All non-essential travel is off the table for now, but airlines and hotels are still accepting reservations for the future – often at deeply discounted rates.
If you’re considering booking travel for several months out, consider sticking to refundable tickets and reservations made with points or miles so there’s less risk of losing money if your plans need to be canceled.
You should also prioritize having an emergency fund of savings over booking a future vacation.
If you’re in good financial standing, you could open a new rewards credit card now and earn its welcome bonus so you have a stash of points ready to go when you’re ready to book a trip.
See Business Insider’s list of the best travel rewards credit cards.
As a result of the coronavirus, our lives have become very small in scope. If you haven’t had to cancel an upcoming trip, at the very least the current situation has likely put your vacation plans on hold. But while the world is largely housebound at this time, travel brands continue to sell flights and hotel rooms for dates in the future, and prices can be extremely low.
With airlines and hotels offering cheap rates and carriers such as JetBlue letting you book as far out as January 2021, you may be wondering whether it’s worth jumping on any of the current travel deals to book vacation in the future. If you’re considering pulling the trigger on a cheap flight or hotel room now for travel dates in the future, here’s what you need to know.
Booking a trip for the early fall may seem like a safe bet now, but no one knows when life will be back to normal. Given this uncertainty, you’ll want to treat any travel reservations you make as subject to change.
Many travel brands have released customer-friendly change and cancellation policies. For example, American Airlines will waive change fees for travel through May 31, 2020, and it will waive change fees for travel booked by April 30, 2020.
Hotels generally let you cancel a few days before check-in without any penalty, but be sure to double-check a property’s policy before you make a reservation.
Zach Honig, Editor at Large at travel website The Points Guy, recommends steering clear of nonrefundable tickets and hotel stays. “Personally, I’m not purchasing any nonrefundable travel right now, though I have booked several award flights that I hope to take, since I’ve found business-class availability to be outstanding, for travel later in the year,” he tells Business Insider.
Refundable tickets and hotel stays are often more expensive than their nonrefundable counterparts, however, which leads us to the next point …
While most travel brands have adjusted their cancellation policies for paid reservations, if you have points or miles, consider booking any speculative flights or hotel stays with your rewards.
It’s usually easier to cancel award tickets than cash reservations, and Honig notes that United is waiving award redeposit fees for the rest of 2020 as long as you cancel more than 30 days before departure. If you’re looking to book through another airline program, check to see if they’re offering award redeposit fee waivers as well.
If you can’t resist pulling the trigger on booking an expensive trip for the future, buying supplementary travel insurance could be a smart idea. While travel rewards credit cards like the Chase Sapphire Reserve®, Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, and the Platinum Card® from American Express offer strong travel coverage, including trip cancellation and interruption insurance, their coverage limits the reasons for which you can cancel and receive a full refund.
While the urge to book travel is understandable given that we’re all cooped up at home, it’s wise to balance that wanderlust with the need for financial security.
GALLERY: How to cancel your trip during the coronavirus pandemic
“Given the vast amount of uncertainty that we’re dealing with at this moment, my advice as a financial planner would be to focus on what you can control,” says Eric Roberge, CFP and founder of Beyond Your Hammock. “Right now, that comes down to your personal saving, spending, and investment contributions.”
“My priorities before spending on travel would be to pad my emergency fund (even if it was ‘full,’ having a little extra cash right now only adds security and stability), maintain or even increase my investment contributions, and do what I can to support others in my local community who may be struggling,” Roberge continues.
That’s not to say you can’t book future travel and save money, but it’s hard to overstate the importance of being financially prepared for any unforeseen circumstances during this uncertain time – especially as unemployment claims continue to skyrocket.
If you have travel points, such as Chase Ultimate Rewards and Amex Membership Rewards, keep in mind that you can redeem them for cash back. This won’t get you maximum value in most cases, but if you’re short on cash, this is an option for building your emergency fund.
You don’t have to stop dreaming about an exotic vacation, even if you ultimately decide to hold off on booking future travel for now.
In fact, this is a great time to start earning points and miles so you’ll be ready to go whenever we return to normalcy. Signing up for rewards credit cards like the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card and the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card and earning their welcome bonuses will put you in a perfect position to book award travel in the future.
Consider cards that earn transferable points (like Amex, Chase, or Citi points, or Capital One miles) as opposed to those that earn rewards with an airline or hotel program, so you’re not locked into just one option for redeeming them. And remember that many cards offer bonus rewards on purchases such as online shopping, food delivery, and groceries.
WATCH: What will it take to get cruises sailing again? (Provided by Travel + Leisure)
2021 cruise bookings are on the rise despite coronavirus chaos
The cruise line industry has taken a major beating due to covid-19, still analysts say the number of bookings for 2021 cruises have increased since this time last year.
Coronavirus-hit cruise ships able to dock in Florida
Two Holland America cruise ships with coronavirus patients aboard were finally allowed to dock at a port near Fort Lauderdale, resolving a days-long impasse that drew the attention of President Donald Trump. Jillian Kitchener has more.
Reuters – US Video Online
A 60-second virtual vacation in the Bahamas
Find out why this stunning archipelago is a diver's paradise.
The giant curious eyes studied me with a disarming warmth and total lack of fear. They surveyed my snorkel mask and flippers with wide-eyed wonder and an engaging playfulness that instantly became a language of its own between us.
First there was one set of eyes, and then another, and finally a third.
Together we floated back and forth on the warm current, this trio of inquisitive baby sea lions and myself, just a few feet away from each other near the shoreline of a tiny Galapagos island.
The sea lions darted as close to me as their bold courage allowed, taking in this strange creature in front of them. And then just as quickly, dashed away to the safety of a nearby crop of rocks at shore’s edge, peaking furtively from around a corner.
Moments later, they were back again, tumbling through a series of exuberant underwater acrobatics as they approached, twisting and turning effortlessly around each other’s sleek gray-brown bodies in harmony like a trio of boisterous children tumbling across a rug until they were no more than a foot in front of me once again.
This playful game continued for 20 minutes punctuated every so often by the trio of sea lions swimming even closer to me so that we could stare directly into each other’s eyes and bask in the glow of our mutual curiosity.
The snorkeling outing was one of many unforgettable highlights from my journey earlier this year through the Galapagos Islands with Exodus Travels, an experience that was as pure an encounter with nature as I’ve ever had during many years as a travel writer.
The trip seems a distant dream now that life around the world has been upended by the struggle to contain the coronavirus. And as I reflect on the vibrant, soul-enriching days of my visit, made up of hiking, sailing and snorkeling, I’m suddenly even more aware of how special the trip was and immensely grateful to have had the experience when I did, mere weeks before the global travel industry would come grinding to a halt.
I traveled to the Galapagos curious about the impacts of overtourism and the plastic waste problem plaguing so much of the Earth and many of the destinations I’ve written about in recent years.
My visit left me awed and humbled by the efforts of the Ecuadorian government to protect this incredibly special corner of the world. Not once during seven days of sailing from island to island in the Galapagos did I observe a wayward piece of trash or plastic, either on land or in the ocean. What’s more, only on rare occasions did we even encounter other groups of tourists as we explored land and sea.
Perhaps more importantly, I won’t ever forget the incredibly rich interactions I had with all manner of wildlife in a place where so many animals exist free and in the wild, largely unharmed by human beings and more vibrant thanks to the ability to live unhindered. During a week of explorations, I experienced nature in ways I never would have expected and that will remain with me for a lifetime.
The Journey Begins
It is said that Charles Darwin’s initial impressions of the Galapagos, which he visited in 1835 on the HMS Beagle, were not exactly favorable. But it wasn’t long before the famed naturalist and biologist’s opinion of this stunning archipelago changed and its importance to his theories about evolution became abundantly clear, ultimately making history.
My own exploration of this bucket-list destination began with a commercial flight from mainland Ecuador to San Cristobal, one of the oldest of the Galapagos islands. The plane landed on a tarmac alongside San Cristobal’s small, single-story airport, a building surrounded by flat, mostly colorless and largely unremarkable landscape.
From the airport, there was a brief bus ride to the docks of San Cristobal where a small panga (boat) waited to take about two dozen passengers out into the turquoise-colored bay where we would board the M/V Evolution. A 192-foot, 16-cabin luxury yacht built to accommodate up to 32 passengers, the Evolution would be our home base for the journey ahead.
During the course of the coming week, we were to navigate some 400 miles, exploring the northern and central islands of the Galapagos, crisscrossing back and forth across the equator as we sailed.
Visionary Island Management
During our first afternoon on the M/V Evolution, we’re briefed about appropriate behavior for the week ahead. It was a talk I’d been eager to hear in order to learn more about the measures currently in place to protect this fragile environment and ecosystem.
The rules we were given included remaining on marked trails and being careful not to step on vegetation; as well as not touching, handling, or petting anything, and leaving everything exactly as we found it.
It was also comforting to learn that Ecuadorian officials have established a strict limit of only 100 tourist boats in the Galapagos park at any one time in order to minimize crowds and the impact of human visitation on wildlife and the environment. In addition, each tourist boat plying the waters here must follow a slightly different itinerary, visiting islands in a different order than the other vessels. This is another measure designed to minimize human disruption of the environment, ensuring that any single island is not burdened by too many tourists at one time.
“The environmental laws here are serious and many people are willing to enforce the laws,” 51-year-old, Bolo Sanchez, our group leader and naturalist, informed us.
Sanchez, who has been working in the Galapagos for 25 years and first began visiting the region as a child with his father, later explained to me that there’s a very strict management plan in place that was developed long ago by government officials. The plan dictates how many tourists can visit each site within the Galapagos archipelago and those limits are based on environmental factors, topography, wildlife and more.
“This is what made a difference, the management plan,” says Sanchez. “It’s an old plan, but it has been improving. And it was visionary for a small, poor country with an unstable democracy to develop such a plan.”
A Week of Island Hopping: Life in All Shapes and Sizes
The tortoises, iguanas, snakes and lizards that are native to the Galapagos arrived millions of years ago thanks to their ability to survive for long periods of time without water and make sea crossings. After arriving in the Galapagos, such creatures were able to persevere in the often unwelcoming, stark, lava-covered landscapes that dominate so many of the islands, where little more than cactus and scrub brush grows.
Now, iguanas are among the most commonly sighted creatures on these desolate islands, perhaps second only to the ubiquitous sea lions we encountered day after day or the dazzlingly colored Sally Lightfoot crabs.
Darwin once described the marine iguanas of the Galapagos as “a hideous-looking creature, of a dirty black color, stupid and sluggish in its movements.”
It’s an entirely unfair and undeserved description really. Both the marine and land iguanas that inhabit the Galapagos are fascinating not only for their sheer variety of colors and sizes, but they ooze character as well.
We became acquainted with these quirky ambassadors of the Galapagos during one of our first outings, a walk on South Plaza Island. As we stepped from a panga onto the shore, we were surrounded by at least half-dozen iguanas sunbathing languidly or sitting practically motionless on rocks like the subjects of a still life painting.
The marine iguanas are distinct thanks to their darker skin, which is often decorated with flecks of color that allow them to blend in with the plants and rocks along an island’s shoreline. They’re also the only iguanas in the world that have learned to feed exclusively from the ocean, hardly the characteristic of a stupid animal.
Land iguanas meanwhile, typically can be found sitting majestically on a well-placed rock further inland. They exude the air of regal kings surveying their kingdoms. And their scaly skin, a canvas of varying shades of yellows, browns and oranges, provides a vibrant splash of color in what is often an otherwise dull, dry landscape.
On still other islands, we spent time watching the famed and beloved blue-footed booby engaged in mating rituals. And on Santiago Island we came across tiny, comical finches that boldly landed on our camera lenses and cell phone screens to stare at their yellow and brown feathered bodies in the reflection.
Halfway through the week we sailed six hours during the night as we slept, crossing the equator to awake anchored off of Genovesa Island. As the sun rose, the sounds of a cacophony of birds floated across the bay into the cabins of our boat.
Often referred to as bird island thanks to the vast number of seabirds that come to nest on its shores (as many as 10,000), remote Genovesa remains one of the most pristine patches of land in all of the Galapagos.
We spent a remarkable few hours here spying baby boobies in their nests, adolescent boobies and all manner of adult boobies. Many of the birds were nesting on the ground among the large white rocks, while others were perched in nests at eye level, making them easy to spy.
During one afternoon stroll along the beach on another island, as I walked along peacefully taking in the sounds of the crashing waves, I suddenly heard an angry chirping growing louder and more insistent. It seemed to say “Heyyyy. You!! Do you see us down here?” rousting me from my thoughts.
I look down and just a few feet ahead were two adult Oystercatchers fiercely guarding a cluster of fuzzy, newborn babies that were ambling right toward me. As I took in the scene, I found myself stunned once again by the variety of life here at every turn. Every phase of life is on full display.
Indeed, on multiple occasions I walked back toward our waiting pangas after a hike marveling at just how remarkable this place is where animals live and roam peacefully, yet boldly, fully confident in the knowledge that this is at least one corner of the world where they remain largely in charge. The Galapagos continues to be very much their home, and humans are merely visitors passing through.
The Colors Beneath the Sea
The color that the lava covered Earth lacks above ground in the Galapagos can all be found beneath the sea.
Our daily snorkeling excursions exposed us to such a diversity of life that all else seem suddenly and especially barren by comparison. We swam past great shimmering schools of sardines and alongside groups of dazzling angelfish that range in color from blue to brown, with splashes of bright yellow and peach on their fins.
On the seafloor beneath us there were often clusters of chocolate chip starfish that looked very much like their name implies with giant brown dots.
The parade of marine life also included Moorish idols (which are believed to be a harbinger of happiness), blue tangs, sergeant majors, yellow surgeonfish and cardinal fish that looked like small red flames passing through the water.
From the blue murky depths fish of all shapes and colors emerged one by one or in clusters, coming into focus like shimmering orbs of light, each a magnificently different array of luminous colors.
On one memorable afternoon we snorkeled above a half dozen hammerhead sharks. On other days we spied white-tipped reef sharks tucked into dark alcoves resting. Moray eels poked their heads from underneath coral as we passed above and we observed Panamanian sea stars that look as if they’d been crocheted from orange yarn.
Streams of fish often swam below us, two by two, as if on some sort of fish highway. And on rare occasions, we even came across the magnificent Spotted Eagle Ray.
“The Galapagos is all about marine life,” Sanchez tells me one afternoon as we head back to the Evolution on the panga.
Yes indeed, I thought. During our daily snorkeling outings, I enjoyed a profound sense of peace swimming among this vibrant display of life and color, mesmerized by the panoply of turquoise, lavender, silver, yellow, orange and the deepest of blue.
One Final Swim
On one of our last days in the Galapagos we did a brief snorkel from the beaches of Floreana Island. With the trip nearly over, I had one more item on my Galapagos bucket list—swimming with a sea turtle.
Within minutes of entering the water my wish was granted. Our group came upon a large sea turtle right near the shore that was foraging. I spent a few minutes observing this brilliant creature and then turned and headed back toward land satisfied with my swim, as the rest of the group snorkeled on.
After a few minutes of swimming alone, I came upon an even larger and more magnificent turtle. The current moved me right toward him, less than a foot away. If I reached out my arm I could have touched him. I remained gliding along quietly beside him for about 10 minutes, enjoying this peaceful moment with just the two of us, letting the current carry me along instead of continuing to paddle my fins.
I watched as the turtle poked his head under rocks taking bites of seaweed here and there while clusters of colorful fish hovered above him and beside him. He seemed totally oblivious to my presence, though I was entirely fascinated by his.
At one point an incoming wave pushed me to within just a few inches of him, making me feel as if I was invading his space far too much and I decided it was time to leave and let him glide on in peace.
The Land Where Time Marches On
At the beginning of my journey in the Galapagos I sat in my cabin reading a book that describes this place as “the land time forgot.” Each day as we explored, that description was never far from mind. I was continually mulling over what the author meant.
During the days I spent here, I witnessed a place where life very much marches on despite the forces of climate change plaguing our modern era and the many other challenges facing the planet including pollution and countless threats from the human race.
I saw a place that in many ways remains pristine and where it’s still possible to truly escape and immerse yourself in the beauty of nature, forgetting for a brief time that so many places on Earth have not fared nearly as well, or remained quite as well preserved.
That’s not to say the Galapagos doesn’t face its own pressures and threats. There are indeed plenty of them.
Still, time does not seem to have caught up with the Galapagos in the same devastating way that it has other destinations around the globe. The Galapagos I will hold in my mind’s eye remains a shining example of a time when the Earth was a much purer place.
The Queen is known for having travelled around the world multiple times to meet people from various nations. In fact, she is officially the most travelled head of state of all time. Her Majesty is even known to have had some bizarre travel traditions such as having to include a black outfit in her luggage and always carrying boiled sweets.
Queen’s message to PM Boris Johnson’s family in full HERE
But over the years she has clocked up a huge amount of air miles.
Surprisingly, the Queen has travelled more than a million miles.
In fact, she has travelled 1,032,513 miles which is the equivalent of 42 journeys around the entire length of the Earth.
She took most of her trips in the 1970s when she visited 48 different countries.
These countries included the likes of Canada, Fiji, Malaysia, New Zealand, Barbados and Australia.
In total, she has visited 110 countries which has earned her the right to join the Traveller’s Century Club which represents travellers who have visited 100 or more countries and territories.
Meanwhile, the average Briton will visit just ten countries in their lifetime.
Her longest trip was a 44,000-mile tour of the Commonwealth in 1953.
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The journey was so huge that the Queen took an impressive 12 tons of luggage with her.
She visited Canada the most with 27 trips, followed by Australia with 18 trips.
But there are some places that she has never visited during her official trips.
One of the countries she has never visited includes Egypt.
This is potentially due to security issues and the Suez Crisis of 1956.
Other destinations that she has not visited include Libya, Mauritania, Senegal, Mali, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Ivory Coast, Cuba, Albania, Costa Rica, Madagascar and Israel.
In her role as Queen, she also never visited Greece which may be because of her husband Prince Philip’s family history.
But out of all 195 countries, she has only missed out 91.
The Queen’s last state visit was in 2015 to Malta.
But the Queen didn’t fly commercial, despite other members of the Royal Family having to do so.
Back in 2002, Prince Philip explained how the planes that they use have had improvements for their own comfort.
He said: “If you travel as much as we do, you appreciate the improvements in aircraft design of less noise and more comfort – provided you don’t travel in something called economy class, which sounds ghastly.”
The Queen is the only member of the royals who does not have to take a scheduled flight unlike Prince William and Prince Harry and their families.
The Association of Professional Flight Attendants (APFA) has found that 100 American Airlines’ flight attendants have tested positive for COVID-19, highlighting the need for protective gear, and the airline has agreed to begin providing masks to flight attendants who want them.
According to the APFA, the union has been asking for protective gear since January.
“We have consistently advocated for Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for all of our flight attendants to be available on every aircraft, for social distancing between passengers and crew jump seats, for thermal scanning in the airports, and to receive immediate notification of flight attendants who have tested positive for the virus,” Hedrick told CNN. “Flight attendants are aviation’s first responders, who are transporting medical personnel and supplies into COVID-19 hotspots, and they need to be treated and protected as such.”
The airline responded that they are taking safety precautions and following guidelines.
“The safety of our customers and team members is our top priority,” said a statement from American Airlines. “We are in close contact with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and public health officials and are coordinating with them on any required health and safety-related measures. We continue to look at all ways we can care— and protect—our team during this stressful time.”
While the PPE will help frontline personnel, many will not be flying. The union noted that just one in four flight attendants will be flying in the coming months due to the impact on airlines from the coronavirus outbreak.
The current closure of the world-famous San Diego Zoo and Safari Park due to the COVID-19 outbreak inspired its animal experts and zookeepers to find ways of bringing the zoo’s resident wildlife to straight audiences at home.
Targeted for kids who’re stuck at home in search of entertainment (and education), its ‘Virtual Mission: Spring Break’ is running now through April 19. While it may be a youth-oriented online program, there’s nothing stopping the young-at-heart from enjoying a fascinating up-close look at wildlife.
First, there’s a downloadable list of 101 things for kids to do—backyard missions that can be accomplished with the aid of a computer, tablet or mobile phone, or by printing out pages and ticking off each task as you go. It contains fun practical challenges, animal trivia and quiz questions to test your zoological knowledge.
For kids and adults alike, wildlife talks from zoo experts are scheduled to inform and intrigue animal lovers, including a presentation by an elephant specialist and another by a serval ambassador. If visitors miss the live version, the talks will be available afterward on the zoo’s Facebook page.
Next, San Diego Zoo Global has just released its newest app, ‘Danceabout Australia,’ which brings a full-on Kangaroo Dance Party straight into your living room or backyard through the magic of augmented reality (AR). Join in the Outback Disco fun, filled with dancing kangaroos and hopping dance tracks.
You can also record your unique AR experience and share on social media or upload to Instagram using the tag #DanceAboutAustralia.
Audiences are also invited to get to know the zoo’s animal inhabitants via YouTube videos that offer up-close, intimate views onto animal behavior and feature everything from lions, hippos, elephants and gorillas to koalas, polar bears, penguins and tortoises.
Finally, as discovered by Narcity, the zoo is providing lifestreams of a variety of animals, up-close inside their habitats, where you can watch them eating, resting, grooming, running, jumping, pouncing and playing throughout their day! The list of livestreams includes:
—Burrowing Owl Cam, presented by Ori and the Will of the Wisps
—Butterfly Cam, presented by Wheelhouse Credit Union
—Elephant Cam, presented by Planet Zoo
—Panda Cam (archived video)
—Penguin Cam, presented by Alaska Airlines
—Polar Cam, presented by the Coca-Cola Company
For more information, visit zoo.sandiegozoo.org/missionspringbreak.
When the iconic show Twin Peaks first erupted onto viewers’ screens in 1990, it quickly gained a cult following, along with a reputation for being a mystery/horror/drama/fantasy series like no other.
The question “Who killed Laura Palmer?” kept the world enthralled for weeks as viewers followed FBI Agent Cooper’s every move in investigating both the murder and the supernatural world within Twin Peaks – the eponymous town where the mystery unfolded.
Three decades on and David Lynch’s wonderfully bonkers masterpiece is no less groundbreaking, and still makes for compulsive viewing today.
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As the show celebrates its 30-year anniversary, here are all the locations where Twin Peaks superfans can get a real-life taste of small-town drama.
Twin Peaks sign
The delightfully named town of Snoqualmie in Washington, around 28 miles east of Seattle, was one of the main filming locations for exterior shots of Twin Peaks. It’s home to Reining Road, which is where the footage of the famed “Welcome to Twin Peaks, Population: 51,201” sign in the pilot episode and opening credits was shot. The City of Snoqualmie installed a permanent version of the sign on the road in 2017, according to fan site welcometotwinpeaks.com.
Great Northern Hotel
Much of the show’s action takes place at the Great Northern Hotel, where many of the key characters live, work or stay. Agent Cooper holes up there for the duration of his investigation, commending the place’s “damn fine cup of coffee”. The exterior was shot at the real-life Salish Lodge and Spa in Snoqualmie. While the hotel wears its TP credentials lightly these days, guests can still order a Dale Cooper cocktail – gin, clove and cardamom, infused Salish honey, dry honey cider and lemon – in the Attic bar and restaurant.
The opening credits also notably feature the falls next to the Great Northern, plus a shot of them is frequently used as a cutaway in the show. The Snoqualmie Falls served as this landmark, and visitors can get a closer look from the observation deck.
Double R Diner
The local diner, owned by Norma Jennings, plays host to numerous important rendezvouses between the town’s characters, and serves a mean slice of pie. Twede’s Cafe in North Bend, Washington, served as the real-world setting, and should be a key stop on any Twin Peaks tour: it still dishes up “Twin Peaks cherry pie” and ”A damn fine cup o’ coffee“ (even if they’re not served to you by Shelly Johnson).
The atmospheric bar where the town’s teens go to hang out and drink can be found in Fall City, Washington. The exterior shots were filmed at the Fall City Roadhouse and Inn (although the interior was filmed elsewhere). The real-life Roadhouse looks a lot more family-friendly than the Twin Peaks variant, offering “brunch” or “small plates over cocktails” in its “vintage style Inn”.
It may not be the most glamorous location, but stop by the DirtFish Rally School (a rally driving school in Snoqualmie) if you want to see the real-life setting for the Twin Peaks Sheriff’s Department, where Cooper and his team of local cops race against the clock to solve the mystery of Laura Palmer’s murder.
Weird as it may seem, one plucky inn in Poulsbo, Washington, has a giant piece of wood dedicated to where Laura Palmer’s body was found. Pete Martell finds it in the pilot episode, wrapped in plastic near a piece of driftwood. The scene was filmed in front of the Kiana Lodge, which commemorates the event with a plaque reading: “A pivotal scene in Twin Peaks’ pilot episode was filmed here in 1989. Laura Palmer was discovered right next to the immense log tethered before you.”
Though not a filming location, this Twin Peaks-inspired restaurant in Vancouver takes its inspiration from the series’ mythical Black Lodge. Stop by for some poutine, deep-fried Oreos and a themed cocktail (the Laura Palmer, Donna, Lynch-burg Lemonade and Audrey’s Curiosity all sound good) and enjoy the décor of red curtains and black and white zig-zagged floors in the toilets.
If you find yourself in New York City, the Mission Chinese Food restaurant has an homage to Twin Peaks in the form of its toilets, according to Eater New York. Inside is the iconic snap of Laura Palmer when she was crowned Prom Queen, along with the show’s theme music, which plays on repeat…
With all of us confined to our homes for the near future, this week we are asking for reminiscences of your great holidays through photography – a lovely way of recalling past travel glories. Landscape shots, people shots, fun family snaps, architecture, wildlife, cities, countryside … the choice is yours. But bear in mind your personal story behind the photo is as important as the quality of the image itself.
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The prize is £200 for a stay at a Sawday’s property – the company has more than 3,000 in the UK or Europe and the prize will now be valid for 18 months. The winner will be chosen by Tom Hall of Lonely Planet.
The competition closes on Tuesday 14 April at 10am BST
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While most holidaymakers are scrambling to get refunds on their booked trips after countries around the world imposed strict travel bans, a group of hotels in Italy, which was at one point the epicentre of Covid-19 in Europe, is encouraging people to book holidays with them.
But far from shamelessly drumming up trade during a crisis, the hotels involved, all situated along the Amalfi coast, are actually hoping to use the initiative to raise money to go towards medical research in the fight against coronavirus.
Four hotels – Le Sirenuse and Il San Pietro in Positano, Palazzo Avino in Ravello and Hotel Santa Catarina in Amalfi – plus the Michelin-starred restaurant Don Alfonso 1890 in Sant’Agnata sui Due Golfi are involved in the scheme.
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Each of the hotels has listed 10 vouchers worth €5,000 (£4,405) for sale, bookable by contacting the hotels directly. The vouchers entitle the holder to a two-night stay for two people at the property, as well as dinner at Don Alfonso 1890, to be redeemed by the end of the holiday season in 2022.
The host hotels will also be laying on extras, such as romantic dinners, spa treatments, cocktail-mixing classes and private tours of the area, The Telegraph reports.
In total, they hope to raise €200,000 (£176,226), which will be donated to the Italy-based G Pascale Foundation, to help with researching a Covid-19 vaccine.
This isn’t the only way the travel industry has clubbed together in the fight against coronavirus.
Hotels around the UK are offering discounted meals for NHS workers as well as the vulnerable.
Some hotels are also offering free accommodation for NHS workers who may need to isolate from their families.
A similar global initiative was also launched by Airbnb, with up to 100,000 homes available around the world for frontline workers.
It comes after the UK Foreign Office updated its travel advice at the weekend, with British citizens now warned against non-essential travel abroad for an “indefinite” period.
United Airlines is being sued by a passenger after allegedly refusing to refund him for cancelled flights amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Jacob Rudolph filed a lawsuit in Chicago’s federal court following the airline’s refusal to approve his request for refunds on three plane tickets purchased in January for travel on 4 April, reports Bloomberg.
He was due to fly from Hilton Head Island in South Carolina to Minneapolis/St. Paul, but the service was cancelled.
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“United has engaged in unfair and deceptive conduct through its policy to issue refunds, limiting and forcing customers into a rebooked flight or travel voucher instead of returning their money,” Rudolf alleged in the lawsuit.
“The need for monetary refunds over travel vouchers is pressing now. Travel vouchers provide little security in this public crisis, particularly where many individual Americans need money now to pay for basics like food and rent, not restrictive, temporary credits towards future travel.”
Rudolf claims he was offered a voucher for future travel by United instead of a full refund, which is his legal right.
The US Department of Transportation reminded carriers just last week that they are obliged to offer customers a refund for cancelled flights, regardless of the reason.
“US and foreign airlines remain obligated to provide a prompt refund to passengers for flights to, within, or from the United States when the carrier cancels the passenger’s scheduled flight or makes a significant schedule change and the passenger chooses not to accept the alternative offered by the carrier,” the Department said in a statement.
“The obligation of airlines to provide refunds, including the ticket price and any optional fee charged for services a passenger is unable to use, does not cease when the flight disruptions are outside of the carrier’s control (e.g., a result of government restrictions).”
The Department of Transportation said it was receiving “an increasing number of complaints” from passengers who said they had been denied refunds by airlines for cancelled or significantly delayed flights.
Customers reported being told they would receive credit vouchers instead of their money back.
“The Aviation Enforcement Office will monitor airlines’ refund policies and practices and take enforcement action as necessary,” warned the Department.
The Independent has asked United Airlines for comment.
It’s not the only case of passengers taking legal action during the pandemic.
Five Canadian airlines are being sued for breach of contract after refusing to issue full refunds to travellers for cancelled flights.
The class-action lawsuit has been taken out against Air Canada, WestJet, Swoop, Air Transat and Sunwing.
The carriers, all of which have been heavily curtailing flight schedules since the Canadian government advised against all non-essential travel in mid-March, have been accused of only offering affected customers the option to rebook their journey for a later date.
The Saudis are getting a bargain-bin price for Carnival – it’s down 81% this year – as the cruise industry faces unprecedented risk
Carnival’s operations came to an almost complete stop last month after a series of coronavirus outbreaks at sea.
Carnival Corp. shares jumped after Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund said it acquired an 8.2% stake in the world’s biggest cruise operator.
Carnival surged as much as 18% to $10.04 Monday in New York after the fund said in a filing that it holds 43.5 million shares of the cruise company. As of last week’s close, the stake was worth $369.4 million.
The Saudis are getting a bargain-bin price for Carnival – it’s down 81% this year – as the cruise industry faces unprecedented risks. The Public Investment Fund has invested abroad previously, including stakes in Uber Technologies Inc., Tesla Inc. and SoftBank Group Corp.’s Vision Fund. But it isn’t generally known for making distressed investments.
Now, it owns a slice of the dominant cruise operator, with a fleet of more than 100 ships and no customers to sail on them – at least for now.
Carnival’s operations came to an almost complete stop last month after a series of coronavirus outbreaks at sea. Carnival’s Diamond Princess had more than 700 coronavirus cases, the biggest outbreak outside of mainland China for a time.
Rival operators Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. and Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. have also shut down.
The cruise industry was left out of the $2.2 trillion US stimulus bill, which excluded non-US businesses. Although it is headquartered in Miami, Carnival is technically incorporated in Panama — an arrangement that allows it to avoid US income taxes and minimum-wage requirements.
Competitors are also domiciled outside the US.
Since the halt of operations, Carnival has raised $6.25 billion to help meet expenses, but it’s paying a steep price. Some $4 billion in bonds were priced with an 11.5% coupon last week. The shares were acquired before a planned stock offering by Carnival, so the percentage holding will change.
In an interview Wednesday, chief executive officer Arnold Donald said Carnival may turn to major shipbuilding nations such as Italy or Germany for lower-cost loans.
“Yes, those are definitely potential sources,” he said. “And there are others.”
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