It’s the Pits! The Cancellation of the National Cherry Festival Is Personally Saddening

By Pauline Frommer

Posted on 04/22/2020, 9:00 AM

About four years ago I learned that I was a failure.  At cherry spitting, that is. No matter how much I tried—and I lined up four times to show off my non-skills to a judge—I couldn’t propel the pit more than about two and a half feet. A 10-year-old behind me couldn’t contain his giggles when my spit sprayed much farther than the pit, which dropped right on my sandals.  Who cares? I tried an...

American Pariah: How the U.S. Infection Rate Could Sink Your Future Vacation

By Jason Cochran

Posted on 04/20/2020, 12:00 AM

As of this writing, more than 80 countries around the world have sealed their borders to other nationalities.  It's a logical step to protect national health security: To help stabilize infection numbers at home, leaders refuse visitors coming from places rife with infection. Such bans have been commonplace for months. In late January, the United States barred Chinese nationals, for example....

Stranded in Peru: A Remarkable Journey Home

By Pauline Frommer

Posted on 04/17/2020, 12:00 PM

In March 2020, the world shut down with surprising speed. Americans who were abroad then either got home just in time, got stuck where they were, or undertook journeys that would have challenged Odysseus. Sometimes, though, the tales of repatriation are far more Kafkaesque than Homeric. One of those intrepid travelers is a young woman named Kera (pictured), a college senior and a friend of m...

Europe Border Closures Almost Certain to Be Extended—But for How Long?

By Zac Thompson

Posted on 04/14/2020, 6:30 PM

Most of Europe has been closed to foreign visitors since March 17.  That's when the member states of the European Union and the Schengen zone (referring to an area in which internal borders have been abolished by agreement) stopped allowing entry to tourists and any other foreigners who aren't medical workers, diplomats, and such.  In an effort to minimize the global pandemic, a total of 30...

Beware: The Travel Industry Is Clinging to Your Money

By Jason Cochran

Posted on 04/10/2020, 3:00 PM

Times are tough. We all know it. A lot of us aren't sure where the money will be coming from in a few months—and among the least sure are the businesses that sell travel. That's why hotels, cruise lines, and airlines are coming up with new ways to avoid giving customers refunds. Those companies want to keep that money in the bank to see them through tough times. But you need it, too. Make su...

New York City Will Bounce Back

By Pauline Frommer

Posted on 04/07/2020, 12:00 AM

By the end of this week, many of New York's largest indoor and outdoor spaces will be transformed. Officials may need to start using city parks as temporary burial grounds, and already a tent hospital has been erected in the heart of Central Park. And the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center will qualify as the biggest hospital in the United States with 2,500 beds. In this city of superlatives,...

Airline Passenger Data Collection: An Essential Pandemic Tool

By Pauline Frommer

Posted on 04/02/2020, 12:00 AM

In the annals of "woulda, coulda, shoulda," a longtime battle between the airlines and the U.S. government has come to the fore, far too late. For the past 15 years, the U.S. government has begged the airlines to furnish contact information for all passengers so that they could be better tracked should they ever be exposed to a virus. But the industry—and its strong lobbying groups—managed to ...

In Memoriam: Walking Guide Writer William Helmreich

By Pauline Frommer

Posted on 03/31/2020, 12:00 PM

In my 20-plus years as a radio talk show host, I've interviewed thousands of people. I'll be honest: I don't remember most of those conversations. But although I interviewed William Helmreich almost exactly three years ago, it feels like it was yesterday. I met him in the lobby of 77 WABC, my radio home, and walked him back to the studio. Along the way, we passed the booth where the station'...

I Just Flew from the U.K. to the U.S.—Here's What That's Like Now

By Jason Cochran

Posted on 03/18/2020, 12:00 AM

World systems are shutting down and entire countries are banning or expelling foreigners so that governments can take care of their own. I had planned on spending a few months in the United Kingdom researching upcoming Frommer's guides to London and Europe, but given the circumstances surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, my plans had to change. I decided to fly back to the United States from Lond...

Health Care Abroad is not Free for Americans, Warns Arthur Frommer

By Arthur Frommer

Posted on 03/04/2020, 9:00 AM

A relative of mine who periodically visits friends living in England had a recent premonition about a Christmas trip there.    For a reason that she is still unable to fully know, she bought an insurance plan in advance, protecting herself for up to $50,000 worth of medical treatment in England.    And would you believe? Within two days after arriving in London, she came down with a se...

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