Travel Briefs

In Toyooka, Honshu, Japan, visitors can take the private “Oriental White Stork Observation Tour” to see the endangered birds in their natural habitat. Thanks to a captive breeding program, about 140 storks, once extinct in Japan, now breed in the area.

With an English-speaking guide, the 6-hour tour, offered only during breeding season (April-November), visits wetlands, rice paddies and the Oriental White Stork Museum. Based on group size (two to six), the per-person price, including lunch, runs ¥29,500-¥15,000 (near $277-$141). To book a tour, visit...


US airlines have blacklisted hundreds of flyers for not following mask rules on board flights. According to the airlines, they are not sharing passenger information with each other, so a passenger blacklisted from one airline may still be able to fly on another one, provided the traveler follows the rules on wearing masks.

There are no federal guidelines for wearing masks, so anyone who refuses to wear a mask is not at risk of a fine or arrest, but airlines are within their rights to create and enforce their own rules, which may include removing passengers from a flight and...


The president of Cuba announced on Dec. 10 that, as of Jan. 1, 2021, the country would no longer be using the convertible peso, or CUC. The CUC was created in 1994 and existed alongside the Cuban peso. It was meant to be used by non-Cubans, who were not allowed to exchange foreign currency for pesos while visiting the country. It exchanged at 1-to-1 with the US dollar but had more value on the black market.

At press time, the dollar/peso exchange rate was $1=CUP26.5.

The Eastern Caribbean island of Anguilla now offers a “Vacation Bubble” for incoming travelers. Once travelers arrive, with the required negative COVID-19 tests and proof of full medical coverage, they are free to experience all of the activities offered at their resort and at other places in the “bubble,” including restaurants, tours and shops. Once in the bubble, no visitor is allowed to leave and interact with the general population of Anguilla.

For a list of bubble hotels, resorts, restaurants and more, along with pertinent travel info, visit www.anguilla...


At press time, three international airports in Mexico were offering rapid COVID-19 antigen tests for outgoing international passengers. A COVID-19 test showing a negative result must be presented by any traveler flying into the US, even a returning US citizen. (At press time, the land border between Mexico and the US was closed to all but essential traffic until at least March 21.)

The three airports offering testing are Benito Juarez International Airport (MEX) in Mexico City, Guanajuato International Airport (BJX) in Silao and Mérida International Airport (MID) in the Yucatán....


On Dec. 5, 2020, in Switzerland, the Eiger Express aerial gondola began service, taking passengers from the Grindelwald terminal, at the foot of the Jungfrau, 1,800 meters away to the Eiger Glacier Station, in 15 minutes.

Visitors can combine the tram with the train to the Jungfraujoch observatory, more than 11,000 feet above sea level, completing the entire one-way trip in only 45 minutes, 43 minutes faster than previously.

A round-trip ticket for the Eiger Express costs CHF64 (near $72) per person. A round-trip ticket to Jungfraujoch, including the Eiger Express, costs...


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 time, Thailand required all foreigners to quarantine for 15 nights), proof of a booked return flight...


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.