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Saudi Arabia Blocks International Pilgrims from Mecca

By Zac Thompson

Posted on 06/23/2020, 7:00 AM

For the first time in modern history, Muslims from around the world will not be allowed to make the pilgrimage to Mecca this year.  Saudi Arabia announced yesterday that international arrivals will be barred from entering the country during the hajj due to the coronavirus pandemic.  Scheduled to start in late July this year, the annual weeklong period of sacred journeys and rituals is one of...

Las Vegas' New Tool for Checking Workers' Health: One Ring to Monitor Them All

By Jason Cochran

Posted on 06/22/2020, 4:00 PM

Feeling lucky? Coronavirus cases are spiking in Las Vegas. The titans behind the lucrative casino-hotels there desperately want to avoid re-closing them, so the owners are trying whatever they can to rein in the spread of disease. At Caesars and Paris Las Vegas, they're giving away free credits to customers wearing masks.  But at the Venetian and Palazzo, managers have turned to the Finni...

Meet Nakoda, Banff's Ultra-Rare White Grizzly

By Zac Thompson

Posted on 06/22/2020, 1:00 PM

A virtually unheard-of white grizzly bear has been spotted several times in the Canadian Rockies in recent weeks.  The ultra-rare animal made its social media debut in late April, when photos began surfacing and the Rimrock Resort Hotel in Banff shared footage of the bear nosing in the snow for food alongside a brown sibling.       View this post on Instagram I guess ...

Cruise Industry Suspends U.S. Sailings Through Sept. 15

By Jason Cochran

Posted on 06/19/2020, 3:00 PM

USA Today reports that Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA), the most important trade group for the cruising industry, has voted to voluntarily extend the pause on U.S. cruise operations until September 15. Previously, the industry was abiding by a no-sail order from the Centers for Disease Control that was scheduled to expire on July 24. But the CDC hasn't yet issued a new date, so in...

WATCH: “Into the Wild” Bus Airlifted from Alaska Backcountry

By Zac Thompson

Posted on 06/19/2020, 9:00 AM

An abandoned bus in middle-of-nowhere, Alaska, became a grim tourism draw following the 1996 publication of Into the Wild, later made into a film directed by Sean Penn. Jon Krakauer's best-selling nonfiction book tells the sad tale of hiker Christopher McCandless, a 24-year-old who got stranded in 1992 on Alaska's backcountry Stampede Trail in the Denali Borough. He took shelter in the inoperab...

Hawaii Is Arresting Tourists Who Violate Quarantine

By Jason Cochran

Posted on 06/18/2020, 2:00 PM

Hawaii is not messing around. Other American states might have lax enforcement rules about public behavior during the pandemic, but the Aloha State has arrested 21 visitors this week for violating the official quarantine. Every tourist from the U.S. mainland who enters Hawaii is informed about the rigid rules put in place for the islands' self-protection. Earlier in the spring, Gov. David Ig...

Blaming the Pandemic This Time, L.A.'s Oscars Museum Delays Yet Again

By Zac Thompson

Posted on 06/18/2020, 8:00 AM

Like some troubled Hollywood epic, the overbudget, much-delayed Academy Museum of Motion Pictures in Los Angeles has had its opening date pushed back again.  Originally slated to begin welcoming visitors in 2017, the movie museum—a project of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the same organization behind the Academy Awards—first delayed the opening to 2019. That's one reason why ...

The Famous Unclaimed Baggage Store Now Sells Lost Stuff Online, Too

By Jason Cochran

Posted on 06/17/2020, 5:00 PM

Most regular travelers have heard about the Unclaimed Baggage store. If they have, the words probably fill them with dread. Unclaimed Baggage is one destination you hope never plays a role in your traveling life. This 50,000-square-foot institution in Scottsboro, Alabama, is the Island of Misfit Toys for lost luggage. If the airlines can't reunite misplaced checked bags with their owners after ...

Welcome to Cambodia! That'll Be $3,000, Please

By Zac Thompson

Posted on 06/16/2020, 1:15 PM

We have a new winner for the title of World's Harshest Covid-19 Entry Requirement.  Cambodia has announced that all visitors to that Southeast Asian country (famous for the Angkor Wat temple complex, pictured above) will be required to pay a deposit of $3,000 upon arrival at the airport to cover "virus prevention services." The deposit, which became mandatory as of June 11, can be paid in ca...

Holland America: Sorry, Canada and Hawaii, We'll Just See You in 2021

By Jason Cochran

Posted on 06/15/2020, 12:00 PM

Holland America has just cleared its schedule of Hawaii and Canada cruises until 2021. Previously, the cruise line put a "pause on" (i.e., canceled) its Alaska, Europe, and East Coast Canada departures, and now the company has added Vancouver and Hawaii cruises to the scrap pile. A full list of canceled cruises is posted on the Holland America website. Most, but not all, of the line's iti...

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