Welcome to The Check-In, our weekend feature focusing on all things travel.
Greenland is getting ready for its close-up
Greenland, the world's largest island, is home to about 57,000 residents, and in the first three-quarters of 2022, welcomed just about that many tourists. Prime Minister Mute B. Egede is hoping that by investing hundreds of millions of dollars into transportation, that number will get a big boost.
"We need to have more growth," Egede told The New York Times' Gabriel Leigh. "Right now most of our money comes from fisheries. We need some other income possibilities, and tourism is one of the key potentials for future growth in Greenland."
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Greenland is known for its spectacular glaciers and fjords, and in order to get more international visitors interested in seeing these sights, the island is making major infrastructure changes. This involves putting in new runways and terminals at the airports in Nuuk, Greenland's capital, and Ilulissat, which is near the Ilulissat Icefjord, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The government's goal is to have everything in place to start welcoming more tourists — especially from the New York area, which is just a four-hour flight away — to Nuuk and Ilulissat by 2024.
It's a delicate line to walk. Everyone who wants to visit is encouraged to do so, but too many tourists might overwhelm Greenland and take away from its stark beauty. Plus, air travel contributes to climate change, which threatens Greenland's ice. "There's a great pressure to have more destinations ready when it comes to hotels, restaurants, and experiences," Anne Nivika Grodem, chief executive of Visit Greenland, the national tourism authority, told Leigh. "And it must be based on our values, to ensure a sustainable development." Read more about how Greenland plans on opening up — without inviting too many in — at The New York Times.
After 16 hours, this Air New Zealand flight landed where it started
Air New Zealand's Auckland to New York City route is one of the longest in the world — and it was made even longer on Feb. 16 thanks to a power outage at John F. Kennedy International Airport.
The saga began when there was an electrical panel failure and "small isolated fire" at the airport, The Washington Post reports. No planes could land or take off, and while some incoming flights were diverted to nearby airports, others — like Air New Zealand Flight NZ2 — weren't so lucky.
The plane turned around and started heading back to Auckland about eight hours after take off. Air New Zealand said in a statement if the plane had landed elsewhere in the U.S., it "would have meant the aircraft would remain on the ground for several days, impacting a number of other scheduled services and customers." That wasn't a good enough reason for passengers like Michele Carbone, who told The New Zealand Herald she was on her way to a wedding and knew another person on board was trying to get to Europe in time to visit a dying relative. "If you were to gather all the people from that plane in their room right now you'd find them boiling with annoyance and anger," she said.
Start preparing now for spring break travel
Spring break is just around the corner — and so is that vacation you booked back in the cold, early days of winter. Even if you don't have a trip in the books, it's not too late to plan something, whether it's a week of warmer weather at the beach or a few days of fresh air in the mountains. Here is a checklist to help prepare for Spring Break travels, wherever you might go.
First, check to see if your passport is still good, and if you need a visa for your trip. If your passport is expired or will be expiring in the next 6 months, immediately make an appointment at a passport agency or center. Through the Urgent Travel Service, Americans who are traveling internationally within 14 calendar days or need a foreign visa within 28 calendar days can get assistance.
Once you have all of your travel plans set, make sure you print your hotel and rental car reservation confirmations, and a boarding pass. Even if you have all of that saved to your phone, it's always a good idea to have a backup, hard copy available, in case WiFi is spotty. Also, download any apps that might make traveling easier for you, like ones that provide translations or money conversion.
When it comes to packing, do you have the right bag for your trip? If you can get away with it, always aim to bring a smaller bag, so you don't have to worry about checking it in. A duffel bag or backpack will likely work for a short weekend trip, while a rolling suitcase could be a necessity for a week-long overseas trek involving formal occasions that call for dresses, suits, and fancy shoes.
If you're headed to a different climate, check your closet and see if you have suitable clothing. You might need to pick up an item you don't need to use at home, like wool socks, and want to have enough time to order it online or buy it at the mall. If you're going to the beach or lake, check to see if your bathing suit, sandals, and water shoes are still in good shape. If your hotel or vacation rental has laundry facilities, pack a little lighter, since you can wash your clothes during your stay.
If you take medication, make sure you bring a few extra doses, in case flight delays leave you stuck somewhere for longer than you planned. Also, stock your toiletry bag with special items you might need for your destination, like bug repellant and high-SPF sunscreen. Hotels almost always have tiny bottles of shampoo and body wash in the bathrooms, so save some space in your bag by leaving those out.
Before you hit the road, call your credit card company and let them know you are traveling, to avoid a freeze being put on your card. Check your house to make sure it's secure, with functioning locks on the doors and bulbs in the motion-sensing lights. If you have a neighbor you trust, let them know you'll be away so they can keep an eye on your property. Finally, get rid of any leftovers and food in the fridge that will expire while you're gone, and do your future self a favor by also doing a quick clean up around the house — by taking a few minutes to vacuum and wipe down counters, you can relax when you get home.
Plan accordingly: Upcoming events to add to your calendar
The Galway International Arts Festival was founded in 1978 to support local Irish artists and bring in talented artists from abroad. It has grown into a festival featuring music, theater, dance, comedy, and street art, with this year's edition running from July 17-30. The eclectic offerings spark connections and conversations, and revelers can go from rocking out at the Heineken Big Top (2023's performers are Kaiser Chiefs, Tones And I, Bell X1, and Fat Freddy's Drop) to having a slow, quiet evening looking through art galleries. The Galway International Arts Festival is entirely what you make it.
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