Consumer Brands Save the Day Amid Hand Sanitiser Shortages
As stocks of hand sanitiser gel begin to run dangerously low across the world amid the COVID-19 outbreak and spread, many alcohol producing companies and companies with denatured-alcohol licences and supplies of alcohol have pivoted their businesses to try to help close the gap – especially for health professionals and those most at risk. This mixture of small and large businesses show us all how lending a helping hand can make a huge difference.
BrewDog is a beer and spirits manufacturer based in Ellon in Scotland, and have switched their production lines to produce alcohol hand-gel totally free of charge to ‘those who need it’ across local charities and the community. The first batch of hand sanitiser was delivered to Aberdeen hospital to help the hard working staff stay safe.
Punk Sanitiser by BrewDog
Psychopomp is an artisan gin distillery based in Bristol, England, who have also begun to produce hand sanitiser gel to distribute among the community free-of-charge, but in exchange for a charitable donation to the Bristol Royal Hospital for Children.
Warner’s Distillery in Northamptonshire usually prides themselves on saving the world from mediocre gin, but in light of the sanitiser shortages they have turned their production efforts to saving the world a little more generally.
Edinburgh based Leith Spirits have received much deserved praise in the press for their efforts. Having begun production of hand gel rather as opposed to their usual selection of gin, the company issued a plea on social media for plastic bottles to package the hand gel in order to keep production moving.
Jameson Distillery, Sean O’Neill, Flickr Creative Commons
Pernot Ricard, producers of drinks brands including Absolut Vodka and Jameson Irish Whiskey have put their Arkansas factory to good use by producing hand sanitiser instead of booze as the company reports a 20% hit to their operating profit due to the coronavirus. The French company hope to utilise some of their other USA factories to further increase their supply to help combat the empty shelves and dwindling hospital stores of hand sanitiser.
Diageo, the makers of Smirnoff Vodka and Johnnie Walker Whiskies have pledged to produce enough denatured alcohol to make 8 million bottles of sanitiser, to be distributed among the front line staff treating coronavirus patients in the UK, Ireland, Italy, USA, Brazil, Kenya, India and Australia.
Luxury fashion, cosmetics, fragrance and drinks conglomerate LVMH (Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessy) have turned their fragrance laboratories into hand-gel powerhouses, providing free-of-charge supplies of the sanitisers to overstretched hospitals. It has also been reported that the company has ordered 40 million face masks to distribute among the French health services, with the first 10 million masks paid for out of LVMH coffers, amounting to 5.4 million Euros. Bravo!
Our neighbours, West London based organic skincare brand Pai have launched their new ‘Acton Spirit’ Hand Sanitizer, named as such as the team believed that it summed up the amazing resilience and community spirit we have all seen here in West London. Pai sent out the initial batch to key-workers and is working on a second batch to make available for the public to purchase. For every tube purchased, Pai have pledged to provide key-workers and health professionals with one, too.
Pai’s “Acton Spirit” hand sanitiser in makeshift packaging
BeYou is a bit of an anomaly among this list, for its products mostly seek to provide women relief from period pain. BeYou impressively shifted their production to help beat the shortage of hand sanitisers within a week, and have been giving them away free with orders.
London-based luxury fragrance company Ormonde Jayne initially began manufacturing small amounts of hand gel to ensure the safety and hygiene of all of its staff members, and now they have begun distributing it among customers who purchase any of their delightful fragrances in-store or online.
Main image: The Old Jameson Distillery, Neil Turner, Flickr Creative Commons
By Sofi Summers
The Autry Museum: Native American Horsemen
Located in Los Angeles, California, The Autry Museum of the American West is a museum dedicated to exploring, supporting and preserving the heritage of the American West. The Autry was founded in 1988 by actor and performer to house much of his own collection of Western Art, with the museum later merging with the Southwest Museum of the American Indian to improve the facilities for research, and to better share the story of the West.
A feature which we particularly enjoyed at the Autry was the art depicting the life of Native American Horsemen.
The force of nature humbles all men by Howard Terpning
Main image: Lone Rider, Milk River Valley by Z.S. Liang
Major Shipping Firms Dedicate $5bn To Clean Fuel Research
7 major global shipping firms have between them pledged $5 billion to develop new clean fuel systems to tackle pollution caused by the industry.
The firms’ aim to decarbonise transoceanic shipping has been received positively by the wider industry and environmental campaigners alike. Shipping accounts for 3% of global emissions and for 90% of how goods are transported around the globe.
Currently viable options include biofuels, green hydrogen, ammonia, renewable electricity and fuel-cells.
The ship owners also are also welcoming a fuel levy to help support research and development in the future. The shipping industry is known for being heavily subsidised, with legislation protecting them from taxes in most parts of the world, however these calls signify a change in attitudes and an acknowledgement that pollution will not tackle itself.
This move also comes following an International Maritime Organisation regulation which has seen fuel suppliers innovating for the January 2020 date which it is set to come into effect, for heavy fuel oil suppliers cut the amount of sulfur used in ship fuels. The sulfur-containing fuel, when heated before combustion, creates harmful sulfur dioxide as a by-product which is released into the atmosphere. It is thought that the reduction of sulfur in the fuel will dramatically improve public health, particularly in the world’s busiest major port areas such as Shanghai, Singapore, Rotterdam, Los Angeles and Valencia.
The international shipping community is clearly demonstrating wider awareness and an eagerness to follow many of the world’s heavy industry communities in their commitment to tackle climate change.
Main Image: Emma Maersk, Roy, Flickr Creative Commons
All-Female Sailing Team ‘eXXpedeition’ on a Mission to Clean Up Our Oceans
10 eager members of the public have set off on the first leg of an around the world journey to research and assess the extent of the plastic pollution in our oceans, and to explore creative solutions to clean it up. The team hope to build knowledge to inform scientists, legislators and the public alike on how the problem can be tackled for generations to come.
The all-female and multidisciplinary crew departed from Plymouth, UK – the same port that 18th century explorer Captain Cook set sail from on his round the world journey – and will sail for a planned 11 days to the Azores before their first stop. The Azores are a group of 9 islands, which are volcanic in origin and a famed north-east Atlantic deep-sea coral hotspot.
Each of the 13 legs around the world will see a new set of women set sail for the cause, and in total over 300 women will participate in the project which is expected to take 2 years to complete.
Mission Director Emily Penn’s motivations don’t stop there – eXXpedition also hopes to raise awareness of a lack of female participation in STEM professions, to research female-specific diseases caused by plastic and chemical pollution in greater depth, and to encourage female participation and positive coverage in all-female sailing and the wider sporting community.
The UK registered Community Interest Company have been sailing for these causes since 2014, though this is their first journey of such scale. The team are supported by multiple sponsors from environment companies to firms in the technology and legal sector. Many of the ladies on board are also sponsored personally by smaller community groups and businesses local to their homes.
Each stop along the voyage will not only involve research, but also talks, panel discussions, community clean-ups and send-off parties in hope of bringing together passionate individuals who are all working towards solving the plastic pollution crisis.
You can follow the progress of the boat, S.V. TravelEdge, and all of the fantastic ladies on their regular blog which they are completing at sea, no matter how perilous the conditions!
Neil Armstrong’s Space Suit Goes On Display In Washington, D.C.
After an expensive 13-year restoration process and in time for the 50th Anniversary of Apollo 11, where Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin were the first men to step foot on the moon, Mr Armstrong’s spacesuit has gone back on display at the Air & Space Museum in Washington, D.C.
Neil Armstrong, Kanijoman, Flickr Creative Commons
The restoration project, costing around $500,000, was paid for by a Kickstarter fundraising campaign which took just 5 days to reach the funds necessary. The Kickstarter was the first campaign run by the Smithsonian Institution and was supported by over 9000 contributors from around the world.
The unveiling was attended by vice president Mike Pence, NASA’s Jim Bridenstine and Mr. Armstrong’s son Rick. Mr Armstrong himself sadly passed away in 2012.
Mike Pence, Gage Skidmore, Flickr Creative Commons
“It is a honor to be here at the National Air and Space Museum to help unveil one of the most important artifacts of what President Kennedy called, correctly, ‘the most hazardous and dangerous and bravest adventure upon which mankind has ever embarked,’ said Pence. “On this day 50 years ago, Apollo 11 launched from Pad 39A at Kennedy Space Center to begin its historic 4-million-mile journey to the moon. Just three days later, commander Neil Armstrong would wear the spacesuit that we will unveil in just a few moments when he took that ‘one giant leap’ for mankind.”
The suit will be on display on the National Mall on the second floor of the Air and Space Museum until 2022, where it will then be moved to its permanent home in the newly built “Destination Moon” gallery.
A new book by Rick Reilly, about Donald Trump’s golfing habits, quotes the US President thus: “They cheat, I cheat, I expect you to cheat.”
In the book, “Commander In Cheat-How Golf Explains Trump”, Reilly speaks to caddies, team mates and opponents who give multiple examples of how Trump refuses to allow golfing etiquette or rules to get in the way of becoming a winner.
According to the book, Trump always drives off first, drives his cart on the greens, and wears his hat in the clubhouse, as he lies and cheats his way through false victories on a spectacular scale. Trump claims he plays of a Three Handicap. He is not a bad golfer but according to those who know, his real handicap is about Ten.
As Trump fudges has way to glory we hear of countless instances of cheating – whether it be a Trump giving himself a “gimme “ on a pitch , taking second chances when it suits him or dropping his ball out of water hazards or bushes when no one is looking .
For the most part Trump asks his caddies to do the dirty work. And that doesn’t stop Trump doctoring his scorecard further both in a hole to hole basis, and then back in the clubhouse.
One caddie remarks that Trump’s nickname is Pele, because he is always kicking his ball back on the fairway. Another states: “Trump always has four balls in his pocket – if that tells you anything.”
Reilly remarks: “Golf’s traditions of being your own referee and calling fouls on yourself, clearly has no place in the world of Donald Trump, where it’s all about winning at any cost.”
Nashville’s Top 10 Events Not To Be Missed In 2019
Merging country roots with popular culture, there’s something for everyone on the vibrant streets of Nashville. Whether looking to be inspired by arts, energised by music or indulged with cuisine, visitors to Music City will find themselves spoilt for choice thanks to an extensive calendar of events throughout the year. Here are just 10 events on Nashville’s calendar not to be missed in 2019.
Tin Pan South Songwriter’s Festival (26th March – 30th March)
Kicking off the line-up of must-see events across the city, the Tin Pan South Songwriter’s Festival is an experience made for every music lover’s bucket list. Entering its 27th year, the festival brings together over 400 songwriters to perform across five nights in various locations around the city, making it the largest event of its kind in the world. While music legends such as Rodney Crowell and Sacha Skarbek are known to frequent the festival, it is the extent and diversity of songs performed which makes the festival truly unique. Festival passes are available to purchase online and officially go on sale on 26th February 2019.
2019 National Football League (NFL) Draft (25th April – 27th April)
For the first time in history, Music City will be the proud host for the 84th annual NFL Draft. Running from the 25th – 27th April, the Draft is undoubtedly one of America’s most anticipated sporting events of the year, with the 2018 Draft being the highest-rated and most watched in history. The annual draft sees both leading and up-and-coming players await their selection on one of the NFL’s 32 national teams for the season ahead. As part of the event, a three-day football festival, NFL Draft Experience Presented By Oikos Triple Zero®, will provide football fans the opportunity to compete in games, experience interactive exhibits, meet and greet with their favourite players and celebrate the Draft results in Music City. True to the spirit of the city, music will feature heavily in the agenda, with top Nashville artists performing throughout the weekend. Tickets are required for seating within the NFL Draft theatre, with registration times yet to be announced.
CMA Music Fest (6th – 9th June)
Nashville comes to life in June, when the city is home to country music’s premier event of the year, CMA Music Fest. Hosted by the Country Music Association, CMA Music Fest will see country music fans rock out to four days and nights of live music held at various venues across the city including Music City Centre, Riverfront Park Stage and Nissan Stadium. Now in its 48th year, the annual event attracts an all-star line-up of established and up-and-coming country music stars, with meet and greets and Q&A sessions organised at the festival’s Xfinity Fan Fair X. All participating artists play for free, with proceeds from the festival benefitting music education programs through the CMA Foundation. Tickets for the 2019 event are available online.
Nashville Pride (22nd June – 23rd June)
Entering its 31st year of celebrations, the Nashville Pride festival is the largest LGBTQ event in the state of Tennessee. The Pride Equality Walk is the jewel in the crown of the annual festivities, with the turnout for last year’s parade numbering in the thousands. The festival grounds are located at Public Square Park, and feature multiple live music performances and DJ sets, drag shows and over 200 vendors including local not-for-profit organisations, artists, businesses and food and beverage offerings. The 2019 event is set to be even bigger than before, making it a must for visitors to Music City in June. Tickets will be available for purchase online closer to the event.
2019 Let Freedom Sing! Music City July 4th celebration and the 12th Annual Music City Hot Chicken Festival (4th July)
Experience a different side to America’s favourite holiday by celebrating 4th July in Music City! Featuring free live music, family entertainment and food stalls, the day’s festivities are topped off with one of the of the largest fireworks displays in the country, set to music from the Nashville Symphony Orchestra. For those feeling more famished than festive, the 12th annual Music City Hot Chicken Festival takes place in East Park at 700 Woodland Street on the same day. A Nashville specialty, Hot Chicken is traditionally served with bread and pickles but can also be used to spice up a salad, pasta, or even with a malted waffle for brunch. Sample some of the city’s best Hot Chicken, or watch home cooks battle it out in the amateur cooking competition for the prestigious title of ‘2019 King or Queen of Hot Chicken’! Admission is free to both events.
Live on the Green Music festival (August – September)
Running throughout August until the Labour Day weekend, Live on the Green is a free outdoor music festival held at Public Square Park in Nashville. The festival showcases the city’s emerging musical talent and highlights well-known national acts. Since it began in 2009, over 590,000 fans have flocked to Nashville to attend the event. The festival has hosted more than 190 performing artists, including Ben Harper & The Innocent Criminals, Sheryl Crow, Alabama Shakes, Ben Folds, The Head And The Heart, Rodrigo y Gabriela, Band of Horses, Cold War Kids, Young The Giant, City and Colour and more!
Music City Food + Wine festival (September)
Whether you’re a BBQ buff or just worship wine, the Music City Food + Wine festival is the stuff foodie dreams are made of. The brainchild of Grammy award-winning artists (and Nashville residents) Kings of Leon, world-renowned chef Jonathan Waxman, Music City Food + Wine Festival brings together the stars of Nashville’s culinary scene with acclaimed regional and national chefs, wine and spirits experts. The festival features interactive cooking demonstrations, engaging panel discussions, intimate tasting sessions and countless opportunities to sample the wares of a myriad of international restaurants, wineries, distilleries and breweries.
Nashville 50th Anniversary Film Festival (3rd – 12th October)
Each year, the Nashville Film Festival (NashFilm) presents the best in world cinema, American independent films and documentaries by veteran masters, up-and-coming directors, and first-time filmmakers. Originally founded in 1969, it is the longest running festival of its kind in the United States, and will celebrate its 50th anniversary in 2019. The festival has attracted a wide range of famous faces to its screenings over the years such as Oprah Winfrey, Al Gore and Nicole Kidman. It was also where Craig Brewer – the director of Footloose, Hustle & Flow and Black Snake Moan, won his first award as a novice filmmaker!
Country Music Association (CMA) Awards (November)
Hailed as the biggest night in country music, the CMA Awards pay homage to the outstanding achievements of artists and broadcasters in the country music industry. Albums and songs released between 1st July 2018 and 30th June 2019 will be eligible for awards, with nominees and winners chosen by more than 7,400 industry professional members of the Country Music Association. The annual event is held at Nashville’s Bridgestone Area and starts in style with a glamourous red-carpet entrance, while the ceremony features live performances and award presentations by the who’s who of country music. Best of all, the event is open to fans as well as stars!
Jack Daniel’s Music City Midnight: NYE in Nashville (31st December)
Ring in the new year and rock out the old in Music City at Nashville’s spectacular New Year’s Eve party. The show is a free outdoor concert which takes place at Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park on New Year’s Eve, with festivities kicking off at 4:00pm. The event is famous for featuring an all-star line-up of live music, and has previously played host to artists such as Keith Urban, The Kings of Leon, Peter Frampton, Maren Morris and Chris Stapleton to name a few. Partygoers can count down to the New Year as a 4.5 metre music note drops from a 44 metre height to mark the stroke of midnight. The music note drop then triggers a fantastic firework display and confetti cannons as revellers celebrate the arrival of the New Year.
Visit Music City
Official Nashville, TN Visitor and Tourism website that features discount hotels, attractions, things to do, tickets, event listings and more.
Planning a holiday in 2019 in the US? Perhaps its time to look towards the bright lights of Charm City and discover an array of world-class art, culinary and cultural experiences across the city’s historic and distinct neighbourhoods. From delicious street food pop-ups, endless crab feasts, to scenic nature trails for an active reawakening, Baltimore shares its top five activities.
Celebrate Baltimore’s festivals
It wouldn’t be a trip to Baltimore without taking part in the city’s local festival scene. In July, thousands of visitors will flock to Artscape, America’s largest free outdoor arts festival featuring 150+ fine artists, craftspeople and fashion designers. With live concerts, sculptures and performance pieces including dance, street theatre, jazz, opera and standup comedy, Artscape embodies the city’s homegrown arts boom. From 1st – 10th November 2019, Light City and Baltimore Book Festival will combine forces for the first time, highlighting the city’s burgeoning arts scene, and award-winning artists, authors and performers from around the world. Famed as America’s first large-scale festival of light art, music and innovation, Light City transforms 1.5 miles of the Inner Harbor waterfront into an interactive playground of large scale light installations, street performers, concerts, an Opening Night Parade and a Closing Night fireworks finale.
The Baltimore Public Market System is the oldest continuously operating public market system in the country – and continues to play a vital role in the city. Four of Baltimore’s six public markets are slated for overhauls, with two reopening in 2019. The city’s oldest existing market building, at more than 230 years old, will unveil a $3 million redevelopment of its north shed in early 2019, with its south shed opening in the summer. The south shed of the market will be converted into, a Maryland crab house and seafood restaurant led by Atlas Restaurant Group. The space, which will offer indoor and outdoor seating for 275 guests, an outdoor bar, live entertainment and a recreational area, is a nod to Broadway Market’s long history of serving local seafood. In addition, the new north shed will house ten local vendors, including: Connie’s Chicken & Waffles, Thai Street, a permanent location for the Thai street food pop-up; The Verandah, serving Indian specialties; Taharka Brothers Ice Cream, and Old Boy, a new Korean restaurant by Phil Han, owner of popular Mount Vernon cafe Dooby’s.
Mount Vernon neighbourhood renaissance
Just north of downtown rests the city’s cultural heart, Mount Vernon, once home to Baltimore’s Gilded Age elite. Let the impressive architecture and manicured public gardens transport you to a bygone era. The nation’s first monument to George Washington sits proudly at the centre of Mount Vernon Square. What once were grand mansions belonging to Baltimore’s 19th-century industrialists are now museums, galleries, shops and restaurants. Home to stunning boutique hotels including the new Hotel Revival, Hotel Indigo, and The Ivy, journey to a home away from home and soak up the city’s history.
Sport past-times and fitness classes
Home to sporting legends like Michael Phelps, Babe Ruth and Johnny Unitas, Baltimore reveals a longstanding love affair with sport. Become inspired by Oriole Park at Camden Yards, frequently ranked as a top baseball stadium in America, to cheer on the Baltimore Orioles or catch the NFL’s Baltimore Ravens, two-time Super Bowl champions, whilst you’re in town. For those looking to shed their winter coat and step into a healthier regime, journey to the Movement Lab, an epic space designed to reinvent people’s workout practices with alternative anti-gravity fitness routines. Make sure you also try out Jones Falls Bike Trail, where walkers, runners and bikers journey across a scenic eleven mile trail from the city’s inner harbor to 200 acres of wetlands and picturesque Cylburn Arboretum.
Tastes from the ocean
A foodies’ Baltimore to-do list should always include crab. Recognised for its awe-inspiring seafood scene, there are a variety of ways seafood lovers can savor the crustaceans besides the traditional crab feast or standalone crab cake. Baltimore restaurants serve crab in quiches, sandwiches, on top of tater tots and waffle fries, and on pizza. The Land of Kush even offers a vegan “crab cake” as a weekend special. Located in the Baltimore Museum of Art and founded by John Shields and John Gilligan in 1998, Gertrude’s has been a brunch neighbourhood staple for 20 years. The restaurant was on the vanguard of the farm-to-table movement and now has decades-long relationships with Maryland farms and fisheries. The crab omelet is an all-time favourite, as is the blue cat eggs, a delicious catfish cake served with maple bacon. During warmer months, visit the museum’s sculpture garden right outside the restaurant and experience its delightful ambience. For new openings in 2019, find The Urban Oyster. Head Chef Jasmine Norton was the first female owner of an oyster bar in Maryland. The fast-casual restaurant and bar will open in February 2019 featuring a full-service raw bar and serving Norton’s signature char-grilled oysters; seasonal seafood dishes such as Maryland crab cakes on homemade potato bread; and brunch items such as a shrimp BLT on a waffle bun, an oyster benedict and a lobster roll croissant.
Route 66 Named As The Most Instagram-Worthy Road Trip In The World
Route 66 has been named as the most Instagram-worthy road trip in the world, according to Brits.
The study, which polled 2,000 adults, found the top three routes are all located in the United States – specifically through the Grand Canyon National Park and along the Pacific Highway Coast.
The drive through the Grand Canyon parks, typically following the South Rim to the North Rim and famed for its exquisite views of the stunning natural wonder was second.
‘PCH’, also known as Route 101, came third. The route takes you on a coastal, cliff-hugging drive from San Francisco to San Diego, passing by San Jose, Big Sur and Monterey.
56% of those who took part named the US as the road trip capital of the world.
Commissioned by Hertz, the research also identified key ingredients for a successful road trip – including wide-open roads, driving past famous attractions and spotting wildlife along the way. Discovering views and taking in the scenery were highlighted as the main reasons for adults going on a road trip.
The influence of social media has had a huge impact on destinations of choice, bringing increased awareness of less well-known areas, as well as ensuring that gems such as the Route 66 are still as popular as ever.
While views and scenery were important for older travellers, millennials are more focused on having a ‘new experience’. More than two thirds of millennials admitted the places they see on Instagram affect their choice of location, compared to just 13% of adults over 38. In fact, 30% said they are unlikely to visit somewhere if they’ve never seen photos of it on Instagram. Hashtags and location tags have become a new way to research the next travel destination and 4 in 10 millennials use the platform to discover new points of interest and places to visit.
The survey, conducted via OnePoll in December 2018, also found an average of 12 photos a day are taken on a holiday or a trip. 57% of respondents said they were most likely to take a photo of a landscape or cityscape while on a trip. Double the number of millennials compared to the over 38s are likely to take a photo of their food.
It seems that photographs make memories, with 36% of millennials saying that they would struggle to remember their trip if they didn’t post a photo of it, compared to 19% of over 38s. Furthermore, one in 10 admitted to visiting somewhere purely because they want to share it on Instagram.
Twenty per cent of respondents would like to combine creating their own route with a structured drive.
Travel trends: What will shape travel in the USA in 2019?
The way we travel is changing, and changing fast. New flight routes mean that lesser-known corners of the United States are easy to reach; new sports are emerging; and even the way we eat and socialise is evolving – food halls are now cool new places to hangout. These things and more, are set to shape the way we travel in the USA in 2019.
Strengthening of existing airline routes
Following a long list of new flight launches in 2018, 2019 will see airlines strengthening their routes and increasing flight regularity. Some examples include British Airways’ London to Nashville flight which will be increased from a three-times-weekly service to a daily service in summer 2019 – the airline’s fastest new route to increase to a daily service in 10 years. Delta is also increasing travel options to the U.S. from summer 2019 with a daily flight from London Heathrow to Portland International Airport (up from the four-times-weekly flight) which is the only nonstop link from the UK, plus a daily service to Detroit’s Wayne County Metropolitan Airport. In March 2019, Virgin Atlantic will introduce a double daily route for the UK’s shortest transatlantic route between London Heathrow and Boston.
Low-cost long-haul flight expansion
Meanwhile the increase in the availability of flights from low-cost airlines – namely Norwegian Air and WOW air – is making family travel to the U.S. more affordable. In 2018 Norwegian increased its service of London to Fort Lauderdale flights, improving access to Florida’s east coast and theme parks, while December 2018’s new seasonal route from Wow Air, which links London and Orlando three times a week until April 2019, has made the region more accessible for those travelling on a tighter budget.
The trendy way to road trip
The U.S. has long been synonymous with epic road trip holidays, but 2019 will see an alternative way to gain momentum: the camper van. RV holidays have been a favourite for Americans for decades, but thanks to #vanlife – one of the biggest wanderlust-inspiring hashtags on Instagram over the last few years – holidaymakers have also started to take note. The hashtag sees couples, solo travellers and families pack up their belongings and live out of a van or RV, with the U.S. front and centre of the awe-inspiring pictures. It’s increased interest in RV and camper van trips, with the U.S. being the perfect playground for initial adventures.
Luxury hotel scene continues to thrive
There are a huge number of luxury hotel launches in the U.S. throughout 2019. Chicago will welcome the opening of Nobu Chicago and the Hoxton Chicago (both opening in the up-and-coming meatpacking district), while Nashville will see the opening of Richard Branson’s Virgin Hotels Nashville, which will open in the historic Music Row neighbourhood in December 2019, with the Margaritaville Nashville Hotel due to open in the SoBro neighbourhood in autumn 2019. Other stylish city openings will include the West Hollywood Edition, Hard Rock New Orleans, and the first Shinola hotel, which will open in Detroit. California will also see a host of luxury openings, with hotels ranging from the Four Seasons Napa Valley to the Rosewood Montecito.
Surfing holidays to become more popular
Following the announcement that surfing will be recognised as an official sport in the 2020 Olympics, all eyes are on America’s hottest surf destinations. The sport has quickly been gathering global recognition over the last decade as a fun way to enjoy the ocean, with physical and mental benefits to boot. Popular California surfing destinations will thrive: Huntington Beach, half way between Los Angeles and San Diego and officially dubbed Surf City USA, it is the site of the U.S. Open competition, and many of the city’s schools offer surf lessons as standard. Meanwhile, two wave parks constructed with state-of-the-art technology to create artificial waves now exist in Texas, with more to follow elsewhere – meaning surfing is no longer just the domain of coastal cities.
Music-focused travel leads the way
Music continues to be a key driver for travel to the U.S., whether it’s visiting for live concerts, or on pilgrimages to iconic music cities. New British Airways flights into Nashville and New Orleans over the last few months have opened up the Deep South, while the increase of services to Nashville is set to make the city an even-more popular destination for music lovers, particularly with new behind-the-scenes music experiences with Imagine Recordings, and the first-ever guided Music Row Walking Tour, which takes in prolific recording studios and publishing houses, launching in 2018. Elsewhere, new hotels in New Orleans will make NOLA’s jazz music scene more accessible, while Delta’s daily flight services and a shiny new Shinola hotel opening will put Detroit, the birthplace of Motown and techno, back on the map.
Packrafting goes mainstream
Packrafting – travelling by an inflatable raft that folds away into a backpack – is one of the coolest new ways to travel and reach undiscovered parts of the world, and the sport is already a firm favourite among U.S. locals (the American Packrafting Association reports that 76 percent of its members picked up the hobby in the last few years). While packrafting is relatively unheard of in Europe, U.S. states are filled with packrafting adventures. Visitors can paddle through the Wrangell-St. Elias National Park in Alaska with Kennicott Guides, or see the Grand Canyon National park on six-day hiking and packrafting trip with Wildland Trekking in Arizona. The method of travel is set to become even-more popular in 2019, as travellers look to discover harder-to-reach terrain.
Food halls are the new food trucks
While food trucks remain popular with visitors to the UK, the way locals and visitors are consuming food is set to change. According to a report by commercial real estate firm Cushman and Wakefield, there were about 70 food halls in the country in 2015. By the beginning of 2020 it’s estimated that this figure will have tripled. This is thanks, in part, to the likes of Time Out Market – the brand opened its first food hall in Lisbon in 2014, and has since brought the concept to Miami, New York, Chicago and will be opening in Boston next year (it will be one of two food halls opening in the city next year). New York is home to 12 food halls, while Austin has four – with more on the way in both cities. The food halls (as opposed to food courts) are often cool and contemporary settings, with modern furniture, neon signs, and food outlets from some of the city’s top chefs – ensuring a quality and inexpensive dining experience.
The rise of solo travel… and the sharecation
Solo travel will continue to increase in popularity in 2019, with several companies and hotel groups easing booking and comfort for solo travellers – from Busabout, hop-on hop-off coach trips, to cool new hostels making solo travel affordable, without a single supplement. Coinciding with the trend for solo travel in the U.S. is the rise of the sharecation. Intrepid Travel reports that the group’s U.S. trips are more popular with solo travellers than any other destination – in 2018, 70% of passengers on Intrepid Travel’s U.S. trips travelled on their own (popular tours included Los Angeles, Las Vegas and Hawaii).
Holidays on horseback
Next year sees the launch of several new luxury ranch-style retreats that will put horse riding at the front and centre of their activity program. The Lodge at Blue Sky in Utah and Bishop’s Lodge in Santa Fe are just two of the retreats, while tour operator Ranch Rider reports on the trend of using horse riding as part of a wellness regime, thanks to its ability to clear minds and reduce stress. The company’s yoga and riding retreat in Arizona is returning for a second year in a row thanks to demand from travellers.
Visit The USA
Visit The USA focuses on inspiring travelers to experience the country’s vibrancy, culture and infinite possibilities unlike anywhere else in the world.
Want to learn more about USA? Watch our episode Empire Builders – America to learn about the buildings and structures that have shaped this nation’s history and identity.