Now that vaccines are available to everyone 16 and older here in the United States and supplies appear to be plentiful, folks seem to be feeling positive about the coming summer and looking forward to traveling again. Much still depends on a large majority of the population getting fully vaccinated, and polls and surveys indicate there is a sizable percentage that is still reluctant if not outright opposed to do so. Several states are actually seeing an increase in cases and hospitalizations these days, perhaps due to some people becoming complacent about safety protocols after so many months following stringent measures to curb the spread of the virus. Nevertheless, I find myself confronted with a wealth of anecdotal evidence that a lot of people are stretching their wings (or preparing to do so in the near future) and traveling again.
This fact was really brought home to me (quite literally) recently as my husband and I were preparing to leave home for a stretch of 10 days, combining time spent with family in Portland and our annual (except for last year) spring wine tasting trip to Walla Walla, Washington. We are both well past the two weeks following our second dose of the vaccine and looking forward to a much greater sense of ease as we venture forth.
We always let our neighbors know when we’ll be out of town so they can keep an eye on our home, as we do for them. Before we could put the word out, both our next-door and our across-the-street neighbors let us know they would be away for one- and two-week vacations, respectively, in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. They’re also fully vaccinated and ready to roll. Two other (“mature”) neighbors are on extended road trips several states away, and our newest neighbors (younger but also vaccinated because of their work) are away just for this weekend. I really cannot recall (even pre-COVID) when so many of us on one street were traveling at the same time. Clearly, there’s a lot of pent-up wanderlust, and not just in my neighborhood.
A quick scan of social media over the past few weeks finds postings from friends and family all across the country announcing 1) they’ve gotten their shot(s) and 2) they are visiting their kids/grandkids/parents or just hitting the road for time away from the all-too-familiar confines of home. It doesn’t require much reading between the lines to pick up on the feelings of joy, relief and freedom this chance to get up and go has released.
Even our drive up Interstate 5 from Southern Oregon to Portland a few days ago revealed a shift from traffic patterns I’ve observed over the past year. Last spring most of the traffic on the interstate, aside from within city limits, had been reduced mostly to long-haul trucks. Gradually passenger traffic increased, but it wasn’t until this trip that I observed the typical pre-pandemic slowdowns, backups and rush hour traffic that has been missing (though not really missed) for much of the past year.
Travel industry observers and experts all predict that leisure travel will bounce back fairly quickly and sooner, probably, than business travel will rebound. Everything I’ve personally observed, lately, certainly confirms at least the former.
— Patty Vanikiotis, associate editor/copy editor
For all its cosmopolitan trappings, Singapore remains, at heart, a tropical island. The city planners determinedly preserved gennery and the high groves of concrete and glass, and for a complete escape from urban bustle there still remain patches of the jungle and mangroves that covered the island when Sir Stamford Raffles first established a trading outpost here in 1819.
In this era of 6,500-passenger mega-ships, any cruise vessel conveying fewer than a thousand voyagers is considered a small ship, including high-end luxury liners, deluxe expedition ships and the world’s riverboats. The focus on many small ships is the destination rather than the conveyance, the expert chat rather than the Broadway show, the watersport rather than the casino, the scenery and culture rather than the full-service spa and specialty restaurant. Passengers make a travel style choice, forgoing the options and pleasures of a resort-sized vessel for the deeper, more immersive experience of a yacht-scaled ship.
The biggest names in the Middle East sporting community will gather for the Sports Industry Awards as the event returns for its eighth edition. SPIA recognizes the achievements of individuals, organizations, facilities and campaigns that contributed to the development of sport in the region.
Air Tahiti Nui resumed service from Los Angeles (LAX) to Papeete (PPT) last week. To welcome travelers back to French Polynesia, Air Tahiti Nui offers fares starting as low as $775 round-trip from Los Angeles, and $789 from San Francisco (SFO). The airline also allows a free date change on all of its tickets.
Turkish Airlines, already flying to more countries than any other airline, announced its 10th U.S. gateway: Newark Liberty International Airport. Service will launch May 21, with four flights per week between EWR and Istanbul (IST). Beginning June 1, the frequency increases to daily.
Magdalena, a Maryland Bistro in The Ivy Hotel partnered with Uncle Nearest premium whiskey to create a Preakness-inspired cocktail ahead of this weekend’s event. The Laws and Lilies libation honors the contributions of Black jockeys in the early days of American horse racing. Emmanuel S. West, Jr., director of food & beverage, The Ivy Hotel, crafted the cocktail using Uncle Nearest’s 1856 Premium Whiskey.