Tribune News Service

Travel Budget for Monday, March 23, 2020

Updated at 4:30 a.m. EST (0930 UTC).


^Love of travel in the time of coronavirus: Why I kept going<

^CORONAVIRUS-TRAVEL-COMMENTARY:TPU—<"Don't you ever stay home?"

I get the same question from my mother whenever I tell her I'm traveling that weekend (which is often). She herself is by no means a shut-in, having cruised the Nile on a barge and hiked ancient footpaths in the Andes, but the sheer frequency of my travel is what unnerves her.

Some travelers are exhausted by travel, and need time in between trips to recover, while others are energized by it. Me? I'm an introvert and like my "alone" time, but when it comes to travel my appetite has few boundaries.

So in the midst of (quite legitimate) concerns about coronavirus, I took a weekend trip to Puerto Vallarta.

850 by Scott Laird. MOVED



^Outdoor recreation can still provide a respite from coronavirus fears<

^UST-FLA-OUTDOORS:OS—<The sun is shining in Central Florida, but many have been hunkering down to work from home and care for their families inside their homes. Despite the spread of coronavirus, it's still possible to find peace outdoors.

Florida's state parks remain open with reduced hours until further notice (camping, rentals, activities and events have been canceled). Urban green spaces in Orlando from Lake Eola to Lake Baldwin Park still welcome visitors.

800 by Patrick Connolly in Orlando, Fla. MOVED


^Many national parks remain open during outbreak<

^UST-NATIONALPARKS:TPU—<Many American national parks are remaining open amid the coronavirus outbreak to serve as a refuge for those who feel stuck at home. Though there are many restrictions, national parks can still be enjoyed by those who want to get some fresh air and exercise.

While the buildings of all national parks, including entrance booths, will be closed, rangers are to be stationed outside to field visitors' questions.

350 by Mackenzie Cullen. (Moved Thursday.) MOVED


^The big Hollywood star bus tours have closed, but the smaller ones keep on rolling<

^UST-HOLLYWOOD-BUS-TOURS:LA—<Three major Hollywood tour companies suspended operations this week as worries mount over coronavirus transmission. But many other tour vans are still cruising the boulevard, seeking and finding customers.

"To tell you the truth, I'm doing better than any other day, because there's nothing else for anyone to do," Shellee-Ann Kellee said Tuesday as she ushered half a dozen visitors into her red All Star Showbiz Tours van near the now-closed El Capitan Theatre.

500 by Christopher Reynolds in Los Angeles. (Moved Wednesday.) MOVED


^Zoos and aquariums stream footage during closures<

^CNS-ZOOS-AQUARIUMS:TPU—<As the COVID-19 virus causes people around the world to stay at home and self-quarantine, popular tourist attractions are being forced to temporarily shut down. However, several zoos and aquariums across the United States are encouraging people to welcome their beloved exotic animals into their homes through online streaming.

Zoos and aquariums broadcasting webcam footage of their housed animals is nothing new; a quick online search will bring up dozens of webcam feeds from various establishments. However, the worldwide quarantines are prompting certain locations to get creative in order to lift the spirits of the masses.

300 by Mackenzie Cullen. MOVED


^Coronavirus shakes Las Vegas casinos like never before<

CORONAVIRUS-LASVEGAS:LA — Before the clock struck midnight, armed security guards at casinos across the Las Vegas strip finished collecting chips from baccarat tables. Slot machine screens turned black and bartenders removed bottles of wine and liquor from the shelves.

Blackjack dealers, sensing the surreal unfolding before them, snapped selfies while janitors sprayed disinfectant and wiped door handles. The high-rollers packed up; the entertainers and musicians went home. And suddenly this city of hustlers and romantics, which rides on the crests and dips of the U.S. economy, shuttered Wednesday and changed in a way it never had before.

1300 by Lucas Kwan Peterson and Melissa Etehad in Las Vegas. (Moved Wednesday as a national story.) MOVED


^Empty streets, bored tourists, anxious merchants: Puerto Rico amid coronavirus curfew<

CORONAVIRUS-PUERTORICO-TOURISM:MI — Sequoia Mack and her friend flew from Baltimore to Puerto Rico Sunday night hoping to hit some clubs and celebrate her 21st birthday. Instead their night consisted of walking to a gas station to buy water — the only establishment they could find open amid an islandwide lockdown.

Puerto Rico, a sun-kissed U.S. territory of 3.2 million people, has taken some of the most extreme measures in the nation as it tries to fight the spread of the coronavirus.

Gov. Wanda V zquez has imposed a 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew that will run through month's end and ordered all nonessential businesses closed. As of this week, it seemed to be working.

900 by Jim Wyss in San Juan, Puerto Rico. (Moved Tuesday as a national story.) MOVED



^Medical evacuation during a pandemic<

^CNS-TRAVEL-MEDEVAC-COVERAGE:MCT—<I travel a lot, but I've never bought travel insurance. I have no medical conditions, and I know that my credit cards will reimburse me if I charge the entire trip on them, and need to cancel before departure if I get sick, or someone close to me becomes ill or injured — the primary reason why people make a travel insurance claim (check if yours does; not all credit cards offer cancellation reimbursement).

But I do buy an annual emergency evacuation membership, in the belief that if I'm severely injured or hospitalized far from home, I'd prefer treatment in a city or hospital of my choice. Since I'm now on Medicare, which doesn't cover me when I travel abroad, I'd want to get back to the U.S. as quickly as possible before the bills pile up in a foreign hospital.

550 by George Hobica. MOVED


^State Department's stricter travel advisory likely won't help an insurance claim<

^CNS-CORONAVIRUS-INSURANCE:LA—<The State Department on Thursday issued a Level 4 advisory, asking U.S. citizens to "avoid all international travel due to the global impact of COVID-19."

But will the new warning affect whether your trip insurance will cover your expenses if you are caught abroad?

"Generally speaking, the answer is no," said Julie Loffredi of InsureMyTrip, an insurance aggregator that helps consumers compare policies. "It does not change anything."

400 by Catharine Hamm. (Moved Thursday.) MOVED




^GEOQUIZ:TB—<The weekly geography quiz.



FAMILYTRAVEL5:MCT (O'Rourke Hayes) will move later on Monday.


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