How do I tell her she’s not coming on this cruise?


Dear Amy: Two years ago (prior to the pandemic), my husband and I went on a cruise with longtime friends. They then asked us to join them again. The date is approaching, and we are having a huge problem letting my sister know we are going.

Amy Dickinson 

I know this is a first-world problem, but my sister is a widow and counts on us to provide her with all her socialization.

My husband has been a saint in making her a part of all our vacations, dinners out, etc., with no complaint. We have been married for 52 years and my sister has been widowed for 20 years.

She is always complaining of how she is bored and feels no one does anything to provide her with “things to do,” or asking her to be part of vacations, dinner parties, etc.

We are at a loss on how to tell her we are leaving without her on this trip.



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US travel restrictions coming for 8 African countries due to omicron


The U.S. is going to restrict travel from South Africa and several other countries due to a troubling new COVID-19 variant. 

The White House announced the new rules, which come just weeks after the country reopened to international tourists with new entry rules, on Friday.

The new rules, which take effect Monday, apply to travelers from South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Lesotho, Eswatini, Mozambique, and Malawi. U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents are excluded.

The policy was implemented out of an “abundance of caution” in light of the new variant and in consultation with Anthony Fauci, the president’s Chief Medical Officer, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

►What is omicron: What to know about the new COVID-19 variant in South Africa

►COVID updates: New COVID variant dubbed ‘omicron’ by WHO, classified as ‘variant of concern’

The World Health Organization on Friday declared the variant, omicron, a variant of concern. The first case was reported to WHO from South Africa on Wednesday.

Several European countries and the United Kingdom have already taken measures to restrict travel to and from Africa since the new variant came to light.

What US airlines serve Africa?

United and Delta are the only U.S. airlines offering service between the U.S. and Africa.

United Airlines began offering flights between the United States and Africa, flights that only began earlier this year.

The Chicago-based airline offers nonstop flights between Newark and Johannesburg and Washington, D.C., to Accra three times a week. It is also due to resume seasonal service to Cape Town in December.

“We’re monitoring the situation but don’t have any changes to announce at this time,” United spokeswoman Nicole Carriere said via email.

Delta offers service between Atlanta and Johannesburg and said it, too, is monitoring the situation.



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Traveling Vietnam wall coming to Tulsa | Local News








Wall Night

The Dignity Memorial Vietnam Wall, a three-quarter-scale traveling replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, visits Washington, D.C.




The Vietnam Traveling Memorial Wall will begin a four-day visit to Tulsa later this week.

A smaller replica of the National Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C., the touring wall is set to arrive Thursday and will be at Veterans Park, 1109 E. Sixth St., through noon Sunday, Nov. 7.

The memorial, which is engraved with the names of the more than 58,000 Americans killed in the conflict, will be available to visitors 24-7 during its stay, with volunteers staffing it around the clock.

“We’re really excited because of the dates,” said Dan Fuller, Tulsa VFW Post 577 commander. “It’s the week before Veterans Day, and we think that will be beneficial.”

It will be the first time in over 20 years the traveling memorial has been to Tulsa, although it has been to other area communities in that time, he said.

The city’s Veterans Park is in its new location — the former home of the city’s Centennial Park.

In September, city officials rededicated Centennial as the new Veterans Park while rededicating the former Veterans Park as Dream Keepers Park to honor the city’s Native American heritage.

“We want to stress the new location, and this will help raise awareness of that,” Fuller said.



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A National Juneteenth Museum Is Coming to Texas in 2023




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Travel agents ‘coming into their own’ as Australia set to use $8 billion of pandemic travel credits


Industry experts are predicting the post-lockdown world will see the return of travel agencies which have weathered the pandemic and a decade of declining business due to online bookings.

Australian Federation of Travel Agents chief executive Dean Long said the complexity of overseas travel restrictions, including different vaccination passports, will make using a knowledgeable travel agent more important than ever.

More than $8 billion of travel credits were issued for cancelled trips during the pandemic, Mr Long told ABC Radio Brisbane.

“We need to assist [Australians] in using those travel credits and that’s why the government has been really strong in supporting travel agencies to date, to make sure our customers and our travellers can maximise the use of those travel credits,” he said.

Mr Long said agents had recently seen a spike in inquiries, but bookings were still relatively slow.

“There is a little bit of hesitation by people to get that booking and it’s really founded on two principles — one, a lack of confidence that the border will remain open for people to return, that’s the number one barrier,” Mr Long said.

No ‘snap back’ to pre-pandemic travel

Mr Long said while pre-pandemic people might book through online websites, the sheer complexities of claiming travel credits while navigating different restrictions would bring the travel agent back to the fore.

Mr Long said travellers should be prepared to spend more on comprehensive travel insurance, including disruption insurance, and should be prepared to go through different countries’ quarantine requirements.

woman holding a mobile phone with a vaccination certificate
Proof of vaccination will be key for international travellers.(Supplied: IATA)

Navigating vaccination passport requirements would also be a challenge.

“It’s not going to be a snap back to 2019 where everybody could just get on a plane, go anywhere in the world, and if you had the right visa you’d get in and you get home.”

Further travel bubbles planned

While New Zealand’s travel bubble with Australia burst weeks ago, federal Tourism Minister Dan Tehan is working on travel bubbles to popular tourism destinations like Singapore and Bali, which recently reopened to international travellers from certain countries.

“Discussions continue with other countries — Japan, South Korea, and Indonesia with regards to Bali.”

Strict conditions apply to Bali travellers, however, including five days’ quarantine, proof of vaccination, and other local restrictions.

And while its borders are open, vaccination rates are relatively low for the island, with around half of the 4 million population vaccinated.

Mr Tehan said how that would play out for travellers to and from Australia was still being decided.

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Australia plans to reopen international borders by Christmas.(Rhiana Whitson)

Confidence ahead

Mr Long said travel to North America and Canada was in particular demand as one of the major routes to and from Australia.

Sunshine Coast resident Tracey Grills recently used her 18-month-old Qantas credits to book a month-long skiing holiday to Whistler in Canada for February.

Fog hangs over a ski field dotted with skiers, with snow-capped mountains in the background.
Demand for trips to places such as Whistler in Canada is already increasing.(Panoramio: Kallahar)

She said she and her husband always stuck with a travel agent for their bookings and felt comfortable taking the plunge now.

 “We have our tickets, our accommodation. Our agent has done pretty much everything,” Ms Grills said.

She said travel insurance was the biggest change, requiring she and her husband to spend double what they had pre-pandemic, but making sure it covered them for COVID-19.

“I think if everyone is double-vaxxed and everyone does the right thing — we’ll wear our mask and take sanitiser — I think we’ll be pretty safe,” she said.



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Onvo Travel Plaza coming to Mansfield area in 2022 | Local Business News


Mansfield, Pa. — An Onvo Travel Plaza is scheduled to open next year at 1904 S. Main Street in Richmond Township, Tioga County. 

 

The site, located across the street from Blaise Alexander dealership just off Route 15, will include an 8,000 square-foot building which will house a Burger King and an Onvo convenience store. The building will be constructed on the site of the former rental office of the Great American Oilfields, which has sat empty for a few years. 

 

The travel plaza will feature truck parking, showers, state of the art bean-to-cup coffee machines, EV chargers, and a drive-thru for Burger King, according to Harman Aulakh, marketing manager for Onvo. There also will be gas pumps, including diesel. 

 

Construction is expected to begin at some point in 2022, according to Aulakh. 

 

“Onvo identified Richmond Township because we see the potential for growth in the area. We think that the area presents a lot of opportunity for us, and that Onvo is well suited to serve the needs of the travelers, truckers, and residents of the area,” Aulakh said in an email. 

 

Onvo, which has a headquarter office in Scranton, was started in 1988 in Tunkhannock. Since then, Onvo has expanded to 32 travel plazas, 24 restaurants, and five hotels throughout Pennsylvania and New York, according to the website.

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Possible gas spike this week coming as people are planning to travel more


LYNCHBURG, Va. (WFXR) — You could be paying more at the pump in the coming days.

Gas prices are expected to rise in reaction to the shutdown of the Colonial Pipeline, which delivers about 45% of fuel to the East Coast.

The pipeline announced over the weekend they were the victim of a cyberattack, and as a precaution, they shut down the pipeline. However, they expect to have the pipeline back up and running by the end of the week.

One local expert says the longer it’s offline, the bigger the impact.

Gas prices in the area have already been creeping up as we head into the summer driving season. Prices in our area are up about four cents over last week, so the pipeline shutting down comes at a time when gas prices usually go up anyway as the warmer months begin.

This summer could be especially big for travel, as Morgan Dean, Senior Specialist for Public & Government Affairs with AAA, explains.

“There is a lot of pent-up demand this year,” said Dean. “A recent survey by Destination Analyst, whom we work with here at AAA, found that 70 percent of people are ready to travel right now.”

“That’s very different from where we were last year in the midst of stay at home orders.”

According to Dean, this time last year, a decrease in demand drove the average cost of a gallon of gas down to $1.54.

Now, at stations in the Lynchburg area, gas is averaging at $2.75. That’s up about four cents over last week.

Dean offered the following tips to save on gas:

  • Plan ahead to accomplish multiple errands in one trip, and whenever possible avoid high-traffic times of day.
  • If you own more than one car, use the most fuel-efficient model that meets the needs of any given journey.
  • Remove unnecessary and bulky items from your car. Minimize your use of roof racks and remove special carriers when not in use. It takes more fuel to accelerate a heavier car, and the reduction in fuel economy is greater for small cars than for larger models.
  • Minimize your use of air conditioning. Even at highway speeds, open windows have less effect on fuel economy than the engine power required to operate the air conditioning compressor.
  • In hot weather, park in the shade or use a windshield sunscreen to lessen heat buildup inside the car. This reduces the need for air conditioning (and thus fuel) to cool down the car.

Dean also says not to panic about a price increase and buy gas if you already have more than a quarter of a tank, saying it can increase demand and drive up prices further.

Get breaking news, weather, and sports delivered to your smartphone with the WFXR News app available on Apple and Android.



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Traveling Exhibit on Puppeteer Jim Henson Coming to Michigan | Michigan News


DEARBORN, Mich. (AP) — A traveling exhibit about the legendary puppeteer Jim Henson is coming to Michigan starting next month.

The exhibit called “The Jim Henson Exhibition: Imagination Unlimited” will open at the Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation in Dearborn from June 5 to September 6.

The interactive display will delve into his work on “The Muppets,” “Sesame Street,” “Fraggle Rock,” and “Labyrinth.” It’ll feature puppets, scripts, storyboard and costumes. Henson died in 1990.

“This exhibition explores Henson’s unique contributions to the moving image, and how he and a talented team of designers, performers, and writers created an unparalleled body of work that continues to delight and inspire people of all ages,” said a news release from the museum.

Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.



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Travel Industry Seeing Some Benefits From Visitors Coming to the US for Vaccine Shots


This has a bit of perverse logic to it, but the travel industry has been the beneficiary of thousands of people – mostly from Mexico – coming to the U.S. to get a COVID-19 vaccine.

The travel is mainly to states like Texas and Florida, the Wall Street Journal reported, because many states such as Texas do not require proof of residency in order to receive the vaccine.

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Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that are common in many different species of animals, including camels, cattle, cats, and bats.

That has allowed airlines and other travel stakeholders to expand their respective services and go to market with a new, unexpected way to entice customers.

One travel agency in Mexico is advertising “Enjoy Dallas, Includes Covid Vaccine” as one of its packages. Mexican airlines have also increased the frequency of flights between Mexico and South Texas.

And it’s not just proximity. A tour group based in Thailand is advertising a package that costs $2,400 – it does not include airfare but it does include the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

It’s not for the economically challenged, however. Virginia Gonzalez told the Wall Street Journal that she and her husband flew from Mexico to Texas and then got on a bus to a vaccination site – twice, in fact, in order to get both doses of the vaccine.

“It’s a matter of survival,” Gonzalez said. “In Mexico, officials didn’t buy enough vaccines. It’s like they don’t care about their citizens.”





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Travel Industry Seeing Some Benefits From Visitors Coming to the US for Vaccine Shots


This has a bit of perverse logic to it, but the travel industry has been the beneficiary of thousands of people – mostly from Mexico – coming to the U.S. to get a COVID-19 vaccine.

The travel is mainly to states like Texas and Florida, the Wall Street Journal reported, because many states such as Texas do not require proof of residency in order to receive the vaccine.

ADVERTISING

Trending Now

Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that are common in many different species of animals, including camels, cattle, cats, and bats.

That has allowed airlines and other travel stakeholders to expand their respective services and go to market with a new, unexpected way to entice customers.

One travel agency in Mexico is advertising “Enjoy Dallas, Includes Covid Vaccine” as one of its packages. Mexican airlines have also increased the frequency of flights between Mexico and South Texas.

And it’s not just proximity. A tour group based in Thailand is advertising a package that costs $2,400 – it does not include airfare but it does include the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

It’s not for the economically challenged, however. Virginia Gonzalez told the Wall Street Journal that she and her husband flew from Mexico to Texas and then got on a bus to a vaccination site – twice, in fact, in order to get both doses of the vaccine.

“It’s a matter of survival,” Gonzalez said. “In Mexico, officials didn’t buy enough vaccines. It’s like they don’t care about their citizens.”





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