Perspective | The European travel outlook, passport renewal delays and the importance of having a Plan B – The Washington Post



Perspective | The European travel outlook, passport renewal delays and the importance of having a Plan B  The Washington Post



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AAA: Fourth of July travel outlook expected to be busy | Local News


PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) – The July 4th weekend will be here before you know it and if you’re planning to head out of town, you’re not alone. Travel is expected to be busy and not just by pandemic standards.

According to AAA, the travel volume will be the second-highest on record. Nearly 48 million Americans are expected to take a trip that holiday weekend, that includes 597,000 Oregonians. AAA says this is a 40% increase from last year.

Right now, the CDC says that fully-vaccinated people can travel across the country at low risk to themselves. Those who are not vaccinated are advised to practice social distancing, wear a mask, wash your hands and get tested before and after travel.

Whether you’re vaccinated or not, remember masks are required on planes, trains, buses and other forms of public transportation.

According to AAA most people will be hitting the road. In a survey of members in Oregon and Idaho, the most popular road trip destinations are central Oregon, national parks of Utah, Yellowstone, Hawaii, Disneyland and Las Vegas.

The good news for drivers is that gas prices are holding steady. AAA says a rising supply of gasoline is helping to stabilize prices. The national average is $3.07. In Oregon a gallon of regular gas is $3.50 on average. In Washington it’s $3.65.

Copyright 2021 KPTV-KPDX Broadcasting Corporation. All rights reserved. 





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Officials ‘devastated’ as feds extend nonessential border travel ban | Cronkite News


Nogales, like all ports of entry on the southern border, saw traffic plummet after the U.S. and Mexican governments banned nonessential travel to head off the spread of COVID-19. Local officials had hoped the ban would end this week, but the government extended it to July 21. (File photo by Miranda Cyr/Cronkite News)

WASHINGTON – Border officials said they were “devastated” this week to find that the federal government has extended a COVID-19 ban on nonessential border crossings for another month, potentially crippling businesses there.

“The ban is a terrible and now-exaggerated response to the pandemic,” said Andy Carey, executive director of the U.S.-Mexico Border Philanthropy Project. “It’s reinstated every month for another month, and it’s been going on for nearly a year-and-a-half now, it’s time for the ban to end.”

The ban was first imposed in March 2020 on nonessential travel – essentially tourists or family visitors – between the U.S., Mexico and Canada in response to the first wave of COVID-19. It was regularly extended but was set to expire Monday.

Customs and Border Protection said that the situation has improved in both Canada and Mexico, as vaccinations have risen and infections have dropped. But it announced Wednesday that things were still too uncertain, particularly given the rise of new variants, to lift the restriction, which was extended to 11:59 p.m. July 21.

CBP did not immediately respond to a request for comment Wednesday. But border community leaders, who had been looking for the ban to end this week, were not happy.

Nogales Mayor Arturo Garino said his city has lost billions of dollars in business from the ban that “should have been lifted months ago.”

“You know it’s going to hurt when 65% of our sales tax comes from residents in Sonora coming here and shopping,” Garino said. “That money keeps us afloat.”

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Officials in Yuma and in San Ysidro, California, echoed his comments, saying border communities are suffering from a travel ban that has “outlived its purpose.”

“I represent about 800 businesses, and we would do $895 million in retail sales during a normal year,” said Jason Wells, executive director of the San Ysidro Chamber of Commerce. “We are estimating from March 2020 to March 2021 that the number is about $250 million. That’s about a 72% loss.”

In the Nogales district alone, according to data from the University of Arizona, the number of people crossing the border fell from almost 2 million in January 2020 to 552,827 in April of that year, before climbing back to 1.25 million in March 2021.

Jaime Chamberlain, chairman of the Greater Nogales Santa Cruz County Port Authority, said his community is desperately missing Mexican shoppers and visitors, and that “stores are closing down left and right.”

He said the travel ban has dealt “a horrendous blow to our economy, not only to the city, but to our state economy…. Before the pandemic, Hispanic consumers were spending over $9.5 million a day in the state of Arizona.”

Officials complained that they have reached out repeatedly to the Biden administration about lifting the nonessential travel ban, but so far have not received a response.

“I’ve written two letters to Vice President Kamala Harris, one in April and one in the beginning of this month asking her to come to Nogales and visit our port to understand more the economic impact and I haven’t gotten a response from her office or any staff of hers, not by email not by phone,” Garino said.

Wells said he also reached out, with no luck, and that until the ban is lifted border businesses will continue to suffer.

Local leaders said the ban is not logical. It allows the cross-border movement of cargo and travel for schooling, medical care, work or government business, among other exceptions, and only applies to land ports – not airports.

Border crossings in pre-pandemic days, like this 2016 photo, saw motorists lined up to cross into Mexico form downtown Nogales. (Photo by Brian Fore/Cronkite News)

“Thousands and thousands of people are still crossing the border every day,” said Kimberly Kahl, executive director for the Yuma County Chamber of Commerce. “We’re not stopping the spread of COVID-19, all we’re doing is stopping people from being able to cross the border and provide patronage to businesses or visit family.”

Carey asked what health protections are offered if “you can fly to Mexico City, you can fly to Cancun, but you can’t drive across the border?”

Chamberlain said that the travel ban served a purpose when vaccines were not readily available and COVID-19 cases were spiking. But Santa Cruz County today has “an 84% vaccination rate, which is the best of counties in Arizona,” he said.

“We’ve been working really hard, and we’re proud of the work we’ve done,” he said of local vaccination efforts.

Garino said it’s past time to lift the restrictions.

“To use the COVID-19 pandemic to continue closing our border and prohibit trade is devastating,” he said. “The Biden administration needs to put a stop to this and they need to open up the border.”





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AAA Texas adds 50 jobs ahead of July 4th travel surge, will add 200 more before end of the year


As more Texans pack their bags and resume traveling again after the COVID-19 pandemic, AAA Texas is hiring 50 workers across the state to help meet a surge in demand.

The company will add travel advisers, insurance agents and other customer service positions ahead of what’s projected to be a record-setting summer for travel. The company has 29 offices statewide, 14 of which are in Dallas-Fort Worth.

It also plans to add more than 200 positions in its Texas call centers, which provide roadside assistance to member drivers, before the end of the year.

Memorial Day weekend travel in Texas was close to pre-pandemic levels and hasn’t slowed down since, said AAA Texas spokesman Daniel Armbruster.

“It’s just accelerated from there,” he said.

AAA Texas expects a record number of leisure travelers for the Fourth of July holiday weekend, forecasting that nearly 3.7 million Texans will be traveling between July 1-5, up 3% from the previous record in 2019. Most of them will be hitting the road, with 3.3 million residents predicted to travel by car. This year’s record number of drivers is a 10% increase from the previous high, also recorded in 2019.

“With more people getting vaccinated and the pent-up demand from people staying at home for so long, there’s so many people that want to travel now,” Armbruster said.

Air travel will see increased demand during the holiday weekend as well. AAA Texas forecasts a 177% increase in Texas air travel from 2020 figures, mirroring a national rise in passenger traffic as pandemic restrictions relax. The Transportation Security Administration reported that it screened over 2.1 million passengers last Sunday, the highest figure since March 2020.

AAA Texas has 2.3 million members statewide, a figure that has risen during the pandemic as travelers seek extra support to travel amid uncertainty. As the travel industry navigates the growing pains of rebounding from the pandemic and deals with problems including canceled flights, labor shortages and high fuel prices, Armbruster said the travel adviser positions have become crucial for AAA.

The company is hiring in its offices in Dallas-Fort Worth, Amarillo, Austin, El Paso, Houston and San Antonio.



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Vote: 51% of Americans Will Travel on July 4th | Life


Glassboro, NJ-Anniversary is a distant memory and the summer vacation season is approaching. July 4th is one of the biggest travel times in the summer.

It is expected that vacations, family cooking and other gatherings will be greatly revived as COVID-19 restrictions are lifted nationwide and vaccinations will ease the anxiety of getting sick. According to a summer travel survey conducted by The Vacationer, 68% of Americans will be on vacation this year.

Vacationer also conducted a July 4 survey to measure holiday weekend travel intent. The survey included 531 US adults and was conducted via the Internet from June 1st to June 2nd.

Eric Jones, an assistant professor of mathematics at Rowan College in South Jersey, acted as an analyst for the results.

The main questions and statistics are:

Are you planning to travel on July 4th this year? If so, how?

  • Yes, mainly by plane: 11.26%

  • Yes, mainly by car: 36.59%

  • Yes, mainly by public transport (bus or train): 3.56%

  • No: 48.49%

Scaled up to reflect the entire US population, this means that nearly 29 million American adults are planning to fly for vacations. This is a significant increase from the 9.5 million passengers TSA screened for Thanksgiving vacation air travel.

Have you recently traveled on another vacation?

  • 2021 Anniversary: ​​27.17%

  • Easter 2021: 15.09%

  • Christmas, Hanukkah, or Kwanzaa 2020: 23.40%

  • Thanksgiving 2020: 22.26%

  • July 4, 2020: 14.72%

  • Did not travel for any of the above: 46.23%

In other words, the number of people planning to travel on the weekend of July 4th is almost twice the amount of Memorial Day and Easter combined travel, more than three times the amount of travel on July 4th last year.

What kind of activities will you do on Independence Day this year?

  • Parade: 16.27%

  • BBQ / Cook Out: 73.41%

  • Fireworks: 61.31%

  • Beach trip: 28.57%

  • Lake trip: 22.22%

  • Sporting event: 5.95%

  • Movie: 8.73%

How concerned is COVID-19 when considering plans for July 4th this year?

About two-thirds of American adults are still concerned about COVID-19 when planning Independence Day on July 4.

You can view the entire survey Here..

The survey’s demographics included 51.04 percent male and 48.96 percent female participants.

The age breakdown of participants included in this survey was 26.74 percent in the 18-29 age range, 22.79 percent in the 30-44 age range, 33.71 percent in the 45-60 age range, and 16.76% in the 60+ age range. did.

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Vote: 51% of Americans Will Travel on July 4th | Life

Source link Vote: 51% of Americans Will Travel on July 4th | Life





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LSU men’s basketball team draws TCU for Big 12/SEC Challenge, Tigers to travel to Fort Worth | LSU


The Southeastern Conference announced Wednesday morning that the LSU men’s basketball team will face TCU in the Big 12/SEC Challenge this season.

The game will be played on Jan. 29 in TCU’s Schollmaier Arena in Fort Worth, Texas. The tip time and network will be announced later, but ESPN’s family of networks will again broadcast all 10 games.

It will be the third consecutive year that LSU is involved in the Big 12/SEC Challenge, which will the ninth annual showdown between the two Power 5 conferences.

The Tigers went on the road to top Texas 69-67 in 2020 before Texas Tech came into the Pete Maravich Assembly Center last January and staged a frantic last-minute rally to escape with a 76-71.

2022 Big 12/SEC Challenge

All games to be played Jan. 29

(Tip times TBA)

LSU at TCU

Baylor at Alabama

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West Virginia at Arkansas

Oklahoma at Auburn

Oklahoma State at Florida

Kentucky at Kansas

Kansas State at Ole Miss

Mississippi State at Texas Tech

Missouri at Iowa State

Tennessee at Texas





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Independence Day travel expected to surpass pre-pandemic levels | Local News


The greatest number of Texans on record, approximately 3.7 million, are expected to travel during the Independence Day holiday weekend, according to travel forecast data from AAA Texas.

A closer look at the travel forecast, which the American Automobile Association started in 2000, shows more Texans than ever will drive to their Independence Day destinations, about 3.3 million. That is a 41% jump from last year and a 10% increase from 2019.

Airports will be busier too as AAA Texas forecasts around 338,000 leisure passengers will fly to get away, an increase of 177% from 2020 and just around 3% fewer than 2019. The “Other Travel” category, which includes buses, trains and cruises, is also going to see a recovery by about 75% (+15,000 people) from 2020 totaling around 35,000 passengers but will remain lower by around 83% from 2019 figures.

On a national scale, more than 47.7 million Americans will take to the nation’s roadways and skies during this holiday timeframe, as travel volumes are expected to nearly fully recover to pre-pandemic levels. In fact, this will be the second-highest Independence Day travel volume on record nationally, trailing only 2019. Overall, just 2.5% fewer Americans are expected to travel this year compared to Independence Day in 2019. This represents an increase of nearly 40% compared to last year, when total travel fell to 34.2 million.

While all modes of travel will see increased demand this Independence Day, road trips continue to dominate this summer. Despite the highest gas prices in seven years, more than 91% of holiday travel will be by car. An expected 43.6 million Americans will drive to their destinations, the highest on record for this holiday and 5% more than the previous record set in 2019. With 3.5 million people planning to fly, air travel volumes this Independence Day will reach 90% of pre-pandemic levels and increase 164% compared to last year.

“After deferring opportunities for nearly a year-and-a-half, more Texans than ever are anticipated to travel away from home this Independence Day holiday,” said Kent Livesay, vice president and general manager, AAA Texas. “With this projection in mind, AAA Texas recommends that vacationers work with a trusted travel advisor to plan a memorable getaway that meets your needs and comfort-level.”

Another 620,000 Americans are expected to travel by other modes this Independence Day, an increase of over 72% compared to last year, but 83% lower than in 2019. This includes travel by bus and train, and also the return of cruising. Cruise lines have announced limited sailings resuming from U.S. ports beginning in late June. For those who make the personal decision to take a cruise, AAA Texas reminds them that a travel advisor can help with any cancelation policies, answer questions related to what you can expect on your cruise, and travel insurance options to help protect your health and travel investment before and during your vacation.

INRIX, in collaboration with AAA, predicts drivers will experience the worst congestion heading into the holiday weekend as commuters leave work early and mix with holiday travelers, along with the return trip on Monday mid-day. Major metro areas across the U.S. could see nearly double the delays verses typical drive times, with drivers in Boston and San Francisco likely to experience nearly three-times the delays.

“With travelers eager to hit the road this summer, we’re expecting nationwide traffic volumes to increase about 15% over normal this holiday weekend. Drivers around major metro areas must be prepared for significantly more delay,” says Bob Pishue, transportation analyst, INRIX. “Knowing when and where congestion will build can help drivers avoid the stress of sitting in traffic. Our advice is to avoid traveling on Thursday and Friday afternoon, along with Monday mid-day.”

The 3.3 million Texans expected to travel by car this Independence Day can expect gas prices to be the most expensive since June 2018 with the statewide average at $2.74 per gallon of regular unleaded, at the time of this report.

“Higher gas prices won’t deter road trippers this summer. In fact, we’re expecting record-breaking levels of car travel this July Fourth,” said AAA Texas spokesperson Daniel Armbruster. “Though prices are around $1 more per gallon compared to this same time last year, travelers are likely to look for more free activities or eat out less, but still take their vacations as planned.”





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The Ultimate Channel Islands National Park Travel Guide


While cutting lazy circles in the teal waters near Channel Islands National Park’s Scorpion Anchorage during my second-ever sea-kayaking experience, I made a rookie mistake. “What are some of the most memorable wildlife encounters you’ve had at the park?” I asked Chuck Graham, a writer, photographer, and paddler who’s been guiding here for almost 20 years. He didn’t miss a beat. “Well, probably the two encounters I’ve had with great white sharks.”

It’s a testament to the stunning beauty of these islands and the Pacific waters surrounding them that I only ruminated on his response for a moment. The idea of killer sharks existing in a place like this was akin to a villain in a Disney film to me; even they took on an unthreatening feeling. On this perfect spring day, fingers of feather boa and giant bladder kelp swayed beneath my kayak. A squadron of California brown pelicans perched nearby on craggy Scorpion Rock, while peregrine falcons swooped down to ruffle their feathers. Fleshy harbor seals sunbathed on craggy outcroppings as a bald eagle cruised a thermal above. Beyond it all, the yawning mouths of barnacle-crusted sea caves beckoned like geologic sirens. You better bet I answered the call.

Channel Islands National Park, located off the coast of Southern California, provides visitors countless pinch-me moments, but despite a fellow tourist blurting out that she felt like she was living in a movie, I can assure you that everything here is quite real. Four of the park’s five islands (Anacapa, San Miguel, Santa Barbara, Santa Cruz, and Santa Rosa) once existed as a single volcanic landmass that was partially submerged during a post-ice-age period of glacial melt, creating the chain we see today. Over time, the Chumash and Tongva people came to inhabit the islands, and their descendants remain connected to them over 10,000 years later.

Because the islands are isolated from the mainland, nearly 150 of the more than 2,000 species of plants and animals existing across them are found nowhere else in the world. The most famous of these is the island fox, an adorable floof that’s roughly the size of a well-fed house cat. I’ve never not seen one on Santa Cruz, where they roam Scorpion Anchorage and the nearby campground looking for discarded snacks—that is, if the massive (and surprisingly dexterous) ravens don’t get to them first.

When I asked Graham why he’d spent almost two decades of his life connected to this place of tiny foxes and outsize scenery, he responded that it was because he could experience the land and the ocean as they once were—before the 1980 creation of the national park, and before Spanish missionaries arrived in the 16th century and nearly decimated both the landscape and the Chumash and Tongva ways of life. I could tell that the Channel Islands had burrowed deep within his heart, and I suspect that after a visit, you might feel the same.

What You Need to Know Before Visiting

Rare Island Fox in Channel Islands National Park
(Photo: BlueBarronPhoto/iStock)

Get your logistical ducks in order. Unlike most national parks, this one is car-free—well, except for the main visitor center, which is located in the harbor area of the park’s gateway town, Ventura, California—so you’ll need to arrive via sea or sky. Most folks cruise over on the Island Packers ferry (more on this shortly), and I recommend taking the earliest one you can schedule to maximize your island time. It’s not as crucial to strike out early if you’re camping, but you will need to coordinate carefully and book early to ensure that campsites and boats are available on the same dates. Weekends fill up quickly for both, especially in the warmer months. And I do recommend camping, especially if you’re visiting the two biggest islands, Santa Cruz and Santa Rosa, since there’s so much to see. 

Pack everything you need—yes, everything. Infrastructure is minimal across the islands. Unlike many other marquee parks, there are no restaurants, hotels, stores, and traffic… which is actually a huge plus. With the exception of the Scorpion Canyon Campground on Santa Cruz and the Water Canyon Campground on Santa Rosa, there’s also no potable water. Plan to carry a gallon per day per person if you’re traveling outside those areas. In addition, visitors should pack plenty of layers, a personal first aid kit, and food for the day. If you forget the latter, or if you want to supplement your stash, the Island Packers ferry sell snacks and libations (including the adult variety) on board. 

It’s wild out there. The islands sit on the southern side of the Santa Barbara Channel, and the shortest ferry crossing takes roughly an hour. It can get mighty windy out here, which creates chop, so anyone prone to seasickness might consider popping Dramamine before boarding. If you’re scanning for seabirds or marine life, the bow (or front) of the boat is the place to be—but hang on tight, because it’s a wild (and often wet) ride. Once on shore, the weather varies from island to island, with the outer isles (San Miguel and Santa Rosa) most likely to be hammered by the wind. There’s not a lot of shade available, save for scattered stands that include oaks and rare Torrey pines, so good sun protection is a must. Finally, keep your distance from cliff edges (there are many), which are subject to erosion.

How to Get There

Ferries in Little Scorpion Anchorage off of Santa Cruz Island
(Photo: Kyle Kempf/iStock)

It’s about a 90-minute drive from Los Angeles International northwest to Ventura Harbor, where boats depart for the islands. Alternatively, Ventura County Shuttle offers service between LAX and the Four Points by Sheraton hotel, located at the harbor front.

While Channel Islands Aviation runs private (and pricey) flights to Santa Rosa and San Miguel, most people travel via ferry. Island Packers, the official park concessionaire, runs frequent trips to Santa Cruz and Anacapa year-round (one hour each way) and to the other three islands spring through fall (roughly three to four hours each way, depending on conditions). The crew does a fantastic job of whipping up excitement about the national park and its surrounding waters, and they often have a guest naturalist or ranger on board to answer any questions. In addition, they will often stop for wildlife sightings and may even pilot the boat into Santa Cruz’s Painted Cave, one of the longest sea caves in the world, if you’re in that area. During a recent trip, we spotted a pair of humpback whales, along with a colossal pod of dolphins who were in cahoots with the pelicans, staging an elaborate routine to round up fish for one another. Be sure to drop a few bucks in the tip jar (for the humans) on your return voyage.

Traveling between islands isn’t impossible, but it does require some logistical gymnastics. Island Packers offers occasional service between Santa Rosa and Santa Cruz, but otherwise you’re rolling solo. Experienced boaters and kayakers who are equipped with proper safety and navigation gear can island-hop if the weather cooperates, but research landing and camping options ahead of time. There aren’t many, and with the exception of Scorpion Cove and its nearby campground, few are convenient. It’s also possible to pilot your own craft from the mainland to the islands, although you’ll be traveling across major shipping lanes—not an endeavor for the faint of heart.

When Is the Best Time of Year to Visit Channel Islands?

Overlooking Scorpion Anchorage, Santa Cruz Island, California
(Photo: Gary Kavanagh/iStock)

Winter

Come December, it’s not just colder, hovering in the low sixties during the day and the high thirties at night, but also stormier, with the likelihood of rain and high winds increasing through March. The upside to a late-winter visit is that the islands practically glow with chlorophyll, and wildflowers add even more color—my favorite is the giant coreopsis, whose daisylike yellow blooms and feathery foliage cluster at the end of twisted, woody branches, giving it a somewhat Seussian appearance. Mid-December also marks the beginning of the annual gray whale migration; scan the channel as you cross to see if you can spot their misty spouts.

Spring

As daytime temperatures rise to the high sixties and rain decreases in frequency, the greenery fades. But luckily, flowers continue to dot the landscape, and whales keep on swimming in the vicinity. Come April, seabirds—including western gulls and California brown pelicans—begin nesting in earnest. This is especially obvious on the tiny island of Anacapa, where they usually kick back en masse until mid-August. Plan your visit to this mini chain of three islets for any other time of year, unless you enjoy dodging poop missiles while accompanied by the dulcet tones of incessant squawking.

Summer

This is the most popular time to visit the islands, when air and water temperatures climb to their warmest, in the seventies, and children are out of school. Weather conditions—and thus ocean conditions—are also typically at their calmest, creating excellent underwater visibility for swimmers, snorkelers, and divers. The odds also increase for marine-wildlife sightings, since blue and humpback whales are migrating past the Channel Islands during these months. 

Fall

Water temperatures reach their peak in early fall, which makes this the best season to take a dip if you’re so inclined. Autumn is also prime time to witness seabirds and elephant seals settling into their nests and rookeries around the park; just remember to give these island residents their privacy. By October, the infamous Santa Ana winds begin to pick up, blowing hard through January.

Where to Stay near Channel Islands

People hike at lighthouse on Anacapa Island in Channel Islands National Park California
(Photo: benedek/iStock)

Campgrounds

A single walk-in campground is available on each of the islands, with the exception of Santa Cruz, which has two. To reach them, plan to hike anywhere from a quarter-mile to a full mile (and up a steep flight of stairs on Anacapa) with your gear. Reservations are required and can be made up to six months in advance via Recreation.gov ($15). It’s also possible to reserve space on several of Santa Rosa’s remote beaches from mid-August to December ($10). No matter where you intend to snooze, book your ferry ticket first, since those get snapped up quickly.

Hotels

While there isn’t any brick-and-mortar lodging on the islands, you’ll find a pair of chain hotels at the Ventura harbor, located only a mile from the ferry, with more scattered along the coast. I can vouch for the Four Points by Sheraton (from $170), which features serene landscaped grounds and what I can only describe as a hot-tub terrarium (trust me, that’s a good thing). Closer to downtown and its popular pier, the almost beachside Waypoint Ventura (campsites from $59; trailers from $175) features over a dozen quirky vintage trailers for rent, along with even more space to park your own (BYOT, if you will). For a more refined aesthetic, splash out for a stay at one of the two century-old Craftsman-style cottages at the Pierpont Inn (from $127), a property built in 1910 that has long hosted Hollywood luminaries and others who appreciate historic architecture (and ocean views).

What to Do While You’re There

Sea Lion Silhouette
(Photo: Michael Zeigler/iStock)

Hiking

Santa Cruz (Limuw in the Chumash language) is the park’s most popular destination and its largest at 62,000 acres. Only 24 percent of the island is accessible to visitors, however, since the Nature Conservancy manages the remaining acreage. There’s still too much to see in a day (or even two), so spend a night if you can. My favorite day hike is the 7.5-mile round trip from Scorpion Anchorage to Smuggler’s Cove, climbing to the fox-filled grasslands atop the island before dropping down to a pebble-strewn beach littered with tide pools. On the north side of the island, it’s only a five-mile round trip to score an eagle’s-eye view of the rugged coastline and brilliant blue waters at Potato Harbor; if you’re short on time, the two-mile Cavern Point Loop keeps you closer to Scorpion Anchorage while still offering a bluff-top vantage. For something less traveled, stroll the 4.5-mile Scorpion Canyon Loop, which serves as prime habitat for the bright blue island scrub jay, a species endemic to Santa Cruz.

The second-largest island, Santa Rosa (Wima), is also flush with trails. It might be tempting to park yourself on the pristine white sands that curl around Bechers Bay near the landing dock, but make time to soak in the landscape. Day-trippers will be able to complete the 3.5-mile Cherry Canyon Loop, which follows a thin singletrack through its namesake gorge before depositing you atop a bluff with exceptional views of the coastline and rugged interior. If you’re staying longer, extend the route for a total of eight miles to tag 1,298-foot Black Mountain and enjoy the 360-degree panoramas at its summit. From the dock, it’s about 4.5 miles one-way to the mouth of Lobo Canyon, a winding slot of wind- and water-carved sandstone that travels roughly 1.5 miles before spilling out onto what feels like your own private beach. 

San Miguel (Tuqan) is the park’s westernmost island, which means it’s susceptible to the gnarliest weather; windbreakers are all but mandatory. Due to possible unexploded ordinance (the Navy once committed the sacrilege of holding bombing practice here), unaccompanied visitors are restricted to a relatively small chunk of island’s northeastern quadrant near the ranger station. That’s why it’s worth it to call ahead and ensure that a ranger is available to guide the 16-mile out-and-back traverse to Point Bennett, where you can gawk at a gaggle of chatty seals and sea lions living their best lives at one of the most densely populated rookeries in the world.

Hiking opportunities are slim on tiny Anacapa (Anyapax) and Santa Barbara (Siwot). On the former, a 1.5-mile round trip drops you at Instagram-worthy Inspiration Point, while a 2.5-mile out-and-back to Elephant Seal Cove on the latter treats you to a sweeping view of its namesake pinnipeds in beachy repose.

Backpacking

Limited campsites and potable water make backpacking a little tricky. On Santa Rosa, reserve a backcountry beach-camping permit, then strike out from the dock to hike 12.4 miles along the unpaved former ranch road that traces Water Canyon before reaching prime spots near the mouth of La Jolla Vieja Canyon. Dispersed camping is available along the beach; be sure to pitch your tent above the high-water mark. On Santa Cruz, book a spot at the remote, oak-dappled Del Norte backcountry camp. This lofty perch, with only four designated sites, is a short 3.5 miles from Prisoner’s Harbor, but it feels more deliciously remote if you use it as a waypoint during a 24-mile loop from Scorpion Anchorage.

Kayaking

Listen, I’m a hiker through and through, but the best experience I’ve ever had at the park was sea-kayaking near Scorpion Anchorage. Unless you’re an experienced paddler, book a tour through Channel Islands Adventure Company (from $118), which provides knowledgeable guides like Graham, along with all the equipment you’ll need for a few hours or a half day on the water. If you are already one with the ocean, rent a kayak from Channel Islands Kayak Center (from $12.50 per hour) at least one day before your trip, or bring your own (contact Island Packers to make sure they have room on board; kayak transport is $20 to $28 on top of your ferry-ticket price, depending on its size). Scorpion Anchorage features the friendliest waters, followed by Anacapa, where you’ll find incredible tide pools at isolated Frenchy’s Cove. Due to their more unpredictable weather and waters, touring the outer islands is only recommended for the most experienced paddlers.

Snorkeling and Diving

Roughly half of Channel Islands National Park is underwater, with its boundary stretching a nautical mile out from shore; a zone six nautical miles beyond that is protected as a national marine sanctuary. This makes the park’s waters an extraordinary place to view marine life. Channel Islands Adventure Company also leads beginner-friendly snorkel tours at Scorpion Anchorage, where you’ll marvel at sunlit kelp forests brimming with sea life, including the neon orange garibaldi, California’s state marine fish. Experienced snorkelers and divers will also enjoy the biodiversity in the waters surrounding Anacapa and Santa Barbara Islands. Wetsuits are recommended year-round. Snorkeling gear rentals are available via Channel Islands Adventure Company (reserve equipment before arriving on the island); divers can rent their gear back on the mainland at Ventura Dive and Sport, located in the harbor.

The Best Places to Eat and Drink Around Ventura

Small town nightlife as sun begins to set.
(Photo: Motionshooter/iStock)

Nearly every time I take an early ferry to the islands, I make a quick pit stop at the Harbor Cove Café, just a short walk from the Island Packers office. It serves a thick-as-your-arm Hawaiian-inspired burrito stuffed with pineapple and Spam. And ask about its lunch boxes to go. After your return, linger awhile at the harbor to replenish your carb stash at Copa Cubana (start with the yuca mojo de ajo), nosh on seafood classics at Brophy Bros, or cool off with the frosty Technicolor concoctions dished up at Coastal Cone

Slightly farther afield, even carnivores will find plenty to sink their teeth into at the punk-inspired Fatty Vegan, which serves up hearty, meatless riffs on all-American classics. Opt for the Mr. BBQ jackfruit sammy with a side of Nardcorn, a loose-kernel version on elote. The same unassuming strip mall features the Galloping Hen, a brunch joint whose bold claim to “The Best Homemade Chorizo in Ventura” I cannot deny. There’s even more to choose from in the heart of downtown. A local pal of mine is a fan of the curries at Rice Thai Cuisine, another friend makes a habit of stopping for a few island potions at VenTiki Tiki Lounge and Lanai, and I personally can’t wait to sample more of the fare at tucked-away Rumfish y Vino, the seafood-heavy California outpost of a Belizean gastropub. For a more casual experience, grab some local craft brews (more on this in a moment) and head to nearby San Buenaventura State Beach, where you can tuck into briny bivalves at the Jolly Oyster.

If You Have Time for a Detour

Ventura California Pacific Sunset
(Photo: trekandshoot/iStock)

Immortalized in song (press play on the Beach Boys’ “Surfin’ U.S.A.” if you don’t believe me), Ventura is one of the world’s most iconic surfing locations. Grab your board and head to—wait for it—Surfer’s Point, a popular break near the downtown pier; tamer waters roll in a few minutes up the coast at Mondo’s Beach. Less than 15 miles north of downtown Ventura, Rincon Beach Park, home to the annual Rincon Classic, draws experienced surfers to a trio of good breaks. If you don’t have a board, rent one from the old-timers at Ventura Surf Shop, which has been catering to wave hounds since the sixties. If you don’t have the skills, learn from the crew at Ventura Makos; they teach groms of all ages.

For a short stroll or run, check out pastoral Harmon Canyon Preserve, which slices through the mountainous foothills perched at the city’s northern edge. For something a little more adventurous, the rugged Los Padres National Forest fans out to the north, with the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area rising from the Pacific just a half-hour to the southeast. Cyclists will find plenty to enjoy in both of these areas, but there’s also great cruising right in town along several paved routes, including the 12-mile Ventura Pacific Coast Bikeway and the 16.5-mile Ventura River Parkway. Rent your wheels (or schedule a tour) at Ventura Bike Depot.

Finally, book an extra night in your hotel (and secure a designated driver) so that you can partake in samples offered by the region’s many purveyors of adult liquid delights. While the central coast’s famed wine country isn’t all that far away, Ventura is better known for its craft-brew scene, which includes Leashless Brewing (which keeps several gluten-reduced beers in rotation), MadeWest Brewing Company (whose Donlon Double IPA snagged a World Beer Cup award in 2018), and brand-new Transmission Brewing (whose Peelin’ Out incorporates locally grown tangerines). That said, I truly can’t wait until I can once again kick back and sip a dreamy, creamy Tux Nitro Milk Stout in the perfectly chill beer garden at Topa Topa Brewery’s Colt Street headquarters, located just east of the harbor. Save room to visit the tasting room at Ventura Spirits, a distillery that uses overstock and less than perfect produce from area farms (and in the case of its agave spirit, plants that people no longer want in their yards) to conjure up a host of aromatic elixirs. Try its Wilder Gin, which tastes like all of my favorite California plants decided to get boozy together.

How to Be Conscious

Anacapa Light
(Photo: s_gibson/iStock)

There are no trash receptacles anywhere on the islands, so pack out everything you brought along for the adventure, including fruit peels and pits. I carry a reusable zip-top bag along for this purpose, just as I do when traveling anywhere in the backcountry.

Wildlife is one of the major draws of a visit to the Channel Islands, and it’s important to give our furry, finned, and feathery friends ample space to live their lives in peace while we gawk in wonder. This is especially important when seabirds and pinnipeds are caring for their young, which is why beach camping is not allowed on Santa Rosa from January through mid-August. The park suggests giving a 100-yard berth to any nesting or pupping wildlife, since our presence can spook away the parent, leaving their eggs or young unattended and vulnerable. For this same reason, tamper your squeals of joy and avoid shining lights if you enter sea caves while kayaking, since animals enjoy cozying up inside.

You can also protect the park’s wildlife by storing food in critter-proof containers, such as hard-sided coolers or the lockers provided at campsites and picnic tables. The ravens, mice, and foxes here are bold and skilled, especially on heavily touristed Santa Cruz, where they’ve evolved to learn how to open (and close—so stealthy!) zippers. Graham shared that a cunning avian thief once swiped his car keys, which he later discovered dangling from a dock halfway around the island.

Lead Photo: benedek/iStock



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Travel update: When is next green list announcement? | Travel News | Travel


An update to the UK’s traffic light system for travel is due imminently as British holidaymakers hope for more summer holiday options to be made available. The narrow number of choices on the current green list has caused agony for wannabe summer holidaymakers across the UK, with most countries out of reach due to their own restrictions.

The Government is due to review the travel lists every three weeks, and while nothing has been confirmed as yet, Brits are hoping for more choice when it comes to summer travel later this year.

The current green list includes none of the UK’s top travel destinations such as France, Spain, Portugal and Italy, making the prospect of a summer holiday less inviting.

Holiday destinations rumoured to be moving to the green list include Spain’s Balearic Islands, Italy, Croatia, and Malta.

However, countries being added to the green list is highly dependent on Covid data.

Matt Hancock has said he is “in favour of moving forward in this area” and replacing quarantine with daily testing.

He told Sky News: “This hasn’t been clinically advised yet – we’re working on it.”

It comes as the travel industry lobbies the government in a Travel Day of Action, putting pressure on the Government to further support the largely decimated travel industry.

Tim Aldersale, the chief executive of Airlines UK, said that “it is now or never for the government to reopen travel and save what is remaining of the summer season”, adding that the “travel sector remains in lockdown as the rest of the country opens up”.

Gary Lewis, chief executive of “Over the last 14 months we have seen our members’ revenues drop to a fraction of 2019 levels and a number of our members have sadly closed their doors for good.

“While much of the economy reopens, businesses in the outbound travel sector have been left out in the cold with a lack of financial support and ambiguity about a safe route to international travel.

“Alongside colleagues across the travel industry, we’re asking the Government to allow international travel to return safely in a risk-managed way, implementing the Global Travel Taskforce’s plan for a traffic-light system.

“This should see the Green list expanding in line with the evidence and making restrictions more proportionate, whilst keeping a strong red list to guard against variants.”





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Corporate air travel faces long road to recovery


Many corporations “are trying to navigate through that murky water right now,” added Brady, whose company provides corporate and business travel planning services.

With the start of the busy summer season, domestic leisure travel recovered to more than 100% of pre-pandemic levels this month, according to Delta Air Lines, as Americans catch up on unused vacations and delayed family reunions.

But recent weekly data on bookings for corporate air travel sold by U.S. travel agencies were still down 64.6% from 2019, according to industry group Airlines for America. Business travel in and out of Atlanta was down 85%, compared with 93% at the start of the year, estimated American Express Global Business Travel.

Many in the industry expect it could be 2023, 2024 or later before business travel fully recovers. If then.

That’s bad news for airlines, who have made more money over the decades selling higher-priced business class seats — especially for overseas trips that in normal times cost as much as $10,000 — than the economy seats at the back of the plane.

Before the pandemic, business travelers made up about 30% of airline trips but an estimated 40% to 50% of passenger revenues, according to Airlines for America. Atmosphere Research Group analyst Henry Harteveldt estimates business travelers typically represent 55% to 75% of airlines’ profits.

In the past, Atlanta’s many company headquarters hosted thousands of visiting employees, salespeople and business partners. The city had about 880 conventions, meetings and events in 2019, driving more than 1.6 million hotel room-night bookings, according to the Atlanta Convention and Visitors Bureau, which is seeing only the beginnings of a recovery.

At Atlanta-based Home Depot, the travel policy “was pretty tight” during the pandemic, said spokeswoman Margaret Smith. Now, if employees are considering planning a business trip, they are asked if they can accomplish their objective remotely. If not, employees who are fully vaccinated can travel domestically for “business-critical reasons” — a determination made between employee and manager.

Atlanta-based Coca-Cola is also restricting travel to “business critical only,” but said it will review its policy for domestic and international travel over the coming months.

A June survey by the Global Business Travel Association indicated 40% of companies worldwide had resumed non-essential domestic business travel, but only 12% had resumed non-essential international business travel. International trips face higher hurdles with quarantine restrictions in many countries.

One factor slowing the rebound: the legal concept of “duty of care.” Corporations “have the responsibility to ensure the safety of their employees when their employees are asked to travel for business,” said Corporate Travel Management’s Brady.

Executives are being advised by legal, risk and human resources departments and “they need to know that all risks have been looked at,” said Teri Miller, executive vice president of corporate travel management firm BCD Travel, which has its U.S. headquarters in Atlanta.

Beyond corporate executives, the business traveler population includes salespeople meeting with clients or heading to conventions, as well as technicians and regional managers visiting sites.

Some workers have been traveling throughout the pandemic, including those in logistics, energy and health care, such as technicians who service medical devices. And those who work for small- and medium-sized companies often have been less bound by corporate travel restrictions.

Rafal Los, a cybersecurity executive who lives in Vinings, has been traveling for work since last fall, including trips to his company’s headquarters in Salt Lake City.

“Sometimes you have to go where the customers is, where the work is. That requires you to take a certain amount of risk on,” said Los, whose company has fewer than 100 employees.

And, he added, “Sitting in my home office is miserable as hell, frankly.”

Los often spoke at industry conferences before the pandemic. Now that live events are planned in his industry for July and August, “I’m signing up for every single one of them.”

Many other road warriors are itching to return to normal. A recent survey by American Express, which has a corporate travel management unit, found 86% of business travelers want to hit the road when it’s safe.

Nationally, business travelers spent $334.2 billion in 2019, including trip expenditures for hotels, transportation, restaurants, retail and recreation, says the U.S. Travel Association.

Airline executives have taken to emphasizing a mantra that, as United Airlines CEO Scott Kirby puts it, “The first time someone loses a sale to a competitor who showed up in person, is the last time they try to make a sales call on Zoom.”

Ed Bastian, Delta’s CEO, says his airline increasingly is banking on small- and medium-sized businesses to drive the recovery. He also believes video conferencing will complement but not replace business travel.

“Video technology actually makes you mobile,” said Bastian, adding that it allows you to “take your office with you” and continue participating in company meetings while traveling.

Still, he expects traditional corporate travel could decline by 20% to 30%. Some segments may never return, he acknowledged, including high-priced short business trips to Europe for a single brief meeting.

For now, employers “want to ensure that employees don’t feel pressured to travel if they don’t feel comfortable,” said Jeremy Quek, global air practice lead at American Express Global Business Travel. “For people to travel when they’re uncomfortable doesn’t do anybody any good.”

Miller, at BCD Travel, said some companies are considering whether to require that employees be vaccinated before traveling, which she thinks might be a hard sell. “Some people have pretty strong opinions about this,” said Miller.

The pandemic “gave us all that pause button that allowed us to re-evaluate how to do this, and maybe how to travel smarter,” she added.

A June survey by the Global Business Travel Association showed travel managers think:

  • 19% of employees are very willing to travel
  • 58% are somewhat willing
  • 5% are not willing
  • 1% are not willing at all
  • Others are ambivalent or unsure.





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