Destinations Currently Open & Requirements

Courtesy our friends at wholesale travel supplierClassic Vacations, here’s a list of countries that are open for travel, and requirements, as of December 3, 2020. See the official US government travel advisories here.

Destination

Date opening

Quarantine/Add. Testing Req

Requirements

Mexico

Open

No

• Standard temp checks/health screenings upon arrival.

Dominican Republic

Open

No


• Random rapid tests will be carried out upon arrival, such as the breath test. If positive results quarantine will be required.

• Tourists visiting a hotel will be temporarily granted a travel assistance plan that will include emergency coverage, telemedicine services, accommodations for prolonged stay and flight change costs in the event that they test positive for COVID-19.

• Health screenings/temperature checks may be implemented on arrival or departure.
• Masks required in public places.

Turkey

Open

No

• Health screenings/temperature checks may be implemented on arrival or departure.
• Masks required in public place.

Jamaica

Open

No


Must present a negative COVID-19 RT PCR or Antigen test result obtained at least 10 days prior to departure in order to check in for a flight.
• Test must be conducted by a Registered Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments (CLIA).
• Once guests have successfully received their required Travel Authorization via email, electronic copy or printed copy required at time of check-in.

• Require all per sons to remain at their hotel/resort within the corridor for the duration of their stay.
• Health screenings/temperature checks may be implemented on arrival or departure.
• Masks required in public place.
• Travel Authorization form
https://www.visitjamaica.com/travelauthorization.

Antigua

Open

No


Must present a negative COVID-19 RT-PCR taken within seven (7) days of their flight. (This includes transiting passengers).
• Must complete a Health Declaration Form upon arrival.
• Health screenings/temp checks/rapid antigen test upon arrival.
• Masks required in public place.

St. Lucia

Open

 No


Must present a negative PCR COVID-19 test obtained within 7 days prior to arrival.
• Health screenings/temp checks/rapid antigen test upon arrival.
• Have confirmed reservations at a COVID-19 certified accommodation provider.
• Masks required in public places.
• Complete a Pre- arrival registration form online
https://www.stlucia.org/en/covid-19/pre-arrival-form-for-visitors/.
• TEST RESULTS MUST BE SENT TO:
TravelSaintLucia@gmail.com
with a cc to:
micho1309@gmail.com
.

Turks and Caicos

Open

No


Must present a negative COVID-19 RT PCR test obtained within 5 days upon arrival.

• Health screenings/temperature checks may be implemented on arrival or departure.
• Medical/Travel insurance that covers medevac due to COVID-19 
• Masks required in public place.
• Must be TCI certified through the assurance portal
http://turksandcaicostourism.com/

USVI

Open

No


Must upload  a negative COVID-19 antigen (molecular/PCR/rapid) test result received within 5 days prior to travel on travel portal.

• Pre-register utilizing the USVI Travel Screening Portal
https://usvitravelportal.com/
• Upon arrival, all travelers must produce original test result and travel certification received from the portal.
• Health screenings/temperature checks may be implemented on arrival or departure.
• Medical/Travel insurance that covers medevac due to COVID-19. 
• Masks required in public place.

Grenada

Open

No


Must present a negative COVID-19 PCR  test within 5 days of arrival.
• All travelers must complete online Pre Travel forms, and upload any relevant required documentation.

• Required Travel Authorization form
https://covid19.gov.gd/required-incoming-passenger-forms/
 
• Travelers must download Ronatrac Mobile contact tracing App, which can be found on Google Play and the Apple App Store.
• Guest must remain within the accommodation until they depart unless they decide to take an additional PCR test done on, or after the 4th day of their stay.
• If the results of the in-destination test return negative, guests may venture outside of the Pure Safe travel accommodations.

• Health screenings/temperature checks may be implemented on arrival or departure.
• Masks required in public place.

St Vincent

Open

No

Must present negative result of a COVID-19 (RT-PCR) test done no more than(5) days before arrival.
Travelers must provide pre-arrival form online.
• Must arrive with proof of a fully paid reservation in a (TA/MOHWE) approved hotel for a (5) night min quarantine.

• Travelers will be retested for COVID-19 (RT-PCR) on arrival in SVG, Approval of SARS-CoV-2 test result by Port Health Team .
• Will be tested for COVID-19 before release from a 5 day quarantine in the approved hotel.
• Will be asses by Port Health Officers to determine their final level of risk and the length of mandatory quarantine required.
• Health screenings/temp checks/rapid antigen test upon arrival.
• Masks required in public place.

St. Maarten

Open

No


Must present rt-PCR test for the SARS-COV-2 virus obtained from a naso-pharyngeal swab only and performed within 5 days prior to departure.
• All arriving passengers are required to complete the online Health Authorization Declaration at
www.stmaartenentry.com.
Must print copy of declaration form to present upon arrival.

• Health screenings/temperature checks may be implemented on arrival or departure.
• Required to have health insurance coverage.
• Masks required in public place.

Puerto Rico

Open

No


Must present a negative COVID-19 molecular-based test obtained within 3 days upon arrival.
• All persons entering Puerto Rico must complete a Travel Declaration Form which can be found:
https://app.travelsafe.pr.gov/
 
• Standard temp checks/health screenings upon arrival.
• Masks required in public places.

Aruba

Open

No


Must present a negative COVID-19 Molecular test obtained within 3 days before arrival. 

• Complete (ED) card at least 12 hrs. before arrival to apply for ED card

https://edcardaruba.aw/

• Purchase mandatory insurance that protects against expenses if testing positive for Covid -19 withinn72 hours prior to travel .

• Health screenings/temp checks/rapid antigen test upon arrival.
• Masks required in public place.

Costa Rica

Open

No

• Fill out the electronic epidemiological HEALTH PASS form, available at
https://salud.go.cr.
• Travel insurance purchased in Costa Rica through the National Insurance Institute (INS – Instituto Nacional de Seguros) that covers $2000 in hotel cost.

• To purchase insurance visit

www.grupoins.com/seguroparaviajeros
, or Sagicor
www.sagicor.cr/seguro_para_turistas/

• Health screenings/temperature checks may be implemented on arrival or departure.
• Masks required in public place.

Montenegro

Open

No


Must present a negative COVID-19 PCR test obtained within 3 days upon arrival.
• Can also present a positive result for antibodies to new coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) class IgG obtained by ELISA serological test.
• Health Declaration Form/Traveler Accommodation Form required. 
• Masks required in public place.

Dubai

Open

No


Must present a negative COVID-19 PCR test obtained within 4 days upon arrival.

• Transiting through Abu Dhabi, individuals must  presentation a COVID test conducted in the last 48 hours from an approved facility.
• You must also download the COVID-19 – DXB Smart App. iOS – Android. 
• Health screenings/temperature checks may be implemented on arrival or departure.
• Proof of international health insurance coverage before traveling.
• Masks required in public place.

Oahu

Open

No

Must take a nucleic acid amplification (NAAT) pre-travel test from a trusted testing and travel partner within 72 hours from the final leg of departure.
• Travelers arriving in Hawaii with pending test results will remain in quarantine until negative test results uploaded to the Safe Travels Hawaii account.

• Must complete Safe Travels Hawaii online form prior to arrival on the State of Hawaii Safe Travel at
https://travel.hawaii.gov/#/

• List of trusted pre-testing partners visit
https://hawaiicovid19.com/travel-partners/

• Masks required in public places.
• Oahu does not require an additional test if pax are arriving from their first stay on a neighbor island, even it’s 72 hours or longer.
• Traveling into Maui County Pre-test 72 hours prior to departure.
• Traveling to the Big Island from any other island must quarantine.
• Traveling into Kaua’i County Pre-test 72 hours prior to departure.
Recommended that visitors not plan multi island itineraries for travel to and between the islands of Kauai, Big Island of Hawaii, Maui, Lanai & Molokai prior to December 1st, 2020

Maui

Open

No

Must present a negative COVID-19 Nucleic Acid Amplification Test (NAAT) within 3 days processed at a (CLIA) lab

• Travelers will be required to upload the negative pre-travel test result and answer a health questionnaire 24 hours prior to departure.
• If results are not available by time of arrival, quarantine will be required until test results received.
• Health screenings/temperature checks may be implemented on arrival or departure.
• All adults (18 and older) must register on the State of Hawaii Safe Travel at

https://travel.hawaii.gov/#/

• List of trusted pre-testing partners visit
https://hawaiicovid19.com/travel-partners/

• Masks required in public places.
• Traveling into City and County of Honolulu No test and no quarantine required.
• Traveling into County of Hawai’i Not participating; must quarantine.
• Traveling into Kaua’i County Pre-test 72 hours prior to departure.
Recommended that visitors not plan multi island itineraries for travel to and between the islands of Kauai, Big Island of Hawaii, Maui, Lanai & Molokai prior to December 1st, 2020

Lanai

Open

No

Must present a negative COVID-19 Nucleic Acid Amplification Test (NAAT) within 3 days processed at a (CLIA) lab

• Travelers will be required to upload the negative pre-travel test result and answer a health questionnaire 24 hours prior to departure.
• If results are not available by time of arrival, quarantine will be required until test results received.
• Health screenings/temperature checks may be implemented on arrival or departure.
• All adults (18 and older) must register on the State of Hawaii Safe Travel at

https://travel.hawaii.gov/#/

• List of trusted pre-testing partners visit
https://hawaiicovid19.com/travel-partners/

• Masks required in public places.
• Traveling into City and County of Honolulu No test and no quarantine required.
• Traveling into County of Hawai’i Not participating; must quarantine.
• Traveling into Maui County Pre-test 72 hours prior to departure.
Recommended that visitors not plan multi island itineraries for travel to and between the islands of Kauai, Big Island of Hawaii, Maui, Lanai & Molokai prior to December 1st, 2020

Big Island

Open

Yes

• Must present a negative COVID-19 Nucleic Acid Amplification Test (NAAT) within 3 days processed at a (CLIA) lab

• Travelers will be required to upload the negative pre-travel test result and answer a health questionnaire 24 hours prior to departure.

• Required to take a County administered COVID-19 antigen test upon arrival to Hawaii Island with results within 15-20 minutes.

• If a traveler tests negative for COVID-19, they will not be subject to self-quarantine.

• Those testing positive for COVID-19 will be required to take a subsequent PCR test immediately and will be required to self-quarantine up to 36 hours.
• If results are not available by time of arrival, quarantine will be required until test results received.
• All adults (18 and older) must register on the State of Hawaii Safe Travel at

https://travel.hawaii.gov/#/

• Lisa of trusted pre-testing partners visit
https://hawaiicovid19.com/travel-partners/

• Masks required in public places.
• Traveling into City and County of Honolulu No test and no quarantine required.
• Traveling into Kaua’i County Pre-test 72 hours prior to departure.
• Traveling into Maui County Pre-test 72 hours prior to departure.
Recommended that visitors not plan multi island itineraries for travel to and between the islands of Kauai, Big Island of Hawaii, Maui, Lanai & Molokai prior to December 1st, 2020

Bermuda

Open

Yes

Must present a negative COVID-19 PCR test obtained within 5 days of departing the US.

• Travel Authorization form online within 48 hours of departing the US and pay $75 fee.
• Undergo PCR COVID-19 test upon arrival at airport and isolate in accommodation until results are ready (turnaround time 6-8 hrs)
• Required to take your own temperature twice per day and report via online application/portal.

• Take another PCR COVID-19 test, administered on Day 4, Day 8 and Day 14 at easily accessible pop-up testing centers.
• Masks required in public place.
https://www.gov.bm/coronavirus-travellers-visitors

Abu Dhabi

Open

Yes


Must present a negative COVID-19 PCR test obtained within 4 days upon arrival.

• Transiting through Abu Dhabi, individuals must  presentation a COVID test conducted in the last 48 hours from an approved facility.
• You must also download the COVID-19 – DXB Smart App. iOS – Android. 
• Health screenings/temperature checks may be implemented on arrival or departure.
• Proof of international health insurance coverage before traveling.
• Masks required in public place.

Barbados

Open

Yes


Must present a negative COVID-19 PCR test obtained within 3 days upon arrival.
• 7 day quarantine for travelers originating from a high risk country.
• Travelers will be required to retest 4-5 days after arrival, and will be released from quarantine if negative.
• Health screenings/temperature checks may be implemented on arrival or departure.
• Masks required in public places.
• Complete Embarkation/Disembarkation (ED) form 24 hours prior to travel at

http://www.travelform.gov.bb/ .

St. Barts

Open

Yes

Must present a negative COVID-19 PCR test obtained 3 days prior to arrival for all travelers over 10 yrs old.

• If your stay exceeds 7 days, you will be subjected to a second COVID-19 test on Day 7 following your arrival.
• Travelers must also present a sworn statement that they have no symptoms and have had no contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19 in the 14 days preceding the flight.
• Health screenings/temperature checks may be implemented on arrival or departure.
• Masks required in public places.

Tahiti

Open

Yes


Must present a negative SARS-CoV-2 virus genome test obtained within 3 days prior to departure from US only negative results can board flight.

• Upload test results online with the digital Sanitary entry Form
https://www.etis.pf/
• Travelers will also be required to have an international travel insurance policy.
• A self-test for the SARS-CoV-2 virus 4 days after arrival French Polynesia.
• Masks required in public place.

Bahamas 

Open

Yes

Must obtain a COVID-19 RT PCR test five (5) days prior to arrival
• Apply for a Bahamas Health Travel Visa at
travel.gov.bs

• For the duration of the visit, complete a daily online health questionnaire for symptom tracking purposes.
• Take a COVID-19 Rapid Antigen Test on Day 5 of the visit (unless departing on day 5).
• Beginning November 14, 2020, all visitors will be required to opt-in to mandatory COVID-19 health insurance when applying for their Health Travel Visa.
  o $40 – Visitors staying up to four nights and five days.
  o $40 – Citizens and returning residents.
  o $60 – Visitors staying more than four nights.
  o Free – Children 10 years and under
• Masks required in public place.

Ireland

Open

Yes


All arrivals from overseas, including Irish residents, are asked to restrict their movement for 14 days on arrival.
• All arrivals, including Irish residents, arriving from overseas must complete a Public Health Passenger Locator Form prior to arriving in Ireland.

•Failure to complete the form or providing false information is an offense under Irish law, with a fine of up to $3,000 and/or imprisonment of up to 6 months.

• Masks required in public places.

Maldives

Open

Yes


Must present a negative COVID-19 PCR test obtained within 3 days upon arrival.
• Health screenings/temperature checks may be implemented on arrival or departure.
• Health declaration cards, which will need to be filled out
http://www.imuga.immigration.gov.mv/
• Covid19 pre-flight testing requirements for United States Citizens transiting via the United Arab Emirates or other countries will be tested at resort at least 96 hrs before departure.

•  Split stay between resorts that meet all compulsory requirements under the split stay guidelines may be permitted.

• Masks required in public places.
• Travel to Maldives is not currently recommended.

Anguilla

Open

Yes

Submit a negative COVID-19 PCR test, taken within 3  days prior to arrival.
• All visitors must be granted pre-approval
https://ivisitanguilla.com/

• Once the application is approved a travel authorization ticket will be issued.
• US travelers have been denied entry.
• Submit a travel insurance policy that covers medical costs including Covid-19 coverage.
• All travelers will be given a PCR test again upon arrival.
• Travelers will then be restricted to their villa/accommodation and its amenities for a period of up to 10 days.
• Travel to Anguilla is not currently recommended.

BVI

Open

Yes


Must provide proof of a negative COVID-19 PCR test taken within 5 days prior to travel.
• Visitors must have proof of medical insurance that includes coverage for COVID-19.
• Visitors must upload required documents to the BVI Gateway Online Portal and complete a travel declaration.
• All arrivals will be required to conduct a COVID-19 PCR test upon arrival.
• Visitors will be required to download to their phone a contact tracing application and utilize a wearable tracking bracelet.
• Visitors must quarantine 4 days at the property of their approved accommodations. Visitors will be allowed to move about the property.
• On the fourth day of the quarantine period, visitors must take another COVID-19 PCR test, which will take place on property.

• The costs of all PCR test and tracing app/wearable device will be at the visitors expense. Costs are expected to be $100 per test, and $150 for the app/device.
• Masks required in public place.

New York

Open

Yes

• For travelers who were out-of-state for more than 24 hours:

• Travelers must obtain a test within three days of departure, prior to arrival in New York.
• The traveler must, upon arrival in New York, quarantine for three days.
• the traveler must obtain another COVID test. If both tests comes back negative the traveler may exit quarantine early upon receipt of the second negative diagnostic test.

San Jose, CA

Open

Yes

• All persons entering the County from an origin more than 150 miles away.

• MANDATORY QUARANTINE UPON ARRIVAL

United Kingdom

open

Yes


• Borders of the country are open and there is no travel ban introduced for any travelers.

• Fill out the Passenger Locator Form, between 48 hours and 1 hour before arrival online only.
https://visas-immigration.service.gov.uk/public-health-passenger-locator-form?_ga=2.45628071.245850260.1598554051-1144289859.1598554051

• Declare to customs that you will adhere to the 14-day quarantine regulation.
• The fines are up to £480 for not properly filling out the form with correct travel plan and destination information.
• £1000 for breaking quarantine.
• Health screenings/temperature checks may be implemented on arrival or departure.
• Masks required in public places.

Kauai

15-Jan

Yes

ALL incoming trans-pacific and inter-county travelers to Kauai will face a mandatory 14-day quarantine.

Tahiti & French Polynesia Update: Conditions of Entry/Stay

This just in from the government in French Polynesia:

Logo
French Polynesia has confirmed conditions of entry and stay in the country applicable to all travelers arriving by air.

Starting from July 15th, 2020:

Quarantine measures will be lifted and French Polynesia’s borders will re-open to international tourism from all countries. All travelers will be subject to the following mandatory conditions:

  • Prior to boarding: Proof of a negative Covid-19 test carried out within three days prior to their international air departure
  • Present the printed receipt of the health registration on the Etis.pf (Electronic Travel Information System) platform
  • During the stay: Self-test 4 days after arrival in The Islands of Tahiti.

See full details at the Tahiti Tourisme site’s COVID-19 page.

Useful Travel Apps You’ve Probably Never Heard Of

Everybody knows about apps that find you hotel deals, cheap flights, or what to see and do in any given city. But travel (especially these days) doesn’t ALWAYS mean hopping on a plane, staying in a big hotel, etc.

This post is about some of the less mainstream ones that are actually pretty useful–depending on where you’re going.

Useful travel apps: Mobile Passport

Mobile Passport

This app lets you load your passport info into it ahead of time, for you and the rest of your family. Then, you can use it to avoid filling out a bunch of paper documents at US Customs and Immigration. Currently supported at these ports of entry: Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Fort Lauderdale, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, Minneapolis, New York, Newark, Orlando, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Pittsburgh, Portland, Raleigh Durham, Sacramento, San Diego, San Francisco, San Jose, San Juan, Seattle, Tampa, Washington Dulles, and West Palm Beach.

Cool little feature: if you upgrade to Plus ($15/year…worth it, as the free version loses your data after 4 hours), you don’t have to enter your passport info–you can just scan your passport.

Learn more here.


Useful travel apps: Avenza PDF Maps

Avenza PDF Maps

Avenza PDF Maps screenshot

This is helpful when you’re travelling to relatively remote areas where cell coverage is sketchy, and your usual Google or Apple Maps app won’t work because you can’t get a solid connection. Your phone still “knows” where it is, as the GPS receiver inside it doesn’t need cell coverage (it just needs to see the GPS satellites), but those apps can’t show you on a map because they need the cell connection to download the map.
With Avenza, you download topographical maps of where you’re going when you’re still back home, with a good wifi connection. Then, when you’re out in the wilderness, or a remote island, or wherever, the map is already on your phone, and Avenza will use your GPS in your phone and show you exactly where you are on that map.

There are maps for hunting units, parks, even off road recreational areas–where (at least here in Oregon) you can see every little single-track trail in the national forest that’s legal for dirt bikes or horses or ATVs or whatever.

Learn more here.


Useful travel apps: My Altitude

My Altitude

My Altitude screenshot

This app flexes the muscles of the GPS thingy in your phone: it’ll show you your exact latitude and longitude, your altitude in metres or feet, barometric pressure, and water boiling point.

Find it on the Apple App Store or Google Play.


Useful travel apps: Tide Charts

Tide Charts

Tide Charts screenshot

This app is great if you’re vacationing at the coast, and want to explore the tide pools. We go to Otter Crest, near Newport Oregon, several times a year, and at the end of the beach there, there’s a sea cave called Devil’s Punchbowl that you can only get to at very low tides. Timing your trek down to the beach is key if you want to explore it :-).

It’s here for iOS, and here for Android.


Useful travel apps: Google Translate

Google Translate

We’re all familiar with the version of this on the web, I’m sure. But did you know that they have an app as well? And the really, REALLY cool thing about this app is that you can use your camera and it’ll translate instantly. Here’s a photo of a menu from a restaurant in Paris. On the left I’ve taken a picture of the menu itself; on the right, you can see the view through Google Translate:

Untranslated menuMenu translated instantly by Google Translate app on iPhone

Pretty cool, huh? Find it on Google Play or on the App Store.


Useful travel apps: Peak Finder

Peak Finder

Peak Finder looking at the mountains around Bend, Oregon

I especially love this one, living in Bend, Oregon, and having 7 major mountain peaks around us. Point this app at the hills and it’ll tell you what you’re looking at:

Get it on the App Store or on Google Play.


Useful travel apps: Vivino

Vivino

Vivino screenshot

Ever been in another state, or country, and nothing on the wine list looks familiar? Just use the Vivino wine app to look up what’s on the wine list (you can even scan the bottle’s label with your camera).

You’ll see ratings, typical store prices, etc. Find it on the App Store or on Google Play.

12 Must-Do New Zealand Experiences

There is so much to see and do in New Zealand, from wine-tasting to bungy jumping, whale-watching to glacier hikes, gorgeous beaches to glow-worm caves, it can be difficult to choose.  Check out our recommended lists of experiences and talk to one of our free New Zealand travel experts for more advice.

  1. Try wine-tasting on Waiheke

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Photo copyright S Kaya

 

  1. Go bungy jumping in Queenstown

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Photo copyright michael 7601

 

  1. Say ‘kia ora’ to Māori culture in Rotorua

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Photo copyright scott1346

 

  1. Kayak around Milford Sound

SONY DSC

Photo copyright Bernard Spragg, NZ

 

  1. Explore the geysers of Rotorua

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Photo copyright Daniel Fernandes de Oliveira

 

6. Tour the The Lord of the Rings Hobbiton in Matamata

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Photo copyright othree

 

7. Heli-hike Fox Glacier

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Photo copyright Dani

 

  1. Cruise with whales in Kaikoura

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Photo copyright Anita Gould

 

  1. Kayak the Bay of Islands

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Photo copyright Teseum

 

  1. Sip wine among the vines in Marlborough

 

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Photo copyright Chris Gin

 

  1. Hike ancient lava flows at The Tongariro Alpine Crossing

 

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Photo copyright Jeff P

 

  1. Relax at The Coromandel’s Cathedral Cove

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Photo copyright Sandra Vallaure

 

For hotels in New Zealand visit https://www.visualitineraries.com/Explore.asp?only1country=NZ 

Find out more things to do at https://www.newzealand.com/us/feature/new-zealand-must-do-experiences/

12 Things You Won’t Find in Hawaii

Hawaii is full of natural beauty, stunning beaches and the Aloha spirit, but there are a few things that you won’t be able to find on the Hawaiian islands. While we usually define a place by the features it possess, sometimes it’s just as important to list off what it lacks.

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Photo copyright Skyseeker

  1. Billboards – Hawaii was the first state in the U.S. to outlaw billboards in 1927, thus preserving the natural beauty of the islands for decades to come.

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Photo copyright Drew Stefani

 

  1. Snakes – Because of the threat they pose to native birds, snakes are banned from entering the Hawaiian Islands.  

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Photo copyright Debs

 

  1. Rabies – While this makes it a pain to transport your pets to and from Hawaii, it’s comforting to know that it’s a rabid-free state, in fact it’s the only state in the country without rabies. 

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Photo copyright Marco Verch

 

  1. Private Beaches – All beaches in Hawaii are public and developers are required to provide public access and parking for anyone to enjoy the shorelines.

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Photo copyright Chris Murphy

 

  1. Loud Car Horns – Even in Honolulu rush-hour traffic, the streets are quiet, the drivers are patient and the Aloha spirit is alive and well.  

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Photo copyright Nick Mote

 

  1. Major U.S. Banks – None of the country’s major banks have branches in Hawaii, instead Hawaii residents are loyal to local banks, like Bank of Hawaii, and First Hawaiian Bank.

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Photo copyright Teemu008

 

  1. Daylight Savings Time – Hawaii’s proximity to the equator means that the length of a day doesn’t change dramatically throughout the year and so daylight savings time simply doesn’t matter here. 

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Photo copyright Harly504

 

  1. Affordable Housing – The cost of living in paradise is astronomical, the average cost to rent an apartment in Honolulu is $1,750-$2,000/month plus parking fees and utilities. 

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Photo copyright Rennett Stowe

 

  1. An Ethnic Majority – Hawaii is truly a melting pot of ethnic diversity and is home to the most multiracial residents in America.

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Photo copyright Horschmology

 

  1. Good Mexican Food – Hawaii has a huge variety of diverse international cuisine, but sadly the state is not known for having high quality authentic Mexican food.

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Photo copyright Alex Archambault

 

  1. Popular Mainland Chains – Starbucks and McDonalds have made their way across the islands but if you’re craving breadsticks from Olive Garden, a Chipotle burrito, or even Dunkin Donuts, you’re out of luck. 

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Photo copyright Mike Mozart

 

  1. More than One Area Code – Hawaii residents are very proud of the 808 area code that is shared throughout the islands and serves all 1.4 million residents of Hawaii. 

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Photo copyright Eli Duke

 

What else have you not been able to find in Hawaii?

 

Original post by Megan Shute

What’s Better than a Honeymoon? How about a Buddymoon?

What’s better than a honeymoon with the person you love? How about bringing your closest friends along with you? This relatively new trend has been dubbed a buddymoon, and a lot of people are on board. A recent Priceline survey of more than 1,000 Americans found that 12% of people said they’d attended a group honeymoon (or buddymoon) in the last five years. In fact, Jennifer Aniston and Justin Theroux decided to opt for a buddymoon when they invited friends like Chelsea Handler, Jason Bateman, and Courteney Cox to the Four Seasons Bora Bora for their honeymoon in August 2015.  “We had thought about it; we could just do a normal honeymoon or we could go with friends, keep the party going, relax, and have fun,” Theroux told Extra.

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Photo copyright Velas Resorts

Velas Resorts in Mexico have decided to jump on this trend and are now offering buddymoon packages for couples hosting their destination weddings at four of their resorts – Grand Velas Riviera Maya, Grand Velas Riviera Nayarit, Grand Velas Los Cabos, and Casa Velas.  Each of the four Velas Resorts in Mexico have their own version of the buddymoon, including activities such as private cocktail parties, eco-tours, picnics, meditation retreats, private cooking classes, golf trips, spa days and many more. 

So where would you go for a buddymoon?

 

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Photo copyright Antonio Rivera

The Islands of French Polynesia

When people think about French Polynesia, a tropical paradise comes to mind – but not all tropical paradises are the same.  Do you dream of sunbathing on beautiful white sand beaches? Or SCUBA diving through magical underwater reefs? Perhaps catching a wave on the Tahitian surf is your idea of a good time?  For some people the dream is hiking through lush jungles on remote islands, for others it’s learning the secrets of ancient Maori cultures. Whatever’s your definition of a tropical paradise, French Polynesia has it. But with 118 islands and atolls, stretching over 1,200 miles (2,000km), deciding where to go in French Polynesia can be overwhelming.  If that’s how you’re feeling right now, you’ve come to the right place!

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Photo copyright Daniel Chodusov

 

French Polynesia is divided into five groups of islands: the Society Islands Archipelago, the Tuamotu Archipelago; the Gambier Islands; the Marquesas Islands; and the Austral Islands.  Knowing about each of the island groups can help you narrow down your search for the ultimate vacation getaway. In this post, we will take an in depth look into each one to help you make the decision that’s right for you.

 

SOCIETY ISLANDS

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Photo copyright dany13

 

The Society Islands are the most well-known islands in French Polynesia, and include Tahiti, Mo’orea, Bora Bora and many others.  Tahiti was born when two volcanoes erupted and formed an island so large that it represents almost 30% of French Polynesia’s landmass and 68.7% of the population of all of French Polynesia. It is high and mountainous with surrounding coral reefs.  On the island of Tahiti, you will find small towns dotting the parameter of the island and the cosmopolitan city of Papeete in the northwest. The population drops as elevation rises inland, bringing you majestic peaks like La Diàdeme, and a stunning thousand-foot waterfall. Tahiti’s quieter side, Tahiti Iti, is on the southeastern end of the island and is home to the world famous surfing wave, Teahupo’o. Surfers, kiteboarders, and swimmers dot the shore and add color to the exotic black sand beaches that ring the island.

Just off the coast of Tahiti is Mo’orea, a heart shaped island with two small, nearly symmetrical bays on the north shore. It is encircled by coral reefs which provide a tranquil refuge to a wide variety of exotic and iridescent fish. Bora Bora is a 12 mile-wide island group consisting of a main island surrounded by a lagoon and barrier reef. The center island is known for its towering volcanic spires which disappear into the clouds, adding a touch of mystery to the island’s remote beauty. Bora Bora is famous for its aqua-centric luxury resorts and overwater bungalows.  

 

TUAMOTU ISLANDS

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Photo copyright Alessandro Caproni

 

With their unparalleled beauty, the low-lying Tuamotus island chain is a scuba diver’s dream. Rather than volcanic activity, these island atolls relied on coral reefs to form.  The heavenly lagoons are so precious and rare that many of them have their own unique ecosystems. In fact, the pristine Fakarava, is deemed a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve.  

 

GAMBIER ISLANDS

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Photo copyright Kyle Pearce

 

The Gambier islands is well off the beaten track and offer the perfect mix of cultural treasures and natural scenery.  The mountains on the island of Mangareva rise above the surrounding lagoons and neighboring islands, in fact Polynesian mythology tells of the demi-god Maui lifting the island of Mangareva from the ocean floor. Famous for their pearl farms and historic churches from the 1800’s, travelers to the Gambier Islands get the sense that they have been transported back in time.  

 

MARQUESAS ISLANDS

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Photo copyright Mustad Marine

 

The fierce Marquesas Islands have the hottest and driest climate of all the island chains in French Polynesia. Surrounded by deep, navy colored sea and cold currents of the Pacific Ocean they’re not known for their beaches; but these wild, wonderful and barely populated islands are a dream destination for hikers. Not only are the Marquesas islands home to exotic species of bird and plant wildlife found nowhere else in the world, you will also have the opportunity to experience the rich Maori culture. Pick up a handmade pareo from the local markets of Nuku Hiva, or a protective tiki amulet made by the expert Maori craftsmen of Tahuata.  

 

AUSTRAL ISLANDS

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Photo copyright Montereydiver

 

The inhabitants of the Austral Islands are as friendly as they are artistic. Visit the colorful, picturesque villages to discover the craftsmanship of the islanders who make a living off of their hand-made goods. Plan your trip to the Austral Islands between August and October and you will see the mesmerizing humpback whales who migrate to the islands each year and frolic in the waters just offshore. 

 

So what will it be?

With so much diversity and natural beauty, a trip to French Polynesia is sure to create memories that will last a lifetime. Hopefully this post has helped you narrow down your perfect French Polynesian destination. For those of you who have already decided where to go, or for those of you who are still needing help deciding, contact one of our French Polynesian travel experts for assistance. Their free, no-obligation help will bring you closer to making your dream vacation a reality, and as a bonus they have access to exclusive discounts to save you money on your trip.

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Photo copyright RDPixelShop