Your Insider’s Guide To Going To The Rose Parade, From Tips On Viewing To Pandemic Precautions


I’ve been going to the Rose Parade on and off since my 20s. To me, it’s an annual rite of Southern California togetherness to stand in a crowd yelling “Happy New Year!” to people we don’t know. At the same time, the people in the parade have each spent time, tears and money (lots of money!) to come here just to be in our local shindig.

If there were ever a year to go see the parade in person, this is it.

It’s back after the pandemic canceled the 2021 New Year’s Day tradition, and its theme, “Dream, Believe, Achieve” celebrates educators, health professionals and others in public service who have endured very tough times.

Conversely, if there were ever a year to skip the parade and watch it on TV from home, this is it.

It’s happening as the exceptionally contagious Omicron variant of the coronavirus is surging in Southern California, so it’s a risky time to be part of a crowd.

Whichever option you choose — hibernate away from the sniffling hordes or brave the great outdoors with thousands — let this be your guide to maximizing your personal safety and enjoyment as 2022 begins.

2020 Rose Parade float animals with construction equipment

In this 2020 Rose Parade float, cartoon animals operate heavy equipment

(Sharon McNary

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LAist.com)

Happy pandemic new year. Okay, let’s get on with it.

Pandemic Precautions

The biggest change in this year’s parade and bowl game are the new pandemic requirements for thousands of spectators and participants.

Participants:

Every band member, football player, parade volunteer, float driver, horse rider and Rose Parade princess has to show proof of having been vaccinated or received a negative COVID test within 72 hours of the event they are attending.

Spectators:

Spectators headed to three ticketed events drawing 10,000 or more participants, which the Tournament of Roses considers “mega-events,” will have to meet the same requirements. Those events are:

  • The Rose Bowl game
  • Floatfest post-parade float viewing
  • The Rose Parade grandstands in the security area at TV Corner from Green Street and Orange Grove past the big turn at Colorado Boulevard east to Fair Oaks. 

Proof requirements:

  • The city and Tournament of Roses Association defines “full vaccination” as the two-shot series of Pfizer or Moderna vaccine or single-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine. Be prepared to  show an official vaccine card or phone app that proves you got your shots, plus a photo ID. 
  • For the proof of a negative test, you’ll need a paper or digital proof from the test provider, plus a photo ID. Self-attestation — where you verbally assure them you’re vaxxed — is not accepted. 
  • There’s a booth at the Rose Bowl where you can get the test done up to 72 hours in advance and get a wristband that will be accepted at the mega-events.
  • To speed entry into events requiring proof, the Rose Bowl is encouraging attendees to upload your vax or negative test information to the Clear Health Pass phone app. It takes about 10 minutes to register, and you’ll need to have your ID and other info handy to complete that step.
  • As of this writing, the proof of vaccination or negative test is NOT  being required of spectators in grandstands east of the secured TV corner area or those attending Bandfest or Equestfest, because they won’t attract more than 10,000 people. 
  • But even though it’s currently not required, because things are still in flux, the Tournament of Roses website is cautioning attendees to “be prepared” to show proof of vaccination or a negative test.
  • Masks are strongly recommended for all events where you’ll come into contact with others. Children over age 2 must wear masks at the events.
graphic showing requirements to enter the Rose Bowl stadium

The Tournament of Roses has these requirements to get into the Rose Bowl stadium.

(Courtesy of Tournament of Roses Association)

The giant float barns that are normally open for ticketed tours of the decorating during the last week of the year are not allowing visitors inside this year due to the risk of transmitting the coronavirus.

Getting To The Parade

In 2018, this very publication titled its guide, “How To Survive The Migraine That Is Getting To The Rose Parade.” This was unfair. It doesn’t have to be a headache.

If there IS traffic, then YOU are the traffic. Nobody else is leaving their home in Pasadena at 6 a.m. in the morning. So plan in advance. Here’s the Tournament of Roses survival guide for getting to the parade and finding parking.

On New Year’s Day, in Pasadena, the city adjusts its signal timing and posts hundreds of traffic control people to help move the vehicles along.

Just take the most convenient freeway to Pasadena and follow directions. Best bets are the 210, 134 and 110. The parade route will close to traffic at 10 p.m. with limited major street crossings of the parade route kept open north and south until 6 a.m.

Parking on side streets near the parade route within walking distance of the parade is free. Pasadena lifts its restrictions on overnight parking during the New Year’s holiday. The big exceptions are the no-parking signs on streets designated for use by emergency vehicles.

Paid parking spaces for cars and RVs can be reserved at:

You can also take the Metro L Line (the Gold Line) to Pasadena and get off at any stop between Del Mar and Allen, and walk to Colorado Blvd. Just remember the crowds will be thickest at the intersections closest to the Metro stops, so be prepared to walk a bit farther.

Bringing your bike is another option, although it will be crowded on the Metro, and you may find it a challenge to safely lock your bike in a place that doesn’t interfere with parade crowds.

Very soon after the last parade unit passes, the street opens up to street sweepers, and the water-filled barriers that block some streets are emptied.

The parade takes about 2.5 hours to pass, and it moves at 2.5 miles per hour, but by about noon most parade route traffic is back to normal.

That’s when the traffic control focus shifts to getting many thousands of cars parked and people shuttled on buses from Old Town Pasadena to the Rose Bowl game. (More on that below.)

Rose Parade 2022 route closures

Route closures for the Rose Parade 2022

( Courtesy city of Pasadena)

Parade Grandstand Tickets

The very best seats — if still available — cost $100 to $110 at the grandstands at TV Corner, which are the areas from the start of the parade at Orange Grove and Green Street to Orange Grove and Colorado Blvd. But if you’re sitting in those seats, you have to arrive to pass through security by 6.30 a.m.

This is the area where the bands are still very fresh and precise for the cameras (despite any New Year’s Eve partying). Floats and bands make the 110-degree turn here.

This year, at this portion of Orange Grove, you’ll be able to see a made-for-TV performance by country singer LeAnn Rimes and a dance troupe, which opens the parade.

Beyond Fair Oaks, going west along Colorado Boulevard, grandstand seats cost $60 to $80. Tickets for all grandstands are sold by Sharp Seating.

A row of drummers in red and blue uniforms and tall white hats strapped to their chins carry drums reading "HOPE."

El Salvador marching band in the 2020 parade. The theme was Power of Hope and the event took place just a few months before the COVID-19 pandemic led to shutdowns of much of pubic life.

(Angel Di Bilio

/

Getty Images/iStock Editorial)

Accessible Parade Viewing

Three places are set aside where people with physical or vision disabilities can each sit with three guests in accessible (and super-primo) parade viewing areas. The tickets are free, but are in high demand and must be requested in advance, so take this as advice for the 2023 parade.

You can request tickets to accessible viewing places  here, or call (626) 449-4100, or email [email protected]

Sidewalk Parade Viewing

This is what I do most years, and it works out just fine. I wake up around 8 a.m., turn on the TV broadcast, fix myself a plate of party leftovers and a cup of coffee, and run outside at 8:30 a.m., when the parade starts, to see the Stealth Bomber, or some other costly government aircraft, buzz the parade route. My neighbors do this too, and we all say “Happy New Year” to each other.

After that, I go back indoors and watch the first few bands and floats on TV. Then I put on my running shoes and jog 1.8 miles to the parade, arriving just as the first motorcycle police arrive to lead the parade. (You don’t have to do that. I like to run. But it’s a good way to clear the webs from the night before).

When I get there, I’m usually standing about eight people back from the blue “honor line” painted on the asphalt, behind which people can sit or stand. But sightlines are not an issue. Typically about the first four rows of people are sitting in chairs, then standing behind them are kids, then short people, then taller people. And everybody gets a great view of the parade.

My point being, you don’t have to live in Pasadena or stay overnight to see all the spectacle the parade has to offer.

Everything you need or want to see is right there in front of you, even if you are standing toward the back of a crowd. The floats are ginormous. The bands have hundreds of people in them and play very loud, and the horses are quite tall.

And since the parade is 5.5 miles long, you WILL find street parking and a place to stand. If you arrive after the parade has started, that’s fine too. The farther along the parade route you go, the later the parade arrives.

Pro-tip: to see the parade for free, drive your car or get dropped off within about a half-mile of Colorado Boulevard, someplace east of, say, Lake Avenue to Sierra Madre Villa. You can arrive early (like around 7 a.m.) and have a picnic breakfast in your car and walk over to the parade route, or you can get there later and be assured of a place.

The People’s Grandstand

Here’s how some people make it work. Below is what I call “The People’s Grandstand,” and it’s kind of a locals-only institution. Fans create their own little wooden seats that fit nicely into the notches in the stones lining the sloped wall of the 210 Freeway overpass over Sierra Madre Blvd. In the rare rainy year, they have shelter, and in the more typical warm years, they have shade. And they get to view the spectacle of the taller floats folding themselves down to fit under the overpass and opening back up on the other side.

People sit on small wooden seats that help them perch on a sloped wall under a freeway overpass

The People’s Grandstands — Local craftspeople make small wooden seats that fit in the mortar notches in the sloped wall under a the 210 Freeway overpass at Sierra Madre Blvd.

(Sharon McNary

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LAist.com)

Camping Overnight: How Not To Do It

Camping overnight on New Year’s Eve on the Rose Parade route is a venerable local tradition. When I was a kid in the sixties, turning on the TV early New Year’s Day, the local news reporter would interview people who were just waking up in their sleeping bags. Seemed pretty glamorous. But I tried it once, years later — and I can tell you, it’s not.

I didn’t dress warmly enough. I didn’t bring a blanket to wrap up in. I didn’t bring enough money for food. I was in my old Army overcoat, jeans and tennis shoes and a wool cap and the temperature must have been in the 30s. I ended up melting the soles of my shoes trying to get my feet warm on somebody’s hibachi fire. At midnight, there were wonderful battles of Silly String and tortillas and marshmallows that left the street littered with a gummy mess. Around 1 a.m., somebody handed out trash bags, and that’s what I ended up sleeping in until sun-up when a horrible woman woke me up claiming that she had reserved the very ground upon which I was sleeping for her church group.

Things have changed somewhat since then. Pasadena now has a long list of do’s and don’ts for campers that are meant to correct mishaps and misbehavior from prior years. So tortilla fights and running into the street to bomb cars with marshmallows and Silly String are no longer allowed. (But it still happens.)

Plus, ever since the Boston Marathon bombing in 2013, there’s been an extra level of security along the parade route that informs the rules.

Camping along the Rose Parade route

These people secured spots along the Rose Parade route and are waiting for the go-ahead to move into the street.

(Andrea Bernstein

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LAist.org)

Camping Overnight: What’s Allowed

  • Arriving early: You can show up on the sidewalk at noon Dec. 31,. and at 11 p.m  you can move yourself and overnight essentials out to the blue-painted honor line in the street.
  • Fires: You can cook or stay warm with a fire, but only if it’s a manufactured barbecue that sits one foot off the ground, and is at least 25 feet away from any building.  You should have a fire extinguisher handy.
  • Pets: However, the city advises against bringing pets to overnight camping because it gets cold, and they might be frightened by loud noises.

Camping Overnight: What’s Not Allowed

  • Reserving space: You cannot reserve space on the sidewalk or in the street by leaving an unattended bunch of chairs or sawhorses or boxes or trash cans or whatever. The city will confiscate them and you’ll lose your place on the parade route as well as your furniture.
  • Heavy furniture: Pasadena Police Department does not want bulky items on the parade route, so no sofas, mattresses or Barcaloungers, partly because they can conceal dangerous items but also because they get left behind and the city has to haul them away. Step stools and ladders are also not allowed.
  • Creative firepits: No fires other than those in manufactured barbecues that sit a foot off the ground. A particular problem are the perforated drums of washing machines that have been used as firepits in past years. Those tend to spread sparks and fire, so they won’t be allowed.
  • Disturbances: No fireworks, no drugs, no alcohol, no loud horns, no drones.  Pasadena has a law against smoking at public events, including the Rose Parade, and that includes tobacco, cannabis or vaping products. The city also bans people selling any items or seating space along the parade route.
People in camp chairs on a grassy area

Victoria Garcia of San Bernardino, left, Bobbi Taylor of Hemet and Dustin Ingle of San Jacinto camp out on Orange Grove Boulevard in Pasadena on Wednesday afternoon, Dec. 31, 2014 before the 2015 Rose Parade.

( MAYA SUGARMAN

/

LAist.com)

The Sideshows

Everybody knows about the Rose Parade and Rose Bowl game, but there are some fun holiday side shows you can take family and visitors to see that will cement your status as a true Tournament of Roses insider.

Bandfest

The bands that march in the Rose Parade are fantastic, but they go by pretty fast, and seeing them on TV strips away the big sound and details that make them so much fun to see and hear in person.

But you can get your full-on fix of marching bands at Bandfest, which happens a few days before the parade.

It’s at Robinson Stadium at Pasadena City College at 2 p.m. Dec. 29 and 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. on Dec. 30.

The 18 bands that will march in the parade get divided into three different shows, each opened by the 180-member Pasadena City College Honor Band (50 members of the band are current PCC Lancer Band members and the rest are high school students who audition to play in the band).

Each band performs its field show on the PCC football field before grandstands of family, friends and band fans. Tickets to each performance are $20 and parking is free.

Equestfest

The horses in the Rose Parade do a lot more than just trot along leaving horse droppings for the volunteers in white suits to sweep up. On Dec. 29, Equestfest shows off the horses and riders doing drills and dances, trick riding and roping.

Admission gets you the performance in the arena, plus access to walk through the stables to chat with the riders. It’s at the Los Angeles Equestrian Center in Burbank. There are two shows, at 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Tickets are $20 and free for kids ages 5 and under. VIP tickets are $45.

A man dressed up in a fur Badgers hat of the University of Wisconsin with a woman wearing an apron before the Rose Bowl stadium entrance

Sharon McNary, dressed in an apron required while selling beer for a nonprofit club, stands with a proud Badgers fan outside the Rose Bowl stadium entrance

Rose Bowl Game

The Rose Bowl Game, a.k.a. “The Granddaddy of Them All”, is traditionally the afternoon of New Year’s Day, a few hours after the parade ends. Getting to this 108th Rose Bowl game and Fanfest tailgating is easy because you’re not allowed to drive there or be dropped off.

Everybody has to take the free shuttle bus from Old Town Pasadena. The good news is that every big game at the Rose Bowl has the same drill, so the shuttles run like a well-oiled machine.

The facede of the Rose Bowl has the name in green script with a red rose above. A series of tall columns hold up the structure.

The Rose Bowl stadium.

(Laser1987/Getty Images

/

iStock Editorial)

Grab a shuttle on Corson Ave. between Walnut Street and Fair Oaks Ave. anytime from 10 a.m. to two hours after the game is over. Parking is in the Parsons lot for $45 on Union Street between Fair Oaks and Pasadena avenues. The shuttle is two blocks’ walk from the Memorial Line L (Gold Line) Metro station.

It’s a crowd scene, waiting for the bus, riding it and at the Rose Bowl, so wear your mask and be ready with your vaccine or negative COVID-19 test results once you’re there..

The most specific information for getting to the game and the Fanfest pre-game festivities is on the Rose Bowl Game website.

What do you want to know about how we Play in L.A.?

And, how do you play? Sharon McNary wants to hear your questions and stories about affordable, accessible and inclusive ways we stay active for physical and mental health. 🚵🏻‍♀️ 🎳 🛶 🏕 ⚽️ 💃 🏄🏾‍♂️ 👨🏿‍🦽 🏃🏽‍♀️ 🏓 🛹 🤹🏻‍♀️





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Christmas vacation trips from travel industry insiders


Even without a pandemic, holiday travel isn’t for the faint of heart.

Millions are expected to travel this month, with threats of volatile weather and the omicron variant further stressing out people eager to close Year 2 of the pandemic.

To help travelers prepare, CNBC Travel asked industry insiders this question: What’s your one, solid tip for people traveling this December?  

Tips for travel planning

“Plan for the arc of the trip. Think of a trip like a story with a beginning, middle and end. For example, plan to have the nicest hotels at the end, building up to end on a great note. Then for the entry and exit, plan for ways you can ensure they go smoothly. Maybe it’s arranging private transport after a long flight, so you don’t have to navigate the public transit system amid jetlag. Whatever a solid arc looks like to you, plan it in advance.”
Sarah Groen, founder of the luxury travel company
Bell & Bly Travel Design

“If you’re planning to do some Greek island-hopping, keep in mind that Greeks themselves tend to stick to one island instead of cramming as many as they can into a single trip. Think thematically: Santorini has stunning scenery, but beaches are better in Mykonos … [but] islands like Tinos and Syros have great food and culture with significantly lower hotel prices than Mykonos. Crete has lots of variety, but a car is essential.”
—Anthony Grant, American writer based in Greece

Tips for flying during the holidays

“Choose early morning flights, which are typically less crowded. Avoid taking the last flight of the day whenever possible, especially during the winter months to reduce the chances of missed connections or delays due to cancellations or weather. … Opt for carry-on luggage on your next trip. You’ll skip lines when you arrive at the airport and won’t have to wait for luggage when you land.”
—Anna Brown, public relations manager at
Expedia U.S. 

“Pack a change of clothes in your carry-on. Be prepared for the worst. … With airline shortages and increased travel, there’s a higher-than-average chance your luggage will be lost. Don’t travel with your gifts. … Consider shipping presents directly to the final address.”
—Mark Hoenig, co-founder of digital travel company VIP Traveler 

VIP Traveler’s Mark Hoenig recommends avoiding connecting flights, even if it means driving and parking at an alternate airport. “Every extra airport increases your chances of lost luggage, delays, and cancellations.”

d3sign | Moment | Getty Images

“Buy your tickets ASAP. As people postpone their international travel plans due to Covid concerns, domestic flights tend to get more crowded and expensive. To expedite security at the airport, do not wrap gifts in case they need to be inspected.”
—Rajeev Shrivastava, CEO of travel insurance marketplace VisitorsCoverage.com

Tips for renting holiday homes

“Look for vacation rentals with the most flexible cancellation policies, so you can nix your stay at the last minute for any reason.

Guesty’s COO Vered Schwarz recommends people looking to travel for longer periods search for homes with big closets, washers and dryers and workspaces with ergonomic chairs, good lighting and speedy Wi-Fi.

Stephen Simpson | Stone | Getty Images

Tips for family gatherings

Harvard research fellow Stephen Kissler recommends keeping holiday get-togethers small and taking a rapid Covid test immediately prior to gathering.

Suzana Topita | Moment | Getty Images

“Ventilation remains really important. That’s one thing I think remains to be overlooked and underappreciated. With holiday gatherings coming up, I certainly plan, no matter how cold it is outside, I’m going to have my windows cracked by four to six inches… [and] testing immediately before gathering, ideally the hour or two before, maybe the morning of, is what we ought to be doing.”
—Stephen Kissler, research fellow at Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health, in an online discussion on Dec. 9 with Elana Gordon of “The World” public radio program

Tips for booking hotels

“A lot of the best hotels block online reservations for the peak ‘festive’ season… and manage it directly via their human team. It’s worth asking your travel advisor for help as they often have the relationships to accomplish the impossible when everything seems to be sold out.
— Henley Vazquez, co-founder of travel company
Fora

“Independent boutique hotels and locally owned businesses need love more than ever, being that they don’t have the privilege of extensive conglomerate funding to stay afloat. So, with this in mind and in the holiday spirit, give back to the destination you’re visiting by revolving your vacation around staying at these types of places and supporting local operators.”
—Brandon Berkson, founder of travel company
Hotels Above Par

Tips for traveling with young kids

“Plan some downtime for your babies and toddlers during your holiday travels… children don’t always do well when they are constantly on the go. Make sure to schedule some time each day to just sit, relax, play with toys and engage with your kiddos.

BabyQuip’s CEO Fran Maier recommends keeping the same sleep routine for babies and toddlers while traveling. “If your child typically sleeps in a full-size crib, don’t try to crowd them into a Pack ‘n Play and expect them to sleep well.”

Oleksandra Korobova | Moment | Getty Images

Tips for renting a car



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10 Money-Saving Summer Travel Tips Only Insiders Know


    “Most people already know the ‘incognito trick’ — where you search for flights in incognito mode to avoid website cookies that can increase prices,” said Mitch Glass, travel blogger for Project Untethered. “But most people do not know that you can take this one step further with the ‘VPN trick.’ Oftentimes, flights, car rentals and hotel prices vary depending on the country you are searching from. With a VPN (virtual private network), you can set your location to different countries and hunt for lower prices.”

    “For example, if you are traveling to Jamaica and want to book a car rental before leaving home, you might be able to find cheaper prices by setting your location locally in Jamaica,” Glass continued. “It only takes a couple minutes to play around with your location, and it can potentially save you hundreds of dollars. When you do this, make sure to search in incognito mode and to clear your cookies in your browser whenever switching to a new country.”

    Find Out: 10 Tips for Keeping Your Summer Road Trip Affordable



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Cheap flights tips from travel insiders including the best days to book for deals


Cheap flights booking tips from travel insiders including the best time to book if you’re looking to snap up the cheapest deals for 2021 and 2022 – and how to save money on accommodation too

Expedia’s insiders have shared their tips on booking flights for the best deals

When it comes to booking flights and holidays, there have always been some easy tricks to help you save money on your trip.

However, the pandemic completely changed the world of travel, and as travel restrictions ease and Brits’ holiday options increase, trying to unearth the best deals can be a tricky landscape to navigate.

Luckily the team at Expedia are on hand to help. In fact, the company has conducted research and unearthed useful tips including the best time to book, cheapest days to fly, and plenty of other top tips to help you get more bang for your buck.





For example, if you’re looking to treat yourself or splurge on something special, now could be the time to opt for premium economy instead of economy.

According to Expedia, tickets in Premium Economy are available at some of the cheapest prices compared to recent years. For example in 2021 premium tickets are 250% more expensive than economy – but this is down from a 380% difference pre-pandemic.

Check out some of their other useful tips below…








There are different rules if you booked your flight and hotel separately
(

Image:

Getty Images/iStockphoto)



Cheapest time to book flights abroad: Book on a Sunday and you could bag some of the best bargains. In fact, booking flights on a Sunday compared to a Friday could save you 15%.

Cheapest day to travel: If you can be flexible with your departure date you may want to consider kicking off your holiday on a Friday. Expedia research found that this could save you up to 10% off fares, compared to a Wednesday departure.

Best months to travel: September is the ideal month for cheap flights abroad, no doubt because it falls between the summer and October half term holidays. However, it’s not just about school holidays. Travellers can save almost 40% on flights when booking for a September trip compared to December.

Try and book your trip in one go: On average, Brits who book their flight and hotel together can save up to 10% on Expedia.

More travel tips

  • If you can be flexible with your hotel’s rating, it could save you money without needing to compromise on luxury. For example ‘down-starring’ from a 5* hotel to a 4* hotel could save you 50% off the price, but you’ll still be getting a great experience.
  • Renting a car? Book on a Saturday for some of the cheapest deals.
  • Loyalty schemes can be a useful tool as you can earn points and receive other perks that could help stretch your budget that little bit further. For example if you sign up to Expedia, you can access member-only discounts and earn points to spend on perks like room upgrades or spa credits.

Sign up here to receive the Mirror’s weekly travel newsletter in your inbox packed with more updates, deals and holiday inspiration.


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The Insider’s Guide to Traveling Italy


For centuries, Italy was the preferred destination for poetically-minded nobles from across northern Europe. The “grand tour” was an exercise in communing with the ancient Roman world at a time when it was considered the height of culture to contemplate its romantically crumbling relics and vine-clad temples. But these “grand trippers” gave little thought to Italy beyond its artifacts and ghosts. For them, Italy—as a living, breathing culture—was an afterthought.

But today, in-the-know travelers seek deeper pleasures than the (still beguiling) ruins of ancient Rome. Italy is a country of 20 provinces, each of them proudly distinct, offering their own unique culinary, architectural, art, history, fashion, sightseeing, and cultural scenes. Ahead, our guide to the very best of Italy, divided by region. Buon viaggio!

abruzzo
View of the scenic Pontremoli village and Magra river in the Apennine Mountains, Abruzzo.

Black Tomato

ABRUZZO

Across the saddle of the Apennine Mountains, Abruzzo—a calm and historic region of national parks and rugged, tumbling landscapes—is a breath of fresh air after the more metropolitan west. Parco Nazionale D’Abruzzo is Italy’s second-oldest national park and one of its most ecologically rich (both the Italian wolf and endangered Marsican brown bear can be found there). After a refreshing hike, you can do little better than staying at Sextantio Albergo Diffuso (rustic but resplendent, and beautifully sprawling) and stopping for a bite in one of its remarkable restaurants. Abruzzo is muscling up as a powerhouse culinary region in its own right, with a whopping eight three-Michelin-starred eateries.

palazzo margherita
The gardens of Palazzo Margherita.

GUNDOLF PFOTENHAUER

BASILICATA

Head away from the Adriatic, and you enter a landscape of hills and forests. This is Basilicata, a hidden territory bordering the better-known environs of Calabria and Puglia. Secrecy is paramount here: the hillside towns are dotted with warren-like cave dwellings, many of which go back thousands of years. Of them, Matera is the most famous (and most spectacular). Francis Ford Coppola even debuted his own distinct hotel in this compellingly concealed region: Palazzo Margherita.

CALABRIA

Go for the ancient Greek mythology; stay for the local charm. The beaches of this region are well known—and you won’t want to miss them—but there are countless little fishing villages to explore too. Of the list, we recommend Chianalea di Scilla; it’s here that you’ll get a true, authentic taste of the Italian south, right at the tip of the boot, with boats bobbing in the harbor and fishermen tending their nets.

chianalea di scilla, fishing village in calabria
Chianalea di Scilla, fishing village in Calabria.

Black Tomato

As far as hotels, we love Villa Paola, a truly gorgeous sea-facing setup with minimal yet sublime decor. A reminder: The food here leans toward the excitingly spicy (thanks to the region’s famous chiles), and you’ll not be short of places to dine. Scilla, a charming fishing village facing the island of Sicily by a hair’s breadth, is a particular gem.

CAMPANIA

Best known for the Amalfi Coast and its iconic “Path of the Gods,” the region of Campania is a photographer’s dream. A swell of romantically crumbling cliffs decorated with pastel-painted towns and threaded with beguiling alleyways, this is the Italy you’ve seen in films and dreamed about.

amalfi coast
The view of the village of Praiano, Amalfi Coast.

Black Tomato

Praiano is our go-to; this sun-drenched stretch of western Italy is sublime not just for the sunsets but for its proximity to the beachside bars in Vivaro and Fioriere. You’d be missing out if you didn’t post up at heavenly Casa Angelina, whose crisp decor and serene views will leave you floating on cloud nine. To eat, you’ll want to set yourself up at the low-key, laid-back Da Armandino in Praiano. Ori Kafri, CEO and founder of J.K. Place Hotels, speaks warmly of Capri (home to namesake J.K. Place Capri)—an island located just off the Bay of Naples. Here is Da Gelsomina, a restaurant of simple but delicious virtue. “It’s a very simple, family-run place that produces their own wine,” Kafri explains. Enjoy it “with wonderful handmade ravioli. To get there, they come to pick you up in a little car to take you to a narrow street where the restaurant is located. It has a spectacular view of the sea.”

EMILIA-ROMAGNA

Home to a staggering eight UNESCO World Heritage Sites, Ravenna is hardly under the radar—but some places are famous for a reason. Combine the historical city with a killer food scene and a stunning classical music festival, and you get a sense of classic Italia as you switch your phone off and forget emails for a few days.

aerial view of bologna, italy at sunset colorful sky over the historical city center with car traffic and old buildings
A view of the city of Bologna.

Black Tomato

In Bologna, you’ll want to stay at the Grand Hotel Majestic, which is, as its name suggests, utterly regal in feel. Think classic Italian style, exquisite views across the city, rooms furnished with antiques, enormous beds, marble bathrooms—the works. Located centrally, it’s just a stone’s throw from Piazza Maggiore and Due Torri, making it an ideal base for a culture-packed weekend.

FRIULI VENEZIA GIULIA

This little-known gem is located in the very northeast of Italy. Its regional capital is Trieste, a favored haunt for artists and musicians throughout the 20th century—James Joyce among them. Give its proximity to central and eastern Europe, its culture and character are often informed by those of its neighbors, and you’ll feel that through the wine, food, and architecture. The Carnic Alps—black-stoned, snow-crusted—jut up mightily from forests of dense green pine. For bon vivants, there’s the exceptional Collio wine route. For the historically minded, there’s the UNESCO-protected Aquileia, with its sublime basilica. Until the 18th century, this was the very heart of Christianity in central Europe, and its thousand-year-old ruins and relics are a sight to behold.

ROME

castel sant'angelo
Castel Sant’Angelo, Rome

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All roads—so they say—lead to Rome. The timeless city moves at its own pace, but it’s truly bursting with life (after all, few would forget the bawdy, thrilling antics of Federico Fellini’s Roma of 1972). To sleep, try Hotel de la Ville from Rocco Forte, a vibrant and modernist refurbishment of an 18-century palazzo located at the very top of the Spanish Steps. It’s at the center of everything and is the best possible place from which to feel the pulse of the city — the epitome of Roman romance and contemporary cool (in that way, it’s a lot like Fellini).

But where to eat? Trust us, it’s a long list. Legendary architect and designer Achille Salvagni recommends “the Market at Piazza Campo de’Fiori, where the food is Italian, local, and incredibly fresh. Restaurant Il Sanlorenzo should be on your list for the absolute best seafood and traditional Roman fare. Dinner at La Trattoria al Moro is a must; they serve earthy and beautiful Italian cuisine.” Salvagni adds, “I also have a soft spot for the Bakery Roscioli on the piazza, where I cannot help but purchase the many types of breads, cakes, and desserts they bake daily.”

hotel de la ville
Hotel de la Ville, Rome

HOTEL PHOTOGRAPHY SRL

Also not to miss: Trattoria da Danilo (for the cacio e pepe), Retrobottega (for the moody laboratory vibes), Luciano Cucina Italiana (for its truly unforgettable pasta), and Le Mani in Pasta (for its classic Italian casualness). To walk it off and get inspired, Salvagni recommends, “a visit to Capucci on Via della Fontanella di Borghese. Mr. Capucci is the most famous Roman designer, and I have always been awestruck by his creations. His work is always a great source of inspiration, and I admire the boldness of his vision.”

LIGURIA

Liguria, home to the famed Cinque Terre, is typified by statuesque mountains, verdant hills, and stunning coastal views of the Ligurian Sea. Cinque Terre tends to draw endless crowds. Instead, opt for Santa Margherita, a jumble of pastel buildings overlooking a sea of geraniums and bougainvillea. It feels like a scene straight out of a 1950s postcard.

santa margherita
Santa Margherita

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Then there’s Camogli, the riviera that the world forgot. You’ll find the same steep hillsides and pastel-hued homes of the Cinque Terre, but what you won’t find are the tourists in droves. Just sleepy enough to feel undiscovered but with enough local life and quaint trattorias to help you while away the days, this is a place to go before everyone else. Stay at the incomparable Belmond Splendido Mare, a discreet but glamorous grand villa nestled in the wooded hills above Portofino. Impeccable service, exceptional views, and a legendary restaurant make this one of the very best hotels in Italy.

LOMBARDY

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Brera district, Milano

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Get ready: There’s a lot to see in this one region alone. Italy’s fashion capital of Milan can sometimes be sidelined as an entry point, but it’s grossly underrated and definitely deserves deeper discovery. This bustling metropolis is best explored on foot for the world-class shopping (explore the Brera area), inspired cuisine, and extraordinary art. Trust us: It’s the perfect base for a luxurious Italian getaway. Just a short car ride away is Fondazione Prada housed in a former gin distillery in the industrial outskirts of Milan. Helmed by its namesake, Miuccia Prada, this institution is dedicated to showcasing the finest contemporary arts through a packed program of permanent and temporary exhibitions. Austere yet intimate, this breathtaking complex houses the colorful Bar Luce, whimsically designed by filmmaker Wes Anderson.

The Mandarin Oriental Milan, quietly hidden away but minutes from the action, is one of the finest places to stay in town. Choose a suite with balconies and soak it all up in this veritable oasis, unwinding in the subterranean spa and pool. The newly opened Galleria Vik Milano, from the stylish Vik family, should top lists, too; it’s beautiful and full of character with every room designed by a different artist.

grand hotel tremezzo

Courtesy

Italy’s sun-drenched Lake District is synonymous with glamour—and not a little bit of history. Gently, calmly buzzing, this is a place of mesmerizing vistas, of lush, manicured gardens, and legendary villas. It’s easy to see why this Y shape of lakes has inspired countless poets, writers, and painters, among them Ernest Hemingway. Nowhere epitomizes la dolce vita quite like Lake Como. Simply put: It’s absolutely stunning. Regal but easygoing, this is where the well-heeled come, year after year, to rest and play. The lake has a rich history, playing host to nobility and celebrities alike; you can easily spot George Clooney’s villa when you take a boat cruise, as well as Villa Sola Cabiati, which houses a suite designed for Napoleon himself. Valentina de Santis, CEO and owner of Grand Hotel Tremezzo, encourages boat sightseeing. “I love to watch the sunset from a boat,” she says. “It is such a different and special perspective of my beloved lake.”

When asked where to dine on a lake that isn’t short of places to eat, de Santis recommends a hot spot in the must-visit village of Bellagio. “I take my friends to Darsene di Loppia, a restaurant located in a historic hamlet of the same name. Speaking of Tremezzo’s grand hotel, there are few places to stay as iconic in this or any part of the world. Perched in the shadows of the Grigne Mountains and boasting every five-star facility you could ever dream of, this is the place to rest your head on the lake. From its elegant mix of period and modern decor to its luxurious suites, lavish alfresco dining, this hotel is straight-up legendary. It’s also quite close to two must-visit restaurants on Lago di Como: Al Veluu, located just up the hill from the hotel, and Locanda La Tirlindana, in nearby Sala Comacina.

lake garda
A harbor on Lake Garda

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A short ride down the road is Villa D’Este. This regal, 16th-century estate feels very palatial indeed, with a jet-setting buzz, opulent rooms, a floating pool, and 25 acres of well-kept parklands. Jackets are expected at dinner, a nod to its Old World glamour, so embrace it and outfit yourself while in town. A more remote option on the other side of the lake in Torno, Il Sereno is a breathtaking, more contemporary option and in a sense its own little, modern island. There’s only one way to explore its breathtaking surrounds—which is on board one of its three custom-built Cantiere Ernesto Riva boats.

Situated on the edge of the Dolomites is tranquil and stylish Lake Garda, Italy’s largest lake. This beautiful and relaxing setting is also best explored by boat. Take in the lake’s most iconic vistas, charming villages, tiny islands, and, of course, villas, all framed by the dramatic backdrop of snowcapped peaks. Stop by the historic Riviera dei Limoni, with a guide in tow, and learn about the citrus-scented history of this stunning lake. Lake Garda is also a spectacular setting for a hike, especially Monte Baldo, which has some of the most impressive views. Stay at wellness-focused Lefay Resort & Spa, tucked away on a hillside under azure skies. Or check in at the historic Villa Feltrinelli, which is a palace in its own right. Just a short walk away are the cobbled streets of charming Gargnano, where vibrant orange trees line the shore; this part of the world is hard to beat.

isola san giulio
Isola San Giulio, Lake Orta

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The best beaches have always been those accessible only by boat, and Spiaggia delle Due Sorelle in Marche is no exception. Years of being overlooked in favor of the Cinque Terre and Amalfi Coast has left this strip of coastline untouched and unspoiled. Pack a picnic; you won’t find anything else on this serene stretch of sand, but it is very much worth a visit.

Piedmont, home to the prized truffle, is a landscape of tranquil countryside, sleepy villages, and lively marketplaces. They take gastronomy very seriously here; if you time it right, you can go on the hunt (replete with dogs and a guide) in search of the Alba Madonna truffle—the holy grail of fungi. Hike through the Langhe, an area that feels almost designed for a slower pace of travel, and stay at the charming Relais San Maurizio. This former 17th-century monastery has been lovingly restored with great sensitivity to its past roots, and this resulting hilltop respite is truly spellbinding. Enjoy its fragrant botanical gardens, a panoramic pool terrace, and a dreamy spa (that offers vinotherapy, of course). No surprise, there’s also a Michelin-starred restaurant on the property.

piedmont
Hike in the Langhe, Piedmont

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Don’t forget about Lake Orta, the Italian Lake District’s best-kept secret. Italians have dubbed it Cinderella for the profound subtlety of its beauty. Make sure to post up at the contemporary and stylish Casa Fantini. Located on the stunning shores of Lake Orta, Casa Fantini’s 11 light-filled rooms look out over an intimate garden and pool to San Giulio Island, a postcard-like island home to a Benedictine monastery, stunning cathedral, and two Michelin-starred restaurants. The best place to watch the sunset with a glass of wine? From the vantage point of a Prestige Room at Casa Fantini, Daniela Fantini herself shares. “From up there, the view is stunning; there is peace, calm, tranquility, and you can spot special, enchanting, and protected corners of landscape far from the chaos, always accompanied by the presence of the crystalline water of Lake Orta.”

PUGLIA

borgo egnazia
Borgo Egnazia, Puglia

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Puglia—white-stoned, Adriatic, the heel or spur of the boot—is best known as the land of the olive tree. Every family seems to tend at least one, but there are tens of thousands more dotting the hills, slopes, and fields of this chilled-out corner of Italy. Puglia’s most beautiful and prominent towns are pressed gorgeously against the coast or else located a matter of miles inland. For this, think Ostuni. Elsewhere, there’s Locorotondo, a village whose name rolls bubblingly off the tongue. Calm and quiet, it’s the perfect place to lose yourself. For years, we’ve adored Borgo Egnazia, a hotel that might better be considered a commune or a sprawling ancient village. The masseria-style hotel is typical in the region, but Borgo takes that sensibility to glorious new heights.

When it comes to where to dine in Puglia, Aldo Melpignano, co-founder of Borgo Egnazia, feels spoiled for choice. “There are so many options! If they are looking for true Puglian flavors, I would recommend the restaurant at San Domenico Golf. It’s a place with a very special “chef,” Mimina. She has always been the cook of our family, she knows all the traditional recipes and her panzerotti are simply amazing! For a special dinner, I would suggest Casa Ciaccia in Ostuni; it’s a new place, nice and delicious and Ostuni, the “white town” as we call it, is an unmissable place to visit in Puglia.”

While in this region, hit the ground running and “catch the sunrise close to Otranto, Melpignano advises. There is a lighthouse, called Faro di Punta Palascia, which is definitely the easternmost point of the country; it is considered as the place where the days start in Italy. There’s a special magic atmosphere when you see the first ray of light just surrounded by nature and the deep blue of the sea.”

SICILY

castella mare del golfo trapani sicily
Castellammare del Golfo, Sicily

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Located at the very foot of Italy, Sicily—the largest of the Mediterranean islands—is dominated by the broad-shouldered massif of Mount Etna. Beneath it lies incredibly well-preserved ruins (not least the spectacular Valley of the Temples), Byzantine mosaics, bustling cities, and phenomenal cuisine. This is a bright, colorful, and deeply happy place. If you pressed us for our favorite things about this beautiful isle, we’d opt for Isola Bella, a pinprick of an island with more than its fair share of natural beauty. Known as the Pearl of the Ionian Sea, this is where you’ll find hidden grottoes and pebbled beaches in sublime solitude. When it comes to sleep (and so much more), check out the newly opened Four Seasons Taormina and Villa Igiea; they’re both inspiring options on this paradisical, balmy island.

THE DOLOMITES

The mighty Dolomite Mountains provide the dramatic backdrop for the region of Trentino-Alto Adige. Championed for its picturesque landscapes, exceptional cuisine, and legendary vineyards, this magnetic part of Italy has been shaped by its amiable proximity to nearby Austria and Switzerland.

the dolomites
Lago di Carezza, the Dolomites

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Rosa Alpina, located in the beautiful South Tyrolean village of San Cassiano, is one of our favorite hotels the world over. A luxurious family-run enclave idyllic in both summer and winter, this sophisticated hotel blends classic alpine charm with contemporary luxury and boasts some of the best Michelin-starred cuisine in a region already lauded as a gastro wonderland. What’s more: It was just adopted into the acclaimed Aman portfolio. It’s also the perfect base for big adventure; hike alpine meadows in summer or ski UNESCO mountain ranges in winter. The wineries of Bolzano are an easy day trip and give a real sense of place to any trip to these mountains.

TUSCANY

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The Florence skyline

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This vast bite of Italy you’ve certainly heard of. Life feels like a never-ending harvest in this golden-hilled region. Its heart (undoubtedly) is Florence, home of the Medicis. Many will stop at the Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore (as would we), but you should also wander over to the smaller and more intimate Basilica San Miniato while in town. Clad in the same multicolored marble as its bigger sibling, it boasts a sweeping view from its doorway that truly sets it apart. Looking ahead, you’d do well to post up—once it opens in 2023—at Collegio alla Querce (part of Auberge Resorts Collection). Beyond the domes and palazzos of this ancient city, you’ll want to book a room at Borgo Pignano, our Tuscan favorite. There’s a warm euphoria that envelopes the entire place—romantic, intimate, authentic. Elsewhere, there’s newly opened Casetta and La Fortezza; both are worth your time. The former is located in the mellifluous town of Montefioralle, a tiny, incomparable hilltop settlement that casts a spell over all who enter it.

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A vineyard in the Chianti wine region, Tuscany

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Annette Joseph of La Fortezza is right to recommend the sunsets from her sublime property (accompanied by a glass of their very own rosé). “We live in the Tuscan region known as the Lunigiana,” Joseph explains, “and it’s truly a spectacular vista here on top of the mountain. Every night, there is an astounding light show, just as the sunrise offers an incredible wake-up call.” And this particular wake-up, Joseph suggests, should be followed with a visit to Albergo Pasquino, a restaurant located in nearby Aulla. “It’s family run, and the local fare is delicious. They cook on a giant wood-burning stove in the middle of the restaurant, which is lots of fun to watch, and they offer a local dish found only in the region named panigacci. It’s basically an Italian taco. It is served with the best selection of charcuterie and regional soft cheeses; it’s a specialty—so much so that it takes one year to apprentice and become a panigacci master.”

UMBRIA

reschio
Hotel Castello di Reschio

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Poetically speaking, Umbria is known as Italy’s green heart, a stunning region of medieval hill towns, ancient forests, truffle hunts, and vineyards. At its cultural center is Perugia, home to the Galleria Nazionale dell’Umbria art museum. Spoleto, a favorite haunt among the Roman nobility, has held on to its authentic, historic charm and makes for a beautiful day trip into the Umbrian hillside. Start in the medieval upper town before paying a visit to the Duomo, then making your way to the modern lower town and its ancient city walls. When it comes to resting your head, try the newly opened Reschio, a charming and authentic luxury hotel housed in a historic castle that draws on the best of Tuscan and Umbrian traditions. This ancient estate is comfortably nestled among the rolling, sunbaked hills with 1,500 acres of protected wilderness at its doorstep. Each of its nine historic farmhouses has its own unique character, while the thousand-year-old castle at its center is a marvel of design, restored and modernized with panache and wit.

VENICE

A city on stilts, Venice is an archipelagic townscape and the Queen of the Adriatic, spread across 118 individual islands. For all its fragility, the city—once a kingdom unto itself—feels immeasurably solid. History is here in every rubbed-round stone, stained-glass window, church bell, and labyrinthine alleyway. For poet Joseph Brodsky, Venice “resembles a gigantic orchestra, with dimly lit music stands of palazzi.” Continuity is obliterated in this tightly clustered space; a glimpsed alleyway might be impossible to find again. Take a peculiar turn from a busy palazzo, and you find yourself buried in a cacophony of silence, little side streets bending this way and that. If you’re after the best place for dinner, head to Ristorante da Ivo.

aman venice exterior

Tucked away behind the Chiese Santa Maria della Salute, Dorsoduro awaits—and it’s a taste of the real Venice, of cicchetti and half bottles of local wine. For art lovers, don’t miss the Peggy Guggenheim Collection and the Gallerie dell’Accademia. Sleep at the stylish Ca’ di Dio, which just opened this year and is already turning heads. Some choose to take a vaporetto (or water taxi) to the lagoon island of Mazzorbo, a restful break from the buzz of Venice proper. When in town, a Michelin-starred meal at Venissa is a must.



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Six travel insiders share their tips and predictions for 2021


From seeking tailor-made stays to not being put off by quarantines, Globetrender shares the insights of six travel industry insiders who reveal how they will be journeying in the year ahead.

Oliver’s Travels, co-founders Oliver Bell and Ravi Sabharwal

Oliver Bell says: “If you’ve got airmiles then now is a good time to use them as there is much more availability than usual (typically it’s quite hard to find flights that suit on the dates you want to travel). Most airlines are offering free cancellation if you can’t fly due to Covid so I’m booking Bali with a Singapore stopover for the summer holidays knowing that I can easily cancel at zero cost.”

Ravi Sabharwal says: “I will be visiting France again in 2021. My family were able to head off for a brilliant week at our exclusive Chateau Le Brun in July. I have confidence we will be able to return to another similarly quirky and wonderful abode at some point this peak season. I would encourage travelling with Eurotunnel Le Shuttle as we were able to travel quickly, safely and observing social distancing measures.”

Pascale Lauber and Ulrike Bauschke, owners and designers of Paragon 700 Boutique Hotel & Spa in Ostuni, Italy

“In 2021 we hope to be able to travel to Asia. We love the Asian culture, food and the quality of accommodation. It is somewhere that we can refuel on design inspiration. The need for quarantine won’t stop us, we will keep travelling as much as the restrictions will allow us and encourage others to do the same where they safely can.

“We would advise people to consider Puglia as a destination for the year ahead. It offers plenty of space, two amazing seas and so much more. Here and other destinations that are not overcrowded such as Australia or the Alps.”

Onur Takmak, founder and CEO of ONEE Luxury Travel, a new B2B booking platform

“While travel will likely continue to look different in 2021, I am steadfastly optimistic that we will see a resurgence of personal travel in the coming months. When looking at where to travel in 2021, a huge factor is considering how to minimise the risks of exposure.

“Like many, this coming year I find myself opting for more isolated escapes that are lesser known or populated and can promise comfort, security and safety.

“For me, private stand-alone villas, estates and private islands promise tranquillity and peace of mind, all the while guaranteeing high quality standards, service and safety measures. Personally, I can’t wait to get back to Greece, Barbados and Scandinavia with a handful of close family and friends.

“There are several considerations that travelling will require for the foreseeable future, including methods of travel and which destinations have kept cases down, have good healthcare systems and measures in place for testing.

“Obviously, it is important to continue to follow government announcements around new travel restrictions and corridors. That said, as telecommuting becomes the norm, working from abroad has never been so appealing (or easy).

“We have already seen a huge uptick in extended vacations – particularly long-term villa rental holidays – made even easier in some countries with the introductions of new short-term working visas.

“Frankly, if I can go to Mexico for a month and continue to work, why not? Regardless of whether or not there is a 14-day quarantine upon return to the UK.

“I would advise that when planning your next trip for 2021, you seek advisory assistance. Tailor-made stays organised by industry experts promise luxurious escapes in high-end accommodation with plenty of amenities, high-quality standards, and safety.

“Well-advised travel has never been so important in my opinion and working with an agent or tour operator helps assure that your bases are covered in the event of an emergency on the ground or cancellations need to be made prior to departure.”

Phil Aird-Mash, CEO of Inspiring Travel Company

“I’m very confident that with advances in testing and treatment (plus all the excellent airline and hotel hygiene policies that we’ve already seen), we will be able to return to widespread travel in 2021 and do so confidently to a wide range of destinations. For me, the Maldives is the ultimate social distancing destination.

“It’s luxurious isolation, and nothing represents idyllic holiday recuperation and relaxation more than sharing a water villa with your nearest and dearest. The villa having a slide right into the Indian Ocean – like at Soneva Fushi, for example – is a highlight.

“The Caribbean, like so many destinations, relies heavily on tourism for their local economy so I can’t wait to get out and start supporting our partners and friends again. ITC has a deep heritage in the Caribbean, and so getting out to Antigua and visiting our wonderful team and suppliers is incredibly important.

“Enjoying the hotels, beaches and hospitality again is something I can’t wait to do – it’s also where I honeymooned, so holds a bit of a special place in my heart.

“I think after repeated lockdowns, there’s going to be a huge desire to travel in 2021. Finding availability for your dream destinations, experiences and hotels will be tricky, with everyone looking to escape their sofas all at once.

“My top tip would be to book with tour operators who can provide the flexibility and reassurance needed most in these times, and also get the best deals and guaranteed availability thanks to industry contacts. Make sure you don’t miss out on experiencing all the things we love about travel that we’ve all been dreaming of for so long.”

Nigel Franklyn, Spa Whisperer and co-founder of Moss Wellness Consultancy. His next project is the holistic wellness retreat, King’s Mansion, Goa

“In 2021, most of my travel will be for work – to India and South East Asia. But I will keep my vacations local – Italy, France, Portugal, Greece and Spain.

“I think Europe generally has a more clear and manageable path to controlling the pandemic and making visitors feel more at ease. Greece, for example, has a 17-page government regulation mandate issued by the Tourism Ministry that has so far managed to keep C19 numbers down and tourists safe, and I think that same kind of controlled response is clear throughout Europe.

“When you are on vacation, you should have faith that the hotel has the information and tools it needs for regulatory safety management, and that information and those tools come from a well organised governmental response.

“Key travel drivers for travel have changed now. People are asking themselves if long-haul travel is essential. Medical wellness destinations are seeing a gradual positive response from international guests because they tend to favour positively on the side of essential travel.

“Travelling with a purpose – especially work or wellness – is less affected by the general anxiety of going too far from home, so I think these trips are the ones to prioritise.

“From a purely practical perspective, my best piece of advice is to understand the pandemic climate, in the country you’re departing from and arriving in – you might be able to travel to a particular destination, but will you be able to get back home?

“I’ve had a few experiences this year where I’ve had to cut my trip short for fear of not being able to get home without quarantine, or at all – I think this is going to continue to be a question mark over the next months, so preparation is key.”

Ivaylo Lefterov, development director for the Svart hotel in Norway

Svart hotel, Norway by Snøhetta“It goes without saying that we all are itching for the day when we can get on a plane to explore and enjoy different adventures and destinations. On my bucket list for sure would be rediscovering the old continent. Europe, in many ways, still has plenty of interesting and undiscovered corners and safe destinations. In a world where cancellations happen and travel restrictions change all the time, choosing a short-haul destination makes it easier to find a way back home if necessary.

“Living in Portugal has made me appreciate the small, quaint fincas and pousadas even more during the pandemic. The beaches are spectacular and laid back – the slower pace of life suits me well. Six Senses Douro Valley or the Craveiral Farmhouse in Alentejo are both great choices.

“Italy is always a must – there are some spectacular places, like Capri, Amalfi, Puglia and Taormina. Spending some time there last summer was incredible, life felt somewhat normal. The hotels and the staff were incredible, especially at Villa Carlotta in Taormina.

“They were prepared and everything was spectacularly clean and the staff made you feel safe and appreciated all the time. Other favourites include the  beautiful art hotel Asmundo di Gisira in Catania or Casa Angelica, my long time favourite in Amalfi.

“Equally, less discovered destinations like Bulgaria, which was one of the countries with the lowest Covid cases. When I visited this summer, life really felt normal with very low infections during the summer and with less restrictions you can really enjoy the beautiful beaches, the incredible spas and the great food and wine.

“Once you remove yourself from the stereotypical mass all-inclusive locations there is an abundance of unspoiled nature, beaches, thermal baths and beautiful hotels. At the Cliff Obzor Bay, Sevtopolis Rose Valley and St Konstantin and Elena you get to experience a very different and pleasant holiday.

“And of course there are the Nordics; exploring the Fjords of Norway and the buzzing streets of Stockholm and Copenhagen. My favourite spot in Stockholm is the AtSix hotel. In Copenhagen, the new Copenhagen Villa is a great choice and in Oslo, Americanlijenen is fantastic.

“Being an urban junkie, I have had to adapt my travel habits and discover some more remote and safe places. As we don’t know when we will be able to fully enjoy travel again I suggest traveling by car, which is a safer option and gives you that road trip experience. Pick hotels that have lots of outdoor space and terraces, with great spa facilities.

“My choice for 2021 will be oriented on wellness and wellbeing. Covid gave us an opportunity to rethink the way we do things and how we holiday so I will be looking at places with my wellness programme in mind and at places where I can work remotely and stay longer, taking advantage of the staycation.”

What’s coming next? Trend reports available to download HERE

2021 TRAVEL TREND FORECAST



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40 Pandemic Airport Secrets Only Insiders Know


Akabei / Getty Images
Akabei / Getty Images

If you’re a frequent flyer like I am, then you know that the worst part about traveling is dealing with the airport. Bumper-to-bumper traffic, long lines, extra baggage fees, delayed flights — trying to survive the airport can take the joy out of traveling. If you add a global pandemic on top of everything, it can feel downright impossible.

Your Money: How to Use Your Credit Cards to Travel Like a Pro

So to help us all travel a little easier during this confusing time, I gathered some of my best tips and I spoke to frequent travelers and money-saving experts to find out their best advice for how to save money and time while making your way through terminals.

Last updated: Jan. 9, 2021

Joel Carillet / Getty Images
Joel Carillet / Getty Images

1. Be Prepared To Social Distance

In the age of COVID, social distancing has become the norm. This is particularly important during travel, when large crowds tend to congregate in tight places. Whenever possible, try to maintain a 6-foot distance between yourself and other travelers. Many airports have implemented special seating arrangements and other mechanisms to help you keep your distance. One good tip is to check out the seat map of your flight before you board. That way, you can choose a seat that is as far away as possible from your fellow travelers to help stem the spread.

LordHenriVoton / Getty Images
LordHenriVoton / Getty Images

2. Wear a Mask

The CDC recommends that travelers stay home until the pandemic plays out. However, if you must travel, be sure to bring your mask so you can keep your nose and mouth covered. Most airlines have eliminated exemptions to the mandatory mask rule while on board, so be prepared to wear your mask for the entire duration of your travel.

Colleen Michaels / Shutterstock.com
Colleen Michaels / Shutterstock.com

3. Bring Hand Sanitizer, Up To 12 Ounces

For years, the TSA limited all liquids passing through checkpoints to 3.4 ounces. Due to the COVID pandemic, passengers are now allowed to carry up to 12 ounces of liquid hand sanitizer in their check-in bags. Bear in mind that the limitation for all other liquids remains at 3.4 ounces.

filadendron / Getty Images/iStockphoto
filadendron / Getty Images/iStockphoto

4. Expect Testing

While testing before you travel is always a good idea, in some cases you won’t be allowed to fly or get into a country without evidence of one or more negative tests. For example, Germany, among many other countries, requires a COVID test upon arrival in the country.

galitskaya / Getty Images
galitskaya / Getty Images

5. Expect More Touchless Technology

With the pandemic still raging, you’re likely to encounter more touchless technology as you move through an airport. Everything from baggage drop to check-in, security, and airport shopping is likely to be touchless in the near future, with some airports already moving in that direction.

Florida Chuck / Shutterstock.com
Florida Chuck / Shutterstock.com

6. Disinfect Your Airline Seat

Disinfecting your living space on an airline is now more important than ever. Although airlines generally treat their planes between flights, some have announced they will only disinfect their armrests and seat belts overnight. In addition to your tray table and seat belt, disinfect all of the high-touch areas surrounding your seat.

MoreGallery / Shutterstock.com
MoreGallery / Shutterstock.com

7. Avoid High-Touch Items Like In-Flight Magazines

Even before the pandemic struck, it was a good idea to avoid touching in-flight magazines. Although a diverting way to pass the time on a long voyage, magazines inherently invite touching from a number of different people and are rarely, if ever, sanitized. During COVID, many airlines have actually removed access to magazines for this very reason.

Tverdokhlib / Shutterstock.com
Tverdokhlib / Shutterstock.com

8. Understand the Policies of the Airline You’ll Be Flying

Although many of the changes to travel during COVID are universal, policies of individual airlines may vary. For example, some airlines, including Alaska, Delta, Hawaiian, JetBlue and Southwest are blocking middle seats to help enforce social distancing. Others, however, are still cramming passengers in just like before the pandemic.

Mny-Jhee / Getty Images
Mny-Jhee / Getty Images

9. Understand the Policies of Your Destination as Well

If you’re traveling abroad, you’ll have to be more aware than ever of the travel restrictions of your destination. Many European countries in particular still aren’t allowing U.S. tourists to disembark. Others may have mandatory 14-day quarantine restrictions, including the Bahamas and Ireland.

Izabela Habur / Getty Images
Izabela Habur / Getty Images

10. Use the MyTSA App

Using the MyTSA app, you can get answers to your most pressing travel questions and assess what items you can and can’t bring on flights. Additionally, you can get updates on delays, find out about cancellations and check wait times in the security line.

Plan: How To Budget and Plan for a Vacation in 2021

©Shutterstock.com / Shutterstock.com
©Shutterstock.com / Shutterstock.com

11. Park at a Nearby Hotel

Parking on-site at the airport can be pricey, but you can save money by parking at a hotel near the airport instead.

“AirportParkingReservations.com lists hotels near airports that allow you to park in their lot and use their free airport shuttles to and from the airport for rates as low as $5 a day,” said ultra-economical travel expert and founder of Break the Travel Barrier Russell Hannon. “You can search hotel parking lots by an airport, pay online, and upon arrival at the hotel, hand in your voucher at the check-in counter, then proceed to the airport shuttle pickup.”

Olena Yakobchuk / Shutterstock.com
Olena Yakobchuk / Shutterstock.com

12. Take Advantage of Airport Lounges

Airport lounges aren’t just for the rich and famous. If you know how to work your perks, you can enjoy these other airport attractions.

“Many credit cards and airline loyalty programs provide free or discounted access to airport lounges,” said frequent traveler Lee Huffman, founder of Bald Thoughts, a travel website.

Not only do these lounges allow you to escape the hustle and bustle of the airport to relax before your flight, but you can also enjoy complimentary beverages and snacks. Call your credit card company ahead of time to see if you’re eligible for entrance.

MichaelJayBerlin / Shutterstock.com
MichaelJayBerlin / Shutterstock.com

13. If You Can’t Access Lounges Through Your Credit Card, Check Groupon

Travel credit cards and frequent flyer programs aren’t the only ways to get access to airport lounges.

“A great way to save money in airports is to check Groupon ahead of time for the city you’re flying into or out of,” said Leslie Price, creator of My Adventure Bucket. “You can [sometimes] buy an airport lounge priority pass for $7.”

©Shutterstock.com / Shutterstock.com
©Shutterstock.com / Shutterstock.com

14. Save on Parking and Transportation With Groupon, Too

In addition to finding discounted lounge passes on Groupon, you might also be able to find discounts on parking and airport shuttles, said Price.

jacoblund / Getty Images/iStockphoto
jacoblund / Getty Images/iStockphoto

15. Buy a Priority Pass Membership

If you fly frequently and you don’t get lounge access through a credit card for travel, it might be worth it to buy a Priority Pass membership. Membership gives you access to over 1,200 airport lounges, and a standard membership costs $89 for the first year and $99 for each year after. The pass is good for lounges around the world, so getting lounge access is both a good international travel tip and a long-flight tip to break up a multi-leg journey.

“It paid for itself in only a few months,” said Becca and Dan, the couple behind HalfHalfTravel. “Around the world, we’ve eaten buffet brunches in Hong Kong airport, taken naps in nap rooms in the Lisbon airport and had snacks on a deck of an airport in the Canary Islands, all with our Priority Pass membership. [You’ll] never have to buy overpriced airport food or Wi-Fi again.”

Peter Gudella / Shutterstock.com
Peter Gudella / Shutterstock.com

16. Choose the Path of Least Resistance

The amount of traffic in arrivals and departures can vary, depending on the day. If there are too many travelers in the departures lane, consider changing it up and getting dropped off at arrivals.

Sorbis / Shutterstock.com
Sorbis / Shutterstock.com

17. Mystery Shop at the Airport

If you’re willing to write up a review of your airport experience, you might be able to get free perks as a mystery shopper.

“When waiting at airports, I mystery shop airport restaurants to get a free meal before my flight,” said Jen, the author of the Smarty Pants Finance blog. “There are always mystery shops at airports including visiting airline lounges, parking, shopping at retail stores and dining.”

lzf / Shutterstock.com
lzf / Shutterstock.com

18. Pack Only What You Need

Frequent fliers know that one of the best airport tips is to travel light — it can save you time and money. While it’s wise to pack a few extra socks for your trip, stop and ask yourself if all the items in your suitcase are truly necessary.

“When packing, think about [in] exactly what situation you’ll want a certain item of clothing,” said Gillian Morris, co-founder of Hitlist, a travel app that helps users find the best travel deals.

michaeljung / Shutterstock.com
michaeljung / Shutterstock.com

19. Don’t Check Your Bags

One way to make sure your stuff arrives safely is to pack like a pro and take only carry-on bags when you travel. Typically, airlines allow for one carry-on bag and another small item, such as a purse or laptop. Still, checking your bags can mean waiting in long lines, and there’s a risk of your luggage getting lost or even stolen.

Instead, use carry-on bags to save time and ensure your stuff arrives when and where you do. If you must check your bags, make sure you know your airline’s baggage fees.

Find Out: 13 Insider Secrets From Travel Agents That Will Save You Money

AzmanL / Getty Images
AzmanL / Getty Images

20. If You Must Check Bags, Steer Clear of Checked Luggage Fees

If you want to avoid the typical $25 checked baggage fee, you have three options, said Sara Skirboll, shopping and trends expert at RetailMeNot.

“One, use your miles to check a bag for free; two, fly Southwest where your first two checked bags fly free and/or three, look to fly a different fare class, which sometimes won’t cost you an arm and a leg,” she said. “I’ve actually seen Comfort+ seats that are cheaper than economy.”

Sergey Furtaev / Shutterstock.com
Sergey Furtaev / Shutterstock.com

21. Wear Your Luggage

If you truly want to avoid baggage fees, consider wearing your luggage. Some clever travelers have stuffed their jackets with items to save money. Companies like Bagket and Jaktogo are going a step further, however, by creating wearable luggage.

For example, Jaktogo sells a jacket that converts to a bag, so you can wear it through security and save money.

Have a nice day Photo / Shutterstock.com
Have a nice day Photo / Shutterstock.com

22. Make Your Luggage Unique

At baggage claim, the sea of bags can look eerily similar. One of the best travel tricks is to make your luggage unique by tying a ribbon or tag to the handle. Not only does differentiating your bag from the rest save you time, but it also ensures someone else won’t walk off with your belongings.

IrbisPhoto / Shutterstock.com
IrbisPhoto / Shutterstock.com

23. Four Wheels Are Better Than Two

The luggage you travel with matters, and having four wheels can be better than two. This way, you can avoid dragging your bag and push it in front of you instead.

Additionally, bags with four wheels allow you to navigate tight spaces and maintain better control over your luggage. The end result is that you can get through the airport faster. But if you have to buy a new suitcase to achieve this, just know when it’s the best time to buy luggage so you don’t lose money.

Antonio Guillem / Shutterstock.com
Antonio Guillem / Shutterstock.com

24. Don’t Wrap Your Gifts

If you’re going home for the holidays or have a birthday present to bring someone, think twice about wrapping your gifts ahead of time. After all, airport security might decide to unwrap your items to get a look inside. Save yourself the hassle by putting your family’s gifts in reusable gift bags.

Rawpixel.com / Shutterstock.com
Rawpixel.com / Shutterstock.com

25. Check In Ahead of Time

One travel tip that can limit the amount of time you spend waiting in line at the airport is to check in ahead of time. Many airlines allow travelers to check in early and print their own boarding passes. If you only bring a carry-on, you can head straight to security.

WAYHOME studio / Shutterstock.com
WAYHOME studio / Shutterstock.com

26. Check Your Flight Status Online

Before heading to the airport, check your flight status online. Delays happen, and instead of waiting at the terminal for hours, you can get real-time updates before leaving the house.

Digital Media Pro / Shutterstock.com
Digital Media Pro / Shutterstock.com

27. Know Your Airport Code

Before arriving at the airport, learn your airport code or the three letters that refer to your destination, such as LAX for Los Angeles International Airport. After all, some cities have multiple airports, and your luggage tags can get mixed up if you’re not sure where you’re headed.

Atstock Productions / Shutterstock.com
Atstock Productions / Shutterstock.com

28. Use Global Entry and TSA PreCheck

While many travelers are enduring long waits to get through security these days, insiders are taking advantage of Global Entry ($100) and TSA PreCheck ($85), which offer five-year memberships for faster screening.

“Global Entry is a must for anyone who travels internationally,” said Huffman. “Because you are what’s known as a Trusted Traveler, you can skip security lines at the airport and don’t have to take off your shoes or remove your 3-1-1 liquids bag.”

Africa Studio / Shutterstock.com
Africa Studio / Shutterstock.com

29. Avoid Wearing Jewelry

Security lines can be a pain, but you can make life easier by leaving the jewelry at home. In some cases, you can keep your jewelry on while going through security, but it might set off the metal detector. So, you might have to put your bling in the bin or get a pat-down from security.

For best results, avoid wearing jewelry altogether and pack it in your bag instead.

Can You Afford It: 11 Travel Tours Only the Super Wealthy Can Afford

Dmitry Kalinovsky / Shutterstock.com
Dmitry Kalinovsky / Shutterstock.com

30. Wear Slip-On Shoes

If you dread taking off your shoes in the security line, make your life a little easier and wear slip-on shoes. This simple travel hack keeps the line moving and makes getting through security a little less painful.

Jiri Vondrous / Shutterstock.com
Jiri Vondrous / Shutterstock.com

31. Keep Your Laptop Easily Accessible

When you go through security, you typically have to take out your laptop for screening. To move through the line quickly, keep your laptop in an easily accessible location, so you’re not digging for it while in line.

Kris Black / Shutterstock.com
Kris Black / Shutterstock.com

32. Bring Travel-Sized Toiletries

To ensure your toiletries aren’t thrown in the trash, make sure all liquids are stored in containers measuring no more than 3.4 ounces. Most people don’t have products of that size at home, so bring shampoo samples that you’ve received on other trips. Some stores also sell travel-sized shampoo, toothpaste and other items for your convenience. Or better yet, double check if your hotel or other lodging will be providing you with toiletries.

Africa Studio / Shutterstock.com
Africa Studio / Shutterstock.com

33. Bring a Spare Plastic Bag for Toiletries

Your toiletries should be stored in a separate bag for screening. Still, those bags can break or get dirty during your travels. Bring a spare resealable plastic bag for toiletries for your next flight.

ami mataraj / Shutterstock.com
ami mataraj / Shutterstock.com

34. Pack an Empty Water Bottle

“Bring an empty reusable water bottle in your carry-on bag,” said Kashlee Kucheran, a full-time traveler and travel blogger at Travel Off Path. “Once you are through security, fill it up from the free drinking fountains located around the gates. Most airports worldwide have safe and free drinking fountains, and some countries even have hot water dispensers for people who want to make their own tea. Instead of buying that $3 bottle of water that is likely going to end up in a landfill, you can save your money and the environment by bringing your own.”

thongseedary / iStock.com
thongseedary / iStock.com

35. Freeze Your Liquids

Did you know this airport hack to get your drink on the plane? If you freeze your drink before arriving at the airport, you can get it through security — as long as the liquid stays frozen solid when you’re going through screening. If your drink seems partially melted or slushy, you’ll have to meet the 3-1-1 liquids requirement.

Sorbis / Shutterstock.com
Sorbis / Shutterstock.com

36. Spend Money To Save Money

While airport shops have a reputation for jacking up prices, travelers can occasionally score good deals. Some states have no sales tax. If you’re thinking of shopping at the airport, compare prices online and check state tax laws before you travel.

SunKids / Shutterstock.com
SunKids / Shutterstock.com

37. But Skip the Starbucks Line

While Starbucks might be calling your name on those early flights, skip the cup of joe and the line to save money.

Instead, you can score free coffee on your flight. If you’re flying Alaska Airlines or Delta, you can enjoy Starbucks coffee as part of the complimentary beverage service.

Or if you’re a tea drinker, bring your own tea bags. Most flights offer regular black tea, but you can bring your own and just ask for hot water on your flight if you prefer a different variety.

“Depending on the time of the flight, I’ll either bring caffeinated green tea to start my day, decaffeinated chamomile to end the day, or ginger tea in the middle of the day to calm my stomach from a crazy day,” said Skirboll.

Georgejmclittle / Shutterstock.com
Georgejmclittle / Shutterstock.com

38. Check For Free Wi-Fi

If you have time to kill at the airport, you might start browsing on your phone to stay busy. Instead of eating up all your data, check the airport website ahead of time to see if it offers free Wi-Fi. If not, you might be able to browse for free while visiting one of the airport restaurants or bars.

Kalabi Yau / Shutterstock.com
Kalabi Yau / Shutterstock.com

39. Bring a Portable Phone Charger

Your smartphone could be your No. 1 travel tool. After all, it lets you access directions, view your mobile boarding pass, answer emails and communicate with others before and after your flight.

While most airports have charging stations, they can often be crowded. Instead of fighting the crowd, bring your own portable phone charger so you’re never out of juice.

KucherAV / Shutterstock.com
KucherAV / Shutterstock.com

40. Pack Your Own Food

Instead of picking up overpriced snacks in the airport, pack your own items ahead of time. Sandwiches, fruit, crackers and granola bars are all smart snack choices, but be sure to check with the TSA to make sure your menu follows security guidelines.

For an easy, healthy option, consider bringing oatmeal packets onto morning flights.

“I’ve started to bring my own oatmeal packets so I can have a semi-hearty and much healthier meal on the plane,” said Skirboll. “All I need is hot water from the flight attendant and I’m good to go.”

More From GOBankingRates

Melanie Lockert, Gabrielle Olya and John Csiszar contributed to the reporting for this article.

This article originally appeared on GOBankingRates.com: 40 Pandemic Airport Secrets Only Insiders Know



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