Travel Tidbits: Testing, Festivals, and More

COVID-19 testing required for international travel – and maybe domestic travel too.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention now requires that all travelers flying to the United States from abroad show proof of a negative COVID-19 test before boarding their flight.

The new rule went into effect on January 26. And in addition to the pre-flight test, CDC is also recommending that anyone arriving in the U.S. be tested 3-5 days after travel and stay home to self-quarantine for 7 days after travel. Or self-quarantine for 10 days if they don’t get a test.

Airlines, hotels, and airports are rushing to help travelers comply with this new travel requirement.

United Airlines, for example, rolled out is “Travel-Ready Center.” This digital site lets passengers review COVID-19 entry requirements, find local testing sites, and upload required testing and vaccination records for both international and domestic travel.

The new ruling is quite rigorous for international travel. And on Tuesday it was reported that the Biden administration is “actively looking” at expanding mandatory COVID-19 testing to travelers on U.S. domestic flights.

We’ll see if that extra layer of testing become reality. But in the meantime, if you do plan to travel soon it will be good to brush up on the current rulings.

Another airline bans emotional support animals

Southwest Airlines announced that as of March 1, 2021 emotional support animals will be banned from flights.

Starting that day, Southwest will only accept dogs that are trained service animals. The airline will still allow pets to fly in the cabin, but only if they are vaccinated domestic cats or dogs in an appropriate pet carrier. And if they have a ticket. Fares are $95 each way per pet carrier.

Southwest joins all other major airlines in making this ruling. Alaska Airlines, Delta Air Lines, American Airlines, Frontier, JetBlue, Hawaiian Airlines, and United Airlines have already put their “no emotional support animals” policy in force.

Festivals rebooked for real

Dare we hope?

While many annual events around the country and the world are being postponed or canceled for yet another year, some are going forward.

In New Orleans, the Jazz & Heritage Festival that was canceled last spring is now scheduled for October 8-17. And the French Quarter Festival is now planned to take place September 30-October 3.

A few festivals & cool museum exhibits in May

Out and about this month? Here are few fun festivals, events and new museum exhibits to check out.

Party like its 1969

The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame has just opened a new exhibit celebrating the 50th anniversary of Woodstock.

The exhibit runs through Fall 2019 and includes rare prints, performance outfits, video footage, original signage and artifacts including the guitar strap Jimi Hendrix used while playing “The Star-Spangled Banner” at the festival, a hand-drawn map of the festival grounds and the outfit John Sebastian (of the Lovin’ Spoonful, wore when he made an unscheduled acoustic performance after a rain break.

Hang with Hoosiers

Indiana is going all out to welcome visitors with discounts and free admissions at over 300 businesses and attractions during Visit Indiana Week.

Admission is free to all Indiana state parks, forest recreation areas and off road vehicle riding areas on May 5, State Park Sunday.

Discounts for zip lines, bike and boat rentals and ideas for free outdoor activities are offered on Get Moving Monday (May 6), while restaurants around the state have lined up deals for Tasty Tuesday (May 7). Museums, monuments and state historic sites will have discounts on Wayback Wednesday (May 8), while sampling and discounts are on the menu at Indiana’s wineries, distilleries and craft breweries on Thirsty Thursday (May 9). The week rounds out with Family Fun Friday (May 10) and Sweet Saturday (May 11). 

Gather in Greenville

Greenville, South Carolina’s annual 3 day art & cultural festival known as Artisphere takes place this year from May 10-12.

This year the festival includes demonstrations, dance performances, more than 30 concerts, a DIY art lab, a local “Artists of the Upstate” exhibition and Artist’s Row: 135 pop-up shop galleries on Main Street in Greenville.  

A new public art sculpture, by Blessing Hancock, titled “Spindle” will be unveiled during the festival to honor Artisphere’s 15 anniversary. The sculpture is inspired by the rich textile history of the area once known as “The Textile Capitol of the World”.

Party like its 1869 on National Train Day  

On May 10, 1869 workers, dignitaries and railroad officials gathered in a remote spot on the north end of Utah’s Great Salt Lake for a ceremony to join the tracks of the Central Pacific and Union Pacific railroads and mark the birth of the Transcontinental Railroad.

During the event, which is reenacted each year at the Golden Spike National Historic Site at Promontory Summit in Utah, four ceremonial spikes  including a gold spike with “The Last Spike” engraved on the top – were tapped into a wooden tie with pre-drilled holes.

This year, to mark the 150th anniversary of “Last Spike” ceremony and of the Transcontinental Railroad, there will be three days of festivities (May 10 through 12) with locomotives facing each other on the tracks and volunteers reenacting the 1869 ceremony word-for-word and spike tap for spike tap, several times each day.

For those who can’t make the trek out to the park, Spike 150 lists exhibits and events to mark the anniversary taking place throughout Utah, and throughout the year, including a display that includes three of the original four spikes used on May 10, 1869.