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Wednesday, 16 June 2021 10:38

Puerto Rico Eases Covid Entry Protocols

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.

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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.

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
6/3/2021

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.

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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.

Wednesday, 09 June 2021 16:24

How to Plan a Trip Again

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.

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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.

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?

Katie Genter
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.

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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.

Bottom line

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.

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

Blane Bachelor

CNN

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.

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"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."

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.

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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:

  • Social;
  • Teamwork;
  • Collaboration;
  • Communication.

Gaining Independence

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.

Personal Development

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.

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

OLIVIA HARRISON
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."

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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."

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.

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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.”

Optimism returns for the summer travel in the United States, more than three-quarters of Americans plan to take a trip this summer. For those looking to travel abroad for the first time in a year, Globe Aware offers Central and South America programs, all closer to home.


 

America is Back to A Ready to Travel State of Mind

Özgür Töre
17 May 2021

Optimism returns for the summer travel in the United States. According to survey findings from The Harris Poll, Americans are ready to travel this Summer.

More than three-quarters of Americans (77%) plan to take a trip this summer.

When thinking about traveling out of town now, 55% of Americans responded they are either ready to go (26%) or optimistic (29%). Males, Parents and Millennials are the most likely to be ready to go, and just 17% of Americans are ‘unlikely to travel for the foreseeable future’ with Baby Boomers the most hesitant.

The strong number represents a stark one-year turnaround: a similar Harris Poll conducted in June 2020 found that just 29% of Americans planned summer leisure travel amid the grip of the COVID pandemic.

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The latest poll’s sample reflects the sentiments of all Americans. The poll also found:

Two-thirds of Americans have a summer trip either already planned out (36%) or booked (30%).

Of the Americans who have summer travel either planned or booked, more than half (53%) will be traveling for the very first time since the start of the pandemic.

When thinking about traveling out of town right now, 55% of Americans responded they are either ready to go (26%) or optimistic (29%).

When asked what they are most looking forward to about traveling this summer, “reconnecting with friends and family” (19%) was the top response given, followed closely by “rest and relaxation” (18%).

The poll is welcome news for a travel industry that has felt historic devastation for over a year. A staggering 65% of all U.S. jobs lost in 2020 were supported by travel, and the pandemic’s total economic impact on the industry is expected to be 10 times worse than 9/11.

Significant improvements in the health landscape have helped to turn the tide. In April, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued formal guidance stating that domestic travel is safe for vaccinated persons—which followed substantial research findings that travel could be low-risk in general with appropriate safeguards in place. The White House has since announced that more than a third of U.S. adults are now fully vaccinated, and set an ambitious goal to get that number to 70% by July 4.

Those developments—coupled with polling indicating a coming surge in domestic leisure travel demand—is prompting a shift in near-term messaging from the travel industry.

The Let’s Go There coalition launched in September with the mission of keeping travel on the minds of Americans even as traveling was virtually halted by the pandemic. Previous phases of the Let’s Go There campaign urged Americans to take advantage of the personal benefits of thinking, dreaming about and planning for future travel with the tagline “When it’s time for you, we’ll be ready.”

The tagline for the next phase of the Let’s Go There campaign: “Ready? So are we.”

Thousands of travel businesses and organizations across the country are joining in the Let’s Go There initiative, beginning May 17, with unified messaging that encourages Americans to plan visits to their sites and destinations this summer. Social media content is organized using the hashtag #LetsGoThere.

“It’s time to stop dreaming, and start exploring. The moment has finally arrived when most of us can scratch the travel itch that’s been building in us for over a year,” said U.S. Travel Association President and CEO Roger Dow.

“Polling confirms that Americans are fired up to get back out on the road for a host of reasons. The 100 million or so Americans who are vaccinated need not have any lingering hesitation about booking that trip to get out and see the country this summer.”

“With summer just weeks away, we know travelers are ready to go—whether that means exploring favorite destinations they missed over the past year, discovering new outdoor activities, or reconnecting with their families,” said Julius Robinson, Chief Sales and Marketing Officer, U.S. and Canada for Marriott International and co-chair of the Let’s Go There Coalition.

“At Marriott, we are excited to continue to support this industry-wide effort as Americans begin to enjoy summer travel once again, as well as think about their 2022 vacation plans and the future travel experiences that await them.”

Let’s Go There coalition leaders stressed that consumer confidence in traveling will only continue to build through sustaining the strong commitment to health and safety. The U.S. Travel Association continues to urge Americans to receive a vaccine as soon as they can get one, and last month the association supported the Transportation Security Administration’s decision to extend the federal mandate on wearing masks for interstate travel until September.

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