Category: travel

The Best Travel Jigsaw Puzzles To Quench Your Wanderlust

Just as travel has always been a great way to escape, travel jigsaw puzzles have become the escape of choice during the pandemic.

Jigsaw puzzles, in general, have become the activity for the pandemic, with sales doubling and tripling as people have found it a relaxing and satisfying way to escape the news, de-stress and create beautiful pieces of art in the process.

New puzzle companies are thriving, thanks to vibrant, unexpected images that transport you somewhere else, literally leave those boring old landscapes in the dust. They’re creating puzzles that will let you experience some of your favorite destinations in a whole new way.

“I asked myself what people were fantasizing about and realized it was travel: being far away in space and time from where we all were,” said Mia Galison, founder of Piece & Love by eeBoo. “The smell of food not cooked by you, the sounds of crowds, airplane solitude, sleepy taxi rides to unexplored destinations. It was all about traveling somewhere while staying put, disconnecting from the now for a little while, absorbed in the calm, pleasing act of putting together a beautiful jigsaw puzzle.”

Eric Dowdle, who’s been creating travel puzzles for more than two decades, agrees. “Unlike a picture that hangs on your wall, puzzles keep you engaged. For hours, you examine and study each piece and every detail. I’ve found that people love art that exposes them to new beauty, new feelings and even great memories. What better way to relive that fabulous vacation or time spent in a different part of the world? If it’s a place you haven’t had the opportunity to visit yet, spending hours assembling a puzzle of that location can transport your imagination into the image and allow you to connect in memorable ways.”

Here are some of the best travel puzzles and puzzle companies out there. All of these puzzles will become treasured gifts, and you may want to pick up a couple for yourself to get you through this time of staying home without going stir crazy.

Botany from Cloudberries

This gorgeous 1000-piece puzzle will send visions of flowers and mountains and piazzas dancing through your head. Featuring art by Japanese painter, Naomi Okubo, its strong linen-coated pieces have a premium matte finish that looks great and feels good as you snap them together. The UK-based Cloudberries puts an emphasis on design, and plants a tree for every puzzle sold. Price: $24.95

Roadtrip from Wander Puzzle Co.

This woman-owned business supports international female artists, like Ana Hard from Bilbao, Spain, who created this girl-powered puzzle that will bring a smile to the face of any woman who has ever gone on a music- and snack-filled road trip with her BFF. In fact, it’s such a fun puzzle, it just may inspire another trip.

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Record-breaking 1.1 million Americans flew on Sunday for Thanksgiving travel

  • Over 1.1 million travelers flew on Sunday, breaking a record for pandemic travel for daily passengers not seen since March.
  • Thanksgiving was largely successful in getting more flyers in the air as over 15 million passengers flew between November 19 and November 29, according to the Transportation Security Administration.
  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned against Thanksgiving travel but over a third of Americans told Insider that the guidance didn’t change their plans. 
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

The Transportation Security Administration is reporting that a record-breaking 1,176,091 passengers traveled by air on Sunday, likely returning home after the Thanksgiving holiday. It’s the first time since March 16 that daily traffic numbers have been that high.

Thanksgiving encouraged more people to fly following a lackluster summer for airlines, TSA statistics show. The days leading up to the family-oriented holiday that typically draws scores of flyers to the skies similarly saw passenger numbers exceed one million.

From November 19 to November 29, nine days saw over 900,000 passengers, four of which saw over one million passengers for a total of 10,381,904 passengers. The same period in 2019 saw 25,898,477 passengers.

It took airlines seven months to get back to one million passengers in a single day with October 18 seeing 1,031,505 flyers pass through security checkpoints at US airports. The day quickly proved to be an outlier, however, as it took another month and a popular travel holiday for the daily passenger count to rise back to similar levels.

The influx of passengers comes as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned against non-essential travel. Large gatherings allow for the virus to spread from person to person, especially when attendees are in close proximity, such as around the dinner table. 

An Insider poll of 1,110 Americans found that over one-third didn’t plan on changing their holiday plans, despite CDC warnings, and the increase in traveler numbers around the holiday clearly reflects that. 

The Thanksgiving holiday itself didn’t see as many travelers with only 560,902 flyers. That’s to be expected, however, as most holiday-goers typically fly on the days leading up to and following the holiday itself.

The next busy holiday travel rush will surround the Christmas and New Year’s holidays. This time, however, planes will be more crowded as Southwest Airlines and JetBlue Airways are filling their aircraft at higher levels than during the Thanksgiving travel period.

Southwest Airlines will allow its planes to be filled to capacity on December 1. The low-cost carrier had blocked seats over the summer, as Business Insider found on two June flights on the airline, but announced an end to the policy in October citing new Harvard University and US Department of Defense studies on the effectiveness of mask-wearing and high-efficiency particulate air filters, or HEPA filters, of reducing the onboard spread of the virus.

JetBlue Airways will limit capacity at 85% between December 2 and January 7, 2021, meaning most middle seats will be filled on crowded flights. As

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The Best Day To Book Travel For 2021

This year and travel did not get along, but for every postponed holiday and desperate staycation, there will be another bucket list trip sometime in the future. If you’re banking on 2021 to indulge your wanderlust, Travel Deal Tuesday may be your best day to book next year’s vacations. On Tuesday, December 1, travel providers will be offering major discounts and flexible policies, should 2021 not be as pandemic-free as hoped.

But for globetrotting optimists, travel booking app Hopper has outlined exactly what travelers can expect this Travel Deal Tuesday, to plan ahead for a promising vaccine and more normal year ahead.

“In recent years, Travel Deal Tuesday has become one of the best days to book travel. While this year has looked different in many ways, Americans are still excited about the promise of a good deal,” said Liana Corwin, Consumer Travel Expert at Hopper. “If you’re thinking about future travel, December 1 will be a great day to take advantage of low rates and unprecedented flexibility, as travel providers are expected to offer discounts on spring-summer 2021 travel and flexible booking options.”

Before you book an itinerary, take a look at what to expect on Travel Deal Tuesday, and start packing. Well, almost. Here’s how to make the most of the day’s deals:

The best time to book next year’s vacation is Tuesday, December 1

In honor of travel deal Tuesday, prices are expected to be 34% lower on December 1, compared to the same date last year, with great deals on spring and summer 2021 travel. Hopper’s data detects an average of 34 deals per second on this travel holiday, which is 30% more deals than the average day.

Take advantage of special discounted prices

Stay thrifty on Cyber Monday, because Tuesday will offer savings of up up to 40% off flights, 40% off hotels, and up to 30% off select Avis and Budget car rentals via the Hopper app.

Book 2021 travel with flexibility

If booking travel this early makes you nervous, and, rightfully so, 2020 has been a year of uncertainty, know that travelers who book through the Hopper app are eligible for 20% off the company’s Refundable Booking Plan for flights and hotels, and Flexible Dates Plan for flights only). If you choose to cancel, you’ll get 100% back in travel credit, or 80% cash back, depending on your trip details. Hopper’s Flexible Dates Plan also allows travelers to instantly change the date, time, and even airline for any reason up to 24 hours prior to departure.

Check airlines for Travel Deal Tuesday promotions

Airlines such as Hawaiian Airlines, Emirates, Air Canada and Icelandair have already confirmed they’ll be participating in Travel Deal Tuesday this year. Check with specific airlines to see what deals and offers they will promote on Tuesday.

Take your time planning

Still hung up on whether you

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Jared Kushner to travel to Saudi Arabia, Qatar this week

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and adviser Jared Kushner will travel to Saudi Arabia and Qatar this week as part of negotiations to end a longtime boycott of Qatar.

Kushner, along with Mideast envoy Avi Berkowitz and former special representative for Iran, Brian Hook, will try to negotiate with Gulf leaders over the dispute, a White House official said. The official spoke on condition of anonymity as the official was not authorized to publicly discuss the trip.

Bahrain, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates cut ties to Qatar in June 2017 as part of a wider political dispute over Doha’s support of Islamists, its relationship with Iran and other matters. The four countries also launched an economic boycott, stopping Qatar Airways flights from using their airspace, closing off the small country’s sole land border with Saudi Arabia and blocking its ships from using their ports.

Qatar will host the 2022 FIFA World Cup. The country is also home to the sprawling Al-Udeid Air Base, which hosts some 10,000 American troops and the forward headquarters of the U.S. military’s Central Command.


This may be Kushner’s last trip to the region as President Donald Trump has only a few more weeks in office. President-elect Joe Biden will be inaugurated Jan. 20.

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Experts warn of coronavirus surge after widespread Thanksgiving travel

The US continued to report more than 100,000 new coronavirus cases a day over the holiday weekend, as experts warned that widespread Thanksgiving travel could fuel a surge in the coming weeks.

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Related: Moderna Covid vaccine has 94% efficacy, final results confirm

The number of new Covid-19 cases reported in the US topped 200,000 for the first time on Friday, according to Johns Hopkins University. Since January, when the first infections were reported in the US, the total number of cases has surpassed 13m. More than 265,000 people have died.

There was some good news on Monday, as Moderna said it would apply for US authorisation to use its coronavirus vaccine. The company announced final results from its trial, which it said confirmed 94% efficacy.

Moderna’s data will be weighed by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on 17 December. The company said it expected to have doses for 10 million people ready for the US by the end of December. Pfizer and BioNTech submitted an application for emergency use on 20 November.

News of Moderna’s progress came as the number of hospitalisations in the US reached a record high.

According to the Covid Tracking Project, 93,238 patients were in hospital on Sunday, a steady climb from 47,531 at the start of November, putting more strain on workers and resources as winter approaches.

Despite dire warnings from federal authorities including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), millions of Americans traveled over the weekend, as Thanksgiving drew to a close.

Dr Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said that could cause a spike in cases and warned that the level of infection in the US would not “all of a sudden turn around”.

“What we expect, unfortunately, as we go for the next couple of weeks into December, is that we might see a surge superimposed on the surge we are already in,” Fauci told NBC on Sunday.

Fauci said it was “not too late” for people traveling home after Thanksgiving to help curb the virus by wearing masks, staying distant from others and avoiding large groups.

Between 800,000 and more a million travelers made their way through US airport checkpoints each day in the past week, according to Transportation Security Administration statistics, as airports recorded their highest travel numbers since the pandemic began.

Wednesday was the busiest air travel day since mid-March, with 1,070,967 passengers clearing airport security, the Washington Post reported. In the early days of the pandemic, daily totals fell below 100,000 on some days.

The impact of mass travel and Thanksgiving gatherings could mean a flood of new cases just before Christmas.

“When you look at people who are hospitalised today, they were infected two weeks ago, maybe more,” Dr Jonathan Reiner, a professor of medicine at George Washington University, told CNN. “And then it takes usually another week for folks to succumb to the illness.”

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EasyJet offers passengers cheaper COVID-19 tests to encourage travel

LONDON (Reuters) – UK airline EasyJet said it would partner with COVID-19 testing companies to offer passengers discounted tests to try to encourage more travel, following similar moves by Wizz Air and London’s Gatwick Airport.



a large passenger jet sitting on top of a tarmac: FILE PHOTO: EasyJet restarts its operations amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak at Gatwick Airport, in Gatwick


© Reuters/Peter Cziborra
FILE PHOTO: EasyJet restarts its operations amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak at Gatwick Airport, in Gatwick

Travel rules in England will change from Dec. 15 so that if a traveller receives a negative test result from a self-funded test, they can reduce their quarantine from 14 to 5 days.

Desperate to stimulate the travel market after months of restrictions, airlines and airports are teaming up with testing firms to make it easier and cheaper to get a test.

EasyJet, whose finances have come under severe pressure during the pandemic, said on Monday that passengers will receive a reduced rate of 75 pounds per home test with Confirm Testing or with CityDoc, 100 pounds per home test or 150 pounds per in clinic test.



a boat sitting on top of a tower: FILE PHOTO: EasyJet restarts its operations amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak at Gatwick Airport, in Gatwick


© Reuters/PETER CZIBORRA
FILE PHOTO: EasyJet restarts its operations amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak at Gatwick Airport, in Gatwick

Video: International travelers may soon be required to get COVID-19 vaccination before flying (USA TODAY)

International travelers may soon be required to get COVID-19 vaccination before flying

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The 75 pound rate is cheaper than the 85 pound rate available to Wizz Air passengers. Both are more expensive than Gatwick Airport’s offer of 60 pounds per test for passengers who use its drive-through testing facility.

EasyJet said that the two companies it was working with aimed to provide results within 48 hours.

There is also demand for tests prior to travel as some popular destinations like Spain and Italy require passengers to show a negative test on arrival.

(Reporting by Sarah Young; Editing by Bernadette Baum)

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US air travel hits a pandemic-era high over Thanksgiving holiday

More people passed through US airport security checkpoints on Sunday than on any other single day since the coronavirus pandemic cratered air travel, according to the Transportation Security Administration.



a group of people standing in front of a crowd: SEATAC, WA - NOVEMBER 29: Travelers pass through security screening at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport on November 29, 2020 in SeaTac, Washington. Public health experts warn that COVID-19 cases may surge following holiday travel, as the U.S. surpasses 4 million cases so far this month. (Photo by David Ryder/Getty Images)


© David Ryder/Getty Images North America/Getty Images
SEATAC, WA – NOVEMBER 29: Travelers pass through security screening at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport on November 29, 2020 in SeaTac, Washington. Public health experts warn that COVID-19 cases may surge following holiday travel, as the U.S. surpasses 4 million cases so far this month. (Photo by David Ryder/Getty Images)

TSA said it screened 1.17 million people on Sunday when many Americans were heading home from their Thanksgiving travels. That was 41% of the 2.9 million people screened by TSA on the same day in 2019. Thanksgiving 2019 set a TSA record.

That means more than 9.4 million people have been screened in the Thanksgiving travel window, which began on the Friday before the holiday.

Since the pandemic gutted air travel in mid-March, checkpoints have screened more than one million passengers on only five days. Four occurred over the Thanksgiving holiday period.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advised against Thanksgiving travel, fearing families mingling would spread the virus.

Public health officials this weekend recommended those who did travel for Thanksgiving should quarantine themselves and get tested for the coronavirus as cases surge nationwide.

White House coronavirus coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx said Sunday she is “deeply worried” Thanksgiving travel will cause another virus spike.

“We know people may have made mistakes … over the Thanksgiving time period,” she said in a Sunday interview on CBS. “If your family traveled, you have to assume that you are exposed and you became infected and you really need to get tested in the next week.”

Airlines have argued travel on an airplane is very safe — safer than being in many other public spaces — because of hospital-grade air filtration and ventilation that regularly replaces air in the cabin.

But there has been less study about other parts of the air travel experience — including crowded airport lines and shuttle buses.

And then there’s the risk of spread when travelers arrive at their destination.

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Joe Biden Has Promised to End Trump’s Muslim and African ‘Travel Ban’. But Its Legacy Will Be Felt for Years

Afnan Salem’s father, a Somali citizen living in Malaysia, has been waiting three years for United States immigration authorities to allow him to come to Ohio to live with his family. But Trump’s severe travel restrictions on many visas for those with citizenship from more than a dozen predominantly African and Muslim-majority countries, including Somalia, means he is, at least temporarily, barred from entry.



a group of people posing for the camera: Demonstrators protest President Donald Trump's executive immigration ban at O'Hare International Airport on January 29, 2017 in Chicago, Illinois.


© Joshua Lott—AFP via Getty Images
Demonstrators protest President Donald Trump’s executive immigration ban at O’Hare International Airport on January 29, 2017 in Chicago, Illinois.

Under previous Administrations, Salem’s father would likely have been able to come to the U.S. without complications: Salem’s brother is a U.S. citizen and has filed for a visa on their father’s behalf. Trump’s travel ban—often referred to as the Muslim and African ban—changed that calculus, making it much more difficult, and often impossible, for family members from certain predominately Muslim and African countries to gain entry to the U.S.

Salem, a Somali-American 22-year-old student at Ohio State University, says the stringent restrictions send a message to her and those like her that Africans and Muslims are not welcome in the U.S, that “you don’t have the right to be reunited with your family because of your faith or where you come from.”

President-elect Joe Biden, who is expected to be inaugurated on Jan. 20, 2021, has promised to revoke the Trump-era travel ban on his first day in office—a commitment that families like Salem’s are desperately hoping he follows through on.

Read more: Biden Has Promised to Undo Trump’s Immigration Policies. How Much Is He Really Likely to Reform?

Even before President Donald Trump issued his first executive order attempting to establish a ban just about a week after his inauguration, he had called on the campaign trail for a “total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States,” and falsely declared that “Islam hates us.” It was in this context that Trump began issuing executive orders to keep many Muslims from entering the U.S. (The first was introduced January 2017.) The first few early iterations of a travel ban were struck down by lower courts, but the Supreme Court upheld a recent version in 2018.

The impact of the travel restrictions has been far-reaching. Between Oct. 1, 2015 and Sept. 30, 2019 there was a decrease of 79% in visa issued to Iranians, 74% for Somalians and 66% for Yemenis, according to The Bridge Initiative, a research project based in Georgetown University that focuses on Islamophobia. In Jan. 2019, the libertarian Cato Institute reported that the new restrictions had already prevented more than 15,000 spouses and adopted children of U.S. citizens from joining their spouses or parents in the U.S. In Michigan, a Yemeni-American father and U.S. citizen Mahmood Salem committed suicide after his wife and two of his five children in Djibouti were denied visas under Trump’s travel ban to join him in the U.S., NBC reported.

“Each time the Muslim ban was reintroduced, it carried

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Thinking about getting COVID-19 tested after Thanksgiving?

Tidelands Health medical professionals conduct a drive-through COVID-19 testing site in July at Myrtle Beach Pelicans Ballpark.

Tidelands Health medical professionals conduct a drive-through COVID-19 testing site in July at Myrtle Beach Pelicans Ballpark.

[email protected]

On the Grand Strand, pleas from the health community for people to not travel for Thanksgiving went unheard.

The percentage of visitors skyrocketed far above last year’s as people flocked to the beach for Turkey Day even as coronavirus cases in the county soar. The area has not seen a positive test rate below 10% in weeks.

For Nov. 21-27, the Myrtle Beach area saw 65.2% of vacation rental properties booked, more than 20 points above the same time frame for 2019, according to Coastal Carolina University’s weekly lodging update.

If these visitors have any effect on the Myrtle Beach area’s coronavirus cases, it may not be seen for weeks, as the virus can take up to two weeks to show symptoms in some people.

Myrtle Beach’s airport also saw an expected a high number, though not higher than 2019, of departures for Thanksgiving as people left to visit family and friends for the holiday. Airports and planes have been identified as some of the most high-risk environments for exposure to the pandemic due to the lack of air circulation and close proximity to others.

The impact may be seen far beyond the Grand Strand as well. In June, when the region was labeled a pandemic hot spot by health experts and national media outlets, public health officials connected cases as far away as Ohio and Virginia to people visiting Horry County to hit the beach.

As for the current picture of the pandemic, Horry County added 45 new cases and one new death Sunday, according to the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control. The county has is at 79.8% hospital occupancy with 132 beds available.

New Year’s Day may paint a similar picture for the tourism in the Myrtle Beach area. Reservations for the weekly vacation rental properties currently sit at 51.2% booked, up from 43% last year for that period, CCU’s data showed.

Anyone looking to get tested after traveling for the holiday is recommended to wait a seven days, Tidelands Health’s top doctor Gerald Harmon previously told The Sun News. People can be exposed but not test positive for four to seven days, he said, and a test immediately after getting back might create a false sense of security.

During that time, Harmon said it’s best to quarantine away from others to prevent the spread of the coronavirus should you test positive later on.

Chase Karacostas writes about tourism in Myrtle Beach and across South Carolina for McClatchy. He graduated from the University of Texas at Austin in 2020 with degrees in Journalism and Political Communication. He began working for McClatchy in 2020 after growing up in Texas, where he has bylines in three of the state’s largest print media outlets as well as the Texas Tribune covering state politics, the environment, housing and the LGBTQ+ community.

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Air Travel Declines 40% Pre-Thanksgiving

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Compared With 2019, Air Travel Drops 40% for Wednesday Before Thanksgiving

Despite the drop, it’s actually the busiest U.S. airports have been since the pandemic first hit in March, according to Deutsche Bank data. That raises concerns that the holidays could become “super-spreader events,” the bank’s economist says.

A continued surge in Covid-19 cases could lead to more strict lockdowns and limits on travel and gatherings. More shutdowns would cut down on economic activity, though probably not as severely as the initial stages of the pandemic early this year.

Investors didn’t seem too worried about the holiday shopping season, at least. Stocks closed at new highs on Friday.

Zoom Video Communications’ Quarterly Sales Grew 300% From Same Quarter in 2019

The videoconferencing company is set to report earnings today after the close of trading. It’s expected to post profits of 76 cents per share, more than 25 times higher than its earnings from the same period last year.

Zoom is one of the biggest winners from the pandemic, as people work remotely, and video call their family and friends to avoid spreading Covid-19.

So its sales and profits have skyrocketed over the past nine months. Its stock has, too—Zoom shares are up 585% so far this year.

Tesla’s Stock-Market Valuation Hits $544 Billion

It briefly had a larger equity-market capitalization than Warren Buffett’s company, Berkshire Hathaway, during the abbreviated trading day Friday.

The electric car maker’s stock has soared 600% this year—and it now has a larger market cap than Ford and General Motors combined. When it had exceeded Berkshire Hathaway, it had the sixth-highest stock market valuation in the U.S., behind tech giants such as Amazon, Apple and Microsoft.

Tesla posted a profit in the second quarter, which has made it eligible for inclusion in the S&P 500—it will be added to the large-cap index on Dec. 21. Traders have cheered the news, and the stock has gained more than 40% since the announcement.

But the optimism might not last. Stocks often rally until their addition to the index, and then decline after they are actually added.

Numbers by Barron’s is our daily podcast. Find out more here.

Write to Alexandra Scaggs at [email protected]

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