The deadline to obtain a REAL ID-compliant driver’s license to fly domestically has been extended again. Beginning May 2, 2023, every traveler 18 or older must have a REAL ID-compliant driver’s license to fly within the U.S.
The deadline was extended from Oct. 1, 2021 to May 2, 2023 due to circumstances resulting from the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, according to the April 27 announcement from Department of Homeland Security (DHS). The announcement also says that the pandemic has significantly impacted states’ ability to issue REAL ID-compliant driver’s licenses and identification cards, with many driver’s licensing agencies still operating at limited capacity.
“Protecting the health, safety, and security of our communities is our top priority,” said Secretary Mayorkas. “As our country continues to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, extending the REAL ID full enforcement deadline will give states needed time to reopen their driver’s licensing operations and ensure their residents can obtain a REAL ID-compliant license or identification card.”
If your ID is not REAL ID-compliant, you must present a different form of ID, like a valid passport or U.S. military ID, to the Transportation and Security Administration (TSA) agents to board a plane. If you don’t have a REAL ID-compliant form of identification or any other acceptable form of ID, you won’t be allowed to fly. Seriously. TSA and DHS are not joking around with this.
To get a REAL ID, you must go to your state’s driver’s license agency (aka the Department of Motor Vehicles or DMV) and bring documentation that proves who you are and where you live. Check with your DMV to be sure you bring the right things before you go. Many DMV websites have checklists for you to follow.
For example, if you got married and your current last name is different than the one on your birth certificate, you should bring:
Travelers without a REAL ID-compliant driver’s license or ID card by May 2, 2023 can still fly domestically, but they must have a valid passport to board the plane. But anyone planning to travel in the U.S. should get one so you don’t have to think about REAL ID anymore.
In November 2020, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released new guidance for people traveling internationally by air. The updated recommendations say that those who travel abroad during the pandemic should get tested for COVID-19 twice: one to three days before your flight departs and three to five days after your flight home. This should go without saying, but if your pre-travel test is positive, the CDC says you should not travel. Many destinations, both international and domestic (like Grenada and St. Kitts) are requiring travelers to present negative COVID-19 test results in order to gain entry, so travelers may have to take a pre-travel test anyways, but it’s still helpful for the CDC to share this new guidance.
The CDC also recommends staying home for seven days after you travel even if your post-travel test is negative. If you do not get tested when you return home, they say it’s safest to stay home for 14 days after travel.
According to the CDC, “testing before and after travel can reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19. Testing does not eliminate all risk, but when paired with a period of staying at home and everyday precautions like wearing masks and social distancing, it can make travel safer by reducing spread on planes, in airports, and at destinations.”
These are not hard and fast rules you must follow, but rather guidelines and recommendations the CDC is sharing to help keep travelers – and the places they visit – safe and to prevent the potential spread of COVID-19. We should all do our part to keep ourselves and those around us safe and healthy.
Everyone knows why vacations are great—they’re fun! You don’t have to work! There are some surprising side benefits of making a getaway, though—you can boost your wellness, be more productive, and maybe even get a raise.
1. Vacations Can Cut Your Risk for Heart Attack
Taking an opportunity to de-stress and spend time with loved ones can lower the risk of heart attack by 30 percent for men and a whopping 50 percent for women. Start looking for vacation destinations—your body will thank you.
2. Vacations Boost Your Energy Reserves
Studies have shown that vacations restock your energy stores, which makes work seem easier when you do return to the office. Take a trip, come home, and hit the ground running!
3. Vacations Can Help Get You a Raise
Research has found that workers who take more vacation time consistently receive better scores on their end-of-the-year performance reviews. The effect isn’t small, either—the boost is nearly 10 percent! Compared to workers who didn’t take time off, the vacationers also tend to be happier with their jobs and stick around long-term.
4. Vacation Adventures Give You a Natural High
When you discover new things or feel like you’re doing something adventurous, your brain gives you a nice little blast of dopamine, the hormone and neurotransmitter that makes you feel good. So, find a vacation spot where you can hike, snorkel, mountain climb—anything outside of your normal day-to-day routine.
5. Vacations Make You Happier with Your Entire Life
The more active you are with your leisure time—and the more control you have over your free time—the more likely you are to be satisfied with your life overall.
6. Vacations Can Help the Economy
Enough about you; let’s talk about how your vacation would benefit others. If Americans took all of the vacation they were entitled to instead of leaving days on the table every year, it would result in an additional 580 million more days of travel per year—a $160 billion boost to the economy. So, in a way, heading to a Costa Rican beach is a totally selfless act.
7. Vacations Help Keep Your Mind Calm
Your brain gets used to not vacationing—and that’s a bad thing. Some neurologists believe that the neural connections that produce feelings of calm become weaker and weaker if they’re not utilized. Over time, this can mean it’s actually harder to get your mind to switch into relaxation mode—even outside of work. Take some time off to beef up these neural connections.
8. Vacation Happiness Is Contagious
Environmental psychologists have observed that the good vibes you bring back from vacation rub off on the people around you—and what’s more, when a lot of people go on vacation at the same time, those vibes become “a viral happiness pandemic.” Just imagine an elementary school on the day before summer vacation begins…
9. Vacation May Help You Live a Longer, Healthier Life
After seeing all of these mental and physical benefits of vacationing, it’s no surprise that European countries in which workers receive up to 30 days of vacation per year enjoy longer life expectancies and lower health care costs.
10. Vacations Force You to Improve Your Workflow
Since you’re going to be gone, someone has to do your job, right? That means you need to document your processes for the person who’s going to pick up the slack, improve training, and identify skill sets in other employees, making them more valuable. Everybody wins!
11. Vacations Can Make You a Better Boss
Nearly 85 percent of executives surveyed for a study said that they have canceled a vacation because they couldn’t get away from work. In the long-term, this kind of behavior is really just hurting the company. When bosses take time off, they return with more creativity and are able to think about the company’s future more clearly.
Frequently travelers forget a crucial step before leaving for their trip; notifying their bank.
Prior to using a credit or debit card when traveling notify your bank of your travel plans
Banks do whatever they can to protect you from becoming a victim of identity theft. But if you are not careful, your bank’s enthusiasm could backfire when you travel. If they spot transactions in an unfamiliar location, your bank may assume your card is being used fraudulently and shut it off.
When you let your bank know that you are going away, they add a record to your account and share it with their fraud detection system. This prevents your “irregular” spending patterns from triggering a block on your card.
How to notify your bank of your travel plans
Every bank works a little differently. If you already use online banking, there’s likely an online travel notice where you can enter your destination and the length of your trip. If you’ve got multiple countries on your itinerary, you can specify that as well.
If you do not have online banking, call your bank to set up a travel alert on your account. You can also speak with a representative face-to-face at a local branch office.
Financial precautions to keep in mind when you travel
Notifying your bank about your travel plans is not the only financial precaution you should take. You should always have copies of your important documents and information, such as your bank’s 24-hour telephone number and your account numbers. If possible, bring more than one credit or debit card with you and place it a safe place separate from your wallet in the event that your wallet is lost or stolen.
Boasting six major islands – each with their own distinct personality – Hawaii offers the ideal vacation escape. Whether you’re looking for adventure or relaxation, there’s an island for you.
Oahu: The Heart of Hawaii
This third largest Hawaiian island brings you the best of Hawaii – beaches, majestic mountains, lush tropical foliage, food, and culture. It’s home to the state capital, Honolulu, and majority of Hawaii’s diverse population, who fittingly call Oahu ‘the gathering place. It’s a unique island where the activity of an international metropolis feels right at home in a tropical paradise, and city streets naturally extend to sand shores.
Top things to do: Go to a traditional luau. Learn how to surf. Visit Pearl Harbor. Explore the island’s scenic North Shore. Indulge at the food trucks or enjoy the fusion menus of Hawaii’s star chefs. Relax and rejuvenate at a spa retreat. Shop at the local market or upscale stores.
Kauai: The Garden Isle
Soak in the dramatic landscape of Hawaii’s fourth largest and northernmost island. Here, tropical rainforests, cascading waterfalls, emerald valleys, towering sea cliffs, deep canyons, and a 50-mile stretch of pristine beaches are a part of your everyday scenery. From the rugged Na Pali coast and breathtaking Hanalei Bay, to the stunning Wailua Falls, the island has been a backdrop of many Hollywood hits.
Top things to do: Sail along the Na Pali Coast during sunset. Take a helicopter ride over the “Jurassic Park Falls.” Make a fun stop at the Spouting Horn on the south shore to see water spray out of lava tubes. Go paddle boarding, kayaking, and swimming in Hanalei Bay. Take a snorkeling or scuba diving tour.
Maui: The Valley Isle
With its never-ending pristine beaches, stunning waterfalls, championship golf courses, and spectacular Haleakala National Park, Maui has won the hearts of honeymooners, adventurers, golf enthusiasts and families, alike. This second largest Hawaiian island is also famous for its lush green valleys, volcanic landscapes, historic villages, top-notch water sports, and stellar restaurants and resorts. As the locals say, “Maui no ka oi” or Maui is the best.
Top things to do: Take the epic Road to Hana. Catch an unforgettable Haleakala sunrise or sunset in the national park. Explore the popular Ka’anapali Beach. Go snorkeling in to the crystalline waters of Molokini Crater. Hike through the rainforest and refresh under a waterfall.
Big Island: The Island of Hawaii
The youngest of all islands, and also the largest, Hawaii’s Big Island is still growing. Almost twice the size of all other islands combined, its unique landscape remains unrivaled. From majestic snow-covered mountains to lush rainforests, hardened lava deserts to black-sand beaches, and of course, the active, fire-spitting Kilauea volcano (that’s been pouring molten lava into the ocean since 1983), this one-of-a-kind island is guaranteed to take your breath away.
Top things to do: Make a pit stop at the island’s black, white, and green sand beaches. Hike in a rainforest or on a crater—you’ll find some of the best trails here. Go 100 feet below the surface in a submarine to see stunning coral reef and marine life off the Kona Coast. Head to the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park to witness the eruption in real time.
Molokai: The Friendly Isle
Thirty-eight miles long and 10 miles wide, this fifth largest island is where traditional Hawaii culture has not been interrupted by progress. Here you won’t find traffic lights or fast-food chains, just friendly natives who invite you to soak in their laid-back lifestyle. The island is home to the highest sea cliffs in the world at 3,600 to 3,900 feet, native Hawaiian fishponds and heiau (Hawaiian temples), and breathtaking natural beauty no matter where you go
Things to do: Journey along 2,000-foot sea cliffs to one of the most remote settlements in the Hawaiian Islands. Snorkel and swim in the sparkling blue waters at Papohaku Beach, one of Hawaii’s largest white-sand beaches. Ride a mule down the 1,700-foot cliffs to Kalaupapa National Historic Park.
Lanai: The Private Isle
Forget about your busy schedule, the smallest inhabited island in Hawaii, Lanai is all about getting away from the real world. An oasis of calm and contrasts, it is the ideal island for some peace and privacy. At the same time, it’s a destination that provides all the excitement an adventure-seeker could hope for.
Things to do: Relax and get pampered in luxurious resorts. Go horseback riding in the lush valleys. Tee off on a world-class golf course. Explore heritage sites on a guided UTV tour. Hike among native Ohia Lehua trees. Snorkel at the spectacular Hulopoe Bay. Enjoy a picnic overlooking Puu Pehe (Sweetheart Rock).
Ready to start planning your Hawaiian getaway? Contact Kingston Bay Travel to start planning your Hawaiian getaway.
Packing for a cruise is like packing for any resort-based vacation. You'll want to take comfortable, casual clothing for daytime on board and in port, and swimsuits and workout clothes for pools, Jacuzzis, saunas and health clubs. To be prepared for dinner in the dining room, check out
What Should I Wear on a Cruise?
Think about the kind of shore excursions you plan to take and pack accessories, where appropriate, such as hiking boots, ponchos or rain gear, fleece jackets and snorkel gear. When traveling to tropical areas, such as in Central and South America, it's a good idea to take insect repellent.
Pack all of your medications, prescription or otherwise, in a bag you can carry on. Obtain extra prescriptions from your physician for any medications you are currently taking and carry them with you.
Most ships have 110-volt outlets in every cabin, which will accommodate U.S.-built hairdryers, travel irons and electric shavers. Most new ships provide hairdryers as well.
Carry a hat, sunscreen and sunglasses for bright, sunny days on deck. You'll have many opportunities to have your picture taken by the ship's photographers, but you'll naturally want to take along your own camera or video camera as well.
Shipboard dress is casual during the day. Shorts and tasteful T-shirts are acceptable even in the dining room. At dinner, dress codes will vary daily, among the following:
Casual: Slacks and sport shirt for men; slacks and blouse, sundress or pantsuit for women.
Informal: Jacket with or without tie for men; dress or pantsuit for women.
Formal: Dark suit or tuxedo for men; evening gown or cocktail dress for women.
Most 3 and 4 night cruises have one formal night; most 7-night cruises have 2 formal nights; most 10-night cruises have 3 formal nights, and so on. In general, the longer and more expensive cruises will be the most formal on formal night, but a dark suit and tie is acceptable attire on even the most exclusive ships.
The ClubHotel Riu Negril is a family friendly all-inclusive resort overlooking Jamaica's Bloody Bay Beach. With live shows, activities offered throughout the day and a special program for children, the whole family is sure to enjoy a one of a kind getaway. You can enjoy the warm Jamaican weather, take part in water sports on the beach, or relax at the spa facilities.
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Planning for your next Caribbean adventure in Aruba?