters)
New L.A. County quarantine order for travelers now official
Because of that, there are new quarantine orders and travelers need to know that, even though it’s not being policed well. The regional stay-at-home order prohibits hotels and other lodging companies from offering rooms to people visiting for tourism and leisure. What they need to do: Quarantine themselves for 10 days. That means they need to stay at home or find other lodging and avoid contact with others, meaning they should not go out to grocery stores or restaurants but instead have food delivered to them. (LA Times)
Canada will now require negative COVID-19 tests from air travelers
“All air passengers aged five years of age or older will be required to test negative for COVID-19 before traveling from another country to Canada. They must present proof of a negative PCR test result to the airline prior to boarding the flight, and the test must be taken during the 72 hours prior to departure. Those who receive a negative test result will be authorized to enter the country, but they must still complete the mandatory 14-day quarantine upon arrival.” Lonely Planet
United Kingdom now requires negative COVID-19 tests from travelers
People arriving by plane, train or boat, including UK nationals, will have to take a test up to 72 hours before leaving the country they are in. (BBC)
To mitigate COVID risk, Air New Zealand US flights to stop in Hawaii
Air New Zealand’s nonstop passenger flights to the US will include a Hawaii stopover from next month. However passengers will not be able to disembark and head for the beaches – it is purely an operational stop for a flight crew changeover. With surging Covid infections on the West Coast, it has taken the step to reroute flights through Honolulu to reduce the risk to its flight crews. It will swap crews in Hawaii before continuing to Los Angeles and San Francisco. (TravelMole)
Qantas reopens bookings for all international flights from July 2021
The airline has now reopened bookings across its entire overseas network for travel from July 1, 2021. This includes flights to the USA and London, having previously pulled those routes from the schedule until at least October 2021. ß I wouldn’t book a flight to Australia yet. Who knows if the country will be open and the Australian government just issued this statement in response to Qantas. (Executive Traveler)
Kauai reopens to tourists, with caveats
Under those guidelines, travelers who have been inside the state on another island for 72 hours or more may bypass a mandatory 10-day quarantine on Kauai with proof of a negative Covid-19 test taken from one of the state’s approved providers within three days of traveling to the Garden Isle. Everyone arriving in Kauai from outside the state is still required to quarantine for 10 days, no matter what tests they have taken. (Travel Weekly)
UK travelers blocked from entering the Netherlands following Brexit
Dutch border police have turned away 10 British nationals since 1 January, after the UK officially left the European Union, reports broadcaster NOS. New coronavirus rules dictate that passengers arriving from non-EU countries will be permitted entry into the Netherlands only for essential reasons, not for leisure travel. (Independent UK)
Alaska, American and Delta restrict emotional support animals after attacks trigger rule change
Alaska Airlines says it will no longer accept emotional support animals in the cabin on flights in the new year, while rival Delta Air Lines has adopted a partial ban and tough, new restrictions on them as well. (WPXI). American Airlines says it will no longer allow emotional support animals starting next week. (CNN)
You Can Visit U.S. National Parks for Free on These 6 Days in 2021
Planning on visiting any of the U.S. National Parks this year? Or looking for a good, cheap adventure? Then take note of the six days in 2021 on which all National Park Service sites that charge an entrance fee will offer free admission to everyone.
MUST SEE VIDEO: ‘Hold my beer’: Australian surfer rescues woman from rip current
Australian Pro Surfer saved a woman from drowning in Hawaii a couple days ago. It’s difficult not to get choked up watching his interview on KHON. Here’s his instagram video where one user had the best caption of them all “Who needs a cape when you have a mullet.”
CRAZY VIDEO: BASE jumpers banned after leaping from Nashville’s Grand Hyatt hotel rooftop bar
Two BASE jumpers leaped from the outdoor rooftop bar of the Grand Hyatt Nashville on Friday, causing “mass panic” among the bar patrons who witnessed the ordeal, according to police. Story. Video.
Ryanair ‘disgusting’ ad being investigated
Britain’s advertising watchdog has launched an investigation into budget carrier Ryanair, after receiving 1,600 complaints about an ad that suggested consumers should jab and go. (Travel Industry Today)
Breakthrough reached in Gulf dispute with Qatar -senior Trump official
As part of the deal, Saudi Arabia will reopen its airspace and land and sea border to Qatar as of Monday, Kuwaiti Foreign Minister Ahmad Nasser al-Sabah said on Kuwait TV ahead of a Gulf Arab summit in Saudi Arabia on Tuesday. (Reuters)
A Brilliant Idea to Help Give Back
If one of your New Year’s resolutions is to get better organized and to purge things you no longer use or need, then you’ll be interested to learn about this idea. It’s possibly the most brilliant, least-time consuming and safest way to donate your unwanted items and most importantly help people in need. Because of the pandemic, more people across the country are in need than ever before and this way, you can help while abiding by social distancing guidelines. Find out how here.
TIP: Storage bins for organization
If you need some help getting organized around the house, check out these storage bins. I use these to store all kinds of things and like that they’re modular so can stack easily and they’re shallow so can easily slide under a bed. And they’re transparent so it’s easy to identify what’s inside.
Phone running out of storage? No problem!
If your phone or tablet is always running out of storage, there’s a super simple solution that’s perfect for travelers. Read the story here.
The most powerful passports in the world
The most powerful passports in the world have been named and Japan has taken the top spot for the third consecutive year. Without factoring in coronavirus travel restrictions, Japanese citizens are currently able to travel to 191 countries visa-free. It’s followed closely by Singapore, whose citizens are able to travel to 190 countries. (Independent UK)
New Glasses For Color Blindness
Fortunately, I’m not color blind but my brother is so he tested these color blind glasses out and this is what he had to say. (Spoiler alert: He loved them.)
My New Sunglasses
I posted a photo of me on the beach with my new Santa beard and sunglasses Tuesday on Instagram and my personal Facebook page and I had some friends (and family) ask me who makes my cool new shades. Here’s more information about them. They’re also 39% off on Amazon today!
Random: How To Roast Peppers Italian Style
One of my favorite restaurants to get Italian food, especially roasted red peppers, is Raffaello Ristorante. Since it’s a long drive from my house and I’ve really been adhering to California’s stay at home orders, I decided to try making them myself. It was super easy and the result was delicious so I took photos and made a short video so you can try it, too. Check it all out here.
This Week’s Travel Contests
Who doesn’t love the chance to win a contest – especially when it has to do with travel?
Airline and Airport News:
- The world’s safest airlines for 2021 revealed
- American Airlines Kicks 2 Year Old Off Flight For Not Wearing A Mask, Threatens To Ban Whole Family
- Delta restricts emotional support animals after attacks trigger rule change
- U.S. airlines step up staffing at DC-area airports after unrest
- See all the airline and airport news that’s got people talking this week…
- Holland America, Carnival Cruise Line, Princess Cruises cancel US cruises into late spring
- Crystal Endeavor now scheduled to launch in summer
- See all the cruise news that’s got people talking this week…
- Kauai reopens to tourists, with caveats
- LAX’s New COVID-19 Testing Lab Yields Test Results in 3 Hours
- Hawaii security guard bikes miles to return woman’s lost wallet, his community buys him new car
- SoCal woman who confronted Black teen over phone in NYC hotel in custody after chase
- See all the domestic travel news that’s got people talking this week…
International Travel News:
- WestJet, Air Canada announce plans to restart Boeing Max flights
- Qantas reopens bookings for all international flights from July 2021
- A drunk passenger in a taxi refused to wear a face mask — so the driver took him to the police station in Victoria, Canada.
- Spain will keep a register of those who refuse the coronavirus vaccine
- See all the international travel news that’s got people talking this week…
Hotel and Lodging Travel News:
- Las Vegas hotels putting new closures in place as pandemic surge continues into 2021
- Trump hotel looks to cash in on Biden inauguration
- BASE jumpers banned after leaping from Nashville’s Grand Hyatt hotel rooftop bar
- See all the hotel and lodging news that’s got people talking this week…
Miscellaneous Travel News:
- Aviation deaths rise worldwide in 2020 even as fatal incidents, flights fall
- This restaurant has a fully functional robotic kitchen
- Rick Steves Gives $4 Million Dollar Apartment Complex To Let Homeless Women And Their Children Live For Free
- “Capital” vs. “Capitol”: Do You Know Where You’re Going?
- See all the rest of the travel news that’s got people talking this week…
What a disappointment you and your fellow travel bloggers think the President attempted a ‘coup’. The overwhelming majority of followers of President Trump do not engage in rioting and property damage. From interviews with several that were there the gathering was peaceful until, as verified by the FBI observing CCTV’s around the area, a bus full of identifiable Antifa members unloaded before the surge into the capital building. Think back and try to remember who infiltrated the “peaceful protests” throughout our country over the past year…Antifa and BLM’s admitted members were the great majority of rioters. Look at the facial recognition the FBI and other agencies have already used to identify known members of those groups who were inside the capital yesterday. Come on Johnny…look at the evidence. Try to take 99.99% of what the main stream media, and the social media sites ‘report’…much of it false. They rely on the public believing what they say…to our determent. I agree it was a terrible day and embarrassing for our country but please put ‘blame’ if you must where it belongs. I will remain your fan, just disappointed at the moment.