As travel slowly began returning to some semblance of normalcy in 2022, our team at TravelAwaits worked hard to bring you relevant stories to help inform your travel plans and dream about where to go next! As we look ahead to 2023, it’s also fun to reflect on where we’ve been. These are the top 20 most popular travel-related news stories from 2022.
1. Farmers’ Almanac Predicts Cold, Snowy Winter For Most Of U.S., Here’s Where It Will Be Mild And Dry
Concerns over the rising costs of heating oil prompted the Farmers’ Almanac to release its winter weather predictions earlier than usual this year, forecasting a harsh winter for much of the U.S. during the 2022-23 season.
The Almanac predicted both the Northeast and Great Lakes regions, in particular, would feel a deep chill this winter. Almost on cue, Buffalo, New York, rallied to the challenge, receiving more than 5 feet of snow just before Thanksgiving! Read more of this year’s Farmers’ Almanac predictions and find out how your region will fare this winter.
2. Florida Towns Are Asking Residents And Visitors To Close Blinds, Turn Off Lights, Here’s Why
Last summer, town leaders along the Florida coast urged residents and vacationers living adjacent to turtle-nesting zones to turn off their lights and keep the beaches dark. Because turtle hatchlings use the night sky to navigate their way to the ocean, artificial light can draw them astray.
Florida hosts five sea turtle species. All are endangered or threatened. An estimated 40,000–83,000 turtles host their nests on the Florida coast each summer. Learn more about this incredible life cycle and how you can observe the nesting process on your next vacation.
3. Turkey Changes Its Name To Better Reflect Culture, Values
Did you visit Turkey this year? Before you answer that, we should rephrase. Did you visit Türkiye this year? In late 2021, the country changed its name to preserve the nation’s deep-rooted historical values, culture, and traditions.
In English, Türkiye means “land of the Turks” and dates back to the 14th century. The rebranding effort is also intended to assist online searchers looking for information about the country — not the bird.
4. Disgusting Problem On Mexico’s Caribbean Beaches Called ‘Alarming’
A stinky situation greeted visitors to Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula this year. A type of seaweed called sargassum washed up on the beaches at an alarming rate. By mid-February, the Mexican Navy removed 97 tons of the plant from the sea and cleared another 9,000 tons from beaches. When washed ashore, the decomposing seaweed smells like sulfur, negatively impacting the vacationer’s experience. Learn about Mexico’s heroic efforts to control the problem and protect tourism.
5. Disney Forced To Close One Of Its Theme Parks And Resorts Indefinitely
It’s safe to say everyone feels “done” with COVID-19, but it still rears its ugly head every once in a while, as was the case with Shanghai Disney earlier this year. When the city logged its highest virus caseload in more than 2 years, Shanghai Disney shut down indefinitely until the outbreak was under control. The park eventually reopened in June but closed again in October due to another outbreak. It then reopened yet again in November. Travel disruptions like these remind us that we aren’t entirely out of the woods yet, and travel insurance remains necessary in 2023.
6. Charleston Just Told Carnival It Can No Longer Sail Out Of Its Port Starting In 2024, Here’s Why
Cruising enthusiasts have one more year to sail out of Charleston, South Carolina, before the port closes to overnight cruise ships. In June, the South Carolina Ports Authority announced the last cruise ship would leave the Charleston port on April 27, 2024, ending the state’s 14-year contract. Tourism, growth, revitalization, and development were significant drivers in the decision. Read about why local leaders are excited about the policy change.
7. Farmers’ Almanac Predicts Unseasonably Cold Winter For Canada, Urges One Region To Hibernate
Canadians may want to reconsider winter getaway plans after reading the Farmer’s Almanac predictions for 2022-23! This winter’s forecast calls for “a potpourri of precipitation and unreasonably cold conditions.” Brrr! Some parts of Canada may reach -40 degrees (Fahrenheit)! The Almanac has been predicting weather patterns since 1818 with an impressive 80 percent accuracy rate. Find out what you can expect this winter.
8. Unique Sign In New Mexico Had Highway Drivers Doing Double-Takes
Nothing is enchanting about a misspelled name, especially in the Land of Enchantment! When the New Mexico State Department of Transportation erected new road signs, the proof-readers missed a significant error — they’d misspelled “Albuquerque” and were missing the R. Observant drivers took note and flooded the department with calls and emails until corrected signage was put in place. But did you know the city’s name was originally spelled “Alburquerque” with two Rs? You can learn about the interesting history of this enchanting city and begin planning your next winter getaway.
9. Residents Of Small Arizona Town Asked To Stop Yelling At Tourists
Some residents of a small Arizona town, once dubbed the “Wickedest Town in the West,” tried living up to the nickname last summer. More than a million people each year overwhelm the tiny central Arizona town of Jerome, bringing revenue and parking woes. Locals have left notes and even yelled at visiting tourists for troublesome parking behaviors. Local police responded by urging the 450 residents who call this tiny town “home” to report problems rather than taking matters into their own hands.
10. ‘Gates Of Hell’ Fire, Burning Since 1971, May Finally Be Put Out
Burning since 1971, the “Gates of Hell” flaming crater in central Asia measures approximately 200 feet wide and 70 feet deep. The fire’s fuel source is natural methane gas, and the country’s leader, President Gurbanguly Bernymukhamedov would like to see it extinguished. The pollution created by the ongoing fire presents many environmental and health concerns for area residents. Find out how you can visit this fascinating crater before the flames go out for good.
11. One Of The World’s Busiest Airports In The U.S. Is Getting A New Look And It’s Gorgeous
In September, Orlando International Airport debuted Terminal C — the largest terminal project to open in the U.S. in years. An estimated 12 million passengers per year will visit the $2.8 billion terminal addition.
The “low-touch” environment features 15 gates, concessions, interactive media, lounges, and unforgettable architecture. If Orlando is part of your travel plans in 2023, find out more about this beautiful new airport addition.
12. Florida’s Shark Bite Capital Of The World Announces First Attack Of 2022
In 2022, Florida again led the world in the number of shark bites. The first attack of the year was recorded in March when a 21-year-old New Jersey man fishing in waist-deep water was bitten off the coast of New Smyrna Beach.
As of November, emergency personnel responded to 22 shark attacks in Florida, according to published data by trackingsharks.com. The Florida Museum of Natural History reported 28 unprovoked shark bites in Florida the year prior in 2021.
13. Fancy Feast Isn’t Just For Felines, Where You Can Dine On Cat-Inspired Cuisine
A cat-inspired menu in Manhattan was all meows when Fancy Feast opened a limited-time Italian restaurant. Inspired by canned cat food, the culinary creations included items like salmon con pomodorini (salmon with cherry tomatoes) created by Fancy Feast’s in-house chef, Amanda Hassner, and New York restaurateur Cesare Casella. The pop-up restaurant was only open for two nights.
14. Passenger Ruins London Trip For Scores Of Travelers After Pilot Turns Plane Around
It’s been months since the government dropped the federal mask mandate on airplanes, but for 129 passengers on board an American Airlines flight from Miami to London, that development didn’t happen soon enough. When one woman refused to wear a face mask during the flight, the pilot turned the flight around and returned to Miami. The flight was approximately 500 miles into its 4,400-mile journey when the unruly passenger caused the commotion. Unfortunately for the other passengers, the original flight was canceled and they had to book new reservations.
15. Folks Are Flocking To New Mexico For A High Flying Milestone This October
Ballooning enthusiasts from more than 20 countries celebrated the 50th Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta in October. The premier event offers skill competitions for pilots and multiple days of enchantment and fun for spectators. This year, more than 500 hot air balloons of all colors, shapes, and sizes filled the New Mexico skies. The event also included a twilight balloon glow and a fireworks display. Are you captivated by hot air balloons? Find out more about this annual festival and make plans to go in 2023.
16. Video Of Sea Lions Chasing Beachgoers Isn’t What It Seems, What A Scientist Says Was Actually Happening
A viral TikTok video showed dozens of visitors running from two sea lions that appeared to be chasing them at San Diego La Jolla Cove. Scientists, however, say what was actually happening was two males were fighting over territory at the beginning of the breeding season. According to expert Eric Otjen, the sea lion closest to the people in the video was trying to get away from the other sea lion. Male sea lions are known to protect their territories aggressively and can weigh up to 700 pounds.
17. 9 U.S. National Parks Requiring Reservations In 2022
Over the past 2 years, record-setting attendance at U.S. national parks forced many of them to implement a reservation system. The effort is in an attempt to control crowds and minimize traffic problems. In 2022, nine parks announced plans to use the system, including Acadia National Park, Arches National Park, Glacier National Park, Haleakalā National Park, Muir Woods National Monument, Rocky Mountain National Park, Shenandoah National Park, Zion National Park, and Yosemite National Park. Keep an eye open for news on TravelAwaits about which parks will require reservations in 2023.
18. Rome’s Colosseum Opens Gladiator Tunnels To Public For First Time In History
A visit to Rome’s storied Colosseum tops many travel bucket lists for history and architecture. For many years, tour guides simply told stories about the tunnels beneath, where warriors and exotic animals arrived and prepared for battle. In 2022, for the first time in its history, Rome opened those tunnels to visitors. Read more about the history and how to explore the gladiator tunnels.
19. World’s Longest Immersed Tunnel Being Built Between Denmark And Germany Hits Milestone
An 11.1-mile underwater tunnel connecting Denmark to Germany hit a major milestone this year. The effort is now 50 percent complete. The Fehmarnbelt tunnel will feature a four-lane highway and two railway tracks between Rødbyhavn on the island of Lolland in Denmark and Puttgarden in northern Germany. It’s expected to open in 2029. Find out more about this fascinating engineering achievement.
20. How You Can Spend Retirement Living On A Cruise Ship, And How Much It Will Cost
What if you could spend your retirement living on a cruise ship? It’s now possible on the Narrative, a new Storylines residential cruise ship. With plans to set sail in 2024, you have plenty of time to research and select your living quarters. Choose from 547 fully-furnished living suites with studio apartments, multi-bedroom apartments, and two-story penthouses. Units range from $400,000 to $8 million. The ship also offers a great housing alternative for remote workers looking for a change of view. Read about this unique residential ship, dining, activities, and other amenities — not to mention the travel perks!