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TravelBits

Keeping It Clean

Airbnb has released a new Cleaning Protocol program in wake of the coronavirus. The new procedures will include information on COVID-19 prevention and a required 24-hour waiting period between bookings. 

The new protocols will also include a learning and certification program for hosts to complete, and guests will be able to see which accommodations are included in the program. If hosts don’t want to commit to the Cleaning Protocol, they can create a vacancy period of 72 hours between stays by using a new feature called Booking Buffer.
Source: House Beautiful

Truly Marvelous

You could spend your vacation visiting cultural sites or luxuriating in your five-star hotel. But what if you could do both at the same place? An extraordinary new luxury hotel, Museum Hotel Antakya in Antakya, Turkey is at once an engineering marvel, an architectural beauty and a world-class archaeological site. 

Ten years in the making, the modern 200-room hotel “floats” on steel columns above the Necmi Asfuroğlu Archaeology Museum, which contains around 35,000 artifacts dating back to the third century BCE from 13 civilizations. Bookings are available again starting in June.
Source: CNN Travel

Authentically Local

Uncover Travel, launched nearly three years ago in Atlanta by former art gallery owner Jason Wertz, offers what he characterizes as “deeper travel” to lesser known locales in southern Europe, including Croatia, Catalonia, Portugal, and Puglia and Sicily in Italy. Wertz says he travels the countries himself to find more remote destinations with artists, winemakers and other locals with compelling backgrounds to give his groups, which range from six to eight guests, “their personal perspective of what it means to live in these places.” In addition, due to the pandemic’s impact, travelers can invest now, travel later and change their tour dates at any time. Source: Travel Weekly

Shadows and Whispers

The Mob Museum, the National Museum of Organized Crime and Law Enforcement, ranks No. 4 in USA Today’s 10 Best Readers’ Choice travel award rankings for Best History Museum. 

The Mob Museum provides a world-class journey through true stories – from the birth of the Mob to today’s headlines. Numerous interactive exhibits include a Crime Lab, Firearm Training Simulator and Organized Crime Today, as well as The Underground, a basement-level Prohibition history exhibition featuring a speakeasy and distillery; themobmuseum.org.
Source: USA Today

Joining Together

Qatar Airways has signed a new codeshare agreement with American Airlines in a move that will increase commercial cooperation, bolster connectivity and create hundreds of new travel options for millions of customers. The partnership will link some of the largest airport hubs in the U.S. to Hamad International Airport in Doha, voted the Middle East’s best hub and holder of a place in the world’s top five airports for the last three years. Source: BLJ Worldwide

Officially #62

Stretching 275 square miles in southern New Mexico, the White Sands National Monument has long been a favorite spot among road-trippers and photographers. But the beautiful site just received the ultimate upgrade: On Dec. 20, 2019, it became the White Sands National Park.

The landmark is now the United States’ 62nd official national park, ranking it among such giants as Yellowstone and the Grand Canyon.
Source: Condé Nast Traveler

Sliding into the Turquoise Sea

If you’re lucky enough to make a trip to the beautiful Maldives once we hit the skies again, there’s a spot you will not want to miss. We’re talking about the new resort, Soneva Jani, but not for reasons you’re probably thinking. 

Yes, the resort is luxurious, but even more than that, it features waterslides so epic, you’ll forget you’re a sophisticated traveler staying at a luxury resort as you throw on a bathing suit with the speed of a 7-year-old heading to a water park at Disney World.

Source: Travel + Leisure

Time to Hit the Trail

As famed writer Wallace Stegner once said, America’s national parks are “the best idea we ever had.” And with warmer weather approaching now’s the time to start planning a hike around the national or state park nearest you. Here are 10 great hikes:
  • Nugget Falls Trail, Tongass National Forest, Alaska
  • Appalachian Trail, Shenandoah National Park, Virginia
  • Burroughs Mountain Hike, Mount Rainier National Park, Washington
  • Halema’uma’u Trail, Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park, Hawaii
  • Charlies Bunion Hike, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Tennessee and North Carolina
  • Billy Goat Trail, Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park, Maryland
  • Chautauqua Trail, Chautauqua Park, Colorado
  • Canyon to Rim Loop, Smith Rock State Park, Arizona
  • Cadillac North Ridge Trail, Acadia National Park, Maine
  • Petroglyph Wall Trail, Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area, Nevada
Source: msn.com

I’ll Drink to That

Much has been written about the surge in alcohol delivery during lockdown. And what do confined consumers crack open? Let’s just say, it’s not exactly the high-end stuff. White Claw is king. The hard seltzer crushed it in March and April as the number one seller nationally for the delivery platforms. And for whiskies, vodka, tequila and wine, housebound hooch hounds turned to liquids in the $18-$25 price range. Traditionally, the mantra for home sipping has been ‘drink better, not more.’ But COVID-19 spending habits suggest that – during a lockdown, at least – this philosophy is put on hold.

Source: Forbes

Road to Giving Back

The recent downturn in tourism is a double blow for Africa’s safari camps and lodges, many of which play a key role in protecting some of the world’s most endangered species. The upside? If you’re stuck at home fueling your wanderlust with plans for post-isolation travel, there’s never been a better reason to make your next adventure a safari. Here are 5 fantastic camps and lodges that are giving back:

  • Mara Bushtops, Maasai Mara, Kenya; bushtopscamps.com
  • Earth Lodge, Sabi Sabi Private Game Reserve, South Africa; sabisabi.com
  • Noka Camp, Limpopo, South Africa; lepogolodges.com
  • Lewa Safari Camp, Lewa Wildlife Conservancy, Kenya; elewanacollection.com
  • Omaanda, Zannier Reserve, Namibia; zannierhotels.com

Source: Condé Nast Traveler

Living Green

When Lisbon was given the European Green Capital Award for 2020, it was well-earned recognition for a city that began its drive towards sustainability during a period of economic crisis – no mean feat. The Portuguese capital has been serious about going green for a long time, halving its CO2 emissions between 2002 and 2014 and increasing the proportion of electric vehicles in its municipal fleet to 40%. Almost 95% of residents now live within 300 meters of public transport, while 75% live within the same distance of green spaces. Source: National Geographic Traveler

Virtual Hike

Now anyone can virtually hike the Appalachian Trail from wherever they might be. Walk the Distance is an app designed to use your iPhone’s pedometer feature to track the number of steps you take each day and chart that activity in terms of the Appalachian Trail’s 2,200 miles (3,500 km) span.
Source: Budget Travel

A Thing of Beauty

Located 20 minutes from downtown Savannah is a breathtaking tree tunnel of live oaks and draping Spanish moss leading to a colonial estate. You can explore the museum, nature trails, gravesites, and Tabby Ruins. Tours are offered daily at the Wormsloe Historic Site. Source: Smarter Travel

A Change is Coming

Amtrak officials have outlined some of the company’s future plans for its service once all of its trains start running again, aiming to give passengers confidence during future journeys. Its text messaging system will provide passengers with boarding information; its app will be used for tickets, passenger information and to order on-board refreshments which can be collected during the journey. Plus, to ease people’s fears, their increased cleaning routine will continue, and the company aims to provide new, more modern kiosks at stations.
Source: Lonely Planet

Nature’s Reboot

Five tour companies, Wavelength Reef Cruises, Ocean Freedom, Sailaway, Quicksilver Cruises and Passions of Paradise, have teamed up with scientists at the University of Technology Sydney to conduct collaborative coral planting in hopes of saving the Great Barrier Reef. Those teams are using a special technique called coral clipping to plant coral pieces in the areas of the reef that have been most damaged by climate change.
Source: Mother Nature Network

Ready to Open

In the wake of COVID-19, thermal cameras and a full-time staff of emergency medical technicians are now part of the Venetian’s reopening plans in Las Vegas. Some of the cleaning and safety protocols guests can expect are thermal screeners, emergency medical technicians, new electrostatic sprayers, and UV light Sterilray disinfection wands that will be used at all resort-operated retail locations to disinfect surfaces.
Source: USA Today

Moving Ahead

In El Paso, the Plaza Hotel Pioneer Park kept to its schedule to reopen in April after a two-year renovation, with a caveat. The property kicked off a “digital soft launch” on April 10 while staff waited for Texas’ shelter-in-place order to lift. The launch included a weekly live Instagram series with Andres Padilla, executive chef at the hotel’s Ambar restaurant, who took viewers into the hotel’s kitchen while he made dishes like ceviche and pork carnitas.

Source: The New York Times

Stepping Up

Even as tourism takes a huge hit from the coronavirus pandemic, hotels and travel companies are helping their communities. The Rosewood Hotel Group announced its relief initiative, Rosewood Raise, dedicated to supporting the local communities worldwide where the hotel does business, whether by donating hotel rooms or preparing meals to essential workers. Four Seasons New York opened its 368-room hotel free of charge to the doctors and nurses working overtime at the city’s hospitals, many of which are located near the hotel’s East 57th Street, Billionaires’ Row location. And Airbnb launched a program that offers free or subsidized housing for frontline COVID-19 responders.

Source: Town and Country

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