New Rules for Travel in 2020

These new rules and policies may impact your travels in 2020, so heed our travel editors' advice.

January 14, 2020

Photo By: TSA

Photo By: Fenne

Photo By: TSA

Photo By: Hawaii Tourism Authority/ Tor Johnson

Photo By: Corey Leopold, Wikimedia Commons

Photo By: gnuckx, flickr

Photo By: Steve Larese

Photo By: Live Riga

Photo By: Elena Elisseeva

Real ID Act Takes Effect In 2020

Planning to fly after September 2020? Get your drivers license updated asap. The Real ID Act implementation takes place in October 2020. The Real ID Act requires all US airline passengers to use a federally-approved form of identification before passing through security. This means that state driver licenses will have to comply with the federal Real ID stipulations. State-issued driver licenses in compliance will have a star in the upper right corner. Passengers without licenses that are not Real ID-compliant will not be permitted to pass through TSA security checkpoints. However, passports and other approved federal ID will be accepted. The Real ID Act establishes security standards for driver's licenses and state-issued identification cards.

More Airlines Will Question Emotional Support Status for Pets

As the proliferation of pets designated as emotional support animals becomes increasingly controversial, more and more airlines are more stringently defining the definition of such animals, and some are doing away with the status all-together. The American Disability Act definition of a service animal is: “any dog that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability, including a physical, sensory, psychiatric, intellectual, or other mental disability. Tasks performed can include…pulling a wheelchair, retrieving dropped items, alerting a person to a sound, reminding a person to take medication, or pressing an elevator button.” The organization Airlines for America is lobbying to make this definition the litmus test for animals flying open in airplane cabins, citing increase abuse of the current system and the potential danger it poses to airline employees and other passengers. Bottom line: Pets flying as emotional support animals may not make the service animal-definition cut this year. Make sure to check with your airline before arriving at the airport to board a flight.

Adopt a Security School Dropout

In other travel and pet news: You can adopt TSA dogs who washed out of security dog school for being too friendly. The Transportation Security Administration’s Canine Adoption Program allows qualified humans to adopt puppies that were deemed to wiggly, outgoing, friendly and otherwise unsuited for security work. Potential owners must meet requirements such as not moving within a half-year of adoption, having a fenced yard, obeying local pet ordinances and other stipulations.

Southwest Airlines Adds Flights to Hawaii

Southwest Airlines begins flights from Honolulu to Kuauai in 2020, as well as direct flights from California to Kuauai starting Jan. 21, 2020.This adds to Southwest Airlines’ Hawaiian options. Southwest began flights from California to Hawaii in 2019, with introductory prices starting at $99 for one-way flights.

No More Climbing Uluru in Australia's Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park

Climbing to the top of Uluru in Australia’s Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park is no longer allowed in 2020. Park authorities, working with indigenous owners of the land (Anangu elders), decided to ban climbing the sacred formation, citing Uluru’s sacredness to the Anangu people. Elders and park officials hope park visitors will instead focus on learning more about the people who have called this area home for millennia.

Mind Your Manners in Venice

Feeling overrun by badly behaved tourists, Venice officials have enacted rules called DASPOS, an acronym for Divieto di Accedere alle Manifestazioni Sportive (Ban on Entering Sporting Events). DASPOS rules originally applied to those misbehaving at sporting events, but have been expanded to include any visitors. The new rules penalize people who swim in canals, walk around shirtless and/or in bathing suits, lie down in front of shops and on monuments and bridges, indulge in public drinking, picnicking and loitering on bridges. Venice’s #EnjoyRespectVenezia campaign kicked off in summer of 2019, and two German tourists made headlines when they were ticketed for brewing coffee on the famous Rialto Bridge. They were fined €950 and asked to leave Venice. With increased stress from flooding in late 2019, it’s expected that DASPOS laws will be strictly enforced this summer tourism season as well. Also in 2020, expect to see the introduction of a tourist tax, which could be as high as €10 during peak summer months.

American Airlines Adds Bin Space and New Routes

American Airlines this year increases their overhead bin space on new planes by 25 percent. This new space is designed to make sure there’s a 1-to-1 passenger-to-bag ratio, allowing six bags per bin as opposed to four. To make sure everyone gets one carry-on in the overhead bin, American Airlines is asking people to place their bags in the bins on their sides, like books. Remember this boarding technique next time you fly American, and enjoy that extra space. American Airlines has also announced its international schedule for summer 2020, which includes Philadelphia (PHL) to Casablanca, Morocco (CMN), beginning June 4; Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW) to Tel Aviv, Israel (TLV), beginning Sept. 9; Chicago (ORD) to Krakow, Poland (KRK), beginning May 7; Chicago (ORD) to Budapest, Hungary (BUD), beginning May 7; and Chicago (ORD) to Prague, Czech Republic (PRG), beginning May 8.

New Rules for Visiting Machu Picchu

In an effort to reduce impact and improve visitors’ experiences, the Peruvian government has implemented new rules for visiting Machu Picchu beginning in 2020. Visitors will be sold tickets for three entries: 6 a.m. to 9 a.m., 9 a.m. to noon, and noon to 2 p.m., and all visitors must enter with an official tour guide. In total 5,940 tickets will be sold daily for the three entry times. To hike the Inca Trail, all visitors must be accompanied by a tour guide and groups may not exceed 16 people. A maximum of 500 people, including support staff, will be allowed to start the Inca Trail daily. Porters may not carry more than 30 pounds.

Eurail Adds Routes and a Free Travel App

New in 2020 the Eurail Pass adds Estonia and Latvia to its roster, increasing its country count to 33. With those additions, the Eurail pass covers rail travel throughout all the Baltic countries for the first time in Eurail’s 61-year history. Latvian operator Pasažieru vilciens will offer extensive domestic connections throughout the country from its main hub, Riga, while Estonian railways operator Elron offers several domestic connections from the capital city Tallinn to popular destinations such as Tartu, Narva, Viljandiand and Rakvere. In both countries, seat reservations are not required for Eurail Pass holders, allowing travelers to hop on and off on any trains operated by Pasažieru vilciens or Elron. Alternatively, opt for the newly introduced Latvia One Country Pass or Estonia One Country Pass for extensive travel within either of the Baltic regions. In addition to providing unlimited access to Latvian and Estonian trains, Eurail Pass holders may travel by ferry between Riga to Stockholm and Germany, or from Tallinn to Stockholm and Helsinki, up to a 50 percent discount on international ferry connections. Also, France and Italy are closer than ever with Thello day and night trains now included in the Eurail Pass. The Thello day train provides travel from historic Milan or coastal Genoa linking them to the French Riviera cities of Nice and Marseille. The night train will run nightly between Paris and northern Italy, ending in Venice. Stops along the way include Milan, Verona and Padua. An added bonus starting in 2020 is youth tickets at discounts of 25 percent off the standard adult fare. Eurail’s new Rail Planner App makes travel planning easier with new features, including updated timetables, and a polished look. The free app now offers travelers a map view of their trip and statistics on the countries and kilometers traveled, which can be shared with friends and family on social media.

Biometrics Technology at US Airports Increases This Year

Facial recognition has been installed in some airports worldwide for 2020, and by 2021, 20 major US airports will have TSA biometrics technology security features for international passengers. Scans of passengers’ faces will replace boarding passes with the new systems. Officials tout increased security and faster boarding times, but some people have privacy concerns. At this time passengers are able to opt out of the scan and use a boarding pass to board their flights.

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