Posts tagged with "vacations"

Airheart illustration by Heather Skovlund for 360 Magazine

Airheart Explorer Launches

Airheart Explorer Launches to Help Consumers Navigate Complicated Travel Restrictions & Policies

CLICK TO TWEET: Airheart Explorer launches to help navigate travel restrictions domestic and abroad, so people can travel with confidence: Airheart Explorer

Airheart unveiled their free tool, Explorer, to help people travel again, safely. Travelers can now discover which destinations are accessible and what’s required for their trip, all through one user-friendly platform.

Now more than ever, navigating restrictions and policies for travel is overwhelming. Crowd-sourcing information from friends and family online and visiting countless tourism or government sites is a lot of work and highly error prone. Airheart eliminates the guesswork, so people can travel with confidence. 

Airheart’s data is aggregated from official sources by our data partners, including Sherpa. Then, Airheart further distills and organizes it into a searchable, scannable, easy to understand format, to put travelers at ease when navigating what’s required of them. 

Key Features: 

  1. Discover which destinations – international and domestic – are accessible for travel based on your origin location prior to the booking engine phase where you need to be destination specific. 
  2. View government policies and COVID19-risk data for your destination.
  3. Filter by what’s required of you – quarantine, COVID19 test, masks in public (and soon by your vaccination status). 
  4. Receive notification when policies and restrictions change.
  5. See COVID19 transmission rates per destination. 
  6. View local guidelines for what to expect on-location at bars, restaurants, shops and more.
  7. Pin routes and create a short-list of places on your wish list.

The three founders diligently focus on maximizing the user experience. The team is also extremely well-traveled, multi-passport carriers and currently straddling multiple continents – the US to Australia – to bring this to consumers worldwide. 

“As seasoned travelers, we found this problem so critical that we dropped everything to work on solving it for the community. Our long-term vision is to create a place for organizing and managing the full lifecycle of a trip, starting with discovery using Airheart Explorer,” said co-founder and CEO, Lindsey Renken. “In a world where we’ve optimized our lives heavily, planning travel is still an inefficient process. We noticed our friends and colleagues experiencing similar issues, and ultimately, this kept a lot of trips from happening. We figured there has to be a better way than the status quo.”

Airheart is where deep product and engineering knowledge meets function. The team’s experience has been pivotal in elevating Airheart Explorer beyond what’s on the market now:  

  • Ivan Vanderbyl, CPO, who’s founded three companies, 2 exits; Former Sr. Director of Product Management at Tricentis; 14 years in software development and product management. He has lived and worked in 5 countries and traveled to over 30 countries. 
  • Arie Litovsky, CTO, adds over 15 years of software development experience to the team. He most recently worked as a software developer at Facebook and Q&A site Stack Overflow. He’s traveled to over 20 countries while adding to his collection of 3 passports and 4 languages.
  • Lindsey Renken, CEO, is an experienced founder; previously raised nearly 1 mil. as a co-founder for a consumer-facing application. B.S. in Biomedical Engineering, UT Austin. Over 11 years in product, marketing and data science. She has traveled to 31 countries and counting, many of which were solo trips. 

“Drawing on the intrepid explorer and fearless solo traveler Amelia Earhart, we hope to clear the path for future travelers,” said Renken. 

For more information and to sign up for the waitlist for features coming this summer, visit Airheart

Las Vegas-Based Tour Provider

When Bindlestiff Tours owner Rachel Urban opened the Las Vegas-based adventure tour company nearly 10 years ago, she sought to offer adventurers the most immersive experiences throughout the Southwestern United States, Alaska and Western Canada. In the days leading up to the pandemic, Bindlestiff Tours was doing just that. Business was booming and the company welcomed thousands of international visitors each year.

Then borders closed, shutdowns began and the international tourism industry dried up. As reservations were cancelled and trips delayed, many tour operators opted to close their doors entirely. Yet, Bindlestiff made the bold, yet tough, decision to remain open last year as one of the only fully operating national park tour companies in Las Vegas during the height of the pandemic. Today, Bindlestiff continues to fight challenges created by the pandemic while still welcoming drive-market travelers to keep the business afloat.  

“Like many small businesses in the tourism industry, we’re fighting every day to keep our operation running while safeguarding our staff and customers’ health and well-being,” said Urban. 

With group size limits, mask enforcement rules and social distancing guidelines differing state by state, Bindlestiff’s high operating and cleaning costs for their spectacular multi-state tours through Nevada, Arizona, Utah and California have risen while the number of guests they are able to accommodate continues to remain restricted. 

Navigating which national parks and campsites are open also presents another obstacle for Bindlestiff Tours. A spike in COVID-19 cases often leads to sudden park or campsite closures or limited access to certain destinations which creates challenges in how Bindlestiff times tours, according to Urban.

Last-minute tour reservations and cancellations also add to the company’s dilemma of planning how many guests they are able to welcome on a given day. 

“While it certainly has been difficult to accommodate travelers visiting Las Vegas on a whim, it brings us such gratitude knowing there are still domestic tourists searching to get away and immerse themselves in nature,” said Urban. 

The immersive tour operator celebrates the small victories such as welcoming travelers from neighboring states, even if group sizes remain small, and continues to offer flexible booking conditions, value tour pricing and additional traveler options. 

Among these additional options are Bindlestiff Tours’ new multi-day, self-driving camping tours and private, custom single- or multi-day tours from Las Vegas.


The self-drive camping tours, also available with hotel upgrades, offer travelers an opportunity to socially distance under the stars. According to Urban, these tours are designed for guests interested in driving to the national parks of the American Southwest on their own, while still receiving expert guidance and an immersive, personalized adventure. 

Guests are provided with all the necessary camping equipment and tour guides assist with camp set-up in scenic locations. Expert tour guides meet guests at key locations throughout the tour and escort groups on remote hiking trails to spectacular viewpoints while providing live interpretive wildlife and nature content throughout the adventure. 

According to Bindlestiff, guides also facilitate evening campfires and locally sourced, fully catered al fresco dining options at camp or for hotel guests. 

To enhance the self-drive experience, Urban says guests can download the recently reconfigured Bindlestiff Tours mobile app. Now featuring tour narrations in English for domestic travelers in addition to multiple languages for international visitors, the app allows travelers to access additional details, instruction and information.


For families or groups of friends of four or more interested in experiencing national parks in a more intimate setting, Bindlestiff also offers private, custom tour options. These tour packages are pre-made and offer exclusive one-on-one attention from a dedicated, expert local guide. Guests may select day tours or multi-day outdoor camping tours or the comfort of hotel accommodation. Guides escort groups on a completely private tour throughout the experience. Guests have the option to choose from classic itineraries or request a custom-tailored tour and add on other areas of interest, according to Urban. 

Despite the overall decrease in travelers resulting from the pandemic, Bindlestiff Tours understands the importance of continuing to provide vacationers with spectacular opportunities to visit some of the country’s most breathtaking national parks when they are ready to travel again.

“During the height of the shutdown last year, we were one of the only fully operating tour providers in Las Vegas,” said Urban. “We understand the importance of offering travelers expert guides for incredible experiences they’ll never forget, especially during such a difficult time. It truly brings our team joy.” 

As Bindlestiff continues to expand its tour offerings when more people begin to travel again, the challenges of remaining viable and laying the foundation for recovery in a post-COVID economy remains present. This year, Bindlestiff is excited to launch “glamping” tours that allow families and private groups the peace of the great outdoors paired with more elevated living accommodations.

According to Urban, the tour company remains hopeful about the future. She said guests booking trips with Bindlestiff this year have felt reassured about their health and safety – some even going as far as sharing their uplifting experiences on social media. 

“Our company is beyond grateful we have remained open throughout these challenging times to welcome those searching to get out of their houses and into the wilderness,” said Urban.

For more information about private custom tours and self-drive tours, visit www.bindlestifftours.com

Rita Azar illustrates travel article for 360 MAGAZINE

Cozy Winter Retreats

Enjoy delicious food, spectacular accommodations, and seasonal activities this winter

As temperatures drop and winter nears, a sweet escape may be closer than you think! If you’re yearning for a weekend getaway, look no further than the scenic Hudson Valley for a charming winter retreat. Located just an hours’ drive from New York City, Orange County, N.Y. offers acclaimed restaurants and accommodations with seasonal packages for couples, singles, and families looking for a home away from home this season.

“The perfect winter getaway can be found close to home with a visit to one of our cozy inns or B&Bs — all just a short drive from the area’s ski resorts, ice rinks, riding stables, hiking, biking, and mountain trails,” said Orange County Tourism Director Amanda Dana. “Unwind with loved ones or a good book by a crackling fireplace after a day outdoors. Or, warm up with a delicious meal from one of our many acclaimed restaurants offering indoor dining and seasonal menus, too.”

Below are some winter getaways available in Orange County, N.Y. Before visiting any of the locations, please contact the venue directly to confirm that they are open and practice safe social-distancing.

Cedar Lake Estates, 1 Team USA Way, Port Jervis: Cedar Lakes Estate offers 500 acres of Winter Wonderland for you to explore. Stay for a long weekend, or grab a seat at one of the venue’s Saturday dinners. Whether just for a toast by the fire, or a snowshoe around the property, explore all there is to do in the beautiful Hudson Valley. cedarlakesestate.com

The Thayer Hotel, 674 Thayer Road, West Point: Experience the luxurious accommodations at the Historic Thayer Hotel at West Point with one of many seasonal packages available. Visitors can enjoy a delicious Thanksgiving dinner prepared by the Culinary Institute of America team of chefs with an overnight stay, or choose the venue’s holiday brunch package that includes an exquisite feast for two, luxurious overnight accommodations, and a souvenir Thayer Hotel holiday ornament. Ring in the New Year with overnight accommodations, a cocktail reception at MacArthur’s Riverview Restaurant, a four-course meal, open bar, DJ, champagne toast at midnight, and a New Year’s Day champagne brunch. thethayerhotel.com

The Waterstone Inn, 62 Sterling Road, Greenwood Lake: Skiers won’t want to overlook one of Orange County’s hidden gems, The Waterstone Inn. Located just three miles from Mount Peter, a full-service mountain offering skiing, snowboarding and tubing, the beautiful inn offers visitors a peek back in time to the Golden Age of Greenwood Lake when affluent New York families would flock to the lake for leisure throughout the 1800s and early 1900s. Accommodating parties of all sizes, guests can choose from studio rooms, suites, or the entire third floor. thewaterstoneinn.com

Bear Mountain Inn, 3020 Seven Lakes Drive, Bear Mountain: Built in 1915 upon a plateau overlooking the shores of Hessian Lake, this natural beauty of local stone and timber is a national treasure. Its 15 deluxe guest rooms and suites combine rustic mountainside elegance with all the creature comforts of home to make it the quintessential romantic Hudson Valley destination. Relax and recharge with the inn’s shop, stay, and spa package that includes a gift card to Woodbury Common Premium outlets and a $100 credit to the Spa at Bear Mountain. visitbearmountain.com

Cromwell Manor Historic Inn, 174 Angola Road, Cornwall: Relax at this elegant 1820 mansion with additional guest rooms in a charming 1762 colonial cottage. Decorated with period antiques and furnishings, all rooms have private baths and many have working fireplaces. Enjoy homemade breakfast each morning, overlooking the seven-acre private estate, before heading out to explore nearby parks and trails, world class shopping at Woodbury Common Premium Outlets, and many vineyards and wineries. cromwellmanorinn.com

Stagecoach Inn, 268 Main Street, Goshen: The Hudson Valley’s premier inn and restaurant can be found within an elegant mansion built in 1747. Despite its historic past, the five-bedroom inn features private baths and all the modern updates and amenities for 21st-century travelers. The on-site restaurant offers casually elegant dining in several sitting rooms and a stone veranda overlooking three acres of manicured lawns. During the day, explore all that Orange County has to offer with local museums and art galleries, parks and outdoor activities, and shopping galore. stagecoachny.com

As the world reopens, Orange County, N.Y., invites residents and visitors to escape, enjoy and explore its wide-open spaces. For a full list of attractions, lodging and dining options available at this time, please visit orangetourism.org/fall-fun. Additionally, a fun, free, 56-page travel guide is available for digital download at OrangeTourism.org/travel-guide.

About Orange County Tourism

Orange County Tourism, based in Goshen, N.Y., is the county’s tourism headquarters and a participant in the I LOVE NY program. A comprehensive listing of area attractions, lodging and events can be found at OrangeTourism.org. Like Orange County Tourism on Facebook for the latest news on local happenings.

Fall Foliage Package

PACKAGE NAME

Live Free and Leaf Peep

PRICING


$299 (not including tax)

Make The Hotel Concord your fall foliage base so you can go where the peak foliage is (and not where the crowds are), while enjoying our vibrant Main Street, tasty restaurants, and abundant cultural offerings all outside our door. From Concord, NH, to see the finest fall colors. Concord is in the heart of New Hampshire (White Mountains, Upper Valley, Monadnock Region and Seacoast less than an hour away).

Package Includes:


One night in our luxurious upscale Four Diamond Boutique Hotel, a gift certificate to Gould Hill Orchard in Contoocook, a specialty Miss Prindable’s Candied Apple, and pumpkin spiced coffee to warm you up on a crisp fall evening and a late check out of 12 noon. The hotel also provides turn down service which includes robes, slippers, Astor chocolate, music and lighting. Gould Hill has sweeping view over the New Hampshire mountains, and an amazing assortment of tradional and new apple varieties. Based on availability.

Visit hotel site here.