News Articles

Tuesday, 14 September 2021 10:56

What it's like to sail on a 'cruise to nowhere'

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' Tara MulhollandSeptember 12, 2021CNN 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…
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 INDIASep 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…
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 Victoria BekiempisSun 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…
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 MORTONAugust 17, 2021 Alamy 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. Salem, Massachusetts 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…
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 2021Leslie Josephs KEY POINTS 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…
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 Emily HawkinsResearchers 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.
Thursday, 19 August 2021 11:24

Travelers frustrated by passport backlog

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 OLIVERCBS NEWS 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…
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 Global News 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. Cruises 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…
Thursday, 12 August 2021 11:04

Be Prepared: Covid travel checklist

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 Maureen O'Hare, CNN  (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,…
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…
Thursday, 05 August 2021 09:33

Vietnam Airlines Prepare For Reopening

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, 2021Jay Singh 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…
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.Sangam PrasainJuly 8, 2021Kathmandu Post 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…
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…
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