White Sands National Monument

We Explore The Land of Enchantment!

The southwestern state of New Mexico is one of the most beautiful states to head to when fall hits, however the vibrant colors that strike the region can only be seen for a short time, in most places only for around 7 days, so it is a good idea to decide on when you want to travel and embark on a road trip, chasing the color!

We have put together a list of some of our favorite locations that we believe you should visit. All are full of color with many having some spectacular scenery along the way.

The High Road to Taos Scenic Byway in the northern area of the state is full of history and there are many remnants of Old Spain throughout the area, highlighted in the amazing architecture and the religion that is prevalent throughout the area.

If you decide to head along the byway make sure you visit Chimayo in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. As one of the most popular holy sites throughout the country the small church is renowned for its holy dirt, which is believed to have healing properties.

The byway runs from Santa Fe to Taos and, as well as the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, will take you through desert and some stunning vistas which are all well worth a visit with a fully charged camera.

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You can also visit the Saint Francis Plaza in Ranchos de Taos where a bronze Saint Francis will greet you with his arms outstretched towards heaven.

The San Francisco de Asis Church may seem familiar, as many photographers and artists have attempted to share the scene with many others through their work.

Albuquerque is another area that will provide you with an ‘authentic American Southwest experience’ and is a must-see location for those visiting the area, or even passing through as they travel the extremely popular Route 66.

The area has some intriguing museums that you may not find anywhere else, including the American International Rattlesnake Museum. The Historic Old Town – established in 1706 – is another place you must visit, especially the Old Town Plaza situated in the very heart of the town.

Built in 1793, San Felipe de Neri Church is the oldest building in the city and many of the original settlers’ homes have since been converted into some gorgeous shops, art galleries and restaurants.

While in the area you should take a trip to the Sandia Foothills to the east of the city and book a ride on the Sandia Peak Aerial Tramway, the longest aerial tram in North America. Whether you are a skier, hiker or just want to see the views, this 15 minute ride reaches the 10,378 crest of the Sandia Mountains giving you a view of around 11,000 square miles.

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It is important to book in advance, especially if you have bigger bookings, as the tramway is only operating at a third of capacity to accommodate Covid-19 guidelines. The company also has other procedures in place to keep you safe, all of which are available to view on their website.

If heights are not your thing then make sure you visit Roswell where in 1947, according to legend, a manned spacecraft crashed. If you want to find out more about the crash – whether you are a believer or not – you can head to the International UFO Museum and Research Center or even take a Roswell UFO Tour.

There are plenty of other activities to do in the area that are not connected to aliens including art centers, shopping and restaurants or the Spring River Park and Zoo.

Those who prefer the great outdoors can take in some hiking and camping as well as boating at the Bottomless Lake State Park.

The White Sands National Monument, an area of wave like white sand dunes situated in the center of the Tularosa Basin. The area – covering a staggering 275 square miles – is home to some fauna and flora that have managed to thrive in such difficult conditions and you can learn about them at the visitor center.

If you like hiking you can discover the amazing area on foot, however you can also travel by bike or even drive the Dunes Drive, which is just over 8 miles in length. Some areas also allow horseback, which can add an extra touch of adventure to an already busy experience.

One of the best parts of the White Sands experience is camping in the desert at one of their campsites. Looking up at the night sky without the light pollution you get in most parts of America, you will be able to wonder at the number of stars in the galaxy.

But make sure you are fully rested as you can grab a sled and make your way down the dunes in between picnics and make memories that will last a lifetime!

When visiting any of the places we have talked about it is important that you look at their coronavirus regulations before visiting to avoid disappointment.

US Canada Border

Trudeau Confirms US-Canada Border To Remain Closed

As coronavirus continues to ramp up its second spike of cases across the world, countries are implementing travel restrictions that are designed to keep most of us in our home countries.

However many were looking forward to a trip over the border into Canada once the closure agreement between the two countries expires on October 21. But this may not be the case any more.

The Canadian Prime Minister has recently announced that unless America can start getting in control of their Covid-19 outbreak the border will remain closed.

Speaking in an interview with Canada’s Global Television Network’s ‘Smart Start’ earlier in the week, Justin Trudeau stated that, “The U.S. is not in a place where we would feel comfortable reopening those borders. We will continue to make sure that Canadian safety is top of mind when we move forward. We see the cases in the United States and elsewhere around the world, and we need to continue to keep these border controls in place.”

America has seen the highest numbers of confirmed cases with 8,219,088 cases at the time of writing and 222,754 deaths. In the last week 13 states – including Montana, North Dakota, Minnesota and Alaska – have seen their own records for new cases in a week smashed. In North Dakota, which shares a 310-mile border with Canada, has reported cases spreading faster than any other state has experienced during the past year.

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And the recent announcement that a 25-year-old man from Nevada has been confirmed as the first American to be diagnosed with Covid-19 has made many question whether a ‘herd immunity’ strategy is the right move to make. The patient, who was otherwise in good health, has seen his second infection come with much stronger symptoms than the first time he had the virus. Although he was the first American to be diagnosed twice there has been over 20 confirmed cases of people being reinfected around the world.

President Donald Trump has also claimed that he is now immune after being diagnosed with the virus earlier this month. The president, along with members of his family and White House staff, were all infected after a ‘superspreader’ event that saw no social distancing or wearing of masks.

So far Canada has only had 191,732 confirmed cases and 9,699 deaths, which, although still a high number, is significantly, lower than their neighbors.

And they too are experiencing a second surge in cases as the weather is cooling and getting damper as they move further into fall. According to a recent announcement from their government, the country had almost 31,000 new cases as well as 372 deaths within 14 days.

The worst hit provinces have been Ontario where there has been almost 5,500 new confirmed cases in the last week, and Quebec, which has seen over 7,000 new cases.

Acknowledging the second wave Trudeau said, “I think this second wave is really exhausting. It’s frustrating for everyone to have to keep going through this. We showed that we can pull together and get through this, as we did in the spring. Then people got used to the slow burn in the summer. Now that cases are spiking again – with the approach of winter, with the approach of flu season – we need to get things back under control.”

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However Trudeau was quick to find some positives in an otherwise dire situation saying, “we know how to do it in a more targeted way now than in the spring. We know what kinds of businesses are more likely to spread Covid-19, what kinds of activities.”

He also said he believes that the country’s past experience “allows us to do the right things medically and keep us safe while not totally ruining people’s economies”.

With coronavirus still so prevalent in America, Trudeau has encouraged those in the country who prefer a warmer winter to try and stay put this year.

“I know there’s a lot of people worried about what’s happening south of the border in Florida, Arizona, California and other places where the virus is not under control or less under control than we are here,” he said. “The challenges around the health care system being overloaded down there and access to health insurance – making sure you have coverage in case something does happen – are a lot more difficult.”

However he said the government would not pose any restrictions other than a travel advisory saying, “Ultimately, if someone chooses to travel, we’re not going to keep them imprisoned in Canada. There’s freedom of movement in this country. Still, people have to recognize they’re putting themselves at risk, putting their loved ones at risk. And they may not have the right kind of health insurance or repatriation flights that we did early on if they choose to leave the country.”

Airport Security

How Covid-19 Has Changed The Way We Go Through Airport Security

The Covid-19 pandemic has truly changed the entire world and the multitude of industries that run it. One of the biggest industries that has been impacted internationally by the virus has been the travel/tourism industry. Obviously a virus that spreads through close contact in public spaces would disrupt the businesses that make their money from hundreds of strangers coming in close proximity with one another, however, now that the world has been enduring this pandemic for eight months, the industry has adjusted to better accommodate for the new normal we’re all living in. 

Specifically the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) in airports have taken on a whole list of health and safety procedure protocols to protect themselves and passengers from contracting the virus as they pass through airport security checkpoints. 

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Obviously travelling seems like it should be out of the question for anyone in the middle of a global health crisis involving a virus that spreads easily, however, as America has proven if there’s an opportunity to do things normally, people are going to jump on that opportunity, especially when flights are the cheapest they’ve been in years. 

When travelers first enter the airport they’ll notice a difference in experience almost immediately. Individuals are prompted to scan their own boarding passes when they first enter the TSA area of the airport. They’re prompted to do this at every checkpoint throughout the airport, this way TSA workers don’t have to be handed thousands of passes during a given day and can reduce the risk of cross-contamination. 

In a pre-pandemic context, one of the biggest discrepancies all airport travelers could agree on was the limited amount of liquids you’re able to take with you on a plane. However, now that we’re living in a time where hand sanitizer is everyone’s best friend, airlines are allowing travelers to pack sanitizer in containers up to 12 ounces. The hand sanitizer just needs to be removed from the luggage so that it can pass through a separate X-ray screening; this is to ensure the liquid is actually sanitizer. 

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Other liquids still must be less than 3.4 fluid ounces and passengers need to be adamant about checking to make sure all liquids and aerosols meet those requirements. If not, the passengers themselves will need to remove the item to prevent cross-contamination which will just take up even more time, so be extra careful when packing any liquids or aerosols that aren’t hand sanitizer. 

Since many individuals are opting not to buy any food or drinks at the airports, TSA is allowing for any meals or snacks that one wants to take through security to go through as long as it’s removed from the luggage and in a clear plastic bag placed in a separate tray. This small measure has already been thought to decrease the possibility of cross-contamination greatly. 

TSA agents have also been installing acrylic barriers in all major airports around the country. These barriers are specifically designed to prevent the spread of Covid-19 between travelers and TSA agents. They’re being placed at all TSA podiums, X-Ray areas, secondary search areas, and checked baggage drop-off locations. 

The TSA has also begun testing out self-service facial recognition technology that can immediately verify a passengers identity. The technology is currently being tested at the Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport where passengers are prompted to scan their own ID’s so that the machine can verify their identity and boarding information. If the technology proves to be successful in the coming weeks it will likely be implemented in all major airports throughout the country.

Montana

Treasure The Stunning State of Montana

With travel restrictions continuing to increase around the world there is no better time to get reacquainted with our beautiful country and discover areas that we may not have visited before.

The northwestern state of Montana is home to some of the most stunning scenery and wildlife, which often attracts thousands of visitors each year. However with social distancing still being encouraged now is the perfect time to visit the state and spoil yourself with some of the amazing views and vistas that the ‘Big Sky Country’ has to offer.

And with fall well and truly underway the sights are even more spectacular than you would have previously imagined.

With average temperatures of around 53 degrees in the northwest of the state to 60 degrees in the east, October can be a bit cold so make sure you pack layers in case the temperatures dip!

One of the most well-known tourist attractions in Montana is the Glacier National Park. Full of natural wonders including waterfalls, forests and alpine meadows there are also 200 lakes to visit as well as around 50 glaciers.

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The 1,600 square miles of landscape has very few roads meaning that the views are unspoiled for miles around.

To discover the true beauty of the park we recommend that you book one of the many tours that are available and explore trails including the Highline Trail. Starting at the Logan Pass on the Going-to-the-Sun Road head out along the road that is carved into the cliff – there is a cable to hold onto if you need it – and discover creaks, streams and avalanche chutes. The wildlife and animals in the area are also worth looking out for as you look out across the Logan and McDonald Creek valleys to the Livingstone Range.

If the idea of miles of walking leaves you feeling less than impressed why not take a drive. Montana has many routes that open up some of the amazing views, and in fall the colors of scenery can leave you feeling in awe.

Whether you head along the popular Highway 93 or prefer to visit the Lochsa River there are so many different drives you could take.

The Lost Trail Pass will take you through the rocky peaks of the Bitterroot Mountains, which are situated on the border between Montana and Idaho, but thanks to the steep roads this may not be for the fainthearted!

The Eastside Highway is one of the best drives to take, as it is less popular within the state. Taking roughly 45 minutes to travel from the beginning in Florence to the end in Hamilton, there are several towns and attractions along the way, such as the Teller Wildlife Refuge or Daly Mansion. Situated just outside Hamilton, this home – complete with 42 rooms – is the perfect place to spend time on a colder fall afternoon.

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If a skiing holiday is more your thing then head over to Whitefish Mountain Resort. Originally named Big Mountain when opened in 1948 the resort has over 4,000 acres of terrain that has been converted into slopes for everyone from beginners to experts and even has some powder fields. It is worth noting that Whitefish Mountain Resort does not actually open until December 10 however it is best to make your booking soon.

If you are staying near the Glacier National Park you have to visit Blackfeet Nation, an Indian Reservation area that covered nearly the entire northern half of Montana in 1855.

Nowadays it spans 1.5 million acres of land and is one of the largest reservation areas in America.

If you are a nature lover this is definitely a trip for you. The area is rich in history and is home to 180 bodies of water and over 518 miles of streams. The Badger-Two Medicine region is an area of mountains, river valleys, wetlands and mountains alongside the Montana Rocky Mountain Front and is a rarity in the fact there are virtually no roads.

The area is so vast it is recommended you book a tour to ensure you stay respectful to the land.

There are many other areas that are beautiful to visit however it is worth checking for opening times as some close during the colder months.

The Hiawatha Trail is the perfect place to visit for cycling tours while the Clearwater Canoe Trail, only a few miles north of Seeley Lake, is the ideal place to spot fall foliage. And as the weather is a bit cooler there are even less people about, making fall the perfect time to head out and see those breath-taking views.

As with everywhere in America at the moment, restrictions are in place due to coronavirus so it is important to do your research before you leave to make sure you comply with any new rules or regulations in the area you are visiting.

Happy Thanksgiving

Will Thanksgiving Be The Latest Event To Be Canceled?

With Thanksgiving fast approaching many of us are looking forward to a break in our routine, a chance to escape and catch up with loved ones and to be thankful for what we have.

However there is growing concern that despite the supply and demand being there, the two may not meet due to both coronavirus fears and restrictions.

Figures recently released by travel data company OAG shows that November bookings for American Airlines and United Airlines are only reaching around 25 per cent compared to bookings for the same time in 2019. Delta Air Lines are also struggling with only 12% of 2019’s numbers.

Senior analyst John Grant confirmed the numbers saying, “It looks like the last hope of the year, Thanksgiving, will be memorable this year for all the wrong reasons.”

The news could not come at a worse time for those in the travel industry – or those actually wanting to use the services. Part of the CARES Act – the federal coronavirus aid packages that many airlines received earlier in the year – included minimum air-service rules however all funds finished on 30 September and airlines are now allowed to stop routes to certain destinations if they feel they are not financially viable.

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This move has already commenced with JetBlue Airways indefinitely suspending flights to Ontario as well as many others. Delta Airlines has also suspended flights while American Airlines has suspended some of their routes to smaller areas such as Del Rio, Texas (DRT) and Lake Charles in Louisiana (LCH).

Other airlines including United and Southwest Airlines have also confirmed that they could be forced to suspend less profitable flights although which flights these are is yet to be announced.

The reduction in flights had been expected since airlines started furloughing their staff with over 40,000 employees either furloughed or laid off since the CARES Act finished. A new federal relief package was expected however Congress was unable to come to an agreement on how the package would be before the deadline.

Many domestic schedules for November were announced and although expected, the number of flights dropped was still a surprise, with some airlines cutting schedules down to 38%. In fact United and American saw the most changes with United falling by around 58 points to down 50% however American fell by 52 points to 44%. Southwest also reduced its flying, dropping by 30 points to down 38%.

Although Delta has yet to make their announcements they have already indicated that they will only be flying around 30% of its 2019 schedule, however travelers are still waiting to hear which flights will and will not be taking off.

When the pandemic first hit in the beginning of the year many experts would have been hard pressed to believe airlines would still be affected come the winter season, however as the spread of the virus across America has continued to grow with no clear direction of how to reduce or contain the virus, it soon became clear that the winter travel season would be severely affected.

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Many of the flights booked during this period are by business travelers who travel more during the off peak season while leisure travelers tend to have a lull after Labor Day. The season then has peaks and troughs until spring – thanks to Thanksgiving and the Christmas period – when vacationers start to head off for their breaks.

However with more and more employees working from home corporate travel is at an all time low. And with job losses at an all time high many are unable to afford the luxury of a vacation.

It was this issue that was brought to the attention of Congress as both labor unions and airlines fought for extra federal aid, the belief being that if the government could help them get through the winter hopefully next year’s travel will be back to higher levels of booking – especially if there is a vaccine for covid-19.

However many are predicting that the airline industry will take far longer to recover than first expected. Both the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and Airlines for America (A4A) – both unaffiliated trade groups – have confirmed they believe it could take around four years before the industry fully recovers from the losses of 2020.

Alexandre de Juniac, director general for IATA spoke about the upcoming winter months and said the “outlook has actually gotten darker – something I would not have believed possible just a few months ago.”

There is some glimmer of positivity for some though. As the airports will be emptier this Thanksgiving those flying will be able to move around more freely and, hopefully, keeping any further cases of coronavirus from spreading. However the airlines are still hoping that there will be an increase in demand nearer the date with many booking last minute deals to get them home to their families.

A spokesman for booking site Kayak confirmed this theory stating that, “when looking at travel searches leading into the summer holidays (Memorial Day, July Fourth and Labor Day), Kayak saw travel interest start to pick up about 40 days in advance but didn’t actually peak until one day prior. If we use that same logic heading into the winter holidays, we expect to see travel interest start picking up the week of October 19 and peak much closer to the holidays.”

Big Bend National Park

Some Of The Most Scenic Places To Camp In America 

As winter approaches for parts of the US, many are working on planning things to do to keep themselves occupied as the world continues to battle the Covid-19 pandemic. Taking a road tip and going camping is pretty much the safest and easiest way to travel domestically at the moment. Especially if you live in a cooler part of the country, planning a road trip to go to one of the warmer parts of the country for an extended holiday camping trip is the best way to get your mind of the current state of the world and just relax. Here are some of the most popular scenic destinations for campers in the US:

Minnewaska State Park Reserve, New York: Since we’re still in the middle of fall and the weather hasn’t gotten too severe yet there’s still time to camp in one of the cooler parts of the country to really take in the fall foliage. This state reserve is less than 100 miles from the city and is known for its breathtaking autumnal landscapes and fresh mountain air. For those living in NYC, you can either drive up for the day or camp out based on how close it is.

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Minnewaska State Park Reserve, New York

Shenandoah National Park, Virginia: This park is a short drive from Washington D.C. and has over 500 miles of hiking trails. The park itself is full of lush views of forests and waterfalls, which will make anyone feel as though they’re stepping right into a National Geographic documentary. There are five campgrounds available through November operating at reduced capacity. 

Dry Tortugas National Park, Florida: In this park, you can have the largest barrier reef in the US right outside of your tent. Campers can easily rent snorkel gear and spend their time on the beach exploring the wide variety of nature and wildlife Fort Jefferson has to offer. While tours of the grounds are temporarily unavailable due to Covid-19, the campgrounds themselves are still operating fully. 

Big Bend National Park, Texas: This park is the go to destination for anyone with a serious urge for an adventure. Campers can go rafting, canoeing, and Kayaking along the Rio Grande or opt to hike any of the trails that go along the park’s desert, mountain, and river landscapes. At night, campers can enjoy some of the most spectacular stargazing sights they’ve likely ever seen, and with the campgrounds operating at limited capacity, there’s no worry of being too close to anyone else. 

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Big Bend National Park, Texas

Ozark National Forest, Arkansas: Arkansas in general is known for its lush countryside foliage, but it’s often overlooked by other more mainstream destinations. However, in the Ozark National Forest visitors would be shocked to see they have nine beaches and thousands of acres worth of lakes and streams to explore. There’s a number of fully-operating campgrounds in the forest and while some recreational services are closed down, there’s still plenty of options available for those looking for an adventure. 

Badlands National Park, South Dakota: The climate in Badlands is relatively self-explanatory; it can be bad. However, if you plan it out right you’ll have a gorgeous trip where you’ll see wondrous rock formations, prairies, and even some spots to look at ancient fossils. The park offers two campgrounds, Cedar Pass, which has amenities like running water and electricity, or Sage Creek, which has no running water but is known for being the more scenic spot for wildlife spotting. 

Gunnison National Forest, Colorado: This forest has over 3,000 miles worth of hiking trails and 1.6 million acres of land available to the public. You’ll be able to see the Rocky Mountains from practically any spot and with 30 campsites to choose from, any camper would be able to find the perfect spot. Some of the facilities on the grounds are temporarily closed due to Covid, however, all the necessary services are still available.

Nashville Tennessee

Visit Tennessee – More Than Just Agriculture and Commerce

It seems that wherever you look at the moment all you can see is news regarding the current health crisis, the upcoming election or President Donald Trump’s latest brush with illness, so it is easy to see why many of us are looking to get away this fall.

The state of Tennessee is full of exciting places to go and visit whatever time of year you go, however there are some sights and experiences that are only available during fall so now is the perfect time to go and visit.

For a spectacular vista head to Cherohala Skyway National Scenic Byway, which takes you the 43 miles from Tellico Plains in Tennessee to Robbinsville and passes forested mountainside, providing the visitor with a stunning views of oranges, yellows, reds and golden browns for as far as the eye can see.

Completed after 34 years of construction, the Skyway was opened in 1996 and has provided the driver with plenty of locations to stop and explore the hiking trails that take you through 5,400 feet of mountains, the Cherokee and Nantahala National Forests as well as past scenic waterfalls and overlooks.

Make sure you fill up your car before embarking on your journey though as other than a few restrooms there are no other facilities for the duration of the journey.

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If music is more your thing then you have come to the right place! Tennessee has a long history with country music, in particular Beale Street in Memphis where many musicians in the mid-1800s played. While Beale Street was originally the home of African-American culture and often saw the musical stylings of R&B, jazz, blues and gospel music merge together.

Head to the American Music Triangle for a nostalgic day out and visit Franklin, Nashville, Brownsville and of course, Memphis.

While you are in Memphis it would be remiss not to visit the US Civil Rights Trail which tells the story of those who peacefully fought for equality and rights for all. Starting in Memphis, follow their path through to Clinton in East Tennessee and find out how these amazing men and women secured what should have been theirs anyway.

Tennessee has some amazing festivals including the Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion and the Pilgrimage Music & Cultural Festival in Franklin however due to covid-19 these have been canceled for 2020. However, they are hoping to be back in 2021 and are encouraging people to get their tickets now.

One thing you definitely need to try when you are in Tennessee is the alcohol! Tennessee is famous for its whiskey and there are many varieties that you can try however we would recommend visiting Corsair Distillery which not only has a great selection of whiskeys but has also expanded to include gins and craft beers.

Book yourself onto one of the tours and tastings in their ‘brewstillery’ and follow the grain to grass story. As with many attractions the tours have been affected by the on-going pandemic however all tours have fewer spaces and have been redesigned to allow for social distancing throughout.

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A visit to Tennessee is not complete with a trip to Chattanooga. Although many may associate the area with Glenn Miller and his love song to the area, Chattanooga, located on the Tennessee River, is better known for being the ‘Scenic City’.

With views of the surrounding Southeast Tennessee mountains, Chattanooga is a historical landmark due to both the railways as well as the Civil War battlefield.

Book your stay and visit Lookout Mountain followed by a trip to the North Shore area and sample the many different foods they have on offer. If trains are your thing, a visit to the Tennessee Valley Railroad museum, where there are plenty of restored trains from centuries ago to see, is a must do.

Finally, head to Walnut Street Bridge, the world’s longest pedestrian bridge, and catch a glimpse of the beautiful sunsets the area is renowned for.

Johnson City is our final recommendation for this great state. The area is popular for those looking for outdoor experiences and has many festivals, shows and excursions throughout the year. As with all the locations we have recommended check out their website for any restrictions currently in place.

The nightlife in Johnson City is both diverse and vibrant and you can find something for everyone. Many young artists head to the city to perfect their act so you can easily catch an up and coming star while you enjoy your dinner. Whether you choose to go to The Hideaway, Capone’s or The Willowtree Coffeehouse and Music Room, you are guaranteed to have a great night of entertainment.

Whatever you decide to do in Tennessee it is always worth remembering that there are many places to stay so you can make your visit longer if you want to. Alongside chain hotels there are a myriad of inns and bed and breakfasts making Tennessee the ideal place to get away from it all.

American Airlines

American Airlines Announce Furloughs

The airline industry has been one of the many sectors that have been hit hard following the on-going coronavirus pandemic, not just at home but also around the world, with airlines continuing to implement moves that they hope will keep their organizations operational.

As part of the government’s recent handouts of loans and grants to businesses, it was believed that the travel industry would start to bounce back once the world re-opened. However, the initial few weeks that many countries thought it would take to work through the health crisis has passed and we are now entering the tenth month of coronavirus in the world.

This shocking statistic means that while the travel industry was able to pause for a short period of time, long term it has seen negative effects that have been catastrophic.

Not all airlines were able to receive any financial support and those that did, including American Airlines and United Airlines, had provisions written into their terms that the money would be used to pay employees wages.

With the CARES Act coming to an end a collection of airlines has been working together to demand a six-month extension to the aid as passenger levels are only at around a third of the pre-pandemic levels.

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However it has been reported that despite the extra money that airlines have received, employees will still be losing their positions.

The most recent is American Airlines who have confirmed that around 19,000 of their employees are facing furlough after they failed to come up with an agreement for more US federal aid.

Unions and passenger airlines have launched a campaign for a further $25 billion to pay for their employees, however there are issues with the negotiations of the pandemic-relief measure.

And they are not the only airline to be reducing their workload as United Airlines has also implied that around 12,000 of their employees could also be furloughed.

The announcements would be two of the biggest involuntary job losses in the industry due to coronavirus.

Currently the American government is trying to come up with a plan that would appeal to both Democrats and Republicans and would provide much needed aid to businesses that need it. As the travel industry remains at an all time low billions of dollars are continuing to be lost. And while some may feel that further handouts from the government is pushing the economy further into debt, without it the unemployment benefit bill could spiral out of control.

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Yet with the country’s two political parties continuing to disagree on the future of the relief aid, industry officials are beginning to face the fact that the airline industry’s future does not look as positive as they would hope.

It is not just America that is struggling to cope with the continuing travel restrictions. The reduced number of flights between America and the UK is believed to be costing the UK economy around $14 billion with several of their airlines, such as ‘no-frills’ airline Flybe, also being forced to close. The number of job losses in all aspects of the travel sector is also continuing to increase.

According to a recent report on behalf of the aviation industry, it has also been claimed that $42 million could be wiped from the UK GDP each day while the travel restrictions are kept in place. It also discovered that the total capacity of flights between America and the UK were down by 85 per cent compared to the same time last September.

The research was carried out by York Aviation on behalf of IAG who own British Airways, the airline trade body Airlines UK, aviation services organization Collinson as well as Heathrow Airport.

In recent weeks an air bridge between New York and London was demanded by airline bosses including Virgin Atlantic’s chief customer and operating officer Corneel Koster, in an attempt to bring a much needed boost to the economies from tourism.

The airline – alongside others including Lufthansa, United, American and IAG – had also been pressuring governments in both countries to introduce airport testing for covid-19 rather than the mandatory self-quarantine period of 14 days that is currently in the UK, with a letter to those in power stating that the airlines “believe it is critical to find a way to reopen air services between the U.S. and Europe.”

Many travelers when questioned confirmed they would rather not travel than have to stay at home for two weeks on their return.

However JetBlue, American Airlines, Hawaiian and United airlines have confirmed they and planning to introduce these tests in airports throughout America.

While this should be seen as good news for travelers itching to get back in the air the tests would not be mandatory and they would also cost the traveler between $80 and $250.

NYC

Visit New York City This Fall

New York City is one of those places where you know you will have an amazing time whatever the season is.

Whether you like to bask in the warmth of the sun at the top of the Empire State Building in summer, or watch the signs of spring appear in any of the 28,000 acres of municipal parkland or even wait in line to ice skate at the bottom of the Rockefeller Center before warming yourself up with a hot chocolate from one of the coffee shops along the route home, New York has something for everyone.

But to many, fall is the best season to visit the city that never sleeps. As the temperature slides slightly from a balmy 86 Fahrenheit to a more manageable 64 degrees and the leaves in Central Park display varying degrees of oranges, yellows and deep reds before floating to the ground, there are many areas you should visit.

If you have never visited New York City it can be quite overwhelming in the first instance as you try to decide on what famous landmark you should see first. We recommend you spend at least 3 nights in the city to ensure you get a good shot at visiting everywhere you want, although this will still never be enough!

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The three most visited landmarks have to be the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, the Rockefeller Center and of course, the Empire State Building. The best time to visit these is early in the morning or later in the evening. For those perfect Instagram photos we would also recommend visiting either the Empire State Building at night and the Rockefeller Center during the day – or vice versa – so you can get some amazing day and night shots. The Top of the Rock tour also includes a presentation that takes you through the history of the building and includes an amazing show in the elevator!

If you want to avoid the crowds at the Statue of Liberty, and do not mind not climbing the 354 steps to the top, why not take the Staten Island Ferry? The ferry takes you straight past one of the world’s most famous landmarks and is free to use.

One of the lesser known areas to visit is Governors Island which remains open until the end of October. Although once a secret, the island welcomes visitors to explore the area on bikes or visit some of the many events that are hosted there. It is also the perfect place to see the stunning views of Manhattan and a must for those that love a good photo opportunity.

If you prefer to stay in the main area of the city then a walk through Central Park is a must. Or even better, book a carriage ride through the park and find out some of the amazing facts or see the places some of your favorite movies were filmed – including Mr. Popper’s Penguins, Spider-Man 3, Friends With Benefits and The Avengers. One of our highlights is the detailed Alice in Wonderland sculpture, located on East 74th Street, which is based on the 1865 classic by Lewis Carroll.

Fall also means Halloween and New York’s Great Jack O’Lantern Blaze has opened a second location. As well as the original setting at Van Cortlandt Manor in the Hudson Valley, you can now get scared silly at the historic Old Bethpage Village Restoration on Long Island. Both locations will have around 7,000 hand carved jack o’lanterns as well as synchronized lights and scary music to complete the evening.

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Many visitors to New York choose to visit The 9/11 Memorial Museum which not only honors all those who lost their lives due to the devastating events of that day 19 years ago as well as on February 26 1993. The visitor experience is one that humbles many, but is even more poignant in September. Although there are restrictions in place this is still a must-visit location for tourists and residents alike.

If the thought of Fall excites you as it is another step close to Christmas why not start your shopping for the big day? Christmas markets generally open around the beginning of November and an afternoon mooching around these stalls are the perfect way to get in the festive mood.

It is important to remember that we are still in the middle of one of the worst health emergencies that the country has ever experienced so when visiting anywhere please make sure you adhere to that location’s social distancing guidelines and stay safe.

New York is an amazing city to visit and you will want to visit time and time again, finding new areas to explore or a new favorite coffee shop or deli to have lunch. Whatever you choose to do, make sure you remember to take your thermals as the weather can change quickly!

Stargazing

Some Of The Best Places To Stargaze Around The World 

Stargazing is one of the most popular and relaxing activities universally performed across the globe. There’s nothing like sitting in a large field of grass and looking up at the star-filled sky and contemplating just how small we all truly are. All around the world there are numerous locations where the universe looks close enough to touch based on how saturated the sky can get with stars. Here’s a list of some of the most widely-known destinations to view the night sky from:

The Atacama Desert, Chile: South America in general is known for its amazing stargazing. This desert located in the northern part of Chile is the driest place on the planet; besides the North and South Poles. It receives a couple millimeters of rain every year, however, the dry conditions mixed with the high altitude, minimal clouds, and near-zero pollution makes it perfect for viewing the night sky. The Tarantula Nebula, the Fornax Cluster of galaxies, the Southern Cross, and even the Large Magellanic Cloud are all visible from the desert. For this reason, locals refer to the desert as the best place in the world for looking at the stars. 

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The Atacama Desert

Natural Bridges National Monument, Utah: This national monument is located in Lake Powell, Utah, and was the first ever certified International Dark Sky Park, which is an accolade given to various areas of the world by the International Dark Sky Association, whose main goal is to combat light and air pollution worldwide. This designation advertises itself as having some of the darkest and clearest skies in the US and in the world. The biggest attraction is the “river of light” that appears at night which is created by the Milky Way’s reflection as it rises over the Owachomo Bridge. The bridge forms what looks like a clean-cut window into the night sky that “frames” the millions of stars visible with the naked eye. Locals recommend camping out under the stars for the best experience. 

Iriomote-Ishigaki National Park, Japan: Japan is a country that’s known for it’s natural beauty. It’s cherry blossom trees and emphasis on nature in architecture make Japan one of the most beautiful countries in the world. It’s also one of the best places for stargazing, in the Iriomote-Ishigaki National Park especially, 84 out of the 88 constellations, that are recognized by the International Astronomical Union, are visible. The park is also an International Dark Sky Park.

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Mauna Kea Observatory

Mauna Kea, Hawaii: The Mauna Kea summit on the Big Island is known as the most famous stargazing spot in Hawaii. The volcanic terrain and 13,800 foot high peak gives onlookers some of the most breathtaking views of the night sky imaginable. The Mauna Kea Observatory is located at the mountains peak, allowing for individuals to really look deeper into the night sky with it’s thirteen powerful telescopes. 

Pic du Midi, France: Pic du Midi is located in the French Pyrénées mountains and is famous for being the spot where NASA scientists take photos of the surface of the moon. If that isn’t any indication for how amazing the stargazing is here then I don’t know what is. Individuals can easily take a cable car from La Mongie to the mountains summit where an observatory is located for ideal viewing. 

La Fortuna, Costa Rica: This Costa Rican jungle may not seem like an ideal place for viewing the sky, especially considering tropical jungles are typically saturated in plant life making the sky nearly invisible, however, depending on the night, locals refer to this jungle as one of the few places where the Milky Way Galaxy becomes visible at night. The jungle is located right above the equator, which means during the dry season (December – April) visitors will have ample opportunity to view the stars.