Good News From Around the World to Make You Smile During Quarantine
Let these nuggets of happy news take you on a well-deserved mental vacation.
It doesn’t take much to feel down these days. COVID-19 updates are constant, and while staying up on the news has never felt more important, the stream of heavy, sometimes terrifying information can be anxiety inducing. It’s a reality that’s only exacerbated by social distancing and travel bans — necessary regulations that result in fewer hugs and canceled beach vacations.
If the state of the world has been getting you down, take a moment to look at the bright side. There’s plenty to laugh at, celebrate, and be inspired by — and this good news roundup proves it. Shake up a cocktail and let these nuggets of good news take you on a well-deserved mental vacation.
Week of August 2
Blue Bunny Ice Cream Truck Provides Americans With Private Outdoor Movie Screenings (and Ice Cream)
Blue Bunny ice cream has transformed the classic ice cream truck into the Blue Bunny Ice Screen Truck, a drivable outdoor movie theater that’s traveling across the country with frozen treats in tow. You can enter for a chance to win a private, outdoor screening and Blue Bunny ice cream from the safety and privacy of your own driveway. Read more.
The Canary Islands Are Covering Coronavirus Costs for Travelers
To help entice tourists, the Canary Islands are covering the cost of medical care and quarantine lodging for travelers. Every visitor will be given free insurance coverage for any coronavirus-related costs while traveling in the archipelago. Read more.
NYC’s Empire State Building Is Hosting Weekly Virtual Movie Nights
The Empire State Building has partnered with Vudu and Disney to develop a weekly virtual movie night series that people all over the country can attend. Every Thursday during the month of August, 100 lucky viewers can attend a free movie that features the iconic building. Read more.
Montage Announces New 48-Acre Resort on a Private Island in the Bahamas
The new Montage is taking social distancing to the next level with a 48-acre resort on a private island in The Abacos Islands. When completed, Montage Cay will include seven private beaches, luxury all-suite accommodations, and a marina. Read more.
Spain Opens a New Hiking Trail That’s Like Taking a Trip Through ‘Lord of the Rings’
The new El Camino del Anillo trail in Spain takes off about an hour outside Madrid and makes a 122-kilometer (around 76-mile) loop through mountains and meadows that resemble notable places in The Lord of the Rings trilogy. Read more.
Coca Cola Is Finally Selling Coca Cola With Coffee in the U.S.
Starting in 2021, Coca Cola With Coffee — a popular drink overseas — will be sold in the U.S. The drink combines Coke with Brazilian coffee and comes in three flavors: Dark Blend, Vanilla, and Caramel. Read more.
You Can Buy Airplane Nuts for Cheap From the Company That Used to Supply Airlines
The food company that produced nuts for American Airlines and United is now selling more than 1.7 million pounds of leftover nuts after the airlines canceled their orders due to COVID-19. The nut mixes are available online at near-cost prices — including their First Class Mixed Nuts (almonds, cashews, pecans, and pistachios) and the Aloha Mix (cashews, almonds, piña colada pecans, and diced pineapple). Read more.
SoulCycle Launched Outdoor Classes That Deliver an In-Studio Experience
SoulCyle, a spinning studio with locations around the world, has started SoulOutside, an outdoor take on their beloved workouts. The classes are available in New York and launching in major cities like Boston, Hoboken, and Santa Monica. Read more.
Sir David Attenborough, Hans Zimmer, and Dave the Rapper Help Reboot ‘Planet Earth’
The voice of Sir David Attenborough will be joined by the composer Hans Zimmer and the British rapper Dave in the reboot of Planet Earth. The reboot, titled Planet Earth: A Celebration, will remix classic clips from the series into a new format that will air on BBC. Read more.
Nepal Reopens Mount Everest to Climbers This Fall
After shutting down access to their mountains in March, Nepal announced they will start issuing permits for trekkers who want to take on the world's highest peak during the 2020 fall climbing season. The country also announced that hotels and restaurants will reopen under new precautions. Read more.
Week of July 26
JetBlue Testing UV Machine That Can Disinfect a Plane in Under 10 Minutes
Thanks to a new robotic UV disinfectant machine they’re trying out, JetBlue can clean an entire airplane cabin in under 10 minutes. The new system is currently being tested out by the airline at New York’s JFK Airport and Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport. Read more.
Orlando Introduces Drive-thru Halloween Haunted House That’s Both Terrifying and Socially Distanced
The world’s first socially distanced haunted house,“Haunted Road,” is opening in Orlando for Halloween. The drive-thru experience will provide visitors with a haunting, theatrical story that can be experienced from the safety of their cars. Read more.
Virgin Galactic Reveals What the Interior of Their Spaceship Could Look Like
Thanks to some new renderings from Virgin Galactic, we now have an idea of what space travel could look like — and the views aren’t half bad. The spaceship interior includes plenty of windows for space views in all directions, futuristic seating, and experience-enhancing lighting for takeoff and landing. Read more.
This Museum Wants to Document the Black Lives Matter Movement and COVID-19 — and They Need Your Help
The National Museum of African American History & Culture is looking for personal stories from the African-American community to help document the pandemic and the Black Lives Matter movement. An online platform makes uploading images, personal accounts, and observations simple. Read more.
New Mask Design Lets People Drink Without Taking It Off
With masks now part of today’s culture, one major hangup is having to remove the mask every time you want to take a drink of water or sip on a cocktail. The new Redee mask from Redee Patch is looking to solve that challenge with a design that has a flap at the bottom of the mask where people can insert a straw without exposing their mouth or nose. Read more.
New York City’s New Public Art Guide Makes Finding Outdoor Art Easy
Those looking to get their art fix while many New York City museums are closed can rely on a new guide that makes finding and seeing outdoor art easier than ever. The city’s new database highlights current and upcoming free, public outdoor installations found throughout the five boroughs. Read more.
Hawaii Considers Allowing Quarantined Visitors to Roam Within a ‘Resort Bubble’
Travelers who have to undergo quarantine during their trip to Hawaii may now be able to better enjoy their vacation by moving freely within a set area — or “resort bubble” — on the property. Eventually, the state plans to use a testing program that would allow visitors to avoid the quarantine if they have a negative COVID-19 test. Read more.
This August Is Full of Celestial Events — Here’s What You Won’t Want to Miss
This is the summer of outdoor, socially distanced activities, and it doesn’t get much better than heading out into the wilderness (or your back porch) for some stargazing. This month boasts an impressive lineup of celestial events — including Perseids meteor shower and astronaut launches. Read more.
Amtrak’s Acela Class Customers Can Now Reserve Seating in Advance for Free
Starting Aug. 3, Acela business class customers with Amtrak can reserve their seats in advance at no extra cost. The initiative is meant to help make customers feel safe, and complements their policy of blocking aisle and rear-facing table seats for safety reasons. Read more.
Bill for New Latinx Smithsonian Museum Passed by the U.S. House of Representatives
Thanks to a new bill passed by the U.S. House of Representatives, a Smithsonian museum honoring Latinx history in Washington D.C.’s National Mall might soon be a reality. The museum would be the Mall’s latest addition after opening the National Museum of African American History and Culture in 2016. Read more.
Week of July 19
Bermuda Announces One-year Residency Program for Remote Workers
As more and more people find themselves working remotely, Bermuda is swooping in to save the day from home-office boredom with their one-year residency program for people who can work remotely. Because really, why work from your couch when you could work from the beach? Read more.
You Can Glamp Under the Stars While Reliving Your Summer Camp Days
If the nostalgia of your childhood summer camp is weighing heavy and full-on camping just isn’t your thing, the Montage Los Cabos has the perfect solution: a weekend at their luxe Dos Arroyos Campsite complete with a full glamping setup and activities like archery, paintball, hiking, and biking. Read more.
Iowa Installation Offers Instagrammers the Ultimate Backdrops
As any Instagrammer knows, the backdrop can make all the difference — and now, there’s an entire installation with 27 creative, colorful spaces waiting to be posed in front of. The exhibit, called Selfie Station, is found in Des Moines, Iowa. Read more.
You Can Work From the Country of Georgia for One Year Visa-free
Just north of Turkey on the Black Sea sits the beautiful country of Georgia. The country may be lesser known than some of its neighbors, but that’s about to change for remote workers looking for a change of scenery. The country announced that they’re launching a remote work visa program for foreign remote workers that allows them to stay in the country any amount of time beyond six months. Read more.
A Dolly Parton-themed Rooftop Bar Just Opened in Nashville
Dolly Parton fans will need to add another item to their summer to-do list: a trip to Nashville to visit White Limozeen, a new rooftop bar that pays homage to the iconic Dolly Parton with plenty of pink and over-the-top Dolly-themed decor. Read more.
You Can Name a Mother Sea Turtle in Jamaica — and Help the Endangered Species While You’re at It
A resort in Jamaica is looking to name a mother Hawksbill sea turtle who nested on their beach — and in order to raise money for the endangered species, they’re auctioning off the chance for turtle lovers around the world to name her. Read more.
A Brand-new Olympic Museum Is Opening to the Public This Month
Starting July 30, visitors can plan a trip to the official United States Olympic & Paralympic Museum in Colorado Springs, Colorado. The modern space offers guests a fully interactive visitor experience — and a truly Colorado-style mountain backdrop. Read more.
Several New York Zoos Reopen to the Public
Starting on July 24, New York’s Bronx Zoo, Central Park Zoo, Prospect Park Zoo, and Queens Zoo are reopening to the public. Visitors must purchase tickets in advance and only a limited number of people will be able to visit each day. Read more.
Astronaut Shares Stunning Video of Comet Neowise
If you’ve been struggling to see the comet Neowise, no worries. A NASA astronaut shared a stunning 4K video of the comet taken from the International Space Station. Read more.
Cincinnati Music Festival Offers Music Lovers Three Days of Free Music
Stars like DJ Nice and Regina Belle will take the stage July 23-25 at the virtual Cincinnati Music Festival, one of the largest music festivals in the U.S. The totally free virtual event will highlight Black performers and provide a platform for discussions around race. Read more.
Week of July 12
The Olympics May Be Canceled, but You Can Get to Know the Olympians
Airbnb is hosting a five-day festival of Olympic and Paralympic experiences starting July 24 — the date when the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo were expected to start. At the festival, you can watch British triathlete Jonny Brownlee’s training ride and see what tennis star Naomi Osaka’s training looks like. Read more.
Three of London’s Best Museums Prepare to Reopen in August
Under new health and safety rules, three beloved London museums — the V&A, Science Museum, and Natural History Museum — are preparing to reopen. The museums’ new safety guidelines include cutting visitor capacity by 80 percent. Read more.
Mexican Beer Brand Partners With Local Artists to Bring Colorful Art to the Southwest U.S.
Estrella Jalisco, a beer brand born in Jalisco, Mexico, has announced a creative campaign that promises $1 million to bring art to 100 communities in the southwestern U.S. by 2025. Selected artists will transform blank walls in public areas into colorful murals. Read more.
Watch Thousands of Beluga Whales Migrating in an Underwater Livestream
On July 15, Explore.org and Polar Bears International launched a beluga whale livestream that captures the whales at the mouth of the Hudson Bay in Manitoba, Canada, where they travel during the summer. The video includes plenty of playful interactions, baby belugas, and a background soundtrack of “whale chatter.” Read more.
Greece Turns Famous Shipwreck Into an Underwater Museum
The famous Peristera shipwreck off the coast of Greece’s island of Alonissos is being turned into an underwater museum that visitors and divers can check out starting in August. Read more.
Metropolitan Opera Announces $20 Live Concerts From Around the World
The Metropolitan Opera launched a series of live concerts July 18 that will run through December. The $20 pay-per-view shows can be viewed live around the world from locations like France, Malta, and Norway. Read more.
Expanded Cycling Route Runs Through Some of America’s Most Beautiful National Parks
The Adventure Cycling Association has expanded its network with the new 1,287-mile “Parks, Peaks, and Prairies” route, which runs from Montana to Minnesota through national treasures like Yellowstone National Park and Badlands National Park. Read more.
Las Vegas Promotion Gifts Essential Workers With Over 30,000 Free Room Nights
The Venetian Resort in Las Vegas has given over 30,000 complimentary room nights to first responders and community heroes since it reopened in June thanks to their “Share The Love” promotion. Through the program, hotel guests can pass along a free night’s stay to essential workers just by booking their stay. Read more.
Harry Styles and Matthew McConaughey Will Read You to Sleep on This Meditation App
The pop star Harry Styles is the latest celebrity to lend his voice to Calm app, a meditation app that offers sleep-inducing bedtime stories from stars like Matthew McConaughey, Kelly Rowland, Lucy Liu, and LeBron James. Read more.
Two Mummies Found in Egypt Could Reveal the Location of Cleopatra’s Tomb
Archeologists and Egyptologists discovered an untouched tomb in Egypt that contains the mummified remains of two “high-status individuals” and coins that appear to bear Cleopatra’s face and name. The find could provide clues to the location of the long-lost tomb of Cleopatra. Read more.
Week of July 5
This New Face Mask Can Translate What You Say Into 8 Other Languages
If you have to wear a mask, you might as well wear one that allows you to communicate freely with people all over the world. A Japanese robotics company developed a face mask that can translate speech from Japanese to English, French, Indonesian, Spanish, Chinese, Korean, Thai, and Vietnamese using Bluetooth. Read more.
For a Limited Time, If You Buy an Amtrak Ticket, You Get One Free
Through July 17, Amtrak is offering a buy one, get one free ticket for their semi-private sleeper cabins (called “roomettes”). In the roomettes, the pair of seats can be converted into upper and lower sleeping areas, and each booking comes with meals, turndown and luggage service, and access to a shared bathroom and shower. Read more.
Cupcake Vineyards’ New 80-calorie Wines Make It Easy to Cut Calories
Finally, a good excuse to have a second glass of wine. Cupcake Vineyards’ new line, Cupcake LightHearted, is made up of wine that is low in calories, sugar, and alcohol content. Bonus: They’re also gluten-free and vegan. Read more.
Foster Kittens and Puppies Made a Trip to the Zoo to Visit Lions and Hippos
Kittens and Puppies from a Texas animal shelter visited the San Antonio Zoo, getting up close and personal with hippos, tigers, lions, and plenty of fish. In addition to helping enrich the lives of zoo animals, the videos are completely adorable. Read more.
New High-tech Balloon Could Send Tourists to the Edge of Space
The spaceflight startup Space Perspective opened a center at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in the hopes of sending travelers 100,000 feet into the air via the hot-air balloon-like Spaceship Neptune. Read more.
Japan’s New Bullet Train Is Faster Than Ever — and Can Evacuate People Quickly in the Event of a Natural Disaster
Not only will Japan’s new bullet train travel up to 223 miles per hour, but it will have the world’s first lithium-ion battery self-propulsion system so it can still run during a power outage and a new braking system for faster and safer stops. Read more.
Student-developed Program Brings Virtual Travel to Hospice Patients
Students at SCAD in Savannah, Georgia have jumpstarted VR for Good, a program that takes hospice patients on virtual underwater adventures or hot air balloon rides around the world. The goal of the project is to offer people a short escape from reality while reducing pain and anxiety. Read more.
A Comet That Won’t Be Visible for Another 6,000 Years Will Put on a Show This Month
Astronomers were surprised to see a comet flying near Earth that is bright enough to be seen with a standard pair of binoculars. The comet, named C/2020, is expected to be even more visible starting July 12 and will be particularly close to the Earth on July 22 and July 25. Read more.
At This Hotel, a Robot Named Rosé Will Deliver Wine to Your Room
Hotel Trio in Healdsburg, California, employs an innovative robotic butler who can navigate the hotel without human interference. The robot, named Rosé, offers touchless wine delivery to hotel guests. Read more.
Disney’s Magic Kingdom Reopens on July 11 With a Cinderella Castle Makeover
The iconic Cinderella Castle at Disney World has been undergoing some serious renovations during the park’s closure and is finally ready to showcase its new look. The new blush paint job and gold and bright blue accents can be seen starting July 11 when Disney’s Magic Kingdom reopens to the public. Read more.
New Travel Podcast Delivers a Deep Dive Into Specific Phenomenons Around the World
The next closest thing to experiencing travel for yourself may be an episode of Passport, a podcast that uses narrative storytelling to transport listeners to specific moments in time in various places around the world. Read more.
Week of June 28
Real ‘Thomas the Tank Engine’ Train Opens in Japan
Japan’s high-speed Shinkansen trains just got some competition — in the form of a bright-blue engine with a grinning face. The real-life replica of Thomas from the children’s TV show, Thomas The Tank Engine, is now taking visitors on a cruise around Japans’ Shizuoka prefecture. Read more.
MSC Cruises Announces Tempting Lineup of Trips Around the World
With sailings suspended through at least September, MSC Cruises is shifting their focus to the fall and winter season with a strong roundup of itineraries to the Caribbean, South Africa, the Mediterranean, Asia, South America, and the Gulf starting November 2020. Read more.
NYC Considers Bike and Pedestrian Bridge Between Queens and Manhattan
With more New Yorkers opting to walk or ride their bikes rather than take the metro, the city is contemplating building a car-free bridge between Midtown Manhattan and Long Island City to make the city more accessible. Read more.
NASA Releases a 10-year Timelapse of the Sun
In celebration of their 10-year anniversary, NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory released a timelapse of the sun over the course of the last decade. In the video, where viewers can witness a cycle of explosive solar spots and flares, every second represents one day between June 2010 and June 2020. Read more.
Vail Resorts Reopens Iconic Mountain Resorts Across the Country
Lovers of mountain sports can pack up their gear and head to their nearest Vail Resorts mountain for some summer fun. The mountain resorts provide a outdoor setting with several activities — think hiking and mountain biking — that naturally allow for social distancing. Read more.
Delta Resumes Alcohol Service for Certain Classes on Longer Flights
Starting July 2, Delta will restart their service of complimentary beer and wine to first-class and Comfort+ passengers on flights over 500 miles. To maintain safety, flight attendants will serve a selection of cans and bottles on a disinfected serving tray. Read more.
Louvre Prepares to Reopen — With Restrictions That Make Seeing the Mona Lisa Easier Than Ever
France’s beloved Louvre is set to reopen to visitors on July 6 with a new reservation system that allows visitors to reserve a specific time slot for their visit. In addition, just two visitors at a time are allowed in the room that houses the famous Mona Lisa, making snapping that selfie (with no fear of photobombs) a breeze. Read more.
YouTube Announces Free Digital Summer Camp
With more kids spending the summer at home this year, YouTube has announced #CampYouTube with over 1,200 videos including science activities and theater classes. The completely free digital summer camp has offerings for both teens and young children. Read more.
Barbados Prepares to Welcome Back Visitors Starting July 12
International tourists — including Americans — who are craving the Caribbean’s white sand beaches and warm waters can head to Barbados starting July 12. The island nation is asking travelers from high-risk countries (including the U.S.) to take a COVID-19 test within 72 hours of their departure. Read more.
Mary J. Blige Releases Wine Collection Just in Time for Summer
Fantinel Winery has teamed up with Mary J. Blige, a Grammy Award-winning and Oscar-nominated singer, songwriter, producer, actress, and philanthropist to create a line of summery wines. The lineup, called Sun Goddess Wines, include a Rosé and an Italian Sauvignon Blanc. Read more.
Harvard’s Real-time Map Shows How Areas Are Containing COVID-19
If you’re dreaming up a road trip or want to keep an eye on how your county is containing the virus, check out the new COVID Risk Level Map from the Harvard Global Health Institute. The map uses a color-coded system to show how specific states and counties are doing in the fight against the virus. Read more.
Week of June 21
NASA Needs You to Help Label Terrain on Mars
NASA’s Curiosity Rover has been exploring Mars and gathering data for years, but now they’re looking for members of the public to support the mission by labeling terrain on the planet so the rover can avoid obstructions like potholes or sharp objects. Read more.
Scratch Your Travel Itch By Listening to Travel + Leisure’s New Podcast
In the latest episode of Let’s Go Together, host Kellee Edwards sits down with two ambitious travelers — one of whom is the first documented Black woman to travel to every country — to hear about their experiences exploring the world. Read more.
New Airplane Seat Design Would Give Everyone (Yes, Everyone) Seats That Lie Flat
As trying to stay socially distant becomes the norm, some design firms are getting creative, and one has presented an idea that would not only give people more personal space, but would also give passengers — even those in economy class — lie-flat seats. Read more.
Amsterdam Is Opening a Magical Willy Wonka-like Chocolate Factory
If you like chocolate — even a little — you’ll want to add this destination to your travel list. Tony’s Chocolonely Chocolate Circus, a chocolate factory with whimsical architecture and an impressive roller coaster, will be located in Zaandam, just north of Amsterdam. Read more.
This Dream Job Only Asks That You Eat Cheese for a Year — and Pays $5,000 in Cash
Does it get any better than a job that only asks that you join a cheese tasting group and commit to eating cheese for a year? A $5,000 payment in cash seals the deal. Read more.
TSA Bomb-sniffing Dog Gets the Ultimate Retirement Party
After eight years of loyal service, TTirado, an explosive detection canine with the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) retired. But before he did, he was the star of a private ceremony and a celebratory tennis ball drop at Indianapolis Airport. Read more.
International Travelers Can Return to Dubai Starting July 7
Dubai is the latest country to open its borders to international travelers — however, it does have restrictions in place to slow the spread of the virus. Visitors will either have to show documentation of a negative COVID-19 test taken within four days of departure, or take a test upon arrival at the Dubai airport. Read more.
Carnival Cruise Nurses Deliver Baby on Emirates Flight — 37,000 Feet in the Air
Two Carnival Breeze nurses stepped in to save the day on an Emirates flight from London to Manila — safely delivering a new baby when a passenger went into labor mid-flight. Read more.
Hawaii Says That Visitors Who Test Negative for COVID-19 Won’t Have to Quarantine
In what will be a relief for beach-hungry travelers who don’t have an extra two weeks of vacation time to spare, Hawaii announced that starting Aug. 1, travelers can visit the state without quarantining if they test negative for the virus prior to arrival. Read more.
Week of June 14
Airbnb Announces New Slate of Online Experiences — Including Chats With Olympic Athletes
A summer of laying low doesn’t have to be boring. You can take a dancing lesson, go behind the scenes on a Broadway musical, or chat with your favorite Olympian thanks to Airbnb’s new lineup of online experiences. Read more.
Belgium Is Giving Free Rail Passes to Residents
To encourage people to get out and explore, Belgium is offering a free 10-trip rail pass to all residents of the country. The pass can be used for domestic travel and is expected to help stimulate the economy after three months of quarantine. Read more.
Dominican Republic Expected to Reopen on July 1
Starting July 1, the Dominican Republic will be reopening all regions and airports to tourists, while about half of the island’s hotels will be open and welcoming back travelers. Read more.
Hallmark Launches 17-Day Christmas Movie Marathon in July
If you’re ready to fast-forward to the end of 2020, Hallmark is making it possible with their "Keepsake Christmas" movie marathon...in July. The lineup will include 17 days of original holiday movies, including fan-favorites like Christmas at Dollywood and Christmas in Rome. Read more.
100-year-old Tortoise Who Fathered 2,000 Babies and Helped Save His Species Returns Home
Diego, a 100-year-old Galápagos tortoise, was returned to his native home in the Galápagos Islands after doing his part to save the species. He is said to have fathered over 2,000 tortoises — around 40 percent of the population living today. Read more.
Spotify Releases Pride Playlists Featuring LGBTQIA+ Creators
You may not be able to join in a Pride parade this year, but you can jam out to LGBTQIA+ musicians no matter where you are thanks to Spotify’s new Unlike Any Other campaign. Read more.
Famous Restaurateur Starts Food Delivery Program That Serves the Vulnerable
The new Delivering with Dignity initiative, co-founded by restaurateur Elizabeth Blau, brings high-quality meals to those most vulnerable to COVID-19. The Las Vegas Valley-based program is expanding to northern Nevada and Orange County. Read more.
Oceanfront Geothermal Lagoon Set to Open in Iceland Next Year
It doesn’t get more bucket-list worthy than a trip to an Icelantic lagoon with ocean views and a swim-up bar. The dream will be a reality in 2021, when the new Sky Lagoon opens just a few minutes from Reykjavik. Read more.
Drag Queen Superstar Launches Beer That Gives Back to the LGBTQIA+ Community
Shea Couleé, a fan-favorite in season 9 of RuPaul’s Drag Race and the current season of RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars, has launched her own wheat ale, called Shea Coul-Alé. A portion of the proceeds benefit TransTech, an organization that helps Trans women get a head start in the workforce. Read more.
Bermuda Will Welcome Back Tourists Starting July 1
The island nation announced plans to reopen its borders to international travelers starting July 1 — however, visitors will have to show a negative COVID-19 test from within 72 hours of their departure. Read more.
New Dumpling Shop in NYC Will Be Completely Automated
If you’re craving dumplings but are apprehensive about traditional pick-up and delivery, the new Brooklyn Dumpling Shop is here to save the day. Contact-free ordering and self-cleaning food lockers cut out the human element so you can get (and eat) your dumplings without worry. Read more.
Week of June 7
Italy Announces New Hiking Trail That Connects National Parks
If you’ve fantasized about exploring Italy on foot, the newly announced Sentiero dei Parchi, or Path of the Parks, will be the perfect way to make that dream a reality. The trail is already around 7,000 kilometers (about 4,350 miles) long and is only expected to lengthen as the plan evolves. Read more.
You Can Make $1,000 for Taking a Virtual Trip Around the World
The company Upgraded Points has announced that they’re looking for someone who’s ready to travel around the world — from their couch. The lucky winner will receive $1,000 to put toward a future in-person trip, plus they’ll get the chance to experience 10 virtual tours over the course of a month. Read more.
Google Maps Adds COVID-19 Updates Feature
In an effort to help people plan ahead and be prepared, Google Maps has announced that they will alert users about COVID-19-related restrictions that could impact travel plans. The alert system includes information on how busy a transit station is or the walk-in policy of a COVID-19 testing center. Read more.
Yosemite Partially Reopens, Adds a Reservation System
Most of Yosemite National Park reopened this week, after announcing a day-use reservation system that was designed to prevent overcrowding. Certain areas, like the Lower Yosemite Fall boulders, are still closed. Read more.
Drive-thrus Dishing Up Fair Food Open Across the U.S.
Many state fairs across the country have been canceled due to the pandemic, but fans of fair food (think: funnel cakes and corn dogs) can still get their fill, as state fairs and vendors open fair food drive-thrus. Read more.
Anheuser-Busch Searches for Creatives to Help Build a New Seltzer Brand
Social Club, Anheuser-Busch’s new seltzer brand, is looking to build a diverse creative team of recent grads and experienced creatives. The paid gig will give creatives the chance to help the company build a complete brand campaign — from stills and visuals to merchandising. Read more.
Drone Video Captures Over 64,000 Turtles Swimming Near the Great Barrier Reef
Thousands and thousands of tiny green turtles were captured floating on or near the surface of the waters surrounding Australia’s Raine Island, the world’s largest green turtle breeding colony. Read more.
French Polynesia Prepares to Welcome American Tourists Next Month
If you’ve been dreaming of a far-flung beach vacation, add a trip to French Polynesia to your calendar. The chain of 118 islands, which includes Bora Bora and Tahiti, announced plans to reopen their borders to tourists from Europe and the United States on July 15. Read more.
Robot That Looks Like a Baby Gorilla Captures New Footage of Gorillas in the Wild
Thanks to a robot that was programmed to mimic the facial expressions and movements of a real baby gorilla, new information on the wild silverback mountain gorillas in Uganda has been unearthed. Read more.
New Map Tells You Where You Can and Can’t Travel Due to COVID-19
If you ever feel confused about where you can and can’t travel, and what COVID-19 restrictions are in place, you’re not alone. It’s a problem the International Air Transport Association (IATA) is looking to fix with their interactive Travel Regulations Map, which lets travelers quickly see current COVID-19 travel restrictions for every country in the world. Read more.
Annual NYC Pride Event Goes Virtual
NYC Pride is welcoming people from around the world to join in on the iconic annual event. The online rally will take place on Friday, June 26, between 5 p.m. and 8 p.m. ET on Facebook and YouTube. Read more.
Week of May 31
Couples Who Got Married During Quarantine Can Win a Dreamy Honeymoon to Palm Beach
If you said ‘I do’ while in quarantine, you could win a seven-night honeymoon to the Palm Beach Marriott Singer Island Beach Resort & Spa. The luxury property is putting aside a one-bedroom ocean-view suite for the winners and pulling out all the stops — including a photoshoot, a couple’s massage, and a $500 food and beverage credit. Read more.
Baby Animals at This Historic Shaker Village Are Waiting to Be Snuggled
Massachusetts’ Hancock Shaker Village, a historic working farm, is starting their phased reopening this week — and their beloved baby animal area is one of the first places travelers can visit. Read more.
Notre Dame in Paris Opens Main Entrance Plaza to the Public
Travelers in Paris can now get close to the city’s iconic Notre Dame Cathedral — a little over one year after the tragic fire. The newly opened plaza will give visitors the chance to witness renovation projects to the damaged church, which is expected to be completed in 2024. Read more.
Keystone Light Wants to Pay Your Rent
For the second year, Keystone Light will be covering one month’s rent for 25 lucky people. The winners will be selected at random, and each will be given $1,250 (average cost of monthly U.S. rent) to cover their July bill. The sweepstakes run through June 12 and no purchase is necessary. Read more.
Disney+ Launches New Calming ‘Zenimation’ Series
The new Zenimation series on Disney+ is here to deliver a little zen to your day. One episode, titled “Water,” includes clips from “Moana” and “The Little Mermaid” that are overlaid with calming water sounds. Read more.
Kids Can Attend the Metropolitan Opera’s Virtual Summer Camp for Free
The Met Opera Global Summer Camp from the Metropolitan Opera will be launched this month, offering kids around the world the chance to experience renowned opera performances, digitally. The camp is free for children and teens and runs June 15 to Aug. 7. Read more.
The Louvre in Paris Announces Plans to Reopen in July
The renowned Musée du Louvre in Paris has announced plans to reopen on July 6. Visitors will have to book their visits in advance and wear a mask inside. Online reservations to the museum can be made starting June 15. Read more.
Yellowstone National Park Opens Montana Entrances, Following Reopening of Wyoming Access
On June 1, Yellowstone National Park opened its Montana entrances, expanding access to the park following the reopening of Wyoming access points. With the opening of the Montana entrances, the park’s Grand Loop Road is now accessible. Read more.
Proceeds From Every Travel Package This Cancun Resort Sells Will Be Donated to Resort Staff
NIZUC Resort & Spa in Cancun, Mexico has launched an online auction where travelers can bid on experiences like a two-night stay with a cooking lesson or a spa day with a Champagne lunch. Every dollar earned in the auction will be donated to staff who have been impacted by the pandemic. Read more.
Beer Company Wants to Pay Brew Lover $20,000 to Hike the Appalachian Trail
Devils Backbone Brewing Company, a company based in Virginia, is searching for a chief hiking officer to hike the Appalachian Trail during the spring of 2021. The lucky winner will be fueled by beer — and a $20,000 salary — as they hike through 14 states over the course of multiple months. Read more.
Social Distancing Regulated by Stormtroopers at the Reopened Disney Springs
Disney Springs began a phased reopening on May 20, and employed a couple Stormtroopers from Star Wars to make sure visitors were wearing face masks and keeping their distance. Read more.
Week of May 24
Prosecco Rosé Will Make Its Debut in 2021
If you need something to look forward to, prosecco rosé may be your saving grace. Last week the Prosecco DOC Consortium, an organization that brings together growers, winemakers, and producers of sparkling wines, announced they have updated their production rules and approved Prosecco DOC Rosé — which is set to be on shelves by January 2021. Read more.
Florida Baseball Stadium Available to Book on Airbnb
Forget about a standard Airbnb, this next-level booking provides full access to the Blue Wahoos Stadium — the home field of the Pensacola Blue Wahoos minor league baseball team. Guests can hang in the clubhouse, take a few swings in the batting cages, and take over the field with up to nine other people. Read more.
Swiss Companies Have to Help Pay the Rent of People Forced to Work From Home
As companies and employees everywhere navigate the shift to working from home, one case in Switzerland offers a glimmer of hope to remote workers everywhere. This month, Switzerland’s high court ruled companies must pay part of their employee’s rent if they’re forced to work from home. Read more.
Baby Beluga Whale Born at Georgia Aquarium
A 20-year-old beluga whale gave birth to a calf at an aquarium in Atlanta, Georgia. After a long labor, the result was a bigger-than-average beluga calf weighing in at 174 pounds and measuring five feet, four inches. Read more.
Mail-order Food Site Helps Keep Small Businesses Alive
If you’ve been craving a New York bagel or Philly cheesesteak, but live on the West Coast, you no longer have to wait until your next East Coast trip to indulge. Goldbelly ships regional favorites all over the U.S. while providing a new revenue stream for restaurants hit by COVID-19. Read more.
Colorado Ski Resort Reopens for Spring Skiing
Arapahoe Basin Ski Area west of Denver, Colorado reopened this week, debuting a new reservation-based system that limits the number of people on the slopes. Skiers and snowboarders are required to wear a mask if they’re within six feet of other people. Read more.
Free Online Film Festival to Feature Films From Cannes, Sundance, Tribeca
Tribeca Enterprises and YouTube have teamed up to release We Are One: A Global Film Festival — a free, 10-day online event that will air on YouTube. The festival includes films curated by 21 big-name festivals, including Cannes, Sundance, Berlin, Toronto, and Venice. Read more.
Royal Chef Shares the Queen’s Favorite Summer Scone Recipe
Each summer, over 20,000 scones are served at garden parties at various royal residences — including Buckingham Palace. The recipe for one, particularly special fruit scone is now available for bakers everywhere to try. Read more.
At Home Workout Device Ensures You Never Get Bored — Plus, Jennifer Aniston Loves It
With everything from yoga to HIIT to kickboxing to dance classes, the Mirror is a personal fitness studio that streams limitless workouts at home. And with Jennifer Aniston, Reese Witherspoon, and Gwyneth Paltrow on board, demand has skyrocketed. Read more.
NYC’s Metropolitan Museum of Art Slated to Reopen in August
The Met has announced plans to reopen its doors in mid-August and is working to iron out the details for visitors — including opening hours and days, social distancing regulations, and mask requirements. Read more.
Contact-tracing App Launched in Switzerland, Alerts People of Potential COVID-19 Exposure
Switzerland is the first country to launch an app that uses Google and Apple's contact-tracing API to let people know when they’ve been in contact with someone who has COVID-19. The "SwissCovid" app is in its pilot phase and has not yet been rolled out to the general public. Read more.
Starting June 1, the U.S. Virgin Islands Will Welcome Travelers
Those looking for a beachy summer getaway should be able to head to the U.S. Virgin Islands as early as June 1. The island chain, which includes St. Thomas and St. Croix, will require travelers to wear masks when entering a business and bars and restaurants are limited to 50 percent capacity. Read more.
Week of May 17
The Happiest Country in the World Shares the Secret to Happiness — for Free
Finland has been ranked No. 1 in the World Happiness Report for three years straight, and now the Finns are ready to share their secrets for creating a happy, fulfilling life. Locals share the day-to-day habits that contribute to their happiness in free, 60-minute online classes. Read more.
Copenhagen’s Tivoli Gardens Transforms Into Temporary Kindergarten
The famous amusement park and tourist attraction in the heart of Copenhagen has shifted its focus to kindergarteners. Children between the ages of three and six can come enjoy the attractions and get an education while they’re at it. Read more.
Couple Builds a Tiny but Elaborate Art Museum for Their Cat
The parents of Richard Parker, an adorable, one-eyed, black cat created a detailed art museum for their furry roommate. The museum includes 11 paintings — including recreated works from artists like Monet and Picasso. Read more.
St. Lucia Reopens to Tourists on June 4
Travelers missing sandy beaches and clear water will be happy to hear the Caribbean island of St. Lucia will begin a phased reopening on June 4. The reopening includes new sanitization and health certifications, and visitors must present certified proof of a negative coronavirus test taken within 48 hours of boarding their flight. Read more.
Yogurtland Throws a Baby Shower for Pregnant Froyo Fan
One long-time froyo fan got the ultimate surprise when Yogurtland, a frozen yogurt franchise, put together a surprise baby shower for the expectant mother. Balloons, gifts, and of course, frozen yogurt and toppings were delivered to the woman’s doorstep. Read more.
Online Escape Room Lets You Solve Puzzles Alongside Friends — From Home
The Grimm Escape is the new, online take on the popular escape room experience. In the game, teams of at least three people have 90 minutes to solve the puzzles, while the Zoom call’s live host shares their screen to give clues and set challenges for teams. Read more.
Yankee Stadium to Host Drive-in Movies and Live Concerts
Even the Yankee Stadium is adjusting to changes caused by the pandemic. This summer, the stadium will host Uptown Drive-In, a festival with movies, music, and car side dinner service, in the stadium parking lot. Read more.
Penguin Trio Enjoys a Private Art Museum Excursion
Three Humboldt penguins from the Kansas City Zoo went on a surprise outing to the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art last week — and the video is truly adorable. The cultured crew included Bubbles, Maggie, and Berkley, who seemed to enjoy the escape from their day-to-day routine. Read more.
Major Airlines Announce New Cleaning and Safety Protocols
United, Delta, and Emirates have all announced new cleaning protocols and safety measures to keep travelers and airline workers safe. On Emirates, an onboard "Cabin Service Assistant" will clean the bathrooms every 45 minutes, while at United, travelers will be offered a snack bag that includes a bottle of water, a Stroopwafel, pretzels, and a sanitizer wipe.
Giant Mural Spreads Hope in Switzerland
The artist Saype painted a giant mural in Leysin, Switzerland, an alpine village. The mural, titled “Beyond Crisis” was painted using biodegradable paints so as not to harm the environment and takes up about 3,000 square meters (over 32,000 square feet). Read more.
Top Culinary Schools Offer Online Cooking Classes
In a time when many people are cooking more and diving into new culinary ventures, the pros are working to meet those needs by offering online cooking classes. Our curated list includes public classes, privates, and pre-recorded courses. Read more.
Bar Uses Bumper Tables to Enforce Social Distancing
A popular watering hold in Ocean City, Maryland offers their customers individual “bumper tables” to help maintain social distancing. The tables have wheels and when patrons reach the six-foot social distancing limit, they’re reminded with a gentle bump. Read more.
Week of May 10
Qatar Airways Giving Away 10,000 Round-trip Tickets to Healthcare Workers
All healthcare workers need to do to win two free round-trip economy class tickets to any destination in the Qatar Airways network is fill out a registration form. The contest is open until May 18 and the registration form requires applicants to list their profession, hospital, hospital ID number, and passport information. Read more.
Europe Sets Tentative Border Reopening Date
Travelers who’ve been itching to get to Europe just got a glimmer of hope: the European Union set a tentative reopening date of June 15 for tourists from outside the continent. The date is subject to change and travelers may have to self-isolate for 14 days upon arrival. Read more.
Hospital Workers Treated to a First Class Lounge Experience
Grounded flight attendants in New York and London are volunteering their time to provide healthcare workers with a first-class shift break. The initiative, Project Wingman, has seen volunteers from JetBlue, American Airlines, and Norwegian Air, among others. Read more.
200 Goats Captured on Video Roaming a California Neighborhood
Residents of San Jose, California got a laugh on Tuesday when 200 goats were captured on video roaming the streets. The herd escaped when one of the goats accidentally broke down a fence, resulting in an unusual (and totally laughable) neighborhood parade. Read more.
London Family Looking to Pay a Couple $67K and Free Rent to Help Out and Dog Sit
Dog lovers who need a change of scenery can now apply for the ultimate dream job: house- and dog-sitting in London for free rent and a $67,000 salary. Read more.
Krispy Kreme Is Giving Free Donuts to the Class of 2020
Krispy Kreme is hoping to add a little sweetness to this bizarre time by offering high school and college graduates a dozen free donuts. All graduates need to do is stop by a Krispy Kreme location on Tuesday, May 19 in their cap and gown or "Class of 2020” gear to claim their sweet treats. Read more.
France Is Asking People to Eat More French Cheese
French cheesemakers have been selling fewer traditional French cheeses due to the outbreak, so Terre de Lait, an organization for the dairy industry, is asking people to eat more cheese in solidarity. If we must... Read more.
The Notoriously Secretive Studio Ghibli in Japan Announces Virtual Tours
Fans of “Spirited Away” and “My Neighbor Totoro” — animated films from Japan’s Studio Ghibli — are in for a treat. The highly secretive museum, which doesn’t allow visitors to take photos and videos inside, has released a string of virtual tours. Read more.
Beach in Spain Set to Reopen, Adds New Regulations to Keep People Safe
A beach in Canet d'en Berenguer, Spain, is planning to open in June, but in order to keep sunbathers safe, visitors will have to make reservations for a spot in advance and a new grid system will ensure social distancing measures are met. Read more.
We’ve Released a List of Bucket-list Worthy Trips You Can Plan in Quarantine
Certain trips take more planning than others — like an African safari or a cruise around Antarctica. Since these trips often have to be booked years in advance, you can start planning now so you’re ready to go when travel returns to normal. Read more.
More Than 4,000 Workers at Hard-Hit NYC Hospital Given a Free Vacation
Every worker at the NYC Health + Hospitals/Elmhurst hospital was given two round-trip tickets on American Airlines and a three-night stay at a Hyatt hotel in the U.S. or the Caribbean. More than 4,000 workers — from doctors to nurses to food and facilities staff — were offered the trip as a well-deserved thank you. Read more.
Week of May 3
You Can Nominate Your Favorite Nurse to Win a Free Beach Getaway
Fifty nurses — one from every U.S. state — will be getting a free vacation to celebrate National Nurses Week, which runs from May 6-12. The “Beach Shift” giveaway is sponsored by CheapCaribbean and includes 37 Riu Hotels & Resorts in Mexico, Central America, and the Caribbean. Read more.
Two Members of the World’s Smallest Cat Breed Were Born in a UK Wildlife Park
A rare rusty-spotted cat — the world’s smallest cat breed — gave birth to two babies at the Porfell Wildlife Park and Sanctuary in England. Even when fully grown, the tiny, 8-week-old babies will be just 35-48 centimeters (13.7-18.9 inches) in length. Read more.
Tom Cruise, NASA, and Elon Musk Are Collaborating to Shoot a Film in Space
Mermaids Help Kids Finish Out the School Year With Free Educational Resources
The mermaids of Mermaid of Hilton Head in South Carolina are helping kids stay engaged with school and cope with COVID-19 by offering free educational resources. The company’s website is full of free audiobooks, coloring pages, fact sheets, worksheets, and educational videos. Read more.
Michelle Obama Hosts a Virtual Graduation Ceremony for the Class of 2020
As graduation ceremonies around the country are canceled, Michelle Obama is stepping in as the class of 2020’s virtual commencement speaker. She’ll be joined by former President Barack Obama, Lady Gaga, Alicia Keys, and the K-pop band BTS. Read more.
The Denver Zoo Launches a Baby Rhino Livestream
Joona, the new rhino calf at the Denver Zoo, now has her own livestream. For a little burst of brightness, you can watch as Joona cruises around her baby-proofed bedroom and spends time with her much, much larger mom, Tensing. Read more.
Virtual Animal Playdates Offered to Seniors, Nurses, and More
The Animal Farm Foundation has launched Pets Together, a free, virtual playdate that connects people in assisted living facilities, nursing homes, and those on the front lines of the pandemic with some furry face time. Read more.
Visit Alaska’s Kenai Fjords National Park From Your Couch
The National Parks System teamed up with Google Earth to create virtual tours of America’s greatest national parks — and one standout is Alaska’s Kenai Fjords National Park. The experience includes a kayak ride, a humpback whale sighting, and a peek into a glacier crevasse. Read more.
The Harry Potter-esq Butterbeer Recipe That You Can Make at Home
Butterbeer is referenced multiple times throughout the Harry Potter series, and now you can make the drink at home. The cold, sweet beverage is the perfect summer creation and with its frothy caramel and butterscotch foam topping it’ll satisfy any sweet tooth. Read more.
Iceland Hotel Releases Calm-inducing Weekly Waterfall Photos
Each Wednesday, the team at Hotel Rangá captures one of Iceland’s iconic waterfalls and shares it on the hotel’s Instagram page. Also included is information on how to get there (for post-COVID-19 exploration) and a refreshing waterfall soundscape. Read more.
Brown Bear Spotted in Spain for the First Time in 150 Years
A film crew captured a rare sight in Spain: a certain brown bear species that is believed to have vacated the park in western Spain 150 years ago. The bear has been a protected species in Spain since 1973 and wildlife rangers are hopeful this may be a promising sign of their return. Read more.
You Can Join an Art Project for a good cause
BIC, the company known and loved for its school, office, and art supplies, is growing a "garden" of flower drawings — and you're invited to help. May 5 through July 1, help spread good cheer by posting hand-drawn flowers to social media with #BIC4ColorGarden. For each flower posted, the company will donate $1 to the Kids In Need Foundation (KINF), up to $50,000. Read more.
Week of April 26
With Humans in Quarantine, Flamingos Are Taking Over Mumbai
Mumbai is one of the world’s most populated cities, but as people lay low waiting out the spread of the coronavirus, the city has seen a boom in the number of flamingo migrating to Mumbai for their feeding and breeding season. Read more.
Dutch Farmers Share Messages of Hope in Their Tulips
Travelers may not be able to visit the Netherlands’ iconic tulip fields this year, but Dutch farmers are still spreading happiness by sharing messages carefully crafted in their tulip fields. At one farm you can see, “See you next year” from the sky, while another says, “#staystrong.” Read more.
Film Festivals Go Virtual, Sharing New Films With People Stuck at Home
To serve Netflix-exhausted quarantiners, many major film festivals are going virtual or releasing a limited virtual lineup. SXSW Film Festival is offering content to anyone with a free Amazon account (now–May 6), the Mountainfilm documentary film festival has slashed pass prices to $10 per program or $75 for a full pass (May 15–25), and festivals like Cannes, Sundance, and Tribeca have joined forces to launch the free We Are One: A Global Film Festival (May 29–June 7).
Couples Who Had to Cancel or Postpone Their Wedding Can Enter to Win a Free Vacation
With COVID-19 forcing weddings to be canceled or postponed, two organizations are teaming up to give 10 affected couples a free vacation. Lucky winners will be gifted a two-night stay at one of 10 Getaway locations in the U.S. Read more.
Natty Light Is Searching for a Remote Beer-drinking Intern to Create Their Next Flavor
The perfect, beer-loving summer intern will work remotely alongside the Natural Light’s team of brewers and flavor experts to create the next beer. Oh, and forget about measly internship stipends, they’re willing to pay $40/hour. Read more.
Essential Workers in NYC Get a Free One-year Citi Bike Membership
Thanks to a $1 million donation from Mastercard and Citi, Citi Bike’s 30-day initiative to support essential workers in New York with free transportation has been extended — to a year. In addition, the offering will now include New Yorkers who work at food banks and other food support non-profits. Read more.
Meteor Shower Puts on a Show This Week
If you live in an area with clear, dark skies, head to your backyard this week and watch shooting stars fly across the sky. Eta Aquarid meteor shower is an annual spring event that is expected to peak on May 5. Read more.
New York Botanical Garden Offers Online Classes in Gardening, Painting, and More
The New York Botanical Garden is expanding their online class offerings — allowing anyone to join in the classes that will be taught over Zoom. From the comfort of home, students can brush up on their gardening skills, learn how to paint, do crafts, or learn about botany and horticulture. Read more.
Coors Wants to Send Your Friends and Family Free Beer
Coors is offering up to 500,000 free beers to people who are nominated by their friends and family as someone who could really use a cold one. Using the #CouldUseABeer hashtag on Twitter, you can tell the company why someone in your life might need a little extra love — in the form of an icy brew. Read more.
Alaskan City Starts Joke Hotline to Give People a Laugh
To start your day with a (squeaky clean) joke, all you have to do is call a number in Juneau, Alaska. The hotline is manned by one retired man and two high school girls — all volunteers — who record a new joke every day, seven days a week. Read more.
Belgians Are Being Asked to Double Their French Fry Consumption
Tons of potatoes are at risk of going to waste as COVID-19 has forced restaurants and festivals to shut down. As a result, Belgians — lovers of frites (fries) — are being asked to double their potato consumption. Read more.
Frank Lloyd Wright Virtual Classroom Offers Kids Free Design Lessons
The newly launched Frank Lloyd Wright Virtual Classroom is a six-week digital program for students K–12 that’s aimed at helping them learn and play with the intersection between art and science. Read more.
WWII Vet Receives 140,000 Birthday Cards After Raising Millions for Health Care Workers
British World War II veteran Capt. Tom Moore raised more than $36 million for the National Health Service in the UK. It was only fitting that for his 100th birthday on Thursday, he was showered with more than 140,000 cards — including one from Queen Elizabeth. Read more.
Hubble Telescope Turns 30, Celebrates by Showing You What It Saw on Your Birthday
Ever since NASA launched the Hubble Space Telescope in April 1990, it’s been recording images of the planets and stars surrounding Earth. To commemorate the telescope’s 30th birthday, it’s sharing images of what Hubble saw on your birthday. Read more.
Week of April 19
Brussels Bus Shares Customized Messages to Locals’ Loved Ones
Brussels locals who miss their loved ones can send the “Voices of Brussels” bus a voice recording for a loved one. If selected, the bus will pull up outside the recipient's home and play the message from its loudspeakers. Read more.
Female Gondoliers in Italy Deliver Groceries to the Elderly
The rowers of Row Venice, an all-female non-profit that’s dedicated to preserving traditional Venetian gondolier techniques, are using their prowess on the Venetian canals to deliver food to people who need it more. The group of gondoliers are also working with a farmhouse outside the city to deliver produce that Venetians have ordered online. Read more.
Red Lobster Helps Create an Ultra-romantic Quarantine Dinner
Alongside the restaurant’s new Date Night Deals, the brand has released a few virtual elements — namely a customized playlist and Zoom backgrounds — to make that at-home meal feel a little extra special. Read more.
Michelle Obama Hosts Story Time Every Monday
The author and former First Lady announced her new partnership with PBS Kids and Penguin Random House and plans to host a weekly story time called, “Mondays with Michelle Obama.” The series kicked off on April 20 and will run through May 11. Read more.
Venus Is at Its Brightest Ever This Week
Venus, the fiery second planet from the sun, is at its brightest this time of year. Known as the “Evening Star,” the planet shines bright when the sun drops and is often mistaken for a UFO when seen after sunset. Read more.
Ikea Shares Its Iconic Swedish Meatball Recipe
Ikea meatball fans everywhere rejoiced when the UK branch of the Swedish furniture giant posted a how-to tutorial on its Twitter page. True to brand, the tutorial was in the form of an illustrated step-by-step diagram and offered instructions for both the meatballs and the special cream sauce. Read more.
Marriott’s New 'Global Cleanliness Council' Takes Post-coronavirus Cleaning to the Next Level
Marriott is preparing for post-coronavirus travel by instilling a new “Global Cleanliness Council," a team that will be charged with upholding new cleaning protocols at each hotel in the chain. In addition to including leaders in housekeeping and food safety departments, the council will be joined by infectious disease specialists, professors of food microbiology, and food safety scientists. Read more.
Olive Garden Creates Custom Prom Photos for Seniors — and the Rest of Us
To ease the pain for high schoolers who won’t be able to go to a traditional prom this year, Olive Garden is creating customized prom photos using breadstick walls and mint garlands. All students — or adults — have to do is send the restaurant chain a photo with their date or squad in prom attire. Read more.
Ashton Kutcher and Mila Kunis Make a Quarantine Wine, Give Profits to Coronavirus Relief Organizations
With the help of Walla Walla-based winery Nocking Point, the celebrity couple created a quarantine-themed pinot noir, aptly named “Quarantine.” And with 100 percent of profits going to relief organizations, it’s a cause everyone can cheers to. Read more.
American and Southwest Extend Elite Status and Frequent-flier Perks
Taking the lead from Delta and United, American and Southwest announced plans to update perks due to the coronavirus. Elite status members of American’s AAdvantage program will have their status extended while 2020 elite requirements for status in 2021 are being reduced by up to half. A-List and A-List Preferred elites with Southwest can enjoy perks for an additional year and the airline’s Companion Passes will be valid for an additional six months. Read more.
Student Stranded in Spain Gets a Free 12-hour Lift From Local Taxi Driver
When 22-year-old Giada Collalto found herself stranded in Spain and unable to get home to Italy, a taxi driver offered to take her on the full 12-hour journey — for free. Read more.
Initiative Helps Restaurants Stay Afloat, Gives Patrons More Money to Spend
Using bank bond logic, Dining Bond is on a mission to help restaurants keep their doors open while giving customers more money to spend. The bond-like gift certificates increase in value over time, so customers earn interest and have more money to spend while restaurants can enjoy a more steady flow of business. Read more.
Week of April 12
Chefs Send Custom Recipes Based on What You Already Have at Home
If you’re running low on the staples needed to make your favorite meals, you can now rely on world-class chefs from Velas Resorts to come up with a meal idea for you. Send a list or photo of ingredients you do have, and they’ll send you a custom recipe using what you already have at home. Read more.
Over 7,000 Quarantined Italians Help Out With National Science Experiment
Last month, thousands of Italians participated in a citizen science project to help the Italian National Research Council gather information about light pollution — specifically how much light from the street floods into Italian homes. Read more.
Grandma in Quarantine Says She Needs ‘More Beer’ — So Coors Makes Special Delivery
Olive Veronesi, a 93-year-old living in the Pittsburgh area, posted a photo of herself with a can of Coors Light and a sign that said, “I need more beer!” Coors responded by dropping off 10 cases of beer. Read more.
Twelve-year-old’s Birthday Wish Goes Viral
A dad put a request on Twitter asking people to let them know where they were so he and his geography-loving son could mark it on their hand-drawn map. The post went viral, resulting in 35,000 retweets and responses from people in France, India, New Zealand, and Norway. Read more.
Site Wants to Pay Someone $1,000 to Binge-watch Every Harry Potter Movie
Wyndham Offers Free Gold Status to Essential Workers
Wyndham Hotels & Resorts is offering complimentary Gold membership status in their loyalty program to the people who are keeping the world running during the COVID-19 pandemic. Anyone working on the frontline — from truck drivers to grocery associates — can apply online. Read more.
The Home of the Piña Colada Shares Their Original Recipe
The piña colada was invented by bartender Ramón “Monchito” Marrero at the Caribe Hilton hotel in San Juan, Puerto Rico in 1954. And now, thanks to the release of the recipe, you can recreate that boozy island vibe from home. Read more.
Kittens Take a Field Trip to the Aquarium
Fitbit Releases New Fitness Tracker to Help People Stay Active
Fitbit just released their Fitbit Charge 4 to keep people moving — even during quarantine. The new health and fitness tracker has a built-in GPS for pace and distance and 24/7 heart-rate tracking that delivers real-time stats and post-workout data. Read more.
Stuffed Easter Bunny Helps Bring Stranded Tourists Home
A stuffed bunny named Jacinda (after New Zealand's Prime Minister) hopped on a flight to New Zealand to bring German tourists stranded due to COVID-19 home over Easter weekend. Read more.
United Flies Medical Workers to New York City to Help Fight the Virus
A team of medical workers from San Francisco were transported to New York City by United Airlines to help fight the coronavirus pandemic. The team flew first-class, arriving in NYC to help out at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital for the next month. Read more.
Brazil’s Christ the Redeemer Sports Doctor's Uniform to Honor Medical Workers
In Rio de Janeiro, healthcare workers on the frontline were honored when images of a doctor’s lab coat and stethoscope were projected onto the 98-foot-tall statue with “thank you” written in various languages. Read more.
Week of April 5
Airline Rescues Americans Stuck Overseas
Upstart airline, Eastern Airlines, is working with the U.S. Department of State to get Americans stuck in the Caribbean and South and Central America home. With just eight planes and 200 employees, they’ve ferried 8,167 Americans home from 13 countries. Read more.
Detroit Man Buys Gas for Commuting Nurses
Allen Marshall stood outside the gas station near the Detroit Medical Center holding a sign that read, “Free Gas For Nurses.” Using the $900 he’d saved up to buy a knife-sharpening tool, Marshall was able to buy around 25 people a free fill-up in one day. Read more.
Matthew McConaughey Hosts Virtual Bingo for Senior Citizens
The actor and his family teamed up to provide the residents of a Texas nursing home with a virtual bingo game — hosted by the Oscar-winner himself. In addition to a good game, the residents chatted with McConaughey about his family heritage and favorite drink. Read more.
Delta and United Extend Elite Status and Frequent-flier Perks
Members of both mileage programs can expect extended expiration dates on travel vouchers, upgrade certificates, and flight credits. Those looking to pursue a higher loyalty tier may find it easier than ever, and travelers who already have elite status for 2020 will see that their status is extended an additional year. Read more.
Man Recreates Disney Ride for His Grandkids
Oregon’s George Warneke built a replica of Disney's "It's a Small World" ride — a favorite of his six grandchildren — to share with them virtually. Using Disneyland’s official video as inspiration, his replica made us of dolls, twinkling lights, paper walls and tunnels, toy cars, and lots of makeshift “landscapes.” Read more.
Airlines Required to Offer Refunds for Coronavirus Cancellations
If your flight was canceled or significantly changed due to the coronavirus, you’ll now have the option to ask for a full refund. The order applies to any flights on U.S. or foreign airlines “to, within, or from the United States.” Read more.
New Zealand Deems the Easter Bunny and Tooth Fairy Essential Workers
The Easter holiday may fall during the COVID-19 global pandemic, but kids in New Zealand don’t have to worry. In a news conference, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern reassured the children of New Zealand that both mythical creatures are considered essential — but may be busy tending to their own families. Read More.
Delta Donates Over 200,000 Pounds of Food
After cutting back on in-flight food offerings due to the virus, the airline donated more than 200,000 pounds of perishable and non-perishable food to hospitals, food banks, and other support organizations. Read more.
Two Dolphins Meet a Sloth — and Have the Most Adorable Reaction
The Texas State Aquarium is temporarily closed, allowing time for some animals to meet each other for the first time. The dolphins Liko and Schooner were visibly enthralled with Chico the sloth, who seemed to sleep his way through the introduction. Read more.
New Yorkers Sing on Their Rooftops and Get Married in the Street
Even in hard-hit New York City, people are finding creative ways to remain connected and united — from exercising together from their respective balconies to taking a moment to clap for frontline workers each night at 7 p.m. Read more.
Hilton and American Express Donate 1 Million Hotel Rooms to First Responders
With American Express helping to foot the bill, Hilton has announced plans to offer up to 1 million rooms to doctors, nurses, and others fighting COVID-19 “at or below cost.” The hotel chain has already partnered with organizations to connect people in need with hotel rooms across the country. Read more
Grounded Airline Employees Retrain as Coronavirus 'Ambassadors'
Furloughed cabin crew in Singapore have found a new focus — assisting local officers and nurses as coronavirus “ambassadors.” Their job is to dissuade public gatherings and inform people on ways to help prevent the spread of infection. Read more.