Safari Group in Namibia & Kenya

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Christina and John are currently in Namibia & Kenya on their annual guiding trip!

For the first two weeks, they were in Namibia, exploring the world-famous Etosha National Park as well as smaller game reserves and conservancies.

Now in Kenya, it’s two weeks of bliss at Lewa Wildlife Conservancy, Samburu Game Reserve, the Mara and frequent game drives to see cheetahs, lions, elephants, hippos and even leopards!

Because the internet can be sporadic out in the bush, we get only occasional updates from Christina. Here are some of the highlights (with photos!)

August 26 – Namibia

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Hope all is well in PDX!

Arrived yesterday late due to a massive dust storm which delayed the flight by 2 hours. Then we made a 3h drive over rugged terrain but it was well worth the effort.

Probably the most remote spot we have visited since Lake Turkana. Hoanib definitely the quietest spot truly silence amidst stunning scenery. Just our six tents staff guides with no other humans for more than a few hours drive!

Closest is a small Himba tribe we spent a few hours with this morning no men in camp and the women were very open about their lives – amazing experience told us more than we needed to know!

The kids were adorable.


August 27 – Etosha National Park, Namibia

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Etosha is very, very dry – as is the entire country – Botswana and the Okavango Delta as well.

Last year, this watering hole was pretty full probably to where the Ostrich are standing – now water is a mere trickle.


They are hoping for some rain come October or the situation will very dire.

Most watering holes are animals only resource to water and survival.


September 3 – Nambwa Tented Lodge, Namibia

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Our day was spent heading to Nabwa camp! I was in the vehicle hauling the luggage trailer. As the last 15 miles were deep, sandy trail – needless to say it was a rough ride with 2 bogs. So 15 miles took 2 hours.

All is well, group has been really amazing.

We say goodbye to our 2 guides tomorrow as our last 2 nights will be Oman Island Lodge in Botswana so they can’t join us.


Okavango Delta (Botswana) is much drier than last year, no rain during the season. They are hoping this season starting November will be better – if not, it will mean many of the animals not survive including domestic herds.

Nabwa has VERY limited internet, real bush internet!

September 12 – Ithumba Hills, Kenya

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On our third day here, will be flying back to Nairobi first thing tomorrow.

Has been quite cool with cloudy overcast skies so elephants have not been using the mud bath pools because of the cooler weather.  Last time, it was always in the 90s whereas this time probably low 70’s – which is unheard of.

First evening here treated to light rain and an amazing double rainbow which changed the ebony light to a magnificent hue – a real treat.

Went to 6am early feed and release of the orphans for the day this morning quite a mad house, each vying for a second bottle.

Group of 8 good – all jelling!

September 17 – Lewa Wildlife Conservancy, Kenya

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Started out at 630a with great sighting of a magnificent cheetah, which we bypassed plenty of white rhino to reach.

Our very first cheetah yesterday was Rhino day!

This was followed by a fest bush breakfast where Zachary gave bird watching lesson

Then we delivered all the books and first aid items to the Lewa School which we support by paying the Librarian salary.

Then slow drive back to camp with a visit to Judd to watch the elephants approach.

Right now sitting watching this lion on our evening game drive. What perfect lighting!

Stay tuned until next time for more stories & photos!

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Travel News: First Hurtigruten Ship To Transit Northwest Passage

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Roald Amundsen Becomes First Hurtigruten Ship To Transit Northwest Passage

Cruise Industry News reports the Roald Amundsen has made history, becoming the first Hurtigruten vessel to completely transit the famed Northwest Passage. The 530-guest hybrid vessel was delivered earlier this year and after transit the Passage recently, is approaching Nome, Alaska.

The voyage started in Kangerlussuaq in Greenland on August 20 and will wrap up in Nome in Alaska, a total distance of 4,128 nautical miles. .”We have been heading in the wake and footprint of the famous explorer Roald Amundsen, who did this voyage more than 100 years ago,” said Captain Kai Albrigtsen, addressing the guests aboard the ship.

Portugal Declares War On Cigarette Butts

EtN reports Portugal introduced a strict law aiming at combating smokers who throw the cigarette butts on the ground in public. The new law that approves measures for the collection and treatment of the tobacco waste enters into force on Wednesday. Whoever throws on the floor will be punished with fines between 27.6 US dollars to 276 US dollars.

As of Wednesday, cigarette butts, cigars or other cigarette containing tobacco products will be treated as urban solid waste and therefore their “disposal in public space” is prohibited. Although the law comes into force on Wednesday, it provides for a “transitional period of one year” to adapt to it, which means that only in September 2020 there will be effective fines.

The new law stipulates that “commercial establishments, namely restaurants and establishments where recreational activities take place and all buildings where smoking is prohibited must have ashtrays and equipment for the disposal of undifferentiated and selective waste produced by its costumers”.

The government shall now establish an incentive system within the Environmental Fund and promote consumer awareness campaigns on the responsible destination of tobacco waste, including cigarettes, cigars or other cigarettes. Regarding the tobacco-producing companies, the new law states that they should promote the use of biodegradable materials in the manufacture of tobacco filters.


Cruise Line Attempts World’s Longest-Ever Continuous Passenger Cruise

Viking Cruises is about to attempt the Guinness world record for the world’s longest-ever continuous passenger cruise. The voyage will be an epic 245-day journey spanning six continents, 51 countries and 111 ports and covering 55,700 nautical miles. Viking, said: “For more than 20 years we have been committed to connecting travelers to culturally immersive experiences that allow them to explore the world in comfort.”

Scandinavia – Caribbean – South America – South Pacific

On August 13, Viking Sun departed Greenwich on the Ultimate World Cruise which will last for 8-months. Starting closer to home around the United Kingdom and then on to Scandinavia, the Caribbean and destinations throughout South America before calling on the remote tropical islands of the South Pacific. Viking Sun will then continue its journey along the coast of Australia and through Asia before returning to the Mediterranean and Europe.

“We broke our own Guinness World Record in 2014 when we christened 16 new river ships in one day. We only launched ocean cruises in 2015 so to already be attempting the world record for the longest continuous passenger cruise four years later is remarkable. Everyone at Viking UK is particularly proud and excited that the cruise is setting sail from Greenwich. We can’t wait to hear all our guests’ stories when they get back.” said Viking.

A Guinness World Record Adjudicator will confirm the successful attempt of the longest-ever passenger cruise with a certificate presentation when the luxury vessel arrives back in London in May 2020. The Ultimate World Cruise starts at £66,990 per person. Within the 245-day Ultimate World Cruise itinerary, guests also have the choice to sail one of two shorter segments of the cruise. 

D’Orsay Museum has reopened its doors after renovations

Our friends over at Chocolatine remind us that the d’Orsay Museum opened its doors with much fanfare after completing a major renovation.

A whole new presentation of its 19th-century masterpieces, and a brand new expanded space, give the galleries new color schemes, new lighting, and separate rooms for many of the great artists on display. Now, both Van Gogh and Gauguin have their own uniquely designed rooms! In addition, new works have been added to the museum’s collection of beloved classics – so many reasons to return!

The D’Orsay is open from Tuesday to Sunday, 9:30am to 6pm. Closed Mondays. 

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Travel News: USS Arizona Memorial To Re-Open

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USS Arizona Memorial In Hawaii Finally Set To Re-Open

EtN reports “the National Park Service is excited to welcome our visitors back to the USS Arizona Memorial very soon,” said Pearl Harbor National Memorial Acting Superintendent Steve Mietz. The sunken battleship memorial, one of the most visited attractions in the state, sees 4,000 to 5,000 people a day. In 2018, nearly 1.8 million people visited the Pearl Harbor site. Access to the memorial was suspended in May 2018 when park staff noticed minor damage to its attached floating concrete dock where boat passengers disembarked. Inspection of the dock revealed a failure of its anchoring system, which allowed too much lateral movement at the spot where passengers disembark from Navy boats. A series of “helical” pilings were screwed into the seafloor, and synthetic rope was attached to a corresponding dozen points on the 105-foot dock as part of a more than $2.1 million fix, officials said. The Hawaii National Park Service said today that the much-awaited reopening of the USS Arizona Memorial to walk-on access will take place this Labor Day weekend on Sunday after a 15-month closure. The park service said that since May of 2018 when the memorial closed to foot traffic, multiple phases of a repair project for an adjacent dock have been completed including analysis, contracting, design, environmental compliance, mobilization, unexploded ordnance screening, resource preservation and project execution. The Pearl Harbor Visitor Center is open seven days a week from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. The visitor center is free and no tickets are required to see the museums and grounds. The USS Arizona Memorial program is 75 minutes long. It starts in the theater with a 25-minute documentary and is followed by a boat ride to the memorial, time at the memorial and a boat ride back. Programs begin every 15 minutes from 7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.

American Has Launched Facial Recognition At The Boarding Gate

Business Insider reports American has started using facial recognition technology to let passengers board planes without their boarding pass. The airline says the technology, now in use in parts of Dallas/Forth Worth International Airport, is more secure and makes boarding quicker for passengers. Its part of a trend in the aviation industry that has seen a growing number of airports and airlines in the US and around the world use facial recognition on passengers despite privacy concerns. American said that the system is opt-in and doesn’t save the photos. It plans to roll the system out further. Passengers, however, still need both their boarding pass and an ID, like their passport, to get through airport security. The technology is currently opt-in only, and passengers can use their IDs instead, American said. For now it is only being used in Terminal D of the airport, which is used for international flights, but American said that it plans to expand the technology to 75 different international boarding gates across its terminals.

EU Confirms No Change To UK Flights Until At Least October 2020

Travelmole reports UK airlines will still be able to operate flights between the UK and the EU until at least October next year after the European Commission extended the deadline in their unilateral contingency legislation, released yesterday. Under previous legislation the deadline for this contingency was set for March 2020, but this extension will now allow customers to book their travel further in advance in the confidence that flight schedules will not be affected, said ABTA. The move follows lobbying by ABTA with key EU destination countries, which promoted the mutual benefits of increasing consumer confidence for next summer’s peak season. ABTA chief executive Mark Tanzer said: “ABTA has been pushing hard for this extension, which is to the mutual benefit of UK customers and the EU, and we are encouraged that the European Commission has responded today by extending the deadline.

New Zealand To Ban Swimming With Dolphins At Popular Tourist Haunt

Travelmole reports New Zealand has decided to ban swimming with dolphins in the Bay of Islands because the activity off the coast of the North Island is causing a decline in the population. New Zealand’s Department of Conservation says the bottleneck dolphin population has declined 66% since 1990 and has 75% mortality rate for young dolphins. “Research shows that interaction with the bottlenose dolphins is having a significant impact on the populations resting and feeding behavior and that people are ‘loving the dolphins too much’,” the Department of Conservation said. The department said it may also ban or restrict dolphin attractions elsewhere. It will also limit dolphin spotting tours by boat. “They spend far less time feeding, nursing their young and sleeping’ because of a steady stream of tourists,” it said. It will also restrict dolphin spotting boat tours to just morning and early afternoon trips and reduce the tour length from 30 minutes to 20 minutes.

Marriott Banning Small Plastic Shampoo Bottles By 2020

Associated Press reports Marriott International, the world’s largest hotel chain, said Wednesday it will eliminate small plastic bottles of shampoo, conditioner and bath gel from its hotel rooms worldwide by December 2020. They’ll be replaced with larger bottles or wall-mounted dispensers, depending on the hotel. The move follows a similar announcement last month by IHG, which owns Holiday Inn, Kimpton and other brands. IHG said it will eliminate about 200 million tiny bottles each year by 2021. Last year, Walt Disney Co. said it would replace small plastic shampoo bottles at its resorts and on its cruise ships. Many smaller companies, like the five Soneva Resorts in Thailand and the Maldives, have also ditched plastic bottles. Marriott has more than 7,000 hotels in 131 countries under 30 brands, ranging from SpringHill Suites and Residence Inn to Sheraton and Ritz-Carlton. It says it will be eliminating about 500 million small bottles each year, or 1.7 million pounds of plastic.

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Travel News: Rome’s Rules for Tourists


FAA Bans Certain Models Of MacBook Pros From Flights Following Recent Recall

USA TODAY reports Apple has recently recalled batteries installed in some of the 15-inch MacBooks, which are now banned from airplanes. The Federal Aviation Administration has banned certain MacBook Pro laptops in checked or carry-on bags; Apple recalled them in June. The ban is actually a more concisely enumerated direction by the aviation regulator as it relates to recalls. “The FAA is aware of the recalled batteries that are used in some Apple MacBook Pro laptops,” the Federal Aviation Administration told USA TODAY in a statement on Wednesday. “In early July, we alerted airlines about the recall, and we informed the public. We issued reminders to continue to follow instructions about recalls.” In the fine print on its Packsafe page, the FAA states that “lithium batteries recalled by the manufacturer/vendor must not be carried aboard aircraft or packed in baggage unless the recalled product/component has been replaced or repaired or otherwise made safe per manufacturer/vendor instructions.” Apple is giving eligible consumers various options on how to have their batteries replaced, like going to an Apple retail store or working with Apple Support to mail their laptops in. Apple is giving eligible consumers various options on how to have their batteries replaced, like going to an Apple retail store or working with Apple Support to mail their laptops in. “Apple has determined that, in a limited number of older generation 15-inch MacBook Pro units, the battery may overheat and pose a fire safety risk,” the company wrote on its website. “Affected units were sold primarily between September 2015 and February 2017 and product eligibility is determined by the product serial number.”

Hurtigruten To Add Three More Hybrid Ships

Cruise Industry News reports Hurtigruten announced that it will rename three ships as part of its 2021 expedition expansion as the current MS Trollfjord, MS Finnmarken and MS Midnatsol, will be renamed MS Maud, MS Otto Sverdrup and MS Eirik Raude. In addition, the three ships will be transformed to hybrid powered expedition cruise ships, the company said, as they will be equipped with battery packs and other green technology. The project is estimated to be valued at over $100 million, according to a source familiar with the matter. The the three ships will operate year-round expedition cruises along the Norwegian coast from 2021 on yet to be disclosed itineraries, as previously reported by Cruise Industry News. “With these new expedition cruise vessels, you will be able to explore Norway like never before, with all the comforts, facilities and expertise you need for creating a perfect adventure. Combined with groundbreaking green technology, these ships will truly stand out,” said Hurtigruten CEO Daniel Skjeldam. The MS Otto Sverdrup will have battery packs installed during a 2020 shipyard stay, with a letter of intent for the same battery installation on MS Maud and MS Eirik Raude in 2021. The battery packs will support the ship’s engines, and drastically cut emissions, according to a company statement. All three ships will also see significant interior updates, including all cabins and suites. The three ships will also be equipped for shorepower, to cut emissions to zero when docked in ports with shore power facilities. In addition, the three ships will get substantially upgraded low-emission engines, complying with all known and upcoming regulations (Tier3). “At Hurtigruten, the push for sustainable solutions and introduction of green technology is the core of everything we do. We operate in some of the most spectacular areas of the world. This comes with a responsibility,” Skjeldam said.


Police In Rome Have Begun Enforcing Groundbreaking New Tourism Rules

Rome’s new tourist rules, which were announced in July, stipulate that unruly behaviou around historic or artistic monument sites, including soiling, defacing or damaging them, would land you a fine of between 250 and 400 Euros. The rules also prohibit jumping into fountains, messy eating and sitting or laying on the Spanish Steps. According to The Washington Post, police have begun blowing a whistle at tourists who try and sit on the UNESCO-protected 18th-century steps and asking them to leave the site. Simone Amorico, CEO of Access Italy, a private tour operator, said that rules are needed to reduce the risk of tourists being disrespectful in Rome. “Walking in Rome is like walking in a museum. Things go back 2,000 years old. You can walk from one part of the city to the other and pass the most important monuments and venues there are in history,” Amorico said. Amorico added that picnicking on the Spanish Steps is something only tourists do. “Italians don’t do that,” she said. “I’ve never hung out at the Spanish Steps. My friends have never hung out at the Spanish Steps. We really respect our city. We don’t stand on any ancient walls, or put locks on any of the bridges.” Rome isn’t the only Italian city cracking down on tourist behavior, with two German tourists recently copping a €950 (AU$1,500) fine for making coffee using a travel cooker on the steps of the Rialto Bridge in Venice.

Scenic’s First Ocean-Going Cruise Ship, Scenic Eclipse, Sails Inaugural Voyage

Scenic, a river cruise operator that has been operating in Europe since 2008, officially entered the blue water cruising industry last week when its first ocean-going ship, Scenic Eclipse, departed on its inaugural voyage. The ship, which was delayed three times before launching, is sailing a 13-night itinerary from Reykjavik to Quebec. Once its maiden voyage is over, Scenic Eclipse will sail to New York City, where godmother Dame Helen Mirren will name it in a September 10 ceremony. Its inaugural season includes both Antarctica and the Arctic, as well as Central and South America, the Baltic and Norwegian Fjords, and the Mediterranean. Scenic Eclipse, which has been much anticipated from the minute it was announced, is an all-suite, all-balcony vessel and carries no more than 228 passengers (fewer for Arctic and Antarctic voyages). It has 10 dining venues (an impressive number for a ship of its size), indoor and outdoor pools, a gym with a separate studio for yoga and Pilates, and a theater for lectures and shows. Scenic Eclipse also offers two six-person helicopters and one submarine for extra-fee specialty excursions.

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Top 7 Things to Do in Edinburgh

And we’re back! We were on bit of a hiatus for a while, but now it’s full steam ahead!

Back to regular posts on trips and tips from your favorite travel agency 🙂

Have you been to Edinburgh? Some call it one of the most beautiful cities in Europe, and with good (no, fantastic!) reason. From its friendly, sandstone buildings to its youthful, liberal atmosphere, Edinburgh is loved by locals and visitors alike.


During her trip to the Scottish Highlands, WIT Global Correspondent Wailana had the good fortune of checking out this fantastic city. Though one simple post can’t do it justice, here’s a quick rundown of the best 10 things to do while in Edinburgh: 

1. Go on a Ghost Tour!


Ghost tours are aplenty, and with such a rich (and at times sordid) history as Edinburgh’s, it’s no wonder! Be sure to join one of the well-known ghost tours that depart down the hill from Edinburgh Castle. Try to join in one that goes for the theatrics — maybe your tour guide is dressed the part — and imparts historical context as well as murder mysteries and spooky legends.

Graveyards, the 19th century’s worst living conditions you can imagine, and haunted castles give this city a run for its money.

2. Edinburgh Castle


Of course, who can have a list on top things to do in Edinburgh and omit the most famous landmark of all? The castle positively dominates the skyline, and is a gorgeous historical gem atop a volcano, that we simply can’t believe how the Queen of England could keep away all this time (true story).

The Castle is sort of a collection of mini-museums, if you will. You’ll find everything from weapons to crown jewels to clothing. The site is home to the 12th-century St. Margaret’s Chapel, the oldest structure in Edinburgh. Book your ticket in advance online to skip the lines.

3. Climb Arthur’s Seat


If you’re feeling up for it, a short hike up to the crest of Arthur’s Seat is a fantastic way to start the morning. Located 20-30 minutes from the Old Town by foot, or 1 mile east of the Castle, Arthur’s Seat is an extinct volcano that now forms most of Holyrood Park. The elevation is only 822 ft and rewards walkers with an amazing panorama of the city.


4. Walk the Royal Mile

The road leading up to Edinburgh Castle is known affectionately as the Royal Mile, and spans five different streets, culminating at Holyrood Palace at the bottom. A busy street, at its crest, you’ll find all sorts of souvenir shops and touristy restaurants, but also curious cafes and shops of interest. Strolling down this road is the perfect way to spend your time, and be sure to wander down a side street or two that catches your eye!

Victoria Street is one such curious street, a colorful road that curves downward and has collected all sorts of curiosities and oddities. There are tiny bookshops and a famous fossil store. Rumor has it that Victoria Street was the inspiration for Diagon Alley in the Harry Potter series.


5. Mary King’s Close

Learn all about Edinburgh’s sordid history from a realist perspective at Mary King’s Close, a collection of narrow alleyways, underground passages, and partially collapsed streets. The Old Town favorite has all kinds of fascinating, exposed history of old Edinburgh, from grisly tales of hauntings to murders.

6. Have a Pint


Beers in the Highlands are usually more substance than experimental, but in Edinburgh, that all changes. Microbreweries have popped up everywhere, giving rise to a delicious trend of local brews and flavors to win you over before long. As any Portlander might agree, it’s beer that makes the city.

Local faves include Stewart Brewing, Top Out, Innis & Gunn, and Barney’s. As for pubs, you really can’t go a block without stumbling on a neighborhood pub, but if you’re hankering for the best, we can throw down a few names: Cloisters, Bow Bar in Old Town, Barney’s at Summerhall, and Pear Tree House on the South Side. Grab a table in the beer garden if they have one, in the summer these can fill up with students on holiday.


7. Trick your Eye at Camera Obscura & World of Illusions

Lauded as Edinburgh’s oldest tourist attraction, Camera Obscura has been an iconic treasure since 1835. It’s both an interactive museum of illusions and terrific rooftop views over Old Town.

At the summit, however, is the real deal: a camera obscura, a natural optical phenomenon when an image (in this case, Edinburgh) is reflected onto a series of mirrors, and then projected through a small hole onto a screen for examination. You have to see it to believe it!

This is by no means an exhaustive list, but one to get you started! Call your travel agent to hook you up with the best hotels and sights in Edinburgh.

503-224-0180 or email 

How to Get to Edinburgh: Edinburgh is just a short flight or day train from London. Spend a few days in London before heading up North, or make a trip out of Scotland to include Glasgow, Fort William, Inverness, and Orkney.

Short Cuts:

  • Edinburgh Castle: Castlehill, Open 9:30am – 6pm daily (last entrance 5pm). Pre-reserved tickets are a must!
  • Palace of Holyroodhouse: 16th-century palace and official residence of Queen Elizabeth II. Canongate, Open 9:30am – 6pm daily.
  • Calton Hill: Prominent perch with neoclassical monuments and panoramas of the city. Free access.
  • St. Giles’ Cathedral: Gothic medieval building in the heart of Old Town. High St, open daily.
  • Camera Obscura & World of Illusions: Castlehill, Royal Mile, Open 9am – 10pm.
  • Edinburgh Zoo: 134 Corstorphine Rd, Open daily 10am-6pm.
  • Mr Woods Fossils. Minerals, meteorites, and fossils for sale. 5 Cowgatehead, Open 10am-5:30pm.


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Travel News: Louvre To Make Reservations Compulsory


Ponant To Acquire Paul Gauguin Cruises

Cruise Industry News reports luxury expedition cruise company Ponant announced that it is acquiring Paul Gauguin Cruises, the French Polynesia and South Pacific specialist cruise line. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. According to a release from Ponant, the two cruise lines will keep separate management, with Diane Moore acting as CEO of Paul Gauguin at their office in Bellevue, Wash. and Navin Sawhney continuing to lead as CEO of Ponant in New York. The acquisition will give Ponant guests a wider range of destinations and will allow the combined company to boast a larger fleet with Ponant combining its fleet of nine with Paul Gauguin’s single ship, called Paul Gauguin. In June, Ponant took delivery of its fourth explorer series ship, Le Dumont-d’Urville, which kicked off its inaugural season this week. The ship is the ninth ship overall for Ponant, which is in the midst of a growth period that will see the line grow to a total of 12 ships and 460 departures by 2021.

US Virgin Islands Ban Coral-Harming Suncreams

Travelmole reports the US Virgin Islands has become the first place in the US to ban coral-harming sunscreens. In a bill signed this week, the Caribbean islands have outlawed the import of all creams containing oxybenzone, ocitnoxate, and octocrylene from September 30. It will become illegal for retailers to sell such creams on the islands from next March. The ‘three Os’ as they are called are known to cause damage to coral and sealife, according to the US Food and Drug Administration, but they are widely found in popular sunscreen brands. It is possible to find sunscreens without these chemicals, but they tend to be more expensive. Hawaii and Florida’s Key West have outlawed the sale of sunscreen products using oxybenzone and octinoxate from January 2021, but the US Virgin Islands’ ban will kick in first and include products with octocrylene as well. “Tourism in the Virgin Islands is our lifeblood, but to ensure we continue to entice visitors we need to protect our coral reefs as part of our quest to initiate sustainable tourism,” said governor Albert Bryan. The US territory’s retailers may not place new orders for sunscreens containing the banned chemicals and may not receive shipments of existing orders after September 30. The full ban takes effect in March 2020. It is not known whether holidaymakers will be banned from bringing sunscreen products containing the chemicals into the islands for their own personal use.

Paris’ Overcrowded Louvre To Make Reservations Compulsory 

France 24 reports the world-famous Louvre museum in Paris on Friday urged visitors to book their visit in advance online after seeing a heavy influx this summer, adding reservations would be obligatory by the end of this year. The Louvre, which houses the Mona Lisa by Leonardo da Vinci and is the most visited museum in the world, has become a victim of its own success and overcrowding is a problem. The problems intensified this summer due to the heatwave that encouraged tourists to take refuge in cool museum rooms. Also a temporary move of the Mona Lisa to another room to allow for refurbishments added to the confusion. “Reservations smooth the entry for the public throughout the week,” said Vincent Pomarede, the deputy general administrator of the Louvre. “Until now a reservation system has not been obligatory (but) we will put in place an obligatory reservations system, as many other museums have done, and, by the end of the year, all visitors will have to reserve,” he told AFP. He said this will help the museum cope with the numbers of visitors. “It will be from October or November. We have accelerated what we wanted to put in place at the start of the year 2020,” he added.

New Zealand NZeTA Now Available Online (Required For Visa Waiver Passengers Effective October 1, 2019) 

John Ollila reports New Zealand is following in the footsteps of Australia, Canada, and US by requiring passengers from Visa waiver countries to have an NZeTA (New Zealand Electronic Travel Authority) effective October 1, 2019. The cost of the NZeTA that is valid for up to 2 years is NZ$9/NZ$12 depending on whether you do it using an app or on their website. Most NZeTA eligible passengers are also required to pay IVL (International Visitor Conservation and Tourism Levy) of NZ$35. Note that Australian citizens do not require NZeTA. It seems that, based on the website, that you do need to have NZeTA even if you plan only TRANSIT via New Zealand on your way to another country. This NZeTA requirement also applies for cruise passengers. It is certain that this requirement will come as a surprise for many that are traveling to New Zealand later this year, as it has not been a requirement previously. Let’s hope that this NZeTA is as easy and fast to get/process as it is the Australian ETA (usually takes couple of seconds). 

In addition to plastic, SFO is banning items with “unsubstantiated claims” about their sustainability. 

The Guardian reports the days of picking up a plastic bottle of water to stay hydrated during a long flight will soon be over for people flying out of San Francisco’s international airport (SFO). The airport, which restricted the distribution of single-use plastic straws when the city law went into effect in July, is now banning convenience shops, restaurants and vending machines from selling plastic water bottles. Starting on 20 August, only water in glass, recycled aluminum, or certified compostable materials can be sold. The change is a part of SFO’s five-year strategic plan. Launched in 2016, the plan includes SFO becoming a zero “waste-to-landfill” facility by 2021, as stated on its website. According to SFO, each airport guest creates a half-pound of trash. In an effort to reduce the waste, the airport is limiting single-use food accessories such as napkins, coffee cups and chopsticks. 

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5 of our Favorite Travel Channels on Instagram

Craving some gorgeous travel shots? Or just need a boost of vacation inspiration to get through the work week?

Take a peek at our favorite inspirational Instagram profiles. It’s always hard to choose, right? Here are just 5 of the faves. 

1. Willamette Intl Travel

Okay, we’re a little biased here, but we’re also proud to show off our beautiful photos at Willamette Intl Travel. Some photos are from our clients, some our from trips taken by our agents, and some still are curated from photographers all over the world. To get the latest of travel inspiration, stop by our channel on Mondays and Fridays.

2. Galapagos Islands

When do you NOT need a dose of fauna cuteness? Our friends over at @GalapagosIsland really go all out bringing us the most adorable photos from off the shore of Ecuador.

3. Egypt

Short and sweet, @EGYPT has all the best colors and carvings of this ancient civilization. Follow this channel to get your fix of historic architecture awash in sepia tones.

4. Portugal

Coastal villages, cliffside citadels, aquamarine waters. Portugal is a dream and so is its Instagram channel @VisitPortugal.

5. Jordan

Defined by its seaside villages and sandy ruins, there are few countries that are as abuzz right now as Jordan (@VisitJordan).

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