Never Leave a Hotel Before You Check Out — Best Life


Technology has streamlined and improved many of the old conventions of traveling. These days, you don’t even have to carry around a printed boarding pass—and you certainly don’t have to safeguard your money on the road with traveler’s cheques. But there’s one longstanding travel protocol that you should keep doing even though you don’t technically have to. Read on to find out what you should never leave a hotel without doing, according to the experts.

RELATED: Never Forget to Do This Before Going to Bed in a Hotel Room, Expert Warns.

hotel front desk with woman in background
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These days, hotels make the checkout process easy. You can just toss or recycle your electronic room key cards, and then just walk right out of the hotel without ever formally undertaking a checkout process. But Brandon Berksonhotel expert and founder of the curated boutique lodging guide Hotels Above Par, says you should always go through the process of checking out, whether digitally or in person at the desk.

RELATED: Marriott Customers Are Outraged That the Hotel Chain Is Doing This.

Businesswoman at reception, paying for hotel room.
iStock

Since you’ve provided your credit card information at or before check-in, you can technically just walk out and the hotel will push all the final charges through to your credit card. But that’s the problem, Berkson warns: If you don’t check out, you won’t know what those charges are in advance—and you won’t have a chance to dispute them if something looks wrong.

Rear view of tourist in the hotel room pulling the curtains to see the view
iStock

When you check out of a hotel, you get a chance to review the charges individually and make sure that everything looks accurate. “Checking out is important,” notes Berkson. “There have been a few times where I was charged the wrong amount—shoutout to the minbar sensors wrongly detecting that I took something.”

It’s also a chance to negotiate the bill under certain circumstances. Say you didn’t feel the room was as advertised, or the service fell well below any reasonable expectations. Checking out is your chance to ask if they’ll make it right by giving you a price break, or tossing in a freebie.

Another pro tip: Checking out of an international hotel allows you to ask for the bill in local currency, which is likely to be a much better deal for you in the end than a foreign bill issued in U.S. dollars due to conversion rates.

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man scanning his key card on his hotel room door
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Aside from dollars and cents, checking out of a hotel is just the courteous thing to do, especially at a time when staffing shortages are causing huge disruptions across a heavily impacted travel and hospitality industry. “This is the way housekeeping knows your room is clear for the next guest, something especially relevant during the pandemic when staff need to harness in on further disinfecting surfaces, laundry, and restocking necessities,” Berkson says.

RELATED: A Hotel Worker is Rating Celebs Based on How Rude They Are.



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Itching to leave your life in the US behind? Here’s how to move abroad


Charlotte, N.C. —  Armchair travel was all the rage as the COVID-19 pandemic set in last year — virtual museum and walking tours, Stanley Tucci’s Searching for Italy, virtual reality games and apps. But what if instead of daydreaming about being abroad, you actually picked up and moved there? 

The U.S. Department of State estimates that about 9 million U.S. citizens are living abroad. As borders began to close because of COVID-19, some people returned back to the perceived safety of home in the U.S., while for others it was the push they needed to fulfill a lifelong dream. 

If you’ve got the itch for an international move, here are some important steps to get started. 

Step 1: What’s the cost? 

Research the cost of living. Maybe you have a place in mind that you’ve always wanted to live, or maybe you’re open to possibilities. Regardless, the first step in any international move should be researching the exchange rate and cost of living. Countries like Portugal, Costa Rica and Malaysia have some of the lowest costs of living, while cities like Zurich and Hong Kong have a reputation for being expensive. 

Save up. A good general rule is to have at least six months’ worth of savings before taking the plunge to relocate to a new country. It’s important to budget in extra costs for things like visa application costs, international shipments of goods and plane tickets. 

Understand the tax implications. U.S. citizens abroad are subject to income tax, whether they live in Caracas or Charlotte. Many other countries will also require that taxes be paid there, as well. Understanding tax laws, foreign tax credits, exclusions and requirements is a complicated task best understood by consulting an expert. 

Step 2: Which documents do you need? 

Secure a valid passport. Passports must be valid for at least six months past your expected return. The COVID-19 pandemic has caused significant backups in passport processing times. The State Department currently estimates at least 16 weeks for processing routine passports and 12 weeks for expedited ones. Pro tip: Make copies of your passport, driver’s license and birth certificate; take one with you and leave one with a trusted loved one in the U.S. 

Research visa and work permit requirements. Many countries require visas and or work permits. These come in all shapes and sizes, restrictions and lengths of stay. The best way to find out what is required in the country you are looking to move to is to contact the consulate or embassy of that country. Don’t forget to make note of any renewal requirements. For those lucky enough to be relocating with a company, much of this process may be taken care of for you.

Step 3. Do you have medical coverage? 

Determine vaccinations requirements. Vaccination requirements are especially important to understand during this time of COVID-19. For a full list of required immunizations, including COVID-19 vaccine mandates, the CDC website is a good resource. Pro tip: Make photo copies of your immunization records and COVID-19 vaccine card, and take one with you and leave one in the U.S. 

Understand medical insurance. Secure international travel insurance. Many medical insurance plans — including Medicare and Medicaid — do not include international coverage. It is important to contact your insurance provider prior to leaving the U.S. to determine what coverage is available to you. If you do not have coverage, there are companies that specifically provide travel medical insurance, including Cigna Global Health Insurance, Aetna International Health Insurance and GeoBlue Health Insurance Xplorer Plans. Another great resource is the International Association for Medical Assistance to Travellers.

Know how to find a doctor. While the U.S. embassy and consulate provides a list of doctors and hospitals by country (look under the American Citizens Services tab under the desired country), finding a doctor that speaks English can be its own challenge. Companies like Air Doctor help connect U.S. citizens with doctors who speak the same language around the globe. 

Have a plan for your prescriptions. One last step on the medical front — talk to your doctor and pharmacist about your prescription medications. Find out if they can be filled abroad and what alternatives may be available. Get a written note about pre-existing conditions, as well as a written prescription with dosage from your doctor before you go. While pharmacies abroad will not honor this, it can be helpful to show an in-country doctor who can write you a fillable prescription. 

Step 4. Have you told everyone you’ll be gone? 

Contact financial institutions. Banks and credit card companies can cause your adventure to come to a screeching financial halt if they do not know that you will be abroad. Contacting these institutions is important to keeping the cash flow going. It is also valuable to research which credit cards do not charge a foreign transaction fee, as most will charge between 1-3% per transaction — a fee that can add up over time. 

Let the government know. Any time you leave the U.S., it is a good idea to register with the government’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program. STEP is a free service that ensures that you will receive important updates from the embassy on safety conditions, helps authorities contact you in an emergency and ensures that your family and friends in the States can get in touch with you in an emergency. 

Step 5. What happens to your stuff? 

Examine the cost of shipping large items. While you may be hesitant to leave your favorite comfy chair behind in the U.S., it is generally expensive (and can take a long time) to ship furniture and large items abroad. For those must-take items, shipping via sea freight is the most economical option, with door-to-door service demanding higher rates than door-to-port options. There is a lot to consider (and budget for) when you consider customs duties, fees and taxes. 

Evaluate how to transport your clothing. When it comes to clothing, it can often be easier and less expensive to ship a few boxes than to lug extra suitcases through the airport. The USPS even allows you to print international shipping labels and customs forms, order boxes and estimate your shipment costs online. 

Understand the process for taking pets. Perhaps the most important things to take with you when you move abroad are your furry friends. If you are hoping to move with a cat, dog or other pet, the U.S. Department of Agriculture site provides country-specific rules and guidelines. 

Ready to go? 

While the adventure of moving abroad sounds alluring, it is important to weigh the complications of moving during the time of COVID-19. Constantly changing restrictions can limit your movement and ability to get back to the U.S. In addition, lockdowns and social distancing requirements can make it more difficult to acclimate to a new community and make friends. Consider joining online groups in the local area to find out more about what life looks like in your potential new community. 



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Travel exemptions to leave Australia officially scrapped for fully vaccinated travellers from November 1


The federal government has removed the need for fully vaccinated Australians to ask for permission to leave the country from Monday, but those who are unvaccinated will still have to ask for an exemption if they want to leave.

When the government closed the international border in March last year it also barred Australians from leaving the country unless they had an exemption.

It was able to make the rules under the Human Biosecurity Determination — a law created to protect the population from people bringing COVID to Australia from overseas.

Last night, Health Minister Greg Hunt changed the Determination so that from November 1, anyone who was fully vaccinated could leave as they pleased.

“Australian citizens and permanent residents who want to travel overseas will need to provide proof that they are fully vaccinated with a [Therapeutic Goods Administration]-approved or recognised vaccine, with the second dose occurring at least seven days prior to travel,” he said.

“These changes will also facilitate travel by children under 12 years of age.”

The TGA has approved four vaccines for use in Australia — Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca (now known as Vaxevria) and Johnson and Johnson.

But it has also listed several from other countries including China, India and Russia that it has recommended be recognised as vaccines that provide protection against COVID-19.

Mr Hunt said the change was the first stage in Australia’s international reopening, with the second stage focused on allowing international students and critical workers back into the country.

As for those who have not been vaccinated, they will still have to apply to leave the country and say why they want to travel.

They will also be subject to passenger caps when they return to Australia and undertake 14 days in hotel quarantine.

The November 1 date coincides with the changes to quarantine arrangements in New South Wales, with fully vaccinated travellers no longer required to undertake any quarantine.

As well as the changes to exemptions, the government has also clarified the rules around pre-flight testing for people wanting to come back to Australia, from 72 hours to a general three-day rule. 

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Itching to leave your life in the US behind and move abroad? We’ll tell you how | Travel


CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Armchair travel was all the rage as the COVID-19 pandemic set in last year — virtual museum and walking tours, Stanley Tucci’s Searching for Italy, virtual reality games and apps. But what if instead of daydreaming about being abroad, you actually picked up and moved there?

The U.S. Department of State estimates that about 9 million U.S. citizens are living abroad. As borders began to close because of COVID-19, some people returned back to the perceived safety of home in the U.S., while for others it was the push they needed to fulfill a lifelong dream.

If you’ve got the itch for an international move, here are some important steps to get started.

Step 1: What’s the cost?

Research the cost of living. Maybe you have a place in mind that you’ve always wanted to live, or maybe you’re open to possibilities. Regardless, the first step in any international move should be researching the exchange rate and cost of living. Countries like Portugal, Costa Rica and Malaysia have some of the lowest costs of living, while cities like Zurich and Hong Kong have a reputation for being expensive.

Save up. A good general rule is to have at least six months’ worth of savings before taking the plunge to relocate to a new country. It’s important to budget in extra costs for things like visa application costs, international shipments of goods and plane tickets.

Understand the tax implications. U.S. citizens abroad are subject to income tax, whether they live in Caracas or Charlotte. Many other countries will also require that taxes be paid there, as well. Understanding tax laws, foreign tax credits, exclusions and requirements is a complicated task best understood by consulting an expert.

Step 2: Which documents do you need?

Secure a valid passport. Passports must be valid for at least six months past your expected return. The COVID-19 pandemic has caused significant backups in passport processing times. The State Department currently estimates at least 16 weeks for processing routine passports and 12 weeks for expedited ones. Pro tip: Make copies of your passport, driver’s license and birth certificate; take one with you and leave one with a trusted loved one in the U.S.

Research visa and work permit requirements. Many countries require visas and or work permits. These come in all shapes and sizes, restrictions and lengths of stay. The best way to find out what is required in the country you are looking to move to is to contact the consulate or embassy of that country. Don’t forget to make note of any renewal requirements. For those lucky enough to be relocating with a company, much of this process may be taken care of for you.

Step 3. Do you have medical coverage?

Determine vaccinations requirements. Vaccination requirements are especially important to understand during this time of COVID-19. For a full list of required immunizations, including COVID-19 vaccine mandates, the CDC website is a good resource. Pro tip: Make photo copies of your immunization records and COVID-19 vaccine card, and take one with you and leave one in the U.S.

Understand medical insurance. Secure international travel insurance. Many medical insurance plans — including Medicare and Medicaid — do not include international coverage. It is important to contact your insurance provider prior to leaving the U.S. to determine what coverage is available to you. If you do not have coverage, there are companies that specifically provide travel medical insurance, including Cigna Global Health Insurance, Aetna International Health Insurance and GeoBlue Health Insurance Xplorer Plans. Another great resource is the International Association for Medical Assistance to Travellers.

Know how to find a doctor. While the U.S. embassy and consulate provides a list of doctors and hospitals by country (look under the American Citizens Services tab under the desired country), finding a doctor that speaks English can be its own challenge. Companies like Air Doctor help connect U.S. citizens with doctors who speak the same language around the globe.

Have a plan for your prescriptions. One last step on the medical front — talk to your doctor and pharmacist about your prescription medications. Find out if they can be filled abroad and what alternatives may be available. Get a written note about pre-existing conditions, as well as a written prescription with dosage from your doctor before you go. While pharmacies abroad will not honor this, it can be helpful to show an in-country doctor who can write you a fillable prescription.

Step 4. Have you told everyone you’ll be gone?

Contact financial institutions. Banks and credit card companies can cause your adventure to come to a screeching financial halt if they do not know that you will be abroad. Contacting these institutions is important to keeping the cash flow going. It is also valuable to research which credit cards do not charge a foreign transaction fee, as most will charge between 1-3% per transaction — a fee that can add up over time.

Let the government know. Any time you leave the U.S., it is a good idea to register with the government’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program. STEP is a free service that ensures that you will receive important updates from the embassy on safety conditions, helps authorities contact you in an emergency and ensures that your family and friends in the States can get in touch with you in an emergency.

Step 5. What happens to your stuff?

Examine the cost of shipping large items. While you may be hesitant to leave your favorite comfy chair behind in the U.S., it is generally expensive (and can take a long time) to ship furniture and large items abroad. For those must-take items, shipping via sea freight is the most economical option, with door-to-door service demanding higher rates than door-to-port options. There is a lot to consider (and budget for) when you consider customs duties, fees and taxes.

Evaluate how to transport your clothing. When it comes to clothing, it can often be easier and less expensive to ship a few boxes than to lug extra suitcases through the airport. The USPS even allows you to print international shipping labels and customs forms, order boxes and estimate your shipment costs online.

Understand the process for taking pets. Perhaps the most important things to take with you when you move abroad are your furry friends. If you are hoping to move with a cat, dog or other pet, the U.S. Department of Agriculture site provides country-specific rules and guidelines.

Ready to go?

While the adventure of moving abroad sounds alluring, it is important to weigh the complications of moving during the time of COVID-19. Constantly changing restrictions can limit your movement and ability to get back to the U.S. In addition, lockdowns and social distancing requirements can make it more difficult to acclimate to a new community and make friends. Consider joining online groups in the local area to find out more about what life looks like in your potential new community.

———

©2021 The Charlotte Observer. Visit at charlotteobserver.com. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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Frontier flight attendants duct-taped a man after an alleged assault. They were put on leave.


The report said he spilled the new drink on his shirt, went to the lavatory and came out shirtless. The flight attendant helped him get a new shirt from his carry-on, police said, and then Berry walked around for about 15 minutes. At that point, he allegedly groped the breasts of a different flight attendant, who also told him not to touch her.



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Travel UK news live: Latest updates as 47 countries to leave red list and industry calls for clarity on testing


Only seven countries will remain on the UK’s travel red list from next Monday.

A total of 47 of the 54-strong list will be bumped up to the “rest of world” (ROW) list from 4am on Monday 11 October, including Mexico, Thailand and the entirety of Africa, the Department for Transport (DfT) announced yesterday afternoon.

The countries left on the red list will be Colombia, Ecuador, Dominican Republic, Haiti, Panama, Peru and Venezuela.

The Scottish government last night confirmed that the changes had been agreed on a four-nation basis, but its transport minister said the nation “will not hesitate to reintroduce restrictions” if the Covid situation deteriorates.

While Mr Shapps labelled the move a “major step forward”, some in the travel industry have called for greater clarification on what new post-arrival testing requirements will look like when the change takes effect.

A UK government source told the BBC ministers were aiming to replace the so-called “day two” PCR test on arrival with a cheaper lateral flow test by the half-term break, which for many schools in England falls in the last week of October. But they said the government was still working on a date for when the new testing rule would be introduced.

Follow the latest travel news below:

1633674565

Good morning

Good morning and welcome to The Independent’s live blog, where we’ll be following all the latest travel news.

Lucy Thackray8 October 2021 07:29

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British Airways announce they will resume services to winter sun

British Airways has said that they will resume services and increase frequencies to a number of winter sun destinations that have been removed from the red list.

The airline will increase its services to Capetown and Johannesburg in South Africa; Mexico City and Cancun in Mexico; Sao Paulo in Brazil and Buenos Aires in Argentina.

The airline’s chief executive Sean Doyle said the changes to the government’s red list, which will come into force from next week, were like “light at the end of a very long tunnel.”

He explained: “Britain will benefit from this significant reduction in red list countries and now it’s time to turn our attention to eradicating testing for fully-vaccinated travellers to ensure we don’t lose our place on the global stage.”

Meanwhile, Charlie Cornish, boss of Manchester Airports Group – the organisation which owns Manchester, Stansted and East Midlands airports – said: “Removing so many countries from the red list gives people the most choice they have had since before the pandemic, which will help stimulate the recovery of the UK’s prized aviation sector.”

Eleanor Sly7 October 2021 21:34

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Wales confirms it will implement Shapps’ travel changes

The Welsh government announced this evening that it too would implement new travel arrangements announced by transport secretary Grant Shapps.

Officials added that, although it was worried about the impact of travel on the virus in Wales, it was “not practical to develop its own border health policy in isolation from the other nations of the UK”.

A Welsh government statement said:

“We look to the UK government to provide reassurances that it will be maintaining consistent and robust surveillance systems that can detect dangerous variants early and that measures to relax restrictions can be swiftly reversed should the international position worsen.

“We are concerned about the cumulative impact of the risk being carried in relation to opening up travel particularly from higher risk countries.

“This includes the radical reduction in the number of red list countries and the suggestion the UK government is contemplating considerably relaxing the rules around quarantine from red list countries and introducing the use lateral flow tests for returning travellers.

“All of these measures, when taken together considerably increase the risk new variant being introduced into Wales and the UK.”

Sam Hancock7 October 2021 20:52

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Which countries’ vaccines are recognised in the UK?

In mid-September, the UK government announced major changes to the country’s international travel and health rules – including its plans to formally recognise a number of vaccines from overseas countries.

Prior to late July, only UK-administered vaccines were officially recognised.

On 28 July, it was announced that the vaccine status of fully jabbed travellers from the US and European Union would also be recognised from 2 August onwards (provided they had received two doses of the same vaccine).

And in the latest update, a further 37 countries were added to the approved list, including India, South Africa and Turkey.

So which countries’ vaccine certificates are now recognised? Our deputy travel editor Lucy Thackray takes a look.

Sam Hancock7 October 2021 20:27

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Scotland ‘not afraid’ to restore Covid restrictions if red list cull backfires

Scotland’s transport minister has said the nation “will not hesitate to reintroduce restrictions” if the Covid situation deteriorates, after it was announced countries including South Africa, Mexico and Thailand will be removed from the red list.

Travellers arriving from those destinations from 4am on Monday will no longer need to spend 11 nights in a quarantine hotel at a cost of £2,285 for solo travellers.

Just seven countries will remain on the red list: Colombia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Haiti, Panama, Peru and Venezuela.

The changes were agreed on a four-nation basis, said the Scottish government, as UK transport secretary Grant Shapps announced the same changes for England. Scottish officials added details for the UK’s post-arrival testing regime were being finalised – and that Scotland would align with it.

Scottish transport minister Graeme Dey said:

“It’s important we continue to exercise caution which is why a red list of countries will be retained, carefully monitored and updated following a review at regular intervals.

“If evidence and circumstances change, we will not hesitate to reintroduce restrictions to protect public health in Scotland.

“But the steps we are seeing now pave the way for growth in the travel and tourism sector who we have listened very carefully to and engaged with widely on throughout this difficult period.”

Sam Hancock7 October 2021 19:59

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Industry welcomes red list cull – but wants to know why ban dragged on

Following my post earlier (7.13pm), here’s our travel correspondent Simon Calder on what the industry thinks about ongoing red list restrictions – and why hotel quarantine is still in effect.

Sam Hancock7 October 2021 19:47

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‘Major step forward’: Shapps praises travel update

In case you missed it earlier, here’s the clip of Grant Shapps announcing the change in travel advice.

“It’s a major step forward,” the transport secretary told Sky News before warning things “could change” should Covid worsen.

Sam Hancock7 October 2021 19:27

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Industry bosses question why red list remains at all

Some expert commentary now.

Julia Simpson, CEO of the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC), said:

“There is no justification for a red list to remain in the UK. Other countries have realised that blanket country measures are no longer needed and instead assess on individual risk and whether travellers have been fully jabbed.

“While this is great news for countries such as South Africa which have been severely impacted by its red list status, welcoming all fully-vaccinated travellers, regardless of country of origin is key to restarting safe international travel.”

Sam Hancock7 October 2021 19:13

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UK travellers will take a photo to verify their travel antigen tests – but no date given for PCR switch

The government has announced that UK travellers will verify their day two lateral flow tests by taking a photo, as part of today’s travel rules update.

But no date has been given for the change from PCR tests being required to lateral flow tests being allowed.

From the previous travel update on 17 September, the change was understood to be happening from “end of October”.

Today’s announcement confirmed a change “later this month”, saying: “passengers will be able to send a picture of their lateral flow test as a minimum requirement to verify test result accuracy and keep prices down once Day 2 tests switch to lateral flow later this month, followed by a free PCR if positive.”

Lucy Thackray7 October 2021 18:31

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India’s CoviShield will be one of the vaccines recognised by the UK from next week

India is one of the countries whose vaccines will be recognised by the UK government from Monday, the Department for Transport has announced.

The Indian-made version of the AstraZeneca had previously not been approved in the UK.

The decision to not recognise India’s vaccines in the previous round of travel rule updates sparked outrage in India, and widespread condemnation of the new policy. India had warned the UK of “reciprocal actions” and said that the new travel policy was “discriminatory” in nature.

The news comes as it is announced that India will come off of the red list at 4am next Monday 11 October.

In response to today’s update, the British High Commissioner to India, Alex Ellis, tweeted: “No quarantine for Indian travellers to UK fully vaccinated with Covishield or another UK-approved vaccine from 11 October. Thanks to Indian government for close cooperation over last month.”

Lucy Thackray7 October 2021 18:19



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Hot tip for travelers: Leave firewood at home


Wherever your travels may take you this summer, you can make more room for your favorite recreational gear, your pet or even an extra friend by choosing to leave firewood at home.

Moving firewood when you camp, hunt or head out for a weekend getaway means you risk carrying tree-killing insects and diseases inside the firewood. Bugs can crawl out, infesting trees and carrying diseases that can forever change the landscape of the places you love.




oak wilt Hoffmaster state park“Much like the emerald ash borer – which spread across the state in the early 2000s, killing many of Michigan’s 700 million ash trees – invasive oak wilt, beech bark disease and hemlock woolly adelgid are threatening tree species that are critical components of our forests and landscapes,” said Robin Rosenbaum, Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development Plant Health Section manager.


According to MDARD, there are 140 pests and diseases that can be moved with firewood. Some are already present in Michigan, while others, including Asian longhorned beetle, beech leaf disease and spotted lanternfly, are infesting nearby states.


“On their own, these insects and diseases can’t travel very far, but they can travel hundreds of miles on firewood,” said Sue Tangora, Michigan Department of Natural Resources Forest Health and Cooperative Programs Section supervisor. “Trees cut for firewood often died due to insects or disease. Why risk carrying oak wilt to your cabin or beech bark disease to your favorite camping spot?”

Keep the fire burning

You can still have a roaring campfire, or a cozy night in front of the fireplace, if you just know how to burn safe.

  • Wood that looks clean and healthy can still have tiny insect eggs or microscopic fungi spores that can start a new and deadly infestation. Always leave your backyard firewood at home, even if you think it looks fine.
  • Buy firewood near where you will burn it – a good rule of thumb is only using wood that was cut within 50 miles of where you’ll have your fire.
  • Use FirewoodScout.org to find a firewood vendor near your destination. With over 350 Michigan listings, you can comparison shop before you arrive.




bundle of firewood with USDA certification stamp

  • Certified, heat-treated firewood is safe to move long distances. Look for a federal stamp or seal on the package, and keep the firewood in the original packaging if entering a campground that requires heat-treated wood.
  • Aged or seasoned wood is still not safe. Just because it is dry doesn’t mean it’s clean. A recent study showed insects continued to emerge from firewood even three years after it had been cut.
  • If you buy firewood and don’t burn it all, don’t bring it home or to your next destination.
  • Tell your friends not to bring wood with them – everyone needs to know they should not move firewood.

Know before you go

Firewood policies vary greatly among the national parks, national forests, private campgrounds and other lands in Michigan. Call ahead or visit DontMoveFirewood.org for more information.




Buy where you burnIn state parks, the DNR requests visitors purchase certified, heat-treated firewood sold in the parks or at some local stores and roadside stands.


For cross-country travels, be mindful of state and federal quarantines that may prohibit the movement of firewood or certain wood products. The Nature Conservancy provides information on rules for U.S. states, Canadian provinces and Mexico at DontMoveFirewood.org/Map.

Find out more

Tuesday, May 25, at 9 a.m., Michigan’s NotMISpecies webinar series features “Dynamite! And other tools to protect Michigan’s state park trees,” exploring how and why tree health is a critical component of state park management. Learn about the variety of tools, including explosives, used to control invasive insects and diseases to keep the forest ecosystem intact and ensure you have a great recreation experience. Register for the webinar at Michigan.gov/EGLEEvents under “Featured Webinar Series.”

Information on invasive tree pests and diseases of concern in Michigan can be found at Michigan.gov/Invasives.

Michigan’s Invasive Species Program is cooperatively implemented by the Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy, the Department of Natural Resources; and the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.

/Note to editors: Accompanying photos are available below for download. Suggested caption information follows.

Certified: A certification stamp and the name and address of the firewood supplier should be visible on any certified firewood label. Photo courtesy of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Buy-burn: To prevent spreading invasive pests and diseases, buy firewood near or at your destination.

Hoffmaster: Hundreds of trees have been removed from the campground at P.J. Hoffmaster State Park in Muskegon due to an infestation of oak wilt./



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A reminder for vaccinated travellers to leave a tip during travels


A reminder for vaccinated travellers to leave a tip during travels

A reminder for vaccinated travellers to leave a tip during travels

As borders, restaurants, bars, and shops open up, we are once more seeing movements in cities. While some people are travelling outside their cities, others are visiting their favourite diners, bars, …





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Travel limits leave Europe without many fans at Ryder Cup


SHEBOYGAN, Wis. (AP) — The sea of red that fills the galleries every time the United States hosts the Ryder Cup will have fewer European blue dots than usual this year.

Pandemic-related travel restrictions are giving the U.S. a far bigger edge in fan support than the home team normally receives.

“You only have to look around and all the grandstands are red,” Europe’s Ian Poulter said. “Everything that you look at, the fans, 98% are obviously going to be U.S. fans this week.”

When this biennial event normally comes to the United States, there are as many as 5,000 European fans, still a clear minority but enough to be heard. There weren’t anywhere near that many European supporters watching Thursday’s practice at Whistling Straits.

“I think you could probably count them on your hands,” quipped Amanda Carle, a Team Europe fan from Dundee, Scotland, who lives in Nashville, Tennessee.

European residents aren’t permitted to fly directly to the United States due to the pandemic. The U.S. announced Monday it would allow foreigners to fly into the country if they have proof of vaccination and a negative COVID-19 test, but those changes don’t take effect until November.

That meant fans living in Europe who wanted to watch the Ryder Cup in person had to take indirect routes.

For instance, Ashley Pearson of Hertfordshire, England, was among a group of four people who flew to Mexico and spent two weeks there. Then they flew from Mexico to Chicago before driving to Wisconsin.

Pearson watched the European team practice Thursday while holding a custom-made thermos with the words, “Ryder Cup or Die!!” on one side and “3 Years & 14,767 Miles” on another side to reflect how long he’d waited and how far he’d traveled to get to this point.

“Whatever we had to do, we were always going to do it,” Pearson said.

There were so few European fans watching Thursday’s practice that they quickly bonded with one another. While Pearson was discussing his circuitous path to Wisconsin, William May of Milwaukee and Ed Cook of Chicago – both originally from England – shouted “Let’s Go, Sergio!” as Sergio Garcia walked up the fairway.

“I just said to these guys a few holes back, ‘Oh, I finally found some English guys,’” Pearson said. “I’d been here for two days and hadn’t found anyone English.”

While the advantage in U.S. fans has been overwhelming, it thus far hasn’t been intimidating.

Carle said the reception from the American fans had been “really positive.” Chris Wipaki, Carle’s husband, noted how one fan dressed in an Abraham Lincoln costume had a polite chat with Carle while they watched the Europeans tee off.

“People are being pleasant and polite and nice,” said Haydn Grounds, an Englishman who lives in Ocean Pines, Maryland. “There’s not as many ‘Ole, Ole’s’ as I’d like to hear or you’d typically hear in a normal Ryder Cup, but it’s fun.”

Knowing they’d be small in number, European fans did their best to make their presence felt.

Grounds was one of a few spectators wearing European flags around their necks. Gavin Kidd, a Houston resident originally from Liverpool, England, wore a homemade mailbox costume to honor Poulter, who has been nicknamed “The Postman” because he delivers so often at the Ryder Cup.

Kidd’s outfit drew a mixed reaction.

“The European fans know it straight away,” Kidd said.

“The American fans don’t understand whatsoever,” said his wife, Lesley Kidd.

The Kidds decided to attend the Ryder Cup after noticing how significantly European fans were outnumbered at the Solheim Cup that took place earlier this month in Toledo, Ohio. Without much time to prepare, they bought plane tickets and found lodging about an hour away in Glendale, Wisconsin.

“I felt obligated to do the right thing and support the boys,” Gavin Kidd said.

It’s worth noting that Europe still managed to win the Solheim Cup even without having the crowd in its favor. Europe’s Ryder Cup team hopes to give its own small cheering section reason to celebrate as well.

“I guess everything is stacked against us,” Poulter said. “When you have that, when you can go in as underdogs, when you can turn the tide and actually come out victorious, it means a little bit more.”

___

For more AP golf coverage: https://apnews.com/apf-Golf and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

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Travel news live: Turkey and South Africa ‘should leave red list’


As UK travellers wait to see what changes the government will make to the “traffic light” system, The Independent’s travel correspondent Simon Calder has made his predictions.

“The UK’s travel restrictions make us a laughing stock abroad – but they are also crippling airlines and holiday firms.

“Assuming the leaks are correct and the whole ludicrous system is to be dismantled, the industry will naturally be relieved – but will also demand to know why the government made going abroad so difficult for so long.

“The current restrictions aren’t just making holidaymakers jumpy about booking – they are also destroying inbound tourism to the UK, and hundreds of thousands of jobs with it.

“The red list is way too long. Travel to almost a third of the world’s countries requires thousands of pounds spent on 11 nights in a hotel room on arrival.

Expert analysts concur that Bangladesh, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, the Dominican Republic, the Maldives, South Africa and Turkey should be taken off the red list. But as the government has shown many times, it can deliver wildly different conclusions.”

In other news, Qantas has scheduled flights between London and Sydney and London and Melbourne from 18 December.

Follow the latest travel news below:

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Scrap amber list and testing for the double jabbed, says Heathrow boss

Heathrow Airport has called on the government to scrap all testing for double vaccinated travellers as it struggles to recover from business lost to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The UK’s largest airport has also urged authorities to remove the amber list and instead create a “safe but simple two-tier system” comprised of just a green and a red list.

Under these proposals, fully vaccinated arrivals from green list locations would no longer be required to take a test, whereas those who are not fully vaccinated would need to take lateral flow tests pre-departure and post-arrival.

Only those who test positive would need to take a more expensive PCR test.

Lucy Thackray15 September 2021 10:36

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Two out of five former rail passengers stay away from trains

Rail use in the UK is still well below pre-pandemic levels, according to the latest figures released by the Department for Transport (DfT).

In the week from 7 September, passenger numbers averaged 60.3 per cent of weekly numbers prior to the Covid crisis.

While some train operators report a rebound in leisure travellers to pre-pandemic levels, the Rail Delivery Group (RDG) says only one-third of commuter journeys are currently being made.

The rail industry has launched a marketing campaign to try to persuade passengers back on board – assuring them that public transport is safe. But some train operators, as well as the London Underground, are still cordoning off parts of carriages as a Covid precaution.

Simon Calder15 September 2021 10:00

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What time is the travel ‘traffic light’ update expected today?

Three weeks after the last update to the UK’s “traffic light” travel lists, the government is expected to announce the latest changes to the green, amber and red lists today or tomorrow, 15 or 16 September.

There is no clarity on the exact timing of the announcement by the transport secretary, Grant Shapps, but it is expected to be on either Wednesday afternoon or Thursday.

However, past experience – coupled with the health secretary and Prime Minister both hinting at larger changes to the UK’s travel system in the past 24 hours – suggests we cannot be sure there will be significant changes to the lists.

Lucy Thackray15 September 2021 09:26

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Qantas will restart Lon-Aus flights – but only if quarantine is eased, says exec

Direct flights between the UK and Australia will be restored only if Australia’s quarantine rules are eased by the government in Canberra, a Qantas executive has said.

The airline has put its first flights from London to Sydney, Perth and Melbourne on sale from 19 December. A return from Heathrow to Sydney via Singapore, departing on the first date and returning early in the New Year, costs almost £2,000.

But Stephanie Tully, the airline’s chief customer officer, warned that if a two-week hotel quarantine for vaccinated arrivals to Australia was still required, “we will not get the demand we need to operate”. She said that testing should be sufficient.

She also said that only Sydney and Melbourne may appear on the international route network initially if the governments in Queensland and Western Australia keep their state borders closed.

Lucy Thackray15 September 2021 09:02

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Anyone getting on a plane ‘should be vaccinated’ says Fauci

The chief medical adviser to the US president, Dr Anthony Fauci, has said in an interview that he would advise all travellers to get vaccinated before flying.

“I would support that if you want to get on a plane and travel with other people that you should be vaccinated,” Fauci told US digital news outlet The Skimm.

US authorities have stopped short of implementing a vaccine mandate for flyers, though all travellers must wear masks in airports and on planes or risk a $500-minimum fine.

Fauci also responded to rapper Nicki Minaj’s tweet suggesting that the Covid-19 vaccines could cause impotence in men.

“The answer to that, Jake, is a resounding no. There’s no evidence that it happens,” Fauci told CNN’s Jake Tapper.

Lucy Thackray15 September 2021 08:03

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New airline promises customers a ‘hefty dose of love’

A new Canadian airline has revealed an extraordinary business plan – with touches of philosophy – as it launches flights from Montreal to Mexico.

OWG, whose name stands for Off We Go, promises to “offer its travellers an experience that is the complete opposite of low-cost flights”.

The carrier says: “Our vision is to give you a hefty dose of love.”

It involves “gathering travellers into three specific aircraft zones to provide a customised experience”.

“Singles will have the chance to travel in the High Zone, couples will be pampered in the Love Zone and families will be able to meet in the Heart Zone,” OWG says.

The only clue about what happens in any of these is that the Heart Zone is “located at the rear of the aircraft closer the lavatories and flight attendants”.

Other airlines champion their reliability or route network. OWG promises philosophy on the flight path to Mexico.

“Through this journey, you will not only discover a place, a different way of life and new faces, but you will also discover yourself.”

Simon Calder15 September 2021 07:39

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Good morning

Good morning and welcome to The Independent’s travel liveblog, where we’ll be sharing all the latest updates.

Lucy Thackray15 September 2021 07:37



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