Home Travel News Happy 4th of July and Canada Day

Happy 4th of July and Canada Day

34 min read

Happy Independence Day!

As July 4th marches to our door, many of all us look forward to great celebrations with families and friends; displays of  fireworks and flags; seductive meals of hot dogs and hamburgers, potato salads and Cole slaw, and corn, tomatoes and watermelons — some brought to us by immigrants who have blessed our land, while other food items already in our diet thanks to the pre-Columbian Amerindians. It is a day which I always relish. Children and adults play. The laughter is infectious and conversations on your stoop or porch merits the same enthusiasm.

Today, the U.S. is both large in space and in population with 326.68 million people. And with Independence Day, the term of Patriotism is appropriately addressed.


Racism by Scott Woods

“The problem is that white people see racism as conscious hate, when racism is bigger than that. Racism is a complex system of social and political levers and pulleys set up generations ago to continue working on the behalf of whites at other people’s expense, whether whites know/like it or not. Racism is an insidious cultural disease. It is so insidious that it doesn’t care if you are a white person who likes black people; it’s still going to find a way to infect how you deal with people who don’t look like you…”


This Sculpture Takes the Great Barrier Reef’s Temperature

By Alex Fox; Courtesy smithsonianmag.com

‘Ocean Siren’ changes colors in real time to reflect ocean temperatures at Davies Reef, part of Australia’s ailing Great Barrier Reef

Ocean Siren sculpture at Townsville, Australia
Photo courtesy of smithsonianmag.com

Standing more than 12 feet tall above the water in Townsville, Australia, an illuminated outdoor sculpture transforms the planet’s rising ocean temperatures into a colorful display, reports Katie Dundas for Atlas Obscura.

The sculpture is modelled after Takoda Johnson, a local student and descendent of Australia’s indigenous Wulgurukaba people. The sculpture looks out across the water, holding a shell high above her head.


14 Airbnbs Within an Hour of a National Park

Courtesy of Condé Nast Traveler

Lake McDonald, Glacier National Park, Montana

National parks were among the first destinations to reopen to the public — if they closed at all — as coronavirus stay-at-home orders loosened. Now, Americans are flocking to the most stunning natural areas in the U.S., and filling up the campsites and on-site hotels in the process. But you’re not too late to find accommodations near your favorite national park: There are treehouses just outside Montana’s Glacier National Park, cozy studios near South Carolina’s Congaree National Park, and A-frames, of course, adjacent to Mount Rainier National Park in Washington state. Below, you’ll find Airbnbs within an hour radius of some of the country’s most famous parks — and a few lesser-known (read: less-crowded) parks as well. Note: All of these scenic Airbnbs are run by Superhosts, who each have a rating of 4.8 or above, a record of zero cancellations, and at least a 90 percent response rate, meaning they’ll get back to you ASAP.


What Life Looks Like in Countries Coming Out of Lockdown

By Terry Ward; Afar

photo of rome during the pandemic
Photo by Arthur Yeh/Unsplash

As some regions open up from COVID-19 restrictions, we ask citizens what the post-quarantine world looks like.

(This is a developing story.)


Which European Countries are a Go for this Summer?

Santorini, Greece

A handful of European countries may be open to international travelers this summer, including Italy and Portugal. Iceland, Sweden, Greece and others also look promising.


16 Immersive Ways to (Virtually) Experience Asia

Taj Mahal, Agra, India

Asia’s natural beauty, rich history and fascinating culture makes it undeniably popular. Don’t miss out on travelling through Asia during the pandemic. Simply take these virtual tours, instead… With natural beauty, incredible wildlife and a wealth of cultural and historical sites, Asia makes for an enriching travel experience. While you can’t physically go there now due to the coronavirus outbreak, you can experience some of the continent’s great wonders from the comfort of your home. Whether you want to see elephants in Thailand, walk the Great Wall of China, kayak between mangrove forests or get a taste of Vietnam, our virtual travel guide to Asia will give you plenty of armchair wanderlust.


Flying: What You Need to Know

By Tariro Mzezewa via The New York Times

Airplane travel is inching back, but staying safe remains a concern. Here’s how to think about approaching a trip.

For people who are thinking of flying this summer, or in the months after, air travel will be a far different experience than it was before the coronavirus. The days of casually hopping in a cab or Uber to the airport, then jostling for space in the overhead, are over, at least for the moment. From the curb to the plane, each portion of the journey has new rules and new things to think about.

Here’s what we know about navigating air travel safely now.


There’s Never Been a Better Time to Start Meditating — Here’s Expert Advice to Get Started

If you’ve ever considered learning how to meditate, now is the perfect time. It’s completely normal to feel stressed out or overwhelmed by the COVID-19 pandemic, but taking care of yourself is important. Daily meditation can help reduce stress and anxiety, and with countless meditation apps at your fingertips, it has never been easier to start.


Hotels Continually Improving with More Automation

Automation is finding its way into hotels in several ways, from smart energy efficiency that shuts off a room’s electricity when no one is present to smart blinds that provide voice control and built-in light sensors.


Airports Eye Touchless Tech, New Cleaning Systems

facial recognition biometrics at airport
Photo courtesy of SITA

Touchless technologies, prearranged security screenings and new sterilization systems are among anticipated technologies airports will bring on line in response to the coronavirus pandemic. More spacious terminals and health threat detection are also anticipated trends.


Smart City Solutions for the Public Service Landscape

Imagine a seamless drive to work, a streamlined waste management system, and data-driven energy usage. Yes, technology has the power to transform the places in which we live – with the potential for integrated, connected, and sustainable communities. But what challenges, obstacles, and risks do we face along the path to building smart cities of the future?


American Allows Passengers to Rebook Crowded Flights

American Airlines will notify passengers when a flight becomes relatively full and allow them to rebook on another flight, a policy United has also adopted. American also extended complimentary rebooking for travel through Sept. 30, and adopted policies giving passengers more flexibility to change seats and create more distance between them.


Airplane Reverse Seating Plan Designed to Enhance Safety

Avio Ineriors' Janus three-seater airplane design
Photo courtesy Avio Interiors

An Italian company has developed a ‘three-seater’ design for airplanes in which the middle seat faces backward while the other seats face forward, with all three seats protected by a transparent shield. Avio Interiors says the shields and seats would be comprised of safe, hygienic materials and that the design would help protect passengers from potential virus transmission.


4 Ways to Protect Yourself from Disinformation

disinformation protection
Photo by Strov/Shutterstock.com

Courtesy Elizabeth Stoycheff

Even the most well-intentioned news consumers can find today’s avalanche of political information difficult to navigate.


CLIA: A Redefinition of the Way Cruise Shipping Operates


Maria Deligianni, Regional Representative in Eastern Mediterranean, CLIA (Cruise Lines International Associaition) talked about the unprecedented situation cruise shipping faces due to the coronavirus pandemic, during a recent interview with maritimes.gr. Unprecedented crises require similar reaction, she said.


JetBlue CEO anticipates improvements to make travel safer

In an interview with CNBC, JetBlue CEO Robin Hayes said widespread testing will be essential to make passengers feel secure and allow air travel to recover from the coronavirus crisis. “We’ve got to make sure that they’re safe from a health standpoint,” he said, predicting that the epidemic will result in permanent changes in cleaning and screening procedures that will make aircraft and airports safer.


Corona Virus Travel Updates – Live Blog

Courtesy Big 7 Travel Team

Photo courtesy of Big 7 Travel Team1

As the coronavirus situation is ongoing, we will be updating this live blog with current travel advice, quarantines, flight cancellations and travel industry news. Check back daily for new updates and send any coronavirus travel news tips to sarah@bigsevenmedia.com


5 Ways to Support Small Businesses from Home During the Pandemic

Courtesy Caroline Morse Teel, SmarterTravel

Small businesses are really hurting during this time of isolation. Here are five simple and safe ways you can help support them so that they’ll still be there for you when the pandemic is over. (And remember — the best way you can help small business is by staying home, so that we can end this isolation period faster.)


To our dear northern neighbors,
Happy Canada Day!
Keep doing what you are doing.
— Traveling Boy

Canada Day

Canada Day, observed on July 1st, is a national holiday marking the anniversary of Confederation in 1867, when the British North America Act came into effect. It was originally known as Dominion Day until it was renamed in 1982.

Canada Day celebration
Canada Day is celebrated on July 1 across and marks the anniversary of the enactment of the Constitution Act, 1867. This act united three colonies into a single country called Canada within the British Empire.

Celebrated overseas, Dominion Day was a way for Canadians to celebrate their national identity and assert their distinctiveness within the British Empire.


United States Not on EU’s ‘Safe’ Travel list, Diplomats Say

Courtesy Philip Blenkinsop

BRUSSELS, June 30 (Reuters) – The United States is not on a “safe list” of destinations for non-essential travel due to be unveiled by European Union governments later on Tuesday, three diplomats said.

The 27-member bloc is expected to give outline approval to leisure or business travel from Wednesday to 14 countries beyond its borders when they vote on the list by midday Brussels time (1000 GMT), the diplomats said.

The countries are Algeria, Australia, Canada, Georgia, Japan, Montenegro, Morocco, New Zealand, Rwanda, Serbia, South Korea, Thailand, Tunisia and Uruguay, they said.

Russia and Brazil, along with the United States, are among countries that do not make the initial “safe list.”

The Maya Ruins at Uxmal Still Have More Stories to Tell

By Elizabeth Landau; Courtesy smithsonianmag.com

The remains of a provincial capital on the Yucatan Peninsula attest to a people trying to fortify their place in the world

View of Uxmal ruins from the Great Pyramid
View of Uxmal ruins from the Great Pyramid. Photo courtesy of Elizabeth Landau.

As the sun sets over the Yucatan jungle, its fading light falls on the western staircase of the Pyramid of the Magician, just as it has for more than a millennium. In pre-Hispanic times, on Maya religious holidays, a priest or ruler might ascend these stairs to pass through the gateway to a holy temple — or, as historian Jeff Kowalski writes in Encyclopedia of the Ancient Maya, “a cave portal to a sacred creation mountain.” Watching from the plaza below, the commoners may have seen a leader emerging from this ornate doorway as a manifestation of the planet Venus, or as the sun itself.


Take These Steps If You’re Renting a Vacation Home During the Pandemic

Courtesy of Consumer Reports

Traveling this summer has risks. Here’s how to vacation responsibly and minimize your exposure to the coronavirus. Summer is almost upon us. But while the heat and humidity will be familiar, “this is going to be a very different type of summer,” says Amira Roess, Ph.D., M.P.H., a professor of global health and epidemiology at George Mason University in Fairfax, Va. The country may be reopening, but the risk of COVID-19 remains. Until a vaccine is developed, this is a reality Americans will “have to contend with every time they step outside,” says Amesh Adalja, M.D., an infectious disease physician and senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security in Baltimore.

A Behind-the-Scenes Look at Maintaining Tourist Sites During COVID-19

Courtesy of Smithsonian

maintaining tourist sites during Covid-19


How to Stay Safe While Traveling

the writer's room at Bear Springs Hotel
Photo by Greg Aragon.

With travel set to resume as coronavirus restrictions ease, travelers should inform themselves about the cleaning procedures at hotels and Airbnb properties before choosing the best option for them. Ask about cleaning protocols, be on the lookout for red flags such as accumulations of dirt and grime, and inspect surfaces in the bathroom and kitchen, recommends Brian Sansoni of the American Cleaning Institute.


New TSA Rules

As travelers return to airports, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) announced new rules and precautions to reduce the spread of coronavirus or any kind of germs amongst travelers and employees.


Exploring Japan’s Wellbeing Traditions to Inspire Post-Lockdown Restorative Travel

Beppu Onsen hot springs, Japan
Beppu Onsen has several hot springs varying in color and clarity for different ailments (© JNTO)

Recreate Japan’s onsens, find mindfulness through zen meditation and shakyo, and practice the technique of kintsugi from home

For would-be travelers dreaming of an escape to Japan post-lockdown, there are a variety of fun, interactive ways to recreate some of the country’s ancient wellbeing and mindfulness practices from afar. The below methods and products highlight how some of Japan’s oldest traditions, from onsens to the art of kintsugi, will help to inspire travelers to start planning their next restorative journey to Japan.

One of Japan’s most iconic wellness attractions, the onsen (or hot spring), is naturally enriched with vitamins and minerals from subterranean volcanic activity beneath the archipelago. There are a variety of products travelers can buy to enhance their own Japanese-style bath at home; the Japanese brand Kracie has created a variety of bath salts, allowing people to bring the magic of the onsen into their homes. These bath salts mimic the vitamin and mineral composition of some of Japan’s most popular onsens. Each packet of salts has a specific purpose…


Dream-Worthy Destinations to Start Planning For

The Royal Mansour Marrakech in Morocco is on travel writer Angelina Villa-Clarke’s list of places to stay soon after travel restrictions are lifted. She also has her sights on AlmaLusa Baixa/Chiado, a 28-room townhouse hotel in Lisbon, Portugal, as well as a few other destinations.


Exploring These Lost Cities Is The Closest You’ll Get to Time Travel

hot air balloons over Bagan temples
Photo courtesy of Zzvet@DreamsTime. com

Lost cities offer glimpses into ancient civilizations that, either suddenly or over time, collapsed, often leaving artifacts intact and architecture fully preserved. Machu Pichuu might be the most famous, and we have yet to discover Atlantis, but the cities below are rife for discovery. You’ll find accessible ruins to easily place on your bucket list and kingdoms so lost and isolated you never knew they existed. Some were decimated by disaster, others simply faded away. But all are worthy of exploring once our civilization’s gears turn back on.


Businesses Prepare to Reopen with New Methods of Liability Waiver Collection

Handshakes, hugs and sharing pens and pencils may become things of the past. Physical contact with anyone or anything can now set off alarm bells.

COVID-19 is changing the world of customer relations, from contactless point-of-sale purchases to online ordering. WaiverSign, a digital liability waiver application, is helping companies get liability waivers signed electronically, eliminating the need to pass pens, paper, clipboards and keypads back and forth.

As officials like to say, “statistics don’t lie.” New sales figures are up 121% in April 2020 compared to April 2019, say officials from WaiverSign.

WaiverSign on tablet

“Utilizing WaiverSign is yet another tool for companies preparing to welcome patrons as virus-driven lockdowns begin to lift,” said Brandon Lake, CEO of Resmark Systems and WaiverSign. “In addition to getting waivers signed without the use of paper and pens, many companies are now seeing the myriad of other benefits that come with collecting and storing liability waivers online.”

WaiverSign, headquartered in Salt Lake City, Utah, also anticipates signing on new clients who choose to augment and fine-tune their risk management plans by implementing waivers and related documents to ensure that participants understand and accept the inherent risks of COVID-19 and other illnesses.


Together in Spirit – The Best Friends Animal Society

At the core of Best Friends Animal Society’s work is the dream that one day animals will no longer be killed in America’s shelters.


Working Remotely? This Webinar is for You


Whether you work remotely 100% of the time or find yourself navigating this situation for the very first time, working at a physical distance can pose a unique set of challenges. Slack is here to help. This 30-minute webinar will provide tips and tactics within Slack that you can put into action right away.


How to Redesign Government Work for the Future


In this article, Deloitte explores the opportunity for government orgs to intentionally redesign work to both accommodate the role of technology and machines, and to design for new needs and activities, including those resulting from broader economic, workforce, and societal shifts.


The New York Times Will Pause Printing of Sports & Travel Sections


Coronavirus & the Generational Divide

The pandemic is revealing an unexpected, dangerous attitude among older Americans and their behavior during the outbreak. “Coronavirus & the Generational Divide” by Anna Christensen is now available.

Ms. Christensen is a wilderness first aid expert and author, explains that the demographic at the greatest statistical risk for death by the virus are precisely the people who are the least concerned, most apt to break voluntary quarantine, and unlikely to use telemedecine. See Ms.Christensen’s bio and books.

Contact Bill McIntyre for a copy of “Coronavirus & the Generational Divide” a 500-word column.  There is no fee to publish the column.

How to Take Your Own Passport Photo

Courtesy, Caroline Morse Teel, SmarterTravel

taking a passport photo

After paying $15 to have an awkward photoshoot in the aisle of a CVS, only to have my passport photos rejected twice (once for being too dark and once for being too bright), I decided there had to be a better way to take your own passport photo. Turns out, snapping your own passport photo is easier, cheaper, and much more convenient than going to a “professional” (a.k.a., the cashier at your local drugstore). Here’s a few tips:


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