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Coronavirus Strands Spring Break Travelers in St. Barth and Anguilla



a harbor filled with water and a mountain in the background: Travel restrictions due to the Coronavirus pandemic has left even the one percent scrambling for airline seats out of St. Barth and Anguilla.
a sandy beach next to a body of water: Anguilla, a British overseas territory, closed its port on March 20th.
a large airplane flying high up in the air: Travelers to St. Bart
a close up of a boat next to a body of water: The St. Barth Bucket Regatta, one island’s biggest annual events, was cancelled.
a group of people standing in front of a crowd: Some travelers to St. Barth have been able to get connecting flights out of San Juan.

Although the two small islands are separated by only 27 miles of Caribbean sea and both are high-end, beach-ringed sanctuaries for East Coasters, Anguilla and St. Barth could not be more different. Anguilla is where billionaires go to get their beach bum on; St. Barth is where they go in high season to flaunt their mega yachts.

Each has its aficionados, who sometimes deign to take a day trip to their neighbor (about 40 minutes by boat), while remaining set in their affinity. But on the weekend of March 13—start of college and private school spring break and high season par excellence—the most devoted among them, those who had not canceled hotel and villa reservations despite intensifying coronavirus uncertainties, found themselves in the same boat: desperately trying to figure out how to flee paradise and get back home.

“It’s eerie when something is so beautiful you think surely it’s the safest place to be, but then suddenly you’re told it’s not,” said New York-based jewelry designer and philanthropist Brooke Garber Neidich, who has been coming to St. Bart’s for 35 years and arrived on March 14 to check on the progress on a house she and her husband are building on the island’s Baie des Flamands, next to LVMH’s newly expanded Cheval Blanc St. Bart’s hotel. Neidich and her husband were among the fortunate.

“We came by charter,” she added. “We figured, well, [if things go south], we can always turn around and leave — and we did!” she said.

But for others things would get rougher by the day. On March 12, before most spring breakers had arrived, St. Maarten banned flights and passengers from Germany from landing at its Princess Juliana International Airport. SXM, as it’s called for short, is a hub, along with San Juan’s Luis Munoz Marin International Airport (SJU), for visitors to Anguilla and St. Barth. From there, they board connecting flights on smaller aircraft operated by the likes of Seabourne, Tradewinds Aviation, or Winair, or, if headed to Anguilla, they board a ferry from a dock near SXM.

By Saturday, March 14, St. Maarten announced it was banning all flights from the United Kingdom, Europe, and the United States, effective Tuesday the 17. A day later, on March 15, France announced a lockdown. What ensued was pure chaos.

Anguilla: “Many of us are stranded”

“St. Maarten said the airport would remain open so people could get off,” said a Westchester-based Anguilla homeowner who’d arrived on the island on Friday the 13th on JetBlue and had a return flight booked with them. “But airlines promptly canceled all flights both ways, including mine. While the hotels are mostly empty, there are people in villas, and quite a few private jets. But many of us are stranded. There was to my knowledge no ‘get yourselves home’ order from the State Department until most countries had closed their borders and all remaining flights were full—or wildly overbooked.”

On Anguilla, the homeowner continued, “tourists and expats with houses have sorted into two groups, those who are getting out via various means—Delta or United via SXM, charter to Puerto Rico’s SJU, etcetera—and those who decided it’s safer here.”

There are no COVID-19 cases diagnosed on Anguilla as yet and everyone with symptoms is being assiduously quarantined. “Everyone assumes it’s here nonetheless,” another frequent visitor said, “but it has been impressive to see how the island has coped. There have been regular, clear announcements from the health department, premier, and governor, all with consistent facts and advice. Locals are concerned but calm—they have been through so much, what with the destruction of Hurricane Irma [which struck in 2017]. They have set up a service to shop for seniors. And some take-out places give you an appointment time for your pick up, so there are never more than two people shopping at once. Restaurants are open but distancing table. Not everyone is observing protocols, but more do so every day.”

However, SXM Airport, my friend from Westchester said, “was bedlam”—she’d made two ferry trips there from Anguilla to catch flights on which she’d re-booked herself but about whose cancellations she had not been notified.

“Delta and Winair reps kept trying to pawn me off on each other. And there were no signs of Seabourne or JetBlue staff in the terminal. I looked because I would have liked to strangle one. I realize this is an unprecedented situation, but none of the airlines has covered itself with glory,” she said.

“I am fit, well-off, have a place to stay back on Anguilla, had just a carry on, and can speak up for myself. If any of those had been different, I would have been far worse off. If the airlines want a $50 billion bailout, they will need to prove themselves competent to spend it. And they must have an obligation of care toward passengers, as in the E.U.”

St. Barth: “The island is almost completely shut down”

On St. Barth, Olivia Junieres was not going anywhere—she lives there and owns a consultancy/concierge company on the island, the O Agency. When I spoke to her last week, she said she had seen from her office window one Tradewinds flight from Puerto Rico landing earlier in the day on St. Barth’s notoriously perilous (and picturesque) tiny airstrip.

But otherwise, “the island is almost completely shut down. Our Bucket Regatta, which marks the high season for us and happens this week, was canceled. It’s the source of much of the annual income for many local businesses. The hotels are now closed through April 1, as are the restaurants and all but essential services. But I’m fairly certain that another 15- to 30-day quarantine will be announced soon.” (St. Bart’s to date has three confirmed coronavirus cases.)

Richard Mishaan, an interior designer based in New York, had rented a villa for his stay and arrived on St. Bart’s via St. Maarten on March 14. “At SXM, we saw an Air France plane that was sealed and grounded; there were five Germans aboard and they were being isolated, I was told. Once on St. Bart’s, we had dinner with friends at Maya’s (the popular see-and-be-seen spot on Gustavia harbor) and woke on Sunday to the news that the St. Maarten airport is closed to all incoming flights. That started to make us very uncomfortable. I was able to get flights to get back home the following day through Puerto Rico, but other friends had to wait until Wednesday, and some until Thursday. In San Juan, national guardsmen were taking people’s temperature at random. And the immigration officer told us that they had locked down the flights after ours.”

The Local Impact

Anguilla closed its port to passengers on midnight Friday, March 20, although cargo will continue coming in, if on a reduced schedule. French citizens on St. Barth and all other French Caribbean territories (there were still a few on Guadeloupe and Saint-Martin, Junieres told me) had to return home by last night, Sunday, March 22.

Neidich, back in New York, is self-quarantining from her two-year-old grandson. “He doesn’t understand social distancing,” she said, laughing. “But I was at dinner with nine people at Tamarind [another popular St. Bart’s spot] on Sunday. We sat at a round table. We didn’t hug or kiss, but we were not 6 feet apart.”

There is wide concern about the local St. Barth economy. “The major hotels make money here through April—that is now largely ruined,” Junieres said. “Normally, they stay open through the summer as well, to accommodate the mainly French clientele that arrives here between July 15 and August 15—whoever is not going to St. Tropez, or Greece, or Ibiza that year. They are able to stay open then because of the money they made in the early spring and the real money they start making again in November. Their not opening in the summer will affect restaurants and other businesses here. 

“And this,” she sighed, “was going to be our first normal winter and spring since 2016. [Irma wreaked devastation in 2017.] But I believe the owner crowd will be back as soon as soon as they can. They are having work done on their houses.”

My friend from Anguilla returned home on the last flight out on Friday night from St. Maarten, on United to Newark, New Jersey. “If one more person on the plane talked about the last choppers getting out of Saigon in 1975, I would have coughed on them,” she said. “Everyone at the ferry or airport had a story about canceled flights, crazy itineraries (one family with a bunch of kids was flying to St. Kitts and just hoping for an onward flight), and lack of communication from airlines and the U.S. government.”

As for the COVID-19 situation on Anguilla, “still no positive diagnoses,” she said. “But there are concerns about Anguillans who came home last week, including 24 students, who were told to self-isolate and are not. But as one local told me, “everyone knows who they are and runs away from them.”

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Coronavirus Strands Spring Breaker Travelers in St. Barth and Anguilla



a harbor filled with water and a mountain in the background: Travel restrictions due to the Coronavirus pandemic has left even the one percent scrambling for airline seats out of St. Barth and Anguilla.
a sandy beach next to a body of water: Anguilla, a British overseas territory, closed its port on March 20th.
a large airplane flying high up in the air: Travelers to St. Bart
a close up of a boat next to a body of water: The St. Barth Bucket Regatta, one island’s biggest annual events, was cancelled.
a group of people standing in front of a crowd: Some travelers to St. Barth have been able to get connecting flights out of San Juan.

Although the two small islands are separated by only 27 miles of Caribbean sea and both are high-end, beach-ringed sanctuaries for East Coasters, Anguilla and St. Barth could not be more different. Anguilla is where billionaires go to get their beach bum on; St. Barth is where they go in high season to flaunt their mega yachts.

Each has its aficionados, who sometimes deign a day trip to their neighbor (about 40 minutes by boat), while remaining set in their affinity. But on the weekend of March 13—start of college and private school spring break and high season par excellence—the most devoted among them, those who had not canceled hotel and villa reservations despite intensifying Coronavirus uncertainties, found themselves in the same boat: desperately trying to figure out how to flee paradise and get back home.

“It’s eerie when something is so beautiful you think surely it’s the safest place to be, but then suddenly you’re told it’s not,” said New York-based jewelry designer and philanthropist Brooke Garber Neidich, who has been coming to St. Bart’s for 35 years and arrived on March 14 to check on the progress on a house she and her husband are building on the island’s Baie des Flamands, next to LVMH’s newly expanded Cheval Blanc St. Bart’s hotel. Neidich and her husband were among the fortunate.

“We came by charter,” she added. “We figured, well, [if things go south], we can always turn around and leave — and we did!” she said.

But for others things would get rougher by the day. On March 12, before most spring breakers had arrived, St. Maarten banned flights and passengers from Germany from landing at its Princess Juliana International Airport. SXM, as it’s called for short, is a hub, along with San Juan’s Luis Munoz Marin International Airport (SJU), for visitors to Anguilla and St. Barth. From there, they board connecting flights on smaller aircraft operated by the likes of Seabourne, Tradewinds Aviation, or Winair, or, if headed to Anguilla, they board a ferry from a dock near SXM.

By Saturday, March 14, St. Maarten announced it was banning all flights from the United Kingdom, Europe, and the United States, effective Tuesday the 17. A day later, on March 15, France announced a lockdown. What ensued was pure chaos.

Anguilla: “Many of us are stranded”

“St. Maarten said the airport would remain open so people could get off,” said a Westchester-based Anguilla homeowner who’d arrived on the island on Friday the 13th on JetBlue and had a return flight booked with them. “But airlines promptly canceled all flights both ways, including mine. While the hotels are mostly empty, there are people in villas, and quite a few private jets. But many of us are stranded. There was to my knowledge no ‘get yourselves home’ order from the State Department until most countries had closed their borders and all remaining flights were full—or wildly overbooked.”

On Anguilla, the homeowner continued, “tourists and expats with houses have sorted into two groups, those who are getting out via various means—Delta or United via SXM, charter to Puerto Rico’s SJU, etcetera—and those who decided it’s safer here.”

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There are no COVID-19 cases diagnosed on Anguilla as yet and everyone with symptoms is being assiduously quarantined. “Everyone assumes it’s here nonetheless,” another frequent visitor said, “but it has been impressive to see how the island has coped. There have been regular, clear announcements from the health department, premier, and governor, all with consistent facts and advice. Locals are concerned but calm—they have been through so much, what with the destruction of Hurricane Irma [which struck in 2017]. They have set up a service to shop for seniors. And some take-out places give you an appointment time for your pick up, so there are never more than two people shopping at once. Restaurants are open but distancing table. Not everyone is observing protocols, but more do so every day.”

However, SXM Airport, my friend from Westchester said, “was bedlam”—she’d made two ferry trips there from Anguilla to catch flights on which she’d re-booked herself but about whose cancellations she had not been notified.

“Delta and Winair reps kept trying to pawn me off on each other. And there were no signs of Seabourne or JetBlue staff in the terminal. I looked because I would have liked to strangle one. I realize this is an unprecedented situation, but none of the airlines has covered itself with glory,” she said.

“I am fit, well-off, have a place to stay back on Anguilla, had just a carry on, and can speak up for myself. If any of those had been different, I would have been far worse off. If the airlines want a $50 billion bailout, they will need to prove themselves competent to spend it. And they must have an obligation of care toward passengers, as in the E.U.”

St. Barth: “The island is almost completely shut down”

On St. Barth, Olivia Junieres was not going anywhere—she lives there and owns a consultancy/concierge company on the island, the O Agency. When I spoke to her last week, she said she had seen from her office window one Tradewinds flight from Puerto Rico landing earlier in the day on St. Barth’s notoriously perilous (and picturesque) tiny airstrip.

But otherwise, “the island is almost completely shut down. Our Bucket Regatta, which marks the high season for us and happens this week, was canceled. It’s the source of much of the annual income for many local businesses. The hotels are now closed through April 1, as are the restaurants and all but essential services. But I’m fairly certain that another 15- to 30-day quarantine will be announced soon.” (St. Bart’s to date has three confirmed coronavirus cases.)

Richard Mishaan, an interior designer based in New York, had rented a villa for his stay and arrived on St. Bart’s via St. Maarten on March 14. “At SXM, we saw an Air France plane that was sealed and grounded; there were five Germans aboard and they were being isolated, I was told. Once on St. Bart’s, we had dinner with friends at Maya’s (the popular see-and-be-seen spot on Gustavia harbor) and woke on Sunday to the news that the St. Maarten airport is closed to all incoming flights. That started to make us very uncomfortable. I was able to get flights to get back home the following day through Puerto Rico, but other friends had to wait until Wednesday, and some until Thursday. In San Juan, national guardsmen were taking people’s temperature at random. And the immigration officer told us that they had locked down the flights after ours.”

The Local Impact

Anguilla closed its port to passengers on midnight Friday, March 20, although cargo will continue coming in, if on a reduced schedule. French citizens on St. Barth and all other French Caribbean territories (there were still a few on Guadeloupe and Saint-Martin, Junieres told me) had to return home by last night, Sunday, March 22.

Neidich, back in New York, is self-quarantining from her two-year-old grandson. “He doesn’t understand social distancing,” she said, laughing. “But I was at dinner with nine people at Tamarind [another popular St. Bart’s spot] on Sunday. We sat at a round table. We didn’t hug or kiss, but we were not 6 feet apart.”

There is wide concern about the local St. Barth economy. “The major hotels make money here through April—that is now largely ruined,” Junieres said. “Normally, they stay open through the summer as well, to accommodate the mainly French clientele that arrives here between July 15 and August 15—whoever is not going to St. Tropez, or Greece, or Ibiza that year. They are able to stay open then because of the money they made in the early spring and the real money they start making again in November. Their not opening in the summer will affect restaurants and other businesses here. 

“And this,” she sighed, “was going to be our first normal winter and spring since 2016. [Irma wreaked devastation in 2017.] But I believe the owner crowd will be back as soon as soon as they can. They are having work done on their houses.”

My friend from Anguilla returned home on the last flight out on Friday night from St. Maarten, on United to Newark, New Jersey. “If one more person on the plane talked about the last choppers getting out of Saigon in 1975, I would have coughed on them,” she said. “Everyone at the ferry or airport had a story about canceled flights, crazy itineraries (one family with a bunch of kids was flying to St. Kitts and just hoping for an onward flight), and lack of communication from airlines and the U.S. government.”

As for the COVID-19 situation on Anguilla, “still no positive diagnoses,” she said. “But there are concerns about Anguillans who came home last week, including 24 students, who were told to self-isolate and are not. But as one local told me, “everyone knows who they are and runs away from them.”

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How You Can Still Make Spring Break Special This Year


If spring break feels like a challenge this year, know that you’re not alone—coronavirus, or COVID-19, has prompted a second look at nearly every travel plan. A lot of us here at AFAR moonlight as parents, so we can definitely empathize with families grappling with what to do.   

a canyon with a mountain in the background: How You Can Still Make Spring Break Special This Year

But let’s face it: We could all use a little break to spend time with our crew, detach, and, quite frankly, escape from our devices and a relentless news cycle. Spring break 2020 could be as simple as a staycation (have you checked out some of the lesser-known national parks in your area or nearby small towns worth exploring?), or it could be a classic American road trip. For some families, it might mean zeroing in on destinations that haven’t been as affected by the outbreak. Whatever you’re comfortable with, we’re hoping this list of our favorite spring break destinations can offer inspiration and that you come back from vacation feeling refreshed and reconnected with the people who matter most.

Lake Tahoe, California

a tree with a mountain in the background: Tahoe is fun in spring whether there’s ample snow or not.

I hate the bitter cold and I love skiing—so I’ve always loved spring skiing. But now that I have a baby and a toddler, the typically warmer temps and smaller crowds are a huge added draw to hitting the slopes this time of year. Spring skiing can be a bit of a gamble in terms of snowpack (I’m still hoping for a “Miracle March”), though the stakes are a bit lower if you’re skiing or snowboarding with a more novice crew. The trip can be as much about sledding, scenic views, and simply being cozy as it is about getting in those runs (and if it’s really warm, there’s always the option to hit the picturesque shores of the lake). I’m a big fan of the Northstar ski resort, for its wide variety of trails that cater to different abilities—and the resort’s new Constellation Residences, luxury lodgings with access to the Ritz-Carlton amenities. The low-key Diamond Peak ski resort is another favorite of mine for families with younger kids. Head to the town of Truckee (15 minutes from Northstar, and 30 from Diamond Peak) for good third-wave coffee at Coffeeshop, elevated burgers and sophisticated cocktails at Truckee Tavern and Grill, and some cute boutiques.—Michelle Baran, travel news editor

St. Pete Beach and Orlando, Florida 

a sunset over a beach next to the ocean: Florida’s Gulf Coast is a great place to rest and relax before or after a trip to Walt Disney World.

I know what you’re thinking: “Florida, how original. Just me and a million families on the same spring break schedule.” But what I love about this trip is the pairing of a beach vacation with a hit of Disney—St. Pete Beach is only a three-hour drive from Orlando, so you could split your trip in two and not burn out on theme parks. My family has flown directly to Tampa from New York (JetBlue currently has nonstop, three-hour flights from JFK), rented a car, and made a beeline for Postcard Inn on the Beach, a colorful, retro-surf-inspired hotel right on a stretch of pristine white sand, with a heated pool and beach bar; a low-key lobby restaurant with a killer barbecue bacon cheeseburger; and ping-pong, a pool table, and enough board games to keep older kids busy. Meanwhile, my absolute favoriteDalí museum—I even like it better than the Dalí museum outside Barcelona—is a 20-minute drive away. After you’ve eased into vacation mode, head over to Orlando where Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge awaits.—Laura Dannen Redman, digital content director

Costa Rica

a brown bear walking in the grass: Oh, the animals you will see in Costa Rica’s Manuel Antonio National Park (like this here white-nosed coati).

Costa Rica is one of the more visitor-friendly destinations on the planet. The country takes care of its sloths, monkeys, and whales and their habitats, a welcoming spirit infuses the culture, and in recent years, improved roads have made family trips even easier. And the weather’s always good. You can’t see the whole country in a week, and you shouldn’t try, but pick a spot or two and no matter where you go, you’ll have a satisfying spring break. Last year, we flew into San Jose, rented a car and drove to the Manuel Antonio area. Manuel Antonio National Park has gotten more crowded, which was a little disappointing, but from the pool at the Si Como No hotel, we watched a sloth hang out in the treetops. Then we drove down to the Osa Peninsula, where the nature is wilder and the roads are bumpier. We saw howler monkeys, spider monkeys, sloths, dolphins, whales, frogs—and don’t get me started on the birds. A nature walk we took at our lodge, Bosque del Cabo, even got the whole family into ants. On a previous visit, my wife and I visited Arenal, Monteverde, and Manuel Antonio, another fun itinerary. —Jeremy Saum, executive editor

Iceland

a waterfall with a mountain in the background: Get off of Iceland’s well-worn tourist trail and head north to less-visited sites such as the Dettifoss waterfall.

You might have heard that Iceland has problems with overtourism. This is only sort of true, in the same way you could say New York City is always filled with selfie stick–wielding hordes. It just depends on where you go. Most visitors to the country stick to Reykjavík and the 190-mile Golden Circle, which hits three of the country’s most popular attractions: Thingvellir National Park, Geysir geothermal area, and Gullfoss waterfall. But the rest of Iceland is actually, mostly, blissfully quiet. For the past few years, my husband and I have taken advantage of significantly cheaper flights and accommodations in Iceland ahead of the country’s peak season, summer, and traveled there during the spring. The days are full of sun, the temps are in the 40s and 50s, and wildflowers are starting to return. Plus, you can do—and see—a lot in a long weekend or five days: I’m a big fan of driving the Diamond Circle in the country’s northeast, which comprises the four main attractions of Lake Mývatn, Dettifoss waterfall, the horseshoe-shaped Ásbyrgi canyon, and the picturesque town of Húsavík, known as Iceland’s “whale capital.” —Katherine LaGrave, digital features editor

San Diego

a sunset over a body of water: San Diego is a vacation paradise for families.

San Diego’s climate is almost embarrassingly perfect year-round (the temperatures average between the 60s and 70s much of the year, with almost no humidity) but springtime—when the Los Angeles region farther north can get a bit gray and overcast—is especially alluring. It’s one giant outdoor playground for families, with the world-class San Diego Zoo, Balboa Park, umpteen miles of sandy beaches (you can’t go wrong with La Jolla with its beautiful bluffs), the calm waters of Mission Bay, and the compact oceanside Belmont Park amusement zone vying for attention. In late May, Legoland throws open the doors to its additional waterpark. My favorite memory, though, is marauding through a room lined with mattresses and soft tires with my three-year-old at the excellent Children’s Discovery Museum. —Tim Chester, senior digital editor

Sedona, Arizona

a canyon with a mountain in the background: Grab the kids and head to Sedona for hiking and cosmic encounters.

Spring is a great time to explore the desert before the temperatures get too high. Few desert landscapes are as scenic as the striking red rocks of Sedona. The combination of endless trails (that cater to a wide range of abilities) and the charming quirkiness of a destination thought to have cosmic energy makes this outdoor playground an ideal setting for travelers of all ages. For a forested oasis that feels like the luxury edition of summer camp, L’Auberge de Sedona offers families a restful retreat in cozy cottages (some of which have two bedrooms). If you like the idea of stylish rooms with killer views, make Sky Rock Inn of Sedona your family’s HQ. Fill up on delicious Mexican in an adorably low-key setting at Tamaliza Café, and get all the necessary carbs for hiking during breakfast at Creekside American Bistro.—M.B.

Portugal

a yellow train is on the sidewalk: We challenge you to find a more family-welcoming place than Portugal.

I have never been to such a family-friendly place as Portugal. And it wasn’t just Lisbon or Porto that were accommodating—it was a universal welcome, from the airport queues just for families to our apartment rental (the Lisboans, with its extra-large rooms and breakfast delivered daily), our Uber drivers, and the waiter at a fancy restaurant who didn’t mind us arriving with a crying toddler in a stroller. Portugal even has dedicated parking spots for pregnant women. I highly recommend a week-long road trip from Porto to Lisbon, with an overnight in Obidos at Pestana Castelo do Obidos and a day trip to Sintra from Lisbon, to see Pena Palace. (Opt for the automatic car, so you don’t risk stalling out repeatedly on a steep cobbled hill in a medieval town like we did.) You can eat out almost everywhere with kids (even wine bars in Porto) and explore the centuries-old attractions (our toddler loved running around the courtyard and hallways of Lisbon’s Jeronimos Monastery). And you’ll never be at a loss for an amazing park, wherever you go. —L.D.R.

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One underrated spring break city you shouldn't overlook


When thinking about visiting the Peach State, most people are attracted to the state’s capital: Atlanta, home to the busiest airport in the world. But there’s another great option that lies under Atlanta’s shadow.

a view of a city: Macon, Georgia, is a Good Spring Break Destination

People shouldn’t turn a blind eye to Macon, just south of Atlanta, because the city offers many opportunities to explore its deep-rooted history, soulful music heritage and exciting events that are best enjoyed during the spring. The city of Macon was founded in 1823 along the banks of the Ocmulgee River and has a long history of Native Americans inhabiting the area that is still celebrated today.

Every spring, locals and tourists gather together to celebrate the arrival of spring during Macon’s International Cherry Blossom Festival. You can enjoy viewing the vibrant pink flowers while watching the colorful parades flow down the street and have plenty of food trucks that dine from. This is one of Macon’s main springtime attractions and has even won many awards making it a great place to see the most beautiful cherry blossom.

But the festival doesn’t stop when the sun goes down. You can explore the beautiful places found in this state’s national park during the Lantern Light Tours. Every year visitors can stroll through the Ocmulgee Mounds National Historic Park at night and learn about the history of the Native Americans who lived there over 10,000 years ago.

Macon is also known as “Where Soul Lives” because it is not only where Otis Redding got his start, but it’s also the home of one of America’s best soul food spots, H&H Soul Food.

If you’re a history buff, there are countless opportunities to explore some of the best museums in this town relating to African American history, art, music, and sports. If you can’t make it to Macon, there are many more cities that come alive in the spring.

WATCH: Tips for smooth travel during spring break (provided by Buzz60)


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Transport

Southwest Offers Spring Break Flights From $39 One-Way

It’s not too late to get away for spring break, and Southwest Airlines is giving you added incentive to plan a last-minute escape this winter.

Travelers looking to take advantage of the low-cost carrier’s latest sale have until Thursday, March 5 at 11:59 p.m. PT to book the discounted seats.

The sale is valid for continental U.S. travel from March 24 through June 6, 2020; continental U.S. to/from Hawaii travel between March 24 and May 20, 2020; interisland Hawaii travel from March 24 through May 20, 2020; travel to/from San Juan, Puerto Rico between April 14 and May 14, 2020 and international travel from April 14 through May 14, 2020.

It should be noted that 21-day advance purchase is required and continental U.S. travel is blacked out Memorial Day weekend: May 21-22 and May 25, 2020.

As has been the case all year, customers will find the cheapest fares, starting from $39 one-way and $78 roundtrip on Southwest’s interisland Hawaii routes such as Honolulu to Kona. However, travelers flying within the continental U.S. can still score fares as low as $54 one-way and $108 roundtrip.

Contact your travel advisor or visit Southwest.com to filter flight deals by your departure city.

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Cruises

Club Med’s Spring Into Summer Sale

Club Med has just launched its Spring into Summer sale in which guests can spend their next winter or summer holiday with rates starting at $119 per night per adult. This deal is open through April 30, 2020, with travel dates through October 31, 2020.

In addition to lower rates, other benefits include no single supplement, up to $600 air credit and free stays for children under 4. Children ages 4-11 can stay up to 50% off.

Club Med, the pioneer of the all-inclusive resort, has an array of locations for guests to choose from including:

Club Med Cancún Yucatán – This Mexico-located resort is a family-friendly retreat that provides exciting water games at the new family pool and entertaining outdoor activities throughout the day. The resort has recently completed its new Aguamarina expansion, which introduces 60 all-new oceanfront family rooms and Club Med Spa by L’OCCITANE.

Club Med La Caravelle – This Guadeloupe resort will be re-opening this fall with two beachside bars, a rum cellar, and new spa treatments. In addition, new oceanfront accommodations, including an adults-exclusive Zen Oasis area, will be available for booking one the golden beached for which Guadeloupe is famous for.

Club Med Punta Cana – This resort is located on 2,000-foot Dominican Republic beach and provides activities and amenities perfect for couples and families alike, including the new Amazing Family program, Club Med CREACTIVE by Cirque du Soleil, a L’OCCITANE Spa, men’s barbershop and an adults-only Zen Oasis with a private pool, bar and accommodations.

Club Med Miches Playa Esmeralda – Another Dominican Republic resort, Club Med Miches Playa Esmeralda is a newer addition to the Club Med brand. The resort is also Club Med’s first Exclusive Collection resort in the Americas, with four boutique “villages” with distinct concepts: wellness, adventure, kid-friendly and adults-only.

Club Med Sandpiper Bay – This Florida-based resort naturally has famed golf courses and water sports for guests looking to stay active on vacation. This September, the resort will be in introducing the Spectacular Months program, a lineup of events which focus on wellness provided by the Club Med Spa by L’OCCITANE.

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Destinations

Celebrate Japan's Spring season in style ·

Celebrate Japan’s Spring season in style

Flower viewing known as “hanami” is a traditional Japanese affair that welcomes the arrival of Spring by appreciating the view of cherry blossoms in bloom. For centuries, these delicate flowers have been depicted as a symbol of life itself, for spring is often a time for locals to gather and reflect on life’s fragility and fleeting beauty.

Hoshino Resorts’ onsen ryokan brand KAI will offer “Stylish Hanami Tours” at 14 of their resorts across Japan. If you’ve ever dreamed of seeing Japan’s most iconic flower in person, here are four unique ways that you could enjoy the spring season in style.

Enjoy soba like a feudal lord under a cherry tree

In front of KAI Izumo—an onsen ryokan with open-air baths in every room—is a river lined with over 350 cherry blossom trees. From the 1st – 20th April, guests are invited to participate in a “Cherry Blossom Excursion” which will take them on a traditional rickshaw ride to enjoy a picnic of warigo soba underneath the cherry trees. Warigo soba is said to have originated when a feudal lord enjoyed eating his soba from a multi-level box outside.

Relax and learn how to play the Shamisen

Surround yourself by seven weeping cherry trees in a secluded garden of KAI Tsugaru, an onsen ryokan located in Japan’s northern Aomori Prefecture. In the first week of May, guests can relax underneath the cherry blossom trees where they will be treated to apple pie and cider, and taught to play “Sakura Sakura” on a traditional three-stringed traditional Japanese instrument.

Experience hanami like a traveller from the Edo period

Located in a mountain pass, Hakone is a revered onsen town where bloom periods last for a longer time due to the elevation and many varieties of cherry blossoms that grow there. Wearing traditional clothing, guests of KAI Hakone can experience hanami like a traveller from the Edo period. They can visit flower viewing spots such as Gora Park and eat traditional sweets and dishes made in the Hakone yosegi style.

Immortalise the view of blossoms in a landscape drawing

Onsen lovers visiting Hakone could have the opportunity to capture 150 Yoshino cherry trees lining the banks of the Haya River in their very own landscape drawing. KAI Sengokuhara—an art-themed ryokan that inspires visitors to explore their creativity—will arrange for staff with art knowledge to accompany and assist guests with their drawing, making sure they get the colour of the cherry blossoms just right!

For more information about Hoshino Resorts KAI and its array of properties and cultural activities on offer, visit: https://www.hoshinoresorts.com/en/brand/kai/

About Hoshino Resorts

Hoshino Resorts was established as a family business in 1904 and has grown into one of the largest Japanese-owned and operated resort brands with 41 resorts across Japan, and two resorts in Bali, Indonesia and Guguan, Taiwan. As Japan’s premier resort company, Hoshino Resorts specialises in operating Japan ryokans (traditional Japanese inns) and hotels and offers unique Japanese cultural experiences specific to each region. The company remains proudly family-owned, offering a diverse range of Japanese accommodation, cuisine and culture to visitors.

For Australia and New Zealand media enquiries, please contact Ellie Caswell at e.caswell@thedoq.com or call 0422 198 385.

 

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Travel

Spring Break Travel Poised to Rise in 2020

It’s going to be a busy spring. Domestic and international travel are soaring as spring breakers get ready to take flight.

According to research from Allianz Global Assistance, the number of Americans packing their bags for stateside spring break trips increased 24 percent over the past year, with an 18 percent increase in international getaways.

Allianz’s Top 10 Spring Break Destinations survey analyzed more than 2.7 million flight itineraries and found that Orlando and Cancun are the top choices for the fourth year in a row.

The top international destinations were Cancun, San Jose Del Cabo and Puerto Vallarta in Mexico. Nassau, Bahamas; Montego Bay, Jamaica; Aruba; and Providenciales, Turks and Caicos.

London reappeared on the top 10 and was the only destination in Europe to do so. Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands and Punta Cana, Dominican Republic, rounded out the list of top international spring break destinations.

On the domestic side, in addition to Orlando, the top 10 destinations for spring break in the U.S. were Phoenix at number two, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, New York, Fort Lauderdale, Fort Myers, Miami, Salt Lake City and Tampa.

The lists overwhelmingly include warm-weather destinations, proving that spring break travelers prefer beach getaways to cold-weather activities such as skiing. Salt Lake City was the only mountain getaway on the list and London and New York were the only two major cities on the list where travelers would want to brace for a chill.

Allianz noted that the survey brings positive news for the travel industry that is currently plagued by ongoing fallout from the coronavirus.

“It’s heartening to see that Americans are bullish on spring break despite recent headlines and that both domestic and international destinations will see an increased influx of visitors,” said Daniel Durazo, director of marketing and communications for Allianz Global Assistance USA.

“Whether you’re planning to be the life of the party or in full relaxation mode, the last thing you want is a dream vacation ruined by an unexpected event. Buying trip protection when you book your travel can put your mind at ease—make sure you add it to your pre-trip checklist, along with sunscreen.”

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Travel

Spring Break Travel Poised to Rise in 2020


It’s going to be a busy spring. Domestic and international travel are soaring as spring breakers get ready to take flight.

a large body of water with a city in the background: Atardecer en Cancún. (Foto iStock/Getty Images Plus/Jonathan Ross)

According to research from Allianz Global Assistance, the number of Americans packing their bags for stateside spring break trips increased 24 percent over the past year, with an 18 percent increase in international getaways.

Allianz’s Top 10 Spring Break Destinations survey analyzed more than 2.7 million flight itineraries and found that Orlando and Cancun are the top choices for the fourth year in a row.

The top international destinations were Cancun, San Jose Del Cabo and Puerto Vallarta in Mexico. Nassau, Bahamas; Montego Bay, Jamaica; Aruba; and Providenciales, Turks and Caicos.

London reappeared on the top 10 and was the only destination in Europe to do so. Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands and Punta Cana, Dominican Republic, rounded out the list of top international spring break destinations.

On the domestic side, in addition to Orlando, the top 10 destinations for spring break in the U.S. were Phoenix at number two, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, New York, Fort Lauderdale, Fort Myers, Miami, Salt Lake City and Tampa.

The lists overwhelmingly include warm-weather destinations, proving that spring break travelers prefer beach getaways to cold-weather activities such as skiing. Salt Lake City was the only mountain getaway on the list and London and New York were the only two major cities on the list where travelers would want to brace for a chill.

Allianz noted that the survey brings positive news for the travel industry that is currently plagued by ongoing fallout from the coronavirus.

“It’s heartening to see that Americans are bullish on spring break despite recent headlines and that both domestic and international destinations will see an increased influx of visitors,” said Daniel Durazo, director of marketing and communications for Allianz Global Assistance USA.

“Whether you’re planning to be the life of the party or in full relaxation mode, the last thing you want is a dream vacation ruined by an unexpected event. Buying trip protection when you book your travel can put your mind at ease—make sure you add it to your pre-trip checklist, along with sunscreen.”

WATCH: How to book a cheap spring break vacation (provided by Buzz60)


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Destinations

A Spring day trip to Kawagoe ·

A Spring day trip to Kawagoe

Located just 30-minutes north of Tokyo in Saitama Prefecture, you can find Kawagoe – a small town overflowing with historic charm. Alternatively known as ‘Ko-Edo’, meaning little Edo, times seems to have stopped in the Edo Era for this district (1603-1867) – a time of Samurai. Kawagoe has countless heritage buildings, seasonal activities and traditional shops for visitors to enjoy as a day trip from Tokyo.

How do I get there?
Travellers can easily get to Kawagoe on the Tobu Tojo Line in just 30 minutes from Ikebukuro Station in Tokyo.

Start the day with Cherry Blossoms
One benefit of travelling to Kawagoe is the overflowing cherry blossoms in late March to early April. Visitors can take a leisurely boat tour down the Shingashi-gawa River that flows through the town to see more than 100 Cherry trees blooming on the banks.

You can also see the delicate pastel pink blossoms blooming abundantly on the grounds of Kita-In Temple which is over 1000 years old. Here you can also see 540 stone statues of Buddha each carved by different artists between 1782 and 1825.

Enjoy a traditional lunch
Lunch is a time you can enjoy another unique aspect of Kawagoe’s history. In the Edo area, sweet potatoes were a snack for common people, and Kawagoe to this day is known for its sweet potato dishes! From roasted sweet potatoes, sweet potato noodles, to Sweet Kaiseki course meals and even sweet potato desserts, there are plenty of options to satisfy your needs.

Beer lovers MUST try a beer from one of Kawagoe’s world-renowned and multiple award-winning COEDOBREWERY. They have a variety of beers that have been recognised globally, and even an Imperial Sweet Potato Amber, which is Brewed with roasted Kintoki Sweet Potatoes! This imperial Amber is rich with a smooth body that is perfectly balanced with earthy hop bitterness and a caramel aroma – a perfect drink to refresh you for your afternoon travels!

Wanter the historic streets in a Kimono
After lunch, visit one of Kawagoe’s many Kimono rental stores to finish your day in traditional style. Once changed into a Kimono, you can walk the streets in one of the liveliest parts of town, the ‘Kurazukuri’ Warehouse District. This area is filled with old distinct wooden warehouses, giving you a glimpse of the time Kawagoe was a major transportation and commerce hub. The centrepiece of the Warehouse District is the ‘Toki no Kane’, a bell tower has marked the time with the ringing of bells for centuries.

A sweet afternoon snack
As you walk through this atmospheric part of town, tame your sweet tooth with dessert shop Kashou Umon’s purple sweet potato ice cream topped with a heart-shaped crispy monaka pastry filled with red bean paste. If ice cream isn’t enough, be sure to visit the ‘Kashiya Yokocho’, aka Penny Candy Lane where you can find 22 traditional Japanese candy stores selling nostalgic sweets that also make a wonderful souvenir for you to bring home.

For Australia and New Zealand media enquiries, please contact Satsuki Hosokawa at s.hosokawa@thedoq.com or call 0421 508 651.

About Tobu Railway/Group
The Tobu Railway Co., Ltd. is one of Japan’s largest commuter railway networks which operates in Tokyo as well as in large portions of the surrounding prefectures of Chiba, Saitama, Gunma, and Tochigi. It opened in 1899 and was the first railway in the Kanto region to adopt the use of quadruple tracks, and to this day is Kanto’s largest private railway. Tobu Railways is part of the Tobu Group, which is engaged in other transportation sectors such as bus and taxis, they also operate Department stores, hotels, health clubs, golf courses and theme parks, as real-estate. They are the largest investor in the Tokyo Skytree – the tallest structure in Japan, which is the centrepiece of the large commercial development.
For more information, visit:https://www.tobujapantrip.com/en/

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