TRAVEL BLOG

Capacity Crunch: What You Can Do About the Current Travel Shortages

People are finally getting back to travel which is awesome. On the other hand, you may have heard that there are shortages in car rentals, hotels and even restaurants – which is decidedly not awesome.

rental car door

What’s a traveler to do? Don’t despair. We’ve got some great workarounds to deal with the “capacity crunch” phenomenon, and help you enjoy your long-awaited vacation.

The Rental Car Shortage – Is it Real?

It all depends on where you’re headed. Some cities are really feeling the crunch, while you might find other locales don’t have bad shortages at all. If you do draw the short stick, there are a few tactics that can help.

Book Early

All signs point to summer 2021 being a busy one for domestic travel. The longer you wait to book a car, the higher the price will be and the better chance there will be that the rental companies will be sold out. If you buy early you can lock in your price and avoid getting shut out.

Venture Out from Airport Locations

It can also be prudent to look further afield than the airport rental car counters. Neighborhood locations often have more inventory and better prices. Sure you might have to Lyft to the location, but the trade off can actually save you some cash.

Skip the Car

These days, in most destinations, you can get by with a ridesharing service or even using public transportation. What we’re saying here is that the lack of a rental car should not derail your vacation plans. If you choose to forgo the car, consider booking a hotel near public transport and save yourself parking fees as well!

Staffing Shortages at Hotels

busy restaurant

The hospitality industry is struggling to staff back up after COVID-19, which could mean some disruptions in service for travelers in upcoming months. How can you avoid this icky problem?

Do Your Research

Planning is going to be key for the rest of the year. Make sure you call ahead to the hotel where you plan to stay and get the lay of the land. Are the facilities all going to be open? Will hours of operation be regular or limited at restaurants, pool, fitness center? If you’re the kind of person who likes to have their room completely cleaned each day, is that service going to be available?

A lot of the service shortages that you’ll likely see may have been implemented because of COVID-19 safety protocols. Now they may be lingering because of staffing concerns. Just knowing what the situation will be can help you adjust your expectations.

Longer Waits at Restaurants?

For the short term, this is likely. Again, restaurants are in the process of staffing back up after a devastating year. We think its important to support small businesses and restaurants in recovery, and we’re suggesting a couple of workarounds to help your group deal with longer waits.

Go at Off-Peak Hours

We highly recommend dining at that fabulous place for lunch instead of dinner or early instead of 7pm. Peak dining hours will likely be even more of a madhouse than usual, and you can avoid an extended wait just by going a little on the early side.

Lean on Your Concierge

The trend has certainly been for people to go it alone in recent years, but if your property has a concierge now is a great time to leverage their help. They can point you to restaurants where they may have developed a relationship and help you jump the queue to avoid any hassle.

For the short-ish term, we can all expect some shortages and service disruptions when traveling. Practice patience to avoid frustration and use some of our tips to help you get back to travel in 2021.

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Can I use an at-home COVID test when traveling internationally?

Returning home from international travel just got a little bit easier for U.S. citizens. The CDC has updated its guidance which allows international air passengers to use at-home COVID-19 tests (or self-tests) to satisfy the testing requirement to reenter the U.S.

woman doing home covid test

Previously only PCR and rapid antigen tests administered by a medical professional were accepted.

Here’s what you need to know.

What Kind of Tests are Allowed?

The self-administered tests must be a SARS-CoV-2 viral test (nucleic acid amplification test – NAAT – or antigen test) with Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Tests Must be Supervised

The testing procedure must include remote, real-time supervision by a telehealth service associated with the test manufacturer. The telehealth provider will need to confirm your identity and observe the specimen collection and testing procedures. The provider must confirm the test result and then issue a report that meets the requirements of the CDC’s order. This means you’ll need solid video and audio connection, so make sure you take the test in a place with reliable WiFi.

Airline and Port of Entry Will Review Test Results

When it’s time to fly, your airline must be able to review and confirm your test result and match it with your identity. Keep in mind that you might need to present the documentation of your test results to U.S. officials at the port of entry or local/state health departments (if requested), so keep that information handy.

While this update is good news for travelers, many at-home COVID testing kits still require you to mail your sample to a lab and wait for your results. However, there is one home test that doesn’t require a lab – it meets the CDC requirements and includes a telehealth service. Tests are fairly cheap (ranging from $20-25) and available at many local retailers, including CVS, Walmart, and Walgreens. Each box comes with two tests that are available for use on all travelers aged 15 and older and children as young as two years old (when samples are collected by an adult).

As travel bounces back, this is great news for leisure traveler convenience. We urge you to still take all necessary precautions (pack a mask and wash your hands!) and be sure to check your destination’s requirements and restrictions before hopping on an international flight as many countries aren’t accepting unvaccinated travelers just yet. If you’re considering a trip to Europe, make sure you check out our summer travel page. Happy travels!

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10 Best Hotel Pools for Kids

With summer travel on the horizon (so close these school kids can almost taste it), and the adults happily in post-pandemic travel planning mode, we want to bring you some next-level, family-friendly pools at hotels you can book right now on CheapAir.com.happy girl underwater

Here are our top picks throughout the United States.

Hyatt Regency Hill Country Resort & Spa
San Antonio, Texas

Texas can get plenty hot during the summer, so to make sure you’re cooling off why not stay at a property with loads of family fun at the pool! Take your pick from a 950-foot lazy river, a 22-foot water slide, a surfing simulator, a sandy beach and 4 pools to choose from, along with one zero entry option for the smaller tots in your crew.

Arizona Grand Resort
Phoenix, Arizona

With warm weather year round, Phoenix is one of those destinations that has an abundance of riches for families who like to swim. But we like the Arizona Grand Resort for its awesome location (where Phoenix, tempe and Scottsdale meet – it’s truly the center of all the action), and for the options it’s serving. You can choose from 6 swimming areas on the grounds, and there’s a little something special at each. In addition to all of those, the Oasis Park has 3 water slides, a 10,000 square foot wave pool, and a lazy river, natch.

family in swimming pool

JW Marriott Orlando Grande Lakes
Orlando, Florida

You can’t do a post about family travel and leave off one of the destinations that is (arguably) the family-friendliest! DisneyWorld has been open for months and months already, but if you’re looking for the best family pool in Orlando, it might just be the pool at the JW Marriott Grande Lakes. This is also a two-fer option, as guests from the JW Marriott also have access to the Ritz Carleton’s lovely pool next door (and vice versa). But the Grande Lakes pool offers a giant, 24,000 square foot, zero-entry lazy river experience to enjoy during your stay.

TWA Hotel
Queens, New York

The TWA Hotel is connected to JFK by an elevator in Terminal 5, so if you have a layover in New York, this hotel kinda can’t be ebay for convenience of location. It also offers one of the most unique experiences on ou list, with an infinity pool that overlooks the tarmac. Airplane loving kids can watch planes take off and land while swimming!

girl on side of pool

Grand Wailea Resort
Maui, Hawaii

The Grand Wailea offers so much bang for the buck. First of all, the hotel property is near some of the most spectacular beaches on the planet. So you could never even take advantage of the pools at the Wailea and no one would bat an eye. Having said that – the hotel has a dizzying array of swimming experiences. There’s a choice of nine pools to tempt you. One has a Tarzan theme, including a rope swing that kids adore. There’s a 2,000 foot river that alternates between “lazy” and whitewater speeds. There are 5 water slides, 3 hot tubs, 6 waterfalls and an actual water “elevator” that rises and falls out of a “volcano” that defies description. The whole shebang is set in a gorgeous, tropical landscape of course.

The Broadmoor
Colorado Springs, Colorado

The Broadmoor’s infinity pool backs up against Cheyenne Lake and the mountains beyond, which for sheer spectacular beauty is hard to beat for a backdrop for watching your kids splash around. Which they certainly will in the wading pool, water slides, whirlpool and indoor pool.

Fontainebleau Miami Beach
Miami, Florida

The Fontainebleau prides itself on offering luxury for both the adults and kids and describes 11 pool “experiences,” for you to enjoy. There are “adults only” pool areas along with multiple options for the kiddos. The tiniest littles (and their caretakers) will appreciate the 18” deep zero entry pool, while the bigger kids will make a beeline for the water slide (48” height requirement) and spray canopy. Don’t forget to enjoy the property’s signature “bow tie” pool, where you can relax underneath a man-made waterfall.

group of kids underwater

Omni Rancho Las Palmas Resort & Spa
Rancho Mirage, California

The Omni’s pool area is called “Splashtopia,” and with a name like that, you can be sure this is a kid-friendly poolapalooza. Splashtopia sports a lazy river that wraps around the entire pool complex, a ton of fountains and sprinklers for the little to frolic in, and 2 – count ‘em – 2 100 foot long water slides. There is a 42” height requirement (and it is enforced) so make sure your kiddos are big enough to partake in the fun.

Killington Grand Hotel
Killington, Vermont

Our pick for the best summer/winter pool for families is the Killington Grand Hotel, located close to the slopes in the wonderful ski town of Killington, Vermont. In the winter you can swim from the heated indoor pool through a plastic barrier into the outdoor pool. Your kids will get a charge out of jumping from snow drifts directly into the water!

family in swimming pool

Mandalay Bay
Las Vegas, Nevada

Everything about Las Vegas is “extra”, and the family pool scene sure doesn’t disappoint! Most of the Strip hotels have a pool complex, but be careful to check into which ones cater more to the adult crowd. This is why we like the Mandalay Bay. The pool area boasts 11 acres of pool playscape, including a sandy beach, wave pool, and lazy river. Bring your own inner tube or rent one to take a ride on the lazy river, and grab some lunch at the Beach Bar & Grill, the poolside restaurant.

There are other options if a lounge by the pool isn’t your family’s cup of tea. We love beach camping and travel to Europe. Really, the opportunities are endless. We’re so excited to bring you travel at all this year! Please let us know where you’re excited to go in the comments below. We’d love to hear what you’re contemplating!

Book Hotels

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The Deadline for Real ID Just Got an Extension: What You Need to Know

More good news for travelers and general procrastinators. If you’ve been putting off that Real ID update to your driver’s license, you just got handed another get out of jail free card.

man at airport check-in

A lot of the state agencies responsible for issuing driver’s licenses have been running on a skeleton crew, and continue at limited capacity right now, which prompted the Department of Homeland Security to extend that deadline into 2023 – May 3rd, 2023 to be exact.

It’s been so long since anyone’s been focused on this issue, you’ll be forgiven if you’ve completely forgotten what it’s all about. So here’s a refresher. After 9-11, renewed focus on identification and security promoted the federal government to pass the REAL-ID Act of 2005. When we hit the new deadline, federal agencies – including the TSA – will require state ID to comply with the legislative requirements of the REAL-ID Act. Prior to this legislation being passed, some states did not have as stringent of requirements for identification.

You should check with your specific state to see what documents they require to issue your Real ID, but in general you can expect to furnish:

  • Proof of U.S. citizenship (valid U.S. Passport or U.S. Certificate of Citizenship
  • Proof of your identity (Driver’s license or passport)
  • Valid Social Security Card
  • Proof of state residency (utility bill or state I.D.)

By May 3, 2023 every American 18 years old or older, must have a Real-ID compliant driver’s license or state I.D. to travel on a domestic flight. Other acceptable forms of identification include U.S. passports.

The latest data estimate only about half of all state driver’s licenses in the U.S. are currently Real-ID compliant. So the new deadline should give you procrastinators plenty of time to make that update. Until then, happy travels!

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The CheapAir 2021 Annual Airfare Study: International Flights

If you weren’t sure whether we’d be seeing international travel in 2021, you’re certainly not alone. But with vaccines widely available, and a recent announcement by the E.U. that borders will be open to Americans as soon as this summer, it seems like a distinct possibility.

cartoon map of the world

Get ready to grab your vaccine passport and let’s dig into international travel!

How we crunch the numbers

CheapAir.com examined more than 917 million airfares across thousands of markets in every region in the world to provide you with data to help you purchase your next international flight.

We aim to make buying your flight simple and straightforward: with a clear and comprehensive flight display, excellent help when you need it, and alternatives for payment that go beyond the traditional. Our International Airfare Study has all the insights you need to purchase the right ticket for your next trip.

This report covers:
· When to buy your airline ticket to save the most money
· The best time to buy a flight in order to get the best combination of choice and affordability
· The most and least expensive months to travel
· How seasonality can impact airfare

international when to buy airfare 2021

Canada
The official “Best Day to Buy” for Canadian travel is about 2 months out from your travel dates. Last year, you could book quite early and still get some of the best fares, but this year we’re recommending a longer wait based on the data.

Prime Booking Window: 1.5 months to 3.5 months before departure
Best time to buy: About 58 days out from your travel date
The average airfare: $436
Cheapest months to travel: October and November
Most expensive months to travel: March and June
Least expensive day of the week to fly: Tuesday, Wednesday
Seasonality: To get the best fares and most choice in flights and amenities for the fall, you’ll want to look at buying around 3 months out. For every other season, you can afford to wait a bit longer. Planning a ski trip or summer vacation? Right around two months out is the sweet spot for buying your airfare.

Mexico
Airfares to Mexico are slightly more than last year, which tracks considering Mexico was essentially open to vacationers throughout the pandemic and it continues to trend as a popular international destination for North American travelers. Mexico’s best day to buy is about 2 months from your planned departure.

Prime Booking Window: 1.5 months to 4 months before departure
Best time to buy: About 64 days out from your travel date
The average airfare: $535
Cheapest month to travel: October
Most expensive month to travel: December
Least expensive day of the week to fly: Tuesday, Wednesday
Seasonality: In Spring, summer and fall buying around 2-3 months out will most likely get you an affordable flight. Winter flights should be bought earlier for the best prices – about 4.5 months from departure.

Caribbean
The Caribbean is a great destination in 2021 if you’re planning a relatively last-minute international trip. You can book less than 2 months out from your travel dates and get great value on ticket price. Average ticket prices are slightly less than last year – an always pleasant trend! The one caveat is that we recommend booking earlier for Christmas (as always) and for the spring break months of February and March.

Prime Booking Window: 1.5 months to 3 months before departure
Best time to buy: About 69 days out from your travel date
The average airfare: $575
Cheapest month to travel: October
Most expensive month to travel: December
Least expensive day of the week to fly: Tuesday, Wednesday
Seasonality: Booking affordable flights to the Caribbean does not require an early search (unless you’re looking at Christmas or spring break). In addition, the most affordable season to travel (summer) is still only about $30 less on average than the most expensive season (winter).

Central America
Great news for travelers! Central America flights should be about what they were last year for international travelers.

Prime Booking Window: Just over half a month to 3 months before departure
Best time to buy: About 68 days out from your travel date
The average airfare: $643
Cheapest month to travel: September
Most expensive month to travel: December
Least expensive day of the week to fly: Wednesday, Tuesday
Seasonality: Central America’s flights have a bit more volatility than usual, a trend that holds up through a lot of other regions depending on seasonality for 2021. The summer months are going to be the most expensive, and are about $100 more than the least expensive season, winter. The best time to buy for Central American countries is 2.5 months out summer, 5 months for fall, 7.5 months for winter, and 9 months for spring!

South America
South America is still a very popular destination for 2021, and prices have only ticked slightly higher – about $40 more per ticket than they were in 2020!

Prime Booking Window: 1.5 months to just under 4 months before departure
Best time to buy: About 80 days out from your travel date
The average airfare: $999
Cheapest month to travel: November
Most expensive month to travel: January
Least expensive day of the week to fly: Wednesday, Tuesday
Seasonality: We’re seeing a big difference in when you should buy when we factor in seasonality for South America. Plan to buy your ticket earliest if you’re flying in Spring – you’ll need to be looking close to 9 months out. Fall travelers should start looking for good deals in the 4.5 month range, and winter travelers should be looking at the 7 month mark. A summer trip can wait – you’ll find the best fares at around 2.5 months out from travel.

Europe
Europe’s prices are up from last year. The most expensive months to travel to Europe are the summer months, with June almost $500 more per ticket on average than the least expensive month of November. If you have your heart set on summer in Europe, consider August, when fares are about $200 less on average than June or July.

Prime Booking Window: Just under 2 months to just over 9 months before departure
Best time to buy: About 120 days out from your travel date
The average airfare: $1,580
Cheapest month to travel: February
Most expensive month to travel: June
Least expensive day of the week to fly: Tuesday, Wednesday
Seasonality: Europe’s seasonality factor is all over the board. If you’re flying in the summer you can wait the longest and still get a good fare – around 2.5 months out we still see good fares. Fall trips see good fares around 5 months out from your travel dates, and winter flights are best bought about 7 months out. Planning a spring trip, you’ll need to start shopping about nine months from your travel dates.

Africa
More than any other region in the study, Africa has the most amount of volatility overall. You should buy your fares a good 7-10 months out to get the best fares and selection for spring and winter, and only about 2.5 months out for summer. The average airfare has gone up about $200 since last year.

Prime Booking Window: 1.5 months to 10.5 months before departure
Best time to buy: About 96 days out from your travel date
The average airfare: $1,542
Cheapest month to travel: November
Most expensive month to travel: July
Least expensive day of the week to fly: Tuesday, Wednesday
Seasonality: If your trip is planned for the summer, you have a bit more wiggle room to find a good deal. Some of the best fares for the summer months can be found around 2.5 months from travel.

South Pacific
South Pacific destination flight prices are much more expensive on average than they were last year, with 2020 flights projected to be around $500 more than they were in 2020. This may be residual effects of the rock bottom fares we saw in 2020, due to the pandemic.

Prime Booking Window: 2.5 months to 9 months before departure
Best time to buy: About 117 days out from your travel date
The average airfare: $2,113
Cheapest month to travel: February
Most expensive month to travel: December
Least expensive day of the week to fly: Tuesday, Wednesday
Seasonality: Travelers should pay close attention to seasons in the South Pacific, because when to buy for best value is definitely a mixed bag. In the spring, you should shop about two months out, in the summer and fall around 3 months from departure, and in the winter 4.5 months from departure to capture the best deals.

Asia
Asia flights are more expensive than they were last year, but Asia does have a relatively wide window where you can find good value. From 2.5 months to 6.5 months, whenever you shop you’ll likely find a reasonable airfare. Even though Asia was the initially hardest hit by COVID-19, much of the continent has it very much under control these days, which may partly explain the spike in prices.

Prime Booking Window: 2.5 months to 6.5 months before departure
Best time to buy: Around 119 days out from your travel date
The average airfare: $1,643
Cheapest month to travel: February
Most expensive month to travel: June
Least expensive day of the week to fly: Tuesday, Wednesday
Seasonality: Winter travelers should be looking around 4.5 months out for the best deals, while spring travelers can find deals under 2 months in advance.

Middle East
Prices to destinations around the Middle East have gone up this year, on average about $100, but the booking window is wide enough that you can find good value as close as around 1.5 months from your travel dates.

Prime Booking Window: 1.5 months to 5.5 months before departure
Best time to buy: Around 67 days out from your travel date
The average airfare: $1,332
Cheapest month to travel: November
Most expensive month to travel: June
Least expensive day of the week to fly: Tuesday, Wednesday
Seasonality: When traveling to Middle Eastern countries in the spring, you can actually wait the longest to find good fares (around 50 days out from your proposed trip). If you have a winter trip in mind, start the search much sooner, around 5 months out if you can.

Staying stateside in 2021? We get that too. As you take your first post-pandemic trip, staying a little closer to home can be an attractive option. Whichever way you decide to go – we’ve got you covered! Don’t forget to check out our Domestic Airfare Study for the best time to buy flights in the U.S.

Shop for International Flights

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Is my airline credit about to expire? What you need to know

When the pandemic hit last year and crushed people’s air travel plans, the airlines quickly moved to protect your tickets and issued credits for future travel. Most of those credits were scheduled to expire this year.

masked travelers in line at airport

In fact, by some estimates, as many as 55% of airline credits were going to expire this year as of January 1.

Airline Ticket Extensions Granted

Now, things have changed. The airlines realized that people might not have enough time to use those credits so many of them have offered extensions. Here’s exactly where the domestic airlines stand as of this blog’s publication date:

American
Travel vouchers scheduled to expire between March 1, 2020, and March 31, 2021 are granted an extension of an additional 12 months.

Delta
Customers must re-book and complete trips by Dec. 31, 2022.

Frontier
The customer should book travel by the expiration date (they are not required to travel by that expiration date). Frontier’s flight schedule now extends to April 2022.

JetBlue
All travel credits that JetBlue issued March through June of 2020 must be booked by March through June 2022 (24 months from date of issue).

Southwest
Flight credits set to expire between March 1, 2020, and Sept. 7, 2020 are extended to Sept. 7, 2022.

Spirit
Flight credits issued since March 2020 have been extended. Customers can use the credits to travel until Dec. 31, 2021, and flights must be booked by Sept. 30.

United Airlines
Airline tickets purchased between May 1, 2019, and March 31, 2021 will not expire until March 31, 2022.

Check with the Booking Agency or Airline

Even if you think that your airline credit has probably been extended, you should still check in with the online booking agency or airline to make sure you understand the terms of your ticket. Though most credits are not expiring, there are still some instances where you might not have qualified for an extension.

If this does happen to you, the airlines are being quite lenient right now so it doesn’t hurt to ask for another extension into 2022. We’ve heard that many customers have had good luck with this approach.

Jog Your Memory

Maybe some of you are actually unsure if you have a credit or not! His year has been a doozy. If you’re unsure at all, it can’t hurt to reach out to the airlines and check to make sure you use any potential credits so you don’t lose that money!

Consider All Your Options

You might be on the fence whether you want to use those credits this year or just push it to 2022. We recommend booking flights this year for a few reasons. First, airfares are still low right now. There’s a good chance that as demand for travel increases, the fares are going to rise. And because people are just starting to consider post-pandemic trips, the experience of travel is especially comfortable right now. There aren’t any crowds and usually crowded attractions are going to be much less so. That won’t last either.

Whatever you decide to do, CheapAir will be right there with you, offering our best advice for domestic domestic summer and Europe travel, and the holidays very soon. Do you have an airline credit that’s about to expire? Are there any questions we can help you with? Let us know about your plans in the comments section.

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Europe Will Welcome Vaccinated Americans This Summer

A lot of vaccinated Americans have been making summer travel plans, but not so many folks have been looking specifically at Europe.

woman on ledge in santorini greece

Their vaccine rollout has been chaotic at best, and a lot of countries have been mainly off limits for U.S. leisure travelers for the past year. And then this past weekend, some very good news came out of the E.U. In fact, fully vaccinated Americans will very soon be able to travel unrestricted to all E.U. countries.

So far, the vaccination certifications that will be accepted are Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson. There are still logistical problems that need to get worked out – primarily how American vaccination certificates will be verified for “proof” of immunity.

Once this piece of the puzzle falls into the place (likely over the next couple of weeks), the E.U. will officially change its policy to make tourism for Americans to all 27 E.U. countries possible again.

It sounds as though a temporary solution might be “low tech,” where a U.S. citizen could trade his or her own vaccine card for a local card once verified at a screening point at the airport. The E.U. has already begun issuing “digital vaccination cards” (stored on smartphones) to member citizens, though the United States has been less successful to date in implementing something similar. Ideally, government-issued vaccination certificates will soon be acceptable and readable at E.U. entry points.

Some countries (like Greece) have made moves to relax their own restrictions in advance. Greece will accept fully vaccinated American citizens starting this week.

The E.U. did qualify this change in policy and it made it contingent “on the epidemiological situation” continuing to improve in both the United States and European destination countries.

So even though a lot of Americans might be inclined to stay a little closer to home for their first post-pandemic trip, a lot of people are itching to get back out there and experience the world again. And with airfares relatively low, folks with a little pandemic savings in their pockets might be inclined to hop over the pond for a splashier vacation. To that end, take a look at our Europe Summer Flights page. You can see the best and worst days to fly this summer. There are a lot of great deals on offer!

Which side are you on? Will this news make you more or less likely to travel  to Europe this summer?

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What are the Top U.S. Beaches for Camping?

Summer travel planning is heating up, with camping trips and beach vacations on a lot of people’s shortlists in 2021.

woman in tent on beach with dog

Camping vacations are an affordable option for those willing to rough it a little, and beach camping can be an amazing way to blend two favorite summer activities. We’ve put together our picks for the best camping beaches from coast to coast.

Olympic National Park, Washington

kalaloch beach washington
The massive Olympic National Park (close to one million acres) is also home to the most popular beach camping in the state of Washington. Don’t be surprised to find yourself in the company of whales and eagles on your visit to Kalaloch. There are only two campgrounds in the park that accept reservations, and this is one of them. The beach located about 40 miles south of Forks, is often covered in a light mist. Dress accordingly – this is not a sunbathing beach. Rates range from $24-48/night.

Bahia Honda State Park, Big Pine Key, Florida

bahia honda state park florida
One of Bahia Honda’s biggest draws is the impressive birdwatching. It’s a very good place to see wading birds and shorebirds in their natural habitat. Shallow sand flats during low tide is where many species of birds feed and rest – you can expect to see willets, sanderlings, ruddy turnstones and plovers among others. You can also rent bicycles – cycling is a popular pastime. All campsites come with a picnic table, grill and water. A small restroom area is at the campsite, and showers are .5 mile way at the Buttonwood campground. Rates are $36/night plus a nonrefundable reservation fee ($6.70)*At the moment, Bahia Honda State Park is closed for overnight camping, due to ongoing repairs being made due to Hurricane Irma.

Wai’anapanapa State Park, Maui

Wai’anapanapa State Park, Maui
This popular state park in Hana on the northside of Maui is the only black sand beach on our list of top camping spots. The jungle beach is amazing – and reservations can be made 90 days from arrival. Camping rates are $20/night (residents) and $30/night (nonresidents). There are also cabins for rent for $70/night (residents) and $100/night (nonresidents).

Acadia National Park, Maine

acadia national park maine
Located on the Isle Au Haut, Acadia National Park might be the wildest beach to visit on our list. Campsites are primitive and secluded so you might feel like you’re one of the only people on the island. There are 15 miles of bike paths and and 18 miles of hiking trails.

Point Mugu State Park, Malibu, California

point mugu state park malibu
When people dream about a California beach vacation, a lot of them imagine a place like Malibu, which has been immortalized in countless television shows and movies. Point Mugu offers an affordable way to stay in Malibu, with more than 5 miles of coastline and 70 miles of hiking trails. Park showers are token operated and the token machines only accept $1 bills.

Parson’s Landing, Santa Catalina Island, California

parsons landing catalina island
While there are a few camping options on Catalina Island, the most secluded and spectacular is found at Parson’s Landing, located 7 miles west of the village of Two Harbors. The 8 primitive camp sites are only accessible by one of two approximately 7 mile hikes in. You can also kayak to Parson’s Landing – the trip is about 4.25 miles by water. You can rent a pre-stocked locker for $20 and they come filled with one bundle of firewood, one firestarter and a 2.5 gallon jug of water. You pick up a locker key from Visitor Services in Two Harbors before you start your hike.

Hither Hills State Park, New York

hither hills state park new york
On the eastern tip of Long Island’s tony Hamptons lies this family-friendly destination with resort vibes that’s popular with locals. The Montauk campground has movie nights, magic shows, line dancing, basketball and volleyball courts, sand castle contests and even a freshwater lake for fishing! But by far the biggest draw is sleeping right on the 2-mile beach. The only thing this location lacks is much shade – make sure you bring your sunscreen. Campsites start at $35/night (New York residents) or $70/night (non-residents).

Homer Spit, Alaska

homer spit alaska
Homer is known as the “halibut fishing capital of the world,” and Homer Spit is the popular beach community that springs up every summer. You can build a fire, make new friends and enjoy the amazing views of Kachemak Bay. Access to hot showers, restrooms and laundry makes it less rustic than you might be expecting, but campsites are right on the beach. There are restaurants, galleries and gift shops all within walking distance of the beach. Campsites start at $30/night.

Check back with us for more great ideas for destinations in 2021. We’ve also put together a list of tips for post-pandemic travel. There are a lot of people heading out this summer for the first time in many months. Make sure you have all the information you need to make a good decision.

And if you feel like sharing, let us know what other destinations you’d like for us to cover in the comments section so we can bring you more content that hits the mark. Happy travels!

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10 Amazing Hotels You Can Book with Bitcoin on CheapAir Right Now

Bitcoin valuation seems to know no limits, and since a lot of our bitcoin customers are a little (or a lot) on the adventurous side, we wanted to share some of the incredible properties we sell on CheapAir.com.

You can book with BTC and select other cryptocurrencies on our site. The world is opening back up right now – here are a few of the hotels you might want to consider for a post-pandemic trip.

Frozen Elegance

icehotel sweden

IceHotel
Jukkasjarvi, Sweden

Arguable THE original IceHotel located in the heart of “Swedish Lapland,” this place keeps the rooms on the chilly side. Their website tells you what you need to know in order to “sleep cold” – the temperature in the hotel is kept to a frosty 23 degrees Fahrenheit. You’ll be issued an expedition sleeping bag before you head to your room, and there is also a “warm” building where you can shower or use the sauna. If you’re one of those “once-in-a-lifetime” travelers, it’s hard to imagine an experience more unique than sleeping in a room made of ice. Stay in the IceHotel for .0072 BTC/384 USD/night.

Your Personal Shark Tank Hotel

aquarium at atlantis dubai

Atlantis, the Palm
Dubai, United Arab Emirates

If you know Dubai, you understand that the UAE has a reputation for going big. And Atlantis, the Palm is no exception. The entire property is a water lover’s paradise, but the real star is the 1,700 square feet Neptune Underwater Suite. Floor to ceiling windows showcase a stunning view onto the aquarium – home to 65,000 forms of marine life – sharks, rays and many species of fish swim right by your bed as you relax. The suite comes with an elevator to your private lounge, as well as 24-hour butler service and a complimentary interconnecting room for your travel companions or staff. The Neptune Underwater Suite will set you back .12 BTC/6,658 USD/night.

Sleep Like a Fashion Star

palazzo versace queensland

Palazzo Versace
Gold Coast, Australia

Any property owned by Donatella Versace is going to be FABULOUS and the Palazzo Versace in Australia’s tony Gold Coast in Queensland does her proud. Opulence and decadence are the design standard, and the Imperial Suite is the fanciest room of the bunch. You’ll have your own private dining room, butler service and a private cabana at the Water Salon (or pool, as us plebeians call it). The room itself is cozy for an Imperial Suite (just over 500 sq. ft.), but every detail is extravagant, down to the walk-in closet for wannabe fashion icons. The Imperial Suite is .058 BTC/3,118 USD/night.

This Hotel is Made of Salt

salar de uyuni

Hotel Palacio de Sal
Uyuni, Bolivia

It gets thrown around a lot, but the Hotel Palacio de Sal touts itself as an “out-of-this-world” experience and we are here to confirm that it certainly is. This property sits at the edge of the world’s largest salt flat, Salar de Uyuni, and is built entirely of salt (more than one million blocks to be exact). The property’s style can best be described as avant garde, with elegantly-appointed rooms, but the real star is the – yes – other-worldly salt flats. Room reservations sell out fast, so book early. Check availability on CheapAir.com for rates.

Igloo Glam and a Side of Aurora Borealis

Kakslauttanen Arctic Resort

Kakslauttanen Arctic Resort
Sodankyla, Finland

So, you may have heard about sleeping in an ice hotel, but have you considered sleeping in an igloo? The Kakslauttanen Arctic Resort is 150 miles north of the Arctic Circle in Finland, and they have not one, but two options for igloo rooms. You can stay in the glass-domed igloos you see in this photo which will give you unfettered views of the Northern Lights if you’re lucky, or you can opt into a snow igloo (down sleeping bags will be provided). While the lodging is comfy, the real draw is the plethora of amazing activities you can book through the resort. Reindeer safaris, ice fishing, snow tank safaris, and even Aurora Hunting – an experience of chasing the Aurora Borealis from a snowmobile or skis! Rooms start at .0097 BTC/520 USD/night.

Views that Impress – Crane Hotel

crane hotel faralfa amsterdam

Crane Hotel Faralda Amsterdam
Amsterdam, the Netherlands

Their website says “you’ll either love it or you’ll hate it,” but we think the former is much more likely. With only three “suites” available located in the tallest harbor crane in Amsterdam, it’s arguably the most unusual spot to stay in a city full of unique spots. You can also get room service delivered from a Michelin 2* restaurant if you so desire. The decor is less 5* than some, but you’re not really booking a stay in a construction crane if high society is your thing. This hotel screams unique experience. Suites are .017 BTC/890 USD/night.

What’s Your Fantasy Room?

edmonton canada

Fantasyland Hotel
Edmonton, Canada

There are hotels that traffic in kitsch. Think the Madonna Inn in San Luis Obispo or the “Prison” Hotel in Ljubljana. But for sheer fantasy? You guessed it. Try the Fantasyland Hotel in Edmonton, Canada. Now you might be thinking to yourself, “ do I really want to stay in a “theme” room? A space capsule? A pioneer/western room? A pirate ship?” We definitely think this option is best for families or adults that refuse to grow up. The rooms aren’t super expensive, and they’re great for the ‘gram or TikTok. Rooms start at .0041 BTC/220 USD/night.

Cappadocian Caving Hotel

urgup turkey

Seraphim Cave Hotel
Urgup, Turkey

The Cappadocian region of Turkey has many so-called “cave” hotels, with properties literally built into the rocks of the region. Many of these hotels are quite affordable. We chose a gem, the Seraphim Cave Hotel to highlight the property’s effortless elegance. The setting is a historic mansion, built in 1853 and features over an acre of picturesque gardens. The King Suite offers a private garden and jacuzzi, and ranges in size from 540 to 970 square feet. After a day of sightseeing, you can relax in the Wellness facilities – a Turkish Spa, indoor pool, sauna and massage rooms. The King Suite goes for .0091 BTC/486 USD/night.

A Property for People Who Like to Be in Their Feelings

st louis arch missouri

Angad Arts Hotel
St. Louis, Missouri

Now you might expect to find a hotel that considers itself a “curator of socially inspiring experiences” to be in New York or Paris or Miami. But no! We bring you this fabulous property located in the St. Louis Arts district. And can we tell you? It’s a trip! Visitors book their rooms by “emotion of color” – Powerful Red, Freedom Blue, Rejuvenation Green and Curiosity Yellow. The property offers guests a selection of fun bars and restaurants to visit, depending on your mood. The King Suite Grand is a spacious 870 sq. ft., with 1.5 bathrooms, separate living and dining areas, as well as a dishwasher and a kitchenette. Kings Suite Grand starts at .013 BTC/699 USD/night.

The Weirdest Hotel Experience You Can Have in Sri Lanka

kandy sri lanka

Helga’s Folly
Kandy, Sri Lanka

That sounds like a bold statement. The weirdest hotel? Really? We challenge you to visit this psychedelic feast for the eyes and then tell us it’s not the weirdest hotel in Sri Lanka. It’s described by its owner (we think?) – The mysterious Helga” – as “a sumptuous house that would serve Baz Luhrmann should he ever opt to film Moulin Rogue jungle style.” And if that has you scratching your head, we challenge you to open your mind. Rooms start at .0019 BTC/99USD per night.

Please check back with us for more great BTC content and let us know what you’d like to see us write about in the comments section. Happy travels, bitcoin people!

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Disneyland is About to Reopen: Here’s What to Expect

Disneyland, along with many other theme parks around the country in various stages of reopening, is finally on track to reopen on April 30, 2021.

mickey mouse balloons at disneyland

But as part of its phased reopening, it’s only open to California residents and in groups no larger than three households (this last part is on the honor system).

In order to manage park visitors, Disneyland requires you to have a park reservation and a valid ticket for the same date for guests age 3 and older. The Grand Californian Hotel & Spa will reopen on April 29, 2021, but the Disneyland Hotel and Paradise Pier Hotel remain closed for the moment. Downtown Disney District is open (select retail and dining). DisneyWorld, has been successfully opened since late last summer, so Disney had a workable model in place for Disneyland.

Safety Protocols that Change the Disneyland Experience

Disneyland will significantly scale back the number of visitors allowed in the parks at one time. They do this primarily with the online reservation system. Social distancing is the order of the day at least for now. Many physical barriers have been erected, and reduced contact dining is maintained, largely through the Disney app on your smartphone. Attractions and restaurants that can’t be safely opened with social distancing measures will remain closed.

You’ll find plexiglass dividers in ride queues, and interactive experiences for some rides (that require touching screens or animatronics) have been temporarily disabled or modified.

A Mask for You and a Mask for You…

Even as more and more Americans get fully vaccinated, the CDC recommends wearing masks in public places, and Disneyland will keep to that recommendation, at least in the beginning. The park plans to require temperature checks upon entry, and if you test at 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit or more, you’ll be asked to step aside to a different screening area and retested before gaining entry. Those visitors that don’t register lower on the second try will be denied entrance. Disneyland urges everyone to check temperatures before leaving home.

Will there be Princesses to hug?

The short answer? Sadly, no. The character interactions that are a hallmark of a park visit have largely been eliminated. Disney implemented temporary work-arounds where characters put on mini “shows” from safe distances. What does this look like? Instead of the roving characters that wander freely intermingling with guests, right now Disney has implemented mini parades of Princesses and other characters on horseback. You might also get the chance to visit with a character wearing a plexiglass face shield, or observe characters on balconies strategically positioned at key spots around the park. It’s a little less magical, but still better than not getting to meet Belle, Ariel, Elsa or your favorite princess. Long story short, if you want to hug a Disney princess, that’s not on the menu in 2021 just yet.

What about FASTPASS and Parades?

Once again, nope. At the moment, FASTPASS and Dsney MaxPass have been suspended and will return at a later date. To Disneyland veterans, this might be the harshest pill to swallow but with the limited admissions, you’ll not find this the bummer it first appears to be.

Parades and fireworks shows have also been put on an indefinite pause, so that should also be put into the overall calculus when you’re trying to decide whether or not to visit this year.

Dining Changes

Disney “highly recommends” guests download the most current Disney Experience app. One main reason is to promote mobile ordering from restaurants and avoid long dining queues at the counters.

That just about covers the ways Disney has implemented procedures and policies to keep you safe. When it makes sense for you to visit Disneyland is an individual choice. But what we can say for sure is that Disney takes the safety of its guests seriously and continues to prioritize the health of both guests and employees alike.

What do you think? Are you likely to visit Disneyland a little bit later in the year when they open up to visitors from other states? Or will you hold off until you can get the “full” Disney experience without restrictions? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.

Also, if you’re not really a Disneyland “person”, you might also check out some of the other theme parks around the country. Coaster 101 tracks most of the larger parks and updates frequently.

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