With officials now warning pregnant women to avoid Miami Beach in addition to Puerto Rico, some sun seekers are desperately scrambling for a Zika-free vacation. And that has left other tourist destinations to capitalize — quietly. Travel experts say families worried about Zika are now looking to Arizona and Southern California to get some sun, along with cooler-weather locales such as New England and Canada. Bermuda has seen groups move meetings and conventions there from Caribbean islands, according to its tourism authority. But the affected destinations aren’t sitting still. Ingrid Rivera Rocafort of the Puerto Rico Tourism Co. said the island is ramping up advertising efforts to lure baby boomers, retirees and gay and lesbian travelers. Those who really want to head to Latin America are planning trips to places that are at higher elevations where mosquitoes don’t live, such as Machu Picchu in Peru, Mexico City and Bogota, Colombia, says travel expert Wendy Perrin.
Mexico air restrictions lifted
Most restrictions on flights between the U.S. and Mexico were lifted last week, a change expected to bring more options and possibly lower airfares. The United States and Mexico agreed in December to open their aviation markets to each other’s carriers. Rules that had generally limited two or three airlines from each country to a particular route will go away. Airlines on both sides of the border will be able to fly whatever routes they want as often as they want and set their own prices, said Thomas Engle, the State Department’s deputy assistant secretary for transportation. “This will help reduce airfares for sure,” said George Hobica, founder of airfarewatchdog.com. American, Delta and Southwest announced that they will offer new flights across the border later this year.
Donate to charity, get a deal
A new hotel booking website aims to link discounted rates and charitable donations. Kind Traveler (kindtraveler.com) began in early August with 21 mostly boutique and style-focused hotels in 11 locations in the United States, Mexico and the Caribbean. Users who make a minimum $10-a-night donation to a charity through the website will get prices that are 10 to 25 percent off published rates. “Kind Traveler’s mission is to transform travelers into a force that benefits local and global communities, the environment and animals,” said Jessica Blotter, the chief executive and a founder of the site. Kind Traveler users can also earmark their donations to go to a dozen global charity partners including the American Red Cross, Salvation Army and WildAid.
New York Times
Rent a cool car, privately
If Ubering has left you nostalgic for getting behind the wheel, here’s an app that can help you get back your motor-mojo. Turo (turo.com) allows drivers to rent their car or rent someone else’s car for fun and profit. The Tesla Model X, Maserati GranTurismo Convertible and Aston Martin V8 Vantage are just a couple of cars for rent on the “Elite in Los Angeles” board, but it’s not all about expensive cars. We found a 2014 Jeep Wrangler in Denver with built-in navigation, Bluetooth audio streaming and a bike or ski rack (additional). Prices were reasonable: The Jeep was $99 a day. If you want to list your car, Turo will set its rental price based on location, market value, time of year, etc., or you can do it yourself.
Los Angeles Times