Amtrak Just Relaunched Its 30-day Rail Pass for $200 Less

Amtrak Just Relaunched Its 30-day Rail Pass for $200 Less

Amtrak Just Relaunched Its 30-day Rail Pass for $200 Less

For under $300, you can now travel across the U.S. on Amtrak for a month.

If you’ve ever dreamed of taking a great American train trip, your time is now.

Amtrak just cut the price of its USA Rail Pass to $299, making it significantly cheaper to zigzag across the U.S. in search of adventure this summer. The sale price is a $200 discount from the regular rail pass cost of $499, and a fraction of what it would likely cost to rent a car for a month.

Amtrak’s U.S. rail passes allow passengers to take up to 10 rides over a period of 30 days. The clock starts ticking on the day of a passenger’s first trip, but there’s flexibility to change itineraries and routes along the way, channeling the classic European rail pass experience but with gorgeous American backdrops like the Grand Canyon, Colorado’s Red Rocks, and the spectacular California coastline.

“We want to offer customers a truly unique way to travel this summer,” Amtrak executive vice president Roger Harris said in announcing the sale.

That unique option may be particularly welcome this summer, with uneven pandemic restrictions coplicating international travel and rental cars in short supply in many parts of the country.

The USA Rail Pass covers coach travel between any of Amtrak’s 500 destinations – a list that includes New York, Chicago, Denver, Los Angeles, San Antonio, and several of the country’s most popular national parks. And unlike airlines, there are no middle seats to worry about on Amtrak trains.

However, there are a few details you’ll want to keep in mind. Upgrades to business class aren’t available, and the passes can’t be used on Amtrak’s high-speed Acela routes or Auto Train. There are no blackout dates, but passes must be purchased prior to travel and can’t be bought on board.

You’ll also need to book before June 22 to take advantage of Amtrak’s sale pricing.

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Phuket Reopens to Vaccinated Tourists in July — and the Hotel Rooms May Be As Low As $1 a Night

Phuket Reopens to Vaccinated Tourists in July — and the Hotel Rooms May Be As Low As $1 a Night

The plan has been submitted to the Tourism Authority of Thailand and the Ministry of Tourism and Sports for approval.

 A tourism group in Thailand has proposed offering $1 hotel stays in an effort to entice tourists back to Phuket ahead of its opening next month.

 

The “One-night, one-dollar” campaign, proposed by the Tourism Council of Thailand, would offer certain hotel rooms to foreign tourists for only $1 per night, according to travel trade publication, TTG Asia. Eligible rooms, which would be subsidized by the government, would typically sell from about 1,000 to 3,000 baht per night (or about $32 to $96).

 

The plan has been submitted to the Tourism Authority of Thailand and the Ministry of Tourism and Sports for approval.

 

If the program was successful, it could potentially be expanded to other popular tourist destinations in Thailand like Koh Samui or Bangkok, according to TTG Asia.

 

TCT president Chamnan Srisawat said the country has “been suffering from the pandemic for 15 months now,” adding, “only mass tourism will save us.”

 

Phuket is expected to open to vaccinated foreign tourists on July 1, according to the Tourism Authority of Thailand, the first destination in Thailand to welcome visitors without a quarantine requirement. To do so, Phuket has prioritized vaccines with the goal of inoculating 70% of the island’s population before it reopens.

 

“Phuket will be the pilot destination to reopen in the third quarter to fully vaccinated foreign visitors from low-risk countries under strict rules and regulations,” Yuthasak Supasorn, the TAT governor, said in a statement. “Safety is paramount in the reopening of Phuket.”

 

The relaxed restrictions come months earlier than officials initially planned with Phuket originally hoping to welcome tourists by the Fall.

 

While Phuket may be ready to welcome back tourists to its emerald waters and stunning rock formations this summer, the rest of Thailand on track to waive quarantine requirements for vaccinated visitors by October, Reuters reported.

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Young Travelers Can Join Contiki’s New Member’s-only Travel Lounge for Exclusive Discounts and Mystery Trips

Young Travelers Can Join Contiki's New Member's-only Travel Lounge for Exclusive Discounts and Mystery TripsYoung Travelers Can Join Contiki's New Member's-only Travel Lounge for Exclusive Discounts and Mystery Trips

Membership is free for Contiki’s Travel Lounge.

With temperatures rising, vaccines rolling out, and international borders reopening, the pent-up demand for travel is taking off this summer. But that doesn’t come without its complications. In an effort to help young travelers starved for adventure, Contiki, a company specializing in group trips for 18- to 35-year-olds, has launched its new Contiki Travel Lounge.

This private, members-only Facebook group and email list is free to join and grants exclusive access to special perks designed to help these young adult explorers navigate the sometimes murky waters of travel in 2021. Among the benefits of joining this group is getting first dibs on the limited spots available on Contiki’s Europe trips departing this summer. As the company adds new dates and itineraries to its roster, Travel Lounge members will be the first to know about these “trip drops.”

For those who are a bit more flexible and looking to add another element of adventure to their travels, Contiki also offers Travel Lounge members exclusive discounts on mystery trips. These trips are selected from Contiki’s most popular itineraries, but guests won’t know where they’re going until after they book. All they’ll have to decide are dates, price, and a basic idea of the trip’s vibe. With discounts up to 40% off, the risk may be worth it.

“Trip drops” detailing dates and prices for getaways available for immediate booking will happen regularly for Contiki Travel Lounge members, while mystery trips will be announced monthly. Another benefit of membership: regular giveaways with Contiki swag items like the company’s signature sustainable water bottles, Teemill T-shirts, and tote bags.

“We want to reassure those who are still restricted by border controls that Contiki is ready for them as soon as they’re ready to book,” said Adam Armstrong, the company’s CEO, in a press release. “And although anybody can book online now for a 2022 trip, the Contiki Travel Lounge provides an alternative for those wanting to get back on the road as soon as possible in 2021, and the mystery trips are there for the most adventurous travelers who are happy to take advantage of an exclusive deal while also being the first out there – wherever that may take them.”

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Airbnb Is Seeking 12 People to Live Anywhere for Free for One Year

Airbnb Is Seeking 12 People to Live Anywhere for Free for One Year

Airbnb is on the hunt for 12 intrepid travelers to spend an entire year living the nomadic lifestyle in home rentals around the world.

On Wednesday, the home rental company announced the “Live Anywhere on Airbnb” opportunity. The aim, the company explained, is to have 12 lucky people share “their unique experiences with Airbnb,” which “could help inform future product upgrades and innovations on the platform, helping to lay the groundwork for the future of nomadic living.”

Their input, Airbnb notes, could shape product changes and resources that would improve the long-term living experience, help define ideal accommodations for solo travelers or groups like families, and even help to better understand the financial benefits of Hosting while traveling.

In exchange for all this knowledge, Airbnb will cover the cost of accommodations and provide an allowance for transportation for the duration of the pilot program. Participants can even choose to host their primary residence on Airbnb during their travels and earn extra money while they travel.

The reason for the program appears to be because of the growing popularity of long term stays in private home rentals. According to Airbnb’s Report on Travel & Living, the share of stays 28 days or longer increased by 10% in nights booked from 2019 to 2011.

“The experience of living on Airbnb has been truly transformational for us,” Debbie Campell, a long-term Airbnb guest, shared in a statement. “Live Anywhere on Airbnb will give even more people the opportunity to see the world through a whole new lens just as we have. We’re excited to see more people living and working from wherever they choose.”

Starting today, those interested can submit their applications at www.airbnb.com/liveanywhere. And truly, everyone’s invited to apply, including remote workers, empty nesters, young families, and more. Participants just need to be 18 years old or older and must be able to travel for 12 consecutive months from July 2021 to July 2022. Airbnb will assist with listing suggestions, local Experiences, and more. Each participant will be allowed to bring up to three companions to be part of the program.

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St. Barts to Welcome Vaccinated Travelers on June 9

St. Barts to Welcome Vaccinated Travelers on June 9

From cage diving with sharks to jumping out of a plane, these adventure vacations are guaranteed to break you out of your comfort zone.

In conjunction with France reopening its borders to vaccinated travelers, the glamorous Caribbean island of St. Barts will also reopen its borders to visitors who are also vaccinated beginning June 9.

“After two successful vaccination campaigns, the vast majority of our island’s citizens are now vaccinated and our efficient COVID-19 testing centers still offer swift service for everyone,” Nils Dufau, president of the St. Barts Tourism Board, said in a statement shared with Travel + Leisure. “Restaurants, boutiques, nautical activities as well as all services are being provided as usual. Hotels and villas are open.”

Visitors will still have to present negative results from a PCR COVID-19 test taken within three days of their arrival on the island. St Barts will also accept a negative antigen test taken within 48 hours of arrival on the island. Travelers will not be required to quarantine upon arrival.

The island does not have a portal for uploading health documents so travelers will need to send vaccination records directly to hotels or villas before finalizing their bookings. They may also need to show proof of vaccination when they arrive in St Barts and again upon check-in at their accommodation.

Vaccines must be approved by the European Medical Agency and include Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson. Once on the island, vaccinated visitors are free to go wherever they like.

Visitors younger than 18 can visit without vaccination and those younger than 10 will not have to undergo testing.

Looking forward to welcoming visitors back, the island’s tourism board also shared with T+L that the island’s signature event, the annual Gourmet Festival, will be returning in November after it was canceled last year.

Travelers are still required to undergo a COVID-19 test within three days of their return back to the U.S., according to current CDC regulations.

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United Customers Could Soon Fly to London in Under 4 Hours Thanks to Futuristic New Planes

United Customers Could Soon Fly to London in Under 4 Hours Thanks to Futuristic New Planes

United wants to cut flight times in half.

United Airlines customers could soon fly from New York to London in just three and a half hours thanks to the airline’s investment in supersonic planes.

The carrier this week agreed to purchase 15 Boom Supersonic ‘Overture’ planes capable of flying twice as fast as today’s fastest airliners — as long as they meet the carrier’s safety and sustainability standards — the company shared with Travel + Leisure. As part of the agreement, United has the option to buy 35 additional planes.

The super fast, futuristic planes would be capable of flying from Newark to Frankfurt, for example, in four hours (a trip that normally takes over 7 hours) and San Francisco to Tokyo in only six hours (the route currently clocks in at over 10 hours), according to United.

“United continues on its trajectory to build a more innovative, sustainable airline and today’s advancements in technology are making it more viable for that to include supersonic planes. Boom’s vision for the future of commercial aviation, combined with the industry’s most robust route network in the world, will give business and leisure travelers access to a stellar flight experience,” United CEO Scott Kirby said in a statement. “Our mission has always been about connecting people and now working with Boom, we’ll be able to do that on an even greater scale.”

The planes are not only fast, they’re efficient. The supersonic aircraft is expected to be net-zero carbon and fly on 100% sustainable aviation fuel, according to United.

And comfort won’t be forgotten with in-seat entertainment screens and contactless technology built in, the airline noted.

“United and Boom share a common purpose — to unite the world safely and sustainably,” Blake Scholl, Boom Supersonic founder and CEO, said in a statement. “At speeds twice as fast, United passengers will experience all the advantages of life lived in person, from deeper, more productive business relationships to longer, more relaxing vacations to far-off destinations.”

The supersonic aircraft is expected to take its first flights in 2026 and carry passengers in 2029.

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Denmark Reopens to Vaccinated American Tourists — What to Know

Denmark Reopens to Vaccinated American Tourists — What to Know

The country will reopen on Saturday to American and British travelers who received an approved vaccine.

Fully vaccinated American tourists will once again be welcome in Denmark starting this weekend, VisitDenmark told Travel + Leisure on Friday.

The country will reopen its borders on Saturday to American and British travelers who received a vaccine approved by the European Medicines Agency, which includes the Moderna, Pfizer/BioNTech, and Johnson & Johnson shots. Tourists must arrive at least 14 days after they receive their final shot.

Going forward, fully vaccinated Americans will be exempt from pre-arrival testing or isolation protocols, according to VisitDenmark. Unvaccinated children who travel with their parents or guardians, however, will still have to get tested.

“Denmark is very excited to welcome back American travelers,” Katinka Friis, a spokeswoman for VisitDenmark, told T+L. “So many new places and experiences around Denmark have been in the works over the last year, and it will be amazing to have the Americans come and explore everything they have been missing out on.”

The relaxing of restrictions follows several other European countries that have begun to welcome American tourists in recent weeks, including Croatia, Italy, and Greece. It also comes as the European Union prepares to open its borders to vaccinated foreign travelers, including from the United States.

To facilitate opening borders, the EU has developed a COVID-19 digital certificate — which may also be available to citizens from non-EU countries — that would allow travelers to upload proof of a vaccine, proof of a negative COVID-19 test, or proof they contracted the virus and recovered.

Earlier this year, Denmark developed its own digital vaccine passport specifically for Danish citizens.

When tourists do head to Denmark again, they will be able to visit the world’s first happiness museum, which opened in Copenhagen last year, as well as the immersive H.C. Andersen’s House (a museum dedicated to beloved author Hans Christian Andersen), which is set to open on June 30.

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Disney Cruise Line Latest Company to Receive CDC Approval for Test Sailings

Disney Cruise Line Latest Company to Receive CDC Approval for Test Sailings

“We look forward to our amazing crew once again creating magic for our guests and to helping the many workers who support our industry get back to work.”

Disney Cruise Line will set sail on a test cruise later this month after receiving approval from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The cruise line will sail a two-night cruise on the Disney Dream on June 29, a spokeswoman for the company told Travel Leisure, the next step in resuming U.S. cruises this summer. The CDC requires test cruises for all cruise lines unless 98% of crew and 95% of passengers are fully vaccinated.

“We have reached an important next step toward our gradual and responsible resumption of service, and are grateful for the productive dialogue with state, local and federal officials, the CDC and others in our industry that has made this possible,” Cynthia Martinez, a spokeswoman with Disney Cruise Line, told T+L. “We look forward to our amazing crew once again creating magic for our guests and to helping the many workers who support our industry get back to work.”

The two night simulation cruise will depart from Florida’s Port Canaveral, USA Today reported.

All test cruises must sail with volunteers who are at least 18 years old and who agree to post-trip testing and sample collection.

Unlike several cruise lines, Disney has not announced a vaccine requirement to board its U.S. ships going forward. The cruise line will require guests 18 and older to be vaccinated before embarking on its planned UK sailings on the “Disney Magic.”

Disney’s restart plans come days after Royal Caribbean became the first U.S. cruise line to receive CDC approval to begin test sailings. For its part, Royal Caribbean will set out for its first cruise on the “Freedom of the Seas” and vaccines will not be required to board the ship.

Beyond the test sailing, Disney has canceled its U.S. departures through July.

“We continue to work closely with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to carefully review and implement their recently released guidance and refine our protocols for a responsible and gradual return to service in U.S. waters,” the company wrote on its website.

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This Famed Pennsylvania Hotel Is Hosting a Glittery Pride-themed Summer Camp Weekend

This Famed Pennsylvania Hotel Is Hosting a Glittery Pride-themed Summer Camp Weekend

You have to see it to believe it.

Nemacolin, the luxury resort located in the Pennsylvania wilderness, is already well-known for being an over-the-top fantasy destination. (It did, after all, play host to The Bachelor.) But now, the resort wants to take that idea up a notch with its Pride Extravaganza weekend that will be unlike anything you’ve experienced before.

On June 11 and 12, the resort is set to host Summer Camp: Pride 2021 alongside the legendary nightlife event producer Susanne Barstch.

“Tastemaker, style icon, and event host like no other, Susanne has spent the last three decades throwing unforgettable, extravagant events, concerts, and happenings around the world — the kind of show-stopping celebrations that transcend the hum-drum of the every day and invite guests on a beautifully outlandish adventure,” the hotel explains of its host.

Those interested in joining the weekend festivities can book a package that a two-night luxury stay and a ticket per person for all events hosted on the Nemacolin grounds.

The weekend begins on Friday with the Shake, Rattle, and Bowl event, which the hotel describes as “an evening of confections and celebrations.” The event surrounds the hotel’s carousel that “comes to life at sunset with cotton candy, popcorn, and special guests.” Guests, the hotel adds, include LGBTQIA+ icons like Amanda Lepore and Milk from RuPaul’s Drag Race. The event, the hotel adds, will be a “dazzling night of dancing, drinks, and decadence.”

On Saturday, guests will then be treated to the Fantasy Feast, an “eclectic and eccentric cabaret extravaganza.” The night is a mix of opera meets burlesque circus, which collide to create a “high-fashion madcap and an evening of unforgettable entertainment, featuring a menu curated by Chef Kristin Butterworth.”

n between the events guests can also take advantage of the many other offerings at the hotel, including an outdoor sculpture tour, going for a ride on the hotel’s bikes, heading out for a paintball adventure, taking a zip line through the forest, and so much more.

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Ireland Will Welcome American Tourists Starting July 19

Ireland Will Welcome American Tourists Starting July 19

The country will welcome tourists regardless of vaccination status.

American tourists will be welcome once again in Ireland next month, the latest European country to allow foreign travelers just as the summer travel season kicks off.

Ireland will look to ease border restrictions for U.S. and UK travelers starting July 19, Reuters reported, soon after the country plans to begin implementing the European Union’s COVID-19 certificate.

Currently, Americans are allowed to travel to Ireland, but must have proof of a negative COVID-19 PCR test taken within 72 hours of their arrival and must quarantine for 14 days, according to the U.S. Embassy in Ireland.

When the country does relax restrictions, all travelers from outside the EU — including from the U.S. — will have to show proof of vaccination. The country will also welcome unvaccinated tourists, but they must arrive with proof of a negative test and self-quarantine before taking a second test.

Unvaccinated children between 7 and 18 years old will have to show proof of a negative coronavirus test before coming.

“If we continue to mind each other, if we continue to make the right choices, the end of this is within our grasp,” Prime Minister Micheal Martin said in a televised address, according to the wire service.

The plans to ease border restrictions come as the country begins to lift its lockdown measures. Next week, outdoor dining at pubs and restaurants will reopen while hotels will be allowed to welcome guests on Wednesday, the BBC reported. Indoor dining will not be allowed to resume until July 5.

In Ireland, 35.1% of residents have received at least one dose of a vaccine, according to Reuters, which is tracking the vaccine rollout around the world.

The decision to welcome U.S. tourists comes as several European countries have recently done the same, including Croatia, Italy, and Greece. As a whole, the EU has said it plans to reopen to vaccinated foreign travelers this summer, and several countries — like Spain and France — have made plans to welcome foreign tourists later this month.

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