Wednesday, December 17, 2014

US - Cuba Agreement : Travel, Cigars and More

By Let There Be Travel   Posted at  10:37 AM   white house 1 comment

The White House announced the changes to Cuba policy as new rules to be posted by the Treasury and Commerce departments. 
The administration’s actions don’t change the 1996 Helms-Burton Act and other laws passed by Congress that restrict most travel and trade with Cuba. But it is the most significant move by the American government to ease sanctions with Cuba in 50 years.
Diplomatic relations
The U.S. will open an embassy in Havana for the first time since President John F. Kennedy severed relations in 1961. Since 1977 the American interest section has operated under in conjunction with the Swiss on a prime piece of real estate off the Malecón, on Havana’s oceanfront. The U.S. Senate, which will be controlled by Republicans in January, would have to approve any ambassador to the island.
    Terror ties
    The U.S. designated Cuba a state sponsor of terrorism in 1982. Secretary of State John Kerry will now review that designation and provide a report within six months about Cuba’s contemporary support for international terrorism.
    Travel restrictions
    It will still be illegal for Americans to travel to Cuba strictly for tourism, since that is banned by federal law. But U.S. law allows for 12 categories of legal travel to Cuba, which the Obama administration is expanding.
    The allowed travel categories are: family visits, government business, journalism, professional research and meetings, educational activities, religious activities, “support for the Cuban people,” humanitarian projects, private foundation work and research, import/export work, art and athletic This means that soon it's likely going to get much easier for Americans to travel to Cuba.
    It's worth noting that travel to Cuba is already booming; In 2012 and 2013, more than 90,000 Americans legally visited Cuba, according to the New York Times — and there's a good chance many more have visited illegally.
    But it's complicated to travel there: Travelers currently need special visas or are required to travel with set tour groups, and there are no direct commercial flights between the US and Cuba. 
    All of that will likely change soon. 
    Senior Obama administration officials announced in a press conference call with reporters on Wednesday plans to lift many of its existing travel restrictions. While all of the details have not yet been made clear, an official said the change will include a "number of steps to significantly increase travel, commerce, and the flow of information to and from Cuba.Officials also noted that the eased travel restrictions would allow more Americans who qualify under the current license program to visit Cuba.
    While it's not technically illegal for US citizens to travel to Cuba, most are prohibited from spending any money there. These new measures would allow visitors to be able to purchase "$400 of general goods and up to $100 of alcohol and tobacco products that can include cigars" while in Cuba. 
    We're still waiting for more information on the ease of these travel restrictions, but it's clear that more Americans will be traveling to Cuba very soon.

    • General licenses will be made available for all authorized travelers in the following existing categories: (1) family visits; (2) official business of the U.S. government, foreign governments, and certain intergovernmental organizations; (3) journalistic activity; (4) professional research and professional meetings; (5) educational activities; (6) religious activities; (7) public performances, clinics, workshops, athletic and other competitions, and exhibitions; (8) support for the Cuban people; (9) humanitarian projects; (10) activities of private foundations or research or educational institutes; (11) exportation, importation, or transmission of information or information materials; and (12) certain export transactions that may be considered for authorization under existing regulations and guidelines. 
    • Travelers in the 12 categories of travel to Cuba authorized by law will be able to make arrangements through any service provider that complies with the U.S. Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) regulations governing travel services to Cuba, and general licenses will authorize provision of such services. 
    • The policy changes make it easier for Americans to provide business training for private Cuban businesses and small farmers and provide other support for the growth of Cuba’s nascent private sector.  Additional options for promoting the growth of entrepreneurship and the private sector in Cuba will be explored.

    Credit cards
    For the first time, credit and debit cards issued by U.S. banks will work in Cuba. American travelers to the island now have been forced to either carry large amounts of cash with them or acquire a credit card from a bank in another country.
    Cigars and rum
    Americans traveling to Cuba will be allowed to bring back a small amount of now-banned cigars and rum. The new provisions allow Americans to bring back up to $400 worth of Cuban goods, of which only $100 can be alcohol and tobacco.
    Remittances
    Americans will now be able to send $2,000 per quarter – up from $500 – to people in Cuba. Licenses that had been required for Americans sending cash to the island will no longer be required.
    The Cuban Internet
    Almost no ordinary Cubans have access to the Internet. Very slow web access is available at tourist hotels. The new rules allow U.S. companies to export telecommunications equipment to build a broader Internet infrastructure. At the same time, U.S. officials said, the Cuban government agreed to allow its citizens better access to the web.
    Changes
    Obama's action marked an abrupt use of U.S. executive authority. However, he cannot unilaterally end the longstanding U.S. economic embargo on Cuba, which was passed by Congress and would require action from lawmakers to overturn.
    Wednesday's announcements followed more than a year of secret talks between the U.S. and Cuba, including clandestine meetings in Canada and the Vatican and personal involvement from Pope Francis. The re-establishment of diplomatic ties was accompanied by Cuba's release of American Alan Gross and the swap of a U.S. spy held in Cuba for three Cubans jailed in Florida.
    In a statement, the Vatican said Pope Francis "wishes to express his warm congratulations for the historic decision taken by the governments of the United States of America and Cuba to establish diplomatic relations, with the aim of overcoming, in the interest of the citizens of both countries, the difficulties which have marked their recent history."

    Friday, December 5, 2014

    Virgin Is Going Into the Cruise Business

    By Let There Be Travel   Posted at  4:33 PM   virgin cruises 2 comments
    We are excited to hear the news that Virgin Group announced on Thursday. Virgin Cruises will be an attempt to shake up a monopolized industry dominated by three big companies that all offer a similar flavor of family-friendly entertainment on the high seas.
    Personally, I am not a huge cruise fan. I love to be on land, be adventurous, no time to be anywhere to eat, or stuck in one place. Some people love crusies. But for Virgin, I could make an exception.
    I've flown their airlines, which is life changing. I am now spoiled and dread other airlines. 
    With backing from Bain Capital, the private equity firm, Virgin Cruises will build two new ships that are “more informal, fun, sexy, hip and cool” than those operated by Carnival, Royal Caribbean and Norwegian Cruise Line, said Evan Lovell, a partner at Virgin Management Limited.
    “We believe there’s an opportunity to be a disruptor,” Mr. Lovell said. “We think we can program the ship in ways that is different than what is being done today.”
    Instead of creating a Las Vegas-like atmosphere with casinos, theaters and all you can eat buffets, Virgin Cruises will give passengers more opportunities to experience life at sea.
    “The whole point of being on a cruise ship is to be connected to the ocean, to be connected to the sun and the wind,” Mr. Lovell said.
    Virgin Cruises said it was beginning work on the two new ships soon. New ships can cost upward of $1 billion to construct and take years to complete, and Mr. Lovell said that voyages would not begin until “the end of the decade.”
    Though the company didn’t release many details about its plans, Mr. Lovell said the ships would both be designed to give passengers more nature when they want it, and also more sophisticated amenities while indoors. Parts of the ships interior would appeal to clientele more at home in “downtown Manhattan, SoHo and the West Village,” than on a cruise, Mr. Lovell said.
    Ryan Cotton, a principal with Bain Capital, said Virgin Cruises would aim at an untapped segment of the market, largely appealing to customers who are uninterested in the gaudy atmosphere offered by most big cruise companies. But he said the same qualities that attract tens of millions of customers to cruise ships every year would also make Virgin Cruises a winning business proposition.
    “As we look at the cruise industry the value proposition is unbelievable,” Mr. Cotton said. “The ability to see multiple destinations — that is attractive to a very large number of people.”
    Virgin Cruises will be a new stand-alone company, with Virgin Group and Bain each having significant stakes. The company’s chief executive will be Tom McAlpin, the former head of The World-Residences at Sea, and a former president of Disney Cruise Line.
    “We plan to shake up the cruise industry and deliver a holiday that customers will absolutely love,” Mr. Branson said in a statement. “They’ll be sailing on the latest ships offering great quality, a real sense of fun, and many exciting activities all delivered with the famed Virgin service.”With interests already in airlines, space tourism, hotels and trains, billionaire entrepreneur Richard Branson confirmed Thursday that his Virgin Group also has its sights set on the sea.
    The Branson family’s investment group announced that it is partnering with investment firm Bain Capital to form Virgin Cruises, a South Florida-based company that plans to operate two ships. News about a possible cruise venture for Virgin had been floating around since March, when Branson told a newspaper in Abu Dhabi that he was seeking investors for a $1.7 billion ocean cruise project.
    Tom McAlpin — a former president of Disney Cruise Line and, most recently, president and CEO of The World, Residences at Sea — was named CEO of Virgin Cruises.



    “Cruise guests deserve something better and different to what is being offered today, and Virgin Cruises is committed to creating breathtaking experiences for them and a new generation of guests,” McAlpin said in a statement.
    Beyond some basic facts, and the appointment of a CEO, few additional details were available, including how much the companies are investing in the startup line, who will build the ships, what size they will be or when they will set sail.
    But from the statement’s headline to prepared quotes, the partners made it clear that they intend to “make waves” in an industry they believe is ready for reinvention.
    “With a small number of global players, an experience in need of refreshing, and consumers ready for something new and exciting, the industry exhibits all the characteristics of one that is ripe for a new entrant,” Ryan Cotton, a principal with Bain Capital, said in the statement.
    The world’s three largest cruise companies — Carnival Corp., Royal Caribbean Cruises and Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings, all based in Miami-Dade County — have been trying in their own ways to refresh the cruise experience by moving away from traditional dining and entertainment models and creating more activities and attention-grabbing amenities on board. Just last month, Royal Caribbean International introduced a new ship boasting a skydiving simulator and bumper cars; Thursday, Norwegian Cruise Line announced a new partnership with Margaritaville.
    Still, Branson promised his company’s ships would offer “great quality, a real sense of fun, and many exciting activities all delivered with the famed Virgin service.”
    “We plan to shake up the cruise industry and deliver a holiday that customers will absolutely love,” he said in the statement.
    Nick Fox, Virgin Group director of external relations, elaborated in an email: “I think it's best to presume that we will be bringing the Virgin sense of style, fun and adventure to the market. We will be looking to deliver real quality, in a more modern setting with more choice for the customer. We will also be trying to attract a broader market than traditionally goes cruising over time.”
    Branson is known for the sometimes-wild antics of a showman: A few years ago, to mark the 25th anniversary of Virgin Atlantic's first flight to South Florida, he arrived at a press conference via Cigarette boat to the theme song of Miami Vice. Wielding a fake gun and gold handcuffs, he made his way to a second speedboat and proceeded to pretend-arrest supermodel Karolina Kurkova.
    “Richard Branson has a legacy of using creative marketing and has developed a travel empire while building sexy brands,” Vicky Garcia, chief operating officer and co-owner of Cruise Planners, an American Express Travel Representative, wrote in an email. “Branson’s innovations and entrepreneurial spirit will bring a fresh perspective to the industry and adding the Virgin Cruise brand into the mix will help drive healthy competition and consumer demand.”
    But recently his ambitions have been marred by tragedy. During an October test flight for space tourism enterprise Virgin Galactic, a spaceship broke apart, killing the co-pilot and injuring the pilot. The Associated Press reported that the company might resume tests next summer.
    In Thursday’s news, Virgin said “competitive reasons” kept it from revealing when the cruise line will start operating, but UBS Investment Research analyst Robin Farley wrote in a note to investors that she would not expect a new ship to be designed, built and launched earlier than 2018.
    Farley wrote that some investors have worried about the potential impact of a new player in an industry that has struggled to raise prices amid a glut of supply in markets such as the Caribbean. She said similar concerns accompanied the establishment of Disney Cruise Line in 1998, an addition she called “a big positive for the industry” since it attracted first-time cruisers.
    “While Virgin is not the powerhouse vacation brand that Disney is, we still believe it would attract more attention to the cruise market than the capacity it will represent,” she wrote.
    What do you think of Virgin starting a cruise line? 


    Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/living/travel/cruises/article4283117.html#storylink=cpy

    Wednesday, November 19, 2014

    Trip Itinerary Ideas : Frankfurt, Germany

    By LetThere BeTravel   Posted at  5:18 PM   travel No comments

    As we help plan a two week trip to Germany, we put together this list of places to see and things to do on your trip to Frankfurt, and day trips from the city center. 


    Check out the Frankfurt Tourism Board's website, and their virtual city tour as well.

    Weather


    The weather in Frankfurt is moderate throughout the year, though often damp and drizzly. Summers are mild, with the occasional hot day, and it rarely gets very cold in winter and hardly ever snows.

    Transportation

    There are many ways to get around in Frankfurt and to other cities, the rail/subway system is the most commonly used. Uber is also available in most big cities in Germany but you might have communication issues with the drive. Be prepared with a translation app on your phone or a address you can show. 

    Frankfurt's smooth-running, well-integrated public transportation system (called RMV) consists of the U-bahn (subway), S-bahn (suburban railway), Strassenbahn (streetcars), and buses. Buses are the public-transit option between 1 am and 4 am.
    Fares for the entire system, which includes an extensive surrounding area, are uniform, though they are based on a complex zone system. Within the time that your ticket is valid (one hour for most inner-city destinations), you can transfer from one part of the system to another.
    Tickets may be purchased from automatic vending machines, which are at all U-bahn and S-bahn stations. Weekly and monthly tickets are sold at central ticket offices and newsstands. A basic one-way ticket for a ride in the inner zone costs €2.60 during the peak hours of 6 am–9 am and 4 pm–6:30 pm weekdays (€2.30 the rest of the time). There's also a reducedKurzstrecke ("short stretch") fare of €1.60 the whole day. A day ticket for unlimited travel in the inner zones costs €6.60. If you're caught without a ticket, there's a fine of €40.
    You can also buy RailEurope passes to go from Frankfurt to almost anywhere in Europe, some offering overnight trains too! (Save hotel money on a lay-flat bed and sleep on the train!)

    In Frankfurt


    Day Trips from Frankfurt

    With a huge number of domestic and international flights landing in Frankfurt, the lively metropolis makes a strategic base for exploring central Germany, with excellent transport links to Bavaria, Baden-Württemberg and the Rhine Valley. If you’re short on time or money, basing yourself in the city and exploring the surrounding sights can be easier than traveling around the region,  so to give you some ideas, here are some of the best day trips from Frankfurt.





    Rhine River Valley

    One of the most popular day tours from Frankfurt is to the idyllic Rhine River Valley and the most atmospheric way to explore the region is by boat. Take a boat cruise from Frankfurt to Mainz then continue through the UNESCO World Heritage listed section between Mainz and Koblenz – one of the most scenic boat rides in Europe, dotted with impressive hilltop fortresses, medieval villages and natural landmarks.













    Cologne

    Its most famous for the Cologne Cathedral which started being built in 1248, but was not finished until 1880. 



    Heidelberg

    A day or half-day tour to nearby Heidelberg is top of many traveler’s itineraries, reached by a drive along the dramatic Bergstrasse, or Mountain Road. Stop off at one of the many wineries and castles before you reach the main attraction –the romantic Heidelberg Castle (Schloss Heidelberg), once the principal residence of the Kurpfalz Princes and now renowned as one of Germany’s most beautiful castles.




    Trier
    Go back in time with a visit to Germany’s oldest city, Trier, dating back to 2000 BC. Less than 2 hours from Frankfurt, Trier’s main sights are the remnants of the Roman colony established in the city in 16BC, including Germany’s oldest cathedral, built by Constantine the Great  in 326 AD. A designated UNESCO World Heritage site, the ancient city is set on the banks of the Moselle River and features one of the earliest Gothic buildings in Germany, the Liebfrauenkirche, Roman Baths and a 20,000-capacity Roman Amphitheater.




    Romantic Road

    Lying close to the start of Germany’s iconic Romantic Road, Frankfurt makes a perfect launch pad for exploring Bavaria’s most scenic tourist route and there’s plenty to explore even if you’ve only got one day. Starting out at nearby Wurzburg, the road takes in attractions like the medieval town of Rothenburg, the walled city of Augsburg, the Tauber Valley vineyards and, further south, the fairytale Neuschwanstein Castle.

    Black Forest




    Those looking to escape the city will find plenty to do in Bavaria’s majestic Black Forest with ample opportunities for hiking, cycling and horseback riding. Don’t miss a visit to the picturesque spa town of Baden Baden en route.

    Did we miss something? Tell us in the comment section below! 

    Wednesday, November 5, 2014

    British Virgin Islands Food Fete

    By LetThere BeTravel   Posted at  4:53 PM   lobster festival No comments

    November 1 is the first ever British Virgin Islands Food Fete, a month-long culinary experience with delicious events such as the Anegada Lobster Festival. The festival will feature incredible spiny lobster serviced in various styles, and will take place on November 29 and 30. Check out the full events calendar before you go. 

    BVI Restaurant Week is positioned as a culinary draw for both the local community and visitors alike to immerse themselves in the local culinary culture and tantalise their taste buds with its flavourful cuisine and artfully prepared dishes that are offered throughout the BVI.

    BVI Restaurant Week is in its third year and brings great excitement, as restaurants throughout the Territory anticipate this fantastic event by creating their special breakfast, lunch and dinner menus with an alluring twist. The event begins with the Taste of the BVI on Tortola, November 14th and Taste of the BVI Virgin Gorda, November 15th. Starting November 16th participating restaurants will feature mouthwatering dishes and attractive discounted specials until November 23rd.


    They will also have:

    Click HERE to learn more


    Click HERE to learn more



    Click HERE to learn more



    Lobster Festival Map:


    This wonderful month long even is part of the BVI Tourism Board and the sponsors of the event. BVI is a wonderful place to visit! If you need help with accomodations, flights, and finding great deals, please reach out to us

    Monday, October 27, 2014

    Iceland Travel and Tips

    By LetThere BeTravel   Posted at  4:37 PM   travel deals iceland No comments


    Spoiler Alert! 

    There is little to no ice in Iceland. 

    Thinking about going to Iceland on your next adventure? Yes! Do it!


    Wether you are going to see Iceland's hottest new attraction or the famous Blue Lagoon, you will have an unforgettable trip.

    A trip to Iceland is a fascinating exploration of massive waterfalls, tiny churches, pristine waters, and volcanic scenery. Combine that with warm, welcoming people, incredibly clean and well-maintained places to stay, safe communities with low crime, and better weather than most visitors expect and you get an ideal vacation spot.
    A few tips that may help you:


    • The Ring Road (Rte. 1) encircles the island, but don’t hesitate to roam off the beaten path. Many roads are paved (and the number of paved miles increases almost every day) but even the dirt roads (with the exclusion of the “F” roads) are hard-packed and provide a firm, albeit dusty, driving surface, even for a compact car. Unless you are really planning to go into the central highlands you do not really need a 4WD car. If you are planning on taking those "F" roads, then you probably need something significantly stronger and bigger than a standard road 4WD.
    • There usually are no hairdryers in the guesthouses, hotels and B&Bs, so if that’s something you can’t live without, remember to bring your own with a current converter. The electricity is 220v - 2 round plugs.
    • The water from the tap is safe to drink everywhere in the country. Sometimes the hot water smells like sulphur (eggs) but that doesn’t affect the taste. 
    • Although the weather in July is generally good, always bring rain gear - waterproof pants (if you’re doing any hiking) and a waterproof jacket or poncho. Even in July it gets cool or cold on the bluffs near the ocean, so gloves can come in handy.
    • ATMs are common throughout the country.
    • English is spoken everywhere and generally spoken very well, often without an accent.
    • Many of the guesthouses have shared kitchens with pots, pans, plates, etc. so you can save yourself some money by cooking food that you buy from a grocery store. The Bonus supermarkets have some of the lowest prices.
    • If you are interested in activities such as glacier walks, whale watching etc, remember that these are going to take at least half a day. Book in advance, and, if possible, leave some flexibility in your planning so that you can postpone to the following day if the weather is bad - even in summer. 
    • If you’re heading to Vestmannaeyjar (AKA Heimaey Island) in the Westman Islands, the ferry ride takes about 35 minutes. The “Pompeii of the North” in the town of Heimaey reveals parts of some of the buildings that were covered by lava in the 1973 volcanic eruption. Don’t expect to see much; they’ll be excavating for years to come and there’s not much visible at this time.
    • Some atlases show the road to Gardur is unpaved and the same with the road south of Sangerdi,  both in the southwest of the country. Not so. Both roads are now paved.

    A few tips on attractions NOT to see:
    • The Eden hothouses in Hveragerdi are no longer there. Sadly, they burned down.
    •  At the intersection of Rtes. 427 and 42 is supposed to be the Krysuvik church, built in 1857. Nope. It burned down in 2010.
    •  If you have any ideas about seeing the fossils at Ytritunga north of Husavik, think again about driving there. The road is suicidal! It’s one lane, dirt, very steep, and winding so you can’t see if another vehicle is coming. One side of the road is made up of the side of a cliff, the other side drops at least 100 feet into the ocean and part of it, in the narrowest spot, had washed away in a recent storm. God help you if you should meet another vehicle coming from the other direction. If you want to look for fossils, pull onto the access road and pass through the sheep gate and then PARK! Walk the rest of the way down. It's some kind of nightmare in a car.

    These breathtaking photos inspired us.







    Not inspired yet? These photos from Nomadic Matt should help, or visit the Iceland tourism board website for more information. Whenever you are ready, let us know and we can help plan the trip with you.

    Wednesday, October 15, 2014

    What You Need to Know About Travel and Ebola

    By Let There Be Travel   Posted at  10:25 AM   warning No comments



    Traveling can be scary—especially when there is a major health scare on everyone’s minds. The good news is that Ebola is difficult to catch, as The New York Times explains:

    “Ebola spreads through direct contact with body fluids. If an infected person’s blood or vomit gets in another person’s eyes, nose or mouth, the virus may be transmitted. Although Ebola does not cause respiratory problems, a cough from a sick person could infect someone who has been sprayed with saliva. Because of that, being within three feet of a patient for a prolonged time without protective clothing is considered to be direct contact.

    The virus can survive for several hours on surfaces, so any object contaminated with bodily fluids may spread the disease. According to the C.D.C., the virus can survive for a few hours on dry surfaces like doorknobs and countertops and can survive for several days in puddles or other collections of body fluid. Bleach solutions can kill it.

    In the current outbreak, most new cases are occurring among people who have been taking care of sick relatives or who have prepared an infected body for burial. Health care workers are at high risk. Symptoms usually begin about eight to 10 days after exposure to the virus, but can appear as late as 21 days after exposure.”

    Now that you know it’s not that easy to catch and you shouldn’t be paranoid when you travel, the five tips below should help you and everyone be prepared and minimize the risk and check the C.D.C.'s travel advisory and the Ebola Fact Sheet

    Impact on International TravelConfirmed and suspected cases of EVD continue to be reported in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. There have also been a number of cases in Nigeria and a single case in both Senegal and the United States of America.  Cases of Ebola have also been identified in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), unrelated to the outbreak in West Africa.  In October, the first recorded case of EVD transmission outside Africa occurred in Spain.  This involved a nurse who had been treating an Ebola patient who had returned from West Africa. Travel restrictions have been imposed in a number of affected and neighbouring countries in West Africa and this will significantly impact departure options and freedom of movement.
    Guinea has closed its borders with Sierra Leone, Liberia and Senegal. Health screening has been introduced at border crossings. Sierra Leone has closed land borders with Guinea and Liberia. Health screening has been introduced at border crossings. Liberia has closed the majority of its borders. Health screening has been introduced at the border crossings that remain open. Nigeria has introduced health screening measures for passengers arriving and departing at all airports in Nigeria. Senegal has closed the land border with Guinea. Sea and air borders are also closed to vessels and aircraft from Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.
    5 ways to minimize your risk of catching Ebola while on the road:

    1. Use antibacterial wipes: When I travel, I’m almost borderline Howard-Hughes-insane about germs. I constantly wash my hands, use hand sanitizer, make a conscious effort not to stick my fingers in my mouth/eyes/nose, and wipe down plane seats and hotel rooms with antibacterial wipes. When I’ve been lazy, I’ve paid the price for it. Don’t make the same mistake.
    2. Don’t spread your germs: If you’re sick, don’t go out. No one wants to be around a sick person – especially during this Ebola outbreak. Did you see that yesterday an American Airlines flight made an emergency landing to offload a vomiting female passenger in Texas amid fears she has Ebola … despite not having been in Africa? So, do everyone a favor, including yourself, and STAY HOME! If you have to go to work or catch a flight, then wash your hands more than usual, use hand sanitizer and cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze.
    3. Wear a surgical mask: In Japan everyone wears a surgical mask when they’re sick. Why can’t we bring that tradition to America or, better yet, the rest of the world? Who cares if people think you look like a freak? As you can see from the photo above, I put on my mask recently not because I was sick but because the passenger next to me was and was coughing without covering his mouth. After I put on my mask and gave him my “crazy eyes” look, he got the hint. If you don’t want to look like a freak, get a Scough, which has a mask built in a scarf or just put a scarf around your mask or a get a designer mask.
    4. Travel insurance: Before you leave, check to see if your health insurance covers you during your travels (especially international). If not, buy travel insurance. It’s not expensive and provides great piece of mind. 
    5. Change your plane ticket: Unless you buy a refundable ticket (most people don’t, including me), it’s difficult to make changes to it without getting slapped with a fee (except with Southwest Airlines). I think airlines should make an exception for people who are sick because the metal tube just makes them sicker and spreads their germs to others. But for now they don’t, so we have to deal with it or figure out ways around it—and there are ways around it. Calling the airline won’t help (usually). The best way to change your ticket without a fee is to go to the airport and speak to an agent or their supervisor. I know it’s a pain but it often works. Just tell the agent you aren’t feeling well and would like to see if you can fly another time. More often than not they will help you do it.


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