Monday, March 8, 2021


Caribbean Travel Restrictions: 

Jamaica Narrows COVID-19 Travel Test Window

Effective March 4, Jamaica government officials will narrow the window under which travelers must present proof of a negative COVID-19 PCR or Antigen test result to check in for a flight to the country.

Under the new protocol, all travelers to Jamaica age 12 and over will be required to present proof of a negative COVID-19 test taken within three days of travel, according to updated information on the Jamaica Tourist Board website confirmed by JTB officials Monday.

JTB has established an online Test Date Calculator to aid travelers with the timing of pre-departure tests.

Prior to March 4, residents of the U.S., Brazil, the Dominican Republic, Mexico and Panama age 12 or older have been required to present a test result taken within 10 days of travel to Jamaica. The new policy applies to all travelers, and tests must be performed by a medical laboratory with a Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments (CLIA) registration and an ISO 15189 certification.

Thursday, April 30, 2020

After 67 Years, Like Like Drive Inn to Close Permanently on April 30

It’s lights out for Like Like Drive Inn, an iconic Hawaiʻi diner that has been slinging out ʻono (delicious) local comfort foods on the corner of Keʻeamoku and Kanunu streets for the past 67 years. 
Owner Julie Tateyama, who inherited the business from her grandparents James and Alice Nako, said that after closing its dining room in mid-March due to COVID-19, the financial strain has become too much for them to reopen. 
“We were hoping to reopen later but with the extension of the closing of dining rooms and because we’re not a takeout order restaurant, it was rough and we had decided that we’re going to officially close on April 30,” says Tateyama in an April 1 announcement, which added the restaurant would discontinue doing takeout in “consideration to the health and safety of our friends, family and staff.
Known for its late-night hours and Hawaiʻi-style diner food options, like loco moco, wonton min and fried rice, Like Like Drive Inn has found its way into the hearts and stomachs of countless locals, some of which have grown up eating at the historic eatery. Started as an actual drive-in by James and Alice Nako in 1953, Like Like Drive Inn, which predates Ala Moana Center, was converted into an actual restaurant in the '60s before remodeling again in 1994. And many of its employees have stayed with the establishment for decades, adding to the diners already familial vibe.
“It’s still hard because they’ve been working for us for so long,” Tateyama says after telling her 50 employees about the plans for closure. “A lot of them have been here for 40 some years or close to 50 years.”
Through it all, what never changed at Like Like Drive Inn was the quality of the food, its friendly staff and the restaurant's iconic neon sign. Until now. A hui hou Like Like Drive Inn, you will be missed
Article from Hawaii Magazine 

Monday, September 24, 2018

     An example of what the kegs will look like on board

Celebrate the annual beer festival at 30,000 feet this year.

For the first time in 50 years, Lufthansa is serving draft beer from kegs on board certain flights to celebrate Oktoberfest.
Back in the 1960s, passengers on “Lufthansa Senator Service” flights were treated to draft beer, as seen in the picture above. Limited to just three flights during Oktoberfest this year, the special beer service returns September 19 on the Munich to Newark route and continues September 25 on the Munich to Singapore flight. Just before the annual festival ends, anyone flying the Munich to Shanghai route on October 6 will enjoy the last in-flight keg of the year on Lufthansa.
To serve the beer at 32,808 feet, Lufthansa selected a special keg designed with a valve to regulate the carbon dioxide pressure so it doesn’t explode.
Munich’s traditional clothing specialist, Angermaier, designed the custom dirndls and lederhosen for the flight attendants.
But that’s not all. To get everyone in a celebratory mood,  the cabin crew on these flights will swap out their regular navy and yellow uniforms for traditional Bavarian outfits in dark blue and silver gray. Lufthansa tapped Munich-based clothing specialist, Angermaier, to design the custom dirndls for the women and lederhosen for the men.
If you don’t happen to be flying on one of these three flights, you can still celebrate Oktoberfest on Lufthansa flights over the next few weeks. Business-class passengers on intercontinental flights in September and October will be treated to an Oktoberfest menu including ox tartare with truffle and char with riesling sauce, while anyone passing through a Lufthansa Lounge at Munich’s airport can enjoy pretzels, white sausage, and Leberkäse, a type of German meatloaf during the annual festival.

If you’re heading to Munich for the first weekend of Oktoberfest, any passenger who lands at Terminal 2 in Munich between September 22 and 23 will receive a free box of goodies, including beer-mug-shaped gummies, pretzels, a vitamin drink (to fight off the hangover), and a special ribbon to decorate your beer mug. Prost!

Friday, July 13, 2018


Tips to remember when packing a carry-on bag.

Have you ever struggled to manage multiple suitcases while enviously eyeing a traveler with one simple carry-on zip past you toward security? If you answered yes, you might be a chronic over packer. And though over packing isn’t a crime, it definitely has its consequences.

Extra baggage costs differ per airline, but most charge $50+ a pop. Not only will you add unnecessary costs to your travel expenses, you’ll have to bring all of that luggage with you throughout your trip, schlepping it from train station to taxi to hotel.

Other reasons you might want to avoid over packing? In European countries, cars are smaller, so if you plan on renting a car, all those bags might not fit in the trunk. In places like France or Italy, many boutique hotels and older apartment buildings don’t have elevators. And who wants to carry several suitcases up five flights of stairs to get to the Airbnb?

When it comes to easy and enjoyable traveling, less is more. Here’s how to save space when packing.

Invest in a New Carry-On

Suitcase technology has come a long way, with more manufacturers using lightweight fabrics and incorporating high-tech details, so if you can’t remember the last time you bought luggage, why not find a new perfect piece? Gliding wheels that can move in any direction, USB chargers, digital scales and location-tracking are a few must-have amenities for the modern-day suitcase.

Although luggage is not cheap, brands like Away are using top-notch materials to make thoughtful travel bags that won’t break the bank. Outlet stores like Off Saks Fifth Avenue and TJ Maxx are other great places to shop for affordable suitcases.

Bring along a tape measure when shopping to ensure that the carry-on is compact enough. There isn’t a universal size standard for carry-ons, but many domestic airlines (like American and Delta) allow bags that are no bigger than 22 inches tall, 14 inches wide and 9 inches deep.

Make Time to Pack

Don’t wait until it’s almost time to leave for the airport to pack your bag; set aside an ample amount of time, about an hour, to get it right. This way you can be mindful of your clothing decisions and fold items precisely. (More advice on this later.)

After placing the open carry-on flat on the floor, check the pockets and discard any remnants or receipts from previous trips, so there’s nothing in the way of fitting everything in. You'll want to lay the carry-on flat, so that you can easily organize your items inside and fill every inch of the space.

Select Items that Spark Joy

Marie Kondo, the organization guru and best-selling author of “The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up,” believes that you should surround yourself with items that spark joy. Apply this thought process to packing, too. Choose clothing that you love and will want to wear. Arrange everything on a flat open surface, like your bed, by category, placing all the pants in one pile, all the shirts in another, and so on and so forth. Streamline your wardrobe and pick items that are mix and matchable.

If you’re going on a five day trip, follow the “5, 4, 3, 2, 1” rule and pack five pairs of underwear and socks, four tops, three bottoms, two pairs of shoes and one purse. Kondo recommends never packing more than a week’s worth of clothes, no matter how long your trip. If you’re staying for more than a week, she suggests making time to do laundry. Throw in a versatile dress and jacket and you should have plenty of clothing. If you love a piece, but it’s valuable and you would be upset if it got lost, leave it at home.

Consider Clothing Materials

Every fabric is different. Bulky sweaters, full skirts and maxi dresses can quickly fill up a carry-on. Denim is a heavier material than cotton, so consider its weight when deciding how many pairs of jeans to bring. Thigh-high boots will take up more room than booties, and pumps require more space than flats. 

If the cozy sweater and boots spark joy, incorporate them into your plane outfit. Select your outfit before you pack and wear the heavy items—such as jewelry—on the flight. It’s a good idea to carry expensive jewelry with you in your purse rather than carry-on. When you arrive at your destination, store it in the hotel safe.

Fold Clothing Carefully

Follow Marie Kondo’s folding technique and meticulously fold all of the clothes you plan to bring. Lay each piece on a flat surface like a kitchen table or large dresser. Run your hands over the fabric, like an iron, ensuring that there are no bubbles or creases. Fold into tight rectangles and stack or place side by side until you’re ready to fill the suitcase.

It’s beneficial to have everything neatly folded before placing clothing inside the suitcase. This allows the packer to arrange items like a Tetris game, ensures that you start organized, and makes unpacking a cinch.

Rolling is another method of packing many items of clothing into a carry-on.  An example to follow is John Holloway Pack for Weeks in a Carry-on

Fill Every Inch of Space

It’s essential to fill every nook and cranny of the suitcase. Pack footwear like you would find it in a shoebox, heal to toe. Stuff the soles with socks or a dirty laundry bag. Place heavy items like shoes and hair tools at the bottom of the suitcase. Drape clothing around these items.

Don’t let a single inch of space go unused; maximizing what you have available is key.

Figure Out Your Preferred Packing Method

Packing and organization experts recommend different methods as the best way to pack. Experiment with their suggestions to figure out which works best for you. For example, Kondo prefers to fold clothing, while some swear by rolling clothing into tight cylinders. Others recommend investing in compression bags and vacuum sealing clothing into compressed packets.

The bundling technique involves lying all your clothes flat, with parts hanging out of the suitcase, like the bottom half of a pair of pants, then folding each item on top of the other. The most wrinkle-prone item should be on the outside of the bundle so it’s not folded, but simply draped over the other clothing.

Coordinate with Travel Companions

If you’re traveling with family or friends for a special occasion like a wedding, coordinate your packing with them. For example, if you’re bringing shampoo and conditioner, have your sister pack face wash and body lotion. Only one curling iron, outlet converter and sunscreen needs to be packed.

If you’re staying in a hotel, it should have basic toiletries and a blow dryer, so take that into consideration as well.

Shop the Toiletry Travel Aisle

Never travel with full-sized toiletries. Not only will they be confiscated from your carry-on, but they simply take up too much space. Head to the travel aisle at Target and purchase smaller sizes of your favorite deodorant, mouthwash and body wash.

All liquids carried on to a flight must be 3.4 ounces (100 milliliters) or smaller. Any items over 3.4 ounces will be discarded by security.

Keep Liquids on Top

Pack the aforementioned liquid toiletries in a clear Ziploc baggie and place it on top of your suitcase. If you have to open the suitcase to get through security, you’ll be able to easily access the toiletries.

I just traveled to the U.K., where makeup items such as lip gloss and mascara are considered liquid, so depending on where you’re traveling, you might want to keep makeup in an easily accessible side pocket.

Leave Behind Unnecessary Gear

From car seats to cribs, traveling with children requires a lot of stuff. Call your hotel or check with your host to see if they have baby gear for rent; it’s often cheaper to rent than it is to travel with it.

Technology can also be heavy and bulky; do you really need your laptop, iPad and Kindle? If you’re going on a vacation, leave the laptop at home, so you won’t be tempted to work. And keep kids entertained on flights with an iPod stocked with movies and games.

Keep Necessities Packed

If you travel frequently, always keep a toiletry bag packed and ready to go. Stock it with any and all essentials, like (travel-size) toothpaste and a toothbrush, contact solution and a small container of sunscreen.

When it comes time to pack, you simply have to grab the pouch and place it on top of your suitcase.

Make a To-Pack List

If you procrastinate on packing and always end up forgetting something, sit down, weeks before your trip, and quickly type up a packing list. Note everything from workout leggings to iPhone chargers.

When it comes time to pack for your next trip, print the list and refer to it to ensure you don’t forget anything.

Master an Outfit Plan
Assess all the events and activities on your travel itinerary, and pre-plan the exact outfit for each — clothes, shoes, accessories, everything. (Though it's best to choose versatile accessories that will go with a bunch of looks.) This is especially important if you’re going on a trip for a special celebration, be it a birthday or wedding.

And don't forget to choose items that you are excited to wear — then all you have to do is throw them on and you’re ready to enjoy the destination. No stress, no hassle, no problem.

Friday, May 18, 2018

What's Trending in Destination Weddings


What's Trending in Destination Weddings
A destination wedding used to be a couple’s easy out. Rather than undergoing an expensive affair with aunts, uncles, cousins, second cousins, centerpieces and a DJ (band? DJ? band?), the pair could choose to hop on a plane and make all the stress fade away. Destination weddings were smaller, more intimate and, more importantly, far, far away, which whittled the guest list down to those who were able, and truly determined, to go — and typically cut the bill in half.
The No. 1 trend that experts are seeing in this market is that these events have blossomed into an experience for everyone involved. Sure, the couple has their special day, but for the rest of the guest list, a destination wedding has become more of an opportunity for a personal vacation — one that becomes the couple's responsibility to help plan.
Because travel has become so accessible and important to a wider number of Americans in the last few years, people are more likely to jump at the chance to attend a destination wedding. In the past, destination weddings were ideal for paring down the guest list, losing attendees due to cost, lack of vacation time or general discomfort with travel. But in today’s world, companies are offering more time off, and the general willingness to travel has grown, so guest lists can often be as long as they would be at a traditional wedding.
Host destinations are getting bolder, as well. While traditional locales such as the Caribbean and Mexico will never go out of style, couples are also turning to more exotic spots. And even within typical wedding locations, twosomes are branching out to see how they can raise the bar.
Because this is a once-in-a-lifetime vacation for both the couple and their guests, the bride and groom are willing to spend more for one-of-a-kind luxury touches.
The modern travel mindset is highly driven by social media, and this is no different when it comes to destination weddings. Couples want their weddings to be buzzworthy, beautifully photographed or — the highest level of brag-ability — to go viral. Facebook and Instagram feeds are loaded with images of picture-perfect weddings in exotic locales, showing that the destination weddings market is increasingly using social media to help fuel the desire for this kind of nuptial.

Those days are now a distant memory. Today, we live in the age of access. Travel has become an inalienable right, and while that’s certainly a good thing in terms of connecting with foreign cultures and trying new experiences, it has changed the way we travel — and the way we plan destination weddings.
From curated one-of-a-kind moments to personalized itineraries for the entire guest list to essentially a mega-vacation for more than just the bride and groom, here are some of the top trends in the way couples plan and execute destination weddings.
One Big Vacation for All
“Gone are the days of just providing food, flowers and music,” said Jove Meyer, owner and creative director of New York-based Jove Meyer Events. “Now, we create experiential moments and memories in beautiful places.”
There are twosomes who go so far as to create build-up to the wedding experience, acting almost like travel agents themselves to help sell the trip as a fun vacation for all.
“Some couples are even surprising their guests by using save the dates that simply say things like ‘Get yourself to London on X date and we will take care of the rest,’” said Ceci Johnson, founder and creative director of custom invitation designer Ceci New York.
“Another trend has been to send a save the date without a destination, and those who respond ‘yes’ get a second mailing with the details of the event along with ‘get excited’ favors, such as custom passport cases and luggage tags. Many guests have been mixing in fun save the date packages that include presents like tequila bottles with custom-designed labels, if the wedding is in Mexico, for example.”
Strength in Numbers
“Couples are increasingly surprised at how many people are going to their destination weddings,” said Tami Santini, owner of Paradise Getaways in Michigan. “The bride and groom aren’t seeing as much resistance, complaints or concerns when it comes to these weddings. Group sizes are larger, and couples are not looking at this type of ceremony as a way to save money. They just want to do it and are willing to spend $30,000 to have it happen. It’s common to see 100 people at a destination wedding.
The modern consumer is not so put off by travel. Thanks to social media, the world has become a much smaller place, and travelers today realize that time is fleeting and they need to seize potential experiences when they can.
“We’re seeing a different mindset about how people view the destination wedding,” Santini said. “They are willing to invest because they see the value that they are getting themselves. We are catering to millennials, for the most part, and they have no hesitation. Getting out and seeing the world is just normal for them.”
Go Big or Go Home
“Couples are not afraid of long layovers or longer flights, especially if it means they can have an exclusive property or location for their wedding weekend,” said Meyer of Jove Meyer Events.
“Everyone has done the Caribbean and Mexico so many times,” said Sonal Shah, senior event consultant for New York-based Sonal J. Shah Event Consultants. “Now, Europe is where couples look for their weddings. Think Switzerland, Paris and Greece. Marrakech, Morocco, is another destination on the rise.”
Johnson of Ceci New York adds that Ireland has become another popular place for Europe-bound Americans planning destination weddings.
“Far from the issues that some major European cities have had regarding safety, Ireland is filled with epic scenery and unique venues like castles,” she said.
Once travelers reach their destination, the wedding experience becomes about incorporating the local flavor into the overall vibe. Destination weddings are first and foremost about the celebrated couple, but they also give guests an opportunity to say they have seen and done something new. Authenticity and experiences are the currency of good travel these days, and that is true of destination weddings, as well.
“Embracing the local flare is a big trend,” Meyer said. “More couples are working with local talent to bring authenticity to their destination wedding — be it through decor, favors, entertainment or attire. We are all familiar with a classic wedding, but now, guests and couples are having so much fun incorporating local touches to make it more unique and creative.”
Luxury Rising
“Sometimes we'll see intimate weekend-long gatherings with a couple’s closest loved ones, where they treat every guest to a deeply personal and luxurious experience,” said Lisa Vorce, celebrity wedding planner and owner and creative director of Lisa Vorce Co. in Santa Ana, Calif. “This allows us to customize every detail with thoughtful attention to the couple’s tastes."
According to consultant Shah, couples are comfortable going above and beyond to truly customize their wedding experience. She has seen brides and grooms splurge on everything from private island buyouts and complete venue buyouts to chartered jets, a night on a yacht and flying in a celebrity guest.
Karisma Hotels & Resorts, for example, has catered to this growing trend with its Private Enclave Wedding Experience, which takes place at El Dorado Casitas Royale in Mexico's Riviera Maya. This package guarantees the wedding group a private casita enclave when they book a minimum of 17 casitas. Guests enjoy a private swimming pool with a swim-up bar, as well as private butler service. The package also includes a decorated Memorable Moments ceremony and a four-course private dinner reception with a private wine and cheese event, a bridal spa suite on the wedding day and a private poolside Mexican beach fiesta. The wedding couple is also upgraded to one of the Palafito Overwater Bungalows at El Dorado Maroma for the last two nights of their stay.
All for the 'Gram'
“Social media plays a big role in destination weddings,” said Scott Wiseman, president of Travel Impressions. “Many agents get their leads from referrals and testimonials from other brides. Social media also helps direct brides to the new hot spots.”  Wiseman says that word-of-mouth has become an even stronger power with the influence of social media.
Celebrity wedding planner Vorce agrees.
“With the prevalence of social media, travelers are also planning their trips according to the guidance of leading travel bloggers, including couples who may be planning a destination celebration,” she said. “We use Instagram for digital reconnaissance, often finding unique artisans and creative services in the most exotic places around the world."
While the bar for destination weddings constantly moves higher, the good news for agents is that, for modern couples, great travel experiences seem to be the perfect add-on to their big day.