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What Americans Should Know about Europe’s Travel Restrictions

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In July, the European Union finally reopened its borders to travelers from several countries. The US, however, was not included in the said list. If you plan to take a trip to Europe during the on-going COVID-19 pandemic, here are several things you should know.

Who is allowed to visit Europe?

There are just 14 countries currently permitted to enter the 27 EU member states plus the Schengen-linked countries of Switzerland, Norway, Lichtenstein, and Iceland.
They are the following:
· Algeria
· Australia
· Canada
· Georgia
· Japan
· Montenegro
· Morocco
· New Zealand
· Rwanda
· Serbia
· South Korea
· Thailand
· Tunisia
· Uruguay

For purposes of COVID-19 travel, citizens from these countries are allowed to enter Europe as well:

· Andorra
· Monaco
· San Marino
· Vatican
Unless they qualify for several exemptions, Americans cannot enter Europe at present.

Why are Americans not currently permitted to visit Europe?

One of the main criteria mandated by the European Council is that permitted visitors must originate from countries that do not have a total number of COVID-19 cases higher than the EU average of COVID-19 cases per 100,000 individuals. The country of origin should also have a decreasing trend of COVID-19 transmission—a pattern that is examined every couple of weeks. Currently, America’s ever-increasing number of cases does not fit the given requirement.

Are there certain exceptions to the current EU travel ban?

On-going restrictions do not cover long-term residents and their immediate family members. Individuals who need to travel to Europe due to a vital function or reason are also exempted.
Exempted travelers include the following:
· Humanitarian and health workers
· Students
· Diplomats
· Seasonal Workers

Is there any chance that the decision to ban Americans from entering Europe be modified or revoked?

The current list of permitted countries is examined and reviewed every couple of weeks. If the US’s COVID-19 trend improves—if the cases decrease and reach the total number asserted by the EU, Americans may eventually be permitted to travel to Europe. Similarly, all countries presently included in the said list get reviewed in that manner and can be eradicated from the list when the COVID-19 cases in those nations go above the specified number stressed.

To know more about the different travel guidelines and restrictions outlined by the EU, visit the European Council Recommendation.

If Europe is currently off-limits, where then can I go?

Americans can travel to several countries at present. These places include:

· Countries in the Caribbean

· Select states in Mexico

· Kenya

· Albania

· Turkey

Most countries that permit entrance to US citizens; however, issue strict health protocols, including 14-day quarantine, COVID-19 testing, compulsory insurance premiums, and decreased travel capabilities.

Equally, the US government asserts that travelers returning from several restricted locations (like several European Schengen nations, Iran, and China) are merely permitted to land in 15 airports to undergo US-imposed safety measures. Visit the website of the State Department for more information regarding various country-specific guidelines.

Destinations

A Quiet Bethlehem This 2020 Christmas Celebration

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Sans the influx of tourists in the historical birthplace of Christ, a quiet Bethlehem community gets to experience a renewal in faith over a boom in business.

Prior to the pandemic, the Palestinian city located in occupied West Bank was always filled with visiting tourists who wanted to experience walking in the land of Jesus Christ’s official birthplace. In the past, those who wanted to visit the Church of the Nativity were forced to maneuver through the crowds teeming the streets of Bethlehem. This year, however, a quiet Bethlehem becomes largely part of the massive lockdown and quarantine restrictions imposed to curb the spread of the coronavirus.

Nevertheless, the absence of tourists is an opportunity for renewal, says Father Rami Asakrieh, the parish priest of Bethlehem. “Sometimes there are more than half million people who arrive in this period to visit the Nativity Church,” he recounts.

During the days leading to Christmas, however, the Church of the Nativity has been so silent, devoid of the yearly visiting faithful who traditionally visited Bethlehem from all over the world. A quiet Bethlehem, then, is a new thing for the community as locals are used to the noisy throng of commuters and visitors who annually arrived during the holiday season.

Armenian prayers are recited by four (4) monks below the Grotto of the Nativity, echoing through the typically crowded vicinity. Even during this year’s Christmas Eve, the most essential part of the celebration, the church was closed to the public. The lack of yearly visits from Palestinian authority representatives starkly reiterated the difference of this year’s celebration, as well.

“It has never happened before,” contemplates Asakrieh, as he mentions that the only times that the church was forced to close its doors were during periods of uprisings and Palestinian intifadas that were done in protest against Israel’s continued occupation.

“I think that this Christmas is different because people are not busy with the external manifestations of the feast,” the priest shares, referring to the customary purchasing of gifts and the conduct of extravagant get-togethers that have long been linked to Christmas celebrations.  “Now (people) have the time, and they are obligated, to concentrate on the essential… the theological spirit of Christmas,” he expressed. “Less business, but more religion,” Asakrieh continues.

During the days leading up to Christmas, the chapel of Saint Catherine, a small one that is next to the Church of the Nativity was made open to the local Bethlehem public. Amid a distinctively quiet Bethlehem atmosphere, many of the local faithful turned up as they donned their Sunday’s best.

One of them was Nicolas al-Zoghbi who mentions that the usual joy of the Christmas season was replaced by the overall feeling of depression. He shares that his son is among those who have lost their jobs due to the pandemic. “We hope the Lord will destroy corona, just get rid of it so we can return to our previous life,” states al-Zoghbi who is now in his 70s.

The city’s economy is hugely reliant on the annual influx of visitors who purchase items like rosaries and other Nativity-based trinkets from the shops and stands that pepper the place. Thus, a quiet Bethlehem during this holiday season signifies a highly decreased income for those who rely on the earnings that used to be generated from these yearly tourist visits.

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Destinations

Golf In Style At The World’s Finest Golf Resorts

Our golf experts came together and made a list of the finest golf courses in the world so you can hit the links in style.

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Golf is a leisurely activity enjoyed by millions. There is nothing quite like hitting the links and playing a full 18 holes. You get a good amount of exercise while enjoying the outdoors and smacking that little white ball all over the place. You don’t have to be good at golf to enjoy it. All you need is your clubs and a few balls and your set for a wonderful day playing one of the finest games in the entire world. But if you play a lot of golf then you’re probably getting tired of playing on the same old course over and over again. You get stuck behind the same twosome that takes fifteen minutes between shots and they still haven’t fixed the divets on the green that have been there for what seems like years now. Well, that means it is time to venture out to a new golf course and if you’re going to do that then don’t slum it at some sub-par golf course on your vacation. You want to make this golf trip a memorable one. Our golf experts came together and made a list of the finest golf courses in the world so you can hit the links in style.

 

 Laucala, Fiji
This course resides on the private island of Laucala in Fiji. This may be a bit expensive but oh man is it worth it. You’ll need to hop in your private jet to get there or if you feel like leaving your jet at home then try the resort’s private jet. Once you land you can hop out and head straight to the unbelievable course that has the glorious volcanic mountains, coconut plantations and of course breath-taking cliffs as your surroundings. After your round of golf head on over to one of the 24 villas and then take part in some of the many activities available to you when you stay on a private island. The food is fantastic and the golf is even better.

 

 

The Broadmoor, Colorado Springs, Colorado
This course is where Jack Nicklaus won his first major all the way back in 1959. So if you want to see a small piece of history then head on out to Colorado Springs. This place can keep you entertained for a long time thanks to the three spectacular courses so if playing 18-holes just isn’t enough for you then try 54 holes. The rooms here are also pretty nice, and you can hit the spa or one of the 10 delectable restaurants. There are over 784 rooms so don’t be afraid to invite some friends.

 

 

Terre Blanche, Provence Côte d’Azur, France
Southern France is already beautiful so you could guess that the golf courses around here are not too shabby. The Terre Blanche is where you can find two unbelievable golf courses known as Le Châteay and Le Riou. The golf here is well documented and is fantastic for beginners or experts. The resort to is absolutely fantastic. You will be amongst the beautiful forest, waterfalls, and lakes that make up most of this region and the 115 suites are enough to leave you thoroughly content. When you get hungry head on down to Le Faventia for a Michelin star dining experience.

 

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Destinations

The Best Natural Wonders In The US You’ve Never Heard Of

No matter where you live, you can find great natural wonders that are similar to the Grand Canyon where you can visit and marvel at the beauty of nature.

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When you think of natural wonders in the United States you probably think of one place, the Grand Canyon. You’re right, the Grand Canyon is absolutely breathtaking and will undoubtedly blow you away no matter how many times you visit. But, honestly, for a lot of people, the Grand Canyon can be hard to get to. If you don’t think you can make it all the way out to the Grand Canyon don’t worry. In fact, no matter where you live, you can find a natural wonder that is similar to the Grand Canyon where you can visit and marvel at the beauty of nature.

 

 

Waimea Canyon
Waimea Canyon is on the island of Kauai in Hawaii. So if you don’t live in Hawaii then this beautiful canyon may not be the most accessible of the natural wonders either. However, if you ever find yourself in Kauai then make sure to visit this unbelievable wonder. This awesome site is just like the Grand Canyon except for the fact that it is in Kauai which is the most beautiful island of Hawaii. So imagine if someone transported the Grand Canyon to one of the most beautiful places on earth and voila you have the Waimea Canyon. You can drive right up to an awesome lookout or you can take one of the incredible hiking trails that run all over this beautiful place. Either way, you will not regret your visit to Waimea Canyon.

 

Letchworth State Park
This state park is breathtakingly beautiful and is one of the best natural wonders in the country. If you live on the east coast then definitely consider visiting Letchworth State Park. You will see beautiful dramatic cliffs, a gorgeous river that has some amazing waterfalls all surrounded by an unbelievable forest. You can hike, ski, bike or even ride horses through this incredible park that is sure to give you plenty of amazing views. If flying is something you’re more interested in then try a hot air balloon tour. That is a seriously sweet way to see the epic beauty that is Letchworth State Park.

 

Pine Creek Gorge
Pennsylvania’s thick lush forests run along the unbelievable Pine Creek Gorge making the views around here simply spectacular. You can hike along the Pine Creek Rail Trail which is actually a former railroad bed that has been converted into a biking and walking trail. Or if you’re a bit more extreme you can canoe or kayak down the river that runs through the center of this gorge.

 

Palo Duro Canyon
If you want to see some out-of-this-world rock formations then head over to the Palo Duro Canyon in Texas. There are a ton of trails that run along this beautiful place so you can walk or bike or ride your horses all over this epic trail. This is actually the second-largest canyon in all of the United States so it is the perfect alternative. You can enjoy the rocks and the epic views while you explore this unbelievable canyon.

 

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