Monday, August 24, 2020

Post-COVID-19 Travel: The New Normal Must Haves

Post-COVID-19 Travel:

The New Normal

TRAVEL MUST HAVES


This article is my personal opinion based on my personal travel. I currently do not receive any compensation from the travel industry. However, I am an Amazon Associate.

I am an Amazon Associate and purchasing from these links will help to support this blog.

As regions around the world alternately quarantine and reopen, travelers are cautiously exploring their regions, in staycations and/or road trips. Safety is still important, so stock up on these must haves:


1. Keep a head start on your health with your own no-touch thermometer.
                   

2. Avoid touching public surfaces such as doors, keypads and screens with a no-touch tool.                      


3. Slip these convenient size hand sanitizers right into your pocket.

                           

4. Face masks have become mandatory in many US states and public places. Be healthy and fashionable. Try these, with replaceable filters.

                                

5. Throw a pack of hand sanitizer wipes in the bag to freshen up.

                          

6. Feel a little safer with little ones on the potty with these extra large toilet seat covers.

                            

7. Stay hydrated with a metal water bottle that stays cold all day.


8. Get a metal drinking straw for the each member of the family.

9. Carry your own shopping bags that can double as packing bags.           

10. Always travel with a small first aid kit, even when there isn't a pandemic.


Follow our other blog: The NYC Dis Traveler for your theme park updates

Purchase our fine art, decor or stock photos on ShutterstockImageKind, mcraytonphoto.comiStock by Getty Images, Etsy, Zenfolio and Dreamstime.

Copyright Disclaimer under section 107 if the copyright act of 1976, allowance is made for "fair use" for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research. Fair use is a use permitted by copyright statute that might otherwise be infringing. Non-profit, educational or personal use tips the balance in favor of fair use.


                      

The NYC Traveler in NYC: Flushing Meadows-Corona Park

The NYC Traveler in NYC:

Flushing Meadows-Corona Park

Latest COVID-19 Travel News



Scroll to the very bottom and click the social media icons to share this article. Happy Travels!




Spend the day in Flushing Meadows Corona Park. Here is what you can see and do:

  1. Get a little learning on at the New York Hall of Science. Some exhibits are revolving, so go back often.
  2. Become a kid again at the Queens Zoo. One of the smaller zoos in NYC, it is perfect for little ones, complete with a petting zoo. Buy a membership and get access to the other NYC zoos and the NY Aquarium
  3. Try out your sea legs and rent a paddleboat on Meadow Lake or get a different type of workout with a surrey bike for the whole family through Wheel Fun Rentals.
  4. Get a map of the park and search for all of the monuments, including the iconic Unisphere and Fountain and the Soul in Flight Memorial to Arthur Ashe.
  5. Try to find your house in the famous Panorama of the City of New York at the Queens Museum.
  6. Swim or  ice skate year round. Subject to current safety and health closures.
  7. Catch an exciting soccer game. Local leagues play throughout the park. Support the food trucks.
  8. Take in professional sports: The New York Mets at Citifield and world famous tennis stars at the US Tennis Association annual US Open at Arthur Ashe Stadium. The two areas are connected by a pedestrian bridge at the Mets-Willets Point subway stop.  Subject to current safety and health closures.
  9. Take in a little bit of history and see relics of the New York State Pavilion of the 1964-65 World's Fair, currently trying to get renovated.
  10. Of course, you can cycle or jog the entire park, have a cookout, play sports or do absolutely nothing but snooze. 

Some ways to get there: 
Public Transportation: MTA 7 train to 111 Street or Willets Point; 
Car: From east or west, Grand Central Parkway to Flushing Meadows-Corona Park.
Train: LIRR to Jamaica, take the E train to Roosevelt Ave-Jackson Heights, transfer to the 7




Copyright Disclaimer under section 107 if the copyright act of 1976, allowance is made for "fair use" for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research. Fair use is a use permitted by copyright statute that might otherwise be infringing. Non-profit, educational or personal use tips the balance in favor of fair use.

 This review is my personal opinion. I have Booking links. I am an Amazon Associate.

All photos and text copyright Marcia Crayton, All Rights Reserved 2020

Thursday, August 20, 2020

Cruising 101: Part 6, Hidden Costs

CRUISING 101: PART 6, HIDDEN COSTS



For the latest updates for all travel click these links:

Latest COVID-19 Travel News


Scroll to the very bottom and click the social media icons to share this article. Happy Travels!

Follow our other blog: The NYC Dis Traveler for your theme park updates

Purchase our fine art, decor or stock photos on ShutterstockImageKind, mcraytonphoto.comiStock by Getty Images, Etsy, Zenfolio and Dreamstime.

Some CRUISE Information:

Carnival

Norwegian

Royal Caribbean

Princess

MSC

Cunard

Celebrity

Disney

Cruising Series Articles



As we previously blogged, cruising is a great addition to your vacation repertoire. But, many cruisers have been unpleasantly surprised with hidden costs that could have been avoided or even reduced. Most people believe that paying for a cruise includes everything, like an all-inclusive resort. Look out for these "extras" so that you can plan efficiently and economically.



1. Getting there: when you sail from a port near your home city, these are called "no fly" cruises.  But, you still have to get to the port: by hired car (cab, Lyft, Uber, Curb, etc), parking your car or getting a ride. Also, you have to plan for any tolls. Savings: Parking at the pier generally runs $15-$25/per day. Still cheaper than a flight, especially if there is more than one person. 



2. Beverages included: water at the buffet, coffee, tea, lemonade, unsweetened iced tea, & juice for breakfast. For some people, that's enough. Not included: soft drinks, alcohol, juice bars & specialty coffees and teas (like lattes).There are also juice bars, specialty coffee bars and robot bartenders. What you can bring onboard: canned soft drinks, baby formula, one bottle of wine per adult per cabin. What you cannot bring: your own water in bottles, anything that can be opened and re-closed, like cardboard containers with screw caps and any alcohol bought on shore or in the gift shops (they will confiscate it until the last evening or morning). What you need to know: the alcohol packages can add up to almost $400-$500 for one person but all adults in the cabin have to buy it which means an extra $800-$1000 on your account before you even buy a souvenir magnet. Drinks range from $6 - $15. If you have 3 a day, for a 7 day cruise, you may still spend around $200 less. Consider carefully if you will drink enough to warrant the package (most cruise lines have put a limit to 12-15 drinks a day). Savings: Bring an empty water bottle and use the cups provided to refill your water bottle (don't put your bottle to the spout of the dispenser). Bring your own tea bags if you like herbal. 

3. Onboard activities: trivia games, lido deck parties, most shows, comedy routines, etc. are generally included. There may be a surcharge for some of the upper scale activities, such as wine tastings, the flow rider, ice bars, the arcade, behind the scene tours. The spa and hair salons will cost extra. Savings: choose one special activity per cruise. Attend as many free activities as possible to maximize what you paid. And restrict the kids' spending on your account so that they don't swipe out your life savings in the arcade. Also, the fitness room, miniature golf, table tennis, shuffle board and most sports complexes are almost always free. Have fun and get in shape at the same time.

4. Excursions: Once you dock at ports on the itinerary, you will want to do an activity. There are a slew of excursions for sale by the cruise line. The advantages are: if they cancel the activity, your money will be refunded; if the excursion is late returning, the ship will wait for you; and the companies have been vetted or verified as legit by the cruise line company. The downside is that they are more expensive than planning one yourself and you can feel like a school field trip with very limited freedom to explore on your own. Also, many of these trips are by bus and your contact with the local area is very touristy. Savings: The most economical way is to tour the city on foot or rent a car. However, if you are wary of foreign countries, stick with the area near the pier or do an organized excursion. But for the adventurous, rent a car, get a map and head out. See our article here: Cruising 101: Part 5, Plan Your Own Excursions.

5. Gratuities: tips used to be voluntary but they seem to be mandatory on many cruise lines. However, many cruise lines will adjust the automatic gratuity that will be added to your account if you ask. They will probably ask you for a reason because they want to be sure that it's not because of the service. Savings: Pre-pay when you book your passage so that your account doesn't start with a balance. Bring some cash and give your cabin steward and main server extra if you feel it is worthy. When you get a drink, look at the bill carefully and adjust the automatic gratuity to what you would like to give.

6. Premium Meals: Your fare includes meals in the dining room or at the buffet, and some areas that are open when the dining room and buffet are closed, usually pizza, the deli or a burger grill. Room service may be free, but a gratuity will be added. But the good stuff? The premium restaurants depend on the cruise line. Savings: depends on the experience you want to have. Instead of the 3 meal specialty dining package, just go to one restaurant. The upcharge is normally no more than $30 per person. 

7. Laundry and ironing: Irons are not allowed and some cruise lines do not have a passenger laundry/ironing room (Carnival does). To look spiffy for formal wear night, consider carefully fabrics that pack well (linen is not one of them). Savings: Roll your clothes rather than fold them. Bring a small bottle of fabric wrinkle releaser (I was surprised that it works fairly well). Pack pants/shorts/skirts that can be worn twice with different tops. Bring workout clothes that dry quickly so that you can wash them out yourself (use the body wash or shampoo provided by the ship to wash out small items). See our tips here: Cruising 101: Part 4, Packing.

8. Souvenirs and shopping: If you intend to shop abroad, you know must know what you can bring back duty (meaning tax) free when you return. Duty free shopping is not unlimited. Warning: Many of the locally made crafts are quickly made, they may break and some really look cheap. Savings: think functional, like a water bottle, a t-shirt to sleep and work out in, etc. 

9. Photos: Of course it is easy to say bring your own camera or use your phone to take photos. That seems to be a no-brainer. But there might be that rare family reunion when all of the grandkids are there at the same time. Having the cruise line take your photo is free. You have until the last night to choose which to buy. Savings: choose one print or check out the prices for the digital download packages. 


Wednesday, August 19, 2020

Reflections: How COVID-19 Affected travel

 REFLECTIONS: 

HOW COVID-19 Affected Travel

Follow our other blog: The NYC Dis Traveler for your theme park updates

Purchase our fine art, decor or stock photos on ShutterstockImageKind, mcraytonphoto.comiStock by Getty Images, Etsy, Zenfolio and Dreamstime.

Copyright Disclaimer under section 107 if the copyright act of 1976, allowance is made for "fair use" for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research. Fair use is a use permitted by copyright statute that might otherwise be infringing. Non-profit, educational or personal use tips the balance in favor of fair use.

This article is my personal opinion based on my personal travel. I currently do not receive any compensation from the travel industry. However, I am an Amazon Associate. I will earn commission, at no extra cost to you, if you shop through our links.

Some CRUISE Information:

Carnival

Norwegian

Royal Caribbean

Princess

MSC

Cunard

Celebrity


Traveling During a Pandemic: 

A NEW NORMAL


Scroll down to the very bottom. Share this article. Happy Travels!



The 2019-2020 COVID-19 worldwide situation united the entire world in way that resembled the World War II allies, the 9/11 NYS attacks or a global economic depression. 








As the virus and its effects circled the entire world, the travel industry virtually came to a standstill. Cruises were suspended, some resumed tentatively only to step back again. Airplanes were empty, flights were cancelled and were reduced. Rush hour for commuters almost ceased to exist for months as the world worked, learned, socialized and played from home. 








Cultural institutions, possible Petri dishes for a virus with close contact for patrons, shut their doors in an unprecedented way. As of this writing New York City’s Broadway district plans to reopen January 2021. Museums, concerts, plays, poetry readings, art galleries and more all shuttered their doors, with some reopening with massive safety procedures and policies in place. 


                                                                            


Sports came to a halt, also, on all levels, which is likely to have a ripple effect. Professional sports recruit from colleges, high schools, traveling teams, tournaments, etc. Like the arts, sports depends on more than just the teams. Vendors, parking attendants, the ticket scanners, custodians, landscapers and maintenance people were all either terminated or laid off. 



                                                                           



All of the above industries affect the travel industry as it is connected with every industry in the world. If you generously include public transportation as part of the travel industry, this means that there was virtually not a single entity that did not affect the travel industry.  


As some states reemerge from a shutdown and as others adopt some quarantine measures, here are some activities you can do while we adjust to, what has become the slogan for 2020: THE NEW NORMAL.


CLICK HERE FOR IDEAS



All photos and text copyright Marcia Crayton, All Rights Reserved 2020

COVID-19 TRAVEL: Staycation Ideas

 

 COVID-19 Travel:

Staycation Ideas


Disclaimer:

Copyright Disclaimer under section 107 if the copyright act of 1976, allowance is made for "fair use" for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research. Fair use is a use permitted by copyright statute that might otherwise be infringing. Non-profit, educational or personal use tips the balance in favor of fair use.

This review is my personal opinion. I am not paid by anyone. I am an Amazon Associate. At no cost to you, I will earn commission if you shop through our links.




Worldwide, either because of restrictions or by choice, travelers are staying close to home, limiting their travel to local areas. In other words, we are "staycationing."


So, What to Do?


1. Take up a projectRediscover your living space.  Start a business. Bone up your cooking skills. Learn a new language. Attend a virtual sip and paint class. As we revamped our houses and our cooking skills, we needed sources to turn to. Channel surf, skim the web, download an app and learn a new something new. Check here for our favorites.



2. Get out of the house. As many folks discovered, local parks became THE place to go, especially after gyms were closed.  Purchase an annual parking pass, and your state and local parks will become a place to hike, run, bike, picnic (safely, of course) or just to provide a change of pace from your backyard.


NYC's Central Park


3. Support the arts. Musicians used social media sites such as giving concerts on Instagram and Facebook or recording material at home and uploading new releases. Museums created virtual galleries and independent artists ramped on their online stores.

Outdoor Musician


4. Keep shopping. Virtual shopping went viral, if you'll pardon the pun, and many malls are open with precautions in place, including options such as free delivery as well as curbside pickup. We're helping to rebound the economy. See our favorite items.

Online Shopping



5. Get in shape. After reality set in and people stopped going off their diets, bicycle sales went through the roof. Ditto treadmills and other home gym equipment, professional athletes and celebrities found out and had to fend for themselves when gyms closed and personal trainers went virtual.




Long Island, NY


All photos and text copyright Marcia Crayton, All Rights Reserved, 2020

The NYC Traveler: Staycation Projects

 Staycation Projects 




Scroll down to the very bottom to click the social media icons and share this article.

Happy Travels!

For the latest updates for all travel click these links:

Copyright Disclaimer under section 107 if the copyright act of 1976, allowance is made for "fair use" for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research. Fair use is a use permitted by copyright statute that might otherwise be infringing. Non-profit, educational or personal use tips the balance in favor of fair use.

This article is my personal opinion based on my personal travel. I currently do not receive any compensation from the travel industry. However, I am an Amazon Associate. At no cost to you, I will earn commission if you shop through our links.


The COVID-19 2019-2020 pandemic crisis required folks worldwide to quarantine at home for weeks, sometimes months. All of a sudden, despite businesses and academic institutions requiring us to work from home, we actually had some time on our hands. We can now do all of those projects "we always wanted to do, if we had the time."


1. Learn a new language. Whether travel resumes full time in the near future or just for personal achievement, it's always cool to be able to say a few words in another tongue. Our personal favorite is Pimsleur. Although they now offer subscriptions like other companies, such as Babbel and Rosetta Stone, they still offer MP3 downloads so that you can own the course permanently.

Indira Ghandi Airport, India


2. Get in shape. While we were reacquainting ourselves with our kitchens and gyms were closed, we realized that we had to figure out exercising on our own. You'll want to look good when you get back to the beach. Apps such as Nike, Adidas, Strava, My Fitness Pal and about a thousand others have lessons, coaches and even virtual competitions. Lace up and go.


Jamaica, West Indies


3. Become a gourmet. Look like an expert when you resume fine dining. Practice at home. Cooking shows abound but you can start with the Cooking Channel or the Food Network. Of course, there are many apps, check out with Yum,  Epicurious and Allrecipes. You might need some equipment. Shop our favorites here.


Creme Brulee in Paris, France


4. Become an artist. Travel art is more than sunset photos. Post and/or sell your artwork on Shutterstock (photography), Soundcloud (music), Etsy (artistic creations), Wattpad (writing),  Instagram, Pinterest and YouTube. Want to learn something? Try TakeLessons. For kids, try DIY.org

Greece


5. Discover your home again. If you really miss traveling and staying at resorts and hotels, bring a little bit of it home with you. When hotels upgrade, they sell their stuff to liquidators: Hotel Liquidators and Resort Furniture Liquidators are just two.


Grace Bay Resort, Turks and Caicos


Photos and text copyright by Marcia Crayton, 2020, All Rights Reserved