Students to begin retravelling during Covid.

Olivia Shears is on her way again, whether she’s ready or not.

Shears, a junior at Florida International University in Miami, expects to meet up with her friend Shelby Spinosa in Alabama next month before taking a 10-day road trip through the United States.

Shears explains, “We’re going to pass through Oklahoma, Arizona, Colorado, Utah, New Mexico, and Texas.” “We’re preparing all of our stops ahead of time because of COVID, and we’re looking at hotels that we think will be the best choices and have strong safety procedures in place.” We’re going to open-air locations like parks. We’re still making plans for our meals.”

Students are eager to move right now.
Students are eager to go on a trip. According to a new survey by Contiki, nearly two-thirds of millennials and Gen Z want to travel this year. More than half of those surveyed are willing to fly right now, even though it means paying for quarantine when they return home. And 71 percent will take the COVID vaccine, which they described as a “no-brainer” to Contiki pollsters.

For concerned parents, this might not be enough. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) continues to advise Americans to stop all travel. Students in high school and college, on the other hand, are eager to get started. This is true not only during spring break, but also during summer holidays, fall semesters abroad, and other exchange programmes.

“After a challenging year, many Americans are looking forward to the prospect of foreign travel returning in the summer and fall of 2021,” says Allianz Travel spokesman Daniel Durazo.

I’ll admit that I’m one of those concerned parents. At the University of Arizona, two of my sons are graduates. Although we’ve been imprisoned in Sedona for the past six months, they’ve been asking me to go somewhere — somewhere. Their younger sister, a freshman at our local community college, is also on her way out.

So, how do students avoid getting into trouble once they’re back on the road? For instance, their parents are giving them a lecture. (Have I mentioned how jittery we grown-ups are? It’s possible I did.) The precautions are very extensive, particularly for semesters abroad. And, in today’s world, travel insurance is a must-have for anyone planning a trip. Flexibility is more critical than ever, as are the fundamentals of travel protection.

Well before the pandemic, student travel safety was a problem. AIG Travel, a travel insurance provider, unveiled an educational initiative in late 2019 to help students travel safely. “Given the heightened risks they face when travelling, there is much that can be done to improve their safety and well-being,” AIG Travel CEO Jeff Rutledge said at the time.

A student travel safety microsite and a webcast with practical guidance for students, their parents, study abroad groups, and universities were part of the initiative. The software was revolutionary at the time.

What are worried parents doing with their children who are travelling?
Parents are more concerned than normal, according to travel insiders.

“Parents are naturally anxious,” says Medjet’s chief operating officer, John Gobbels. Because of the situation, many of his members have upgraded to 24/7 security and crisis management coverage.

“The pandemic has put a lot of strain on economies all over the world, particularly in places that rely heavily on travel and tourism, and there has been a noticeable increase in crime in many places,” he says.

According to Gobbels, the US Department of State’s website has recorded increased advisories in areas that were previously considered protected. He’s been advising worried parents to exercise extra vigilance everywhere their children go.

He adds, “Have a serious talk with your kids.” “Loosing the guard for two seconds can have significant ramifications.”

Students spending a semester abroad should take extreme care.
How, on the other hand, are schools dealing with COVID? I inquired of Warren Jaferian, Endicott College’s dean of international education. Despite the fact that the school’s semester abroad programmes persisted during the pandemic, participation rates fell by 70% in 2020. However, Jaferian claims that interest in fall 2021 programmes is “extremely high.”

“After just one month into our application period, fall applications are back to 80% of pre-pandemic levels,” he says. “We expect the spring semester abroad in 2022 to have returned to pre-pandemic levels.”

Students spending a semester abroad will be given a COVID exam no less than four hours before departure this semester. Within 72 hours of arriving in their host country, they are screened. Then, depending on the region, they are quarantined for up to 14 days in some countries or checked again after five days of quarantine and released.

Students purchase travel insurance.
Experts claim that travel insurance should be a top priority for every student journey. “With changing restrictions, testing standards, and foreign market conditions, having a travel insurance policy is more beneficial than ever,” says Jeremy Murchland, president of Seven Corners, a multinational travel insurance company.

Young people, in particular, have a “I am invincible” mentality, according to Christina Tunnah, World Nomads’ general manager for the Americas. “Since they don’t really know their limits in the way that more seasoned travellers do,” she says, “this may lead them to take on more risks.”

However, she claims that students and parents are turning to travel insurance to mitigate some of the risks.

“Travel insurance, particularly emergency medical benefits,” she says, is “important” for any journey, whether a student is travelling domestically or internationally. “Apart from COVID 19, anything can happen.” You could twist your ankle, get injured in a scooter crash, or contract a tropical disease that requires hospitalisation.”

Tunnah advises students studying abroad to use their daily health care coverage for routine and preventative care. She does, however, consider purchasing travel insurance to cover other types of travel that health insurance does not, such as trip cancellation or missing luggage.

There’s an app for that, too. Many, in fact. Most big travel insurance companies have made their policies available on mobile devices, so there’s no need to bring a lot of paperwork with you. In the event that something goes wrong, students can use Allianz’s TravelSmart app to contact a 24/7 assistance team. If a mandatory COVID-19 test results in a positive result, the app will assist students with quarantine accommodations and other arrangements. The app will assist with locating alternative lodging, as well as local food and supply distribution services. It can also help with rebooking travel plans and notifying any tour guides until the student has been allowed to travel again.

Students are making several changes to their travel plans.
Traveling during the pandemic has necessitated several changes for students including Jacob Shropshire, a freshman at the American University of Paris. He had to fly from Oklahoma City to Houston, for example, to complete his paperwork at the French consulate. He agreed to return to the United States in the fall, before the nation went into a month-long mandatory lockdown.

“When I travelled, the most important precaution I took was to remain relatively isolated when I arrived at my destination,” he says. “I segregated myself for two weeks when I arrived in Paris in the fall and spring, and when I returned home in November, only interacting with other people to get necessities.”

Hand sanitizer is “my best friend,” according to Shropshire. He was scared of having to go to a French hospital because he had learned that patients were being turned away. He’s still thankful that his parents purchased travel insurance. They had planned to pay him a visit but had to postpone it due to the outbreak. Their nonrefundable travel costs were partially reimbursed.

Advice for students — and their guardians — who are resuming their travels
Gretchen Young, the director of Wheaton College’s study abroad programmes in Norton, Massachusetts, has some advice for students planning to travel soon: adaptability is important. This is valid if you’re going on a spring break trip or studying abroad for a semester.

“Students should have reasonable standards and understand that they will need to take classes online, quarantine, adhere to curfews, or deal with a variety of unexpected circumstances,” she says. “They’ll have to maintain their composure and adjust accordingly.”

Even so, the fundamentals of a healthy journey haven’t changed quite as much as travel itself. True, both when preparing the trip and when arriving at the destination, parents must pay special attention to the COVID risks.

However, careful preparation also necessitates a number of fundamentals. Make sure you’re familiar with the schedule. Determine who will be on the lookout for your student. Understand what insurance covers and what it doesn’t. At least, that’s how Rustic Pathways Student Travel’s global programme counsellor, Connor Fitzgerald, sees it.

He says, “The general recommendation for student travel has not changed.” “It’s just the stakes that have changed.”

Qantas to launch ‘Mystery Flights’

Owing to pandemic restrictions, Australians are still unable to fly overseas, so Qantas is releasing a series of “Mystery Flights” to promote domestic travel.

Those who book one of the three available journeys are putting their fates in the hands of the airline.

The one-day trips will depart from Brisbane, Sydney, and Melbourne on March 27, April 18, and May 1, respectively, and will go on sale on March 4. Each Boeing 737 flight will carry a maximum of 120 passengers and take about two hours to reach its destination.

Breakfast is served in the Qantas lounge at 7:00 a.m., and guests return in the early evening.

Travelers won’t know where they’re going until the plane lands in the unknown spot, but the flight path will be shown on the seatback screens, giving passengers a chance to guess. According to reports, the flights would involve low-level flybys of important landmarks along the way.

On its website, the airline provides a few hints.

For those who enjoy country hospitality, gourmet food and wine, and the great outdoors, flights from Brisbane can provide “the ideal getaway.” Flights from Sydney will take you to the tropics, making it a perfect vacation for those who love “lunching on the beach.” Fans of the great outdoors, gourmet food and wine, and regional farmers markets will enjoy the Melbourne flight.

Customers will be given additional instructions upon booking to ensure that they pack appropriately.

For economy-class seats, the all-inclusive packages cost AUD 737 (US$577) and for business-class seats, AUD 1,570.

“These mystery flights are another way to support tourism operators in regional areas, who have been hit particularly hard by several waves of travel restrictions,” Qantas Group chief customer officer Stephanie Tully said in a statement, referring to domestic state border controls.

In the 1990s, the airline began offering mystery flights. When passengers arrive at the airport, they will be put on a scheduled flight to any Qantas destination.

The airline launched a seven-hour sightseeing “flight to nowhere” in 2020, which sold out in under ten minutes.

After the start of the pandemic, Australia has returned to a state of relative normalcy, with zero new locally transmitted cases recorded on Tuesday and nine cases among returned travellers in hotel quarantine. As of March 3, it had reported 28,986 cases and 909 deaths.

Early on, the country closed its doors, forcing Australians returning from overseas to spend two weeks in quarantine in a hotel. Australia has also placed a ban on international travel, requiring anyone wishing to leave the country to obtain permission from the Department of Home Affairs.

The Australian government declared on Tuesday that the country’s international travel ban would be extended for another three months, until June 17.

Qantas has confirmed that international flights will restart by the end of October 2021.

Italy’s fresh new idea to combat COVID-19

In front of Botticelli’s Venus, people take selfies. David’s manhood in close-up. Bottlenecks forming on the way to the popular Duomo’s summit.

Florence was dealing with overtourism during the halcyon prepandemic period. And at the heart of it all was the Uffizi Gallery, one of the world’s most renowned museums.

At its peak, 12,000 visitors a day came in, most of them speeding past the Renaissance paintings to take selfies with the major names: Botticelli’s Venus, Michelangelo’s Holy Family, and Titian’s Venus of Urbino.

Furthermore, so many visitors were acting poorly that the Florentine authorities were forced to implement a good behaviour programme, Enjoy Respect Florence, with penalties of up to €500 (US$608) for those found picnicking outside, sitting on, or graffiti-ing monuments.

Of course, the pandemic has put an end to all of this. However, before travel resumes, the director of the Uffizi needs to ensure that things will not revert to their previous state. Is there a way to be certain of that? Visitors are being diverted away from Florence.

This is where the Uffizi Diffusi project comes in. It’s a reimagining of Italy’s “scattered hotel” model, in which individual “rooms” are housed in various houses throughout the village.

In this initiative, artworks from the Uffizi’s deposit will be displayed throughout Tuscany, transforming the country’s most famous region into one large “scattered” museum.

Around Tuscany, towns and villages are now nominating buildings that could be used as exhibition spaces.

The idea came to Uffizi director Eike Schmidt during the 2020 lockdown, and he’s spent most of the time the museum has been closed working out new locations and artwork pairings, according to CNN Travel.

What is the goal? He hopes to “develop a new form of tourism,” adding that it will “land culture in people’s everyday lives” for locals.

He went on to say, “Art can’t exist on major galleries alone.”

“We need multiple exhibition spaces throughout the area, especially in the places where art was created.”

Schmidt isn’t the first artist to lend artwork to a group. In 2019, on the 500th anniversary of Leonardo da Vinci’s death, he sent a landscape drawing by the artist to his hometown of Vinci.

He also claims that a 2019 exhibition in Anghiari on the 15th-century Battle of Anghiari, in eastern Tuscany, quadrupled the previous record for visits to the local museum.

“The Uffizi is not an isolated museum in the middle of nowhere,” he said at the time, describing the Vinci project as a “special opportunity to see this drawing and then move out into the landscape” depicted in the work of art.

Schmidt has hinted that the new Uffizi Diffusi project would include “at least 60, maybe even 100 exhibition spaces” across Tuscany, including a villa once owned by the Medici family in Montelupo Fiorentino, half an hour west of Florence; port city Livorno; belle epoque spa town Montecatini Terme; and Careggi, where another Medici villa once stood.

Other towns willing to be a part of the project have begun offering properties, including the art nouveau coastal town of Viareggio (pictured above), Seravezza (where there’s another Medici villa), and Lucca, which is offering its Palazzo Ducale, the town’s seat of power since the 14th century.

It’s not just the exhibition spaces that are having a makeover. Schmidt added that the initiative is also a “opportunity for certain works to be revived.”

The art, on the other hand, has a serious purpose. As Florence prepares for a resurgence of mass tourism, Schmidt hopes that the Uffizi Diffusi project will relieve the pressure, promising works by “well-known names” to help disperse the crowds.

“It’s also critical at a local level,” he told CNN, “creating new jobs and stable employment.”

He also said that he wants to get Tuscans closer to their roots, claiming that the new “cultural structure is too dependent on overseas tourism.”

Locals often visit the Uffizi in search of works by artists from their own villages. However, the overall experience could distract from their enjoyment of the one painting they came to see, or the painting may be in storage rather than on display.

The Uffizi Diffusi seeks to return art to its origins, linking people directly to their ancestors.

If you’re visiting Florence, don’t worry about missing out on the art; there’s plenty to go around.

Schmidt told CNN, “We already have over 3,000 pieces of art on display in the Uffizi — that’s enough.”

“In a calmer, more intimate atmosphere, the Uffizi Diffusi will bring to light works of art that no one can see right now.”

The project’s first step is expected to begin this summer.

International Travel Ban Extended to June

The Australian government announced today that the ban on international travel will be extended for another three months. The biosecurity emergency duration will be extended until June 17th, effectively halting all international travel with a few exceptions. This will bring Australia’s rough lockout duration to a total of 15 months.

Non-Stop Qantas flight from Sydney to Frankfurt
Those Qantas long-haul planes aren’t going anywhere any time soon. Pace/ Pace/JFKJets.
Border closures have been in effect for 15 months.
The government has announced that international travel will be prohibited until at least June 2021, which is bad news for travel-hungry Australians and airlines. The ‘biosecurity emergency duration,’ which enables the federal government to limit travel by overseas flight or cruise ship, has been extended.

In a statement released today, Health Minister Greg Hunt announced that a three-month extension to the current emergency period will be given on the recommendation of the Australian Health Protection Principle Committee (AHPPC) and the Commonwealth Chief Medical Officer. This pushes the reopening date for the border to June 17th, 2021, putting Australia under lockdown for a total of 15 months.

It’s a setback for Australians who want to visit family and friends, but it’s even worse for those who are trapped overseas. Prices for flights home are sky high due to strict incoming flight limits and limitations on who can fly. Many who can afford to fly also have their flights cancelled, leaving thousands of people stranded abroad.

The AHPPC has advised the Australian government that the situation with COVID-19 overseas continues to pose an unacceptable health risk to the nation, according to the paper. A major factor listed is the appearance of more transmissible variants in other parts of the world.

The statement concludes with a disclaimer, stating that the restrictions can be revised or revoked if they are no longer necessary. If vaccine programmes continue to roll out quickly and are shown to be successful against new and evolving strains, Australia will be able to open up sooner.
Qantas had previously stated that the service would resume in July, but that date has now been pushed back to October. Qantas photo
Qantas had previously scheduled international flights to resume in July, but Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack chastised the airline for making unilateral decisions. As a result, the airline has pushed back the resumption of international flights to October 1st, which is starting to look like a much more feasible date.

Sign up for our regular and weekly aviation news digests to stay updated!

Is it possible that the vaccine would allow travel to resume sooner?
Though Australia has done an outstanding job in terms of case numbers, the effect on the health and livelihoods of its people cannot be overstated. The internet is littered with stories of couples being split, companies failing, and families being ripped apart, and this new expansion of the travel ban will only rekindle a ferocious response from those affected.

The vaccination is the only hope for an earlier opening. Australians are starting to get their first doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, and the Oxford-Astrazenica vaccine, which is manufactured in the UK, will start rolling out next week. Frontline employees and quarantine personnel are the first to be vaccinated, accompanied by those who are most at risk of developing a serious case of COVID-19.

The vaccine offers hope for a more open Australia, but will it be required? courtesy of Getty Images
The programme will then continue to reach the general public, but Australia does not expect it to be completed anytime soon. Hunt said, according to reports in Executive Traveler,

“By the end of 2021, our national target is to ensure that all Australians who want to be vaccinated are vaccinated… We won’t be out of this until we have a country with a comprehensive vaccination programme.”

Although vaccination will remain optional for Australian residents, there is discussion about making vaccinations mandatory for visitors arriving in the country. Visitors may be forced to provide evidence of vaccination or undergo two weeks of hotel quarantine at their own expense, according to the National Vaccination Policy.

Qantas CEO Alan Joyce previously stated that vaccines will be required for both tourists and Australians wishing to fly internationally with the airline. Nothing has been verified as of yet, but Australia is clearly concerned about undoing all of its hard work by allowing risks to enter the country.

Capsule Hotel Osaka

The Capsul Hotel in Osaka is great value for money. I haven’t stayed in a capsule hotel before so I was not sure what to expect, but I was pleasantly surprised nonetheless.

The location in itself is great, it’s nice and close to the Namba underground train station. Namba station has many exits, just choose the one which is closest (Exit 25 IIRC) and it will take you to within a 50 metre walk. Choose the wrong exit and it just means you have to cross the road or walk a bit further above ground, no big deal.
It’s also very close to all the action, with Dotonburi just across the road. Dotonburi is popular for dining and theatre.

When you arrive there will be luggage storage within the same room as reception. We had snowboard bags & large suitcases which there was plenty of room for. They will give you a lock which you can wrap around your baggage and fasten to a pole as a security measure.

Checking in was simple enough, hand over your passport for photocopying & a few other details then they give you your locker & room key. You hand both these back every time you leave the hotel and return.

The vibe in itself is more of a downtempo hostel, but without a shared common room. Why I say it’s similar to a hostel  is because of the shared facilities; the toilets, showers, amenities and some facilities like a jug to boil the noodles they give you daily.
It doesn’t have the friendly/party atmosphere like hostels do, so if you are looking to party this probably isn’t the place for you. It’s a place where you go to sleep only.
The majority of the guests appeared to be Japanese with a few Westerners here and there.

Guests must take their shoes off just past reception & put on the provided slippers which are located in lockers. You then store your shoes in the lockers where the slippers came from.

Daily, they will give you you a small towel, toothbrush & toothpaste, pajamas, a sausage pastry, noodles and orange juice, which I presume is to prevent scurvy.

The Capsule rooms themselves are about 7 feet long, and are fully enclosed except for the entry which is a pull down curtain. You will still be able to hear outside where people are walking up and down the rows of capsules, but there’s enough insulation so that it’s not such a problem that it would be in an open plan hostel room with 8+ beds. There must be at least 50 capsules within our room.
The rooms also have chargers for most phones, power, TV & a smart phone with data which they let you borrow.

When you check out they wont let you leave your baggage there all day in their luggage storage which was annoying. I assume the reason is because there is not enough room when all the capsules are in use. I counted at least 270 keys. There are other places you can store your luggage nearby.

If you have snowboards & skiis like we did, what you want to do is go find Ski & Snowboard Storage Osaka in Osaka. There’s a place 550 metres down the road.


Pokemon Go Banned

Pokemon Go is the revival of a childhood for many people, myself included.

The difference now is that instead of sitting at home on the couch playing on your gameboy for hours, you’re now mobile. The augmented reality of the game sends you out on the streets in search for new Pocket Monsters to claim as your own. This isn’t good, some overly parents without a grip on their life want to see Pokemon Go Banned.

It’s only been a week since the game was released, and we’re starting to see the carnage filter through the news stories and social media, prompting us to wonder – is Pokemon Go Dangerous?

The answer is no, if you are not an idiot and understand the dangers of 4 lane highways, waterways, dangerous neighbourhoods, and just use some common sense like you have been for the past X amount of years of your life. It’s not a hard concept – pay attention to where you are. Thinking about entering that crack den where a family was brutally murdered with an AK47 just a week earlier? Think again.

Here’s a list of hazards to look out for
– Muggings
– Car crashes
– Being pulled over and fined
– Sunburn
– Walking into inanimate objects
– Malnutrition

There’s no need to get Pokemon Go Banned, again it just comes down to common sense.
Remember all those things your parents, teachers and sockpuppets told you growing up and you will get through this.

You people..



Translate Foreign Languages In Real Time

Imagine travelling to another country and being able to speak the language, well, at least understand it. Many of us have found ourselves in awkward situations where we are not able to converse with foreign language speakers. Sometimes it can be funny, others annoying, a lot of the times, frustrating.
The idea was thought up when the inventor met a french girl he was not able to communicate with.
The struggles of attempting to speak to each other in broken forms of language was enough to inspire Mark from the US company Waverly Labs to make a change.
The little device named The Pilot System sits in your ear and translates languages real-time, as they’re being spoken. When it hits the shelves in September it will allow the wearer to understand Spanish, French, Italian and English, with more in the pipeline.


Travel to North Korea

Flying into Pyongyang’s new Terminal 2, you may wind up addressing if the reports about North Korea’s debilitated foundation are even valid. The shiny new office, opened last September, looks like a current port with broad glass, plane extensions, roomy loading up zones, obligation free shops, and conditioned screens everywhere. Counting signage is composed in English, and there’s a “Web room” for scanning on the web. If you like what you’re hearing so far, you may be asking yourself the question how do I travel to North Korea?

The photographs, discharged by North Korea’s state interactive media organization, demonstrates the nation’s incomparable pioneer, Kim Jong Un, visiting the port. While the photos – and the air terminal itself – is a piece of North Korea’s publicity machine, used to advance the nation inside various light, the terminal seems to be to have a trustworthy motivation behind pleasing the inundation of sightseers.

Found in a country known for its totalitarian standard and unforgiving disciplines for everybody who is unaffected by it, tourism may be the exact opposite thing any individual considers. Be that as it may, a great many sightseers do visit the Hermit Kingdom yearly, and numerous touch base from Traditional western nations.

Be that as it may, I will explain how you can personally visit the greatest nation on the planet and travel to North Korea. If you’re lucky you may even see a glimpse of the supreme leader (or is it dearest?.. I cant keep up)

Going to North Korea can be quite the test, and you won’t have the opportunity to investigate the nation without a North Korean escort, either as a major aspect of a gathering or individual visit.

Residents of South Korea are typically not allowed to visit North Korea. Furthermore, there have been reports of challenges in regards to Israeli, American and Japanese nationals. In January 2010, North Korea lifted the confinements on American nationals who are presently allowed to visit whenever of the year – however they are not permitted to go via train (particularly the train to Beijing) or to take an interest in homestay-programs (Choson Exchange and The Pyongyang Project can bring Americans into the nation via train). As opposed to talk, Israelis and Jewish residents of different nations don’t confront any extra confinements. Residents of all nations (aside from Malaysian international ID holders entering for 30 days or less for authority, business or visit purposes who have effectively procured documentation at the DPRK Embassy in Kuala Lumpur appearing, North Korean business partners or visit and travel organization courses of action) will require a visa, which might be issued after your visit has been reserved, affirmed by the North Korean powers and paid for. Columnists (or those associated with being writers) require extraordinary consent, which is entirely hard to get. The North Koreans don’t permit writers to visit the nation on vacationer visas. A master North Korean travel office can help you deal with the complex and continually evolving directions. North Korea will once in a while by and by decline a visa to a traveler who meets the different prerequisites.

Vacationers frequently masterminded a visitor visa through booking a visit with the travel offices that arrange such visits. The travel offices will as a rule manage the visa for their sake, in spite of the fact that now and again sightseers are required to have a short phone meeting with the North Korean international safe haven to check their personality and their employment. By and large the meetings are led in a neighborly matter so it is not something to be agonized over. Visas are regularly just affirmed on the day preceding the visit, however once in a while will a traveler ever get rejected (unless you demonstrate that you are of political status or being a writer).

North Korean voyagers visas are regularly issued on a traveler card. In the event that joining a visit bunch, bunch visas are regularly issued on independent sheets of papers containing every one of the individuals from the gathering, appended with a visitor card that bear the name of the visit pioneer. This visa is never held by the voyagers, in spite of the fact that visitors can solicit to take a photograph from the visa themselves. In both case, no stamp will be put onto the international ID. The main way where a visa and passage stamp will be put on the international ID is the point at which the visa is issued in European consulates, which is extremely uncommon for voyagers to visit North Korea as most travel offices work visits out of China (and thus just masterminded the visa in China.) With earlier notice by means of your visit administrator, vacationer visas can be acquired around the same time (around a 20 minute hold up) for GBP20 at the DPRK Embassy in London.