Travel News: Fitness on the Road, the Great American Family Vacation, and the ASPCA’s Best Pet-Safety Tips.
As travelers gear up to take spring trips and finalize summer plans, we're seeing some cool trends that may inspire your next booking, and some important advice about flying with pets.
FITNESS ON THE ROAD
According to a new study by Hostelworld (hostelworld.com), Americans, especially younger ones, are just as focused on fitness on vacation as they are at home. The hostel-booking platform asked 2,500-plus men and women ages 18-65 about their exercise habits while on holiday, and a whopping 74% said they work out just as much—if not more—when they're out of office. Millennials take their routines especially seriously, listing fitness and outdoor activity as a higher priority than access to bars and nightlife, with some 40% of those surveyed saying they always get in at least one workout while they're away—and that easy access to fitness facilities is a must when booking accommodations.
FAMILY VACATIONS: BIGGER AND BETTER THAN EVER
Research from AAA Travel (aaa.com) says that 88 million Americans plan to take family vacations this year. “No matter their age, families are going on not just one, but multiple vacations throughout the year to revisit favorite destinations and experiences new places,” says BIll Sutherland, AA senior vice president of Travel and Publishing. AAA is also seeing international family travel as a growing trend, with 35 percent of vacationing families reporting that they will travel outside the U.S. (that’s up 9% over the past two years). Popular international family hotspots include Cancun, Punta Cana, Montego Bay, Rome, and Dublin.
A TRIP YOU’LL DIG
Speaking of family travel, the budding paleontologists in your brood may really love a trip to Indiana Caverns (indianacaverns.com), the spectacular cave system in Corydon, IN (about 20 miles from Louisville, KY), where a team from the Indiana State Museum and Historic Site will start unearthing the remains of prehistoric animals on April. The dig will include an observation deck for visitors to witness the action, and the team will bring buckets of excavated sediment and bones up to the observation deck to show visitors what they’ve found and explain its importance. “This groundbreaking fieldwork being conducted by Indiana State Museum and Historic Sites experts offers our guests and extraordinary opportunity to be there and watch as history is being discovered,” says Jeremy Yackle, Harrison County Convention & Visitors Bureau Executive Director.
PET-SAFETY TIPS FROM THE ASPCA
Love traveling with your pet? Dr. Kristen Frank, Medical Director, ASPCA Animal Hospital, DVM, DACVIM (aspca.org), offers some easy, common-sense tips for pet safety during air travel:
* Pets in the cabin of an airplane should be contained in a well-ventilated carrier, which should never be placed in an overhead bin.
* Pets should have access to circulating air and to water; a toy, treat, or blanket may also help to keep them relaxed in transit.
* Pet owners should always consult with their pet’s veterinarian when considering travel to determine what is safe for the individual animal based on trip duration, age, species, breed, and other factors.
* Pet owners should travel with a pet kit containing any necessities, including proof of vaccinations.
* Medications should be given only on a case-by-case basis with veterinary approval.
* Check with individual airlines to discuss fees or restrictions such as those on carriers, breeds, or species.
* Always exercise caution and consider all available options when traveling with a pet.
Travel News: Coffee Tourism, Setting Fire to Socks, and Dancing at the Whitney
From a Costa Rica coffee farm to one of NYC’s most storied art collections to the (literal) kickoff of flip-flop season, here's the latest trip-inspiring travel news: COFFEE TOURISM Starbucks just opened its Hacienda Alsacia Visitor Center, part of its Costa Rican coffee farm. Visitors can experience coffee-making first-hand (“from seedling, to roasting, to tasting”), including Starbucks’ commitment to eco-friendly, sustainable “agronomy,” and the company’s Farmer Support Center. (starbucks.com) SETTING FIRE TO SOCKS On April 14, Panama City, FL, will celebrate the arrival of flip-flop season with its annual Burning of the Socks. Bring your socks to the marina and watch ’em go up in flames in a porcelain bathtub by the water. (destinationpanamacity.com) DANCING AT THE WHITNEY Artist Nick Mauss will present his first solo museum show in the U.S., at the Whitney, in New York City. Opening on March 16, the exhibit Transmissions “explores the reciprocal relationship of modernist ballet and the avant-garde in New York from the 1930s through the 1950s.” The twist? The exhibition will include daily dance performances in the Whitney’s eighth-floor Hurst Family Galleries. (whitney.org)
California’s Iconic Highway 1 Is Throwing a Party
Highway 1, California’s impossibly scenic coast-hugging drive, gets plenty of love from visitors, especially the throngs who hit the central coast between San Francisco and Los Angeles. But as those visitors gape at the ocean views and pull into scenic overlooks for Instagram-worthy pics, they may not realize that there are ample opportunities to immerse themselves further in the natural beauty, heritage, and marine life along the iconic route. HIGHWAY 1’S ANNUAL CELEBRATION STARTS IN JANUARY The 5th annual Coastal Discovery & Stewardship Celebration, January 13 through February 28, 2018, gives travelers (and, of course, locals) the chance to explore everything that the CA Highway 1 Discovery Route has to offer, thanks to San Luis Obispo County, the California State Parks, and the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. The celebration focuses on “stewardship travel” experiences such as nature walks, lighthouse tours, garden volunteering, natural history talks, and more that create a more meaningful - and more fun - travel experience, touching on history, heritage, and the natural life of the coast. While the CA Highway 1 Discovery Route offers 50 such experiences year-round, the annual celebration offers even more opportunities to experience the coast as locals do. COASTAL STEWARDSHIP ACTIVITIES FOR 2018 All along the 101 miles of the CA Highway 1 Discovery Route, which links 10 diverse communities from just south of Big Sur to just south of San Luis Obispo (approximately halfway between S.F. and L.A.), activities will include a film festival featuring the incredible undersea documentary Disneynature Oceans at the Hearst Castle, Sharks After Dark at the Central Coast Aquarium, wine tastings at the Pacific Coast Wine Trail’s six tasting rooms, off-roading adventures in the Oceano Dunes, and much more. AFFORDABLE LODGING ON CALIFORNIA’S CENTRAL COAST Many local hotels and motels in coastal communities are offering special lodging packages during the Coastal Discovery & Stewardship Celebration. Good deals can also be found at Budget Travel’s Book a Hotel page.
The Opry celebrates a grand ole birthday
Heading to Nashville, Tenn., this year? You may notice a couple of abnormally large guitars beckoning you through the entrance of the Grand Ole Opry House—guitars reaching 20 feet high and made up of 3,000 pounds of steel and aluminum, to be exact. This new memorial honors the country music venue's 85th birthday, a bash that will draw participation from such classic legends as Loretta Lynn and Charley Pride to relative newcomers like Carrie Underwood and Dierks Bentley. Leading up to the grand finale on Oct. 8th and 9th, venues all around the city will be featuring additional concerts and special gallery exhibits throughout the summer. Grand Ole Opry House: In a strange turn of events last month, the Opry House was hit with the worst Middle Tennessee floods in more than 100 years, with water rising nearly four feet above the stage. While renovations are frantically underway, various area locations—the Ryman Auditorium, Allen Arena at Lipscomb University, and War Memorial Auditorium—are housing the Grand Ole Opry and Opry Country Classics shows until they return to their digs in October. Don't be surprised if you spot celebrities about town as they accept the duties of "guest announcer" from now until the party in Oct. (2804 Opryland Dr., 800/733-6779, ticket prices vary) Grand Ole Opry Museum: Due to reopen the first week of October and located just steps away from the Opry House, three new exhibits will allow a behind-the-scenes peek into Opry secrets, including images captured by the official show photographers Chris Hollo and Les Leverett, artifacts from young country performers rapidly rising to stardom, and memorabilia from the late Opry icon Porter Wagoner. (Grand Ole Opry Plaza, 2802 Opryland Dr., 800/733-6779, $5) Acuff Theatre: The venue for the grand finale Opry Birthday Concert is guaranteed to be full of surprises yet to be announced, and will bring out every who's who of country music entertainment. If you can only attend one event this year, this would be the one that you shouldn't miss. (2804 Opryland Dr., 800/733-6779, tickets and tour packages from $95) EARLIER Trip Coach: Dreamin' of Nashville
Mark your calendar: Museum Day means free admission
On Saturday, September 25, Smithsonian is hosting its sixth-annual Museum Day, with hundreds of cultural institutions around the country offering free admission. Tickets are available now. All you have to do is go to the Museum Day site and fill out the form, and your ticket will be e-mailed to you. Print it out and bring it to your museum of choice; it's good for free general admission for two people at any one participating museum. (Note: You have to designate which museum you'll be visiting when you sign up for the ticket. And only one ticket per household is allowed.) As of right now, 940 museums have signed on, with an expected 1,500 to be taking part by the actual day of the event. Last year, over 300,000 museumgoers visited the 1,300 participating institutions. To decide where to spend your time that day, use the site's museum finder. And for the first time, this year's sponsor, Toyota, is providing on-site activities, including docent tours, interactive trivia contests, and giveaways, at five of the museums: the Dallas Museum of Art (normal admission $10); the Adler Planetarium in Chicago ($10); the Autry National Center in L.A. ($9); the Tower Hill Botanic Garden in Boylston, Mass. ($10); and the Tampa Museum of Art ($10). A few others you may want to check out: • The OZ Museum, in Wamego, Kans. ($7). "There's no place like" this tribute to all things Dorothy and friends. • Scotchtown, in Beaverdam, Va. ($8). No, this isn't a liquor-lover's paradise; it's the home of founding father Patrick Henry, of "Give me liberty, or give me death!" fame. • The Pro Football Hall of Fame, in Canton, Ohio ($20). Museum Day falls as the NFL season is just getting started, and on the heels of the August 7 enshrinement of the Hall's Class of 2010, which includes Jerry Rice and Emmitt Smith. • The Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum, in New York City ($22). Renovated just two years ago, the historic aircraft carrier is one of the best values, saving you $22! • The Atomic Testing Museum, in Las Vegas ($12). The once top-secret nuclear test site, just a mile from the Strip, offers a radiation-free simulation of what it was like to watch an atomic explosion, complete with vibrating seats and a blast of air. Bonus: If you're feeling a little more like the great outdoors, September 25 is also Public Lands Day, one of the few days during the year when nearly 150 of the country's national parks that normally charge admission ($3-$25) are free.