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Traveling To Cuba Just Got Harder

In order to fight American dollars from empowering the Cuban regime, Trump’s security counsel has placed new restrictions on travel to the country.

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     Last week, the Trump administration placed further restrictions upon nonfamily travel to the Cuban country, a mere 100 miles from the tip of Florida. During a speech given to the veterans of the Bay of Pigs invasion, the failed 1961 event that sought to overthrow Fidel Castro, Trump’s national security advisor, John Bolton, added that the new regulations were also placed upon the countries of Nicaragua and Venezuela. Alongside Cuba, Bolton has stated that these three countries are “the troika of tyranny.”

     During his speech, he mentioned “The Department of the Treasury will implement further regulatory changes to restrict nonfamily travel to Cuba… These new measures will help steer American’s dollars away from the Cuban regime.”

Background

     For many years, tensions between the US and Cuba did not allow for travel. From 1999 until 2003, the US government allowed “people-to-people” licenses. These licenses allowed Americans to travel to the country if the purpose was for a short list of reasons. Educational or religious needs were two of these. During his term, President George W. Bush’s administration then restricted those licenses.

     However, in an effort to thaw tensions between the countries, the Obama administration granted the American people even greater opportunities. Americans who were not even journalists or scholars were able to visit the country – given that it was with an officially licensed operator. Come March 2016, Americans were free to travel to the country as long as they interacted with the Cuban people during educational exchange activities.

     This policy included 12 approved categories: family visits, support of the Cuban people, educational/religious/journalistic activities, humanitarian projects, professional research or business, private foundation activities, research or education at institutes, public performances, competitions and exhibitions, official US government matters, foreign government/intergovernmental organizations, export transactions, and transmission of information.

 

Easy No More

     In recent years, the process to travel was quite simple. Direct flights to Cuba could be purchased at airlines like JetBlue, American, Southwest, and United. Travelers would then apply for a tourist card, a Visa, that was valid for 30 days and that could further be extended for an additional 30 days in Cuba.

     However, in 2017, the Trump administration canceled the people-to-people licenses. Visitors were only given permission to visit if they were part of an educational program. As of late, American tourists are now banned from government-owned shops and hotels as they are controlled directly by the government.

     The Treasury Department has stated that Americans who are caught violating these new guidelines could face an up to $250,000 and be jailed for 10 years. So far, these two punishments have not been doled out.

     With much dismay, we suggest you find some sort of educational program, and quick… if you had ever planned on visiting our southern island neighbor.


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Destinations

Appreciating America’s Natural Wonders

There might be places in the US that you haven’t visited yet. Don’t miss out on the fun and check out these awesome places!

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     With the current technological advancements in the world, lots and lots of new attractions are now being developed. Whether it be a new amusement park or a mall, we sure are always looking for a place to be in awe.

However, are you aware that apart from man-made attractions, we also have a lot of natural wonders here in the US that are a must-visit for everyone? Sit back and relax while we take a quick road-trip across some of America’s must-visit attractions, thanks to Mother Nature.

Death Valley

     Just because Death is part of its name, doesn’t mean that you need to run away. Though considered as an extreme place due to its weather condition, it is a beautiful place to visit and favorite places to conduct activities to test yourself. 

Grand Canyon

     One of the most famous attractions, not only in the US but also in the world, is the Grand Canyon. The Grand Canyon is a breathtaking place, not only by its beauty but also by its scale and its terrain and landscape.

Hawaii Volcanoes National park

     When you say Hawaii, the first things that come to mind are the beach, coconut, hulas, and volcanoes. Hawaii is known to be the home to many volcanoes, including Mauna Loa, the largest volcano in the world.

Great Lakes

     Great lakes are inter-connected lakes, know for its beautiful surroundings and uninterrupted habitat. The best way to explore them is thru guided boat trips.

Monument Valley

     Come and wear your cowboy boots when you visit Monument Valley. Seeing the beautiful and picturesque landscape of red-sand dessert makes you wanna feel like you are staring in one of your favorite wild, wild west movies.

Niagara Falls

     Want to be in two different countries in the same exact time? It’s easy to do that when you are having a boat ride in Niagara Falls. Situated right between the border of Ontario, Canada and the US, the place offers you a breathtaking view of three waterfalls.

Old Faithful Geyser, Yellowstone National Park

     The old faithful geyser had been a favorite attraction since 1870. It is a cone geyser that spews out vapor as high as 180 feet every 35-120 minutes.

Mississippi River

     Let’s all be Tom Sawyer just for once and explore the beauty of the longest river in the world. Spanning across 10 states, it is best to enjoy while having a smooth cruise on steamboats.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park

     If you are someone who loves to get the chills when seeing surreal landscapes, it is best to visit the Great Smokey Mountain, National Park. Perfect for biking,hiking and simply taking in the view. The best place to explore and experience the great outdoors.

There you have it. I hope you got your camera loaded with amazing shots of these natural wonders. If not, I wouldn’t mind coming back for another tour.


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Destinations

Timeshares – Worth The Opportunity?

Timeshares – pleasure and investment opportunity or waste of cash?

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     Timeshares are a controversial topic. Many are convinced that they only exist to scam and that all parties should avoid them at all costs. Then, there are plenty of others that enjoy them and insist on their value. Who are you to believe? 

The Pros

THEY FEEL LIKE A HOME

     Unlike, a hotel or similar accommodation, timeshares are much more likely to have that homey, lived-in vibe. Specifically, the benefit of having your own kitchen and laundry in the unit are huge, starting pros. 

THEY’RE AFFORDABLE

      Despite the common belief that they are scams, timeshares can actually be had fairly cheap. If you have family and looking to hang on to one for a long period of time, you’re in luck. With each vacation spent at the timeshare, you’re getting a portion of your money back from your original investment.

YOU CAN MAKE MONEY OFF OF IT

     If you plan properly and know you won’t be able to use your week at the unit, you can rent it out to family and friends! You may incur a small fee from the company that manages the timeshare, but it’s still a great way to make a little extra money and make back some of your investment.

Now, let’s talk about the cons:

NEW AND UNPREDICTABLE COSTS

     Maintenance. If you’re looking to invest in a timeshare, ensure maintenance fees are capped and will never change. Additionally, check to see if major upgrades like replacing carpets are included in your investment or if you’ll have to pay for that should it come up.

USE IT OR LOSE IT

     In many timeshare situations, you have to pick your week in advance and that’s the only week you can use it each year. So if you aren’t able to make your week or rent it to someone else it will just sit there, not being enjoyed. And you’re still paying for it. That lack of flexibility and risk of potentially not even being able to use it turns many people away from timeshares.

THEY’RE DIFFICULT TO SELL

     If you buy into a timeshare and then sometime later decide you want to sell, it can be difficult. There are many people out there trying to sell off timeshares so you will face great competition. Many management companies will include in your contract that they receive a commission if you sell. Often people trying to sell are so troubled in the process that they end up getting much less back than they originally paid for their share.

THEY’RE A BIG AND LONG-TERM COMMITMENT

     If you’re considering investing in a timeshare you better be ready to commit long-term, because it’s the only way they’re financially worth it. Not to mention most timeshare contracts require you to pay taxes and maintenance fees indefinitely. If you miss or refuse payments it could drastically affect any other debt you may have and your credit score overall. 


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Destinations

Become The New York Tourist You Were Meant To Be

If you’re brave enough, throw caution to the wind – when you’re in New York, go “full tourist.”

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     There’s been a negative stigma revolving around tourists for decades now. The binoculars, the guidebooks, the constant pictures, and the overflowing questions. As obnoxious as these traits can be, don’t avoid being a tourist yourself!

And what better place to act like a stereotypical tourist than the greatest city in the world: New York City? It’s consistently packed with tourists anyway, so why not join everyone else? When you do, take a look at the best tourist attractions around. 

WALK THE BROOKLYN BRIDGE

     Aside from the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, this might be the most famous bridge in America. And with the long wooden path, it truly is a beautiful experience. Going from Manhattan to Brooklyn is probably the best way to do it, too, as there’s nothing quite like entering the energy and experience that is Brooklyn.

HIT SOME ICONIC FOOD SPOTS

     There are literally hundreds of famous food spots in New York. So hit as many as possible! From pizza to pastrami to Chinese food to doughnuts. New York has it all.

GO TO THE TOP OF THE EMPIRE STATE BUILDING

     This one can definitely be a little tough. Sometimes the lines are unbearably long. But once you get up there… it’s the next level. You can see the entire city in every direction. And the fact that you’re looking at it from the top of the most iconic building in the city… nothing compares.

SPEND AN AFTERNOON AT CONEY ISLAND

     If you really want to know what it felt like to grow up in New York, visit Coney Island during the summer. You can practically taste the nostalgia. Catch a ride on the Ferris wheel and grab a classic Nathan’s Famous hot dog while you’re there.

EXPLORE CENTRAL PARK

     What would a trip to New York be without exploring Central Park? Many tourists forget that the park is a whopping 1.3 square miles. That’s a lot of valuable real estate in a city like New York! Thankfully, it’s put to good use. It’s a great escape from the hustle and bustle of the city and in addition to bike rentals, carriage rides, and a carousel, there’s also a zoo!

CATCH A BROADWAY SHOW

     For many people, the magic that is Broadway is the first thing they think of when they think “New York City.” It’s simply the best musical theater available in the country. So if you can afford it, it is definitely worth catching a show. Trust me, you’ll remember it for the rest of your life.

VISIT THE STATUE OF LIBERTY

     And of course! If you really want to be a tourist in New York City, you simply must visit the Statue of Liberty!

It’s one of the most historically important structures in the country (if not the most important) and represents America as apple pie. It truly is an artistic marvel. If you haven’t seen it up close, you should really take the detour.


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