‘Tis the season to make your friends feel better.
We’re all doing things a little differently this year, and travelers aren’t any different. Even if they are still moving around the world, it’s definitely not like it usually is, and chances are they’re feeling blue. That’s where you, A Good Friend, come in. For the holidays, swoop in and save the day by gifting one of your travel-loving friends with these gifts. We’ve got a gift for every archetype.
It’s been a year of wild surprises.
Animal encounters are a permanent fixture on our social media feeds, but can you imagine spotting a huge alligator on a golf course, or finding a green puppy in your litter, or holding a yellow turtle? This year may have been full of ennui, but these pictures of bold and beautiful animals around the world inspired awe and bewilderment. It goes to show that even after all that we know about the wild world, it is still capable of amazing us daily.
Buying for the pickiest-shopper just got easier.
We take holiday shopping for children for granted—give them a toy from their list and they’ll be pleased and polite. It’s only once they reach the teen years that you realize just how easy you had it. No longer are long lists being created and no longer will a smile always be feigned. Rather, someone’s (the teen’s) parents will ask someone (you) if they’ve still held onto the gift receipt. While you might not understand TikTok or be a K-pop stan, you do know the importance of giving a good gift, and that’s where we come in. We’ve picked out the perfect gifts for the well-traveled teens in your life—we’re expecting fewer gift receipt requests and more, “Aunt Lisa, how did you know?!”
The states are starting to reopen. But is it wise to venture out?
[Editor’s note: This is an updated version of an article that originally ran on May 19.] Disclaimer: This is meant to be a general overview of how each state is reopening. It is not intended to provide every last detail regarding guidelines and restrictions; please refer to the government website of each state for specifics. In addition, please remember that even if a state has been given the green light for a category of businesses to reopen, individual businesses may choose to remain closed. As such, please be sure to contact each business or site before visiting to ensure that it is open. As the United States begins to relax its shelter-in-place orders and some emerge from their homes, many are counting the days when we can get back out there and travel, even if it’s by car to a neighboring community or state. But as we know, a very different landscape awaits out there than the one we left earlier this winter at the onset of the coronavirus pandemic. There are things travelers must consider that we never did before, including social distancing and personal sanitization. The big question is: Is it safe to travel in the United States? The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is pretty clear in its stance. It’s recommended that you stay home as much as possible, especially if your trip is not essential. Social distancing still needs to be practiced, especially if you are in a higher risk category or an older adult. You shouldn’t travel if you feel sick, or travel with someone who is sick. And you need to protect yourself and others by knowing how to prevent the virus from spreading. Perhaps the most hopeful advice comes from Dr. Anthony Fauci, the head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. According to him, summer travel “can be in the cards.” He urges caution, since we risk COVID-19 spreading rapidly if proper precautions are not taken. “When infections start to rear their heads again,” he says, “we have to put in place a very aggressive and effective way to identify, isolate, contact trace, and make sure we don’t have those spikes we have now.” As long as we’re aware that “getting back to normal is not like a light switch that you turn on and off,” he says, we should be able to get back to some sort of normalcy. So the answer is: We’re not quite there yet. The best thing to do is pay attention to the several-phase reopening plans that each state has developed, outlining when hotels, restaurants, retail businesses, outdoor areas, etc., should be open for business and what precautions they must take. Some states are freer than others—and that’s something to consider. Do you really want to be on a beach where social distancing guidelines aren’t being maintained? It’s a whole new world that we’ll be navigating, literally. The guidelines are fast-changing and it’s hard to keep up, but here’s where they stand today, state by state.
“Don’t you just love those long afternoons in New Orleans,” Tennessee Williams wrote in A Streetcar Named Desire, “when an hour isn’t just an hour–but a little piece of eternity dropped into your hands—and who knows what to do with it?”
The pandemic certainly dealt a blow to the famed Crescent City, where the Covid-19 rates in March were among the highest in the world. The mayor and governor, alongside the citizens, worked tirelessly to mask-up and partially lockdown. Rates fell, but then a staggering eight major storms, including six hurricanes, arrived in early fall. Despite it all, New Orleans has come out on top, and she’s now a fine destination for responsible travelers. The city, as always, is a dream of dripping bougainvillea, soft notes on a trumpet, and the sound of ice clinking in a glass. There’s gumbo on the stove, jugglers in Jackson Square, and streetcars clanging up the avenues. The best place to experience New Orleans is in one of her famed courtyards. It’s in these enclaves, both large and small, scented with flowering jasmine or dazzling with marquee bulbs, that the city worms her way into your soul. They are settings both timeless and festively new, filled with seersucker suits, intoxicating gossip, historic architecture, and ice-cold absinthe, like always.
Send your chocolate cravings on a trip around the world.
Is there a better feeling than wrapping yourself up in a cardigan and sipping a cup of hot cocoa on a chilly evening? But before you reach for that packet of Swiss Miss, why not kick things up a notch and take yourself on a chocolatey tour around the world? These 10 ways to do hot chocolate will be a trip for your taste buds and a fun way to discover a new place without having to walk away from your own stovetop.