Volcanic Ash and Air Travel – Again!

May 24, 2011 on 9:38 am | In Scotland travel, UK Travel, United Kingdom, Wales Travel, air travel, air travel security, travel news, travel warnings | 8 Comments

Ash from the erupting Grimsvotn Volcano in Iceland may cause problems in the air space over the United Kingdom by the end of the week. See this article from the BBC for details.

If you are planning on flying to Scotland or England later this week, check with your airlines to see if the flights might be delayed or cancelled. Depending on upper atmosphere wind patterns, the Icelandic volcano may cause problems for air traffic in Europe during the eruption cycle.

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Aftermath of Earthquake in Spain

May 16, 2011 on 6:02 pm | In Spain Travel, Travel Safety, things travelers need to know, travel news, travel warnings | Comments Off

On May 11, 2011 a deadly earthquake rocked Lorca in Murcia Province, Spain. Read this earthquake report from the BBC for more details. At least 10 people lost their lives in the earthquake. In addition, the U.S. Embassy in Madrid reported that buildings and other infrastructure were severely damaged in both Lorca and Totana in southeastern Spain.

Although the earthquake was not particularly strong, its origin was shallow and the quake occurred close to the surface, which increased its potential for damage. In addition, many of the historic buildings in Murcia, and Spain in general, were constructed before the development of the types of safety features required by modern building codes for construction in earthquake prone regions. It is often the case that these types of buildings are particularly dangerous to be in or near during earthquakes.

Travelers intending to visit this area of Spain should check with local news sources before initiating travel.

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Updated State Department Travel Alert for Japan

May 16, 2011 on 5:40 pm | In Japan travel, Travel Safety, things travelers need to know, travel alert, travel news | 1 Comment

On May 16, the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Consular Affairs replaced the Travel Alert for Japan that it issued after the recent devastating earthquake with updated recommendations. The text of the Alert can be found herel.

The main changes in the Alert deal with updated recommendations for the safe use of the “…Tohoku Expressway and the Tohoku Shinkansen Railway through the 50-mile evacuation area. Using the same analysis we would use in a similar situation in the United States, the U.S. Government believes it is safe for U.S. citizens to use the railway and expressway for transit through the area. Other portions of this Travel Alert remain unchanged from the Alert published on April 14. This Travel Alert expires on July 15, 2011.”

In respect to the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, the Alert notes “The assessment of technical and subject matter experts across United States Government agencies is that while the situation at the Fukushima Daiichi plant remains serious and dynamic, the health and safety risks to areas beyond the 50-mile evacuation zone, and particularly to Tokyo, Nagoya (Aichi Prefecture), Yokohama (Kanagawa Prefecture), nearby U.S. military facilities, and the prefectures of Akita, Aomori, Chiba, Gunma, Iwate, Nagano, Niigata, Saitama, Shizuoka, Tochigi, and Yamanashi, and those portions of Fukushima, Ibaraki, Miyagi and Yamagata prefectures which are outside a 50-mile radius of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant are low and do not pose significant risks to U.S. citizens.” See the complete text of the report for additional details.”

In regards to aftershocks from the March 11 earthquake, the Alert contained this information “Japan is one of the most seismically active areas in the world. Tokyo and areas to the northeast continue to experience strong aftershocks related to the March 11 earthquake. Aftershocks following an earthquake of this magnitude can be expected to continue for more than a year. Identifying potential hazards ahead of time and advance planning can reduce the dangers of serious injury or loss of life from an earthquake. See the Embassy Website for detailed information on earthquake safety: http://japan.usembassy.gov.”

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England and Ireland – The Royal Visit

May 16, 2011 on 5:27 pm | In Ireland travel, Terrorism and travel, The Troubles, things travelers need to know, travel news, travel warnings | Comments Off

Queen Elizabeth and the Duke of Edinburgh will embark on a historic four-day visit of Ireland this week and will be in Dublin tomorrow. While many citizens of Ireland welcome the British monarch, the visit is not popular with the dissident republican groups who want Britain out of Ireland.

The security for this event will be massive and ordinary tourists may want to avoid anywhere the Royal Couple will be traveling in Ireland over the remainder of this week.

See this article in the U.K.’s Independent for more details.

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New Travel Warning for Mexico

April 23, 2011 on 11:11 am | In Mexico travel, Travel Safety, things travelers need to know, travel news, travel warnings | 1 Comment

The United States Department of State has issued an extremely detailed Travel Warning for those who might want to visit or live in Mexico. It contains the usual note that millions safely visit Mexico each year, as well as the obligatory statement that the Mexican government takes considerable effort to ensure the safety of visitors to Mexico. However, travel to Mexico appears to be increasingly dangerous for the casual traveler, especially those intent on exploring areas outside of tourist zones.

The introduction to the Travel Warning includes this quote: “Resort areas and tourist destinations in Mexico generally do not see the levels of drug-related violence and crime reported in the border region and in areas along major trafficking routes. Nevertheless, crime and violence are serious problems and can occur anywhere. While most victims of violence are Mexican citizens associated with criminal activity, the security situation poses serious risks for U.S. citizens as well.

It is imperative that you understand the risks involved in travel to Mexico and how best to avoid dangerous situations. Common-sense precautions such as visiting only legitimate business and tourist areas during daylight hours, and avoiding areas where criminal activity might occur, can help ensure that travel to Mexico is safe and enjoyable.

The remainder of the Travel Warning contains much more dire information and highlights the areas and problems that tourist visiting sections of Mexico may encounter. As expected, the most dangerous areas for tourists visiting Mexico are along the U.S. Border, specifically in Northern Baja California, Nogales and Northern Sonora, Ciudad Juarez and Chihuahua, Durango, Coahuila and Zacatecas, Monterrey and Nuevo Leon, as well as Tamaulipas. The Travel Warning also includes a detailed examination of violence in other parts of Mexico.

If you are planning travel to Mexico, be sure and read the Mexico Travel Warning. The full text is available here from the State Department of the United States.

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New Travel Guide to the Best Places to Visit in Chicago

April 13, 2011 on 10:04 pm | In Chicago travel, ThereArePlaces.com, United States travel, things travelers need to know, travel guides, travel news, vacation travel | 3 Comments

Buckingham Fountain in Grant Park along the Lakeshore in Chicago

Late yesterday we launched our new guide to the best places to visit in Chicago

Frank Lloyd Wright, the famous architect, once said, “Eventually, I think Chicago will be the most beautiful city left in the word.” We think Chicago is gorgeous and full of fun attractions. While creating the ThereArePlaces guide we revisited many of the places we used to frequent when we lived in Chicago and decided that the city is better than ever.

Chicago’s geographical setting is sublimely beautiful. Chicago’s planners clearly have spent a lot of time figuring out how to make the city work and they have created a masterpiece. Chicago is a wonderful place for a family vacation, offering every age group a variety of attractions that they will find appealing.

Take a look, and book your tickets, as our Chicago guide is waiting for you.

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Protests in Budapest on April 9

March 30, 2011 on 10:03 am | In ThereArePlaces.com, Travel Safety, hungary travel, things travelers need to know, travel news | 2 Comments

EUbusiness.com is reporting that trade unions will protest in Budapest, Hungary on April 9, 2011 (see the article for more details). The Saturday protest, which is aimed at the growing wave of austerity measures being enacted by the governments of various member countries of the European Union, will coincide with the meeting of European Union finance ministers in Budapest.

As violence has become something of a hallmark of recent demonstrations of this type in other European countries, we advise any tourist planning to visit Hungary to avoid the demonstration in Budapest on April 9.

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UCLA Advises Against Spring Break Travel To Mexico

March 22, 2011 on 11:28 am | In Mexico travel, ThereArePlaces.com, Travel Safety, things travelers need to know, travel news, travel warnings | Comments Off

We were surprised to see that UCLA has warned its students against travel in Mexico during spring break . Citing the State Department Travel Warning of last fall (described and linked to in our Blog), increasing drug-related violence and more than one thousand homicides during the first two months of 2011, UCLA recommended that its students avoid visiting Mexico during spring break and, “…anytime soon.”

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Protest in Central London This Weekend

March 22, 2011 on 9:33 am | In London, London travel, ThereArePlaces.com, Travel Safety, United Kingdom, things travelers need to know, travel news | 1 Comment

Central London will not be the place to be for tourists hoping to explore London this weekend and we advise you to avoid the area. On Saturday, October 26th, hundreds of thousands of protestors will descend on Central London to protest the cuts related to their governments austerity measures.

Trafalgar Square will be one of the main gathering points, as described by this article in the Guardian.

If you had planned on touring London this weekend, we suggest that you consider changing your plans, unless you are determined to join the protests. Alternatives include taking a day trip, such as one of those described at ThereArePlaces, or simply heading out for a weekend in the country, or maybe touring some of the UK’s fine castles, such those described here.

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ThereArePlaces Launches New York City Travel Guide

March 19, 2011 on 5:29 pm | In ThereArePlaces.com, United States travel, new york travel, things travelers need to know, travel guides, travel new york city, travel news | Comments Off

On Saturday,March 19, 2011 ThereArePlaces launched its new, concise but multi-paged guide to the Best Places to Visit in New York. In addition, we are working on guides to Chicago and San Francisco and have another two U.S.city-guides in planning. All will be released in the first half of this year.

Our New York Guide covers our recommendations for the thirty best places to visit in New York City. We provide details on each attraction and link to the official website, when there is one (in case you have an interest in learning additional information). In addition, we show the location of each attraction with a marker on a custom built map utilizing a map base from Google, and have sprinkled the Guide with some excellent photographs showing what you can expect to see when you visit New York.

            The Statue of Liberty on Liberty Island in New York Harbor

New York is a phenomenal place to visit and often produces a wide range of emotions in each visitor. Americans are justifiably proud of the values represented by the Statue of Liberty and immensely saddened the loss of life at nearby Ground-Zero, soon to be the home of the National 9/11 Memorial. Times Square, Central Park and the Empire State Building are just the beginning of an exploration of some of the most famous structures and attractions in the United States, and, perhaps, the world. New York has something for everyone and we think you will find that the ThereArePlaces Guide to New York is a great way to explore the Big Apple in preparation for your next visit.

Let us know what you think of our Guide to the best places to visit in New York. Leave a comment and help us make a better website for you.

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