From Cuba to London, here’s a quick look at this week’s travel news!
US signs agreement with Cuba–Pres Obama to visit
For the first time in half a century, the US and Cuba okayed US commercial airlines to offer direct flights to Havana and nine other Cuban cities. Good news for anyone planning a trip to the Rome of the Caribbean.
President Obama intends to kick off the newly-budding romance with his own Cuban excursion sometime in March.
The downside? Many critics point out that lifting sanctions and rekindling US relations with the Communist nation rewards a government known for squashing free speech and infringing on human rights.
Travel within the EU might get trickier
That backpacking trip through Europe you daydream about at work? It’s about to get trickier.
After nearly 21 years of passport-free travel within the European Union’s Schengen Area, many member nations are tightening their borders. Germany, Denmark, France, and Sweden–among others–already implemented border checks at a number of crossings, and more are expected to follow.
These heightened security measures follow last November’s Paris terrorist attacks and the continued flood of Syrian refugees across Greece’s borders.
Keep your passport and travel docs handy when moving between EU countries!
Accommodation and Convenience
Big news for disability travel!
Accomable connects travelers with disabilities to accommodations and experiences that meet their needs. The incredible web service emerged last year and continues to gain momentum.
Its mission? “To enable anyone to go anywhere.” YES!
Accomable’s founder, Srin Madipalli, knows first-hand the logistical challenges of traveling with a mobility disability; his spinal muscular atrophy requires special accommodations at home and abroad.
Apple Pay launches in China
Congrats to Apple-lovers shopping in China.
Apple Pay launched in China this week, and at least 20 China-based lenders agreed support this digital wallet service.
Check out the BBC for more info!
Watch out hotels, Airbnb is on the rise
A new survey shows that travelers who have tried Airbnb or similar peer-to-peer rentals prefer them to traditional hotels.
While the percentage of travelers using services like Airbnb is still small, the industry continues to grow in popularity and profit.
Pub dogs of London
Need a little smile in your day? Catch a glimpse of Fiona Freund and Graham Fulton’s new photography book, Pub Dogs of London.
The book meets London’s four-legged pub-goers in their favorite London public houses, and features a chuckle-worthy profile of each pooch.
Dobby of The Lansdowne is a personal favorite.
Try not to grin.
Vanessa Hudgens vandalizes national park?
Everyone’s favorite High School Musical star is under scrutiny for defacing a rock in the Coconino National Forest.
Vanessa Hudgens recently posted an Instagram photo of her and her boyfriend’s names carved into a rock. Forest Service Law Enforcement launched an investigation into the matter, and if charged, Hudgens faces up to six months in jail or a $5,000 fine. Whoops.
Reminder: no matter your celebrity status, defacing national park property is a federal offense. If you’re looking to leave a mark, donate to the National Park Foundation or take a selfie from an approved trail.
Simple as that.