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Tuesday, December 29, 2020

COVID-19 Shatters the Cruise Industry, but Viking Places Hopes in First PCR Laboratory At Sea On The Viking Star

If you are an avid cruiser like so many travelers, you miss the smell of the ocean air! So, when will be able to get back to normal following the global pandemic of 2020?  Among those affected, there is no doubt that the cruise industry is finding it hard to cope with COVID-19. 

Until recently, cruises were the fastest growing sector of the travel industry. Until 2019, the demand increased by 20.5 percent. 

In the global cruise market, there are over 50 cruise lines and more than 270 ships, however, just around 75 percent of the market is controlled by three main players

You probably remember that as many countries across the globe closed their borders in response to COVID-19, thousands of passengers were kept at sea, while vessels sought a port to dock. In mid-March, Canada banned all ships with more than 500 people from docking in their ports. Australia, New Zealand and the United States banned all ships arriving from foreign ports and directed all foreign flagged ships to leave the country. Consequently, passengers were quarantined on board for nearly a month before being repatriated. There were countless other examples, and while almost all of these cruise passengers eventually disembarked, many crew members remain on vessels across the world, either quarantining or manning the ship until the industry resumes operations. 

The current COVID-19 environment has created a high degree of public concern about the maintenance of health and safety onboard cruise ships. Ships will now require robust screening and monitoring protocols, implementation of comprehensive sanitation practices with regular inspections, expanded onboard medical facilities and increased medical staff. Some cruise lines have decided to implement novel facilities to ease passengers' hesitancy to get back onboard. 

Viking® ( announced that it has completed installation of the first full-scale PCR laboratory at sea. This new onboard facility – an industry first – allows for unprecedented testing capacity in the cruise industry, enabling Viking to conduct PCR testing of all crew members and guests with a non-invasive saliva test. The laboratory has enough capacity for daily testing of every crew member and guest, which provides flexibility to respond to COVID-19 prevalence levels around the world.

This first laboratory has been installed on Viking Star, the company's award-winning 930-guest ocean vessel; it will undergo a series of extensive tests to ensure the procedures and protocols that have been designed are fully effective.

"We have been working on this for a number of months, and today is important as it moves us one step closer to operating cruises again, without compromising the safety of our guests and crew. The recently announced CDC guidelines are clearly aligned with our public health research, and we welcome the agency's push toward testing, as we believe this is the only way to safely operate. In our view, continuous PCR testing, along with our extensive onboard hygiene protocols, will lead to making Viking ships a safe place to get away to and explore the world," said Matt Grimes, Vice President of Maritime Operations for Viking.

Plan now for trips later! Pickpockets are very common when going to any crowded cruise port. LTD can't stress enough the importance of antitheft bags and vigilance! We recommend the Sherpani AT sling bag for men or women.  It is lightweight, comfortable and looks great!  This is especially good for persons with back pain to minimize pressure on the spine.  The anti-theft features include zipper locks, anti slash bottom and strap, chair loop lock system and RFID protection.  Click the photo to learn more at Amazon and support our blog because we may earn a small commission on anything you purchase but it won't cost you anything extra! We donate proceeds to charity! Thank you so much!!!

Viking planned demonstrate the PCR laboratory, as well as new design and operating procedures, when the Viking Star comes to Oslo, Norway in mid-November but further information is yet forthcoming. We hope that labs at sea will be instituted worldwide to get all of us back to traveling STAT!

About Viking

Viking was founded in 1997 and offers destination-focused journeys on rivers, oceans and lakes around the world. Designed for experienced travelers with interests in science, history, culture and cuisine, Chairman Torstein Hagen often says Viking offers guests "the thinking person's cruise" in contrast to mainstream cruises. In its first five years of operation, Viking has been rated the #1 ocean cruise line in Travel + Leisure's 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020 "World's Best" Awards. In addition to the Travel + Leisure honors, Viking has also been honored multiple times on Condé Nast Traveler's "Gold List" as well as recognized by Cruise Critic as "Best Overall" Small-Mid size ship in the 2018 Cruisers' Choice Awards, "Best River Cruise Line" and "Best River Itineraries," with the entire Viking Longships® fleet being named "Best New River Ships" in the website's Editors' Picks Awards. For additional information, contact Viking at 1-800-2-VIKING (1-800-284-5464) or visit For Viking's award-winning enrichment channel, visit

(SOURCE Viking)

Wednesday, December 9, 2020

Cypress Bar: One of the Best Lounges to Channel Your Inner Southern Charm with a Dose of Nostalgia and Amazing Libations

At a time when it feels like we really need it, enjoying a new drinking establishment is a welcome experience. But what makes a bar really special? We've always said: "When it's a place that you love so much you can’t wait to experience it all over again." In 2020, that seems less cliche than ever!

This was an exciting trip for LTD! Not only were we able to visit a one of our favorite cities, but we could immerse ourselves in the unique heritage of the Bayou State. This was our third venture away following the COVID-19 pandemic that caused a worldwide shutdown of most travel and our experience was all we hoped for! Our trip started at the Southern Hotel in Covington, Louisiana on the North Shore of Lake Pontchartrain and it was a treat to enjoy the dining, natural beauty, music, libations and most of all people that you will find in and around NOLA in one surprising hidden gem: The Southern Hotel.

Our first night, before heading to dinner, we started at Cypress Bar for a cocktail. We were drawn in  by the decor and wall murals, but soon discovered that we didn't want to leave because of the quality of the drinks and staff that made us feel we have known them for a lifetime. Now when we say drinks, that is merely vocabulary. In reality, these are not drinks or cocktails, but culinary and artistic experiences just like the Southern Hotel is peppered with at every turn.  

We sat down with the Southern Hotel's beverage director, Shannon Stansbury, to talk with him in detail about the Cypress Bar. A Covington native, who has also lived all over the USA, Shannon has great insight into the community where he has decided to raise a family. According to Shannon, while the Southern Hotel is already located in the Deep South, guests say all the time that "time slows down," and that alone tells you that you are in for an experience. 

Sunday, November 29, 2020

Ditch the French Quarter: Louisiana Charm at the Southern Hotel on The Northshore, Covington.

The Northshore has everything you could want when you imagine visiting New Orleans, but with charm, grace and a slower pace. When you've been a luxury hotel in Louisiana for over 100 years, you've seen a lot of changes in your city but one thing is for sure: you know what your guests are looking for: service, comfort and experiences. We've stayed at many boutique hotels over the years, some of which have bore witness to absolutely amazing events, like the Foundry in Asheville, and The Southern Hotel is another that represents a completely different experience: Southern Charm in a tamer version of The Big Easy. But don't be fooled by the seemingly slow pace, the Southern Hotel has one of the most unique and memorable atmospheres that we have seen around the world!

Courtesy of the Southern Hotel

The Southern Hotel’s vaunted history of hospitality began in 1907 as a physical and spiritual retreat where visitors would re-energize amidst the area’s cool breezes, piney woods and mineral springs. Developers have breathed new life into this property. When the Southern Hotel opened in 1907, visitors were greeted with the latest amenities: hot water, electric lights and carpeting. Newspaper reports from the grand opening also noted the property's fine china, linens and attentive service. With its grand reopening in 2014, the Southern Hotel began welcoming guests to relax in beautifully-appointed luxury rooms, delight in fine china and luxury linens, and experience personal service and attention to detail that makes for an unforgettable stay.

This was an exciting trip for LTD! Not only were we able to visit a one of our favorite cities, but we could immerse ourselves in the unique heritage of the Bayou State. This was our third venture away following the COVID-19 pandemic that caused a worldwide shutdown of most travel and our experience was all we hoped for!

1. Location

The Southern Hotel is a boutique hotel on the North Shore of Lake Ponchartrain in Covington, Louisiana. After the exodus of NOLA residents after the devastation of hurricane Katrina, the population of towns like Covington surged. Downtown Covington with an elevation of about 27 feet above sea level, became one of the refuges. St. Tammany, the parish of Covington, saw a swell in in population and along with it came an many of the qualities that you may love about New Orleans...great food, art, festivals, music and shopping. All of these things made Covington and the surrounding area a new destination but somehow it's been able to maintain its hometown feel. The population of the parish, which was at 191,268 in the official 2000 Census and was estimated to be around 219,000 as Katrina churned through the Gulf of Mexico, skyrocketed in the fall of 2005 as flood victims sought higher ground. Officials estimated that as many as 300,000 people were living within its borders immediately after the storm. On the National Register of Historic Places, the quaint and welcoming Division of St. John in Covington that started as a thoughtfully laid out grid to ease trading of goods hundreds of years ago, now consists of shops, galleries, little museums, nightspots and more than 25 restaurants. It is a very walkable district and the Southern Hotel is directly situated among them.

2. Check-in

We were greeted promptly and checked in without difficulty from a very accommodating employees wearing masks appropriately. The check in desk has an antique chandelier and a quirky original painting called "The Writers" behind the desk. The staff oriented us to the hotel and the surrounding area. Once we were informed about COVID policies, we elected to receive daily room cleaning and received this without any problems whatsoever. A nice touch was that we could request the time of housekeeping service and it was performed exactly as we asked during our stay. 

3. Hotel Decor 

Rebekah Stansbury, Reception-Concierge Manager of the Southern Hotel gave us a tour of the entire hotel, including the Garden House, which opened two years ago. We viewed every one of the seven suites, each of which is distinctly decorated according to a different theme. The Garden House is a spectacular renovation of the 1937 Covington Post Office which includes a restored 1939 mural by renowned artist, Xavier Gonzales. The artist's namesake suite in the Garden House, not only has the mural on display, but also has the original entrance to post office, antiques and flooring incorporated into the decor. 

Courtesy of the Southern Hotel

Take a few minutes to look at our live interview with Rebekah Stansbury on YouTube.  We put hyper links in the description, so you can jump to the parts that may interest you personally, but we encourage you to watch the whole thing!  That is the best way to understand more about the hotel, it's history, the thought behind the decor and most of all its people!

Another favorite suite at the Southern Hotel is the Walker Percy Suite with its more masculine tones and balcony that overlooks Boston Street where many of the Mardi Gras parades happen.  With a collection of records and an actual record player in the suite, it is sure to inspire your creative side just like the suite's namesake, Walker Percy who was an American writer whose interests included philosophy and semiotics. Percy is known for his philosophical novels set in and around New Orleans. The Moviegoer was winner of the 1962 National Book Award and one of Time magazine’s 100 Best English-Language Novels, his debut  is an American masterpiece and a classic of Southern literature. Insightful, romantic, and humorous, it is the story of a young man’s search for meaning amid a shallow consumerist landscape.  He died in Covington in 1990.  One of our favorite features of this suite was the glass mural over the soaking tub, designed after a local natural scenery.  Another suite in the building, has its own glass mural reflecting another natural scene.  

Courtesy of the Southern Hotel

Courtesy of the Southern Hotel

Courtesy of the Southern Hotel

Interested in Walker Percy?  Check out his novel at Amazon by clicking the photo below.  We make a small commission from links like this, but you won't pay anything extra and we give the proceeds to charity! 

Adjacent to the Southern Hotel, The Garden House is situated where the hotel’s tennis courts and rose gardens were originally located in the early 20th century and homage to the garden is present throughout the building as seen in the artwork, "Dorothy Draper" style wallpaper and suite decor, like the "Palm Suite". 

Courtesy of the Southern Hotel

Saturday, November 7, 2020

Unique, Meaningful and Healthy Holiday Travel Gifts for Use at Home and Away: 2020 Pandemic Edition

To say that 2020 has been a unique year is an understatement. Since the pandemic was declared in March, safety precautions and protocols have become the stuff of everyday life — at home and on the road. With the holiday season upon us, many 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 unusual 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!

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 2020.  We first encountered Chili Technologies 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!  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 90 day money-back sleep trial. See our full review of OOLER by clicking here! Use our coupon code to take 22% off!

2.  Vuzix Smart Swim

Another product we saw at the Las Vegas Consumer Electronics Show in 2020!  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 a New Display!

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. 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.  This is a high-performance timepiece that meets big challenges and fits smaller wrists. During the pandemic many Venu users are happy to have their pulse oximetry tracked on their wrist! The new AMOLED vibrant display is perfect for aging eyes and rivals the Apple Watch display! Anyone would love to receive this special gift!

Tuesday, November 3, 2020

Stay at the Historic Queen of San Antonio, Texas at the Namesake Luxury Collection St. Anthony Hotel

The most beloved of San Antonio hotels, restored to the opulence that made her storied past, has maintained its high quality, chic and elegant status in the River City for over 100 years.  Located steps from the Alamo, this designated National Historic Landmark represents the chiseled resolve of defenders for the Liberty of Texas in 1836. You won't find a more meaningful location to immerse yourself in the history of a city than the St. Antony Hotel!


Texans are known for their toughness, grit, larger-than-life attitudes, and for their perseverance, heart and soul. This is evidenced by the men who founded Texas as a nation, like the men who fought Santa Anna at the Alamo.  From the time it was built, The St. Anthony Hotel displayed her own heart and soul as she took her place as a character in both Texas’ and San Antonio’s history. Like Texans, The St. Anthony has gone through historic greatness and times of despair. Both San Antonio’s and the hotel’s names go back to when the Spanish explorers arrived and named the area.  It was June 13, 1691, the feast day of St. Anthony of Padua.

While still glamorous, The St. Anthony strives to maintain its contemporary reputation as it was in 1909, when it started life as a hospitality treasure. Back then it was dubbed the “Waldorf of the Prairie,” because its grandeur rivaled that of the New York hotel that set the standard for the rest. Its roll-call of guests have included Presidents Franklin D. Roosevelt, Dwight D. Eisenhower and Lyndon B. Johnson on his honeymoon, humorist Will Rogers and more recently, Hollywood icons Arnold Schwarzenegger, Maria Shriver, George Clooney, Bruce Willis, Demi Moore, Chuck Norris, Luke Perry, Patrick Swayze, Charlie Sheen and Brett Michaels. 

1. Location

For visiting the San Antonio, there can't be a better location. Of course getting to Downtown San Antonio is a quick taxi or Uber from the Airport and will cost you about $20 during off-peak hours. The St. Anthony, A Luxury Collection Hotel, San Antonio is located only three blocks from the Alamo and the vibrant River Walk. Restaurants, museums, and attractions are all within walking distance from the hotel, so you won't need a car for your stay!

The River Walk allows you to visit farther locations via a peaceful walk. We love exploring by walking, cycling and running and The St. Anthony Hotel is perfect for that.  Some things to visit along the River Walk are The Briscoe Museum of Western Art nearby.  Farther out, attractions in the Museum Reach section of the River Walk, include the Witte Museum, the San Antonio Zoo, the DOSeum, San Antonio Museum of Art and Pearl Brewery. This river walk runs through Brackenridge Park, which is also home to a Golf Course and Japanese Tea Garden.

If you’d like to take in a show or performance whilst you’re on the San Antonio River Walk, you might want to head to the Arneson River Theater. What a unique experience! Designed as part of the original River Walk by architect Robert Hugman, the theater is split across the river, with the stage on the north side and the 800 person seating area on the south side. The outdoor theater hosts a variety of performances, from music to plays, dance recitals and opera.  If looking for a more traditionally designed theater, you can attend the Aztec Theater. Built in 1926, this actually predates the River Walk, but it is located right next to it.

In 2011, the San Antonio River Walk was extended again, this time to the south of the city where you will find the San Antonio’s Missions National Historical Park. So many visitors take the time to visit the Alamo, but few head south to the Mission reach stretch of the River Walk. This is a shame, since this stretch has a much more relaxed local vibe, with a more natural feel and the option for cycling and kayaking.

The four missions are worth visiting. All four are free to visit, and by doing so you will get a fuller picture of early life in this part of the world. Be aware that it is quite a long walk from the St. Anthony Hotel. Instead, we would suggest either cycling, jogging or taking an Uber.

Monday, October 26, 2020

World War II Veteran from Texas Completes His Mission to Finish the Marine Corps Marathon

On Sunday, October 25 starting at 7:00 a.m. in Fredericksburg, Texas, T. Fred Harvey, a World War II veteran who fought at Iwo Jima, became the oldest U.S. Marine to complete the annual Marine Corps Marathon. Harvey raced in a customized chair developed by Ainsley’s Angels and was guided by marathoners, Glenn Paige, M.D. a USNA Blue & Gold officer and ambassador for the Navy SEAL Foundation; Mike Lawrence, master gunnery sergeant for the U.S. Marine Corps; and Chris Haley, a member of Team Gratitude, a Frogman Swim team founded by Paige to raise annual funds for the Navy SEAL Foundation. Harvey and his team completed the 26.2-mile race, which began and ended at the National Museum of the Pacific War in Fredericksburg, Texas, taking 05:20:08 to the finish line.

Photo Credit: The Museum of the Pacific War/Carlos Javier Sanchez

Originally scheduled for October 25 in Arlington, Virginia, the Marine Corps Marathon was staged virtually in compliance with COVID-19 restrictions. Now in its 45th year, the event, dubbed “The People’s Marathon,” annually unites more than 30,000 participants from all 50 states and more than 50 countries. Keeping with the marathon’s original schedule, Harvey and his team competed, just days before Harvey turns age 97. This year, to commemorate the 75th anniversary of World War II’s official end on September 2, 1945, the MCM medals include actual volcanic ash from the Iwo Jima island. Michael William Hagee is a retired United States Marine Corps general who served as the 33rd Commandant of the Marine Corps from 2003 to 2006, and President and CEO of the National Museum of the Pacific War, and placed Harvey’s medal on him at the finish line.

Photo Credit: The Museum of the Pacific War/Carlos Javier Sanchez

Just before 7 A.M., a crowd assembled to hear remarks from Paige and Hager about the courageous and inspirational veteran.  Paige recited a poem, “The Man In The Glass,” by Peter Dale Wimbrow Sr., in 1934.  The National Anthem was sung by United States Navy (Ret) Petty Officer 1st Class Steven Powell. General Hager provided commentary on Harvey’s contributions to the National Museum of the Pacific War in Fredericksburg. Crowds grew with every 5.8 mile loop the team made around the museum. The local VFW set up a large viewing area along the route and many local residents came out to cheer the team everywhere. Bryan Degner, Education Associate and Outreach Coordinator for the museum and a veteran himself, brought out his authentic WWII Jeep to track the team. Harvey says of the race, “I’m amazed that they all came down here to see old Fred Harvey!” Before the race he said, “I haven’t competed in a marathon before, but I’ve never been afraid of a challenge. And I’m lucky to have good friends who are expert runners. Without their help and my racing chariot, this would never be possible. I’ve traveled the world and accomplished more than I ever imagined, but it will be one of my greatest honors to cross the finish line as a proud U.S. Marine.” Tears and cheers abound as Fred walked the final steps across the finish line in front of the museum, accomplishing his mission once again.

Photo Credit: The Museum of the Pacific War/Carlos Javier Sanchez

Photo Credit: The Museum of the Pacific War/Carlos Javier Sanchez

A Texas native born in Memphis, Texas on October 29, 1923, Thiele Fred Harvey joined the 5th U.S. Marine Division in 1942 as a paramarine and demolitions expert serving throughout the Asiatic-Pacific Theater. On February 19, 1945, he landed on Red Beach in Iwo Jima. Nine nights later during a three-man mission, he was wounded by the last two of three grenades launched into his shell hole, severely damaging his hips, legs and arms with shrapnel. After emergency treatment, Harvey was placed on the USS Ozark Naval ship and transported to Hawaii where he underwent numerous surgeries and a four-and-a half-month recovery. For his valor, Harvey received the Silver Star Medal for saving the life of fellow marines. 

After medical discharge, Harvey earned his undergraduate degree from Panhandle State University in Goodwell, Oklahoma and a Master of History degree from Texas Tech University in Lubbock, Texas. For the next 45 years, Harvey taught history and physical education at various Texas and Colorado high schools and coached football, baseball and track. During the 1980s, he worked for the Department of Defense and coached track, football and baseball in Turkey, Japan, Korea and Italy. He later coached football at Christian Military School in Mississippi and is now retired in Dallas, Texas. Harvey’s published memoir, Hell Yes, I’d Do It Again, recounts his life from the Great Depression through his service as a World War II marine, an educator, and a coach. Until recently, he served as a volunteer at the National Museum of the Pacific War in Fredericksburg, prompting the team to select the museum for its race location. To find Harvey’s book on Amazon click this link! We make a small profit from links like this and proceeds from our links are donated to charity! Thank you from the bottom of our hearts! 


Paige, a former anesthesiologist who lives in Hickory, North Carolina, first met Harvey in 2016 during a chance meeting with a surgeon who played football for Harvey in high school. “That day, we were celebrating my birthday, and my wife Michelle brought a cake bearing the Iwo Jima emblem. Having just spoken to Fred, I said, ‘I can’t cut this cake with a U.S. Marine from Iwo Jima standing here.’ So, Fred cut the cake, and we’ve been friends ever since.” Inspired by his father who served in the Navy, Paige competes in marathons and triathlons nationwide to benefit the Navy SEAL Foundation and its fallen heroes. “Helping Fred make this journey and make history, is such a privilege. Our World War II vets are national treasures, and we need to thank, honor and celebrate them every single day.”

A GoFundMe account has been established to raise $5,000 for Harvey’s custom racing chair at A non-profit organization founded by former U.S. Marine Major Kim (“Rooster”) and Lori Rossiter, Ainsley’s Angels ( is named for the Rossiter’s daughter, Ainsley, who was diagnosed with infantile neuroaxonal dystrophy (INAD) shortly before her fourth birthday. To allow her to participate in family jogs, the Rossiter’s developed the special chair for road races. In February 2016, Ainsley lost her battle with INAD, and the Rossitersformed Ainsley’s Angels to help other children and adults participate in running and racing.

Photo Credit: The Museum of the Pacific War/Carlos Javier Sanchez

The chair Harvey used is an Adaptivestar Axiom Racer push chair, designed for safety of both runners and disabled athlete riders in distance races. After the race, the chair will be donated in Harvey’s honor for wounded U.S. Marines and special needs families participating in the Marine Corps Marathon. All funds exceeding the cost of the chair will be donated to the National Museum of the Pacific War and The Admiral Nimitz Foundation 501(c)(3) charity.

To learn more about T. Fred Harvey, visit Veterans Chronicles radio show and podcast, hosted by Greg Corombos of Radio America, or for a more personal account of Harvey’s experiences during the war. For more detail on the National Museum of the Pacific War, visit, featuring Dr. Paige’s interview with Harvey and the museum’s director of marketing and public relations, Brandon Vinyard. For additional coverage of the event visit: and—-marine-veteran-of-iwo-jima-recalls-his-life-in-the-corps-as-he-finishes-one-more-race/ar-BB1aoxdD

Thursday, October 1, 2020

Innovators Attempt to Reduce Exposure to Germs on Airplanes with New Seatbelt Design

Even before COVID-19 began, germs were a problem at the airport and on planes.  LTD previously posted about how to be aware of the dirtiest spots at the airport and on an airplane.  Many travelers think it's the airplane bathrooms, and while they can host bacteria and other germs, airplane seatbelts are a big source of germs for fliers.  

Fortunately in response to this finding and the pandemic, companies are trying to find ways to make passengers feel better about stepping foot on an airplane.  Once company, AmSafe has just made a press release about their Sanitized Restraint that demonstrates a large reduction in viral and bacterial load.  In this era of worldwide health concerns related to the pandemic, many airlines are making changes in their policies ranging from blocking travelers in the middle seat to universal mask wearing and more.  Will new seatbelt systems like AmSafe's be implemented too?  Time will tell...

Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Mexico is Open to Tourists and Some are Saying it is Safer than Ever! But the CDC May not Agree...

 Mexico has begun the process of welcoming back tourists to their country and press releases are being generated at an increased rate.  Yet, prior to planning any trip, travelers need to assess potential risks.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) travel warning for Mexico makes those risks sound dire: The federal agency flatly recommends against all non-essential travel to the country, citing the high risk of contracting COVID-19. In addition, it warns that if travelers fall ill and require medical care in Mexico, resources may be limited.  But resorts in Mexico are going full-press to welcome visitors as you can see in the press release below. 

On September 8, 2020, the U.S. Department of State downgraded the Mexico Travel Advisory alert level from Level 4 (Do Not Travel) to Level 3 (Reconsider Travel), which should boost tourism. Border crossings between the U.S. and Mexico have been restricted since March, but the restrictions don’t apply to air, rail or sea travel.

CABO SAN LUCAS, Mexico, Sept. 29, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- The best beach destinations in Mexico have been through some challenges this year, but thanks to quick action and firm leadership, Mexico travel restrictions are being lifted and Mexico family vacations have resumed across the country. Travelers who desire to vacation in Cabo San Lucas and Puerto Vallarta might wonder "Is it safe to travel to Mexico right now?", but research shows how Mexico beach destinations are protecting travelers and putting fears to rest. Travelers can once again revel in the excitement of jetting off to Los Cabos, Nuevo Vallarta, Riviera Nayarit, or wherever your Mexico travels take you.

Saturday, September 26, 2020

Miami International Airport (MIA) Ranked Best Airport in Eastern U.S. and Florida by J.D. Power

Based on surveys from U.S. or Canadian residents who traveled through at least one U.S. or Canadian airport from August 2019 through July 2020, Miami International Airport was ranked as the best mega airport for passenger satisfaction in the eastern U.S. and Florida by the J.D. Power 2020 North America Airport Satisfaction Study, released on September 23.  See if you agree with their findings!

The study measures overall traveler satisfaction with mega, large and medium North American airports by examining six factors (in order of importance): terminal facilities; airport arrival/departure; baggage claim; security check; check-in/baggage check; and food, beverage and retail.

On a 1,000-point scale, MIA achieved a score of 801 – second among mega airports in North America only to Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport, which earned a score of 805. Mega airports are those with 33 million or more passengers per year - the busiest airports in the study. MIA was able to jump from 11th place in last year's study to 2nd place overall in North America, while serving a record-high 46 million passengers in 2019 – an increase of nearly one million passengers over the previous year.

Friday, September 25, 2020

Do Empty Middle Seats or Other Factors Make Flying Safer During COVID-19?

Americans have debated the risks of getting on a plane during the COVID-19 pandemic — especially during the summer vacation season — with few clear answers or evidence to guide their decisions.  Still, compared to the number of flyers in 2019, only 25% are deciding to fly in 2020. 

The airline industry itself has been split over pandemic safety approaches, with airlines including Delta, JetBlue, Alaska, and Southwest opting not to sell middle seats to provide more distance between passengers and reduce the risk of illness. 

Southwest Airlines recently published their intent to continue to keep the middle seat clear on flights through November 30, 2020. Other airlines, like United, Spirit, and American Airlines, are not blocking middle seats, with United’s chief communications officer calling the idea “a PR strategy” instead of a safety strategy.  This has led some to consider the science behind the airlines' decisions including MIT Sloan professor Arnold Barnett. Arnold Barnett is the George Eastman Professor of Management Science and a Professor of Statistics at the MIT Sloan School of Management, who holds a BA in mathematics from Columbia College and a PhD in mathematics from MIT.

“I've been doing research about aviation safety from a statistical viewpoint for many, many years, and this is the first time that I've seen where U.S. domestic airlines disagreed overtly on a matter related to safety,” MIT Sloan professor and aviation safety expert Arnold Barnett said. “It seemed to me that all we were getting was a clash of conjectures.” 

Saturday, September 19, 2020

Ridiculously Affordable Fall Clothes for Your Carryon 2020

You don't have to spend your life savings to look great, be elegant and comfortable this fall! Use our guide to find great outfits for home or away! What things do we look for when we travel?????

  1. Deals
  2. Comfort
  3. Travel well with few wrinkles
  4. Pair well with other fashion pieces so you can go with a carryon only


With temperatures dropping we all want that one pair of bottoms that take us into those low temperatures in style! We can only wear so many pairs of skinny jeans but sometimes you want something that doesn't feel as tight around your middle! Try our favorite fleece-lined leggings by Baleaf. the pickets on each side will keep you organized and the fabric looks great from day to night.


Wide leg jersey pants are a cult favorite of travelers for comfort and style. They’re sweatpants masquerading as work pants is how one influencer described the U Wide-Fit Curved Jersey Pants by Uniqlo. Details that put them in the sweatpants category, are a hidden elastic waistband and a drawstring to cinch the waist, but a good looking button and zipper highlight make them look more elevated and presentable. Tip: we love these pants with a pair of white tennis shoes for a chic casual look.