• South Africa airplane

    We Got The Last Flight Out Of Cape Town

    “The song <i>Should I Stay or Should I Go </i>became the soundtrack of our trip,” Sally Palmer says of the South Africa vacation that she and her husband, Joe, returned from on March 21st. The lyrics and melody of the 1981 hit by The Clash ran through their minds each day of their long-planned holiday with Classic Journeys, as COVID-19-related closings and travel bans ratcheted up with lightning speed from their March 15th arrival onwards. In retrospect, the five days that the couple spent in South Africa marked a major turning point of the global pandemic. <br><br><img alt="South Africa luxury tour" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000002FkpD&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000001lUBz" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img><br><br>The line, “<i>if I go there will be trouble, if I stay it will be double…</i>” took on new meaning in particular, as mid-trip, the Brownsville, CA-based couple caught wind of travel advisories telling Americans to either return home quickly or stay out of the country indefinitely. Luckily, thanks to quick thinking by the Palmers’ South African Classic Journeys guide Clive de Bruyne, the two made it back—snagging the last two seats out of Cape Town, within 24 hours of the U.S. State Department’s Global Level 4 Health Advisory - Do Not Travel issuance. “It felt like we were running away from a tidal wave, and eventually it caught up with us,” said de Bruyne of the looming presence of COVID-19 throughout the trip. But despite the many unexpected changes that the coronavirus brought, the Palmers managed to have an incredible—and incredibly memorable—time in South Africa.<br><br><img alt="View over Cape Town South Africa on Luxury Walking Tour" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000002FkpD&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000001lUBk" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img><br><br><b>Coronavirus Concerns Were Low at the Beginning of the Trip.</b><br><br>As the couple departed from California, they were monitoring COVID-19 cases in South Africa (the country recorded its first confirmed case on March 5th). The State Department hadn’t yet issued any travel warnings. Both frequent travelers who’d planned trips with Classic Journeys for each of the past six years, they opted to proceed. Their flight to Cape Town was uneventful, save for having their temperatures checked upon arrival. On arrival, they learned that the two other travelers who’d planned to be part of their small group trip were no longer coming (one cancelled just prior to departure due to COVID-19 concerns, while the other was turned back en route to South Africa for the same reason). The optimistic duo decided to view the change as a positive—after all, their group tour was now <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/private/" target="_blank">private</a>. <br><br><b>The Palmers’ Plans Rapidly Started to Shift. </b><br><br>More COVID-19-related changes came from the get-go, and never let up. On the Palmers’ first day in Cape Town, strong winds shut down the cable car to Table Mountain, so they explored the famous waterfront and the Cape of Good Hope instead.<br><br><img alt="Group sitting over south africa view" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000002FkpD&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000001lUVB" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img><br><br>On their next attempt up the mountain, a fire broke out and then the cable cars were suddenly shut down. This time, wind and fire weren’t to blame, COVID-19 was the culprit. Similar things happened with planned excursions to Robben Island and the Langa Township—the first was cancelled completely, and the latter shortened, both due to COVID-19 fears. “We found out later that our trip to Langa Township was one of the last offered; they shut their doors to tourists completely afterward,” said Sally. <br><br>She and Joe took their ever-changing schedule in stride, though. “For us, everything was still new and wonderful,” said Joe. “Our guide’s spirits stayed high and our spirits kept up.” <br><br><img alt="Penguin in south africa" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000002FkpD&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000001lUTy" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img><br><br><b>Multiple Closures Spurred Creativity Changes.</b><br><br>The Palmers’ new travel schedule was mainly invented on the fly by Classic Journeys local guide, de Bruyne, whose skill as a guide was pushed into hyperdrive by the city’s sudden closures and cancellations. “Ordinarily there’s one or two things that don’t go according to plan, and it’s my job to work around that and make the magic happen,” he said. “This time, literally every day we were faced by a new challenge.” <br><br>Rather than riding to the top of Table Mountain in the cable car, the experienced guide led the Palmers along a small trail to a scenic overlook, where they nearly had views of Cape Town fully to themselves.<br><br>“As we sat on a rock a third of the way up the mountain, we were all chatting about how our experience was far superior than standing in a queue with a bunch of other tourists,” said de Bruyne. “That became the theme of the rest of the trip.” <br><br><img alt="Teacher south africa with school children" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000002FkpD&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000001lUVL" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img><br><br>Instead of Robben Island, the trio went to the District Six Museum. They pivoted to an abbreviated tour through the Langa Township. They paused for dozens of spur-of-the-moment coffee and beer breaks that offered the chance to check in with locals. And as several other museums and notable places closed spontaneously, they opted to rent bikes and ride along the promenade.<br><br>“We chatted a lot about how the planned itinerary was coming apart but staying together, and all the while we were still having a grand time,” said Sally. “We still experienced Cape Town, it just wasn’t <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/south-africa-walking-tour/" target="_blank">the typical tour</a>. We felt like in addition to a <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/private/" target="_blank">private tour</a>, we had a very personalized tour.” Adds Joe, “Humor was always involved, and Clive is fun and playful. A level of trust and closeness developed between us very quickly.”<br><br><b>In the Meantime, the Pandemic Rapidly Spurred Worldwide Changes.</b><br><br>The Palmers headed to South Africa’s famous Stellenbosch wine region on March 18th, the same day that a Global Level 3 Health Advisory - Reconsider Travel statement was made by the State Department. Up until that point, de Bruyne felt they’d mainly stayed a step ahead of the virus, but again, that swiftly changed. “The day before we arrived in wine country, everything was open; as we arrived, everything started shutting down,” recalls the guide. “But we still managed to find magic amongst the mayhem.” When a culinary walk was cancelled, he created a gourmet picnic for the Palmers at the region’s renowned Jordan Wine Estate.<br><br><img alt="Picnic on luxury south africa walking tour" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000002FkpD&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000001lUAc" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img><br><br>“Clive punted, again, and we had a wine tasting and a picnic out on a pond, with our own fancy baskets and wine glass holders,” said Sally. When another planned tour cancelled, the trio pivoted to mountain biking instead, followed up with another picnic and wine tasting. <br><br><img alt="User-added image" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000002FkpD&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000001lUAm" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img><br><br>Family members worried about the spread of COVID-19 continually checked in on the pair, but they reassured them. “We kept saying ‘hey, we’re having this fun experience, we’ve got this all to ourselves, this is dynamite, this is wonderful,’” said Joe.<br><br>The Palmers were scheduled to leave for Phinda Private Game Reserve on March 20th to end their Classic Journeys trip in South Africa with a safari in search of the big five, but the worldwide pandemic caught up with them the day before: A Global Level 4 Health Advisory - Do Not Travel was issued on March 19. Then President Trump imposed a 30-day European travel ban, and Virgin Atlantic notified them that the second leg of their return trip on the 23rd was cancelled. The influx of news reached the Palmers late at night on the 19th, and after an anxious evening of little sleep, de Bruyne “came to the rescue in the morning,” said Sally. With help overnight from Classic Journeys tour operations team in San Diego, he booked them on the last two seats on British Airways on the same day. “We literally got the last two seats out of Cape Town,” she recalls with relief.<br><br><img alt="South Africa luxury tour vineyard walk" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000002FkpD&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000001lUUX" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img><br><br>With an extra morning at their disposal before heading to the airport, de Bruyne suggested filling their last hours with a nature walk. “He said, ‘no tourists go here, and very few local people of South Africa have been here,’ so we did this long 2-to-3 hour walk in wine country,” said Sally. “We got to see the beautiful landscape, the national bird and tons of flowers. It was unique and beautiful, and so much better than just sitting, fussing and waiting.”<br><br><img alt="User-added image" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000002FkpD&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000001lUAw" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img><br><br><b>“Clive Literally Led Us Through The Zombie Apocalypse”</b><br><br>Just five days after their arrival, the Palmers’ return trip was strikingly different from their trip out, marked by empty airports, masked passengers, and even one person in Heathrow clad in a full Hazmat suit. On their final flight from London to San Francisco, in a singularly surreal moment, they realized they were the only paying passengers in first class of the 747. The other seats were filled with pilots tasked with collecting empty planes to fly them back to Heathrow. <br><br>Despite the slew of unexpected twists and turns, the couple count their trip as a success. “Even though it didn’t play out the way we expected, I think we had a wonderful look at South Africa thanks to Clive, and the support and flexibility that Classic Journeys provides its local guides,” said Sally. “This was a one-in-a-million trip. We’ll never forget it.” <br><br>De Bruyne echoes the sentiment. “We joked at the end of the trip that we felt like family. We just clicked. We were in the trenches together, we met all these challenges together,” he said. “It reminded me why I do what I do, and that we’ll see this through.” In South Africa, now the epicenter of the pandemic in Africa, de Bruyne is one of the country’s 59 million people currently on lockdown.<br><br>The Palmers are currently sheltering in place in their own home too, quarantining themselves for 14 days while reflecting on the trip. “Are we sad we didn’t get to see the big animals? Yeah. But we went on a fantastic adventure, and we both came back in one piece—let me tell you, that doesn’t happen every time,” said Joe. “Clive literally led us through the zombie apocalypse.”<br><br><img alt="South Africa luxury tour" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000002FkpD&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000001lUAD" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img><br><br><i>Kelly Phillips Badal is a Los Angeles-based writer, editor and world traveler who writes about travel, lifestyle and design. The former editor in chief of Interiors California, her work has also appeared in Sunset, Angeleno, BBC Travel and CondeNastTraveler.com; and she&#39;s held staff positions at Better Homes &amp; Gardens and Country Living. Kelly is married to travel and lifestyle photographer Tanveer Badal. Together they split their time between New York City, Los Angeles, and wherever their travels take them. Follow her at <a href="https://www.instagram.com/kellybadal/" target="_blank">@kellybadal</a></i><br><br><i>More by Kelly Phillips Badal: <br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/blog/mel-robbins-interview/" target="_blank">Mel Robbins Dreams About Travel to Shake Off Negative Thoughts</a><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/blog/covid19-nearly-trapped-on-easter-island/" target="_blank">COVID-19 Nearly Trapped Two Travelers on Remote Easter Island</a><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/blog/suri-raman-interview/" target="_blank">The Architect of Microsoft Outlook Wants Us to All Communicate Better</a></i><br><br><br> 

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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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  • Puget Sound

    Go "abroad" without a passport to these U.S. destinations

    No international trip in the works right now?  No problem.<br><br>The land of the free is phenomenally diverse. We have snowy mountains and arid deserts, vast plains and tiny islands, hulking glaciers and looming volcanoes… Modern cities meet historic settlements and fishing villages meet cowboy towns. We’re a melting pot of incredible cultures and cuisines, and while nothing will replace international travel, that’s not to say you can’t adventure like you would in Europe, Asia and Africa—right here—no passport needed. <br><br>Our Travel Experience Team open up their personal travel journals to provide you the perfect domestic travel prescription for whatever ailments your passport is feeling.<br><br><b>Hungry for historic charm?</b><br><b>Swap: England<br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/england/" target="_blank"><img alt="Europe England London Sunset Skyline City Luxury Vacation Classic Journeys" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000002Q4oL&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000001yI9b" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br>For: Charleston<br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/charleston-tours/" target="_blank"><img alt="USA Charleston South Carolina Sunset Skyline City Luxury Vacation Classic Journeys" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000002Q4oL&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000001yI9g" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a></b><br>From its days as an English settlement in the late 17th century, <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/charleston-tours/" target="_blank">Charleston</a>’s preserved plenty of colonial English charm. Visit colorful country gardens and historic museums, walk past Georgian townhouses and through expansive parks. While in London you can browse the chic boutiques of Chelsea’s King’s Road, in Charleston you’ll find the stylish stores of King Street—plus tea rooms and British-style pubs for scone-scoffing and good old-fashioned fish and chips.<br><br><b>Seeking sunsets and sailboats? <br>Swap: Greek Islands  <br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/greece-tours/" target="_blank"><img alt="Europe Greece Sunset Sail Luxury Vacation Classic Journeys" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000002Q4oL&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000001yI8J" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br>For: San Juan Islands, Washington</b><br><b><img alt="USA San Juan Washington Sunset Sail Luxury Vacation Classic Journeys" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000002Q4oL&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000001yI8T" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img> </b><br>If you’re mad about missing the Mediterranean, the fact that the <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/puget-sound-tours/" target="_blank">San Juan</a> archipelago is scattered along the ‘banana belt’ is a big bonus. Think warm days, blissful sunsets and balmy nights. Spend your stay hiking scenic hills, sea kayaking with whales and meeting all kinds of artisans—potters, wine makers, sculptors—and soak up the same off-the-grid feel you’d get on an island in the Cyclades.<br> <br><b>Wishing for wildlife wonderlands?</b><br><b>Swap: Africa<br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/africa/" target="_blank"><img alt="User-added image" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000002Q4oL&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000001yIAK" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br>For: Alaska<br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/alaska-tours/" target="_blank"><img alt="User-added image" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000002Q4oL&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000001yIAP" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a></b><br>It’s not the sizzling savannah—<a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/alaska-tours/" target="_blank">Alaska</a> is an altogether different landscape—but you still get up-close encounters with some of the most majestic mammals on earth. Instead of wild cat safaris, you can spot whales. Watch colossal humpbacks, playful grays, sleek orcas and friendly belugas. There isn’t a more adorable substitute to baby lions than fuzzy black bear cubs. Add grazing moose, prowling wolverines, and swooping seabirds into the mix, and you’ll see that when it comes to wildlife, Alaska is second to none.<br><br><b>Aching for alpine adventure?<br>Swap: Switzerland<br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/switzerland-tours/" target="_blank"><img alt="Europe Switzerland Mountain Hut Luxury Vacation Classic Journeys" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000002Q4oL&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000001yI8Y" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a> <br>For: Wyoming</b><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/yellowstonefamily" target="_blank"><img alt="USA Wyoming Teton Mountain Hut Luxury Vacation Classic Journeys" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000002Q4oL&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000001yI8d" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a> <br>Rather than rafting down <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/switzerland-tours/" target="_blank">Switzerland</a>&#39;s Lütschine, ride the rapids on <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/yellowstonefamily" target="_blank">Wyoming</a>’s Snake River, past thick forests and rugged rocks. And while Grindelwald has the ancient alpine allure, Jackson Hole’s cowboy character captures many hearts and the teetering peaks of the Grand Tetons are a terrific stand in for the Jungfrau massif.<br> <br><b>Dreaming of desert days?</b><br><b>Swap: Morocco<br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/morocco-tours/" target="_blank"><img alt="Africa Morocco Marrakech Luxury Vacation Classic Journeys" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000002Q4oL&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000001yI9C" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a></b><br><b>For: New Mexico</b><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/new-mexico-tours/" target="_blank"><img alt="USA New Mexico Taos Luxury Vacation Classic Journeys" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000002Q4oL&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000001yI9H" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br>Both destinations bubble with history. Instead of meeting Berber tribes in <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/morocco-tours/" target="_blank">Morocco</a>, in <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/new-mexico-tours/" target="_blank">New Mexico</a> you can meet the Taos Indians, who’ve lived here for a thousand years. And rather than the ancient riads and souks of the Marrakech medina, you have the adobe buildings of the Ancient Taos Pueblo (both UNESCO World Heritage Sites). They share the foodie factor, too, each offering their own take on coffee, bread and (our favorite) breakfast pancakes. While Moroccans make tagines, New Mexicans concoct carne adovada.<br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/private/" target="_blank"><img alt="Trips totally tailored to your taste with Classic Journeys" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000002Q4oL&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000001z78M" style="height: 177px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br><br><b>Thirsty for vineyards and wine tours?<br>Swap: Bordeaux<br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/bordeaux-tours/" target="_blank"><img alt="Europe France Bordeaux Vineyard Winery Luxury Vacation Classic Journeys" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000002Q4oL&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000001yI8i" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br>For: Napa and Sonoma, California</b><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/napa-tours/" target="_blank"><img alt="USA California Napa Sonoma Vineyard Winery Luxury Vacation Classic Journeys" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000002Q4oL&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000001yI8n" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br>Wine improves with age but waiting for travel doesn’t. So while a <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/bordeaux-tours/" target="_blank">Bordeaux</a> chateaux tour should be on everyone’s bucket list, until that can happen, a <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/napa-tours/" target="_blank">California</a> wine trip will prove that new world wines are just as worthy. Get your fill of local cheeses, wines and olives at intimate tastings and scenic picnics. And since you save in the international airfare, maybe some of that savings goes toward a case or two of your favorite vintages traveling back with you at the end of the week. <br><br><b>Need National Park nirvana? </b><br><b>Swap: New Zealand<br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/new-zealand-tours/" target="_blank"><img alt="New Zealand Mountain Lake Luxury Vacation Classic Journeys" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000002Q4oL&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000001yI9M" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br>For: Montana<br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/montana-tours/" target="_blank"><img alt="USA Montana Mountain Lake Luxury Vacation Classic Journeys" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000002Q4oL&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000001yIBD" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a></b><br>If it can’t be the Land of the Long White Cloud, it has to be Big Sky Country. There’s no Hobbiton in <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/montana-tours/" target="_blank">Montana</a>, but the multitude of things the state does have in common with <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/new-zealand-tours/" target="_blank">New Zealand</a> makes up for it: rustic mining towns, national parks with snow-capped peaks and glassy alpine lakes, and lush rolling meadows dotted with sheep. While New Zealand has its rich Maori heritage, Montana has the Blackfoot tribe. And when it comes to dessert, the Huckleberry swirl gives New Zealand’s pavlova a delicious run for its money.<br><br><b>Pining pastoral pampering?</b><br><b>Swap: Provence <br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/provence-tours/" target="_blank"><img alt="Europe France Provence Lavender Field Luxury Vacation Classic Journeys" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000002Q4oL&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000001yI92" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br>For: Washington<br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/puget-sound-tours/" target="_blank"><img alt="USA Washington Lavender Field Luxury Vacation Classic Journeys" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000002Q4oL&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000001yI97" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a></b><br>If there was ever a time to breathe the soothing scent of lavender fields, feast on colorful cuisine, and end each day with botanical baths, surely this is it. <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/provence-tours/" target="_blank">Provence</a> might be the poster child for such a scene but <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/puget-sound-tours/" target="_blank">Washington</a> makes a magnificent plan 1A. Summertime sees rolling fields painted purple with lavender, local artisans and fresh pastries.<br><br><b>Want wild, wonderful nature?</b><br><b>Swap: Iceland<br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/iceland-tours/" target="_blank"><img alt="Europe Iceland Black Sand Beach Cliff Luxury Vacation Classic Journeys" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000002Q4oL&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000001yI9l" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br>For: Hawaii<br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/hawaii-big-island/" target="_blank"><img alt="USA Hawaii Big Island Iceland Black Sand Beach Cliff Luxury Vacation Classic Journeys" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000002Q4oL&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000001yI9q" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a></b><br>Believe it or not, the Big Island’s Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa peaks do see snowfall, but we’re not comparing <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/hawaii-big-island/" target="_blank">Hawaii</a> to <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/iceland-tours/" target="_blank">Iceland</a> because of its climate. We’re comparing them because of volcanoes. Both the Big Island and Iceland have spectacular landscapes, formed and constantly changing as a result of volcanic activity. You can hike lava trails to waterfalls and craters, walk black-sand beaches, climb dramatic cliffs, and venture into magma chambers. While Viking folklore explains Iceland’s landscape with tales of trolls and dragons, on the Big Island you’ll learn how Hawaiian heroes, demigods and deities formed the fascinating sights around you.<br><br><b>Craving cinematic scenery?</b><br><b>Swap: Jordan <br><img alt="Jordan Wadi Rum Rock Formation Luxury Vacation Classic Journeys" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000002Q4oL&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000001yIAA" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img><br>For: Utah<br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/grandcanyon/" target="_blank"><img alt="USA Utah Bryce Canyon National Park Luxury Vacation Classic Journeys" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000002Q4oL&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000001yIAF" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a></b><br>We’d happily cross the Atlantic to witness Jordan’s Wadi Rum rock formations, but closer to home in <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/grandcanyon/" target="_blank">Utah</a>, Bryce Canyon’s hulking hoodoos glow the same vivid orange under the same blazing sun—and in the nearby Grand Canyon and Zion national parks there offer more magnificent rock fins and spires to gawp at.<br><br><b>Feverish for fjords and glaciers? </b><br><b>Swap: Norway <br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/norway-tours/" target="_blank"><img alt="Europe Norway Fjord Mountain Luxury Vacation Classic Journeys" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000002Q4oL&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000001yI8s" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br>For: Kenai Fjords, Alaska <br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/alaska/" target="_blank"><img alt="USA Alaska Fjord Mountain Luxury Vacation Classic Journeys" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000002Q4oL&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000001yI8x" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a></b><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/norway-tours/" target="_blank">Norway</a>’s coastlines are cinematic, but until we can be nose to nose with the terminal face of a Norwegian glacier or sail up one of its fjords, <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/alaska/" target="_blank">Alaska</a> provides an awesome alternative. The ice-gouged coastline of the Kenai Peninsula features dramatic fjords, dozens of glaciers, outlying islands and tall mountains, while colorful coastal settlements offer a warm welcome.<br><br><br><b>Missing a seasonal spectacle?</b><br><b>Swap: Japan<br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/japan-luxury-tours/" target="_blank"><img alt="Asia Japan Cherry Blossom Spring Season Luxury Vacation Classic Journeys" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000002Q4oL&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000001yIAU" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br>For: Vermont</b><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/vermont/" target="_blank"><img alt="USA Vermont Fall Season Luxury Vacation Classic Journeys" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000002Q4oL&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000001yIAZ" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a> <br>If March lockdown orders made you miss travels to spectacular spring blossoms, make up for it with a fall foliage tour. Spring scenes don’t get more spectacular than <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/japan-luxury-tours/" target="_blank">Japan</a> in the middle of cherry blossom season, and later in the year you’ll find no fall landscape more fiery than Vermont’s. While Japan has its wisteria tunnels and sake distillery tours, <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/vermont/" target="_blank">Vermont</a> offers covered bridges and brewery visits. In September and October, the state’s aflame with leaves painted golden-yellow, rust-red and every color in between. <br><br><i><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/usa/" target="_blank"><img alt="User-added image" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000002Q4oL&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000001yID4" style="height: 177px; width: 500px;"></img></a></i>

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