Embraced by the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, Costa Rica has been attracting eco-tourists for decades, thanks to rich biodiversity and abundant wildlife. Here you’ll find splendid beaches that spill into sparkling blue waters, peaceful conservation areas, and outstanding adventure sports. Get in touch with ancient civilizations at the National Museum or tiptoe to the edge of a crater at Poás Volcano National Park. Surfers will dig the unparalleled conditions of the Guanacaste province.
Starting June 1, hotels and other accommodations will be open for tourists in Monroe County, Florida, which encompasses the collection of islands, U.S. News reported.
Businesses set to open include hotels, motels, vacation rentals, marinas, RV parks, and timeshares, according to a statement from Monroe County.
Monroe County has been closed to visitors for the last two months, since March 22, in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak, according to U.S. News. Most hotels, restaurants, beaches, and other public places were closed across the country in accordance with different states’ stay-at-home and lockdown orders.
Lockdown orders put a particular strain on many businesses across the country, especially for those in the hospitality industry like hotels and restaurants.
Though some people may consider opening up certain places to tourists a bit risky, officials from Monroe County have stated that all establishments will be operating at only 50 percent capacity in order to observe safe social distancing guidelines.
In addition, the county will be eliminating checkpoints on U.S. 1 and State Road 905 in order to allow the opening of lodging accommodations. In order to continue to combat the spread of coronavirus in the state, Monroe County stated that this new order is “subject to revision based on data regarding the prevalence of the virus within Monroe County, increased testing and contact tracing protocols, and the efforts in the adjacent counties to continue to control transmission of the virus.” Tourists and locals are still encouraged to practice social distancing and wearing masks while in public.
According to U.S. News, the new order also includes the opening of beaches in the Florida Keys, so taking a trip to enjoy the sun and surf will be possible for tourists out there. Beaches in New Jersey, Maryland, and Delaware are also reopening, U.S. News reported.
Tourists may make reservations for accommodations in the Florida Keys immediately, as long as their travel dates occur after June 1.
It’s the cure for what ails you: ditch the city, pitch a tent, build a fire, stare at the stars.
Even if you’ve never camped before, this may be the summer to try: It’s the perfect socially distant getaway, far from crowds, close to home, fresh air all around.
Even before the coronavirus pandemic, the idea of roughing it for the first time may have been intimidating for non-campers. Allow us to simplify the process.
Where to start?
Start by picking a place to camp. There are hundreds of options in Ohio and surrounding states, from sites fully loaded with amenities and activities to a simple patch of land to pitch a tent.
Based on the amenities available, make a list of what you need to take with you. Then set out to borrow or buy your supplies.
Pack up the car and go!
Sound overwhelming? We can help. We’ve put together a list of 18 recommended campgrounds within a few hours drive of Cleveland. Some offer just a few amenities, others are more full service and family friendly, with flush toilets, showers, even swimming pools.
Or, for the ultimate in upscale outdoor living, consider renting a recreational vehicle. We’ve included information on that option, too.
Read on for your complete guide to Camping 101:
What to take
Newbies might consider borrowing equipment from a friend or relative, just to make sure the experience is worth the investment. Buying everything new could set you back several hundred dollars or more.
Some public and private campgrounds offer fully equipped sites, which cut down on what you need to bring. You can also rent camping equipment from some retail outlets, including REI in Orange and the Backpackers Shop in Sheffield.
Ethan Sheets, manager at REI, recommends that first-timers set up a tent in their back yard before venturing farther from home. “Especially if you have kids,” he said. “One of the best places to try out camping is in your back yard, if you can do that.”
Buy, borrow or rent, back yard or farther from home — here’s a list of basic equipment you’ll probably need and a few things you might want:
A tent: Tents come in various sizes – for one person, two, three, four, six and up. Gordon Geiger, the owner of Geiger’s stores in Cleveland, Lakewood and Chagrin Falls, recommends sizing up by one. “You want at least the capacity of how many people are going,” he said. “A good rule of thumb is to go up by one person, so there’s a little room to move around.”
Tents typically are made of coated nylon, a breathable, lightweight material. In general, the lighter the material, the more expensive the tent, said Geiger. Although tents are waterproof, you’ll want one with a rainfly (cover) for extra protection from the elements. You’ll also want a footprint (or tarp) to cover the ground under the tent.
Sheets recommends a double-walled tent, with two layers of fabric, which will be more expensive, but also more adaptable to a variety of weather conditions.
Tent prices vary greatly, but expect to spend at least $200 for a basic four-person version.
Sleeping bags: Come in various sizes, weights and thermal ratings. Think about the worst weather you’d consider camping in, and buy a bag that will keep you warm at that temperature. You’ll also likely want a sleeping pad – made of foam, or inflatable. “It’s softer than sleeping directly on the ground,” said Sheets.
You’ll also probably want:
Lantern, flashlight or both
Camp table (if no picnic table)
Optional: tablecloth, firewood (purchased near your campsite), duct tape, multi-tool, mallet or hammer (for hammering tent stakes)
Stove, fuel: If you don’t plan on cooking over a campfire, you’ll want a small stove, which range from simple to elaborate. A simple Coleman, two-burner version runs about $60 and up.
There is one sure way to simplify the camping process: Rent a recreational vehicle and hit the road.
Angela Dudziak, general manager at Neff Brothers RV in Lorain, which rents and services recreational vehicles, is looking forward to a strong season, as families rethink their summer plans. She’s heard from several families already, planning road trips due to canceled youth sports and college students home unexpectedly.
Rental vehicles run the gamut, from modest, pull-behind trailers to fully-equipped, 35-foot motor homes.
Dudziak said the first questions she asks a potential client are: Where are you going? How many people will be traveling? Those two questions determine the size of vehicle required and necessary amenities.
The per-night cost of a rental RV runs $100 (for a pull-behind trailer) to $350 for a 35-foot motor home that sleeps 10, with a two-night minimum. Rentals costs include 150 miles per day; longer distances have an extra mileage charge. Insurance may be extra or may be covered by an existing policy.
When camping, there’s no policy on wearing a mask, social distancing or what to wear. Just do it and have a blast !
At the heart of a nearly vacant Las Vegas Strip, Caesar’s iconic palace stands empty.
It’s been the worst experience of Tony Rodio’s 40-year casino career. Now, the CEO of Caesars Entertainment is undertaking the Herculean task of safely reopening the 85-acre resort in the era of Covid-19, he told CNN.
“People want to get back to normal again. It’s just going to be a process getting there,” Rodio said.
The initiative at Caesars Palace is among at least four reopening plans unveiled so far by Las Vegas resort operators itching to serve tourists again while getting employees back to work, even as trade unions demand more transparency and the adoption of their own safety guidelines. Plans by MGM Resorts, Wynn Resorts and The Venetian include potentially modifying HVAC systems, suspending buffet service and setting protocols for what to do if a coronavirus test comes back positive.
At Caesars Palace, card tables, dice games and even slot machines are being retooled across the casino floor with social distancing and disinfection in mind, Rodio explained.
“We will be deactivating every other slot machine and removing the stool from the game,” he said, standing at an darkened slot machine at the center of three-machine row. “A customer can’t even stand here and play this game because the game’s not even active, and so we will do that throughout the whole floor.”
At card tables, the number of seats will be reduced from six to three, he said. And say goodbye to the classic casino scene of a crowd cheering a winning streak.
The dice on craps tables will be cleaned after each roll, and the chips will be frequently sanitized, too. For larger surfaces such as slot machines and elevator banks, employees will be equipped with electronic sprayers.
For now, the steps being take a Caesars Palace are among the first in an odyssey towards a new casino culture, one its leaders believe will retain the spirit of Las Vegas.
“I can’t tell you when we’re going to get back to 100% normal, but I’m confident that we’ll get there,” Rodio said. “I think that it will be in 2021 at some point.”
Are you ready for a road trip ? I mean a longgg, road trip ? Check out Mike Shubic’s detailed infographic on the many roads to scratch the travel itch. Spring, summer, autumn and winter trips are noted so whatever the season, it’s all there for you. Enjoy the journey.
Whether you need to work during your travels or simply want to stream movies while you’re away, a quality laptop is an indispensable accessory. TravelMag,com have looked into the range of options currently on the market and selected what we consider the best travel-friendly laptops that cater to a range of budgets and needs.
Our selection is primarily based on reviews by influential tech magazines and other leading authorities such as Techradar, Laptopmag and The Wire Cutter. As well as basing our decision on overall performance, we also gave strong consideration to factors specifically relevant to travelers, such as weight, battery length, and display brightness.
Best overall laptop: Dell XPS 13 (2020 version)
The Dell XPS 13 regularly tops the rankings for “ultraportable” laptops. It weighs just 2.8 pounds (1.27 kg), is very thin (0.58 inches/14.8mm) and its battery is made to last more than 12 hours from full charge. Combined with fast performance and a fantastic display level, the XPS 13 is our top recommendation for travellers. The only small downside is the audio, which is sub-optimal due to Dell putting the speakers on the bottom of the laptop. However, since most travelers use headphones to receive audio from their laptops, it’s not a significant shortcoming.
CPU: 10th generation Intel Core i5 | Graphics: Intel Iris Plus
Screen: 13.3-inch FHD (1,920 x 1,080)
RAM: 8GB | Storage: 256GB
Ports: 2x USB-C 3.1 with Thunderbolt 3, microSD card reader
Size: 11.6 x 7.8 x 0.58 inches | Weight: 2.8 pounds
Price: From $1249
Best budget-friendly overall laptop: Acer Swift 3 (2019 version)
If the Dell XPS 13 is a bit too expensive for your tastes, the Acer Swift would be our next – and significantly cheaper – recommendation. It’s a bit heavier (3.05 lb) than the XPS 13, but with a decent 10-hour battery life still very travel-friendly. Its display is broadly speaking very good, although not as sharp as the XPS 13, and together with its powerful performance is enough for us to say that the Acer Swift 3 is, on balance, the best-value-for-money laptop on our list.
CPU: Intel 1.5GHz Core i7-8565U | Graphics: Intel UHD 620
Screen: 14-inch IPS (1920×1080)
RAM: 8GB | Storage: 256GB
Ports: 1 USB-C 3.1, 2 USB 3.0 Type A, 1 HDMI, SD card,
Size: 12.7 x 9.0 x 0.59 inches | Weight: 3.05 pounds
Best MacBook: MacBook Air 2020
For those who prefer MacOS, the new MacBook Air would be our top choice. While its performance isn’t as strong as on the very best Windows laptops, it’s certainly good enough for the basic needs (web browsing, Word, Netflix streaming, etc) of your average traveller. The MacBook Air also has a very good display and pretty much the best sound experience you’ll find. It’s also noteworthy that the new keyboard feels much better to type on compared with its recent predecessors. The battery should last at least 9 hours from full charge, and with a weight of just 2.8 pounds the MacBook Air is also one of the lightest laptops on the market.
If most of your laptop activity revolves around online browsing, a Chromebook might be a good and far more affordable alternative to a traditional laptop. Instead of Windows, a Chromebook runs Google’s operating system, which is similar to the Google Chrome web browser. While you won’t be able to download programs as you can on Windows, Android apps are now available on all new Chromebooks via the Google Play Store. Of the numerous Chromebooks available today, the HP x 360 14 is the top pick of most experts. It’s light, offers a long battery life, and the performance is comparable with much more expensive standard laptops. The only downside is the display, which is a bit too dim in a bright setting.
CPU: 1.83GHz Intel Celeron N2940 | Graphics: Intel HD
Screen: 14-inch (1,920 x 1,080)
RAM: 4GB | Storage: 16GB
Ports: 1 x USB 3.0, 2 x USB 2.0, HDMI, MicroSD slot
Size: 13.54 x 9.45 x 0.7 inches | Weight: 3.74 pounds
The best convertible laptop: HP Spectre x360 13
The convertible laptop (also called a ‘2-in-1’ laptop) can transform from laptop to tablet and back again thanks to a 360-degree hinge that allows for rotating the laptop’s screen all the way around, flat against the bottom of the keyboard. If you watch a lot of movies on planes or trains, a 2-in-1 can be converted into ‘tent mode’ (see picture) for a better viewing experience. The HP Spectre has received excellent reviews overall and is our favorite laptop in this category. Compared with other convertibles, it’s pretty light and small with a 13.3-inch touch screen, and the battery lasts at least 14 hours. Performance and display ratings are excellent, too.
CPU: 1.3GHz Intel Core i7 | Graphics: Intel Iris Plus
Screen: 13.3-inch 4K (3,840 x 2,160)
RAM: 16GB | Storage: 512GB
Ports: 1x USB-A 3.1, 2x USB-C 3.1 with Thunderbolt 3, microSD card reader
Size: 12.04 x 7.66 x 0.67 inches | Weight: 2.87 pounds
As the world continues to fight a pandemic, with extended shelter-in-place orders, the reality of exactly how long we might have to social distance is starting to take hold. Yes, staying home continues to be the right thing to do, but travelers are understandably starting to feel antsy, wondering if it will be safe to travel this summer.
The short answer: It’s really your call. But here are some things to consider as you start weighing your summer travel plans.
If you own a car or RV, camping will be the easiest and safest way to escape your routine this summer. While national parks are currently closed in the U.S. and other countries, there are several regional parks and campgrounds that allow for camping.
Kampgrounds of America (KOA) suggests going to a park that you think will be less crowded to ensure you’ll be able to keep a distance from any fellow travelers. Also, try staying within a few hours of home to avoid too many touchpoints — i.e., gas stations, convenience stores and coffee shops — along the way.
Airbnb or Vacation Rentals
On April 27, Airbnb released a statement that says it’s launching an Enhanced Cleaning Initiative, taking guidance from former U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivel Murthy. Its Cleaning Protocol provides hosts who opt-in procedures and guidance on how to clean every room, which includes a 24-hour waiting period before entering a property. The other option for hosts is to use a Booking Buffer that allows them to commit to a vacancy period (currently 72 hours) between stays. Guests will be able to identify and book the enrolled listings.
Because Airbnbs are less frequented than major hotels, this might be a good option for timid travelers willing to take the risk to stay in a luxe treehouse or bubble suite.
Of course, hotels announced their own cleaning protocols, eager to attract guests after losing about $3.5 billion a week in the U.S. alone, according to the American Hotel & Lodging Assocation. As of April 29, eight in 10 hotel rooms were vacant.
On April 21, Marriott International launched the Marriott Global Cleanliness Council to minimize the risk of spreading COVID-19 at Marriott properties. Quick to follow, Hilton announced its new standard of cleanliness on April 27. And that was followed on April 29 by Hyatt, which also promises that by September 2020, every Hyatt hotel will have at least one dedicated Hygiene Manager who will be responsible for ensuring the property is adhering to all cleaning protocols.
Is It Safe to Fly?
While local travel may be achievable this summer, what about booking a flight? On April 27, JetBlue became the first airline to require passengers to wear face masks or coverings starting May 4. It’s no surprise that other major airlines like Delta and American quickly followed suit.
Earlier in April, airlines had already turned to new boarding methods, boarding back-of-plane passengers first and only boarding a few customers at a time to allow for social distancing.
What About Air Circulation?
Perhaps the biggest fear of travelers is the air circulation in planes. But it’s important to remember that, as this Forbes article points out, an airplane’s air circulation is vertical, not horizontal, being delivered from the top and flowing to the side walls.
That means the circulation system won’t be delivering fellow passengers’ germs to you and could even be considered better than most restaurants and office buildings, according to Forbes.
What About Booking a Flight?
If you’re less concerned about hygiene and more concerned about costs or hidden change fees, you’ll be happy to know that most airlines are waiving change fees for the foreseeable future. Southwest Airlines already offered this before the pandemic, but now American, Delta and United are all encouraging travelers to book by offering them the ability to change trips or cancel them and rebook later.
Most of the policies are similar to Delta’s in that any flight booked from now until May 31, 2020, can be changed without a change fee for up to a year, and any travel booked through Sept. 30, 2020, (regardless of when it was booked originally) can also be changed without fees.
Amtrak in the U.S. has currently reduced services due to less demand. It is also adhering to all safety protocols by recommending face masks and reducing sales to only 50 percent capacity to ensure proper social distancing.
It, too, is waiving change fees for any reservations made before May 31, 2020.
Outside of air travel, a lot of travelers are worried about getting refunds or making changes to current activities or tours they’ve booked. If you have travel insurance, it depends on the policy, but simply fear of traveling due to coronavirus is not covered in many cases. If you are no longer taking the trip, though, you may be able to get a refund for the travel insurance or travel insurance voucher to use for future bookings.
That said, it’s a good idea to go straight to the source and speak with your tour operator. Several are offering vouchers for future bookings.
Of course, if you’re too scared to travel this summer for fear of contracting or spreading COVID-19, then don’t do it.
If you do take a summer vacation as a way to stay sane, then it’s important to abide by travel advisories and take the extra precautions recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That means wash your hands, practice social distancing and wear masks when you come into contact with other people, whether you’re simply traveling to your local coffee shop or venturing several hours away.
Never has the “safe travels” sentiment rung truer.
Shanghai Disneyland was the first Disney theme park to close on Jan. 25, which means that when it reopens on May 11, it will have been shut down for 107 days. If Walt Disney World follows the same timeline, Disney fans in the U.S. could see Minnie and Mickey in person by the last week of June or the first week of July.
Another positive sign for Disney fans: On May 7, the Walt Disney World Resort announced that a phased reopening of Disney Springs—an outdoor dining and shopping complex attached to the park—would begin on May 20, though there was no explicit news about Walt Disney World itself reopening.
When Disney World does reopen, it won’t be theme park fans have known and loved for nearly 50 years. There are many changes afoot based on new guidelines set by the Orange County Economic Recovery Task Force. For example, Disney World will run at half capacity in phase one of its reopening and at 75 percent capacity in phase two. All employees and visitors will have to wear masks, and there may be a virtual “boarding group” queue system instead of those long lines that snake around the park.
As for Shanghai Disneyland, China has asked that theme parks not exceed 30 percent of their maximum capacity in order to maintain social distancing practices. With Shanghai Disneyland’s max being 80,000, that’s no more than 24,000 people in the park at once. But Shanghai Disneyland will initially keep attendance down “far below that just to have our training wheels on” and to be extra cautious.
In addition, both employees and visitors at Shanghai Disneyland will be expected to wear masks. Performing characters will not be wearing face coverings, but they will be kept at a distance from visitors. So, even if Walt Disney World does reopen this summer, don’t expect any hugs or autographs from Goofy or Pluto anytime soon!
My opinion: Look for the grand re-opening around July 4th, just in time to honor America