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We are the Ultimate Guide to Meaningful and Healthy Travel with Hands-On Travel Advice!

Tuesday, December 6, 2022

Passengers Test Positive for COVID on Viking Jupiter with Mild Symptoms, and Placed in Mandatory Quarantine for 5 Days without Further Testing

Viking Cruises is still performing regular daily saliva COVID testing for many of its itineraries including Ocean, River and Expeditions cruises. Currently, those who test positive are being quarantined for 5 days on board with no further testing required. After 5 days those affected are provided a letter of recovery. Daily temperature and oxygen saturation testing is being performed for those in quarantine. When this will end is anyone's guess. For example, guests on a current itinerary for Viking Ocean to South America, were not required to provide arrival nor pre-boarding COVID testing but are tested daily. Does daily testing actually reflect local laws? You be the judge. View Viking's COVID policy here




Is Viking is "over testing," which was a question we posed when we sailed to Iceland over one year ago, when local officials denied and entire ship from visiting one port when one passenger tested positive for COVID? Other ships at the same ports were not testing at all while Viking tested daily

How do you perform a Viking saliva COVID test? Watch our video here!

Remember, if you have questions related to your health, always consult your doctor or medical professional. The information presented here is informative only and is not medical advice.

Find the latest updates about COVID-19 by visiting the CDC website

Make sure you get a cover for your vaccine card!  We love the kind where the card can be removed to add booster record at a later date rather than laminating your card! Click below to check out these combined vaccine card and passport covers at Amazon! You can use them to organize all the documents needed to travel internationally these days! 





New Deadline Announced for the Real ID Act by the Department of Homeland Security

Are the days of flying domestically using only your driver’s license numbered? Possibly, if you don’t have a new type of license. As the deadline for the REAL ID Act looms, it’s vital for you to know if your current driver’s licenses doesn’t meet the new criteria.

If you’re unsure whether your identification card is Real ID-compliant, here’s how to know: It generally has a star in the top right corner.  If you’re not sure, contact your state driver’s license agency on how to obtain a REAL ID compliant card.

If you’ve been putting off getting a REAL ID, there is good news for you—the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) just announced that the REAL ID Act will not be enforced until May 7, 2025, postponing the deadline from May 2023.

Courtesy of NCDOT.gov


Even better some DMV will allow you to submit documents online. Check your state's DMV to see if and when that is available. 


Inspired by recommendations from the 9/11 Commission, the REAL ID Act was signed into law by President Bush in 2005. The law prompted a mass crackdown on fake IDs and mandated that all states and territories enact stricter standards before issuing IDs.


New technology was rolled out that made it harder for criminals to trick the system and mimic ID cards. The new rules also meant that Americans needed more proof of identity — such as original birth certificates — when applying for the cards.  Before you go to the DMV make sure that you have proper documentation  to renew or obtain your new license.

Since then, most states have complied with the new ID rules, but several have dragged their feet for various reasons ranging from privacy concerns to budgeting issues.

Previously, LTD discussed how to travel if you lose your driver's license and it included what other acceptable forms of identification are at the airport.  That still is useful information because what are alternatives to the REAL ID if you don't meet the deadline?  According to the TSA here is the complete list for adults:


  • Driver's licenses or other state photo identity cards issued by Department of Motor Vehicles (or equivalent)
  • U.S. passport
  • U.S. passport card
  • DHS trusted traveler cards (Global Entry, NEXUS, SENTRI, FAST)
  • U.S. Department of Defense ID, including IDs issued to dependents
  • Permanent resident card
  • Border crossing card
  • DHS-designated enhanced driver's license
  • Federally recognized, tribal-issued photo ID
  • HSPD-12 PIV card
  • Foreign government-issued passport
  • Canadian provincial driver's license or Indian and Northern Affairs Canada card
  • Transportation worker identification credential
  • U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Employment Authorization Card (I-766)
  • U.S. Merchant Mariner Credential

Sunday, December 4, 2022

Strong Fire on the island of Holbox of mainland QuintanaRoo with Flames Consuming Casa Tortugas Hotel, Mawimbi and Others

A large fire on the Quintana Roo island of Holbox injured one person and damaged over 60 rooms at two Mexican Resort hotels on Monday night.


A gas tank explosion triggered the blaze on the small island located off the northern coast of mainland Quintana Roo.


The fire, which took place near the western tip of Holbox, was fueled by the organic material traditionally used for structures in the area and so beloved by guests. (Twitter)


The fire, which broke out at approximately 10 p.m. local time, destroyed at least 60 rooms at the Casa Las Tortugas and Posada Mawimbi hotels and damaged a restaurant, according to a report by news website Expansión Política.


Casa Las Tortugas was completely destroyed, the newspaper El Financiero reported. No estimate on a reopening date, if at all. 


Casa Las Tortugas (Facebook) 


Quintana Roo Governor Mara Lezama said on Twitter late Monday that a young person was injured by the fire, but not seriously.


“The Quintana Roo government has made all resources available to attend to the situation. The fire is being controlled, the fire is being extinguished,” she wrote just before midnight local time.


According to Expansíon Política, Holbox residents hurried with buckets of water to help extinguish the fire while it took time for firefighters and Civil Protection personnel to reach the island from the mainland.


Lezama, who visited the island on Tuesday morning, said on Twitter that the three levels of government, the business community and society in general will work together to build a fire station on Holbox.


“We acknowledge the volunteers and authorities that managed to extinguish the fire here in Holbox,” the governor said in another post.

Many guest lost their belongings including passports in the fire. The local government is assisting them to recover their possessions. All holiday bookings for the resorts are canceled and travelers are scrambling to find other accommodations. 

A Go Fund Me Page has been set up for the employees of Posada Marimba hotel



Thursday, December 1, 2022

Viking Polaris Antarctica Expedition has Tragic Accident during Storm in the Drake Passage

Reports are coming in about a Tragic Accident on the Viking Polaris Antarctica Expedition during the Drake Passage portion of the sailing, off the southernmost portion of South America. By all accounts the company is handling the event with professionalism and compassion. There is a report of injuries and loss of one life. The cause is allegedly a rogue wave. Our thoughts and prayers are with all who are affected by this tragedy.  


The Viking Octanis is returning to land to avoid the storm as well without any incident. 


From a Viking spokesperson:

"There was a rogue wave incident involving the Viking Polaris on November 29 at 22:40 local time, while the ship was sailing toward Ushuaia, Argentina. The ship sustained limited damage during the incident and arrived in port in Ushuaia without further incident on Wednesday afternoon local time.

It is with great sadness that we confirmed a guest passed away following the incident. We have notified the guest’s family and shared our deepest sympathies. We will continue to offer our full support to the family in the hours and days ahead.

Four other guests sustained non-life-threatening injuries during the incident and were treated by the ship’s onboard doctor and medical staff.

We are investigating the facts surrounding this incident and will offer our support to the relevant authorities.

Our focus remains on the safety and wellbeing of our guests and crew, and we are working directly with them to arrange return travel. 

After careful consideration, we have made the difficult decision to cancel the ship’s next scheduled departure, the December 5-17 Antarctic Explorer itinerary; all impacted guests and their travel advisors have been notified directly by Viking Customer Relations."


According to National Geographic, "a rogue wave is usually defined as a wave that is two times the significant wave height of the area. The significant wave height is the average of the highest one-third of waves that occur over a given period. Rogue waves can disable and sink even the largest ships and oil rigs."  A rogue wave can generate thousands of tons of force.

The rogue wave affected the Polaris after another incident on one of the expedition ship's Zodiac boats. According to Larry Mah's Facebook page one day ago (public post), "There was a major accident with a zodiac with injuries. Evacuation options are limited, and the weather is deteriorating. So, we are returning to Ushuaia at top speed. The Drake Channel has gale force winds (30-60 MPH) with waves 15-20 feet high. The next 600 miles is going to be a very rough ride!!" There were many ships in the channel and according to passengers, the female captain of the Polaris performed well. 


The area of the ship affected was the port side forward. Our sources tell us several rooms were affected on a lower deck, with broken and missing cabin windows witnessed from many guests when tendering to and from the ship in Ushuaia. The broken and missing windows led to significant water and debris intrusion into the affected cabins affecting passengers' ability to get out of their cabins. Interior walls between cabins collapsed contributing to the wall of debris encountered by those with the most aft cabins. Most passengers’ personal belongings were left behind in the affected cabins (which are actually 8 rather than 6 as we reported earlier) and many are without anything, including passports. Fear of a second wave was paramount and passengers felt evacuation from the cabins immediately was necessary. Viking is assisting with local embassies to secure transport home from Argentina and some passengers are just getting back their belongings that were underwater for days. The crew actually gave shoes to some of the passengers whose belongings were underwater. Salvage of the affected has been performed by the submarine captain on board who is a salvage expert.

The deceased passenger was a  62-year-old woman who was hit by broken glass when the wave broke cabin windows late Tuesday during a storm, Argentine authorities said. The victim was confirmed as Sheri Zhu, 62, by Secretary of the Ushuaia Federal Court Melina Rodriguez.


Passengers on the nearby Ponant ship described 8 meter swells and over 50 knot winds. 







Most of the cabins affected on Deck 2 have this appearance on Viking Expeditions' website. 




December 1, 1800 PM

The Viking Polaris returned to Ushuaia and is now moved out of the port. Passengers are being disembarked and flown home. Passengers we know are reporting good support from Viking. We will not provide their entire ordeal to respect their privacy. Here is the Viking Polaris position at approximately 1800 ET today courtesy of cruisemapper.com


While the ship has moved away from port, the current sailing and the one following, to depart December 6, 2022 are canceled. 

This occurs after two US passengers drown during a zodiac excursion less than two weeks ago on another expedition cruise line. Additionally, the Scenic Eclipse has a lesser known incident, without injury, when a expedition submarine was unable to surface for two hours.

When we sailed Viking last, in the Summer of 2021, we felt the crew were exceptional in dealing with the COVID-19 issues our ship experienced. Certainly this is no comparison to what the affected passengers on board the Polaris experienced.  This story is important to us because we have been considering this itinerary with Viking Expeditions. 

Respectful updates as we hear them. This incident reminds the two of us how we take our safety and health for granted sometimes, and we are truly grateful for our health and each other. 

December 5, 2022

All affected passengers' passports have been returned. A large amount of their possessions have been returned, and passengers are drying them out as best they can, using heated floors and boot warmers. Many electronics are beyond salvaging due to water damage. Most passengers who were not affected have flown home, others who had passport issues, about 30 passengers, have now been flown from Ushuaia to Buenos Aires. 







Wednesday, November 16, 2022

Unique, Meaningful and Healthy Holiday Travel Gifts for Use at Home and Away: 2022 "It's Travel Time" Edition

 

To say that the last few years have been unique is an understatement. Since the pandemic was declared in March 2020, safety precautions and protocols have become the stuff of everyday life — at home and on the road. With the holiday season upon us, most of us are getting itchy feet to hit the road again. For some, vacationing within the strictures of a public health crisis will be worth it; for others it won’t. LTD comprised this list of some of our favorite gifts for this year that will be helpful both at home and on the road to capture memories, inspire and make life healthier and more meaningful! 






The purpose of our blog is to share with you everything we have learned to make Meaningful and Healthy Travel happen! We only recommend products that we use or would buy for friends! Please CLICK THE PHOTOS BELOW TO LEARN MORE, or BUY or SHARE this post to support our blog and keep it going! THANK YOU! For the first time this year, look for stocking stuffers at the end. 


Each product we feature has been independently selected and reviewed by our editorial team. If you make a purchase using the links included, we may earn a commission. In turn, we donate profits to charity.

1.  OOLER by Chili Technologies - This is our number one recommended product because it has been a "sleep changer" for us!





Give the gift of sleep!!!! Our number one recommended product of 2019, 2020 and 2021.  We first encountered Chili Technologies, now known SleepMe, at the Consumer Electronic Show in Las Vegas in 2019!  In a matter of no time we became customers ourselves and can't say enough how much the OOLER and chiliBLANKET have contributed to our well-being and healthy travel! The latest release from SleepMe is Sleepme+! It is the first and only technology that provides you with a dedicated virtual AI sleep expert that continually creates the ideal sleep environment based on your current sleep activity. Plus, you'll receive a daily sleep report that allows you take control of your sleep and health goals.


Interrupted sleep is when our sleep is studded with prolonged periods of waking up throughout the night, usually at least four times over the course of eight hours. This condition can be caused by a sudden shift in routine (for example, a new baby in the house), travel, unexpected noises (such as a party at your neighbor’s house or a partner’s snoring), bathroom trips, menopause or other health issues or racing thoughts.  Temperature affects your baseline sleep quality and regulating temperature can help you phase shift your sleep for travel and help prevent jet lag. And do you know what we love best about the company? They stand by their product and you get a 30 day money-back sleep trialSee our full review of OOLER by clicking here! 

No Code is needed to receive 25% off on Black Friday weekend.


2.  Vuzix Smart Swim



Another product we saw at the Las Vegas Consumer Electronics Show in 2020 and used throughout 2020 and 2021!  We're sure you know that LTD loves swimming for health and this is one of the most innovative products we have ever used!  The Vuzix Smart Swim is a heads-up display for swimmers, providing workout status and information about their swim. This enables users to continue uninterrupted and reach optimum performance. Used for open water and lap (pool) training.  Luxury Travel Doc reviewer, Glenn Paige says, "Vuzix is one of the most unique swim training devices I have ever used. Besides allowing you to view and analyze your swim data real-time, it allows for open water navigation guidance, entertainment and training viewing options during your workouts. Try it to believe it!"

3.  Our Favorite Smart Watch for the Active Traveler just got better with the convenience of making and taking phone calls from your wrist!



The Garmin Venu has an enormous number of features, a long-lasting battery and an attractive build. The original round version was introduced in 2019 with an amazing response from users and in 2020 Garmin introduced a less expensive square version that has all of the same features at a fraction of the price. But in late 2021, Garmin made the Venu even better when it introduced the Garmin 2 Plus. For serious outdoor travel or fitness enthusiasts, it's hard to beat. The GPS features of this watch are unrivaled and work all over the world. The beautiful AMOLED display brings Venu 2 Plus to life, even under bright sunlight. A built-in microphone and speaker make it easy to take calls on the go when connected to your compatible smartphone. And from the durable glass to the sleek stainless steel bezel and comfortable silicone band,
this smartwatch is ready for anything. This is a high-performance timepiece that meets big challenges and there is even a version without voice control that fits smaller wrists. During the pandemic many Venu users are happy to have their pulse oximetry tracked on their wrist! There is a white version too. Don't like the band color? There are plenty of replacement bands available

Saturday, September 10, 2022

Is The Longchamp Le Pliage Expandable Bag Is the Perfect Tote Bag? NO!!!

Inspired by the Japanese art of origami, this folding tote bag has been one of Longchamp's most popular designs for nearly 30 years. While the original Le Pliage bag was always popular, the updated version with an expanding design is perfect for those looking for a little extra storage.


Made from lightweight yet durable nylon with leather accents, the Le Pliage Expandable Tote is an easy choice for travel, running errands around town or heading for a day at the office.




A zippered inset lets you expand the bag in a flash for added storage, and when it's not in use it conveniently folds up to roughly the size of a paperback book.

This tote bag has earned an impressive reputation among Nordstrom shoppers, who have rated it a near-perfect 4.8 stars. Hundreds of shoppers have raved about its versatile expanding insert, as well as it's space-saving design.

OK here is my disclaimer...My name is Michelle, but I do not speak French. Please excuse my pronunciations but I gave saying the French words my best shot in the video below!

Get Le Pliage Expandable Tote at Nordstrom here 👍