United Applies to Launch Historic, First-Ever Nonstop Service between Washington, D.C. and Cape Town – Breaking Travel News

United Applies to Launch Historic, First-Ever Nonstop Service between Washington, D.C. and Cape Town  Breaking Travel News

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WNBA travel issues resurface early for Washington Mystics and Las Vegas Aces

The Mystics defeated the Aces Tuesday on the strength of a dominant 24-7 third quarter to earn perhaps the most impressive win of the young WNBA season. But before and after the game, the conversation turned to the league’s travel policy.

This isn’t the first time travel has dominated the discourse between Washington and Las Vegas, but at least this time, the game went on as scheduled.

Four years ago, during their inaugural season in Las Vegas, the Aces spent more than 24 hours traveling to Washington, a harrowing day that involved flight delays and cancellations, sleeping overnight in a Dallas airport terminal, and splitting up from there on the way to D.C. Las Vegas ultimately forfeited the game, even after it was pushed back an hour, because the Aces didn’t believe they were physically fit to play.

(Frankly, nothing ever goes according to plan when these two teams play, but we’ll stick to travel for now.)

The next season, in one of her first acts as WNBA commissioner, Cathy Engelbert decided to charter planes for Las Vegas — and the Los Angeles Sparks — who were both flying cross-country to Washington and Connecticut, respectively. The Aces and Sparks were contesting playoff games on a Tuesday on the East coast after each playing on the West coast that Sunday.

At the time, it seemed like chartering flights might become a more regular part of the WNBA travel experience. But other than when the New York Liberty covertly chartered flights a year ago in violation of the collective bargaining agreement, charter planes have only been used within the rules once, when the Sky and Mercury had to travel between games 2 and 3 of the 2021 WNBA Finals.

It’s worth noting that the league has played its last three seasons, including the current one, during a global pandemic, making commercial flights even more of a sticking point. That is particularly true since the mask mandate ended, as Washington Mystics guard Natasha Cloud became acutely aware of this this week. Cloud was unavailable to play in Tuesday’s game after entering the league’s health and safety protocols, and she blamed her positive Covid test on the commercial flight the Mystics had taken from Minnesota.

Natasha Cloud was not happy about testing positive for Covid and missing her team’s game Tuesday.
via @t_cloud9 on Instagram

Cloud’s teammates were able to pick up the slack for her, in part because of fatigue from Las Vegas. The Aces played at their home arena Sunday night, then traveled all day Monday to get to Washington for the Tuesday tip. It was a relatively simple process compared to their 2018 ordeal, but flight delays and a full day of making their across the country left them at less than their best.

“I think I’m the best conditioned player in this league, respectfully, and I feel like to play that type of game against Seattle (Sunday), then to get on a delayed flight for five and a half hours, fly across the country, wake up and play the next day, I mean, I was tired today,” Kelsey Plum said postgame. Plum had 14 points on 5-of-8 shooting in the first half against the Mystics and 4 points on 1-of-6 shooting in the second half.

“If you guys have ever watched me play, I can go all day,” Plum added. “So I don’t think it’s necessarily conditioning as it’s just the setup of the schedule. I mean, let’s be real, I mean, I’m not here to blame a charter flight for the reason that we lost, but normally a team would fly out that night, and have that whole day to rest and get your legs back under you and then go play the next day. So you know those little things make a difference. Hopefully we’re on our way.”

Cloud’s complaint may be a relatively new issue for the WNBA to deal with, but Plum’s is familiar to the league office. After a marquee game featuring 2019 MVP Elena Delle Donne out-dueling 2020 MVP A’ja Wilson and undrafted rookie Katie Benzan splashing three triples, the talk of the game should be on basketball, not Cloud’s absence or Plum’s fatigue. But instead the players are harping at the league’s travel policy only three games into a condensed schedule that has more games than any WNBA season to date.

The 2022 season has gotten off to an entertaining start, from the Mystics’ excellence to signs of life from the Indiana Fever and the rest of the rookie class. The league’s product is worth celebrating, but Tuesday was a reminder that the WNBA still has work to do to place the focus on the court instead of off of it.

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19 veterans travel to Washington D.C. to visit war memorials thanks to Honor Flight Houston

HOUSTON – Nineteen veterans will depart to Washington D.C. Friday morning as part of ‘Honor Flight Houston’ in the first flight since the COVID-19 pandemic.

In collaboration with Schlumberger, Honor Flight, Southwest Airlines, and Houston Airports, the group of World War II, Korea and Vietnam veterans plan to visit their respective war memorials dedicated to their service and sacrifice.

Both the veterans and organizers say their experience will be memorable.

The group departed from Houston’s Hobby Airport Friday morning. A surprise return with a water cannon salute with Houston Fire Department along with more surprises are planned for Saturday evening along with a greeting from 100+ family members and fellow veterans.

To learn more about Honor Flight Houston, click here.

Copyright 2022 by KPRC Click2Houston – All rights reserved.

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Tips for summer travel – The Washington Post

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Travel is going to be complicated this summer.

More Americans will probably travel than at any time since the start of the coronavirus pandemic. The World Travel & Tourism Council and Oxford Economics project that domestic travel spending will reach more than $1.1 trillion for the year, surpassing pre-pandemic levels by about 11 percent.

“All indications suggest things will be moving back to the pre-pandemic era for travel this summer,” says Mahmood Khan, a professor in Virginia Tech’s hospitality and tourism management department.

But Khan says the war in Ukraine, high inflation and soaring gas prices have added uncertainty to the travel landscape, making it more likely that out-of-practice vacationers will make mistakes.

“Travelers are taking a lackadaisical approach to travel as covid restrictions loosen up,” says Manny Fernandez, vice president of global operations of FocusPoint International, a global assistance company for travelers. “They aren’t paying attention to the basics of travel preparation as they did pre-pandemic.”

I’ll be on the road with you this summer: I plan to travel to Turkey, Greece, Ireland and Britain. I hope I don’t embarrass myself. Here’s how you — and I — can avoid the biggest summer travel pitfalls of 2022.

Waiting too long to book. “Some mistakes people are making right now,” says Amy Jones, a travel adviser based in Rock Hill, S.C. “They are not preplanning and reserving accommodations or purchasing flights now, and they’re waiting until the last minute for that deal.”

But Jones says that deal isn’t coming this summer. Most hotel rooms and vacation rentals are already close to being sold out in high-demand areas. Even if you’re thinking of postponing your vacation until October or November, you’ll still find high occupancy levels.

Failing to research security. “Today, more than ever before, security is a key issue,” says Carrie Pasquarello, chief executive of Global Secure Resources, a security consulting firm. The coronavirus remains a major concern in many places, and some countries still have pandemic restrictions and testing requirements in place.

Pasquarello says anyone traveling this summer needs to do a deep dive on health and safety at their destination. That includes researching crime, the risk of contracting the coronavirus, and other potential hazards. She recommends starting by looking up your destination on the State Department’s Travel Advisories page and checking its coronavirus testing requirements on Sherpa, a database of travel restrictions.

Forgetting the basics of travel. For many Americans, it’s been a while since their last vacation. And that means they’re a little out of practice when it comes to travel.

Rani Cheema, chief executive of Cheema’s Travel, a culinary travel agency, says the basics are simple. Make sure you have at least six months of validity left on your passport. “If your passport expires within six months of your departure, you need to renew it immediately,” she says. And “constantly” check your flights, paying close attention to any emails or text messages you receive from your airline. “There’s a high chance that your flight has changed due to the lack of crew, pilots or even seats sold,” she says.

Assuming your plans won’t change. “Travel regulations, along with airline and event schedules, are still in flux,” warns Kimberly Greulich, founder of KG Travel Club, a luxury travel agency. Covid restrictions may feel as if they’re over, but the effects are still with us.

Greulich also says you shouldn’t assume that every amenity at an airport or hotel will be available this summer. Labor shortages may mean restaurants are operating with reduced hours. Hotel housekeeping might be unavailable. If there’s something you’re counting on at your destination, ask before you arrive.

Ignoring insurance. Travelers often assume their travel insurance or medical evacuation membership will cover anything that might happen to them. But it might not — and this isn’t the summer to find out. For example, earlier this year, Covac Global, a company that offers coverage for travelers who get infected with the coronavirus while they’re away, added a new evacuation requirement to its list: The company must consider the evacuation “medically prudent to avoid hospitalization.”

If you’re renting a car, here’s some expert advice: Talk to your insurance company before you leave. Christopher Seabrook, an insurance agent for Country Financial in Atlanta, says travelers often overlook the specifics of their auto policies, specifically whether they have roadside assistance coverage. “Generally, your auto policy should apply to the rental vehicle while driving within the United States, including your deductible,” he says. “Always read the contract carefully, and ask the rental agent to explain anything if you’re unsure.”

Avoiding Europe. Kate McCulley, a travel blogger who lives in Prague, says Americans are needlessly worried about security in central Europe. “Over and over, I’m getting messages from Americans saying things along the lines of, ‘We’re not going to central Europe because of the unrest right now,’ ” she says.

Just one problem: “There is zero unrest. Zero. Prague, Budapest, Kraków [in Poland] and numerous other cities are functioning normally, only with more yellow-and-blue flags hanging from windows,” she says. This could be the one area where deals are still available, so you might miss an opportunity to save money.

Visiting the wrong place. If you’re still unsure where to go this summer, try someplace that just reopened for tourism. That’s the advice of Carlos Grider, an expert on remote work who publishes a blog about being a digital nomad. He recommends heading to places such as Thailand, Vietnam or Indonesia, which recently reopened, rather than destinations such as Mexico, which had more lax pandemic regulations.

“Use the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity of this summer to aim for classic destinations that are just recently opening,” Grider says. “You can experience them in a pleasant, uncrowded, welcoming and inexpensive state that likely will not happen again.”

Potential travelers should take local and national public health directives regarding the pandemic into consideration before planning any trips. Travel health notice information can be found on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s interactive map showing travel recommendations by destination and the CDC’s travel health notice webpage.

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Here’s why hundreds of travel influencers the flocked to Mid-Columbia in Washington | Northwest

KENNEWICK, Wa. — About 300 travel writers, influencers, bloggers and marketing professionals converged on the Tri-Cities this week for the 2022 North American Travel Blog Exchange (TBEX) conference.

Attendees took to the streets, walkways, trails and river ways around the area to get a sense of what the Mid-Columbia has to offer.

Creators and marketers from around the globe — including from Denmark, Kenya, Spain, Thailand and Australia — went on bike tours, scenic flights, hikes along the Columbia River, and wine and beer tastings.

“It was a big, big partnership to bring TBEX here, and to show them not only how great the Tri-Cities is but Washington state,” said Michael Novakovich, president and CEO of Visit Tri-Cities, the event’s host sponsor.

The conference, according to its website, works to inspire creatives and tourism marketers, offers workshops and serves as a networking event.

From taking over the REACH Museum, to hiking Candy Mountain, to wine and bicycle tours, the travel writers were out and about around the Tri-Cities all week, seeking out unique and fun experiences to crave their sense of wanderlust.

“Yesterday I got to go kayaking here in the @TriCitiesWA I need to write all about it for Paddle Your State, and then I can add it to my Kayaking Tri-Cities guide,” wrote Rob Taylor, author of 2TravelDads, in a Tuesday Twitter post.

“Great wine and biking tour today with Red Mountain Trails outside of @TriCitiesWA before @TBEXevents kicks off,” wrote Tim Leffel, editor of Perceptive Travel online magazine and the Cheapest Destinations Blog.

Dave Bouskill and Deb Corbeil, founders of the Forbes top 10 travel blogs site The Planet D, also shared their Tri-City wine experiences with their more than 204,000 Instagram followers.

Tourism impact

The community outings are funded largely by hotel-motel tax dollars, as well as from local businesses.

This kind of attention is big for an area like the Tri-Cities, Novakovich said.

The conference — and the location — generates a lot of online press and social media content that can snowball in a short time.

On a good year, about 20 travel writers visit the Tri-Cities.

“What TBEX is going to do is fund future travel,” Novakovich said.

The COVID pandemic hit tourism hard, but travel to the area has picked back up. The number of occupied rooms between 2020 and 2021 went up 46%. A full recovery is expected by 2024.

In 2019, visitors to Benton and Franklin counties spent about $498.4 million on dining, overnight accommodations, shopping and recreational activities, said Visit Tri-Cities.

(c)2022 Tri-City Herald (Kennewick, Wash.)

Visit Tri-City Herald (Kennewick, Wash.) at www.tri-cityherald.com

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

Copyright 2022 Tribune Content Agency.

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‘Significant snowstorm’ expected to make travel on Washington passes difficult

A strong storm will impact the Pacific Northwest starting Sunday night with gusty wind, heavy rain, significant mountain snow, and high surf on the coast. 

The Washington State Department of Transportation is warning drivers ahead of time that travel on three passes might be impacted. 

Washingtonians could see about one to two feet of snow (though closer to one foot at Snoqualmie Pass) and low visibility due to wind at the pass level through Tuesday.

WSDOT says Snoqualmie Pass (I-90), Stevens Pass (US-2) and White Pass (US-12) will be impacted.

The organization says to make sure you have chains in your vehicle and know how to use them, and be prepared for possible delays.

Make sure you’re checking for the latest pass conditions and closures before you head out. You can find those here. 

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San Diego leaders travel to Washington D.C. to lobby for infrastructure funding

A delegation of over 170 local and regional San Diego elected officials, business and nonprofit leaders went to Washington D.C. this week to lobby for infrastructure dollars. This is the 14th year the region has sent a delegation. The annual trip is organized by San Diego’s Regional Chamber of Commerce.

San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria said in a news conference on Monday morning they have dozens of meetings scheduled with federal leaders to make the case for the urgent needs of the region. He and several other delegation members already met with Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg.

“[The meeting] was really about not just shovel ready, but shovel worthy and kind of a notion we want to plan for projects that are going to have transformational change,” said Gloria.

Catherine Blakespear, the mayor of Encinitas, who is also chair of the SANDAG Board, said funding a third port of entry in Otay Mesa is a top priority for the delegation.

RELATED: US labor shortage feeds Tijuana’s nascent tech industry

“California and Baja California are home to the busiest land ports of entry in the western hemisphere,” said Blakespear. “Border wait times have a significant impacts on our region, causing challenges for our economy and our air quality — and also quality of life — for everybody who lives in the area.”

Gloria said homelessness and affordable housing is also at the top of the list, saying, “Let me be extremely clear: In a nation, state and city as wealthy as San Diego, California in the United States we shouldn’t have any homeless people.”

Gloria said securing funding for new housing projects and housing assistance will not just help shelter the more than 8,000 San Diegans who are on the streets now but also help the more than a million people who are rent insecure, and families live their American dreams in San Diego.

“We want people who are hard working and contributing to our economy to see a future for themselves in San Diego. That is economic prosperity, that is success,” he said. “And that’s why we’re working so hard to bring the both the infrastructure and housing dollars back to San Diego.”

Gloria said members of the Congressional delegation have secured over $107 million in the latest budget to fund community projects.

The delegation is scheduled to be there through Wednesday.

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