6 Sunny Spots for a Beautiful International Destination Wedding

Sun-and-sand destination weddings will always be in demand. These 5 locales are not only sunny and sandy, they’re also trending.

Destination #1: Tulum

Why: Tulum’s ancient stone remains are unique archaeological attractions that tell the original story of the now bustling modern city. Plus, with ruins situated right on the coastline, couples’ wedding photos will be more than magical.

Mask rules: It is required to wear a face mask in public spaces in Quintana Roo.

COVID Entry Requirements: None

Legal requirements: For a legal wedding in Mexico, here’s what you need to know.

Destination #2: Cabo

Why: The crystal clear waters of the Sea of Cortez create the perfect scenery for a romantic getaway. If you have a couple looking for a dream beach wedding, many hotels and resort in Los Cabos offers spectacular honeymoon and wedding packages that let you as a travel advisor leave all the work behind.

Mask rules: All individuals must wear masks or face coverings throughout the destination at all times when interacting with others who are not members of their household in public or private spaces.

COVID Entry Requirements: None

Legal requirements: For a legal wedding in Mexico, here’s what you need to know.

Destination #3: Cancun

Why: Couples looking for a luxury wedding or a spicy celebration bursting with entertainment will find what they want in Cancun. Convenient to travel to from origins throughout the U.S., Cancun was designed with the needs of a tourist in mind, which makes it easy to design a dream wedding experience.

Mask rules: It is required to wear a face mask in public spaces in Quintana Roo.

COVID Entry Requirements: None

Legal requirements: For a legal wedding in Mexico, here’s what you need to know.

Destination #4: Costa Rica

Why: Known world-wide for its eco-tourism efforts, stunning natural beauty from the rain forest to the beaches, and an extensive amount of wildlife species that live in the varying habitats, Costa Rica is a top-notch destination and creates a beautiful backdrop for a destination wedding. just legalized gay marriage

Mask rules: Masks are mandatory in public.

COVID Entry Requirements: Residents of only 21 states in the U.S. are currently authorized to enter Costa Rica. Visitors must complete an electronic Health Pass and present a RT-PCR diagnostic test with a negative result taken within 72 hours of travel. Learn more.

Legal requirements: For a legal wedding in Costa Rica, here’s what you need to know.

Destination #5: Bahamas

Why: The Bahamas lives up to its title as the World’s Leading Wedding Destination (earned in 2015), offering more than 700 islands with numerous unique locations where couples can declare their love for one another.

Mask rules: Masks are required in public and travelers must return to their accommodations by 10:00 pm.

COVID Entry Requirements: Visitors must complete an electronic Health Visa and present a RT-PCR diagnostic test with a negative result taken no more than 5 days prior to travel. All hotel guests must vacation in place and remain on the resort property for either the full length of their stay or 14 days, whichever is shorter. Learn more.

Legal requirements: For a legal wedding in the Bahamas, here’s what you need to know.

Destination #6: Jamaica

Why: With beautiful resorts, honey-colored beaches and the faint sound of reggae music in the background, it’s no surprise Jamaica is a popular destination wedding location. Couples can opt for ready-made resort wedding packages or rent a private Jamaican villa for a customizable experience.

Mask rules: Masks must be worn in public spaces.

COVID Entry Requirements: Visitors must complete an electronic Traveler Authorization and present a COVID PCR diagnostic test with a negative result taken no more than 10 days prior to travel. Learn more.

Legal requirements: https://moj.gov.jm/services-and-information/marriage-licence

Disclaimer: You can always get the latest mask and travel restrictions on the destination you’re traveling to before you go from the city or country’s tourism board website or government website.

BRIESKITRAVEL INVITES YOU TO …

You know COVID can’t kill her vibe!!! Spend 5 days (November 17 – 22, 2022) celebrating our girl, Shawn at the beautiful, beachfront, adults-only, El Dorado Spa Resort by Karisma. You will be able to enjoy a mile of pristine beachfront, 24-hour room service, beach and pool butlers, and some of the BEST trained chefs, bartenders and servers in the world. Those 18 and under are welcome to enjoy the amenities at our neighboring sister resort.

El Dorado, a spa resort – features 205 luxuriously decorated suites in 8 room categories. Each suite features a king size bed, maximum capacity for 2 guests, marble bathroom, separate toilet, a relaxing hot tub, concierge service 8:00 am – 5:00 pm, hair dryer, cable TV, amenity kit, iron and ironing board, weight scale, pillow menu and aromatherapy in your room Beach butler service available between 9:00 am – 5:00 pm.

KARISMA GOURMET INCLUSIVE® AMENITIES INCLUDE:

• Welcome glass of sparkling wine and refreshing towel

• Wireless Internet available

• Valet parking service

• Hospitality Desk

• 14 swimming pools, one natural salt-water pool

• Concierge Service 8am – 5pm

• Unlimited free National and International Calls

• Safe deposit box in the room

• All Gourmet meals and specialty bites

• Alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages from a selection of domestic and international premium brands

• Minibar with beer, water, soft drinks stocked once a day

• 24-hour room service. Restrictions apply on rainy days

• Daily and nightly activity program with live music and show.

AND MORE!!!

THERE ARE SEVERAL ROOM CATEGORIES AVAILABLE*:

Suite : The suites are all ocean front, romantically designed with the exclusive Aguas del Amor (outdoor shower) in a tropical atmosphere to include a palapa roof.

Included is a contemporary marble bathroom, bathroom with double sinks, separate toilet, glass enclosed showers and an indoor relaxing hot tub. All suites come with a king size bed, night stand, minibar, and a secluded balcony with an exterior bed, table and chairs.

Beachfront Suite: The Beachfront Suite are unique, standalone one room suites, close to the ocean, with all the amenities of a Suite.

Swim Up Suite: The Swim Up Suite allows you to dive right into our lazy river directly in front of your terrace. Enjoy all of the features of a Suite on the ground level with a walk out to the pool.

PRICING STARTS AT: $2,464 (based on double occupancy.

*PRICE FOR UPGRADES ARE AVAILABLE UPON REQUEST.

**PRICE SUBJECT TO CHANGE WITHOUT NOTICE

PAYMENT PLANS ARE AVAILABLE

• 10% DEPOSIT due to reserve room (based on double occupancy).

• Trip must be paid 45 days before arrival (mid-September 2022)

• Monthly payments based on price of trip.

• Prices shown include taxes, fees, cancellation insurance and transfers.

Group airfare is expected to become available Summer 2022.

QUESTIONS OR TO BOOK:

ac8c7fa2-2b36-4c13-92c8-ab5f8e78062f

DEPOSIT – RIVIERA MAYA, MEXICO (NOVEMBER 17-22, 2022)

SPACE IS LIMITED … DEPOSIT DUE IMMEDIATELY!!! I know you’re ready for tequila tastings, wine pairings AND MORE!!! Open to all – 21+ This trip is all-inclusive and includes additional activities, such as a food tour, excursions, dance classes and more!! FULL PAYMENT DUE SEPTEMBER 1, 2022.

$350.00

BRIE KAREEM (202) 258-5268 or BRIESKITRAVEL@GMAIL.COM

Packing Essentials for your Best Vacation in Aruba!

For many people, the hardest part of traveling (aside from waiting for your vacation to start) is packing. Most airlines have baggage restrictions so you don’t want to over pack; but you also don’t want to find yourself in a jam because you’ve forgotten something you’re going to need. When traveling to Aruba, you don’t have to worry – there are grocery stores with brands you’ll recognize – but things cost a bit more than you’re used to paying back home. Think 3x as much depending on what you need.

Aside from your bathing suit, tank top and sandals, there are going to be a few things, you’ll want to bring from home to get the most out of your time on this beautiful island. Doing so will almost guarantee you ‘Biba Dushi’ (living the sweet life)!

Sunblock

Even as a melanated goddess, I can’t stress this enough. If you’ve been to the island before, you know what I’m talking about; but if you’re an Aruba newbie, there’s a chance that you might be underestimating the sheer strength of the UV rays. I’ve seen my friends go from ‘Marshmallow’ to ‘Milk Chocolate’ in less time than it takes to say, “Sis, did you pack your sunblock?” You can and WILL burn … quickly! Pack your SPF 30 or better. Your shoulders will thank you.

Bug Spray

If you’re going all inclusive or don’t plan on straying very far from your resort, this one won’t apply to you so much (the hotels on the island do an incredible job with pest control) but if you’re going to explore the island you should definitely pack some bug repellant. 

Aruba is known for being an arid island, but it isn’t completely dry. The wetlands known as the Bubali Bird Sanctuary is an amazing spot for nature enthusiasts, bird lovers and photographers alike. You know what they say: with great wetlands comes a great breeding ground for mosquitoes. Be ready so you don’t have to get ready!

An insulated water bottle

Did you know that Aruba’s drinking water is rated one of the best in the world?  There’s no need to spend extra money on single use plastic water bottles when you’re on the island. Just bring your bottle, get some ice, fill your bottle from the tap and viola! You have a refreshing beverage and you’re helping the environment. Bring some powdered mixes from home and you’ll be good to go.

A well fitting hat 

Not to be redundant, but did I mention that it’s very sunny almost all the time?

The peak hours for the sun are between 10am and 4pm but right around noon it feels like it’s 6 feet above your head. During this time you’re at a higher risk for sunburns, squinting, and scalp-burns (YES … scalp burns!!!!). You’ll want a hat at some point. However, it can’t be just any hat – you’ll be needing a wind savvy hat.

You’re going to be tempted to bring your favorite fitted cap but if it’s a little too big, have fun chasing it down the shoreline. Did you buy a cute fedora that doesn’t have a chin strap? Yeah. That thing’s going into the sea and straight to Panama. Everything flies to Panama from Aruba … SMH!

The reason that the sun is so bearable in Aruba is because of the constant trade winds that race by, cooling the skin and stealing our stuff. The wind wants your hat. It also wants your flip-flops, your half drank cocktail (another great reason to bring an insulated bottle) and your beach inflatables. 

Come to think of it, the wind here is like that one friend we have. You know, the one that eats all your food and never returns the stuff they borrow; but you deal with it because they’re so much fun to be around. You’ve been warned: choose your hat wisely.

Over the counter medications

On a personal note, I’m that chick. The one with wet wipes (antibacterial of course) and a tiny first aid kit in my carry all. I also carry a bottle opener (with a knife), tweezers, a lighter and a spare…well, you get the point. I might be considered over prepared in certain circles, but it’s better safe than sorry, right? 

It’s always a good idea to travel with some general medication such as: pain relievers, antacids, antihistamines and possibly dramamine. Of course, all of those products are on the island but they’ll cost much more than you’re used to paying. Not to mention, Murphy’s Law dictates that you’ll probably need the aforementioned medication in the middle of the night when everything’s closed.

If you’re traveling with children (or the accident prone) pack some waterproof band-aides and antibiotic ointment. Oh, and if you wear glasses bring an extra pair – just in case. That goes double for sunglasses. Also, if you wear contacts bring extra lenses and more solution than you think you’ll need. And don’t forget to take some vitamins.

A light jacket for the evenings

This one sounds crazy but sometimes Aruba’s evening air carries a bit of a chill that will come to you as a sharp contrast to the heat of the day. Maybe you’ll be in a restaurant that’s blasting the air conditioner or go to a bar where I believe they set the thermostat somewhere just shy of ‘Arctic chill’ . You might never need it, but if you do you’ll be happy to have it so, bring a jacket – just in case.

Bags

Of course the beach is waiting for you just outside of your hotel, but that doesn’t mean that you’ll want to run up to your room every time you need something. You’re definitely going to want a bag that you can bring to the beach so you can keep all your treasures close at hand and out of the sand. The best type of bag for the beach over here is one that can be completely closed against the wind. Remember when I told you the wind likes to swipe your stuff? Well, sometimes it feels bad about that and tries to make up for it by blowing sand at you (and your drink). Bring a bag that can be shut tight to protect your devices. 

If you plan on enjoying liquid libations and snacks on the beach, consider bringing a soft cooler as your carry all bag. Aruba has also, proudly, joined the list of eco-responsible nations that ban single use plastic bags so you’ll need reusable bags if you plan on doing any grocery shopping on the island.  The turtles will thank you!!!

Water Shoes

Again, this one doesn’t really apply to those staying by the High/Low rise hotels – which are world renowned for their pristine, white sand beaches. However, if you’re staying off the beaten path or plan on exploring the island and/or participating in water activities, do your feet a favor and bring a pair of water shoes.

Some of the beaches further up and down the coast from the high rise hotels are rocky. It’s not a great feeling to step on a sharp-edged, slimy, algae covered rock (unless you’re into that kind of thing). It’s even worse to step on a unsuspecting sea creature – for all parties involved (but mostly you). 

Extra power

One of the minor inconveniences of modern life: while the amount of devices we possess that need charging, has grown exponentially over the past few years – the amount of charging ports we have access to, has not. Throw a portable charger in your bag, you can thank me later. 

Aruba is gorgeous. You’re probably going to go home with at least three times as many pictures and videos as you’d thought you’d take. It might not be a bad idea to pack an extra memory chip and a portable power bank so you always have the means to get that perfect shot. 

Casual Comfortable Clothes and Shoes

You don’t need to dress up on this island! Sun dresses, shorts and casual shirts paired with sneakers or sandals are perfectly acceptable attire almost everywhere on the island. 

Aruba is colored with the most amazing palette. You should see what is worn for carnival! The colors found in nature are echoed all around the island, even the houses and government buildings are painted brightly. 

Use your trip to Aruba as a time to let your color shine. That obnoxiously loud Hawaiian print … bring it!!! Those vivid seersucker prints … pack that!!! Have you ever wondered if you could pull off wearing Majorelle? Now is the time to find out. Bright island white? Absolutely!!!  

Of all the things that you should pack for Aruba, I know there’s one thing I don’t have to remind you to bring: your sense of wonder for the incredible experience that awaits you.

Un bon vuelo!

Top 6 Luxury Travel Trends for 2021

What You Need to Know About Travel in 2021

Travelers in 2021 are seizing the day and prioritizing trips now, powered by the belief that customized experiences are the best investment of their money and time.

“Carpe diem” travel is fueling the desire to savor as many new destinations and exciting experiences as possible in more authentic ways. While travelers still want to journey in comfort, the new definition of luxury is personalized adventures shared with family and friends.

Six trends below highlight how upscale globetrotters continue to assert their influence in the travel-sphere for 2021.

  • Untouristed and Unexpected: With some favorite destinations seeing an untenable rise in demand, the well-traveled luxury set is seeking remote, unspoiled destinations to avoid crowds at over-touristed locales. Virtuoso advisors report a rise in requests for places ranging from the culturally distinct to those steeped in nature, including Borneo, Greenland, and Oman.
  • Country Coupling: Travelers are heeding the advice of well-informed advisors, who encourage clients to explore multiple countries, even during shorter journeys. Trips that mix locales are trending, especially ones with surprising combinations. Travelers may pair a ski adventure with a beach finale, or a city stay with a jungle adventure, or a well-traveled place followed by a little-known spot to mingle with locals. The focus is on varied experiences that enrich the trip with each stop.
  • Tasty Travels: Culinary travel has transcended “trend” to become its own niche, with amazing food and drink now considered essential to any trip. Cooking classes, eating in private homes, Michelin-starred restaurants, farm-to-table visits, truffle hunting – culinary experiences are as varied as travelers themselves, and allow foodies to go beyond just having a seat at the table. Dining has become such a focus that some travelers are requesting restaurant reservations at the same time they book their flights – sometimes even before.
  • Group Getaways: Travel unites those who share common interests, and advisors say clients want to connect with like-minded people. Gen X-ers, Boomers and even Matures are traveling to bond with friends and others who share their passions or are at the same life stage. Women’s travel is on the rise as well, including soft adventure trips and affluent girl getaways to unplug, relax and play. Groups of couples are also traveling together, including buddy-moons, where newlyweds bring pals along for the fun.
  • EQ Encounters: Today’s traveler is seeking more profound experiences leading to increased emotional intelligence. Pushing beyond their comfort zone combined with genuine interaction among locals provides travelers with a deeper appreciation for the people and cultures they encounter. Foregoing the usual attractions, clients are instead opting to tap into their passions, such as a tasting with the owner of a local winery, a motorcycle tour or a personal shopper to guide them through the latest pop-up stores. They also want accommodations that reflect the destination – inns full of character, small neighborhood hotels, and private homes.
  • Enjoying the Journey: Embracing the philosophy that the journey is half the fun, upscale voyagers are using exclusive services including meet-and-greets planeside to avoid the stress of changing terminals, locating gates or waiting in customs lines. The Private Suite at Los Angeles International Airport offers a members-only terminal where travelers are escorted through TSA screenings, driven to and from aircraft in BMWs and provided a room to relax in between flights.

Globetrotting with Perks

Regardless of how you want to travel in 2021, BrieskiTravel has you covered. Our affiliation with travel suppliers brings you the world’s best in-country travel partners, the world’s best ocean and river cruise companies, as well as complimentary VIP perks on many of our voyages and land journeys.

Let’s face it, you can’t VIP yourself.  So let us do the work, and you enjoy the fun and perks. Reach out today for a free, no-obligation chat. Let’s explore all that we have available for you. 

All the Reasons You Should Use A Travel Professional—Now More Than Ever!

You may have long looked to a network of trusted travel professionals to take you to the far corners of the earth. The pros who assemble many of the elaborate itineraries that appear on your social media newsfeeds, and since the dawn of the pandemic, their up-to-the-minute insights on shifting safety protocols have made them even more essential. If you don’t rely on them yet, now is the time to start. 

Here, we’ll start to list reasons you need to book a trip with a travel professional this year and share some experiences we have ever put together—not just to show the scope and prowess of our work, but also to remind you of all the adventures ahead after a long year of staying close to home.

1. They make things work, no matter what!

We keep our clients happy by helping them move or defer bookings without incurring cancellation fees while ensuring that our service providers—the camps, lodges, and hotels—don’t lose bookings so that they can keep their heads above water. 

2. You trust someone to safeguard your financial future—why not your travel future?

Our role is becoming similar to a financial planner in that we are part of our client’s team of advisers for their long-term plans. I have personally been referred by many financial planners and wealth advisers who understand the importance of a future travel portfolio or plan in retirement.

3. Because you can’t know everything!

It’s almost impossible to ask all the right questions. My job is to make sure my client understands how things will be different and to help them break through their assumptions about what they’ll encounter so they have the best experience possible. A travel professional will get things done that you don’t even know need to be done.

4. Travel professionals don’t take no for an answer! 

Through sheer tenacity, I was able to get a client refunded over $18,000 from a tour operator who was not giving refunds.

5. They make you a better traveler!

COVID-19 will pass, but now we’re much more mindful of how we interact and travel.  Now, you can use this as an opportunity to use travel for good, rather than be reckless consumers.

6. Travel professionals have the best tools at their disposal!

We know the health and safety protocols for each destination. Our tourism boards and partners have been in constant contact with updates, changes in safety regulations, and reassurance of care for our clients. Because we have ongoing personal relationships with our tourism partners, we can inspire our clients to explore the world again with confidence.

7. Because travel looks entirely different now

I expect there will be a growing interest in vacations that are longer as people want to enjoy slower travel—more time in less places. We’re able to tap our contacts to help parents navigate working and schooling remotely, creating the best experience for everyone involved.

Aren’t you ready to get out and live a little? Ask me how NOW!

FEEL FREE TO SHARE YOUR COMMENTS BELOW.

If you have any personal experiences whether it’s good or bad, let us know.  We would love to feature you on brieskitravel.com or you can reach us via email at: brieskitravel@yahoo.com.

Hit us up because we’re going to have plenty of guests on our next episode at: BrieskiTRAVEL The Podcast. We are booking in advance so if you’d love to be on with us, we want to hear from you!  Subscribe, follow and share!! Leave reviews!! By all means we appreciate your SUPPORT!! Thank you for following and sharing …  we love you!!  We love travel!!!  We know it’s tough right now, but things are getting better! Travel is coming back!  Thank you for following and have an awesome rest of your week.

Enjoying some much needed fun in the sun!

Organizing 2021

Every time the calendar flips from one year to the next, every one of us resolve to work out more, lose weight, quit smoking, reduce debt or finally take that the much needed vacation. But have you given much thought to getting your house in order? Are you tired of staring at all of those plastic bins crammed with clothes, that you haven’t worn in 3 years or with toys your kids have outgrown? 

The New Year is the perfect time to stop procrastinating, and start organizing you home, your life and your mind. 

Here are 17 steps to help you get your New Year off to a well organized start. 

1. Start small: Use a printable list for your shopping, organize your closet, then your freezer. Take it one step at a time.

2. Use one calendar for everything. Having everything in one location is the most obvious advantage. Instead of toggling between multiple planners, everything that’s important can be found in one place, shaving off seconds that add up to hours – making your life that much easier. 

3. Establish daily, weekly and monthly routines. Planning for success is important but actually making it happen is where the real work begins. For example, break large goals into sub goals (getting in better shape). From there you can set aside 20-30 minutes a week to create a plan of attack for the up-coming week (think meal prepping). Then schedule your week and days with the tasks you need to accomplish. Breaking these tasks up into daily tasks will not only make your larger goals easier to reach, but also helps you stay on task as you incorporate these things into your daily life.

4. Set MANAGEABLE goals . A daily journal can have a powerful tool for achieving your goals. You can even think of journaling as a self-coaching session. There can be HUGE benefits to journaling.

5. Divide and conquer is the mantra of many organizers. It works by breaking a project down into each goal, then allows you to break it down even further, into smaller parts.

6. Finding a home for everything is decluttering 101. A place for everything and everything in it’s place. Here’s a simple solution. Keep like with like! Books belong on a bookshelf, pots and pans belong together, cleaning supplies stay together. I know this seems redundant, but I want to reinforce the point: put things of the same category together.

7. Stamp out piles of mail (😤). This is my downfall. I don’t know why I have the need to horde catalogs, when I don’t need anything, I’m not looking to purchase anything and truthfully don’t have the space for not another “thing”. Make it easier on yourself and keep a trash can close to your mail pile to assist in sorting trash from say bills that are due.

8. Enlist help! Are you the type that prefers to do everything yourself? Do you get overwhelmed because you do too much? I am guilty of NOT asking for help because it seems faster, easier or less complicated if I just do it myself, but I’ve learned (especially more recently) that this isn’t always beneficial. Delegating smaller tasks allows me to focus on more important ones. WIN/WIN!

9. Make a long-term commitment. Organizing doesn’t end after you’ve completed the first steps in cleaning house. You have to regularly pick things up and put them in their designated place. It also helps if you are flexible with your organization plans. As our lives and schedules change, our plans will need to be re-evaluated and changed.

10. Take advantage of technology. The good news is you probably have the technology in your pocket that can help you follow through on your resolution – automation in the form of reminder apps. These free tools can help provide a constant reminder of the work that needs to be done.

11. Track your progress. Mark down each day that you are successful in keeping your resolution. Seeing the chain of success may motivate you to keep it going.

12. Celebrate your success.  Set goals where monthly milestones, if achieved are celebrated with something fun. For me, it’s a steak dinner out with my sister. It keeps me motivated.

13. Keep investing in relationships matter. We live in a time where communication is easy regardless of physical distance. Make an effort to stay in touch with friends and family that are influential in your personal development. Plan deep memorable bonding experiences with the people closest to you. You find the toxic, meaningless relationships fall to the way side on their own.

14. Give yourself some space. Space can come in many forms, physical, emotional or mental. Are you the type, always assisting others and often losing time for yourself? It’s ok to say “NO”! It’s not selfish, it’s you giving yourself some much-needed space. 

15. Take care of yourself. Losing weight, getting more sleep and cutting back on (ahem … alcohol) are all self-care resolutions. Don’t see them as things you’re punishing yourself for but as ways to take better care of you. You come first.

16. Treat your time and energy with respect. Procrastination, excessive social media usage, and other wastes of resources – affect your time and energy. To combat procrastination, my husband reminds me of the “whooshing noise deadlines make as they go by.” A joy he is, my husband.

17. FORGIVE YOURSELF. One of the biggest things getting in the way of accomplishing goals is the “all or nothing” mentality. The all-or-nothing mentality tells you to give up and continue eating haphazardly for the rest of the day, and instead start over again – perfectly – tomorrow. This doesn’t work for the majority of people.

Instead, remember that your journey is a long one, and that conditions do not have to be perfect in order for you to make small progress. Instead, focus on doing the right things more often, and forgive yourself when you slip up. Don’t give up if it’s not perfect – just recognize your mistakes and move past them. That’s where true progress comes from.

Exactly How Clean is the Air on My Flight?

While millions of travelers are understandably concerned about flying in the midst of the COVID-19 outbreak, my girlfriends are always asking the ever important question … “will the air on planes make us sick?”

The Centers for Disease Control is blunt about flying during the age of the coronavirus. “Travel increases your chances of getting and spreading COVID-19,” says a page for travelers on the CDC’s website. Additionally, the Association of Flight Attendants (AFA) reports hundreds of cabin crew have tested positive for the virus, and at least seven have died.

However, apprehensions about aircraft cabin air long predate the current pandemic crisis. Even before COVID-19, the AFA was vocal about aircraft cabin air, as highlighted on its online Air Quality page, which details multiple concerns about shortages of oxygen and outside air, contaminated air supplies, and high concentrations of pesticides. In recent years these worries even spurred Congress to include further studies of contaminated air in the Federal Aviation Administration Reauthorization Act of 2018.

Here’s a breakdown of how cabin air may affect airline passengers during this pandemic.

CABIN AIR SYSTEMS

Airlines are now publicly assuring passengers that aircraft air filtration systems are state of the art. JetBlue released a video about it in April 2020. Airlines for America, the domestic industry’s primary lobbying group that represents major carriers like Delta, American, United, and Southwest, states: “Onboard, all A4A carriers have aircraft equipped with HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) filtration systems and all members comply with or exceed CDC guidance.” However, not all airplanes in U.S. fleets are HEPA-equipped. (Some of American Airlines’ regional aircraft, for instance, do not have the filters.)

Such confidence is echoed by the industry’s global trade organization, the International Air Transport Association. “The risk of catching an infection on an aircraft is typically lower than in a shopping center or office environment,” IATA says. And the International Civil Aviation Organization, chartered by the United Nations, asserts “the current likelihood of contracting the virus while on flights is extremely low.” Now that’s a relief!

The good news is that airlines calculate that their HEPA filters remove 99.7 percent of airborne particles (like ones used by United Airlines) to 99.999 percent (such as those in use on Delta Air Lines planes). Most aircraft cabin air is “carefully controlled” and completely changed 20 to 30 times per hour with recirculation systems that blend some fresh air with up to 50 percent recycled of cabin air that pass through HEPA filters on “most modern aircraft,” according to the World Health Organization.

But some experts are expressing more doubt about the ability to completely scrub the air for zero chance of spreading the virus. “Most viruses and other germs do not spread easily on flights because of how air circulates and is filtered on airplanes,” says the CDC’s Considerations for Travelers page. “However, social distancing is difficult on crowded flights, and you may have to sit near others (within six feet), sometimes for hours. This may increase your risk for exposure to the virus that causes COVID-19.”

WHO makes a similar note. “Transmission of infection may occur between passengers who are seated in the same area of an aircraft, usually as a result of the infected individual coughing or sneezing or by touch,” the organization warns. Cabin crew members agree with this assessment. “It’s naive to think an airline can protect passengers 100 percent because you’re in an enclosed space for however long the flight is,” Heather Poole, a flight attendant, says.

Another veteran flight attendant and labor representative who requested anonymity adds, “No, I don’t think air filtration in our aircraft will be enough to prevent exposure to the coronavirus.” She notes that close contact between those onboard—while boarding, in the aisles, and near the lavatories—allows exposure to the air people exhale before it reaches the filters.

So if someone sneezes eight rows away, should you be worried? “Yes,” says Gary Peterson, International Vice President of the Air Division for the Transport Workers Union, which represents mechanics, flight attendants, dispatchers, and other airline employees. “The particles have to get into the system to be filtered. There’s no doubt the systems today are far superior than in the past. But the first step to cabin safety is stopping the person who is [COVID-19] positive from getting onboard.”

Experts say two other components are critical for breathing cleaner air in the skies: proper aircraft cleansing, particularly of surfaces near ventilation systems, and access to personal protective equipment, especially face masks.  Aside from germs and viruses, there are other factors that can affect how safe the air in a plane cabin is.

NOXIOUS FUMES

Most people have never heard the term “fume events,” but the aviation community has been studying these phenomena for years. In 2015, the International Civil Aviation Organization, chartered by the United Nations, issued guidelines for the industry. ICAO stated: “There are various types of fumes, smoke, haze, and mist that may contaminate the cabin and flight deck air supply system. The outside air may be contaminated with engine oil, hydraulic fluid, engine exhaust, ground service vehicle exhaust, fuel, de-icing fluid, or ozone.” ICAO added that recirculation fans, electrical systems, and other systems are “potential source[s] of contaminated air.”

Domestically, regulations require fume events be reported to the Federal Aviation Administration, but only in the case of “a mechanical discrepancy” in-flight—and the data is spotty.

What should you be concerned about? The International Air Transport Association cites a long list of symptoms, including chest tightness; difficulty with speech; dizziness; difficulty balancing; difficulty concentrating; and others. If you’re worried, seek medical attention and consider filing a complaint with the U.S. Department of Transportation.

PESTICIDES

The threat of diseases transmitted by insects, such as malaria, Zika, and yellow fever, has made spraying airplane interiors with insecticides common overseas.

In some countries including Ecuador, India, Panama, and Trinidad and Tobago, the preferred method is to spray while passengers are onboard to ensure travelers and their clothing are not carriers. The DOT also lists countries (including France, Italy, and the U.K.) that require disinfection on selected flights only, as well as countries (including Australia and New Zealand) that spray or treat the cabin while passengers aren’t onboard. In such cases, it’s important to avoid skin contact with surfaces still wet with pesticide.

The World Health Organization states it has “found no evidence” such insecticides are harmful to human health. But it cautions: “Some have reported feeling unwell after spraying,” and the CDC says there are “research gaps” and suggests more research and testing is needed.

The Association of Flight Attendants-CWA has called the spraying method a “bad idea” due to adverse health effects; and last year, the Association of Professional Flight Attendants received more than 200 reports of flight attendant illnesses—including respiratory problems, sore throats, and headaches—and the union believes these reactions were due to pesticide toxins.

If you have concerns about spraying, check with the airline before booking, as they do not inform passengers prior to ticket purchase.

OTHER THINGS TO CONSIDER:

To stay healthy when flying, keep the following in mind:

  • If you’re concerned about aircraft cleanliness, try booking the earliest flight possible that day. And if your itinerary allows it, consider nonstops rather than connecting flights, to limit your exposure to multiple dirty cabins.
  • Practice social distancing throughout your journey—at check-in, security screening, boarding, baggage claim, etc. Select seats apart from other passengers (often in the rear) and ask to be moved if possible.
  • Some airlines provide PPE, and some don’t. So it’s critical to travel with your own mask, gloves, wipes, and sanitizer.

When these measures are taken together, it can significantly decrease your chances of contracting the virus during air travel.

SAFE TRAVELS from BrieskiTravel.com

What the Travel Industry Can Do to Fight Racism!

This is the first blog I’ve ever written regarding the subject of race and racism in the travel industry. As a woman of color, I see this as my opportunity to reflect and educate instead of being considered as simply an “angry black woman,” – a stereotype that has long been used to highlight women of color who discuss controversial topics such as racism.

Though the travel industry tends to think of itself as a space of leisure, fun, and escape where atrocities such as racism are left behind for fun in the sun and island breezes. The problem lays in that for people of color, escaping racism is not something they can do by taking a vacation. Racism, like in many other sectors of society, has been built into the travel industry, both knowingly and unknowingly. It’s now the travel industry’s responsibility to do something about it.

I can showcase the pervasiveness of racism in the travel industry through anecdotes of racial attacks on planes and racial biases in hotels or on cruise ships. I can provide accounts of black men and women and people of color who share stories of harassment in various destinations, even those by travel professionals like myself. I get looks all the time when I travel. When I enter a room/resort lobby/airplane/restaurant, I see it on some of the faces. You should see the looks of shock I get when I sit down in first-class seating.

I am providing travelers of color, travel professionals of color, and travel industry leaders of color a space to share their experiences through this article, but it has not been enough to dismantle systems of racism in the travel industry. As we watch the Black Lives Movement work to topple racism in our justice and law enforcement systems through protests, it’s a good time to consider how the travel industry can also do it’s part to fight racism as well.

The travel industry is trying to rebuild after a devastating blow from the COVID-19 pandemic, making NOW the most opportune time to reevaluate how the travel industry has done business in the past, and creatively work toward a future in which it can do better.

I certainly don’t have all the answers, but whether you’re a travel professional, tour guide, the owner of a hotel or airline company, the captain of a cruise ship, working in travel PR, or a travel employee in between, please read how you can take part in the travel industry’s fight against racism.

Recognize Racism

The first thing the travel industry must do is recognize racism, and accept that we all have biases and blind spots. I have it, you have it. We all have it. Ask the hard questions and educate yourself on how you can best serve travelers of color? How can you connect with them?

Many travel professionals are uncomfortable with these basic questions, stating, ‘My agency doesn’t base service on a particular ‘color,’ we service everyone.’ Others confess in some manner, that they ‘don’t see color’—a well-meaning response meant to indicate they’re not racist, but inadvertently meaning they don’t recognize that systems of racism exist and that they don’t ‘see’ that the experiences of people of color are different.

The clear discomfort that travel professionals are speaking about race only highlight that people in the travel industry would rather ignore that racism exists in the industry than do something about it. Start by accepting that racism is here; it is in your company and it affects travelers. Don’t ignore it, don’t attack people of color or others who point it out. Sit in those feelings, accept it, and know you’re not alone on this learning journey.

Inform Yourself About Racism in the Travel Industry and Beyond

If we don’t know what racism looks like in the travel industry, how then can we fight it? Racism in the travel industry isn’t always as overt as hotels refusing black travelers a place to stay. Rather, racism has been built into the travel industry through a lack of equal opportunity, travel technology, poorly designed customs and immigration systems, and ignorance about the experiences of people of color.

Inform yourself as to what racism looks like in the travel industry by reading articles and studies related to racism as well as memoirs written by black travelers and travelers of color like Maureen Stone’s “Black Woman Walking” and Amanda Epe’s “Fly Girl“, a memoir written by a black female flight attendant. Consult sites like Travel Noire, a digital media company serving African Diaspora travelers.

Better yet, hire a consultant within the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (D.E.I.) Industry to assist your travel company. They’ll develop courses and sessions about unconscious bias within your company and services. They’re equipped to lead small and large groups on conversations about racism, how to be an ally to people of color, set up systems in place to stop microaggressions that people of color experience within the company, and more.

It Starts From the Top

Dismantling systems of racism and inequality start at the top of a travel company. When travel company owners and CEOs don’t recognize that racism exists, it’s much harder to fight against.

On June 1, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. CEO and chairman Richard Fain sent a message to his employees discussing racism in the travel industry. He pointed out: “Racism is chronic, a condition of the system that has afflicted us for centuries. And like any chronic condition, we can never stop fighting it, or it will overwhelm us.”

Personally, I was glad to see him discuss white privilege and the consequences of racism left unchecked: “At the end of the day, it is still much harder to be a person of color in America than it is to be white. We can go months trying to tell ourselves otherwise; then there is yet another incident like George Floyd’s to remind us of the hard reality.”

Fain noted that Royal Caribbean’s Employee Resource Groups would be leading the way on virtual discussions of racism within the company and that they are “evaluating philanthropic partners who are demonstrating an ability to mobilize for change on this subject.”

As a white male CEO, Fain’s words to his employees creates an environment which promotes conversations of race and racism within the company. This is extremely important: if your company does not discuss racism, the likelihood of the company improving the experiences of black travelers, travelers of color, or black employees and employees of color is minimal.

Diversify Your Travel Company

One of the most effective ways the travel industry can fight racism is to diversify it’s staff and employ people of color at the highest levels of that company.

Sheila Johnson, CEO of Salamander Hotels & Resorts, spoke to this: “As both an African American and a woman – one who came of age in the very heart of the white and male-dominated 1950’s and 60’s – I’ve spent my entire life working and fighting, often against the longest of odds, to gain even the smallest toehold on the American Dream.”

“It is our obligation [as hospitality leaders] to continue to elevate the curious, intelligent, inspiring leaders of the black community and remove the preconceived notion of what that looks like in hospitality.”

She added: “There needs to be a recognition that people of diverse backgrounds bring forth new ideas and experiences and look at life from a different perspective. It is the only way we are going to evolve the industry and make an impact.”

“Change truly starts at the top, and at Salamander Hotels and Resorts, it begins with me.”

More Representation in Sales and Marketing

Look through your marketing materials and travel ads from the past five years: who do you see? Do the people you use in your travel branding look the same? How many people of color are clearly visible? Count them … no, seriously!!

If you want to make your travel company more inclusive of people of color, you must provide visible representation across your sales and marketing plan. Not only does this mean showcasing Muslim families traveling, solo Black travelers, groups of Asian and Latinx friends, and interracial couples on romantic trips, but this also includes hiring writers and editors of color to shape the messages in your ads, social media, branding copy, etc.

Make a Plan to Fight Racism

Travel companies know that the first step to success is a good plan. So, make one to fight racism. It might look like this:

Create an anti-racism committee of diverse employees who will lead the fight against racism within your company and through the services provided to travelers. Have this committee remove racial bias in job descriptions and create policies that allow employees to call out and discuss racial bias and racism in company meetings and policies.

Have them create a mentorship program that helps people of color move up in the ranks of the company. Urge your recruiters and hiring managers to look for diverse candidates, at historically black colleges (HBCUs) and through groups that uplift people of color. Encourage your committee to create opportunities and events for open dialogues and the exchange of new ideas to fight racism.

For small companies or solo entrepreneurs, analyze your travel services. Are they inclusive of diverse groups of people? Does your branding promote unconscious bias? Are you sensitive to the needs to travelers of color or supporting travel companies that fight racism and promote diversity?

Speak Up

If you see racism occur, whether systematically, subtly, or overtly, CALL IT OUT!!!! Bring it to the attention of your managers and human resources department. If you don’t feel like your travel company is doing enough to fight racism, gather coworkers for support and approach management with an idea for a committee against racism.

You have power and you have a voice, even at the lowest levels of a travel company, to fight against racism. It’s up to you who work in the travel industry to fight racism from within so that everyone can enjoy the joys of traveling equally.

To Sum it Up… 

I am constantly amazed at what travel companies will do to add value to the experience for their clients. I’ve seen airport employees hunt down lost toys on planes and bring joy to a child in tears, travel professionals move mountains to get their clients a new hotel when the initial one cancels their reservations unexpectedly, and hotel managers craft elaborate surprises to bring cheer to their guests.

I look forward to seeing that same enthusiasm, creative thinking, 5-Star customer service and teamwork among the travel industry to fight racism.

As your employees, company, destination, or industry works hard to make your service or place safe for travelers again after the pandemic, I’d urge you to take on racism now. Not tomorrow. Not next year. Not five years in the future. NOW!!!

You can help us fight racism in the travel industry today!!

I want to normalize the conversation of racism in the travel industry and you can assist me by funding upcoming projects and content. Thank you for your support! BrieskiTRAVEL.com

$10.00

WHERE WOULD YOU GO IF I SHOWED YOU HOW TO MAKE AN EXTRA $6,000?

Do You …

  • believe the world as we know it has changed?
  • have a plan for this new world?
  • mind if we explore an option?
pack your bags …

Do You Know Anyone That is …

  • employed but uncertain about their future?
  • working from home?
  • employed but making less than before?
  • unemployed or has lost their income?

Which category are you in?

Are you ready to start living your best life?

What if you could …

  • Replace your income and never have someone else decide if your job is essential?
  • Earn additional income to enjoy a better lifestyle or replace the income you just lost?
  • Work from home and possibly make more than you previously did or do now?
Reduce your travel costs by starting a travel business!

How is this possible?

  • Start a home based business.
  • This is the best time ever to build a business network.
  • Align yourself with a company with a proven track record.
  • Make thousands right now.
  • You can even do it part-time.
work your travel business from home

Things you like to do should be a hobby of yours, but things the world does should be a business of yours!

Warren Buffet

Travel has been the world’s largest industry for DECADES!!!

  • It is essential to the world’s economy.
  • Many countries’ economies are travel and tourism based.

THE DEMAND FOR TRAVEL WILL EXPLODE!

  • Cancelled vacations will be rescheduled.
  • Weekend get-a-ways will be considered therapeutic.
  • Family vacations will be enjoyed.
  • Resorts and cruises will offer lower prices.
  • BILLIONS WILL BE MADE!!
It’s decision time!!! Will you do something different with your life?

So again I ask you …

“WHERE WOULD YOU GO IF I SHOWED YOU HOW TO MAKE AN EXTRA $6,000?”

Healing Nations with Vacations!

20 Best Places to Visit in 2021

Travel List 2021:

GO PLACES THIS YEAR!

clockwise: Maldives; Phuket, Thailand; Rio de Janero; St. Lucia; Aruba

clockwise: the Great Barrier Reef, Tahiti, Costa Rica

clockwise: London, Paris, Rome, Florence, Amsterdam

clockwise: South Island, New Zealand; Banff, Canada; Machu Picchu, Peru; Amalfi Coast, Italy

clockwise: Dubai, Egypt, Mecca, Sydney, Hajj being performed in Mecca.

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