The weather – consistently sunny. The excursions – plentiful. The food – a smorgasbord. The drinks – flowing. Cruises, no matter domestic or international, all seem to have a little bit of something for every kind of guest. Who would have guessed that a cruise ship would become sort of an adult daycare for a week or two? Honestly, they have cabins, pools, open bars around every corner, a giant and often 24/7 buffet, onboard entertainment shows, off-ship excursions in new and exciting locations, classes, gyms, and endless but breathtaking sights that change at every minute. 20 million people may take cruises every year and many enjoy safe and perfectly relaxing vacations (don’t focus too much on recent and very widely-televised disasters that don’t often occur). Still, as with any activity out of your normal routine, you should be aware and prepared for the unexpected.
Jonathan Mark, owner, and writer of the popular cruise website – Cruise Fever – has provided several steps you can take before embarking on a cruise to stay safe but have an incredible time.
One – Research Your Ship
Cruise ships with issues are unlikely to be in service, but not all can be foreseen. Things flat out break, wear down, and happen to be the result of completely unexpected circumstances. Plain and simple, things happen. However, don’t let that scare you. Mark mentions that “Every ship that sails too and from the U.S. is required to have at least two surprise inspections each year… Over the past year, 14 cruise ships earned perfect 100 health scores.”
Cruise Ships and crew are required by law to comply with a sailing mantra – SOLAS – Safety of Life at Sea. These rules dictate the “number of lifeboats, fire safety provisions, and functionality of communication equipment.” These precautions may help quell any mental tension you may have about sailing but be sure to take part and recall the mandatory tourist training. “Even though it’s the least ‘fun’ part of the cruise it’s important for both the passengers and crew.”
Don’t Drink Too Much
For many of us, a little (or a lot) of alcohol can help take the stress off of life and even your vacation. Nonetheless, “Just because a drink package allows you to drink 15 alcoholic drinks per day does not mean you should [drink that many]…. While in port it’s important for passengers to be familiar with their surroundings and with any travel advisories that have been issued.”
“There’s a saying when it comes to packing on a cruise: ‘Whatever you were planning, take half the clothes and double the money.’” “Also older ships have few power outlets so an adaptor that has extra USB plugs can be a lifesaver.”
Also – Don’t Pack
Simple enough… “Any illegal substances should not be brought on a cruise. Just because something is legal in the state you live does not mean you can take it out of the country with you.”
Make Friends (For Safety!)
“Most cruise ships will have a get-together for cruisers traveling solo… This is a great way to meet other passengers. If you are traveling by yourself in port, stay on the beaten path and in touristy areas. This is another area where common sense into play.” Don’t place yourself into undue harm because you wanted to go exploring on your own. In addition, unless you know the other passengers on a decent level, if someone asks you what you’re up to, mention that you’re “waiting for friends.” This way, they will be less compelled to play anything funny on you.
Just like the real world, keep your wits on your sleeves. “The biggest way people put themselves in danger on a cruise is to not use common sense… Cruises are statistically the safest way to vacation. This causes people to put their guard down when they should, in fact, use the same precautions as if they are on a land-based vacation.” Don’t fall victim to yourself just because you’re on vacation.
Thai Government Wants Tourists to Wear Digital Wristbands
Tourists will be required to wear digital wristbands in Thailand. This will enable the Thai government to easily track their health status while touring the said Southeast Asian country.
To sever possible COVID-19 transmission, Thailand plans to require would-be tourists to wear digital wristbands while staying in the country. This mandate will allow the government to track their whereabouts including their health as they visit Thailand’s different traveler destinations.
Last month, the said Southeast Asian nation opened its borders to a group of Chinese visitors—the first ever arrival since April when Thailand halted inbound travels to control COVID-19 transmission. The country has been doing quite well in the battle against the novel coronavirus. Hence, it has been reluctant to reopen its doors to visitors wanting to explore its various tourist spots.
The recent October group of Shanghai tourists were automatically required to undergo a 14-day quarantine period, especially since they planned to stay within the country for a month. They were also relegated to a government-accredited hotel.
Nevertheless, aside from the automatic quarantine period, recent Thailand updates assert that the nation now plans to mandate all approved, incoming tourists to wear digital wristbands, “Smart Bands” as they are called. These devices will help the government track the tourists, particularly their health, as they visit the different places within the country.
The said digital device measures the body temperature of the wearer which will, then, notify nearby health centers. Tourists who wear digital wristbands will also be able to ask for help should they ever get lost while touring the country.
Not all would-be visitors will be able to enter Thailand, however. At present, only visitors from low-risk areas will be given a Special Tourist Visa. This visa can be obtained by paying 2,000 Baht ($64.25).
Additionally, a would-be tourist needs to have a “fit-to-fly certificate” from a certified doctor, a negative PCR COVID-19 test result, and a health insurance policy of at least $100,000 that will cover COVID-19 treatment within the country.
If you plan to travel to Thailand, you must be able to secure these requirements before buying your ticket. See to it that you will be coming from a country that is enlisted as a low-risk area by the Thailand government. You should also obtain the necessary “fit-to-fly certificate” from your doctor, have a negative PCR COVID-19 test at least 72 hours before your flight, and an insurance policy of the above-stated amount before you can apply for the said Special Tourist Visa.
As of writing, Thailand has only less than 4,000 total COVID-19 cases, a far cry from the overall COVID-19 cases worldwide that has already reached more than 46 million. Hence, the Thai government strictly monitors tourists who are allowed to enter their borders. The planned mandate to require tourists to wear digital wristbands while staying in the country will greatly help control possible COVID-19 transmission which may be brought on by the gradual reopening of its borders.
Hawaii Vacations Easier Now for Visitors
Hawaii opens its doors to vacationers. However, there are still several protocols that tourists need to follow.
On 15 October, Hawaii started providing visitors an easier alternative. Instead of requiring tourists to undergo a 14-day quarantine, would-be visitors must undergo testing, at least 72 hours before mainland departure, proving that they are free from the COVID-19 virus. Although this new Safe Travels protocol was supposed to start on the first day of September, the State of Hawaii had to suspend the program due to the sudden spike in cases. Yet, does Hawaii really want visitors now?
“I want people to come if they are fully prepared to test, know that they are healthy and are prepared to wear a mask,” mentions Lt Gov Josh Green, one of the leaders of the program. “If they do all those things, we are excited to resume our relationship with old friends,” he continues. He adds, however, that “…we are very mindful of risk, and we’re just trying to begin the process of a healthy restoration of our economy. We are not pushing for any large numbers. We just want to begin to kind of shake off the rust.”
To participate in the program—and to be given the chance to enter the state, all would-be visitors are required to undergo testing. This is a mandatory protocol that includes testing children who are aged 5 and above. Aside from the tests being done at least 72 hours before leaving the mainland, they should also be undertaken by accredited testing centers or health care agencies.
Green advises travelers to consult their chosen accredited testers regarding their own testing protocols. He mentions that some of these testing centers do not provide testing for children. Some merely offer COVID-19 tests to children who are 12 years old and above.
Nevertheless, the COVID-19 home testing kits from Hawaiian Airlines can also be used for testing purposes. Vault Health mentions that children can do their saliva-based COVID-19 test, as well. Big airline companies that provide Hawaii flights also offer travelers the option to take the test at the accredited clinics or have them done at the airports. They can also opt to do the home tests, as well.
A few of these airlines provide faster test results, too. For a fee of $250, United Airlines offers rapid testing at the San Francisco International Airport. For this kind of test, results are provided in a few minutes. Travelers can also obtain the tests from Walgreens and CVS.
However, the tests may only allow travelers to enter Hawaii. Traveling between islands may require vacationers to undergo additional COVID-19 tests, though. This is a protocol that applies not only to tourists but to Hawaiians, as well. They will also need to do the necessary 14-day quarantine each time they reach a new island.
Additionally, a second COVID-19 test may be requested from visitors, four days after arriving in Hawaii. This allows the government to make sure that visitors are, indeed, negative from the virus. Records suggest that 1 out of 1000 visitors are known to have come up positive during the retesting.
5 Bucket List Things to Do In Valle De Guadalupe
If you want to get away for a relaxing Mexican vacation, there’s no better place to do it than Valle De Guadalupe.
Known as the “Napa Valley” of Mexico, Valle De Guadalupe is situated in the northern part of Baja California, just a short trip from Tijuana. If you live in Southern California, it’s the perfect place for a weekend trip, but people from all over should consider it as a vacation destination.
Today, we’re going to talk about 5 unforgettable things you need to experience in Valle De Guadalupe. Whether you’re looking to lounge on the beach or visit some world-class wineries, Valle De Guadalupe has got you covered.
1. Let Your Inner Wine Lover Out
The main reason Valle De Guadalupe is such a popular tourist destination is becuase of its nickname – the “Napa Valley” of Mexico. It’s one of the largest producers of world-class wine in the world (the Baja California region produces 70% of Mexico’s wine), so oenophiles flock from all around to visit the amazing wineries in the region, take tours, and even visit museums.
There’s no shortage of wine tours available to keep you busy for your entire stay, if that’s what you’re looking for. The wineries range from small family owned establishments to world-renowned wine brands, so you’ll be able to experience the full breadth of the Mexican wine industry.
2. Try Some World-Class Restaurants
Where there’s wine, there’s usually fine dining, so you won’t be surprised to find some of the best restaurants in Mexico in Valle De Guadalupe. The best thing to do is get some research done ahead of your trip and pick the restaurants you want to try, becuase you won’t be able to visit them all.
If you want to play it by ear, you might benefit from asking some of the locals where they eat. There’s no better way to experience Baja California than by doing as the locals do.
3. Enjoy An Excursion Through the Country Side
Once you’ve got your fill of great food and wine, you might want to see some of the natural beauty that surrounds the area. Fortunately, there are a couple of unforgettable sightseeing options available to you.
Fans of offroading will enjoy both the ATV or Moto Tour of Valle De Guadalupe. These allow you to experience a fun jaunt through the countryside with a trained guide. Just remember to go before you’ve had too much to drink.
4. Or Fly Over It
If you’re not an offroad lover, then you’ve still got one amazing sightseeing option. Try out a hot air balloon ride over the valley and you’ll be treated to some truly unbelieveable views of the town and the surrounding country side, which is covered in expansive wineries. This is a serious bucket list experience.
Enjoy Your Trip to Valle De Guadalupe
So, why not make Valle De Guadalupe your next vacation destination. Not only will you be able to cross a few things off your bucket list, like taking a hot air balloon ride or visiting a tiny Mexican winery, but you’ll be able to relax and enjoy the natural beauty as well. There’s enough to do for a longer vacation, but it’s close enough for a weekender as well, which is what makes this Mexican Napa Valley so special.
If you enjoyed this post, come back again for more on travel, food, and wine.
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