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Safety Tips

Coronavirus-Protection

05 Jun Flying During the Pandemic

What You Need to Know Before Flying During the Pandemic

Travelers are returning to the airways. TSA reported it screened nearly twice as many passengers over the last weekend in May versus the first weekend of the same month. Some airlines are planning to increase capacity for their June schedule. That’s the good news according to a recent analysis of the airline industry.

If you’re planning to travel by air then it’s time to double-check your awareness of, and preparation for, the latest air travel changes and challenges implemented to minimize exposure to coronavirus.

My colleagues and I travel hundreds of thousands of air miles every year. It’s an essential part of our work in the travel risk management and crisis response industry. The following are a few tips and tricks you should know before you lift off on your next flight.

Air: Some travelers wonder if the air on a jet makes it easier, or harder, for COVID-19 to spread. The CDC reports most viruses are not easily spread on flights because of how airplanes circulate and filter the air. Air is circulated up to 6 times per hour and processed through HEPA filters which remove 99.97 percent of particles passing through them.

Jet Hygiene: Airlines are increasing their hygiene protocols to ensure onboard transmissions remain low. Some airlines are using UVC lights to clean surfaces. As an added precaution, you’ll want to bring your own supply of disinfecting wipes to wipe down tray tables, seat arms, windows and walls.

Queues: The greater risk of COVID-19 exposure comes from passing time in ticket lines, security queues, departure gates, jetways, and passenger seats—each of which potentially put you in close proximity with other people and frequently touched surfaces. Streamline your queue time by having all the necessary documents and information at the ready.

Onboard Seating: Physical distancing is tough in a confined space like an airplane. Most airlines have made the middle seat unavailable to help maintain social distancing.

Mask On: Keeping your face properly masked and covered at all times, except when TSA agents need to confirm you identify, is the safest option. Most major U.S. airlines require passengers to wear a face mask or face covering during their flight. It is strictly enforced at boarding and passengers are reminded and encouraged to wear them during the flight.

Double Check: Travelers need to call ahead to get the most up-to-date information, and check for updates regularly. Changes in flight schedules, travel restrictions, airline recommendations and rules—and how they are being enforced—can occur frequently. Your entire trip could be ruined by relying on old and incorrect details, and you may not be allowed to board the plane if you aren’t able to comply with the rules.

Testing: Currently, Dubai-based airline Emirates is conducting on-site rapid tests of passengers for the virus and Austria’s Vienna International Airport has started offering the tests for arriving passengers as well as other customers who want one. Experts suggest this could be the new normal for airlines going forward.

Track and Trace: You may be asked a few questions while making a reservation or during check-in, including: Have you traveled out of the country in the last 14 days? Have you been in contact with anyone who has tested positive for coronavirus? Have you had any of the following symptoms: fever, dry cough, or difficulty breathing?

Signage: Most airports have placed markers in areas where line-ups occur to reinforce physical distancing as travelers wait in line. Passengers are also scanning their boarding passes—both paper and electronic—rather than exchanging them with TSA officers.

Wash Your Hands: Travelers should wash their hands regularly or use a minimum 60 percent alcohol-based (70 percent isopropyl alcohol) disinfectant before and after using the check-in kiosk, completing the security screening process, and showing your ticket at the gate.

Now, more than ever travelers need to plan for, and be prepared for, contingencies that affect travel. It is important to consider medical and security evacuation services and really understand what they will, and will not, provide. Make sure your health insurance is valid where you will be traveling. It is essential to have timely travel intelligence updates from a professional service. All of this preparation and forethought will enhance your awareness making it easier to avoid inconveniences or pitfalls. You’ll enjoy a better trip.

Courtesy of Harding Bush

Custom Travel Experiences

04 Jun Facts About Federal REAL ID

Facts About Federal REAL ID Driver Licenses and Identification Cards

What is the REAL ID Act?
Beginning October 1, 2021, the federal government will require your driver license or identification card to be REAL ID compliant if you wish to use it as identification to board a domestic fight or enter secure federal facilities that require identification.

Do I Need a REAL ID Driver License or Identification Card?
Starting October 1, 2021, you will need to show a REAL ID driver license or identification card or other federally approved identification (passport, military ID) at TSA airport checkpoints nationwide or to visit secure federal facilities.
NOTE: Check the TSA website for a complete list of approved identification.

You do not need a REAL ID card if:

  • You know you will not be boarding a domestic fight or visiting a secure federal facility, such as a military base.

OR

  • will use other approved documents as identification.

If you don’t choose a REAL ID card, you will receive a federal non-compliant card with the phrase “Federal Limits Apply.” Those under 18 are not required to have a REAL ID card to fly.

What Does a REAL ID Card Look Like?
REAL ID driver license and identification cards have a star in the top right corner.

Check for the star.

REAL ID-compliant cards are marked with a star at the top of the card. If you’re not sure, contact your state driver’s license agency on how to obtain a REAL ID compliant card.

If I Don’t apply for a REAL ID, Which Card Will I Receive?
You will receive a federal non-compliant driver license or identification card with the phrase “Federal Limits Apply.” Again, Federal requirements go into effect 10/1/2021.

Who is Eligible for a REAL ID Driver License or Identification Card?
U.S. citizens and all legal residents of the United States can apply for a REAL ID driver license or identification card.

If I do not have a REAL ID, can I use a passport for domestic travel?
You’ll need a REAL ID at minimum for domestic travel come October 2021, and your passport can work in place of a REAL ID for domestic travel—but a valid passport will still be required for international travel.

For information by state, including where to obtain a REAL ID, visit the DHS REAL ID website and click your state on the map.

 

Eco-Tourism-Leave-no-Trace

01 Apr Rise of Eco Tourism

Ecotourism is a form of sustainable travel that supports the local environment instead of putting more pressure on it and exploiting its resources.

Things are rarely simple, however, and ecotourism is a complex concept. Its importance is growing more and more each year, as more and more people travel farther and farther away. If you care about nature, the environment, and local communities, you should ensure that your travels are carried out sustainably.

What Is Ecotourism?
Ecotourism is now defined as responsible travel to natural areas that conserves the environment, sustains the well-being of the local people, and involves interpretation and education. 

What are the Principles of Ecotourism?
Ecotourism is about uniting conservation, communities, and sustainable travel. This means that those who implement, participate in and market ecotourism activities should adopt the following ecotourism principles:

  • Minimize physical, social, behavioral, and psychological impacts.
  • Build environmental and cultural awareness and respect.
  • Provide positive experiences for both visitors and hosts.
  • Provide direct financial benefits for conservation.
  • Generate financial benefits for both local people and private industry.
  • Deliver memorable interpretative experiences to visitors that help raise sensitivity to host countries’ political, environmental, and social climates.
  • Design, construct and operate low-impact facilities.
  • Recognize the rights and spiritual beliefs of the Indigenous People in your community and work in partnership with them to create empowerment.

 

Is ecotourism good or bad?
As the adage goes, too much of a good thing can turn bad. In some notable places, the onslaught of nature-loving visitors is steadily eroding the very ecosystems ecotourism intends to protect. Travelers are trampling, polluting, and gobbling up scarce resources in fragile habitats.

 

What is an example of ecotourism?
The term “ecotourism” in the travel industry can carry problems.  Popular international destinations for ecotourism include Kenya, Palau and Costa Rica. States that foster ecotourism include California, Louisiana and Alaska.

Ecotourism and the Environment:
Ecotourism helps protect natural habitats and pristine environments.  Ecotourism allows countries and communities to build their economies without harming the environment, which means that local wildlife can thrive and visitors can enjoy untouched destinations.

 

Is tourism environmentally friendly?
Almost everyone enjoys traveling. … But travel and tourism, in general, aren’t environmentally friendly; in addition to the massive fuel demands of most types of transportation, visiting natural areas could expose them to negative forms of interference, including wildlife disturbances, damage, and litter.