Travel Briefs

The US Department of Transportation made a ruling on Dec. 2 that the only service animals to be allowed on planes are dogs. It further ruled that “emotional support animals” are not a category of service animal, which they defined as “a dog that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of a person with a disability.”

Unusual emotional-support animals on planes, such as pigs, peacocks, ducks and others, have made news in the last few...


A new Thailand tourist visa was introduced on Nov. 23 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

To apply, a traveler needs to fill out a visa application form and a health declaration form, both available from Thai consulates (visit for a link to the consulate nearest you).

The traveler then must send in his paperwork along with his passport and two passport-sized photos as well as confirmation of accommodation at an approved hotel for at least 15 nights (at press...


Low-cost European airline easyJet ( will begin limiting access to their overhead luggage bins on Feb. 10. Starting on that date, only passengers paying for a more expensive ticket will be allowed bin space for their carry-on luggage. Passengers paying only the basic fare must place carry-ons underneath the seats in front of them.

Israel is creating “Green Zones” — areas that require a negative COVID-19 test result to enter — in tourist spots around the country.

The first areas designated Green Zones, created on Nov. 18, were two clusters of hotels along the Dead Sea and another in the resort area of Eilat on the Red Sea. To enter them, a visitor must prove he took a test within the previous 48 hours. Alternatively, rapid-response tests will be available at entry points. Testing is free...


For anyone interested in driving around the Australian island of Tasmania, the website Lap of Tasmania ( can help in planning an itinerary and booking lodging and a rental car. Travelers can choose a 7-, 10- or 14-day trip or a specialized trip (foodie, nature, luxury, etc.). Each trip guide includes suggestions for enhancing or extending certain sections.

“Dateless Departures” were introduced by Exodus Travels (Toronto, ON, Canada; 844/227-9087, on Dec. 3. Travelers who reserve a tour to a country are guaranteed a spot in the first Exodus tour group to go there once that country reopens its borders.

Dateless Departure purchasers also will benefit from virtual pre-trip briefings with tour leaders, health experts and local guides, and they will be joined by a professional photographer on the trip....


Visitors to Switzerland can book a room in any of 50-plus “Million Stars” hotels. In varying environments around the country, each of the “hotels” (each actually one double-bed accommodation) must meet certain star-gazing criteria to be considered a Million Stars hotel. The “room” must offer unimpeded views of the sky, which means being entirely outside, under a glass roof or surrounded by a clear pod.

A stay at a Million Stars hotel can be booked...


Budding astronomers visiting Ireland will have a chance to view the stars through a 14-inch telescope at the OM Dark Sky Park & Observatory (155 Davagh Rd., Omagh, Ireland; phone +353 28 8676 0681, Opened in October 2020, the telescope has automatic guide and lock-on features, so viewers can focus on spectacular astronomical objects.

At the observatory, open 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Sun.-Thurs. and 11-9 Fri.-Sat., visitors can enjoy interactive exhibits, including virtual-...