• Grand Canyon

    Pro-tips to avoid national park crowds

    The ‘new normal’ is gradually emerging, but with many hotels and National Parks reopening just in time for last weekend’s Memorial Day holiday, daunting reports have been flooding in, complete with photos of jam-packed parking lots, hours-long lines and crowded trails. <br><br>As the phrase ‘far from madding crowds’ rings more true than ever, travellers from coast to coast are wondering will worries of overcrowding and social distancing mean not being able to enjoy some of the most spectacular places on earth? Will travel bucket lists have to wait? <br><br>With apologies to Thomas Hardy, informed travellers have found a way to visit the same spectacular places as the crowds, but stay far from them. <br><br>To find out how, we asked experts whose jobs are to know the most popular places better than anyone how to avoid the crowds when everyone starts to travel again. <br><br>Follow these pro tips to enjoy crowd-free travel as we go into the double whammy of reopening and summer season. <br><img alt="USA Grand Canyon Tour Crowded Overlook" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000002Pq2Y&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000001xi44" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img><br>The good news is, absolutely not! <br><br>We asked local guides and hoteliers to share expert advice on how to avoid the crowds when everyone starts to travel again. <br><br>Follow these pro-tips to enjoy crowd-free travel as we go into the double whammy of reopening and summer season. <br><br><b>Stay central </b><br>Eliminate the crawling daily commute to your destination and instead, wake up exactly where you want to be. Whether that means in the National Park wilderness or in the center of a historic downtown, you’ll be staying among the sights and sounds you came for and get to experience them unflooded by day visitors, from dramatic dawns to silent starry nights. <br><img alt="US National Park Luxury Hotel Classic Journeys" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000002Pq2Y&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000001xi3G" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img><br>Kris from Bryce Canyon Lodge says, “Staying within Bryce Canyon National Park means no lining up at the entrance station or circling around the parking lot until you catch a free space. While everyone else is having to deal with that, you’re already here. Breakfast among the scenery or set out for a sunrise walk. At night, you’ll see constellations that hotels in city locations couldn’t even dream of.”<br><br><b>Go against the grain</b><br>Just because the majority of visitors explore somewhere a certain way, doesn’t mean it’s always the best way. <br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/blog/tag/alaska/" target="_blank"><img alt="USA Alaska Luxury Tour Classic Journeys" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000002Pq2Y&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000001xi3p" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br>“This is the least crowded state in America, but if I took you to one of Alaska’s harbors on a cruise docking day, you wouldn’t believe me for a second.” Eric S., our <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/alaska/" target="_blank">Kenai Peninsula Trip</a> leader tells us “that’s because the majority of visitors come here by cruise ship and those visitors go to the same sights that a day on land allows, before returning back to their cabins. So, I would say, think outside the box (or outside the boat!). We have some incredible hotels in locations that let you venture deeper into Alaska’s diverse and immense landscape (when you see them, you will agree with me that a cruise ship can’t compete!). Rather than run by a crew from who-knows-where, these lodgings are run by locals who often have generations of stories to share and will give you insight into what living year-round in Alaska really looks like. Don’t forget, they also have the inside scoop on where to find the freshest crab legs and the most delicious cup of smoked salmon chowder!”<br><br><b>Pick a private tour </b><br>Private tours allow for personal space, and let you explore at your own pace. <br><img alt="USA Napa Valley Sonoma County Luxury Tour Classic Journeys" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000002Pq2Y&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000001xi3L" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img><br> “Signing up for a public tour of a historic landmark is better than not taking a tour at all” admits Linda, who leads our Charleston &amp; Savanah tour “but if you want an unhurried experience without having to contend with hordes of other visitors, my advice is to travel with a tour operator that offers private tours just for your small group. In Charleston, Drayton Hall is my favorite. I always choose a timing that fits well within the day’s schedule, and you can ask as many questions as you like.” <br><br>Christopher, who mans the front office at Vintage House Hotel agrees, “<a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/napa/" target="_blank">Napa</a> has so many ways to experience wine, but a private wine tasting is by far the most intimate experience. There are no distractions. You can tailor it around what you like—a walk through the vineyard, a long lunch, you could even do a local cheese tasting and pairing. The best part is, with smaller groups that usually means more wine!”<br><br><b>Have a local take the lead </b><br>Save the strains of self-guiding and avoid tours that import in trip leaders. <br><img alt="USA Hawaii Big Island Luxury Tour Classic Journeys" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000002Pq2Y&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000001xi3Q" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img><br>Kathleen, who owns the Volcano Retreat, has learned the best way of exploring: “We moved here from San Francisco in 1991 and have taken all kinds of tours since then. No-one knows <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/hawaii-big-island" target="_blank">Hawaii&#39;s Big Island </a>like the back of their hand like the islanders born and raised here—the days and times to avoid, the trails less trodden, the best back-up plan for trail closures. While everyone else is following the same itinerary Google search results first throw up, with a local you can venture deeper and differently. They’ll know the exact times when places are most spectacular and least crowded. And they’ll have awesome stories to share along the way. And you’re supporting our local economy, for which I thank you!”<br><br>Peter, New Mexico’s <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/newmexico/" target="_blank">Santa Fe to Taos Trip</a> leader: “When you visit the high desert of New Mexico, where Native American tribes have left such well-preserved art, architecture and cuisine, being shown around by someone whose family line dates back centuries is incredible. Who better to show you around historic Taos Pueblo than a local member of the tribe, who happens to be a good friend of mine?”<br><br><b>Go beyond the 10-minute trails <br><img alt="USA Vermont Fall Luxury Tour Classic Journeys" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000002Pq2Y&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000001xi3z" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></b><br>Don’t stop at the nearest, shortest trail. They don’t know what they’re missing.<br><br>“Venture further,” advises Bruce, our <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/vermont/" target="_blank">Vermont Stowe to Middlebury Trip</a> leader, “ask any guide or ranger, I am sure that they will agree. I’d say 90% of visitors literally park their cars, take a 10-minute walk, snap some photos for Instagram and then leave. Often, they spend longer trying to find a parking space than they do exploring! It’s a shame. But it’s good for those of us who know better! And you don’t even have to be a super fit backpacker with the stamina for a 5-hour hike up a Vermont mountainside. I can think of so many stunning walks that virtually no one takes that are easy going, rarely crowded and show you our famous fall landscape like you’ve never seen before.”<br><br><b>Look for limits </b><br>Don’t be deterred by group restrictions, actively seek them.<br><img alt="USA Zion National Park Narrows Luxury Tour Classic Journeys" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000002Pq2Y&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000001xi3V" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img><br>Marcia Burns, who leads our <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/bryce-tours/" target="_blank">Bryce, Grand Canyon and Zion trip</a> tells us more. “The Bureau of Land Management enforces group size limits to certain areas of wilderness. For example, here in Zion, the Narrows upstream of Orderville Canyon allows no more than 12 people and you need a permit to access. I feel like the words ‘restriction’, ‘limit’ and ‘enforcement’ put people off, but now more than ever, they are a good thing! You get to experience the most stunning parts of a National Park in their true wilderness form. It doesn’t feel like Disneyland!”<br><br><b>Picnic instead of cafeteria </b><br>Don’t lose time in the lunch line. Make the dining as good as the destination. No rush. No reservation needed. <br><img alt="US National Park Culinary Luxury Tour Classic Journeys" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000002Pq2Y&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000001xi3a" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img> <br>“Exhilarating walks and sights sure work up an appetite.” Eric K, who leads our <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/bryce-tours/" target="_blank">Bryce, Grand Canyon &amp; Zion</a> trio tells us, “but bear in mind that will also be the case for every single other person visiting. Come lunchtime, people pour into the one or two nearest cafeterias here. Precious time that could be spent exploring is lost as you line up for a free table and wait for your food. My way around this lets you enjoy good food, at your leisure, while enjoying the destination at the same time. And it’s simple: a picnic! You’ll have views restauranteurs can only dream of. I know amazing spots where you can lunch with no one else as far as the eye can see. And I know incredible local restaurants and delis that will pack you a lunch of hand-crafted specialties, so you can skip that mass cafeteria food.”<br><br><b>Get a driver</b><br>Don’t drive and definitely skip the shuttle. Instead, let a local take the wheel, while you sit back and soak up the scenery.<br><img alt="US National Park Private Car Luxury Tour Classic Journeys" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000002Pq2Y&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000001xi3f" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img><br>The expert recommendation from Janice, <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/glaciernationalpark/" target="_blank">Montana’s Glacier National Park Trip</a> leader, is to “make sure you book a trip with a private driver. Driving on your own only takes you as far as the parking lot, which can be a nightmare to navigate. Then you have to choose between the packed-out trails leading from the parking lot, or a free shuttle, with its long wait lines and what makes me think of herded-cattle once everyone is piled on. In Montana, don’t settle for an over-a-stranger’s-shoulder glimpse of our legendary Going To The Sun Road. Doesn’t it sound nicer to sit back with a driver who knows exactly how you like the air conditioning?!”<br><br><b>Swap sunset for sunrise </b><br>Everyone loves a sunset, but the silent spectacle of sunrise is worth an early wake up call.<br><img alt="US National Park Sunrise Luxury Tour Classic Journeys" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000002Pq2Y&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000001xi3k" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img><br>As Head Chef at Friday Harbor House, Jason’s work hours make him a seasoned sunrise-seer, “If you ask me, <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/sanjuans/" target="_blank">San Juan </a>sunrises are by far the best. To escape the crowds, my favorite time of day is dawn. I have to get up early for my job and am so thankful I do. What a way to start each day and usually I am the only person up to enjoy it. When our guests ask for a recommendation, sunrise is always my suggestion and I promise them a mouth-watering breakfast to follow!”<br><br>Jamie, who’s a baker at the Grand Canyon Lodge, is also an early-riser, “It’s no secret how stunning the <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/bryce-tours/" target="_blank">Grand Canyon</a> is at sundown. But, for that reason, you will find a steady stream of cars as sundown approaches, with packs of people taking photos from the best-known overlooks. Skip the evening crowds and rise early to watch the colors of the rising sun dance on the canyon walls. Rather than hearing cars and tourists, listen to the surrounding silence that almost seems to echo. Everyone else who comes here completely misses it. Beyond being uncrowded, often there is not another soul in sight. So, even if you are not a morning person, set an alarm and you won’t regret it.”

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  • Thailand mountain

    Travel trends for 3Q + 4Q 2020

    Maybe you’re already familiar with the quote, “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness,... Broad wholesome, charitable views of men cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth...”<br><br>If you’re reading this blog, it’s likely that you already agree with Mark Twain, at least as you live your own life. Now, let’s talk about the kids and grandkids.<br><br>Child psychologists and educators tell us that travel can be soundly beneficial in building a healthy foundation on which children view the world. It’s an organic lesson in history, culture, religion, politics and geography which, the experts tell us, dramatically boosts a child’s development. They learn that, outside the bubble we grow up in, people, cultures, food are different. They learn to respect the power and majesty of nature.<br><img alt="User-added image" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000002PxNu&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000001xzW5" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img><br> <br>Plus, it gives families quality time together, outside of the norm and beyond the hassles of work, school and home life. While birthday and Father’s Day presents may find themselves in the back of the garage after a few months, travel memories are shared over Thanksgiving dinners for decades.<br> <br>Without warning, we all faced 2020 with the prospect of no travel. Borders were closed, hotels shut down and flights cancelled. Families have been sheltering together at home, spending more time in one place than perhaps ever before (thank goodness for the tips <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/blog/mel-robbins-interview/" target="_blank">Mel Robbins</a> passed on during the early stages of lockdown).<br> <br>But as borders begin to reopen, we now have hope of travel in 2020. Whether you’ve been spending too much time indoors with your immediate family, or haven’t seen your extended family since stay home orders were put in place, it’s finally time to enjoy quality time together and a much-craved change of scenery.<br> <br>Our Zoom calls have been with our local guides and hoteliers around the world, our guests around the country, and the editors of travel publications from AFAR and Fodor’s, to Travel + Leisure and the Wall Street Journal. Here’s a round up what the travel trends for the second half of 2020 are looking like.<br> <br><b>Virtual travel-inspired trips</b><br>We’ve been confined to our homes in an age where the internet and social media are everyday staples. It’s taught us you don’t have to step outdoors to experience flavors, masterpieces and landscapes thousands of miles away. We’ve been exploring museums, safari parks and natural phenomena—<a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/blog/one-day-world-tour/" target="_blank">virtually</a>—from our couches. We’ve joined Instagram cooking classes live from Italy and attended real-time Zoom whiskey tastings from Scotland. Netflix has transported us to cities and countries never before visited.<br><img alt="User-added image" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000002PxNu&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000001xzHF" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img> <br>Now those places are opening for visits and we have the chance of experiencing them IN REAL LIFE!<br> <br>“We have never been to <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/morocco-tours/" target="_blank">Morocco</a>, but <a href="http://classicjourneys.com/blog/tastes-of-morocco-chicken-tagine/" target="_blank">chicken tagine</a> has become an almost weekly family dinner during lockdown and everyone is keen to go there!”<br> <br>“We watch live <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/south-africa-family-adventure-tours/" target="_blank">safari</a> streams as part of the bedtime routines and their faces are in a constant state of amazement, I would love to see their reactions to seeing those animals in real life!”<br> <br><b>Trips down memory lane</b><br>Hands up if you’ve flicked through photos from previous trips and recalled happy travel memories with friends and family. Over the months, many of us have thought of places we wished we could return to, instead of being home.<br><img alt="User-added image" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000002PxNu&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000001xzSS" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img> <br>“When I was in middle school, my parents took us on an incredible trip to <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/grandcanyonfamily" target="_blank">Zion</a>. I would love to give my kids the same experience.”<br> <br>“We had a wonderful time in <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/costa-rica-tours/" target="_blank">Costa Rica</a> when my children were young, now they are teenagers I’m thinking of all the things they’d enjoy if we went back there.”<br> <br><b>Substitute Summer Camp</b><br>Social distancing guidelines may not allow for big group camps, but that doesn’t mean your kids can’t try new activities and benefit from new perspectives away from home.<br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/multisport-tours/" target="_blank"><img alt="User-added image" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000002PxNu&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000001xzGR" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a> <br>“I was always jealous of the fun activities the kids got to do on summer camp. Now we get to do them together.”<br> <br>“I feel like a well-connected local guide has to be ten times better than the best camp counselor ever!”<br> <br><b>Nurture global citizens</b><br>A lot has happened in a short time this year, and for many it’s got us thinking about family views and values. Raising responsible global citizens feel more important than ever.<br><img alt="User-added image" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000002PxNu&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000001xzGb" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img> <br>“We’ve learned a lot about climate change with the kids doing their geography classes at home. In our future trips, I want to give them the chance to see the effects of global warming (like the glaciers in <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/iceland-tours/" target="_blank">Iceland</a>) and over fishing (like the turtles in the <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/galapagos-tours/" target="_blank">Galapagos</a>).”<br> <br>“I want our kids to grow up understanding different cultures, to make friends with and learn from children from other countries and backgrounds. How amazing would it be to take them to lunch with a rainforest tribe in <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/panama-tours/" target="_blank">Panama</a> or dinner with desert tribes in <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/morocco-tours/" target="_blank">Morocco</a>.”<br> <br><b>Milestone trips</b><br>Cancelled events don’t mean you can’t mark milestones. Where families haven’t been able to gather for graduation ceremonies, anniversary celebrations or birthday parties, they are booking once-in-a-lifetime trips instead.<br><img alt="User-added image" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000002PxNu&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000001xzHA" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img> <br>“My daughter and niece can’t walk across the stage to get their diplomas this year. But they can walk the Inca Trail to <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/peru-tours/" target="_blank">Machu Picchu</a>. And we can give them that.”<br> <br><b>Multigenerational vacations</b><br>We love family Zoom calls, but nothing beats spending quality time together in person. Families are wanting—aka needing—to get back together again and multigenerational vacations allow that without leaving any age-group at a loose end.<br><img alt="User-added image" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000002PxNu&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000001xzGq" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img> <br>“I still can’t believe my 75-year-old, technology-hating mother mastered Zoom and Facetime. It’s been great for celebrating Mother’s Day, virtual bedtime stories and so on. But now I want everyone together properly on a vacation the grandparents will enjoy as much as the grandkids.”<br> <br><b>Private tours</b><br>Social distancing measures have changed the way we feel about group gatherings. With a private tour, you can leave your neighborhood but stay in the comfort zone of just your posse. You won’t have to be on high alert when it comes to other travelers and it also allows for ultimate flexibility.<br><img alt="User-added image" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000002PxNu&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000001xzUi" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img> <br>“I want to travel but I don’t want to have to worry about social distancing with other guests all of the time, especially when the kids sometimes forget the 6-feet rule. So a private trip is perfect. Plus we can pick dates that suit our family and have the whole trip tailored to what works for us.”<br> <br><b>Land-based </b><br>Several cruise lines are cancelling their departures for the rest of the year, due to coronavirus concerns and &#39;no sail&#39; orders in the US and Canada. Destinations where the majority of visitors arrive by ship, will see a shift towards land travel. <br><img alt="USA Alaska Water Luxury Tour Classic Journeys" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000002PxNu&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000001y4RF" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img><br>&quot;It makes me want to visit <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/alaska/" target="_blank">Alaska</a> even more. I know it&#39;s never crowded because the state is so huge, but without cruise ship passengers piling in, it will be an Alaska we haven&#39;t seen for years and years.&quot;<br><br><b>Domestic flights</b><br>Where a short, face-masked flight feels achievable, a whole lot of opportunity opens up. In this enormous and fabulously varied country, domestic flights can land you in <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/bryce-tours/" target="_blank">desert</a>, <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/alaska-tours/" target="_blank">glacier</a>, <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/montana-tours/" target="_blank">mountain</a>, <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/puget-sound-tours/" target="_blank">island archipelago</a>, or <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/charleston/" target="_blank">historic city </a>within a few hours.<br> <img alt="User-added image" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000002PxNu&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000001xzK9" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img><br>“I’ve always associated vacationing with going to a different country, but I am realizing that there is also so much to explore in the US. I’ve been at home every weekend thinking, wow, if only I could hop on a plane. In two hours, I could be somewhere totally different. Now that airlines are back in action, I want to take advantage of this!”<br> <br><b>Drive-to trips</b><br>To bypass flights completely and drive means no luggage weight limits, no wearing masks while traveling, less time constraints and not having to think about social distancing with other passengers.<br> <img alt="User-added image" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000002PxNu&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000001xzVH" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img><br>“In our daily ‘outdoor exercise’ with the dog, we have discovered so many cool places in the neighborhood we didn’t know existed that are only a few minutes’ walk away. It makes me think of all the places we could explore with only a few hours on the road.”<br> <br><b>Drive yourself trips</b><br>You don’t need to be cooped up on a coach with dozens of strangers to get around destinations. The new norm is seeing a lot of tours where you—or a private driver—is behind the wheel.<br> <img alt="User-added image" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000002PxNu&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000001xzIX" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img><br>“I don’t want to go somewhere like Iceland and only be constrained to places within walking distance. But I don’t feel comfortable sitting on a coach or bus either. There is something about being in control of my own car, containing just my household, that feels liberating and comforting at the same time.” (Editor’s note: For you, fellow adventurer, check out our <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/iceland-defender-tour" target="_blank">Special Edition Land Rover Defender tour</a>.)<br> <br><b>Bucket list destinations</b><br>We all have somewhere we always wanted to take our families, but didn’t get around to visiting before the decision was taken off our hands as countries shut their borders. Now destinations are opening, many of us are ready to make our dream trips reality.<br><img alt="User-added image" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000002PxNu&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000001xzK4" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img> <br>“We spoke about this in an extended family Zoom happy hour recently. I always wanted to see the <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/iceland-tours/" target="_blank">northern lights</a>, my son wants to visit the <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/grandcanyonfamily/" target="_blank">Grand Canyon</a>, my mom said whale watching in <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/alaska/" target="_blank">Alaska</a>, my sister chose a camel ride in <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/morocco/" target="_blank">Morocco</a>… We ended the call agreeing to make at least one of those happen as soon as it was possible!’<br><br>And if you’d like to read a parent to parent retelling of how travel has impacted his sons who are now adults, take a look at the blogs below by Classic Journeys founder, Edward Piegza:<br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/blog/mario-the-peruvian-shepherd-boy/" target="_blank">Mario the shepherd boy in Peru’s Sacred Valley.</a><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/blog/penguin-parenting-out-of-the-mouths-of-babes/" target="_blank">“No, Matthew, you are not a Fiordland crested penguin and mommy does not have to choose between you and Jack.”</a>

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  • US National Park

    What states are open. How to access them. How to avoid the crowds.

    If you’ve been trying to schedule any kind of summer vacation or fall getaway, you know that it’s not just a matter of knowing what country borders are open, it’s a full-time job tracking what states are allowing visitors. And if you find a state that is open for tourism, how do you enjoy it without fighting for space with RV’s and crowded lines.<br><br>To help sort through the who, what, where, how and why of travel destinations you can actually visit… now… we’ve summarized states that are open, why you’d want to go there, how you can get in, if you have to quarantine or not, what testing is required, and how to avoid the crowds while maximizing your own enjoyment. <br><br>The good news is that a trip of a lifetime is still very much a possibility this summer or fall. National parks have reopened. Travelers have already returned from our first tour to Alaska, as others are packing their bags for trips to Montana, the San Juan Islands, Bryce-Grand Canyon-Zion, Yellowstone, Napa and Sonoma, Vermont… and Alaska again. <br><br><b>Alaska</b><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/alaska/" target="_blank"><img alt="USA Alaska Bears Forest Classic Journeys" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000002Q2MA&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000001yDVr" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br>America’s largest state with the least amount of coronavirus cases, Alaska’s sparse population sets it up splendidly for social distancing. Visit vast national parks, spot brown bears, humpbacks, and—for the first time in decades—experience it all without the million plus cruise ship passengers who usually pour in each season. <br><br>COVID-test: Yes, a negative test (taken within 72 hours of arriving) must be presented. You can pay $250 for a test at the airport on arrival, but it is highly recommended you it them before arriving to save the time required to self-quarantine until the result.<br>14-day quarantine: No, unless you refuse testing.<br><br>Airlines flying to Anchorage:<br>Alaska Airlines<br>American Airlines<br>JetBlue<br>Delta<br>United <br><br>Ways to avoid the crowds: <br>Our <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/alaska/" target="_blank">Kenai Peninsula Multisport tour</a> is six days long and departs August 16 and September 6, 2020. <br>Our <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/alaskafamily/" target="_blank">Kenai Peninsula Family tour</a> is six days long and departs August 2, 2020.<br>Travel with just your family or friends on a <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/private/" target="_blank">private tour </a>on your preferred date. Trips can be for any size group – from one to whatever. And when you have a group of six or more participants in 2020, you’ll pay the same price as our publicly scheduled trip departures – not a penny more! <br><br><b>Utah</b><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/bryce-tours/" target="_blank"><img alt="USA Utah National Park Zion Narrows Classic Journeys" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000002Q2MA&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000001yDVw" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br>This state is national park nirvana—think deep, dramatic canyons and vivid red rock in fantastical formations. From the sunrise to the night skies, Mother Nature’s masterpieces never seem to cease. <br><br>COVID-test: No<br>14-day quarantine: No<br><br>Airlines flying to St George:<br>Delta<br>American<br>United <br><br>Drive times to St George:<br>Los Angeles to St George: 6h <br>San Diego to St George: 8 hours<br>Phoenix to St George 6.5h<br><br>Ways to avoid the crowds: <br>Our <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/grandcanyon/" target="_blank">Bryce, Grand Canyon, Zion Multisport tour</a> is six days long and departs September 6 and 22, 2020<br>Travel with only your friends / family by booking a <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/private/" target="_blank">private tour</a> on your chosen date. Private tours can be arranged for any size group, and when you reserve a trip for six or more travelers in 2020, you’ll pay the same price as a publicly scheduled trip. <br><br><b>South Carolina</b><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/charleston/" target="_blank"><img alt="South Carolina Charleston Fountain Classic Journeys" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000002Q2MA&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000001yDW1" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br>Grand oaks, pastel mansions and the charming city of Charleston are just some of the things that make South Carolina a state worth visiting. <br><br>COVID-test: No<br>14-day quarantine: No<br><br>Airlines flying to Charleston International Airport:<br>American <br>United <br>Southwest <br>Delta  <br>JetBlue<br><br>Drive times to Charleston:<br>From Atlanta, GA - 5 hours <br>From Charlotte, NC - 3 hours<br>From Norfolk, VA - 7 hours <br>From Richmond, VA - 6.5 hours <br>From Washington, DC - 8 hours<br><br>Ways to avoid the crowds: <br>Our <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/charleston/" target="_blank">Charleston &amp; Savannah Culture + Walking tour</a> is six days and departs October 4 and November 8, 2020.<br>See the sights of South Carolina within a select group of your friends and family if you choose a <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/private/" target="_blank">private tour </a>on your preferred date. Our private trips can be for any size group, and in bookings for six or more travelers in 2020, you will be paying the same price as a publicly scheduled trip.<br><br><b>Montana</b><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/montana-tours/" target="_blank"><img alt="USA Montana Glacier National Park Lake Swim Classic Journeys" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000002Q2MA&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000001yDWG" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br>Untamed, wild landscape sets the scene here—flowery meadows, thick forests and rugged Rocky Mountain peaks—and the air is deliciously clean. Bonus points because with more sheep than people, Montana is one of the easiest states in which to social distance.<br><br>COVID-test: No. The airport may be performing temperature screenings.<br>14-day quarantine: No<br><br>Airlines flying into Whitefish Kalispell airport at west entrance to Glacier Park:<br>Delta<br>United Airlines<br>Alaska Airlines<br>American Airlines<br>Allegiant<br><br>Our <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/montana-tours/" target="_blank">Montana + Glacier National Park Culture + Walking tour</a><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/glaciernationalpark/" target="_blank"> </a>is six days long and departs July 19, August 16, September 13, 2020<br>Our <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/glaciernationalparkfamily/" target="_blank">Montana + Glacier National Park Family tour</a> is six days long and departs July 19, 2020<br><br>You can choose to travel only with your friends and family on a <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/private/" target="_blank">private tour,</a> giving you the flexibility to pick the travel dates that best suit your schedule.  Your group can be any size, and when that group includes over six participants in 2020, you will pay the same as a publicly scheduled trip. <br><br><b>California</b><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/napa-tours/" target="_blank"><img alt="USA California Napa Sonoma Vineyard Hot Air Balloons Classic Journeys" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000002Q2MA&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000001yDW6" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br>The Golden State glistens with outdoor opportunity. To the north, you’ll find the <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/napa/" target="_blank">Napa and Sonoma </a>valleys with their vast vineyards, olive groves and botanical gardens.<br><br>COVID-test: No <br>14-day quarantine: No <br><br>Airlines flying into Oakland:<br>Alaska<br>Allegiant<br>Delta<br>Hawaiian<br>Southwest<br>Spirit<br><br>Drive times to Napa:<br>San Francisco – 2 hours<br>Los Angeles - 6 hours <br>San Diego - 9 hours     <br><br>How to avoid the crowds:<br>Opt for a private tour where you choose the date, and you choose the group. <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/private/" target="_blank">Private trips</a> suit all group sizes, and in 2020, where that means more than six travelers, you won’t pay more than a scheduled trip.<br><br><b>Hawaii</b><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/hawaii-big-island/" target="_blank"><img alt="USA Hawaii Big Island Volcanic Beach Palm Trees Classic Journeys" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000002Q2MA&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000001yDWL" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br>Visits to the Hawaiian Islands give you that fabulous far away feel without requiring you leave the United States. Hawaii is alongside Alaska when it comes to requiring everyone who visits be tested and confirmed coronavirus-free. The idyllic tropical beaches, mythical waterfalls and all-round relaxed atmosphere need no introduction.<br><br>COVID-test: Yes, beginning October 1, all arrivals from out-of-state will need to provide proof of a valid, negative COVID test, take a temperature check and complete a form. No tests will be provided at the airport; they must be taken before arrival. <br>14-day quarantine: Yes, until October 1. After which, no with a certified negative test.<br><br>Airlines flying to the Big Island:<br>Hawaiian<br>United <br><br>How to avoid the crowds: <br>Our <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/hawaii-big-island/" target="_blank">Big Island Culture + Walking tour </a>is six days and departs December 6, 2020 <br><br>With our private tours, you can choose whichever departure date you want and travel exclusively with your family and friends. <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/private/" target="_blank">Private tours</a> can suit any group size, and in 2020 where groups include six or more travelers, a private trip will cost the same as a publicly scheduled trip. <br><br><b>Georgia</b><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/charleston/" target="_blank"><img alt="USA Georgia Savannah Street Classic Journeys" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000002Q2MA&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000001yDWQ" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br>America’s biggest state east of the Mississippi, Georgia offers true Southern hospitality and is home to historic Savannah. <br><br>COVID-test: No<br>14-day quarantine: No<br><br>Airlines flying to Savannah airport:<br>Delta<br>American<br>JetBlue<br>United<br>Frontier<br><br>Driving time to Savannah:<br>Birmingham, AL - 6 hours<br>Richmond, VA - 7 hours <br>Orlando, FL - 4 hours <br>Nashville, TN - 7.5 hours <br><br>Ways to avoid the crowds: <br>Our <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/charleston/" target="_blank">Charleston &amp; Savannah Culture + Walking tour </a>is six days and departs October 4 and November 8, 2020.<br>When you book a <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/private/" target="_blank">private tour</a>, you can choose your departure date and travel only with your family / friends. Classic Journeys private trips can be arranged for any group size, and where groups include six or more participants in 2020, it will cost the same as a scheduled trip. <br><br><b>Wyoming</b><br><img alt="USA Wyoming Yellowstone National Park Geyser Classic Journeys" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000002Q2MA&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000001yDWV" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img><br>Wild, wonderful Wyoming is cowboy country with adventure galore across great plains, rushing rivers and Rocky Mountain peaks.<br><br>COVID-test: No <br>14-day quarantine: No<br><br>Airlines flying into Jackson Hole: <br>Delta <br>American<br>United <br><br>Drive times to Jackson Hole: <br>Salt Lake City - 5 hours <br><br>How to avoid the crowds: <br>Explore Wyoming with just friends and family, whenever suits you, with one of our private tours. Click <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/private/" target="_blank">here</a> for our private journey form, where you can get the brand new, just-scouted itinerary to Yellowstone and Grand Teton.<br><br><b>Vermont<br><img alt="USA Vermont Fall Luxury Tour Classic Journeys" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000002Q2MA&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000001yDiM" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></b><br>Snow-white in winter, technicolor through spring and summer, fiery-gold in fall—Vermont’s charming villages and sloping mountains are a joy to explore. <br><br>COVID-test: No <br><br>14-day quarantine: no, if you are traveling from a county in the Northeastern U.S. (CT; MA; MD; ME; NH; NJ; NY; OH; PA; RI; VA; Washington, D.C.; and WV) where there is a similar active COVID-19 caseload to Vermont (less than 400 active cases per million) and enter in a personal vehicle.<br><br>Airlines flying into Burlington:<br>Delta <br>Frontier <br>JetBlue <br>United <br>American <br><br>Drive time to Burlington:<br>Boston - 3.5 hours<br>New York - 6 hours<br>Maine - 6 hours<br>Philadelphia - 6.5 hours<br><br>How to avoid the crowds:<br>Our <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/vermont-stowe-and-middlebury-tour/" target="_blank">Vermont Special Edition tour</a>, to see the fall foliage, is five days in length and departs September 27 and October 18, 2020.<br><br>If you want to choose your own dates and have just friends or family as fellow travelers, a <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/private/" target="_blank">private tour</a> is perfect. These trips suit any size of group, and where that’s more than six people, you won’t have to pay more than a scheduled trip would cost.<br><br><b>Washington<br><img alt="USA Washington State Puget Sound Pacific Northwest Luxury Tour Classic Journeys" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000002Q2MA&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000001yDiW" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></b><br>Maybe Seattle steals the spotlight in this state, but you’re missing out if you don’t explore the rest of Washington. Such as the awesome archipelago in Puget Sound, just a boat ride from the ‘Emerald City’. One draw of the Pacific Northwest’s San Juan islands is that they feel much further away than they actually are—hop in a kayak for some orca-spotting, hike past wild deer or simply sit and watch the world go by in sleepy fishing villages.<br><br>COVID-test: No <br>14-day quarantine: No<br><br>Airlines flying into Seattle: <br>Air Canada<br>Alaska<br>American<br>Delta<br>Frontier<br>Hawaiian<br>JetBlue<br>Southwest<br>Spirit<br>United <br><br>Drive time to Friday Harbor: <br>Portland – 6 hours<br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/private/" target="_blank"><img alt="Classic Journeys Private Tours Luxury Vacation" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000002Q2MA&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000001yDib" style="height: 177px; width: 500px;"></img></a>

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