That Dreamy Havana Vacation Is Closer to Becoming Reality

The easing of travel restrictions to Cuba means certain Americans can now fly direct from New York, but don’t start booking spring break plans yet.

After a 54-year embargo, starting this March it will be possible for US citizens to walk the cobble stone streets of Havana—legally. As part of President Barack Obama's recent re-establishment of diplomatic relations with Cuba, restrictions on tourism have been eased to include direct flights from JFK, starting next month. Though not technically illegal for U.S. citizens to visit in the past—it was fairly easy to fly in via Canada, as Michael Moore demonstrated—you can now travel direct without fear of irking the State Department.

A monumental step for diplomatic relations between the two countries, there will still be restrictions on hedonistic, Spring Break-style leisure tourism. Only pre-approved groups traveling for journalism, business, family, religious missions, education, and cultural exchange can take advantage of the upcoming deals. However, legislators have proposed lifting all travel bans, so cheap vacation flights shouldn’t be far behind. As BK Mag reported, flights run by California’s Cuba Travel Services will start weekly March 17 at an initial rate of $779. After that it will be a measly $849 to walk the streets where Hemingway was both inspired and blotto.

So what can those who venture to Havana expect? For years banks and credit card companies were prohibited from doing business in Cuba. While that will be lifted with these new rules, don’t expect to find a plethora of ATMs or businesses willing to accept credit cards. Also, don’t count on loading up on all those sweet, forbidden cigars—authorized visitors can only bring home up to $400 worth of goods acquired in Cuba for personal use, and no more than $100 worth of alcohol or tobacco products.

Despite these minor stipulations, both the tourism world and airlines are eying this new market with anticipation. As a Southwest Airlines spokesman said Thursday, "Cuba is a good future opportunity we are studying." Currently other airlines are weighing how popular flights will be, and if there is a large enough market to make it worth their while. But we can’t imagine we’re the only ones who want to check out all those sick souped-up vintage American cars.

via David Leavitt / Twitter

Anyone who has ever worked in retail knows that the worst thing about the job, right after the pay, are the unreasonable cheapskates who "want to talk to your manager" to get some money off an item.

They think that throwing a tantrum will save them a few bucks and don't care if they completely embarrass themselves in the process. Sometimes that involves belittling the poor employee who's just trying to get through their day with an ounce of dignity.

Twitter is rallying around a gal named Tori who works at a Target in Massachusetts after she was tweet-shamed by irate chapekate, journalist, and Twitter troll, David Leavitt.

Keep Reading

Childbirth is the number one reason American women visit the hospital, and it ain't cheap. In fact, it's getting more and more expensive. A new study published in Health Affairs found that the cost of having a baby with employer-sponsored health insurance increased by almost 50% in the past seven years.

The study evaluated "trends in cost-sharing for maternity care for women with employer-based health insurance plans, before and after the Affordable Care Act," which was signed into law in 2010. The study looked at over 657,061 women enrolled in large employer-sponsored health insurance plans who delivered babies between 2008 and 2015, as these plans tend to cover more than plans purchased by small businesses or individuals.

Keep Reading

A meteorite crashed into Earth nearly 800,000 years ago. The meteor was 1.2 miles wide, and the impact was so big, it covered 10% of the planet with debris. However, scientists haven't been able to find the impact site for over a century. That is, until now. A study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences journal believes the crash site has been located.

Tektites, which are essentially rocks that have been liquefied from the heat of the impact and then cooled to form glass, help scientists spot the original impact site of a meteor. Upon impact, melted material is thrown into the atmosphere, then falls back to the ground. Even if the original crater has disappeared due to erosion or is hidden by a shift in tectonic plates, tektites give the spot away. Tektites between 750,000 to 35.5 million years old have been found in every continent except Antarctica.

Keep Reading
The Planet