Coming and Going: Travel news and notes
By Becky Krystal and Nancy Trejos,
Coming & Going
Getting an airport charge, U.S. beach report, travel to Cuba, and more
Charged up at DCA
Oh, the plight of the connected traveler — too many gadgets, not enough juice. Cogo’s been there, scouring airport terminal walls for outlets and sitting on the floor in front of them.
The hunt just got a little easier at Reagan National with the installation of 20 Samsung Mobile charging stations. Each unit has six standard voltage electrical outlets, two USB outlets and four micro USB charging plugs for mobile phones. A touchscreen displays weather, flight information, news and, of course, details on Samsung Mobile products.
National is the first airport to receive the newest version of the charging stations. Dulles already had more than 40 of an older vintage. You can find the stations in all three National terminals.
Just in time to vindicate — or ruin — your summer vacation choice, the Natural Resources Defense Council has released its annual report on the nation’s beaches.
Local favorites Rehoboth and Dewey beaches in Delaware both earned the NRDC’s “superstar” status, meaning that they earned high marks in water quality, testing frequency and advisories. The beaches have had perfect testing results for the past three years.
Overall, though, the scene isn’t so pretty. The number of closing and advisory days nationwide increased 29 percent to 24,091, the second-highest level in the 21 years of the NRDC report. The group includes rain in Hawaii, the BP oil spill and, gulp, “unidentified sources” in California as reasons for the spike.
Louisiana had the highest rate of reported contamination at 37 percent of its samples, while the lowest was squeaky clean New Hampshire at 1 percent. Nationwide, 8 percent of U.S. beach water samples exceeded health standards. Contamination sources include waste (human or animal) and stormwater runoff.
Read the report and search for beaches at www.nrdc.org.
Off to Cuba?
The door to Cuba is finally opening.
Insight Cuba, a small operator of group travel to the island, based in New Rochelle, N.Y., has received a license from the U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control to send Americans to the nation, which has been off-limits for almost 50 years.
After President Obama eased restrictions on cultural travel to Cuba earlier this year, many tour operators scrambled to apply for licenses. Insight Cuba will begin offering six new itineraries in August, with more than 130 departures planned through September 2012.
Groups will be kept to a maximum of 16. Prices — which do not include airfare but cover ground transport, domestic flights in Cuba, guides and more — vary from $1,695 for a four-day, three-night stay to $3,795 for a nine-day, eight-night stay. Info: www.insightcuba.com.
Environmentally conscious? Now you can base your airline choices not just on price but on carbon-friendliness.
Brighter Planet, a consultant on carbon accounting and mitigation, has rated the carbon efficiency of U.S. domestic and international airlines. The top three among U.S. domestic carriers: Continental, JetBlue and Frontier. In last place was American Eagle. The international winners were Ryanair, Singapore Airlines, and Delta. SAS Scandinavian was the least environmentally friendly.