Tag: places

Travel shutdowns kept these 10 places covid-19-free

Before 2020, the remote islands of the South Pacific were more accessible to leisure travelers than ever before. Thanks to affordable global air travel, little-known places such as Tonga, Vanuatu and the Cook Islands welcomed thousands of visitors annually from all over the world — up until the coronavirus pandemic hit.

Now those islands are some of the only remaining corners of the globe where the coronavirus doesn’t exist, thanks to their total suspension of inbound tourism and other nonessential travel.


The islands of Samoa, which include the U.S. territory of American Samoa, closed to nonessential travel in March and have not recorded any confirmed coronavirus cases. To enter, U.S. citizens must hold permanent residency and request permission from the Samoan Health Ministry to travel on a commercial flight to Samoa through Auckland, New Zealand, before quarantining for 14 days.

Despite recent reports of a sailor testing positive for the virus in quarantine before then testing negative, the World Health Organization categorizes Samoa and American Samoa as covid-free.

According to the U.S. Embassy in American Samoa, masks are not required in public.


The tiny island nation of Tuvalu has no reported coronavirus cases and does not allow visitors who have been in any countries where the coronavirus is present within five days before their arrival. Travelers from a high-risk country must get medical clearance from Tuvalu’s government to enter, according to the U.S. Embassy in Tuvalu.


Only citizens of Tonga “returning by special arrangement” are allowed to enter the string of islands, which has had zero confirmed coronavirus cases. One weekly flight is available from New Zealand, which requires strict quarantines. Cruise ships and yacht sailings to the nation have been banned “until further notice,” according to the U.S. Embassy in Tonga.


The little-known archipelago of Palau has not reported any coronavirus cases and closed off international travel in March when the pandemic began. Since April, a mandatory 14-day quarantine has been required for “all travelers with a travel history from or through COVID-19 affected geographical areas,” according to the U.S. Embassy in Palau.

Cook Islands

In October, the Cook Islands, which are accessible via air from New Zealand, announced a continuation of its air-travel border closure “until further notice.” Only residents can leave and enter the islands, and they are required to quarantine in New Zealand before reentering with a negative coronavirus test result.

“If you have already booked your travel to the Cook Islands, it is recommended that you contact your travel agent/ airline and/or insurance company to advise them of the unforeseen changes to your travel,” the Cook Islands tourism board says on its website, which declared the islands “a covid-19 free zone.”


The island nation of Niue has required strict 14-day quarantines since April, according to its tourism board, and has no reported coronavirus

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These Are The Most Dangerous Places In America

If you’re having second thoughts about your holiday travel plans, you’re in good company. Many Americans have already canceled their Thanksgiving trips after a stern CDC advisory. The ones who didn’t want to know: How dangerous is it, really?

It depends where you’re headed. Some destinations are more hazardous than others when it comes to COVID-19 infections. I’ve obtained an exclusive list of the most dangerous places in America that could help you make your decision.

Kinsa, a public health company, predicts COVID-19 outbreaks an average of 10 days before they happen. It uses data from a network of more than two million smart thermometers and accompanying mobile applications, plus publicly available COVID-19 case numbers, to make its forecasts.

Kinsa’s latest projections suggest that in the next week, there will be “critical” hotspots in Colorado, Michigan, and Illinois. I also asked the company for the safest places (which it terms “moderate” risk areas). And there’s good news if you’re in parts of California.

The red states of America

Most of the United States is a high-risk red zone for the next 10 days. The map has shifted in the last 48 hours. Here’s what it looked like on Thursday morning, which I reported in my newsletter, Elliott Confidential:

And here it is now:

Unless you’re in Virginia, Vermont or Maine, you’re in a red zone.

By the way, you can view the risk in your county on Kinsa’s HealthWeather.

(Even though the pandemic has changed travel in some positive ways, you may still need some help cancellinig your Thanksgiving travel plans. I run a nonprofit consumer advocacy site that can help with that. Here’s how to contact us.)

I asked Kinsa to pull data on the most high-risk counties in the U.S. And here’s where it gets interesting.

Most dangerous counties in America for Thanksgiving travel

These counties are rated as a “critical” risk for COVID-19 infection.

Denver County, which was ranked 7th only 48 hours ago, is now the most high-risk area. The Chicago suburbs (Will County and Cook County) are problematic, too. Among cities, Grand Rapids, El Paso and Salt Lake City are also in a bad place. If you’re planning to head there for the holidays, you may want to consider a delay.

Safest counties in America for Thanksgiving travel

These counties are rated a “moderate” risk for COVID-19 infection. That doesn’t mean that they’re safe and this list should not be seen as an endorsement to travel.

Several northern California counties are in a relatively good place. Still not great, with cases projected to rise by up to 53 percent. But less awful than parts of the midwestern United States.

What this means for you

Kinsa says people should think carefully about whether

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National Geographic’s best places for world travel in 2021

Adventure awaits, post-pandemic.

Travel plans aboard may be canceled in 2020 because of the coronavirus pandemic, but National Geographic’s “Best of the World 2021” list will transport jet setters to dreamy escapes they can book when the time is right.

 Tulsa, Okla., is one of the destinations featured on National Geographic's 2021 travel list. (iStock). 

 Tulsa, Okla., is one of the destinations featured on National Geographic’s 2021 travel list. (iStock). 

The list features 25 awe-inspiring destinations for post-pandemic travel encouraging readers to “Dream now, go later.”

“While the pandemic has brought our journeys to a standstill, it has not quieted our curiosity. Ahead of a new year – with the promise of a return to travel – we are eager to share these 25 timely tales of timeless places that will define our future itineraries,” National Geographic editors explain.


The list highlights Katmai National Park in Alaska, mountains and beaches in the Caribbean’s Dominica; hiking in Argentina’s Los Glaciares National Park and Spain’s Victoria, which is also called Gasteiz, its Basque name, to take in the sounds of emerging jazz artists.

Nat Geo’s roster of destinations is separated by five different categories including Adventure, Nature, Culture, Sustainability and Family.


The 2021 list features a special focus on cities and nations that are reportedly experiencing a racial reckoning and moving the needle on diversity and inclusion efforts. Among them is Tulsa, Okla., where the city is introducing Greenwood Rising, its new “Black Wall Street” history center that will be a hub for speakers and events in the city’s Historic Greenwood District that was devastated by racial violence.


Check out the full list of destinations here.

Source Article

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6 Places You Can Travel To In December

Much of the world is now seeing glimmers of hope after news of positive early results from two vaccine trials. And a number of others may be on the way soon. This might mean the world can open up again and the travel industry can get back to business. But things aren’t going to change overnight.

There’s going to be a wait for more data, official vaccine authorizations, and then of course the complicated process of getting vaccines out to everyone who needs one. That may take months. What we also don’t know is whether getting vaccinated will mean more borders open up. It’s likely some countries will take that approach while others won’t, and there’ll be a patchwork of policies well into 2021 where some vaccines are accepted in some places but not others, and so forth.

The good news is that there are plenty of places to go for those of us that want to travel in the intervening months. And new countries are being added to the list even as infection rates go up across the western world. That means that while we should look closely at risks and be careful with planning trips, there are some very good options for getting away.

Last week we looked at several places where tourists are welcome and COVID numbers are low.

MORE FROM FORBESThese 8 Places Have Low Covid Rates And Open Borders

As a follow-up, here’s a look at six top places to consider for a December getaway, with some new additions included.


A beautiful country full of incredible natural wonders, Chile is re-opening to travelers, and just in time for their summer as well. Chile has been closed to non-residents for months, so this is great news for anyone who’s been hoping to travel to deep South America. If you can get a negative test result relatively quickly, this is a promising option.

Entry requirements: Starting on November 23, travelers will be able to enter Chile via its main airport in Santiago provided they bring a negative PCR test.

Two important points to note, however. First, Chile has decided that for the first two weeks (until December 7), visitors who have been in high-risk countries including the United States will have to self-quarantine for 14 days, even with a negative test. So it may be worthwhile to wait until next month to go. Second, the PCR test has to have been taken no more than 72 hours prior to arrival, which is a stricter timeline than for many other countries. It might mean that rush processing is needed to make sure you get the test close enough to departure but still have the result back in time.

Current COVID-19 trend: stable. Case numbers have been pretty flat since June, and as

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A Connecticut hotel gets a makeover, a book celebrates 200 years of Maine, and puzzles can take you places



It’s a tough time to debut a hotel rehab but Connecticut’s The Lloyd does it with style. Located in the heart of downtown Stamford, each of the 94 guestrooms has been given a top-to-bottom renovation with modern West Elm furniture, spa-like bathrooms and luxury amenities such as plush bathrobes and natural essentials from Malin and Goetz. The complete makeover continues in the public spaces such as lounge area that includes a café by day and intimate bar by night, and high-tech fitness center with core and cardio fitness training equipment, Peloton bike, and The Mirror for on-demand cardio, yoga, and boxing classes. Additional amenities include valet parking, fresh-brewed coffee delivered to your door, and turndown service. Don’t want to drive? The hotel is half a mile from the Amtrak Station and local Metro North line. Rates from $179. 203-363-7900, thelloydstamford.com.


As the weather gets colder, curl up in front of a wood stove or wrapped in a blanket on your couch and peruse the dazzling photos, illustrations and stories in the Bicentennial Edition of Maine the Way. This 200-page special edition publication, released in partnership with the Maine Office of Tourism, delves into the state’s colorful history through the decades (from when it was granted independence from Massachusetts in 1820) as well as looking at the people shaping the present and future of its land, cities, and seas. While reading, you can plan your next excursion to the Pine Tree State. $35. mainetheway.co

Those looking for a secluded (and warm) winter getaway may want to consider Caerula Mar Club in sleepy South Andros, Bahamas.
Those looking for a secluded (and warm) winter getaway may want to consider Caerula Mar Club in sleepy South Andros, Bahamas.



Those looking for a secluded (and warm) winter getaway may want to consider Caerula Mar Club in sleepy South Andros, Bahamas. The resort’s 18 oceanfront suites and six private villas, tucked between lush mangroves and powder-white shoreline sands, offer elegant accommodations that blend traditional architecture and midcentury modern style with contemporary furnishings, Belgian linens, aged marble stone, and soft white oak floors. Three on-site dining options range from a café and smoothie bar to casual lounge serving artisanal pizzas and fresh fish tacos to a Caribbean-inspired fine-dining restaurant with sweeping ocean views. The island’s coral reefs are a perfect spot for outdoor activities such as diving, snorkeling, boating, and fishing. Rates from $485-$585 per night. 800-790-6845. www.caerulamar.com. Before booking, check out updated entry and travel COVID-19 protocols on the Bahamas Tourism website: www.bahamas.com/tourism-reopening.

The recently opened Four Seasons Hotel San Francisco at Embarcadero.
The recently opened Four Seasons Hotel San Francisco at Embarcadero.


When it comes to travel, it’s said that location is everything. That’s certainly true at the recently opened Four Seasons Hotel San Francisco at Embarcadero, centrally located in the Financial District just steps from tourism favorites such as Union Square, the Ferry Building and Fisherman’s Wharf, and the California cable car route. Residing in the top 11 floors of a 48-story landmark, the 345 California Center, the hotel offers

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Top Ten Best Places To Vacation Right Now And Avoid The Pandemic

We’re all pent up from seven months of coronavirus lockdowns and restrictions in one way or another.

Daylight savings time and shorter days are also closing in, while case count hotspots are spiking across the majority of U.S. states, particularly in the central and upper Midwest and West, portending a potentially long and isolating first COVID-19 winter.

Notwithstanding the pandemic’s second wave, however, now is one of the major times of year when Americans get the itch to travel, hit the road for the holidays, or just explore—especially from north to south.

So in the interest of avoiding another subjective list about what’s “Best”, “Safest”, or “Most Desirable” in terms of where Americans should be road tripping right now during a coronavirus surge, I decided to cut through the all data at the source.

To compile this list of the best places to vacation right now with the lowest chance of contracting COVID-19, I researched and overlayed more than half a dozen criteria, and pulled maps and data from sources like the CDC, the Harvard-Brown Pandemic Tracker, TripAdvisor, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, including current case counts, population density, average weather, public health guidance, number of short-term rentals, proximity to outdoor activities, reviews, and drive times from at least two of the country’s major metropolitan areas.

I also looked at the most recent CDC data on coronavirus infections by region down to the county and Congressional District level, including new cases per 100,000 people, new cases over the last seven day rolling average, total cases, and total deaths to assess the current coronavirus risk relative to historical trends dating back to March. I further cross-referenced each location’s data to state and surrounding county statistics to ensure there were no unexpected geographic anomalies (i.e., renting a vacation home just across the state line from a hotspot). 

I can’t say with any scientific certainty that these top 10 places represent the most definitive list of America’s best places to vacation right now. But your risk-to-reward ratio in all of these destinations couldn’t be statistically any better to maximize your peace of mind while minimizing risks to your health as America steadies itself for an unprecedented U.S. Presidential election.

The small businesses in town, including hotels, restaurants, bars, and retailers, will also thank you for showing up, spending money, and supporting the local economy (so will the local politicians). Everyone needs a little boost right now. I will keep updating this list frequently as the data change.

1.    South Lake Tahoe, CA (Alpine County)

·     New Cases/100,000 People: 0.0

·     New Cases (7 Day Rolling Average): 0.0

·     Total Cases: 3

·     Total Deaths: 0

The upside: Mild weather (for now), towering mountains, Lake Tahoe beaches, hiking and mountain biking, resorts, nightlife, historic architecture, and casinos across the Nevada state line.

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The 20 Best Places To Travel In 2021: Where To Go Next

Where do you want to travel in 2021? Every year, we look at the best places to visit next. Right now, it might seem inconceivable to think about traveling abroad, due to the global pandemic and travel restrictions that have closed the borders of many countries. But here’s the good news: Things are looking up for 2021. While many places around the world remain off limits, more and more countries are beginning to open their doors, and they’re doing it with health and safety protocols in place—which bodes well for Americans who want to travel in 2021. Airlines and hotels are also doing their part to implement procedures that allow people to travel safely and confidently.

As a result, travel planners report that vacation bookings are on the rise, and according to travel insurance aggregator Squaremouth, 65% of trips for 2021 are to international destinations. Just ask Melissa Biggs Bradley, founder and CEO of boutique travel-planning company Indagare. “We are definitely seeing an uptick in trip-planning and requests right now for the holidays and into 2021, as well as far-flung international trips,” says Bradley. “Many of our members are planning trips for 2021 and 2022 because they know demand will be high in popular destinations eventually.”

Granted, as countries reopen, travel is going to look a lot different, thanks to new safety, testing and cleaning practices. But the new face of travel is also going to have a silver lining. Not only will once over-touristed destinations be less crowded, travelers will be opting for more isolated places. Experts predict that travelers will also be more thoughtful and responsible when it comes to where they are going and how they are approaching the whole travel experience. And travel companies will be more flexible than ever when it comes to allowing travelers to postpone or cancel trips when necessary.

READ MORE: “Bucket List Travel: Top 10 Places In The World And Top 29 In The U.S.

Of course, if you’re planning a trip anywhere before a coronavirus vaccine has been released, you should check travel restrictions for the destination you are hoping to visit and consider warnings from the State Department and the CDC. Travelers should also take precautions to keep themselves and others safe. But for naysayers who claim that it is irresponsible to do any kind of travel during a pandemic, consider this: The travel industry employs more than 98 million people around the globe, making up over 3% of all employment. So booking a trip actually helps support people and economies.

Take Africa, for instance. “Much of the continent relies on tourism for employment, conservation and efforts to save endangered animals, as well as to support entire communities,” says Bradley, who points out that because of the pandemic, thousands of rangers have lost their jobs, which means that “poaching is on

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The Most Unhealthy Places To Travel During The Second Wave Of COVID-19

As a second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic looms on the horizon, travel has gone from risky to downright dangerous. To put it bluntly, some places are bad for your health. A list of the most unhealthy places to travel during the second wave of COVID-19 would sure be useful right about now.

With daily new COVID cases soaring past the 50,000 mark in the United States, this is no time for a vacation. But it’s been a long lockdown, and some people need to get away. If they do, they don’t need someone to tell them where to go — they need someone to tell them where not to go.

If you’re wondering where the most unhealthy places are to visit during the coronavirus outbreak, here’s a definitive guide.

The kind of places that are unhealthy for travel during the second wave of COVID-19

Any destination with lots of COVID cases. If you want to know where the hotspots are, check out this map from the Johns Hopkins University Coronavirus Resource Center. Avoid dark red areas. The university also publishes a world map where you can quickly find the hotspots. Want to know what the map will look like in the future? Try the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, a research center at the University of Washington. For example, here’s what U.S. infections will look like in a few months. Also, look for the World Travel & Tourism Council’s Safe Travels stamp to assure the destination is doing everything it can to contain the virus.

Any place with large gatherings or lots of people. Concerts, fairs, and other social gatherings, including outdoor venues such as theme parks, are off-limits, says Sheela Shenoi, medical director, general infectious diseases at Yale Medicine. “Any travel plans should emphasize spending time in settings where you can avoid or minimize contact with other people,” she adds.

Any destination you’re not allowed to visit as an American. Obvious, right? Well, no. I’m only mentioning this because clever travelers have found ways around the travel bans. So most of Europe is off-limits now, for example. And that’s especially true now, with COVID cases spiking in France, Germany and the United Kingdom. 

Any place with a returning quarantine. Take Aruba, for example. If you visited the Caribbean island earlier this month and came home to Kansas, you needed to quarantine for 14 days. Why? Since early September, Aruba’s coronavirus case rates have increased to more than four times the Kansas rate, according to the Kansas Department of Health and Environment The Centers for Disease Control warns that the risk of contracting COVID-19 risk in Aruba is high. So if you were thinking of taking a tropical vacation this fall, you might want to think twice about Aruba.

Here are some of the most unhealthy places to visit during COVID-19

But where should you avoid during the second wave of the COVID-19

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Top 1o Places In The World And Top 29 In The U.S.

Do you have a travel bucket list? These days, more people are dreaming about travel than actually traveling. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t keep adding places to your travel bucket list. Lonely Planet has just released the second annual “Ultimate Travel List,” which ranks what its editors describe as the world’s top 500 “most thrilling, memorable downright interesting places on this planet.” Let’s just say that it’s a bucket list to end all bucket lists.

In order to determine the best places around the world, Lonely Planet created a comprehensive list featuring each attraction and sight recommended by its authors in its guidebooks over the years. That was then whittled down to a shortlist, and everyone in the Lonely Planet community was then asked to vote on their top 20. Each entry ended up with a score that was used to create the definitive ranking of the world’s top 500 places.

According to Piers Pickard, VP of publishing, Lonely Planet changed the way it calculated its travel bucket list in 2020. “For this edition, we awarded extra points to destinations and attractions that are managing tourism sustainably,” says Pickard.

Perfect for a moment when people are craving the outdoors more than ever, this year’s list included a number of natural locations. Nine U.S. national parks make the cut, with three in the top 20 overall list, including Yellowstone National Park (#5), Grand Canyon National Park (#13) and Yosemite National Park (#20).

U.S. cultural and art institutions were also featured, with notable entries such as The National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C. (#105 overall) and the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum (#418 overall) ranking among the world’s best places to travel.

READ MORE: “Revealed: The 11 Most Endangered Places In America”

And the timing really couldn’t be better. “After seven months of staying at home, now’s the perfect time to start thinking about where and how to travel once normality returns,” says Pickard.

Read on for Lonely Planet’s ranking of the top 10 places around the world, followed by the top 29 places in the United States. 

Note: Should you decide to plan a trip anywhere during the coronavirus pandemic, you should check local travel restrictions for the destination you are hoping to visit and consider warnings from the State Department and CDC. Travelers should also consider risk factors like age and existing health issues before going on a trip and take precautions to keep themselves and others safe.

Ranked: Top 10 Places Around the World

  1. Petra, Jordan: The red sandstone “lost city” that is now a UNESCO World Heritage
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